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Atom atom.io
1257 points by hswolff  1 day ago   586 comments top 2
tzs 1 day ago 8 replies      
From "The Zen of Programming":


Hearing a disturbance, the master programmer went into the novice's cubicle.

"Curse these personal computers!" cried the novice in anger, "To make them do anything I must use three or even four editing programs. Sometimes I get so confused that I erase entire files. This is truly intolerable!"

The master programmer stared at the novice. "And what would you do to remedy this state of affairs?" he asked.

The novice thought for a moment. "I will design a new editing program," he said, "a program that will replace all these others."

Suddenly the master struck the novice on the side of his head. It was not a heavy blow, but the novice was nonetheless surprised. "What did you do that for?" exclaimed the novice.

"I have no wish to learn another editing program," said the master.

And suddenly the novice was enlightened.

crazygringo 1 day ago  replies      
I was all ready to be skeptical and everything... but this could actually be amazing.

I currently use Chocolat for code editing, which is beautifully elegant and I love it, but there are 25 little tiny things that I really wish I could fix. I file issues, but the developers rightly have their own priorities. It's closed-source, but even if it were open source, I'm not about to learn how to use XCode and Objective C and figure out how to compile and whatnot.

But if Atom is ultimately just a big collection of straight-up node.js files, and anyone can go in at any time to change a line here or there -- and it's in JavaScript, so it couldn't be easier for programmers in general -- and there's no compilation step or anything -- then it's almost a fundamental paradigm shift for what desktop software could be.

It already makes me dream of a word processor I could hack like that, or a music player. Just by opening up a text editor. It's an inspiring thought.

Neovim github.com
838 points by tarruda  6 days ago   362 comments top
tinco 6 days ago  replies      
Thanks for trying to do what many of us secretly wished we could do but can't because of time/skill constraints. I will definitely move to NeoVim the second it's packaged (is it yet?), regardless if you've changed anything yet.

I hate the ideas many programmers have about backwards compatibility, that it's more important than development speed and modern concepts. There is nothing holy about Unix era software, chances are it's shit and a lot of it should be thrown out.

Look at SublimeText, it's got 1% of the features of Vim, yet it's converting Vim users left and right, by its sheer usability.

We as developers in the Open Source community should be ashamed people are still using Vim to write LaTeX in Bash running on terminal emulators. (Yes, it gives me shivers just thinking about how much each of those technologies sucks when you think about how good it all could be.)

Project Tango google.com
772 points by psbp  7 days ago   339 comments top 2
martythemaniak 7 days ago 11 replies      
This is essentially putting a Kinect in your phone and hooking it up with hopefully high-level APIs. It may take 2-3 years to make it into regular phones, but when it does it will be huge. Apple's acquisition of PrimeSense (the makers of the 1st gen Kinect) means they're also working on this.

To give you a real-world example: when I started BarSsense (http://www.barsense.com) the core problem was tracking the path and velocity of a weightlifter's bar. I bought a PrimeSense camera because it can extract a lot more data and with greater accuracy out of an image than a regular camera. After some prototyping, I decided to use a 2D camera and deliver the software as an app because I thought wide distribution and ease of use was more important than the fidelity and correctness of the data - ie, the "worse is better" approach. When these cameras make their way into regular phones, "worse is better" will suddenly become "better".

SiVal 7 days ago  replies      
"Imagine measuring your room by just walking around in it." Yes, and imagine transmitting each of those footsteps in real time back to Google, so they can have a map of your room, too, in case they, or other parties, ever need it.

I was just having a discussion yesterday with a friend who works at Google about what data they store when you query their search engine. Every single keystroke, including backspaces, is stored. They don't just know what you ask. They know how well you can spell and know how well you type, not just in general but down to specific letter sequences. With this data, they can tell if you are regularly more impaired (fine motor control) at some times than at others, or if you're growing more impaired over time and match that against the content of your queries, etc.

"Phones that don't limit their boundaries to a touchscreen", meaning, we're not satisfied limiting our knowledge of you to just what we can extract from what you enter and how you enter it and when on a touchscreen. We want to know every step you take, when you sit, when you stand, how and where you walk.... SO much more data about you and your world that we can mine for treasure!

I'm not saying that Google is evil. My friends at Google certainly aren't. It's just that they are like kids in a candy store with unprecedented access to data and so many great, new algorithms for extracting information from it that they are just loving it, the way geeks would. But we're really going down a rabbit hole here.

GCHQ intercepted webcam images of millions of Yahoo users worldwide theguardian.com
762 points by callum85  12 hours ago   272 comments top 3
spenvo 7 hours ago 3 replies      
-- Top comment on Reddit [0]:

'This clearly violates both EU and British law.

It's simple: Parliament and the CPS can no longer ignore GCHQ's abuses and the entirely inadequate 'oversight' regime of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

Brooks et al. go on trial for allegedly hacking celebrities' voicemail messages, but Cabinet ministers walk free after approving secret suspicion-less dragnet recording of millions of webcam chats? This precedent can't stand. It's time we demand prison sentences for everyone who knew about this and did nothing to stop it.

Relevant British law is the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, Part II, Section 32 -- "Authorisation of Intrusive Surveillance":


(2)Neither the Secretary of State nor any senior authorising officer shall grant an authorisation for the carrying out of intrusive surveillance unless he believes

(a)that the authorisation is necessary on grounds falling within subsection (3); and(b)that the authorised surveillance is proportionate to what is sought to be achieved by carrying it out.

GCHQ's position was that, "...the general principle applied would be that if the accuracy of the algorithm was such that it was useful to the analyst (ie, [if] the number of spurious results was low, then it was likely to be proportionate)".

But the entire point of requiring 'proportionality' is to exclude activities which are useful, but too intrusive for the benefits gained. GCHQ's reasoning that usefulness implies proportionality is clearly false. Time for a few ministers to see the inside of a courtroom.'


Without being an expert on the law (and ~99.999% of the people reading this fall into the same bucket) -- I/we can assume that other clauses exist to 'defang'/'neuter' the clauses cited, the ones which were purportedly violated. And this highlights another BIG issue: a law's true intent is oftentimes indecipherable or outright deceitful.

Groundbreaking precedents have been set due to laws which were passed on false pretenses (for ex., look up the genesis story of "eminent domain") - or simply marketed as something misleading (ex. Sen. Feinstein's "FISA Improvements Act"). To me, that is the greatest form corruption in a democracy -- lawmaking with surreptitious intent.

While bills have to be massive in some circumstances (and interlinking by their very nature) -- a standardized list of simple outcomes of said law should be a requirement, and a bill should be "unit tested" the same way programs are. Actually, behaviorally tested is a better phrase. We need a tool for lawyers/lawmakers to help them express the consequences of a bill in a definitive manner. - Are there such initiatives? (please comment) Shouldn't we start one? Has the idea been floated and shot down (at EFF/Demand Progress/etc), and if so why? IMHO it would be worth the investment given the stakes (understanding the consequences of bills and laws -- even spotting excess/hidden "pork"). . I would love to read a bill as a series of behavioral test assertions, wouldn't you! :)

>>> Hopefully the stated concerns don't apply; countless suits are brought against all suspect parties (esp. high profile targets); and those responsible are served justice to the maximum extent of the law. As the hum of document shredders begins on 10 Downing Street - know that THIS is the opportunity to "make an example out of" the type of people who are responsible for the system as it exists today. It's our turn for a power play.

[0] http://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/1z33wx/uk_spy_age...

StefanKarpinski 12 hours ago 10 replies      
This really isn't any worse than the other invasions of privacy that have been revealed but it's much easier to point at it as an egregious and visceral violation of privacy. Even though webcam stills may be the least important (or useful) spying the US and UK have been doing, this may be some of the best fodder for arguments to limit such activities. So thank you, UK, for being so dumb.
Lagged2Death 11 hours ago  replies      
ISTR that in the futuristic dystopia depicted in V for Vendetta, there are government spy cameras everywhere, including in people's bedrooms.

And it turns out that's not so futuristic. We're already there. The moment it became technically (Edit: and really, economically) feasible to spy on people's bedrooms, our governments leapt at the chance.

I wonder what Alan Moore would have to say about that. We didn't have to experience a crisis of social, governmental, or financial instability. There was no catalyzing meltdown that lead to this modern embrace of a new "soft" totalitarianism. This is just the latest chapter in a steady progression of increasing surveillance that can be traced back at least to the 1960s.

And it's a cinch that something like 51% of the general public will react just as they have all along: "Well, if it's necessary to keep us safe..."

Sam Altman for President ycombinator.com
733 points by TheMakeA  6 days ago   153 comments top 5
sama 6 days ago 55 replies      
Im very excited about this. YC is the smartest group of people Ive ever worked with, and I believe that startups are going to be the major driver for innovation and economic growth going forward.

I was thinking this morning about what it was like to start a startup in early 2005 and how much its changed now. PG has done a remarkable amount to improve the startup ecosystem for foundersin fact, its hard to think of anyone who has done more.

(Also, maybe someday soon well make Hacker News work well on mobile :) )

nostromo 6 days ago 0 replies      
The focus on scaling YC in this post is interesting:

> Because YC needs to grow

> we'll have to grow proportionally bigger

I'm excited to see how this plays out!

andrewpbrett 6 days ago 2 replies      
"You could parachute [Sam] into an island full of cannibals and come back in 5 years and he'd be the king." - PG 5.5 years ago[1]

Congrats Sam.

[1] http://paulgraham.com/fundraising.html

the_watcher 6 days ago 3 replies      
For a second I got irrationally excited that Sam was announcing a Presidential run, then read the post. Beyond my initial excitement at a potential USPOTUS candidate I actually believe in, I'm much happier that Sam is taking over YC, where he can add much more value, and hopefully free up PG to do more thinking (writing, giving advice, etc).
natural219 6 days ago  replies      
Wow, awesome news! I've noticed a lot more Sam Altman posts on HN recently, and I have to say I'm a fan, at least of his writing.

What does this mean for your role at YCombinator, PG? Will you still be spending most of your time helping out with companies there, or are you going to work on other projects?

Only 90s Web Developers Remember This zachholman.com
660 points by bado  2 days ago   394 comments top 7
pvnick 2 days ago 8 replies      
> HTML For Dummies doesn't cover the <IMG> tag until chapter four?

Ah yes, HTML For Dummies. For me, the book that started it all. Reading that book during my elementary school Pokemon craze led me to create my first serious website from scratch, Mew's Hidden Lair [1]. Except back then it was Dummies 101: HTML [2]. And I do remember how magical it was to type in that command and see an image of Pikachu show up on my screen.

Reading the article and writing this post has been a serious trip down memory lane. Great, now I'm nostalgic. Back to work I guess...

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/20010518071345/http://www.fortun...

[2] http://www.amazon.com/Dummies-101-Html-Computer-Tech/dp/0764...

nikatwork 2 days ago 6 replies      
> 1x1.gif let you push elements all around the page effortlessly. To this day it is the only way to vertically center elements.

False, dynamic vertical centering has always been possible with tables:

  <table><tr>  <td valign="middle">dynamically vertically centered</td>  <td><img src="1x1.gif" height="2000" width="1"></td>  </tr></table>
This is something CSS still can't seem to do dynamically except with table-emulation, which, you know, kind of defeats the whole fucking purpose of CSS (and isn't backwards compatible anyway). Seeing how much people decry tables as the antizalgochrist (guess what zealots: layout divs and lists also aren't semantic) I'm surprised this hasn't been fixed yet. But I don't care anymore since I moved back to app dev and my life got 100x less painful.

Here's something else CSS still can't do AFAIK:

  <table width="80%"><!-- dynamic --><tr>  <td width="300">fixed"</td>  <td width="*">dynamic</td>  </tr><table>

mpclark 2 days ago 6 replies      
We weren't web developers back then, we were webmasters
aethr 2 days ago 4 replies      
I thought DHTML was "dynamic" HTML, as made popular by the Dynamic Duo:


edu 2 days ago 3 replies      

  <p><img src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7"></p>  <!-- lol yeah i'm base64 encoding 1x1.gif isn't that fucking dope? -->

molecule 2 days ago 6 replies      
baby 2 days ago  replies      
Oh man. I was a "web developer" back then.

- I'm surprised he didn't mention tables. That's the first thing that came to my mind. We didn't use CSS but tables to make a layout. And I have to admit I miss them. Yes we have grid systems like bootstrap now but still, tables were damn easy.

- What about those counters that were displaying how many visitors had came since the website creation

- Those "in construction" pages

- the <s> tag that no one seem to use now, not even in markdown

- the <u>, <b> and <i>.

- XML! And xhtml!!

- flash everywhere

- java application sometimes

- music blasting when you would arrive on a website

- fake iframes or fake images for fake traffic (width="0" height="0")

- gifs everywhere

- fake urls like .fr.fm

- no right clicks allowed

- photoshop design that would get cut in multiple squares and displayed in a table. Fireworks used to do that automatically.

- all those crappy tutorials and all the real "books" I had to buy to learn.

- websites getting upset because of hotlinking

- those "top" websites that would pop in humor websites and where you could vote for the best website.

- <center>:(</center>

- WYSIWYGs!! Do they still exist?

GitHub's new text editor leaked on Twitter github.com
655 points by almightygod  1 day ago   247 comments top 4
jashkenas 1 day ago 1 reply      
There's a bunch of lovely gems scattered through the Atom repos. Some of my favorites from a first quick glance:

Biscotto A CoffeeScript API documentation generator based on TomDoc notation:


React-Coffee A little glue that makes Facebook's React easy to use from CoffeeScript without having to resort to JSX:


SpacePen: A minimalist view library for jQuery, allowing custom methods, super calls, HTML-building, subviews, and easy event binding:


... and the best bit about this bonanza is that everything is really quite readable. Keep up the good work, Kevin.

aroman 1 day ago 7 replies      
holy cow this thing has like 70 repositories!

And I found a screenshot... looks very much like sublime text: https://f.cloud.github.com/assets/1424/1228569/cce6eb26-27a6...

edit: based on this[1], it looks like this is a GitHub-aware/integrated text editor that targets both desktop (Mac, at least) and web

[1] https://gist.github.com/elcuervo/eb68883f233baf5a46c8

jordwalke 1 day ago  replies      
I really can't wait for this to be released. I am a little pessimistic about the Vim mode. There are countless 80 or 90% complete Vim modes in various modern editors. But the absence of a truly native feeling Vim (that last 10%) is a deal breaker for many. I'd rather see more editor developers spend time finding a solution that provides a truly authentic Vim mode instead of spending countless hours merely approaching 90% compatibility. For the people who you're selling on that Vim mode (the people who would care that your editor provides it) 90% isn't good enough. There are other ways to integrate Vim modes in your editor such as using the (inappropriately named) "Netbeans interface" which actually allows Vim to run in the background while you integrate your UI on top of it across a serializable bridge. This allows a perfect recreation of Vim while letting you customize the application experience on top of it.

Aside from that approach, there are a few faithful Vim recreations that I've discovered out of the dozens that I've tried.

https://github.com/vicoapp/vico Excellent project)http://www.viemu.com/ (Solid experience in Visual Studio)https://github.com/guillermooo/Vintageous (fairly close and getting better every day)

But I don't mean to sound like such a pessimist. The progress so far looks excellent and I can't wait to try it out. Keep it up!

Edit: I also notice that the logo looks like an iOS7 version of React's logo: http://facebook.github.io/react/

Depixelizing Pixel Art microsoft.com
575 points by epsylon  1 day ago   154 comments top 15
zeidrich 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is a pretty old paper, but I hadn't seen the live demo. That's pretty cool.

A problem with this algorithm is that it's pretty slow. It would be hard to use it for real time scaling.

I think that it's pretty cool though for any precalculated conversion to vector format. It would also be pretty cool if there were software that allowed you to create a pixel art image with a live preview in this format and the ability to export into a vector format.

One of the benefits of pixel art IMO is that it's got a pretty distinct style and its simplicity and restrictions means it's easy to be aware of composition where if you are given an unrestricted canvas that freedom can make it hard to know where to start. If you are given a 8x8 pixel grid to indicate "happy" there's only so many ways to do it, a symbolic heart, a little smiley face, etc. Given a whole sheet of paper you'll have more difficulty.

