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NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide washingtonpost.com
1516 points by nqureshi  1 day ago   582 comments top
tptacek 1 day ago  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.

Here's how I deal with users who steal pud.com
741 points by pud  3 days ago   210 comments top
nostromo 3 days ago  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.

Why You Shouldn't Interrupt a Programmer heeris.id.au
577 points by libovness  3 days ago   204 comments top 7
jimbokun 3 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.

jtheory 3 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.

calineczka 3 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.

teddyh 3 days ago 2 replies      
Reminds me of this:

Don't Wake Up the Programmer!


jmadsen 3 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

ohwp 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is also why you shouldn't interrupt yourself ;)

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

Announcing The Dark Mail Alliance Founded by Silent Circle and Lavabit silentcircle.wordpress.com
527 points by cylo  1 day ago   202 comments top 5
ChuckMcM 1 day 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.

natural219 1 day ago 12 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.
natch 1 day ago 2 replies      
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.
danielweber 1 day ago 2 replies      
Anyone gone through the checklist yet? http://craphound.com/spamsolutions.txt
zokier 1 day ago  replies      
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".
April 5, 2007: "Show HN, Dropbox" ycombinator.com
493 points by epa  3 days ago   178 comments top 13
SwellJoe 3 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-...

toddmorey 3 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."


singular 3 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.

bstar77 3 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.
swalsh 3 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.

thecoffman 3 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.

novum 3 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

Osiris 3 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".

asperous 3 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.

furyofantares 3 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

hashtree 3 days ago 1 reply      
If there is any thread that might help comfort you about the pessimism sometimes found on HN, this is it.
tzury 3 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.

hackinthebochs 3 days ago  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)

Does life end after 35? kzhu.net
491 points by hakkasan  1 day ago   214 comments top 4
kyro 1 day ago 13 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.

wting 1 day ago 5 replies      
A similar question was asked on Quora recently:


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

japhyr 1 day 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.

digitalsushi 1 day ago  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.
Run Mac OS System 7 in your browser jamesfriend.com.au
371 points by mambodog  3 days ago   100 comments top 34
mambodog 3 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

gilgoomesh 3 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.)

unimpressive 3 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:




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

latchkey 3 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, I totally forgot about needing to hold down on the mouse button to keep menu's open.
Samuel_Michon 3 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.

wsc981 3 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.

austinz 3 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.


muglug 3 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/
nnq 3 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...
nkrumm 3 days ago 1 reply      
Incredible. I can't remember... were the labels really "Hot" "Cool" "Essential" and "In Progress"?
leoc 3 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.

gpcz 3 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.)
azinman2 3 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.
plusbryan 3 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

mrottenkolber 3 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.
ljosa 3 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?
Segmentation 3 days ago 2 replies      
Now I just need Sim Ant, Artillery and The Oregon Trail.
rbanffy 3 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.
krosaen 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Mac Classic II was my first computer, wow does this bring back some old memories :)
tmallen 3 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.

mhewett 3 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.
tannerc 3 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.

geuis 3 days ago 0 replies      
So well done! Lots of great fun memories here.
nonchalance 3 days ago 1 reply      
Do you plan on making this open source? I ask because other similar projects were not made open source
pbreit 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, remember when you had to hold the mouse button down to select a menu item!
taopao 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Apps and Games image takes me back.

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

elf25 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice but where's Dark Castle? My disk won't fit in the slot.
LadyMartel 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oh my god, Kid Pix! I wasted countless hours doodling stick figures. Good times.
amrnt 3 days ago 1 reply      
It has 4 GB memory same as my macbook air :)
augbot 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was totally expecting to see Talking Moose! lol.. Excellent work, totally took me back.
tmimicus 3 days ago 0 replies      
omot 3 days ago 1 reply      
1991... that's when I was born.
runnr_az 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. That's awesome.
Tarang 3 days ago  replies      
Just brilliant!
Ionicons Free and beautiful icons, MIT licensed ionicons.com
370 points by yesimahuman  2 days ago   95 comments top 38
slg 2 days 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?
yesimahuman 2 days 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
Samuel_Michon 2 days 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)

rfrey 2 days 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. :`/

castis 2 days 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
pplante 2 days 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

ris 2 days 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?

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


electic 2 days ago 1 reply      
It would be nice if people would contribute to Font Awesome instead of creating whole new sets.
nickpresta 2 days 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.

_greim_ 2 days ago 1 reply      

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this bad for performance?

iambateman 2 days 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).

kenrikm 2 days 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
Bahamut 2 days 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? :)

abstractmatter 1 day 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).

username42 1 day 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.
mfer 2 days ago 2 replies      
Unfortunately, it fails to display in Firefox for me on either a Mac or Linux. Works in Chrome though.
jankins 1 day ago 0 replies      
this is excellent, here it is for use in iOS projects: https://github.com/TapTemplate/ionicons-iOS
ehutch79 1 day 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.

samdunne 2 days 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)

themodelplumber 1 day 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.
Oculus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Some of these are very nice, will definitely use them in my next project, thanks!
antrix 2 days 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.
lobo_tuerto 1 day ago 1 reply      
Too bad there is no text below the icons for fast searching.
mixmastamyk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Many of these are already unicode characters. Do the fonts of these icon sets use the corresponding characters?
i386 1 day ago 1 reply      
Would they scale up ok if I were to use them for Mac OS X apps?
chmars 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm missing emoticons ;
tambourine_man 2 days ago 0 replies      
They look great, but the page is crashing mobile Safari (4s iOS 7) after a bit of scrolling.
azsxdcfv 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lol, thought at first that is ui8 icons http://ui8.net/ui-icons become MIT, looks same.
adamdbradley 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ben also wrote a great post describing how he built Ionicons: http://ionicframework.com/blog/building-ionicons/
alexgaribay 2 days ago 0 replies      
These are really beautiful! Awesome set of icons!
rohitv 1 day ago 0 replies      
A bit curious about the Ionic Framework, what are the advantages when compared with jQuery Mobile?
willchilcutt 2 days 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.
Rampoina 2 days 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.
Sam121 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cool work got all social media icons one place. Thanks
JoelAnair 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really nice icons. Thanks for sharing.
yOutely 2 days ago 3 replies      
Monotone icons can never be beautiful.
DonGateley 1 day ago 0 replies      
Monochrome and flat. How much more ucking fugly anything could be I can't imagine.
Mysterious Mac and PC malware that jumps airgaps? arstechnica.com
348 points by mercurial  11 hours ago   226 comments top 10
marijn 9 hours ago 4 replies      
What triggers my skepticism is

* "Ruiu said he plans to get access to expensive USB analysis hardware" -- I'm not an expert on USB, but I do believe it should be trivial to tap the traffic between a machine and such an infected stick, and compare it to what should normally be happening.

