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Coin onlycoin.com
1320 points by xuki  3 days ago   684 comments top 151
nlh 3 days ago 29 replies      
SUPER clever idea -- kudos for that. In theory, this is awesome. As a consumer, I love it.

As a merchant, however (which I am), there is no chance I would accept this. None. Unless the issuers (that is, Visa, MC, Amex) drastically change their policies, which I don't see happening anytime soon.

Why? Because the issuers are very clear about a few things: When push comes to shove and it REALLY gets down to it, unless the merchant takes a physical swipe of the actual card AND has backup to prove it (i.e. an imprint of the physical plastic), the issuers will side with a consumer in the event of a fraud dispute.

So why, do you ask, do most merchants not bother taking imprints of the actual cards? Because a visual verification and physical swipe is usually enough (for 99% of cases). Instances of fraud via card duplication are rare, so it's usually not worth the hassle. But in some cases, it is.

My business runs large-ticket purchases though CCs (average is $2000), and we take super extra precautions when our customers buy from us. We take magnetic swipes, visually verify, AND take physical imprints.

We've lost several chargebacks because of lack of doing this. You'd be surprised how these little-known rules crop up when you least expect them. "Sorry, customer claims charge not authorized. Merchant doesn't have physical imprint. Chargeback approved." It's happened and we've been defrauded out of $thousands because of it.

The ONLY way we've been able to successful combat chargeback fraud is through the multi-layered approach.

Anyway, I know this is a fairly esoteric perspective and my business may be different from lots of others where this isn't an issue, but I have a feeling V/MC/Amex aren't going to get behind this.

kintamanimatt 3 days ago 9 replies      
I wonder how this would fare in an ATM. What happens if the ATM accidentally presses the card selection button? If the ATM gobbles the card, now you've effectively lost your entire wallet. What happens if the cashier presses the card selection button while running your card too? Oops, now your boss wants to know why you've just paid for your groceries on the business credit card and why you've cloned your business credit card!! The first can be an innocent mistake, but the second can be grounds for disciplinary action.

I can't see the banks being happy about customers cloning their own cards. In fact, it will probably be a convenient excuse for them to absolve themselves of all liability in the case of loss, theft, or misuse. Some, if they found out, might pitch a fit and close the account.

This also is going to pose a lot of problems when used with non-domestic cards, as they point out in their FAQ. It's possible to use an EMV-based card with just the magstripe, but it's a pain in the butt and the bank may well be aware that all your meatspace transactions are not using the EMV-chip. They may assume that your card is broken or (quite correctly) cloned and block it. A call from the fraud department may well lead to a fit being pitched.

From wikipedia: "Magnetic stripe cloning can be detected by the implementation of magnetic card reader heads and firmware that can read a signature of magnetic noise permanently embedded in all magnetic stripes during the card production process." [0] Oops, now your card is blocked.

Retailers might also get skittish if they figure out this isn't actual bank-issued plastic. They may well refuse it because of the risk of fraud. I would. I really wouldn't want to be running someone's cloned card, even if the cardholder was the one that did the cloning. In fact, it might jeopardize a retailer's merchant account if the acquiring bank found out the merchant were running cloned cards!

The best way to counter a bulky wallet is to not add bulk in the first place. How many credit cards and debit cards does one need to carry on a daily basis? I carry maybe two or three cards, some ID, my Oyster card, and a Costa rewards card that I use daily. I also have a backup wallet that contains a second set of cards in case I lose the first. The bulk of my wallet is receipts that accumulate, but even when I carried way more my life wasn't burdened by a whalelike wallet.

It'd also be a pain in the butt to use this with some rewards cards. For example, my Costa rewards card is swiped at the same time as I'm paying. Would I really want to fumble through pressing a button to find the right rewards card, give that to the cashier, have it handed back so I can fumble through pressing buttons again so I can pay? Certainly not, and even less so the impatient people in line behind me.

Sorry to promulgate the Hater News stereotype, but it's just too easy to poke holes in this idea. It has superficial appeal but I really wouldn't pay $100 for so many potential problems, especially as it would only make my wallet a few mm thinner.

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_stripe_card

dakrisht 3 days ago 9 replies      
It's a neat concept, but I just don't think this gets anywhere.

Dead in the water - as much as I would personally like to see them succeed.

The biggest problems here are security.

() Merchants will hate it since there is no physical imprint / swipe of the bank-issued card. This will lead to chargebacks in favor of the customer. So this alone kills this company/product.

() Banks might change their terms forbidding customers to create digital copies / clones of their card. As per card holder agreements, if you (or Coin) has ever read one, you don't own your card. You're fully bound by the terms of the agreement.

() There is the issue of PCI-DSS compliance. They mention they're "in the process of earning" it but this is a lengthy, difficult and _costly_ process ($100 k). They're using a loophole to ensure consumer peace of mind but this won't last at all.

() Adding a card seems flawed. You're asked to take a picture of the physical card after swiping to "prevent fraud" ok but unless Coin uses some advanced image processing/OCR to validate the card with the swiped data, you can take a picture of any card. So big fail here.

() Coin seems to access a cloud service. Another major reason that this simply isn't going to work. If you've paid any attention to the NSA situation within the past 6-months, ordinary/average consumers (not the HN crowd) are becoming weary of cloud/hosted service. Not to mention, Coin will never ever work outside of the US (or San Francisco for that matter).

Practical usability problems:

() Most users are totally fine with credit cards and big wallets. It's actually empowering to them. I spoke to a guy who loves the fact that he has every color Amex card! So in essence, this is geared towards a micro-niche of tech savvy SF/NY/LA crowd.

() Selecting a card by tapping the button - great. What if the waiter taps the same button? Or someone you're paying does? So many issues with this button here.

"Weve designed the button to toggle cards in a way that makes it difficult to trigger a "press" unintentionally" -- yeah, well most of the time, credit card fraud is an intentional act. What a stupid response. And quite frankly, offensive to anyone with half a brain.

() The obvious issue of losing Coin and losing everything. People like backups. It's a mindset.

() Battery issues with digitizing a non-battery product (credit card). Be in no doubt that more than half of users will forget to charge their credit card (as if we don't have enough things to charge). So you'll see people having lunches and presenting a dead Coin. And since you don't have any plastic, well, now you're screwed.

Products are supposed to make life better, easier, more intuitive.

Conceptually, it sort of makes sense. But the execution is flawed in so many ways.

You're being sold a product that now requires more steps than you did before. And that is the killer fellow HN'ers.

I don't want to have to sync, take photos, select a card by pushing a button, make sure it's within range to my device, update the app when needed for it to work, deal with merchants who won't take it, CHARGE my credit card (!), deal with issues because I tapped/selected the wrong card - vs - take out and swipe. Done.

Fuck that.

The product is inherently flawed

unfletch 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm guessing the Coin pre-order is why Protean sent me an email yesterday reminding me they exist: http://getprotean.com

Their Echo card is exactly the same idea, with some minor variation in implementation. It has not yet launched.

As far as the concerns voiced here (accidental button presses, etc.), Chris Bartenstein, a Protean co-founder, has addressed some of that in the comments on this TechCrunch story: http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/02/the-protean-echo-reduces-al...

rexreed 3 days ago 5 replies      
How would you prevent mass credit card theft in this case? Couldn't an unscrupulous person, say a waiter at a restaurant, take your card, use his/her own Coin to make a copy of your card, add it to their own Coin, and then use that card at their leisure at a future date? I know, the same question was asked re: Square and the like, but the difference is that you need a Square account to steal other people's cards, and that's traceable, whereas here, you can use the stolen card easily and surreptiously with little notice. Except for the fact that using a Coin in itself is noticeable.
cik 3 days ago 3 replies      
I think we're all missing a key point here. From reading the FAQ it appears that the application needs access to their servers. That blows my mind. Why should my mobile phone application, responsible for programming a local card via Bluetooth ever need access to the internet? Simply put - it shouldn't.

To me, this sounds like a big data play, except in this case the company is getting the user to cover the cost of acquisition. I imagine the actual cost of production on a card like this being well < $20 shipped (disclosure: I've been involved in shipping and starting up several physical products).

So now, I have something that collects and unifies data across multiple purchase vectors, sending that back to a single source. In other words, I've paid for the privilege of helping another company get the same sort of insight that mint.com was building, except that I'm also including loyalty data.

Colour me out.

skue 3 days ago 0 replies      
If there are any Coin founders hanging out here, this seems like a great idea and cool technology. However, like a number of other commenters, I have a few questions not covered by the FAQ...

The product/fit questions have already been asked, but there's still this: Why is Coin taking pre-orders several months in advance just to raise $50k? I can't help but wonder why a YC company wouldn't just raise the needed $50k from investors?

If this is an attempt to test the market, are you sure that a crowdfunding approach is the best image for a financial company? I want any company dealing with my financial data to be rock solid and reliable, and crowdfunding is the exact opposite of that.

Also, why aren't you collecting shipping addresses? I read your answer in the FAQ, but that makes me twice as concerned. You say, "A lot can happen between now and Summer 2014. For example, you could move. To reduce confusion, well get those details from you once we get a little closer to getting you your Coin."

This is a problem for two reasons: (1) you are emphasizing that the ship date is far in the future, and (2) it comes across as though Coin is run by young founders who move around a lot and don't see value in long term planning. That's the wrong mindset for a company handling financial data.

azernik 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great line from their FAQ:

    Q. Can a Coin be used to skim cards?    A. No. You can only add cards that you own to your Coin.
Ummmm... I hate to be pedantic [1], but the question is using the "is it possible" meaning of "can", but the answer seems to be using the "am I allowed to" meaning. There's a line in the previous question about how "As an additional safeguard, the Coin app will only allow you to add cards you own," but no detail on the mechanism of this magical authentication process.

[1] Who am I kidding? I love being pedantic.

ohazi 3 days ago 2 replies      
With any luck, this will piss off the banks/CC companies enough to finally roll out chip+pin in the US.
sequoia 3 days ago 5 replies      
What happens when the waiter accidentally clicks the button & charges your business card when it should have charged your personal card? I guess they can just peruse your cards, see what you've got, and pick which one to charge. :p
robotmay 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure of the prevalence in the US, but does this support chip + pin transactions? They're the standard in the UK now, and I suspect it's a little harder to mess around with than the magnetic strip.
UVB-76 3 days ago 1 reply      
Are the card issuers going to be happy about what amounts to card cloning, or am I missing something here?
mehrdada 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why would you want to carry just one credit card when you can carry zero with Square (or Google Wallet)?

If it is because of the "tradition problem", it's not much better than Square Wallet either: In more than one place I've been to the cashier was supposed to manually enter the last four digits of CC# manually for the transaction to get through. You'll have to carry a backup card with either Square or Coin.

I like the vision of completely ditching the credit card far better, and the marginal compatibility benefit does not seem good enough for this to get anywhere in its current shape.

Of course, things can change.

(BTW, wasn't Google doing the same thing with a physical card for Google Wallet and ended up abandoning it?)

callmeed 3 days ago 2 replies      
Don't forget there is also Loop, which reached it's Kickstarter goal already:


Personally, I like the idea of using my phone over the coin thingy.

Also, I'm curious about how sturdy this thing is. Maybe it's my wallet or maybe I just shop too much, but I tend to wear out my debit card really quickly (< 1 year).

pbreit 3 days ago 3 replies      
I worked on a product like this at Amex about 20 years ago and while it was a totally neat concept it was completely stupid in practice. All those plastic cards are marketing vehicles that can also transmit a number. And, really, are they that difficult to manage?
gojomo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Super cool, but my guess is that there's a very small time window for it to succeed before the phone completely subsumes all card functionality. After all, the phone already scans the old card and sends the details to the 'CoinCard' (and monitors card-custody) via Bluetooth-LE.

It won't be long before most swipe terminals are themselves augmented with wireless transceivers, making the "CoinCard" a redundant middleman-device. That is, your phone could just send archived magstripe details, after your onscreen-app confirmation of payment-intent, to the retailer's terminal.

Coin's real strategy may be for that world - the hardware will fall away like a first-stage-rocket at some point... even faster, say, than Netflix moved from DVDs-through-mail to pure-network-delivery.

joezydeco 3 days ago 4 replies      
Can anyone elaborate how the magstripe trick works? That's the only thing that I can't find, and it's kind of the crucial point of the whole project.
Tomdarkness 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think this highlights how insecure cards are that just rely on magnetic strip information rather than something like EMV (chip & pin). It should not be possible, or at least extremely difficult, to clone a card.

I'm from the UK and EMV (Called Chip & PIN) has been around for years now. No-one issues non-EMV cards anymore, except perhaps for cards designed exclusively for use in ATMs. Something like Coin would not be possible and, frankly, I'm happy this is the case. While having to carry multiple cards around is not an optimal solution I'd much prefer this over the ability for my cards to be trivially cloned.

Aside from the security issues how would this work in relation to fraud with your card issuer? I'm not sure if it is different in the US but if you are the victim of fraud and you were not seriously negligent (i.e stored your PIN in the same wallet as your card) then the issuing bank will refund any money fraudulently taken/spent. Assuming something similar operates in the US, would using this service give the issuing banks a excuse to hold you responsible for fraud? I'd also wonder if you were breaking any agreements you have with your bank in relation to your use of the cards they issue you with.

TamDenholm 3 days ago 3 replies      
I assume that the Chip-and-pin system isnt standard in the US like it is in the UK. Can a similar technology be applied to chips?
driverdan 3 days ago 0 replies      
As a former credit card thief I would have loved this. You mean I don't have to buy $10,000 of card printing and embossing equipment to create a fake clone of a card? Yes please!

As a consumer I'd love to have something like this but it will never fly. Stores will lose liability protection since there is no security. Unless they partner with card issues to provide some kind of secure card verification it will end up being banned by merchant agreements. No store in their right mind would accept it.

swamp40 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know if I can make a suggestion that might be seen with all the activity here - but if it were me designing it, I would have an option to lock-in a single card via the smartphone app.

Or, maybe only allow switching within a foot or two of your smartphone.

That would eliminate the concern people have about where the waiter accidentally pushes the button and switches the active card.

taude 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd really like the ability to add all my shopping cards, membership cards, and whatever else that constitutes 98% of my wallet. Replacing two credit cards/bank cards isn't that compelling.

And then really, while I'm dreaming....I just want my phone or an app on my phone to deal with paying because carrying around a card just feels so 2000s.

This is a slick implementation, though.

I'm also more worried about actual merchants refusing to take something like this.

Dirlewanger 3 days ago 1 reply      
Personally, I'm not into a single point of failure device. Same reason why I eschew paying with a cell phone. More convenient? Sure. But lose your cell phone and you have a lot of things to account for, doubly so if you have no form of remote wiping it.
arnoldwh 2 days ago 0 replies      
"...attracted the attention of Osama Bedier, the former head of Google Wallet, whos an investor in Coin. Bedier spent years attempting to make Wallet the NFC payments standard of future phones, but Google abandoned his work to pivot the product into yet another PayPal competitor. "[Bedier] sees scale at Coin where he didnt see scale in current solutions," a company spokesperson said on Bediers behalf. And for what its worth, Parashar says he hopes to develop a way to let users activate Coin (or disable the "lost" feature) even when a phones not around."


joshfraser 3 days ago 1 reply      
Finally! It's about time credit card skimming technology was brought to the masses.
cfinke 3 days ago 1 reply      
See how this idea has progressed in six years:

Here's how it works. Users register their cards on the company Web site and upload the information into the iCache. When they want to use it, they activate the device with a fingerprint on its biometric strip, scroll through a list of cards on its screen and choose one. Out pops a plastic card with a magnetic stripe, temporarily loaded with the chosen card's data. Just swipe the card and pop it back into the iCache. After one use, the information on the card disappears. The device even works with loyalty cards, such as those handed out by supermarkets.


The hardware technology is certainly more advanced, but I'm of the opinion that the true endgame is going to be a scannable or NFC "card" stored entirely on the user's device (ala Passbook), not using a physical middleman.

ChuckMcM 3 days ago 0 replies      
I ordered the dev kit early on, got charged for it, now waiting anxiously to have it show up. Nice to hear they are moving along. I really think that something like this is a solid answer to some of the vulnerabilities in the current card system and for a subset of identity problems. My interest is in solving one such subset which is this:

At the time of account creation, create means by which both the web site and the user can prove unequivocally at a transaction later, that they are the same person who was there when the account was created.

Nothing about "who" they are, or "what" or "where", but just that the person or entity doing this transaction right now, is exactly the same as the person who created the account.

earlz 3 days ago 1 reply      
This would be an excellent opportunity to add some encryption to credit card numbers. Imagine taking this, except for it has a pin-pad where you enter in your password/passkey. All credit card numbers stored on the device are encrypted with this key, so it's impossible for a thief to swipe your card. However, it doesn't solve the malicious waiter problem.. but of course, you could still keep it locked down so that the most the waiter could get is one card, rather than all of them.

Ideally, it'd be something like:

* Entering your key keeps exactly one card decrypted for up to 2 minutes* Changing cards requires a reentry of the key

You could even go crazy and do things like allow different cards to have different passkeys. Not sure how useful that would be though

wadetandy 3 days ago 2 replies      
One of my biggest questions/objections is about the battery life issue. They claim that this will run out juice every 2 years or so and that the battery cannot be replaced, so I'll just need to buy a new one. $100 every two years for this device seems like a pretty big expense, as opposed to $100 one time.
DEinspanjer 3 days ago 0 replies      
::Sigh:: It sounds exciting.. but so did/do all the others trying to do the same or similar things.Unfortunately, banking regulations and reluctance to push technological boundaries at the risk of being liable or losing money are the big hurdles to clear here. Another slightly smaller hurdle is being able to design a product that is high enough quality and durable enough to survive without costing way too much.

The first one I ever heard about was back in 1999, PocketVault from Chameleon Networks. They lingered with a website that was updated every couple of years promising a release soon.

Next came the iCache. That one did a Kickstarter and actually made it out to market... sorta. I have one, but the company ran into huge manufacturing issues and folded under very odd circumstances.

A few others I've kept an eye on are:

Dynamics, Inc. Card 2.0 -- Was supposed to come out with exactly this product.. ended up doing a very reduced feature set that lets you just select A or B rewards.

Protean Echo -- Same concept. Originally promised 2013 but recently updated saying they weren't ready yet.

There was another that was a similar concept company/site, but I can't find a link to it or remember the name at the moment. :/

There is also a recent company that had a successful Kickstarter: Loop. Rather than a programmable credit card, they are hacking the magnetic readers themselves by making a mobile phone case or dongle that emits a magnetic field that tricks the reader into registering a card swipe. Pretty neat stuff to compete with the struggling NFC solution, but unfortunately, it isn't 100% compatible with all swipe readers, and totally incompatible with dip readers.

fekberg 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is very neat and a super cool idea. However, there's no chip? I try to avoid non-chip cards as much as I can for security reasons.

One more thing that crossed my mind is, what happens if you give this to the waiter, the waiter goes away to handle your payment and it happens to be outside of reach of your bluetooth ping; then you will most likely become worried that the waiter ran away with your card, or you will start ignoring it when it notifies you that it is outside of reach.

While talking about the waiter, what happens when the waiter accidentally clicks the "change card" button and takes the personal lunch on your business card? You might not notice until it's too late and people start asking questions..

usaphp 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wish it allowed a card selection process to be made with iPhone instead of clicking on the actual card itself, so that the person who charges it does not toggle between your cards. With a fingerprint sensor that would be really cool!
sidcool 3 days ago 1 reply      
The same link has been submitted thrice with different accounts and upvoted to 3 points.
ynniv 3 days ago 1 reply      
Swipe, click-to-switch, swipe, click-to-switch, swipe... Why steal one card's data when you can copy the whole wallet? :-) Or, run one card but take down the information for another.

It also appears that the Coin is programmed over Bluetooth. Why bother swiping to steal when you can run a smartphone app and take all of the cards on all of the coins in range?

If this takes off and fraud goes up, credit card companies will drop the discount vendors currently get by swiping. Maybe vendors that currently swipe will start entering CVVs? Will Coin then start storing CVVs per card?

Vendors might refuse to accept Coin in the first place (there's already a comment here from one who won't). Or credit card companies will have Coin outlawed as a counterfeiting tool. I can see how this seems like a good idea, but I don't think it will work out.

newman314 3 days ago 1 reply      
Love the concept but the security worries me. Looking on the site, there is (as expected) not much information about security.


* Coin is in the process of earning a PCI certification. This should have been done before launch. Also, what level?* Coin uses 128/256bit for security but HOW and WHERE?* Coin essentially skims cards (through the reader) to playback for terminals. I don't see how they can say with a straight face that it is less susceptible to the same techniques.* Adding what are supposed to be funny Q&As to a FAQ trivializes what are supposed to be important questions for people thinking about using this.* I understand the love of "the cloud" but I wish people would also consider scenarios for a disconnected model. These are solutions that do not necessarily require a full time connection.

I could see using this for pre-paid gift cards but not for my actual credit cards.

Ryoku 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is one of the worse ideas I've heard of; security wise. Not even at a tech-level. All your data and credentials are a robbery away. Of course, if you get robbed you can probably call in your credit cards from your cellphone... oh... Now, on the tech side... magnetic? Really? We've been through this, it's not secure. It might sound secure in an ideal world where the user doesn't do stupid things like handing over both the card and the phone to someone just to avoid getting the notification or to be shown how it works... or because it's a "store requirement". But we are not in that world, nor we will be.
res0nat0r 3 days ago 2 replies      
So I have to turn this over to a bartender to keep behind the bar when I go out and drink? If I forget to grab it before I take a cab, now I'm out $100 and ALL of my credit cards. No thanks.
davemel37 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm more concerned about the price point. Seems cool, but not a problem I spend a lot of time thinking about. I don't see myself spending $100 to solve the problem of carrying multiple cards on me.

I would maybe pay $50 for the beta card because I think it's super cool and I love trying new tech, but definitely not a price point I would pay to solve a problem that is hardly a problem at all. (to be fair, this might be one of those problems that you don't realize how bad it is until you solve it.)

I can't see myself paying more for this than I would spend on a wallet, which is less than $20.

josephagoss 3 days ago 0 replies      
This will never catch on in Australia unless they can clone paypass/paywave. Now most of our transactions are contact free with chip and pin as an option for large purchases.

Just having to enter a pin in Australia is going backwards.

typicalrunt 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's a neat idea, but what I'd really like to see is a way to use randomly-generated numbers as my credit card for one-time payments instead of handing over my full credit card details to an online store. I hear this is done by a few credit card companies now but I have yet to see it in Canada.

Coin could even take this idea one step further and allow you to store your credit card, but when you swipe their card it provides the merchant with a randomized credit card number useful only for a one-time purchase. Now that'd be cool.

zavulon 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm slapping my head and thinking "this is such a great idea, why didn't I think of that?". I'm sure lots of other people are doing the same, and it's a sign of a truly great idea. Congrats on launching!
sfrechtling 3 days ago 0 replies      
Coin's logo seems to be very similar to Macquarie Bank's[1]. I'm not a lawyer - but Coin may be infringing on their United States visual trademark[2] (of concentric circles), especially as they are also a financial service. I may be very wide of the mark here; but my first thought with this was that this was a product of Macquarie.

[1]:http://static.macquarie.com/dafiles/Internet/mgl/com/furnitu...[2]: http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4807:8dpjzg...

ck2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Swipe something user-programmable through a merchant machine.

That might not end well. But I guess that has been an open security hole for a long time now, hopefully has been addressed.

thejerz 3 days ago 5 replies      
Unless I'm missing something: if I lose my Coin card, ALL of my credit and debit cards are compromised. That's a showstopper. A thief could drain not just one account, but every account I have.
tomasien 3 days ago 0 replies      
Coin looks great, I want to make that clear. No ifs ands or buts, I think it's a great product.

However - if you're looking for the future, I think I've got something interesting - feeless payments bank to bank by oAuthing consumers directly into their online banking. Completely secure - merchants never get the personal information, they just get paid. Better: I've built it, and we have beta customers. I'm posting a couple comments on HN to start the conversation, because anyone who cares about payments or accepts them online - I'm trying to talk. You'll be hearing more from me in the coming weeks and months - and it's going to be exciting. We're going to kill credit card fees, because we don't need them anymore.

If you want to talk, email me @ tommy@thecityswig.com and let's just chat. I'm not selling anything - we just need to know what hackers are thinking about payments. It's the most valuable info we can have.

alternize 3 days ago 0 replies      
at least in the non-us market, this awesome idea comes a bit late: not only are chip + pin pretty much standard nowadays, and new means like contactless payment creditcards / nfc-payments are being rolled out now.

i really would love to see a one-card-for-all tho that supports chip + nfc, but my understanding is that card issuers are eager to ensure that this will not happen.

6thSigma 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is very cool technology but I'm skeptical for its practical usage. Lots of people have already brought up the obvious pitfalls (atm use, accidental presses, banks potentially removing card liability) but I'd also probably carry around my important cards in my wallet just in case. So they aren't really solving the problem of carrying too many cards - at least for me.

It would be useful for things like gift cards and reward cards - but is it worth it for that?

drewblaisdell 3 days ago 3 replies      
80% of this product already exists in Simple (https://www.simple.com/).
nobodysfool 3 days ago 1 reply      
Merchants are not going to accept this, it's the same as a CNP transaction.
christiangenco 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just invented something similar.

Though it only supports a maximum of 4 cards, at scale it would cost ~500x less.

I call it "penny." Here's my prototype: http://imgur.com/49auKC4

(reposted from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6733584)

GotAnyMegadeth 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hate this kind of scroll website, using the mouse wheel to scroll just means everything is really jerky and isn't ever quite lined up, or correctly faded.
habosa 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems cool to me, obviously a few flaws but not so much that I'm not thinking about getting one.

Question: what kind of BLE technology goes in a card that thin? Looking into some applications of BLE myself and I haven't seen anything like that. I'd love to know what's in the card and how I could build a similarly small bluetooth device.

stevenj 3 days ago 0 replies      
According to the article linked below, Coin is a YC company.


sejje 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a very cool gadget, but I think it's a strange name.
Kiro 3 days ago 2 replies      
Swipe only? What is this, 1980?
abalone 3 days ago 0 replies      
So what happens if you hand your card to a waiter/cashier and they accidentally tap the button while gripping it? "Card roulette"?
joshaidan 2 days ago 0 replies      
While there are perhaps many issues regarding whether or not merchants will accept this product for payments, one thought occurred to me.

What happens when merchants/banks start offering the ability to make purchases using your smartphone? Doesn't that render this product obsolete? (if I'm not mistaken, you need a smartphone to set it up)

Amygaz 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's not bad, but I feel it will be short lived. Like other pointed IC cards are standard in many countries and are coming to the US.

Moreoever, I'd rather have my smartphone do it all, and by all I mean all: cc, id, insurances... Most places I care about now accept IC cards and RFID, which means I should be able to pay directly by pointing my phone at something while punching an sending a encripted 4-digit pin.

Using Google Wallet, Paypal, Square and others would be even better. It's coming and the pace is just accelerating...

Have a good one!

samweinberg 3 days ago 0 replies      
>Q. Is Coin password protected?

>A. Your Coin account is password protected and the mobile app requires that you type in your password before you can access sensitive card details.

There is no way in hell I would trust a single password to protect all of my debit, credit, loyalty, or gift cards.

dzhiurgis 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why people in US are so crazy about credit cards?

I have 2 cards, only one is actually credit, but that's because I am expat, so I still keep one card from my home country.

Someone mentioned owning 16 or 9 cards, which sounds so unbelievable to me.

gagege 3 days ago 3 replies      
For some reason, all the cards I keep in my wallet get destroyed. I have a decent leather wallet but they still crack and chip and the paint rubs off. I don't know if I want that to happen to a $100 device.

Does this happen to anyone else? It has happened with the last two wallets I've owned.

mangoman 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like the FAQ:

Q. My souffls keep collapsing! What can I do?

A. In order for the meringue to peak properly we suggest adding a little lemon juice to the bchamel. This strengthens the mixture and prevents tragedy.

dcc1 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, i wonder if bitcoin can be integrated into this somehow
3327 3 days ago 0 replies      
So are Coins waterproof? Because my credit card is weather proof. Just curious.
djhworld 3 days ago 0 replies      
This wouldn't work in the UK, we use chip and pin here. It's extremely rare these days to find a place that will swipe your card and loosely verify your signature.
Diamons 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned this.

Q. Which is better; Tiger or Monkey style Kung Fu?A. Depends on the terrain.

If you're a photo sharing / blogging app, sure that kind of tongue in cheek humor is okay and acceptable.

However if I'm supposed to give you access to my credit cards, that is entirely unacceptable.

colinbartlett 3 days ago 4 replies      
Seems crazy that it only holds 8 cards. I'm not about to go through all this effort only to replace some of the cards in my wallet but not all of them.
NKCSS 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just don't think an ATM is willing to take the coin in, which makes it unusable for me. Also, here in Europe, the magnetic strip is hardly used anymore, as the (EMV) chip has taken over.
x0054 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wonderful! This is a great tool for restaurant service people to clone your card. I had my card cloned in a restaurant 2 times. Both times they were able to trace it to an employee who was cloning mag strips and selling them online. With this tool it's even easier! Awesome idea, if we lived in a more honest world.
slig 3 days ago 0 replies      
How will this work when CC companies finally migrate to cards with SIM chips?
mandeepj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes swipe using one of my cards never works. It just does not work. Even if you swipe 10 times, it just does not work. Weird thing is this happens randomly. It may work just perfectly at the next shop.

If this happens with Coin then I guess I'm screwed and embarrassed.

I agree wholeheartedly - the idea is good

pbhjpbhj 3 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't this back to front ... surely you need a trusted player and then you need Amex/Visa/Mastercard to be able to use that token (the credit card) to aid identification of a person.

So the card would be like Coin's but would have fixed credentials. Then when you open an account you'd provide your ID for the bank to register (or sign the registration with your public key); that account would be added to your card as an option.

tjgq 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've always thought that the real solution for the "too many cards" problem is to get all credit card companies to agree on a card-less payment protocol that anyone could implement on any device. (And in the process, make all the transactions a lot more secure by using modern cryptography.)

Alas, I'm afraid that kind of disruption cannot be brought forth in a market context...

Wintamute 2 days ago 1 reply      
Will this work with chip and pin and/or paywave style contactless payments in Europe?
mephi5t0 3 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of cards also moving towards a smart chip implementations on cards. Also I carry 3 cards with me, 2 CC and a debit. Perhaps I am not the intended customer for this thing, I do like gadgets but my wallet is fine for now. Still a very nice idea. I would def follow up to see what happens after Summer 2014
jalfresi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Erm... what problem is this solving? Is having multiple cards in your wallet really a problem that requires such a convoluted solution?

Sorry, but I really don't see what this is saving me/doing for me? Whats the problem this solves?

ta_euccoin 3 days ago 1 reply      
I remember the US refusing to rely on foreign technology, hence refusing to issue plastic money with chips.

But this changed after the CIA got their hands on the technology through in-q-tel acquisition of the french company gemplus then world n1 company in the business. Then cards with chips were coming the US and it was expected for the rest of the world to get backdoors with their US issued chip cards, years later the french government finally bought back control of the company but way too late.

Now that they have the technology, I'm surprised the switch has not happened yet, even more so since cloning and other kind of fraud is quite easy with magstripes (not that it is that much harder with chips, see yescards).

The coin introduced here seems anachronistic to my european eyes which have not seen a card being swiped in the last 30 years and a great opportunity for fraud. Better use than reducing the number of card in a wallet is obviously to charge other people for your expenses by cloning their cards.

somberi 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am asking to learn.

If I have to use this card, do I also have to have my cell phone with me all the time? If I go downstairs to get a Bagel in the morning, I need to take my phone, or else no Bagel for me? And it seems from the "Iphone will alert you using Bluetooth" facility, that I need to have Bluetooth on all the time, which I normally do not, to save battery life (adds an hour or so on my Iphone4). To me this is a functional gridlock.

Does it also need to be connected to some data network or the other to work?

If I lose this Coin card, then is it same as losing all my cards? If my assumption is true that this needs to be paired with a phone always, then will it not be possible to nullify the card, using the app on the phone, in case I lose the Coin card?


techaddict009 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Q. Will my Coin work outside the U.S.?A. Not in all cases.

U.S.-based customers: Coin will work overseas, but we recommend that you bring a backup card when you travel.

Customers located outside of the U.S.: Coin does not support EMV yet. If the country you live it requires it we recommend holding off your purchase for now."

Found this in FAQ

lucb1e 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ooooh such a bummer. We just phased out swiping cards altogether about a year ago because of the huge security issues.

Sounds cool, then you think about it, then it turns out pretty useless if they don't partner with everyone.

The demo is very, very good though. Nicely done.

aaronsnoswell 3 days ago 0 replies      
America is so behind with payment systems. The rest of the world has chip cards and now touch-less payments. I am astounded to see that the US is still using magnetic strip cards.
ececconi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Some merchants make you have to give over the card so the person at the register can type in the last 4 numbers. This won't work with that use case will it?
dzink 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice execution. I saw several pitches for unifying cards while working for a VC.

As a consumer I have a few suggestions:

1. Make the card switch/activation button detect the fingerprint of the owner. (The merchant or waiter sliding the card could press the button accidentally and switch to a different card)

2. Show me that a tap-scanning tool can't take the data for all of my cards. (from hackers to accidental taps)

3. Can a magnet disable this card?

4. What happens if someone steals my coin? Can I disable it remotely with the app? Can it happen automatically?

Good luck!

atpaino 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems like this would be much more useful if the front and back of the card were OLED screens, or something similar, so that you could toggle the appearance of the card. I feel like that would solve most of the problems people are suggesting here - i.e., it could replace driver's license, photo id's, wouldn't be a problem at bars that hold on to your CC, etc. Personally, I'm going to hold off on getting this until there's some functionality similar to what I outlined above, because currently this could only replace 2 out of the 5 cards in my wallet.
PeterWhittaker 3 days ago 1 reply      
Cool idea.

Needs chip support for Canada and perhaps the rest of the world.

drakeandrews 3 days ago 0 replies      
iPhone only, no chip and pin, won't work with any cash machine in the UK, no apparent protection against people skimming random cards (I'm suddenly very suspicious of anyone putting my card anywhere near an iPhone) AND it stores all your card details on their servers for no apparent reason?

Where can I sign up?

linux_devil 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is innovative, really like this concept. Wish them Good Luck !
joshdance 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can Mastercard or Visa prevent or try to prevent this? Also what about cards that are shown example Costco?

I just wish my phone did all stuff related to money.

jaxn 2 days ago 0 replies      
A company wants to have access to information about who I am as well as all of my purchasing behavior regardless of which merchant it is? Where do I sign up?!?!
davemel37 3 days ago 0 replies      
Im curious if Coin will capture my purchase data when I swipe. It's bad enough credit card companies sell my data...I am super paranoid about Coin doing the same thing.
jebus989 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well-implemented idea, as others have said. It's ridiculous that in 2013 I'm still carrying around a wallet full of junk (and keys but that's another story).

However this feels like an awkward stop-gap between the current card-payment system and online payments. I don't want to give a waiter a piece of plastic and get a little paper receipt back, give me some kind of abstracted account ID and I'll transfer you the money from my phone/laptop/smartwatch/glass (/whatever we'll all have by the time a new payment method is sufficiently penetrant to be useful).

pit 3 days ago 0 replies      
No kidding about the souffls. Even walking by the oven at the wrong time can spell disaster.
nfoz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Obnoxious website
firstplanthendo 3 days ago 0 replies      
There are some theft and risk concentration concerns, along with potential feature problems (accidental card selection change), but this would be great for credit cards rewards hacking- a lot of cards have different bonus areas.. 3x-5x points/cash back on different categories, like dining, gas, groceries, travel expenses, specific department stores, etc. This would easily allow you to maximize your rewards without having to carry around all the different cards. 2x-4x extra back means this will pay for itself pretty easily.
kenrick 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is very cool. However, in Jamaica where I live. An id is required to use a credit card, so they can check your name and your signature. Is there are way to displaying that info on the card.
stormpat 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thats a sweet idea, i would really like to have something like coin.

The problem is that in Finland there is very few places that uses the "swipe" your card and sign method anymore. Back some 2-3 years ago it was a custom, but for security reasons (anyone can swipe a stolen card and sign it, the law does not require an ID unless the amount being paid is over 100 euros) it was abandoned and now you simply enter your PIN and that that.

Im not sure about other countries, but atm this is the norm in Finland.

justncase80 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wish your phone had some kind of a unique ID it could broadcast. Then you could take it to the bank and they would associate it with your account, then you could just use the phone as your card. You just hold it over the receipt thing and push a button on an app and boom done.

Now if you could get my phone to be as slim as that Coin that would be pretty sweet too.

jackmaney 3 days ago 1 reply      
0_0 This is one of the worst ideas I've ever seen. Yes, let's put all of my cards in one card so that if it's stolen, then all of my cards are gone. @#$%^ing brilliant!
gambiting 3 days ago 0 replies      
Swipe card? Completely useless in most places in the UK, few shops take them nowadays.
porter 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looks like one of those game changers that everyone says will never work. But then somehow they figure it out and change the world. VCs should be all over this.
shr0d1nger 2 days ago 0 replies      
I quite like the idea though I don't know whether people would accept it, guess I can at least use it in ATM!

And referral: https://onlycoin.com/?referral=lvCn3taaplease use it :)

bonjourmr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Do they know that their logo very closely resembles Australia's largest investment banks? http://macquarie.com.au/

I know this oversight can happen and it sucks, but the two are in the same industry (Macquraie has a global presence and quite a substantial US one), so it might come under some sort of copyright infringement. Just a heads up!

yeukhon 2 days ago 0 replies      
The idea is cool, but we already have the idea using mobile phone to check out. All we need is the ability to bring that alive.
erock 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really unsure how this is any different than the multiaccount product here https://www.dynamicsinc.com/Corporate/Products

of course with the exception of it altering you if you left it at home, however that is a bit creepy, and, well let's just say I won't be getting a coin for my wife anytime soon

theuri 3 days ago 0 replies      
Curious to hear what the team at Wallaby thinks about this, and whether they're planning on competing directly or focusing squarely on rewards cards.
krutal 3 days ago 1 reply      
http://getprotean.com was similarly hyped up last year, hopefully this one delivers.
joshdance 3 days ago 0 replies      
Love the idea. But one of those "I'll believe it when I see it working well".
WayneS 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here is a part that I don't get. Do they actually change the magnetic strip on the 'coin'? Or does it have a fixed VISA number that is tied to your ID and owned by the 'coin' company. Then they just use the coin app and the timestamp of the transaction to know which card to charge in the backend.

That would mean the company gets a log of all transactions.

fww 3 days ago 0 replies      
FaceKicker 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Works like a debit card when you swipe it" - I'd probably get this if I wouldn't effectively be paying several hundreds of dollars per year for it in losses of credit card rewards.
berrypicker 2 days ago 0 replies      
What problem does this solve? After watching the video, their value proposition is: "my wallet is filled with cards, too many" - i.e. using one card instead of a few. Is it gaining popularity because of the technology, or because we're addicted to gadgets like this one?
vitalus 3 days ago 0 replies      
Love the idea!

I'm pretty obsessed with keeping the wallet light & thin - this seems to help out with that.

I wonder if this could potentially store other cards in some way as well? Gift cards etc - would be super convenient.

Incredible to squeeze that much tech in such a thin form factor - would love to see the internal hardware

tonydiv 3 days ago 0 replies      
IF ONLY he had said, "One coin... to rule them all" at the very end!

What a product, I love it, and I love this guy's quirkiness. Love. Love. Love.

nico 3 days ago 0 replies      
I pre-ordered 2 about an hour ago (already got charged), haven't gotten a confirmation email yet...
blazingfrog2 3 days ago 1 reply      
Anybody else feeling uneasy about committing to spending serious cash immediately for a scheduled delivery 7-10 months away for something that could have many legal ramifications (with the associated delays)?

At $50/card, with anywhere from 5 to 15 cards, it quickly adds up...

zshprompt 3 days ago 0 replies      
What stops the person taking the payment from pushing the switch button accidentally or intentionally. Also I can totally see how people can steal your card, use the app to put it into their coin then place the card back so you don't know you've been robbed.
benbrown 3 days ago 0 replies      
How is this different from Wallaby Card? Is this a live product? My understanding is that the networks were not allowing such products. For example, Google and PayPal both planned to issue dynamic "wallet cards" but were blocked by V/MC.
reustle 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's fantastic to see Android support right off the bat!
rajacombinator 2 days ago 0 replies      
this is pretty cool. I'm into having a thin wallet but there are a number of cards I need to carry around currently.

however, $100 is way too much for what is basically a very minor convenience. $50 is too much. For $20, I'd consider it.

from a business perspective, I wonder if they have deals with the banks. I wouldn't be surprised if they get slapped with some cease n desists just because the megabanks want their shiny pieces of plastic on display at all times.

synaesthesisx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Neat concept, but doesn't Google Wallet already integrate this kind of functionality (via NFC)?

I'd much rather have my financial data stored on my phone as I keep the device encrypted and can erase it remotely.

hugofirth 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a European: Chip and Pin?
rebel 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems really cool technologically, but I just don't get it as a consumer. $100 so I can carry less credit cards that take up virtually no space in my wallet? What am I missing?
viame 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is great. I love it. I want to know what did the girl do at 0:11 that he had to look away. :D
ryanckulp 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wrote a quickie on how this is a stopgap, but purchased one nonetheless..


Eleutheria 3 days ago 0 replies      
How about an altcoin card with all my cryptos in it? Pick a coin, swipe and deduct from my account?

There is a huge window of opportunity in the altcoins market right now.

karka91 2 days ago 0 replies      
oh wow. Just a month ago I and a couple of colleagues were talking about this very idea and that this would be a great startup, though we dismissed it because none of us had any experience in this field and we were afraid of possible legal issues.

It's great to see that someone actually brought this to life!

floetic 3 days ago 0 replies      
kumarski 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hackernews is sometimes a contrarian's paradise.
Houshalter 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is amazing. Mildly annoyed at the name though.
panzi 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's this easy to clone a credit card? Why is anyone using credit cards? I feel confirmed in not having one.
frmlobbyist 3 days ago 0 replies      
At Whole Foods they often want to see the back of the card to see the signature if the purchase amount is over $100. They most had gotten burned sometime in the past because I go to this Whole Foods in my home town at least 2/3 times a week and the checkout clerks know me and my wife but they still insist because sometimes we use different credit cards.
_random_ 3 days ago 1 reply      
Windows Phone not supported -> fail.
obedeugene 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool product. Im curious to see how the big guys (VISA, Mastercard) would respond to this.
veganarchocap 2 days ago 0 replies      
What about chip and pin? Or contactless? Is it the same deal?
raybeorn 3 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like a cool idea. But also seems like a credit card thief's dream.
a_emme 3 days ago 0 replies      
There's a reason HUGE banks with customers who have significant existing relationships (Citi Bank - Mastercard, Visa Debit, Heloc, etc) has not done this, don't you think? Not cause the love printing and mailing plastic....
ivanbrussik 3 days ago 0 replies      
for me this would be worth it just to have as a bluetooth security device when i lose/forget my wallet.
miralabs 3 days ago 0 replies      
here I am thinking magstripes are obsolete. where I stay (Singapore), most transactions are done via EMV. Its rare to find the use of magstripes.
felipelalli 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can I use Bitcoin with this?
homakov 2 days ago 0 replies      
how many cards we have? I have 3 and see no use in coin
dc_ploy 3 days ago 0 replies      
They need to fix their closed captioning.
dohertyjf 3 days ago 0 replies      
fierycatnet 2 days ago 0 replies      
Coin aka Wallet...
taigeair 3 days ago 0 replies      
no chip...
rejected2013 3 days ago 0 replies      
i cant wait for this to come out
joshstevens 3 days ago 0 replies      
This needs to be brought to Europe.
acsta 3 days ago 0 replies      
have you seen www.getsolo.com they have some patents on this.
X4 3 days ago 0 replies      
wow, I think this seems to be HOT Topic, took a while for me load this.

I know of an alternative that I bookmarked a long time ago. Have just submitted a link to their landing page, they're practically doing the same, but allow more card types to be fused and it's a mini-computer. They were on the market much earlier than Coin and it looks very prestigious & elegant.

The alternative card can be found here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6736606

(A post, because I'm curious how the Echo is worse or better, without interrupting the Marketing of the Coin, on this board)

I am not sure how to think about this in general, but @nlh has really good points. I agree with him that he needs the imprints, but to be honest, those imprints don't guarantee security.

Void_ 3 days ago 1 reply      
So no holography technology like that in the video? I'm disappointed.
insomnie 3 days ago 2 replies      
Feel free to use my referral code.


What 4chan thinks of HN rbt.asia
869 points by spiznnx  1 day ago   243 comments top 72
neya 1 day ago 13 replies      
Sadly, most of the things on there are true. We can try to deny it all we want, but most of the stuff that's there is true. The power of anonymity is that you get to voice honest opinions without tying it up with your identity and/or feeling responsible for it. Of course, this can be argued otherwise too, by citing some (bad) comments as example from that thread, but for the most part, what you see there are honest comments.

Some of my favorites:

>Why [popular technology] is [unexpected opinion]

>Why I have decided to stop using [ Tried and true web dev environment] and start using Meteor

>Why [obscure framework] is the next [industry standard framework].

>Ask HN: Why is nobody using [obscure niche technology from the 80s]?

