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The Face Behind Bitcoin? newsweek.com
1091 points by warrenmiller  3 days ago   676 comments top 87
bane 3 days ago 40 replies      
Topic other than discussing the irresponsibility of "outing" a guy using the clever tricks of using his name and public records look ups.

> A libertarian, Nakamoto encouraged his daughter to be independent, start her own business and "not be under the government's thumb," she says. "He was very wary of the government, taxes and people in charge."

> What you don't know about him is that he's worked on classified stuff. His life was a complete blank for a while. You're not going to be able to get to him.

Growing up and living in the D.C. area, I'm constantly surprised at the paradox of the deeply conservative anti-federal government types who work for the government - directly or as a fed contractor. Who'll rattle off about privacy issues before hopping on the bus to their job working on an NSA contract at a Fed contractor...that sort of thing.

I've even pointed out point-blank that their salaries are paid for by the same taxes they rail against incessantly and are met with blank stares or wry grimaces before they launch into an extended soliloquy about "values" or personal responsibility or some such. I've even had folks in the military swear up and down that some military benefit program isn't a result of tax payer dollars but mysteriously appears out of some kind of pay differential sacrifice they've made instead of working in the private sector.

It's rather bizarre and I guess to Nakamoto's credit, he actually did something about it in a sense.

edit meta-response to the replies indicating that perhaps his close contact with the government is what motivated him to develop bitcoin, I think that's plausible. What we don't know is if he developed this philosophy before or after working with the government.

I'm curious though, in the general sense about people who have a fundamentally anti-government philosophy, then take roles supporting and building up the same government they clog their facebook feeds rallying against.

nwh 3 days ago 16 replies      
Being labeled Satoshi regardless of truth is pretty much going to get you robbed, kidnapped or killed. This dude lives in this town and has $400M of untraceable currency? The article gives his name, face, address and relatives. You can be sure as hell that somebody will do something stupid to try and get to it.

I wouldn't wish this label upon anybody, it's exactly why the community tries to avoid speculating about it. It's extremely irresponsible of the newspaper to publish this truth or otherwise especially in such vivid detail.

Article sans paywall http://archive.is/wbw97

Gavin seems to acknowledge the article https://twitter.com/gavinandresen/status/441547758827474946

jxf 3 days ago 7 replies      
So Newsweek outed a guy who allegedly owns half a billion dollars in pseudo-untraceable, digital cash? I hope they're also going to chip in for a permanent security detail...

More seriously, I think they could have done a better job reporting on the identity without giving so much away:

* A picture of his house is posted, identical to the one in Google Street View

* The license plate is relatively clear in the high-resolution image

* His exact address has more or less already been discovered using only the information in the article

* Full names of family members were used

It's a legitimate story -- understanding Nakomoto's motivations for creating Bitcoin as discovered from his past is a worthwhile topic. (For example, would your feelings about cryptocurrency change if it turned out Nakomoto was a high-level NSA operative?) But, again, it could have been reported in a way that didn't compromise his identity so thoroughly.

Blahah 3 days ago 4 replies      
The author of the piece can be reached in these ways:


If you think this article is a dangerous invasion of privacy, tell her and her employers (Newsweek).

dTal 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wait, it was just a single smart dude whose actual real name is Satoshi Nakamoto, and here we've been theorizing shadowy pseudonymous cabals of libertarian cryptographers?

I feel very silly.

argumentum 3 days ago 5 replies      
Quite an odd article for such an important (if true) expose. The only reason I think its possibly true is Gavin's vague tweet.

50% of the article deals with material about bitcoin that is redundant to anyone whose been following it for more than a day (like most here).

45% deals with "Dorian S. Nakamoto"'s family, personal background and that he's a libertarian oddball, with a penchant for math (but no other significant accomplishment within it or CS) who (other than possible being the Satoshi) has led a fairly normal, middle class southern california lifestyle.

The remaining 5% or so details a brief encounter with the man, in which he neither confirms or denies it.

I'm skeptical.

acjohnson55 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'll probably be slammed for this, but I actually think it's a pretty good piece. Maybe it could do without the picture of Satoshi's house, but it probably wouldn't be so hard to find the house anyway if you know you're looking for an actual "Satoshi Nakamoto in Temple City".

If the dude hadn't used his real name, we'd probably still be wondering who he is. So I think the indignation is a bit misplaced. It's not at all uncommon or nefarious for news reports to be written about people who don't particularly want the coverage.

frogpelt 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is Newsweek's watershed. They're laying Satoshi Nakamoto on the line to recreate their brand as a hard-hitting journalism publication.


EDIT: The relevant parts of the wiki article are at the end of the first section.

1. Newsweek merged with The Daily Beast.

2. Newsweek ceased print publication and transitioned to an all-digital format.

3. IBT Media acquired Newsweek. IBT Media plans to relaunch a print edition of Newsweek on March 7, 2014. (Guess what today is!)

efuquen 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm going to skirt the ethical questions being asked, assuming everything done to get this information was legal and such and the accuracy of it lives within the bounds of journalistic integrity (of course none of that necessarily makes it ethical, but like I said, circumventing that question for now).

All that said, by the number of reactions I'm reading here I get the impression that in the Bitcoin world someone with a significant amount of wealth has to fear for their life? What is the difference between Satoshi Nakamoto and any other individual of significant wealth, i.e. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Rupert Murdoch, etc. While I don't have any exact addresses or other information about these people on hand, I'm sure I could get it rather easily.

The emphasis I keep seeing is on how he has $400 M of "pseudo-untraceable, digital cash" and assume the concern is something along the lines of it would be more difficult to extract that much from Bill Gates if you attacked/kidnapped him and get away with it vs Bitcoin, which you could theoretically extract the keys guarding the coin from the victim and quickly transfer out to other wallets without much issue.

So, the gist I'm getting, is that in the world of crypto-currency if you get wealthy ... man you better watch out because people are going to be gunning for you to steal your coin by force if they ever find out where you live. Live In Fear. If this is the great future of finance you all envision, then I really wouldn't want any part of it.

*Side note, I really don't believe any of the above but given some of the responses I've seen I think we need to take a step back and examine the conclusions that would result from some of the statements being made.

blakesterz 3 days ago 8 replies      
"What?" The police officer balks. "This is the guy who created Bitcoin? It looks like he's living a pretty humble life."

That quote smells totally fake to me. There's just no way some random office would know what Bitcoin is, and even if he did, that's not something a police officer would say. I don't know what that says about the rest of the article, but that quote doesn't read very factual to me.

lucb1e 3 days ago 1 reply      
> "Dorian can just be paranoid," says Tokuo. "I cannot get through to him. I don't think he will answer any of these questions to his family truthfully."

What the hell, if many family members are so eager to forward questions from the press to him and spill anything they know, I can totally understand Satoshi doesn't answer them truthfully. I also feel very sorry for Satoshi's position in which he doesn't seem to have anyone to talk to truthfully :/

> Of course, none of this puts to rest the biggest question of all - the one that only Satoshi Nakamoto himself can answer: What has kept him from spending his hundreds of millions of dollars of Bitcoin

Isn't it obvious? It would destabilize the market and begin a huge frenzy to find out who he is, and he knows it. Now the latter is a moot point, but I can totally understand he doesn't want to backstab his brainchild.

Besides, who says he didn't mine other coins early on anonymously for his own use? Wasn't the point of Bitcoin that you can't know who's who? If he did this and got some money, he totally deserved it.

Steko 2 days ago 1 reply      
Shorter HN:

Would you all just think of the poor superrich for a minute? Clearly they are the ones in our society who need special protections and immunities from journalism.

cyphunk 2 days ago 0 replies      
> "For anyone who's tried to wire money overseas, you can see how much easier an international Bitcoin transaction is. It's just as easy as sending an email." -- Bitcoin's chief scientist, Gavin Andresen

No actually it's only as easy as Western Union is. You either have to take a huge cut due to localbitcoin or other markups for markets that avoid the normal route of... registering at an exchange, giving them all your details which will take weeks to months, whom will then place major limits on what you can transfer (no more than a $2k-$10k) and potentially crash burn and be robbed while you wait for your FIAT.

So actually it's like transferring money between two Western Union branches that are both in war zones and staffed with employees taken from the DMV.

jbondeson 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm torn about the article. On one hand this seems like a horrid breach of privacy and a terribly dangerous thing to do. On the other, even if they just said he lives in his family home in California, people were going to find out all this information.

Half of me thinks it's better everyone knows they were doxed all at once.

m_myers 2 days ago 1 reply      
> You have reached the limit of 5 free articles a month.

I haven't read any Newsweek articles this month. And it appears I'm not going to, either.

Google cache link for anyone else who gets the same message: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?output=search&s...

cyanbane 3 days ago 1 reply      
I am not a big fan of the way the article was written, but I can definitely see how some may decry it as being news worthy.

I think the author should be ashamed for posting a picture of this man's house. No need for that and it doesn't add to the story after the description.

atmosx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cool article but says virtually nothing. We have:

* A smart man, according to the article* Who worked for the government at some point in time (according to the article)* Who's name is Satoshi Nakamoto* Who values privacy (so much that he used his real name LOL)

So apart from the stalking and extremely irritating privacy breach this article shows about Newsweek's[1] journalists and chosen course of action, proves or states nothing.

He didn't admit anything, but seriously... Even he did, why do we care at this point?

[1] I was holding NS in low regard anyway. Now it's as low as it gets in my eyes.

sktrdie 2 days ago 3 replies      
Here's a comment left on a forum by this Dorian person: https://www.national-preservation.com/threads/preserved-bars...

Satoshi's punctuation style with the double-space after the dot is a distinctive feature of his writing, used in both the official Bitcoin publication and on forum posts.

Looking at the HTML source of that review, you can notice this exact punctuation style.

bambax 2 days ago 1 reply      
> There are several Satoshi Nakamotos living in North America and beyond - both dead and alive

I too would like to be living in North America when I'm dead.

markbao 3 days ago 1 reply      
Honest question: it seems like Nakamoto wanted to keep his identity secret. If that's true, then why did he reveal so much information (by implying that he was part of Bitcoin) and allow a photo of him to be taken, instead of saying "I have no relation to Bitcoin"? It doesn't add up.
lucb1e 3 days ago 0 replies      
> "He was the kind of person who, if you made an honest mistake, he might call you an idiot and never speak to you again," Andresen says. "Back then, it was not clear that creating Bitcoin might be a legal thing to do. He went to great lengths to protect his anonymity."

Except that he used his full, real name. That is what seems so odd to me.

If it really is him though, I'm very much afraid this article just destroyed his life...

tomasien 2 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of people are calling this "doxxing" which it isn't - identifying someone based on their ACTUAL NAME and profession isn't doxxing. It may be horrible, irresponsible, dangerous, I don't know - still forming an opinion about that, but that's not doxxing as I know it or see it defined anywhere.
stefanve 3 days ago 2 replies      
So Newsweek hires paparazzo's now? The need to disclose everything about the guy and call several family members etc is really wrong. Which I could undo my click...., no need to invade his privacy so much, "fun to know because interesting" is not a good enough reason to write the article...
olalonde 2 days ago 1 reply      
Meta: this submission has 811 point and was posted only 5 hours, yet it is at #11 position. Is this the regular HN algorithm at work or is it weighted down due to its controversial nature? (I'm not trying to imply there is any conspiracy... I actually remember reading that submissions with a high vote to comment ratio are weighted down but I'm not completely sure)
potatoman2 2 days ago 2 replies      
"This man is Satoshi Nakamoto."

"What?" The police officer balks. "This is the guy who created Bitcoin? It looks like he's living a pretty humble life."

- I do not believe this exchange took place. The police would've had his name from his initial call to them, and a random officer from the Sheriff's department would not likely recognize that name as the creator of Bitcoin. Just saying.

bachback 3 days ago 2 replies      
Can this be real? a guy calls the cops, but admits he was involved?

"Tacitly acknowledging his role in the Bitcoin project, he looks down, staring at the pavement and categorically refuses to answer questions."

"I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it," he says, dismissing all further queries with a swat of his left hand. "It's been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection."

mcphilip 3 days ago 2 replies      
Apparently the author of this newsweek piece will be on CNBC sometime this morning:


nmeofthestate 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm wondering how many of the commenters that are equating holding BTC with a death sentence by violent criminals would consider themselves pro-BTC.
continuations 3 days ago 2 replies      
Does the concept of privacy mean anything to Newsweek?
act9 2 days ago 0 replies      
Gavin Andresen: "I'm disappointed Newsweek decided to dox the Nakamoto family, and regret talking to Leah."


4dl0v3-p34c3 3 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't this entire article illegal?



Whatever. Satoshi-san can sue if he likes. The damage done in the article alone is devastating for even persecution charges.

bachback 3 days ago 1 reply      
worst reporting I've seen. it implies this person has admitted working on bitcoin. actually that's not even true, if you read the words.

why on earth all this work, just to chose a real name? this does not make any sense. as if SN could not haven chosen a name to deflect his identity.

yoha 2 days ago 0 replies      
Breaking history navigation + mandatory cookies

The Wikipedia article saved me some time getting to the point:

> Though Nakamato's identity was a source of speculation since the launch of Bitcoin in 2008, an article in the news magazine Newsweek by Leah McGrath Goodman, published March 6, 2014, made the case that his true identity was Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto (born 1949), a Japanese American man living in California.[8]

fiatpandas 2 days ago 0 replies      
Completely irresponsible to put a picture of his house in the article. I mean, she didn't even blur out his house number. It took me a single google search to find his full address with that number (matching street view).

It's been taken out of the article now, but the damage has been done.

pistle 3 days ago 0 replies      
Doxxing the guy is not nice.

With this out of the way, maybe cryptocurrency can focus attention on leveling up protocols and systems to improve utility. When bitcoin becomes the Friendster of cryptocurrency, Satoshi won't matter, just the disruptive ideas around our proxies for value and the new tools and power that can be used in positive ways to help improve the lot for all humans.

People want the confidence that they are able to securely accrue and employ the value of their efforts and wisdom to improve their standard of living. The values of the mainstream of humanity will determine the fate of this stuff. The current level of technical acumen required to handle and secure most any crypto$ is too high for them right now.

It's time to level up.

hiroaki 2 days ago 0 replies      
References to Dorian Nakamoto on the web:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/ATILATX3PEXZ4/ref=cm_cr...

Letter voting for an art rail project (search for "nakamoto"):http://media.metro.net/projects_studies/connector/images/Fin...

Google cache of a recent event where he was at (look for the guy in the yellow baseball cap):http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3Awww.m...

jmnicolas 3 days ago 0 replies      
From the article :

"He is the only person I have ever known to show up for a job interview and tell the interviewer he's an idiot - and then prove it."


alasdair_ 2 days ago 1 reply      
"I obtained Nakamoto's email through a company he buys model trains from."

In Europe, this would be completely illegal. I'd suspect that in the US this at least breaks the privacy policy of whatever site Nakamoto was using.

"Two weeks before our meeting in Temple City, I struck up an email correspondence with Satoshi Nakamoto, mostly discussing his interest in upgrading and modifying model steam trains with computer-aided design technologies. "

I understand that this is sometimes how journalism is "done" but the sneakiness of it all seems pretty low.

sarreph 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not up-voting this because Leah Goodman has violated even the most simple of journalistic integrity that should be afforded to such a sensitive topic.

Firstly, she very dubiously breached Nakamoto's trust by attempting to get through to him by talking about his passions. Then, when she didn't get the response she wanted, she posted this article that lists multiple family members' full names, most of Nakamoto's (if this is even the real Nakamoto) personal and employment history, and then has the audacity to post a photo of Nakamoto's house that is close enough to a google street view photo, enabling others to pinpoint his location.

If something bad happens to Nakamoto as a result of the personal information disclosed in this report, it will be a great shame for Newsweek.

Uhhrrr 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Reverse Polish notation" - was this originally Hungarian notation before some layer of "fact checking" ruined it? I have no idea how one would program using RPN.
brunoqc 3 days ago 3 replies      
It's weird that some police officers would know who Satoshi Nakamoto is.
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 1 reply      
Doxing as journalism, kind of surreal. Not sure I get the point though. (I understand why irc enemies do it, but I don't get the journalistic value of 'outing' Satoshi)
emin-gun-sirer 3 days ago 0 replies      
No culture deserves to have its creation myths exposed or destroyed. Ironically, Newsweek's behavior makes a strong case for anonymous communication and payment systems.
easytiger 3 days ago 4 replies      
Can we ban paywalled articles?
glimmung 3 days ago 0 replies      
I hope nothing negative happens to the subject of this piece.

I hope something thoroughly educational happens to the author of this piece.

Cheesy and ill-considered.

grej 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if Leah McGrath Goodman would like photos of her home published and members of her family identified against her will? I wonder if she thought about that, or the man and his family's safety, before choosing to publish this information about him?

Reading the description of the man and recognizing the value he placed on privacy and anonymity, I'm genuinely sad for him. I also fear for his personal safety and that of his family for the reasons others have stated.

r4pha 3 days ago 0 replies      
I thought that bitcoin as a whole would be badly shaken at the second Satoshi touched his coins. What if, now that he allegedly has a face, he could have allegedly legitimate needs to spend his coins on?

* takes off tinfoil hat

adamzerner 3 days ago 0 replies      
How hasn't anyone guessed that the math wiz named Satoshi Nakamoto is indeed Satoshi Nakamoto of Bitcoin?