* No effort seems to have been made to capture the sound waves made by this (supposedly reproduceable) high-frequency audio networking.

* The infected bios hasn't been dumped and compared to the bios the machine was supposed to have.

* For some reason, there's no mention of other researchers getting access to or investigating infected machines and usb sticks.

These are all extremely basic steps that could be taken to make the story go from vague conjecture to actual proof (or disproof). Why weren't they taken?

DanBlake 10 hours ago 5 replies      
From reading the facts in the article, it seems totally unrealistic. Post some dumps of executables, network packets or SOMETHING besides a story.

Honestly, this type of paranoia sounds more like someone on the brink of a breakdown. Can you imagine spending years working on this and still having no 'data' about it? If its infecting stuff from this USB drive, just post the contents of the drive for analysis.

tptacek 10 hours ago 10 replies      
The audio channel doesn't make any sense to me; when I heard it from Dragos on Facebook the first time, I was actually a little worried about him. It's not that I think it's impossible to create a covert channel over audio; it obviously isn't. It's that for the malware story to play out, the covert receiver needs to already exist; if it does, you're already infected, so what does "air gapping" matter?
ChuckMcM 10 hours ago 4 replies      
Interesting story. The use of audio is fascinating, even with 20khz carriers, using FSK[1] you're looking at maybe a 6666 baud which is 666 bytes per second. That is about 2 seconds per 1500 byte packet. So not exactly a "fast" way to communicate.

You might use QPSK (basically two FSK ranges using phase to indicate 00/01/10/11 states but that would still make for a pretty small pipe. Perhaps enough for a C&C channel be not really enough to exfiltrate data.

[1] Frequency Shift Keying - generally takes three complete cycles to of a 'tone' to reliably recognize the frequency. So 20,000 / 3 = 6666.666 bauds per second.

DanBC 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The article is long and a bit rambling. It doesn't do a good job of explaining what steps Dragos took to eliminate different attack methods. It doesn't sound like a particularly clean fault finding / debugging session.

> For most of the three years that Ruiu has been wrestling with badBIOS, its infection mechanism remained a mystery. A month or two ago, after buying a new computer, he noticed that it was almost immediately infected as soon as he plugged one of his USB drives into it. He soon theorized that infected computers have the ability to contaminate USB devices and vice versa.

I don't want to sound mean, but what? This paragraph just reads like Hurp-Durp to me. I'm an idiot, but even I know that there are some very nasty things to do to USB drives.

EDIT: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6534617 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=933210 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1855936

jameshart 10 hours ago 4 replies      
Is this a computer ghost story for halloween? Now I'm never going to be able to get my laptop to Sleep.
XorNot 10 hours ago 1 reply      
The lack of low-level analysis is incredibly suspicious. If you think its moving at the BIOS-level on USB sticks, then you find someone with a high-frequency recording oscilloscope and capture every single electrical signal you see on that bus because it's certainly not going to be moving an encrypted version of its own infection code. Same thing you'd do to the microphone and speaker.

I mean I get a few months of nothing you don't do this, but 3 years? A USB bus is not high bandwidth - there's off-the-shelf hardware that will do this.

This story is just too fantastical to be true. We're talking about a ridiculously sophisticated piece of malware, which has been found nowhere else, and is absurdly high visibility (people don't keep using computers which are obviously infected with something).

If you had something as resistant as this in your pocket, you didn't write it on your own, and the absolute last thing you would do is give it high-visibility infection symptoms and toss it out into the wild.

EDIT: It's worth noting this would very much hardly be the first time a researcher suddenly went off the reservation. Happens to even Nobel Laureates.

DanI-S 10 hours ago 0 replies      
For anyone having trouble believing that their computer can network using sound, give this demo a try:


brudgers 10 hours ago 0 replies      
As I read the article I thought, "Gee, my phone has a USB port and a radio or two."

By the end I'd added, "And a speaker and a microphone."

If I was [metaphorically] a state sponsored espionage agency, that's the way I would go. I wouldn't be fooling around with USB sticks. That 1990's vector has been publicly outed and people can easily live without them.

And by writing this, I've just now tinfoil-hatted my way to the belief that pretty much every electronic device, if it isn't p'wned, it's just by the blessings of laziness or disinterest. After having read about the scale upon which the US pursued cryptography during the Second World War in Battle of Wits: The Complete Story of Codebreaking in World War II by Stephen Budiansky, I'm not betting on either.

peterwwillis 10 hours ago  replies      
What could easily explain all of this is he's installing OSes using pirated media (which commonly bundles trojans). Plugging in the USB drive could just be triggering the trojan that came in the OS.

The most telling thing about the article is he hasn't been able to capture any of the malware code in three years. Either it's all in firmware and not being delivered to the OS, or it's already in the OS.

...And it could also be a series of unfortunate coincidences that just look like malware activity. CDROM doesn't boot? Probably a bad CDROM drive. Registry editor disabled? Probably a bug in Windows. Strange networking where it shouldn't be? Apps transmit random networking crap all the time, and you don't need OS support to send arbitrary raw packets. 'Modifying settings and deleting data' could be anything, like a log rotater, I don't know.

If it sounds impossible, it probably is.

Firefox 25 is released mozilla.org
331 points by lambda_cube  2 days ago   225 comments top 5
agentultra 2 days 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.
lobster_johnson 2 days 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.

qwerty_asdf 2 days 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.

sp332 2 days 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.
mrspeaker 2 days ago  replies      
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.

Nexus 5 play.google.com
320 points by sonier  8 hours ago   286 comments top 8
OoTheNigerian 7 hours ago 16 replies      
As an African/Nigerian I am not even allowed to see what it looks like. Talk less of trying to make a purchase [1].

Last Night, I had to lie that I am in the US so I would be allowed to by Remote by 37Signals on my kindle.

Quite ridiculous and annoying.


farslan 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Actual link: http://www.google.com/nexus/5/ the current one can't be visited by countries outside US
orbitingpluto 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
Just a tip: Make sure you are logged into your Google account. Until I logged in it was showing as "Out of Stock".