>[Actually interesting topic] - 0 comments

>Can the NSA blow up your PC remotely?

>Why you shouldn't store your files locally, but in the cloud

>Why it's impossible to use PHP even though millions of people are doing great things with it

>Some blog post about scalability... blog crashes after posting link to HN and /r/programming

>Show /hn/: I ripped off an existing product and added Bootstrap to it

>Pay me $50 to teach you decades old vim features in screencast form

>Reasons Why A Basic Income Guarantee Might Just Be A Bad Idea

And this is the best:


so the password is password?

nzmsv 1 day ago 9 replies      
How could they have left out the patronizing irrelevant [0] links [1] to Wikipedia [2] in all the wannabe-academic [3] comments with references[4]?

(and yes, references must be 0-based [5])

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relevance

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

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

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academia

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citation

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-based_numbering

pvnick 1 day ago 0 replies      

  203 votes - How I learned my 6 year old daughter how to   do high algorithm trading in Haskell    1 hour later, 421 votes, Your children should be outside  playing, not coding
That brought me to tears

vezzy-fnord 1 day ago 2 replies      

  [231 points] Show /hn/: I ripped off an existing product    and added Bootstrap to it.   "[some program/service] in Javascript" - 6075 comments  Why [obscure framework] is the next [industry  standard framework].  Hacker, entrepreneur, genius, lifestyle blogger, CEO of  Whoof! Pastebin for dog owners and pixel.io image-resizing  service made entirely in Go.
Startup culture in a nutshell.

loser777 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I was on 4chan /g/ basically every moment where I had more than an hour's worth of computer time from around 2010 to mid 2013. In those days as a PC hardware enthusiast and someone who was just beginning to use GNU/Linux, I felt I fit in with the culture fairly well. Of course, there was always "shitposting," but I found the amount of garbage to be tolerable.

As I finished high school and started diving more deeply into GNU/Linux, reading /g/ slowly became less and less enjoyable. At one point, I became so jaded that I felt I understood rms's famous quote regarding /g/: "I tried to look at that page but saw online inane comments." I guess I wasn't as much of a fan of the battlestations, rms memes, desktops, and riced-out GNU/Linux desktops as I previously was.

However, /g/'s influence on me will never be lost. Even after reading more and more hacker news, I still prefer the anonymous style of posting. I say GNU/Linux instead of Linux. (It may be a bit ironic that I learned about rms through a forum where he is a meme that is usually portrayed negatively.) And, to be be honest, I still kind of like battlestation threads (though I may read more usesthis.com instead of /g/). I will also probably never buy any apple products.

Thank you to whomever posted this on /g/, as it really opened my eyes as to how large the intersection of these two communities really is. Perhaps I'll drop by again sometime.

icpmacdo 1 day ago 1 reply      
This one is my favourite

-"Things I've learned from coding for a month"

-"Ten ways to become a better programmer" - by the guy who's been coding for a month

mion 20 hours ago 0 replies      
The jokes are so accurate I'd conjecture there's a huge intersection between the two communities.

Huumm... Except the fact that, arguably, I don't normally conjecture outside HN [1].

[1] I actually want to see what pg has got to essay about this. Just wait until the Arcstar is ready...

Please hold your downvotesI kid, I kid. Most of this (rather funny) criticism is geared towards SV culture in general, I guess, as HN is just a reflection of that plus common nerd/hacker/engineer/smart-kid-outcast behavior. Apart from the idiosyncrasies of large communities that HN is not invulnerable to, I actually have found great content here. And yes, I'm a white college kid in his early twenties with big ambitions, pg is my hero and I don't feel like getting a job at IBM -- that doesn't mean I'm going to chase a $1B exit with Instagram for Squirrels+social+toilets alongside my other rich friends, replacing cancer research with tweets and fucking up the economy while at it. I'm broke and from another country like many people here, and despite the stupid media frenzy, snarky HN comments, bubble or not and so on, I still want to be part of all this. Why? Because I'm young, stupid and want to see what it's like.

I guess this is what the world's greatest engine of innovation looks like: a bunch of young and stupid nerds from another country.

GhotiFish 1 day ago 3 replies      
4chan's commenting system is simultaneously more annoying, and more enjoyable to use. The backtrack style lets you follow conversations, but it doesn't become a nested nightmare. Backtracks also highlight comments of importance or significance.

the Reddit/HN system is hunting the most valuable comments through democracy, but it throws that work out because of its visible tree structure. People can ride the top post.

Also the auto updates are nice to stay current on an active conversation.

Gotta give it to 4chan, nice system. Shame about the captcha.

aspensmonster 1 day ago 0 replies      
>Needlessly negative opinion with the purpose of making me seem more intelligent that I really am.


lololol toasting in an epic thread.


The actual thread is https://boards.4chan.org/g/res/38087806

1gor 1 day ago 1 reply      
duairc 1 day ago 6 replies      
I'm actually really surprised they seem to think that the HN community is anti-sexist. Compared to 4chan, maybe, but from my experience it isn't at all.
drewblaisdell 1 day ago 1 reply      
The Stallman interruptions to promote the term GNU/Linux are perfect.
thatthatis 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I love how hackernews is responding to this with confidence and humor.

It's like an avuncular old gentleman responding to a lampooning by saying "haha, jolly good joke chaps, some of that was right on the money"

I particularly appreciate the maturity and humor demonstrated by hacker news's response in stark opposition to how a lot of Internet communities (4chan, reddit) get angry when 4chan mocks them.

I like a community that is self aware of its own ridiculousness.

djent 1 day ago 2 replies      
Similar parody twitter: https://twitter.com/HackerNewsOnion
alayne 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thank you. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time.
tszming 1 day ago 0 replies      
Missing this one:

    [foobar] in Pure CSS
Honestly, the one I hated most is

     Why you should never use [foobar]

daliwali 1 day ago 6 replies      
I love how anonymity engenders such honest commentary. When people aren't tied down to their reputation/ego, they are free to say what they really think.
011011100 1 day ago 1 reply      
There are a lot people on this forum who seem to think they're absolutely right about some convention or way of life and that they're entitled to attention (ie they believe their take is actually insightful). This describes the "I did or think X, and you should also think or do X" threads.
NameNickHN 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Why does everybody think HN users and 4chan users are two separate groups of people? In order to write those things, someone has to spend some time on HN.
mcescalante 1 day ago 0 replies      
These are hilarious, some pretty good (and accurate) ones in there. I'll bet at least a few of the posters there are lurking here, as well.

Don't even want to know what the thread would have turned out like on /b/.

joeblau 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is one of the most accurate parodies of this site. I still love reading HN, but I'm doing more work now, so I don't have as much time to comment, but I'm sure that I've seen every one of those 4chan titles in some form or another over my 2 year tenure.

Edit: I didn't see any framework battle posts...

   200 points Why Angular is better than Ember   200 points Why Ember is better than Angular

CWIZO 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Surely this isn't what 4chan things of HN. But rather what HN thinks of itself. To come up with such a good parody you have to be really knowledgeable about the thing you are making fun off.
fuddle 21 hours ago 0 replies      
"Why Go Is Better Than You And Everything You Own And Why It Always Will Be" - Seems to sum up a lot of HN posts recently.
benologist 1 day ago 0 replies      
They missed my favorite,

A Startup Anecdote To Advertise My Unrelated Company

ekianjo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Haha, I love this one :

I went to the Apple Store and this guy was really nice to me

eranation 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Today I must accuse a further 3 commenters of "ad hominem" to fill my quota.
nickbarnwell 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very similar to the Linked List news parody [1] which was on HN a few months ago.

[1]: http://www.linkedlistnyc.org/archive/issue_081.html

melling 1 day ago 2 replies      
No mention of the TSA, Snowden, or how the United States made them sad today?
eruditely 1 day ago 0 replies      
I used to participate actively on /g/ in 2007 to 2011 roughly, I go back for a few months at a time. Funny I used to be on so much I could tell who was posting by seeing the frequency of their favorite images to post and what fonts they were using. Their ircs are good too. It's nice to see some of the communities I frequent meet each other.
joshguthrie 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Title was a bit linkbait-y, but the content was good. And true.

"We have met the enemy and he is us."

It's not just 4chan talking here, it's all of us. We can't reply because everything is true. The only difference is the guys posting on 4chan are free to post under anonymity. Here? Not so much, I don't want my 714 karma to stray too far from my 720 days here.

I still like you HN <3

confluence 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love it. The biting sarcasm reminds me of the radio talk shows from GTA 5. Rockstar devs take the shit out of everybody. Here's my contribution:

    [542 points] Why you should work for a startup:     Low pay, long hours, no equity, uninteresting dipshit problems and    privileged tools for bosses [224 comments]    [Posted by a VC, founder, or current employee/inmate]

swills 1 day ago 0 replies      
[Actually interesting topic] - 0 comments -- this thread is proof!
swatkat 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is hilarious, liked it. Here's another one:

    [315 points] You should work from Starbucks.    [262 points] Why working from home or Starbucks is a bad idea.

Tzunamitom 1 day ago 1 reply      
The fact that this is front page on HN is a deliciously ironic recursive joke...
gcb1 23 hours ago 1 reply      
what would be awesome is if the mods here changed the title to "ITT: we hacker news now"
josteink 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I have to say a lot of this stereo-typing is entirely accurate, and definitely made me have a chuckle or two.

Thanks for posting!

dillonforrest 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find this HILARIOUS!! Some of those guys visit hacker news WAYYYY TOOOO MUCHHH.
axaxs 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Why again are we concerned about what 4chan thinks?
smoyer 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Let 4chan know what we think of them!


Springtime 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is absolute gold. Glad there's some humor on HN from time to time, as well as showing 4chan isn't just /b/
almosnow 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hahaha, I literally just wrote "beautiful" and got downvoted here, I'll write it again "beautiful" !
benched 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is exactly the level of humor and intellect you'd expect from 4chan. See how I didn't say anything there?
trippy_biscuits 1 day ago 0 replies      
Right on the mark!
cgtyoder 1 day ago 0 replies      
I needed a good laugh tonight.
Fa773NM0nK 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Whenever I have a question whose answer is more subjective than objective, I ask it on HN.

I find the community here gives the most comprehensive and unbiased answer, while still being passionate about their opinions.

edlebert 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, it's actually super funny, and accurate. Well done.
sfx 20 hours ago 0 replies      
master-ruse-man 19 hours ago 0 replies      
/g/ (or 4chan in general) also love to be ``racist'' http://hackerjews.com
anonymous 19 hours ago 0 replies      
> implying 4chan is one person
AbraKdabra 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh man this one killed me, I'm crying haha

I went to the Apple Store and this guy was really nice to me-101 comments

PhasmaFelis 21 hours ago 0 replies      
"Ten reasons to be really scared"
seivan 18 hours ago 0 replies      
"Why I stop coding and focus more on my blog" 39123 comments

Gold :)

Scienz 22 hours ago 0 replies      
2nd best: reddit for pseudopseudo-intellectuals

I disagree of course, but it did make me lol.

snotrockets 17 hours ago 0 replies      
It's funny because it's true.
jjoe 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This is like approaching a tribe and tearing apart its social fabric. Anthropologically speaking it's never the right approach. There are times when you just have to accept certain behavior. Let the system adjust from within.
tomphoolery 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is just hilarious. Thank you!
gum_ina_package 1 day ago 0 replies      
I feel like this is similar to when the Native Americans and Columbus met.
Nux 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Spot on! And very funny, too. :)
skylan_q 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bonzi buddy favicon
officialjunk 19 hours ago 0 replies      
But this link isn't 4chan...
mbrownnyc 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Fantastically correct.
littlemerman 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is hilarious.
crorella 1 day ago 0 replies      
mostly accurate
bdesimone 1 day ago 0 replies      
tn13 1 day ago 0 replies      
That is what you call :pawned:
kinnth 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Why so serious?!
rpupkin 12 hours ago 0 replies      
this is awesome.
gerberduffy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can pg please add HN Gold so I can give this guy some?
almosnow 1 day ago 0 replies      
nocommits 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Serious comment about internet bullying.-148 points
jokoon 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I hate corporations, but I hate startups even more
Dear Googles: Stop asking plus.google.com
697 points by davidgerard  1 day ago   248 comments top 47
buro9 1 day ago 3 replies      
Does Google believe that if they just push a little harder and finish the job, that somehow the people so alienated will be won over?

Or is the pursuit of profit far more important than the perception of the brand overall?

Right now, and for the last year, the brand is being severely tarnished in all of the networks I have, tech and real-life. I don't see them winning on any front. A Pyrrhic victory.

alextingle 1 day ago 7 replies      
I was all enthusiastic about G+ for about 5 minutes - until they wouldn't allow my wife to sign up without giving them her phone number, and proving that it was hers by accepting a call from them. Just who the fuck do they think they are??

There is no way I could suggest my friends and family sign up to such an intrusive service, so I quickly deleted my own account.

It's an absolutely stunning achievement to create a web-site that's even more offensively intrusive than Facebook. I hope Google are proud.

dredmorbius 18 hours ago 0 replies      
OP here.

First off: thanks for the visibility. I've been railing about this pretty much since G+ started (originally with nymwars) and Google just seems to continue not getting it. Mega thanks to David for getting this on the queue and everyone who upvoted. For something which was just a throwaway post (as I said: I was looking for one of my own earlier instances and stumbled across a whole trove), this had legs.

The HN moral: sometimes your best work is the stuff that takes little effort, thought it helps to hit the Zeitgeist wave just right.

I ... don't dislike Google, though the company's made itself vastly harder to like, and for me personally, its brand equity has been tremendously hurt by my experience to its corporate goals and motives surrounding G+, pretty much from the start. My history with the company goes back further -- I was using its search during beta in 1998/1999, and the reason was simple: it made things easier for me, and performed useful tasks, far better than anyone else at the time.

For a long time I saw Google bashing as almost entirely a Microsoft phenomenon, but I've got to say that's no longer the case. I'm absolutely no friend of Redmond's, and have watched events there over the past few months with no small amount of schadenfreude. There's no question that Microsoft continues to bash Google (sometimes effectively, often pretty cluelessly). It's very clear to me that there's a pretty solid and consistent backlash not just from techies, but as the G+ search I ran made clear, from ordinary people sick of intrusive questions.

I could wax on about privacy, and people who could be endangered or put in harm's way or find their lives ruined or what if Stalinist Nazi Cthulu buys Google... and all of that's entirely valid, but it's besides the point. Even if none of that applies, and you prefer not to have your personal data aggregated, if you say "no", the meaning is simple: "no". Stop asking. Don't go ahead and do it anyway. Don't put buttons where they're likely to get hit accidentally, or confusing dialogs, or interstitials, or anything else.

Because it's about respect.

But even if none of the factors above apply, the simple fact that I've and many, many others have made amply clear that no, we don't wish to provide this information, no, we don't wish to link our various associated identities, and no, we don't want to be part of your "identity network", means that Google (and, to be fair, a great many other companies and entities) are going OUT OF THEIR WAY TO EXPLICITLY DISRESPECT THAT PREFERENCE.

And that Google, very, very clearly, no longer respects me, or any of its users, based on far too many of its actions. Where Google used to make a decent coin offering incidental ads on top of a useful services, it's ... lost its way.

The data aggregation is one part of it. "No" means "No". It's a really simple message.

Somewhat ironically, I'd recently kicked off a G+ Community (private and invite only, sorry, I've actually transferred ownership to others as well) to discuss an anti-harassment policy following a long and detailed discussion:


Google's own inability to play by similar rules is ... interesting.

I'd also been reviewing some older posts, mine and other people's, as well as many of the YouTube top contributor responses (Reggie, Jonathan Paula, and others). Three points that kept getting made again and again were:

1. Google's interfaces make tons of work for users. It's sort of the anti-Perl: they make easy things hard (and tedious), and hard things impossible. Responding to YouTube comments, muting or blocking users, flagging spam, setting volume controls, managing Circles, checking on blocked / muted users, and on and on. In particular the fact that to take care of a problem here and now you've got to go somewhere else within the site to deal with it. The lack of concurrent controls is ... maddening.

2. There was no direct control over things. Google apparently are trying to handle everything "behind the scenes" through machine intelligence. And far too often doing an absolutely miserable job of it, especially where some very basic controls (dismiss post, time-out a user, comment moderation tools for posts) would help tremendously. I've seen some suggestions that earlier iterations (Wave or Buzz) are considered to have failed in part because their interfaces were too complex, but if anything G+ suffers from too few controls. And one sign of an oversimplified interface is that people start devising conventions to get around limitations. This happens on G+ in spades.

3. Noise controls. People's streams are absolutely out of control. I'd noted starting in March or thereabouts that I was finding Notifications and Search far more useful than my Stream. In a discussion of the +1 automatic share issue, Lauren Weinstein's guests similarly noted that they were using their Streams less and less:


In particular, Robert Scoble (the old noisemaker hisself) has ranted repeatedly and epicly on the lack of proper noise controls on G+, from pretty much day 1. This is from about a year in, but few of the points have been addressed:


When I go to a site such as Hacker News or Reddit, I typically look at the front page first to see what's been selected. Because, well, it's been selected. G+ Streams and Communities don't do that. I turn to them, if at all, after going through Notifications or explicitly searching for things. I recently suggested G+ fix "What's Hot" by simply renaming it "What's Rot".

Who really nailed it for me though was Homer Slated's comment on this issue at G+ (NB: it's a touch piquant):


In a comment he writes, that when receiving a Notification from Google:

[W]hat Google is doing is, essentially, telling me that it's found a word in the dictionary that I might be interested in, that it's seven letters long and contains the letter "g", but rather than just telling me what the word is, or even linking directly to it, it simply links me to a dictionary, then expects me to spend hours trawling through that dictionary just to finds that word....

It helps to understand that Google is not a search company, or a social networking outfit, or an email provider ... it's an advertising company, and therefore everything it does is oriented toward the principle of "promotion"....

While I have no doubt that Google has highly sophisticated search algorithms working behind the scenes, the results that you and I are actually presented with, and the mechanisms for obtaining those results, are skewed toward "buzz", not accuracy or relevance.

In other words, if Google were a news organisation, it wouldn't be reporting the news, it would be fabricating it, then tailoring that work of fiction to appeal to (what it believes is) your "general" interests.

If there was a single word that could concisely sum up Google, it would be "vague". Google is deliberately vague, it's notifications are vague, the way it handles articles and comments is vague, its search results are vague ... and by no accident. Google is deliberately vague because it wants to steer you away from what's actually relevant to you, and what actually interests you, to those things it wants you to become interested in.

In a G+ post I discussed lies. The common one is the lie of commission: I tell you something that's not true, a fabrication. Another, slightly more nuanced, is the lie of omission -- neglecting to inform you of a material fact. You'll find it especially referenced in business contracts, particularly real-estate and M&A concerning adverse conditions. A third type is what I've called a "lie of diversion". It's generally not a truth or a non-truth itself, but its purpose is to obscure truth, meaning, and relevance. It's at the heart of much of what's wrong (IMO) with "viral media" and messages -- little non-facts floating around in little non-informational nuggets, clogging up your cognitive circuits. And processing all that non-information takes a lot of effort.


The biggest problem with G+ I was consistently running into was simply the non-relevance of what it was presenting me. And that's a change fundamentally due, I suspect, to its reliance on advertising and the culture this brings.

Google thought it could ride the advertising tiger when it opted to go that way early in its career. And for a time it did. But in a long and storied career of riding tigers, I've learned two things: ultimately the tiger is in control, and dismounting is the hardest part.

The lack of respect is why I feel that Google's corporate culture is fundamentally broken. Whether it's a rotten core or a rotten head I don't know. I absolutely don't question that there are some very well-meaning people working for Google, especially within the engineering staff. Possibly high on the org chart. But enough people, in enough positions of power, and I strongly suspect Larry Page, Eric Schmidt, and Vic Gundotra as being part of that group, either don't get it, are actively pursuing personal data aggregation, or, and this actually frightens me more: have been persuaded that it's in their best interest to follow this path via a deal they cannot refuse.

Frankly, none of those possibilities does much to give me any level of faith in the company. Or in any centrally-organized personal data-gathering effort.

colinbartlett 1 day ago 1 reply      
Google has become this unwieldily beast that doesn't care how frustrated its users become, because it knows not enough of them will leave to have even the slightest dent in their revenue.
vinhboy 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't mind the annoyance of Google+ for my personal account. But they really fucked things up when they forced the integration on my Google Apps for Business (terrible name by way -- why not "Google Business Suite"). Now we have clients pissed off because they can't share images in their organization without opening Google+. This HAS to stop.
ancarda 1 day ago 4 replies      
The main issue is Google will only drive a small minority of it's customers/'products being sold' away. If you have a problem with Google's current approach, you may want to consider leaving, not to "stick it to the man" but to not have to deal with their services anymore.

I recently deleted everything on my account (G+ & YT included) and it feels great to be free from the constant harassment. I only have Gmail active now. I'm still looking for a new mail provider but once I have one, my relationship with Google is over as far as I'm concerned.

It really depends on how much you need to use Google's services.

gojomo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Listen, and understand. That Google Plus is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you complete your profile.
shittyanalogy 1 day ago 3 replies      
The whole phone number thing is an attempt to solve a very hard problem.

Most people have terrrrrrrrrrrible password practices. Absolutely abysmal. And they are keeping extremely sensitive data inside their email as well as using their email address as the key to accessing many other websites and pieces of sensitive data. Think about how screwed you'd be if you lost access to you email address. Now think of how many people DAILY probably loose such access. Phone numbers are an easy, mostly reliable way to identify someone and give them access back to their email address without an investigation and without human intervention.

Plus, let's just get reasonable for one minute here. Google already has your phone number. Ever given it to someone via gmail? Someone else ever given your phone number to one of their friends through gmail? They're just asking for permission to send you a text.

pstuart 1 day ago 0 replies      
It blows my mind how badly Google sucks at "social networks."
lancewiggs 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The decision makers, and most people who work at Google probably don't see this problem. They just hand over the information and move on.

It's like the Delta Airlines management team who had a special bus to the airport and a hole in the fence to go straight to their first class seats in their airplanes, or senior Apple employees who (less so now) appeared to never to actually travel outside California and London.

If you don't see a problem you will never fix it. Google and Facebook folks are content with living inside their bubble, while the rest of us get more and more frustrated and use their products less and less.

josteink 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just went to plus.google.com and I had a huge popup asking me to subscribe a bunch of things and enable a bunch of notifications.

Things I've explicitly turned off, because I dont want to be bugged all the time.

The only way to move on was to edit the URL back to what it was before I got redirected.

Google+ is all about coercion. There's really no mistaking about that.

jdrenterprises 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't like the "persistence" of Google either, but... if you want to use their package of services (Plus, GMail, others...) the stakes are just going to get higher and higher.

Today, it's a cell phone number for the "benefit" security. Tomorrow, they will ask for a SSN in order to use Gmail.

They offer free services for one reason, and one reason only... and it isn't because they like giving away stuff.

Google is offering "X" service so they can bargain your data out of you, more and more of your data. That, IMO, is the reality of the situation. I would challenge that most people don't understand fully the bargain they are getting.

Google knows most people don't understand this bargain.

Now, that said, do they offer value in the services they provide in exchange for this data? Sure.

If you want that value, they will either:

1. Get your data, and quit asking for it.

2. Not get your data, but keep asking for it, as many times as they want, because it's their sandbox.

And here's the kicker in my opinion, millions of people are going to keep signing up for and using their free services, and keep offering their data in exchange for using their services.

The Google world just keeps on turning...

joelrunyon 1 day ago 2 replies      
No means no. They really ought to figure that out by now.
davidjgraph 1 day ago 1 reply      
Isn't the real point here the relative quality difference between Google's search and the rest of their products?

The search result looks pretty good...

Zenst 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Sadly it is a trend, started with companies adding toolbars to software you have to deselect, then they ask you again EVERY update (Adode looking at you amongst others here). Then there is the constant mistargeted adverts, say for a product you already own, analytics at its meh.

Personaly one that has been grinding my gears recently is avast on a pc which constantly keeps popping up a link to read about FB privacy, I don't do Facebook and with that my privacy is alrady covered. yet this pop's up many a time, I use 3G internet upon that PC so suspect every time I get a new IP (often) then the advertising popup for the self promoting article gets flagged up again.

In an age of computers able to remember what we forget or wish to forget it is somewhat annoying to be asked the same question over and over again in the hope you will eventualy say yes too there satisfaction and voiding the upmteen no responses you have said. Yet once you say yes you aint asked again if you would like to say no instead, funny that.

But this is the case with software you can't download, hack about and compile to taste. With that I support this mentality as it will only push people into learning something new. That said if I ever have a problem with a company like google can I ask them umpteen times the same question until I get the answer I want? Only fair in implied contract law perhaps :).

With that the days of software acting like a small kid constantly asking for a bike at for Christmas will be with us for a while longer until the yes and no response have equal value too them. Until then, is it yes yet? is it yes yet? is it yes yet?.....

dlsx 1 day ago 0 replies      

And stop asking if I want to download the youtube app every time I go to youtube.com in mobile safari (It is the pop-up banner of this generation.) That goes for all you clever scripting savvy marketers, I fucking despise you.

c_hawkthorne 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, two years can have a huge impact: http://i.imgur.com/wbjCmbt.jpg
Tarang 1 day ago 2 replies      
Its really annoying since you know its a script and it can just keep asking you again and again. Sometimes it asks me my cell number while trying to check my email (even on my paid google apps account!)

Facebook has taken an interesting more sneaky turn recently with their messenger app. Since now they can collect phone numbers without explicitly asking for them.

Once it's given to them just once.. Its with them forever.

kansas 1 day ago 1 reply      
True. It is beyond sickening. Recently it forced me to upgrade to Google + when i try to login to gmail. Upgrade?

That was the only choice in the whole page. I have to close the browser session and come back again. I really dont know what to do. Got sucked in. there is no way around. Soon i will get the courage to move out.

AJ007 1 day ago 2 replies      
I am happy Google is pushing lots of annoying questions to remind everyone there is no reason to be logged in to Google to view Youtube videos.
gesman 1 day ago 0 replies      
1.Google asking me for cellphone number only because I've enabled 2-factor authentication so it does it for every new browser/device.

2.Regarding chats, I think it's in cookies, so when you change browsers - the whole QA thing repeats.

3.Google of course wants to know about you more than your mama and spouse combined, but at least some of that pestering experience is due to the fact that Google is prone to employing lousy programmers as much as any other corp.

4.No one is forced to use Google's free services and be put up with begging for personal information so that implies the freedom to switch to any other provider away from Google.

mason240 1 day ago 0 replies      
Also please stop asking me to share G+ with my contacts everytime I go to G+.

Nothing makes like a website less than annoying screens I have to click through every time I go there.

mcphilip 1 day ago 1 reply      
Im thinking about writing a FireFox extension that substitutes the word Google with Panopticon on all of their web properties as a reminder to use their tools less frequently.
znowi 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wish they were as innovative in their marketing practice as in apps. They seem to replicate whatever Facebook is doing to milk more users for more data. And something Facebook doesn't have to do - frantically coerce people to join Google+ on a massive scale.

I think it's a result of a lesson learned with Buzz. There was a lot of media hype about it, but very little push to the masses (compared to Google+). And, rightly so, it died off. Cause on its own merit, it kind of sucked and got no traction, despite the formidable Google force behind it.

With Google+ - the last hope of the Empire in social media battle - everything goes.

lignuist 1 day ago 1 reply      
Dear Hacker: Stop signing up at Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter and all the other personal data collection services, if you care about your privacy. I'm living a happy life without such accounts, and so can you.
jamiequint 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ah yes, the vocal minority...
dror 1 day ago 0 replies      
I gave google my phone number a long time ago when I set up two step authentication. Your account is significantly more secure when you do that. Has never been abused AFAIK.

I think of it as similar to giving identifying information to my credit card company when I'm calling them. (Though citi pissed me off asking me for the full credit card number a few years ago).

crystaln 1 day ago 0 replies      
Humans are no longer responsible for such things at google. If you have objections, submit them to the Algorithm, Who already knows what you have to say and doesn't care.
switch007 1 day ago 0 replies      
Gretchen: That is so fetch.

Regina: Gretchen, stop trying to make 'fetch' happen. It's not going to happen

hellbanTHIS 1 day ago 0 replies      
That personal info must be worth an unholy amount of money for them to blow their once-stellar reputation like this.
charlus 1 day ago 1 reply      
I complied with everything they ask and they no longer bug me really. But still Google+ is unusable, it constantly uses 40% of my processor just to have that tab open in Chrome/Linux. Facebook runs lovely in comparison.
keyme 1 day ago 4 replies      
Is there a browser plugin or something that can keep google in check? Like separating youtube, gmail and the search into different "sandboxes"? Maybe blocking some of the annoying popups that constantly demand your info?I'm not familiar with such a thing, but it could be kinda nice to have it.
ddorian43 1 day ago 0 replies      
Like youtube, they asked you to make you feel like you had a choice. (i may be wrong)
randac 1 day ago 0 replies      
This annoys the hell out of me because I know as well as they do that one day I'll misclick one of these fucking things.
SonicSoul 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am really worried about being forced to log into google to use chrome these days.. there is a "skip for now" button. I hate this we-know-whats-best-for you approach..
Paul_S 1 day ago 1 reply      
Dear user, stop using google.
pearjuice 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dear Google,

Thank you for all the free services you have delivered over the years. Please do not listen to all those complaining about stuff they get for free. As free as they were to sign up, they also have a choice to opt-out at any moment.

They blindly agreed to the Terms of Service which warned them, yet now complain as if they are entitled to anything.

Look at them and laugh

Aldo_MX 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you register a new account, verifying by mobile is mandatory now :(
fallinghawks 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am asked for a phone number most times that I actually log into mail (which isn't all that often since I just sleep the computer). Youtube is a travesty, though.

After the recent upgrade, it did ask twice to turn on Talk for SMS messaging. I said no both times and it hasn't asked me since.

conradev 1 day ago 2 replies      
Facebook does the exact same thing. They want your interests so that they can show you ads.
hackaflocka 1 day ago 0 replies      
My wish for Google is different. I want it to keep interfering how I like to consume its services. I want them to keep needling me. And everyone else. This is the surest path to a competitor with a better value proposition.
mtgx 1 day ago 1 reply      
You can only grow a user base that is engaged with your product organically, not by forcing them.
altrego99 1 day ago 0 replies      
To upload all the pictures I click automatically to Google's server. What's up with that? Stop, asking.
moca 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The answer is pretty simple: the Google+ deciders don't get social. They think very differently from their users and they refused to listen for past 2-3 years.
pjmlp 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Next step, forcing Android users to have G+ accounts.
rwhitman 1 day ago 0 replies      
So you get the worlds best and most powerful email inbox - for free - and the small price you pay is to be continually asked for PII and very subtle upsells on using additional, also free, services.

I don't know but that sounds pretty fair to me.

A living death: Sentenced to die behind bars for what? aclu.org
624 points by subsystem  2 days ago   482 comments top 60
spodek 2 days ago 7 replies      
It's a crying shame. Normally that's an empty phrase, but it describes this.

I can't imagine reading this and not feeling tears well up.

No sense of what I would call humanity. From what perspective does this make the world a better place?

What am I missing about being human that this fits into that I don't understand?

jmadsen 1 day ago 3 replies      
I think at the root of this is a very prevalent attitude among a many people in America toward "not letting people get away with things"

I don't think you can look at this in a vacuum - you need to see these punishments as simply another manifestation of this attitude. This is not a "this group vs. that group" thing; you may find this among "fire and brimstone" Democrats just as often as your "Limburgh Republicans".

I've often said the difference between these groups is: given 100 people asking for a free meal, the liberal will take satisfaction in feeding 99 hungry ones; this type of conservative will fret over the one person who "got away with" getting a free lunch he could have afforded himself.

(Side rant: these people tend to be among the loudest Bible-thumpers, and think "the Good Lord helps those.." is an actual biblical passage.)

Rehabilitation as a way of dealing with miscreants doesn't work in the US for the main part because there is too large a segment of the American populace who feel that these various programs equate to giving them a reward for bad behavior. Why should they (the convicted) get a free hand with job placement when no one else is "being coddled"?

(The wonderful quote "born on third base and thinks he hit a triple" always comes to mind here.)

So you see, Americans understand perfectly well all the logical and economic aspects of this issue. The fact is, it is built into our culture to punish people. We get satisfaction from it. We're not after what's best for the country, we're after revenge.

It's ugly, but I've been around for many years & I stand by that statement.

beloch 1 day ago 3 replies      
The U.S. and Canada have very similar cultures, so comparisons here have some meaning. The U.S.'s per capita incarceration rate is 6.28 times Canada's [1] and the per capita number of police officers is 1.26 times higher in the U.S.[2]. However, the intentional homicide rate of the U.S. is 2.94 times that of Canada[3]. Certain types of offenses (e.g. drug offenses) are higher in Canada, but the violent crime rate is lower.

It's worth asking what is going on here. I'm no expert on law and punishment, but it seems like the U.S. is throwing more resources at the problem (perhaps prodded by for-profit prison lobbyists) and getting poorer results. The cultures are too similar to explain this away by saying Canadians are inherently less violent. As Canada considers harsher prison sentences and expanding prison capacity, it's imperative to understand if this will produce the intended results.




clarky07 2 days ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one here not seeing this as propaganda with nicely worded articles masking a lot of the reality here? Some of them seem a little unreasonable I'll agree, but lets go through a few of these:

"taking a wallet from a hotel room" - we blame it on the court appointed lawyer. He's already been convicted and sent to jail twice for burglary and he continues to break into other peoples places and steal their stuff. Poor guy just took a wallet from those rich vacationing golfers. Screw that. If I was there I'd be scared to death. How many times do we let him keep doing this. Stop doing it stupid.

"stealing tools from a tool shed" - oh he was just riding along. sure he was. already been convicted multiple times for burglary. The fact that he desperately misses his children does not make him less guilty of continuing to break into other peoples places and taking their things. Stop doing that stupid.

"borrowing a co-workers truck" - i think there is clearly more to this story. generally speaking, people don't normally drive other people's trucks 3 states away without letting them know. If it really was harmless, i'd expect the other guy to not press charges or testify on his behalf. Hey guys, it was just a misunderstanding I thought someone else took it. Also, "inadvertently killing someone" is a really nice way of saying he beat the shit out of someone in a fight and the guy died.

Perhaps some of these don't deserve life, but I don't really have that much of a problem with it. Maybe we could lower it to 20-30 years, but I have no problems with escalating penalties. If you are a productive member of society this isn't a problem. These mini-articles are all worded as if these people didn't do anything wrong and just made a tiny mistake this one time and now they are in prison forever. Not the case. Most of them made pretty big mistakes, and they made them repeatedly.

mynameishere 2 days ago 1 reply      
The three strike laws make some sense as long as people conflate "felony" with genuinely serious crimes like rape or aggravated assault. If someone commits three consecutive rapes...well, who would complain about locking him up forever?

The problem is in the increasing meaninglessness of the term "felony". If they limited it to grievous crimes, there wouldn't be much controversy.

Also, it's weird to have something presented as "news" when The Simpsons covered it satirically about 15 years ago:


thaumasiotes 2 days ago 20 replies      
My thoughts on the best and the worst:

> Anthony Jackson has a sixth-grade education and worked as a cook. He was convicted of burglary for stealing a wallet from a Myrtle Beach hotel room when he was 44 years old. According to prosecutors, he woke two vacationing golfers as he entered the room and stole a wallet, then pretended to be a security guard and ran away. Police arrested him when he tried to use the stolen credit card at a pancake house. [...] Because of two prior convictions for burglary, Jackson was sentenced to mandatory life without parole under South Carolina's three-strikes law.

Emphasis mine. I can't get too worked up about a system that sentences this guy to life in prison. What would be the point of letting him out? He knew he wasn't supposed to walk into other people's hotel rooms and take their wallets. At what point does society get to tell people "you know what, knock it off"?

> After serving two years in prison during his mid-twenties for inadvertently killing someone during a bar fight, Aaron Jones turned his life around. He earned an electrical technician degree, married, became an ordained reverend, and founded the Perfect Love Outreach Ministry. Years later, Aaron was hired to renovate a motel in Florida, and was living in an employee-sponsored apartment with two other workers, one of whom had a truck that was used as a company vehicle by all the co-workers. Jones decided to drive this truck home to Louisiana to visit his wife and four children. When Aaron's co-worker woke up to find his truck missing, he reported it stolen. Aaron was pulled over by police while driving the truck.

I don't understand this one at all. Shouldn't the truck owner have testified on his behalf? Declined to press charges?

I made a cursory effort to look up the case itself, but I have no idea how to do that.

joshfraser 2 days ago 2 replies      
There is so much injustice with our prison system right now. There are countless people being locked up for their entire lives over petty crimes -- the same crimes that relatively comfortable white boys like me could easily get away with because I can afford a decent lawyer. It's racism and wealth discrimination disguised as justice.

The US is leading the world in incarceration and the privatization of prisons is a big contributor to the problem. Corporations have a financial incentive to incarcerate more people and lobby to keep strict drug laws.

Meanwhile we make jokes and laugh about things like prison rape. I believe we will look back at prison rape the same way we look back at slavery. How barbaric are we that we think that's somehow okay?

For things to change, were going to have to change public perceptions and start demanding change. I wish we were a little less eager to deprive people of their most basic right to freedom.


mrkmcknz 2 days ago 0 replies      
The UK in comparison:


I understand that we don't have the kind of problem that a8da6b0c91d mentioned here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6743406 however I really don't understand the common sense of the US judicial system.

If I were to be caught breaking some computer misuse act against a UK company it's more than likely a slap on the wrist would be handed down to me. Abuse a US corporation and I would expect extradition and 10 years or more in one of your comfortable prison cells.

Also compare the US and UK prisons themselves.

UK: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=uk+prison+cell&espv=210&es...

US: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=uk+prison+cell&espv=210&es...

drawkbox 2 days ago 0 replies      
If there are filters like archaic three strikes laws to take out human decision making on repeat offenses, there should be sanity filters on the other end. Laws that say noone, ever, should serve more than X amount of years for non-violent crimes and that is probably or should be a low number, single digit. Life for non-violence is very sad as a society.

I am against prison or jail for any non-violent offense beyond fines or 'outpatient' like corrections, they cost much less and might actually help. They keep the individual contributing and don't subject people to a further life of crime locking them up, especially drug offenses when it is really most likely an illness or a non-issue.

If, when they gave a sentence, they reported the projected cost of that sentencing maybe some of this would change?

Things to try to help this:

1) Create common sense filters for sentencing so non-violent criminals or repeat offenses serve no more than x amount of years for a crime or remove jail/prison for non-violence altogether.

2) When sentencing is handed down, the projected cost of that sentence should also be read with the sentence except in extreme cases of violent sentencing. All non-violent sentencing should have a price right next to it so people understand what it really means. i.e. caught with a small amount of drugs = 10 years * 30k per year = 300,000 to put this person away for nothing. Right after that it lists their projected income and loss in taxes. Then a net benefit total which in this case is probably around 500k of economic value for this one offense.

Stupid events like this wouldn't happen if we changed this: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/video-shows-man-dyi...

Technology changing society is another side to this. In the past, laws were not only there to dissuade people from doing undesirable behavior but were also more lax and harder to get caught. Nowadays everything is tracked and aggressive laws are now problematic because it isn't just a dissuading factor anymore it is a certainty. If there is something that probably shouldn't be illegal but is based on this past we could be in trouble. So all laws or things like this with non-violence being locked up and a private prison industry run amuck, we need to change drastically soon. People are human and they can mess up, our systems for corrections sometimes mess up the rest of their lives for one momentary lapse of reason.

whiddershins 1 day ago 0 replies      
One thing that disturbs me, after reading the comments here, and after hearing attitudes expressed by people in general: I think normal citizens massively underestimate how harsh these sentences are. Look around at your life and picture how much damage might be done by just a 6 month stint in jail. You would likely lose your job, you might lose your house, your kids. Even a month in jail would be a serious bummer for most of the people posting here.

Now, think, really picture, what a 3 year sentence would do. How hard it would be to recover from losing those years.

Now picture a 5 year, 7 year, 10 year, 15 year sentence. There is a reason Norway generally restricts its sentences to 21 years for even the most heinous crimes. The sentencing here in the US is truly draconian. It only seems proportional because we are measuring relative to what is already going on, so in context this stuff seems "not that bad."


anigbrowl 2 days ago 4 replies      
This is poorly focused. I'm absolutely against 3 strikes sentencing laws and mandatory sentencing escalations that can put petty criminals in prison for life.

On the other hand, I'm perfectly OK with some criminals dying behind bars, such as the recently sentenced Whitey Bulger, and so are most other people. By making the headline about the undesirability of custodial life sentences in general, they'er losing a large chunk of their potential audience straight out of the gate.

noonespecial 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well, we seem to be going all out defending the other amendments these days. I guess its time to add the 8th to our efforts.


scottdw2 1 day ago 1 reply      
This bothers me.

I know this is a bit of a 'libertarian fantasy', but I think the constitution ought to be amended to contain something like the following:

1) No person shall be subject to any criminal penalty exceeding one year of incarceration or $300 in fines for any non violent offense relating solely to the possession, sales, distribution, manufacture, or purchase of an intoxicating substance.

2) The purpose of this article is to limit the scope of criminal penalties that may be applied to "non violent drug offenders". It's provisions shall be interpreted with such intent in mind.

3) This article applies to all jurisdictions with the Several States, the United States, and any territories or possessions thereof

4) Any forfeiture of assets resulting from the conviction of a "non violent drug crime" must be limited to:

a) The intoxicating substances constituting the "core element of the crime"

b) Any asset materially and predominantly used for the manufacture, production, and possession of such substances.

Provided that such seized assets do not also have reasonable, fundamental, predominant, and legally authorized uses. In such case any seizure must be subject to the provisions of "eminent domain".

5) Congress, or the states, acting within the provisions otherwise authorized by this constitution, may adopt measures to ensure assets actually used in the commission of a "non violent drug crime", when not seized in accordance with this constitution, are only used in accordance to lawfully authorized purchases.

noonespecial 1 day ago 1 reply      
The takeaway? If you're considering a life of crime, be a freakin super-villain because they're going to sentence you like one anyway.
brianbreslin 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is pathetic. What country that claims to be a leader in human rights can justify this kind of justice? I'm American, and am continuously appalled to hear these types of stories. these stories are sadly not isolated either, and have come to almost be accepted. We are nearing a tipping point where we need to stand up for a better America. Screw the prison industry, and screw lobbyists, screw bipartisan squabbles. We need to stand up for ISSUES that matter to us.
zaroth 2 days ago 1 reply      
If the judge simply orders a sentence below the minimum, what happens? While the Government can appeal the sentence, then it comes to the next judge up the line to stand up for justice.

For example, California's 3-strike law counts non-violent felonies, which sweeps up a lot of criminals into 25 year sentences that they don't deserve.

"The California law originally gave judges no discretion in setting prison terms for three strikes offenders. However, the California Supreme Court ruled, in 1996, that judges, in the interest of justice, could ignore prior convictions in determining whether an offender qualified for a three strikes sentence." [1]

But these so called "mandatory" sentences are not actually that, it's just that most judges simply don't have the guts to stand up for justice. A judge can use their discretion in setting sentences, but then can be challenged if Government can show the sentence is unreasonable. While following the guidelines is presumed reasonable, simply not following the guidelines is not presumed unreasonable.

Lois Forer was a judge in Philadelphia facing just such a decision, and he explains the process better than I can [2]. In the end, the man he tried to save was resentenced by another judge to serve the balance of the "mandatory minimum" five years. This is a system which is ultimately perpetuated by the judiciary.

I don't blame the legislature for enacting laws that get them re-elected. I do blame the judges for letting a sentencing law unjustly destroy some peoples lives.

[1] - http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Three+Strikes+...[2] - http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Justice+by+the+numbers%3B+mand...

zw123456 2 days ago 3 replies      
From the map it seems like all the cases are in the Southeast. Is the Southeastern United States sort or a 3rd Word Country within the U.S. ? It seems like every time I see something like this it is in the Southeast. It seems to me like the rift from the Civil War has never completely been resolved. Just an observation, does anyone else feel the same way?
mschuster91 2 days ago 2 replies      
As an European citizen, I think such "sentences" are more resembling China, Russia or any other dictatorship, but not a first-world country.

Do human rights actually mean something in the US?

gregsq 2 days ago 0 replies      
In England, especially in the eighteenth century, we had a somewhat similar, though harsher regime where one strike against you on a charge of petty larceny could lead to imprisonment in HM prisons. Of course the prison population swelled as hangings became less fashionable, and the temporary prison ships were unmoored to sail to places like Australia. Transportation for the theft of a loaf of bread.

Ironic that that country, along with its New World cousin the USA, claimed ideals of freedom so strongly. Much more so in the USA. Mandatory sentencing has it's place it can be argued. This seems antithetical to first principles however.

skyraider 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think an effective way to frame this issue is:

Would you consider these people so dangerous that you would personally build a small concrete box and forcibly keep them inside for many hours a day for the rest of their lives? Or, is that how you would treat your children if they committed some minor, nonviolent, kinda-maybe-bad act?

No reasonable person would - the moral decision above is clear. Would you pay for someone else to do this?

We are brothers and sisters in humanity, and we elect people who write these laws and treat fellow people like this (and/or refuse to reform the US Sentencing Commission). We are to blame.

tshile 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wait, are we actually supposed to get worked up over this? The ACLU so clearly tip toed while writing the descriptions of these cases as to clearly walk a line between lying about the case and giving us the context needed to understand why these people are in jail for life.