Also, being that he's so secretive, why on earth would he use his real name?

mikeg8 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you want to email the Newsweek editor and let them know your disapproval, the address is letters@newsweek.com.
dharma1 2 days ago 1 reply      
For a professional journalist to sink to such a level - with zero consideration for others in order to advance their own career - never ceases to amaze me.
michaelbuddy 3 days ago 1 reply      
that is the most genius newsweek cover image. I'm stunned by how smart it was to create that artwork.
liopleurodon 3 days ago 2 replies      
"The punctuation in the proposal is also consistent with how Dorian S. Nakamoto writes, with double spaces after periods and other format quirks."

wtf!! That's how you're supposed to write!!

72deluxe 2 days ago 0 replies      
The article appears to have many "from then on he stopped responding to emails" and "he then dropped off the map" phrases in it. He might not be replying to emails?

The article is cleverly written to make these perfectly ordinary (in)actions sound suspicious. People could write the same about me if I didn't reply to emails or phone calls for a while.

hnha 3 days ago 1 reply      
There would be an easy way to protect his well-being: Crash Bitcoin so that it is worthless.
gnoway 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would be worried if I was the reporter. If anything happens to Satoshi, I suspect there are a moderate to high number of people who will make this reporter's life miserable as retribution. I'm thinking of all the bs that Krebs has to put up with.

Seriously irresponsible reporting. Not brave, not necessary, not helpful, not interesting, just stupid.

treebridge 3 days ago 0 replies      
Goodman writes: "Two weeks before our meeting in Temple City, I struck up an email correspondence with Satoshi Nakamoto, mostly discussing his interest in upgrading and modifying model steam trains with computer-aided design technologies. I obtained Nakamoto's email through a company he buys model trains from." This is so sneaky and sad.
basseq 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is anyone else surprised that that police know that Satoshi is the creator of Bitcoin? That seems like an esoteric piece of knowledge for someone not in the tech space.
mathattack 3 days ago 0 replies      
If Nakamoto ever sells his Bitcoin fortune, he would likely have to do so at a legitimate Bitcoin bank or exchange, which would not only give away his identity but alert everyone from the IRS to the FBI of his movements.

I think they just did that.

Amazing that he actually used his real name. This tells me that he didn't realize how far it would go when he started it.

rl12345 3 days ago 0 replies      
On the bright side: if keeping his anonymity was Satoshi's main reason for not touching his BTC fortune, now he and his family will finally be able to use all that money and take benefit from it - well deservedly.
gexla 3 days ago 0 replies      
Now that the article outed him, maybe he will spend some of his Bitcoin on a fortress, security and drones (coded himself of course) to patrol his house.
donutdan4114 2 days ago 1 reply      
That page took about 20s to fully load. Over 300 requests... wtf...
wil421 3 days ago 1 reply      
I feel sorry for this guy. The reign of hell newsweek is about to put on him is not going to be fun. Especially since this guy is pretty ecentric and doesnt like being in the public eye.

My hopes are no one tries to rob this guy or kidnap his family to get to his supposed 400m.

vezzy-fnord 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very few people here seem to be discussing the fact that the article offers little real evidence that this is the Satoshi Nakamoto of Bitcoin, and that most likely they just set up an eccentric old man with an unfortunate name collision to end up getting mobbed by the public.
Myrmornis 2 days ago 3 replies      
Well it's too late to get any points for this inference now, but I'm going to claim that there was a strong clue that the author of the PDF was old: the bitcoin paper cites "An Introduction to Probability Theory and Its Applications" by William Feller. This is a classic, from the 1960s, but I don't think it's very well known among people under 40 (correct me if I'm wrong).
lcasela 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a really irresponsible article. Imagine what this guy is going to have to live with for the rest of his life.
robocaptain 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm confused, I am seeing all these comments about how it was wrong to out him and then a lot of stuff about governments and stuff.

But isn't it just crazy that they actually found him? I thought that was a big deal? Last I checked, lots of people doubted he was even a real person.

deanclatworthy 2 days ago 0 replies      
So this guy was found using public records as it's his real name or used to be? I would suspect that the authorities therefore would have known about him for far longer than Newsweek.
thekevan 2 days ago 0 replies      
This may not add to the discussion but I still cannot help my self and have to comment that this doxxing is disgusting and irresponsible.
2810 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is the best "He is the only person I have ever known to show up for a job interview and tell the interviewer he's an idiot - and then prove it."
confluence 3 days ago 5 replies      
There's one thing that doesn't add up: why would such a privacy conscious man use his real name on a project he thought might be illegal? If he was so serious about his privacy, he would not have used his real name in public.
ropman76 2 days ago 0 replies      
The biases of this article aside, he sounds like a very interesting man. It saddens me that the way we found out who he really is was by a very gross invasion of his privacy. A sit down interview (in person or virtually)would have been much more interesting. I would have liked to have known eventually, but not like this
cryowaffle 2 days ago 1 reply      
The article doesn't have the picture of his house anymore
wnevets 2 days ago 0 replies      
bitcoin fanboys are funny.
socialist_coder 2 days ago 1 reply      
0% this is actually the real Satoshi Nakamoto.
ParadisoShlee 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a pretty predatory article.
davesque 2 days ago 0 replies      
Poor guy. I hope he's going to be alright.
raymondduke 2 days ago 0 replies      
Finally, the face of this super villain in his evil lair.
knodi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why did the author out him.
sizzle 2 days ago 0 replies      
lives in SoCal and a Cal Poly alumni, respect!
otikik 2 days ago 0 replies      
verroq 3 days ago 6 replies      
HN can't decry censorship and keep flagging this article because it includes Satoshi's dox.
shawabawa3 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not sure why this keeps getting deleted.

Newsweek have already made it public, no point trying to protect his identity now

grondilu 2 days ago 0 replies      
I knew it was his real name. I'm pretty sure I called it on bitcointalk.org (I'm grondilu there) and I was pretty much the only one who thought it was his real name.
dionyziz 3 days ago 0 replies      
maxk42 3 days ago 1 reply      
You just killed a man you dumb shit.
Dark spot under cockpit of A-10s stackexchange.com
726 points by mholt  2 days ago   183 comments top 29
jug6ernaut 2 days ago 7 replies      
While off topic, i found this interesting bit of information on the a10's gun wiki page.

"The recoil force of the GAU-8/A[16] is 10,000 pounds-force (45 kN),[3] which is slightly more than the output of one of the A-10's two TF34 engines (9,065 lbf / 40.3 kN each).[17] While this recoil force is significant, in practice cannon fire only slows the aircraft a few miles per hour in level flight."

The gun firing produces more force through recoil on the plane then is produced by one of the plane's engines. That is simply amazing.

Edit: The guns wiki page(it has a wiki page).


ericcumbee 2 days ago 9 replies      
My dad has always said that the A-10 is an infantryman's best friend. an F-16 or F-18 will straff over the battle field and is gone. an A-10 will just hang around.

When I was younger we went to a nature preserve that is adjacent to the gunnery range at Moody Air Force base. We went up in an observation tower overlooking the preserve and watched A-10s do strafing practice. The sound of the GAU-8 main gun is something you have to hear to believe. If bad intentions have a sound it's that gun.

larrydag 2 days ago 5 replies      
The A-10 is one on of the aircraft that is on the list for retirement from the US Air Force. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairchild_Republic_A-10_Thunder...

The A-10 is a cold war designed attack jet to be used to take out Soviet tanks. Its really good at slow (relatively) , guided, precise air-to-ground strikes. I think it would make a good candidate for a new class of a drones fleet.

davidedicillo 2 days ago 1 reply      
The most fascinating thing about this for me is that it's nothing more than what many fishes do.
jmount 2 days ago 0 replies      
A-10 was a Boyd sponsored aircraft, a fun topic: http://www.win-vector.com/blog/2010/04/deming-wald-and-boyd-...
dba7dba 2 days ago 1 reply      
A joke I heard is that if Air Force was allowed to buy whatever plane it wanted, every single one of them would be a single seat jet fighter that goes very fast. No cargo plane, no helicopter, no tanker, no CAS plane.

Air Force should just hand over A-10 to Army, the ones who really know how valuable A-10 is.

beat 2 days ago 0 replies      
I figured that dark spot was just the result of pilots doing dangerous maneuvers while getting shot at by tanks and AA. I'd leave a dark spot, too.
thearn4 2 days ago 3 replies      
Pretty clever.

False cockpit aside, the A-10 is my favorite plane of all time. It has a sound that's really unmistakable.

(well, technically I guess it's the GAU-8 making the sound...)

dkrich 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I was a kid I saw this demo tape and was blown away by how lethal and intimidating the A-10 looked. Ever since I've been fascinated with it. The video quality is very poor because this was shot in the late seventies or early eighties but it demonstrates the ferocity of the plane pretty well.


frou_dh 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know how accurate it is, but I remember this entertaining video of A-10 designer Pierre Sprey talking about how the new F-35 is garbage:


Themes of bloat and unwarranted complexity are perhaps universal.

WalterBright 2 days ago 0 replies      
For those interested in the unusual development of the A-10, see the book "Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War".
beebs93 2 days ago 3 replies      
I was really expecting something 10x more complex (e.g. A special WiFi-reflecting paint that prevents missiles from stealing the A-10s bandwidth or some such).

I love how simple yet effective it is. A very "just-use-a-pencil-in-outer-space"-type solution.

xbryanx 2 days ago 2 replies      
Ships in WWII used to use techniques like this as well. I saw a great exhibit on camouflage at the Imperial War Museum that featured quite a few examples of this:


tehwebguy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was more surprised to read that it was patented. Not that it doesn't make sense, but I had never considered that governments might not use a particular military tool because of a licensing issue.
evanm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Bigger question -- who knew there was an aviation Stack Exchange??!? I always went to quora to read kind of stuff.
cushychicken 2 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting answer. My offhand guess would have been discoloration in the metal due to heat put off by this monster:


Warhawg01 2 days ago 1 reply      
The amount of silly garbage in this thread is astounding. I thought you HN folks were supposed to be smart. Anyone here actually fly A-10s? Or been on the ground and had one support you?

No, the plane does not slow down when you shoot the gun.

Source: I have almost 3000 hours in this plane. Flew today, actually.

arethuza 2 days ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of eye mimicry in animal camouflage:


userbinator 2 days ago 0 replies      
"I have an A-10 with this stain under the cockpit. I've tried scrubbing it with soap and water, jet fuel, and degreaser, but it stays there. Does anyone know a better solvent?"

I was expecting something like that from the title...

rplnt 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is there air-air combat happening somewhere in the world? If not, when was the last time this could have been used?
JabavuAdams 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how badly that would mess up combat drones' vision systems?

Welcome to a world of anti-machine-vision camouflage.

yawz 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like it! Very much like mimicking the nature. That type of naturally evolved patterns are common in nature (fish, birds, insects, etc.) to confuse predators.
BrownBuffalo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Equally as interesting is the Naval efforts of many countries to camo their ships. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dazzle_camouflage - Jazz Hands, anyone?
kjs3 2 days ago 1 reply      
Before this, the armchair generals were all "stupid military, retiring the A-1 Skyraider with a jet! How can a jet loiter on target long enough to do close air support worth a shit!".
ilovecookies 1 day ago 0 replies      
That plane has to be quite sturdy to fire that gun. 10 tonnes from the front and four from the back.
tomphoolery 2 days ago 0 replies      
Octopus-driven security.
ilovecookies 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is seriously turning more and more into reddit.
gdonelli 2 days ago 0 replies      
old school technology borrowed from nature!
kackontent 2 days ago 0 replies      
Boys with toys. Toys for killing people.
Iconic An Icon System Designed for the Modern Web useiconic.com
561 points by Anchor  4 days ago   114 comments top 37
gkoberger 4 days ago 5 replies      
How can they say it's the "first and only icon system created for the modern web"?

The Noun Project has been doing SVG icons for years (http://thenounproject.com). It's slightly harder, but you can change colors/resolution/etc.

Sites like FontAwesome (http://fontawesome.io) cover all the basic icons and are insanely easy to use

LivIcons does animated icons (http://livicons.com/#demovideo)

I guess they're cool, but they're not innovative enough for their overly boastful slogan -- unless I'm missing something?

ookblah 4 days ago 4 replies      
Lurker here. Why is there so much pessimism in this thread... ?

I'm not familiar with all the font libraries out there. I use Font Awesome right now, and quite frankly it's nice for being free, but has limitations in other regards(like only being pixel perfect in multiples of 14...etc) It seems like a great alternative to what's out there (Different details at diff resolutions, internal colors being changed).

HN confuses me more and more every day. Upvoted to #1, but 99% of these comments aren't constructive.

JoshTriplett 4 days ago 1 reply      
Pro: Responsive SVG with identified components addressible using CSS.

Cons: Wants Javascript. Uses Javascript-interpreted data-* attributes for basic semantic content like "which direction does the arrow point". Not Open Source.

Interesting, but not nearly as good as the existing alternatives.

tshadwell 4 days ago 6 replies      
I feel I am perhaps being too pessimistic, but I fear this trend toward this heavier, unused-feature filled web-- a mosaic of libraries that make web development or design better in X and Y way that really doesn't affect the end user that much, but largely increases the cost and speed of viewing a webpage, especially in places and countries without the high internet speeds the developers inevitably have.

How many icons will a website need before an abstraction like this is necessary to manage them?

If every icon has each element labelled with large prefixed classes (".iconic-camera-slr-lens-release"), this is going to be a lot of extra footprint for websites that have enough icons to make this useful.

Perhaps I am alone in thinking that colourful icons are somewhat noisy, and thus will be used only in designs where icons are prominent elements, and as such infrequently; with that frequency, they could even be individually coded for.

brianherbert 4 days ago 1 reply      
I haven't seen anyone mention the fact that this was successfully crowdfunded to the tune of almost $100,000 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/207474036/iconic-advanc...
devindotcom 4 days ago 2 replies      
Eeeesh... I don't like the aesthetic at all. Most of the icons I saw were very ugly. I'm also skeptical of the benefit of "baking in" detail rather than tailoring for your size and layout. Sorry.
hardwaresofton 4 days ago 2 replies      
Really does seem like these guys are a day late and a dollar short.

So far the list out the added value over fontawesome I can see is:

- Multiple colors

grumblestumble 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm using Streamline on my current project ( http://www.streamlineicons.com/ ), and I'd recommend it over Iconic if you're looking for a commercial-grade icon solution - it's more expensive, but well worth it. 2 sizes, separate resources for filled vs outlined which are well thought out and involve more than just "filling in" the outline version. No SVG, but various vector formats which can easily be exported to SVG via batch tools. And they seem to really be into supporting and extending their product, every update has been free and I've been notified in a non-spammy way.

...and no, I'm not affiliated, I've just had a very pleasant experience working with their stuff, IMO for a commercial product it's well worth the investment.

Pxtl 4 days ago 1 reply      
I have to say, Chrome screaming and falling over and begging for mercy at the sight of their icon listing page doesn't really bode well.
aalpbalkan 4 days ago 2 replies      
Paying for icons? No thanks. I have http://fontawesome.io/
mtalantikite 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not a UX designer, but do you really want your icons to change detail based on display size, rather than have a uniformity in display across devices? Wouldn't that increase the burden on the user to memorize more icons that they have to potentially interact with?

I know the detail scales on the icons are subtle, but intuitively I'd think it might make a difference.

Can a UX designer can give their thoughts on that?

joshka 4 days ago 1 reply      
Stuff below the fold, but I can't scroll is a little annoying.
tehaaron 3 days ago 0 replies      
Lots of pessimism in this thread let me try to even it out a little.

I personally backed this when it was on Kickstarter for $35 and do not regret my decision. I have used FontAwesome in the past as well as a few other free alternatives. While the javascript-less-ness of FA is nice (Iconic has a webfont), the quality of the icons themselves and their level of customization comes no where near Iconic. Many people have mentioned the multiple colors on 1 icon but I haven't seen anyone talk about the ability to easily theme all icons with just a couple lines of css, which makes the multiple color thing more appealing.

Additionally, Iconic is available as Webfont and PNG if so desired. They are also working on a number of additional features that I find interesting (bottom of the features page https://useiconic.com/feature-index/), specifically ExtendScript for Illustrator and then generation via Grunt.

I am pleased with my $35 purchase and have no reservations about paying the $99 for a commercial license if it fits the project (like any icon set you choose!)...However, for those who haven't had a chance to try it I really wish there was a cheaper/free option for experimenting.

eliot_sykes 4 days ago 0 replies      
How is this different to the original Iconic from the same designer?


julianz 4 days ago 0 replies      
"accute" is surely a spelling mistake (it's in the classes that are applied to the arrows on the demo page). That would peeve me greatly.
erichurkman 4 days ago 0 replies      
The input fields are almost invisible on the 'buy' page.
kylnew 3 days ago 0 replies      
Kickstarter backer here. Funny how critical everyone is as though there is no demand for something like this. Well, over 2000 of us disagreed before iconic was even delivered.

I've used Fontawesome, I've used Entypo, I've used Weblays, I've used the original Iconic. I think that this offering is a step above than all of those, especially in the web category (I use them in mobile too).

