hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    10 Jan 2014 Best
home   ask   best   4 years ago   
1
Light Table is now open source chris-granger.com
1121 points by endianswap  1 day ago   374 comments top 54
1
davexunit 1 day ago 23 replies      
Not only is it open source, it's free software! I am very pleasantly surprised to see that the GNU GPLv3 license has been chosen. I've been harsh on Light Table because the source was nonfree and the promise to "open source" it eventually didn't look promising or community-friendly. I expected a permissive license or an open-core strategy to monetize proprietary components and not be friendly with the free software community, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. I look forward to seeing where development goes.

Happy hacking, Light Table devs.

2
frik 1 day ago 2 replies      
So technically LightTable is a web app coded in ClojureScript, HTML and CSS running in Chromium Embedded Framework (C++ application) [1] with a child Node.js background process.

[1] Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF): http://code.google.com/p/chromiumembedded/

Edit:

the main author explained his decision to use Chromium here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/light-table-discussi...

He is using node-webkit: https://github.com/rogerwang/node-webkit

apparently, it doesn't use CEF anymore: https://github.com/rogerwang/node-webkit/issues/1406

Valve's Steam and Adobe continue to use CEF for their web based desktop apps: https://github.com/adobe/brackets/wiki/CEF3-vs.-Chromium-Con...

3
jbondeson 1 day ago 1 reply      
As a backer I'm really happy that it's now open source.

As a user I'm a bit concerned by this phrase '"plugin" is a bit of a misnomer - they are capable of fundamentally redefining in or adding anything to Light Table.' I understand that the dynamic nature of clojure makes this possible, but I'm reminded of all the issues monkey-patching causes. I would hate to spend hours diagnosing plug-in interactions.

4
wbond 1 day ago 2 replies      
I understand the reason for picking GPL for the editor. The, rather large, downside I see to this is that effectively all plugins are now GPL, correct?

I run a small side business sell packages for Sublime Text and considered the concept of something similar for Light Table. While you certainly can sell GPL software, you can not prevent redistribution, so you effectively get into the business of providing support. I can't foresee being able to run a small support business without catering only to the enterprise. And even then "small" would be a relative term.

5
dangayle 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone else not want to read any of this comment thread because the first thing you see is how it descends into a discussion of the GPL? Please, it's like politics and religion. Is it possible to just talk about the software itself? I'm sure there are some great comments hidden in there, but I'm not willing to slog through the mess to find them.

In other news, I downloaded Light Table and I'm willing to give it a shot.

6
robterrell 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hey Chris: "auto-complete is not wickedly fast" -- either there's a typo in the middle, or that's an impressively honest self-assessment.
7
sandover 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well Chris, the legal eagles here on the Lawyer News site are giving you a good response so far.

I'd suggest you also submit this piece to Hacker News, and see what they make of it. I mean in terms of the actual, you know, software that you wrote.

8
jessepollak 1 day ago 3 replies      
I tried switching to LightTable from SublimeText 2 a couple months ago for javascript development, but was too confused and eventually gave up.

That said, the feature set seems very intriguing and I'm tempted to give it another shot (especially with all this news).

Does anyone have any thoughts on (or know of someone who's written about) making the transition to Light Table?

9
epenn 1 day ago 2 replies      
I love Light Table. I just wish there was a text-only mode/version too (even if it's somewhat limited) that I could use when I'm doing development via ssh on other machines, which accounts for a large portion of what I do. If that pops up sometime it would likely become my primary editor pretty quickly.
10
chetanahuja 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd never heard of light table before this. Came here to see what other devs thought of it. Found furious discussion about open source licenses instead. Feels like usenet in 1995.
11
joshuafcole 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been working with LT for a bit over a month now by picking at it through the dev inspector and grepping over the compiled cljs source. I've used that to build two plugins in JS [1][2] to help LT meet my needs as a day to day editor. The biggest takeaway I had is that an editor built on the DOM is a _very_ natural experience to work with. I come from a heavily emacs background and was always fond of its extensibility, but I found it fairly imposing to try and create or update nontrivial UI functionality. The usage of HTML and CSS greatly streamlines that process and makes it feel much more accessible.

Perhaps more importantly, not trying to restrict plugins to using a particular API has opened LT to integration with the tons of projects already built for the web -- from terminal emulators to emmet.io, integration is very nearly as simple as including the project's source and embedding it's root element into a tab. There's a lot of low hanging fruit at this stage in the game, so I look forward to seeing rapid plugin development in the coming weeks.

[1] Claire - Fuzzy File Finder inspired by ido-mode in emacs (https://github.com/joshuafcole/claire).

[2] Recall - Workspace Persistence Plugin to keep your tabs and tabsets loaded between sessions (https://github.com/joshuafcole/recall).

12
burningion 1 day ago 1 reply      
Awesome work, guys. I've got a quick question. I know there's a way to connect to a remote REPL for Clojure live eval, but is there currently a way to open up a remote Python session for eval?

I'm working on an embedded device with a Python interpreter, and I'd love to be able to run that environment remotely, over ssh with a Python session.

If it doesn't exist, can you steer me to a place to get started building this as a plugin? Thanks!

13
curtis 1 day ago 1 reply      
For those of you wondering what exactly Light Table is, I found this video to be a good introduction: http://vimeo.com/40281991
14
cabbeer 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is great, Light Table is starting to look like the spiritual successor to emacs.
15
Touche 1 day ago 1 reply      
The post is a little unclear, is Light Table going to continue to be developed in the open or is this a code dump?
16
_pmf_ 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm impressed by the performance and start-up time of their JS-based environment; it's ridiculous that it's that fast while a heavily modularized OSGi-bnased Eclipse environment takes an order of magnitude more time to start, in spite of lazy loading of modules.

The font rendering is shitty, tough, but that's probably expected when using OpenGL.

17
belluchan 1 day ago 1 reply      
Cool, but how is this yc-backed company going to make money now? Was this a non-profit investment?
18
muyuu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now that it's GPLv3 I'd like to donate but I haven't found a way.

Any way to donate?

19
unethical_ban 1 day ago 1 reply      
I assume it's an IDE, since there is no information about the product anywhere on the site.
20
loceng 1 day ago 0 replies      
I supported Light Table on Kickstarter, and happy to see updates like these.
21
pdknsk 1 day ago 1 reply      
I had no clue what Light Table is, so I went to the website and found out it's an IDE, but couldn't easily find out what makes it different from editors such as Sublime.

Also on the main website, the background image has a height of just 762px, but stretches to the full height of the browser window. In my case, to 1920px (pivot). Needless to say it makes for an amateurish appearance.

PS. Just from the name, I expected it to be a Lightroom clone.

22
methehack 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is anyone aware of a particular reason that making a ruby plugin would be difficult? Seems like it would be a lot like the python plugin.
23
politician 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I am both happy and kind of annoyed by this announcement. As a backer, I felt that I "paid" for some extra licenses by backing this project based on the reward levels. I did get a T-shirt though.

Anyway, it's better for the community that it's free(ish) though I wish Kickstarter would exercise some control over its reward system, but lesson learned.

24
nilved 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is pretty cool. Does Light Table have plain text configuration that can be stored in git? I would consider an editor that isn't configured that way to be a regression.
25
aigarius 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice announcement, but where is the actual source? The github repo "build instructions" currently tell you to run a script that downloads a binary release from CloudFront, unpacks that and runs whatever was in in it. Sorry, that is not source. Well, at least not complete source. Where is the source for the binaries that are being downloaded and build instructions for them?
26
mbillie1 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very cool! Hopefully this will lead to some more enthusiasts contributing and making this as full-featured and robust an IDE as it has the potential to be. Good job open sourcing this.
27
philliphaydon 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I just downloaded it. Besides creating a file, typing some stuff. I don't understand how it works or what it's meant to do... Quick google search, I can't figure it out... Am I missing something?

The video on the website, I can't even...

So confused :(

28
john2x 1 day ago 1 reply      
Would a terminal interface (maybe as a plugin) be feasible in the future? I'm cursed with Vim, and I'd love to use this as a REPL for development.
29
geertj 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does it need a Java Runtime to run?
30
selmnoo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cool, cool. And it's -free- (GPL'd) too! So happy to hear this. Thank you so much, Chris. Your hard work is heartily appreciated.
31
michaelsbradley 1 day ago 1 reply      
The EPL would have been far preferable to the GPL given that it's not hard to imagine derivative open source projects that would bundle and mix Light Table's source code (or parts of it) with other Clojure/Script projects' source code, the majority of which is published under the EPL.

Unfortunately, the EPL and the GPL don't play nicely together.

32
neon_electro 1 day ago 0 replies      
Will Light Table get OS-specific keyboard shortcuts (Command-based shortcuts on a Mac instead of Ctrl-based ones) in the future? They're probably the biggest reason I'm a fan of Sublime Text.
33
agumonkey 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember a little while ago people being very suspicious about LightTable being open sourced, quoting the fundraising page, doubting about extensibility. Kudos to ibdknox for his creation!
34
atmosx 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I give it a shot under macosx. The CPU goes a little bit crazy on my Air, but since it's an Alpha version might be improved in the future.

Good work though, I like the look and feel.

35
rcarmo 1 day ago 0 replies      
sigh no way to get an ARM build going, though, nor more pointers for doing so with node-webkit. See https://github.com/LightTable/LightTable/issues/703 for more info.

(Build instructions currently consist of dumping part of the current binaries and rebuilding the CLJS bits, which is straightforward but doesn't help much with porting to other archs)

36
Tehnix 1 day ago 0 replies      
Would really like to see Haskell integration (via a plugin?) support for this!
37
yawz 1 day ago 1 reply      
So what do Kickstarter backers think about this? Was open-sourcing Light Table always the plan?
38
josephagoss 1 day ago 4 replies      
I always thought that the best license was the MIT one. Can someone enlighten me as to why choosing GPLv3 is a better choice?
39
nilsimsa 1 day ago 0 replies      
I look at some of the Kickstarter projects I sponsored (mostly hardware and software) and it seems most of them are a year behind schedule. It is nice to see that I'm not the only one bad at estimating project schedules. :)
40
elwell 1 day ago 1 reply      
Source is mostly ClojureScript. Interesting... was expecting jvm Clojure.
41
daGrevis 1 day ago 2 replies      
My comment from earlier today. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7023884

tl;dr It's happening!

42
jalan 1 day ago 1 reply      
The last time I heard about Light Table, the Ruby was not supported. Could someone please clarify which languages are supported, as of this release?

BTW, awesome work Chris, really looking forward to use it.

43
guiomie 1 day ago 1 reply      
This looks interesting, and I always wanted to learn lisp/clojure, but the website doesn't say much on how to use the tool. Anyone with good blog posts about clojure with light table on windows ?
44
Touche 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks like the rest of my day is blown as I read through this source.
45
joshdick 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is great news. I love using Light Table for Clojure development, and it's exciting to know that it's open for contributions now.
46
deevus 18 hours ago 0 replies      
How does "Editor: build file or project" work? Can I create my own build targets?
47
GhostHardware 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is the first time I read about lighttable and I'm glad I did. It looks really sweet. Now all I need is good vim plugin and I think I'm finally set.
48
izietto 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great news! Can't wait to replace SublimeText with this :P
49
elwell 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good timing, right when Clojure is starting to take hold.
50
madlag 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is really exciting news, I am really glad I backed them on KickStarter ! Maybe even a good reason to try to learn Clojure ;-)
51
filipedeschamps 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm dying to checkout the watch feature.
52
storrgie 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is anyone flocking to this over sublime?
53
ciol 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The Windows install instructions listed on the repo didn't work right out of the box for me - the app would just stay the "light table" welcome screen and nothing would happen. Figured out through the nw console that bootstrap.js was missing in core/node_modules/lighttable, and adding that seemed to do the trick. Maybe I did something wrong, though.
54
elyase 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is there going to be an Instarepl for Python?
2
Toshiba says they made a mistake but they still cannot help me site44.com
675 points by barhum  6 days ago   192 comments top 52
1
sergiotapia 6 days ago 5 replies      
You probably aren't familiar with how "guarantees" work here in South America, ugh.

See companies like Samsung and Toshiba have "certified" stores that "take guarantees" but they are not tied by their parent company, they are privately owned stores that just negotiated with the parent company to use their "sticker".

I bought a Phillips shaver and under warranty, the Phillips station wanted me to pay 70% of the cost of a new one, despite being a DoA device.

So while the sticker works as it should in the US and Europe, South America has a god damn wild west scenario. Anything goes, and if you don't like it, buy something else. Yep.

(Source: I live in Bolivia)

3
anigbrowl 6 days ago 3 replies      
Manuel Diaz is the head of Toshiba Sales & Marketing for Latin America: https://plus.google.com/105717227635873644097/about http://www.linkedin.com/pub/manuel-diaz/4/862/644

Make a nice polite blog post with all of your documentation (including your sales receipt) and then send the link to him.

4
x0054 6 days ago 1 reply      
I purchased Toshiba laptop in 2002. Within 3 months the laptop's graphics card failed. Toshiba does not repair their own laptops, rather they send it out to some 3rd party repair center. The repair center took 3 weeks to repairer the laptop. When I came back to pick it up, the laptop started but the screen turned off as soon as I picked it up from the counter. I left it with the relier center. 2 weeks later they called again. This time it worked for a day before dying again. 3rd time they took another 3 weeks to repair. After that it worked for a month and died. I gave up and got a new laptop. Since then I never purchase Toshiba. I don't care how good or bad their products are, their customer service is one of the worst.
5
davidw 6 days ago 2 replies      
I've had good luck with Dells from that point of view. I've bought 3 in the US, and two, at some point in their lifetimes, have needed some love from a technician (bad HD, and a cosmetic problem with a very new laptop that I wanted fixed because I spent quite a bit on it). Despite being very much not in the US anymore, they promptly dispatched people on site (in Innsbruck, Austria, and Padua, Italy) to fix the problems with no questions.

(Edit: by the way, most recent one was one of these - nice dev machine if you like Linux! http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/xps-13-linux/pd )

6
devindotcom 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'm probably with you, but there's not a lot of information here. Where did you buy it? Could it have been from a dealer that wasn't authorized to issue this warranty? If they couldn't agree to it on Toshiba's behalf the contract would be null, right? And what is the problem with the laptop - though that is of course a separate question from that of honoring the warranty.
7
cabinguy 6 days ago 3 replies      
I'm sorry to hear that you are having this problem. After buying/selling 10,000+ used laptops (every brand imaginable) over many years, I personally purchase and recommend only Toshiba laptops. Take it for what it's worth.
8
endgame 6 days ago 0 replies      
After buying a Toshiba Satellite P100-J01 years ago, and having to choose between either sound or ACPI when running GNU/Linux (until a BIOS update came out, and even then I had to patch the DSDT), I'll never buy Toshiba again.

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux-source-2.6.2...

9
mbijon 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'll add another Toshiba support horror-story. It's why I haven't even looked at Toshiba products in 2-3 years:

My work laptop (supplied by employer) was a Toshiba and had a 1-year warranty. After about 10-11 months of using it, the DVD drive stopped working. Toshiba's warranty support was typical ship-to-depot, so IT pulled the drive and sent the laptop off for repairs. I wouldn't ordinarily care about a laptop our for repair, but IT supplied me with a temporary machine that was at least a generation back (ie: slow and heavy).

IT got a message that except that my machine had been received at the depot but heard nothing else for weeks and weeks after. By the time I'd bugged a tech at my company enough to contact them the warranty had lapsed ... and Toshiba refused to service the machine.

Toshiba refused to service it for several more weeks. I finally took over contacting support from the IT tech, and got the machine serviced after a half-dozen (long hold-time) calls. But for the amount of time the IT dept & me spent getting an optical drive fixed our company could have paid for two new machines.

10
nickjamespdx 6 days ago 5 replies      
After a serial number lookup, it appears that this Toshiba laptop's warranty expired in Feb. of 2013.

This is using the s/n in the image: http://bandyt.site44.com/toshiba/garantia2.jpg

Results of the s/n search: (from site: http://support.toshiba.com/warranty)

Model Name:SATELLITE C850DProduct Category:PortableModel-Part Number:PSCBQU-00200FSerial Number:YC307409QRegistration Number:827633Purchase Date:Nov 26, 2012Country Purchased:United StatesComplimentary Phone Support Through:Feb 24, 2013Warranty:Warranty expired! +++Warranty Expiration Date:Nov 26, 2013Primary Service Option:Out of Warranty Service ++http://toshibarepairservices.com

11
kwiens 6 days ago 0 replies      
Toshiba has been aggressive at limiting DIY repairs as well. They sent Tim Hicks a takedown notice forcing him to remove service manuals from his site: http://www.wired.com/opinion/2012/11/cease-and-desist-manual...
12
fuckpig 6 days ago 1 reply      
I haven't since this event:

> In 1987, Tocibai Machine, a subsidiary of Toshiba, was accused of illegally selling CNC milling machines used to produce very quiet submarine propellers to the Soviet Union in violation of the CoCom agreement, an international embargo on certain countries to COMECON countries. The Toshiba-Kongsberg scandal involved a subsidiary of Toshiba and the Norwegian company Kongsberg Vaapenfabrikk. The incident strained relations between the United States and Japan, and resulted in the arrest and prosecution of two senior executives, as well as the imposition of sanctions on the company by both countries.[6] Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania said "What Toshiba and Kongsberg did was ransom the security of the United States for $517 million."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toshiba#1939_to_2000

13
benatkin 6 days ago 3 replies      
Please don't tell me what to do. Every one of Toshiba's major competitors do things that are wrong and fail to own up to them.

It would take a lot more than this to get me to avoid a company as large as Toshiba.

14
sarreph 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is perhaps the best and most tech-influential spot you can gain to advertise an issue you're having with a company/product.

However, I have a sneaking suspicion that nobody at Toshiba visits HN.

15
psibi 6 days ago 1 reply      
Okay, I must say the situation depends.

I bought a Toshiba laptop previously and accidentally lots of water got leaked into it. (was my mistake)

The system didn't reboot at all. They entirely replaced my RAM and other hardware components free of cost. This happened in India. So I guess the situation varies.

16
rmason 6 days ago 0 replies      
When you buy online you need to investigate what happens before you need service. A consumer might not need to go to the effort but for a programmer a good laptop is a tool.

Years ago I bought Dell's and found paying extra for their onsite service was a wise investment. Only needed it for a single machine but they literally came to our office with parts and repaired it. Until I needed it a second time and found they had changed policies and found onsite was in name only.

So when I started buying Toshiba Qosmio's I actually investigated my service options in Michigan. It has paid dividends because whenever I've had a problem I can get on the phone with the company's owner, they turn it around faster than shipping it to Toshiba's depot and keep me informed every step of the way.

17
prehkugler 6 days ago 0 replies      
If you purchased this with a credit card, you may be able to use the card's warranty. Many credit cards come with an extended warranty service and dispute resolution/fraud protection as a customer incentive (in addition to their points/frequent flier miles/whatever). Even if this is not covered under your card's extended warranty, talking with your credit card company may allow you get the charges reversed.
18
deadslow 6 days ago 1 reply      
Yet another bad-after-sale-support story. Why is this on HN? If you go stand at any laptop brand service centre, you'll hear 50 such stories everyday.
19
alanning 5 days ago 0 replies      
This seems like it would be a "truth in advertising" violation. From your pictures, normal recourse looks like binding arbitration but maybe the truth in advertising angle can make it a bigger deal. Especially since someone else pointed out that they have included Latin America in their warranty list for years.
20
vacri 6 days ago 0 replies      
My own Toshiba experience with Australian support is that they wouldn't even talk to you unless you paid them $55. I was after a service manual, not troubleshooting, but I couldn't even get to ask what I wanted unless I paid. There were a couple of other times I needed to ask for trivial things to service clients' laptops, but at $55 per question, sod them.
21
ivanhoe 5 days ago 0 replies      
Oh, yes, Toshiba's support sucks, especially if you live outside US and EU. My Qosmio laptop was constantly overheating in summers, power adapter got broken twice (and on one of those occasions literally started burning, smoking and all melted down), volume control got broken after about 6 months and started randomly changing the sound volume to max (very scary thing since I often leave my laptop playing music when I go to sleep)... and each time I would have to wait for 2-3 weeks for them to "repair" it. And it wasn't cheap at all, I could easily get Apple MBP for that money (which I eventually did)
22
nyar 6 days ago 0 replies      
I like the Toshiba laptop I got.. but the Toshiba Thrive tablet which came out at the same time as Xoom has not received any updates! Xoom is on 4.4, Thrive has been abandoned.
23
arcosdev 5 days ago 2 replies      
Toshiba makes crap. Most Windows-based laptops are. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it still makes more sense to buy a Mac laptop and run Windows on it. Every time a friend or family member asks me what Windows-based laptop to buy, I have to tell them to buy a Mac because of shitty situations like this one.
24
Aaronn 6 days ago 0 replies      
Its back up without CSS
25
etler 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've heard plenty of bad things about Toshiba customer support last time I was looking for a laptop. It's not too hard to find complaints about them.
26
incredimike 6 days ago 1 reply      
Hey man. I can't figure out how to direct message you. I contacted Toshiba via twitter and asked for a comment. They said they would investigate. You may want to contact them directly.

Support says they've passed the matter to "customer service mgmt. Expecting a response on Monday."

These dudes: @ToshibaUSAhelp

27
late2part 6 days ago 0 replies      
2 Thoughts:

1. Bill Clinton might say - "Well, it depends on your definition of Latin America."

2. You should mail the CEO of Toshiba. In fact, you should give us the contact info for the CEO of Toshiba so we can mail him on your behalf.

28
sciguy77 5 days ago 0 replies      
I won a Toshiba in a science competition. Even though it was free it still sucked, they make terrible little machines.
29
undoware 6 days ago 0 replies      
As a Canadian I deplore this apparent policy. I'm not sure why Toshiba has introduced it, but it wouldn't surprise me if there is difficulty warding off warranty fraud under certain legal systems. Like, those legal systems your lawyers don't know. (You fired the international lawyers as a corner-cutting move, remember?)
30
MatthewWilkes 5 days ago 0 replies      
So, I don't know about the north/south american systems, but in the UK when a manufacturer or a store fails to meet their obligations you sue them in small claims court. I've never heard of a company not settling out of court, they don't want a precedent set against them and they don't want to fly their lawyers out to talk about a laptop return for a day.
31
thatthatis 6 days ago 1 reply      
Did you buy from an authorized retailer?
32
dustinbrownman 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sorry this happened to you, buddy. That really sucks. Us United States consumers should be more concerned with the shortcuts and backhanded ways companies deal with customers outside of the States. A company that treats customers badly just because it CAN instead of doing what it SHOULD doesn't deserve our business.
33
danysantiago 6 days ago 0 replies      
I know the feeling! Living in Puerto Rico is a double edge scenario. I might be fully treated as an US customer with all the benefits or they just don't consider us a US Territory. Sometimes we are another country somewhere in the Caribbean, sometimes we get confused with Latin America and then the options for services just becomes close to none.
34
sasv_victim 6 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry you have to face this annoyance!

I had a similar problem with top-end ultrabook from ASUS (13.3" FHD i7 Zenbook Prime with discrete graphics) in 2012.

The ultrabook stopped after 2.5 months (keyboard problem), then after RMA got update that it was a customer induced damage (definitely not, it was an issue many people complained about) requiring replacement of both keyboard and motherboard almost for the price of a new ultrabook. I was really upset and after 6 months of having it in a drawer I sent the ultrabook for an analysis to an independent lab - it turned out only the keyboard module was damaged, motherboard was OK. I ordered a keyboard replacement from asusparts (~$100) and it works till today. Never heard any sorry from ASUS for trying to extract money from me for a "damaged" motherboard.

Having said that, I scratched ASUS off my list for the rest of my life. This happened in Germany. Paradoxically I was just thinking about buying Toshiba Qosmio X70-136 as my DTR but after reading this I will go with some Clevo-based manufacturer like. Thanks!

35
jedmeyers 6 days ago 1 reply      
According to the picture you are going to have to go to arbitration to dispute this. What a bummer.
36
lazyant 6 days ago 1 reply      
try calling Toshiba laptop support for North America and press/ask for a representative in Spanish, they do laptop support for (some?) Latin American countries out of Mississauga, Ontario
37
scottydelta 6 days ago 0 replies      
They are all the same, trust me, I am facing same on my HP laptop, they say that they are not responsible for poor battery backup after 2 months of purchase because I use my laptop excessively!!
38
volune 6 days ago 1 reply      
Latin America is a conceptual region, not a concrete set of countries. They can probably get away with not honoring the warranty in Guatemala because of this ambiguous terminology.
39
jlund3 6 days ago 0 replies      
I've had bad experiences with Toshiba refusing to honor warranties before. After hours on the phone it turned out that the reason they wouldn't help me is because they had recorded my date of birth as the date of purchase and vice versa. Apparently no one there thought it strange that the laptop had been out of warranty for more than two decades... The one manager that did understand the absurdity of the situation still insisted that no one at his call center had the authority to make the obvious correction. Like the OP, I will never buy another Toshiba product, and I tell all my friends the same.
40
dbs 6 days ago 0 replies      
I guess if toshiba lies in the warranty and does not assume its errors, it should also lie in other things. Not a good company to do business with.
41
Fjolsvith 5 days ago 0 replies      
I guess I won't buy toshiba at all now. I will also tell my friends to not buy toshiba.
42
cpncrunch 5 days ago 0 replies      
Website still isn't working...
43
shahzad_76 6 days ago 1 reply      
Site is down due to "excessive usage", couldn't find this in the Google cache either.
44
rhgraysonii 6 days ago 1 reply      
Hey Moneer. Just wanted to say, I miss you buddy! I hope this all gets sorted out. Let me know if I can help you in any way.
45
blizzard 5 days ago 0 replies      
I was about to buy toshiba portege laptop. Now I have changed my mind. Thanks!
46
Aaronn 6 days ago 1 reply      
4 points and the site is down
47
JSno 6 days ago 0 replies      
Now I understand why people came and coming U.S..
48
dmourati 6 days ago 0 replies      
... in Guatemala
49
gwbas1c 5 days ago 0 replies      
Take up the problem with Amazon.
50
petercoolz 6 days ago 0 replies      
i remember back in college my friends would call them shitobas because they broke so often
51
6d0debc071 6 days ago 0 replies      
Called customer service for about 2 hours, they said that they made a mistake in printing the warranty card and that I would have to pay to repair the laptop.

---------------------

Ugg. Too bad for them but I wonder what the small claims court would have to say about it. Contract is what's advertised, not what you secretly thought.

...

Assuming there is an equivalent there, of course.

52
nodata 6 days ago 1 reply      
I don't know why you are posting this on HN. Anyway you have several options:

1. Go to the vendor you bought it through

2. Go to your credit card company

3. Look up the consumer protection laws of your country and use them

3
The Rise and Rise of Television Torture interpretthis.org
501 points by aychedee  2 days ago   282 comments top 37
1
sentenza 2 days ago 12 replies      
There are four lights!

It is a long time since I saw that TNG episode, but I remember it as a respectful treatment of the subject.

Any television series in a modern setting in which characters that are portrayed as "good guys" use torture to achieve their goals is despicable propaganda.

There has been more of that lately.

2
Dove 2 days ago 4 replies      
I don't think it's propaganda. It's a result of the same feedback loop that gives you the morality of soap operas, the absurdity of reality television, the voyeurism of talk shows, historically the extremity of circuses and freak shows: the need to be more attention-grabbing, more extreme, more must-see shocking than the next guy.

It's hardly news that watching that kind of stuff gives you opinions that make you a worse person.

The way I see it, fiction has a dark side and a light side. The dark side normalizes and revels in darkness, to shock and allure the audience. The light side is shocked at the darkness and stands against it, to educate and enlighten the audience.

3
minikites 2 days ago 5 replies      
A similar issue came up when 24 was popular:

http://www.theatlantic.com/daily-dish/archive/2007/06/scalia...

---

"Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?" Judge Scalia challenged his fellow judges. "Say that criminal law is against him? 'You have the right to a jury trial?' Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so.

---

4
jaimebuelta 2 days ago 9 replies      
An interesting point in American fiction in particular, is that, generally it always has the lesson: "violence works" or "violence is the solution". Applying violence to a problem is a pretty common way of solving it. And, of course, a big enough nuclear bomb will fix any problem...

A line like Doctor Who's "everyone lives!" is very difficult to find in an american show.

(It's not that I have a problem with american fiction, I just find it curious)

5
memracom 2 days ago 0 replies      
The TV channels really should buy more Russian TV series and overdub them. The Russians have made tons of movies about the war with fascist Germany (and its aftermath because it did not really end on VE day) and there was a lot of torture used by both the Soviets and the Nazis. But it was often ineffective in that the victims either died without saying anything or they misled their torturers resulting in serious loss to the enemy who believed the info received from torture. And the folks who had real good info knew that they would be tortured, and when they realized that they were about to be captured, they either committed suicide or shouted to their friends to be shot to death.

In other words, anyone who follows the truth of torture use during a historical conflict will realize that it does not work well.

In fact, what worked better was to trick the person into revealing info. These were often set up as complex double and triple bluffs because the folks in charge knew that their prisoner would try to trick them back and therefore they had to outsmart the prisoner. In one case, the Nazis did a complex bluff where they booked up all the port time at three French ports, and all the rail shipping slots between France and Germany. They had two goals. To get a Soviet spy ring to report back with encoded messages containing the names of the three ports so that they could get a foothold in cracking their cipher, and convincing the English (and Soviets) that an invasion was imminent so that they would waste efforts. In fact the plan was to move additional forces to the Eastern front.

In that case the Soviet spies outfoxed the Germans when they learned that all the trains were empty and therefore did not report the port names in code. And this warned the Soviets of a German push coming up in the next few weeks so they were better prepared.

There are a lot of fascinating stories from the Eastern Front waiting for someone to take the trouble to overdub them in English.

6
zavulon 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wrote a blog post about this back in 2005, when Hostel was coming out. It seems that's right about our fascination with torture on TV has started. While I cringe at my writing from 9 years ago, it seems like things have only gotten worse since then.

> With seemingly inevitable theatrical success of 'Hostel' and recent mainstream movies such as 'Passion of the Christ' and 'Sin City' reveling in accurately depicting violence and torture, I started thinking what does that say about our society and what horrors are next in line for the viewers, hungry for more blood and suffering. And then it dawned on me - almost this exact situation was already predicted, in a dystopian 1966 sci-fi story by Robert Silverberg called 'The Pain Peddlers'.

> 'The Pain Peddlers' depicts a scary, bleak and sarcastic view of the future - in the early 00's, television is king. And what brings most money to TV networks is live surgery. In the story, the main character is a TV producer who got a very promising prospect - an old man suffering from gangrene and a family, too broke to take care of the hospital bill. The old man needs to have his leg amputated, and the family agreed to do it on live TV. It's the producer's job to convince the family to have the amputation without anesthesia - for more money, of course. Nothing brings in the viewers quite like real human agony.

> Remembering this story, which I read long time ago, was a very scary experience for me, because... in 1966, when it was written, it was pure fantasy - the notion of something like that actually happening never occurred to Silverberg or his contemporaries. But does it sound that incredible now? With TV viewers getting tired of same-old reality shows and public's growing hunger for violence, how long until a new reality show depicting real surgery appears on, say, HBO? Probably not right away. But I can definitely see something like that happening, not too far away in the future.

7
Touche 2 days ago 2 replies      
Very interesting! I would look at the depiction of torture in Fringe in another light though. X-Files was a cult show that ran on Friday nights (first few seasons) with low expectations. Fringe had high-expectations from the start, had J.J Abrams named attached and (this part is a guess) a more expensive cast. It never did very well in the ratings and was on cancellation watch for most of its existence. It actually did follow the "Monster of the Week" formula more often the first couple of seasons but then started emphasizing the overarching plot more often in the later seasons. The threat of cancellation, I think, explains the use of eye-catching tactics like torture, and how they seemed to retcon the previous season, each season and start an entirely different plot. They never expected to keep going and didn't plan very far in advance.

X-Files had very different constraints which were only relaxed as the years went on and their budget increased. You can actually see the point in season 2 where the show is beginning to become popular enough that they start having better make-up and effects.

8
securingsincity 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think part of this is certainly the mystique of the cowboy cop trope [0]. They'll do anything to get their man, even if the man in the next room thinks they've gone to far. and they get results. And your rogue cop has to be bigger and badder than Harry Callahan and whomever came after.

And then a little of art imitating life, "real people are doing water boarding, the audience needs to see something worse than that"

[0] http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CowboyCop

9
zhaphod 2 days ago 2 replies      
People who coined the term enhanced interrogation should be subjected to the said interrogation. Joking aside, I agree with the overall point the author is making. There is a torture creep in the culture and people are getting insensitive to what it means. Because it feels good to catch the bad guy and do unspeakable things unto him and get the location of the ticking time bomb. What most people don't realize is that torture doesn't work. The person being tortured will give what ever information the torturer is looking for to stop the pain. However, that is an inconvenient fact that people tend to ignore.
10
tehwalrus 2 days ago 2 replies      
I can't help recalling Firefly, where (spoilers) only the worst, most sadistic bad guy (Adelai Niska) tortures people[1]. He does so using any method he can, not to get information but just because he loves to do it. It is obviously also a warning to other people not to annoy him, but this is almost a secondary purpose, at best equal with causing immense pain to his enemies.

This is a reasonably accurate depiction of torture, as far as I understand the science of it, and it's one of the few reasons torture might actually be used (i.e. at the orders of a complete psychopath.) - although Mal Reynolds seems unfeasibly good at resisting it (any evidence that this occasionally happens? I'd be interested to hear.)

[1] You can read about the character here: http://firefly.wikia.com/wiki/Adelai_Niska and you can buy the DVD of the original series here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Firefly-The-Complete-Series-DVD/dp/B... check out, in similar items, the film Serenity, which rounds off the plotlines from the series nicely.)

11
gojomo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I see it as a variant of the 'hedonic treadmill'. So many scenes of extreme behavior, by 'bad guys' and 'good guys', have already been done in filmed/televised entertainment, that audiences are habituated to all the usual situations and nastiness. New works must keep going more extreme, in both what happens and what's shown on-screen (as opposed to suggested), to hold attention.
12
dobbsbob 2 days ago 2 replies      
Torture is pointless since the counter-interrogation method while being tortured is to never admit to anything. Giving any information just invites more torture because if there is a bit of info then there must be more and they will keep torturing you, at least according to the IRA green book. The French wrote about how useless torture is for intel as well when they decided to use it wholesale in the Algerian war. It produced nothing, yet in 2014 this fallacy is still around and we are still doing it.
13
donpdonp 2 days ago 2 replies      
The treatment of torture on TV is important for the reasons OP states. I disagree that torture is becoming more prevalent on TV, though perhaps because I watch less of it. Here are the scenes I can remember from childhood onward.

1. Knight Rider - not exactly torture but Michael was in a contest with someone else to tolerate pain, afterwards it was revealed the other person was not connected to the machine.

2. Star Trek - I can remember Kirk in a reclined chair on the Enterprise, looking up at something that was causing great pain.

2. ST:TNG - The Picard scene is memorable because it affected so many people due to the show's popularity.

3. Firefly - This was particularly well done / graphic because I think Nathan Fillion is very good physical actor.

One of the ways torture affects the lives of ordinary americans is through the Taser. Youtube has some eye-opening examples of tasers being used for the wrong reasons. Its a near impossible line to walk between non-lethal force and pain as coercion.

14
elipsey 2 days ago 1 reply      
This recapitulates many arguments made by Georgetown law's David Luban in the excellent 2005 essay "Liberalism Torture and the Ticking Bomb" which we should all go read right now :)

http://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?ar...

15
michaelochurch 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's why, in the real world, the "good guys" almost never use torture. At least, it's so rare that the likelihood of torture having a good use in one's lifetime can be rounded down to zero.

Torture isn't (despite what many say, wanting to believe that evil never works) completely ineffective at getting information. It gets some signal (and lots of noise) but it's inferior to, and also antagonistic to, more effective forms of interrogation. The world is morally murky, and it's rarely clear who the good and bad guys are, and it's a lot more effective to get someone to warm up to you and your cause. If you cause so much pain to inflict PTSD, you're never going to get someone on your side.

The "ticking time bomb" scenario is laughable when applied to real life. But it also makes one completely wrong assumption: that the torturer often wants the truth. Most who have used torture, throughout history, wanted the opposite.

Torture is very effective at "extracting" a completely distorted or just wrong account (false confessions and accusations) that can be used for political purposes, none good. If you want an exponential growth in the number of convicted witches, torture can do that, as world history has proven.

16
pessimizer 2 days ago 1 reply      
Real torture has been policy for over a decade; no one has been prosecuted for it, and the evidence was intentionally and unashamedly destroyed.

Why shouldn't television reflect reality? Torture isn't wrong or illegal anymore in the US.

17
Bulkington 2 days ago 0 replies      
Police beatings have long been a staple of movies, theatre, literature. In reality, police beatings have been a staple of the exercise of authority since Kubrick's representative ape picked up that bone.

