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The PC is not dead, we just don't need new ones idiallo.com
551 points by firefoxd  4 days ago   395 comments top 92
simonsarris 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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.

evo_9 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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.

beloch 3 days 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.

dkarl 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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.

keithpeter 3 days 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.

niuzeta 4 days 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 4 days 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

willvarfar 4 days 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.

basicallydan 4 days 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.

davexunit 4 days 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.

dageshi 4 days 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).
exodust 3 days 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.

codegeek 4 days 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 ?
seanmcdirmid 4 days 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!

wahsd 4 days 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.
thom 3 days 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.

DigitalSea 4 days 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.
tehwalrus 4 days 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 4 days 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.

mhurron 4 days 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.

drawkbox 4 days 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.

utopkara 4 days 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.
eliben 4 days 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 :)
kdsudac 3 days 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.

bparsons 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
My .02 is that Microsoft OS stopped being lead-ware. I noticed that since Win7.
pmelendez 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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...

btb 3 days 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 ;)

meerita 4 days 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?

FrankenPC 4 days 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.
ivanhoe 4 days 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)
b1daly 4 days 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.
dworin 4 days 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.

malyk 4 days 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.
shmerl 4 days 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.

abvdasker 4 days 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.

solnyshok 4 days 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...
linux_devil 4 days 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.
avenger123 4 days 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.

tuananh 4 days 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.
goblin89 4 days 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).
tn13 4 days 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 4 days 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.

jrs99 4 days 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.

kayoone 3 days 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.

snambi 3 days 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.
staringispolite 4 days 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 :
fallingmeat 4 days ago 2 replies      
Thinkpad T60 purchased (refurb!) in 2007. Still a rock solid machine. It does get a little warm though..
ausjke 4 days 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.
hmart 4 days 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.
jebblue 4 days 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.
mpg33 4 days 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".

bitemix 4 days 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.
wainstead 4 days 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.
hawkw 3 days ago 0 replies      
If there's no money to be extracted from it, then it's dead in the eyes of industry.
JusticeK 4 days 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).

Sami_Lehtinen 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think computing power/storage is becoming more necessary on the server side than the client side.
nXqd 4 days ago 0 replies      
With all the guide from tonymac, I enjoy building my own hackintosh with cheaper and better hardwares :P
alinspired 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well, PCs performance has never been beaten by tablets and phones.
ffrryuu 4 days ago 0 replies      
The new fanless PC's are pretty cool.
bjoe_lewis 4 days ago 0 replies      
If only Paul let me vote twice.
devx 4 days ago 0 replies      
Either way, terrible news for Intel and Microsoft.
badman_ting 4 days 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.
Why You Shouldn't Interrupt a Programmer heeris.id.au
550 points by libovness  20 hours ago   202 comments top 40
jimbokun 15 hours ago 9 replies      
I liken programmers to extremely expensive equipment for manufacturing software.

When a company invests in expensive equipment like that, it is very important to keep it producing output. So by sending programmers to meetings, your expensive equipment is sitting idle, offline, producing nothing.

Interruptions are like shutting down an entire assembly line. When you turn it in again, it will take time to be running smoothly again.

So to the managers and executives, it is your choice how to utilize this highly specialized, very expensive equipment. You can try to keep it running at full capacity, or frequently start it up and shut it down, take it offline, and leave it sitting idle.

jtheory 15 hours ago 2 replies      
This isn't applicable to only programmers, of course; my wife is a novelist -- there are a lot of high-level concerns that she needs to balance in her head PLUS there's the fiddly nature of creative flow, and it all comes crashing down all too easily.

I had creative aspirations when I was younger (writing and music in particular), and came to programming because it's far more predictable; the costs of interruption are bad, but interruptions can be avoided, and the difficulties can be mitigated (e.g., I take notes for anything complicated, and re-read them when restarting a task; I break compilation as a to-do list, and/or use version control for non-compiling code). Flow is really important, but I generally know how to do it -- get enough sleep, clear away overhanging stress clouds (like "taxes are due soon"), eat well, break tasks down, get the smallest possible thing working, iterate, and so on).

But creative work killed me -- it was so painful to do iteratively; I'd spend 8 hours "writing" a poem that actually didn't coalesce until the 7.5 hour point, at 4am. Composing a bad first draft of anything left me feeling horrible; I never managed to force my way through that as long as I was trying to make it "what I did".

Now that I do something else primarily, I can noodle around creatively and get much more joy out of it -- but those years left me with much more respect for people doing more creatively-oriented mental work than I do.

calineczka 19 hours ago 8 replies      
Once upon a time I was working with a very challenging legacy code and I was building similar constructions in my mind. The office was sometimes noisy and chance of interruption was not that small. So I established a habit of writing kind of stack trace of my own thoughts so that I could easily come back to my state of mind after such thing. It looked like:

  There is a bug in module X    Module is X is calling module Y when user is not yet activated    We are creating user subscription      We are using current subscription in subscription creation        Current subscription is A when user is not activated        Current subscription is B when user is activated          Probably bug in method c()            Think what is going to happen in situation M when changed the implementation to d().
The list sometimes had 12 elements that I was trying to fit in my head to find the solution to the problem. I now work remotely from home (quiet and all that) and most of the code that I work on is of much better quality (another company, better practices) but I still sometimes resort to this method when working on a complicated piece of code that is unfamiliar to me.

teddyh 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Reminds me of this:

Don't Wake Up the Programmer!


jmadsen 18 hours ago 6 replies      
The problem is, the only people who ever read these are other programmer who already know this.

Need to find places where we can post it to NON-programmers

ohwp 19 hours ago 2 replies      
This is also why you shouldn't interrupt yourself ;)

Turn off your e-mail client, phone, messages, internet connection, HN.

Pxtl 12 hours ago 2 replies      
This is also why, as a programmer, it's essential that you manage and handle your email. If you're not available by mail in a vaguely timely fashion, you're going to get people learn to workaround your deficiency by chasing you down in-person or over voice.
nmeofthestate 17 hours ago 4 replies      
This scenario is a bit optimistic. I made a cartoon depicting my open plan office experience: http://imgur.com/fsv1cCq
steven777400 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Every month, I produce a "time usage" pie chart for one of my managers for the month. At one point, he said: "You need to spend less time in meetings."

So I told him I'd be happy to oblige if he wouldn't schedule me in as many. He was shocked and said most of the meetings must be from my other manager (who's a real hands-off kind of guy). So I broke out the details and showed him that the vast, vast majority of my "meetings" time was scheduled by him.

He didn't bring it up again, but also continued to schedule me in as many meetings as before... So I guess that's a decision. :)

rix0r 15 hours ago 2 replies      
To my mind, the cartoon is more of a depiction why you should avoid mutable state and non-local effects.
lotsofcows 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Needs a clock in the background to hammer home the point to non-programmers that it can take an hour to get from the 1st to the 6th panel. Bosses take note: an hours work has disappeared.
ozh 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Will show this to the wife. She has a hard time understanding why working on week-end projects by 45 minute chucks isn't effective as I need 20 minutes to get in the zone and restart my thoughts where I left them
bmelton 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Worth noting, but this article is also a plaintiff cry for why programmers need to write better comments, too.

Edit: I meant plaintive, but my eyes were still crusty with sleep, and I am a giant dummy.

stef25 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Whenever I try to explain this to interrupting colleagues / bosses I always get rolling eyes and "here he goes again", frustrating as hell.
tieTYT 10 hours ago 0 replies      
As a test I sent it to a non-technical friend. She said, "I don't understand". In other words, this only makes sense if you're a programmer. I feel the cartoon's pain, but I can't send this to a manager to help them understand.
SubuSS 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Late comment but: I look at it as a necessary evil. I usually solve it by having a note of the intermediate understandings / thought process on OneNote when I am debugging something deep. It probably takes 2 minutes to get back on the train when disturbed. Yes - I do debug production systems / file system level issues / Storage level issues etc. And yes I am a senior engineer who keeps getting walkin / IM requests.

The flip side of saying no to meetings/walk ups is that the senior won't be doing a good job of unblocking the team. It is a huge waste to leave a bunch of junior engineers solving the same issues that you had solved years ago. Mentoring takes a hit and morale takes a dive in that case.

jipumarino 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I got a 503 error and for a moment I thought it was very insightful.
kineticfocus 18 hours ago 0 replies      
lol... the current page works as a punchline just as well:

Service Temporarily Unavailable

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wiremine 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great! It articulates what most of us programmers feel internally when we're interrupted. What's I'd also love to see is a cartoon explaining the external effect of an interruption. Like, when you interrupt a programmer you're pulling the "stop" cord on an assembly line: it doesn't just effect that individual, but there is a net effect on the overall effort.

(FWIW, I don't think the assembly line is a good example, because programmers work in parallel, not in sequence, but it's the best sort-of-example I could think of on a Monday morning...)

tluyben2 9 hours ago 1 reply      
For me this image shows why there is something deeply wrong with programming at this moment in time; the fact you need to do all those assertions/logical operations in your head instead of the super computer standing in front of you (which is much faster in most those operations anyway) is painful to see. By clicking that line, the IDE should generate all that context (and graphs/charts/whatever) for you in a jiffy instead of you doing that in your head.
jseban 17 hours ago 4 replies      
This is also why you should use pen and paper and not try to keep everything in your head?
waylandsmithers 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't mean to be a downer, and I certainly enjoyed this comic, but I fear that these are the kinds of posts that lead to communities becoming nothing more than memes and other quick laughs on reddit.
Delmania 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Unit tests can go a long way to helping both gain and retain understanding of what a codebase does. Context switching topics is an important life skill. A work place that's free from distractions would be good, but that's not always possible.
niravshah 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This is why programmers (and everyone doing deep analysis/critical thinking) get a huge benefit from taking notes.
strickjb9 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I showed this to my wife and she didn't get it right away. I explained it to her then she said 'Does this mean I need to go?' because we were gchat'ing and I was working at the time (aka waiting for Eclipse to respond). I regrettably told her that we need to wrap it up.
elwell 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The number of upvotes is indicative of a common thread of frustration felt by programmers.
rsobers 14 hours ago 0 replies      
My only qualm with this comic is that it doesn't end in a fit of rage. :-)
djKianoosh 14 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of the commentary places importance on getting stuff done in a single day...

I think sometimes we overlook that really strong problems require many days of active/passive thought. Soooo, sometimes interruptions are good!

NAFV_P 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Let's face it, coders can't multi-task.

Fortunately, computers can do all that for you.

gouggoug 7 hours ago 0 replies      
How ironic is it that when I clicked on "Why You Shouldn't Interrupt a Programmer" I got a 503
tmikaeld 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Someone put it on 9gag http://9gag.com/gag/av0z0Bn
cburgmer 16 hours ago 4 replies      
I disagree with what I think this picture implies. That is shielding the developer from interaction makes him/her more productive. In contrary, interruption and conversation belong to development. The more my fellow developer colleagues talk, the better the code base is.
LeSeb 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Being a programer on trading floor, this happens all the time ...
SworDsy 15 hours ago 0 replies      
It's still funny that now it's a down
known 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Writing software != Selling software

You need mutually EXCLUSIVE skills.

umrashrf 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't access the page.
Spoygg 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Excellent :)
tmikaeld 19 hours ago 1 reply      
hacker news effected the site
LinkedIn Introduces Insecurity bishopfox.com
540 points by shenoybr  4 days ago   155 comments top 33
buro9 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 7 replies      
What's the difference between this and using an app such as Mailbox?
etchalon 4 days 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.
dclowd9901 4 days 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?

csmatt 4 days ago 4 replies      
LinkedIn just seems overwhelmingly sleezy to me. How do they keep getting away with this stuff?
martinbc 4 days 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.

kevinpet 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 2 replies      
To celebrate this, I removed LinkedIn apps from my devices.
sytelus 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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?
mcenedella 4 days 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.

foxylad 3 days 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.

tzury 4 days 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.

pavel_lishin 4 days ago 1 reply      
Good thing I use gmail.
scotty79 3 days 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.

gohrt 4 days 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.

foxylad 3 days ago 0 replies      
Opportunity time... are there any more scrupulous alternatives to LinkedIn?
shenoybr 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how this affect BYOD to work. Corporations would be furious to have their email content scanned by linkedin.
cognivore 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 3 days 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 4 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
Shocking how something like this came out of Linkedin and Apple has not booted them from the App store yet?
C-- cminusminus.org
530 points by msvan  1 day ago   71 comments top 21
carterschonwald 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hey everyone, I'd like to point out that the c-- domain is no longer cminusminus.org, the historical site can be found on norman ramsey's homepage here http://www.cs.tufts.edu/~nr/c--/ ! It also has actual reading material / papers!

The cminusminus domain is no longer valid (though it has more modern CSS), also it lacks links to all the informative papers!

C-- is very similar overall to LLVM IR, though there are crucial differences, but overall you could think of them as equivalent representations you can map between trivially (albeit thats glossing over some crucial details).

In fact, a few people have been mulling the idea of writing a LLVM IR frontend that would basically be a C-- variant. LLVM IR has a human readable format, but its not quite a programmer writable format!

C-- is also the final rep in the ghc compiler before code gen (ie the "native" backend, the llvm backend, and the unregisterized gcc C backend).

theres probably a few other things I could say, but that covers the basics. I'm also involved in GHC dev and have actually done a teeny bit of work on the c-- related bits of the compiler.

relatedly: i have a few toy C-- snippets you can compile and benchmark using GHC, in a talk I gave a few months ago https://bitbucket.org/carter/who-ya-gonna-call-talk-may-2013... https://vimeo.com/69025829

I should also add that C-- in GHC <= 7.6 doesn't have function arguments, but in GHC HEAD / 7.7 and soon 7.8, you can have nice function args in the C-- functions. See https://github.com/ghc/ghc/blob/master/rts/PrimOps.cmm for GHC HEAD examples, vs https://github.com/ghc/ghc/blob/ghc-7.6/rts/PrimOps.cmm for the old style.

m_mueller 1 day ago 2 replies      
Could someone enlighten me what's the advantage of this over LLVM-IR?

Edit: Ok, I've found the following SO thread: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3891513/how-does-c-compar...

sambeau 1 day ago 1 reply      
According to this, C-- is still a large part of the Glasgow Haskell Compiler. It looks like (Fig 5.2) code goes into C-- before being translated to LLVM.


peapicker 1 day ago 1 reply      
When I first entered college in 1988 there was a small DOS compiler floating around called C-- back then, which I got from some BBS (yes, a BBS, how antiquated!), probably in 1989. It was a mix of a subset of C and proto-assembly. I have looked for it a few times over the years, and this one isn't it, although it has some similar ideas. It makes me wonder how many other little-known C-- projects there are.
gdonelli 1 day ago 0 replies      
"As of May 2004, only the Pentium back end is as expressive as a C compiler. The Alpha and Mips back ends can run hello, world. We are working on back ends for PowerPC (Mac OS X), ARM, and IA-64. Let us know what other platforms you are interested in."
secoif 1 day ago 4 replies      
According to this infographic, a C-- was the influence for JavaScript.


If this has any truth (perhaps a different c--?) I'd like to know which one is being referred to.

ohwp 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, I was surprised by the content of the website. I think this is how a website should be.

First they are talking about the problem and then they present the solution.

I also like the words that are marked bold.

This is how interaction design should be done (imho).

cylinder714 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another take on portable assembly languages is Dan Bernstein's qhasm: http://cr.yp.to/qhasm.html

An overview here: http://cr.yp.to/qhasm/20050129-portable.txt

jliptzin 1 day ago 2 replies      
I own the cminusminus.com domain. Was planning on using it for a blog, mainly to post horrible c/c++ code snippets I come across. If anyone wants it, let me know.
Radim 1 day ago 3 replies      
The originality (and practicality!) of choosing the name "C - -" leaves me speechless.
protomyth 1 day ago 1 reply      
I must be missing something since I see the line "The specification is available as DVI, PostScript, or PDF.", but cannot find any download link.
Dewie 1 day ago 1 reply      
Say you're writing a compiler for a language in Haskell, and you want to generate machine code rather than having it be interpreted. Is C-- a natural choice on this platform? Or might LLVM be a better choice?
sanxiyn 1 day ago 0 replies      
For another take on this area, I recommend reading about Pillar from Intel. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1433063
vezzy-fnord 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is pretty old. I don't know if anyone else besides the GHC team use it?
jdc0589 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool! the first parser/compiler I wrote was for C-- (the version that is a small subset of C, not this one). Had not even heard an mention of the different C-- languages for a few years now.
paulhodge 1 day ago 0 replies      
Would C-- be a good choice for JIT machine code generation, or is it mostly for static compilation?
mrcactu5 1 day ago 3 replies      
this seems really awesome, but I have no idea what it does?

I know that Python compiles to C and that Clojure compiles to JVM (or even to JavaScript).

My cartoon:

  scripting lang --> programming lang --> native code
Honestly, I have never experimented with Assembly language much except for COOL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cool_(programming_language)) and TOY (http://introcs.cs.princeton.edu/java/52toy/).

ErsatzVerkehr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where can I find a code example?
EGreg 1 day ago 1 reply      
How does C- compare to CIL of .NET?
EGreg 1 day ago 0 replies      
If the language is called C-, how come the website is named Cminusminus?
davebees 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is the 'minus minus' being converted into a dash throughout?
Lou Reed, Velvet Underground Leader and Rock Pioneer, Dead at 71 rollingstone.com
479 points by coloneltcb  1 day ago   109 comments top 26
bbx 1 day ago 3 replies      
The Velvet Underground's career can be summed up as: "Commercially unsuccessful, but enormously influential".

On a side note, if you have a few minutes to spare, read Lou Reed's review of Kanye's Yeezus: http://thetalkhouse.com/reviews/view/lou-reed

It's interesting to read a legend's opinion on a modern pop-star.

mcphilip 1 day ago 6 replies      
RIP Lou Reed, one of my favorite musicians. The song Heroin has so much dissonance and noise throughout that it's almost revolting to listen to. Over time it grew into one of my favorite songs in that I learned to find beauty in the clash of consonance and dissonance. At the risk of hyperbole, that mindset of finding something new from the conflict of opposing forces is something that now applies in far more areas of my life than just music, and the VU was the vehicle that introduced me to that philosophy.
cabbeer 1 day ago 5 replies      
"Only about 3000 people bought Velvet Underground albums, but all of them started a band."
wyclif 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's my fave obituary so far: http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2013/10/27/l...

Jenny said when she was just five years oldThere was nothin happenin at all

It was the fifties. We were living in cookie cutter houses in the suburbs. Our parents will still recovering from the war, buckling down and making a better life for their children, with barbecues and trips to the beach and

Every time she puts on a radioThere was nothin goin down at allNot at all

The radio was primarily for baseball. They played music, but it did not change our lives and then

Then one fine mornin she puts on a New York stationYou know, she dont believe what she heard at all

It happened overnight. Sports became secondary. The music, the politics, suddenly life was full of opportunities and children were the leaders, not their parents.

She started shakin to that fine fine musicYou know her life was saved by rock n roll

Imagine that. Not an iPhone. Not an iPad. The greatest exponent of technology was the transistor radio, almost no one had a color television set, never mind a flat screen. But that rock and roll music coming out of the tiny speaker or earphonewas enough.

wavesounds 1 day ago 2 replies      
One of the most important musicians of all time. The Velvet Underground inspired countless musicians and greatly influenced whole genres of music, it's hard to see how Punk would have existed without the Velvet Underground.

Lou Reed's greatest contribution though was his ability to mix great song writing with artful experimentation. From ST with Nico to Loaded to White Light White Heat to Vicious and Metal Machine Music, Lou consistently wrote great songs and expanded the worlds musical pallet. He will be missed.

Samuel_Michon 1 day ago 1 reply      
We can discuss Lou Reeds contribution to the Velvet Underground, I sure could fill hours and hours. He made some great albums later on as well. When I was studying English lit, Edgar Allen Poes works were covered. About 6 months later, Reed came out with his album The Raven. That was magical to me, deepening the experience I already had reading EAPs work.


draegtun 1 day ago 0 replies      
Surprised but deeply heartened see this at top of HN. I'm a long time fan of Lou Reed and was extremely saddened when I heard of his passing earlier today. Good to know his music and life also had strong effect on other hackers.

Between thought and expression lies a lifetime

dhughes 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's sad he wasn't really all that old, 71 is like the new 61. He had a great adventurous life more than most people but still way too young.

Love your liver!

I'm not sure what Lou's situation was but this is a good time to stress your liver is important and a lot of people abuse it. You don't have to drink alcohol to have liver problems I'd say there is a huge stigma whenever people hear about people having liver problems.

I suddenly developed fatty liver, I'm a non-drinker, no drugs and slim, it was either my diet or the heartburn drug (the only drug) I am taking. Right now my right side and back ache constantly it's not fun.

deveac 1 day ago 0 replies      
From a young age, no other artists expanded the definition of what it meant to fuse creativity, art, & music more than Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground. There are not too many artists that I can honestly say redefined music for me. He was one of them.

Thanks Lou.

balbaugh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lou Reed reviewing the new Kanye West Album Yeezus.


lcasela 1 day ago 1 reply      

The Velvet Underground/Lou Reed's music really helped me during a hard part of my life.

state 1 day ago 0 replies      
'The Quine Tapes' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bootleg_Series_Volume_1:_The_Qu...) has always been one of my favorite records to put on while programming.
digitalboss 1 day ago 0 replies      
While you code/hack, here's the Full Album of Lou Reed's Transformer....Today is NOT a perfect day. Be sure to select HD for playback quality.


danieldk 1 day ago 0 replies      
After Zappa and Beefheart, one of the last great musical rebels of the 60ies has died. It's a sad day.

Since everyone else does sweet songs, let me add this :):


Thank you Lou Reed for all the great music!

mbubb 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Today, I have had 3 emails from college friends who I haven't heard from in a while. Funny how many vivid memories from that time are music related.
mlinksva 1 day ago 0 replies      
Condolences to spouse Laurie Anderson.
ssully 1 day ago 1 reply      
Damn you Sony and your Perfect Day commercials...

I think now's a good time to go listen to Transformer again.

gngeal 1 day ago 0 replies      
First thought: 1998, Lou Reed, Plastic People of the Universe, and Vclav Havel in the White House: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.16834349884.22255....
rpupkin 1 day ago 0 replies      
1984, Pittsburgh's Syria Mosque. I saw just about anybody worth seeing back then (including The Who the night before the Cincinnati tragedy) but Sweet Lou was the only show after which I had serious hearing loss. It lasted for days. I recall being quite concerned at the time.
crapshoot101 1 day ago 1 reply      
Damn it - amazing musician. Hope he's taking the proverbial walk on the wild side.
leemcalilly 11 hours ago 0 replies      
His literary agent said that "He was as good an artist as one can possibly be". I think that just about sums it up.
jskonhovd 1 day ago 0 replies      
I saw him a couple of years ago in Memphis. Great show. He will be missed.
daveyoon 1 day ago 0 replies      
He lived a very full life.
bart42_0 1 day ago 0 replies      
so sad
cprncus 1 day ago 10 replies      
I don't see how general celebrity deaths are hacker news. I would like to read about tech and computer news and ideas; if I wanted this, I would read general news sites.
bjourne 1 day ago 2 replies      
Should be OT for HN.

Thanks for the downvotes guys. Fine if you loved Lou Reed, but how would you feel if Hacker News featured every famous person death you didn't care about? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaths_in_2013

Would you still visit the site?

NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders theguardian.com
479 points by qubitsam  4 days ago   223 comments top 32
conductor 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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.

ceejayoz 4 days 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.

grey-area 3 days 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.

todayiamme 4 days 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 4 days 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.

gambiting 3 days 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.
jmilloy 3 days 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?

ethana 4 days ago 2 replies      
US Foreign Policy: How to turn friends into enemies and isolate yourself from the world
spurgu 4 days 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 4 days 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.

krapp 4 days 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.

jessaustin 4 days 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.

npalli 4 days 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.

Theodores 4 days 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.

cateye 3 days 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?

jnardiello 4 days ago 0 replies      
Quite expected. My disappointment with the US gov and its general attitude is reaching new levels. Really BAD.
pvnick 4 days ago 2 replies      
Watch as the flag-all-NSA-stories brigade pushes this relevant story off the front page...
coldcode 4 days 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 4 days 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.

omonra 4 days 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).

isaacdl 4 days 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?
chunkyslink 3 days ago 0 replies      
One way to tell if they are still doing it. Give them honeypots, hook them and wheel them in.
KMag 3 days 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.

ACow_Adonis 4 days 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?

malandrew 3 days 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.
njharman 3 days 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 3 days 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 4 days 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 3 days 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.
sheikhimran01 2 days ago 0 replies      
I believe NSA is as much important as Android is to Google.
April 5, 2007: "Show HN, Dropbox" ycombinator.com
464 points by epa  22 hours ago   158 comments top 37
SwellJoe 22 hours ago 5 replies      
I was among the naysayers. I first met Drew at pg's house just before Dropbox did YC. I listened as he explained Dropbox, and I immediately thought of a dozen reasons why it would be very difficult and probably fail (I'd recently worked on something very similar for a month or so just to figure out whether it was a direction I wanted to go with my own company, so had some familiarity with the scale of the problem...I also knew the allure of the simple parts of the problem).

I don't recall a whole lot about the conversation; I thought Drew was smart, and he seemed to have a pretty good understanding of all the problems he was going to have to solve. But, I still had my doubts, and walked away assuming Dropbox would not be one of the success stories out of that upcoming YC batch. We see who from that conversation is now a billionaire (or will be in the coming years)...so, it seems I was wrong. Or, at least, overly pessimistic about Drew's understanding of the problems and his ability to resolve them.

I refer to this pretty frequently to try to remind myself not to be the naysayer in the room: http://paulbuchheit.blogspot.com/2007/03/how-to-be-right-90-...

toddmorey 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm reminded of this Quora post on the popularity of Dropbox:

"Dropbox: Why is Dropbox more popular than other programs with similar functionality?

Well, let's take a step back and think about the sync problem and what the ideal solution for it would do:

There would be a folder.You'd put your stuff in it.It would sync.

They built that.

Why didn't anyone else build that? I have no idea.

"But," you may ask, "so much more you could do! What about task management, calendaring, customized dashboards, virtual white boarding. More than just folders and files!"

No, shut up. People don't use that crap. They just want a folder. A folder that syncs."


novum 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Not to be that guy, but since no one else has mentioned it: a file in Dropbox is a file shared with the NSA.

I was a happy paying Dropbox customer since 2008 but downgraded my account to the free tier a few months ago. I no longer consider Dropbox trustworthy for anything except (1) trivial files and (2) files encrypted client-side before they're put into Dropbox.

Even with the above, I had two specific use-cases that only recently did I resolve:

- 1Password Sync. Dropbox is no longer necessary here since 1Password natively supports iCloud sync across Mac and iOS.

- Arbitrary file-sharing between Mac and iOS. Dropbox is no longer necessary here ever since I've been running BTSync[0], which has worked flawlessly in my experience.

It might be time to cancel Dropbox entirely.

[0] http://labs.bittorrent.com/experiments/sync.html

swalsh 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Read the comments there. Now come back. This is why you don't ask engineers for business advice. I can't tell you how many times I've come up with an idea I think is great, go to work, and talk to my buddies in firmware. The first thing almost all the time out of their mouth is basically "why don't use solution x, in addition to y, which will basically give you the same thing" where x and y are great technologies, but kind of hack to accomplish what you're doing. It kind of always kills my energy.

Giving advice is cheap, and deceptively easy to make sound wise. I've found when you want to bounce an idea, you need someone smart, who will tell you what you're missing... but also be open to new ideas. A lot of people lean on either side of that line. Engineers for some reason tend to lean on the pessimistic side.

singular 17 hours ago 4 replies      
Though they have been very successful, it's a pity that in my experience they have turned into something of a big co in the way they deal with customers and quite sneakily hide important technical limitations from hackers who might want to use them.

After a year or two of happy premium-paying use, I noticed dropbox was using 100% of my CPU. Some googling suggested this was due to having too many files. Ok, fair enough, perhaps there are technical limitations meaning indexing >300k files is tough (very easy to get to that count if you're keeping open source codebases on DB), so I move files out of dropbox and clear its cache. After a week of constant 24/7 100% CPU usage and dropbox failing to update anything, I contact customer support and get sent copy + pasted boilerplate telling me to do what I've already done.

After more than one email to say 'I've done that, what next?' I get told it's due to symlinks in my dropbox folder. I have several in node_modules folders, and have never had a problem with them before, so I find this weird but remove all symlinks from my dropbox folder. No change after several days.

I try deleting files on the web interface - it refuses to do so for a folder with a large number of files in, and tells me to use the desktop interface (great...)

Also throughout this dropbox repeatedly overwrites work files while I'm working on them (thankfully with backups.)

At this point the customer support tells me how to delete my account if I'm not happy and they simply stop replying to my (polite) emails.

Googling around it appears this issue has existed for at least a year and a half, and yet there is very little mention of it (there's a bulletpoint hidden away on their website) nor does the interface warn you about it at any point. How hard would it be to at least add a notification like 'looks like you're adding a lot of files, please don't add too many more or I might stop working'.

I used to hold up dropbox as a great example of a YC company that was technically innovative and something of a hacker's company, but this experience has left me quite massively disappointed.

thecoffman 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Straight from Drew himeself:

   data's stored on s3, and encrypted before storage -- there'll be another    option to enter in an additional passphrase (or private key) when installing    in order to encrypt your data before it leaves your computer (kind of like    what mozy does.)
It is sad to me that this never came to pass. I guess the desire to offer a web interface overrode the idea of encrypting the files before they left your computer. Not that you can't use your own encryption, but having it built in would have been great.

bstar77 22 hours ago 4 replies      
Dropbox is definitely a case where a single person's vision was required to create a revolutionary product. Judging by the comments, leaving it to HNers as a group would have just resulted in a faster usb drive.
Osiris 12 hours ago 3 replies      
I loved this comment:

> 1. For a Linux user, you can already build such a system yourself quite trivially by getting an FTP account, mounting it locally with curlftpfs, and then using SVN or CVS on the mounted filesystem. From Windows or Mac, this FTP account could be accessed through built-in software.

Trivially use three different systems to simulate some type of not quite automatic syncing.

Why do Linux users often claim something is "trivial" and then go on to list obscure commands and software packages that have to be tied together in just the right way? To me that's "possible to do", not "trivial to do".

asperous 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I think that if pg can't even tell for sure what's going to be successful and what's not, really how surprised can you be that the common HN commented couldn't tell what's going to be big.

If you're a startup and you're pretty sure there's a market for your product, people telling you their gut feeling really doesn't matter imo.

furyofantares 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I wasn't on HN at the time but I do remember being an early user of Dropbox, and I remember being totally blown away on first use.

So I looked into my email to see when I signed up, it was 14 months after this post. I also found a gtalk chat log with the friend that recommended it, and it looks like my memory is quite wrong, I was just as skeptical as much of the linked HN thread:

>the thing about 2gb dropbox

>is i carry 6gb on my keychain

>and 8gb on my phone

>and i don't exactly trust them with important data

>also my iphone has shared folders that look just like any other computer on my network

>the keychain is kind of a hassle though and i mostly don't use it, i should probably throw it away

hackinthebochs 19 hours ago 7 replies      
Honestly, I still think the idea of dropbox is ludicrous. There are many ways to share files, and sending them to a third party to host for you is the worst one of them all. Aside from the few people that really need to multiply their bandwith by many orders of magnitude, a simple file sharing server on their own PC or a server they own would do the job just fine. Besides, dropbox was just yet another iteration of online file hosting (I'm pretty sure rapidshare and megaupload predated dropbox by years), so if file sharing was going to blow up, it would have already, right?

And therein lies the true genius of dropbox. The technology itself had already been done to death; the key was to convince a critical mass of people that this was the solution to their problems. Or even better, convince them of a problem they didn't realize they had. Yet again we see that many times success comes down to the better marketer than truly game-changing technology.

(to be completely fair, their syncing mechanism was the best up until then, plus their add-free freemium model was likely the missing key to success in this space)

hashtree 22 hours ago 1 reply      
If there is any thread that might help comfort you about the pessimism sometimes found on HN, this is it.
tzury 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is my personal experience...