The only mistake here is the licensing, which I hope will change. It was not clearly stated during the Kickstarter campaign, and is actually against my expectations (though it appears some in the comments section had discussed this).

IMO, it should be non-tiered and unlimited commercial use.That aside, wake up, this is useful.

brokenparser 3 days ago 0 replies      
They should've used something like stripe for the checkout, as there's a lack of payment options. Oh well, guess they don't want my money.
ssorallen 4 days ago 0 replies      
Requiring JavaScript to view icons seems like a major downside compared to competitors that are plain font files like Font Awesome. Now the client has to download and execute the JS before seeing what might be important UI cues.
betadreamer 4 days ago 2 replies      
The site is well made but I wont use this. As other mentioned, there are free options out there.

If the target audience is a startup, it has to have a free option.

boggzPit 4 days ago 1 reply      
I like how they expose details of an icon as CSS classes, well structured. I personally think its to expansive.

15-20$ would be okay.

andyhmltn 4 days ago 0 replies      
Weird. I got the homepage up fine but now I just get a 404 error after going to the tour page. Now if I go back I get the exact same page?
jayvanguard 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why is a $49 product front page HN material? I think a lot of people are clicking and upvoting thinking this open source.
sunraa 4 days ago 0 replies      
Forgive my ignorance ... What are the advantages of using icon systems such as Iconic & Fontawesome as opposed to using Unicode character codes. Maybe not all various icons are available in Unicode? And Unicode is geared towards language? thoughts?
CmonDev 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wish style was consistent: some icons have miniature details, while some are super-simplistic. Windows Modern GUI icons are the best imho.
Springtime 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've found the Entypo [1] collection to be a more useful set of icons for small sizes. The glyphs are well drawn and have a very consistent style throughout. Well worth a look.

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

aberrant 4 days ago 0 replies      
Our designer would consider it, if the visible license options were not so restricting. Rather than make it "Limited to 1 commercial project", they should add a reasonable license solution that allows a team to use it for many projects.
blablabla123 4 days ago 0 replies      
What about performance? How does it compare to, say, regular icons that are combined within a CSS Sprite?
ktzar 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why does it show a waveform for "audio spectrum". Spectrum has no negative values, but imaginary values (which I'm sure the author is not aware of and are not represented like that).
apunic 4 days ago 0 replies      
Slightly OT: 'the modern web' is native and mobile
jbeja 4 days ago 1 reply      
The scrolling in the website is chopy.
jheriko 4 days ago 2 replies      
interesting but you lost me on the home icon. '+' shaped window with a door preferably with chimney - the iconic image that most people recognise on sight as a house. not some weird triangle on a square with an inverted v on top which maybe kinda sort of indicates a roof... but why is it separate?

respect existing standards. innovate later.

harrystone 4 days ago 1 reply      
Accessibility would be cooler than auto sizing.
thenerdfiles 4 days ago 1 reply      
I love Iconic !
quickpost 3 days ago 0 replies      
awesome set.
globalpanic 3 days ago 0 replies      
License page is missing
dsernst 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is so cool.
F.lux updated justgetflux.com
548 points by glennericksen  2 days ago   247 comments top 57
suprgeek 2 days ago 6 replies      
"A healthy circadian rhythm depends on seeing bright light while youre awake, not just avoiding bright light before bed"

This statement cannot be emphasized enough. Especially for Hackers and other indoor/Desk bound folks, the amount of bright sunlight exposure is critically important for two reasons:

1) Sunlight is the "moderator" of our circadian Rhythm via Melatonin and other Neuro-chemicals

2) A large percentage of people are Vitamin-D deficient, more Sunlight (on skin) = greater chance of Combating this issue

Taken together, fixing these will resolve many issues..

Udo 2 days ago 1 reply      
I just realized for the first time that I'm apparently using F.lux differently from all other people. For me, it's about making the color palette more compatible with the lighting situation in the room. I'm not into all that circadian stuff at all.

I love the new features, but I'm not wild about the software calculating the "night-time-but-not-bedtime" duration for me. Though F.lux seems to go into the opposite direction, I would prefer more configurability not less - for example letting people set the transition times themselves and enabling them to have as many lighting modes as they want.

tlb 2 days ago 5 replies      
I'd happily pay $9.99 through the App store, if you guys ever want to monetize my grateful eyeballs.
bretthopper 2 days ago 11 replies      
f.lux was basically unusable in its previous version that was tied to sunset. In Toronto, for example, f.lux would start kicking in at 5pm in the winter which is no where near most people's bedtimes.

My solution was to continually disable it for an hour at a time until I had enough and uninstalled it. Happy to be able to try it out again.

lawnchair_larry 2 days ago 2 replies      
Hmm, I don't like this update. I don't want flux to be on my schedule. My schedule is bad - that's why I use flux. The point of it is to help regulate my own rhythm, not reinforce my bad habits.
pwthornton 2 days ago 2 replies      
You're crazy if you don't use flux. It's incredible. You'll sleep better, get less headaches and it helps with eye strain. My only regret is that I can't get it on every computing device I own.
chid 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm slightly confused, are there actually any useful updates to the Windows version or is this just for the mac?
dakrisht 2 days ago 4 replies      
One of the best utilities ever. What I would do to get this on iOS devices. And if you guys feel like monetizing, throw up a donation button I'm sure you'll have transactions ringing nonstop. Thanks for the amazing utility you've created - you help us work better and sleep better.
Kluny 2 days ago 2 replies      
I just witnessed proof that I NEED flux - I turned it off to download this update, and it felt like my eyeballs were stabbed with a blue knife. The difference was shocking. I don't know how I ever lived without it.
roryokane 1 day ago 0 replies      
The new version number is 26.0. Im noting this because when I first tried to install the program by overwriting the version in my Applications folder, it was still my old version (23) that ran for some reason. If you dont see any difference after installation, open About f.lux and make sure youre on version 26.0.
pcarmichael 2 days ago 2 replies      
I had the previous version installed on my mac, and kept seeing sporadic issues with my mouse cursor jumping a couple hundred pixels at once when moving it side to side. Finally disabled F.lux and the problem went away. Anyone know if the new release fixes that issue?
stereo 2 days ago 1 reply      
The worst part about updating Flux is that you have to quit the currently running version, with the white flash that hurts your eyes.
teddyknox 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's a new trend I've noticed recently in the software industry behind research driven development.. there's another link on the frontpage about reading software by a startup called Spritz http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/27/spritz-reading_n_48... that has somehow managed to get >300% improvement on reading speeds just by taking eye scroll out of the equation. I'm excited that we've reached the point where we've started questioning the fundamentals of our user interfaces, and I'm surprised how easy the switch over to this next-gen of design has been. I expected the process to resemble the painful switch from Querty to Dvorak, but it's been more creative than that.
zx2c4 2 days ago 2 replies      
Still closed source.

What a shame.

tobyjsullivan 2 days ago 4 replies      
I love the Darkroom feature. I think that'll have some surprisingly handy applications.

Edit: Unfortunately, it seems to completely break when my screensaver kicks in.

monkeynotes 2 days ago 3 replies      
I wish something similar could work on an iPad. I use my iPad before bed and it often impacts on my ability to sleep.
JetSpiegel 2 days ago 4 replies      
I love f.lux, but it's ironic that their page has a white background, blinding me coming from the Dark Hacker News [1].

[1] http://userstyles.org/styles/71155/georgify-dark-hacker-news

easy_rider 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am happy with Redshift, as with everyone else finding f.lux on Linux buggy. F.lux is missing the boat on a lot of developers I'm guessing :)Mac people don't work nights anyway, when Starbucks is closed, so I don't see the point..
Houshalter 2 days ago 3 replies      
I've been using f.lux for I think about a year. Honestly I think it's just a placebo and I haven't noticed any real effect. My sleep schedule is terrible. I just feel I should comment because all of the only people commenting are those that did benefit (or at least believe they did.) The comments are not an accurate survey of how many people really did see an effect.
state 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was just turned on to f.lux recently and I can't recommend it enough. I find the affects to be really noticeable and positive; working during the night is much less abrasive and I find the transition from screen to bed to be really smooth.

I love that something so simple can have such direct, physical ramifications.

Jugurtha 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to sleep in a room on the roof and leave the door open. The sun would be facing me just when it's up and I'd wake up early. It was great.

But even when I changed room, I didn't close curtains or something, so the sun would directly be in my face when it's up, and I'd wake up and start the day..

But a lot of the time, I'd be up before the sun going up (up by 4h30, work out, take a shower, eat breakfast (steak, eggs, half a liter of milk, some fruits) and start the day. I'd see people have low battery by 11h00 and I'd be throbbing with energy until the very last moments when I come home.

I drank a RedBull only once in my entire 26 years of existence, and it was only this year. I didn't like it.

scrumper 2 days ago 1 reply      
Love F.lux; congrats on the update. Has it fixed that nasty Mavericks multiple display bug that filled the console with thousands of these lines?

6/3/14 21:37:52.209 Flux[26626]: CGSGetSizeOfDisplayTransfer: Invalid display 0x0424e64d

robbiet480 2 days ago 1 reply      
Man, I was hoping that they would have added Hue support to Mac as well as Windows :(
kolev 2 days ago 0 replies      
I cannot live without F.lux on Mac and Twilight on Android. Can't wait for my orange shades to arrive as I have CFL lights in the kitchen, which I cannot remove and started to supplement with bioidentical melatonin recently. I've been using F.lux since it got released years ago, used Redshift on Ubuntu, and this release finally brings Windows features to Mac and I'm so happy! I've been ridiculed all this years for my reddish screen and most people ask: "What's wrong with your screen?" and they get, "No, what's wrong with yours?".
vanmount 2 days ago 1 reply      
I hope they're pushing the latest changes to their linux repo at some time. I love flux but all those nice Mac features make me jealous...
InclinedPlane 2 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't really "get" the purpose of flux for a while. I appreciated the sleep schedule reinforcement aspects of it but if you don't have a normal sleep schedule then it would seem to be less useful. That's always been the major selling point for f.lux forever, and it seemed so intrusive so I didn't use it.

However, I finally figured out the real reason for using it: white balance adjustment. The thing is, our eyes aren't just imaging sensors, they're active systems that continually adjust to ambient conditions. They do lots of things without us even thinking about it. One of the most important things they do is compensate for white balance. If you look at a white wall when the sun is shining on it during the height of daytime and if you look at the same wall during the middle of the night when it's illuminated by artificial light you will perceive it to be the same color in both instances. But in reality it's not, when lit by indoor lighting it's a very different color, but our eyes/vision system automatically adjust for the different spectrum of lighting.

The problem is that computer monitors throw a monkey wrench into this because they are independent light sources. White displayed during the day on a computer monitor is #FFFFFF, during the night it's still #FFFFFF, but this conflicts with the white balance of the environment. And that conflict causes eye strain and discomfort. At night looking at your monitor you might even perceive white to be slightly bluish, due to the conflicting white balance. By bringing the white balance of your display into harmony with the changing white balance of ambient lighting (as it transitions from natural to artificial) you get rid of a lot of those problems.

Hopefully with f.lux adding more configurability into their program they can make people more aware of these benefits regardless of sleep patterns.

derefr 2 days ago 1 reply      
I used, and enjoyed, f.lux for a few years. These days, though, I just recalibrate my OS color profile to something reddish and leave it there. Why should I want to look at blue light during the day?
meryn 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone else have trouble understanding (or "intuitively reading") the graph in the f.lux beta preferences? I discovered that's a kind of "ego-centric" graph. I mean ego-centric just like there once where earth-centric (and later) helio-centric models of the universe.

Because the graph is totally ego-centric, the graph starts when you wake up. I just can't wrap my head around that. In my mind, I wake up at a specific clock time, and the universe is configured in a certain way at this particular moment. In particular, the sun has a certain position in the sky. (interestingly, I use an earth-centric model in this regard).

What's (relatively) constant for me is how the sun moves through the sky (this depends on where you live on earth, plus time of year). Obviously, it's beyond my powers to change the time of year. I could change where I live on earth, but I'm not doing that very often. What's directly controlled by me is when I wake and go to bed... Why can't I change these positions on an otherwise static "map"?

I don't want to express the current year as relative to my life either. I.e. three periods: "the time I hadn't been born yet", "the time that I live", "the time beyond when I died". It's rather insane. Yes, we use Jesus date of birth as a reference point now, you could say that it's bad and we should count from a different epoch or so, but at least things are not expressed relative to my life.

elwell 2 days ago 0 replies      
The problem I had with flux is I couldn't keep my gamma settings on my displays. (windows + intel graphics driver software)
JeffL 2 days ago 1 reply      
These new features are only for the Mac version?
esMazer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know about any of the "sleep benefits" but as someone that works and enjoys being in front of computers 10+ hours a day, is great! As soon as I got it 3+ years ago my red-eye, eye-discomfort, dry-eye and strained-eye conditions disappeared! I can't use the computer without it (day or night)
stuaxo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Have they fixed the CPU issue?


I really like f.lux but I do seem to get weird problems on some machines, apart from the above problem I've experiences severe flicker on some machines, others are fine.

Achshar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can I have a shortcut for disabling for an hour? Or maybe toggle the setting when I doubleclick the tray icon in windows? That would be really cool, I use the toggle so often and single double- click/shortcut seem so much better than two clicks.
aidos 2 days ago 0 replies      
f.lux now shows you when the suns up

We need to get out more...

wiradikusuma 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is flux "compatible" for people with day job and doing side projects after hours? You want to be sleepy when it's time to sleep, but you don't want to be sleepy when you're working on your exit ticket from bigco.
Hydraulix989 2 days ago 1 reply      
What about Linux?

The "f.lux: F.A.Q." page only has a broken archive.org link. When I tried using xflux, it was consuming inordinate CPU cycles.

bobbles 2 days ago 1 reply      
Once you have tried it for a week or so, try using a different computer until the same time at night. Your eyes will be significantly more tired / drained.
baq 2 days ago 0 replies      
why the topic doesn't mention is just for the mac?
lightblade 2 days ago 0 replies      

Now I want a Smart Things[1] integration with this.

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

MrBlue 2 days ago 1 reply      
F.lux never worked for me. (Ubuntu 12.04) Cool idea though.
rjzzleep 2 days ago 1 reply      
herf, i've been trying to find some info on this, but can you tell us why the default color settings changed so much? (recommended colors, vs. classic flux)
duochrome 2 days ago 0 replies      
A releated question:

I need to adjust the brightness a few times every day just to match the ambient light.

Are there any better solutions?

I don't use the laptop display as the watching angle is not healthy. I use dell displays.

dfc 2 days ago 0 replies      
What features does f.lux have that are not in redshift?
disbelief 2 days ago 0 replies      
> Disable until sunrise

Thank you F.lux! The one feature I really hoped you'd add.

vincentmilliken 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone know if they have added support for a second monitor for Mac?

Last time I checked it only worked for one of my monitors on my MBP, would be great to start using this again.

gtklocker 2 days ago 1 reply      
Good to see the HTTPS site/download working. Now if only we had GPG signatures for this.
john2x 2 days ago 1 reply      
Still no option to remove the icon from the menu?
marcoagner 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, I've JUST downloaded F.lux on my computer.Came here to read Hacker News and this is on the top.Oh, HN... haha
sizzle 2 days ago 3 replies      
can we please, PLEASE have an android port of F.lux. All the other apps make my phone erratic and lag, or flash the unfiltered screen at random intervals which is binding at night.

I would gladly pay for this!

motyar 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is the only app I have to jailbreak my iPhone and iPodtouch.
sizzle 2 days ago 0 replies      
so if I'm working in a room with daylight temp. bulbs past midnight, should I avoid F.lux?
sizzle 2 days ago 0 replies      
*blinding at night.

how is twilight?

imperialdrive 2 days ago 1 reply      
huge fan of f.lux - couldn't work without it - I actually switched from iOS to Android over the want for this single app!
aroch 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, finally!
RivieraKid 2 days ago 2 replies      
Android pls.
covi 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is f.lux good for my eyes?
math0ne 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is this stuff mac only?
Stripe Checkout stripe.com
511 points by strzalek  3 days ago   208 comments top 69
patio11 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is a really bright idea, in that almost all companies do an absolutely bloody abysmal job of implementing their checkout flow. The median testing budget for it is generally zero, unless you scope the population to "large, savvy ecommerce providers." I love the idea of being able to basically take advantage of the herd effect for optimization, and clearly there are non-linear advantages to the Stripe ecosystem, because getting credential/CC pairs into the system most probably increases systemwide spend on them and that is how both merchants and Stripe make their money.

I'm probably going to try this in Bingo Card Creator in an A/B test against my existing purchase flow at some point. I'll be honest: the likelihood of the average English teacher knowing Stripe does give me a bit of pause with regards to the UX and the prospects of my VA having to answer a lot of "Who is Stripe and why are you telling them my credit card number? Did your Googles get a virus?" emails. Still, seems like it is worth testing. Worse comes to worse, all you do is go back to the pre-existing checkout flow, like whatever Stripe.js integration you're using right now, and then you have full control over the experience.

I have seen and supervised successful redesigns of purchase experiences before. They print money. BCC got a 60% or so lift in purchases using a Stripe-powered checkout back in the day, after some hillclimbing, discovery of synergistic effects, and burning the kinks out of my integration. I think there's likely motivational numbers hiding in a lot of your businesses. You should absolutely be testing them on a regular basis yourselves, but this seems to be a decent stab at a way of doing testing without requiring focus/bandwidth or major traffic [+], which are two major reasons people give me for not testing.

