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The PC is not dead, we just don't need new ones idiallo.com
544 points by firefoxd  1 day ago   390 comments top 92
simonsarris 1 day ago 20 replies      
I've felt this way since I built my last desktop in 2008. I was sort-of waiting for the "gee its time to upgrade" mark to roll around in 3 or 4 years, but it hasn't happened yet. Any games I want to play it still runs very well, and it still feels very fast to me even compared to modern off-the-shelf systems.

When my friends ask for laptop-buying advice I tell them if they like the keyboard and screen, then its just plain hard to be disappointed with anything new.

I think I can pinpoint when this happened - It was the SSD. Getting an SSD was the last upgrade I ever needed.


Above that, PCs aren't necessary for a lot of people, because people do not need $2000 Facebook and email machines. For the median person, if you bought a PC in 2006, then got an iPad (as a gift or for yourself) and started using it a lot, you might find that you stopped turning on your PC. How could you justify the price of a new one then?

Yet if there was a major cultural shift to just tablets (which are great devices in their own right), I would be very worried. It's hard(er) to create new content on a tablet, and I don't really want that becoming the default computer for any generation.

I think its extremely healthy to have the lowest bar possible to go from "Hey I like that" to "Can I do that? Can I make it myself?"

I think its something hackers, especially those with children should ask themselves: Would I still be me, if I had grown up around primarily content consumption computing devices instead of more general purpose laptops and desktops?

Tablets are knocking the sales off of low-end PCs, but we as a society need the cheap PC to remain viable, if we want to turn as many children as possible into creators, engineers, tinkerers, and hackers.

fiatmoney 1 day ago 7 replies      
"For what" is the obvious question. Web development with a remote testing environment, office applications, email, web browsing - sure, a Core 2 Duo is more than good enough if your software environment is kept in order. Audio / video / photoshop, gaming, developing software that does math, data analysis - you can never get fast enough.

The limiting factor is if your computer's feedback loop is tighter than your brain's perception loop. If you can type a letter and the letter appears, your computer is fast enough for word processing. But, if you can run a data analysis job and it's done before you release the "enter" key, it just means you should really be doing better analyses over more data. Certain use cases grow like goldfish to the limits of their environment.

UVB-76 1 day ago 8 replies      
People snack on smartphones, dine on tablets, and cook on PCs.

A lot of people don't want to cook, so are happy with smartphones and tablets.

Why buy a desktop or laptop when an iPad will do everything you need for a fraction of the price? That's what people mean when they sound the death knell for the PC.

gtaylor 1 day ago 5 replies      
I built a dev/gaming machine back in early 2010. It's stout, but not a ridiculously expensive (~$1,000) behemoth. The only thing I've done since then is toss some more RAM in so I could have two sets of triple channel DDR3 instead of one. I can still run just about any modern AAA game at the highest settings.

The only time I felt like I've needed an upgrade is while playing Planetside 2, which is/was very CPU bound for my setup. However, when it was initially released, Planetside 2 ran like a three-legged dog even on some higher end rigs. It's much better after a few rounds of optimizations by the developers, with more scheduled for the next month or two.

I dual boot Linux boot on the same machine for my day job, 5 days a week all year. For this purpose it has actually been getting faster with time as the environment I run matures and gets optimized.

As good as it is now, I remember struggling to keep up with a two year old machine in 2003.

protomyth 1 day ago 1 reply      
The PC market isn't dead, but then again, the Mainframe market isn't dead either.

The Post-PC devices[1] (tablets / smartphones) are it for the majority of folks from here on out. They are easier to own since the upgrade path is heading to buy new device and type in my password to have all my stuff load on it. If I want to watch something on the big screen, I just put a device on my TV. Need to type, add a keyboard.

The scary part of all this is that some of the culture of the post-PC devices are infecting the PCs. We see the restrictions on Windows 8.x with the RT framework (both x86/ARM), all ARM machine requirements, and secure boot. We see the OS X 10.8+ with gatekeeper, sandboxing, and app store requirements with iCloud.

The PC culture was defined by hobbyists before the consumers came. The post-PC world is defined by security over flexibility. Honestly, 99% of the folks are happier this way. They want their stuff to work and not be a worry, and if getting rid of the hobbyist does that then fine. PC security is still a joke and viruses are still a daily part of life even if switching the OS would mitigate some of the problems.

I truly wish someone was set to keep building something for the hobbyist[2], but I am a bit scared at the prospects.

1) Yes, I'm one of those that mark the post-PC devices as starting with the iPhone in 2007. It brought the parts we see together: tactile UI, communications, PC-like web browsing, and ecosystem (having inherited the iPods).

2) I sometimes wonder what the world would be like if the HP-16c had kept evolving.

bluedino 1 day ago 2 replies      
Don't worry, PC manufacturers are currently selling machines that are already obsolete.

My dad went to Walmart and bought a computer (why he didn't just ask me to either advise him, or ask if he could have one of my spare/old ones I don't know) and monitor for $399.

It's an HP powered by a AMD E1-1500. It's awfully slow. Chokes on YouTube half the time. My dad is new to the online experience, so he basically uses it for watching streaming content.

I could have grabbed him a $99 Athlon X4 or C2D on craigslist and it would better than this thing. I'm not sure if he'll ever experience a faster computer so I don't think he'll ever get frustrated with this machine, but it's amazing that they sell an utter piece of shit like this as a new machine.

zeidrich 1 day ago 1 reply      
A tablet is a PC. Especially as x86 processors start taking over arm processors.

Just because it doesn't sit in a big box doesn't mean it's a different class of system. The difference is really the openness of the platform, comparing something like iOS to Win 8 pro.

That said, many tablets are basically what we would have thought of as PCs before. Consider something like the Samsung 500T or similar, or thinkpad helix. Components are small and cheap enough that they can be packed behind the LCD, and you have essentially a laptop that doesn't need it's keyboard.

Will iPads take over PCs? No. They are too limited, not because of hardware, but because of OS limitations. Will tablets take their place though? Quite possibly. The portability is quite handy. That I can dock a tablet with a keyboard and have a normal PC experience, but have it portable when I need it is a selling feature.

The obvious cavaet is that a limited OS is fine as long as the majority of data is cloud based. In that case even development can be done on a closed platform, and the tablet becomes something more akin to a monitor or keyboard. More of a peripheral than a computing device. We might get to that point, but that's not the cause of the current trend.

downandout 1 day ago 4 replies      
If everyone adopted the attitude of the author of this blog, all innovation everywhere in the world would cease instantly because, for most of us in the developed world, everything is good enough already. There are many points throughout computing history at which existing hardware was overkill for the things that we were asking our computers to do. Had we stopped innovating because of that, the world wouldn't be anywhere near where it is today.

In high school I recall lusting after a $4,500 486DX2 66Mhz machine with an astounding 16MB (not GB) of RAM, and a 250MB hard drive. A few months ago I spent a little less than that on a laptop with 2,000X that amount of RAM, 8,000X that amount of hard drive space, and a processor that would have not so long ago been considered a supercomputer.

I for one am glad that we have continued to innovate, even when things were good enough.

josefresco 1 day ago 4 replies      
It's not that people don't need a new PC because their old PC does just as good a job as it did 5 years ago. It's also not because your average mom and pop are upgrading their own rigs themselves that new PC sales are slow.

It's that when tablets hit the scene, people realized they don't need their PC for 90% of what they do on a "computer". Email, social networking, shopping, music, video etc.

Us old geeks who swap hardware, play PC games, tweak OS settings and generally use yesterday's general purpose PC will be the ones remaining who keep buying new hardware and complete machines.

The general public meanwhile will only buy a PC if their tablet/smartphone/phablet needs expand beyond those platforms.

The market will shrink but it will turn more "pro". The quicker MS evolves into a modern IBM the better.

joshuahedlund 1 day ago 0 replies      
What if one of the reasons we don't need new PCs yet is not that tablets and smartphones are replacing the need for them entirely (although for some people they are), and not that PCs are lasting longer on their own either (although they probably are, too), but that tablets and smartphones are helping PCs last longer by reducing the wear and tear we give them?

I'm still running fine with my 2007 Macbook, but I think my iPhone has extended its life because now my laptop almost never leaves the house and sometimes doesn't even get used in a day, whereas pre-smartphone I used to cart my laptop around rather frequently and use it every day.

rythie 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think people are pissed off with PCs.

They bought a windows machine for what to them is a lot of money (more than a iPad), it didn't last long before it slow and it's got extra toolbars and all sorts of rubbish. What's worse is that this happened last time they bought a PC and the time before and the time before that. They are not going to add a SSD because that's not how they think + they don't how + it's throwing good money after bad + they are dubious of the benefits.

The iPad in contrast exceeded expectations and in the year or two they've had it they had a better experience. They can't get excited about a another windows machine because it's expensive, more of the same and not worth it really.

bhouston 1 day ago 3 replies      
CPUs have not gotten significantly faster in the last couple years, especially at the high end.

Back in Q1 2010 I got an Intel Core i7 980X which benchmarked at 8911 according to http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7+X+980+...

Now in Q2 2013 (3 years later) the very top of the line processor available, an Intel Xeon E5-2690 v2, is only twice as fast at 16164: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Xeon+E5-2690+v...

It used to be that things got faster at a much faster rate. And until this new E5-2690 v2 was released, the fastest CPU was only 14000 or so, which is less than 2x as fast.

gordaco 1 day ago 1 reply      
> You rarely have the need to buy a whole new box.

This is the number one reason why I love the PC above any other kind of computing machine. Need more disk space? Sure, go get a new disk, you may not even need to remove any of the others. Want a better graphics card for that new game? Easy as pie. Your processor died because the fan was malfunctioning? Too bad, but luckily those two are the only things you'll have to pay for. The list goes on.

I bought my current PC on 2009. The previous one still had some components from 2002.

platz 1 day ago 1 reply      
Below is what I feel is a relevant excerpt from Text of SXSW2013, Closing Remarks by Bruce Sterling [1]:

---Why does nobody talk about them? Because nobody wants them, thats why. Imagine somebody brings you a personal desktop computer here at South By, theyre like bringing it in on a trolley.

Look, this device is personal. It computes and its totally personal, just for you, and you alone. It doesnt talk to the internet. No sociality. You cant share any of the content with anybody. Because its just for you, its private. Its yours. You can compute with it. Nobody will know! You can process text, and draw stuff, and do your accounts. Its got a spreadsheet. No modem, no broadband, no Cloud, no Facebook, Google, Amazon, no wireless. This is a dream machine. Because its personal and it computes. And it sits on the desk. You personally compute with it. You can even write your own software for it. It faithfully executes all your commands.

So if somebody tried to give you this device, this one I just made the pitch for, a genuinely Personal Computer, its just for you Would you take it?

Even for free?

Would you even bend over and pick it up?

Isnt it basically the cliff house in Walnut Canyon? Isnt it the stone box?

Look, I have my own little stone box here in this canyon! I can grow my own beans and corn. I harvest some prickly pear. Im super advanced here.

I really think Im going to outlive the personal computer. And why not? I outlived the fax machine. I did. I was alive when people thought it was amazing to have a fax machine. Now Im alive, and people think its amazing to still have a fax machine.

Why not the personal computer? Why shouldnt it vanish like the cliff people vanished? Why shouldnt it vanish like Steve Jobs vanished?

Its not that we return to the status quo ante: dont get me wrong. Its not that once we had a nomad life, then we live in high-tech stone dwellings, and we return to chase the bison like we did before.

No: we return into a different kind of nomad life. A kind of Alan Kay world, where computation has vanished into the walls and ceiling, as he said many, many years ago.

Then we look back in nostalgia at the Personal Computer world. Its not that we were forced out of our stone boxes in the canyon. We werent driven away by force. We just mysteriously left. It was like the waning of the moon.

They were too limiting, somehow. They computed, but they just didnt do enough for us. They seemed like a fantastic way forward, but somehow they were actually getting in the way of our experience.

All these machines that tore us away from lived experience, and made us stare into the square screens or hunch over the keyboards, covered with their arcane, petroglyph symbols. Control Dingbat That, backslash R M this. We never really understood that. Not really.---

[1]: http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2013/04/text-of-sxsw2...

jseliger 1 day ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of a piece I wrote a couple years ago: http://jseliger.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/desktop-pcs-arent-g... , which makes a similar point. Both articles are less screechy and less likely to get readers than screaming headlines about OMG DEATH!!!
rndmize 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the issue is that the rate of improvement has fallen pretty hard. I remember when nvidia moved from the 5 series to the 6 series, their new flagship card doubled the performance of any current card on the market. The same thing happened with the 8 series. Processors before multicore would show direct improvements in the speed of the machine, especially if (like the average consumer) your machine filled up with useless, constantly running crap over time.

These days I just don't see that. Graphics cards seem to improve by 30-50% each generation, and because so many games are tied to consoles now, they often aren't even taking advantage of what's available. With multicore processors and the collapse of the GHZ race, there's no easy selling point as far as speed, and much less visible improvement (now all that useless crap can be offloaded to the second core!) and most consumers will never need more than two cores. Crysis felt like the last gasp of the old, engine-focused type of game that made you think "man, I really should upgrade to play this"... and that was released in 07. Without significant and obvious performance improvements, and software to take advantage, why bother upgrading?

null_ptr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I disagree with "The top of the line smart-phone or tablet you own today will be obsolete by the end of 2014 if not earlier."

I will use my 2011 smart phone until it physically breaks. If a 1.2GHz device with a 300MHz GPU, 1280x720 screen, and 1GB of RAM can't make calls and do a decent job of browsing the web, that's a problem with today's software engineering, not with the hardware.

And if Google decides to doom my perfectly good device to planned obsolence, fuck them, I will put Ubuntu Touch of Firefox OS on it. The day of disposable mobiles is over, we have alternatives now just like we do on PCs.

rayhano 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is an over-simplication.

Yes, PCs aren't ageing as fast as they used to.

But they are obsolete beyond 'not being portable'.

Here is why tablets are winning:

1. Instant on. I can keep my thoughts in tact and act on them immediately. No booting, no memory lags, no millions of tabs open in a browser.

2. Focus. Desktop interfaces seem to be desperate to put everything onto one screen. I have a PC and a Mac (both laptops). I prefer the PC to the Mac; better memory management for photoshop and browsing, and I love Snap. But that's where the usefulness stops. With an ipad, I have no distractions on the screen.

3. Bigger isn't better. That includes screens. Steve Jobs was wrong. The iPad Mini is better than the bigger variants. Hands down. Same goes for desktop screens. I want a big TV, because I'm watching with loads of people. I don't need a big screen for a PC because the resolution isn't better than an ipad and I'm using it solo. Google Glass could quite possibly be the next advancement in this theme.

4. Build quality. PCs look and feel cheap. Including my beloved Sony Vaio Z. The ipad in my hand could never be criticised for build quality.

5. Price. The ipad doesn't do more than 10% of what I need to do. But, I do those 10% of things 90% of the time. So why pay more for a PC when the ipad has no performance issues and takes care of me 90% of the time.

I used to think shoehorning a full desktop OS into a tablet is what I wanted. Seeing Surface, I can happily say I was wrong. I don't want to do the 90% of things I do 10% of the time. That's inefficient and frankly boring. PCs and Macs are boring. Tablets are fun. There's one last point why tablets are winning:

6. Always connected. It strikes me as absurd seeing laptops on the trains with dongles sticking out. It takes ages for those dongles to boot up. I used to spend 5-10 minutes of a train journey waiting for the laptop to be ready. My ipad mini with LTE is ever ready. And cheaper. And built better. And more fun.

The PC isn't dead, but it will have next to no investment going forward, so will suffer a mediocre retirement in homes and offices across the world.

Note: I love my PC. I just love my ipad mini more.

mortenjorck 1 day ago 1 reply      
Five years ago, I bought a MacBook Pro to replace my PowerBook G4, which was itself five years old. The list of obsolescences was enormous: It had only USB 1.1 in a market teeming with new USB 2.0 hardware that couldn't have existed with the slower speeds; it had a single-touch trackpad just as OS X was introducing all sorts of useful multi-touch gestures; it relied on clumsy external solutions for wi-fi and Bluetooth; it had a slow-to-warm CFL LCD that had been supplanted by bright new LED backlit screens; it was even built on a dead-end CPU architecture that Apple had traded for vastly more powerful, energy-efficient, multi-core x86 processors.

Today, the calendar says it's time for me to upgrade again. Yet the pain of obsolescence of a five-year-old laptop in 2013 just isn't the same as in 2008: USB 3.0? What new applications is it enabling? Anything I need Thunderbolt for? Not yet. New Intel architectures and SSDs at least promise less waiting in everyday use... but I'm hardly unproductive with my old machine.

beloch 21 hours ago 0 replies      
PC's are far from dead for consumers but, for manufacturers and retailers, the high-churn glory days are over. With high-end gaming now chained to the console cycle, even gamers won't get the itch to upgrade more often than Sony and MS refresh their platforms.

Intel, AMD, etc. might want to consider slowing their desktop product cycles down a tad. Instead of spending extra to bring every incremental performance to market as soon as it can be, perhaps longer product cycles will bring down costs.

evo_9 1 day ago 4 replies      
The PC is dead, it's just not dead for computer professionals, and never will be. But for the rest of the world - think mom, dad, gramps,grammy - why on earth do the need the headaches of a full PC (mac or windows)? A good tablet is basically enough for almost everyone else.
mcgwiz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hmm, there seems to be the implication that we've hit some magical end state in hardware development where consumer needs are forever met.

Personally, I think of these hardware market developments with an eye toward interplay with the software market. Historically, software developers had to consider the capabilities of consumer hardware in determining feature scope and user experience. Hardware capabilities served as a restraint on the product, and ignoring them could effectively reduce market size. The effect was two-sided though, with new more demanding software driving consumers to upgrade. Currently, in this model, the hardware stagnation can be interpreted as mutually-reinforcing conditions of software developers not developing to the limit of current hardware to deliver marketable products, and consumers not feeling the need to upgrade. In a sense, the hardware demands of software have stagnated as well.

From this, I wonder if the stagnation is due to a divergence in the difficulty in developing software that can utilize modern computing power in a way that is useful/marketable from that of advancing hardware. Such a divergence can be attributed to a glut of novice programmers that lack experience in large development efforts and the increasing scarcity and exponential demand for experienced developers. Alternatively, the recent increase in the value of design over raw features could inhibit consideration of raw computing power in product innovation. Another explanation could be that changes to the software market brought about by SaaS, indie development, and app store models seem to promote smaller, simpler end-user software products (e.g. web browsers vs office suites).

I wouldn't be surprised if this stagnation is reversed in the future (5+ years from now) from increased software demands. Areas remain for high-powered consumer hardware, including home servers (an area that has been evolving for some time, with untapped potential in media storage, automation and device integration, as well as resolving increasing privacy concerns of consumer SaaS, community mesh networking and resource pooling, etc), virtual reality, and much more sophisticated, intuitive creative products (programming, motion graphics, 3d modeling, video editing, audio composition, all of which I instinctively feel are ripe for disruption).

Zak 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been prioritizing human interface over raw power for some time with my laptop (more or less my only PC). It's semi-homebuilt - a Thinkpad T61 in a T60 chassis. I would rather work on this machine than any new one.

The CPU is slow by current standards, but a Core2Duo isn't slower than the low-clock CPUs in many Ultrabooks. The 3 hour battery life could be better, but I can swap batteries and many new laptops can't. The GPU sucks, but I don't play many games anyway. DDR2 is pricey these days, but I already have my 8gb. SATA2 is slower than SATA3, but I'm still regularly amazed at how much faster my SSD is than spinning rust. It's a little heavy, but really, I can lift six pounds with one finger.

So the bad parts aren't so bad, but nothing new matches the good parts. The screen is IPS, matte, 15" and 1600x1200. Aside from huge monster gaming laptops, nothing has a screen this tall (in inches, not pixels) anymore. I can have two normal-width source files or other text content side by side comfortably. The keyboard is the classic Thinkpad keyboard with 7 rows and what many people find to be the best feel on a laptop. The trackpoint has physical buttons, which are missing from the latest generation of Thinkpads. There's an LED in the screen bezel so I can view papers, credit cards and such that I might copy information from in the dark, also missing from the latest Thinkpads.

ChuckMcM 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interesting to watch the uptick in 'retina' laptops. Basically people don't need a new PC but will pay for a better PC 'experience' that means longer battery life, 'better' screen (usually retina/IPS/etc), better ergonomics.

Interestingly it seems like some would love to run their old OS on them. My Dad sort of crystallized it when he said "I'd like to get a new laptop with a nicer screen but I can't stand the interface in Windows 8 so I'll live with this one." That was pretty amazing to me. Not being able to carry your familiar OS along as a downside. That reminded me of the one set of Win98 install media I had that I kept re-using as I upgraded processors and memory and motherboards. I think I used it on 3 or 4 versions of machines. Then a version of XP I did the same with.

I wonder if there is a market for a BeOS like player now when there wasn't before.

keithpeter 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, big long thread here will take me some time to read but I know what the OP is saying. A few pages not mentioned already...

The mysterious K Mandla gives 10 reasons not to buy a new computer


The TOPLAP project (a real hack - give a teenager an old laptop and Ubuntustudio or similar, light blue touch paper, retreat). By the way, if anyone has resources for live-coding in puredata, please post here


The Zero Dollar Laptop Project [1] and current progress [2]

[1] http://jaromil.dyne.org/journal/zero_dollar_laptop.html

[2] http://www.furtherfield.org/zerodollarlaptop/

Now, I made a major discovery over the summer: I am actually more productive on a laptop than on a desktop with a large screen. Strange but true, so I am donating the desktops and adopting a couple of Thinkpads off Ebay (X60 from Dec 2006 and X200s from March 2010) as my major computational devices. One with Debian stock and the other with gNewSense 3.0 for a giggle.

dkarl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was ticked off that my 2007 Mac Mini couldn't be upgraded to Mountain Lion, until I realized Snow Leopard ran all the software I needed on that box. I think I'm happy with the hardware and form factor of my phone, too, so I've got all the electronics I need for years to come. Good thing, too, because my rent just went up, and I need a new couch.
simba-hiiipower 1 day ago 0 replies      
Of course PC sales will be low. When you don't have enough memory, you buy more RAM. When your processor is too slow, buy a new CPU, or you get a new heat sink and over clock it. You rarely have the need to buy a whole new box.

i agree that the increased (functional) life of pcs is a contributing factor to slowing unit sales, but its laughable to attribute it to the idea that people who once would have bought a new pc are now just buying more ram and upgrading internals.

the percentage of people who would have any idea how to do that, or even consider it as a viable option, is far to small to have any real impact on demand..

sdfjkl 1 day ago 1 reply      
Mainly we don't need new ones because the 3 year old one is still doing the job. That wasn't the case a decade ago - your 3 year old PC was seriously out of date and couldn't run most games released that year and probably not install the latest OS release. This rapid progress has flattened out considerably. Now people upgrade to get nice features such as retina displays or SSD drives, but that's optional (so you don't do it if you don't have spare money laying around) and the benefit is much smaller than going from a 90 MHz Pentium to a 450 MHz Pentium III.
dankoss 1 day ago 2 replies      
> When your processor is too slow, buy a new CPU, or you get a new heat sink and over clock it

The motherboards for PCs built 5 years ago are completely different from those built today, and the CPU sockets have changed every other year. New processors from Intel will be soldered on.

The performance of a PC from five years ago is probably adequate for web browsing and office tasks. For anything more demanding, the advances in power consumption, execution efficiency and process node are huge leaps from five years ago.

venomsnake 1 day ago 0 replies      
Quick and dirty guide for having decent PC:

1. Buy mid range processor with a lot of L2 cache2. Find mobo that supports lots of ram and stuff it to the max.3. SSD is a must4. Buy the second card of the high tier model (the cut chip from the most recent architecture (in their times that were 7950, 570 etc ... but with current branding of NVIDIA a total mess it may require some reading if you are on team green)5. Any slow hard drive will be enough for torrents6. In 2 1/2 years upgrade the video to the same class.in 5 years ... if the market is the same repeat. If it is not - lets hope there are self assembled devices on the market non locked.

I have been doing that since 2004 and never had a slow or expensive machine.

niuzeta 1 day ago 1 reply      
the article is falling under fallacy of assuming the wrong sample. Of course the author wouldn't buy new PC because he can upgrade his old one. Heck, almost any tech-savvy people can in fact upgrade or build one from the scratch. If not, chances are that you know at least one person who can help you and after the first time, it just gets easier.

the PC market isn't dead, it is slowly receding and it won't stop. It's because of the new alternatives, and assuming finite budge, when you get one of the alternatives, which cost roughly around a consumer-level laptop, you don't have enough for another PC that you don't need.

The article to me seems extremely narrow in both its oversight and scope. People don't care about processing power not because it's a marketing gimmick, but because they don't care. People who do care are the ones who know enough to care, and they will always be minority.

padobson 1 day ago 4 replies      
I don't know which conclusion I had about this was more useful:

1) I don't need to buy a new PC every two years anymore2) Someone should make a tablet with slots so it can be upgraded like a PC

thom 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting that the author assumes smartphones need to be upgraded almost yearly. My smartphone upgrade path in the last 10 years has been HTC Typhoon -> iPhone 3GS 32GB -> iPhone 5S 64GB, and a large part of the most recent upgrade was a crumbling plastic case on the 3GS.

At no point during the 4-year tenure of the 3GS did it stop being astonishing to me that I had flat-rate, always-on internet in my pocket, all my music, ebooks and audiobooks, videos that I took of my wedding, and photos that I took of our first child, who's now inherited it and mostly uses it for In the Night Garden.

Personally I think that because of the reduced horizons of smartphones, they're actually every bit as long-lasting as your PC. Sure, at some point OS updates stop coming, and with that app upgrades, but the performance of the 3GS was fine, and I'm not afraid to admit that part of the latest upgrade was just embarrassment at having such a naff old phone, as much as I loved it.

seanmcdirmid 1 day ago 0 replies      
The PC is not dead; the market for selling new PCs is just stagnant. PostPC doesn't mean the PC is dead, but it lives on more like a zombie.

I'm hoping that a new generation of largish (24-27") 4K displays will lead to a rebirth in desktop PCs, if only because we depend on them so much for professional work where they've fallen behind in experience when compared to high-end laptops, which shouldn't be the case!

willvarfar 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Of course PC sales will be low. When you don't have enough memory, you buy more RAM. When your processor is too slow, buy a new CPU, or you get a new heat sink and over clock it. You rarely have the need to buy a whole new box

This is not end-consumers nor businesses. Enthusiasts who were building and upgrading their computers were always a small market.

The article talks about upgrading repeatedly, but I don't think the author can extrapolate their own expertise over the rest of the traditional desktop users.

davexunit 1 day ago 0 replies      
I agree with the author. I built my desktop computer in 2009 (I think) and it's still going strong. I see no reason to upgrade. I also recently purchased a used Thinkpad X220. It's a few years old but has no problem doing everything that I want to do with it.

It's wasteful to be throwing away computers constantly. In the PC world, I've noticed that it's particularly prevalent among "gamers" that are convinced that they need a new computer every couple of years.

basicallydan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good point, well made.

Personally, I upgrade incrementally, and I still use my PC on a regular basis. The machine I have now is a hodge-podge of parts from different ERAs. I have an Intel Q6600 but DDR3 RAM, and a modern, quite beefy graphics card that I bought when it was in the upper-echelons in early 2013. It runs most modern games pretty well. I have an SSD for most software but also three big HDDs, one of which I've had since my first build in 2004.

exodust 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hardly any academics, or professionals who write articles, reports, or serious documents, are doing so exclusively on their iPad. They probably own an iPad, but the majority of people I see who are trying to contribute something substantial to the world - a book, design, quality video and sound recording, or just professional documents to share with colleagues... these people are using a laptop or a desktop. Their PC might be old, but it does the job. These people own tablets and phones too.

Now do the math. If everyone - smart, average, stupid, young, old, are buying tablets and smartphones, then of course this makes PC sales look like death.

It's more like a "post-PC-avoidance" world we're in now. A lot of stupid people avoided using PCs back in the day. Now all those people own tablets and smartphones and use them for entertainment.

dageshi 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is pretty much dead on. What I think will happen is that PC manufacturers are going to look around for new markets and the obvious one is going to be consoles. Once SteamOS comes out I expect a slow but massive ramp up in PC-Console production in a similar vein to the way that Android powered devices have come to dominate the smartphone market (in numbers shipped).
wahsd 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's why we all needs tablets. A tablet for you...and a tablet for you...And you get a tablet....and you get a tablet....We all get tablets..... Oh! these tablets kind of suck to actually produce or do anything on. ....... ok, back to laptops and all-in-ones.
tehwalrus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have bought laptops, but not a whole desktop ever in my life. I've been through two desktops, mind you, that were both built from scratch[1].

I think this article gets it about right - I've started enforcing a 3 year cycle for both phone and laptops because they were costing me too much (in a mustachian sort of way) - and I've stuck to it with laptops (I made 3.5 years on a 2009 MBP) and will be doing so with the iPhone (due for replacement spring 2015.) If the nexus devices keep getting cheaper and awesomer, then I might jump to those a bit earlier (particularly if I can sell the 32GB 4S for an appreciable fraction of the new phone cost.)

Working with the 3.5 year old laptop got slightly painful (re-down-grading back to snow leopard from lion was essential, I even tried ubuntu briefly) but perfectly bearable for coding and web browsing. I'll see how slow the phone gets, but I'm quite relaxed about not having the latest and greatest iOS features (I've not seen anything compelling since iOS 5; I only did 6 because some new app requested it.)

[1] or rather, one was, and then I gradually replaced all the parts until I had a whole spare PC to sell on ebay, and one mobo bundle later and I'm still using it with no problems, playing games etc.

btbuildem 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd argue a similar pattern is happening with laptops (well, at least ones with exchangeable parts).

My old T400 was "dying" until I put an SSD in it. Blew my mind how significant an upgrade that was. When it started "dying" again I maxed out the RAM @ 16GB.

The CPU is a bit lacking now that I want to run multiple VMs side by side, and the chassis has seen perhaps a bit too much wear, so a replacement is coming -- but I've managed to put it off for years, with relatively inexpensive upgrades.

drawkbox 1 day ago 0 replies      
A few things lead to this including the obvious tablet/mobile disruption. PC Gaming decline due to console gaming and mobile and Moore's law and processor speed.

I used to update for gaming and 3d almost entirely.

I also used to update more frequently for processor speed/memory that were major improvements.

If we were getting huge memory advances or processor speeds still there would be more reason to upgrade. Mobile is also somewhat of a reset and doing the same rise now.

codegeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have always pondered over this whole question of PC being dead vs alive. Interesting thing is that even though with tablets and smartphones, lot of regular people can probably get away with not using a PC just to surf the net, facebook etc, the real question that comes to mind is what will happen in the future if someday coding/programming does become a commodity and more and more regular people actually start coding (to whatever extent) to solve problems. Would that ever happen ? What would they use then ? PCs ? something else ?
DigitalSea 1 day ago 0 replies      
I actually touched upon this in a blog post I wrote last month: http://ilikekillnerds.com/2013/09/rumours-of-pcs-demise-have... and I said exactly this. A bad economy coupled with the fact people just don't need to upgrade as much any more are reasons PC sales have slowed. The PC will always be around, tablets and smartphones are great, but they're not comfortable for extended periods of time nor as capable. As I also point out, being a developer means I need a keyboard and multiple monitors to do my job and coding on a tablet is just never going to happen.
kdsudac 1 day ago 0 replies      
Every time I read an article about the death of the PC and the ascension of mobile, I wonder how much carrier subsidies distort the relative demand for PCs vs mobile devices.

I'm inclined to believe that mobile sales are "artificially" inflated by these subsidies to a large degree.

Of course, if this business model is sustainable over the long term I guess it doesn't matter for mobile h/w manufacturers.

But for s/w developers the fact that people upgrade h/w every 2 years because of subsidies doesn't mean that those h/w sales are translating into a greater user base.

mhurron 1 day ago 1 reply      
Basically this, computers hit good enough a while ago, now you just have to replace parts when they die.

Yes, on paper, the latest processor is faster than the one released two years ago but you have to be doing specific types of workloads with it to really make a big difference.

eliben 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hmm, I want to compile huge open source projects quickly. For this I need as many cores as possible at a reasonable price, a lot of memory and an SSD. So it's time to upgrade :)
btb 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess it depends who "we" are. The average person dont need a new computer, I agree. My mom is still using my old self-assembled desktop from 2008-ish and is perfectly happy with it.

However for those of us that use our computers 8 hours+ every day, I think it makes good sense to upgrade to the newest hardware every 2-3 years.

I just assembled a computer from new parts myself, and its nice now to have a fully encrypted workstation, with zero performance hit. Q87 motherboard with TPM(asus q87m-e) + UEFI bios + UEFI GOP Compliant videocard(EVGA GeForce GTX 770) + M500 SSD + Bitlocker + Win2012R2(or Win8.1) means you can enable the builtin hardware encryption of the M500 SSDs. It gives me a certain peace of mind to know that a burglar wont be able to grab my personal files and source code if my computer was ever stolen. I also imagine the TPM+Secure boot combo will make it harder for a rootkit to go unnoticed.

Not to mention the lower idle power usage resulting from the 22nm haswell and 32nm lynx chipset.

My friends at work seems to think I'm crazy for replacing a 2 year old computer :) Although as I pointed out to one of them, he spent more than twice as much on a new mountain bike, and I'm sure i spend alot more time on my computer than he does on his mountain bike ;)

utopkara 1 day ago 0 replies      
Part of the reason is because we have gone back to the days of terminals. Chromebook is a good milestone in marking what people do with computers and how much power they need. We are past the point where computer as a consumer device, and computer as a professional equipment have parted their ways. We are also lucky that the people who buy CPUs in bulk for their powerhouses are still using architectures similar to the ones we use in our desktops and laptops. Because with our weak demand for new hardware, the prices cannot stay low for long.
bparsons 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have a 13 inch Acer I purchased in early 2011. Despite its low cost, the thing has run like a charm since day 1. I literally have zero desire to replace this thing at any time in the foreseeable future. It still runs 4+ hours on a battery, which is remarkable, since I use this machine more than 5 hours a day.

I have a desktop with twice the processing speed and twice the ram, but for all intents and purposes, it runs almost exactly the same as the little Acer. Unless I am playing a game or running illustrator, I simply don't need the power.

Lost_BiomedE 1 day ago 0 replies      
My .02 is that Microsoft OS stopped being lead-ware. I noticed that since Win7.
pmelendez 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks! Somebody finally said it! (or at least this is the first blog post I read about it)

If any, what is dead is the software need for the Moore's law

D9u 1 day ago 0 replies      
I ran my 2008 Acer Aspire One ZG5 netbook until I got my current "Ultrabook" a couple of months ago.

The netbook handled just about everything I threw at it, and with FreeBSD and dwm it ran faster than it did when I first bought it.

Unfortunately I'm not too pleased with the HP Envy 15. The AMD A6 Vision graphics aren't so bad, but support for the Broadcom 4313 wifi card is sparse in the nix world...