With the high res displays, there's more to consider than just the upscaling of old programs, the fact is people (especially indie game devs) still want to work with pixel art, and the number of titles with the term "8-bit" in their name that have come out recently. Part of that's because it's in vogue now, but a big part of it is simply that a poor artist can make a passable 24x24 sprite.

But it's still a shame that on high res displays they end up looking like a blocky mess. If you had a program that let you author your sprites under the same conditions, but let you preview an upscaled version and left you with a vector image (or high res texture with mip maps) you can make use of the fidelity while maintaining the simplicity. I think that would be cool.

jrockway 1 day ago 4 replies      
I wish they would use this in Windows 8. As far as I can tell, their scaling algorithm for 4k displays is: scale up 2x using nearest neighbor, then randomly drop pixels to get back to 125% or 150%. The result is horrifyingly bad. Not just kind of bad, but unusably bad. (Adding insult to injury, they ClearType the text before scaling.
frik 1 day ago 3 replies      
anon4 1 day ago 1 reply      
The issue with depixelizing pixel art is that you need an AI that can identify semantically what the features in the sprite are. When you look at Mario you know you're looking at a stout little man with a hat, you can identify his eyes, ears, nose, hair, hat, moustache, shirt, gloves, overalls and shoes. Given that knowledge, if I were to depixelize Mario's sprite, I'll know the rough shape of his shoes and where the shading should go and what shape it should have, i.e. I can reason what the 3D shape is and how the 2D shape was derived from that. I'll also be able to identify which lines were put there to make sure separate elements can be legible and not make those thicker than needed. Or that his eyes blend with his hat simply because there aren't enough pixels to make them separate.

For simple shapes, like the background, their algorithm works really well, but for complex objects it fails, because it distorts details that were put in with very careful thought and completely depend on the resolution. Such small sprites rely a lot on being looked at by someone who can identify semantically what they're looking at, and any really successful depixelization solution will need to be able to understand what basic shapes the sprite is made of based on what it's supposed to represent.

JasonFruit 1 day ago 2 replies      
Sometimes the Vector Magic results are truly magical; striking poses become even more striking when the figure is reduced to a collection of simpler shapes.
rsiqueira 1 day ago 1 reply      
The authors of this paper also have other amazing image processing/optimization algorithms. Eg: Deblurring, Optimizing Color Consistency, Content-aware Automatic Photo Enhancement, Object Discovery and Segmentation in Internet Images and more:

Dani Lischinski's page: http://www.cs.huji.ac.il/~danix/

Johannes Kopf page: http://johanneskopf.de/

th0ma5 1 day ago 0 replies      
I thought this looked familiar! It is from 2011 https://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/kopf/pixelart...
10098 1 day ago 3 replies      
But the blocky versions actually look better than vectorized ones. Most of the vectorized sprites look hideous with the exception of Boo and dolphin.
kaeso 1 day ago 1 reply      
A C++ LGPL implementation of this has been as been developed as part of last year Inkscape GSoC and is available as a standalone library: https://launchpad.net/libdepixelize

It will be released in the next Inkscape major version, expected soon :)

rkuykendall-com 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know where I can find an implementation of this? I can't even figure out what to call it. They just refer to it as "our method."
mberning 1 day ago 2 replies      
Boo is the best example of 'ours'. Looks amazing.
mjmahone17 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Kind of ironic that MSR is using an unregistered version of PhotoZoom.
sp332 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wonder why they all fall down on Peach and Peach 2? None of them look nearly as good (to me) as bicubic.
omegote 1 day ago  replies      
I'm amazed to find that no one has mentioned that ScummVM has implemented some of these algorithms for years and they work pretty nice with the classical games.
MtGox.com is offline mtgox.com
550 points by cjbarber  2 days ago   519 comments top
blhack 2 days ago  replies      
It's really easy in all of this to pile a bunch of hatred on Mark Karpeles, but please, everybody remember that he is a human being, with real human emotions, and that those things really do hurt.


MtGox was (past tense is probably appropriate here, but for the sake of anybody who had coins there, I hope not) a startup that failed spectacularly, and publicly, and took a TON of peoples' money with it.

The transaction malleability thing was poor programming on the part of gox. Remember that we have ALL fucked up at some point, just luckily for most of us, "fucking up" doesn't mean losing than much of other peoples' money.

Mark, I doubt you read hacker news, but if you do: it's alright, dude. You bastard.

Spritz read 500 words per minute without any training spritzinc.com
542 points by azov  3 days ago   207 comments top 15
lukev 2 days ago 12 replies      
This is very interesting (and as has been pointed out in other comments, not exactly a new idea). I think its proper application, though, is in a tool for practicing reading, not for actually reading tests.

One major thing this approach looses is the inherent non-linearity of text. If I miss a fact and want to back up a bit, or want to pause for a moment and think about something, I can (when reading) without even thinking about it. Even if this approach is faster overall, it makes reading more like listening to audio or watching a video; it's a big pain to rewind or pause.

Secondly, this is actually slower than true speed reading or skimming because it forces you to read every word. Truly accomplished readers will often read material at a very superficial level, only dipping in and reading consistently when they encounter a novel concept. Essentially, they can use semantic compression to increase their reading speed by only bothering to read what they find to be relevant. This operates on every level, from the page to the chapter to the paragraph to the sentence. It isn't perfect, of course, but it's always possible to back up if one finds crucial information has been missed.

Finally, even though this tool is truly excellent for breaking the subvocalization habit that hampers most slow readers, once you learn how to read without subvocalizing it becomes a bit redundant. For example, looking at Spritz, I cranked the speed to 500. It felt pretty good, like I was reading fast. Then I went and took a traditional reading speed test and clocked in at 700wpm, with 95% comprehension. So I'm not sure my overall speed is better with Spritz.

That said, I'll probably keep coming back to this or technologies like this, now that I'm aware of them. They seem a really good way to force oneself into the speed-reading mindset - I have a feeling that doing this for 60 seconds before a normal reading session would improve reading speed substantially.

tzs 2 days ago 3 replies      
I played around with something like this a while ago (my files have 2004 timestamps, but those may have updated when I copied stuff to a new computer). I had a command-line based program that took text and displayed it a word at a time. If anyone would like to play around with it, here's my source.

Compile: c++ speedread.cpp

Usage: ./a.out [delay_in_ms] < text

Should work on Mac and Linux, and maybe Windows if you uncomment the first line. (Looks like a #include <stdlib.h> needs to be included to make it compile on Linux. Not sure what I don't need that on Mac).

It's kind of fun. I played around with showing words at a constant rate, and with throwing in an extra delay whenever there was punctuation. The version below does the latter. I had thought of this as a possibly good way for displaying text on the limited phones of the early 2000s. Also, I thought it might be an interesting way to display status information on many processes at once. A display line wide enough to display, say, 10 words could be used to display 10 status messages at once instead of one.

Oh...2 clause BSD license, if anyone cares.

    //#include <windows.h>    #include <stdio.h>    #include <iostream>    #include <string>    #include <unistd.h>    #include <signal.h>    #include <sys/time.h>    typedef unsigned long DWORD;    bool cont = true;    void    stop( int sig )    {        cont = false;    }    void    Sleep( int msec )    {        usleep( msec * 1000 );    }    DWORD    GetTickCount()    {        static unsigned long base = 0;        struct timeval tv;        gettimeofday( &tv, 0 );        if ( base == 0 )            base = tv.tv_sec;        return (tv.tv_sec - base) * 1000 + tv.tv_usec / 1000;    }    int main( int argc, char *argv[] )    {        int delay = 250;        std::string word;        if ( argc == 2 )            delay = atoi(argv[1]);        signal( SIGINT, stop );        std::cout << "\n\n\n";        int words = 0;        DWORD start = GetTickCount();        std::string display_word = "";        while ( std::cin >> word && cont )        {            Sleep(delay);            ++words;            if ( display_word.length() )                display_word += ' ';            display_word += word;            //if ( display_word.length() < 5 )                //continue;            word = display_word;            display_word = "";            int punc = word.find(".");            if ( punc == std::string::npos )                punc = word.find(",");            int pad = 15 - word.length()/2;            for ( int i = 0; i < pad; ++i )                std::cout << " ";            std::cout << " " << word << "                                  \r";            std::cout.flush();            if ( punc != std::string::npos )                Sleep(2*delay);        }        DWORD stop = GetTickCount();        float seconds = (stop - start) / 1000.0;        printf( "\n%d words in %f seconds\n", words, seconds );        if ( seconds != 0 )            printf( "%f words/second, %f words/minute\n", words/seconds,                    (60*words)/seconds );        return 0;    }

fab13n 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very interesting experiment. I'm surprised to be able to read (albeit only when completely focused) at 500 English wpm without being a native speaker. Some observations:

* My eyes muscles feel oddly relaxed while reading, whereas in contrast I need I mental focus to understand the text. It's really hypnotic, in a weird but not unpleasant way.

* Keeping focused on a single point for minutes, I get a disconcerting tunnel effect. As my brain hasn't seen my surroundings for too long, it stops recomposing it, and that makes me conscious of how small my precise vision area is. This also contributes to the hypnotic effect of that thing.

* It absolutely needs an intuitive throttle. My optimal speed varies continuously, because the information density varies a lot within a single text, and some information can be perceived to have widely different levels of relevance for different readers. I'd probably like the speed to be controlled by the mouse's y axis.

* Quick indexing: I want to easily jump anywhere in the page, not read it sequentially.

jpatte 2 days ago 0 replies      
The reading experience would have been even better in other languages if the translations weren't so bad. Not sure if it is the right place to put it, but here is a much better French translation for the demo:

Bienvenue dans votre premier Spritz ! On commence par 250 mots par minute, un peu plus que la vitesse moyenne de lecture qui est de 210 mots par minute. Pas d'inquitude, nous irons plus vite dans un instant. En fait, nombreux sont ceux qui lisent dj des Spritz plus de 1.000 mpm. A cette vitesse on peut lire un roman de 1000 pages en seulement 10 heures. Que se passerait-il si votre vitesse de lecture pouvait doubler, sans diminuer pour autant votre comprhension ? Et si elle pouvait tripler ? Notre but est de rpandre les Spritz travers le monde et que 15% du contenu littraire mondial puisse tre lu via notre mthode d'ici 2016. Slectionnez une nouvelle vitesse sur la droite quand vous tes prt ou cliquez sur un des drapeaux ci-dessous pour essayer Spritz dans une autre langue.

Prochain arrt, 300 mots par minute ! A cette vitesse vous lisez environ 25% plus vite que la plupart des lecteurs chevronns. Un autre effet positif des Spritz est qu'au-del de 400 mpm votre comprhension se met augmenter en mme temps que la vitesse aprs seulement quelques sessions de lecture. De plus, comme dans un Spritz vos yeux ne se dplacent pas d'un mot l'autre ni mme d'une phrase l'autre, vous pouvez lire pendant de longues priodes sans les fatiguer. Cliquez sur le menu droulant pour essayer une autre vitesse.

Voil dj de vrais progrs ! Votre vitesse actuelle est de 350 mpm. A cette vitesse vous lisez 40% plus vite que la majorit des gens. Vous n'avez pas besoin de cours de speedreading ou d'exercices supplmentaires avec Spritz. Nous dveloppons sans cesse de nouveaux logiciels pour que vous puissiez lire globalement n'importe quel texte avec Spritz. Nous offrons galement aux autres dveloppeurs la possibilit d'intgrer Spritz dans leurs applications. Spritz est de loin la meilleure faon de lire les livres lectroniques, emails, sites d'actualit et autres sites web.

Vous avez maintenant atteint 400 mots par minute. Prenons un instant pour discuter de ce que vous venez d'accomplir. Aprs seulement quelques minutes, vous pouvez maintenant lire des Spritz au moins 60% plus vite qu'avant. Rflchissez la manire dont vous lisez d'habitude sur votre portable. Grce Spritz, plus besoin de faire constamment dfiler les textes tout en lisant ni de pincer ou tapoter votre cran pour redimensionner le contenu affich. Les diteurs peuvent prsenter leur contenu sous une forme compacte qui pourra tre lue confortablement sur un tlphone ou une tablette. Spritz prouve quel point les appareils actuels paraissent larges et massifs : vous n'avez pas besoin de tout cet espace pour lire du contenu !

Impressionnant! 500 mots par minute aprs moins de dix minutes. Si c'est encore trop rapide, redescendez simplement 400 mots par minute pour votre prochain essai. Vous dcouvrirez que plus vous tes dtendu, plus vite vous pouvez lire et meilleure sera votre comprhension du texte. Nos tudes ont mme montr que l'utilisation rgulire de Spritz permet d'augmenter durablement sa vitesse de lecture et son niveau de comprhension, et ce quel que soit le support ! Nous croyons sincrement que Spritz va changer le monde et nous vous remercions d'avoir pris le temps de l'essayer. Vous pouvez nous soutenir en nous "likant" sur Facebook, en nous suivant sur Twitter et en parlant de nous autour de vous !

tokenadult 2 days ago 1 reply      
That's interesting. A technology like this was predicted, on theoretical grounds from reading research, in the book Reading in the Brain[1] by Stanislas Dehaene (which I highly recommend as a very good read).

For years 500 words per minute (approximately one printed page per minute) has been my baseline speed for most of the material I read in English. I read slower in my second languages, of course. Back in my college days, when I wanted to make sure I wasn't being slowed down in my studies by a too-slow reading speed, I read a lot of books from the university library about reading skill improvement, and several jointly suggested that improving vocabulary improves reading speed. I took a course about English vocabulary based on Latin and Greek word roots, and that did seem to help for years afterward in both reading speed and reading comprehension.

[1] http://readinginthebrain.pagesperso-orange.fr/intro.htm


In this context, "second languages" is a quite normal designation for language(s) acquired after one's native language(s) were acquired. My user profile lists most of mine. I read best in Chinese and in German, besides English.

a3_nm 2 days ago 3 replies      
There is a "The Science" section, referring to the Blog referring back to the same section, but I see nothing scientific about it.

Science does not work by giving loads of examples of why the approach "should" work better than traditional reading, substantiated by intuition and "80%"-"20%" figures given with no reliable source. It should instead be validated by experiments.

Here, it is simple enough to validate the approach experimentally: select texts and create simple multiple choice assignments to evaluate reading comprehension, and compare the performance of your method versus traditional reading on random people. The exact protocol would require a bit of care to avoid biases, but it wouldn't be that hard to do.

Without a study of this kind, this is just a gimmicky way to read, backed by some people's belief that it is more efficient.

(Another comment: the example French text looks like machine translation, which makes it hard to understand.)

rosser 2 days ago 4 replies      
I wonder whether this uses the front-facing camera for blink detection, particularly at higher WPM settings. A blink typically lasts 100-400ms (per Wikipedia), and 500 WPM is .8333... words per 100ms. A blink thus seems very likely to miss a word or two once you're using this the way its creators intend. I don't see any mention of blinking or mitigating its impact on the site, though.
quarterto 2 days ago 3 replies      
Wow. I found "reading" their demo a deeply unpleasant experience. It seemed to induce tunnel vision, and put a huge amount of strain on my lenses. The dark background of the page surrounding the banner didn't help, and persisted in my vision for a good 5 minutes. My eyes still hurt.
buro9 2 days ago 0 replies      
I know my eyesight is bad (test scheduled for today and new glasses overdue), but I really struggled with this.

I tried multiple times to read the example, but would stumble to comprehend the shape of a word or two, lose my way, and have to rewind back to the beginning.

Overall it felt considerably slower and more broken, less rhythmic. My comprehension felt lower, I felt I spent far more time comprehending the shapes of the words rather than the totality of the meaning expressed.

I know my eyesight is bad, that I am long-sighted and colour blind, but this was a painful and slow reading experience.

Some words took so much concentration to figure out that I'd forgotten the words that preceded it, and lost context.

Without the ability to rewind this or to see a larger context, I would avoid this like the plague.

Clearly an outlier as everyone else is raving.

bambax 2 days ago 0 replies      
I had no trouble reading at 500 wpm, and although I seemed to miss a few words (maybe due to blinking?), that didn't interfere with comprehension.

