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Mozilla bug 923590: Pledge never to implement HTML5 DRM mozilla.org
873 points by chris_wot  6 days ago   357 comments top 29
guelo 6 days ago 6 replies      
What's ridiculous about everybody bending over backwards for the Netflix usecase is that Hollywood isn't letting Netflix have the content anyway because they want to control and destroy yet another medium. Hollywood is a corrupting evil in our technical, legal and political systems and should be shunned, not accommodated, as much as possible.
Fice 6 days ago 2 replies      
DRM can't be properly implemented in free (as in freedom) software. Either you will not be able to run any modified version not signed by the vendor on your device, or any version you build yourself will lack DRM support. DRM is all about restricting the user control over their devices.

DRM-enabled Firefox would be effectively non-free software: you could not modify it and rebuild it from source while retaining the DRM functionality.

skrebbel 6 days ago 5 replies      
Can some of the more involved please explain the consequence of a choice like this? If Mozilla chooses to not implement this spec, will the effect be that:

    * Firefox is the only browser that can't play certain content    * Firefox is the only browser that plays all content

I would assume the first, because it should be easy for a content provider to just block a certain browser entirely (and that block could be circumvented, but the majority of people won't do that). People will blame Firefox, not the content provider.

ddebernardy 6 days ago 11 replies      
I think you're barking up the wrong tree... And that it has the potential to blow up in Firefox's face.

Remember what happened to html5 video. Everyone but Firefox was pragmatic, and implemented h.264 -- primarily, but not only for hardware acceleration reasons. Years later, Webkit-based browsers are ubiquitous, and Mozilla is developing a phone OS nobody will care about, in a desperate effort to become relevant again.

Imo, Mozilla ought to spare itself another embarrassment by being the only guys in the room with the contrarian opinion. Take the issue to the W3C directly -- or for that matter vote for your local pirate party. HN and other tech news venues might be the correct places to recruit support, but you ultimately want to lobby your case directly.

frozenport 6 days ago 4 replies      
I wonder if this will finally kill Firefox? Imagine a world where FF can't play YouTube or watch Netflix? What if DRM content becomes so prevalent it FF will render most websites like Lynx?
aaronem 6 days ago 2 replies      
I'm still trying to figure out how we go from "UA streams encrypted content to EME plugin -- oops, sorry, 'extension' -- and EME extension streams decrypted content back to browser" to 'View Source' being prohibited, copy-paste of text demanding micropayments to complete, dogs and cats marrying each other, and Satan going to and fro on the earth.
dingdingdang 6 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, good luck the the DRM crap - it worked over so well with music (not) and I'm sure it'll fly super fine with video too. Tim Berners-Lee has sold his soul somewhere along the line. Following bit from Florian Bsch comment on article sums it up brilliantly:

"The W3Cs (and Tim Baner Lees) support of EME shows clearly that once again, the W3C has gone down a blind alley (like with XHTML) and is not interested to serve the real needs of the web. The WhatWG was the result of W3Cs stagnation on addressing real world needs. And once again the W3C is more interested in stagnation than real world needs with EME. It has to be expected that the relevancy of any W3C standard will substantially diminish in the future."

mmcclure 5 days ago 0 replies      
Mozilla wouldn't implement EME in the browser. It would come in the form of a plugin. It's absolutely incredible what a few uninformed blog posts will do to an otherwise very smart group of people.

I wrote pretty much the same thing in the comments on the blog post yesterday when people were freaking out about this then. EME is a plugin spec for implementing DRM, not something that would get baked into browsers.

Everyone put their logic pants on and stop freaking out for a second. This is might be a silly spec for implementing a stupid premise (DRM), but it's not the end of the open web.

chris_wot 6 days ago 2 replies      
P.S. in case anyone asks, I submitted the bug on my iPad... Hope it's not too disconcerting to see the WebKit user agent on this bug! :-)
lucb1e 6 days ago 2 replies      
I dislike this. Now sites will just say "View this site in Internet Explorer" and I'll have to boot a virtual machine to legally view the content. Well, if I ever get sued for it I guess I can always say Hollywood should provide me with a Windows license.
code_duck 4 days ago 0 replies      
They say,

"A Web where you cannot cut and paste text; where your browser can't "Save As..." an image; where the "allowed" uses of saved files are monitored beyond the browser; where JavaScript is sealed away in opaque tombs; and maybe even where we can no longer effectively "View Source" on some sites, is a very different Web from the one we have today. It's a Web where user agentsbrowsersmust navigate a nest of enforced duties every time they visit a page. It's a place where the next Tim Berners-Lee or Mozilla, if they were building a new browser from scratch, couldn't just look up the details of all the "Web" technologies. They'd have to negotiate and sign compliance agreements with a raft of DRM providers just to be fully standards-compliant and interoperable."

Well, so essentially like the situation with native apps then. My guess is most consumers wouldn't notice at this point.

ProNoob13 6 days ago 5 replies      
First of all, making a bug-ticket for something that doesn't exists yet isn't going to solve anything. Second of all, why do you oppose DRM? It's been around for years. Games, DVDs... Nobody really had troubles with it until the bad (not so user-friendly) implementations came around. But, with W3 standardizing the spec for it, we get a win-win: We can watch all our (streaming) video without Flash (which was previously used for DRM), and content providers can be sure that the content we're watching is payed for.
Qantourisc 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'd like to make a comment, but does anyone know how this DRM works ? I mean either you trust the client, by binary-blobs/hardware or other form of protection, or you are delivering the content into the lap of the consumer.

So I wonder if FireFox CAN even implement it ?

chris_wot 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure I put this into the right category. It's really more than a Firefox issue, it's something for Mozilla as an organisation.
tpainton 6 days ago 1 reply      
until you see some slime profit from your hard work by simply copying it... it's easy to talk about how evil drm, and copyrights are. I know photographers, great photographers, that were stunned when they googled their images and found them front and center on some scumbags webpage, claimed as theirs. musicians go thru the same ordeal. This isn't just about Hollywood, it affects creators who are far from rich.
AYBABTME 4 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe I have no idea of what I'm talking about, but my understanding over how this "Media and Piracy" plot has gone is:

  - Media purchase was inconvenient and overly expensive.  - People pirated because it was convenient and cheap.  - Streaming services offered convenient, low cost     solutions.  - People 'stopped' pirating because streaming is a decent,    convenient legal alternative.
At least that's how I've (and everybody I've asked about) gone through it. So in that perspective, it seems to be a useless attempt at defending from a fading threat.

ksec 6 days ago 4 replies      
Realistically, how are content provider suppose to copy protect their properties without the use of DRM?
smegel 6 days ago 2 replies      
Well its either that or flash...think I would rather HTML5.
alkonaut 6 days ago 2 replies      
Either make way for content protection for video in some kind of standard, or we are stuck with Silverlight and Flash video forever. Why wouldn't I want some kind of standard platform for delivering protected video in my browser, rather than getting and updating 2-3 different insecure plugins all the time for doing the same thing?

Is this just a crusade agains DRM as a whole (good luck with that) from the free software movement, or do they have problems with this exact proposal from the w3c?

shmerl 6 days ago 0 replies      
I still wonder what was Tim Berners-Lee thinking, when supporting DRM? He should have known better.
devx 6 days ago 1 reply      
It's bad enough that governments are starting to restrict the Internet all over the world [1], almost in unison, why should the last bastions of freedom on the Internet fall so easily, too?

I see the corruption of W3C (because that's what it is) by corporations almost as bad as the corruption of NIST and the security standards by the NSA.

And for what exactly? The apparent "convenience" of not having a 3rd party plugin, but instead a "native" plugin in the operating system, that will only work on certain operating systems and browsers? HTML and DRM are incompatible in principle, and will be incompatible in practice, too. It won't give you any convenience, and will potentially make things worse in many other ways.

And all of this because we're starting to buy into the idea that the content companies are right and piracy is hurting their sales? I guess repeating a lie long enough, does make it true in the end - even though it probably isn't [2].

So once again, why are you letting our Internet freedom slip away without even a fight?

[1] - http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net/freedom-net-2...

[2] - http://torrentfreak.com/piracy-isnt-hurting-the-entertainmen...

zamalek 6 days ago 0 replies      
"To view this website please download our plugin that enables DRM-protected content in your browser."
Zigurd 5 days ago 0 replies      
Tens of billions of dollars worth of JavaScript source code are squirted out to every person, good and nefarious, rich and poor, all over the planet without boundaries, every day as they use Web applications. Why is nobody promulgating a standard for hiding it?

The answer is that such proposals get laughed out of the room. They would break the Web, which is far more valuable than anyone's JavaScript source code. Has innovation in JavaScript suffered for lack of source code protection in Web standards? That's also a laughable idea.

So, why not the same answer for passive content?

captainmuon 6 days ago 1 reply      
Implement it, but don't implement it properly. Always tell the server (or whatever does the checks) that DRM is available, and that the user is authorized to play the content. Or add a button or setting to unlock any content.

And even if they implement DRM, I could probably just grab the source and comment out a few ifs, and would be fine (assuming its not just a wrapper for Windows' DRM).

ChikkaChiChi 6 days ago 1 reply      
Please implement this. The faster we lull these stupid media companies into a false sense of security, the faster we can get rid of Silverlight.
ialex 6 days ago 0 replies      
What a scary stuff is this?

Imagine the new world that would be open to the malware/spyware if DRM is enabled they will easily use this to hide their shitty stuff and not allowing anybody to see whats going on, how does w3c is going to let that happen :S

Hopefully Firefox wont be open to implemment this shit on their browser.

crazychrome 5 days ago 0 replies      
am i the only one to against the pledge?

here is the reason: if there was such kind of mechanism in browser, we probably already had snapchat years ago on browser instead of Apple's safe guarded garden.

there is no evil technology. it just depends on how to use it. i'm surprised so many are blindly naive.

thenerdfiles 5 days ago 0 replies      
The Grand Chancellor of English, or Webster's Dictionary, has confirmed that utterance of protected terms is in scope of the latest edition.
jheriko 6 days ago 0 replies      
well done. :)

as we all know drm is folly. if the data can be decrypted to use then it can be stolen /always/.

Attacking Tor: How the NSA targets users' online anonymity theguardian.com
625 points by brkcmd  6 days ago   176 comments top 29
shawn-furyan 5 days ago 6 replies      
One heartening aspect of the Snowden revelations as a whole is that they have pretty much just confirmed that the things we thought were strong (public crypto research, tor) are in fact strong and the things that we thought were iffy are in fact iffy(Certificate Authorities, Unvetted Crypto, Cloud Services, The Wires, Implementations). This bodes well for the prospect of navigating out of this whole mess successfully since on the whole we seem to have good instincts about what is trustworthy and what is untrustworthy. I think that it actually has tended to clarify thinking about security so that fewer and fewer engineers are able to delude themselves into trusting something that they know deep down is really untrustworthy.
tptacek 5 days ago 7 replies      

I've taken a jaundiced view of "liberation tech" efforts in the past and this is as good an illustration as any of why. Among "amateur" libtech projects, Tor is about as good as you get --- an active community, extremely widespread use, technical people with their heads screwed on right and as much humility as you can reasonably expect of people whose projects are (candidly) intended to thwart world governments.

If Tor can't provide meaningful assurances (here, there's a subtext that Tor actually made NSA's job easier), you'd need an awfully convincing reason for how you're going to do better than they are before "liberating" the Chinese internet, especially given that it your users who assume the real risks.

elwin 5 days ago 3 replies      
The more we learn about the NSA's capabilities, the more it seems like the Manhattan Project. They are developing the "cyberwarfare" equivalents of weapons of mass destruction. This exploit delivery network goes so far beyond any legitimate purpose it might serve that it belongs in the same moral category as hydrogen bombs.

EDIT: The above is somewhat hyperbolic and unclear. The NSA's capabilities may have legitimate uses. Similarly, there may be legitimate military uses for nuclear weapons. But building nuclear weapons creates the risk of worldwide nuclear destruction. Similarly, building this kind of highly efficient exploit system creates the risk of destroying all Internet security. The potential destruction far outweighs whatever good the weapons might accomplish. That is why I said they belong in the same category.

anologwintermut 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is one way the NSA can attack Tor. if they just want to de-anonymize a connection, not get access to the content, (.e.g to locate the Silk Road Sever), in theory they can just analyze all their passively collected data form major fiber backbones to identify and locate the user.

Tor, including hidden services, was never designed to protect against someone who could observe all or almost all traffic in the Tor network. Given that data, it's rather easy to correlate timing information. Indeed, Tor fundamentally allows this since it aims to be a low latency network.

Given the NSA's extensive tapping of key fiber lines, we should assume they can actually observe the necessary traffic.From the original paper announcing Tor: "A global passive adversary is the most commonly assumed threat when analyzing theoretical anonymity designs. But like all practical low-latency systems, Tor does not protect against such a strong adversary." --- Tor: The Second Generation Onion Router [0][0] https://svn.torproject.org/svn/projects/design-paper/tor-des...

kilroy123 5 days ago 3 replies      
Sounds like, if you're going to do something very sensitive on tor, you need to:

- always have an update to date version of tor bundle!

- compile the bundle yourself from source

- run it virtually, and always roll back to a clean snapshot (before installing it tor) when done

- if possible use from a network that is not your own (open wifi, public wifi, etc.)

- spoof your mac address

- do not run JS, Java applets, etc.!

I know this seems extreme, but from what I read, it's the best you can do to protect yourself.

conductor 5 days ago 1 reply      
> Once the computer is successfully attacked, it secretly calls back to a FoxAcid server, which then performs additional attacks on the target computer to ensure that it remains compromised long-term

It would be nice if somebody could honeypot them to find out the vulns and malware types they are using.

spindritf 5 days ago 1 reply      
So how does Tails[1] stack up? It seems to thwart most of those attacks.

It block non-anonymized traffic and makes permanent changes difficult. OTOH, privilege escalation bugs happen frequently on Linux.


GigabyteCoin 5 days ago 1 reply      
Is nobody slightly concerned that the date shown in the PDF file which sparked this commentary ( http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/oct/04/tor... ) shows the PDF as being created in 2007?

It looks like they had some trouble picking out users 5 years ago... lord only knows how easy it must be for them now.

chrisduesing 5 days ago 1 reply      
Wait, so simply by using Tor the government will install malware on your computer. How is that legal?
jstalin 5 days ago 0 replies      
So how does one determine which sites are being intercepted through Tor and served malformed code? Start doing CURLs from within Tor and outside of it and comparing hashes?
danso 5 days ago 2 replies      
This accompanying article has useful context: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/04/nsa-gchq-attack...

> But the documents suggest that the fundamental security of the Tor service remains intact. One top-secret presentation, titled 'Tor Stinks', states: "We will never be able to de-anonymize all Tor users all the time." It continues: "With manual analysis we can de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users," and says the agency has had "no success de-anonymizing a user in response" to a specific request.

So only with "manual analysis" can intel agencies have any success, and that appears to be with a small subset of users who have other vulnerabilities. But when targeting a specific user, the NSA appears to have had no success in de-anonymizing them.

aroch 5 days ago 1 reply      
At least according the the slides, Tor appears to be safe for the most part. Which is good.
neves 5 days ago 1 reply      
I've been playing with vagrant and ansible to create a new server in a snap. Here is a good weekend project:

Instead of having just an Tor/browser bundle, build a vagrant machine specification that installs the Tor bundle. This virtual machine would be destroyed and recreated from time to time. Now put the machine specification in GitHub and let anyone use it.

coldcode 5 days ago 1 reply      
Sure these folks are smart and have all sorts of powerful weapons; what are the odds that someone out there could successfully repurpose some of these weapons? What is the likelihood that vulnerabilities exist in the NSA's systems? We can never know since it's all secret. If someone does take over these systems we wouldn't know that either.
reirob 2 days ago 0 replies      
In the slide titled "Exploitation: Shaping" the status says "Can stain user agents working on shaping."

How do they achieve to make tor use NSA/GCHQ nodes? If they achieved to do this 5 years ago (the PDF is from 2007) would it then be reasonable to assume that since then they have managed to modify the TOR source code in a way that nobody remarked to do exactly this?

espeed 5 days ago 0 replies      
Foxacid sounds like an NSA version of BeEF (http://beefproject.com/), which hooks browsers that would then be monitored from the Lockheed-Martin-style SOC (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1tCJfy_iZ4 :-).

However, for those with more limited resources, Ryan Barnett is working on an open-source monitoring system for BeEF (https://vimeo.com/54087884).

malandrew 5 days ago 0 replies      
If someone makes disposable Raspberry Pi Tor exit and non-exit nodes sealed in hard plastic resin, we could all buy them and drop them off in random places throughout the world on open networks. If enough people the world over does this, we would make it a lot harder for a global passive attacker to succeed.

Tor's biggest vulnerability is the risk associated with operating exit nodes means that the number of exit nodes remains relatively low at ~1000 worldwide. If hundreds of thousands of exit nodes started popping up all over the globe. It would be very hard to counter.

I'm also curious if enough governments unhappy with what is happening could go as far as hosting many tor nodes outside the control of the NSA. Is the Global Passive Adversary threat still valid if there are many of them that are non-cooperative with one another (i.e. China can't monitor US and Russian tor nodes, Russia can't monitor US and Chinese nodes, and the US can't monitor Chinese and Russian nodes)? My intuition tells me that the global passive adversary would have to be able to monitor most of the nodes, but if others came on the scene doing the same, they would dilute the percentage of nodes that any single global passive adversary could monitor.

ksrm 5 days ago 0 replies      
Can one use something like Lynx with Tor? I doubt there are very many exploits for it.
welder 5 days ago 1 reply      
The NSA is like Tor's pentesters, except Tor doesn't get to see the results.
wil421 5 days ago 0 replies      
I am loving every minute of this NSA-Gate or Snow-Gate. Nothing like holding GOVT accountable for decisions they make behind closed doors, decisions that had an impact on the whole world not just US citizens.

Its also great all the technical details that are being released about how they Intel Agencies collect data. Its all fascinating.

pitchups 5 days ago 1 reply      
It appears that the NSA has been able to target only Tor users that are using the Tor - Firefox bundle. So if you are using Chrome or some other browser - configured to use Tor, you would be safe from these exploits. Wouldn't most sophisticated hackers - or other high value targets most likely to be of interest to the NSA - be already doing that, rather than using the Firefox+Tor bundle?
pygy_ 5 days ago 0 replies      
> FoxAcid tags are designed to look innocuous, so that anyone who sees them would not be suspicious. An example of one such tag [LINK REMOVED] is given in another top-secret training presentation provided by Snowden.

Anyone knows what these tags look like?

rdl 5 days ago 0 replies      
Should really make a packaged vm in vm failsecure tbb equivalent. Nothing is really works from a usability standpoint while giving reasonable protections against this kind of endpoint attack.
galapago 5 days ago 0 replies      
This kind of news should encorage people to create and use better tools for find and fix vulnerabilities in software.
hawkharris 5 days ago 0 replies      
Apparently, John Grisham works for the NSA, naming its programs.
gcb1 5 days ago 0 replies      
what about the nonsense on the quantum system? i think the reporter left some key info out.

why does speed is a factor to mitm attacks? the slide shows a proper mintm diagram... or is this quatum thing exploiting a package arriving before the honest response? and why they would need to do that if they are in a position to do a proper mitm attack and not expose themselves for someone who monitors man-on-the-side attacks?

doug1001 5 days ago 0 replies      
don't forget that Tor publishes their exit nodes--they make them freely available to anyone. So a simple membership test on a client IP against that list of exit node IPs identifies that client IP as either having come through Tor via the onion router or else they are an exit node themselves.
frank_boyd 5 days ago 2 replies      
I remember somebody from Mozilla thinking out loud "we should integrate Tor in Firefox". Glad that didn't get done.
mcphilip 5 days ago 4 replies      
edit: removing meta discussion about flagging. the story should get the attention. apologies for the distraction.
Swiss to vote on 2,500 franc basic income for every adult reuters.com
616 points by selmnoo  5 days ago   564 comments top 48
tikhonj 5 days ago  replies      
A Swiss franc is currently worth a little bit more than a dollar, so this works out to $2800/month or $33600/year. By US standards, this actually seems to be a good salary: significantly better than working full time at minimum wage.

It would cover all my current expenses handily. Of course, I'm young and single but by no means frugal. (I find that the little costs involved in worrying about my expenses easily outweigh the money saved.) So this is quite an income.

One of the main questions about something like this is about who would do boring, low-paid work with this sort of basic income. What I would really hope is that people would still do many of those jobs, but for far fewer hours--largely as a way to get money for incidental expenses and luxuries beyond the basic income. One problem I find with most jobs is that it's much easier to get more pay than less hours, even if I really want the latter. There is a large drop-off between full-time and part-time work.[1]

Beyond a certain level, I would value having more free time far more than making more money. Unfortunately, mostly for social reasons, it's hard to express this preference. A basic income could make this much easier to do.

While I suspect this might not pass, I think it would be very valuable for the entire world. One of the unfortunate realities in politics is that it is really hard to run experiments; small countries like Switzerland can act as a test subject for the entire world. Or perhaps like a tech early adopter for modern policies.

Either way, this passing would be very interesting.

[1]: For me, this is not quite as simple. In reality, there are plenty of jobs where I would be happy to work relatively long hours. But this stops being a question of pay, or even "work": after all, I'm happy to spend hours and hours programming for free. Being paid to do something I really like is wonderful, but it really changes the dynamics in ways that probably do not apply to most people.

jre 5 days ago 5 replies      
As a swiss citizen, I'm really happy we'll have to vote on this. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to vote (I'm slightly bending towards a yes), but I think this is a very interesting debate to have. Especially because this is not a traditional left-right fight.

On the left, you have some unions saying this is going to be counter-productive and that it will reduce the leverage of employees in negotiation ("You've already got 2500, stop complaining"). Some other unions say it's going to give employee more leverage ("If you don't pay me more, I leave").

There are some people (including right-wing "economy-friendly" politician) who think this is a boost for innovation. By letting people work on what they want, without the risk of becoming homeless if it fails, you'll have more people trying to become independent / create companies.

And finally, you have what is still the majority reaction when told about this idea, which is that this is encouraging laziness.

spikels 5 days ago 3 replies      
I would greatly prefer a basic income to the thousands of poorly run programs that aim to help the poor. The poor are not helpless but simply don't make enough money for some minimal standard of living (i.e. they are poor). A side effect of many existing programs is that they make the poor dependent and actually discourage self-improvement. A basic income would minimize these unfortunate but real consequences of helping them.

More info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income

sjwright 5 days ago 3 replies      
I've always liked the idea of a base salary for all citizens. However, this plan appears to set the base level far too high -- it needs to be barely enough to fund the most basic of life's essentials, and indexed to an inflation rate of essential commodities. Life on this salary needs to be difficult and unsatisfying.

The model I imagine would also:

* Be paid to all citizens from age zero. Which means it can replace many existing systems, from child support payments and old age pensions.

* Child salaries from ~3 onwards could come in the form of vouchers with limited scope, e.g. accredited education providers, accredited child care services.

And you need to combine it with some further reforms, e.g:

* No minimum wage.

* Pretty much all existing welfare scrapped.

* Reduced work rights (e.g. less onerous unfair dismissal rules)

The underlying goal of such a system would be to dramatically simplify the role of the welfare state, and put the responsibility back on the individual to manage their own welfare.

rmoriz 5 days ago 2 replies      
FYI: You have to live 12 years consecutively in Switzerland, pass a tests and a personal hearing done by the local government to get a citizenship by naturalization.

Switzerland has one of the most strict immigration rules in Europe.

Source: http://www.bfm.admin.ch/content/bfm/en/home/themen/buergerre...

sytelus 4 days ago 2 replies      
Obviously people proposing this aren't thinking it through or have no training in basic economics. Intuitively you can think of money as amount of labor that you owe from other human beings [1]. So let's say in some country you need minimum of $1000 /mo to satisfy your basic needs. What this means is that someone needs to grow your food, weave your cloths, run electricity plants etc and that amount of labor costs $1000 at the moment. Now imagine a government suddenly guarantees $2000 of income to everyone. What happens next? A lot of these people who were supposed to grow food for you, weave your cloths and run electricity plants for you will drop out of labor market. This means human labor gets in less supply and its demand suddenly increases. That means cost of labor suddenly increases. That means very soon $2000 is no longer enough to buy enough labor to satisfy your basic needs. In essence, $3000 would now be new minimum that is required for your basic needs. You are back to the square one with only effect being government essentially inflated the currency.

[1] In this simplification we assume that most raw material required to satisfy basic needs is available in sufficient quantity so the cost of goods is strongly a function of human labor rather than raw material.

eatitraw 5 days ago 2 replies      
There are so many people excited about all these "equality" bills, and nobody criticizes it.

So I'll just leave it there:http://paulgraham.com/inequality.html

pyritschard 5 days ago 1 reply      
I think it's worth explaining how swiss legislation works. There are several ways to propose a new law, one of which is for enough citizens to petition, which leads to a referendum style vote.

The basic income vote followed this process, and though it gathered enough interest to warrant people voting on it, it has little chance of passing.

Interestingly a similar vote recently passed which limited the income in a company to a factor of 12 (i.e: the CEO can not make more than 12 times the lowest salary of his company) which wasn't expected of switzerland (a rather liberal and conservative country)

iliis 4 days ago 2 replies      
As a swiss I'm quite excited about this. Even if I'm pessimistic about a successful vote.

I want to mention a side-point which I haven't encountered so far:In the 'problem of lazyness' (i.e. "who will do the boring work if you are paid anyway?") one answer that often comes up is automation. Menial/low-skill jobs will be done by robots.

It's a common image that in the future robots will clean our toilets and grill our burgers while the humans have ample time to enjoy life, build rockets and do fulfilling work.[1] However, if AI research has told us one thing it's that this view is quite wrong - the opposite is true. Things humans think of as 'easy' like walking around or doing laundry are actually very difficult engineering problems and 'hard' stuff like playing chess or doing rocket science are easier in an absolut sense.

The reason behind is simple: Evolution had millions of years to perfect walking on legs and interacting with the environment. Our bodies almost literally have an walkTo(Place) API, so the only thing 'we' (our conscious self) have to do is to call it. Abstract thinking is something new and our brains have to do it manually. It takes you less time to run over debris than to multiply large numbers and so we have a distorted picture of what is hard in an absolute sense.

The picture is true for humans but it falls apart when we want to automate it. We are still decades away of beating humans in soccer but Jeopardy is a solved problem.

I'm not convinced that 'low'-skill jobs are the first to fall into the hands of machines. [2]


[1] Ignore for the moment the fact that unclogging toilets can also be fulfilling.

[2] This is of course a broad argument. We still have no clue what Intelligence or Creativity actually is - It may still turn out to be very complicated. But I nevertheless think there's a good chance that we will figure out hard AI before you can buy a robot which washes your socks, mows the lawn and fixes your plumbing.

JDDunn9 5 days ago 1 reply      
A country that values science, education, peace AND cares about the poor! Have I stepped into another dimension?
wavesounds 5 days ago 1 reply      
Meanwhile, in America, the government is shut down to try to stop poor people from receiving subsidies on their private health insurance.
ck2 5 days ago 1 reply      
I like to think I am progressive but this minimum income idea is a horrible idea in my eyes.

It is like student loans in the USA, everything will rise to the maximum price that people can obtain money.

chmars 5 days ago 0 replies      
The text of the Swiss initiative can be found at http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/pore/vi/vis423t.html. Please note that it does not mention 2'500 Swiss francs as a basic income.

Rough translation into English:

Federal People's Initiative 'For an uncoditional basic income'

The federal constituion shall be amended as follows:

Art. 110a (new) Unconditional Basic Income

(1) The Confederay introduces an unconditional basic income.

(2) The basic income shall allow the whole population a decent life and participlation in public activities.

(3) The law defines funding and amount of the basic income.

tpainton 5 days ago 3 replies      
Atlas shrugged... and the leaches attacked. I find it hard to believe Swit doesn't already have some welfare system that provides for those who actually need it... but now, 30k a year just for breathing? Sounds like communism to me.... only you don't have to produce anything. Utopianism like this doesn't last. Eventually you run out of payers. it's human nature to eventually grow tired of working hard so someone else doesn't have to. When that time comes, you either join the leaches or you leave the environment. Eventually, you always end up with a negative balance. It is doomed to failure.. Eventually.
psuter 5 days ago 3 replies      
Before anyone gets too excited, let's remember that this is also the country where the people voted against raising the required paid holidays (2012), for substantial cuts in unemployment allowances (2010), and for increasing the VAT (2009), just to give some recent examples. Regardless of its merits, it is going to be nearly impossible to gather popular support for an idea such as basic income. But hey, at least we'll talk about it.
Kiro 5 days ago 5 replies      
Wouldn't basic income just lead to higher prices and inflation?
negamax 4 days ago 2 replies      
At the risk of mowed over by the crowd, I want to propose not calling it income. It's welfare. In no way should we equate it to result of someone's work.
patatino 5 days ago 0 replies      
We have about 3% unemployment rate in Switzerland. You have to know something about us, we love to work. Why? Because we are raised with the thought that's our strongest asset. Pretty small country with zero resources. Last year we voted for the increase of our holidays from 4 to 6 weeks. Result? 66,5% voted against it.

This vote will get something like 80% no votes because people are affraid this will change how people think about work.

LekkoscPiwa 4 days ago 0 replies      
So what happens if everyone in Switzerland is given 1,000,000 Francs? You really think they all will end up being millionaires? LOL, you will jut create a lot of inflation that's all. Amazing how economically illiterate leftists usually are.
ronaldx 4 days ago 0 replies      
I expect massive inflation on particular necessities (likely rent/housing, utilities) as rent-seekers squeeze the available money.

Necessities within competitive, or border-crossing markets (likely food) might not be subject to such inflation.

The consequences for luxuries are harder to predict, but perhaps they would still be out of reach of the unemployed/underemployed. This could motivate a majority to continue work.

If this balances to the point that 'poor' people can maintain a fair lifestyle without working, wages for cheap/exploitative labour will rise wherever people don't find value in the work. This will be balanced by pressure to take on immigrants to work. (Based on my understanding of Swiss politics, it feels unlikely they will receive the same benefits)

Not without economic consequences but overall, exciting stuff. A lot of people will have vastly more freedom: risk-taking, entrepreneurialism and general creativity will boom.

yason 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if that just raises the bar and everything becomes the same again:

- everyone gets at least X for basic income

- for some people it makes more sense to not take low-paid shitty jobs because deducting commuting and lunch expenses from the low-paid salary you can probably make the same money on basic income, especially if you're willing to be a bit frugal

- more money gets offered for low-paid shitty jobs because there's high demand and low supply of workers

- the extra money is charged from the customers of the companies who employ the workers who do the not-so-low-paid shitty jobs

- the costs trickle upwards and cause inflated prices which in turn makes landlords raise rents accordingly

- the rents and price of food become painfully high for those who live on basic income

- we're back at square one: poor people have to take shitty, relatively low-paid jobs to make a living because the amount of basic income, X, is baked into pretty much all prices in the market

AndrewDucker 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'd imagine that for most people this would make little difference - you can adjust income tax and remove the basic allowance so that it balances out somewhere near the median wage.

The main thing it would do is to remove the welfare trap - whereby you can earn less from starting work. Suddenly, every Franc you earn adds something onto your income. And you get rid of a whole tranche of bureaucracy at the same time.

habosa 4 days ago 1 reply      
Economic question: won't this just eventually result in a rise in prices to reflect the fact that everyone has more money? I guess imported goods will remain about the same price, but things produced locally would almost definitely go up in price. If I knew all of my customers had $2500/month more, I'd raise prices.
badass 4 days ago 0 replies      
A basic income only serves to maintain the status quo for those at the top. It's a release valve on political pressure to bring fundamental changes to the system to better serve the lower classes.

In the US, one can look how the Section 8 housing program serves a similar pressure-relief function in the housing rental market. By giving essentially free rent to those who cannot afford current market rate rents, it relieves political pressure to reform housing policies that keep rental rates high while also inflating rents and property values, heavily distorting the rental market. I think one can easily view the Section 8 program more as welfare program benefiting property owners rather than lower class renters.

A basic income would have a similar effect on the general cost of living, inflating values and benefiting the wealthy. Again, like the Section 8 program, this will be a welfare program benefiting the wealthy because this basic wage will simply flow upward and concentrate at the highest economic rungs.

SCAQTony 5 days ago 2 replies      
If they did that in America 50% of the population would quit working and prices would quickly shoot up to MARS!

Less workers, higher wages, more money in circulation... What an inflationary mess that would be.

seeken 5 days ago 1 reply      
There have been experiments with NIT (Negative Income Tax) in the US. My impression was that they were a disaster, but in looking for them I found this article,[1] which explains some of the history of NIT in the US.


angularly 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I hope they vote no. I moved to Switzerland recently to avoid the dominant socialism in northern Europe. But they are one of the last liberal stands down here, so there is a good chance it will fall through.
k-mcgrady 5 days ago 0 replies      
I like this idea and think it's something that's going to become more common. As more and more jobs are automated it makes sense that governments would eventually generate money through automating societies least popular jobs and use the money generated through that to pay citizens a basic salary.
transfire 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's a good idea, but that's too high. You want to keep people from starving and living on the streets; not keep them from doing something productive with their lives.
lettergram 5 days ago 0 replies      
Economically speaking this is not going to help anyone... If every person makes a specific lower bound limit all that happens is prices are increased. It probably takes a year or so for the full effect to be felt, at which point there is the choice to either raise it to combat the prices or set limits on how much stuff will cost. Either option sets a limit goods or wages in your country that will not be beneficial.

Not to mention, in combination with the other stuff being passed by the swiss there country can have some major problems coming up here.

notdrunkatall 4 days ago 0 replies      
Free money for everyone, what could go wrong?


marcamillion 5 days ago 3 replies      
If this passes, I suspect that Switzerland would see a MAJOR, MAJOR spike in inbound immigration requests.

I would love to see what that spike would look like.

robomartin 5 days ago 3 replies      
Maybe I am too obtuse to understand how such things could work.

What happens if nobody has a job?

OK, that's a little extreme. Let's see, a family of five would get 12500 F per month unconditionally. That's probably a pretty good chunk of money for doing nothing.

I see images of five to ten people living together to collectively earn 25000 F per month.

In the same story they talk about limiting executive pay to 12x the salary of the lowest paid employee. Again, I just don't see it. In a global market I just don't see intelligent and capable people not looking past their borders seeking better compensation for what they have to offer.

How can you build a sustainable and competitive society this way? Again, I'll admit to not being mentally equipped to comprehend how this can work. Perhaps someone can educate me.

hikarudo 4 days ago 1 reply      
"It is an elementary requirement of economic incentive as well as justice that the man who works for a living should always be better off because of that, other things being equal, than the man who refuses to work for a living." [1]

[1] Henry Hazlitt, The Conquest of Poverty

danbmil99 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'll be on the lookout for lots of great Swiss bands to hit the scene around 2017 (if this gets passed).

Also lots of alternative art shows, post-feminist poetry readings, etc.

Should be fun

znowi 5 days ago 0 replies      
A separate proposal to limit monthly executive pay to no more than what the company's lowest-paid staff earn in a year, the so-called 1:12 initiative, faces a popular vote on November 24.

This is a peculiar initiative. Surely, a plot by the commies, or is it not?

sebilasse 5 days ago 0 replies      
2'500 CHF is about the budget for a student life-style in Zurich. I expect a lot of young Swiss going on long holidays to cheaper places like south-east asia or eastern europe.
vaibpuri 5 days ago 0 replies      
This "might" lead to people actually working more in a certain sense. If a person is to receive an X amount of francs per month then employers will require 40 hour / weeks leading to approximately 15 francs per hour (12.5), which for a place like Switzerland is kind of fair.

Those who choose not to work enough might have to face inflationary affects in housing etc. needing to catch up to the median (not average) population income levels.

Eitherways, if the Swiss go wrong on this their system of voting is flexible enough to allow for change back.

ivoras 5 days ago 1 reply      
For those in the EU, there is currently an official (run by the European Comission) on-line petition in which EU citizens can vote for encouraging the application of the Basic Income idea at https://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/REQ-ECI-2012-000028... .

This is not a "let's apply this now!" thing, but a petition to study the ways and means of how it could be applied.

tpainton 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have to chuckle at the thought of forcing the wealthy to pay other wealthy a minimum income. Or is the 'wealthy' excluded from the definition of 'every adult'. What a complete waste of time and paper.
namlem 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can someone explain how they are going to pay such a large amount? Isn't this more than their entire national budget? I punched the numbers into wolfram alpha and they don't add up. Am I misunderstanding something?
stretchwithme 5 days ago 1 reply      
Any petition getting enough signatures can place something on the ballot in Switzerland.