32gb black was available when only the 16gb white was available previously.

edit: Also note that mine is a Google Play Dev Account, which may or not affect availability.

laughfactory 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I LOVE my Nexus 4 (running on Straight Talk) and can't wait to upgrade to the Nexus 5. The Nexus 4 has been my single favorite Android smartphone EVER. And I've previously owned a host of Android smartphones. Most of them just didn't work as well as advertised. The Nexus 4 does. Previously I had a Galaxy Note, for example, which I absolutely hated. It had all kinds of lag and performance issues, and I really hated getting updates so slowly. It's camera was crappy, its keyboard worse. The only thing I liked about it was the big beautiful screen. However, the Nexus 4 has a beautiful (if smaller) screen, too, and WAY better performance. I will NEVER purchase a non-Nexus Android phone (unless they let me down sometime in the future). I've been tempted by some of the HTC's but ultimately dissuaded by the fact that they still take a while to get the latest and greatest Android updates.

LG and Nexus FTW.

eikenberry 5 hours ago 5 replies      
Any chance of a Nexus 3 for people who don't want a tablet in their pocket?
piyush_soni 19 minutes ago 2 replies      
They have this seemingly new sensor called "Hall Effect". Anyone knows what does it do?
antsam 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
Hm. A 784kb PNG image downloaded on my phone when i tried to view that :(
jwoah12 6 hours ago  replies      
I just ordered one, but I'm currently on Verizon. What does everyone think is the best way to go in terms of non-contract carriers for the N5? Heard some good things about Straight Talk, but also read that their customer service is horrible.
Run Windows 1.01 in your browser jsmachines.net
314 points by chl  4 days ago   85 comments top 29
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.

pud 3 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.

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.


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

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

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.
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.

tzury 3 days ago 1 reply      
After Bellard's JSLinux, it was just about time till more OS will be ported to JS.


jaxbot 3 days ago 0 replies      
All these features, and Reversi!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGvHNNOLnCk
fosk 3 days ago 0 replies      
This an insanely great emulation. Including the loading times.
csmatt 3 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.
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
crb 3 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.
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".)
marshray 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, it had been a long time since I'd played DONKEY.BAS. http://jsmachines.net/demos/pc/donkey/
conradfr 3 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.

milesf 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yep, still as slow and glitchy as I remember it :)

This trend of retro computing is a wonderful trend.

jmhain 3 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.
amenod 3 days ago 0 replies      
Unbelievable... I never knew how Windows looked before 3.0 - thanks!
shurcooL 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice, this one runs on an iPad mini! Not much slower than on a computer.
fosap 3 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?
mrbuttons454 3 days ago 0 replies      
I still suck at Reversi. :(
abhididdigi 3 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.
obfuskater 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's really mind blowing how it's written entirely in javascript
Max_Horstmann 3 days ago 0 replies      
Glad it boots to desktop, not metro.
devsatish 3 days ago 0 replies      
the left top menu looks like bootstrap collapse :-).Nostalgia for sure..good work
patelmiteshb 3 days ago 0 replies      
i am not sure but i am not able to do it.
tegansnyder 3 days ago 2 replies      
where is qbasic?
Cisco to release BSD-licensed H.264 stack brendaneich.com
311 points by padenot  1 day ago   169 comments top 3
ghoul2 1 day ago 11 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.

pthatcherg 1 day ago 7 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.

smnrchrds 1 day ago  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?

Wow, or from the When-Apple-Became-the-Borg Department lessig.tumblr.com
305 points by mxfh  3 days ago   85 comments top 22
revelation 3 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.
caryme 3 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).

KaiserPro 3 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.

Shivetya 3 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

usaphp 3 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.

post_break 3 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.
brador 3 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.

bambax 3 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...

driverdan 3 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?

conception 3 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.

kbenson 2 days 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.

daraosn 3 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!!


ebbv 3 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.

brudgers 3 days ago 0 replies      
Assimilation means buying an iPhone 5s or 5c, not upgrading an old one.

Geeze, that was easy.

cormullion 3 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.
dragontamer 3 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.

jimhefferon 3 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?
mahyarm 3 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'.
wtdominey 3 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.
mergy 3 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.

mumbi 3 days ago 1 reply      
losethos, you're dead. just thought you should know.
microcolonel 3 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.
Stupid Programmer Tricks and Star Wars GIFs rarlindseysmash.com
304 points by chewxy  2 days ago   43 comments top 18
btbuildem 2 days 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..
ZoFreX 2 days 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!")

ryanthejuggler 2 days ago 1 reply      

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.)

noelwelsh 2 days 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.
jlgreco 2 days 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?
chewxy 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is what I call a great hack.
akx 2 days 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:


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

_pmf_ 1 day 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.
sdoering 2 days 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!

rflrob 2 days 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.
ge0rg 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is brilliant. Now, instead of using random quotes, please take the IMDB quotes and make anigifs of them :)
moccajoghurt 2 days 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.

sonnyz 2 days 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.
bazzargh 2 days 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)

parennoob 1 day 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.

mark_olson 2 days 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.
HarrietJones 2 days ago 0 replies      
TAAS - Tumblr as a Service.
gutsy 2 days 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.

Surface Pro 2 penny-arcade.com
302 points by kposehn  3 days ago   194 comments top 4
rayiner 3 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.

noonespecial 3 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.

DigitalSea 3 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.

codeulike 3 days ago  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.
Discoveries Ten Years Later in Zelda Speedrun joellehman.com
300 points by jal278  3 days ago   85 comments top 23
coldpie 3 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

oskarth 3 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.


jal278 3 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

vinkelhake 3 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.

minimaxir 3 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/ )
mpyne 3 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/

theboss 3 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.



hayksaakian 3 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.

ColinDabritz 3 days ago 0 replies      
The speed demos archive has a lot of excellent speedruns: http://speeddemosarchive.com/
Argorak 2 days 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:


tarice 3 days ago 0 replies      
Another glitch that was found relatively recently (not shown in linked run):


A more complete explanation of the glitch occurs earlier in the video, but he explains the basics of it after he performs the glitch (unfortunately dying in the process). Apparently three different exploiters found three exploits that, when combined, enabled this glitch. Quite fascinating.

decadentcactus 2 days 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.

Camillo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Those four paragraphs don't really add anything. Why not link directly to the video?
prezjordan 3 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

dcolgan 3 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
barbs 3 days ago 0 replies      
If anyone's interested, I think the forum thread Cosmo mentions in the video is this one:


mistercow 3 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.

Aardwolf 2 days 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.
ben-yu 3 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
Ayjay 3 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.
ieatdots 2 days ago 0 replies      
Check out Masterjun's similar Super Mario World exploits here:



harrysboileau 3 days ago 0 replies      
AsymetricCom 3 days ago 0 replies      
Now only if I could find suck hacks in physics.
Users complain their Dell 6430u laptops smell like cat piss dell.com
298 points by kmfrk  2 days ago   156 comments top 10
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

smacktoward 2 days 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...

ekianjo 2 days 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 ?

nilsbunger 2 days 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.'''

whalesalad 2 days 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.
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.
Alex3917 2 days ago 2 replies      
For what it's worth, wine enthusiasts refer to this cat pee smell as 'boxwood' and pay extra for it.
b0b0b0b 2 days 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...