But the French translation is gibberish!! This is unprofessional and insulting. If you can't be bothered to hire a professional translator, please don't offer content in that language at all.

leephillips 2 days ago 1 reply      
I had a summer job once in high school working in the office of a small business that published test preparation books and related products. They had devoted one of their rooms to a speed reading course; one day the teacher told me that as an employee I could take the course at no charge. I said that I could already read as fast as I could think, and he rolled his eyes and said, "You people who think." I believe that this skill might be useful to some people, but I prefer to avoid reading things that could profitably be speed read, because life is too short for that. For example, I haven't read the OA.
devrelm 2 days ago 2 replies      
As someone with horrible reading speed, the demo on their home page worked pretty well. I'd like to see a demo with some more advanced text. Marketing language is pretty easy to digest quickly. I'd like to see a selection from Gdel, Escher, & Bach or something to see how well I could comprehend more dense texts.
kayoone 2 days ago 5 replies      
As a german i find the name a bit unfortunate.To spritz = spritzen means to squirt/spray coat and in german is often associated with ejaculating. I don't know if this name would fly around here, but maybe thats why it would. Could make for some funny conversations.
syllogism 2 days ago 0 replies      
The problem here is that regressive eye movements are an inherent part of reading. The text in their example doesn't necessitate any saccades, but arbitrary text will!


Eye Movements in Reading, Rayner (1983):http://books.google.com.au/books?id=Lx51Brw60cMC&pg=PA79&lpg...

mynameisfiber 2 days ago  replies      
Looks like the same technology as spreeder (http://www.spreeder.com/app.php)... what's the difference between the two?

As someone who tried using spreeder for a while, I can say that your retention is quite a bit lower than normal reading, especially when reading complicated texts, since you loose contextual clues (your brain is really good at doing look-aheads for clues).

One of the Most Alarming Internet Proposals I've Seen vortex.com
507 points by seven  4 days ago   91 comments top 20
quotemstr 4 days ago 3 replies      
Er, actually reading the specification, it's about proxying http resources, not https ones. This proposal is strictly better than the transparent proxying that's common on the internet today.

    To distinguish between an HTTP2 connection meant to transport "https"    URIs resources and an HTTP2 connection meant to transport "http" URIs    resource, the draft proposes to       register a new value in the Application Layer Protocol negotiation       (ALPN) Protocol IDs registry specific to signal the usage of HTTP2       to transport "http" URIs resources: h2clr.

    4.3. Secure Forward Proxy and https URIs    The Proxy intercepts the TLS ClientHello analyses the application    layer protocol negotiation extension field and if it contains "h2"    value it does not do anything and let the TLS handshake continue and    the TLS session be established between the User-Agent and the Server    (see Figure 8).

hobohacker 4 days ago 0 replies      
The specification indeed is about proxying http resources, not https ones. So it's not initially as alarming as some other proposals discussing trusting proxies to intercept SSL connections. For more details, you can refer to https://insouciant.org/tech/http-slash-2-considerations-and-....

This specific proposal is interesting because it specifically is related to opportunistic encryption proposals, in particular, the one that allows sending http:// URIs over an unauthenticated TLS connection: http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-nottingham-httpbis-alt-svc-.... The problem here for proxies is, if you mix http and https (authenticated) traffic on the same TLS connection, the proxy cannot tell if it can safely MITM the connection. The proxy vendor would like to know if it can do so, probably for network management / caching / content modification reasons. Of course, the point of the opportunistic encryption proposal is to increase security (although its actual effective impact is controversial: https://insouciant.org/tech/http-slash-2-considerations-and-...). But if you believe in opportunistic encryption's security purposes, then it doesn't seem to really make sense to make the MITM'able traffic identifiable so proxies on the network path can successfully MITM them without detection.

wmf 4 days ago 1 reply      
This article ignores the context behind the proposal. Many companies, schools, and prisons are MITMing all SSL traffic today for a variety of liability reasons. Today those users get no notice that their Web browsing is being observed and censored. Trusted proxies are intended to give those users some notice that they're being MITMed.

I agree that MITM proxies shouldn't be used on the public Internet and thus we shouldn't make it easier to do so, but what about the people who are already being MITMed? Is there another way to solve this problem or must we throw corporate Web users under the bus to save the public?

rdl 4 days ago 1 reply      
There are some kinda legitimate uses for this in certain environments -- enterprise DLP, various kinds of filtering, etc. Potentially even caching and stuff on the distant end of really weird network connections (when I go to Mars in ~30y, I'd like to have as much cached as possible, and converted to message-based vs. connection-oriented protocols).

We have good enough workarounds for this right now (putting wildcard CA certs on devices and proxying that way), but they're not awesome. So, if there were a way to keep this from being used for evil, it could make some existing non-evil activities easier.

But, on balance, the risk of evil might be too high.

platypii 4 days ago 0 replies      
The best part: the "Privacy" section of the document is blank.


lifeisstillgood 4 days ago 3 replies      
Ok - here is a suggestion: The Right to root.

Just as a citizens letters, papers and home are inviolable, should our new papers our new homes be also inviolable - if I own a device, No-one should legally be allowed control over it?

gnoway 4 days ago 2 replies      
There was another article on here a week or two ago effectively blasting the http/2.0 wg for doing stupid things. I think it was the "HTTP 308 incompetence expected" article.

Now this. I'm beginning to wonder if I want anything to do with HTTP/2.0.

userbinator 4 days ago 1 reply      
The amusing thing about this is that MITM can also be used to one's personal benefit -- I run a local filtering proxy that strips off most of the crap on the majority of sites, and I've had to do a bit of hex editing to be able to do that without the browser complaining.

Look at it another way: With browsers becoming more and more unconfigurable and nearing the point of being user-hostile, it is any wonder that the content providers would want their content, whether or not the user likes it, to be delivered unchanged and forced upon the user? All the Snowden stuff has made us feel that way, but what I'm saying is that the one who is doing the MITM isn't always malicious.

sekasi 4 days ago 1 reply      
Another stab at using 'Trusted proxies' huh? I thought we had learnt that lesson a while ago.. Can we move on please, internet?
wfunction 4 days ago 3 replies      
Is someone from the NSA behind this?

Sorry, let me rephrase that. Who from the NSA is behind this?

vezzy-fnord 4 days ago 2 replies      
It actually appears that the RFC openly admits the potentials for abuse here:

"6. Security Considerations

This document addresses proxies that act as intermediary for HTTP2 traffic and therefore the security and privacy implications of having those proxies in the path need to be considered. MITM [4], [I-D.nottingham-http-proxy-problem] and [I-D.vidya-httpbis-explicit-proxy-ps] discuss various security and privacy issues associated with the use of proxies. Users should be made aware that, different than end-to-end HTTPS, the achievable security level is now also dependent on the security features/capabilities of the proxy as to what cipher suites it supports, which root CA certificates it trusts, how it checks certificate revocation status, etc.

Users should also be made aware that the proxy has visibility to the actual content they exchange with Web servers, including personal and sensitive information."

the_watcher 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not an expert in internet security or crypto. Some of the comments below raise some interesting points both defending the intent (and implementation) of it and pointing out the flaws. However, as an unsophisticated person interested in my data security, this sounds absolutely awful. Hopefully more clarity on this emerges.
jstsch 4 days ago 2 replies      
Crazy. If you want to use caching, just use HTTP for that content.
atmosx 4 days ago 0 replies      
This proposal is so stupid it's hard to believe someone actually made it. Really beats the purpose: Why use SSL? Who am I protecting my data from if the ISP is snooping??? The kid on the Internet Cafe who just found about SSLSnoop?

At this point the right proposal should be to just remove SSL altogether, no need to make circles over it.

droopybuns 3 days ago 1 reply      
Carriers are fighting against being turned into dumb pipes.

Google is fighting to turn carriers into dumb pipes.

I can't take this Google consultant seriously in that context.

higherpurpose 4 days ago 1 reply      
I've become increasingly more disgusted with IETF since I found out they have at least a few NSA agents working with them on protocols, and more importantly refusing to kick them out - even after all the Snowden revelations with NSA trying to subvert and undermine encryption protocols:


Then I find out that they've been working with Cisco on another similar thing to this one for "legal intercepts", a.k.a "trusted backdoors", like we're seeing above.


With NIST being already corrupted by the NSA, and now W3C becoming corrupted by MPAA, too, I think we're seeing the decay and fall of the "standard bodies", because I don't believe the Internet will tolerate these moves. The Internet will ignore them, do its own thing, and make it popular. I think future standards will be built from the bottom-up, and if I'm not mistaken most of the Internet so far has been built that way anyway.

news_to_me 4 days ago 0 replies      
The most alarming thing about this article is the author's tone.
glifchits 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I read the title I thought this was going to be from Upworthy.
kercker 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe he who proposes this proposal is just meant to be funny.
bachback 4 days ago 1 reply      
SSL is such crap. time to make a better internet.
Netflix Agrees to Pay Comcast to End Web Traffic Jam wsj.com
459 points by dctoedt  4 days ago   337 comments top
scelerat 4 days ago  replies      
And so the precedent is set. This is the direction I see things going:

For $70 a month from Comcast you can get Amazon, Google, and Facebook. For only $10 more a month you can add Netflix and Spotify. Want Pandora? Sorry, you'll have to switch to AT&T for that.

The broadband providers are used to this type of packaged service given their history as cable television providers. It's how they make their money beyond providing simple connectivity. Their future expansion and profits are linked to their ability to create exclusivity and extract revenue based on targeted demand.

I don't see any other way around this. Absent regulations prohibiting packet discrimination, I'm not sure I would do any different if I were in Comcast's shoes.

The New TextSecure: Privacy Beyond SMS whispersystems.org
448 points by dmix  3 days ago   199 comments top 8
tptacek 3 days ago 6 replies      
Would kill for the desktop version of this. This team is the gold standard of cryptographically secured messaging; what Colin Percival's Tarsnap is for backup, Whisper is for communications.

Congrats on the new release.

rdl 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is probably the most optimistic thing in security in the past year. Thank you!

It's still tricky to get security due to the platforms on which software runs, but now users can make reasonable choices about which platforms to trust, and by not tying your messaging application to hardware with a black-box baseband, users actually have a decent chance.

Hopefully there will be more progress on baseband-less mobile devices and reasonable networks for those users.

ig1 3 days ago 3 replies      
I think their choice of GPL3 is a mistake; it's premised on the idea that people will only ever use one app to communicate and it'll be their app.

In reality that's never going to happen; people are always going to use multiple apps to communicate whether it's via photo sharing apps, games or something else.

We need a secure messaging infrastructure that transcends single apps - and that means it needs to be under a licence that can be integrated with both open source and closed source applications.

It's not just a case of integrating with consumer apps but also business apps. You want your secure messaging system to be able to connect to every CRM, help-desk, shopping etc. system and again that requires a more liberal licence than GPL3.

(Also it's not clear that you can legally distributed a GPL3 app on iOS)

acabal 3 days ago 3 replies      
On my wishlist is some kind of basic Google Voice number integration. Since messages are encrypted then clearly we can't use the GV web interface, which is fine, since what interests me is the "one phone number" feature of GV. I've given out my GV phone number to everyone and they get confused when they get SMSs from my actual SIM number. But besides that, excellent work as always!

Edit: after browsing some feature requests on their Github repo it looks like GV makes it difficult/impossible to do this. Too bad.

darklajid 3 days ago 1 reply      
Okay, it seems the server is open source? And the protocol supports federation? Could I just run my own server and it will just work with users on a different server?

Are you basically presenting me with an option next to xmpp/otr?

apayan 3 days ago 3 replies      
Will there eventually be support for using your email address as your identifier instead of a telephone number?

In a world of IP connected devices, the need to tether your self to the telecom cartel for an identifier is outdated. It would be ideal if future versions of TextSecure let you log in with just your email and then you could run the app on your tablet, desktop or any other devices without a SIM.

jevinskie 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm very excited to see this for iOS! I never really trusted iMessages but the most painful part of iMessages is the vendor lock-in. Now I don't have to worry about the type of device that my friends use.
petsounds 3 days ago  replies      
Whisper Systems' headquarters is located in San Francisco, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisper_Systems

Doesn't that make them susceptible to a search warrant forcing them to give up the private keys (or equivalent) to TextSecure, ala Lavabit?

Inside DuckDuckGo, Google's Tiniest, Fiercest Competitor fastcolabs.com
427 points by marban  7 days ago   231 comments top
tosseraccount 7 days ago  replies      
Duck duck is barely usable ... but they don't spy on you.The !g and !b commands make it my first choice. If the results aren't getting what you want, try the search on google or bing. IF you don't mind Sergy Brin or Bill Gates tracking you.

I still think there's room for a search engine that supports boolean(ish?) operations like AND, OR , NOT and NEAR. Providing links directly to the source and not a redirect to the search engine company would be a really good thing.

A cookie-less search engine would be double plus good.

Apple's SSL/TLS bug imperialviolet.org
393 points by Aissen  5 days ago   280 comments top 3
rdl 5 days ago 9 replies      
It's interesting watching all the speculation about "was it a backdoor, or just a bug?"

Lots of points in favor or against:

1) It's a huge compromise, and "open" to anyone to exploit, which would ultimately get caught and fixed faster. But it's also not targeting anything specific, so there's less of a signature of the attacker.

2) Incredibly simple, and thus a plausible mistake.

3) Hidden in plain sight

I'd generally come down on the side of "accident". The better question is if an systematic testing system for exploitable weaknesses (or a lucky chance finding) could find something like this (either a regression, or a badly implemented new feature) and exploit it -- basically assuming there are going to be errors in implementations. That's understood to be a standard technique in the IC, and a whole industry built around it... and then, the scale of compromise.

There are lots of mitigation techniques for vulnerabilities like this (essentially, devices which are too fast-changing and too difficult to fully trust, but which have to touch sensitive data), but it's not as if people can carry around a firewall in their pocket these days, sadly.

I'm certainly re-generating any keys which touched iOS or OSX devices (thankfully very few), and reinstalling OSes, in the interim.

rdl 5 days ago 3 replies      
Unfortunately OSX does not appear patched even in the latest developer center 10.9.2 build (13C62). Tested in both Safari and OS-distributed curl. Chrome/Firefox of course is still fine since it uses the NSS stuff, but plenty of OS services use the OS crypto. (I'm violating NDA by commenting on pre-release Apple stuff, of course.)

Windows or ubuntu bootcamp until they fix this, I think.

apaprocki 5 days ago  replies      
Worth noting that static analysis finds bugs like this immediately. TLS code seems like the perfect candidate to run through static analysis on every checkin. There are products such as Coverity and PVS-Studio that would have immediately flagged this and probably some open-source ones built around LLVM as well (unsure about this one, though). I personally use Coverity and have it hooked up in the same way everyone connects Travis CI.
Jim Weirich's final GitHub commit github.com
369 points by dakull  7 days ago   53 comments top 12
Argorak 7 days ago 1 reply      
If you scroll all the way down, there is a special footer just before the comment box.
kintamanimatt 7 days ago 2 replies      
Oh shit, he just accepted a patch of mine into Rake a few days ago too!

Damn, that sucks.

What was his cause of death?

gedrap 7 days ago 2 replies      
The Internet has changed the way we think, feel about the people who passed away.

We leave so many footprints online about our existence which we don't think about much. But they have a special meaning for people who care and think about us.

It just reminds and gives some sort of illusion that maybe we are still here, maybe just taking a walk, we will come back home for dinner like every other day.

Shank 7 days ago 1 reply      
I hope someone will continue his work in that repo, it's really sad to see that he was the only contributor and now that he's gone, it'll likely go abandoned.

We're entering the era where the passing of legends happens in real time and is immediately visible. It's crushing to see something like this.

samspot 7 days ago 1 reply      
Motivation for us all to write good commit messages.
msoad 7 days ago 7 replies      
Very sad news. RIP.