Soon I'll be tearing it apart to swap out the bcm 4313 for something supported by FreeBSD, but for now, I'll not be purchasing a new PC any time soon.

javajosh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Backend devs can probably use more computer resources, particularly cores and RAM. We want to simulate whole clusters on our dev machines and instrument them with tools like Ansible and Docker, and then deploy multiple (fairly heavyweight) processes like JVMs to them. But yeah, 4 (fast) cores and 16GB of RAM is available in a laptop these days, along with an SSD and the best display you can buy, for $3k. (Of course I'm speaking of the MBPr).

Games can always use more resources. AFAIK there is still a lot of progress being made with GPUs. 60fps on a 4K display will be a good benchmark. The funny thing is that GPU makers have taken to literally just renaming and repackaging their old GPUs, e.g. the R9.[1] As for the game itself, there is a looming revolution in gaming when Carmack (or someone equally genius-y) really figures out how to coordinate multiple cores for gaming.[2]

But yeah, most everything else runs fine on machines from 2006 and on, including most development tasks. That's why Intel in particular has been focused more on efficiency than power.

[1] Tom's Hardware R9 review: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-r9-280x-r9-270x-r...

[2] Carmack at QuakeCon talking about functional programming (Haskell!) for games and multi-core issues: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PhArSujR_A&feature=youtu.be...

meerita 1 day ago 1 reply      
As a guy who has been involved in computers I tend to buy something to last at least 3-4 years. Once I start feeling I'm behind I like to upgrade.

I had a 2005 imac before acquire this 2011 iMac and in between I've bought MacBooks and Macbook Air. I'm thinking in getting my new desktop on 2015.

Thing is, when I go to my parents house, I see 2003 computers. I think this reality apply's to many families: parents don't care about speed, they get used because their needs are less computational and more casual, like browsing, Facebook and Skype. The trend I'm seeing in Spain is getting iPads for parents is getting notably high. All my friends instead upgrading their parents pc desktops are buying ipads and parents love it. Are you having the same experiences?

snambi 19 hours ago 0 replies      
PCs are ugly, clunky and they take up a lot of space at home. Also, a PC reduces the appeal of home or office, compared with a Mac. Honestly this is one of the reasons I bought a Mac. Ofcourse Mac is UNIX, that is another major reason.
malyk 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm seeing the same thing with my iPhone. I Have a 4S and while I like what the 5s brings I'm just not sure it's worth upgrading now. There is just starting to be the very hint of slowness in some things on the 4S, but it isn't anything like when I went from the 3G to the 4s. That was a huge upgrade. Now it just doesn't feel necessary to buy the next thing on the same schedule.
FrankenPC 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, the CPU/RAM/HDD systems do last a very long time. It's the GPU that needs periodic upgrading. Robert Space Industries for instance will be leveraging the Cryengine 3 with nearly 10 times as many polygons as with the average 3D FPS. Also, Microsoft keeps adding rendering features to the latest OS's which require hardware updates on the GPU level. I guess what I'm saying is: Nvidia will continue to be a sound stock to add to your portfolio.
b1daly 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's weird,but I feel like my PCs are all you slow. I bought a rMAcBook Pro recently expecting to be blown away, but it still feels sluggish to me. I want instantaneous response when it comes down to it. There actually is a qualitative difference between 100ms and 10ms response time. I'm surprised, I really thought we would be closer.
shmerl 1 day ago 0 replies      
> The PC is not dead, we just don't need new ones

It's really nice when some build process takes less time because of better hardware. Also, try running some upcoming games on an old PC. Obviously the need for some hardware depends on what you are planning to do.

ivanhoe 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is all true, I still can do pretty much everything on my 2009 PC, but truth is also that I do it rarely, specially since I've got a new console a few years ago and stopped playing on PC... everything work related is on my laptop, playing games on console is nicer, PC desktops are simply not needed anymore (for what I do, and also for majority of not-tech users)
kayoone 1 day ago 0 replies      
My 2009 Core2Quad with 8Gigs of Ram and an SSD still feels faster than the latest and greatest with a normal HDD. It even runs OSX beautifully ;)

SSDs just changed the game, and it was about 2009 when that started.

dworin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm typing this on a PC where I did the same thing as the author. Over the past 10 years, I've swapped out a part every two years or so to keep it running the latest and greatest. But the CPU is five years old and still running fine. I'm planning to donate it to a non-profit to replace a computer that's almost 10 years old and also still running fine.

There was a time when you felt like a new PC was obsolete the second you took it out of the box. But that was because we were just scratching the surface of what we could do with new hardware. We're now at a point where it's hard to find consumer and business applications for all the spare hardware that you can afford.

Mobile adoption has been so quick because everyone is buying devices for the first time (tablets), or there is an incentivized two-year replacement cycle (phones). But I'm still using an original iPad that works just fine, and a 3 year old cell phone with no reason to upgrade. Eventually, I think we'll start to see the same leveling off in mobile as well.

tuananh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I recently bought a new PC, after 6 years. Not because my old PC is unusable but I rather need a new one as HTPC with very low power consumption.
linux_devil 1 day ago 0 replies      
I still use my 5 year old desktop (upgraded twice) for development. I like to open box and upgrade it myself , if I want to do similar on laptop I think twice . Freedom to upgrade it yourself is a bliss.
abvdasker 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yeah, I pretty much agree with that premise. In my experience, faster CPUs and RAM make little difference compared to the gains from an SSD. Hard drive disks are such a huge bottleneck compared to other upgrades that the average user gets the biggest gains in responsiveness from upgrading to an SSD. And for a lot of PCs that doesn't even necessitate buying a new one.

For laptops it's a different story. The big push seems to be in reduction of power consumption for longer battery life, which sounds pretty sensible to me. I guess if battery life is a big concern for a PC user, then it makes sense to go to a smaller process. That does seem like a pretty small reason to upgrade, though.

Another good indicator that the PC "game" has changed is that the two major commercial PC OS's just released their latest versions (Mavericks & 8.1) for free.

avenger123 1 day ago 0 replies      
At least Microsoft is helping the PC industry.

Microsoft and its SharePoint platform will keep SharePoint developers upgrading their desktops upon every release.

goblin89 1 day ago 0 replies      
This article makes a similar point: http://techland.time.com/2013/04/11/sorry-pc-industry-youve-... I think it's been posted on HN before, but I couldn't find the post).
solnyshok 1 day ago 0 replies      
Mostly agree, however, I think there could be more upgrade waves for home PCs, triggered by some qualitative improvements in technology. My guess, once we have a reasonably powerful, totally silent (fanless, 512-1TB SSD), book sized desktop PC, maybe in 2-3 years from now, it might trigger wave of home PC upgrades. After that, who knows...
tn13 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, if PC had to die then on what are we going to write all our code ?

Tablets, those funky phones are popular today something else will get popular after them. PC may never get as popular as them but they are here to stay.

akinity 1 day ago 0 replies      
The last few times I looked at the desktops available at Targets and Walmarts in the Bay Area, there weren't very many options. Bestbuy and Costco are somewhat better equipped. I think that, with the lower margins on desktops relative to laptops and the amount of space they consume, desktop PCs are well on their way out of being attractive to traditional brick and mortar retailers.

Haswell architecture couldn't have hit the market at a better time for laptop owners, with more powerful integrated graphics and low power use. I'm sure it isn't a coincidence.

hmart 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm a happy owner of a DELL e1505 still working in the living room where has survived two little girls of 4 and 2 years. Now I want to rescue it and install Ubuntu after upgrading to a SSD.
jrs99 1 day ago 0 replies      
When people say the PC is dead, they do not mean that it is not being used and people don't need one... they mean that people simply don't buy it as often and have other options to choose from, like laptops.

Saying that the PC is dead is being correct. Almost everyone I know buys a laptop instead of a PC. I know a lot of people that do not have a PC, but I don't think I know a single person that doesn't have a laptop.

It's like saying the Novel is Dead. Plenty of novels are being written, but it is really not the one major form of art that people are discussing. That is being replaced by television and film. Will there be novels written fifty years from now? Most definitely. But still, the idea that the novel is the one true form where the greatest art occurs is over.

ausjke 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is so true, tablet/smart-phone are great portable devices, however I can not live without a PC/laptop, it's just I already had a few of them.My first choice will be PC, then smart phone, the last one is tablet.
hawkw 23 hours ago 0 replies      
If there's no money to be extracted from it, then it's dead in the eyes of industry.
staringispolite 1 day ago 0 replies      
Somehow I don't think my mom would trade her iPad for an e1505 with a broken display, external monitor, plus the periodic need to upgrade the hard-drive and install/upgrade Ubuntu :
jebblue 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well I did, used my last one for almost 8 years, got this one a few months ago, don't have to upgrade as often; I still have to upgrade. It's lighter, quieter, generally more powerful, more RAM, more disk space, better graphics. These are all the reasons I ever upgraded just not as often.
bitemix 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems like the only folks who consistently upgrade their computers every 1-2 years are gamers and people working with big media files. Some friends and I run a website dedicated to helping people build and upgrade their PCs. We see about 130k visitors per month. That's a pretty low number, but it still converts to a quarter of a million in sales every month.
mpg33 1 day ago 0 replies      
Average computing power and storage has gotten to a point that it now can handle the everyday stuff with relative ease. High-def video/gaming are the main areas where hardware still has to keep up with.

Although one could argue that network bandwidth is still an area affects the "everyday stuff".

JusticeK 1 day ago 0 replies      
4K will be the revival of PC sales, in two ways:

1. Consumer affordable monitors. You'll need a better GPU, and probably Display Port. I don't expect most consumers wanting 30" 4K display. They'll want 22-27" displays of 4K resolution, a la Retina. (PPI scaling) Everything is still the same size as people are used to (compared to 1080p), but everything is sharp as Retina.

2. 4K adoption of multimedia on the Internet. The more 4K videos that pop up on YouTube, the more people who are going to want to upgrade their hardware. This one isn't specific to PCs though, it could apply to mobile devices as well.

Go to YouTube and find a 4K video (the quality slider goes to "Original"). Now look at the comments. Many of the comments in 4K videos are people complaining how they can't watch the 4K video because of their crappy computer (and sometimes bandwidth).

wainstead 1 day ago 0 replies      
When we speak of PCs versus smartphones or tablets we're talking a lot about form factor and portability. I imagine a day when my smartphone has more horsepower than the best desktop today and it can drive a huge 4K monitor while streaming petabits at a time. You'll only need one device and it will be the CPU to all your interfaces.
fallingmeat 1 day ago 2 replies      
Thinkpad T60 purchased (refurb!) in 2007. Still a rock solid machine. It does get a little warm though..
Sami_Lehtinen 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just upgraded from Q6600 / 4GB to i7-4770K / 32GB, but actually that Q6600 would have been enough, if I would have just used SSD with it. SSD is they key. Apps I user are Firefox, Thunderbird, Deluge and VLC.
mpg33 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think computing power/storage is becoming more necessary on the server side than the client side.
nXqd 1 day ago 0 replies      
With all the guide from tonymac, I enjoy building my own hackintosh with cheaper and better hardwares :P
alinspired 1 day ago 0 replies      
most of consumers will not even upgrade their PCs, but change it to a new PC, laptop or tablet when it's completely broken.

i'm thinking my parents - they will use that 2000 pc until it's not booting up, and then they'll worry on upgrade

zerny 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, PCs performance has never been beaten by tablets and phones.
ffrryuu 1 day ago 0 replies      
The new fanless PC's are pretty cool.
devx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Either way, terrible news for Intel and Microsoft.
bjoe_lewis 1 day ago 0 replies      
If only Paul let me vote twice.
badman_ting 1 day ago 2 replies      
Right, that's what it means to say that the market is dying. But if you need to feel clever, feel clever.
LinkedIn Introduces Insecurity bishopfox.com
532 points by shenoybr  1 day ago   154 comments top 33
buro9 1 day ago 3 replies      
One of the other subtle things they do with metadata is their fascination with IP addresses.

Intro will enable LinkedIn to have the IP address of all of your staff using it, and thus (from corp Wifi, home locations of staff, popular places your staff go) they will know which IP addresses relate to your staff members (or you individually if you are the only person on a given IP).

This means that even without logging onto LinkedIn, if you view a page on their site they can then create that "so and so viewed your profile", which is what they're selling to other users as the upgrade package to LinkedIn.

Worse than that, as a company you can pay to have LinkedIn data available when you process your log files, and from that you know which companies viewed your site. And that isn't based on vague ideas of which IPs belong to a company according to public registrar info, this is quality data as the people who visited from an IP told LinkedIn who they were.

Think of that when you're doing competitor analysis, or involved in any legal case and researching the web site of the other party.

And VPNs won't help you here, as you'd still be strongly identified on your device and leaking your IP address all the time.

There are so many reasons why this LinkedIn feature needs to die a very visible and public death, and very few about why it should survive. It's a neat hack for sure, but then so were most pop-up and pop-under adverts and the neatness of overcoming the "impossible" is no reason this should survive.

ig1 1 day ago 11 replies      
Well lets take these one-by-one:


1. Attorney-client privilege.

I'm guessing most law firms use third party email servers, anti-virus, anti-spam and archive/audit systems which this would also apply to. It would also apply if you're using Raportive, Xobni or the like (or integrated time-tracking, billing, crm, etc.).


2. By default, LinkedIn changes the content of your emails.

Irrelevant. Unless you read your emails in plain text every modern email client changes how email is displayed.


3. Intro breaks secure email.

Yes. Except iOS mail doesn't support crypto signatures anyway.


4. LinkedIn got owned.

Yes. LinkedIn adds an extra point of vulnerability.


5. LinkedIn is storing your email communications.

Well metatdata but yes.


7. Its probably a gross violation of your companys security policy.

Yes. As is using Linkedin itself. Or Dropbox. Or Github. Or Evernote. Or Chrome. Or any enterprise software that uses the bottom up approach.


8. If I were the NSA

The NSA has access to your emails if they want them anyway. Email isn't a secure protocol against a well funded adversary.


9. Its not what they say, but what they dont say

This looks like a semantic dispute, but it doesn't look any more vague than say Google's privacy policy. Companies in certain circumstances are legally required to provide access to information.


10. Too many secrets

These all seem to be questions that can either be answered by testing or ones that LinkedIn would probably be happy to disclose, but unlikely to be major issues to mainstream users.


So fundamentally it comes down to two points, granting Linkedin access to your email creates a new point of attack and Linkedin themselves might use your email in ways you find undesirable.

So it's essentially a trade-off for the benefits you get from the app versus those risks. For a personal account which you use for private emails, personal banking, etc. the evaluation is obviously going to be very much different from say a salesperson's work account which they use for managing communication with leads.

In the later case they may already be trusting LinkedIn with similar confidential information and already use multiple services (analytics, crm, etc.) that hook into their email so the additional relative risk might be smaller.

As people with technical expertise we shouldn't use scare-mongering to push our personal viewpoints upon those with less expertise, but rather help people understand the security/benefit trade-offs that they're making so they can decide for themselves whether to take those risks.

It's important to treat the wider non-technical community with respect and as adults capable of making their own judgements and not as kids who need to be scared into safety.

jmadsen 1 day ago 3 replies      
Are Linkedin still working out of Mom's garage? Do they not have a single person on staff capable of looking at the current environment regarding internet privacy and say, "Uh, guys...maybe put this one on ice for a year..?"
sneak 1 day ago 3 replies      
Giving away email credentials to a third party service, regardless of reason, should be both covered in your internal training materials, as well as be maintained as a firing offense.

This is really just a case of well-branded spearphishing. You should already be protecting against that.

ctide 1 day ago 7 replies      
What's the difference between this and using an app such as Mailbox?
etchalon 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is ridiculous. LinkedIn is offering a feature, optionally, to users who chose to install it. They have been upfront about how it works. If you don't like how it works, don't use it. Problem solved, myopic holier-than-thou rant avoided.
csmatt 1 day ago 4 replies      
LinkedIn just seems overwhelmingly sleezy to me. How do they keep getting away with this stuff?
martinbc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seems like Linkedin have posted an update on http://engineering.linkedin.com/mobile/linkedin-intro-doing-...:

Update, 10/24/13

We wanted to provide additional information about how LinkedIn Intro works, so that we can address some of the questions that have been raised. There are some points that we want to reinforce in order to make sure members understand how this product works:

- You have to opt-in and install Intro before you see LinkedIn profiles in any email.- Usernames, passwords, OAuth tokens, and email contents are not permanently stored anywhere inside LinkedIn data centers. Instead, these are stored on your iPhone.- Once you install Intro, a new Mail account is created on your iPhone. Only the email in this new Intro Mail account goes via LinkedIn; other Mail accounts are not affected in any way.- All communication from the Mail app to the LinkedIn Intro servers is fully encrypted. Likewise, all communication from the LinkedIn Intro servers to your email provider (e.g. Gmail or Yahoo! Mail) is fully encrypted.- Your emails are only accessed when the Mail app is retrieving emails from your email provider. LinkedIn servers automatically look up the "From" email address, so that Intro can then be inserted into the email.

dclowd9901 1 day ago 1 reply      
> 1. Attorney-client privilege.

Really? I guess you better have your own SMTP server set up then, or hope your email provider is willing to go to bat for your rights...

> 8. If I were the NSA

Yeah, it sounds like they definitely have needed it so far...

5 other of the things are basically the same point, remade in 5 different ways. This is a really weak list. There are certainly concerns, but most of these problems are symptomatic of our email system as it is. And have we all forgotten how crazy everyone went when we found out google was going to start advertising in Gmail?

kevinpet 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if they called it "intro" to make it impossible to google for so that no one can ever figure out what they're agreeing to when they install it.

What does the sig it appends look like? I will have to make sure to never send email to anyone who has the tell-tale "I opt into spyware" flag.

llamataboot 1 day ago 3 replies      
I desperately want to delete LinkedIn, but I am also looking for my first developer jobs in the tech field. In my former field, no one would ever ask for your LI profile. You send a resume, link to a resume, whatever. In the tech field, every single company I've interviewed with so far has looked at my linkedin profile before our interview and specifically requested it. Until the field changes, or I have a stronger status as a developer, I feel I have to be there or get overlooked for someone who is there.
siculars 1 day ago 1 reply      
This idea is such a disaster I don't even know how it was allowed to see the light of day. The sad fact is that there are untold numbers of people who will install this monstrosity.

Serious questions though, if you are an IT shop - how do you defend against this trojan horse app?

lispm 1 day ago 2 replies      
To celebrate this, I removed LinkedIn apps from my devices.
sytelus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm still not able to believe if I read that right. Does LinkedIn really re-routes your emails to their servers in their entirety? I looked at their announcement and video at http://blog.linkedin.com/2013/10/23/announcing-linkedin-intr.... There is NOT even a hint of disclosure that they are doing this. I can imagine 10 ways to achieve the similar user experience without re-routing entire emails. So if this is true, LinkedIn really really fundamentally screwed up with customer trust.
webhat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nicely stated, what I didn't see mentioned was the iframe it introduces into the mail. It can use this iframe to collect all kinds of additional data about you.

In the first instance I thought this was an app that was running in the background on your phone, I would have called that doing the impossible. This is just a MITM, and not a very good one at that.

iamleppert 1 day ago 0 replies      
In other news, e-mail is an insecure protocol and most people transmit in the clear and don't have their own e-mail infrastructure anyway.

It's interesting this "blog post" came from a professional security company who makes it money from scaring individuals and companies about security threats.

Is it just me, or is this firm even worse than LinkedIn?

natekh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not saying 1 bad turn deserves another, but this is no worse than what any company operating at scale does when they serve https through a gateway service (Scrubbers, CDN, whatever).
orenmazor 1 day ago 1 reply      
seriously? this is what Intro is? how is it not a bigger deal?people get upset over the littlest Facebook changes, but something this big barely shows up?
foxylad 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Intro breaks secure mail.

If it's modifying the message, it likely breaks DKIM too. meaning your messages will be more likely to be flagged as spam.

More generally, this is the catalyst for me leaving LinkedIn. They've never generated any new business (not even a single lead), and if I'm honest the only reason I use it is more about my ego than anything useful.

mcenedella 1 day ago 0 replies      
Related: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6430893

"LinkedIn Founder says 'all of these privacy concerns tend to be old people issues.'"

The bit about privacy starts at the 13 minute mark.

tzury 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wonder how's Rapportive doing this days. That is, whether this plug-in seats in people's GMail app and sends out data to LinkedIn or not.

After all, we are talking about the same team more or less, and surely the same company who owns Rapportive today.

If my concerns are real. One might find this is ironic that Rapportive was backed by YC and Paul Buchheit, the creator of Gmail, and now this very company violating GMail users' privacy.

scotty79 1 day ago 0 replies      
That shows that no engineer has any say in what linkedin does. I can't imagine any tech security aware individual would take such responsibility upon himself.

How did the C-people even found out such thing is possible? Some intern who just found out how mail works probably was flapping his jaw too much.

pavel_lishin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Good thing I use gmail.
foxylad 1 day ago 0 replies      
Opportunity time... are there any more scrupulous alternatives to LinkedIn?
gohrt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this claim true? I thought the Feds were claiming that using any hosted email (Gmail, Hotmail, etc), is considered a 3rd party subject to subpoena.

> These communications are generally legally privileged and cant be used as evidence in court but only if you keep the messages confidential.

shenoybr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder how this affect BYOD to work. Corporations would be furious to have their email content scanned by linkedin.
cognivore 1 day ago 1 reply      
The thing that I find interesting is if LinkedIn goes ahead and does this, how many other companies will want to join the bandwagon and then we'll end up with our email being bounced around through a slew of different proxies so everyone can add their spam and ads to it.
ninjazee124 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just can't fathom how something so ridiculous could pass so many engineers at LinkedIn, without raising flags on how bad this is. The moment I saw the word "proxy" I cringed!
coldcode 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hmm if enough people complain Apple might close this feature. At least it's opt-in. As for me, I would say no.
hajderr 1 day ago 0 replies      
The idea itself is not that compelling that I would install it even if it fulfilled all the criteria of security.
tonylemesmer 1 day ago 0 replies      
So make a plugin for your email client which raises a little Intro flag when you receive an email from an Intro user.
codecrusade 1 day ago 0 replies      
Shocking how something like this came out of Linkedin and Apple has not booted them from the App store yet?
NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders theguardian.com
467 points by qubitsam  1 day ago   215 comments top 31
conductor 1 day ago 5 replies      
This is the top comment on the Reddit thread:

"They went after high ranking military officers. They went after members of congress. The Senate and the House - especially on the intelligence committees, and on the armed services committees and judicial. But they went after other ones too. They went after lawyers and law firms. Heaps of lawyers and law firms. They went after judges. One of the judges is now sitting on the supreme court that I had his wiretap information in my hand. Two are former FISA court judges. They went after state department officials. They went after people in the executive service that were part of the White House - their own people! They went after anti-war groups. They went after US companies that do international business around the world. They went after US banking firms and financial firms that do international business. They went after NGOs like the red cross and people like that that go overseas and do humanitarian work. They went after a few anti-war civil rights groups...

Now here's the big one. I haven't given you any names. This was in summer 2004. One of the papers that I held in my hand was to wiretap a bunch of numbers associated with a 40-something year old wanna-be Senator from Illinois. You wouldn't happen to know where that guy lives right now, would you? It's a big White House in Washington DC. That's who they went after. And that's the President of the United States now. And I could give you names of a bunch of different people they went after that I saw! The names and the phone numbers of congress. Not only the names but it looked like staff people too, and their staff. And not only their Washington office but back home in their congressional offices that they have in their home state offices and stuff like that. This thing is incredible what NSA has done. They've basically turned themselves - in my opinion - into a rogue agency that has J Edgar Hoover capabilities on a monstrous scale on steroids."

--former nsa officer Russ Tice...

June 20th interview on Boiling Frogs... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPyxeqcCjkc full 1hr+ radio interview)

or watch 11 minute RT interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6m1XbWOfVk

sinak 1 day ago 2 replies      
A note to say that the Stop Watching Us coalition rally is now just two days away. If you're on the east coast, it's not too late to attend. If you're interested, you can find out more here:


Privacy is one of the hardest things to get folks riled up about. It erodes slowly, and for "good" reasons, like defending the country against terrorism. But privacy is critical to a meaningful democracy. Strangely, many of the members of Congress fail to understand how important it is, and that compromising our privacy for security is a huge mistake. Particularly since those compromises are not necessary.

The fact that the NSA is monitoring the calls of world leaders is also worrying. But it's more of a foreign policy issue, damaging international relations and making it more difficult for countries to trust the US. I think it's foolish, and needs to stop, but it doesn't threaten our freedom directly.

fein 1 day ago 3 replies      

    Jay Carney issued a statement that said the US     "is not monitoring and will not monitor" the     German chancellor's communications.
This is probably the best tell the US government has for sniffing out the bullshit. If they don't explicitly deny the event occurring in the past, it happened.

Reminds me of a Spaceballs scene:

    Colonel Sandurz: Now. You're looking at now, sir.     Everything that happens now, is happening now.    Dark Helmet: What happened to then?    Colonel Sandurz: We passed then.    Dark Helmet: When?    Colonel Sandurz: Just now. We're at now now.
I imagine this is probably about how the "Cover Your Ass" conversation goes before official comments are made to the press.

grey-area 1 day ago 1 reply      
This has some interesting implications:

What would this information be useful for? Why was the NSA collecting this information and at whose request? Is the same being done to US politicians?

The most useful applications of this I can think of are betraying allies, manipulating negotiations with rival trade blocs, economic espionage, and of course protecting the power of the agencies who perform this surveillance and the lucky few who are given strictly limited access to it.

If the POTUS is given this intelligence and makes most of his decisions based on it, how does he know that he is being given the truth, rather than a carefully edited version of it?

It seems surveillance is no longer focussed on terrorism, if it ever was (indeed a few terrorist attacks have gone on the US without detection in spite of all this surveillance). It's telling that even the NSA have given up using that excuse as it becomes more and more clear where the focus of their intelligence gathering is directed.

Is the NSA (and the US by proxy) using the information it collects as a way of protecting and expanding its power? Is this inevitable if you give an organisation that much power over our lives and very little oversight?

Are all allies of the US mistrusted so much that they must be spied on? Should they in return shut down trust of the US and repudiate treaties they have with it like the one sharing SWIFT data or details of people visiting the US? Can the EU trust the products of American internet companies, or should they set up rivals?

It seems information has become more and more synonymous with power as our economies in the west become information economies, and the greatest power of all has been handed to an agency without significant legal limits and without any sort of public accountability, led by a member of the military.

ceejayoz 1 day ago 13 replies      
This is the understood and expected function of the NSA, isn't it? Collecting signals intelligence from foreign sources? Does anyone honestly believe the Germans aren't regularly trying to figure out ways to listen to American officials' communications?

I find the NSA's domestic spying to be appalling... but this is the sort of thing everyone knew the NSA was responsible for since its inception.

todayiamme 1 day ago 6 replies      
I quite frankly don't understand why anyone would condemn such acts of espionage. They are not only essential for a nation state to function successfully, but they are also a far superior way for the US to maintain its hegemony as compared to using acts of brute force.

Now I do not condone Orwellian spying on the citizens of your own republic, but this really is their job and it's quite impressive that they're this good at it. Especially given the fact that historically the US has not been completely invested in espionage and has favoured building up capacity after key events and quickly dismantling the apparatus once the emergency has passed. What these scandals are offering is a glimpse into a dramatic shift in the way the US conducts its affairs and that in of itself is quite noteworthy.

bandushrew 1 day ago 0 replies      
When ability is no longer a bottleneck on the actions of an individual or group, that is the time that the character of that individual or group is discovered.

The character of the US government in general, and the NSA in particular, is apparently that of a rotten, sneaking, dishonest liar.

I cannot say that I am surprised, human nature being what it is, but I am very disappointed.

On the bright side, it is in good international company.

jmilloy 23 hours ago 2 replies      
I feel we are taking our eyes off the ball.

Domestic spying violates constitutional rights. More to the point, I don't want to support an institution with programs that violate my privacy, no matter what benefits such programs provide.

But isn't international spying is different? Honestly, I don't mind supporting an institution with an external espionage programs. Isn't in my best interest? Does it harm me? What are the concrete repercussions of spying on foreign officials? Are these officials really going to renege on international alliances because they have a chip on their shoulder? If they have anything to hide, it's by definition counter to US interests; if our allies are making plans behind our backs, I want our government to find out. (And to be totally honest, if our government is making secret plans behind our allies backs, I would want our allies to find out, as well.)

I'll repeat this, because it is a real question, and the answer could have a real effect on my opinion: What are the concrete repercussions of spying on foreign officials?

gambiting 1 day ago 0 replies      
After the crash of the Polish president's plane in Smolensk, it was widely known that the Americans have recordings of all conversations made with his satellite phone aboard the plane.I don't remember that sparking much controversy at the time, everyone was more like "yup, that's what Americans do" and there was pretty much no outrage over that.
spurgu 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't understand the bulk of comments being about this not being important. Or... well yeah, I understand the perspective that any intelligence agency should be collecting intelligence, so this shouldn't be a surprise per se. But this certainly levels out the playing field in that now the world knows at which lengths the NSA has been keeping tabs on people, and at least the majority of world leaders (and a lot of more "insignificant" people) will start using encrypted communications and networks like Tor. Which they should've been doing from the start. So, in this light, I think this is an important Snowden revelation.
fidotron 1 day ago 1 reply      
I genuinely fail to be outraged by this. The NSA has a job, which is the monitoring of the signals of foreign militaries and governments. That they were doing that is not surprising or necessarily bad since those entities should be more than capable of operating in such an environment.

The problem is the mass slurping of the data of everyone else.

jessaustin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can understand why "world leaders" would be frustrated by this, but much better them than us. This activity is at least plausibly within NSA's purview. Also, most of these leaders have less at risk to the NSA threat than do USA residents. It isn't as though NSA will sic the Drug Warriors, the IP Mafia, BATF, ICE, or EPA on leaders of other sovereign nations based on its observation of their communications. Whereas we're definitely in those crosshairs.

There are exceptions! If your nation could plausibly be on deck for the next military-industrial complex fundraising activity, you might want your leaders to secure their communications against NSA. Of course, if they're not doing anything wrong, they might want that fact to be observed, on the off chance it might make a difference.

krapp 1 day ago 2 replies      
Yes. And the US is the only country whose intelligence service has ever done anything like this.

And newsflash ... we probably bug your embassies too.

npalli 1 day ago 4 replies      
What is the strategy here? Of releasing information about NSA activities with foreign nations? Seems like it is mixing a potentially illegal activity (domestic spying) with their designated job. Doesn't every country try to do this. The NSA personnel could very well have undergone considerable risk to get this sort of thing going on. On the other hand, Joe public sees Snowden fleeing and chilling out in Russia/China and other "despotic" regimes.

Definitely Snowden:0 and NSA:1 in this case.

cateye 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really can't believe that there are so many comments that try to trivialize the actions.

It seems that the United States loses the reality and lapses in an egocentric / ethnocentric disease.

How would the U.S. react if they found out such a thing the other way around?

Theodores 1 day ago 0 replies      
We have ended up with the same conversations on this spying lark far too often.

I appreciate the sentiment of those that want to protest against this and I can understand the spoon-fed arguments about how the NSA must go after the kiddie fiddlers, terrorists that want to blow up innocent kiddies (as in the ones that haven't been fiddled with, yet) and do all that mysterious national security stuff.

However, instead of same-old, same-old, can we work on a technological solution? Something that will work for you and I as well as Mrs Merkel?

We can let go the network analysis stuff, who is in contact with whom as right now there is no easy way to prevent the NSA slurping that stuff up. But, as for the content, can't that be encrypted properly, without the NSA having the key and without there being secret courts where keys get handed over in secret? It is just code we need, and with it we can get a reasonable compromise where our conversations are secure.

ethana 1 day ago 2 replies      
US Foreign Policy: How to turn friends into enemies and isolate yourself from the world
jnardiello 1 day ago 0 replies      
Quite expected. My disappointment with the US gov and its general attitude is reaching new levels. Really BAD.
pvnick 1 day ago 2 replies      
Watch as the flag-all-NSA-stories brigade pushes this relevant story off the front page...
coldcode 1 day ago 0 replies      
It used to be spying on other people's governments would get people killed or start wars. In some way it will again. Maybe not so obvious this time.
a3n 1 day ago 0 replies      
No non-US government official can feel secure in giving just a business card to his US counterpart, because he has to assume his contact info will be given to the NSA.

Hell, no one, regardless of nationality, in or out of government, can fell secure in any communication of any kind with a US government person.

KMag 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought that the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UKUSA_Agreement) were the only nations the NSA was even pretending to not spy on.

It's my understanding that the British were thought to have stolen submarine detection technology from the French, and the French were widely accused of industrial espionage against US companies in the 1990s. I also vaguely remember a 60 Minutes piece in the 1990s about Germans fulfilling their military service obligations by committing industrial espionage against US companies.

It seems to me that politicians are playing to public opinion, while knowing full well that this is how the international relations game has been played for decades, if not forever.

isaacdl 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is honestly the revelation that I worry about least in these NSA leaks. Isn't foreign surveillance basically the raison d'etre for the NSA?
malandrew 19 hours ago 0 replies      
If I were the leader of a major world power right now, I would push for a law in my country that decriminalizes the hacking of any government systems of countries that have proven hostile to my countries government. The only exception would be the hacking of public infrastructure like transportation systems and public utilities. Everything else would be fair game. Seems like this approach would introduce and element of M.A.D. into the mix that would mitigate the current hostile actions we are seeing from the US via the NSA and China via the PLA.
chunkyslink 1 day ago 0 replies      
One way to tell if they are still doing it. Give them honeypots, hook them and wheel them in.
omonra 1 day ago 5 replies      
I think we need a bit of context here. US is the hegemon.

Therefore it's not reasonable to apply same expectations of how it acts as we do pleasant little countries like Norway or Netherlands (who are probably only independent because US defended them against Germans & Soviets).

ACow_Adonis 1 day ago 1 reply      
Presumably this will soon be followed up by other ground-breaking journalism pieces such as "Army kills people", "Surgeons perform surgery", and "Garbage collectors stun world by collecting garbage".

Irrespective of what one thinks of it (and I do not think favourably of it), how is it surprising that an organisation that is established specifically to spy on people is in fact spying on people?

njharman 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Gee, I thought the government shutdown had succeeded in getting everyone to forget this whole spy hullabaloo. Well at least it worked in the good old USA.
wyclif 1 day ago 0 replies      
'After Merkel's allegations became public, White House press secretary Jay Carney issued a statement that said the US "is not monitoring and will not monitor" the German chancellor's communications.'

Which, of course, was a blatant lie.

adeptus 1 day ago 1 reply      
On the "is not monitoring and will not monitor"... If they took the time to deny present and future monitoring, the obvious question then becomes why haven't they denied past/recent past monitoring? Oh that's right, because they can't in fact deny it as they WERE monitoring.
ethanazir 1 day ago 0 replies      
I might think everyone should have access to all communications of all politicians. If you want to be a leader of millions you should be transparent.
Finally, A Bill To End Patent Trolling arstechnica.com
431 points by drob  2 days ago   62 comments top 15
TheMagicHorsey 2 days ago 2 replies      
I know healthcare is really important, but I think this bill is also up there when it comes to the long term financial viability of our nation. Intellectual Ventures and all these other no-talent, pirate scum need to go down. If not, my children and your children will be working for bean soup while some cocksucker in a suit extracts rents for "intellectual" property rights based on some goddamn scrap of paper with no connection to reality.