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

-- Apologies to Archimedes

jacob019 2 days ago  replies      
5 pages of comments, how bizarre. What could possibly go wrong in manufacturing to make electronics smell like cat piss?
Comcast is donating to defeat mayor who is bringing gigabit fiber to Seattle washingtonpost.com
299 points by coloneltcb  5 hours ago   109 comments top 12
sage_joch 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Mayor McGinn brought this up in his recent /r/Seattle AMA (worth reading if you're at all interested in the race):


jhspaybar 4 hours ago 2 replies      
This is going to be a comment that needs to know a bit about the Seattle area, so if you're out of town, I'm sorry :).

I currently live near the top of the hill of Queen Anne, my options for internet are Comcast, or Comcast essentially. Century link is also up there with a plan for a whopping 7mbps of speed down and less than 1mbps up. Comcast offers a plan for 50mbps down and 10mbps up, I need more upload speed, but I can make do with an upload running for hours a day. This wouldn't be bad if Comcast actually worked, but it doesn't. Probably 2 or 3 nights a week my internet becomes near unusable during peak times, I resort to putting my cell phone on LTE and seeing what I need to that way, I can't even keep up with the buffer rate on the lowest quality Youtube videos.

Downtown though, there are a number of apartment and condo buildings that offer 100mbps up & down internet for $60 a month (compared to my $75 for Comcast), or 1gigabit up and down for $120 a month(not available from Comcast at all). So, we do have some gigabit internet, and I've actually found a few places I'd consider living and likely will affect my decision when I eventually move.

At least in my neighborhood, Comcast has terrible(often broken) service with absolutely no alternative. I suppose maybe the density of Queen Anne can't justify the cost of gigabit fiber to the top of the hill, but given how many Microsoft and Amazon people live up here I'd be shocked if there weren't huge interest. This seems damning as to the economic viability of fiber that a relatively dense upper income neighborhood can't get fiber without government subsidy.

techpeace 5 hours ago 1 reply      
If you'd like to donate to the mayor who is fighting for gigabit fiber for Seattle (and thus cancel out a portion of Comcast's donations), you can do so here: https://services.myngp.com/ngponlineservices/contribution.as...
thethimble 4 hours ago 5 replies      
I don't see why this is a bad thing? Comcast is contributing to the campaign that is best in line with its interest. As long as political contributions by corporations are OK (which is another debate which is out of the scope of this issue) this seems completely reasonable.
CamperBob2 5 hours ago 4 replies      
It may not be a single-issue sort of thing. McGinn has not exactly been popular across a wide cross section of the local electorate, as anyone who has spent five minutes walking (or more likely ducking and running) through downtown Seattle can attest.

Comcast may be trying to kill the fiber project, or they may have some other reason for opposing McGinn.

tlrobinson 3 hours ago 1 reply      
"Comcast executive named Janet Turpen contributed $500 to Murray's mayoral campaign in October 2013"

Errr, in a large company aren't you likely to find individual employees donating to almost any given cause?

discardorama 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Sorry to divert off topic, though but: I wish local governments would start treating the Internet as a basic utility; like electricity. You'd have 2 entities involved: the government (PUC) which would, for a very basic rate, maintain your fiber; and an ISP which would actually route your traffic to/from the Internet. So, as a consumer, you'd pay a small amount ($5/mo?) for the fiber; and then depending on your service requirements, pay some gateway to get out to the 'net. This way, Comcast would just be a gateway provider. GW providers would offer different types of services to set them apart from each other (VPN? Movies? Music? etc.).

That's my dream. :-)

a3n 2 hours ago 2 replies      
High speed is cool 'n all, but on the other hand do you really want the government owning or controlling data pipes that you use for personal business?

Seattle police, for one thing, have a history of hostility toward its citizens. I'm sure they'd love easier monitoring of, for example, anti-police groups.

kodablah 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Can someone help me understand how a public-private partnership with Gigabit Squared for fiber is different that a similar project with Comcast for coax? Will there be any deregulation of the fiber at any point in time (e.g. a sunset date) or is this just trading one company for another?
jspaur 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Comcast has other serious challengers here in Seattle as well between CascadeLink (terrible website, but top notch service) and CondoInternet, if you can get either of those, you'll never look at Comcast again (between $30-60/month for 30/100mbit)
detcader 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is how every issue plays out in US politics at the state, local, and national levels, as law professor Lawrence Lessig explains [1]

[1] http://www.ted.com/talks/lawrence_lessig_we_the_people_and_t...

mwnz 5 hours ago  replies      
Ah, the corruption of democracy.
/dev/null as a Service devnull-as-a-service.com
270 points by dewey  2 days ago   87 comments top 28
jnbiche 2 days ago 2 replies      
Best nginx config ever?

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

wulczer 2 days ago 5 replies      
elwell 2 days 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.
rcfox 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd be wary of using this. There's no mention of their data retention policy.
TrainedMonkey 2 days 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).

snorkel 2 days ago 1 reply      
/dev/null is way too polite. For my services I much prefer to rely on the http://foaas.com/ API
comice 2 days 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.

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.
alpeb 2 days ago 1 reply      
What's up with HN today? Lots of reddit-style garbage in the front page.
korvkorvkorv 2 days ago 1 reply      
You guys and your fancy HTTP services. Discard should be enough for everyone. http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc863
mwetzler 1 day 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.


anonymous 2 days 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.
gwu78 2 days 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.

alexchamberlain 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm guessing this is a parody?
korethr 2 days 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.

whalesalad 2 days ago 0 replies      
I get the feeling that the fact that the site never loads for me is intentional?
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).
venantius 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pity devnull.io was already taken.
shenoybr 2 days ago 1 reply      
They had me at "Use our distributed service located in over 380 countries!"
pouzy 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you don't let Google read my data, I'm ready for the 5k/y
dhruvbird 1 day ago 0 replies      
"85,66% guaranteed uptime (we need some sleep, too)"lol!!!
Walkman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if it would be possible to sell a service like this for real. I bet it would.
drnex 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is trash, literally and figuratively.
FrankenPC 2 days ago 0 replies      
I laughed at high availability /dev/null cluster.
bluesmoon 2 days ago 1 reply      
leet timestamp on the HTML: 27.10.2013, 13:37
paxcoder 2 days ago 0 replies      
CC-NC epic fail
runnr_az 2 days ago 0 replies      
that's very silly.
Artemis2 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've always dreamt of that!
Java Virtual Machine in pure Node.js github.com
266 points by binarymax  1 day ago   135 comments top 13
bane 1 day ago 6 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.

jvilk 1 day 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

angersock 1 day ago 2 replies      
Finally, I can run JRuby on my node server!
dlsym 1 day 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!

tzaman 1 day ago 1 reply      
Now I'll have even bigger problem explaining what the difference between Java and Javascript is! :)
drtse4 1 day 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.

stevekinney 1 day ago 4 replies      
Atwood's Law: any application that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript.
cpeterso 1 day 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?
mariusz79 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm waiting for a JavaScript interpreter written in Javascript.