"Patrick had no violent criminal history and had never served a single day in a Department of Corrections facility" - Right, but he obviously had a drug problem since he did NA in prison and probably got in trouble previously, just not enough to go to the Department Of Corrections facility (what his crimes and punishments were are left as an exercise to the reader)

The other stories have similar issues. Blame it on the abusive and threatening boyfriend, not the previous drug convictions and a three strikes law. Life in prison for borrowing a truck from a friend that accidentally reported it stolen?

Look, innocent people get in trouble for things they didn't do. Not innocent people get in trouble for things they didn't do, but were just in the wrong place at the wrong time due to the other things that they did do. It's an unfortunate part of the system and I'm all for things that minimize overcharging and punishing innocent people.

But anyone who can't read between the lines on these is either a sap or just believing what they want to. They even led into it with a statistic about race to soften you up. There are three strikes laws for a reason. There's massive amounts of context missing from these. It's a shame, I generally like the ACLU and what they do, but this is awful.

brandonhsiao 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have no words. None. At all.

I'm going to be honest and say that in general I am anything but a compassion. I have every bit of sympathy, however, for (relatively) innocent people being victims of things like bureaucracy, human stupidity, laziness, or sheer scumfuckery. It's hard for me to imagine what was going on in those judges' heads, but chances are it's something I despise.

This one was the worst for me:

> When he was 22-years-old, Lance Saltzman was charged with breaking into his own home and taking his stepfathers gun, which his stepfather had shot at his mother and repeatedly used to threaten her. He was convicted of armed burglary and sentenced to prison for the rest of his life.

nsxwolf 1 day ago 0 replies      
ACLU doesn't understand the difference between burglary and theft, apparently. Breaking into an occupied hotel room and stealing a wallet is hardly best described as "taking a wallet".

Burglary is a terrifying experience that can leave the victims with life long PTSD. This man is lucky he wasn't immediately shot to death by the occupants. Every day he spends in prison alive is still a gift after that.

mayneack 2 days ago 0 replies      
dsjoerg 2 days ago 3 replies      
A throwaway thought: one of the (many) problems with 3-strike sentencing laws may be that the escalation curve is too quick to have the desired curbing effect.

It is obvious (to me) that some kind of exponentiation would be more effective. 2x - 3x elongation per offense would be plenty harsh, harsh enough for the offender to understand it's going to be much worse each time, without it having to be life in prison.

EDIT: On second thought, formulaic sentencing is bad. Sentencing is hard, consistency is hard, but to remove human judgment and discretion from the sentencing process seems obviously wrong.

sukuriant 2 days ago 1 reply      
It says that there is no hope for these individuals.

... Why? Why can't they be brought out of their situation? I know some have been in there for 22 years already; but, why can't they be helped from this? I just... it doesn't make sense to me

mercurial 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's pretty disappointing to see so many comments praising what most people here would describe as "absurdly disproportionate sentences" and "probably something out of North Korea". Especially when the same people were up in arms not long ago about Aaron Schwartz.
analog31 2 days ago 0 replies      
I came across a web forum thread in which the escalation of criminal sentencing laws is compared to the Milgram experiment:


Of course no analogy is perfect, but this one gave me pause.

DominikR 1 day ago 0 replies      
If I had to choose from facing life in prison (and maybe being raped there) and sharia punishment for stealing someones wallet I'd probably prefer having my hand amputated.

That's how irrational and absurd this law is, the Taliban look like humanists compared to that.

electic 2 days ago 0 replies      
I actually teared up reading this. This is truly a tragedy.
e12e 2 days ago 0 replies      
"(...) we found out that seven out of every ten black men behind jail, and most of the men behind jail are black

Seven out of every ten black men never went to the ninth grade

Didn't have 50 dollars and hadn't had 100 for a month when they went to jail

So the poor and the ignorant go to jail while the rich go to San Clemente"

     -- We beg your pardon America, Gil Scott-Heron        from the album The First Minute of a New Day (1975)

julesie 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would encourage anyone who hasn't already, to watch the brilliant documentary 'The House I Live In' by Eugene Jarecki. It's available on Netflix (in the UK at least).

It follows the War on Drugs in the USA. As an outsider (Irish living in London) I found it genuinely eyeopening on a topic I knew next to nothing about. For example did you know that the only difference between cocaine and crack cocaine is the addition of baking powder and heat. Although the later will get you 100 times the sentence of the former. There are 19 year olds being put away for the rest of their lives for the possession of a few grams of this stuff.

I don't care what stand you take on the legalisation/criminalisation of drugs, that is insane!

Instead of trying to reduce the rate of reoffending once released, it seems many states go out of their way to marginalise convicts so that virtually no law abiding avenues of employment remain for them. Talk about a vicious circle. That's not evening taking into account the effect of incarcerated parents has on the generation that follows.

hrktb 1 day ago 0 replies      
> He did not want to sentence her to die in prison, but his "hands [were] tied" because of her prior convictions for minor drug offenses three years earlier

This part struck me. There was grellas' comment on the Google vs Authors Guild thread were the judge decided to go against the 'mechanical' application of the law and took time to come up with a sensible interpretation to handle the case. It's crushing to think about a mother of two in prison for life for a crime the judge itself thought wasn't worth the sentence, potentially leaving her kids in the hands of an abusive husband (I hope they got sheltered at least)

smegel 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm blown away by this. I really thought three strikes laws only applied when the earlier crimes were extremely serious (basically murder or close).

Really drives home the idea that in some ways, America really isn't like the rest of the western world.

agildehaus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's a woman who was sentenced to life in prison for having a 13 year old touch her breast.


siculars 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hate to say it but: Don't go to the Southern parts of the US. Don't go to Texas. Don't go to Florida. Don't go to the Carolina's. Certainly don't go to Mississippi, Alabama or Louisiana. If you live there now, leave.
unabridged 1 day ago 0 replies      
In an effort to be more civilized we have inadvertently come up with more barbaric punishments than the past. Locking someone away for life for stealing is worse than cutting off a hand or tattooing the forehead.
MarcusBrutus 1 day ago 0 replies      
"After serving two years in prison during his mid-twenties for inadvertently killing someone during a bar fight, Aaron Jones turned his life around ...". To be honest, at that point I kind of wondered whether I was reading a parody piece or not. The 3-strikes laws are not totally irrational provided the legislators carefully decide what counts as a "strike". Even so, "inadvertently" killing someone during a bar fight should count as a strike in my book. Granted, having such laws in a legal environment where almost everything is a felony or can be charged as such, results in great many wasted lives and a huge societal cost. But it's the felony character of some of those underlying offences that should be questioned, not the three-strike principle per se.
yetanotherphd 2 days ago 0 replies      
This really shows the unjustness of "three strikes" laws. There is nothing magical about committing three crimes. In my opinion, sentences should reflect the crime you actually committed an not much else.
m_mueller 1 day ago 0 replies      
Because of that anchors bar I first thought, watching that video is what got someone behind bars for life - 'what, has America come this far already?'.
BorisMelnik 2 days ago 2 replies      
this is so ridiculous. 3 strikes laws are meant for murderers who just don't know how to stop carrying guns, not these people.
aquadrop 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't understand how mad those judges should be to send those people in jail for life... Life imprisonment for that... It's like the ultimate punishment (because death penalty isn't worth it) for evilest people. Or is it mad laws? I understand when two adults are sentenced for life because they were torturing and killing random homeless people just for fun (real example from my city). They are very dangerous to the society and should be kept away forever, that I understand. But I don't see how driving a company's truck is an immense menace for the society.
edvinbesic 2 days ago 1 reply      
The 3 strikes law system seems beyond ridiculous. Not being a US native, does this mean that I can get three tickets for shoplifting and go to jail for life? What about 3 speeding tickets?

/genuinely curious

mililani 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you guys think this is a travesty, look up felony murder. I think it's unconstitutional, and people have been sentenced to life because of it.
everyone 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the interesting discussion point here is this.. In the US the prison system is a huge, profitable and influential industry. As the pharma industry will encourage doctors to prescribe their medicines the prison industry will encourage and lobby the legal system to increase the amount of prisoners.
pswenson 2 days ago 1 reply      
insanity. I don't understand how many of these cases aren't cruel and unusual punishment
marvin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow. This is incredibly fascinating and frightening. I didn't believe that things were nearly this bad in the US...and that's saying something, seeing as I am very critical of lots of things that go on these days.
jimmytidey 1 day ago 0 replies      
From a European perspective some of these things might not even being custodial. European countries don't suffer higher crime rates because of their more lenient punishments.

I think the problem is that on a manifesto a three strikes proposal looks very good especially for those concerned about law and order, the reality is these horrible injustices..

codezero 2 days ago 1 reply      
I felt like the title here was misleading. They weren't sentenced to "death," as in, given a death sentence, they were sentenced to life in prison, which in some cases means they will die in prison, this is pretty different, though no less a tragedy.
eliben 1 day ago 0 replies      
The alternative has to be asked too. How many crimes have been avoided so far because past felons fear of committing that 3rd crime.
JungleGymSam 1 day ago 0 replies      
Am I understanding this right? These people have been given extreme sentences because the law requires it? If that's true why are the judges in these cases not being called out for not protesting these kinds of convictions?
tbarbugli 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Life is undervalued in US, it is also interesting to see how these extreme measures have no effect in crime reduction.
w_t_payne 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, gerrymandering is such a common practice in the US anyway, no reason it should not extend to this...
shire 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is sad, put your self in their shoe. It's hard to imagine a life like this. I wish things could change in this world and humans cared for one another.
MrBra 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope someone who has the power to change things or at least partially do so will read this article and do something.
Kiro 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't understand this. For what reason are first-time offenders sentenced to lifetime?
MikeTLive 1 day ago 1 reply      
three times you have been caught doing something we don't like.you will now be banished from the planet and into this concrete and steel facility.

a facility whose operation is a business and the more residents the more the business makes.

tell me.

why would a business ever want to not have a guaranteed permanent paying member?

memracom 2 days ago 0 replies      
The decline of the American empire. Things like this are nickel and diming the taxpayers to the bone.
brohoolio 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds fucking expensive.
ElComradio 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is an important issue, but HN?
Dear Googles: G+/YouTube Anschluss you've done outed me plus.google.com
601 points by davidgerard  1 day ago   177 comments top 43
spenvo 21 hours ago 2 replies      
A comment I left a few weekends ago, which addressed the same topic but before the Youtube/G+ story broke: [0]

"Hijacking the top comment to talk about a big concern I have. This EFF article argues that there's a place for Anonymity on the Internet [1], and I think most of us agree (especially if we emphathize with those in Iran, China, Syria, and the like).

But what HNers must realize is the following: The mainstream Internet can not become the Tor-visited Dark-Net (which restores anonymity) that many believe is inevitable WITHOUT losing its positive sociological impact. Sites like Reddit, Twitter, even HN rely on anonymity and also provide a great deal of such value. Here's a simple example of 'sociological impact': CNN (FoxNews, etc) pays attention to what the top links on Reddit are, because the site is in the public's face -- and: the people have a collective voice.

Next: Without the perception of anonymity, sites like Reddit will stop flourishing.

Let's go deeper: Reddit's culture thrives on "anonymity" in the form of throwaway accounts and people being themselves without representing themselves. Throwaway accounts (heard of 'Cation Bot' or 'AWildSketchAppeared'?) are a form of expression unique to environments which allow for anonymity (pseudonyms). Who's to say novelty accounts would be as risque or hilarious without anonymity? Certainly these sites flourish because users feel comfortable playing a part and taking a chance.

There are two issues at play which threaten anonymity on Reddit. Now obvious (in light of Snowden's leaks): 1.) Reddit usernames can, and probably are, being mapped to peoples' actual identity. ... Not as obvious: 2.) Users' up and down votes, even private messages, can also be sniffed with ease.

Reddit's' devteam has retreated from the idea of providing HTTPS for its voting/web API [2], so people's actions (aside from comments) can be mapped as well. I tried to raise awareness of this issue five months ago [3]. I know there's an argument to be made that SSL/HTTPS is useless anyway (just use Tor!, they say), but the bigger question remains:

Can a mainstream community such as Reddit exist in tomorrow's Internet? I'd say that such web-societies are fragile -- likely targets of dragnet surveillance and subversion, especially given their disruptive nature.

People and the press are paranoid about Facebook/Google privacy because its users (are encouraged to) identify themselves explicitly, but the reality is no different with sites like Reddit - just the perception. Just think about how much more is shared on a site like Reddit by its members because of their pseudonyms! Few people aside from the avid Tor-using//r/netsec crowd have realized this.

Reddit is the internet "as we know it," and I feel the Internet is about to change.

In hindsight - Google's initial "no pseudonyms" policy for Google+ was prescient -- though the company eventually capitulated to popular demand for them. [4] Perhaps they wished to save each of us the unsavory realization that aliases exist in name-only (pun intended). :/"

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6652909[1] https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/10/online-anonymity-not-o... [2] http://www.reddit.com/r/changelog/comments/l4n6y/reddit_chan...[3] http://www.reddit.com/r/privacy/comments/1n73s0/again_reddit... [4] http://www.ibtimes.com/google-allowing-nicknames-pseudonyms-...

rb2e 1 day ago 1 reply      
Having a Google plus account linked to YouTube with real name policy has not stopped the trolls and poisonous commenters. They have just carried on as usual. Now it has just made it easier with spammers, blackhats now able to leave links on their comments. Sure they can be deleted with an hour or so but that one hour is all you need to spread your payload.

The only people who the real name policy punishes is the real users. The ones who do everything right. The ones who do not wish to have their lives outed this way.

Now I'm gay, and have no problem being out online but at home in public is another problem. I've never moved from my Childhood home and I live in a small town, its pretty easy to know who I am, so I made it a policy to never link the two so I don't have to do deal with Homophobia on my Doorstep. Its a small town and news soon spreads. I don't have a Google Plus account and am moving away from Gmail for this reason. I never ever use a real photo online. Facebook is only used for minor things on an anonymous email address with a blank photo. Even then I hate it and do not use it for personal stuff.

If you are really concerned about privacy, just delete your Gmail, Google Plus account. Get your wallet out and move to a paid alternative where you will not have to worry about having your email connected to a social network. Buy a domain name, use a private whois service like at NearlyFreeSpeech.Net so you can move between providers over the years but keep the same address.

If you really must comment on YouTube, create a Google Plus profile on a brand new Gmail account for those exact purposes. Understand that anything you write online can be traced back to you. We are not anonymous despite if you never use a real name. Google knows more about you and your interests than any other entity and it has years of your surfing and searching habits in its database.

Edited to add, if you hate the comments on your own YouTube videos, just turn them off.

fat0wl 1 day ago 3 replies      
I think anonymity on the internet is a great thing. It's a place where you can socialize and share ideas with strangers without having to give them your name/address/home phone #. You can even start honest, more controversial discussions and do some high-level reasoning that you couldn't necessarily achieve with close friends.

If Google won't allow that on their services anymore, I pray everyone leaves them & moves to services that understand this. The market giants think they can bully us into behaving the way they want us to rather than realizing that they are privileged by having our business. I would recommend giving business to alternative sites as much as possible to break internet monopolies that are setting the stage for these forceful policies.

batbomb 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've got an especially unique last name as well. So much so that I'm absolutely sure nobody in the world has my full name, and, as far as I'm aware, it's possible my dad and I are the only people in the united states with the same first/last name (of the 7 total on facebook, only 3 are in North America). My brother and sister are in a similar boat, thanks to unique spelling of their names. From my last name alone, I'm sure you could track me down with just that and the information that I've been on hacker news.

Probably because of that, I've always been fairly paranoid about using my actual name on most things online, but graduating from a college, participating in research, and having a facebook account pretty much made it impossible to ever be truly anonymous.

FreeKill 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yeah, this issue actually drives me crazy. I liked using Google+ as sort of a blogging platform, and I constantly linked to a lot of videos from youtube. (I've never had a youtube account, never posted a comment).

So, the other day, I link to a video I found interesting, and I notice I'm getting a lot more comments than usual. Problem is, they are all along the lines of "OMG, Why are idiots continuing to use hash tags" or "WTF man, who gives a shit about this video"

Just pure vitriol, where before the people who actually followed me on Google+ were at least respectful. As a result, I've basically resigned to not posting anything from youtube anymore because there is no way to disassociate yourself with the people who visit youtube.

andrewfong 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seems like an opportunity for a browser plugin designed to enforce pseudonymity. You can already create different pseudonymous identities via cookie management or different user profiles.[1]

The problem with this approach is that it's inconvenient to keep switching back and forth. And all it takes is one inadvertent click to irreversibly associate your two pseudonyms. This is where a plugin could help. Basically, it just comes with very basic set of rules -- if YouTube, I am X; if Gmail, I am Y; else I am Z. For bonus points, integrate with Tor.

Anyone know of something like this already? Might be a fun weekend project otherwise.

[1] https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/2364824?hl=en

Lagged2Death 1 day ago 1 reply      
She makes some great points, and I agree completely.

But in a sense, by making the great points, we who enjoy some small degree of privacy and anonymity on-line have already given up too much ground. We shouldn't have to make Very Serious Points about sexual harassment or hate crimes. As if a solution to those (quite real) problems would then make on-line anonymity moot.

The fact is, I like being pseudonymous on the web, and as it's not a situation I've been abusing, that is reason enough to allow it to continue to be possible. That's just the way a free society rolls. Freedom of choice is (supposedly) one of the core values of the nation that spawned Google in the first place.

jmillikin 1 day ago 2 replies      
The YouTube/Google+ integration would have been much smoother if it started by giving every existing user a G+ "Page" identity matching their YouTube name, and making that page their default YouTube identity. From the user's perspective there would be no risk of accidentally connecting their legal name to YouTube, and Google would have achieved their goal of a unified login system.
ilyanep 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm honestly surprised they didn't learn their lesson with the whole Buzz fiasco. Didn't they get sued over basically forced social connections?
rryan 1 day ago 3 replies      
Instead of merging with your G+ account you can link it to a G+ page (and use your YT username or other pseudonym as its name). This is part of the "link your account" flow. I think this would fix her problem.
shittyanalogy 1 day ago 2 replies      
Also, people are different in different situations. People are different on youtube than they are on tumblr than they are on pinterest than they are on twitter than they are with their family than they are at the DMV than they are at a night club than they are ....

People aren't a personality attached to a name they're who they want to be at any given time and personalities change.

This kind of forced identity is not only dangerous for at risk individuals but is plainly anti-social and anti-human-behavior.

jeena 1 day ago 0 replies      
It was about two years ago I closed my G+ account because of that https://jeena.net/gplus and I just had a look at my G+ account (which I closed) and there are posts that I have been using hangouts and some YouTube comment too. So I assume it is not possible to really close a G+ account.
lignuist 1 day ago 3 replies      
So what is the next coup? Linking all the comments from the past that you wrote when you were thinking it was pseudonymous to your real name?

My only recommendation: Get out of such services as fast as possible.

pradocchia 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe Google is trying to do us a favor, and spare us the illusion of anonymity when true anonymity is dead. That's my most charitable interpretation. Less charitably, they simply don't care how their policies happen to burn x% of their user base: "we'll you probably shouldn't be active online if you can't deal with a few stalkers."
dredmorbius 16 hours ago 0 replies      
OP's G+ post was a link to a reshare of mine (a story in itself).

I've just made a far-too-long reply to the "Dear Googles: Stop asking" story also trending on HN (how'd I get so lucky? No idea, but thanks). I'll try keeping things shorter here, though recommend reading this as well:


First: this is fundamentally about respect and trust. Google respecting user's stated preferences regarding disclosure, and users trusting that Google will do so. I argue at length above that the first is absent and the second has been destroyed. This is quite bad for Google's reputation in the long run, especially as a cloud services company.

I'm finding this ... exceptionally confounding given Google's apparent strident opposition to NSA and other surveillance (a position of Google's I unreservedly applaud). As I've argued before, Google with their ever-expanding and increasingly aggressive personal information aggregation efforts are carrying the NSA's water. Personal information can be an asset, but it's also a tremendous liability when misused or mismanaged.

The fact that I've participated in multiple forums (including G+, Hacker News, Reddit, StackExchange, and elsewhere) pseudonymously over the past several years should show that it's possible to carry on reasoned discussions as such. I'd rather intentionally set up this persona to give me both freedom and an at least partially credible reputation for some discussions. As an experiment it's worked pretty well.

What happened with the YouTube / G+ integration (Anschluss as I term it) above is that three Google services I'd independently registered: Gmail, YouTube, and G+, collapsed the walls between each. I'd set these up beginning in 2008 as I determined I'd want a long-term resident pseudonym and I gradually started extending it to additional services. When G+ was first beta'd, I'd initially signed up under my own name, but was quickly convinced by Eric Schmidt's "identity service" comments and NymWars that this was probably not the way I wanted to go, so I wiped that account and set up a pseudonymous one (against G+ TOU at the time). At some point I'd also configured a YouTube account, using the same Gmail account to register both. My views on video viewing (as with much else) are that it's a private activity and, even pseudonymously, I don't share my viewing actions with others unless I fully consciously intend to do so. Some of us with longer memories recall Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork and the snooping of his video rental habits, as well as librarians who resisted FBI attempts to turn up patron's library records.

So I had and intended to retain a wall between the two accounts.

And Google knocked it down.

So I posted about it. And I'm trying to figure out what to do with my G+ account, so when Andi re-shared my post and found that other's couldn't re-share her (excellent) content, I recommended she keep the re-share (as that will preserve my own content should I purge it or leave G+), and create a new post linking to her own re-share. That's ... one of many hoops G+ makes you jump through. All. The. Time.

Not only did Google demolish that wall, against my intent, but there's no clear way to undo that action. As I mentioned to Yonatan Zunger, this is no longer about UI/UX, workflows, tools, or technology, it's about trust. And Google have very clearly demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to maintain a confidence expressly stated as such.

Trust is a privilege I give once. Never twice.

In my case, the actual damage to my reputation and person is minimal: I don't exist. There is no Edward Morbius, he's a reference to a 1958 film character whose abbreviated username looks vaguely interesting. For someone such as Andi S, it's another story. For some people, this could be career, relationship, or life-ending. Google's inability to grasp just how wrong what they've done is ... is absolutely unconscionable. I really don't get it.

But even for the ordinary person with nothing to fear who'd tried to do what an Andi, or Edward Snowden, or Karen Silkwood, or Deep Throat, or Ai Weiwei, or countless others have done, but simply wishes to keep different aspects of their online activities separated would find their wishes disrespected.

And that's really low.

It's also not isolated. I won't re-cap my other HN comment here, other than to note that the lack of respect shown here seems endemic to G+ generally, and increasingly to Google as a company. Where it once provided useful tools which made my life easier and richer, it increasingly gets in my way and sets up traps. This isn't a good sign.

codezero 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I feel like some people who claim they want privacy really don't value their privacy, but instead value something else (I hypothesize that it's just control) that seems like privacy.

You can find this poster's name by using Google Image search to link to her Flickr then from there she has her domain registered with her full name and address. (this pattern is pretty common, by that, I mean, given some identifying information, you can find a lot more. Anonymity is only effective if you practice consistent inconsistency.) A pseudonym here, a handle there, these are all things that establish permanence and link together to make an identifiable entity.

Putting your real name into YouTube isn't the problem here. This doesn't mean there isn't a problem, but it's not quite the problem being stated here.

JSZZHlmumeUE 1 day ago 2 replies      
What is the frequency with which these prompts to connect show up? I use youtube daily, G+ not at all and I've only seen them twice. These instances were at least a few months apart. In both cases, I opted out of connecting my profiles and nothing has happened since. Are some people getting these prompts more often? Why? Maybe someone on the G+ team can explain this.

without deleting my entire G+ account and profile

I don't use G+/FB but even if I did, I have a hard time understanding this mentality. I wouldn't think twice about deleting any of social media profiles and even in places like HN where it's not possible to delete profiles, I just throwaway old profiles and start from scratch. Maybe I'm just paranoid but the last thing I want are my random musings being psychoanalyzed by nutters on the internet.

And as far as Gmail goes, you should be backing it up offline so that you can take your data and leave any time you want. This literally takes only 3 minutes to setup if you already use Thunderbird.

PythonicAlpha 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google just did not get the point up to this date. They want to press us into their ad-network, but the way they do is just annoying. I am also planning now to drop my Google account, because it just does get to much. Every time, I have to log in, I am asked about telephone number or to "add some little extra information" -- I nearly got trapped recently. Just at the second look, I saw it was not "just some extra information" but they wanted me to sign up for G+. I will not and I will never. Because privacy is more worth than some candy they will give to you in return.

Facebook and Google don't care about your privacy, but you should, if you don't want to be abused in the new world of lost paradise.

hackaflocka 1 day ago 0 replies      
Google is simply doing the noble thing. It is fucking-up so that it can pave the way for a better company to dominate. For a while. This is the way of Silicon Valley. Amirite Vic G.?
smoyer 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why would anyone harass someone who's eating bacon in their profile picture? On the other hand, I think she nailed the description of the typical (90%) YT commenter.
AndiS 7 hours ago 0 replies      
OP here -- I am absolutely in favor of persistent pseudonyms associated with a user-generated reputation system, as discussed here:


However, there are significant safety issues associated with requiring people to use their legal names for online discussions, and I think that it will seriously muzzle political dissent, social movements which don't currently enjoy mainstream support, gender and sexual minority group discussions, the creation of "safe spaces" (which, I realize, are something of an illusion, but still have value), and vigorous intellectual discourse.

I certainly wouldn't have been comfortable being as politically and socially outspoken as I am on G+ (a deliberately public-facing persona with a unique nym for that purpose), if I had been forced to use my full legal name for the purpose.

Given some of the hate and harassment that has been directed my way (and, honestly, I've gotten off light compared to many), I absolutely would not feel safe engaging in some of those discussions if my name, phone number, and location were easily accessible.

I know that it's difficult to completely compartmentalize between nyms and platform identities, but I think that the ability to choose which face is forward, appropriate to the social group that you're engaging with, is an important part of the human experience.

If you don't want your boss and your grandmother reading your opinions on politics, social issues, sexuality, etc., then a pseudonym is the obvious answer -- and I've seen any number of sites (LiveJournal is a particular favorite) implement granular controls on privacy, in order to establish nym identity and reputation, while still allowing users to speak to their chosen audience.

Can you ever be truly private? Probably not. But it's important to be able to have some form of shield from the casual observer, to have a name and identity that you choose, rather than having one chosen for you, which may reveal far more than you intended.

Yes, I post publicly on G+, and sacrifice some level of privacy in doing so -- I do it because I enjoy the level of discourse on that site, and talking with interesting strangers is part of the fun. On the other hand, I deliberately didn't link that profile with any of my other online identities . . . and, while I may not have done a perfect job of it, I at least did my best to create walls between those personae.

As Dredmorbius said, it's important that users be able to maintain those walls if they choose, without a service provider choosing to collapse them and merge those identities without permission. By using their services, I did not consent to that action (in fact, repeatedly refused their attempts to do so), and if given a choice between leaving the Google-services hive and having my legal identity attached to everything I've ever written, I'd leave.

What is deceptive and duplicitous about this latest G+/YouTube action, is that many users who expressly refused the "offer" to merge accounts were merged without permission, and often those merges revealed personal information that the users had not chosen to share with YouTube.

I find that intensely disturbing, and I am seriously hoping that some type of action is taken against Google, as with Buzz, regarding the breach of private user information.

pirateking 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Public and/or anonymous data should be posted to a single global, anonymous, distributed storage system [1]. All other data should be stored on your personal system with 700 permissions, and require explicit pull requests from your system parties interested in using it.

This setup could offer a public, searchable medium that is safe for anonymous discourse, and includes plausible deniability, as well as a protected personal space with fine-grained access control. A brightnet/darknet system.

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

smsm42 22 hours ago 1 reply      
What I am not getting here is this. I get why people may want to be anonymous. Google says - no can do, you can not be anonymous with us. We insist on identifying you. Why keep using Google services and complain instead of using some other service more respectful of one's privacy? It's not like one cannot live without commenting on youtube videos.
rdl 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I think it's kind of offensive to refer to a product decision by a website as Anschluss; both because it implies Google's leadership are the Nazis, and because it trivializes the actual German/Austrian union (and thus beginning of WW2).

Marginally more offensive than the "co-prosperity sphere" thing pinboardguy did.

sidcool 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I am a Google fan, but this move by shoving something down everyone's throats isn't very Google.
hayksaakian 1 day ago 2 replies      
At least for now, you CAN delete only your Google Plus stuff without also removing your Gmail
bhartzer 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of the great features of the internet is the fact that you can remain anonymous under a username if you want to. I, personally, have never chosen to use a username that is not identifiable with me--but I realize there are people out there that want to (or need to) remain anonymous, especially if they post content (comments or even other content).

That's one of the great features of the internet itself, and honestly it's a shame that certain companies like Google wants to force using our real names on everyone.

It does make sense, though, that if a company such as Google owns multiple services or sites, they would want users to use the same accounts across multiple platforms. However, I don't see why you can't use different usernames or personas across multiple services: just log in using one account, but use several different public usernames (if you want to do that) across different sites.

niels_olson 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is fascinating: is the internet not as male as we all thought? Is the default assumption that it's male and women have wrapped themselves in the safety of the net's ultimate default setting?
davidgerard 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone who still works for Google has to think seriously about what they're getting up in the morning to do every day.
adventured 1 day ago 3 replies      
I think Google is choosing a particularly terrible point to start alienating users of YouTube. It seems like everywhere I go online these days, the YouTube hatred is universal. It's regarded as uncool, boring, obnoxious, and just generally yesterday's news. This is merely an observation, however a few years ago I rarely saw the kind of negative sentiment toward YouTube that is now very common.

If I were a betting person, I'd say that YouTube's days as the champ of their segment of the online video world is nearing an end. They'll straggle on with massive volume, courtesy of the barrier to entry that is the cost of streaming zillions of petabytes, but their product will be strongly disliked, and competitors will flourish. I believe users are desperate for a high quality alternative at this point.

I personally don't see that YouTube presents an overwhelming value proposition any longer, compared to the hassle that it's becoming. As it is now, I use a separate browser, in incognito mode, to view YouTube because they're scumbags about trying to force a connection.

MrBra 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I am very positive this would be the perfect moment to start a kickstarer funded youtube clone! Yea, glad I inspired your next big project, thank me later! (But please don't forget to... I know you won't if you are a good hacker. I am not in the position to dedicate any time/resources to this project. Please ask me for some contact info when you are sure you will be diving into this. Please do it, and... good luck!)
wrongc0ntinent 1 day ago 0 replies      
Waiting for a follow-up to http://xkcd.com/202/

Making this privacy mess funny seems quite the challenge though.

Zoomla 1 day ago 0 replies      
I mostly stopped using my Google account and created a new one with a fake name... for when I feel like leaving a comment.
sdfjkl 15 hours ago 0 replies      
It amuses me slightly that I get prompted to log in with my Google account when clicking the +1 button below this article.
shmerl 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is annoying indeed. I don't have a G+ account at all, and it seems that Youtube created one for me, though it has no real name in it.
danso 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it's time -- Google or elsewhere -- to realize that anytime you post anything on the Internet, it can and will be used against you by anyone who dislikes you.

So the strategy is to not make enemies or to not post things that you can imagine, even in the slightest, being used against you. Not sure which is easier...

Of course, it's not all or nothing. You should take the minor inconvenience of using multiple browsers, one for your public name and the one in which you want to, for some reason, gain a following through participation, a la one of the Wiggin kids

isomorphic 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one who finds it ironic that she's posting her criticisms from Google+? I'm not trying to be snarky or funny. Does she genuinely value her Google+ blog or associations or whatever more than the privacy she's so concerned about?

She can, in fact, delete Google+ and keep Gmail. Try it. I have!

Since Google supposedly runs on data, the only way Google is going to figure out their problems is if people delete Google+ or stop using it. Otherwise there's no such thing as bad publicity, especially if you're an advertising company.

eunice 21 hours ago 0 replies      
don't think it's totally unreasonable to speculate that plus could become the 'new tab page' in chrome down the line, the way things are going
username223 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are plenty of Google bots on this site. Do any of them care to comment?
Kiro 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I still see people commenting with their normal YT usernames. How do they do it?
nvr219 1 day ago 1 reply      
The easiest way to solve this is to get rid of your G+ profile.
mavroprovato 1 day ago 1 reply      
Kind of unrelated question: Do you guys see comments on YouTube videos or it is just me? I don't see anything.
throwaway282 1 day ago 2 replies      
Alternatively, why not think of it this way: If you disagree with what's being done on YouTube, delete your account and move on. Nobody's forcing anyone to comment or maintain a Google account. If you're going to be there, you play by their rules. What's the point in bitching about Google's changes in policy when Google isn't forcing you to use their product and when you can leave when you want to.
Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL amazon.com
556 points by teoruiz  3 days ago   236 comments top 38
adrianh 3 days ago 6 replies      
This is HUGE!

I'm using the AWS stack for http://www.soundslice.com/ and I've been using MySQL instead of Postgres, purely because my hatred for MySQL is less than my hatred for being a sysadmin. It was a tradeoff, and I miss Postgres dearly every time I use MySQL.

This new Amazon offering solves that.

I wrote a little more about my AWS setup here: http://www.holovaty.com/writing/aws-notes/

yumraj 3 days ago 8 replies      
I've heard about PostgreSQL and know that HN community raves about it, but am currently using RDS with MySQL.

Does it make sense to migrate to PostgreSQL, I don't have a lot of data as I'm in the early stage? What are the primary advantages that PostgreSQL provides over MySQL? Any advise/pointers is appreciated.

sillysaurus2 3 days ago 14 replies      
Will anyone please explain the tactical reasons why PostgreSQL won? It's pretty obvious it has. I've basically ignored the database wars for a few years, so it's kind of interesting to see that everyone's using PostgreSQL now.
falcolas 3 days ago 3 replies      
I have but one suggestion. Unless RDS for PostgreSQL is drastically different from RDS for MySQL, you still need a DB administrator.

RDS removes remarkably little of the pain of running a database instance (most of the pain that's removed is just the up front setup), and ends up adding a lot of inconveniences for your day-to-day operations.

Also don't count on their replication as your backup.

OK. That's two suggestions, but I think it's OK.

thinkalone 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's the announcement on the AWS blog - http://aws.typepad.com/aws/2013/11/amazon-rds-for-postgresql...
tracker1 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think this is great news... PostgreSQL is definitively my favorite open-source database. It's also nice to see Amazon get into the game, as hosted pg options have been fairly limited. I am slightly disappointed to not see the server-side JS support baked in, and that apparently you can't do reads from distributed replicas. Just the same, I think there will be a lot of progress in this area.

Administering databases is a full-time type of responsibility. Yes, you can get pretty sane defaults, and up and running without much difficulty with MS-SQL, and mySQL has been a defacto standard in the LAMP stack. That said PostreSQL has been a rock solid RDBMS. The commercial extensions for replication have been cumbersome and expensive. Here's hoping that AWS will grow/expand the replications options/features, and that they'll grow to include JS procs as that feature stabilizes.

onedognight 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is great news, but unlike for Amazon's MySQL offering, they do not yet support read replicas for PostgreSQL.
frakkingcylons 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd be most curious to know how the performance/dollar ratio stacks up to Heroku's Postgres offering.
revetkn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone know if the UUID type is supported? I see hstore and JSON are

Edit: It does, see http://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonRDS/latest/UserGuide/CHAP_P...

rachbelaid 3 days ago 2 replies      
Great news and for people who ask them-self the questions but the version is Pg 9.3.1.

Not all Pl are available, and it misses the PL/V8 and PL/Python at least.

And it seems that all fdw (Foreign Data Wrapper) extensions are missing.

But it's a great start, I'm looking forward to try.

If anybody know if we can still access the WAL log then it will be very useful


jakozaur 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wondering what is the easiest way to convert from MySQL RDS to Postgres. Any hints?
tzaman 3 days ago 2 replies      
I guess now's the time to start thinking about leaving Heroku...
frankwiles 3 days ago 0 replies      
Been waiting for this for a long time, can finally nudge our clients that want to use RDS (for various reasons) to use a sane DB. Thanks Amazon!
jeffdavis 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know if it's pure community PostgreSQL or if there are modifications? If there are modifications, is it 100% compatible?
noviceapp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hmm, interesting development. But am I the only one to see a huge gap in services between Amazon and Heroku, and one which most certainly bodes bad for Heroku? Specifically, with Heroku's recent PG 2.0 service, their 'production grade' Standard plan ranges from $50 - $3500, but "Up to 1 hr downtime per mo." ?!?1! Huh, really, with up to an hour downtime /month, you couldn't be serious about the product that runs atop this tier - a non starter me any most other SaaS businesses. Heroku's cheapest "high availability option starts at $200/month, still with "Up to 15 minutes of downtime per month."... still, this is a concern for me...

Now, comparing to Amazon, their '1.7 GB memory Small DB, 1-year reserved, multi-region' is around $28/month (with storage & transfer for my app no more $35/ month). The equivalent Heroku plan, Tengu (1.7 GB mem) STARTS at $350/month!!! Wow, not I'm really rethinking my hosting platform.... Amazon looks more attractive, even if I have to do a bit of sys admin for my web server/cloud server.

ptio 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great news! Now I don't need to setup PostgreSQL myself.

Here is a related whitepaper if you still want to setup PostgreSQL yourself: http://media.amazonwebservices.com/AWS_RDBMS_PostgreSQL.pdf

philliphaydon 3 days ago 0 replies      

This is awesome news! I hope we can move to it at work!

michaelbuckbee 3 days ago 2 replies      
How does this compare to Heroku's PG offering?
bmaeser 3 days ago 1 reply      
this is awesome!still, i miss one essential feature - compared to mysql on aws and heroku/postgres: there is no replication for read replicas. yes, you can deploy a "hot standby" replica in another availability zone for failover, but you cant read from it.
LVB 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've only ever used S3, but some of these AWS offerings do look interesting for my little projects. My question is, how do hours get calculated for billing? If I had my super low traffic blog using RDS, would I incur a few microseconds of time per DB hit, or is it rounded up to an hour, or is it the total time the DB is available period?
MrGando 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think that the 'simple monthly calculator' hasn't yet included PostgreSQL instances?
benmathes 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oh sweet, now I can actually put this up for less than $ArmAndALeg https://github.com/benmathes/earthquakes
simonebrunozzi 3 days ago 1 reply      
Useful tool to migrate from MySQL to PostgreSQL : https://github.com/lanyrd/mysql-postgresql-converter
victorhooi 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm curious what the performance characteristics of this would be like.

A lot of people talk about how poor the storage performance on AWS is - but this seems to offer provisioned IOPS up to 30,000 IOPS.

I'm curious what sort of hardware/setup that translates to in the real world? Do you find your own dedicated setups have more throughput?

And there doesn't seem to be much info on the network bandwidth between RDS and EC2 either.

workhere-io 3 days ago 1 reply      
Note that AWS' PostgreSQL offering is more expensive than its MySQL counterpart.


taude 3 days ago 0 replies      
We've moved off AMZN for more custom hosting. But this is a big win for open source devs. More deoployment options is always a good thing.
gfodor 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oh dear god yes. I just rigged up a PostgreSQL instance on Ec2 for a new project, so excited to shut it down and let amazon deal with it. Hell yes.
vocino 3 days ago 0 replies      
This will make the ease of Elastic Beanstalk much more appealing.
kvinnako 3 days ago 2 replies      
Somehow it seems pretty costly...Wouldn't it be cheaper for me to just run it on my virtual instance that's hosting the app and probably just back it up with S3.
sjtgraham 3 days ago 0 replies      
nathanwdavis 3 days ago 1 reply      
It doesn't mention which version of PostgreSql. I hope it is 9.3. It's got to be at least 9.2 since it supports the Json datatype.
lazyant 3 days ago 0 replies      
Funny how it's a tiny bit more expensive than the mysql counterpart
tomphoolery 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is so nice. Thank you Amazon!
adityamenon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh, cool stuff! I'll look into using this with the Openstreetmap deployment I'm building.
chenster 3 days ago 0 replies      
Are they ever going to support DB2?
pkmishra 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is so fucking awesome. I have been waiting for this since long time.
eonil 3 days ago 0 replies      
natural219 3 days ago 10 replies      
I hate PostgreSQL. Yes, I am a dummy application developer who doesn't understand database software.

Every time I try to install PostgreSQL it fails. Every time I install MySQL it installs successfully with no problems. Actually, that's the extent of my experience with it, and I guess I'm fine dealing with a database that doesn't validate date formats strictly if I can use the damn database without hassle. I am totally fine using Postgres at a company or with another DB developer who knows how to set up databases properly, but if I am starting a new project, I am going to use MySQL, period.

Google wins book-scanning case: judge finds fair use, cites many benefits gigaom.com
471 points by japaget  3 days ago   146 comments top 16
grellas 3 days ago 4 replies      
Law in general, and copyright law in particular, may be applied mechanically or it may be applied with insight, and the results can vary widely depending on which approach is used.

There is a lot in copyright law that would have allowed a judge to reject Google's fair use defense almost out of hand, as it were. Google had the temerity to copy some 20 million copyrighted works without the authors' permission. It did not limit itself to copying select portions for some discrete educational purpose but copied every work in its entirety. And it used those copies in a for-profit enterprise to enhance its business and advance its profitability. Taken as a whole, such factors would have allowed a court to conclude that the uses Google made of the copyrighted works readily failed to meet the requirements of the fair use defense and thus left the book industry, in effect, frozen in an early 20th century analog world.

Judge Chin, however, is obviously a judge who knows how to apply the law with insight and this shows him to be an outstanding jurist. Rather than applying the law mechanically, he stepped back to first principles and thought through very carefully how the copyright law ought to be applied in order to fulfill its intended purpose - that is, as set forth in the Constitution, in order to promote the arts and sciences.

His decision goes through the Copyright Act's four statutory factors primarily used for determining whether a fair use defense exists or not but is grounded in something far deeper than those factors. Yes, Google's use of the copied works was "highly transformative" and this weighs heavily in favor of a finding of fair use (first factor). Yes, the nature of the copyrighted works is that they are all published works and mostly non-fiction, and this too weighs in favor of fair use (second factor). Yes, the amount of copying is of entire works but Google offers search results in carefully controlled snippets, and these factors combined weigh slightly against fair use (third factor). Yes, the effect of the copying on the market or value of the copyrighted works actually enhances the sales of books for the copyright holders by increasing their visibility and making them accessible to potential buyers, and this too favors a finding of fair use.

All this is true, and is pretty carefully analyzed in the decision. But, in the end, this technical analysis is merely the backdrop for what primarily motivated the judge's decision and that was his overwhelming sense that laws must be applied in light of their intended purposes and not used to choke off the results that the very law in question was intended to further.

In other words (and these are my words and my assessment and not the judge's), it is ludicrous in an increasingly technological world that society should not benefit from a project so stupendous as that of a private party investing enormous resources to transform millions of obscure works of literature into a treasure trove of searchable materials made freely available to users of all types, including those who have historically been physically impaired from using them at all, and all the while taking all reasonable steps to ensure that these materials are offered in a way that respects the legitimate concerns of the copyright holders. Copyright gives authors substantial rights to control what is done with their works. It prevents others from exploiting such works commercially without their permission. But this has never prevented others from making fair use of those works for educational goals and the like. In educational settings, it has been possible for a long time now to copy quite freely from copyrighted works for class projects and the like. Such copying is deemed fair because, while not significantly impairing the true commercial rights of copyright holders, it furthers the progress of arts and science. And that is the point of what Google is doing here with its books project. In ways for which many are deeply thankful, it is using all the resources of modern technology to add huge value to otherwise dormant copyrighted works and to use the resulting product in ways that truly advances arts and science. If copyright should be used to defeat that sort of project, then it undercuts the very rationale upon which it exists in the first place. Though if applied merely mechanically, it might be used for such a purpose, it ought not be used that way. And that is, in essence, what Judge Chin concluded.

Here are his words on this point: "In my view, Google Books provides significant public benefits. It advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders. It has become an invaluable research tool that permits students, teachers, librarians, and others to more efficiently identify and locate books. It has given scholars the ability, for the first time, to conduct full-text searches of tens of millions of books. It preserves books, in particular out-of-print and old books that have been forgotten in the bowels of libraries, and it gives them new life. It facilitates access to books for print-disabled and remote or underserved populations. It generates new audiences and creates new sources of income for authors and publishers. Indeed, all society benefits."

This is a soundly reasoned decision that is a highlight of modern law not so much because of any deep legal reasoning as such but because it profoundly captures and applies the spirit of the law in ways that comport with modern technological advancement. The decision protects innovators such as Google while upholding in every fundamental the legitimate interests of copyright holders. In this way, it upholds the traditional framework of the law while allowing it to be sensibly applied to new developments. There is nothing revolutionary here. But it is an encouraging sign that courts are able to adapt to the times and is thus a highly positive development.

ChuckMcM 3 days ago 2 replies      
That was a nice turnaround. The earlier decisions by Chin had me thinking he had already decided for the Authors Guild (so tempted to say AG there but that reads 'attorney general' sigh).

Now the next question is whether or not the Authors will come back to the table in being willing to let Google give them money for selling an out of print scan of their book to someone. That should be a no brainer "hey money you would not otherwise get!" but as we've seen there is never enough free money to make it worthwhile.

peterwwillis 3 days ago 1 reply      
Consider that copyright originated as system with which to control people. The types of control sought were those of monetary, and thought/expression of thought.