It is actually took place, later on when there was an announcement regarding Dropbox raising from Sequoia .

This was the first time I heard of Dropbox.

Those days building a product which did similar to what dropbox were doing, except that mine used any distributed version control it could find on a computer (I had it supporting git, mercurial and bazzar) and push to servers with SSH.

It was all automatic, built with python, and monitored FS for changes. Supported any number of directories, etc.

So I felt I have this great prototype which I considered starting working on this full-time, till that morning when I read the TC article and I realized it simply been done, and by people who now have $6M in their pocket to make it even more awesome.

Given the effort and dreams I built upon my own version, I remembered how I could not use dropbox for quite some time.

scrrr 18 hours ago 0 replies      
There's people who try everything that is new and enjoy innovation, and there's people who tend to be skeptical at first. The first kind is busy trying out the software while the others are busy expressing their negativity on a website.

And there's of course those who find it a big shame, that Dropbox and other cloud services have become completely unusable thanks to the host country's government.

josteink 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I remember being sceptical at the time (lots of people were). The consensus here on HN seemed to be that Dropbox was trying to solve a problem Microsoft had already tried to solve a million times (file-sync) and the fact that Microsoft had never been able to sell it and get a decent user-base for their service was proof that this wasn't something people actually wanted.

Funny how a good enough implementation and good marketing managed to turn that around.

I don't remember what was wrong with Microsoft's solution, but I remember not buying into it.

pitchups 20 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a perfect example of why you should ignore the naysayers and "experts" on HN when you first pitch your idea or product. Also, a great example of why the best startup ideas look initially like bad ideas (http://www.paulgraham.com/swan.html
netcan 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The top two comments are critical (though not mean).

The first comment is pretty interesting.

'My suggestion is to drop the "Throw away your USB drive" tag line and use something else... it will just muddy your vision.'

He's more or less correct. 'Like a USB' is a bad analogy. Dropbox only replaces some of a USB's use cases and does lot of things that a USB doesn't. OTOH, he's wrong because there is no other 3 word sentence that could have done a better job. 'Like a USB' is probably the best starting point even if it only gets across 25% of the message because 25% is better than nothing. 25% (assuming it's the right 25%) might get the user to install it. Then they might get to know the backup, file sharing/sending, versioning, or whatever subset of functions they use.

fananta 22 hours ago 4 replies      
I think the top comments there show how sometimes the HN folks can get caught up in the details.

I did a show HN today for a restaurant analytics concept and people commented on the ugliness of the launch page and over pixels.

alokv28 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Internet archive link to the demo/screencast: https://web.archive.org/web/20070407145348/http://www.getdro...
phreeza 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting that someone calls this a good competitor to "GDrive", even though google drive was unveiled several years later.

Also interesting is the link to Aaron Swartz's blog, where he describes the need for something similar. http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/lazybackup

fit2rule 19 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm still not using Dropbox. I absolutely detest the idea that I'm relying on a 3rd party for a feature that I consider should be built into every modern Operating System. At the point when OS vendors relinquished to the Web 2.0 Cult their responsibilities for such features as easy filesharing, the world lost something.

Absolutely, its great that people can share files this way. But absolutely, its terrible that it requires fragments of an OS feature to be distributed among multiple, external, unreliable entities.

brianbarker 21 hours ago 1 reply      
"It does not seem very "viral" or income-generating."
e12e 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe the most remarkable thing is how short the comment thread is -- but I suspect that is more an artefact of how much smaller the hn community was back then, than anything else.

Interesting how dropbox managed to succeed in an area with so many competitors.

Finally, I still think it's complete crap for me. But I also see how it's a great packaging and reselling of s3 -- and I'm certainly not surprised it took of (Not saying I necessarily would've bet on dropbox in 2007 -- but the sorry state of webdav in in windows left the market open for anything that offered user-friendly, secure cloud storage, and dropbox ticked (the most commercially important) two of those boxes.

edit: Ok, complete crap is too strong -- but it's a product I have extremely limited use for. While it is easy to migrate away from in the sense that it just stores files, it's not Free software (important for me for anything I use to store my files) and it has no privacy and questionable security (although dropbox+encfs patches up some of that). Still surprising that people didn't seem to see the commercial value -- I absolutely see that (much as I see how people would pay for google apps even if I never would).

th3byrdm4n 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I love this flashback, thanks for sharing. Between being a reminder that group thinking isn't the best thinking, no matter the quality of the group - and encouraging me to get out there - fail and be criticized. . . Great.
tzury 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Also there is a whole thread regarding its YC Application https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=801503 - which sadly, the link itself is no longer available (404).

I assume many would be happy to read it though.

soneca 16 hours ago 2 replies      
FWIW, Dropbox actually DID replace my USB drive (99% of the times at least).
JanLaussmann 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I was reading Drew Houston's YC application: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/27532820/app.html and notices something strange: There is Google Drive's favicon on https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com<link rel="shortcut icon" href="http://docs.google.com/favicon.ico">

Edit: Screenshothttps://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4jNwxVKChpYREZ5ZDZ6Q3Jqb2c/...

kartikkumar 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder how many people that initially thought/said that they wouldn't need/want/use Dropbox are actually using it now. Would be particularly interesting to know what reasons convinced people who didn't believe it would work to end up using it themselves. Particularly, would be cool to know if it was due to lack of understanding of the product, lack of a clear enough pitch, or something else that established the wrong expectations.
levlandau 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Sharp criticism from know-it-alls is often a sign that an idea is good. It's amazing to me how, even though this is common knowledge, good ideas continue to polarize. I'd hate for you guys to convince everyone to be so nice that we skew this long-trusted signal :)
nakodari 15 hours ago 0 replies      
The comments here are a clear proof why founders should take feedback from different sub-set of users. For example, HN audience is build up of programmers, their feedback alone is not what founders should focus on. Dropbox is used by almost everyone I know because of the convenience it provides and the problem it solves. Most of the what commenters here are saying is not something layman users care about; they don't have any technical skills or time to learn to build their own custom sync-systems.
Herald_MJ 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The comments given on HN back then were so much more constructive! I think I started reading HN about a year after this.
poolpool 18 hours ago 1 reply      
So many people today are still harping on the security aspect (Not ~free~ software, you don't own the servers).

How does that matter at all when selling to a large consumer base? How many customers of dropbox know what those words mean?

Like so many commercial offerings you could built it from source and get some hacky scripts going on your own but 99% of the world isn't going to do that.

sidcool 21 hours ago 0 replies      
There were so many naysayers. I didn't know HN existed then.
Aldo_MX 18 hours ago 1 reply      
The secret to success: Trust in yourself, nobody else is going to trust in you.
eridal 6 hours ago 0 replies      
the fact that the their top-post is negative make the history soo cool!!
dcarmo 17 hours ago 0 replies      
"What tools will you use to build your product? Python (top to bottom.)"


devx 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Why would you want to keep your data "in the cloud", if the government uses the argument that as long as your data is on a 3rd party's servers, then it's not yours?
Finally, A Bill To End Patent Trolling arstechnica.com
432 points by drob  5 days ago   62 comments top 15
rayiner 5 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.

TheMagicHorsey 4 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!

throwawaykf 4 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 5 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 4 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 5 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 4 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 4 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

ihsw 5 days ago 0 replies      
One has to wonder how this will affect the TPP, and other greater patent wars across the world.
joshlegs 4 days 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.
freakyterrorist 4 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.
curiousquestion 4 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.
TallboyOne 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank mother of god and all that is holy. This &$&$ bullshit has gone on long enough.
jschnell13 4 days ago 0 replies      
finally is right
otikik 4 days ago 1 reply      
It will not work.

I'm pessimistic like that.

Ask HN: What are you working on and why is it cool?
390 points by superbaconman  2 days ago   730 comments top 298
adrianh 2 days ago 17 replies      
Soundslice (http://www.soundslice.com/) -- animated guitar tabs / sheet music.

Demo: http://www.soundslice.com/tabs/5680/bohemian-rhapsody-for-so...

It's cool because:

* The state of the art in guitar tabs is horrible ASCII crap (example: http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/e/eagles/hotel_california_ta...). Soundslice is a 1000x improvement.

* It solves a key problem for musicians, which is: when you're learning a new song, you generally listen to a recording of it, and it's a pain to cross-reference the recording with the sheet music/tab.

* It's one of the most advanced HTML5 apps on the web. Almost everything is done in <canvas>, and it has dozens of UI details (http://www.soundslice.com/help/). I did a tech talk about the various JavaScript/HTML5 stuff if you're interested: http://37signals.com/talks/soundslice

* Proudly bootstrapped and made by two people.

carleverett 2 days ago 14 replies      
A high performance, affordable personal airplane: http://www.skycraftairplanes.com

It's extremely fuel efficient, can fly 575 miles on a tank, cruises at 118 mph, and comes standard with really nice instrumentation including GPS, collision avoidance, synthetic flight, and an auxiliary input for your iPod. They sell for $55k.

Here's the HN post I made a few months ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5826062

STRML 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm working on a proxy / community-run fork[1] of Healthcare.gov. After all the histrionics about the site's performance and bugs, and upon seeing that it was a Backbone.js app (which I develop full-time), and with unminified/commented source, I thought it might be worthwhile to pull as many files from the repo as I could so that bugs could be reported and fixed in the open.

As the product sits today, it is close to being a functional clone of the site. Healthcare.gov relies on some very complicated and antiquated auth systems, from multiple agencies. It is not enough to simply proxy a few endpoints back to healthcare.gov, some requests need to be spoofed, state saved, etc., in order to make it work properly. They often use absolute URLs in their responses as well, which need to be rewritten. I can imagine this application was an absolute bear to test properly.

I've been working through the login mechanism [2] and it's almost done. I'm excited about the future of the project and it could really use some coders to help out and find / fix bugs. If the project gets some real attention, I think it would be a big help to the folks at QSSI and the nation in general - I really want to help the project succeed because I very strongly believe in universal health care and this is the only way I feel I can personally help out.

[1] https://github.com/STRML/Healthcare.gov-Marketplace[2] https://github.com/STRML/Healthcare.gov-Marketplace/issues/1...

michael_nielsen 2 days ago 5 replies      
A book that explains the core ideas of neural networks and deep learning. Cool because:

* The book incorporates lots of running code for readers to explore and extend.

* The book's philosophy is to go deep into the core concepts of deep learning, not to superficially cover a long laundry list of ideas. This gives readers a solid foundation to build on, and makes understanding other material much easier.

* Deep learning is the most powerful approach known to many problems in image recognition, speech recognition, and natural language. The book will help lots more people get quickly up to speed.

The book will be freely available online, and a beta site is coming soon. Pre-beta mailing list here: http://eepurl.com/BYr9L

rolleiflex 2 days ago 6 replies      
I'm building a distributed network, called Aether, that allows people to create and participate in reddit-like forums anonymously. It's fully encrypted. Take a look at http://www.getaether.net

It's cool because:

* It's anonymous. The posts jump from one node to another with no author information except a nickname. They cannot be traced back to the origin.

* It's encrypted with TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA cipher suite using 2048bit RSA keys. The connections most likely cannot be eavesdropped.

* It gives people an unfiltered, unmodified feed of information directly from the sources, with no intervention or censorship.

* It's unmoderated, so there is nobody that's deciding what you should and should not see. You can block people, however. Every client has a threshold of blocks for each node after which it stops showing that node to the user.

* Zero infrastructure.

This is a tool that can be used to either experience / exercise full free speech here in the west, or can be used for more essential two-way mass communication purposes where other venues are blocked, banned or self-censoring.

mercuryrising 2 days ago 11 replies      
This thread needs more hardware.

I'm making bike lights. First a little story. I was late to class one day in March, pothole season. I was cruising in the drops, when I came up to a T intersection. A van pulls up, and stops at the stop sign. As I approach the intersection, I see a pothole, swerve to avoid the hole, and the van pulls forward. I have about 1 second before I hit the van, land with my back on the hood, slide onto the ground. I'm lying there for a moment, trying to figure out what just happened, wondering whether or not anything is broken. I wiggle my fingers, wiggle my toes, don't feel any pain. I stand up, the guy gets out of his car "Sorry man! I thought you were turning!" I say I think I'm fine... I go look at my bike - it's still upright, the front tire got wedged in a rust spot. I grab it out, hop on, and ride. I couldn't help but laugh the rest of the way to class.

That's the day I decided that bikers and automobiles need better communication. So I made a bike light that's easy to use, has front & back blinkers, brake lights, turns on when you ride (so you can't forget), a bright front light, USB rechargeable, 3400 mAh LiIon battery. I made a 3D printer to print the parts, I did the PCB design, physical design, and software. It's pretty damn cool. I ride pretty regularly and recharge it about once every three weeks. It's surprisingly water resistance - I am a little scared of selling this to people as I didn't know how it would handle water, but I've taken it through two large storms, one with huge puddles splashing all over the cases, and the light handled it all in stride.

Here's the images - http://imgur.com/a/EUzXm

I'm stalling on it a little bit right now - there's not a very good way of bootstrapping into manufacturing. I could 3D print the cases and assemble the boards, but each case takes about 20 hours to print (on my fiddly printer). There's ~100 components too, which is a pain for manual placing and reflowing. I have a couple other designs brewing that are simpler and lower cost, but without all the fancy features. Speaking of which... I have to go get some interrupts working.

capnrefsmmat 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm writing a book about the many ways well-intentioned scientists can (and usually do) screw up statistics:


I started when I was an undergraduate physics major. My entire statistics education consisted of thirty minutes being told not to use R^2. I started reading about statistical abuses and realized that I would probably have committed most of them had I published research -- my training was entirely inadequate. Most scientists do only slightly better.

Combine this with a bit of unhealthy obsession and I ended up with 14,000 words of explanation, which I promptly published online.

My current draft is at 28,000 words and climbing, but I'm having more fun writing than figuring out what to do with it. I'm quietly hoping a serious publisher will notice and approach me, saving me the effort of writing a proposal and getting it rejected however many times before someone picks it up.

(happy to share a draft with anyone interested! Email is in my profile)

possibilistic 2 days ago 3 replies      
Laser projection.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x034jVB1avs Pong on a 20 story building, billboards, etc.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S5_v2By3Ec Multiple laser projectors)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2m-A9LvPbmg (Canny edge detector)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XTi-jf-ans (Asteroids on a 4 story building)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF_OCvjq3ps (Reddit's Snoo on a 20 story building)

I've just added a second projector and a few more dacs (thanks to a very generous donor). I'm doing multiprojection and rectification/distortion now. I'm planning to get Skyscraper Tetris and Breakout going with some additional hardware.

I need about ten projectors at 60kpps (or 80kpps at low scan angle) with a combined wattage of 20W or so. I have endless ideas: I'll bring it online, do live art/graffiti, turn buildings into twitter feeds, multiplayer gaming, and NES emulator, etc.

I wish I could afford more hardware and the ability to work on this full time. :(

dnautics 2 days ago 2 replies      
"open-source", IP-free anticancer drug candidate (http://indysci.org)

We're launching in January (or possibly December)

It's cool, because we want to disrupt the way that pharma operates. Biotech could learn a lot from the way that the software industry has been revolutionized by the open-source philosophy. The world could stand to also see tangible benefits if we succeed in (re)proving it's actually possible. People have done this in the past (salk and sabin come to mind); sometimes the global consciousness just needs a reminder.

ghc 2 days ago 6 replies      
I'm working on http://algorithmic.ly -- algorithms as a service.

It's cool because I get to help startups who don't always have the resources to hire someone like me who specialized in implementing and scaling certain kinds of algorithmic features. These startups need help with everything from geospatial search up to anomaly detection and predictive analytics.

It's bootstrapped, so while I'd love it if it was a public offering, at this point it's still a hybrid consulting/data-services company. Eventually it will be a public platform, and I hope we can help a lot more people!

emhart 2 days ago 0 replies      
X-Locks: http://x.lock.gdI'm trying to restore as many of the security-related patents that were lost in the patent office fire of 1836, and tell the stories of their creators. We've had some early successes and intend to reproduce as many of the locks as possible for a potential physical exhibition.
Sir_Cmpwn 2 days ago 2 replies      
Currently working on an open source implementation of Minecraft [1] - a server, client, and various related things. The new Minecraft update released this week and radically changed how networking works, so it's a bit tough to get it all working again.

It's cool because it's a totally open source recreation of everything. It's got a server, a client, terrain generation, physics simulation, level editing, classic support... this is one of two really big projects I've undertaken.

I'm also still working on MediaCrush [2][3], at least when my other half decides to show up and write some backend code.

[1] https://github.com/SirCmpwn/Craft.Net

[2] https://mediacru.sh

[3] https://github.com/MediaCrush/MediaCrush

younata 2 days ago 2 replies      
I have been building a (highly accurate) flight simulator.

Basically, I'm taking a geometric approach to the flight dynamics model (similar to how x-plane works, except they're using... older techniques/technology. I'm using much more advanced stuff [working on seeing if I can simulate the airflow for the entire craft, as opposed to doing it by sections and then integrating those together]). This is in contrast to things like MS Flight simulator and FlightGear (though, flightgear does have a poorly documented and rather inaccurate geometry based fdm - but most people use the table-based one, which is far more accurate than the geometry-based fdm they have implemented), which use lookup tables to guess how an aircraft would perform.

The problem I actually originally set out to solve was that xfoil and xflr5 suck to use (importing/exporting plane data is... either you can't, or you shouldn't), and fuck paying for the more expensive design testers. (this is why I have the focus on accuracy - if this was just going to be a simple game, I'd have spent far more time making it look pretty) However, I figured that I could also make testing be more fun by adding an interactive mode (i.e. I want to be able to do hardware-in-the-loop type stuff, as well as just manually flying), and at that point, it just is a scriptable flight simulator.

I'm still working on the flight dynamics model, been teaching myself fluid dynamics so that I somewhat understand what all is going on there (as much as anyone who hasn't spent years studying this can understand...), and I've been working on writing code to run on the gpu (yay, opencl) in order to do this. It's been fun.

dom96 2 days ago 2 replies      
Nimrod (http://nimrod-code.org).

It's cool because it's a systems programming language which compiles to C with generics, an awesome Python-like syntax, AST macros and other metaprogramming features.

I am one of the core developers. I developed a lot of the standard library and tools such as the Babel package manager, Aporia IDE and a build farm all written in Nimrod.

daeken 2 days ago 1 reply      
My weekend project for the last few weeks is a new Shader language. It's a twisted version of Forth, with some APL-inspired pieces. https://github.com/daeken/Shaderforth

The macro facilities and compile-time arrays make many things super, super compact and beautiful. A great example is a raymarcher: https://github.com/daeken/Shaderforth/blob/master/examples/r...

You can see it in action on Shadertoy here: https://www.shadertoy.com/view/4slGWl !Warning! Windows users have been reporting some problems, so be careful. (If it crashes your browser, please let me know what your setup is!)

burntsushi 2 days ago 5 replies      
I'm working on a few projects.

Firstly, I've developed a suite of Python libraries to deal with NFL data, including play-by-play statistics and slicing game footage into its play-by-play components. A demo of my work is here: http://demo.nflfan.burntsushi.net/?week=5 (excuse the slowness, my web server is crappy)

Everything is on GitHub: https://github.com/BurntSushi/{nflgame,nfldb,nflvid,nflfan}

Secondly, I'm also working on a small utility to produce Entity-Relationship diagrams from a simple text description. Surprisingly, there were very few tools that could do this. It's written in Haskell. Current progress here: https://github.com/BurntSushi/erd

Thirdly, my PhD research involves finding proteins that are similar to other proteins. Most of the infrastructure is written in Go: https://github.com/TuftsBCB

moultano 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is the best thread I've read on HN in months. We should do this regularly.
city41 2 days ago 0 replies      
Metamorfus (http://metamorf.us) -- a site to help improve social skills

I have joined forces with my sister in law who has a Doctor of Psychology and specializes in anxieties. We both are shy people who have suffered with social anxiety, so we are working on new ways to help people overcome this. Combining her expertise with my dev skills. As you can see from the landing page, we don't have a designer :)

Why it's cool

* It's a really fresh way to conquer anxiety

* There's nothing else out there like it, existing anxiety/shyness communties and websites are rather archaic and/or simple

* It will help people of all types, from just wanting to get better at public speaking, to those who suffer from debilitating anxiety

* It will be helpful for both those who suffer and for psychologists to use as a tool

ronaldx 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://xoxo.gl (hugs and kisses, good luck) - a web app to play family-friendly, traditional board games. Still prototyping for now.

My goal is wide in scope: to build a site that allows you to take a few minutes to have a positive social interaction with friends and strangers. An anti-Zynga, if you like.

I still have a lot to do. With a goal of universal accessibility, I am working on progressive enhancement - making it work adequately for users with poor connections and noscript, and excellently for users with fancy AJAX.

It's cool and I think it fills a gap for people who want social games without spam viral marketing... as an anecdote: by playing Boggle online, I made friends and ended up visiting a couple on a different continent. I'd like to enable stories like that.

spartango 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm working on software that assists in cancer diagnoses.

We apply a healthy serving of computer vision and a touch of machine learning to high resolution images (10Gpx) of cancer tissue.

Hopefully we'll be able to make diagnosis faster and more accurate, doing our small part to save lives.

mkramlich 2 days ago 1 reply      
Dead By Zombie: a Python Rogue-like about a zombie apocalypse. I first created it several years ago as a commercial closed-sourced game and it actually sold copies. Now I've open sourced it on GitHub, and am upgrading the engine and giving it a facelift, transforming it into a more serious game of survival and a sandbox for rebuilding civilization. Survivalists, anarcho-capitalists and libertarians may like it. "Day is for the living. Night is for the dead."


In theory I'm also writing a sequel to my sci-fi comedy novella The Dread Space Pirate Richard. (http://www.reddit.com/r/DSPR/) And fleshing out the outline and first chapters of my first attempt at a technical book, tentatively titled Software Performance and Scalability.

I also solve challenging technical problems for clients around the world. I make things. I ship.

davidw 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm working on http://www.liberwriter.com - and it's not cool. But it makes money.

It's cool to work on something that's both cool and makes money, but I'm at a point in my life where I'm happy to work on something that makes money even if it's not cool. But getting paid regularly is pretty cool in its own way.

LiberWriter is a product/service to help authors, primarily by converting Word files to eBooks, as well as providing cover design services.

dizzystar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Unnamed project, probably beta released sometime this week.

Have you ever wondered which of the 10 courses offered by Coursera / EdX / etc to take, sign of up for 4, then dropped all but one and fell too far behind to finish?

Classes offered by MOOCs vary greatly in quality. This isn't a judgement call per se, just a question of "fit." Is this class up your alley, or maybe this class is too elementary for your level, or maybe it is too difficult.

The goal of my project is to offer students a place to express their thoughts, rank the courses (A, B, C, D, F), and rank difficulty. Other students can upvote comments and the top-ranked comment gets the top spot on the page, above the "official" review.

Another question often pondered is "what is the best path for the courses." Although this section is primitive, students are able to offer prerequisite sections.

Ideally, employers will have a place to look when people apply trumpeting up their certifications. Were these classes really worthwhile or was it all easy A.

Due to the anonymity of the site, students are offered the freedom to offer up honest reviews, why they dropped the courses, and what could be improved. Ultimately, MOOCs may have a place to see the real and raw opinions of the masses they are attempting to teach.

Nerd points? Stack is Linux, PostgreSQL, and Clojure.

The IP address is in my profile. Please don't create any accounts you'd want to keep since I am going to nuke the entire database soon. There are a few bugs on this site.

martindale 2 days ago 3 replies      
Coursefork (http://coursefork.org) -- github for education.

We're trying to open-source the entire education system, starting with creating an easy way for materials and processes to become "forkable".

- Fork, for example, an MIT OCW course.

- Make modifications.

- Submit a pull request back to MIT with your changes, or, just teach from your own fork.

nav 2 days ago 4 replies      
Seat 14A (www.seat14a.com)

a). Most men hate shopping.b). Sizes are never consistent and a number cannot define a unique bodily shape.

Our solution: We simply send an email with a few complete looks every few weeks, if you like a look - order it and we make it made to measure for you. We ship globally for free. Each look is about $150-$175 (so won't break your bank account). Each look is based off of heavy research around looks, textures and trends that are currently in.

If you want to learn more: http://seat14a.co/1hcllid

Or signup here for free: http://seat14a.com/signup

mazumdar 2 days ago 5 replies      
SilverAir - An athletic shirt that doesn't smell and designed to be worn at the gym and for everyday wear.demo@ http://www.yathletics.com

It's cool because:

It's made using pure silver which kills the odor-causing bacteria in your sweat, so you can -wear this shirt for your entire day and feel fresh, -reuse the shirt more often (i do).

The fabric is completely new and something I made with my manufacturers from scratch. Without letting cost be a factor, we sourced some of the best performance yarns you can buy and achieved a feel that is super comfortable while being lightweight and breathable. To manufacture, we use seamless knitting machines meaning the body of the shirt does not have any stitches on it. (trust me, the silver is what sells but the most loved feature by our test customers is the material and how you feel as if you're not wearing anything - in a good way)

I'm building this company single-handedly over the last 10 months, and I had to teach myself bits n pieces of everything: apparel manufacturing, design, coding, law, filmmaking & editing. The product is launching in 4 days on kickstarter and I'm now in lockdown mode with tons of progress to make. Your feedback on anything is welcome.

The online shopping experience for this brand will be fresh: there will be no choosing from tens and hundreds of products because we make just one per category with superb design, quality, and finish. Shoot me an email if you're curious about anything.

trey_swann 2 days ago 5 replies      

TrueVault is a HIPAA compliant data backend for apps, devices, and sites. Developers use TrueVault so they can develop healthcare apps without building out their own HIPAA compliant infrastructure. You access data in TrueVault via our API and native clients. Think of TrueVault as Stripe for confidential patient data. You use Stripe to store credit card data so that you are PCI compliant. Our customers use TrueVault to store protected health information (PHI) so that they are HIPAA compliant.

Its cool because new healthcare applications are paring back their feature sets so that they dont have to be HIPAA compliant. TrueVault helps solve this problem, and prevents legislation from hindering innovation. TrueVault will handle HIPAA so that entrepreneurs can focus on improving the quality of care for millions.

Also cool because TrueVault takes care of all of the technical requirements mandated by HIPAA. HIPAA compliant hosting providers (AWS, FireHost, Rackspace) only provide a HIPAA ready environment. You still have to spend the dev time and money to build your own application stack in order to comply with HIPAA.

sunspeck 2 days ago 4 replies      
A biodiverse, edible forest garden in the center of an public high school. We are breaking ground with a team of students in about an hour.

This is (very) cool because it will expose adolescents to a variety of concepts, perspectives, and phenomena that are severely lacking from most urbanized places.

flyinglizard 2 days ago 2 replies      
http://sandsquid.com - A web app for quickly locating and purchasing electronic parts, specifically entire BOMs (all the components on one or more PCBs, instead of just a single part like other services out there). It's bootstrapped, and we just recently launched. So far we had good traction and virtually all positive responses. Notably, people report that we save them hours every time they use our app, and I firmly believe that any service capable of that, has a place ;
tynan 2 days ago 2 replies      
Sett (http://sett.com)

It's a new blogging platform that helps people build audiences. Our oldest users (1 year) have seen roughly 100% increase in daily traffic, twice as many comments, etc. My personal blog has doubled daily visitors and growth rate for subscribers went from 1% to 10%.

k4st 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm working on https://github.com/Granary/granary. It is a Linux kernel dynamic binary translation framework. It's cool because it lets you rewrite the Linux kernel (at different granularities) while it's running. This is useful for analysis, debugging, etc. Right now I'm putting together benchmarks for an upcoming paper deadline.
williamcotton 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm working on a next generation programming environment for front-end browser development that combines version control and dependency management. It is called lit and the current alpha iteration is at http://www.corslit.com

I just introduced static semantically versioned builds and started the process of self-hosting.

The interesting thing about lit is that it allows for modern professional development without any UNIX command line or file system dependencies.

I'll have more literature and a very exciting screencast demo very soon.

tsumnia 2 days ago 1 reply      
Gingerbread and Candy Corn (http://gingerbread-and-candy-corn.appspot.com) - A one-stop spot for finding houses with holiday decorations. Sadly, I don't think it'll be ready for Halloween :( Though it should be ready for a launch near Black Friday :)

As a kid, I always loved driving around looking at Halloween/Christmas lights and as I've gotten older and moved to a bigger city, its been a little difficult knowing where to go to see good houses. The only real way to do it right now is YouTube videos or hoping your local newspaper has it covered.

The reason I think its cool is I'm learning to use Google App Engine on a responsive HTML5 style page. Since I'm not too graphic oriented, I'm learning how to use Flat UI to my advantage (as you can see in the nowhere near done demo). I'm going to get to learn a lot of web hosting stuff, like the official webpage currently is hosted with Dreamhost, but how do I get GAE to play nice with that, managing/handling requests, how to appropriately display houses without killing my GAE free package. If it generates enough success this Christmas, I'm hoping to spend next year learning mobile development for an app that does the same thing, but also gives you directions.

suresk 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've been slowly working on a few things, and hopefully can finish them during the winter:

1) Shared Places

The idea is that you can have public or private lists of locations that can be shared with other people, and would be integrated with mapping software on your phone so it is easy to navigate to them.

Some private lists that may be useful:

a) A family one that keeps track of extended relatives, friends houses, soccer fields, etc

b) A small business that works at, delivers to, or services fixed locations.

Some public ones might be:

a) Places in this area that are related to US Civil War history.

b) Gas stations in this area that have a drive-thru (this sounds silly, but was actually where I got the idea - my sister has small children and it is a pain to get them out of the car and into a store to just pick up a few convenience items, so knowing where she can go that has a drive-thru is really handy)

2) Insomnia Tracker

An app/website to log things related to sleep (beverages consumed, medication taken, notable social situations, what time you try to go to sleep, what time you wake up, etc). Hopefully having it available on a phone will make it easier to keep track of things more fully than if you had to remember to write it down in a paper log, since you usually have your phone with you.

Then this data can be used to find trends such as how, say your coffee consumption affects your sleep, or maybe how stressful arguments at work are keeping you up at night.

I don't have anything up for either of them yet, and I'm not sure either could actually make enough to be more than a hobby, but they are both useful to me and kind of fun to build.

jessepollak 2 days ago 1 reply      
Clef (https://getclef.com) a replacement for usernames and passwords on the web.

It's cool because it allows the 99% of people who aren't technical to use public key cryptography to log in to websites.

kpao 2 days ago 2 replies      
Infinite Flight: it's a flight simulator for mobile platforns I had been working on on the side for almost 7 years before finally deciding on joining forces with a friend to ship it on Windows Phone, then iOS and Android. What's cool about it is that it's written entirely in C# while and we still get decent performance on most devices. Also, we're slowly gaining traction with users that prefer flying with us rather than with the established competitors :)You can find more about the app here: http://flyingdevstudio.com and http://infinite-flight.com
rexf 2 days ago 2 replies      
GeoGraph - http://geographapp.com/

Like imgur for location. No sign up & 1 click to share your current location. If you sign up, you can save your location privately (only you can see it).

Use cases are wide open. Save your parking spot. Share location to meetup with a friend. Save a special spot in a forest. Etc.

If you use check-in services, GeoGraph may interest you. If you never share your location online, you shouldnt use this.

Working on new features to make location more useful.

Edit - Link to site.

jmadsen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Aw, jeez - I knew my little weekend project wasn't such a big deal, but absolutely dwarfed by the other ideas here.

But since I'd love to chat about it:


Simple little tool to let "unknown" but talented bloggers work together to publicize their offerings.

Why's it cool?

- aim to is help counteract the "Justin Beiber Affect" (gets 100,000 RTs for saying, "Live life!")

- try to encourage a more personal, hands-on sharing rather than today's mindless "click to retweet" approach to life.