He died at 57. My retirement plan starts at 65 and and I'm in the same physical shape he was. Why should I continue putting money in my 401k if chances are I'll never use it?

obiefernandez 7 days ago 0 replies      
Poignant to see such a large outpouring of love from the community. Can't help but be inspired...
cordite 7 days ago 0 replies      
In case anyone wants to see one of his personal sites http://onestepback.org/
JimmaDaRustla 3 days ago 0 replies      

Feel bad for suggesting there was dog shit on the path of enlightenment! But he fixed the ruby koans package, so we continue to learn!

mukundmr 6 days ago 0 replies      
He was a true geek till the end.
pablox_cl 7 days ago 1 reply      
Does anybody know what happened to him?
So very sad to hear about the passing of Ruby legend Jim Weirich twitter.com
369 points by davidchua  7 days ago   60 comments top 36
JangoSteve 7 days ago 2 replies      
Jim was an amazing guy, and I wish I had spent more time talking with him.

There was a time several years ago when the Ruby community was very vibrant and energetic, and in all that energy, just a little hostile to newcomers. There was a lot of hype about the best new testing methods with RSpec and this new thing called Cucumber, 100% paired programming all the time, 100% TDD, and 110% test coverage, fat-model, skinny-controller, decorators and service-based architectures, and on and on. These were all good things on the path to quality software as a community goal, but to a newcomer, it was overwhelming. It was the fanatical attitude and the all-too-common phrase, "you're doing it wrong."

I had already been doing Ruby for a couple years when all of this hype came to a peak. I remember pushing back over dinner table discussions with various speakers at conferences that this attitude was hurting the community. It was erecting a barrier to beginners. We were telling people they couldn't just build something that did something. They had to do it this way, using all these tools and methodologies. Unless you know and fully understand the purpose and constraints and context for what someone is building, how can you tell them they're doing it wrong? Where was the support for learning progressively? What happened to the joy of just building something? After all, this is where Ruby, as a language, shines!

I bring all this up, because I met Jim at one of the first Ruby conferences I had ever gone to around this time. Though I had been doing Ruby for a couple years, I was relatively new to the conference-going community, and so not part of the "in-crowd". I remember the highlight of that conference for me was talking with Jim.

He seemed not to care for the existence of any sort of clique while simultaneously being its unknowing leader. He was very approachable and friendly. But more importantly, he was a great listener and thinker. I remember talking with him about my views on TDD and pair-programming (at the time, the view that "it depends" was controversial), and how the hype was hurting the community. He was one of the few who gave it considerable thought, and after discussing it, even encouraged me to give a talk. As someone new to the conference and public developer community, and outside the speaker in-crowd, this was very encouraging.

I had been asking what happened to the joy of just building something in the community at that time, but I can honestly say, Jim never lost it.

Jim, you'll be missed.

venus 7 days ago 0 replies      
That is really sad news.

Jim Weirich was a real gem. Friendly, approachable and chatty, he didn't have that aloofness so unfortunately common to some "personalities" in the ruby commmunity. In the last couple of years he had been interested in controlling drones with ruby, regularly posting articles on the Neo blog and speaking about it at conferences. It was my great pleasure to spend an hour or so with him in Singapore last year just chatting about drones, his argus control library, and applications present and future - he was a genuinely interested, interesting, friendly man with a fantastic, giving spirit.

He was one of the founding fathers of what I like to think of as the "real" ruby community and will be sorely missed.

Argorak 7 days ago 0 replies      
Jim was a silent star of the Ruby community. Some newer Rubyists might not see how important his work on Rake was on Rubys road from a toy language to a serious development environment. Also, Rake was (to my knowledge) one of the first libraries that aggressively leaned on Rubys block syntax for writing DSLs.

On top of that, he was well known for his talks and ability to explain things.

A recommended read: an early statement on Ruby on the C2 Wiki (scroll down to "User stories")


codebeaker 7 days ago 2 replies      
As the author of Capistrano, we leant on Rake a great deal in the new version, Jim was amazing in helping us through some of the weirder parts of the integration, and always happy to discuss the pros and cons of our planned approaches. I hope that the community can select someone to replace him. He's done great work for the community.
viraptor 7 days ago 1 reply      
Just realised how often when working on some code I will try to contact the original author based on git blame... but in the future, a lot of those people won't be around anymore. I think we usually take for granted that people working on the same project will be here - but in a couple of years "anyone who worked on this module still alive?" may be depressingly more common. Not even from the development perspective, but working on the same thing as someone who's not alive anymore. Apart from long-term or famous construction projects, I can't think of many non-art places where the author is preserved in the history so permanently as in a source version control.
VeejayRampay 7 days ago 2 replies      

This talk is a must-see, really shows off Jim Weirich's craft and overall ability to be a great pedagogue.

lukeholder 7 days ago 2 replies      
Very sad to hear. his last commit was only a day ago: https://github.com/jimweirich
craftsman 7 days ago 1 reply      
I met Jim at Rocky Mountain Ruby a couple years ago. He was friendly, easily approachable, and had that hacker humor that is so fun. You could just tell he loved everything about Ruby, hacking, and teaching and learning from others.

He sang Ruby Coding High at that conference:


Thanks for helping us all get on a Ruby Coding High Jim, we'll miss you.

spellboots 7 days ago 1 reply      
Fitting that his last publicly visible github commit is adjusting a Rakefile:


lispm 7 days ago 0 replies      
Haven't met him... just from watching some of his talks via videos I'll got the impression that we'll need more of these people. He had a great talent to explain things.

A Hacker left us.


mbrock 7 days ago 0 replies      
Jim Weirich linked warmly on his blog to something I wrote back in 2005. I was 17 at the time and found it very encouraging. That was possibly a reason I kept on practicing my writing. Thanks Jim!
kayoone 6 days ago 0 replies      
A great person and developer who will be dearly missed. He was too young, but sadly is a prime example for the risks factors of heart disease. With overweight like that over a long period of time, he most likely had blood pressure and cholesterol issues, along with not much physical exercise. Of course there are a ton of people in similar condition who get to be much older, but still, risk factors are risk factors.
shahinh 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Jim was a great man and an awesome contributor to the Ruby community. He will be missed indeed. RIP.
jackson1990 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Jim was a great guy and an awesome contributor to the Ruby community.
jdhendrickson 7 days ago 0 replies      
I met him at BigRuby in Dallas, he was kind, knowledgeable, and incredibly intelligent. He was interested in a very wide range of things, and I really enjoyed discussing metallurgy, blacksmithing, controlling drones, ruby, amongst other things. He was always willing to help, even if the problem was beneath him. Rest In Peace Jim, you will be sorely missed.
RDDavies 7 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. This is astounding. I happened to meet him and Dave Thomas a year or so ago, and had lunch with them at a Ruby conference. Incredibly nice and funny guy, who was really smart.
kidmenot 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is sad. I'm not much of a Rubyist, but I leant on Rake quite a bit to automate builds and whatnot.
jackson1990 1 day ago 0 replies      
Jim was a best guy and an awesome contributor to the Ruby community. He will be missed RIP.
shahinh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Jim was an actual guy, and I wish I had spent more and more time talking with him.
draegtun 7 days ago 0 replies      
My first opensource creation was a port of Jim's wonderful Builder gem. Many thanks Jim for the inspiration you'll be sorely missed.
aslakhellesoy 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm very sad to hear this. When I was more active in the Ruby community I'd bump into Jim regularly at conferences. He was such a charismatic, smart and above all - a very nice guy.
bitwes 7 days ago 0 replies      
I met Jim through a friend, and I've seen him at numerous conferences. He was inspiring to be around. His energy and enthusiasm for programming was contagious. Just hanging around the guy was great. I played my first D&D game at a conference with him, and a great board game called Cosmic Encounters. I always looked forward to seeing him. It is a testament to how great he was, that people could have such little interaction with him and he could have such a big impact on their lives.
charlieflowers 6 days ago 0 replies      
Jim Weirich was a legend, and deservedly so. Rake was (and is) a masterpiece. I'm sad to see Jim go and I want to pay respect to his contributions and his life.
jackson1990 2 days ago 0 replies      
Jim was a great guy and an awesome contributor to the Ruby community. He will be missed indeed. RIP.
jcutrell 7 days ago 0 replies      
Sad news indeed.

I would say it is appropriate for any of you who have had the pleasure of knowing Jim to add some information to his Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Weirich for those of us who didn't meet him.

diminish 7 days ago 0 replies      
Sad day, just read his last tweet few hours ago.....
seanhandley 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm devestated to hear this. I met Jim at Scot Ruby 2012. A sweet, bright, kind and funny man. RIP.
girishso 6 days ago 0 replies      
I can never forget the discussion I had with Jim during Rubyconf India last year. He was so devoted to coding I envied him. Very friendly and energetic. Very sad to hear the news.
tedchs 7 days ago 0 replies      
Jim contributed a great deal to the Ruby community and will be deeply missed.
shahinh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Your post is Great read, thanks for posting.
shahinh 6 days ago 0 replies      
Jim was a great guy and an awesome contributor to the Ruby community. He will be missed indeed. RIP.
jackson1990 7 days ago 0 replies      
Jim was a great guy and an awesome contributor to the Ruby community. He will be missed indeed. RIP.
jackson1990 7 days ago 0 replies      
Jim was a great guy and an awesome contributor to the Ruby community. He will be missed indeed. RIP
theceprogrammer 6 days ago 0 replies      
Jim, rest in peace brother ! you will be cherished forever along with all the greats. You have joined the ranks of the fallen heros of both our craft and otherwise. A life well lived, full of joy, full of love.... we will miss you.
UNIXgod 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is sad.
mentaat 7 days ago 1 reply      
what was the cause of death?
We Have Luxurious Jobs but We Are Not Aware of It gedrap.me
350 points by gedrap  12 hours ago   264 comments top 3
pmichaud 7 hours ago 12 replies      
There are definitely amazing, luxurious aspects of programming. Something came into view for me recently though, that I never realized before:

When I graduated from high school, I started my own little (tutoring) company, and did software from after that, so I never had the experience of a "normal", hourly job, like retail or coal mining or whatever.

Recently I had an opportunity to do a job like that and the mood struck me to try it out for like a month. I realized something huge about our jobs versus a lot of other jobs:

I make more than $100/hr sitting in my pajamas, and I'm totally blessed. But I work my fucking ass off. My brain is fully engaged, and when I charge you $125 for an hour of my time, you got more than that value, because I was working, firing on all cylinders.

What I realized in this other job was that even though I worked like 10 hours, it felt like I didn't do much because... I didn't. My coworkers and I, we did some stuff, chatted, laughed a bit, did another bit or piece, took lunch, etc. We spent a lot of time just socializing, having down time, not thinking too hard.

I also noticed that there wasn't really room to do "better". The nature of the job sort of set a cap on how productive you could be during a given time period, so the culture just grew around that. Think of a gas station attendant sitting around watching TV most of the day, the night audit at the hotel, or the guy flipping burgers when it's not lunch time.

That's when I really got the distinction between $10-20/hr work and $100+ -- we, collectively do difficult, mentally taxing work that requires long hours of intense focus, and a dedication to craftmanship that most other jobs just don't require. And we do that job under mostly under unreasonably tight deadlines, often for employers that don't understand what we're doing and therefore undermine us in many ways.

Yes, it's luxury in many ways. But it's also a coal mine of its own sort.

spindritf 11 hours ago 5 replies      
Yes, working from home is great. It is a luxury. Working at your own pace is also nice.

But working "on the Internet" means you're also comparing yourself to the best, brightest, and driven. Then it seems like you're achieving maybe 10% of what you seemingly could be, because you're setting your own goals based on what you see out there.

It's like getting stuck in traffic. You can point out that I'm sitting in climate-controlled car, listening to a podcast, drinking coffee, having a better time than 99% of humans throughout history. It's true. I know it's true. And I'm still frustrated that I can't go faster, and I rock in my seat every time I move ahead a little as if trying to propel the car forward. It's irrational, that's the point, no amount of explaining will make it go away.

rjknight 11 hours ago  replies      
No, we do not have luxurious jobs. Other people have really really shitty jobs.

Software developers are just getting the kind of relative pay and conditions improvements that a much larger number of people took for granted in the 60s and 70s. It's everyone else who is fucked.

Why I stopped being a voluntourist pippabiddle.com
331 points by hansy  1 day ago   177 comments top 9
jcampbell1 1 day ago 3 replies      
I took a trip to Africa to go on a Safari and climb Kilimanjaro. I was amazed at how many do gooder tourists there are.

The conversations go like:

Me: What are you here to do?

Them: Build a school.

Me: Oh, you are a carpenter.

Them: No, part of a school program.

Me: Oh, you are providing unskilled construction labor. Didn't realize Tanzania had a shortage.

Near the end of the trip, I met a friend's cousin, asked what she was doing, and she was going from village to village verifying that chlorination systems in NGO built wells were working. I was impressed. I asked how she got that gig, and she told me a story about her going to Tanzania to build a school. She decided to make a real difference.

Her story changed my attitude. I am certainly less snarky about kids going to do unskilled construction labor.

PakG1 1 day ago 2 replies      
I have volunteered regularly to run children's summer English camps in rural China. The point of these camps is mostly to give the kids an opportunity to have fun and learn some English while they're at it, because such nice opportunities simply don't exist where they are. Camp counselors in North America for summer camps don't go through extensive counseling training either. The bar for such volunteer activity is lower, but the bar should be much higher in other cases. Here are some things I've learned about non-profit organizations that are well-run.

Firstly, well-run organizations want to maximize their ROI. The volunteers usually fundraise for donations or pay out of their own pocket to go on these trips. Essentially, these funds are revenue for the organization. That revenue must then be invested into their business, as their purpose is not to make a profit (hence non-profit), but rather, accomplish their goals to make the world a better place in their specific way. As such, a good organization will get tourists who are qualified to do the work that needs to be done.

The organization with whom I volunteer has multiple programs in medicine, agriculture, construction, education, and local skills training (for local professionals for the above categories). They ensure that the people who are volunteering are qualified to do their work. For example, for my most recent excursion, I couldn't stay the entire camp, so they asked me to run some sessions with local teachers instead, since I had so much experience volunteering to teach their kids. I prepared some lessons and explained to the teachers that I was not a professional teacher like they were, and that my teaching wisdom and experience only consisted of basic theory and volunteer experience. I made it clear that I was not qualified to teach them about teaching. Instead, I focused on professional skills that I brought over from the corporate world. We had sessions on conflict resolution and negotiation tactics using concepts developed by Max Bazerman at Harvard, the Behavioral Change Stairway Model at the FBI, and discussions about conflicting cultural worldviews and personalities, the basics of which are taught in many corporate seminars. I also focused on leadership styles, motivation tactics, and decision-making strategies. My sessions were very well-received and I received lots of thanks from the teachers, as well as a round of applause at the end of my time there.

This organization never asked me to do anything like surgery, building repair, etc. They did ask me to help out with some computer stuff now and then. For their medicine, agriculture, and construction programs, they made sure to bring in only qualified people. Full stop. The organization had a relationship with the local government and had gained respect of the local government because they did things properly. That's the way it should be. When you're a non-profit, don't do anything that will waste the scarce dollars you have been given.

Secondly, it's true that your impact in these countries is small. But it's like the story of the kid who saved the one starfish. The man comes along and asks the boy why he saved that starfish, what difference does it make in the face of so many starfish dying on the beach? The boy thinks and says, "Well, it made a difference for that one." I still keep in touch with the kids I've taught. The Internet is wonderful today and makes this easier than ever, except in those locations where the situation is so dire that you take Bill Gates's attitude of choosing to fight the malaria over getting the Internet up and running. Overall, I know that the kids are impacted on an individual basis because they keep in touch with me, still call me Teacher, and talk with me about things. The people in these communities appreciate that someone took their time and money to go and help them, if what was provided was helpful. Again, that goes back to the organization making sure that the money and effort is being spent in a way that maximizes ROI. It's the same in business. You don't tell a recruiter to do the bookkeeping, you get a bookkeeper or accountant for that. It just makes sense.