Gonna call my senator and congress woman tomorrow. And then I'm going to tell everyone I know to do the same.

Intellectual Ventures and these other pantywaste dirtbags are going to be lobbying hard against this bill, so the only thing we can do (unless you have some millions of dollars to spare on lobbying) is to call people and spread the word. That worked for SOPA, so maybe it can work now too.

Go, go, go!

rayiner 2 days ago 0 replies      
The pleading requirement is very important. On of the basic tools courts use to filter out frivolous litigation is to quickly dispose of suits that are implausible on their face. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_Atlantic_Corp._v._Twombly. Until this bill, the pleadings in patent cases were often ridiculously vague. Like filing a lawsuit against Best Buy saying: "Best Buy was negligent" without making any more specific allegations that could be used to evaluate the complaint on its face.

As an aside, there are a lot of parallels between the litigation system under the federal rules and computer systems. In patent litigation, you have a phase that is extremely slow and expensive (claim construction). How can you minimize the average cost? One way is to try and filter out as many easy cases early in the pipeline so you hit the slow path as little as possible.

throwawaykf 2 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone interested in getting a better understanding of the economic reality of trolls is encouraged to go to ssrn.com and do a quick search for "patent trolls". These are not all peer reviewed papers, but many of them have data and methodologies and, most importantly, numbers. Read only the abstracts, if you're short on time.

As always, the topic is so much more nuanced than "good" or "bad". The first result, "Patent Troll Myths" by Michael Risch is a good start.

Sure, you will find the papers by Bessen et al where the "trolls cost the economy 29 Billion" meme comes from. But you'll also find a paper (by Schwartz and Kesan) that debunks Bessen's paper, which got nearly 0 coverage in the press.You'll even find a paper showing trolls have better patents than average! But these tend to get settled quickly, so typically the poorer ones go to trial, and so you get papers (like from Lemley) showing that trolls lose more cases than average.

You'll also find papers arguing the benefits of trolls, debunking some of the common arguments against trolls, and introducing new previously unconsidered harms of patent trolls.

And of course, just like there's no clear definition of "software patents", there is no clear definition of "patent trolls" either, and you'll find papers discussing this.

And because they use different data sets, different papers look at the same problem at the same time and reach completely opposite conclusions.

And further, because the authors are almost never practitioners in the field, you get some really obvious findings being reported... and then misconstrued! For instance there's a paper showing litigation has shot up since 2007, and presenting various theories, completely missing theMedimmune v Genntech decision that effectively upended the rules of patent licensing. And there's the paper that argues patent quality is dropping because more patents were being issued, without being aware of the ending of the misguided "reject, reject, reject" unofficial policy instituted by former USPTO head Jon Dudas (http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2009/03/16/prespective-of-an-anony...)

And as always, it's helpful to keep in mind where the authors' funding comes from. Bessen of the "29 billion" fame, for instance, is funded by the "Coalition for Patent Fairness". Check out the list of supporters. It's almost ad hom, but hey, if we can point out that studies showing the harms of piracy are often funded by the MPAA, we can point this out too.

Yes, there are clear bad actors like Lodsys, but there are so many more variables out there, and many are arguably helping more than harming.

Yet, somehow, it's only one small side of the story that gets told.

As this is a hot-button topic, we should take an objective look at the data.Because, quoting from one of the papers above, "Without a better understanding of the many complicated effects of patents in high technology markets, we run the very real risk of misguided policy decisions."

tzs 2 days ago 3 replies      
Interesting legal fact: although the Constitution bars ex post facto laws, that only applies to criminal law. A retroactive tax is legal.

One of the reasons trolls have been successful is that the patent office is understaffed, and of the staff it does have, not enough are experts in software related matters. This means things get through that might not have if the PTO had more and better trained examiners.

If reforming to eliminate patent trolls, how about tossing in a nice big retroactive tax on patent trolls to help fund improvements in patent examining?

dlitz 2 days ago 0 replies      
This basically shoots the messenger. NPEs just expose a greater problem with the patent system, which people like rms and others have warning about for years.

What we need is actual reform of the patent system, not just sweeping the problem under the rug by singling out "trolls".

batbomb 2 days ago 1 reply      
> It isn't just HappyTroll LLC or whatever shell company was set up that week that's going to be on the hook for fees. The fees can be applied to any "interested party" in the case.

That's good, but the pessimist in me thinks IV could probably find a way around this too, but maybe not. Modifying the law to somehow identify patent troll originators (IV) and barring them from disbursing patents to NPEs would seem like some added protection.

swatkat7 2 days ago 0 replies      
YES!! I don't think ideas need to be protected if you can back it with great execution. Ideas aren't unique, can never be. As Ren Girard said, all desires (and hence ideas) are mimetic! So, I don't buy into the philosophy that ideas need to be guarded. It curtails innovation.

A couple of years ago when I was building a product, our board convinced us to apply for a patent. After a provisional application and following it up with a proper submission, we finally had an offer that granted us the patent. Never pursued it. I know, it makes sense to protect your ideas; but we had Whatsapp, Pinger and other apps kicking ass in the space.

jheriko 2 days ago 0 replies      
still about a million miles away from good enough. but a nice attempt a political manouveur

when $100k dollars is considered a low cost, someone is living in cuckoo land...

how about charging people this for failed patent applications? or just no patents at all?

nearly all of the arguments for patents are trivially in the worst interest of the wider public... frankly its an embarassment that the system exists at all, much less in the way that it does

joshlegs 1 day ago 0 replies      
So I got to speak with Bob Goodlatte a few times before. I generally considered him a generic shmuck, but this legislation is pretty impressive. Kudos, Bobby.
ihsw 2 days ago 0 replies      
One has to wonder how this will affect the TPP, and other greater patent wars across the world.
curiousquestion 2 days ago 1 reply      
I like the idea that NPE can only make a certain percentage of revenue on "trolling". What if, for example, only 25% of a company's revenue can be made off these "trolling" escapades? I think it would clean things up quite a bit.
freakyterrorist 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good start but it would be great to see something targeting trolls which threaten small companies and individuals, maybe something forcing them to do a class action against all companies that use Apple IAP frameworks rather than allowing them to target everyone one on one.
TallboyOne 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank mother of god and all that is holy. This &$&$ bullshit has gone on long enough.
jschnell13 1 day ago 0 replies      
finally is right
otikik 2 days ago 1 reply      
It will not work.

I'm pessimistic like that.

Gzip + poetry = awesome jvns.ca
355 points by jvns  1 day ago   82 comments top 15
ot 1 day ago 2 replies      
Compression is truly fascinating. It's what got me into reading computer science papers several years ago, and then became one of my research topics.

What is shown here is the LZ77 [1] factorization of a string. Compression in general works by exploiting redundancy in the source, and natural language is highly redundant, since many words repeat often. Hence the factors in the factorization often look like frequent words or n-grams.

A recent line of research is grammar compression, which tries to turn a text into a tree of rules that generate that text. While still not very good at general-purpose compression, the generated tree are much more interesting than the LZ77 factorization, since they "discover" something that looks like a syntactic parsing of the string, finding syllabes, words, phrases, sentences...

In Craig Nevill-Manning's Ph.D. thesis [2] introduction there are several examples of the inferred grammar of pieces of text, music, fractals, source code, etc... While the algorithm presented there (Sequitur) is now kind of obsolete, the thesis is very interesting because it makes some considerations with a linguistic perspective.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LZ77_and_LZ78

[2] http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

CGamesPlay 1 day ago 2 replies      
Audio is unnecessary. The video shows a slow-motion decoding of a gzipped version of the poem. The red text between brackets is a chunk of text that was earlier stored into the huffman tree (example "W{hile I }" means that the "hile I" was previously encoded; it occurred in the substring "while I pondered"). You can see the red chunks quickly occupy the larger volume of the poem, which visually highlights the symmetry in lyric that the computer is using to encode the file as gzip.

Pretty neat.

alexholehouse 1 day ago 1 reply      
For some reason I find theories and approaches in compression really interesting. For those unfamiliar I recommend Blelloch's introduction to compression (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~guyb/realworld/compression.pdf
mvleming 1 day ago 7 replies      
Wow, this is a incredible visualization of how compression works. I never understood how it worked before, but the simple mentioning of pointers and then that video was all it took for me.

I've always wondered if this is true: If we approach infinite computational power, does the amount of information we need to represent data decrease? (Excuse any incorrect use of my terminology here.) I think about a number like pi that, as far as we know, has an infinite number of digits, and theoretically speaking every message is contained in that number. So if we just get the pointer of where that message is contained in the number and then calculate the number up to that pointer then we'll have ourselves the message. Hence, more computational power, less information needed.

annnnd 1 day ago 1 reply      
I get this:

    Offline Site: jvns.ca    You have requested a site that is currently offline. This generally happens when a site is temporarily disabled for some reason, but has not been permanently removed...

jvns 1 day ago 0 replies      
To clear this up: This is exactly how gzip actually works. I wrote a version of gunzip from scratch and just inserted some print statements in the middle to get this visualization.
pdknsk 18 hours ago 2 replies      
What I noticed in the other text, Hamlet, is that HAMLET in the last sentence has no pointer to Hamlet, obviously. This seems like an opportunity for optimisation, for text at least.

Usually a word is either lowercase, capitalised or uppercase. In more complex and rare cases this could be efficiently encoded bitwise (0 = keep, 1 = swap case), so HAMLEt becomes 011110 plus a pointer to Hamlet.

I wonder if any compression algorithm does this. Probably not, because the benefit is likely minimal at significantly increased de/compression time.

tempestn 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is extremely cool. For anyone curious what the various compression levels of gzip do, the full explanation is here: http://www.gzip.org/algorithm.txt. Basically the higher the compression level, the more times it spends searching for the longest possible matching string to point to.
_quasimodo 1 day ago 0 replies      
As the author mentioned, poetry usually compresses quite well, thanks to rhyming.Here is another fun example:


JacksonGariety 1 day ago 3 replies      
Can anyone explain what is going on here?
tete 1 day ago 1 reply      
Julia programming Julia? Pretty cool too! That's how you recognize a real hacker...
aviksh 1 day ago 0 replies      
The deflation algorithm used by gzip is a variation of LZ77.
V-2 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's just great! Many thanks for the info.
aortega 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is a demonstration of a simplified LZ77 algorithm, not Gzip.

Gzip is a unix utility, LZ77 is an algorithm, this distinction is not pedantic.

This is what happens when you go to "hacker school" before regular CS school.

How I compiled TrueCrypt 7.1a for Win32 and matched the official binaries concordia.ca
335 points by maqr  1 day ago   102 comments top 13
generalpf 1 day ago 1 reply      
That's amazing work. Well done to the author.
zokier 1 day ago 3 replies      
Just a slightly off-topic question, but WTF does TC require VC 1.52 for?
pointernil 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I get the point reg. verifying the Windows-Compiling-Build, but wouldn't the same verification on an open source platform allow for even easier (maybe even automatic) verification?

How about an vmware/vbox image setup explicitly for that purpose? Not feasible for windows due to licencing issues, i guess.

Also, huge kudos for the effort going into this work. Thanks!

wai1234 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is a great first step but we're not done yet. It proves the binaries are built from the published code, but only when the published code has been thoroughly vetted can we conclude there is no backdoor.
yeukhon 1 day ago 3 replies      
"TrueCrypt is a project that doesn't provide deterministic builds."

Why? What is the benefit of doing so when everyone wants a deterministic build?

bliker 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am just shooting into darkness, but would not it be easier to compile it twice and diff outcomes to find found out what parts are being changed so those can be ruled out?
CUViper 1 day ago 2 replies      
> TrueCrypt is not backdoored in a way that is not visible from the sources

... as long as you also trust the compiler not to introduce any backdoor... (cf. Reflections on Trusting Trust)

proctor 1 day ago 1 reply      
it seems to me that the relaxed gpg key verification that the author uses doesn't give us any more assurances regarding the authenticity of the source than a simple hash offered on the website would. i think in this situation, if the author did not intend to attempt more rigorous verification of the truecrypt pgp key, at least cross-checking that the key offered on the site matches the key offered on a public key server pgp.mit.edu for example would be prudent before signing the truecrypt key with your own.

  Import the .asc file in the keyring (File > Import certificates).  Now you should mark the key as trusted: right click on the TrueCrypt Foundation public key   in the list under Imported Certificate tab > Change Owner Trust, and set it as I believe checks are casual.  You should also generate your own key pair to sign this key in order to show you really trust   it and get a nice confirmation when verifying the binary.

TheRealWatson 1 day ago 1 reply      
Please God, don't let the author be working for the NSA. These days I get suspicious at every "it's all good" piece of news.
pamparosendo 1 day ago 0 replies      
I entered just to say it's an incredible work done by this guy... it's been years since I analized a file on hex mode (from Norton Commander, jeje).
smegel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Kudos for effort.
xbeta 1 day ago 0 replies      
Coolest post I've read today! Good work!
eterm 1 day ago 1 reply      
Tldr: Binaries didn't match, here's some handwaving at the differences.
In Almost Every European Country, Bikes Are Outselling New Cars npr.org
332 points by antr  1 day ago   286 comments top 42
frogpelt 1 day ago 8 replies      
I'm not sure that this is of much significance.

In 2009, in the US, there were 14.9 million bicycles purchased [1] vs. just over 13 million passenger vehicles[2].

[1]: http://nbda.com/articles/industry-overview-2012-pg34.htm

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

philiphodgen 1 day ago 7 replies      
Something that you can buy for 300 Euro outsells something else that costs 30,000 Euro. The two things can be roughly used for the same purpose.

I would not be surprised to hear that more paper and pens are sold in Europe than computers.

rthomas6 23 hours ago 8 replies      
This is only tangentially related to the article, but I'd like to say one of the reasons why bikes aren't more popular in many American cities is because the road systems give no thought to bikes at all. I vacationed to the bay area recently, where bikes seem comparatively more popular, and noted the difference in roads between there and where I live. It wasn't so much that the bay area was good for bikes, but just kept them in mind. When there wasn't a bike path, there was a paved shoulder. When there wasn't a paved shoulder, there were signs and markings to help bikes and cars share the road.

Where I live, it approaches dangerous to bike on the road. When a road has a speed limit of 45 mph, turns, and no shoulder at all, it's difficult to bike. This is not in a rural area.

pinaceae 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Erm, just because you buy a new bike doesn't mean you stop owning and driving a car.

When I was living in Vienna we had 2 cars and 3 bikes for the family.

Bikes were replaced more often, I needed to buy a bike twice in 5 years due to the original ones being stolen. Kept my car the whole time.

Not exactly sure what this article is trying to show. Bad statistics?

teaneedz 1 day ago 0 replies      
I pedal to many meetings these days. It's fun, healthy and social. When a stranger pedaled up to me in the bike lane a few days ago and initiated a conversation, my day was made.

You see and experience more from a bike and it clears the mental cobwebs for me. Maybe my bobble head Yoda on the handlebars helps too :)

Pedaling on in California.

panzi 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
So what? Everyone in a family has a bike (even the kids), but there are usually one one or two cars. Also bikes are cheaper and usually have a shorter lifetime. If cars would outsell bikes, THAT would be a headline.
transfire 23 hours ago 4 replies      
Here's the problem in the States: The automobile lobbyists dominate all transportation legislation.

So what kind of laws does that get us? In most cities electric bikes are illegal. Sidewalks and bike lanes, more often then not, only cover partial lengths of road. It's actually illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk, but the bike lanes in the States are so unbelievably dangerous that no one in their right mind would choose the bike lane over the sidewalk. You can't ride a bike along an interstate highway --that's illegal too. Oh, some rich cities have nice new bike paths, but they go almost no where useful and it is illegal to ride on those at night.

And to top it all off there's a cultural stigma that if you ride a bike for more than exercise or a leisurely peddle around the block then you are a worthless bum.

CrankyPants 19 hours ago 0 replies      
As a point of reference, the average price of a new car in August was $31,252. (That's a US statistic, but all I found.) The average cost of a bicycle is probably three-figures.

Ownership of the two is not mutually exclusive.

Usage habits of the two vary wildly, probably mostly favoring cars, not only because keeping an unused car is far more expensive and complicated than keeping an unused bicycle is, and because people don't tend to buy cars the first week of January to work off those holiday pounds.

I'm not sure why this article matters much.

VeejayRampay 1 day ago 2 replies      
We're just too broke and can't afford the cars.
groups 1 day ago 0 replies      
The article notes a slump in car sales, but doesn't chart historical bike sales (it only notes that in America bike sales are "solid") It could be coincidence: European bike might have risen, might have stayed the same.

>We decided to delve a little deeper into the figures and see which of these countries had the highest rates of bicycle-to-car ownership.

I'm more interested in historical bike sales, historical car sales, and the correlations and causations we could find, than which countries had the highest rates of bike-to-car ownership.

ojbyrne 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you're a family of four, you might have four bikes, and one car. Even 2 cars and you've still bought more bikes than cars.
qwerta 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not just cars, but also locomotives and even boats! It is just pity that socks outsell the bikes.
programminggeek 23 hours ago 2 replies      
One thing that also tips this figure is the fact that bikes can be used by any age group, cars cant. How many thousands or millions of bikes for kids are sold every year?
euphemize 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish I could use my bike all year long but the truth is that for someone living in Canada (I'm guessing it's similar for some northern states too), it's impossible to bike half the year. Some brave folks do it but it's quite dangerous. For someone who has lived in Amsterdam many years it's a sad realization that my city will never become a bike haven.
utnick 1 day ago 2 replies      
In Belgium , there are some tax rules that subsidize companies that give employees company cars. So its very common for a white collar worker to have a company car.

I wonder if thats why Belgium is the only country where this isnt true ( well besides luxembourg )

sivetic 1 day ago 1 reply      
I finally pushed myself to bike to work this year, and up until this week managed to make my way to work 4-5 times a week using the bike. Living a 10-15 minute bike ride away from work really encouraged me to try this year, and I'm glad I did. I found it considerably more relaxing, even when riding in traffic, when compared to driving.Unfortunately, living in the Great White North, it has gotten too cold in the morning to bike (or at least it has for me). Temperatures are dipping below 0C, and I'm sure we will see snow soon enough. Bike is on standby mode now until next April or May when the snow is finally gone.
codegeek 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I once carpooled with a very nice lady from Netherlands. She would not stop talking about how she was amazed to see very little bikes in the US while back home, she grew up with bikes being part of a daily routine.
LekkoscPiwa 23 hours ago 2 replies      
Wasn't that Alan Gore who started this drama with CO2 emissions so his company makes big $$$ trading CO2 "packages" or however they're called while he is enjoying a few of his mansion houses while telling the rest of us to cut on electricity and ride on bikes?

Dear Westerners suffering from Stockholm Syndrome: Stalin called people like you "useful idiots".

fpp 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does this include bikes for children as well - if yes, please subtract the number of people below 16 living in each of the countries for a more useful comparison.
shmerl 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish US roads would become more bicycles friendly.
soundwave 1 day ago 0 replies      
In almost every European country, shoes are outselling bikes!
Mikeb85 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Why is this a surprise? Most families have 1-2 cars, if a family of 4 wants to go on a bike ride together, they're going to need 4 bikes...

Furthermore, bikes are easier to break, get stolen, and are much cheaper...

mactitan 22 hours ago 0 replies      
What's so surprising? Clearly there's a limit on the growth of auto infrastructure.I like to think that bikes offer a path out of the rat race being that transportation is 2nd in cost of living expenses.(however, a 60+ cyclist I know bikes 15 miles on grueling hills to his low end job, disputes this dream??)And so does the tech world where there are still massive profits to be made on sustaining the auto culture (gps, hybrids, ev's,google navigation, etc.) (And I don't necessarily think that's bad)
bmj 23 hours ago 2 replies      
Please remember that for a serious recreational cyclist, the correct answer to "how many bikes should I own" is:


From my experience in the local road racing scene, a majority of the 200 or so cyclists that participate in the weekly training racing have at least four different bikes. I suspect that the percentage that only owns one bike is very, very small.

tehwalrus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder how much the 'cycle to work' scheme in the UK has affected our numbers. (It means a lot of middle class white collar workers buy a new high-end bike every year, before income-tax.)
drofmij 1 day ago 2 replies      
Smaller countries / cities with better public transit make it viable to own bike instead of car. Not the case in most of US.
pallandt 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd so wish this caught on in my country, not just because of costs, I happen to find biking really enjoyful and relaxing. Unfortunately, what you end up with is being made fun of for choosing such a method of transport or even harassed, especially if you end up being a young professional or not a burly male.
TeeWEE 23 hours ago 1 reply      
In the netherlands there are almost too many bikes.Look at the roads for bikes: http://www.politiekdelft.nl/oostsingel_000_fietspad_2010_04_...
eliben 22 hours ago 0 replies      
You mean, $100-200 items (of which most kids have one or three during their childhood) are outselling $10,000 items (though more like $30,000 in Europe)?
dllthomas 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this new bikes or all bikes? Headline, charts, and article all seem unclear. Obviously, if used bike sales are included and used car sales are not this observation is completely meaningless, instead of just not terribly significant...
ffrryuu 22 hours ago 0 replies      
That's what an economic collapse does to your population.
yason 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I could bet a whole lot of money that shoes are outselling both bikes and cars in every European country.
dschiptsov 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Being of the same price?)

In Almost Every European Country, Apples Are Outselling Oranges

aleprok 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This past summer I biked about 10 kilometers a day over 45 days. This is around 450 kilometers and I know I biked even more, but did not count how much after those first 45 days as biking was not daily routine anymore. Last Friday I put my bike into storage as it is so damn cold here in Finland already. Next summer I will probably try to get 1,000 kilometers.
jchrisa 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm car free in Portland Oregon. So far so good. Ask me how I'm feeling about it in January. :)
patrickg_zill 20 hours ago 0 replies      
"In Europe, pads of paper are outselling iPads"
pdelbarba 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Could there be a climate connection here as well? A cursory inspection of some weather stations scattered across europe[1] indicate a slight warm trend over the past two winters, especially 2011 (disregarding 2013 data as its not yet complete).

[1]: weatherspark.com

cjdrake 18 hours ago 0 replies      
And, in other news, cars are out-selling airplanes.
mhamel 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like this could maybe be an influencing factor to Tesla's success there, after a German magazine doubts its potential in Europe (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/german-magazines-story-teslas-...).

Teslas are the ultimate commuter car - great for short distance, back and forth, stop and go. If Europeans are already doing these sorts of commutes on bicycles, what is the point of a Tesla? If what they really need cars for in Europe is long-distance travel, a Tesla probably isn't the right match.

macspoofing 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Slow news day at NPR.
martin1b 23 hours ago 0 replies      
How many of them come with training wheels and ribbons?
robomartin 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Ridiculous comparison.

This is not a displacement market. Few people chose bike OR car. It's more like car AND a few bikes. A family of four can do with one car yet needs four bikes.

As others pointed out, the case is the same in the US.

Is Google building a hulking floating data center in SF Bay? cnet.com
301 points by chasef  19 hours ago   205 comments top 50
apaprocki 18 hours ago 3 replies      
There are actually 4 "vessels". Look at the names -- using binary :)

  BAL0001BY AND LARGE LLC**C & C MARINE & REPAIR LLC2010Freight Barge2164.0249.6  BAL0010BY AND LARGE LLC**C & C MARINE2011Passenger Barge (Inspected)2520.0260.1  BAL0011BY AND LARGE LLC**C & C MARINE2011Passenger Barge (Inspected)2520.0260.1  BAL0100BY AND LARGE LLC**C & C MARINE2012Freight Barge2164.0249.6

fibbery 18 hours ago 4 replies      
Great article. It's nice to see journalists do actual investigative work, even if it is for something like this. Today's "journalism" seems to be all link-bait opinion pieces mixed in with copy-pastes from twitter.
numbsafari 18 hours ago 5 replies      
Something similar is being outfitted in Portland, ME.


The OP is a much better article (The Press Herald is garbage).

My original guess for the barge-building in Portland was a ocean-based prison facility for the government to use for interrogations. But it's seeming like the floating data center idea is much more likely.

justanother 18 hours ago 2 replies      
My first thought: "Finally I'm interested in applying at Google, if it involves using my captain's license!"

My second thought: "Meh, the job interview probably involves writing a breadth-first search algorithm to search for known pirates in the graph of nearby ports."

nostromo 18 hours ago 4 replies      
I was Googling to find what a boat-based wave-powered generator would look like, and I found this interesting diagram:


joezydeco 18 hours ago 6 replies      
How does the data get to/from the platform? Microwaves? Can that work from a slightly moving platform?

My wacky guess would have been off-shore offices for employees that can't get H1Bs.

Udo 16 hours ago 1 reply      

  Google was granted a patent in 2009 for a floating data center
Sigh, there is a patent on floating data centers? For fuck's sake...

DanBC 18 hours ago 3 replies      
I hope they fit it with sub-surface portholes and webcams.

The article keeps saying "huge", but really that's tiny for a ship. Google could buy an old cruise liner and fit several of those inside. Or maybe Google is going to buy more little ships and plonk one of these in each?

I hope that they have adequate security, because all that gold and copper is worth stealing for some people.

blackjack48 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe Google will put pressure on the city to upgrade the island's power grid, which has had serious reliability issues in recent years: http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/treasure-island-endur...
cargo8 18 hours ago 6 replies      
Very interesting...

Any chance that this will mean the Govt can't subpoena data from this data center if it is floating far enough from the US coast? Or does it not matter because clearly the US will be the closest harbor?

mkhalil 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
Well looks like we're going to need to Trevor to do some investigation.
nickzoic 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Finally, something with better bandwidth and worse latency than Andy Tanenbaum's station wagon.

> Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway.-- Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Computer Networks, 4th ed., p. 91

deeths 17 hours ago 2 replies      
The middle of the ocean could be a a very high margin location for IaaS hosting.

Due to speed-of-light delays, some of the ideal locations for hosting high-speed trading arbitrages are in the middle of the ocean. Being half way between two exchanges would allow you to notice a small difference in price of some commodity in two different exchanges and buy and sell microseconds before your competitors on the mainland know that there's an arbitrage opportunity. See http://www.physicscentral.com/explore/action/stocktrade.cfm

willvarfar 3 hours ago 0 replies      
How would a data centre on a barge cope with constant motion (hurtful for cheap spinning discs?) and data link latency? Presumably cable doesn't work well if the barge moves?
Cthulhu_ 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I can see it already.

In a dystopian future, when the world as we know it is covered in water, one mythical ship traverses the oceans, powered by stratosphere kites or nuclear power. Nobody knows where it's from.

All we know is that many years ago, it became sentient.

And its name is Google.

joshdance 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I hope it is a floating data center. If not, it is a fun detective type article.
qwerta 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me [1]. Gmail like AI breaks loose and uses fully automated floating data centers. Highly recommend.

[1] book named "Avogadro Corp: The Singularity Is Closer Than It Appears:

musashibaka 18 hours ago 3 replies      
So it appears as though Google is looking towards a future where they are an independent country, or at the very least free from regulation, visa-a-vis Seasteading.


richardw 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Never underestimate the bandwidth of a barge filled with hard drives.
mcgwiz 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Just enough leaks to conclude it's a Google-owned project. Although I can't offer an alternative explanation, I'm a bit skeptical in this post-Snowden world.
dharbin 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Somebody told them about docker and this is what they did....
mrb 18 hours ago 2 replies      
With movable data centers, Google can easily move them across oceans, as popularity and usage of different Google services inevitably shifts across countries over time, in order to be closer to wherever their users are to reduce network latency.

For example an "Orkut data center" would have been very useful to Google in 2008, when they announced they were moving its operations to Brazil because somewhat unpredictably this is where their core user base developed the most: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orkut

Pxtl 17 hours ago 2 replies      
A massive floating data-centre out in international waters would be a pretty powerful protection against governmental interference in your business. Well, except for the military kind.
ctdonath 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone consider what the real estate & taxes savings will be with this? For high demand areas where you'd like to set up a data center, something offshore might save a fortune in land costs and property taxes alone.
seanv 18 hours ago 1 reply      
another cool thing about floating data centers in california is they're pretty much earthquake proof... built in shock absorbers (aka water).

You can probably charge a premium for easily accessible highly secure data I would imagine.

... assuming megalodon isn't still around

natch 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Actual original reporting, wow, sadly unusual these days for any publication. My respect for CNET might be resurrected.
peterwwillis 18 hours ago 6 replies      
Can somebody explain the point behind the secrecy? What does Google have to gain by taking all these steps to hide they're the ones building it?
wfunction 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't be surprised if it was a GoogleX project of some sort.
panhandlr 16 hours ago 1 reply      
6ren 15 hours ago 1 reply      
International waters, immune to NSA?

Also, does wave power really yield sufficient energy?

Oculus 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This could be part of Google's Project Loon. Instead of building a data center in Africa why not ship one over.
randartie 13 hours ago 1 reply      
It's likely that this is a way to get around the visa limits the US is having. If you build a giant cruise ship and park it on the bay next to google then you can have engineers working near HQ without legally requiring them to have visas!
caycep 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I can just see google hq now.

"Boy that was quite a storm last night...oh wait...gmail just floated away and is halfway to hawai'i"

narfquat 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems pretty telling to me, with the patent and coffee shop cashier testimonial.

I wonder how the hardware will hold up to the environmental harshnesses of the open water? Or even just sea spray...

breischl 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I believe this was literally Chapter 1 (ok, maybe chapter 2 or 3) of "Avogadro Corp: The Singularity Is Closer Than It Appears" [1]. Life imitates art, I guess? Or maybe that author is more prescient than I gave him credit for.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Avogadro-Corp-Singularity-Appears-eboo...

wikwocket 18 hours ago 6 replies      
> putting data centers inside shipping containers is already a well-established practice.

Is this true? Does anyone know why? The article seems to assume it without saying why.

cookingrobot 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe this is just so their data centers can be movable between cities so they can negotiate better tax agreements and power contracts.
acl2149 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Google uses Treasure Island for holiday parties, perhaps that's what explains the presence of employees?
tux 18 hours ago 1 reply      
This floating data centers could be used for more privacy/security. Very interesting article thanks.
moonie1 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Could this be a routing center for CC payments? That would be a very interesting tax evasion method...
chromaton 18 hours ago 0 replies      
It's being built at the same hangar where they shot the Battlebots TV shows.
vxxzy 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Could this be an attempt to skirt the rules and laws imposed by the US on our (Google's) data? Would Google have to provide data under a warrant if said data is physically located in international waters?
ffrryuu 17 hours ago 0 replies      
A place for those with no visa to the USA to work!
hardwaresofton 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe they're just trying to lay some underwater cable... to Japan
aluhut 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Bruce Sterling will love this.
xd 18 hours ago 2 replies      
How do you get a patent for a "floating data center"..
walshemj 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Actually it just struck me this might be part of Googles DR plan for California getting hit by the big one
acr25 18 hours ago 0 replies      
It might be a NON-HULKING floating data center.
Off marco.org
286 points by mh_  1 day ago   215 comments top 45
cstross 1 day ago 10 replies      
Stuff I expected, under "one more thing ..." (or earlier):

The Mac Pro ships with enough bandwidth to drive three 4K desktop monitors, yet Apple's most recent monitor -- the 27" Thunderbolt Display -- dates to 2011 and has the same resolution as the current 15" Macbook Pro. Bluntly, this is disgraceful. Serious video folks are going to be buying Mac Pros and then paying ASUS three times as much for the monitors! Where's the Apple 4K Thunderbolt Display?

A keyboard cover -- like the Logitech Ultra-thin Keyboard Cover, or Microsoft's Surface keyboards -- would be nice. (I suppose Apple are relying on the after-market, as witness the startlingly fast announcements by Belkin et al.)

Finally, the "software is free" announcement ... yes, they're taking aim at Microsoft, but iWork 5 on OSX turns out to be a mixed blessing; there are regressions all over, especially in scripting (they've virtually dropped AppleScript from their office apps). What is this, an attempt to build market share for MS Office? (The mind boggles.) What other power user features have they planed away in the pursuit of a clean and consistent user interface across all platforms? (Which in practice seems to mean dumbing down the apps on the Pro platform -- OSX -- for compatibility with the mass market platform -- iOS.)

nostromo 1 day ago 4 replies      
There's another story on HN that says, "The PC is not dead, we just don't need new ones." That's actually my exact situation with Apple right now. My iPad Mini, iPhone 5, Mac Pro, Apple TV and MBP are all more than adequate. Making them gold or shaving off a few ounces isn't very exciting.

The iPad was released less than 3 years after the iPhone. Now we're three years past the release of the iPad with nothing new to talk about. I'm sure there are exciting things happening under the hood at Apple, but the event was a bit boring.

Apple should also rethink their television ads. The style they popularized has become trite and they ooze with self-importance. The iPad mini video with the pencil reminded me of Facebook's terrible Chair ad. I miss the lightness and humor of watching a John Hodgman riff with what's-his-name.

spot 1 day ago 5 replies      
"We know that effectively nobody browses the web on their Android tablets full of stretched-out phone apps."

this is false. android tablet browsing is substantial and growing fast. Looks like 25% in july 2013 in this graph, up from 15% in july 2012.


akmiller 1 day ago 7 replies      
"We know Microsofts tablets suck"

This irritates the hell out of me. Who is this "we"? Fine if Marco wants to suggest that they suck, but I'll take a shot in the dark and say he hasn't even tried to give one a fair shake...would love to hear from him if he actually has.

I have never found a use for a tablet, but I have several around my house including iPad Mini, iPad 3, Nexus 7 (1st gen), and now a Surface. The Surface is the best of those devices and the only one I can see myself continuing to use going forward.

I would challenge anyone to just open their minds if they haven't tried one and jump in completely for a week or so then make up your mind. Definitely not saying the device is perfect, there are some things (both hardware and software) I'd like to see added but it's a damn nice device!

nwh 1 day ago 7 replies      
He's not wrong. The presenters kept saying slightly the wrong words and having to go back and correct themselves. The constant untucked-shirt comments were painful, and completely out of their usual presentation style.

The Mac Pro is absolutely hilarious in it's pricing. When converted back to USD, it's almost 30% more expensive in Australia for absolutely no understandable reason. The fact that it wasn't released is very strange too, along with it's very vague "December" date. Makes me feel like they expected to be releasing it but ran into problems with their process.

Lagged2Death 1 day ago 1 reply      
So we're way past criticizing a thing somebody makes. Instead we're criticizing the "product messaging" that goes along with the thing.

The complaint seems to be that this event, despite all the time spent on the usual "The things you fans bought have indeed turned out to be very popular, yay for you" message, didn't deliver the same sense of materialist cult excitement that some people had become accustomed to.

And that apparently is generally viewed as a criticism worth making, worth discussing. It's considered important.

Hm. Well what do you know.

rbritton 1 day ago 4 replies      
For me the most notable parts of the whole event were the software-related announcements. Nothing about any of the hardware was in the least bit surprising. My notes:

- The Mac Pro is still not available. I don't believe it's ever been like Apple to pre-announce something this far out.

- The iPad update was the first not to make me want the new one. I'm perfectly happy with my iPad 4 and see no reason to update yet.

- An iPad Mini with a Retina display is nice, but I've never been attracted to that screen size so it doesn't do much for me.

- There was no "One more thing..." or anything more surprising than them making all of their consumer software free.