Selection bias: There's always been a generational slant, depending on whether revolutionaries or reactionaries were the more popolarly romantic at the time.

Truth: beatings hurt, and lead to more beatings. Pacificism always fails, except in art/fantasy.

Too lazy, depressed to cite the obvious. Wikipedia search quietly on your own.

(To those disappointed in the moral failings, hypocrisy of US, compared to grade-school patriotic version: Like Babe Ruth's boozing, FDR's disability, JFK's infidelity, polite media just didn't discuss certain unpleasantness. Guess what: it still doesn't. That's what worries me. And I'm the least conspiracy-minded malcontent I know.

18
RankingMember 2 days ago 1 reply      
The GTA5 torture scene with Trevor and the car battery, pliers, etc. was difficult to participate in. If I recall correctly, he at least didn't get anything useful out of him, which would've implied that the ends justified the means.
19
smokey_the_bear 2 days ago 0 replies      
Torture has become so common in tv shows it has become difficult for my husband and I to find anything to watch together anymore. The genres we used to both enjoy are so filled with torture that I can't stand to watch them. He is willing to, but doesn't enjoy those scenes. Are there really a lot of people who want to watch prolonged, gritty torture?
20
blah32497 2 days ago 0 replies      
The very best torture scene I've read or scene was the one in Day of The Jackal - where they torture the legionnaire to divulge the location of the OAS leadership. Putting myself in his shoes, there is no way - no matter the importance of the information - that I wouldn't break.

The main difference between that scene vs. say Babylon 5 or StarTrek is not only the violence (for instance Captain Picard doesn't have electrodes connected to the end of his penis) but the fact the the person being tortured knows for a fact he will be killed after it's all over. There is not psychological game going on: the reason he ultimately divulges information is so that the pain will stop. He wants and begs them to kill him.

I've never seen an equally powerful scene in any movie or book.

21
rayiner 2 days ago 4 replies      
I think the article gets the causality backwards in saying that shows like this "are re-educating and changing attitudes towards this act." Major-network televisions shows are reactive. They're the product of focus groups and market surveys. They are much more likely to reflect trends in culture than to create those trends. They opportunistically take advantage of social trends that already exist.

This is clear if you look at how television lags society as a whole when it comes to other social trends. By the time CBS aired a show with two major gay characters (Will & Grace in 1998), more than a third of Americans already supported gay marriage. This year, "Modern Family" will feature a gay marriage proposal, now that 55% of Americans support marriage equality. Going back further, the networks didn't air an interracial kiss until Star Trek in 1968, a year after the Supreme Court (itself an extremely reactive institution), struck down bans on interracial marriage. As of 2010, more than 1 in 6 new marriages was interracial, but you'd hardly perceive that watching network TV, where interracial relationships are still highly unusual. The Brady Bunch, which ran from 1969-1974, pioneered portraying a blended family on TV, with two previously-divorced parents, but by 1969 divorce was already mainstream and divorce rates were comparable to what they are today (they peaked ~1980). In 1960, when TV was still idealizing stay-at-home mom June Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver, a third of the labor force was women.

Given the track-record of television when it comes to other social trends, I think it's incorrect to say that television is "changing attitudes" towards torture. More likely is that it's reflecting attitudes in society more condoning of torture than they have been in the past.

22
amagumori 2 days ago 2 replies      
it's important to realize that our popular TV shows are full of propaganda. it's subtle stuff, not out-and-out endorsements of political or social positions, but more along the lines of assumptions that are reinforced and left unopened. the purpose of the stuff isn't to change people's minds, but to solidify norms. i can't even count how many times i've seen "set 'em up to knock 'em down" characters - usually in the bad guy role.

there will be a character, usually a bad guy, with a certain ideology that will be delegitimized (usually some sort of anti-status-quo or anti-power thing). sometimes they will portray the character's ideology as good-intentioned, to give an effect of objectivity in the storytelling. but ultimately this character will be shown to be misguided, emotional, immature, or otherwise ideologically inferior to the "good" character. i see this shit a lot in crime and law enforcement-focused shows. i'm sure some people would argue that i'm being hypersensitive and that there's no ulterior motive behind these portrayals, but i can't remember a single time that i've seen an anti-government or "rebellious" character not delegitimized in one of these shows.

yes, it's just a character, but our ideological positions are weighted quite a bit on these "stories" - for many people, more so than facts. many hard-line conservatives would get angry at being called a "liberal", not because of their political differences, but because on some level they embrace a story where liberals are milquetoasty, limp-wristed, privileged turtleneck wearers, and conservatives are hard-working everymen trying to do right by their family. many liberals, for their part, embrace similar but reversed stories about conservatives. sure, maybe if you read hacker news you don't base your political views on stereotypes like this, but these stereotypes do their work by remaining in the back of everyone's mind. for average americans that don't explicitly try to be objective in their political and social positions, these stories actually hold a lot of sway. our TV storytelling enforces and solidifies these sort of stereotypes.

23
atmosx 2 days ago 3 replies      
It's not just torture that's taking place on TV, it's violence in many forms.

When my sister asked me to described breaking bad series, knowing her so well, the first word that came out of my mind without seven thinking was: Violent.

24
mvaliente2001 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ah, do you remember the old good times when Terry Gilliam's Brazil came out, and the idea of a SWAT team destroying your house, imprisoning and killing your husband, all due to a bureaucratic mistake, was a bizarre fantasy of a dystopian and dictatorial future?
25
nickthemagicman 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've been noticing television and media getting more and more brutal over the years.

Batman and Robin have transformed from tights wearing guy's saying holy rusted metal to driving military hum-Vs with gatling guns.

The joker has transformed from a goofy prankster makeup wearing guy to a all out sociopath who slices happy faces into people with knives.

26
pasbesoin 2 days ago 0 replies      
"24" is one of the most brilliant (in its use, if not its composition) and effective pieces of modern/contemporary propaganda that I've seen.

I think it played a significant role in U.S. society's development over during the first decade of this century. Hell, I observed this, first hand, in my friends. When your erstwhile quite liberal and at least mildly "flower child" longtime friend -- who "can't" miss an episode of "24" -- starts telling you that maybe torture is necessary...

I hope Kiefer Sutherland has sleepless nights...

27
radley 2 days ago 1 reply      
The previous articles are about 'Scandal', '24' and 'Homeland' which are torture-filled entertainment. Quite a (linkbait-ish) leap to focus vaguely and exclusively on Fringe.
28
thenomad 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not that sure it's a new trope: '70s British cop shows (The Sweeney, et al) tended to show information being extracted by force, too.

However, it may say some things about the society where it's popular - '70s Britain wasn't a very happy place in some ways.

29
elwell 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think every episode of "24" has at least one instance of torture.
30
sigzero 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Are you not entertained!?" - That is what drives it. People need more and more.
31
InclinedPlane 2 days ago 0 replies      
Casual, unthinking propaganda. And worse, unthinking rationalization for real-world torture.

So often you see the "good guys" being badasses by using torture, brutality, or simply ignoring the rights of suspects. And frequently they are rewarded for it, lauded for it, and there aren't any downsides. The good guys never screw up, the suspected bad guys turn out to be the real bad guys, and so on. All of this has become cliche as storytelling elements in police procedurals, but they give people a very dangerous idea about the value of torture and the non-value of the rights of the accused.

It's so bad that the vast majority of people doing it don't even realize what they're doing, don't realize how much they are propagandizing torture and police brutality.

32
Grue3 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yeah, and videogames cause people to murder. What a load of bullshit.
33
valarauca1 2 days ago 1 reply      
The article is interesting, but what caught my eye more is the possibly spoofed DNSSEC cert.
34
n2j3 2 days ago 0 replies      
Considering the effectiveness of torturing (and whether "they" lie about it) kind of blunts the argument against torture tout court. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed the article.
35
squozzer 2 days ago 0 replies      
The big lie about torture is that it's actually relevant to the matter under pursuit. The government really doesn't care that much about guilt or innocence, once it decides someone needs removing they go about doing it in the most politically expedient manner available.
36
carsongross 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, but who are we to judge?

Who, indeed.

37
Shivetya 2 days ago 1 reply      
I seem to recall in X-Files people just disappeared. The same occurs in many police dramas and even movies with similar settings.

Whats worse, showing torture or off screen killing people? These are not shows about bunnies and unicorns, they are about dangerous, exaggerated or fictional at best, subjects, and will not necessarily portray characters in the best of light.

4
If you move your mouse continually the query may not fail. Do not stop moving microsoft.com
469 points by shawndumas  5 days ago   162 comments top 36
1
zbowling 5 days ago 1 reply      
I had this bug once about 10ish years ago when I was still a windows dev. Creating a 2nd window on a thread with a window already but then pumping it's main loop on a background thread can cause this. If you do that the loops get hooked to each other regardless of the thread pumping it. The child window has to wait until the parent window forwards the event for the second thread to pop it off. A mouse move will send a WM event and keep the child windows loop on the other thread spinning. My WM_TIMER on the child window was stuck as well.

It happened to me because I had a hidden window on the background thread to get WM events for USB disconnect and reconnect messages from the system. The bug report was funny. "Connecting USB data collection probe doesn't work unless the user moves the mouse after connecting." and the follow up bug "Data collection only works when moving the mouse."

2
frik 5 days ago 2 replies      
Excel codebase is very old, most is still in recent versions.

Excel 2010 still relies on WinAPI's Fibers [1] (lightweight threads). In recent years the idea got popular again with Lua's co-routines and GO's goroutines.

So it is manually scheduled by the application, instead of relying on the OS.

In 2014, there is a lot of code in Excel that dates back to Excel 3 (1990). Excel 2010 still relied on the outdated MDI concept [2] that had been introduced with Win 3 and only one Excel instance/main window can run.

One can embed the Excel OLE component in one app [3]. As soon as the component get the focus it replaces the traditional menu bar with the custom drawn "ribbon bar". It looks weird out of place (Win9x style OLE app with ribbon bar). Office apps started with custom drawn UI objects with Office 97. It had these fancy toolbars and a italic window title [4] instead of the boring Win95 look that WinAPI provided.

[1] http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms68... ; http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms68...

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

[3] e.g. using the sample apps that come "Inside OLE 2nd" book.

[4] http://www.cheresources.com/economics.shtml

3
ck2 5 days ago 4 replies      
Can you imagine how crazy you'd think the customer was if you were giving technical support and they insisted they had to do this?
4
elliottcarlson 5 days ago 5 replies      
Whenever I am waiting for something to happen, I tend to move my mouse pointer around in circles on the screen - this always caught peoples attention and I've been asked plenty of times over the years if there was a reason for it. I always joked that it helped make things go faster by making the computer know I was still there and waiting - I guess I wasn't lying.
5
kyberias 5 days ago 4 replies      
This is a 11 year old knowledge base article for a bug in a product (Excel 97) that saw the light in 1997, that is 17 years ago. Yes, the second workaround is kind of hilarious, but let's not draw too many far-fetching conclusions from it. I believe many of us have seen crazier bugs.
6
LinaLauneBaer 5 days ago 2 replies      
This reminds me a bit of how networking works on OS X and iOS (at least if you are using the "standard APIs" the way they are supposed to be used: The networking that is going on is tied to a runloop. Some apps tie the networking stuff to the main run loop. You can see which apps do that by simply opening a context menu in the app somewhere or open a regular menu from the app's main menu. The run loops will be "halted" for as long the menu is open and thus your networking will stop. As soon you dismiss the menu the networking will continue.

At first this may seem totally bullshitty: Imagine a download manager. Do you really want the download to pause every time you open a context menu? Well it turns out it is not such a bad idea in many cases: What if the context menu allows you to cancel the download? If the download were to go on in the background you would have to explicitly take care of that. If you tie the networking callbacks to your main runloop this simply can't happen.

Of course there are also a lot of use cases where you want your networking code to not have anything to do with your main runloop...

7
tszming 5 days ago 3 replies      
>> This problem has been reported when querying an ORACLE 7.3 data source by using the following ODBC drivers. Sqo32_73.dll is manufactured by Oracle Corporation. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding this product's performance or reliability.

Maybe not the fault of Microsoft?

8
runjake 5 days ago 1 reply      
An aside of historical trivia: On an Amiga 1000, you used to be able to wiggle the mouse "too fast" and cause the machine to crash with its infamous "GURU MEDITATION ERROR"[1].

1. http://simhq.com/forum/files/usergals/2013/02/full-4656-5091...

9
dewiz 5 days ago 1 reply      
Internet Explorer (v2 or v3 I can't remember) suffered a similar bug, basically pages would load or load faster if you "gave more cpu" to the thread, by moving your mouse over the window. Noone ever believed me but now I feel a bit less crazy for thinking that worked.
10
PythonicAlpha 5 days ago 1 reply      
Nothing new for Microsoft: There is a reason, they had to drop Office 95 and completely re-implemented it. I guess, the day will come, that the current implementation must be abandoned too.

The trouble with today's computing is: Just to much complexity around (starting from the OS, and that is also valid for Linux, I must say!) and to few really good programmers that make things better (and not worse). I see also in the Linux world to much complexity and to few real professionals.

Real professionals don't try to handle complexity -- they try to minimize it!

11
amasad 5 days ago 0 replies      
How random workarounds are reminds of a joke that made the rounds on the internet more than a decade ago: "If Cars Were Built Like Computers" and the best line is:

> Occasionally for no reason whatsoever, you car would lock the door and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key, and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

12
dmbortz 5 days ago 0 replies      
Many moons ago I had a dual Pentium Pro and had installed Slackware with one of the early linux kernels to include SMP. And, when clicking on a link in mozilla (or it might have been netscape back then), the new website would only be rendered after I jiggled the mouse. I just figured it was some race condition with the SMP kernel that got broken when the PS2 interrupt fired. It went away with some kernel upgrade, but I still jiggle the mouse every now and then in the hopes a page will render faster...
13
harel 5 days ago 1 reply      
This made me laugh out loud in the old school sense of this phrase.
14
stormbrew 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this is just feel-good nonsense for the user or if it's actually because moving the mouse causes the message loop to pump and thus prevents something or other from timing out...
15
stefan_kendall 5 days ago 1 reply      
When I was a kid, Windows ME would hang on startup unless I kept moving the mouse.

My friend's dad, a Math/CS teacher, did not believe me until I showed him.

16
ialex 5 days ago 1 reply      
It still happens, i have seen here in Mexico in the Gov Agency that collects taxes when they send something to print/export pdf's they keep moving the mouse or their progress bar doesn't move at all. But they made this natural i think it is part of the training they receive, maybe some devs there tough it was the only way to get the rid of that bug, JUST KEEP MOVING THE MOUSE!.

Agency url: http://www.sat.gob.mx/sitio_internet/home.asp

17
Aaronneyer 5 days ago 0 replies      
When I was working in my college IT department, I had a computer come in once that was refusing to load things. I started up firefox and nothing was really moving, then I started moving the mouse around and all of a sudden it worked. I took a look at some other things and noticed even the system clock didn't move until I moved the mouse. Never did find out what the cause was, just reimaged it and called it a day.
18
undoware 5 days ago 1 reply      
My pet theory about Microsoft is that worse-is-better provides an overwhelming first-mover advantage, and an even more overwhelming second-mover advantage in the longer term (provided the first mover followed the WiB strategy.) I call this 'technical living-beyond-your-means' (rhymes with 'technical debt'). The flame that burns twice as high burns half as long, yada yada.

Eventually, you will be kicking yourself for not having made it right the first time.

The corollary is that eventually we will all be running Plan 9, so there are probably other factors at play as well, which I will quietly brush under the carpet, like air friction in a high school physics question. ;)

19
heyIdidthat 5 days ago 0 replies      
It may look weird or stupid, but it makes sense to publish it because it actually works.

I don't know what causes this kind of issue but I remember using this workaround at times since windows 95. It somehow prevented freezes of either application or windows from happening.

On the other hand, jiggling the mouse around can also trigger the adverse effect of crashing some other apps under others conditions such as loading screen during games.

20
joelhaasnoot 5 days ago 0 replies      
Coworker had this at a dayjob recently - it involved a full screen Windows Remote Desktop run from a Citrix Remote Desktop, on a bad day run from another remote desktop.If you didn't move the mouse enough: the connection did indeed fail. The connection took 4-5 minutes anyway, so quite annoying.
21
nn3 5 days ago 0 replies      
I don't really understand why people make fun of this. Would you rather they do not provide a workaround for the bug? And yes as every programmer should know, workarounds can be sometimes odd (I did similar things in the past to work around things).

And yes of course providing a bug fix is better, but providing a workaround is always the first step. A workaround is plenty good enough for many people for whom updating is more risk and hassle.

The whole thing reminds me a bit of the classic "known knowns" episode with Rummy where he dared to bring some decision theory into an interview answer ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_are_known_knowns )The reaction to it really showed more about journalists than about the statement.

22
elwell 5 days ago 1 reply      
Oh, so this actually works? How wrong I was all those times I scoffed at people moving their mouse around while waiting for a program.

On a related note: isn't it interesting how this meme (mostly a placebo) traveled to the majority of computer users in a pre-internet age?

23
atmosx 5 days ago 0 replies      
I thought that was a joke... :-/ I don't if it's hilarious or just sad...
24
croisillon 5 days ago 0 replies      
Anybody remembers the same used to happen with youtube? Sometimes you had to keep moving the pointer in order to load the video correctly...
25
ballard 5 days ago 0 replies      
iOS has a similar (some may say the opposite) problem, especially when setting up notification-based APIs and and app which expects a notification to happen within a certain period of time (ie a user needs their location now to complete an action, say a social post with location). Sleeping won't work, nor will waiting on another thread work because there has to be activity on the main thread for the main runloop to execute. What works is looping until timeout by sleeping for a few ms and then running the main thread's run loop explicitly. Gross but it works. Otherwise, the location notifications never arrive. Such is the downside of cooperative multitasking.
26
gionn 5 days ago 1 reply      
I clearly remember old times with Windows 98/ME, where if you keep moving mouse, long-running operations like directory coping would be faster, thanks to CPU power savings not kicking-in.
27
buremba 5 days ago 0 replies      
nice way to say "it's not a bug, it's a feature".
28
Freestyler_3 5 days ago 3 replies      
How does this work? What makes mouse movement relevant to this... this is computers, not magic.
29
yial 5 days ago 0 replies      
I actually had a similar problem installing a copy of windows 2000 years ago - the only way to get the install to complete was to sit there moving the mouse.
30
lampe3 5 days ago 1 reply      
Method4:just turn off the screensaver/standby?
31
danso 5 days ago 0 replies      
So back in the early-mid 90 days of terminals and 24.4K baud modems...I would FTP into a university server to download game demos...and in many cases, in order to get the progressbar moving beyond a slow crawl, I would have to move the mouse around (this was on Windows 95 or something similar)...and the faster I moved it, the faster the download seemed to go. Looking back, I think of it as one of those times when I was just dumb and didn't know how computers worked. But maybe it really was mouse powered...
32
kamimeow 5 days ago 1 reply      
And if you do not have a mouse ? :D
33
LeIrony 5 days ago 0 replies      
Bug ridden horde of elephants...
34
btown 5 days ago 0 replies      
Seems you're a new user - so a healthy tip: Keep those kinds of image macros for Reddit. You'll notice that the upvoted comments here are those that contribute thoughtfully to the discussion.
35
hrish2006 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wth?!
36
maerF0x0 5 days ago 0 replies      
lol! " it may take several minutes "
5
Evernote, the bug-ridden elephant jasonkincaid.net
434 points by ssclafani  5 days ago   245 comments top 84
1
bdwalter 5 days ago 17 replies      
I have been a loyal Evernote premium payer since 2009, and using it even longer. For a long time I recommended it to friends but since have stopped. I have developed some concerns with it over the years.

1. Fear of data loss... it's probably the largest part of my mistrust of all these dang cloud services that want to control/own me or otherwise lock me into their service. I run a 99.999% uptime, extreme scale, SaaS business across multiple active/active data centers, I know exactly what it takes. Its incredibly hard to do, and I don't trust anyone at a rapid growth company to do it right. In the ever constant scheduling battle between features and doing it right, features frequently end up winning, especially in consumer focused SaaS business with meaningless SLAs. My Evernote library is clearly much much more important to me than it will ever be to Evernote. No amount of marketing spin will ever lead me to believe otherwise. This really is my own hangup though. At some point I may just get over this. To their credit, I have only ever lost a few notes in the 4-5 years I have been using the service.

2. Tight lock-in (the cynic in me always says its clearly engineered this way) to the platform, frustrating process to export my notes to another tool. This is a problem across the industry. Everyone playing the lock-in/stickiness game. Portability is key. A simple text export of my notes would go a long way to make me happy. I really dont want html exports of my text notes.

3. Security of their cloud service...frankly, I don't trust anyone and wish I could store my evernote data on my own; self managed; self encrypted; shared storage platform. 2 factor was a nice step in the right direction. Self managed encryption keys is when I will stop whining about it I understand this makes a lot of things hard, and am willing to forgo some features to get this feature.

4. Lack of reasonable support for Linux. Evernote is now the single sole tool keeping me from dumping my Mac and moving to linux... Yup, note-taking is that important to me. I have tried nevernote, everpad and the like, but they are still pretty weak. I understand this isnt Evernotes problem and Linux is a very small market, but its a big deal to me.

5. A frankly lousy text editor. Seriously, I keep expecting this to get better, and it just never quite gets there. And don't get me started on tabs and indenting. I often edit notes in mac textedit and then copy them into evernote. Not because TextEdit is great, but because its predictable and just works. I'm not looking for advanced features here.

6. Strange as this may sound (I may be using the tool wrong), I really hate marking things off my list like at the grocery store. It takes so dang long to mark off a list while pushing a shopping cart and fumbling with a phone. I now print my list out and cross things off with a pen because its so way less frustrating... This may be an edge side use case, but still... the phone apps (both droid and iPhone) are not wonderful.

I fully subscribe to the belief that I am a weirdo, and these are really just my perceptions and random thoughts. I have remained an active, albeit reluctant user, and at this point plan to stay that way for at least a little bit longer. I always used to joke that if evernote, things, and dropbox ever merged, I would happily pay double. These days though, I am looking to support my own stand alone instances of these types of tools without being tied to 3rd party cloudy services so tightly.

2
veidr 5 days ago 5 replies      
As a paying user for years, I've had Evernote lose data many times -- sometimes important, irreplaceable data that I hadn't yet had time to back up elsewhere.

Evernote is some of the very worst software that has ever survived more than a few months on my computer without being deleted. Horrible show-stopping crash/data loss bugs are the norm, and have been increasing steadily as they add feature after feature with apparently no quality control at all.

Fundamentally, the job Evernote does (for me, but I assume also for most users with thousands of notes) is too important to delegate to a halfassed vc-backed startup that flies its engineers economy and has never heard of an integration test.

But replacing it isn't yet possible. It syncs across all platforms I use, does OCR of everything in both Japanese and English, including handwriting and text in photos, works out of the box with all my paper document scanners... There's just nothing else on the market (or if there is, PLEASE TELL ME!!) that does all that.

So Evernote hasn't lost me as a customer, yet. They've seemingly made a spectacular effort to do so, but... Life without Evernote would still be, on balance, more painful than with it.

But life with it is indeed pretty fucking painful, too.

3
GraffitiTim 5 days ago 5 replies      
I've been an avid Evernote user since the beginning (one of the first few thousand users). I use it to record all sorts of ideas, thoughts, notes, reminders, research, and references.

One year ago, my girlfriend was using Evernote (on my suggestion) to write her travel journal on our trip to Southeast Asia. I saw her note sync a bunch of times (the iOS app shows a little blue arrow when it's uploading). But one day she opened it and the note was gone. I contacted support but they couldn't do anything. (They offered her a year of free Premium service and "apologized for the inconvenience".)

Since then, I've stopped recommending it to people because I don't want to feel personally responsible if they lose notes too. I also have a tinge of doubt every time I record important information. My biggest worry is Evernote quietly losing a note, because once I record something in Evernote I typically push it from my internal memory.

On top of that, their iOS app is incredibly slow. When I want to quickly jot an idea down, it's very inconvenient.

I've started using SimpleNote lately, which is far faster, but I don't know to what extent I should trust it to keep my data safely.

4
farnsworth 5 days ago 3 replies      
I remember the day a year and a half ago when I went out apartment hunting in a new town, looking at my notes on apartments in Evernote's Android app. It was a complex note, with lots of text in deep hierarchies of bullet points. At one point I tried to edit it, and after a few visual glitches, the text of the note disappeared. Then it synced, and there was no undo or history option in the app as far as I could tell.

I was able to get the note back by driving back to my hotel, retrieving my laptop where the note was cached, and opening Evernote while offline to ensure it wouldn't sync and wipe out that copy. Pretty frustrating. I've learned some tough lessons about cloud services and free stuff.

5
elbenshira 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a premium Evernote member, but I've also had lots of problems.

The iOS app is slow and clunky. I hate using it. It crashes all the time, especially when I'm trying to take snapshots of a document with many pages (and all previous snapshots simply disappear).

The desktop app is better, but they really could improve the writing experience. Pasting HTML blobs is impossible, and so is formatting my notes the way I want (I use TextExpander for sanity).

Evernote is great when it works, but they really need to fix their stability and bug problems.

6
tempestn 5 days ago 4 replies      
I really hope Evernote's take-away from this is that they need to scale back development on all their auxiliary stuff - hello, food, whatever, as well as all but the most critical feature requests, and focus as much as possible on making the core experience bulletproof. I would _hate_ to have to give up Evernote, but like others here, am extremely apprehensive about the possibility of losing data.

One stop-gap they might be able to implement quickly would be a scale-up of their version control. They could throw money (storage space and bandwidth) at the problem, increasing the number and frequency of revisions stored. Certainly not as good as preventing loss in the first place, but reliable versioning would help minimize catastrophic loss in the meantime, and would still continue to be valuable once things are more stable.

7
lhl 5 days ago 1 reply      
I've been a paying customer almost from the start. Unfortunately, as Evernote has expanded, it's gotten less and less useful for me.

Their web clipper is great, the best around IMO (especially since Clipboard folded), however there's no way to exclude those clipped pages from search, so after using the clipper for a while, searching for just about any phrase is mostly irrelevant results. Ideally it'd be possible to filter by source or have default searches to exclude certain types of content.

Another example of this is that I have a well-curated and geotagged Travel Notebook (this was actually much harder than it should have been since their geocoder is picky and you can't really massage it). I'd love to be able to see these notes on a map, but the "Atlas" map view that Evernote provides doesn't let you filter by notebook (or anything really).

Evernote does a great job of making it fairly painless to capture notes and despite the author's problems, has generally worked well on syncing everything. It's never done a good job for triaging/filing/finding or organizing notes though, and it seems to simply get worse as you use it more (and with each redesign). Evernote seems to want to encourage you to put "everything" into it, but as you do, it becomes harder and harder to get what you need out of it. Honestly, I'm baffled at how the Evernote devs/designers use it.

8
gmu3 5 days ago 1 reply      
This. I'm always particularly annoyed by the tech support when I've tried to submit bug reports. One time I found a reproducible bug in the Chrome Clipper and even offered a possible explanation/solution for what was happening and the person first insisted that it wasn't happening. I couldn't believe he was telling me what wasn't happening on my screen when I was looking right at it. I pay for prime so next requested to be put in contact with a developer to submit a bug report and was denied. Finally like the author they asked me for activity logs which I also refused to fork over because they seemed too personal so instead I just put up with a buggy clipper. I wish they focused less on selling socks and more on the software. [https://www.evernote.com/market/feature/socks?sku=SOCK00106]
9
Alex3917 5 days ago 3 replies      
If you store data in a format that's not future proof, using software that's not open source, then you don't really get to complain when your data disappears. Especially if you're not storing the files locally and making regular backups.
10
temuze 5 days ago 4 replies      
While this post must be pretty distressing for the Evernote team, their response time is pretty impressive! Within a couple hours of this post being published, Phil Libin has already contacted him. See the edit at the end of the post:

"Update: Evernote CEO Phil Libin contacted me and we spoke about the issues described. He apologized, saying the post rings true and that there is a lot of work to be done both on the application and service fronts and that he hopes my impression will be reversed a few months from now."

11
AVTizzle 5 days ago 3 replies      
I think this is a direct consequence of how thinly they're spreading themselves out across multiple platforms. They have a native app for every mobile and computer platform, along with web, plugins for every major browser, and then the other apps - skitch, penultimate, clearly, hello, etc...

It truly is in the face of the "do one thing and do it well" mindset that many other companies subscribe to. It's a shame too, because I love Evernote. I truly do live in it... true to Phil's vision, my mind is thoroughly mapped out throughout my Evernote account.

12
edanm 5 days ago 1 reply      
I also love Evernote, and rely on it for a lot.

But even putting aside these syncing issues, it's a really terribly-designed piece of software There are so many issues with it, UI-wise, that is just bugs the hell out of me. (See note below for an example of a feature designed badly).

Still, Evernote fills a need I have that unfortunately there is no other solution for. And while it's taking a long time, it is gradually improving. So I'm still hoping that, one day, Evernote fulfils its destiny and becomes as amazing as it could be.

Note: Example of a badly deigned feature: tagging support is crazy-bad - you can tag things, and you can even organise tags into a tag hierarchy - except, no you can't, because it's only supported on some platforms. And the "support" for it is purely visual - selecting a "parent" tag doesn't auto-select the child tags, so it is basically no help. So let's go to solution 2, which is to tag things with a prefix, like "History\Middle Ages" and "History\US". But now, their generally awesome tag-completer will be annoying, since it will force you to type "History\" before getting to the point. So lets reverse tag it, like "US (History)". No, that wont' work, since you can search tags by prefix (e.g. search for anything with a tag starting with "History") but not by tag suffix. Even though, through the UI, you can do this, you can't do it with an actual search, so you can't select these tags.

13
aroman 5 days ago 1 reply      
I consider myself an informal evernote evangelist, but honestly, I kind of agree here. The new Safari web clipper is all sorts of buggy (and sometimes messes with websites and navigation).

And yes, the OS X client is quite slow and bulky. And I really don't appreciate not being able to resize the window to half of my screen (1440x900) size.

Hopefully there's an OS X client overhaul on its way?

14
wpietri 5 days ago 3 replies      
Yeah. I lost substantial data in their web client.

All developers know that feeling when using an app: you're dealing with something a little half-assed. Evernote has always had that feel for me. Switching over to something else, preferably based on flat files using something like Markdown, is on my to-do list.

15
ChuckMcM 5 days ago 0 replies      
I totally relate to this note on two levels, one as a user and having Evernote go wacky on me and just flat out lose something it used to have saved, and two as an engineer having worked on systems that were not designed but instead evolved at the hands of people "getting things done."

The latter aspect is the most intriguing because if Evernote is in fact evolving and not designing, they are vulnerable to being out executed by someone with good design principles. I sometimes wish I could look inside their system and see how it is put together, and sometimes I worry about what I mind find there if I did.

16
zmmmmm 5 days ago 0 replies      
Disturbing to see the number of reports of data loss. I am using Evernote heavily for my PhD research. I haven't found another tool that works as well as Evernote for this.

I've never had data loss, but I was very disappointed by my one interaction with Evernote support - a simple bug report, (you cannot select more than one line of text in a bullet list in the Android app), turned into a series of 6 or 7 email interactions asking me to do things that were unrelated to the problem and clearly weren't going to (and didn't) help. It was obvious that no human had bothered to even attempt to reproduce the issue or even read my bug report in any detail. I don't know if they've outsourced their bug report handling to some untrained / unskilled off shore group, but if not they were trying extremely hard to emulate that. I don't like to think about interacting with these people in the event that I have data loss or other kind of bug that actually matters.

17
gritzko 5 days ago 0 replies      
I do lots lots lots of paper notes. I even make my own notebooks according to my system which evolved a lot over past 5 years.

Since 2008, I am making my yearly Evernote migration attempts. So far, Evernote is not any close to the paper notebook + smartphone camera duo. On every account excluding possibly search, it is inconvenient, complex, slow and less reliable.

If core HWR functions of Evernote will be available as an one-button app in my phone (like Camera), that will be a really strong value proposition to me.

Otherwise, the value of notes depends on being within immediate reach (ideal: on the wall, open on the table). Every additional tap, click or wait-one-second halves the value of it.

Navigating a complex unreliable app, paying for it and worrying about privacy/reliability/bugs altogether makes it less than helpful for me, hence a no-go.

18
jonursenbach 5 days ago 10 replies      
I've been meaning to move off of Evernote because their OSX client is just slow as all hell. Are there any alternatives, aside from something like Dropbox? Evernote's OCR implementation was/is really useful.
19
zvrba 5 days ago 2 replies      
Approximately a year and half ago I when I was evaluating Evernote, everybody was speaking warmly of it. Now, a sudden bunch of people arises mentioning rather serious problems.

Has something in Evernote drastically changed over time, or did it just got more users? (= more testing under unenvisioned circumstances)

20
chromejs10 5 days ago 0 replies      
So I've never used Evernote before, but after reading this article I decided to try it out since I know a lot of people who swear buy it. My first time user experience was awful... I immediately started creating test notebooks, test notes, etc just to get a feel for how it worked. Within seconds the app was freezing on me every time I tried to delete something (this was on a brand new iPad Air). I had to either rotate the device or put the app into the background in order to unfreeze it. This is a common scenario and I can't believe there isn't quality control for that. I'm a developer and I understand not having time for edge cases...but freezing on delete? I can repro it 100% of the time
21
contextual 5 days ago 1 reply      
The Evernote app for BlackBerry 10 has never synced without producing an error. This wouldn't bother me so much if I wasn't a Premium member.

I'm open to switching to an Evernote alternative, provided this alternative has an Android app. Android apps are becoming as easy to install on BlackBerry 10 as native BlackBerry apps.

Curious, what are the Evernote alternatives?

22
oe 5 days ago 1 reply      
> they said I should check the App Store release notes, which routinely includes the ambiguous line bug fixes

The trend of putting just "bug fixes" or "performance improvements" into release notes drives me mad. Your users are not stupid. They know what bugs there the app has and will be happy to know if those specific bugs have been fixed.

"Performance improvements" is equally lame. It could mean that you cleaned up some code and now a function call is 0.05 seconds faster without any visible user benefit. Tell us how the app is faster.

HTML5 apps are sometimes sold on the promise of being able to update themselves without going through an app store review, but you would also lose the standard way of delivering release notes unless you build that functionality yourself.

23
Shank 5 days ago 0 replies      
I filed a support ticket over behavior that appeared to be a bug. Specifically, disconnecting a bluetooth keyboard while connected to an Android device in the Evernote editor would delete all bullet indentation instantly.

They confirmed that this should not be happening, and said that they filed a ticket on the internal bug tracker. The bug still exists in the Android version to date, unfixed, even though the solution (overriding the event Android calls when it disconnects a bluetooth keyboard) is somewhat trivial to implement.

Their response: http://puu.sh/69msM.pngMy report: http://puu.sh/69mu1.png

24
ja27 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yep. Lost 3 hours of writing once. No chance of recovery apparently. Now I've learned to not edit existing notes on mobile devices if I can avoid it. Copy the note to a new one and edit that so I have a backup.
25
middleclick 5 days ago 2 replies      
I don't mean to downplay this but seriously, make backups of all data that is important to you. Lots of things can go wrong everywhere and they do go wrong. Maybe it is a sucky app or maybe your own error -- if you have a backup, you don't need to worry.

I know this is no excuse for Evernote's app being at fault, but if something matters this much to you, you should not be trusting anyone or anything and the only way to stay safe is to have backups in multiple places. Might seem like a PITA but it is worth the effort.

26
nedwin 5 days ago 0 replies      
Phil has spoken a lot about building Evernote into a 100 year old company.

Maybe that's why it takes so long to fix some of these issues?

The app is definitely getting better, and Skitch has come along leaps and bounds in the last 3-6 months.

27
k-mcgrady 5 days ago 1 reply      
I use it a lot an don't find it too buggy - but the interface is awful on iOS. They took a decent, simple interface (table view) screwed it up into some new skuomorphic design and then in iOS 7 took that and made it even worse.

Here's a side by side of iOS 6 + 7. They are both terrible imho[1]. The Android app is much more simply designed and much nicer to use[2].

[1] http://cdn1.digitalartsonline.co.uk/cmsdata/slideshow/346956...

[2] https://lh5.ggpht.com/lPMXIRwq4MI1RsWYP5zfTdRwM2czXpK6NhmCo0...

28
michaelcullina 5 days ago 1 reply      
I use OneNote on my Nokia 925 Windows Phone, my Surface Pro, my laptop, and my workstation. All the data is synced in SkyDrive. I've got a lot of data. Global search is instantaneous. The application is extremely reliable. I save cut and paste snippets from the web. Stack Overflow answers with my personal annotations; anything. Images and sound files are extremely easy. I can record a meeting and take a few notes (by typing or using the stylus on the Surface) and later I can search on the string to find the note. If that note was taken 40 minutes into a 60 minute meeting I can click and get the .wav file to play that bit of the meeting. You can use OneNote on the other platforms as described in this article.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2043415

I'm not shilling for the Redmond entity but I always do find it hilarious that a very superior software product can hide in plain view and all the "think different" people can't even see it.