They've even voted on whether to abolish the military.

jes 5 days ago 0 replies      
Are the taxes to pay for this voluntary in Switzerland?
avty 4 days ago 0 replies      
Basic income is a basic human right.
frank_boyd 5 days ago 1 reply      
Switzerland has twice the amount of asylum seekers per capita, compared to the EU average.

That seems to be the result of a fairly open asylum policy. Some people find it's too open and complain about that.

With the concept of a basic income like this, I suppose their asylum policy would have to become more restrictive.

known 5 days ago 0 replies      
Very much desirable to prevent wage slavery in globalization
rickjames28 5 days ago 2 replies      
go for it. and let's see the extrapolation to a economic juggernaut like the U.S. It's always the "norway" argument. If Norway (pop 4 million or so) can do it so can the U.S.

Yes, I guess Los Angeles could do something like that, but..

What I've been up to for the past year pud.com
585 points by pud  1 day ago   171 comments top 58
sivers 1 day ago 4 replies      
Well now he's got the founder of CD Baby on board, too.

This is amazing. This is exactly what I would have created if I didn't sign a non-compete agreement when I sold CD Baby.

I just created an unlimited account on DistroKid and I'm uploading all of my own music in the background as I type.

I'll be sending everyone I know to DistroKid now.

Congrats, Pud! You rule.

aresant 1 day ago 4 replies      
The simplicity of the distrokid landing page makes me weirdly happy:

* Clear headline right under the logo that explains the service.

* Dead ass simple call to action where you'd expect it.

* Clear benefits listed next to form.

* Complete explanation of the service & FAQ on the page.

* Social proof from solid brands.

The style isn't "gorgeous" and it doesn't follow best practices necessarily - maybe too much info, not enough contrast, not enough focus on the call to action, etc but for some reason it's jumping out at me.

Just feels honest and straightforward which is easy to over think / over-design.

DigitalSea 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is the kind of disruption the music industry needed. You've eliminated one of the only two reasons a band should sign to a record label with this site. A feature (even if it cost a few dollars more per month) that allowed music to be submitted for consideration to radio stations that accept solicited material would be fantastic. The only reason really left to sign to a label is their generous press and album advance cash, but even those two conditions are easily bypassed going with a bedroom producer who is able to come close to a studio quality recording for a couple cartons of beer with a PC, mixing desk and copy of Protools.

I can't applaud you enough Pud. I am envious of what you've been able to achieve, especially the agreements in place and easy no BS interface that allows you to easily upload music with any gimmicks. I'll be keeping my eye on this, I have no doubt it's going to be huge.

thenomad 1 day ago 2 replies      
Are you likely to do the same for movies?

If you think the music industry's distribution model is broken, check out the movie industry. Currently it'll cost me over $1,000 to use the easiest route to getting a feature into iTunes.

acqq 1 day ago 1 reply      
What are you going to do to protect the store from the spam? Especially with the "upload for free" feature? Looks like the potential for trouble and the inconvenience of all the users of the store.
sandGorgon 1 day ago 7 replies      
Interesting technical question (disclaimer: I have no financial interest in these things). How is stuff like "Then stuff to automatically convert audio & image files to the right formats." usually done ?

Does the webapp push stuff in a queue and call a commandline tool like mencoder or something is there an industry standard tool ? How do you deal with concurrency (some kind of Actor model ) ? And most importantly, do you have to tune the linux kernel to achieve performance on this (just saw the LinkedIn NUMA post as well, so thinking about that)?

I am sure Youtube and all do it using the enviable Google infrastructure, but how does someone else do it

drawkbox 1 day ago 0 replies      
Excellent product and targeting, actually almost muttered 'ooooh' after reading your post. I'd also add in some other promotional channels on next iteration like Soundcloud uploads. Promotional and general 'radio' like stations, I find lots of new music at Soundcloud, get started http://developers.soundcloud.com/docs
forgingahead 1 day ago 1 reply      
Congrats and good luck! Gonna say that you should charge more though, $20 a year unlimited is incredibly low.
martinwnet 1 day ago 1 reply      
First off, this looks excellent.

This undoubtedly trumps the likes of CD Baby in many ways, but one reason I could see people sticking with them is that, even though to upload an album at CD Baby is more expensive up front, it's a one-off payment. You pay the $40 or whatever it costs, then that's it, the music stays up there at no further cost. From the DistroKid FAQ, if you stop paying your yearly fee then the music can be removed.

Clearly though such users aren't your target audience, you're going after the musicians that want to upload songs all the time, as opposed to albums.

Good luck to you though, this is the type of innovation this industry desperately needs.

hayksaakian 1 day ago 7 replies      
Why is music still sold like this?

Why isn't everything digital sold like apps?

What's the point of these middlemen?

iTunes provides the store and artist provides the product. In 2013 why does capitalism and technology allow this to occur

k-mcgrady 1 day ago 1 reply      
>> "We'll put your music on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, and Amazon"

Are these the only services the music will be on? I can't even list the services I get on with CDBaby it's that long but you are missing some important ones:


I just looked through my sales reports on CDBaby and those are some of the most used services. I would love to use this but Rdio and Deezer in particular are too important for me.

programminggeek 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I love the fact that pud makes great stuff and just keeps building and shipping good ideas. It's a simple thing, but he does it quite well.
cocoflunchy 1 day ago 2 replies      
I used it for one song some time ago, and I was impressed. Everything went super smooth.

The only reason I didn't pay to upload my whole EP was that if I understand well, you have to keep paying every year if you want them to stay in the stores; it's not really practical for me since I only have 4 songs that I want to put in the stores and I don't even think I'm going to sell enough of them to cover the price, and I don't know if I'm ever going to record anything else that's good enough for the stores.

But it probably just means that I'm not in the target market, so don't take my story for what it's not. I think this is an awesome service, and go try for yourself if you don't believe me!

skore 1 day ago 0 replies      
Small quibble: Those press quotes pretty much each say the same thing - recounting the four point list that is directly above them.
saym 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks like you've found a cool sweet spot in the market place! I'll definitely put in a good word with my musically inclined friends.
skrebbel 1 day ago 3 replies      
Bandcamp is going to hate this.
jmspring 1 day ago 1 reply      
Very nice on the market place approach. I wish discovery services were of sufficient quality to allow us to find new and unknown/small musicians. Word of mouth and algorithms only go so far.
jamesmcintyre 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is an impressive accomplishment, I would say almost more because of the deal-making and logistics of dealing with the online music stores than the coding but together these accomplishments show you really have your heart in the game!

I will immediately share this with the people I know who would be interested.

Also let me know if you need/want marketing help, I would love to help spread the message of Distrokid!

tantalor 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can you explain more about how the music store APIs work? Do their terms allow you to represent unlimited artists?

How do artists authenticate themselves? How do you know I'm not Kanye?

Are you or the stores handling payments?

Killah911 1 day ago 0 replies      
How do you keep out/manage the musical equivalent of spam since this also lowers the barrier to entry? I could see some sub par artist use the right keywords and get their sons to come up on lots of search results.
Aqueous 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I just know this is going to be one of those famous archived Hacker News posts one day. This is the kind of thing that changes the game - amazing that you pursued separate deals with these four music services. Record industry - it was a good run, but your era is over.
Joeboy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cool, I just uploaded a track to see what would happen. All seems very painless so far.

I'm interested in the question somebody else asked - doesn't this mean there's now basically no quality control on itunes etc? I feel like it shouldn't be quite this easy to look like a proper musician...

rithi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Exposure: http://distrokid.com/api/passwordResetEmail/

Glad to try out CFML again - trying out Railo.

AdamTReineke 1 day ago 0 replies      
@pud - Do you do Xbox Music as well? My brother just published an album through some distribution service and I was very surprised to find it on Xbox Music.
ehutch79 23 hours ago 2 replies      
Serious question; What happens when you stop paying? That's why I use CDBaby for my stuff. I don't have to keep paying out for tracks that MIGHT sell 1 or 2 copies over the course of a year.
damian2000 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is an enormous achievement, as is the fact that an uploaded song is available in all countries worldwide, wherever each store is supported. The payout method being via PayPal email address is also a good move for users outside the US.
bambax 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic. Small gripe: if you pay via Paypal, why don't you accept payments from Paypal?
IanCal 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks awesome! A minor typo on your main page:

> Or you can pay $19.99/yr and upload unlimited songs for a year!

s/for a year//

k-mcgrady 1 day ago 2 replies      
If artists get 100% of the royalties how do you make money? I want to be sure that a service I use for something as important is this will still be around in 12 months.

Also, do you collect and pay out money to artists like CDBaby does or do they have to collect it themselves?

karlgrz 12 hours ago 0 replies      
As a pretty well learned guitarist cutting his teeth in bedroom producing, this is fantastic. One of the things that stifles creativity sometimes is the fact that there are so many options out there that just don't work well or don't reach enough people or are out of reach for people like me who are doing this on the side.

I wish this was around when I was in college. Thanks for all the hard work! I will definitely be giving your service a workout this winter! Cheers!

idiomatic 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is great. On one hand I'm happy that record labels and middle men are cut off from the process, on the other, being an old-fashioned music listener, I will never stop considering music as part of an album, and I will never buy a "song". I will always buy full length albums. I like real bands, not Internet phenomena. Not saying that one excludes the other, though.But the concept is absolutely brilliant and the same is true for the execution.
timsayshey 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awesome stuff, Pud! As a cfml dev its awesome to see startups drooling over Railo (Which is open source coldfusion, shhhh don't tell anyone ;). I give it 6-12 months before Railo is the "new" hotness.

Looking forward to reading more about the technology you used. Maybe a separate post? ;)

drum 1 day ago 1 reply      
pud - been a fan since "death metal office drumming".

i've been looking to putting some of my music on iTunes recently, so really excited about this service. any chance of supporting Pandora?

tunesmith 1 day ago 1 reply      
Very cool!!

Is it possible to upload but say you don't want your stuff to go to Spotify? I'm interested in doing digital downloads but not streaming, since I believe they rob sales to a greater degree than they create new sales through discovery.

orolo 1 day ago 0 replies      
congrats. as a musician and a coder this is super intriguing. also, the technology you used (railo ?) is interesting and the cron stuff is just great.

well done.

i can't wait to put my stuff up.

(i've shared this on my vast social networks.)

lylemckeany 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it was a year well spent! Nicely done. This is an important step in the right direction for independent musicians that don't have the benefit of large distribution.

Quick question: How do the various services handle categorizing the uploaded music? My concern as a musician is my music might not be as easily discovered via Spotify Radio or on related artists pages.

evertonfuller 13 hours ago 0 replies      
How does a user know that you will continue to pay them royalties for their songs in 10 years time? Are you still going to be manually PayPal'ing payments...
bdcravens 1 day ago 0 replies      
Still using Railo I see :-)
andrelaszlo 1 day ago 0 replies      
How is it different from https://www.recordunion.com/? Because you get rid of the concept of "albums"?
basicallydan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great job dude, this is awesome. I'm sharing this with everyone I know who makes music, and not just because I want the referral. I'll probably upgrade as soon as I release another track, regardless.
itry 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting. So every amateur can make an account and upload their stuff to Amazon? No filtering? Also, wont this attract people who upload Motorhead songs as their own?
deepvibrations 1 day ago 0 replies      
Brilliant! Independent musicians need as much help as possible, can be really tough making any sort of dough these days.Quick question- As a label releasing a compilation album, what would be the best way to use your service? The compilation is 15 tracks from 15 different artists, so would be quite expensive if I were to sign up via the label option!
benhebert 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks awesome. I would make a big push into electronic. So many producers out there.

Send me a release and we'll post ben@whiteraverrafting.com

sschueller 1 day ago 2 replies      
How is Apple not taking/getting a cut?
sidcool 1 day ago 0 replies      
What is your technology stack?
batgaijin 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you are smart you will sell a $5 a month atccount for unlimited streaming/downloading. And distribute the funds to the artists based on viewership.
samstave 1 day ago 1 reply      
So at first I was skeptical of "...a service where musicians can just upload songs whenever they want..."* -- where I was thinking "How is this different than SoundCloud" -- but with reading about how to submit to the various providers -- that is awesome!

Pud should provide an API for these other music hosts to channel user content to these providers.

What I am interested in though, more than the ability to submit, is to FIND -- If this service were able to allow me to find micro-artists in certain genres on the major players - that would be fantastic... or to create channels/playlists of them.

I LOVE electroswing -- and it is dominated by the wonderful Parov Stelar -- but I have every track by him... so I'd like to branch out. If I could track a genre of "ElectroSwing" and have it look for artists across all the major vendors, and keep a purchasable playlist of these guys... that would be farking amazing.

Also, been a fan of Pud's for years... don't wind up on some fucked list ;-)

yarone 1 day ago 0 replies      
Congrats Pud and good luck!
jrn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Please consider supporting 7digital.com It powers the samsung, blackberry, hmv music stores.
jbkkd 1 day ago 0 replies      
What are the royalties each of those companies pay to the musician? Also, do they filter music our uploads? I can imagine users uploading popular music to earn on top of succeeding musicians.
exo_duz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Congrats on the release.

I think the simplicity would be the biggest selling point to Distrokid.

I'll pass this to some of my friends who are musicians :)

All the best!

granfalloon 1 day ago 1 reply      
very cool! but do you worry that making it easier/cheaper to submit to iTunes might cause iTunes to be flooded with "bad" music, thus prompting iTunes to crack down in some way? it seems like the current financial barriers in place might be JUST enough to prevent people from submitting who aren't serious about it, and you could be opening the flood gates
hit8run 1 day ago 1 reply      
thx so much for creating this!I just uploaded my new track "Miles Away": https://soundcloud.com/hit8run/miles-away

Some time ago I thought that a tool like this should have been created but I didn't focus on this project. So glad to have this!

tsenkov 1 day ago 0 replies      
Congrats, Pud! I hope you will share some growth stats in the months to come. :)
awsm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love the idea behind this, hope it's successful and will be making sure my musician friends are aware of it.
kinnth 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is immensely useful and i'm going to sign up!
o0Oo0O 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Was there a reason for not doing MVP?You could have made it easy to publish and scrap everything else.
Sarien 1 day ago 0 replies      
"What I've been up to for the past year" another one of those hn typical "I'm not telling you anything until you click me"-links.
Model S Fire teslamotors.com
566 points by shakes  5 days ago   238 comments top 31
gkoberger 5 days ago 20 replies      
I agree this isn't as big of a deal as the stockmarket may imply, but this line bothers me:

"That equates to 1 vehicle fire for every 20 million miles driven, compared to 1 fire in over 100 million miles for Tesla. This means you are 5 times more likely to experience a fire in a conventional gasoline car than a Tesla!"

Americans drive an aggregate of 3 trillion miles every year, while Tesla drivers have done 100 million (and they don't cite this number; are they including test drives?). That's well over an order of magnitude difference. Plus, the average Tesla driver is currently probably a superior driver (if for no other reason than they have a brand new expensive car) and has taken better care of their car (since it's within 2-3 years old, tops). In theory, Teslas will eventually become more mainstream over the years -- resold, price drops, lower-end models, etc.

Again, I don't think their conclusion about Teslas being safer overall is wrong. However, their conclusion of the likelihood of a Tesla catching on fire seems off, and the exclamation mark makes this press release seem glib.

mixmax 5 days ago 1 reply      
My boat's hull happens to be made of 1/4 inch metal plate (6mm) which is apparently the same as the protected underside of a Tesla. I've hit a concrete block, gone aground a few times and generally have a bit of excperiencing with impacting hard immovable objects with a vehicle protected by a 1/4 inch metal plate.

It takes a LOT of force to pierce 1/4 inch plate. My boat weighs 12 tons, and it hardly has a dent from the collissions I and previous owners have been in.

abalone 5 days ago 1 reply      
Question: Is it really that unusual to have 25 tons of force applied to a point of the underside of the car in an accident? Does anyone know?

My conjecture: The Model S is a heavy car. Hit something pokey at speed and you've got an awful lot of forces channeled to a point.

I also thought it a bit much that Musk tried to compare this to severing "fuel supply lines" in a gas car. The likelihood of a 3 inch puncture severing a fuel line or entering the gas tank is vastly lower than compromising a battery pack that runs the length of the underside of the car.

The Tesla's underbelly vulnerability zone is vastly larger than fuel tanks and lines.. and a punctured battery doesn't need an ignition source to start a fire, either.

patrickg_zill 5 days ago 6 replies      
I think the write-up is pretty good.

I would only point that 25 tons of force, isn't really a lot - I mean, the small jack that you use to lift your car can be a 5 or 6 ton device.

You have a vehicle traveling a decent rate of speed, for it to strike or run over anything at all will involve tons of force.

Neat explanation of the sort of math involved, with both SI and US units http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/carcr.html . In the example, a car going 30 mph (50km/h) striking a tree will hit with about 48 tons of force.

codex 5 days ago 2 replies      
It looks like they're backing off the claim that the fire was contained to only one cell. It's unclear, but if the fire were contained to only one cell, it's likely they would mention it:

"A fire caused by the impact began in the front battery module the battery pack has a total of 16 modules but was contained to the front section of the car by internal firewalls within the pack."

If the fire was able to jump cells, does this make the battery pack "fundamentally unsound", as Elon has described the Boeing battery? Not necessarily. However, merely puncturing the gas tank of a ICE car in this way is not guaranteed to set the gasoline on fire. The ignition temperature of gasoline is over 500 F and the gas tank itself is plastic, most likely. Gasoline vapor is explosive, but the car was traveling fairly rapidly and a there's a fair amount of wind to dispel vapor. The ignition source would have to be heat from the metal of the debris self-striking metal of the debris, or though both layers of plastic to the auto frame itself, and that spark would have to find some gasoline, which is pooled at the bottom of the tank and not near the top. I suppose it's possible. Car crashes do produce burning gasoline, though usually it's a very severe crash that mixes gas vapor with the heat of the engine.

bsullivan01 5 days ago 0 replies      
Fire happens. Maybe Tesla performs better, maybe not but cars do catch fire. I, however, will not be buying Elon's explanations simply because he seems like a cheesy salesman and a media whore. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-02/tesla-to-begin-mode...

(Knowing the Elon is the Sun God among many here, I want to say this: I do not particularly care about karma, I'm saying 100% of what I am thinking.)

EStudley 5 days ago 1 reply      
Tesla's write-ups on their blog are the most informative reports I've seen written by a company about their own product. It's awesome to see this kind of transparency as opposed just a copy-paste statement like "Tesla is investigating the event."
001sky 5 days ago 1 reply      
Initial attempts to douse the fire were unsuccessful. The fire appeared to be extinguished, then reignited underneath the vehicle, the report said. Firefighters had to use a jack to turn the Model S on its side, and then cut a hole in the car to apply water to the burning battery.

He seemed to skip that last bit. (?)

Shivetya 5 days ago 6 replies      
I really don't care about "it would be worse if it were a gasoline powered vehicle". That statement is simply trying to redirect attention. Leave statements like that out of the problem diagnoses and simply concentrate on what went right.

Otherwise it looks like making excuses and that is bad.

001sky 5 days ago 0 replies      
A little closer reading of the report[1,2], shows that only 26,000 automobile fires occur on public highways. That makes Tesla's single datapoint worse than a conventional Auto.

All cars: 1 fire per 116 million vehicle miles/year

Tesla: 1 fire per 113 m vehicle miles/since inception

Obviously, the Model (s) being a newer Tesla model does not have the full historical amount of "Tesla" Miles as the denominator.

[1] http://www.nfpa.org/~/media/files/research/nfpa%20reports/ve...

[2] Furthermore, only 2% of non-deliberate fires start in the fuel line or fuel tank of a normal vehicle

ebiester 5 days ago 1 reply      
Two things.

1. I have had my gasoline car catch on fire in my lifetime. (That was the end of the car.) However, it was having a lot of trouble at the time and we had just taken it to the mechanic. (That's right, it caught on fire at the mechanic's shop. We were still waiting to talk to the mechanic before going back home when it caught on fire.) This was not the only on-fire incident among our friends. One had his minivan catch on fire in a gas station.

But both of them were old cars. What is to say that most of the cars that catch on fire aren't much older than the Tesla? What is to say that the Tesla won't have more trouble as it gets older?

Oh yeah. The batteries will have to be replaced before the car is run down as much as our old beaters were. And Tesla owners will have the money to maintain their cars better than we did as teenagers.

So, what I'm saying is that the real test will be in a decade. More fires will probably happen, just like regular cars do.

Either way, it's probably not dangerous enough to be worth avoiding buying a new one.

devy 5 days ago 4 replies      
Is Elon's claim, "the effective combustion potential is only about 1% that of the fuel in a comparable gasoline sedan", accurate?

AFAIK, all the Lithium Ion Battery electrolytes are flammable (they are pressurized in the battery container too). Depending on the chemistry of the Lithium-ion battery that Model S uses, some (I.E. LFP) are safer than the others, but still, 1% potential?

EVs like Chevy Volt, Fisker Karma and even Boeing 787 Dreamliner and UPS/FedEx freight flights had been caught Lithium fires in air before.

anoother 5 days ago 0 replies      
As much as I admire the work Tesla and Elon Musk are doing, I can't help but feel that the press releases issued by the company are at times overly defensive.

We all know there is negative rhetoric bouncing around about this incident. It seems to me that, precisely because of this, there really isn't a need to write in such a mannertrying to block all possible avenues of attack as if one is a afraid of what will be written in response.

The tone, to me, betrays insecurity, and this seems something at odds with the bullish, innovative nature of the non-PR aspects of the business.

tn13 5 days ago 1 reply      
The following statement is wrong at many levels.

"That equates to 1 vehicle fire for every 20 million miles driven, compared to 1 fire in over 100 million miles for Tesla. This means you are 5 times more likely to experience a fire in a conventional gasoline car than a Tesla!"

- All Tesla cars are new and almost all of them have superior drivers.

- They drive their cars only on certain roads where as Gasoline cars are almost everywhere.

- You can not compare 100m sample set with 2 trillion size sample set.

lafar6502 5 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, first serious Tesla road accident and all they can say is how unlikely it was. It was impossible before, now it's only extremely unlikely. Until next time? There are probably many other ways to destroy the battery in a collision, how likely is it to ignite when damaged?
smoyer 5 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent post-mortem!

And who would have thought a side-effect of disrupting the automotive industry would be training fire-fighters on the correct techniques for battling a lithium fueled fire?

RyJones 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder what he means by 1/4" armor plate - AR500? Is it actually rated for armor plating, or just built with material from which you could also build rated plates?
rdl 5 days ago 6 replies      
So a truck driver who couldn't be bothered to secure his fucking load just cost Tesla shareholders $1b+?
uladzislau 5 days ago 1 reply      
The title is missing word "incident". My first thought was that Tesla has a new model "S Fire".
Kiro 5 days ago 0 replies      
Why are people on HN so keen on defending Tesla at all cost?
jmount 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've blogged a fun writeup of the math in the (unimportant and actually against Tesla) formal bias in evaluating a failure rate right after the first failure: http://www.win-vector.com/blog/2013/10/estimating-rates-from...
robomartin 5 days ago 2 replies      
> This means you are 5 times more likely to experience a fire in a conventional gasoline car than a Tesla!

I LOVE THE COMPANY. I DON'T ENJOY OR APPRECIATE THE LAME MARKETING ATTEMPTS THEY SOMETIMES MAKE. Just like that whole business of jumping through hoops to make it seem like there was some new magical way to finance a Tesla, this is wrong.

Trying to create a safety metric by comparing the number of fires to the number of miles driven per vehicle type is pure nonsense. You have to look at the causes and mechanisms of the fires and dig a lot deeper than that in order to even hope to generate a meaningful metric.

Here's an imperfect analogy (numbers made-up): One million people run marathons every year world wide. 1000 have heart attacks and die. Ten thousand people have run marathons with our shoes and only one had a heart attack and didn't die. You are far less likely to have a heart attack and die if you run marathons with our shoes.

Nonsense. Right?


Almost anyone would look at that and recognize it as a poor attempt to create a nexus where one does not exist. I think it's bad marketing.

Now, if we started to dive into the statistics and identified location, weather conditions, age, physical conditioning, pre-existing conditions (heart problem they did not know about), etc. we might actually be able to attempt a comparison between people wearing the new shoes vs. the other brands. Even then, the nexus would be tenuous at best.

A similar exercise would be needed to compare car fires between brands and types with any degree of validity. I don't have the time to dive into the stats. It was easy enough to Google [0][1][2][3] and do a quick scan:

It is easy to see that young males are more likely to be involved in a car fire.

There are statistics about different brands having different fatality rates (not necessarily related).

Lots of fires are caused by running equipment. Lots of fires originate in the engine compartment. Mechanical and electrical failures seem to account for over 60% of fires.

The point is simple: Far more extensive and detailed statistical work needs to be undertaken before anyone can conclude absolutely anything on the merits of any particular car or design as it pertains to potential to cause fires.

Elon and his team are very smart. They know this. And this is why some of their marketing of late feels really dirty and beneath them. This is Tesla reacting to news that affected their stock price and, potentially, buyer sentiment, with marketing rather than the truth.

Are Tesla's safer than all gasoline cars? That question is probably not an easy one to answer at all.

There's the potential for a theoretical sort of an answer based on design. For example, there are no fuel lines to rupture. Does that mean it is safer? Hard to say. What do you compare that to? Perhaps you can list all the potential sources of ignition and sort them by probability and MTBF? Not sure.

Of course, then you have the real-life probability. Once you get a million cars on the road with all kinds of people, driving in all conditions, roads and levels of maintenance and neglect things can change dramatically. If I remember correctly Tesla has somewhere in the order of twenty thousand. There's a reason we see major car companies recall hundreds of thousands of cars every so often. Shit happens. Design error are made. And it can take time and a massive installed base to discover them.

THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER is these are the kinds of tests electric cars will have to endure over a period of time in order to reach wide adoption. Despite what's been said here a full tank of gasoline is far safer than a fully charged battery pack with enough energy to go 300 miles.

Before anyone mauls me, consider how many gasoline cars have been driven and, yes, crashed, world-wide since gasoline cars came into mass production. Not last year. Since forever.

There have probably been millions of accidents without fires, even with fuel leaks. There's probably no imaginable way to compare the two at this time. We simply don't have enough data. And, no, linking to a horrible crash video on youtube involving gasoline igniting does absolutley nothing to support arguments on either side.

The one issue with electrics that is not spoken of is the fact that you have a several hundred volt high energy system that could very well electrocute passengers. I fully expect that to happen one day (in general, not necessarily Tesla). If and when that happens you can bet it will set the breaks on electrics for a while and relevant stocks will plummet.

I still believe electric cars are the future. We simply need to go though the evolutionary process that will make them really safe for hundreds of millions of electrics to share the road. What happens when you have a pile-up of ten or twenty electric cars on a fogg-covered highway? A pile of mangled wrecks with 400 Volt high energy systems is unimaginably dangerous. I can think of a few horrific scenarios under those conditions.

At some level part of me thinks that fuel cells are the future, not batteries. Having something relatively benign that can leak out would be a good thing.

A few months ago there was a horrific crash in my neighborhood. This 18 year old kid decided it was OK to go 100 miles per hour on this avenue. He lost control and plowed into a bunch of cars parked by the side of the road. He absolutely destroyed seven of them before coming to a stop. Most of the cars were mangled beyond recognition. He was driving an SUV with a lot of mass. His SUV was nearly cut in half and impaled into one of the cars to a degree that made it difficult to see where one car started and the other ended. Almost like taking two lumps of play-doh and mixing them together.

No fire. Gasoline all over the place but no ignition at all. He hit the first car, fused into it and the "ball" formed by the two cars proceeded to destroy the other six. Absolutely amazing display of how much kinetic energy was dissipated.

Had this been eight fully-charged electric cars I am almost certain there would have been a horrific fire as well as the potential for absolutely impossible to describe electrocution of some of the passengers. And, to make matters worst, it would have taken the rescue crew far longer to remove the victims as they would have to be worries about electrocuting themselves and the victims (at the very least).

Until there are enough electric cars on the road to have a massive pile-up accident [4] where most cars are electric we will not really understand the practical reality of a world where every car on the road is electric. Imagine having to walk out of a one hundred mangled car pile-up where every car has a battery pack storing enough energy to drive 300 to 400 miles and they are wired to produce hundreds of volts. I can't imagine anyone who understands electronics and electricity that would tell me all would be well after looking at the pictures from this accident [4] if all cars were electric. Look at pictures 1, 8 and 11. No fires. Gasoline isn't all that bad in this regard.

[0] http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/v13i11.pdf

[1] http://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/reports/vehicles.shtm

[2] http://www.chandlerlawgroup.com/library/national-vehicle-fir...

[3] http://www.statisticbrain.com/driver-fatality-stats-by-auto-...

[4] http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/05/world/europe/uk-huge-chain-rea...

sgustard 5 days ago 0 replies      
If Toyota owners got one of these emails every time one of them caught on fire it would be sort of a downer, so I guess you only have a few chances to make it a PR event.
nodesocket 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote a blog post on this last night (Tesla model S and the three laws of robotics).


senthilnayagam 5 days ago 0 replies      
Stakes are high, for sure

Elon Musk & Tesla would review its design, would possibly add protection for these type of accidents.

Will any other gasoline car manufacturer be willing to participate in such crash test what model S encountered, I doubt anyone will.

fus 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Had a conventional gasoline car encountered the same object on the highway, the result could have been far worse."

Diesel-powered car would be much safer, since oil requires something like a wick in it to burn. It's hard to argue with Tesla's statement, since argument is true; but it doesn't include this issue in electric vs ICE vehicle competition.

hkmurakami 5 days ago 0 replies      
Totally thought this was a name for a new model S model, a la kindle fire.
zw123456 5 days ago 0 replies      
Tesla, recall is coming, that is obvious. You will be forced to put in stronger armor underneath. So drop the price by $10K, or do the recall sooner. Either way that is the reason for the stock hit, people know one or the other or both are coming.
hipaulshi 5 days ago 0 replies      
wow. reading their report always inspires me to be a better engineer
indus 5 days ago 1 reply      
> "highway speed"

crafty writing. read it as "high speed"

oddshocks 4 days ago 1 reply      
He is just great
Nest introduces their Smoke Detector nest.com
517 points by zdean  2 days ago   401 comments top 63
digitalsushi 1 day ago 7 replies      
I performed what is apparently called a 'shoryuken' by a colleague when I became incensed over the fire alarm screaming out over a fried egg I had allowed to smoke. Pulling little bits of beige plastic out of my knuckles gave me a moment of reflection to consider how technology can improve and disrupt our lives.

For the 20 dollars a regular smoke detector costs, I believe they should already have a large button you can press on the side that indicates "I promise everything is fine, I am in the house, alert, and am about to cause an issue. Please unconditionally do not beep for the next 30 minutes." That would replace everything good about this wifi gizmo.

ruswick 2 days ago 10 replies      
Nest is very adept at charging large amounts of money for solutions to small problems. Dealing with the shortcomings of modern smoke detectors is a minor annoyance at best, and (at least for me) isn't worth anything even remotely approaching what Nest is charging. Keep in mind that this detector provides no increase in safety, and if anything is a regression because it postpones alerting the user to prevent the annoyance of false positives. You are paying only for convenience.

Adequate smoke detectors can be purchased for $20. Is the minor increase in convenience really worth shelling out over 6 times that amount, possibly at the expense of safety?

(EDIT: as others have pointed out, this also serves as a carbon monoxide detector. The implication from the product page is that this product is designed to be placed on the ceiling. What could possibly go wrong?)

snoonan 2 days ago 3 replies      
The more interesting thing here is how it interfaces with the thermostat and makes both better as a result. Turning off the furnace when the carbon monoxide alarm is triggered is worth it by itself. For those of us living in snowy climates with children, this is a big deal on its own.

In addition, the improved awareness of when you're home, extra safety lighting, etc are all interesting as well. I don't see this as a smoke detector a step towards a smarter, safer, more energy efficient house. Perhaps the discussion should be about what else it is, not necessarily that takes on the main role of a extra fancy smoke/CO detector.

joosters 1 day ago 4 replies      
Hmm, perhaps Nest should update their terms of service? This clause in particular should make someone think twice about buying a safety device from them:

(c) Reliability of Notifications. You acknowledge that the Services, including remote access and mobile notifications, are not intended to be 100% reliable and 100% available. We cannot and do not guarantee that you will receive notifications in any given time or at all. YOU AGREE THAT YOU WILL NOT RELY ON THE SERVICES FOR ANY LIFE SAFETY OR CRITICAL PURPOSES. MOBILE NOTIFICATIONS REGARDING THE STATUS AND ALARMS ON YOUR NEST PRODUCTS ARE PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY THEY ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A THIRD-PARTY MONITORED EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION SYSTEM.

Worth repeating:


Don't buy a safety device from a company that claims this!

joshdance 1 day ago 4 replies      
The point of the Nest Protect is not that they are selling a fire alarm. It is that they are selling peace of mind. You trust it more, because you interact with it more. It talks to you, you can see it glow green, it lights up when you walk under it. Sure, you can replace all your batteries really easily. But do you KNOW that the alarm is going to work? You never interact with it until your life depends on it. Nest increased your interactions with the device, thereby increasing your trust in it.
DanBC 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm interested in the number of people in this thread who have little idea about how their smoke detectors work - where to put the batteries or what the flashing LED means, for example.

Smoke detectors are a safety critical device which save many lives each year.

It's fucking stupid to not know where these are, and how to keep them serviced. Recommendations are that you test smoke detectors each week. 9v batteries are, for this purpose, dirt cheap. Change all of them at the same time. Or buy a more expensive detector with a 10 year battery. (Or buy the Nest device.)


* Once a week test each alarm by pressing the test button till the alarm sounds.

* Once a year change the battery (unless its a ten-year alarm).

* Twice a year open the case and gently vacuum the inside using the soft-brush attachment to remove dust from the sensors. If it doesnt open, vacuum through the holes.

* After 10 years its best to get a whole new alarm.

If you're living in an apartment building you can get fire alarms which tell you the zone an alarm is triggering in, which tells you what detector is having a problem with its battery.

Some people are comparing the Nest device with regular smoke detectors. That's gently misleading because the Nest alarms can link. That's nothing new, plenty of alarms link, but they are all more expensive than just a regular alarm.

jaredstenquist 1 day ago 0 replies      
The future of these is interesting to consider. After a software update...

- Stream music across the house- House-wide doorbell tone (after they sell you a $99 doorbell kit)- Hook up to security system- Remotely audio monitor your home (babysitter, cheating wife/husband)- Siri type functionality. I can wake up and say "Weather" in my bedroom.- Alarm clock

At this price point they won't be popular enough to really ignite further innovation of the devices though.

jmharvey 1 day ago 0 replies      
Poorly designed smoke detectors are a real problem. They can be overly sensitive to some kinds of fire and completely miss out on other kinds. Tests are extremely irritating and difficult to perform, so people don't perform the tests. Low battery warnings are just irritating enough to let you know there's a problem, but not consistent enough to let you know where the problem is. (I once replaced every battery in every smoke detector in the house, twice in a week, before I finally figured out that the low battery chirp was coming from a long-forgotten CO detector behind the refrigerator.) And nuisance alarms can be very difficult to dismiss, so people disable the alarm entirely, and then have even more difficulty getting it back in place. These are real problems.

The Nest smoke detector ($129) seems to solve these problems. The thing is, if you've got these problems, you've probably spent less than $20 on smoke alarms in the last decade, either living with whatever came with your house/apartment, or buying the cheapest ($5-10) smoke detectors on the market. User-friendly smoke alarms are available for about $30, and they solve most of the same problems the Nest solves. They're not as slick, or network connected, but they'll do the job.

josefresco 2 days ago 1 reply      
Would like to see a model more like Ninja Blocks (base device with inexpensive remote sensors) then the idea of buying several more expensive components.

Would have been ground-breaking if the Nest smoke detector was a $20 or $40 networked addon to the original Nest thermostat.

twoodfin 2 days ago 5 replies      
I wonder what the split on Nest thermostat sales is between new construction/refurb builder/contractor installations vs. "end user". Whatever it is, I think the smoke detector will be more skewed towards the former.

$129 is a lot for a consumer, especially without all the immediately tangible and potentially cost-saving benefits of the thermostat. But for a developer selling a condo, being able to advertise "Nest fixtures throughout" might be worth $1000.