- you can't earn any badges or rep points

That's it... best go finish it :-) It's at @tweetstartme if you are interesting in knowing when it's done

digisth 2 days ago 0 replies      
A friend and I have been working on building out a service to help connect organizations looking for custom software development-related services with organizations that provide them. At the time I first started on HN, I was looking for a company to do additional dev work for the company I was working for, so I posted this Ask HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2787364. I got a few helpful responses (one of which I followed up with and hired) but it made me think about what was missing, and that was a service that provided comprehensive/well-organized listings (with all the stuff you would expect like case studies, work examples, contact forms that weren't buried, the ability to just "start a project" with one, etc.) of custom software development companies/consultancies/shops/agencies/your favorite term here.

You can Google for all this stuff, but sifting through the mounds of results takes way too much manual effort; you can ask on forums like this, but that's not going to work for a lot of people; you can look through LinkedIn or the ones that AdAge and friends use, but I didn't find anything I would consider thorough/useful on the former (and I find the searching and filtering system to be very poor), and the latter only really had advertising companies. I also thought about things that companies I've worked for that have provided custom software dev work would find useful (like having a single place to point customers with examples of everything - for various reasons, so many companies just can't/won't update it on their own web site - it even happens that the people who work at the company have to send an email around asking for examples of previous work.) So it's better than all that (we hope!) That's why we'd consider it cool.

At the moment, we're pretty far in to initial development of what we consider the MVP and hope to soft launch it in the next few months. Right now, we just have a splash-type page up:


Jasber 2 days ago 1 reply      
I recently started doing more freelance development and didn't find any solutions that I thought did the following really well:

- I hate tracking my time, so the app should make this very easy & compelling to do (dare I say fun?)

- Should work well with lots of different contract types (hourly, daily, weekly, retainer)

- Should earn me more money using best practices (minimum billing increments, etc...)

- Should get me paid faster & with the lowest fees possible (client payment details on file & using ACH or something)

- Should make managing sub-contractors a breeze. Think of managing sub-contractor invoices & time like a pull-request on GitHub.

So I decided I'm going to work on this and try to make something that people will really love using.

If you're interested, get notified when it launches: http://bradjasper.com/timetracker/

sherm8n 2 days ago 2 replies      
A legit way to get more followers on social media. Helps you build high quality one-to-one relationships with new people. Pick a keyword like "startup school". Our system will detect when "startup school" type conversations are going on in real-time and performs sentiment analysis. That's a highly targeted opportunity for you to start engaging with that user. And we deliver that user to you on a silver platter. It's up to you to keep the relationship going (put them in your sales funnel).

It was a bitch to manually get followers on Tumblr to sell t-shirts to. I had to seek users out, make sure they fit my target audience, and insert myself in the conversation. All without it looking like selfpromotion. That's a lot of mental energy just to reach out to one person. Once I built a fairly large sized audience boat loads of t-shirts started selling. Then I figured startups and businesses on Twitter would find it useful. And they did. Paying customers tell me it works 100 times better than Twitter ads.

If you're interested: http://audience.goodsense.io

hcm 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm working on CodeCube (http://codecube.io) - a pastebin that allows you to run the code snippets and see the output live in your browser.

It's built on Docker. I posted an article about how I built it here: http://hmarr.com/2013/oct/16/codecube-runnable-gists/

The source is up on GitHub at https://github.com/hmarr/codecube

jaibot 2 days ago 0 replies      
Powershame: Publicly precommit to being productive; your friends will get a timelapse of screenshots when you're done.

It's cool because I'm using the pre-alpha version to get myself to work on Powershame, sending out timelapses to my wife and facing shame when I break it and it fails to send.


drugcite-com 2 days ago 1 reply      
An easy way to enter the name of a specific drug or side effect to see its effects as reported to the FDA. One of the primary ways that the United States Food and Drug Administration monitors the safety of marketed drugs is the collection and analysis of reported adverse events (an event that was not the intended outcome of the prescribed drug and has a negative impact on health) through the FDA Adverse Events Reporting System (FAERS). These reports are submitted by physicians, healthcare consumers, lawyers amongst others, and then the FDA scientific staff will assess these events in the context of other databases to determine if a particular safety concern is associated, and possibly caused by, exposure to a particular drug. Since this is a public database and useful to prescribers and patients alike to know if "has what I'm experiencing been described in patients taking this drug before?" DrugCite has created a more friendly interface to answer that question. The data can also be sorted by Age and Gender in most cases giving a more detailed view.


We use several data sets including FAERS, Meddra, Medical Device Data, UMLS/RXNORM and DAILYMED/Structured Product Labels to name a few.

SolarUpNote 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm working on a JSON based website layout and component system.

For example: a component that lists blog posts could be represented by:

  {    options:{      elements:[image, title, author, date]    },    criteria:{      sort:date.desc,       published:true,       limit:10    },    request_vars:{page:3}  }
That would show the last 10 posts that are published, ordered by date, on page 3 of the results.

That's a simple example, this site: volumeone.org is built almost entirely this way.

Since it's in JSON format, JavaScript can be used to build UIs that build the components and layouts.

BruceM 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe too late to the party ...

I work on http://opendylan.org/ and have been working to revive it for the last couple of years. We've done new releases, improved usability of the compiler and some of the libraries, new website, updated all of the documentation to modern formats, including a couple of books.

We've also been creating a new IDE via a plugin to IntelliJ that is rapidly changing how I go about writing Dylan.

I think it is cool because it is a great substrate for experimenting with some features in programming languages and runtimes, like coroutines and numerics. It is great to start from a working and industrial strength system.

I think it is great to prevent things from being lost to history (and to hopefully have them be useful again). Dylan is a great combination of ideas from Common Lisp, Smalltalk but with a focus on creating native executables and libraries.

I've also got something that I'm building in Dylan that takes advantage of Dylan's strengths, but it is in very early days.

philbo 2 days ago 2 replies      
Currently I'm working on a few different developer tools, as part of my continuing mission to make my own life easier. I figure they're probably cool because if I'm scratching my own itch then I should be scratching itches for other devs too.

* GitHubReminder - serendipitous email reminders about your starred repos on GitHub. https://githubreminder.org/

* JSComplexity - code complexity metrics for JavaScript. http://jscomplexity.org/

* CoffeeComplexity - code complexity metrics for CoffeeScript projects (still in development).

* GrepSrc - regex-based source code search engine (still in development).

chadzawistowski 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Quickbeam (https://github.com/ChadSki/Quickbeam) andHalolib (https://github.com/ChadSki/halolib.py)

Together, these comprise a Halo modding tool which can edit the game while it's running, which is also why it's cool.

Additionally, whereas previous editors have usually hardcoded functionality into the editor, all of Quickbeam's functionality is implemented in the fully-scriptable Halolib, written in Python.

Ultimately I would like Quickbeam to become the Emacs of Halo editors.

camperman 2 days ago 3 replies      
A Raspberry Pi-based multimedia display solution for SMEs, large corporates and municipalities. It displays nearly all video and image formats and real time news feeds at 50fps in almost any layout combination while using less than 20% CPU at full tilt.

It's cool because most people are blown away at how fast and smooth it is when they first see it. A lot of the code is in C, the video decoder is in a thread (and it actually works which is impressive for me) and it's all controlled by Lua.

contextual 2 days ago 2 replies      
Self Experiments: Its mission is to make inhumane animal testing obsolete by using open suffer collaboration of volunteer testers from around the world.

The first experiment is launching next month: http://selfexperiments.com

What could be more cool than that?

ronilan 2 days ago 1 reply      
PlaceUnit (http://www.placeunit.com/) -- an iOS app to build a mini-responsive website.

Download here: http://www.appstore.com/placeunit

Just the video: https://vimeo.com/68029789

Demo: http://fantastic-vancouver.placeunit.com/

It's cool because:

* It is very very simple to use. Any person with an iPhone/iPad can build something in minutes.

* It's a PhoneGap app (HTML5/JavaScript) which integrates Open Source components with a hand rolled framework.

* It uses a no-password pattern. It supports offline work. You can use bidi-languages. It has CSS based themed "filters". Mini-sites are customizable and embedable.

* Bootstrapped. I'm sole developer/designer.

Achshar 2 days ago 0 replies      
A local media player in the browser. I mean to make it full media player with video support but for now it's audio only. I also want to make it web app instead of chrome app but some apis are not available anywhere else. And background running is a key feature. It has about 7k users, which is more than I expected TBH. Also the occasional support email is the best thing to happen to me that day. It shows that people actually use what I made.


ZeroMinx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Working on services that makes law firms and lawyers more efficient.

It's cool (to me) because I'm one of the co-founders, we started from 0 a few years ago, and I like to see the growth.

(you didn't specify it had to be cool to other people)

DjangoReinhardt 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am quite late to this thread, but what the heck, I'll give it the ol' college try. :)

HashPix: Search for images tagged with the same hashtag across Twitter, TwitPic, Instagram and Flickr. Create public/private albums of these pics and share the albums with anyone and everyone. Anonymous albums allowed but are made public by default.

Good for:

- Events, e.g. #MySuperAwesomeHalloweenParty

- Contests, #TweetLikeAGhostAndWin

- Festivals #HalloweenHaunts

...anything where you can use a hashtag, really!

Link: http://hashpix.herokuapp.com

2. @updt_me: (RSS/Atom) Feed updates via Twitter DM. Follow @updt_me and send a tweet @updt_me with the keyword START followed by a URL, e.g. "@updt_me START https://news.ycombinator.com/rss". You'll receive feed updates via Twitter DM (hence, the need to follow) when they happen. I'm currently using it to subscribe to xkcd, smbc and a few others.

Good for:

- Avoiding RSS inbox pile-ups due to procrastination/lethargy

- Ensuring authors get the page-views their blogs/sites deserve

- Following 'thoughts' rather than 'people', i.e. no more "I just ate broccoli. I #WIN." when you just want to read, "The 7 habits of highly-successful techpreneurs that you must cultivate before bedtime."

Coming soon:

- Ability to subscribe to feeds via DM - for those subscriptions that you'd rather not announce to the world. wink wink nudge nudge

- (Almost)instant PuSH updates using Superfeedr. (Still trying to figure this one out, actually.)




Why do these make me happy?

Because a year ago, I wouldn't have dreamed of being able to make a comment like this. I was (and still am) an utter newbie with no knowledge of any kind of programming. Deep-dived into Python/Django and the results are up there for you to peruse. Granted they aren't awesome like most others in this thread but hey, it's a start. :)

arethuza 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just started working on something to attack SharePoint that is based on sensible standards (REST, JSON, etc.) with the front end completely in something like AngularJS or Ember.

This is cool as, in my opinion, SharePoint Must Die.

timmclean 2 days ago 2 replies      

A code editor that uses knowledge of a programming language's grammar. It's cool because it should be significantly more efficient than working in vim/emacs, and will allow powerful scripting capabilities and macros to transform code structurally, instead of as text.

mambodog 2 days ago 0 replies      
BeatStash: a Git/GitHub for music production (using git-annex)

In other words, keeping every version and branch of a musical idea, with rollback and merging (eg. merge bassline track from version A into different branch), and collaboration through these same tools.

I know people have approached this idea a few times, and just this month a startup called Splice popped up with some funding to do almost exactly what I had planned to in a previous iteration of the idea. However I've moved on to an approach which would make this awesome capability available to more people. Ultimately though, I'd like to extract as much as possible into a generic foundation for apps for other media such as video production, a low-end, self-hosted LayerVault alternative etc.

Also, out of interest in personal computer history, I ported the PCE classic Mac/PC emulator to the browser with Emscripten.

Demo: http://jamesfriend.com.au/pce-js/

Rationale: http://jamesfriend.com.au/why-port-emulators-browser

jonmrodriguez 1 day ago 0 replies      
Epiphany Eyewear smart glasses: http://epiphanyeyewear.com

It's cool because these glasses are stylish enough that they are a fashion item, and have appeared on the runway at New York Fashion Week: https://yougen.tv/video/beddc3d4-784f-40ab-8066-652ac8e3f694...

It's cool because you can record two-handed activities such as kayaking: https://yougen.tv/video/9b406d41-8e68-43fc-904f-f12ce688f610...

It's cool because everyone from Miss California https://yougen.tv/video/db0c3dd0-846c-458c-8d53-cd2802b00534...to my barber https://yougen.tv/video/92f9308b-d6a9-46a4-95f9-39da0700f9cb... instantly sees the appeal of recording and sharing your memories with your friends

cj 2 days ago 1 reply      
Localize.js (https://localizejs.com) automatically localizes websites. No backend integration required.

It's a client side Javascript library that handles phrase detection and the injection of translations. Machine and human translations can be ordered via our web interface.

Why is this cool? It generally takes an engineer at least 1-2 weeks to fully localize a website (go through all template files, replace all text with string keys, build a workflow for updating phrases, ordering translations, etc), and once the system is in place, editing template files and adding new text to your app is a pain. Localizejs automates this with a copy and paste js snippet. And it works surprisingly well -- I had my doubts about this approach before building it as well, but you'll be surprised that it doesn't hurt page performance very much at all.

It's still in development, but shoot me an email if you'd like to test it out. It'll be production ready within a month. bp@brandonpaton.com

sakai 2 days ago 0 replies      
A friend and I are developing a new fast, space-efficient (read: probabilistic) key-value store. We're using it for some computational biology applications.

It's cool because:* It scales to really large data sets: We store ~10 billion keys in memory on a single, not-too-ridiculous machine, and the design supports sharding trivially* It's fast: we have a lot of optimization still, but can do ~1M lookups/sec (O(1) lookups)* It's a data structure! (Which as non-formal-CS people we find fun)

Would be very interested to hear other applications that people would find the above attributes useful for!

asiekierka 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm going to be rewriting my image booru engine ( https://github.com/asiekierka/boorushy2 - all demos are down ).

It's not cool. Nothing I make is cool. It never was. All I seem to make are boring, niche ideas... and not even I care about them. Since half a year, I haven't found anything that would interest me. I'm a man with low standards, I guess.

cmyr 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm moving to zambia for the winter to start an after-school program doing basic computer and internet literacy skills with kids.

It has been really fascinating watching all of the tools and projects that have popped up over the past few years attempting to make really high quality educational resources widely available, but these tools remain generally out of reach for those people that would most benefit from them.

math 1 day ago 0 replies      
backrecord.com - a tool for tracking opinions and predictions (opinions about what is going to happen in the future) of people in the public spotlight. Our goal is to help people form better opinions by providing easy access to the ideas in the first place alongside tools for assessing credibility. Our focus is very much on opinion, not news.

It's cool because I think it's an interesting and difficult problem and I don't know of anyone tackling it well. I still don't know how feasible it is to create an automated / crowd driven system that provides a measure of credibility that is reliable enough to be useful, but we are certainly giving it our best shot and I would love to use such a tool if it existed.

I also think it's cool because I think both our user credibility system and topic hierarchy concepts have aspects that are quite nice that I haven't seen elsewhere.

We are currently focused on finance because it is clear how to score predictions about things that trade in a market (though the problem is much trickier than you might first imagine). Also, it is clearly valuable if we can succeed, even in a small way which is the most likely outcome if we do. However, we are playing with features that have broader applicability as well.

orthecreedence 2 days ago 1 reply      
Turtl! (https://turtl.it)

It's a client-side encrypted Evernote replacement (with a much easier interface). The goal is to eventually provide easy note-taking, bookmarking/clipping, and file storage (ala Dropbox) with a cloud service that's surveillance/hacker resistant by only storing encrypted data. The kicker is you can still share with others.

Right now it's a pretty small alpha, but we're hoping to get some of the internals cleaned up and push out a new version with file storage in the next few weeks.

Of course, it's open source (if it's not open source, it's not encrypted). We're avoiding the word "secure" until we get some eyes besides our own reviewing the code.

leeoniya 2 days ago 1 reply      
i'm developing a mobile web interface & a SaaS architecture for my buddy's greenhouse & hydroponics controller business [1]. the backend comm is MODBUS/TCP (ethernet) or MODBUS/RTU (serial).

he's currently in Long Beach at the Maximum Yield expo showing off the early alpha I ummm, "polished off" at 4am last night :) [2]

it's cool because his customers and oems have been hounding him for some time for an Android and iOS app and for his software to work on OSX, Linux. (currently it's Windows only, C#/.NET).

a web app + SaaS was the most natural choice. also, i don't think anything like this exists yet.

[1] http://agrowtek.com

[2] http://i.imgur.com/e6E8Osw.png

vitorbaptistaa 2 days ago 0 replies      
Shellshare (http://shellshare.net) -- live streaming of your terminal

Demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCXnIgsEqK0

It's cool because:* It lets you share your terminal session, read-only, using just one command. Easy to get (or give) help.

* Many people can watch the same session. If you pair it with Hangouts OnAir, you could do live trainings.

* It's not as powerful as tmux or screen sharing (as it's readonly), but it's much simpler: there's no need to open ports in your firewall, configure your router, or create users. Being read-only also is an advantage in its use-case.

I haven't launched it yet (I'm finishing some performance tuning), but it's usable. Its only dependency is on Python and Script. If you're on Linux, you just need to run:

  python -c "`curl -sL http://get.shellshare.net`"
This will download the client and run it, automatically sharing your screen and giving you its URL.

Feedback welcome :)

yesimahuman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm building Ionic Framework (http://ionicframework.com/) to make HTML5 mobile app development awesome. Should have our first release out in a few weeks!
dan335 2 days ago 1 reply      
A simple algorithmic stock trader. https://green-machine.us

Give it a set of rules and it will buy and sell stock for you. I got interested in algorithmic trading and built this site to find out if it works. If it does I'll add real money trading.

callmeed 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I built a sports trivia app for iOS: http://bit.ly/winahat

The cool thing about it is I built an engine to scrape the web and APIs and keep generating thousands of new questions. Trivia games are fun but can get repetitive fast. I'm hoping to avoid that.

In progress is an android version, then venturing outside of sports.

meerita 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I am working on Notegraphy (http://notegraphy.com) it's a writing app for iOS and Web.

It's cool because:

The idea is simple: write stuff, short or long, multipage and then style it as you want. Then you can either publish to your own gallery of notes or, share it on your favorites social networks.

You can download it from here https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/notegraphy/id669094298?ls=1&... any comment will be appreciate it.

On the first two weeks we've got around 100k users and we're growing like crazy.

fbnt 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm working on a news reader that works in the opposite way of traditional news reading apps. It uses Twitter as a sort of enhanced RSS feed and ranks news based on how much they are shared in real-time, and lays them down in a newspaper-like format specifically designed for mobile devices.

It allows you to find what's important for people rather then what matters to newsroom's editors, and put you in a whole different point of view. I belive it's extremely interesting, and I'm trying to make the reading experience as enjoyable as possible.

The first raw version is available for iOS: http://newspo.st

I'm in the process of adding categorization and custom topic search as well.

markmassie 2 days ago 2 replies      
Nuclear reactor startup (http://transatomicpower.com) designing a molten salt reactor to turn nuclear waste into clean energy at prices competitive with natural gas.
ihenriksen 2 days ago 1 reply      
SparkleDB NoSQL database server is a horizontally distributed, real-time, performance-critical, highly available, and large-scale software solution capable of handling Big Data. Fast. Transactional. Both ACID and in-memory (we let you choose). Acts as a single logical database unit, even though it may consist of hundreds of physical computers located in the same physical location-or dispersed over a network of interconnected computers. Autonomous horizontal scaling. No single point of failure. Concurrent access, crash recovery & repair. Federated queries. Semantic schema-less data model and a powerful declerative semantic query language that are both international standards. Remotely connect to the database using a built-in RESTful API over HTTP or use our JDBC or ODBC drivers. Works on Windows, UNIX, and Linux. We're based out of Sunnyvale, California. Learn more at http://www.sparkledb.net/
pawelkomarnicki 13 hours ago 0 replies      
LikeMind (http://getlikemind.com) -- an easy and friendly way to meet likeminded people around you.

Demo: http://getlikemind.com/discover

It's cool because:* it's not a dating social network, so if you won't get spammed with people telling how beautiful your body is or how much they want to sleep with you (unless you make a profile with this purpose in mind)* it's about doing stuff, so you can finally meet a running buddy you wanted or fellow foodies to cook together, or just talk and share ideas, no pressure!* our iPhone app is beautiful and delightful to use, because we keep our users in mind, always* our team is super small (we have basically 4 permanent workers, an intern and a... dog :D)

vorador 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm working on a gmail replacement to deploy on my own server. It's called kite. It uses a lot of cool techs like vagrant, puppet, angularjs and of course, postfix for mail handling.

For the moment, it doesn't do much besides displaying a list of emails in a maildir but in a week or two I should have thread handling written.

The source is at: http://github.com/khamidou/kite (sorry for the lack of readme, I should get around to do this tomorrow)

garraeth 2 days ago 1 reply      
Terra Ex (http://www.terraexgame.com/)

* Terra Ex is a 4x (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate), online game.

* We are raising money for STEM education from the game's profits (see our foundation: http://www.odinfoundation.org/).

* We've got 20+ years of experience in making games and wanted to leverage this expertise to make a game that will help fund our charity.

* We're a completely new and indie company.

* Our team worked on World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Command and Conquer, Mercenaries 2, and several others.

* Professionals from NASA/JPL and USC are helping out so we can make the game educational, and scientifically correct (see the video on our site). But not so "educational" as to ruin the fun in the game.

* 100% bootstrapped in our free time.

edit: formatting

mikeurbanski 2 days ago 0 replies      
Shut Up & Sit Down (http://shutupandsitdown.com & http://penny-arcade.com/patv/show/shut-up-sit-down)

A board game review show and a few secret projects.

Cool because: Very funny.

Jemaclus 1 day ago 0 replies      
a MUD (multiplayer text-based RPG) written in Ruby.

It's cool because MUDs are awesome. But I'm doing this in Ruby because it's a language I'm somewhat familiar with but I don't really consider myself an expert on (as opposed to PHP and Javascript, both on which I do consider myself to be an expert). I figured that building a Ruby project from scratch would be the best way to learn the language. So far, so good.

Thoughts:- No framework yet. Decided to just build it and see what happens. I'm not trying to learn Rails -- I'm trying to learn Ruby. They're not quite the same, obviously.- It's harder than I thought. It took quite some time for me to figure out how to mix together sockets and threads to keep track of multiple players- It's more fun than I thought. I've used Ruby in the past but have never really been impressed. (I think that's mostly Rails.) But this project is full of far more epic wins than my usual ideas.- Ruby probably isn't the best language to do a MUD in. I initially started with C and I got pretty far, but I decided I wanted to learn a new language, not build a MUD in a language I already know.- The old school Merc/Diku muds out there are based on flat files. All data, such as character files and area files, are stored in a custom flat format. I'm using JSON for my test data, since it's pretty easy for Ruby to consume, but I'm thinking I may switch to a DB-based setup. But then again, the flat file thing is working just fine...

I guess I'll publish the source some day, when I get to the point where it's playable.

hpvic03 2 days ago 0 replies      
A Pivotal and Trello hybrid for agile software development teams.

Pivotal works but lacks the idea of "stages", which is very useful because it actually reflects the real world.

Trello is cool but it isn't made specifically for software. For example, it doesn't have acceptance workflow.

Combining ideas from both of these results in a very compelling and (I think) useful product. Version 1 will be ready next week.

praxeologist 2 days ago 1 reply      
I want to build a marketplace for electronic cigarette vendors/individuals. I've been a vendor for almost 3 years and have a unique product which is even more effective than others in helping people quit smoking (even though we are not allowed to market it this way). I think that looming regulation will destroy a lot of small businesses, so I am trying to find a way to respond to that.

Getting someone to take payments is really hard though. Balanced just changed their terms, so I am really demoralized but still keeping at it. My options seem to be to become a payment processor myself (expensive and I have no clue what to do) or wait until a similar service comes along and make sure to get in quick so I can get grandfathered in before they change the terms.

If anyone has some insight on payments and wants to help me learn the industry or if you smoke and want to quit, let me know.

stephen_mcd 2 days ago 1 reply      
https://kouio.com - RSS reader we built to replace Google Reader.

It's cool because it's been an amazing ride keeping it nice and snappy in spite of an ever growing data set - over 50 million feed items retrieved so far and still growing :-)

gphil 2 days ago 1 reply      
https://kwelia.com -- we are taking a quantitative approach to determining the market rental value of apartments. This has not been done accurately on a large scale in the past, and I think we are the first to do it well.
solnyshok 2 days ago 1 reply      
I made private diaries for close friends (7 max). It is like post-it note on the kitchen fridge. Not indexed by google. Honesty of content there is amazing. Things that people would never trust to fb/twitter. Also, people that never write anything on facebook, do post there. It is simple stuff, like " I am doing that, I am feeling this, I am going to somewhere." If suddenly, all of fb contacts would post such small things, you'd go crazy. However, there are several people in my life, about whom I care deeply and want to know how they are doing even if they are 1000km away. This solves my need to keep in touch with chosen few souls. http://www.osom.me
boyter 22 hours ago 0 replies      

Its a source code search engine with experimental regex support. Why is it cool? For me its because search is something I am interested in and indexing the web is cost prohibitive. This way I get to play with indexing hundreds of gigabytes of code without breaking the bank. Its also useful to show off when doing job interviews.

pornel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Modern JPEG encoder (https://github.com/pornel/jpeg-compressor) and lossy PNG compressor (http://pngmini.com/lossypng.html)

Everybody uses encoders for these formats that are as old as the formats themselves, but today's hardware is about 2000 faster than it was back then, so a modern encoder can use expensive techniques that were previously unthinkable.

btgeekboy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm working on a system to export users from one version & instance of our SaaS application and import them into another.

The cool/interesting part of this is that I'm using a combination of SchemaCrawler and our homegrown upgrade/migrations kit to naively (with the only domain-specific knowledge being where to start) extract a single account from a multi-tenant database and import it into another one, even if the other one is a different version. (I only support upgrades, as downgrades would cause data loss.) Because it all runs over JDBC, it also means that I can go from one database to another - MySQL to PostgreSQL, for example.

tempestn 1 day ago 0 replies      
SearchTempest (http://www.searchtempest.com/) -- Search multiple craigslist cities, eBay, Amazon, etc., in a single search. Cool because it's all based on Google Custom Search, so we can do it without scraping craigslist (or indeed, accessing them at all).

AutoTempest (http://www.autotempest.com/) -- Similar idea, except searches multiple used car classifieds sites: craigslist (via SearchTempest), AutoTrader, Cars.com, eBay Motors, Oodle, CarsDirect... We're affiliated with some of the sites, and for the others we use Google Custom Search, and/or link to their results pages in new windows.

fudged71 2 days ago 2 replies      
Everyone is working on new 3D printing hardware but the software is still years behind.

PrintToPeer (http://www.printtopeer.com) is connecting 3D printers to the internet for remote control and analytics. We have a web dashboard with a real-time connection to your 3D printer(s) for queueing and monitoring, and we've built a printer driver that works on the majority of current desktop 3D printers.

A hardware-agnostic API from the web serves as a platform for other developers to create apps on top of. It's an abstraction layer above 3D printing.

Being able to create tangible things from software is the coolest thing I can imagine, because of the social and environmental impacts. There are huge challenges ahead that we are excited to face.

mcherry 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm working on Revision Path (http://www.revisionpath.com), which showcases black web designers, web developers, and graphic designers. Right now, that's in the form of interviews, and I've got 28 done (10 audio, 18 text) with about a dozen more in the queue.

Why is it cool?

Well, whenever the mention of race and technology get mentioned together, people get extremely bent out of shape. Instead of going that doomed route of asking why the industry isn't more diverse and arguing statistics (on it's visible edge, I mean), I decided to showcase the people who ARE actively working in this industry.

The site is just a few months old, and the reaction has been mixed (as you can imagine since I'm only interviewing Black folks), but I'm definitely interested in telling these people's stories who love this industry, love the work they do, and are interested in telling their stories.

defied 2 days ago 1 reply      
A Selenium Grid (http://testingbot.com)

I love working on this because I get to learn a variety of things. Right now I'm switching from Amazon EC2 to my own setup with KVM/Qemu VMs.

It's been quite the experience prototyping with kvm/qemu, overall I'm really happy with it. From tuning libvirt, to loading RAM images straight into the VM in order to avoid boot-storms, learning about the various VM disk formats, virtio drivers, ... there's plenty to learn!

iamwil 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cubehero (https://cubehero.com)It's cool because:

* host 3D printed projects with version control (based on git)* generate previews of STL and OpenSCAD design files* can make commits through web uploader, so you don't need to know command line git.

shuzchen 2 days ago 1 reply      
Recommendation engine as a service (http://savant-api.com/) -- absolutely nothing public yet, except a fancy d3 powered widget that has nothing to do with the service.

It's cool because I'm hoping to make collaborative filtered recommendations easy to obtain for small outfits.

tommoor 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sqwiggle https://www.sqwiggle.com - It's cool because we're making peoples lives genuinely better by enabling them to work from wherever they want. We're also doing our part to rid the world of commuting and grey cubicles.
rglover 2 days ago 1 reply      
Proper (https://properapp.com) - Easy to understand contracts for freelancers.

Cool because it makes the process of creating, sending, and signing freelance contracts much less difficult.

Ultimate goal is to get it to a point where a freelancer can pick from a series of pre-loaded templates related to their type of work (e.g. a brochure website, developing an application, wedding photography, etc.) and send their client a contract (that's viable) in minutes.

Also makes signing easy for clients by just using a single button click.

sensecall 2 days ago 1 reply      
https://loseproof.com - a little side-project we launched a couple of weeks ago.

It's a low-cost, secure and simple way to protect things that are important to you.

We've started with stickers for now, but are looking to offer item-specific protection soon e.g. keyrings, luggage tags and pet tags. The concept is well-founded but, until now, has been really poorly executed.

alex-s 23 hours ago 0 replies      
JamHive (http://beta.jamhive.com) -- a service for musicians to collaborate regardless of physical distance and time constraints.

Back Story

I love music and would love to do a jam session with old friends, but it is difficult to schedule a time or we live too far away (ie: SF & Amsterdam & Tokyo).

Why Cool

* Musicians work together on a single jam (up to 5 instrument/vocal tracks)

* Record directly into browser or upload a pre-recorded audio file

* Basic editing and filtering of sound waves

And I am looking for feedback & advise!

* @Musicians, how is the recording & editing experience?

* @Engineers, currently, this is built with RoR, Bootstrap, Heroku, AWS and a huge mishmash of the Web Audio API - how can I make this scale better for smartphone, tablets, more browsers (currently only Chrome and Firefox)?

* @Engineers, advice on improving (speed & security) data upload / download

sahillavingia 1 day ago 2 replies      
Gumroad (https://gumroad.com) enabling any type of creator to earn a living selling what they make directly to their audience.

See: https://gumroad.com/demo

It's cool because I got started really seriously making stuff when I realized that there was not nearly as much of a difference between making stuff and making a living as I thought there was.

It was only getting cheaper and easier to make software. Making software (products!) has been democratized.

This has happened to software/startups, but not really to music nor film nor comedy nor photography nor publishing (yet!).

But it will soon and I'm happy to that Gumroad can contribute.

johnmurch 10 hours ago 0 replies      
2 projects: 1) Easily save jobs - http://bucketjobs.com/ (live)2) SAAS Dashboard - http://helicopter.io/ (closed beta
megablast 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not that cool, but I haven't had a chance to talk about my work:

Spreadsheet Pro, is a spreadsheet app for the iPad. Lots of fun to write, features lots of formulas and graphs as well. I finished this last week.


Also, Scrum smart is easy to use Scrum management software for the iPad. It is actually a lot easier to use on the iPad than on a laptop. Finished 2 weeks ago. And a new version coming out soon with a lot more features.


jedireza 2 days ago 0 replies      
Drywall - A website and user system for Node.jshttp://jedireza.github.io/drywall/

Recent cool news: got word from the hosts of Node Knockout that submissions are allowed to use it in the competition.

benmorris 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cloud Imaging API http://ionapi.com - A lot of software I write faciltates design online, web to print type stuff, and I noticed a real void in a robust image manipulation API. This restful API makes it pretty easy to get images generated of text with lots of effects.

Why it is cool:-supports obvious features rotation, resizing, etc of images, but that isn't really the important parts

-Vector first, text is generated as vector then converted to raster if needed (for client side previews). An API request you can access the underlying point data or request a vector file(eps,pdf) in response rather than raster (png).