29
victorhooi 5 days ago 0 replies      
I use Evernote as well, mostly for researching o the internet.

However, I've found their Chrome Web Clipper to be remarkably bug-ridden and unreliable.

It's very annoying - as you can queue up a list of pages to clip, and you don't know if it's going to actually clip all of them. So you have to wait, and make sure each one is clipped.

See here for other people's reports on it as well:

http://discussion.evernote.com/topic/43399-clipper-hangs-on-...

If I knew of an cross-platform alternative, I'd seriously look into it.

Any good alternatives for web clipping or research?

30
cturner 5 days ago 0 replies      
If you want the basics of evernote, at the command-line, check out saga. http://songseed.org/unix.html

It's not fancy, but you control your data.

31
capedape 5 days ago 1 reply      
I've been using it since the first month it came out, pay for premium, and used to evangelize it. These days I find myself using Simplenote more and more to avoid the frustration.

Problems I have with Evernote:Conflicing changes peppered throughout notes, but no ability to see what the differences are clearly so I can consolidate all in one.IOS is downright unusable to append to a note or delete anything from a note, and it's mostly just text in all my notes.Errors syncing with remote server on my windows Machine even after uninstall with revo uninstaller and reinstalling.Web based version pinned as a tab in firefox or Chrome sometimes takes a solid 45 seconds to respond on my 2013 Mac.I keep trying to find workarounds or platforms it works well on, but Evernote keeps adding extra features and crippling core functions and no platform seems spared.

I'd like a tool I can smoothly append to a list, seamless sync between platforms, use hyperlinks between notes, and something I can easily access past notes for research purposes. Lack of links in notes, amount of notes in EN, lack of robust search, are only things keeping me from using Simplenote fully.

Thought about Simplenote or clearly for lists, Devonthink for finding relevant notes, though Devonthink is Mac only. Maybe the ultimate solution is a personal wiki, I saw Clive Thompson of Wired mag researching that, so maybe there will be a informative article there soon.

32
tobyjsullivan 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's worth correcting a small point the author makes.

"This strategy is tolerable for a social network or messaging app (Facebook got away with atrociously buggy apps for years)."

But the truth is it wouldn't be tolerable for Facebook to lose photos or posts. The experience can be buggy, sure, but users should and would never tolerate data loss like this.

I suspect the only reason Evernote is surviving this is because relatively few people use audio notes and, so far, text notes work fine-ish. I wouldn't expect that to last.

33
shurcooL 5 days ago 0 replies      
My dad used it for a month (at my recommendation), taking notes from courses he was doing while in the process of looking for a job.

Through absolutely no fault of his own, ended up losing an important part of his notes one day. They were completely gone due to a failed sync with no way to get them back from our end. I tried contacting support, but it wouldn't let me cuz he wasn't a paying member.

Never used it since out of principle.

34
jvagner 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have a lot of valuable data in Evernote and haven't experienced any of the syncing issues described in these threads, but have two significant issues:

1) when you reach a critical amount of notes in the system, the tool itself doesn't offer enough functionality to deal with this and I tend to stop looking for old notes. 2-3 times a year i go in and try to manage all of it, but I feel like a lot of new Evernote development is around creating shiny new toys for new customer bases but not actually iterating the core of the tool itself.

2) i hate the flat green Evernote homescreen on iOS that was introduced in recent versions. in fact, i almost never open it anymore. i enter data on the desktop and will open Evernote on iOS to access 2-3 notes, but searching across notes and folders is confusing.

{snark}

1) I think that Evernote feels like the ACT! or Goldmine contact managers of today... exciting (ahem) productivity apps of yesteryear that gets disrupted hard and suddenly by something out of left field. I can't wait.

2)But, ya know.. at least their physical goods marketplace is bringing them revenue

{/snark}

35
codereflection 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've had a lot of the same issues in the Windows client. one particularly annoying bug is how a simple slip of hitting backspace in the wrong spot can delete an audio recording with no possible way of undoing the operation. I've started using the service less and less over the years to where I barely open it at all anymore, relying on services like git and drop box instead.
36
coldtea 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've used to use Evernote for years, but now I still use it.

Then one day there was an Evernote glitch and all my precious notes, were safe right there in the backup I had taken, because always backup yourself too, no matter how much you trust any app.

Seriously, all apps have glitches. I've been using Evernote for 2+ years and haven't seen any spectacular failure. But even if there was one, I'd still have my backups and I could restore my notes in a couple of hours.

37
jacquesc 5 days ago 0 replies      
The Evernote Mac client feels like I'm ssh'ed into a remote machine. I type and half a second late the text appears.

Seriously sloppy stuff. They need to improve or I need to find something better.

38
ypeterholmes 5 days ago 1 reply      
I had to go find the original version of skitch, built by a different company, because of how badly the Evernote team massacred it. They just seem like a company more interested in high level bullshit than actual user experience.
39
yonasb 5 days ago 0 replies      
Definitely thought some of these issues were just me. My hypothesis is that Evernote gets increasingly unstable the more notes (and data) you have stored. Which sucks because I have over 1200 and I pretty much need Evernote at this point. The desktop app is damn near unusable, takes forever to create a new note.

I no longer trust that they will always have all of my notes, so I started to back them up to Dropbox via the HTML export. But I'm lazy, haven't done it for a while.

Perhaps this is an opportunity for a new company to do what Evernote is doing, better. Automatic backups to Dropbox, lighting fast no matter how many notes stored, reliable and instant syncing, etc.

40
rikkus 5 days ago 0 replies      
Eventually, after it was recommended by so many people, I installed Evernote on Android (on a fast new phone - Sony Xperia Z). I also signed up for 'premium'.

It was so sluggish when scrolling that I couldn't use it.

I contacted support and received this:

"As a valued customer of Evernote, you will receive support within 1 business day."

8 days later, I replied to ask why I hadn't received anything more.

3 days after that, I received a stock reply saying I should reboot and install the latest client.

Of course I had installed the latest client already, and rebooted to see if that helped. I think the app is just slow.

So the app is unusable and customer support don't give you what you pay for. I had simply thought, 'doomed product, will avoid in future' but I thought I'd relay this here seeing as the subject has been broached.

41
habosa 5 days ago 0 replies      
Does anybody know a good way to export Evernote notes to a usable format (not HTML, ideally?)

I really want to move from Evernote to Google Drive, which serves 90% of my uses with a much, much better cloud service and interoperability. Unfortunately, most of my Evernote notes are mixed formatted text and images and I can't find a sane way to export them.

Ironically, even exporting to a .doc would work, since Google and many others are forced to offer MSOffice import capabilities.

42
segphault 5 days ago 0 replies      
I recently had to disable the Evernote clipper extensions in Chrome after discovering that it is breaking web pages after a recent update. I also continue to be incredibly disappointed with the lousy way that Evernote is maintaining Skitch, which has never worked reliably since Evernote's rewrite of the code base.

I'm a paying customer and depend heavily on the service, but I get really frustrated with the poor quality of the software and all of the engineering problems.

I get the sense that Evernote really doesn't care. They know that their audience is effectively locked in and that there aren't any alternatives that do exactly the same thing, so they just don't have an incentive to fix the bugs. I'm still a user, but I've personally stopped recommending Evernote and Skitch to friends.

43
John_W_ 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm also an Evernote premium membership and i am so sick of their service. Asked them an easy question (one of my pictures didn't get OCRd for days) and they answered 3-4 days later with a standard answer: OCR can take some time ..yeah thanks for that, it can (read: should) take like an hour but not days - especially if you are a premium user..

I like the idea of a powerful tool to help organize your life and kind of outsource part of your brain. But i just can't trust them enough and considering their track-record - there is no reason to do so..

I also think its very sad that you seem to have to post online and "endangering" the company through a PR stunt to just get the attention of them. Seen the same thing with companies like T-Mobile where problems seemd unsolvable till a facebook shitstorm threatened to rise.

44
whirlycott1 5 days ago 0 replies      
How do people feel about Springpad? I've only used both casually, but it seems like the power users probably have thoughts or advice.
45
mdavidn 5 days ago 1 reply      
I evaluated Evernote once two years ago. The iOS app crashed as I was appending to a text note. The app lost a half hour of unsaved meeting notes. I never trusted Evernote again. In my mind, a shoddy rich text editor cast serious doubt on the durability of Evernote's distributed revision control.
46
nl 5 days ago 0 replies      
I like Evernote.

But I had trouble logging into the Mac client using my email address (prior to 2 factor author being implemented) and it didn't work. I raised a support request and got this reply

Unfortunately this feature has been disabled and you must sign in with your username instead of the email.

That seems weird and annoying to me.

47
mercer 5 days ago 0 replies      
A few years ago I used some wiki-style tool for Windows to keep track of all my notes. When I switched to a Mac, I couldn't run it anymore. I started using another tool called Journler, and copied all my data over to it. Took me quite a while.

Then Journler was discontinued, and I realized there was no way to export the notes without losing all kinds of metadata.

I briefly considered Evernote, but this time I didn't want the same thing to happen. So instead, I settled for Notational Velocity (NVAlt, specifically), which uses plain text files. The files reside in a dropbox folder, and I use SimpleNote on my iPad and some other app on my Nexus. I can also use a whole bunch of other text-editing tools if they have dropbox support.

While my solution only works for plain text, it's served me well and I'll never be locked into some (buggy) tool again.

48
wellpast 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using Evernote (Win + iPhone) avidly (and reliably) for years -- now at 2000 notes -- and haven't had (or noticed) any of the issues being discussed here. But now I'm nervous!

I'll continue to use Evernote in the way that I have been and do periodic evernote exports of my data to, say, Dropbox. And cross my fingers that this bad press will kick Evernote into working on the reliability of their excellent features and products.

49
robbyking 5 days ago 0 replies      
Off all the dedicated note taking apps available, Dropbox + an iOS Dropbox-compatible text editor has worked best for me. Even if DB were to go down, I'd still have my local synced copies.
50
quinndupont 5 days ago 0 replies      
I hear these comments (and all the HN ones), but my use-case changed a long time ago: Evernote is now (just) my digital "junk drawer". Not high praise really, but it performs this job well. Really important stuff never goes in there, but all the little bits that I would lose otherwise all end up in there, only loosely categorized in a couple of notebooks with a couple dozen tags.
51
natch 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great tour of the problems, but I felt my sympathy with the writer deflate quite a bit when he said that (at one point) he hadn't updated in a while. As a software developer, it's irking to see people bitterly complaining about bugs that were fixed and made available as free updates a long time ago.
52
erichocean 5 days ago 0 replies      
What's ridiculous are sync services without history. Just blowing away data blindly and hoping for the best is beyond stupid.

Sadly, both Evernote and iCloud follow this "strategy". If you've never experience the joy of watching iCloud blow away every contact in your address book during a sync, consider yourself lucky.

53
democracy 5 days ago 0 replies      
Any enterprise that grows to a certain level becomes slow and lame it is a fact you have to accept. Until you are a fat account your bug reports do not matter. I do third level support for my financial client and some very nasty and obvious (and easy to fix!!) issues are coming from small people and are put to backlog and never even looked at until someone big outside or important inside comes across it. It is so disappointing and demotivating but I am tired of fighting it and they pay well for not fixing anything.
54
uladzislau 5 days ago 0 replies      
Evernote team, please make a usable bookmarklet for iPhone/iPad. A lot of people are clipping pages on their mobile devices and currenly the user experience is awful.
55
Kiro 5 days ago 0 replies      
My main problem is "conflicting notes". I suspect it has something to do with using both the Mac client (work) and Windows (home). Nowadays I always manually press "sync" before shutting down but I still get the occasional conflicting note which is a real pain.
56
astrostl 5 days ago 0 replies      
Hyper-simple alternative: I've switched to http://simplenote.com/
57
phaed 5 days ago 1 reply      
Shit, here I am finally taking the time to see what Evernote is and finding that I could find use for it in my day to day. Yet now there is no way I could ever trust it with my data, everything I would put on it is important to me.

What are some good Evernote alternatives?

58
rdhyee 5 days ago 0 replies      
Although Evernote does its share of problems, I want to throw in my generally positive view of the company and the software. I've been a premium user since 2010, and despite its problems, Evernote remains the central program I use to organize my thoughts and tasks. I'd be glad to expand on what I like about Evernote if anyone wants to know. (I'm just a bit surprised by the high level of criticism for Evernote here.)

[later edit: as I reread the thread, I now see the discussion as less negative than I originally thought. Others are pointing out positives about Evernote. If Jason Kincaid (the OP) does manage to get Phil Libin to focus his company on improving the quality of the various clients, then I'd be quite happy. For the time being, I still with Evernote because it's the best solution I've found for what I do.]

59
whiskeyfoxtrot 5 days ago 0 replies      
Several years ago[1] I installed Evernote on my Mac and used it pretty regularly for a few months, then just tired of the sluggishness and fragility of the app. Mind you, I've never installed the web client, none of the browser extensions, nor have I used it within a browser. It was always the OS X app for me.

Spurred by this post (nicely done, btw) I went and gave a look at what was inside my old Evernote account. Nothing. Everything's gone except the myriad folders and tags I'd added to help keep everything organized. It's a ghost town now.

I guess I don't really care the stuff is gone since I'd given up on the app long, long ago. Still, I can't help wondering what I'm missing, if there was anything truly important that marched in line & jumped off a cliff along with millions of other users' data.

[1] Mid-2009 according to my Evernote Account Summary page.

60
pbreit 5 days ago 0 replies      
Could Evernote be substantially replicated using email technologies like IMAP and Postfix/Dovecot, etc?
61
midas007 5 days ago 1 reply      
LOL. Evernote has always had more rough-edges than Android.

So I ditched it after that huge security incident by using cloudHQ to migrate to something else:

https://www.cloudhq.net/evernote

62
maga 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using desktop app for quite some time now and it's good enough for the most part. Just recently I was considering moving to the android app when it hit me that Android app doesn't even have an option for so-called local notes even on premium subscription. Whatever you write there should eventually be synchronized with the cloud. That's no-go for me, I'm both paranoid and dealing with rather sensitive information.

Though I can't find a reasonable substitute on Android. Most apps in this category focus on getting notes easily or on some to-do/calendar side, and very few has a good set of features to organize and navigate through a vast db of notes. Springpad has the same notebook/tags system and pays a good deal of attention to the organization part, but alas it is a web app with no option for private local notes.

63
mrmondo 5 days ago 0 replies      
I too use Evernote very day, and have done for several years.

I have three issues:

1) The mac client is slow / laggy

2) Security

3) Formatting - please don't add smart quotes to my SQL snippets!

If someone made a product that syncs like Evernote, had a browser plugin as good as evernote's and used client side encryption - I'd certainly give it a go.

64
syllogism 5 days ago 0 replies      
I always just send myself SMS messages. What are the killer features of something like Evernote, if it has these bugs?
65
bowlofpetunias 5 days ago 0 replies      
A while ago we were discussing an interview with Evernote's CTO about security (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6881992). He basically argued that fundamental security measures (like properly encrypting passwords) are okay to do as an afterthought once the product is out the door.

If Evernote takes the same "features first" approach to reliability, redundancy etcetera, that would explain a lot.

66
dangoldin 5 days ago 0 replies      
Both my wife and I have also lost notes in Evernote. I'm a paying member and just last week exported everything out into text files within Dropbox. I have to get the workflow right but at least I know my files won't disappear.
67
daphneokeefe 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using a Windows desktop app for years that's a lot like Evernote. I have many MB of notes, especially code snippets. But also lots of other stuff, exactly like what Evernote is intended to do. I would love to migrate it all to Evernote to get cloud access to it all, but my experience with a Evernote is that it is just not trustworthy.

My fear with the desktop app is that a Evernote is killing it. It's a great app, though. Never let me down, not once. Never crashes, never lost a note. And it has more features, more flexibility in formatting, and the ability to have deep nesting of what Evernote calls notebooks. But the UI look & feel is very outdated.

Check it out. It's called Info Select from miclog.com.

68
panzi 5 days ago 1 reply      
I don't quite understand: He does not want the Evernote staff to be able to read his notes, yet he uses Evernote? The notes are NOT encrypted by a key only the user knows! If that where the case the browser version and search could not work. Any Evernote admin can read your personal (sensitive) notes anyway.
69
volume 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm going to keep using Evernote but I'll factor in some of the complaints and horror stories by a technique called "backing up" or "exporting" my notebooks.

Evernote solves a great problem awesomely and at the moment for my personal use case. For now I'd rather focus on optimizing other things.

70
arabellatv 5 days ago 0 replies      
I just realized that I've stopped using my Evernote account ever since I upgraded to iOS7...and that's just because it kept crashing on me even if I had a brand new phone. This post just reminded me to cancel my Evernote pro-account and move all my stuff over to -- I guess, Google Docs? (as others have recommended). For receipts, I've been using the Flickr app to auto-upload my iPhone photos into a private folder. Then, I just send download links to accounting for reimbursement. It's even easier than Dropbox -- and it's free for up to 1 TB. The security issues are scary...it'd be interesting to see Evernote's reply.
71
yayitswei 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm also a paying customer and have lost an important note recently. Spent weeks of back-and-forth with support (including the anxiety-inducing handover of my Activity Log) until they concluded that my note was lost for good, without even an apology.
72
tifareth 5 days ago 0 replies      
org-mode is vastly superior in every way. If you want to organize audio files, you can do that to with the attachment feature.

Oh and most importantly, you host the data yourself - no verbose plaintext logs containing your sensitive data and no support calls. Org can also encrypt your Org files on-the-fly:

http://orgmode.org/http://orgmode.org/manual/Attachments.html

73
synvisions 5 days ago 0 replies      
I haven't had any syncing issues, but I've had a hell of a time with Evernote insisting on formatting my notes and changing characters even when I make the note Plain Text.

A lot of what I use(d) Evernote for was shell snippets and other bits of code, and having it mangle my quotes into other characters, and randomly insert newlines was a bit of a nightmare.

Thanks to this thread I've found nvALT and I'm really loving it so far.

74
plibin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Folks,

We hear your concerns. I just wrote about my thoughts on the subject, and our plans for 2014, on our blog: http://blog.evernote.com/blog/2014/01/04/on-software-quality...

Thank you for caring enough to be on this thread,

- Phil Libin, CEO, Evernote

75
CGudapati 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wanted to use use evernote to collect information for an app I wanted to make. I can not comment on their iOS and Android app but their windows phone app definitely needs a lot of improvement. No matter how many syncs i do on both my mac and windows phone, the notes entered in the respective devices won't sync. I really wish MS releases their One-note for Mac. The way their one-note app on WP and windows 8 syncs is amazing.
76
lowglow 5 days ago 0 replies      
I think this area is ride and wide open. Personally speaking, I think evernote has done a terrible job at making technical progress. I hope they get their act together soon -- they have such potential and significant traction.
77
keithpeter 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Macs helper an official mini app thats meant for jotting down notes without having to switch to the hulking beast that is the desktop application."

This set buzzers off in my (perhaps simple) mind. Is this feature creep? I'm a physical notebook and 'one big textfile' person myself.

78
ConAntonakos 5 days ago 0 replies      
UX is one of the main reasons why I simply don't commit to Evernote unless it's just to take a note here or there. I almost preferred Google Notebook when it was available. Or try out [Draft](https://draftin.com/).
79
donniezazen 5 days ago 0 replies      
I stopped using Evernote the day I was notified that web version is not supported on Chrome running on Linux. I use diigo for web clipping and text files for note taking.
80
spiderPig 5 days ago 1 reply      
I still don't understand why one would choose evernote over OneNote. It's a dream to use.
81
AdrianRossouw 5 days ago 4 replies      
skitch used to be such a wonderful little application, but I refuse to pay for it since evernote bought it and crapped all over it.

is there a good alternative to skitch yet?

82
idoescompooters 5 days ago 0 replies      
Just deleted my notes(the welcome note and a blank untitled one), changed my email to a fake one, and deactivated my account. I never used this application. Thanks for reminding me.
83
kumarski 5 days ago 0 replies      
building and scaling a multiplatform app is incredibly difficult.

Buggy sure, will they become the leviathan force if they fix the bugs, most likely.

Any good alternatives to Evernote?

84
mosselman 5 days ago 0 replies      
"To say this post pains me would be an understatement. More than any other technology, Evernote is part of me, having evolved from habit to instinct over several years and nearly seven thousand notes. "

This is the kind of stuff that makes me not want to read what you have to say. Come on, what you are saying is car ad bullshit.

6
The new Photosynth photosynth.net
428 points by ot  2 days ago   87 comments top 36
1
nakedrobot2 1 day ago 0 replies      
My company (360 Cities) works with some of the people who are on the Photosynth team, and I have had the pleasure of talking to some of them about all the different iterations of Photosynth over the years, including this new iteration. I'll share some of my own observations (without breaking my NDA ;-)

First off, I have a ton of respect for everyone I've met and spoken with on the Photosynth team. They represent all that is great about Microsoft Research (well, Photosynth has moved to the Bing Maps department a few years ago).

The first iteration of Photosynth was the one shown by Blaise Aguera y Arcas in what is now one of the most popular TED talks of all time [1]. Basically, it automatically arranged photos in 3d space from where each picture was taken, and allowed the user to "fly" from one photo to the next, giving a real feeling of navigating through 3d space.

The prospect and amazing, working demonstration of taking all the world's photos and mapping them together into a single quasi-3d space was a pretty incredible idea (for which Apple has just had a patent approved - WTF! [2]).

The Photosynth service itself in my opinion did not go far enough to combine the content of different users in order to achieve the goal achieving huge groups of images spanning very large (even city-wide) spaces. (There must have been significant usage / copyright issues which prevented a service like this from aggregating as many photos as would be required to achieve this).

On the user side, regular people had some trouble with the UI of Photosynth -- while the technology was obviously impressive, breathtaking at times, navigating this 3d space on a 2d screen is a very difficult thing to design well, and there is a learning curve. This was something which I think prevented more wide-scale adoption. (The other thing which personally turned me off was the silverlight requirement...)

Around the same time, Google built a "look around" feature in Panoramio [3] which was a very similar functionality, but remained fairly obscure, despite being eventually baked into the Panoramio layer on Google Maps/Streetview.

A couple years later, the Photosynth team built an iPhone app for stitching panoramas, and redesigned the Photosynth service to be more centered around 360 photography.

The Photosynth iPhone app was absolutely groundbreaking for its time, blowing away every comparable app in every respect (the size limitation of the output pano, as remarked elsewhere here, is small, this is mainly due to the strict RAM limitations of the iPhone, rather than any fault of the app itself). It has taken 3 or 4 years for anything to catch up to the quality and usability of the Photosynth app (Android Photosphere now has that crown).

Now, we are seeing the "New Photosynth" (which Microsoft seems to be calling "Photosynth 2" but it seems to me more like "Photosynth 3". This New Photosynth, to me, is simply awesome. What is interesting about it is that it seems to have the same guts as the original Photosynth, but the UI is completely redesigned and built in a very linear way, which is obviously addressing the original "weirdness" of the Photosynth 1 UI. This accomplishes a few things: it directs users to make a more consistent type of content (you now have 4 different types of photo sequences you can shoot), and it gives viewers one and only one way to consume that content. It also allows a better kind of "autoplay" functionality, if you want to simply watch the sequence of images without interacting with it.

What I don't like about the content that I've personally created so far is that it seems to be quite glitchy. Even when I shoot something carefully, there seem to be numerous artifacts in the 3d shapes that are created. I am guessing that this could be reduced considerably if the full resolution of the images was used for the 3d reconstruction, at the expense of more expensive computation.

All things considered, I really like where Microsoft is headed with Photosynth, and I look forward to seeing where things move.

One hint at what could be to come is that the amazing new Ricoh Theta has Photosynth support [4][5], which hopefully means that there will be some way to join together spherical panoramas into a "synth" at some point in the future, allowing a more freeform navigation within the 3d space.

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

[2] http://venturebeat.com/2014/01/07/apple-patent-street-view/

[3] http://blog.panoramio.com/2010/04/new-way-to-look-around.htm...

[4] https://theta360.com/en/info/news/2013-10-07/

[5] http://blogs.msdn.com/b/photosynth/archive/2013/09/20/photos...

2
netrus 2 days ago 2 replies      
If you didn't bother to read the "learn more":

When in the viewer, press C to see the 3D interpretation of individual shots and M for a map of the path taken by the camera.

3
femto 2 days ago 3 replies      
Another bit of code in this space is libmv: https://github.com/libmv/libmv.

libmv's codebase seems to be forked, with an earlier version at goggle code: http://code.google.com/p/libmv/ which also contains an interesting summary of other libraries in the 3D reconstruction space. Blender also has its own fork, which it uses for matchmoving, which is the integration of animated objects into a real world scene.

In turn, libmv seems be be influenced by the work of Marc Pollefeys? The tutorial is a readable summary of how to go from a collection of 2D images to a 3D model.

http://www.cs.unc.edu/~marc/research.html

http://www.cs.unc.edu/~marc/tutorial/

http://www.cs.unc.edu/~marc/tutorial.pdf

Question: Can a knowledgeable person here suggest which codebase is the best to start experimenting with, to build an application that converts a 2D photo sequence into a dimensionally accurate 3D model?

4
ForHackernews 2 days ago 2 replies      
Glad to see they're still working on this. I remember seeing a demo of this some years back and being really impressed.

A nice reminder that Microsoft really does have some great engineering talent and they can break new ground.

6
slacka 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've been excited about this project ever since I saw the Ted talk by Blaise Agera y Arcas. Here are some related projects.

multiple photos:http://www.123dapp.com/catch

Single photo:http://make3d.cs.cornell.edu/http://www.3defy.com/andhttp://hackaday.com/2013/09/12/3-sweep-turning-2d-images-int...

video:http://www.3ders.org/articles/20130729-disney-new-image-algo... andhttp://punchcard.com.au/

7
joosters 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing stuff, and much nicer without the Silverlight requirement!

There are still some strange artefacts remaining, though. For example, on this demo - http://photosynth.net/preview/view/c7287786-a863-4291-a291-d... - watch the bases of the dragons as the camera pans left to right. The first two seem to stitch together fine, but the last two go wrong and bend outwards as if they are moving in the wrong direction. It's strange because other parts of the scene are perfect.

8
kristofferR 2 days ago 1 reply      
WTF, Microsoft:"Your password can't be longer than 16 characters."
9
mxfh 2 days ago 0 replies      
seems a bit of a step back in possibilities,but with streamlined UI.With the old photosynth you could even extract the point clouds from a bunch of photos of a scene you uploaded.

http://binarymillenium.com/2008/08/exporting-point-clouds-fr...

http://synthexport.codeplex.com/

But making meaningful 3d triangulations out of point clouds is a whole other story.

The glitchy charme of the new pales to the wonder of seeing a explorable pointcloud created out of a pile of photos from Stonehenge.

http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=e5c7e730-95a3-4a29-a38e-...

10
ssewell 2 days ago 3 replies      
Also very impressed here. However, it appears to have a huge limitation over the previous implementation: You can only move in a linear fashion though the scene. Gone is the ability to jump around in a 3D environment. At least from the first handful of examples I looked at.

Does anyone see an environment in this new version that still allows freedom of movement?

11
kaflurbaleen 2 days ago 1 reply      
A friend wanted to know the nitty gritty details of how this new Photosynth works. I don't work on it, but I saw a talk on it this summer and I've worked on similar projects, so I wrote up all that I know/can speculate.

http://kaflurbaleen.blogspot.com/2014/01/whats-up-with-photo...

12
yellowbkpk 2 days ago 2 replies      
Does it still require Silverlight?
13
javajosh 2 days ago 5 replies      
It is impressive. But, I have to wonder: what does this get you above-and-beyond taking a short video of an object, and then allowing the view to "scrub" back and forth within the video?
14
rlu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here are two (non-new) photosynths I took while in Paris this summer:

The Louve: http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=3d67aa96-ac60-43ee-9644-...

Underneath Eiffel Tower: http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=f0f50007-42cb-4236-83a9-... (look up!!)

They're very fun to take and the apps they have make it super easy to do. Curious to try these new versions (though they seem sort of more cumbersome..)

15
vosper 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is really impressive, and I can see it being useful for a lot of people - the GoPro crowd, and people selling uncommon things on eBay or Etsy come to mind.
16
ececconi 2 days ago 0 replies      
some of these remind me of what I felt the first time I played Myst.
17
elwell 2 days ago 2 replies      
What is the business model for this? (just curious
18
WoodenChair 1 day ago 1 reply      
Reminds me a lot of QuickTime VR. Anybody old enough to remember it? That was 90s tech, and worked on the Web too. It never caught on though, despite QuickTime being fairly widely deployed.
19
archagon 2 days ago 0 replies      
The samples are really, really cool. But it got me thinking: aside from a bit of parallax, what's the practical difference between this and 60fps video with a smooth/intertial seek slider?

EDIT: I guess not having to use a dolly for smooth motion is a huge plus. But the tradeoff, of course, is loss of quality in the interpolated "frames".

20
FrankenPC 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't wait for the next generation Richard Linklater to make an entire movie using this technology.
21
jsilence 2 days ago 1 reply      
I bet it would be an awesome experience to view those with an Oculus Rift. Even moreso in high resolution: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2014/01/oculus-rift
22
thenomad 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hmm: no way to download the 3D objects created.

Interesting tech, but that's a real pity.

23
robmcm 1 day ago 0 replies      
What's the difference between this and a video.

Given that most cameras nowadays record video this seems rather pointless. Only advantage I can think of is that you can normally record higher quality images with stills vs video.

24
eonil 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't get what's really cool. Viewport angle and camera path is fixed, than what's really better than just a video?Can let me know the point of this tech?

I tried pressing `c`, but it showed only some cracked images, doesn't seem really meaningful.

25
parkaboy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very cool, but I found the interpolation artifacts to be super distracting.
26
CSDude 2 days ago 0 replies      
I registered, verified my e-mail, but then I opened the page and clicked the create button, I succesfully uploaded my synth, just waiting it to be preprocessed. Not sure, but it might be a way to pass the waiting for invitation.
27
crorella 2 days ago 0 replies      
I liked the idea, I think it's a different (not better nor worse) to explore imagery. I even found it's more intimate in some ways... like discovering some details of the images.
28
rlu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Chrome keeps giving me the "aw snap" page when trying to view one of them.. :\
29
sveron 2 days ago 0 replies      
In addition to being an impressive demo, the type and range of experiences represented in these is interesting. After some random clicking, I saw a:

  - walkthrough of a wealth manager's office  - boat cruising around a marina  - a walk through an exclusive shopping district with an Hermes and Louis Vuitton.  - a duomo in Florence.

30
smackfu 2 days ago 0 replies      
The giant shadowy hand on the intro video was an interesting choice.
31
negamax 2 days ago 0 replies      
What a great example of pushing technology further.
32
sushirain 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder what this technology will allow us to do?
33
viggity 1 day ago 0 replies      
my college fraternity chapter house is getting demolished and rebuilt this summer. it hit me like a ton of bricks because I have so many college memories there and was saddened I couldn't walk through it in another 20 years. I think i'll have to take a shit ton of pictures so I build a photosynth reconstruction of it :)
34
zacinbusiness 2 days ago 1 reply      
....so it's a really glitchy video? Does it need glasses?
35
rahilsondhi 2 days ago 1 reply      
Saw "Sign in with Microsoft" and left.
36
Tomdarkness 2 days ago 3 replies      
I think it could do with a little bit of information on the first page to tell you what it actually is. If it was not a highly voted link from HN I'd most likely not bothered to actually figure out what it is.

Also in Chrome canary it frequently crashed the tab or gives the "WebGL hit a snag" message, which requires you to click reload before the site works properly again.

Edit: Why is this been downvoted? All you get on the first page is a large photograph and a circle with more photos. Until you click a photo, or learn more, it is not clear what the site is about...

Also, think I'm missing something because I just get a HTML5 video of a scene.

7
Python code to solve xkcd 1313 by Peter Norvig ipython.org
427 points by weslly  2 days ago   72 comments top 20
1
temuze 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great article. It's pretty fun to play around with this heuristic:

  lambda c: 3*len(matches(c, uncovered)) - len(c)
Here's a trivial way to explore it: say we generalize the heuristic to H(a, b).

  H(a,b) = lambda c: a*len(matches(c, uncovered)) - b*len(c)
The original heuristic is considered H(3,1) by this definition. Then we can play around with a and b to see if we'd get smaller results.

  def findregex_lambda(winners, losers, a, b):      "Find a regex that matches all winners but no losers (sets of strings)."      # Make a pool of candidate components, then pick from them to cover winners.      # On each iteration, add the best component to 'cover'; finally disjoin them together.      pool = candidate_components(winners, losers)      cover = []      while winners:          best = max(pool, key=lambda c: a*len(matches(c, winners)) - b*len(c))          cover.append(best)          pool.remove(best)          winners = winners - matches(best, winners)      return '|'.join(cover)  >>> findregex_lambda(starwars, startrek, 3, 1)  ' T|E.P| N'  >>> findregex_lambda(starwars, startrek, 3, 2)  ' T|B| N| M'
Or, to automate this:

  def best_H_heuristic(winners, losers):      d = {(a,b) : len(findregex_lambda(winners, losers, a,b)) for a in range(0,4) for b in range(0,4)}      return min(d, key=d.get)  >>> best_H_heuristic(starwars, startrek):  (3,1)
Looks like H(3,1) is pretty good for this case. What about the nfl teams?

  >>> best_H_heuristic(nfl_in, nfl_out)  (3, 2)  >>> findregex_lambda(nfl_in, nfl_out, 3, 1)  'pa|g..s|4|fs|sa|se|lt|os'  >>> findregex_lambda(nfl_in, nfl_out, 3, 2)  'pa|ch|4|e.g|sa|se|lt|os'
Not the best heuristic there. H(3,1) wins or ties for the boys/girls set, left/right set and drugs/cities set, which just goes to show you that picking a heuristic off a gut guess isn't such a bad approach.

You could also explore heuristics of different forms:

  M(a,b,d,e) = lambda c: a*len(matches(c, uncovered))^b - d*len(c)^e
Or trying completely different formats:

  L(a,b) = lambda c: a*log(len(matches(c, uncovered))) - b*len(c)

2
throwaway_yy2Di 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't know why Randall's regex incorrectly (?) matches "Fremont", but it's worth noting Wikipedia's primary spelling has an accent aigu "Frmont":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_C._Frmont

3
j2kun 2 days ago 0 replies      
One thing not mentioned in this article:

1. The greedy algorithm has an O(log(n)) approximation ratio, meaning it produces a regex guaranteed to use a number of terms within a multiplicative O(log(n)) factor of the optimal regex.

2. Unless P != NP, set cover cannot be approximated better than the greedy algorithm. In other words, the only general solutions you'll find (unless you're using some special insight about how regular expressions cover sets of strings) will be no better than a constant factor improvement in produced regex size than the greedy algorithm.

That being said, regexes (esp disjunctions of small regexes) are not arbitrary sets. So this problem is a subset of set cover, and certainly may have efficient exact solutions.

4
haberman 2 days ago 1 reply      
I thought it was going to be meta-meta-regex golf, and couldn't imagine how that would be possible. But meta-regex golf is an interesting exercise, and is far more tractable. :)
5
a3_nm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interestingly, finding a minimal-size regexp satisfying a set of positive and negative examples (words that should match, and should not match) is NP-hard. Here is a nice discussion: http://cstheory.blogoverflow.com/2011/08/on-learning-regular...
6
blt 2 days ago 2 replies      
I love Norvig's Python posts. He really gets the spirit of the language and has fun with it.
7
ddebernardy 2 days ago 2 replies      
This was posted a few days ago on Code Golf:

http://codegolf.stackexchange.com/questions/17718/meta-regex...

That link includes a perl 10-liner to do the same.

8
tlarkworthy 2 days ago 2 replies      
Exercise for the reader,write a regex to distinguish random noise from English

EDIT: possibly down-voted because someone though it was sarcastic???

I was actually thinking of this problem before the XKCD comic, for detecting hashes on hardrives efficiently...

9
firegrind 2 days ago 1 reply      
When I read 'subtitles', i wondered about the .srt files of the movies.
10
gwern 2 days ago 3 replies      
It's too bad he didn't try to tackle the optimal regexp problem and settled for approximations - it may be a NP-hard problem, but all the example solutions are short enough that the instances might be still tractable. Would've been nice to know for sure.
11
josephlord 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you just want to play regex golf this site appeared before Christmas and there was quite a discussion [1] although there are a few more levels now: http://regex.alf.nu/

I'm still not happy with my 214 on Alphabetical including one false match (I was 202 or something with everything correctly matched).

