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1
NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide washingtonpost.com
1254 points by nqureshi  11 hours ago   503 comments top 60
1
tptacek 11 hours ago 25 replies      
It's hard not to come to the conclusion that these activities were essentially criminal. I don't see how the administration can fail to disavow them, investigate them fully, and hold their instigators accountable. It feels like Special Prosecutor time.

That aside, let me re-make a point I keep making:

Google had no knowledge of NSA's physical compromise of their data centers. But still, they pushed harder than anyone on the whole Internet for the adoption of modern TLS with forward-secrecy; they are the world's foremost deployers of ephemeral-keyed elliptic curve cryptography and of certificate pinning, both of which ensure not only the security of the traffic running over the network cables into their data centers, but also minimize the impact of a compromised long-term encryption key or the compromise of the CA system by a state actor.

Not only that, but Google launched a high-profile effort to encrypt the communications inside and between their data centers.

I hope a couple years hindsight will put the importance of Adam Langley's work (and that of the rest of his team; he's just the best-known member of that team) at Google into sharper relief.

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cs702 8 hours ago 4 replies      
Wow.

Years ago, I remember reading Richard Stallman's "How I do my computing"[1], an essay in which he explains why he usually does not connect to any websites from his own machine, downloads web pages from a headless browser running in some server, does not have any user accounts for any web applications, does not buy anything over the Internet ever, does not use any social networking sites, and otherwise abstains from using the Internet like most normal human beings.

"Jeez, that's way too paranoid," I remember thinking.

It turns out Stallman was just (far) ahead of his time -- as usual.

--

[1] http://stallman.org/stallman-computing.html

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cromwellian 10 hours ago 12 replies      
Why didn't they release these documents a long time ago when everyone was racing to judgement that Google, Yahoo, et al were secretly in cahoots with the NSA helping to build drag-net surveillance extranet stuff for them? These are very important revelations!

I mean, when Greenwald/Snowden/Guardian released the original PRISM accusations, these slides would have provided a much much more important set of evidence, instead of months of speculation and parsing of meanings of "backdoor", "frontdoor", "side door", in the corporate communications of the tech companies who were struggling to say "we've never heard of PRISM, da fuq is this shit?"

Is the slow dripping out of these slides because they are trying to be responsible in not releasing stuff that is too damaging (e.g. not trying to be a Bradley Manning dump), or is it to preserve traffic by keeping the click-gravy-train going?

4
jakewalker 11 hours ago 5 replies      
If that graphic - that taunting smiley face, drawn when it was assumed that no one was watching - isn't enough to outrage the general public, I don't know what it will take. This is not super technical - it's easily explained and should be easily understood by the masses. And it should cause outrage.
5
pvnick 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Periodically, especially when a new report like this one comes out, I like to go back and watch the original Snowden interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yB3n9fu-rM) and reflect on the differences between what we knew vs what we now know. When I first watched the video, it brought tears to my eyes and I try to remember that so I don't get desensitized to the magnitude of these revelations. I respect the man more and more everyday.
6
notaddicted 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is of endgame for network security, I don't see a way out -- the Sony Rootkit[1] should have been the point where I realized but it is just sinking in for me now since the Snowden NSA leak.

Any network connected computer will be running an OS+Applications which are typically a gigabyte or more. This is produced by companies which are beholden to a nation state, and the companies can be coerced[2] or compelled[3] to use the software against the user. The software is also constantly being probed for vulnerabilities, which can also be exploited by law-enforcement / military [4][5].

So, if you turn on auto-update you have to trust the software maker is not being coerced by someone, or being compelled by a secret court to trojan you. If you don't turn on auto-update you can still get trojaned by any vulnerability. Lose-Lose.

[1] Sony Rootkit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_BMG_copy_protection_rootki...

[2] Qwest CEO Nacchio's claims: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/09/30...

[3] FISA court

[4] German Govt. Trojan from 2011: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/the-world-from-b...

[5] FBI's TOR trojan injection: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/09/freedom-hosting-fbi...

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mcphilip 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't see how the pretense that the NSA actively avoids snooping on U.S. citizens can be seriously maintained after this revelation. It's becoming increasingly clear that intelligence agencies want the ability to access all data created directly or indirectly by an arbitrary cyberspace target on demand and will shop around for the "best" (e.g. weakest link in technology and/or legislature) nook of the net to snoop at.
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bandushrew 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This seems like a good time to remember that Google has been storing wifi access passwords in plain text on its servers, and (presumably) passing them between its data centers.

It can be assumed that as a consequence of google's decision to store passwords in plaintext, the NSA now have access to every wifi access point that has been used by an android device.

This is a massive security breach. I sincerely hope google notifies android users of the problem.

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gohrt 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I hope that this finally convinces everyone that it doesn't matter whether Google is "Evil" or Yahoo is more evil or whatever. What matters is that large cloud systems are fundamentally incapable of protecting data.

Even the most goodhearted and the most talented teams can't reliably defend against a massively funded adversary.

Secrets are for keeping, not sharing.

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wyck 11 hours ago 6 replies      
Is that an official document with an actual smiley face?

What ever happened to the admins / programmers standing up for what is right, or do they just gobble down a paycheck and turn the other way?

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vidarh 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It's kind of shocking that they haven't been encrypting all internal inter-datacentre connections to begin with. Even if they didn't suspect NSA snooping, there's enough companies and criminals out there that'd conceivably have a lot of reasons to want to try to find ways to tap Googles links.
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a3n 9 hours ago 1 reply      
> The infiltration is especially striking because the NSA, under a separate program known as PRISM, has front-door access to Google and Yahoo user accounts through a court-approved process.

1. Spy on whatever the hell you want without benefit of warrant.

2. Discover something interesting.

3. "Parallel construct" a way that the information could have been legally obtained.

4. Get a warrant based on the parallel construction.

5. Profit.

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balabaster 10 hours ago 0 replies      
You know, one thing I'm sure (hope) will come out of this is that enough people in the public should be sufficiently outraged at this that we start making some private sector headway in the data security race and perhaps we'll end up with some actual secure products by companies that aren't under the "jurisdiction" of U.S. policy, instead of those that just say they're secure but fall flat on their face when it comes to something as trivial as an NSL or an order for a pen register. If they were really secure, then these things wouldn't make the slightest difference.
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sage_joch 9 hours ago 4 replies      
If I scroll the Reddit frontpage (without being logged in), I am not seeing any NSA stories, despite being on the top of /r/WorldNews, /r/news, etc. Anyone know the story behind that?
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matthewmcg 11 hours ago 1 reply      
From the article: "Two engineers with close ties to Google exploded in profanity when they saw the drawing."

That about sums up my reaction as well.

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wissler 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The writing has been on the wall about the true nature of "the cloud" for at least 15 years. I tried to tell people, they preferred to put their faith and trust in the major magazines, which were all propagandizing about it constantly. Most people (including the developers who write this software) allow themselves to be herded, and if you try to tell them what's really going on they write you off as a crackpot.

What most people don't realize is that all the value offered by "the cloud" can be created with much higher quality on a different architecture, one that gives all the benefits of the cloud, but without sacrificing privacy.

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than 11 hours ago 7 replies      
Gen. Keith Alexander, asked about it at a Bloomberg event, denied the accusations.

"I don't know what the report is," Alexander cautioned, adding the NSA does not "have access to Google servers, Yahoo servers." He said the NSA is "not authorized" to do this, and instead, must "go through a court process."

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/keith-alexander-nsa-re...

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daemin 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I get the feeling that people are outraged by this not necessarily for the fact that spy agencies spy on everyone they can, but that they do it in such a blatant, efficient, and all encompassing way.

I know I feel a bad gut reaction to the mass collection of data, but when you think about it that is exactly what a country wants from its spy agency, to know others' secrets. Hence they're doing the most optimal thing from the countries point of view. Therefore it is just the brazen scale, the automation of the whole operation, and the fact that it is now officially public that gives me (and us in general) the sick feeling.

Like the breakdown of forgetting (anything on the Internet is there forever), and the rapid dissemination of information through the social network (Facebook status etc), an adjustment needs to be made either in us or the system.

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csandreasen 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I get the feeling I'm going to take a karma hit for this, but here goes...

By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.

There's a problem with this. The Post goes into a good amount of detail regarding how the NSA/GCHQ is collecting, but leaves nothing but speculation as to who they're targeting or why. It even goes so far as to suggest that NSA/GCHQ is targeting millions upon millions of ordinary citizens without giving evidence to back up that assertion. I would argue that these media outlets are doing us a disservice by not providing this information. All they're doing is generating hype and fear. I'm scrolling through the comments here and seeing calls for the imprisonment (or worse) of Obama administration officials and NSA personnel based not on solid evidence that the public at large is being spied upon, but based on our fear that the public is being spied upon. Some hypothetical headlines as an analogy:

A: "SWAT team guns down local residents"

B: "SWAT team guns down unarmed retirement home residents"

C: "SWAT team guns down pair of local gunmen; ends killing spree"

Headline A is vague and misleading. If that was the entirety of the information put out, the public would be outraged. If the actual story was closer to headline B, they'd be rightfully outraged, and all trust in the police force would be rightfully gone. The outrage wouldn't be justified if the actual story was closer to headline C. With regards to today's story, I don't want see something like "NSA spies on Google traffic" - there's not enough context. I want to see evidence showing who they're targeting and why. If it turns out that they're spying on US Congressmen, major business executives or just ordinary Americans with the intent to blackmail/bribe/manipulate/etc. - that's the reason to call for these people to stand trial. If it turns out that they're spying on the unencrypted internet traffic of valid intelligence targets like foreign government officials/foreign spies/terrorists/etc., what has the public gained by telling us all how they're doing it?

The media needs to show us that there's a good reason to be afraid/outraged of a vast, covert Orwellian apparatus, then show us how to protect ourselves against it. Show us that the NSA is determined to undermine the public good for its own benefit. Unless there is no vast, hidden Orwellian state. Every Snowden document that gets released without showing evidence that the NSA is pursuing anyone besides those it has been tasked to pursue leads me to believe more and more that there is no such evidence, and the media is riding high on all of this fear and outrage to gather advertising dollars.

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Aaronontheweb 6 hours ago 1 reply      
How are all of our elected officials "just finding out" about this stuff? Bullshit!

Our congressmen, senators, and POTUS are all "as surprised as you are!"(TM) about these allegations that keep coming out.

Obama doesn't know anything. Feinstein (who heads the Senate intelligence committee, and is briefed on the NSA's activity) knows nothing.

What's the difference between extreme incompetence and maliciously lying? I can't tell the difference.

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mladenkovacevic 10 hours ago 2 replies      
So does this suggest that Google's SSL encryption can be removed just as easily as that smiley face implies?

If this is true my next question would be does NSA have access to the keys or are they removing encryption in some other more technically involved way?

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ttt_ 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Look, NSA has platoons of lawyers and their entire job is figuring out how to stay within the law and maximize collection by exploiting every loophole,

Interesting how agencies, corporations and alike have the collective maturity of children. A grown up will say to a kid "you can't play with fire with your friend" and the kid immediately will think "he didn't say I can't play with fire with my other friend".

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jimparkins 11 hours ago 1 reply      
People will no doubt come on this thread and remind everyone that of course the government always had access - you must have been a fool not to think so. But I just can not get over how angry it makes me. Honestly I thought that using google products with some exploitation of the contents for advertising was an acceptable exchange. This is just a total betrayal and I cannot believe that the Google board is not aware of this! and if it is not it is because they choose to be!
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oh_sigh 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I love how every quote from the NSA stresses that "we don't have access to their servers. Fine. Let's say they don't. But that means nothing in this context. If they can see every piece of data that is sent between servers at various google data centers, they don't need access to the servers to gather a ton of information
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jcromartie 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Can anybody trust Google services anymore? It seems like it's pretty much a no-go at this point. Even if Google hands over select data from within their systems, it appears we cannot even trust that it makes it that far without being compromised.

Every business that can should be ditching their Google services right now.

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bm1362 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"Two engineers with close ties to Google exploded in profanity when they saw the drawing." seems hyperbolic. What does it even add to the article? Is it used to try and establish some credibility?

I don't understand why this is shocking (the photo- not the alleged spying)?

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andyl 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
Thank you Snowden.
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tonyplee 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Few people said you can't fight google with NSL or force them to do anything because it has $50B in cash.

Easy: Just start an anti-trust investigation - a fed lawyer can drag Larry Page and Google's top level managers into federal court every week for the next 5-10 years. Go thru every emails about iphone, android, bing in the past, and force monitor every single biz decision Google will try to make for the next 10 years.

Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Facebook would love to help out the government(s) in this.

Larry will get so sick of it that he would think give out billions to kill Mosquitoes in Africa/India is a lot more fun. - Remember Bill Gates?

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tibbon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Is there anything in the world that the US Government cannot rationalize?

Are there literally no limits worldwide to their power at this point?

It is my current assumption that everything now is being logged.

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andmarios 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Funny thing is how many articles have been written about Chinese crackers, possibly funded by the Chinese government, trying to hack into big companies.
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billiam 5 hours ago 0 replies      
What makes me downright angry is the vehemence with which Google's Chief Legal officer David Drummond denounces siphoning Google's own data. Secretly take our users' personal data, that's okay, but secretly take our data, which we make our billions off of, now that is unamerican. Class, man. Real class.
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ahi 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems the rest of the world is coming to the realization that they are merely conquered provinces in the US empire.
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DanielBMarkham 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Meta remark, somewhat snarky: I would like to know at what point do all the HN'ers making fun of those libertarians among us concerned with security -- I believe over a period of months we were called "tinfoil hat types" and worse -- come back and offer us an apology.

I am not holding my breath.

(Although it's a snarky comment, I didn't make the comment just to snark. The point was to point out that over and over again, the folks who are concerned about government encroachment are made fun of, put down, and lampooned to a great degree. More often than not, these concerns turn out to be true. In most cases this happens long after the debate has died down. This is an important lesson from history that we all would do well to learn. This story has a lot more facets to it than just the NSA/USA angle)

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nickpyett 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Larry Page should step down as CEO.

It would never happen, as Google shares would drop like a bomb and give credence to the argument that the cloud isn't secure enough, but at least it would show that someone at Google cares.

It would create a landmark moment though; something that would spark more debate in both the media and with American politicians.

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GuerraEarth 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Google is so good. Such a great concept. So much fun to use. A romper room. Such a bastion of talent and good people. Which is why this whole business is such a crappy disappointment. A guy sitting in a renovated girl's bathroom in London told us some time back that this was the case, that Google had dropped its original stance against "evil," but nobody took him seriously.
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grandalf 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Aside from the indignation, I'd like to see proof that Google wasn't aware of this stuff. My guess is that it was approved as long as there was plausible deniability.
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whyenot 7 hours ago 1 reply      
As of 1:41pm PST, there is no mention of this news anywhere on the front page of the NY Times website. There have been similar ...time lags... in the past when covering Snowden related news at the NYT. It's a shame one of the most important news sources in the US is so slow in their coverage, either intentionally or not.
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CoryG89 7 hours ago 2 replies      
As a software engineer just about to graduate from college. When I see drawings like that I just can't believe that people who know enough to draw something like that can actually do it without feeling like they are the definition of evil.
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gummydude 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
America, country full of fear. The whole world is against you. Wake up lol.
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kmfrk 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Gonna be a very interesting fundraising season in Silicon Valley.
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nickmolnar2 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The denials over Prism never squared with the size and capability of the system that were outlined in the documents, unless I'm missing something here. Is it not possible that the court-ordered data releases were just one small part of the Prism program, with MUSCULAR and others filling the data that could not be obtained through the legal system? Prism is just the query interface, which is not necessarily tied to one dataset.
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grandalf 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This makes the recent warning atop my personal gmail that "State sponsored actors may be trying to access your account" particularly ironic.
43
venomsnake 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This degrades into comic book villain territory. Every admin and developer professional wet dream is to be able to capture log and analyze every byte. To have unlimited processing power and storage.

And these people lived it ...

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glasz 2 hours ago 0 replies      
We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks, and it underscores the need for urgent reform, he [google's clo] said.

reform... ha!

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Nanzikambe 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It's interesting that there's been little attention paid to what this genre of backbone/infrastructure tapping means for companies using content accelerators (or whatever they're called).

Considering what we now know about tailored access operations, I find it hard to imagine they've not used these abilities to subvert the auto-update functionality of virtually every product there is out there.

Ie. client requests auto-update from front-end server, update is switched and replaced before hitting the front-end server & being delivered.

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andy112 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Can anyone explain what exactly is meant by "SSL added and removed here! :-)"?
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smoyer 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Would anyone else be interested in inserting a private version of a tracking pixel into each of their e-mails, so that you'd get a list of IP addresses where the mail was viewed back?

It would be interesting to see where mail was read versus where it is simply passed in plain text. Crowd-sourcing anonymous data might also allow us to determine which IP addresses belong to the NSA's systems.

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MiguelJones 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
Are people seriously surprised? After all of the other stuff we've heard the NSA has done, I am surprised that people are surprised by something we all but already knew.
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tonyplee 11 hours ago 4 replies      
"vice president for security engineering Eric Grosse announced that the company is racing to encrypt the links between its data centers. "

Isn't this useless?

They can serve Google NSL and the court can force the company to release the SSL keys for the encryptions - just like Lavabit. Google CEO/Board can not shutdown the company like Lavabit.

What can they do, get out of USA like how they got out of China?

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okadaka 4 hours ago 0 replies      
SMTP (mail protocol) between providers is unencrypted anyway. So, if I send email from gmail to ycombinator, it goes to ycombinator SMTP server unencrypted and can be tapped by anyone with access to the wire. Still, clear traffic between Google's own data centers is inexcusable. They are exposing my data to more risk.
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CrLf 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Now wait... It isn't surprising that inside the datacenters most traffic flows unencrypted, but not encrypting links between datacenters?

Well...

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adventured 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Google will never do it, but they should drown the NSA in bullshit data. So much so it literally chokes the NSA's ability to spy on Google's services.

Google is one of the few companies that could pull it off. They have $56 billion in cash and nothing to do with it apparently. They generate $12 billion in profit annually and growing.

They have more financial resources, computing power, and brain power than the NSA does, and they're one of the few companies on earth that can say that (the only?).

A billion a year thrown at choking the NSA with a flood of data, I'd argue, would work extraordinarily well.

The NSA has a substantial budget (but how much spare budget?), but I don't believe they could afford the processing and storage costs that can be generated from a billion dollar per year effort of bogus data spewing (particularly if Google matches it with a dramatic effort put toward encryption R&D to multiply the cost the NSA suffers significantly more than just basic processing & storage costs).

The NSA's grand new data center in Utah cost billions and will have taken years to build. Google could probably force them to attempt to build a new one every single year forever, particularly given how bloated every effort by the government is and easy Google could generate 'infinite' volumes of data. Google should pro-actively help Yahoo, Facebook and others out in teaming up to drown the NSA.

The biggest threat to Google is the NSA. Google should act accordingly. Just as they would react with financial investments to any other competitive threat.

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tn13 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Any institution responsible for maintaining a nations safety should be something to be proud about, but apparently with each news NSA sounds more like a virus.
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JSno 8 hours ago 0 replies      
China's Lanxiang vocational school is innocent .http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/jun/02/chinese-sc...
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monksy 10 hours ago 0 replies      
That sounds like a rather interesting and large integration project that most engineers would salivate over.
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devx 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Here, Google - show us how much you care about user privacy and security, and join Lavabit and Silent Circle's alliance for the "Dark Mail" protocol:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2013/10/30/lavabit-a...

Meanwhile I'll be waiting impatiently.

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dctoedt 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Test reply.
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mathesis 8 hours ago 0 replies      
USSID18 is what should be talked about regarding these violations. The sooner people become more familiar with the laws in place to prevent this the better the outcome for all involved.
59
frank_boyd 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Curious to see who will continue to still use their products...
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misiti3780 10 hours ago 0 replies      
fucking wow ..... that is all i have to say
2
Here's how I deal with users who steal pud.com
738 points by pud  2 days ago   209 comments top 68
1
nostromo 2 days ago 5 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.

2
danielpal 2 days ago 3 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.

3
josh2600 2 days 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.

4
femto 2 days ago 3 replies      
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.
5
alexholehouse 2 days 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.

6
Amadou 2 days 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?

7
nkurz 2 days 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.

8
benihana 2 days 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.
9
DigitalSea 2 days 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).
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hackerboos 2 days ago 2 replies      
Maybe I don't understand your business model correctly but why not just take the first $20 of royalties from users that steal?
11
SwellJoe 2 days ago 0 replies      
DistroKid makes me want to start recording my music again, just so I can use DistroKid.
12
uladzislau 2 days 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.
13
sprite 2 days 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.
14
jasonkester 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've had pretty good success giving away free accounts to my products to anybody who writes me an email asking for one. For Twiddla, there's actually a line on the pricing chart suggesting you do so if you're a teacher or student.

Marginal lifetime cost for servicing an additional account is roughly $0.00, give or take a penny. Marginal benefit from a happy customer with a fresh free subscription and a Twitter account is somewhat higher.

So while you can spin it as goodwill and charity, the bottom line is that it's just good business sense.

15
hristov 2 days 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?
16
ruswick 2 days 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.
17
pioul 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're going to play the "nice guy" card, don't offer the "scholarship" plan only to cheaters, while trying to guilt trip them along the way.

Letting people use your product for free if they can't afford it is certainly a nice thought, but then you should give that opportunity to everybody.

18
jordn 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's excellent. Please circle back when you get some stats on the response.
19
chmike 1 day ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of Les Misrables of Victor Hugo published 1862. Jean Valjean stole silvers goods from a priest but was caught by the police. Brought back in front of the Priest with the goods he stole, the Priest said that he gave them to him and that he also forgot the silver candelabra. The Priest than gave them to him. It was the first time Jean Valjean met a good man and this was a shock to him which changed all his life as you can read through the story.
20
antocv 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thats nice and good for you, your users and your business.

However, be cautious to not get the leechers, those users who are rich and still would suck others dry. There are plenty of those in the world. I believe for your service, they still wont do much damage to you, compared to the musicians who really have no money and just want to get by.

But still, be cautious. And dont call it stealing, its something else going on here, its fraud or malice or leeching.

21
AhtiK 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't believe this will convert well. Converting to paying customer should include a positive reinforcement.

I would never be a customer of a service where the company tells me that I stole from them in the first place. For the DistroKid case I'd say stealing is a strong word for creating a few dummy user accounts. I'd guess many of us have asked friends to use Dropbox referral codes to sign up even when you know they might not continue to use the service.

If a legitimate person is caught stealing then one is ashamed and prefers other services.

22
robmcm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why not offer a plan that takes the money after they start getting paid. You could take the full amount before they start getting paid, or take a percentage cut of each payment.

In order to make it fair to the people that stump up the cash first you could also charge them slightly more.

23
mehrdada 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Stealing" has a very narrow definition. Causing someone to lose some potential revenue is not necessarily stealing.
24
ced83fra 2 days 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.

25
newrenowhore 1 day ago 0 replies      
Confession: I totally faked the referrals on distrokid, using 5 dispostable.com emails, and was frankly a little surprised when it worked. Strangely, I don't see the "scholarship" plan as an option when I log in, but maybe it only applies to new phonies?

At any rate props to you pud, for so many reasons... it's a fantastic model and a great product execution. It's the first product that encourages casual music distribution - but that's exactly why I didn't, and probably won't, pay for it.

I have 2 albums up on tunecore, that actually generate revenue. These are albums - professionally recorded, produced, etc. - that I spent money creating, and that I make money back from. I picked tunecore because they were the best thing available at the time, but if I were to do another big release, I'd use them again (despite the fact that I'm not thrilled with the company at the moment because Jeff Price is a great guy and they totally screwed him). And at the end of the day, it's because they have the most distribution partners, and because they send me a check every month. tunecore is for music that I want people to buy.

Then Distrokid came out, and I celebrated. I'm sure there are exceptions to this, but musicians make tons of songs that never see the light of day. Maybe the song isn't entirely finished, maybe it's not good enough to pay for mastering, maybe it's part of a musical direction the musician changed his or her mind on. I've got a ton of these, and these are what I'm using distrokid for. I'm not really promoting these tracks, I'm not expecting a great return from them. A lot of them are unfinished experiments or lo-fi fun, nothing market-worthy. But I can put these up for my friends, other musicians, etc. to hear on Spotify at a higher quality than soundcloud can provide.

As soon as I make $19.99 from distrokid, I'll buy the yearly, more as a thank you than anything else. But until then, I'm probably going to keep my phony free account.

And pud - if you can match tunecore's number of distributors and earnings reporting... well, "disruption" doesn't even scratch the surface.

26
laureny 2 days 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...

27
unclebucknasty 2 days 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.

28
Void_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm doing something like that with the trial of my time-tracking app, Zone. (http://rinik.net/zone)

The trial version creates this file: NotTheFileThatStoresInformationAboutTrialDates.txt

If you simply remove it, the trial is reset. I would rather spend the $5 then do it every month, so hopefully my users think in a similar way.

29
camus2 2 days 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.
30
makmanalp 2 days ago 1 reply      
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.
31
NicoJuicy 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It's like taxes. Nobody will protest paying a lot, untill they run out of backdoors.

PS. I live in Belgium and we have a crazy tax % here ;-)

32
EdgarVerona 1 day ago 0 replies      
Kudos, that's great! I think that's a very cool option - I feel like there's a lot of musicians out there who are dirt poor, trying to find a way to break through. It'd be interesting for you to offer the option to scholarship accounts to donate later - and then see which ones actually make it big enough that they decide to pay you back for your service!
33
stevenkovar 2 days 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).

34
JulianMiller520 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting that the default mode for so many people on hacker news is judgement. I'm here to learn so thank you for sharing your approach. I find it a refreshing way to engage users who are using the resources either way. Would love to hear more about it's impact over time.
35
gbog 2 days 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.
36
iamshs 2 days 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?
37
leoh 2 days ago 0 replies      
So they get free music distribution and free lessons from a moralist.
38
marincounty 2 days 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.
39
thejosh 2 days 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.
40
rwissmann 2 days 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.

41
mVChr 2 days 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.
42
rythie 2 days 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.
43
jheriko 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would just like to thank the OP for being brave enough to compete in that space of music publishing. The big guys are all but handing the industry over to pirates by failing to adapt to the marketplace... it's nice to see smart people taking advantage. :)
44
NanoWar 1 day ago 0 replies      
I heard of products that were added to torrent sites by the creators specifically to get pirated, but after the install there was a pop-up asking kindly for a donation :D .
45
pavanred 2 days 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

46
jakebellacera 2 days ago 1 reply      
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.
47
jasonwilk 2 days ago 1 reply      
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!

48
hadem 2 days 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)?

49
prawn 2 days 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
50
lysium 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like that idea!

Remembers me of the German magazin 'brand eins' that offered a 'social' subscription where you won't pay for a year if you're struggling with making ends meet. You just had to tell them, no questions asked.

51
nakodari 1 day ago 0 replies      
You are running a business, sooner or later your bottom line will be affected. What you should so is inform the Scholarship account holders that $19.99 will be deducted from their total earning of one year. This way it will be a win-win scenario. They get a free account upfront and they pay you later. You are still getting paid in the end!
52
exo_duz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Already a good idea, beautiful simple to use, now playing the good guy. I think this is something that is worth doing. Hope Distrokid succeeds :)
53
dmourati 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Even when the user thinks theyve scammed a free account out of us."

...

...is also always a nice feeling? What?

54
oddshocks 2 days 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.

55
thecodemonkey 2 days 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?

56
vishal0123 1 day ago 1 reply      
How can they detect user who refers the fake account. I would love to get this functionality in my site too.
57
nhangen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Technically, it's not stealing, it's hacking the system. It would be one thing if they were using cracked or stolen accounts, but this is a legitimate loophole left open as a marketing tool.
58
rajacombinator 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great concept. Not sure it will work but should be interesting to see how it plays out!
59
smmnyc 2 days 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?
60
hipaulshi 2 days 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.
61
benjamta 1 day ago 0 replies      
Really like this approach - fascinated to know how this works out over time.
62
joeblau 2 days ago 0 replies      
That is not what I was expecting, but it is awesome!
63
justplay 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am waiting for the next blog-post to see how does it work.
64
disputin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Um, how many variations of the shoplifter story have we seen?
65
BruceLi 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is good and smart.
66
richardfontana 2 days ago 1 reply      
If "we let them get away with it" how is it "stealing"?
67
knodi 2 days ago 0 replies      
What a smug blog post.
68
nfoz 2 days 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.
3
Why You Shouldn't Interrupt a Programmer heeris.id.au
575 points by libovness  2 days ago   204 comments top 40
1
jimbokun 2 days 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.