-Robust Text features - load fonts on the fly,shear, vector outlines (offset path), texture support, gradients, warps, shadows, etc

-Object structure allows complex images to be built from other canvas objects previously saved or pulled from the net, canvas can be built from vector or raster sources, or through the API.

-Ultimately the API will make it painfully simple to overlay designs on objects such as pens, mugs, koozies, shirts, vehicles, etc.

What is not cool: it isn't done :( Unfortunately it isn't ready for open access yet. I have a few customers using parts that are done, but mainly documentation is not done and there is no front end developed yet for sign ups/ registration. If you are interested in using this please let me know or use the notification form on the site.

Where is it being used? Several places, one of my clients you can checkout that uses it http://bandegraphix.com (lettering tool, rclogo/decal tool) another one Dynamic Product Image placement http://boatdecals.biz/lake-swag/ (canvas creation, masking, warping)

netpenthe 1 day ago 0 replies      
InputFarm (http://www.inputfarm.com)

- Input Farm provides quick website design reviews from expert designers for $75 (but we're giving them away to HN users now - see here: https://medium.com/p/8a87429d26cb )

It's cool because:- I've been a web developer for 10+ years and quite often i get 'stuck' on making a website better. I don't need a designer to do a 'full re-design', i just need a few pointers on how to make my website better.

- I need 'fresh eyes' on my website

- I need confirmation that i don't need to start over and waste a bunch of time!

spleeder 2 days ago 0 replies      
Im working on SongPane(http://songpane.com) an app that helps musicians organize songs and put together set lists for live performances.

Demo: http://demo.songpane.com

Its cool because:

* you can carry your entire song repertoire with you (chord charts) and easily combine songs to create set lists for worship services, concerts, practice sessions, etc.

* can transpose chord charts

* works on any device

* works offline

* can share set lists with other band members

* everything is synchronized in real-time

ibstudios 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://www.reportsfortrello.com - Why it is cool: It is only two months old, but it is cool because of I made it to be free and private like no app. I did not want to be responsible for other people's data. Because reports are just a glimpse at a moment of time, I thought it would be best for both speed and privacy to store Trello activity temporarily. So I get off the hook for security and reliability and you get your data destroyed off the internet.

What does it do? It reports time from 3 different actions using Trello. When I first used the Trello api I was amazed at what you can see. Today I can move one card and inform my clients and track time at the same time. One bird...

I also don't require any signup. You use your Trello account to sign in. So I guess another thing that I think is cool is that you can use my application with little friction. In 3 clicks you can see a report of your Trello activity the first time you use my app. I am proud of flow.

I also think it is cool that I can get sub 100ms responses off my tiny vps using ruby/redis/apache/modrails/oj gem/jquery/bootstrap. I love the stack, sure it's not the fastest/latest, but it was fun to code.

The tool is currently used by people in 88 countries. I did not expect this at all and it is a happy surprise.

Best of luck to all!

Timers and pie charts are for bakers!

julien421 2 days ago 0 replies      
We are working on HNWatcher.com, a tool for everyone (community managers, growth hackers, devs, devops...) to track keywords and users on Hacker News.

It is cool because you can be alerted on:

- any mention of your name, company, product or competitors on Hacker News and join the conversation.

- any submissions or comments of users you like

This way you can upvote while it's still time and join conversations on subjects that matter to you.


nileshtrivedi 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have been working on a web-based interactive environment for creating 2-d mechanics problems (with bodies like particles,disks,boxes, forces like gravity, springs, linear & circular motors and joints like revolute joints and sticks etc.) and simulating them. Think Algodoo for the web.

I think it's cool because nothing like this exists for the web. I recently gave a presentation at a Javascript conference in Bangalore on this: https://hasgeek.tv/jsfoo/2013-2/688-interactive-physics-simu... To see the demo, skip to 13:00 in the video.

I haven't launched it yet because collision detection and response is pending. Hope to do it soon. :)

SamBoogie 2 days ago 0 replies      
Betathegame.com - Beta is a game that teaches players programming, game design, and facilitates synergistic learning.

I think it's super cool because it's one of the few games I've played that has a heavy educational component while also being fun. It's also cool because it's extremely open. Through the use of the in-game terminal, players are able to build intricate levels and puzzles, then share them with others.

Due to the extremely customizable nature of the game, I foresee teachers being able to create homeworks/tests/assignments within. That's the synergistic learning part :)

We've done workshops with Black Girls Code, DIY Days, The Village, and the Grace Hopper Convention in places like NYC, Sheffield (UK), Philly, Minneapolis, and most recently Toronto. With each iteration we are seeing more and more excitement, from kids and adults as well.

If your interested and located in NYC, we're doing a game demo this Monday night (10/28) at Microsoft HQ (www.meetup.com/gaming/events/139786752/). stop by, play our game, chat with us, play other cool indie games and have fun!

aoruclar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Neurio: A new home intelligence project that makes an ordinary home smart.


It's cool because we launched it on Kickstarter 11 days ago, and have raised $101,000 so far... people really are excited about it!

Basically, it's a real-time energy sensor that can show you how much electricity each appliance in the home is using from a central sensor. Also, it has an open platform & can integrate with things like IFTTT, Spark Core, and Smart Things.

Here's an example project we put together. =)


jed_watson 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm working on a web app framework / cms for node.js built on express.js and mongo called KeystoneJS, and have been for a few months.

Keystone makes it easier to get a blog / website / web app up and running without a lot of the module research or boilerplate code node.js usually requires. It also provides a beautiful, useful admin UI (think activeadmin for rails).

It's open source (MIT), and cool because...

* There isn't really anything like this for node.js yet (that we've found). There are a so many great modules and you can plug in almost anything, but getting projects off the ground requires a lot of boilerplate compared to frameworks like rails or django.

* It makes sophisticated things trivial by providing drop-in patterns - like session management and auth, and clever fields for your models, e.g. location fields and image fields (which make for a better admin UI but don't abstract too heavily the underlying data the fields represent).

* We're trying to build an "out of the box" system that doesn't keep you in the box. You can use what you like and swap out what you don't. You can use Jade or Handlebars. Plug in any express middleware you like. Use the built in auth system or provide your own.

* It's all based on the best practices my team have come up with in over a year of node.js web app development and we're using it to power several commercial, production projects. So it's got real-world usage and solves real problems.

* Quite a few people have said this is a gap in the node.js ecosystem, and ultimately if Keystone is just useful for us and a handful of others that's fine, but it would be really exciting if we could start something that helps node.js grow or helps other web developers use the platform. Especially for projects where rapid development is important, and having a great admin UI available would be the difference between using node.js and not.

If you're interested check out http://keystonejs.com

rudolfosman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Zazler - seamless API creation, http://www.zazler.com

Why it's cool:

1) Instead of building an API for your project, you can start using Zazler as a ready-made API. It acts as a web server that can be installed locally and configured directly to a SQL database (a legacy database or a new one, we're currently supporting PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite and MSSQL), so that makes it cross-platform. (ofcourse you can also build a proxy with node or nginx on the server's port if that's necessary)

2) Database queries are defined as URLs per HTTP request, using a query syntax very similar to SQL. This allows the user of an app to write necessary queries, hence extend the app on the client-side. Complex joins, filters and similar stuff is supported.

3) Zazler comes bundled with many technical formats, data visualizations and app templates. And they are extendable, meaning the app's users themselves can decide how to view the data, even write their own formats and templates.

4) The feedback we've received from backend developers is that it will save them many, many hours of boilerplate coding. So it can also serve as a development platform that can be used to write database queries using URLs instead of writing boilerplate backend code. You can basically set it up and let the frontend technician take over the work from there.

5) We've used similar architecture for the last 6 years in our projects, so it's pretty mature. Now we're releasing Zazler as a beta for public and planning to launch it as a separate product in 2014.

I've written a blog post where I describe Zazler's approach in more detail: "API Creation the Missing Link in API Management" http://www.zazler.com/?p=115

rooster8 2 days ago 0 replies      
Happy Scale (http://happyscale.com) - A moving-average weight tracking app for iOS

It's cool because it changes your relationship with the scale. Your weight fluctuates up and down naturally during a diet, and seeing a high number in the morning after you worked so hard the day before can be so demoralizing. With this app, that number is just a data point. You can enter a high number into the app and find out that your overall weight trend is still headed in the downward direction, so there's no need to freak out!

On a personal level, it's cool because I actually SHIPPED and because I've gotten to learn so many new things like design and marketing. And getting an email from someone who tells you that it's helping them in a way that no other system has ever helped them before feels incredible.

PS- Reading Hacker News has been a huge inspiration for working on this and persevering during the rough times. Love you guys.

drakeandrews 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm reimplementing the SQLite virtual machine in RPython, in the hopes that RPython's tracing JIT will speed up query execution. RPython (the toolkit behind PyPy) is cool because it allows you to build a JIT-enabled virtual machine with very little effort.

I'm also writing a comedy horror roleplaying game and getting to grips with all the less fun aspects of running a kickstarter campaign.

zitko 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm working on Event Discovery App.

It's cool because unlike other apps that fetch data from Facebook, we're classifying events into categories using NLP algorithms and we're also working on advanced event recommendation system, so we don't just provide a list of things.

Also unlike other tech startups that try to make things easier to do at home (delivery, social networks, etc etc) we're trying to encourage you to go out and enjoy life.

It's for Android only at the moment.http://olaii.com

I'm always open for chat, suggestions, criticism so don't hesitate to contact me/us :)

egypturnash 2 days ago 0 replies      
Decrypting Rita: http://egypt.urnash.com/rita/

It's a graphic novel about a robot lady who's dragged outside of reality by her ex-boyfriend. She's got to pull herself together across four parallel worlds before a hive mind can take over the planet.

hippich 2 days ago 0 replies      
SMS Neighbors (http://smsneighbors.com/)

Cool, because I am trying to bring social networks to people using "dumb phones". By sending text to one number all your neighbors will receive it. Perfect for reporting suspicious person or lost dog, or announcing garage sale or neighborhood event.

danpat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Automated ski trail reporting:


Using GPS trackers to watch where grooming equipment goes, then update the "what's been groomed" report automatically and (where there's sufficient connectivity) in near realtime.

lukaseder 1 day ago 0 replies      
Making my strongest software engineering beliefs a business with http://www.jooq.org

It's cool because two of the oldest and most popular technologies in the software ecosystem (Java from the 90s and SQL from the 70s) are still integrated like it's 1997, through the awkward JDBC API. Meanwhile, everyone else has since been trying to hide SQL away (e.g. JPA).

While jOOQ doesn't help everyone (http://http://www.hibernate-alternative.com), most DBA / SQL-centric developers who have stumbled upon jOOQ found the idea very intriguing, and it certainly beats SQLJ in user acceptance.

What's really cool as well is that I can help the Java folks remember how awesome actual SQL can be. Today's junior developers hardly even know the SQL language.

gfodor 2 days ago 1 reply      

Mail photo postcards of the kids to grandparents. It's cool because people like it and pay for it. It's also nerd-cool because it uses AWS SWF for order processing and gave me a chance to see if I could design, ship, and scale up a successful iOS app myself.

eudox 2 days ago 1 reply      
A statically-typed, JIT-compiled dialect of Lisp. I felt that there was a spot between performance and low-level control, and high-level metaprogramming that no language right now occupies (Except possibly Rust, which looks pretty promising).


cliveowen 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nothing, and it's cool because it gives me a ton of time to go out and meet people.
iM8t 1 day ago 0 replies      
HMW: http://hmworship.com/ - on offline WEB App for song lyrics/chords.

It's really cool because most of the current chord sites lack the one critical feature for the mobile age: offline usage.

And also it's amazing because it's built entirely by volunteers and the users are evangelizing it themselves. We have never spent a dime on salaries/marketing or anything else. 100% bootstrapped.

d0m 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hacking Health

We try to break down the barriers to innovation in healthcare. We bring together doctors, nurses, developers and designers so they can hack without all the bureaucratic bullshit.

Udo 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm building a community-based startup and project incubator with the goal of forming "classes" of founders who support and advise each other. It's called http://launchway.net - though it's been difficult to get people on board I'll keep trying.

As an aside, I think we should have threads like this one more often, I'd love to learn what everone's been up to periodically.

shravvmehtaa 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.hshacks.com. Introducing hacking to the younger generation. Our goal is to introduce as many people to computer science as possible with our hackathon, and promote computer science education to as many females as possible. Companies are looking for more computer science talent and want more to see more females in their company ranks. There are almost 30% less females in computer science compared to males. We are here to provide the mentorship and training needed to become a great developer. We aim to teach students the basics of computer science by holding workshops, teaching the basics of web development, developing iPhone and Android applications, and integrating third party products (APIs) into applications.
Prefinem 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am working on a new game I Invented. Called "The Game of Stones" http://thegameofstones.com

It will be a website along with a phone app.

Why it's cool? Because it is a tactical type game, like chess, checkers, or go but instead of two players, up to five players can play meaning that there are much more possibilities for winning. I am also developing a board game for it as well to be able to play as a group at home, or where ever.

tluyben2 1 day ago 0 replies      
New version of Fitto[1]. The current version works well for people who, so to say, live in the gym, but not for others. So we are adding a ton of features to make it work well for the more casual gym-goer!

It's cool because of the many new hardware devices we are integrating.

[1] http://fitto.co

jaredsohn 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have been working on a couple of projects.

The first is software that automatically pauses/mutes your music when you watch a video and restores it afterward by looking at process volumes. It is called mute.fm but only available for Windows at the moment. http://www.mute.fm/

The second is a location-based pasteboard called near.im that lets you share {contact information, addresses, links, text} with people who are nearby who don't necessarily have a particular app installed. I've recently discovered it can also be used as an appless Chrome-To-Phone. http://www.near.im/

bedatadriven 2 days ago 0 replies      
ActivityInfo - allow non0technical humanitarian and other NGO workers to define indicators, collect results, map, share, and overlay from dozens of different sources. Open-Source AppEngine/GWT app with OLAP-ish database that syncs to local WebSQL for offline usage. http://about.activityinfo.org, or http://github.com/bedatadriven/activityinfo

Renjin - new interpreter for the R language built on the JVM (http://www.renjin.org) - includes a gcc-based Fortran/C to JVM compiler tool chain to leverage and transform existing scientific code.

krapp 1 day ago 0 replies      
So many awesome projects...

I made something to format the outbound links on a page into an expandable list that I think is kind of cool. It's probably way too early to be posting it since I just started it though but what the heck.


(no one will be very impressed but I like it...)

joshontheweb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Robot Audio (http://robotaudio.com) - An online DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). The app itself is not ready yet, but you can play with the synthesis engine on the signup page.

It's cool because:

* You can now make something like Ableton Live or Garage Band directly in the browser.

* You will have all of you work and assets available from any computer and won't need to worry about license keys.

* It will be much easier to share and collaborate with others.

* It will be affordable (between $5 - $20/mo) as opposed to $600 - $1200 for Ableton Live.

dzink 1 day ago 0 replies      
DoerHub (http://www.doerhub.com) -- a place where all of the things you are working on can attract not just likes but also advice, collaborators, tools, tangible help, referrals and word-of-mouth. It's a humanized GitHub, because no code is involved and non-hackers can contribute in little or big ways to your tech or non-tech projects and initiatives.

Here is mine: http://doerhub.com/of/diana , showing the rest of the stuff I'm working on.

nihaar 2 days ago 0 replies      
BabyDigest (https://www.getbabydigest.com) - Share baby pictures safely

My baby's timeline/Demo: https://www.getbabydigest.com/timeline/santiago

It's cool because:

* It solves a key problem for parents: How do I easily share my baby's pictures & videos privately without requiring my friends and family to sign up or install something?

* It automatically finds pictures of your baby on your Facebook feed and pulls them into your baby's timeline, so that your grandmother can see them.

* Built in SF with my buddy and I using Django/Python, MongoDB, AngularJS

c0lin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Notelab (http://notelab.org) - a way to take synced notes alongside web videos.

It's cool because:

* It's really simple (paste a YouTube URL then take notes and they all sync up).

* At the moment there's no good way to capture, organise, export and share notes relating to online videos. You have to open a text editor next to your browser window, or (gasp) write on paper.

* It solves a pain point I have when teaching, as I often recommend videos as "recommended viewing" to my students, and I like to share my notes on the videos with them, and also see what they are writing.

* It's my first coding project, so I'm learning a lot :-)

pauljz 2 days ago 1 reply      
A web-based IDE for automated testing [1] with real-time collaboration features. Pretty cool for a few reasons: First, it's actually making creating automated testing suites enjoyable. This is usually a pretty unenviable task. The IDE is something I actually like using though, and have found myself wanting to use it on just about every consulting gig or website I've touched since we started on it - even ones without an explicit automated testing requirement.

Second, the technology to pull this off requires a lot of different pieces, in different environments and languages. It's been a really satisfying technical challenge to make everything work together seamlessly and automatically.

[1] http://f14n.com/

coreymaass 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just launched http://builtFromIdeas.com - my web app developement services as a package.

It's cool because it automates most of the sales process. It generates an NDA, and work-for-hire, invoices, and accepts electronic signatures for approval. Customers can review and approve milestones, make payments through Stripe. It even schedules calls!

hhaidar 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Let's Chat, our little private campfire alternative: https://github.com/sdelements/lets-chat

It's cool because we get to keep our chats to ourselves.

nrp 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm working on making virtual reality as compelling and comfortable as it can be with mostly off the shelf components. It is cool because seeing virtual reality finally work puts a smile on the face of just about everyone we try it on.
thecolorblue 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am working on a food discovery app that works something like Waze. Users post where they get their favorite foods, either groceries or restaurants. This data is aggregated and used in the search tool that lets users search nearby, popular and in season. I haven't gotten it online yet but I have it running locally. Its important because there is no food information online. Every online food ordering website is closed off, and finding great food still requires people to ask around. This could open up a whole new market for small food producers who are producing great stuff but can't get awareness.
NicoJuicy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Creating a non-intrusive task management application.

For example, you mail what the guy has to do and add this mail in cc: in_15_days@maildo.me .When the task is finished, he responds to you and adds: finished@maildo.me in CC.

You can set up options for a weekly overview of tasks with their current state.

Still developing the system though, but if your interested just add your mail to this form https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Im08qadrAvOv0LHVq-rNFPIlpPA... and i'll notify you with more information :)

cwal37 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nothing to do with coding, but I recently started writing energy things at www.btus.us It's just Wordpress for now, but I want to talk about energy generation and consumption related things using EIA and other data sources in ways people haven't seen before. Maps, charts, tables, I think there are a lot of fun things to look at in the energy industry, and most people don't have a strong grasp on it.

I'm working on a map series (36-48 maps in a .gif) of dominant generation types by state and month right now that I think a lot of people are going to find very interesting, as the seasonal disposition of hydro and the fast uptake of natural gas by all the boilers that can use it will be kind of visualized.

eliteraspberrie 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wrote a spectral analysis library called udsp:



In the future it will include:

* support for more FFT libraries, like FFTW;

* some signals processing functions, such as basic frequency modulation/demodulation; and

* a NumPy-compatible Python interface.

Its best feature at the moment is convolution and correlation.

rst 1 day ago 0 replies      
Positronic Net, a Scala toolkit for Android programmers, with UI and data-management helpers.
bitexploder 2 days ago 2 replies      
Toy project: an HTTP(S) brute forcing tool using Python as a templating language. Why is it cool: high performance using async IO, powerful templating for Python programmers, very easy to take HTTP requests and turn them into a fuzzing template that mutates request in a combinatoric fashion. Similar to features built into Burp proxy for those that are familiar with it.

Real project: A system that will help organizations understand their overall, and application, security risk and manage it across time. Why is it cool: because security is hard and this will make it easier in a non-snake oil fashion. Many organizations are flying blind about their actual risk. A good view of your risk can help you prioritize security budgets.

MarkPNeyer 2 days ago 1 reply      
writing a sci-fi novel dealing with p vs np, quantum computing, the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, the future of civilization and culture, and hipsters.

it's cool because it's also about my personal life and struggles with bipolar disorder.

theblueadept 2 days ago 0 replies      

It's a (free) headless browser API for web automation, creating web-bots, scrapers, and talking to REST-ful web services. I just released Beta version 0.9.5 last night.

It's cool because it's far more lightweight than the most obvious alternatives, which means (for example) that it's possible to run many, many browser instances at once, such as one per thread. As an API, it's very developer-friendly with extensive documentation and simple examples for every concept, making it very easy to get started writing java-based scrapers/bots/etc.

AndyKelley 2 days ago 0 replies      
libgroove[1] - a generic music player backend C library.

The goal is to provide a powerful yet simple API for building a music player app. It's the backend for Groove Basin[2], a music player app written in Node.js with a web interface.

It's cool because everybody who uses it as the backend for their music player app benefits from the shared maintenance burden and increased robustness.

[1]: https://github.com/superjoe30/libgroove[2]: https://github.com/superjoe30/groovebasin

nercury 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have started working on a library to simplify exposing C++ classes to various languages that can be "embeded". A link to the second attempt [1], my current attempt is to expose things to V8 Javascript [2]

It is cool because in addition of exposing and sharing objects, it can be used to output the documentation for them, or even ease embeding such languages as C# (to generate interop library automatically).

Note that this is my second attempt (recently started), the first one worked but relied on some overcomplicated third party libraries for V8, I could not understand them fully, therefore a reboot.

[1] https://github.com/key-tools/key-machine

[2] https://github.com/key-tools/key-v8-machine/blob/master/key-...

benblodgett 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.nkoso.org / http://www.hopsie.com - a crowdfunding api for non profits.
LouisSayers 2 days ago 0 replies      
Working on http://www.Driftrock.com - it's a Marketing tools platform that connects to various paid marketing channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Adwords, Analytics.

It's cool because it's designed to host lots of different marketing applications, and because it has the big data aspect to it.

The other cool thing about is that it's designed to be easy to use, mobile responsive, and self service (which is quite a big plus when comparing to the competition!).

The other cool thing is that it's my day job, and I get paid to build, design, and work on it :)

kevando 2 days ago 0 replies      
Frameri (http://frameri.com) Interchangeable Rx glasses.

Buy your lenses once that work with multiple frames!

photorized 2 days ago 0 replies      
1) Data discovery and social analytics:


Extremely minimal interface, fast (everything is precalculated/precached).

2) tech accelerator: http://www.colodesk.com/

All about rapid prototyping, idea to MVP within weeks.

lfittl 2 days ago 1 reply      
pganalyze (https://pganalyze.com/) - Performance Monitoring for PostgreSQL databases.

Its cool because:

We visualise the metrics & counters that are usually hidden away in PostgreSQL internal tables.

Plus we check that your database is fast and configured correctly.

Also: I'm a techie with a UX hat, and data visualisation and pattern matching is fun :)

kylebragger 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just released a Q&A book about building community products. (I founded Forrst in 09.) Totally DIY effort, used ruby and the prawn gem to generate the PDF file. All questions were crowd sourced. Here's a discount if you're interested: https://gumroad.com/l/obcp-book/saturday
vuzum 1 day ago 1 reply      
Blogvio (http://www.blogvio.com) - add beautiful widgets to your website.

It's cool because you don't need to do any coding to add beautiful and custom galleries, video players, mp3 players, and any other types of widgets to your website. Just copy/paste an embed code and you're done.

This helps you a lot especially if you're an agency or freelancer, or if you're using a publishing tool such as Wix, SquareSpace, Weebly, etc - where you don't have access to a server to upload files.

awdraper 2 days ago 0 replies      
DrumLog.com (http://www.drumlog.com) - Analytics for your practice sessions. It's a web app for drummers to track what and how much they are practicing.

It's Cool because:

* Creates analytics from an offline activity

* Built with Backbone.js, Node.js (Express.js), hosted on Heroku, and uses Parse to store data. (all great free services)

* Is being actively used by over 100 drummers who have logged over 3200 practice sessions in about 3 months.

gregdetre 2 days ago 2 replies      
Building on Hofstadter's models of analogy-making to build pattern recognition algorithms that work in a more human-like way. At least, that's my hope!

My background is in computational neuroscience, but I'm doing this on my own, mostly for fun. If it sounds interesting, I'd love some company! greg at gregdetre dot co dot uk

superice 19 hours ago 0 replies      
RoyalCMS. It's an extremely flexible content management system, which focusses on creating functionality by using plugins. It's like an platform for websites. It is not quite done yet, but we have a (kind of) working beta: http://royalcms.net/
psobot 2 days ago 1 reply      
Currently building out http://forever.fm, an automatically-beatmatched radio stream of popular music from around the web. Built out the real-time music streaming backend in a mix of Python, C++ and Golang, just submitted the iOS client to the App Store, and am currently finishing up the Android client. (Along the way, I also built my own distributed, persistent version of Unix pipes on Redis: http://github.com/psobot/pressure)
goyalpulkit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Shyahi (http://shyahi.com) - Your Social Homepage. Its like about.me with extended information about social profiles beautifully summarized on your profile.

Its free, easy to set up and pulls in your stats directly from Dribbble, Github, Stackoverflow, Twitter and your blog feed which means that your Shyahi profile is always up to date. This is something that's really cool about Shyahi, you set it up once and then its automatically updated based on your social activity. It provides the most precise and relevant information to your audience at one central online location. And its bootstrapped and made by two people.

thibpat 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've built GifIt (http://gifit.nodejitsu.com/) this week. It allows you to add a gif with your tweets.

It's cool because:

- Gifs are cool

- It uses getUserMedia() to capture the gif from the browser

- Coded in node.js with the MEAN boilerplate (https://github.com/linnovate/mean)

- It's a 15-hours one-person project

prezjordan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm working on a program that allows you to make presentations in record time[0] because making slideshows sucks - and it shouldn't have to.

Learning a lot about node modules, promises, and maintaining an open-source library. Loving every minute of it :)

[0]: http://jdan.github.io/cleaver/

michaeldunworth 2 days ago 1 reply      
snapcard - Allows people to spend their bitcoins on any website at anytime, regardless of whether the merchant has it integrated.

Like Amazon 1 click, except it works on every website and requires no merchant integration.

Video Demo - https://vimeo.com/76122291

It's cool because- Spend bitcoins anywhere you want- No merchant integration- 1 click checkout so you don't flood a million websites with your personal data.

jschrf 2 days ago 1 reply      
A real-time web interface for remotely scripting Android devices using TypeScript. It is cool because Android is great and TypeScript is great.
spencerfry 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm working on https://www.uncover.com (an easy way to offer perks and rewards for your employees) with a few other people. We're bootstrapped and making decent revenue in our 6th month. We've got a huge update coming (hopefully) before Thanksgiving.
howlett 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm working on Taniger https://www.taniger.com which is a real time Facebook chat encryption service.Quick demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU57xQcAcd0

Why it's cool:It's open source. It provides REAL real-time encryption without the hassle of "choosing a password", "copy pasting text" etc. Also same logic can be applied to any web chat service.

Code available at: https://github.com/sadreck/taniger

radkiddo 1 day ago 0 replies      

it is cool because it allows businesses to become more profitable by allowing companies to negotiate discounts on supplier and service provider invoices.

basically sellers can get paid early (adding liquidity to their business) and buyers can profit on discounts, adding thousands to their cashflow (which they will never get from a bank).

you can think of it as twitter meets dropbox meets ebay for the supply chain.

checkout our blog too:http://blog.apbox.co

sparktree 2 days ago 0 replies      
QuietThyme(http://www.quietthyme.com) is like DropBox for your ebooks.

We let you access your eBook library anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Its great because we allow our users to convert their ebooks from one format to another with ease, its simple enough that my mother and father could do it. We also let you keep complete control over your library, if you want, by allowing you to store it on Dropbox or Google Drive

kranner 2 days ago 1 reply      
An iOS speed-reading app (http://velocireaderapp.com) for ebooks. I have a day job so this is an after-hours side project.

It's cool to me because it's something I use myself, almost every day. It's so effective I even get ePubs for any book I've just bought in paperback, just so I can read it in my app. I've got an endless list of planned features to experiment with, so it's fun in more than one way. And I like to think its users like it too!

secfirstmd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Currently working on a mobile security application to help easily teach, implement and manage the physical security of human rights defenders, activists and journalists. Right now there is nothing out there that does this, so hoping it will get a lot of use.

I'm not the best in terms of technical ability so if anyone wants to donate time - especially app developers, LAMP stack guys, UI/UX or testers then please drop me a mail to secfirstmd@gmail.com

glazskunrukitis 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am working on a side-project in my spare time - GetSSL.me [1]. The idea is to sell inexpensive certificates and offer friendly support. All certificates are hand picked and we only offer the best of them.

[1] https://getssl.me/

huragok 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hyperglot (http://tmcnab.github.io/Hyperglot) - a language experimentation platform.

Basically, gives you the tools to make languages that compile to JS in one nice, neat package. I've already written a lisp-like language and a python-like language this week which is pretty rad.

calineczka 1 day ago 0 replies      
Developers oriented project management ebook ( http://blog.arkency.com/developers-oriented-project-manageme... ). It's cool because it teaches you practices that can be applied to your current IT project to make it more developers friendly. The goal is to make the work on a project more smooth and everybody more happy, as well as help the developers team to transition into remote work. The content of the book is similar in form to http://blog.arkency.com/2013/09/story-of-size-1/ and other blog posts linked inside. I hope some of you might find it interesting.
chris_va 2 days ago 0 replies      
(neat Ask HN!)

Maybe the software guys here will find this cool :).

I'm working on an open source build tool (similar to Ant, etc). Github code:https://github.com/chrisvana/repobuild

It's cool because:

* It makes it really easy to integrate new open source code. Want to compile against boost? Add one line. Want an ML library? Add another.

* Everything gets automatically pulled in.

* It makes it really easy to share your open source code with others.

* Works with a bunch of languages.

* Proven model from companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

My main project is using large scale computing (data from millions of CPU hours) to change how drug discovery is done. Drugs are very expensive because 98% of them fail. This hopefully changes that, and makes it profitable for companies to go after much smaller diseases that do not currently get attention. Papers forthcoming.

pla3rhat3r 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been working on PLUNK. It's a Technology Consultant Firm which specializes in helping the entertainment industry.

I've been going to a lot of conferences where the reoccurring theme is the tremendous divide in technology and the entertainment world. Either they don't know, don't care, or are too overwhelmed to know where to begin.

PLUNK will help them build applications that will deliver meaningful experiences with their audience. Whether it's simply helping to improve upon their social network to building a fully customizable application. Their audience is already engaging them, it's time to talk back.


vbsteven 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://cyclingplanner.com -- a season planner and training/results tracker for competitive cyclists.

It's cool because:

* A lot of cyclists are still planning on paper or spreadsheet, including me before I started working on this. It scratches my own itch and I believe I can make the experience a lot better.

* It collaborates instead of competes with services like Strava and Garmin Connect. Because it's using their API's cyclists can keep logging their workouts on those services and view detailed analytics on cyclingplanner.

* It's my first serious attempt at bootstrapping a software product and I've learned a ton of interesting stuff aside from coding so far.

olegp 2 days ago 1 reply      
https://starthq.com - a web app launcher & new tab replacement extension - like the old Chrome new tab page, but better.

What makes it cool is that we are implementing a number of desktop and mobile OS features, like multiple, screens, fast shortcuts, cross app search, notifications etc. but for web apps.

martydill 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://reminderhero.com - an email and SMS reminder service. Currently in beta.

Unlike some of my previous projects (such as http://surveylitics.com), it's cool because it's actually useful. I've been using it for the past month or two for everything and anything I need to remember.

metral 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm working on an aggregated information panel for the novice Bitcoin day trader.

It's great for Bitcoin buyers & sellers because the panel is consolidated around the more popular exchanges & wallets, its cleaner & easier to read than most financial-type sites, & all the data is real-time. Also, I'm working on supplemental features such as a live balance & calculator page to help make more informed decisions without having to navigate to other pages.

It's cool to me simply because its a site I myself want & need and mostly, its an excuse to play with technologies I've always wanted to learn & use so I'm glad I finally took the time to do so.

i.e -Django as webapp front-end with Gunicorn & nginx in the mix, -Gearman as a background worker pulling data and storing it in a DB, -nodejs + socket.io pushing the DB data to Django, -supervisord controlling Gunicorn & Gearman processes

And all of these living in their own VM environment for load/performance & decoupling of the usual silo of services.