- There were brief mentions of new versions of both Aperture and FCPX, but that was it. I only found out later that the Aperture update is just a small dot update and now requires Mavericks.

hamburglar 1 day ago 3 replies      
Oh jeez. It's almost like there's a certain ... legendary source of charisma and showmanship missing. Give the hand-wringing a break. Steve Jobs could have changed his wardrobe and people would say it would have had an impact on the feel of the presentations. Now the guy's dead. Of course they're different.
hadem 1 day ago 2 replies      
"We know that effectively nobody browses the web on their Android tablets full of stretched-out phone apps."

Really? I use my Android tablet all the time and love it. So much so, I'm switching from an iPhone to and Android phone. In turn, this also makes using a Mac computer far less important for me.

roc 1 day ago 2 replies      
If you ask me, the entire "games" black hole looks for all the world like they're on the cusp of something that isn't quite ready.

They introduced official gamepad support coming to iOS7 at WWDC, both standalone gamepads and iphone/ipod-wrapping cases. A couple MFI partners even teased things to come. And then... nothing.

It became actually real in the release of iOS7. The iPhone event even dedicated some serious stage time to gaming and a few higher-profile apps were updated to support it. But, still, nothing.

The iPad event came and went and they didn't even mention the iPod Touch, let alone gaming. I don't think they've ever talked about the iPad without talking about gaming.

So I wonder if the event was "off" because a tent pole feature, something that encompassed phones, tablets, ipods and maybe even the appleTV, just wasn't ready to go.

cocoflunchy 1 day ago 3 replies      

  The lines were so tightly scripted that the presenters often stumbled off-script slightly,  and rather than rolling with it naturally, theyd just jump back and awkwardly retry the line. 
The "I'm a a big fan of The Black Knight" (instead of Dark Knight) part was especially painful :/

jroseattle 1 day ago 0 replies      
Apple is in a tough spot, and these rollouts really reflect it.

Jobs was such a perfectionist in message delivery that anyone else doing that on behalf of the same company just is not going to measure up. The expectations are so high, and nobody carries that persona. I'd rather personally see the voice of Apple change to something I can identify with, and that voice just isn't there. If anyone at Apple is listening, just so you know...the company has no voice at the moment.

The rock-and-hard-place is the product offering. Frankly, the products haven't really advanced all that much in the past few years. There have been some improvements, but improvements are to be expected, and everyone tends to deliver incremental improvements. Those improvements certainly don't measure up as a premium. The days of massive lines for product releases, the waiting all night for the next iThing...I just have a hard time expecting that those are going to be on the order-of-magnitude to what we've seen in the past.

acqq 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes and no. Yes, it was obvious that the presenters didn't have that "natural burning feel" of Jobs. But that was obvious since Jobs is gone.

No, the product changes are still the right ones:

I have iPad 3, but I've bought iPad 2 for my parents. Whenever I go to them and use it I am impressed by the slightly lighter and thinner feel of it.

Now the iPad Air is significantly lighter and thinner than iPad 2. If you have any other iPad, wait to try the iPad Air, then tell me if you still think it's not a big improvement.

Ditto for iPad mini. If you have the present one, wait until you can try the new, then tell me it's not significant. I'm quite certain I'm going to by it, just to take it with me to the places for which I consider "full" iPad too big. Now it's retina, I'm sure it's the best device of that size. Is it too little? I'm considering best as "best that money can buy" not "best when I want to give as little money as I can." And if you're not using Apple tablets then this won't change your mind: others make cheaper stuff and it's still so.

rglullis 1 day ago 1 reply      
From the footnotes:

> Let us continue to believe that these are relevant industry events rather than giant commercials!

Why? Oh, why is it so hard to confront the reality that is right in front of their eyes? IT IS A GIANT COMMERCIAL, FOR FUCK'S SAKE!

This is the point where it becomes impossible to avoid comparisons to religion. You have a basic admission of someone who wants to keep believing in an illusion rather than exercising any kind of critical thinking.

Void_ 1 day ago 2 replies      
I loved Craig's Hair Force One joke, but those two guys teasing each other during iWork demo were just annoying, that was too much.

Also, I think it was one of them going something like "it's just gor- beautiful." He probably realized he used "gorgeous" in previous sentence so he changed it to "beautiful"... Well, I didn't believe him.

chasing 1 day ago 1 reply      
Jobs always seemed to express a genuine sense of wonder about what he presented on stage. And, given his personal history in technology, he could kind of pull it off in a sort of "who knew we could ever get here from two guys in a garage with a soldering iron?" sort of way. While I respect the current team, I'm not sure they can pull of that tone as well, and so I think these product presentations suffer a bit.

Otherwise, I didn't watch live, but I wasn't particularly disappointed or anything. Despite the hype, Apple events are always kind mostly dry affairs you can catch up on later with just a few minutes of reading. With the exception of new product line launches, which obviously can't happen three times a year.

jcromartie 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think all we know what we're witnessing here, even if some people are afraid to say what it is.

This isn't the first event since Jobs' death, but I think 2 years is about right for the momentum that he left behind to start running down.

Even if Jobs was pushing Apple to build shiny consumer-oriented gadgets, he was still pushing. Nobody can replace what he brought to the company.

P.S. I'm not saying it's the end of Apple. I'm sure they can keep making good stuff for a long time. I'm saying that this is an inflection point, where Apple is now moving away from Jobs' vision and towards someone else's. Anything that started under Jobs is wrapped up now, and what we're seeing today is wholly the product of this next phase of Apple.

protomyth 1 day ago 0 replies      
They are still doing Steve Notes. Give them a bit of a chance to learn to do it another way. If anything, it shows how good Steve Jobs was at these things.

I know there is a "CEO must do these" thing, but I would prefer if they left the keynotes to Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi. The rest can appear in the videos.

Tiktaalik 1 day ago 0 replies      
Apple has never treated games much of a priority and it's always felt to me that the success of games on the iPhone/iPad has been a happy accident and they have no idea what to do about it, other than to continue to build great hardware and improve graphics tech.

If Apple was more of a games oriented company and concerned itself with the market I think we would have seen the controller API years earlier, actual gamepad hardware from Apple and a more powerful Apple TV with a games oriented App Store.

pbreit 1 day ago 0 replies      
I generally agree with the post. It was so dull that I didn't even finish watching. And I couldn't believe how much Cook was stumbling over his lines. I always though they did tons of rehearsals. And they do have teleprompters, right? (maybe that's the problem).

I realize Apple/Steve nailed the presentation format and many are trying to copying (and some, like Samsung, are trying to stray from it). But maybe it's time to shake it up a bit. Every event feels exactly the same, even the general structure and collection of stats and retail store openings. Apple is creative and smart. It should figure out the next format/style.

ja27 1 day ago 0 replies      
"...the iPad Mini probably somewhat reduced the demand for the Touch"

The $229 / $299 price reduced the demand for the Touch. I'm surprised they haven't found a way to get a sub-$200 Touch.

smackfu 1 day ago 0 replies      
>Part of it was the lack of surprises, which isnt Apples fault.

For the iPhone announcement, I would have agreed. That was unsurprising due to supplier leaks.

For this event, it was completely Apple's fault, because there was nothing really that surprising. A lot of "that is some very nice engineering" but nothing to really make competitors go "uh oh, we gotta go back to work and catch up."

georgebarnett 1 day ago 0 replies      
It feels to me like they highlighted the minimum amount of stuff they needed to get out the door before the holidays. Lets be fair - there was a _ton_ of stuff announced. Maybe too much which lead to the lack of flair and detail.

I do think they've announced major refreshes - it seems to me that many products brought in features that have been years in development (e.g. Touch ID, 0.5 lb off the Air, Mac Pro, etc). I'm not saying these things were huge - it's just that any kind of getting any kind of multi year effort to line up while still keeping the normal plane flying is really hard work.

I personally think the current lineup is really good. Sure there's a few bits missing (notably there are apps in Mavericks which missed polish and touch id needs to be everywhere), but it feels to me like each of their hardware lines are now at a really rock solid iteration.

Software wise, the lineup feels even more integrated if you're an all apple customer.

TL;DR - it feels like they're getting their lineup up to a solid level baseline before using that as the base for the next set of awesome stuff, but hey - I could be wrong :)

Touche 1 day ago 1 reply      
> None of the pricing was a surprise.

I personally was very surprised that the raised the price of the iPad mini.

M4v3R 1 day ago 0 replies      
I got the exact opposite impression. This event seemed refreshing, presenters were funny, and there were some suprises (new and free iWork, free Mavericks). It was also well paced, they didn't use as much "amazing" and "magical" as they did in Stevenotes. Overall I liked the event a lot.
ableal 1 day ago 1 reply      
"[...] iPad 2 sticking around for another year, shamelessly at the same price as last year."

I also found that a bit jarring. A 4-to-5 price ratio relative to latest model, which has much better processor, screen and weight ... it's hard to justify.

Perhaps it's because of the cheapest Mini price acting as some sort of backstop.

k-mcgrady 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think what Marco is missing is Mavericks. Sure developers have known about it for a while as have the tech press but to the average consumer Apple announced a brand new operating system version yesterday, released it the same day AND made it completely free. That's a pretty huge announcement. Especially when it was alongside lots of updated and now free software, new iPad's and new Mac's.
sarreph 1 day ago 0 replies      
Regarding Marco's footnote #1, I'm not entirely sure if I agree. At WWDC, I thought the 'Designed by Apple in California' [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGXFGjponC0] video added an air of magic (excuse the metaphor) to the whole charade. Considering these events go on for quite a while, surely a bit of overly-produced footage can't go down too badly?

I'm glad that this was only a minor point, and that the main issue, that the speakers currently seem to lack vivacity (exception of Federighi), was highlighted as a major issue.

staunch 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you slow a car crash down to 1/1000th speed it may at first just look like the car's steering is a little "off".
Jormundir 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is the whole tech industry...

I realized a few months ago hacker news has become boring. I don't really care much for the incremental updates, which is the entire hardware industry. Even the internet has become pretty boring.

We're all excited for the promises of the future, and as usual they're taking a lot longer than we want them to.

frankcaron 1 day ago 0 replies      
Couldn't agree more. Not launching the game controller or talking up some big new release, like Oceanhorn, whilst teasing the Apple TV gaming could have really put a dent in the somewhat-weak line-ups of gaming systems that are going big this holiday.

What a waste, Apple.

edwintorok 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a situation where changing the original title would've been useful, and you don't even have to come up with your own title, just use the original article's first line:

Something felt a bit off about this weeks Apple event. [Was: Off] (marco.org)

gtirloni 1 day ago 0 replies      
What comes next? We are seeing the same trend with smartphones where each new device is more powerful then the one before. At some point they will pack so much CPU, memory, storage and gadgets (bluetooth, wifi, sensors of all kinds, etc) that it will be unlikely our apps will need more powerful devices. The industry will move to something else (which I have absolutely no idea what's going to be) and the smartphones makers will be the PC makers of the future.
uptown 1 day ago 0 replies      
fusiongyro 1 day ago 0 replies      
Or maybe it's that they were over-excited at the previous presentation and showed a bunch of stuff too early. The previous one was overloaded with stuff. This one was a little light.
Aloha 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think there is something else coming still yet, maybe Q1 2014, maybe it was supposed to be ready now, but wasnt.
brador 1 day ago 0 replies      
The speech slips really stood out for me at this event, kinda like they all had a quick beer before the show started.
dorong 1 day ago 0 replies      
Apple has a very nice product line. No one can deny that. That said, after looking for a new machine for my wife and checking out the Apple lineup, I went with a Dell. For full disclosure I work for Dell Software, but this was a home computer for my wife and I wanted something that would make her happy. You pay a LARGE premium for the name. You get much more hardware for the buck with Dell. You may like the OS better on the Mac side, but honestly - is the Mac OS more stable than Windows 7? In my experience no. Is it easier to use? [hint - try to uninstall a program], in my experience no. Windows, while not as trendy, is a good workhorse that does its job well. My wife needed to do video editing, web surfing and word processing. I got her an 4th gen Intel i7 with 12GB of RAM and a larger display than the iMac for a much better price. If you honestly separate the hype from reality, you'll realize you're paying a significant 'Apple tax'. Of course, if you need to use XCode to develop for iOS or some other reason where only a Mac will do, by all means, buy one. it is great. But if you want to have value for your money and don't use Xcode, I think there is nothing wrong with using a powerful PC.
izietto 1 day ago 0 replies      
Steve Jobs is dead. Nothing will come him back to life.
zeroecco 1 day ago 0 replies      
it is happening again. Apple (aka macintosh) is trying to squeeze blood from a rock. Three rocks actually. They didn't learn the first time. Innovation has died yet again at Apple. This time though they have an cash cow (iTunes) on hand to keep them going while they pump out junk for the next x decades. Microshaft 2.0 has hit the shelves.
zallo-zallon 1 day ago 0 replies      
These are the consequences of tying your company's brand up in the RDF of a Dear Leader. No matter what Apple does, they're going to be criticized of missing an intangible quality of innovation or genius, because Apple's visionary is dead.

Tim Cook's number one priority should be untangling the Jobs cult of personality and Apple Inc. And I definitely don't envy him.

robomartin 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of the biggest things Apple will have to manage going forward is the issue of backwards compatibility. The Windows ecosystem has had to deal with this for a long time. Windows XP was released twelve years ago and the installed base is huge. For the most part you can still use any current Windows software with XP and anything in between.

Apple is somewhat famous for summarily killing off whole product lines in the interest of technological innovation. I get it. No issues there.

However, as their installed base expands it will be increasingly hard for the average person to stomach the idea of their expensive computers or iOS devices becoming obsolete. Not everyone lives on the bleeding edge. In fact, most people don't.

It'll be interesting to watch what happens. It sure feels like the rate of innovation might have slowed down a bit. Thinner and lighter only go so far.

There are a few surprising things here and there. For example, I can't understand why Apple didn't acquire Bump [0] and and tightly integrate that capability both iOS and OSX. Google grabbed them instead. We'll see what happens.

InclinedPlane 1 day ago 0 replies      
We're in sort of a weird place with mobile computing. We're in the part of the technology/market growth curve where it's easy, for some, to make a killing with comparatively little effort and innovation. The iPad mini is a perfect example, it's mostly just iPad 2 guts with a smaller screen and battery, but they sold like crazy and made an even crazier amount of profit for Apple. And to some degree rightly so, they put a device in people's hands that they wanted.

Nevertheless, when the rewards for laziness are so high what incentive is there to take on risk? There are negative incentives, in fact, because any amount of effort or resources spent pursuing something risky will likely come at the cost of working on something safer. If the safe and lazy thing is sure to bring in billions in profit then even if the risky things succeeds it might end up being a short-term loss due to opportunity cost.

It's obvious that things like the iPad are the harbingers of the future. But at the same time it's just as obvious that the iPad does not represent anywhere near the final evolution along those lines. It's clear to me that consumer OSes will increasingly be like modern mobile OSes, with managed apps, streamlined UI, and even more streamlined administration. But the idea of there being such a gulf between a desktop with a keyboard and mouse on the one hand and a touch-only tablet on the other is mostly an accident of history. As well, the idea, from Windows 8, that there should be a single UI model that spans both portable (touch only) and stationary (keyboard and mouse) realms is ridiculous.

There should be a lot more innovation, a lot more development, and a lot more trial and error out in the market today. But until the market dynamics change we'll likely be stuck with a lot of lazy designs for a while.

MikeTLive 1 day ago 0 replies      
when they announced iPad-Air I squealed. then i saw it is still not a clamshell Air with dual touch screens.come on guys.
untilHellbanned 1 day ago 0 replies      
apple fanboy blogging is "off" too, probably needs to retire
New banner ads push actual Google results to bottom 12% of the screen arstechnica.com
256 points by llambda  1 day ago   132 comments top 39
anon1385 1 day ago 6 replies      
Page and Brin themselves once pointed out the problems of accepting ads or paid placement, with some rather ironic examples:

Furthermore, advertising income often provides an incentive to provide poor quality search results. For example, we noticed a major search engine would not return a large airline's homepage when the airline's name was given as a query. It so happened that the airline had placed an expensive ad, linked to the query that was its name. A better search engine would not have required this ad, and possibly resulted in the loss of the revenue from the airline to the search engine. In general, it could be argued from the consumer point of view that the better the search engine is, the fewer advertisements will be needed for the consumer to find what they want. This of course erodes the advertising supported business model of the existing search engines. However, there will always be money from advertisers who want a customer to switch products, or have something that is genuinely new. But we believe the issue of advertising causes enough mixed incentives that it is crucial to have a competitive search engine that is transparent and in the academic realm.


The main difference seems to be that today even getting the top organic search result doesn't provide enough clicks for advertisers, so they feel obliged to purchase ads for their own brand names even when they already rank first. If people searching for Southwest Airlines on Google aren't ending up on the Southwest Airlines website without a huge great banner ad (despite it being ranked at the top of the results) then something is going badly wrong on the Google search results page.

aresant 1 day ago 1 reply      
There was an interesting earlier this year from EBAY showing that there was ZERO value to buying their own brand keywords from Google (when their organic keywords ranked high).

In fact spending money on their own brand keywords generated signifigant negative ROI (1).

So my guess is that this strategy from Google is designed to provide brands with a first step to generating actual value from Google search results.

I can see brands making these out-sized spends when able to provide their customers w/additional value like interactivity within the goog results, etc.

(1) http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/03/did-ebay-just-prove-that-paid/

spankalee 1 day ago 9 replies      
Disclaimer: I'm a Googler

I think this is a pretty disingenuous analysis of what's going on. It's obvious from the comparison to the [Virgin America] search that this is a bigger change that just adding a "banner ad".

Notice that for [Virgin America] there are _two_ spots that bring you to virginamerical.com, the ad and the first organic result. This is redundant, wastes space, and probably is confusing to some users. I don't know why a company buys ads for navigational queries where it's already the top result, but they do, and I'd argue it's bad for users.

On the [Southwest Airlines] query you can see that there's no redundant ad anymore - the navigational ad and the first organic result are combined. Calling that whole box and ad, when it contains the same content that the former top organic result used to, is misleading, but makes for a much more sensational headline when you want to claim that most of the screen is ads.

I'm not sure about the experiment, that's not my area, but my guess that this is part of an attempt to not have this ad+organic confusion for navigational queries by allowing the owner of the first result of a nav query to merge the ad with the result into a professional and official looking box. Maybe that'll work, maybe not, which is most likely why it's an experiment.

spindritf 1 day ago 10 replies      
Someone searching for Southwest Airlines is probably looking for... Southwest Airlines. So the very first result is a useful one. With sections of the official website conveniently linked and a pretty picture on top.

This sounds to me like a complete non-issue. If you don't like ads, install AdBlock. Of course if you need clicks for your website, carry on.

radley 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think they're doing banner ads. I bet this is the beginning of Google "pages".
ColinWright 1 day ago 1 reply      
This seems largely the same as the item submitted just 3 hours ago, still on the front page, and discussed at considerable length:


Same story (but no real discussion) was submitted here:


Call me cynical, but I suspect it will still be upvoted and discussed here because any comments on that earlier discussion will get lost in the noise of the close to 200 comments already there.

Theodores 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you look at this from a retailer perspective this completely makes sense. Important boss man at 'Acme Widgets' wants to type 'Acme Widgets' into Google and see something impressive, with some control over it. He can now pay for the advert with Google rather than pay a bunch of SEO clowns and 'web designers' that typically go over-clever with the homepage design rendering the top search results useless.

Important boss man also wants to get good results for 'acme blue widgets', 'tough widgets Alabama', 'naughty widgets' and whatever but only really cares about those secondary searches when someone else has told him to care about it. It is the main company name, in the search box that matters.

I think this is going to work well for all concerned and I don't share the cynicism most people seem to have about this.

eliben 1 day ago 2 replies      
What are "actual results" for Southwest though? To me it seems like links to check-in, flight status, schedules and customer services is exactly what I'd want to see there. Is the image what you find distracting? But doesn't this give you immediate indication that you got into the right place?
aegiso 1 day ago 1 reply      
Whoa, I just had a flash forward to 2030.

First, probe the outrage machine for banners for particular brands. Then for a huge price tag, add lightweight widgets to the SERP for brands so searchers can e.g. buy tickets from the Google Search page. This is hailed by the brands as increasing sales dramatically. Demand for this feature grows.

Once significant numbers are using the SERP widgets, make the banners/widgets part of general non-brand search. Natural next step. A little bit of outrage, but at this point it just gets muffled by the masses. Life goes on.

All of these brands are getting increasingly dependent on Google's SERP widgets, which give Google huge leverage power. One deal leads to another and before you know it Google starts buying up airlnes to streamline everything.

So in 2030 we're flying Google Air using a Google phone to buy tickets to the Google Movies, to see a film made by a studio wholly owned by Google.

I'm not even saying this is a Bad Thing (tm). Just that if I were heading Google this would totally be my game plan.

muraiki 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's the best "malicious" reasoning behind this that I could come up with. Consider the following list of _hypothetical_ statements (as I have no research to back it up):

1. Users tend to ignore the small ads on the right (anecdote: I do)

2. Users do notice and click on search results beneath the top query, even when they originally intended to arrive at their exact branded query

3. Search results beneath the top result are for competitors

Solution: Put in huge "ad" to draw attention and also to knock competitors listings to the very bottom of the screen or off the fold completely

If 1-3 hold true, then I could see it making sense competitively to shove those other results down the page.

Edit: aresant pointed out a good article that could explain the intent. Yay! Also, it wasn't my intent to hate on Google, just a thought experiment.

shuw 1 day ago 0 replies      
The example they use is navigational query for "Southwest Airlines". As far as I'm concerned, the deep links to South West airlines' site such as "Flight Schedules" are actual search results.

Ignoring that, it's unfair to use one example and say that search results are 12%. Is it 12% average, 12% median, or 12% for navigational queries only?

scott_karana 1 day ago 0 replies      
As far as I'm concerned, the "News" results shown on the bottom 12% aren't quite search results either, though still useful. Everything is below the fold. :(
toddmorey 1 day ago 0 replies      
So SWA is a pretty specific example, but what about Apple? What about when you are searching for, well, information about apples? And can SWA ever own the term "Southwest"? When you think it out, it's not as cut and dry as it first seems.
wahsd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, at least there are 6,352,596,267 results I can sift through. The last search I did, I found my solution in result 4,936,392
Mikeb85 1 day ago 1 reply      
What did he expect when searching for Southwest Airlines? He got their website and links to flights.

I just did a few searches for educational topics, got no ads. ... I would say there isn't a problem...

LeafyGreenbriar 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was worried when I saw this headline, and then very relieved when I saw what was actually going on.

So long as Google only returns these sponsored ads for searches for the company name, I don't see this as being a problem at all, given the fact that many users are using the address bar integrated search in place of bookmarking or typing URLs.

Where this would become a problem is if they start expanding this to searches beyond simply the company name, and I think there is a bit of a gray area there. As someone else pointed out in this thread, showing the Southwest banner in response to a search for "cheap airfare" pretty unambiguously crosses a line, but what abut something like "book southwest airlines flights." One could argue that the user was attempting to get to the southwest airlines website to book a flight, so showing the Southwest banner would be appropriate, however, companies like Expedia, Kayak, and so on, whose links would now be much further down the page, would likely disagree.

indiefan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sad that the user is being lost in these discussions. I get that people are worried about a slippery slope and boundaries, but this is clearly a better user experience for someone who searched for Southwest Airlines. Put yourself in the position of a human being who just performed a search for Southwest Airlines, would you honestly be angry with that result? No, of course not.

It's ironic that every time one of these "omg, google is pushing organic search results off the page" posts comes up, it's the general public who's obsessed with dollars, whereas Google seems to be concerned for the user. Google makes a ton of money off of advertising because they know how to provide useful user experience. Which isn't surprising really, they have a lot more vested interest in making sure they provide such an experience than arstechnica do.

Sure they want to find ways to align their incentives with the user's incentives, but come on people: think of the people they saved clicking through to www.cheapair.com and www.insanelycheapflights.com

bsimpson 1 day ago 0 replies      
FWIW, I have a Chromebook Pixel and the large Sponsored brand box pushes the search results entirely below the fold on my screen.
dotcoma 1 day ago 0 replies      
They look like Altavista in 2002. Glad I switched to DuckDuckGo three months ago. Adios, Google!
SCdF 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is such a non-issue. They searched for an actual brand name, and they got branded results. If I searched for "how do airplanes work?" and got a massive Southwest Airlines banner this would be something to complain about. Currently though, this is just link bait.
ktr100 1 day ago 1 reply      
goolge quote:

There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or web search results pages. There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever.


chintan 1 day ago 0 replies      

Speaking of "high quality ads": The second Cheap-O-Air Ad is for flights to Southwest not on Southwest Airlines - Deceptive IMHO.

mildtrepidation 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been criticized more than once by designers for making references to content being "below the fold." Of course there's no actual fold, and yes, it's an old term from the newspaper world. However, it's very clearly still relevant, even if it's not as easily definable: The harder you make it for people to find your content, the less likely they are to view it or continue parsing your message, regardless of what it is.
stingrae 1 day ago 0 replies      
This doesn't seem to be a very fair comparison. You cant compare a search for "maps" with a search for an actual company in this case "Southwest Airlines." I would expect that a search for a company even earlier in googles history would have been links mainly to southwest owned pages.
dm8 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most users don't even care about going to second page of search. With knowledge graph, Google gives you precise answer right away and takes full screen on mobile (nearly half of the screen on desktop). I think Google is optimizing for users rather than SEO/Websites.

As a someone who works in advertising, even I dislike banner ads. They are obtrusive, annoying and take away the attention. Google should go back to adwords and make them better rather than anything else.

dragonwriter 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's misleading, because they are counting the whole result box that is labelled "Sponsored", but of that box, everything but the actual graphic banner at the top of the box is exactly the organic search result which is the top hit for the search (including the subordinate links) served to users that aren't getting the new experimental ads. So, everything but the graphic (not everything but the sponsored box) is "actual Google results".
Eye_of_Mordor 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think you're misunderstanding - Google knows everything about you and only supplies your search result. The second result is something your really don't want and everything else is there to make you think there are other alternatives to what you really wanted, which was the first result.
andr3w321 1 day ago 0 replies      
Meh, in an ideal world google search results would only result in one search result: the one I am looking for. This seems to go along with what's happening when someone searches "southwest airlines"
elwell 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm sure this makes DuckDuckGo happy.
acheron 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like the image of results from 2005. I had totally forgotten about "Froogle".
andrewhillman 1 day ago 0 replies      
I never understood why big companies waste money for keyword campaigns for their own brand, especially since they are going to show up first anyways. These banner ads provide branding opportunities so I understand this move.
NicoJuicy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd seriously consider using the Bing search engine more with my chrome browser just to get in their statistics..

This ain't a big deal actually, it's a test to get more from their Adwords when people really search for the companies. But behold the future :( (investors, stocks, it will never be enough).

tn13 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am not sure why this is a bad thing as such. Google does not owe us to give the search results. Google owes advertisers a good return for their money and they will optimize it in whatever way they can. At least they are not being like Ask or Conduit.
charlesism 1 day ago 0 replies      
"There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage ... Ever."

Eight years passed...

"There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage ... ever, excepting one large ad at the top of the page."

After that it did not seem strange when the pigs who were supervising the work of the farm all carried whips in their trotters.

elango 1 day ago 0 replies      
For the past few weeks i have started to click on the paid ads and unable to differentiate them in my Mac. Also Google now makes you pay for your content to appear on top as (low quality content)paid ads occupy your position
pearjuice 1 day ago 0 replies      
Easily circumvented by using proper browser plugins.
kozhevnikov 1 day ago 0 replies      
mindcrime 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow, that's absolute shit. Horrible, horrible, brain-dead move by Google. It won't happen overnight, but this will inevitably wind up pushing people to seek out a better search engine (read: one that doesn't display huge honkin' banner ads like this) and sooner or later, somebody will come along and offer equal (or better!) search results, nix the banner ad, and eat Google's lunch.

Google are so big and powerful that it's easy and tempting to think of them as invulnerable and immortal, but remember... people have thought that about many companies in the past, more than a few of whom are no longer with us.

Edit: OK, IF this really is only for brand names and doesn't show up for more general searches ("cheap airline tickets", etc.) then maybe it won't be received so badly. That said, I still believe that, in general, "big honkin' banner ads" are NOT going to be well received on Google search result pages. I guess time will tell.

ChrisNorstrom 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am convinced they have monkeys for designers. WHY on earth would you allow "About 30,2000,000 results (0.25 seconds)" to take up space?! Are these guys insane? That's the most useless information on the page, and it's pushing the ads and search results further down.
So You'd Like to Make a Map using Python sensitivecities.com
251 points by urschrei  2 days ago   40 comments top 12
Demiurge 2 days ago 3 replies      
Cool article, explains how you can do anything using Python, although doesn't mention Mapnik. However, for most people, these days I would recommend to try TileMill (https://www.mapbox.com/tilemill/) to make a map. The CartoCSS can let you style anything based on attributes and it also lets you add and style raster data.
polskibus 2 days ago 4 replies      
My biggest problem with maps these days is the data license for commercial use. I dont need very detailed map, usually administrative level 2, but it's hard to find accurate sources that dont make you pay thousands of dollars per small userbase. We create our own app and distribute it, therefore cannot exactly estimate our userbase. Does anybody know of a decent source with good, fairly detailed world maps and liberal license ? Doesn't have to be free.
jofer 2 days ago 1 reply      
Surprised to see that they're using basemap instead of cartopy. There's nothing wrong with using basemap, but it can be a bit clunky, i.m.o.

Then again, cartopy is only a year or two old, so it doesn't have the traction that basemap does. It's gained a fairly large following very quickly, though.

pacofvf 2 days ago 0 replies      
In our company we use python to make maps, but we go with the traditional GIS approach, dependencies?: postgis and mapnik.The first two examples would be solved by a single postgis query, the last one maybe would require some extra work. But nice work anyway, bookmarked.
jaegerpicker 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool, article. I've always loved maps and mapping and python is my preferred language. The only thing I would mention is that it would be nice to have a pic of the results earlier in the article, that's just from the "let's look at this article, seems cool but what exactly is he teaching me" angle. I'm more likely to try the code if I can see the results up front. Otherwise it was a really cool example.
spiritplumber 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://www.robots-everywhere.com/re_wiki/index.php?title=Geh... I wrote a sort of google earth API wrapper thing in python if anyone wants it. Windows only though.
gjreda 1 day ago 1 reply      
There's also Vincent[1], which has some mapping capabilities and is built on top of Vega (a "visualization grammar" for d3js).

[1]: https://github.com/wrobstory/vincent

dannypgh 2 days ago 4 replies      
Cartography? Hasn't everything already sort of been discovered, though by, like, Magellan and Corts?
pagekicker 2 days ago 3 replies      
What are blue plaques?
cwal37 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very interesting, it had never occurred to me that there were probably python libraries for mapping. My ArcMap license expires in less than two weeks, perhaps I will give this a shot before I re-up.
zmjones 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is exactly why I prefer R for static maps. Would have taken like a quarter of the time, if that.
namelezz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cool! I have been looking for an article like this. Thank you for sharing.
The best patent troll-killing bill yet eff.org
248 points by beauzero  2 days ago   31 comments top 6
davidw 2 days ago 5 replies      
Oh, cool - DeFazio (one of the sponsors) is my representative. I guess that saves me from having to call him. Anyone know if they tally calls for people calling to say thanks or good job or whatever?
larrik 2 days ago 1 reply      
I still think the idea that customers of an infringing product can be liable is completely bonkers.
ColinWright 2 days ago 0 replies      
shmerl 1 day ago 0 replies      
By the way, what happened to another important bill to repeal the wicked DMCA 1201 (by Reps. Zoe Lofgren and others)?


snarfy 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm having a hard time pulling my jaw from the floor after reading Lamar Smith in the name of sponsors.
tallbrian 1 day ago 0 replies      
Regarding "fee shifting" if the loser can be made to pay the winner fees, couldn't that be an even scarier proposition for a troll target?
Microsoft reports record first-quarter revenue of $18.53 billion microsoft.com
232 points by coloneltcb  1 day ago   234 comments top 22
ChuckMcM 1 day ago 12 replies      
Nice boost in their search revenue, if your wondering why Google's CPCs are going down, that is why. Microsoft has gotten serious about exploiting their search engine tech and that is having an effect [1]. Unlike 'recuter' I don't think this is their "Blackberry Moment" :-)

Google is smearing the smartphone market, at the expense of Apple's cash engine, Microsoft is smearing the Search market at the expense of Google's cash engine and Linux is smearing the operating system market at the expense of Microsoft's cash engine. Seems like there is a lot of pressure to diversify.

[1] http://techcrunch.com/2013/10/24/pricing-engine-adwords-bing...

mrb 1 day ago 1 reply      
Note the keyword is "first-quarter". Usually for Microsoft the first quarter of the fiscal year is a little below other quarters. But this first quarter is still below what MS typically achieves the other 3 quarters of the year:

- 1st quarter of last year: $16.01 billion

- 2nd quarter of last year: $21.46 billion

- 3rd quarter of last year: $20.49 billion

- 4th quarter of last year: $19.90 billion

- 1st quarter of this year: $18.53 billion (the "record" one)

jusben1369 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is impressive. They blew through their numbers. They're showing that they can offset a slowdown in the core cash-cow via other product lines. Search revenue increase was particularly impressive.
paul_f 1 day ago 2 replies      
For those of you who continue to predict the demise of MS, it might be worth mentioning that Microsoft has a quite broad range of products and they primarily sell to enterprise customers who are notoriously non-fickle.
netpenthe 1 day ago 0 replies      
For those people doubting the future of MSFT, here is my take:

MSFT is both a tech company and a utility.

It has growth potential (phones, surface, search, xbox) but it is also completely essential for global business (servers, AD, SQL Server, Exchange, Sharepoint).

In that sense it is a utility. If you took out all the MSFT software in the world everything basically stops. Your electricity probably doesn't work, you probably can't get on a train to get to work and if you manage to get to work you can't login to anything.

People say "but my company has BYOD!" that might be true, but MSFT is still the infrastructure it is running on. You can bring your AAPL car but you're still driving on an MSFT road.

Zigurd 1 day ago 0 replies      
If they want to translate the great performance some parts of Microsoft are having into a Google-like stock price they should break Microsoft up into business and consumer companies.

Critics of Microsoft are wrong to call it's enterprise business a dinosaur. There is no reason to think Microsoft won't continue to grow this business for decades to come.

But I would like to be able to own this as a pure play, not mixed up with XBOX. Let's call this company "Azure" and spin it off, like HP did with Agilent (which should have been called HP), and let the "devices and services" part screw around with reinventing itself.

us0r 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why are we comparing Microsoft to RIM?

RIM was a one trick pony. Microsoft has several billion dollar businesses.

300bps 1 day ago 10 replies      
I am a developer at an investment bank that passed the Level 1 Chartered Financial Analyst exam part of which explicitly tests you on your ability to read accounting statements. If you are a developer without similar training, please realize that you will probably sound as uninformed offering your commentary on this topic as would an equity analyst giving their opinion on pages of C code.
Theodores 1 day ago 1 reply      
Here us the Google Trends graph showing the decline in the search terms 'Microsoft' and 'Windows':


For comparison there is the trend for 'iphone' and 'android'.