Monetary control goes back to antiquity, where copying a book required expensive literate slaves to copy a book for about the same price as publishing one. Thought and expression control goes back to the censorship systems of the church, who sought to prevent critical dissent via restricting publishing using licenses - later termed a "monopoly".

These two systems were then combined in practice. Not only were the printers/publishers restricted and licensed, but what they could print or reprint as well. This control over what was published not only served the church and/or state's interests in enforcing dogmatic or state law, but also the monetary interests of the original publishers of a work. In essence, the publisher and the government form a pact to ensure each other's mutual interests, at the expense of the common citizen.

It wasn't until 1710 that the game changed. The Statute of Anne ushered in not only the destruction of publishing monopolies, but the argument (in form of law) that "protecting" a work from copying was primarily an incentive for scholars to keep churning out more works - the argument summarized as: "Why would learned men compose and write useful books unless there was financial incentive?" Flash forward to today, and that's basically still the same argument used by anyone lobbying for copyright of anything. If it's copied and nobody gets paid, nobody will make anything [intellectual/creative/etc] anymore.

Consider how amazingly specious this argument is today. Look at Wikipedia. Look at YouTube. Look at all the works being published under all the subversive licenses that are intended to surmount the aged limitations of copyright law. Do we really care to restrict what content you can produce, or if someone gets paid for it? More and more the arguments are about simple attibution, or freedom of use, than anything else.

All this decision finds is that the copying of books is by and of itself no longer a harmful act. But we've known that for decades.

tn13 3 days ago 1 reply      
We can endlessly argue over the correctness of this decision but I am little surprised that authors guild actually sued Google for this. It is like website owners suing Google for crawling, indexing and increasing visibility of their website.

Clearly, what Google had done was beneficial for the entire book industry.

May be the Authors guild was more interested in some kind of rent seeking rather than actually protecting anyone's interest. I am sure even that must have been noticed by the judge.

x3c 3 days ago 2 replies      
>The decision also comes as a major volte-face for Judge Chin... that the higher court (on which he now sits) wanted him to acknowledge fair use.

I find it very disheartening. The reasons given by the judge are very fair and convincing. If it's true that he ruled this way because higher court wanted him to acknowledge fair use, judge was not objective.

I wonder if his stance, now or previously, was politically motivated. Let's wish that the judge came to this decision solely on the merits of arguments for/against "fair use". The alternative is depressing to think about.

droopybuns 3 days ago 10 replies      
> Chin also rejected the theory that Google was depriving authors of income, noting that the company does not sell the scans or make whole copies of books available. He concluded, instead, that Google Books served to help readers discover new books and amounted to new income from authors.

Fire up your torrents. We have a new precedent for the legality of file sharing. As long as the pirates aren't selling you the files, they're helping you discover new movies!

cscurmudgeon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Google should open up their search codebase.

All the benefits cited for book scanning will apply here too. Come on Google. We know you can do it :)

Nobody will deprive Google of any revenue. It will have lots of public benefits.

Aldo_MX 3 days ago 1 reply      
I would love if in the future Google (or any other company) begins selling digital editions of books that can only be acquired in paper. Digital books are the future.
DonGateley 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can an author choose to opt in to Google selling suitably protected full copies with royalties?

This could be great for authors since Google will have already have done all the hard work of creating the electronic object and providing availability.

baldfat 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a former Librarian I approve and my former colleagues for some weird reason disapprove :(
Nitramp 3 days ago 1 reply      
Eight years for the process. That legal systems seems thoroughly broken.
blackoil 3 days ago 3 replies      
Is this Google only or anyone e.g. Microsoft and Amazon, can also now start scanning/distributing books?
Mikeb85 3 days ago 5 replies      
Personally, I prefer paper books anyway. E-books don't provide the same experience.

Also, what Google provides is no different than what you get from going into a store and flipping through the book's pages. It's good for the consumer (to know what they're getting) and for the author. Paper book sales would likely be lower if they were all encased in plastic prior to sale...

mgunes 3 days ago 0 replies      
For a contrasting perspective to the technology-centric, access-oriented view of "public benefits" that is typically dominant on HN, see the documentary "Google and the World Brain":


drakaal 3 days ago 3 replies      
I read this to say that Piracy is legal if you don't charge for it. There is no difference between putting a full book on line and a full movie. This won't stand for long, MPAA wouldn't have lost this case. Authors are just not as well organized.
falcolas 3 days ago 2 replies      
META: 84 upvotes and no comments? Something smells fishy...
FixYT fixyt.com
437 points by turbo_pax  2 days ago   111 comments top 40
zokier 2 days ago 6 replies      
I think this is completely wrong approach. We as a community should stop giving G/YT our traffic if their stuff does not please us instead of making an effort to give them more traffic.
sequoia 2 days ago 3 replies      
It's nice but if you ever even appear to cut into their ad model they'll shut ya down. Gotta pay the engineers, other employees, electric bill etc.... youtube ain't free ;)

EDIT: I really like the site & hope you flesh it out. Just not getting my hopes up too high. :)

ngoldbaum 2 days ago 1 reply      
As I'm involved with an open source analysis and visualization tool named yt [1][2], this submission made my heart skip a beat.

[1] http://yt-project.org

[2] Neal Stephenson reference.

bowlofpetunias 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's shocking that only now I realize just how incredibly bad YouTube has become.
SeoxyS 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a big fan of toogles and its chrome extension.


yangtheman 2 days ago 2 replies      
I love it. With all the horrible and bloated changes they have been making, I thought there would be an opportunity to create simpler version of or alternate of YouTube. I guess you are still using YouTube contents so they can block you if they wish.

I still think there is an opportunity to create an alternate video sharing site that's good enough.

Good job, though! I will be using your site instead of youtube as long as your site is live.

jff 2 days ago 2 replies      
Both this and Youtube's own Feather beta seem to lack support for playlists. I like playlists for listening to music at work, for example Brad Neely's "America, Now" videos (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPQrXUpvkuc&list=PLD8217FD2EE...). Also useful for watching web series like Marble Hornets. I love a simpler experience, but I think content creators will want playlists.
martian 2 days ago 1 reply      
> "supports privacy and stores no information"

Interesting that there's still a Google Analytics tracking call on the page.

bschwarz 2 days ago 1 reply      
After getting fed up with the ongoing changes to subscriptions I created a barebones tool to act as a replacement. No Google/Youtube account needed, new videos are fetched using the API, setup is git clone and open in browser.


zalew 2 days ago 0 replies      
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/youtube-cente... is useful, especially fixing buffering and quality.
LukeWalsh 2 days ago 3 replies      
I use a browser plugin that strips down the actual site to a minimal version http://www.clea.nr

It's by far the best solution I've found since it stays out of the way, and when I click on a Youtube link the page is much nicer.

kapitalx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Finally, related videos that are related to the video!

For some reason google decided to show videos 'relevant' to me. But all I want is videos related to what i'm watching.

Thanks, I really like it.

cjstewart88 2 days ago 1 reply      
As always, I love sites that strip down YouTube. YouTube houses tons of great content; however, they seem to be making their consumers pretty unhappy. Check out http://www.tubalr.com it's my app and focuses on YouTube's music content.

Grats on hitting the front page and I hope you can retain users, its the hardest part about websites like this.

lionheart 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does this get around the issue of local ISPs caching the content and then causing the video download to be extremely slow?

I've heard there's a way get your browser to always connect directly to YouTube's servers, but I could never get it to work.

mikecane 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been using Toogles all this time. This seems even faster. Will switch between both as each have their points. Thanks.

And Googlers, you've run YouTube into the ground with clutter. Stop. Roll back. And get rid of tying of it to G+. We don't want that.

ytNumbers 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fantastic! There's so much wrong with Youtube these days. It's great that someone is trying to fix it! Now, a nitpick... Your about page has a typo. You've got the word recommendation with only one m. If it were my site, I'd want someone to tell me.
skizm 2 days ago 1 reply      
I mentioned this in another thread but YouTube feather (beta) is pretty much this. It strips down everything but the video and the recommendations on the side. Also it is an official Google feature.
zapt02 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love how channels are presented. Now I can actually see the new videos.

Will use this instead of YouTube for a while!

PSCan you make "load more" optional? I just want stuff to be loaded as I scroll automagically. :)

calbear81 2 days ago 0 replies      
On my recent trip, I wanted to watch some YouTube videos in the air but there wasn't WiFi on my flight. I found an app called MxTube for iPad and it blew my mind how much cleaner, faster, and more intuitive it was than the REAL YouTube app. Added benefit - You can cache videos for offline playback. I happily paid the $1.99 pro upgrade to support the developer.
rocky1138 1 day ago 0 replies      
I thought about doing something similar a few years ago but gave up after reading in their TOS that in order for embedding to be allowed, the page cannot be specifically about the video but instead must simply use the video to enhance the original content on the page.
znowi 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is what YouTube should be like (or how it once was actually).

However, I agree with others that building a UI on top of it is not much of innovation. I'd rather see new and better apps instead of new and better props for the old and ugly services.

tehwebguy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like the YouTube specific autocomplete uses an undocumented Google API at suggestqueries.google.com

Someone documented it here:


lignuist 2 days ago 0 replies      
Recommendations are actually nice, but the problem on YT is how they are based on the current video and my personal browsing history at the same time. I think in earlier days they were just based on the current video and this made much more sense to me.
carlesfe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank you, now I can watch yt videos without any flash player!
WoodenChair 1 day ago 0 replies      
That Noah movie looks absolutely "epic".
ye 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's completely useless to me. All the important content discovery features are gone. The search is horrible, all the nice filtering options YT has aren't there.
trendoid 2 days ago 0 replies      
All the videos that require sign in due to "rated content", seems to be not working since they require sign in. I dont even get a sign in option, just "error occurred".
__hudson__ 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't have a youtube account so this site is a good way to watch youtube videos with content restrictions.
iancarroll 2 days ago 1 reply      
What's the real purpose behind this site? All I see is YouTube with Bootstrap.
timl88 2 days ago 1 reply      
If it could get around youtube's annoying DASH and buffer the entire video while paused I would use it!
ChrisNorstrom 2 days ago 2 replies      
Thank you whoever you are. May the randomness of the Universe be in your favor.

- It's blazing fast, much faster than the original.

- Doesn't have that stupid loading bar at the top.

- No more glitched video page loads.

- Isn't going to be redesigned every 5 months like YT.

- The video player is center aligned and not left aligned.

- Drops all the unnecessary UI elements and doesn't bother me to start using my real name with G+.

I've become so pissed off at Google for the way it's been handling YT redesigns (and Analytics redesigns too). It's like they get the most amateur designers out of high school, and go on an a/b test spree by changing absolutely everything they can. YT's gone through 3+ redesigns now. Each one getting progressively more annoying than the last. And they just keep tinkering with things that aren't broken. Remember the slideshow playlist at the bottom of the screen a year back? And who in their right mind would left align the div holding a video player?!

It's annoying when a company treats one of its flagship products like a never ending science project experiment.

Good job on FixYT, my only suggestion: give me the option to turn the color scheme black.

kunai 2 days ago 0 replies      
The overbloatiness of YouTube and the artsy-fartsy nature of Vimeo have left a vacuum for something that would be similar to the imgur of videos. I wouldn't be so surprised if someone applied to a venture capital firm with this sort of thing.
benmorris 2 days ago 0 replies      
Simply awesome, in an instant I remembered all of the reasons I used to like youtube.
vishaldpatel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Shameless plug for playr.me
nighthawk24 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is so good! Hoping YouTube takes a clue or two
agumonkey 2 days ago 0 replies      
where can I comment ?

just kidding, great job

lukasm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Did they just fix the comment?
lanbird 2 days ago 0 replies      
already watched and hide it would be great!
salient 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seems so much faster than Youtube.
Deleting my Google+ profile support.google.com
433 points by buro9  1 day ago   77 comments top 21
akurilin 1 day ago 3 replies      
If you can figure out a way of deleting one's Google+ profile without accidentally nuking Youtube uploads, Picasa images, Gmail etc, do let us know.
mml 1 day ago 1 reply      
I deleted my g+ profile a week or so ago, it didn't take gmail with it (or my domain).

Fun fact: During the deletion process, Google says they'll "attempt to remove your data over the next few weeks" I assume they throw up their hands after a few nanoseconds, and just store it all anyway.

hackaflocka 1 day ago 3 replies      
My wish for Google is different. I want it to keep interfering how I like to consume its services. I want them to keep needling me. And everyone else. I support innovation. This is the surest path to new innovation... a competitor with a better value proposition.
RRRA 1 day ago 1 reply      
ARGH!Is it just me or are the procedure described in the link actually not working : the buttons are not there with exact name, nor results or choices.And if I try with the 2nd account directly, the one they created because of Youtube, it asks me to try an unlink (or delete!) it on Youtube, where the option is nowhere to be found...Epic fail!
mafro 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I never actually created a Google+ profile, but my Apps for Business domain gmail works fine.

I cannot, however, use Hangouts. Which is annoying as I like the new emojis

wrongc0ntinent 1 day ago 0 replies      
I dropped the few fake accounts when I decided it was too much work to keep 3 different android devices going at the same time with different settings, not to mention separate purchases. Seems premature now.
phillc73 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I deleted my entire Google+ profile and was nagged with the following as soon as I logged back into Gmail next time:

"Update your accountCreate a public Google+ profile and get great new features in Gmail"

anonymous 19 hours ago 2 replies      
What's the point? It is not like they will actually delete your data.
phaed 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh god, I haven't seen a list of things I wanted to get rid of more badly than this:


Kequc 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hopefully this quells the rest of the aversive posts about Google plus from now until eternity, although I already know that would be nearly too much to hope for.
ProAm 1 day ago 1 reply      
Will you lose your OpenID functionality if you do this?

Their warning says the following: "You won't be able to use the "Sign in with Google" button to log in to third-party apps."

knocte 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is there a way to use Hangouts without having a G+ profile?
amrit_b 23 hours ago 2 replies      
I deleted my account few days back. And then Google forced me to create it again while I was trying to access Hangouts
jarek314 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe just create fake G+ account to use it whenever you need to go somehow public with your comments.
airtonix 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Sigh i don't understand what all the whinging is about.

How many people here complain about Google plus but also:

* pay out the arse for Apple products and,* have no problems giving facebook the exact details they tell horror stories about?

simplemts 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Deleted g+ and youtube account. Just not worth it anymore.
wtfm8 8 hours ago 0 replies      
wow. I just signed on to a youtube account I had made years ago. I had not signed into it for a long time. Just this moment tried to sign on and things were okay, except I noticed I now have google plus for that account.

I just deleted everything. Seriously google, fuck you.

hobs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Done. Thanks!
gabrielmsharp 13 hours ago 0 replies      
https://www.youtube.com/account_revert I used this first, then deleted my Google+ account.
stevo111 1 day ago 2 replies      
Fuck google plus, fuck it up it's ass.
0x0 1 day ago 0 replies      
Winning at Candy Crush stavros.io
383 points by sokratisp  2 days ago   144 comments top 36
kens 2 days ago 5 replies      
My game cheat story starts way, way back, playing Wizardry on the Apple II. In this game, you go through a dungeon, killing monsters and collecting treasure and experience. Fun, but slow going. So I found out where in memory these values are stored and started manipulating them, giving myself tons of experience and new treasures.

Everything went fine until I put in an invalid treasure value which apparently caused some random memory locations to be modified, corrupting the game. Unfortunately, game state was written back to the same floppy disk that holds the game itself, rendering the game unplayable.

Fortunately, I could borrow a second floppy drive, borrow an uncorrupted copy of the game, and repair the game with a disk-to-disk copy. Unfortunately, I plugged in the disk drive connector crooked, sending -12 volts into a chip on the controller board that didn't want -12 volts. The result was a "pop" and a disk controller that no longer worked. Needless to say, my father wasn't happy.

Finding the problem was easy - it was the chip with a square hole blown out of it where the silicon had vaporized. Unfortunately getting a replacement chip wasn't easy when you live in the middle of nowhere. So I built a replacement circuit on a solderless breadboard and wired it into the controller board, and everything worked fine until I could get the proper replacement chip.

TL;DR: cheat at games and you will be punished

just2n 2 days ago 2 replies      
A long long time ago before I ever wrote a line of code, I'd just play all the games I could. I was fascinated by how they worked. I later found a book on BASIC that introduced programming by having the reader write simple word games. After learning the basics, I then would wonder how FF1 managed to change states from being in a tiled map and exploring the world into a battle screen and back again, which led me to more learning and eventually I ended up making a very shoddy Zelda clone that ran in DOS. I think I was 11 or 12 at the time?

Anyway, one day a long time after that, I was playing this new mod for Half-Life called Counter-Strike. It was fun, and I had started learning C and about OpenGL to understand a bit more about how HL worked itself. But on this day I saw a guy just running through de_dust getting tons of headshots. Watching his camera, it seemed he had superhuman aiming. Comments about cheating flew, and this was long before the game was infested with cheats. He also seemed to know where everyone was. How?

A few hours later I discovered he was using a cheat called ViperG. It along with another cheat called XQZ were the only known public cheats at the time. ViperG was open sourced on a forum called clientbot at the time. Since I was learning C, I was actually able to read the code. Back then, HL only imported mod client function implementations using DLL imports, so you could write a DLL that exported fake client functions while also importing the real ones from a renamed client.dll, which let your cheat intercept all of the client API calls. Most in ViperG were just pass throughs, but one would gather entity information from a drawing API and another would draw some text on the screen in a HUD update API, etc. It was almost no code but it rendered little '+' signs on every player through walls and would let you automatically aim at their heads. Crazy.

This is when I realized that I could actually take software people had written and break it to make it do whatever I wanted, and that's when I feel like I really started learning things. Understanding how programs ran on my OS and learning how to reverse engineer came pretty rapidly. XQZ was closed source but had some really nice features, so I'd reverse its gl function exports and figure out exactly what it was doing so I could replicate them in my own cheat.

Doing what the author did here for modern MMOs can actually be a very difficult exercise, even for seasoned reverse code engineers. I've done it for several games, essentially reversing the entire netcode to write cheats that automate client actions, and there are all sorts of ridiculous traps I've seen to prevent you from doing so. One game even went so far as to require you to parse a terrain file and send the cell ID of your movement target in every movement packet, along with the absolute coordinates. This was slow as an iterative find process as a map had tens of thousands of triangles and you'd be sending these quite often, so naively you'd just loop over each triangle and check if your target coordinates were inside of it. This gave me a nice introduction into quadtrees and other algorithms that can make this operation asymptotically much faster. Yay learning.

To this day, I can only play a game so much before I get an overwhelming urge to break it. I think that despite the stigma of cheating, it's a great way to learn. It's comparable to taking something apart to see how it works and change it around a bit. Just don't take it too far and ruin games for other people.

chaz 2 days ago 3 replies      
In 2009, when Farmville was the New Hotness, I checked it out to see what all the fuss was. After all, it was rumored to be minting $1 million per day. Soon after, I saw that a lot of my friends were playing. Girlfriends were getting boyfriends to tend their crops for them while at work. They were very scrupulous with the design of their farm and tending their crops. But I wanted to just be at the top of the leaderboard.

Unlike later games, it was possible to keep leveling up and making money by farming only instead of inviting friends. Plow fields, plant crops, and then harvest them hours later -- repeat as fast and as frequently as you can. TONS of tedious clicking. Of course, I wanted to automate it, and I wasn't alone. Searching around, I found a Perl script that someone had written and I adapted it for my PC.

I just fired up Farmville, and here's what my farm looks like: http://i.imgur.com/nrtkitJ.jpg. It's almost all crops (maximize $) and it requires the farmer to be trapped within hay bales. Otherwise, he walks to where you're clicking and can sometimes get in the way of the click. It would mess up every now and then, but was fairly reliable -- just run the script and let it do its thing for a few minutes. The trick was to flip the game into full screen mode, zoom all the way out, start at a known (x, y) position on your screen's resolution, and then loop through all crop positions by incrementing/decrementing (x, y). Only slightly tricky because of the isometric view and avoiding clicking on some non-crop positions. Picking the right crop was important too, to maximize yield. I just wanted to do two runs a day: first thing in the morning and then in the evening when I got home from work.

I moved up fairly quickly and quit when I beat all of my friends. Got some jeers from those who thought I was actually playing Farmville so much, but had a few requests for said script ...

sbov 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've worked on a few flash games in my free time. Ultimately since the game code resides in the client, it will always be feasible to cheat. That, of course, doesn't mean you can't deter some.

One of the things that kept people from snooping around was encryption. All communication went to 1 vaguely named endpoint with 1 parameter, which was a an encrypted list of the parameters and the action to take. This will deter some, but not others.

At the start of a game, the client had to contact the server for a key. This changed each time you played. Any score submission required this key - if it was wrong I ignored it. Only 1 score submission per key.

Note that you have other useful information now: you know how long they were in game to get their score. I flagged scores that were abnormally high for the time it took to get them. I would then review them, and based upon their score history hellban them - they could still play, but no-one saw their high scores except themselves.

If Candy Crush did something similar, they would likely catch you. You wouldn't even know until you gloated and your friends said they can't see your score. Some people who got hellbanned would contact me, and I'd give them a free pass.

Of course you could cheat and get a normal score in a normal timeframe, but I didn't care as much about that.

Beyond trying to thwart cheating, I'm a big fan of cheating in games myself. It's part of why I enjoy eve online so much, because they encourage the usage of 3rd party tools more than any other game I've played.

The most extensive thing I've programmed for cheating is probably a custom MUD client to facilitate multiplay. The clients report to eachother information they know. All clients keep the state of the group and the things I'm fighting. They also keep track of which client can do what, so I can type into any client that I want to heal someone and the program will figure out which client is able to do that, and tell it to do so.

rickdale 2 days ago 4 replies      
Back in the day I would log onto yahoo chess and beat everyone by simultaneously playing expert mode in windows chess and just mimicking the expert modes moves on yahoo as mine. Good times, never lost.
smartician 2 days ago 2 replies      
Maybe I'm overly cautious, but in today's world, where even simple URL manipulation can be regarded as hacking, I would be very reluctant to post exploits like this. It's crazy, but this can be construed as wire fraud or computer crime:

18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(4)

Whoever(4) knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization, or exceeds authorized access, and by means of such conduct furthers the intended fraud and obtains anything of value, unless the object of the fraud and the thing obtained consists only of the use of the computer and the value of such use is not more than $5,000 in any 1-year period . . .shall be punished as provided in subsection (c) of this section.

"Protected computer" in this context means any computer that is connected to the Internet. And the value obtained would be unlimited use of the game, which would normally be a limited. True, that last part is up for debate, as it is possible to play the game without paying, but I wouldn't want to be forced to argue this in court...

Timothee 2 days ago 1 reply      
I had a somewhat similar story a few years ago with Bejeweled 2 (except that I didn't seek a way to cheat, just came across it).

I wrote it up here: http://timotheeboucher.com/on-writing-laconic-error-messages... but the gist of it was that their score submission endpoint required a checksum, but the error message if the checksum was wrong was:

    <Response type="error" reason="Checksum failed (ext_csm = cc7ae8d3d26d911f9d6e6178d93b9fc0, int_csm = c1f19e476622b8df7f830ee0c45df533)" server_ver="1.0"/>
Yes, the `int_csm` value is the checksum the server expected instead of the one I had passed. It would tell you "you're wrong. But here is the correct answer". I could then just re-submit with the proper value

egeozcan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Even though it doesn't have a winning / losing condition, I had coded an automated bot[0] to draw for me in Doodle or Die[1]. Stopped using it when people started complaining though. It was supposed to be quick and dirty, that's why it's a windows forms application. But of course I kept improving it for a while. After implementing a very basic plug-in system, I realized I was spending too much time on it =) Here's an example drawing from a friend of mine, using my tool: http://doodleordie.com/c/EGXBBJeMU45#2

[0]: https://github.com/egeozcan/DrawThatThing

[1]: http://doodleordie.com

hung 2 days ago 2 replies      
Awesome! I once wrote a boggle solver to beat my friends at Bogglific on Facebook. It was loads of fun until I was banned from the game.


edwhitesell 2 days ago 2 replies      
Step 1: ATT adds the 'infinite lives' interception/response to the proxy servers for the Starbucks hotspots/WiFi.

Step 2: Starbucks Marketing advertises 'Unlimited Candy Crush lives at Starbucks!'

Step 3: Profit! Well, assuming all of the squatters actually buy stuff.

KVFinn 2 days ago 0 replies      
F2P models are so strange.

Game piracy used to mean stealing the game. Now 'piracy' is getting extra lives.

togilvie 2 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome breakdown. I wrote a blog post in late September - based on some industry rumors - that speculated on whether Candy Crush was "cheating" by varying the random seed to generate monetization or retention events:


Based on the "seed" going back and forth at the start/end of games, I'd have to assume that they are doing something with it. Anyway to see if that's happening?

miguelrochefort 2 days ago 0 replies      
I used to cheat at SongPop using the multi-finger multitasking on the iPad (pausing the game a fraction of a second after a song started playing, having plenty of time to guess the song properly). I could beat anyone using this technique, but it required manual work.

I expected a similar "hack" with Candy Crush, and was surprised by how "high-tech" their solution is. Good stuff.

benmanns 2 days ago 2 replies      
It looks like the author is decompiling the Flash SWF for the Facebook game. Would there be an equivalent way to do this for games on an iPad/iPhone without rooting the device?
v64 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know how valid it is now, but in July of 2011 I reverse engineered some aspects of Zynga's Words with Friends and put it up online: https://github.com/v64/fiend

The most interesting part was the way they decided to do the random generation of letter tiles. At the start of the game, each client was given the same PRNG seed (in the case of Words with Friends, the PRNG was a Mersenne twister), and when tiles needed to be drawn from the bag, instead of having the server tell you what tiles you received, you would use the preseeded PRNG to randomly draw your tiles from the available pool.

Of course, as your opponent is also doing this with the same preseeded PRNG, this also allows you to determine what tiles your opponent has, and what order the tiles will be drawn in for the rest of the game.

Yhippa 2 days ago 6 replies      
What's the best solution for this, managing game state server-side? Did they do it this way to offload storage and processing for scalability reasons?
Globz 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am sure they did this to offload the server.

I remember reading an article about some javascript games and how to find the balance for game state server-side check.

source : http://fugiman.com/blog/2013/08/17/on-click-fueled-javascrip...

bouk 2 days ago 1 reply      
Remember Draw Something? That game that was sold for $180 million to Zynga? I wrote an API library for that in Python https://github.com/bouk/drawsomething-api that allowed me to just add coins (the currency they sell for real money) through simple API calls.

Good times

bayesianhorse 2 days ago 0 replies      
As long as using wget can lead to a conviction for hacking, it might not be the best idea to admit such a hack publicly...

But luckily in the EU the European court for human rights should stop such stupidity in its tracks.

kin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cookie Clicker: http://orteil.dashnet.org/cookieclicker/This game is all client-side so it's easy to cheat. The cool thing is you actually get achievements for cheating!
squeakynick 2 days ago 0 replies      
Years ago, for fun, I wrote a Bejeweled Blitz player. As with others here, the fun was about the challenge, not about 'beating' the game.


sucrenoir 2 days ago 0 replies      
I built a small app to cheat at Landlord (http://www.landlordgame.com) to check and buy venues from anywhere in the world. There was also a small script to get huge amount of coins (through faking twitter and facebook sharing).

After 10 days i was number one in the rankings. Scores and amounts of $ was so large that the iphone app was starting to bug... Of course it does not work anymore.


btgeekboy 2 days ago 0 replies      
The only winning move is not to play.
chris_wot 2 days ago 1 reply      
I once lost a license key for a major enterprise system. It had to get a demo up and running ASAP. Luckily, it was an ASP.Net app. I was able to use .NET Reflector, find a code rewriting plugin, and I blanked out the function that did the cert check (always made it return true) and I was able to login.
irfan 1 day ago 0 replies      
In 2007 I did the same level of digging with a facebook puzzle solving game. Game used to post daily puzzles and top scorers (solving the puzzle in minimum time) were shown on global leaderboard. At that time, the app was not using any kind of hashing or validation. It was simply posting the score to the server so tempering the data was easier. After staying on top of global leaderboard for a few days (with impossible score of 1 second), the app developer contacted me and requested to stop cheating the system. I suggested him some changes and the game became much better
aetimmes 2 days ago 1 reply      
A strange game.

The only winning move is not to play.

mathattack 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great story. I think it's less about cheating and more about poking your way around public software. I appreciate the spirit of adventure in searching through the game.
Cyph0n 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nicely done. Now I have to find the secret key...
thecodemonkey 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow! I'm surprised to hear that their production servers output a full stack trace.
mrcactu5 2 days ago 0 replies      

  Whats this? It looks like we can just tell the game we finished a level, without any other hassle
the game insults players' intelligence on so many levels

itakee 2 days ago 0 replies      
This guy did it faster using memory hacking:https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=308857235912631
ydesouza 2 days ago 0 replies      
You could also use a memory editor. Like this - http://www.ydesouza.com/crandy-crush
Lionga 2 days ago 3 replies      
it is crazy that a game that makes multi million dollars every day has no server side validation at all and just trust the client. crazy
sengstrom 2 days ago 0 replies      
The best way to play this game.
cycnusx 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is so much faster, I had been using CheatEngine to modify the values, then play the entire level.
mnml_ 2 days ago 1 reply      
NameError: name 'start_game' is not defined
Wikileaks publishes 500k new Stratfor emails wikileaks.org
348 points by dmix  2 days ago   173 comments top 23
kid0m4n 2 days ago 6 replies      
Oh, this is so classy: https://search.wikileaks.org/gifiles/?viewemailid=8402


Oh, they have enough weapons. Now the serious game begins as Reva pointedout. The investigation of the attack is not interesting. I suspect thefindings have already been reached before the first investigator got towork. Now the question is how India responds. God willing, the Indianresponse will make us a lot of money.

This after the devastating terrorist attack in Mumbai which killed 164 people: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Mumbai_attacks

joshfraser 2 days ago 9 replies      
It's a weird feeling reading other people's email. I'm sad to see Wikileaks didn't at least do a quick regex pass to remove the credit cards (yup, found some) and the personal love notes. I'm generally a supporter of Wikileaks, but mass dumps like this aren't responsible and only give more ammunition to their detractors.
joshfraser 2 days ago 1 reply      

Subject: Re: GOOGLE & Iran internal use only - pls do not forward

GOOGLE is getting WH and State Dept. support & air cover. In reality,they are doing things the CIA cannot do. But, I agree with you. He'sgoing to get himself kidnapped or killed. Might be the best thing tohappen to expose GOOGLE's covert role in foaming up-risings, to beblunt. The US Govt can then disavow knowledge and GOOGLE is leftholding the shit bag.

r00fus 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is it more, or do these leaks paint StratFor as something along the lines of a "conflict investment firm" on the lines of Richard Morgan's Market Forces [1]?

Jacket cover description excerpt:"A coup in Cambodia. Guns to Guatemala. For the men and women of Shorn Associates, opportunity is calling. In the superheated global village of the near future, big money is made by finding the right little war and supporting one side against the otherin exchange for a share of the spoils."

[1] https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40450.Market_Forces

ThomPete 1 day ago 0 replies      
An absolute gem

"...2010-12-03 11:54:04FW: Manning & Wiki Founder Arrest/Prosecution?scott.stewart@stratfor.comgfriedman@stratfor.com

Holy crap, we're passing Fred's rantings to confederation partners?

From: Emre Dogru [mailto:emre.dogru@stratfor.com]Sent: Friday, December 03, 2010 3:37 AMTo: burtonCc: ConfederationSubject: Fwd: Manning & Wiki Founder Arrest/Prosecution?

Hey Fred, one of our confed partners (Sabah daily) would like to use thisinformation without any attribution. But he just wonders if your sourceused "fry" in the sense that Manning should be executed by electrocution,or does it mean something else in intel business lingo?..."


redwood 2 days ago 0 replies      
Surprised no one has pointed this out. The headlines for "statfor" today aren't this dump, but rather: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/jeremy-hammond-anonymous-strat...

I imagine the two events are connected

sp332 2 days ago 0 replies      
"RELEASE: over 500k new Stratfor files. Total now released over 5.5M. http://wikileaks.org/gifiles #freehammond" - @wikileaks https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/401466014111506432
icpmacdo 2 days ago 5 replies      
Would it be a crime if I were to read one of the emails?
lettergram 1 day ago 1 reply      
" Call me if you want me to get on IM. I'm running around the house andputting things away but would be happy to come back to my computer andchat w/ you. Smoochies Hunny. I love you!XOXOXOXOXOAmy"

Seems a bit too personal to me

jypepin 2 days ago 0 replies      
I click through the Canadian ones, I'm confused on how much those emails are racists, homophobic, raw and violent...


jshq111 2 days ago 2 replies      
Wiki leaks is embarrassing itself. Stratfor is a silly bunch of blowhards who repackage the Economist for gullible subscribers who think these jokers are some secret intelligence agents.
realrocker 1 day ago 0 replies      
They are talking about the 26/11/2008 Mumbai, India attack and how its going to make them a lot of money. Horrid!https://search.wikileaks.org/gifiles/?viewemailid=8496
athst 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wish they published the raw data for this - it would be a lot easier to do analysis and visualization on it.
LispShmisp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Are files available via torrent/web somewhere? I'd appreciate if someone has a link to share.
deskglass 2 days ago 0 replies      
It sounds like they need to improve their billing service.
BrandonMarc 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm a supporter of the idea of WikiLeaks, if not all of their decisions ... now here's what bugs me: why is it rare (or never) that we see mass dumps of Russian, Chinese, or Pakistani intelligence information? What, there's no corruption, profiteering, or otherwise bad vibes over there? The US has a monopoly on all that? Why does it always have to hurt US intelligence activities (yes: some deserve to be hurt, but just blanket dumping also puts the country at risk).
mariuolo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are you actually going to read 500k emails?

Especially when most of them look like water cooler chitchat.

robomartin 2 days ago 2 replies      
Question for game theorists: Is here a realistic scenario under which the entire world could disarm and shift from coming up with better ways to kill people to more constructive pursuits.

Please don't say "A visit from Vulcans"

NN88 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why the hell don't they just dump everything?

they're politicizing the very leaking they're doing.

supergirl 2 days ago 3 replies      
404 on all those links. am i doing it wrong?
groupthinker 1 day ago 0 replies      
This submission is off-topic (not "Hacker News") and should be deleted.
Ask HN: Google employees, why is G+ more important than your users?
324 points by dsl  23 hours ago   259 comments top 37
jmillikin 22 hours ago 20 replies      
Internally, G+ is marketed as a unified login/account system. Management's stated reasoning goes something like:

  * It's silly to force users to have separate accounts for    Google services because most users would prefer to have    Gmail, Docs/Drive, YouTube, Calendar, and so on under the    same account/identity.  * Users who want to have separate public identities will    create pseudonymous "Pages" for each of their identities.    These pages will still be owned by the same account, so    the user only has to log in once.  * Users who are strongly opposed to a unified Google account    are a sufficiently small population that it is acceptable    to inconvenience them if doing so improves the experience    of every other user.
By itself, these arguments are reasonable and could probably have been implemented without too much trouble (though "Pages" continues to be a confusing and unclear term). The problem is that the new account system was introduced at the exact same time as a social network, with the /same name/, and that the social network decided to inject a hard requirement of Facebook-style name validation rules into the new profile system.

Now the term "Google+" has become so strongly connected with the Google+ social network (and its infamous names policy) that any attempt to expand the Google+ account system is met with fear and outrage. I don't think upper management expected this or understands why the community reacted thus, just as they didn't expect or understand why requiring a Firstname Lastname format on the Internet was problematic.

I don't believe Google+ management is malicious, but they do seem woefully unaware of how internet-native communities behave.

jmduke 23 hours ago 2 replies      
So I don't work for Google and I've never worked for Google. I do, however, have two things you might want to keep in mind:

1. Google, according to Wikipedia, has 46,000 employees. The number of employees who are in a position to influence policy regarding Google+ adoption over the Google suite of products is likely less than one hundred (or .2%). It is entirely possible -- likely, even! -- that the other 99.8% of those employees do not agree with the Google+ strategy. It is also entirely possible -- likely, even! -- that those employees are encouraged to voice their opinions internally (though voicing those opinions externally doesn't really accomplish anything extra.)

2. You can disagree with Google's tactics, motives, and end-goals, but I'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn't believe that the average Google employee is very intelligent. It is entirely possible -- likely, even! -- that one of these employees did a cost-benefit analysis somewhere along the line (likely before Google+ was released to the public) and discovered that the cost of pushing an umbrella identity (pissing off users, possibly lowering retention and engagement) is outweighed by the benefits of such a strategy (attracting 'whale' consumers, strengthening advertising profiles for consumers).

mcphilip 22 hours ago 4 replies      
Not a google employee, but this disgusting mistreatment of its users may actually be a good thing if it blows up in their faces. My prediction is that the change to automatically showing the users g+ profile pic next to comments will be what gets them in hot water by empowering stalkers and trolls.

Here's a simple example, if you go to the video for Miley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball, there are the usual back and forth comments arguing her merits. However, you can now easily spot preteen girls if you were looking for that specific demographic, and then subscribe to them for more efficient creeping.

Shame on Google. This behavior is stunningly evil.

jrockway 22 hours ago 11 replies      
I have no idea what the official party line is... but doesn't it make at least a little bit of sense to unify two social networks owned by the same company?

One thought about real names: what does your contacts database look like on your phone? While I know a lot of people by their online handles, I also know their real name, and I typically choose to enter that real name into my phone. Maybe this is uncommon, but if not, if you're building a communication platform, it does make some sense for the user-entered data to follow this format. Is there some intrinsic reason that someone be referred to as "Jonathan Rockway" when you send them a message via the SMS protocol, but "jrockway" if you send that same message via Jabber? It then follows to wonder: if you're talking to your friends via YouTube, why would you use yet another nickname?

Maybe what people want is a unique identifier that only they know, and then choose to share a different name with different groups of people?

I don't have any strong feelings one way or the other, but I am interested in what other people have to say.

nostromo 23 hours ago 5 replies      
It seems simple, honestly. The likelihood that people will stop using YouTube because of G+ is nil.
joeld42 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Not a google employee, but here's my take. It seems like value in web ecosystem is changing from "views" to "verbs" -- like, share, etc.. actions that spread content rather than passively consuming it. Google has based its business on monetizing "views" and its competitors (fb) are building on verbs.

Also, Google has to maintain a forest of separate identities for everyone. (youtube, gmail, g+, etc). It's super annoying just to maintain one login. There's huge business value in consolidating those, even without adding features.

Finally, Youtube comments are a cesspool. Even when they're not racist or threatening, they're immature and, at best "wow that's awesome". They drive viewers away. I bet google wants to try to do-over comments in a way that makes them useful to people, not unsettling.

And I would hesitate to call it a disaster. Sure there's a lot of whining about it now, especially in tech circles, but every big interface change comes with a wave of whiners. We'll see in three or four weeks if anyone is complaining.

They'd certainly have a much tougher time doing this if there were another option for the masses, but for most people YouTube is it. Saying people are going to quit watching or uploading to youtube is silly, they'll go where? Vimeo?

They're going to keep tweaking it, people are going to adapt and learn, videos of cats falling off objects will continue to be uploaded.

ps: "How do they keep morale up"? Free food and big piles of money. How else do you do it?

dspeyer 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Former Googler here.

The vast majority of Googlers do not approve of G+ policies. However, Google has never been run democratically and most of the time that's probably a good thing.

Furthermore, the management has been much less forthcoming than usual about the thinking behind these policies. What they have said varies and usually sounds like excuses.

In short, don't expect actual information in this thread.

gkoberger 22 hours ago 2 replies      
In addition to what other people have said: Googlers love Google Plus. I haven't met a Googler (and, I know many) that doesn't love it.

After all, for them, it's not a barren wasteland. They have a very active network (coworkers/friends). I don't think this answers your question, however most Googlers like G+.

mohamedmansour 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Ever since Google has been integrating all their services to Google+, I have been using Google differently now:

1) Anonymous or no commenting on YouTube2) Using Windows 8.1 Mail app to access Gmail. Because seeing that Google+ notification icon is distracting and annoying me3) Stopped rating apps on Google Play store4) Stopped contributing reviews to Local5) Trying to stop using Google's Web products in favor of apps instead because of that damn Notifications bar.

I understand using a single Google Account for all services, but linking them all to one service where that service acts as a Social Network is not a service I would want to use anymore. They acquired Meeboo bar, and it seems they want every service they own have that bar and I despised that bar. Totally the wrong direction to take.

Treating each service separately would have been better and giving the option to the user to show that bar would have been great.

rhizome 10 hours ago 0 replies      
These threads are already huge, but I'll take a bite.

I don't think it's G+ being more important than the users, I think it has more to do with YouTube. Currently, G+ is for nerds who care about anonymity and all the other things that Google is being criticized here. That's fine, I'm one of them.

However, YouTube is a shithole and it's likely that YT people don't care as much about what they sign into as long as all their stuff is there. That Google would try to move YT users on to G+ makes sense in a "slum clearance[1]" way.

The Real Name vs. Nicknymity thing is a real problem, and for me I don't think Google is handling right, but I do think they're handling it in a way that is not out of line with the values of a stereotypical corporate bureaucracy.

Google wants to know the real names of everybody on its services, I get that, but users who value theirs and others' internet identity do so regardless of whether it's under a real name or a nickname. That Google has been found to be getting back alley sex from the US Government does not help their case for knowing who you really are.

In my more cynical moments I think comments and such are a ruse to get more PII from their users for law enforcement purposes. But YT is also a shithole, and the ad rates against combined-identity demographics ain't sour neither.

1. http://freakonomics.com/2011/09/30/the-controversial-legacy-...

yuhong 23 hours ago 2 replies      
This article that was submitted to HN had a section on Vic Gundotra that should have clues: http://www.slate.com/blogs/business_insider/2013/09/20/sex_a...
lazyjones 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm waiting for a Twitter video platform to settle these issues once and for all ... Google really needs more competition where users feel they are forced to do things because they have no choice.
DanBC 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Reading this thread I see some confusion about what YouTube and Google require with G+ account linking.

HN is full of smart people who work with tech all day every day.

Imagine what it's like for the average person trying to create a YouTube channel but trying to avoid leaking too much information to the creeps.

It's weird to me that Google would make things tricky for content creators on Youtube. These aren't people posting cat videos, these are people who are trying to build a brand and who spend time and money creating original content - some of it is "let's play" style video, or vlogging, but some of it is young people creating music video and sharing it. Pissing off those people leaves YouTube a wasteland of cat videos, adverts off the telly, and chopped up tv programmes posted without permission. Google can make lots of money off that, but it's a shame they don't want the original content.

powera 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This question should really be "VicG and Larry: why is G+ more important than your users".
amasad 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I'd be more concerned when they start forcing G+ on open platforms like the Web and Android. Maybe it's already started with Android KitKat shipping with Hangouts as the default messaging app.
eonil 18 hours ago 1 reply      
DISCLAIMER: I'm not a Google employee. This is my guess.

Users doesn't make money for Google. Users are valuable only when they're in sellable state. Ad companies don't want to buy fully anonymous, bogus or false profiles. They want real personal information from real human. To increase efficiency of target reaching / marketing cost.

Until now, Google didn't need to worry about quality of their product - I mean their users profiles. Because that was valuable enough. Because nobody else could provided anything better.

But now it's a little bit different. Especially with Facebook. Facebook provides better product - more accurate, proven, related, real personal information. There's mostly no spamming, bogus, false account. They offer interconnected and very clearly tasted profiles. The most fantastic thing is all the informations are input by users themselves. So accuracy of the data is incredible. Google' product - user profile - is mostly tracked by usage history. So inaccurate. People refuse to input something on Google. This degrades quality of their product.

To the marketers, Google product - user profiles - are now inferior. Nobody wants to buy Google product anymore. Not completely useless yet, but it's not competitive product to what Facebook provides. If this situation continues, Google has to bargain a lot, and finally will lose the only their profitable business - ad selling. Ad is not just an empty space on a website. Nowadays, you can't sell ad in high price without targeting information. Google's targeting was best in old days, but now Facebook offers even better which makes Google product crap.

That's why Google is pushing everybody to their copy of Facebook - G+. To survive. By making money. G+ can make money by delivering quality user profiles to marketers. But you, the users, are just nothing if you don't offer that informations. Because without informations, your account is just an useless binary junk which can't make money.

If you still love Google, please, feed them your personal information. That's the only way you can keep them (and their services) to survive. Anyway don't forget that any further marketing junks are also your responsibility. That's what you pay for Google stuff.


If you think something wrong in my posting, please correct me. I also want to know if there's any other reason.

judk 10 hours ago 0 replies      
G+ leadership thinks the internet is for brand management for bloggers, photographers, etc. They aren't being sadistic, they are simply generalizing from their own experience ad successful public strivers.

Personal private use is simply irrelevant to them. And you know, maybe it wasted time and the world would be better if people stopped having anonymous debates that don't win over any minds.

Google doesn't run cafes and bars, and they don't run reddit, and they don't want to. They aren't trying to kill Reddit.

HNers write their blog posts and seek discussion here instead of in the blog's comments. Redditors can post YouTube videos and discuss them on /r/videos

libovness 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Don't forget that one of the tacit reasons for G+'s existence is simply to have a reason to encourage G+ buttons on each page for further tracking of what's happening on the internet. Using a single identity helps to reconcile a unique user that help both the advertiser reach "uniques" and for Google to better understand that user's behavior.