Ping me if you're interested in finding out more about it :)

AshFurrow 2 days ago 0 replies      
Working on a book about functional reactive programming on iOS using ReactiveCocoa: https://leanpub.com/iosfrp

It's cool because there's a lot of information out there, but little to show developers how to build a whole app.

eli_gottlieb 1 day ago 0 replies      
On a good week I still manage to get some coding time in on my systems-programming language, Deca.


fiatjaf 1 day ago 1 reply      
DocsBlogger (http://www.docsblogger.com/) -- blog from Google Drive.

Because:* Google Docs is the best WYSIWYG on the internet;* blogging can be just about writing on a cool interface, without having to setup blog platforms AND go on their messy interface to write;* regular people can use this;* the written content stays on Google Drive, so you can delete your blog and keep everything without dealing with strange database backups;* almost-compatible with Jekyll-Octopress themes (some changes on the code have to be made, and for now only I can add themes to the pool of themes, but we will see what happens);* custom CSS (tomorrow javascript) files (automatically fetches from Google Drive) embedding.

brackin 1 day ago 0 replies      
We're trying to fix urban parking with Spot (starting in San Francisco), connecting homeowners with parkers when they're not using their spot.

They can drag to set their schedule or set it based on days and we let them start earning morning and do all of the legwork. Our parkers can open up the app and book a spot on an hourly basis instantly.


SuperChihuahua 1 day ago 0 replies      
#blog100 which is not a "project" but the idea is to produce 100 blog posts in 100 days. Hopefully will it increase traffic to my real projects.
Goopplesoft 2 days ago 1 reply      
GAuthify (http://www.GAuthify.com), Aims to make two factor authentication dead simple for the masses. I love two factor authentication and want to see everyone else use it too :)
dxm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a limited company incorporated in the United Kingdom, and I am working on three projects that I hope will turn into profitable products.

* Main focus: Transactional and marketing SMS application, it's a little boring and lots of companies do it, but none are truly self-service, and none make it super-easy.

* Back burner: Digital asset management, again it's done by many companies already, but there UIs are mostly upload, tag and try to retrieve. I have a background in AI (B.Sc) and I want to make it a little smarter than what's currently out there, with uploads that detect previous revisions of digital assets, etc finally putting to an end file naming conventions such as x_final.ai, x_final_2.ai, x_final_final.psd (something I have seen used by every company I have worked for.)

* And later: I'm into brewing beer, and I have been working on recipes for a few years Ambition is to make enough money to survive with the two projects above, and to begin investing in building a microbrewery and brew pub.

hyperion2010 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm building a tool (using python) that helps scientists (me) plan and automate repetitive experiments of pretty much any kind. The amusing part is that by using a database as a back end one can--guess what--query data based on experimental conditions and streamline and automate analysis.

Many scientists I have talked to (who collect their own data and do their own analysis) simply store their data sets on the file system and keep track of any relations or conditions in an ad hoc manner. I personally don't trust my memory, my handwriting, or my ability to do EXACTLY the same complicated set of things over and over enough to do that.

Hopefully using a tool that makes the relationships between different pieces of data explicit and automates or at least systematizes how data is collected I and others can generate more and better data and communicate what we did and what we found more effectively.

tehwebguy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Magic Shop (http://www.magicshop.io) - crazy easy way to set up a shop on any website

Demo account: demo@magicshop.io / demo

View demo at http://magicshopdemo.tumblr.com

SubuSS 2 days ago 0 replies      
I work on AWS DynamoDB Storage Engine. AWS DynamoDB is an infinitely scalable / infinitely provisionable / hosted low latency key value store. It is growing beyond the basic key value store definition rapidly with indexing etc.

Building and keeping a storage engine that runs on a ton of machines with high performance requirements / changing hardware / a bunch of new feature work etc. is truly hard. Add in other complexities such as live deployment of new software, monitoring for issues, testing the upgrade downgrade scenarios etc. you are looking at a super complex and fluid system. Very few people in the world get to be in the middle of such massive e-machinery, So it is a great place to be. Tough, but great.

If that sounds interesting to you, and you are looking to work on the bleeding edge of database technology used by a lot of customers, PM me! We are hiring in Palo Alto, Seattle and Dublin!

adamzerner 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.collegeanswerz.com/ - better college reviews. Most websites just have a reviewer answer a few questions about their school. This doesn't work. I have a bunch of specific questions that reviewers answer.

http://www.collegeanswerz.com/university-of-pittsburgh/ is the only school with answers right now. I'm working on getting other schools.

jermaink 1 day ago 1 reply      

We're working on visualizing the social network within movies. :)

aespinoza 2 days ago 0 replies      
iKnode (http://iknode.com) - Automation/Integration Backend Platform.

Demos: https://www.youtube.com/user/iknode

It is cool because:

* it reduces the time to market of backend applications and makes it extremely easy to deploy with just one button.

* It uses an uncool (uncool in HN) language (C#) to create very cool and amazingly easy functionality in the cloud.

* apps scale automatically with you knowing anything about Capacity planning or scaling.

* You can store your data internally with an easy to use interface.

* Mind blowingly easy to use task Scheduling.

apoorvnarang 1 day ago 0 replies      
A gamified course management system for colleges (http://www.usebackpack.com)

It is cool because:* It has all features to stay updated about your college courses in a very easy user experience.* It has game elements that keep students engaged and have fun while learning.

mgl 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://codedose.com We are working on a small side project (codename: market colors) that will make daily analysis of stock price movements and trend discovery super easy. You will be able to analyze and compare literally thousands of stocks from US, European and Asian markets in a few minutes. AJAX frontend with interesting high volume batch processing in the back end. (if you are interested in more details, drop us a line!)
keven25 2 days ago 0 replies      
A bookmarking tool that tracks progress of webpages/videos

I've been using this app to bookmark all my webpages: http://alittleapp.com/

It is especially helpful for unfinished long articles and long videos, which I have to come back for. What makes ALittle unique is, it actually saves the play progress of the video (in the case of articles, it saves the scroll position), so that next time you can come back to the exact same spot. No more writing down the time manually. No more time spent trying to remember the spot you left off at.

ALittle makes this possible with a Chrome extension. It adds a cute little button next to your browser's address bar. With just one click, you can save the progress of any webpages. Furthermore, the progress can be synced across computers, as long as you have Chrome browsers.

derwiki 2 days ago 1 reply      
CameraLends (https://www.cameralends.com) -- AirBnB for cameras, rent cameras and lenses from local photographers. It's cool because:

- sharing feels good

- if you have camera gear, you're probably not using it all the time

- it's a way earn back cash from lending out gear

- it's a side project that I've bootstrapped this year :)

TallboyOne 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://pineapple.io - I think it's cool because I don't know of any centralized locations for development tutorials and tools. Reddit is filled with mostly jaded posts and HN is filled with lots of news. Mine is only tutorials, tools, and assets.

Here are some tags to start you off. I guarantee you will find hidden gems here :) http://pineapple.io/tags/all

nakodari 2 days ago 1 reply      
Jumpshare (https://jumpshare.com) - Real-time file sharing service that allows you to view over 200 file formats right inside the browser.

It's cool because:

* People can now share and view the contents of the files online without having to download and view them using 3rd party desktop apps.

* People can collaborate around content while on the go.

* No need to sign up for multiple services to upload multiple file types, YouTube, Scribd, Slideshare, Flickr, etc. Just upload any file on Jumpshare and view it online, beautifully.

* Files shared can be viewed by the recipients without having to sign up for an account.

* Kills folder hierarchy and introduces a new type of folder organization to speed up file sharing.

* Bootstrapped and developed by 8 people.

sheepz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Greenhouse CI (http://greenhouseci.com)

A continuous integration platform for iOS and Android apps. Our goal is to create a CI environment which is focused on mobile applications, no more, no less, without the hassles of setting up and maintaining something like Jenkins.

Live Demo: http://try.greenhouseci.com/ (for iOS and Android Gradle projects)

If you have a open source iOS or Android project, I'd really appreciate if you tried to build it.

It's cool because:

* I get to work on cool technology. We are currently using Node.js, Python, Go, Mongo in the backend, and AngularJS in the front end

* I get to be part of the whole design process: the actual programming, devops stuff, UI design and copywriting

* It is technically challenging

collyw 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am pleasantly surprised to see lots of really innovative ideas. Usually speaking to "entrepreneurs" their innovative idea is a new social network "like facebook but..."
mamcx 2 days ago 0 replies      
A app similar to square (a point of sale for iPad), but with more features. I doing a real-time sync (based in firebase) for it.

This is a upgrade, semi-rewrite of http://www.elmalabarista.com/bestseller (until now only useful for wholesale distributors with ERP + Sync server) to help small shops to sell and replace DOS based POS software that is very common in my country and elsewhere.

Is a single-man operation ;)

P.D: And I wish to have time/money to build a language based in FoxPro/Python...

stasy 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm working on first startup as a sophomore in high school. It is basically a PHP login/registration system styled with all the bootstrap templates. (You can get the PHP login/registration system with any Bootstrap template. Coming soon. https://www.phpstrap.in/
sycren 2 days ago 0 replies      
Currently in an Edutech hackathon in London - http://hackathoncentral.com/

Working on a project in conjunction with the British Library to crowd source tagging for illustrations found in 19th Century Literature. And further down the line to provide descriptions of what the images actually are.

poissonpie 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm tinkering Click or Treat with http://clickortre.at a silly little halloween themed game with absolutely no point. Has got a halloween soundboard though :)

It's cool I've used it to start learning AngularJS. It's also cool because my daughter enjoys clicking the little ghost.

kylelutz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Boost.Compute (https://github.com/kylelutz/compute) - A C++ GPU Computing Library for OpenCL

It's cool because it offers C++ developers an easy path to running code on GPUs and multi-core CPUs via an STL-like API. It's similar to NVIDIA's Thrust library but supports all OpenCL compatible devices (including AMD GPUs and Intel CPUs/accelerators).

Documentation is here: http://kylelutz.github.io/compute/

P.S. It's still under active development and we're looking for more contributors with an interest in parallel computing and C++. Send me an e-mail if you're interested!

shaunrussell 1 day ago 1 reply      
Upbeat (https://www.upbeatapp.com/) -- hackernews meets soundcloud.

It's cool because:

* Users can democratically decide which music is popular.

* Music is browseable by genre, and filterable by sub genre.

* Users can save songs and add them to a queue for later listening.

* Powered by Angular.js, Node.js, Redis.

* Average server response time: 9ms

* Bootstrapped by 3 friends, in less than 1 month, only working nights and weekends.

* Already profitable.

quinto_quarto 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pitch Me (http://www.pitchme.org) -- we're building a marketplace for buying and selling quality journalism.

We vet our writers and we have hundreds of stories from them from all over the world. If you're an (aspiring?) editor, you could commission a magazine full of original stories, edit them and pay the writers in one place. Get in touch at hello@pitchme.org if you're interested.

nathanathan 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm working on a game based on memorizing Chinese characters.It's cool because it uses the qualities that motivate people to play farm sims to encourage players to study a language. Players plant character-flowers and must pass quizzes in order to pluck them.This website has more information and a download link for the beta, which only works on android at the moment: http://zhongwengarden.com/
skwp 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://reverb.com - a musician's marketplace.

It's cool because we're putting the care into hand curating our listings so that we have really cool collections (you can check em out here: http://reverb.com/handpicked-collections).

It's also cool because we're experimenting with machine learning (poking at prediction.io currently) to see if we can give people more of what they want. And we're building Ruby services and we have an iPhone app. And all this with only two developer, a UX designer and an intern. And it's cool because we're actually making money. And, we're hiring ;)

joetann 2 days ago 1 reply      

Fun side project to scratch an admittedly very small itch I've had for a while. I've collaborated with a local company who is handling all order fulfillment.

Working on adding font chooser, image upload, and a more elegant customization form.

dysbulic 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm trying to design an alternative to the investment economy. I would like to digitize cost information and use computers to determine fair prices. I want do it by keeping metadata about bitcoin transactions.

By making the system of production computer accessible we can run businesses at cost.

I'd like to start with the information systems for the One Acre Cafe. They are a pay-how-you-can restaurant opening in Johnson City, TN. (I wish it was pay-what-you-can rather than volunteer for food, but that's something to worry about later.)


Their initial need is for a volunteer management system. Apart from three people, the entire staff is volunteer. I've not done any coding on it yet, but it will almost certainly be a rails app.


Eventually I'd like to integrate this with an inventory and pos system, so you get a bill that tells you what the meal cost the cafe to provide based on the accumulated cost information associated with the business.

You get a receipt that includes a QR linking to a profile for your server. You are able to give feedback by entering adjectives and ranking them -11.

There is also the ability to give a tip in bitcoins. I'd like to have a service where the money can be conditionally given. I'm interested particularly in housing.

I want people to be able to give specifically for shelter and they get it back if it isn't used.

Phase two would involve mortgaging a house and then renting the space at cost and payable in bitcoins. What I'm trying to work toward is the ability to sustainably travel. A chain of restaurants that accepted each others' electronic work reputations combined with easily accessible housing could allow a new sort of nomadic life.

filpen 2 days ago 0 replies      
In my spare time I am working on Seatbelt (http://seatbelt.io), a web app to help developers find pair programming partners.

It's cool because I think we need to bring developers together and share the knowledge, and I am convinced that pair programming is a powerful way to do it. There is much we can learn from working with people from different backgrounds.

Right now there is only a landing page with some copy, I work on the code when I find time. It's taking a while since I use this project to teach myself node.js (I am a .NET backend guy in my day job) but it's a fun side project.

novaleaf 21 hours ago 0 replies      
phantomjs.cloud: (phantomjs as a service) http://phantomjscloud.com/site/index.html

it's cool because: my first web project, needed subsystem of my next web project ;)

gio 2 days ago 0 replies      
Blimp http://getblimp.com

Project management software for creative teams with no managers.

It's cool because:

* We help you automate a workflow for your tasks (Plan -> Do -> Review ->Done)

* Beautiful and easy to use

* You can see the status of all projects on a single page (no more status meetings)

* You can see who is doing what in any moment

* Conversations are task centric, no need to read long messages to figure out what to do

* Google Drive, Dropbox Integration

* Proudly bootstrapped and made by three guys from Puerto Rico.

schreiaj 2 days ago 0 replies      
This week I've been making:

3D Printed sprockets for a local high school robotics team.

Building a small quadcopter for learning the technology so I can do aerial photography.

Started developing the materials for a course I'm teaching at the local hackerspace nominally titled - Building your own autonomous ground vehicle. I just took delivery of the parts for my first cut at a kit.

I also just finished teaching free classes to local students about 3D Printing, Git, and Project Management. Not sure it counts as making though.

pedalpete 2 days ago 0 replies      
A so far un-named hardware development framework which makes hardware programming more expressive and programs more shareable. No more "gpio -g write 17 1".
danielmunro 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been working on a mud implemented in python. For the uninitiated, mud stands for multi-user dungeon, and they are usually text-only multi-player games run over telnet. The first MMOs. It's cool because it is a modern project, using twisted for networking, it's event-driven and scripted, as opposed to hard coded and tightly coupled. The whole project is still highly in development and may not actually be in a working state but it's a labor of love. https://github.com/danielmunro/mudpy
ghinda 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm working on Business Card Maker(http://bizcardmaker.com/), a very simple client-side business card generator that can quickly export PDF or JPEG.

It's definitely not as cool as most of the stuff here, but it's real easy to work with, that's why I'm hoping it will be helpful for people with no technical skills and small businesses.

darkFunction 2 days ago 0 replies      
Objective-C class visualisation: http://notes.darkfunction.com/DFGrok

It's good for code reviewing changed classes, or getting a structural overview.

abbiya 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I am working on an android app which broadcast messages to the app users in the same geo loaction. Its cool cause its new and its not cool cause it can cause some problems.
arek2 2 days ago 0 replies      
5000 Best Things (http://5000best.com/) - feature-rich lists of best movies, books, websites, Youtube videos, web tools & services, Imgur pictures.
psathvik 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tharunopayam (http://upayam.tharuni.org/), a laravel/android-powered SMS helpline for adolocent girls, women and the aged in Warangal, India.

It uses an android device as an SMS server and a laravel based responsive front-end which allows our experts in various fields like nutrition, psychology, law, etc to answer peoples' queries from wherever and whenever they find it most comfortable.

mide765 2 days ago 0 replies      
Never-Bored (http://mide765.com) - An iOS app you use when you have some time to kill.It's cool because you can choose between four topics depending on your mood and environment. You can read short-stories, watch interesting videos, learn facts and basic phrases for ten languages or play some games such as Pong.

On a personal level, I've started using Xcode for the first time on third of September. This is the final product of my first try on doing an iOS app.

Any feedback is appreciated.

Ave 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hiresync (http://hiresync.io/) -- collaborative coding interview tool / tool to send out screening questions to candidates, record their response, and being able to pass that recording to your team to review at a later time.

Currently pretty early in development, alot of features are incomplete, but it feels nice to have something deployed online.

Mostly feeling like I'm stagnating at my day job so this was a good chance for me to learn some new skills.

wololo 2 days ago 0 replies      

It's cool because: we analyze paths taken in binaries to find bugs.

steveridout 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://readlang.com - an online eReader for language learners.

I've been working on this full time, completely solo, for nearly 11 months now. It's lets you import any content to read, provides low friction translations so you can concentrate on enjoying the content, and has a spaced repetition system to learn words and phrases with flashcards.

It's getting some early traction now with 2300 users, 45 of whom are paying, and really good feedback.

feint 1 day ago 0 replies      
Saved.io (http://saved.io)

It's cool because it's solves a problem I was having in a really simple and elegant way.

madoublet 2 days ago 0 replies      

I know "why do we need another CMS?" It's cool because it makes it really easy to deploy Bootstrap sites. Plus, it has a full API and a great UI (well, at least I think so).

inconshreveable 2 days ago 1 reply      
Public Hidden Services

These are services that have a secure, public URL that can be accessed by any web browser. The server hosting the traffic, however is completely anonymous and cannot be traced.

juanuys 2 days ago 0 replies      
My 1Password replacement using the shell:


Suggestions very welcome!

jbkkd 1 day ago 0 replies      

Let's you find rail connections using Google Maps and directly buy the tickets on the rail site.Currently only in Germany, but other countries to come, and also cross-country tickets using each relevant rail provider.

gionn 1 day ago 0 replies      
A platform to auto-deploy and sells web apps on different IaaS providers, helping small-medium business to delivery their software without api/pay-per-use/provisioning troubles.

http://cloudesire.com (public beta soon)

vpsingh 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://99tests.com - a marketplace for getting the most skilled manual testers to find bug in your software.

Idea is that you can set a price for each bug ($10-$500) that you would like to see, then pay our testers based on accepted bugs.

moj 2 days ago 0 replies      
An ios app to make roadtrip timelapse movies (video + gps = fun). This idea has been on my mind for ages so I finally sat down and built it.

This video, the very first upload, shows it in action. Bonus if you can guess where it is: http://youtu.be/-sFu7xAxt5c

The in-app playback has map route, speed, & direction overlays, not yet present in the video export.

It's not ready for the store yet, contact me if you'd like to beta test.

seeingfurther 2 days ago 0 replies      
https://psychsignal.com/ Quantifying crowd psychology. Initially our granular sentiment technology is focused on financial sentiment. We plan on changing the way real time news is sourced and reported on.
edh649 1 day ago 0 replies      
Am currently just in the conceptual stages but some sort of device where you plug in a bunch of ipods and then can select a song from any of them to play as well as queuing music etc.

Is cool because at parties etc. means you don't have to continually switch ipods to put on 'That song'

harpb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Webapp for organizing code snippets as pages: http://harpb.com/static/snipp-t/index.htmlWatch video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPL-7-XTmDs&feature=youtu.beThe editor is very much work in progress and the video highlights base concept for the editor.
triaged 2 days ago 1 reply      
We're working on an app for developers that collates all of your saas products into one mobile feed. It helps you stay current on what's happening at work, both what your team and your machines are doing. It also helps you quickly dig deeper into issues & triage important events.

It's cool because you can keep track of a lot more than previously possible, communicate with your team, and act on it - from your phone. And it's damn good looking too (but we're biased :)

jscottmiller 2 days ago 0 replies      
1dash1 - a browser-based game creation platform.

Games are created using a custom toolset and programming language. Everything is centrally-run (games, content editor), making it easy to add multiplayer and collaboration features.

Here's a video showing how to create a multiplayer platforming game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6rgfEh_Ctc&feature=youtu.be

roryreiff 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fleck: getfleck.com/download (link to iTunes app)

Why it's cool: We give you access to creatives all around the world for topic based photo sharing. No more #selfies or #burritos when you just want to see Street Art or Typography photos. We have been touted as "Pinterest for the real world" by a few of our users.

tosbourn 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://examtime.com - it is cool because it is helping people (100,000 so far) study and pass exams.
bichiliad 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm working on something of a responsive.io clone that uses Flickr as an image store. Not sold on the name yet, but I'm calling it Fittr in the mean time. It is mindful of retina displays, only requires that you know the flickr id of the image in question, and will optionally load a smaller image first, to make larger images appear to load quickly.


bjpless 2 days ago 0 replies      
Real-time Office Hours for top Open Source Library Authors/Contributors.

It's Google Hangouts but with a focus on expressing coding concepts.

Looks like this http://www.enginehere.com/stream/312/programmatically-disabl...

guycook 2 days ago 1 reply      
Working on a QML runtime for browsers. It's cool for all the reasons QML on the desktop is for describing UIs. Still early days but there's a prototype at http://ivorydungeon.net/HQML and code at https://github.com/guycook/HQML
kirualex 2 days ago 0 replies      

That's the last app I'm working on. It's quite a challenge to go for a Weather app as there are bazillions of them on the AppStore, but I really enjoy the challenge of it. The feedback have been great for now (it just launched 2 days ago), and I hope to make it even better !

rl12345 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm working on https://mytraining.pro/

It's cool because it's one of the few brazilians startups that have a really unique proposition and are aiming high (instead of just copycating a proven american startup to serve the local market - that's too lazy for us).

It's a fitness app and social network by the way.

aabalkan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've just completed Dailybbble http://dailybbble.herokuapp.com/ it sends you emails with best Dribbble designs of the day. It's cool because I always visited dribbble.com to see populars, now they're at my inbox at every 9am.

There are already hundreds of subscribers in the list. That excites me.

superbaconman 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm working on an OpenFlow controller in my spare time. There's nothing too cool about it other than, it's written in Go and GPLv3 licensed. It's useable but I have a big update in the pipes. Once that update is done I should be able to port some existing OpenFlow applications to Go.https://github.com/jonstout/ogo
jonnydark 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been at a Hackathon for the last 15 hours and we've cobbled together a text message service that you can ask questions to and it responds in the style of Yoda.

It's imaginatively called "Ask Yoda"Pretty useless, but pretty cool and hella fun to make :)

amac 2 days ago 0 replies      
Octopus - http://www.octopus.org - a Marketing app directory and community blog/forums. I think it's cool because Marketing in my opinion is the most important aspect of business - particularly on the web.
webjay 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm building Konfect (http://www.konfect.com) because it annoys me that at every social network I sign up I need to refind those I usually connect with. With Konfect I can manage my connections accross networks.
be5invis 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm making a orthogonal code generation library for JavaScript called Patrisika: http://github.com/be5invis/patrisika.

Also I'm creating an amazing high performance computer in small form factor with my friends. It will be able to contain 24 CPU cores, seriously.

cmollis 1 day ago 0 replies      
we're working on a live party visualizer using raspberry pi's deployed as iBeacons. We're writing an iPhone app that detects the user's location (based on the ibeacon) and updates a server. We're writing a d3 visualization that renders the user's location graphically in real-time based on the aggregated server data.

doesn't exactly cure cancer, but it's pretty cool. Obvious uses for retail, etc (but all that stuff is lame.. it's more fun to use at a party)

..and that's what we're working on.

Coval 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm working on completely rewriting my app (Stamp Trader). It's the only native BitStamp client I know of but the UI needs a ton of work. Why it's cool - you can quickly buy and sell bitcoins with your phone, you can scan and generate a QR code for addresses to buy and sell bitcoins locally with ease. I plan to open source the rewrite when it's finished.
Zolmeister0 2 days ago 1 reply      
Insignia (https://github.com/Zolmeister/insignia)A Personal project showcase and landing page

My page: http://insignia.zolmeister.com/

tomasien 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm working on http://wehighfive.com because I think 2 things:

1. Remembering people you meet is hard2. The iOS (and Android) Contacts apps are horrible.

roycehaynes 1 day ago 0 replies      
Building: Chrrp - alerts you using Stripe events when a new customer or payment is made to your app. http://moneybags.chrrp.io
itsosman 2 days ago 0 replies      
BusyConf (http://www.busyconf.com) -- Conference planning SaaS

It's cool because conferences are great of networking and learning (especially in the tech industry), but current event planning tools don't handle a lot of the things that conference organizers need.

kunai 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm working on a POSIX-ish OS in Brainfuck.

I'm working on it because brainfuck is awesome and writing a kernel in it is even moar awesome. I'm currently trying to figure out how to port several basic GNU coreutils to the system.

The kernel boots and hangs in QEMU. That's good for now; at least it boots. Now, the important thing is actually getting it to run bash, and a few basic coreutils, specifically cat, mkdir, echo, ls, and cd.

Once it's done, I'm pushing to github (commented extensively, of course ;)

vanwilder77 2 days ago 0 replies      
Downloader for Dropbox


Because conventional file-system is being replaced with Cloud storage and so should your downloader.

chanon 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm working on Dragomancers ( http://www.facebook.com/Dragomancers ) a Facebook (and later iOS) RPG game.

It's cool because it features online player vs. player turn-based combat and it's built using Node.js on the server side.

LeicaLatte 2 days ago 0 replies      
Updated my app today. A geeky stopwatch - http://logwatch.co
enriquepablo 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am working on a knowledge representation and reasoning system. It is cool because of the simplicity and expressiveness of the languaje it uses to represent knowledge.


mafuyu 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm working on a credit card sized e-paper device. It has an Arduino, USB, Real Time Clock, and a battery, and fits in your wallet. Still doing hardware designs.

Some potential applications:

* Replace all the barcodes in your wallet (loyalty/membership)

* Google Auth TOTP

* QR Codes (links/BTC wallets)

* Interactive nametag

* e-book/text display

* date/time display with wireless phone sync over BTLE

* act as a USB device and display text/notifications from your computer

I'm not completely sure if the use cases are convincing enough - would you buy such a device? This revision won't have any wireless and instead will be focused more towards electronics/Arduino enthusiasts - dead simple to program over USB with provided libraries and documentation. You can use it as an Arduino/e-paper dev board and code neat apps for it that you can actually use.

getdavidhiggins 2 days ago 0 replies      

Why is it cool? Lots of handpicked jQuery plugins all hosted on a CDN.


Why is it cool? Lots of resources for developers & hackers to dive into.

orchdork10159 2 days ago 0 replies      
Prismoquent is a package written for Laravel that allows users to easily access their Prismic.io repositories. Check out my blog on the package at http://blog.enge.me, and stay tuned for a new update and a new website dedicated to Prismoquent.
VaedaStrike 2 days ago 0 replies      
Octopart style product search as a service.

Any data or product space at your disposal.

pagade 2 days ago 0 replies      
Side project, a small webapp, that would help me:

1. Learn Python, Django, HTML etc.

2. Track my yet-another-wake-up-early-attempt and (hopefully) motivate me.

sailE 2 days ago 0 replies      

A clone/rewrite of Notch's Breaking The Tower game in Javascript (Canvas 2D API). Cool because it's not Java?

leoplct 2 days ago 0 replies      
A data-driven analysis looking for what users are interested in when they are on Facebook


mindcrime 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm working on a two products:

1. https://github.com/fogbeam/Neddick - Neddick, a private "reddit like" for the enterprise. Very much inspired by Reddit, but has some additional features - triggers & filters for content, RSS consumer, some additional "share" options (XMPP, ActivityStrea.ms via REST, etc.)

2. https://github.com/fogbeam/Quoddy - an "enterprise social network" product that has some wicked cool features compared to most other ESN offerings, including: ESB integration for subscribing to real-time business events, iCal feed integration, integration with workflow/BPM engines, etc.

Why is this stuff cool? Well, they're both OSS (ALv2), written in Groovy, and have some really nifty features. And what we're working on now is semantic concept extraction, automatic correlation/linking of Named Entities to related resources, and semantic query support. Coming down the pipe will be some rad visualizations and just generally more support for different ways to navigate the "knowledge space" that is entailed by related content, people, events and tasks.

For me, this is a classic "win win" because I get to have fun working with cool tech: machine learning / big data (Mahout, Hadoop, etc.), Event Stream Processing, Semantic Web stuff (Stanbol, Jena, Fuseki, etc.) and because we're building some stuff that I think we're going to be able to monetize.

Build awesome tools AND make money from it? That sounds like my idea of fun. :-)

AKluge 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interactive visualizations and instruction in mathematics and physics. We can do so much more than what is usually presented for online learning. For example a catalog of visualizations, http://www.vizitsolutions.com/portfolio/catalog/, and a more complete lesson experiment http://www.vizitsolutions.com/portfolio/gausslaw/.

The goal is for the student to interact with, to play with, the models. Of course almost all of this is open sourced :) The visualizations can even be easily embedded in any online content with just a few lines of HTML provided in the catalog.

antoniuschan99 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tools to help people who are located far away from each other to collaborate in rich and interactive ways just as if they were together in the same room.


spiritplumber 2 days ago 0 replies      
A thing to stop malaria. It is cool because it may save lives.
jb007 2 days ago 0 replies      
Working on a distributed document database. It's cool as it integrates a search and analytics engine, distributed file system and query language like SQL. Will be the first ever and will solve all database problems for the most part.
jimaek 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.jsdelivr.com - A free public CDN for webmasters.

It uses 2 enterprise CDNs and 14 hosting providers all load balanced with multiple failover features.

podviaznikov 2 days ago 0 replies      
Communi.st(https://communi.st/) - app for sharing outdoor equipment.

It's cool because it promotes sharing and written in Clojure.

hiburo 2 days ago 0 replies      
We are working on a fun & cozy team management web app - https://hiburo.com. Try the one-click demo on front page to get the feeling.
Ettolrahc 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm teaching myself JavaScript so this weekend I'm working on a basic app using Express, Node and the Twilio API. Learning on each little bit and will write about to help others too.
pholes 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am working on multiple things at the moment, though with my first year of college, progress has been slow.. After challenging C and a multitude of "introduction to programming" classes, I got into CISP 401 (java), so in order to get ahead of the class, I wrote a toy interpreter in java (deemed KjuScript). It is extremely slow, but based off the ruby language with full OOP implementation. Also recently I have been working on something in C++ with a friend that converts sound to color (to teach my dad music (he really wants to learn) who lost most of his hearing at 20, and so my mother who was born deaf, may enjoy my concerts in real time)There is a prototype of it in python located on my github account:


yathern 2 days ago 0 replies      
Working on a js library to create an ASCII canvas, and have drawing functions much like an HTML5 canvas. It will have the ability to create canvasObjects as well, which can be drawn and interacted with.
et1337 2 days ago 0 replies      
chefdash - a realtime dashboard for launching and monitoring Chef[1] runs. http://i.imgur.com/yLRduJt.jpg

You can run Chef simultaneously on all your machines and monitor their output in realtime. We're using it to deploy most of our infrastructure.

Look for it on GitHub soon!

[1] http://www.opscode.com/chef/

computeloops 2 days ago 1 reply      

A tool to save computer power consumption. It is cool because, it could contribute to keep earth cool :)

therobot24 2 days ago 0 replies      
building better graphical models for biometric image recognition
edna_piranha 2 days ago 1 reply      

because apparently people feel more human than human.

krishnasrinivas 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am working on https://nutty.io - share terminals using browser. If you use tmux/screen tools you will find this useful.
lowglow 2 days ago 0 replies      
If anyone is in the bay area we'd love to interview you on Techendo (shameless plug: http://techendo.co/)

We're always looking to interview people who are passionate and doing something awesome.