Thirdly, these trips have value in that they work as vision trips. A percentage of volunteers will go on these trips and have their eyes open and their thinking changed in such a way that their life goals change. Those people are the ones who will go into this work full-time and throw away the nice cushy jobs in the first world. Those people are also often the ones who can afford to do it because they've been working nice cushy jobs in the first world for a while, so they have the savings to make it happen for some time until outside donations can take over in terms of funding everything. If these trips don't happen, a huge recruiting channel for these organizations for long-term workers completely disappears. These organizations prefer that these trips be available for people from every generation because you don't know where you'll find the people who will have the switch turned on inside themselves, and you don't know which people will have which kinds of support networks that would be willing to help fund this lifestyle. This third factor is possibly the most important reason why these trips are a good thing.

The goal to have a locally-run operation staffed by locals is an important one. But it takes time to get there, and these trips are a part of the process to get there.

edit: clarification

avalaunch 1 day ago 3 replies      
The main point the article is making, that not all volunteers are providing a net positive, is an interesting one.

I have a problem with her position, though. She ends the article with:"Be smart about traveling and strive to be informed and culturally aware. Its only through an understanding of the problems communities are facing, and the continued development of skills within that community, that long-term solutions will be created."

The problem is that it's hard to be culturally aware and to understand the problems communities are facing if you aren't exposing yourself first hand to those communities. I imagine quite a many useful volunteers, the author included, started off as "voluntourists". And perhaps therein lies the greatest strength of these programs - they help expose little white girls (and boys) to other cultures and problems they otherwise would be unaware of and some percentage of those move on to more useful volunteering.

If she is going to advocate the position she's taken, then she could at least end the article with some alternatives for would be volunteers. As is, if anything, she's just alleviating some of the guilt people might feel over not volunteering: "By volunteering I would be causing more harm than good, so the right thing to do is nothing."

yummyfajitas 1 day ago 4 replies      
If you want to do voluntourism, I suggest something different: start a business or help set up an outsourcing center.

You'll definitely have a positive effect on people by teaching them about western business practices. I'm told by my former coworkers that my standard US egalitarianism was quite unusual. By "egalitarianism", I simply mean "I'm CTO, you are a mechanical turk, we can go eat pancakes and you aren't obligated to make me tea". So were my efforts to ensure that everyone was growing in their career. My feminist sensibilities ("so be late, tell your husband to make dinner") were also a bit scandalous [1].

I came back to India a month ago to attend the wedding of someone I worked with, and I was very surprised to hear all that. I don't know whether to be happy (I made things better) or unhappy (because their next job won't be so good) about it.

By building a good business and maybe destroying some bad local ones, you'll do far more good than you will by doing unskilled construction labor. And very importantly, the people who work for you will learn that western style management is a great way to make money.

[1] By US standards I'm one of those evil misogynists who thinks statistical disparities are irrelevant and discrimination is a testable hypothesis and market opportunity. But drop me in India and I'm suddenly a crazy feminist ranting against rape culture (FYI India has one, the US doesn't).

herbig 1 day ago 7 replies      
Most Peace Corps type voluntourism works on the premise that throwing "white" folks into a country and telling them to fix things will generate results. This is because, you know, we understand the incredibly complex social, economic, political, and cultural dynamics of countries better than they know themselves.

We're better educated, and if these backwards countries would just start doing XYZ they'd start to lift themselves up and out of poverty. You know, things like alternative livelihood by making souvenirs out of trash. That's the ticket.

But we don't understand the issues and aren't equipped to be able to even determine what a particular region of the country actually needs, especially not in 2 years or less.

Real results can only come from funded research into what the underlying issues are and how best to combat them. Also, if the United States weren't so economically oppressive.

I disagree however, with the notion that being "white" is a hindrance in the developing world. Being "white" is an advantage everywhere.

einhverfr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Living in Indonesia for two years has changed my perspective quite a bit. One of the big things about American culture I now regard as totally odious is the idea that everyone wants to be like us and therefore if we remake the world in our image we are doing everyone a favor. Most of the world doesn't want to be exactly like us -- they like some things about us and dislike other things, and what we like about ourselves may not bear any relation to that.

Societies are homeostatic, equilibrium-seeking systems. If they weren't they'd fall apart under the sorts of stresses that life places on us wherever we live. Foreigners coming in to believe they are making a difference inevitably solve the wrong problems and likely solve them badly.

Now, my parents took some boarding school students to help build medical clinics (under the direction of "Where there Is No Doctor" author David Werner) in the mountains of Mexico back before I was born. They were providing unskilled labor in an area that really did have a shortage (because most people were working in the farms). The upshot though wasn't that the clinics got built faster (they might not have) but that my father got interested in medicine and changed careers from being a math teacher to being a doctor. I have never heard my parents talk about what a difference the students made, or even so much about whatever difference they made.

But having talked with David about this he told me about some of his failures, about how they had this big anti-folk-medicine campaign that they hoped would reduce infant mortality due to diarrhea but then when the floods came, people wouldn't use their folk medicine anymore and the mortality rates went up instead of down and he said they had to go back and reposition what they were offering as one remedy among many.

Often we forget that the people closest to a problem are the best prepared to solve it, and we forget to trust them on this. It is far too often the case that the do-gooders and the activists who haven't yet learned this lesson, solve the wrong problems, often badly, and make things worse.

krstck 1 day ago 2 replies      
If you really want to help people, find a charity to donate to via Givewell. It won't feel as warm and fuzzy as volunteering, but in most cases that's the best way you can actually help people in need.
vitaminj 1 day ago 0 replies      
A few years ago, I volunteered in SE Asia for 18 months using my electrical engineering skills to help rural villages get access to electricity. At the time, I'd been working professionally for around 7 years and was just becoming competent at working independently. Although I'd gotten my PE status a year earlier, I can't say that I was at a senior engineering / consultant level.

So it was a surprise for me to find that I was one of the most experienced and skilled engineers in my organization (and in many other energy-related organizations for that matter). I concur with the OP and have met quite a few western volunteers that were well-intentioned, but generally had no technical skills.

Of those who had qualifications, they were usually in the social sciences, development studies, media / communications, public relations, etc. Useful skills no doubt, but I felt that the country could have benefited more with direct assistance from the hard sciences and engineering, e.g. hydrology, agriculture, civil engineers, etc - those skills were always in demand. In the end, there's a reason why development is often done so badly - they practically let anyone do it.

crusso 1 day ago  replies      
1. Race had nothing to do with the point of her story. She threw it in there to sound edgy.

2. These programs are as much if not more about affecting the life of the volunteer. Her realization that she thought way too much of her value wouldn't have happened without going there and having the experiences.

3. I know people who are extremely effective in what they do in underdeveloped countries. Her pride brought her to the wrong conclusion about where she was at the beginning of the experience. It's unfortunate that her pride is still in effect, misleading her about the capabilities of others.

Joint Statement Regarding the Insolvency of Mt. Gox coinbase.com
329 points by velcro  3 days ago   186 comments top 7
lkrubner 2 days ago 8 replies      
For historical perspective, consider the last great panic to sweep the USA before the Federal Reserve was established:


What is (so far) missing in the world of Bitcoin is a single actor powerful enough to play the organizing role that Morgan played during that previous crash:

"Morgan summoned the presidents of the city's banks to his office. They started to arrive at 2 p.m.; Morgan informed them that as many as 50 stock exchange houses would fail unless $25 million was raised in 10 minutes. By 2:16 p.m., 14 bank presidents had pledged $23.6 million to keep the stock exchange afloat. The money reached the market at 2:30 p.m., in time to finish the day's trading, and by the 3 o'clock market close, $19 million had been loaned out. Disaster was averted. Morgan usually eschewed the press, but as he left his offices that night he made a statement to reporters: "If people will keep their money in the banks, everything will be all right""

waterlesscloud 3 days ago 2 replies      
"Acting as a custodian should require a high-bar, including appropriate security safeguards that are independently audited and tested on a regular basis, adequate balance sheets and reserves as commercial entities, transparent and accountable customer disclosures, and clear policies to not use customer assets for proprietary trading or for margin loans in leveraged trading. It does not appear to any of us that MtGox followed any these essential requirements as a financial services provider."

Did I miss the part where Coinbase, Kraken, Bitstamp, BTC China, Blockchain.info, and Circle met those essential requirements?

I guess those things are just essential now, not in the past.

olefoo 2 days ago 1 reply      
This sort of thing is why finance is a regulated industry.

Although why anyone would have had money in Mt. Gox after they had their stateside accounts frozen is beyond me. It's not like there weren't any warning signs http://www.techmeme.com/130620/p53#a130620p53

zoba 2 days ago 3 replies      
Wow, so Coinbase just changed the title. It used to read as velcro correctly posted on HN. http://i.imgur.com/dX8315e.png
anigbrowl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thinking about this...

This tragic violation of the trust of users of Mt.Gox was the result of one companys actions and does not reflect the resilience or value of bitcoin and the digital currency industry.

The best way to build trust in the 'resilience of Bitcoin' would be to leverage the blockchain technology to help document who lost what and monitor if/when any of those coins appear in the future. This is going to cost money as well as development time.

It's one thing wax pious about how and why this happened and to say it must never happen again etc. But the best thing the exchanges could do for their long-term credibility would be to each put up a chunk of cash and engage an expensive law firm to set up a trust and audit the whole affair as completely as possible. That's going to require a collective commitment of of a million dollars, or possibly a few million.

It's either that or get put under the microscope of existing financial regulators on their schedule, which (IMHO) will relegate BTC to the status of a disaffection currency that is only convertible in fringe markets.

spiralpolitik 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is Coinbase, Kraken et al throwing MtGox under the bus to stop the taint from spreading. Note there is no mention of any help for MtGox or its customers. Just reassurance that they aren't MtGox.

This is the wagons being circled to stop the non MtGox price from tanking further.

username223 2 days ago  replies      
> the digital currency industry.

It's like the beanie baby industry, minus the stuffed animals.

The Mt. Gox alleged insolvency document has been posted scribd.com
314 points by jordhy  3 days ago   198 comments top 7
nikcub 2 days ago 6 replies      
It is real - this is an internal strategy doc shared between the exchanges and other Bitcoin people with MtGox and it was never supposed to be public. Something has gone wrong with the plan.

Here is what i've worked out so far what has happen. MtGox worked out a while ago that they were insolvent, so they reached out to prominent members of the Bitcoin community to help them out.

The plan was instead of just having MtGox make a statement saying 'we are insolvent, no more money' they would team up with the other exchanges and come up with a plan where they could wrap that news around some 'good' news.

This document is the draft of that plan as it was being worked on by the exchanges and MtGox.

The 'good' news parts would be:

1. MtGox customers would be transferred to a new entity Gox

2. Karpeles wouldn't be involved

3. The new exchange would have old 'owed' figures from MtGox

4. The other exchanges would attempt to partially bail out the MtGox holders

edit: point 4.5. the Mt Gox closing statement would shift blame away from Bitcoin - which is important. MtGox has spent the last 3 months blaming on a 'bitcoin bug' what was a failure of their own accounting and auditing system. A lot of media bought up the 'bitcoin bug' story.

5. The other exchanges and Gox would announce all this at the same time on Tue 25th Feb

6. For some reason the exchanges did their part but Gox didn't do their part

7. Someone from the exchanges leaked this internal strategy doc that was written between MtGox and the exchanges to show what should have happen today but didn't since MtGox bailed out on their part of it.

We are now stuck in a situation where part of this internal plan has been implemented (the exchanges, gox.com being registered) but the majority of it has not.

edit: most interesting q's for me atm are: why did MtGox reneg on this plan (or have they?), when did MtGox finally reach out for help? and how long have these insiders known that MtGox is in trouble - there was a huge sell spike in MtGox coins days ago.

edit 2: note that outside of verifying this doc with somebody who works at one of the companies, since this doc was leaked and published the following has happen, as outlined in the doc:

* the other markets released their joint statement

* the gox.com domain was registered/activated

* trading halted

edit 3: you may have noticed slide 8 of the presentation is censored, i've managed to remove the black bars. It is details of MtGox's financials, image here:


Google Doc version here:


steven2012 3 days ago 13 replies      
I'm not convinced this is real, and I happen to think that MtGox is going to go bankrupt. But this doesn't smell right to me.

If it's a hoax, then it's well done. I would guess it's something done by an investment banker who knows how to write documents up like this. But the write up is far too melodramatic for me to believe this was written by someone actually involved in the situation.

"At the risk of appearing hyperbolic, this could be the end of Bitcoin, at least for most of the public.""This isnt about saving MtGox anymore."

Why is there only a single line on preventing a run on MtGox? That to me would be the most pressing issue once MtGox opened up the floodgates.

dustcoin 3 days ago 2 replies      
whois gox.com

    Domain Name: GOX.COM    Registry Domain ID: 816800_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN    Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.godaddy.com    Registrar URL: http://www.godaddy.com    Update Date: 2014-02-24 17:29:44    Creation Date: 1997-10-09 23:00:00    Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2017-10-08 23:00:00    Registrar: GoDaddy.com, LLC    Registrar IANA ID: 146    Registrar Abuse Contact Email: abuse@godaddy.com    Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.480-624-2505    Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited    Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited    Domain Status: clientRenewProhibited    Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited    Registry Registrant ID:    Registrant Name: Mark Karpeles    Registrant Organization: Tibanne Co. Ltd.

Danieru 3 days ago 3 replies      
My bet is on hoax and here is why:

1. A business like mtgox would expect to be moving coins into cold storage. The moment they need to move coins from cold storage into the hot wallet they would take notice and check their accounting. Theft from transaction malleability would show up in any simple summing of the balances and liabilities. They would notice the theft and stop pulling money from cold storage long before cold storage was empty.

2. The tone is too harsh on mtgox to be a report from a client of mtgox. Who produced it? If you hire a consultancy you can be sure they will brand any document produced.

3. Where did the cash liabilities imbalance come from? The "leaked" financial report did not show them spending the fiat reserve so where did the missing 20M go? How could the fiat liability be unclear? Shouldn't fiat liability be the one thing their accountant has a clear picture of? How do you "average across currencies", you cannot "average" exchange rates, the word makes no sense.

The more I look at this the more it feels like a post on bitcointalk.

TomGullen 3 days ago 1 reply      
Sold all our coins @$500. Not for this reason only, it's the straw on the camels back. It doesn't smell like BS to me (although it could be of course). I highly doubt the author is intentionally misleading us, be he could be being mislead. He's ex VC apparently, seems to be plausible that this document was MtGox's solution to their problem proposed to potential VC's, and one of his VC friends passed it on to him.

Whether or not the document is real or not is pretty irrelevant to me at this stage. Only bad news can now come from Gox.

- Moved to a virtual office

- No withdrawls

- AstroPay rumoured to be non functional

- Communication failure of the highest order

- etc etc

This is a company going bankrupt.

If we had our coins in MtGox and they go bust, I'm going to be pretty distraught by the experience and it would sting enough for me to pay it no more attention going into the future. If Gox does go bankrupt, Bitcoin could lose a large % of their 'userbase', and some passionate and technical ones at that. Chance of MtGox going bust is probable in my opinion. I can't really any scenario where good news comes from Gox.

Happy to buy back in again, but probably wont consider it until the dust has settled, and there's a lot more dust to be kicked up in my opinion.

Been watching Bitcoin religiously for a while now and it feels a little relieving to not have any more serious skin in, for a while at least. Happy to look like an idiot tomorrow morning/next week whenever.

ck2 3 days ago 2 replies      
Wait, what is that line with 5.5 million USD held by DHS ?

Department of Homeland Security?

ps. also, they have 80 THOUSAND seized btc from banned accounts?

that is a whopping bit of profit if that space is a comma and not a decimal

anyone notice this document is a bit sloppy with commas vs spaces?

pmorici 2 days ago  replies      
Anyone know who Ryan Selkis is? If you download the original PDF, right click the blacked out parts, and select properties his name is listed as the "Author" under the General tab; last modified 2/24/2014 8:46:51 PM.

According to his linkedin he is the Founder of Inscrypto, "We are like Bitcoins privately funded, decentralized version of the FDIC."



Either they lost a lot on this or they just got the best advertisement ever for why one might need their services.

To close or not to close Void HTML elements colorglare.com
305 points by enyo  20 hours ago   147 comments top 13
lkrubner 9 hours ago 2 replies      
This is from Ian Hickson in 2006, regarding the emergence of HTML5:

"Regarding your original suggestion: based on the arguments presented by the various people taking part in this discussion, Ive now updated the specification to allow / characters at the end of void elements."