I love my pair of Nest thermostats, but don't feel motivated to buy this.

bluedevil2k 2 days ago 1 reply      
I just tore one off my ceiling and threw it into the garage at 3am just last week. I was excited about this one until I saw the price. $129! Yikes! I got a few lithium battery detectors at Home Depot for $20 that are supposed to last for 10 years.
kybernetyk 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hmm, I don't know. I like my smoke detectors to be as simple as possible.

Complex tech that might cause some kind of hang and failure in critical devices gives me a bad feeling.

yalogin 2 days ago 2 replies      
Its probably just me but both of Nest's products are not necessities. I mean they are nice to look at but I don't care much about the problem they solve for me to go and switch. And they are usually twice the price of a regular one so there is that.
brandon272 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love my Nest thermostat but don't feel the need to buy this product. Speaking for myself, my smoke detector and I already have a great relationship. It stays out of the way and blares its siren when it thinks my house is in danger. Those of us in newer homes often have hardwired detectors that rarely require battery replacement. And I don't want or need yet another app that simply tells me that my house isn't on fire.

I think the disappointing part about this product is that I feel like on a priority list of classic household items that Nest would be wise to reinvent, the home smoke detector isn't high on my list. One thing I'd love for them to create and sell to me is a build-your-own home alarm system that uses my home internet connection as a means to connect to a monitoring center and provides a good mobile app experience. I've been shopping for an alarm for a while and all of the current products out there are terrible and archaic compared to what a company like Nest could provide.

sneak 2 days ago 2 replies      
Why is this not a dual-band wifi repeater (and maybe even bluetooth audio device, as well)?

I was really hoping that all the stuff on the ceiling would take advantage of the prime physical position there once it all became smarter. As it stands, I love what Nest is doing but I'm pretty underwhelmed by this. The motion sensor integration with the thermostat is a good start.

ubercore 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like my Nest thermostat, but I'm more inclined to add smoke detectors from Simplisafe to my security system. They're cheaper, and offer more of an insurance discount because they report to a central monitoring station.

I would've liked to see Nest go more towards home automation, or work with window AC manufacturers to integrate Nest controls on their boxes. I'm not too keen on Nest branded smoke detectors.

nathan_long 2 days ago 1 reply      
Note for the paranoid: this is a multi-sensor, including motion, which has wifi and can control your heater.

Now the spooks can watch you in your house! :)

danpalmer 2 days ago 2 replies      
By law my house requires 3 (that I can remember) smoke alarms. $390 to use Nest Protects instead is far too far above the price of convenience, even $130 is about $100 more than I think a good smoke detector should cost.

Nest's marketing seems to target a wider range of people than that which I think would be interested in their products. I've worked in an Apple reseller, I've seen how much disposable income most people have, and Nest are massively over-targeting their products. These are for the guy who used to buy 2 iPods, in case one broke.

rsync 1 day ago 4 replies      
Here's a blurb from the blog-post announcement:

"It senses carbon monoxide and connects to your Nest Thermostat through your Nest Account. So it can automatically shut down the furnace, a possible source of CO poisoning, when the carbon monoxide alarm goes off."

so ... what if your Internet connection is down ?

Further, even if it isn't, why[1] would you ever want your thermostats and/or fire alarms talking to some third-party, for-profit company and existing on public IP space ?

Do I misunderstand how this works ? I hate typical smoke alarms with a passion, but I'm not replacing them with something that can be DoS'd or requires Internet to function properly...

[1] Other than blind, stupid pursuit of new and shiny

scrrr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't want to connect to my appliances using a phone. I also don't need a high-tech smoke detector. I have them in all rooms, they work, no false alarms. If I need light, I turn on the light.

A device for gadget nerds. Unnecessary for the rest of the world.

lnanek2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty cute, waving at the alarm to shut it up, which is what people often do anyway to try to get smoke from cookie away from it. Would have been more fun to just be able to yell shut up at it, though. :) Although I guess you have a user training requirement for that.
zippergz 2 days ago 2 replies      
I absolutely love my Nest thermostats, and I think they were worth every penny. I'd buy them again in a heart beat. So I have faith that this will also be a great product. But the problem is that my house needs two thermostats, but 12 smoke alarms. If I only needed 2 or 3 of these, I might be tempted. But I can't see spending over $1500 on replacing my smoke alarms. I suppose maybe they don't all need to be replaced, but if it doesn't interoperate with my other hard-wired smoke alarms, it could actually be a net decrease in safety (if the non-Nest alarms start going off and the Nests don't).
DigitalSea 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't care what anyone else says, this is a genius idea. I cannot believe that nobody has ever thought of creating a smart smoke alarm like this before. I think many of us have been guilty of taking out our smoke alarm batteries when it goes off because you like your steaks well-done or burnt your toast because you had to pee. And I know a few people guilty of removing the batteries from smoke detectors because they're chirping that the battery needs to be replaced and can't be bothered to replace it, which is plain stupid and dangerous.

The one issue with smoke detectors that Nest solves is not the annoyance of it going off during dinner, it's the annoyance of when you have multiple smoke detectors in close proximity and you can hear one of them chirping randomly that its battery needs replacing, but you don't know which one it is. You stand around like an idiot waiting for it to chirp again, but it's so random you get frustrated waiting and give up. The colour coding aspect of this product alone is something even generic cheap smoke detectors should integrate to better show when batteries need replacing. I think it would save lives.

yitchelle 1 day ago 1 reply      
This smoke alarm looks very complex, and the amount of risk increases with the level complexity. For such a complex product, I would want to know some insights to the following.

What safety standards have been applied to the software development and product development?

Does it need wifi to work correctly?

Can you connect it to the mains power?

How secure is the wifi connection? ie Can it be hacked for malicious purposes?


For something so critical to a life and death situation, I want something to function as simple as possible.

Edvik 2 days ago 0 replies      
This will find its biggest market (I think) in NYC apartments - you only need 1 usually, and tiny unventilated kitchens are a near guarantee to send off an alarm.

I lived in an apartment where we essentially had a broom handle hanging next to the alarm because it was inevitable, and during Sandy blackout the thing constantly chirped because its landline was disconnected. Not a good experience.

neals 2 days ago 1 reply      
I love these new takes on old devices, however, my five $15 smoke, heat and co2 detectors from different brands have been proven and tested over time...I wouldn't want to be the one that finds the first bugs in this new nest smoke detector.
jack-r-abbit 1 day ago 0 replies      
I bought 2 Nest thermostats and have been happy with them. The $500 price for the pair was a bit steep but it was not insane. This looks nice too and at $130 for one it does not sound that bad... at first. But then as I count off all the units I need to replace in my house... I get to 12. I have 12 freakin' smoke alarms in my house. I don't think I'll be dropping $1600 to upgrade my house with Nest Protect. :/
Fishrock123 1 day ago 1 reply      
I found this line in The Verge's interview with Tony Fadell (Nest's CEO):

"And if the Protect senses a carbon monoxide problem, itll instruct the thermostat to shut off your furnace."

That is of utmost importance. That alone makes it by orders of magnitude the safest carbon monoxide detector made. The integration is going to make all the difference.

I want my future home to be setup with this stuff.

My only disappointment: It does not report back temperature to the Nest thermostat.

mwsherman 2 days ago 0 replies      
The motion detector is a trojan horse for introducing other functionality. It could probably serve as a general alarm system as well, with a software update.

What are some other apps that can come from an always-on wifi-enabled set of sensors?

jcoleh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think (just like the thermostat). This is a trojan horse. Nest trying to get a sensors into your home. Specifically presence sensor in every single room of the house. This will be their foundation for a vastly improved home control UI. They will take the lessons they learned with the learning thermostat temperature control and use that for the rest of your home, with the input being location, number of people, etc...

At least that is what I would do if I were Nest :-)

chiph 2 days ago 2 replies      
I don't have any iOS or Android devices - does it have a built-in web server so I can configure it?
nfoz 1 day ago 1 reply      
I loved the idea of caring about design and making expensive, excellent versions of simple household products.

But I think they really jumped the shark with this. I reeeeally don't like my smoke detector having a million apps in it, and needing an app to connect to it. If it is at all connected to the Internet (and not just a closed-loop system), that's pretty scary to me unless the security model is absolutely sound.

stigt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, after my experience with Nest thermostat, there's no way I'd risk having a Nest Smoke Detector. I had Nest Thermostat for 3 months. Initially I loved it, but then it kept "think" I was gone when sleeping on the 3rd floor wake to a freezing house. Ok, minor annoyance, disable that feature. Then after a long business trip I came home late to again find a freezing cool house, but this time the Nest had bricked itself. Rest didn't help, support didn't help. So since there is no manual override, I had to uninstall it and reinstall the 20 year old "programmable" thermostat that actually worked. Since I had to uninstall it I told Nest they could have their brick back and refund me.Now they want me to take that risk with a smoke alarm bricking itself??? Crazy.
evan_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
They should license that scene from "Friends" where Phoebe's fire alarm goes off and she can't get it to stop: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tkY08MhfoU
cookingrobot 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love this. My one question is why they chose white and black as the colors.

This is obviously a premium product, and if you look in interior design magazines it's clear that people prefer metal fixtures for their lights / switches / fans. Stainless steel, bronze and brass seem by far the most popular choice for high end lighting, and it seems like this should match that theme.

White could "disappear" better into the ceiling, but with their product design of having a light flash whenever the room lights are turned off, it seems like they want to be a noticed/appreciated part of the room design.

dylandrop 1 day ago 0 replies      
When I hear arguments like "I'd pay one hundred extra dollars just to not hear that chirp at 6AM", I think we all know who the target audience for this product is. The average joe doesn't have $120 per smoke detector to casually shell out. It would be nice if the Internet of Things movement started moving toward things that everyone can enjoy, rather than just making toys for rich startup guys. (Grand Street, I'm looking at you.)
imissmyjuno 1 day ago 1 reply      
> No more frantically swinging towels at the smoke alarm to quiet it down. If theres a nuisance alarm, just stand under Nest Protect and wave your arm to hush the alert. As you wave, your hand should be 2-8 feet away from the alarm.

What happens if one of my cats is sitting under it and scratching the floor or playing with a toy..

kondro 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anyone complaining about the price of a $120 smoke detector aren't the target market. I would buy these in a heartbeat if I could (I'm in AU). The pricing is irrelevant for even the small amount of extra life quality this product affords.
nodata 1 day ago 0 replies      
Love my smoke alarm?

Always know? From everywhere?

See what's invisible?

I'm beginning to have enough of this sickly sweet language, it turns me off looking at the product.

mempko 1 day ago 1 reply      
Right, because people who don't have smoke alarms in their house don't have them because they are annoying. I suspect most of these people can't afford them, or are low on their "buy" list for money reasons. Not sure how an expensive smoke alarm will solve that problem....
dhughes 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are fire alarms and smoke alarms also there are photoelectric and ionization types. Both are used for different purposes.
mrbill 1 day ago 0 replies      
Love my Nest, have had it since they were first available.

Took a smoke detector off the wall with a crowbar a few months ago because it was 3am, I couldn't sleep because of the damned beeping, and I didn't have any spare batteries nor the desire to find a chair or ladder to stand on. Replaced it the next day, but at least I got back to sleep.

jqueryin 2 days ago 0 replies      
While this is very cool, I'd like to hear more in regards to how multiple Nest thermostats can work together. Ideally there would be one expensive unit and several other attachable units, much like how you can extend Wifi range. The carbon monoxide detector would make for a great addon unit, a "plugin" of the master smoke detector unit.
OhHeyItsE 1 day ago 1 reply      
What problem does this solve? For the 5 times a year the smoke alarm goes off because I'm burning something in the kitchen, I have to get a chair to push the 'hush' button?

"Wave to disable"??? Are you kidding me??? Sorry - anything could accidentally disable a life-saving device is pretty darn stupid. Someone, somewhere, will die because of this.

voqk 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've developed something called the smoke detector condom. It is essentially a zip-lock bag with a string tied to it. All you have to do is place the zip-lock over the detector and it prevents bacon in the morning from setting off the alarm. Then the emergency release string can be pulled on unannounced landlord visits.
tomasien 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looking over at my smoke detector that I took down 3 weeks ago and disabled because it was beeping, let's just say I agree with this video.
sgustard 1 day ago 0 replies      
"CO detectors can be placed near the ceiling or near the floor because CO is very close to the same density as air" per http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide_detector
SilasX 1 day ago 0 replies      
Show of hands: who else (this being HN and all) thought this was going to be a software package related to deployment smoke tests?
marincounty 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good invention, but too pricey. His thermostat is great, but I need three for my house. No I don't have a huge house, but I designed the hydronic system well. Each part of the house can have it's own temperature.
schappim 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems pretty similar to the Bop smoke alarm I made for a hackathon. See: http://bop.io



robmcm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Looks great, although I did pick up a basic one for about 2 the other day.

However I would love to get one, along with the thermostat, should they ever come to the UK.

snicklepuff 1 day ago 0 replies      
Jesus, $150!? For a smoke detector!? How hard is it to hit the little "mute" button on the cheap one you already have?
bernatfp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another impressive product. And a clear demonstration that they want to be something more than a thermostat manufacturer. They are indeed becoming the Apple of household devices.
swinglock 1 day ago 1 reply      
Who has that much trouble with the smoke detector?
davebobak 1 day ago 0 replies      
I live alone. I stress out about something happening when I am not at home. Yes, I will be safe if there is a fire when I am gone, but I would love to know if my house is about to burn down. This will help alleviate some of that stress.
ymmv53 2 days ago 0 replies      
The thing that draws me to Nest is not the product value but the design. They are beautiful, well thought out products. I probably won't buy a Nest Protect, as my pain point isn't that high, but it's sexy as hell.
lazyant 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd take a simpler version (no wifi/light/remote furnace control/voice, just no false positives like from shower's steam) for half the price
jaynate 1 day ago 0 replies      
This web site is crashing safari on iOS.
dykesa 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it just needs one more feature: Stream and play music. Then it would be totally worth it.
EvanL 1 day ago 0 replies      
Damn physical product startups are getting REALLY good at landing pages these days.
brudgers 1 day ago 19 replies      
Read about deaths in dwelling fires here:http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/v14i3.pdf

There's more here:http://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/reports/residential_stru...

When owners of commercial buildings disable life safety features, it is not uncommon for the Fire Marshal to require a fire watch (trained personnel on site walking around 24 hours a day) until the system is operating correctly.

A residential smoke alarm system without a battery as backup power source is not operating correctly[1]. A smoke alarm in or near the kitchen is incorrectly placed if it is producing frequent false alarms[2].

In the time it takes to download and install a smartphone app, one can probably replace all their smoke detector batteries - NFPA recommends changing them twice a year when clocks get reset for daylight savings time.

These are first and foremost alarms not detectors because there is no other annunciator device. Using the device in the way the manufacturer is suggesting - i.e disabling portions of it's alarm system - is how people die in dwellings.

Over-riding their fucking primary purpose for the fucking sake of fucking occupant convenience violates the fucking basic principles of fucking life safety.

This isn't disruption, it's fucking stupidity.

[1]Outside of retrofit applications, smoke alarms are required by the National Electrical Code [NFPA 70] to be hardwired and when located in a room used for sleeping on an arc-fault protected circuit. The battery is for backup.

[2]Though the kitchen is the most common location for a fire in dwellings, kitchen fires are among the least likely to be fatal because cooking usually is attended and occurs during waking hours. Many building codes also require a fire extinguisher to be located in the kitchen for new construction.

jdalgetty 2 days ago 0 replies      
pre-ordered :)
jacal 1 day ago 0 replies      
That wasn't the price point you were supposed to hit.
Time to hand over the reins before Capistrano costs me my youth? groups.google.com
459 points by codebeaker  3 days ago   238 comments top 20
patio11 3 days ago 7 replies      
Thanks for creating software which has been an immense service to the community, and which I rely on quite a bit.

Tangent mode on:

Somebody really, really needs to write the How To Deploy Rails Without Losing Your Sanity handbook. I will buy a copy. It will sell thousands of them.

A lot of the problems with people's interactions with Capistrano are environment/ops problems which have known solutions that work, but which rely on people having a great understanding of arcane trivia which is spread across conference presentations, blog posts, commit messages, and the practical experience of the best Rails teams. Unless you're prepared for an archaeological expedition every time you start a new Rails project, you're going to do something wrong. You should see the bubblegum and duct tape which I came up with, and it mostly works, but I know it is bubblegum and duct tape.


Non-deterministic deploys of code from (usually) un-tagged source control

I feel lucky in that I was mentored by an engineer who decided to teach me, one day, Why We Tag Shit. But for the Why We Tag Shit discussion, I would be like almost every other intermediate Rails engineer, and be totally ignorant of why that was a best practice until lack of it bit me in the keister, at which point the server is down and one has to rearchitect major parts of the deployment workflow to do things the right way. Why We Tag Shit is only about a 500 word discussion, but it's one piece of organic knowledge of the hundreds you need to do things right, and it is (to the best of my knowledge) not covered in docs/QuickStarts/etc because that seems to be out of the purview of the framework proper (I guess?).

I'm sure that I'm ignorant of several of the hundreds of pieces of things one needs to do to do deployment right, as evidenced by my fear every time I execute my deploy scripts. I, and I must assume many other companies, am willing to pay for an option which gets me to a non-bubblegum and duct tape outcome.

Seriously, folks: there is a product here.

forsaken 3 days ago 9 replies      
I just wanted to point out how poisonous our community is. It's something that I've been struggling with for a long time, and trying to slowly change.

The fact that people read this article, and don't feel the need to mention his fear of releasing software just shows how broken things are. It shouldn't be an accepted fact of open source that if you release new code that might be backwards incompatible, you get vitriol for it.

His quote:

... but I too cowardly to release it and make it mainstream, as Im afraid it'll destroy whatever good will for open source I have left when the flood of support questions inevitably comes in, followed by all the people who are unhappy with what I've built and feel obliged to tell me how bad I am at software.

bretthopper 3 days ago 3 replies      
Some unsolicited advice from someone who's never run an open source project as popular as Capistrano:

* Ditch v2 ASAP (seems like you've already decided on this). It's pretty obvious you aren't motivated to work on that codebase anymore. I've looked at v3 and it's much better thanks to relying on Rake tasks.

* Be selfish. It's your project so if you think v3 is the way to go forward, go with it and who cares what the "community" thinks.

* Seems like you already have a few people helping out, so continue and maybe make formal "core" team. There's nothing with yourself taking a step back from the heavy coding. But I believe that Capistrano would be better with your guidance than without it.

codebeaker: There was no mention of Harrow in that post. Are you still working on that? I'd assume that if you were you'd continue work on Capistrano since it's based on it.

codebeaker 3 days ago 19 replies      
I'm the OP of the mailing list post, and have maintained Capistrano for the last 5 years. I'm passionate about providing great open source tools, my business and reputation are built on Capistrano and I don't want to give it up, but it's destroying me.
AlexMuir 3 days ago 1 reply      
My first thought was "I owe this guy, Capistrano is the main reason why I have spent ~ $100 per year on VPS servers and not $100 per MONTH on Heroku et al.

I'd suggest Lee runs a Kickstarter type thing and I'd very happily throw in $100. But I don't think he will because it doesn't seem quite right.

So here's a (wild and completely off the cuff) startup idea - a pre-emptive Kickstarter. Someone creates the project "Lee Hambley, continue working on Capistrano." and we all pledge into the pot. If Lee agrees to do it, he gets the money. If not, we don't pay anything.

gnufied 3 days ago 2 replies      
For real long time Capistrano v2 has been exclusively going forward with Pull requests and next to no new development while Lee worked on v3 on separate branch, which looks like a rewrite.

As a result various releases of v2 were buggy. Capistrano is a hard to test application agreed but its test coverage is plainly woeful.

About 6 months back when 2.4.12 release was broken (https://github.com/capistrano/capistrano/issues/434) I suggested to remove asset pre-compilation stuff from Capistrano. Capistrano is a general purpose tool, company where I work we use it for deploying java, php, ruby and all sort of stuff. I don't understand why it should have poorly tested asset pre-compilation things built in.

I don't know what made Lee work on a rewrite. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for him to work on something so big singlehandedly while running a company.

His last point is very valid about using RVM, rbenv etc in production. I don't know why people do that. Does that make it easier? Aren't people aware of something like - https://launchpad.net/~brightbox/+archive/ruby-ng ?

alrs 3 days ago 4 replies      
As always, it bears repeating: rvm/rbenv don't belong in production. They exist to allow developers on Macbooks to sync their version of Ruby with whatever is packaged in the Linux distro or BSD variant that runs in production.

If I had a Mac I'd skip the ad-hoc Ruby environment switchers and skip straight to Vagrant.

joevandyk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Really looking forward to Docker being 1.0.

What you want to do is build a single package of everything your application needs (which includes the application code and all dependencies -- libc and up), then copy that package to the production servers.

It shouldn't matter if your application server has Ruby 1.9.3 and you need 2.0.

It shouldn't matter if the last deploy of your app needs Nokogiri compiled against libxml 2.8 and you now need 2.9.

It shouldn't matter if you are running 5 different apps with 5 completely different set of dependencies on the same machine.

It shouldn't matter if you need to use the asset pipeline.

It shouldn't matter if github or rubygems drops out half-way through the deploy process.

All the production server should get is a single package of all that your application needs, then a 'restart application' command.

Docker should be able to handle all this simply.

ealexhudson 3 days ago 0 replies      
A good decision - get out while things are still positive. Not enough people are brave enough to step down at the right time (or even when it's obvious it's already the wrong time).
AhtiK 3 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know what's wrong with the Rails asset pipeline that is mentioned in the post as one of the issues?
ChikkaChiChi 3 days ago 0 replies      
As much as this is an open invitation to rail on the RoR community, I think this is a problem that is a lot more indicative of this brave new software culture both open source and (independent) commercial.

If your tool sees any sort of uptake, it suddenly no longer is yours. The community suddenly expects you to not only to continue to modify the base code to improve functionality, but to also adhere to a sort of backwards compatability so that everything they know and loved about your baby never changes.

I can't imagine how much more taxing this would be once the tools you built become integral part of other team's workflow. The burden and stresses of keeping "the world" afloat would cause many a sleepness night for people of strong constitution.

kawsper 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am a bit sad that he feels this way about it.

I have used Capistrano a lot, I built my "default" setup, compiled it into a gem, and released it here: https://github.com/kaspergrubbe/simple-capistrano-unicorn and moved on with my life as a developer.

I know of at least two bigger organizations that depend on Capistrano (and my gem) for their deploys. I feel like Capistrano is the way to go if you manage your own servers, and need to deploy to them.

Capistrano started my Rails experience, and I am very grateful for the work put into it. But I never wrote and said "Thank you" or "Great job", maybe we need to be more vocal to the people that put in time and energy to build the software that we use a lot.

joeblau 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's sad to see when an open source project becomes overwhelming. On one hand the project is open source, so hopefully, someone else can pick up the torch. We saw this happen in the node.js community and node's been moving along. On the other hand, based on what Lee is saying, it looks like situation is pretty bleak. I'm not a Rails user, but I feel like most of the "hot-startups" in San Francisco run a Ruby stack. From an observer looking into the community and platform though this post, I never realized how many challenges there were in that development environment.
tomdefi 3 days ago 1 reply      
For anyone interested in an overview of Capistrano v3, I wrote an introduction last week - https://medium.com/p/ba896a142ac
grandalf 3 days ago 0 replies      
Check out fabric as a much faster alternative to Capistrano. Combined w cuisine.py it's a simple and powerful alternative to chef solo.
chrismealy 3 days ago 7 replies      
I love ruby and rails, but yeah, I'd switch to any framework in any language that made deployment stress-free. Except php.
yannk 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Whilst I believe strongly in Capistrano as a general purpose tool [...] I do think the future of software deployment is in small, containerised VMs and so-called PaaS, as what we're all doing right now has to end, some time."

Kudos. It takes a lot of courage to admit your baby is not going to fulfill the future you had initially imagined.

machbio 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the awesome software.. I just started learning about capistrano recemtly, just amazed by how simple it is..

I believe when you said that PAAS will go, only reason I use heroku and dokku(from docker) is due to its easy deployment.. and for no other reason than deployment..

stevewilhelm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Check out 'Deploying Ruby Applications to AWS Elastic Beanstalk with Git' [1]

[1] http://ruby.awsblog.com/post/Tx2AK2MFX0QHRIO/Deploying-Ruby-...

joaomsa 3 days ago 0 replies      
Capistrano really has saved us multiple times, sad that a vocal part of the community tends to exhibit such behavior.

At our company, we develop multiple RoR apps and we've run into many of these issues (mostly related to the asset pipeline), yet none of them actual problems with Capistrano. Since it's the bridge between so many things, I can imagine why it's easy for it to become cannon fodder.

We've tried to standardize many of our recipes such as local asset precompilation into a single cohesive gem (https://github.com/innvent/matross). That has saved us the trouble of debugging the same issues over and over when they inevitably pop up across applications.

Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab bbc.co.uk
450 points by olegp  2 days ago   213 comments top 26
sam 2 days ago 8 replies      
It is an important milestone. But to have a commercially viable fusion reactor, you'll need a factor of 50-100 more energy out than in to make up for inefficiencies in electricity generation using this kind of scheme.

The real story here is that this facility allows the US to do nuclear weapons research without violating the nuclear test ban treaty. If the goal was to develop a commercially viable fusion reactor, the $3,500,000,000 spent so far could have been put into projects geared towards small scale fusion experiments investigating novel confinement schemes.

Like the one I was working on, http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/DPP07/Event/71002 whose funding has since been cut and has been mothballed.

dekhn 2 days ago 5 replies      
A good place to start if you want to understand the purported rationale for the NIF (stockpile stewardship), I suggest reading and understanding this light introduction to modern nuclear weapons.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermonuclear_weapon(the rhodes books, Making of the Atomic Bomb is required background reading, as is Dark Sun, if you want to get into the backstore).

In particular:The NIH experiment recapitulates many of the design aspects of a thermonuclear weapon, but does so in a highly controlled lab environment.

I'm a biophysicist. I know a fair amount of engineering, although I'm not a weapons physicist. Nonetheless, after years of reading about the NIF and various fusion projects I've come to believe that there is little justification for their expenditure. In particular, we can do stockpile stewardship without this device, more cheaply, nor does NIF present an economically viable method to production of power at a large scale in even the most rosy predictions.

I still think the experimental design is cool, but I can't see this as a rational expenditure (HUGE opex and capex) compared to other investments we could be making.

Most likely scenario I see in 20 years is that china will be mass-manufacturing small, safe fission reactors and making a mint selling them to the rest of the world. That's got far less reqiurement for massive capex and opex. It's just that the western nations decided to go stupid about fission because OH GOD NUCLEAR MUTATIONS and stop investing in building more reliable, safer, and smaller plants.

nickpinkston 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is awesome news - I visited the NIF a few months ago and they seemed a little downtrodden when asked about results.

I bet they're all cocky now!

They also told us that the lasers they use, if built with modern tech today, would actually only be the size of a 40' cargo container (as opposed to like 100K sq-ft building), and cost like 1000x less. Pretty epic...

If we invested in fusion power like we did water power less than a century ago, I can only imagine the possibilities...

dtap 2 days ago 0 replies      
There was not an overall net gain.

Direct from the source http://1.usa.gov/1e4Na9Q.

8 kJ out from 1.7 MJ (1700 kJ) in. At the end of the month they were able to get 14 kJ. I believe they are referring to the energy released within the hohlraum.

Also, if you are interested there are privately funded companies doing this, General Fusion (http://www.generalfusion.com/) and TriAlpha Energy (secretive and funded by the Russian govt., but in California). The VC fund I work for has invested in GF and obviously we think there is promise :)

Jormundir 2 days ago 4 replies      
I think Nuclear Fusion is the single most exciting up-and-coming technology. I can't believe we're not throwing a hundred billion dollars at it.

Make fusion, not war.

breckinloggins 2 days ago 0 replies      
I keep seeing this same story pop up (from what I presume is the same September event).

Is there anything new this round? Perhaps some new results from post-experiment data analysis? The article isn't really clear on this point.

Mizza 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ah, okay, cool!

I remember this being announced a while back, but I didn't understand why it was significant if the energy in was less than the energy out. This article helps to clear it up.

The missing piece was that I didn't understand how this reactor works. I thought they just blasted a lot of lasers directly at the hydrogen isotopes. Instead, it seems like that use the lasers to shoot something else, which then creates a lot of x-rays which actually start the reaction.

The significant thing here is that the energy produced is greater than the amount of energy coming in from the X-rays, but not the lasers which power those X-rays.

Is that correct? (Not surprisingly, I'm not a physicist!)

sliverstorm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not really well-informed enough to comment on details, but it's fantastic to see the field is still moving, even if slowly. Proud that we are still funding this kind of research.
knappador 2 days ago 2 replies      
Producing net-energy is a different story than collecting net-energy. NIF just blows up a canister with a pellet and takes forever to reload a shot. On the other hand, an at-least-as-promising technology like Dense Plasma Focus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dense_plasma_focus) is still receiving minuscule funding. I'm hoping to be able to meaningfully support DPF and other fusion technologies soon. DPF has my attention so far because of its scaling characteristics.
guimarin 2 days ago 1 reply      
tl;dr - Another article about the US nuclear weapons research facility at Lawrence Livermore, AKA NIF, and its sideshow 57th priority.

On a related note. It's been really sad to see the US slowly lose its edge in plasma based fusion tech, specifically tokamaks, which seem to be the only credible long-term method of sustaining a fusion reaction for power-plant purposes.

pslam 2 days ago 0 replies      
On the article itself: why did it take 6 paragraphs of text to finally mention what the milestone was? I hate this style of article writing, and it's usually a good bullshit-signal for any story. That's a shame, because it looks like this is the Real Thing (in a small way).
rpedela 2 days ago 3 replies      
Great, but I don't see how these extremely expensive nuclear fusion projects will ever beat price/kW of coal without heavy subsidies. My bet is that dense plasma focus is the future of cheap, clean power. Only time will tell though.


ck2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is it plausible this lab is trying to figure out how to make nuclear explosions without the radiation?

Because just imagine how terrifying the world would become from a superpower that didn't have to fear the radiation aftermath.

Fusion research seems like just a complete cover up.

unreal37 2 days ago 2 replies      
If reliable fusion technology were developed, would the government share it with the public or would it be kept hidden away?

Sadly I'm not joking. I think there's a 50-50 chance that any cool science that gets development by the U.S. government just becomes a classified DoD missile project.

moca 2 days ago 0 replies      
"the amount of energy released through the fusion reaction exceeded the amount of energy being absorbed by the fuel" means it is at least 4 orders of magnitude away from being useful.

Since we still depends on nuclear power for decades to come, it is much cost effective to invest safer and cleaner nuclear fission reactors. The kind of fast reactor that can burn down nuclear waste so we don't need to build nuclear waste storage system, which nobody knows how to build anyway. That would give us power supply for several centuries (along with renewable energy). Too many countries wasted too much money on fusion reactors for decades, while we are still running nuclear reactors designed/built more than 30 years ago. Just wrong priority order.

jimmcslim 2 days ago 2 replies      
What would be the impact of a 'fusion economy', assuming realistic evolution of the technology for the purposes of commercialisation? (i.e. I'm assuming "Mr Fusion" powerplants on top of one's DeLorean aren't ever going to be practically feasible).

What would such a world look like? Does it promote world peace; through greater energy security for nations, would less reliance on fossil fuels for baseload electricity generation have a significant impact on price of air travel/sea cargo?

Apocryphon 2 days ago 1 reply      
Glad to hear that this is continuing at LLNL despite the shutdown. Too bad no politician is going to use this as an example of why gov't investment is not a bad thing.
drjesusphd 2 days ago 0 replies      
> the amount of energy released through the fusion reaction exceeded the amount of energy being absorbed by the fuel

So what? What if the fueld didn't absorb anything? What do they mean by "absorb", anyway? This article is lacking in details, peer-reviewed literature, or even the names of scientists willing to stake their reputation on this claim.

The BBC should know better.

manimalcruelty 2 days ago 0 replies      
What is the opinion on Lockheed Martin's Skunkworks High beta fusion reactor?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_beta_fusion_reactor

How does this stack up against the more conventionally theorised techniques?

gnator 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not much of a physicist myself but I am wondering if the technology developed for nuclear fusion would have any use in progressing other fields
2muchcoffeeman 2 days ago 2 replies      
What ever happened to the polywell reactor design?
fuddle 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can imagine everyone driving around in Tesla cars powered by Nuclear fusion in the not too distant future.
enupten 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is wonderful news, go NIF !
abelardx 1 day ago 0 replies      
It looks cold in that lab. Cold fusion?
drjesusphd 2 days ago 0 replies      
What milestone? Be specific.
devx 2 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, I remember seeing this project start up a few years ago, about how they wanted to make a "sun" on Earth. It seems it only took them 5 years to achieve this:


In a way, it reminds of Spiderman, too, but let's hope things don't go as badly as in the movie, once we start to make that "sun" big enough to provide a ton of energy.

Center of the universe orangecoast.com
409 points by pudakai  6 days ago   115 comments top 18
mistercow 6 days ago 6 replies      
Oh oh! I remember this technique from Cialdini's Influence. During the Korean war, the Chinese used the same technique on American POWs:

For instance, prisoners were frequently asked to make statements somildly anti-American or pro-Communist as to seem inconsequential(The United States is not perfect. In a Communist country, unemployment is not a problem.). But once these minor requests werecomplied with, the men found themselves pushed to submit to relatedyet more substantive requests. A man who had just agreed with hisChinese interrogator that the United States is not perfect might then beasked to indicate some of the ways in which he thought this was thecase. Once he had so explained himself, he might be asked to make alist of these problems with America and to sign his name to it. Laterhe might be asked to read his list in a discussion group with otherprisoners. After all, its what you really believe, isnt it? Still later hemight be asked to write an essay expanding on his list and discussingthese problems in greater detail.

michaelwww 6 days ago 2 replies      
Pxtl 6 days ago 1 reply      
That's moderately horrifying. It's also a sad reminder - so many of us go through life having to chisel and scrape that kind of affection out of the world. I can see how having it freely given could be very enticing.
elwell 6 days ago 2 replies      
Gives a different meaning to "Hacker News". But seriously: a very engaging, honest story.
sethev 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure if this anything to do with why this is on HN but Jay Roberts is Jason Roberts's brother (Jason Roberts is co-host of the TechZing podcast).
peteforde 6 days ago 3 replies      
Creepy and fascinating story. Thanks for sharing.

I do have two questions, though:

1. Polaroid wasn't making a black and white integral film in 1980, and FujiFilm didn't make instant film until 1981. Kodak's instant film was color. So how did Kraft produce an instant B+W image?

2. Did you really drink 2-3 beers and then get on a motorbike?

MrJagil 6 days ago 1 reply      
If any of your would like to read more about "underrated" serial killers after this harrowing story, Albert Fish comes to mind. Even just the wikipedia article is about as scary a horror tale as they come. Many friends have been unable to finish reading:http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Fish
popee 6 days ago 0 replies      
This story is for great (non-blockbuster) movie. Almodovar, but with good ending :-)

But it's interesting to think why is author still alive. Is killer possessive gay that is willing to kill guys that are ignoring/rejecting him? Because author didn't reject him as many others that are now in the grave?

Also, even if author is wrong, really interesting and non-intrusive emotional overview.

drderidder 6 days ago 0 replies      
I know there's a policy to keep the title of the source article, but if admins are going to blindly change post titles to remove all useful context and revert to meaningless, misleading headlines, can't they at least come up with a prefix for it? There's Ask HN, Show HN... in this case "Distract HN" might have been appropriate.
moocowduckquack 6 days ago 0 replies      
This'll get turned into a multi series drama on HBO.
nnnnnn 6 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure if I'm excited that the first time I've seen an alum from my college (Claremont McKenna) at the top of Hacker News it is Randy Kraft...
HaloZero 6 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't Randy Kraft still alive? I imagine the author has decided not to actually try to arrange some type of conversation with him?
robdimarco 6 days ago 2 replies      
whoa, I used to work with Jay about 10 years ago. Small world.
FrankenPC 6 days ago 0 replies      
WOW! That's some powerful stuff! Lots to think about in the mind of a serial killing monster. This is a great premise for a indie drama.
Sarien 6 days ago 0 replies      
ffrryuu 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's the Earth.
blahedo 6 days ago 10 replies      
Once again, some admin has changed the title from better to worse---it was "How I met a serial killer when I was a marine", which is considerably more descriptive.
Lavabit SSL Cert Revoked lavabit.com
402 points by jambo  1 day ago   300 comments top 25
brian_cloutier 1 day ago 8 replies      
Lavabit has revealed something incredibly important.