[+] I have noticed many people suggesting "You could do per-account multivariate testing on e.g. whether the Remember Me button is a win or not", and feel obligated to point out "That will probably only work for accounts which are doing, minimally, thousands of transactions a month." The great thing about this is that if you've got only 2k visits a month and 40 purchases if we assume that systemwide performance is a good proxy for your performance (and n.b. that's an assumption which is tractable to measurement) then we can still get solid test results by using the other millions of visitors and hundreds of thousands of transactions flowing through the system every $PERIOD.

dirtae 3 days ago 7 replies      
Stripe Checkout is nice, but unfortunately it's not suitable for us, since the "Remember me" checkbox cannot be hidden.

"Remember me" is confusing for users. What is being remembered? By whom? When you're dealing with users who may already be concerned about whether it's secure to enter their credit card number into your website, I feel like the "Remember me" box is just adding another layer of confusion and concern.

I'm surprised that the "Remember me" checkbox can't be hidden, given how focused on their customers Stripe normally is. The "Remember me" checkbox feels like something Stripe is pushing on me to help them with their business objectives, which isn't the vibe I usually get when dealing with Stripe.

toddmorey 3 days ago 3 replies      
The demo of checkout available at https://stripe.com/checkout uses a canvas element for the demo animation. It's a really well done walkthrough. Was it entirely custom-coded or done using a framework / tool to help?
jeff18 3 days ago 1 reply      
We've been using Stripe Checkout at Humble Bundle for quite a while and it has been awesome. It is really easy to set up and once a customer has used it, it's incredibly easy to checkout in the future. Every couple weeks I hear about a new A/B test that is running to try to make it even better.
pbiggar 3 days ago 1 reply      
At CircleCI, we've been using Stripe Checkout for quite a while. It was increadibly easy to set up and very high quality (we replaced a hacky ugly checkout page with it), and it looks really professional. That professionalism is really important at the final stage of the funnel.

One of the things that's really interesting about Checkout is that Stripe is actively focusing on increasing the conversion rate for us. Their new layout (with the phone number) has a 20% high conversion rate than the previous version.

subsection1h 3 days ago 1 reply      
> We've been testing this for the past couple of monthsour hypothesis was that it would increase conversion ratesand we're delighted that it has been confirmed.

pc, do you know if the conversion rates increased for the majority of the subscription-based sites that you monitored?

Our company has a subscription-based service that uses Stripe Checkout, and some of our customers have expressed confusion regarding the "Remember me" feature. Even the CEO of our company expressed confusion initially, and he requested that I ask Stripe for the option of hiding the "Remember me" field.

From their perspective, there's no reason why their payment information should be remembered because they have no reason to enter their payment information again in the future since our service is subscription-based.

I think the "Remember me" feature would be less confusing at an e-commerce site where customers may make additional purchases in the future.

Also, we'd like to be able to hide the customer's email address in Stripe Checkout, not just disable the email address field.

So essentially, we want the old Stripe Checkout that only requested payment information.

mikeg8 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hot damn. The design and experience I felt from this page is overwhelmingly great. I've always loved stripe's design and they continue to blow me away. Really excited to activate our account any day now.
saluki 3 days ago 1 reply      
First off I'm a huge stripe fan I recommend them to clients daily.

I contacted stripe about an option to disable remember me on an existing stripe checkout form at the request of a client.

I was very surprised stripe said that wasn't going to be an option. They said we tested it and it will increase your conversions so it's not going to be optional.

Not very stripe like at all. I can understand it being on by default to move things toward their business goals. And it even looks like a nice feature.

But for it to be required doesn't seem friendly.

Being developer focused I would expect stripe would appreciate having control over the look and feel of your checkout process.

I'd like to hear an explanation of the issue it would cause stripe if it was on by default but they provided a flag to turn it off like some of the other checkout fields.

Thanks again for a great product.

nhangen 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting move by Stripe, and I guess it explains why WePay and Balanced choose to focus on the API and not their d2c offerings.

With the 'remember me' feature, Stripe has chosen to impede upon the territory of their developers, which greatly concerns me.

I love their product, but one of the reasons I choose to use them is because of the options that their API provides. Is this a back-end play to eventually cut out developers, or is it designed to help them sell more product? I'm sure Stripe staffers will say that it's the latter, but if that's the case, who is the primary customer for this offering?

Pitic 3 days ago 0 replies      
TL;DR: +1 on making the "Remember me" checkbox optional.

I'll try to offer a slight variation on what others have already mentioned regarding checkout. Like many of them I find Stripe to be very well thought out and easy to implement.As far as Checkout goes, the idea is great but it might need some updates in order to make it more useful to a wider audience.As other mentioned, the "Remember me" function was enough for me to not use Checkout. It is confusing, perhaps because it introduces a mental shift in the user's mind, where out of a sudden they need to understand how this other company "Stripe" will magically keep their info across devices. A way to hide that field wouldn't harm anyone (other than Stripe's ability to do branding).It would also be nice to allow style customization of the form.

downandout 3 days ago 1 reply      
Now if they only did same/next day payouts. The founder once said this was possible if you emailed him. I emailed him and got zero response, from him or anyone else, so I'm guessing they are only doing this for super high volume merchants.
tlogan 3 days ago 0 replies      
May I ask a honest question: why did you add email and remember me? It looks something like VCs will suggest. This makes me no to trust Stripe as platform.

Somebody smart said: the incumbent are wounded by the first disruptor and that disruptor eventually becomes the same as the incumbent and, then, both are killed by the real disruptor.

PandaChi 3 days ago 1 reply      
We set it up over here @Patreon and it was EZPZ. One issue that wasn't clear from the documentation -- the "custom" setup (https://stripe.com/docs/checkout#integration-custom) is preferable for so many reasons (and it's no harder to setup, not sure why it's not just the only option) -- it doesn't "take over" the form so that a credit card is required on submit and it also returns a bunch more relevant info like the last 4 digits of the credit card, the expiration date, etc. so you can save and display the card info for future checkouts.
analog31 3 days ago 1 reply      
Ask HN: I run a tiny home business making widgets. My web page, including order form, is pure HTML.

From what I can tell (looking at page source for the Watsi example), at the very least in order to use Stripe, I have to add some JavaScript to my web page, and of course test it.

Granted, that shouldn't be a big problem for a skilled web developer, but I'm not one.

Am I understanding it right?

reillyse 3 days ago 0 replies      
So couple of comments on stripe checkout.

2 big issues.

First off, the entering of email addresses and remember me stuff is confusing for my customers. We sign up people for a free trial and take their credit card details before we sign them up as users. Even quite technical people have dropped out of the flow after signing in with stripe thinking "I've given them my email" and so people haven't properly finished the signup process because of this (I'm guessing I can probably get this email, however I'd still need to prompt them for a password).

The second big issue is that the constant changing of the form kept breaking various integration/acceptance tests that I had written. This was pretty frustrating as it seemed that I would get a different box from time to time and my tests would start failing.

I get the desire to A/B test, and the desire to build a network of users who have already given their credit card details (obviously amazing for mobile) but it would be nice for us customers if we had a flag where we could switch it off.

rs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Have been using Checkout on https://deployer.vc and https://zoned.io - it's absolutely excellent: very easy to integrate, and looks really good. Will be switching over the other products as well over from PayPal.
dcaunt 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is seriously awesome!

I don't want to detract, but it's a shame that your https://stripe.com/checkout page isn't optimised for mobile. I wanted to have a look at the demo on my phone as well as on my desktop.

colinprince 3 days ago 0 replies      
Killer detail "donate to Watsi"

Well played.

elithrar 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm particularly happy that iOS Chrome is now a "first class citizen". There were some shaky times before where it (provided you saved your form) showed the mobile view that Safari gets; then where it failed completely (with a JS alert()); where it showed the desktop modal (okay, but a bit janky) and finally where it had a made-for-mobile modal.

I'm a big fan of Checkout otherwise: it's definitely simplified things for me. I'd just like to see more communication regarding changes: I discovered most of those myself from my staging site.

slowernet 3 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone know if they are they using an open source tool to run the intro animation? Can't tell from the minified source.
kailuowang 3 days ago 3 replies      
From your video, I noticed that on a smart phone, you authenticate user by sending a code through text. Isn't that redundant? Whoever has that phone will get that text..
ajju 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very interesting. Since Checkout brings in an element of the developer contributing a user to Stripe via 'remember me', I'd love to know the tradeoff here.

What is the probability today, that when a user of my app hits Checkout, they will already have a credit card saved which makes signup faster?

jusben1369 3 days ago 1 reply      
PC is this cross merchant? That is, if one end user of a Stripe merchant stores their card and then that same end user visits another Stripe merchant are they remembered? I see "Stripe stores your card for this site and others" or wording like that.
corkill 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can this UI/checkout be used for updating CC info as well?
bliti 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does this replace gumroad (and services alike)?
yahelc 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using Stripe Checkout now for a few months now, and besides the lack of built-in support for coupon codes, it's pretty perfect.
RafiqM 3 days ago 1 reply      
Checkout is a great way to get started fast (like, in <15 mins).

Multilingual support would be great, and also a more customer friendly interface for those who might not be familiar with things like CVCs. Those two things are reasons I had to stop using checkout and use stripe.js instead.

chenster 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice, Checkout is great for Ad-hoc payment. I'm using WordPress Easy Digital Download plugin that already has Stripe support. EDD automatically creates user account, and tracks usages, and sends confirmation and download emails to buyers.
snake_plissken 3 days ago 1 reply      
I still don't completely understand how Stripe can be so cheap. How do they pass charges onto payment processors without incurring some sort of fee that is not equal to the market rate for all other transactions? Is there some sort of fee scale on the processor side that decreases as the transaction amount increases?
quaffapint 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looking back at my sales, too many customers use Paypal to simply go to Stripe only.

I wish someone would make something that is as easy to use as Stripe but also offers Paypal. The few I've seen are still everything and the kitchen sink, not just a simple stripe + paypal combo.

steerj92 3 days ago 0 replies      
Stripe Checkout is amazing. Used it for a few months and it's worked extremely well. Glad they are constantly updating it. Looks even better than it did before.
rmccue 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not a fan of the payment input in a separate window, although I'm not sure if that's just a browser quirk on my end. Much preferred the old modal dialog on the same page.
ruok0101 3 days ago 0 replies      
We use Stripe checkout at http://leaddyno.com for subscription signups using the custom integration features of the checkout widget. We also use it in our app for customers to update their billing information. Its great they made such an awesome widget and ALSO made it very easy to customize and integrate programmatically! We love it!
nakodari 3 days ago 1 reply      
The checkout on mobile app looks great. Too bad this cannot be used to unlock functionality in the app after payment, it will be rejected by Apple.
giulianob 3 days ago 2 replies      
I really want to use Stripe but it would be great if they had a more favorable pricing structure for microtransactions. Paypal, for example, will charge 5%+$0.05 or 2.9%+$0.30 (whichever is lowest) for digital goods transactions.
Lightbody 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is this different than "regular Stripe"? I watched the quick demo and I thought that was what Stripe has been doing for a while now?
kaa2102 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am getting ready to launch a product. I was using Wepay until they eliminated their checkout form. Switched to Stripe, read up on the API, and implemented the form. Now you tell me their is a simple checkout widget available. Sigh.
blantonl 3 days ago 0 replies      
Carl Icahn's "request" to spin Paypal out of Ebay is probably looking better with this announcement.

Paypal really needs a new leadership team that promotes innovation. Stripe is cleaning up, and I'm about to take a lot of business to Stripe...

thebiglebrewski 3 days ago 0 replies      
I use Stripe Checkout at postperfect.co. The only thing I really wish it could handle was a discount code implementation, which I had to do myself unfortunately.
ROFISH 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is there a method of inserting the address if it's already known? (Such as saved customer data or another form element?)
aslakhellesoy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Stripe checkout is great, but I really miss the ability to add custom fields to the form, such as VAT number and Company name.

I realise that allowing to add a whole bunch of fields can hamper usability, but I have to collect the VAT number in order to figure out how much to charge the customer.

Does anyone have a recommendation about what to do here? Roll our own form and lose all the nice stuff from Stripe Checkout?Display a new form for VAT after displaying checkout, and charge after that?

tindrlabs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Now I'd just love for you all to make capable of having products attached to it and operate like a shopping cart ;) -- But seriously your designs look so good, I'd actually want that.
BvS 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does this work internationally (eg international phone numbers + translated explanation)?
chuckouellet 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you need a more advanced shopping cart, there is Snipcart that can connect to Stripe, https://snipcart.com

The cart is fully responsive so it works on mobile as well!

I am one of the founders, let me know if you have any questions.

scott_karana 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like a Humble Bundle 12 is inbound soon, based on their screenshot! :)
return0 3 days ago 1 reply      
How about taking a photo of the credit card and using OCR to fill up the form?
akumen 3 days ago 2 replies      
How's Stripe for SaaS billing of multiple plans with option to pay on a monthly, quaterly and annual basis with appropriate discounts?
vassvdm 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hey pc, do you plan to add escrow to Stripe Checkout at some point?
koa 3 days ago 0 replies      

I love the UX for the stripe checkout. It seems like the integration script creates a full page iframe allowing the widget to have full control over the UX. Is there any guide to building a similar full page iframe widget for other applications?

scurvy 3 days ago 0 replies      
While this is admirable, it flies in the face of security-based UX. For years we've taught people to only send sensitive information over SSL, and to look for the lock, green bar, etc.

Now you're asking people to blindly punch information into a box and hit send?

grimmfang 3 days ago 0 replies      
I know it's been said but this is a absolute masterpiece. Thank you for inspiration Stripe.
x13 3 days ago 0 replies      
Stripe is pretty sweet, and we're in their beta to receive funds in two days. Any idea how they actually do this? Two is certainly faster that the normal seven days, and I'd love any insight or theories from the HN community.
dmjio 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you put $0.00 as the amount it changes the button text to say "add card"
piratebroadcast 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can this form be used for recurring billing situations? Like $1.99 a month?
hoprocker 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome. Kind of like an embeddable software Square. Bravo.
benmcnelly 3 days ago 0 replies      
My name being Ben and a stripe, dribble & humble bundle user, I had to open in an incognito window to double check that it wasn't scraping my name somehow..
chenster 3 days ago 2 replies      
I suppose your site still needs to have SSL in order to use Checkout?
betadreamer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Love the design and simple integration.

Would be exciting to see a shopping cart / coupon features some time in the future.

useraccount 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think Stripe just ate Gumroad's lunch.
badgercapital 3 days ago 0 replies      
Stripe is awesome. We use stripe on VidFall.com... our alpha launch is on 3/10, would love to see you there.
igotwater 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know if there is a similar API that would allow people to send money to other people?
castlegrove 3 days ago 0 replies      
Released just as I finish our custom checkout process...but hey, I'm glad to see it!
higherpurpose 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is there a Stripe plugin for this for Woocommerce themes?
higherpurpose 3 days ago 0 replies      
When is Stripe coming to the whole EU?
pyrrhotech 3 days ago 0 replies      
how does this differ from V.me by Visa?
api 3 days ago 0 replies      
This has existed for a while, and I'm using it on my site. Didn't know it was "beta." Works great. (Still in test mode though, have not yet exited beta so I'm not taking anyone's money yet.)
AliAdams 3 days ago 0 replies      
I dont get it - Why is this different from stripe.js ?
notastartup 3 days ago 1 reply      
so how do I integrate this to my website ? I am currently using https://www.paymentiframe.com/ because the form looks really nice like a credit card form.
el_guapo 3 days ago 1 reply      
too bad you can't dynamically change the price in the form.
DigitalOcean Raises $37.2M From Andreessen Horowitz to Take on AWS techcrunch.com
390 points by beigeotter  3 days ago   281 comments top 38
bananas 2 days ago 14 replies      
Adding to the commentary on here with something not so gushing:

* kernels lag terribly behind the distributions meaning you're wide open sometimes.

* can't resize or add storage

* no freebsd support or custom kernels

* VM availability problems. If you want to have another box, you aren't guaranteed to get one.

* no IPv6

* somewhat shonky security reputation.

* cant deliver to yahoo mail from their AMS2 IPs I've been given even after filling in numerous forms at yahoo.

Apart from that, they're the best hosts out there. I pick them over Linode, Hetzner and EC2 but not colo. Even at the price point they're at.

HorizonXP 2 days ago 4 replies      
I really like these guys. It's really no-nonsense hosting, which as a developer, is exactly what I need.

I've been (stupidly) running my website, VPN, and e-mail servers all on a single EC2 instance, mostly because I had a bunch of AWS credits. I got some Google Cloud credits, so decided to move it there. I then realized that I'm spending $60 a month on a single instance, which despite having "free" money, is stupid.

I split everything up into Docker containers, and run them on Droplets now. Sure, I pay $5/month now for each server, but that's fine. One of the e-mail servers is for my wedding; I'll turn it off when I don't need it anymore. The interface for bringing up new Droplets is simple and clean, and lets me do exactly what I need to, no more and no less.

If you look at AWS or Google Cloud, there are so many available services that it can be daunting to get simple things going. I mean, it's not that bad, but once you've seen DO's interface, you realize how unnecessary a lot of it is.