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6941231

12
j2kun 2 days ago 1 reply      
What tool does Norvig use to create this json file? Does iPython have this as a feature (somehow allowing formatted text)?
13
z-e-r-o 2 days ago 2 replies      
Can someone explain what does this line mean and why does he use it as heuristic?

  key=lambda c: 3*len(matches(c, uncovered)) - len(c)

14
donniezazen 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is Python Peter Norvig's preferred language (along with Lisp, I suppose)?
15
fwenzel 2 days ago 3 replies      
I am not sure why Norvig omits president Obama. That said, "[mtg]a" does match him, so at least Munroe tries.
16
shdon 2 days ago 0 replies      
With the given set,

  /M | [TN]|B/
is suboptimal, but could be

  / [TMN]|B/
But that (and the article) leaves out the subtitle for Star Trek 1: "The Motion Picture". For that, Randall's original expression works.

17
LambdaAlmighty 1 day ago 0 replies      
<meta-comment on meta-golf>

Judging by the amount of fawning here, this guy must be a HN celebrity. Interesting post nevertheless!

I can only hope, one day, I'd be writing and publishing joyful little hacks like this, to such general applause, instead of eking out a living. I have to say I'm a bit envious here!

Well done to the dude. An inspirational post, in many ways.

18
joyofpi 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think it fails for:findregex(set(['abc']), set(['abcd']))
19
sushirain 2 days ago 3 replies      
What would be a use for finding a minimal discriminating regex? Perhaps understanding the difference between boys' and girls' names?
20
thewarrior 2 days ago 1 reply      
Could this be used as an alternative to a bloom filter ?
8
Burglars Who Took on F.B.I. Abandon Shadows nytimes.com
408 points by philipn  2 days ago   88 comments top 13
1
selmnoo 2 days ago 8 replies      

    Among the grim litany of revelations was a blackmail letter    F.B.I. agents had sent anonymously to the Rev. Dr. Martin     Luther King Jr., threatening to expose his extramarital    affairs if he did not commit suicide.
Hoooooly shit. Wow. They actually did that.

2
suprgeek 2 days ago 1 reply      
It is hard to conceive of the risk faced by these folks in order to carry out what was in effect an act of civil disobedience -for no personal gain.

Bravo!

Unfortunately it looks like such courageous folks are the last remaining defense against absolute tyranny in the United States. One wonders how many such actions are even possible with the advent of the global surveillance state?

3
hooande 2 days ago 6 replies      
What strikes me is how little was gained by both sides in this, and how futile their actions seem in hindsight.

History probably would have ended up in a similar way if Hoover had not devoted so many resources to spying on Viet Nam protestors and counter culture revolutionaries. He was really pursuing his lifelong obsession with communism, which was another political movement that probably would have died without so much government surveillance. His spying didn't do anything to dissuade Martin Luther King or other members of the Civil Rights movement. All that effort and violation of privacy for a difficult to discern impact on history.

Stealing and publishing documents from the FBI didn't seem to have much of an impact either. There was a temporary public outcry, some commissions were established and the whole thing was forgotten in less than a decade. We just wound up in the same situation 40 years later and will most likely end up with the same results. It takes a mountain of courage to steal from the freaking FBI, and that group of people deserve credit for standing up for what they believed in. If only their risk produced a more appreciable reward for society.

I fear a never ending cycle of surveillance and protest. Chicken and the egg. The stakes seem higher now, on both sides, but there are no guarantees that we won't go through the whole process again to achieve the same non-result. We need to figure out how to use the political process instead of theft to stop our government agencies from doing things that we don't like. Or else we'll be reading this same story again decades from now.

4
tokenadult 2 days ago 1 reply      
I see most of the interesting comments here so far are from a strictly American perspective, that is just commenting on what was happening in the United States then or is happening in the United States now. But of course there is more than one country in the world. In another place I have lived[1] a supposedly democratic government that in fact was a dictatorship engaged in comprehensive spying on all civil society organizations--not just the organizations that were formally opposition organizations--and stifled all mass media organizations with censorship. That didn't stop a people-power democracy movement from starting and succeeding in democratizing that country. I've advised Hacker News participants before[2] that people power democracy movements to overthrow dictatorships with comprehensive surveillance programs are not easy, but they can succeed. You and I need mental toughness, persistence, and courage to be part of the solution, but what better reward for those virtues is there than expanded freedom (and the dignity of knowing you did the right thing)? Don't give up. Keep on organizing to gain freedom and protect civil rights.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5985720

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6336795

5
ck2 2 days ago 1 reply      
If the government was scary powerful then, it is terrifying now.

If you've ever protested anything in the USA, regardless if on the left or right, you can almost certainly count on your name on some kind of tracking, and they've given themselves legal permission, because they don't have to look at the data in real-time anymore. They can just store it and look at it later on demand if they want with frictionless warrants from courts with no lawyer "for the people" present.

If the government feels you've become an annoyance they can just pop you on a no-fly list without court review and no-way to get off. And heaven help you if you go near a border if they've peaked their interest in you, all your data is theirs without any need for warrant or even a reason.

The government has also learned the secret that if they want to control the message, they just have to limit media exposure. Release news late on a Friday and it will be gone by Monday. Control court trials to the point where there is no audio or video and TV news will almost certainly not cover it. They are getting incredibly good at this.

The newest corruption since 9/11 is to insist they need super powers for anti-terrorism, then use them against average criminals. Even worse, if no real criminals can be found, manufacturer one by constantly harassing some dupe until they do something half-assed and then roll them out for the cameras to justify the insane budgets and overeaching powers.

6
junto 2 days ago 4 replies      
I wouldn't put it past the current government to try and push through a new bill so that they could remove the statute of limitations in cases like this where "national security was compromised", so that they can now still prosecute the "traitors".

I also wouldn't put it past the current government to use that new power to then posthumously prosecute Mr. Davidon who "died late last year from complications of Parkinsons disease".

Call me cynical, but nothing that USG does to further "protect" its "national security" would surprise me anymore.

7
joshfraser 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's interesting how history repeats itself. This is the story of how we ended up with the FISA court. The lesson for us is that need to be careful that whatever reforms we make to fix the NSA won't be used in even worse ways in the future.
8
forgotAgain 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting that, if done today, analysis of a few months worth of meta-data would show exactly who they were.

Edit: Also interesting that today they would be called home grown terrorists instead of anti-war activists.

9
pedalpete 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm surprised that this hasn't been referred to regularly throughout the whole current NSA revelations. Or have I just missed it.

Really looking forward to reading the book.

10
oinksoft 2 days ago 1 reply      
By taking no credit, they ensured the story would be about the documents and not the burglars.
11
Taek 1 day ago 0 replies      
As I read more about this, I wonder if there has yet been a powerful intel (or otherwise secret) government organization that hasn't abused its power in some major way. Without organizations that can keep secrets, you lose a lot of options (such as undercover operations, and surprise nuclear defence systems), but I wonder if you can't draw parallels to open source.

When your government is "closed source", the risks are higher as there are less checks and balances. But maybe, like many open source efforts, keeping the government entirely transparent would increase efficiency enough to make up for the types of operations that you can no longer undertake.

12
strathmeyer 2 days ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one who gets an auto-play video and then an uncloseable popup that prevents me from pausing or muting it??
13
pistle 2 days ago 0 replies      
Organized civil disobedience was ineffective.
9
Software in 2014 tbray.org
381 points by AndrewDucker  18 hours ago   218 comments top 37
1
weland 15 hours ago 11 replies      
I think this paints a rather meagre picture of software development in 2014:

> More or less everything is expected to talk HTTP, and its really easy to make things talk HTTP.

A lot of things that shouldn't talk HTTP are expected to just because there's an army of programmers who don't know better. Also, it's actually hard to make things talk HTTP, partly due to HTTP itself. However, much of this complexity is hidden, leaving people to think that

> devices are memory-starved, CPU-starved, and battery-starved.

In what freezing fucking hell is a dual-core, 1 GHz computer with gigabytes of RAM and tens of gigabytes of storage and 3D acceleration that can fit in my pocket memory-starved and CPU-starved?

The fact that so many applications perform computationally trivial things, but lag on such devices, has nothing to do with their processing power being low, and has everything to do with them being badly written. It takes a lot of effort to make an application lag on such a system.

> Browsers suck too

Browsers are fine as long as you use them for what they are meant to be used: browsing HTML files. Seriously, browsers have been just fine and dandy since the days of Opera 6.

What does suck, indeed, is when people try to use tools that were meant to make HTML docs look nice to build an office suite. They inevitably end up with an office suite that sucks, but that's not the browser's fault.

(Edit: just to be clear, the author kind of seems to imply some of these points, too)

2
coldtea 16 hours ago 8 replies      
Notice how everything he writes about mobile development is wrong?

>First of all, you have to do your mobile development twice

Nope, there are plenty of frameworks with large user bases, both OSS and with corporate backend to do it once. From Xamarin to PhoneGap. Especially 2D game developers are spoiled for choice.

>The devices are memory-starved, CPU-starved, and battery-starved.

The devices have never been better (obviously), and currently pack a 2005 era laptop power in the size of pack of cards and 1GB or more of memory. And the battery lasts the whole day, at least with the devices I'm familiar with.

>You dont get a choice of languages; if you hate both Java and ObjC, get another job.

Really? Because there are iOS bindings for all popular languages (and I've used several) and I'd guess there are Android bindings too. Now, one can say that to be a great developer you also have to know Obj-C (which I'm familiar with), but that's in no way a prerequisite, just a nice-to-have. Plenty of people have built amazing things without learning Obj-C.

>Unit testing is a bitch.

Haven't found it such. Except if he means with all the Android flavors? That's orthogonal and inherent to mobile.

>Fortunately for your users but unfortunately for you, the UX-quality bar on mobile is high and there is no fast or cheap way through; it requires inspiration and iteration.

And that belongs in a list of reasons "mobile suchs" (sic), why?

>You cant make money. Seriously, Apple is always talking about the billions and billions they pay out of the app store, so why is it that I dont know anyone whos making serious money on mobile apps?

Perhaps you don't have a lot of friends? Or friends in the right circles? Because for a market that "can't make money", they just paid $10 billion to developers.

3
xd 17 hours ago 12 replies      
"Its a pity some people still build important apps in PHP..."

Getting real tired of seeing these baseless statements from so called software professionals.

Here is an off-the-top-of-my-head list of features of modern day PHP:

* yield

* event

* pthreads - yeap, real threads.

* closures (including support for $this)

* consistent hashing api

* "finally" added to try-catch

* empty() now supports expressions, rather than onlyvariables.

* array and string literal dereferencing

* foreach support for list() - foreach($array as list($var, $var))

* array_column

* traits

* short array syntax

* namespaces

* json manipulation is second to none.

* runkit - all kinds of danger here

4
tomp 17 hours ago 2 replies      
> Whats worse is that you cant even count on people accepting the mobile-app updates you send them.

There's a good reason for this: companies routinely push updates that either (1) change the user interface, usually for the worse (Google Maps), (2) remove functionality, or (3) introduce bugs/reduce stability (e.g. Viber). No wonder that customer's delay updating as much as possible.

Almost every time I update my apps, I'm sorry that I did it. The only reason I do it, is to remove the annoying Google Play icon in the statusbar.

5
hayksaakian 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I agree the client side situation is a mess, but I think its getting better.

The biggest problem is the conflict of interest between the major browser makers in that they are also handheld device makers.

They have every incentive to keep the browser dumb in order to keep devs using java/objc and staying on their platform.

Firefox is really the only thing that has the influence and power to "save us" (obviously barring anything unpredictable).

But last I checked, they were still bankrolled by Google, and their browser has stale market share.

6
fit2rule 16 hours ago 1 reply      
The client-side mess? I just use MOAI. Lua is a lovely language, and the MOAI engine itself is so well thought out, that I can manage to build our client apps for Windows, Linux, MacOSX, Android, iOS, Chrome NaCL, and even HTML5+JS target platforms. With the exact same code.

At this point I just don't see any point to doing things natively. Actually, the tools that MOAI provides (and some of the other community frameworks that sit on top of MOAI, such as Hanappe or Flower) are decent enough, and contain all the basics, to implement pretty much any of the fancy GUI interactions seen elsewhere. And the appeal of being able to write an application that works - and looks the same - on all of the above platforms is just too great; in spite of the investment in learning a 'non-standard' framework, and in spite of the fact of nobody else knowing much about it (and thus no google'able answers to dodgy questions), I still feel this is the right direction to go. Especially since MOAI is open-source, and you can put the host VM anywhere you are capable (technical competence-wise) of doing it.

So I don't do native development for Apps any more. My ObjC/Java/C/C++ chops are still highly useful, but these chops are being used in a different context now: instead of writing a native app in one of these languages, I just write a host - and then use Lua to do the app logic. This is just so fun, I hope everyone starts doing it soon. ;P

7
lutorm 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Software != web software. Plenty of us write software that never touches either an HTTP server or browser.
8
72deluxe 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Oddly, he mentions three client-side areas: Web, iOS and Android.

Did anyone else notice that he didn't mention "THE DESKTOP" or any native applications? I don't know about you but I tend to use native applications every day and use the web for getting data and info. I don't use "apps" that sit in a browser all day.If he thought that the Web/iOS/Android system was bad, he should have actually put Web / iOS / Android / WindowsPhone / Metro / NatinveWin32 / Linux / Mac OS.Although the web was meant to fix all the problems with writing cross-platform apps, it hasn't. So I still happily use and write native applications for each platform instead of writing something for the Web that'll be out of date in a few years or will need testing in one of any 25+ combinations of browsers on different platforms.

Anyone else?

9
troels 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Its a pity some people still build important apps in PHP...

I wonder how that could be. It's almost like people chose to use PHP and it works for them. Like they made an informed decision and actually ended up going with PHP. Maybe they are just too dumb for their own good. Or maybe PHP is actually a perfectly sane choice for lots of cases outside of your FP ivory tower.

10
thirdsight 16 hours ago 1 reply      
If only Windows Phone had a greater market share. Despite being a UNIX guy I quite like it plus according to my colleagues (both of which are iOS and Android defectors respectively): You get to use a decent language (C#), Tooling is good and free, Apps are really scary fast, Unit testing is possible, One form factor, Approval is very fast and you can make money as the market isn't saturated to the point the SNR is against you.
11
damian2000 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
What, did desktop GUI application development suddenly disappear? There's many classes of software, especially line of business ones, where desktop is pretty dominant.
12
cclogg 16 hours ago 0 replies      
His point about web vs iOS vs Android hit home with me. I've been a pure iOS developer for several years now, but the constant nag on me is to support Android. I assume it's the same for people that know the Android side. Unfortunately, it's not a 5 minute job to port over... if you take pride in building something great for one platform, you'll want to do the same on the other, but they have quite different paradigms, not to mention requiring a separate language and device set.

I guess in the past (on desktop) this wasn't as much of an issue because Windows had such a large market share.

13
mojuba 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Software engineers are typically good at building things meant for other engineers. That's why some of the most robust, rock-solid, reliable pieces of software engineering are, e.g. OS kernels and language compilers. So Tim Bray is right in saying that we needn't worry about the server side. The server side is in good hands.

Also true that the client side sucks, and I see only one way of fixing it: engineers have to work in a highly disciplined, tyranical kind of an environment. For example, the reason you don't see a lot of technical error messages on iOS (and you do see them a lot on Android) is just that: someone has to constantly remind the engineers that software they are making is meant for humans, not engineers.

14
jfasi 10 hours ago 1 reply      
My two cents: the ease of use of a platform is inversely proportional to the speed at which business needs move to remain competitive using it. The more rapidly business needs change, the less time a stable, elegant interface to the platform on which that business is based has to stabilize.

Business needs on the server side do not change terrifically fast. The things we needed to do on the server side has certainly changed over the past ten years, but the changes have been gradual. I struggle to name a single server-side upheaval as violent as the release of iOS or the demise of flash was to client-side. As a result, things are pretty well-understood. Thanks to POSIX and *nix, the operating system interface has been effectively static for at least a decade. Concurrency is hard to wrap your head around as a developer, but once you do you find that the actual tools you use have achieved something resembling stability. Persistence is one place that's actually seeing interesting changes with various database platforms coming into prominence, but if all else fails, you can get a decent amount of mileage out of good old SQL.

Client side programming, UI programming in particular, is where an application's most immediate value resides. As a result, it's where the most competition and development takes place, and so its interfaces and programming techniques are most changeable. Consumer-facing platforms come and go at a consumer-market pace. Platform providers like Google, Apple, and the W3C are constantly struggling to keep ahead of the manic pace both of of consumers' expectations regarding features and businesses' demand for capabilities. As a result, there are no time-honored abstractions like the Unix file system, or SQL, but rather a roiling soup of constant upheaval.

What's the takeaway? Rather than bemoaning the lack of stability in the client programming world, come to terms with the fact that you as a developer are going to have speed up. So long as client-side magic and consistency is a source of competitive advantage for applications, the state of the client-side programming art will continue to change rapidly. Things will get easier and harder as time goes by, but change and inconsistency are the natural order of this world.

15
alexandros 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't agree that mobile devices are resource-starved. Tim is an old hand so there must be concrete examples behind the words, but as stated I don't get it.

Also, it's quite easy to make fun of a language by stating one non-central feature that's counter-intuitive. End of the day, anyone working in a language seriously learns the corner cases and moves on. After a while, it's no longer relevant to them.

I did like the discussion of dynamic vs. static though. It really feels dynamic is good for early codebases and static for late. So why aren't there languages that allow you to move to static as your codebase matures? TypeScript adds optional typing but doesn't quite go the whole way unfortunately.

16
brisance 17 hours ago 1 reply      
The author does not even touch on the ease of use for paying for content; in the case of in-app purchases the walled gardens are far ahead of the open web.

I'm not quite sure of what to make of his claim that he does not know of anyone who is making money from the walled gardens. Epic Games famously stated that Infinity Blade actually makes them more money than Gears of War when figured on a man-years vs revenue basis. http://www.ijailbreak.com/applications/infinity-blade-ios-ep...

17
swah 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll be looking at ClojureScript in 2014. To me, the web is great despite all the difficulties, just because you can push stuff immediately. If only we could have skipped all the mobile "apps" stuff, and they would just be links to offline pages implemented with JS, NaCL, WebGL, etc..
18
lucb1e 8 hours ago 1 reply      
> The devices are memory-starved, CPU-starved, and battery-starved.

If memory is your problem in 2014 and you're not creating some data analyzer application, you might be doing something wrong. If CPU is your problem and you're not creating a game, I think you're really doing something wrong. Battery drain is the only real bottleneck. Frankly I'm surprised how fast it went and how fast mobile devices are nowadays. My phone is roughly twice as powerful as my server, both in terms of CPU and memory (CPU performance comparison based on benchmarks).

> The browser APIs suck too. Sufficiently so that jQuery (or equivalent) is regarded as the lowest level that any sane person would program to; in effect, the new Web assembler.

Hi there! You just met an insane person.

> Theres no app store for your browser-based client with anything like the scale and size and polish of those for mobile apps.

We figured out how to do search quite a while ago. And they all do content search, the thing you were complaining about that app stores didn't have. What do you mean there is no way to search for web applications?

Also ChromeOS is doing this, but frankly I don't want it. Applications that just run machine code are way more powerful. I use Google Docs only because it works better for concurrent collaboration in documents, there is no other reason, and that is the only web application that I still use (tried some more, all sucked). I use vim and plaintext markdown editors anytime I can, or occasionally libreoffice when I really need imagery in documents.

> Browsers suck too This is an unfashionable opinion, but I cant see why its controversial.

That is something I completely agree with, though I quite like Javascript (as long as it's not OOP, JS just isn't made for that and you have to abuse all kinds of things) I hate the DOM. Why would this be controversial?

19
kayoone 12 hours ago 0 replies      
"More or less everything is built with an MVC-or-equivalent level of abstraction, and there are good frameworks to help us work sanely and cleanly. Its a pity some people still build important apps in PHP and Spring, but those arent choices anyone is forcing them to make."

Lost me right there. PHP in 2014 has some awesome frameworks and a huge open source community, never enjoyed working with it more than today.

20
cabbeer 7 hours ago 1 reply      
> Theres no app store for your browser-based client with anything like the scale and size and polish of those for mobile apps.

I think google (or other search engines) are the open webs equivalent of an "app store"

21
memracom 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I've come to the conclusion that "MVC" is the problem with web client apps. Now that there are several choices for doing MVVM using a functional reactive programming style, we really should move beyond the simplistic MVC concept.

Here is one pointer to more info http://christophermeiklejohn.com/frp/javascript/clojurescrip... and down near the bottom he has a link to the HN discussion of his article.

22
FrankenPC 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to think JavaScript sucked until I read a JavaScript pattern/anti-pattern book. I then realized it was I who sucked. IMO JavaScript is perfectly suited for its environment.
23
paukiatwee 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Its a pity some people still build important apps in PHP and Spring

PHP/Spring only sucks if you dont know how to use.

Functional Programming is getting a foothold on the mainstream, because if you care about performance you care about concurrency

Since when FP is high performance and better concurrency support?

Pick the right tool please.

24
CmonDev 15 hours ago 0 replies      
No mention of Midori/M# (unlike Rust).

"The client-side mess Things are bad. You have to build everything three times: Web, iOS, Android. Were talent-starved, this is egregious waste, and its really hurting us."

Not really, Xamarin did a good job of simplifying this (and you can use decent modern languages). HTML5/CSS/JS on the other hand is the real client-side mess - let's hope we will see more PNaCl/asm.js developments for non-game applications in 2014.

25
shaydoc 13 hours ago 1 reply      
>Browsers suck too.

I think browsers are great from a user perspective. Everyone knows browsers, they are familiar with using them, navigating with them and all importantly making purchases.Coding with Javascript I agree can be like working with one hand tied behind your back, just because of its limitations, but you know what, loads of us can build apps with this and we can be guaranteed it will work on most devices!I imagine Dart may provide a better playing field for the developer in the future.

>Mobile sucks.

I tend to agree, although Xamarin and Titanium are trying to help.

>UX-quality bar on mobile is high and there is no fast or cheap way through; it requires inspiration and iteration.

I think Microsoft went a lonq way with Windows 8 "Metro" style design to basically tell developers, "build this way" then we should have great consistency with UX across mobile app landscapes

26
arieldiaz 5 hours ago 0 replies      
TL;DR - "Fortunately for your users but unfortunately for you," users in today's world expect amazing UX, on their platform of choice (largely iOS and Android), aren't willing to compromise on speed, usability, or access, and it means engineering is harder. We live in a world of amazing user experiences and products, and if that means more engineering work, so be it. If we limited our products to what's easy engineering wise, we'd still have crappy products and experiences.
27
Eleutheria 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Firefox and Ubuntu are blazing the trails in the mobile client unification.

It's just too early to notice.

We need more devices with Firefox OS and Ubuntu installed. Web developers will come en masse to show you how it should have been done from the beginning.

One app, searchable, upgradable, that runs everywhere.

28
cehlen 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This blog almost immediately reminded me of grandmas speech to Gil in the movie Parenthood. that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited and so thrilled all together. some didnt like it. they went on the merry-go-round. that just goes around nothing I like the roller-coaster. you get more out of it. Yes, there is a giant mess around building applications for todays users! But that is where is the fun, excitement, and innovation is coming from. If you require safe, secure, and boring Im sure there is bank somewhere in the world that need a good COBOL developer.
29
tracker1 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The JS sort example was interesting... solution.

    [5, 10, 1].sort(function(a,b){return a - b});

30
ceautery 15 hours ago 4 replies      
"JavaScript is horrible."

  > function byNum(a,b) {return +a>+b}    undefined  > [5, 10, 1].sort(byNum)    [1, 5, 10]
No, it's not.

31
kriro 14 hours ago 0 replies      
"""More or less everything is expected to talk HTTP, and its really easy to make things talk HTTP."""

And here I am naively assuming that Snowden et al. at least taught us that nothing should talk HTTP anymore and everything should talk at least HTTPS.

Maybe 2015 then.

32
eonil 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice summary. Anyway, it seems he haven't tried Go seriously yet.
33
morkbot 17 hours ago 2 replies      
"NodeJS isnt really functional, but if everythings a callback and youre single threaded, who cares?"

Anyone could elaborate on what this actually means?

34
warfangle 10 hours ago 0 replies      
>JavaScript is horrible.>> [5, 10, 1].sort();>> [ 1, 10, 5 ]

Treat .sort() without a sorting function as undefined behavior. Voil.

35
Lorenzo45 10 hours ago 1 reply      
As someone who is just starting to learn Java and ObjC, am I going down the wrong path? I'm sure this guy is exaggerating to a degree, but I'm not sure how much.
36
alien3d 13 hours ago 0 replies      
have you got new customer wanted ie7 comp?thanks oracle form
37
rmrfrmrf 17 hours ago 3 replies      
Save yourself a click -- it's another PHP and JavaScript rant.
10
Hacker News down, unwisely returning HTTP 200 for outage message bibwild.wordpress.com
381 points by pcvarmint  2 days ago   111 comments top 30
1
tedivm 2 days ago 4 replies      
As people mentioned this site is an exception to how to do things, in that PG actively does not care about search engine results. However, for the people who are interested, here's a few ways you can handle a situation like this.

1. If you add the "max-stale" header to your content you can tell your CDN to hold on to things longer in the event of an outage. What happens is that the CDN will look at the cache time you set and check in as normal when that expires, but if it gets back no response or a 503 code (server maintenance status code- if you work with CDNs this is your friend!) it will continue serving the stale content for as long as you tell it.

2. Lets say you're beyond that, or your site is too dynamic. Instead of setting up an error page that responds to everything, setup a redirect with the 302 status code (so crawlers and browsers know it's a temporary thing). Point that redirect at an error page and you're golden. The best part is these types of requests use minimal resources.

What I do is keep a "maintenance" host up at all times that responds to a few domains. It responds to all requests with a redirect that points to an error page that issues the 503 maintenance code. Whenever there's an issue I just point things at that and stop caring while I deal with the problem. I've seen webservers go down for hours without people realizing anything was up, although with dynamic stuff everything is obviously limited. The other benefit to this system is that it makes planned maintenance a hell of a lot easier too.

Oh, another thought- you can use a service like Dyn (their enterprise DNS) or Edgecast to do "failover dns". Basically, if their monitoring systems notice an issue they just change your DNS records for you to point at that maintenance domain. You can also trigger it manually for planned things.

2
kogir 2 days ago 2 replies      
This was all me. I probably should have thought about it more, but just wanted to make it clear we knew something was wrong and were working on it. Load was not a concern.

Though the article is correct, with everything else that was going on response codes and cache headers were the least of my worries.

I think the best takeaway is that you will go down at some point, so it's best to have a reasoned plan in place for when you do. Handling it in the heat of the moment means you'll miss things.

3
dangrossman 2 days ago 6 replies      
HTTP 200 = "Cloudflare, please cache this status message instead of passing through a million requests to our dead server while it's busy restoring a backup".

PG doesn't care about HN's search listings, so there's no drawbacks to doing that.

4
TeMPOraL 2 days ago 0 replies      
I know that pg "actively does not care about search engine results", but HTTP spec has other applications besides Google pagerank. It's hard to build amazing new technologies and improve the Web if people keep ignoring the standards without a good, technical reason. Please, for the sake of the example set to others, send the proper HTTP codes.
5
ignostic 2 days ago 0 replies      
He's right that for most sites this would be undesirable, but PG has stated that they aren't looking for a lot of Google traffic. But then, just because it doesn't matter to PG doesn't mean it doesn't matter at all.

I've more than once found myself Googling old HN threads I'd like to find, but can't. Google's search (and site search) is miles better than HN's, but HN intentionally limits Google's crawl rate, thus limiting the amount of content crawled and indexed.

6
joshsegall 2 days ago 0 replies      
This isn't bad for just Google. RSS aggregators were also getting the "everything's fine" message. I thought I had a bug in my aggregator until I went to the site and realized it was down.
7
yawboakye 2 days ago 3 replies      
Browsers tend to cache 200 OK responses. When HN came up (as reported on Twitter) I kept getting the error page until I bust the cache and reloaded. Yup, that's what 200 OK for an error page can cause. A regular reload will still show your _down_ page
8
mountaineer 2 days ago 2 replies      
Just hit HN this morning and got the downtime message. Then I remembered this post and did a hard refresh to get back to normal. Browsers certainly aggressively cached it.
9
ck2 2 days ago 1 reply      
By the way, HN still says it is down at this url

https://news.ycombinator.com/

10
cyanbane 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was 8% more productive today. Down-vote at will.
11
eande 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am not a news junky, but I realized how dependent my newsfeed is from Hacker News. Seeing about 6-8 times the outage message reminded me on why I keep coming back and reading the quality entries of these forums.
12
Yuioup 2 days ago 2 replies      
BTW I just realised that Chrome has been serving me a cached version of HN the whole time. Didn't realise it was up again. When did it go back on-line? An hour ago? More?
13
foobarian 2 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like a fair point in principle, except in this case HN is one of the few sites I don't need Google to get to and don't care about any other tools that might rely on returned status codes.
14
creativityland 2 days ago 1 reply      
@HNStatus helped keep me updated but it wasn't posted on the maintenance page until the end of the day for everyone.
15
archildress 2 days ago 1 reply      
Welcome back, HN - I had an unusually productive (yet unstimulating) day at the office.
16
fmax30 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now i know why i had to refresh when i first opened HN 10 minutes ago even though it was up at that time.
17
belorn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Question: Is the HNsearch still being worked on? It has broken "link" and "parent" for search results.
18
wiradikusuma 2 days ago 0 replies      
I know it suppose to make you more productive when it's down (I was), but suddenly I felt clueless during my commuting (which can take 2 hours total).
19
jwilliams 2 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe this was a prior error message, but the original CloudFlare "Origin Server" error was returning a 520 - which is a CloudFlare-custom HTTP Status Code.

Edit: CloudFront -> CloudFlare

20
Gonzih 2 days ago 0 replies      
Some people where speculating that HN banned goodle and other search engines. But from at least /robots.txt I can't see that. Do they do any ip based filtering? Does any one have information on that? I'm just curios.
21
garthdog 2 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't know this was up until somebody told me to ctrl-reload. Nice one with the 10yr cached soft-500 page. :P

Now that our brittle forum is back, let's get back to work nitpicking the Android UIs that aren't quite beautiful enough! This is not enough drop shadows!

22
anonfunction 2 days ago 1 reply      
For anyone interested in HTTP statuses this is a great resource:

http://httpstatus.es/

23
grandalf 2 days ago 1 reply      
By the logic of this blog post, a page like status.heroku.com should return a 503 when heroku is experiencing downtime and a 200 otherwise.

200 means that the page loaded as intended (which it did).It turns out that some of the page's content (the interesting stuff) was unable to be loaded, and the site's content reflected that.

A 503 would be appropriate if there was a server problem, which might have actually been the case, but with Cloudflare's landing page there was not actually a server problem (since cloudflare served the substitute content properly w/o error)

24
datawander 2 days ago 0 replies      
Even if the author is correct in that Google's ranking algorithm for HackerNews will be affected by just 24 hours of downtime, wouldn't the algorithm update itself back to normal over the next 24 hours?
25
catshirt 1 day ago 0 replies      
ah. this explains why HN has been telling me it's down for 2 days now. had to open it in incognito to realize it was a cache issue.
26
lnanek2 2 days ago 0 replies      
CloudFlare really messes a lot of things up. I've seen CloudFlare refuse to give me error responses from forms before. Enter a bad value, get a cached page of the empty form, lol. Server was trying to return a page explaining the wrong entry, but CloudFlare refused to send it to me because it had a non-200 response.
27
dragon1st 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just realized I've addicted to HN, have been kept refreshing the page millions time :) thanks HN
28
n1ghtmare_ 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone knows the reason for the downtime ?
29
nayefc 2 days ago 0 replies      
who cares...
30
leoh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Of hundreds of comments I have made on this site, only one has been snarky. Here's my second: chill your tits.
11
CentOS Project joins forces with Red Hat centos.org
351 points by socialized  2 days ago   123 comments top 14
1
redhatstory 2 days ago 6 replies      
In the beginning, there was Red Hat Linux[1]. It was sold in boxes at stores such as CompUSA (remember?) but was also available for free download from Red Hat.

Then, Red Hat decided they could make more money by spinning off Red Hat Linux into a separate enterprise-only product called Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), which they declined to make available for free in a ready-to-install binary form. Fedora[2] was also spun off at this time, as the free successor to Red Hat Linux that was supposed to be only suitable for home users. Fedora development was/is sponsored by Red Hat but they did not offer end-user support, in contrast to RHEL.

Meanwhile, there was demand for a free version of RHEL. Since it was built with GPL software, Red Hat was obligated to make it available in source form, but their trademark policy prohibited anyone else from using the Red Hat name. Therefore, a group of volunteers took RHEL, removed Red Hat trademarks, and called it CentOS. To avoid confusion, CentOS explained the origins of the distribution on their web site. For their efforts, they were threatened by Red Hat's legal department and forced to remove all mentions of Red Hat and even links to Red Hat's web site from the CentOS web site. CentOS complied and began referring to its Red Hat derivations using the euphemism PNAELV[3].

Now, Red Hat has again decided they would benefit from being more directly involved in providing an open-source, freely-available enterprise Linux distribution. We've come full circle.

(Flippant depiction aside, I intend no antagonism, but merely find the history of these projects interesting.)

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Hat_Linux[2]: https://fedoraproject.org/en/about-fedora[3]: http://www.pnaelv.net

2
akbar501 1 day ago 0 replies      
Congrats to the CentOS team. You filled a much needed gap when the Fedora / RHEL split happened.

As someone who used Red Hat Linux in the 90's / early 2000's, you had to be there to know how large of a gap the CentOS team filled.

Historical background:

Red Hat Linux (RHL) was the most widely used Linux distro in the late 90's / early 2000's. Overnight, RedHat destabilized RHL by turning it into Fedora with it's rapid release cycles, lack of back ports, bleeding edge packages etc. RHEL became a closed distro with only source distributed, but none of the tools to easily replicate the build.

RHL users (who were the majority of Linux users) were faced with a choice. Pay for RHEL or switch distros. This really sucked b/c RHL deployments were largely servers that were designed for long term deployments. The community was faced with a large scale migration of servers which involved a large population of web and edge of network deployments.

This is when CentOS stepped in, created a binary compatible build of RHEL, and allowed long time RHL users to continue with a RedHat-like distro.

RedHat has been a major contributor to OSS. However, projects like CentOS have filled very important roles in the Linux and OSS communities. Again, congrats to the team.

3
lvillani 2 days ago 3 replies      
I really wish that, when RHEL/CentOS branches from Fedora to make a new release, they would also keep and provide a snapshot of Fedora's repository at that time, just like what Ubuntu does when they sync with Debian Sid (i.e.: packages in 'main' and 'restricted' repos are supported, all other packages in the Debian archive are imported and made available in 'universe' and 'multiverse' repository for your convenience).

That would work a long way to make CentOS a viable Linux distribution for everyday use. In my experience, EPEL isn't enough and rebuilding packages seems like a wasted effort since they were there when they branched off to prep a new release.

Add a somewhat predictable release schedule on top of that (again, in my opinion Ubuntu hit the sweet spot with 24 months here) and that would be the icing on the cake. Heck, RHEL 6 was first released in 2010 and there's still Python 2.6 on that!

I know that I could shut up and use Ubuntu (I do), it's just that I like RedHat way more than Canonical but they don't make it easy for me to use and love their products (speaking as a former Fedora user and contributor).

4
colinbartlett 2 days ago 3 replies      
Does this mean we can finally stop referring to RedHat as an unnamed "Prominent North American Enterprise Linux Vendor"?
5
rootbear 1 day ago 2 replies      
I hope this will make it easier for me to use CentOS at NASA. They only want us to use Linux distributions that are actively supported with security fixes and for some reason they don't think CentOS qualifies, since it's not a "real" company. They prefer us to use RHEL, Ubuntu, or Suse. But if this new arrangement increases the perception of timeliness for updates, then maybe we can start using it and save some money.

Edited for clarity.

6
Keyframe 2 days ago 2 replies      
So, in general nothing much will change for users? Red Hat is introducing stability by employing core developers to work solely on CentOS and possibly streamlining changes between RHEL <-> CentOS. Or, if you prefer to view it like that, Red Hat is exercising more direct control over CentOS.
7
k3oni 2 days ago 2 replies      
I am not sure if i feel happy or not about this. I just hope they don't go the Fedora way on mangling, moving and changing everything around with every iteration.

I don't see what interest has RH into Centos except for trying to disrupt the base and push that way more businesses and customers to RH.

Maybe i'm just biased but Centos is doing pretty good in my opinion except maybe the late code changes and updates.

8
dmourati 2 days ago 3 replies      
I've largely made my living off CentOS software. I hope this new friendship doesn't cause CentOS to become diluted or eventually shuttered. Great project run by a very small number of very dedicated supporters. Best of luck to them.
9
emmelaich 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think Red Hat had to do this, otherwise CentOS would be drawn closer and closer to Oracle.
10
jlgaddis 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this will lead to CentOS getting security updates at the same time as RHEL (or very shortly thereafter) or if CentOS will continue to have to "play catch-up".