My email is dan at techendo dot co

psobko 2 days ago 0 replies      
New login flow for the next version of the Qriket iPhone app (http://www.qriket.com/) - earn cash for scanning QR codes

Here's what it looks like: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/73335831/QriketLoginFlow...

It's cool because it makes signing into our app a little bit easier :)

jbandela1 2 days ago 0 replies      
cppcomponents at https://github.com/jbandela/cppcomponents

With C++, it is hard to use code from 1 compiler with another compiler. In windows, it is even worse in that versions of visual c++, and even debug/release can't use the same binary. cppcomponents, allows code to be written in 1 c++11 compiler and used in another compiler, without giving up C++ features. You can use exceptions, and std:: string, vector, tuple, pair,chrono::timepoint.

I am hoping this makes it easier for people to create more c++ libraries. Currently, if you have anything other than a header-library, you either have to require the user to build the library, or else create a binary for every compiler (maybe even compiler version). With cppcomponents, you can create just 1 binary per platform that all the compilers can use.

Some of the libraries I have worked on are a libuv wrapper, a implementation of async/await in c++ (based on boost.coroutine), and currently working on libcurl wrapper. All these libraries are on github.

lcasela 1 day ago 0 replies      
An app that will track my sleep on stuff.
tmilard 2 days ago 0 replies      
free-visit ( http://www.free-visit.net ) It's cool because, I wana see 3d engine inside web browsers. I mean, at last...
ateeqs 1 day ago 0 replies      
vegnos (http://www.vegnos.com) -- A (Windows) desktop search engine (can also recover files in NTFS volumes).
kirk21 2 days ago 1 reply      
Tool for academic researchers: beta.bohrresearch.comIt is cool because it helps academic researchers to spend more time on their research.
dasmithii 1 day ago 0 replies      
Javascript + Cleverbot + Facebook Chat --> ?
montag 2 days ago 0 replies      
Gifcast: a tool to share screen captures (like Droplr, etc.) as animated GIFs.

It's silly compared to the cool stuff shared here, but I'm having fun learning Go and Objective-C.

dc_ploy 2 days ago 0 replies      
An interactive food recipie application for the gov
ChrisNorstrom 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://60lbgloss.com (alpha stage) - database, community, and marketplace for magazine cutouts. ("60 lb gloss" is the type of paper that magazines are printed on) At the moment it's really bare, only I can add and sell the ads. So far I made a working site in 5 days. Next will be the community features like adding an Ad to your favorites.

I don't know why but I always thought fashion ads in Vogue were beautiful. They were art. And it pissed me off that others didn't see what I saw. I also love and admire Milla Jovovich and try to collect as many of her fashion/fragrance ads I see. I get really pissed when I can't have one. It's my collector's mindset. Even if the site fails as a marketplace and instead becomes the Pinterest of Magazine Ads, I don't mind. I just love scanning the ads in and organizing them.

So I thought why not have a marketplace where people can buy and sell their favorite ads of models and celebrities. There's tons of people who are obsessed with celebrities and collect whatever has their favorite celeb's face on it.

tihag 2 days ago 0 replies      

kinda like padmapper for shows i guess.github.com/karabijavad/showlister if you would like to contribute ;P

My dad unexpectedly uses my Linux laptop to get real work done
376 points by itsboring  2 days ago   347 comments top 77
cstross 1 day ago 9 replies      
Microsoft's desktop supremacy hasn't been down to "it's got a nice, easy to use interface" for at least 20 years.

Rather, Microsoft is (or was, in the pre-post-PC world) everywhere because of (a) licensing stitch-ups with hardware vendors and (b) network externalities: get into Corporate IT departments with Office, then people will want (or need) to use the same OS at home, and then you can strong-arm hardware vendors into signing exclusive Windows-only-on-our-PCs licensing deals, which in turn convinces Corporate IT that there's no viable alternative to a Windows-only ecosystem ...

Arguments about whether or not Linux is fit for desktop use by non-technical users miss the point: Windows' monopoly status was a virtuous circle (for a value of "virtuous" that approximates to "in the interests of MSFTs shareholders and provides job security for MCSEs") until the wheels fell off when confronted with an even bigger ecosystem that came out of nowhere. Which is the magic rabbit Apple pulled out of a hat with the iPad, and Google seeks to emulate with Android.

The desktop is now irrelevant -- less than 10% of computing devices people use are desktops or laptops: it's all gone mobile frighteningly fast -- but for what it's worth, Linux won. Because the winning Linux desktop is actually a phonetop or tablet environment: Android.

wting 2 days ago 14 replies      
Both my parents are 60+.

My mom is perfectly fine using Ubuntu on my old x61 for email, browsing, and YouTube. To be fair she could probably replace it with a tablet if it weren't for the fact that she visits a lot of flash sites (Chinese TV streaming sites).

Likewise my dad is on another Ubuntu machine at home. His work needs access to some software / printers that can't be run via Wine so he's stuck with Windows there.

I tried to convert my 25 year old brother as well, but he switched back to Windows after a month. Despite being the youngest, he hated learning a new system and preferred Windows.

lucb1e 2 days ago 3 replies      
This thread is awesome. It always feels like I'm the only person on the planet using linux in school; school requires us to use Windows and teaches several other proprietary vendor lock-ins; and very, very few friends actually use Linux, even though most are programmers.

Tomorrow I'm going to an open source event, mostly to show support for foss in general. Ironically the event will be in school: the very thing most important for the future generation of programmers and yet a place teaching us to be dependant on expensive, limiting and non-free software.

Reading this thread I almost feel that showing support is not needed that much anymore. We're there; our goal is reached. Too bad it's not. Monday morning I'll still be required to prove my competence (dependence?) in using certain non-free software while running the school's spyware in the background... which only runs on Windows. Ten years ago the Dutch government unanimously agreed semi-public institutions should use open software. In 2013, nothing changed.

Even despite the Snowden news, it feels like we're still at square one. At least threads like these give me hope :)

hnriot 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think this, and the rest of the comments have missed the point, It's not linux or windows really that's going on, but that "computing" for the masses has shrunk down to the browser and Office (or it's clones) - the operating system these days has become marginalized for most people. the File Open dialog is about as far as they interact with it, along with CTRL P and the dock. Linux is perfectly capable of this.

I run linux on my laptop, I run hadoop, a virtualbox for some VM's, a dozen terminal windows spread over two monitors and python. When I go home I have a similar setup on a MBP and most of the time I can't tell one from the other. The operating system, even for development has become quite irrelevant. I havnen't tried windows in decades... have they fixed the C: nonsense yet, or (stupidly) using the wrong slash in file paths!

chimeracoder 2 days ago 3 replies      
Linux Mint is actually a very easy and natural transition from Windows.

A few years ago, I installed Linux on my parents' desktop (dual-boot)[0] and told them that they were "forbidden" to use any other computer for web browsing, document editing, etc. I told them that this would be more secure, and that's all it took to convince them.

I figured that, this way, at least I could fix any of their computer problems remotely (over ssh), instead of helping with Windows on the phone.

It's been 2 or 3 years now, and they've had zero problems. I haven't even needed to ssh in except to do periodic software updates (which, even then, are superfluous for their purposes).

[0] My dad's work requires some very specific Windows-only software

arbuge 2 days ago 8 replies      
This is one way to look at it.

Here's another: I have Ubuntu on a couple of machines at home and still can't get them to talk to my Brother MFC-685CW printer. I'm a PhD in EECS.

pippy 2 days ago 2 replies      
For about last five years most linux flavours have been more usable than windows. Ubuntu and Debian have superb out of the box experiences, even more so given the disaster that was Windows 8. For example ElementaryOS is by far one of the best UI out there right now, and Gnome 3.1 finally pulled finger and created everything I'd been wanting in a desktop shell.

But the real "year of the Linux desktop" will only ever happen when manufactures get behind it. Like it or not, ChromeOS was a major step in the right direction. The complicated relationship that Microsoft has with their OEM partners and their Surface fiasco might be the bump that will cause the Wintel tower of cards to start falling. I'm interested in why OEM partners even still use Windows given it's a major cost and their profit margins are so thin. It's been a renaissance in instruction set architectures in the last decade with ARM taking over many market segments, and this is something that costs less and Linux has a huge advantage in. Windows will take years to catch up in terms of ARM compatibility and even then it's likely that it will be extremely limited.

hrktb 1 day ago 1 reply      
The main point might be that your parents aren't technical people (whatever that means), and the laptop was set from the start (they never had to care about hardware compatibilities).

We did a similar thing with my inlaws, leaving an ipad behind to facetime with their grandson, and recently they called because they couldn't see their new mails anymore (their provider changed the imap servers), they also happened to mainly browse sites on the ipad now, installed a few other apps for learning english and we don't hear about windows problems as much as before (they still need the laptop for standard Word/Excel/Powerpoint work and to print since they don't own a blessed HP model)

As you did we give them an opportunity to switch to linux, but they would need a well supported and preinstalled machine somehow, and that's not trivial to find. DELL seems to have some available on their net store, but it's a hard pill to swallow for people used to buy VAIO laptops in person and in store (not that they cared about the brand, but they look very nice and the sales person is reassuring).

Going the Apple route would bring more or less the same upsides as ubuntu, while skipping all the hardware support parts, giving real exclusive advantages (battery life etc), the bonus being they'd see anouncement in the press they'd understand what the fuss it is about. Linux could be viable, but it seems too late now that the Apple lineup is leaps and bound ahead of everyone else.

ivanbrussik 2 days ago 4 replies      
I've been using Linux since Redhat 4.0, whatever kernal version that was. I've always been a "desktop" user but very much know my way around bash and can throw together pipes and scripts.

Last week I setup a fresh Ubuntu box in our office, on a fairly new Dell PC in order to view a webinar. I wanted to show off Linux (ended up looking like a moron.)

Flash issues on Firefox rightaway, no matter what I did it would not let me full screen a YT video in the second monitor. Finally I figured a hack to F11 full screen the browser window and it let me.

Next the sound wouldn't work and I had to apt-get for another 10 minutes, then spend another 2 minutes editing som config file. Somehow it worked.

I freaking LOVE Linux and will always love it, but it has a very long way to go until it can ship on any device.

bartkappenburg 1 day ago 2 replies      
As I'm reading through the comments I see only two types of users:

- the hackernews audience- 60+ low level users (no offence)

The former group has enough experience and knowlegde to get the system (linux) adapted to their needs.

The latter are only using it for either browsing, checking email or watching movies.

I think we're forgetting the important 'middle' group: the ones that aren't in IT but are working with a PC daily for their work. Linux is getting no real traction there (yet!) because of the poor native support of tools that are pretty common the in corporate world.

Think:- vpn software- voip tools - login procedures- custom software- etc etc

I'm not seeing this fixed in the near future...

nmridul 2 days ago 6 replies      
The same experience here. My parents also use Ubuntu now (firefox, Libre office).

The main issue with Linux is, some one needs to install and setup everything for them. Finding and installing that missing wifi driver is not something that they can do.

Windows installation is breeze, just pop-in the disk and it will install everything for you. Hope pre-installed ubuntu systems get common.

V-2 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is this such a success in 2013? That you don't need to be a guru to configure a printer and make use of it?

I can't wrap my head around why people seem to hail it as some sort of a triumph that someone managed to use Ubuntu for "email, youtube, general browsing" without resorting to expert aid :)

I mean, good for Linux, but isn't that an absolute minimum of what should be expected from a modern desktop OS?? Shouldn't it go without saying? :)

If something as normal as that makes for news to share, it is a clear indication of how bad a reputation Linux has had for a long time

fsniper 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm a Pro-linuxer and never have any Windows machines near my home.

So this means, Ubuntu netbooks and laptops all around and my mom and sister is very familiar with Linux. They are using these easily.

Once I found out my sister tried to install wine via source code :) She needed some windows software for some firmware update and all her research lead her to wine and source code install. The thing is she did not asked me anything about the whole process.

Morgawr 2 days ago 1 reply      
I had been trying to get my parents to move to Linux for a long time and now, after a few months of struggles, it seems they are actually liking it (xubuntu).

It all started years ago when my dad got a virus on the windows laptop, then I told him to use Linux (all they do is watch movies and browse the web) and installed Ubuntu for them. My mother got angry at me because she couldn't use Internet Explorer (ugh) and it "looked different" even though my dad was enjoying it, so we had to revert back to Windows... turns out half a year later they are full of viruses and crap, with a thousand toolbars in the browsers and all that stuff. They asked me for help to clean the PC and I pretty much told them that they need Linux if they want to get rid of viruses (I moved to another country so I have no time to go back there and fix it every time they get a virus). My dad managed to convince my mom to use Linux, he pretty much forced her to tell you the truth, however now they both love Xubuntu and have been using it for more than a year without problems. They both think it's actually faster and cleaner than Windows.

I'm happy.

rpgmaker 2 days ago 1 reply      
I use Linux and I find this post sad actually. It's 2013 and Linux users are still insecure enough about the OS to gush about someone using the OS for something productive? Isn't that what all of us have been doing all this time?
vu3rdd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Back in 2002, I went for work to the US for about six months. Calling India on the telephone was quite expensive then, even with calling cards. So, I left my GNU/Linux machine at home with my parents and made it to login without password. It was running a version of KDE and had netscape mail. I used to connect to the internet using this little program called 'kppp' and there was a nice option in there to open any program of choice when a connection to the internet is made.

So, I made it to open netscape mail on connection.

My father was quite uninterested to learn to use the computer, though he took elaborate notes while I explained to him how to send and receive email. My mother who cannot write english, listened to what I was explaining. Both of them had never touched a computer before and had a tough time operating the mouse. Once they adjust the pointer to the right menu and they lift their hand up to click and the mouse pointer goes somewhere else. :)

But at the end it worked quite well. My mother used the computer to send me email. She wrote transliterated malayalam (my native language). Both of us understood what we were talking about and we exchanged emails almost every day of my six months of stay.

There were times when the internet service provider couldn't provide a connection to a ppp request and kppp printed weird error messages. I had a friend who used to visit my home and see if there are problems. Barring a couple of simple problems, it worked reasonably well.

Every time someone complains that GNU/Linux is difficult to use, I narrate this story to them. Yes, there are still rough edges, but we have come a long long way since 2002. Oh, did I say my parents were both 60+ in 2002?

barbs 2 days ago 2 replies      
I find this is especially true when comparing to the mess that is Windows 8. Just finding the power button in that OS is a nightmare.

It's also interesting to see that it was Ubuntu, presumably with the new Unity interface. It's not something I personally like or even find intuitive, but it looks like it's fairly easy to pick up even for non-technical people. Along with the push by Valve to support Linux, I really hope this increases take-up of linux on the desktop.

Sent from my Linux desktop. :)

mistercow 1 day ago 0 replies      
The moment I really realized how much things have changed was when I plugged an old printer into a 64 bit Windows machine, searched for drivers, and finally found out that Microsoft's official position was "Buy a new printer". Then I plugged the printer into my laptop running Ubuntu and it said "Please wait while we set up your printer... OK your printer is ready to use".

I used to advise novice users against Ubuntu because troubleshooting can get pretty hairy. But that's my ex-Mac user bias showing. Compared to Windows, it is at worst a toss-up, and I feel that's being very generous to Windows.

jmspring 2 days ago 1 reply      
My dad replaced his XP netbook with an older 11" MB Air I had. He has since downloaded Xcode 5 and started working on learning objective C in his mid 60s. His only subsequent request was figuring out a solution for my mother's machine requirements around an iPad. She's one of those that clicks on emails they shouldn't.
lenkite 1 day ago 0 replies      
AFter fighting with virii and malware upteen times on my Mom and Dad's laptops - which I have to correct every few months or so, I simply gave up on Windows and installed Ubuntu for them. I didn't even bother training them - just pointed them to a few tutorials and help.ubuntu.com. The only hard part where I had to chip in were the printer drivers...aargh. Frankly, windows required a lot more help.

However, I will not deny that something like the Chromebook is a serious competitor to the Linux desktop - for the casual user.

lignuist 1 day ago 0 replies      
After my nephew's laptop (Windows) stopped working two or three years ago, I bought one with pre-installed Ubuntu for him and introduced him to Open Office and Gimp. During the first few weeks, he missed some of his games, but he got used to it pretty fast. No he is using it for studying and everything else and I never heard of any problems afterwards.
robabbott 2 days ago 1 reply      
My dad is 74. I rebuilt his laptop last year and replaced Windows XP with Unbuntu. He loves it and has had no issues with it.
spencera 2 days ago 3 replies      
Just have to say, Apple has been working the usability angle a lot longer than Ubuntu and it doesn't seem to be upsetting Microsoft too much. Of course, this comes from a person who has never been able to rationalize spending his own money on a Mac.
ungerik 1 day ago 0 replies      
Let's see what will come out the current development of Ubuntu. Currently it kind of feels like the Windows Vista of Linux Distros. Slow and clumsy but usable if you don't know anything else. Will 14.04 be the Windows 8 of Linux Distros?
txutxu 1 day ago 0 replies      
The main point here, is in your "My parents are NOT technical people".

They do not have pre-juices on stuff.

My mum uses linux since she was 65. It was her _first_ contact with an O.S., she did learn to use most things on her own.

In all that cases, they didn't deal with hardware choices, software stack choices, incompatibilities in those layers... they just did get a working browser, spreadsheet or messenger... and used it.

richardjordan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing. I know my comment adds little but I wanted to throw out there a nod of appreciation for a story like this.
sammanual 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice -- just need to eliminate the "has to be Microsoft" mentality in the enterprise (our shop refuses open source anything since "there's no support model") and Linux can finally make in roads in the organization. But as they say - you don't get the big bucks for backing non-proven technology , ie., non-Microsoft solutions. SAD
trentmb 2 days ago 1 reply      
I tried making my parents use *nix. It didn't go over well. My worthless anecdote counters yours.
geeknik 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd use Linux on my desktop if my entire Steam catalog would play under Linux, but since 99% of the games I play are Windows only, I'm stuck in the Windows world. ;)
spokenn 2 days ago 0 replies      
I installed xubuntu on a 60+ year old man's laptop. It was surprising to see him go from typing "www.google.com" in the yahoo homepage search field to searching for and installing packages on the software center. He needed help when he updated the kernel but he has taught himself a ton of things.
itsbits 1 day ago 0 replies      
I see many people against windows...I have 2 PCs one with linux(programming) and windows(gaming)..Windows is not that bad for programming as well...its just the set up for your coding env matters....i do sometimes end up programming in windows after playing some game..so i have some tools etc installed which give me almost equal experience of doing it with linux...saying that i still prefer linux laptop for coding, one reason can be addictive games missing in linux...
marcloney 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a fantastic anecodote and after the year we've had I'm finding the challenges people are having from entering Linux are becoming less and less.

Earlier today I marvelled at running a game through Steam whilst listening to streaming music through Spotify whilst being able to switch window into bash.

Gnarl 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm gonna set my 70+ neighbor up with Linux because the Vista that the computer shop sold her a few years ago as "the future" is dying miserably (all by itself, she doesn't install tons o' stuff) and she also feels it's a slow pain to use.

I'm a freelance consultant so she asked me how to get rid of all the "problems" (meaning BSODs, malware, viruses etc.) because she needs to get real work done. When I mentioned I use Linux and never have a BSOD or virus, she asked me if I could "upgrade her computer to Linux" - her words :)

So, Linux Mint is going on my ol' neighbor's PC.

munimkazia 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it is just a matter of conditioning and habit. I have been using linux on and off for the past 5-6 years, but using it exclusively in the past 2 years. I am a little uncomfortable on Windows 7 now, and I am totally lost on windows 8. The UI isn't user friendly for me any more. I'd take Unity, or even Gnome 3 any day.
cycojesus 1 day ago 0 replies      
In my experience only people who think they know something about computer have problem with Linux. My wife and my mother are Linux users without even knowing what it is and they have exactly zero issue with it.
readme 1 day ago 0 replies      
Linux has a chance to become a popular OS for home desktop use.

However windows is going to retain it's grip on businesses because there is no good Active Directory replacement for Linux.

smcnally 1 day ago 0 replies      
My mom's 81. Ubuntu's been her primary OS for 3+ years. Started with Windows on a low-end Dell laptop. When any of her 19 grandkids played on it, they'd leave new toolbars and malware behind. The machine got so slow, she was happy to see her email and browser on Linux.
fit2rule 1 day ago 0 replies      
My in-laws, 60+, have been running Ubuntu on their old Macbooks for a few years now. They've never once complained about it, and everything Just Plain Works - internet browsing, email, youtube, office-apps.

For us, at least, the year of the Linux Desktop was two years ago. Its been a very productive release from the dual hegemonies of both Apple and Microsoft ..

jrs99 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just among friends and family, I find that Linux dominates the desktop.
chmike 1 day ago 2 replies      
The only reason I keep a windows machine around is because of Word/Powerpoint. I can get ork done with these. Open/libreOffice are pale copies.

I also played some games like TF2 or Age of Empire, but the former is now playable on Ubuntu. Steam is doing an impressive work.

For programming, I prefer QtCreator to Visual Studio. I regret QtCreator can't be used with other languages like D, Go, Java.

I don't think I'll make the switch to windows 8. My father 82 bought a new computer and Dell only sell Windows 8 on these. This costed him a lot of time to adapt for no justified benefit.

jacknews 2 days ago 1 reply      
"I was pretty much floored."

Indeed, because old people are all idiots.Honestly, for the basic tasks, the major OS's are as easy as each other these days.

danielrhodes 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think that over time everybody gets to a certain level of proficiency where such interfaces and concepts are not as daunting to them as before. Back in the 90s and even 00s, people were so uncomfortable with GUIs and then the internet that getting them to try a Windows alternative was not worth the effort.
stefs 1 day ago 0 replies      
my dad salvaged an ancient notebook from work to use as a living room computer (usually if he sees something on TV that interests him, he starts googling it), or use for vacation planning etc.

tried to install windows but failed twice due to errors i can't remember. i then told him, fuck it, as you use it only for surfing, we'll just put linux on it and installed ubuntu 8.10. worked like a charm. everything ran out of the box, no hassle, nothing.

a week later i asked him how it was going; he answered: "everything's perfect, but i don't like desktop background - the skull."

the skull ... what skull? then it dawned on me: "dad, that's not a skull - it's a stylized ibex."


anthony_barker 1 day ago 0 replies      
Family has been linux for the past 10 years... I would say about 3/4 years ago the complaints completely stopped with ubuntu 9.10. Since then there has been some pain with unity (which we disabled for a year or two). Older computers run either older versions of ubuntu or Elementary OS or Chrunchbang OS #! http://crunchbang.org/.

Occassionally people still need help with LibreOffice oddities. Also I've had intercompatibility issues with MS Office with powerpoint.

ramigb 1 day ago 0 replies      
After i read this thread and since i was really busy in the past couple of months, i just realized that for the first time ever all my devices (2 laptops, 1 desktop) are all Ubuntu, and yet i didn't feel i needed to change anything, i think the cloud based apps + the nature of my work (programming) made the choice on my behalf and i couldn't agree more!.
skuunk1 2 days ago 2 replies      
The only real trouble with Linux is possible driver issues (caused by trying to shoehorn an OS onto hardware for which it wasn't initially designed). If more OEMs would put Linux onto laptops directly this wouldn't be a problem.

It's still tough to find a good, decently priced laptop OEMed with Linux though. I can't get my hands on the Dell XPS with Ubuntu pre-installed in my current country of residence...

wildgift 1 day ago 0 replies      
I gave a linux pc to my coworker, for her kids, and they have been using it for a while to do homework. They have some issues now and then, but it works pretty smoothly. The computer is really old - a Sempron with a couple gigs of RAM.
dhughes 2 days ago 0 replies      
My 70 year-old mom can't handle the swipe unlock on an Android phone and won't answer or use it if I unlock it. My dad also 70 is OK with using it and even put on a password but he keeps shutting it off when he isn't using it, neither use a computer.
dawkins 1 day ago 0 replies      
My father is 81 and very happy with linux mint that I installed for him a few years ago. He only uses chromium.

Recently he bought a new laptop and the first thing he asked me was to install Linux.

bengalister 1 day ago 0 replies      
Linux becomes more and more usable for non-technical users and has done a lot usability-wise on desktops but let's face it there's still a long way to go.

If for instance you use Ubuntu (the most popular distro for desktop), it is still plagued by bugs(and even the Long Term Support version). Have a look also at the Linux Mint forums it seems better but many users complain about buggy Cinammon. Well all in all, the desktop environments suffer of more bugs than on Windows or Mac.

Here are the reasons that keep me switching for my home PC (Ubuntu is only installed on my spare PC that I use for testing) : - No decent Flash support. The hardware acceleration by the GPU has been disabled (no option to enable it) and when I watch videos on youtube CPU reaches 100%. There's still Chrome which has its own Flash player and it improves significantly with a CPU consumption of around 50% but still far from I got on Windows 7 between 10 and 20%...- Battery draining : again a hot topic and mostly related to bad integration with popular graphic cards and other hardware components (wifi cards) but most people complain of reduced usage on battery (50%) compared to Windows.- For Java developers who use Eclipse, SWT looks ugly and performs badly on Ubuntu (not tried on other distros). Swing based IDE like IntellijIDEA or Netbeans are better but they don't match their Windows counterpart.- Ubuntu or even kernel upgrades that tend to break things like for me a webcam support.

I wish these problems were solved because as a developer I still prefer Unix based OS. It is very subjective but what has changed for me recently is that now I really find Ubuntu to be more visually appealing than Windows 8 (and same for Gnome 3.10). The login screen, the dash, software center are really nice. Even the Nautilus file manager that I used to dislike now looks really nice (now it is named Files) The desktop experience is much more "consistent" than it used to be and Ubuntu with Unity/Gnome shell and Gnome have worked hard to make the desktop user friendly and sexy.

elwell 1 day ago 0 replies      
My Grandma couldn't understand the concept when I showed here how to browse the internet. She kept wanting to have what she was seeing be on paper.
kaazih 1 day ago 0 replies      
The first computer i donated to my folks was win 3.1 no internet. Then win nt 4 still no internet. Finally xp with a dial up connection. Now in their 70's they don't use a computer at all. Finally no more support issues.
andreiursan 1 day ago 0 replies      
After reading most off the coments.It feels that we are going in the right and healthy direction. People will be able to chose what OS they want without losing the benefits of actualy doing useful work.

Some will want Windows 8, some will go for Linux and some for Mac OS. We are not yet there, but having a healty market distribution of the major OSes will benefit the end-user.

dsleno 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am stuck with windows for now because we develop Windows software. But I have Virtual Box image of Ubuntu on this machine, which I use for web surfing and al manner of other activities. I just prefer Ubuntu. After having reformatted my Windows machine last week because of a bad virus infection, I have decided to do all of my web surfing on Ubuntu..
general_failure 2 days ago 0 replies      
My mom use kubuntu for over 4 years now. She actually had never seen computers since she was 60. She had her learning curve but she loves it.
davidcollantes 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most people can do just fine by using a tablet or a Chrome machine. Microsoft and some PC hardware companies are in trouble, indeed.
pulmo 1 day ago 0 replies      
My mom is 50+ and used XP for a couple of years before my dad installed Xubuntu on her netbook. Turned out she didn't really need Microsoft Word for writing, she only used it because she knows it from work. Same with Outlook. I think many users are in a similar situation and could easily switch platforms saving money for both hardware and software. The only reason why there is still an old Windows PC at my parents home is the Adobe Software for their Sony ebook reader. (Damn you, DRM!)
sprizzle 2 days ago 0 replies      
I had a similar experience with my cousin, except with Chrome OS. His laptop died and he asked to borrow any extra laptops I had around, and the only one I happened to have was a Chrome OS machine. I was worried he'd need a more desktop-like environment, but it turned out he loved it -- everything we do is on the web these days and there wasn't really anything that he was missing. He moved from Excel to Google Spreadsheets without much trouble and didn't really need anything else. Just a browser. Amazing where the web is going.
salilpa 1 day ago 0 replies      
A couple of years ago, our home desktop which had windows 7 died. My parents needed a new desktop and i gave them my old laptop running ubuntu. Most of the time, my parents use it to browse websites and little bit of spreadsheet and powerpoint. The default ubuntu installation had all that.

Also the flash support has increased considerably. There was a time when hangouts or facebook video chat had issues. now it works butter smooth

jrs99 2 days ago 0 replies      
my entire family uses linux. We just find it much easier to use and install things.

But the number one reason, of course, no malware, which happens every time kids use my computer on windows.

ateeqs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Microsoft is in trouble for other reasons, as well. Windows 8 and 8.1 suck. They just don't listen to anyone-- developers, enterprises, home-users, you name it.

"They'll shove a xyzw down your throat and you'll like it" has been their philosophy for quite some time-- be it .NET, Ribbon interface, Metro, etc.

They are quickly (erm slowly) becoming irrelevant, and it's mainly as a result of this practice.

weslly 2 days ago 0 replies      
Same thing with my mum. I installed Ubuntu on her slightly old laptop a couple of years ago and when she bought a new computer she asked me to replace Windows 8 (which she found pretty confusing) with Ubuntu again.
anupshinde 1 day ago 0 replies      
My dad is 60 and non-tech and he switched to Linux a month back. First Ubuntu but then to Mint because that felt similar to Windows. He hasn't complained even once. Personally I have to Windows only because my office dictates that - some of their software's wont work otherwise.
viame 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice, I bought my mom a Macbook Air, but I will try installing Ubuntu on my dads laptop and see how it goes.I would also like to see some high-end construction homes he does, if possible.


oddshocks 2 days ago 0 replies      
My parents have both rocked Ubuntu and Fedora, with minimal instruction from me. The interfaces/distros seem to come naturally.
danielholmlund 1 day ago 0 replies      
I need to brag a little because I'm proud of my dad. He's 63 years old and can boot his Grub configuration to 14 different Linux distros last time I looked ( which was about 8 months ago ). Yes, he is technically inclined.
laurenstill 1 day ago 0 replies      
I successfully converted several medical practices to Ubuntu last year. 60+ yr old docs who printed emails to leave on my desk. 18 yr old who save everything to the desktop. Better than expected.
tn13 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nothing surprising at all my parents are perfectly at ease with Ubuntu.
Eyes2design 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have Linux Mint on my laptop and run I run Linux on all my computers. Best menu ever cinnamon.
archer2013 1 day ago 0 replies      
Many in comments acting like Ubuntu is teh only linux distro/UI out there, many of the linux community now despise Ubuntu and see it as an OSX wannabe, if you want a real linux experience install archlinux and pick from over 1 dozen Ui's (DE/WM's) surely one will fit your needs. personaly for programming you cannot beat xmonad, and for play you cant beat openbox.
ofj 1 day ago 0 replies      
Same story for me.both my parents are using Ubuntu on 1 PC and 1 Laptop. Since I've installed and set them up, I never had a single call like: where the hell is X or why the hell is Y producing strange error popup...not even speaking of the complete absence of malware. I myself did not even expect this when starting this experiment, but it proves to me: Linux IS arriving at the desktop! ...and its about time.
kunai 2 days ago 1 reply      
Handed a GNOME 3 PC to my dad.

He got it right away. The multitasking in GNOME is just so fluid and efficient compared to any other operating environment, and it's just so... intuitive.

As an OS X user, I find GNOME more consistent and easy to use, to be quite honest with you. I'm just holding out until Wine gets to the point where CS6 is supported.

auctiontheory 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wish Evernote supported Linux.
mrb101 1 day ago 0 replies      
I had bought my mother her first Netbook 2 years ago and i installed Ubuntu on it.. She is using it after like an hour introduction. While it was her first time to use a PC. 3 months ago my dad got her a new Laptop which had Windows on it. she called me the next day to install Ubuntu on it !
vayarajesh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thats nice!.. soon ubuntu mobile os will be out.. your dad will be happy to know that i guess :).
SylonZero 2 days ago 2 replies      
The time for MS and Windows is passing. I guarantee it.
0xc000005 1 day ago 0 replies      
even a dead cat has a better user interface than windows 8.x
Run Mac OS System 7 in your browser jamesfriend.com.au
360 points by mambodog  1 day ago   95 comments top 35
mambodog 22 hours ago 6 replies      
Hi, I hacked this together, though most of the credit should go to Hampa Hug's very nice emulator[0]. I'm posting this now as I saw the neat Windows emulator project and figured today was a good day to talk about emulation :)

My reasoning for putting this together is that I think it's really important for people to learn from what's come before, and the web is the most accessible place to do that. I've written a post[1] that goes into the rationale a bit further, and also addresses the legal aspect of this demo. Ultimately I would love for there to be an interactive online museum of personal computer history.