I would still likely use AWS/GC for cases where I need to respond to changing load needs, which incidentally, is exactly what you're supposed to use it for. A DO + AWS hybrid infrastructure would be most ideal IMHO.

tshtf 2 days ago 1 reply      
Broken DigitalOcean promises:

IPv6 in Q4 2012: https://www.digitalocean.com/community/questions/is-ipv6-ava...

Ability to boot own kernel ("2-3 weeks from Feb 2013"): https://digitalocean.uservoice.com/forums/136585-digital-oce...

spindritf 2 days ago 2 replies      
First, its cheap.

Second, it's integrated. Which, to me at least, feels much more natural than AWS where you rent a virtual server, and then a database separately, persistent storage separately... Because it's integrated, it's also simple.

And they have a datacentre* in Amsterdam. Even two of them, right in the heart of the European Internet. That means latency to their servers is not noticeable in much of the EU.

* Yes, yes, probably more like a cage or whatever they rent.

blhack 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've said many, many times that the best thing you can do as a budding dev is to spin up a VPS somewhere and start hacking.

A while ago, I started giving out VPSs to friends of mine to get them to stop making excuses about why they can't code.

Digital ocean, at $5/mo, has made this really easy :)

lallysingh 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a (moderately [1]) happy customer. But I have to ask, isn't this industry slowly turning into just virtualized hardware leasing? After the management tools commoditize, and I think there's a solid risk of that, isn't it just price and DC-location that differentiate?

And in that vein, wouldn't the winner in each area just be the one who bought their hardware the most recently? Instructions/dollar are still increasing on each CPU generation, but it'll take more than one generation for each machine to pay itself off. So, whoever is closest to the current generation pays the least per instruction, and can charge the least.

Or, maybe it's memory/bandwidth, which are mostly commodity, but slightly bottlenecked by the hardware (e.g, max on a motherboard, NIC throughput). Maybe the combination of prices in cpu, memory, and bandwidth leave enough variation between competitors to keep the field a little open? I donno.

[1] Modulo concerns about their ssh key management. I haven't looked after the last news ping on it.

sneak 2 days ago 3 replies      
DigitalOcean are dishonest with their customers. It's sad to see such a reputable firm throw in with people known to be liars.
checker659 2 days ago 2 replies      
DigitalOcean banned me because I was using their server to fetch chromium's source code so that I could git-bundle/rsync it's 12 GB mammoth of a repo and download it to the third-world country that I live in (my network connection is really bad even though it's the best money can buy). Apparently I violated their TOS. As long as they limit their TOS to such narrow purposes as hosting a wordpress site or doing straight-forward things, I don't think they'll get too far. With AWS, amazon doesn't care if I spawn out a 1000 node render farm, as long as I'm paying, it's all fair game.

Good luck anyways.

z92 2 days ago 2 replies      
I am running these services in a $5/month DO droplet: dns [named], ntpd, httpd [apache], smtp [postfix], imap [dovecot], webmail [roundcube], vpn [pptpd]. It's taking 350MB off 500MB RAM.

Now after adding getmail to back up gmail I am now wondering what more I can do with it.

nissimk 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you can scale your system using only 0.5 GB per node, you get more cpu per dollar since the 5$ and 10$ levels both have 1 cpu. Higher levels seem to be multiples of the 10$ level. Does anyone have experience with this in a production system with a lot of users? Are there horizontally scalable database systems that work well on many nodes with only 512MB each?
da_n 2 days ago 0 replies      
Despite generally rock-solid performance and uptime, I had a bad experience with DO recently. After experiencing repeated hardware failures on a node (with lots of downtime), I followed the advise of their support and did a snapshot and destroy of the failing droplet and immediately attempted to create a new one from the snapshot. It failed to build. I then tried to build again from the automated backup they create when a droplet is destroyed, this also failed. Support just did not seem to understand the issue I was having, I kept getting canned responses about doing a snapshot then building a new droplet from the image, so I gave up.

The entire site had to be created again from backups on a different VPS provider. Surely their system should be able to migrate any droplets off failing nodes automatically, I mean hardware failures happen right?

dmunoz 2 days ago 1 reply      
Only tangentially related, but when did DigitalOcean redesign their website?

I think my initial dislike is due to it being changed, but there are tons of minor usability issues that I never noticed on their old website.

I'm happy to see a view for new articles in the tutorials database [0], but at the moment it doesn't make any sense. When I hit it just now, an article from 11 minutes ago is above an article from 1 minute ago. Not only that, an article on the 52nd page says "less than a minute ago". From clicking around, it seems like some process has touched every article recently and all those times, and how they are sorted, are meaningless. Also, at the moment the new and tending view gives the exact same outcome, at least for the first page.

[0] https://www.digitalocean.com/community/articles

aalpbalkan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Classic TC title "to Take on AWS"... Don't make me laugh buddy. AWS is probably more than 1,000+ people operation with 30 different products and a marketplace, support and ops teams. DigitalOcean is purely a VM seller with no cloud or storage features.
whalesalad 2 days ago 1 reply      
Mark my words these guys are gonna be huge. Sure they are lacking in a lot of areas (like bananas mentions) but thats why you get VC funding and hire a badass like Jeff Lindsay (http://progrium.com)

I'm really excited to see these dudes take on AWS with a higher-level and more performant platform.

timdorr 2 days ago 2 replies      
$37.2m on a $153m post? That's a pretty big chunk of the company to give up. Looks like A16Z is going big on these guys. They're awesome, so that's great news!
erbo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I moved my personal Web hosting from another provider to DO a couple of months ago. I'm spending the same amount I was paying the other provider, and I'm getting a hell of a lot more for my money. (I have two droplets running right now, one with my Web server and mail, one running some network services...and I have plenty of capacity on both to do more.) Plus, since it's an actual VPS as opposed to shared hosting, I have more control over it. I'm kicking myself for not having made the jump earlier.
samwillis 2 days ago 3 replies      
I would love to see DO or Linode do a S3 type service as well. I prefer the persistent virtualization of DO and Linode to EC2 but also want to use a nice quick persistent file store that isn't on my own slice.

I could just use S3 from Linode but that would result more paid bandwidth and increased latency.

jmngomes 2 days ago 2 replies      
"The company is also working on IPv6, load balancing and eventually storage."

Looking at the feedback from their user base, and even rom my own experience, different storage options would be way more useful than IPv6 or even load balancing.

pyrocat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe they could spend some of it on hiring a better marketing team. Holy shit those youtube ads are terrible.
zerop 2 days ago 5 replies      
I use linode and was drawing comparisons between two:1. 8 cores on linode is what binds me to it. Linode rules here2. Digital ocean is cheaper than linode3. More Network transfer in linode (minimum 2TB)4. Digital ocean offers more RAM5. Private network - Does not exist on Linode. Shame. DO Rules..

What else...

hiphopyo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Love DigitalOcean. Sorta sad they still don't offer OpenBSD though.

OpenBSD -- the world's simplest and most secure Unix-like OS. Creator of the world's most used SSH implementation OpenSSH, the world's most elegant firewall PF, and the world's most elegant mail server OpenSMTPD. OpenBSD -- the cleanest kernel, the cleanest userland and the cleanest configuration syntax.


ilaksh 2 days ago 2 replies      
Its simple. It costs half as much as equivalent providers for their VPS. Or less than half in the case of AWS. And it actually works even though its so cheap. No matter how rich you are it just doesnt make sense to pay double or triple.

The question is, do you really make money on $5 a month servers? I don't know if they actually are. The costs are for support people and now large numbers of engineers.

The thing is with that much funding it doesn't really matter if their income is greater than expenses. They can continue for at least another few years regardless. During that time sane people who just need a VPS will take advantage of it.

My recommendation for DO's business model is simply to set a precedent and make it a policy that if you pay only $5 then you don't get any kind of free support. That is the only real cost that sticks. So I suggest having a few different monthly support options available starting at zero support for $0 and up. That is the main business issue a provider like this has is the conflict between the desire to provide good support and the need to keep unit costs low. And the solution is to separate support out. The main challenge to doing that is sort of a cultural/expectations/marketing issue.

morganherlocker 2 days ago 0 replies      
While not suitable for production operations, my go to has been a random one man vps shop. I have used him for years, because it is the cheapest plan I have seen. I pay $20/year per server, which makes it an easy decision to add another one whenever an idea comes up.
ksec 2 days ago 0 replies      
Let's hope DO finally get their act together.

No Pooled BandwidthNetworking and Route, as well as capacity need some work. Linode is much better in this regards.No Custom KernelsIPs Problem. Still no deploy to different physical hardware by default.No Private Networking on most of its DC.

And possibly many other small things i didn't mention. To me most of those are deal breaker. And my problems with them is that are not fixing or improving these problem quickly enough.

While Linode's SSD are quickly approaching, and has none of those drawbacks.

AznHisoka 2 days ago 1 reply      
No matter where I go, the prices don't get any better than they do in OVH. A 240 GB SSD (2 X 120), quad core, 32 GB RAM, unlimited bandwidth for just $60/month?
blueskin_ 2 days ago 2 replies      
Do they have IPv6 yet?

What about actual security too?

Maybe they'll stop the censorship if they want to be a real VPS player? (https://vpsexperience.wordpress.com/)

Oh, and I wish they'd use real industry terms, not stuff like 'Droplet'. That's just stupid.

Right now, anyone at all who aren't GoDaddy or Network Solutions are better than Digital Ocean. You get what you pay for (AWS excepted, who are price gouging).

Full disclosure: Happy Linode customer.

instakill 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using DO for about a year, and I've been mostly happy with it but that's because the project I run http://www.mybema.com doesn't receive as much traffic or active users as I'd like it to. DO has gone down far too many times in the last year for me to be able to be completely confident in them with a 100x userbase.
dharma1 2 days ago 0 replies      
took me 3 hours today to do a power cycle (reboot)

vs 2 minutes on linode

recmend 2 days ago 2 replies      
We run our infrastructure on both AWS and DigitalOcean.1) DO consistently beats the price performance. 2) DO has simple pricing model --> No ondemand / reserved instances3) AWS is more feature rich but DO continues to add new functionalities like private networking and new data centers
gregpilling 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am reading Ben Horowitz's book, and it is interesting to me that they made an investment into the same field as LoudCloud 15 years ago. Maybe they were just before their time.
viana007 2 days ago 0 replies      
"The company is also working on IPv6, load balancing and eventually storage."A simple solution for load balancing and auto-scale will be amazing :)
bowlofpetunias 2 days ago 0 replies      
AWS is a cloud service provider with a huge ecosystem of services. Digital Ocean is a VPS provider.

It's like comparing a harddisk manufacturer to Apple.

Even EC2 is barely an overlap, since EC2 is a computation unit in the convenient form of a (very ephemeral) virtual server, not the virtual equivalent of an actual, permanent server. (And you're going to be in a world of hurt if you use them like that.)

puppetmaster3 2 days ago 1 reply      
I use them for remote DC's (assia, EU, etc.) at $5 each.

Only their billing is a hot mess, mostly because they think it works and their customers are wrongly entering the CC #. For 4 months now, same problem and they have off-shore support that reads scripted answers. They just read the closest answer related to billing.

thezach 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like AWS, and this is good for me - because competition is good for the customer.
arca_vorago 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've been using DO for about 5 months now, and love it. I still host my main websites other places (dreamhost, who, despite some issues, has been consistent in improvement, and is fair in prices), and I use DO for stuff like mumble servers, a few games, as a ssh proxy from less secure locations, and as some as a shared shell with friends for various skullduggery and fun. Very impressed with DO's service and price, but even more so ease of use.

My main issue is that I would like a hardening script, instead of having to go through each new one I spin up and lock it down.

fareesh 2 days ago 0 replies      
DO is great - I just wish features like adding extra disk space and monitoring bandwidth usage were here sooner.
gidgreen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Digital Ocean does pretty well on price/performance at www.cloudlook.com (disclaimer: my site)
ForFreedom 2 days ago 0 replies      
In one line how is DO?
Introducing the mozjpeg Project mozilla.org
383 points by joshmoz  3 days ago   128 comments top 27
pavlov 3 days ago 7 replies      
Bravo. I love JPEG. Amazing that it's been 23 years since its release and it remains as useful as ever.

I remember what it was like to watch a 320*200 JPEG image slowly build up on a 386SX PC with a VGA card. Today, a HD frame compressed with JPEG can be decoded in milliseconds. This highlights the secret to JPEG's success: it was designed with enough foresight and a sufficiently well-bounded scope that it keeps hitting a sweet spot between computing power and bandwidth.

Did you know that most browsers support JPEG video streaming using a plain old <img> tag? It works also on iOS and Android, but not IE unfortunately.

It's triggered by the "multipart/x-mixed-replace" content type header [0]. The HTTP server leaves the connection open after sending the first image, and then simply writes new images as they come in like it were a multipart file download. A compliant browser will update the image element's contents in place.

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIME#Mixed-Replace

billyhoffman 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is very promising. Images by far dominate a web page, both in number of requests and total number of bytes sent [1]. Optimizing image size by even 5-10% can have a real effect on bandwidth consumption and page load times.

JPEG optimization using open source tools is an area that really needs focus.

There are a number of lossless JPEG optimization tools, but most are focused on stripping non-graphical data out of the file, or converting the image to a progressive JPEG (since progressive JPEG's have rearrange pixel data you can sometimes get better compression since there may be more redundancy in the rearranged data). Short of exceptional cases where you can remove massive amount of metadata (Adobe products regular stick embedded thumbnails and the entire "undo" history for an image) lossless optimization usually only reduces file size by 5-15%.

Lossy JPEG optimization has much more potential. Unfortunately, beyond proprietary encoders, the most common lossy JPEG optimization exclusively is to reduce the JPEG quality. This always felt like killing flies with a tank, so advances in this area would be awesome.

I've written extensively about Lossy optimization for JPEGs and PNG, and spoke about it at the Velocity conference. A post and my slides are available[2].

[1] - http://httparchive.org/trends.php

[2] - http://zoompf.com/blog/2013/05/achieving-better-image-optimi...

IvyMike 3 days ago 4 replies      
JPEG has shown amazingly good staying power. I would have assumed "JPEG is woefully old and easy to beat" but Charles Bloom did a good series of blog posts looking at it, and my (non-expert and probably hopelessly naive) takeaway is that JPEG still holds its own for a 20+ year old format.


csense 3 days ago 0 replies      
For improving general-purpose gzip / zlib compression, there is the Zopfli project [1] [2]. It also has (alpha quality) code for PNG file format; since this functionality wasn't originally included, there are also third-party projects [3].

You might be able to shave a percent or so off the download size of compressed assets.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5316595

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5301688

[3] https://github.com/subzey/zopfli-png

derefr 3 days ago 3 replies      
Now if only they'd do a mozpng.

(For context: libpng is a "purposefully-minimal reference implementation" that avoids features such as, e.g., Animated PNG decoding. And yet libpng is the library used by Firefox, Chrome, etc., because it's the one implementation with a big standards body behind it. Yet, if Mozilla just forked libpng, their version would instantly have way more developer-eyes on it than the source...)

CookWithMe 3 days ago 1 reply      
We've been using http://www.jpegmini.com/ to compress JPGs for our apps. Worked OK, although we didn't get the enormous reductions they advertise. However 5% - 10% does still make a difference.

We've been using the desktop version. Would love to use something similar on a server, but jpegmini is overpriced for our scenario (I'll not have a dedicated AWS instance running for compressing images every second day or so). Will definitely check out this project :)

tenfingers 3 days ago 2 replies      
I noticed that optimizing JPEG images using jpegoptim (http://www.kokkonen.net/tjko/projects.html) reduces the size by a similar factor, but at the expense of decoding speed.

In fact, on a JPEG-heavy site that I was testing with FF 26, there was such a degradation in terms of responsiveness that transitions would stutter whenever a new image was decoded in the background (while preloading).

It made the effort to save 2-4% in size wasted with a worse user experience.

rwmj 3 days ago 2 replies      
Why don't they just contribute the jpgcrush-like C code back to libjpeg-turbo?

Edit: A good reason given in the reply by joshmoz below.

cjensen 3 days ago 3 replies      
JPEG-2000 exists, but decoding is still too slow to be useful.


United857 3 days ago 6 replies      
What about WebP? Isn't that intended to be a eventual replacement to JPEG?
ilaksh 3 days ago 6 replies      
If my goal were to compress say 10,000 images and I could include a dictionary or some sort of common database that the compressed data for each image would reference, could I not use a large dictionary shared by the entire catalog and therefore get much smaller file sizes?

Maybe images could be encoded with reference to a common database we share that has the most repetitive data. So perhaps 10mb, 50mb or 100mb of common bits that the compression algorithm could reference. You would build this dictionary by analyzing many many images. Same type of approach could work for video.

drawkbox 3 days ago 1 reply      
Data compression and image compression is a great way to improve the overall internet, bandwidth and speed. Maybe as important as new protocols like SPDY and js/css minification and cdn hosting of common libraries.

As long as ISPs/telcos don't go back to the days of AOL network wide compression to reduce bandwidth beyond low quality I am for this at service level like facebook/dropbox uploads. I hope this inspires more in this area. Games also get better with better textures in less space.