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

adultSwim 1 day 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

szatkus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I created something similar some time ago.


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



duiker101 1 day 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.
antonpug 1 day ago  replies      
Now, my question is. WHY!? I might be crazy, but does anyone see a legitimate use for this?
Particle effects in JavaScript liveweave.com
262 points by browserspot  3 days ago   70 comments top 26
Oculus 3 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!

chestnut-tree 3 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

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


ye 3 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.

b3tta 3 days ago 0 replies      
That one is actually pretty "old" already. The original demo can be found here:


DanBC 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love this. How easy is it to turn this into a Windows / OSX / Linux screen saver?
keeran 3 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/

theatraine 3 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!
bridgeyman 3 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!

lstamour 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is why Google Music needs a visualizer.
deweller 3 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.
DigitalSea 2 days 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!
rtkwe 3 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.
feistyio 3 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.

elwell 3 days ago 0 replies      
aidos 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm obviously being stupid - but what do I have to do to make this run in Chrome?
ticklebottoms 3 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.
njpatel 3 days ago 0 replies      
Absolutely beautiful, lost a few minutes just playing around with it. Would be great as slow, randomised, background or screensaver.
ruggeri 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing, beautifully done. Wonderful :-)
berrypicker 2 days 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?
Zardoz84 3 days ago 1 reply      
Were is the 'AirBender style' in these particle effects demo ?
afatc 3 days ago 0 replies      
This would make a nice screensaver
vayarajesh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice work!
tomashertus 3 days ago 0 replies      
hella cool:)
axisms 3 days ago 0 replies      
just wow!
maxlibin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Apple censors Lawrence Lessig over warranty information zdnet.com
261 points by jjude  2 days ago   88 comments top 8
furyg3 2 days 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."

r0h1n 2 days 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?

acqq 2 days 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.


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.

webology 2 days 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.

daraosn 2 days 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:


rmc 2 days 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.
drderidder 2 days 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.
vor_ 2 days ago 1 reply      
Flamebait headline, check. Author with history of flamebaiting, check. Submitted to HN, check.
9/11 Suspects Cant Mention being Tortured during Trial because Classified allgov.com
251 points by sdoering  2 days ago   142 comments top 8
fchollet 2 days 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.
ryanackley 2 days 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.
andyjohnson0 2 days 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.

ollysb 2 days 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.
Spoom 2 days 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.
loourr 2 days 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


jsaxton86 2 days ago 0 replies      
This sounds like an onion headline. Is this story being reported by more mainstream sources?
kyllo 2 days ago  replies      
Or else what? They'll torture you some more?I don't think these guys have anything left to lose.
MIT Wristband Could Make AC Obsolete wired.com
244 points by petercooper  15 hours ago   118 comments top 28
downandout 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I live in Las Vegas. Deaths occur in homes here every summer due to AC system failures (usually among the elderly and children that cannot easily leave and go to a cooler place). Many more do not die because they realize it is getting too hot and do whatever they have to do to get to a cooler place. A device like this that changes your perception of whether it is hot or cold would likely do more harm than good here and in other extreme climates. I can see huge product liability lawsuits in their future.
sn41 12 hours ago 5 replies      
I live in a small "flat" in India. Without A/C in the summer (only at night), our consumption is ~200 KWhr per month. With A/C only in one room for something like 4-5 hours per day, it shoots up to ~500 KWhr per month. Indians switching to A/C on a big scale will be a disaster for the world.

I believe that the answer lies in architecture, not in more energy-intensive devices which may or may not actually work (this one fools the body - that could be catastrophic, increasing chances for a heat stroke). India was always hot - but older buildings used to be built (1) with high ceilings (2) with cross-ventilation.


This contrasts with buildings in cold countries, where buildings are insulated against winter. In the name of "better" buildings, Indians are switching to sealed buildings working with Central A/C. Blind imitation.

On the other hand, there were builders committed to "environment-friendly", low cost buildings (not the modern scam of "green buildings", which are actually more expensive.) Laurie Baker in South India was one - a real unsung, and now forgotten hero:



officemonkey 13 hours ago 3 replies      
I originally read this as "Alternating Current" and I thought "Oh Gee, not this shit again."


davyjones 14 hours ago 3 replies      
I wonder how changing the perception actually impacts the body's thermostat. I would gladly sweat and let my body do its thing than have a heatstroke while being tricked into thinking that it is relatively cool outside.
ChuckMcM 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the article gets it wrong. Sorry.

Having your body think that it is comfortable, especially when the environment is hazardous, would be a lose. Like filtering out the sound of smoke detectors so you can sleep easier.

That said, this would be quite useful in office situations like ours where some people whine that 75 is too hot and other complain that at 70 they need mukluks. In that situation where the office is actually at a livable temperature, if we could adjust individual perceptions to be comfortable then it would be quite useful.

optymizer 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I like the idea of cooling people as opposed to whole buildings, but I don't like that this isn't actually decreasing your body's temperature, it just 'tricks' you into thinking it's colder/hotter outside. Perhaps it'll pave the way for clothes that can become cool or hot, depending on the temperature outside. I'd be very interested in those.
noptic 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting article - awfull title

The device can make you feel a bit better but it can NOT replace an AC.

It was never designed to replace an AC.

If this was up for purchase i would get one especialy because it is portable and maybe it can be coupled with additional technology (measure blood preasure , acceleration, rfid access tags,...). People have been wearing wrist bands for ages (and even used them as currency) so it seems a good position for a gadget.

ajtaylor 14 hours ago 2 replies      
My body naturally gets very warm, very quickly, with very little exercise. If they can make this work, I might actually be able to wear a suit all day! Luckily I don't need to but that's beside the point.