The US Government has no problem with seizing your private keys. It claims the right to impersonate you without your permission.

It no longer matters which system you use, Sovereign Keys, PGP web-of-trust, traditional PKI, they're all the same. Services based in the US can be MITM'd without leaving any traces.

If this is allowed to continue uncontested there will no be no way to stay secure online. The only solution is a partial solution, to create decentralized services. This, at least, will require the government to seize the private keys of each individual they want to track.

l33tbro 1 day ago 5 replies      
I'm so sick of being sickened. I hate that this is becoming the norm and we can't do anything about it. I hate to spit cliches, but is this where my tax dollars go?

For me, govt and internet should almost be like church and state. Where is the data around foiled terrorist plots? I just can't stomach the obtuse logic that we need to pay our taxes to employ these virtual minders. This is not what the internet is about. It just seems so incredibly difficult to mobilise and take action against this shit ...

Btw, Ladar ... you've been incredible in all of this (tips Stetson)

anologwintermut 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anyone using Safari or IE apparently isn't getting a forward secure connection to https://Lavabit.com . They end up with TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA according to SSLLabs[0].

Since things escalated to the point where Lavabit had to hand over it's key rather than the data on one account the FBI obtained an initial court order for [1], anyone with a transcript of those sessions and access to the key can read them.

The resulting cipher suites:


IE 7 / Vista TLS 1.0 TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA (0x35) No FS 256

IE 8 / XP No FS * TLS 1.0 TLS_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA (0xa) No FS 168

IE 8-10 / Win 7 TLS 1.0 TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA (0x35) No FS 256

IE 11 / Win 8.1 TLS 1.0 TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA (0x35) No FS 256

Safari 5.1.9 / OS X 10.6.8 TLS 1.0 TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA (0x35) No FS 256

Safari 6 / iOS 6.0.1 TLS 1.0 TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA (0x35) No FS 256

Safari 6.0.4 / OS X 10.8.4 TLS 1.0 TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA (0x35) No FS 256

Safari 7 / OS X 10.9 TLS 1.0 TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA (0x35) No FS 256


orclev 1 day ago 2 replies      
To my understanding this is what I would expect to happen. He handed over the cert to the FBI, so from a security standpoint it's useless now and should be considered compromised.
WestCoastJustin 1 day ago 3 replies      
Can someone weight in on what this means or why it is an issue?
rebelidealist 1 day ago 2 replies      
Consider donating to https://rally.org/lavabit. Lavabit needs at least 250k to continue fighting in the supreme court.

See his last update on the rally page.

alextingle 1 day ago 1 reply      
And this is exactly why perfect forward secrecy is so important.
zmmmmm 1 day ago 1 reply      
So I wonder, if he has been banned from revealing that he has handed over the key, does revoking it count as such a revelation?

At this point, the authorities have Streisand'ed their own case - anybody they were interested in would have stopped using Lavabit months ago. So they seem to be pursuing it out of pure belligerence at this point.

powertower 1 day ago 2 replies      
Can this be classified as -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obstruction_of_justice ?

That is, I'm sure he understands that this action might be interfering with an investigation, and that it's reasonable to believe it was a willful act on his part.

Can you get into trouble for doing something like this?

7402 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wondered why Safari (running on an older OS X 10.6 system) didn't report the certificate as revoked, although Firefox on the same system did.

The answer appears to be as described here:http://www.intego.com/mac-security-blog/protect-safari-from-...

After setting the proper options in Keychain Access, Safari reported the revocation correctly.

lettergram 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've read quite a few complaints about the government on this post. My suggestion is to simply do something. You have (a) the ability to vote, so stop voting in Republicans OR Democrats (both equally as bad) OR even run yourselves. (b) send a letter to your representative, they occasionally will read the mail, plus you at least can vent your frustration at someone who CAN do something.
spindritf 1 day ago 2 replies      
I cannot ignore this warning in Firefox 24 from official repository on Ubuntu 13.04. Actually, I cannot ignore outdated certificates, or those with unknown OCSP status (for example freshly issued certs) either.

Was there some change in Firefox's security model or is it my config? It's rather annoying.

ihsw 1 day ago 2 replies      
It would be interesting to see it be re-instated at the behest of the FBI.
schrodinger 1 day ago 2 replies      
Safari on my iPhone is capable of accessing it with no warning. Anyone else seeing this?
jervisfm 1 day ago 0 replies      
When I viewed this page running Chrome (Version 30.0.1599.88 beta) on a ChromeOS device I did not get any warnings.

Interestingly, when I used chrome on my Win8 PC (version 29.0.1547.76 m), I did see the warning pop up.

Doing some quick searching online revealed that chrome does not appear to do online revocation checks any longer by default[1]. You can still manually turn it back on with the "Check for server certificate revocation"[2] option which is what I did.

[1] - http://www.macworld.com/article/1165273/google_chrome_will_n...

[2] - chrome://settings/search#revocation

SCAQTony 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is both chilling and depressing. The only reason why the general public is barely phased or even cares about this nonsense is that they don't even understand what a SSL Cert is or what it means to have it taken away.
rektide 1 day ago 1 reply      
Almost on display: heavy-handed web-browsers that won't let us visit a site, for our own good.
interstitial 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm sure this comment will be buried, but I sleep better at night knowing HN can still get its panties in a wad over tramplings of freedom and the abuse of the system -- long after the main stream media has lost interest. The young and old hackers reading these posts will no doubt start spending frontal lobe CPU cycles on solutions that will find their agile way into the public sphere in months, not years.
huslage 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is not new people! We've known for many years that MiTM was "normal" in surveillance circles. We've been saying for years that CAs are probably compromised as well. Why does it take some "revelation" to make people PAY ATTENTION?

This is not a technical issue. It's a rights issue. Solving it by technical means only kicks the can down the road by an exceedingly small amount of time. Fix the system first.

balabaster 1 day ago 1 reply      
Am I reading into this right? The court declared he must hand over the private key to the SSL encryption on his server so the government could do as they wished with the traffic... and then Levison revoked the key, thus making it useless to everyone?
jpinkerton88 1 day ago 1 reply      
That's awesome that the certificate authority is being proactive.
malandrew 1 day ago 1 reply      
The lavabit case highlights something interesting that we need. We need that not only individuals have privacy, but that businesses have privacy of who their users are. The same way we provide anonymity to users through centralized means, is there not a way to provide a way for service provider to have a sufficient level of opaqueness of who their customers are. You can't subpeona Service Provider A if you don't know whether Person of Interest X is using the services of A, B, C, or D, etc.
general_failure 1 day ago 2 replies      
Android 4.3 cm shows page with no problems. CRL not working?
tonyplee 1 day ago 0 replies      
The rebel's force is weaken. Feel the power of the Empire.


tomphoolery 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well this is annoying.
Melatonin gwern.net
374 points by gwern  6 days ago   218 comments top 65
ChristianMarks 5 days ago 9 replies      
Gwern comes close to suggesting filtering blue light, but I will repeat a previous post. I've tried melatonin, but it is no substitute for for filtering blue light in my experience, and it tends to induce horrific, apocalyptic nightmares (granted, a night dreaming of EAS Emergency Action Notifications is better than no sleep at all).

I used to be an owl for years--decades. A regular 9-5 schedule seemed out of reach. All previous attempts quickly led to backsliding and accusations of moral failure. However, I found that an involuntary physiological response to artificial light in the range 460-484nm was involved.

This May I changed my environment by filtering out blue light after 8PM, turning off white lamps and turing on amber compact fluorescents. I'm asleep ~ 10PM and up usually ~ 5AM. This is now my regular schedule. It would have been inconceivable for me six months ago.

I use the following:

1. Inexpensive Uvex amber goggles from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Uvex-S0360X-Ultra-spec-SCT-Orange-Anti... Wear them at least an hour or two before bedtime. I also have the considerably more expensive glasses from lowbluelights.com. In my experience, the inexpensive goggles work just as well, although the more expensive glasses filter more blue light.

2. I replaced most of the white compact fluorescent lights in my apartment with amber compact fluorescent lights https://www.lowbluelights.com/index.asp

3. And I use a sunrise simulator alarm clock. http://www.amazon.com/Philips-HF3520-Wake-Up-Colored-Simulat...Sometimes I forget to set the clock--now I don't seem to need it.

Not to mention f.lux (pardon the paralipsis), though again, in my experience, filtering is necessary.

Concerning the scientific basis for the claim that blue light in the range 460-484nm suppresses melatonin production, here is one reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosensitive_ganglion_cell

Moral: Nagging and moralizing was both uninformative and ineffective. Science and engineering was both informative and effective.

jobu 5 days ago 7 replies      
My youngest daughter is borderline ADHD, and rather than trying Ritalin we've been using Melatonin in the evenings to help ease the bedtime process. (In the hopes that more sleep will help her cope with problems focusing.)

The change has been dramatic. Previously it was a 3-4 hour battle each night for her to get ready for bed and stay in bed. Now with 3mg of Melatonin she spontaneously decides to get ready for bed herself and goes to sleep in minutes.

The most interesting thing about Melatonin isn't that it makes you drowsy or helps you sleep, it's that it increases the _desire_ for sleep. While I don't usually have trouble sleeping, it's often hard to break myself free from a computer or a device at night, and Melatonin changes this. As the author says, "It works."

realitygrill 6 days ago 3 replies      
I use melatonin regularly to regulate my sleep cycle. It's a very effective part of a regimen (sleep hygiene, f.lux, etc) that allows me to manage a nearly-decade long problem of insomnia.

However, from a psychological standpoint, it's a very good thing melatonin is so safe. Every single person I've ever recommended melatonin to, I've directed to this article and discussed it with them. Every single such person then went ahead to promptly forget the discussion, NOT read the article, and take mildly retarded doses. For example, "one (5mg) pill didn't work, so I took 8 more at 4am." Another uses it almost recreationally - large doses to intensify his dreams; pretty much zero attempt to use it to improve his sleep. I don't talk to people about melatonin anymore.

For a quicker idea of where melatonin sits vis--vis other sleep drugs (WARNING: Hilarious Ambien Walrus referenced):http://slatestarcodex.com/2013/09/28/sleep-now-by-prescripti...

jtheory 6 days ago 2 replies      
I don't have personal experience with it; but my sleep schedule is horrible (I tend to stay up to 5am on alternate nights), so I may give it a try to enforce a normal bedtime, and kick the procrastination monster down a bit (if I don't have the option of doing the unpleasant work at 2am, it's far easier to force myself to do it during normal hours).

But: see here, this is very relevant: http://hpmor.com/notes/98/

Search MetaMed (a few screens down) for Eliezer Yudkowsky's experience with a sleep disorder (his normal day is 24.5 hours): after spending years trying a whole laundry list of solutions including melatonin, he finally paid MetaMed somewhere north of $5K for their analysis, and got a solution using melatonin that worked (but was not the normal approach to melatonin supplementation).

"their best suggestion, although it had little or no clinical backing, was that I should take my low-dose melatonin 5-7 hours before bedtime, instead of 1-2 hours, a recommendation which Id never heard anywhere before.

And it worked.

I cant #&$ing believe that #$%ing worked.

(EDIT in response to reader questions: Low-dose melatonin is 200microgram (mcg) = 0.2 mg. Currently Im taking 0.2mg 5.5hr in advance, and taking 1mg timed-release just before closing my eyes to sleep. However, I worked up to that over time I started out just taking 0.3mg total, and I would recommend to anyone else that they start at 0.2mg.)"

bane 5 days ago 1 reply      
My wife is a terrible sleeper -- around bed-time she'll suddenly want to do various household chores, vacuum, chat endlessly etc., that combined with irregular and often stressful work, my usually very regular sleep pattern has been totally annihilated over the last 5-10 years.

It also reached the point in the last year that I needed to be at one work site a few days a week, but at 6am, then another site different days at 9am, then work from home the rest of the time which meant trying to "catch up" with a 10-11am wakeup.

I finally broke down and started taking 3 mg of Melatonin, but only if I've had 2 recurring nights if bad sleep. The effect is kind of strange. About 20-30 minutes after taking it, my strongest desire in the world is to want to go to bed, but it doesn't exactly make me "sleepy". After my head hitting my pillow, I'm asleep in about 10 minutes. If I need to, I'll take it multiple days in a row until I feel like my sleep cycle is sorted out, then I stop. I'll also take it if I need to suddenly change my cycle and get up very early the next day or something. Wakefulness comes smoothly and refreshingly, not jarring.

I finally got my wife to start taking it and now all the fuss over getting her to go to sleep has ended completely. As soon as she starts wanting to do things and it's late at night, she pops a Melatonin pill and is asleep inside of 40 minutes.

It's absolutely transformed our sleep/work/live/wake cycles. It feels like I can finally wrestle a bit of control back from an overburdened modern life.

The only problem is that the next day I usually feel very cloudy headed the entire day and have a mild urge to go back to bed until mid-afternoon.

ChikkaChiChi 6 days ago 7 replies      
The problem with a lack of FDA regulation is that there is no guarantee on what you are taking. The freshness of the product and the veracity of what's in the pills will always be suspect to me.

If I could trust where I get my melatonin from, I would gladly take it. But I've learned too much about how terrible this industry is.

pesenti 5 days ago 3 replies      
Melatonin is a clear-cut Good Thing. The gains I have laid out are large enough I consider it irrational for someone not to use it.

I consider it irrational for someone to believe that a limited number of hand-selected studies can give you absolute confidence.

ufmace 6 days ago 0 replies      
Haven't read the article yet, but Melatonin does wonders for my sleep habits. Without it, it seems like my body really wants to function on a day that's 26 or so hours long. That tends to put me in a constant cycle of being not tired enough to go to sleep yet, falling asleep too late, not having enough sleep and being tired all day, then going to sleep the next night too early and starting over again the next day. Melatonin has made it much easier to get about the same amount of sleep every night.
mrcharles 5 days ago 2 replies      
I've been using melatonin on and off when I hit a patch of insomnia. It's pretty good; it just makes me super sleepy. Even with a low dose I end up groggy in the morning, however. But being able to actually fall asleep when I would otherwise lay awake for hours is worth the price of admission.

I don't use it regularly but sometimes I just know when I'm going to have trouble falling asleep, and will take one about a half hour before I'd like to be asleep. Works like a charm.

nulagrithom 6 days ago 4 replies      
Melatonin does work wonders, but you never know how your own body might react to it.

I have many issues with my sleep cycle and quality of sleep. Melatonin is one of the few things that alleviates my problems. However, for me, it's only good for one night. I can take melatonin for one night out of a month, and get a blissful, restful night of sleep. If I take it two nights in a row, evil side-effects start creeping up.

It begins with a headache. If I take melatonin two nights in a row, the next day I will wake up with a headache that's hard to shake. My dreams, while very vivid and pleasant the first night, become more gloomy and depressing the second night. By the third day, my dreams are full-on, vivid, terrifying nightmares. I feel depressed and angry all day, and the headache borders a migraine. After four days of melatonin, I'm a wreck. It no longer puts me to sleep, nor gives me restful sleep. It becomes nothing more than a pill full of nightmares, depression, anger, and a bad migraine.

The first time I started taking melatonin, I had no idea it was causing these side effects. It took a while to pin down, and I just assumed it was related to my ongoing battle with sleep. I do recommend it, just know that you may have adverse reactions to continued use.

llimllib 6 days ago 0 replies      
krmmalik 5 days ago 1 reply      
I've had on and off problems with insomnia, but have finally come up with a pretty reliable method for overcoming it. Some of my methods were used by others as well.

I think it's important to identify what's causing the insomnia. It's not always going to be the same thing for everyone, or even for you, every single time.

Some days, for me, it's just simply because I have too much on my mind. Other times, it's because I've had too much stimulation and some times, it's just because I haven't had enough physical exertion during the day (most of my work is on a laptop).

Here's the routine that I now employ and I've been really good for a number of months straight (I helped a friend create a similar "routine" and he even blogged about it).

So my routine is as follows

1. No HN, book reading ,or any kind of blogs, reddit etc (basically anything intellectually stimulating) after 8pm.

2. Some strenuous physical exertion (e.g. Gym) every 2nd or 3rd day

3. Anything that puts me into a more relaxed state, e.g Some fresh air at least half an hr before bed time, writing in a journal if my mind is going crazy with ideas, or reading some poetry/fiction (but nothing intellectually stimulating. i.e. something entertaining or relaxing).

4. No computer screens at least 45mins before bedtime

5. 1 teaspoon of blackseed oil 5 minutes before bedtime

6. A decent mattress (Mine is a silentnight miracoil) - Some people don't realise how important your mattress is and how badly it can affect sleep.

7. No stimulating conversation at least 45mins before bedtime, that includes emails, text messages, in-person conversations and phone calls.

I also make sure that i'm out of bed before 8am each day if i want to make sure I get good sleep for that night.

Basically, i've whittled it down to identifying which state is not in a relaxed mode and getting it to a desirable state .

i.e. emotional state (writing in a journal or meditative exercise), mental state (avoiding anything intellectually stimulating), physical state (physical exertion/blackseed oil/mattress)

robmcm 5 days ago 1 reply      
I cut caffeine out of my diet, (apart from chocolate) which has more or less cured my issues with sleeping. I think I could start drinking it again, but only pre mid day.

It is very hard to do (headaches, sleepy in the day etc), but worth a shot.

I also use earplugs, which I find it very hard to sleep without now (unless drunk). They not only block out noise, but you get conditioned that when you put them in it's time to sleep, it kind of gets you into a sleep mind set.

The other thing I find helps is if I find my mind racing I try and slow my breathing down as much as I can. I think it works on two levels, I focus on breathing and free my mind of jumping all over the place and it also slows your heart rate and therefore oxygen to the brain, which I think has the same effect :P

snowwrestler 5 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting data about melatonin, but I am very wary of appeals to "nature" and "natural" in articles like this. Such references are often proxies for the concept of "good" or "healthy", but that's not necessarily true. Epidermal sun damage is natural too.

For example biphasic sleep is a pattern that arises when the darkness period is significantly longer than the human need for sleep. If the darkness period is reduced to about the same length as the sleep need, then the sleep period is less interrupted. But humans are not any more or less healthy under either sleep regime.

da02 6 days ago 3 replies      
Why didn't you mention about the effects of a calcified pineal gland resulting from a Vitamin D and magnesium deficiency? Those are very common among the older folk, resulting in poor sleep quality, poor immune system, even increased chance of heart attacks.
yan 6 days ago 0 replies      
I found melatonin to be very effective, especially on mountaineering trips, where I'm not guaranteed a decent sleeping environment but really need to get some sleep when given the opportunity.

My girlfriend however reported nightmares when she started supplementing with it, but it appears to have gotten better.

polshaw 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm disappointed to see no comments here whatsoever that are addressing one of the central (and AFAICT unsupported) claims of this article-- that regular melatonin use can reduce the amount of sleep needed by almost an hour.

I have no doubts that melatonin is very useful for getting to sleep quicker, but if the reduced sleep claim is accurate, then it may move from an occasional use when needed, to a default use.

There are many melatonin users here- any regular users care to share their feelings/anecdotes (or better!) on this?

rfreytag 5 days ago 0 replies      
The pharmacokinetics of pill-form melatonin may be responsible for the uneven-, or late-onset and morning grogginess. Others here have reported that and I experienced it as well.

I have yet to see others mentioning the following answer so ...

My doctor advised using sprayed liquid melatonin (purchased at Whole Foods). 1-2 sprays under the tongue and held there for 30 seconds, then washed throughout the mouth (a highly vascularized area) and swallowed, transports the hormone consistently so that sleep is compelled in 1 to 1.5 hours with no morning grogginess.

dimitar 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've used melatonin and it definitely works, especially for improving the quality of sleep and sleeping under the sun.

However I've found that just not eating for 6-8 hours before you go to bed helps much more. Even eating an apple can disrupt sleep. This works really well because if you suppress eating before you got to sleep, you also wake up on time and pretty fresh to boot.

The only downsides are that some people get tempted too easily to eat before bed or that if you absolutely have to stay late an hour or two more, you'll still wake up 16 hours after you stopped eating, leaving you with less sleep than intended.

gregd 6 days ago 1 reply      
It's my understanding that taking Melatonin supplements will mess up your bodies natural ability to make it's own Melatonin (as will taking a lot of supplements). You are far better off trying to get your body to produce Melatonin on it's own.
karlkatzke 6 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting. I work on call shifts. (Linux sysadmin, one week out of three is 24/7 on call -- which works much better than rotating one day out of three.) I've used Melatonin for years to 'regulate' my sleep cycle so that I can stop my tirelessly creative brain from thinking about that article I read a few hours ago on Hacker News.

My other 'hacks' to keep my sleep cycle regulated are f.lux where possible, using only dim incandescent lights in the evening around the house once I am ready for bed, and NOT using a laptop, iPad, or anything with white/blue LEDs in bed. Wake-up is accomplished with an alarm clock that activates a piece of "wall art" that slowly changes color spectrum to full daylight using LEDs and shines on the bed.

Having good control of my sleep cycle keeps jet lag, time changes, mid-night alerts, and other things that disrupt most people from disrupting me as much for as long.

scotty79 5 days ago 0 replies      
Melatonin may help to battle cancer along with chemo: http://virtualtrials.com/pdf/williams2013.pdf Page 46)

My life partner started taking 20mg melatonin per day when she started her chemo and radiation treatment after surgery for grade III anaplastic glioma (fully resected) about year and a half ago. She's taking it ever since. No side effects. It doesn't seem to help her sleep. She always fell asleep easily and slept good.

We decided it should be safe for her as there was a research (can't locate it now) where some women were given 20mg/day dose for, I guess two years or so, in hopes it shows some contraceptive properties. It didn't but no side effects showed up.

mattchew 5 days ago 0 replies      
I tried melatonin thanks to this article (thanks gwern!).

It does help me get to sleep. I've used it about 10 times now and only once did I still have trouble falling asleep, and even then I did within an hour or so.

Unfortunately, it does NOT stop me from waking at 4:30 or 5 AM and then having trouble falling back asleep. Still, this is less stressful than not falling asleep in the first place.

Note that the probable effective dose is much lower than what you're likely to get in one pill from the store. I couldn't remember the effective dose, got 5mg pills, ended up quartering them.

I don't have any hangover effects, and I wonder if you all that do are taking too much.

It's worth trying if you have sleep issues.

DanBC 6 days ago 5 replies      
There are some problems with Melatonin (as supplied) - you don't really know how much (if any) you're getting. Investigators found that quality control was very poor and some brands contained very little melatonin. (I can't find it now, but it was something like Consumer Reports or similar?)

It's a prescription only med in some places (UK) so you might not be able to get it.

But it is "remarkably effective"[1] for jet lag.

You might want to consider sleep hygiene[2] as well as (or instead of) melatonin or other sleep meds. (I really like zopiclone.)

[1] (http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD001520/melatonin-for-the-pre...)

[2] (http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Insomnia/Pages/Treatment.aspx)

adamzerner 5 days ago 0 replies      
1) I don't think it's known how big the "addictive" effects are. Meaning, if you use it a lot, you might get "used to it"(downregulation), and require more to get the same effect. See the link at the bottom; My doctor told me not to use it more then 4-5x a week; I have anecdotal evidence of it being less effective from my use

2) It might not be as effective as you're making it. It surely isn't as simple as "replacing the melatonin you're lacking". Melatonin you naturally produce happens in a series of step; the melatonin you take via a pill surpasses some of these steps, which means there isn't the same effect.

See http://www.supermemo.com/articles/sleep.htm#Melatonin

smokey_the_bear 5 days ago 2 replies      
I used to have a wildly erratic sleep schedule. Then I had a baby. Now I sleep from 10 pm to 7 am every single night.

While I know a lot of people have sleep disorders, I think a lot of people have bad sleep schedules simply because they can.

gesman 6 days ago 2 replies      
I works great when you have this "thinking in your sleep and wake up even more tired" syndrome.

Melatonin related supplemements helps you relax quickly and really sleep deep.I personally found that taking 1/3 of recommended dose works perfectly. Taking full doze making me wake up in such a limb state - that it takes me literally one hour for muscles to get back into their ability to move the body.

Another thing is that I found that taking it for a week or two (no more) is optimal. Few cycles of deep, relaxed sleep are enough for body/mind to get into relatively better balance than before.

Adding regular physical exercise to the mix helps to reignite the whole system back.

petercooper 5 days ago 1 reply      
Melatonin is not easily obtainable here in the UK (as far as I know) so when I saw some in a regular store in the US, I grabbed some to try it.

And boy.. I usually have no trouble falling asleep except when travelling or otherwise "out of sync" so I tried it and I felt like I wanted to sleep almost constantly for two days. So it works, but perhaps a bit too well for me, even with a single tablet. Maybe I have an abundance of melatonin already coursing my veins? :-)

jmulho 5 days ago 0 replies      
Melatonin is this persons religion. I wonder how much time they spend thinking and talking about it.

Stranger still is the herd of commenters who condone the stuff. Do you really think this will make you need an hour less sleep than everyone else?

Sleep is important. Dont intentionally destroy your bodys ability to regulate it. If you arent already addicted to melatonin, its not too late:

Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.Dont drink caffeine after breakfast.Expose yourself to natural sunlight every day.Dont play Grand Theft Auto after midnight.

MikeCapone 5 days ago 0 replies      
I take 1.5 mg every night before going to bed. It has solved pretty much all my sleep problems, and allows me to control my sleeping schedule much more easily (ie. on weekdays I go to bed at 12:15 AM, but on weekends I usually go to bed at 3 AM. I have no problem re-transitioning back to weekday schedule now, but I used to).
driverdan 6 days ago 1 reply      
Keep in mind that melatonin is a hormone. Exogenous hormones can downregulate your body's natural production. Like anything hormonal you should not take it continuously for long periods of time.
mickgiles 6 days ago 1 reply      
I take it when I travel across time zones to reset my internal clock. Works great! If I take if for more than 3-4 nights in a row it seems to lose its effectiveness.
AndyNemmity 6 days ago 1 reply      
I've taken meltonin for 19 years now. I've moved up my dosage in the last few months. I stayed on a very low dosage for a really long time, but am up to 10mgs now, and sleeping wonderfully.

The main side effect is being much more tired when you wake up, and that is cured by coffee. I love the stuff.

moultano 5 days ago 0 replies      
Melatonin has made a huge difference in my life. I don't use it regularly, but when there's a day when I absolutely need to get a good night's sleep or other things will go badly, I no longer have to worry about it. I take 3mg of melatonin and wake up refreshed.
linohh 5 days ago 1 reply      
Melatonin is prescription only in Germany. Bad luck, I guess.
IanDrake 5 days ago 3 replies      
I take 3mg and it works to help me sleep after an hour. I try to get to bed by 10:30.

My biggest problem still is that my alarm at 6AM wakes me during my active dream cycle and most restful sleep. I'm not sure how to time shift that to meet my needs.

Any advice?

yannk 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm sure Melatonin is great, but it won't ever solve the "kids are waking up" problem.
simpsond 5 days ago 0 replies      
I experienced a strange side effect when experimenting with melatonin: My vision degraded as if I was having a migraine. I experienced tunnel vision and colorful artifacts without the headache. I can't say with 100% certainty that melatonin was the cause, but there was a correlation... and I have not experienced the problem since I stopped taking it.
bcRIPster 5 days ago 0 replies      
Just throwing this out there... a bit of lost research on the subject. Pitty not all of the images were cached.


dajohnson89 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've tried pretty much every Over-The-Counter sleep aid there is. Melatonin is indeed the most effective one I've tried, but my experience is that tolerance builds up rather quickly. I can use it every night for maybe 2-4 weeks, but after that, the amount required to achieve the same effects become absurdly high.

Also, one thing I like about Melatonin is the lucidity of the dreams I experience while sleeping with it. Colors, sensations, and my memory of the dream the next morning are very intense.

Currently I'm using Valerian root[0], which is all-natural, and I don't develop a noticeable tolerance.

0: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valerian_%28herb%29

garrickvanburen 5 days ago 0 replies      
A couple years back I was taking 3mg of melatonin nightly. It worked brilliantly for about 3 months. After that, while I'd feel sleepy and fall asleep as expected, I'd be wide awake 1 sleep cycle later (~90min).

I'd still recommend melatonin as a short term way to re-establish a regular bedtime/routine. Long term usage - less so.

trefk 5 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't see any citations for his claim that melatonin saves you an hour sleep per night. His entire argument is premised on this, but he barely discusses it - he just states it as a fact. Did I just miss something? Is there research supporting this claim?
nargella 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have had issues with going to sleep my whole life (nap time in preschool I was last to fall asleep and last to wake up). First I have to say I took 3mg as a test run and it did nothing. My gf then said they give 10-15mg for patients at the hospital.

9mg was too effective at putting me out in 30 min (I weigh 200lbs). It was too difficult to wake up in the morning. 6mg seems best. My minds eye feels like it's wearing a sleeping mask because dreams are few and far between.

When I stopped taking it, dreams became vivid and memorable. I also took ZMA before and that does nothing in terms of getting to sleep, but you get some crazy strong dreams while on it.

Sunlis 5 days ago 0 replies      
Given that this is a naturally-occurring hormone, is there any chance that taking Melatonin regularly could cause your body to "get lazy" and eventually produce less of its own?
PaulHoule 6 days ago 2 replies      
If I take Melatonin I feel like I've got St. Elmo's Fire and I can't sleep at all for hours.
patrickdavey 5 days ago 1 reply      
I had been taking concentrated cherry juice which is high in natural meltonin.. made no discernible difference to me.. so I will try to see if melatonin tablets are available here (in New Zealand) and give it a go.

One thing I would love to know is (I may have missed it in the article) is whether melatonin supplements help with staying asleep. I fall asleep just fine (10-15 minutes, often earlier) but it's when my brain gets into a routine of waking up at 3 or 4 am that I find particularly hard to deal with. I've simply not worked out strategies around it yet.

whitewhim 6 days ago 0 replies      
I used to deal with periodic weeks of insomnia. As a stifle I really could not afford to spend a whole week without sleeping more than 5 hours as I would be basically non functional after a couple days. I began supplementing a single 5mg dose of melatonin and it has almost completely erased my insomnia. I have found that it has improved the quality of my sleep as well. The only side affect I've noticed is increased dreaming while taking it, however I quite enjoy that.
j_m_b 6 days ago 0 replies      
Melatonin supplements have helped me numerous times to get to sleep after tossing and turning in my bed. It is something that I've taken as needed and as a nightly supplement. The biggest drawback to melatonin supplements is that you can sometimes wake up slightly groggy the next morning. The stuff is dirt cheap and commonly available. If you haven't tried it, this could be the sleeper supplement your missing.
ck2 5 days ago 0 replies      
I tried it for a short while but it gave me vivid nightmares.
snarfy 6 days ago 0 replies      
It doesn't really make me fall asleep. It improves the quality of my sleep, making me wake up in the morning much easier.
darkmuck 6 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think my body handles Melatonin very well... it definitely helps me sleep great! But the next day I am groggy for nearly half the entire day
posnet 5 days ago 0 replies      
There is currently a study being conducted at the Woolcock Institute in Sydney in its effectiveness to treat delayed sleep phase disorder among other circadian rhythm disorders.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-24/new-hope-to-treat-misd...
mkhalil 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have been taking Melatonin for a while now. However, I do not take it daily. I usually take it to adjust sleep schedules after a poor pattern. Sunday night for example I would take it to fix my poor weekend sleeping schedule. I think it's great to FIX sleeping schedules, not necessarily to take daily.
atlanticus 5 days ago 0 replies      
The key to using melatonin is to stop every few days and see if you sleep through the night. If you don't keep going otherwise wait until you have two nights without proper sleep. I had major sleep problems but this system has worked great and I have not had to use melatonin in quite a while. Like everything, moderation is key.
srehnborg 6 days ago 0 replies      
I've taken it and really does help me sleep better. It helps me fall asleep easier if I wake up in the middle of the night. I was taking about 1/3 of a 3mg tablet.

I did stop taking it though because I felt depressed after about 2 weeks of taking it every day.

I will probably take it again periodically if I am traveling.

erikcw 6 days ago 0 replies      
I've tried it a few times. I find that I sleep like a rock, but have a dull, throbbing headache in the morning. My wife swears by the stuff...
benrapscallion 5 days ago 0 replies      
A new report in yesterday's Science (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/342/6154/85.full) indicates that vasopressin receptor antagonists might be the jetlag drug of the future.
melatoned 5 days ago 0 replies      
What no one is talking about but should know:

Melatonin is amazing for people that smoke weed. If you're one of those people that casually smoke but wake up the next morning feeling groggy and out of sync, take melatonin at night as directed in this article and other places. Getting into your bed will feel amazing. You will drift off to sleep, even if your iPad or music is on. And you will wake up like a normal person, except a bit more relaxed. As I became more and more successful I smoked less and less because of how it affected my performance the next day. With Melatonin I can smoke like Sophomore in college enjoying Adult Swim on a Sunday for the first time.

What no one else is talking about:

Melatonin can make you super constipated. Eat fiber, take fiber pills, eat a balanced diet high in vegetables and it should else. If you're on a neckbeard died, say goodbye to pooping regularly and when you do, it will be compact.

rodedwards 5 days ago 0 replies      
Nightmares and sleep paralysis! Wheee!Advil works better as a sleep aid for me.
vldx 4 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone used Melatonin w/ 5-HTP?

Is it safe (is it worth it) taking Melatonin if you're under 30 years old?

nickthemagicman 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is very interesting. Wish hacker news had more hacking the human body articles.
DanielBMarkham 5 days ago 1 reply      
I've been using melatonin for years every night. As a person that has extreme obstructive sleep apnea, I credit melatonin with providing me a modicum of restful sleep for the years I didn't use a CPAP. Now that I have one, melatonin helps improve my "normal" sleep patterns.

Anecdotaly, I find melatonin usage helps my brain rewire itself every night. My belief is that increases the number of connections and associations that various concepts have, and it also elevates my mood. Not bad for something that costs mere pennies!

During the time I had almost no sleep, I would take quite a bit of melatonin in a desperate attempt to get some kind of rest. At times I would pop 25mg or more. I found there were no side effects, except perhaps being sleepy for the next couple of days.

I've also quit a number of times for various reasons. Just a few months ago I quit for three months due to surgery. I found quitting to be completely symptom-free, which kind of amazed me. I figured with years of usage, quitting would make it impossible to sleep. I based this opinion on numerous studies that show when you replace a naturally-occurring hormone with a supplement, your body stops producing it. Instead, I slept fine. Once I was out of the no-supplements period after surgery, I started back up with the melatonin. No side effects, and I almost immediately noticed an increase in creativity and mood.

I'm a supplement junkie. It's that irrational thing that I do, my black swan interest. Yes, I know, most of the market is just BS and marketing hype. But not all of it. Melatonin is one of the 2 or 3 supplements I use that I believe really make a huge and immediately perceivable difference. Can't recommend it highly enough.

arikrak 5 days ago 1 reply      
Why are all these Gwern.net posts showing up now?
ffrryuu 5 days ago 0 replies      
See lef.org for more info
taigeair 5 days ago 0 replies      
why is it so pro melatonin?
What I learned from getting my side project acquired ianww.com
359 points by typpo  21 hours ago   51 comments top 18
bfe 20 hours ago 1 reply      
This post reminded me of pg's advice for how to get startup ideas. Compare:

"I have 5+ side projects. Id like to make businesses out of them, but I often lose interest after a couple weeks. Asterank was the only project that Ive stuck with for over a year, and it paid off even though there wasnt a clear path to monetization... Its hard to predict what will be valuable as a side project. For hobbies, working on what youre most passionate about is the best way to get a return." [1]

"Live in the future and build what seems interesting. Strange as it sounds, that's the real recipe." [2]

1. http://www.ianww.com/blog/2013/10/08/lessons-from-getting-my...

2. http://paulgraham.com/startupideas.html

lifeisstillgood 19 hours ago 0 replies      
But he did not treat it as a throwaway side project - he mailed, he built community and products, he pushed for a year.

That massively increased his chances of a profitable outcome - my lesson here is even treat your side projects as in need of proper marketing

qwerta 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting project.

I had similar hobby project: MapDB database engine. It started as simple data store for astronomical application. I wrote first patch for JDBM (old name) while observing at Atacama desert 4 years ago. I never advertised much, but now its my full time job and it generates decent email traffic.

ernestipark 19 hours ago 6 replies      
This might be a stupid question, but what is the point in acquiring a side project that is MIT-licensed? Was it just a means of acqui-hiring?
kilroy123 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Thanks for this post, very interesting. Personally, I badly want to get out of the software / "tech" industry, and get into the space industry some how.