Back to the point: Google's ethos is to track and analyze as much of what's happening on the Internet as possible. If, as an employee, you don't appreciate that this is Google's bread and butter, you simply may not care enough about these things to ever get worked up about G+'s account management.

adamnemecek 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Somehow I don't think that someone who is a cog in the machine has much say in this.
yuhong 23 hours ago 1 reply      
There is also a dead comment by Gthrowaway1 in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6732425
jarsj 19 hours ago 0 replies      
There used to be someone at google who would approve every UX/UI at pixel level. She now works for Yahoo!.
erikb 10 hours ago 0 replies      
(not a G employee as well)

I scrolled through all the comments and at least in the first line I didn't see this yet, so I add it to this thread:Why does <X> piss of it's users? (doesn't need to be the big G)

A) Mostly people are using services that they don't pay for. But the service must be awesome. This kind of user is not so attractive to competitive, profitable companies. They don't add much but they cost much time, trouble, energy, money. If these users go away no company really bothers, even if these are 90% of the users. (keep in mind, I'm one of these troublesome users)

B.) Users that actually pay might not be unhappy with the results. E.g. a company that buys advertisement space from google will not mind if Google processes the user information more efficiently. Also a Google business account owner will not mind that his employees can't watch Youtube videos from his account that would be shameful to show publicly. Therefore I think the bigger part of the interesting cutomers might actually approve of the current changes.

C) Most users have not much power. They can basically choose between service A and service B but often both services exploit their users the same way (see G+ and FB). So even if they are annoyed as hell they might not even go away.

Now I'm really one of the people who is unhappy with Google as it is, but I think there are some very good reasons for them to do it.

tasoeur 22 hours ago 0 replies      
From what I heard from Google employees, G+ has been highly prioritized over many projects (and some others which closed like google lab, reader, etc.).

Facing the social network giant that is Facebook, G+ has to become successful after many past failures, and to do so, they try to force their way through, and make it ubiquitous.

However, this Youtube chapter was probably a step too far, since very intrusive and noticeable.

dewiz 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Something that Google fails to understand, is that the company unifying the authentication experience cannot be the same company unifying the web experience.

I like having one authentication service provider, but I cannot have this provider holding hostage my services, my data, my history etc.

In this sense Microsoft is better, because they focus more on the product and less on the identity (since the business model is around licenses this makes sense). However this could change soon... Bing, Office365 etc.

If Google wants to win this battle they need to allow users to expose themselves with nicknames at least, different names per service even. Internally they will have their unique ID to which they can attach their marketing business model. However, I will still feel something is wrong about one company knowing so much about me.

s-topper 23 hours ago 0 replies      
YouTube comments were already a cesspool. Now, with added "shared via Google+", it has become unbearable. I added this rule in AdBlockPlus to block YouTube comments:


shadowmint 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't be silly; that would violate the 'do not discuss this topic' order...
mcculley 9 hours ago 0 replies      
If you reframe this question as "Why are your customers more important than your users?" it has an obvious answer.
moon_of_moon 16 hours ago 0 replies      
So really the only way to identify high quality information is by what some would call "peer reviewed, authenticated content". That means you know something about the person who generated the content and a bunch of people (who you also know something about) review it and vote it up. Thats why a large percentage of high ranked search results come from wikipedia and stack overflow/exchange and quora.

LinkedIn and Facebook are leading the market in the authenticated peer reviewed content business, which is locked in to their platforms, and which search engines cannot index.

Extrapolate ten years down the line, and that means a scenario where existing search engine leadership is severely compromised.

And thats why the push for G+. Its do or die.

tl;dr: the goal is to have search access to authenticated peer reviewed content, and to mitigate the risk of existing market leaders in that space from cannibalizing the search business, and with it the lucrative advertising business.

motters 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I think Google will do what Google wants to do and that there are other agendas in play.

The reasonable thing would be to give people the option of uniting their different accounts for purposes of convenience, or not as they so choose.

vinitool76 18 hours ago 3 replies      
I don't get what all the fuss is all about. Why would you want to hide your identity unless you are writing something crappy or being a troll on Youtube or Play Store. A single sign-on service is a great decision and that't the way things should be when you have multiple services from same company.

You guys don't mind using all services like Spotify, Quora etc that are so closely tied up with Facebook login. But when google tries to integrate it's own services it is so wrong? What are we, Hypocrites?

Coming to Google+, it is a much better designed and well thought off social network. What is the whole issue about?

gobbluth 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Not a Google employee, just a satisfied member. As far as I can tell, these are the following flaws with G+:

1) It's idiotic that my URL must be FirstnameLastname1234.

2) GDrive storage (which I use to upload 2000px G+ photos) is unfortunately expensive when compared to Everpix's unlimited storage. Everpix would have been quite profitable at G+'s scale, too. If Google invested this much in photo enhancement services, why not allow us to pay $50/year for unlimited full-size photo storage?

3) Not enough participation by other people, though it's getting there.

4) I'll never review a Google Play app or Youtube video if I'm forced to publish everything with my real name. They should allow pseudonyms.

Seriously, are there other problems? It provides fantastic value for me in the form of auto-awesome photos and the eventual integration of Google Voice. My profile is completely locked down to outsiders and unifies my Google services under a single identity.

I just don't see what the problem is. At worst, it discourages participation on the Play Store and Youtube. In exchange, I get cool photo stuff and a pretty great social network. There are still improvements to be made, but I don't understand HN's antagonism. Quite frankly, G+ is welcome competition to Facebook. G+ has better design than Facebook, respects my privacy vastly more than Facebook, and provides incredibly valuable photo backup and enhancement.

airtonix 17 hours ago 0 replies      
How is it a disaster? I keep hearing this from people who like to peddle filth on youtube. People who love Apple, people who have no problems giving up their privacy with Facebook.
jrs99 20 hours ago 0 replies      
g+ needs to succeed. if it don't, then google is done. Search with no ads is something a startup can figure out. video with no ads is something a startup can figure out.
Narkov 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Users != customers. Customers > users.
djvu9 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I guess the real reason could be that they try to sell ads on YouTube to advertisers with a competitive rate (compared to popular episodes) because they now can reach the targeted audience directly. The integration is somehow a "solid" evidence to advertisers.
rcjordan 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The current crop of Youtube commentors are the target of this purge, not collateral damage. Big G's high$$ advertisers aren't interested in being associated with free-form comments.
googlemployee1 23 hours ago 9 replies      
I work pretty high up at Google, and I (obviously) made this account to post in this thread. Google is effectively "dead" in my opinion, and this mirrors (at least in my experience) the feelings of many of our other higher-ups who are concerned with technology rather than the business. Everything has stagnated, it's no longer fun to work here, and it's entirely about making money now. The claims that we don't bend over for government agencies is entirely bullshit. Most of what they wanted was done without question (though I can't say how much of a choice we had). The company will continue, but you'll see us fall out of style, in a similar fashion to what has happened to Microsoft.
Jeremy Hammond sentenced to 10 years for Stratfor leak theguardian.com
325 points by callum85  2 days ago   235 comments top 24
dopamean 2 days ago 16 replies      
> The same beast bit us both, Hammond said. They went after Aaron because of his involvement in legitimate political causes they railroaded charges against him, and look what happened.

First let me say that I am pretty sympathetic to Hammond and Swartz (though I think their actions were totally different). I am sympathetic because I've been in Hammond's shoes actually. I had my door kicked in when I was 15 for things I shouldn't have done online.

What Hammond has said here really bothers me for two reasons. The first is that he attempt to conflate things that are not equal in any way. Swartz may have had a "legitimate political cause" but he sullied it (in my opinion) with illegal activities. Anonymous may also have a legitimate gripe but their actions were illegal and Hammond is now paying the price. That's how it works. It is wrong to act as if you somehow should be looked at differently by the law because you had a "legitimate political cause."

Also, it's really not fair at all for Hammond to compare his situation to Swartz. The damage done by what Swartz did is nothing compared to damage and potential for real harm with what Hammond did. Maybe I'm alone in this but I think that is an asinine comparison that does Swartz's reputation a disservice.

jamesaguilar 2 days ago 9 replies      
It's unfortunate that a possibly productive member of society has to go to jail for this.

At the same time, I wonder at what seems like a tone of surprise about the outcome. What he did is not materially different from breaking into secure offices and stealing copies of private documents. Apparently he or others working with him also made donations in the order of millions of dollars using stolen credit card numbers from this hack. His punishment should be of the same order as someone who did those things. Political motivation is not a get out of jail free card.

Presumably he knows this and the emphasis in this direction is the work of the article's author. Or maybe I'm picking up on something that's not there.

forgottenpass 2 days ago 0 replies      
For more background, The Rolling Stone had a good piece on him last year after he was arrested: The Rise and Fall of Jeremy Hammond: Enemy of the State [0]

[0] http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-rise-and-fall-o...

kh_hk 2 days ago 0 replies      

    Part of Sabus interest in him, he now believes, was that Hammond had access to     advanced tools including one known as PLESK that allowed him to break into web    systems used by large numbers of foreign governments.
I do not think this means what they think it means.

ChrisAntaki 2 days ago 1 reply      
Jeremy Hammond helped uncover TrapWire, possibly the most cutting edge surveillance system currently exposed to the public.


ThrowFarAway 2 days ago 1 reply      
There's a lot of certainty and knee-jerk moralizing on display here (hacker in trouble! He deserves our unhesitating support!), but there's shockingly little justification to accompany strong sentiment. Put another way: what's with the mob mentality, HN? This place is normally better than that.

He did a significant amount of damage to a legitimate business. Some people seem to hate STRATFOR, without articulating any reasoning for feeling that way, other than using certain triggers for up votes, "government," "CIA," "evil," etc.

The files posted to Wikileaks largely showed them to be a surprisingly competent private forecasting company. The outcry over telling an attractive intelligence collector to use her looks as a means by which to get people to be more pliable? Welcome to the real world. Sex sells, and it also buys.

Many subscriber's identities were stolen in the process. My personal information was leaked, and it was difficult and costly to deal with. Some will never be able to fully undo the damage personally done to them by Jeremy Hammond. I'm not sure how his actions bettered the world, or even sought to.

Activism is valid, and a discussion of hacktivism as a form of civil disobedience that can effect necessary change, would be welcome.

A guy who selected a target while being almost completely ignorant of the work they do, a guy who, rather than going to some effort to minimize collateral damage, actually worked to inflict as much collateral damage as possible, is not a hacktivist, but a criminal, and a pretty inconsiderate criminal, at that. Doing harm for the sake of ego isn't hacktivism, it's mayhem.

I'm OK with people like that being segmented from civil society, no matter how just the cause he thought it would further. If a guy walked around keying cars in the parking lot because he wanted to achieve world peace, I'd respect his desire to achieve world peace, but also want him prevented from doing so again until he demonstrated some understanding and therefore the necessarily resultant remorse.

I subscribe to STRATFOR's informative, insightful, and apolitical news service, and think most people who wax lyrical about how evil they are probably don't, or they'd realize they tend to write things like "Germany's Problematic Trade Surplus," or "Colombia's River Revitalization Plan."

A hacktivist picked a bad target and sought maximum collateral damage of innocents. People like that need to demonstrate that they understand why that's incompatible with living in a civilized society before they get to sit at the big kid's table again.

I'll get down voted for this, but if Jeremy Hammond still thinks the same way when his 10 years are up, he will have been released too soon. Sometimes prison is about rehab and reform, sometimes it's about damage control.

mkohlmyr 2 days ago 1 reply      
And the judges husband is a stratfor client directly affected by the hack..

edit: wrong word

erikpukinskis 2 days ago 0 replies      
> It is wrong to act as if you somehow should be looked at differently by the law because you had a "legitimate political cause."

Like morally wrong? If you think the law is bad, what is morally wrong about breaking it and saying "I understand the law, but I don't think I should be punished for this act"? That's what civil disobedience is. I can understand if you think it's stupid, or if you think the justice system should ignore those people, but I don't understand what morally wrong about it.

andrethegiant 2 days ago 0 replies      
I remember when Hammond helped run (or at least was an admin for) HackThisSite. That site helped pique my interest in web development, which is now my career. I owe a lot of my web tech prowess to that site.
clienthunter 2 days ago 0 replies      
> ...Hammond had access to advanced tools including one known as PLESK...

Could somebody please tell me there's another kind of PLESK beyond that which is shat forth by Parallels?

GuiA 2 days ago 1 reply      
One nation under god, with freedom and justice for all :')

Edit for below: oops! liberty indeed :)

gcb1 2 days ago 1 reply      
and the stratfor people are all innocent even after the leaks. that will surely tell people that they should not be activists but live within the law.
notjustanymike 2 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone else accidentally freak out that this would affect Top Gear?
ThrowFarAway 2 days ago 0 replies      
If anyone who wants to somehow argue that Stratfor is evil incarnate thus rendering Hammond's sentence unjust, I invite you to first read some of their stuff:


Disclosure: I'm a subscriber, and have been for a number of years now, and find most of the Stratfor-bashing that inevitably (and predictably) happens in these discussions to be void of any understanding of what they actually produce. So, please read up and then tell us why the fact that he attacked a private forecasting company somehow makes his sentence unjust.

baldfat 2 days ago 1 reply      
He was denied bail due to possible LIFE IN PRISON sentence. WOW! I just do see that A) He did illegal activities B) Money was involved. A Jail sentence is very likely BUT life and denial of bail?
nutball 2 days ago 0 replies      
rospaya 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's sickening to see so many people claiming Hammond "did a good thing" and "didn't harm any person". Something I expected from reddit, but not HN.
jlgaddis 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tangentially related:

> ... he saw quotes marked CW for co-operating witness ...

"Confidential witness", that is.

"CI", short for "confidential informant", is also commonly seen in similar documents.

seoguru 2 days ago 0 replies      
wow. I consider this sentence overkill. and sadly he is not the only victim of extreme sentencing:https://www.aclu.org/living-death-sentenced-die-behind-bars-...
rookadook 2 days ago 1 reply      
Because, after ten years, he will get out and become a model citizen. Right? If you don't deal with the root of the problem, the monster you create will be your undoing. If the feds keep doing this, it won't be pretty. They are creating a lot of monsters.
6d0debc071 2 days ago 0 replies      
Without commenting on the politics of the thing, I'd suggest the proper lens to look at this situation with is one of an insurgency.

When you look at insurgencies you start asking, it feels horrible to say this, what a life is worth to a cause. If the insurgents take out a couple of soldiers but lose a bomb-maker then they've done poorly on the exchange, if they take out a general or political figure but lose a few dozen suicide bombers they've done well.

Some lives are more valuable to a cause than others.

Here someone relatively smart, a high value target so to speak - though apparently not overly skilled in opsec, has been taken out of the game. That's a win for the powers that be, and perhaps helps to explain the punitive nature of his sentence. Anonymous has a lot of people who turn up in crowds, but we don't hear about them having a lot of high-quality hackers.

There are people that it makes more sense for them to sacrifice. To have the attacks that these people do executed by someone other than the people capable of making the tools in the first place.

They could do everything through encrypted channels, that could be made largely immune to traffic analysis, with the sort of really fluid cell structures that would facilitate. Just the first idea that springs to mind: uploading an encrypted steg'd message as part of a lolcats image on reddit that thousands of people are going to download - the noise to signal ratio would be enormous.

But then, insurgencies - in general - do a lot of things that don't make sense when taken purely from the perspective of their cause. I wonder how that sort of approach would interact with the social dynamics of A, how they'd find people who were up for it. Whether that's more what we're going to be looking at if A gets to mature as an organisation or whether their largely ephemeral nature excludes that sort of distribution of risk.

happycube 2 days ago 1 reply      
. o O (they would have caught Richard May, but he was too slow to hack anything.)
dyc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good obviously got what he deserved.
horm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Jeremy Hammond? Doesn't seem very anonymous to me.
Coin: A step in the wrong direction techendo.co
324 points by lowglow  3 days ago   186 comments top 56
jmduke 3 days ago 5 replies      
I dislike this article: it seems to suffer from 'perfect is the enemy of good'-itis and willful misunderstanding of how complex -- and difficult -- commerce can be.

The author basically argues that things should be wonderful and easy and the service providers should handle it all (ignoring the difficulties of such a provision):

I should use a plastic card, cheap, easily replaceable, low cost (free in most cases), and my card account should buffer my purchase as long as the combined total of credit/cash in my accounts is greater than or equal to my purchase. I should then be able to place either the entirety of my purchase or parts of my purchase in separate accounts that provide different benefits. (Think, business, flight mileage, cash back rewards, etc) The service should often be smart enough to learn where I move my purchase and do so automatically if I so choose.


I believe we should be moving away from cards altogether. I think google wallet, square, and other RFID/NFC technologies are thinking about the future, where our devices are consolidated and integrated with the world around us. Bitcoin, a virtual currency, proves the success of something that exists purely in the aether, and keeping a Bitcoin wallet on your phone is easy.

How is going from 'wallet filled with cards' to 'one card' not a step in the right direction to 'no cards'? Maybe the technology or industry isn't moving as fast as the author would like, but it's entirely hyperbolic to say that Coin's trajectory runs opposite from the author's ideal vision.

Coin's goal is to abstract the ownership of a credit card away from the plastic itself. If you want RFID/NFC to succeed -- as the author does, as I do, and as I'm sure many other people do, then that's a good thing.

(The preorder legality side of things isn't my domain, so I can't really comment on that.)

pg 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Update: I've been currently gagged/banned from responding to HN comments. Sorry."

For what it's worth, this is false.

carsongross 3 days ago 5 replies      
The hating on Coin is unbelievable. It seems like a great first step towards backwards-compatible card consolidation.

Are there going to be issues with it? Of course.

Will it last in the long run? Well, the phone thing is obvious, kids. I bet these guys are aware of that and have a plan.

Regardless, its an innovative piece of hardware that moves the ball. That's better than any of the shit I've built.

aclimatt 3 days ago 1 reply      
To clarify about the pre-order issue: There's nothing inherently wrong with asking for funds to push the development of a product forward. Kickstarter has done a great job of promoting that model, and the world has seen a lot of good come out of it.

However, Kickstarter has also done a lot of work to educate the public about the risk of this type of funding (certainly to their own legal benefit or otherwise), and thus the public can better understand that they are dontating money toward a dream, versus buying the next generation video game console a few weeks before it comes out.

Coin is taking your money to bring a product to market, while acting like that product already exists. Answers in the FAQ like "we don't take your shipping address because you might move" are a willfully ignorant slap in the face, because they are far more likely the ones at risk of going out of business than me moving houses.

If they said very clearly that you were funding a new product with all the inherent risks, like Lockitron did, this would be a different story. But not educating the consumer about what's actually going on is exactly what the FTC is trying to protect against.

brianmcconnell 3 days ago 2 replies      
Two issues with Coin. One is this has been done before, exact same approach, and it did not work out because the card issuers didn't buy in (a credit card is also part of the issuing bank's brand). Maybe that's changed in the past few years, but I am skeptical.

The second issue is it's solving a problem that isn't really a problem. I use two cards on a regular basis. I have others but rarely need to carry them with me. So I can reduce two slots in my wallet to one. Doesn't seem like enough of a benefit to me.

Lastly, I can see all sorts of issues with merchants not knowing what these are, and being wary of accepting them due to perceived fraud risk. Something that reprograms its mag stripe practically yells "FRAUD!".

So I appreciate the technical innovation behind this, but I think they're likely to get dashed upon the rocks. It's a tough space. I thought Google Wallet with Android NFC would be super convenient. It wasn't. I went back to the old fashioned swipe. So its hard to see this catching on with ordinary consumers.

lsh123 3 days ago 1 reply      
Plastic credit card costs next to nothing to manufacture, can be dropped from a 10 story building (good luck finding it afterwards though), can get wet with me in a heavy rain, can be replaced in 24 hours (at my bank) and I have $0 liability if I lose it or someone steals it from me. Compare this to Coin (or other solutions like phone based payments) and you will see that it is indeed a step in the wrong direction though not for the reasons discussed in the article.
kin 3 days ago 1 reply      
I feel like some people on HN thrive so much on negativity. I don't even think this feedback is constructive.

Look, author has 1 or 2 cards. I have an Amazon card, a Target card, a Debit card, my FSA card, my Company credit card. I have rewards cards that I don't keep in my wallet because I like to keep my wallet thin.

Like it or not, Coin presents a hopeful solution to solving this for me. And don't go telling me I need to reduce the number of cards I have and simplify my life. I don't want to hear it. I just want Coin's product to exist and hopefully my pre-order is helping that.

On a side note, I'm not used to charge first ship later. Isn't Coin YC backed? I'm surprised they need to rely on pre-orders for funding unless that was their financial plan all along.

martin-adams 3 days ago 2 replies      
>> Visa requires that merchants ship a product prior to charging any Visa debit card

This is very new to me. This source here:http://usa.visa.com/download/merchants/card-acceptance-guide...


>> You should not bill the customer until merchandise has been shipped

That is a best practice, not a requirement.

chavesn 3 days ago 1 reply      
It really seems like this author has some kind of bone to pick.

Banks aren't going away soon. Banks are not going to make it easy for third-parties to proxy transactions soon. NFC or other non-card POS technologies are not going to be everywhere soon.

Those are valid hopes or dreams, and I hope someone is working on it. But Coin promises to be a product that will reduce many cards to one now.

And arguing whether a "pre-order" scheme is legal or not is kind of a moot point: Pre-ordering customers show agree to the transaction, and show their intent give Coin their money now for something later -- even if it is forced by law to be done in a different matter.

zamalek 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is definitely link bait. Indicate that a YCombinator startup is a waste of time and you are guaranteed to get some hits. Or get upvoted on HN.

> I believe we should be moving away from cards altogether. I think google wallet, square, and other RFID/NFC technologies are thinking about the future, where our devices are consolidated and integrated with the world around us.

That's like, his opinion, man. I personally think that cards are going to be around for a very long time whether we want them to be or not; for one simple reason: infrastructure. There are just too many card readers in the wild to feasibly displace the technology. For example, I can't use Google Wallet in South Africa (even though I would love to be able to) because we simply don't have NFC paypoints here. I doubt there will ever be. Dynamic cards seem like a really clever compromise in the direction of that "perfect world," and when I say "world" I mean it - cards are a world-wide technology. NFC is not.

The author clearly has a problem drawing a line between what is feasible and what he wants. We probably all want NFC payments - the reality is that most of the world won't get them.

If you really think about it all Coin are doing is creating a compatible addon for existing card reader that let you use NFC (or BLE, but the technologies are similar) with any of them.

> Legality of preordering

I am struggling to figure out how exactly this argument means that the cards are a step in the wrong direction. His one commenter (Alec Joy) also points this out:

> For those to lazy, or too trusting of Dan's word to click the link, I would like to present the first sentence of the article he linked to, and suspiciously the ONLY sentence of the response he omitted from his quote.> "It is not illegal for merchants to charge for a product before it has shipped. "

Shameless link baiting.

abalone 3 days ago 0 replies      
"I think google wallet, square, and other RFID/NFC technologies are thinking about the future... The problem with these technologies is vendor adoption. Its not here yet, but its on the way."

The author is incredibly underestimating the difficulty of driving vendor adoption of a new payment system.

Google just spent years and enormous amounts of money trying to drive vendor adoption of Wallet, and has more or less given up on the NFC part.

Square's achieved the most so far, but only by bundling it with its POS & processing service, which not all vendors are going to switch to (or even if they took over the POS world it would take a decade).

Considering that's the crux of his argument, it's entirely unsupported.

sheri 2 days ago 0 replies      
Coin actually seems like it would be a pain from a usability stand-point. Say I actually put in lots of my cards in there. Now, I go to Safeway, I need to first keep clicking until I reach my rewards card. Then, I need to keep clicking again until I reach my credit card. If I accidentally click ahead, I'd need to loop over all my cards again.
gmjoe 3 days ago 2 replies      
This article is ridiculous and doesn't even have anything to do with Coin.

The first half isn't even criticizing Coin at all -- it's just saying the author wishing there were even better things. The author says "The problem with these technologies is vendor adoption. Its not here yet, but its on the way." Yeah, it's been on the way for the past 10 years, but nothing's changed yet! I don't see RFID/NFC anywhere I shop. But that's not any reason for Coin not to improve things in the here-and-now.

And the second half has nothing to do with Coin itself either, but is about Kickstarter charging in general.

ruswick 3 days ago 0 replies      
Coin is a very neat idea that will be hampered by many practical limitations.

How durable will it be? I routinely neglect to take my wallet out of my pocket, and end up putting it through the wash. Can Coin survive total immersion in water for an hour? What happens when my dog invariably decides to chew up my wallet? What happens when I drop my Coin in sand?

Moreover, the cost of a Coin becoming inoperable is far greater than that of a traditional card. Worst case scenario, my bank will send me a new card within a few days, which will cost nothing because the cost of manufacturing plastic cards is negligible. If my Coin breaks, I have to shell out another $100. Unless Coin is as indestructible as plastic cards (which is highly doubtful simply because the mechanics and circuitry in Coin create a level of complexity far greater than that of a piece of solid plastic), It will end up costing me more in the long run.

What about security? If I were to lose a plastic card, the maximum risk I'm exposed to is a single account being defrauded. If my Coin falls into the wrong hands, the bad guy has absolutely everything.

In a perfect world, Coin would be great. Unfortunately, the limitations of modern life and commerce make Coin impractical and even dangerous.

tomasien 3 days ago 0 replies      
Coin is actually a step in the perfectly fine, sideways direction. It keeps everything on the credit card rail - something where there are fees so ridiculous that Congress actually PASSED legislation to limit them - that's amazing.

Stripe, Square, Coin, whatever - they all are just more convenient ways to make fee-based payments.

Why don't we just make payments from our banks directly? Did you know that's not only possible, but extremely easy now AND feeless? What if you didn't have to even give out your account number to merchants, what if you didn't even need to KNOW your account number to make them? What if I've been processing payments like this for 3 weeks now, have processed thousands of payments, and have done so without asking the user for anything they didn't know off the top of their head?

We don't need fees on our payments - if you agree and you're a developer who takes payments, email me @ tommy@thecityswig.com and let's talk. Not gonna try to sell you anything, I need your thoughts.

This is probably the first time you've heard me talk about this, but I'm starting in the comment section here on HN to start getting the pulse. I can't wait to discuss this hear in the coming months!

Link- 3 days ago 0 replies      
This article "is the step in the wrong direction".

I see nothing wrong with encapsulating/combining multiple mediums into one solution. One solution that extends the innate functionality of magnetic cards and provides additional functional layers. The author talks about Bitcoin as being one of the "other" directions in the horizon, I believe that Bitcoin or any other digital currency is on the same level as the magnetic cards. If Coin is able to tap into your Bitcoin wallet and execute transactions, that would help Bitcoin further infiltrate the market.

I also believe that Coin has the potential to provide an extra layer of security that magnetic cards don't.

1) Coin can implement a one click/touch procedure to disable a given card at any point in time and prevent its usage, which currently requires a call to the bank and a bureaucratic nightmare to reactivate the card. (at least in my country).

2) I'm sure Coin are able to implement an approval/rejection transaction workflow adding an extra layer of control in case of unauthorized usage.

3) Coin can add a key based security layer to their application also preventing unauthorized usage.

Really, the ideas are endless and this is why I love projects that are an extension/middle-layer for other outdated technologies.

I think the hate is originating due to a narrow vision of this product's potential.

jrochkind1 3 days ago 1 reply      
I am reasonably confident that people pre-order items, and are charged for them before they ship, all the darn time.

For the OP to combine two entirely separate things--1) I think it's a bad solution, and 2) and it's illegal to charge money that way--makes it just seem like he has an axe to grind. Those things have nothing to do with each other. The security issues are at least related to the technology, and he could have brought them together: "I think it's a bad solution because it involves challenges to doing it securely, as demonstrated by..."

But the payment stuff? Come on.

namuol 3 days ago 1 reply      
Coin is absolutely a step in the right direction for one simple reason: it offers a convenient transition option.

Its most immediate use is to consolidate physical cards into one, but its true killer feature is the ability to instantly act as a physical proxy to a digital account (i.e. BitCoin, Paypal).

Do you own a Blu Ray player? It's more than likely to also play DVDs. If it takes a lot of time to get consumers to change over their media collections, I can only imagine how much time it takes to move the financial industry.

Coin is sorely needed.

bicknergseng 3 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with the premise but not the details. I want my phone to be my keys and wallet. Coin will consolidate the 3 credit cards I have to one, but I still need to carry a wallet to hold my driver's license, gym card, medical id card, and Clipper. There are (few) cars and after market solutions that allow me to start/lock/unlock my car with my phone, but they feel half baked, and it's not ubiquitous yet... most new cars you can buy in the foreseeable future will come with keys and not an app. Replace my wallet and keys, Google or Apple or Microsoft or (YC company). It's time.
zenonu 3 days ago 0 replies      
Take a look at your wallet now. There are three cards in there you don't need. That guy's business card you put in your wallet as a nice gesture, but never called. A store loyalty card you can't remember the last time you visited. The buy 9 get 1 sandwich free card you forget to pull out everytime you get a ruben. They're still in your wallet because you simply don't care enough to even filter your wallet on a regular basis. Why would anybody care so much now with Coin?

The future is no wallet at all. This in-between technology is both more expensive and complex.

jxf 3 days ago 0 replies      
Coin is a great step forwards for consolidation, and it will probably make future post-credit-card technologies more palatable. In that vein alone it's a win.

That said, there's lots of reasons to be worried about Coin from a security perspective. But, at least in the US, consumers bear few of the penalties and costs associated with fraud -- only the credit card companies and banks do. So we will likely see significant adoption from savvy consumers and some resistance (or outright revolt?) from CC companies and banks.

endlessvoid94 3 days ago 0 replies      
Coin folks, please, for the love of god, ignore these people.
nayefc 3 days ago 0 replies      
What this article suggests is pretty much impractical. The writer clearly does not understand the financial / payments infrastructure. Coin is not perfect, but at least they're taking a practical and pragmatic look on the problem.
RRiccio 3 days ago 0 replies      
This would be like saying, in 1994, that Amazon was a step in the wrong direction for selling books online instead of realizing that physical books would stop existing altogether.
nickstinemates 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Coin is trying to replace your credit cards (no other cards, like ID, Buss Pass, etc) with a single electronic card.

After living in Hong Kong for 12 days, I can safely say they have a superior system for this premise alone.

The octopus card. Accepted virtually everywhere any other card is accepted. It's like any other e-wallet with load, but its ubiquity in service acceptance is amazing.

Everyone has an octopus card. Everyone important to the infrastructure of the country accepts octopus card.

aaron695 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not sure why people on HN are up voting an article putting down a new YCombinator.

Even if it's valid, which I don't think it is it's not really what HN should be about.

It's not constructive criticism since it basically writes a company off.

Even the legal issue is BS. So what if it's not 100% kosher if they get away with it, good on them. All companies when they start take risks.

mvkel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ironic that this is the same author that praised Square, a technology that brings credit cards to more businesses. He's also not in Coin's target audience. He says himself he only uses two cards. Great! Coin isn't for you.

The technology is here. NFC has been in virtually every Android smartphone since 2011, plus Google Wallet and Apple's Passbook. It's all here, ready to go. Businesses, and consumers, aren't sold.

Regardless of my personal opinion on the crudeness of NFC, the problem is point-of-sale systems are (at least) three years away from adopting these technologies at any level of ubiquity.

Go to your nearest farmer's market, and they're still dealing in cash! Square is doing wonderful things to bring credit card processing to the masses, but _that_ is cutting edge. Coin is the next step on the consumer side.

sciguy77 3 days ago 2 replies      
By his logic wouldn't Kickstarter be illegal? Many KS projects charge users before making a product (they use Amazon to process the payment, but the user's credit card is still charged, which may very well be a Visa). I think this is a little silly.
xster 3 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty link bait-y title.You'd expect an authoritative analysis of the product but half of the article is a Fox News-y "some people don't like pre-paying for pre-order" complain unrelated to the direction of payment systems. The other half is a subjective anecdotal nice to have wishlist on the payment industry. Sound shockingly contrarian and ride the popular topic, old trick in the book.
shawnreilly 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am always paranoid when it comes to technology and money, and this will be no exception. BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) has been around for 2-3 years now, but I still consider it to be in it's infancy. This is especially true when it comes to security. A quick Google Search produced two examples [1] and [2] of potential security flaws with BLE pairing and authentication, and I'm sure there are many more I'm not aware of. Building new payment technology based on new and cutting edge communication frameworks does sound exotic and cool. It's probably one of those "cool points" that gets investors excited. But for the security minded folks out there, this is likely a red flag. Instead I see it as building payment related technology on an un-proven communication framework, and it just does not sound like a great idea. And it is because of this that I will probably never personally use something like Coin regardless of how useful it might be. All it takes is one person to create an effective exploit, and there goes both your money and your trust in the Service. In any event, good luck to Coin with this new Product, and I hope they prove me wrong. If they are looking for a recommendation (which I'm sure they're not), I would recommend a sharp focus on securing the BLE connections between the Coin Wallet and the Smartphone Device.

[1] http://lacklustre.net/bluetooth/

[2] http://eprint.iacr.org/2013/309.pdf

aeturnum 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't have a use for Coin - I have few cards, but the product reminds me of a quote often attributed to Henry Ford, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." While I think it's great for people who have many cards, and there are probably tons of customers like that, it doesn't seem that interesting from a tech point of view.
goshx 3 days ago 1 reply      
So, this product is new. Nobody has used yet. However, it already got a bunch of bad reviews.Why try to put a not even born yet business down if you are not even competing against it in the first place?

I'd be interested to see a business coming up from the article's author from the ideas he put in the article. But I guess writing a blog post is much easier than investing time and money to build up something new to make some people's life easier.

kayoone 2 days ago 0 replies      
It might be a step in the wrong direction, but why not let them try ?

In todays world evolution isn't linear, its parallel. Many people work on similar problems at the same time (innovators dilemma comes to mind) and some may prevail, some won't. But thats the process of moving forward to the perfect solution.

badman_ting 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe. I am more undecided. The thing is totally cool, but I agree about the increased failure points which is why I won't get one. But, if it turns out to work pretty well for people after a while, why not consider t?
dennisz 3 days ago 1 reply      
I agree with the article in that non-card based payments methods (Square) are the future, but we've seen again and again that moving towards the future takes steps (look at tablets - we had so many iterations on tablet computing before we got to the iPad, and who knows if that's even the end all be all).

My point is that Coin is a much smaller stride for the typical consumer; only SV geeks (guilty) are as excited about NFC payments as HN is, and the typical person sees this aggregation of cards as 'technology' that they're much more familiar with. No surprise that it's blowing up.

Just my two cents.

swamplander 3 days ago 0 replies      
While you may think this is a step in the wrong direction, that's just an opinion. While NFC / Bluetooth LE would be preferred so I can pay with my phone, that would mean every merchant would need to have a reader that supported that technology. Today only some merchants support paying with QR codes. At the very least, COIN is a killer stop-gap solution, a convenient & technical solution that would work with every merchant out there.

I personally had no issue giving them $55, the same concept behind kickstarter, for the money to produce my goods. Consider me an investor of 1 unit.

Nursie 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't hate Coin.

I do find it astounding that magnetic cards are still the standard in the US though.

txttran 3 days ago 1 reply      
For everyone who is poo-pooing Coin because it's not a digital wallet, please answer this question: How long from now will most merchants that accept credit cards also start accepting an e-wallet of some sort?

I honestly would be stunned if this happened in <10 years. I think we very often underestimate how slow adoption rate is for new technology and how much money can be made by playing nice with the incumbent technology instead of trying to disrupt it from the onset.

retr0h 1 day ago 0 replies      
This looks like the perfect tool for counterfeiting credit cards. Pay my bill at the restaurant, in about 20 seconds, the server can have my card ready for action on their coin.
fletchowns 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well if you're not even going to even bother spending 30 seconds to read the whole article, please spare us your invaluable contribution to the discussion of it.
weixiyen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow this is my first time hearing about this. Amazing product...
hakcermani 3 days ago 0 replies      
The easy first step to eliminating cards is to consolidate them into one device. Then make them completely swipe free etc. Square is doing something similar. Invent a small device to handle swipes and then move to Square Wallet. IMO Coin is on to something !
briancray 3 days ago 0 replies      
The infrastructure for plastic cards will be around for a very long time. I think the author is ignoring the very expensive need for infrastructure changes. It's the same reason why everyone isn't driving around electric cars.
Sami_Lehtinen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Totally over engineered insecure solution, for already oudated technology. Sounds like a great thing to invest on.
mcallan83 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how this will work at places that require a card to be signed. On the back of my cards, it says "Not Valid Without Authorized Signature".
ryanckulp 3 days ago 0 replies      
My writeup, echo's that it won't be the final solution but with a different angle (as a stopgap):ryanckulp.com/band-aid-markets
dataminded 3 days ago 0 replies      
This makes my wallet thinner. This requires no changes from existing merchants or their infrastructure. I approve.
Aradalf 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a stupid article. Phone paying systems are clunky. I don't want to take out my phone, unlock it, open up an app, enter a PIN, choose a payment device, and then tap my phone to a payment system to pay, when I can just open up my wallet, take out this one card, and swipe it. Maybe you need to press the button a couple times to switch cards, but that's it.
zbinga 3 days ago 0 replies      
Today I learned that Americans still swipe their credit and debit cards in a magnetic strip reader.
streblo 3 days ago 2 replies      
> It stores data in plain text on your card

So does your credit card

huangc10 2 days ago 0 replies      
there's one thing I generally agree with the article. Coin is a gimmick. Also, I'm sure there are a lot of people like me who like to carry wallets that are moderately full rather than empty.
shadowOfShadow 3 days ago 0 replies      
Where's the meme picture with some guy laughing as credit cards fall all over him... "What am I going to do with all this access to money???"

I'm just going to carry my bitcoin mining rig everywhere - suckers.

KamiCrit 3 days ago 0 replies      
Would you like a faster horse or a horseless carriage?
alexnking 3 days ago 0 replies      
Somebody better call Kickstarter...
kunai 3 days ago 0 replies      
What the author of this article just doesn't get is that Coin isn't supposed to be a long-term solution (at least from my takeaway), nor is it something that is intended to completely redefine the vision of future payments. What Coin intends to do is provide a unified interface for payments right now, today. Credit/debit cards are so ubiquitous that it's only natural we unify them. It's 2013, and there's still no comprehensive NFC mobile payment solution. Google Wallet can't really be used on a practical basis, and doesn't give you much security lose your phone, and you're pretty much screwed.

Coin is most definitely a step in the right direction, and it's a simple solution. One of the hallmark traits of great design is its obviousness -- and Coin's design is obvious. A credit card that can act as multiple credit cards. Who would have thought?

drakaal 3 days ago 0 replies      
I know the OnlyCoin guys, so maybe I am biased, but for me this is about reducing the risk that I don't have a card, or that I leave a card behind.

Combine this with the "you can't sniff my card through my pocket" capabilities and I am very excited.

This is just a troll post by someone who either doesn't understand, or has sour grapes.

How I Learned to Work a Room onethingnew.com
298 points by orjan  2 days ago   70 comments top 19
gk1 2 days ago 4 replies      
How to get out of a one-on-one conversation:


You: "So who are you hoping to meet tonight?"

Them: "I'm hoping to meet with someone that does $x."

You: "Oh I just met Bob, who's into $x. He's over there, do you want to meet him?"

Them: "Sure!"

You go and introduce them, then after a minute excuse yourself. They'll hardly notice.


You: "So who are you hoping to meet tonight?"

Them: "I'm hoping to meet with someone that does $x."

You: "Great! I'm looking to meet someone that does $y. Have you met anyone here that's into that?"

Them: "Oh yeah, Steve over there works in $y!"

You: "Oh interesting. Would you introduce us?"

They go introduce you to Steve and will likely (hopefully) excuse themselves shortly thereafter.


And finally, if neither of you can make an introduction (eg, if you both just arrived):

You: "So who are you hoping to meet tonight?"

Them: "I'm hoping to meet with someone that does $x."

You: "Great! I'm looking to meet someone that does $y. Have you met anyone here that's into that?"

Them: "Not yet, I just got here."

You: "Me too. Let's go meet some people together. That looks like a good group over there." (Point to group of 3+ people)

Them: "Sure!"

You walk up to the group together and make introductions. The group will naturally split up within a few minutes and you'll be left speaking with new people.

fersho311 2 days ago 6 replies      
There was a time when talking to others in a crowded room filled me with fear to the extend that words flowed out of my mouth in ways that does not make any sense even to myself. I spoke gibberish and if you had the misfortune of talking to me, you would probably find an excuse to get away.I hated the idea of going to social events. At every event, I felt that I was the stupidest person in the room and that nobody would want to talk to me. Meeting people seemed like a waste of time.

One day, something snapped. I figured that instead of wasting time at social events, I might as well learn something. I reflected on my social experiences and realized that because of my inherent fear of being looked down upon, I had the habit of pretending to understand things that in reality I had no clue. So I made it a point to speak a little as possible and instead focus on listening and always ask questions if I did not understand something.

I always made it a point to be asking questions and most importantly, never pretending to understand something I don't. Conversations usually flows like this: What do you do? What exactly does that mean? Big data? How big? How is big data different from normal data? ...

Gradually, I started to understand what people are actually saying. I started to feel the wide spectrum of work that people do. I started to internalize differing opinions within similar industries and then voicing these opinions to others in similar fields. I started to take sides and participate in debates. Conversations became more intelligent and social events transformed into a heaven for intellectual stimulation.

Like reading Hacker News in the middle of the night, socializing can become addicting. There is so much knowledge out there and every time I go out I learn something new. If there was one lesson I learned throughout my transformation, it would be to focus on listening and understanding others.

dctoedt 2 days ago 1 reply      
Mild introvert here. I've had better luck focusing on 'singletons,' and catalyzing the formation of new conversation groups, instead of trying to work into an existing duo's conversation.

A few years ago I stood alone at a big "networking breakfast." I barely knew anyone.

It popped into my head: Pretend you're the host -- make 'your' guests feel welcome.

Looking around, I spotted another singleton. Smiling, I stuck out my hand, introduced myself, and started doing the ask-questions routine (being careful to make it a conversation and not an interrogation).

A few minutes later, I saw another singleton coming near. I invited him into the conversation and introduced him to the first guy. Both of them seemed glad to have other people to talk to (and when I ran into them at later meetings, they each remembered me). Eventually I disengaged and moved on.

I was amazed at how comfortable that felt, seeking to serve others' needs instead of my own insecurities. I've been using that basic approach ever since. It works every time. My young-adult kids report success with the approach as well.

kordless 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'd also add that body language of a pair talking will tell you if you are welcome to stick around and converse. If they separate slightly to accommodate your presence and address you by looking at you when they are talking, you are good to go. If they stay facing each other and do quick glances at you, they are probably having a more intimate discussion which may be hard if you are standing there listening. Body language is the key - pay attention to it.
KiwiCoder 2 days ago 2 replies      
I tend to introversion, and networking in a room filled with people wears me out faster than just about anything else.

So, given that my social energy is limited, here's what I do:

* Have a concrete goal for each event, things like: small talk with 5 random people, elevator pitch to Jane, get contact details to follow up with Jim and Mo, etc.

* Step out of unproductive/negative chats asap - "excuse me, I need to make a call/ check email / catch Bob before he leaves"

* For longer events, take regular smoke breaks (even though I don't smoke)

* Leave (politely) as soon as goals are achieved or as soon as I'm worn out

city41 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a good technique. I also find entering the situation with a set of personal challenges/goals helps diffuse the situation. By reframing the situation from "holy crap I can't do this" to "ok, I've found out what two people do for a living, one to go" lets you de-emphasize the aspects that make you nervous and end up having more natural conversations.

Blatant plug: we are building a site that helps people get better at situations like this and other challenging social situations. http://metamorf.us

timje1 2 days ago 2 replies      
Everyone sucks at networking the first few times, and public speaking the first few times, and presentations the first few times. The exact technique you use to get over that initial bump is probably not as important as just trying it a few times..
basicallydan 2 days ago 2 replies      
The language here of "working on a room" is a little bit unnerving, but he's right. If you want to meet new people and have interesting conversations, I've had similar experiences like this which I've enjoyed.

Furthermore, interrupting a conversation at an event like the one he describes with the question, "so what are we talking about?" after you've gotten their attention is a good way to find something to talk about, too, which isn't just the standard, "so what do you do?"

hansy 2 days ago 1 reply      
The advice about singling out pairs of people is really interesting. How does one go about approaching them if they are in mid conversation?

Do you just lurk, wait for a brief pause, then swoop in? This seems creepy.

Do you just barge in mid-sentence? This seems rude.

Do you chime in if they something that catches your interest? This seems nosy.

Derbasti 2 days ago 0 replies      
Open a website, a giant banner is shoved in my face that forces me to click a teensy, tiny close button to be able to view the website.

Sorry, not gonna read it.

mooreds 2 days ago 0 replies      
My favorite technique for working the room: "So, what do you do ... for fun."

I find that talking about what people do for fun is much more interesting than what they do for work. And if the person is interesting, it might come back around to work anyway.

My favorite technique for exiting a conversation is the old chestnut of "I need to refill my drink." Easy peasy.

schappim 2 days ago 0 replies      
The site is having some troubles. Here is a cached version: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:hlQH57j...
bernatfp 2 days ago 1 reply      
When I encounter myself in these sort of situations I feel uncomfortable so I kind of empathize with the author. And it's funny because I'm working on an iPhone app which is aimed at solving these kind of situations where you want to start new conversations with strangers. It's called Joiner ( http://www.joinerapp.com ) if you want to check it out (shameless plug).