Sure Microsoft are doing loads of exciting things but people aren't typing 'Microsoft' or 'Windows' into the search engine box of Google as much as they used to. Make of that what you will.

dschiptsov 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well, junk^Wfast-food chains also growing, so what? What is popular ins't even good in the most cases. Just a Bandwagon + Peer effects as it is in case of Java.

And, of course, defacto server-side OS is Linux. So-called Desktop will be theirs for a long long time, but not because the OS is of any good - it is meaningless a bloatware, but because of word.exe and excel.exe which it seems to be here forever.

As for their services, well, forcing sheeple to use IE and Bing by re-writing their browser's settings doesn't account for even for popularity. IE is crap compared to Chrome, and even some sheeple could see that, but most of them just doesn't know any better, so they got stuck with IE and Bing.

And to appreciate the absurdity, just look what is happening with all those Java apps, which are supposed to run everywhere, with each new release of Windows, which are supposed to be 100% backward-compatible.)

umeshunni 1 day ago 2 replies      
$400M in Surface revenues. At even a generous $400 unit price, that's only 1M sold this quarter. Probably closer to 700K if you consider some of them being Surface 2 priced up to $900.
epa 1 day ago 2 replies      
Don't forget these are un-audited and don't really give us much information other than what they want to show us.
aabalkan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Stock price just hit after hours $35.63 (up 5%), good news for Microsoft employees indeed.
spoiledtechie 1 day ago 0 replies      
In other news, they still only pay 5% taxes due to offshore accounts.
skc 1 day ago 0 replies      
The overwhelming need to poo poo these results in here is pretty disgusting though expected I suppose.

I'm interested in following those Surface numbers over the course of the next year. If they can get that revenue up to about a billion, they will have done very well. And I think they can do it.

eddiegroves 1 day ago 0 replies      
The enterprise and business division is turning into a juggernaut at Microsoft that shows no sign of slowing down. Unlike the Windows team, they have a clear focus and vision guiding them.
rch 1 day ago 0 replies      
I switched my default search in chrome to bing when the new tab page changed. I've since fixed the tab page, but left the search provider alone for now to see what differences I notice over time. So far, it's OK, but fails to give me my geek-centered results for generically named things like orange and amber.
devx 1 day ago 2 replies      
Windows revenue is (finally) down. I say finally only because many people wouldn't believe this would happen, even a few quarters ago. That could be quite a problem for Microsoft over the next few years. Right now they are offsetting that with enterprise deals, but do they really think that's safe for them? RIM did, too.
JPKab 1 day ago 4 replies      
They will continue to milk the enterprise cow, but eventually even they will dry up.
gesman 1 day ago 0 replies      
MSFT's todo list to boost revenues:

1. Accelerate Ballmer booting out process. Why's he still there?

2. Boost Cloud.

3. Boost enterprise services and everythings.

4. Stop wasting resources on stupid consumer widgets department.

recuter 1 day ago 3 replies      
Headlines from Dec 18th, 2009: "BlackBerry shipments break record in Q3, RIM profits jump 59 percent".

Also known as the Wile E. Coyote Syndrome.

EFF Has Lavabits Back in Contempt of Court Appeal eff.org
231 points by DiabloD3  1 day ago   60 comments top 7
csense 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's interesting that the two strongest practical arguments EFF is making (based on how people will react to an adverse decision) are also the two that probably the least persuasive from a legal standpoint (based on laws and court precedents).

I'm talking about service providers moving their operations to more privacy-friendly jurisdictions, and improving protocols with e.g. perfect forward secrecy to make this sort of attack impractical.

So everyone suffers under an adverse decision in this case:

The US economy suffers because businesses seriously concerned about privacy choose to locate elsewhere

Law enforcement suffers because those businesses are no longer reachable when they have a legitimate reason to obtain the communications of spies, terrorists, or plain old criminals, and get a narrow warrant that properly protects the privacy of innocent bystanders.

Individual liberty suffers because a precedent will make it easier for people who don't care about privacy and use domestic providers subject to these overbroad warrants to be caught up in a surveillance dragnet

That being said, Congress, not the courts, is the proper venue to address those practical arguments. Will anyone care outside of technophile bubbles like HN? Unfortunately, I think we all know the answer.

einhverfr 1 day ago 2 replies      
Bravo, EFF.

Seriously, that is one heck of a broad warrant, namely the private key used to decrypt all business records of all customers.

thex86 1 day ago 1 reply      
So, how does one fight a contempt of court? Is it even possible?

(PS: Great job EFF!)

chris_mahan 1 day ago 3 replies      
And there is still doubt we live in a police state?
doug1001 1 day ago 1 reply      
nice one, EFF--you guys are bad ass. EFF has of course also for the past decade, been a relentless warrior against Patent Trolls. i don't know, but i would be willing to bet, that the new troll-killing bill is in part due to their efforts as well.
alttag 1 day ago 0 replies      
Glad the EFF is joining.

For background, Lavabit filed their appeal a few weeks ago [0]. Ars covered it [1], and it was discussed here on HN [2] as well.

0: [pdf] http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/gov.us...

1: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/10/lavabits-appeal-w...

2: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6531814

theinterjection 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Why did Levison have access to their users mails in the first place? Didn't they claim that only you can see your emails? Isn't that the reason you can't reset your password?
Seagate just reinvented the disk interface using Ethernet speakingofclouds.com
227 points by slyall  1 day ago   110 comments top 28
notacoward 1 day ago 0 replies      
tl;dr it's not nearly as cool as it could have been. I already posted a more detailed explanation here:


I tried to post a comment on the NSOP (Not So...), but first I got "HTTP internal error" and then I got "duplicate comment" but it still hasn't shown up, so I'll post it here.

"The private bit is important; although various techniques have been created for shared (multi-master) access to the interconnect, all were relatively expensive, and none are supported by the consumer-grade drives which are often used for scale-out storage systems."

I was working on multi-master storage systems using parallel SCSI in 1994. Nowadays you can get an FC or SAS disk array for barely more than a JBOD enclosure. Shared storage is neither new nor expensive. It's not common at the single-disk layer, but it's not clear why that should matter.

The idea of network disks with an object interface isn't all that new either. NASD (http://www.pdl.cmu.edu/PDL-FTP/NASD/Talks/Seagate-Dec-14-99....) did it back in '99, and IMO did it better (see http://pl.atyp.us/2013-10-comedic-open-storage.html for the longer explanation.

"Dont fall into the trap of thinking that this means well see thousand upon thousands of individual smart disks on the data center LANs. Thats not the goal."

...and yet that's exactly what some of the "use cases" in the Kinetics wiki show. Is it your statement that's incorrect, or the marketing materials Seagate put up in lieu of technical information?

"they dont have to use one kind of (severely constrained) technology for one kind of traffic (disk data) and a completely different kind of technology for their internal HA traffic."

How does Kinetic do anything to help with HA? Array vendors are not particularly constrained by the interconnects they're using now. In the "big honking" market, Ethernet is markedly inferior to the interconnects they're already using internally, and doesn't touch any of the other problems that constitute their value add - efficient RAID implementations, efficient bridging between internal and external interfaces (regardless of the protocol used), tiering, fault handling, etc. If they want to support a single-vendor object API instead of several open ones that already exist, then maybe they can do that more easily or efficiently with the same API on the inside. Otherwise it's just a big "meh" to them.

At the higher level, in distributed filesystems or object stores, having an object store at the disk level isn't going to make much difference either. Because the Kinetics semantics are so weak, they'll have to do for themselves most of what they do now, and performance isn't constrained by the back-end interface even when it's file based. Sure, they can connect multiple servers to a single Kinetics disk and fail over between them, but they can do the same with a cheap dual-controller SAS enclosure today. The reason they typically don't is not because of cost but because that's not how modern systems handle HA. The battle between shared-disk and shared-nothing is over. Shared-nothing won. Even with an object interface, going back to a shared-disk architecture is a mistake few would make.

noonespecial 1 day ago 2 replies      
I really like the "its just a server that takes a 4k key and stores and retrieves a 1M value" approach. I'm not so keen on the physical drive "repurposing" the standard pinout of existing hardware unless they are prepared to gracefully fall back to the old block device standard if it gets plugged into a "muggle" device.

This has real promise so long as it stays as radically open as they are claiming it will be. When I can grab an old scrub machine, put a minimal debian on it and apt-get seagate-drive-emulator and turn whatever junk drives I've got laying around into instant network storage (without buying magic seagate hardware), I'm sold (and then might think about buying said hardware).

oofabz 1 day ago 2 replies      
I hope it will support IPv6. The article mentions DHCP and has an example address of, but IPv4 seems like a poor choice for a new LAN protocol in 2013. Not everyone has IPv6 internet connectivity but we do all have IPv6 LAN.

Apple has been using IPv6 for local network services for years now, like file sharing and Time Capsule backups, and it works great.

mullr 1 day ago 1 reply      
The technical details:


The important, actual TLDR: "Kinetic Open Storage is a drive architecture in which the drive is a key/value server with Ethernet connectivity."

sneak 1 day ago 3 replies      
This seems like a reinvention of Coraid's ATAoE, which has the added benefit of already being in the mainline kernel, good server/target support (vblade), hardware products shipping now, a lack of IP/TCP overhead, and a dead-simple protocol.


WalterBright 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm waiting for stereo components that connect to each other via an Ethernet cable and a hub.

Imagine a CD player, turntable, receiver, preamp, etc., that all have only two connectors: power, and Ethernet. You wouldn't have problems anymore with running out of connections on the back of your receiver. That incredible rats nest of disparate wires and cables would be gone. No more RCA cables, coax cables, HDMI, optical cables, composite video, supervideo, component video, BNC, various adapters, etc.

No more fumbling around the back trying to figure out which socket to plug the RCA cables into, which is input, which is output, etc.

mrb 1 day ago 6 replies      
I wish SD cards would implement a key-value storage interface natively. It would instantly remove the need to implement a filesystem in many embedded systems eg. music players: all they need is access to keys (song filenames) and values (blob of ogg/mp3 data).
rurounijones 1 day ago 3 replies      
As a counterpoint: A slightly less gushing article with some good comments (yes, even on El Reg) http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/10/22/seagate_letting_apps...

Comments along the lines of "Backups? Snapshots? RAID? How they handling this then?"

anonymfus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can not stand to not post link to one old (2010-04-01) thedailywtf article about native key-value storage on HDD:


_wmd 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems like an odd invention given the industry is moving to storage technologies with sub-microsecond latencies, which is at least an order of magnitude better than 10ge is usually capable of. Still at least 'object store' style operations are much richer, so the need is avoided to make many round trips to the disk to resolve the location of a database record.

Hmm, which raises the question: how much RAM should a hard disk have? In a regular architecture, that database lookup could be meaningfully cached (and you could design and provision exactly to ensure your entire set is cached). Opaque K/V "disk" seems less appealing from this angle

justinsb 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think this is an incredibly interesting approach, and I hope Seagate open it up a little more. If we could run some computation on the drive, that could be incredibly powerful.

I can imagine that once these are SSD drives, paired with reasonably powerful (likely ARM) chips, that we'll have massively parallel storage architectures (GPU-like architectures for storage). We'll have massive aggregate CPU <-> disk bandwidth, while SSD + ARM should be very low power. We could do a raw search over all data in the time it takes to scan the flash on the local CPU, and only have to ship the relevant data over (slower) Ethernet for post-processing.

I'd love to get my hands on a dev-kit :-)

throwaway2048 1 day ago 0 replies      
this sounds like a hybrid of ataoe[1] and 9p[2], an interesting idea for a protocol



peterwwillis 1 day ago 1 reply      
"The Seagate Kinetic Open Storage platform eliminates the storage server tier of traditional data center architectures by enabling applications to speak directly to the storage device, thereby reducing expenses associated with the acquisition, deployment, and support of hyperscale storage infrastructures."

First of all: Hyperscale? I'm not a retarded non-technical manager or MBO, so I just stopped listening to your entire pitch. Second: You're still selling storage infrastructure, and I still have to support it. The expense just has a different name now.

"Companies can realize additional cost savings while maximizing storage density through reduced power and cooling costs, and receiving potentially dramatic savings in cloud data center build outs."

How does reducing my power and cooling costs maximize my storage density? Oh, by getting me to spend more money on your product instead of power and cooling. Nice try, buddy; give me the cost comparison or stfu.

Their whole pitch here is "throw away your key/value servers and use our key/value server instead". I wonder which will be more expensive: something I throw together with commodity PCs, or a SAN developed by Seagate.

vidarh 1 day ago 1 reply      
If this means 10gbps ethernet switches finally comes down in price, awesome...

Otherwise this will be hampered by the fact that the 6Gbps of SATA III is already too slow to take maximum advantage of many SSD devices (hence OCZ experiments with effectively extending PCIe over cables to the devices.

chetanahuja 16 hours ago 0 replies      
1) Hard drive industry was the main example cited in Innovator's Dilemma.

2) Various posts pooh-pooh'ing this development (including the current top post) here are committing the classic mistake described in that book made by incumbents which leads to disruption by new entrants to the market.

3) Seagate is doing something right. It doesn't guarantee that they'll win the next phase of the storage battle but they are doing something radically different which has a plausible marketing story appealing to a large base.

polskibus 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wonder about performance - will this new storage protocol be at least as performant as current standards (ATA, SCSI) ? We need better performing drives, didn't the datacenter sort of already took care of itself?
bluedino 1 day ago 1 reply      
It'd be very interesting if BackBlaze open-sourced at least part of their code. It may be optimized for archival purposes but they're sticking your data on multiple 180TB pods using an open-source stack.

JFS file system, and the only access we then allow to this totally self-contained storage building block is through HTTPS running custom Backblaze application layer logic in Apache Tomcat 5.5. After taking all this into account, the formatted (useable) space is 87 percent of the raw hard drive totals. One of the most important concepts here is that to store or retrieve data with a Backblaze Storage Pod, it is always through HTTPS. There is no iSCSI, no NFS, no SQL, no Fibre Channel.

perlpimp 1 day ago 1 reply      
Radical simplification and IMO this is great. Remains to be seen how this will fare in comparison with RAID. I'd wager that google would be very interested, if they already not doing something like that in their data centers.

Nerdy me likes idea of POE hub and bunch of drives doing their own thing.

Also pretty good time to start writing stuff to support this into Linux kernel and developing support apps.

my 2c

pstuart 1 day ago 0 replies      
An interesting upgrade to Google Protocol Buffers: http://kentonv.github.io/capnproto/
rythie 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't understand why this is branded as a Ethernet protocol when it's a IP protocol
signa11 1 day ago 0 replies      
huh :) coraid (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coraid,_Inc.) has been doing ata over ethernet for quite a long time now, how is this any better ?
pessimizer 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm really happy that this seems to be a Riak implementation: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/basho-and-seagate-partner-t...
chmike 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't think this can be seen as a possible replacement for PC disk because of it's high latency. Beside unless you are very rich Ethernet is only 1Gbit/s.

On the oher hand I see an opportunity as shared storage for mobile and ligthweight devices. Using a single and simple protocol, compared to NAS, could open a new technology domain and market. Of course it requires also a good integrated authentication and access control system because on Ethernet this data might be open to the world.

v0land 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm seriously skeptical of this protocol performance. Ethernet and TCP/IP induce a pretty heavy overhead. This overhead is totally acceptable in LAN/WAN networks, but in case of storage network you want to keep latencies as low as possible.
marcus_holmes 1 day ago 2 replies      
OK, so head 'sploding a little... this is basically a hardware implementation of a Redis/MongoDb key/value store yes?If so, wow... yes... the world needs more of this, I think.Wonder if you could get it to conform to AWS S3 interface too?
Already__Taken 1 day ago 1 reply      
Were going to have to have a low profile Ethernet connect then aren't we. If this takes over there's no way that plug can get put on our ever shrinking devices.
e12e 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hm, no power-over-ethernet in the design? I guess that really is a good thing. Maybe.
konstruktor 1 day ago 4 replies      
"ber alles" will be primarily associated with Hitler's anthem of the Third Reich by most native speakers of German who know some history. Not a good choice for a title.
Google breaks 2005 promise never to show banner ads on search results theguardian.com
226 points by saurabh  2 days ago   205 comments top 41
T-hawk 2 days ago 9 replies      
It's arguable that queries like [southwest airlines] are even a search. The vast majority of instances are probably URL-illiterate users merely trying to get to Southwest Airlines' web site. (And Google must know rather precisely just how many.) For these users, search is really operating as a natural-language alternative to DNS so such a clickable banner will help them get there.

More than just advertising, this represents an element of curation on such search terms, to get you to the place you're really looking for. It'll help avoid situations like when that one blog post appeared at the top for [facebook login] and suddenly bunches of users couldn't find Facebook.

Like any technological tool, it could be misused for evil, and so will require vigilance in the court of public opinion if not in actual courts.

(Disclaimer: I'm a potential Googler, currently in the interview pipeline, but these views are my own.)

jeffclark 2 days ago 7 replies      
In related news: I am no longer with my college girlfriend, despite the fact that 8 years ago I told her I would never leave her.
shortformblog 2 days ago 6 replies      
This isn't a banner ad. This is essentially a branded search. It's not like Google is targeting users with Flash-based crud here. To call it a banner ad is kind of silly.
sker 2 days ago 0 replies      
That promise was made when Schmidt was running things. We all know by now that Page is much more aggressive at monetizing existing products and killing off non-essential ones. We can expect more of these things in the future.
JohnTHaller 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you take the full quote, this isn't an open and shut case as it certainly isn't a 'banner ad' in terms of what everyone understood to be banner ads in 2005. The full quote is:

"There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or web search results pages. There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever."

That Southwest Airlines screenshot doesn't look like a banner ad as described by Marissa Mayer. It doesn't seem to be flashing or flying around or popping up.

And, arguably, Google has been doing things that flash and fly around with the Google Doodles on the homepage for years. And no one freaked out about that.

TomGullen 2 days ago 1 reply      
Corporate promises aren't worth a dime as history has shown repeatedly. In fact, corporations (especially large ones) can't ever be trusted for pretty much anything and anything they say or do you should always react sceptically by default. They just don't care, and this lack of caring is an inevitability for growing corporations.

Granted some might consider this to be a minor breach of a promise, some might not. The point still stands.

jakozaur 2 days ago 3 replies      
Over the years Google is way more aggressive with ads then it used to be.

For any query less and less percentage of first page is dedicate to organic example.

E.g. a silly example:https://www.google.com/search?q=trash+can25-30% organic, rest are the adds.

ChuckMcM 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is not wholly unexpected, after all their earnings have shown that CPC is down and while you can make that up in volume for a while, eventually you exhaust that path too.

And that then is what I think the real "problem" is. You reach a point where your biggest money maker, search advertising, by at least one and possibly two decimal orders of magnitude, is no longer growing. And all of the things you've ever done which were never as successful as search advertising are supposed to give you the growth that your stockholders are looking for. Interesting place to be for a company like Google I expect.

This is just another example of how that it process is coming along. It will be interesting to see what happens if it starts damaging their brand.

cromwellian 1 day ago 0 replies      
What a sensationalist headline. The guardian really seems to have learned the need to go sensationalist from the Snowden affair.

"Google breaks promise" followed by "Google is testing banner ads" in the first paragraph. So umm, "breaks" is the wrong verb, more like "thinking of breaking"

The reality is, Google runs hundreds, perhaps thousands of experiments all the time and only a few make it.

hughes 2 days ago 1 reply      
If that's a banner ad, it's the most relevant, pleasant, and appropriate banner ad I've ever seen. It's directly related to the search term and is not obnoxious in the least.

If all ads were such high quality I'd have no problems with this (but would still probably use adblock!).

ajiang 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are we putting that much significance from a quote in 2005 by a Google executive who has since left Google?

While some see it as a social utility, Google is a $350B public company that generates its revenues from advertisements. 8 years ago, the world of advertising (and the world in general), was a different place. Holding Google accountable for something so far in the past by someone who is no longer there is a seemingly unfair standard.

peterwwillis 1 day ago 3 replies      
I love how people continue to attach emotional investment to an arbitrary thing like a corporation. Apologists, fanboys, and people with a child-like innocence. Do you really expect a for-profit company will stick to a promise like it means something?

The entire point behind a capitalist corporation is to make more profit, year after year. That is the entire idea behind the stock market. To think that they'd evade eventually exploring every avenue available to avoid making more money is mad.

DjangoReinhardt 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not the first time, I must add.

When Orkut was all the rage, Google claimed that Orkut would never be merged with the Google core and would remain separate to Google.

The same seems tobe happening with YouTube. Sure, they still allow users to keep their YT & Google identities separate but IDK how long that will last.

Remember when they claimed their motto was 'Don't be evil'?

(NB: Before you come screaming at me for making vague accusations, please take that previous sentence with a pinch of '/s'. Thank you.)

nandhp 2 days ago 0 replies      
> Based on your search query, we think you are trying to find a specific brand. This box provides information about that brand. The brand owner is sponsoring this collection of content, some of which would appear even without this sponsorship. The brand owner is compensating Google and providing images and other content relevant to the brand.

This is replacing Southwest's search result. It's noteworthy to me that only "some" of this content would appear without sponsership. So not only are they showing "banner ads" in search results (that's a little bit of a stretch), but it's a bit like them allowing compensated reordering of search results.

How's Bing these days?

magicalist 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess they are relatively "classy", as other people have pointed out, but I still don't want them in my search results. Regardless, it's just a test, so discouraging them from moving forward with it is good, but "breaks 2005 promise" is dumb because they haven't actually done it. "Poised to break 2005 promise"? Still overly dramatic, but less wrong.

Also, I first saw this over on search engine land yesterday[1]. It's possible the Guardian author remembered that Marissa Mayer quote (and blog post) on their own, but it seems unlikely. It's pretty shitty to take a story and not even cite where you got the idea.

[1] http://searchengineland.com/google-testing-top-banner-ads-17...

wodow 2 days ago 3 replies      
Are there any example URLs?

https://www.google.com/search?q=SouthWest%20Airlines doesn't do it for me at the moment, from the UK.

canthonytucci 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just tried it.

I count:

1 Big ass ad3 "News" items5 genuine "Search Results" (with no heading or any way to know when the ads and nonsense stops. One of the 5 is a link to the Southwest Airlines Android App3 "In-Depth Articles" I don't know what this is, i guess long blog posts?

This honestly looks more to me like a domain squatting BS ad page that we hate on ISPs for than a research tool (which is what I used to think of google search as).

DanBC 2 days ago 0 replies      
> The company gained attention when it started in 1998 because its opening search page, and following results page, was uncluttered by adverts and other elements

Google isn't what it was, and Google wants many more users than they can get from keeping just the early adopters.

People use Google like a portal. This is just Google giving in.

jggonz 1 day ago 0 replies      
I used to dislike ads in general, until Google came along and made ads actually useful. There have been many times when I needed to search for reliable vendors in my area, and being able to perform a query for a product and receive an ad for a vendor that sells said product proved to be very useful and a huge time-saver. I no longer had to dig through search results, the ads were my search results. Same thing goes for the great set of Youtube video ads that have been improving lately: some of them actually are useful. Gmail ads are also very interesting. They sometimes inform me of new technologies, or other things that are related to what I'm reading in my inbox: that can be valuable. I really hope the trend continues with these banner ads. Being able to add a touch of graphic to an otherwise dull search result page can be useful if done right, and Google does seem to care about their ad business. Anyway, those are just my personal thoughts on the subject.
7952 2 days ago 0 replies      
At least banner ads are obviously adverts. It can be quite difficult to differentiate between ads and searches in certain situations (like tilted screens).
teaneedz 1 day ago 1 reply      
Most of what Google does (beta or released) these days is sending me to other options.

Thank you DuckDuckGo for taking a stand for users.

judk 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is basically the same as the new Product Search, where only paid ads are shows. (Google killed organic product search this year.)

But this version doesn't allow open pay-for-play access, only one preferred buyer is invited per search term.

lnanek2 1 day ago 0 replies      
The advertisement rows in GMail are really annoying too. I wish they would at least put an x button on the side so I can close them and do email in peace for a while.
yeukhon 2 days ago 0 replies      
If it is relevant to my search and the image gives better impression of the product, I am okay with that. Though people forget about their promises. But I am against having multiple banners. I am okay with say "search Amazon" and return amazon's latest banner on thanksgiving sale deal. Just one, a good one, reasonable size, and that's it.
cmtruong 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't really care as long as the ads are relevant and interesting. We all know what we signed-up for (I hope) when we joined Google, Facebook, Yahoo, etc...for "free."
angryasian 1 day ago 0 replies      
the reality is , is that in general people like pleasant associated images. Its only mirroring the way that Facebook has a cover photo on profiles and made a difference in the way that profiles are viewed. Why not extract money when a corporation is searched for and show a profile for them. Similar to facebook and searching for a user. I think it will become an issues when corporation decide they want to use the image, like a banner ad vs a nice associated image.
night815 2 days ago 3 replies      
The full quote is still true.

"There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or web search results pages. There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever." -Marissa Mayer

That "banner" is not a "crazy, flashy, graphical doodad". That is pretty much the company's logo.

anonmyous 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google (and possibly many human's) principle over time..

Don't be Evil (2005) >>

Don't be Evil over short period of time (2013) >>

Oh screw it, now we are Evil enough. Let us plunder the hell (2021).

Now they will show ads for the key word, South West Airlines. Next it will be a whole flashy ad when you search flight, then it will when you start to think about flying or your girlfriend sends an email about flying for someone's funeral. But these profits too will dwindle after a point. Then they will start selling your profiles, what you read, what you think.

For a corporation privacy and trust, or any other values are only as important as the profit it can bring. Its only a matter of time before you will erode your own values, when profits are what we are maximizing. This is all the more likely when you are ambitious.

And then you repent it, and the cycle is complete.

asdf001 2 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting how this submission went from being #1 20 minutes ago, to #5 15 minutes ago and now is sitting at #9, despite the fact that the number of upvotes increased.

Google workers mass flagging this submission? Don't be evil.

jasonlingx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Shouldn't the title be "Marissa Mayer breaks 2005 promise..."?
mknits 2 days ago 0 replies      
Their tagline should be changed to - "Be Evil".
coryfklein 2 days ago 0 replies      
Technically they haven't broken their promise yet - the ads are still in testing.
6thSigma 1 day ago 0 replies      
This doesn't really meet my definition of a banner ad.
wnevets 2 days ago 1 reply      
If I search for southwest airlines, is that image truly a banner ad?
samspenc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Marissa Mayer isn't with Google anymore, is she?
bolder88 1 day ago 0 replies      
Love how theguardian has a massive banner ad at the top of this article. God I hate the guardian.
linux_devil 1 day ago 0 replies      
How will they earn then? Most of their profits are from Ads.
AbraKdabra 1 day ago 0 replies      
This fits perfectly with the ad designer that Google released weeks ago.
danso 2 days ago 2 replies      
So how much of the reluctance to use banner ads can be attributed to Mayer, or, the subsequent reneging to her leaving? The screenshot follows kind of the same look of Google+'s banner (er Facebook's), so since + is supposed to be the new thing, and it has space for gaudy banners, why not throw it on search too?

Still, seems like a slightly regressive strategy...I thought the traditional Google Homepage was becoming less of a revenue driver compared to all the other way results are traffic driver?

aviraldg 2 days ago 1 reply      
These are 100% about the search query. Not related, but directly about the query. Not ads.
kailuowang 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's great that Google is under so much scrutiny due to its do no evil slogan. But making such a fuss about Google changing its UI to make more money is somewhat a bit off the target in my opinion. Google changing UX to make more money is going to be tested and corrected by the market. The real serious threat to the society for Google being evil is the possibility of Google using the massive amount of information it collects to manipulate the society at an enormous scale. Just imagine the possibility of Google start trading. It could be all based on the public information Google gathered but Google's ability to collect it is no match by any other entities (alright, maybe NSA)
CodeCombat in Y Combinator nickwinter.net
210 points by skotzko  2 days ago   80 comments top 23
sillysaurus2 2 days ago 7 replies      
Hi, gamedev here.

At one point on stage, you brought up the possibility of open sourcing your code, and Paul cautioned you that you may want to follow game industry conventions.

There are two reasons the game industry tends to keep their code closed-source. 1) It has been lucrative for game studios to sell licenses to their closed-source engine. Some game studios, such as Id Software, have made hundreds of millions of dollars (if not $1B) from licensing their engine. This is the main reason game studios tend to keep their source code closed. 2) There is strong institutional bias against releasing source code precisely because nobody else releases source code.

If you're not planning on licensing your engine, then I just wanted to reassure you that it's not a bad idea to go open source. You own codecombat.com, and hence you own the pipeline of users. Even if someone uses your code to launch their own version of CodeCombat, it's very unlikely that you'll suffer any problems for it. The only possibility is if your servers go down and theirs don't. But anyone who tries cloning your idea is going to suffer the wrath of the gaming community. E.g. see what happened to "War Z," a videogame that was blatantly ripping off the recent hit "Day Z." The War Z developers were basically tarred and feathered for it. Gamers may be fickle, but they are loud and they are loyal. I can't imagine them defecting to some competitor who steals your code.

Beyond code, there's art assets. You could release the code with a permissive license, and release art assets with a restrictive license. Nobody will be able to catch up to you if they have to develop all new art for their clone.

I wanted to speak up as a voice from inside the game industry: Don't follow industry conventions out of fear. Their conservatism wasn't derived from experience. Rather, it's because no studio wants to take any risks whatsoever.

Let's put it this way. If Notch (the creator of Minecraft) hesitated to follow his instincts, he would've tried to write Minecraft in C++ rather than Java. If, before Minecraft was written, he tried to convince any professional gamedev that using Java was a good idea for writing a multiplayer 3D game engine, everyone would've laughed in his face. And everyone would've been mistaken, as Notch wound up demonstrating. Java turned out to have many unexpected advantages new to the gamedev industry (e.g. the ability to deploy the game through a web browser and the ability to edit code without recompiling the engine).

So if you see an advantage in open sourcing your code, go ahead and do it. Don't second guess yourself just because it goes against conventional industry wisdom. The conventions are just groupthink, not pragmatism.

reneherse 2 days ago 1 reply      
Congrats to the CodeCombat team! Their recruitment-oriented business model reminded me of an 80's movie called The Last Starfighter [1]: A young guy living in the middle of nowhere masters a space fighter arcade game. He has no idea that it's actually a fighter pilot training and recruitment tool until one night, when he's picked up by a "headhunter" (in a spacebound DeLorean) to join the force defending the galaxy against alien invaders. Fun flick, with some decent early CGI.

The parallels, I think, really help demonstrate how the CC concept has the potential to change young people's lives.


iamshs 2 days ago 1 reply      
Congrats, it is a very nice initiative and a novel idea. I am trying to get back into coding, I do have experience with MATLAB programming (and also VB6 some 10 yrs back), but this website makes it so much easier. I would like to see some UI changes as you progress through your Y Combinator phase, the coding editor sometimes disappears for me, and I don't know how to get it back and have to restart the level and sometimes browser. I am sure the idea will be polished a whole mile now. Also, habit of using keyboard shortcuts sometimes prolongs the coding process. I used Ctrl+S too much, before refraining myself to not use any shortcuts.

I like your website and concept very much. Great idea, may you go places.

Edit: What languages will I be able to learn through this?

testing12341234 2 days ago 1 reply      
I gave the first level over to my wife (who is a non-programmer, and has no interest in programming, but loves RPGs). Unfortunately, it didn't work out too well. She was able to make it to the ogre, then then misspelled the attack command. At that point, her browser froze, then continued to give her a script error at "http://codecombat.com/javascripts/vendor.js:52612".

Which is too bad, because I'd love to show her that programming isn't as "hard" as she thinks it is.

iamkoby 2 days ago 1 reply      
I didn't get it when you where on stage, but seeing your website I have to give you thumbs up. It looks great, it's fun to play (even for me as experienced dev), and overall very promising. Congrats on YC!
mhamel 2 days ago 3 replies      
And every company after them in Office Hours walked just a little bit slower leaving the stage...
xarien 2 days ago 1 reply      
Love the concept, will definitely be interesting to see what you come up with to teach some more abstract lessons. Wish you all the luck.

Here's a small big from the couple minutes I spent playing with levels 1 / 2: While it does execute the code on the right perfectly even if it's not the expected optimal entry, the camera focus during a playback will lose sync with the "spells" if you add a few extra calls like moving left and right.

aymeric 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think games are a good way to teach the first principles in coding.

Last year as a pet project I ported Terrarium.Net to javascript (this is definitely not noob-friendly at the moment but it is open source :) )


The idea is to code the behaviour of a critter that can move / attack / eat and reproduce.

So a species that survives well can grow and invade a terrarium.

But the cool factor is the blue ball. It is actually a teleporter that sends critters randomly to someone else's terrarium, so your critter can invade other terrariums too :)

donpdonp 2 days ago 0 replies      
in-browser programming seems like a great way to get people interested in how code works.

here is an earlier site called RubyWarrior that works similarly.


aymeric 2 days ago 0 replies      
For graphics, you guys should look at the RPGMaker community. There are plenty of sprites ready to use that would match the universe you have chosen. I am trying to find an adaptation of the http://terrariumjs.wiselabs.net universe where I could use these sprites instead.
woud420 2 days ago 2 replies      
That is a pretty cool idea. Actually, my girlfriend has been wanting to learn how to code yet I haven't been able to find something to motivate her. Maybe her love of RPGs and this will get her down on that path.
atldev 2 days ago 1 reply      
So glad you posted this video. I didn't get to see your interview live and had been looking for it. Fantastic job! Imagine the pressure for the next team up :)
recursive 2 days ago 1 reply      
The backspace key didn't work for me in the email box in the signup form.
forktheif 2 days ago 1 reply      
I tried it out briefly, and it came across as extremely buggy and unintuitive.
asselinpaul 2 days ago 1 reply      
Was chatting with a someone from CodeCombat on olark.they had no idea it was on HN but the traffic was booming.

Ah startups...

neovive 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats to Nick and team. You guys are doing an amazing job and my son loves CodeCombat. Best of luck in YC.
ryanjodonnell 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is the same guy from skritter.com. Wonder what's happening to skritter?
gailees 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can help you guys match people who have gone theough the game with the right startups: facebook.com/davefontenot
mpr3 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is incredible. I have shown a few people, and they just keep playing and trying to fix their buggy "spells". Nice job guys!
pla3rhat3r 2 days ago 1 reply      
So happy for these guys! I let my kids play this and they love the game!
imron 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hey, it's the Skritter guys :-)

I knew I recognised the names from somewhere.

Best of luck with this new venture!

kgodey 2 days ago 1 reply      
Congrats Nick, Scott, and George! I can't wait to see where you guys go with this.
byosko 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is super cool. My kids are going to love this.
Why Putting SSH On Another Port is a Good Idea danielmiessler.com
206 points by danielrm26  12 hours ago   143 comments top 40
teddyh 1 hour ago 2 replies      
As I understand his argument, its Changing port number add security, therefore its a good idea. I think nobody argues that it adds security. The problem is that:

1. It adds very little security: 16 bits is not much, and the result is not 256 bits (say) of SSH key plus 16 bits equals 272 bits, but instead effectively still 256 bits, or 256+810 bits.