I have no idea what I'll do, how I'll do this, or what I can offer. Only time will tell.

andyl 20 hours ago 1 reply      
What was the acquisition price (range) ?
jonstjohn 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Lesson 7: You need to stick with it

I'm trying to do this right now. I challenged myself to do 100 consecutive days of commits to my side projects and I'm currently at day 94. Unfortunately, my private repos don't show up in my streak unless I'm logged in, but most of them are here: https://github.com/jonstjohn .

I've still bounced between about 3 projects in the past 3 months. I struggle with what seems like it should be the last 5-10%, although I'm looking at forcing myself to launch even if I'm not happy with everything.

rs 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If no one notices your project but it is genuinely interesting, just blog about it until they notice. I posted Asterank Discover on HN and it got 5 points. Then I wrote a blog post about it that made the front page. Go figure.

I think this might be that people tend to prefer reading about stories on products rather than a product landing page ?

contextual 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Thanks for the vitamin C shot of inspiration. I'm working on a project to dramatically diminish the need for animal-testing in science experiments[1], and the process has been humbling. I know little about science.

As you recommended in the article, I've been speaking with scientists from around the world (and anyone else who will listen) and learning as much as I can, as fast as I can.

Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki was right, "in the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few".


crucialfelix 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Q: is it necessary to incorporate a side project like this from the beginning ?

I'm planning to found a company that will build several products. If one of them achieves traction and revenue growth, I'm wondering if there are any issues in making it easily acquirable. I suppose shared code is an issue.

benjamincburns 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats Ian, and a huge thanks for blogging your experience building AsterRank. You definitely helped some friends and me out with a space game we're working on!
weames 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you for the post. It is always helpful and inspiring to hear a another's success story.
davidgerard 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Blog about your technical issues! Yes!
ivanbrussik 16 hours ago 0 replies      
you earned a point from me, even if I have no idea what it is you do (ok, I know you catalog space stuff)

most of all this little guide you posted is very transferable, thanks a ton.

broabprobe 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Funny I'm listening to Peter Diamandis give a lecture in the next room over as I read this.
pahans 10 hours ago 0 replies      
thanks Ian. learnt a lot from your article.
exo_duz 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats Ian. Perseverence is key!
sideproject 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Love the project! And of course, for those side projects that do get abandoned, you can find them at http://sideprojectors.com
You Must Try, and then You Must Ask akamai.com
357 points by mfringel  5 days ago   47 comments top 26
mef 5 days ago 3 replies      
This is so great.

By forcing yourself to try for 15 minutes, you gain a deeper understanding of what you're troubleshooting so that, even if you don't fix it in 15, next time you're in a better position to troubleshoot than you were the last time.

And by forcing yourself to ask for help after 15, you not only limit the amount of banging-your-head time, but you also get to see how the other person solves the problem while all the details are still fresh in your mind, so that you'll more likely have a deeper understanding of why what you were doing to fix it wasn't working, and why the ultimate solution actually worked.

joshdance 5 days ago 2 replies      
Often times I start writing out my question like I would post it to StackOverFlow. The very process of writing out what I know, what I don't, and what I have tried very often leads to a solution.
nhebb 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a one-man shop with no one to bounce problems off of, so I rely on Google and Stack Overflow (or other forums). In the past when I got stuck and posted a question, frequently I'd solve the problem myself almost immediately afterward.

So now when I'm tempted to ask a question on SO, I write out the question in a text editor, giving as much detail as possible. It's not a 100%, but I've found that going through the process of trying to frame a question intelligently goes a long way toward figuring it out myself.

emilsedgh 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is very similar to 'How To Ask Questions The Smart Way' written by Eric Raymond.


Strongly recommended to hackers.

falcolas 5 days ago 0 replies      
This works if, and only if, the cost of you failing is limited to the cost of your time. If you're starting work on a metal lathe, ask before trying (the cost of failing is your life). If you're working with an expensive physical material, ask before trying (the cost of you failing is the loss of that physical material).

More relevant to HN viewers: If you're doing work on a production server, ask before trying. The cost to your corporation of you failing and bringing down a mission critical service is typically greater than the context switch of one additional person to make sure you're doing it right.

tmoertel 5 days ago 0 replies      
I like this rule for one reason beyond those the author mentioned: it benefits the people you're asking for help, by sharing with them problems that have been pre-qualified as interesting.
goshx 5 days ago 1 reply      
I like the rule.

I'd suggest to try also with a step in between. Something like: try for 15 minutes, if you still can't find the solution, go for a quick break, like getting a coffee, and if the solution still doesn't magically appear, ask someone.

I lost count of how many times I solved a problem while getting up to get coffee, after trying hard to find the answer for a few minutes. I can't be the only one.

mkramlich 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's a wisdom in his rule, but not if applied too strictly. The opposite is also a problem. To wit, at times the web seems to be overflowing with people who neither tried too hard, if at all, nor did the obvious set of things that an intelligent competent person would have done in their circumstances. Also the more you try, the deeper, the harder, broader, the more you learn, which makes you more efficient in the future. And it gives you deeper, more inter-connected understanding of the world. Something that will give you an edge over the masses who just Google for answers, looking at every problem as a flat-time key-value lookup. If you never learn how to start with the key, and manually reach that value (the answer), the old fashioned way, you'll be missing out on a lot that will serve you well all the rest of your days. And help make you more of a producer and problem solver yourself, rather than a parasite or info polluter. Become the person everybody else turns to when they're stuck. Don't become the person who always has to turn to others. A world full of this latter kind of person is a world that will suck and eventually fail. Optimize in the other direction. Everybody will be better off.
pasbesoin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Trying first reduces the burden on the person you eventually ask. If you made a good effort, you will go into the conversation knowing a lot more and having a contextual awareness (in detail) that you otherwise would not have.

The person you ask can focus on the parts that you didn't figure out for yourself. And, you may have gained a different perspective and/or insight into deficiencies or additional options that is actually of interest to the person you talk to (write, IM, etc.).

Viola. You just turned a lecture into a more interesting and engaging conversation.

616c 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is very cool, and this is how I have approached my sysadmin and programming work over the years.

When I started, I had very little experience, but a willingness to learn. My boss hired me anyway, and it moved from pushing paper to labs to "OK, we need to update this web application" and "I need you to learn how to deploy a very customized Windows image for 300 computers, and learn to maintain them." Since I was much younger, first as a student and then a full-time employee at uni, it was easy to ask my bosses (the first, if you can believe this, actually wrote his own code to hide a password in the bootloader to run some admin task on the first boot after imaging and then delete after completion; with Windows installations and incosistency, it took him months to get that write; he now is a full-time lit nerd and author, talk about renaissance man) and tell them everything I did and needed help. Not only did that teach me to solve the problem, it taught me how to approach computer problems (kind of like the OSI stack, but more general than networking, and not as shitty as "turn the computer on again and off again") and then onto "how do I debug stupid coding mistakes in scripts with the least time possible" (answer: it might not be a production app, but make sure your scripts have good on-and-off logging infrastructure or you will be sorry).

Unfortunately, I moved on from that job. And if this long-winded post is any indication, I am now seen as too chatty and annoying with this approach where I work. Some people get it, while as the other more senior infrastructure people see it as me questioning them when I ask for explanations or better tips to troubleshoot issues I could see (not that are there, but potentially could see) from my end and know when to leave them alone. As others pointed it, it is essential to enforce this on everyone, and in many institutions, that is seen as being chatty and nosy.

I learned a lot through my mentors, and I wish this could be imposed everywhere I worked and work, but many oppose this as questioning authority. I wish it was different, but oh well.

jonahx 5 days ago 1 reply      
I run into this phenomenon often when posting on SO.

In the process of writing up a clear and detailed post, which often involves simplifying the problem into something reproducible on jsfiddle, I suddenly see the answer.

Instead of hitting submit I can just close my browser tab.

diminoten 5 days ago 1 reply      
Is 15 minutes enough time? It might be a small point of contention, but why not an hour?
cruise02 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is a pretty good rule of thumb for posting questions online (Stack Overflow) as well as asking your co-workers. Take the time to understand the problem yourself so you can better present it to someone else.
toadi 5 days ago 1 reply      
Sometimes whie trying to explain the problem to someone else. I find the solution myself. So maybe after the intial 15 minutes try to explain it.
umsm 5 days ago 0 replies      
Whenever I get stuck on a problem, I try to clear my head. That usually involves tackling another task, getting some fresh air, or just going home.

I noticed that going home early and tackling the problem early the next morning helps more than the 2-3 hours I spent with no success.

joeblau 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've learned a lot and wasted a lot of time doing this. Sometimes I think I'm almost there and 15 minutes turns into 2 days.
johnpmayer 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is great advice, and very difficult advice if you have a ego that dislikes not knowing the answers. It's also something that is doubly important for devops - don't let production issues sit idle because you're afraid to ask how to fix something! I know that I still struggle, but I'm getting better and am much better than when I started.
SilasX 4 days ago 0 replies      
I agree, but you have to have to be on guard for the opposite problem, which is taking too long on your tasks because "you don't ask for help enough".

I, um, "know people" that have been on that end of the spectrum.

cl3m 4 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing rule but as a developer I'll probably try for more than 15min :-) however I'm sure it make sense at the company level.
badman_ting 5 days ago 0 replies      
I like this rule.
DrPhish 4 days ago 0 replies      
"I do not believe that any scientific teaching ever was more thorough, or better fitted for training the faculties, than the mode in which logic and political economy were taught to me by my father. Striving, even in an exaggerated degree, to call forth the activity of my faculties, by making me find out everything for myself, he gave his explanations not before, but after, I had felt the full force of the difficulties; and not only gave me an accurate knowledge of these two great subjects, as far as they were then understood, but made me a thinker on both."

   -John Stuart Mill: Autobiography

Apocryphon 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great idea. I'm sad that I didn't learn it earlier, in college. I wonder why it seems like most of us in this thread hadn't, as well?
bifrost 5 days ago 0 replies      
Well said. Matt Ringel is spot on here.
vsvn 5 days ago 0 replies      
We use and apply this basic rule at work and it works wonder. A lot of time, the developer could figure out the answer before asking or during the discussion with another developer.

I think the reason why this works well is because you are force to document and make it as easy to understand as possible. There are complex problems, but it is easier to solve if those problems are broken down into solvable pieces.

namenotrequired 5 days ago 0 replies      
I suspect this would work great even if you don't have direct workmates but know some people with expertise in your area anyway. I'd love to try it!
squozzer 5 days ago 0 replies      
I might try for 30 minutes, but maybe I'm just stubborn.
And Then Steve Said, Let There Be an iPhone nytimes.com
357 points by apress  5 days ago   144 comments top 24
JunkDNA 5 days ago 4 replies      
I always like stuff like this because you see that these people who knock it out of the park apparently effortlessly actually struggle like all the rest of us normal humans behind the scenes. They couldn't figure out how to make a touch screen, the processor wasn't available, Sir Ive's case was impermeable to RF, the LCD was causing interference on the multitouch display, etc... This stuff is hard. Really, really hard. Any one technical obstacle could have killed the whole thing.
pinaceae 5 days ago 2 replies      
i am glad to be old enough to remember the time before the iphone. seems like a stupid thing to say, right? but go to any tech forum and it seems like all of it is forgotten already, 2007 is kinda blurry and Apple producing smartphones completely normal.

when the rumours started swirling about apple launching a phone people could not believe it. like at all. apple, the ipod guys, building a phone?! no way, what a joke. you had the photoshops of ipods with a dial, etc. analysts explaining why this was completely wrong, impossible and apple was doomed.

same at the launch of the iPad. same at the launch of the iPod (less space than a nomad, no wifi, lame). what the fuck is a nomad one might say today.

those great photoshops of steve holding a giant iphone to his ear, hilarious. an iPad, buhaha, bunch of retards at apple. but now the galaxy note makes perfect sense. to exactly the same neckbeards who laughed at apple's idiocy before.

apple is indeed the most frustrating company. it somehow has defied gravity in the second jobs era and proven that large swaths of the tech world couldn't define taste and style if their life depended on it.

and perfection, like the iphone launch, is a matter of style and taste.

hayksaakian 5 days ago 2 replies      
Talk about literally "fake it till you make it"

-----(regarding the presentation)

They had AT&T, the iPhones wireless carrier, bring in a portable cell tower, so they knew reception would be strong. Then, with Jobss approval, they preprogrammed the phones display to always show five bars of signal strength regardless of its true strength. The chances of the radios crashing during the few minutes that Jobs would use it to make a call were small, but the chances of its crashing at some point during the 90-minute presentation were high.

PhasmaFelis 5 days ago 1 reply      
"Very rarely did I see him become completely unglued it happened, but mostly he just looked at you and very directly said in a very loud and stern voice, You are [expletive] up my company, or, If we fail, it will be because of you. He was just very intense. And you would always feel an inch tall."

"Compounding all the technical challenges, Jobss obsession with secrecy meant that even as they were exhausted by 80-hour workweeks, the few hundred engineers and designers working on the iPhone couldnt talk about it to anyone else. If Apple found out youd told a friend in a bar, or even your spouse, you could be fired."

Christ, what an asshole.

ultimoo 5 days ago 3 replies      
>> The 55 miles from Campbell to San Francisco make for one of the nicest commutes anywhere. The journey mostly zips along the Junipero Serra Freeway, a grand and remarkably empty highway that abuts the east side of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

While scenic, the 280 is certainly not 'remarkably empty'. I make the commute from San Jose to SF everyday and wish I shared the enthusiasm of the author. Apologies for commenting on something completely orthogonal to the point of the OP.

padmanabhan01 5 days ago 1 reply      
Articles like this help to show all the work involved in the path from a vague idea to a finished product. That's the hard part. Guess that's why they get upset when some other company just sees the end product and just makes a clone of it, without having to face all the hurdles to arrive there from the initial idea..
forgottenpaswrd 5 days ago 1 reply      
"The thinking goes, why let bad Internet or cellphone connections ruin an otherwise good presentation? But Jobs insisted on live presentations. It was one of the things that made them so captivating. Part of his legend was that noticeable product-demo glitches almost never happened."

What is interesting is that product-demo glitches happened all the time. We went to one presentation in which Steve had to ask for people not to use the Internet because they had not enough bandwidth.

But mistakes were so "naturally handled" that people just did not care.

I think Edison said, you will not be remembered by your mistakes, but from your successes.

siglesias 4 days ago 0 replies      
Amusingly, there was one technical snafu during the presentation. Steve's clicker stopped responding [1]! Of course, the way he handled it, in my opinion, made the presentation that much better and that much more human.

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hUIxyE2Ns8&feature=youtu.be&...

cbr 5 days ago 4 replies      

    "The solution, he says, was to tweak the AirPort software     so that it seemed to be operating in Japan instead of the     United States."
Great solution, but illegal. Did they get permission or just do it?

Aloha 5 days ago 3 replies      
The technical details of the presentation are interesting, but less relevant than how well the device worked at launch. It worked. The iPhone was a success not because it was the first, but because it was the first really usable device, it put everything that came before it to shame.
ianstallings 5 days ago 5 replies      
Reading this makes me think of Jobs as a Railroad baron of old. Kind of heartless, gruff, and willing to crush anyone in his way, but a guy with a vision so strong he will do anything. And it changed the world, it's hard to overstate that.

I remember seeing the iPhone unveiled and thinking "It's cool, but will people really buy such an expensive phone?". I think it was $600. That was pretty expensive at the time. I also remember thinking about how they wanted all apps to be web-based. A disaster for certain I thought. The phone market was all over the place and brand loyalty was in short supply. I'd seen compaq go from dominating PDAs and nosedive off the cliff. Motorola took their brand loyalty (remember how many people had Razrs?) and went into hiding. Time and again I'd seen phone platforms rise and fall. I was skeptical.

All I knew was one thing - I certainly wasn't going to buy one.

Years later and I now program for iOS a lot. Everyday pretty much. I'm a full blown Mac convert and I'll be honest, the iPhone was what caused it. I bought my first iPhone at version 4. Then I specifically bought my first Mac so I could use the SDK for that phone. I fell in love with the platform, in all its insane glory.

I might move to another platform one day, but I can honestly say I never imagined this is what I would be working on.

mcenedella 5 days ago 4 replies      
It's easy to forget how far Apple had already come by this point. I re-discovered this super-insulting dude asking an obnoxious question to Steve at WWDC 1997: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6497475
codeulike 5 days ago 1 reply      
Watching the original iPhone unveil, it was pretty surprising to see all the Google love from Steve, and Eric Schmidt come bounding onto the stage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxUDiS3AR0M
plg 5 days ago 1 reply      
"In the span of seven years, the iPhone and its iPad progeny have become among the most important innovations in Silicon Valleys history. They transformed the stodgy cellphone industry. "

What other stodgy industry is there that Apple could easily disrupt? How about this: how does it make you feel when you use the DVR box that your cable / satellite company forces you to use, to watch tv? I know the answer for me. Seems like low hanging fruit with potentially enormous payoff for Apple.

chernevik 5 days ago 0 replies      
The timing of the project launch is pretty remarkable. It seems that Jobs wanted to do this for some time, but was waiting and watching for technical feasibility. From the effort they had getting the demo to work, it seems that they launched the project something like immediately after the progress of the component technologies brought that feasibility into view. And even then they had to manage risks, and then they had to get the thing into production.

And while that suggests some pretty deep technical savvy at executive levels, they still had heartburn over seemingly simple questions like "can you put radio waves through aluminum?"

It seems to me that the genius of Jobs was 1) to envision customer experiences based on really remarkable extensions / integrations of existing tech and 2) to judge the moment when those visions had gone from "someday" to "now".

valgaze 5 days ago 0 replies      
The unsuccessful partnership with Motorola (& Cingular wireless) mentioned in the article was probably w/ the "Rokr"

See press release:http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2005/09/07Apple-Motorola-Cin...

mistercow 5 days ago 1 reply      
>What worries Apple fans most of all is not knowing where the company is headed.

As a former Apple fan, I actually find the iPhone's hemorrhaging of market share and Apple's uncertain future extremely encouraging. I always attributed the things I liked about Apple to their struggling underdog status. They lost that with the iPhone, and they've never been the same since.

It will be fascinating to see if some of the old Apple shines through in the years to come.

AndrewKemendo 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think it is hilarious how Jobs basically reinvented the wheel when it came to operations security, when there have been major organizations doing secret things for decades that he could have pulled the lessons from.
YOSPOS 5 days ago 1 reply      
Keep this story in mind when idiots on the internet talk about a "rectangle with rounded corners".
ChikkaChiChi 4 days ago 0 replies      
A nice reminder that the screen sharing built for the initial demo still doesn't exist without jailbreaking a device. :
daned 5 days ago 0 replies      
I thought I had it tough as a Sales Engineer but I am a piker compared to these guys.
yashg 4 days ago 0 replies      
I always thought Apple took the iPod and added phone radio to it, then they took out the radio, made the screen big and called it iPad. Not anymore. This is interesting stuff.
vonsydov 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm still on 4s with ios 5. don't use siri.
bitwize 5 days ago 5 replies      
iOS is starting to regain marketshare from Android. Now that Apple is making serious downmarket moves with the 5C, it may soon be time to rethink whether Android was ultimately successful at competing with Apple.

Within two years, non-iPhone smartphones will be niche players with partisan user bases, but the bulk of mobile development will be once again for iOS.

Poll: What are your liked and disliked programming languages?
365 points by wting  2 hours ago   227 comments top 71
simias 2 hours ago 11 replies      
And the award of least significant poll of the week goes to...

Seriously, you won't get anything meaningful out of this, people will vote for the language they like and then bash the usual suspects (PHP, actionscript, C++,...). Also they will browse the first 20 entries or so and then get bored and skip to the end.

I'm sure the people who "dislike cobol" (7 people at the moment) have intimate knowledge of the language in production in order to cast such a vote.

It's just a popularity contest and a bad one at that.

Also: "Other - Dislike: 5 points". Enough said.

sjwright 59 minutes ago 3 replies      
Saddened to see a high number of ColdFusion dislike votes. As a CFML developer who routinely bears the brunt of gleeful derision, allow me to point out what you're missing out on.

Yes, ColdFusion was a bit awful in its early days, but to be fair, it was pretty much the first of its breed, predating PHP, JSP, and ASP.

Modern CFML is a JVM-native language and framework that runs in a Java servlet engine. There are three first-class from-scratch implementations, two of which are fully open source. To cut a long story short, the best one is called Railo, and yes, it's one of the open source ones.

Modern CFML running on Railo is an awesome environment to work in: PHP-like hackability, native JVM performance, first-class java library integration, all on a 100% pure open source software stack. Think of it as JSP for genuinely rapid development.

I swear if Railo wasn't associated with the stigma of ColdFusion, it would be up there in the pantheon of fashionable web languages. It's Groovy with batteries included. It's Ruby On Rails for people who wish their code ran faster and realise that ORMs are inherently stupid. (Or there's Hibernate integration for those who haven't realised this yet.)

wslh 1 hour ago 4 replies      
I like C# more than Java because:

- The .NET Framework is a straightforward way to solve a problem vs pattern oriented solutions. This is not about the programming language itself but how the people in that community think about a problem

- C# evolved more than Java and it was more pragmatic. There are no operators in Java.

- I really like the diversity and maturity of third party Java libs. That's why I use IKVM when I need to use a lib from Java in .NET and why I use Jython. Examples here: http://blog.databigbang.com/tag/ikvm/ and here: http://blog.databigbang.com/tag/jython

I don't like Javascript, I would like to replace it with a standard VM to run other programming languages like Python.

I like C++ for performance oriented applications and when good libraries are available. For example I like CryptoPP.

I like Objective-C and their additions like Grand Central Dispatch. I like XCode.

I love Python: it's straightforward to build stuff.

I don't like PHP but many times I prefer to build some web scripts using PHP.

I like Pascal for teaching algorithms. More than C, because is less ambiguous.

I don't like C anymore except for firmware.

pertinhower 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Polls like these are amusing but they're not particularly helpful. They broadcast subjective feelings about the "coolness" of languages at the expense of objective evaluation of languages.

How many of you upvoted "Go" even though you've never really tried Go, just because you feel like it has got zeitgeist and pizzazz and you're attracted to trying Go? Did you downvote Visual Basic? Have you ever used it? If not, you probably downvoted it because hating Visual Basic is a mark of an Enlightened Programmer; wearing a Visual Basic t-shirt to work would either be a joke or a mark of death. But these are social, subjective, impressionistic evaluations we're talking about. Do the languages actually deserve these judgments?

So, if the goal is to propagate and entrench the existing impressions that people tend to muddle around with (because, after all, how many of us really have the chance to deeply learn---deeply enough to form a sound opinion---more than one or two new languages a year?), then mission accomplished. But if the goal is to shed light on the respective value of languages, darkness has fallen.

leokun 1 hour ago 2 replies      
In my very uninformed, and novice opinion, which you should entirely disregard, it is my probably incorrect estimation that the Rust developers are in maybe over their heads. I don't like saying negative things about an interesting idea, good engineers who mean well, so I don't like this so please someone convince me why I'm wrong.

A few things:

The multiple ways to manage memory seem completely messy to me, the various ways to box values and what not and what the implications are. It's not pretty, it's not elegant, but then sometimes things aren't. I'm complaining about prettiness over usefulness somewhere else in this thread. But the box memory model thing left me feeling like it was a convoluted solution that could end up in confusion.

No SSL stuff. Not much encryption stuff. And worse of all in their mozilla IRC channel those guys said writing such things should be left to experts, that people should always use the C libraries with rust. Being able to make HTTPS requests would be a pretty important feature for a browser like Servo I'd think. It's true security features should be vetted, and cryptography requires expertise, but on the other hand look at Go. They wrote a lot of their own cryptography code in go, and it seems to work pretty damn well.

The pace of development. Given the state of the network io library, the many packages required to get to a useful state, it seems like it's going to be about a decade or so before Rust is even usable. Which is fine, it's not a race. But overall I just get the feeling that I'm not sure Rust is what it aspires to be.

Anyway. I hope Rust does do well. I like the idea, I like the people working on it. Maybe I shouldn't have committed to forming any kind of opinion still so early in its development.

nicholassmith 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I like C++. I dislike C++.

No seriously. For everything good about a language there's usually something that's not so good and is completely frustrating. That's why there's so many programming languages, they're all awful and excellent at the same time, asking a favourite is like saying 'do you prefer being hugged whilst on fire, or being hugged by someone on fire'.

colkassad 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Regarding the language itself, what's there to dislike about C#?
agentultra 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Assembly"? For what platform? I could care less about AT&T, I've learned to live with Intel, and I'm interested in ARM. It's rosy to think that I like 6502 but it's not the best. What does it even mean to, "like," one of these, "languages?"

I've only learned various assemblers by way of necessity writing compiler backends (usually in my spare time for fun... I don't even know these platforms well enough to write a serious production-grade backend with optimizations). Some I find easier to work with than others... but how can you, "like," one over another? I find assembly to be rather devoid of any characteristic that I find interesting or emotionally endearing.

It's easier to attach an emotional context to a programming language these days by proxy; I think most programmers simply associate with the culture that develops around a language. But there was an era when a programming language was just a manual and all you had was a compiler. There wasn't anything particularly interesting about using one over another beyond perhaps what they were capable of from a technical perspective.

So what does it mean to, "like," a language? Do you find it technically superior relative to all others? Is there some socially accepted criterion I am unaware of by which we measure how we feel about a language?

People are strange.

timdiggerm 2 hours ago 6 replies      
I hope it's okay to vote Like and Dislike for javascript
adolfojp 1 hour ago 2 replies      
This poll should be more specific with Visual Basic. There are a few different languages that share the name VB.





nsxwolf 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
I was actually expecting the HN crowd to hate Java more than PHP. But it was close!

143 dislikes for COBOL? Call my cynical but I'll bet most of those votes came from people who have never been near a green screen.

bane 52 minutes ago 1 reply      
Curious about all the Go dislikes. From the kind of things that get posted here I'd have assumed it to be almost universally liked. Anybody can provide reasons?
sequoia 1 hour ago 10 replies      
"Raise your hand if you hate PHP" many hands go up

"Keep your hand up if you've actually built a project using PHP" most hands go down

But my coool poooints!! I need to show the guys I hate PHP so they won't think I'm a newb!!

GnarfGnarf 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
You're missing the most dreadful language in existence: Report Program Generator (RPG).
qznc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
25 Dislikes for D? I didn't know it had so many users. :)

Reminds me of the ironic brag at Dconf: "We have people who program D against their will" (http://dconf.org/2013/talks/clugston.html)

kjackson2012 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
I absolutely despise Perl with every ounce of my body.

I'm not saying that it's a bad programming language. I'm also not saying it can't be used to create extremely useful software, or that you're not a great programmer if you only use Perl. I respect great Perl programmers just like every other great programmer. I worked at Yahoo, and from the code that I saw, there were only a few great programmers there. The rest wrote a piles of steaming code/shit that was almost impossible to understand.

However, the nuances about the language really rub me the wrong way and offend my own personal beliefs on how programming languages should be. I hate the array vs. scalar concept, the different ways to access them with various brackets and @/$, etc, and I especially hate that they have separate namespaces. I also hate things like "or" and "||" have different precedences. I did my best to learn perl, and wrote scripts at home to help me gain better knowledge, but once I discovered python, I ditched it and will never go back.

rfnslyr 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't discriminate. All languages are equal in my eyes, each with their own quirks and adventures.

Except PHP, PHP can fuck off.

captainmuon 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
Funny, I'd say I like functional programming... and yet I disliked all the functional and/or lisp-like languages that are the bees knees these days... Scala, Scheme, Clojure, Haskell, F#, ... All of them have neat sides, but I'm not really productive in any of them.

There are things like too-clever type systems that get into your way, instead of catching errors. Constness can be silly in C++ if you are not careful, but that's nothing against the situation in e.g. Haskell.

Then there is type inference, which really scares me. When I write (in pseudocode):

fun add(a, b) { return a + b; }

the meaning can change depending on how this is called at a different place in my code (e.g. with strings or ints as arguments). On the one hand, this confuses me - if there is a conflict, it can be incredibly hard to debug. On the other hand, the compiler can get confused. If I call add(get_number(x), get_number(y)), I know that a and b are going to be ints, but the compiler might be unable to infer this, depending on how complex get_number is. Type inference is magic, and IMHO often not worth the saved keystrokes. I'd rather have my language use a Variant type when no type is specified (and sure, when it can infer the type, use it as an optimization).

hbbio 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
As of now, Python wins both:

- in absolute likes (1167)

- in like/dislike ratio (1167/161=7,25)

vichu 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
To make this poll more indicative of what each "like" and "dislike" means, there should honestly be an additional field that says the level of proficiency one has in each programming language. As in for each "like", it should be divided into "like: well-versed", "like: proficient", "like: passing knowledge", "like: have not used" and the same for each "dislike".

Of course, that does lend a large amount of bloat to the poll, but at least that information is more useful and useful data is what we should care about. This is not to say that this information is not useful, but I more interpret this data in a vague sense of what languages are used the most commonly and the pathos surrounding each language.

As an aside, I'd also like to point out that once one gets to know a language sufficiently well, they usually end up finding things that they dislike about the language and things that they like, further making this poll slightly more noisy. Ah well, I guess that's why new programming languages are born.

[edit: fixed a typo]

exDM69 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Disliked Scheme by accident :( SICP really changed the way I think and write code. It also taught me the basics of compilers and interpreters.
skriticos2 1 hour ago 3 replies      
What I like: Python (3), C, C++, Shell.What I dislike: Java, C#, PHP, Objective-C.

Python (3): it just has ridiculously powerful data structures and sensible error messages

C: it's simple(ish), fast and keeps yuppies away

C++: has great libraries and frameworks like Qt, is fast

Shell: quick and simple for small tasks

Java: mainstream and boring, people expect me to use it and work with horribly broken code created by off-shored resources who have absolutely no clue what they were doing

C#: Microsoft

PHP: ugly, people expect me to use it

Objective-C: just because it prompts HR to hire people with this skills instead of something more pleasant

Really, I like powerful languages. I hate languages that are boring, ugly, have a horrible code debt and prospective majority employees expect me to use.

In short, I dislike monopolies.

Edit: forgot - VBA - dislike (just because locked down enterprise desktops)

RivieraKid 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Ceylon is missing :)

I've recently had a closer look at it and I believe that it's the best-designed general purpose statically typed language out there. I'm genuienly impressed by it. It's far from being production ready though.

kybernetyk 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Dislike ActionScript - Like JavaScript.

Interesting ...

babuskov 1 hour ago 0 replies      
What's Shell?

If you mean Unix/Linux shells, you should have picked a couple, or just used Bash, because many people would upvote one shell and downvote another. Csh, Bash, Zsh are completely different when it comes down to what you like or dislike.

anuragramdasan 42 minutes ago 1 reply      
While I find this poll rather insignificant and pointless, I can't help being amused by the amount of downvotes Common Lisp and Clojure have received. Can someone(probably someone who downvoted) please explain me what is wrong with those languages? Not being a snark, just curious.
spindritf 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Python, C, and js while PHP and Java are getting lashed. Pretty much what you'd expect.

Still, one of the better polls.

barking 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Visual basic, no love in 15 years and still kicking C#'s ass on the desktop
camus 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Why people dislike ActionScript ? we are talking about the language , not the Flash Plateform. As a language ActionScript is what Javascript should have been ,strict enough for large scale programs , dynamic enough to be written fast. Flash is the plateform and the framework , actionscript is the language. I dont really get that hate for ActionScript.
rip747 1 hour ago 1 reply      
seeing how there was quite a bit of CFML bashing going on yesterday, i doesn't surprise me that ColdFusion has that many dislike votes.

BTW, its CFML, NOT ColdFusion. ColdFusion is a product, CFML is the language. it would be the same as having JRuby on the list instead of Ruby. if you're going to have a poll on programming languages, then at least label said languages correctly.

joeblau 2 hours ago 14 replies      
What is it about CoffeeScript that people don't like?
nextstep 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
Maybe it's time for another temporary ban on polls.
Mikeb85 1 hour ago 0 replies      
These days a small language called Pure has my attention (purelang.bitbucket.org) - it has many of the features of Haskell I like, but is a dynamically typed language that makes use of an interesting functional paradigm (term rewriting calculus!), and is much easier to use than Haskell. It also has a great shell and C/C++ interface (and Emacs and Texmacs integration).

And I always like seeing these kinds of polls because people's 'favourites' depend alot on what they do with the language - Java and C++ are great for writing large apps, systems, etc..., while dynamic languages have much different use cases.

glanotte 1 hour ago 1 reply      
"There are the two kinds of languages only, the kind that people complain about and the kind that nobody uses." -- someone on the internet that I am too lazy to google. A.K.A Bjarne Stroustrup

I truly don't see the value of this, every language brings something to the table.

jamesbritt 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'll be spending the day coding in Processing, sadly missing from the list. I guess it's a vote for Other.
DanielBMarkham 2 hours ago 2 replies      
What? No love for F#? Why do folks always leave F# out of these things?
meepmorp 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
What? No matlab/octave?
Egregore 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
Where is haxe language? :)
ddoolin 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
I like and dislike them all pretty equally. They all have their ups and downs, some more than others, but I've never completed liked one or not with no strings attached.
netcraft 1 hour ago 1 reply      
im curious what people dislike about groovy. I haven't tried it much but it seemed like a decent language and good alternative to java. I wasn't thrilled with the availability of frameworks for it, but that was about the only complaint I really had.
jaimefjorge 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm with Guy Steele on this one: I like all languages (http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Future-of-Programming-Lan... 01:45).
swah 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
Are we voting language or implementation? Go: love the implementation. Scala: nice language.
middus 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I just upvoted "php - Like" and "php - Dislike", because I both love and hate working with php.

I guess I'm not alone...

dudus 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I like and dislike Javascript at the same time. That was not a mistake, this is actually how I feel.
facorreia 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Like or Dislike... for which use case? For instance, I don't plan on ever writing web applications in Lua, but I consider it a very good choice for game scripting. Does it mean I like it? Or dislike it?
izietto 1 hour ago 0 replies      
infinotize 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised at the current number of likes/dislikes for Lisp and Scheme. Most of my work, including at home, work and in the past at school, was in C, C++, Java, Perl, Python, SQL and some mixes of Shell and other minor dabbling in other languages.

I had some exposure to Lisp in school way back when, and had to do some work in Scheme. I hated it. Strong dislike! So what was I missing? It seems these have a strong following compared with how widespread they are.

zura 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Prolog, thus a whole paradigm is missing in the poll.
delinka 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Julia! Poor thing is left off ...
saurabh 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Factor is missing from the list


gesman 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Would be better to have some sort of commented vote, in other words: vote and explain why.

For me - I dislike interpreted languages no matter how cute their syntax looks like. They usually offer quickest idea-to-deployment times for the price of shittiest overall performance.

mindcrime 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised at the lack of love for Groovy. Groovy rocks... I made the decision to switch all of our development to Groovy (and Grails) a couple of years ago, and I haven't regretted the move at all... it's gone astonishingly well. Much faster development than in raw Java, but without a huge learning curve, and yet still with seamless integration with existing Java libraries, plus more than a few very cool native Groovy libraries. What's not to like?
wmeyer 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Should have included F#.
MrMiracle 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I know this is 100% subjective, as is the nature with most polls, but I must say I don't understand why python is such a darling . What's the deal? I just want to understand... I feel like I'm missing out on something (like seeing the boat in the magic eye pictures)
Grue3 1 hour ago 2 replies      
I was wondering why ColdFusion is doing so poorly, but then I looked up examples on Wikipedia. Good God.
rauar 1 hour ago 0 replies      
ABAP is missing.
tsenkov 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Wish I made this as a prediction, at the start - most liked are JavaScript, Ruby, Python and C.
judah 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
TypeScript should be added to this list.
k_kelly 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Javascript having a higher approval rating than coffeescript is actually pretty interesting.
max0563 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Why is Karel not on there?
dandare 1 hour ago 0 replies      
TIL 140 people don't know the difference between Flash and ActionScript
wcbeard10 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Julia - Like
OhHeyItsE 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Yikes. what terrible UX for a poll.
novaleaf 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
why no typescript?
kiechu 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Langer is missing in a poll: http://langner.io Scandal! ;-)
texrat 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Ah, the usual VB hate... likely from people who've never even used it.
afsina 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Other like - Dart.
DrinkWater 2 hours ago 1 reply      
uhh PHP dislikes are going up (what a surprise)
preynal 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Where is Dart?
infinotize 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Is it worth including HTML/CSS?
0b1100110 1 hour ago 0 replies      
D - Like
Frequency-shaped background noise generators mynoise.net
332 points by ivank  2 days ago   109 comments top 39
JonnieCache 2 days ago 2 replies      
Also fun: loads of real field recordings on http://freesound.org

Use the geotag browser and listen to the wilderness of your choice! http://freesound.org/browse/geotags/

audiosampling 2 days ago 7 replies      
Hi Guys! I am the developer of the myNoise website and just want to say that all your comments are a great source of inspiration today: many suggestions for further improvements will be taken into account! Although I did entirely code the website by my own using a simple text editor, I am not a programmer, in the sense that I never learned how to program efficiently and beautifully. Multiplatform issues, and mobile browsers in particular, are driving me crazy ;-) And yes... I feel a bit "naked" now as some of you are digging into my website code with much expertise. Please be indulgent! ;-) Cheers, Stephane
ewoodrich 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fantastic. I tend to not like rain sound simulators, but the sliders let me pick one that seemed believable and familiar. I loved how the darker end of the spectrum let me simulate a visit to the Oregon coast.