2
jtheory 2 days 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.

3
calineczka 2 days 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.

4
teddyh 2 days ago 2 replies      
Reminds me of this:

Don't Wake Up the Programmer!

http://alexthunder.livejournal.com/309815.html

5
jmadsen 2 days 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

6
ohwp 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is also why you shouldn't interrupt yourself ;)

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

8
Pxtl 2 days 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.
9
nmeofthestate 2 days ago 4 replies      
This scenario is a bit optimistic. I made a cartoon depicting my open plan office experience: http://imgur.com/fsv1cCq
10
rix0r 2 days ago 2 replies      
To my mind, the cartoon is more of a depiction why you should avoid mutable state and non-local effects.
11
lotsofcows 2 days 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.
12
ozh 2 days 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
13
steven777400 2 days 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. :)

14
stef25 2 days 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.
16
bmelton 2 days 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.

17
tieTYT 2 days 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.
18
kineticfocus 2 days ago 0 replies      
lol... the current page works as a punchline just as well:

Service Temporarily Unavailable

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.

19
SubuSS 2 days 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.

20
jipumarino 2 days ago 0 replies      
I got a 503 error and for a moment I thought it was very insightful.
21
wiremine 2 days 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...)

22
jseban 2 days ago 4 replies      
This is also why you should use pen and paper and not try to keep everything in your head?
23
waylandsmithers 2 days 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.
24
tluyben2 2 days 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.
25
niravshah 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is why programmers (and everyone doing deep analysis/critical thinking) get a huge benefit from taking notes.
26
Delmania 2 days 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.
27
strickjb9 2 days 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.
28
rsobers 2 days ago 0 replies      
My only qualm with this comic is that it doesn't end in a fit of rage. :-)
29
djKianoosh 2 days 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!

30
elwell 2 days ago 0 replies      
The number of upvotes is indicative of a common thread of frustration felt by programmers.
31
NAFV_P 2 days ago 2 replies      
Let's face it, coders can't multi-task.

Fortunately, computers can do all that for you.

32
tmikaeld 2 days ago 0 replies      
Someone put it on 9gag http://9gag.com/gag/av0z0Bn
33
cburgmer 2 days 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.
34
LeSeb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Being a programer on trading floor, this happens all the time ...
35
gouggoug 2 days ago 0 replies      
How ironic is it that when I clicked on "Why You Shouldn't Interrupt a Programmer" I got a 503
36
SworDsy 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's still funny that now it's a down
37
known 2 days ago 0 replies      
Writing software != Selling software

You need mutually EXCLUSIVE skills.

38
Spoygg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent :)
39
umrashrf 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't access the page.
40
tmikaeld 2 days ago 1 reply      
hacker news effected the site
4
April 5, 2007: "Show HN, Dropbox" ycombinator.com
491 points by epa  2 days ago   178 comments top 39
1
SwellJoe 2 days 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-...

2
toddmorey 2 days 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."

http://www.quora.com/Dropbox/Why-is-Dropbox-more-popular-tha...

3
singular 2 days 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.

4
bstar77 2 days 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.
5
swalsh 2 days ago 4 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.

6
thecoffman 2 days 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.

7
novum 2 days 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

8
Osiris 2 days ago 4 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".

9
asperous 2 days 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.

10
furyofantares 2 days 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

11
hashtree 2 days ago 1 reply      
If there is any thread that might help comfort you about the pessimism sometimes found on HN, this is it.
12
tzury 2 days 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.

13
hackinthebochs 2 days 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)

14
josteink 2 days 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.

15
scrrr 2 days 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.

16
pitchups 2 days 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)
17
netcan 2 days 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.

18
fananta 2 days 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.

19
alokv28 2 days ago 1 reply      
Internet archive link to the demo/screencast: https://web.archive.org/web/20070407145348/http://www.getdro...
20
phreeza 2 days 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

21
brianbarker 2 days ago 1 reply      
"It does not seem very "viral" or income-generating."
22
fit2rule 2 days 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.

23
vlad 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank you for posting this. Having launched my own landing page yesterday (as Drew did in 2007), I thought that I should explain the positive feedback I left for Drew on Hacker News in 2007.

Launch posts were full of naysayers, even back in 2007 when Hacker News was called Startup News. I had done my own startup for 3.5 years at the time, so I wanted to give members of Hacker News useful, insightful, and positive feedback about their project.

The link was a landing page with a video about "throwing away your USB drive."

In my Hacker News comment, I proposed a list of ways to replace "throw away your USB drive" with a non-technical metaphor that people of all ages could understand (a personal secretary who automatically makes duplicates of anything you create for safekeeping, stored the way you want and accessible from anywhere.)

I've observed that newer Dropbox videos started to incorporate my feedback more and more. It's really been awesome to see Drew and the rest of the guys kick butt!

24
th3byrdm4n 2 days 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.
25
e12e 2 days 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).

26
nakodari 2 days 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.
27
tzury 2 days 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.

28
sidcool 2 days ago 0 replies      
There were so many naysayers. I didn't know HN existed then.
29
kartikkumar 2 days 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.
30
soneca 2 days ago 2 replies      
FWIW, Dropbox actually DID replace my USB drive (99% of the times at least).
31
Aldo_MX 2 days ago 1 reply      
The secret to success: Trust in yourself, nobody else is going to trust in you.
32
JanLaussmann 2 days 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/...

33
levlandau 2 days 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 :)
34
Herald_MJ 2 days 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.
35
poolpool 2 days 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.

36
Fundlab 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is really inspiring, for the most part; dont let HN comments stump your aspirations.
37
dcarmo 2 days ago 0 replies      
"What tools will you use to build your product? Python (top to bottom.)"

Yes.

38
devx 2 days 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?
39
eridal 2 days ago 0 replies      
the fact that the their top-post is negative make the history soo cool!!
5
Does life end after 35? kzhu.net
470 points by hakkasan  14 hours ago   193 comments top 56
1
kyro 13 hours ago 12 replies      
I often worry about whether my startup clock is running out. I'm closer to 30 than 20, finishing up graduate school, and for the most part feel young. But other than the pediatrics ward, the only other time I start to feel my age is when attending some of these startup events.

What I try to keep conscious of is knowing what's reported in the media and what isn't, which are often 2 completely different worlds. On TechCrunch, "kid genius makes $100m" is the story they want. It fits this age-old narrative of a child prodigy reaching success in half the time it takes a "normally smart" person to, like Mozart, Einstein.

And that media draws in huge amounts of young people hoping to fit that narrative. But what's not reported are the companies that are typically working on much harder and more boring problems -- problems that require an understanding by people who've been in industries for years. Look at any CrunchBase newsletter about the day's fundraising and acquisitions, and you'll find yourself surprised at how many medical/B2B/etc companies are being bought for $100m+. These aren't companies started by 22yo grads, but by people with extensive industry experience. And the (startup) media doesn't really give a damn about them.

That's not, in any way, to devalue startups started by younger people. There's little-to-no barrier to starting social apps and the like. They have their place in society and have shown to be successful, so I don't blame a fresh grad who wants to try his/her hand at it. But there is a whole world of other startups and companies that are working in more complicated and boring industries that could not have been started by people in their early 20s.

Experience still matters, as unsexy as it is.

2
wting 12 hours ago 5 replies      
A similar question was asked on Quora recently:

https://www.quora.com/Silicon-Valley/What-do-people-in-Silic...

Some of the companies and founders' ages compiled from the answers:

- Zynga: 41

- LinkedIn: 36

- Salesforce: 35

- Intel: 41, 39

- Qualcomm: 52, 50

- Juniper Networks: 42

- Wikipedia: 35

- Pandora: 35

- GigaOm: 39

- Zipcar: 42

- TechCrunch: 35

- Craigslist: 42

- Netflix: 37

3
japhyr 14 hours ago 5 replies      
I turned 40 last year, and I am loving it. I miss the physical resilience of being in my 20s, but I wouldn't trade where I am now to go back to my 20s.

I grew up relatively sheltered in New England, and moved to NYC to teach as soon as I graduated from college. I spent my 20s teaching in the city and bicycling around North America in the summers.

At 29, I moved to Alaska. I spent my 30's climbing mountains, doing mountain rescue work, and continuing to teach.

I just turned 40, and I feel like this decade is about building some things that last. I feel like I came into more serious hacking at just the right time in my life. I now have the experience to know exactly what I want to build, and I have the long-term mindset needed to build important things. After having stood in front of NYC public school classrooms, bicycled around the continent, faced bears in the wild, and dropped out of helicopters onto steep mountains, dealing with servers and such is just another satisfying challenge to play with.

Life is wonderful if you keep right on living.

4
digitalsushi 14 hours ago 3 replies      
35 seems like a nice round number for people to self-sort into two bins: people that decided yes, it's time to stop trying, there will be no more sunrises... and then the other set, who think this is just ridiculous and roll their eyes that age has anything to do with it. And even if the second set is wrong, and there is actually something about getting older that actually slows us down or makes us worth less, it's a terrible idea to believe in it. I see no value in thinking about it. How would anyone improve their life by deciding some threshold has been passed? Sounds like a good way to speed up decay.
5
scrrr 14 hours ago 3 replies      
In the west everything is more focused on the individual. I have to succeed at X. I deserve Y. I have to put my stamp on the world. etc. etc.

Not sure this is the best path to happiness.

6
ChuckMcM 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The key though from this story is this bit "Having only been allowed to complete his undergraduate degree, he spent decades doing whatever research and teaching came his way."

One the key differentiators is whether or not people are willing to continue learning. People who learn continue to be useful, people who stop learning eventually aren't. (useful that is)

7
6cxs2hd6 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Top managers are traditionally drawn from the ranks of 50-somethings. Sure, that's partly due to a retirement age of 65, and partly a function of institutional ladder-climbing. But not just that. Someone in their 50s has a few decades of experience. Almost every situation or problem reminds them of something they've already seen or solved before. Intuition or gut instinct draws on experience, therefore it improves with experience.

Now, I wouldn't argue that someone in their 50s (or older) is prima facie better than someone younger. Just that they're not automatically worse.

p.s. You could argue that "too much experience" can be a bad thing, and blind someone to innovation. Although that's a good point I'd argue that the issue isn't too much experience, instead it's usually too narrow experience and/or too little ability to process it effectively.

8
kamaal 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm working with a senior person off late. I'm in my late 20's. One of the things that he warned me against is hipster trends. These can really derail a good technically intensive career.

Anyone who is glamorizing hipster practices over genuine experience should go out and build a few embedded systems, a car, or a pacemaker, or a dialysis machine, control system for a nuclear reactor, or a better routing algorithm etc. If you are busy building <insert yet another MVC site here> and refusing to look and learn from other software domains, you will likely never work on any technically meaty projects ever and soon fall victim to age related discrimination.

Building great things requires experience. Its not about impatience, and that thing about 'fail quick, fail fast' - 'quick iterations'. Some of the most significant work happens only at a slow steady pace. With proper planning, fore though about quality/stability of systems you are trying to build. Most importantly its about the seriousness and the impact of the problems you are trying to solve.

This takes time and with it you will age.

9
MattGrommes 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I turned 35 a few months back and I've thought the past couple of years were my best yet, with more best to come. I had kids early-ish (my daughter is about to turn 12) and people would always say I missed fun stuff in my 20s. The way I look at it is my kids will be out of the house in my mid-40s while everybody else is getting older _and_ dealing with kids. I'm living in my favorite city, doing kickass things at work, getting less afraid to do more interesting/scary things all the time. I laugh in the faces of kids who think life ends after 29.
10
quaffapint 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm getting past 40 and I don't think the problem will necessarily be with me in the coming years as much as it will with employer bias. While you can keep up with the latest tech stuffs, some employers still don't want to pay for your experience or see your age as a liability vs being able to run a youngin' ragged.

One other thing I took away is that the author seemed that if you didn't make a big world impact no matter your age then you didn't succeed. I get into that mindset every once in awhile and feel rather down about it. Then I realize I'm raising my family, and while I may never be remembered for that amazing startup, I will be remembered by the ones that in the end truly matter.

11
pydanny 11 hours ago 0 replies      
My life finally kicked into gear when I was 38. NASA hired me.

Since then I finally realized my dream to travel around the world professionally as a developer, participated in multiple startups, wrote a well-received book, found the woman of my dreams, and changed possibly hundreds of lives.

Post-35 rocks!

12
pnathan 11 hours ago 0 replies      
As I move towards 30 at a somewhat surprisingly fast rate, I find that my life has changed. I don't do stupid stuff like all-night coding sessions, because it produces bad work and a lousy morning. It always did, but previously the glory of the late night hack outweighed the lousyness of what I made. I've seen things again and again. I'm also fairly positive I am getting smarter, or at mentally more capable. I can conceptualize things today that simply were mentally out of reach for the 20 y/o me. I have a tremendous focus on self-improvement and learning, so I don't expect this to change a great deal in the metanarrative, but I expect to learn new types of things as I move forward with life and move away from learning certain kinds of details.
13
steven777400 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately, there are aspects to our culture that conflate personal value with success; that is, your value as a human being is based on your success. So it's easy to compare to the very visible milestones; Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, etc. Or to compare to people we know personally; the successful start-up founder with a nice exit, the entrepreneur who got his lifestyle business off the ground and now pays the bills with it.

For me, it's easy to think "I am a failure" compared to these people, especially as the years pass and the number of successes I know increases, but I'm not "one of them". This is a severe error of conflating my external success with internal value.

I prefer to recall the old Taoist saying, "Work is done, then forgotten."

14
nikatwork 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"In 63 BC as a quaestor in Spain, Julius Caesar is said to have broken down and wept in front of a statue of Alexander the Great, realizing that where Alexander had conquered most of the known world at thirty, Caesar at that age was merely seen as a dandy who had squandered his wife's fortunes as well as his own."
15
Codhisattva 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm almost fifty and I feel like I'm just hitting my stride. But then I felt that as I approached 30 and 40 too.

So yeah, you might not see it while in your 20s but nothing feels better than the combination of intelligence and experience. That is, the result of learning how to learn.

16
damon_c 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I used to look at those "guitar player wanted (under 30 only)" ads on craigslist when I was in my late 20s and be confused about why there was such a hard line on the people's rock band aptitude.

When I got to be around 35 I realized that if you want to be in a rock band, you need to be ok with working a lot for no money and spending your weekends in a van and those are things I just didn't want to do anymore and probably most people in their 30s have a tapering off tolerance for such things.

But for stuff involving computers? They age much faster than we do and will never judge us by our ages.

17
BigChiefSmokem 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Do this: stop comparing yourselves to Steve Jobs for a moment and go ask your parents, spouse, good friends, and confidants if you are a person of value (forget about "success"), and to give you some examples. This should clear it all up for you.
18
hangonhn 13 hours ago 0 replies      
China has the reverse of ageism: the Chinese tend to worship the old. A noted Chinese thinker commented that in China, the praise is "He is young but acts old." and in the West the praise is "He is old but acts young."

So in that environment, you can imagine how someone in his twilight years might have an easier time succeeding because people are more willing to listen to him. For the exception of people like Knuth, Lamport, Stallman, Pike, Thompson, etc. most of us in tech have our ears tuned to a much younger population. It might change as our industry gets older.

19
antjanus 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Awesome read. I feel like I struggle with that issue as well. As I'm approaching my birthday next week, I keep thinking about the 18 year olds that made multi-million dollar Apps, and those 20 year olds that revolutionized the tech industry with one idea or another.

It's taking a lot of effort on my side to sit down and relax and realize that everyone on the planet has some achievements to show. Not just the "young". The best case for that is just browsing through Kickstarter projects. Yeah, sure, we're used to seeing people in the early 20s "changing the way everything works" but we also see the veterans coming back to make yet another shift.

20
jmsduran 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Very inspiring article. Being 24, almost half-way to 30, these past few months I've been thinking to myself "what have I really accomplished outside of work and school"? I think this is due partly to the high expectations I set for myself, but I also believe part of it is due to the current tech culture, where it's easy for those new to the field to misinterpret that if they aren't moving as fast as everyone else, they must be doing something wrong.

I'm coming to understand that everyone is unique, one's career/life progress is no better than another's. Thanks for the refreshing perspective OP.

21
nealabq 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself. --Mary Schmich

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/chi-schmich-su...

22
zaidf 13 hours ago 1 reply      
His advice to me: Don't be in so much of a rush. Be easier on yourself.

If you connect with this idea, you may want to check out the book The Inner Game of Tennis: http://www.amazon.com/The-Inner-Game-Tennis-Performance/dp/0...

23
AhtiK 13 hours ago 0 replies      
As a flip side, life can also end tomorrow, for anyone of us.
24
talmir 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I am 30 and my career is just taking off :) I do very much hope I have more than five years in me
25
ascendantlogic 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm 35. I've worked for a couple small companies and I am at a startup now. I certainly hope my life doesn't end now. I certainly would love to get something started but I feel I'm old enough where I understand the value of family and sane time limits. Looking back I could see myself taking a shot in the dark on something but I'm not necessarily disappointed that I didn't. I've learned so much and continue to each day. If you want to be a billionaire by 25 you'll kill yourself. The odds are so astronomical it's almost funny. I say spend your years learning what you can, then start something when you have savvy and perspective. But that's just me.
26
JeremyMorgan 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Great story.

I'm 36 and things only seem to be getting better for me, and I know things are only going to get way better. My greatest achievements are ahead of me, not behind me.

Sounds cheesy but it's all in your outlook. Good on you gramps for teaching us yet another lesson in that.

27
Toenex 13 hours ago 0 replies      
For a start-up it's not age that matters but risk aversion. You need to be happy/able to take on the risks, which are mainly financial. However, there will typically be a relationship between age and risk with the most risk averse period in your 30's and 40's when you are probably having kids. So if you don't feel you succeeded in your 20's and early 30's, hang on in there 'cause you'll get another opportunity later in life.
28
sainib 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing and I always have this thought at the back of my mind. I am 36 and launched my first serious part-time(gotta pay bills) startup last Dec after working on it for over a year. This was after 2 attempts half-ass ideas with no solid business plan. This article definitely boosts morale.
29
themodelplumber 12 hours ago 1 reply      
What a great article. I loved the Chinese idiom too (or whatever you call those four-character things). It's funny, I was watching a video on this today: http://www.wimp.com/getfit/

That made me feel a bit more realistic about life. :-)

30
Imagenuity 7 hours ago 0 replies      
People are too obsessed with age. What is the point of telling yourself you CAN'T do something because an arbitrary counter reached an arbitrary point? Useless beliefs are what will limit you.
31
brothe2000 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like to think that if you have an open mind and are willing to "think young", I think experience can provide you with a greater reach to build what you want. Young people have a belief everything is possible but may not always have the means. When you are older, you typically have more means but are too grounded in reality of what's possible.

Age is a number not a limitation.

32
everly 13 hours ago 1 reply      
"Some people die at 25 and aren't buried until 75."Benjamin Franklin
33
tmbsundar 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Freud wrote his "Interpretation of Dreams" when he was 43.

Colonel Sanders started franchising of KFC at 65.

More at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_bloomer

34
trumbitta2 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I wish I could take this amazing advice for granted.I'm in my late thirties (36) and still can't afford having a baby.As you may guess, one cannot wait till his sixties for that...

So, it really depends on what's the meaning of "successful" to you :)

35
segmondy 12 hours ago 1 reply      
If you believe you can, you can. If you believe you can't, you can't.
36
toblender 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Age is just a number. What you do with yourself each day is what counts.
37
gadders 11 hours ago 0 replies      
In terms of start-ups, career etc I don't think it's impossible to do it in your 40s, but I'd say you're more explicitly aware of the sacrifices involved and typically have more to lose.
38
selleck 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Great reminder. I am turning 32 early next year and started teaching myself programming this year. Sometimes doubt creeps up on me and makes me feel like I am wasting my time, but stuff like this helps. Onward!
39
antimagic 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes. On the other hand, I'm quite enjoying my existence as a zombie...
40
StandardFuture 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Actually, maybe I am being short-sighted ... but what I get out of this article is that his grandfather WOULD (could) have been just as 'successful' as he was in his 60s much earlier in life if World War II and Mao had not ruined possibilities for his generation.

If he had been allowed to do research from his early 20s wouldn't it still have been possible for him to be just as successful at it? Maybe his 30s would have been his heavy hitting decade?

In general maybe we all get about a decade of heavy hitting and it just happens earlier or later for some? :P

41
special 12 hours ago 1 reply      
From the title I expected a wishy-washy, pseudo-inspirational blog post and instead my entire concept of success was shaken up and realigned. Great post.
42
gotrecruit 12 hours ago 1 reply      
i'm 27 years old this year, and i graduated recently with a business undergrad degree. i've tried my hand at doing a startup throughout my undergraduate degree but failed, and if i'm being completely honest, i felt like i learned very little from that experience as i was not a technical founder. at 28 next year, i will be returning to school again for a computer science bachelor's and frankly, this 35 year old threshold keeps coming up in my head.

years ago i set myself an ambitious goal of being a self-made millionaire by the time i'm 30, and a billionaire by 40. it's crazy talk to most people, but it was a goal i set for myself. obviously, it doesn't seem that plausible now - it's really more of a fantasy than anything at this moment but still... i find myself feeling old and having wasted many years of my life.

this blog post lifted my spirits a little. i feel that if i begin working really hard now and make the next few decades of my life extremely, exceptionally and extraordinarily productive, i can probably still achieve enough to make up for the last few unproductive years of my life.

43
BuckRogers 8 hours ago 0 replies      
"He recently Skyped me about co-patenting a new method of microwave cooking."

PATENT TROLL! ALERT APPLE, SOMEONE'S TRYING TO GET IN THEIR MARKET!!! WE DON'T APPROVE OF INNOVATION AND PATENTS HERE ON HN

44
MichailP 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Very nice article, it resonated with me. It seems that talented people have a great burden, which comes in form of often asking yourself "have you done enough with all the talents you have?". It seems to be quite common, and it even made it to the Bible (I think it is called story about three servants). Funny that money in that story is called talent :)
45
mathattack 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I like that wisdom and patience mattered a lot to him.
46
dzink 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The immigration process delayed the start of my startup and I'm sure many others are facing that too. Started at 28 even though I'd been in the US since I was 19.
47
pneumatics 11 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're turning 30, you're entering your fourth decade, not your third.
48
planetmcd 8 hours ago 0 replies      
A good life, yes. After that its mostly just changing diapers, paying mortgages , chatting about 401Ks, and dealing with loud music.
49
frozenport 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Real Stories

->Chinese politics hampered innovation

->If you plan to change the world in Academia expect to do it in your 50s

50
zhaphod 11 hours ago 0 replies      
If that were the case I would be dead just about now. And I haven't even done half the things I would like to before I die.
51
mark_sz 10 hours ago 1 reply      
PG - he's a good example that life doesn't end after 35:)
52
phaed 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks, I needed this reminder.
53
greenlander 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I worked as a manager at a major semiconductor company in Silicon Valley for many years. I interviewed thousands of candidates, many of who were older than me.

I noticed that older engineers seemed to bifurcate into two groups: the ones who were curious about everything, and the ones who stayed in their box.

The ones who were curious about everything remained great engineers. They tinkered with new technologies, read books about software project management, wrote cool little programs in unusual languages like Haskell or Scheme, etc. These guys were invariably great engineers, and their experience was just icing on the cake.

The ones who stayed in their niche of writing x86 assembly, COBOL applications for mainframes or writing the same class of network drivers for Linux for fifteen years were usually awful.

I don't doubt that there is actual ageism out there. However, when I did interviews I never cared. However, I also noticed that the "lazy engineers" hadn't really done anything in their career to expand their skill set beyond the minimum their employers required them to do, and I could see why they were not employable. The older "curious, passionate" engineers I hired worked out awesome.

54
dotcoma 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah. I'm dead.
55
onebaddude 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Add me to the list of people who sometimes feels this way. This is the most inspirational commentary I've read on HN.
56
timje1 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Wrap that shit in spoiler tags! Next you'll be telling us how Titanic ends ...
6
Announcing The Dark Mail Alliance Founded by Silent Circle and Lavabit silentcircle.wordpress.com
391 points by cylo  9 hours ago   144 comments top 32
1
natural219 7 hours ago 7 replies      
I appreciate the cheekiness of calling it the "Dark Mail Alliance", but from a purely PR perspective, it would make sense to reconsider your name if you are taking the position that encrypted end-to-end email is not solely an interest of those pursuing shady or deviant activities.
2
ChuckMcM 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I hope they are successful. For a long time I have wished that someone with the expertise and time would be motivated to create a new email system from the ground up, and make that system widely available and 'open' (in the sense of open protocols).

There are many challenges, but if they can pull it off there are many benefits as well. And perhaps the nicest part is that it is hard to actively oppose such efforts without revealing an intent.

3
natch 6 hours ago 1 reply      
My Fucking Mail would be a better name. As in, it's mine, do fucking not read it. Sorry for the profanity but I think it fits how many people feel about this.
4
computerhead 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
"dark mail alliance" group, here is what you need to do...

1. get a new website, terrible design even from a 1995 point of view it is bad. Drop shadows on tag-lines are tacky. Not that tech people care, but if you want to take over the world. Try starting by having a decent designer on your team.

2. the only way to "truely" fix this for good is to not use email. instead, use a different form of communication (im thinking of...)

3. work with a few "enterprise companies"4. get some capital 5. lastly, email is really still on 1.0, there was really no 2.0... unless you consider the time before the internet as 1.0 when the government used internal mail. But as we know mail today technically its still 1.0

5
theboss 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I hope to see this magic new mystery protocol as something similar to TextSecure, where we have forward secrecy from the OTR protocol.

The current e-mail protocols are far too centralized, which doesn't make sense. Mail is delivered, and after that, it is no longer in possession of USPS. This is unlike how E-mail works (even though it kind of seems like that's what happens).

I hope to see some kind of client being required to run on my computer to decrypt e-mails at rest and receive e-mails that are delivered to me from the central server.

6
mikegirouard 2 hours ago 0 replies      
For those who didn't know already (I didn't, this is new territory for me), Silent Circle is co-founded by Phil Zimmermann (the PGP guy).
7
zokier 7 hours ago 1 reply      
To everyone complaining about the name: it is just the name of the advocacy/development group. You don't call SMTP mail 'IETF mail', nor should you call call whatever they come up "dark mail alliance mail".
8
danielweber 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Anyone gone through the checklist yet? http://craphound.com/spamsolutions.txt
9
erikb 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I am definitely no security expert, but from my feeling it seems as if unsecure protocol + secure messaging layer is much more successful in practical applications than purely secure protocols. Therefore my believe would be that improving existing secure messaging layers would help the world much more than creating another secure protocol which nobody will use because it would require to replace the whole infrastructure. Especially Email seems to be something that is unlikely to go away, because of its long history, huge infrastructure and simplicity.
10
cottonseed 9 hours ago 7 replies      
Terrible name.
11
ad93611 43 minutes ago 1 reply      
The site http://www.darkmail.info/ is served over http and not https. If someone has access to the pipe, it would be easy get the email addresses of people who submit their email addresses at that site.
12
tylerkahn 9 hours ago 1 reply      
If you were interested in seeing any details whatsoever about the protocol there are none either in the article or on the official website.
13
chiph 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Not sure I understand. Both SilentCircle and Lavabit have ceased offering their services. Are they now combined in an advocacy group to design a new email protocol and get it adopted by the IETF?
14
Tepix 8 hours ago 1 reply      
From the talk that just finished at Inboxlove, it appears they will use XMPP for transport, some JSON and encrypted cloud storage.

You receive a message via XMPP that an email is waiting for you on the cloud storage (similar to MMS). This is also a good solution for the spam problem, I think.