2. The security it adds is itself bad (sent in cleartext, easily brute-forced)

3. These problems stand against the many drawbacks of this previously discussed (complexity, confusion, etc.).

And the final argument: If increased security is what you want, simply increase your key lengths and/or password lengths, and you will get much more than 810 bits of security, without any of the above problems.

djcapelis 12 hours ago 4 replies      

  2. Next he talks about this non-root listener issue. He   claims that you shouldnt run your SSH daemon on a   non-privileged port because anyone can spin up a daemon   up there. Great point, except you can still do that even   if you run your main one on 22.
I don't think I understand this point at all. What is it that you're trying to say?

Are you sure you understood the original post's point?

  djc@capelis.dj:~$ nc -l -p 14  nc: bind to source :: 14 failed: Permission denied  nc: bind to source 14 failed: Permission denied  nc: failed to bind to any local addr/port  djc@capelis.dj:~$ nc -l -p 1414  ^C
See the difference?

(Edit: The original blog entry has now been edited to slightly clarify the wording. But the update mostly seems like an attempt to rapidly justify the author's original point.)

bcoates 8 hours ago 2 replies      
He's right that "security by obscurity" isn't the entire story -- it's more like a mnemonic device for the more complex idea that:

1. In the real world, security resources aren't free.

2. Security decisions are made by users.

3. Humans will engage in risk compensation [1]

4. Setting policy doesn't change people's brains, it just tells them what to do.

5. It doesn't matter what you intend, it matters what users actually do.

The upshot of this is that any security policy that is highly visible and highly inconvenient will reduce your security, and has to have a substantial benefit to justify its cost. You can say "I'll do stupid port reassignment tricks, and I'll also mandate that passwords are forbidden, and require that private keys be managed properly" but at three in the morning when the whatever is overdue and not working what you're gonna get is:

I'll just do password auth with root:root, nobody ever hits port 24601 anyway. Besides, look at this page [2], using a strange port makes me invisible like the Predator and makes me four thousand times more secure! I really want to believe this so I do.

Also, subverting scanners is an anti-security move, not a pro-security one. Scanners are a helpful tool to identify what the hell is running on your network. Your security efforts have to find every hole, the bad guys only have to find one. Don't put yourself at an even bigger disadvantage by making your systems harder to analyze.

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

[2] http://www.danielmiessler.com/blog/security-and-obscurity-do...

dotBen 11 hours ago 2 replies      
The reason he's right is most attacks on SSH are one-dimensional.

In most cases the dimension is IP range - an automated process moves from IP address to IP address examining port 22 for any common vulnerabilities. Rarely do these processes check all ports. Moving your SSH deamon to a different port prevents those automated processes from then hitting your security layer on whichever port you are running.

The other dimension of attack is when an attacker is focusing on your IP address specifically. Then he probably is going to nmap your IP and discover which port(s) SSH is running on. Changing the default port for SSH doesn't help here, but this use case is far less common.

Like others have said, changing port doesn't remove the need for security measures (cert-based/passwordless login, disable root, fail2ban) but it reduces any of those even being tested in the first place when most of your attempted attacks are IP-range based.

quesera 10 hours ago 3 replies      
In moving sshd to an alternate port, I've noticed two things: a greatly decreased amount of log noise from dictionary attacks, and a moderately increased amount of portscans.

It's reasonably clear to your average net malfeasant that any host running recognizable services is going to be running sshd.

So why not do both?

Put a dummy sshd on 22/tcp, deny all auth attempts, log whatever keeps you swimming in interesting data.

Then run real sshd elsewhere, possibly filtered, possibly port knocked, and hopefully permitting key-based auth only.

druiid 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
There's nothing inherently good or bad about running SSH on another port. Honestly this argument is a bit silly given how easy it is to port-scan and many scripts out there will do that before actually trying anything. Essentially all you're going to do is make things annoying for your users.

The really real good idea is running a VPN in front of all of your servers and never allowing SSH access to the outside world. I have two ports (at most) open on all of my servers: 80 and 443. OpenVPN takes less than an hour to setup. There's no reason not to set it up!

cldr 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Ouch, camouflage on a tank is a good analogy. Nice response post.

In addition to, as the author encourages, being "weary of the 'by obscurity'" argument (as I'm sure we all already are), I would also advocate being wary of it :)

programminggeek 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Here is something to think about, the author is right, but if you follow many ssh setup tutorials that say to move to say port 25000, you are less likely to be port scanned than the default, but still more likely than if you had used something totally random like say port 42 or 818. By me even writing this clever hackers will start scanning those ports too, just to be sure they are hitting everyone. That being said, any port is better than the standard one and picking an unused port instead of the standard ssh port will give a reasonable 80/20 benefit for a lot of people.
kenrose 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Actually, one thing I've found useful is keeping an sshd listening on port 443. I know, I know, sacrilege reusing the HTTPS port, right?

The benefit of this is that it can allow you to tunnel through an HTTP proxy (e.g., like in a corporate environment). Many HTTP proxies only allow traffic through to port 80 and port 443. The benefit of ssh on port 443 is that if the proxy is handed a CONNECT verb, it will transparently just transmit data between your client and the remote server, irrespective of what that content is. In fact, this behaviour is what makes HTTPS remain secure when going through an HTTP proxy.

You can use this to tunnel ssh through an HTTP proxy. Putty supports this out of the box, but if you're using openssh, you'll need corkscrew also.

You can always try to tunnel to an ssh server on port 22, but most proxies will hand you HTTP403 on any CONNECT request to a non-port 443.

More info at http://daniel.haxx.se/docs/sshproxy.html.

msimpson 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Let's start with a secure implementation for remote access:

1. SSH:

Port - 22

Protocol - 2

PermitRootLogin - no

StrictModes - yes

MaxAuthTries - 1

PasswordAuthentication - no

PermitEmptyPasswords - no

ChallengeResponseAuthentication - no

UsePAM - yes

2. PAM_ABL (auto-ban by account after three retires)

3. IPTables (auto-ban by IP after three retries)

So in the above implementation an attacker has three attempts, max. This means the logs are quiet, yet accurately depict intrusion attempts. This also stops brute force attempts in their tracks and requires no exemptions to normal workflow.

If, under the above circumstances, I were to obscure the port as well, this would serve no purpose than to completely side step script kiddie brute force attempts (as minimized as they would be in this configuration) with the horrific side effect of forcing my users to maintain (at the least) a config entry for the custom port assignment. Which, by the way, would become perpetually worse with the amount of servers and users in play.

This is why obscuring the port is such a bad idea.

And if you still want to obscure the port because the server, or network device, in question should only have occasional access by an extremely limited group of people, then just throw on a white list and possibly restrict access only through another server. Both provide more security than moving the port.

And moreover, this article isn't even about SSH. It's about the semantics surrounding the usage of the term "security through obscurity" in the previous article. Which is hilarious to me, as both articles are full of shit. For one, the security implications of non-privileged ports is moot as the attacker already has access. And two, being less likely of a target is still being a target. Those five people who found the port in the test sample. Those are the ones who win most likely to exploit; not the thousands of script kiddies brute forcing you.

Your time would be much better spent obscuring the actual version information for the service than the access point to it ...

(Reposted here, as the original site went down.)

sarnowski 11 hours ago 1 reply      
The "change-port" discussion for SSH is so boring :-/ OpenSSH is I guess the most secure daemon on all your servers. People should more think about to change the HTTP(S) ports of their non-public facing sites and other daemons and frameworks they use.
fletchowns 11 hours ago 2 replies      
How about: Why it doesn't matter what port you run SSH on

* Because anything but the IP address of your office or VPN connection should be blocked at the firewall level for that port

abalone 9 hours ago 1 reply      
He's overreacting a bit. Port knocking is not just an "obscurity layer". It's more akin to a PIN or weak password.

The condescending opening is a tip off ("people who almost understand the topic").

Oculus 12 hours ago 0 replies      
That was very fair response. Kudos for being able to attack the points, not the person.
BryanB55 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone use Dome9? (http://dome9.com) they close all of your ports and open them on demand via chrome extension or mobile app for when you want to use SSH.
gmuslera 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Standard or not standard port, you still should use port knocking in a way or another (or only enable it for the specific IPs that can access it ever). Internet don't even should be able to know that you have there a service that is only for you or for a very small amount of people.

If a remote vulnerability is discovered in the server (happened in the past, don't rule it out for the future), you will be attacked, and it won't be a brute force attack to be blocked by fail2ban or similar. You can be scanned in any time, put in a database as "having ssh version x running in y port" and get ready for future use.

And if well simple port knocking could be defeated inspecting your traffic, there are variants like fwknop that are resistant to that kind of interception or replaying.

Sami_Lehtinen 5 hours ago 0 replies      
One question, why people always say that disabling passwords is important. AFAIK, passwords with keys is better than keys only. Now if someone gets the keys they can access the service with those keys without the passwords. Disabling passwords just makes security in one way worse. Think about chip & pin, because you have your credit card, wouldn't it be smart to disable PIN completely? Of course key ring could be encrypted, but that still allows off-line attack against it. If password is queried on-line, you can limit password attempts which you can't do in off-line situation. - Thanks
mdmarra 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Better solution: require VPN connectivity and don't expose SSH on any port to the public Internet.

Running services on non-standard ports will make the next admin that takes over this server want to track you down and smother you in your sleep.

orenbarzilai 1 hour ago 0 replies      
while I agree with most of the things in this article, he states the obvious...

Don't understand how this article got to the main page and it's still here after more than 11 hours.

ewokhead 9 hours ago 2 replies      
a: $port != 22 is enough to thwart most bots and skiddies. If you think the port number is a guarantee that you are safe or that you are communicating with a blessed ssh you are sadly mistaken.

b: Uhh the port number means nothing. Host keys are there for a reason... Someone does not understand the functions of SSH. http://www.snailbook.com/ <- great book

c: If you are not investigating fingerprint issues when logging in via SSH and you call yourself a sysadmin, please stop. You are going to be the reason your company ends up in the news because your shit got owned and 2,000,000 user account hashes were leaked blah blah.

d: If you are not using key based auth and you have a fly by night keystore policy. Which means you have a keystore - stop. The whole keystore for SSH shit irritates me. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard sysadmins say a that a single private key is a "best practice". It is not a best practice it is a stupid practice and really prevents you from protecting unauthorized logins on other machines for the obvious reasons.

   Put your public keys on bitbucket.com or source    management. Put your private keys on an encrypted disk   in an encrypted archive if you must. This is still dumb   imho because it is not needed.   Leave one account (root) with console only/no ssh access   that will allow for keys to be revoked/recreated when   users need new keys.
e: The original article http://www.adayinthelifeof.nl/2012/03/12/why-putting-ssh-on-... Is wrong and misguided. port knocking or knockd is an obscurity measure, precisely the kind he argues against. The linked article from the OP calls this out.

f: Spinning up daemons is a big deal for non-priv users? So spinning up a remotely accessible Lisp out of emacs from a screen that is running in the background is bad? Hmm, here I thought that computers were meant to be tools for humans to get work done... Sorry, background processes are part of getting shit done. Users should be able to spin up the stuff they want to spin up in the network segments they have access to without the bureaucracy of misguided fools making the jobs of others more difficult because they think spinning up a gunicorn process or a custom daemon is worse than their unpatched kernel, apache tomcat and mysql listening on a publicly accessible address. Stateful firewalls and hosts allow/deny are there for a reason.

Sorry for the snarky reply here but there are a lot of peoplechiming in that obviously have very little knowledge aboutmanaging *nix ops and remote access. I have pretty strong opinionsabout this kind of stuff. Especially the single key stupidity andnot checking host fingerprints.

dmourati 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Amend the title to include (if you run only one SSH daemon and you're the only one who needs to access it).

Then I agree.

Otherwise, hell no.

jrockway 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I run my ssh server on port 443 in addition to 22, because some network connections block anything except 80 and 443, and this allows me to easily proxy through that broken network connection.

(Actually, I appear to have stopped doing this. But it's something to consider if you are on weird networks on a regular basis.)

ballard 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It's probably already been said, but it can be said enough: Security through obscurity is valid for marginally increasing the total security margin, but relying on any one practice or technique always smells like a dangerous approach. (Hence the hollistic practice of many overlapping features providing defence-in-depth.)

Changing ports reduces the threat surface in limited but practical ways, however far more effective would be using secure port knocking (say fwknop with GPG and is also time-based).

Secure port knocking and changing ports together would be perfectly valid. In fact, I have deployed these for openbsd jumpboxes guarding core infrastructure. So breaking in would require defeating fwknop with GPG and ssh.

(If anything needs public auditing, it's GPG and SSH. VPN code also considering the logic often makes OpenSSL look simple. )

n0on3 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I apologize but there is no such thing as "it is (ALWAYS|NEVER) a good idea" no matter how many blog posts people wrote about that.

It just depends on which are the tradeoffs between the antithetic goals that you have when you do any kind of security hardening.

Aside from that, since many already mentioned port knocking as another layer in the pile of this game, let me point out that not all port knocking (-like) implementations are that weak, look e.g. at knockknock [ http://www.thoughtcrime.org/software/knockknock/ ].

mixmastamyk 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't change the port, but use keys and instead allow a tiny, tiny subset of the the internet to talk to my servers on 22... my networks.

Very little hassle, no crap in the logs. Is there a drawback I'm missing?

tuzakey 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Its kinda silly to move the port, a targeted attack is going to start with an portscan of you box, the attacker is going to say "oh whats this here on port 2222?" and promptly discover that its ssh listening on a high port. Port knocking would make that discovery less likely I suppose but its still all treating a symptom of a bigger problem.

So why not solve the problem with something a little more proactive like turning off password auth and go for sshkeys only. Maybe toss in something like fail2ban if you want to interrupt kiddies scanning your boxen.

That said high port ssh can be nice if you're frequently on restrictive networks and getting out on port 22 is impossible.


cenhyperion 11 hours ago 0 replies      
On my personal boxes I use a combination of non-standard ports, disabling password auth (seriously, this will do more for your security than anything else), and fail2ban. Even with key authentication fail2ban still blocks several IPs a day.
hrjet 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there a way to increase the privileged port range from 1024 in linux? If it's set to a high enough number, say 1024*1024, that would solve both problems (we could use a large port number for ssh and not allow non-root users to hijack the port).
_sabe_ 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a non issue. Set your iptables to start dropping packages after 3 failed login attempts.
spc476 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I run SSH on port 22, but occasionally (when I travel) I will run it on port 443. Yes, know 443 is used by HTTPS, but:

1) I don't run HTTPS on the box I SSH into

2) I might hit an overly restrictive WiFi that only allows traffic out over HTTP and HTTPS

Which is another reason why you might not want to run SSH on another port. You might not be able to reach it.

csdreamer7 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Wasn't it posted on HY that modern exploit tools like metasploit scan all ports for SSH services by default now?

That was my biggest reason not to bother changing the port.

Is there any real reason beyond that? (I do use fail2ban to block repeated attempts.)

mlopes 6 hours ago 0 replies      
So, the guy's point is that if someone has access to your machine, then it's ok to make life easier for them to run a fake sshd?
jonbaer 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I still can't understand why things like port knocking or single packet auth schemes like fwknop never really took off ...
_mpu 11 hours ago 0 replies      
By experience, it just lets you avoid getting a shitload of brute-force attacks. So I do it.
antihero 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I still don't see any reason to change the port. Use only key auth. Problem solved.
dontmakemelaugh 2 hours ago 0 replies      
if you have sshd on 22 you get 1000 hack attempts per day. if you move it somewhere else you probably get none the whole day.

the chance to get hacked is way higher. why would you not want to lower the risk?

GalacticDomin8r 10 hours ago 0 replies      
So really the only problem you had with the argument is the security via obscurity? Yeah, me too. Otherwise, his point were spot on and you didn't address them directly.
aiiane 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for writing up the same response I had to that article.
justinwr 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I posted the original because I thought it was interesting. Elated to see an honest response. I love HN.
bubblesorting 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Better yet, put a firewall in front of sshd and only allow connections from your management network ;)
The Man Who Would Teach Machines to Think theatlantic.com
200 points by jonbaer  2 days ago   85 comments top 18
cs702 1 day ago 6 replies      
"Gdel, Escher, Bach" is one of my favorite books, and I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Hofstadter... so I'm really disappointed and saddened to read that he (quoting from the article) "hasn't been to an artificial-intelligence conference in 30 years. 'There's no communication between me and these people,' he says of his AI peers. 'None. Zero. I don't want to talk to colleagues that I find very, very intransigent and hard to convince of anything. You know, I call them colleagues, but theyre almost not colleagues -- we can't speak to each other.'"

Hofstadter should be COLLABORATING with all those other researchers who are working with statistical methods, emulating biology, and/or pursuing other approaches! He should be looking at approaches like Geoff Hinton's deep belief networks and brain-inspired systems like Jeff Hawkins's NuPIC, and comparing and contrasting them with his own theories and findings! The converse is true too: all those other researchers should be finding ways to collaborate with Hofstadter. It could very well be that a NEW SYNTHESIS of all these different approaches will be necessary for us to understand how complex, multi-layered models consisting of a very large number of 'mindless' components ultimately produce what we call "intelligence."

All these different approaches to research are -- or at least should be -- complementary.

stiff 1 day ago 5 replies      
So Good Old Fashioned AI[1] is the new hot underdog AI thing now? I seriously don't understand the praise of Hostadter in the article and in the comments here, and the criticism of the mainstream AI research, especially it is very hard to find any precise details of what he does and what are the outcomes.

There have been attempts to understand intelligence with intelligence (logic, symbols, reasoning etc.) for 30 years, to not much effect, now AI and machine learning are advancing quite steadily, so why the snark? All evidence suggests that the way the brain itself learns things is statistical and probabilistic in nature. There are also new disciplines now, like Probabilistic Graphical Models, which are free of some of the traditional downsides of purely statistical methods, in that they can be interpreted and that human-understandable knowledge can be extracted from them. This is something that really seems promising, and to some extent is an union of the old and new approaches, despite the claims of a big division, but it is hard to see much premise in purely symbolic methods invented merely by some guy somewhere thinking very hard.

I for one am very happy that people seek inspiration in the way human brain works, that's what science is, if you just come up with things without consulting the real world it's not science, it's philosophy, the one discipline that has yet to produce a single result.

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

ssivark 1 day ago 1 reply      
Norvig and co. are like drunk men searching for their lost key under a streetlight. It might not be where it lies, but that's the only place where they think think could find something, or at least make some tangible progress. Hofstadter doesn't mind taking the long shot... feeling his way about in the dark, in the hope of inching forward and making progress towards artificial intelligence.

This comparison between complementary approaches is an apt analogy for most fields, where the focus shifts every once in a while, when one of the approaches largely hits a wall and most people switch to the other one. A while later, the trends will almost inevitably reverse and draw inspiration from other approaches. The unfortunate thing is that there's no dialogue between the two camps, which makes it that much harder to port good ideas from one context to the other.

I could provide examples from physics research, or for that matter, trends in static-vs-dynamic blogs :P Also, the more "applied" the field, the shorter these cycles are.

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streetlight_effect

stiff 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is a bad article, especially for a technical audience. It romanticizes things a lot, as journalists have to, to keep up the readership rates, but it doesn't make for a very balanced judgement. This kind of debate is going on and on, you can read a much more reasonable account here:


I find the analogy to Einstein at the end of article especially funny. I think it's much more likely that people will look upon current defenders of "good old fashioned AI" like they now do upon people who still looked for ether after Einstein's discoveries.

drcode 2 days ago 4 replies      
Douglas Hofstadter is important because most AI work right now focuses either on (1) big-data-style statistical analysis or (2) emulating brain anatomy.

DH is the most well known guy of a small, stubborn group of AI developers who still believe that "human thought" can be reasoned about and can be understood in isolation, and that we can build intelligence without simply reducing it to statistics or to brain anatomy.

I applaud his efforts, and find some of the programs he's written both creative and refreshing.

aethertap 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've been enjoying this series from MIT OCW on Gdel, Escher, Bach:


xerophtye 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ok so here's an attempt to clear up the feud. As i see it, what Hofstadter wants is an anti-gravity elevator. The "Modern" (aka practical) AI approach is ladders, stairs... and eventually mechanical elevators. Now ofcouse, progress along the "practical" approach will NEVER lead to an anti-gravity elevator, as the fundamental principles are completely different. But they get the job done.

See, that's the point, as incredibly awesome and useful as the anti-gravity elevator might be, mankind can't wait around for someone to invent it, just raise stuff, or travel in the vertical dimension. And hence all our modern AI systems (including google, siri, robots, warehouse management systems, etc etc) are powered by this approach.

So should we scrap stairs an elevators in pursuit of anti-gravity? Certainly not, we NEED them right NOW. But does this mean we should dreaming about, and working towards anti-gravity? HELL NO!! We need that too.

And hence, as much as i LOVE Hofstadter (i have had the same approach to AI ever since i was a kid), i still have a very PROFOUND respect for modern approaches because they help me create some functionally amazing software.

MichaelMoser123 1 day ago 0 replies      
Also of interest:

Hofstadters lecture about analogy on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8m7lFQ3njk

Also some earlier work on the subject


I have also written a review on this very interesting book "Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking"


nathansnyder 1 day ago 1 reply      
Love'd this quote "...the trillion-dollar question: Will the approach undergirding AI todayan approach that borrows little from the mind, thats grounded instead in big data and big engineeringget us to where we want to go? How do you make a search engine that understands if you dont know how you understand?...AI has become too much like the man who tries to get to the moon by climbing a tree: "One can report steady progress, all the way to the top of the tree."
sinkasapa 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really enjoyed this talk of his on analogy in human language.


jmilloy 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not convinced that Hofstadter is pursuing computers that think like humans, so much as computers that appear to think like humans. He abstracts certain observable behaviors of the human mind (e.g. analogy), but there's no guarantee that what a brain can observe about itself is what a brain is actually doing. Does it make sense to ignore the underlying behavior of human brains, and instead try to directly emulate a particular abstraction? We can't let our romantic notions of what brains "do" get in the way.
ArbitraryLimits 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's interesting to see this article portray Hofstadter as the last of the dying breed of GOFAI researchers.

When I was in college (and GOFAI was still alive) GOFAI researchers themselves portrayed him as very much an outsider.

dnautics 1 day ago 0 replies      
When you read Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought, which describes in detail this architecture and the logic and mechanics of the programs that use it, you wonder whether maybe Hofstadter got famous for the wrong book.

I cannot recommend "Creative Analogies" more. I have purchased no less than four copies (two for myself; two for others, including K. Barry Sharpless, who once made a remark about AI that was reminiscent of some of the ideas in CA) over the years. It's even better than "Surfaces".

atlanticus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think a big part of the problem with AI is you are trying to map a digital model onto an analog system. There was a story on HN last year, I can't seem to find, that used a genetic algorithm on analog circuits to evolve optimal pattern matching for certain images. The results were good but when they went to build another one it didn't work right because of unmeasured EM feedback and subtle differences between individual circuits meaning every circuit would have to run its own evolution, negating most of the usefulness of the project. Maybe an analog model would be more appropriate.
duwease 1 day ago 2 replies      
Considering the large and growing bank of research that highlights areas where the brain's output is flawed or plain wrong when compared to the consensus "optimal solution", I think I'm with the "AI establishment" as it's painted by this article. It doesn't seem self-evident to me that the inner workings of the human mind are the only or even optimal implementation of intelligence for every task.

If anything, the human mind seems to me to be a particular algorithm that is flexible, but trades that flexibility for capability in certain problem areas. Using a transportation metaphor, it's like walking versus air travel. Walking is incredibly flexible when it comes to where you can go, but air travel is by far the optimal route to get from coast-to-coast, although you are limited to travelling between airstrips. I feel like focusing on the human brain as the "true" intelligence is like claiming that walking is the only true transportation, instead of focusing on optimal routes for each problem.

cjbprime 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is the article referenced as pending publication in http://www.aeonmagazine.com/living-together/james-somers-web..., which is incidentally my favorite article about startups.
mempko 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The saddest bit of all of this is that global warming will derail any AI future breakthrough
9wymanm 1 day ago 1 reply      
The father of psychology, William James

I was under the impression that Wilhelm Wundt was the father of psychology.

Mozilla Lightbeam Relationships between third parties and the sites you visit mozilla.org
193 points by casca  1 day ago   24 comments top 11
yk 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks interesting, just to take it for a quick spin I tested it with a small set of bookmarks. [1] Then I deactivated noScript and Disconnect and reactivated them individually. (Screenshots at http://imgur.com/a/fRrnp).

So the result is, that there are three sites which do not incorporate third party connections whatsoever (DDG, HN, fefe). Without the addons, the other sites form a connected graph. With disconnect, the graph is less strongly connected. With only noScript, it starts to fall apart. With both activated, the primary sites are disconnected. ( But the combination apparently breaks something, since a second Guardian primary node appears.)

A few caveats, first of all this is of course not reproducible, since it depends on my whitelists for noScript and Disconnect. And the test set is of course not representative for anything except itself. And absence of a edge in the graph does not mean absence of a connection. But with this in mind, I found it quite interesting how connected even a small test set is.

[1] guardian.co.uk zeit.de blog.fefe.de reddit.com http://natmonitor.com/2013/10/24/ghostly-shape-of-coldest-pl... from reddit)duckduckgo.com http://linuxreviews.org/kde/screenshot_in_kde/ (from DDG search)

sp332 1 day ago 1 reply      
This looks like a cool upgrade to Mozilla's Collusion add-on, which is no longer available. https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/collusion/ Edit: It even gave me a pop-up warning me that it's overwriting my Collusion data.
casca 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interesting that they use the list of trackers from TrackerBlock[1]. The license provided is:

    We reserve our copyright as to commercial applications but please contact us if you are interested in licensing for non-profit or educational uses.    Our source code is available to review for your assurance.
In their extension, the "trackers.json" file is dated as 8/Feb/2012, so almost 2 years old now.

[1] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/trackerblock/

Udo 17 hours ago 0 replies      
What I would really like is a plugin that defaults the browser to incognito / private mode when using certain sites. For example, automatically search google.com as if I'm not logged into Gmail.
r0h1n 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm curious - after the first few "wow, nice visualization!", how does this add-on improve the experience of someone already running add-ons like Disconnect or Ghostery?
buster 1 day ago 0 replies      
So it's like a fancy display of adblock/ghostery (who tracks me on which site) with a correlation of the sites i already visited... ok.. i'm sticking to just some adblocker :
ciupicri 22 hours ago 3 replies      
I have:

    network.http.sendRefererHeader;0    network.http.sendSecureXSiteReferrer;false
and Lightbeam doesn't show anything until I reset them. Though I have a feeling that I'm still being tracked.

hrjet 1 day ago 1 reply      
As a way to demonstrate to a lay user the insidious relationships on the web, it is pretty cool.

However, this doesn't seem like a good way to collect good quality crowd-sourced data. It can be easily poisoned, and there are simpler alternatives, such as crawling and analyzing the links by themselves. (I am assuming that an entity like Mozilla would have sufficient resources for that).

cpeterso 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this part of the Cookie Clearinghouse project? I wish there was more information about the crowdsourcing data collection. What data is collected and how will it be used?
shmerl 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Ah, I thought it's some new add-on. It used to be called Collusion.
Why women lose the dating game smh.com.au
192 points by jseliger  1 day ago   337 comments top 47
spodek 23 hours ago 8 replies      
I propose not distinguishing the "winners" and "losers" by sex to understand who has the upper hand, but by those who act on what they want and those who don't.

I suspect the people who end up not getting what they want tend to be the ones who don't put in the effort, especially taking the emotional risks in attracting others, initiating relationships, and making the relationships work the way they want.

Many men and many women put in this effort. Many men and many women also don't put in this effort. I suspect the former group has much more success than the latter group in the long run whether male or female, though I suspect they face a lot more rejection and emotional pain in the short run. I suspect the latter group faces less short-term pain and rejection, but is lucky to get what they want from relationships if they ever do.

The emotional challenges of making yourself vulnerable are harder for most than pursuing a career or hobbies so many men and women go the emotionally easier route of working hard at their jobs. In my experience, along with overcoming those challenges comes tremendous emotional growth.

(Btw, I disagree with the zero-sum mentality of winners and losers because people can have more than one deep, meaningful relationship and relationship come in many forms, but adopted it for consistency with the article).

rayiner 1 day ago 11 replies      
Interesting to see this get coverage. One of the factors that makes for this phenomenon is simple math. Say there is a 55-45 ratio (with more women) among 30-something college-educated folks. Say, moreover, that by then 80% of the people are in relationships. That makes for 40 women paired up with 40 men, leaving 15 single women and just 5 single men.

I think a lot of this is self-inflicted, though. Professional women often still carry with them some of this 1960's mentality and refuse to "date down." As the demographics change and women being overrepresented among the college-educated, this puts them at the wrong end of a supply/demand imbalance.

On the other hand, some of the voluntary decisions are due to unfair social pressures. I think women wouldn't wait so long to get married if doing so didn't start a timer on their downshifting their career. My wife and I got married at 26/27 and had a baby shortly thereafter. My wife is a corporate lawyer and gets a lot of flak for working long hours, especially from family. Nobody ever gives me flak for working long hours. Painting in broad brush strokes, men tend to find that when they get married, society reinforces their career ambitions. Women tend to find that when they get married, society chips away at their career ambitions. Other women, particularly other moms, are the worst about it.

chernevik 22 hours ago 6 replies      
There are a lot of unstated values out there. I'm a great father -- really -- but it isn't hard to look at my divorce and think it happened because I didn't make the money my wife expected of me. This despite the supposedly anti-material, pro-family values of herself and her set.

Don't get me wrong, I made some SERIOUS mistakes of my own, and had some important problems to work through. She has her side of the story too, and neither of us could tell a simple story.

But money and earning was a huge problem, even when I was making two or three standard deviations more than the US average. And it was a shock to me to see how many people supposedly rejected the rat-race values, and knew my relationship with my kids, yet couldn't be bothered to call to see how I was doing. People say they want dads who focus on their kids, but I haven't noticed much effort to support those guys in the tight spots. At least not when Mom declares the guy a loser.

Again. No representation of personal perfection is made or intended. I had a lot to work on in the marriage, found more in the divorce, still finding more yet. Yay.

I hope this doesn't come across bitter. I think there is a lot of confusion in the discussions of gender roles and career and child raising, and I think a lack of candor is part of that. So it is important to notice that a great deal of the values declared, are declared for the nobility of the declaration and don't prove to mean much. A good many people are smarter / wiser / more careful than I was, and don't take those declarations at face value, and so find themselves making better decisions and on firmer foundations. But it is impossible to really talk to most of those people about their attitudes, because they all know that some of their opinions could bring a lot of flak. Why pay that price to be candid? Especially when, let's face it, many of these conversations are begun with an intended conclusion in mind.

From what I've seen, personally, we need a LOT more honesty in our discussions of gender roles and careers and child raising. And a LOT of that has to come from people on the "progressive" side of the discussion.

mattgreenrocks 23 hours ago 3 replies      
Dating is disgusting solely because of power dynamics. The whole thing reeks of entitlement from both genders. From the rating system (which requires a highly reductionistic view of people, to the point that it is damaging to you), to the pseudo-scientific alpha/beta monikers, to the creepy game advocates ("she says no, but she really means yes!"). Both sides pull out shoddy excuses for what amounts to knee-jerk dismissal of potential mates.

I've been dumped over the hazy prospect of something better more than once. AFAIK, those exes are still searching. But, I'm 31 now, and really happy as a husband to a wonderful wife.

Dating is severely overrated. The best thing you can do is get in and get out without becoming cynical from it. Long-term relationships are satisfying in a way that dating can never compare to.

soneca 22 hours ago 2 replies      
It is interesting (kind of scary to me) that this is totally stripped out of all humanity. Dating is now a game, people are prospects and they receive rates from 0 to 10. These are not just metaphors anymore, this is how people are actually considering others human beings. It became the paradigm of finding a partner.

This formal meeting where both sides are constantly analyzing their partners and odds, i.e., dates, inevitably leads to this paradigm. It is just like job interviews, you can't possibly get to know deepily each candidate, so you have to create artificials proxies that will help you to chose wisely. And this proxies are wrong most of the times.

But when finding a partner you can possibly have time to meet another person more deeply. Actually, you do that all the time, at work, at your neighborhood, with friends and friends of friends. But that is not longer a possibility if you have spent all your life not interest at all in people surrounding you, waiting for the time when you will chose a person from a shelf to marry you.

Tl;dr: I don't think is much about successfull women high expectations, but about women didn't have much interest at all in another humans and now think of a partner as a product. And they don't get how this 'product' has a mind of its own now.

cheez 1 day ago 3 replies      
Fairly relevant for female entrepreneurs. I have a professional acquaintance who has been toying with being the prototypical power woman (who, IMO, doesn't really exist): involved supermom, successful entrepreneur, good wife. My advice to her was that I've been successful and have a family and family is way more satisfying. Besides, once your kids are grown up, PLEASE continue contributing to society by being an entrepreneur. You're not going to keep having kids when you're 40. Enjoy your youth and love your kids.

Before people say "why don't men do the same?" here is why: http://jobs.economist.com/article/when-women-dare-to-outearn...

"For the couples themselves, the dynamic may be a problem. As long as the woman earns less, her income does not cause trouble in the marriage. Once she earns more, however, marriage difficulties jump and divorce rates increase. Interestingly, it does not seem to matter whether she earns only slightly more, or substantially morean indication that it is not female income per se, but the mere fact of earning more, that causes trouble."

I doubt that is changing anytime soon.

NanoWar 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminded me of this... :)

A store has just opened in New York City that offered free husbands. When women go to choose a husband, they have to follow the instructions at the entrance:

You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are 6 floors to choose from. You may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you CANNOT go back down except to exit the building!

So, a woman goes to the store to find a husband. On the 1st floor the sign on the door reads: Floor 1 - These men Have Jobs. The 2nd floor sign reads: Floor 2 - These men Have Jobs and Love Kids. The 3rd floor sign reads: Floor 3 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids and are extremely Good Looking.

Wow, she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going. She goes to the 4th floor and sign reads:Floor 4 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good Looking and Help With Housework.Oh, mercy me! she exclaims. I can hardly stand it! Still, she goes to the 5th floor and sign reads:Floor 5 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Gorgeous, help with Housework and Have a Strong Romantic Streak.

She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the 6th floor and the Sign reads: Floor 6 - You are visitor 71,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that you are impossible to please.Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.

To avoid gender bias charges, the stores owner opened a Wife Store just across the street.

The 1st first floor has wives that love sex.The 2nd floor has wives that love sex and have money.The 3rd through 6th floors have never been visited...


mildtrepidation 23 hours ago 1 reply      
On the assumption that the conclusions reached here are reasonably accurate and the generalizations aren't based on utter mistakes, and with the understanding that even in that case this is still just a set of conclusions and conjectures based on averages or pluralities leaving many people to which it's simply not relevant...

...making those assumptions, I'm trying hard not feel just a little smug when realizing I'm one of those approaching-middle-aged men who's suddenly a lot more attractive (effectively) than ten years ago.

I don't sleep around rampantly, and never have, but I am with a 20-something woman (and part of that first paragraph I wrote comes in because I didn't pick her to settle down or because she's a 10, nor is that why she's with me). The description of relationships in that age range did make me think a bit.

I'm trying not to feel smug because that's a terrible reaction: It's the same way you'd expect a hot 20-something girl to feel knowing she can get any guy she wants, at least temporarily. And feeling smug about this ignores the fact that, whether women who do fit this profile were jerks in their younger years or not, they're now more mature, more experienced, and facing prospects that just aren't pleasant and make the rest of their lives -- which they've worked hard for -- a lot more uncertain than they had reason to expect before. Regardless of how carelessly or inconsiderately you spent the romantic pursuits your younger years, if this is the problem you face, I can manage at least some sympathy.