It is for this reason that I moved to Oracle Linux about a year ago when deploying a bunch of new machines. I am certainly no fan of Oracle the company but they were getting security updates out much quicker than CentOS.

11
johnchristopher 2 days ago 1 reply      
What would the consequences/benefits be for the Fedora project ?
12
geekowl 2 days ago 4 replies      
I see this as RH not wanting competition and/or wanting to somehow control CentOS. It's no wonder, honestly, that Debian is gaining in popularity as they are the last of the main Linux distros who control their own destiny. I feel very awkward about this news.
13
jonathonf 2 days ago 3 replies      
A bit more information in the official announcement:http://lists.centos.org/pipermail/centos-announce/2014-Janua...

"With great excitement I'd like to announce that we are joining the Red Hat family. The CentOS Project ( http://www.centos.org ) is joining forces with Red Hat. Working as part of the Open Source and Standardsteam ( http://community.redhat.com/ ) to foster rapid innovation beyond the platform into the next generation of emerging technologies. Working alongside the Fedora and RHEL ecosystems, we hope to furtherexpand on the community offerings by providing a platform that is easily consumed, by other projects to promote their code while we maintain the established base."

(continues)

14
mergy 2 days ago 4 replies      
Now if they can just get rid of RPM I might come back!
12
Scaling Mercurial at Facebook facebook.com
324 points by jordigh  2 days ago   237 comments top 17
1
Crito 2 days ago 7 replies      
I wrote a comment about the scaling of repositories (and specifically Facebook's issues) a few days ago that was wiped out by the HN crash, but I've managed to recover it from HNSearch:

<old-comment>Facebook's problem is that they were trying to scale with Git improperly. With conventional CVS[sic] systems like Perforce, you can scale a single repo nearly as large as any company will need. Emphasis on that nearly. At a certain point, with a large enough codebase (and, critically, enough throughput) you start to realize that you are about to hit a brick wall. With perforce, this starts to manifest with service brownouts.

With perforce, you can reasonably expect to run into this brick wall somewhere in the neighborhood of terabytes of metadata and dozens of transactions per second. That changes depending on what sort of beastly hardware you are willing to throw at your version control team.

Git of course hits a brick wall much sooner, somewhere around single-digit gigabytes of data (depending heavily on the average size of every object in the DAG), even ignoring throughput.

Perforce is probably good enough for Facebook in the present, but if you are a company that large and if you are forward looking, it becomes apparent that with existing version control technology, "one repo per company" is not a long term solution. Even "one repo per department".

You can split it even further, but what you realize is that you are developing infrastructure that allows you to use many repos (for instance your build servers and internal code search/browsing tools will now need to understand that concept) but you are losing many of the benefits of Perforce. While you are in the process of adapting your infrastructure to wrap its mind around many repositories, it makes sense to allow dev teams to really take advantage of this splitting. Develop infrastructure that allows Perforce and git repos to coexist in the company, allowing dev teams to spin up new git repos for their every project at will. Done properly, git allows you to create massively scalable systems that you can count on supporting your companies needs for the foreseeable future.

Smooth migration, migration that does not disrupt development, takes months (assuming the right initial conditions), so it is best to recognize the problem and start early, before service becomes disrupted.

If I understand Facebook's situation currently, they are still in the "try to make Mercurial scale" stage of denial, burning developer time and effort to push back that first brick wall (the same one that git hits, though mercurial hits it after git hits it but before perforce hits it...)

Here is a google presentation about extreme scaling with Perforce: http://www.perforce.com/sites/default/files/still-all-one-se...

An example of building multi-repo infrastructure for large projects with git is Android's repo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repo_(script) Repo is just one example though; other, better, solutions are very possible.

</old-comment>

I guess the TL;DR here is that I think it is great that Facebook is making a single Mercurial repository work for their purposes right now, but I think they are kidding themselves if they think that is a long term solution. They are doing a pretty good job of making Mercurial scale like Perforce can scale, but that will only work for them for so long.

(In the above comment I talk about building a scalable system with git ("with" git, rather than making git itself scale), but the same can of course be done with mercurial instead of git. I don't mean this to be a comment suggesting that they should use git instead of mercurial.)

2
agwa 2 days ago 3 replies      
For some context of why Facebook choose Hg over Git, here's the mailing list thread where Facebook initially reached out to the Git developers: http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.comp.version-control.git/18977...
3
danielrhodes 2 days ago 1 reply      
"We could have spent a lot of time making it more modular in a way that would be friendly to a source control tool, but there are a number of benefits to using a single repository. Even at our current scale, we often make large changes throughout our code base, and having a single repository is useful for continuous modernization. Splitting it up would make large, atomic refactorings more difficult. On top of that, the idea that the scaling constraints of our source control system should dictate our code structure just doesn't sit well with us."

I remember reading about their Git troubles awhile ago, and I still don't buy this argument that it is better to have one large repository. One reason modularization is important is for the precise reason they are trying to get around it: removing the ability to make large scale changes easy and thus increasing reliability.

However, my understanding is that their desire to have one large repo is reflective of their their "move fast and break things" philosophy, which means not being afraid of making large scale changes. So I would be interested in hearing how they mitigate the obvious downsides given how many people they have committing to their codebase. It seems like you would just end up having to create constraints in other ways, so which constraints end up being the lesser of two evils?

4
ngoldbaum 2 days ago 1 reply      
Mercurial has seriously improved over the past couple of years. If you tried mercurial a few years ago and were scared away due to speed or functionality issues, you might want to give it another shot.
5
LukeHoersten 2 days ago 1 reply      
I love the Mercurial community. We use Mercurial at work and I'm able to get instant support in IRC for any issue we have with an awesome signal/noise ratio. I'm glad Facebook is contributing back so much as well. My suspicion is that open source projects tend towards Git because of GitHub but I think a lot of companies who don't have the option of external code hosting lean towards Mercurial. All anecdotal observations of course ;-)
6
xkarga00 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Our engineers were comfortable with Git and we preferred to stay with a familiar tool, so we took a long, hard look at improving it to work at scale. After much deliberation, we concluded that Git's internals would be difficult to work with for an ambitious scaling project."

http://www.techradar.com/news/software/how-open-source-chang...

"And then Git itself wasn't working for us anymore because it wasn't scaling when we'd have an operating system release. So we ended up hiring most of the Git team - there's like only one or two core committers now for Git who don't work at Google,"

7
mindjiver 2 days ago 0 replies      
At a previous job I migrated a quite large code base to git. IIRC it was at least 500k files and a couple of 10MLOCs. We had the same "scaling" issues Facebook mentioned here when trying to place all of this inside one repository. So we ended up going with submodules for this. Another idea was to perhaps enable re-use of repositories and/or disconnect old legacy code this way.

We did took a quick look at Mercurial but since lots of the upstream tools we used was using Git (linux, uboot, yocto, etc) it was an obvious choice. I seem to recall there being two hg extension that where of interest at the time (2010-ish), one to add inotify support and another to store large files outside the repository (hg-largefiles?).

Seem like Facebook's approach to the lstat(2) issue with watchman [1] is to use inotify on Linux. This has been discussed a couple of times for git as well but nothing has come of it so far [2].

[1] https://github.com/facebook/watchman[2] http://git.661346.n2.nabble.com/inotify-to-minimize-stat-cal...

8
Touche 2 days ago 4 replies      
> We could have spent a lot of time making it more modular in a way that would be friendly to a source control tool, but there are a number of benefits to using a single repository.

Pray tell?

9
boklm0 2 days ago 2 replies      
According to this page, Mercurial project leader is currently working for Facebook:http://mercurial.selenic.com/wiki/mpm
10
natrius 2 days ago 3 replies      
Branches are my biggest pain point in Mercurial. What branching workflow does Facebook use?
11
ed_blackburn 2 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder what they use at Microsoft. For their sake I hope they don't subject their own engineers to TFS.
12
voidr 1 day ago 0 replies      
They didn't really scale Mercurial, they basically took it and replaced a lot of it's functionality with remote services.

I understand their reasoning that technology shouldn't dictate the way they develop stuff, however I think splitting the project up and using submodules would have been a cleaner approach. If refactoring everything is something you do all the time, you might be doing it wrong.

13
moron4hire 2 days ago 2 replies      
> "Our code base has grown organically and its internal dependencies are very complex."

That's a polite way of saying "we write shitty code without any sort of plan."

> "Splitting it up would make large, atomic refactorings more difficult"

Actually, it's the other way around. Modularity tends to obviate the need for large, atomic refactorings.

And what, exactly, is the meaning of these graphs? This is leading me to believe that being a developer at Facebook is about quantity over quality.

14
cool-RR 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wonder whether putting all the code on a ramdisk (with backup of course) is feasible. If so it might be a very cheap solution.
15
greatsuccess 2 days ago 2 replies      
Partitioning is the answer. In a repo that size 99% of the history is useless to anyone. You wouldnt manage a database like this so why force SCM down this path?

If they used git with say only the last year of history in it they would be having zero issues.

16
riddlemethat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can anyone explain to me how Mercurial is used at Facebook in conjunction with Murder (https://github.com/lg/murder)?
17
rottyguy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any comments on the build system being used for a monolithic hive of this size?
13
Dell Wasn't Joking About That 28-Inch Sub-$1000 4K Monitor; It's Only $699 forbes.com
319 points by pugz  1 day ago   228 comments top 29
1
mortenjorck 1 day ago 7 replies      
Something to keep in mind is that this is effectively a Windows monitor, not a Mac one.

The reason for this is PPI: Most Apple displays are in the 100-110 PPI range, with Retina Display Macs doubling that to 220 PPI.

At 28", a 3840 x 2160 panel has a PPI of 157, which sits right between Retina and non-Retina densities. This means that on a Mac, youll have to use it one of two ways: Either at 1x, where the higher PPI means everything will be much smaller than it is on a normal monitor, or at 2x, where the lower PPI means everything will be much bigger than normal.

Windows doesnt have anything nearly as neat and simple as OS Xs 2x mode, but its had a rougher 150 PPI mode for years, which will probably look just about right on this screen.

The best 4K monitor for Macs will be a 24, which will have a PPI of 184, just about right for something sitting a bit further back from the viewer than a 220 PPI Retina Macbook Pro display.

2
bhauer 1 day ago 8 replies      
Excellent. Again, a big thank you to Seiki for dropping a bomb on the display industry, whether or not Dell acknowledges it.

3840x2160 at 28 inches is quite fantastic. A step closer to 10,000+ horizontal pixels in a single ~50 inch display, which I consider an ideal for desktop computing.

The burning question for me right now is who will sell me a GPU with three DisplayPorts to drive three of these? The top-end nVidia cards provide only a single DisplayPort [1]. I don't particularly care about 3D performance at this resolutionat least not yetI just want three 3840x2160 capable ports from a single PCI Express slot. Ideally with a GTX 650 style short-length form-factor [2]. Again, 3D is of secondary concern to me, and the GTX 650 can already power 1x 3840x2160 (via HDMI 1.4) and 2x 2560x1600 (via DVI) without breaking a sweatsome of my colleagues and I are doing that presently. A 3x DisplayPort card for predominantly 2D productivity work is not unreasonable.

[1] http://www.geforce.com/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gtx-780...

[2] http://www.geforce.com/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gtx-650...

3
Jongseong 1 day ago 3 replies      
Such high resolution displays may sound like overkill for many people, but improved resolution is a big deal to those who care about screen typographyspecifically, in layman's terms, about how fonts look on screen.

When displaying letters in small sizes, the pixel grid becomes increasingly coarse and the result often becomes ugly and less readable. To prevent this, "hinting" instructions need to be built into the fonts to help the type rendering, by fitting the horizontal and vertical strokes to the pixel grid, aligning heights, and so forth.

System fonts provided with Windows are professionally hinted, as are many professional webfonts. On the type rendering environments on Windows, hinting makes a huge difference.

The problem is, TrueType hintingindispensable for TrueType fonts on Windowsis a complex, tedious process that only a very few specialists are able to do. I heard a few years ago that there was only one person who had the expertise to perform TrueType hinting on hangul (Korean alphabet) fonts.

The result is that many if not most fonts are either unhinted or more or less automatically hinted (which is recognizably below the quality of manually hinted fonts) as many typeface designers find the prospect of TrueType hinting daunting. Manually hinted fonts are more expensive.

If screen resolution improved so that unhinted fonts would still look good enough, that would vastly increase the choice of fonts that we can use for the screen. It would also free typeface designers of having to devote a significant chunk of font development on hinting.

These types of issues are even more important for some other writing systems. Chinese characters, for example, can be very dense with dozens of strokes packed into a single glyph, and would be illegible at a modest size on the screen if the resolution was not high enough.

Apple's approach to type rendering is less dependent on hinting, and it is not a coincidence that Apple has been leading the pack on high resolution displays as a way around the problems of rasterization.

Further reading: http://www.rastertragedy.com/

4
jmillikin 1 day ago 8 replies      
Note: according to the article the monitor is actually UHDTV (3840x2160), not 4K (4096x2160). Content encoded at 4K will need to be either cropped or scaled down, similar to 1080p content shown on a 1240x1024 monitor.
5
chaz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lenovo is also launching a 28" 4K monitor this April: "Along with the resolution, we have a 5ms response time, 72% color gamut, DisplayPort, mDP, HDMI and MHL connectivity, three USB 3.0 ports and dual 3W speakers. Lenovo is promoting a true 10-bit color, and streaming capabilities via other digital devices." http://www.anandtech.com/show/7635/lenovo-at-ces-2014-thinkv...
6
mgraczyk 1 day ago 5 replies      
I remember shopping for large format LCD panels in 2011. I equivocated for a while between a 30" HP for around $800 and a 30" Dell, and eventually ended up buying Dell's u3011 for around $1100. I also remember thinking how unreasonably high the prices were for large LCD panels and hoping that they wouldn't stay that way forever.

It was a time when my monitor cost more than my computer. I think it's safe to say that that era has come to an end.

Now I'm just hoping that the price of good desktop speakers comes down next....

7
timr 1 day ago 6 replies      
Am I the only person for whom that many pixels in a 28" display sounds like overkill?

Maybe I'm just getting old, but the resolution on a cinema display is more than sufficient to make things unreasonably small. And getting closer to my desktop screen isn't really appealing either (again, maybe I'm getting old, but to see the pixels on my current screen I have to get my nose almost right up to the display, which I'm never going to do).

Retina displays on mobile devices are more understandable because you tend to be closer to them, or because it's useful to render really tiny text on a small screen, sometimes. But on a desktop display? Seems like the display version of clock-speed fetish.

8
0x0 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does this monitor have a built-in scaler, or do you get a small picture if you run at less than the full native resolution? I saw some earlier articles complaining about the lack of a scaler on some of the new "4k" monitors, but I couldn't find anything right now about this one.
9
victorhooi 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hmm, the Forbes article has been updated with specs:

UPDATE: I now have confirmation of the P2815Qs full specs, and have listed them below. Unfortunately, it tops out at 30Hz 3840 x 2160 and 60Hz for 1920 x 1080. This should prove a deal breaker for gamers, but the monitor still has a solid feature set for the asking price.

Panel tech: Anti-glare TN (not IPS which was previously rumored)Connections: DisplayPort (v 1.21)/Mini-DisplayPort, HDMI 1.4 (MHL 2.0), DispayPort out (MST), 1 USB upstream, 4 x USB 3.02 downstream (including 1 USB charging port with BC1.2 compliance devices on back)Color Depth: 1.073 billion colorsViewing angle: 170 degreesResponse time: 5msBrightness: 300 cd/m2Power Consumption: 75W

....

That's a bit disappointing that it only does 30Hz at the full resolution (3840 x 2160)...

10
zurn 1 day ago 0 replies      
So we're finally starting to move past vertical resolution of 90's CRTs. It's starting to look like the shift to widescreen is working out ok after all!
11
k-mcgrady 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was just about to purchase a Dell 27" monitor (1080p) as a second screen for my laptop. Glad I didn't as prices of UHD monitors seem to have become reasonable REALLY fast. I know nothing about displays. Can someone explain to me the difference between this monitor and (for example) the Sharp 4K display that is an option with the new Mac Pro and costs several thousand $?

NB: I will be programming, working in Logic Pro, and watching YouTube. No photo or video editing.

12
nkerkin 1 day ago 0 replies      
The article has been updated. No 60hz 4k is a deal breaker

"UPDATE: I now have confirmation of the P2815Qs full specs, and have listed them below. Unfortunately, it tops out at 30Hz 3840 x 2160 and 60Hz for 1920 x 1080. This should prove a deal breaker for gamers, but the monitor still has a solid feature set for the asking price.

Panel tech: Anti-glare TN (not IPS which was previously rumored)

Connections: DisplayPort (v 1.21)/Mini-DisplayPort, HDMI 1.4 (MHL 2.0), DispayPort out (MST), 1 USB upstream, 4 x USB 3.02 downstream (including 1 USB charging port with BC1.2 compliance devices on back)

Color Depth: 1.073 billion colors

Viewing angle: 170 degrees

Response time: 5ms

Brightness: 300 cd/m2

Power Consumption: 75W"

13
shimon_e 1 day ago 2 replies      
It shouldn't be long before some Korean/Chinese factory starts selling these for half price on ebay.
14
PhasmaFelis 1 day ago 1 reply      
If this gives me (personally) a significantly better viewing experience at normal distance than the 1680x1050 I have now, I won't just buy it, I'll eat it.
15
brianbreslin 1 day ago 5 replies      
Any idea how new of a macbook you would need to power this? I'm guessing my 2012 13" air can't run it right?
16
BadassFractal 1 day ago 3 replies      
I can't believe we might finally start seeing some movement in the resolution world outside of the Macbook realm. Think this will ever make it to laptops? Dell announces the year 2025 Ubuntu Programmer Edition ;)

On an unrelated note, I have a last-gen Intel Haswell CPU with the HD4600. There's no way I can power this, can I?

17
granttimmerman 1 day ago 3 replies      
I have a 39in 4k monitor that I bought for $500. The only problem is that 4k monitors through HDMI can only run at 30Hz, which is extremely noticeable. There might be a way to run at 60Hz but I haven't got it to work yet. Here's the monitor: http://www.amazon.com/Seiki-Digital-SE39UY04-39-Inch-Ultra/d...
18
kayoone 1 day ago 5 replies      
I wonder whats the better option for replacing my 2x 24inch Dells (total resolution 3840x1200)

1) Get one 40 inch 4k monitor to have one giant display with about the same DPI but more screen real estate and no bezels

2) Get two 28 inch 4K displays for super high DPI but less screen real restate and bezels.

19
ckeck 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Keep in mind that this appears to be a Dell "Professional" series monitor and not one of their UltraSharp lineups. So something somewhere has been sacrificed in order not to be included in the US class, and it shows in the price.

I also believe this specific monitor only does 30Hz refresh at 4K, so...that's a big part of it.

20
rdl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd have a hard time deciding on this for $699 (maybe $500 with discounts), or the direct successor to my U2410 standard monitor, the 24" UP 2414Q. $1399 list, and probably $1k or so with discounts).
21
rartichoke 1 day ago 1 reply      
Unless it can do at least 60hz at 4k then no one should buy this. 30hz is ridiculously bad, even for desktop usage.
22
ck2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Darn it, just bought their 27 inch 2560x1440 for $600 a year ago.
23
abstein2 1 day ago 2 replies      
Hopefully it will have a DisplayPort out like the U2713H or a Cinema Display.

The fact that the U2713HM doesn't have one makes high-res dual displays a pain for PC laptops.

24
qwerta 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have my displays for nearly a decade, because I refused to downgrade to new HD displays. Finally something is happening.
25
curiousAl 1 day ago 3 replies      
I assume that it being an Ultrasharp means it will be an IPS. If so, pretty sweet. And it might help drive down prices for the Korean 27s (1440p) monitors on eBay, which are much easier on the eyes (especially with text) than other panels.
26
GigabyteCoin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Who ever thought they were joking?
27
pugz 1 day ago 2 replies      
Can't wait to see their pricing in Australia. If it's under $1k, I'd like a handful!
28
be5invis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Shut up and take my money!
29
jordan_litko 1 day ago 0 replies      
my gut reaction: god damnit.
14
Ask PG: Postmortem of the outage?
308 points by lukeqsee  2 days ago   131 comments top 21
1
pg 2 days ago 5 replies      
I don't know the details. Nick Sivo is in charge of this stuff, and he'll post something about it. I know he thinks the root of the problem was a disk failure. The server got wedged, and when we rebooted, the file system was corrupted. I'm not sure exactly why it took so long to restore. I was out of town the whole time this was happening.

The reason we lost so much data was that we only do nightly backups. That seemed enough when we started. Now that HN is a bigger part of more people's lives, we'll make more of an effort to make it proof against this sort of problem.

2
theGimp 2 days ago 7 replies      
It seems all activity from the past two days has disappeared -- backup storage is something you never regret paying for.

You've probably all seen it by now, but from @HNStatus: [1]

  Server back up and seemingly stable. Now restoring our latest backup to recover from limited filesystem corruption.
[1] https://twitter.com/HNStatus/status/420179162138021888

3
sigvef 2 days ago 2 replies      
During the outage, https://twitter.com/HNStatus went from somewhere around 300 to 1163 followers.
4
morganherlocker 2 days ago 2 replies      
I was bummed that the conversation around openstreetmaps got killed in the middle of it, and now I do not see it on the front page. Does anyone have a link to that thread or did it disappear?
5
rcfox 2 days ago 0 replies      
pg: I don't know how much you care to get back the data that was lost, but it seems like it's at least partially available in the hnsearch.com API: http://api.thriftdb.com/api.hnsearch.com/items/_search?prett...
6
rhizome 2 days ago 1 reply      
Postmortem: it went down last night when people should have been going to sleep before their first day back at the job after holidays. It stayed down until the end of that day, with the last couple of days of vacation insanity erased.

Appreciate the gift of perspective that has been given.

7
joshuaheard 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not an expert in internet architecture, but shouldn't a site this important be running on redundant servers? The irony of a tech site going down due to technical issue is making me grin, however. Glad to see it back :)
8
geerlingguy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Would like to read it too. And it looks like right now is a good time to get just about anything in the front page. Front pretty much == new.
9
nmc 2 days ago 1 reply      
Despite the website being back online, the root URL still redirects to the error page (at the time of writing this).

So https://news.ycombinator.com/news works, but https://news.ycombinator.com still redirects to "Sorry for the downtime. We hope to be back soon.".

10
dschiptsov 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is there any plans to release a new version of Arc, if it exists or server side code (without business-critical stuff)? I guess that there are lots of improvements since last Arc release.)
11
cenhyperion 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm also interested in what the infrastructure of HN looks like. One of the tweets via @HNStatus seemed to imply that the site runs off of one application server.
12
xmonkee 2 days ago 2 replies      
Social experiment
13
rainmaking 2 days ago 1 reply      
This must have been the most productive time for the tech industry in months.
14
ithkuil 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how much effort would be reasonable to improve the resilience of HN to this kind of issues, given that's a relatively rare issue and HN doesn't really have a money loss in case of a downtime such as this.
15
pearjuice 2 days ago 1 reply      
Do we get the karma we lost refunded somehow? I am certain I am missing around 30 points.
16
stickhandle 2 days ago 0 replies      
It bothered me more than it (probably) should
17
DonGateley 2 days ago 0 replies      
If the outage was due to something malicious I don't really expect to see a postmortem.
18
royalghost 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am sure pg is going to write an essay on this :-)
19
yaddayadda 2 days ago 1 reply      
I find it interesting that this question is fresher (by a minute), has more points (67 v 42 at snapshot), and has more comments (18 v 10 at snapshot) than "HackerNews down, unwisely returning http 200 for outage message" but is ranked lower (2 v 1 at snapshot).

snapshot - http://oi40.tinypic.com/2mmbv5y.jpg

20
vanwilder77 2 days ago 0 replies      
Damn I made it to 1300 karma's!

Now I'm back at 1273.

21
nhangen 2 days ago 6 replies      
Because it's not good enough that the site is back, we need to pile on and complain too...
15
How I reverse engineered my bank's security token valverde.me
298 points by valverde  6 days ago   63 comments top 20
1
jwr 5 days ago 3 replies      
Think about it for a moment. He did all this (impressive) work just because the application that the bank provided sucked.

Now, once he writes a better app, what do you think the bank will do? Hire him (or buy the app), or fight him?

How much effort do we collectively waste because of moronic organizations that force their crap upon us, that we cannot escape from? (You can go to a different bank, but what if they all uniformly suck?)

2
lstamour 5 days ago 1 reply      
This post had me guessing, but good work. First I saw the card with codes and thought you'd be showing that they weren't randomly created. But then you went on to the app -- and from the "What you'll need" section, when I saw the decompiler and the rest, I thought, "I know what comes next," but again I was surprised. You went above and beyond with the decryption of obfuscated error messages, etc. I could have guessed that it was OATH TOTP, as that's how these apps should work. Congrats on getting there from the source code, and indeed it's too bad they didn't retain compatibility with Google.

To fix the bug you mention -- root access from phone -- perhaps you could use something like Yubikey Neo loaded with ykneo-oath. I was searching the code for ykneo-oath (it's a java applet for the small key) to see where the timestamp was used for the dates, but it appears to be part of the YubiOATH app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.yubico.yub... So you'd have to modify the app source (it's on github). The advantage, however, is that your secret isn't stored on your phone and vulnerable to root apps. Instead, your secret is on a mostly-offline key inaccessible from your phone. There's a YouTube video on how it uses NFC to get that OTP from the Yubikey when you need it. In case you're somewhat extremely paranoid, this might interest you. :) For the truly paranoid, you've found a way to disable account recovery methods while mixing time-based and counter authentication mechanisms ;-)

3
nly 5 days ago 0 replies      
Just another example of a proprietary implementation tweaking a de-facto standard / well-known algorithm (RFC 6238) just enough to be annoying.

Fresh in my mind is the Wii U controller reverse-engineering presented at 30C3, where the WPA-PSK handshake protocol was tweaked by performing bit-rotations on the resulting keys.

4
fpgaminer 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wonderful work, and thank you for documenting the experience. From the title, I thought this would be a story about decoding a banking website's cookies and gaining access to other peoples accounts, or something similar. I was quite surprised to see that your bank did basically everything right. I was also surprised that you went so far as to implement an embedded clone. Very cool!

P.S. Consider yourself lucky to have such a bank. Here in the U.S., our major banks do not take security seriously by any stretch of the imagination (they have little incentive to).

5
Vespasian 5 days ago 5 replies      
While I don't know about the situation elsewhere in the world, here in Germany most banks retired the single use codes (called TANS or (if indexed) iTans) quite some years ago for being insecure.

Most online banking will now require a code created per transaction that is 1. either send to you via text on your mobile phone (and is thus prone to phone malware) or 2. is generated using an external device and the chip on your banking card[1] (a true two factor authentication). Both system will show you the exact details (target account, amount to be send) before confirming the transaction. A virus on the computer is not sufficient to hijack your account.

Just out of curiosity: What security measures do your banks employ and do they allow you to upgrade to a higher security level?

[1]https://www.ksklb.de/privatkunden/banking/chiptan/chiptan_fa...

6
memracom 5 days ago 4 replies      
A good lesson for those of us who have had the idea of building a similar app to generate one-time passwords. Now we have a better idea of the minimum that needs to be done to build such an app securely. Thanks.
7
jrockway 5 days ago 1 reply      
The only point of these token generators is to provide a stream of tokens, so that if the generator is cloned (which is trivial), that can be detected. That's it. As far as I can tell, this attack does not prevent the server from detecting a cloned token.

(To do that, you would have to install a new client on the victim's device that will increment its counter and tell you the counter when you ask.)

8
shocks 5 days ago 0 replies      
Dark grey text on a light grey background. :(

Apart from this, awesome read.

9
StavrosK 5 days ago 2 replies      
It looks like this is down, does anyone have a mirror? It's frustrating to read all the gushing comments and not be able to read the post!
10
raverbashing 5 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting

I suppose my bank token uses the same structure and produces a similar code (but I haven't reversed engineered it though)

11
r4pha 5 days ago 0 replies      
A very interesting read. Also, I think I saw you on facebook's hackathon this year!
12
sajb 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks valverde, quite interesting work, and very well written.
13
ithinkso 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why obscuring error/debug messages? Couldn't production just go without it?
14
elwell 6 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, that's commitment!
15
B0Z 5 days ago 1 reply      
Article is 404 inside of 5 hours. That's fairly swift. (assuming OP didn't remove it himself)
16
easy_rider 5 days ago 0 replies      
Well explained, nice read!
17
sebastianavina 5 days ago 4 replies      
he is going to get a very awkard phone call from the bank...

Some years ago I stumbled with something similar on a webpage, posted it on reddit, and the next day the IT manager of the company called me... it was one of the most embarrassing days of my life.

Lesson: don't mess with other peoples work just because you can...

18
piyush_soni 6 days ago 0 replies      
Just one word. Wow!
19
bblough 6 days ago 0 replies      
Nice work!
20
fiorix 6 days ago 0 replies      
dat hax
16
Will Work for Food and Lodging jacquesmattheij.com
297 points by swombat  2 days ago   124 comments top 25
1
terhechte 2 days ago 3 replies      
I love this idea. I live in Germany, and (as pointed out in the text) carpenters can still be seen from time to time during their journeyman years (which is called "Wanderschaft" or "Walz" in German). Slightly OT but here's a picture of what it looks like when they walk across the country [1]I always found this concept deeply fascinating because these people get a chance to see many things from different perspectives simply because they move out of their local village, which many people never do.

The application of this concept on modern trades like software development is certainly very interesting. I'm tempted to think that the biggest gain it might have is that one (as the journeyman) can get quick insights into the deep differences between workflows and company culture in the various companies one approaches. I mean, we all know how different the current employer compared to the previous employer can be, now imagine having such a switch every 1-2 weeks.

[1] http://www.berufsausbildung-bau.de/images/Wandergesellen.jpg

2
gaius 2 days ago 3 replies      
One nitpick, journeyman doesn't mean "on a journey", it's journee man, from the French as in, a person paid a day rate for their trade. The next step up, a master, would be paid for completed items, and could employ others.
3
macrael 2 days ago 4 replies      
I think that, in America at least, one of the few professions where this truly is alive and well is medicine. After four years of training you become a Doctor, but then you spend the next 3-5 years as a resident before you start to actually practice. Hospitals are these complex learning institutions where people in various stages of training are involved in everything to keep them learning.
4
Joeboy 2 days ago 2 replies      
I haven't really thought this through, but I'd like to shamelessly take the opportunity to piggy back onto swombat's #1 post:

Barring disasters, in early 2014 I will be leaving the precariat and can stop being the money-grubbing mercenary I've been for the last few years. I don't exactly have fuck you money, but I should be able to get by on less than ~10kGBP / $~15kUSD a year. I'm currently based in London, UK.

Some things I like the idea of working on are Free Software, encrypted / federated communications, Linux audio, C and embedded software. I've dabbled in all of the above but am not particularly accomplished at any of them. My core skills are python / web development, but I've done plenty of other stuff and am willing and able to learn. Hopefully a look at https://github.com/Joeboy will indicate that I am basically able to do computers.

If anybody has a job (or part of a job) for me, please get in touch via my website, which is on my HN user page.

5
iandanforth 2 days ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to set up an AirBnB style site for this. I'd love to host burgeoning talent in exchange for some code / design / ee / me work.

It would be a pretty cool tradition to "do the rounds" prior to getting your first big job. Or even as a sabattical for more experienced programmers. 2 weeks to a month here, maybe 2 months there. Get a lot of experience and hopefully some recommendations in a short period of time.

6
nsns 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds like the way Paul Erds spent his entire life...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Erd%C5%91s#Personality
7
sushimako 2 days ago 1 reply      
Big up for a great journey ahead! I've (kindof) been living a version of this lifestyle you're describing for >2yrs now. Reading your story now makes me smile, seeing the similarities in retrospect.

When i started my journey, i basically just ended my lease, got rid of the stuff that wouldn't fit in my back-pack and went off with a vague idea of living like a "modern nomad". But i didn't really have any idea how that could work or how it would even feel like. It's important (and often hard) to let go of clinging to expectations. Any too-specific thoughts about yourself in 6mon from now will be smashed. You are in the process of gifting yourself the freedom from "needing" a plan for (e.g.) "next summer", next year or your pension.

Some highlights of my journey so far:

* designed and built a light-projection/"hologram" art-installation (learned: VJ software, some stage-building, event-production)

* helped a small team fighting through the infamous last 20% of their hostel project (learned: carpentry, metalworks)

* helped a family whith the groundworks for their eco-community in the jungle of costa rica(bridge building, gps-surveying, swingin' da macheteee)

* some burning man projects (organizing camps, carpentry, electronics/arduino/LED circuits, 2 small art-cars, learned how to build and design hexayurts [0])

* helped kick-off/co-founded a warehouse-community in SF

Almost the entire time I've been active IT-wise as well, ranging from co-founding startups, helping others out, private fun projects or sometimes freelance jobs to keep me over the water, financially.

Sometimes i sleep in hostels, many times at (new) friends. Sometimes you freeze, feel lonely, have no motivation, everything sucks. Suddenly, sooner than you'd have believed, you wake up in a huge beach-house with a crazy-beautiful oceanview. Be someone who others appreciate having around. This heavily involves giving in some way or the other (physical help, IT help, cooking help, babysitting, talking, being a friend, paying). Try to find out what works best for you; which of your options of giving are the most fruitful (e.g. in terms of learning or new friends!) and which ones just a means to an end (for me, paying/money is often (but not always) on the latter end of this spectrum).

You're up for some good fun, my friend. Just always remember to go with the flow learn to embrace change/insecurity.

[0] https://flo.jottit.com/moonberry*fmt

8
braveheart1723 2 days ago 1 reply      
There are many sites online where you can exchange work for lodging.

http://www.helpx.net/

Here was a nice article on spendin a Christmas working in beautiful locations rather than stuck home.

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2011/aug/12/working-holiday...

9
austenallred 2 days ago 3 replies      
If someone else is paying for food and travel, why limit yourself to a certain geographic area? If someone wants to pay for you to fly to and from Australia, I say let them do it - it would only add to the adventure.
10
einhverfr 1 day ago 0 replies      
A thought here.

We've become way overcredentialled as a society. There are a lot of things where comp-sci degrees are genuinely helpful and a lot of areas where they are required for no real reason other than HR gets too many resumes.

This idea of an apprentice/journeyman/master progression is something I think has tremendous potential in the tech industry. A lot of it can be learned by doing, and for the theoretical stuff, a good Master ought to be able to teach it or provide materials for self-study.

I would like to see this idea take off more.

11
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 1 reply      
Now that my kids are out of the house this sounds like it would be very rewarding. I'll have to chat with the spouse about something like this.
12
thenomad 2 days ago 4 replies      
REALLY interesting idea - tell me you'll be blogging this?

It might be of use for people considering taking you up on this offer (and I'm one of them) to know roughly what your skills are - I know you say you're versatile, but no-one can do everything.

Or is the point that you want to do things outside your current comfort zone?

13
justincormack 2 days ago 0 replies      
Richard Sennett's excellent book "The Craftsman" has a lot about the history of guilds and the training they gave, as well as relating it back to software. Well worth a read.
14
falcolas 2 days ago 1 reply      
Didn't apprentices' families have to pay pretty dearly to get their "food and lodging"? Also, weren't they pretty much indentured servants to their "Masters"?

Viewing history through rose tinted glasses aside, this seems like a great way to expand your knowledge. It would be great if something like this could be expanded further; institutionalized as part of the software development craft.

15
emeraldd 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't help but think of Mike Rowe's Dirty Jobs when I read this post. It's also one of the best uses I've seen of that Heinlein quote!
16
tcdent 2 days ago 0 replies      
I applaud your appreciation for diversity.

Taking it a step beyond occupation alone, I currently believe it to be a necessity for a healthy and contented life; specialization, due to imbalance, causes harm. Excessive amounts of one type of physical activity (say, running) can cause tissue damage, excessive amounts of most foods (including water) can be toxic, excessive sleep even has shown to be harmful, etc.

The only way to avoid overdoing one activity, is to incorporate more of them. Don't think of this as a purely physical practice, either; casual reading, learning and thinking apply as well.

This is not easily accomplished when one is expected to devote a majority of their waking hours to a specialized task, however. Nomadism seems to compliment this way of thinking well, as does homesteading.

17
Dewie 2 days ago 1 reply      
"my base (Amsterdam) [...] Some stuff Ive done over the years: [...] designed a windmill"

Fitting

18
bearwithclaws 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great, Jacques! If I'm within your 1000KM radius, I would send an offer in a heartbeat. Though I don't think there's any project I have that would interest you, but would be really awesome to learn house building.
19
notastartup 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd be interested to see if embedded systems development or engineering in general took this route. Imagine not having to study the textbook but learning the ropes from a master who will teach you, I think one can learn the fastest by being taught without memorizing lecture notes or reading. Simply someone teaching their tips and tricks and following through. it's an interesting concept.
20
mrlithic 2 days ago 1 reply      
A couple questions around this idea.