They have a working prototype, a whitepaper is forthcoming and the community is welcome to improve the new standard.

15
pixelcort 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Since it hasn't been mentioned yet, OS X and iOS already support S/MIME encrypted email, and having the private keys live on users' devices and doing encryption of outgoing messages on users' devices is probably the safest setup.
16
r0muald 9 hours ago 1 reply      
"Stay connected withthe Dark Mail Alliance

[Enter your e-mail]"

17
conroy 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm really interested in their solution for solving metadata leakage. I just looked over the SCIMP white paper, and it didn't mention anything about metadata.
18
alexchamberlain 8 hours ago 1 reply      
As much as I hate promotion emails, I do hope they make sure that companies can still send mass "dark mails" securely, rather than sending the one by one...
19
presty 9 hours ago 0 replies      
you can listen to more here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgV_Z6V_llk

started at min 30 or so

20
softworks 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Email is so broken from a security standpoint I doubt that email 3.0 would even make it off the ground. You would be better off taking something like IM which silent circl allready has a secure solution for and adding the store and forward capabilities that make email email. Then u could have email clients use that protocol. But asking the entire world to change / upgrade it's email servers and clients with a fundamentally different protocol. I don't see that being successful.
21
speedyrev 7 hours ago 1 reply      
SPOILER: A year from now we find out this is an NSA black ops project.
22
pekk 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Why did Lavabit ever need to have my messages in the clear?

The problem is manufactured and the solution is missing the point.

23
ebbv 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The name "Dark Mail" is going to automatically be associated with the "Dark Net" which brings up thoughts of drug dealing and child pornography. This is their first problem.

The second is their approach. Overcoming the install base of current email, no matter how much better your new offering, is practically impossible. So instead secure layers on top of existing email is your only feasible option.

24
betterunix 6 hours ago 0 replies      
What exactly remains to be developed? We have Mixmaster, Mixminion, Sphinx, etc....
25
dllthomas 8 hours ago 0 replies      
"Dark Mail" reminds me of Chrono Trigger...
26
hafichuk 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Has anyone actually confirmed that Ladar Levison is behind this?
27
tocomment 8 hours ago 2 replies      
What's wrong with bitmessage?
28
ps4fanboy 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Something like Secure Mail, Safe Mail, Trust Mail, Private Mail sounds better than Dark Mail
29
devx 7 hours ago 0 replies      
They mentioned having a "web of trust" to help fight spam. But if you use that, doesn't it mean someone like NSA, who can get everyone's public keys (which I assume is what they're going to use for this, just like for PGP), could then identify who are the people talking to each other, and essentially invalidate all their metadata gather protections? Or would that key be ephemeral, too?
30
tbfrench 4 hours ago 0 replies      
LinkedIn to announce Dark Mail support.
31
infocollector 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Can we not just do this with an open alliance and pick up a name ?
32
frank_boyd 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds like another reinvention of the wheel, the "email" part of http://retroshare.sourceforge.net/
7
Run Mac OS System 7 in your browser jamesfriend.com.au
370 points by mambodog  3 days ago   100 comments top 35
1
mambodog 2 days 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

2
gilgoomesh 2 days 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.)

3
unimpressive 2 days 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:

http://jsmess.textfiles.com/

http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/3375

http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/3569

[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6624554

4
latchkey 2 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, I totally forgot about needing to hold down on the mouse button to keep menu's open.
5
Samuel_Michon 2 days 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.

6
wsc981 2 days 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.

7
austinz 2 days 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.

Memories.

8
muglug 2 days 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/
9
nnq 2 days 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...
10
nkrumm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Incredible. I can't remember... were the labels really "Hot" "Cool" "Essential" and "In Progress"?
11
leoc 2 days 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.

12
gpcz 2 days 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.)
13
azinman2 2 days 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.
14
plusbryan 2 days 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

15
mrottenkolber 2 days 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.
16
ljosa 2 days 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?
17
Segmentation 2 days ago 2 replies      
Now I just need Sim Ant, Artillery and The Oregon Trail.
18
rbanffy 2 days 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.
19
krosaen 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Mac Classic II was my first computer, wow does this bring back some old memories :)
20
tmallen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Feature request: Oscar the Grouch in the trash can.

I noticed that ejecting the Kid Pix disk made the machine unusable.

21
tannerc 2 days 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.

22
mhewett 2 days 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.
23
geuis 2 days ago 0 replies      
So well done! Lots of great fun memories here.
24
nonchalance 2 days ago 1 reply      
Do you plan on making this open source? I ask because other similar projects were not made open source
25
pbreit 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, remember when you had to hold the mouse button down to select a menu item!
26
taopao 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Apps and Games image takes me back.

I remember Cannon Fodder giving my Mac SE nVIR. :(

27
elf25 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice but where's Dark Castle? My disk won't fit in the slot.
28
LadyMartel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh my god, Kid Pix! I wasted countless hours doodling stick figures. Good times.
29
amrnt 2 days ago 1 reply      
It has 4 GB memory same as my macbook air :)
30
augbot 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was totally expecting to see Talking Moose! lol.. Excellent work, totally took me back.
31
tmimicus 2 days ago 0 replies      
KIDPIX!
32
omot 2 days ago 1 reply      
1991... that's when I was born.
33
runnr_az 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. That's awesome.
34
Tarang 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just brilliant!
35
elf25 2 days ago 0 replies      
Brilliant!
8
Ionicons Free and beautiful icons, MIT licensed ionicons.com
360 points by yesimahuman  1 day ago   94 comments top 38
1
slg 1 day ago 5 replies      
It seems a little dangerous to include logos for various companies. I could see the likes of Reddit and Y Combinator turning a blind eye, but would we expect the same from Google, Microsoft, and Apple? I am no legal expert, but wouldn't those icons present a long term problem if this project were to truly become successful?
2
yesimahuman 1 day ago 1 reply      
So looks like we got hit with a perfect storm of Github going down for the archive download, and the icons not loading on Firefox. Working on fixing the second one, but the repo with all the icons is here: https://github.com/driftyco/ionicons
3
Samuel_Michon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love it and Ill be using it, thanks. Previous similar sets of icons I found didnt include all of the icons I needed. The main ones I need are: email, home, share, arrows, checkmark, cross, help, love, and link.

Im thrilled that this collection doesnt only include the old iOS share button, but also the new iOS 7 style button.

I also like that you not only included an icon webfont for all the symbols, but also SVG files for all of the icons.

NB: Just an idea: on the website, itd be nice if youd have hover tooltips for the icons that would show the description. (it took me a while to find out I had to click on the icon to see the description to me, clicking means I will download the icon)

4
rfrey 1 day ago 1 reply      
Lovely, thanks.

I have to feel like it's the end of an era when new icon sets don't include a floppy disk, though. :`/

5
castis 1 day ago 4 replies      
The ones I can see are great! I know I'm most likely not your target market but I'd want to know. http://i.imgur.com/T661sDN.jpg FF 24 - ubuntu 12.04
6
pplante 1 day ago 1 reply      
these icons look great. really nice work.

it seems the css for them suffers from the same glob css selectors which font-awesome switched away from in 4.x. im not entirely sure if this is really that big of an issue as people made it out to be. i wonder if ionicons will switch in the future?

here is the font awesome issue: https://github.com/FortAwesome/Font-Awesome/issues/568

7
ris 1 day ago 2 replies      
Oh look another page full of unicode placeholder symbols.

When did the web become a place that is hostile to people who want to choose the fonts they read things in?

8
welder 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Why are you creating your own instead of adding to FontAwesome?

http://fortawesome.github.io/Font-Awesome/icons/

9
nickpresta 1 day ago 2 replies      
Unfortunately, the icons look terrible on my Windows machine: http://i.imgur.com/WeTwez6.png for example)

Windows 7, Chrome 31.0.1650.34 beta-m.

10
electic 1 day ago 1 reply      
It would be nice if people would contribute to Font Awesome instead of creating whole new sets.
11
_greim_ 1 day ago 1 reply      

    [class*="icon-"]
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this bad for performance?

12
iambateman 1 day ago 1 reply      
This looks like a great complement to Font Awesome. Bless you for including a Cheatsheet in the download. These look great!

As an aside, I wish there was a way to search these icons sets by idea. So "Money" returns icon-ios7-pricetag and icon-social-bitcoin. (obviously I can cmd+F to look for the exact name).

13
abstractmatter 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Great Package You have to submit ionicons to be listed in icomoon!

Because I don't know your experience with Icons Fonts but I only use around 10% of the icons and there is always some icons missing

For those who don't use IcoMoon, It allows you to build custom fonts picking in different packages (Font Awesome, Entypo, Iconic, ), adding your own icons uploading svg file (e.g. your logo).

14
username42 14 hours ago 1 reply      
What is missing the most for my usage is all the symbols related to aeronautical domain (VOR, DME, TACAN, airport, beacon, ...). Something like http://www.eei.cena.fr/products/fonts/glyphes/orly-symbol1.g... but in beautiful vector font.
15
jankins 10 hours ago 0 replies      
this is excellent, here it is for use in iOS projects: https://github.com/TapTemplate/ionicons-iOS
16
kenrikm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Icon fonts are awesome, thanks for taking the time to create these. For those interested I have a post/example project on my blog on how to use them in iOS6+. http://kenrikmarch.com/posts/4
17
Bahamut 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like these icons, but one suggestion - can you put a link to the GitHub repo at the top of the ionicon page? It should be much more accessible than at the bottom.

Edit: Oh, and register this on Bower!

Edit #2: And maybe LESS and SASS support please? :)

18
ehutch79 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The icons look good and all.

But it's frustrating to see another icon webfont with the same (small) selection of icons as every other free icon webfont.

19
mfer 1 day ago 2 replies      
Unfortunately, it fails to display in Firefox for me on either a Mac or Linux. Works in Chrome though.
20
themodelplumber 23 hours ago 1 reply      
So Ionic is big on AngularJS...is AngularJS pretty hard to learn? It seems complicated. Say if my only framework experience was a few blogs with Python and PHP frameworks plus some average JS & jQuery experience.
21
samdunne 1 day ago 0 replies      
When I hover over anything in Safari it disappears.https://www.dropbox.com/s/7j32ek1lmb0l6zd/Screenshot%202013-...

Doesn't load in Firefox or any mobile browser I have on iOS (Chrome, Mobile Safari & Dolphin)

22
lobo_tuerto 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Too bad there is no text below the icons for fast searching.
23
Oculus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some of these are very nice, will definitely use them in my next project, thanks!
24
antrix 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why doesn't Pinboard get any love in any of these icon fonts? If they did, I'd switch from images to fonts for my personal site.
25
azsxdcfv 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Lol, thought at first that is ui8 icons http://ui8.net/ui-icons become MIT, looks same.
26
i386 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Would they scale up ok if I were to use them for Mac OS X apps?
27
mixmastamyk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Many of these are already unicode characters. Do the fonts of these icon sets use the corresponding characters?
28
rohitv 13 hours ago 0 replies      
A bit curious about the Ionic Framework, what are the advantages when compared with jQuery Mobile?
29
chmars 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm missing emoticons ;
30
tambourine_man 1 day ago 0 replies      
They look great, but the page is crashing mobile Safari (4s iOS 7) after a bit of scrolling.
31
adamdbradley 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ben also wrote a great post describing how he built Ionicons: http://ionicframework.com/blog/building-ionicons/
32
alexgaribay 1 day ago 0 replies      
These are really beautiful! Awesome set of icons!
33
willchilcutt 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is it just me or is the .ttf missing some of the icons? When I open the font in Font Book on my mac there are only a small fraction of the icons showing.
34
Sam121 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool work got all social media icons one place. Thanks
35
Rampoina 1 day ago 1 reply      
I just see kanji's and a some arabic characters. I checked and firefox is set to allow pages to use their fonts.
36
JoelAnair 1 day ago 0 replies      
Really nice icons. Thanks for sharing.
37
yOutely 1 day ago 3 replies      
Monotone icons can never be beautiful.
38
DonGateley 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Monochrome and flat. How much more ucking fugly anything could be I can't imagine.
9
Firefox 25 is released mozilla.org
329 points by lambda_cube  1 day ago   220 comments top 34
1
agentultra 1 day ago 3 replies      
I developed a patch that added the VAO WebGL extensions earlier this year and it's finally out there! So. Cool. And everyone at mozilla is really helpful if you're thinking about contributing for the first time.
2
lobster_johnson 1 day ago 5 replies      
Wow, on my MacBook Pro Retina, Firefox is now faster than Chrome. It's noticeable during any graphics update, scrolling pages in particular.

I wonder if this is because Firefox has been optimized, or whether Chrome has simply stagnated. I suspect it's the latter; when I got the Retina MBP I immediately noticed that graphics performance was laggy compared to what I was used to on my previous (slower but non-Retina) MBP.

3
qwerty_asdf 1 day ago 14 replies      
I find it irritating that Mozilla now herds its Firefox users toward the Stub installer, and not the full offline-install redistributable binary.

The actual download itself is available on the "Systems & Languages" page:

> https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/all/

This kind of download is important, when you want to try out a new release, without committing yourself to it. For example, let's say you want to load it up in a VM, without contaminating your normal environment.

Googling for things like "firefox standalone redistributable offline install" are a road to nowhere.

You sort of just have to "know" that "Download Firefox in your language" means "Download the standalone installer, and not the stub installer". They don't explain this, or make it obvious that this is how you can get a copy of a static binary for predictable results.

4
sp332 1 day ago 3 replies      
Hey, web audio is now in Firefox! That means all the web apps that did user-agent detection instead of feature detection will have to be updated.
5
mrspeaker 1 day ago 1 reply      
The ES6 bits makes me all smiley: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/buglist.cgi?quicksearch=717379%...

I wish Chrome would start adding them, then I could start using them for personal/particularly nerdy projects.

6
Yoric 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a side note we have a "I am a Mozillian, ask me anything" on Reddit in a few hours.

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/

7
iMark 1 day ago 1 reply      
Inline iframe content is a fascinating addition. Anyone have any further documention on it? I'm guessing that it's a viable alternative to using xmlhttprequests to update page content, which is really rather neat.
8
brymaster 1 day ago 0 replies      
Mozilla had postponed turning on the "block third party tracking cookies by default" feature since May, originally slated for FF22 I believe and it keeps getting pushed back. Anyone know the status of this?
9
jstalin 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't understand why click to play doesn't work anymore. I've turned it on, but it allows all plugins to run without the previous "click to activate" box.
10
k2enemy 1 day ago 4 replies      
Still no h.264 on Mac :(
11
Silhouette 1 day ago 2 replies      
Pleased to see they've backed off on the draconian Java restrictions. I now see (with an up-to-date plug-in) three options: always or never active, or ask to activate, with the latter then prompting as a one-time or remembered choice. This seems a much more reasonable balance between trying to protect security and making sure people can get work done than some of the other proposals in recent discussions.
12
p4bl0 1 day ago 1 reply      
> The find bar is no longer shared between tabs

It was about time!

13
bovermyer 1 day ago 4 replies      
I do like the release schedule for Firefox.

However, I haven't used it in years, except for testing. Philosophically, I agree more with Mozilla than Google, but I just can't seem to get past three things:

1) Chrome gets out of my way. The UI is unobtrusive. Firefox is still bulkier here.2) For whatever reason, more websites render oddly in Firefox/Gecko than in Chrome/Webkit.3) Chrome, being a part of the Google ecosystem, plays very nicely with my Android phone.

This is not to say I'm not open to switching back to Firefox, but I'm going to need a compelling reason to uproot my workflow and abandon my apps and extensions.

Firefox 25 doesn't appear to give me that compelling reason.

14
bsimpson 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why is this news? I don't remember seeing a "Chrome r30 released" thread.

Aren't minor updates not a big deal when a vendor is doing rolling releases?

15
grn 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Changelog:

    NEW Web Audio support (https://hacks.mozilla.org/2013/10/songs-of-diridum-pushing-the-web-audio-api-to-its-limits/)    NEW The find bar is no longer shared between tabs    CHANGED If away from Firefox for months, you now will be offered the option to reset it to its default state while preserving your essential information    CHANGED Resetting Firefox no longer clears your browsing session    DEVELOPER CSS3 background-attachment:local support to control background scrolling    DEVELOPER Many new ES6 functions implemented    HTML5 iframe document content can now be specified inline    FIXED Blank or missing page thumbnails when opening a new tab    FIXED Security fixes (https://www.mozilla.org/security/known-vulnerabilities/firefox.html)
The ES6 features are:

    new ES6 math functions    Map#forEach and Set#forEach    Array.of    Number.parseInt and Number.parseFloat

16
Siecje 1 day ago 3 replies      
My issues with Firefox

1) Signing into Chrome is easier and more intuitive then syncing with a code. Also having your extensions is nice.

2) The Inspect element and console are easier to use in Chrome. (Copy as HTML, etc)

3) I seem to have to click on a YouTube video twice for it to pause in Firefox.

4) Typing search queries in chrome is easier. For example in Firefox, you can't just type define: word to search Google for the definition of 'word', as it complains it is not a known command. I don't often use URL commands and think you should access about:config from somewhere else.

5) In Firefox when you scroll with the mouse you scroll too far per mouse tick.

17
beagle3 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can someone shed some light on the rationale and usefulness of the inline "iframe" and "srcdoc" attributes? I read the description, I understand how they work, but I'm not sure what they are good for.
18
contextual 1 day ago 1 reply      
Mad respect to the contributors and developers of Firefox. I've been loving the updates lately. Firefox has become my browser of choice again :)
19
jacob019 1 day ago 2 replies      
Getting closer, can't wait for 26 ever since that massive memshrink improvement hit the front page.
20
lucb1e 22 hours ago 0 replies      
> Search bar is no longer shared between tabs

Wait, is that a new feature? Well let's file a bug.

21
ghx 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wasn't there supposed to be a new UI with this release? When you Google "firefox new ui", the headlines all point to 25 having that. http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/06/05/mozilla-is-planning...
22
u12481632 1 day ago 0 replies      
The search bar close, "Highlight All", "Match Case" buttons moved to the right side of the screen while the addonbar close button is still on the left side.

At least with the addons I have installed moving the close button of the addons bar is not possible.

I prefer the old position of the search bar buttons. The new one forces me to move the mouse to the other edge of the screen and also look at the opposite sides of the screen.

Unlike other elements it isn't possible to change the positions of the search bar buttons.

Not sure why they changed it. Could it be a bug?

23
sebm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use Firefox Nightly (since the beginning of this new releases schedule) as my main browser on OS X and I'm quite happy with it. The only (minor) inconvenience is to have to reboot the browser after every update every day.
24
erikb 1 day ago 1 reply      
I know a guy who still runs FF3. It's really incredible how fast Mozilla can push out new releases now!
25
eYsYs 1 day ago 2 replies      
Hey FF team, did you get the cake from IE guys?This tradition started by IE always makes a good story to tell, especially for an industry infamous for cut-throat competition.
26
super_mario 1 day ago 0 replies      
Still the best browser out there, esp. with Pentadactyl. I can't imagine browsing without the two together.
27
sanyi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Argh, it still has this:

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=686747

Edit: I would fix this myself, but don't even know where to look...

28
liveoneggs 1 day ago 3 replies      
So session cookies now never expire?

CHANGEDResetting Firefox no longer clears your browsing session

29
Sam121 1 day ago 2 replies      
It will hang like previous versions ? Unhappy with the performance so i shift to chrome.
30
ksec 1 day ago 2 replies      
With All of their effort shifted to Firefox OS. Dont expect much improvement with Desktop Firefox in the short run.
31
Webbber 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been a FF enthusiast for years now. Don't never really use chrome at all anymore (although I do use torch browser for downloading and site unblocking). I find that for standard browsing, nothing works better and quicker than Mozilla.
32
python27 23 hours ago 0 replies      
very impressive
33
mortyseinfeld 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've been toying around with Auoera(sic) as a dev debugging tool lately and curious what the relationship between built-in dev tools and firebug is?
34
asdasf 1 day ago 2 replies      
How did firefox get development stagnate so badly? We have more workarounds and polyfills for dealing with firefox than we do for dealing with IE now, it is ridiculous.
10
Run Windows 1.01 in your browser jsmachines.net
314 points by chl  3 days ago   85 comments top 29
1
mambodog 3 days 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.

2
pud 2 days 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.

3
DanBC 3 days 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.

http://theodor.lauppert.ws/games/bop.htm

4
frozenport 3 days ago 1 reply      
>><machine id="ibm5160" class="pcjs" border="1" width="980px" pos="center" style="background-color:#FAEBD7">

Tag of the future

5
ghc 3 days ago 4 replies      
Played Reversi in Windows 1.01. Still lost. I will go hang my head in shame now.
6
NamTaf 3 days 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.

7
stormbrew 3 days 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.
8
mintplant 3 days 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.

9
tzury 2 days ago 1 reply      
After Bellard's JSLinux, it was just about time till more OS will be ported to JS.

http://bellard.org/jslinux/

10
jaxbot 3 days ago 0 replies      
All these features, and Reversi!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGvHNNOLnCk
11
fosk 3 days ago 0 replies      
This an insanely great emulation. Including the loading times.
12
csmatt 2 days 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.
13
dmead 3 days ago 4 replies      
the mouse tracking is fucked. it leaves the windows if i go to try and click the top right corner
14
crb 2 days 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.
15
adamjernst 3 days 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".)
16
marshray 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, it had been a long time since I'd played DONKEY.BAS. http://jsmachines.net/demos/pc/donkey/
17
conradfr 2 days 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.

18
milesf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yep, still as slow and glitchy as I remember it :)

This trend of retro computing is a wonderful trend.

19
jmhain 2 days 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.
20
amenod 2 days ago 0 replies      
Unbelievable... I never knew how Windows looked before 3.0 - thanks!
21
shurcooL 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice, this one runs on an iPad mini! Not much slower than on a computer.
22
fosap 2 days 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?
23
mrbuttons454 3 days ago 0 replies      
I still suck at Reversi. :(
24
abhididdigi 2 days 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.
25
obfuskater 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's really mind blowing how it's written entirely in javascript
26
Max_Horstmann 2 days ago 0 replies      
Glad it boots to desktop, not metro.
27
devsatish 3 days ago 0 replies      
the left top menu looks like bootstrap collapse :-).Nostalgia for sure..good work
28
patelmiteshb 2 days ago 0 replies      
i am not sure but i am not able to do it.
29
tegansnyder 3 days ago 2 replies      
where is qbasic?
11
Wow, or from the When-Apple-Became-the-Borg Department lessig.tumblr.com
305 points by mxfh  2 days ago   85 comments top 22
1
revelation 2 days 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.
2
caryme 2 days 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).

3
KaiserPro 2 days 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.

4
Shivetya 2 days 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

5
usaphp 2 days 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.

6
post_break 2 days 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.
7
brador 2 days 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.

8
bambax 2 days 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...

9
driverdan 2 days 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?

10
kbenson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one that sees this forum as a honeypot to suck useful posts into a location that apple can curate and prune away anything they deem likely to be detrimental?

I understand that they have a support offering they want people to buy, but it seems to me that creating official forums that never get official responses and removing posts that espouse actions that, while not beneficial to Apple, are legal and to help customers, Apple are holding paid for usefulness of their devices ransom.

That may seem like a fairly uncharitable view, but their actions in this instance don't seem particularly charitable either.

11
conception 2 days 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.

12
daraosn 2 days 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!!

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4766577

13
brudgers 2 days ago 0 replies      
Assimilation means buying an iPhone 5s or 5c, not upgrading an old one.

Geeze, that was easy.

14
ebbv 2 days 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.

15
cormullion 2 days 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.
16
dragontamer 2 days 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.

17
jimhefferon 2 days 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?
18
mahyarm 2 days 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'.
19
wtdominey 2 days 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.
20
mergy 2 days 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.

21
mumbi 2 days ago 1 reply      
losethos, you're dead. just thought you should know.
22
microcolonel 2 days 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.
12
Stupid Programmer Tricks and Star Wars GIFs rarlindseysmash.com
302 points by chewxy  1 day ago   43 comments top 18
1
btbuildem 1 day ago 5 replies      
I would suggest ffmpeg as an alternative -- it peels, it slices and it dices. It will definitely convert a range of a video file to gif while adding subtitles, and you won't have to frankenstein things together..
2
ZoFreX 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very, very cool. I love the approach, especially the interface that ties it all together! Nice trick to use subtitle files to grab the right bit of video automatically, too.

If anyone is thinking of doing something similar, or just wants to script some video in some way, I can highly recommend AviSynth. It fits into the extremely flexible DirectShow pipeline and has earned a permanent place in my video editing toolchain (I use it as the frameserver for encoding DVDs).

Here's an example script (if you have AviSynth installed and create a file with these contents named hello.avs, you can open it in any media player you choose to see the results):

    BlankClip()    Subtitle("Hello, world!")

3
ryanthejuggler 1 day ago 1 reply      
THIS.

Remember when you first discovered programming? When you did all those little projects that were, honestly, fairly useless, but brought you the spine-tingling sensation of having power over your domain?

Remember how when you started programming professionally, and you quit those projects? Why did that need to happen?

Bravo Lindsey, never stop making cool things.

(YMMV. I'm assuming of course that you learned programming as a hobby--if you learned by taking a college course then gasp you might have skipped the pointless-project phase entirely. I suggest you get on top of that.)

4
noelwelsh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Take this approach and apply it with CSS, a web framework, and a DB and you can go quite far in the .com game. You'll run into problems if you get popular, but that's a good problem to have.
5
jlgreco 1 day ago 1 reply      
Assuming a random distribution of quotes from the twitter stream, and assuming there isn't any control on repeats, how long can we expect to be able to recreate the movies (well, the portions with dialog) in gif form?
6
_pmf_ 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The prevalence of the animated GIF is an eloquent statement about the current video encoding mess. While the typical small video clip today, encoded in a fancy new standard, is orders of magnitudes smaller that the JS+CSS+HTML site containing it, we use GIFs because nobody has any idea who is able to see the content is using a modern endoder.
7
chewxy 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is what I call a great hack.
8
akx 1 day ago 1 reply      
Neat. For the hell of it, I wanted to see how the same could be done with ffmpeg, so here's what I got in ~20 minutes:

https://gist.github.com/akx/7217852

(You could add a `-vf ass=my_subtitle_file.ass` to the ffmpeg command line burn subtitles into the gif.)

9
parennoob 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Am the only one who puts animated GIFs in the same category as the blink and marquee tags? Absolutely hate when there is more than one of these attention-seeking horrors on the page.

I've had to stop reading github's blog since they started putting thousands of these abhorrences there and started making it looks like a Buzzfeed page.

10
sdoering 1 day ago 0 replies      
Was really informative to read. I am a novice in every programming aspect, as I am formally a product (or content) manager.

But using python as my tool for answering my bosses questions with data, I really enjoy reading posts like these, giving me ideas to learn and try new things.

Thanks a lot for that!

11
rflrob 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder how hard it would be to introduce a cut detector, so that the (to me) annoying cinematic cuts that are sometimes at the beginning or end of a quote can be trimmed off. I think a simple heuristic of something like "If the frame cuts in the last half-second of the gif, trim off the extra frames" would work well, although I don't know how well a simple detector would work, nor how many quotes have a reaction shot that would get cut off unnecessarily.
12
ge0rg 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is brilliant. Now, instead of using random quotes, please take the IMDB quotes and make anigifs of them :)
13
moccajoghurt 1 day ago 1 reply      
I also enjoy gifs. I have been creating gifs with VirtualDub so far.

I usually prefer writing scripts to do stuff but VirtualDub is one of the few tools I simply use because I enjoy the open source and hacker spirit behind it.

An interesting plugin I miss for VD is an color reduction algorithm which would help to create very small gifs.

On reddit and tumblr gifs are a growing trend and it might be worth to put some effort into gif creation.

14
sonnyz 1 day ago 0 replies      
The subtitles files you can find online are formatted with timestamps to allow the video player to sync the text with the video, so for this purpose it makes perfect sense. Maybe set top boxes could make use of subtitles to allow users to search for a certain point in a video.
15
bazzargh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wonder if this could be done for youtube, since it provides its subtitles via an api?https://developers.google.com/youtube/2.0/developers_guide_p...