(After which, I wished there was actually a storm right now, until I walked out onto my balcony and realized it was raining.)

"Too much internet for me" as they say.

backprojection 2 days ago 2 replies      
Someone posted ambient warp-core sound from Star Trek on Reddit earlier today, maybe you could add this.


p1mrx 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote an Android app based on a similar concept, although it uses a PRNG and Fourier transform, with no recorded samples:


crazygringo 2 days ago 4 replies      
First of all -- awesome concept and execution, and great sound samples. Well-done.

> Mobile Safari iOS 6 on iPad 2+, iPhone 4GS+

But... not working on my 4S/iOS6. :(

Anyone got it working to play in the background, even when your phone's screen is off? I also wonder about battery life as HTML5 audio, vs if it were an app.

The creators clearly want to support HTML-only, according to the FAQ, but this calls for an app if anything ever did -- you want it to run, providing sound in the background, while you do other stuff (whether on or off your phone).

hobs 2 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting idea and cool presentation, I like the sliders and that I can play around with it.

I will probably use this at work.

edit: This is really good, I just accidentally left it on and had completely forgotten I was listening to the same thing. Very much works as advertised.

msluyter 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great, now I have to keep another dozen Chrome tabs open... ;) Seriously, this is pretty nice. I currently have rain, fan, ocean, Indian Drone, Tibetan meditation, and Bamboo running concurrently.

A way to combine sounds without opening a new tab would be be an obvious improvement. Adding a feature that randomly (very slowly) raises and lowers volume of a sound from set of subcomponents could be interesting -- it'd give the sense that the sounds are changing slowly over time and relieve some of the stasis.

Edit: just noticed the babble generator. This is genius, and exactly what I need to mask background conversations.

kintamanimatt 2 days ago 1 reply      
One strange thing I noticed about this is with the cabin sound, listening to it for a prolonged period tends to cause ringing in my ears like I've been listening to loud music, except I'm listening to this at low volumes. This isn't something I've experienced for low-volume stuff before.
grn 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use http://simplynoise.com to put my daughter to sleep. It's much easier when the noise is playing. I also use http://rainymood.com to isolate myself from the environment when I'm working.
NatW 2 days ago 2 replies      
Nice!! A request: Can you add Pink Noise?:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_noiseOne (of various youtube examples) here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXtimhT-ff4
filereaper 2 days ago 2 replies      
I really like this.

I use simplynoise's noise generators to drown out noise at work (oscillating brown noise usually)

But I like having an equalizer.

I've opened up multiple tabs and superimposed the noises, it downs everything out. Hope you can spare the traffic.

conflagration 2 days ago 1 reply      
The sounds are great by themselves, but I had the most fun layering different generators by opening several tabs. I played around with the EQ and made something sounding very close to Biosphere with 4 parallel tabs. It really felt like the tracks were synchronized to fit into each other. Great work!
j2kun 2 days ago 1 reply      
How does this work mathematically? Do you take, e.g., a waterfall track and manipulate its frequency spectrum? Or is it completely synthetically generated? If it's the latter, then I'm quite impressed that I can't tell the difference.
matrix 1 day ago 1 reply      
This site is awesome! A feature request, if I may: on the calibration page, it would be helpful to have the ability to mute all the sliders except the one you are calibrating. Or perhaps, like slider in a color tool, have a text box with a number representing that volume that slider is set to.
shmerl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting, on Linux, PulseAudio shows many channels in the mixer (for ALSA plugin in Firefox), when the noise page is opened.

By the way the site mentions using OGG (I guess Vorbis) playback. How does it work in crippled browsers like mobile Safari, which don't support Vorbis?

rsync 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any chance you can make this a sonos-accessible station ?
hcarvalhoalves 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh this is beautiful. Those textures are better than music at times. Loved playing around with the ocean waves [1], I was able to get close to the sound that used to make me fall asleep as a kid.

[1] http://mynoise.net/NoiseMachines/oceanNoiseGenerator.php

hawkharris 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a very useful, well designed app. I think I'll use it to help myself go to sleep and stop procrastinating with HN. :)
gadders 2 days ago 1 reply      
Needs Birdsong: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22298779

Everything feels better when listening to the Dawn Chorus.

groundCode 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great resource thanks! I love the Tibetan chanting. Would love something that subtley changes the sliders over time.
onurgu 1 day ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of Aporee Maps:


You can just listen to high quality sounds recorded by sound artists around the world.

It feels like you are in that place. I don't know if it's only me but I recall hours of me listening to this site.

defen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, really cool app. It really reminded me of how much I miss the sound of rain and wind.
FYI 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, very cool.Saves people money as well (up to $200):http://www.sharperimage.com/si/view/product/Sound-Soother-Wh...

You could stream example outputs 24/7 as net radio channels so they are also available on other devices / STBs (Roku) / Consoles / Smart TVs etc..

shmerl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea and implementation.
LeChuck 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great. I especially like the cabin noise. I work on ships and for the first week or so after I get home I need some background noise to help me sleep. This one sounds quite close to what one might hear on a ship.
newsmaster 2 days ago 2 replies      
Don't know why but I find the babble noise really creepy. http://mynoise.net/NoiseMachines/babbleNoiseGenerator.php
sparkman55 2 days ago 0 replies      
These types of sounds are absolutely wonderful for soothing angry babies!
technojunkie 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh, this is wonderful! I love Simplynoise but this is even more fun. I hope they can decrease load times and make this a webapp rather than taking 2 steps to load the various noises.
kaoD 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nice job! Being able to share custom presets would be cool.
galapago 2 days ago 0 replies      
A (humble) request: Vacuum cleaner sound.
matude 2 days ago 0 replies      
Heh, thought it was CSS-based website background noise texture generator
agladlad 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic! Love the throat singing and the ability to play with different presets. I was using the TNG engine noise on youtube before the 24-hour version was taken down, but this is my new jam.
tama 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is really nice. Using it at work now. Thanks!
Shtirlic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tonal Drones are great, iPad application needed.
rpwverheij 2 days ago 0 replies      
wow, thank you! I think I'll be visiting this site often when in need for precise brain tuning support
tinyzor 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you (I have tinnitus).
glassdoor 2 days ago 1 reply      
It is working for a highly Hackernews Distracted person, except I have to write this comment!
Introducing Login and Pay with Amazon amazon.com
325 points by werner  1 day ago   123 comments top 31
saurik 1 day ago 4 replies      
Amazon already offered the login feature (this was launched earlier this year), and they already offered an API-based payments platform (Amazon Flexible Payments, launched in 2008). Rather than just allow you to pass login tokens to Flexible Payments, however, they have decided to provide a completely incompatible API with a new set of endpoints, a completely incompatible accounting system, and even completely new terminology to describe the same set of steps. As someone who has invested heavily in Amazon Payments solution over the last four and a half years (for a long time I had been their largest customer doing mobile payments, and when jailbreaks come around I still leap upward in their charts), I frankly look at this as a massive "fuck you", and not any kind of reasonable step forward :(.

Seriously: integrating payment processing is never the hard part; instead, it is integrating all of the accounting backends from different providers so you have all of the charges, fees, fines, refunds, disputes, etc. all being calculated and scraped in a way such that despite processing millions of transactions you are in a position to, for example, file things like VAT and income tax. It can take months of experience to figure out "oh, this API is failing to correlate chargebacks in these specific circumstances, but I can work around the issue like this" or to learn what all the different kinds of error messages that a user can end up seeing so you can provide support. It might even be worth it occasionally to rewrite everything if the new services always provided a superset of the functionality from the old ones and there was some kind of migration path, but Amazon just keeps making entirely unrelated solutions.

After the way Amazon has treated their FPS platform (they seem incapable of making even trivial changes: even just fixing wording in e-mails that they agree is flawed and confusing to users), I cannot imagine ever investing in another Amazon Payments product again (and I have tons of more reasons why I've come to this position, which I'm probably going to be putting together into a blog post soon, largely having to do with the lack of any reasonable payment fraud prevention model for third-party products). I honestly get the impression that they outsource all of their development for Amazon Payments and no longer have any expertise in-house required to actually maintain the software once deployed. (If nothing else, from having the opportunity to speak with a couple Payments developers working out of Amazon's India offices, I know that they are not running development for these products out of Seattle; the time zone differences might just be horribly brutal attempting to coordinate?)

To be clear: I tried very hard to work with them, having tons of meetings with greater and greater numbers of people on their side, putting together more and more detailed descriptions of what is going wrong on their end (even teaching them some things about payment fraud, which simply should not happen: I should not ever have anything insightful to say about payment fraud that they haven't already spent years thinking about... I'm just a tiny merchant, whereas they are either one of the world's largest merchants or a payment processing firm depending on which angle you are looking at them from ;P), before finally giving up a few months ago (I've just resolved to remove them entirely from my stack and replace them with more reasonable solutions).

Somehow PayPal manages, every few months, to provide interesting new functionality--even provide entirely new API layers--and it all maps back to the same accounting backends, old code continues to work with minimal changes, and the UI keeps improving (slowly, but surely). Amazon FPS in 2008 far surpassed similar offerings, but in the last five years PayPal simply built up the same functionality (better) while Amazon let theirs rot. It isn't even clear how this new Login and Pay with Amazon service is connected with Amazon Payments: they mention a random subset of the now-numerous Amazon payments-related products in the documentation as being incompatible with this (including Checkout by Amazon), but they don't even bother to mention a whole host of others (including Flexible Payments and Simple Pay). I've found an older version of the documentation (using Google Cache) that references Amazon Payments Advanced (another Amazon Payments offering that seemed targeted, ironically, at less advanced use cases), but the new integration guide limits the scope to just payments made via this service. They seriously have so many incompatible solutions now that it doesn't even seem worthwhile attempting to document how they relate :(.

simplekoala 1 day ago 6 replies      
Is it Werner Vogels (Amazon's CTO) who submitted this story?
DenisM 1 day ago 1 reply      
Salient point: The fees start at $0.30 + 2.9% and go down form there, reaching $0.30 + 1.9% when you reach $100k/mo in volume.


buro9 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Make Amazon's Customers Your Customers"

Except this is on your web-site and you would be making your customer Amazon's customer.

There is a deep conflict in this solution, and no doubt some people will jump for it not deliberating on what it could mean for them.

For me this represents a shift away from payment processing (Stripe, or even PayPal), and towards ownership of the set of master records that power an online commerce business. There is a fine but clear line between helping to process a payment and taking over the ownership of the customer. This is your customer, not Amazon's, and the master record should be in your hand and leveraged by you, not Amazon. I would be very hesitant to walk this path.

jusben1369 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is going to be tough. A lot of merchants won't want a competitor (Amazon) to be anywhere near their site - especially at checkout. "Oh yeah, pay by Amazon. I wonder if they have this item cheaper there" Typically PayPal and Apple don't have that conflict
Smrchy 1 day ago 1 reply      
I just wish Amazon would not talk about 200m accounts worldwide and then offering payments only for US customers.
dingaling 1 day ago 1 reply      
Humble Bundle started offering 'Pay with Amazon' a couple of years ago and it is very slowly expanding, in the UK at least.

I looked into it last year and from the merchant perspective you have to try do the maths up front. There is a trade-off between micropayments and 'standard' amounts, with the fee and per centage varying. There are discounts for higher volumes but not automatically applied. All in all it reminded me of trying to calculate AWS bills up-front; not trivial and prone to assumptions.

I'd say it targets an interesting niche the folk whom I know use it prefer Amazon's name to Paypal, and they are mostly higher-than-average salaried. I wonder what the comparison with other payment methods' demographics is?

tlrobinson 1 day ago 3 replies      
Ok, now how about enabling HTTPS for amazon.com?

Off topic, I know, but come on. It's the last major service I use that doesn't even support it.

Dirlewanger 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm all for anything that slowly usurps Paypal as the ubiquitous middleman for paying online.
gingerlime 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is this available internationally and/or with non $ US currencies?
bosky101 1 day ago 0 replies      

     >> at this time it does not support payments for digital goods or services.
Found this in the fine print.


marcamillion 1 day ago 0 replies      
Uggghhh....why can't Amazon make something simple.

I want to know basic things like how would I - as a developer - get my money when people pay me.

Why is that so hard to find?

leejoramo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Who else provides this combination of both login and payment processing?
devx 1 day ago 7 replies      
Can Amazon develop a "21st century" payment system for its associate affiliates that doesn't involve receiving checks 4 months later? It's such a ridiculously obsolete system for one of the biggest web/digital companies.
zt 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think ultimately the big identity services will basically be how we pay for things on the internet. That's this Pay with Amazon one-click button, where pay with GMail will go, and what Facebook will eventually come to if they ever care about payments. This causes some problems as your accounts become all the more valuable, but why should I ever have to enter my credit card info on the web more than once?
paulhauggis 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have bad experiences with Amazon, so I don't think I would ever use this service.

A couple of years ago, I was a seller on the Amazon marketplace. My account got banned and there was absolutely no way to talk to a real person to try to resolve the issue.

They shuffled me around to different customer service reps (all through email, no phone support) who would give me cookie-cutter responses. Eventually, they just stopped answering my emails and told me not to contact them anymore.

Luckily, I got my remaining account balance back in 90 days.

josephagoss 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hey werner, any chance you will accept Bitcoin one day?
MaxGabriel 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just saw this used on the wifi purchase page on my flight to San Francisco.
chiph 1 day ago 1 reply      
How do I (the seller) get my money? I didn't see anything about their sending regular payments to my business' bank account (but I may have missed it).
nly 1 day ago 0 replies      
So is this just an few-click OAuth thing? Click the button on a 3rd party website, and if you're logged in to Amazon, they send over your details, charge you, and you're done?
omarrr 1 day ago 0 replies      
This has the potential of being a serious competitor to Paypal. Amazon is on a roll.
akurilin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does this take care of subscriptions, or is this for one-time payments?
bigdipper 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a smart move (ignoring their half assed attempts earlier in their lives).

1. Vertical integration with merchants that sell on amazon and their own websites2. Encourage merchants to inventory, and fulfill and transact via amazon3. Enable a Global marketplace for their merchants4. Next step, subscriptions and data.

But it all hinges on execution...

exo_duz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hope they will start allowing overseas sellers soon. I know a lot of merchants who'd be interested in this service.
zerop 1 day ago 0 replies      
Problems -- No Micropayments and Probably service is only for US merchants..
yashg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Only for US merchants. Sigh. Ok.
untilHellbanned 1 day ago 0 replies      
"When they login with Amazon, you get the customer's name, email address and zip code"

Getting email addresses is the key. That doesn't happen with most 3rd party-login/OAuth implementers.

"Rates for Micropayments: For transactions less than or equal to $9.99, we offer a fee of 5.0% + $0.05 per transaction."

These micropayment rates match Paypal and is better than Stripe.

I'm keeping an eye on this.

moneyrich4 1 day ago 0 replies      
you guys should not use this - amazon has a history of retarded tech support

they also overban customers.

sandeshkumar 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is killer!
mikegogulski 1 day ago 1 reply      
Dearest Great God C'thulhu,

Please eat the people who keep giving Jeff Bezos more money inciting him to become an even bigger jerk last.

Thank you. I remain, as always,

Your humble Cultist,Mike

drcode 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm surprised this is at the top of hacker news... Is there any innovation here? Seems like a "me too" product, or am I missing something?
Ocean acidification due to carbon emissions is at highest for 300m years theguardian.com
319 points by anon1385  6 days ago   144 comments top 25
JumpCrisscross 6 days ago 3 replies      
How credible a source is IPSO, the author of the report backing this story? From what I can tell it's a U.K. non-profit hosted by the Zoological Society of London [1], itself a U.K. non-profit [2]. Alex Rogers, IPSO's Scientific Director [1], is also a Professor in Conservation Biology at the University of Oxford [3].

Paper article is based on: http://www.stateoftheocean.org/pdfs/Bijma-et-al-2013.pdf

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

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

[3] http://www.zoo.ox.ac.uk/people/view/rogers_ad.htm

moultano 6 days ago 1 reply      
In a bit of cosmic irony, most fossil fuel was created from mass extinctions that accompanied changes in ocean chemistry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anoxic_event
hcarvalhoalves 6 days ago 4 replies      
The short-term scenario is not good, but from the little I know about aquatic biology/chemistry, it might not be as catastrophical as the article pictures it.

Increased CO2 levels should just cause algae/cyanobacteria blooms, which will balance CO2/O2 levels back again and foster primary consumers (solving over-fishing as a bonus). Also, H2CO3 gets buffered by all the Ca/Mg content in the ocean, so I don't think it's even possible for the pH to just drop forever (as in the graph someone posted in one of the comments here).

colmvp 6 days ago 2 replies      
The Seattle Times did an interactive article about this very subject last month:


Smudge 6 days ago 3 replies      
"This story has broken an embargo and will shortly be taken down. It will be relaunched to the site at 6.00am BST. Apologies"


SCAQTony 6 days ago 3 replies      
Let's presume it is all true. Gizmag quoted a study that 15-container ships (just 15) dole out the same amount of pollution as 760-million cars. (I shit you not):


God knows what coal and power plants produce but nonetheless, why does the IPSO and The Guardian have to scare the shit out of everyone instead of offering some sort of real, solution?

If this is all true and this is as dire as they say, one would think or suggest that the military take over the shipping duties of these 15-container-ships and use 15-nuclear-powered vessels instead? this would remove the carbon footprint of these polluting vessels and/or 750-million cars per day with way less waste?

Next, onto the power plants instead of the barbecues and lawn mowers?

kmfrk 6 days ago 2 replies      
I hope you like jellyfish.
IanDrake 5 days ago 2 replies      
Just thinking out loud here...

Can anyone think of other cases where science is used to predict the future of complex systems more than 2 years in advance?

I'm not talking about moore's law, but statistical models used to predict the future. How many solar flares will there be in 2020? What will the DOW be in 2050? How many democrats will be in congress in 2021? Stuff like that.

So far, the only ones I can think of are models that always spit out the same message... "The earth is dying and we're at fault."

I'm just curious if anyone knows of any predictive models that weren't created to scare the shit out of people.

j_baker 6 days ago 1 reply      
They talk about the oxygen content falling by 7% by 2100. This makes me wonder: let's assume the worst and earth is headed for a mass extinction event. How long do these events usually take? Are they slow processes, or does everything just die one day?
genwin 6 days ago 1 reply      
> imperilling marine life, on which billions of people depend for their nutrition and livelihood

Nature always win in the end! Hopefully the plunge in human population can be handled mostly by attrition.

protomyth 6 days ago 4 replies      
Can the CO2 be removed from the ocean and broken into C and O2? Is this geo-engineering we can do?
Demiurge 6 days ago 2 replies      
Is there any reason no one is talking about terraforming seriously yet? What kind of technologies can be used to draw the CO2 out of the atmosphere, how much would it cost to make a difference?
efnx 6 days ago 2 replies      
It's sad to me that this is not the top post. It seems that fact is a reflection of the problem at hand. We don't care about the oceans as much as we care about Twitter. :(
xsace 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's like playing Sim Earth on my dad SE30 as a kid.I could never get it right and always ended up with a desert or icy planet :(
ommunist 6 days ago 2 replies      
This is one more 'climate change' BS. It does not stop fascinate me how self important climate change advocates are. Humans are not geological factor. Besides no one really have time machine to check validity of such claims. And we know very small about actual chemistry of the oceans, especially when it is deeper than SF beaches.

Disclaimer: I participated in research of lake sediments looking for insights about metal pollutant trends.

AsymetricCom 6 days ago 1 reply      
Kind of off-topic: if ocean temperatures are increasing, isn't this the same thing as the ocean having more potential energy? If energy generation from waves was increased substantially, would this cool the ocean or act as a dampener against the earth's rotation? Perhaps both?
graycat 6 days ago 0 replies      
Yup, why do I suspect that this articleis more of the same from the big movementto claim that humans are evil, carbonis filthy, filthy humans are ruining theplanet with evil carbon, or evil humansare ruining the planet with filthy carbon,and the only hope for the planet is massive,UN directed carbon cap and trade to sendmassive amounts of money from the evil,rich nations to the noble, poor nations,and that humans should junk their carsand either walk or use bicycles, and therich nations should feel ashamed andguilty for their grossly excessive useof the finite resources of our pure, precious,pristine, delicate planet, right at thetipping point of total devastation?

Do I have that about right? Or we couldborrow from the Mayans and kill peopleand pour their blood on a rock to keepthe sun moving across the sky or, in thiscase, save the planet from filthy carbonfrom evil humans. Or, we need a boys'band complete with uniforms to counterthe sin and corruption of a pool tablein town. Let's have some more flim-flam,fraud scams!

16s 6 days ago 0 replies      
The sun is going to burn out some day. When that happens, no one will care about ocean acidity.
shire 6 days ago 0 replies      
And this might get worse because population is increasing so rapidly.
eonil 6 days ago 1 reply      
I think radioactive garbages in Pacific ocean from Fukushima would do better job.
ffrryuu 5 days ago 0 replies      
Acidic loving species rejoice!
rubyalex 6 days ago 4 replies      
What does 300m years mean? Is that 300 or 300 Million?
ancarda 6 days ago 4 replies      
While I recognise this question might be abrasive, I feel compelled to ask it.

Why does this belong on Hacker News?

This isn't technology. This isn't legal news (i.e. software patents). This is in no way related to Hacker News. I have no problem with interesting articles being upvoted, but I feel we need a place to put these or a tagging system similar to lobsters.

The Sierpinski triangle page to end most Sierpinski triangle pages oftenpaper.net
318 points by pr_fancycorn  1 day ago   55 comments top 26
taliesinb 1 day ago 1 reply      
For those who happen to have Mathematica, try this to get a smooth, high-resolution interactive fractal explorer (make sure you have a C compiler installed):

  JuliaFP = Compile[    {{const,_Complex}, {init,_Complex}},     Module[{val=init,n=0},      While[Abs[val] < 5 && n < 25, val = val^2 + const; n++];      {Mod[Arg[val]/(2*3.14159), 1], 1 - Abs[val]/5, 1 - Abs[val]/100}    ],    CompilationTarget -> "C",     RuntimeAttributes -> Listable,     RuntimeOptions -> "Speed"  ];    {fine, coarse} = Table[Complex[j,i],     {dx, {0.008, 0.002}}, {i,-1.5,1.5,dx}, {j,-1.5,1.5,dx}  ];  pt = {0.0,0.0};  Graphics[{    Raster[      JuliaFP[Complex @@ pt/2, If[ControlActive[], fine, coarse]],       {{-2.0,-2.0}, {2.0,2.0}},       ColorFunction-> Hue    ],    Locator[Dynamic[pt]]},    ImageSize -> 800  ] // Dynamic
P.S. Original post is awesome. I love the cow!

BenoitEssiambre 1 day ago 1 reply      
That is truly impressive and mostly all over my head. I feel that somewhere on that page we should be able to find a graphical solution to the factorization of large primes unless maybe that code would need to run on a computer residing in the fourth or fifth dimension?
Groxx 1 day ago 1 reply      
Uh, wow, I think they earned that claim. There's so much in here, they even have a cow which fires lasers being dropped from a space shuttle. http://www.oftenpaper.net/img/understandingtheriemannsphere....

seriously going to have to look more closely at this some time, it's fascinating in a "look what you can do with math/programming/mathematica" kind of way.

nilkn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Another cool thing about the Sierpinski gasket is that it's possible to more or less do calculus on it. You can even define a Laplacian operator. There's actually a whole class of fractal-like sets on which this is possible, but SG has always been the prototypical one.
hansjorg 1 day ago 2 replies      
That's amazing. It just goes on and on with beautiful plots. About halfway down, there's a section on understanding the Riemann sphere:

> From what I can tell, one of the settings used to deal with division by 0 is the so-called Riemann sphere, which is where we take a space shuttle and use it to fly over and drop a cow on top of a biodome, and then have the cow indiscriminately fire laser beams at the grass inside and around the biodome. That's my intuitive understanding of it anyway.

And there's even animation (with Mathematica source) for this one. However:

> (Note the cow cannot be spherical or it will roll off).

wfn 1 day ago 2 replies      
Holy mother, this person is cool and this person's website is cool, too: http://www.oftenpaper.net/ it even has an article on Arc coroutines, ha!
bcbrown 1 day ago 0 replies      
So cool. Fractals were the thing that got me into high-level math and programming, back in high school. One of these days I'm going to go re-implement a bunch of the fractal-generation algorithms.
1wheel 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not nearly as comprehensive, but interactive w/ d3:


Only a couple of lines of codes too:


vanderZwan 1 day ago 1 reply      
A few years ago, I accidentally found this way of creating a Sierpinski Gasket-like structure:


Lines "flow" from left to right (horizontally) or bottom to top (vertically), and all lines start out white. When two lines cross, they might switch color depending on which color they come across, as follows:

* white (h) + white (v) = black (h) + black (v)

* black (h) + black (v) = black (h) + black (v)

* white (h) + black (v) = white (h) + white (v)

* black (h) + white (v) = white (h) + white (v)

8_hours_ago 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is is just me or is the code source really hard to understand? It's cool that you can represent such complex shapes with just a few lines of code in Mathmatica, but without comments and with all the single letter variables, it's hard for me to follow what's going on.
eigenvalue 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is amazingly cool and stimulating to think about. It's also a compelling reason to take another look at Mathematica. The code is clearly dense and hard to understand, but I wouldn't even know how to go about performing some of these computations in another language.
bhouston 1 day ago 0 replies      
Did some Sierpinksi triangles for TOH a few years back: http://www.exocortex.org/toh/
RockofStrength 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was thinking about Sierpinski triangles recently, and trying to relate it to the 3 4 5 triangle. The 3 side has a Sierpinski triangle, with 9 segments, equaling 3^2. The 4 side has an equivalent "Sierpinski square", with 16 segments, equaling 4^2 (basically four squares touching at the corners with an empty square space in the middle, forming a cross shape). Then I was going to show how the two shapes could be combined to equal 5^2, or come up with its own shape (a house seems best, as the regular pentagon tiles the plane so the line totals don't work out).

As of yet, fruitless. It's a cute little project that shades of the standard presentation of three squares forming a center 3 4 5 triangle, with an interesting twist.

hendekagon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Totally amazing...it is itself a fractal of information, I want to go into a recursion of link-following!

Can't resist posting my Clojure implementation of the chaos game: https://github.com/Hendekagon/card

8iterations 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was going to say not all Sierpinski pages, because I didn't expect to cover CGR with genomes. But it covers it! My version:http://8iterations.in/cgr_hanako
chmod775 1 day ago 0 replies      
Triforce spotted :)

Nice to come across some fellow Zelda fanboys unexpectedly.

interstitial 1 day ago 0 replies      
He also mentions Lisp several times in his blog. That alone would rate a front page mention on HN. But seriously, what a wonderful smile-inducing website and page.
bonemachine 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just about ended my Chrome session, until I killed the tab.
spot 1 day ago 1 reply      
liotier 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Gonzo mathematics !
brainburn 1 day ago 0 replies      
pertinhower 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, I suppose this is a decent start... ;-)
EpiMath 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've just spent the last hour or so at this site ( found via reddit/math ) and it is pretty amazing. Well worth a look!Also the link at the end to mathics was new to me and looks interesting.
mrcactu5 1 day ago 0 replies      
At least the guy's enthusiastic
axyjo 1 day ago 0 replies      
2b 2b


Gregorein 1 day ago 0 replies      
One fractal to bind them all
Oops: Azerbaijan released election results before voting had even started washingtonpost.com
315 points by tptacek  17 hours ago   121 comments top 22
Stratoscope 15 hours ago 4 replies      
> The data were quickly recalled. The official story is that the app's developer had mistakenly sent out the 2008 election results as part of a test. But that's a bit flimsy, given that the released totals show the candidates from this week, not from 2008.

This is horseshit.

I spent years building US and international election results maps for a large company, and I had exactly the same thing happen to me on at least one occasion.

When you build an election map or any kind of election reporting site or app, you have to have test data ahead of time. You can't use test data from a previous year, for the simple reason that it has the wrong candidates and parties.

How do you know your code even works with the current candidates? Maybe there's an encoding problem with one of the candidate names this year. Happened to me.

You have to use test data from the current election, yes, the election that has not yet happened. Because you have to test your app with the current candidates, photos, parties, news feeds, electoral boundaries including all the latest redistricting, and all of that.

So yes, it is made up test data, with "predicted" results based on whatever. Recent polling plus a good dose of randomization, perhaps.

You just hope and pray that your test data never leaks out onto a live feed.

But it's a balancing act. You need to test your code on real devices, real browsers, and the whole works. And you have to be ready to swap in your live feed election night and have it all work seamlessly.

Should be easy, right?

Now consider the dynamics of election reporting. You have a deadline. A deadline that will not budge. You do your best, but you're probably not going to get much sleep the week before the election. And sometimes you make a mistake.

That happened with one of the US primary elections. We had a test feed leak out onto a live page for a couple of hours, and man did it make the news. They said we'd released the election "results" early - i.e. we'd made up the results.

Well of course we made up the results. It was test data, and we had to do it that way. So yeah, sorry we goofed, but anybody with an ounce of sense who wasn't looking for a news scoop should have realized that the election hadn't happened yet and it was just a stupid bug.

People talk about deadline pressure. You should try election work sometime!

noonespecial 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Shocked, Shocked!? It couldn't matter less to the average Azerbaijani. They already know all about it. The government just makes up some ridiculously implausible "explanation" and life goes on. "Last election's results, but this election's candidate names?". If it seems like they're not even trying, its because they're not. The official explanation doesn't even have to be good because the people don't care one way or another.
tptacek 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Today I love computers so much.

Tomek in my office says we'd doc this "sev:hi - production data stored in test instance".

bdevine 16 hours ago 4 replies      
Snark aside, I feel very sorry for those involved in pushing out the "results" early. I cannot see anything good happening to them.
JDDunn9 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Call me old-fashioned, but I believe if you're going to fix an election, it should be done with lots of money and empty campaign promises! The public must be involved. Not in a meaningful sense, just as pawns in a larger corporate agenda.
the_watcher 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I bookmarked this to look at every time I get too depressed about American politics.
mistermcgruff 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is why I stopped incorporating Event Horizon's gravity drive into my apps. Kept getting results from the future. And hell, that too.
auctiontheory 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm old enough to remember when tyrants won with 99% of the vote. Perhaps the real news in this article is that nowadays they only win with 73%.
austinz 14 hours ago 0 replies      
If they're not competent enough to blame this mishap on 'test data', I wonder if they'll prove competent enough to change the data for the final reported results.
bratao 16 hours ago 4 replies      
Couldn't this be just fake data that the developer used to test the app ?
dsrguru 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Why isn't this the main election story (or even on the first page) when you search Google News for Azerbaijan?
polemic 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The Azerbaijan election results app was built by Jeff Dean.


ambrice 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Nate Silver did the same thing prior to the 2012 U.S. elections..
Systemic33 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it just me, or does that photo look as if the president is added in photoshop?
iterative 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Proving once again he's prescient, Ali G suggested reporting on election returns the day before, during his excellent interview with Andy Rooney several years ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KglSPl7g14Q
exo_duz 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a facade of democracy like in a lot of other countries. They just try to make it seem like there is democracy but behind it all it's still controlled by the ruling party.
hisabness 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like the 2000 US elections...
linux_devil 13 hours ago 0 replies      
More embarrassing than wardrobe malfunction
djvu9 14 hours ago 0 replies      
In China your life is even easier: the government helps you keep and fill in the voting paper. And they are so efficient that you get the results 8 years before the "election" happens. Good thing is that Obama administration and US people are working hard to catch up. Don't worry!
coherentpony 16 hours ago 7 replies      
I'm getting really tired of the politics posts on here. Can we please stop upvoting stuff like this? If I want to be outraged I'll go to /r/politics.
grandalf 16 hours ago 4 replies      
In other words, America is so un-corrupt and perfect, let's create a spectacle out of every similar story that takes place around the world so that Americans don't question the legitimacy of American institutions.

The implicit storyline is American exceptionalism, which is most valuable when it can be used to justify wars and military action that would otherwise be considered inappropriate or morally questionable.

When you consider what percentage of so-called "world news" is stuff like this, newspapers start to seem like they are all state run propaganda operations. I realize that part of it is just the entertainment value people derive from feeling superior to others, even when the others are presented as victims, but an objective, critical media would simply ignore most stories like this in favor of less juicy but more impactful stories about local/national issues.

A Big List of D3 Examples christopheviau.com
314 points by biovisualize  2 days ago   42 comments top 18
sakai 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ugh, I clicked a few of the earthquake examples (did a similar viz in the past) and saw that none of them was working.

Then looking at the curl responses one gets, "Due to the Federal government shutdown, usgs.gov and most associated web sites are unavailable. Only web sites necessary to protect lives and property will be maintained."

One can only wish they saw these and similar APIs as important infrastructure that needs to remain functional.

Otherwise -- this is very helpful! Thanks so much for assembling the collection.

jedbrown 2 days ago 1 reply      
When I need to make graphics for research talks, I usually turn to TikZ [1] since I currently make talks using latex-beamer. But I'm always impressed when I look at D3.js and I think it would be great to have a more reliable way to add animations, as well as putting interactive content on my website.

Given that LaTeX math is important to me, should I make a serious effort to learn D3.js (and one of the HTML slide deck packages) or stick with LaTeX? Note that figures usually can't be directly reused between talks and papers anyway, but a modest amount of tweaking is usually enough. Using HTML/D3.js instead of latex-beamer for talks would probably make reuse in talks more difficult.

[1] http://texample.net/tikz/

javajosh 2 days ago 3 replies      
1900 D3 examples.

1723 of them by Mike Bostock! [1]

[1] number is made up but almost certainly close.

shmageggy 2 days ago 1 reply      
1171: null was my favorite.


joeblau 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know if there is a good D3 example of something like noflo [1]? Most of the graphs D3 has are great for data visualization but not as helpful if you're trying to build a system for interaction between nodes that you don't want bouncing all over the place.

[1] - http://noflojs.org/dataflow-noflo/demo/

thrownaway2424 2 days ago 0 replies      
Timely! I've been searching for "Zoomable Sunburst" but was unable to find it. If it's "a treemap, except it uses a radial layout" why don't they call it a radial treemap, instead of a sunburst?

Anyway, recall problems aside, this gallery is fantastic.

tieTYT 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wish this had thumbnails of the link I will be redirected to. Still a good list though.
kbar13 2 days ago 1 reply      
The title is a bit more literal than I hoped.

Opened link, saw huge list of text links, closed.

You know, it would be cool if the list of d3 examples was itself a cool interface powered by d3.

boothead 2 days ago 1 reply      
Any thoughts on vega? http://trifacta.github.io/vega/
brucehubbard 2 days ago 0 replies      
Had some traffic to my site from random places in the world (Brazil, Sweden, India) and had no clue where it was coming from until I saw this thread in my twitter feed. Mine is the Facebook Mutual Friends one.

You could also check out my slides from one of my d3 talks (with interactive examples):


danso 2 days ago 4 replies      
It's interesting that some of the NYT visualizations are static graphics that normally, back in the print-only days, been done in Illustrator. Here's a map of Chicago killings done by Mike Bostock et al:


I wonder if making static charts via D3js has some time-savings/production advantages when the dataset is large enough? Before you say "maybe they just wanted vector graphics that worked for high-res"...that's obviously a benefit, but not enough on its own to give the web devs a graphic that could've been done via the traditional means (many of the Times stories include static graphics as PNGs in the sidebar)

jeybalachandran 2 days ago 0 replies      
dzink 2 days ago 1 reply      
They forgot mine!http://www.doerhub.com/of/dzink

D3 based profile visualization of interests and stages of needs in each field.