Assuming they can get the size and look sorted so the average consumer doesn't become a social pariah by wearing one (calculator watches come to mind), I wonder how this is powered? And more importantly, would it last for 8-12 hours on a charge?

nkcmr 14 hours ago 4 replies      
At first I thought MIT had made AC Power Currents obsolete. An audible "no way!" followed shortly after.
georgemcfly 14 hours ago 2 replies      
No it couldnt. Air Conditioning is not just about temperature but also humidity, which this doesn't address. I think room fans would still be necessary to keep the air moving as well. Plus, could tricking your body into thinking its cooler than it actually is be dangerous? Make sure people don't wear it while doing vigorous physical activity in the summer heat.
bagosm 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you MIT for this opportunity to be found frozen to death and smiling happily
nathas 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Heh, I tackled the same problem a few years back in college, but with robotics and computer vision. I prefer this approach.
ctz 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Peltier heat pumps are inefficient; typically wanting a whole bunch of watts for achieving a small temperature gradient. So I'm wondering about the practicalities of powering this thing such that it could be worn as a personal item.
ealloc 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting idea. I though it was going to be more like the 'cooling glove' [1] which actually cools you down, rather than just making you think you're cooler. Hairless skin on the hands and face has blood vessels close to the surface, and cooling those parts is proposed to quickly cool your blood and core temperature.

It looks like the energy and space requirements for such cooling glove are too large to make it portable, however, and it also doesn't work much better than simply holding an ice pack! So, for portable devices, it seems like at most we can only trick ourselves into thinking we're cool.


moocowduckquack 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't make AC obsolete, make it as efficient as you can and then power it from solar. The kind of people who will wear a heat pump on their wrist to try and save electricity, are not the people who run the most AC units.
pawn 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool idea. If you attached a wristwatch to the outside face, I think that'd help it take off.
uptown 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me a little of this, though this uses a constant fan rather than a pulsing schedule of cooling jolts. I've used one before, and it works surprisingly well for such a low-tech contraption.


cpncrunch 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Am I the only person who is skeptical about this? I don't see any published research. It sounds like their device just temporarily distracts you from noticing the heat or cold, in the same way that poking needles into random parts of your body distracts you from pain (aka acupuncture). I would like to see a placebo-controlled study where they having people sitting in a 35C room all day.
g8oz 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone had experience with Phase Change Material (PCM) clothing? Here is one supplier:http://www.outlast.com/en/technology/
ianbicking 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This is like a placebo, intended to trick you into perceiving cold or less-cold when it isn't there. But when there's a real matter at hand placebos only work very temporarily then eventually reality catches up to you. So if it's actually hot, and my body needs to react to that to regulate my temperature, this doesn't change that. But I suppose it would let you turn the temperature up a couple degrees.
randywaterhouse 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This is interesting, and in my opinion definitely deserving of the prize they got for it.

But I think it's real value (in contrast to "replacing A/C") is in developing markets, where a little wristband could really improve quality of life (in the sense that one isn't sweating to death in their shanty-town hut). Not only could it improve QoL, but it would also be much cheaper to install than a central air unit, and also much more feasible: everyone has a wrist, not everyone has an insulated home with consistent electrical service that could provide the power for a central air unit. Cool stuff!

euroclydon 12 hours ago 2 replies      
So it's a trick? I'd rather see a thermal device that makes contact with a larger surface of one or more of my body's high-blood-flow areas and actually cool or heat it.

I've found it efficient to cool or heat myself by letting cold or warm water run over my hands.

paul_f 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Hopelessly naive. An air conditioning system is used to cool spaces yes. But where I live, it is just as important to lower the humidity. This device will not help with that.
stevewilhelm 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If the MIT team had just printed their device on a 3D printer, their article would have knocked the Nexus 5 release off the front page.
ajb 13 hours ago 1 reply      
This may not replace AC, but I wonder if (in colder countries) it would help with dieting. Want to lose weight, just turn your thermostat down by a degree and use this device to help you adapt to it.
Zak 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't imagine this making AC obsolete. It might marginally reduce demand for AC, especially in cooler climates where AC might only be used occasionally if installed.

If made in to a product, I expect it to be popular for outdoor use. I find it appealing enough for that use case that I'm contemplating building one.

mgraczyk 13 hours ago 0 replies      
How about a solar powered thermoelectric mesh woven into a short that cools my body off? Can I have a wired article if I build one, even when it doesn't work?
jagtesh 12 hours ago  replies      
How does fooling the body into thinking the temperature is higher / lower affect the real temperature of the body? The article fails to explain that.

This is like putting a frog in gradually boiling water. The frog cannot sense the increasing temperature, so it stays in the water until its dead.

Winter is coming 42floors.com
239 points by jaf12duke  3 days ago   154 comments top 16
fein 3 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.

CaptainZapp 3 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.

jusben1369 3 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)

robotmay 3 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.

VLM 3 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.

sdoering 3 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.

dholowiski 3 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.

secstate 3 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...

berntb 3 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?

AhtiK 3 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...

beloch 3 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.

16s 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not only are more people depressed, but more actually die during the winter too:


benaiah 3 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.
peterwwillis 2 days 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.





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)

randywaterhouse 3 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!

jdmitch 3 days ago  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:


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

Let's Build a Compiler iecc.com
233 points by _virtu  1 day ago   56 comments top 13
sigil 1 day ago 5 replies      
If you're looking for a modern compilers class -- including the theory of why this stuff works -- I highly recommend Matt Might's [0]. All of the notes, slides, and code are online.

I audited Might's "Compilers" this spring. He live-coded a parser that parsed with derivatives, returning all possible parse trees whenever there were ambiguities in the grammar. [1] (Try getting that from yacc, or basically any other tool in existence right now.)

All of his coding was done in Racket scheme. At the beginning he told us we could use whatever for the projects, but doing certain things in C++ / Java / Python / some imperative language was "like bringing a knife to a gun-fight."

The final project was a working Python -> C translator.

Really badass class.

[0] http://matt.might.net/teaching/compilers/spring-2013/

[1] http://matt.might.net/articles/parsing-with-derivatives/

snoonan 1 day ago 4 replies      
I went through this on my own back in a HS programming class! Glad to see it here.

While the teacher was walking students through how to do loops, I got permission to hack away in the back of the room on this. I ended up building a BASIC-like interpreter with a decent graphics API. By the end of the class, my project was a multi-level breakout game I'd written in the interpreter I'd written. TLDR; two years later, I talked to a girl.

groovy2shoes 1 day ago 5 replies      
This series is one of the best introductions to compiler construction. It doesn't cover everything and it's 25 years old now, but it is the only guide I know of that will hold your hand as you build a working compiler from scratch.

If you have never built a compiler before, I cannot think of a better place to start.

Afterward, if you're curious about theory and advanced topics, I recommend heading to Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools by Aho, Sethi, and Ullman (which covers a lot of theory associated with front-ends) then proceeding to Modern Compiler Construction in ML by Appel (which covers some more advanced topics and back-end stuff). Then you can continue reading about more specific/advanced topics if you like.

petercooper 1 day ago 3 replies      
I followed this in the early 90s and had a lovely time. It helped that Turbo Pascal was my language of choice though and might not be quite so helpful now although Pascal is a pretty good pseudocode..