(and there are a plethora of yt-to-gif sites, so clearly frame capture works)

16
mark_olson 1 day ago 1 reply      
I did something similar (http://markolson.github.io/storyboard/) earlier this year using ffmpeg and ImageMagick to generate either GIFs around lines of dialog (like this project), or PDFs where each page is a frame of text or a new scene. Optimizing GIFs is by far the least enjoyable part.
17
HarrietJones 1 day ago 0 replies      
TAAS - Tumblr as a Service.
18
gutsy 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is awesome! I had no idea that you could programmatically do this (I still consider myself a novice even though I've been professionally coding for two years). Very, very cool!

Now I kinda want to try this.

13
Surface Pro 2 penny-arcade.com
302 points by kposehn  2 days ago   193 comments top 35
1
rayiner 2 days ago 8 replies      
The Surface Pro 2 hits two of the biggest weak points of the original design: battery life and heat/noise. The battery life is underwhelming relative to say the MBA 11" (which has a smaller battery), but the Surface Pro 2 takes that from unusably bad to just bad.

That said, I don't think it's "good enough." It's not a cheap machine: 8GB/256GB model reviewed by Gabe retails for $1,299. It's got a small screen and a keyboard/touchpad combo that, on an Ultrabook, would be considered absolute trash. I think you have to really love that Wacom pen to justify the Surface Pro 2, and that makes it a pretty niche product. Of course, "niche" can be turned into "market-creating" but with continued mis-steps like underwhelming battery life, it's not clear Microsoft can make the "pen tablet PC" market happen.

2
noonespecial 2 days ago 6 replies      
Its always frustrating to watch MS build solid devices with real use cases and then seemingly throw it away trying to market them like apple gadgets.

Its like watching Charlie Brown try to kick the football.

3
DigitalSea 2 days ago 2 replies      
My favourite takeaway from this article is: The Surface Pro is a work machine. It is not a tablet for checking your mail and playing angry birds (although it can do that stuff). This is a computer for getting shit done. Its for creating not consuming. finally someone gets the Surface. It's not an iPad competitor, it does more than the intentionally limited iPad can do, has options for external storage, external monitors, touch covers, XBOX controllers and more using standard connections like HDMI and USB without requiring a custom propriety cable a la Thunderbolt or the likes.

The Surface 2 is going after a different market than the iPad is. Maybe at the beginning Microsoft tried marketing itself in too many directions, but they're finding their feet. The Surface Pro 2 wants to be the iPad of the business and enterprise market, not a device for checking email and playing Angry Birds. Sure it also appeals to other needs as well, but going after the business sector is smart because ultimately that's where the money is. Heck the Surface isn't even a tablet, it's technically an ultraportable.

I am thinking of getting one of these as a laptop replacement for coding on plane and train trips. You can't code on an iPad, but you could code on a Surface for sure and run all needed IDE's like Sublime Text and an NGINX server with PHP and or Node.JS.

4
codeulike 2 days ago 2 replies      
Here's another use case for it: Contractor. I've got a Surface Pro 1, got it secondhand for 600. It runs Visual Studio very well. I'm also running IntelliJ IDEA for Android development. Its light so easy to take when I visit clients. Through the single USB3 port I can connect a USB hub and run VGA, ethernet, mouse and keyboard, so when I'm at a client site I dock into the screens/keyboards they have on site. When I'm at home I dock into my own setup. When I'm in-between I can use the touch cover to get stuff done on the train. The 96GB or so that I have on the SSD is fine for everything I need. Its not like I'm storing DVDs or music on this thing. When I'm in meetings the stylus and one-note is awesome. As for the Surface Pro 2, obviously faster and better battery sounds good. Also the two-stage kickstand would definitely help.
5
RyanZAG 2 days ago 2 replies      
He was a huge fan of the Surface 1 when most other people were calling it terrible, so this is not in any way surprising and not an indication that Surface 2 is likely to do any better than Surface 1.
6
hrabago 2 days ago 0 replies      
I develop iOS apps on the side using a Mac, but for my day job I use Windows. Because of this, I've never felt the need to buy an iPad (except Gen 1 due to the novelty), nor try to justify getting one for work. However, I've always wanted to get a Surface Pro since the day I learned it can run full Windows apps, and the Surface Pro 2 just makes this desire stronger.

I just feel that this tablet is more practical and more functional for me.

Like I said, I do have an iPad - a Gen 1 that we got for casual use, and for testing the lone iPad app that I created. It saw a lot more use in its first year than all the years since, and we (wife and I) never got the urge to upgrade. However, we upgrade one or both iPhones each year. I just don't see the iPad as approaching the potential practicality for me the way a Surface Pro does.

7
rickyc091 2 days ago 1 reply      
Having used the Surface Pro 2 for less than a week, I'm in a love / hate relationship with it. I've been using Macs for the last seven years and as I'm on a Mac as I'm typing up this comment.

The good.- I love being able to have this device sit flat on my lap similar to a tablet.- Having a touchscreen on a full fledge PC is pretty darn useful.

The Bad.- My qualms are mainly with the Windows 8.1 more than anything. - It seems by default Chrome opens as a tablet app. I downloaded a software, clicked the installer and nothing happens... turns out I had to hit the windows button and get back into desktop mode to give the installer administrative access to install.- Chrome app (desktop mode) in high res DPI is not compatible with touch. Hell, I'm finding a lot of apps aren't.- How I haven't missed the registry... uninstalling an app, doesn't really mean its uninstalled, there's still reminisce of the app lying around.- If you connect your device to skydrive, you have to use the same password you use online to login. WTF? The best part, there's a character limit restriction on the password so you can't even have a complicated one, but why would you? You wouldn't remember it. (Yes there is a pin option to unlock the device, but at times you have to put in your full password).- The UI is not intuitive at all. I gave the device to my friend who primarily uses Windows and he had a hard time with the metro UI.- I rarely find myself using the tablet mode. I almost wish I could disable it... apps by default actually open in the tablet mode... Double click an image, hey it swaps over to the tablet mode. Great...- This sucker attracts fingerprints like no other.... my MBA still looks pristine after 1.5 years... where as I've already gotten three or four light scratches on the Surface by merely placing the device on my table...

Despite all the shortcomings, I have to say, I'm still loving the Surface. Now if only Apple would put OS X into the iPad form factor and I'd be sold.

8
aggronn 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've never thought about the surface's gaming ability outside of the touch games. Being able to plug in an xbox controller and play any compatible game that came out before like 3-4 years ago is amazing.
9
WhiteDawn 2 days ago 2 replies      
Not going to lie, posts like these make me really want one for myself. I've toyed with using a tablet and keyboard combo and doing all my work as a networked thin-client but it is nowhere near the experience of working on a laptop.

Having a tablet form factor with the hardware to run everything locally and a physical keyboard is exactly what I am looking for. Sure there is the MacBook air which is an awesome device and has its advantages over the Surface 2, but to use it you need to be in a "deployed" state even if it is just on your lap. With a surface you can quickly check up on email or just relax and then deploy when necessary or convenient.

I think the only thing that still would bug me is the touchpad, I haven't used the new keyboard cover but I'm almost certain the touchpad experience is no where close to a MacBook, correct me if I'm wrong because I'd love to hear it. I feel carrying around a bluetooth/usb mouse with it everywhere is going to be required to get a comfortable production experience which would be a nuisance.

10
gambiting 2 days ago 2 replies      
"The pro 2 comes with 200gb of Skydrive space so I went ahead and created an account. Now Ive got my phone set up so that every time I take a picture it sends a copy to Skydrive."

Just make sure you don't take any naughty pics or you might get your Live account banned.

11
wisty 1 day ago 1 reply      
The Surface doesn't have to make money. It would be nice, but I doubt Microsoft really needs it to sell well.

I think they really want to pioneer a mobile form factor which works with Windows. They need to have people inside the tent telling their UI people what to do. No-one else is going to take the risk, because it's there's a big danger that other vendors will copy them once they've done the hard yards, and they don't want to risk Microsoft screwing up the interface for Windows 9.

Eventually, MS will get there - they'll have a great x86 tablet, which can run Windows and Office. Then the OEMs will copy it, and sell it at a lower price point, keeping Wintel (and the Windows App store) competitive with iOS and Android.

12
phaus 2 days ago 3 replies      
If Microsoft was smart, they'd put this guy on TV to talk about the Surface instead of showing that incredibly awkward dance video.
13
pmelendez 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Its for creating not consuming."

This is exactly the problem with my Ipad 2. It is just the opposite.

14
sirkneeland 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've noticed complaints about the price, but isn't it a good idea for MSFT to avoid completely alienating their OEM partners by leaving room for them to compete with lower cost models?

If MSFT were more aggressive in pricing the Surface units then those Chromebook "experiments" (dare I say "hobbies"?) the big OEMs are running might also get more aggressive..

15
brusch 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am testing a Samsung 700t (pretty much the same form factor) and it's horrible. The keyboard is nice, but the big problem is that it's very unstable. It's always dropping back. Especially if you are trying to use the touch screen. I had to tape the pen into it's closure otherwise it fell off the whole time.

When I've tried to update the device to Windows 8.1 the WLAN driver refused to work and I had to update it from another computer.

Using it as a tablet is okay, but it's very heavy and big.

I hope the Surface Pro is better - but the Samsung is really underwhelming. I'd rather buy a small desktop or a tablet.

16
bane 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm absolutely in the market for the Surface Pro 2 at $400-500 (keyboard/case included). I'd have to really think about it at $500-700. I'm totally not interested at the current price point -- it's about 2x what I'd consider paying for it.

For obvious reasons, the RT/non-pro/whatever they're calling the bastard ARM version, is of zero interest to me at any price point.

It would be a high-end netbook replacement for me (of which I get tremendous usage out of), not a desktop replacement. For the kind of money the SP2 is at, I can get an excellent desktop or a really nice laptop. The touch-screen and stylus support would be a cool enabler, but not so much a differentiation that I'd be willing to part with more than $50-75 premium over a normal tablet.

17
hubtree 2 days ago 1 reply      
My wife has the first generation and loves it. She uses it in place of her dead mb. She is finishing her masters degree, so a lot of paper writing and research. To compare it to an ipad or android tablet does a huge disservice to the device.
18
steele 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm migrating from a 2011 Macbook Air to a Surface Pro w/ type cover and am thusfar enjoying the experience. Battery life and performance for most of my setup is adequate; battery life is actually better than the air, but to be fair the air had less memory and often has 3+ JVM procs going. Type cover 2 is adequate for development, touch cover 2 does not seem click with me. The biggest shift is really trying to move into Windows for fun-dev (as opposed to corporate-dev). I miss spaces and still feel a gap between navigating iterm2 against darwin and conemu against powershell. Chocolatey serves the purpose of homebrew very, very well. The Metro/Modern UI / Desktop schism for multi-tasking needs a expectations check... basically you are in one or the other experience, and AFAIK you cannot split-screen a Metro App and Desktop App.

Oh, and calibration of pen in the corners still feel off even after the 130/272 pt calibration task which gets ultimately ignored by wacom feel drivers.

Edit: Tomb Raider & Saints Row 3 run at playable framerates in low settings when in battery mode (as opposed to charging mode); this is important if gaming is an important data point to you. When people have been discussing gaming performance, I think reviewers have been tethered to an outlet, which probably is more generous with allocating hardware to games. The one USB slot and Windows 8 were fine w/ third party xbox 360 controller bluetooth dongles after installing official drivers. snes8x (the metro app version of snes9x) makes for a fun plane ride. :) OH, and audio coming out of the surface pro is surprisingly good for an ultraportable. As a tablet, the weight balance in portrait mode feels off but web browsing is pretty fantastic in portrait. On some sites that aggressively optimize for the fold, you might even see some significant white space at the bottom of a page. Kindle books (mobi) not purchased from amazon (e.g. O'Reilly, PragProg, etc) aren't supported in the app. But if you buy ebooks from a great publisher like PragProg you have them in epub and PDF format. For programming books, epub doesn't seem to work out well, even in the popular Freda app. Then again, without the bells/whistles, I've enjoyed the code formatting advantages of reading PDF files. If you're wetware supports it, the bizarre aspect ratio affords for a great PDF book reading experience when reading 2 pages per screen in landscape mode.

19
etler 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to take a step back and recognize that the computer landscape is really good right now. We have 3 major pc options that all provide a very good baseline experience, and fill different niches effectively. It's at the point where if someone asks me for a computer recommendation and they don't have any needs besides the most basic, I wont make them a recommendation because whatever you buy will satisfy your basic needs.
20
carbocation 2 days ago 0 replies      
Curious: any advantage to using a (greater than first degree) Runge Kutta [1] in a sim like this instead of Euler's method?

[1] = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runge%E2%80%93Kutta_methods

21
scott_karana 2 days ago 2 replies      
I really wish Apple would come out with something like this.

Imagine partnering with Wacom and making a portable OS X Cintiq...

22
pedalpete 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm at my desk 80% of the time, plugged into my 27" monitor, with an external keyboard and mouse, the Surface 2 Pro would be just fine, basically no difference compared to using my Lenovo 12.5" or MB Air 11" (though the Lenovo was significantly cheaper at $700).

On the go would be the biggest difference, and though I like the idea of the Surface 2 Pro, Microsoft has yet to convince me that it would be a better device than either of my current machines.

23
gcb1 1 day ago 1 reply      
irony times. macbooks are the boring last decade thing that every startup guy (the new Suit) carries around, it doesnt even have touch screens. on the nonprofessional front every kitchen had an ipad.

meanwhile creative types buy microsoft hardware and tries to say how it is a machine for creators and not consumers.

and jobs is not even cold. (bye karma. but i cant resist a bad taste joke)

24
codex 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sometimes people need to drive. Sometimes they need a boat. Why not combine two into a boat-car? They both have engines. They both have steering wheels. It's perfect!
25
Acen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft is weird.

I'm part of a company which sells hardware/software/other assorted technology solutions to businesses. That's what we do. We are the technology providers for literally 80% of the businesses in the town we are in.

There is no way we can buy a lot of say 10 Surface Pros and resell them without going through one of the three retail stores (and adding another block of GST + general markup).

Because of that, we can't on sell them to business, users with money won't use them and they'll get barely anywhere.

IPads were originally marketed as fun devices for on-the-go "things", so people were happy to go and buy one for themselves to use personally. Kind of expanded to the point where so many people had them that app developers had the market to go towards businesses. - If the Surface Pro 2 is intended for business at all, it needs to let the people that sell to businesses get their hands on them.

/2c

26
wtracy 2 days ago 1 reply      
The line that caught my eye was not even about the Surface:

"Honestly though if I want to play games Im going to Steam not the MS app store."

Maybe Valve has less to worry about than it thinks?

27
jeroen94704 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anyone know if there is a triple monitor (3 external displays, not 2 external + 1 on-board display) solution for the Surface pro? From what I read it doesn't work with the Club3D MST hub, even though it does have a mini displayport connector. And the port replicator solutions I have seen are all limited to 2 external displays.

That, and the slightly slow CPU (for development work) are what is keeping me from getting one. Other than that, it is a very interesting and attractive device as an alternative to a high(ish)-end laptop.

28
Cybernetic 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been interested in the Surface Pro and now SP2 for the reason it appeals to Gabe. I considered buying a Wacom Cintiq for some time now, but it's difficult to justify its price, nearly the same as the SP2, when it's useful only when tethered to a computer, and then it's only useful for painting.

With the Surface Pro 2, which is only ~$100 more than a Wacom Cintiq, you get a comparable painting experience, and the additional benefits of having an portable laptop.

I think it comes down to what you intend to use if for and from that, how to draw your comparisons and justify whether it is right for you or not.

29
jolohaga 1 day ago 0 replies      
The site is so garish and distracting, the article is difficult to read.
30
elwell 2 days ago 3 replies      
Can someone give the tl;dr;?
31
devx 2 days ago 3 replies      
Windows 8 is still very schizophrenic. Pick one, either the tablet optimized one, or the desktop. You're going to do a lot of back and forth stuff if you have both on the same device, like devices like Surface Pro are trying to do.

Also, on a non-tablet device, Windows 8 actually feels like a downgrade because of the many annoying UI quirks it's throwing at you. You're better off sticking with Windows 7.

> Full disclosure MS did give me this Surface Pro 2 since I was so vocal about my love of the first one.

So the lesson here is that if you like/pretend to like Microsoft's products in your reviews, they will give you free stuff?

That's not an attack on the author here, but on Microsoft. They find out which reviewers praised their devices most, and then send them free stuff, so they're more likely to review positively their future products, too, knowing that they will probably be "rewarded" afterwards, again.

32
sgray11 2 days ago 0 replies      
sweet
33
tlow 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is a paid article... FTA: "MS did give me this Surface Pro 2"

How is this not getting flagged as spam?

34
mrleinad 2 days ago 2 replies      
"Im not a computer guy. I dont know about processors and rams or megs."... and you lost me there.
35
TylerE 2 days ago 2 replies      
Why is this blantant paid shillitorial on HN?

Edit: Anyone downvoting this obviously missed his previous psot where he talks about how MS flew to to NYC and wined and dined him.

14
Discoveries Ten Years Later in Zelda Speedrun joellehman.com
299 points by jal278  2 days ago   85 comments top 23
1
coldpie 2 days ago 4 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

2
oskarth 2 days ago 9 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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpiNDxssUL0

3
jal278 2 days 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

4
vinkelhake 2 days 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.

5
minimaxir 2 days 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/ )
6
mpyne 2 days 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/

7
theboss 2 days 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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MissingNo.#Characteristics

http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Item_duplication_glit...

8
hayksaakian 2 days 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.

9
ColinDabritz 2 days ago 0 replies      
The speed demos archive has a lot of excellent speedruns: http://speeddemosarchive.com/
10
Argorak 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is an interesting subculture of gaming: people trying to dissect a game by all means possible. For Shadow of the Colossus, there is a community dedicated to finding every bit of the game world, even the unfinished parts that made it into the final versions:

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-05-02-the-quest-for-s...

11
tarice 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another glitch that was found relatively recently (not shown in linked run):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mp0uHr2X6U&t=19m20s

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.

12
decadentcactus 1 day ago 1 reply      
One of my favourite speedruns, Portal Done Pro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1U5RUVENNE

Gets interesting at 3 mins. There's also an explanatory series.

13
mistercow 2 days ago 1 reply      
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.

14
prezjordan 2 days 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

15
Camillo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Those four paragraphs don't really add anything. Why not link directly to the video?
16
dcolgan 2 days 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
17
barbs 2 days ago 0 replies      
If anyone's interested, I think the forum thread Cosmo mentions in the video is this one:

https://forum.speeddemosarchive.com/post/ocarina_of_time__al...

18
Aardwolf 1 day ago 1 reply      
Shouldn't a true speedrun be about going as fast as possible through the intended game, without exploiting obvious bugs? Finding those bugs is really cool, but I wouldn't call the result a speedrun.
19
ben-yu 2 days 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
20
Ayjay 2 days 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.
21
ieatdots 1 day ago 0 replies      
Check out Masterjun's similar Super Mario World exploits here:

http://tasvideos.org/3957S.html

http://tasvideos.org/3413S.html

22
harrysboileau 2 days ago 0 replies      
test
23
AsymetricCom 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now only if I could find suck hacks in physics.
15
Users complain their Dell 6430u laptops smell like cat piss dell.com
296 points by kmfrk  1 day ago   153 comments top 40
1
csense 1 day ago 9 replies      
Maybe this is something that's only smellable by a certain subset of the human population.

I invited a family member to try Chipotle once. She complained of a soapy taste in the food. We both thought maybe a staff member had been careless about rinsing hands after washing with soap.

I later learned that some people have a genetic predisposition to perceive cilantro, an herb common in Mexican food, as a soapy taste [1] [2].

Maybe in the case of these laptops, nobody who was involved in production / QA had the right gene to be bothered by the smell. But once it's sold to thousands of people, that's both a much larger population, and one that's from all over the world (as opposed to the people in the factory who would would probably mostly be local workers from one country or region).

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cilantro#Leaves

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/dining/14curious.html?_r=0

2
smacktoward 1 day ago 7 replies      
Fascinating. I was shopping for new sneakers the other day and was shocked at how many people over the last couple of years had reported new pairs of New Balance shoes having exactly the same "smells like cat urine" problem (see: http://ask.metafilter.com/182458/Something-peed-in-my-sneake..., http://reviews.newbalance.com/9328/M990/new-balance-new-bala..., http://www.zappos.com/product/review/7944390/page/1/start/5, or just Google "new balance odor").

The prevailing theory is that it has something to do with the glue they use when assembling the shoe. I wonder if the same glue is hidden in these laptops somewhere...

3
nilsbunger 1 day ago 1 reply      
This was a fun read. My favorite post:

'''When you write that the "problem has been resolved," do you mean that when I open my computer it will no longer smell like a pack of well hydrated feral cats have used it for target practice resolved, or do you mean that you have resolved the mystery of what has caused the problem? Jus' 'asking.'''

4
ekianjo 1 day ago 3 replies      
If it were on Apple boards they would have deleted the message I guess, and pretended nothing ever happened :)

EDIT: in case people who downvote me don't understand the reference, see yesterday's news regarding Larry Lessig's complaint being censored on Apple forums, apparently for the interest of keeping the forums clean. Wouldn't that kind of "cat piss" complaint fall in the exact same "unhelpful comment" category ?

5
whalesalad 1 day ago 5 replies      
Reminds me of my sisters Volkswagen beetle. It's got some material under the leather that smells exactly like crayons. It's impossible to get rid of. Not as bad as cat piss but really strong. Gives me a feeling of nostalgia every time I'm in it haha. Google "Volkswagen smells like crayons" and you'll find a lot of VWs in the early 2000s have the same smell.
6
krenoten 1 day ago 4 replies      
It's part of a hardening process that has been employed by weapon smiths for time immemorial, known as "quenching". After you form the laptop case / sword / rifle barrel, and it is still hot, it is to be submerged in urine. I'm surprised it's taken laptop manufacturers so long to catch up.
7
Alex3917 1 day ago 2 replies      
For what it's worth, wine enthusiasts refer to this cat pee smell as 'boxwood' and pay extra for it.
8
b0b0b0b 1 day ago 0 replies      
I know there's a family of compounds found in wine that can smell like cat urine[1]. If this laptop has a rubberized component, some googling[2] indicates these same compounds may be employed in their manufacture.

1. http://www.wineanorak.com/mercaptansinwine.htm

2. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20130310034151AA...

9
analog31 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Urea, I found it!"

-- Apologies to Archimedes

10
jacob019 1 day ago 6 replies      
5 pages of comments, how bizarre. What could possibly go wrong in manufacturing to make electronics smell like cat piss?
11
bichiliad 1 day ago 2 replies      
Part of me wonders whether or not this is some sort of collective joke by Reddit or 4chan or something. Another part of me is not surprised. Dell isn't particularly notorious for their astute QC.
12
mmmacbook 1 day ago 7 replies      
Apple Macbooks smelled like body odor in 2005:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/207887

13
rsynnott 23 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a FEATURE. If they didn't want cat urine-scented, they should have opted for the plain 6430, not the u.
14
albertyw 22 hours ago 0 replies      
My guess is that Dell laptops have incorrectly vulcanized rubber. During vulcanization, sulfur compounds are added to rubber to make it more elastic. Cat urine also contains a high amount of sulfur compounds. If Dell's suppliers got the vulcanization process wrong, sulfur could be leeching out of the laptop's rubber components.
15
beedogs 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is Dell's assembly line located inside an industrial laundry building by any chance?
16
evoloution 1 day ago 0 replies      
Funny, but when I read the first staff comments I thought it was actually a bot responding :)

After comment #4 auto-pilot goes offline

17
leejoramo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this in celebration of National Cat Day here in America?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Cat_Day

18
bfe 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It was actually a carefully planned tie-in with Uber's cat delivery promo.
19
mathiasben 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I work in an enterprise IT shop during the day and we received 300 of these laptops which we are sitting on until Dell comes up with a resolution. It's not a faint odor, or one that only a few people will notice. It's a rudely foul room clearing gag inducing vapor released as the case heats up. We can't hand them out as they are.
20
benrapscallion 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The Rockefeller Smell Study aims to map the genetic basis of some of these psychophysical differences. http://vosshall.rockefeller.edu/smellstudyThey have already mapped one such genomic locus that changes perception of androsterone from sweaty/urinous to pleasant/floral. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/17873857/
21
lignuist 21 hours ago 0 replies      
They are probably totally pissed.
22
notindexed 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of my old Dual USB Macbook.Still smells to the point the whole room it's in stinks after all those years.

http://lowendmac.com/menagh/06/1019.html

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/1320241

23
ceautery 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've heard of this before with cheap plastics, like "pony beads", for instance. What I really wonder, though, is if this will be forever linked in the consumer collective mind with Dell returning to privately owned status.
24
sebnukem2 11 hours ago 0 replies      
My entire house smells like cat piss! I'm not a Dell fan, but I do have a very territorial cat.
25
solomatov 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This might be caused by polyurethane degradation which happens when the material gets hot.
26
xerophtye 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I am surprised that people are giving theories here about the cause. Because on page for Dell-Steve reported that the cause is a manufacturing process that they now replaced.
27
francinemathews 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I have 5 cats and they occasionally wizz on my clothes when I'm not looking. Next time I get caught unawares and smell like cat piss in public, I'll say I bought a Dell. Thanks Dell!
28
linker3000 1 day ago 0 replies      
The problem can be fixed by emptying the recycle bin..er..litter tray.
29
aerlinger 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Hopefully this is an issue that can easily be resolved with one of their "critical updates"

(funny enough I went to their driver page (http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/download.aspx) and it shows an error. Maybe they forgot to install the driver that drives their driver page?)

30
ratsimihah 1 day ago 0 replies      
A fake SaaS that does big data with your garbage and a keyboard that smells like cat piss, we're having so much fun in the tech community!
31
vonskippy 23 hours ago 1 reply      
So Dell Laptops stink?

Hasn't that been common knowledge for at least a decade?

32
joseph_cooney 1 day ago 3 replies      
Yesterday when some apple users said their Macbook battery life had been impacted by the Mavericks upgrade the consensus on HN was that "people blame all kinds of problems on software upgrades". When some Dell users say their laptops smell funny, then Dell has a QA problem.
33
staringispolite 1 day ago 2 replies      
Specifically cat urine, not other urine? I must be thankfully smell-deficient because I wouldn't be able to tell the difference, and I grew up with cats for 20 years
34
bredren 22 hours ago 0 replies      
My Macbook Air smells like pumpkin pie.
35
yiedyie 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Do users have a cat?
36
NiceOneBrah 23 hours ago 0 replies      
There is only one logical explanation. Hidden meth lab.
37
thehme 1 day ago 0 replies      
Comments are hilarious. Thanks.
38
jbverschoor 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Dell littertude
39
mikekij 1 day ago 0 replies      
I heard this is a new feature in Win 8.1.
40
fixxer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does this feature cost extra?
16
Cisco to release BSD-licensed H.264 stack brendaneich.com
268 points by padenot  15 hours ago   134 comments top 22
1
ghoul2 10 hours ago 10 replies      
I __really__ __really__ don't get the mozilla stance here. It just doesn't make any sense to me.

Mozilla has been resisting Googles libre codecs even though they come with full source code and a patent pledge. Google has already even paid to eliminate potential threat from the evil MPEG LA. It is as free(libre) as you can get in this space.

On the other hand, the Cisco plugin is no solution at all. A binary module that has to be downloaded by each user? How can Mozilla justify recommending/requiring a binary module whose source it can not view/audit/share? This approach wouldn't be permitted under Debian Free Software Guidelines, thus ensuring that WebRTC-Firefox won't work on debian and its derivatives.

Cisco benefits from H.264 winning the standards battle. They also have patents in the MPEG LA pool. Apple, MS and Cisco - none of them are under any obligations to provide a libre implementation of WebRTC. Only Google and Mozilla have that responsibility. And they can make it happen today by just agreeing to go with VP8 and VP9 when it lands (both are covered by the patent pledge as well as under the MPEG LA agreement).

H.264 is a defacto standard already, I understand. But google, with its control of youtube and Android, can make a serious dent in that. If Moz and Google ensure that VP8 becomes the de-jure WebRTC standard, a Free software implementation of that can be released by mozilla today. No need to wait for Dwolla to come to fruition.