More about what it means here: http://www.doerhub.com

photorized 2 days ago 0 replies      
D3 is awesome. We use it a lot.
adamb_ 2 days ago 2 replies      
First link I tried was dead... #48
wildmXranat 2 days ago 0 replies      
nice compilation
viggity 2 days ago 1 reply      
very cool, christophe, thanks for taking the time to compile this list.

The one thing that always astounds me about people who generate dataviz with d3 is that they almost never do anything interactive with it (filter, zoom, etc) and if they do, they won't use any of d3's insanely cool/easy transitions to make the visualization smoothly morph from one state to the next.

Really, if you're going to start messing around with d3, read about Mike Bostock's thoughts on change blindness and object constancy.


amazing example 1:http://bl.ocks.org/mbostock/1256572

cool example 2:http://bl.ocks.org/mbostock/3808234

Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to Englert and Higgs nobelprize.org
312 points by mattheww  2 days ago   83 comments top 13
flexie 2 days ago 2 replies      
They say that professor Higgs is shy and not at all comfortable with the attention and almost as hard to find as his particle.
sambeau 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'd like to take this opportunity to remind people of the (sometimes a little forgotten) other person name-checked in the Higgs Boson: Satyendra Nath Bose.


He was an interesting chap!

nemesisj 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great news, and comes as a bit of relief to some. I remember talking with a professor at the University of Edinburgh who was concerned about delays with CERN referencing the fact that the Nobel prize isn't awarded posthumously, and not as many are saying, not for theory without proof. Really glad to see he made it!
tim_hutton 1 day ago 0 replies      
"While standing around at the back of morning assembly Higgs noticed a name that appeared more than once on the school's honours board. Higgs wondered who PAM Dirac was and read up on the former pupil. He learned that Paul Dirac was a founding father of quantum theory, and the closest Britain had to an Einstein. Through Dirac, Higgs came to relish the arcane world of theoretical physics."


alphaBetaGamma 1 day ago 0 replies      
Robert Brout would almost surely be sharing the prize if it could be awarded posthumously.

I often saw him and Francois Anglert when doing my Ph.D. Robert Brout in particular struck me as the kindest man on earth, and was perhaps someone who though even deeper and more profoundly than Francois Anglert.

henrikschroder 2 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone with more insight know if this was overdue, but finally awarded after confirmation last year at CERN, or if it was pushed forward while last year's work was fresh in people's minds?
cft 1 day ago 0 replies      
the theoretical foundation for Higgs mechanism was first discovered by Jeffrey Goldstone from MIT:http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nambu-Goldstone_boson
simbolit 1 day ago 4 replies      
is the nobel prize still the cornerstone of rewarding achievement in the sciences?

sorry to be so snarky, but i am genuinely interested, having long lost any trust in the peace prize comittee[0]. not to speak of the economics prize (which is not really a nobel prize [1])

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nobel_Peace_Prize_laure...

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

edit: formatting

m4tthumphrey 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks, Englert and Higgs, thanks to you we won 300 at the pub quiz last night. You rock.
bvv 1 day ago 0 replies      
This article provides some historical context to today's prize.


namuol 1 day ago 0 replies      
sgt101 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think that there are about 15 events in the 125Gev bump.

Just sayin'....

r0muald 2 days ago 3 replies      
Apparently most commentators were expecting it. I wonder if there was a possibility that also the CERN team could be awarded the prize?
Whatever happened to due process? easydns.org
310 points by peteforde  1 day ago   55 comments top 17
freejack 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Rapid takedown" was foisted on us in 1999 when the original registrar agreements were being negotiated at ICANN. At the time, it was held out as a threat - agree to rapid takedown, or be subject to US regulation. At the time we didn't realize that it was the intellectual property community making the threat - it came to us under the cloak of the ISP community, which we've since realized meant "Big Telco's with massive media holdings".

Its been a slippery slope every since.

oBDisclaimer: I work at a large registrar and was in the room when the original contracts were being discussed and negotiated. I'm sorry for the part I played!

slg 1 day ago 6 replies      
Is due process the wrong term? Can't due process occur after the fact? For example, you can be arrested for suspicion of drunk driving, taken off the road, put into custody, and found to be innocent, and that is still part of due process. Your actions appeared to be causing a threat to others, so the government stopped your actions immediately and let the courts decide your guilt or innocence. How is that different than taking a site that is suspected of harming other people offline immediately and then work on deciding guilt or innocence?

Note: I don't necessarily disagree with the author, but I am playing devil's advocate here.

Sharlin 1 day ago 1 reply      
There was an incident a week or so ago where the admin of a Finnish punk website posted a scan of an "information request" he had received from the police. This request was to provide registration information (especially email and IP addresses) of certain users of the site.

The common factor was that these users had participated in a forum thread discussing organizing a (apparently entirely peaceful) "shadow event" of the traditional presidential Independence Day reception.

The "request" came with a gag order and without any mention of an appeal process. The rationale included was a generic boilerplate "investigation or prevention of crime" with no mention of anyone being suspected of any crime or planning thereof. The gag order was, obviously and quite defiantly, disobeyed by the admin.

Now it appears that these kinds of requests are perfectly legal, do not require the authorization of any member of the judiciary, and appear to be used quite carelessly to gather information about people not officially suspected of anything. Getting "official" personally identifying information from ISPs is much harder, though, but this does not look good especially given that the new police law currently in planning stages is expected to considerably extend the electronic powers of the police.

ashray 1 day ago 0 replies      
Due process went out of the window a long time ago when the US showed everyone that it is certainly possible and even admissible to seize domains without any sort of process. The US (department of homeland security, no less!) started seizing domains about 2 years ago. They went and basically took down any domain that was related to large scale piracy (demonoid) or counterfeit goods (sites that sold fake gucci bags, that kind of stuff..). The other kind of site that they targeted were mostly sports streaming sites (ones that streamed ESPN, etc.).

It was obvious that the UK would follow soon enough seeing that such a thing was entirely possible. Of course when the US seized a spanish website (rojadirecta) domain, they were challenged in court and lost. [0] There were also several other incorrect seizures where the US government ended up seizing sites that had nothing to do with any illegal activity and then returning them a year later [1]. This is what happens when you ignore due process.

Most small service providers and ISPs feel threatened when a big government like the US comes after them. Unless they have properly defined protocols for dealing with this kind of stuff, the support rep will probably buckle under pressure and hand over the data.

Personally, I've seen instances where domain registrars are often requested for private registration data without court orders or any sort of legal basis. Some registrars hand out the data. Some registrars email their customers asking them to transfer away (so stop being our customers) to continue protecting their privacy. Some registrars actually have the guts to say no. It really varies.

We're certainly at a point now where governments can easily coerce internet businesses to bend to their will. There will be a brave few who will stand tall but I don't know how long it will be before their backs/businesses are broken and bent (lavabit being a recent example).

Of course the UK government probably doesn't have access to the root name servers and therefore is left with sending out notices. But there's no telling when governments (who are of course sponsored by corporations as we all know by now..) will start cooperating with each other for such take down requests. Sort of like the reverse surveillance agreements with Germany/Australia/etc. (can't spy on my own citizens ? no worries, you spy on mine, I'll spy on yours, and we'll exchange notes!)

And I thought the dark days of the internet were in the 90s...

[0] - https://torrentfreak.com/u-s-returns-seized-domains-to-strea...

[1] - http://torrentfreak.com/feds-return-seized-domain-111208/

moomin 1 day ago 3 replies      
A little background: the guys who sent the letter are PIPCU, a new department with funding for two years who are undoubtedly keen to get results quickly and cheaply.

A weirdness of PIPCU is that they're City of London police, not London Metropolitan Police as you'd expect for a department with such a wide remit.

dingaling 1 day ago 0 replies      
Amazing that in this era of phishing the PIPCU expect someone to take significant action against their own customers on the basis of an e-mail.

And I'm 99.9% positive it wouldn't have been PGP or S/MIME-signed for authenticity.

Kudos to Mr Jeftovic for insisting on proper instruments, such as a court order.

clarkmoody 1 day ago 0 replies      

  What gets me about all of this is that the largest, most   egregious perpetrators of online criminal activity right   now are our own governments, spying on their own citizens,   illegally wiretapping our own private communications and   nobody cares, nobody will answer for it, it's just an out-  of-scope conversation that is expected to blend into the   overall background malaise of our ever increasing serfdom. 
The truth doesn't have many friends with the powers that be.

StuntPope 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, check out the page they wanted us to redirect the domain too

"Don't use those other guys, use these guys instead"

It's like reverse online piracy, hijack the traffic from a bunch of domain takedowns and push your own cronies sites.

pro-music.org - based in london, UKwhymusicmatters.org - London, UKthecontentmap.com - London, UK

Nice scam

pallandt 1 day ago 0 replies      
This should get on the front page, the title is ambiguous, but the article itself is about a very abusive law enforcement request.
AJ007 1 day ago 0 replies      
We need more support for ICANN alternatives, so when something stupid happens its just inconvenient.


squidi 1 day ago 0 replies      
The title of the article (as fascinating as it was) seems rhetorical. Can't easydns just point the PIPCU to their own Domain Takedown Policy and instruct them to take it further with ICANN and the courts of the Province of Ontario?
brewdad 1 day ago 1 reply      
How can an email be considered legally binding? This would go straight into my spam folder.
shmerl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Due process, presumption of innocence and other such "nuisances" are something that the DRM lobby tries to kill.
endou 1 day ago 0 replies      
They are only ordering to redirect the domain to a sole ip address? Not serving HTTPS? Should links point to secure versions of seized domains or simply to attest their identity. I think it's ok to say they are the criminals on the internet and not necessarily the other way. Not that requests cannot be legitimate but at least a basic level of quality must go into the actual process because here it just looks awkward. Not to mention shitty html behind it: if you takedown domains, please show some style :)
w_t_payne 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's not the 'net that they want to censor. It's your brain.
gcb1 1 day ago 0 replies      
it says a lot when siding with criminals is in the best interest of law abiding citizens than siding with the goverment.
ffrryuu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dead and buried.
T-Mobile to offer free unlimited international data, texts cnet.com
310 points by gabbo  15 hours ago   146 comments top 33
aaronbrethorst 14 hours ago 5 replies      
And this is why competition and effective government regulation[1] are fantastic things. If T-Mobile wasn't in a distant fourth place in the US market, or if they'd been acquired by AT&T we wouldn't be seeing this, nor would we see Verizon and AT&T introduce their own versions of T-Mobile's JUMP program.

[1] http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/19/att-tmobile-merger-dead/

jasonkester 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Good to hear. US carriers do a terrible job of dealing with anything international. It's as though they're honestly surprised that anybody would ever want to leave the USA or make a phone call to anybody in another country.

An example: I flew to the 'states this weekend. Once on the ground, I topped up my American (T-Mobile) sim with a month's worth of credit. (There was no way to do this from abroad since their sims don't work there at all, and their website has a ridiculous country redirect even from your account page).

At the airport, on the way home, I sent a text to my wife letting her know I was on the way. It failed.

I tried again to various permutations of the French number, with absolutely no success. Googling around, it seems that you can't do that with t-mobile. You can't even get them to turn it on, since their "international" packages only work with their contract services. Not just roaming, but even placing a phone call to another country is impossible with pre-paid t-mobile. Sure enough, landing in Paris, the phone was dead dead dead. No "welcome to France" message. No extortionate international roaming charges. Just no ability to make calls at all.

I had to pop my UK sim back in just to be able to use the phone again.

I'm looking forward to the first company (in any country) that truly gets all this. They'll get my business, as well as pretty much all the business from anybody who travels at all.

mikeash 14 hours ago 8 replies      
T-Mobile's policies over the past couple of years have really made me want to become a customer. Plans that are actually reasonably priced, explicitly calling out handset subsidies and making them optional, and now this. I just wish their network was a little better!
quink 14 hours ago 4 replies      
Just in case anyone hasn't noticed this:

> While the data is free, it won't be particularly fast. Customers can expect network speeds at around the same level that they get in the US after they are throttled. Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert said the average speed customers would get would be around 128 kilobits a second.

Think of it more of an extension of the Kindle 3G business model rather than anything else. The maximum one could theoretically suck through that straw, at 24/7, is 40 GB a month.

liquidcool 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I did a bunch of traveling earlier this year and getting local SIM card is pretty easy and cheap (~$20/mo), and has the advantage of allowing local calls. In Bangkok and Kyiv you can get them at any 7-11 or electronics store. Philippines and Prague it was a visit to a carrier. The rough patch was Tokyo, but you can rent a mobile hotspot for a reasonable amount and have it delivered to the airport.

If you're only there for a few days, free roaming is very nice to have, but if you're there a week or more I think it's worth the small effort to get the local SIM. That also allows me to keep Straight Talk prepaid in the US with my own phone. YMMV, but this was the most economical, flexible route for me.

chrsstrm 14 hours ago 2 replies      
This is great. I had an incident in Belize this year where I turned off airplane mode to connect to wifi on the boat I was on and my cellular radio auto-connected to Belize's local mobile carrier without me realizing (I had international roaming enabled on my account). My phone started syncing and updating apps in the background and within 2 minutes of passive usage I had amassed $270 in data charges. Only. 2. Minutes. I plead my case when I got back to the states and they removed the charges without a thought (although I had to send in a written appeal). International data rates are ridiculous and it's nice to see a carrier acting rationally.
craftkiller 14 hours ago 1 reply      
T-Mobile has realized exactly what a carrier is supposed to be and ironically named it "Uncarrier". No more subsidizing phones, no more contracts, just a pipe. We will move data between your phone and the world for a flat fee and that is the end of the story. I switched to T-Mobile about a month ago because I agree with their business practices and want to support their growth.
rdl 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm on a month long trip to Asia right now (today: Sendai), and remembering why I used to keep a tmobile blackberry and BES just for travel. Flat rate $80/mo unlimited edge to the BES (which I used for email and then tunneling IP from my laptop) was worth it even when I only used it one or two months a year; absolutely worth it when I was overseas full time. Sadly I let it lapse and am now playing the "find a local LTE dongle" game, which in Japan is a JPY 1260/day old Huawei LTE android device on SoftBank which is the 5th phone and 8th computing device I'm lugging around on trains and such.

Seriously going to look at MVNO options when I get back; running a pro privacy, pro customer MVNO, ideally based in a country with strong privacy laws, and handsets transparently configured to be safe for customers (even when the local carrier is turning over data..) would be pretty fun.

tomp 6 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be nice if someone would modify the title to clarify that this is the US T-Mobile (not the UK or CRO or any other).
nathana 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The most interesting part about this to me is the $0.20/min voice price. Not because it would have a direct impact on me or anything like that, but mostly because it seems like in the US, carriers are falling over themselves to offer "unlimited voice" while restricting the data. This is the exact opposite.
r00fus 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Hell yes. It would cost TMO very little to provide this to me, as I travel very infrequently. But I consider it to be a very nice perk indeed.
aray 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Has anyone made a coverage map yet? That would be useful (going to be limited by radio coverage/standards/countries/etc)
fatjokes 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Okay, I was about to quit T-Mo this winter for Verizon, but I'll stick around a little longer. Points for effort. It's desperately needed to compensate for the shitty coverage.
aCCelerate 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Ah, all this roaming here there everywhere discussion reminds me of one of my fundamental wishes for a new startup to tackle: create a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) which essentially just roams everywhere (including the home country) but always picks the strongest signal of all available wireless carriers.

I hate to be in an area and not have coverage. I carry another prepaid sim card around just for that case but obviously that's a different number then. I'll be happy to pay a premium if that was available.

And then maybe one day we can also get rid of the sim cards and just do it in software... I don't get why we still have sim cards.

lobster_johnson 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder if they have added more roaming agreements to their network. Last time I was in Norway, there was no coverage at all -- no network, no calls, never mind Internet access -- which I found strange. Usually you will be able to connect to via local network and pay for roaming charges. Norway is all GSM, same frequency band, and my plan has International calling, but I still had to swap out the SIM card for my Norwegian one. Could be a fluke, of course. Edit: Or it may be that pay-as-you-go doesn't provide international roaming.

I love T-Mobile's approach, and the whole reason I use them is because they are the underdog who's doing things a little differently.

trimbo 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Noted it is 2G only, but it is a great step forward.
dude3 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I switched to t-mobile from Verizon. I have actually been really happy with the service. My plan is unlimited data 5 gigs of 4g data/unlimited 3g and 100 minutes of talk time for $30 a month. Every extra minute is .10 over the 100 minutes. So my plan ends up being $50 a month. But compare that to any other carrier and its a much better price. Also, I like that it's a German company and didn't sell out like Verizon giving 1,000,000+ members phone numbers to the NSA.
SeoxyS 13 hours ago 2 replies      
This is huge. I recently spent ~$200 on AT&T's $30/120MB bundles on a two-week trip to Europe. I thought I was getting a good deal, too. It's fantastic to see the market shifting slightly in favor of the customers.
rallison 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been quite pleased to see T-Mobile continuing to provide AT&T and Verizon with some competition. I sampled T-Mobile for a couple of months with their $30 unlimited data/text plan and was pleasantly surprised with the performance in the LA area - on a Nexus 4 (without LTE), speeds were generally better than on AT&T. The only reason I finally went back to AT&T was for rural coverage, as I do enough traveling that this was an issue. Were it not for that, I would have gladly stayed with T-Mobile.
NemesorZandrak 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This will be amazing in Europe. From jan In Eu all carriers have to drop roaming charges and people now are traveling exponentially more than they used to 10-15 years ago. This is big. I know everyone focuses on USA and china bit old continent still has potential ;)
hussong 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish the German T-Mobile mothership were as customer-friendly as the US operation.
jsnk 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know if 30 dollar prepaid plan (100 minutes. Unlimited data and text) included in this deal?
jonny_eh 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if this'll be available with their ridiculously amazing $30 per month pre-paid plan.


bobbles 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Does this mean that as an Australian.. If i somehow managed to get a T-Mobile SIM and account I could use this for international travel? (Not expected to use it as the main sim in Australia though)
dmnd 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish they announced this before the iPhone 5s launch - I just signed a new 2-year contract with AT&T.
collypops 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The pebble that starts an avalanche of long-overdue awesomeness for consumers
badclient 12 hours ago 0 replies      
My brother manages our family account with AT&T with 7 lines. I casually read the title of this post. His response? "We're switching."
nomercy400 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Really nice idea, and a good step forward. I was wondering, if this truly is an 'international' package deal, does this also mean it will be available 'internationally' at the start, instead of just the US?
wandermatt 14 hours ago 1 reply      
ShinyObject 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This is very interesting. 128kbit is fast enough for Google Maps which is good enough for me.

I know they said the free overseas data is only for contract customers but I wonder if they will allow us pre-paid people to add on the "packs" they mention before going on a trip.

hydralist 9 hours ago 0 replies      
i pay 30$ for unlimited data and 100 min. damn good if u ask me, although a lot of dead zones (aka Edge only) in SF
jordanthoms 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This is _awesome_!
grecy 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I continue to be dumbfounded that intelligent people would call this "free". The degree to which marketing has invaded our everyday lives is astonishing.

It's not free, you're paying a monthly fee for it.

A "Hacker's" Guide to the Bay Area islandofatlas.net
302 points by presty  4 days ago   128 comments top 35
GuiA 4 days ago 5 replies      
Nice! I've lived here for almost 2 years and a half now, and love the Bay Area. Some personal responses to the article:

- re:exercize, I highly recommend climbing. It's easy to pick up, you can do it alone (bouldering) or with a partner (great thing to do with a date/SO :-), and the equipment cost is minimal, it uses all the muscles in your body and is oddly technical. The Touchstone network is great; it includes Mission Cliffs (SF, Mission); Great Western Power Company (Oakland). In the valley, Planet Granite is good. Swimming is also similarly great but harder to find nice clean pools in the city.

- re East Bay: I highly recommend living there if you work in downtown SF. Your commute will be slightly more expensive than if you lived in SF, but it could end up being shorter (I live near 12th St Oakland and get off at Montgomery- 25 minutes total commute).

- re:rent - the situation in SF sucks and will keep sucking for a while. It's a constant competition, you have to kiss the landlord's ass and fight with 20 other people at open houses, etc. Once again, the East Bay is highly recommended (Oakland for a city feel, Berkeley if you like to have a yard and be surrounded by trees- but the commute will be longer). In the valley, roommatehood is recommended. I lived with Stanford med students for a while, which was amazing because a) they were poor so they encouraged me to live frugally, b) they were delightful people and it's always nice to hang out with non techies, c) they were mature and focused on their studies so there was zero drama and zero messiness in the house.

- re:food - learn a dozen or so basic recipes, and cook yourself. You will save money, and what you eat will be way healthier. Also as a European I find US portions huge and feel bad about throwing out food everytime I eat out.

- re:meetups: it can be hard to make friends outside of work when you're out of college- meetups are amazing for that. For romantic aspirations, I would also recommed online dating. OKCupid is heavily used by young people in SF, and also allows you to meet people from outside the tech circle.

- re:meetups^2: at first, it can be tempting to go to meetups 2-3 times a week or more. I've found it to be pretty draining after a while - not all meetups are created equal, sadly. These days, I tend to do more 1-2 meetups a month tops, but of very high quality (to me- naturally, high quality for me is not necessarily high quality for you, and vice versa). Of course, finding high quality (in terms of interests, but also in terms of the kind of people you get along with best) meetups can only be done through experience - so if you've just moved here, go insane and explore!

- The valley is minuscule and after being there for a bit it feels like everyone is within 2 degrees of separation. Be professional, friendly and respectful of everyone, and don't burn any bridges. Keep in touch with people you like - a coffee/meal once a month or so is a great way to do so. If you can, find mentors (ideally not at your workplace- your boss is rarely the best person to go to for career advice) whom you can look up to.

- re: Hacker Spaces - I really love noisebridge and its mission, but it can be a little grungy (mostly because of SF's socio-economic shape at the moment). Especially in the recent months, there has been a lot of drama due to some people not playing by the rules there. Sadly, it can hurt the atmosphere a bit. I would recommend checking it out, but be aware of that. Hacker Dojo is way more PC and family friendly. I've heard great things about Sudo Room in Oakland.

- side/open source projects are important for your mental and intellectual sanity, for your "personal brand", and because they can lead to positively unexpected situations. However, some employers frown upon them (some will subtly discourage you from partaking in them or submitting a talk proposal to that conference, while others will outright forbid them cough cough Apple cough). In those cases, I like to apply the "forgiveness rather than permission" and "what they don't know can't hurt them" heuristics :-).

- on a similar note, Silicon Valley has a very friendly atmosphere, and as it was put- there are no other places in the world where you can work in sandals while eating M&Ms. However, don't forget that at the end of the day, your employer is your employer - not your wife, or your girlfriend, or your parents, or your kids. It's a two way street - you should be getting as much out of the job as the job gets out of you - and jobs in Silicon Valley are very demanding and tend to take a lot from you. Don't feel bad about quitting a job that does not jive with you just because your boss is a cool guy who will play beer pong with you on Friday nights. Be thankful for what you have, but remember that engineers are in high demand. "Company loyalty" and "company culture" are words that employers know how to use to their ends. In what I've seen of Silicon Valley Companies who claim loudly that they have "work/life balance" and actually do encourage it are a minority (that can't mean that it's impossible to achieve- just that you may have to work a bit for it to get it).

Finally, a tip for fresh grads: it can be pretty mindblowing for people right out of college to have a 5 figure (or in some cases, 6 figure) salary after living on ramen for years. Some people spend it by getting a really nice place, buying a fancy car, and going to Tahoe every other weekend. I would recommend trying to put aside 50% or so of your take home paycheck every month - it's easily doable without compromising too much, and if you want to treat yourself down the road (take 3 months to travel the world, or dive into your own startup, etc.) you'll be happy to have several months (if not years!) of living expenses saved up.

gue5t 4 days ago 2 replies      
I am, without any sarcasm, very glad to see the scare quotes around the word "hacker" here. I'm thankful that there's a dawning collective agreement that the term as used in this community ("someone who makes websites or software, generally as a career") has completely devalued its original meaning, which is not without merit, and which is very hard to bind to another term at this point.
dmethvin 4 days ago 2 replies      
> One of the biggest shocks I faced when I arrived to the Valley was finding out that it was a very suburban environment. Mountain View, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale are completely suburban.

I suppose it depends on your definition of "suburban". Each one of those cities has a bona-fide city center and nearby residential development dense enough to allow a very walkable environment. It's a lot worse in many places back east including my area.



timr 4 days ago 5 replies      
There are lots of other gyms in the city besides the wretched, filthy 24-hour-fitness syndicate: Club One (slightly more expensive, but better), Crunch Fitness (ditto), World Gym (caters toward meatheads), Fitness SF (formerly Gold's; tends toward gay/female clientele), Sports Club LA (super expensive; incredibly nice), Equinox (also super deluxe/expensive), Bay Club (ditto), Mission Cliffs and Planite Granite (climbing/hippies/hipsters), Planet Fitness (almost as cheap as 24hr; fewer locations but much cleaner), and the YMCA (moderately cheap, clean, functional). There are tons of smaller gyms, as well...mostly expensive crossfit and personal training outfits, but some boutique all-purpose gyms, too.

If you're looking for a gym, do yourself a favor and don't just sign up for a 24-hour fitness membership without looking around. You can do a lot better for not much more money. About the only thing you can say in favor of 24h is that they're cheap and open late.

If you can afford ~$60 a month, you have a lot of options, particularly if you negotiate. The YMCA is a good option in this range, and they don't jerk you around with contracts and high-pressure sales.

nilkn 4 days ago 3 replies      
$700 seems way, way too low as a starting point for rent in downtown San Francisco or Palo Alto. Double that and you might get a crappy studio--maybe.
samatman 4 days ago 0 replies      
The San Francisco Bay Area is named after our largest bay, the San Francisco Bay.

Which was named after St. Francis in 1769. Later, there was the Mission, San Francisco, in 1776; later still, the village of Yerba Buena took on the name San Francisco.

Welcome aboard!

lnanek2 4 days ago 1 reply      
As long as we're talking about being cheap and transportation, there's a pretty quick bus completing the loop from the end of the BART to the south in the East Bay to San Jose and Caltrain. As someone who rents in deep East Bay, Walnut Creek, it's often faster to go along the bay like this to get to Ebay/Paypal/whatever than BARTing into the city and taking the Caltrain down. OAK airport is very nice as well, with SFO constantly closing runways due to weather.
joebeetee 4 days ago 3 replies      
We moved here 3 days ago from the UK, so some other random tips (more family oriented than single person)

1) In addition to Craigslist, Livelovely.com seems to be a great amalgamator site for finding houses.

2) Be careful when about booking a place without seeing it (we booked a 1 month Airbnb while we searched for places) There are lots of INSANE hills that are totally impossible with a stroller. Even driving up and down them was daunting.

3) Credit score seems to be important for everything. We had to put an additional $400 down on each phone because we didn't have credit.

4) Saying that - so far every landlord who we've spoken to has been open to some other kind of deal - normally an extra months rent as a deposit, or paying a month or 2 in advance.

pg 4 days ago 3 replies      
Palo Alto: Palantir
Decade 3 days ago 1 reply      
Haha, not bothering to explain the wired Internet situation. Short version: You probably should get Sonic.net.

The dominant companies are AT&T and Comcast. I hate them both, but I hate AT&T more, because of their poor customer service and slow speeds and high prices and defective software. In much of Europe, 6Mbps is not considered broadband. In the San Francisco Bay Area, 6Mbps is the standard.

If you're stuck in an area with AT&T, and you're unable or unwilling to deal with Comcast, then you should use Sonic.net. They use AT&T phone lines, but their business model is based on Free.fr. I'm hoping that the more customers they get, the quicker they can get around to installing fiber in my neighborhood, like they said they would 2 years ago.

And then there are various other, small Internet providers. In select neighborhoods of San Francisco, you can get Monkeybrains fixed wireless. In select apartment buildings, you can get Webpass fiber to the premises. If you want cable without Comcast for some reason, there's Astound.

That's about it for San Francisco, unless you're a business spending loads of money. Also, one neighborhood each of Palo Alto and Sebastopol have test runs of fiber from Google and Sonic.net, respectively. I don't know what else is available in the rest of the bay area.

kristjan 4 days ago 0 replies      
On housing, I'm happy to report that Craigslist isn't the only option. http://apartmentlist.com is somewhat more pleasant to use and less full of duplicates / other nonsense.

Disclosure: I work at Apartment List. Since someone already mentioned LiveLovely, I suppose I'll recognize them too :-D

michaelochurch 4 days ago 3 replies      
Someone should write, for the starting-out 22-year-olds out there, a guide on how to do technology outside of the Bay Area.

The Bay Area had a great run, spanning several decades, but the VC darlings and private equity carpetbaggers who never belonged in the tech scene, in their zeal to turn everything into a shitty New York knock-off, ruined it.

It's not the land of opportunity any more. You're not going to get rich on 0.05% "equity" (inequity?) in some hail-Mary startup, nor are you even going to get the implicitly promised (but rarely delivered) investor contact and the mentoring to be a founder in the next go; get real, the train has left the station. I don't know where the next emerging opportunities are, but if you're 22 right now and have no inherited connections, the VC-funded nonsense is far along in its decline process that, by the time you'll be positioned to take advantage of it, the opportunities will all be gone.

Bay Area VC-funded companies are now the conservative, boring choice. They don't involve much risk. There's almost no upside, because engineers aren't respected in that world any more. It's what you do if you're 22, intelligent, prestige-focused, and can't think of anything else. There's nothing wrong with it, as such-- most 22-year-olds have no clue what the fuck they want to do with their lives, that's nearly universal, and it's generally not a mark against the person-- but it'd be better to see more material pointing the young to something that still has real opportunities. VC-istan social climbing ain't it. It's become like the investment banking analyst program, but instead of getting a bonus every year, you get a get a bonus at "liquidity" if that ever happens-- and if you're an engineer, it's a mediocre one and you'd have done better at a hedge fund.

If I were just coming out of school, I'd move to Chicago or Austin before San Francisco, just to avoid the effective debt bondage of exorbitant rents. New York's also nice if you're into finance, although its tech scene is pretty pathetic.

The real goal should be to end the tyranny of location, because it hurts people on both sides. First, it forces people to move out to San Francisco who really don't want to be there; that's probably half the Bay Area tech industry-- people go for the opportunities that are there, not the place itself. Second, it drives up rents and ruins things for the natives who've lived there forever and love the city-- and it should be given back for them.

cgtyoder 4 days ago 2 replies      
Thanks for not mentioning the 280. We're trying to keep that a secret.
pshin45 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just recently moved to San Francisco, and for the "Housing" section, I highly recommend mentioning "Padmapper" (web app & mobile app) to quickly navigate all the different Airbnb and Craigslist listings in one place.

They have a great map-based UI that easily lets you see how many listings are available where and for how much, and you can easily filter by price, type of stay, # of bedrooms/bathrooms, etc.

therandomguy 4 days ago 5 replies      
Hi. I moved to the Bay Area last week. I'm a family guy with little kids. I split my time between San Mateo and San Jose. Regular tech job. In about 6 months I will start lookin for a house to buy. I don't mind upto 50 mins of commute each way. Any recommendations?
js2 4 days ago 0 replies      
Under activities, you must add a link to http://www.bahiker.com/
trishume 4 days ago 0 replies      
I loved this guide. I appreciated the information on expenses, transportation and the summary of which companies are where. I'm impressed that it is possible to live on 30k/year even with the high rents and other costs.
ww520 4 days ago 0 replies      
The Bay Area has a lot of hiking trails where not many people know. Marine county alone has hundreds of trails. Lots of trails in the mid-peninsula, inland, in the mountains, along the coast, along various reservoirs, lagoons, or lakes. East Bay has lots of trails in the mountains. Evan SF has some. Land's Ending at the Pacific coast is perfect for an easy sunset hike.
yaelwrites 4 days ago 1 reply      

This is cool. One addition: a great place to work out for those who like throwing heavy shit around is Catalyst Athletics in Sunnyvale. http://gym.cathletics.com/ Disclosure: I work with the monthly journal they put out--but only b/c they're awesome.)

welder 3 days ago 0 replies      
One thing is missing: bay area bike share


dylz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Suggestion for more food: East Bay? Berkeley Bowl is pretty awesome.
joeblau 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wish I had this two years ago when I moved here.
fersho311 4 days ago 1 reply      
My friend and I curate a secret list of fun events to go to in the bay area, most of them tech and startups. Hope someone finds it useful! http://events415.com/
ttdan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the guide I just moved out here this week to start as a founding engineer in a new VC-backed startup in San Francisco. Anyone have any recommendations for finding roommates in the area?
t413 4 days ago 0 replies      
The fitness section missed rock climbing! It's a great community that's very popular with young engineers. Mission Cliffs (touchstone gyms) and Planet Granite are the big names and there's endless beautiful real rock around the area to be found too.
architgupta 4 days ago 1 reply      
What do you guys recommend for health insurance as a freelancer?(Short term and medium term visit
patrickmclaren 4 days ago 0 replies      
How is the nightlife in the Bay Area?
mstepniowski 4 days ago 1 reply      
Now, does anyone know of a similar guide, but for Seattle area?
cloudwizard 4 days ago 0 replies      
What about the Peninsula? Close to SF but with sun and car friendly. Close to SV but easy drive to SF. Personally, I like being within an easy drive to SF but not be in SF.
pacifi30 4 days ago 0 replies      
You are so good, I love all the details about the day to day requirements you included in your blog.
akoo 4 days ago 0 replies      
excellent article. Why doesn't this exist for every city in the world?
bradL 4 days ago 4 replies      
The Bay Area is not Northern California. It is Central California. Examples of places in Northern California include Yreka, Eureka, Redding, and Klamath Falls.

I have found that (Bay Area subset of N. CA) is a very common misconception of people who have recently moved to the area.

dbieber 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't forget Google Shopping Express!
wudf 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is really great. Recent grad from Boston here :)
briankim 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great guide, thank you
Appmaker mozillalabs.com
295 points by co_pl_te  4 days ago   90 comments top 31
davidascher 4 days ago 2 replies      
Whoa. Definitely wasn't ready for HN-style exposure.

As bmoskowitz pointed out we have some rough words about the project. For this group, I'd in particular point out the roadmap and CONTRIBUTORS.md documents on the github repo:

  https://github.com/mozilla/appmaker/blob/master/ROADMAP.md     https://github.com/mozilla/appmaker/blob/master/CONTRIBUTING.md
I wrote some earlier words at https://github.com/mozilla/appmaker-words/wiki, but that's quite possibly out of date.

At the highest level, we're exploring whether it's possible to make a tool that lets non-devs (_not_ you folks!) who currently see their phones as a pure engine of consumption, as a place where they can create something fun or useful.

It's very, very early software, and it's public mostly because a) we kinda don't know how to do anything else, and b) we're going to use early and frequent user feedback to correct the aim on the product.

If people are interested, we're more than happy to entertain questions either here or on github, irc, the mailing list, etc.

Oh, and yeah, many of the components are broken, brittle, etc. This is still just a prototype.

That said, we're getting positive reactions from people close to our target audience, such as high school teachers, people teaching others how to make their first app, etc.

I'm sure we have loads of x-browser compatibility bugs, as well as known issues with respect to accessibility, absent localization, no great mechanism for contributing new components, and many more.

Oh, and the gamification bits in particular were really just testing the gamification APIs -- the levels we have in place are deeply unuseful =).

JoeCortopassi 4 days ago 12 replies      
"Oh wow, that seems neat. I should check that out"

clicks link on Hacker News

"Hmm, not sure what this is about. I'll just hit the 'Start' button"

Hits start button. 'Add a button' dialog pops up

"That seems pretty straight forward, I'll just add drag that thing labelled 'Button' from the left window pane, on to what looks like a smartphone"

Drags button over. Gets 'Congratulations' box

"Wow, this is really intuitive so far. With a little effort, something like this would be a real game changer in the mobile space!"

New dialog pops up: 'Add a randomcat component to your app

Looks around for anything labelled 'randomcat'

"Huh, thats strange. I wondered if it's labelled something else and I'm just missing it"

Looks for 'random', 'cat', 'Cat.random()', and any other possible combination

"Wtf mate?"