To which Sam Ruby responded:

"This is big. PHPs nl2br function is now HTML5 compliant. WordPress wont have to completely convert to HTML4 before people who wish to author documents targeting HTML5 can do so using this software. Such efforts can now afford to proceed much more incrementally. This is much more sensible and practical possibility."


Remember that both men played fundamental roles in shaping HTML5. And I think this one sentence sums up the mindset that shaped HTML5:

"The truth is that most HTML is authored by pagans."

and this was Sam Ruby's view at the time:

"When all the religion was stripped away from the trailing slash in always-empty HTML elements discussion, only one question remained: I think basically the argument is it would help people and the counter argument is it would confuse people. This is a eminently sane way to approach discussions such as these. I would argue that it would both help people and reduce confusion if a void <a/> element continued to be invalid HTML5 and, by implication, be invalid in XHTML5. By invalid, I simply mean that a parse error would be reported by a conformance checker whenever such constructs are found in a document. Non-draconian user agents can, of course, chose to recover from this error."

People with real lives have perhaps missed the sad slow way that the argument for XML on the Web, and therefore XHTML, has imploded. But the sad souls (such as me) who have followed this story are aware that the case against XHTML has developed slowly over the years.

The first salvo against XML on the web was launched by Mark Pilgrim way back in 2004. This is when the mania for XML was at its peak (before JSON had appeared), a time when people felt XML/XPATH would eventually replace SQL and RDBMS (an idea promoted by no less an authority than Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, who, at that time, could make a believable case that RDF was the future of the Web).

This is Pilgrims article "XML on the Web has Failed":


an excerpt:

"There are things called "transcoding proxies," used by ISPs and large organizations in Japan and Russia and other countries. A transcoding proxy will automatically convert text documents from one character encoding to another. If a feed is served as text/xml, the proxy treats it like any other text document, and transcodes it. It does this strictly at the HTTP level: it gets the current encoding from the HTTP headers, transcodes the document byte for byte, sets the charset parameter in the HTTP headers, and sends the document on its way. It never looks inside the document, so it doesn't know anything about this secret place inside the document where XML just happens to store encoding information. So there's a good reason, but this means that in some cases -- such as feeds served as text/xml -- the encoding attribute in the XML document is completely ignored."

The article we are talking about "To close or not to close" states:

"XHTML is basically the same as HTML but based on XML."

This is stated as a fact, but in fact many people have made the argument that XHTML never full functioned as XML, partly for the reasons that Pilgrim talks about, but also because only the strict versions of XHTML ever triggered the strict draconian error handling that has always been part of XML. However, there are other ways where XHTML was difficult to treat the same as XML. For instance:

No more "XML parsing failed" errors


an excerpt:

"Note that the reason to do this is to deal with bad browser sniffing where sites send HTML/XHTML markup meant to be served as text/html as application/xhtml+xml, application/xml or text/xml only to Opera, which causes Opera to encounter an XML parse error that breaks the site for Opera."

Sam Ruby is a co-chair of the W3C's HTML Working Group, and if you've read his blog over the years, you are aware of the many problems that arise when treating XHTML as XML.

Some of the debates that have happened over the years simply reveal how much reality differs from the specs:

"HTML charset vs XML encoding"


If it was easy to develop a version of HTML that truly acted as a form of XML, would such debates have been necessary?

Please understand me: I am not criticizing all of the intelligent people who worked very hard on the specs for HTML and XML and XHTML. I am pointing out that after 15 years of effort, no one has found an easy way to treat XHTML as a form of XML under all circumstances. Surely if the brightest minds in the tech industry fail to make this work after 15 years, this is a circle that can not be squared?

Consider the fact that companies like Google felt they had no choice but to ignore the mime type "application/xhtml+xml":

Google Hates XHTML?


Sam Ruby also makes clear that the concessions to an XML style, including closing void elements, were thought of as an effort to ease the transition:

"I believe that if those that had created XHTML had the courage of their convictions, both Google and Microsoft would have had no choice. I also believe that there should have been a maintenance release or two of HTML4. In HTML5, the root element MAY have an xmlns attribute, but only if it matches the one defined by XHTML; and void elements may have terminating slash characters in their start element. It is these small touches that make transition easier."

Also, in another blog post Sam Ruby makes the point that the draconian error checking that is mandatory for XML also makes it impossible to develop those technologies that supporters of XML were excited about. He gave the example of sending an SVG image to his daughter, and her wanting to post it to her MySpace page: but SVG is XML, and so it should not render on a malformed page, and MySpace was permanently malformed. Sam Ruby could send a gif or a jpeg to his daughter, and she could post that, without a problem, to MySpace, but SVG was limited to well-formed, correctly served pages -- in a world where few pages are well-formed and correctly served. See the comments here:


Also, if you have the time, see the debate here between Sam Ruby and Henri Sivonen:


I feel that debate reveals much of the thinking that lead to HTML5 being so much more accepting than XHTML was.

Also, if you have a lot of time, this post from 2009, and the debate in the comments, will teach you a lot about the thinking that shaped HTML5:


Finally, in a post I can not find, Sam Ruby makes the point that, for some strange reason, people seemed to very much want something called XHTML, even though it would not be able to act like real XML, for all the reasons that had been discussed in thousands of blog posts and chat rooms. He seemed puzzled by it.

Anyone who advocates for XHTML needs to think long and hard about what it is, exactly, that they are advocating for. If you want an HTML that has an XML style, can you say why?

jrockway 18 hours ago 3 replies      
HTML loves its special cases. XML is overly complex, but at least your editor doesn't need to know anything special about what document type you're writing in order to indent it properly. Throw in HTML's special cases, and now it needs to know that <br> is different from <foo>.

I guess since HTML is so common it doesn't really matter, but really? We need 5 differnt types of markup, when one would have been fine?


pavpanchekha 19 hours ago 2 replies      
I think the author's recommendations at the end, on making <meta> and <img> and <script> more sane, are good examples of where the "implement then standardize" process that the W3C uses falls down. In fact, XHTML2 (which was never implemented) had some good ideas. On the other hand, as we've seen so many times, implement then standardize reduces foot-dragging and needless bike-shedding. You take the good with the bad, I guess.
alkonaut 18 hours ago 2 replies      
When xhtml came to replace html4 it was such a huge relief for all OCD developers, and I thought I had seen the last non-xml compliant web page. Now I'm encouraged to write tag soup again because void elements? Humbug.
dbbolton 17 hours ago 3 replies      
>Optionally, a "/" character, which may be present only if the element is a void element.

>There is absolutely no difference between <br> and <br />.

>Actually, one might argue that adding / to a void tag is an ignored syntax error.

>every browser and parser should not handle <br> and <br /> any differently

If it's optional and has absolutely no effect and makes no difference, how exactly would one argue that it's an error?

To me, this is like saying `print ${SHELL}` is erroneous because the braces don't do anything and `print $SHELL` does exactly the same thing. It may be superfluous, but it's not erroneous.

muyuu 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm sorry but saying a discussion is over because "Google says so in their style guide" is contemptible.

I still think empty elements make more sense and a proper reformulation of XHTML(5) is the way it should have been done since the beginning.

mathias 18 hours ago 1 reply      
From the article:

It is not, and has never been, valid HTML to write `<br></br>`.

Sure, but note that it is perfectly valid XHTML (which is a form of HTML).

Oh, and `<script src="foo" />` actually works the way youd expect it to in XHTML.

Dont use XHTML though.

skywhopper 12 hours ago 1 reply      
HTML5 is a huge improvement over the HTML4.01/XHTML madness that was going on back in the day. And it's fine with me to allow non-closed singleton tags.

There's perhaps no strong logical argument either way, but from a style perspective, I prefer to use closing slashes to make it absolutely clear what's going on.

eik3_de 18 hours ago 1 reply      
If you like to keep it terse, it's perfectly fine not to quote attribute values. The HTML5 spec[1] says:

The attribute value can remain unquoted if it doesn't contain space characters or any of " ' ` = < >

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/html5/introduction.html#a-quick-introdu...

robin_reala 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Know why everyone writes <br /> instead of <br/>? IE5 on the Macs parser broke it if found an empty tag without a space before the closing slash. Funny how software can vanish into the mists of time yet still have an effect on current coding.
mathias 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I used the SGML NET trick a few years back in an attempt to create the shortest possible valid HTML documents for different versions of HTML: http://mathiasbynens.be/notes/minimal-html

Note: valid here is defined as theoretically valid as per the relevant spec and doesnt reflect what browsers actually support(ed).

nzp 14 hours ago 0 replies      
> Google's styleguide on that subject is also very clear that you should indeed not close void tags.

Only because it results in smaller files. For example it also recommends omitting optional tags for the same reason. I'm really skeptical that omitting these things helps readability (if that's what the guide is referring to when it says "scannability"). If size is at such a premium why not simply preprocess and minify HTML? Recently I tried briefly omitting "/>" from <br> and friends and I wasn't impressed as far as legibility goes. Maybe I just didn't try hard enough... :)

yashg 18 hours ago  replies      
Now these are the kind of articles that I like to read on HN. A very detailed analysis about a single aspect of programming.
How to Make Yourself Work When You Just Dont Want To hbr.org
304 points by tmbsundar  4 days ago   107 comments top 17
jaysonelliot 4 days ago 3 replies      
I was hoping to see one for my personal bugbear: paralysis of choice.

The most common situation for me is to be faced with a list of projects and tasks that are more than I can handle, and doing any one of them means ignoring the others, which are all equally urgent.

I know all the GTD and Pomodoro techniques and everything else, but it's in my head where the problem lies. Once I settle in to one specific task, I can focus and get into the zone to finish it. But that first stepcommitting to which thing I'll dois the hardest one. Hours can go by while I'm avoiding the question altogether. I can literally feel the anxiety in my chest whenever I try to pick one and start doing it.

callum85 4 days ago 5 replies      
I think this is terrible advice. I got much better at motivation over the last year by thinking in exactly the opposite way from what this article recommends. I accepted that I had virtually no willpower, and that I wasn't just going to just magically develop some, and that I didn't need it anyway. Instead I needed to get more skilled at 'coaxing' myself into doing things at steering my feelings into more constructive areas, and then letting my desires drive my actions. I applied my tiny amount of willpower to this 'steering', rather than trying to use it to drag myself kicking and screaming into doing things, which it clearly is not powerful enough to do. It worked, and I'm much happier. You can't "just" do stuff if you don't feel like it, as this article suggests. That's completely unsustainable. Any approach amounting to "just fucking do it" is going to last only as along as that little glimmer of resolve lasts, which is obviously short term. Instead you need to break down the wall between your gut desires and your cerebral strategies, and make those two parts of yourself acknowledge each other and collaborate.
nathell 4 days ago 1 reply      
There are problems with all three techniques.

The problem with adopting a prevention focus is that it doesn't work. Or, rather, it might work when the fear of failure is the only fear at stake, but -- at least for me -- it seldom is. For example, one might have thoughts like "I really need to be doing this, otherwise it might be too late ... hang on, it already might be too late ... I really should check ... but what if it's already too late? I'd feel awful ... no, let's not feel awful, let's check sometime later." Poof, thought gone until next time. When you suffer from GAD or any other psychological disorder involving anxiety, about the only thing you can do is understand your fears and your reactions to them, and take small steps towards reinterpretation. Fighting anxiety with inducing more anxiety is not going to work.

The problem with ignoring your feelings is that it's much easier said than done. Good luck ignoring the urge of turning off the alarm clock when you're not even half-conscious, you feel dizzy, sleepy and have headaches. While in #3 the author advises to "embrace the fact that your willpower is limited," here he seems to forget all about it. In situations like getting up in the morning, techniques involving subconsciousness like [1] are more likely to work.

We are more feeling-driven than we think ourselves to be, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Those feelings are there for a reason, and ignoring them might just not work. Indeed, the author acknowledges that "on some level you need to be committed to what you are doing" and I think when he says "ignore not feeling like doing something," he actually means "_trick_ your mind into starting feeling like doing that."

The problem with using if-then planning is that for some people, it's all too easy to change the decision, even if it's already been done; the unconscious mind keeps re-examining the decision and re-pondering the issue at hand. So when the time comes, you end up re-considering the decision instead of deliberating what to do. That's not exactly the same thing, but it still eats up willpower.

[1]: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/04/how-to-get-up-right...

chaz 4 days ago 8 replies      
I have found the Pomodoro Technique (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique) to be helpful. I can't do it for a whole day, but a short sprint to grind through something is a near, achievable goal. For extended, head-banging frustrations, it's helpful to step away, think about it without the distraction of the screen, and coming back at it with fresh eyes. The time AFK is not to be underestimated: http://www.paulgraham.com/top.html
habitue 4 days ago 0 replies      
What about the super common: "I don't want to work because there's a much more immediate source of dopamine release right here on this page of interesting internet links..."
mistercow 4 days ago 1 reply      
I guess this is marginally better than your typical motivation article, but not much.

I really want our culture to shift in a direction where it's economically feasible to research nootropics and find ones that are seriously effective.

As far as I know, the last time someone put a serious effort into researching a pharmacological aid to "drive" was in the 60s when selegiline was discovered, and it worked. Selegiline is now used for Parkinson's. After 40 years they also started using it for depression and dementia.

But our society is so averse to transhumanism that not only has that research not been followed up in the last 50 years, but the one drug that does improve motivation is not legally available to non-depressed people with motivation problems.

asdashopping 4 days ago 10 replies      
I have suffered from depression for years and it is destroying my life. I read articles like this and think that what they're saying sounds like a great idea, and then proceed to completely ignore it.

I have tried multiple types of antidepressants and found the side effects unbearable. They didn't make me feel happy, they made me feel nothing.

I have tried CBT and regular therapy, both of which have failed because I was unable to motivate myself to actually go.

Maybe it is just a matter of changing how I think, but it's hard to change how you think when you don't even feel in control of your own thoughts. No matter how hard I try, I always fall back into the same patterns.

I don't why I'm writing this here. I don't know what else to do.

sheff 4 days ago 0 replies      
Another very simple thing I use when procrastination strikes is Seth Roberts Magic Dots technique. ( http://blog.sethroberts.net/category/procrastination/magic-d... )

He came up with it based on reinforcement studies in pigeons. There are more details on the linked page, but basically whilst working you just put a dot on a piece of paper every 6 minutes in the shape of a square, then join all the dots with a line. Something about doing this essentially meaningless thing improves motivation and throughput for me.

einhverfr 4 days ago 0 replies      
The one thing I find that works with nearly all these is reasonably simple. It may be a broader solution than the Pomodoro Technique but it borrows some of the same focus.

What I do is take a task I am avoiding and come up with a small piece of it I can reasonably do as a goal. It might be a task I can do in 15 minutes. It might be something I might need two hours to do.

I then follow that to completion, and then decide whether to bump the rest of the task of and get started on something else or whether to continue.

Usually for the tasks I feel like I don't have a solid grasp on how to do this helps, but I may still bump part of it down the road. For the tasks I am avoiding for administrative reasons or don't feel like, this gets me started.

An important point though is that the bumped task is less intimidating and smaller than it was when I started, meaning it is less likely to happen again.

enscr 4 days ago 1 reply      
All these sound interesting to read but none are really practical when it comes to implementing. To a large part, when things have to happen, somehow circumstances contrive you to accomplish it. These 'techniques' are rarely ground breaking for the true-to-the-spirit procrastinator.

What works without fail is peer pressure or a stinging comment.

Disclaimer : Personal experience, may not be generalizable.

nothiggs 4 days ago 0 replies      
Simply ignoring your feelings to get a job done is just a tactic, and IMHO, not a very good one as it is not sustainable. You should always want to do what you are doing; not necessarily in the sense that this is what you would like to be doing for the rest of your life, but in the sense of recognising that this unpleasant task will get you closer to that something you would like to do the rest of your life.

I think the best method to get something done is to first have a clear vision and passion for the bigger picture. Then, understand how this unpleasant task gets you nearer to the goal of that bigger picture that you want. If it does, you won't need to ignore your feelings. On the contrary; your feelings will push you to do it. If it doesn't, there's a good chance you should be doing something else.

chubot 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is kind of funny as I just started reading "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Kahnemann.