I'd really like to understand what I am missing here.

2
pthatcherg 13 hours ago 6 replies      
That's the "Good News". Now for the rest of the story:

The open source part of this is nearly useless, if not completely so, as evidenced by the fact that Firefox won't be using the source code. The "you don't have to pay the MPEG-LA" part only applies to the binary module. If you want to pick up this code and ship it in your own software, you'll still need to pay the MPEG-LA.

The reason they are doing this is to put more weight behind H264 in the political battle in the IETF over the MTI video codec for WebRTC. But if they succeed in making H264 the MTI, and you want to write a mobile app that interops with WebRTC for doing some form of realtime video, you'll won't be able to use their source code without paying the MPEG-LA. You'd have to use their binary module, downloaded from their servers, which, as they mention in the Q&A, is impossible on iOS.

The announcement seems to try hard to smudge this distinction and push it into the fine print, but there's still a patent "elephant in the room".

TL;DR: This doesn't solve the patent issues surrounding h264, and doesn't make it anymore suitable as an MTI for WebRTC.

3
cromwellian 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Cisco owns WebEx. Along with Microsoft (Skype), and Nokia, they are fighting WebM in WebRTC as a mandatory to implement codec, so I am deeply skeptical of this move.

This seems basically about preserving investments in WebEx and Skype IMHO.

I also feel a tinge of Mozilla trying to kill WebM/VP8 to favor their own vaporware codec. Are we being told, forget VP8, use H264 for now until Daala?

4
smnrchrds 12 hours ago 3 replies      
If you live in a country which doesn't allow patents for software, this is great news. I wonder why no one cares about it in this thread. Foreign laws is how we got DeCSS, VLC and Handbrake to name a few.

Mozilla could simply ship different packages for different countries, based on their patent laws. For example, US version could use binaries distributed by Cisco, while EU binaries could be built from source code maintained by Mozilla. IANAL but I think it would be completely legal as long as the company which distributes the EU version is a subsidiary or a separate legal entity located in EU.

You are free to use whichever package you wish. Of course it would be illegal if you live in a country that has software patent laws. But legality never stopped us from using VLC or Handbrake. Why should it now?

5
0x09 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
An interesting aspect of this announcement is that it has the potential to cut into x264's bottom line. For several years now the authors have dual licensed the encoder under the GPL and a commercial license[1], meanwhile enjoying an uncontested position among H.264 implementations. I don't expect Cisco's offering to be able to compete on speed or quality of implementation, but the BSD license also means that it may be "good enough" for some potential x264 licensees. I'm curious to see how this plays out.

[1] http://x264licensing.com

6
SeanLuke 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Am I misunderstanding something? Cisco is releasing source code to something heavily patent-encumbered, but is doing so under BSD, an open source license with no patent release. What value is the source code then? I can only imagine it's to allow others to verify the correctness of their implementation. You certainly can't use that source code in your own binaries.
7
gioele 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Who maintains the open source code?

What if a source change is accepted and Cisco does not want to release binaries based on that code?

What if the code contains a security issue that is exploitable, but only in remote cases and the maintainers do not want to accept changes to the code for whatever reason?

How many attacks will there be trying to redirect the Cisco DNS in order to let Firefox download a malware-ridden binary?

Will the binaries be available as deterministic builds?

Will the binaries be signed and checked by Firefox? Who has access to those signatures?

How is this a victory over using GStreamer and using the encoders/decoders available on the OS?

8
nly 14 hours ago 2 replies      
This just seems like the worst of both worlds for Mozilla:

1. You can't guarantee the code will remain open.

2. You still can't build and distribute modified works even with the code you already have, because of patent constraints and licensing.

3. You're using binaries from Cisco which you can't verify (unless they're going for deterministic builds).

We already have mature, high quality, open source implementations of H.264. Why can't Cisco just build and license one of those?

I for one will not be installing the binaries.

9
ZeroGravitas 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Interesting parallel to EME. They've taken the paid for codec licences and the DRM out of Flash and built them into two smaller plugins (one binary based on secret DRM code, one binary based on open source code).

I wonder how this stacks up quality wise to x264. I thought it was a bit suspect that a few months back Cisco announced they would release this under a permissive open source licence only after H.264 was accepted as Mandatory To Implement in WebRTC, while also continuing to argue for H.264 vs VP8 using the highly regarded (though GPL/dual-licenced) x264 encoder.

Also, how can this possibly be legit according to the patent license? Or do the patent owners turn a blind eye, like Microsoft in China, and Adobe with student piracy with their eyes on not losing control?

10
gcb0 8 hours ago 3 replies      
NO! WRONG! tl;dr NO CODE IS BEING RELEASED AS BSD!

nothing is being released as BSD-license! NOTHING! take down this title! it will only harm the public perception of webM and make webM supporters sound as crazy as i am sounding here (i am the exception guys, everyone else is pretty sane)

CISCO is releasing header files and such so that you can compile their still-patent-encumbered binary blobs into a few major platforms. NOTHING even slightly relevant is being given out as BSD-license. Nada. Zero.

This is nothing but harmful propaganda against open standards.

11
BrainInAJar 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I see no source code. And until I do see the source code, this isn't news, this is just hot air lies from a big corporation.
12
ZeroGravitas 14 hours ago 0 replies      
13
darkstalker 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Meanwhile you can enable native H264 support on linux with the about:config setting "media.gstreamer.enabled". This requires gstreamer with the respective plugin to be installed.
14
shmerl 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Are they saying that WebRTC is going to standardize H.264, or they are saying just that Mozilla will have an easy way to implement it in cases where nothing else is possible?

It would be better if WebRTC standard remained ambiguous about video (like it is now), but in practice H.264 could be implemented by everyone, rather than making any such encumbered codec mandatory. The big failure here is of course not making VP9 mandatory, but it looks like before Daala comes, we won't have a mandatory free codec for the Web.

If H.264 will become a mandatory part of the standard - then it will be pretty bad.

15
zx2c4 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like to see the binaries released as deterministic builds. This would avoid quite a few concerns for Mozilla supporters.
16
AshleysBrain 14 hours ago 0 replies      
If they get an AAC decoder as well... does this mean we'll finally have one video and one audio format for the web that plays everywhere?
17
caycep 10 hours ago 3 replies      
This is probably a RTFM question on my part - but how does VLC play back H264? I presume it's part of the x264 library, but is this essentially a reverse-engineered H.264 codec?

The weirder thing is that I have some handbrake encoded videos from ~ 2008 or so that don't play "Error: codec 'h264' not available. Yet other videos with the exact same codec/media information play fine...which is spooky.

18
brendang 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The Cisco paid MPEG LA license fees only cover the Cisco delivered binaries. Doesn't sound like this completely free plug-in method would work for say, iOS apps which can't download external binaries. You'd still have to cover the MPEG LA licensing. According to http://www.openh264.org/faq.html"In order for Cisco to be responsible for the MPEG LA licensing royalties for the module, Cisco must provide the packaging and distribution of this code in a binary module format (think of it like a plug-in, but not using the same APIs as existing plugins), in addition to several other constraints. "
19
throw7 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Very sad that software patents are strangling any type of forward progress in this area (webm/webrtc). I almost want to say a mti is impossible to dictate in this arena, and just leave it to the protocol to handshake... if it fails so be it, no video.
20
rejoinder 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I just read this:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/if-vlc-can-ship-a-free-dvd-pl...

What's the deal with VLC and H.264? Is it along the same lines?

Also I don't really get why you'd stick with the non-free codec if there was a free better alternative. What's so good about H.264, and is it better than the free competition?

21
theandrewbailey 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Incoming Stallman "this is not free software" rant in 5, 4, 3, 2...
22
nutela 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Great news but will we be paid by karma now or how should it work this whole opensource thing?
17
/dev/null as a Service devnull-as-a-service.com
267 points by dewey  1 day ago   87 comments top 28
1
jnbiche 1 day ago 2 replies      
Best nginx config ever?

  location /dev/null {      if ($request_method = POST ) {        return 200;       }  }

2
wulczer 1 day ago 5 replies      
3
rcfox 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd be wary of using this. There's no mention of their data retention policy.
4
TrainedMonkey 1 day ago 1 reply      
At least these guys are honest:We know that everyone cares about thier privacy these days. We promise we won't let anyone have a look at your data[1].

[1] Anyone excluding the following companies and departments. Just the good guys, you know?: NSA, Nestle, Communist Party of China (CPC), The Coca-Cola Company, the KGB, some of your coworkers and our friends (especially if there is something funny).

5
snorkel 1 day ago 1 reply      
/dev/null is way too polite. For my services I much prefer to rely on the http://foaas.com/ API
6
comice 1 day ago 0 replies      
If they've not configured nginx carefully, it will be buffering request bodies to temporary files on disk.

So your data might not really be going to /dev/null - it might be going to a disk. Most likely not want you want at all.

I'll get a CVE allocated for this bug right away.

7
elwell 1 day ago 3 replies      
IP address is owned by NSA Fort Meade office. Possible honeypot scheme? I can't think of any other reason it would have that attractive free tier.
8
ryan-allen 1 day ago 1 reply      
The website is missing a "meet the founders" page with the pre-pubescent CEO, CTO, Director of Marketing and Director of Customer Excellent, who just happens to be the CTO's little sister.
9
alpeb 1 day ago 1 reply      
What's up with HN today? Lots of reddit-style garbage in the front page.
10
korvkorvkorv 1 day ago 1 reply      
You guys and your fancy HTTP services. Discard should be enough for everyone. http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc863
11
mwetzler 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't be fooled by this clever marketing for a scam service! Keen IO is the true market leader in /dev/null as a service! We released in April 2013 and have been serving customers with a 100% satisfaction rating ever since. See "Keen IO releases API for /dev/null" to get the full story and perspectives from industry experts on this robust REST API. Keen IO: /dev/null for modern developers.

https://keen.io/blog/46856249197/keen-io-releases-api-for-de...

12
anonymous 1 day ago 1 reply      
Probably the site is under load, but I loved that when I clicked on "features", I got back an Error 500 - Internal Server Error.
13
gwu78 1 day ago 1 reply      
One reason I am not a devfs fan is because I'm a mknod(1) user. For example, FreeBSD has one of those famous "_________ is deprecated" bold warnings regarding mknod.

It is not deprecated in my usage. I use it all the time.

I do not rely on /dev/null.

I make my own null character devices as I need them.

14
alexchamberlain 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm guessing this is a parody?
15
korethr 1 day ago 2 replies      
Wow, is it April already?

Do you suppose after they successfully implement /dev/random as a service, they might implement /dev/zero or /dev/full next? Or /dev/console might be especially useful.

16
whalesalad 1 day ago 0 replies      
I get the feeling that the fact that the site never loads for me is intentional?
17
dschiptsov 1 day ago 0 replies      
This must be at least few hundred millions of lines of Java code (to be able to access /dev/null in a portable way).
18
venantius 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pity devnull.io was already taken.
19
shenoybr 1 day ago 1 reply      
They had me at "Use our distributed service located in over 380 countries!"
20
dhruvbird 22 hours ago 0 replies      
"85,66% guaranteed uptime (we need some sleep, too)"lol!!!
21
pouzy 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you don't let Google read my data, I'm ready for the 5k/y
22
Walkman 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if it would be possible to sell a service like this for real. I bet it would.
23
FrankenPC 1 day ago 0 replies      
I laughed at high availability /dev/null cluster.
24
drnex 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is trash, literally and figuratively.
25
bluesmoon 1 day ago 1 reply      
leet timestamp on the HTML: 27.10.2013, 13:37
26
paxcoder 1 day ago 0 replies      
CC-NC epic fail
27
runnr_az 1 day ago 0 replies      
that's very silly.
28
Artemis2 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've always dreamt of that!
18
Particle effects in JavaScript liveweave.com
261 points by browserspot  2 days ago   70 comments top 26
1
Oculus 2 days ago 0 replies      
At first in my mind it's 'Oh, another javascript particle effect' and then I try the demo and it becomes 'holy shit, this is amazing'

Amazing job!

2
chestnut-tree 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is really impressive. It makes me wonder how particle effects in Javascript running in a web browser can run so well, while a native desktop application like After Effects takes ages to render something similar?

Here's another mesmerising javascript experimenthttp://brunoimbrizi.com/experiments/#/01

3
JacksonGariety 2 days ago 5 replies      
I did some experimenting to make particles dance to the beat of music if anyone is interested:

http://trapcity.tv

4
ye 2 days ago 2 replies      
You can increase the number of particles by changing this line:

    totalLines = 60000,
My PC starts getting slower after 150K, but it works, though slowly, even with 1 million.

5
b3tta 2 days ago 0 replies      
That one is actually pretty "old" already. The original demo can be found here:

https://developer.mozilla.org/demos/detail/fluid

6
DanBC 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love this. How easy is it to turn this into a Windows / OSX / Linux screen saver?
7
keeran 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really great to be able to play with the source of this. Reminds of the 'uzu' app[1].

[1] http://uzumotion.com/

8
theatraine 2 days ago 0 replies      
Operates in slow motion on Metro IE11, interestingly, desktop IE11 performs well although it starts off slow. It flies in FF and Chrome though. I suppose the Metro IE11 is missing some WebGL optimizations. Very cool!
9
bridgeyman 2 days ago 2 replies      
What are the different rendering modes referenced by the help text? I couldn't detect any difference after hitting the space bar.

Very cool effect!

10
lstamour 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is why Google Music needs a visualizer.
11
deweller 2 days ago 6 replies      
Warning: This demo locked up my OS and I had to force-restart. Chrome 25/OSX 10.8/Mac Pro Desktop, Early 2008.
12
DigitalSea 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, I was not expecting that. This is fantastic. Hold down your left mouse and keep it still and it changes colour and starts getting more intense. Great job!
13
rtkwe 2 days ago 2 replies      
This does not work for me in FF 22.0 (work specified version). Looks nice in chrome, only time it drops is when you bundle them into a large group and then cross you mouse over it and they explode everywhere.
14
feistyio 2 days ago 1 reply      
Dear author:

If you refactor the object/array/Float32Array instantiation in the redraw loop out into one-off allocations you will see a remarkably improvement in performance in terms of garbage-collection.

15
aidos 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm obviously being stupid - but what do I have to do to make this run in Chrome?
16
ticklebottoms 2 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't look closely at the actual equations of motion, but clicking around in a sort of periodic fashion makes patterns that remind me of chaotic advection (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaotic_mixing). Always very cool to see interesting patterns from relatively simple dynamics.
17
njpatel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Absolutely beautiful, lost a few minutes just playing around with it. Would be great as slow, randomised, background or screensaver.
18
ruggeri 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing, beautifully done. Wonderful :-)
19
elwell 2 days ago 0 replies      
IT'S BEAUTIFUL!
20
berrypicker 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm just wondering why this is impressive. Is it partly because it's Javascript and it's in a browser? I mean, would it have been just as impressive if you had to download a C++ program and compile it to get the same thing?
21
Zardoz84 2 days ago 1 reply      
Were is the 'AirBender style' in these particle effects demo ?
22
afatc 2 days ago 0 replies      
This would make a nice screensaver
23
vayarajesh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice work!
24
tomashertus 2 days ago 0 replies      
hella cool:)
25
axisms 2 days ago 0 replies      
just wow!
26
maxlibin 2 days ago 0 replies      
nice!
19
Apple censors Lawrence Lessig over warranty information zdnet.com
258 points by jjude  1 day ago   88 comments top 8
1
furyg3 1 day ago 6 replies      
This bug is very annoying. Two people in my close circle of friends/family have this issue, which makes me think a) it's pretty common and b) it was catchable in QC.

I spent 2 hours this week trying to upgrade, back-up, restore, etc a relative's phone, without success. The fact that you can't downgrade from iOS 7 makes this doubly painful. Support from Apple was pretty straightforward for my friend: "Your phone is out of warranty, sorry, we will not help you." The fact that this warranty is illegal under EU law is left out.

Finding that this is an incredibly common problem amongst users with a recent iPhone (4S, still being sold by Apple), and seeing that Apple is actively censoring people for offering warranty help, is very frustrating. It's sad that it takes someone famous ranting about Apple's censorship to solve the issue, when it all could have been avoided by saying "We are aware of the problem, it has to do with the iOS 7 upgrade, we are working on a software fix, if we can't fix it we will replace the affected iPhones."

2
r0h1n 1 day ago 4 replies      
Lessig's own post is at #78, in spite of 233 points within 17 hours of submission: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6627331

Did it drop off the home page so fast, or is it being flagged?

3
acqq 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's not censorship at all, it's the moderation of the forum maintained by the company. If I would maintain my forum I'd also delete the comments that are aggressive, overblown, conspiracy-insane etc, for example. I'd also know it's hard to win: only a few weirdos (and internet makes it really easy for them to be visible) are enough to waste the time of more people, but it's still a nice goal: better a few people on the payroll deleting the comments than the thousands or even millions of users being distracted, creating the new conspiracy theories or organizing lynching.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19

In short, "do it in your own forum, I reserve the right to delete your posts in mine, and by participating, you're acknowledging my right."

If you did any real-life engineering, you know there isn't anything that can be produced without any glitches. You are aware that your product isn't perfect, but you still wouldn't want to support aggression in your own forums. Due to the different laws in different countries, who should you personally contact to solve the problem varies so even such answers in globally-read thread which should be purely technical can be inappropriate. In European countries it's very regulated and clear, for example. I don't know how it's in US.

What's certainly clear is that nobody would even want the forums without the active moderation, except the spammers and the insane.

4
webology 1 day ago 0 replies      
My girlfriend's iPhone 4s updated to iOS7 and refused to activate. After four or five hours of going through support and then a trip to the Apple store, Apple confirmed that the hardware was fine but something went wrong on the upgrade. The "Genuis" told us that's it's "unfortunate" that things like wifi sometimes break when you upgrade your phone's OS because of the stress that it puts your phone through. Their only solution was to buy a used phone of the same model for $200 from them. Our request to have downgrade back to iOS6 (we have both an iTunes backup and an iCloud backup) was refused because the "Genuises" can't even do it. I even offered to pay them to fix that phone and we were told they couldn't do it.

We refused to pay Apple to replace her phone and I bought her a friend's spare phone in the meanwhile. My first and only bad experience with Apple so far but quite disappointing to say the least.

5
daraosn 1 day ago 4 replies      
Similar 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 AND CENSORSHIP FROM APPLE!! Think twice before buying a new Macbook Pro:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4766577

6
rmc 1 day ago 2 replies      
Things like this make me wish there was a law against companies attempting to counter or restict information on customers legal rights.
7
drderidder 1 day ago 0 replies      
One thing is clear: Jony Ive is no great software designer. He's stuck in a paradigm of modernist functionalism that works well for physical objects but doesn't translate well to the screen.
8
vor_ 1 day ago 1 reply      
Flamebait headline, check. Author with history of flamebaiting, check. Submitted to HN, check.
20
9/11 Suspects Cant Mention being Tortured during Trial because Classified allgov.com
250 points by sdoering  1 day ago   142 comments top 16
1
fchollet 1 day ago 2 replies      
But of course they're not allowed to. If a thug beats you up, they don't "allow" you to talk about it either. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't go to the police --or in this case, to independent, foreign media outlets.
2
ryanackley 1 day ago 3 replies      
Disturbing but not surprising. If you're a US citizen and outraged enough to spend a few minutes posting a comment here, why not write your local representative and express your feelings to them.
3
andyjohnson0 1 day ago 3 replies      
"But prosecutor Clay Trivett argued that if detainees felt they were mistreated in U.S. custody they could file a complaint in federal court, and that should be sufficient."

Could they file a complaint? I thought the whole point of detaining them at Guantanamo was that they are outside the jurisdiction of the US courts.

4
ollysb 1 day ago 1 reply      
Once upon a time information was classified to hide it from enemies. In the case of torture, where it's possibly an advantage for your enemies to know you'll torture them, it's clearly intended to hide the information from citizens.
5
Spoom 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was under the impression that the only people who had a duty not to talk about classified materials are those with a current or previous security clearance.
6
loourr 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's also worth noting that the only evidence tying these guys to 9/11 in the first place is their torture testimony

http://911inacademia.com/

7
jsaxton86 1 day ago 0 replies      
This sounds like an onion headline. Is this story being reported by more mainstream sources?
8
mcv 1 day ago 0 replies      
People need to stop using 1984 and Franz Kafka as instruction manuals.
9
kyllo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Or else what? They'll torture you some more?I don't think these guys have anything left to lose.
10
nkuttler 1 day ago 0 replies      
Site doesn't seem to load for me, here's a cache http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?hl=en&q=cache%3...
11
duncan_bayne 1 day ago 0 replies      
I see a number of posters suggesting various tweaks to democracy in order to prevent this sort of thing.

Here's a suggestion: do away with voting altogether, and select representatives randomly from the citizenry.

12
roboprog2 1 day ago 5 replies      
when does the insanity stop?
13
chatman 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why is this on Hacker News?
14
pjbrunet 1 day ago 0 replies      
American Pop music would be more effective than waterboarding, IMO.
15
ekurutepe 1 day ago 0 replies      
How convenient
16
theorique 1 day ago 8 replies      
No one seems to be mentioning the reason why these people were actually in Guantanamo in the first place - because they are dangerous terrorists who represent a threat to freedom and democracy.

Giving these crazed Islamist terrorist criminals the same rights as the rest of us is like spitting in the face of every victim of 9/11.

21
Winter is coming 42floors.com
238 points by jaf12duke  2 days ago   154 comments top 46
1
fein 2 days ago 13 replies      
Complaining about the winter in SF? Really? I understand seasonal depression, but that can't even hold a candle to the bullshit we see up here in the Great Salted North.

I wake up and bike to work during the winters here... It's pitch black until after 8 AM. After work? Darkness and cold by 5 PM. This is for around 5 months of the year up here. Sure, shit gets annoying during the nastiness of November through March, but you get through it.

A winter in SF would be a vacation.

Edit: Didn't mean to be incendiary here, just wanted to put things in perspective.

2
CaptainZapp 2 days ago 2 replies      
I suffer from SAD. I didn't know it for years too.

It was just that I ran into my dark phases, but had no actual clue how, or why.

It was my psychologist, who asked the pertinent question years ago: Is there some sort of pattern, or rhythm to this ordeal?

Well, no shit Sherlock! It always seems to happen betwen October and March.

He recommended a light and I got myself a Philips Energy Light, like 5 years ago and it makes huge difference.

I still feel shitty, during most of late Autumn and early spring. But half an hour under the lamp, sipping green tea and usually reading whatever made life so much better.

In addition: I'll head off for a month in Asia in January. That helps a lot too.

Lack of light can seriously affect some people.

This may not be a solution if you suffer from depression.

Get help! If you suffer from depression. Really! I mean it! It can kill you!

But for me, 30 minutes a day, under the light makes a world of a difference.

3
jusben1369 2 days ago 0 replies      
Many comments here are confusing issues:

- It's not about relative winter temperatures- It's not about length of daylight hours during winter- It's not about what your experience is with any of the above if you don't have the disposition to begin with

He's saying "If you have this pre-disposition/afflliction plan for it accordingly before it's too late (dark skies are here) That includes a) artificial interior lighting b) working 30 minutes outside into your routine somehow and c) having an escape plan that includes a week in the sun somewhere in your winter timeframe.

As a side note I have lived in many places including Boston and the Bay Area. The most depressed I ever felt was during El Nino driven winters in the Bay Area. I realized I would never make it a year in Seattle. Having said that, there were only 2 or 3 of those during my 10+ years there and I've never felt anything like seasonal depression. My wife though did suffer from it when we moved to Boston (and we ultimately left because of it)

4
robotmay 2 days ago 6 replies      
I have a somewhat opposite problem; I can't work at all during the summer. I can't deal with heat well and can barely think straight if I get even slightly too warm. This summer in the UK was unbearable in my new flat, which appears to have been designed as the most effective greenhouse in the world.

I always look forward to autumn and winter. I get to wear clothes I like, nobody's outside as they're all whinging about the rain, and I feel a sort of melancholy bliss when I'm sat indoors whilst it's raining. It's one of the main reasons why I still live in Wales rather than somewhere like SF.

5
VLM 2 days ago 1 reply      
On a side tangent resulting in similar (edited: milder) symptoms, for decades I've noticed the typical westerner calendar is extremely lopsided. June thru December is one holiday per month if not more, where you can take a vacation and not stress about whats going on back at work, in comparison the other half of the year January thru June has ... basically no time off. Oh you can take a vacation day, you'll just have two days of junk in your inbox tomorrow, and that makes stress worse not better.

I get slightly depressed in January for a couple weeks with the realization that my next day off is pretty much Memorial Day weekend at the end of May. That's a long time to go without a break, especially after spending the second half of the year never working more than about 3 weeks without yet another holiday.

That's why I don't think the articles advice to go on a vacation is useful. WRT stress reduction all you'll end up with when taking a vacation in the first half of the year is getting paged/called by everyone still at work and you'll have an overflowing inbox. In comparison, during the other half of the year you don't even need to spend vacation days to get long weekends and slow work weeks. 90% of the company takes friday after thanksgiving off, I may as well take it off too.

So to reiterate one last time I'm talking about something that happens at the same time of year with vaguely similar symptoms for a completely different reason (or maybe not?) than the discussion of low D3 vitamins or whatever... although I'm sure the lack of holidays does not help those suffering from medical issues.

6
sdoering 2 days ago 2 replies      
Living in northern Germany (read Hamburg) I can only agree.

That last winter here was very difficult for me, too. Especially the long, grey and dark weeks, without so much than a glimpse of sunshine.

Not very good for me. What has helped me, at least a little bit, was, that I started dancing again. Having someone else, who's "training" depends on you makes it less likely, that you do not go. And dancing is quite actually really strenuous, if done right and a lot of fun.

I learned to listen to my body, learned to feel my body better and now have at least two days a week, when I come home relaxed, lucky-exhausted.

But not everything is good. I feel, that "winter is coming". I can feel the energy withdrawing to a place deep inside me. I feel like curling up and preparing for hibernation. But that is not possible. I have to do my best at work everyday. So hibernating is not an option ;-)

So I wish all of you out there well. Be it SAD or be it "just" the "winter blues" be well and take care of yourself.

7
dholowiski 2 days ago 0 replies      
Obligatory mental health comment:

Depression is very real, as is SAD. The article has some great suggestions on how to alleviate symptoms. However - as hackers all to often we get stuck in a 'I can hack it, I can fix it' mentality - even when it comes to our own brains.

Sometimes it's just 'the blues'. Often you can 'fix' it. But sometimes you can't.

If you are suffering and nothing you do seems to fix it - please - please - see a doctor. This isn't always something you can fix on your own. We can't afford to lose another hacker - not even you.

8
secstate 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just finished commenting on the post about the failure of science. Can't help but comment here on a post about SAD. And I am by no means making light of things. I myself struggled with SAD while in college for a few years. It's no fun at all.

That said, you know how I get through winter now? I live a lifestyle that is surprisingly similar to how my Northern European ancestors would have. And a big part of that is diet:

1. Seafood2. Pastured animal meat/fat

Along with being a software developer, I am also a hog breeder. If you raise animals, but especially hogs, on open pasture exposed to the sun, their lard becomes saturated in trace elements like vitamin D3 [1].

1: http://www.vitamindwiki.com/%22Free+range%22+lard+has+500+IU...

9
berntb 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a Scandinavian, it is surprising to read people from so far, far south complaining about SAD.

I've been in mid Europe for a while. The sun here in mid winter is like being clubbed in the face with a bat of sunlight. Simply wonderful.

You might want to consider to eat breakfast before a daylight lamp, it helped me and others.

If you guys have SAD problems in California, don't go to Sweden... (Ok, there is probably few reasons to go there even without SAD problems. :-) )

Edit: The difference might be that you don't notice how different you are in winter if you grew up in the north, like not noticing the air?

10
AhtiK 2 days ago 5 replies      
Does anyone have experience with either Philips goLITE [1] or Wake-Up light [2]? I wonder which of these will be more effective (blue vs warm yellow).

Alternatively, has anyone managed to build such a device at home? AFAIK 470 nm wavelength LEDs are the way to go but getting 10k lux out of the grid..