That said... I still can't shake the doubts I expressed at the start. I obviously haven't seen the data or anything, but it's hard to look at this and say "yep, I have no doubt their methods are good and their conclusions are representative."

Mikeb85 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The article is pretty spot on, and I've noticed many of the same things throughout my early-mid 20's (late 20's now). Many of the women who couldn't be bothered with someone like me (not bad looking, pretty good shape, tall, but not 'alpha' enough) when I was 20-25, now throw themselves at me, especially when they realize I'm married (got married at 27).

And to add to this, why are so many guys douchebags? Because we've been treated like shit by women from our teenage years, and now know we have the upper hand.

Of course, I'm not like that (probably would be if I was single), my wife is very sweet and very pretty, and I'm glad to be out of the dating game.

tluyben2 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I see a lot of this in the Netherlands as well; a lot of girlfriends in their 30s 'cannot find a man'. All of them are managers, judges and/or PhDs; they have a hard time finding a match. We often discuss the bar too high thing and they know this is the case but they first want to try it that way. When they get near 40 (and after that 'unable' to have kids) they lose this and marry and/or move in with someone they wouldn't have given the light of day before to make babies with. Seen it many times. Some of them are really happy they did it because they really didn't think they could live with someone that didn't meet all their standards; now they realise those standards were nuts and anyone meeting them would be a freak.

I must say that I haven't seen anything as weird as I read here with people I know; guys getting their own back as some kind of revenge for their missed 20s? Maybe it happens; luckily I don't know these guys.

Another thing:

I'm 38 like Greg the writer from the article; unlike Greg the writer I had some idea how basic things work. You know; supply and demand. In (and a bit before) my 20s I was a big guy with glasses, a beard and long hair. I listened to metal music. So I must go to rock concerts and rock bars to meet girls? Of course not; that would be stupid; I went to parties with clean shaven, nice smelling, well dressed, upper class talking students. People studying law, business etc. In those days (still? no idea) math/physics/cs were real geeks and they didn't go to those things. Now all girls there wanted these guys and there were ONLY these guys; they all looked the same. There would be always about 1-3 girls who went with friends or just because bored, but who hated the kind of guy there. Either because of look or attitude. They went for me, automatically, every time. I would talk about physics and they would sleep with me; I had/have great relations with some of them. It still works now (I'm happily married now, but it still is flattering).

I ran a successful dating site for a while and often explained to people that if you all fish in the same pond, nothing will happen. That's just useless disappointment if you're not Don Juan.

jedmeyers 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Also it is interesting how a lot those women want a man with already established career, etc, but it doesn't work out like that. In most cases those men achieved such career heights with the help of their significant other and therefore already have one and might only be interested in an affair, not marriage. "How to become a General's wife? You marry a Lieutenant."
peapicker 23 hours ago 0 replies      
What these women don't realize is that a lot of the men who _want_ to commit find someone to commit to in their early to mid twenties. The men who are left, and have perhaps never found a women willing to commit to them (like some of the 'power women' mentioned in this article), have been trained that women can't be trusted to commit to them, and so there you are. Sure there are plenty of exceptions, but it seems to be a general trend.
boh 20 hours ago 2 replies      
From my own personal experience I can say there's a lot of truth to this article. I live in NYC and in my early twenties attractive girls my age were hard to come by. Most were taken by older men, muscle guys or rich kids. I'm approaching thirty and all of sudden I'm getting a lot more attention from women of all ages. The younger girls either want a stable guy "who can help them grow" or a guy with money who knows how to have sex, while the older women are looking for a chair to sit on before the music stops. I'm married now so it doesn't mean much, but the thought is still there: "where were you girls nine years ago?"
vidarh 23 hours ago 1 reply      
A big part of their problem is that they are not just competing against women their age: Men happily date younger women, and younger women happily date older men more successful, experienced etc. than the men their own age.

I'm 38. I get more attention from early 20's women now than ever before.

padobson 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I think this article reinforces a lot of the problems with marriage in our society in the first place, and pinpoints a lot of the reasons why a majority of marriages fail.

We're trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Marriage was born a long time ago and used for very very different purposes than what the 21st century 30-something career woman is hoping to use it for. Of course said demographic isn't getting what they want from it.

Both the criteria for a spouse and the reasons for getting married are either too superficial or overly vague. You need to first ask yourself why you want to get married and then develop criteria for a partner based on that.

Why do you want a spouse? To have sex? You don't need a lifetime commitment for that, it'd be a wiser life style decision to move to a place with legal prostitution. Do you want a spouse because you're lonely? Then make more friends. There's no need to make the relationship legally binding, go to places where people congregate with similar interests. Do you want to have kids? There's tons of charities out there where you can mentor children and make a very real impact on our society without creating new children with a spouse whom you selected based on criteria that are terrible predictors of being a good parent.

We as a society are never going to be able provide healthy guidance on marriage until we start to be very honest with ourselves about what marriage is for and what its purpose is for each us.

netcan 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Some of this is cute-ish: "* 20 per cent of males - the most attractive ones - get 80 per cent of the sex" OKcupid used to have a blog with funny posts on stats like this.

Some bits, I don't really know if I should dismiss: "It's wall-to-wall arseholes out there". It's too easy to find negative anecdotes and sentiments that things are getting worse. Especially month the nonvoluntary singles.

"Women with degrees want a smaller group of men with degrees" will fix itself. A degree isn't what it used to be in exclusiveness. Women might even be doing more degrees specifically because they are under a little less pressure torn.

I think preferences at different ages plays a bigger part. Women tend to be at peak attractiveness in their 20s. Men in their 30s. Both want to settle down in their 30s. Also men can* have kids later so even though attractiveness goes down they have longer. This makes it easier for men in the settle down phase and women in the play the field phase. The 30something women's complaint (can't find a nice guy to marry) just seems more reasonable than the 20something Men's.

31reasons 23 hours ago 2 replies      
"Data from American colleges show 20 per cent of males - the most attractive ones - get 80 per cent of the sex"

damn it..its just like the app store.

nickthemagicman 1 day ago 2 replies      
Natural selection is on the side of women in their 20's and on the side of men from then on.

All the crap women put us through most men read this article and cheer.

Pxtl 22 hours ago 1 reply      
... I'm not sure exactly who should be offended by this article - whether it's the conservative men, the feminists, the liberal men, the MRAs, the 20something gals, the 30-something gals, whatever... but I'm pretty sure they ought to be offended. This is rife with some pretty vile stereotypes and broad brushes.
mhamel 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Has anyone here read The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter, by Meg Jay? As a young 20-year-old female, the chapter on relationships and marriage was, to put it politely, terrifying. If you don't start having kids by 30, the chance of it being possible in your mid-late 30s is slim. So - kids by 30, you want to have about 1 year of marriage kid-free, you want to date your future spouse for 4-5 years before marriage.... Do that math and basically who you're dating at age 23 (me) is who you're ending up with.


LekkoscPiwa 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Great article. It looks like the women described in the article sacrified years of their lives to become kind of alpha males - lawyers, professionals, etc - in which time the real alpha males got young and willing chicks who are just that what alpha males are interested in - hot young chicks. So, now all these professional and I'm sure very successful women in their 30s are left with are beta males. How came I don't see it as surprising? Wouldn't you think that by trying to take social role of an alpha male while you are a female, you will fail? Probably in both roles? Will fail as a woman and in the perceived alpha-male role? Look, once she gets this beta guy to have children with, she will stay at home just so he doesn't run away to look for another willing 30-something successful woman. So her career is broken at that point too. Whoever the socialist that told women that they have to be just like men - thank you! I never knew it will work so well for my gender. After years of listening to this socialist BS, to see it fail, makes me feel good. Full disclosure: I'm a married male with a kid, so I won't take advantage of the situation. Just like to see how the laws of nature triumph over marxist craziness again and again. But some people never learn.
peterwwillis 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Women don't lose the dating game. Men don't win it either. There's just a lot of really sucky players and a few people who got lucky. Stop playing the game and you'll find yourself a lot happier for it.
tomkarlo 22 hours ago 0 replies      
There's two important issues at work here:1. "Pairing" is basically a barter market where every good is unique, information on them is noisy or downright deceptive, and you only get to trade once (hopefully). That's a recipe for having problems getting clearing trades and feeling good about a trade you've made.

2. Behavioral psychology says we all tend to "high water mark". We want our eventual partner to be better looking than, smarter, more successful etc than the partners we had previously. Especially if you're getting older and your appeal is perhaps declining, that's going to make it very difficult to find someone who meets your standards, because your standards have risen over the course of your dating life.

fauigerzigerk 22 hours ago 1 reply      
It's astonishing that having a serious relationship or not is such a planned decision for some. Do people really break up with someone they love just because they're "not ready" or keep going with someone they don't love just because they decided it's time to settle down?

That's weird. It all sounds rather medieval to me. I hope this is all just the kind of selective stream of colorful anecdotes that journalists are so fond of.

iterationx 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This following stat doesn't help if women want to "Have it all" which I assume means at least one child.

Each year, about 500,000 men in the US get a vasectomy, with rates higher among more educated and higher-income men.

meangeme 22 hours ago 1 reply      
"Almost one in three women aged 30 to 34 and a quarter of late-30s women do not have a partner, according to the 2006 census statistics. And this is a growing problem."

Why? Because birthrates are declining? Or because people "need to" have a partner?

EGreg 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is my pithy theory that explains a lot of this, which in my opinion seems to fit the data and is backed up by copious anecdotal evidence.

"Men put more work up front -- making the first move, taking the women out and showing them a good time, etc. Women put more work once the relationship gets going (i.e. after much sex has been had). They put up with their guy's frustrating habits and work to advance the relationship forward."

Now, this is a description of the MAJORITY of interactions, not all, of course. Some women chase men (or are more open to advances from men). Some men are very marriage minded. But the majority behaves as I described. To see why, I highly recommend this article: http://denisdutton.com/baumeister.htm

Now, how does this affect the marriage market? Well, the conclusions follow directly from observing the trends that are occurring in the last 50 years:

* More women work

* Women work longer hours

* More women are educating themselves

* More young women are independent financially

* In fact, young unmarried women make more than male counterparts

However, in some ways the situation is pivoting again:

* Technology is making traditional college educations less useful

* The internet will soon disrupt college education

* Income inequality penalizes wage earning in favor of capital (running a business with clients is more inflation-resistant). Entrepreneurs are the new finance guys.

All this should combine to once again change women's perspective on who's dateable

Women respect risk-taking men (see the article), and want to have children with a successful man whose risks paid off.

And it looks like the humble folks on HN with their lifestyle businesses or those in successful startup cities will have the advantage in terms of earning potential, freedom to choose, and also women.

If they would just work out more... :)

sanskritabelt 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Anybody who uses 'alpha' and 'beta' and similar to describe dudes and ladies is, ipso facto, an asshole.
dickler 22 hours ago 2 replies      
This is why marriage and civilization was invented. 80% per cent of men in their 20s not getting women would lead to revolution in earlier times, but today TV, internet and plentiful food distract them from this.

Eastern cultures (india/china etc) have a relative advantage now, precisely because of their culture. Think of all the lost productivity from emotional hardships from most men in their 20s and lots of women in their 30s in western countries.

greenlander 22 hours ago 6 replies      
I am the same 'greenlander' that is referred to in the article. LOL, it's a small world.

The only thing I can suggest to all you of guys out there (and I know that 90%-95% of the readership here is 'guys' and not 'chicks') is to get educated.

Go read these blogs:http://dalrock.wordpress.com/http://therationalmale.com/http://heartiste.wordpress.com/http://www.rooshv.com/

And why not some books:http://www.amazon.com/Models-Attract-Through-Honesty-ebook/d...http://www.amazon.com/The-Rational-Male-ebook/dp/B00FK901R8/http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-of-Seduction-ebook/dp/B0032BW5...

And why not a Reddit too:http://www.reddit.com/r/TheRedPill

The problem is that you must have the confidence to write your own rules in life. If you speak with confidence, move with confidence, dress with confidence, and act with confidence, you'll have your choice among women.

The irony of it is that you only get confidence from past success. You must move beyond your nerd persona from high school. If you adopt the mantra "I AM the prize" and actually truly believe it, women will believe it too.

I cleaned up my act. I was just a cubicle nerd in Silicon Valley. (Although I must have had something going for me: I became a manager.) I hired a personal trainer and started to hit the gym like a wild animal. My abs came out: I hadnt seem them since high school. I changed my diet. (Hint: The Paleo/Atkins diet works.) I started a relationship with a tailor and ordered a lot of made-to-measure clothing. I subscribed to GQ.

I read HN every day. The technical articles are fascinating, and the writing brilliant. Yesterday I spent a large section of my day reading a set of about 450 slides about subtleties in the C language that was linked from this site. Today I spent a good fraction of my morning reading about elliptical-curve cryptography. I am a nerd at heart.

Yet, Im not a nerd in the sense that you think of. When I meet a new girl, my frame is Im going to bend you over my kitchen table and fuck you like the dirty ho that you are. She knows it just by my speech, my body language, and how I act. Obviously, some women wont step into that frame. It doesnt matter: the thing you have to realize is that men display, and women select. The key to catching women is approaching more women. Depending on your perceived status, a certain fraction of women will select you. Dont waste time with women who dont select you. Focus on the ones who do.

I can already hear the shrill cries of oh, no GOOD girls would select a guy like that. Its a fallacy. Women are emotional, and when they step into the strong frame of a man with whom they resonate, all bets are off. The nice HR girl you took to dinner at a fashionable restaurant on University Ave. in Palo Alto will screw a guy in the back seat of a car if he has high enough status. Give up your good girl/bad girl dichotomy.

The problem I have now is described as the players curse. The sheer numbers of women riding the cock carousel (i.e., slut it up in your 20s, find the beta provider in your early 30s) has distorted the market. (If you dont believe me, shut the fuck up and go read the reference sources I cited above.) In my 20s I dreamed of children and family in my 20s. Lots of men are simply dropping out of the mating market and simply jerking off and not dating because women in their 20s dont select their twentysomething equivalents. A man in that situation has two choices: to kick up his game a notice, or just to retreat into porn and World of Warcraft. The paradox is that a man of willpower and clarity that can put effort into cleaning up his act can break into the side of the selected and score plenty of vj. Once you understand that, you can see modern-day feminism for the hoax that it is. It is a pox on the civilized world.

I can already foresee that somebody out there is going to some white knight jerkoffs who are going to call me a misogynist. For the record, a misogynist is someone that HATES women. Im not a misogynist. Roissy/Heartist is not a misogynist. Roosh is not a misogynist. Usually, the misogynist stick is used to say, youre not being politically correct. If you want to say, greenlander, youre not being politically correct, Ill accept that. Ill accept it even if you want to say, greenlander, youre a self-absorbed, narcissistic, self-deluded dickhead. Its the truth. But dont call me a misogynist: I love women. One must simply see them for what they are.

The great thing is that it doesnt matter how many people out there slander me with politically-correct ad-homonyms. A man who is ready to see the truth will follow the path if even a tiny morsel of the truth is laid before him. And if I even help one nerd change his life for the better by nudging him in the right direction, the past hour Ive spent writing this post will not have been in vain.

ttflee 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is there a model or a theory for gaming strategy in time domain?
ashwinaj 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Having unrealistic, superficial, mythical "check boxes" for a potential partner (male or female) in the western world is so out of whack. Money, fame, looks can only take you so far. Why couldn't people just be honest i.e. be themselves and try to make a meaningful connection to a person? Sure, no one wants to see a "loser" (whatever that definition might be) but get to know somebody before accepting/rejecting them and not having preconceived notions.
apunic 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Why this is important of founders:

Being focussed is the key when you want to be successful as an entrepreneur. Finding the right one until you found the right one is the most distracting thing.

john_b 22 hours ago 0 replies      
While interesting, the whole article really only applies to men and women who want children. I wonder if the trends would still hold if people who didn't want or couldn't have children were studied.
galfarragem 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The root of the problem is that women are behaving more and more like men and men more and more like women. We are equivalent but we are different, we must acknowledge it.

- women want direction in life from men (not feelings).

- men want beauty, support and kindness from women (not careers).

No one is giving the other what they want/need so they seek it in themselves, making the situation even worse.

towski 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Shrug. As a thirty year old career driver successful programmer, it's hard to find a thirty year old woman with even half a brain.
graycat 23 hours ago 3 replies      
It's simple. Really simple. Justdirt simple. Not all of Mother Natureis so complicated. Did I mention it'ssimple?

Look, guys and gals, there's some quitegood evidence that the genes of peopleof descent in Western Europe, Russia,and East Asia are essentially the sameas the genes that were successful, say,10,000 years ago although we could likelypush that back to 25,000 years ago.

So, think was tribal or village life waslike, say, beside a river in Europe 10,000 years ago. Right: The womengathered together and tended to thechildren, prepared food, and made clothing. The men and the boys oldenough did men things, hunting, toolmaking, building, and fighting.

The talents of men for those men thingsled to more tools, fire, wheels, metals, ..., Windows 7, and these thingsenormously changed the economy and culture, built by men in ways convenientfor men, wildly different from what thewomen did 10,000 years ago and not soconvenient for women. E.g., a singlewomen or a woman in a suburban housewith 2-3 kids is in a very differentsituation, especially for woman, thanthe women in the tribe/village 10,000years ago.

In simple terms, the women were happierwith their lives 10,000 years ago, assumingthere were no problems with disease, injury,hygiene, food, child birth, etc.

Then, women of 35, sorry: You are too lateto the game. Way, Way, Way too late. Howmuch too late? At least 15 years, more like20 years, and for a really good answer onwhen to start looking for a husband, letme be clear (assuming good nutrition andrate of maturation) 22 years. Right: Congratulations on your abilities atarithmetic, 10,000 years ago you wouldhave been looking for a husband at age13 or so and getting married at age14-16. Did I mention that you are late?

There's more from the side of the men:He wants her cute, sweet, pretty, precious, darling,adorable, something to cherish and protect.How to know? Easy: Look at the faces. Hmm?Right. Look at the faces of human females overthe years starting at age 1. There they elicittheir support from Daddy, uncles, etc. withtheir faces, facial expressions, and expressionsof endearing emotions. That's just how it works.And (simple argument) that's how it worked10,000 years ago (proof left as an exercise).Then look at the faces over the years. Noticesomething? Right: At age 10 with some workon hair style and makeup, she can look 17.Or, to be more clear, a young women of 17still tries to look like an endearing10. And even more so for a young woman of13-16. Why? Endearing. She's not tryingto be independent, autonomous, self-sufficient,and equal, crashing through glass ceilings,adopting and hiring a nanny, etc. Insteadshe's trying to be endearing, cute, sweet,meek, darling, adorable, precious, to becherished, protected, and cared for by herhusband as she has babies.

But, woman of 35, on endearing, etc., youjust don't ring his bell, just don't arouse his protective, caring emotions,are way, Way out of the game. Any prettygirl of 14 can totally blow you off thefield of competition.

The way of the world. And the result?Right: In the more developed societiesthe average number of children per woman is significantly under 2.1. E.g.,in Finland it's 1.5 which means that in10 generations 30 Finns will become 1.We're going extinct, literally, quickly.

Why? It's not nice to try to foolMother Nature.

The way of the world. That's just howit works and has worked for at least10,000 years. That's how it workedfor all the woman you descended fromfor nearly all of the last 10,000 years.So, go back to 13, and let's try again,if you can find a way to do that.

Today 13? Right: She has to (1) findhim, (2) get into boy/girlfriend withhim, (3) go steady or some such with him,(4) get a diamond, (5) get married, allby about age 17-19. E.g., Lady Di decidedat 15 that she wanted to catch PrinceCharles, and she did, married him atage 20. Age 25, 35, etc. to start to be lookingfor him? You gotta be kidding! Uh,honey, there are sperm banks -- check oneout!

Wish I'd known this, this clearly, whenI was 15. Very much wish that.

"Marriage is about offspring, security,and care taking." -- extra credit forknowing the source!

carloc 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I predict that it will become acceptable for men to earn less than their wives, stay at home, and take care of the kids.

I also predict that those men will do so in a very masculine way.

Finally, I hypothesize that a lot of the demand for good breadwinners from women who already have all the bread they need is cultural rather than hormonal.

The best indicator that this is true is the massive difference in how couples behave in public (keep with the norms) and in private (endless variety). Another observation is that lots of "cultural revolutions" are simply formerly private activities becoming public.

rfnslyr 23 hours ago 4 replies      
Hmm.. It's not too hard. Know a bit of good music, read a bit, don't be super boring, be passionate about something. Go to meetups for your interests and meet people that way. Rarely fails and you're bound to find someone with the same interests.

Don't go on dating sites, except for maybe okcupid. But even then, things like Reddit meetups, concerts, meetup.com meetups, are where you should meet people. Don't go to the bar either.

If you're in public, go up to someone and say "Hi, I'm x and y" followed by something relating to wherever you are. I've had great success with this, at the very least, you'll get a coffee date, at worst, a fake number.

It's not hard, you just need to put yourself out there. Screw rejection.

beachstartup 23 hours ago 0 replies      

i would recommend watching this video if you want a different, non-mainstream perspective on the philosophy of the sexual, marriage, and 'dating' marketplaces.

you don't have to agree with it, but it's worth a watch. especially if you are having trouble 'understanding' women. women are actually very simple biological creatures, like men. they just operate under a different set of constraints which are generally invisible to men.

in my opinion he is able to see and convey things from the perspective of women, which is valuable insight for an audience of men.

gsibble 22 hours ago 0 replies      
You reap what you sow.
peter303 23 hours ago 2 replies      
I am an omega-man.
Gravityloss 23 hours ago 0 replies      
if there is potential for a couple to end up happily together but they don't , because of either one's later-regretted choices, can you call either one of them a winner?
ttflee 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I just had an intuition that the choices of gals in this article are kinda similar to various strategies for innovative products. Some products target the alpha consumers, e.g. those early adopters and innovators, while some others target beta or gamma consumers.
debacle 1 day ago 2 replies      
Has there ever been a point where women haven't lost the dating game? It might not be right, but I think it's a social reality that men have an easier time finding a spouse than women do, and I think that's probably been the trend for hundreds if not thousands of years.
scrrr 1 day ago 3 replies      
Seems way off topic.

Sometimes it seems as if HN-users are feeling so guilty about the whole bro-gramming topic, that they up vote anything that has to do with women..

Primer on elliptic curve cryptography arstechnica.com
189 points by andrewfong  1 day ago   46 comments top 12
tptacek 1 day ago 4 replies      
Nit: the hard dependency on good randomness for ECDSA is a property of DSA in general, and not of elliptic curve cryptography. The DSA construction has what is probably the strictest randomness requirement in all of mainstream cryptography; a bias of just a few bits is, with repeated signatures, sufficient to recover private keys! (The attack that makes this work on ECDSA is extraordinarily cool).

The problem with NIST Dual_EC_DRBG is simpler than the article makes it sounds. A good mental model for Dual_EC is that it's a CSRPNG specification with a public key baked into it (in this case, an ECC public key) --- but no private key. The "backdoor" in Dual_EC is the notion that NSA --- err, Clyde Frog --- who is confirmed to have generated Dual_EC, holds the private key and can reconstruct the internal state of the CSPRNG using it. I think this problem is simple enough that we may do a crypto challenge on a toy model of Dual_EC.

Nobody in the real world really uses Dual_EC, but that may not always have been historically true; the circumstantial evidence about it is damning.

The NIST ECC specifications are in general now totally discredited. If you want to see where the state of the art is on ECC, check out http://safecurves.cr.yp.to/.

You should never, ever, never, nevern, nervenvarn build your own production ECC code. ECC is particularly tricky to get right. But if you want to play with the concepts, a great place to start is the Explicit Formulas Database at http://www.hyperelliptic.org/EFD/; the fast routines for point multiplication are mercifully complicated, so copying them from the EFD is a fine way to start, instead of working them out from first principles.

pbsd 1 day ago 1 reply      
The performance comparison of ECDSA vs RSA is somewhat unfair. In ECDSA, signing is the cheapest operation, whereas in RSA it is the most expensive. If the timings chosen were signature verification time, RSA would be much faster. See:

    Doing 2048 bit private rsa's for 10s: 1266 2048 bit private RSA's in 9.98s    Doing 256 bit sign ecdsa's for 10s: 22544 256 bit ECDSA signs in 9.97s    Doing 2048 bit public rsa's for 10s: 42332 2048 bit public RSA's in 9.98s    Doing 256 bit verify ecdsa's for 10s: 4751 256 bit ECDSA verify in 9.92s
A fairer comparison would probably pitch DH-2048 against ECDH-256, which is more apples-to-apples.

jevinskie 1 day ago 0 replies      
I always liked the ECC segment of a Purdue crypto course: https://engineering.purdue.edu/kak/compsec/NewLectures/Lectu...
picomancer 1 day ago 1 reply      
The article says that the two functions,

    f : x -> pow(x, pubkey) mod m    g : x -> pow(x, privkey) mod m
being inverses of each other was a big breakthrough when it was discovered. The article implies, but does not directly state, that this "big breakthrough" was part of what separated the "classical" era of cryptography (pre-1977 as defined by the article) from the "modern" era (post-1977).

The "big breakthrough" result was actually proven by Euler hundreds of years ago! [1] The innovation of RSA was building a working public-key cryptosystem around Euler's result, not the result itself.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euler%27s_theorem

wfunction 1 day ago 0 replies      
The NIST document was a backdoor, there's no question about it.


mrcactu5 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why do ECC when RSA-2048 works just fine? One argument I keep hearing is that as we keep factoring the RSA numbers we just come up with bigger ones.

Not a cryptography expert here, I don't know how to respond to these.

wnevets 1 day ago 0 replies      
Steve Gibson did a pretty good job explaining this for normal folk (like me) on his podcast IMO.

Episode #374https://www.grc.com/securitynow.htm

j2kun 1 day ago 1 reply      
From what I understand theoretical improvements in factoring algorithms go hand in hand with theoretical improvements in discrete logarithm algorithms, and for both there are algorithms which improve slightly over the trivial approach. ECC is considered better because of the believed constant factor slowdown in arithmetic operations on elliptic curves, not because discrete logarithm is considered harder than factoring. This article implies the opposite quite directly.
acjohnson55 1 day ago 1 reply      
I realize the point of the article is to make cryptography accessible, but if I'm not mistaken, their example of the use of RSA is to use it just as a substitution cypher, which would be easily decrypted by frequency analysis....
weavie 1 day ago 2 replies      
So if decrypting an RSA encoded message just involves multiplying the message by itself x amount of times, couldn't you just do keep multiplying until the result message makes sense, then you have discovered x?

Sure in the example the key was so small it could only do one character at a time. With a larger key you wouldn't know the length of bytes to decode in one go. But that would only slow things down a bit.

There must be more to it than that?

chime 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can someone explain why 7 and 13 (max 91) with 5 as public key, gives 29 as the private key for RSA? I wish he had explained that bit too.
arc_of_descent 1 day ago 0 replies      
If its too TL;DR for you to read right now, just read the first page. It's a great introduction to RSA and the use of prime numbers with real examples.
uTorrent tricking users into changing default browser settings? utorrent.com
187 points by gantengx  1 day ago   146 comments top 40
buro9 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ah, this explains what happened to my girlfriend who was using bittorrent to download bundles of academic papers.

I couldn't figure out why all of her search and homepage settings had changed, and how they were so resilient that they were re-applied.

I did find SearchProtect, and eventually managed to remove it (uninstalls, + registry hacking, + force deleting files, + nuking the browser installs and re-installing).

But I hadn't figured out where it had come from as my girlfriend didn't believe that she'd installed anything and although I saw uTorrent I thought nothing of that since I didn't believe it installed such `add-ons`.

For those who encounter this, SearchProtect is really nasty. Really hard to remove.

gilgoomesh 1 day ago 11 replies      
Simple: don't use uTorrent. Use Transmission instead:


laureny 1 day ago 4 replies      
First Vuze, then uTorrent. It looks like the life cycle of any popular torrent application is:

- Starts very light, bare bones, downloads torrents and that's all

- Gets bloated with more and more features that nobody wants

- Partners with a shady company

- Dies

Off to alternatives I go.

cmsimike 1 day ago 4 replies      
Wasn't uTorrent The Best Thing Ever when it first hit the scene? I seem to recall it was this application. It was about a 93k executable that didn't need to be installed. Just download and run. It was my go to torrent client of choice during my Windows days. Sad to see it become this.
xanderstrike 1 day ago 0 replies      
Switch to Deluge[1]! It's Free Software, and is so similar to uTorrent you won't notice the difference.

The day uTorrent pushed the update that tried to install a browser extension I was absolutely done with them. I do not support malware in any shape or form.

[1] http://deluge-torrent.org/

product50 1 day ago 2 replies      
Surprising that no-one is talking about Yahoo and their tactics to get more users. I am sure SearchProtect and Yahoo! here have a deal to push as many default searches as possible to drive revenue.
alan_cx 1 day ago 1 reply      
If memory serves, uTorrent lost trust-ability when it got sold. IIRC, that means post version 1.6.1 it became a concern and began to needlessly bloat. Prior to that is was a brilliant bit of software.

1.6.1 is light weight, unmolested, and still worth using.

znowi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is an unusual step for Yahoo. Who would think that a hijack process that tempers with user's browser settings is a good idea? Hello, Marissa Mayer?

As for uTorrent, it's been going down this path for a while, gradually introducing crap into the app. And this one is the last for me, as well.

Btw, apparently, they turned off registration on the forum to ward off the mounting complains. When I go to https://forum.utorrent.com/register.php, I'm greeted with Get lost spammer, we don't need your kind here. And of course the topic is closed. Well done.

lingben 1 day ago 2 replies      
Simple solution: go back to using the old, barebones, simple, fast utorrent v 2.2.1


runs fast, no ads, no issues, just works!

paulrademacher 20 hours ago 1 reply      
This isn't malware. Malware is defined as software meant to disrupt or compromise your machine.

This is fuckyou-ware. Software that serves a reasonable purpose, but does it with utter contempt for the user.

sheepz 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is why I love Linux. Every generic piece of software comes with no BS attached.For example, on Windows, if you want to mount an ISO you have to download some shady piece of software, the installer of which comes bundled with n toolbars. In Linux it's a matter of a simple one-line command...
orillian 19 hours ago 0 replies      
For people having issues finding the files that need to be removed, look for anything related to Conduit; and remove that. SearchProtect and a few of the other names are not what the software is called in all cases it seems. I had to remove this from my wifes machine yesterday, and everything was related to a Conduit installer. No mention of SearchProtect.

uTorrent is gone in our case, I've moved her over to using Qget with our Qnap NAS and while it's not as feature rich as uTorrent it's a much better option. And it's one I can watch and control a little better as well!

mercurialshark 1 day ago 1 reply      
So glad someone posted on this bullshit. Not only has uTorrent started doing this, but BBEdit 10 and some other previously not super shady software has too.
eYsYs 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of an argument given by my friend proposing that a person has a higher tendency to do bad to the people who we know are bad. Even your good-guy-Greg has an inclination (of sorts) to bring down/harass/make money off your scumbag-Steve, even when Steve's actions were inconsequential to Greg; which I thought was an apt observation from someone who thinks a lot in absolutes. Maybe its the 'easy to get away with factor' or maybe its the karma kicking in.

My point is, torrent usage is synonymous to piracy, infringement and other illegal activities. So, perhaps it is this tendency that makes people at uTorrent think that it is not totally wrong to rip off people who are ripping off content & software makers. In my experience, I never fully trusted uTorrent. It is simply difficult to trust something that allows advertisement of malware, porn, fraudulent sites. It started off quite well, but then it has been on my watch list since quite some time now.

mmvvaa 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I would love to hear from Yahoo (hopefully from Marissa Mayer, or whoever authorised it at Yahoo), and from uTorrent. I was personally chearing for Yahoo's new breath of hope, under Mayer's leadership. This is a pretty crappy move. An apology would be enough.
ParadisoShlee 1 day ago 3 replies      
Even Sun installs some kind of ad toolbar in Java!
PeterisP 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't use 'official' installers manually ever, for this same reason that they try to cheat you into 'agreeing' to something - use something like http://ninite.com/ that run the installers with the correct no-to-optional-malware options.
mmvvaa 22 hours ago 0 replies      
The only positive aspect of this, and make no mistake - this does not excuse their fishy behaviour - is that Yahoo has lead the way in defending its user's privacy against the NSA.
Fuxy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Actually qBittorrent seems to be a good alternative. Let's see how good it is compared to uTorrent.

I was looking for a simple replacement for uTorrent for a while now. I have been using linux for years now and was surprised how awful it became while I was off windows.

gnidan 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there any response from uTorrent about this? Didn't see any posts by any admins or moderators in that thread; I was wondering if they said anything besides just closing the topic?
tn13 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Report search protect to All anti-viruses, report to Yahoo!, report to their domain name provider and hosting providers.
yitchelle 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just an off topic question as it was a while ago since I left the world of torrenting. Back in the day, it was mainly music and movies that most folks were trying to get. What else are being torrented these days?
x0054 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is exactly why I have such a love/hate relationship with BitTorrent Sync. I use it a lot, and it works so great, but I so wish it were open source.
pbreit 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just tried installing and after declining the offer the installer hung. Buh bye.
wnevets 1 day ago 0 replies      
I havent upgrade utorrent is years because of how bad BitTorrent Inc. made it.
Akujin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Use old versions of uTorrent. Before it was bought out by BitTorrent, Inc.

Now it's just another parasite on the internet.

pavel_lishin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Damn; and I blamed Firefox for this.
olov 1 day ago 0 replies      
Use qBittorrent instead if you like the feature-set of uTorrent. In particular, qBittorrent's UI is modeled after uTorrent. It is open source and works on Linux, OS X, Windows, FreeBSD and OS/2(!), supports sequential downloading (aka download in order or streaming) and has an optional web UI. http://www.qbittorrent.org/
DDR0 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oh, man, this one ultimately was the last straw that broke my old XP box's back. I accidentally clicked through the set-up, and I didn't really have the sysadmin chops to fix it at that point. Whatever hitched a ride on search protect slowed that machine to a crawl. I ultimately ended up installing linux on it, but it's just not the same anymore.
parski 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I switched to rTorrent with ruTorrent a few years ago. I haven't used uTorrent since. It's perfect if you have an old machine laying around somewhere. Just whip out your favourite flavor of Linux and you're golden.
vezzy-fnord 1 day ago 1 reply      
uTorrent is a horrendous bloat, anyway. Personally I used rTorrent for a while (minimal ncurses interface, very appealing to me) but later switched to Transmission.

I've also used Deluge, but there's nothing too special about it in my eyes.

gesman 1 day ago 0 replies      
uTorrent started selling itself short quite a while ago.

I stopped using it about 2 yrs ago for similar reasons. It's a malware seeding garbage now.

gdy 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have latest uTorrent 3.3 (build 29625) [32-bit] on my Windows box and there is Yahoo in Firefox.
smegel 1 day ago 0 replies      
uTorrent went bad ages ago...ive been using an old, solid version (around 2.7?) for years, no reason to change.