In those terms, this article is very much about "type 2" processes, which is conscious and slow monitoring of the more intuitive type 1 processes.

A consequence is that following this advice will result in "ego depletion". By exerting your willpower in one area, you deplete a common store of it, and thus you're more likely to overeat, act lazily, think lazily, etc. in other areas.

I think this probably manifests in people who work too hard getting fat, since they don't want to watch what they eat or exercise (if those things require willpower; for some people may not)

Note that "conscious willpower" is the opposite of a "flow state". And flow is what is necessary to write good software.

Like all things, there has to be a balance. You have to exert your willpower, and all new things involve this pain, but you can also set your life up so it isn't a constant problem.

a3voices 4 days ago 7 replies      
Why would you want to force yourself? Life isn't about how much work you can do. If you feel like working, then work. If you don't, then don't work.
plcancel 4 days ago 1 reply      
Personally, ~80% of the time it's this one: "You are putting something off because you are afraid you will screw it up."
edw519 4 days ago 6 replies      
What's next?

"How to Make Yourself Have Sex When You Just Don't Want To"

"How to Make Yourself Eat Krispy Kremes When You Just Don't Want To"

"How to Make Yourself Love You Children When You Just Don't Want To"

Here's a dirty little secret: You should have an emotional attachment to your work similar to the emotional attachment you have to having sex, eating Krispy Kremes, loving your children, or whatever else is your thing. Others should have to drag you kicking and screaming away from your work.

If you "just don't want to work" then the wrong question to ask is:

"How can I make myself work when I just don't want to?"

The right question is:

"What the hell am I doing working on something that I just don't want to work on it the first place and what should I really be working on?"

Find the answer to the second question and you will never encounter the first question again.

jaibot 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm working on a way to shame yourself into doing it. http://powershame.com
chegra 4 days ago  replies      
I said this in another comment, but what works for me is publicly pledging to work for x number of hours on y project or else I give z dollars to some charity.

Where x is normally between 2-10

y is anything

z is normally 10

If you are procrastinating right now, give it a go. Go on twitter or facebook and say if I don't work for 2 hours on Akasha(a project), I will donate $10 to watsi(the charity).

I think when setting goals we hope for some reward in the future, but the brain doesn't value rewards as much as it hate losses(loss aversion). YMMV

Apple releases OS X Mavericks 10.9.2 with SSL fix 9to5mac.com
298 points by davidbarker  2 days ago   237 comments top 3
ecmendenhall 2 days ago 4 replies      
This bug was pretty serious. I'd better be extra careful and install and verify this myself.

Oh, good: there's a standalone installer available (http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1726). But the download is served over HTTP. Maybe I can just try the same URL with HTTPS:

  $ curl --head https://support.apple.com/downloads/DL1726/en_US/OSXUpdCombo10.9.2.dmg  HTTP/1.1 302 Moved Temporarily  Server: Apache/2.2.24 (Unix)  Location: http://download.info.apple.com/Mac_OS_X/031-3279.20140225.Zzasf/OSXUpdCombo10.9.2.dmg
Nope. Well, at least I can verify the SHA1 sum displayed on the download page. Wait, no, that was served over HTTP, too.

Okay, I'll follow Apple's instructions for checking the certificate fingerprint in the installer (http://support.apple.com/kb/ht5044).But that page (Last modified November 2011) displays a different fingerprint (9C864771 vs FA02790F)...and that fingerprint was also served over HTTP.

Gives up and opens the App Store.

e1ven 2 days ago 16 replies      
Forgive me, but I'm not really sure why this is getting so much attention.

It's certainly a bad bug, and it ought to have been caught.But it feels like this would be much harder to exploit than many other bugs which have had far less hoopla.

As I understand, this SSL bug makes it rather trivial to perform MITM attacks against apps which use the default system SSL libs.

That's certainly a problem, but most people are using trustworthy ISPs (at least in this sense). Comcast seems unlikely to try to steal your bank password, and Verizon is unlikely to try to harvest your HN cookies.

It seems like this primarily affects people connecting to untrustworthy access-points, such as Coffee Shops, or Airport Wifi - While that's certainly something that needs to be fixed, it seems far less crucial than remote-code-execution [1], or many other bugs we see regularly.

I'm sure I'm missing something here, can someone help me understand?Is it just the "Ick" factor of having something you thought was encrypted actually being fairly open?

I don't understand why this is getting more attention that other (seemingly) more dangerous exploits.

[1] - http://msisac.cisecurity.org/advisories/2013/2013-088.cfm

sneak 2 days ago  replies      
Ahh, so they probably had to restart the QA on the whole release a few days ago (including FaceTime Audio and associated features) after adding the TLS fix at the last minute.

It makes a bit more sense why they'd make us wait a few days, now.

LinkedIn is not using email contacts to find people who have an account already plus.google.com
293 points by robinjfisher  6 days ago   176 comments top 5
grey-area 6 days ago 6 replies      
This obsession with collecting users (dead or alive) reminds me of Gogol's Dead Souls - companies trading in users (who may or may not exist) in order to boost their standing and taking out huge loans on the basis of their illusory popularity. Even illusory users can have some value, just like the dead serfs in Gogol's tale, and like the dead serfs, their value is not in their existence, but in being entries on a ledger of chattels.

It doesn't matter to LinkedIn whether these accounts are used or real, because they are judged on basic numbers like how many users they have. Since real money is involved and salaries and careers are riding on this number going up, they'll employ all kinds of perverse and intrusive tricks in order to inflate that number every quarter for as long as it is a measure of success.

SideburnsOfDoom 6 days ago 10 replies      
> "LinkedIn allows you to sign in to your email account and it will scan your contacts..."

Hand my contacts list to a website? No thank you. When is letting a website have this a good idea, not just Linkedin, but ever?

weixiyen 6 days ago 7 replies      
Really surprised by all the comments here. This seems like a solid business decision by LinkedIn, riding the line of what a user is willing to accept and balancing it well with the potential rewards.

Look at every famous company and you'll find tactics that you don't agree with, and sometimes downright illegal (Path).

If you're not willing to do desperate things, to do what is necessary for user acquisition, good luck trying to build a successful business, because pure blind luck is exactly what you'll need.

Stuff like this is what really separates successful businesses from the failures. It was never about some grand vision, or some belief in connecting the world. It was about figuring out how to acquire users, retain them, and monetize.

etfb 6 days ago 2 replies      
I know I'm a bitch for laughing that an article about Linked In inflating its usage figures is posted on Google+.
iand 6 days ago  replies      
I've never intentionally shared my contacts with LinkedIn and yet I get shown names from my address book. One was my teenage son and I tried to connect thinking he'd signed up for some reason. Nope, he'd never even considered it.

I don't know where LinkedIn got my contacts from but I suspect I must have missed a setting when I briefly installed the mobile app a few years ago. Some of the email addresses they have are out of date so that adds weight to my theory.

Yanukovych leaks yanukovychleaks.org
288 points by mxfh  14 hours ago   83 comments top 9
danohuiginn 14 hours ago 9 replies      
One of the participants here.

It's been a crazy few days. We have documents drying in the former president's sauna, prosecutors waiting for each file to be scanned before confiscating it, and an incredible group of journalists working night and day to save as many documents as possible.

A few articles with more background: http://gijn.org/2014/02/25/yanukovychleaks-org-how-ukraine-j... http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/25/ukrainian-journa... http://gijn.org/2014/02/27/yanukovychleaks-update-the-projec...

lifeisstillgood 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This is one of those Walls coming down moments for me.

I have banged on about how governments and states are losing their privacy as much as individuals - and whilst this is happening after a political crisis, it is increidble to see a few determined hackers and some simple off the shelf equipment is throwing open the doors to a hidden state. Truly eye-opening, and something we should look for in our nice safe democracies.

PSPlus I know a few Ukrainians and hope that this can get resolved with no further bloodshed.

ChuckMcM 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I think this is awesome, I worry about it triggering a Russian response if there is something in there which ties back to the Putin administration.

What I really like is way in which Ukraine is going about this, unlike the Mideast (Egypt comes to mind), where it seems the only things the people who took over cared about was exacting retribution on the former government, rather than having "Make a stable and just government" as their first priority, and "Investigate and punish any crimes that may have occurred" as their second priority.

nailer 14 hours ago 1 reply      
They could crowdsource finding interesting stuff - eg, the Guardian had an app where members of the public were show random expense reports from politicians, and could flag unusual/odd expenses.
danso 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not ignorant of the needs and concerns of self-promotion in order to build a popular campaign...but I hope they have a technical advisor who will, at some point, inform them about the technique of OCR and how a large hashtag-watermark can obstruct such a technique.

Also, minor detail, but the images should also be rotated to their proper orientation. Crowdsourcing data collection has to be as frictionless as possible, and this is an easy fix.

Depending on how many actual documents there are (i.e. how many pages are in those 200 folders), it might be worth it to go the route of ProPublica's "Free the Files" project, in which they built a mini-app that let people voluntarily transcribe the important fields in each document:


Their Al Shaw wrote a piece about designing for efficient crowd-sourcing:


They even open-sourced the Rails plugin for it:


rocky1138 13 hours ago 1 reply      
This should really be served with https.
rogerthis 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll take the images to the priest of the catholic ukranian parish I attend...
jmnicolas 13 hours ago 4 replies      
This is in Russian (or Ukrainian) ... are the HN readers supposed to read fluently Cyrillic ?
chatman 13 hours ago 6 replies      
This doesn't belong here at Hacker News.
Thirty Percent Feedback 42floors.com
287 points by jaf12duke  1 day ago   47 comments top 20
derefr 1 day ago 3 replies      
I think that even at the 90% mark, there's value in giving what I would call "craft-work feedback": the type of feedback one craftsman gives another.

First, you tell them that, from the perspective of the end-user, their craftwork is done, and nobody will notice anything wrong with it. It's shippable. It's usable. They probably won't hear one complaint, and sales will be good.

Then you point out the little things. The things that only other craftsmen will notice, but that end-users, despite not knowing to look for them, would still appreciate if you changed. The things that would take the thing from "done" to "perfect." The things that are, to most craftsmen, "just a matter of pride."

But you must finish off by reminding them that since they have a deadline (and they do, even if they call it "runway"), it's not even a matter of fixing all the little things. They don't have time to fix all the little things. Instead, it's a matter of picking the highest-impact ones they can fix in the time available, fixing those, and then shipping.

I think the key insight from such an explanation is that there are always some issues you point out that they must simply "accept": it's wrong, and now they're aware it's in there, but it's not going to get fixed, and it's going to ship like that, and everyone is going to see it (though only other craftsmen will notice it.) Tell them that they can't be paralysed by this thought: instead, they must accept it, learn from it, and do better with the next one.

munificent 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Often times, when I seek feedback on a project, its not actually constructive feedback that I want; its simply approval. I want a pat on the back and a job well done.

I think creative people want and need both. I spent a lot of my free time working on a non-fiction book[1]. I'm really aggressive about soliciting feedback: every page of the book links directly to its issue tracker on github[2].

I love critical, detailed feedback. I want my book to be great, and I can't improve the clarity of my writing without people telling me, "this was confusing" or "this was boring". Bug reports fill me with joy.

At the same time, though, the reason they fill me with joy is because they make the book better. And a big part of the reason I care about making the book better is because it means I get more approval, more email patting me on my back.

I'm fortunate enough to also get positive feedback, comments from people that say nothing more than "You're doing a great job!" That isn't actionable feedback, but if I didn't hear those kinds of comments too, I wouldn't have the motivation for the feedback that is actionable.

    [1]: http://gameprogrammingpatterns.com/    [2]: https://github.com/munificent/game-programming-patterns/issues

clarkevans 1 day ago 0 replies      
Asking what kind of feedback you wish to receive (or are asked to give) is important.

When asked for feedback on a 90% completed project you simply shouldn't comment on the big picture, that's set, the feedback is about what small, tactical changes can be done to improve the invested effort. While at 30% things are more strategic... are you missing an essential part? can it be restructured?

I think this post exactly encapsulates the pattern my wife and I have settled on after 15+ years of lively (sometimes embittered?) discussion. Now, we've learned to always ask: "are we editing, or scoping", or "tactical or strategic"? Asking what sort of feedback someone is seeks is essential to non-frustrating communication and having your review received properly -- in a manner that is actionable.

zaidf 1 day ago 1 reply      
Has anyone else found themselves on the extreme end of focusing too much on shipping quickly? One of the realizations I had this year was that in the process of wanting to ship quickly, I'd started doing mediocre work. More recently I have been encouraging myself to take whatever amount of time it takes for me to build something I am at least a bit proud of. Sure I don't want it to take any more time than necessary; but I also don't want to be shipping things consistently that I am far from proud of.
chavesn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I worked at a place where we tried practicing the principle of the 30% demo. We had one additional point -- at 30%, you should have rough "end-to-end" progress.

This made a drastic difference in how early we were able to assess a design direction. Previously we would have only made 30% progress but that 30% would have been polished. Making it an "end-to-end" demo allowed us to get that kind of rough feedback on the whole feature. And if we needed to, tuning our direction at that point wasn't that painful.

The result was that we no longer had to throw away work that was polished but didn't deliver the goals we wanted -- or worse, continue to force the path because of sunk cost bias, ignoring the feelings that something wasn't right.

romaniv 1 day ago 2 replies      
When someone takes way too long to get a first draft out because theyre being perfectionists and you praise them for their quality craftsmanship

Does that ever happen in real life? I don't think people need any more encouragement to praise speed. Speed is already valued an order of magnitude more than quality to the point where it is the only thing that's looked at. (In part that's because speed is easier to measure and show on a chart.)

Duhck 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ive been doing this with my own startup. I am about 30% there (regarding talking to investors about it) and as such I have reached out to investors I am friendly with and asked for feedback.

Most of the feedback I have received was "you are about 25% there" which validated my assumption of not quite being ready to approach people for money, and it has allowed me to refine and adapt my pitch accordingly.

It was much easier to get feedback from people when I told them I was just starting out, instead of telling them I am ready to receive money. This opened them up to positive and constructive feedback that is helping me get closer to my goal.

philbarr 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I think developing a thick skin is most important when asking for someone to review your work. I don't have any developers locally that I can ask to look at stuff, so I'm never going to get a professional point of view.

Instead I just ask friends / family / people I meet in the pub to review an app and sit back and listen. Since these are "normal" people, a lot of them will be put into the mindset that you're trying to show how clever you are because you wrote an app and will instantly try and find every little thing wrong.

You have to just sit back, nod and smile, say thanks, and then pick through the feedback looking for the important bits.

In fact I believe this is a generally useful life skill. Try and listen to everyone, even if you think they're completely nuts, and sieve out the decent remarks without ego. It's not easy but I think it's important to practise.

gk1 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are two skills at play here:

1. Asking for feedback in a way that will result in a constructive response

2. Accepting constructive feedback

Just a few days ago I asked people to rip apart my consulting page [0], and I received a handful of truly excellent feedback; some positive, some negative, but all were constructive.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7269069

PS - Glad to see you're using a gag cartoon instead of just a stock image. For anyone else wanting to do the same (it gets more engagement than stock photos), I run a side project that helps you find and license these cartoons easily and cheaply [1]. I know Jason Cohen (of WPEngine) uses similar cartoons.

[1] http://www.gagcartoons.com

pcurve 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is the most clear piece of writing I've read in awhile. No fluff. No big words. Clear sentences. And great content. Thanks,
001sky 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a great post. There is alot of value added to getting feedback before the "proof-reading" stage. What is harder perhaps in this equation is finding the time, the person, and the structure to provide you this feedback. But it is in the "30% done stage" when even a small amount of astute input can have a huge productivity benefit. There is a real art to getting something in "good enough shape" to be interesting for the reviewer (ie, not wasting their time), and thought through enough so that the important tensions & dynamics are able to be shown in rough-hewn relief (ie, so the analysis is also useful to you). I'm a firm believer that this is a great place to have a mentor (or, if it fits your fancy better... a muse). And also successful people are often blessed with having this type of support infrastructure in place. It really helps to build depth into the work, in a way which is different from pure "hyper-focus". The can counter the trend toward narcissism and lessen the tendency to attribution error.
davidjgraph 1 day ago 3 replies      
Good advice, but seems like a long way around saying "do everything in small, fast iterations, including research"...
alexobenauer 1 day ago 0 replies      
We do this all the time at Mindsense. It's a great way to go about giving and asking for feedback.