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Philips-goLITE-BLU-Therapy-Device/dp/B...

[2] http://www.amazon.com/Philips-HF3520-Wake-Up-Colored-Simulat...

11
beloch 2 days ago 3 replies      
Today's forecast for where I live is a low of -11 C and up to 20cm of snow. I couldn't be happier. The local ski-hills will open that much sooner! I actually feel a little bit sorry for those living in San Francisco. Summer goes away but you never get to enjoy real winter activities. If you're complaining about winter in SF, you should probably either move someplace warmer or someplace colder.

Really, all it takes to enjoy winter is finding a winter activity you can look forward to. If you live someplace without winter, perhaps you should pick a sport to engage in only during the winter. Hell, SF must have at least one curling rink.

12
16s 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not only are more people depressed, but more actually die during the winter too:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/06/winter-kills-excess-de...

13
peterwwillis 1 day ago 0 replies      
The most depressing thing about this post:

> Buy some lights

> You want to get lights that are at least 5,000 lux and preferably 10,000 lux. I recommend checking out Biobrite thats your first stop with the Per3 and the Philips light products as secondary options. Anything that doesnt explicitly say it is either 5,000 or 10,000 lux is not going to do the job of stimulating serotonin.

GO.

THE.

FUCK.

OUTSIDE.

Wake the fuck up, as soon as the sun starts to peek out, and stay outside until you feel awake and full of life. Then go back to your rectangular cave and hide out. Until lunch time, when you go the fuck outside again. Wear a thermal t-shirt and shorts and run a mile. Then go back to your cave again. Before the sun sets, go outside once more and watch the sunset, preferably in a jog.

Serotonin my ass. You're feeling the pressure of human society weighing you down, and winter is a reminder of your own mortality. Go outside and look at a lake surrounded by leafless trees, sip some hot tea, and think about how beautiful it all is.

(and then remember and be thankful that you're not stuck in Florida, but maybe that's just me)

14
benaiah 2 days ago 0 replies      
I live in Alaska - four+ feet of snow in the winter, 20 below or colder for months at a time, dark from 4pm to 9am, etc. Personally, winter sucks, and it keeps me inside even more than typical. It just causes problems (cars don't like the cold very much, among other things) and makes me miserable. I dread every day the temperature drops, and I'm not looking forward to snowfall.
15
jdmitch 2 days ago 7 replies      
Does taking vitamin D3 supplements really work for the OP?There have been a number of HN posts about how the vitamin fad started by Linus Pauling has not been backed up scientifically, such as this one:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/07/the-vitami...

but maybe there is more to it when it comes to SAD...

16
randywaterhouse 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've found myself in a similar position, in the past (although not for a few years). SAD is a real thing, and it has actual physical consequences.

I remember when I had it I would change my workout routine (read: go from running daily to running weekly... Maybe... Okay once a month). Which would only further affect me as I experienced the effects of reduced exercise, and those endorphins were seriously missed.

Definitely following some of the advice in the article helps, although I never did any supplements. I've beaten it by surrounding myself with a fun group of people both professionally and personally, and I keep my eye on the prize (whatever project I'm doing for work). Putting my head down and working hard is definitely a great antidote for me, although I know if might not work for everyone (it might make things worse!). I found that with a specific professional goal in mind I could get up easier, go to the gym easier, go to the office earlier, and get through my projects more efficiently.

Make a routine and keep on pushing!

17
Raphmedia 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sunrise today: 7:29 AM, Sunset today: 5:46 PM. (In Montreal) Things are good now, but in a little while, it is going to set at 4PM. Goodbye sun. I recently got one of those sunrise alarm clock. Let's see if it helps.
18
aboodman 2 days ago 1 reply      
I grew up in Southern California, and feel like that might be part of why the two long grey winters in sf each year affect me worse than my friends.

I found that a good antidote to the second winter was making snowboarding a more serious hobby. It had been something I'd done a few times when I was younger, but it was too far away to do regularly.

Here in the bay area though, a weekend of sun, beer, adventure, exercise, and hottubbing are only 3 hours away. And it turns the winter into something to look forward to.

19
noir_lord 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm the opposite of this, I long for summer to be over and love the coming of the Winter.

I hate heat (fortunately I live in the North of England so it's not that frequent) far more than I hate the cold or dark.

In winter time I burrow in and get far more done (plus nothing beats going cycling on a road bike in the country at night when it's -5C, crystal clear and you can see stars so close you could reach out and touch them).

I actually dread the Summer.

20
protomyth 2 days ago 0 replies      
Winter in North Dakota is interesting since you typically go to work and leave work in the dark. When you do go out during the day and drive somewhere, you typically wear sunglasses because the sunshine[1] off the snow makes it hard to drive otherwise. Unless the weather is poor (less often than you think), where you don't see the sun. The wind typically means you are not going to take any leisurely walks.

1) it is fairly sunny, but since the ground is covered in white stuff you don't get the heat absorption. Cloudy days feel less cold.

21
mbq 2 days ago 0 replies      
I live in Poland and I have the opposite; for me winter is a stimulant. I don't know whether this is some remnant genetic call to survive hard times or a fact that it casts a kind of sterile aura that helps me to flow, but I'm objectively more productive then.
22
dmourati 2 days ago 0 replies      
As an avid skier, I have SAD but in reverse. Once the snow starts falling (as it did in Lake Tahoe this weekend) I start perking up.
23
mbubb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reminded me of Ezra Pound's rewrite of Middle English Poem about summer:

Ancient Music - Ezra Pound

  Winter is icumen in,  Lhude sing Goddamm,  Raineth drop and staineth slop,  And how the wind doth ramm!  Sing: Goddamm.  Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,  An ague hath my ham.  Freezeth river, turneth liver,  Damm you; Sing: Goddamm.  Goddamm, Goddamm, 'tis why I am, Goddamm,  So 'gainst the winter's balm.  Sing goddamm, damm, sing goddamm,  Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

24
VLM 2 days ago 0 replies      
WRT "Wake-Up Light With Colored Sunrise Simulation, White" and other technological gadgets, I've a hypothesis that some people actually wake up at sunrise (like an anti-vampire I guess?) and other people do pure internal clock. Furthermore part of my hypothesis is there is a strong correlation between those types and likelihood of SAD-diagnosis.

There are implications beyond SAD, such as alarm clock design. For example I can completely decouple from light input and sleep thru bright sunlight on my face if I'm tired (or drunk or hungover as I occasionally was in my youth). In fact many a time in my youth on weekends I'd come home around sunrise and fall asleep no problemo. If I used an alarm clock that simulated sunrise, I suspect I'd come into work late very often. On the other hand for SAD sufferers is the experience literally like a lightswitch like the sun rises and you are like biologically forced to wake up? If so they'd do very well indeed with a techno-gadget like this.

25
cmccabe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pretty much everywhere in the San Francisco bay area is sunny year round, except San Francisco itself. So if you have seasonal affective disorder, you could always just live in the east or south bay during the winter months. As a bonus you'd save on rent.
26
mkingston 2 days ago 1 reply      
Skiing. (Or snowboarding. Or ice climbing. Or mountaineering. For those in milder climates: mountain biking) The take-home point is: get a great winter activity to look forward to.

I used to feel this way (depressed in winter), but not since I started snowboarding. I'm really looking forward to winter at the moment, having moved from the southern to northern hemisphere recently.

27
simonhughes22 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would recommend a much lower dosage of Vitamin D3 than the extreme high dosage (5,000 IU) on that Amazon site. While it is important to maintain reasonable levels of D3, higher levels can cause a range of problems, from kidney stones to increased risk of heart problems due to the raised calcium levels in your blood. The Linus Pauling institute recommends 600 IU, just over 1/8th the dosage of that link. People overdose on Vitamins these days, and are simply unaware that large dosages of vitamins can do far more harm than good. A little is good so more is better is a logical fallacy, yet a lot of people think this way. So I applaud you for bringing this to people's attention, but please recommend safer Vitamin D3 levels.
28
300bps 2 days ago 2 replies      
Check your D3 levels

About 5 years ago, my doctor randomly tested me for Vitamin D levels. My level was about 20 ng/ml where you should be at least 30 ng/ml and likely closer to 40 ng/ml.

My doctor recommended that I start taking 1,000 I.U. of Vitamin D3 per day which I did. For fun I looked up the problems that can be caused by having insufficient Vitamin D:

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/vitamin-d-deficiency

Heart disease, cognitive impairment, asthma, cancer, etc. Yeah - cancer. In addition, a Vitamin D deficiency can actually cause back pain. That was my only major symptom. It's been 5 years and I haven't had a back pain episode since I started taking Vitamin D. Anecdotal, of course. But my levels are where they should be now and I just take one tiny Vitamin D3 pill per day.

29
philsnow 1 day ago 0 replies      
> how many days in a row did you go without getting at least half-an-hour of direct bright sunlight

One of my major life goals is maximizing this number. I'd get a good peeling burn if I let myself sit out in the sun like that.

30
palidanx 2 days ago 2 replies      
What is super bizarre is after I had some blood work done, the doctor said I was deficient in Vitamin D and I live in Southern California. He further continued, that we often are indoors most of the time, and even when we go outside we cover up and don't get much direct exposure.

Adding to the further craziness, I asked several of my friends of their vitamin d levels and they said they were deficient also.

31
pimeys 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have the same problem, but this winter I decided to fight it and take a six week vacation to Thailand in the worst months. I hope this helps to fight the depression, because I've never tried to take a vacation that long in the middle of winter.
32
Too 2 days ago 2 replies      
Does staring into two bright 24" monitors 8h per day help?
33
jotm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think everyone is affected by seasons - in my case, I feel down during seasons change, mostly May and October. I feel awesome during winter, I love it, summer not so much since I hate hot and humid weather (UK is pretty great during summer IMO :-D).
34
critium 2 days ago 0 replies      
I know somebody that is actually diagnosed with this and its a serious condition.

Am I the only person that thinks that having the acronymn SAD is actually counterproductive? I mean, kind of sounds like a bad joke right?

35
bluekite2000 2 days ago 0 replies      
Someone should start an endless summer club. Get a group of people together and work for 6 months in San Francisco then go South (Buenos Aires or sth equivalent) when winter comes.
36
AznHisoka 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be OK with the winter... but winter means horrible TV programming. It's not yet March, so no Game of Thrones. Breaking Bad just ended. And Walking Dead will go on a short hiatus.
37
avneet 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can't agree more. As the days get shorter and the sky gets gloomy, my mood becomes gloomier. I've been aware of this for several years now. I noticed that when I was in college that I skipped more classes during winter and had the worst grades during winter quarter. Some of the things that work for me to keep myself motivated- Exercise, waking up and repeating to myself- "what do I need to achieve today?", eating healthy, turning the heater off sometimes and keep the house as bright as possible.

Awesome blogpost!

38
jeltz 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder what causes it since the variations in sunlight are tiny in SF (shortest day = 9.5 hours) compared to for example Stockholm (shortest day = 6 hours).
39
joshuapayne 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is one of the reason I ski living in Boston. Granted I can't do it on a daily basis, but I get outside on the weekends and get some sunshine. I can notice the pickup.
40
mixmastamyk 2 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting post. If he's that affected, he should move to Los Angeles, where he'll get ~11.5 months of happiness and productivity per year.
41
johndl 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've experienced this too, not just in winter.

I live in Scotland, and the weather is mostly wet and damp (rain on ~2 out of 3 days of the year). This year we had a glorious summer. I got productive work done in a single month in June than the entire first 5 months of the year.

42
sirkneeland 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well I guess moving to Finland is out of the question for the author...
43
aeflash 2 days ago 2 replies      
FYI, every single Vitamin D supplement I've seen is just olive oil in gel capsules. You can even see it in the imaged on the amazon product page he linked. I just cook with olive oil all the time -- stir frys, eggs, meats, etc....
44
fjabre 2 days ago 0 replies      
Weed got me through last winter.
45
davewasthere 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just switch hemispheres... problem solved. :)
46
j03w 2 days ago 0 replies      
Would moving overseas help then? Winter in US is summer in downunder.
22
Goodbye Sticky. Hello Ara motorola-blog.blogspot.com
228 points by mikeevans  1 day ago   79 comments top 25
1
sirkneeland 1 day ago 5 replies      
As someone with similar interests in a large Finnish company...

God help the antenna engineers assigned to this project.

Whether the antenna is part of the "endo" (and thus subject to interference from potentially unknown external modules) or n external component itself (and thus subject to interference from potentially unknown adjacent modules) it's going to be an unholy nightmare to try and engineer.

That said, I would love if they could figure some sort of genius solution to the problem and further this concept. Wild things like this are exactly what Motorola should be doing (along with continuing to iterate on the solid Moto X)

2
chasing 1 day ago 0 replies      
Phones are too cheap -- and getting cheaper. And I suspect most people find just simply selecting a fully-baked phone intimidating enough.

The actual market for this kind of device would be tiny. (Why I suspect this won't even make it to market.)

This is just Motorola brand marketing.

3
nwh 1 day ago 7 replies      
It looks pretty on paper, but it can't ever compete with a properly designed and executed product in the real world. The reason Apple can get their devices so small is the complete omission of connectors and other internal padding. This thing (whatever it is) will just be a mess of connectors and other supporting hardware- a monolith of extendability that will never be used by an end user. Any extendability it has will be stunted by the bus abatable to it; you won't get an external screen or upgraded processor on a flimsy usb-alike connector.

I would wager that almost every "reconfigurable" device or product just ends up in a single setting, which would have been better off being found during product testing and the rest of the configurations ignored.

4
jorde 1 day ago 2 replies      
While the Phonebloks concept got a lot of hype, I haven't seen any mention of Modu, an Israel based phone manufacturer (startup). They introduced the first modular phone but it wasn't never a success and the company went bankrupt in 2011. Interestingly enough, Google bought their patents and now we have a modular phone concept from Google owned Motorola.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modu

5
galenko 1 day ago 7 replies      
I remember the thread about phoneblocks and how it was never going to happen, who would have known that Motorolla was working on something similar for almost a year at the time.

Hope Dave gets something out of it, besides the warm and fuzzy feeling that Motorolla makes a product that is similar to his idea.

6
lyime 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now finally, I can build a coffee brewer attachment. http://pomegranatephone.com/
7
ZeroGravitas 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can't see this working for consumer phones in the short term (though long term we'll get to the Beats Audio stage where the tech is completely commodified and the packaging will become all important).

However, right now it seems ideal as a prototyping platform, or even a way to produce short runs of devices that need (most of) a commodity smartphone plus a couple of random sensors or connectors.

8
jasonlmk 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd love to hear some of your thoughts about how technically feasible this actually is (under a single discussion thread).

[1] Sirkneeland states that it's going to be tough to engineer the antenna

[2] nwh states that "Any extendability it has will be stunted by the bus abatable to it; you won't get an external screen or upgraded processor on a flimsy usb-alike connector"

Any other thoughts?

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6632641[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6632597

9
natch 1 day ago 1 reply      
This seems like mostly PR.

Now if Motorola could give us a good usable mesh router for the masses, that would be something with actual impact.

10
ChikkaChiChi 1 day ago 0 replies      
In a day and age where computers are seeing more soldering and glue than ever I am hard pressed to believe that anything like this would ever see the light of day, production-wise.

It's a neat concept but building a mobile device is more than just schluffing together a bunch of random parts.

11
jtchang 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've actually never seen the idea of a phoneblock but it sounds awesome. I've always wanted a mass spectrometer on my phone (okay maybe that is asking a bit too much).
12
fudged71 1 day ago 0 replies      
Notice that this announcement was 10 hours before the phoneblocks "Thunderclap" to 970,000 social media accounts, as well as the speculated Nexus 5 announcement. Interesting timing.
13
rurounijones 1 day ago 1 reply      
This interesting thing about what they have in their example is there not all phones need to be 100% modular. that blue phone looks like a normal phone with only one modular point.

Best of both worlds

14
hershel 1 day ago 0 replies      
This could be a huge win for Motorola. Say they control/patent the shell and the communications interface. It's easy and cheap to build. They charge $99 for it with great margins. All this while module builders compete both for price and features.

Since this is open, the winner in this market will be the company who can build the best ecosystem. Who can do that better than Google?

And it would be almost impossible for Samsung to compete, since they are a highly integrated company.

The interesting reaction would be from apple: they are highly integrated so hard to move to this model but they also know how to build ecosystems.

If Google builds something compelling, I'm grabbing my popcorn.

15
pselbert 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm the tech lead at dscout.com, the tool that Motorola is using to run the "Project Ara Research". The design team behind the product it is personally running the research effort, so if you have ideas or comments you may want to check it out.

Any feedback you submit is going to them directly.

[1] http://dscout.com/ara

16
dbg31415 1 day ago 3 replies      
I don't get why anyone would want a modular phone. It's so backwards from where we are heading. Promise you a non-modular phone will be smaller, lighter, etc. The slight variations in how people customize a phone... guarantee they'd be happier finding a phone they liked and buying it. Plus... phones aren't expensive, why not just throw them out ever 18 months?
17
asiekierka 1 day ago 2 replies      
"how do we bring the benefits of an open hardware ecosystem to 6 billion people?"

What about the remaining billion?

18
hawflakes 1 day ago 0 replies      
Come to think of it, both projects look to be inspired by Bug Labs' modules.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bug_Labs

19
gmuslera 1 day ago 0 replies      
One missing piece (or at least, not shown, and not sure how it would conflict in their puzzle like approach) is a hardware keyboard. Mostly for that i prefer Jolla's other half idea for modularity.
20
Aloha 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, I'll be dammed.
21
andridk 1 day ago 0 replies      
This design reminds me of The Centurions (http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/c/centurion.htm). Good times.
22
devx 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you've read Clayton Christensen's books, you know that after "integration" comes "disintegration"/modularization when the market becomes mature enough, just like it did in the PC world many years ago.

This might be what disintegration looks like for smartphones. Maybe our devices won't be just black boxes we can't get into in the future.

From Geoffrey Moore's books (Crossing the Chasm, etc) we also know that when a market becomes "mature"/saturated, the companies start to "mass customize" their products. We can already see the beginning of that trend with multiple colors for devices, multiple backs, etc, instead of the previous just black, or black and white.

23
srhngpr 1 day ago 1 reply      
Did anyone notice the cat with the sunglasses "module"?
24
asadlionpk 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wonder what the phoneblock team is thinking right now...
25
emp_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not being asian and reading a few years ago that the company started calling itself MOTO for the difficult it is to pronounce the full name with asian phonetics, Ara is a kick in the balls and I feel sorry for them choosing that name.
23
Russia: Hidden chips 'launch spam attacks from irons' bbc.co.uk
218 points by mikecane  2 days ago   123 comments top 30
1
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is pretty funny. I doubt its authenticity but confess that when I worked at Intel (a looooooooooong time ago) and Andy Grove suggested there would be an 8086 in every Toaster I thought he was nuts, because the minimum system was about 4 sq inches (I had one as a demo board Intel sold) and who would want a CPU in a toaster anyway? A timer and a heating element, how hard is that?

Flash forward to today when playing with an Electric Imp[1] and noting that you don't need 4 sq inches, you don't even need 1 sq inch and you can network the damn thing.

So it certainly becomes feasible to do this sort of thing but I'm unable to construct a non-targeted reason why it would be worthwhile to do it. Now if you said, "A shipment of toasters headed for the US Embassy" or something where there was some actionable intelligence to be gained by snooping the network, perhaps. but randomly? Not so much.

[1] http://electricimp.com

2
huhtenberg 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you read the original, there are several strong bullshit indicators.

The 200 meter range is one.

Second, they quote some guy who's a director of a consumer electronics importer. He says that the reason they found these "spy chips" is because the shipment of consumer electronics was over declared customs weight. So they started looking and found chips, meaning that the keyword you are looking here for is "customs", not "Chinese spam chips" :)

[0] http://www.rosbalt.ru/piter/2013/10/22/1190990.html

3
snorkel 2 days ago 1 reply      
Makes sense. People who use irons are the real global power brokers in every modern society. The laundry room is the ultimate prize. Even though it may cost $50 to manufacture an iron that has 200M WiFi range and sophisticated viral payloads, and sure irons are unplugged most of the time, and OK, you'd have to sell the irons at a steep loss, but still you will have amassed a network of thousands of irons spanning the globe, listening, waiting, and ironing.
4
drzaiusapelord 2 days ago 4 replies      
The source for this is Russia state owned media. I imagine this is a Ukrainian chocolate situation. When Russia gets pissed at someone they attack a trade relationship that hurts that country. Suddenly, Ukrainian chocolate is unsafe. Suddenly, American adoptive parents are unsafe and morally dubious for Russia adoptions.

I wonder who makes these irons and if this is the beginning of a larger smear operation.

5
IvyMike 2 days ago 5 replies      
During my short time in Russia, the "unprotected wifi network" did not appear to exist. Wherever I went, they seemed pretty paranoid (probably justifiably) about keeping wifi locked down.

Hotels went so far as to give you a custom per-device one-day-only password.

6
onion2k 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been ironing my tinfoil hat and all along I was just perpetuating the problem. Doh!
7
newsmaster 2 days ago 0 replies      
"by connecting to any computer within a 200m (656ft) radius which were using unprotected Wi-Fi networks."

wow it's better than any wifi router I've ever owned! Time to buy an iron.

8
rexreed 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds interesting - it must be very cost effective to do this, so I'm wondering what chipsets are used in these products? Would this make for a very low cost Internet of Things? I've always wanted to have a mini-router embedded in a light bulb. It wouldn't need power and should have decent range.
9
csandreasen 2 days ago 0 replies      
True or not, it's an interesting attack vector. Makes me wonder (again, assuming this is real) if it was designed that way or perhaps the manufacturer was compromised/firmware modified (although why would an iron need firmware?). I imagine we'll probably see more attacks using unconventional attack vectors in the future; the Chinese hackers using a thermostat to maintain persistence in the US Chamber of Commerce springs to mind [1]. Something that you bring in and connect willingly to your network would be devastating. Can you imagine buying a new TV, toy for your kids or some other high-tech wifi-enabled device and later discovering that it would periodically arp-poison your laptop?

[1] (see section titled "Lying in wait", about halfway down the article) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/31/technology/chinese-hackers...

10
conductor 2 days ago 6 replies      
Why did they choose the irons? Usually irons are not plugged-in more than couple of hours in a week.
11
tokenadult 2 days ago 1 reply      
There are lots of attempts at humor in the comments. So far, the BBC reporting just says, "State-owned channel Rossiya 24" reported something, without any BBC reporter claiming to have independently verified the reports from Russia. Maybe this isn't a true fact about the world. It might be Russian official media paranoia, or some kind of hoax, or some kind of misunderstanding of a legitimate product feature. Until this story is better verified, I will go right on ironing my clothes. Are there specific brand names or lot numbers of the products available to reporters in other places who could verify (or disconfirm) this story?
12
makerops 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am sorry, but this is just cool (if in fact, the reporting is accurate).
13
bio4m 2 days ago 3 replies      
Are SoC's getting so cheap that this kind of scatter shot approach is cost effective ?

In all honesty I believe this is a fabricated story.Mainly1) its not cheap2) Irons are hot and can have water in them for steam. Not ideal for electronics3) Irons aren't in use all day. Hardly a great attack vector, a mobile phone charger would be much better

14
cdi 2 days ago 1 reply      
Don't trust anything Russian state-owned media says. It went completely crazy in last 2 years. I recently watched a "Documentary" on this main "news" channel Rossiya 24, which speculated that the outbreak of Swine influenza in Asia was an ethnicity-targeted bio-weapon attack, carried out by the US. And other similarly insane things like "Bill Gates tries to make everybody infertile in Africa, with his anti-malaria vaccine." Overall mood that this 'program' tried to convey is "be afraid, be very afraid of foreigners and foreign states. They are out to get you."
15
fit2rule 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's really no way for us to know that CPU manufacturers haven't embedded a backdoor that transmits - on some unknown frequency, or maybe technology - the contents of CPU registers and cache lines directly to some NSA satellite somewhere. We just don't have the ability to audit the powers that create these machines; and this sort of highlights a massive disparity between classes - the technocratic class, and the consumer class.
16
Axsuul 2 days ago 1 reply      
Scary foresight of things to come with the internet of things.
17
dschiptsov 1 day ago 0 replies      
" ..."
18
not_rhodey 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is no way that this attack method is profitable if the attacker is fronting the cost of manufacturing. This leads me to believe that this article is incorrect or fabricated, or that this is a seriously interesting attack on a iron manufacturer.
19
elwell 7 hours ago 0 replies      
See what happens when you take down the iron curtain???
20
mdisraeli 2 days ago 0 replies      
TOR EXIT NODES. In a single swoop, the internet just got a whole lot messier to police ;)

I've been thinking about ideas like this for years, but it never occurred to me that you could just hit the supply chain at the source, rather than covertly fit the devices once kit had been installed.

21
marshray 2 days ago 0 replies      
Without more evidence, I'm pretty skeptical of this particular claim.

Nevertheless, thousands of heating elements under your control in enemy territory would make a pretty evil cyberweapon.

22
slig 2 days ago 0 replies      
Are botnets getting expensive or do they suck to send spam nowadays?
23
im3w1l 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if finding this is the result of post-NSA paranoia.
24
venomsnake 2 days ago 1 reply      
My new company will provide Faraday caging of homes and residential buildings... Seems like with the new Intel chips with built in wifi that were rumored it will become popular service
25
wil421 2 days ago 0 replies      
In other news the NSA has possible backdoors in real computer devices.
26
EA 2 days ago 3 replies      
Scary to think that my coffee pot is connected to your coffee pot by a piece of metal.
27
skyfantom 1 day ago 0 replies      
Give us time, and we'll make bears with WiFi bots!
28
gcb0 2 days ago 0 replies      
hacking at its best. and a whole new meaning to internet of things.
29
pantalaimon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Finally, the Internet of Things is becoming a reality
30
keithboor 2 days ago 0 replies      
This makes me miss Burn Notice. Thats the kind of stuff Michael Westen would be doing in pretty much every episode.
24
Fish shell 2.1 fishshell.com
218 points by siteshwar  2 days ago   149 comments top 27
1
pooriaazimi 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is the biggest change:

> http://fishshell.com/release_notes.html

> When tab-completing a file, fish will first attempt prefix matches (foo matches foobar), then substring matches (ooba matches foobar), and lastly subsequence matches (fbr matches foobar). For example, in a directory with files foo1.txt, foo2.txt, foo3.txt, you can type only the numeric part and hit tab to fill in the rest.

This is really brilliant! I always wanted that (without knowing it).

2
recuter 2 days ago 17 replies      
With love: I always felt like fish and even zsh are kind of beautiful OCD-induced bouts of counter productivity in the same vain as Dvorak keyboard layouts and Plan 9. We can't handle things being messy and imperfect so we solve it by building our own parallel universes.

What do you do when you have to use a computer without your customization? Perfect is the enemy of good, worse is better, join us on the dark side, all that jazz. :)

Is fish really really REALLY worth it?

3
leokun 2 days ago 7 replies      
I like the idea of fish, but I've had issues with other programs assuming things about my shell. Like vim and I think even other programs. There's something fish doesn't do, that other shells like bash and zsh do, that breaks other programs. I can't remember the specifics, but fish breaks stuff for me when I tried it, and I tried it pretty recently.
4
js2 2 days ago 2 replies      
I tried fish for a while but found it jarring switching between it and bash when working on remote machines where fish is not installed. I was also surprised when I first started using fish that it can't synchronize history between shell instances, which is a killer feature for me. So after about a month with fish I've switched to zsh.

https://github.com/fish-shell/fish-shell/issues/825

http://ptspts.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-to-automatically-sync...

6
growt 2 days ago 2 replies      
Can anyone tell me if there is a substitute for history expansions such as "sudo !!" or "vi !$" ?
7
spindritf 2 days ago 1 reply      
They also have a PPA now[1]. I'm pretty sure I looked a few months ago, when 2.0 hit, and it wasn't available.

[1] http://fishshell.com/files/2.1.0/linux/index.html#dl-ubuntu1...