Are there any liability issues? Could a company who suffers damage from a Journeyman's work hold them liable.

Would there need to be contracts ion place. The wayward traveller arriving and working for lodging and sustenance may not be as easy as it sounds. Especially if there are IP issues etc.

I like this as opposed to the current scholastic intern system which in some cases seems to create a division between those students who can afford the work experience and those who cannot.

Does the German practise have some form of legal or legislative backing behind it? It would be interesting to understand how this operates in these European countries.

21
Taek 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think there are parallels between the Journeyman of the past and the college student of the present. You spend lots of time learning under different people, and often you travel (internships and co-ops) making less pay than a full professional (or no pay at all).
22
adelle 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would like to piggy back on this post to mention that I'm willing to work for Latte, especially if you also have a shower or food. I'm based in Sydney, Australia and you can find me on LinkedIn.
23
PureApeshit 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am the true Nomad! http://www.homelesstribe.com/
24
rogerthis 2 days ago 0 replies      
will work for food and housing for me, wife and kids. i would legally relocate to the usa
25
x2468 2 days ago 2 replies      
Isn't this the guy who squats on domain names? http://www.jacquesmattheij.com/auction-of-domains-for-sale/
17
We've Open-Sourced Everything codecombat.com
289 points by nwinter  2 days ago   42 comments top 13
1
rickdale 2 days ago 1 reply      
Good stuff going on over there at CodeCombat. My favorite part about this headline is that during office hours PG questioned them about their decision to go open source, so I wasn't sure if they would do it. This shows me that CodeCombat has a vision they are following and I believe a big bright future.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABuvRv4Vv3s

2
sinak 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm just going to hazard a guess that that Nick, George and Scott made a very clever decision to set up a script to alert them when HN went up (and perhaps even to submit this post as soon as it happened). This was the first post after the site went up. They might just be lucky, but somehow I doubt it.

Way to hack HN. You win my upvote.

Edit: Also, more specifically to the news of them open sourcing: It'll be particularly awesome if people eventually graduate from learning to code on Codecombat to working on its codebase. Since the backend is all node, it's not inconceivable. A virtuous loop for sure.

3
thejteam 2 days ago 2 replies      
Would it be rude of me to ask what the business model is? This doesn't seem like the type of venture that lends itself well to the standard ways of making a profit off of open source, ie consulting or support.
4
ivan_ah 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is awesome! There are lot's of things to learn from this code base...

In particular, I had not heard about http://brunch.io/ before and it looks like an interesting frontend build tool. The config file looks totally readable, even for a complex app like this: https://github.com/codecombat/codecombat/blob/master/brunch....

I can't seem to find ''app/assets/images/sprites'' in the git repo which I was interested in for an RPG project of mine. Were these not included to simply to keep the repo light, or are these not to be released?

5
epaga 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is just absolutely insane in a good way, and will at the very least prove to be incredibly valuable as a case study of whether or not being this generous to the open source community can actually be a good, profitable thing for a company to do.

Obviously we all hope it can be, and if this catches on, the Internet would become a much better, freer, more "open" place.

Huge thanks to CodeCombat (gsaines and co)!

6
foxly 2 days ago 2 replies      
Holy crap. They opened-up their entire stack! You can literally spin up a clone of the site.
7
jffry 2 days ago 1 reply      
You talk about the levels contributed by your community - will there be / is there a way for those to be shared under open licenses too?
8
ranman 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is so fantastic. The tools you've made really remind me of some of Bret Victor's ideas around the future of programming. I look forward to the day where I can play an MMO where my character progresses inline with my programming ability. You could program your own spells and weapons... Non destructive exploits and hacking would be encouraged rather than discouraged... that's the world I want to live in right now.
9
Trufa 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow that is commitment! Good job guys, keep it on!
10
z3phyr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I could upvote this a hundred times... Its so damn good. I want to be the kid who learns to code, again.
11
dimillian 2 days ago 0 replies      
This look awesome. I'm an experienced developer who wants to learn game development, will it works for me?
12
Keats 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's awesome, I will have some busy time looking through it ! Thanks
13
seivan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nicely done!
18
Get Facebook WiFi for your business facebook.com
274 points by BigBalli  2 days ago   284 comments top 46
1
carlob 2 days ago 14 replies      
Real conversation happened to me in an ice cream shop with a home-brewed facebook captive portal in Cambridge, MA.

me: Excuse me, is there a way to log into the wifi if you don't have a facebook account?

clerk: No, we've had a lots people doing illegal stuff on our wifi, so we need to verify their identity.

me: I understand, however I don't have a facebook account. Would you like to verify my identity with a photo id?

clerk: No, you'll need to get a facebook account.

me: I have serious concerns about my privacy. I will not make one just for the sake of getting online here.

clerk: Just make one with a fake name!

me:

2
ihsw 2 days ago 9 replies      
And so Facebook encroaches upon the physical world to anchor itself -- storefront businesses will come to rely on Facebook to sell personalized ads. I wouldn't be surprised if Facebook gets to access data about who purchases what and when.

If you don't think Google will be doing the same thing with LTE-enabled cars, think again. Their partnership with automakers is no small challenge, and the data gathering opportunity is massive.

Google can know that most Honda Civic drivers in Chicago (for example) park next to McDonald's, and that their phones traveled inside the restaurant -- Facebook will know only that people checked into the restaurant. It stands to reason that Honda could use this information and market the Civic as "the best" car for eating at McDonald's. Maybe Honda Civic drivers get a special McDonald's discount?

Facebook pretty much beat Foursquare to the punch on this one, but (most interestingly) Foursquare relies on OpenStreetMaps -- what does Facebook use? Is it proprietary? What is "Places Nearby"?

3
dade_ 2 days ago 4 replies      
This has been available for several months now. To answer a few questions I've seen, it uses a typical captive portal approach, so an unencrypted WiFi hotspot. Upon connection, you are redirected to an encrypted site with embedded Facebook account verification, at which point you can go wherever the Internet service lets you. The router typically has content filtering and also tracks Internet usage (bandwidth, visited sites, etc) as well as limits on visit length etc.

It is a useful option for merchants, as customers expect WiFi for free. Further, they expect it to be fast and that doesn't expose them to security risks. In other words, this gets expensive and difficult to manage. There are great solutions out there already, but they cost money - so the business case is based on marketing data. Email authentication would work, but it is difficult to gain much insight about customers, also you would need to give people access to their email server to setup their authentication. SMS doesn't work for people who don't have cell phones, or if there is poor coverage - also marketing data would be very difficult to gain. So, Social Media authentication (Facebook) turns out to be a really great option.

Obviously you have the choice not to use the service, but this isn't going away. Industry codes of conduct need to be set and I don't think they have. Privacy laws need to be understood and enforced. Retailer and coffee shop activities with this data haven't caused me much concern, but Facebook is another story.

4
mseebach 2 days ago 5 replies      
This is a pretty good idea. It solves the coordination problem of not wanting to just provide free wifi forever to anyone by requiring a token "payment". It solves the identification problem which (unfortunately) is a requirement in many jurisdictions. And it helps non-technical business owners provide decent wifi.
5
sergiotapia 2 days ago 1 reply      
Absolutely disgusting. These type of things just give me the willies. Everyday I see that Mr. Stallman was right, it's incredible!
6
swasheck 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Customers simply check in to your location on Facebook to connect to free Wi-Fi

wow. not only do they get you to sign up for an account, they also get more insight into your movements/migrations by forcing you to use a feature that (for now) you can disable.

nobody says you have to use the service but we'll see how many more sell out for it.

edit: read more

How do I edit the Wi-Fi code my customers use to skip check-in?

To edit your Wi-Fi code:

Go to your Page and click Edit Page at the top of your admin panel.

Select Edit Settings from the dropdown menu.

Click on the More... tab and select Facebook Wi-Fi.

Select Require Wi-Fi code and edit your Wi-Fi code in the box.

You can also choose not to require a code by selecting Skip check-in link.

Click Save Settings.

7
pathy 2 days ago 2 replies      
There are privacy concerns but overall I think it is a splendid idea, both for Facebook and for the businesses that choose to join.

Your run of the mill free wifi is neither secure nor private to begin with and I don't see Facebook Wifi encroaching on privacy any more than currently available free wifi.

8
ar7hur 2 days ago 2 replies      
First I thought that FB would provide the hardware and internet connection to the business in exchange for so much information about their customers...

But after reading their FAQ, I realize that no, FB does not provide anything. The deal is like "give me your customer info and your internet connection, I'll give you... maybe a few more likes on your page".

Eventually for consumers like me who don't use FB, it's going to be a loss of service. Some businesses who had open Wifi will now require FB check-in to provide access. Sad.

9
modeless 2 days ago 0 replies      
Coming soon: captive portals that pretend to be Facebook WiFi and ask for your Facebook username and password.
10
zx2c4 2 days ago 1 reply      
If this becomes widespread, the phishing potential will be huge. Everybody is used to clicking through SSL warnings, or not having SSL at all when registering with hotspots. Rogue APs redux here we come.
11
bearjew 2 days ago 1 reply      
Forget about logging in for wifi. This is a direct competitor to Nomi.

Facebook will now know whenever your MAC Address walks by a storefront with one of these routers, regardless if you have an account. For those who have installed the app (the majority of the country) FB will be able to match the MAC ID to your account.

In addition to simply foot traffic walking by the store, the router will track information on when you are actually in the store, how long you stayed there, and how frequently you visit.

Eventually those with FB on their phone will have ads pushed to them when they pass one of these routers. I imagine it wouldn't just be for stores with the routers but those within the immediate vicinity.

Of course none of the data collected will be shared with the storeowners until they are sold the ads by facebook.

12
nextstep 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hell no. Business owners, please don't use this for wifi in your stores! I refuse to use Facebook to leave a trail of where I am physically just to use the wifi.
13
dangrossman 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'd consider advertising Facebook on a wifi hotspot as soon as they offer to pay for it by assuming liability for customers using that hotspot to share a bunch of film and TV show torrents. As long as courts keep pretending that an IP address is the same as a person, it doesn't make sense for small businesses with small pockets to offer free wifi.
14
runn1ng 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is evil on so many levels
15
trevmckendrick 2 days ago 0 replies      
Other than Wifi, does the user get anything out of this deal?

Is another free hotspot worth giving up your data?

It would to me if they made wifi ubiquitous and drop dead easy to use.

That said, I don't think wifi is in the plans of the future. Eventually some other constant data connection will take its place.

16
RankingMember 2 days ago 2 replies      
Well that's an interesting one, dangling free wifi in exchange for joining/staying on Facebook. Personally, I'd just create a throwaway Facebook account to use for these.
17
starnix17 1 day ago 0 replies      
Philz Coffee (at least the one at Golden Gate and Larkin) has this. Before you can access any non-HTTPS pages you get a Facebook page with a big "Check-In" button and a very small "Skip" button.
18
oniTony 2 days ago 0 replies      
Facebook WiFi doesn't take over HTTPS traffic, so I can continue to browse HN comments without Facebook signin. Actually following links doesn't work as well on average (even with HTTPS Everywhere).
19
ececconi 2 days ago 0 replies      
My friend owns a small tutoring business. They give out free wifi to all of their students. I think having this as an option would be a great way for them to build awareness of their local business.
20
jglazko 2 days ago 0 replies      
They lost me at "Check in to Facebook". Anything that requires me to use Facebook is a non-starter.
21
debacle 2 days ago 0 replies      
This could be genius if Facebook puts the right momentum behind it.
22
Zigurd 2 days ago 0 replies      
My reaction is "Brilliant, daring!" and "Why did it have to be Facebook? I'm trying to get away from Facebook."

Time to create a fake Facebook identity.

23
pcl 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if they're doing anything with MAC address correlation to track devices that do not join their net.
24
acjacobson 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am not really sure why so many people here are alarmed at the privacy implications. Google or Apple and your ISP / Telecom already know where you are at all times unless you are one of the very few people that don't carry a cell phone. Your ISP already knows every site that you look at from your home computer - how exactly is this different? Why is Facebook inherently any more or less trustworthy than any of these other companies? They are just happen to also know where you are when you optionally check in?
25
cpeterso 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does "Facebook WiFi" allow users to access any web content or just Facebook? The product page only describes how users and businesses can use a variety of Facebook features. For many people, Facebook access alone would be good enough.
26
mrfusion 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm confused what the end user experience is. Do you need a special app that somehow goes into your iPhone settings and adds a network? How would it work on laptops?
27
al2o3cr 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow. Given that the default FB setting is "HTTPS off", you might as well just pass around a note with your FB login + password to everybody else in the business.
28
angersock 2 days ago 0 replies      
Jesus Christ, have we all learned nothing?

It's a swarm of lemmings being led by blind moles.

Fucking awful.

29
static_typed 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can see the conversations now: "..and they trust you with their wife data?"

"Dumbfucks".

30
edwhitesell 2 days ago 0 replies      
So, since FB "owns" the user, I wonder if that means this service is compliant with CALEA [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CALEA] or whatever the most current version is. It was a mess to deal with back in the early 2000's while operating WiFi networks.

If FB is not compliant, maybe the government will make an example out of FB when they are unable to comply with wiretap requests. IIRC, the fines could be upwards of $20k/day of non-compliance after receiving a warrant for a specific user's data.

31
ahugon 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is really cool. Wifi being unavailable "in the wild" is something that continues to be an annoyance; if this actually starts being adopted by businesses, I think it could have a massive impact on who patronizes which establishments.

Ironically, I also view this as potentially helping Google with Chromebook sales... the more prevalent WiFi becomes, the more useful a Chromebook becomes.

32
lightblade 2 days ago 2 replies      
Then use checkins as loyalty card?
33
vrypan 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://www.zoottle.com/ does this, but gives you more control and is not limited to facebook login of course. It also gives you detailed stats (I didn't see any mention of getting visitor stats by FB wifi).
34
pherk 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is so cool. It lets Facebook amass a massive amount of data about customer whereabouts and whatabouts. The incentive for merchants is quite compelling. However, Facebook needs to do a damn good job to convince the customers to use it.
35
zerop 2 days ago 0 replies      
Free wifi would actually help Google more..
36
blueskin_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another way for facebook to datamine people's personal details. Wonderful.
37
bidev 2 days ago 1 reply      
my 2 cents : people will create fake accounts and will use wifi for p2p
38
gonzo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yet more "Pay Toilet" WiFi.
39
kimonos 2 days ago 0 replies      
No thanks! I still prefer to use my pocket wifi..
40
Nikolas0 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like trouble for zoottle.com but I guess their product is a little different (connected to other networks as well, etc.)
41
guloizo 1 day ago 0 replies      
So facebook has launched the next step in their attack on the internet, it's sad that they are succeeding where microsoft failed two decades ago with their attempt to replace the internet with their proprietary microsoft network.
42
lucb1e 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, good thing I have a few accounts handy.
43
dignified_devil 2 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't there a direct relationship between bandwidth speeds and mobile tethering usage? Is it safe to assume that this (free wifi) will become obsolete within the next 5 years?
44
mergy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Up next: Facebook public toilets. "Like = dump"
45
zuckerfap 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's always interesting to me how, the more an entity has shown itself to disregard the privacy and rights of it's users/customers/citizens/etc in the past, the more people are willing to extend the benefit of the doubt that they won't continue to do so on new ventures.

This will be abused, they will overstep massively at some point, people will complain, then they'll take a cosmetic baby step backwards, and possibly provide their users with a pixelated cow icon to make up for it... then continue on their way.

I'm guessing everyone has already forgotten about the "we read your posts, even if you don't post them" thing recently? http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-facebook...

46
zuckerfap 2 days ago 0 replies      
I bet Zuckerberg's palms are already starting to sweat just imagining how easily he can use this feature to get creepy on people.
19
In memory of Aaron, bulk XML of every federal and state law and court ruling webpolicy.org
266 points by friendofaclu  1 day ago   52 comments top 15
1
slapshot 1 day ago 2 replies      
Which versions are these? I ask because, to lawyers, pagination matters -- a LOT. Lawyers refer to a case by the book and page number, and refer to parts of a case by the page numbers. It's probably not a great system, but the courts don't have anchors in text for better or worse. Also, what version is it as to corrections? Most courts issue typo changes after the fact. Most are minor, but a few do materially affect the meaning (such as changing the page numbers of the parts of a different case that have been overruled).

Don't get me wrong, it's better than nothing, but to get any buy-in from existing lawyers these issues need to be addressed. I'm concerned that they haven't on the site.

2
pseingatl 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Not so long ago, this collection would have been priceless. 10-15 years ago there was an article in Wired about efforts to obtain access to case law, which was pretty much locked down by West Publishing and Lexis/Nexis. So a few comments:

1) To make this set usable from a practical point of view you have to know when it starts and finishes. "[E]very federal court ruling" is a bold statement. Federal Reporter Third? All 1000 volumes of F2d? What about the original Federal Reporter? F.Supp.? Not all federal district court decisions are published. Since our federal courts have become criminal courts (starting in the 1980's) most of the written decisions will be at the appellate level. What about "Do Not Publish" opinions? There are thousands of them and they are still useful. Usually only DoJ has copies.

2) Not having everything is not critical to the practical value of the set. In the 1990's a West salesman would tell you that there was no need to buy anything before 500 F2d if you were trying to put together a small federal library. For most states they would try to sell you everything, except perhaps New York, California and few others. The issue is updating. Florida updates (or used to) its appellate decisions on a monthly basis. You could sign up and they would send you a zip file every month. I don't know if all states do this. The problem of recency is a major one. A case could have been decided yesterday but you won't find out about it for a month. You can fix the problem on appeal--theoretically, assuming a client who wants to pay--because judges will not, except in rare cases, revisit older decisions they have made because case law that was not available at the time was dispositive.

3. The issue of citing to a particular page of a decision in addition to the official citation is not a huge problem. In many states, appellate decisions are relatively short and court rules have provided for the use of just the official citation. Cites to new Westlaw and Lexis cases do not have page numbers. When page numbers are unavailable, you can cite them as ( U.S. )(2014) [my Blue Book syntax is probably a little off here). If you cite an unpublished opinion you normally have to provide the judge and your counterparty a copy of the decision.

4. FLITE was the U.S. Air Force's effort to computerize case law in the 1980's. Westlaw and Lexis fought ferociously to prevent this database from being released to the public. They were successful. The same is the case with JURIS, a DoJ caselaw database. Now there are several providers (such as Fastcase) which compete with Westlaw and Juris. Access to PACER, the U.S. courts database of case, is limited. Efforts to mass download the database have been frustrated. The courts use PACER as a revenue tool. Also, criminal cases at the district court level are not on PACER (unless this has changed) supposedly to protect informants. So it would be interesting to know how this database was obtained.

5. Putting aside the practical value of this database, once the extent of the content is established, it could have real value for researchers. Could it be used to spot trends in the law? I wonder what might be shown if tools to measure things like historical market performance were used to analyze the database. You could see all sorts of data points for terms like "Dalkon Shield" or "asbestos" occurring within specific time ranges. There is definitely a "me too" aspect to the law. And while judges make law all the time, they have no control (usually) over the cases brought to them. Do cases involving "terrorists" match the pattern of cases involving "communists"? Or, say in the period 1910-1920, "Germans"? On a practical level, what is the statistical incidence of cases involving the Statute of Frauds? The "ancient document" exception to the hearsay rule? Are criminal conversation causes of action really coming back? If historically the incidence of data points A, then B always led to C can an analysis of such points today of any use in predicting future decisions?

Just a few thoughts.

3
panarky 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is awesome, thank you for sharing these. I was able to get a couple states, but it looks like Dropbox has cut you off.

  Connecting to dl.dropboxusercontent.com  (dl.dropboxusercontent.com)|23.23.88.93|:443... connected.  HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 509 Bandwidth Error  2014-01-08 23:36:42 ERROR 509: Bandwidth Error.
Dropbox limits personal accounts to 20GB per day of public sharing.

https://www.dropbox.com/help/45/en

4
tgflynn 1 day ago 1 reply      
A few questions come to mind that aren't answered by perusing the site, though I haven't yet looked at the downloadable files.

1) How comprehensive are the court decisions ? For example which Federal Courts are covered and for what time periods ? If there are variations in coverage of state courts what are the high low and typical cases of coverage - both for dates and court levels ?

2) How was the court decision data obtained ? I was under the impression that there were significant obstacles to obtaining much of this data since although statutes are available freely online for many jurisdictions access to court decisions is typically very costly. I once payed several hundred dollars for a months access to NYS court decisions and I believe that service no longer exists, having been replaced by much more expensive long term plans that are out of reach of anyone except law firms or large corporations.

Getting court decisions online for free or at an affordable cost would be of great benefit to anyone needing/wanting to do legal research in the US and would help improve the increasingly dismal state of democracy in this country.

5
FireBeyond 23 hours ago 1 reply      
A sincere question, is the collation of this material and its publication, /actually/ dedicated to Aaron Swartz (as I see https://www.google.com/#q=aaron+swartz+site:webpolicy.org&sa... shows zero results) or rather, editorializing / opining by the submitter?
6
MWil 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've emailed Jonathan at his Stanford email to ask him to put it up as a torrent

Will update if I hear back

7
_delirium 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is this related to the XML data collected by public.resource.org? E.g. Supreme Court decisions are available in XML here: https://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/US/
8
NatW 1 day ago 1 reply      
See http://freelawproject.org/ for excellent free/open source legal data.
9
thehooplehead 1 day ago 0 replies      
It looks like Dropbox just shut down the account's transfers. I take it a couple dozen people started mass-downloading each state's data.This would be the ideal use for a torrent network, right?
10
esbranson 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope those working on this type of material consider Akoma Ntoso (http://www.akomantoso.org/), currently being standardized as OASIS LegalDocML (http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/legaldocml), and maybe OASIS LegalXML (https://www.oasis-open.org/committees/legalxml-courtfiling).

I think Akoma Ntoso would make bulk access, maybe even piecemeal API access as with other similar works like this, easier for consumption (think NLTK). The Italian Senate (the Senate in Rome) uses it, the Library of Congress has introduced some "data challenges" using it as well, and I think it is the future. Using a common data format / XML schema has its advantages.

11
anseljh 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd love for the title of this post to be accurate, but it's not. Many court rulings are available only in sliced tree format for a modest copying fee from a clerk behind a glass window. Sorry.
12
joshuaheard 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic! Now you need a script to convert the daily slip opinions from the courts and the updated statutes from the legislatures to add them to the databases to keep the content current.
13
WaterSponge 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is there a free or paid service that has this type of data and a api for accessing it?
14
chris_wot 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Has someone mirrored this?
15
dynamic99 1 day ago 0 replies      
Links are down...
20
Anatomy of a cheap USB-to-Ethernet adapter projectgus.com
265 points by dshankar  5 days ago   73 comments top 18
1
jrockway 5 days ago 1 reply      
I appreciate the shielding Apple added, especially with two resonators in the HF band. The shielding is, BTW, probably to prevent the device from causing interference, not to prevent other devices from interfering with it. (It's not a radio, after all.)

Note that if you do choose to buy the cheaper one without any shielding, it's your responsibility (in the US) to prevent it from interfering with licensed users of the RF spectrum. (In this case, 25m shortwave broadcasters on 12MHz and government-run time-transfer services, like WWV and WWVH, on 25MHz.)

If your device is particularly annoying to some shortwave listener, expect to get a letter from the FCC telling you to shut the thing off.

(I looked up a few of the letters, and I really appreciate the politeness from the government: http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Part%2015%20Letters/04-06-24-... "There are several simple and inexpensive steps that can be taken to eliminate interference from battery chargers, and we would be glad to send them to you if needed.")

2
mdisraeli 5 days ago 1 reply      
According to Bunnie's investigation into microSD cards[1], that low serial number probably indicates that the components were produced on a "ghost shift", when a rogue worker comes in at night and runs the plant off the books

[1] http://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?page_id=1022

3
selectodude 5 days ago 4 replies      
I'm equally impressed by the Apple adapter. They make expensive stuff, but they legitimately don't cut corners. It's nice to see there's still one consumer electronics company that still does that.
4
Tomdarkness 4 days ago 3 replies      
I recently purchased a Gigabit ethernet adapter for my rMBP. If you're fine with something a bit larger and are willing to go above "dirt cheap" I'd strongly recommend the Inateck HBU3VL3-4. It's made by a German company so I'm not sure how available it is over in the USA.

It has an ASIX AX88179 which is a USB 3.0 to Gigabit chip and it my tests I was easily able to get around 800-900Mbps. It also has 3x USB 3.0 ports, so not only do you not lose your USB 3.0 port you gain 2 more. I've not dismantled it but it feels solidly built.

Here in the UK I paid the same price as the Apple USB to Ethernet Adapter, which is only 100BASE-T and offers no hub.

5
userbinator 5 days ago 2 replies      
The lack of shielding is rarely any problem. Two oscillators is not better than one, since PLLs can generate the required clocks (480MHz = 25 / 5 x 96, 100MHz = 25 x 4, 125MHz = 25 x 5); SMSC has some USB/Ethernet solutions that use the same 25MHz frequency.

> The Windows drivers are the exact same digitally signed ones that Microsoft distributes through Windows Update

AFAIK there is a standard device class for "USB ethernet controllers", so any chipset that conforms to it will work fine with the standard drivers.

As for the unmarked chip - many IC companies are not averse to creating custom designs for a specific customer (and marking it however you want) if you're willing to buy enough. I don't think it's ASIX since they don't have the single 25MHz clock source; more willing to bet on Microchip or SMSC.

6
gresrun 5 days ago 2 replies      
We have used a similar dongle at our company for a 2nd ethernet adapter on our Foxconn-built boxes and found out that they usually don't have unique MAC addresses. This made our lives very difficult because Cobranet audio network uses level-2 addressing. We eventually found a supplier with real MAC addresses.
7
analog31 4 days ago 0 replies      
An old analog hacker rule of thumb is that if your product is going to emit RF, you'll find spurious RF on input and output terminals (including ground terminals), which you can check with a scope. Such a pre-test is cheaper than getting a field test done and failing.

The scope test might be do-able on a comparison basis between the two designs. It's possible that Apple over-engineered their shielding.

It's not necessarily a cloned design. The cheap part may simply implement standard protocols, and use the name of the Apple part to ensure driver compatibility without too much testing. Still, that seems rather under-handed if it's what it seems.

8
naner 5 days ago 0 replies      
We use a ton of USB adapters where I work and are using them all day long with several different systems. A few months ago we got a batch of cheap adapters and one noticeable difference was the cheap ones get really hot compared to the more expensive name brand adapters. Appear to work OK, though.
9
catch23 5 days ago 0 replies      
Good article. It reminds me of the stories Wozniak would tell about his chip reduction techniques back when microchips were really expensive.
10
Eduardo3rd 5 days ago 0 replies      
OP isn't alone - I find these parts dissections fascinating as well. Posts like these show you how and why hardware is becoming a comodity. It's going to be a very interesting century.
11
aroch 5 days ago 4 replies      
>Id love to learn more about these secretive industries and the engineers who work in them.

Isn't it pretty well known that 1) they aren't secretive and 2) they don't actually design their own hardware. They start off by producing the legitimate item, in the factory that's contracted by the company who designed the product. If the product is successful or easily fits in their existing knockoff fabs, they plans are basically copied over

12
chenster 5 days ago 1 reply      
Very interesting study. Somehow in the back of my head, it still whispers "You get what you paid for".
13
rahimnathwani 4 days ago 1 reply      
The taobao link in the original post leads to a listing which does not specify the chipset or support for Mac. This suggests it's a cheaper chipset. The 4-5 best-selling cheap USB-to-Ethernet adapters on taobao use the RD9700 chipset, and can be had for 22RMB including shipping.

The cheapest Asix 88772-based one I can find from a reliable seller is 25RMB including shipping.

It seems like there is another 50 cents that can be cut from the design, although the RD9700 may not have an OSX driver:http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1450026

14
noonespecial 5 days ago 0 replies      
The cheap one: looks like we're running without containment, just not enough to cook us.
15
14113 5 days ago 3 replies      
This is interesting - and more importantly, is there any part of the ethernet standard they don't support? I only ask, as at my university there were a number of networks that students simply couldn't connect to if they used any ethernet adaptors. Oddly enough, thunderbolt adaptors, and ethernet on the motherboard worked fine, just USB adaptors didn't work.
16
bane 4 days ago 2 replies      
Great writeup.

So I guess the question is, is the one with the fruit on it worth $25 more? It seems like the cheap one is more "Wozniak" in approach.

17
chrislaco 4 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone done a writeup like this, but for mdp -> dvi adapters... Apple vs Monoprice, etc?
18
mariuolo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Love that blog, thanks for pointing me at it.
21
Why we have to boycott RSA erratasec.com
262 points by techinsidr  5 days ago   69 comments top 12
1
ics 5 days ago 3 replies      
> I mention this because people on Twitter are taking the stance that instead of boycotting RSA that we should attend their conference, to represent our views, to engage people in the conversation, to be "ambassadors of liberty". This is nonsense. It doesn't matter how many people you convince that what the RSA did is wrong if that doesn't change their behavior. If everyone agrees with you, but nobody boycotts RSA's products/services, then it sends the clear message to other corporations that there is no consequence to bad behavior. It sends the message to other corporations that if caught, all that happens is a lot of talk and no action. And since the motto is that "all PR is good PR", companies see this as a good thing.

DO BOTH. This is the real world. People have to compromise to send a unified message. Don't refuse to help one group who shares your goals because they have a different idea of how to achieve it. If you are in a position where you can boycott and voice your opinion to their faces, do it. Maybe you're right and they don't give a shit about what you say. Who cares? Let the other people there know, and let them know that there are more of you out there.

2
fintler 5 days ago 9 replies      
RSA is a subsidiary of EMC. This means that a boycott of Greenplum, Pivotal, VMWare, Isilon, Mozy, and MANY others would probably be included.

I just don't see an effective boycott of this scale happening -- especially when most of their customers just care about the product cost and benefit. Also, it can probably be argued that trying to secure your systems against a targeted intrusion from the NSA using technical means is pointless and a waste of money (throwing money at the EFF might be more effective).

Having said that, is there an good alternative to SecureID? The only thing that seems to come close is CRYPTOCard, but it looks like they have closer ties with the NSA than RSA does. A yubikey also looks nice, but I don't like how it needs to be plugged in as a keyboard -- a device that is kept physically separated from the login machine would be ideal. OTP apps on a multi-purpose device (mobile phone) also isn't something I consider to be secure.

3
oroup 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'd go further. I think there needs to be a class action suit brought by customers who purchased a security solution and got snake oil. I'm sure the RSA license limits liability but I think there's a case to be made that this isn't just negligence but willful criminal acts and the limitations should be set aside. The case itself would probably be pretty damaging ("Tell us, what did you think the $10m was buying?"). I think RSA would go pretty far to avoid a trial.
4
kerkeslager 5 days ago 3 replies      
Branding this as a boycott implies that this is an expression of protest, that this is a moral issue. I agree that it is, but a lot of people don't. The morality of the NSA, and of cooperating with the NSA, is a matter of national debate.

However, it is not a matter of debate that the RSA backdoor of BSAFE was and is not open merely to the NSA. It is an objective fact that anyone can take advantage of a backdoor like this. As such, even if you think that the NSA is right, even if you think that cooperating with the NSA is correct, this is not the way to do it.

It might make business sense to do business with a security company that cooperates with the NSA. It does not make business sense to do business with a security company which is proven to produce vulnerable software.

Whether or not it's an ethical problem is subjective. The fact that it's a business problem is objective.

This comment misses the mark:

> Also, it can probably be argued that trying to secure your systems against a targeted intrusion from the NSA using technical means is pointless and a waste of money

The BSAFE backdoor does not simply make companies vulnerable to targeted intrusion from the NSA. It makes every technology which uses Dual EC_DRBG vulnerable to any hacker who knows how to use the vulnerability. This is a pseudorandom number generator, which means that it affects almost every primitive cryptographic operation.

A company which would introduce such a vulnerability for the NSA may or may not be an ethical company, but it certainly is not a company qualified to provide security.

EDIT: It looks like I messed up my understanding of the way in which Dual_EC_DRBG was broken. See the responses to my post for details.

5
sneak 5 days ago 2 replies      
From the article:

"Sadly, I haven't spoken at RSA in many years. Had I been accepted to talk this year, I'd certainly be canceling it."

6
eliteraspberrie 5 days ago 0 replies      
A boycott is symbolic, and that is important. But I doubt it will be effective in changing their corporate priorities. RSA makes its money from government contracts, or from other government contractors, not from privacy-minded individuals like us.

Instead, I propose that it be unlawful for companies which have been thoroughly hacked to bid on government cybersecurity contracts, at least for some period of time. After the SecurID hack, RSA should have been blacklisted for, say, a year. BSAFE should not be anywhere near a government or defence network.

PS: The analogy to Vichy France isn't great. It was not a matter of French technocrats collaborating just to save their jobs; it was real counter-revolutionaries fighting to bring down the Third Republic from within.

7
salient 5 days ago 3 replies      
Do we have a customer list of RSA? We should at least try warning them about it. Many of them probably aren't even aware of this. What banks use RSA's products?
8
us0r 5 days ago 0 replies      
"In some cases the companies had no choice (Verizon)"

This is how wrong so many people are. Verizon's CEO has flat out said "they are our largest customer" (i.e - go fuck yourself).

9
cpt1138 5 days ago 1 reply      
Via this logic, shouldn't we boycott Yahoo, Google, and Facebook too?
10
jmspring 4 days ago 0 replies      
I initially read this as boycotting RSA products like BSAFE, rather than the conference.

Aside from their secure ID products, do people use many RSA products?

11
murphysbooks 5 days ago 0 replies      
What About EMC?

Should they bear any of the burden or only the subsidiary?

What about those companies that use RSA products and services?

These are just questions.

Not advocacy.

12
puppetmaster3 4 days ago 0 replies      
22
Overstock.com Is Now Accepting Bitcoins wired.com
246 points by ironchief  8 hours ago   185 comments top 16
1
JohnTHaller 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Overstock.com uses Coinbase and Coinbase handles the entire checkout process. It's really no different than checkout with PayPal. Except that it's never in bitcoin at all. Overstock never shows a bitcoin amount due, it's handled entirely at Coinbase's end. And no bitcoins are ever given to Overstock.com, they just get USD from Coinbase directly and the customer is charged the amount in bitcoins that convert to the amount of USD that their order is.

It's a win win for Overstock.com, really, since they don't need to worry about the volatility and instability of bitcoin and only deal in USD but get to look forward-thinking by accepting bitcoin. Yes, they are accepting more risk because Coinbase.com could disappear overnight (FAR more likely than PayPal or Visa disappearing overnight), but they get some advantage for their risk.

2
csmeder 6 hours ago 7 replies      
Is there a tax guide that would explain the consequences of me using some of the bitcoin I bought in 2013 to buy an item on overstock this month?

As I understand it I would have to record the value I paid for the bitcoin in 2013, calculate the value it appreciated between when I bought it and the amount I am using to buy the item. And then report this as capital gains on my 2014 tax return?

This sucks, this makes using bitcoin a lot more work than just paying with a credit card. Plus, it might mean having to hire an accountant instead of just using turbo tax?

3
blhack 7 hours ago 3 replies      
The importance of this news cannot be overstated. Overstock.com is the first "main stream" company (my mom shops there) that accepts bitcoin that I can think of.

Wow. Good job, overstock.com team for getting this done so quickly!

4
pat2man 7 hours ago 3 replies      
I just bought a watch using their bitcoin checkout. Since I was already logged in to Coinbase it a single screen to approve the payment. Then back to a page saying my order was complete. Couldn't be easier.

This is a win for bitcoin but its a huge win for Coinbase. Their payment flow works well and I am sure Overstock accepting it will make it an easier sell for other merchants.

5
neals 7 hours ago 7 replies      
As a European, I have never heard of Overstock. Though they actually do ship here and prices can be displayed in Euro's.

How big is this site? What is their angle? Are they just like a smaller amazon.com? Overstock sounds a little like lower priced articles from left over stocks or something...

6
tokenizer 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Hate to go against my gold bug brothers, but no monetary supply requires a physical backing; just confidence.

Yes backing a currency in gold will give confidence. Yes backing a fractional reserve with a military and resources will give confidence.

If bitcoin can TRULY deliver on its promises as a payment transmitter, than it may just get enough confidence to become a currency as well.

As it stands now however, it looks like a speculative commodity.

7
ftwinnovations 5 hours ago 1 reply      
We recently began accepting it on our typing education websites http://www.Typing.com and http://www.NitroType.com, though to an unfortunately meager response. Hopefully between Zynga and Overstock Bitcoin begins to be accepted as a true medium of exchange.

The initial reaction was simply confusion and a lot of "what the heck is bitcoin??? is it paypal??", so the rollout really was more of a educational session than anything else.

8
ddrager 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Just ordered a mini-helicopter on Overstock using Bitcoins. The checkout process was flawless. I used the Bitcoin client on my phone to send the amount by snapping a shot of the QR code on the website. Went right through, hit confirm, and the deal was done!