Gives up and leaves

davidascher 4 days ago 3 replies      
Hey HN, if you're curious about this, I suggest you watch this video (http://youtu.be/RaRIdLgZTPI) which shows a quick demo, and/or:

- opt out of the levels thing on first load, it's not ready. - instead, jump straight in the designer and run through these few steps:

- drag & drop a button, click on it, notice it sends out messages on the blue channel- D&D a counter, notice that it listens to a blue channel, and that the button clicks cause it to increment (that's how we "program" these components- D&D another button, make it emit on a different color, and configure the counter to "count down" on that color. That way one button increments, the other decrements

- D&D the fireworks component, configure its "shoot this many rockets" to a third color (and clear "shoot rocket); make the counter emit on that color. Enjoy the fireworks show.

- Other components that work well for understanding things are:

- ratings widget - input widget connected to a map widget will center the map on a place name (although HN will likely exceed the limits on our usage of the OSM server; need to setup another one =() - flickr widget can do both topic and location searches

Let us know if you have ideas for components we should build (or submit a PR!).

The publish button will create "hosted apps" which can be installed on FirefoxOS, Firefox for Android, and incidentally recent builds of Firefox desktop, although the focus for Appmaker is very much mobile apps).

bmelton 4 days ago 1 reply      
Since nobody can seem to figure it out -- As near as I can tell, this is a not-quite-fully working app-maker demo, that 'publishes' to static HTML and Javascript files hosted on Amazon S3.

The gamified GUI is a little bit confusing, and you end up with a resulting 'app' (that sometimes takes a few reloads to work, oddly) with an Install button that doesn't seem to do anything yet -- but which I suspect will be a link to save 'as an app' icon to your mobile phone's homescreens.

It's not fully baked, at the moment, and it appears that some of the widgets aren't loading, but it's definitely a neat proof of concept, that was either leaked early, or is for some reason swamped under load, or something.

bmoskowitz 4 days ago 0 replies      
From someone peripherally involved in the project:

This is an open source project, community-built from the beginning. It's pre-alpha. Pre-pre alpha, even. There has been no public launch or fanfare. That's why you'll see no blog posts or explanatory text yet, why many of the components don't work, and why the tutorials aren't built.

But it's cool to see that it's already found its way to HN.

It's meant to be like Hypercard for mobile apps.

If you want to learn more, check out the repo:


or the vision stub / wiki:


geuis 4 days ago 2 replies      
Sadly, as it seems to be the comment I leave most these days, it doesn't work on mobile browsers. At least mobile Safari.

I understand that there are some interfaces that aren't meant for mobile. There are some that aren't meant for desktop. But at a minimum, you have to make some small effort to give a message to those visiting from unsupported platforms. It shows that you care.

If it doesn't seem like you care about the experience I'm having with your product then I have no motivation to go back and try it again.

abrichr 4 days ago 1 reply      
It hangs on the "Loading" animation to the left of the screen. Chrome 30.0.1599.69 m, Win8x64.

Console output:

    Unexpected identifier in definition of component "app-image-gallery". ceci.js:502    SyntaxError: Unexpected identifier        at Window.Function (<anonymous>)        at Ceci.processComponent (http://appmaker.mozillalabs.com/vendor/ceci/ceci.js:497:19)        at Array.forEach (native)        at processComponents (http://appmaker.mozillalabs.com/vendor/ceci/ceci.js:541:16)        at XMLHttpRequest.xhr.onload (http://appmaker.mozillalabs.com/vendor/ceci/ceci.js:573:15) ceci.js:503    Uncaught SyntaxError: Unexpected identifier in definition of component "app-image-gallery". ceci.js:497

leokun 4 days ago 2 replies      
I couldn't figure out the Cat.random thing. I'm pretty sure I could code a Firefox mobile app from scratch, but that UI is confusing, though pretty.
glesica 4 days ago 1 reply      
Doesn't seem to work in Chromium... I just get a "loading" message in the bar on the left side.
yesimahuman 4 days ago 1 reply      
As someone that makes tools like this for a living (Codiqa and Jetstrap), and I have to say it's quite well done. Nice work, and I'm sure the bugs will get ironed out.
MarcScott 4 days ago 0 replies      
The tutorial crashed for me, but after a refresh I made an app that took a photo and stored it in a gallery. There seems to be a lack of useful widgets, and few ways to customise them. It certainly has potential though, and I'll be showing some of my students on Monday
hayksaakian 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting. What I'd like is a chrome packaged app to Firefox app porting guide.

That'd seal the deal for me.

sejje 4 days ago 2 replies      
This entire experience was quite opague. I can't figure out if it's a game or some GUI for basic apps or what.

I lost interest fairly quickly, and half of the components seemed broken.

Schwolop 3 days ago 0 replies      
Did I miss something? Is there no way to get any of these components' broadcast channels to GET/POST to an API? Or their input channels to accept an HTTP input? I couldn't see this on the roadmap and it seems like such a no brainer that I then figured it was already baked in and I just couldn't find the GUI element to trigger it. Now I'm confused.

If such a thing were added I would use this every single time I end up making a crappy little html webpage to drive something. I've lost count of the number of these I've made.

hardwaresofton 4 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe change the icon (think it's still using the default express icon), and the drag/drop doesn't work for me:

Google Chrome30.0.1599.66 (Official Build 225456) OSLinux Blink537.36 (@158213)JavaScriptV8

ricksta 4 days ago 4 replies      
Looks neat, However, the widgets are not loading for me.
netghost 4 days ago 0 replies      
I assume it's not quite done. I liked the channels for publishing things, lots of little rough edges, but it seems like a neat idea in general.
shn 4 days ago 0 replies      
I liked the idea of channels with colors and connecting components with it. Although it is primitive as it is, if it evolves it can be used as a great mock-up tool at the least. It is mistake to consider it for people who program for a living. Let's not shoot down ideas/concepts/proof of concepts.
michaelpinto 4 days ago 0 replies      
I look at something half baked like this and my first thought is "I wish Steve Jobs didn't kill HyperCard"
arnley 4 days ago 2 replies      
I could publish a very simple app, but I'm not sure where I can "install" it? Mobile Firefox maybe?Anyway, pretty neat visuals but a bit of lack of documentation right now. But I assume it's not yet ready to use as they did not communicate on this right now.
Gravityloss 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's clearly being built right now. I get different pages at different times.
pearjuice 4 days ago 0 replies      
So how long does it take before the widgets are loaded?
devd 4 days ago 0 replies      
Cool - Created a simple app and pushed the app to Firefox on Android
jackmaney 4 days ago 0 replies      
As the kids say nowadays: what is this, I don't even...
hiyou102 4 days ago 1 reply      
This reminds me a lot of Android App Inventor. The main difference is that app inventor is a bit more advanced programming wise.
nathanathan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really like the concept of building apps out of widgets connected by broadcast events. It reminds me of meemoo (http://meemoo.org/).
fununclebob 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is what I see as soon as the page opens: http://i.imgur.com/XQlQfXl.jpg?1

Note that it's hard to read the white text in the foreground.

ilaksh 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think this should be the normal way that devs build apps. There just needs to be a good and easy way to author components.
devd 4 days ago 1 reply      
nice Signals/Slot mechanism, similar to Qt. The color of the line needs to be matched to connect a signal to a slot. Customization of signals/slots seems to be not supported atm.
uxwtf 4 days ago 0 replies      
Tried it out, one star rating does not work for me.
xdd 4 days ago 0 replies      
I accidentally invented iphone mark 55
FastMails servers are in the US what this means for you fastmail.fm
285 points by masnick  3 days ago   168 comments top 28
nullc 3 days ago 7 replies      
> There are of course other avenues available to obtain your data. Our colocation providers could be compelled to give physical access to our servers. Network capturing devices could be installed. And in the worst case an attacker could simply force their way into the datacentre and physically remove our servers.

> These are not things we can protect against directly but again, we can make it extremely difficult for these things to occur by using strong encryption and careful systems monitoring. Were anything like this ever to happen we would be talking about it very publically. Such an action would not remain secret for long.

> Ultimately though, our opinion is that these kinds of attacks are no different to any other hacking attempt. We can and will do everything in our power to make getting unauthorised access to your data as difficult and expensive as possible, but no online service provider can guarantee that it will never happen.

This kind of frank disclosure should be highly rewarded. I provided similar frank disclosure text (elsewhere) only to have it whitewashed.

When everyone is underplaying the real limitations it's impossible for people to choose alternative tradeoffs "Why should I use this slightly harder to use crypto thing when foo is already secure?" because the risks have been misrepresented. Underplaying the limitations also removes the incentives to invent better protection "Doesn't foo already have perfect security?".

westicle 3 days ago 2 replies      
> Australia does not have any equivalent to the US National Security Letter, so we cannot be forced to do something without being allowed to disclose it.

This is not true. The Australian Crime Commission has some of the most extensive secret coercive powers in the Western world.


I would suggest that either:

a) Fastmail is aware of this and is covertly spreading the word that it might be compromised; or

b) Fastmail needs better lawyers.

andrewfong 3 days ago 3 replies      
Note the obvious caveat though:

"There are of course other avenues available to obtain your data. Our colocation providers could be compelled to give physical access to our servers. Network capturing devices could be installed. And in the worst case an attacker could simply force their way into the datacentre and physically remove our servers."

As the colocation providers are based in the U.S., they would be subject to the National Security Letters. FastMail claims this is no different from any other hacking attempt. But in a normal hacking attempt, colocation providers would be free to explain to FastMail the extent of any hacking on their end. Moreover, hackers typically do not have physical access to any data. Even with encryption, physical access opens up a lot of attack vectors that most sysadmins don't anticipate.

robn_fastmail 3 days ago 4 replies      
Hi, FastMail employee and author of (most of) that blog post here.

Just so we're clear, the point of this post was not that we don't think the rules don't apply to us. Instead we're trying to make it clear where position on these things are. The topic of this thread is a sensationalist sound-bite, nothing more.

I'm not going to go over the points again here because I'm pretty sure we said it all in the post (but ask questions if you like, I'll be here all week!).

The most important point to take away from this post is that your privacy is your responsibility. We're trying to provide you with as much information as we can to help you determine your own exposure, and to let you know what we will work to protect and where we can't help. Its up to you to determine if our service is right for you. No tricks, and no hard feelings if you'd rather take your business somewhere else!

rdl 3 days ago 0 replies      
The personal location of the operators is probably the #1 most important security risk; location of customers, location of servers, and country of incorporation are also important.

It's much easier to compel operators to do something (through legal threats or potentially physical threats) than it is to do any active modifications to a complex system, undetectably. Passive ubiquitous monitoring is a concern because it's passive and thus hard to detect -- it's highly unlikely TAO can go after a large number of well-defended systems without getting caught. Obviously they'd be likely to hide their actions behind HACKED BY CHINESEEEE or something, but even then, it's relatively rare to have a complete penetration of a large site in a way which isn't end-user affecting, and rarer still for the site not to publicize it.

That said, if I wanted to compromise Fastmail, I'd either compromise a staffer or some of their administrative systems to impersonate staff.

sschueller 3 days ago 4 replies      
The US government will just take their server. They don't care if you go out of business.

Look at what they did to megaupload.com.

brongondwana 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hello inflammatory headline.

That's a very small part of a lot of what we have to say, most of which is:

* we can't be compelled (under current laws) to install blanket monitoring on our users

* we can't be compelled to keep quiet about penetration that we notice

* there are always risks, including the risk that any random group knows unpublished security flaws in the systems that we use

We have written some things about techniques we use to reduce those risks (physically separate internal network rather than VLANS on a single router for example) - these help protect against both government AND non-government threats. But we can't make those risks go away entirely.

What we're saying is - the physical presence in the USA only changes one low-probability/high-visibility threat, which is direct tampering with our servers.

Regardless of the physical location of servers, we would still comply with legally valid requests made through the Australian Government.

It is our belief and hope that this process is difficult enough to mean that US agencies only ask for data when they have good cause rather than "fishing" - but still easier than taking our servers and shutting us down, with all the fallout that would cause.

bad_user 3 days ago 2 replies      
I found this article brutally honest. What they are saying is that (1) NSA snooping is more expensive for the NSA as they can't engage in blanket surveillance on all of their users, while keeping them silent, but on the other hand (2) you can't expect and shouldn't assume privacy, because if the NSA wants to listen on your traffic, they will.

This in combination with FastMail being acquired by its former employees, coupled with their investment in CardDAV and CalDAV, makes me really excited about them. I was actually looking for a good replacement to Google Apps and FastMail might be it. It's still a little expensive though, compared to Google Apps, I hope they'll bring those prices down just a little.

workhere-io 3 days ago 1 reply      
There's one question they haven't answered: Why do they even need to have their servers in the US? Their blog post admits that there's a big chance that the US is spying on their customers. Given the fact that FastMail is a Norwegian/Australian company, why don't they just move their servers to e.g. Norway?

I realize that even if the servers were in Norway, an email from a FastMail user to a gmail.com account would still be read by the NSA (because it would pass through American servers), but email sent from FastMail to other email hosts in relatively safe countries would not be read by the NSA.

CurtMonash 3 days ago 0 replies      
The persuasive part of this is disclosure. It's a promise to be open about any breaches, plus an observation that the US lacks the legal clout to stop the promise from being kept.
MichaelGG 3 days ago 1 reply      
The only real benefit I see here is that your IP won't be easily revealed. That is, given a fastmail account, the e.g. FBI cannot quickly get your login IP, like they can with e.g. Outlook or Gmail. So, for just low-level anti-surveillance, SSL to fastmail might suffice instead of using Tor with Gmail.

Unless you're using PGP or S/MIME, SMTP is still most often unencrypted.

iSnow 3 days ago 3 replies      
Since the Silk Road bust we know the US LE is able to convince or force colocation providers to provide them with an image of a server. After that, pretty much any communication can be considered open to the NSA. I am not surprised that he does not clearly mentions this.

So FM should move their servers out of the US even if that's inconvenient.

traeblain 3 days ago 2 replies      
So they are saying that they can never get a NSL to turn over information, but where are these servers? Who has the keys to the door of the server room?

So maybe they don't get the NSL, but the people/group/company that is handling the servers might. This seems disingenuous. I could be wrong, but it feels like they are making claims that will dupe people into their service because they feel safe.

rdl 3 days ago 0 replies      
As far as I know, Australian law is common law and would allow a judge to seal a warrant. So, fastmail's asertion that there is nothing like an NSL where they couldn't disclose a search is incorrect. I'm sure it is just lack of awareness, rather than intentional deception.

(Ianal, ianaa, but I am pretty sure I am correct on this point.)

topbanana 3 days ago 1 reply      
They don't need to seize the server. SMTP is plaintext and on a well known port number. I'm sure the NSA have a record of every email sent through the US in the last few years.
jessaustin 2 days ago 0 replies      
While some describe this as "frank", I think to have that quality TFA would need to specify where the decryption keys are stored. Are they in the USA colo's too? (I realize I could probably figure this out myself if I could be arsed to do so, but why not just tell us?)
Quai 3 days ago 1 reply      
I know that my word doesn't mean much, but I have had the chance to talk to several of the guys working at Fastmail during their years at Opera Software. They are -serious- about mail and they are -serious- about privacy.

Next time I'm out shopping for email services, I will give my moeny to them! (And, to give something back for all the Tim Tams brongondwana brought with him to Norway ever time he was on a visit ;) )

a3n 2 days ago 0 replies      
FastMail's servers on on the internet, and so you're fucked.

Just sayin'.

Maximal 3 days ago 1 reply      
As Australia is a member of the five eyes group, I do not see any added protection from FM being incorporated there rather than in the USA.

This is why I use a email service in Norway (runbox.com), which, as far as I know, is not sharing information by default.

aamargulies 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been having a discussion with a fastmail staff member about surveillance and fastmail. You can see the discussion here:


duncan_bayne 2 days ago 0 replies      
This makes me very happy to continue being a Fastmail customer.
frank_boyd 3 days ago 1 reply      
> our primary servers are located in the US

Why would you do that, especially when you're not even a US company?

dutchbrit 3 days ago 0 replies      
Or the US could just go to the Datacenter and force them to give access.
616c 3 days ago 1 reply      
Thank you, Fastmail. This is why I pay for you.
bckrasnow 3 days ago 0 replies      
Transparency takes precedence over everything else in this post, aka the thing you haven't seen US companies doing at all.


smegel 3 days ago 0 replies      
Now swear in blood you weren't under any kind of nondisclosure order when you wrote that.
tweeeyjg 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a joke right? How much were they paid by the NSA to write this post?
phy6 3 days ago 1 reply      
If I was going to set up a honeypot for evil-doers/dissidents, this is the message I would spread.
'Tor Stinks' presentation read the full document theguardian.com
278 points by RMacy  5 days ago   107 comments top 32
fein 5 days ago 12 replies      
Page 5: "Terrorist with Tor client installed"

And its a picture of a guy with a bandit mask and an AK-47. I don't know about you guys, but all my Tor activities are performed in my Halloween costume!

I honestly can't believe something this tacky would end up in a presentation. Is this supposed to be propaganda?

debacle 5 days ago 1 reply      
This should provide clear warning to anyone who might consider themselves a cypherpunk: Even if you don't think that you are at war with the US government, the US government (and likely most other governments) believes it is at war with you.

It sounds dramatic because it is.

GeorgeOrr 5 days ago 2 replies      
They actually saw it as their job to make the experience of anyone using Tor difficult.

Isn't that kind of like the police deciding to make the roads full of potholes because that would make it more difficult for bank robbers to get away in a car.

Then again, considering the quality of the roads these days, maybe they are way ahead of me on that.

balabaster 5 days ago 0 replies      
When will everyone get off the bandwagon of referring to anyone that's willing to actually stand for their beliefs counter to U.S. interests a terrorist? It's gotten to the point where the word terrorist just makes me roll my eyes and say "whatever", I'm becoming desensitized to it, just like most of the UK did growing up in England during the height of IRA campaigns. After a while, it just became a tedious pain in the ass and everyone switched off.
rdl 5 days ago 1 reply      
General conclusion from all of the published leaks is that GCHQ punches (in technical capability and general quality of work) way above its weight class (funding and presumed staffing levels); they also seem much more willing than NSA to be completely unbound by any idea of domestic user privacy. Which is fitting for a country with the number of CCTV cameras they have.
tlarkworthy 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thats a ringing endorsement for Tor. Its really works! They struggle to get info out of it.
Ogre 5 days ago 3 replies      
Of course, if they actually have a really easy time de-anonymizing users, they might "leak" a document like this to encourage people to keep using it.

Conspiracy theories are fun!

sybhn 5 days ago 0 replies      
Doesn't look like a very ethical/professional presentation. But then again, who said everyone's professional in all agencies. Its a conjecture to think our laws are systematically enforced by ethical folks.
henryaj 5 days ago 5 replies      
Depressingly, the document talks about plans to make Tor less reliable to dissuade people from using it:

> Could we set up a lot of really slow Tor nodes ... to degrade the quality of the network?> Given CNE access to a web server make it painful for Tor users?

At least the document seems to confirm that GCHQ has a really, really hard time de-anonymising Tor users.

gwu78 5 days ago 0 replies      
From the Schneier article:

"The good news is they [NSA] went for a browser exploit..."- Roger Dingledine, President of Tor project

It seems there are assumptions among parties that employ "browser exploits" against unsuspecting users that the persons targeted will be using "modern", complex, Javascript-enabled, graphical browsers, and that they'll use these browsers to retrieve content from the network and to view that content on machines with writeable permanent storage that can connect to the network. Am I misreading all these tales of browser exploitation?

Can these parties accomodate reboots from read-only media, text-only browsers, write-protected storage and offline viewing of content?

Maybe the problem isn't so much with Tor as with with the popular browsers and their gratuitous complexity.

jawr 5 days ago 0 replies      
The slides were from over a year ago, I'm sure a lot has changed since then. Also the timing of this is very suspect, obviously it's been in the news and the Guardian either want to run with this new line brought on by the Silk Road "bust", or they just want to "soothe" (take as you will) our worries with the network.

Would also love to know more about NEWTONS CRADLE, anyone heard of anything more specific?

umanwizard 5 days ago 1 reply      
How do we know this wasn't just a trick to make people think tor is safe and keep using it?
devx 5 days ago 1 reply      
Why are these latest NSA stories getting flagged so much?

I don't like that PG has relaxed the flagging so much. You can probably flag even tens of stories a day now without having your flagging removed.

MichaelGG 5 days ago 1 reply      
It's important to note this is from 2007 and thus things have probably changed immensely since then.

Edit: Nevermind, it says it's sourced from a 2007 file but dated 2012.

conductor 5 days ago 0 replies      
So, according to these documents, NSA and GCHQ do have few "owned" exit nodes, but not so many, hence, they want to own more. Interestingly enough, GCHQ set up Tor exit nodes on the AWS cloud.
untog 5 days ago 0 replies      
Most fascinating part - using DoubleClick ad cookies to trace Tor users.
balabaster 5 days ago 1 reply      
I also quite like the point "Analytics: Cookie Leakage", like anyone that uses Tor doesn't use it in incognito mode with cookies disabled... or flushes their cookies before they use anything else...

... that either says they're stupid, or they're only after stupid terrorists... as if they're the ones they should really be concerned about.

aspensmonster 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is a glorious release. I'm suspecting we have Schneier to thank for the full release of the slideshow that is mostly unredacted.
tinfoilman 5 days ago 0 replies      
Some nice recommendations tho for usage.

ORBOT / Tor Router Project / Hide-my-ip-address / Tor Project and the bootable OS Tails.

Some of the more advanced Obfuscation for the tor project

Skype Morph - Hides Tor traffic in Skype packets mmm fun and worth a look

Someone better be working on tor Obfuscation with flash packets, no one is going to block those things.


yk 5 days ago 0 replies      
Somehow I find this presentation reassuring. It mainly suggests to me, that the NSA/GHCQ has to do 'honest' traffic analysis, implying that they did not break any of the crypto primitives used in Tor.
lelf 5 days ago 0 replies      
Dated: 20070108

Declassify on: 20370101

galapago 5 days ago 0 replies      
After watching the presentation, I can think in two things to make TOR better, from the point of view of the anonymity of its users:

* Better education on how users can browser carefuly (no javascript, no plugins, updated browsers)* More nodes.

backwardm 5 days ago 2 replies      
After reading many of these articles about the NSA I keep wondering if they have an office specifically tasked with thinking up code names for these projects. I personally would find it difficult to keep them all straightthis article, for example, contained a new one to me: ONIONBREATH.

Just an odd image in my mind of a group of top-security clearance, extremely well trained, able-minded people who think up silly code names like these.

pwnna 5 days ago 1 reply      
Given that it says that the NSA and the GCHQ is trying to setup tor nodes.. is it possible for us to identify these nodes? Some sort of trust network perhaps?
quantumpotato_ 5 days ago 0 replies      
Of course it stinks. It's "only" weakness is a "global, passive adversary" + It was built by the US Government.
Sami_Lehtinen 5 days ago 0 replies      
Don't we all know, that Tor is low latency solution and therefore directly voulnerable to statistical correllation attacks?
ianstallings 5 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know what the QUANTUM attack they refer to is? It doesn't seem like quantum computing on the face of it; It looks like it may be a system used to disrupt traffic on the internet, possibly man in the middle attacks.

Edit: I found a reference to something called a "Quantum Insert" in an article related to GCHQ. They state the following:

According to the slides in the GCHQ presentation, the attack was directed at several Belgacom employees and involved the planting of a highly developed attack technology referred to as a "Quantum Insert" ("QI"). It appears to be a method with which the person being targeted, without their knowledge, is redirected to websites that then plant malware on their computers that can then manipulate them


This might be what they are referring to, or a system that was built for targeting specific individuals.

ffrryuu 5 days ago 0 replies      
That is a lot of our tax payer money at work...
ffrryuu 5 days ago 0 replies      
Freedom lover with Tor client installed.
How Lavabit Melted Down newyorker.com
276 points by jeanbebe  2 days ago   171 comments top 15
jobu 2 days ago 5 replies      
The integrity and bravery he has shown in this fight is impressive. He has definitely earned enough "cred" to restart this business outside the US and be very successful.
at-fates-hands 2 days ago 2 replies      
The fact the government wanted the SSL keys is obvious they wanted to get at all his customers, not just the one they were targeting.

Levison offered multiple times to write a specific script for the single user that would do what they wanted and at a minimal cost to the government - and they refused. A pretty clear indication they wanted unfettered access to his client base and his network.

Then you add in the lack of ANY oversight on either Lavabit's or the government's, and you have to praise him for what he did.

smsm42 1 day ago 1 reply      
The most scary quote in the whole article is this:

THE COURT: You want to do it in a way that the government has to trust you/.../THE COURT: And you wont trust the government. So why would the government trust you?

It was that the whole idea on which US is built on - the Constitution and other founding ideas - was based on trusting the government only with very little that is necessary for it to function and no more, and having the ultimate power reside in the hands of the citizens. Now it comes to trust in the government being implied and if the citizen doesn't trust the government, he is not to be trusted and must be subjected to coercion. And that's coming from courts, that are supposed to be protecting the constitutional rights. America has come a long and very sad way since its noble origins.

RyanMcGreal 1 day ago 3 replies      
> While he opposes the bulk collection of domestic communications, he has no such strong feelings about the N.S.A.s foreign-surveillance efforts.

As a non-American, I have a problem with this seemingly widespread idea even among privacy advocates in the USA that only Americans are entitled to the protection of their rights from the American government.

ck2 2 days ago 3 replies      
I am blown away by the bravery, I know I'd never be so bold.

Also confused why he didn't end up in prison on mysterious "pervert" charges out of the blue or even dead. And don't lecture me that is far fetched after this past year.

angersock 1 day ago 0 replies      
Of wonderful note:

At approximately 1:30 p.m. CDT on August 2, 2013, Mr. Levison gave the F.B.I. a printout of what he represented to be the encryption keys needed to operate the pen register. This printout, in what appears to be four-point type, consists of eleven pages of largely illegible characters. To make use of these keys, the F.B.I. would have to manually input all two thousand five hundred and sixty characters, and one incorrect keystroke in this laborious process would render the F.B.I. collection system incapable of collecting decrypted data.

I tip my hat to this magnificent bastard.


The core issue is summed up nicely thereafter:

Levison believes that when the government was faced with the choice between getting information that might lead it to its target in a constrained manner or expanding the reach of its surveillance, it chose the latter.

lmm 2 days ago 10 replies      
The more I read the more sympathy I have for the government here. They had a (presumably lawfully obtained) warrant against a specific user; it's not they who designed lavabit such that it was impossible to execute this without obtaining access to every other user. The proposal that Levison would extract the information himself rather than turning over the keys strikes me as completely unrealistic - any information so obtained would be quite rightly thrown out of court, because there's no reliable evidentiary chain, only (in effect) Levison's word. Even if he had turned over the SSL keys, the US still has a fairly strong "fruit of the poison tree" doctrine: any information the government happened to obtain on other users would be invalid for prosecution because it wouldn't be covered by their search warrant.
gregd 2 days ago 4 replies      
There is a huge disconnect between the "justice" system and technology which needs to end. You've seen it before if you're in IT, that glazed eyes look when explaining why their Word document is missing

Anyone with judicial experience know if judges have trusted advisory panels that can help wrap their heads around technology to better rule on cases such as this?

selmnoo 2 days ago 1 reply      
For the fortitude he has shown in fighting the good fight, please consider donating to his defense fund: http://lavabit.com/ (link at the end).
jedbrown 2 days ago 3 replies      
News outlets keep repeating "11 pages of 4-point type totaling 2560 characters", which just doesn't match up since that number of characters fits on one page in a fairly normal font size. Also, RSA keys just aren't that big, so the 11 pages must have either been many keys or some other data.

As I understand Lavabit's architecture, there is no "master" key. Instead, incoming mail is encrypted using an asymmetric per-user key. All the key pairs were created by Lavabit and stored on-site, but locked by a password to be provided over TLS. Since Levison probably didn't compromise his system to store users' passwords, presumably the keys that he was handing over in 4-point type were still locked with a password.

kbart 2 days ago 2 replies      
I still don't get one thing about this story:

>> To make use of these keys, the F.B.I. would have to manually input all two thousand five hundred and sixty characters, and one incorrect keystroke in this laborious process would render the F.B.I. collection system incapable of collecting decrypted data

Don't FBI have some ultra DPI scanner with advanced OCR software? Let's say they live under a rock, it's still not so hard to manually type ~2k characters using magnifying glass. If so, what was the point to shut down Lavabit AFTER turning in printed keys?

P.S. I still highly respect Lavabit and people behind it, but this point in a story doesn't make sense at all.

danielweber 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been skeptical of LavaBit, chalking it up to the general deification that HN gives to its heroes du jour, but he really seems to have made a highly principled stand while still allowing the government to intercept any individual for which it had a warrant.
CamperBob2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Demanding the SSL keys to the entire database was clearly an insane overreach on the FBI's part, a mistake that they compounded if it's true that they refused to work with Lavar on the more targeted approach he suggested. I would like to kick in some bucks towards Ladar's defense, but I'd rather do it through the EFF (where I'm already a member) rather than rally.org, which I've never heard of.

Does anyone have any experience with (or thoughts about) rally.org -- or, for that matter, any knowledge of why the EFF isn't running point on this case?

smoyer 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is anyone else thinking that their systems should include a self-destruct button? (for LavaBit I'd imagine a process that e-mailed each user the SSL key used to encrypt their mailbox, then deleted the key from the system. A user could still decrypt their mailbox by downloading it and using the key).
65_196_127_226 2 days ago 4 replies      
The amount of support for Levison and ire toward the government in this case is absurd. The FBI followed the Constitutional process of obtaining a warrant for the information of the "one user".

I suspect that the only reason anyone cares about this case is because Lord Snowden the Infallible deigned to grace Lavabit with his email traffic.

Would the internet outrage be the same if the targeted user was found out to be a Goldman Sachs executive or a Westboro Baptist Church minister?

Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness (1932) zpub.com
274 points by kamaal  2 days ago   118 comments top 25
enduser 1 day ago 5 replies      
There are a number of beautiful places in the United States where it is possible for a person to subsist quite luxuriously on $1200/mo and preserve the ability to throw parties for friends, buy books and tools, etc. As of January a person with such income will have free Medicare in Oregon.

"Fuck You" money is an illusion that keeps you working. The mind loves to believe that having enough of some external thing will give us control, safety, or whatever we most fear the lack of. It isn't true. A man with with excess money is absorbed in concerns of what to do with it and is hardly free. He might be able to say "fuck you" to people, but he can't say "fuck you" to money.

Freedom is measured by the scarcity of our concerns. And happiness, perhaps, by closeness with people to whom we need never say "fuck you" because we love them and accept them fully.

padobson 1 day ago 2 replies      
The method of a leisure class without duties was, however, extraordinarily wasteful. None of the members of the class had to be taught to be industrious, and the class as a whole was not exceptionally intelligent. The class might produce one Darwin, but against him had to be set tens of thousands of country gentlemen who never thought of anything more intelligent than fox-hunting and punishing poachers.

I'm down. We should be massively ramping up the amount of leisure time in our society so that we, as a society, never miss out on a potential Darwin or Lincoln or Jesus or whomever. How many world-changing, mental giants have we missed out on because they couldn't free their minds from working 40+ hours a week?

leejoramo 2 days ago 3 replies      
As wikipedia notes on Bertrand Russell:

> His work has had a considerable influence on logic, mathematics, set theory, linguistics, artificial intelligence, computer science (see type theory and type system), and philosophy, especially philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics.

Plus he won the Nobel Prize in Literature!

For a very approachable overview of Russell's complex life, I highly recommend the graphic novel "Logicomix"


Then you will certainly find yourself wanting to learn more about this amazing person.

parasight 2 days ago 7 replies      
It is rather strange. More and more things of everyday life are automated and computerized. Nevertheless, I have the impression to have less and less time to do all the things I want/need to do.
padobson 1 day ago 2 replies      
I have to say there's a good chance that society is already moving toward Russell's ideal.

If you just look at accelerators like YCombinator, you'll see that two successful startups (Dropbox and AirBnb) are by-and-large paying for the investment of the other several hundred startups several times over.

So when will we see it going to the next level? Gather a bunch of people together, using whatever criteria you see fit, and tell them to do whatever they want. Pay for their room and board, and see what is produced from their complete leisure time. If the produce of that investment was one of the individuals simply having an idea on the scale of something like "Democracy" or "Altruism", wouldn't it be completely worth it if the other individuals never did anything more than eat, sleep, and play video games?

RyanMcGreal 2 days ago 2 replies      
> If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Notwithstanding that small matter of formally defining the logical foundations of all mathematics.

pjdorrell 1 day ago 2 replies      
"If he merely puts his savings in a stocking, like the proverbial French peasant, it is obvious that they do not give employment."

What is "obvious" to Bertrand Russell is bad economics.

When the peasant puts his money in a stocking, he causes a slight deflation, so prices decrease, which increases the value of everyone else's money. So everyone else effectively has more to spend, if they want to.

However, everyone else would be prudent to assume that the peasant will eventually spend his money, which will correspondingly cause prices to rise again.

It might seem that an earlier gain is offset by a later loss.

But, those who benefit from the slight deflation can choose to invest the increased value of their monetary holdings into industry. At a later time, when the peasant decides to spend his money, the products of that industry will be ready for purchase.

Thus, with nothing more than surplus cash and a stocking, the peasant has driven investment in industry, productive employment, and long-term growth in the wealth of society, the benefits of which he has foregone since he chose not to seek a return of interest on his savings.

gbog 2 days ago 2 replies      
There is this thing about ancient China: each son, when his father died, had to mourn for three years. Yes, three years. And it meant stopping your official occupation, e.g. official employment. (This didn't apply to the peasant).

Result: most of the great products of Chinese culture are a direct consequence of this forced idleness.

imarg 2 days ago 2 replies      
Of a similar thinking is, I suppose, "The Right to Be Lazy" by Paul Lafargue.

I read it some time ago and if I remember correctly he believed that there isn't/wasn't any need to work more than 3 hours a day because of the technological advances of the time (and to think this was in 1883!)

After a quick search I found it is available online at: http://www.marxists.org/archive/lafargue/1883/lazy/

gbog 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was half through and I suddenly had a click in my head, thought this was written by pg.

Same clean and efficient style, same nakedness without any philosophical scaffolding, while being bullet tracing a straight line through many philosophical stand points.

Two very clairvoyant minds. Let's go back reading.

hownottowrite 2 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone looking for more praise of idleness should look into the works of Tom Hodgkinson. How to Be Idle is particularly brilliant.
myth_drannon 1 day ago 0 replies      
On the same note I would like to add another related and a great article:The Quality of lifehttp://www.ribbonfarm.com/2013/07/31/the-quality-of-life/
CaptainSwing 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is a great deal of anarchist and libertarian communist literature critiquing the modern concept of work, notably Russian anarchist Kropotkin's book 'the conquest of bread' originally written in around 1906. http://libcom.org/library/the-conquest-of-bread-peter-kropot...
yankoff 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder how much Mr. Russel was idle himself having written on average 2 books per year throughout his life and significantly contributing on so many levels.
00rion 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I notice that nobody has related this to the Swiss proposal to provide a basic income for all adults. If it works there, I wonder if other countries will move in that direction.
volume 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder what Bertrand Russell would say about Undercover Cop. If only he were alive today and given the chance to produce his on reality tv show. I wonder what that would be like?
kyberias 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm way too lazy while idling to read this. tl;dr?
pvdm 1 day ago 0 replies      
He also wrote "Conquest of Happiness".
_nullandnull_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
I recently stumbled upon a great graphic comic (mostly factual) about Betrand Russell and his life. I'd highly recommend it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logicomix
computerJanitor 2 days ago 1 reply      
"...there is no reason to go on being foolish forever."
benhirashima 2 days ago 0 replies      
there's a great book in the same vein, How to be Idle.http://www.amazon.com/How-Be-Idle-Manifesto-ebook/dp/B00DB3F...
ashutoshm 1 day ago 0 replies      
and now for something completely differenthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k799LiPqu2g[Bertie in Bollywood]
sandeepspatil 2 days ago 0 replies      
"borrowing made it appear as if the future was nourishing the present"
kevgnulldev 1 day ago 0 replies      
The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. - Bertrand Russell
AimHere 2 days ago 1 reply      
>The number one economic fallacy is this: he claims that doing a job, all other things being equal, removes bread from someone elses mouth. This is 100% false.

Russell agrees with you, through the medium of sarcasm and reductio ad absurdum:

>If this argument were valid, it would only be necessary for us all to be idle in order that we should all have our mouths full of bread.

He prefixes citing the argument with:

>Before advancing my own arguments for laziness, I must dispose of one which I cannot accept.

in case you don't get the sarcasm.

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