It's not the same but Vidar Hokstad has been writing a series for several years now in Ruby: http://www.hokstad.com/compiler/ .. and other resources aplenty: http://stackoverflow.com/a/1672/3951

zamalek 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Personally this is my favorite work on compiler theory. While dragon book is definitely more comprehensive, Let's Build a Compiler is far more approachable (so approachable that I worked through it when I was only 14).

I haven't gone to the bare metal level since (as well as using parser generators), but it's a great piece of work that gives you a slight understanding of what YACC+family do under the covers (even though they are different types of parsers). I continually recommend it as a starting point for anyone who wants to learn how to write parsers.

aryastark 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is definitely the classic online text. However, I'm surprised no one mentioned An Incremental Approach to Compiler Construction (http://scheme2006.cs.uchicago.edu/11-ghuloum.pdf). It is the basis of the Ikarus Scheme compiler.

Lisp in Small Pieces is also a useful book, for those interested in Lisp/Scheme. It covers much of the same stuff as in the PDF I mentioned.

ericbb 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you like Pascal, then Compiler Construction, by Niklaus Wirth is certainly also worth a look:


Easy to read, concise, and good for beginners.

fusiongyro 1 day ago 3 replies      
Email me if you'd like an HTML version of this. I have converted most of it for my own personal use (through part 11, IIRC) but don't want to distribute it publicly since I'm unclear on the copyright status.
AlexanderDhoore 1 day ago 1 reply      
Reading the text files, using vim, which were written in the 80s and talk about Borland and other old stuff, makes me... a bit sentimental.
smoyer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember reading this when he first published it (as well as everything he ever wrote for "Embedded Systems Programming"). Jack Crenshaw is my favorite Rocket (Computer) Scientist!
gozzoo 1 day ago 0 replies      
statictype 1 day ago 0 replies      
I read this in high school. At some point a light bulb went off and I finally got recursive descent parsers. Great series.
monkey_slap 1 day ago 1 reply      
Would there happen to be a PDF or eBook format of this?
Goodbye Sticky. Hello Ara motorola-blog.blogspot.com
229 points by mikeevans  2 days ago   79 comments top 25
sirkneeland 2 days 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)

chasing 2 days 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.

nwh 2 days 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.

jorde 2 days 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

galenko 2 days 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.

lyime 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now finally, I can build a coffee brewer attachment. http://pomegranatephone.com/
ZeroGravitas 2 days 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.

jasonlmk 2 days 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

natch 2 days 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.

ChikkaChiChi 2 days 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.

jtchang 2 days 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).
fudged71 2 days 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.
rurounijones 2 days 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

hershel 2 days 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.

pselbert 2 days 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

dbg31415 2 days 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?
asiekierka 2 days ago 2 replies      
"how do we bring the benefits of an open hardware ecosystem to 6 billion people?"

What about the remaining billion?

hawflakes 2 days ago 0 replies      
Come to think of it, both projects look to be inspired by Bug Labs' modules.


gmuslera 2 days 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.
Aloha 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, I'll be dammed.
andridk 2 days ago 0 replies      
This design reminds me of The Centurions (http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/c/centurion.htm). Good times.
devx 2 days 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.

srhngpr 2 days ago 1 reply      
Did anyone notice the cat with the sunglasses "module"?
asadlionpk 2 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder what the phoneblock team is thinking right now...
emp_ 2 days 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.
The Battle for Power on the Internet schneier.com
220 points by hatchan  1 day ago   30 comments top 9
bshanks 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Schneier asserts that the modern situation is like feudalism. There's a bit of wild west situation in which various groups can cyberattack others and then hide. Powerful entities like Google and the U.S. government have the capacity to defend themeselves against cyberattacks, and even to attack, but most individuals do not; except for the small percentage of technologically sophisticated individuals, similar perhaps to the warrior classes of old. The ordinary individuals, like peasants, are stuck with the security configurations given to them by the feudal lords. The lords usually act in their own interests, rather than for the interests of the peasants.

However, i opine that there are huge differences that make the feudal metaphor ill-fitting. Quoting Wikipedia, "In its classic definition, by Franois-Louis Ganshof (1944), feudalism describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility, revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs....A lord was in broad terms a noble who held land, a vassal was a person who was granted possession of the land by the lord, and the land was known as a fief....the lord and vassal entered into a contract in which the vassal promised to fight for the lord at his command, whilst the lord agreed to protect the vassal from external forces....Since at least the 1960s, when Marc Bloch's Feudal Society (1939) was first translated into English in 1961, many medieval historians have included a broader social aspect that includes not only the nobility but all three estates of the realm, adding the peasantry bonds of manorialism and the estates of the Church; this is sometimes referred to as "feudal society" since it encompasses all members of society into the feudal system.".

The present-day cybersecurity situation involves none of:(1) peasants who to pay feudal dues(2) a subset of peasants (call them serfs) who were not permitted to migrate(3) the Church estates(4) vassals and peasants to which the lords provide land and protection(5) vassalage in which the vassal promises to provide military service

The first four are debatable. One might say that one's loss of privacy on facebook is like a feudal due.

Although people are certainly not prohibited from migrating between facebook, gmail, macOS and their competitors, the high costs of migration from lock-in and network effects may be thought of as a "soft serfdom" if not an absolute one.

One might argue that the construct of feudalism is still useful without the role of the Church.

Internet security differs from physical overland security in the feudal era in that a distant invading army need not conquer or ally with your neighbors in order to be able to reach you; cybercriminals can attack you from anywhere in the world. This has implications for the relevancy of a nearby 'lord' who gives you land; however one could still argue that the 'land' being given is something like a software configuration, and to the extent that yours is vulnerable, so are others running similar configurations, so there is in fact some way in which it is somewhat more efficient for the lord to protect 'his' land than for you to contract protection from some other powerful entity on the other side of the globe.

However the last point, vassalage involving military service, is both absolutely central to feudalism and entirely lacking in the present-day cybersecurity situation. Nowdays we exchange money, not service, for protection, and while this arrangement became common in later feudalism, i opine that it is because that was not workable at the beginning that feudalism even arose.

Still, it does seem that the existence of an elite 'warrior class' of cybersecurity warriors is coming to pass: people with both skills that require extensive training, and artifacts which are relatively expensive, and whose skills and artifacts would allow even one of them to decisively defeat large numbers of untrained, poorly equipped non-warriors. The existence of a warrior class was one of the primary reasons that the system of feudalism arose. So perhaps we'll see the emergence of a feudal cybersecurity system sometime in the future, one in which individual cybersecurity experts, and organizations who can employ them, subordinate themselves to greater 'lords' by pledging military service, in exchange for protection and 'land', meaning software platforms and 'network real estate' (e.g. things like a facebook page).