However, I think I'm not only worried by how to approach people more easily, but also to find good conversations. If it's already very hard to start a conversation with a stranger, imagine finding a good topic of conversation. In my case, on most occasions I always talk about the same thing, like what I do, where I am from and what I have studied. Because I don't know what I have in common with the other person I don't risk pushing other topics into the conversation, which would be great if, for instance, I entered a room and could instantly detect people with similar interests in technology, music or whatever.

That's why we have created Joiner, to help removing the pain of meeting new people and by making it more engaging.

wilblack 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks, I'll try that top next time. I too am not one that is good at conversing with strangers. I'm the guy that just stands there and tries to look busy. On the other hand my CEO will have talked to everyone in the room by the time the event is over, and he remembers their names and what they do. I'm always amazed.
reirob 2 days ago 1 reply      
Funny. It is actually the comments that made me finally read the article. Nice technique. But immediately I felt sorry for all the people that come in the room alone and do not have the courage to mingle. This technique will make them feel even more bad.
6d0debc071 2 days ago 0 replies      
Quoth the server: Infinite loop detected in JError
mVChr 2 days ago 1 reply      
I avoided clicking this link at first as I was expecting to groan at the shmoozy BS inside. I was pleasantly surprised to find a concrete technique that I can easily remember and apply. Thanks.
noOnydus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Life isn't a computer program, lighten up jesus this thread makes me cringe...
senthil_rajasek 2 days ago 1 reply      
I cannot believe this article managed to get to the front page on HN.

People here must be desperate to make connections ;-)

The author/reporter tried this approach once and its a really small set of experiments for such a bold claim.

Flagging this...

37signals valuation tops $100 billion after bold VC investment (2009) 37signals.com
286 points by lukashed  1 day ago   102 comments top 26
paul 1 day ago 7 replies      
It's funny that people here think he's making fun of snapchat, but the article is from 2009. He was making fun of facebook's $6.5b valuation (or maybe it was $10b). The fact that he was completely wrong (fb is now over $100b) doesn't stop people here from thinking that there's wisdom in this nonsensical post.
notacoward 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's like a joke I heard about Icelandic banks a while ago. Neither of us have any money, but if we're banks I can sell you a cat for a billion dollars and you can sell me a dog for a billion dollars so that we're both billionaires. The way that insufficiently regulated banks and stock/commodity markets effectively allow certain people to create new money from nothing and then trade it for things of real value is only a tiny bit more subtle than that. Of course, sooner or later what happened in Iceland will happen anywhere that such things are allowed to occur.
wensing 1 day ago 6 replies      
Snapchat isn't being valued on revenues or potential monetization, but rather as a piece of someone else's (eg Facebook's) business model.

In the Steve Blank sense I don't think it's even right to call Snapchat or any of these "growth looking for a home" things "startup"s. They aren't actually searching for a business model. Their plan is to grow until they dock with the Deathstar.

nrao123 1 day ago 3 replies      
If 37signals put thier money where the mouth was & actually shorted the companies (FB & Twitter), they would be in a lot of pain now.

This original post by Jason Fried was making fun of Twitter which went from 1bn to 25bn. More background here:http://www.forbes.com/2009/10/15/venture-capital-software-te...

Another post from DHH said that the value of FB was not 33bn & it's now roughly 120BNhttp://37signals.com/svn/posts/2585-facebook-is-not-worth-33...

Not saying 25BN & 120BN are the "right" valuations but most people would agree that the prices that 37s made fun of seems like great deals. They could still go back to less than 1bn & 33bn (users leave, consumer trends change, get bored etc) but those are different risks not monetization risks that 37s is making fun off.

z92 1 day ago 4 replies      
Is there a way to add the year [2009] in the title?

I remember reading it back then. It's interesting how it's still relevant after all these years.

codex 1 day ago 0 replies      
Isn't it funny how VCs really invest in order to take advantage of the mania of later VCs or the public. Perhaps that's why founders found, too.

A noble calling it is not.

linuxhansl 1 day ago 0 replies      
The scary thing is that I believed it for a minute before I followed the link.Valuations have become so inflated, nothing is impossible.
Killswitch 1 day ago 0 replies      
Whether it's an article from 2009 or not, Jason has some good points.
tzury 1 day ago 0 replies      
If Facebook is worth X, and there is a raising service which generates x/40 of social traffic, then it will make sense for Facebook to evaluate the new kid as Facebook/40, or to say the least, the owners of the raising service will expect the offer to be at that rate.

If there is a bubble, the bubble is at Facebook and Twitter, and not at Instagram or Snapchat or Pinterest or any of those zillion-terabytes-daily-uploads services.

There were several articles recently telling how teens are away of Facebook, and for them, it shall be rather natural to try to stay the ultimate social hub.

thrush 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is it possible that Snapchat is interested in slightly more than money? When a few 20-something year olds get valued at ~$3 Billion, I think it's fairly likely that they've made some money already, probably to the point that they will be set for life. It seems that Snapchat is an opportunity for them to leave their mark on the consumer software world.

Besides, Snapchat is certainly an outlier and I don't think that bubble indicators rely on outliers. A better indicator may be the new selfie app that Bieber backed, but I'm not sure that I'd lump the two together in the same category (Snapchat is many degrees of magnitude more popular and successful at acquiring a user base).

pyrrhotech 1 day ago 0 replies      
The VC industry is largely a scam. VC funds underperform passive investment in the S&P 500, and greatly underperform similar risk asset classes such as the Russel 2000.
bachback 1 day ago 2 replies      
a timely repost.


value revenue profit

TWTR 25B$ 0.3B$ -0.08B$

AMZN 170B$ 61B$ -0.04B$

CRM 34B$ 3B$ -0.27B$

isalmon 1 day ago 1 reply      
Jason probably spent too much time with guys from Vooza: http://vooza.com/videos/remote-working/
omonra 1 day ago 0 replies      
Even though I'm tired of all the [Political / NSA / Women in Tech] discussions, posts like these make it worthwhile to check back in.
snapoutofit 1 day ago 0 replies      
The irony :) [ref. twitter], however quite a bit more change than 1$ changed hands this time around.
taylorhalliday 1 day ago 3 replies      
I get that DHH doesn't believe in this whole trend of over-valuation of companies that don't make any cash, but doesn't this article give you the sense that they're a little bit jealous that they're not in that group?
antidaily 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd buy $SGNL.
kimar 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's funny because it's true.
iancarroll 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is from 2009, just saying.
anilshanbhag 1 day ago 0 replies      
That formula deserves an award !
dannowatts 1 day ago 0 replies      
this is amazing!! fucking hilarious.
trendoid 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can anyone explain why 2009 news being posted now? OP has some context in mind?
RossM 1 day ago 0 replies      
shaohua 1 day ago 0 replies      
April fool
maerF0x0 1 day ago 0 replies      
omg this is so funny
heedit 1 day ago 0 replies      
More like $5.
Why the tech press is ignoring Zulily's huge IPO cnn.com
251 points by jmduke  2 days ago   109 comments top 35
replicatorblog 2 days ago 7 replies      
I'm a tech writer, with a child, and wouldn't write about this. It's a really cool story and a neat company, but it's got a few things working against it:

+ Small Audience Most tech writers get paid by the pageview. The realistic market of readers for this kind of story is probably in the hundreds, maybe low thousands. My wife loves the site, but wouldn't give a fig about the financials. There's a market for investors or competitive intelligence, but it's a very different kind of business.

+ Bad Timing If this happened in the midst of the Groupon craze you'd be reading all about it. Now that "Daily Deals" have become an elephant's graveyard of broken dreams and wasted billions it's not that interesting in a meta context.

+ What's the Hook? It's a big number, but a "boring" business. A company called Wayfair in Boston is in a similar spot. They're a massive ecommerce company dealing in home goods, but you've probably never heard of them. They have nice offices, but not crazy ones. They use a logical, but unexciting tech stack. Which would you rather read:

- Seasoned entrepreneurs utilize proven business fundamentals to build niche ecommerce website with steadily growing, but modest profits?


- 6 Unbelievable Tech Tricks these College Students Used to Get a $4B Buyout Offer from Facebook in 18 months!

thatthatis 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm shocked this even made it on hacker news.

Here's a market selection tip: find a problem not experienced by mid 20s single men in urban centers and your competition drops by about two orders of magnitude.

ChuckMcM 2 days ago 4 replies      
Simplistic answer, "They aren't hackers, they are business people."

I've noticed a strong inverse correlation between people building businesses with expected business practice, and the "tech" press. What Zulily is doing is not a disruptive technology, it is (potentially a disruptive business practice).

It is easy to forget when reading inside the tech 'sphere' that there are lots of things that have to get done everyday by businesses, and those processes can be improved or made more efficient with technology. The closest one I've seen here was 42floors which is trying to disrupt the commercial real estate market, but it isn't a "tech" play, it is a business practices play.

Creating a way to share a moment in time, an instant, right now while preserving that feeling of "instantness" that is a tech play. Eventually, perhaps after this second burst of activity, tech will be just as boring and all the cool kids will be doing bio stuff or space or something.

doctorpangloss 2 days ago 2 replies      
Yes, the narrative around Zulily is a lot less theatrical, so it makes worse news. A true story about the Blue Nile team capturing another retail niche is great, but two 24 year olds turning down $3 billion for a thing that takes temporary pictures? Better.

Do market fundamentals make good stories? Maybe. A lot of things grow and make a profit. If growth, profit and speed qualified you for coverage, we'd be reading about hedge funds, not retail firms (let alone social media software firms).

The Blue Nile team isn't ignored because they're in Seattle or they're old though. Valve is in Seattle and has plenty of old people, and they do exciting things people write about all the time. The difference is maternity clothes versus video games. Flash sales versus sexting.

Surely the fundamentals of what the company does can affect its coverage. So forgive people for not finding clothing flash sales terribly exciting.

I still want to hear more about the Blue Nile founders' stories. Gilt (which has a similar concept to Zulily) got tons of coverage as much for brand name clothes as for being run by two brilliant women. Maybe they just need to get out there. Or do nothing, because they got their IPO anyway.

jsherry 2 days ago 0 replies      
Veeva Systems is another that flew under the radar. B2B Life Sciences software company that raised $4M five years ago from Emergence Capital - a stake which was worth $1.2B at the time of their IPO in October.(1)

Good on Dan Primack to shed some light on the "boring" side of VC.

(1) http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-16/veeva-ipo-generates...

ig1 2 days ago 2 replies      
What do these have in common: Criteo, Cvent, Benefitfocus, and Veeva Systems

They're all recent tech IPOs (last few weeks). They don't get a lot of coverage in Techcrunch, etc. because that's not what they cover. If you want more comprehensive coverage try something like VentureWire.

mildtrepidation 2 days ago 0 replies      
While I wouldn't call mainstream reporting a whole lot better than the tech press, their biases are certainly different. Unfortunately, the goals are the same.

CNN wants to pull in as many visitors/viewers as possible by reporting skewed and sensationalist versions of all of the horrible, embarrassing, and disastrous things that happen to everyone, everywhere. That this means filtering out a whole lot of interesting but non-controversial things and regurgitating news, lies, and exaggerations constantly really doesn't matter.

The tech press wants to pull in as many visitors/viewers as possible by reporting skewed and sensationalist versions of all the hype, rumors, and scandals that happen to anyone under 25 in stereotypical tech hubs. That this means filtering out a whole lot of interesting but non-controversial things and regurgitating news, lies, and exaggerations constantly really doesn't matter.

It's easy to make fun of the other guy when you're doing exactly the same thing in a different field. Personally, I find it efficient to largely ignore both of them.

eranation 2 days ago 3 replies      
My theory on this has been for a while. Not just for coverage, but for the lack of "Older people problems" startups. It's not just they don't get coverage, it is a miracle they are being founded in the first place.

I think it's because young people try to solve (most of the times) young people's problems (music, dating, photos, food delivery, code and technology tools, movies, social activity, even taxi riding, most people with kids buy a van and move to the suburbs). Young people also tend to have a slightly bit more free time, and are more likely to share things they use and like. And I don't mean only teens, I also include professional, smart, rich, educated 25 years old who work in a startup, or own a company, or sold one, or had stocks in one and now are millionaires, and even become VCs, mentoring and helping other startups.

There are billions of dollars on the table that "Old people" companies are taking. Look at all the boring enterprise Java jobs out there, these people are selling stuff. to other companies you haven't heard of, solving business problems you haven't encountered and perhaps never will if you are a 25 years old hacker, because you will never want to go work for these companies.

Older people work there, and even if they have a great idea for a startup they are much less likely to do it.

1) health insurance - prime reason. older people tend to have kids, or in the making. Unless they have some savings, they can't risk losing their health insurance.

2) family, yes, there are successful founders with kids, but it is much easier to start a company when you don't have any. how many people with families move to SF for 3 months for YC and leave their kids and spouse at hime?

3) age bias. VCs look at older people like this - if you had what it takes, why did you get a boring Java job for 10 years till you decided to jump into the water?

4) Enterprise sales is hard. it takes sometimes 2 years of a sales cycle to close a deal. but when you do it can be a 7 figure deal easily.

5) What the article said about young tech writers, I agree

tootie 2 days ago 2 replies      
As a parent and old man, I still have no idea what value SnapChat or Twitter have. Zulily is something I use regularly.
saidajigumi 2 days ago 1 reply      
The Seattle dig is just plain lazy. Aside from the obvious established tech names, there are a ton of smaller tech firms, startups, etc.. and even some immensely successful recent IPOs with solid tech-rag coverage. :-P
afterburner 2 days ago 1 reply      
Amusingly, searching for "zulily" on Google Finance gets no results. Even when I go directly to "ZU" I can't seem to get a chart.


PeterisP 2 days ago 2 replies      
The more practical a startup, the less 'sexy' it is; and vice versa.
thinkalone 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's a daily deals / affiliate marketing / e-commerce site... why would that be tech news? Twitter's IPO was newsworthy for being the "second largest in history for a US internet company."[1]

[1] http://qz.com/145227/final-tally-twitters-ipo-was-bigger-tha...

angersock 2 days ago 1 reply      
So...people got scooped by CNN? CNN?

Wow, goddamn folks.

pbhjpbhj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting, never heard of zulily before.

Found their register-to-view website off-putting. Removed the overlay and discovered they have a UK site (no IP/geolocation sniffing?) .. UK site was broken (none of the akamai resources loaded) and appears to be hosted on tumblr (zulilyuk.tumblr.com)??

codegeek 2 days ago 0 replies      
I personally had never heard of zulily (not that it means anything) but i just decided to view their website and Horrors!! .They have this pop-up that wants my email before it will let me view the site. No sir, you cannot kill that pop-up (at least as a everyday non-tech user) WTF. seriously ? Rant aside though, I would consider zulily for my kid because we are always shopping for kids as parents.
DenisM 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's nice to see fellow Seattleites growing a real business here. The more success stories happen in Seattle, the more confident the new founders and investors will be. Giving up is too easy when you think everyone else already did.

On that note, I encourage everyone with startup aspirations to hang out in one of the coworking spaces or incubators, like HUB or SURF (which I'm posting from).

phaus 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well, maybe they haven't heard of it. I read HN daily and this is the first time I've heard of it. Even if they have, its not exactly in the same league as Twitter and Facebook (speaking solely in terms of popularity and brand recognition.)
aryastark 2 days ago 0 replies      
The tech press is a circus. In Hollywood, there are two films that ever matter. The one that had the lowest budget made by kids. And the one that had the largest budget. Anything else is not a story. Same with Silicon Valley. You have to be a 2.0 change the world company by 20-somethings. It also helps if you have no business plan, lots of eyeballs, and a massive valuation. Slow growth, solving an actual need of a market, with rational actors all around? Boring.
bmac27 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe writers are staying away because the efficacy of the business model at scale is in question. I think some observers are still (justifiably or not) self-aware of how they think the story ends with these kinds of companies.

On Twitter, Primack brought up Fab as an example of this kind of company generating news. But the only news I've heard about Fab lately is bad news.

minimaxir 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's worth noting that the tech press posted about the filing of the IPO, but not the IPO itself.



dpcheng2003 2 days ago 0 replies      
Snapchat: I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself.

Look what I did to the tech media with a few snaps and a Colbert Report appearance? Hmmm? You know... You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan."

Even if the plan is shareholder rewarding! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a maternity clothing e-commerce site goes public, or IBM buys a Blue Bell, PA based mobile device management company, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan".

But when I say that a two-year old, non-profitable messaging company run by 23 year-olds is going to refuse a $3 billion offer from Facebook, well then everyone loses their minds![Snapchat hands HackerNews an upvote and points it at himself]

Snapchat: Introduce a little disruption. Disrupt the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about disruption? It's fair!


applecore 2 days ago 0 replies      
Daily deals were really hot in 2009 and 2010.

By late 2011, the business model was considered "dying" and the tech press moved on.

5avage 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does "e-commerce" even qualify as "tech" anymore? Seems to me in 2013 there's nothing special about most e-commerce technology; it's more commerce/retail, and I'd opine that's why the tech press ignores it for the most part.
conductr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ecommerce is not tech, it's retail. So ya, boring.

Amazon is a huge retailer who just happens to have very innovative tech offerings. They also compete directly with big tech companies. That's the difference.

mscarborough 2 days ago 0 replies      
how is this better "tech press"?

only one intrepid reporter was brave enough to create a barely 6 paragraph article long on opinion but short on facts.

yes, everyone who didn't throw up a blog post within an hour must believe amazon is in palo alto, have never gone to seattle, and the seattle area does not have a tech scene worth mentioning.

danso 2 days ago 0 replies      
Being based in Seattle shouldn't particularly hurt it, as Amazon is nearby. But yes, I'll be one of the first to admit that I had never heard of it until this morning when the NYT homepage had a very, very brief item on it. I hope it really is the "old people" thing...those with experience and failures in their past can still continue to reap up money while the young'uns try to fake out the world.

It's probably a two-way-street kind of thing, though...perhaps it's not just the press who ignores them because of the lack of Stanford-dropout-angle, but the older entrepreneurs don't seek the press out as much, especially when already making profits.

nitinalabur 2 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't this just an another Groupon for kid stuff?

Tech reporters may not have kids, but they certainly have their fingers burnt after salivating about the Groupon IPO

zobzu 2 days ago 0 replies      
"because news are entertainment, not news"news^H^H^H^H entertainment at 11.

Thought everyone knew that by now.

dsjoerg 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is the moment where "ecommerce" stopped being "tech". Just like using electricity, or the telephone is no longer tech. Remember those fancy companies that use the new running-water system? Me neither. That was once tech, but not any more.
radley 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's classic, but boring, PR spin.
iridiumsnow 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have seen a few articles about the announcement of the IPO, but no mention of it today. For what it's worth, I think Zulily is a great site and very useful if you have kids. Maybe flash sale sites are just old news and this one isn't breaking any new ground in that respect, so the company isn't as big of a tech news story.
speeder 2 days ago 2 replies      
This makes me think about my own hard time attracting coverage.

My startup make educational games and applications for kids, that are actually fun (instead of just educational and terribly boring, or entertaining but teaches lots of bad stuff).

Yet... even when I want to tell a journalist to cover us, I don't find a reason to do so... I mean, what we are doing is not sexy, also we don't have famous VC with us, also we did not went to YC (and won't go, the CEO has wife and very little kids and cannot move away for 3 months), we don't know in person anyone famous, we had no crazy or surprising funding, our product despite being novelty in the sense that everyone else go pure entertainment or pure educational is still not much "disrupting", it is just something we found a demand and no offer and decided to offer.

I even met recently the editor of the largest brazillian tech magazine... And I had some small talk with her, but I found no reason whatsoever to give to her to cover us, and it is not that we are unknown, because she uses our products and love them, it is just that... :/

larrys 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Why the tech press is ignoring Zulily's huge IPO"

Separate issue is that one way to get pageviews after (or in this case before) a story is by doing a story on why the press is doing the wrong thing.

The story about the story in other words.

Happens more often after some big event gets all played out in the media, the milking is done, no more for the talking head on tv, then the media starts to question the coverage of the big event and what was done wrong and why so much attention was paid to it.

shaydoc 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is not terribly exciting,or innovative.... It's another incarnation of groupon typed on a niche market.Sorry for being negative, but another shopping site, yeehaa, just what the world needs.... :-(
Petition against forced Google+ integration on YouTube hits 112,000 zdnet.com
244 points by threatmodel  18 hours ago   153 comments top 30
bad_user 14 hours ago 7 replies      
I am a Google Apps paying customer, I've always liked their products (heck, I even have a Google+ account) and I've always defended them, but their moves are breaking the camel's back.

Just today I received a message from Google Hangouts on my Android, asking me if I want Hangouts to manage my SMS messages. The 2 available answers were:

    [Maybe Later]  [Yes, I'm In]
For everything they ask these days, those are the only 2 available answers. And you just know that if you won't accept willingly, they'll just shove it down your throat sooner or later.

Right now my trust in them is being eroded and fast. I'm already thinking of completely deleting my entire Google account and switching to alternatives. Google, if you're listening to this, just stop it.

summerdown2 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I understand her frustration with Google+, because I share it myself. I spent a long time thinking Google might help to save those parts of the internet I loved. They've certainly been a powerful player on things like the fight to preserve net neutrality:


and SOPA:


... the difficulty, for those like me who thought Google might keep the internet alive is that it feels like betrayal to have them come out so strongly against anonymity.

I'm writing this because it helps to understand where Violet Blue (the author of the article) is coming from, if you realise she was one of the first people to be banned by Google for having a non-standard name:


... and has ever since been a strong proponent of the fact pseudonyms are important:


vdaniuk 16 hours ago 9 replies      
I guess it is a complete coincidence that popular "we are now hacker news" thread appeared on 4chan and four posts against real name policy on Youtube are now on the front page of HN. All submitted within 24 hours. /s

And now lets look at this article again. One of the worst pieces of journalism about the Google+ policy, written by a "outspoken and controversial author and journalist". Is the bit about 80 n-words in a comment relevant? Obviously not. Was it included in the article to argue that Google+ integration is bad and stir controversy? Certainly it was! The quality of the article is abysmal, offers no additional data or insights and is a linkbait bordering on spam.

But fine, lets look at some numbers: 120000 users signed a petition? Is it a significant number? Yep. Out of a billion youtube users? So that's about 0.00012. Put in perspective, this is absolutely nothing.

scholia 15 hours ago 0 replies      
"No one likes being tricked by a company that leverages a monopoly to force unrelated services and nonconsensual exposure onto people's lives."
Bahamut 15 hours ago 1 reply      
So I was all for the G+/YouTube integration change originally, but I came upon an issue that hit close to my own circle. I am a part of staff for a hobbyist website on video game music rearrangements, and the change created a split between the YouTube accounts of the organization and the account that created it.

Google really bungled the execution of this change.

aj700 16 hours ago 2 replies      

Spam Filter Not Triggered By Typing "Nigger" 85 Times.

Some new gold standard for shittyness in software. I know a lot of Googleplexizens moved to Fb and Apple, but, huh????

Tloewald 16 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems to me that anything that stops a huge proportion of youtube comments from being posted is "a good start".
pmorici 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Ha, this outrage is quaint. You know what it reminds me of is when Facebook made their big interface change a couple years back and everyone was all up in arms and signing petitions to change it back. Anyone remember what the outcome of that was? Nothing.
vanderZwan 16 hours ago 0 replies      
First they came for Google Reader...
panacea 15 hours ago 1 reply      
The UX people at Google must be wondering whether to venture into work on Monday.
runn1ng 12 hours ago 0 replies      
not saying that I like the new comments, but.... there is a backlash like this every time a popular page goes with something a little different than people are used to.

Every time Facebook changes their design, there are petitions like this.

mlangdon 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't sympathize with the "you're ruining youtube comments" argument as everybody knows youtube comments have been a vile racist backwater since its inception.

I get "privacy concerns" but those are also hard to swallow from those in the habit of posting their real _face_ in public, for-profit videos. What's a name at that point.

Seriously, any action to drain the malarial swamp that yt has always been is a good action.

joeldidit 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm glad the backlash is too much to ignore. They are getting way too annoying and invasive. I don't want my real name linked to my YouTube activity, I don't want to be forced onto the still sub-par Google+ service (so they can inflate their user count), I don't want to be forced to sign into Google Chrome to have all my private data pushed to the cloud, and I don't want to be in any other way tricked or robbed of choice. It's not like I would've made the choice anyway, and this is just them saying get over it, I (and most it would seem) would literally not want to do these things.

Google+'s strategy is starting to look as seedy as Zynga's, and perhaps even more annoying. It seems like they are using confusion to get everyone to unknowingly and unwilling sign up for Google+ for YouTube (etc), and this is unacceptable. Their practices were questionable before, but this is outright wrong.

On a slightly related note, I'm annoyed to see that Google+ hasn't really gone anywhere. Some may argue otherwise, but I still sign onto the service, then wonder what to do next. There's nothing to do, and there's no point to it. They need to add more features that people want to use and that people have a use for (like Hangouts, I guess). What's the point of forcing 1 billion users onto a service on which they can do nothing but sit? To claim that you have as many users as Facebook? For shame Google.

d0m 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if adding a "different identity" with a google account could fix that problem. So, yes, you still have to log and post with your real account, but you can pick another nickname that people would see. It may limit the trolling since it's not 100% anonymous.
jfoster 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems it would be rather easy to use the YouTube API to create a YouTube site that allows anonymous comments. I'm supportive of what Google is trying to do here, because I've found YouTube's comments distasteful in the past. For everyone who is pissed at Google about this, though, why not just create a YouTube (like FixYT.com) that does allow anonymous comments? It wouldn't even take that long, and is probably more likely to address your concerns than than the petitions are, as I doubt that Google is backing down from this one.
tszming 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe it's just a coincidence, but it made me laugh when I see this in the petition

    Petition by    John Doe
Well played.

blah314 12 hours ago 0 replies      
There seem to have been half-a-dozen negative personal experience stories about G+ turn up this weekend. And now this. Is nobody else sensing organization behind this?

(Not that I'm defending Google's "just the wrong side of creepy" approach, but if I was in competition with them I'd want to make sure everyone knew just how creepy they are).

amakaruk 14 hours ago 0 replies      
You can't delete your Google+ account without deleting your YouTube account now. That's a devious move, Google. I want to keep my YouTube account, because I have videos on there with 100k+ views that I use for my resume. Now, I'm torn - what can I do?
api 15 hours ago 1 reply      
The fundamental problem is that G+ is a Facebook imitation.

It's the sincerest form of flattery... of your competition.

teekert 15 hours ago 1 reply      
The service is free, you are the product, stop acting like a customer.Search for alternatives of don't use the service at all. "Vote with your wallet."

Edit: customer in stead of costumer

tutysara 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Any mashups with reddit/disqus comments for youtube videos?
ctdonath 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Frequent occurrence of a word common in a large subculture hardly constitutes "spam".
judk 10 hours ago 0 replies      
How many votes do those ineffectual Facebook anti-change petitions get?
af3 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Practical question for all those JS/CSS hackers:Can we do something like this extension for YT: Disqus comments on any site (http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/60946)

Imagine then, switching from disqus to a p2p-distributed comment system on the whole internet?!

pearjuice 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Can a moderator please change the thread title? This is outright linkbait. Especially how it is written by "an outspoken and controversial author and journalist" accentuates this fact. It is a piece of opinion with a perfect application of Betteredige's law;

"But will Google listen?"

bingobob 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Google really listen to all them Reader users
plg 14 hours ago 0 replies      
no, actually I can ignore it quite easily
ChrisNorstrom 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This Google+ garbage is so illogical and incorrect.

===== The Normal Way to Gain Users =====

- Build something people want because it solves a problem or their needs. If they don't sign up, then they don't want it, you re-iterate and re-envision the product, and try again until you get the "correct formula" and "winning product". You and your users are both happy because you've built something they want.

===== The Dumb (Google) Way to Gain Users =====

- Build something you want to force others to use because it helps your company's problem and needs. Not your customers. If they don't sign up, force them to use it even though they don't want to. You can't re-iterate or re-envision the product because you have users by force. You can't achieve the perfect winning formula for your product because no body was given a choice to choose it or it's other iterations. You have a losing product with millions of users who can't wait to leave. You and your users are unhappy, you can't grow your user base outside of the ones you forced it on and are frustrated that you spent so much money and time building the product and your users are pissed off at you.

thamlol 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Yup, just like the backlash against News Feed.


Terminal Cornucopia terminalcornucopia.com
242 points by Amadou  2 days ago   107 comments top 31
chimeracoder 2 days ago 4 replies      
> All of these findings have been reported to the Department of Homeland Security (TSA) to help them better detect these types of threats.

The threats that the TSA itself admits are non-existent? (http://tsaoutofourpants.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/tsa-admits-...)

The best I can see coming of this is that the TSA will start to ban braided leather belts and condoms.

revelation 2 days ago 3 replies      
If there are LiIon batteries available, why bother will all this stuff?

Just short them out and throw them somewhere strategic. Takes all of a minute.

signed0 2 days ago 3 replies      
The BLUNDERBUSSness Class is by far the best:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lsem22DkIjw

TL;DR: AXE body spray is super combustable!

ck2 1 day ago 0 replies      
But why even try to get on a plane or through "security" to plague people with mass terrorism?

Huge crowds are already caused by homeland security theater.

Are they still taking water bottles from people and throwing these "dangerous materials" right into the trash next to everyone?

lhnz 1 day ago 1 reply      
That's nothing: break open many brands of low-quality leather shoe and you'll find a 3-5 inch sharp metal blade [1].

I know this because my shoe fell apart a couple of months ago and one came out: I'd been through multiple airports with this on my feet and I think it's highly likely that a majority of people are incidentally carrying sharp metal blades because of this.

[1] http://distilleryimage4.ak.instagram.com/a31902082b7911e3b58...

joshdance 2 days ago 2 replies      
I don't know how effective any of these techniques would be to a terrorist, however cool and ingeniously constructed the weapons were. The whole security TSA thing is mostly a show anyways.
ajasmin 1 day ago 1 reply      
When I read 'Terminal' on Hacker News I don't think of the airport kind...
D9u 2 days ago 3 replies      
The real travesty here is that "General Aviation" flights (private aircraft) face no such TSA screening as we see in "Commercial Aviation" flight terminals.

So anyone who has the money to charter a private jet is also able to carry whatever they want onto an aircraft, which illustrates the double standard inherent in most tyrannical systems.

moron4hire 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the key takeaway here is that there are two types of people: those who grew up and eventually became TSA agents, and those who were curious about the world when they were kids and learned all of this stuff.
vezzy-fnord 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is simultaneously an excellent hack, culture jam and an expose of the security theater that is the TSA.

There was also the people who were successfully able to get through with decoy explosives without a hitch, but this is much more whimsical.

cowmix 2 days ago 1 reply      
I find it ironic that I'm reading this link from a Las Vegas airport gate waiting for my plane... using their wifi.
PaulHoule 2 days ago 0 replies      
it would be nice to have some text and photos rather than videos you can only watch if you're in Kansas City or outside the US
hughlomas 2 days ago 0 replies      
None of these weapons would be of much use for anything besides maiming one or two people, which could be accomplished with much simpler things. They are novel creations though.
x0054 1 day ago 1 reply      
Forget about AA batteries, think about all the laptop batteries. All you need is 4-5 laptop batteries, and you can have a serious bomb going. And how easy would it be to carry that into the airport? Take 2 laptops with you, 2 backups, a cell phone, 3 backup batteries. No one will even blink an eye.
jack-r-abbit 1 day ago 0 replies      
He makes a point to say all those things can be purchased after the security check point... but wouldn't most of that stuff make it through security anyway?
ithkuil 1 day ago 0 replies      
In fact, airports in places such a Turkey have two security checks, one at the very entrance of the airport buliding, and the second just at the gate.

However it looks like they are relaxing that:


blahpro 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Airplane Mode" claims to use a Parrot AR Drone 2.0 (~$290) for parts. The controller used is actually an infrared one from a smaller and cheaper (~$20) RC helicopter, like this: http://www.amazon.com/Syma-S107-S107G-Helicopter-Colors/dp/8...
christiangenco 2 days ago 2 replies      

Could someone make a short montage of all the weapons firing/being detonated? Slow internet and a lack of weapon descriptions make for quite the frustrating evening.

codezero 2 days ago 2 replies      
While this is all interesting, none of these videos show any actual lethal potential. I'm not saying that there is any, but there is no target and no way to show whether these tools inflict any meaningful damage.
joshguthrie 2 days ago 1 reply      
I cross my fingers hoping the BLUNDERBUSSness shotgun will be available in L4D3 or Dead Rising 3.
dkbk 1 day ago 1 reply      
While I found the content interesting, the videos do a very poor job of presenting information efficiently and concisely. Time is wasted in the introduction, the listing of materials takes far too long when bullet points would suffice, diagrams are only shown for a few seconds apiece, and the music is downright irritating.

A bullet point list of materials, a paragraph of description, a few diagrams and an embedded video demonstration would be far more effective. A slideshow would also work well.

I apologise if this seems nitpicky, but as interesting as I found what you've done, I only watched half your videos because I found it so painful to sit through them. I doubt I am alone in this.

zacinbusiness 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think it comes down to what people are willing to put up with. Personally, I don't mind any of the TSA stuff a single bit. I've stood in line for hours, missed a flight, and gotten home at 1am due to TSA and other security stuff, but I don't mind because it at the very least acts as a deterrent.

However, I think that most of these things could be solved with a second screening. None of these options would pass a secondary x-ray, for instance. Or, a better option would be to have all items purchased in duty free to be shipped as luggage, and retrieved in the destination airport. Those would both be a huge pain in the ass, however, and I doubt anyone would put up with it.

Houshalter 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find this really interesting, but I feel like publishing it is a bad idea. The TSA could just use this as an excuse for more absurd policies, or worse someone could actually try some of these things, which they wouldn't have figured out on their own. Only a very small risk, maybe, but for what benefit?
callesgg 1 day ago 0 replies      
These weapons are harmless they are not scary enough.

People know what an AK47 is and they know it will kill what it is used on.

Power lies not in the weapon, it lies in what people think of the weapon.

Another thing, since 911 passengers most likely assume they will be killed whether if they cooperate or not.Certain death in a plane crash or possible death trying to take a terrorists weapon.

aaronsnoswell 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've often thought how interesting it would be to see a TV series about something like this.
tn13 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have always wondered about this. Given the kind of stuff available in these stores I think it is nearly impossible to scan all those items for security.
Aloha 2 days ago 2 replies      
Seeing this 'ns' totally takes away from what the website is trying to say.
csmatt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is delivery to the stores and restaurants after the TSA related and our enforced?
mavdi 1 day ago 0 replies      
There it is! The association between my middle eastern name and a bomb making website on NSA Database! Thanks HN!
daniel-cussen 2 days ago 0 replies      
OK, how about airports stop selling aerosol cans and lithium batteries after the security check-in? They seem like the worst offenders here.
guiomie 2 days ago 1 reply      
Lol ... Planned Parenthood.. Why go thru all this trouble, and not just use the black rod to stab someone ? would be way more effective no ?
PS4 UX is powered by WebGL plus.google.com
242 points by sciwiz  2 days ago   150 comments top 18
gisenberg 2 days ago 6 replies      
There's a bit of irony in that the strengths of HTML5 shine through when confined to a single environment. If the best experience comes from targeting a single environment, then why go web at all? Further, HTML is considered a strong contender for true cross-platform app support, which is where it fails the hardest. In my experience, it's less effort to target native apps per platform than to try and use something like PhoneGap for apps of reasonable quality and complexity.

The single environment HTML5 showcase is also often supported by another development team who is actively trying to support their specific use cases; Microsoft with IE/WinJS, Mozilla with Firefox/WebOS, Sony with a PS4-optimized WebGL implementation, etc.

When the big players hit roadblocks during the development of something as high profile as their UI for their next-gen console, the browser can be changed on-the-fly to overcome them. That option isn't available to the rest of the world, and "audio doesn't work like we need it to" being a solvable problem can certainly influence whether or not you believe HTML5 is a suitable app platform.

kllrnohj 2 days ago 10 replies      
So they have a web browser for the sole purpose of setting up an GLES context for their UI? On a video game console? I guess that's what you do when you suddenly have 8GB of RAM, you piss it away on useless shit...
seanalltogether 2 days ago 5 replies      
Both steam and mac app stores are html as well. It really makes sense given how easy it is to create fluid layouts in browsers, as well as how much easier it is to prototype new changes from designers.
drawkbox 2 days ago 1 reply      
Most game companies and associated now use embedded Webkit that makes all this possible. Apple webkit investment still paying dividends and benefitted so many areas including desktop browsers (Chrome, now Opera) that run on it.

EA's open source initiatives almost all use an embedded webkit lib/browser to render UI content (some also use Scaleform (flash) -- skate 3 uses it a bunch).


Back in the day EA did this more often, they also had an EASTL for game optimized STL containers/usage: http://www.open-std.org/jtc1/sc22/wg21/docs/papers/2007/n227...

macspoofing 2 days ago 4 replies      
Makes sense. HTML/CSS/JS is not a bad way to build UI and if you're going to have an HTML rendering engine and JS VM on your machine, you might as well use it.

When WebView on iOS and Android finally get WebGL support ( what's taking so slong?!!?), native app development with native SDKs will plummet.

shocks 2 days ago 1 reply      
Many commenters here may be very surprised to know that it is very common for game developers to use Flash/ActionScript to build both game interfaces and game logic. See ScaleForm.

WebGL is the natural next step.

fidotron 2 days ago 1 reply      
More interesting is it is running FreeBSD:http://www.scei.co.jp/ps4-license/
kayoone 1 day ago 0 replies      
Its actually a pretty small part of the UX as the guy pointed out here:https://plus.google.com/113371030751322342143/posts/5akNbY6A...
davb 2 days ago 3 replies      
I suspect it may be rendered in WebKit (http://www.scei.co.jp/ps4-license/webkit.html)
Touche 2 days ago 2 replies      
Any video of what it looks like?
filipedeschamps 2 days ago 0 replies      
Despite all the hate, they've done it and it looks rock solid. Great job guys!
eonil 2 days ago 0 replies      
WebGL is just an interface to low-level graphics. This just means HTML was inappropriate for any UX in PS4.

So, why didn't they use just native GL code? Because of sandboxing limitation?

ffrryuu 2 days ago 0 replies      
So that's why PS4 is using 70-90W idle?
camus2 2 days ago 1 reply      
yeah, Netflix thought it was a good idea too until they ditch their web ui for a native one:


davb 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really enjoy getting to "peak behind the curtain" of embedded systems and other such appliances, especially games consoles. They've always held a certain mystique. Sometimes a beautiful, glossy UI running on top of a well thought out, logical and high performance system can be just as exciting as the games they were designed to deliver.

(At least to someone stuck doing LoB/ERP work and CMS development.)

damirkotoric 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hate it when people use UX as a cool new buzzword for UI. UX is not UI. Read:


taopao 2 days ago 1 reply      
UX => UI
morenoh149 2 days ago 0 replies      
no surprise. Here in SF Sony was searching aggressively for webGL and JS hackers since last year
The Wallaby Card walla.by
240 points by theuri  3 days ago   177 comments top 41
runn1ng 2 days ago 19 replies      
I am an European, so maybe it's different in US, but is too many cards problem that people actually have? Judging by the top 2 stories on HN right now, it probably is.

I have a card. It is hooked up to my bank account. It works.

abalone 3 days ago 1 reply      
Pretty interesting. Here's my guess at how this works:

Wallaby is both a card issuer and (working with) a processor. The merchant's processor routes the charge to them like a normal card. Then Wallaby selects the appropriate card number and proxys the charge via their own processor to that card's issuer. I.e. the same round-trip transaction, they're just a man-in-the-middle swapping out card numbers. The issuers never see a difference.

Couple issues they'd have to have worked out for this:

1. Getting approval from the card network to proxy a transaction like this. Given the founder's background with Green Dot I can see them having the pull to drive that.

2. Dealing with chargebacks. The merchant will have a record of the Wallaby card number because that's what's swiped through the POS. But the customer will see it on their actual card's bill (let's say Chase). If they file a dispute, and Chase contacts the merchant, there's a card number mismatch. I wonder what their solution is for this. Perhaps they instruct cardmembers to initiate disputes with them and they proxy those as well.

Overall I have to say I like this a little better than Coin, if only because it's simpler. You don't have to make any decisions each time you pay, you just configure it through the cloud, which can actually make smarter decisions for you. And it's not $100.

cantrevealname 2 days ago 5 replies      
Slightly off topic, but it's sad to see so much brainpower and energy go into "innovation" in the financial sector.

We (society) have created a complicated game involving credit cards and we have to continue playing the game otherwise we lose. Merchants charge higher prices because they need to pay a 2% merchant fee, then the credit card "rewards" us with 0.5% back. Madness.

If the blizzard of credit card features--cash back, reward schemes, loyalty plans, interest options, perks, airline points--all disappeared, it would be a huge net benefit to society.

I realize it won't get fixed. It's sort of like simplifying income tax legislation. Almost everyone would benefit even if the amount of tax collected remained the same, but there's no mechanism to even start doing it. Same thing here with the credit cards.

dangrossman 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm stumped as to how this can work. The logic can't be embedded in the card, as the card doesn't know what you're charging to it -- the merchant's category code (i.e. gas station, restaurant) isn't programmed into their terminals, that data gets relayed through the various backend networks between banks.

So this can't be sending a card swiper the number of one of your cards, which means it must be a valid credit card itself. It has to be issued by some Visa/MasterCard/Amex/Discover member-bank to be widely accepted, though none of those logos appear on the website's mockup.

If that's the case, I still haven't a clue how they turn a capture against their card into a capture against one of your "real" cards based on the type of store you used it at. They can't be charging your real cards themselves, as all the charges would come from a single category code, whatever one was assigned to their own merchant account, so you won't get the right rewards. They'd also lose money on every transaction that way, as they'd have to pay card-not-present fees to charge your cards themselves, while only collecting lower card-present fees when you use the Wallaby card.

Puzzling. They must be trying to get some kind of relationship somewhere else in the network that no other company has (either direct relationships with issuers, or permission from Visa/MC to sit on the processing network somewhere and do some kind of MITM).

gbelote 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's impressive to see the collection of Coin competitors hit the HN frontpage and comments today. Best of luck to all of them!
null_ptr 3 days ago 3 replies      
Sorry, but ccTLD domain hacks and financial services don't mix well. Financial services should be stable and secure, their front page even embeds a Vimeo video over plain http.
nationcrafting 3 days ago 4 replies      
Somebody should come up with a service to unify Coin, Echo and Wallaby cards into a single card.
nostromo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Could I put all my credit cards in a Wallaby Card, and then put my Wallaby (and debit and reward cards) on a Coin Card? If so, I'd have just one card (Coin's pain point), but I'd also get Wallaby's "smart routing" for miles (Wallaby's pain point).
mkramlich 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is getting to remind me of XKCD on standards. The wonderful thing about having too many standards is that somebody comes along to create a new standard intended to unify and replace all the other ones. Then you have N+1 standards to choose from.

That said, I do think adding an extra level of indirection to any customer/merchant transaction event is a Good Thing. Allow the customer to pay in any manner he chooses that otherwise satisfies the merchant. While doing so in a way where the customer can be confident his payment identity/authorization is not hijacked and repurposed, or reapplied, or TRACKED, without his permission or knowledge. We still seem to be in this era where POS payments are catching up with what software engineers knew at least decades ago would be a smarter solution.

josephagoss 3 days ago 1 reply      
Paypass/Paywave? If they can't duplicate chip+pin and wireless payments they will never hit the Australian market.
gesman 3 days ago 2 replies      
Hacker News suddenly got under attack from onecard and alikes ...
lsh123 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting... Suppose it is a Visa card on the frontend and then on the backend I have Amex linked. Will the merchant be hit with Amex fees? Will it be accepted if merchant doesn't accept Amex?
ghughes 3 days ago 2 replies      
Their security page [1] needs some work: apparently they "use SHA 256-bit encryption across all of our solutions" and "your personal account information is never compromised". SHA-256 is a hash algorithm, and it's not very clever of them to state that users' PII is never going to be compromised. Someone with an ounce of computer security knowledge needs to rewrite this page, quickly.

[1] https://walla.by/security

elmin 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand how this could work. How can they 'forward the purchase' to the appropriate card in such a way that the receiving card still sees your purchase as being from a 'gas station', or 'grocery store'.
rexreed 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wish I could see some customer validation videos where they went on the street and asked random consumers and merchants if they would find this product (and Coin and others like it), useful as well as hear their concerns. Since I doubt that sort of customer validation work was done in that way (random users vs. specific focus groups, if at all), my impression is that it would be a video full of people saying "eh, maybe, but what about..." or "no, I don't have that problem" or "yeah, it's interesting, but I don't use my card(s) that much or in that way"... or "yeah, but I won't pay extra for that" or maybe "sure, I like it as a consumer" or "sure I'll accept that as a merchant".
pmorici 3 days ago 1 reply      
With the rise of Bitcoin aren't all these all-in-one credit cards just a Blu-ray player in an iTunes/Netflix world?
clarky07 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting that every payment card solution but the one that I actually find interesting is on the frontpage right now [1]

[1] Loop - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6737688

sciguy77 3 days ago 4 replies      
So I've got 3 so far: Coin, Wallaby, and Echo.