Couldn't have been an easier process and can't wait to get my helicopter.

9
jrockway 6 hours ago 1 reply      
So does anyone sell FX forwards (etc.) on Bitcoin yet? It seems everything now prices their items in, say, USD, and then calculates the Bitcoin price at purchase time. This makes the economy very unstable as the prices are never consistent. If Bitcoin prices were stable, then people would start accepting salary in Bitcoins, leading to even more stability, and so on. Or is Bitcoin too young for that?
10
selectout 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm impressed they followed through with this so quickly. Great to see the adoption starting to flow in places that non crypto nerds and tech enthusiasts visit.
11
james33 7 hours ago 1 reply      
How much volume are they actually going to get though? I'm excited to see more outlets accepting bitcoin, but to this point it still feels more like a marketing gimmick.
12
nwh 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Wish people would stop using the term "bitcoins" as if they're singular metal entities, it seems to be where the perception that they are "too expensive" comes from.

Bitcoin. Divisible to 8 decimal places.

13
MattyRad 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It's refreshing that now I can spend my bitcoin on things I want! They got it working much faster than expected. Does anybody have any idea how returns would work? Do they just send the original amount of bitcoin to the payer's wallet? Or are returns even possible at this point in time?
14
sshillo 7 hours ago 2 replies      
This is pretty huge. I'd be interested to know what overstock's strategy is for converting bitcoins back to fiat. I also wonder if there will be any tax implications here for purchases made in countries such as Norway that don't consider bitcoin real currency.
15
kyleblarson 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Could be interesting that they can tie physical shipping addresses to specific wallets.
16
hairama 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Seems like these companies are rushing into this without fully understanding how the technology works or where it's going.
23
At last, a law to stop almost anyone from doing almost anything theguardian.com
245 points by callum85  2 days ago   187 comments top 20
1
jon-wood 2 days ago 2 replies      
I do voluntary work with the sort of kids this law has been designed to target - the ones who walk around a council estate causing trouble, because there's nowhere for them to go but home, where they can look forward to crowded houses and parents who are high.

There are two approaches to dealing with that problem. The first is laws like this, which allow the police to prosecute them simply for walking the streets in a group, and set them up for life with a criminal record. That will inevitably lead to worse crimes in the future as they find themselves unable to work because of that record.

Alternatively the government could stop cutting funding for organisations that try to provide a place where they can go and be children without causing others trouble. Youth centres are shutting down due to a lack of funding - the one I volunteer at only functions because its funded by a local church, and even then it only just scrapes by.

Honestly, I don't really know where I'm going with this, other than needing to rant about the fucked up approach this government is taking with their "Big Society", carefully focused on making sure the poor are criminalised, and the rich don't have to worry about supporting them.

2
spindritf 2 days ago 5 replies      
Four paragraphs of lamentations about exclusion, inequality, sanitization, poor, young, etc. before any hard facts and seven before the actual topic is brushed. Oh, and no sources or references for the events he describes.

Asbos have been granted which forbid the carrying of condoms by a prostitute, homeless alcoholics from possessing alcohol in a public place, a soup kitchen from giving food to the poor, a young man from walking down any road other than his own

OK, it's not a news article but there are blogs much better than this.

Apart from people who already know what he's writing about and agree with him, who would want to read this piece of pure mood affiliation? No wonder they're in the red.

EDIT: This https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/pdfs/policy13/libert... [pdf] is supposedly the source, according to the "fully referenced" version on his website. The word 'soup' is not used there at all.

I will not shed one tear for a profession that cannot master a hyperlink.

3
Xylakant 2 days ago 4 replies      
We can watch a similar thing unfolding in Hamburg at the moment. Following a demonstration that ended up in street fights and an alleged attack on a police station, large parts of the central districts were declared a "Gefahrenzone" (danger zone) where the police has special rights to check persons and deny them entry into that area. This is a special provision in Hamburgs police law that allows the police itself to declare such a zone with very little judical oversight. AFAIK this is the first time this has happened on a large scale, it's interesting to watch events unfold.
4
tehwalrus 2 days ago 1 reply      
He lays this at Norman Baker's feet, who has only been in the job a few months (although he has apparently defended the new law).

As a fellow Lib Dem I'm thoroughly ashamed that this is getting anywhere with us in the government, and I've tweeted him (Baker) to challenge his position - his account looks like a bog standard politician's announcement feed, no interactions with other accounts save the odd retweet, so I don't expect he'll respond (if he does fast enough for an edit, I'll link to it here).

ASBOs have been awful - I remember hearing about a case my dad sat on (he's a magistrate) where a homeless guy, who had been seriously assaulted, was up on charges of breaching his no-swearing ASBO for his reaction to the police ignoring him while he sat their bleeding! Very unpleasant laws used to attack the vulnerable, and they're making them even more wide-ranging. I am fuming!

5
resurge 2 days ago 1 reply      
The same exists in Belgium for about a year or so where it's called a "GAS boete" (Gemeentelijke administratieve sanctie ~= muncipial administrative sanction).

They have been the subject of a lot of dismay among people because they're often used for the wrong thing.

Some stupid reasons to get a GAS fine are:

- Eating a sandwich on the porch of a church

- Posting negative comments about the police on a news website

- Kids can't play football when the pidgeon herders (? - NL: duivenmelker) are managing their pidgeons.

- sitting on the back part of a bench

- Putting garbage from your car in to a public trash can. (yes, IN TO the trash can, not next to it) It was seen as illegal dumping of trash (NL: sluikstorten)

Source: http://www.knack.be/nieuws/belgie/top-100-van-de-absurdste-g...

6
itchitawa 2 days ago 6 replies      
How many people are afraid to walk down a dark alley at night? That's a freedom we should have but plenty of people are forced to get a taxi or stay home because of a real fear of being robbed. I live in a city where it is safe, even for young women alone and I'm amazed when I remember what a restricted life it was in more dangerous, yet more "free" cities. If someone demands money from you in a deserted street, do you have the courage to refuse? If not then you need something, perhaps not these poorly defined laws begging to be abused, but something to protect you from those subtle threats that constantly erode your quality of life.
7
mcv 2 days ago 10 replies      
I'm wondering: where is the new George Orwell? Why aren't all writers writing about this? Clearly we need a new 1984, because we didn't learn anything from the original.
8
retube 2 days ago 5 replies      
Sadly Britain does have a problem in some communities with ingrained, persistent and extremely damaging anti-social behaviour.
9
venomsnake 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is good that finally there will be sufficient powers and less efforts required for the police to finally restore the order in the post apocalyptic crime ridden wasteland that is UK /s
10
001sky 2 days ago 2 replies      
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. (JFK)

Not sure what they are so affraid of?

11
tlrobinson 2 days ago 1 reply      
It blows my mind that this is possible in a country like the UK. Surely such a law would be considered unconstitutional in the US?

Of course I also didn't think we were quite so far along the path to a complete surveillance state in the US until Snowden's revelations.

12
girvo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Question: have things always been like this in the past few decades? Have we always gated off our poor, and passed laws to harass them? How can we change it, and will we ever? I honestly am asking, not rhetorical.
13
coldcode 2 days ago 0 replies      
Although the article is pretty lame, it seems to me that the UK is turning out more and to resemble 1984.
14
oscargrouch 2 days ago 0 replies      
people would be able to organize protests? it looks more like a "manifestation censorship"... this is the established power controlling what people can and cannot in public spaces in a spooky way.. this is ridiculous..

sorry to tell you that but.. you are no longer in a democracy in UK.. because you dont control anything anymore

Is not politicians that should control people, but people that should control politicians

15
piqufoh 2 days ago 0 replies      
> Advertisers, who cause plenty of nuisance and annoyance, have nothing to fear;

Why not? Can I not pursue an IPNA against these parasites?

16
timthorn 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Manifesto Club is a strong campaigning organisation against this kind of regulation - http://www.manifestoclub.com/
17
gadders 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure if ASBOs are perfect, but for anyone that has had to share a street with (for want of a better word) complete arsehole neighbours, I should imagine they are a god send.
18
bayesianhorse 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hm, the United Queendom's people should revoke those laws as incompatible with their constitution.

Oh wait. They don't have one ...

19
dschiptsov 2 days ago 0 replies      
As history repeatedly told us, such laws will result in strong oppositions and extremism. Even Russians finally got it.)
20
gaius 2 days ago 3 replies      
opera lovers hogging the pavements

Monbiot has really lost the plot this time.

24
T-Mobile CEO: This industry blows, biggest carriers offer horseshit arstechnica.com
240 points by coloneltcb  1 day ago   181 comments top 33
1
dakrisht 1 day ago 4 replies      
You have to hand it Legere. He's bold. Provocative. And speaks his mind. In the best interests of the company of course, but with a direct emphasis on making customers happy.

What's important to note is that T-Mobile is quickly becoming a company that delivers a great product and is customer-centric. And when the incumbents start playing catch up (AT&T in particular) you know they're making the right moves.

I've been with Verizon for a few years and I can't say their service is what it's marketed to be. Data is fast but the inability to simultaneously do data and voice is just idiotic. The monthly fees are also totally insane. I pay $140 / month for a single data line (iPhone). In contrast to Verizon, with T-Mobile you get unlimited voice and data for a little over $70, no contract and stellar customer service. I called T-Mobile to switch last month and with a little negotiating, they sent me a _free_ iPhone 5S. No contract. No bullshit.

T-Mobile's latest announcement of up to $650 in credits for switching over will increase their subscriber base by millions of new users, no question. It's bold, aggressive and customer-centric.

I can't personally speak on AT&T's network but we all know it's one of the worst companies in the world to deal with. Their service is spotty for many, many users. Their customer service is non-existent. Their data practices are borderline unethical (with hidden data caps, throttling, etc). AT&T is just an awful company. I'm stuck with their uVerse Internet service and it's just a disaster. Unfortunately, many of us have no other choice but their lousy broadband product. Let's not even talk about Time Warner.

T-Mobile's coverage, from what I have experienced, is stellar. Up and down the California coast. Mexico. Europe. NYC. Seattle. I'm always at 4+ bars. Data is fast (~18Mbps downstream). International roaming is perhaps one of the most impressive features of TMO. I remember paying $20 / MB with Verizon and that's just absolutely criminal. And they can get away with it because many customers aren't even aware of this until they get the bill.

Legere is right - the mobile landscape is just horrendous and it's mainly because of AT&T and Verizon. I hope T-Mobile continues this push towards making customers happy and simply offering better products. Their bottom line will be the ultimate proof of how this is working out for them - and from what I'm seeing, their new subscriber numbers are growing exponentially. You could say they're disrupting the industry. And that's rare from these monoliths.

2
themckman 1 day ago 7 replies      
I bought the iPhone 5 outright, unlocked and switch to T-Mobile after doing so. In the city (Chicago) the service can't be better. Really like that tethering is just included. LTE tethering has come in handy at a few coffee shops that don't have WiFi.

I also recently went to Europe and took advantage of the free worldwide data; was fantastic. Phone calls while roaming in Europe were reasonable, too. Something like 10 cents a minute back to the States.

All for ~$70/month. Beats the pants off AT&T.

3
justanotheratom 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have been a loyal AT&T customer for over 5 years. Currently I have a Nokia Lumia 920 for a contract that is 1 year old. I am going on a one month vacation out of the country. So I requested AT&T to unlock my phone so I could use it overseas. Customer service said go fill out an online form. A day after filling the form, received email saying I am not eligible for an unlock. Went to the store. Same thing.

Now, I am wondering, is AT&T afraid that I am not going to finish my contract if they unlock the phone? If they think I was lying about the trip abroad, I could show them my tickets. But this kind of behavior just seems outright sadistic.

I just bought an unlocked Nexus 5 to use overseas and I am definitely switching to T-Mobile after I return. Fuck you AT&T.

4
jessedhillon 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Unsolicited advice as a former T-Mobile customer: offer a real microcell and lose those shitty boosters, integrate Wifi calling with stock Android phones as it is currently unavailable for the Nexus phones, and move your call centers back from the Philippines.

I normally am not one of these America-centric culture warriors, and I have no problem understanding even very thick accents. But the specific form of ingratiating behavior that their call center employees are trained in is egregious. They are trained to, apparently, wrap every sentence front-and-back with terms of politeness and overt demonstrations of respect. A conversation can follow like this:

  Rep: Please may I place you on hold sir as I   look up your account so that I can better be   able to serve you and fulfill your request?  Me: Sure  Rep: Thank you so much and please hold I will   return shortly to further assist you.  ...  Rep: Yes, hello thank you sir for waiting your   patience is very much appreciated and I was   able to access your account so that I can   provide you now with an adequate resolution to  your request.
I really hate to pick on the reps this way because this is very good work for them and they try hard to accomodate a foreign culture. They are just trained in the worst combination of verbosity and obsequiousness.

5
tomp 1 day ago 3 replies      
> start with one line at $50 per month for unlimited talk, text, and Web with up to 500MB of 4G LTE data

Thank god I live in Europe (in the UK, the equivalent costs about 20GBP per month).

6
pkulak 1 day ago 4 replies      
Well, the talk is nice, but with AT&T's $15 off per phone if you own it, T-Mobile isn't really cheaper anymore, especially with family plans. And with AT&T you can get coverage between cities, not just in them. I'm thankful to T-Mobile for forcing AT&T to keep up, but since they have, I'm going with the better network.

EDIT: My cost comparison for two people who own their phones:

4 Gigs shared on AT&T: $120

2.5 gigs each on T-Mobile: $100

So I guess T-Mobile is still cheaper. But, for me, T-Mobile data does not work at all outside of my home city. Data coverage everywhere is worth 20 bucks to me.

7
Touche 1 day ago 1 reply      
This guy reminds me of the Poochie character from the The Simpsons. Poochie was a dog on the Itchy and Scratchy show that they created to try and make the show more edgy and cool. Poochie wore sunglasses, a backwards hat, and carried around a surfboard saying hip things.
8
notdrunkatall 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been resisting getting a smartphone for years because I didn't want to either pay $300+ for a phone or $80+ per month with one of the big carriers.

Then a couple of weeks ago, someone on an HN thread told me about the Nokia Lumia 520. I checked it out, decided to buy one, and I'm damn glad I did! Windows Phone is frankly amazing - it does everything I need it to do, it's beautiful, and it just works. I ordered a sim card from Straight Talk for their Bring Your Own Phone program for $7, and voila, I have unlimited everything on ATT's network for $45 a month.

9
memset 1 day ago 2 replies      
Can someone help me understand the economics of these incentive plans (where these companies subsidize your early termination fees, etc, to attract customers?)

Is this along the lines of what all these other companies (Amazon, Netflix, etc) are doing where they bring you in at low rates, sell to you at unsustainable prices, and then plan to increase prices over time (or do what they have to do to start turning a profit?)

Or is there a chance that, even after these incentives, prices will remain competitive?

10
timo614 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm on some Walmart T-Mobile plan. I heard about the plan after getting my Nexus 4 so went to a local T-Mobile store and asked them if they could give it to me as a new customer and they did.

$30 monthly, 100 minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited data with the first 5 GB at 4G speeds.

I mean the 100 minutes bit is a bit nasty as all minutes are rounded up so even a 1 second incoming call I pick up counts against a whole minute. I rarely go over the limit though and usually just throw an extra $10 in the account to deal with it if I go over.

My fiance has the same plan and uses her tethering for her Apple TV Projector setup in the art class she teaches since her school wifi is pretty bad. You get a small amount of free tethering with the plan but it's only $15 for unlimited tethering in addition.

11
jsnk 1 day ago 2 replies      
T-mobile is awesome.

I am not sure if this plan is still available, but I am on $30/month no contract plan. This has unlim. data, text and 100 voice minutes. It works perfectly with unlocked Nexus 4 which I got in Jan 2012. I'm never going back to contracts anymore.

12
rubyn00bie 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not to troll, but how is this newsworthy? Everyone knows telecoms blow and offer horseshit-- from CEO to customer. Maybe if good ol' Seior Stevenson said this it'd mean something, but coming from the T-Mob CEO it ain't nothin'

He even goes to create some horeshit when he says "T-Mobile's network is fastest." I call bullshit, and ask "where is it faster, asshat?"

T-Mobile has always had pretty good customer service, but their network isn't nearly as large as other providers...

For those who don't know, providers have different licenses in each area, more licenses = more spectrum = better reception. T-Mobile, in general, as the least amount of spectrum available (by a huge margin). They also operate at a much higher frequency than their competition so their building penetration is worse (especially over 3G/4G).

This same thing goes with network speed; some areas have more spectrum and thus can offer better speeds. Some can't. So any measurement of "we're faster" is very, very geographically specific.

Note: I worked in the wireless industry for 5 years (with a few of those at T-Mobile).

13
Osiris 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using Republic Wireless for over a year. They've also tried really hard to provide disruptive options by integrating Wi-Fi calling/texting/data into the phones.

I pay for the phone off contract ($299 for Moto X), then $5 to $40 / month for various service options (all unlimited, from WiFi calling only up to 4G LTE).

The Sprint network isn't the fastest, but it's hard to beat $25 / month for unlimited talk/text/3G data. I even went a whole month on the $5 WiFi only plan (You can change your plan twice a month).

I love not being locked into a contract and only paying < $50 / month for 2 unlimited phones.

14
ewang1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was just overseas for 2 weeks and used the free international data and text roaming. Worked flawlessly.
15
dangayle 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was on Verizon for a decade and I just switched to T-Mobile a few months ago. You cannot imagine how surprised I was at just how easy they made it for me to switch.

I purposely switched because I wanted a GSM phone because I've been toying with Arduino cell phone kits, but when it came down to the decision between AT&T and T-Mobile, it quickly became clear that T-Mobile offered a better product.

What I hadn't expected was that I wasn't going to miss Verizon one iota.

16
satyap 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It's true, the industry does "blow" and the biggest carriers offer... nothing good.
17
linuxhansl 1 day ago 0 replies      
And he's right.In the past I have bought a Nexus S outright and used their no-contract plan. Recently I upgraded to the Nexus 5, went to a T-Mobile store, they just switched me and suggested a better plan for the same price.

Coverage and bandwidth is great (where I am), and the no-contract plans are certainly great.

18
andrewjsledge 1 day ago 5 replies      
As a long time TMo subscriber, what is he willing to do for me and my loyalty? Sure, offering ETF payoffs for new customers is great, but shouldn't you treat your loyal customers even better?
19
brianmcdonough 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm changing my service today: two lines at half the cost of Verizon. I have to support companies when they reach out like this. This is also why I quit Facebook. They don't listen to their users and I was tired of being a product. I encourage others to speak with their wallet and their choice of social media providers.
20
tn13 1 day ago 0 replies      
As person who travels very little by road I like T-Mobile. They have good coverage in cities and way more cost effective than AT&T or Verizon.
21
adamkittelson 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd be on T-Mobile in a heartbeat if they had, like, any coverage.
22
pikachu_is_cool 1 day ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one here who just doesn't have a phone plan? Seriously, unless if you're a cab driver or something, WiFi hotspots are more than enough.

Actually, even if you are a cab driver, GPS + offline maps are completely free.

23
Aloha 1 day ago 0 replies      
Have you noticed that ever carrier claims to have the biggest, best, fastest or most reliable network?

To reuse a famous quote "The nice thing about standards is, there are so many of them"

24
sparkzilla 1 day ago 2 replies      
I tried to move my family from AT&T to T-Mobile. I have to say first that AT&T has IMHO excellent customer service. They have worked with me many times to reduce the bill. Anyway, I liked the look of the $100 family plan, but the problem with switching to T-Mobile is that they only support LTE so families like mine with out-of-contract iPhone 4s have to upgrade the phones too, which is a major expense.
25
the-kenny 1 day ago 0 replies      
The funny thing is that the biggest operator in Germany, T-Mobile, offers the biggest horseshit there.
26
shmerl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope T-Mobile will remain independent and DT won't ruin the little innovation we are seeing in the carriers market by selling it to some other company (especially some content related).
27
jtchang 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anyone else have a Nexus 4 on tmobile in SF? I barely get coverage sometimes. I must be missing some setting.
28
Bahamut 1 day ago 0 replies      
While the deal sounds good, I have heard multiple bad things about T-Mobile's support of the military. I have multiple friends who T-Mobile tried to prevent from being allowed to abrogate their contracts due to poor coverage surrounding military bases, as allowed by law.
29
phireph0x 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone have experience with T-Mobile coverage around Tulsa, OK?
30
brianbreslin 1 day ago 1 reply      
has anyone signed up for the global unlimited roaming deal yet? What is the service like overseas?
31
digitalpacman 1 day ago 0 replies      
T-Mobile user here. Worst coverage ever in a state's capitol, Austin TX. Just sayin'.
32
larrys 1 day ago 5 replies      
Separately the CEO comes across as a total wack job using language like that in a business setting. Especially given his age.
33
lqdc13 1 day ago 3 replies      
I live in San Francisco and there is no coverage when walking around the city with T-mobile. Verizon has coverage everywhere.

I'm not even talking about elevators. Just sidewalks of major central pedestrian roads like Bay St and Hyde St.I also have no coverage in my apartment with them or at work.

Coupled with the cancelation of Cel-Fi, it is impossible to use their service in many densely populated areas.

25
The $200 Billion Rip-Off: Our broadband future was stolen (2007) pbs.org
230 points by bane  2 days ago   234 comments top 21
1
kevinalexbrown 1 day ago 7 replies      
Anyone who comes up with a reasonable way of bypassing the natural local monopolies of cable companies is going to make a fortune.

I would think dense wireless networks in urban areas could work. I'm not an expert, and would be interested in hearing from one, but I imagine that wireless networks could benefit from algorithmic advances in a way that might be more difficult in traditional copper/fiber networks.

If you gave me (someone with very little wireless experience but used to be a cable guy) carte blanche, here's what I would investigate:

Several routers in an urban area which require minimal installation and can be mass-produced and immediately interchanged - think roof access, and could be turned on and off remotely, maybe battery operated, flowing to relatively few fiber hubs.

Infrastructure advantages: Network algorithms have come a long way, and the ability to dynamically add or scale nodes as needed could have great performance/cost balances that aren't possible with fixed nodes. And upgrades do not require new lines, just more and better routers. If a router dies, replace, and send the old one to a shop somewhere inexpensive. No midnight service restoration pay.

Customer advantages: I connect to wifi the same way I do right now. Zero home installation (google Comcast horror stories if you need imagery).

If I were to start, I would do it in an urban area with a landowner that had a monopoly. Hyde Park, Chicago is like that. There are basically two landowners: University of Chicago and Mac Apartments. You have to make one community love you to pieces before branching out, and that would require a lot of cooperation. Of course a danger here is if Mac suddenly decides that they hate you and removes access privileges. But if that worked, and you got more funding to expand, imagine the word of mouth: "Here's how installation works: it's a wifi network and you connect to it".

A la "it's a folder, and it syncs" dropbox. Presumably something like this has been tried before, but that's true of many things that end up working (like search engines or social networks).

2
brownbat 1 day ago 5 replies      
It took fierce competition to even get broadband companies to advertise what they are offering. I had to deal with a very small local monopoly in Western Maryland that just advertised "faster than dial up," had typical pings of over 200. It was thick on the local board, had a deal with local government as the sole authorized supplier in the county.

Now I'm in a different part of the country, can get FiOS, but while Verizon's service always delivers over 50 Mbps on speedtest sites, it often chokes on Youtube or Netflix. When that happens, there's no simple way to determine if it's the provider or some random provisioner in the middle. This is the future of getting screwed by telecoms: worthless metrics and plausible deniability for service degradation.

I happened to get a deal by calling all the providers in the area, then playing their offers off of each other. I recommend everyone does this every few months. But the fact that was so easy doesn't really make me feel very comfortable. If they can haggle, it just signals how much rent they're charging from all the unwary customers.

3
EEGuy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm so glad the concept of "dial tone", video or otherwise, never crossed the demand for and rollout of content-neutral, flat-rate-billed, backbone-peering-supported Internet Service.

Having worked in voice telecom billing for 11 years, it is my observation that phone companies adore detail billing. Imagine an ISP bill which details all the websites you visit, and bills each visit according to some value the phone company might opaquely ascribe. It might have gone that way with a thankfully unimplemented evolution of the amorphous notion of "video dial tone".

Had this $200 billion boondoggle actually given us megabit access, then it would be... access to what, exactly? I can't imagine phone companies providing access to the flat-rate, always on, servers-allowed, content-neutral Internet we have now, no matter the bit rate.

The thought of all phone companies collectively coming up with a service like Netflix is, to me, as unimaginable as the thought of those same phone companies coming up with the iPhone.

Yes, $200 billion is a shameful waste of ratepayer funds and a regulatory failure. But thankfully, it neither collared nor crossed with the Internet.

In my opinion, separation of ownership of content (and applications, and platforms, and end users) from the common carriers who own some of the "plumbing" which connects routers to routers to routers becomes fundamental to a free Internet.

(Edits for grammar, clarity, tone)

4
JoshTriplett 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Then there were regulatory problems as the FCC tried to control deployment centrally while states and cities tended to view video dial tone as just another cable company to be taxed and regulated.

That seems like the most egregious thing in the article: treating Internet-based video delivery as a cable company. The concept of local cable franchise monopolies is ridiculous enough to begin with, and the only possible justification hinges on not wanting to have multiple sets of cables wired everywhere. Content delivered over the Internet completely eliminates that justification, leaving no possible rationale for making such services subject to franchise regulations.

5
ojbyrne 1 day ago 3 replies      
The first comment on the page sums it up:

"America is the only country in the world where BRIBERY is legalized and stupidly called lobbying."

6
andyl 2 days ago 3 replies      
My broadband service is terrible. Far to expensive, it is slow and drops packets. And the competitive environment sucks. Comcast and Regulators: go to hell.

I'll vote for any politician who is interested in improving the situation.

7
catmanjan 2 days ago 6 replies      
I'm Australian, am I to understand that our internet quality and distribution is only just approaching what the American's had in 2007? WTF!?

I wish poor internet connection was something I could really get upset about, but I guess the rest of my life is a lot better than most around the world.

8
zw123456 1 day ago 3 replies      
I have tried posting this idea a couple of times before and have been roundly scolded, but oh well, here goes again. I think... that readers of this forum are ideally equipped to find a way around this problem. What I mean to say is that it is universally felt by everyone that they hate their broadband provider, phone company etc. Why can't we, the tech community come up with a competing technology? I know many have tried to do "open source" types of mesh wifi networks, but I think something more robust than that is needed. Everyone agrees current companies are leaving their customers unsatisfied, hence there must be an opportunity there for someone clever enough to come up with a good alternative.
9
baddox 2 days ago 4 replies      
Just remember to resist the urge to think of this as corporations stealing money from the government. This is government stealing money from citizens.
10
ams6110 2 days ago 0 replies      
We need to remove the local legal monopoly protection granted to cable operators and telcos.
11
knodi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nothing will change until we get to the root cause. Get corporate money out of politics. Its really sad to tell you the truth.
12
zurn 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is not really an American problem. In nearly all developed countries the delivered broadband "moore's law" has been abysmal compared to what technology allows.

In an apartment building the cost of per apartment gigabit ethernet with a couple of trunked 10 gig ports for last mile would be very very low.

(And we'd have much faster tech for same money, but development stalled due to lack of deployment - 10 gig ethernet is what 12 years old now?)

13
msandford 2 days ago 0 replies      
I remember reading this years ago. It's just as sad today as it was back then.
14
jmspring 1 day ago 0 replies      
In the bay area, if you can get our bandwidth needs at the level you need from them, I highly recommend Sonic.Net. They seem to be trying to do the right thing/build infrastructure/and bring better broadband speeds to people in the bay area.

I recently left them to go from DSL to go to Wireless w/ a local reseller of some of Sonic's service. I gave up a few static IPs to get 20Mbps symmetric. I'm one of those where upload is just as important as down. Price is reasonable given I could get rid of my land line and some other costs.

15
MBCook 2 days ago 0 replies      
[2007]
16
Aloha 1 day ago 0 replies      
PacBell had built one of these next gen networks, it was even in limited deployments, as soon as SBC bought them, they killed it. It was an HFC network (hybrid fiber/coax)and was a commercial ready product. I'm not in a position to find citations right now, but if you google Pacific Bell and Hybrid Fiber Coax, you'll find the cites.
17
huhalu 2 days ago 2 replies      
http://www.theconnectivist.com/2013/11/the-worlds-cheapest-a...

Internet cost as part of income is more accurate

18
amjaeger 1 day ago 0 replies      
funny how this article came back today, I'm visiting my grandma, she has an ipad as her computer (first successful adoption of a computer for her btw, she previously had bought 2 computers and didn't take to either one) and I'm looking at her internet speeds and I can't deal with it. She is paying $28 for 3 mbps (max) speeds. It's dsl from at&t. I ran a speed test and she only gets about .5 mbps. I get about 300mbps(when plugged into ethernet) when I'm at school...
19
ChrisNorstrom 1 day ago 1 reply      
My Charter High Speed internet went from $60 to $40 a month on the spot just by threatening to leave them and go with AT&T U-Verse. And I did it all through their chat with a sales rep online without calling anyone. They even gave me a free cable modem.

Moral of the Story: Shop around and make threats, you are the customer they need you and your money. They'd rather lose $20 a month than lose $40 so you can almost always talk the prices down.

20
paul_f 1 day ago 1 reply      
what's the tl;dr please?
21
lukateake 1 day ago 0 replies      
Last-Mile solution: blimps.
26
Rust 0.9 released mozilla.org
234 points by kibwen  6 hours ago   77 comments top 9
1
kibwen 5 hours ago 4 replies      
A selection of some of my favorite aspects of this release:

1. The (yet-ongoing) removal of managed pointers, leaving us with one fewer pointer type. Final tally of built-in pointer types: unique pointers, mutable references, and immutable references.

2. The dead code detection pass (https://github.com/mozilla/rust/pull/10477), contributed by a student of the University of Virginia's Rust-based systems programming class (http://rust-class.org/pages/using-rust-for-an-undergraduate-...).

3. The `Any` trait, giving us on-demand dynamic typing (https://github.com/mozilla/rust/pull/9967).

4. The clean abstraction of green threads and native threads out into their own libraries (https://mail.mozilla.org/pipermail/rust-dev/2013-December/00...) such that any library that makes use of the stdlib will work regardless of which strategy the user selects.

We're not quite in the home stretch yet, but there are very few hard blockers left on 1.0. Here's the list that I can think of:

1. Dynamically-sized types (http://smallcultfollowing.com/babysteps/blog/2014/01/05/dst-...)

2. The extension of rvalue lifetimes (http://smallcultfollowing.com/babysteps/blog/2014/01/09/rval...)

3. Struct single (note that's single) inheritance (http://smallcultfollowing.com/babysteps/blog/2013/10/24/sing...)

4. Niceties and sugar to support custom smart pointer types to complete the excision of managed pointers

As far as I know, the devs are still aiming for a 1.0 release in 2014. The 1.0 release will not necessarily mean that the language is done evolving or ready for production use, but it will mean that the developers will begin honoring language-level and library-level backwards compatibility. I would expect at least two more unstable point releases (i.e. 0.10 and 0.11) before a 1.0 release occurs.

2
copx 4 hours ago 6 replies      
Wasn't this release supposed to finally offer a Windows package which works out-of-the-box?

I just tried it. Only got an error message about a missing GCC component. Seriously, a ~90MB download and that still does not include all the GCC dependencies?

We still have to somehow manually setup a version of MinGW compatible with this particular build? Who is in charge of the Windows port? A Linux user who cross-compiles from an Arch box? No way a Windows user would think that Windows package is acceptable.

I mean, I am not paying anything for it so it is not that I think I have the right to demand better packages but you are losing out on a massive amount of feedback from the Windows world by only offering such downloads.

You are largely limiting yourself to determined people who are already familiar with MinGW-based C/C++ development on Windows (that is a small subset of Windows devs). What about people coming from - say C#? You expect them to fiddle with a MinGW setup just to build "Hello World"?

Sorry, but for me this experiment with Rust ended just like the 0.8 one. Downloaded Windows installer, ran Windows installer, tried to compile Hello World, got error message about missing components, uninstall, delete.

3
bjz_ 5 hours ago 0 replies      
As always, drop by irc.mozilla.org #rust if you'd like to chat or ask questions. We're a friendly bunch!

http://chat.mibbit.com/?server=irc.mozilla.org&channel=%23ru...

4
rybosome 4 hours ago 5 replies      
I really want Rust to succeed, but I'm not a systems programmer. Do people feel that there is still a place for Rust among those who typically work with higher-level languages? The functional aspects and type system of Rust look really appealing, and I'd love to do my part to help it do well by actually using it.
5
vorg 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
> normalized to Unicode normalization form NFKC

I'm wondering why they chose NFKC (compatibility composed from) instead of NFC (canonically composed form).

`` would become `a`, losing its super type. `` becomes `u`, losing its sub type? `` becomes `A`, losing its circle type. As for multi-codepoint mappings, `` would become three tokens `14`, where `` (U+2044) doesn't map to `/` (U+002F).

6
Dewie 4 hours ago 2 replies      
OT: Is Rust using operator overloading? Is user-defined operators a possibility in the future? I googled it and the most I could find was this:

http://www.reddit.com/r/rust/comments/1le6vu/i_wrote_a_proto...

7
saosebastiao 5 hours ago 1 reply      
So is the next milestone 1.0 or 0.10?
8
bencollier49 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Rust does seem to do lots of good and interesting stuff. I was trying to find a small number of languages covering all paradigms, and Rust featured on the final list:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7026970

9
eonil 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Of course I welcome removal of GC syntax, but I am getting in doubt on when Rust language specification can be stabilized. Version 0.9 seems it must be stable now, but they're still putting big changes on the language.
27
Rap Genius is Back on Google rapgenius.com
224 points by tomlemon  5 days ago   186 comments top 43
1
JohnTHaller 5 days ago 10 replies      
Honestly, this is just saddening. Google needs to have a consistent policy towards these blackhat SEO offenders and enforce it for everyone. RapGenius bought backlinks to artificially inflate their pagerank. They knew they were cheating but they did it anyway. They got caught. And they were hit with a manual action on Google. Sounds good so far. But that's where it stops. RapGenius, using the connections they have from their multi-million dollars in VC funding, got back on Google and was able to avoid paying the price for their cheating.

Compare this to regular websites. Lots of smaller sites will end up paying a "whitehat SEO" firm to work on a "link strategy". These firms will claim up down and sideways that what they do is legal, ethical and follows Google's rules. But, what they actually do is either (1) create networks of fake sites to provide backlinks on certain terms to artificially boost the site, (2) place spam comments using bots on legitimate sites to do the same [not that this will thankfully no longer work well due to the latest Google algorithm update], or (3) pay legit sites to place backlinks to artificially transfer pagerank the same way that RapGenius did. Now, these other sites, when they get caught, they get a manual action or a smackdown. The difference? They have to actually pay the penalty. Arguing that they didn't know usually doesn't work. The penalty is LONG. They can't call on their VC firm to make calls at Google to give them a get out of jail free card.

I'd like to call on Google to create a public policy on how they handle these manual actions with some clearly defined penalties (example: 3 month manual action of 6 PR drop, etc) and to consistently enforce them across the board. That way a mom and pop site that pays a 'whitehat SEO firm' and gets caught doesn't have a worse time than a site like RapGenius that purposely engages in blackhat SEO who can use their VC connections to get out of having to pay a penalty in under 2 weeks. It's also sad that Google gave this get out of jail free card to a site whose entire business model is based around other people's copyrighted works which RapGenius doesn't have a license for, doesn't pay for, and publishes illegally.

2
bushido 5 days ago 4 replies      
This is great for Rap Genius.

But this truly saddens me as well. I cannot for the life of me understand how they were able to fix ten-of-thousands of backlinks and other shady practices and get back in the good graces of Google so darn quickly.

Frankly I do not know a single other legitimate(+with good traffic) site who was able to get back in the good graces of Google after algorithm updates without spending many many months researching any possible reasons to be penalized and fixing it themselves after repeatedly asking google for help to no avail.

Could it be that Rap Genius was special because it has Andreessen Horowitz?

Sure seems that way.

I am not going to stop using Google, but I am inclined to use them lesser now.

I would like to hear why, how rap genius was fixed this and what this means for other people who get penalized from Matt Cutts though!!

3
OoTheNigerian 5 days ago 6 replies      
I do not understand why people are offended that they came back quickly AFTER doing a bit of penance.

Should their investors not have made calls? However, it should be noted that they did their part.

One of my favorite quotes is this: "To save a drowning man, he must first give you his hand"

If the Rap Genius guys were incompetent and did not do their part in removing the links so quickly (see main story for technical details) there would be little or nothing their investors would have been able to do about that.

BTW, it also helped that people really found Rap Genius useful. I'm sure many searched had rapgenius appended to it. So the lesson is, make your app so good that when Google delists you, it will make them look bad.

Thankfully?, there is also a precedence for other offenders to use. if you can detail you have atoned for your sins and Google insists your you must do a certain time, you know where to turn to.