8
GhotiFish 2 days ago 2 replies      

  "Previously, a single % would pid-expand to either all    backgrounded jobs, or all jobs owned by your user. Now it    expands to the last job backgrounded. If no job is in the    background, it will fail to expand. In particular, fg %    can be used to put the most recent background job in the    foreground."
oh! Can fish background tasks now? I haven't being following very closely, I really should update my shell.

9
SnowLprd 2 days ago 0 replies      
For those who want to give fish a spin, it might be worth checking out the guide I wrote on the topic:

http://hackercodex.com/guide/install-fish-shell-mac-ubuntu/

I'll soon have it updated for fish 2.1.0, Mavericks, and the new PPA locations.

10
Osmium 2 days ago 1 reply      
I installed 2.1 via homebrew and now, every time I open a new terminal window, I get:

    bind: Key with name 'dc' does not have any mapping    bind: Key with name 'ppage' does not have any mapping    bind: Key with name 'npage' does not have any mapping
Does anybody have any idea what causes this / how to fix it?

11
JSno 2 days ago 0 replies      
The great thing is, author provided all platform installer.Ubuntu, Debian, Centos, Fedora, even readhat 5,6 and so on.So great for people lazy to compile by themselves for trying little software.Good job! I up-voted you!
12
iagooar 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using Fish for a year now, it's really amazing. Not going back to bash or even zsh.

The only problem I had was getting all vim plugins to work with it, but then I discovered that you can set the shell vim shall use in .vimrc (I set it to sh) and now everything works like a charm.

BTW, I'm loving the fuzzy autocompletion, it's truly a "killing feature".

13
izietto 2 days ago 2 replies      
Thank you for your wonderful shell!!! I feel the lack of official distro packages (though the fish shell repository works fine)
14
err4nt 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just re-installed Fish this morning. One of the first things I install when I have a fresh install on a workstation :D

The thing I appreciate most about fish is the clever suggestions from my shell history - the simplest things can be the biggest time-savers when it comes to entering obscure commands a few weeks apart (I don't have to look them up each time I do it now)

15
SmileyKeith 2 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe it's just because I really like to customize my shell, but I can't stand the philosophy of fish [1]. The relevant part: "Configurability is the root of all evil." I can almost agree with this on many user facing consumer applications but a shell is so far from that.

[1]: http://ridiculousfish.com/shell/user_doc/html/design.html#co...

16
golergka 2 days ago 1 reply      
Installing fish instead of bash was the biggest single productivity improvement that I've ever done. Thanks for your work!
17
ramigb 2 days ago 2 replies      
I just had an argument with some folks around Bash vs Fish, my argument was as simple as "i like it", their was "you won't learn anything, fish sucks, you can do anything it does with a modded bash" ... but that's the point, i don't want to modify and configure, i want it to work out of the box.
18
patrickg 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have used fish for a few months and I really liked it. I switched back to bash eventually because of a simple fact that esc-. didn't work in fish (which I use really often). If fish provides it, I will go back to fish.
19
andrewvc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love fish, been using it for a couple years now, haven't looked back!
20
vhost- 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a systems engineer, I'm stuck using (mostly) vanilla bash. I'd love to dabble in fish or zsh, but anytime I start it becomes a waste of time.

Upside is I know bash ins and outs :). I'm usually the one-liner wizard of the office.

21
imd23 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using it as my default shell.It simply rocks. It's my best hack friend tool. :)
22
yeukhon 2 days ago 2 replies      
Can you split windows in fish shell? Or is that the job of an terminal emulator, not the job of a shell?
23
allyant 2 days ago 2 replies      
I am currently running fish version 2.0.0 (Love it btw!) - does anyone know if there is a way to manually self update to 2.1? Or do I need to reinstall the package.
24
ProNihilist 2 days ago 1 reply      
Even after doing the "type this to fix weird console ouput" I still have weird console output :(
25
Tarang 2 days ago 1 reply      
I really love fish, is there any way to use fish over ssh?
26
derleth 2 days ago 1 reply      
It would be nice if I could find a non-OSX download on that page.
27
JSno 2 days ago 1 reply      
can anybody tell me why this Fish shell shows some files by adding "*" at the end of it?
25
Java Virtual Machine in pure Node.js github.com
217 points by binarymax  12 hours ago   121 comments top 25
1
bane 8 hours ago 5 replies      
Really cool hack, and yet I can't help but think that the mile-high software stack between the developer and the CPU continues to grow meaning we're stuck in a perpetual game of filling up spare CPU cycles with nothing in particular.

I'm sure I'll see a demo showing off something that barely runs on modern hardware that we were more than capable of running with good performance in 1990.

sigh I feel like I'm being such a Debbie-downer even if this is a really cool hack.

2
jvilk 10 hours ago 4 replies      
Interesting! It looks like you've reimplemented portions of the Java Class Library rather than use e.g the existing class files from OpenJDK.

My current research project, Doppio [1], implements the native portions of the OpenJDK Java Class Library so it can use an unmodified copy of the OpenJDK JCL. As a result, it can run a bunch of nontrivial programs (javac/javap/Rhino/Kawa-Scheme).

One issue you will run into is with multithreading. Since JavaScript has no true threading implementation with shared memory, you'll need to be able to suspend and resume virtual JVM threads. For this reason, Doppio maintains an explicit JVM stack representation.

Anyway, feel free to check out our code, reuse portions of it, or contribute if you're interested; it's MIT Licensed and under active development. :)

[1] Demo: http://doppiojvm.org/ Code: https://github.com/int3/doppio

3
angersock 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Finally, I can run JRuby on my node server!
4
dlsym 11 hours ago 2 replies      
18ms for calculating Fibonacci numbers from 1 to 10. This is definitily bringing JAVA back to the good old days of enterprise execution speeds. :-)

Really cool proof of concept! I would really enjoy seeing more projects like this!

5
tzaman 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Now I'll have even bigger problem explaining what the difference between Java and Javascript is! :)
6
drtse4 12 hours ago 4 replies      
Just a toy implementation[1], if someone is wondering.

[1]The basic .class file attribute parsers are located in libs/classfile, while a simple bytecode interpreter can be found in jvm.js. It doesn't load a real runtime library (classpath, apache harmony,openjdk,etc...) but it partially implements a few java.* classes in pure javascript under libs/java.

7
stevekinney 12 hours ago 4 replies      
Atwood's Law: any application that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript.
8
mariusz79 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm waiting for a JavaScript interpreter written in Javascript.

Edit: It's already here :)https://github.com/jterrace/js.js/

9
cpeterso 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Mozilla has written pdf.js to replace Adobe's PDF plugin and shumway.js to replace Adobe's Flash plugin. When will we see a java.js that replaces Java applets on the web?
10
adultSwim 11 hours ago 1 reply      
For anyone interested in the details:

-Reads in real .class files

-Uses the JS run-time to implement the Java run-time (e.g. there isn't a garbage collector written in JS, the JS collector is used)

-Only implemented part of java.lang and java.io

11
duiker101 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Now you just need to run Rhino(https://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/Rhino) on it and you will be totally meta.
12
szatkus 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I created something similar some time ago.

https://github.com/szatkus/js2me

Although I targeted only J2ME subset.Also I found few similar projects:

https://github.com/nurv/BicaVM

http://plasma-umass.github.io/doppio/about.html

13
knappador 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Is PyJNIus support coming anytime soon? The ability to use Python to script Java calls into the JS run-time to access Cordova API's on top of Android libraries is really important for developers who have Python, Cython, and Java skills, but find P4A too daunting compared to Cordova. It's only three more layers of nonsense.
14
mtdewcmu 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a feeling James Gosling choked on his coffee this morning. :)
15
antonpug 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Now, my question is. WHY!? I might be crazy, but does anyone see a legitimate use for this?
16
6ren 9 hours ago 1 reply      
How hard is it to write a JVM? I'd think it pretty easy, as it's intended to be small and easily portable.

You could even write one in Java (and I'm sure it's been done, many times). EDIT e.g. http://igormaznitsa.com/projects/mjvm/index.html

Of course, doing all the tricky JIT etc of the JVM is a different story...

17
nonchalance 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The example makefiles appear to use javac.

Next step: Java compiler in node

18
tlrobinson 8 hours ago 0 replies      
What does Node have to do with it (besides perhaps a little IO)? Isn't it just JavaScript?
19
big_lou 11 hours ago 2 replies      
This is the worst thing that ever happened
20
CmonDev 11 hours ago 0 replies      
So now I can use one of those Java libraries that implement a JavaScript engine and finally have JavaScript running on node.js?
21
jmpe 11 hours ago 1 reply      
With GWT you can translate the Java application to standalone JavaScript files ... and with this implementation you can run Java in a Javascript environment.

Which one would perform best?

22
ilaksh 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Would be interested in seeing a JVM written in Go.
23
ghostdiver 9 hours ago 1 reply      
What's the point of doing this, why not just use Mozilla Rhino?
24
zshprompt 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I made a house out of butter yey!!!!
25
jokoon 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I hate java, I hate javascript, I hate node.js, so basically, I just leave a comment here, and you can make a conclusion about what I think about all this.
26
Dotcloud becoming Docker docker.io
214 points by pjvds  1 day ago   69 comments top 14
1
jxf 1 day ago 9 replies      
As a user of Docker, I'm excited. But as someone who uses the dotCloud PaaS right now to run a company, I'm a little annoyed, mostly at myself for not seeing this coming.

Clearly there's a diversion of resources away from the dotCloud PaaS to Docker, and that's going to have a toll somewhere. Despite the company's reassurances that everything is business as usual, I know that Docker [the project] is just too much of a beast and eventually the Docker [the company] will need to move on from the PaaS. (I should know, since I gave a talk about how "Docker is the future" just a few weeks after Docker was announced.) [0]

I'm not really sure what my choices are now, either; DigitalOcean, I guess? I don't want to manage servers myself, and I want to be able to pay on the memory-usage axis for my app instances (which Heroku doesn't allow). I wasn't super excited by DO last year, but maybe things have changed.

My current "light at the end of the tunnel" is hoping that the Docker-based PaaS ecosystem matures, but for now none of them seem like they're mature enough, and it's tough to keep up with all of them since it seems like another one pops up each week.

Here's my wishlist:

-- (1) command-line client for deployment via git repository and doing anything related to deployment (add new instances, remove instances, create new environments, assign domains to the PaaS router, etc.)

-- (2) clear pricing

-- (3) I can pay for more memory as I need it

-- (4) ability to specify environment variables in a configuration file that take effect on the container process

-- (5) web interface for administering the account

Anyone have any recommendations?

[0] http://spreecommerce.com/blog/spreeconf-DC-speaker-highlight...

2
programminggeek 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is a smart move. Some people might call it a pivot, but I think it's really doubling down on what people really want. dotCloud is not going to change the world (or make a truckload of money) by being Heroku's also-ran.

Instead, they are taking something they built that is really interesting to a lot of people and building a business around it. As someone who is quite interested in docker, I'm glad that they are turning it into a real business. This benefits pretty much everyone who wants to see docker succeed.

Also, it's really smart that they are keeping dotCloud alive. It would be incredibly irresponsible for them to kill that business just to push faster on docker.

3
shykes 1 day ago 3 replies      
Hey everyone, dotCloud/Docker founder here. I just wanted to thank the HN community for your support. Your feedback - both positive and negative - has shaped Docker more than you know.

I also want to confirm that, yes, the trust and satisfaction of our customers matters more to us than any amount of money. You can always make more money later, but once trust is gone, it's gone. So expect us to work ourselves to exhaustion to continue to earn the trust of our paas customers, no matter how crazy things get with Docker (and I can tell you it's only going to get crazier!)

4
sker 1 day ago 0 replies      
VMware is currently valued at 35B. Who is to say Docker couldn't be the next VMware? I would invest in these guys if I could.
5
pron 1 day ago 2 replies      
Can someone please explain what is Docker exactly? I've read this page, http://www.docker.com/about_docker/docker/, and didn't understand. What exactly does it encapsulate? What does the application see when it queries its environment?
6
Myrmornis 1 day ago 3 replies      
Docker shall not be distributed or downloaded to or in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria

This statement occurs in the docker README[0]. If at all possible, one would want to keep such channeling of potentially offensive government policy out of an open source software project's public documentation. For one thing, there are many enthusiastic open source programmers residing in the above list of countries.

The NOTICE[1] document explains that

Like all software products that utilize cryptography, the export and use of Docker is subject to the U.S. Commerce Department's ExportAdministration Regulations (EAR) because it uses or contains cryptography (see http://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/policy-guidance/encryption). Certain free and open source software projects have a lightweight set of requirements, which can generally be met by providing email notice to the appropriate U.S. government agencies that their source code is available on a publicly available repository and making the appropriate statements in the README.

I'm not familiar with seeing other open source projects from American organizations state that they may not be downloaded in the above list of countries. Is the use of cryptography in docker different in a way that makes the docker organization more at risk from legal challenges from the federal government in this regard, or are docker being anal and xenophobic in blithely displaying this notice?

[0] https://github.com/dotcloud/docker/blob/master/README.md

[1] https://github.com/dotcloud/docker/blob/master/NOTICE

7
Touche 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's really interesting how Docker has become this beast, but was originally developed as a practical way to run their business. How many companies have been formed this way?

It's an great thing to point to when a startup doesn't want to invest any time into getting their fundamental product right and just want to hack together using existing and known technologies.

8
shrikrishna 1 day ago 2 replies      
I have been using Docker for a couple of days now, and am really in love with it! Congratulations on the new direction and wish you all the luck in the world!

I'd like to ask one question though - It seems that it's possible to limit the amount of cpu and memory of each container, but not so with the filesystem. I know this is some issue related to AUFS being used internally. But I would really like to know whether there is _any_ hack that allows us to limit the size of the filesystem, or whether it's in the pipeline?

9
megaman821 1 day ago 0 replies      
So is Docker, Inc. going to provide orchestration for Docker containers in the future? Are they going to host private registries?
10
jqueryin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Congratulations is well in order. It's so exciting to see the progress the team and platform have made in such a short amount of time.

Only months ago at PyCon Solomon Hykes was showing off Docker to the public for the first time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wW9CA...

11
keeblus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Docker just keeps growing and growing. The amount of new businesses springing up to take advtange, along with some pretty heavy hitters looking to adopt, Docker has a fighting chance to become a standard from which everyone benefits.
12
cschmidt 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're looking for the clickable version of the graphic on the OP (where the Read More links work), it is here:

http://www.docker.com/about_docker/

13
ddorian43 1 day ago 2 replies      
Can't a PAAS use dedicated hosting and provide a cheaper price instead of the overcriped ec2 ? (is there one?)
14
slantview 1 day ago 0 replies      
hello wowlrd! congrats!
27
Profit affects doctors' treatment decisions globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
213 points by marojejian  1 day ago   229 comments top 27
1
cs702 1 day ago 12 replies      
Many aspects of US society today are organized under the assumption that if every individual pursues what is in his/her best financial interest, the "invisible hand of the free market" will produce the best possible outcome for everyone.

Yet here we have reputable doctors acting in their self interest, and the result is that they are ordering unnecessary surgeries for financial gain. Meanwhile, patients are essentially unable to protect themselves against this travesty.

Maybe in this case the invisible hand cannot be seen because it is not there?

2
mikeyouse 1 day ago 3 replies      
Interesting article, but the last premise is fairly disingenuous. He lists 6 reasons why healthcare is expensive, then claims that Obamacare doesn't fix any of them, but he's entirely wrong on at least 5 of the 6.

1. Medicare / insurance fraud --- The author obviously hasn't heard of the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT). HEAT led to the record number of fraud charges in 2012. In addition to that, ACA standardized fraud convictions, so any provider convicted of fraud can no longer claim any federal money (Previously, a provider convicted of medicare fraud could still collect payments from medicaid et al).[2] These are only 2 provisions of the roughly 50 that directly address fraud. [2a]

2. Massive amounts of Paperwork --- This paperwork is moving to EHR / EMR systems that will file it automatically for the vast majority of patients. ACA mandates that the systems must use a standard format, so that any system built can communicate with all federal / private insurance carriers. [2]

3. Since doctors have direct contact with patients, and insurance companies don't it's easy for docs to blame insurance companies for unnecessary procedures --- I'm confused by this point, it seems a bit confused and contradictory toward his other points.

4. Doctors perform needless tests for fear of being sued --- The author has clearly never heard of ACOs. One of their primary goals is to limit the number of tests and procedures done. Insurance companies and the government will provide fairly significant bonuses when the cost of provided care comes in below average. [4a] In addition, the ACA provides research grants to study best practices and patient outcomes, having published, peer-reviewed research for common diagnoses will greatly limit the ability to sue for stuff considered CYA. [4b]

5. End of life care is insanely expensive --- This would've been addressed in the ACA, but Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and their dimwit followers torpedoed the 'death panels' to score some cheap political points.

6. Life is prolonged without living will --- Again, thank Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and the Fox News brigade for their insane rants against 'death panels' which would have directly addressed this.

[1] - http://www.npr.org/2011/12/30/144491419/doj-posts-record-for...[2] - http://www.healthit.gov/policy-researchers-implementers/stan...[2a] - http://www.btlaw.com/files/ALERT%20-%20Healthcare_Health%20C...[4a] - http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/29/o...[4b] - http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hsrinfo/cer.html[5 & 6] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_panel

3
jdietrich 1 day ago 3 replies      
I once read that traditional Chinese medicine practitioners work on a sort of subscription basis, where patients only pay when they are healthy, thereby creating a strong incentive for the doctor to get a sick patient back to health in a cost-effective manner.

I have no idea as to the veracity of the story or the effectiveness of such a model (and hold no truck with the pseudoscientific methods used by such practitioners), but it raises an interesting thought - would healthcare be more effectively funded through some mechanism other than private insurance or state funding? Might the debate over healthcare have been narrowed into a false dichotomy, when there may be a far better option lying unnoticed on the third hand?

4
maratd 1 day ago 8 replies      
Is this really surprising? Who doesn't know this?

My wife was in labor for a bit less than a day. Baby was fine, everything good, but apparently we were taking too long. Doctor demanded we do a c-section. When we said we wanted to wait, she walked out, slamming the door. We got scared, they made 60K for about 20 minutes of work. Guess what the c-section rate at that hospital is? 50%. Not kidding. I'm in the wrong business.

http://www.icanofnj.com/hospitalcsectionrates.htm

5
Ensorceled 1 day ago 3 replies      
In Ontario doctors were allowed to switch to capitation, where they receive a lump sum for each patient under their care, rather than billing per service.

My personal physician loves it, he no longer wastes time filing for OHIP payments and no longer worries that maybe he is only ordering procedures to make more money rather than for a legitimate purpose.

This is a particular problem when diagnosing problems, is "your gut" or "your greed" telling you that the patient needs this $1000 test.

6
xanderstrike 1 day ago 3 replies      
The two things I read in this article, minus the loaded language and assumptions:

1. "Medical offices which have equipment for certain services provide those services more often than offices that don't."

They've got the equipment in-house, so of course they're going to use it. The article doesn't take into account the possibility that patients are choosing to go to these offices _because_ they have the in-house facilities for the treatment they want. Going from "doctors who have X machine order X procedure more often" to "doctors treat patients like an ATM machine" is a huge leap.

2. "Some surgeons in Florida performed unnecessary surgeries for money."

There are bad apples in every bunch, this is why you get a second opinion before going under the knife. Yes surgeons get paid per procedure, yes it's a flawed system, but that doesn't mean they're all wheeling and dealing to get as many people to submit to surgery as possible.

It's worth noting also that whenever the article says "charged patients" what they mean is "billed patients' insurance company." Chances are the people who don't have insurance were the ones smart enough to see another doctor before paying.

This kind of fearmongering crap undermines confidence in medical professionals and medical science. The vast majority of medical professionals are extremely hard working, knowledgeable people who's primary goal is to help everyone that walks through their door. Without trust from their patients, they can't do this effectively.

7
Amadou 1 day ago 0 replies      
This New Yorker article examining major discrepancies in health-care costs between McAllen Texas (which is the 2nd most expensive health-care market in the country) and the town up the road was eye opening for me. The summary is that when doctors invest in medical facilities (like in-practice labs) they are financially motivated to direct patients to use those facilities.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/06/01/090601fa_fact_...

8
thrownaway2424 1 day ago 8 replies      
This is why single-payer is the only way to go. There has to be some panel of disinterested experts evaluating the cost/benefit of a given treatment for a given illness, backed up by the buying power of something really huge. Yes, that's "death panels" to you Tea Party members following along at home.

Of course that wouldn't prevent any doctor and patient from doing whatever they wanted, at their own expense.

9
tokenadult 1 day ago 0 replies      
I upvoted the article because it raises some important points about how people respond to incentives in the current health-care financing system in the United States, with a prediction of expected results under the Affordable Care Act as the act is implemented. The kind of comments I'd be delighted to hear from other HN participants is comments about what can be done about this.

On my part, I was just doing some Web searches for patient guides about how to select treatments and when to get second opinions. Regardless of how health care is paid for, patients sometimes need guidance about how to choose physicians, and how to choose treatments. (I know this for sure because my family lived in Taiwan for almost three years under Taiwan's single-payer national health insurance system, and we still had to decide which doctor to visit--we had choice in that matter--and whether or not to follow the doctor's treatment recommendation, which we sometimes followed and sometimes did not.) I'll keep looking for a user-friendly guide like that online, and if someone else commenting here can link to one, I'll be very grateful for that.

10
notdrunkatall 1 day ago 1 reply      
It would have been nice if Obamacare fixed some of the above problems. Unfortunately, Obamacare did not fix any of them.

Fraud, ridiculous amounts of paperwork, and incentives to do the wrong thing were everywhere you looked before Obamacare. The same problems exist now.

Worse yet, Obamacare added to the mess by over-charging millennials and their kids, and undercharging smokers and others with unhealthy lifestyles. Except for those below certain wage thresholds, insurance costs are likely to increase.

Yep.

11
nazgulnarsil 1 day ago 2 replies      
I take issue with the "most medical costs are accrued in the last year of life" point that gets bandied about. We don't know a priori which year is going to be your last! This makes the point into almost a tautology.
12
angersock 1 day ago 1 reply      
"According to government estimates, each neurosurgeon at Halifax Health was generating more than $2 million a year in hospital profits. The hospital charged fusion patients an average of about $80,000, according to Florida records on Halifax Health analyzed by The Post, ranking the procedure as one of the more expensive."

Wow.

The image of the physician as somebody who is there to help relieve suffering is cemented as a meme, but the way the system seems to have evolved in the past few decades is towards help as a secondary duty if any.

Unfortunately, anyone who seems to want to speak out against the system is immediately rebutted with cries of "Why do you hate doctors?" and "They saved my babies!".

It is very hard to have an honest discussion and self-introspection in the current environment, especially with so much money at stake.

13
riahi 1 day ago 1 reply      
It seems fun to hate on "evil" doctors, but why do we consider doctors as any different from "personal business consultants" who's business expertise is health?

I'm curious how you guys think medical professionals should actually be paid / how can pricing be done "fairly" in a system where there can never be "information symmetry"?

14
001sky 1 day ago 1 reply      
US Healthcare System Explained in Six Succinct Points

1) A constant battle is underway between insurance companies that do not want to pay any claims, even legitimate ones, and doctors and hospitals incentivised to rip off patients, insurers, and taxpayers with unnecessary surgeries and Medicare fraud.

2) Insurance companies demand massive amounts of paperwork out of rational fear of fraud and unnecessary treatments. Doctors perform for-profit (as opposed to for-patient) procedures that guarantee more explanations and more paperwork.

3) Doctors and hospitals have direct personal contact with patients, but insurance companies don't. In cases where doctors put patients at huge risk with needless procedures and surgeries, it's easy for hospitals and doctors to point their finger at insurance companies. On the other hand, many sincere, honest doctors have difficulty getting patients the care they should have because insurers believe they are getting ripped off by unnecessary procedures, even when they aren't.

4) Doctors make needless tests out of fear of being sued for not doing them.

5) The vast majority of healthcare costs occur in final last year or so of someone's life. Politicians who want to do something sensible about this issue get accused of "rationing healthcare".

6) Doctors not only have a financial incentive to prolong life needlessly, they also worry about not prolonging life out of fear of being sued by family members unless there is a living will, and perhaps even if there is a living will.

== Buried a bit, but worth highlighting.

15
mhb 1 day ago 3 replies      
Why is NEJM in this title (Profit massively affects doctor surgery choice (NEJM))?
16
vacri 1 day ago 0 replies      
An ex-colleague of mine went into the pharmaceutical industry to work as a drug rep. They get $X to spend on each doctor they visit as part of their job. My colleague was quite moral, and she would only use the money for the stated purposes: improving the doctor's practise. Charts, equipment, training. Usually it's spent at discretion, and often spent on football tickets, holidays, etc.

She reported that some doctors already used it for practice-improving stuff. The middle set of doctors were a bit like "oh well, the gig is up". But the third set of doctors were outraged that she should tell them how to spend their money. They saw this drug company money as part of their personal income.

17
hkiely 1 day ago 0 replies      
The real way to solve this problem is to get the patients motivated and involved in their own care and treatment decisions.In a free market, driven by true choice, patients have the responsibility of learning more independently about their diagnosis, treatment options, and their physician. By doing research, a patient may be driven to get a second or third opinion when faced with a diagnosis like cancer.By utilizing healthcare savings accounts (HSA) and high deductible low premium insurance plans, patients are driven to find the best doctor with the lowest prices. This is how the invisible hand works, choice and competition on each side of the market. The result- A decrease in price and an increase in quality.
18
yequalsx 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have recently come to the conclusion that ultimately problems like this stem from high income inequality. Humans have a tendency to compare themselves to people who are better off than them. Fifty years ago doctors were very well off in general and were esteemed. But now this is not the case and the desired prestige can now only be accomplished through financial gain. Back when income inequality was not so great other motivations came into play besides profit.

There is a perniciousness in American society where too many people have bought into the "I've got mine, forget you" attitude. Where money is the main source of prestige of a person. The problem highlighted by the article is a societal one. Profit is not a great motivator of innovation and ought not be as high a goal as it currently is in the U.S.

What fascinates me the most is that the segment of society that appears to be doggedly in favor of a profit first public policy appear to be people who follow a book that says that love of money is the root of all evil.

19
nilsbunger 1 day ago 0 replies      
In general most people will operate in their financial self-interest over the long term.

Taking it back to startup-land, this is why sales team compensation structure is discussed at such length at the board level. You generally get exactly what you compensate for, and it's easy to create unintended consequences.

20
EricDeb 1 day ago 0 replies      
I didn't read the article thoroughly, but one point to think about is patients may be more likely to visit with a particular doctor if said doctor frequently performs the surgery they believe will help them.

I am the perfect example of this. I went to a particular doctor with the expectation that he would eventually perform the surgery I desired. He did technically evaluate if I was a good candidate, but I got the impression his patients only visit him if they want the surgery performed. He also does a lot of these surgeries, making him more experienced and more attractive as a surgeon. I would imagine this Florida doctor is similar.

21
pbreit 1 day ago 1 reply      
The problems with US healthcare seem fairly well known. But I want to know what sorts of solutions are promising. I don't think single payer is right for the US, it's much too anti-American. I also don't think a free-market free-for-all would work...medicine is way too stacked against the customer. Obamacare, while seriously flawed, is probably still a step in the right direction. Would getting employers out of the business help? I keep hearing about insurance company inability to compete across state lines. What else?
22
jotm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hate that we're not allowed to self-medicate. I understand the risks, I've done my research, I know more than my local pharmacist, yet they won't give me s&&t without a piece of paper signed by someone who supposedly knows better.

I always had a strong suspicion that the doctors prescribe too many medications (which were also brands more expensive than the generics). Not so paranoid after all.

23
zaidf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does defensive medicine have no role in doctors opting for aggressive treatment to the conservative alternative?
24
ffrryuu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Doctors love to give you drugs that the salesman already gave to the doctor, it's sad. Here have a free sample!
25
cobolorum 1 day ago 0 replies      
bhauer: a few flaws in your analysis. Insurance companies do not like prices being high either. They have to raise premiums and this discourages people from purchasing insurance. Insurance companies have a vested interest in making sure that you do not get ill. They have to pay if you get ill. This is the reason that people who smoke pay higher insurance premiums.