I'd also like to get a demo of NeXTSTEP working; for the OS which begat the world wide web to be running inside the browser would be pretty neat.

[0] http://www.hampa.ch/pce/

[1] http://jamesfriend.com.au/why-port-emulators-browser

gilgoomesh 23 hours ago 4 replies      
Hypercard "Player"? Oh the pain, it's all coming back to me!

(To those who don't understand... Hypercard was originally free but when it was spun off as part of Claris, they tried to charge for the real thing and only offered the "Player" for free. Hypercard was already disintegrating from neglect but this really hastened its demise.)

unimpressive 22 hours ago 0 replies      
With this and the windows emulator in the spotlight[0], I feel that I should go ahead and link to Jason Scott's project to port MESS to the browser:




[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6624554

latchkey 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, I totally forgot about needing to hold down on the mouse button to keep menu's open.
Samuel_Michon 14 hours ago 3 replies      
This shows a Macintosh Plus running System 7.0.1. The computer could actually run versions up to 7.5.5 an OS that came out in 1996. Thats quite amazing, given the Plus was released in 1986.

Try running Windows 8 or OS X Mavericks on a 10 year old computer.

wsc981 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I loved System 7. To me it felt like an advanced, very usable OS that could still be "understood" by the laymen.

Most crashes and bugs originated in so-called Extensions. Bugs could often be fixed by simply moving some Extensions out of the Extension folder and restarting the Mac until the buggy extension was found. Additionally it was possible to restart the Mac with all Extensions turned off by pressing the SHIFT-key on start-up.

Most of the OS could be managed by simply moving files in and out of certain System Folder directories.

austinz 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I had a Macintosh Plus when I was a kid. (My dad wrote his Ph.D dissertation on it, and he had a HD and some game disks before I somehow destroyed them.) I remember that computer fondly. When I was in first grade we got a new machine, and we took the Mac Plus out and left it next to the apartment complex dumpster that morning. By the afternoon it was gone. Sometimes, I still think about it...who picked it up, whether they plugged it in and found out it was still completely functional, and if they still have it today.


muglug 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Spent a good 10 minutes playing with Kid Pix, having not heard of it before. Turns out it has a fun history - it was designed to be usable by a 3-year-old: http://red-green-blue.com/kid-pix-the-early-years/
nnq 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone knows of any Lisp Machine emulator anywhere? The later generation ones with high res graphics and stuff preferably. That's an experience I'd like to try...
nkrumm 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Incredible. I can't remember... were the labels really "Hot" "Cool" "Essential" and "In Progress"?
leoc 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is wonderful to have. Some insta-feedback:

* Double-click stopped working for me once after I tabbed out and back, I'm not sure why. (Win. 7, Chrome 30.0.1599.101 m )

* Could you make it possible to scale up the screen? (Not to increase its resolution, of course.) As of now the screen size is very small even in comparison to the original Mac Plus or SE screens. For one thing that makes it harder to see the individual pixels, and the obvious pixelation was a significant part of the experience. Just a quick and dirty pixel-doubling would be great. (Zooming the page size in the browser causes the sidebar to overlap the Mac screen.)

* A means to load and save floppy images would be beyond wonderful to have.

gpcz 23 hours ago 0 replies      
The "Sorry, a system error occurred" dialog box is still deeply startling to me after all these years, even when I'm anticipating it. (I caused it to happen by moving the System file from the System Folder to the root Macintosh HD and restarted.)
tannerc 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Ah, my very first computer!

Thanks for making something as simple and silly as this emulator. It brought back a lot of powerful reminders about where the technology (and myself) have come from.

rbanffy 8 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to see it running System 3. This machine is almost as old as the Windows 1.0 emulator we saw the other day, but System 7 is a much more recent version of the OS, IIRC, from the same period as Windows 3.
plusbryan 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, this takes me back. Hypercard was one of my first experiences with software development. It was really nostalgic exploring all the nooks an crannies of the OS that I explored so thoroughly in my youth.

Thank you

azinman2 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow this takes me back. Lovely combination of apps to be there... quite impressive what was done with so little system resources. Nice to see pagemaker & word striped down to their bare essentials.
mrottenkolber 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I admittably have a weakness for vintage human computer interface design, but for some reason, they don't make them like they used to anymore.
mhewett 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is really amazing. It's faster than a Mac Plus! But my brain is missing the scratching noise the floppy disk used to make as a program loaded.
ljosa 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I have floppy disk images of MORE, the greatest Outliner that ever existed. Is there a way to mount the images so I can install it?
Segmentation 23 hours ago 2 replies      
Now I just need Sim Ant, Artillery and The Oregon Trail.
tmallen 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Feature request: Oscar the Grouch in the trash can.

I noticed that ejecting the Kid Pix disk made the machine unusable.

krosaen 23 hours ago 0 replies      
The Mac Classic II was my first computer, wow does this bring back some old memories :)
taopao 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The Apps and Games image takes me back.

I remember Cannon Fodder giving my Mac SE nVIR. :(

pbreit 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, remember when you had to hold the mouse button down to select a menu item!
geuis 22 hours ago 0 replies      
So well done! Lots of great fun memories here.
nonchalance 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Do you plan on making this open source? I ask because other similar projects were not made open source
elf25 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice but where's Dark Castle? My disk won't fit in the slot.
augbot 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I was totally expecting to see Talking Moose! lol.. Excellent work, totally took me back.
LadyMartel 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh my god, Kid Pix! I wasted countless hours doodling stick figures. Good times.
amrnt 20 hours ago 1 reply      
It has 4 GB memory same as my macbook air :)
tmimicus 14 hours ago 0 replies      
omot 21 hours ago 1 reply      
1991... that's when I was born.
elf25 10 hours ago 0 replies      
runnr_az 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. That's awesome.
Tarang 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Just brilliant!
Gzip + poetry = awesome jvns.ca
360 points by jvns  4 days ago   86 comments top 15
ot 3 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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.
tempestn 3 days 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.
pdknsk 3 days 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.

_quasimodo 3 days ago 0 replies      
As the author mentioned, poetry usually compresses quite well, thanks to rhyming.Here is another fun example:


JacksonGariety 4 days ago 3 replies      
Can anyone explain what is going on here?
tete 3 days ago 1 reply      
Julia programming Julia? Pretty cool too! That's how you recognize a real hacker...
aviksh 3 days ago 0 replies      
The deflation algorithm used by gzip is a variation of LZ77.
V-2 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's just great! Many thanks for the info.
aortega 3 days 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.

Here's how I deal with users who steal pud.com
361 points by pud  5 hours ago   106 comments top 44
nostromo 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Interesting that the "scholarship" (free) plan isn't mentioned on the homepage. It seems you have to try and steal the product before being offered the free plan.

I also like the subtle dig, "if you can't afford it." I've certainly pirated things myself. If iTunes asked me, "We noticed you've pirated The Walking Dead. If you can't afford $3, click here to get it for free." By reframing it as charity I might be shamed into purchasing it. :)

That's certainly a novel approach. I would love to hear how it turns out.

danielpal 4 hours ago 2 replies      
This is the sort of thing that sounds reasonably nice and we all wish we could do. However it stops working really fast.

I also have a web service and we used to let people get away with this sort of stuff. First year it worked. Second year, the amount of fraud was impacting bottom line and some of this users turned out to be the ones that used "support" the most. So we started banning bad users and blocking their support requests. The overall impact to the "good" users is pretty noticeable now. Not only can we reply to their support e-mails faster, but the overall system is also faster.

My mentality shifted. Now I think you "owe" it to the "good" users to remove/ban the ones who steal. They are most likely not zero sum, but pretty negative.

femto 4 hours ago 1 reply      
How about adding an ongoing option to allow scholarship account holders to voluntarily convert to a full account and return their freebie to a pool, so it can be offered to another struggling musician? Such an option would allow users to treat a scholarship as a temporary measure, that they can chose to use, whilst getting established.
alexholehouse 5 hours ago 0 replies      
That's a really nice idea - and I really hope people will respond well.

On a related note - distrokid looks amazing. If I were still making music I'd sign up for sure, just for the Spotify distribution if nothing else. In fact, I dare say if this had existed 5-10 years ago it would not only have provided a means to push my music out, but more than that, acted as an intensive to actually create and produce.

By lowering the barrier to distribution, you're almost certainly propelling a lot of people to working on musical projects which would otherwise fall by the wayside because there's no obvious end goal.

josh2600 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Everytime stuff like this comes up, I think of Cory Doctorow's excellent essay, "All Complex Ecosystems have Parasites" http://craphound.com/complexecosystems.txt

If you pave over your lawn when you get your first weed, you may never see the beautiful unexpected mutants that weed might create.

We wrestled a lot with this at 2600hz (and I think all open-source companies do). When your clients use your systems in ways you don't intend, you can shun them or embrace them. The latter tends to work quite well whereas the former only engenders bad feelings.

benihana 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Love this idea. At a low cost, you humanize your product to your users, you provide people a chance to "do the right thing", you absolve people of their subterfuge, and you increase the chance of conversion. Even if only a small percentage of users do this, that's still a small percentage who weren't paying you before. Brilliant - I hope it works out for you.
nkurz 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I think your new system has a lot of positives, but it would be nice if there was a way to gain access to it without requiring the user to start by scamming the referral bonus. I'm concerned that you will be rewarding the users who are willing to cheat, and losing the cash-strapped but honorable users who simply decide not to sign up because they can't justify the cost. On the other hand, I can see why you don't want to advertise the scholarships too widely.

Maybe you could keep what you have, and also mention in that fine print that you do offer temporary scholarship accounts for musicians in need, giving a link to an easy but real application to be manually reviewed? And instead of automatically granting the scholarship to scammers, do so only after they fill out the application? In practice, you'll probably OK them all, but the hassle and uncertainty of the application will encourage those who can afford to pay to do so.

Amadou 5 hours ago 2 replies      
The Bill and Ted rule: Be excellent to one another.

On the other hand, I have to wonder about the story of the police officer - how much is it going to cost that woman to deal with the misdemeanor?

hackerboos 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe I don't understand your business model correctly but why not just take the first $20 of royalties from users that steal?
SwellJoe 5 hours ago 0 replies      
DistroKid makes me want to start recording my music again, just so I can use DistroKid.
laureny 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Very clever.

I wonder if you could make this official with something like this on the home page:

"If you are interested in our product but you can't afford it, please send us an email explaining why you can't afford it and we will give you a free license".

That's it, no conditions ("at least two paragraphs, and it has to feel real!"), no lecturing, just asking people who can't spend money on the product to spend some time instead.

I wonder if the extra thoughts that would-be pirates would have to put into writing that email would be enough to make them reconsider and actually buy the product they would have otherwise pirated...

sprite 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Why not just keep the first $19.99 of revenue if they haven't paid up front? If they are making money they can afford it.
uladzislau 4 hours ago 0 replies      
As an alternative solution, why not provide a free account only after all those 5 referred users paid for their first year? It will make no sense to fake referrals and that's why a lot of referral programs work this way. If you're interested in real paid referrals that's how you do it.
hristov 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Since I am a little lazy, can someone explain to me why this service is necessary. Does apple not allow musicians to upload their music to itunes?
ced83fra 3 hours ago 1 reply      
It's a good idea. People don't want to think they can't afford it, so they will probably pay for it.

However, I think another pricing plan could be great :It costs virtually 0/year, BUT, 50% of the first $40 of royalties are taken by the site, and the rest sent to the user. Thus the user can still see he is earning something from the first track sold.

jordn 5 hours ago 0 replies      
That's excellent. Please circle back when you get some stats on the response.
ruswick 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I dislike the comparison that the OP draws between scholarships and the given example of the officer buying food for the shoplifter. In the case of the latter, the officer is providing an additional opportunity for the woman by purchasing groceries that she otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford. In the case of the OP, the users making artificial accounts receive exactly the same service at the same price, and so no opportunity is being generated.
DigitalSea 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, I am speechless. This is fanastic, not only is DistroKid a great service but Pud recognises that even at a low price for what the service is, some musicians just can't afford it, so rather than closing accounts, they're giving users an ultimatum to pay or join the generous scholarship program. Take note people, this is how you run a successful startup. It's this kind of respect of your user base that inevitably ends up building loyalty and loyalty amongst a paid service like this is everything. Another beautiful thing about this is that Pud has just publicised the method some people were using to everyone. People who didn't even know about this cool exploit now have the choice of doing so themselves (if they choose too).
stevenkovar 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it would be interesting to make it free to use, until you want to start collecting your royalties.

Perhaps give them the option to apply their first $19 in royalties to the service (or at some discounted rate, as you can potentially collect interest on unclaimed royalties at scale).

unclebucknasty 3 hours ago 0 replies      
That's a great story, and a great bit of humanness behind it, but my personal experience is that people will defraud you out of business if you let them. They will take whatever you give them, and then some.

Most people are actually honest, but you just need "enough" who aren't and who are also greedy (i.e. the typical fraudster) to lose your shirt. It depends on the model though: If the author's model is such that his costs are bounded and are otherwise absorb-able, given the revenue driven by honest customers, then he may be OK.

But, our model is such that not busting the user can literally lead to unbounded losses and these guys show no compunction whatsoever about driving you into the dirt if they can make a buck.

camus2 4 hours ago 0 replies      
20$/year is really cheap for unlimited uploads on itunes. I'm from France does it work here too? Do you even need a referal program ? You dont need to do that.
makmanalp 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is neat. There is also the other conscience option: Whenever they make money and you're about to send it to them, pop a message saying "Hey, we got your money for you, are you sure you kept your end of the bargain?". Then offer them a chance to pay again or subtract from what they made.
leoh 3 hours ago 0 replies      
So they get free music distribution and free lessons from a moralist.
marincounty 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a good business plan. The larger music companies should hire some new blood? or, Not--I coukd care less;90% of artists were screwed out of royalities on their music by thiefs. The successful ones are were rare, and if they made money, they just ruined their health with drugs and alcohol. Napster ruined the music industry model.Maybe it should stay that way? A good band, Protools, anda little effort will publicize Tallent. I've noticed a darth of anything remotely original lately. I hope B. F.Skinner wasen't right, and we have come to the end of originality?(no he didn't predict anything, but you can draw conclusions on his theories.
gbog 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it is probably not the money but the hassle. If you're not in the USA or have no credit card or fear using it on internet, creating five fake accounts might just be simpler.
joeblau 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
That is not what I was expecting, but it is awesome!
thejosh 2 hours ago 0 replies      
How about you make $19.99 then that covers the cost of your account? It's a win/win situation for those without credit cards.
iamshs 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I like you. How will you deal with revenue hit? Also, how about interesting them into paying for an account when their music sells above a threshold?
mVChr 4 hours ago 2 replies      
One purpose of getting users to sign up 5 friends for a free account is to get more people using the service. One purpose of allowing the scammers to get away with it is to be able to write a blog post about their novel approach that will in turn get more people using the service. I'm not saying that's the prime motive, but it seems like the goal is met either way.
jakebellacera 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool idea, but I can't help but wonder if it'd be better to have a "pick your price" option versus just giving it outright for free. Noble, sure, but it would be interesting to see the trends associated with what users picked. Maybe they were only willing to spend $5? Who knows.
rwissmann 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. I am confident there will be a lot of sign-ups and loyal users coming out of this, while it still helps those who struggle financially.

It is not optimal in theory to create rule systems that are abuse-able for personal gain, but this seems like on of those cases where it will work in the real world. I'd be curious to see user decision statistics about this in a couple of months.

pavanred 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Its similar to wordweb's free version licence [1], after the trial it prompts a question about how many flights you took in the past year and based on the answer you qualify for free indefinite use.

[1] http://wordweb.info/free/licence.html

hadem 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm curious how you define "bogus" referrals.

New accounts with no activity?

A non-activated account?

Accounts created from temporary email providers (ie: Mailinaotr)?

rythie 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you talked to these users about why they are doing this? $19.99/yr seems insanely cheap, somehow I find it hard to believe anyone semi-serious about sharing their music wouldn't want to pay it.
jasonwilk 4 hours ago 0 replies      
You could probably write something interesting with a Spokeo, LinkedIn or Klout API that would give a pretty solid idea of whether or not you're dealing with someone broke or just trying to not ante up.

Great idea though! Nothing wrong with a little Shaming!

prawn 4 hours ago 0 replies      
A few other comments from the previous submission of this when it was on Medium: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6630114
thecodemonkey 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I was actually wondering how to detection works.

Just checking if all users have the same email domain name (with the exception of a white list such as gmail, hotmail, etc.)?

Or flagging users that are using mailinator/5minutemail/whatever?

oddshocks 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the most awesome thing ever. Thank you.

EDIT: Though for real this is beautiful and exactly what I want to see because it is what our users are capable of.

dmourati 4 hours ago 0 replies      
"Even when the user thinks theyve scammed a free account out of us."


...is also always a nice feeling? What?

nfoz 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Personally, I consider "free if you refer 5 users" sort of an offensive trick. It presents quite odorously the falseness behind the $20/yr pricetag, and makes me value the ethics behind that price less.
hipaulshi 2 hours ago 0 replies      
oh man. that deserves a big heart icon. (i.e. this is jus sweet). Earning money at the same time teaching people to be adult.
richardfontana 3 hours ago 0 replies      
If "we let them get away with it" how is it "stealing"?
smmnyc 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd love to see how the detection works; is it just based on a fuzzy match on between the referred users' email addresses?
knodi 4 hours ago 0 replies      
What a smug blog post.
In Almost Every European Country, Bikes Are Outselling New Cars npr.org
346 points by antr  3 days ago   298 comments top 43
frogpelt 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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.

transfire 3 days 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.

VeejayRampay 3 days ago 2 replies      
We're just too broke and can't afford the cars.
CrankyPants 3 days 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.

groups 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not just cars, but also locomotives and even boats! It is just pity that socks outsell the bikes.
programminggeek 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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.
langer 2 days ago 0 replies      
More interesting will be to see stats on car purchase rates in Uber and Lyft's top cities over the coming years. In SF, car ownership is becoming a luxury amongst people I know - they either have a sports car, or no car and use Uber/Lyft/Zipcar for transportation everywhere.

A recent David Sacks tweet claiming this got a lot of attention: "Why Uber/Lyft market is so much bigger than people think: it's not a substitute for cabs, it's a substitute for driving." https://twitter.com/DavidSacks/status/378305832602980353

LekkoscPiwa 3 days 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 3 days 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.
soundwave 3 days ago 0 replies      
In almost every European country, shoes are outselling bikes!
Mikeb85 3 days 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 3 days 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)
shmerl 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wish US roads would become more bicycles friendly.
bmj 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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...
aleprok 3 days 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.
ffrryuu 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's what an economic collapse does to your population.
jchrisa 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm car free in Portland Oregon. So far so good. Ask me how I'm feeling about it in January. :)
panzi 2 days 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.
patrickg_zill 3 days ago 0 replies      
"In Europe, pads of paper are outselling iPads"
dschiptsov 3 days ago 0 replies      
Being of the same price?)

In Almost Every European Country, Apples Are Outselling Oranges

pdelbarba 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
And, in other news, cars are out-selling airplanes.
mhamel 3 days 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.

yason 3 days ago 0 replies      
I could bet a whole lot of money that shoes are outselling both bikes and cars in every European country.
macspoofing 3 days ago 0 replies      
Slow news day at NPR.
martin1b 3 days ago 0 replies      
How many of them come with training wheels and ribbons?
robomartin 3 days 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.

How I compiled TrueCrypt 7.1a for Win32 and matched the official binaries concordia.ca
339 points by maqr  4 days ago   105 comments top 13
generalpf 4 days ago 1 reply      
That's amazing work. Well done to the author.
zokier 4 days ago 3 replies      
Just a slightly off-topic question, but WTF does TC require VC 1.52 for?
wai1234 4 days 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 4 days 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?

pointernil 2 days 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!

bliker 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 3 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Kudos for effort.
xbeta 4 days ago 0 replies      
Coolest post I've read today! Good work!
eterm 4 days ago 1 reply      
Tldr: Binaries didn't match, here's some handwaving at the differences.
Is Google building a hulking floating data center in SF Bay? cnet.com
328 points by chasef  3 days ago   240 comments top 57
apaprocki 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 6 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 7 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 3 days 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...

nickzoic 3 days 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 3 days 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

cargo8 3 days 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?

DanBC 3 days 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 3 days 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...
girvo 1 day ago 0 replies      
This will get lost in the rest of the comments here, and the article was comprehensive, but:

A friend of mine just got back from Treasure Island (she works as a stewardess on millionaires boats), and hung out with a lot of the guys working on this. This is definitely Google's doing, and she was told that it is indeed a data-centre, but that's all the info she got.

late2part 1 day ago 1 reply      
Today we went sailing. I took ~62 higher res jpg pictures of this area.

You can see these here: http://tinyurl.com/floatingcontainers

joshdance 3 days ago 1 reply      
I hope it is a floating data center. If not, it is a fun detective type article.
qwerta 3 days ago 1 reply      
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:

richardw 3 days ago 0 replies      
Never underestimate the bandwidth of a barge filled with hard drives.
musashibaka 3 days 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.


natch 3 days ago 0 replies      
Actual original reporting, wow, sadly unusual these days for any publication. My respect for CNET might be resurrected.
dharbin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Somebody told them about docker and this is what they did....
mrb 3 days 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 3 days 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.
dspeyer 2 days ago 0 replies      
A datacenter in/near SF doesn't make much sense. Electricity there is just too expensive. And, no, the waves in the bay aren't a solution.

I suppose you might build a datacenter there and then ship it to some third-world port where you don't want to do construction.

While I love the idea of a gmail datacenter in international waters with automatic guns to deter boarders, that really wouldn't fit Google's current political strategy.

ctdonath 3 days 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 3 days 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

cookingrobot 3 days 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.
Cthulhu_ 2 days 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.

peterwwillis 3 days 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?
willvarfar 2 days 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?
mcgwiz 2 days 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.
walshemj 3 days ago 0 replies      
Actually it just struck me this might be part of Googles DR plan for California getting hit by the big one
panhandlr 3 days ago 1 reply      
wfunction 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't be surprised if it was a GoogleX project of some sort.
6ren 3 days ago 2 replies      
International waters, immune to NSA?

Also, does wave power really yield sufficient energy?

Oculus 3 days 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.
bonemachine 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just wondering what the effect of all the waste heat will be on (what's left of) the Bay's ecosystem.
randartie 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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...

wikwocket 3 days 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.

breischl 3 days 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...

erikj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds kinda like the fictional Arsenal Gear ship: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_Gear_%28weapon%29#Arsenal...
moonie1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Could this be a routing center for CC payments? That would be a very interesting tax evasion method...
acl2149 3 days ago 0 replies      
Google uses Treasure Island for holiday parties, perhaps that's what explains the presence of employees?
chromaton 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's being built at the same hangar where they shot the Battlebots TV shows.
vxxzy 3 days 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?
aluhut 3 days ago 0 replies      
Bruce Sterling will love this.
xd 3 days ago 2 replies      
How do you get a patent for a "floating data center"..
ffrryuu 3 days ago 0 replies      
A place for those with no visa to the USA to work!
mkhalil 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well looks like we're going to need to Trevor to do some investigation.
hardwaresofton 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe they're just trying to lay some underwater cable... to Japan
tux 3 days ago 1 reply      
This floating data centers could be used for more privacy/security. Very interesting article thanks.
mortdeus 2 days ago 0 replies      
That or a metal gear. My hopes are on the latter.
Newzduniya 2 days ago 0 replies      
nice information regarding google building hulking floating data center.
acr25 3 days ago 0 replies      
It might be a NON-HULKING floating data center.
Run Windows 1.01 in your browser jsmachines.net
309 points by chl  1 day ago   83 comments top 29
mambodog 1 day ago 4 replies      
As there seems to be a lot of interest in emulators in the browser, here's my effort: I ported an emulator for classic Mac and IBM PC to the browser.

Mac System 7 Demo: http://jamesfriend.com.au/pce-js/

Windows 3.0 Demo: http://jamesfriend.com.au/pce-js/ibmpc-win/

IBM PC doesn't have mouse support... Yet. For Mac OS it's writing the mouse position directly into memory, but I've yet to add that hack for Windows.

pud 23 hours ago 5 replies      
Every time I see an emulator like this on HN, my mind is blown.

Can someone explain to me and any other run-of-the-mill hackers reading this, how an emulator like this is made?

I wouldn't even know where to start.

DanBC 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am really enjoying a lot of the retro things being posted recently. Sadly, they miss out some of the details. Like Elite being playable at 4 MHz, but really hard at 25 MHz, because that's how clocks worked then, and that's what the turbo button did. (It was a de-turbo button, turning your machine into a slow machine for compatibility. If it was connected, that is.)

And this makes me wonder about the Wayback machine. I can retrieve an old web page, but can I recreate the experience of posting to that site? Is anyone archiving the various social network sites code, so that the Future People can recreate the experience of Friendster or Facebook or Myspace? Or are the Future People going to have to guess by looking at screenshots and videos?

One of the first (perhaps the first?) commercial games for Windows was "Balance of Power". I think it either came with a weird runtime version of Win 1.0, or a voucher to get it, for people running dos.


frozenport 1 day ago 1 reply      
>><machine id="ibm5160" class="pcjs" border="1" width="980px" pos="center" style="background-color:#FAEBD7">

Tag of the future

ghc 1 day ago 4 replies      
Played Reversi in Windows 1.01. Still lost. I will go hang my head in shame now.
NamTaf 1 day ago 1 reply      
The first time I ran this something went wrong I somehow didn't manage to even boot in to windows but found myself at the command line, with only the DOS floppy disks available.

The true Windows 1.01 experience.

stormbrew 1 day ago 2 replies      
I love that windows 1.x had a tiling window manager. I think it's kind of a shame that mode died for so long.
mintplant 1 day ago 1 reply      
Even better, Zork: http://jsmachines.net/disks/pc/games/infocom/zork1/

And it appears to save your state between runs, which is nice.

tzury 23 hours ago 1 reply      
After Bellard's JSLinux, it was just about time till more OS will be ported to JS.


jaxbot 1 day ago 0 replies      
All these features, and Reversi!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGvHNNOLnCk
csmatt 14 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone who really enjoys the history of computing, this is awesome! I don't think I've ever had a chance to play with Win 1 and probably wouldn't have gone through the trouble of getting it running myself. This and others like it would be neat for the Computer History Museum to have on its site.
fosk 1 day ago 0 replies      
This an insanely great emulation. Including the loading times.
crb 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting to see Helvetica ("Helv") in Windows 1.0 Write. According to a quick Wikipedia, Arial was only introduced with TrueType in Windows 3.x.
dmead 1 day ago 4 replies      
the mouse tracking is fucked. it leaves the windows if i go to try and click the top right corner
adamjernst 1 day ago 0 replies      
Windows 1.01 feels much closer to Mac Classic than Windows 3.1 does. (Button appearance, close button on left, menus must be held down to stay open, "Get Info" instead of "Properties".)
marshray 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, it had been a long time since I'd played DONKEY.BAS. http://jsmachines.net/demos/pc/donkey/
conradfr 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't seem to successfully reset the calculator after a divide by zero.

It's funny how when I closed Windows and ended on the DOS prompt I mindlessly typed "win" & enter. Some habits never die I guess.

milesf 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Yep, still as slow and glitchy as I remember it :)

This trend of retro computing is a wonderful trend.

jmhain 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I tried to unmaximize a window by dragging the title bar like in Windows 7 or GNOME 3. I have no idea why I expected that to work.
amenod 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Unbelievable... I never knew how Windows looked before 3.0 - thanks!
fosap 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder what the license it. The guy from copy.sh promised to make it open source, but didn't yet. Can I hope?
shurcooL 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice, this one runs on an iPad mini! Not much slower than on a computer.
mrbuttons454 1 day ago 0 replies      
I still suck at Reversi. :(
abhididdigi 23 hours ago 1 reply      
There is some issue with the mouse. When I click on terminal.exe and try to click on "File", the mouse is coming out of the emulator. You would probably want to create an interface like a VM, where the mouse comes out of the emulator only when you press some combination of keys.
obfuskater 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's really mind blowing how it's written entirely in javascript
Max_Horstmann 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Glad it boots to desktop, not metro.
devsatish 1 day ago 0 replies      
the left top menu looks like bootstrap collapse :-).Nostalgia for sure..good work
patelmiteshb 16 hours ago 0 replies      
i am not sure but i am not able to do it.
tegansnyder 1 day ago 2 replies      
where is qbasic?
Off marco.org
289 points by mh_  4 days ago   216 comments top 45
cstross 4 days 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 4 days 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.

akmiller 4 days 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!

spot 4 days 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.


nwh 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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.

rglullis 4 days 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_ 4 days 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.

acqq 4 days 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.

georgebarnett 4 days 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 :)

chasing 4 days 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.

protomyth 4 days 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.

jcromartie 4 days 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.

Tiktaalik 4 days 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.

smackfu 4 days 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."

ja27 4 days 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.

pbreit 4 days 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.

Touche 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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)

uptown 4 days ago 0 replies      
gtirloni 3 days 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.
fusiongyro 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Steve Jobs is dead. Nothing will come him back to life.
zeroecco 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
apple fanboy blogging is "off" too, probably needs to retire
Why Putting SSH On Another Port is a Good Idea danielmiessler.com
288 points by danielrm26  3 days ago   186 comments top 43
djcapelis 3 days 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 2 days 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 3 days 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 2 days 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.

teddyh 2 days ago 4 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.

cldr 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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.

sarnowski 3 days 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 3 days 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

ewokhead 2 days 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.

Oculus 3 days ago 0 replies      
That was very fair response. Kudos for being able to attack the points, not the person.
druiid 2 days ago 1 reply      
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!

abalone 2 days 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").

mdmarra 2 days 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.

gmuslera 3 days 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.

BryanB55 3 days ago 1 reply      
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.
jrockway 2 days 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.)

msimpson 2 days 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.)

dmourati 2 days 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.

_sabe_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a non issue. Set your iptables to start dropping packages after 3 failed login attempts.
tuzakey 3 days 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.


Sami_Lehtinen 2 days ago 1 reply      
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
cenhyperion 3 days 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.
ballard 2 days 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. )

spc476 2 days 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.

hrjet 2 days ago 1 reply      
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).
csdreamer7 3 days 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.)

n0on3 2 days 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/ ].

jonbaer 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
By experience, it just lets you avoid getting a shitload of brute-force attacks. So I do it.
mixmastamyk 2 days 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?

GalacticDomin8r 2 days 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.
mlopes 2 days 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?
blossoms 2 days ago 0 replies      
After pondering this article, I think the only reason to run SSH on a different port is to prevent zero day ssh authentication bypasses, which I don't think is a decent reason -- I'll eat my hat when this happens again.
mattln 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think he mentions port knocking precisely because he DOES understand point #1 ( the difference between security through obscurity as a layer but not your only layer), and is giving an example of using it as one such layer.
aiiane 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for writing up the same response I had to that article.
justinwr 3 days ago 0 replies      
I posted the original because I thought it was interesting. Elated to see an honest response. I love HN.
scardine 2 days ago 0 replies      
A daemon that blocks the attacker address after a number of wrong attempts is much more secure. IMHO moving SSH to another port is kind of Cargo Cult Security.
antihero 2 days ago 0 replies      
I still don't see any reason to change the port. Use only key auth. Problem solved.
orenbarzilai 2 days 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.

bubblesorting 2 days ago 0 replies      
Better yet, put a firewall in front of sshd and only allow connections from your management network ;)
dontmakemelaugh 2 days 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?

Federal Prosecutors, in a Policy Shift, Cite Warrantless Wiretaps as Evidence nytimes.com
282 points by panarky  2 days ago   105 comments top 9
Rogerh91 2 days ago 5 replies      
Huge deal, as this will most likely set the stage for a Supreme Court ruling that will define this generation's privacy rights.