Hell, I think I'll build one this weekend, just to be included. :)

jesalg 3 days ago 1 reply      
At first glance, this seems to have a better value proposition for the consumer compared to Coin.
Geee 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can't understand why you people use more than a single card for payments? That solves all the problems that these Coin and Wallaby cards are trying to address. Rewards are bullshit anyway, I buy stuff from honest companies without any kind of reward systems.
bhaile 2 days ago 0 replies      
Launched in Summer of 2012. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4161916

I had signed up and was in the second batch of users. First 1,000 users got it for free for life. Next batch got it one year for free.

I never got the card though. Something related to demand was too high and then nothing.

CmonDev 2 days ago 1 reply      
A Belarusian start-up? Nice!
faramarz 3 days ago 0 replies      
What if i'm doing an online purchase? How do I charge the Wallaby Card when my only options are Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

Really interesting concept. Canada, just get it to Canada!

ekorz 3 days ago 0 replies      
For me, and for many others I'd imagine, maximizing my credit-card-rewards does not trump having control over which account I'm using. Coin is better suited to my needs.
adamzerner 3 days ago 0 replies      
The value they offer seems to be: get you the most rewards by using the right credit cards.

I'd like to see some numbers. Are there beta users? If so, how much are they saving? If not, how much does Wallaby predict they'll save their customers? .1%? .5%? 2%?

mgambrell 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would assume most people use cards based what they're associated with (i.e. Business, Personal, etc) not based on rewards
ryanjm33 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like one of the top stories from yesterday:

[Coin a step in the wrong direction](http://www.techendo.co/posts/coin-a-step-in-the-wrong-direct...)

saadshamim 2 days ago 0 replies      
The main problem with cards, isn't necessarily the number, rather the speed. Nfc is the fastest implementation so far and both my credit and debit card have it, and I will gladly carry around an extra few millimetres in my pocket to speed up the transaction process.
joetech 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great concept, but I don't know how comfortable I am giving them access to all my accounts when all they do for me is choose which card to charge. And how do the purchases show on my card statements? Are they all from Wallaby now?
memracom 3 days ago 1 reply      
No chip and pin? How could this possibly work?
dvetrano 3 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like this product has been around for a year already:



logician76 2 days ago 0 replies      
At Costco, you can only pay with American Express and at their gas station and store register, the card also doubles as a membership card, so since they don't explain how their card works I doubt that it would work for Costco.
mikegagnon 2 days ago 0 replies      
The problem with the world isn't too many physical credit cards. It's too many lines of credit.
d0m 3 days ago 0 replies      
As it goes "It's all in the execution", good luck!
nayefc 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is bonuses such a big problem? I've never had any card had a bonus for a limited time.
alternize 3 days ago 0 replies      
so, what's their business model? data mining?
OafTobark 2 days ago 0 replies      
I signed up for one way back and never heard from them. Not going to bother now.
SumantChhunchha 2 days ago 0 replies      
WallaBy + Loop will make a good combo - put all your cards in one WallaBy card and put one WallaBy card in to Loop. So your phone will have only one card and your point of control will be WallaBy. Hiding all other cards details - block one card and you are safe. Coin card is not going in the right direction i feel. Time to loose the card stuff now...
talhof8 2 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one confused about this coincidence?
jduck 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's a pyramid scheme! Soon we'll have a meta-meta...meta-n card.
beachminter 3 days ago 0 replies      
the wallaby card sounds pretty awesome. i just checked out their mobile app and tested a few places out and the rewards were accurate on my Chase Freedom (which has rotating categories each quarter).
Show HN: Gitter Chat for GitHub gitter.im
224 points by mydigitalself  2 days ago   108 comments top 40
fhd2 2 days ago 2 replies      
(Edit: I initially thought this was _from_ GitHub. Apparently it's not, so please disregard the nagging below. It is a cool idea, but if GitHub did this, I'd have different expectations.)

I'd be all over this if it was an IRC server. Most big projects already have an IRC channel on FreeNode, so this'd be a natural fit: Provide an IRC server with a channel for each project, provide a free web client for this server with the GitHub-goodies.

But alas, apparently it's just another proprietary chat network.

markrickert 2 days ago 1 reply      

failed to fetch user profile (status: 403 data: {"message":"Maximum number of login attempts exceeded","documentation_url":"http://developer.github.com/v3"}) at Strategy.userProfile (/opt/gitter/landing-app/node_modules/passport-github/lib/passport-github/strategy.js:90:28) at passBackControl (/opt/gitter/landing-app/node_modules/passport-github/node_modules/passport-oauth/node_modules/oauth/lib/oauth2.js:105:9) at IncomingMessage.exports.OAuth2._executeRequest.request.on.callbackCalled (/opt/gitter/landing-app/node_modules/passport-github/node_modules/passport-oauth/node_modules/oauth/lib/oauth2.js:124:7) at IncomingMessage.EventEmitter.emit (events.js:126:20) at IncomingMessage._emitEnd (http.js:366:10) at HTTPParser.parserOnMessageComplete [as onMessageComplete] (http.js:149:23) at CleartextStream.socketOnData [as ondata] (http.js:1472:20) at CleartextStream.CryptoStream._push (tls.js:544:27) at SecurePair.cycle (tls.js:898:20) at EncryptedStream.CryptoStream.write (tls.js:285:13) at Socket.ondata (stream.js:38:26)

Guess it's built with node ;)

After pressing the button again, it gave me the confirmation message.

bazzargh 2 days ago 1 reply      
You guys should offer this for github enterprise. Any form of integration would also be nice (an IRC or XMPP bridge) because I don't want yet another chat client on my desktop, and alerts from web clients don't cut it...

...slightly offtopic, on the alerts: chrome's rich notifications pop under apple's desktop notifications, and neither let me capture the notification and have the system voice read it to me rather than flash up in a corner that I'm not looking at. But campfire's in-browser notifications are the worst of all, some random tab beeping when I have 100 open.

janerik 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't really like the idea of signing up with my github account. But I like the idea of Gitter.

One small improvement: Link the "@GitChat" on the confirmation page to the twitter account ;)

conorgil145 2 days ago 2 replies      
Looks pretty neat. I went to signup, but then noticed that they require commit access to my public repos. Why do you need this permission to integrate links to the code and similar features? I don't like giving out commit access unless absolutely necessary.
vlad 2 days ago 2 replies      
This looks like it was influenced by the Hub, a Node Knockout project with a landing page created by high school students that's been picking up steam on Twitter since last weekend.


Both landing pages seem nice, and looks like a great way to test the idea out!

rohamg 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very interesting, I'm looking forward to checking out the product! We use GitHub exclusively for everything; even our non-technical team-members leverage GitHub for sales, HR, marketing, blog post writing.. You name it. We did have to build a product to make this easier on ourselves [1], into which we've been resisting integrating chat. Chat is the only non-GitHub piece of our workflow, Gitter looks promising!

[1] http://zenhub.io

nnd 2 days ago 1 reply      
The landing page looks really slick. I was wondering, how did you create the design for it?I'm a programmer and my web design skills are limited to installing bootstrap, and I'm always fascinated, how would you come up with right color/font/layout matching
monokrome 2 days ago 0 replies      
Show HN: Something else that isn't done yet, but wants access to my accounts for who knows what reason.
aram 2 days ago 2 replies      
Signed up immediately. Very promising, especially if the history stays up there for anyone who joins the "repo" discussion later on.

This could be really important for bigger projects where new/significant features should be discussed openly. This way the information stays attached to the repo and others can refer to it later on.

Looking forward to seeing it in action!

stigi 2 days ago 1 reply      
One question:

After signing up for Gitter I checked out Trou.pe. But even without signing up for Trou.pe it already knew my gravatar & was able to suggest me usernames (including my full name) when going to http://trou.pe.

How's that possible?

mydigitalself 2 days ago 1 reply      
We've got a lot of the parts of this already built, just not packaged in this format.

We're trying to see how much support there would be for a product like this. If we get a lot of "signups" we'll get cracking immediately.

Comments/feedback more than welcome.

Thanks in advance for your support.

mfenniak 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hm, "signing up" by providing read-only OAuth access to my GitHub account is... fascinating. :-)

Very clever way to make signups easy, relevant to the interest you're trying to gauge, and gather far more information about me than just my e-mail address (eg. my activity level on GitHub, the type of projects I'm involved in).

CatsoCatsoCatso 2 days ago 0 replies      
This led me to view the page source and zoom out to see what the clusterfuck at the top was. Hah.Nice easter egg OP.
rmccue 2 days ago 3 replies      
I want to pay money for this. A chat service with built-in GitHub integration including issue and file referencing sounds like a fantastic tool for teams building using GitHub.

Any chance you can use an actual Kickstarter instead so I can throw money at you? :)

naiquevin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just tried signing up with github and got the message -

"Gitter isn't ready yet. If we get enough support, we will launch this in a few months. Help spread the word by Tweeting about us and follow @GitChat for updates."

From the other comments here, it looks like people are able to try out a demo or something. What am I missing?

buf 2 days ago 2 replies      
Beautiful, but unfortunately it wouldn't be appropriate for my non-technical teammates, so I cannot see it beating out hipchat.

I love the concept though and I can see this being the tool of choice for technical teams.

tomtheengineer 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you ever want to integrate real-time video chat as well, send us a note at vLine: https://vline.com. We actually have what we call a "GitHub identity provider" (https://vline.com/developer/docs/getting_started) that should make it really easy.

We used that to build GitTogether (https://gittogether.com), which is a similar concept to this: text chat and video chat with people you follow plus members of your teams and organizations.

andrewnez 2 days ago 1 reply      
Looks great, just needs some emojis and hubot integration and I'm sold!
chacha102 2 days ago 3 replies      
The 'support' button for trou.pe doesn't work. :(
nakovet 2 days ago 1 reply      
From the screenshot with localhost on location bar I thought it would be self hosted.

EDIT: The screenshot was updated. ;D

lifeisstillgood 2 days ago 1 reply      
A perfect headline / product for HN. Very nicely done Rick Rolling.
dcaunt 2 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of comments here are saying things like "I wouldn't be able to persuade my team/non-technical colleagues to use this instead of HipChat". Surely one the most exciting uses for Gitter is discussion on open-source repos, where you aren't already communicating with repo collaborators?
davman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not directly related to your product, but I always wonder why, with soft launches like this where you gauge interest, why not make the "interest" count public? How many people have you captured?

That being said, I've wanted this idea for a while, so I signed up straight away.

cookrn 2 days ago 0 replies      
A wonderful chat service called Kato offers a very similar chat <=> github integration


podviaznikov 2 days ago 0 replies      
My Hackathon GitChat project from one year ago: http://chat.gitrun.com/. Source: https://github.com/gitrun/chat
j-hernandez 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another immediate signup. Would like to echo @davman's comment about showing the interest count. It would be interesting to watch the needle, so to speak. A +1 for Hubot integration as well.

At any rate, best of luck! Amazing effort.

bbthorson 2 days ago 0 replies      
lazyant 2 days ago 1 reply      
I love the source code at the beginning of this page.
sberder 2 days ago 1 reply      
How long will it take to be a usable product? I might be interested and need to know if I should keep looking around or just wait a bit.
daGrevis 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is it open-sourced?
nichol4s 2 days ago 1 reply      
Looks really interesting, you guys should take a look at www.surfly.com. With Surfly in the mix you would not just be able to chat about things but also show people around.

Also, I couldn't find any contact info. :(

atmosx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great great app :-) Impressive!
Artemis2 2 days ago 2 replies      
"Available everywhere that has internets"

And my Windows Phone? :(

mrcactu5 2 days ago 0 replies      
it will be great to use this -- when it comes out in a few months.

i guess they aren't waiting until its closer to production

timlindinct 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice one! This is a great repurposing of your existing product.
lewq 2 days ago 0 replies      
I initially read this as "GitHub for cats"
JamesAdir 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great work!Could you share about what stack/technologies used to build it? Trying to learn how to choose the best platform for each solution.
coherentpony 2 days ago 0 replies      
Will it be open source?
dreamdu5t 2 days ago 0 replies      
Chat apps come and go... and there I am on IRC. I hang out with lots of people on github there.

Why would I use this over IRC with the client of my choice? Build an IRC client that integrates with GitHub, or extensions for Adium to handle github URL's. Or maybe GitHub could offer authorization through XMPP.

Why should I have to use a separate client when I already have Facebook, IRC, XMPP, etc. all managed from the same place?

Read less HN johnmurray.io
220 points by johnmurray_io  7 hours ago   102 comments top 58
Houshalter 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
Something I've considered doing is taking HN and/or reddit posts and then applying a machine learning algorithm to figure out what kinds of articles I like/dislike and automatically filter out the ones that are likely to waste my time, or at least improve upon the existing sorting system and make it more personalized.
fhd2 6 hours ago 5 replies      
I can see how HN is bad for the author's well being, but certainly not for mine. I don't feel bad about reading other people's success stories. I don't feel any need to switch languages/frameworks when reading about new/hyped stuff.

It's all just information, what you do with that is up to you.

peteforde 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Some might find it interesting that I consider part of my job as a tech strategy consultant is to keep up with what's happening on HN.

I try not to open every link or anything, because I procrastinate just like everyone else. However, some of the value that I provide my clients is knowing about changes to their competitive landscape before they do.

Tightly coupled with both experience and a willingness to offer strong, thoughtful opinions on the day's tech news, I am often able to be the most honest and disconcertingly knowledgeable person at the table... all thanks to scanning HN a few times a day.

I owe much of my livelihood to your often link-bait posts, so thanks. :)

Sakes 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
It depends on how long you've had an HN account. At some point the content seems to get repetitive. It's pretty easy to ignore the content that you've seen before.

But in the beginning it is a wealth of information, giving you insight into what should be expected when trying to start a barebones new company.

So you gorge on the articles until you rarely get new insights from them. Then, naturally, your addiction to HN ends. (Typically this starts the "remember when HN was good?" comments)

Now if you are addicted for other reasons, like you feel socially involved here, that I can not speak to. But if your addiction is content, that will fade once you've had your fill.

michaelwww 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I've noticed that a lot of writers in tech generalize their experience to everyone in the community. Several times a day I'm struck by someone who talks about his/her experience like it's a common experience, when it may or may not be. I think it would be safer and more relatable if the author had said "HN - Bad for My Well Being," but of course that doesn't sound as portentous.
Segmentation 6 hours ago 5 replies      
Still not nearly as bad as Reddit. Subreddits have value, but look at the front page of Reddit. Zero value. On any given day, of any week, month, or year. Reddit's front page is 100% wasted time. I demonstrate this by asking to myself: Ten years from now what will Reddit's front page look like? Answer: The exact nonsense memes and image macros posted today.
zmmmmm 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I have a different problem with it, which is that it invariably makes me feel pretty incompetent, because no matter what subject comes up, people with 10 times my level of skill in fields that I consider myself relatively competent in start discussing things and I suddenly feel quite completely devoid of any skill at all. Even on a simple thing like posts about typing I find people lamenting how they are only able to output 60wpm while I measure myself at 48wpm. Part of my problem is that I tend to be a generalist and know a lot of things quite well rather than single specialist topic at extreme depth.

How this all plays out in my head is a complex thing, but overall I feel like it is bad for my self-image. It is just very hard to keep the perspective in mind that I might be in the top 20% of people in a field but the top 1% will be the ones who start commenting on a specialised topic on HN. Add to that the different personality types hiding behind people's pseudonymous identities and you are getting a super distorted picture of the world.

k-mcgrady 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I've noticed a different bad thing that happens to me when I am active on HN. I become very argumentative IRL. On HN it's fun to engage other people, debating, disagreeing and arguing your point. It's constructive and usually we all get something from it.

I noticed that the more time I spend active on HN (in comments) the more I tend to correct friends when they make a mistake or vigorously argue a point of view on something not that important (these aren't bad things the but the frequency with which I was doing them annoyed me and my friends and it wasn't just the important stuff I was arguing, it was stupid things).

When I logged out of HN for a while this behaviour slowly started to improve. I couldn't stay away for ever though but I am much more aware of the effect and try to stop myself before I get too deep into a stupid debate/argument both on HN and IRL.

mcphilip 4 hours ago 0 replies      
HN, like all news sources, is a mixed bag of content that has varying degrees of relevancy to its readers. Very few people have time to read all of the Wall Street Journal on a daily basis, much less benefit from absorbing that much information, and the same thing applies to HN. However, HN still provides a great source of current and emergent trends in the startup world. If one isn't able to consume this site's content in a way that's beneficial to them then the blame is squarely on their own lack of discipline. Writing blog posts extrapolating one's personal tendency to misuse this news source to some general rule of thumb is pointless.
VMG 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Just looking at the current headlines, your characterization is completely off.

But I agree with the larger point -- HN is addictive and biased. Moderation is key.

jonathanjaeger 6 hours ago 1 reply      
While I think all of OP's points are valid (loss of productivity, focus on things that are too positive or negative, unactionable items, etc.), I think there is a flipside. I'm not saying you should spend an exorbitant amount of time on HN, but I think many come for the community and shared purpose. It's like getting your Reddit fix without having to worry about cat photos and memes. There are many tech-related articles here that aren't about frameworks or success/failure.
nilkn 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is one of the few technical communities online where I post comments. The problem I have with reddit is that downvoting is too rampant. I also enjoy the focus here on startup companies, even though I'm not a founder. reddit seems to have this bias against startups which is overly cynical and even demoralizing. To me, the startup scene is (part of) what makes the software industry interesting and distinguishes it from, say, chemical engineering. If I ever do decide to become a founder, the information I've picked up here, almost by osmosis, will undoubtedly be invaluable.

Regarding posts about new languages or frameworks, I really don't think anybody is seriously suggesting you go rewrite your production codebase. That's silly hyperbole. Lots of people here actively work on side projects or they may be in the planning phase for a new startup with no code written yet--situations where they can legitimately consider using a newer framework or language.

themodelplumber 6 hours ago 0 replies      
>>The solution is not to read absolutely no news at all.

A question: What makes you think so? I've gone months and years at a time without reading any news; it's a fantastic feeling, and if something is really important you'll hear about it from a friend.

Just as "read less HN" may not be applicable to everyone, "you should probably keep reading the news" may not apply to others, or at least others may have had positive experiences quitting the consumption of news media.

Scary, I know ;-)

alaskamiller 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I started reading Hacker News back in 2007. I got busy, really busy around 2010. I came back in 2013.

Nothing's changed. Still the same type of talk, same type of links, same type of mentality.

ktran03 57 minutes ago 1 reply      
HN has been a blessing for me. It has taught me so much about startups/consulting and everything related. And the comments section is tremendously valuable. As an avid forum reader (self-proclaimed) I have the experience of knowing how to comb through the comments and be able to quickly extract what's important. Only a fool reads everything and interprets it on face value.

Sometimes in the comments what's written isn't important, but the thought process behind that writing could really help excel one's career (if one's able to discern it). I have to pay homage to the tremendously experienced consultants here, in which I've learned so much from, and has helped my career unequivocally.

GuiA 6 hours ago 0 replies      
HN is an online community, where people go because they feel that it fulfills them in some way (maybe because they plan to do a startup of their own one day and reading about other startups makes them dream, because they like debating with others, etc.).

I suggest the ridiculous notion that you should do what makes you happy, and if going on HN fulfills some part of your being - no matter how irrationally - then go for it.

james33 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I actually took around 2 months off of Hacker News over the summer when we were coming up on a big deadline with the beta launch or our new game, and I must say I noticed a significant uptick in productivity over this period. Completely fasting; however, hasn't turned out to be the best idea since I'm now more addicted than I was previously. The newsletter idea is probably the best of both worlds.
lazyjones 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I do not feel qualified to determine the psychological effects of HN on readers, but the author has some valid points. HN does leave one with the impression that there's this "get rich fast" club of 20-something entrepreneurs who are getting huge valuations and 8-figure cash investments for unfinished and seemingly unimportant niche products and unfortunately, you, the reader, cannot be part of it. This might be frustrating for people who work hard on their own startups and cannot get anywhere near this VC craze because they live on some other continent. Then again, it has no real impact on their own efforts, success is not made by VC or hype, it's the product that counts.
duck 4 hours ago 0 replies      
John, thanks for the Hacker Newsletter mention!

Of course I'm a bit biased, but I think curated newsletters provide a lot of advantages, several of which are listed in the post. Another one that I would add is the ability to focus on a particular topic or area that you find useful. I created a (curated) list of a lot of them recently - http://www.kaledavis.com/2013/09/06/newsletters-newsletters-....

sean-duffy 6 hours ago 1 reply      
There is definitely a flipside. I wouldn't be nearly as up to date with tech if it wasn't for HN, and last summer I managed to get an internship at a startup that I would have had zero chance of finding had I not seen them in a "Who's Hiring?" post on here.
d0m 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I use HN to test if internet is working. Don't do this, worst idea ever, but it's built in my muscle memory. It also happens that I read HN in a tab, and then open a new tab and get on HN again. Muscle memory.
hgezim 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The loss of productivity and loss of focus in my work is exactly why I created http://HNdigest.com .

However, the content that I get from HackerNews is priceless, so quitting makes no sense.

barbs 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it weird that I read Hacker News for none of the reasons he lists? I'm rarely interested in reading about startups succeeding or failing, or new frameworks or languages, but I am interested in reading about cool things people have done with technology, or even non-tech related news. I guess I'd probably be more suited to slashdot's content, but I prefer Hacker News' format so much more.
S4M 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Someone needs to add on the 4chan thread: "HN: why HN is bad for you".
jheriko 5 hours ago 0 replies      
actually i love all of this stuff on HN. i really don't agree with the argument presented here - as well presented as it is.

hn is a resource where the stories of the kind listed in this article are available at all. for me this is important because i want to read those stories, i want to learn from the mistakes of others and see what other people /think/ worked well for them. sure it hurts my productivity, but so does the beer i would drink, the movie i would watch or whatever else that i would do in my down time because that is when i read HN for the most part.

what is bad for my well being here is all the 'self-entitled prick with first world problem' stories. i have no respect for them and it saddens me that the community as a whole seems naive enough on average that this stuff is considered news and not just 'smart' people embarrassing themselves with an utter lack of common sense or life experience. it makes me genuinely angry. the worst part of it all is that these stories and promoting them feed the very cause you fight against... see just thinking about draws me into wanting to collectively slap the majority of the community around the face and tell them how it is, you know the good ol' sciency way by pointing at data and examples littered throughout history instead of jumping on some crazy emotional bandwagon.


iguana 5 hours ago 0 replies      
TL;DR don't read HN if you're easily influenced.
ekianjo 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Another post in the do this, do that, because it's better for you fashion. Since when people are going to stop writing with so much entitlement ? What do they know what works for me anyway ?
weisser 5 hours ago 0 replies      
HN can be like FB - highlight reels that people sometimes compare to the full view of what they are experiencing.

There are also posts about failure but I'd say they are a bit less common than the ones about success.

pcmonk 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Regarding the curated content option, I don't think that would be a good option for me. I come here to learn about the unusual and non-mainstream tech stuff. Of the 20 frameworks, it's true that I can only really learn one, but I probably am not going to want to learn whatever one the curator decided was best, because the curator is going to choose the most popular/hip/mainstream one, since that's the one that would be of interest to the most readers. I come here not to learn what's popular, but rather to learn about the things that aren't popular.
peterashford 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems to me that often HN is an echo chamber for people who want to feel superior about their tech choices - an attitude that's inherited from it's creator PG. I mean, "Blub programmers"? Can you get any more elitist?

I view HG as a boy's club for programming fashionistas. It just happens that sometimes amongst all the posturing there's something genuinely valuable.

Regarding the OP - I think that HN is fine as long as you learn to skim and filter.

vojant 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it "complain about HN week" ? If you got problem with HN stop reading it, simple as that. We don't need your "awesome" advices how to read stories on HN, we don't need to hear that HN sux. I dont think anyone here got problem with filtering the content, if you dont want to read another startup stories you just don't. I do not see any problem here.

Hacker News is still awesome community, people here usually have awesome attitude. It keeps me motivated.

rfnslyr 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're that weak that you can't even read HN without properly filtering shit in your head, you shouldn't use the internet. What a terrible and pointless article.

Very thin blogspam at the very least.

cjfont 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I must have missed all those articles about languages/frameworks you need to learn immediately. Generally I feel pretty comfortable with the tools I have now and don't feel threatened if I see some new cool tech everyone's excited about, but it does make interesting reading.
tajddin 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it goes without saying that it's all about your objectives and perceptions. Objectively, HN is a valuable resource to stay informed of micro-innovations in the tech industry.

I'm not someone that's insecure about what I don't know or how smart I am, as I'm constantly trying to improve all areas of my life; as a result, many of the posts here are inspiring and help set a fire under my ass to get out there start doing.

ninetax 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Those are some great newsletter recommendations!

Anyone have any more?

dredwerker 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I shall invoke Sturgeon's Law: ("ninety percent of everything is crap." )

Sturgeon's revelation, commonly referred to as Sturgeon's law, is an adage commonly cited as "ninety percent of everything is crap." It is derived from quotations by Theodore Sturgeon, an American science fiction author and critic: while Sturgeon coined another adage that he termed "Sturgeon's law", it is his "revelation" that is usually referred to by that term.

The phrase was derived from Sturgeon's observation that while science fiction was often derided for its low quality by critics, it could be noted that the majority of examples of works in other fields could equally be seen to be of low quality and that science fiction was thus no different in that regard to other art forms.

webhat 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know, this looks like a thinly veiled ad for one of the newsletter published by Peter Cooper.
D9u 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I rarely read every article on page one, and many of those that I do look at I only read a couple of paragraphs, as was the case with this article.

Ergo, I disagree with the premise of this article.

mikesickler 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the difference between consuming content and letting the content consume you. HN can't harm you unless you allow it to. Don't blame the content.

Sometimes there's no excuse for self-discipline, critical thinking, a healthy perspective on life, and self-esteem. I don't say this flippantly. All of the above are lifelong challenges for most people (myself included).

johnjourney 6 hours ago 0 replies      
in a couple of hours we'll see

HN - Why It's Actually Good For Your Well Being (medium.com)

jpmec 1 hour ago 0 replies      
So your saying read more stackoverflow? :-)
mgrouchy 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the Pycoders Weekly mention John!
newbrict 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think we all read the 4chan post yesterday, this is just a reiteration of that
asmman1 4 hours ago 1 reply      
http://johnmurray.io/log/2013/03/13/Nothing-is-Interesting.m... How can someone answer any question in there if there's no any comments area?
return0 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I want to read less HN, but i can't find something better.
thangh9 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I just check HN twice each day to find some news for my blog
tux 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Very good article thank you :-) I'm surprised HN haven't removed it.
michaelochurch 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Out of 250 Hacker News posts that cross my transom in a given week, I might open 30 links, decide to actually read 6 of those thirty tabs, and learn something from three of them.

This is still a better ratio than most websites. Sturgeon's Law applies. 90% of everything is crap, another 9% is of decent quality but not relevant to anything I need to do-- leaving 1% that is worth it for me to read. So I'd say that HN's numbers are on par, if not slightly above it.

See, I'd really like to dislike HN. Paul Graham used to be an iconoclast (with some serious technical chops-- go read On Lisp-- deserving of much respect) fighting the stodgy establishment of VC-istan. Having seen the failings of investors nearly destroy his business on several occasions, he tried to build something new and different: a fast path to funding and access so startups could focus on building instead of bullshit. But now that he is the establishment, he's not fighting hard enough. Then there is the issue of HN's abysmal quality of moderation, for which he must accept responsibility. So I really want to dislike HN and tell it to fuck off wholesale...

... but, the problem is that, in spite of these negatives, there's just a lot of really good stuff that ends up here. Reading less HN is good advice, but there's enough high-quality stuff here (in submissions and comments) to make it worthwhile.

clamprecht 5 hours ago 0 replies      
You may be right. (hits refresh)
shocks 6 hours ago 0 replies      
noprocrast! :)
apierre 6 hours ago 0 replies      
My girlfriend is reading the Daily Mail like I read Hacker News. I don't know which website is worse for our well being but I try to read the day best voted submissions and it is enough to keep me updated with everything else.
ludzone 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure how many of you do this, but I often find myself looking something up on HN, just out of curiosity of what was discussed and what people thought about it.
danso 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I actually think the discussions on HN are pretty good, even the political ones. There are some well thought out people here, and then people who I would've empathized with years ago when I was younger and not more exposed to the way the world works. Both sides are helpful to read and be aware of.

But I mainly read HN for the tech news. I'm one of those people who will learn about Github/Twitter/Heroku being down from here. All the big hacks are posted here and thoroughly discussed. I probably would've never played around with CoffeeScript, Angular, Go, and Dart without them being endlessly discussed around here. I wish I had something like HN when I was in college.

KamiCrit 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Really i'm just here for the hardware and debugging stories.
felipelalli 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I read this on HN, so I'll keep reading.
stephenaturner 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This could be said about nearly all tech news sites. At least HN is a cross-section of sources...
dblacc 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Is it ironic this is posted on HN ?
How I Got a 2x Speedup With One Line of Code naftaliharris.com
213 points by naftaliharris  3 days ago   54 comments top 22
susi22 3 days ago 1 reply      
You can get another 2x speedup if you choose the pivot better. Right now it seems you're doing median of 3.

When you're doing Order Statistics (ie Selection/Quickselect) with 1M elements you should be very very close to the theoretical optimum (1.5N) for complexity. See my comment here:


If you're interested in choosing the best strategy.


chrismorgan 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm sad to see that the one line of code, with its magic number and comparatively inscrutible contents, is entirely undocumented. Please, if doing things like that: a good commit message is necessary but not sufficient. (Yes, `git blame` exists, but you're not so likely to use it as a comment in the code.) A blog post is handy but not sufficient. A good inline comment is invaluable when returning to the code later if the situation changes, as it typically will in time for such precise, empirically derived performance tweaks.

   // This single line boosts performance by a factor of around 2 on GCC.   // The optimal lookahead distance i+3 was chosen by experimentation.   // See http://www.naftaliharris.com/blog/2x-speedup-with-one-line-of-code/

akkartik 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great article. But it seems somehow unfair to characterize this as a 'one-line change'. He had to run various performance experiments that will be invisible to someone else reading the code, and the optimal prefetch distance might silently shift over time, like say if each object grows larger. It's a little like the Carmack magic number in that respect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_inverse_square_root

I've had this idea for some time that our representation of programs is fundamentally broken, because it excludes a detailed characterization of the input space. I took a first stab at a solution with http://akkartik.name/post/tracing-tests, which lets me write all my unit tests at the top level, showing how each piece of functionality augments the space of inputs my program can address. See, for example, https://github.com/akkartik/wart/blob/3039fe6d03/literate/02.... I suspect reading other people's 'code' could be an order of magnitude easier and more convenient if 'code' included the right information. I'm still working to flesh this idea out.

liyanchang 3 days ago 1 reply      
> No way, substantial speedups can really only come from algorithm changes.

I've often found the reverse to be true; that implementation details matter most.

The best fixes tend to be altering my code so that the compiler/cpu can be smarter. In this case, the author hinted the cache. Other times, I've found that looping in a different order helps my cache hit rate. Other times, properly naming variables and not reusing the same name allows the compiler to do smarter things.

Other times, when I've tried a new algorithm, it's slower because of bad constants or I've accidentally messed up the implementation to negate all benefits.

As a complete side note, you need to be careful when using "older" algorithms, ie those published pre-2000. I once implemented, based on a Hoare paper, a doubly linked list for spare matrices, and it was significantly slower then the naive method, simply because CPU cache lines have gotten really good while being able to predict linked list memory locations had not.

nly 3 days ago 2 replies      
I don't think this gain came from pre-fetching anything. The compiler may simply have decided to treat the entire function, or even the entire file, differently because of that one line.

I compiled (x86, GCC 4.8) lazysort.c both with and without the prefetch intrinsic, and there were substantial differences in code surrounding calls in to Python, but no change at all to the guts of the partition or sorting routines.

Regardless of what is responsible, it's not good to leave something like this in your code without really understanding what it did. There may have something else that occurred incidentally from this change, that could have lead you to a better solution.

sp332 3 days ago 2 replies      
There are only two really difficult problems in computer science: naming things, cache invalidation, and off-by-one errors.
Scaevolus 3 days ago 1 reply      
Note that `ob_item[i+3]` could read past the end of the array.
wffurr 3 days ago 1 reply      
>> The moral of the story, at least for me, is that you can occasionally get substantial improvements by understanding what is actually happening under the hood of your application, rather than fundamentally changing your application itself.

Also known as the rule of leaky abstractions, as in all abstractions are leaky.

m_mueller 2 days ago 0 replies      
This sort of thing is why porting naive x86 code to the GPU programming model (scalar programs aka 'kernels' streamed through on the device using a configuration) often results in amazing 15-20x speedup over 6 core, while the expected speedup is only 5-7x. x86 compilers often don't get the pre-fetching right in loops, only using their heuristics, so you have to talk to them. Then you you begin to doubt the compiler more and more, carving out a few percentage points here and there by adding vector intrinsics, loop unrolling and so on. And before you notice, your codebase is now bigger, more complex and more error prone than if you had ported it to GPU from the beginning.

Please note - of course this insight doesn't apply in your case since your algorithm is meant for general purpose usage, not HPC programming meant for systems where you have the hardware under your control. I'm simply urging people where the latter applies to think about whether their algorithms might be suitable for GPU instead - doing lots of prefetch instructions and loop unrolls is a sign of that.

Amadou 3 days ago 0 replies      
Now, I didn't just "know" to prefetch the PyObject three indices forward in the array. I arrived at this value through experimentation.

There is a good chance that 3 is specific to the hardware you tested on. Different systems will have different memory latencies (and NUMA systems can make it even more complicated). It isn't likely that 3 will turn into a pathological case on any other hardware, but it may well end up being less optimal than say 2 or 4.

Someone 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would expect that that magic number 3 is related to the size of a cache line relative to the size of an array element and the time spent in each loop. You will want to prefetch the next cache line so that it is just available by the time you want to start processing it (and, ideally, not a moment earlier because that would push data from the cache that still could be used before the requested data is needed)

A robust implementation should figure out the size of a cache line and the load delay, and derive the magic offset from that.

AznHisoka 3 days ago 3 replies      
I got a 1000 X speedup by removing a sleep(100000) line once. Not as impressive though.
gridspy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice article.

One thing that wasn't clear to me in your explanation is that you're sorting a list of pointers to objects. To sort that list you're comparing two of the objects themselves.

    // follows pointer to access *ob_item[i]    IF_LESS_THAN(ob_item[i], pivot) 
So the point of __builtin_prefetch is to deference this pointer in advance and so avoid the latency of the 12 million reads scattered all over memory. Nice.

Another useful thing to do here is to see if you can find a "streaming operator" to dismiss *ob_item[i] and ob_item[i] from cache after the comparison. They won't be needed again for a while.

Another good article on this optimisation (mentioned by OP)


minimax 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a great post. I guess the idea here is that you can start bringing future objects to be compared up through the cache hierarchy while you are doing the comparison on the current object. If that's the case, then I think the speedup from prefetching will depend on the speed of the comparison which in turn will depend on the type of objects in the collection.

In your post it says you have a collection of 10MM elements but you didn't say what they were. Are they just ints or something else?

Nimi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Funny, I just experimented with __builtin_prefetch this week, and got no speedup. Does anyone know whether the kernel list.h always triggers hardware prefetching when going over a list?

BTW, my case wasn't the problem the kernel maintainers encountered with small lists, detailed here:


temujin 3 days ago 1 reply      
Er, are you aware of the C++ standard library's std::nth_element() function? (Even my "pure C" programs tend to be compiled with g++ to gain access to that and std::sort().)
alextingle 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm pretty sure you could have saved yourself a lot of work by just using profile guided optimisation (PGO). It's mature & ready to go in GCC at least.

(Integrating it into you build process is a little bit more challenging, I admit. I've set it up in a large dev environment used by multiple large projects, and it was well, well worth the effort.)

joosters 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting post! I wonder if the author experimented with different gcc command-line optimisation options as well? gcc might be able to insert some prefetches by itself with some settings?
jheriko 2 days ago 0 replies      
its one of those things... micro optimisation becomes the big one once you do enough algorithm optimisation. even the humble memory copy becomes faster from prefetching and clever use of registers... and actually making the algorithm theoretically worse. :P

also, note that it is possible to remove the magic from your magic number with some thought about latency, the size and alignment of your data etc. fetching a cache line takes a fairly predictable amount of cycles.

opposite to the prefetch is the non temporal read/writes where you don't pollute cache to prevent big one off copies from damaging the performance of other code...

mattholtom 2 days ago 0 replies      
Came expecting http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/The-Speedup-Loop.aspx, was disappointed...
clintonc 3 days ago 0 replies      
I get at least that good with


The craziest date ever salon.com
212 points by architgupta  2 days ago   126 comments top 34
nisa 2 days ago 2 replies      
I did something similar albeit not so cool and without the intent of dating but with a backpack. Hiked and Hitchhiked a few weeks through Europe with a girl. We met through a "looking for hitchhiking partner" forum. It was tremendous fun. We almost had no money and no iSomething but met a lot of nice people and got around very quickly. We also showered and changed clothes every few days. Smelling like shit complicates things. Hitchhiking is far easier if you look and smell "normal".

I remember driving a BMW from the 7 series into the sunset heading to the atlantic ocean in france. I have the credit card of the car owner next to me (for the toll stations) as he is sleeping and we are listening to his favorite french chansons. He was a banker not much older than me. This connected feeling and trust is priceless and I'm really flabbergasted every time it works. There is a longing in the people you meet on your way and a longing in yourself. Nothing beats someone who stops and offers you ride after you were stuck for 6 hours in a godless place surrounded by refuges who are trying to enter great Britain in the back of trucks that cross the border. And you suddenly realize how important that passport in your pocket is. And how lucky and privileged you are and what desperation does to people. I don't know. It changed my perspective on a lot of things.

If you are careful with your money and avoid tourist areas and research cheap spots before going to big cities (more expensive if you don't know where to live on the cheap) you can travel for 4 weeks for 500 to 1000 in western europe using only a tent and a small backpack. In eastern europe it is probably cheaper. We also went to restaurants quite often - so we were quite wasteful.

But if I would do it next year again I'd also take a smartphone with me. There is the great hitchwiki.org and Couchsurfing and other internet services would help me save money and time. This was in 2007.

zaroth 2 days ago 2 replies      
The writing really is fantastic, the story compelling and unique, and the take-away completely expected. How could you not find yourself more focused, more present, more enrapt by the lands and peoples surrounding you, with nothing to distract you but the clothes on your back!

Modern marketing machines aside, I think the human condition really lends itself to exploring the world like this. There must be some base instinct which tends to support a high level of empathy and respect for the courageous and peaceful strangers who throw themselves into a foreign culture like this. Obviously some tribes don't invite strangers so easily, but often the people you think would be most hostile are the ones that welcome you the warmest.

One thing I'm mildly curious about, when asked, did they say they were Canadian? ;-)

Kudos to Clara and Jeff, and thanks for sharing your story with us.

EDIT: For those harping on them carrying an iPhone/iPad, let me just say this; feel free to comment about how your own similar experience was further enhanced by also unplugging. In the meantime, I'm impressed with anyone who can take such a large bet on the chivalry of strangers in a foreign land and come out so much better for it. Personally I think carrying an iPhone is orthogonal, because it's a useful planning and safety tool which does little to dampen the experience a trip like this can bring.

peterwwillis 2 days ago 2 replies      
There's got to be some phrase that describes this. "Travel porn" is the closest I can get to. Wandering through random locales with some meager idea of a lesson learned or an "experience" that might in some way transmogrify your grip on reality. In the end you just end up meeting a lot of strangers and seeing a lot of different places, which doesn't teach you anything other than how to wash your clothes in a sink or how to order a beer when you don't know the language.
brianbreslin 2 days ago 2 replies      
As someone who loves the idea of wandering, but is always apprehensive of truly letting go, I enjoyed the concept of this article. The writing left something to be desired because the author missed the point that we the readers were looking for: did she fall in love with this stranger she met on okcupid? Did traveling without agenda with someone you barely know bring them closer together or further apart? Where is the HUMAN aspect to the story.

More related to the topic: Are there flex-passes still sold for flights, trains, etc (like eurail passes)? Or do security issues prevent basically open ended stand-by flying?

mherdeg 2 days ago 0 replies      
I thought this was a pretty cool story but was a bit bummed that the author didn't disclose the total cost of their trip. It would have been interesting to know how much they spent.
singular 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's a nice idea, but this strikes me as a bit of a puff piece for OkCupid. The fact the name of the site is used and not 'an online dating site' makes me question it.

I am somewhat biased though as I am a bitter + twisted undateable who's had bad experiences with online dating. If these people got something positive out of the experience, then awesome :)

grecy 2 days ago 1 reply      
During my Alaska->Argentina drive I managed a hostel in the Andes in Ecuador for 5 months.

I met all kinds of travelers, including a young lady that had been on the road for six months, with nothing.

Her passport was in her front pocket, and a credit card and ~$20 in the other. Nothing else.

Her clothes were falling off and covered in duct tape and she couldn't remember the last time she showered. It was repulsive.

sergiotapia 2 days ago 2 replies      
I can almost hear the indie music and fixie bike bell ring.
davedx 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hitchhiked from Leh to Manali in northern India with a couple of guys I met while travelling. It was an incredibly liberating, unforgettable experience. The hitchhiking experience gave you a completely different experience of travel: on the way from Manali to Leh I sat clutching my head with altitude sickness as a minibus sped through the Himalayas at breakneck speed, making the journey in 12 hours or so. Whereas on the return trip, I think it took us around a week: we saw so much more of the places along the way, had views across incredible Himalayan plains from standing up in the back of pick up trucks or overlooking chasms from the cab of a lorry while the driver dragged on his cigarette. We stopped off more and talked to more people, explored more, and even did a spot of walking like the authors in the article -- sometimes this is your only option: no vehicles for 3 hours? Start walking!

We had backpacks though... not as hardcore ;)

300bps 2 days ago 2 replies      
There's no story in this article. It is just a chronology of events designed to show off their hipster muscles.
ozh 2 days ago 1 reply      
1) It's a "date" and on every picture they're like 4 meters apart from each others. Hmmkey.

2) Looks too much like an okcupid & instagram linkbait than real stuff.

joosters 2 days ago 6 replies      
Minimalist travel apparently includes an iPhone and an iPad mini these days. So much for getting away from it all!
damon_c 2 days ago 2 replies      
I once travelled through about 8 countries in Asia over two months. I was recently looking at the backpack I had used for that trip and remembered that it was literally half filled with lonely planet/history/language books that must have weighed about 20 lbs. That is hard to imagine these days.
igorgue 2 days ago 3 replies      
If there's an aspect I don't like about myself is that I hate traveling. The whole topic of travel bores me a lot. And really alienates myself from "interesting" conversations.

Just the thought of sleeping somewhere that isn't my place, then carry all things and walking, and having that fear of getting lost all the time is not something I find enjoyable, and lets not forget airports.

I enjoy going out (and I do it a lot) and meeting strangers and I pretty much live in a tourist trap. So it isn't that I'm antisocial.

poissonpie 2 days ago 0 replies      
The no change of clothes angle seems to be overshadowing what I think really made their experience - that of no itinerary. That said, I think people mostly over-pack for holidays/travel. I once had all my luggage stolen at the start of a holiday when camping in France. I ended up buying a jumper and a change of underwear and the rest of the holiday went swimingly :)
Fuxy 2 days ago 3 replies      
There's something weird there that sounds like a very fun way of travel but those pictures seem very cold.

With that body length distance between each other in every picture they don't seem friends at all more like people who happen to be traveling together. What's up with that?

iMark 2 days ago 0 replies      
From the photos it almost appears that this date was brought to you by the films of Wes Anderson.
Osmium 2 days ago 5 replies      
I love how an iPhone was deemed more essential than a change of clothes.
vittore 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't remember original saying but it was something like - "You have as much freedom, as far you can go with weekender bag".This guys are absolutely free, love it.
rpsw 2 days ago 1 reply      
It seems to me a backpack wouldn't decrease mobility by much, and would allow for more comforts such as a change of clothes.
beaker52 2 days ago 2 replies      
I had a girl fly from London to Spain for our second date, the day after our first, whilst I was on holiday with my at-the-time-ex-girlfriend.

Crazy stuff can happen!

altoz 2 days ago 1 reply      
You learn more about yourself going alone.
Apocryphon 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Loves to travel" has to be one of the most clich banalities that people put on their profiles. I guess kudos to these guys for actually living out their interest.
auctiontheory 2 days ago 0 replies      
richardlblair 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hipster hate aside, that was fun to read. You have to admit, you were amused...
evan_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I was going to write an article after visiting 8 countries in Eastern Europe I hope I'd be able to find a better subject than myself.
the_watcher 2 days ago 0 replies      
The travel idea is fascinating to me. Lately I have been really interested in taking a month off work and hitting the Andean countries in South America. Start in Colombia, hit Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile, and Argentina. Brazil and Uruguay if there is time. Adding this to it would give me much more flexibility and encourage me to be spontaneous. I probably wouldn't go as far as they do with no stuff though. I'd bring clothes and my MacBook Air at least.
cheez 2 days ago 2 replies      
Nails every OkCupid cliche.

Not HN material though.

davegardner 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really think they should have taken a towel with them.
coryfklein 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is anyone else curious how much money this cost them, outside of the plane tickets?