Outside of other comments: of course profit changes doctors' decisions! Why wouldn't it? The medical industry is a business. It is, however, the most regulated industry in the USA. Tech is the least regulated. In the tech industry progress and innovation abounds. It does not in the medical industry. I see a correlation there.

26
crazy1van 1 day ago 0 replies      
Of course this is true. How could this be at all surprising?
27
VladRussian2 1 day ago 0 replies      
only in software engineering tools and runtimes are choosen based on what is best for the project/customer.
28
Finally Redis collections are iterable antirez.com
211 points by alexandere  1 day ago   26 comments top 8
1
Robin_Message 1 day ago 0 replies      
So, I'm trying to work out how this actually works, and thought I'd share my working (especially the reversed bit counter). No idea if my thinking out loud will help anyone else.

TL;DR: Because we count reversed, when the table shrinks (shrinking is done live, so the old table sticks around for a while) we will continue to iterate only from the position in the sequence where all of the masked bit combinations (those bits of the hash that are ignored in the smaller table) have already been explored. If we counted normally, then on a shrink we would end up skipping parts of the old table. Lines https://github.com/antirez/redis/blob/unstable/src/dict.c#L7... explain it perfectly, now I understand it.

Looking at the code, the increment works as follows:

    counter |= ~mask;    counter = reverse(counter);    counter++;    counter = reverse(counter);
The mask is the size of the hash table, minus one, so it always looks something like 0b00001111.

So the first step sets all the unimportant high bits. This means that, after the reverse, all of the unimportant low bits are set, which means an increment will set all of the unimportant bits to zero, and increment the important part of the reversed counter.

So this could be rewritten as:

    counter = reverse(counter);    counter += (1 << (32-log_size));    counter = reverse(counter);
Sometimes a collection is made up of two tables, one larger, one smaller. There is an extra loop in each iteration to go through all of the elements of the larger table that share a hash prefix with the counter.

Now, why the reversed counter? If the table stays the same size, it doesn't matter what order you iterate. If the table grows, the prefix system still works, so that can't be it. So, by process of elimination, it must be necessary for collections that shrink.

Say we have an 8 element collection, and have iterated 000 and 100, and next is 010.Then it starts shrinking to a 4 element collection. So next is 010 (which is interpreted as 10 in the new, smaller table, and 010 and 110 in the old table), then 01 (01, 001, 101), then 11 (11, 011, 111), then done.

Well, that worked (we visited all 8 places in the old table). Let's try a non-reverse increment.

000, 001. Next is 010.

Switch to size 4, and then visit (10,010,110), (11,011,111), done. We missed 100 and 101.

Okay, I'm happy. It sort of makes intuitive sense that if the shrink is what's important, and the high end is lost during the shrink, then incrementing from the high end will work better because throwing away the high end will still cover the whole range, as long as you still look at every bit in the thrown away section. Whereas incrementing from the low end will result in gaps.

Go from size 256 to 4 to really show it:

    0,128,64,192|2,1,3,0
vs

    0,1,2,3|0 (which examines only the top quarter of the old hash table)
Or to put it another way, look at this sequence: size 8: 0,4,2,6,1,5,3,7. The bottom bit is set only after all of the possiblities with the bottom bit reset have been explored. So if remove some of the top bits, either the bottom bits will not be set, or every combination of top bits with those bottom bits set will already have been explored.

2
jwr 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is cool and helpful, but not a game-changer. For things like garbage-collecting I've been using probabilistic techniques (just get a random element and check it, make sure you check enough to have guarantees you need) with great success. The new scanning doesn't provide any tight guarantees (it can't, really, without sacrificing a lot of what Redis stands for), so it will be more of a convenience than a really new paradigm.

Still, it is nice to see -- so, thanks!

3
DanWaterworth 1 day ago 9 replies      
Elements added during the iteration may be returned, or not, at random.

I can't be the only one who thinks this is crazy behaviour.

4
aitskovi 1 day ago 0 replies      
For more context pieter's original pull request is here: https://github.com/antirez/redis/pull/579
5
legedemon 1 day ago 0 replies      
This completely blew my mind. One of the most clever algorithms and implementation that I have seen in the recent times. It was like seeing Radix sort for the first time and realizing that sorting still works even if you sort by least significant bit first!
6
lost-theory 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great addition, I can finally replace my probabilistic key dumper (lua procedure that grabbed 1k RANDOMKEYs at a time and ran forever).
7
programminggeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
For some reason my brain read this as "Finally Redis collections are terrible"
8
dl_terp 1 day ago 0 replies      
In this day and age, that move was like shooting yourself in the foot. This is the second page like this to make page #1 of hacker news... we're in the sharing information age people, you can't do stuff like this.
29
Things that suck in AngularJS lhorie.blogspot.ca
206 points by sbarre  2 days ago   147 comments top 33
1
gkoberger 2 days ago 13 replies      
Documentation is by far the worst part of Angular. I spent 90% of my time Googling and 10% writing code. (Hey, maybe that's Google's plan -- ramp up traffic to search. Synergy!)

AngularUI is confusing, mostly undocumented and often behind Angular. Splitting ngRoute/ngAnimate into their own files is an odd choice, although I assume the former is so they can replace it with the superior ui-router. Which also is weird. Like jQuery, it seems like the UI portion is just off on their own doing what they want.

Google has the chance to build the new framework that will run the web in 2-3 years. Much like Rails a few years ago. Angular is an amazing framework. It seems like they just don't care.

Angular needs someone versed in developer usability to take control of the public facing Angular stuff and give it a complete overhaul. Right now, it's the result of hundreds of people haphazardly making changes.

2
Nitramp 2 days ago 2 replies      
I agree with most of the things mentioned in the article, but here are a couple of nits, just in case you have that exact problem and look for the fix:

$timeout having no $cancelTimeout: that's just called $timeout.cancel(), taking the promise you got out of the initial $timeout call.

$.when is called $q in AngularJS, support for promises actually runs deep in the framework.

Regarding the difficulty of instantiating controllers, and controlling who publishes what on the $scope when: I think there should be a style rule that you never, ever have some piece of JavaScript depend on the fact that some other piece of JS adds a variable to its parent scope. Yes, that's global state, or dynamic scoping, and should never be used. Just create a service if you need two directives to communicate. This gets more obvious and easier with 1.2 and the controller-as style.

Bi-directional data binding should never get you into a loop if you take care to only use the APIs in ngModelController. If you managed to trigger a loop, you're probably using the wrong API - loops are something that can happen in bi-directional data binding, but it's not a given.

This is not to say the author is wrong, as said above, I agree with most of his points.

3
louthy 2 days ago 0 replies      
> I consider myself to be a reasonably good js developer, but the internals of AngularJS are overwhelmingly non-approachable.

Same here. I'm just getting up to speed with Angular. I spent the past weekend developing a web-app to manage our internal test-process. I like it a lot, I managed to create an incredibly complex and interactive web-app in two days.

Well, I say I like it a lot, I like the idea a lot: data driven mark-up, separation of concerns, etc.

However when it goes wrong it's incredibly difficult to step through the Angular code to work out what on earth is the cause of the issue.

It took me several hours of poking around trying to get this tree-view directive to work:

http://ngmodules.org/modules/angular.treeview

First to try and work out why the directive wasn't being initialised, then why the parameters were coming through with different names of the properties compared to what the original source expected (ngTreeModel rather than treeModel for example). Then, why on the inner elements of the tree the properties coming through were named as expected!

So exasperated I head over to the documentation for directives, and, yeah, horrible... incredibly dry and terse.

I never quite got to the bottom of the issue, and have deferred working it out until I know Angular a bit more (var treeId = attrs.ngTreeId || attrs.treeId).

But I can't deny that this thing is incredibly powerful, so I think it's worth persevering with. But yeah, some better docs and up-to-date examples would be very, very welcome.

EDIT:

I remember reading this a few months back. Now I get it...

http://www.bennadel.com/blog/2439-My-Experience-With-Angular...

4
jowiar 2 days ago 2 replies      
Angular, when it feels right, makes me incredibly productive, but I feel like I spend 90% of my time banging my head against a brick wall.

One of the single biggest usability features of anything is giving things appropriate names. The "other half" of Karlton's law is well in effect here. Angular fails miserably at this task. And that makes reading documentation, as well as maintaining enough context in my head to be productive nearly impossible.

From a documentation standpoint, the documentation focuses on "this is how this function works internally" rather than "this is how you use it to produce results".

I want to like Angular. So much of it feels right, and technically it seems excellent. It really is a usability nightmare, though.

5
dchuk 2 days ago 1 reply      
Shameless subreddit promotion: I (and the rest of the members) are trying to submit every single worthwhile AngularJS article to http://www.reddit.com/r/angularjs so that it becomes a solid place to keep up with AngularJS tutorials and guides.

So far we've almost doubled the subscriber-base in about 3 months so things are finally starting to snowball a bit in terms of participation.

6
eof 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been doing (mostly backend) webwork for a living for about half a decade now; the last ~6 months I have been building an app that is using angular.

I agree the documentation sucks; but beyond that I actually don't have any complaints. I don't have anything to compare it to; but I have written some JS over the years and what angular is doing is blowing my mind.

Because it blows my mind I find it hard to bitch or find fault. I did have to spend several hours stepping through angular core code to figure out WTF was going on with $scope.$watch(); but again, I can't really say that $watch itself sucks; just that I had to read the code to actually understand how to use it.

If I had to pick something other than documentation to point at, I would say that silent shadowing of non-object primitives when "new" scopes are creates for things like ng-repeat and ng-if

7
davexunit 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Angular docs are a ghetto. They really need to get rid of the Disqus comments section. Also, I don't think it really helps that their docs are an Angular application. I would really prefer a static html manual and an offline version in pdf or info format.
8
gbadman 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a good set of arguments explaining some challenging corners of AngularJS.

It is true that when you start getting into the realm of edge cases, substantial knowledge of the framework's internals is required to put together a solution that is consistent with the 'zen of Angular'.

The author argues that some of the challenges introduced by Angular's $apply lifecycle and its approach to two-way bindings make it a challenge to use in certain circumstances. I would rephrase that and say that Angular's state-tracking and two-way binding solution is a very elegant hack to a very complex problem, considering limitations imposed by javascript, css and html. Angular proposes a set of integrated solutions that allow developers to avoid a substantial amount of boilerplate (and complex boilerplate, at that) for synchronizing state and the view. As with every other framework, it is not appropriate for every problem.

That being said, I continue to use and love Angular in a complex app with quite a few moving parts. I migrated from Backbone.js about a year ago and never looked back.

/x-post from Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/javascript/comments/1pdzbz/things_th...

9
Cthulhu_ 1 day ago 1 reply      
So, a lot of people complain about AngularJS's documentation, not just this article or the comments, but everywhere.

Does nobody see the bright 'Improve this doc' button at the top right or something? It's an open source project - instead of complain, contribute! The link immediately opens a github pull request for your convenience and you can edit it in github's own editor.

Yeah, you could shift the blame to Google, but afaik, it's not one of their supported products, but a 10% time product - meaning that the creators / maintainers themselves can't work full-time on it either, and rely on the open source community to help them out.

Go forth and fork.

10
bearwithclaws 2 days ago 2 replies      
Been using (or, trying to use) AngularJS for the past 2 months.

The way to get around the bad documentation for me are sites like http://egghead.io/ and http://thinkster.io/ (and of course, tons of SO-ing).

11
general_failure 2 days ago 6 replies      
If you think angular docs are bad , you should try ember. Ember is so frustrating. All answers on SO are out of date or wrong.
12
woah 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can't google just hire an intern to update the documentation? C'mon guys, it would likely be the very cheapest and most effective thing they could do at this point.
13
rcconf 2 days ago 3 replies      
I found Angular to be overly complex and couldn't imagine training a team to learn to use it in reasonable time. That's the scariest part of adopting Angular for me. How would other coworkers adapt to the API and how long would it take for them to use it?

The documentation was o.k at best, but I find that isn't the core issue. If you take a look at http://docs.angularjs.org/guide/concepts, it takes a very long time to completely understand what's happening under the covers.

I'm definitely looking for alternatives.

14
rjaguayo 2 days ago 0 replies      
JQuery.when is similar to $q.allhttp://docs.angularjs.org/api/ng.$q
15
adrianbg 2 days ago 1 reply      
My biggest pet peeve is how it suppresses errors in inline expressions.
16
jacques_chester 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's also a lot of missing fit and finish.

For example:

   watch( watchExpression, listener, [ objectEquality ] )
vs

   watchCollection( obj, listener )
Yet in watchCollection, like in watch, 'obj' can be an expression that is evaluated.

17
adamors 1 day ago 0 replies      
When I first started using Angular I actually bought a video course on it from Pluralsight. So when I started my first Angular project I hit the ground running.

There are also a lot of free videos on Youtube, that sometimes explain things more clearly than the docs.

18
dodyg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Please do not use a framework that you do not understand. It is not good for the sustainability of your application. It is better to read/maintain a verbose application than dealing with some obscure magic.

I tried to learn AngularJs but I can't understand it so I gave up and used a simpler and more limited JS library (ractivejs).

19
colemorrison 2 days ago 0 replies      
I absolutely love angular. Documentation is a definite given. I was having a problem with resolving an ng-class on <body> with $rootscope and I thought, "I'll go look at $rootScope's documentation!"

http://docs.angularjs.org/api/ng.$rootScope

Psyche. Good god.

20
flylib 2 days ago 1 reply      
Surprised the knock is bad documentation (The site is awful), but I have heard that Angular has a lot better documentation then Ember currently does
21
atulagarwal 1 day ago 0 replies      
AngularJS explicitly [1] states that its suited best for standard CRUD apps. If you need to do something which requires touching the DOM or some low level manipulation, better stay off it. We decided against it while building our GUI Editor ( adpushup.com), and decided on Backbone (w/ Backbone relational). Backbone is a library (as opposed to being a framework) and plays really nice with jQuery and vanilla JS.

However, there'll be projects/components for which AngularJS (or EmberJS) would be better suited, and we'll surely love to give it a try.

[1] : http://docs.angularjs.org/guide/overview

22
RossM 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been turned off by the Angular docs (feels like how I found API refs intimidating when I started coding) - can anyone recommend an alternative or book?
23
codereflection 2 days ago 0 replies      
Where are the Angular devs? Are they not paying attention? I would expect at least ONE contributor to see this article and take in the feedback, offer advice, make corrections.
24
apunic 1 day ago 0 replies      
Got also into Angular for some while and my verdict: if this wasn't made by Google it wouldn't haven gotten off the ground. Its concept has too many quirks and isn't thought through. Tried recently React and this feels much more sane, you have to relearn stuff but it's way less than Angular and performance is better.
25
Kiro 1 day ago 0 replies      
Worst for me: hooking up Angular with a stateless REST API without using a middle layer application for authentication.
26
EGreg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Those people here looking for a tiny, sane MVC framework with live bindings should try CanMVC. After doing a bunch of frameworks (JavascriptMVC, DoneMVC) I think that company produced a simple, well documented framework better than Backbone.
27
arbus 1 day ago 1 reply      
> The page for directives is another (in)famous part of the docs that, despite relating to one of the most important aspects of the framework, is often derided as being overly dry

While that used to be true, the directives page recently got updated to provide a much better and simple guide to directives along with plently of code samples - http://docs.angularjs.org/guide/directive

28
gadr90 2 days ago 0 replies      
A framework guides you into a determined way of doing things.It is a known tradeoff: 90% of what you need to do is simpler, 10% may be a little harder. I have now built two medium-large web apps over the last months with Angular and while, naturally, it's not without problems, I have found that most of my difficulties were due to me doing things in a non-Angular way.

I also find it is going in a very good direction with the recent changes in 1.2.0. They listened to a lot of feedback from the community.

29
itsbits 1 day ago 0 replies      
Every framework has pros and cons. I also suggest you have a look at EmberJS. All those features you are missing in Angular are there in EmberJS like promises using Ember's RSVP etc...And then EmberJS may be having its own cons...Testability is one of them..
30
luikore 2 days ago 1 reply      
I prefer rivets.js. I just need a little library for object binding, I don't need weird java-like concepts.
31
pablobaz 1 day ago 0 replies      
As you dive deeper into Angular it becomes clear a lot of it is unpolished. For example $resource seems very half baked. It has lots of quirks e.g. trailing slashes and its promises support seems to be a bolt-on.
32
henrytao 1 day ago 0 replies      
In my opinion, despite some of the worst parts of Angular, we can use Angular as an integration with existing front-end web framework. We can make AngularJS work smoothly with the site running normal Ajax request, single page technique... (as I made Angular working with OpenERP few days ago).

By this way, we can save a lot of time dealing with DOM and re-use all existing technique too.

33
codeoclock 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pah! Let's write all our code in hex. We can't have the government getting involved in anything!

Ron Swanson approves this message.

30
Fury at Facebook as login requests Government ID thedrum.com
197 points by bgtyhn  1 day ago   226 comments top 38
1
sneak 1 day ago 5 replies      
One of my least favorite memes in western society is that individual people actually believe that the government has some say in defining your name or the boundaries of your family.

Everything from the idea of "legally changed his name" to "same-sex marriage" illustrates the problems of turning to city hall for approval or consent of individuals' and families' deeply personal and private matters.

I wish the US had two more constitutional amendments: our bodies are property belonging to us individually and we are free to do with them as we please (solves abortion debate, war on drugs, assisted suicide, et c) and that government has no authority to regulate private familial matters such as what terms we use to call ourselves, what terms we use to call our loved ones, or who is within or without our families and the terms we use to refer to them (solves the current state of marriage inequality for homosexual relationships and also the discrimination against families that practice nonmonogamy, as well as any other oppressive status-quo reinforcement these assholes may come up with in the future).

It takes a very special kind of oppressor to tell you what words you are allowed to use to call yourself, what things you are allowed to do to your own body, and who you are allowed to love and allow into your family.

2
algorias 1 day ago 13 replies      
With each passing day, I look less and less like a lunatic for avoiding facebook (and its ilk) like the plague.

You should try it.

3
Amadou 1 day ago 5 replies      
How does Facebook intend to validate these government IDs?

I'm pretty sure they can't. They want you to send a scan of some photo-id - that means that all the anti-tamper / anti-forgery tech that might be on the actual ID will be non-existent.

If you are lying about who you are, it will take about 10 minutes in photoshop to come up with something that will pass their test.

Are there any countries that even provide validation services that facebook could use? As I recall, South Korea used to require residents to provide their national ID numbers to access most (all?) in-country websites. That ended up producing a ton of identity theft so they repealed that law.

4
aestetix 1 day ago 2 replies      
Two comments on this:

We started http://www.nymrights.org to combat issues like this. One of our long term goals is to get companies to adopt policies preventing data demands like this unless sufficient protections (read, laws) are in place. (if you're a company debating adopting such a policy, I'd love to chat!)

Second, if you're European, check out the European Court of Human Rights, which offers protection against privacy intrusions like this. It's worth noting that some countries get more specific: Germany has the Telemedia Act, which specifically protects against problems like this.

5
DominikR 1 day ago 10 replies      
I am going to get a lot of downvotes for this but I am still curious to hear what solutions the HN community could come up with for the problem Facebook is facing:

Some of the accounts have been hacked.

You locked the accounts as a security measure.

Now you need to validate that some person is the actual owner of the account.

How would you solve this problem? (Sending a code via text message to the owners mobile device wont work in every case since old accounts didn't have to validate via phone number on registration)

6
ohwp 1 day ago 1 reply      
What amazes me even more is that almost all of those people are screaming an shouting and are entering the ID the next day and forget about it.
7
jnsaff2 1 day ago 1 reply      
So I got locked out about 10h ago and as I saw lots of people like me on twitter then I just went to bed without verifying anything. Wake up, account unlocked without questions.

I suspect this was related to the earlier news where Obama's facebook was hacked [1]. Some junior dev at FB forgot a WHERE clause at a sql query or did something equally dumb to mitigate this.

[1] http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/10/28/uk-usa-obama-twitte...

8
VladRussian2 1 day ago 0 replies      
an ID-verified person - 1st level, 100%. Everything s/he tagged, communicated with, etc... - 2nd level, 95%, everybody "touched" by 2nd level - 90%,... Just a few hundred thousands optimally selected, and the graph is well verified while maintaining an impression of the ID-checks being rare exceptional events.
9
jsvaughan 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is the page about verifying your account:

https://www.facebook.com/help/385569904840341

Facebook accepts any government-issued ID that contains name and date of birth. Examples include:

Birth certificate,Drivers license,Passport,Marriage certificate,Official name change paperwork,Personal or vehicle insurance card,Non-driver's government ID (ex. disability, SNAP or national ID card),Green card, residence permit or immigration papers,Social Security card,Voter ID card

If you don't have a government-issued ID, Facebook will also accept two of the following items that combined must show name and date of birth. Examples include:

Bank statement,Bus card,Check,Credit card,Employment verification,Library card,Mail,Magazine subscription stub,Medical record,Membership ID (ex. pension card, union membership, working or professional ID),Paycheck stub,Permit,School card,School record,Utility bill,Yearbook photo (actual scan or photograph of the page in your yearbook),Please cover up any personal information we don't need to verify your identity (ex: credit card number, social security number).

10
bru 1 day ago 0 replies      
That actually happened to me at the beginning of the year. If I remember right I was in a foreign country (UK) (or just back from it) and Facebook asked me to log in and to scan my government ID (French one actually). However it was optional and there was a small link at the bottom of the page offering to skip that step (which i did without an hesitation).

Is there a difference here? I mean, can they still skip the step? The article does not say much. Anyway the design was made such that it was hard to know you could skip the step.

11
NKCSS 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is a smart move by Facebook; they already sit on the worlds largest data trove (user profiles with likes, family member info, network info, tagged pictures, etc. etc.), and now they add the last part of the user verification step...
12
Tarang 1 day ago 1 reply      
A response to 'The Zuckerberg Files' (http://zuckerbergfiles.org/)?

I find it hard to justify a use for this type of info online? You can get money-related businesses because of the need to comply legally but why facebook?

Off topic: Does anyone think Google's floating barge is a way to evade compliance when it comes to data monitoring? Theoretically they could go further offshore

13
JoshGlazebrook 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not as bad as Paypal with their requirement that you provide proof of SSN to unfreeze your funds that were frozen for no apparent legitimate reason.
14
Fuxy 1 day ago 1 reply      
:)) I don't upload images/scans of important documents on the internet what makes Facebook think they're special.

I use my card online (because i have to) and I'm constantly checking my accounts for shady transactions but there's no way in hell I share my id on the internet.

Every bit-coin website that asked for this lost my business and if Facebook does the same will happen to them.

15
znowi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow. So, basically, Facebook says: "You're locked out. If you want to stay a Facebook user, you must provide your government issued ID, or else - get lost."

This is a glimpse of the future, if we let it slide. The Internet giants can amend their ToS as they see fit and you will have to comply or get out. And for many people getting out is not an option when all of their immediate circle is already on it. So they endure humiliation in order to stay in, as well.

There must be legal restrictions on this type of behavior.

16
mkhalil 1 day ago 0 replies      
Facebook is still that popular? I deactivated years ago and never cared to go back. I will activate every once in a while, check the feed, and leave. I have over 1000 friends, but the feed has slowed down to an extreme and it's mostly mommy/kid pictures now. A lot of people in my social circles agree too. It's pretty irrelevant as far as our social lives go. Instagram + Twitter is still pretty active. Hmm..wonder if it's bigger in other states/countries.
17
k-mcgrady 1 day ago 0 replies      
Something similar happened to me. I had several company accounts with a page on each. I tried to login one day and Facebook requested ID. It seemed to happen to me when I tried to login via incognito mode in Chrome (so that I didn't have to logout of my main account first).

I still haven't entered the ID but I manage one of the pages for a business (I also manage their website, twitter etc.) and I'm either going to have to enter the ID or give up the job.

I can't see any reason Facebook require this. It seems like real scummy practice.

18
JeremyNT 1 day ago 0 replies      
I encountered this, perhaps ironically, while attempting to deactivate my long unused Facebook account.

I was able to log in using my credentials (which I store in a keepass database), but since the account had been inactive for so long (I guess?) this was insufficient. After successfully providing my username and passphrase, I was prompted with a security question, the answer to which I did not recall (I had created the account many years ago).

The only remedy, according to Facebook support, was to provide a scan of a government ID (via email, of course). Nevermind that I knew the password. Nevermind that I had access to the email address associated with the account.

I told them I was unwilling to provide this, and they told me I was out of luck. I decided that leaving a phantom, inactive FB account in the wild was better than providing these people with what they wanted, and got on with my life.

After several weeks, I for some reason decided to try again - and at that time all I needed was my passphrase. Why? Who knows. Maybe it was my lucky day.

I don't really know what the takeaway should be, but my personal lesson is that I should probably also store secret questions and answers in a password database, since apparently some services deem them to be required even when I have the passphrase.

19
hawkharris 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think you all are overreacting to this story.

You don't have to provide a government ID to login back into Facebook. Alternatively, I was able to give them my bank passwords, private emails and a list of deep dark childhood secrets.

20
hanley 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, the way that they display the Twitter quotes in the article is hideous! The icons are huge and distracting, and on top of that they don't seem to understand the basic idea that all close quotes need to match up with an open quote.

'Open Quote Icon'

message

'Close Quote Icon'

-username

'Another Close Quote Icon'

21
scrrr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Business idea: Generate "Government ID" that is good enough to pass Facebook verification.
22
ecocentrik 1 day ago 0 replies      
Facebook keeps pushing the bounds of what's acceptable in terms of personal privacy. They have given no indications that they will ever stop pushing the privacy boundaries. This behavior seems to be a major component of their operational/business model.
23
Flenser 1 day ago 0 replies      
They should get you to pick 2-3 friends from the subset of your closest contacts that they trust[1] to receive a multi-part[2] password so that you can prove you're you by your contact with your friends.

[1] i.e. Facebook believe they are real people who could verify your identity.

[2] It could be a form of n of m authentication so you wouldn't need to get all of them.

24
thehme 1 day ago 0 replies      
Doesn't really make sense to why FB would want people's Gov IDs to then allow them to simply upload pictures, gossip, or comment of other people comments. Does this behavior remind anyone of 1984 and the whole idea about controlling people's behavior/thinking by pretending or actually monitoring their activities/life? What is two-step verification, passcode generators or answer your secret questions, if not for this?
25
ansgri 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many people respond to such unreasonable request by uploading something... indecent and shocking, to say the least.
26
jason_slack 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lets all just remember that we make our own choices.

1. If you want to use Facebook, then you must follow the rules they set forth.

2. If you dont like #1. Just dont use it.

As consumers we all make choices that we need to make to benefit ourselves. If I dont like a grocery store, I dont shop there. If I get treated rude someplace. I find a new place that treats me better.

27
tehmaco 1 day ago 0 replies      
Isn't there a problem of copyright associated with Government ID?

In the UK, things like your passport are copyright to The Crown and there's official guidance[1] on how to go about getting permission to make copies of them.

I'd imagine other countries are the same. So Facebook is asking it's users to infringe government copyright.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachm...

28
NemesorZandrak 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm from Europe. If they will do it to me I will be forced to stop using Facebook. And I will laugh if they will make it happen in uk as people here don't have such ID's
29
nercury 1 day ago 0 replies      
Simple, do rely only on Facebook, be ready to ditch it at any moment.
30
VeejayRampay 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like how how those people think they know better than to provide their personal information to Facebook on a login dialog that is supposed to help them get onto Facebook in the first place. The irony is just so thick I don't even...
31
bovermyer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Meh. The government already knows I use Facebook. Facebook can extrapolate anything about me using the information it already has, including, I imagine, my driver's license number and social security number.

I really don't care at this point. I'm too deeply connected now to retract any of it.

32
crististm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why stop there? They could ask for the SSN as well.
33
twaddington 1 day ago 0 replies      
I read that title as "Furry" at Facebook. I guess I need to put on a second pot of coffee.
34
harel 1 day ago 1 reply      
What is a Government ID?
35
ffrryuu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Migrate to a Open Source social network instead then.
36
itsbits 1 day ago 0 replies      
Atlast they did it..we can expect same from all other sites soon..
37
hajderr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Boycott Facebook.
38
4hthth4 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is it April 1st?
       cached 31 October 2013 04:11:01 GMT