Whenever I'm asked for feedback, I first provide only high-level feedback about the direction of the work, ignoring little things like sentence structure. I then say when they are ready for the typos and grammars feedback, let me know.

pranaya_co 1 day ago 0 replies      
Jason brings up a very good point. Especially the first part (where people tend to dislike tough criticisms) resonated very well with me because - my startup, StartUpLift.com - specializes in providing crowdsourced feedback to startups. One of the features that we offer to startups is that they can reject any feedback / feedback provider at no cost to them. It's interesting to note that more than 65% of the rejection happens when when they get some sort of negative feedback, which in fact is a disguised constructive criticism.
josefresco 1 day ago 2 replies      
Off topic but what is the HN "share" icon on the right sliding box supposed to show? Up votes or submissions or comments? It's reading 0 right now so either way it doesn't seem to be working (unless it's just me).

Anyone have an idea?

jdavis703 1 day ago 0 replies      
Practical application: when I work on a large new feature I will often create mini pull requests to gather feedback on a few hundred lines of code and then merge them into my feature branch, which may be thousands of lines.
mathattack 1 day ago 0 replies      
Giving and receiving feedback is one of the hardest things to do in a company. (Or relationship) There are books about it, there is training to do it, but sometimes it still just doesn't work. As such, most managers shy away. I will give this a try.
shurcooL 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is good insight, and it's precisely the problem I'm starting to see with GitHub repos. People have no easy, standard, way of telling if a given repo is 30% complete or 90% complete. :/
rayiner 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is really great. It's really easy to disincentivize the right behavior. If you point out every typo in a first draft, then people aren't going to let you see work that's not "90%" done, even if you tell them to bring you a "30% draft."
tpdubs2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dead on. I used to this model to edit student and colleagues' work for years. Impt to note is that it's a huge time investment to give feedback for the 30% part. I want to know from the start what the person wants, so that I don't invest time and energy into a project when he or she really just wants a copy edit. This model is a win-win for both sides.
An Early Retirement watsi.org
273 points by gracegarey  1 day ago   72 comments top 24
chimeracoder 1 day ago 5 replies      
I'm assuming the company in question is Blue Cross Blue Shield. This kind of sucks, but looking at their logo[0], I would have to agree that they're uncomfortably close, if they are deemed to be in similar enough markets.

The only question is whether Watsi and BCBS operate within similar enough markets for their use to be considered infringement - I'm less sure of that.

On a related note, this is why early-stage startups shouldn't get too attached to their branding, product name, and/or company name. You're better off focusing your efforts on your product itself.

And don't waste money (as an early startup) on filing for trademark protection - because US trademark law respects common law use (ie, if you used it first, you are protected, even if you didn't file for protection)[1]. Registering your trademark does nothing if someone else (with more expensive lawyers) was using it first and can demonstrate that use.

And even if they accept your registration, that doesn't mean that it will hold up. Just like patents, the USPTO leaves this up to courts to decide. You could easily register something like the Coca-Cola[2] logo and they could accept it, but that doesn't prevent Coca-Cola from litigating against you and winning. They have no great way to check for conflicts, and they err on the side of issuing the trademark (and collecting your fee) so that the courts can be the final arbiters[3].

(Obligatory disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice).

[0] https://encrypted.google.com/search?tbm=isch&q=blue%20cross%...

[1] This is the opposite of the way that patent law works.

[2] In reality, probably not Coca-Cola per se, because it's popular enough that anybody reading your application would notice it, but a trademark that's very similar to an existing logo.

[3] If you're wondering, no, they won't refund your fee if your trademark is deemed invalid.

hoggle 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow, this really made my evening :)

I just donated two hours worth of my consulting time for two fellow human beings in need somewhere else in the world and it will have serious impact. I'm in total bliss <3 nothing feels like helping others - you should try donating!

The only thing I would like to see watsi doing is to offer donations with bitcoin! Integration with bitpay is really easy too. If watsi is rails based (seems so) they would have support for bitpay out of the box with active merchant!

Go spread some love folks, it feels great!



https://bitpay.com (they offer immediate conversion to local currencies too!)


GigabyteCoin 1 day ago 2 replies      
So <insert big corporation here> wants watsi to stop using their logo by date X, and watsi proceeds to print that logo on t-shirts and sell that logo-laden t-shirt.

Isn't this akin to waving a stack of cash right in front of <insert big corporation here> lawyer's nose?

Is watsi's only saving grace the fact that they are not directly profiting from these t-shirt sales?

Seems kindof risky, no?

runewell 1 day ago 1 reply      
I remember when looking for a new company domain feeling like this SNL comedy skit: http://vimeo.com/82393638

Medical companies are ruthless here. I ran an e-commerce store that sold medical equipment, it was nearly impossible to buy any .com domain name related to the medical industry. We ended up settling with JazzMed because one of our founders liked Jazz and we figured it was a unique brand. We ran the company for about 6 months slowly getting to a point where we had roughly 10 orders a day. Needless to say, once we started ranking well in Google a health care company called Jazz Pharmaceuticals threatened legal action, even went through the trouble of sending a certified letter from their lawyer. After reviewing our options and after receiving a formal complaint to the court from the company we decided to shut down and comply with their demands which was to transfer the domain ownership to them. We just didn't have the resources to hire a lawyer and keep the company going. The sad part is that there are so many businesses in that space it's nearly impossible to create a company name that doesn't sound like an existing one.

gabemart 1 day ago 1 reply      
When you say "invited to a bonfire at Ocean Beach", that doesn't mean you're going to burn a big heap of branded trash on the beach, right? Or am I just being a spoil-sport?
bluedino 1 day ago 0 replies      
We had the same problem with one of our logos and BCBS. We had a green '+' symbol as one of our letter 'T'. We're in the wellness industry. That was enough to get them to send a letter and it was cheaper to have a designer and developer go through and change everything (3-4 days of designer time and 1 day of developer time) than it was to have a lawyer draft up a response.
akcreek 1 day ago 0 replies      
I appreciate what Watsi does, but I'm mostly buying a shirt because of the great speech Chase gave at Startup School [1]. It was of the most value to me at that event. Thanks.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlT3UhC7NwQ

ChuckMcM 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well played Watsi, well played. Hope it goes viral.
mrmch 1 day ago 2 replies      
Title had me worried for a moment! The whole team wanted shirts, so we loaded up -- we're going to wear that blue contraband with pride.
bullcity 1 day ago 1 reply      
I hope they aren't planning on changing it to red. I remember in 2005, the Red Cross was going after video game companies that used a red cross on their health/medpack items in-game.
alexnking 1 day ago 2 replies      
Not knowing what Watsi was, this is ridiculous. Finding out they're an organization that gets donations for medical treatments, being threatened by an insurance company? Beyond ridiculous.
hawkharris 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Similar industries. Very similar logo. Unfortunate, but it makes sense.

I give credit to Watsi for its response, though. This is a cool and creative way to deal with a forced change in brand.

zbruhnke 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks Watsi for having a sense oh humor about it. I bought a shirt because I love your mission as a whole and the post have me a much needed smile yesterday. I wish more people were light hearted like this/ took themselves less seriously faced with situations like these!
grageth 1 day ago 0 replies      
AWESOME! I was running out of reasons to dislike the American health insurance industry.
rafeed 1 day ago 0 replies      
I ordered one not just to stick it to BCBS, but also because it's great knowing all of this is going directly to the patients at Watsi. Well played.
argumentum 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm guessing part of the agreement is that Watsi doesn't publicly "out" the insurance company. Well, we have lots of good writers here, some with an audience, but without any legal association to Watsi.

Let's make this so costly that no mega-corporation dares to bully non-profits in this way again.

baldajan 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's a shame. I do think they look somewhat look a like, and there are solid reasons why it would or wouldn't cause confusion in trade.

But if the plaintiff is indeed BCBS, then Watsi would have definitely lost. Since BCBS will probably be regarded as a famous mark, and any similarity would cause an issue for Watsi.

It's unfortunate and sad nonetheless.

vinceguidry 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wonder if a more measured reaction rather than simply caving would have done them better.

They could have had their lawyers draw up a reasoned defense, then used that to wrangle a settlement offer whereby Watsi takes a large-ish donation in return for changing their logo.

Reason being a big battle would hit the larger plaintiff much harder in terms of public opinion. A little brinksmanship could do them a world of good.

Thoughts? Any legal eagles want to weigh in on whether this be a feasible course of action?

chunsaker 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The tone of this post is yet another reason to love team Watsi. Really fun for an early stage company (for-profit or non) to be spending time and money on this instead of on more interesting things like building their business.
growthhack 1 day ago 0 replies      
Kudos to turning a bad situation, with a positive attitude and a sense of humor, into traffic!
ldubinets 22 hours ago 0 replies      
They have now changed

"a multi-billion dollar health insurance company threatened to take us to court for trademark infringement"


"a multi-billion dollar health insurance company threatened to oppose our trademark application"

Was that because of careful consideration and consulting or again because of said health insurance company?

ChrisCinelli 1 day ago 0 replies      
+1 for the bonfire... See you there
qnaal 1 day ago 0 replies      

Oh well, sounds like money will be coming in, and free advertising, so mission success, right?

pearjuice 1 day ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one who has serious question marks with Watsi? Portraying itself as a non-profit hocus-pocus third-world-helper, why does it have so many investors and such a big riced crew?

I can't help but think how it is non-profit, but ONLY after investors and founders are paid good sums of money. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I am just saying it is shady.

Happy ending: @N has been restored to its rightful owner thenextweb.com
271 points by owenwil  2 days ago   71 comments top 17
acangiano 2 days ago 8 replies      
It's interesting (and perhaps sad) how these days having a blog in which to complain, if needed, is one of the most foolproof ways to receive proper customer care from certain online companies.
photorized 1 day ago 3 replies      
This isn't nearly as exciting as the story of @N, but I just had something strange happen to one of my Twitter accounts, too.

Registered "tweetcoin" handle awhile back for one of the projects I am working on, and posted on Feb 9 (my single tweet) - "Exciting things in the works" was my comment:


Tried logging in today, couldn't log in. Ended up resetting pwd using my email account, and the reset link logged me in as 'tweetcoin1' - that's when I knew that my Twitter handle had changed from 'tweetcoin' to 'tweetcoin1'.

What's even more bizarre - another tweet appeared under that account. It was dated April 2012, and it simply said:

"This isn't your account."

andrewfong 2 days ago 2 replies      
What I want to know is: what was the attacker thinking? A Twitter handle is something that Twitter can easily return to its rightful owner -- it's not exactly something you can steal. I could see some scenario where the attacker would use some information to extort Naoki into not telling Twitter, but that didn't appear to happen here.
gnicholas 1 day ago 0 replies      
I believe this is called a "happy @N-ding".
quackerhacker 1 day ago 0 replies      
In case anyone wants to see the old discussion we had here on HN (before it was restored 27 days ago): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7141532
jamesaguilar 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know: what was the account used for in the mean time?
murtali 2 days ago 1 reply      
I hope Mr.Hiroshima writes a blog post detailing what happened. I'm particularly interested in whether Twitter has implemented any changes in the way they handle high value handles/or all to prevent others who've experienced this with their Twitter account.
Frostbeard 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've seen a few of these stories that assert Hiroshima lost his account. That misrepresents things a little. What actually happened is he was blackmailed into changing his username; his Twitter account, including his tweet history, followers and everything besides the single-character username, seems to have remained intact and under his control throughout the ordeal.
kcbanner 2 days ago 1 reply      
Now he can sell it for $50,000
istvanp 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's nice that Twitter merged @N_IS_STOLEN with his original @N account.
jbinto 1 day ago 0 replies      
It also helps having inside contacts at Google, Twitter or Facebook.

"So I rang my friend at Twitter" tends to be a common theme in these blog posts. I believe this was the case here too.

adnam 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank goodness, now I can sleep easy again.
smackfu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting. Just a couple of days ago it had some spammy seeming name, instead of not existing like it had for the previous few weeks.
watermarkcamera 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know this means @N!
KamiCrit 2 days ago 1 reply      
You see now this is news!
zeckalpha 2 days ago 5 replies      
The title is actually "Happy ending: @N has been restored to its rightful owner".

"finally" implies that Twitter was too slow in reacting to this. Please don't editorialize.

ch 1 day ago 1 reply      

I don't know why but this comment makes me feel old. I wonder if it would make Kevin Mitnick feel the same.

A Star in a Bottle newyorker.com
259 points by numlocked  3 days ago   157 comments top 6
jackgavigan 3 days ago 14 replies      
As a child, I read Friday by Robert A Heinlein, which portrayed a future in which energy needs are addressed by energy storage devices called "Shipstones", which are described as a way to pack more kilowatt-hours into a smaller space and a smaller mass than any other engineer had ever dreamed of. To call it an "improved storage battery" (as some early accounts did) is like calling an H-bomb an "improved firecracker."

In the novel, the Shipstone's eponymous inventor realised "that the problem was not a shortage of energy but lay in the transporting of energy. Energy is everywherein sunlight, in wind, in mountain streams, in temperature gradients of all sorts wherever found, in coal, in fossil oil, in radioactive ores, in green growing things. Especially in ocean depths and in outer space energy is free for the taking in amounts lavish beyond all human comprehension.

"Those who spoke of "energy scarcity" and of "conserving energy" simply did not understand the situation. The sky was "raining soup"; what was needed was a bucket in which to carry it."

Ever since then, I've been far more interested in new methods of storing and transporting energy than in new methods of generating energy.

Also, what happens if the mechanisms that contain the "Star in a Bottle" fail? Will the French Alps suddenly and catastrophically acquire a new valley?

habosa 3 days ago 4 replies      
Hate to be that guy, but how can a star in a bottle cost only ~105% of WhatsApp. One of them is incorrectly valued.
slacka 3 days ago 5 replies      
It's crazy that the US blew over 4 Trillion and countless lives for oil in Iraq. Yet, we spend practically nothing on technology that could offer clean, safe, energy independence.

I'm happy to see any money going into fusion research, but it does seem that Focus Fusion has a much better chance of delivering in the near term. If you're unfamiliar with the technology, check out the Google tech talk below.


ryanklee 3 days ago 6 replies      
> will stand a hundred feet tall, and it will weigh twenty-three thousand tonsmore than twice the weight of the Eiffel Tower.

This is a strange sentence.

  (1) Notice Height of object-A;   (2) Notice Weight of object-A;   (3) Compare Weight of object-A to Weight of object-B      where object-B is known more for its property of        Height than of its Weight.
The sense here (I think) is that the Eiffel tower is significantly taller than than ITER, and therefore ought to be significantly heavier. But it's not! ITER is heavier, and heavier by a lot. Go figure!

But what a silly line of reasoning. Is it a common conclusion that taller things should also be heavier things?

Further, this seems to me to be of the same breed as "bigger than the state of Rhode Island"-type of arbitrary comparisons -- only in this instance more confusing!

benjamta 3 days ago 3 replies      
My father worked on the ITER project for many years. This article goes some way to express the shear scale of this project, it's absolutely vast.

When I was a lot younger I was taken on a tour of JET (http://www.efda.org/jet/) and was overawed with the size of it. ITER is an order of magnitude bigger.

The machine that follows ITER is where things get really interesting. Called DEMO, it's still in the planning phase - but will provide a template for future commercial fusion power generation. They're talking about possibly putting fusion generated power into the grid by 2040. Truly exciting stuff.

ck2 3 days ago  replies      
Check this out, Japan is going their own way instead of this experiment

According to researchers at a demonstration reactor in Japan, a fusion generator should be feasible in the 2030s and no later than the 2050s. Japan is pursuing its own research program with several operational facilities that are exploring several fusion paths.


Also, they are already planning the successor to ITER, a commercial plant called DEMO


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