It was a beautiful bit of software.

oddshocks 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like you need you some Deluge.


jaxbot 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not new, though. uTorrent install has been shipping with crap for a while now.
unabridged 1 day ago 1 reply      
this is why "freeware" can't be trusted, the threat of a fork keeps open source developers honest
neoyagami 1 day ago 1 reply      
Since i stopped using windowz in mac i use the official bittorrent app
sydbarrett 1 day ago 3 replies      
I never updated uTorrent, I run 2.2.1 so either find it or I can probably send you the exe.
orbitur 1 day ago 7 replies      
Wow. People are actually angry in that thread because they didn't look closely at the setup steps.

Let's be clear here: the user was still given a choice, but the user "trusted" uTorrent to not force them to make one. Give me a break.

Introducing Cover coverscreen.tumblr.com
187 points by timdorr  1 day ago   96 comments top 25
fidotron 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is a neat idea, however, I fail to see either why it requires so much funding ($1.7m according to TechCrunch) or any server backend whatsoever.
zmmmmm 1 day ago 1 reply      
So how does it work with a PIN / pattern lock?

The problem with most lock screen enhancements is that anything you put there is outside your phone security "firewall" and available to anybody who picks up your phone. The 4.2 lock screen widgets work fairly well with this (eg: you can open the camera app without unlocking the phone, but attempting to swipe over the gallery forces you to unlock). However they are (I assume) using the core framework APIs to do that and I presume support for it is coded into the apps, while this seems to be doing it for any app.

nl 1 day ago 5 replies      
Wow, so much negativity!

What happened to the dreams of a computer in your pocket that knew what you wanted to do?

All anyone can think of is to complain about privacy? Really?

I once did a brainstorm session with a facilitator who taught me a great technique. Whenever someone suggests something you aren't allowed to so "No" or "But" - instead you should say "Yes" or "And".

Try it for a second:

This application tries to predict what you will need when you pick your phone up. Currently it uses serverside processing to help with that. Yes, and imagine what else it could do with that serverside power! No battery constraints to worry about!

Privacy problems are a great way to kill good ideas. Put those concerns aside for a minute and imagine the portability of handheld devices merged with the power of always-on servers.

rcthompson 1 day ago 1 reply      
On a semi-related topic, is it really possible for an app to properly replace the Android lockscreen? I haven't found any way to do it. As far as I can tell, all the "lock screen" apps use a hack where they disable the stock lock screen and then emulate a lock screen by asking you to make the lockscreen app your default home screen and then launching your "real" home screen when you "unlock" them. I've seen it said that they do this because it isn't truly possible to replace the lock screen. The problem is, of course, that this hack sometimes doesn't work or produces weird results often enough to discourage me from using any custom lock screen.
cik 1 day ago 8 replies      
This terrifies me. There's an instant problem of paranoia, and trust here. I would never be okay with the idea of an application monitoring what I'm doing, in order to reorder itself. Mind you, I say all this without knowing if it requests network access.

How do I know you're not sending my usage patterns upstream to CoverCorp? How do I know that you're not reading the Android Music Provider database, and sharing my data back?

PhasmaFelis 1 day ago 3 replies      
I was excited for about five seconds, and then I realized that this thing is way the hell more complicated than I need.

All I want is a way to put the current weather on my lockscreen under the time, and to put immediate access to camera, flashlight, and Google Now there. Everything else I'm perfectly comfortable doing myself. Any suggestions for an app that does that?

27182818284 1 day ago 1 reply      
My initial reaction to this is nothing but love.

I hate the idea it needs all sorts of server connections for their business model. I don't know a way around that, but if they or another company figure out how, that's what people will gravitate toward. Especially given the paranoid climate.

jackbewley 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Android app SayIt has a widget that does something similar to this. It learns purely from usage/recency and is generally very good at presenting you with the apps your most likely to launch. All of the analysis is performed on the device so no information is shared with 3rd party servers. It also sports very fast voice based app launching. No affiliation just use it. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rn.sayit
radley 1 day ago 1 reply      
They're going to have the same problem as Facebook Home. They're essentially doing an overlay activity like most of us do. It only works as they describe provided the user keeps the device unlocked in the system. You can't bypass the device lock screen without rooting the device.
chrisrh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks like to be in competition with Aviate: http://getaviate.com/
pc86 1 day ago 0 replies      
Got my 5S in the mail last week.

This makes me want an Android. Great job, guys!

sscalia 1 day ago 1 reply      
Neat idea, elegantly executed. Exceeds the design standards typical of Android apps.

I've never liked Android's implementation of home/app screens (widgets + some apps, tap to reveal all your apps).

I guess if you want a lot of clocks, Android is great.

This adds another app/button layer...

orenbarzilai 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seems nice, I will definitely give it a try.Remind me of http://everything.me
ejp 1 day ago 1 reply      
This looks really slick!

How well does it work with some kind of lock-screen security? The UX for that is always a hassle, and I'd love to find someone who is doing it well.

wayward-yeah 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wrote an iOS speed-dial app that does the same sort of predication for contacts that this does for applications. It's definitely an order of magnitude less sophisticated, but I though it might be worth sharing:http://nate-at-lightspeed.appspot.com/swiftdial
gameguy43 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting example of a useful smartphone extension that is Android-only because of limitations in the access iOS gives 3rd party apps.
nathan_f77 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why does it need an internet connection? Why is it posting data to a server?
thoughtpalette 1 day ago 0 replies      
Doesn't Android already have a "profiles" mode so you can switch between multiple app layouts and configurations?
lurkylurk 1 day ago 0 replies      
This looks really nice UI wise and the video aesthetic is clean. Great job on that.

Are those interactions simulated though? I'm not an Android user so when I saw how thin the bezel was on that white phone they use I had to look it up.

Turns out it's the S4 Play Edition[1] without the Samsung logo. That bezel isn't right though, I mean the S4 bezel is pretty thin but the video makes it look razor thin. Also: I want razor thin bezels, let's get there.

[1] http://reviews.cnet.com/smartphones/samsung-galaxy-s4-google...

jfaghm 1 day ago 1 reply      
I must've missed something because the site says "launched" but I can't find the app on the site or in Google Play. Or is it only available for certain devices? I have an HTC One Google Play edition.
kronbsy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks like a nicer version of aviate.
samstave 1 day ago 2 replies      
Heh. What the Facebook phone could never be; useful.

It would be good to be able to define actions based on location (either by which wifi I connect to or GPS) - as well as time of day.

(I'd like to have my screen auto dim at 10PM)

g3orge 1 day ago 0 replies      
wow, beautiful device... anyone know which is it?
rstevens11 1 day ago 0 replies      
this thing is slick! Great, thoughtful design that is making me want my android back
unlogic 1 day ago 0 replies      
Right, unlocking the phone prior to opening apps is so hard and boring. Let's just launch them directly from the lockscreen. Wait, apps are accidentally being launched in my pocket. Can I have a lockscreen for the lockscreen?
Meet the Private Companies Helping Cops Spy on Protesters rollingstone.com
180 points by devx  1 day ago   51 comments top 5
thex86 22 hours ago 7 replies      
I was kinda expecting Palantir to be on the list. In other words, they should have been.

I still find it amazing to see how much true 1984 is becoming. I am sure the next phase is thought control, because "crimes" start there and have to be prevented at all costs. Let's get inside the minds of people and put CCTVs and audio recording devices everywhere. In tables under restaurants, in cars, in buses, every possible place. Crime has to be prevented.

The future is scary.

pvnick 22 hours ago 4 replies      
I actually don't have a problem with private surveillance, regardless of purpose. As long as it's legal (!!!), it's probably more effective than what government agencies like the NSA could do with their more intrusive and illegal methods. I would love to see the NSA domestic surveillance done away with and then have some sort of transparent government incentive for companies that can effectively monitor terrorists, dissent groups, disruptive individuals, whatever, legally. Like private investigators looking into terrorist groups. That's fine, and if the public doesn't like what those dollars are being spent on, such as monitoring peaceful protests (and how are police supposed to know the protestors have peaceful intentions unless they look into them? I've seen some nasty things happen at some of the occupy events in Zugatti park...), they can vote the guys out of office who are in charge of designating targets. It's the complete lack of accountability that causes problems...
enraged_camel 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This is normal, expected and working as intended. Adam Smith said it back in 1776 in his book Wealth of Nations:

"Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.

spiritplumber 22 hours ago 2 replies      
How do you boycott these folks if they don't sell to the general public?
danso 23 hours ago 2 replies      
> Another program, made by Bright Planet and called BlueJay, is billed in a brochure to law enforcement as a "Twitter crime scanner." BlueJay allows cops to covertly monitor accounts and hashtags; three that Bright Planet touts in promotional material are #gunfire, #meth, and #protest. In another promotional document, the company says BlueJay can "monitor large public events, social unrest, gang communications, and criminally predicated individuals," as well as "track department mentions." Bright Planet did not respond to a request for comment.

The firehose, which BlueJay presumably collects from, doesn't capture geolocations that aren't already in the public data, right? So it looks like the end of the road for criminals who tweet about their #meth lab and have let Twitter geocode their tweets. Hopefully, that consists of the majority of villains the police have to deal with

The short, tormented life of computer genius Phil Katz (2000) bbsdocumentary.com
180 points by nbaksalyar  2 days ago   62 comments top 16
notdarkyet 2 days ago 2 replies      
Reading this sounds like a hit piece. I don't doubt he drank himself to death. There is an embellishment of events and the author is writing from the perspective as though they/he/she were there.

I am writing this after coming back from the bar with friends. I would actually consider myself someone who drinks too much. I have written code for years, tried and failed on over four startups. I have spent a week in a hospital for suicide and depression. I currently work a cushy job where I make great money and write code that a first year CS student could write.

This man was depressed. He tried to find outlets, self medicate, whatever the garbage we need to say about his actions that we need to say. He needed help. Rather than criticize his failures, lets make a note of how fragile our human psyches are and work towards helping one another cope with our internal battles.

OldSchool 2 days ago 0 replies      
In contrast to the far overused sugary definition, Phil Katz really was a rock star programmer. He also died a rock star's tragic and pathetic death.

There is probably no line between self and business for a guy like PK. At that time you could build a significant program or even a game singlehandedly. Most likely he obsessively made his better ARC program for its own reward (you could use it for free) and he was surprised both by the commercial success and the subsequent legal attack. Very personal indeed, and if he wasn't already a completely tortured soul, that would be more than enough to take away any shred of sense he had made of the world. Give enough cash and free time to someone who has been cracked like that and he quite easily can end up dead from an existential crisis with no practical boundaries.

Considering this was some 25 years ago now, if he thought about intellectual property issues at all, the mindset at that time was very reasonable in that your source code and executable was considered copyrightable like a book - it didn't matter if it provided the same functionality as someone else's program as long as you wrote the code. Just consider the fate of the original spreadsheet for confirmation of this.

To summarize, before you take any stand against the tragedy that is the life of PK, consider that there is probably a huge concentration of people very much like the early Phil Katz right here on HN. The man simply needed help, and he didn't get it.

tptacek 2 days ago 1 reply      
This story might be a bit biased in favor of Katz. Read this take, too:


The team that owned ARC was even smaller than Katz's, and PKARC was based directly on ARC.

mynameishere 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, a big text file isn't a documentary. Download this link for an actual documentary on the subject:


The takeaway is that Katz optimized existing code, his mother ran the pkzip business, they defamed the arczip guys, and Katz himself died a paranoid, drunken wreck. The problem with the doc is that pretty much nobody is there to defend Katz. It's an old war, and really doesn't matter now.

fogleman 2 days ago 5 replies      
An interesting point of view I found via Google:


benmathes 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's brutal, and hard to read, especially when I've experience shreds of that loneliness, that unreasonable fear that you have nowhere and no one to go to.

Each morning I read a note to myself: "The high score isn't money, it's people who love you".

tdubhro1 2 days ago 3 replies      
"As soon as he started drinking, you could see a little smile on his face. That's when he could talk to people, or tell a joke."

Coders in general are susceptible to alcohol for these kinds of reasons. Add in flexi hours (hey it doesn't matter what time I show up as long as I ship code, right?), and it's practically the ideal job for a functioning alcoholic.

I've seen dozens of fellow programmers slip down the slope. It's particularly bad in the financial sector in London, where "trader culture" of hard drinking, drugs and women is seen as acceptable. Usually it's well concealed until early to mid-thirties. Often their situation rapidly degenerates after a relationship breakup or family bereavement. What's fun and social when you're with your friends in your 20s isn't so much when you're 35 and lonely.

It's striking how casual and uninformed the general attitude to this drug is in our industry, e.g. http://zachholman.com/posts/how-github-works-creativity/

znowi 2 days ago 2 replies      
Katz talked freer, laughed harder, stayed up longer and dreamed bigger when he had a drink in his hand, friends say. Drinking brought a painfully shy man out of his shell.

I wonder if alcohol served him as an unfortunate remedy for his introverted person.

And on unrelated note:

He got real good at optimizing programs, and he learned to get the job done with the least amount of instructions and running times.

I like the culture of code bumping back in the day. Although, we now live in a time of abundant CPU cycles and memory, there's still value in that, even above many layers of abstraction. Sadly, increasing number of programmers do not care or even aware of their programs' resource footprint on the hardware.

GuerraEarth 2 days ago 0 replies      
I logged in to read about CodeCombat. Instead, I read this submission. Mostly because it was sitting there forlornly with no comments. Alcoholism is really painful. It in no way lessens the excellence of the contribution of talented people; it only makes us cherish them more. We just don't get to help often because the destruction happens in a way that is inaccessible to outsiders.
npx 2 days ago 0 replies      
I thought this was incredibly sad. It reminded me of my best friend during high school, who took his own life last year:


The brightest of us are the hardest to reach and the most difficult to persuade, but they're also the most painful to lose.

To anyone reading this: if someone that you care about needs help, don't wait until tomorrow. Don't make excuses. Don't fuck around.

ck2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh gosh, I didn't know he had died. This makes me very sad for some reason.
sac2171 1 day ago 0 replies      
Being young, I stumbled on PK Ware once while doing a task for a job. I started inquiring about their service, and was slightly rude to a rep. The conversation went something like...

Me: Why would I pay 40 dollars for zipping software I get for free? You guys are totally late to the game, winzip and winrar already exist.

Rep: ....... Yea, we started the industry, and our founder died from alcohol abuse...

Me: Good joke...


It's a sad tale indeed.

rbanffy 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's really sad to see someone bright self-destruct this way, but I need to say I found the exotic dancer's name, Chastity, almost funny.
anovikov 2 days ago 0 replies      
Phil was my teenage icon. Maybe he wasn't such a great genius, but he did a lot of money out of almost nothing, and never bothered himself much about anything.
mrcactu5 1 day ago 0 replies      
to me this is a glimpse of the computer world near 2000. the idea of file compression just becoming popularized.

these days, every time a startup reaches an IPO, we get a movie, book or long series of articles. we learn the guys revolutionizing social media are total basketcases

adamsrog 2 days ago 0 replies      
"I can think of no more fitting epitaph than the final clause of the original ARC copyright statement:'If you fail to abide by the terms of this license, then yourconscience will haunt you for the rest of your life.'"


Fedora Linux will switch to Python 3 by default fedoraproject.org
173 points by Tsiolkovsky  2 days ago   70 comments top 16
yuvadam 2 days ago 4 replies      
This is a good move towards real adoption of Python 3, and doesn't have as dire consequences as it seems.

Distros that use Python 3 by default (such as Arch and Gentoo) still allow for Python 2 to work side-by-side with Python 3. Proper separation using virtualenvs works seamlessly, and there's no problem at all to work simultaneously on Py2 and Py3 projects.

simonh 2 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of the comments here seem to me to be based on a confusion between Python as a development tool for users and developers, and Python as a base operating system component. These are two very different roles that the language fills.

IMHO confusing these roles and providing, or expecting one install of a language to fit both simultaneously has been something that's irritated me about Unix-like OSes for a long time, much as I love them.

Yes I know there are plenty of tools for installing dev versions of tools side by side with the system components. IMHO doing so should be the default assumption unless you really are developing system scripts or scripts that you explicitly expect to be limited in scope to that OS.

jol 2 days ago 9 replies      
Ok, so I'll state the obvious - it took almost 6 years from release of python 3.0.0 (2008-12-03)[1] till fedora adopting it. And I thought that cheap PHP hosts takes long time to upgrade PHP version.

Can someone with knowledge of python ecosystem explain what took a major distro so long, given that you could run different versions of python in parallel (or couldn't you?) for some of big pro software that needs the old version?[1] - http://python.org/download/releases/3.0/

drill_sarge 2 days ago 1 reply      
The interesting thing is of course:>DNF is the default package manager instead of Yum, which only works with Python 2

Otherwise no big news, since all other major distros are switching to default python 3 too.

ushi 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think it is a little bit silly for a distro that claims to be bleeding edge... (freedom. friends. features. FIRST.)
throwaway9101 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fedora 22 is ... 3 releases out? So we're talking about 12-18 months depending on how soon F20 is due to be released. Still, I'm surprised, and I've been a Fedora contributor since FC5.
thearn4 2 days ago 2 replies      
A good way to get folks to make the switch.

I just wish Python 3 didn't benchmark so much slower than Python 2 in some of my use cases (though I still aim for compatibility with it).

Couple of relevant search results:



Has anyone else experienced this?

puppetmaster3 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is not news. All distros will. News would be: Fedora, that normally is late, has switched to Python 3 a year after others.
mistercow 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there a good reason that the Python project didn't just adopt a new command name and file extension for Python 3? It seems like that would have made the migration a lot less painful.
cafard 1 day ago 0 replies      
I understand the ressons for moving to Python 3. But I'm glad that most of my Python code runs on Windows.
oddshocks 1 day ago 0 replies      
"DNF is the default package manager instead of Yum, which only works with Python 2"

This will be interesting.

pippy 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm still using python 2.7 because many of my libraries require it, such as wxwidgets and pygame.
jessaustin 1 day ago 3 replies      
I wonder if this has any effect on the plans for CentOS? Somehow I suspect there would be more wailing and gnashing of teeth from that user community. (Not a criticism, just an appraisal of what CentOS folks do and how they're set up.)
yiedyie 2 days ago 5 replies      
This will make some people to switch to other distributions, because in some cases making your software compatible with Python 3 is harder than changing distributions.
sigzero 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great news!
dancecodes 2 days ago 0 replies      
it so bravery
Php.net detected as a malware host by Google Safe Browsing google.com
170 points by nivla  2 days ago   168 comments top 31
pierrefar 2 days ago 5 replies      
I work at Google and was the one who posted on our forums about this.

What our systems found was definitely a compromised JS file, and others on this thread have posted something similar to what we saw. This is not a false positive.

We have detailed help for webmasters in this kind of situation:


One thing that I strongly suggest to any webmaster in this situation is to look for any server vulnerability that allowed this file to get compromised in the first place. We sometimes see webmasters simply fix the affected files without digging into security hole that allowed the hack, which leaves the server vulnerable for repeat attacks.

Happy to answer questions.

dscrd 2 days ago 4 replies      
Everybody seems to laugh and rage about this, but could somebody tell me if this is correctly detected or not? I would not be surprised at all if somebody had breached php.net. Did they properly check against intrusions?
dpeck 1 day ago 2 replies      
There seems to be some controversy here, and one of our research systems found the same problem. So heres a quick post and a link to the full pcap so you can see for yourselves.



nathancahill 2 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting that satnavreviewed.co.uk, obbcountybankruptcylawyer.com, stephaniemari.com, and northgadui.com are all owned by the same GoDaddy account.
bmfet 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'd say the tool is broken:


It reports google.com for 142 exploit(s), 131 trojan(s), 98 scripting exploit(s)

jes 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hey, PHP isn't perfect, but calling it malware seems over the top! /rimshot

Thank you, thank you, ladies and gentlemen, I'll be here all week!

ars 2 days ago 2 replies      
A site I visit frequently was once identified as containing malware. I overrode it and went there anyway. (In firefox.)

And now forevermore the icon for that site in the url-bar dropdown is the warning icon, and I have not been able to find out how to change it back to the normal one.

alphadevx 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is what happens when you give too much power to one company. And what is the appeal process? Asking for help on Twitter as the founder of a huge project like PHP? https://twitter.com/rasmus/status/393258264034422785
sarreph 1 day ago 2 replies      
This happened to http://www.iphonedevsdk.com a while ago and did a good job of tarnishing its reputation, all as a result of an arbitrary flag.
camus2 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well somebody screwed up here. Maybe PHP core developpers should concentrate on the security of their own website , it's more than embarrassing. There is no reason why php.net should use anything more than a static site generator.
ma2rten 2 days ago 0 replies      
So was the site of the Thai Police with information how to get a police clearance. Very confusing. However, it seems to fixed now.
16s 2 days ago 1 reply      
False positives are the life of security. Microsoft Updates (update.microsoft.com) was just blacklisted by malwaredomains this week. It happens. Algorithms are not humans.
guard-of-terra 2 days ago 0 replies      
Malware detectors are usually right if overzealous.
wil421 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ha I live in Cobb County I wonder if that's a good bankruptcy lawyer.
LawnGnome 1 day ago 0 replies      
An update has been posted on this: http://php.net/archive/2013.php#id2013-10-24-1

tl;dr: Relevant services moved to new servers; investigation continuing. Post mortem to follow once that's done.

FridayWithJohn 2 days ago 2 replies      
According to Twitter post by Rasmus (https://twitter.com/rasmus/status/393258264034422785) this has been like this for at least 1 day and still has not been fixed. Something tells me that Google has way too much power and the fact that they don't sort out false positives in a timely fashion is really bad.
maxk42 2 days ago 2 replies      
If someone managed to compromise something like the PHP binaries they could cause a lot of damage.
jeena 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hm, so is my Firefox getting this list directly from Google or how does it work?
dlsym 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sure, there are many reasons to dislike PHP. But I wouldn't go as far and call it a malware.
cryptos 2 days ago 0 replies      
This relates to the website, but maybe there should be malware warnings for programming languages too ;-)
edem 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe they used PHP to create the site. :)
ebarock 2 days ago 0 replies      
they should already fixed it, the file that they are mentioning, this "userprefs.js" does it is not harmful
srajbr 2 days ago 1 reply      
whats the news from http://php.net/ webmaster???
igl00 1 day ago 0 replies      
still funny ;)
finalight 2 days ago 1 reply      
if so, that means facebook is also a malware :D
dancecodes 2 days ago 1 reply      
it is not surprised
okonomiyaki3000 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah, what gives?
bhhaskin 2 days ago 5 replies      
One reason I migrated away from php is the fact that there is simply way too many attack vectors. Using frameworks help quite a bit, but it is to easy to miss configure a stock php install. Not saying that is the case here though.
nodesocket 2 days ago 2 replies      
Honestly, I feel like there is nerd rage here; php.net should in no way ever be flagged as malware. Clearly a failure in Google here.
An unofficial alternative to the HN interface hckrnews.com
152 points by fuhrer1996  22 hours ago   76 comments top 36
molecule 21 hours ago 2 replies      
I've been using this for awhile now as my primary HN front-page interface, for several reasons:

- easier to read

- mobile-browser friendly

- auto refreshes

- preserves articles that make it to the front page, and in (reverse) order of the time they made it to the front page, so no need to constantly check the front page and parse all of its contents to see if new articles are posted

cf. http://www.hckrnews.com/about.html

a big Thank You and kudos to its author(s) and maintainer(s)-- it works well and consistently!

moskie 20 hours ago 5 replies      
I've been pretty happy with the HackerNew Chrome extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hackernew/lgoghlnd...
sdfjkl 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
I hacked a Greasemonkey script a while ago because I wanted some easy way to pick out vote/comments. I've been using it for many months now and it's not annoyed me once, which is a good sign. It also leaves the rest of HN alone.

Screenshot: http://cl.ly/image/3G1k2j0w2Q3G

Source: https://gist.github.com/ingmar/5564603

eternalban 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
The (imo quite excellent) hubski.com is built on arc.
bluecalm 19 hours ago 1 reply      
One thing I would love is:

-top X posts by comments from a day/week/month

-top X posts by votes from day/week/momth

What I don't like about Hacker News is that interesting things fall out of front page too quickly and discussion dies I prefer interface where interesting stuff stays at the top longer (amount of comments last week approximate it well in my view).

pwnna 21 hours ago 7 replies      
JimmaDaRustla 21 hours ago 2 replies      
That awkward moment when you're already on hckrnews.com...
city41 21 hours ago 1 reply      
There have been many alt HN interfaces. I try them all, yet I never end up sticking with any of them. I feel like HN meets its needs pretty well and I like that they have resisted change (whether consciously or not)
kbenson 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I used to use this interface, but then I noticed a bug (or interesting feature, depending on your point of view) in that when you were viewing the top 10 or top 20, and loaded more articles, some articles would disappear from the list.

My theory on this is that it was caused by loading articles a certain number of hours back from the current time, and then grouping by day before sorting to the top X.

For example, if the last 24 hours were loaded, and grouped into today and (part of) yesterday, you would get an accurate top X for today so far, and an accurate top X for the portion of the previous day it had fetched.

This was particularly noticeable when I hadn't visited for a few days (I've since rectified this aberrant behavior of mine) and loaded a few past days to review missed submissions. Seeing something that caught my eye disappear as it loaded older content drove me nuts.

It looks like the problem is fixed now, but it's hard to be sure, as it may be more or less likely depending on the time of the day you visit.

I sent a bug report to the developer when I noticed this (in February 2013), but never heard back. I'll happily go back to using this interface if it's fixed though, I found it generally more pleasant to use.

flyingmutant 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Since people are mentioning various other HN interfaces they use, I'd highly recommend to check out Georgify https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/georgify/ofjfdfale...
bhouston 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This website, hckrnews.com, is developed and maintained by Wayne Larsen: https://github.com/wvl

BTW another project of Wayne's is: http://clara.io

js2 18 hours ago 1 reply      
My favorite continues to be http://hackerwebapp.com/ but this has some nice features as well.
triplesec 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I welcome this, but the UI confuses immediately: what's top 10 and top 20? and top 50%? No obvious explanations as to what the referent of "top" is! No scales, no FAQ.

Also, I want to know what the settings are compared with the "official" HN frontpage ordering.

"about" is broken, where I had hoped to find a FAQ

Splendor 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I prefer http://lessmeme.com/less.html because it lets me quickly see which items are new.
aluhut 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish there would be a dark/black edition somewhere.
10098 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there something that lets me fold/hide comments that I have already read (like on Reddit)?
robbyking 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I use StyleBot to customize HN's stylesheet:


bookwormAT 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Look great but unfortunately there is no search. Search is my main entry point into HN.
Killswitch 21 hours ago 2 replies      
I was using it and it's great but the biggest annoyance is the fact that if I wanted to comment, I still had to go to the original HN... So I started using this extension:


Now I just use regular HN with it.

mzs 19 hours ago 2 replies      
It would be nice to collapse or skip all replies to a parent, do any of these extensions do that? I often find some discussion that is uninteresting to me (but might be others for others) and just want to easily get past it. If it is long, it takes some time to find where the indention matches-up many PGDNs below.
Kilimanjaro 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I like this one, everything in one place:


* Mockup, nothing works.

blueblob 20 hours ago 1 reply      
What do you guys use on your phone (if you use an app on the phone)? I have been using an app called "Hacker News 2" in the play store. I generally like it, but the comments are flaky, sometimes it lets me see them and other times it doesn't.
rubiquity 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It brings me much joy to know that this link also appears on hckrnews.com :)
ThomPete 14 hours ago 0 replies      
May i suggest you go off white. Not a lot just enough to unbrigthen the screen.

#FBFBFB for instance.

michaelgold 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The HipsterNews chrome extension is pretty sweet. I've been using it for 3 months or sohttps://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hipsternews/midncc...
zero-g 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I have started using it few months ago and I like it. Mostly because I can read hacker news as pragmatically as I have been reading google reader. I don't need to visit home of HN several times a day to find out if there is any new posts. I just open hckrnews.com and I see what have been posted since my last visit.
nakovet 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Comparing the lists between new.ycombinator.com and www.hckrnews.com some articles on top 10 on the first are missing on the second is that intended and I didn't understand how it works?
usablebytes 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Excellent move! Cheers! Can we also look at those Arials at the top?
cliveowen 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I've always used this, since day one.
Pent 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the only way I use hacker news.
pbbakkum 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using this for about a year, really good interface
pjbrunet 16 hours ago 0 replies      
That's more like it.
eono 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems like the server was not expecting that load...
paborden 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Like this. But can you please kill the hellobar?
filipedeschamps 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you using Node.js?
13throwaway 18 hours ago 0 replies      
It needs HTTPS.
Exact numeric nth derivatives jliszka.github.io
152 points by jliszka  1 day ago   47 comments top 16
backprojection 1 day ago 7 replies      
I think it's worth noting that the problem with numerical differentiation, fundamentally, is that differentiation is an unbounded operator. In finite-differences, (the more obvious approach), you assume that your data are samples of some, general, function.

The problem then, is that that general functions have no (essential) bandlimit [1]. Remember that differentiation acts as a multiplication by a monomial, in the frequency domain [2]. Non-constant polynomials always eventually blow up away from 0, so in differentiating, you're multiplying a function by something that blows up, in the frequency domain. This means that, in the result, higher frequencies are going to dominate over lower frequencies, at a polynomial rate.

Let me be clear, the problem with numerical differentiation is not just that rounding errors accumulate, it's that differentiation is fundamentally unstable, and not something you want to apply to real-world data.

It depends very much on what your application is, however, I think generally a better approach to AD is to redefine your differentiation, by composing it with a low-pass filter. If designed properly, your low-pass filter will 'go to zero' faster (in the frequency-domain) than any polynomial, thus making this new operator bounded, and hence numerically more stable. It's not a panacea, but it begins to address the fundamental problem.

One example of such a filter is Gamma(n+1, n x^2)/Factorial[n], where Gamma is the incomplete gamma function [3].

In Python:

scipy.special.gammaincc(n+1,nx2)ormpmath.gammainc(n+1,nx2, regularized=True)

To see why this is a nice choice, notice item 2 in [4]. This filter is simply the product of exp(- x^2) (the Gaussian) multiplied by the first n-terms of the Taylor series of exp(+ x^2), (1/ the-Gaussian). Since this series converges unconditionally everywhere, as n-> +infinity, this filter converges to 1 for a fixed x (as you increase n), however, since it's still a gaussian times a polynomial, it always converges to 0 as you increase x, but fix n.

This is my area of research, so if anyone's interested I can give more details.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Band-limit[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourier_transform#Analysis_of_...[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incomplete_gamma_function[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incomplete_gamma_function#Spec...

jordigh 1 day ago 4 replies      
Am I missing something or is this begging the question?

For any function that is not a combination of polynomials, you need to have its Taylor expansion up to the desired order of derivatives, so you can't just take an "arbitrary" function and use this method to compute its derivative in exact arithmetic.

So for anything other than polynomials, you just reword the problem of finding exact derivatives to finding exact Taylor series, and in order to find Taylor series in most cases, you have to differentiate or express your function in terms of the Taylor series of known functions.

Edit: Indeed, take the only non-polynomial example here, a rational function (division by a polynomial). In order to make this work, you have to know the geometric series expansion of 1/(1-x). For each function that you want to differentiate this way, you have to keep adding more such pre-computed Taylor expansions.

crntaylor 1 day ago 2 replies      
Very neat. Presumably there is a more efficient method for implementing Nth order automatic differentiation than encoding the dual numbers as NxN matrices, though? To multiply the matrices takes O(N^3) time, whereas by exploiting their known structure I think you should be able to do it in O(N^2) time. Am I wrong?
ot 1 day ago 2 replies      
> they are almost never used in any real automatic differentiation system

They're efficient enough for first-order derivatives. For example they are used in Ceres, Google's library for non-linear least-squares optimization


tel 1 day ago 0 replies      
See also the ad package [1] for Haskell which has a number of interesting features of this vein.

[1] http://hackage.haskell.org/package/ad

BoppreH 1 day ago 0 replies      
I couldn't believe it would work, so I made a toy implementation in Python using simple operator overloading: https://github.com/boppreh/derivative

All values tried so far agree with Wolfram Alpha, so color me surprised and happy for learning something new.

dhammack 1 day ago 1 reply      
There's an interesting python library [1] which implements AD as well as has some neat features like automatic compilation to optimized C. It's developed by the AI lab at the University of Montreal, and is pretty popular in deep learning circles. I've found it to be a huge time saver to not worry whether you screwed up your gradient calculations when doing exploratory research!

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

fusiongyro 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very neat article. This is essentially calculus with infinitesimals (also called "nonstandard analysis") implemented on the machine. If you like the approach, a more general and rigorous investigation can be had by reading H. Jerome Keisler's book Elementary Calculus, which is freely available online in the 2nd edition here:

The third edition is now in print. I've been studying calculus with it off-and-on for a while and I find the approach very intuitive, though Spivak's Calculus is probably a better book, the "standard analysis" is a little less intuitive (and now, evidently, harder to teach a machine).

fdej 1 day ago 0 replies      
This seems to be essentially the same thing as "power series arithmetic" (first-order "dual arithmetic" is equivalent to arithmetic in the ring of formal power series modulo x^2, but you can make that x^n).

Encoding power series as matrices is sometimes convenient for theoretical analysis (or, as here, educational purposes), but it's not very efficient. The space and time complexities with matrices are O(n^2) and O(n^3), versus O(n) and O(n^2) (or even O(n log n) using FFT) using the straightforward polynomial representation (in which working with hundreds of thousands of derivatives is feasible). In fact some of my current research focuses on doing this efficiently with huge-precision numbers, and with transcendental functions involved.

Bill_Dimm 1 day ago 1 reply      
There seems to be a typo at the beginning of the "Implementing dual numbers" section. It says:

  The number a+bd can be encoded as...
Should be:

  The number a+b*epsilon can be encoded as...

mrcactu5 1 day ago 0 replies      
congratulations, you have implmented the Zariski tangent space using nilpotent matrices. welcome to the beautiful theory of algebraic geometry and schemes.


This really does fall in the ream of algebraic geometry since this method only works for rational functions - as he implemented it.

To numerically compute sin(x + ) you need the Taylor series.

gpsarakis 1 day ago 2 replies      
Nice analysis. Hope you don't mind me adding that by omitting terms of the Taylor series you do have some loss of precision, however small. Also, solving linear equation systems may even introduce instability as the following must be preserved: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagonally_dominant_matrix
Pitarou 1 day ago 0 replies      
How does this technique compare to a computer implementation of the kinds of techniques we learnt in High School? Is it easier to implement? More efficient? Are there some situations where it isn't appropriate?
tomrod 1 day ago 0 replies      
This read nicely until I got to the code block. Does anyone else see this as yellow and gray (with syntax highlighting) coloration--such that it's virtually impossible to read?
svantana 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is it just me or this article pretty naive? The headline's use of the word "exact" would imply integer arithmetic only, but the computations are done with floating point. So basically (s)he is trading one rounding error for another, which seems to be small-ish in some particular cases. What about discontinuities? And why forward derivatives only? I hope noone will use this for any application that actually relies on exact derivatives.
Bahamut 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a former mathematician, the second sentence is an abomination:

"...but to give you an overview, the idea is that you introduce an algebraic symbol such that 0 but ^2=0"

       cached 26 October 2013 15:11:01 GMT