Still to this day, I am amazed at the small file sizes macromedia (adobe now) was able to obtain with flash/swf/asf even high quality PNGs would compress. So yes we all have lots of bandwidth now but crunching to the point of representing the same thing is a good thing. With cable company caps and other bandwidth false supply shortage that focus might resurge a bit.

jmspring 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's not clear from the article, in their "comparison of 1500 JPEG images from Wikipedia" did they just run through the entropy coding portion again or did they requantize? (I suspect they did jus the entropy coding portion, but hard to tell).

Getting better encoding by changing the quantization method can't be purely a function of file size, traditionally PSNR measurements as well as visual quality come into play.

Good to see some work in the area, I will need to check out what is new and novel.

That said, a company I worked for many moons ago came up with a method where by reorganization of coefficients post-quantization, you could easily get about 20% improvement in encoding efficiency, but the result was not JPEG compatible.

There is a lot that can be played with.

TheZenPsycho 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have heard similar things about GIF (that there are optimisations that most encoding software does not properly take advantage of). But I haven't seen any efforts, or cutting edge software that actually follows through on that promise. The closest I've seen is gifscicle, which is a bit disappointing.

What would be great if there was some way for an animated gif's frame delays to opt-in to being interpreted correctly by browser- That is, a 0-delay really would display with no delay, and so optimisation strategies involving the splitting of image data across multiple frames could be done- and when read in by a browser, all frames would be overlaid instantly, module loading time.

What other things can be done to further optimise animated gif encoding?

transfire 3 days ago 1 reply      
If only JPEG supported transparency.
1ris 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm actually disapointed. I hoped they developed a still image format from Daala. Daala has sigificant improments such as overlapping blocks, differently sized blocks and a predictor that works not only for luma or chroma, but for both.
morganw 2 days ago 0 replies      
"support for progressive JPEGs is not universal" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JPEG#JPEG_compression

e.g. the hardware decoder in the Raspberry Pihttp://forum.stmlabs.com/showthread.php?tid=12102

Taek 2 days ago 1 reply      
I like that Mozilla is improving the existing accepted standard, but using modern (mostly patented) codec techniques we could get lossy images to under 1/2 of the current size at the same quality and decode speed. Or at a much higher quality for the same size.

The speed modern web concerns me. The standards are not moving forward. We still use HTML, CSS, Javascript, Jpeg, Gif, and PNG. Gif especially is a format where we could see similar sized/quality moving images at 1/8th the file size if we supported algorithms similar to those found in modern video.

In all of these cases, they aren't "tried and true" so much as "we've had so many problems with each that we've got a huge suite of half-hacked solutions to pretty much everything you could want to do". We haven't moved forward because we can't. WebP is a good example of a superior format that never stood a chance because front-end web technology is not flexible.

kllrnohj 3 days ago 3 replies      
So... version 1.0 is basically a shell script that calls libjpeg-turbo followed by jpgcrush?
sp332 3 days ago 0 replies      
Any chance of incorporating other psy improvements, instead of just targeting SSIM?
Matrixik 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I optimize JPG or PNG I usually use ScriptJPG and ScriptPNG from http://css-ig.net/tools/

They are shell scripts running many different optimizers

Momentum 1 day ago 0 replies      
At first glance this seems wasteful. I do not think anyone would have problem in using Jpeg. However, in many cases, before the the invention of a thing who has had no problem using old tools!
kraken-io 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hey everyone, after some testing we have just deployed mozjpeg to our web interface at: https://kraken.io/web-interface

You can test it out by selecting the "lossless" option and uploading a jpeg. Enjoy!

SimHacker 3 days ago 0 replies      
Has somebody translated the jpeg library to JavaScript? Besides encoding and decoding jpeg, it has some useful modules that would be nice to have in the web browser.
davidgerard 3 days ago 0 replies      
What license are they doing this under? Hopefully they're aiming to upstream this to libjpeg.
callesgg 3 days ago 2 replies      
A bit to soon to start announcing the project.But I like the initiative hope the project manages to improve stuff.
jimbones 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is so dumb, there are a million JPEG crushers in existence but instead of advocating the use of one of these Mozilla writes their own? Why not support webp rather than dismiss it due to compatibility and waste time doing what has been done before.
Please reconsider the Boolean evaluation of midnight python.org
316 points by rivert  3 days ago   206 comments top 30
tomchristie 2 days ago 3 replies      
So ignoring the hype, here's the outcome-to-date...

The ticket was reconsidered, reopened and classified as a bug.http://bugs.python.org/msg212771

Nick Coghlan's dissection of the issue here: https://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-ideas/2014-March/02... is pretty much perfect - wonderful piece of technical writing!

Donald Stufft has expressed an interest in making the patch for this happen, and assuming all goes as planned this usage will raise a deprecation warning in 3.5 and be fully fixed in 3.6.

News in brief: User raises issue. Issue gets resolved.

clarkevans 2 days ago 9 replies      
INADA Naoki's argument [1] is succinct and insightful.

  I feel zero value of non abelian group should not mean  False in bool context.  () + () == ()  "" + "" == ""  0 + 0 == 0  timedelta() + timedelta() == timedelta()  time() + time() => TypeError
[1] https://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-ideas/2014-March/02...

nbouscal 2 days ago 6 replies      
If I understand the argument there correctly, the responder is saying: Nobody should ever use this functionality, instead they should always check that the date is not None. So, we should leave this broken, because we don't want to break backwards-compatibility with that class of applications that nobody should ever write.

That philosophy, taken to its logical conclusion, results in everything being broken forever.

colanderman 2 days ago 10 replies      
I've never seen a good argument for anything beside "false" to be considered false. Likewise for "true". Keystrokes are not a commodity for most coders, and compilers are not dumb; just be explicit and write "!= 0" or whatever.

(And 0 == False, "" != False, but both 0 and "" are considered false? C'mon Python, that's borderline JavaScript territory.)

unoti 3 days ago 1 reply      
I just got bit by this a few days ago. I was creating an event scheduling system that uses either repeating entries with a datetime.time, or one time entries with a datetime.datetime. I had code that said "if start_time" to see which it was, and discovered later that midnight evaluates to false. It's not the best idea.
ggchappell 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ignoring Python for a bit and thinking as a designer of some hypothetical future language: there is a nice rule given here for evaluation in a Boolean context. I wonder whether it should be taken as a general guideline for future languages.

The rule, in its entirety, is this:

- Booleans are falsy when false.

- Numbers are falsy when zero.

- Containers are falsy when empty.

- None is always falsy.

- No other type of value is ever falsy.

I can think of two ways we might possibly want to alter the rule.

The first is to expand the idea of number to include arbitrary groups (or monoids?), with the identity element being falsy. So, for example, a matrix with all entries zero might be falsy. Or a 3-D transformation might be falsy if it does not move anything.

The second is one I have encountered in C++. There, an I/O stream is falsy if it is in an error state. This makes error checking easy; there is one less member-function name to remember. We might expand this idea to include things like Python's urllib, or any object that wraps a connection or stream of some kind.

EDIT: OTOH, there is the Haskell philosophy, where the only thing that can be evaluated in a Boolean context is a Bool, so the only falsy thing is False.

EDIT 2: The comment by clarkevans (quoting a message from INADA Naoki) already partially addressed the above group idea: "I feel zero value of non abelian group should not mean False in bool context."

hyperpape 2 days ago 3 replies      
James Coglan recently pointed out that all of Python's falsy values are the additive identity of some type. Midnight fits the mold.

This results in some weird results from an intuitive perspective, but is very principled and elegant in other ways.

My one objection was that I don't know how None fits in.

wzdd 2 days ago 2 replies      
Lots of Python objects are falsey: empty lists, empty strings, etc. So it's never a good idea to write "if <thing>" when you mean "if <thing> is not None".

This is pretty well-known, I thought.

spacemanmatt 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think he understates the most powerful part of his argument.

Midnight is a value, not a special value. There is no reason why it or any other valid time should be falsey on a daily cycle.

Nanzikambe 2 days ago 2 replies      
Whilst reading that thread, I stumbled accross:

  "goto fail" is a well-known error handling mechanism in open source   software, widely reputed for its robusteness:    http://opensource.apple.com/source/Security/Security-55471/libsecurity_ssl/lib/sslKeyExchange.c    https://www.gitorious.org/gnutls/gnutls/source/6aa26f78150ccbdf0aec1878a41c17c41d358a3b:lib/x509/verify.c    I believe Python needs to add support for this superior paradigm.    It would involve a new keyword "fail" and some means of goto'ing to it.   I suggest "raise to fail":    if (some_error):     raise to fail    fail:        <error handling code>    Unless there are many objections, this fantastic idea might be submitted   in a (short) PEP somewhere around the beginning of next month.    There is some obvious overlap with the rejected "goto PEP" (PEP 3163)   and the Python 2.3 goto module. However, the superiority of goto fail as   error generation and error handling paradigm has since then been   thoroughly proven.

dec0dedab0de 3 days ago 2 replies      
Off the top of my head I can't think of a reason to check if a date exists, but I would certainly expect midnight to be truthy if I found a reason.
josephlord 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think the interesting part is what is revealed about Python and the difference with something like Ruby.

Python is stable[0] and places a high degree of importance on backwards compatibility.

This behaviour is well documented (and called out for particular note). This reinforces that it is (a) official and (b) not a bug because it is the documented behaviour.

On the other hand Ruby (and most Ruby libraries) seem both less concerned with backwards compatibility, have less thorough documentation[1] but are more willing to change and improve.

There isn't a right and a wrong between these approaches although for most things I think I would prefer something between the two. I think I generally prefer Python in terms of syntax (Ruby is a bit too flexible with too many ways to do things for my taste) but I do wonder if Python will be left a little behind.

[0] Python 2/3 transition is a single big deliberate change.

[1] I have an open Rails issue that I don't know if is a bug or not because there isn't documentation that is sufficient to compare the behaviour with so it is a case of what feels right/wrong: https://github.com/rails/rails/issues/6659

delinka 2 days ago 3 replies      
Not being a Pythonista, I have the following questions:

1) Is there a (native or custom) date type in Python? Is it an object?

2) Midnight when? Today? This date last year? Sure there's a "zero value" for dates - it's the epoch for whichever platform or library you're using.

3) Why in would anyone call it a "date" if it's really a time?

Maybe I'm getting off into the philosophical decisions of the reptile wranglers, but this particular debate sounds a lot like someone made a decision long ago that had ramifications further than expected and now the justification is engrained, things are built on it, and no one's willing to make the 'correction.'

pistle 2 days ago 0 replies      
Midnight UTC is zero's all the way down. Seems false to me, but I'm from the land of C. This seems to be in line with some low level hardware or common assembly practice across many languages.

Everyone is talking higher echelons of consideration, but what effect is there on generated byte code or in fitting within the virtual machine's tight pants?

nas 3 days ago 3 replies      
While I agree this is surprising behavior and I wouldn't design an API this way, it is documented behavior. From the docs:

"in Boolean contexts, a time object is considered to be true if and only if, after converting it to minutes and subtracting utcoffset() (or 0 if thats None), the result is non-zero"

Changing at this point would possibly break code that relied on documented library behavior. That's not a responsible thing to do.

Ideka 2 days ago 0 replies      
This kind of crap is exactly the reason why I don't like doing just "if var:" unless var is guaranteed to be a boolean.
abvdasker 2 days ago 0 replies      
On the plus side, Boolean Value: Midnight would make a great CS-themed action movie title.
einhverfr 2 days ago 0 replies      
dools 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is freakishly similar to the discussion on a PHP bug I submitted in 2006:


bouk 2 days ago 2 replies      
Python has weird ideas about comparisons, I'm pretty sure it's the only language where this is possible: https://eval.in/113749
eq- 2 days ago 0 replies      
The only reason for midnight being a falsy value that I can think of is that someone thought that all objects should provide some functionality for __nonzero__/__bool__.

It was a bad idea.

Robadob 2 days ago 0 replies      
I came across a similar issue when using rails the other day, where I gave my model a boolean field that had presence validation. The presence validation of the boolean field fails if the bool is set to false, had me confused for a while, but It wasn't a big enough issue for me to research/report.
njharman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why would anyone evaluate dates in a boolean context? They are (should be) always True.
joelthelion 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is how languages die. I wasn't aware that Python had become such a bureaucracy.

The current behavior is insane - just fix it! No need for days of discussion on the mailing list or three-point non regression plans.

mark-r 2 days ago 0 replies      
In every other language I've used, a time value of 0 is used when a datetime only contains a date and doesn't have a specific time. The existing behavior would make sense in that context. I know Python also has a separate date object, are the two interchangeable enough that you could mix and match without problems?
mannykannot 2 days ago 0 replies      
This offers a counterexample to the simplistic notion that 'duck typing' results in programs that automagically do the right thing. The reality is that duck typing does not relieve you of the responsibility of understanding the semantics of the elements you use to construct a program from.
jfb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Creeping semi-booleans make me very uncomfortable. But what's the alternative? A-values and I-values? A "" for questions unanswerable in the type system? Just punt and let Javascriptisms take over the world?
murbard2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Deprecate datetime and introduce datetime2 with better behavior for midnight. Problem solved.
lutusp 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems there are two choices:

1. Before applying a numerical value to a Boolean test, ask whether it can ever be zero when that's not the intent of the test.

2. Create a new rule that forbids testing numerical values as though they're Booleans, and break nearly every program in existence.

Hmm ... wait ... I'm thinking it over.

Python Language Features and Tricks sahandsaba.com
315 points by Bocker  23 hours ago   73 comments top 16
kriro 22 hours ago 4 replies      
Why are there so many negative comments? Maybe those posters are vastly underestimating how many people that just start out read HN. I think it's a pretty good post to read after something like "X in Y minutes - Python" to get a very quick grasp of what the language is like.

I'm also not ashamed to say that despite having written quite a few LOC of Python I wasn't aware of named slices for some reason and I think they can clear up some chunks of code I have produced (make it more readable)

densh 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Python's unpacking is a poor man's pattern matching. I'd really love to see them extend it to support user-defined patterns like Scala's extractors or F#'s active patterns.
edwinnathaniel 17 hours ago 3 replies      
I've been using Python and Ruby on and off for a couple years (largely because I haven't found the need to use it seriously day job or side projects).

One thing that strikes odd for me is how people describe Python/Ruby are way more readable than Java.

I felt that Python, while more readable than Ruby (because Python uses less symbols), still contain more nifty tricks compare to Java.

It's true that the resulting code is less code but behind that less line of code bugs might linger around because there might be plenty "intents" being hidden deep in the implementation of Python.

The Python way that is touted many times is "explicit is better than implicit" seems to correlate better with the much maligned "Java is too verbose".

Anyhow, the other day I was refreshing my Python skill and learned the default implicit methods that I can override ( those eq, gte, gt, lte, lt) and I wonder how overriding those resulted in less lines of code compare to Java overriding equals, hashCode, and implementing one Comparator method than can return -1, 0, 1 to cover the whole spectrum of gte, gt, lte, (and even equality, given the context).

I suppose everything is relative...

robinh 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I have two questions.

1. I'm unfamiliar with the term 'unpacking'. Is it any different from pattern matching in, say, Haskell (but perhaps not as feature-rich)?

2. Aren't slices pretty much a staple in Python? I didn't think using them was considered a 'trick'.

JeffJenkins 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It's important to remember that OrderedDict keeps insertion order, it isn't an implementation of a sorted dictionary.
RK 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice reference.

1.29 happened to be exactly what I was looking for:

  for subset in itertools.chain(*(itertools.combinations(a, n) for n in range(len(a) + 1)))
I spent way too much time writing a function to come up with these combinations.

lqdc13 21 hours ago 2 replies      
zip to unzip a dict is a very slow approach to do it

Instead of

    mi = dict(zip(m.values(), m.keys()))

    mi = {v: k for (k, v) in m.iteritems()}

analog31 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Coming from a long history of languages like BASIC and Pascal, I will bookmark this tutorial. It seems to open up a lot of interesting Python features that were, quite frankly, not always easy to understand when described in plain text, but now seem pretty simple when presented as examples.

I'll also think about the "collection of simple examples" next time I want to document something.

overgard 18 hours ago 1 reply      
This is awesome, I've been programming python for about 8 years now and a lot of these still surprised me.
yeukhon 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Slice has always been a painful adventure for me. I always forget that [1:3] is not all inclusive. It's actually just range from 1 to 2.

I believe in 2.7 zip is still returning a list rather than an iterator (izip in Python 2, zip in Python 3+).

Another unappreciated stdlib is definitely functools. mock is also another awesome stdlib.

functools, collections and itertools are definitely useful to make things faster. Also check out the list of stdlib. http://docs.python.org/2/library/

mamcx 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Great list, I do several mini-tutorials of python at http://runnable.com/u/mamcx. I try to pick several tricks for each theme
sebastianavina 17 hours ago 1 reply      
it's amazing how much work and effort almost any of this examples would take to implement in C
evincarofautumn 19 hours ago 0 replies      
A good reference, to be sure, but man, do I resent the term trick in programming. It implies a deception, or something clever that you wouldnt think to look for, like opening a wine bottle with a shoe. These arent tricks, theyre (largely) standard library features that you would simply expect to exist. But maybe Im underestimating the NIH effect.
liyanage 18 hours ago 2 replies      
I think this is great, I've been doing Python for a while and I knew many of the features but I also learned a few new ones.