But there are reasons to doubt that. First, i think feudalism arose during a time of a breakdown of trade and declining populations; in such a situation a lord needs to demand military service directly, rather than taxes with which to buy mercenaries, because of high transaction costs. This is not the case today; it is easier for facebook to collect money from business activities and spend some of that on employing cybersecurity professionals, rather than to grant lavish privileges to those of its users who are cybersecurity experts in exchange for their labor.

Second, today many governments might choose to prosecute cybersecurity vigilantes within their borders, making non-state 'armies' of 'cybersecurity warriors' ineffective.

In summary, what Schneier is talking about is a situation where a variety of large organizations have a lot of power. Imo feudalism means something more specific.

scrrr 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is a great piece that should go to top of HN.

We can reverse the trend as consumers, by questioning our consuming behaviour. And as hackers, by building tools that the users like and which make the web more free.

Power is where the money is. And power makes legislation. It will only get harder from now on..

But on the upside, software is a very malleable thing. New applications can be developed quickly. And they can replace established ones.

r0h1n 1 day ago 1 reply      
Off-topic observation: I like Bruce Schneier, really. But now I dread the sense of dj vu that accompanies most of his posts on HN, because each one gets reposted multiple times. Mostly because Schneier himself reposts all his columns that appear elsewhere on his own blog after a few days or weeks, and those reposts get reposted to HN.

For instance, this piece originally appeared at The Atlantic on 24th Oct:



Of course the original post never got a single comment, so I guess this repost added more value to the HN community :-/

rsync 1 day ago 7 replies      
"Our e-mail, photos, calendars, address books, messages, and documents are on servers belonging to Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and so on."

That's not a given. Not only is it trivially easy to host your own email, there are a number of very positive side-effects of doing so. For instance, when I email my wife, it's just a local copy operation - no network traffic is generated, and thus nothing can be intercepted by third parties.

Further, although I have not done it yet, it appears to be only slightly more technically challenging to provide your own dialtone.

In 2013 the Internet traffic I actually do generate is much more secure than the Internet traffic I generated 20 years ago. Now I have a VPN to various endpoints around the globe. That's much better than telnet to tc.umn.edu :)

The disconnect here is that he is talking about particular consumer properties (walled gardens) that happen to exist on the Internet. It surprises me, given who the author is.

vorg 1 day ago 1 reply      
> So who wins? Which type of power dominates in the coming decades?

Institutional power will win in the coming decades, but fringe power in the coming centuries as humans colonize the solar system. Each planet/moon will eventually have control of its technical infrastructure. In the coming millenia, as humans journey out to the stars, it will be almost impossible for one star system to control another. Thank God for the Speed of Light!

> Medieval feudalism evolved into a more balanced relationship in which lords had responsibilities as well as rights.

I'm not sure "evolve" is the best word. Diseases killed many surfs in both Europe and China, often many all at once (e.g. Black Death) which gave the survivors more power suddenly.

AsymetricCom 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems Schneier is saying less and less specific, fundamental issues and speaking more of abstract, high-level political and social concepts. He seems to have lost all power over his understanding of important breaking security issues and is left playing catch-up trying to understand what has already happened. My guess this is a result of the privatization/monitization/markets of zero-days, re-establishing control of technology by the classic economic systems, and taking it from engineers and experts.

That said, I don't think I'll bother reading anything else from Schneier's desk from this point forward. If he thinks that the "battle" is being fought on the edge of corporate networks, he's lost the trees for the forest. The real battle is happening for eyes and ears, on the streets, like it always has been. Less and less, some random person who happens to be the descendant of some king thinks the way the entire IT market needs to move so that "society" doesn't collapse, less and less is anyone listening to that person or believing he has any power. Real Time web of things or whatever you want to call it, nobody is buying it. If he thinks that people buying an iPod is signing allegiance to Apple's security forces, well he's wrong. If he thinks EULAs are going to be enforced in court, he's wrong. So considering those two flaws in the foundation of his world view, the rest of his rambling screed has been lost to the world of fiction.

betterunix 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am not convinced that the solution to criminals increasing their power with technology is purely political. There are technological solutions as well. Criminals are raiding bank accounts by tricking people into divulging secret passwords or other information? Banks can issue smart cards, thus ensuring that secrets cannot be inadvertently divulged (because the cards cannot divulge their secrets). Governments are abusing their surveillance powers? We can build systems that encrypt messages and send the ciphertexts through mix-nets (or more complicated approaches for things like social networking [1]).

The political side of this should be encouraging or at least not discouraging the deployment of such technologies. Laws can be changed more easily than technologies. Deploy a secure infrastructure now; if the law changes later, the technology will still protect us.

[1] https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity12/social-ne...

walshemj 1 day ago 1 reply      
The other side of this is countrys using the NSA furor as an excuse to create a more balkanized Internet fire walling off themselves form those nasty furineers.
nirnira 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, I doubt a certain Japanese-American political theorist would look too kindly upon his characterisation of medieval political development...
Its time for Silicon Valley to ask: Is it worth it? pandodaily.com
222 points by _pius  4 hours ago   169 comments top 2
jcampbell1 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Google needs to fight back. The first thing Google should do is encourage HTTPS everywhere.

Google should change the algorithm to prefer sites that support HTTPS everywhere. Matt Cutts should make some video like: "Google uses over 200 different signals to determine page relevancy. Our users value privacy, so one of the signals we use is whether the site uses HTTPS. We tend to prefer to send search users to secure sites... blah blah blah ... Enabling HTTPS with PFS will increase your search rank. HTTPS will slow page load times, but the privacy boost exceeds the speed penalty for 99% of sites."

The only reason I don't use HTTPS always is because it slows down page loads, and page speed is huge for PPC performance, and big for SEO. Google needs to hardcode a "privacy" boost into the rankings and make that public.

Within a year, 80% of the web would be HTTPS.

sharkweek 3 hours ago  replies      
I have an honest and serious question -- who are the developers and designers who put these systems into place for the NSA? Are they aware of what they're doing or is it all classified and contracted out? Are they proud of their work? Is it just a paycheck? Surely someone with such a high aptitude could easily get a job elsewhere -- I guess I'm just unable to make the connection on who willingly builds this kind of stuff.

I'm not trying to be intentionally obtuse, I just legitimately am curious

       cached 1 November 2013 02:11:01 GMT