I imagine food would get pretty expensive with this strategy. I think the travel expenses (bus, train, etc) would be less than expected because of the hitchhiking though.

mililani 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, don't they say that the litmus test for romantic relationships is travel? Man, they learned how to swim in the deep end.
S4M 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't believe the story, for the simple reason that they should stink a lot after some time in the same clothes.
headgasket 2 days ago 0 replies      
Did they carry a pdf copy of the lonely planet(s) on their ipad mini? How about the hitchhiker's guide, by D. Adams? Just for the mise en abyme, I'm sure there was no time to read...
hiccup 2 days ago 0 replies      
Dude should've brought a condom.
How GitHub No Longer Works zachholman.com
213 points by bado  3 days ago   129 comments top 21
eknkc 3 days ago 3 replies      
I love almost eveything GitHub does, and the way they do them. I'm a GitHub fanboy. There it is.

I had a similar crush on Google, maybe 6-7 years ago, they lost me somewhere on the road.

carbon8 3 days ago 3 replies      
I've found it interesting how many people in the Bay Area, particularly veterans of the 90s boom, discount a lot of the ideas pushed by GitHub and 37signals. Anedotally, one of the common responses whenever I reference either company is, "Yeah, but how big is [GitHub|37signals], really?" It's actually somewhat surprising to me how consistently I've encountered this response (so consistent, it feels as if it was distributed like a political talking point). As mentioned in the slides, publicly announced funding definitely serves as a signal, and I haven't heard anyone say that about GitHub since then, though someone said it to me regarding 37signals within the past few months.

What I think it really has to do with is that GitHub seems to make an effort to hire doers, whereas many companies develop processes to deal with non-doers, eg, having staging servers so non-technical staff can check the work of "their" developers. Remote work also doesn't serve the interests of non-doers, since they want to Have Meetings and Make Decisions.

canistr 3 days ago 4 replies      
I'm always skeptical when companies say they have "no managers" and are a completely flat organization with 100+ employees. I don't pretend to fully understand organizational theory, but I take it that at some point, there will be someone doing the "management" work. Whether that's someone with the title of ninja/hacker/product guy/project manager/director/CEO/BDFL
rschmitty 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Our tech stack shrinks as we age, fewer trendy languages and databases, your product should be cutting edge, not your tech"

I'm glad this was said. I find it hard to quell the excitement about new FOTM language/framework/database in our internal team and always wanting to use the hot new stuff that HN is raving about.

timc3 3 days ago 0 replies      
What I get from these really great presentations presentations/posts/slidehows that Zach creates is that obviously GitHub is an interesting place right now, and Zach has got some really good insight but I can't help feeling that Zach really needs to get some experience with working at few more companies for some of the points he makes. Companies that succeed in different ways, companies that get bought out, companies that fail.

From the outside GitHub is in a really interesting space in that they can dog-food their own product very successfully, they have a huge market and intellectual share, and he writes as if this is the way that all companies could operate - but they simply can't.

For instances some companies have to play safe with what they say and do because they are in regulated industries, some just operate by people that have other values or outlets for their own time. I personally think it's fine if a company that I use has given up blogging or whatever to spend more time on creating a great product, or doing that while enjoying friends and family. I will leave/stop buying when the company no longer creates value for me, not when they stop talking at events or the original founders cash out because some people are born to create new interesting companies but are not suited to the 100+ person growth.

Zach if you are reading this, keep up the good work, but damn your writing is going to be interesting in 10 years time with a few more companies under your belt.

eliben 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice presentation, thanks for sharing!

Favorite quote: "your product should be cutting edge, not your tech"

bronson 3 days ago 5 replies      
Seems like 20% of that slide deck is about chat rooms... GitHub still uses Campfire for chat?

I tried Campfire and Hipchat a couple years ago, neither stuck. Not sure why, maybe poor offline notifications and logging? Or maybe our team didn't have enough timezone overlap or things to chat about? Hard to say.

Is strong chat as important to Github as Zach implies?

wffurr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anybody else made sad by

Open positions:Technical Account Manager

or just me?

Or it's like my company, and they don't bother to list positions for software engineers because they're hiring those all the time.

hobonumber1 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a big fan of Zach Holman's talks and slides. He's a great speaker on these topics. Looking forward to seeing the video up soon.
grandalf 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can't wait to try Github/REDACTED
d0m 3 days ago 1 reply      
Funny, couple days ago I was wondering why zach stopped talking about the github internal.. which I found illuminating and highly entertaining, and then, a couple days later, boom an amazing presentation.

If I may add a question: How do you manage to keep a consistent design across all teams considering that there's no manager and that most teams have different designers?

cenhyperion 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, I'm taking notes on the slide design. Looking forward to the video.
fragmede 2 days ago 0 replies      
So... you guys are relying on a bot on a 3rd party chat system to do live-deploys?

Does that scare the crap out of anyone else?

speg 3 days ago 0 replies      
How GitHub works is one of my favourite slides, looking forward see how things have changed.
jcutrell 3 days ago 2 replies      
Love these talks from Zach Holman.

Brilliant work happening at GitHub, of course. Seeing the rise of the "primarily responsible person" is huge for us in our small company - we've found it's natural to work this way, without a label.

Keep on putting out these fantastic slides, Zach.

willejs 3 days ago 4 replies      
Dear github, please sort out your:- Intermittent angry unicorns- Slow data transfer (150kb/sec?!)- Poor support- Expensive enterprise licence, why don't you host a better service and i will pay for it?
Maro 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was at the talk. It was great. Good job!
lucasnemeth 3 days ago 1 reply      
That guy knows how to make good looking slides.
northisup 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not actually a video.
adamb_ 3 days ago 3 replies      
Please remove "[video]" from the title.

As of right now there's no video (there's a placeholder saying it's coming soon.)

serf 3 days ago 0 replies      
[Video] coming soon.

So.. the topic is wrong?

Microsoft's dystopian pitch for remote work 37signals.com
210 points by ph0rque  2 days ago   145 comments top 27
jmduke 2 days ago 29 replies      
Hypothetical: I get a call from my boss's boss at 7pm asking if I can create a weekly metrics spreadsheet for him for the meeting tomorrow. Because I'm a go-getter and want to help him out, I have three options:

1. Wake up crazy early the next morning and head into the office early.

2. Cancel my evening plans and drive back to the office tonight.

3. Pop open my laptop while waiting for the next round of beers at Von Trapp's and get it done.

David's arguing that the third option is the least conducive to work-life balance. That's cool, but I'd rather have the ability to edit that Excel spreadsheet during happy hour than have to shift my plans around to do it some other time.

(And it sits uneasy with me that 37signals has a book about remote work out and also makes linkbaity, low-content posts like these which blur the line between "signal" and marketing fluff.)

columbo 2 days ago 2 replies      
I struggle with calling this dystopian, even though I partially agree. I think it's great that we push work-life balance, and I believe we should disconnect but I can see where these advertisements might be comforting to some.

Back in the 70's my dad worked in an office and wasn't home until 7:30. He only made it to a handful of sporting events and school events. If you asked him, in the 70's, would he prefer to be in the office making that phone call or be sitting at <insert kid's> <insert event> he would choose the latter without hesitation.

For a more recent example, my sister is in sales and will get phone calls any hour of the day. For her, being able to go out and do things with the occasional 5 minute interruption is an absolute game-changer. Not just answer phone calls, but to bring up the customer information and maybe write a quick email.

ChuckMcM 2 days ago 0 replies      
So it is, as with most things, complicated. Yes, having to work during your kid's soccer game is not great, but having the option makes some things possible.

Clearly there are toxic work situations where "the boss" is always demanding more than is possible and requiring a lot of free "overtime" to get it done. And this technology is an enabler for that type of supervisor, but it isn't the cause of their mismanagement. Bad bosses are bad, they ask you stay late all the time, they ask you to come in and work weekends for this "sprint" they put a spin on it that it is good for the company but at the end of the day they are just trying to maximize productivity at the expense of their employee's work/life balance.

But there are also things that come up, they come up in random time zones far away and sometimes they need you to work at odd hours. At those times, when it is an exception that you're going to be working at an odd time and unexpectedly, it can be convenient that you can do that work on what you have with you (your phone or tablet) than feeling the need to carry around a larger amount of stuff 'just in case.'

That said, I don't know here Microsoft gets their ad agencies but this one and some of the ones poking at Apple are probably not the best way to express their intent. And sometimes a bad advertising pitch is identified by how easily it can be used against the company that funded it.

The rest seems to be 37signals taking advantage of a wonderful "straight line" as comedians would say, and spinning it to their advantage.

csmuk 2 days ago 2 replies      
As someone who just threw his smartphone out of a car this morning due to the stresses of having to work before my contracted hours, they can fuck off.

Waking up to work and going to sleep with work - not for me.

Apologies for the language.

philwelch 2 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft is an enterprise software company and these advertisements are targeted to the bosses who bully people into working nights and weekends from home/bed/the bar/ their kid's soccer game, not to the people who are actually working nights and weekends. The fact that they've gone for brutal realism, if anything, just goes to show they're accepting this fact rather than pretending they are in the business of bringing joy to people's lives.
pionar 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's interesting, DHH has a book to pitch, and he has all these link-baiting, low quality posts that automatically get upvoted because it's DHH. And surprise, they're all about how working remotely is the best situation for everyone. It's not. Just like every other working style/paradigm, it works for some, not for others.
LVB 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was ready to post some counterpoints, but that was before I clicked on the link to the full Microsoft ad. The images are truly awful. An example promoting that during my lunch, while walking in a national park, I should participate in meetings is ridiculous. A guy collapsed in bed clinging to his tablet that's pulsing with new work? Right.
wmeredith 2 days ago 2 replies      
Microsoft has this weird knack for anti-marketing. They did this shit, too, with Windows phone. The launch campaign was basically a bunch of ads saying that using your phone was bad.
consultant23522 2 days ago 1 reply      
For the millionth time. If you're going to tell me you don't trust me to work from home you'd better not be pushing to outsource to India. I mean how can you trust someone on the other side of the planet but you can't trust me 10 miles away?
pfraze 2 days ago 0 replies      
Those images are comically off-putting. The father looks like he's missing his son score a goal because he's on his cell. The guy in happy hour looks like he's awkwardly suffering boredom.
bagosm 2 days ago 0 replies      
First of all remote work is not only for the employee. The startup community should know better that working can also include monitoring, getting up to date on things, and even meetings.

Having a coworker that lives across the globe and needs a quick line edit help shouldn't punish you by means of staying at home OR him to a strict off-hours schedule.

That's all part of the work from home culture and tools.

russell 2 days ago 0 replies      
I find the image of the woman typing away at her computer while her date, boyfriend, husband, coworker even sits attentive to her, to be appallingly rude. Now I am much older than nearly all of you and I grew up when the only electronic distraction was a portable radio. I remember being at a restaurant with a date. She told me that she liked being with me because I paid attention to her and ignored all the people around us. My partner and I have been together for 12 years, but I still pay attention to her like it was out first date.
lotso 2 days ago 0 replies      
Incredible low-content article for how many points it has. Terrible linkbait. It seems more like HN likes to upvote anything anti-Microsoft. If you actually look at Microsoft's ads, they are definitely poking fun at these use-cases, while highlighting that these are actual REAL-WORLD use-cases, that people already actually do.
bjourne 2 days ago 2 replies      
Obviously it is some kind of ironic marketing campaign. The full pr is here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/press/2013/nov13/11-06ge... I don't get it because I'm picturing people that are working 8h in the office and then working during the night thanks to Office 365.
grandalf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Of all the things in the world to get indignant about this poster ranks pretty low in my opinion.
wil421 2 days ago 0 replies      
I get work done during work hours.


aw3c2 2 days ago 0 replies      
OP is abusing HN for affiliate spam. Referer-free link (no endorsement, just battling an [censored]): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CO8D3G4
andyl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Create an enemy. Great marketing DHH.
gress 2 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps they should rebrand it, "Office Eternity".
gordaco 2 days ago 0 replies      
So, the idea is making remote work so unappealing that employees reject it actively?
martin1b 2 days ago 0 replies      
For a second there, I thought DHH turned over a new leaf and wasn't going to drop the f-bomb in a post... wrongo...

That said, I agree fully with his thoughts from an employee perspective. However, MSFT is trying to appeal decision makers who write the check for their software, not the employees.

jezebel6 2 days ago 0 replies      
microsoft's 'get it done' ad campaign reads more like a parody of bad marketing than anything else. The SNL skit almost writes itself.
azernik 2 days ago 0 replies      
Eh, there are also less dystopian versions of this ad. Like the one where someone works on a presentation on the train while going to a customer meeting - more about squeezing out the completely wasted hours than about working during the really rewarding parts of your life.
SubuSS 2 days ago 0 replies      
So everyone supporting this, don't you have on calls in your team? (assuming you work on a live product). Don't you have subject matter expertise split enough that you might be needed when your component conks? Don't you have aggressive targets that your whole team is rushing towards once in a while?

It might be a systemic issue. It might also just be an one off situation. You should fight back if the boss is just being lazy / incompetent, but most of the situations I have seen have been way too deep for the boss / current oncall to handle. You just suck it up and get to work - that's all. The onus is on you to equip your boss to handle it himself.

As always different shades - there are many cases where a set timetable isn't an option. In those cases, I welcome such tools that give me the option to work from anywhere rather than forcing me to drive back to office.

veritas20 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think some are missing the major point. If you are working from every where there is no "life" in the "work-life" balance message that they are trying to convey. "Work anywhere", yes. "Work-life balance", no.
ffrryuu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft is a toxic workplace.
eholder 2 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't that the pitch of everything from Remote desktop to VPN?

From http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/business/benefits.html

>For your business, this means every employee and everyone you work with can be productive from anywhere, using any device with an Internet connection.

>Free your team from cubicles

>Access your work from any device with a web browser your computer, phone or tablet and stay productive even when youre away from the office.

>Need to attend a meeting from your kids soccer game? Edit a spreadsheet while at the airport waiting for a flight? Respond to an email from a hotel business center computer? Google Apps makes it easy to stay connected to projects youre working on and the people you work with, no matter where you are or what device youre using.

Putting Microsoft and dystopian into the headline does get a lot more clicks, upvotes and outrage though.

Two million Raspberry Pi sold raspberrypi.org
207 points by alexandros  14 hours ago   94 comments top 18
Theodores 11 hours ago 8 replies      
One of those two million is sat under my desk, collecting dust. I know a few others that are, and, I wonder what percentage of that 2 million are in the same situation?

Because you need a few bits and bobs to get your pi working there is a major disincentive to complete and finish whatever that hobby project was to be. Hence the situation with my pi - the wait for bits and bobs, a small bout of illness and the initial enthusiasm gone.

I think that the price of those extra bits and bobs is also quite a bit. Sure, everyone has spare power supplies and SD cards knocking around, but maybe not a spare video lead, keyboard, mouse, whatever is needed for the project. Just one of these parts missing from the misc. hardware drawer means a hurdle to getting started.

It is bit like buying a barebones car where you just need to put in a motor, a few seats, a few door panels, oh, and paint it yourself. You would learn a lot about auto engineering, for sure, but, it would cost more than initially expected.

What I would like to see is a raspberry pi that works like a 'hardware virtualbox', networking over USB, power over the same lead so you just plug it into your PC/Mac and you have something right there, ready for whatever web/hardware development needed.

joezydeco 12 hours ago 3 replies      
I'd like to hear a little about the educational successes that RPi may have achieved since launch. That was the goal, right?
whyenot 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I am using two of those two million RPis with camera modules to record pollinators visiting flowers (backpackable; activated by motion; solar powered). I'm still ironing out some kinks with the software, but the quality of footage produce by the camera module, the low power requirements and the flexibility you get with the RPi are really pretty amazing considering the price.
Ihmahr 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I am running two Tor nodes on two raspberries:



A single pi can push about 600 kb/s. This includes a lot of circuit requests and other encryption. Thinking of buying some more.

blisterpeanuts 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I got a Pi and a case and connected it via a USB-to-MIDI cable to my electronic piano, and now I can play and record performances to midi files on the Pi. Really cool. It basically gave my piano a technology update so I don't have to spend hundreds of dollars for one of those newer keyboards with a USB port.

My next mini-project is to build a web app that can run these midi tools and list the performances in a nice UI, so that I can control the piano with a tablet or phone on the wifi network (using something other than an SSH terminal).

I am thinking of getting a couple of other Pi's for webcam use. I had one hooked up to a cam but it kept dying for some reason. Maybe because of the cheap wifi dongle.

It's an amazing little gadget and the sky's the limit on what you can do with it.

melling 12 hours ago 4 replies      
What's the plan for future devices? It would be great if some low cost device like this would have a 12-18 month upgrade cycle and create the sort of buzz as an Apple or Samsung device. Moore's law has benefits at $30 too. Maybe release a $99 version every year then make last year's model available at $35. Get Intel involved? They're really working hard to get into low-power devices.
ck2 12 hours ago 1 reply      
What's great is now you can just pop onto Amazon, order a model B for $40 shipped and have it at your door in 48 hours.
roel_v 8 hours ago 1 reply      
How reliable are they as always-on 'servers' wrt running off an sd card? Doesn't it wear out the card in a few months time if you consider all the writing to /var/log? Anyone had one running for close to the two year's it's been out now?
royjacobs 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I absolutely love how ubiquitous these things have become. They're genuinely useful for a lot of different purposes but, to me personally, I like how eco they are. I realize this sounds a bit eco-hipster, but I really mean it: Whereas people used to have big media center machines under their TVs, you can just pop a Pi underneath your TV, install RaspBMC, and that's all you need. It takes 3-4w, nothing more. Lovely.

Having said that, a 60" TV and surround sound receiver will probably also take a least a few watts, if I had to guesstimate :)

rcarmo 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Too bad that miscellaneous issues prevent them from getting an Android port out -- regardless of RAM and CPU requirements, I've been trying to get a decent accelerated web view going on it since I first got one, and _nothing_ works well enough (Qt5 took forever to stabilise - and still isn't quite there yet, X11 still has no hardware acceleration, there are no browsers that take advantage of Wayland, Firefox OS is still not stable enough, and even the JavaFX preview ships without a web view).

But hey, they can play back video pretty OK, so I eventually settled on a mix of video and live streaming a desktop browser rendered on a normal PC:


Thing is, omxplayer crashes out of the blue for no apparent reason (either halts the player process or locks up the RPi _completely_, on any hardware rev) and have an alarming tendency to corrupt SD cards, so I'm moving to the Beaglebone Black ASAP.

They do make very nice low-power servers (I have one doing AirPrint via CUPS for iOS devices), though, and of course I try out a bunch of things on mine - if it runs quickly enough on a Pi, then it's blisteringly fast on a "normal" machine.

JetSetWilly 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I have found mine very useful. It turned my old USB printer into a fancy-pants wifi printer. It has been running tiny-tiny rss since google reader shutdown. It runs an irc bouncer for me. It runs a dyndns updater for me much better than my buggy router.

It would also run an rss-full-article-fetcher process I wrote but it turns out to be impossible-mission to get ghc to compile or cross-compile anything for arm.

I've found it really useful for lots of low-power bandaid solutions to various problems I have had.

cabbeer 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Would I notice any performance gain from using a cheap pc over a pi for something like BT sync?

The Pi's processor is equivalent to a 300MHz Pentium 2, and that's kinds scary.

dil8 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I just got mine on the weekend! I have it set as a home theater PC with Rasbmc, so far I am absolutely loving it.
middleclick 11 hours ago 7 replies      
I would love to get a Raspberry Pi but I don't know what I would like to do with it. Suggestions?
atmosx 10 hours ago 1 reply      
A website to buy second hand Pi in bulk might work.
source99 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Who is buying these? 2 Million is way above hobbiest usage.
thearn4 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Great little boards, I use these as mini portable file servers/Git hosts in my lab.
mtgx 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder when they plan to make one based on Cortex A53/ARMv8. I assume sometime in 2015, to get it a little cheaper?
Why Do Companies Still Use Microsoft Windows For Displays? shkspr.mobi
194 points by edent  1 day ago   154 comments top 57
terhechte 1 day ago 7 replies      
I've worked for quite some time in the digital display industry, at a company which has a very feature rich, Mac OS X based digital signage solution [1] with high profile customers such as Mercedes-Benz, or Disney. Since the company is small, it is easy to be part of all steps of the process, including marketing and sales. I learned a lot about B2B buying behaviour while I worked for this company.

We oftentimes ran into the situation where a potential customer really liked our solution, but wanted to run Windows instead of Mac OS X (this was arguably a lot tougher in 2005 when we started, and less so after the iPhone hit). There were a variety of reasons for this:

- Windows was the OS that the company was also using for employee machines, so they knew it.

- The IT department only wanted Windows machines on their network (our grand solution for this was that our machines were sold with direct support and did not need to run on the customers network, which also removed a lot of security pain)

- The customer was afraid of Mac OS X because they thought it would not be stable enough

But most importantly, it came down to simple risk aversion. The employee at a big company that was internally responsible for the 'digital signage' project, would base every decision on which choice would be less risky for his carreer in case the project fails. Lets say they roll out digital signage, and it costs a lot of money, and it doesn't work right. In that case, the employee needs to be able to defend himself against all sorts of questions: "Why was this product chosen", "Why was this vendor chosen", "Why was it implemented in this way", etc. In that case, being able to answer "We choose Windows, because it is the de facto standard" is better for the career than having to say "It seemed to be a stable product". Out of this reason alone, we found companies would choose a solution where they knew that it was far worse (less stable, less flexible, less features) simply because on paper it looked less risky.

[1] http://www.videro.com/

sillysaurus2 1 day ago 5 replies      
Because .NET makes it very easy for average developers to write GUI programs, and Visual Studio is what they use to write them.

In theory, this developer could just use Mono to run his .NET app on Linux. But that requires them to learn how to do that. Personally, I've never found a clear tutorial on how to take a .NET GUI app that you've just written in Visual Studio and get it running on Mono. I haven't looked in several years, so I thought I'd give it a try right now. I googled "visual studio mono" and these were the top 3 results:




None of those are clear at all. The second page links to this screencast: http://www.mfconsulting.com/product/prj2make-sharp/tutorial/...

which illustrates how to use this thing with Visual Studio 2003(!) and demonstrates part of the problem: the Mono version of the app looks noticeably different from the native Windows version. Sure, this can probably be fixed, but it's yet another issue that the dev has to spend time learning how to hack around.

This situation results in substantial cognitive overhead. It's unlikely that an average .NET dev will be able to go into work, install this Mono plugin, compile their app using it, and present to their coworkers, "Look! We don't have to change our process at all, and we can deploy our app on the latest Ubuntu with a minimum of hassle."

It's hard to imagine how wonderful it is to build .NET apps compared to dealing with Qt, because Visual Studio's GUI designer is just so good. Suffice to say, there are a lot of network effects that keep a developer mentally locked into Visual Studio's paradigm of "here's how you make this GUI form;" a paradigm which is immensely difficult for Linux to support natively.

I think it's a mistake for Linux to even try to support this, though, because it's probably focusing on the wrong problem. The way to beat Microsoft is to make it so easy to write cross platform business apps that newer generations never even bother figuring out how to install Visual Studio. I think the web browser will be that solution within the next decade. It's not quite there yet -- it's way easier to get a GUI workflow up and running using VS's designer -- but it seems inevitable. So if you share the author's concerns, then the best course of action is to write some quality tutorials for your web frameworks, and to invent easier frameworks. The advantages of the web will naturally outweigh any possible native program advantage.

UnoriginalGuy 1 day ago 2 replies      
Last year I was on an aircraft watching the IFE, then it froze, I got a kernel panic, then it restarted, I was left looking at a Linux logo then the init output before being thrown back into the IFE interface.

My point is that no general purpose OS is immune from fault. All you can really do is remove or disable things which aren't absolutely needed to get your work done. In this case they should have disabled Windows explorer (which, by the way, is supported) or used one of the specialized cut-down versions of Windows (e.g. Windows Embedded 8).

PS - Although I will readily admit that Microsoft makes it insanely hard to licence Windows Embedded, particularly for SMBs. But Microsoft's licensing is far harder than it needs to be across the board, they have an old-mode mindset where they can charge more if they make the whole process harder.

joosters 1 day ago 3 replies      
Because the hardware support is good.

Because the licensing costs are pretty small compared to the project costs.

Because there is plenty of tech support available.

Because Windows flash support is good.

Because there are plenty of developers who will customize it for you.

Because it is easy to add to the existing networking systems being used.

There are plenty of reasons to choose Windows for this kind of thing. why is the article even complaining that the OS is old? No need for cutting-edge here. (EDIT: Oops, that was in the comments section)

(LOL at the mouse jiggler software though!)

zdw 1 day ago 5 replies      
People use what they know. Given a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

If you work in IT for any length of time, you come across people who use Excel as a text combiner to parse tabular text in ways similar to how a regex could, or have similar convoluted workarounds for any number of tasks.

In some ways, these are quite clever hacks.

In other ways, it's kind of sad as it obviously shows how badly GUI-centric "It's a fancy typewriter" attitudes toward computers have ruined generations of users by giving them substandard tools which they barely can make work for an automation task.

I'd love to see a "Signs in Stores-ix" as much as the next guy... but most people who do this are probably designers or businesspeople whose computer worldview doesn't extend behind Photoshop and Powerpoint. And thus, that's what was mandated on the displays...

radicalbyte 1 day ago 1 reply      
The total cost of using Windows is (probably) lower than using Linux. These displays are often custom work - building something like that is a couple of days work for a WPF or Flash (/Air) developer. The vast majority of those use Windows. And I've not even touched on the administration costs..

To be honest I'm more concerned when I see ATMs running Windows 98; at least these advertising displays can't do any real damage...

jballanc 1 day ago 2 replies      
A quick Google search of the phrase "build an animated display" with one of the following strings appended to the end reveals the answer, I should think:

"raspberry pi" -- 1,060,000 results

"linux" -- 4,890,000 results

"os x" -- 6,910,000 results

"windows" -- 32,800,000 results

silverbax88 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love the fact that the author thinks Windows is unsuitable because the people who are using it for displays don't know how to turn off a screensaver, but somehow those same people will magically understand how to run Linux without a hitch.
rwmj 1 day ago 1 reply      
Some ideas:

- The cost of a Windows license is tiny compared to the cost of the hardware and software.

- The cost of installation and maintenance: How much does it cost to pay someone to attach that screen to the wall and run wires around the building to the room containing the server?

- Back in 1995 it probably did make sense to use Windows, since it had wider support for hardware and good developer tools. Now that there is a huge amount of software written in the 90s for Windows, it's going to take a very long time to change that (if ever).

- Windows might actually be better for this even now.

w0rd-driven 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ahh something I can speak to directly.

At my current gig, we use SiteKiosk which locks windows down tight. It uses the IE WebBrowser control via ActiveX/COM/.Net/however the hell it works. Its basically IE but slightly shittier due to there not being a 1:1 between it and IE proper. SiteKiosk has some pretty powerful digital signage features you don't really get from a Windows Embedded scenario. One feature of 8.1 I was looking forward to was "kiosk mode" but with WinRT being blocked from talking to localhost, except through a hack (yes, fuck you Microsoft) it was stillborn for my tastes.

.NET apps are ClickOnce or xbap, which is basically pre-Silverlight. This is the suckiest part. SiteKiosk can run normal applications and Silverlight with no problems but it took SL 5 to get proper COM support and it isn't terribly easy to make your normal .NET library "just work" so that wrapper for a card dispenser isn't as easy to leverage. Due to the low number of these apps (2), we haven't bothered migrating away from shitty xbap.

The largest amount of applications use typical wamp running a lightweight PHP framework and sometimes MySQL as localhost. Some are completely or partially Flash driven applications as well.

SiteKiosk and leveraging IE lets us focus on perfecting the experience though I've become complacent. IE development is just too slow now and testing in Chrome with superior dev tools are absolutely essential. The problem there is we can easily paint ourselves into a Chrome-only corner if we aren't careful.

Leveraging the POS equipment like barcode readers, card dispensers, or printers are the only thing the web proper isn't really suited for unfortunately. This may be where Windows has much more leverage due to their driver model. Most equipment we interfaced with had a .NET library or simple instructions of use with P/Invoke. I saw very little (<1%) that had anything to do with Linux and in typical fashion wasn't something to simply use via something like PHP or Ruby/Rails. Maybe we chose Windows friendly vendors, though, so take this with a grain of salt.

jsingleton 1 day ago 0 replies      
A lot of these systems are just displaying a web page which makes it very easy to move to Linux. I know a lot of the transport ones are simple static web pages on auto refresh. I built some smarter screens which use AJAX and JavaScript which is less jarring when it updates.

I've changed a set of digital signs from running full screen IE on windows (with very long VGA cables) to chromium on Raspberry Pis. The new system behaves a lot better but there were lots of little things to tweak to get it running well. I wrote a short blog post with all the relevant configuration: https://shutdownscanner.com/Blog/Posts/Raspberry-Pi-Digital-...

A lot of the new TVs are smart and come with a built in android browser so you don't need anything else. We have one of these and run Pis on all the existing dumb TVs.

ChuckMcM 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know the answer to the question, I do know the answer to the question "Why do digital signage vendors use Windows as their host platform?" seems to be so that they can hire unskilled labor. In various embedded forums I see questions about doing digital signage on Android/Linux while exploiting the graphics acceleration of the SoC get met by stony silence (no drivers) or complex installs (blobs + release compatibilty). Its way too much work so these guys get Windows, and all the vendors have Windows drivers and are willing to let you incorporate them into your code and hiring a Windows programmer has a bigger pool to draw upon.

Combine that with customers who want to use Windows tools to configure/upload to their signs and IT folks who are "comfortable" with Windows on their network and voila, mutual lock in.

rangelreale 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm the lead developer in a company that does just digital signage software in Brazil.

Recently we rewrote from stratch our software in Qt so it would run on Linux and Android, even on the Raspberry Pi.

The main barriers we found in Linux adoption were:

- Support staff only knows Windows. This gets worse when screens get installed in remote areas, like we have some screens at Manaus, in the Amazon Forest. There is just no one to support Linux there.

- Flash support state in Linux is unknown. Adobe seems to be discontinuing support for flash in Linux, and flash movies cannot be run on the Raspberry Pi or any ARM device.

- HTML5 is the next target, but even on Windows the embedded webbrowsers are not up to par yet on performance, in Raspberry Pi it is inviable. It cannot replace 100% Flash yet.

- Remote admin support on dynamic IP is great in Windows with Logmein, terrible on other platforms. Yes there's TeamViewer on Linux but it seem not too stable, not to say it looks like to be running emulated. Our customers don't trust it the way they trust Logmein.

That said, we are seeing increased Linux adoptions for some markets. If the Qt5 Blink-based webbrowser is more on par in performance with current desktop browsers, than the adoption may rise a lot.

EDIT: fix newlines

JohnDotAwesome 1 day ago 0 replies      
I worked with an IT department (all windows shop, but not afraid of Linux) who setup large screen high definition tv's around the facility for a request to support digital signage. The department wanted to save money, so they took on a DIY attitude instead of building it themselves.

Well, they know the windows platform and had windows machines lying around. They hooked up PC's to these TV's mounted high up on the wall, either mounted the PC on the TV or put it somewhere that couldn't be seen, and put powerpoint viewer on the PC's.

This might sound like a disaster, but the higher-ups loved it. And it worked quite nicely to my surprise. Windows can easily be configured to start the powerpoint file of your choice in fullscreen mode when the machine starts. Creating the material was as easy making a powerpoint.

So, in the end, the cost of materials and time was minimized because these guys used Windows + Powerpoint for their digital signage. And since they weren't using some buggy piece of custom software, it was fairly stable.

You may not like Windows, but it's a _fine_ computing platform. People get _work done_ with it. Personally, I'll stick with OSX.

justincormack 1 day ago 0 replies      
I did once have a Linux boot screen come up on the Coca-Cola sign at Piccadilly Circus (with two penguins, it was a dual CPU back in the day), after a power cut. Alas I didn't have a camera with me. After that I moved the boot console to a different output. Back in the day when I was in this business flash was the big thing that pushed people to Windows as people wanted to do flash content as thats what Ad agencies could produce.
ericcumbee 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of my responsibilities was to serve as admin for our campuses digital signage system. It used windows based machines. The cost of the Windows OS was trivial compared to the cost of the hardware and the license for the digital signage software. it also helped that if need be these systems could be managed with our existing toolset such as SCCM and remote desktop. and if we needed to do something that the Digital Signage software could not do for special occasions if there was a windows app for it, it was that simple.
tlarkworthy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I bet the whole ecosystem of updating, remotely maintaining, selling an advert and designing an advert on a display in a train station is deeply engrained in windows technologies, and swapping the front is not trivial. I bet everyone knows its shit long term but the cost of migration outweighs the short term fixes (mouse wiggler!). Probably its what the customers want anyway
tmcw 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, Windows-supporting hardware is cheap. Raspberry PIs don't have the processing power to run anything more than basic HTML pages. Finding 'cheap macs' is a losing battle - Apple hardware holds its value. Running Linux on a display-ware system with a fancy video card relies on drivers for that fancy video card, and there aren't any.
duncan_bayne 4 hours ago 0 replies      
At the company I work, we use Windows for an array of monitors running in our network operations centre. The only reason we went with Windows was that the display multiplexer thingy we bought doesn't support Linux.

Our app is entirely web-based, so it was quite possible to choose any reasonably modern OS.


romanovcode 1 day ago 0 replies      
>Why Do Companies Still Use Microsoft Windows For Displays?

Because it's cheaper. All you talk about is license but what about actual work of setting it up and making it work?

Also, you really think that only WinOS kiosk systems are crashing? You really are so ignorant to think that LinuxOS kiosk systems never crash?

stusmall 1 day ago 0 replies      
"When all you have is hammers the whole world starts looking like nails."

Sure as hell not the way I'd do it, but for a non-critical system that really just kind of sits there and doesn't cause any problems when it crashes, why not if they only know Windows desktop dev and are only deploying a few? Use what you know.

kayoone 1 day ago 0 replies      
Honestly, even if it was using Linux, there could be a million ways for the app to crap out and show dubious messages.

Doing it this way was probably the easiest way in the mind of the responsible engineer and i am sure it generally works fine.

That MouseJiggler thing is pretty lame though ;)

rythie 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I wondered this until we did it and then all of the suitable solutions used Windows (we are mostly a Linux house). We didn't want to build our own solution so just used that. We actually just use http://www.cool-screensavers.com/onlinews.html - I'd much prefer a HTML5 or even a flash solution, but I've never found a suitable one.

We've been running the same system for 6 ish years, sometimes people ask us to put powerpoint or videos on the displays, which would be more difficult if it was a Linux system.

The main problem with the displays is not viruses, but rather pop-ups telling you need to do some update or other (like the one shown in the article).

jroseattle 21 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a Windows-based digital display in the grocery near our house. It is perpetually displaying some Windows dialog about the advertising program they have installed has failed/ab-ended in some manner. Seriously, I'm not sure the display has ever worked correctly (I go there a lot.)

However, I watched the crew on a Virgin America flight announce that we had to "reboot" the plane because the entertainment system was frozen. It was, and everyone could see it -- it was Linux-based (not certain which flavor, pretty sure it was Debian-based though.) It had frozen, and all the screens (one for every seat) had a console stuck in some batch job and displaying the output to the screen. Luckily, we were still on the ground, so the reboot wasn't so bad.

But it was alarming. Reboot a Windows-based advertising display? Who cares. Reboot the plane because the Linux-based system is frozen? Quite a bit more alarming.

cyclotron 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm not a fan of Windows, but when I saw this post it reminded me of a picture I took at 30th street station in Philadelphia. I guess this was an attempt to use Linux for an visitor information kiosk.


apaprocki 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just wanted to point out that Microsoft does offer an embedded version of Windows that is supposed to be used for these types of applications so stuff like in the post does not happen. But, due to how extremely annoying it is to configure (properly) and create an image, most users probably skip it and opt for a standard Windows image and all the issues that come with it.
mariusz79 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most of the software dev in the world don't know anything besides one language (either java or vb) and one operating system they encountered right after school. And even when they do - management doesn't.
INTPenis 19 hours ago 0 replies      
My brother works for a digital signage company here in Sweden and combined with my experiences in IT I would say there simply isn't enough competence.

On one hand it scares companies because they think they can't find Linux people when they need them.

On the other hand the universities are crunching out .NET and Java coders who have no ideological reason to use Linux.

Something that could fill the niche here is open software platforms for digital signage. Because the more user friendly Linux gets, the more I'm seeing of it in Enterprise environments. So if only someone could make the Fedora or Ubuntu of digital signage using open source.

seivan 1 day ago 3 replies      
Like anything shitty in tech being used, decisions pulled by non-engineers.
chromanoid 1 day ago 0 replies      
When you don't know why this is, you are either a passionate hobbyist or you don't see reality. Choosing an operating system is nothing you should do for the sake of it. Not everybody is as passionate as you and want to memorize CLI commands. Why do you think Windows and iOS are so successful? Most developers feel like most end users, they don't care as long as it runs and it can be easily operated. And this is a wise attitude.
protomyth 1 day ago 0 replies      
When we bought a display for purely display (Samsung), it came with Microsoft Windows built-in so there was nothing else to buy and we didn't need to mount another device.

Before that, we had a Mac mini in the conference room because we found a nice mount, and now we are just buying TVs and mounting an Apple TV.

tammer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Adding Linux or other OS support to a Windows IT shop requires more than a trivial amount of work and added overhead, especially if security is regulated. It's always cost/benefit.
300bps 1 day ago 0 replies      
Inaccurate title. It should read, "Why Do Companies Still Use Something I Hate?"

Seriously, complaining that an out of disk space error message pops up on signs? I have a Slackware Linux box that has been running for years. Probably ran out of disk space a dozen times since I first installed it so I know from personal experience it's not immune from running out of disk space.

AshleysBrain 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've noticed a lot of ATMs run Windows for the display, and suffer similar problems. It's really quite unnerving to really need to use an ATM, but a Windows XP Start bar is showing with some strangely named programs running...
jamesjguthrie 1 day ago 0 replies      
To me this clearly just looks like a plug for the guy's friend. Hardly an interesting article.
shmerl 18 hours ago 0 replies      
They can build their own custom made kiosk using Mer as a base (and Qt for UI) in a matter of days. The reason they are using Windows is probably inertia and ignorance.
SunboX 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Seen lately on big airport (Frankfurt) in Germany: https://www.dropbox.com/s/50x9xhme7r5tm8e/Foto%2003.10.13%20...
jeffeld 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Windows has had a kiosk mode since at least XP. It's still there in 8.1 (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/hyperyash/archive/2013/10/25/enable-...).

All the benefits of a managed Windiws installation, and suitable for 99.9% of kiosk requirements. Probably.

kaeluka 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've seen presentations being really embarrassing because of windows-updates too.
ksec 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I think most of these would have worked on a Display connected to AppleTV.
kmfrk 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think all the departure table screen I've ever seen have run Windows.

Always wondered what the hell, especially since it doesn't even seem to provide stability.

blahbl4hblahtoo 1 day ago 0 replies      
8.1 allows you to boot into a single metro app... at least the desktop won't interrupt...
informatimago 1 day ago 0 replies      
That said, I have seen panic'ed linux systems on such screens too. But granted, it is easier to run a single program as /bin/init on a linux system than to configure a proprietary OS.
esolyt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, the short answer is they don't know about other operating systems or what an operating system is.
SloughFeg 1 day ago 0 replies      
I noticed a malfunctioning display on the CTA here in Chicago and it was running on chrome. Still on Windows but at least they had the foresight to make it portable.
roryhughes 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would say when they need some displays set up, they don't want to buy in any new computers so they just get the old office PC's which aren't in use anymore.
JIghtuse 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yep, it is pretty common. In Novosibirsk (Russia) such displays installed in subways (metro) and all of them shows some error when I see them. It is weird.
will3942 1 day ago 0 replies      
It gets even worse, an airport's departures time table ran Windows and just showed the desktop, causing me to have to walk to the other end of the terminal to check the Gate number.(source: https://twitter.com/Will3942/status/394915432660234242)
michaelfeathers 1 day ago 0 replies      
A friend of mine collects photos of monitor and advertising display fails in airports. He's been doing it for years and he has a large collection. I think that over 95% are Windows.
qas1981 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think its really about lowering barriers to entry. The more people that understand how to operate a system decreases risk. Plenty of people understand Window OS and how to run an application. With this knowledge everyone just can be an expert on how to operate the displays.
aviraldg 1 day ago 0 replies      
For the same reasons why companies still use Microsoft Windows.
shdisi 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been talking about this for years:


salient 1 day ago 0 replies      
Because unfortunately, most of these companies are clueless about technology, and buy from whoever comes to them through the door, pitching them about how awesome it would be to buy some thousand dollar/unit such displays, and have them show info to their customers.
dragontamer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think Linux supports the 18-screen configurations that Windows can support.


mtgx 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why not just use low-cost Android tablets, since those displays only need very basic full screen apps anyway?
AsmMAn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I want to get into real market to see how many unstable is Windows. I really, really want to see that.
Battle-ready Nginx an optimization guide zachorr.com
191 points by funkenstein  15 hours ago   39 comments top 15
tszming 14 hours ago 7 replies      
For anyone who is interested in nginx tuning, please follow the H5BP nginx repo: https://github.com/h5bp/server-configs-nginx, which is very well documented already and still being maintained.
BobVerg 15 hours ago 2 replies      
What purpose of the article if in the documentation at nginx.org/en/docs/ you can find the same?

And, btw, you are giving bad advices. You are wrong here:"By default, nginx sets our keep-alive timeout to 75s (in this config, we drop it down to 10s), which means, without changing the default, we can handle ~14 connections per second. Our config will allow us to handle ~102 users per second."

No, the keepalive connections doesn't limit nginx anyhow. Nginx closes keepalive connections when it reaches connection limit.

"gzip_comp_level sets the compression level on our data. These levesls can be anywhere from 1-9, 9 being the slowest but most compressed. Well set it to 6, which is a good middle ground."

No, it's not "middle ground". It kill performance of your server. With 6 you will get 5-10% better compression, but twice slowness.

"use epoll;"

What's the purpose of this? The docs says: "There is normally no need to specify it explicitly, because nginx will by default use the most efficient method."

"multi_accept tells nginx to accept as many connections as possible after getting a notification about a new connection. If worker_connections is set too low, you may end up flooding your worker connections. "

No, you have completely misunderstood this directive. It isn't related to worker_connections at all.

Volscio 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Also useful for nginx: adding the pagespeed module https://github.com/pagespeed/ngx_pagespeed

"ngx_pagespeed speeds up your site and reduces page load time by automatically applying web performance best practices to pages and associated assets (CSS, JavaScript, images) without requiring you to modify your existing content or workflow."

kbuck 8 hours ago 0 replies      
If you set an application to use more file descriptors than ulimit -n returns, then either the application will be smart and fix its configuration by using MAX(configured limit, ulimit -n) or it'll start dropping requests because it's assuming it's allowed to open more file descriptors.

Increasing an application's maximum file descriptors past ulimit -n is bad advice. The proper way is to increase the limit in /etc/security/limits.conf (note that assigning a limit to * applies it to every user but root, so if you really want to assign a limit to every user, you must assign it to both * and root) and then increase the application's max file descriptors. Restarting the application is usually required, although on newer versions of Linux, changing limits for running processes is possible.

l_perrin 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Good introduction to nginx. However, the guide states: "Keep in mind that the maximum number of clients is also limited by the number of socket connections available on your sytem (~64k)".

This is incorrect. The system can open ~64k connections per [src ip, dst ip] pair. In the case of a webserver listening on just 1 port, it means you can open 64k connections per remote IP, which is why some people can write about how they handle a million connections on a single server.

adwf 8 hours ago 0 replies      
You can also use "sudo service nginx reload" instead of restarting. Helps if it's in use and you don't want to drop any active users.
ElongatedTowel 14 hours ago 0 replies      
"Chances are your OS and nginx can handle more than ulimit -a will report, so well set this high so nginx will never have an issue with too many open files"

If the limit is a hard limit it doesn't really matter what nginx decides to do, does it? I had to increase the limit by hand, outside of nginx.

killercup 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like to add that using [gzip_static][1] might also be a good idea since nginx doesn't have to gzip your files over and over again and you can gzip the files yourself with the highest compression possible (reducing file size).

[1]: http://nginx.org/en/docs/http/ngx_http_gzip_static_module.ht...

rb2e 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I would love to see some before and after in the wild stats using this configuration. Whilst it would be an apples versus oranges comparison, it would at least show that this config works compared to the default. Maybe a Blitz.io rush test?
vvoyer 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I would love to see optimization guides with actual benchmarking.

It's like saying `for(var i=..` is faster than `.forEach` without given any numbers.

Always test for performance, do not blindy follow guides or copy paste configuration files in your web server.

bifrost 10 hours ago 0 replies      
My favorite comment from this whole blog:"(warning, a neckbeard and an operating systems course might be needed to understand everything)"

Thats actually true with a fair amount of what people fiddle around with. I see a lot of tuning advice based on what I can only assume is guessing. I guess this is as good of a "caveat emptor" as anything.

sigzero 8 hours ago 0 replies      
You explain the "what" but not the "why".
sergiotapia 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you for this write up. Out of sheer curiosity since I love benchmark numbers, how many concurrent users do you think this config can handle?
ericclemmons 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish I could find a guide like this for Apache as well. Computing max clients and other options seems like pure guess work and constant failure =/
noqqe 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish i had read these post before my devnull-as-a-Service was on HN.
       cached 18 November 2013 05:11:02 GMT