I don't understand how this one to flatten lists works:

    a = [[1, 2], [3, 4], [5, 6]]    [x for l in a for x in l]
Can somebody explain what the order of operations is here and what the variables refer to in the various stages of evaluation?

NAFV_P 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I know bugger all Python, but I know negative indexing.
jkork 22 hours ago 4 replies      
patterns / tricks = language deficiencies

Wake me up when Python will support tail call elimination and will get rid of GIL. For now this language is no better than PHP.

LHC Physics Center bans Powerpoint, switches to whiteboard-only forums symmetrymagazine.org
304 points by indus  1 day ago   156 comments top 25
Arjuna 1 day ago 4 replies      
Here is a perfect example: John Carmack does a great job of rocking the white-board in this wonderful presentation. He starts out with a tablet, and uses that to track his discussion points, then hits a deep-dive on the white-board at approximately 00:18:45.

I find this style absolutely engaging. Presentation software like PowerPoint has its place, but can make it all-too-easy to move through material too quickly. On the other hand, actually drawing and writing things out while discussing the topic slows things down a bit, allowing the audience to engage and understand the topic at a more learning-friendly pace. I personally find this "show me don't tell me" style of white-board presentation refreshing and conducive to my understanding of the topic.

The Physics of Light and Rendering


deckiedan 1 day ago 3 replies      
Phew. Finally the reign of powerpoint begins to fade.

If non-technical speakers spent less time faffing around before the session making awful looking powerpoints, and more time learning how to speak engagingly, the world would be a much better place.

This said as an Audio/Visual Operator who has spent hundreds of hours at a sound-desk watching technically inept speakers fail to impress - no matter how flashy the animations.

The worse thing over the last few years is 'Prezi'. It's a powerpoint alternative which ostensibly makes it easier to make awesome looking graphics.

The 2 problems with it are that it's a hell of a lot harder to actually present on a second screen, so you end up having to drag windows around, and that speakers are still under the impression that because you have swooshes and zooms and text folding inside other text, suddenly it's more likely for people to find the presentation content interesting.

The trouble with BAD technology, is how do you fight it? The normal way is by competition - making better tech. But when the concept itself is wrong, but somehow culturely accepted...? Any ideas?

GuiA 1 day ago 0 replies      
On the topic, I love Tufte's "The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint": http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/powerpoint
yeukhon 1 day ago 2 replies      
I can see why scientists like whiteboard. In the old days, if you watch old clips from the 30s, 40s you would see scientists talking to their fellow peer with chalk and cardboard. They could start by saying "okay so we know this gas law from 1800s and then we saw this new behavior and we started investigating blah blah and then we came up with this new equation and here is the proof blah blah." That was the old days. Whiteboard worked fine.

But was it fine? If you are delivering to five people, probably. What about 10, 20, 30, 100, 300?

These are the things to consider when giving a presentation:

1. your target audience

2. time constraint

3. technology and tools available

4. scope of your presentation (is this a lecture, a short 15-minute progress report, or a workshop)

Without slides, the participants go further off-script, with more interaction and curiosity, says Andrew Askew, an assistant professor of physics at Florida State University and a co-organizer of the forum. We wanted to draw out the importance of the audience.

You see, if you are giving a two-hour workshop to a small group of scientists which everyone knows each other, the discussion can become interesting. But if you are giving a 30-minute workshop, a 30-minute talk to a larger group of people, whiteboard-free-style presentation breaks down.

The main problem is that only a handful of people will fully comprehend what the speaker is up to regardless of which method. Some people are slower at picking up new ideas. It could be experience, language barrier (and sometimes it's the speaker's accent) or misunderstanding. People fear of asking dumb questions in front of a large group of experts so in the end it's just an interaction of the speaker with a handful of experts. The rest will just nod and follow on.

Neither powerpoint nor whiteboard could solve the main problem entirely. But with powerpoint, one could traverse back and forth and audience does not have to suffer illegible handwriting (and in large group people could be sitting in the far back). This is something whiteboard-only discussion can't.

So if they run a small group discussion, chalkboard is fine. But if they run a large group discussion, I argue start with slides and supplement with whiteboard. Slides should be there to deliver textual information, graphical information which are hard to explain or to follow on a whiteboard.

ColinWright 1 day ago 2 replies      
Just as the determined Real Programmer can write FORTRAN programs in any language[0], the truly inept presenter can produce bad talks with any tools.

[0] http://www.ee.ryerson.ca/~elf/hack/realmen.html - see [1] for context.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_Programmers_Don%27t_Use_Pa... - see [2] for an alternative viewpoint.

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

killerdhmo 1 day ago 2 replies      
PowerPoint isn't the enemy. Poor use of PowerPoint is the problem. Bad presenters is the problem. People switching over to white boards won't make them better presenters, now they'll be communicating poorly in a messy unshareable medium.

The solution isn't no PowerPoint. The solution is teach people how to communicate. How to present to both technical and nontechnical audience. How to write an executive summary / elevator pitch.

baby 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't understand this. Most of my teachers use blackboards and it's really annoying to follow a presentation like that, you have to wait for the person to write, you have no slides later on to support your notes, and since you have no slides online you have to write everything they write, so you can't even listen properly to the talk.

And some stuff are just clearer on slides... I don't really see a lot of benefits in whiteboard-only lectures. Combination of whiteboard and slides are best.

I can still think of some great people who don't use slides but it's rare and a few people do it well (Gilbert Strang comes to my mind[1]).

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZK3O402wf1c

captainmuon 1 day ago 1 reply      
As a particle physicist, I wholeheartedly welcome this. Our meetings, of which we tend to have 4-5 a week, are usually Powerpoint* orgies. Because of the intensly dense slides, its often hard to follow, and people don't listen to the reader but read the slides. Even worse, they think "I'll read the slides later" and work on their laptops in meetings. It's not rare to see 2/3 of a meeting work like sheep on their laptops (especially in larger meetings and talks), and only a small fraction is actually doing something talk related like viewing the slides, or doing actually urgent work. As a consequence, we have banned the use of laptops during talks in our group. What is completely normal everywhere else was a small sensation in our group, but I think everybody agreed that it is better now.

We can't realistically ban Powerpoint, since as experimentalists we have to discuss lots of graphics and plots. What we did try once was to use our lab books instead. Every (PhD, Masters) student would write a summary of their week's progress in their lab books, including printed out plots, and we would project it with one of these old-fashioned book-projectors. It was nice because you could also go back and look at the details in the lab book, and it would give you an incentive to keep your books correctly. Unfortunately, it became unpractical as our group grew, and also because we have a lot of collaborators from other groups who are connected via video.


* Or Libreoffice, Keynote or Latex Beamer

lqdc13 1 day ago 2 replies      
I prefer Powerpoint over white/blackboard because:

1. People make mistakes on the whiteboard

2. You can't save it and review later

3. Even if you write everything down, it would still be less information than what someone could add in the Powerpoint

4. Powerpoint is much more legible

5. It is easier to go at your own pace during and after the presentation if someone is using a Powerpoint. If someone is using a white/blackboard they are going to erase the last part very quickly after they finished writing it down.

coherentpony 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is dumb; my handwriting sucks. I'd hate to give a hand-written talk.
mastermojo 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've heard that writing equations on a whiteboard paces the talk and give the audience time to digest. With a slideshow most presenters will go at a pace comfortable for them, but that typically ends up being too fast for the audience.
Tomis02 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting fact - the usage Powerpoint-like presentations was one of the communication weaknesses that led to the Columbia shuttle disaster. A very good read about that here - http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0...

More here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_shuttle_disaster

ThePhysicist 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now that's a great experiment! I think the use of Powerpoint is useful and mandated under certain circumstances (e.g. if you want to show experimental data), but when discussing a concept with your peers, working on a whiteboard is better for various reasons:

1. It forces you to think more about what you want to say and how you're going to write it down beforehand.

2. It sets a uniform pace for your presentation (writing stuff down is harder than advancing slides)

3. It lets your audience follow the train of thought that lead you to the results your presenting and allows your content to unfold before their eyes.

4. It invites participation and allows for easy modification and adaption of your content during your presentation (try that with Powerpoint).

That said, structuring a good whiteboard talk/presentation is hard work too and I've seen many people (including professors) fail at it.

devindotcom 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't mean to be a naysayer, but it's not like the entire LHC international organization banned Powerpoint. This is one forum at one arm of one project at the LHC.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's great, but this is quite a small group we're talking about. I guess this is what the meetings look like:


wehadfun 1 day ago 1 reply      
Banning powerpoint is a stupid reaction to some anti-powerpoint movement. Professors trapped in a college system that does not reward actual teaching is the problem. The powerpoints are just a symptom
aaronetz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the Anti-PowerPoint Party[1] (which was linked to on HN at some point). I would also like to say that I personally find whiteboard presentation much easier to follow. I taught a little bit too, but used slides, because it was easier. Maybe banning computer slides isn't such a bad idea...

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-PowerPoint_Party

neurobro 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would hope they also ban whiteboards. Very difficult to see, and the markers become translucent after about 1cm of chalk-equivalent use.
yomritoyj 1 day ago 0 replies      
Having the speaker write out things on a board also has the advantage of giving the listeners time to think through what has gone before. In my experience this leads to more interesting discussion.

I'm a teacher of economics and the only time I use slides is when I have to present a lot of data or literal text like the statements of theorems. Even in these situations I think distributing printed handouts works much better. But that involves logistics and expense.

sentenza 1 day ago 6 replies      
I'd say it makes sense for equation-heavy fields. The biophysics stuff I did during my Phd, however, worked very well with Powerpoint. I'd always have the images-and-diagrams-only presentation without text as my goal, which I usualy managed to almost-achieve.
mamcx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Somethings are better without powerpoint-like presentation, but is possible to use it correctly.

I have used the ideas behind http://www.presentationzen.com/ with good results.

Based on that, my mom setup a service to build that kind of presentations at http://www.emilypresenta.com/ the site is in spanish for now), including finding, buying the photos/icons and the provide a basic layout for the talking part.

mnl 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Good for them, but the truth is that every analysis group at CERN uses Beamer, Keynote or even Powerpoint for the almost everyday meetings via pdfs submitted to Indico (coupled with Vidyo). There's no reasonable alternative. Another completely different scenario are lectures or theoretical talks, there it never made much sense/it's a waste of time.
twowo 1 day ago 0 replies      
It is probably not centred around encouraging discussion but it reminds me of a beautiful piece from Peter Norvig:http://norvig.com/Gettysburg/index.htm
vishaldpatel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awesome awesome awesome! Physics classes at the LHC turned from nap-time for all to nap-time for some :D
rachellaw 1 day ago 0 replies      
reminds me of my old philosophy professor, he never used slides or anything. Just transparencies and "a magic lantern" hahaha -- he didn't even call'em projectors!
lifeisstillgood 1 day ago 0 replies      
well word has long since ceased to be relevant (in the code literate world) Markdown, wiki mark up or similar has taken its place (and LaTeX always was close to ending it )Now PowerPoint will join it as S5 and the like take over.

just wondering if the spreadsheet will be the only survivor

Model aircraft operators free to operate commercially in US, rules federal judge dronehire.org
303 points by dronehire  2 days ago   137 comments top 28
jccooper 1 day ago 3 replies      
It's not quite so big as the headline, but it's still good. Here's the scoop:

The FAA has long had rules for model aircraft, which would include many small "drones", and under which you can personally operate them now. You're supposed to stay low and away from stuff you could damage.

They also (as of fairly recently) have some rules for UAS (unmanned aerial systems) that are more like the rules for real aircraft, and are working on integrating them into real airspace. Thus a UAS requires a certificate and permission to fly--but they're still working on how to do that, so you can't get one yet. If you were to buy your own Predator you couldn't fly it, 'cause it might run into an airliner. Fair enough.

However, they also declared that commercial use of an otherwise-model aircraft turned it into a full UAS, which you currently cannot fly. So you could use a quadrotor to take aerial photos--but you could not get paid for it.

This ruling, in a nice display of common sense, disposes of this last bit, making operation of "model aircraft" the same regardless of intent. You still have to fly safely, and in limited space, but now you can get paid for quadrotor photography, as the FAA no longer has a basis to fine you. You still cannot fly that Predator, though. Sorry.

But I'd be careful before making too much investment based on this decision. At the very least, check into how the appeals process on a ruling like this works; dunno how final it is. You'll also want to check carefully to make sure your intended use can be performed safely by model aircraft; fully unmanned systems probably aren't going to pass muster (unless perhaps your automated avoidance system is really good).

skue 1 day ago 3 replies      
This appears to be the video that upset the FAA:


And here is the complaint the FAA originally filed, which includes flying through crowded streets, flying through a tunnel with traffic, flying as high as 1500ft AGL, flying at an individual causing them to jump aside [apparently moments before crashing into a hedge], and flying within 100ft of the UVA Medical Center's heliport [though the video was being filmed for UVA].


cryptoz 2 days ago 3 replies      
Okay, time to build drones full of atmosphere sensors! The weather forecast is about to get a lot better....this is excellent news for crowdsourcing remote data about the atmosphere. I've been pulling pressure measurements from smartphones for a while, but a core problem is that a lot of weather develops over areas of low smartphone density.

Sending out drone fleets will be a most excellent solution; they're reusable, so you don't have to make 200M of them. They're connected and already carry many required sensors. They're coming down in price and at the start of a thriving commercial ecosystem. Can't wait to start building!

Edit: I wrote about this idea last year: http://www.jacobsheehy.com/2013/03/living-in-the-future-star...

SpacemanSpiff 1 day ago 10 replies      
So as a pilot of a manned aircraft what does this mean for the safety of my flights? Do I need to start trying to avoid unlicensed, unlit, and unannounced drone aircraft whenever I'm below 400ft AGL?

Edit: Thanks to everyone below for your thoughtful comments. My replies are as follows:1) Regarding model aircraft - I would argue that the low density of these operations at the moment is what has prevented an incident between a manned aircraft and model aircraft. Also the nature of radio control has necessitated that the model aircraft generally be withing sight range of the operator, and as such the operator is still able to avoid other aircraft to some extent. This may not be the case for automated drones.

2) Regarding 400 ft AGL. How do I know that the drone operator won't accidentally end up at 600ft+ AGL (for example), which happens to be at the low end of a standard traffic pattern altitude (800ft)? As far as I know there's no way to know what altitude your drone is above the ground except possibly GPS which does not always give you an accurate MSL (or AGL) altitude. Will all drone operators in populated areas be made aware of local air traffic patterns? What if I want to exercise my privilege to operate below 500 ft. AGL in unpopulated areas? I can think of a lot of cases where I've been below 400ft AGL during takeoff and landing while over densely populated areas.

My perception is that automated drones with no mechanism to avoid manned aircraft at or near traffic pattern altitude at densely populated locations is a big problem.

roc 1 day ago 0 replies      
This reads more like the recent Net Neutrality decision than anything else.

It's less "Drones are free to operate commercially" and more "If the FAA wants to regulate (commercial) drones separately for any other model aircraft, they need to create explicit regulations that apply to them"

What seems explicitly ruled against, is selectively interpreting existing regs as applying to an imprecise (and shifting) definition of "drone" and trying to use a "Policy Statement" as de facto law (by claiming a request for voluntary compliance, but then suing for non-compliance), without following the appropriate procedure or meeting all of the requirements of new regulation.

vowelless 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here is the FAA UAS initiative [1]

In my experience (I don't deal with them directly, just an engineer), FAA is bullish on UAVs, but is obviously very cautious.

This [2] is also a good read.

[1] http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/uas/

[2] "Integration of Civil UAS in National Airspace System": http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/uas/media/uas_roadmap_2...

kyrra 1 day ago 2 replies      
From a different article[0], it sounds like the guy being sued in this case may have been operating the drone irresponsibly, which opens a window for legislators to put laws in place that will gives the FAA power to regulate drones:

> Pirker operated the aircraft within about 50 feet of numerous individuals, about 20 feet of a crowded street, and within approximately 100 feet of an active heliport at UVA, the FAA alleged. One person had to take "evasive measures" to avoid being struck by the aircraft, the agency said.

[0] http://m.kspr.com/nationalnews/Drone-pilot-wins-case-against...

Qworg 1 day ago 1 reply      
IANAL, but can we get a reading of the actual decision?

As much as I'd like to take this on face value, dronehire.org may have a bias.

swalsh 1 day ago 3 replies      
YES! I have several business ideas that I've been sitting on because of the restrictions.

Is there a good source someone here can hook me up with already made drones? I can do software, but i'm not really a hardware guy.

MWil 1 day ago 1 reply      
Without a law that gets passed otherwise, this also opens up the floodgates to full law enforcement use of drones in public/private airspace. If the sky's open for for commercial use, it's automatically available for law enforcement as well.

I had hopes that there would be some rules/regulations in place first...

edit: assuming the decision allowed use in populated areas, full disclosure that I haven't had a chance to actually read it yet

damon_c 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope when automated delivery is a reality, those of us who live on high floors of apartment buildings can affix some machine identifiable sticker to the outside of our chosen delivery window.