The liberal justices voted as a bloc together in CLAPPER, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE, ET AL. v. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA ET AL. to try to challenge the constitutionality of warrantless wiretaps, and I expect much the same from Kagan, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor in this case.

Of the conservative justices, Roberts, especially given his tendency to try to hit some home-run majority rulings for his legacy of being a "by-the-rules" arbitrator, and his pronouncement of privacy issues as being the paramount constitutional issue would be most likely to flip with the liberals. With that said, his previous defense and work on behalf of Bork, and his theory of a lack of privacy in the Constitution does leave a bad taste.

Justice Kennedy unfortunately cannot be counted on when it comes to privacy issues. His majority opinion on Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives enumerating that the government could violate the privacy rights of railway workers by subjecting them to drug tests due to a "special needs" exemption where the Fourth Amendment could be ignored if it was deemed to be in the overriding interest of public safety is the basis of the NSA's metadata collection program---see: http://www.nationaljournal.com/nationalsecurity/how-justice-...

He's still the second most likely to flip because Scalia, Alito, and Thomas are basically lost causes. Scalia basically called a general right to privacy in the Constitution rubbish, and it's unlikely either of the three will bend their ideological bent that the "national security agencies" know best.

The votes might be there. It probably hinges on Roberts. But significant positive changes to how the American government deals with privacy issues could happen. Again, the votes might be there, which is better than never discussing the issue at all (or discussing them in dark, dank courtrooms nobody hears about).

Cause for hope goes exponentially up if one of the conservative justices retires and is replaced by a young liberal justice attuned to technology much as Kagan is. If that happens, this likely scenario becomes a most likely scenario.

Wildcard: The Supreme Court actually doesn't know anything or very much at all about technology. They still pass paper briefs among each other instead of email...a strongly written amicus brief in this situation by technology-savvy leaders could well tip the balance.


codex 2 days ago 14 replies      
This is a good out for Obama. He can't cancel the program or he may appear soft on terror, hurting Democratic presidential chances. Furthermore, the underlying surveillance law was passed by Congress (FISA Amendments Act of 2008), and he has a duty to uphold it. However, he doesn't want to continue these programs unless they are constitutional. Letting the Supreme Court review the program either shuts it down or gives it a stamp of legality. Now that derived evidence has been introduced into a criminal court, someone finally has standing to sue. This may be a part of a gradual wind down of the war on terror.
pmorici 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seems like the other big story here might be that the Solicitor General probably knowingly committed perjury in front of the Supreme Court. It says in the article that he "discovered" this past June that defendants weren't notified and two paragraphs down it talks about how he stated in arguments in front of the Supreme Court a year earlier that defendants facing such evidence would be notified.
Karunamon 2 days ago 5 replies      
I wonder what was the genesis of this policy change? From a legal standpoint, they were untouchable with the whole "parallel construction" thing.

This has the potential to get the whole program killed. Did someone in charge with both the clout and the morality to do the right thing take a risk? Some other reason? This fascinates me.

3825 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Mr. Muhtorov is accused of planning to travel abroad to join the militants and has pleaded not guilty.

I don't want to distract anyone from the conversation but I don't understand the case. The prosecutors are just accusing him of planning to join militants? No actual firm conspiracy/plans to actually cause any physical harm? No actual target to attack?

What crimes are the prosecutors trying to prove here?

coldcode 2 days ago 1 reply      
Either the US is a nation of laws or a banana republic. You can't have your illegal surveillance and eat a banana too.
tobylane 2 days ago 0 replies      
The last paragraph mentions past convictions based on evidence where this sort of notice should have been given, but it wasn't policy to do so at the time. Is there a group out there known to deal with this sort of thing? Do the ALCU/AI/Supreme Court even have a chance before there's some retroactive fix?

Also, based on their past decisions how would the SC rule?

crb3 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sounds like the Stasi are sure they've bought themselves a judge.
avty 2 days ago 0 replies      
The end of freedom
New banner ads push actual Google results to bottom 12% of the screen arstechnica.com
257 points by llambda  4 days ago   134 comments top 39
anon1385 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think they're doing banner ads. I bet this is the beginning of Google "pages".
ColinWright 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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.

scott_karana 4 days 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. :(
shuw 4 days 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?

toddmorey 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 3 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
They look like Altavista in 2002. Glad I switched to DuckDuckGo three months ago. Adios, Google!
ktr100 4 days 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 4 days 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.

SCdF 4 days 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.
mildtrepidation 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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".
acheron 4 days ago 1 reply      
I like the image of results from 2005. I had totally forgotten about "Froogle".
Eye_of_Mordor 3 days 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 3 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sure this makes DuckDuckGo happy.
andrewhillman 4 days 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.
tn13 4 days 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.
NicoJuicy 4 days 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).

charlesism 3 days 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 3 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Easily circumvented by using proper browser plugins.
kozhevnikov 3 days ago 0 replies      
mindcrime 4 days 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 4 days 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.
Discoveries Ten Years Later in Zelda Speedrun joellehman.com
254 points by jal278  12 hours ago   63 comments top 19
coldpie 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Fun to see Cosmo on Hacker News. He's been getting a fair amount of attention recently, including an article on Yahoo!. If you're interested in seeing him exploit more video game glitches in the name of speedrunning, you can watch him on Twitch.tv at <http://twitch.tv/cosmowright>. He is one of the (and occasionally the single) best Wind Waker runners in the world. Right now he's concentrating on The Wind Waker HD.

If you liked the video in the article, you might also enjoy his commentary on a full Wind Waker run (nearly 5 hours):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0u3djy6Ednc

oskarth 9 hours ago 8 replies      
For those who haven't seen it, I highly recommend one of the "original" speedruns - Quake Done Quick (on Nightmare, naturally). It's less about glitches and more about playing extremely well. If you have ever played a fast-paced FPS, you'll appreciate it.


Camillo 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
Those four paragraphs don't really add anything. Why not link directly to the video?
jal278 11 hours ago 5 replies      
In case my server gets too sluggish, here's the important youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M7IINwTFVw&t=16m2s

Basically there's a speedrunner who is technically adept at the game, is a good communicator, and explains as he plays a complex exploit that facilitates skipping a large part of the game

vinkelhake 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I love speedruns. There's a vibrant community of speedrunners and fans out there. With fast Internet connections, they can now stream their attempts live.

Some resources:

http://speedrunslive.com - who's playing right now?

http://twitch.tv - service for live streaming of games.

http://twitch.tv/cosmowright - Cosmo, the speedrunner in the article.

minimaxir 11 hours ago 1 reply      
There's also a cool, recent exploit in Super Mario World speed runs that uses similar RAM corruption techniques to "beat" the game in less than 3 minutes. (more details here: http://minimaxir.com/2013/03/127-yoshis-in-slot-6/ )
mpyne 9 hours ago 0 replies      
A speedrun thread on HN? What a beautiful, beautiful day!

There's also a good subreddit that discusses the latest speedruns, http://www.reddit.com/r/speedrun/

hayksaakian 5 hours ago 3 replies      
"It probably helps that Im guessing this game had to be rushed out the door and perhaps had some inexperienced programmers working on it, which led to a more fascinating and strange world for speed-runners to explore."

Every piece of software has bugs. But, the kinds of things they exploit in OOT you wouldn't find in %99.999 of normal playthroughs.

theboss 11 hours ago 1 reply      
These kinds of things always remind me of everyone's favorite game exploit. Good ol MissingNo from pokemon and the rare candy trick.



ColinDabritz 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The speed demos archive has a lot of excellent speedruns: http://speeddemosarchive.com/
mistercow 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Speedruns are amazingly interesting. When I tell people about watching them, their reaction is usually something along the lines of "why do people waste their lives on that?"

But there's so much interesting going on there. The parallels to optimization in programming are striking.

prezjordan 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It's incredible that he's able to do these by hand. Most glitches of that nature are tool-assisted. Tool-assisted game-play[0] is a true artform.

[0]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXCLNnj8OBY

tarice 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Another glitch that was found relatively recently (not shown in linked run):


A more complete explanation of the glitch occurs earlier in the video, but he explains the basics of it after he performs the glitch (unfortunately dying in the process). Apparently three different exploiters found three exploits that, when combined, enabled this glitch. Quite fascinating.

dcolgan 10 hours ago 0 replies      
If you are interested in seeing more of the best speedrunners, Awesome Games Done Quick is happening in January. It is a week-long 24/7 marathon of speedrunning to raise money for charity: http://marathon.speeddemosarchive.com/upcoming
barbs 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If anyone's interested, I think the forum thread Cosmo mentions in the video is this one:


ben-yu 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I just recently got into the speedrunning scene, and it's interesting how the community categorizes speedruns based on version differences and platform. Cosmo wrote a great blog post specifically about OOT: http://blog.cosmowright.com/?p=33
Ayjay 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Predictably, this speed run is now quite outdated, even though it's less than a year later. There have been several major discoveries that have now lowered the world record to just over 19 minutes.
harrysboileau 8 hours ago 0 replies      
AsymetricCom 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Now only if I could find suck hacks in physics.
So You'd Like to Make a Map using Python sensitivecities.com
252 points by urschrei  4 days ago   40 comments top 12
Demiurge 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 4 replies      
Cartography? Hasn't everything already sort of been discovered, though by, like, Magellan and Corts?
pagekicker 4 days ago 3 replies      
What are blue plaques?
cwal37 4 days 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 4 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 4 days 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
250 points by beauzero  4 days ago   31 comments top 6
davidw 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
I still think the idea that customers of an infringing product can be liable is completely bonkers.
ColinWright 4 days ago 0 replies      
snarfy 4 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.
shmerl 4 days ago 0 replies      
By the way, what happened to another important bill to repeal the wicked DMCA 1201 (by Reps. Zoe Lofgren and others)?


tallbrian 4 days 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?
Cheaper to rent in Barcelona and commute to London bestburgerinnorthwestlondon.wordpress.com
249 points by mrud  2 days ago   266 comments top 30
cstross 2 days ago 21 replies      
The point of this piece is not that living in Barcelona and commuting to London is sensible -- it's that the North London property market has gone totally batshit insane.

No, seriously: renting a 2 bedroom flat in a not brilliant suburb of London costs around 25,000 a year, or US $40,000. Then you can add council tax (another 2000), water, electricity, and gas bills, and travel. Upshot: the fixed costs of living in London are on the order of US $50,000 per year (two beds) or around $40,000 per year (one bed). Note that I focus on the two bed option because that's the practical minimum for a family unit, or for someone who telecommutes from home. Note also that the average gross income in London is a little under 28,000 per year (before tax).

Upshot: normal people and normal families can't afford to rent in London any more. The only thing propping up these insane prices is the scarcity induced by the current bubble in the foreign investment housing market. The crash, when it comes, is going to be epic.

meerita 2 days ago 3 replies      
Here a fellow hacker from Barcelona.

I rented a loft for 6620/year. It's mint condition and it's in the outskirts of Barcelona. I'm 12 min in subway to the plaza Catalonia and in 7 min using the train or 20 mins in bus. To be honest, I would never never again will rent in the centre of the city. It's expensive and all buildings are antique, without the proper commodities.

If you want to come Barcelona, check the outskirts, get a scooter or enjoy the Barcelona transportation system. It's wonderful.

I want to add some more info about living in Barcelona.

The weather is magnifique. It barely rains all the year. You can go mountains withing 2h car travel if you want to enjoy the snow in winter.

Eating can be really cheap IF you go to the supermarket, buy all the meals and cook yourself like I do, I saved 300/month doing this instead eating outside. If you can compile rails, you can be a chef, :). I do buy the meals and stuff for around 90/month. That includes the 40lts of water i buy. Then daily i try to buy meat, fish or vegetables for the week and it cost me no more than 220 month.

I pay 90 euros electricity, 30 gas and 40 water every 2 months. 60 euros for 100mbit fiber connection + phone and mobile and that's all.

outside1234 2 days ago 1 reply      
About 5 years ago I did this. I flew from the south of Spain (flying from Jerez on RyanAir) to London once a week for 2 days a week (couch surfing with a friend).

Its a hard lifestyle - by about the 10th of these flights you will be sick of the security hassles (and RyanAir) - but it was way better than living in London full time (no offense).

I did it for 18 months before finally burning out on it and moving to a full time remote position (which paid less but I decided that that was worth the upgrade in lifestyle).

keithpeter 2 days ago 1 reply      
UK renting is just idiotic at present all over, although especially bonkers in our capital city.

Remember that 1 bed flats are especially in demand at present as a result of the (in)famous bedroom tax[1]. A single person or a couple are only allowed 1 bedroom if they need to claim housing benefit (unemployed or low-wage, and remember that in London 'low waged' is a pretty high threshold, e.g. teachers, social workers, retail staff, bus drivers &c).

Bear in mind that building 1 bedroom flats has (hitherto) been regarded as a waste of money for housing associations or councils, so that really only commercial lets are available (at usually twice or three times the rent of a HA/council flat with 2 beds), so, ironically, the tax payer will be paying more to move couples out of 2 bed high rise flats in rough areas which are hard to let into expensive private let 1 bed flats. There will be no takers for the high rise flats (unsuitable for children) so they will be mothballed then expensively demolished.

Yes, bonkers, but the UK is run by the Daily Fail and other populist idiots.

[1] http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/housing_benefit_and...

Edit: OK anonymous downvoter, state your reasons

CWIZO 2 days ago 6 replies      
That's a roughly 4 hour commute in each direction: 1h flight, 1h train ride from airport to liverpool street + commute to the airport and waiting. And this are, in my experience, conservative numbers.

So you spend 128 hours per month commuting, to save 387. Not what I would call a bargain.

Oh, what about double taxation? I'm pretty sure you'd be hit by that and that would most likely put you well in the negative.

lsb 2 days ago 4 replies      
This is silly. Just go southwest a few miles.

There is, for instance, a flat steps from the London Overground in South Norwood (http://www.zoopla.co.uk/to-rent/details/30891717) that is going for 400/month (470/month).

(It's unclear why you'd want such a long commute, versus living in far-away green suburbs by the train.)

j2d3 2 days ago 1 reply      
Cheaper, but fairly ridiculous. Stay in Barcelona and telecommute.

Similarly, it would be cheaper for me to rent in Mexico City and commute to my job in Los Angeles. Yes, some global metropolises have lower rents than others.

officemonkey 2 days ago 1 reply      
So he can live in Barcelona and get home at 10 PM and leave for the airport at 5 AM.

Who cares if you live in Barcelona if you're asleep all the time?

merraksh 2 days ago 1 reply      
Or you could live in Birmingham, in a 650/month one-bedroom apartment 10 minutes away from New Street station, where you can take a 70 minute train to London Euston.

Sure, Birmingham is not Barcelona or London, but I'm not sure how you'd enjoy them by living most of your off-work time in a Ryanair flight.

yetanotherphd 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not convinced that house prices area actually a big deal, except as an indicator that more housing should be permitted (by zoning laws).

There are two arguments that are typically given.

Firstly, you want to encourage people of different incomes to live together. I don't believe that this is a worthy goal. It's not clear that the benefit to people on low incomes outweighs the loss to their high income neighbors. And the richest 1% always find ways to isolate themselves anyway.

The second argument is that welfare should taken into account the cost of living. I also believe this within reason, but the welfare system already does this in many ways. In fact, London's "one bedroom rule" is a clunky way to do precisely this: it lets people live where they like, but prevents people from purchasing an excessive "quantity" of housing.

valdiorn 2 days ago 1 reply      
I just moved to London, less than a month ago.

I decided that I was willing to pay a premium for my <25 minute commute to work (close to Tottenham Court Road). And as long as other people think the same, rent will go up. Pretty standard supply and demand. Everyone works in the center, and nobody likes to waste 2 hours of their day hopping trains and buses.

So this is what you get, take it or leave it, I guess...

byoung2 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'm still convinced that we're just a few years away from a time when people don't have to commute to an office just to sit at a computer. That company in London could save some money and so could the employee in Barcelona if telecommuting were an option.
yeureka 2 days ago 1 reply      
I left Barcelona in 2007 to come to London and although the cost of living is higher here ( I live in West Hampstead ), salaries and opportunities are also much better.Granted, I spend more money per month in fixed costs than my entire salary in Barcelona, but I still save more than I spend.

Also, from this article it seems that rents have actually fallen, because in 2007 I could not find that kind of accomodation for that price and I was strugling to save any money compared to now.

I guess the housing market collapse in Spain has actually impacted the crazy Barcelona prices of mid 2007.

krmmalik 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just moved to North-West London Two weeks ago and can confirm these numbers. It's an interesting write-up and I can see that it's been written for the mathematical demonstration rather than the practicality but it does give food for thought.
gcb0 2 days ago 1 reply      
Had a friend on UCSD that rented at Tijuana and crossed the border everyday to San Diego.
tluyben2 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's not the point of the article, but 4 hours wouldn't be that bad per se. I would hate to be on an airport every day and being with ryan air every day (I rather pay a lot more than fly ryan air personally; I am almost 2 meters in length and quite bulky in width due to food and daily gym; ryan air is cruel punishment, no matter the cost), but when I still worked in an office in the Netherlands (granted, that's over 10 years ago), I would spend 2.5-3 hours at least in traffic jams. At least in a plane you can read a book or do some work. Sitting in a car, usually in the rain/cold, foot on the break ready to move yet another 30 cm I might even consider worse than ryan air...
mikhailfranco 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Ryanair lies about flying to 'Barcelona' - it actually flies to Gerona, about 95km away (1hr by ground transportation):


Although, Gerona is itself a beautiful city and would be a nice place to live.

zobzu 2 days ago 0 replies      
so 1500 GBP is about 2420 USD1 bedroom in the good part of SF, USA cost about 2500/month.

Sure, there's no council tax and utilities are cheaper. Still, its pretty close.

I bet Paris ain't so far from that either, and let's not talk about NYC.

Basically, all of the large tech cities prices are "batshit insane".

The only hope I see, barred 1h30/2H by plane travel time, as the author suggests.. is remote work whenever possible.You can then live 3-4h away from big cities (so you can still get together if needed), and prices are slashed by 10.

sprizzle 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like this article as a thought experiment, but I think in practicality, it would probably be miserable to fly to-and-fro 4 days a week.

The main cost that was ommitted that would give us an idea whether the commute is worth it is the opportunity cost (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opportunity_cost). While it'd be difficult to estimate how much the author's time is worth, if we assume that he/she gets paid an hourly wage of W, and it takes H hours to commute to and from London, then the opportunity cost would be something like W x H. If that opportunity cost is greater than the 387 in savings, then it would not be cheaper to commute from an economist's perspective.

Continuous 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's a 4 hour commute!

Why would you live in Central London? You can commute for an hour into Liverpool St and get much cheaper rents.

lnanek2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now how much does he earn per hour? How much time does he waste on a long commute each of those four days a week?
meerita 2 days ago 0 replies      
This post is also a great idea to start a HN Barcelona meeting :).
RafiqM 1 day ago 0 replies      
Funnily enough, I came to the exact same conclusion last week while visiting London, from Dublin.

30 return flights and it's faster than Barcelona, 1hr flights (and you can show up 45 mins before flight leaves for IE->UK).

Even using Hotel Tonight while I was in London, accommodation was 200+ on a Tuesday night.

daemon13 2 days ago 1 reply      
To Barcelona hackers - which districts are the best to rent a nice modern-built loft/apartment:

- from quality angle?

- from price angle?

Edit: formatting

judk 2 days ago 2 replies      
It is well established that prices RyanAir advertises are not prices passengers pay.

Given the option of the hassle and commute, people would prefer to just live in London. Which is the whole point- real estate pricing is efficient in this case.

marban 2 days ago 0 replies      
It might at least get you a HON circle membership if you take Star Alliance flights but daily use of Ryan Air can't be beneficial for your mental stability.
qwerta 2 days ago 0 replies      
My friend works for one the City. He is permanently renting hotel room nearby. He says it is actually cheaper compared to normal rent.
farresito 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just wanted to add that the apartment that the article refers to is located in a really nice place of Barcelona. Definitely not the center, but relatively close to FC Barcelona stadium, and close to the rich part of the city.
alexchamberlain 2 days ago 0 replies      
East London is where it's at! It is cheaper to buy than rent though!
avty 1 day ago 0 replies      
Time to move to Texas!
Clojure from the ground up aphyr.com
235 points by Adrock  2 days ago   84 comments top 13
laureny 2 days ago 4 replies      
> I want to convince you that you can program, that you can do math, that you can design car suspensions and fire suppression systems and spacecraft control software and distributed databases,

I know you are trying to help but you need to realize that the whole section, and this part in particular, is incredibly condescending and guaranteed to piss off any female who might be reading you.

You want to help achieve gender equality in the technical field?

Pretend that the gender of your reader is of no consequence and just write your stuff, period.

nicolethenerd 2 days ago 1 reply      
The "who is this guide for?" section seems a bit out of place here in an otherwise technical document. While I appreciate the sentiment, studies have shown that girls/women perform worse on tests if they are reminded that they're female right before they take the test - I would imagine that a similar effect might occur when learning Clojure (for any of the discriminated groups mentioned in the welcome message). If someone has managed to find this page, chances are they already know a bit about programming and don't need a welcome message - no?
mattdeboard 1 day ago 0 replies      
I know I'm posting this after this article has peaked, but I did that on purpose. Maybe you won't ever read this. Probably not.

Aphyr I really admired you dude until you decided to post extremely graphic descriptions of your sexual activities on Twitter. I unfollowed you because of it, and I assure you it has absolutely nothing to do with your personal sexuality. I would've unfollowed anyone who posted what you did (hint: it was the 'toilet-cleaning' tweet last week).

And now this blog post. My god. Assault against women is "routine" in STEM fields? It's not routine, it's never been routine, it will never be routine. You live in a social media echo chamber that you need to break out of.

You know what the tech community needs more than anything? Thought-leaders who can teach the rest of us important, practical things about the technology we take for granted every day. What we don't need more of: pandering, condescending horseradish. I honestly will not be surprised if I get attacked personally because of this post as a woman-hating or homophobic bigot. This is the level of discourse now, unfortunately. Ergo why I waited until this post had passed its peak to post.

Break out of your dumb echo chamber, it's decreasing your worth as a teacher.

ninetax 2 days ago 2 replies      
I have really really been getting into clojure lately. It's a functional language that doesn't feel hard to grasp. But it can be way harder to make sane comparisons between libraries and stuff with a community so small but so active as clojure's.

My kingdom for a decent comparison between NodeJS+ClojureScript vs vanilla Clojure (w/Compjure maybe?) for high performance web applications!

leephillips 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've been playing around with clojure and clojurescript on my Ubuntu laptop for a while now, but according to this guide I'm not ready to get started because I don't have "javac" installed.
WoodenChair 2 days ago 3 replies      
The guide appears to assume one is on Mac OS X or Linux without explicitly stating as such (unless I missed it, in which case my bad). That's not good for a world where most people programming on a desktop are on Windows (Mac user myself).
mahyarm 2 days ago 2 replies      
Maybe you want to try light table. It's a pure gui experience, and is probably easier than setting up lein. Currently free.
wolfeidau 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great tutorial, look forward to the next one.

Clojure, and indeed LISP is one of the things I would really like to learn but most of the tutorials have been way to academic in there format. This one so far has been much more focused and clearer on the intent of the language.


sr-ix 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was just asking a friend of mine for some suggestions for starting up with Clojure.

I loved your Jepsen series and you communicate on a level that I can relate to. As such I was thrilled to find your guide at the top of HN.

Keep up the awesome work!

jackhammer2022 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love the thorough Guide to Programming in Clojure for Beginners: http://blackstag.com/blog.posting?id=5
shn 1 day ago 0 replies      
IMHO, It would be better to seperate two distinct things into two seperate articles. Your view in women in computing and intro to clojure.
sriharis 1 day ago 0 replies      
This first lesson was quite similar to Clojure in fifteen minutes: http://adambard.com/blog/clojure-in-15-minutes/. I find both pretty good, although this seems more promising. Waiting for more!
daurnimator 2 days ago 2 replies      
Pointers to a good follow up?
Microsoft reports record first-quarter revenue of $18.53 billion microsoft.com
233 points by coloneltcb  4 days ago   238 comments top 22
ChuckMcM 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why are we comparing Microsoft to RIM?

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

300bps 4 days 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 4 days 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.

umeshunni 4 days 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 4 days 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.
dschiptsov 3 days 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.)

aabalkan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Stock price just hit after hours $35.63 (up 5%), good news for Microsoft employees indeed.
spoiledtechie 4 days ago 0 replies      
In other news, they still only pay 5% taxes due to offshore accounts.
skc 3 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago 4 replies      
They will continue to milk the enterprise cow, but eventually even they will dry up.
gesman 4 days 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 4 days 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
232 points by DiabloD3  4 days ago   60 comments top 7
csense 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 1 reply      
So, how does one fight a contempt of court? Is it even possible?

(PS: Great job EFF!)

chris_mahan 3 days ago 3 replies      
And there is still doubt we live in a police state?
doug1001 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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?
Wow, or from the When-Apple-Became-the-Borg Department lessig.tumblr.com
231 points by mxfh  13 hours ago   78 comments top 21
revelation 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Google has a better approach here. In their forums, they will promote power users to semi-moderators. These people then, drunk on the (useless) power bestowed upon them by Google, do their best to fend off and send into nirvana actual problems, or just shower askers with pointless routine stuff (reinstall, turn it off and on again) until they give up.
caryme 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Forums are tough. I can see why Apple opts not to participate, although I disagree with their decision. It also seems to be consistent with the Apple ethos to remove overly negative posts and calls to action from the apple.com domain. Again, I don't like this, but I'm not surprised.

At Microsoft (at least on my team) we are encouraged to be active in our forums. We use them to keep a pulse on the issues we are having, identify bugs out in the wild, and get feedback on our products. We may sometimes sound a little robotic, since we're not going to divulge insider info or participate in arguments, but we are listening and trying to help (and attempting to figure out what is actually happening on peoples machine's, which is tough). We also provide feedback to our customer service folks in the forums, giving them answers to common problems we do know about and identifying when they provide misinformation and correct that.

I suspect that Apple reads their own forums but doesn't respond. The optimist in me says they're investigating this Wi-Fi issue due to the noise in the forums. They may not have or know a good workaround or at-home fix at this point. And frankly, it's really difficult to get any useful diagnostic information from folks in the forums (especially angry ones who turn to personal attacks on engineers - been there, done that for me on answers.microsoft.com).

KaiserPro 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Sadly this isn't news.

Apple have been doing this for the last 5 years at least.

I support a large fleet of Macpros (Ha, yeah "fast" and "magical" with 5 year old procs in them) Everytime an OS upgrade comes along something is silently broken. Trying to get support is a nightmare. For example when they changed which version of kerberos they used without any warning. Or changing the syntax of automount.

Apple are shits and have always been. Just like google[1].

[1]don't get me started on them. they keep on pissing about with the admin console for paid google apps, without warning.

Shivetya 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Two notes.

1) Thank you for copying that message, here I sit with a 16g White 4s and now I certainly do not want the upgrade.

2) Welcome to Apple Support. That site is much more useful to me for figuring out how to use my Apple product than to fix it. I remember the woes of Wi-Fi being lost on my iMac. Having posts deleted, and watching a thread morph into a years long thousand post monstrosity. All without a chirp from Apple, but yeah they do take down posts. Especially anything where people posted about taking their iMacs into the store.

if you have Applecare, call them. Make it cost them money. Get enough people to swamp their phones or stores might wake them up

usaphp 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Why did not he just call apple or visit their store?

I want to see him dealing with Google or other big company via community forums, I remember a story on HN when a nexus was released and people could not get the phone for months after they paid for it, they could not even get a phone number to call and ask a question. Apple has a genius bar at their stores and a phone support, you can not seriously expect a reply from apple representative on a community forum.

post_break 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Since 2006 when I first switched I don't remember Apple ever officially posting in those forums. This isn't something new. Their support channels are the phone number, and employees at the store. The forums are just their for archive really.
brador 11 hours ago 1 reply      
The worst part is no rollback on IOS without root combined with unstoppable upgrades. The only way I stop my devices updating is keeping them under 1GB free space so the update can't download. This is terrible for an enterprise environment where software stability is a key criteria.

If they allowed rollback this problem would solve itself until a fix was created and pushed out. Instead, they get angry users.

bambax 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Why isn't there a forum for Apple products not controlled by Apple? Shouldn't there be a stackexchange site for this?

Lawrence Lessing needs to ask Joel Spolsky about this.

Edit: as mentioned below, the site already exists. So people need to be using it instead of an Apple forum where the most useful posts get deleted by The Firm...

driverdan 11 hours ago 3 replies      
To those who help others on Apple, Google, or other big multinational business discussion groups / forums, why do you do so?

I understand helping others with a startup's product that you like. You want it to succeed and an increased customer base will most likely lead to product improvements. But billion dollar businesses have the resources to provide support themselves. Why would you do it for them for free?

daraosn 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Same story for 2011 Q1 MBP, it seems like the Graphics are defect for several models and suddenly started to fail for several customers about now... +800 posts, NO RESPONSE FROM APPLE!!


brudgers 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Assimilation means buying an iPhone 5s or 5c, not upgrading an old one.

Geeze, that was easy.

conception 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm not sure how this is a particularly different policy from any mega-corporation. I've never seen any great support on online forums from the company in question. If you're having a wi-fi problem, follow the company's support potocol, which in this case is probably go to the genius bar and get it fixed. Where you'll probably have a better experience than if you tried to get help for a competing product.

I wish company forums did have more interaction than they do, but it's certainly not an Apple thing. They are universally "community" run and company censored.

ebbv 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Apple and Google do take very cold, inhuman approaches toward customer service (or lack of it.) Except in the case of the Apple Store where the employees are generally quite friendly, even if their actual helpfulness varies greatly from individual to individual.

That said, it would be moronic of them to allow comments/threads which are advocating people to take legal action against the company on their own boards. It doesn't matter if the customer is right or not, those kinds of posts are only going to result in more angry, pitchfork wielding customers. I expect pretty much any company, even ones much more customer friendly than Apple, would remove such posts.

cormullion 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Apple Discussions moderators have been deleting dozens of messages from the iWork threads too (I had a similar email :). Nothing new, though.
jimhefferon 10 hours ago 0 replies      
There is something about perceiving yourself as unassailable that makes a tremendous temptation to be the borg, to be an asshole. Surely everyone has observed that many times, from Mean Girls to MicroSoft a decade ago?
mahyarm 10 hours ago 0 replies      
What stops these mega companies from hiring a 120 people online forum support team and removing a lot of bad will? Even if most of the posts were 'we will help you with your problem, just call this phone number'.
dragontamer 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I know its a typical blog post... but this is the Lawrence Lessing. I hate to hype him up (especially since this post of his is just a "humble blog post" about one annoying issue), but Lawrence Lessing has a huge following.

Creator of Creative Commons, Rootstrikers, friend and lawyer of Aaron Swartz... Lawrence Lessing is a name that should be respected in every online community.

Again, this seems to be just one of the low-key blog posts that he makes, so don't assign it too much. But for those wondering "who the hell is this guy?"... well... you definitely should know him.

wtdominey 10 hours ago 0 replies      
As others have pointed out, this isn't anything new. Apple has never been comfortable with public feedback and has pruned comments (and sometimes entire threads) from their discussions for as long as I can remember (and that's a pretty long time). Even when Apple was on-the-ropes in the mid-to-late 90s they behaved like "the Borg". Nothing has changed.
mergy 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone old enough to remember Apple back in the 90s?

This sort of activity reminds me of the actions Apple took to try and hide the mess of the roll-out of Open Transport and all the network mess it caused for folks.

mumbi 5 hours ago 0 replies      
losethos, you're dead. just thought you should know.
microcolonel 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Blaming regulations for your decision to get a crappier warranty or SLA than you could demand elsewhere is like blaming your car manufacturer for the availability and price of fuel.
Seagate just reinvented the disk interface using Ethernet speakingofclouds.com
230 points by slyall  3 days ago   116 comments top 28
notacoward 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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?"

throwaway2048 3 days ago 0 replies      
this sounds like a hybrid of ataoe[1] and 9p[2], an interesting idea for a protocol



_wmd 3 days 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

anonymfus 3 days 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:


justinsb 3 days ago