BTW, this is Hackernews, and I look forward to the discussion of the (de)merits of how they scrapped and analyzed 177,000 links and not espousing of anger that they survived the punishment.

I'm sure Mahbod (my favorite) and co have learned that you do not go 'daaawging' when you are in a hole. I wish them success.

4
programminggeek 5 days ago 1 reply      
One thing I know is that RapGenius is good about making a big stink, being in the news, and then having things work out in their favor, even if they were the ones doing a dumb thing in the first place.

They freaked out at Heroku with decent reason because it was costing them money, but if they ran their own infrastructure, that would have been a total non issue and at the scale they are running, why ARE they using Heroku?

They did some incredibly dumb SEO things because they are greedy and are willing to cheat to win. That is on RapGenius, but once they got banned it is somehow Google's fault and they should be reincluded? I don't get it.

RapGenius is great at one thing - creating controversy and getting press for it. I guess that works for them, but it seems like a very selfish way to grow a business. Instead of focusing on building value themselves, they are willing to tear down their business partners in public to get what they want.

I'm not sure why this behavior hasn't put them in the same category as Zynga, Groupon, Swoopo, and all the other companies the tech industry loves to hate.

5
virtualwhys 5 days ago 0 replies      
Complete and utter bullshit.

That they blatantly employed blackhat SEO techniques and are back on Google within a matter of days is sickening.

Think of all the sites that are penalized in various ways for similarly shady SEO practices and have to spend _months_ to regain their previous position.

Hopefully Bing et al can capture some marketshare and bring some degree of neutrality to the search engine landscape (i.e. not have every website owner on the planet beholden to the beast).

6
jarnix 5 days ago 1 reply      
This post is complete bullshit. Of course they have relations. Maybe they cleaned their backlinks, but still I cannot believe how they got back so fast in SERP.

Anyway, Franz Kafka would die again if he saw his text on this site (http://poetry.rapgenius.com/Franz-kafka-a-dream-lyrics), so let's just forget about this site and don't use it.

7
friscobob 5 days ago 2 replies      
God this pisses me off to no end. So my site is targeted by negative SEO. (Yeah, I know, I know, negative SEO doesn't exist. Fuck off.) So who do I call? I've been penalized for months and there is nothing I can do about it. Nobody can help. But these fuckers are able to make a call and recover from a SELF INFLICTED wound in less than a week. I am being targeted by crap that is COMPLETELY OUT OF MY CONTROL and it's tough luck little buddy. The double standard here is fucking sickening.
8
McKittrick 5 days ago 0 replies      
Its interesting that despite their founders outspokeness, the influx of heavy weight VC, tech press expose's on their offices, etc., RapGenius is really no more or no less than a standard, multi-multi-page SEO site, no different than the countless others just like it. No brand, no user affinity, no direct traffic to speak of. Just a bunch of drift net pages crawled by Google waiting to pick off unsuspecting search traffic. My favorite line of this post was the last: "Much love. iOS app dropping next week!" - unless you are searching that term in google, Im not sure who that is addressed to.
9
kanamekun 5 days ago 2 replies      
Pretty interesting decision to include a lengthy "technical digression" in their SEO apology:

<< Technical Digression: How to scrape 178k URLs in Ruby in less than 15 minutes - Ok, so you have 178k URLs in a postgres database table. You need to scrape and analyze all of them and write the analysis back to the database. Then, once everythings done, generate a CSV from the scraped data. >>

10
grimlck 5 days ago 0 replies      
This really shows that even in Silicon Valley, your success is driven as much by the connections you have and the people you know, rather than pure talent and merit.
11
LukeB_UK 5 days ago 6 replies      
They have the word 'lyrics' at the end of the slug for that post and a number of others which don't have any relevance to lyrics. Surely that's still bad SEO practice?
12
benjaminwootton 5 days ago 2 replies      
I've followed SEO on and off for years and I wouldn't have thought that their strategy of allowing people to generate and embed links back to the site was shady at all. I even recommended something similar a few years ago in good faith.

They're useful, relevant, and it just seems like good marketing. These things will spread organically and drive traffic even if you remove the SEO benefits.

Could you say that Scribd or Slideshare are doing something similar by allowing people to embed documents in their websites along with a no follow link back to their site?

13
tszming 5 days ago 1 reply      
People should worry why Google has so much power nowadays, rather than why they unban Rap Genius so fast.
14
Soviet 5 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how long it would take for any other website without 15 mln backing and direct line to Google to return.
15
kenshiro_o 5 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like this involved quite a bit of work on Rapgenius' part but I am glad they cleaned up their mess and apologized to Google.

Moreover, this article feels pretty neutral/humble and techy, a far cry from the haughty attitude their founders usually display in interviews.

16
jdmitch 5 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting closing paragraph:

>Though Google is an extremely important part of helping people discover and navigate Rap Genius, we hope that this ordeal will make fans see that Rap Genius is more than a Google-access-only website. The only way to fully appreciate and benefit from Rap Genius is to sign up for an account and use Rap Genius not as a substitute for Wikipedia or lyrics sites, but as a social network where curious and intelligent people gather to socialize and engage in close reading of text.

ie, you should really just become a member rather than relying on google...

Also, where was bing in all of this?!? ;)

17
bjoernbu 5 days ago 0 replies      
So which hit should google show for a query like "the fox lyrics"? Of course, it should be a page that contains the lyrics, but which one? The most popular one? The one shown by google will be the most popular one.

From an IR perspective, search for lyrics is somewhat strange. I don't think it's easy to say if some hit is more relevant than the other. Sure, more popular sites may offer better UX (or simply less annoying ads), but at the end of the day it's a search for facts.

I wouldn't be surprised if google will serve those lyrics themselves some day. Freebase (and hence the google knowledge graph) already contains tons and tons of information on pratically any popular song (organized in a confusion way via recordings, canonical versions and whatnot) - artist, genre, album, release dates, length of a recording, etc. I don't think adding the lyrics as well is totally out of question. After all multible KBs are user curated and users provides lyrics.

Just like they serve "fact-hits" from their knowledge graph for queries like "movies by spielberg", google should then be able to serve the lyrics directly. While this is bad for lyrics sites, imho it is convenient for users and follows the same prinicple like "movies by spielberg" or "wife tom cruise"

18
buro9 5 days ago 0 replies      
Were the 178k URLs that they scraped on 178k unique domains or a very few domains?

The tool they wrote looks like it would have been a DoS attack if the latter were the case. There appears to be no thought or consideration for the sites they scraped that had linked to them, no attempt to read robots.txt and see whether they should fetch the pages.

What they did was wrong in the first place, but they could try and do things better in their attempt to repair things. Instead they continue to act in a way that externalises any cost to them and continues to treat their service as somehow privileged enough to deserve such breaks.

How many of the 53k failures to pull and scrape pages were to do with the fact that the servers in question were under a DoS attack by RapGenius?

19
rasengan 5 days ago 0 replies      
I am sure they went through many sleepless nights during the holidays. Hella sucks. I think Google is doing the right thing and I am sure not just related to seo that rap genius learned a lot about themselves and will become stronger... as well will the overall tech community.
20
rodly 5 days ago 0 replies      
If Google were to have a year long ban on RG stuff to leave a precedent, Would people start to view Google as a sub-par search engine because Bing returns "high quality" results like RG still?

It's also rather weird how a lot of people seem to view Google as this public service for the people by the people etc, it's not. They can do whatever the hell they want and if you don't like it, simply stop using their service to send a message.

21
NicoJuicy 5 days ago 0 replies      
Actually, it's understandable that Google set this on High Priority...

#1: it's a high traffic website, that is a startup and the whole deal got a lot of attention of us (HN Readers) + Matt even saw this here. So it was good to respond fast (no choice)

#2: RapGenius is dependant on Google (although they try to let you see it as a social network, but it's not), they would have gone bankrupt ( i suppose) without Google.

#3: Without a quick response and/or measure to fix their shit on their end, investors wouldn't invest any more money in RapGenius and Google would probably hurt a lot of future investments (how is this startup dependent on Google, ...)

BMW once got a penalty from Google, they didn't got easily off. But their business wasn't dependent on Google.

Either way, there are both pro and cons to each action. But overall, i think they handled if fairly well.

22
davemel37 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think it will take time for them to regain their rankings for non-branded keywords.

I just searched for justin Bieber lyrics and they are sitting in middle of page 3 on google.

They are ranking for branded searches, but not money keywords.

Although long term, I see this being a net positive for them due to the thousands of backlinks they got from all the press around this story.

I see it taking them several months to regain rankings...especially if the links they disavowed were artificially propping them up.

23
sbreaking6 5 days ago 0 replies      
Clear as day there is a double standard. That's what should be discussed.
24
uladzislau 5 days ago 0 replies      
Probably the story is missing the help of a highly skilled SEO consultant/company but it's impressive anyway. To get it done so quickly they had to work 24/7. Kudos!
25
jstalin 5 days ago 0 replies      
Is it a sign of getting older when black background web sites get harder and harder to look at for longer periods of time?
26
ghostdiver 5 days ago 1 reply      
Disavow tool actions take months to bring any effect(if any).
27
dhorowirtz 5 days ago 0 replies      
http://m.entrepreneur.com/article/230631

But now, Rap Genius co-founder Ilan Zechory tells us the site has returned to Google's search results. "It takes a couple days for Google to re-index everything, so search results are a little wonky right now, but we are officially reinstated," Zechory said in an email.

Somewhat ironically, Zechory served as a project manager at Google for two years prior to founding Rap Genius in 2009.

>> Wow that is troubling. So site that gets banned gets unbanned quickly and founder just happens to be ex google project manager

28
naner 5 days ago 0 replies      
Rap Genius appears to have offset their drop in search results traffic with all the publicity they've been getting from being penalized by Google.
29
hippich 5 days ago 0 replies      
I have to note, you have to be big to make comeback like this. Google provided disavow tool, but from my experience it simply not working. So it is manual action for sure.
30
jfoster 4 days ago 0 replies      
While we're on this topic, are GroupOn's API Branding Requirements in violation of Google's webmaster policies?

http://www.groupon.com/pages/api-branding-requirements

They make it a requirement of using the API that "nofollow" is not used: "Dont nofollow your links to Groupon."

31
mgulaid 5 days ago 0 replies      
what does not make sense to me is that after removing all the back-linked urls, should not that drop Rap Genius's overall ranking even lower than before, since the artificial boosting has been removed. Why they are back on the top. googling "lyrics", RP is number #6 in the first page. I think RP has received special treatment here. Google search team needs to clarify this.
32
mathewsimonton 4 days ago 0 replies      
The SEO strats / growth hacks weren't entirely misguided. Rap Genius just didn't perfect their activity and didn't let it exist entirely behind closed doors. If Rap Genius wanted to risk it and engage in blackhat-like activity, it should have at least kept things more quiet and less spammy. Rap Genius should have kept the finer details, at least, to a phone call with the blogger.

Google can't see a local business handing their customers/client a $25 gift certificate in-person for a random positive Google+ review. Along the same thread, Google would also not be able to see Rap Genius flying out a community outreach rep to meet with a prolific music blogger at a bar to go over an exchange for a positive mention and authoritative link. Just saying.

33
h1fra 5 days ago 0 replies      
The tech part is obvsiouly here to calm down people from Hacker News and make them say "Oh this part was good, after all they are not so bad". It's just a shitty scraper but they talk about it like it was a revolutionnary script...

There is no way they could get back so fast and so easily on google.

34
notastartup 5 days ago 0 replies      
Certainly a double standard exists at Google. I originally thought finally Google is taking a firm stance, but this reversal only does harm to Google's image imho. Take home message is, blackhat SEO is forgiven if you are funded by connected people. Don't have funding or connections but make the slightest infraction in SEO? Feel the google girth.
35
rburhum 5 days ago 0 replies      
Snapchat could learn a thing or two of how to do PR from this post.
36
undoware 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm waiting for their next SEO single. "Oops, I did it again!"
37
wengzilla 5 days ago 0 replies      
Infinite scroll (or some type of weird JS) won't let me get to the bottom of the page... Ain't got ish to do with this but I just thought that I should mention.
38
danso 5 days ago 0 replies      
The "technical digression" with Github code on how to do a mass scrape is cool, though not surprising (er...how else would you accomplish such a big data task...though I'm glad I'm not the only one who uses Typhoeus, a great but underused gem).

But what's surprising to me is that a company that knows how to automate things and work with data...why the f--- were they manually soliciting bloggers to post links? That seems seriously inefficient and comically backwards...as if Sergey Brin spent his early Google days modifying SERPs by editing and uploading Excel spreadsheets to the server.

It seems seriously inefficient to me because at this point, Rap Genius has a lot of traffic and a lot of linkage already. So did the few backlinks, per day, that RapGenius got, through lame blogmasters who would participate in such a thing...really have an effect on their SEO rank, i.e. is it so easy to still game Google?

Or, was RG just doing it because they thought it would have a worthwhile effect (keep in mind that this is one of their co-founders who was individually emailing people), i.e. RG was being naively optimistic?

39
sbreaking6 5 days ago 0 replies      
Well atleast now AH partners can get back to posting rap lyrics on twitter. We wouldn't want anything to stop that bit of entertainment.
40
tzm 5 days ago 0 replies      
"tis better to apologize later, than ask for permission first."
41
joelotz 2 days ago 0 replies      
I give them a lot of credit for being transparent with their learning mistake, taking ownership, and describing what they did to fix it.
42
myzerox 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is a relief. RG certainly gives the best search results for a lot of queries.

This whole story made me fear that Google was choosing power over user experience.

And that should never be the case, no matter how offending the founders of RG might appear sometimes. Don't be evil!

43
JeremyMorgan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Money wins every time.
28
Why the World Needs OpenStreetMap emacsen.net
222 points by eevilspock  2 days ago   37 comments top 13
1
morganherlocker 2 days ago 2 replies      
There were a lot of things discussed here in the original post of this that were lost in the HN outage. Things that stood out to me from memory/ links and stuff/ some of my own thoughts:

- OSM does not always show some data. This does not really matter because the vector data is all available, and the openstreetmaps.org basemap is just one rendering of many. A good example of this is mapbox, which is one of the most beautiful basemaps out there.

- If you see something wrong, you can just hit the edit button and use the web editor (Id), which is super easy and contains more metadata than any other map app in this category. For example, I used this yesterday to find the type of pavement on a bike route near my house.

- Google spends 1 billion + per year on maps. This is likely primarily a) streets and b) data/company aquisitions which may not meet quite the same standards as OSM. The fact that OSM editors are obsessed with detail in their local area probably explains a lot.

- A map of the world should be something we all own. No company should have a monopoly on how we perceive the world around us, but companies should still be able to commercialize this stuff (like mapbox and others are doing).

- One point of contention that came up in the discussion was whether or not OSS can really compete with commercial solutions when there is so much money involved. Counter points to this are that mapping the whole world is something that requires a large networking effect and is not efficient for a company to do.

- GIS is one industry that has been seriously plagued by corporate wrangling. From the servers to the analysis apps to the geoprocessing engines to the underlying data; much of the innovation is hindered by companies locking down what they have (often with governmental tacit support, which exacerbates the problem quite a bit).

- There are many efforts to combat the monopoly-holder's/government's iron grip on this information and processing ability. Among these efforts that are hot on my radar include:

- QGIS: an open source gis desktop application that just saw amazing improvements with a 2.0.

http://www.qgis.org/en/site/

- TileMill: an application that allows you to create custom basemaps. This was previously a process that required a expensive software and collection of phds.

https://www.mapbox.com/tilemill/

- OSM: open map data that allows for almost infinite possibilities, since it lets you easily correct an error or download data and render it however you want.

http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=5/51.500/-0.100

- mapschool: A cool intro to GIS which has the potential to displace a lot of the overcomplicated training programs that have an inherent bias towards particular proprietary tools.

http://macwright.org/mapschool/

- Leaflet: a js library for client side map rendering. It is without a doubt easier to use than any of the alternatives, and tends to handle mobile better to boot.

http://leafletjs.com/

- d3: A slick data visualization js lib sort of like jquery for data that can create mind blowing charts and maps.

http://d3js.org/

- turf: a node.js library I have been working on (yeah, shameless plug) that aims to create a server side or client side full featured geospatial processing/stats engine with an easy to use api. The inspiration was largely taken from GRASS and my main goal was beating the hell out of arcpy on performance (it is orders of magnitude faster on the metrics I cared about when writing it).

http://morganherlocker.com/post/turf

2
richardw 2 days ago 3 replies      
What do you use for Geocoding?(for use in a web app that isn't open, so can't use Google etc.)

MapBox does a great job of the maps but the very next thing I want is to search for an address. Back to square one.

OSM uses MapQuest but I'm unsure how licensing and quality affects real-world apps. Is the open data good enough? Is there a sub-$2500 commercial offering that doesn't suck?

E.g. MapQuest's FAQ: http://developer.mapquest.com/web/tools/getting-started/plat...

How can I use geocodes?

Geocoding usage in the Community Edition on Licensed Data is limited to only the locations entered by an end user or that you have uploaded through our Data Manager tool. Geocodes under the Community Edition on Licensed Data cannot be stored for use outside the MapQuest service. If you would like more flexible options for geocode use, please contact MapQuest Platform Services to learn more about our extended rights geocoding product. Geocoding on Open Data has different terms, please check the Terms of Use for details.

Wikipedia has many:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocoding#List_of_geocoding_sys...

What do you use?

3
ehamberg 2 days ago 3 replies      
Can anyone recommend an iPhone app for viewing maps and getting directions? The OSM wiki lists a lot of apps [1], but they seem to be of varying quality. I'd love to be able to use something that's close in functionality and simplicity of the Google Maps app.

[1] http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Apple_iOS

4
tambourine_man 2 days ago 0 replies      
The old discussion is still on Google's cache (for now):

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:PmyjVge...

5
c0nsumer 2 days ago 1 reply      
I love OpenStreetMap, see it as sort of like Wikipedia for cartographic data, and regularly use it as both a repository and source for data I collect about mountain bike and hiking trails. I then use this to make print maps; part of my work with a local mountain biking advocacy non-profit. In fact, just yesterday while watching a storm blow outside my window I put this one together:

http://mmba.org/library/maps/baldmountainnorth/latest.pdf

I don't really contribute the data I collect to Google Maps because it's much more one-way... Sure, I get to use their mapping site, but I can't get the data back for making print maps.

If anyone is interested in the general process I follow for it, that can be found here:

https://nuxx.net/blog/2012/06/05/mtb-trail-mapping-workflow-...

6
rahimnathwani 2 days ago 0 replies      
The comments lost during the outage are still on hnsearch:https://www.hnsearch.com/search#request/all&q=openstreetmap&...
7
thomasmeeks 2 days ago 0 replies      
OpenStreetMap is pretty amazing. Leafletjs is a great way to display that data on the web. Tiles from cloudmade or mapquest compliment it nicely.

Really nice replacement for gmaps should you ever need it.

8
rahimnathwani 2 days ago 1 reply      
I recently started using 'Gomap!!!' to edit locations near my home: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftw...

I was surprised at how easy and intuitive it is.

9
ZeroGravitas 1 day ago 0 replies      
Like many similar issues it's a collective action problem. If everyone used OpenStreetMap then it would be much better than the alternatives and so become the defacto choice, as linux is now in many areas.

But since you can't get everyone to shift at once, you'll see a similar pattern where it eats away at small niches until it gains critical mass (assuming it does, which I think is very likely, but not inevitable).

10
beagle3 2 days ago 1 reply      
(reviving from the old thread), I'd like to point out Doctor_Fegg's http://switch2osm.org/ , which helps switching from using Google Maps (and others) to Open Street Maps, and includes info on APIs, how to set up a local tile server, and lots of other great things.

@Doctor_Fegg: Thanks!

11
lnanek2 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's pretty useful for Google Glass hacking. Google has decided not to include the Google Maps Android API for now, maybe to force you to use their crippled Mirror API options that are more battery friendly, but OpenStreetMap works good. And there are uses cases that only it and the Android API can handle.
12
sztanko 2 days ago 1 reply      
OpenStreetMap is unique. It is the only global and free source of cartographic data. My circular hiking route generator (walks.io) would not exist without it.

Although I believe it has the same problem Ubuntu has - it is geek driven and utterly unsexy for others. It has been acknowledged by OSM-ers themselves and a substantial amount of work is being done currently in direction of democratisation of OSM (although I don't know how successful it is going to be)

Mapbox is putting a lot of effort into it currently and I hope the situation will change within the next year.

I personally think the best thing you can do in popularisation of OSM is creating projects based on it.

13
dasmithii 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm wondering how feasible it would be to extract useful information from cell phone GPS data. Given a bird's eye view heat map of the ground, would it be possible to approximate road curvature?

This, of course, wouldn't correlate street names with paths taken by people; that would have to be done elsewhere.

29
Stop Writing JavaScript Compilers, Make Macros Instead jlongster.com
221 points by jlongster  1 day ago   129 comments top 26
1
sync 1 day ago 14 replies      
I'd be afraid of inheriting any codebase that made extensive use of these JS macros.

You really have no idea what this is doing (the canonical example from sweetjs.org):

  class Person {    constructor(name) {      this.name = name;    }    say(msg) {      console.log(this.name + " says: " + msg);    }  }
It's not javascript -- it's your own made up "language" of macros.

I do believe with a steady hand this could lead to some great things, but the example on sweetjs.org seems rather heavy handed. Having different `class` macro definitions between codebases that use sweet.js will devolve into madness.

2
sheetjs 1 day ago 3 replies      
Since sweet.js code can't be directly run in the browser, you need some "compiling" or "interpreting" step. It's not obvious why this is any different from a compile-to-js language that had support for macros.

For example, someone wrote a macro system for coffeescript: https://github.com/mrluc/macros.coffee

Related discussions: https://github.com/jashkenas/coffee-script/pull/3171 https://github.com/gkz/LiveScript/issues/328

3
orthecreedence 1 day ago 1 reply      
Glad someone finally wrote a post about this. Coming from the lisp world, that's the thing I constantly see missing from languages wrapping javascript. They generally change the syntax a bit, add a few features to minimize boilerplate in some areas, and call it a day. Why would I want to learn a new syntax to program in a language I already know well? Unless you give me the tools to write code that writes code, I'm not going to bother learning/using a new javascript syntax.
4
cromwellian 1 day ago 1 reply      
JavaScript compilers aren't only for syntax sugar. Closure Compiler, Dart2JS, and GWT are optimizing compilers. Most large Google applications for example would be hideously large without an optimizing compiler.
5
chc 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is basically just saying "Choose Sweet.js in combination with some unknown array of macro libraries as your only language that compiles to JavaScript."

But because the article doesn't really frame it this way, it doesn't really explain to me why I would choose Sweet.js over ClojureScript or Scala.js or Black Coffee or whatever.

6
aryastark 1 day ago 0 replies      
I barely trust Guy Steele with macros. You know who I don't trust with macros? Random JS coder dudes that haven't learned what true hardship is, when debugging a macro that is 5 levels deep and subtly changes the language because, hey, I have a macro! And having a macro means using a macro.

Language design is hard. Scheme has gotten it wrong. Over. And over. And over. They didn't get hygiene right for more than a decade. They still don't have it right. But people think they can easily invent new syntax that somehow doesn't do unexpected things. Your clever macro isn't so clever when some poor son of a bitch has been beating his head on a bug all day long just to find out your macro-that-looks-like-a-function isn't evaluating all its arguments because your macro-that-looks-like-a-function is really a function-that-is-a-macro. Don't get me started on missing IF branches and undefined behavior...

7
skrebbel 1 day ago 0 replies      
I strongly agree with everything the author writes, but I believe that sweet.js might not go far enough. For example, I am very fond of TypeScript. I'm also very fond of React's JSX. Yet, I cannot mix the two, and neither JavaScript extension could be expressed as Sweet.js macros.
8
kirtijthorat 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would also recommend the WISP: A homoiconic JavaScript dialect with Clojure syntax, s-expressions and macros. More details at: https://github.com/Gozala/wisp
9
Dewie 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think things like syntactic sugar is perfectly fine, as long as I can desugar it in a straightforward way. I want to be able to programmatically desugar some piece of code, not have to Google it each time I am curious.

I think that if it is easy to investiage things like syntactic sugar, and not have it be buried in something like a compiler or lang spec, then DSL/language implementers (and anyone else, if the language permits it) could get away with implementing things that objectively make the language more complex to deal with, because to decipher it is only a query away, anyway.

10
charlieflowers 1 day ago 0 replies      
>>>> "What if JavaScript actually adopted macros natively so that we never even had to run the build step?"

Honestly, that's pretty damn exciting. In my book, if JavaScript did that, it would very nearly complete a "worst to almost-first" transformation as a language. Starting with its early versions and all their ugly "bad parts", and advancing all the way to one of the most exciting, expressive languages to work with.

11
Fishrock123 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find the title kind of ironic, given that sweet.js is still a compiler. :P

However, it is true it would be better to have one standard-ish compiler that can just execute whichever macros you throw into it.

That being said, you still run into the issue that `sync` brought up.

12
voidr 15 hours ago 0 replies      
You won't have good IDE support.

You won't be able to directly debug your code.

Also it can be really fun to reason about nested macros.

13
badman_ting 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not super into the idea of code running on code because I likes it as simple as I can gets it. But, I know this notion is popular with lispers so I get it.
14
pork 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very interesting! I've often thought that Javascript could actually be a pretty language with some syntactic sugar. It'd be even more interesting if you could run it client-side without preprocessing an sjs file into js first, sort of like how you can include LESS stylesheets and load a JS module to compile them in the browser.
15
rcarmo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Best way I know of using macros in JS is https://github.com/Gozala/wisp, which generates pretty readable code. If you're going to pre-process, you might as well write in a nicer language...
16
ahunt09 1 day ago 1 reply      
So, after puzzling around with the macro for swap a bit, it seems like macros are like functions, except without the scoping rules, which suggests to me that we now have two kinds of functions, to keep track of in the code, each of which look identical, but behave differently. swap(a,b) looks like a function, but can interact with all the variables in the same scope (or above) as when it's called (is this the same for global functions?). Maybe I'm missing something big, but that seems dangerous when the macro is declared in another file, and I have to go figure out how it behaves.
17
norswap 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you need the same for Java: https://github.com/norswap/caxap
18
yuchi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Did you had a look at [gorillascript](http://ckknight.github.io/gorillascript/)? Its [prelude](https://github.com/ckknight/gorillascript/blob/master/src/js...) is written in gorilla macros :)
19
nessus42 1 day ago 1 reply      
I enjoyed the article. I just have a factual correction: Lisp had real macros as early as the 70s, not the 80s. (Maybe even earlier, for all I know.)
20
chromanoid 1 day ago 1 reply      
How do you deal with naming collisions of macros from different developers? Are you considering to introduce name spaces? To me macros as well as other surprise code modification stuff seem unfeasible in teams with more than a few developers. Don't you think you risk maintainability with a huge macro apparatus?
21
lightblade 1 day ago 1 reply      
sweetjs was a good idea, but I've found it hard to use, or rather..it's not the using part that's hard, but writing your own macro.

sweetjs has this hygienic thing that renames identifiers. To prevent it from renaming, there are many hoops that you have to jump through to prevent it.

sweetjs introduces of a lot of new concepts. These concepts are not as easy to understand as the ones in C. The macros are certainly more powerful. It's just that assuming it's C-like macro will give you the wrong kind of expectation with sweetjs.

22
14113 1 day ago 0 replies      
So wait, what does this have that's better than C macros apart from hygiene? I'm afraid I really don't follow.
23
smrtinsert 1 day ago 1 reply      
There are many reasons why people are writing *->js compilers, lack of macros isn't the least of the problems for js. Please keep the compilers coming, no productive coder really wants to write js.
24
vpj 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can also use C macros with Javascript http://vpj.svbtle.com/coffeescript-and-macros-clean-and-fast
25
johmacindu 1 day ago 1 reply      
Don't tell me what to do. If I want to write a JS compiler, I can write a JS compiler, and it's nobody's business to tell me not to.
26
al2o3cr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sup dawg, I heard you wanted to stop writing JS compilers and start using macros so here's a JS compiler that implements macros.

/head asplodes

30
To Stop Procrastinating, Look to Science of Mood Repair wsj.com
220 points by sushirain  1 day ago   65 comments top 22
1
quarterto 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is basically a stripped-down article version of The Now Habit [0], without the good bits, such as guilt-free play, the idea that you should set aside time to do whatever without constantly thinking "I should be working", or the Unschedule, where you mark down the times you actually did good work.

[0]: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Now-Habit-Overcoming-Procrastination...

2
randomdrake 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting.

I have difficulties with procrastination as well. I don't recall having met anyone in our realm who says they don't have some difficulties with it.

Generally, I agree with what the article is saying. I have found my own ties to procrastination and emotion; specifically anxiety, which the article touched on.

I think the suggested approach from the article is missing something that I have found to be important for personal growth and also applicable to startups: you must be able to measure your progress. The process of measuring the progress should be easy, if not automatic, and the ability to digest the measured progress should be just as easy.

My blog post from last week[1] shares my personal experience with how I've implemented the approach of measuring (and hopefully defeating) anxiety tied to my procrastination. I go about describing my process to turn those anxieties into actionable and measurable goals that sort of turned into my resolutions for the year.

[1] - http://randomdrake.com/2014/01/02/destroying-personal-anxiet...

3
j45 1 day ago 2 replies      
Motivation isn't an eternal flame waiting to be discovered, it can be a daily practice of reminding similar to showering and eating, if we don't do it, our thoughts and feelings tend to stink.

This article stuck out to me in providing relatively clear and immediately applicable strategies that could be a lot closer to a first principles of addressing procrastination.

Knowledge is not power, acting on knowledge is. Remembering to remind yourself to imagine the future feeling of accomplishment, building momentum with small items, and practicing forgiveness might be a realer challenge for many.

An interesting question that this article leads me to wonder is, how do others here remind themselves of their big picture, their why, that leads them to keep their flywheel spinning?

4
dgreensp 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is very primitive advice.

We should meditate on why surfing Facebook is "bad mood repair" but forgiving yourself is "good mood repair." If it's bad to feel good, maybe forgiving yourself is just another way to dodge your responsibilities? The advice presented in the article offers no escape from this psychological tangle, except projecting yourself into an imagined future, where your present work is done -- but you don't feel any more like working (so start now).

The truth is, feeling good only helps. You should feel as good as possible, and make time for the things you enjoy. Be understanding with yourself, and feel free to just watch TV sometimes. At the same time, dial down your anxiety and worry. This is helped by not racing to react when you feel anxious -- to distract or fix or rationalize -- but just breathing deeply and carrying as best you can. Finally, get in touch with who you are helping now, who you are being now, how you are serving your values and what's important to you now, and what progress you can make now -- not in the future. Get in touch with your motivations and what you care about. If you don't care enough about something in your life, try not doing it. You can choose your life and your work (at least, once you get out of school). Don't clean your car, then. Oh, that bothers you? Enough to clean a car? Sit with your anxiety for a bit and observe it without reacting. It will pass if you face it head on.

Time management is also a whole skill unto itself, like math or small talk. It takes practice. There are no bad activities (among the usual ones cited, like surfing the Internet), only bad uses of time. And you're in charge of your time. What do you want to achieve with it? If your ideal life is to sit around all day and you can afford it,go for it.

5
terhechte 1 day ago 1 reply      
I just took the small comics from the sidebar, and put them as my desktop background image. I find they give particularly short but useful advice as to how to proceed once procrastination attempts to strike.
6
MartinCron 1 day ago 2 replies      
I am reminded of a simple diagram a therapist drew for me (on a whiteboard, no less): a triangle connecting "mood" to "thought" to "behavior" illustrating how the human mental state is a feedback system and that you can adjust one thing by applying pressure to another.

Sure, it is simple and obvious, but seeing it visualized that way, coupled with the idea of "mood hygiene" was helpful to me.

7
mistercow 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I was pretty disappointed in this article. Rather than offering any new insight or techniques, it was just a reiteration of well-known techniques, each of which I've personally found to be barely helpful at best, and counter-productive at worst. The "time travel" technique in particular is actually just my default behavior, and only serves to reinforce my ugh fields.

Beyond that, all the article offers is a piece of jargon to name the obvious motivation behind procrastination: doing something to distract you from an unpleasant obligation.

8
michaelochurch 1 day ago 1 reply      
What's bizarre about procrastination is how much it derives from irrelevant past experiences (negative ones) that, in truth, have little or nothing to do with the activity being procrastinated. Some failure or embarrassment that is hardly related to the activity at all gets dredged up, not always consciously, and becomes paralytic.

In the process of doing work, people are generally happy and can even get into a flowful state. That's even true for most people with mood problems-- if they can get themselves there. But the anticipation of work or change or even playful activity like exercise is often an anxiety-ridden negativity-fest. Cleaning an apartment isn't so bad; but the anticipation and feeling of having to do it brings forward all those negative emotions like, "how the fuck did I get to age <X> and still have to do my own cleaning? Why can't I get my goddamn shit together and take ownership of my career?" It's much easier to just do the damn cleaning: even high-status, rich people have to do it sometimes, it's not a big deal. But the mental and social prison of "having to" clean makes that menial task 10 times worse than it really deserves to be.

I think that people have to reprogram themselves to "just do" instead of fussing about how their work will be evaluated and how long it will take and what might go wrong. That kind of nonsense makes it hard to do anything.

My suspicion is that procrastination (like depression) was adaptive to our primordial existences as pack animals in hierarchies that were brutally enforced. Depression (low libido, physical lethargy) is an adaptation to low status and scarcity-- inappropriate to modern life, but it probably helped our ancestors survive periods of transient low status. Procrastination also seems to be something that we evolved to defer ambitions (especially while young, and unable to succeed in a physical fight) during periods of low status so we could survive into better times. It's the "I'm not ready to do that" reflex. It's incredibly maladaptive to modern life-- in which social status is mostly undefined and a little internal confidence can go a long way-- but given our "winner-take-all" society in which most people lose, it's not surprising that it's at epidemic levels.

9
mathattack 1 day ago 1 reply      
The irony of all these procrastination articles appearing on HN is not lost on me. :-) For better or worse, the "Just get started" approach works best for me.
10
dpweb 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm so bad with procrastinating, in fact I'm avoiding work right now! I've found virtually all the books and blog posts useless, but this one really made me think differently.. http://www.amazon.com/Self-Discipline-10-days-Thinking-Doing...
11
codezero 1 day ago 5 replies      
Dr. Pychyl advises procrastinators to "just get started, and make the threshold for getting started quite low."

That's like telling a depressed person to just feel better. I've tried a lot of things to help with procrastination but very little works, this is just another thing to try that maybe will or won't work.

Also, personally, I've never had the "suffering" from failing when I put things off, so it's hard to believe that this method would work for me :(

12
septerr 1 day ago 1 reply      
One of the causes of procrastination is perfectionism. The fear of not meeting your own high standards probably affects HN readers more than anything else.
13
elwell 1 day ago 0 replies      
Title should read: "To Stop Procrastinating, Get Off Hacker News"
14
dasil003 1 day ago 0 replies      
Definitely some good stuff in there, a lot of those are techniques that I've discovered on my own. But the big problem in talking about procrastination is that it's caused by so many different things. It might be anything from small fears to 30,000 foot problems in your life which may intractable in the short term. Assuming no true pathology, the key is really self-awareness and stopping the productivity drumbeat long enough to peel back a few of the top layers of your own psychology.
15
kroger 1 day ago 1 reply      
No book has helped me overcome procrastination more than Steven Pressfield's "The War of Art":

http://www.amazon.com/The-War-Art-Through-Creative/dp/193689...

Instead of overanalyzing procrastination, he identifies the invisible but real force of Resistance and how to deal with it.

EDIT: grammar

16
contextual 1 day ago 0 replies      
Funny how this is the latest research findings. It seems so obvious. I guess we all are so distracted, numb and unconscious we don't even know ourselves anymore.

EDIT: I'm pointing the finger at myself as well.

17
unstabilo 16 hours ago 0 replies      
In my case procrastination is/was a symptom of perfectionism. This article was an eyeopener for me: http://coastalcenter.org/overcoming-perfectionism/ .
18
tcfunk 1 day ago 1 reply      
I find some of this advice to be really silly.

Telling someone with procrastination issues to "Just get started" or in other words "Stop procrastinating" seems as effective as telling someone with a smoking habit to "Just stop smoking".

19
stonewhite 1 day ago 2 replies      
"time-management consultants"

Wow, I wonder what it takes to become one.

20
logicallee 1 day ago 1 reply      
Actually, I had a lot more productive day when HN was down then when I'm reading the wall street journal's 1500 words on the science of mood repair, plus all the comments on it. And participating in writing my own.
21
bayesianhorse 1 day ago 0 replies      
I put off reading the article for about a day now...
22
joemaller1 1 day ago 1 reply      
To stop procrastinating, open HN, see article about procrastination, pause, close window and go back to work.
       cached 10 January 2014 03:11:01 GMT