When that happens, I will know I'm living in the future.

andymoe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here at my little company Fighting Walrus [1] (we make a radio accessory so small commercial UAVs can be controlled via iPad) we are really excited that there has been some forward movement on the legal front. My personal view has always been that commercial drone use would be worked out in the courts before the FAA really got a handle on their (much delayed) roadmap for integrating them into the national airspace. However I would caution that the FAA is probably going to appeal the decision to the full five member safety board. The FAA is not going to give up regulatory control of this class of small unmanned aerial vehicles (SUAVs) easily.

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

ps. If this stuff interests you come to the SF Drones Startup Meetup my Co-Founder Bryan organizes - http://www.meetup.com/SF-Drones-Startup-Meetup (About 700 members so far!)

coldcode 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not really. It just means the FAA has to come up with rules just like for any other flying planes. No one wants drones flying into protected airspace, crashing into things, etc. It's not a sudden free for all. They just can't refuse to come up with rules because it's a drone. The rules could still be hard to meet.
blutack 1 day ago 0 replies      
This sounds similar to the UK's CAP722, which is the basis for commercial UAS flying over here. As jccooper said, the immediate industries affected by this will be those which gather imagery or video.

In the UK, there is a restriction against flying out of line of sight. Most operators will fly using a GPS lock for stability but will not be using video streams from the aircraft for anything other than framing shots. Here, commercial UAS are often used as a low-cost, faster alternative to scaffolding; I recently got up a 4am to help an operator survey the exterior of an old hotel in the centre of a large city, looking for damaged pipes. He did the entire hotel in the course of three 3 hour sessions.

andymoe 1 day ago 0 replies      
So as expected (by me at least) the ruling has been appealed by the FAA and will go to the full NTSB so the opinion is stayed until the board rules: http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId...

I think the FAA may lose the appeal but we will have to wait and see. This is really political for the FAA; they want to be in control of this area as much as possible so they will fight very hard to get the lower court ruling overturned. There is a large heated discussions thread on DIYDrones.com [1] if anyone is interested in opinions of folks with boots on the ground so to speak.

[1] http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/commercial-drones-are-le...

lsiebert 1 day ago 0 replies      
I read the original motion for this, and it's a good read.

The government has some pretty big restrictions on binding regulations from agencies. Restrictions that make a lot of sense when you realize that most law is made by elected officials with constituents, ie representative democracy. Regulations aren't made like that, so you have a lot of rules to prevent abuse.

One of the restrictions is you need to have defined periods for public comment on new regulations. Which the FAA did not do, as I understand things. It just came up with new rules without following the defined regulatory process. If for no other reason then that, the UAV rules were invalid.

chrisa 1 day ago 2 replies      
After reading the pdf, I'm still not clear: does this mean UAVs can operate in regular airspace (above 400 ft) with proper licensing, or are they still (for now) limited to under 400 ft, and away from populated areas?
biblio777 1 day ago 2 replies      
Let's stick with some facts (I'm a pilot and work closely with the FAA for my dayjob so I know a bit about this space) ...

- The FAA is responsible for the safety of U.S. airspace from the ground up. This misperception may originate with the idea that manned aircraft generally must stay at least 500 feet above the ground.

- There are no shades of gray in FAA regulations. Anyone who wants to fly an aircraftmanned or unmannedin U.S. airspace needs some level of FAA approval. Private sector (civil) users can obtain an experimental airworthiness certificate to conduct research and development, training and flight demonstrations. Commercial UAS operations are limited and require the operator to have certified aircraft and pilots, as well as operating approval. ... The FAA reviews and approves UAS operations over densely-populated areas on a case-by-case basis.

- In the 2012 FAA reauthorization legislation, Congress told the FAA to come up with a plan for 'safe integration' of UAS by September 30, 2015. Safe integration will be incremental.

So don't get too excited your drones won't be taking the skies anytime soon.

coin 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have yet to see a practical solution that provides separation between UAV and manned aircraft. All flights under VFR are responsible for their own separation by way of see-and-be-seen. I have yet to see a UAV that can visually recognize an approaching aircraft and take evasive action.
dougbright 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is simply awesome news for startup/small business UAS operators in the US in the short term. I do have some concern, though, that this could cause the FAA to now rush the rule-making process which could result in half baked, ham fisted regulations. This is especially possible if we see several high profile accidents during this new free-for-all period.

Cheap plug: if you want to play with aerial photography but are more of a software guy than a hardware guy, check out my embarrassingly buggy side project at http://airboss.io. It's an app that lets you use an old Android phone mounted on a drone as a photography/video platform with real-time first person view streaming using WebRTC.

marktangotango 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is anyone doing an orbiting UAV as a signal transponder for microwave radio? Ie line of site networking. Internet off the commercial backbones. The privacy and security implication should be clear.
ilovecookies 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Now this suddenly became a valid activity for your CV.


sitkack 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just tell me if the burrito deliver network is now possible!!
smtddr 2 days ago 5 replies      
Huh, so if Amazon really wants to start sending out those drones they no longer have any legal hurdles? I expect to hear stories of college kids capturing them before EOY.
biblio777 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is ridiculous. The coming (and fictitious) drone/UAS revolution every little rich punk in Silicon Valley is just that ... day dreaming.

I cannot wait to watch the FAA mow down your dreams. You have NO idea the power of the organization you are dealing with and their commitment to safety.

UAS are not and will not be (for decades) up to the FAA standards. If you are an investor putting money behind these outlandish businesses proposed here then you are even stupider than I thought.

griffendoor 1 day ago 0 replies      
What if I got 100 drones that picked up a tarp and carried me around (i.e. use them for transport, claiming that they carry the tarp and I just happen to be on it)? Or how about using drones in mass by a non-profit to intimidate at political gatherings?

I like drones, but I have a feeling this is a decision that will get overturned within 5 years.

logfromblammo 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am not a pilot. But I imagine that there should be not problems flying a piloted unmanned aircraft in uncontrolled airspace--which is, I believe, usually under 1200' AGL. If you're operating remotely without a camera, you keep the craft within line of sight, and double the visibility distance for a manned aircraft. Otherwise, you operate by IFR using whatever telemetry you get back.

With a drone, however, I'd think that operating in controlled airspace would require extensive collision avoidance and fault recovery software, which would have to be tested and certified by experienced pilots.

There is a difference between drones and remotely piloted aircraft, and I certainly hope that the journalists can learn it before we end up with another "hacker" situation.

uptown 2 days ago 0 replies      
Did you even read the article at the link? It's in the first sentence.
Mathematicians are chronically lost and confused svbtle.com
283 points by aditgupta  4 days ago   193 comments top 28
nly 4 days ago 19 replies      
Secondary math education, for me in the UK, didn't deal with anything outside of elementary algebra, Euclidean geometry, some statistics, and relatively simple calculus. Nobody talked to us about imaginary or complex numbers, or bayes theorem, decision theory, or non-trivial mechanics problems until I was in college (age 16+). Nobody mentioned matrices, broader number theory or discrete transforms until I was in university. I studied EE not compsci. Things like algorithmic complexity I had to learn for myself and from Knuth. I'm trying to grok group theory right now to help with my understanding of crypto. Before this, it was never mentioned throughout my education, so I don't know what courses you would have had to take to learn that. The fact that I didn't even know group theory was important to crypto until after I had made the choice strikes me as a bad sign.

The common theme at every level is learning cherry-picked skills, before you're even told what the branches of mathematics even are. Everything seems disjointed because you're not taught to look past the trees for the forest. Most people infact, even technical folk, go through their entire lives without knowing the forest even exists. Any idiot can point to a random part of their anatomy and posit that there's a field of study dedicated to it. The same goes for mechanics or computer science. You just can't do that with mathematics as a student.

I loath academic papers. Often I find I spend days or weeks deciphering mathematics in compsci papers only to find the underlying concept is intuitive and plain, but you're forced to learn it bottom up, constructing the authors original genius from the cryptic scrawlings they left in their paper... and you realise a couple of block diagrams and a few short paragraphs could have made the process a lot less frustrating.

So many ideas seem closed to mortals because of the nature of mathematics.

japhyr 4 days ago 2 replies      
I currently teach math to at-risk students. I don't read all of these submissions about math education, but I skim the comments on most of them. The comments people make change the way I teach math.

I have always done a decent job of teaching math. I focus on helping students understand concepts, even when they are focusing on mechanics. I use words like "shortcut" and "more efficient method" rather than "trick" when showing students more efficient ways to solve problems. I have students do problems and projects that relate to their post-high-school goals.

But with the routines of school life, I get away from the fun of math from time to time. The comments on these submissions often remind me to go in and just tell stories about math:

- "Hey everyone, did you know that some infinities are bigger than other infinities?"

- "Hey everyone, do you have any idea how your passwords are actually stored on facebook/ twitter/ etc.?"

- "Have any of you heard the story about the elementary teacher who got mad at their class, and told everyone to add up all the numbers from 1 to 100? One kid did it in less than a minute, do you want to see how he did it?"

Thanks everyone, for sharing your perspective on your own math education, and about how you use math in your professional lives as well. Your stories help.

acjohnson55 4 days ago 3 replies      
I've felt this is the case for a long time. A lot of people have a smooth experience in math for years until they hit their first serious discontinuity. That could happen anywhere: times tables, fraction arithmetic, two-step equations, geometric proofs, radicals, limits, or maybe even college math. The reaction is nearly universal though. The person thinks, "holy crap, I guess I'm actually not good at math", anxiety strikes, and they freeze up.

Some people find eventually find their way around this first road block, and future discontinuities in understanding become less stressful, and eventually understood to be a completely normal part the process.

But the usual experience is that a person's math confidence is blown and as the math truck barrels on ahead, they never catch up. They understandably accept the identity of not being "good at math".

What's missing in math pedagogy at most schools is a systematic way to deal with the discontinuities when they strike, especially that first time. We can prepare students to deal with that panic. The tough part is that the math teacher probably has 90 students on roster, but the discontinuity could hit pretty much any given lesson, for some given student.

I know so many people who have come back to intermediate math later in life and breezed through it, armed with intellectual confidence gained from other fields. They look back and wonder how they came to be so intimidated by math in their younger days. We've got to give younger people the tools and knowledge for overcoming this intimidation at a younger age. We've got to kill "I'm just not good at math".

chwolfe 4 days ago 0 replies      
The entire post was enjoyable but I found the last paragraph to have the most actionable advice:

Whats much more useful is recording what the deep insights are, and storing them for recollection later. Because every important mathematical idea has a deep insight, and these insights are your best friends. Theyre your mathematical nose, and theyll help guide you through the mansion.

dalke 4 days ago 1 reply      
"If youre going to get anywhere in learning mathematics, you need to learn to be comfortable not understanding something."

This is true for all research.

And I don't mean just the physical sciences either. Historians and sociologists are also chronically "lost and confused." Otherwise it wouldn't be a topic worth of study.

This is why students who are "good at X", whether it be math, German, sports, or programming, may become frustrated when they find out that "good at researching X" is a very different matter.

yomritoyj 4 days ago 0 replies      
Mathematicians are indeed lost and confused but in a very different way from beginning students. One must put in one's dues in what Terence Tao calls the "rigorous" phase before one can become productively confused in the "post-rigorous" phase.http://terrytao.wordpress.com/career-advice/there%E2%80%99s-...
zacinbusiness 4 days ago 0 replies      
I really enjoyed this because it captures so much of the frustration that felt early in my programming career - especially in college when I had classmates several years my junior who were (as far as I could tell) mathematics and programming wunderkinds. I also think that this is the sort of rhetoric that should be used to begin teaching children basic mathematics and more advanced concepts as well, because I still recall many of my classmates in elementary and even highschool who simply felt like failures or that they weren't smart enough to understand things because they didn't "get" it the first, or fourth, or fiftyth time.
fidotron 4 days ago 5 replies      
This misses the dangerous part, which is mathematicians in groups can confuse each other into accepting ideas which are basically nonsensical, especially if the counter argument relies on some obvious but intuitive observation of reality but cannot be easily formalised within their chosen framework of the moment.

As a consequence of this it wouldn't surprise me if the overwhelming majority of maths was actually incoherent nonsense and that the people that understood this thought they were just very confused due to being shouted down all the time, when the really confused people are the ones oblivious to their own situation.

ColinWright 4 days ago 0 replies      
I highly recommend reading this. I didn't agree 100% with everything, and you probably won't either, but it's an excellent insight into what learning and doing math is about, and what it's like.

I'd love to read alternate viewpoints, but this is an excellent read.

weavie 4 days ago 0 replies      
I started off doing a combined maths and computer science degree.

With both computer science and maths you are chronically confused. The difference being with computer science it doesn't matter so much if you don't understand something, if you can get it to work you know you are on the right track. Maths is much more progressive, each proof builds on a previous one. So if you fail to understand one step you are screwed from that point on.

After the first year I realised I didn't actually enjoy being permanently confused and so I ditched the maths to focus on computers. I do regret this. It didn't take long at all before I forgot all that knowledge I had spent years sweating over.

ChristianMarks 3 days ago 0 replies      
Fair enough. I tried in my youth to solve every problem I came across. There were many I couldn't solve. It took a while before I developed the wisdom and discipline not to solve every problem no matter how long it took. By a while I mean decades. I sacrificed the possibility of family life, have stopped talking to my uncomprehending stepfather, and have kept my social interactions to an absolute minimum to pursue my consuming interest. (I mention this as a point of pride.) I find myself continually astonished by the ingenuity of solutions I probably could never have imagined after years of work. Perhaps, after a lifetime of effort that must be continually maintained, I have attained the level an entering freshman at Harvard. At this stage, I may be reduced at best to connoisseurship of some aspects of mathematics.

Now for some reflections on attitudes. Mathematicians sometimes act as if they believe that expertise in mathematics transfers to expertise in mathematics education. Suppose you are a sensitive student, lacking in confidence. You open Korner's beautiful book on Fourier Analysis, and the first thing you are greeted with is "This book is meant neither as a drill book for the successful student nor as a lifebelt for the unsuccessful student." Korner does not mention other references suitable for the successful and the unsuccessful student. You take this comment to mean that Korner would let the unsuccessful student drown. There is no implication, but this is the psychological import, the implicature. Why mention the unsuccessful student at all? Why not say who the book is for, without planting this gratuitous image in the reader's mind? It would take some time to return to this book, to get past the wonder at a mind capable of such an incidental, dismissive, off-handed acknowledgement of "the unsuccessful student."

You could say this is "overthinking." Such remarks, microagressions as they are termed today, "perpetrated against those due to gender, sexual orientation, and ability status", are sometimes revealed in the asides of mathematical authors [1].

And now if only mathematics educators would evaluate their students on the state of their confusion!

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

bpyne 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wish this post was around when I finished my undergraduate degree in Mathematics. I would have taken my adviser's advice to go to grad school. At the time, I remember telling him that I feel like a barely made it through the program. Apparently I wasn't alone. Amazing the difference 25 years and the internet makes.
edtechdev 3 days ago 0 replies      
"If youre going to get anywhere in learning mathematics, you need to learn to be comfortable not understanding something."

That's true of everything. It's fear and anxiety that prevents a lot of people from learning and trying new things. I keep trying to tell students or family members when they are learning to do stuff on the computer, just right click everything, just google anything you can think of, don't worry about it being perfect, don't worry about breaking anything. You have to hold back showing them the "answers" or else they become dependent.

api 3 days ago 1 reply      
I completely agree about the power of math, and why programmers should learn it. There are two problems with math:

(1) Math is IMHO the worst taught of all academic subjects.

It's taught as if it were not a language. Math profs and books on mathematics never explain what the symbols mean. They just throw symbols at you and then do tricks with them and expect you to figure out that this symbol means "derivative" in this context. I have literally seen math texts that never explain the language itself, introducing reams of new math with no definitions for mathematical notation used.

I've looked for a good "dictionary of math" -- a book that explains every mathematical notation in existence and what it means conceptually -- and have never found such a thing. It's like some medieval guild craft that is passed down only by direct lineage among mathematicians.

Concepts are often never explained either. I remember struggling in calculus. The professor showed us how to do a derivative, so I mechanically followed but had no idea why I was doing what I was doing. I called up my father and he said one single sentence to me: "A derivative is a rate of change."

A derivative is a rate of change.

I completed his thought: so an integral is its inverse. Bingo. From then on I understood calculus. The professor never explained this, and the textbook did in such an unclear and oblique way that the concept was never adequately communicated. It's one g'damn sentence! The whole of calculus! Just f'ing say it! "A derivative is a rate of change!"

(2) The notation is horrible.

If math were a programming language it would be C++, maybe even Perl. There are many symbols to do the same thing. Every sub-discipline or application-area of mathematics seems to have its own quirky style of notation and sometimes these styles even conflict with each other.

Yet baroque languages like C++ and Perl at least document their syntax. If you read an intro to C++ book it begins its chapter on templates by explaining both what templates are for and the fact that type<int> means "type is templated on int."

Math doesn't do this. It doesn't explain its syntax. See point #1 above.

baby 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's what I tell people around me. Studying math is hard because it makes you feel stupid. You always feel lost, you always feel like you missed so many things when you're starting to learn a new thing, you always feel like your questions are stupid (until you get that the rest of the class is pointless as well).

Especially with talented professors (Lyon 1, France, the professors there are not really good educators, but they are geniuses), they make you feel bad for not understanding things that seem so simple to them.

Studying math is depressive if you take it too seriously.

Bahamut 4 days ago 2 replies      
I think this is a good read, although I don't agree with all of it - I'm of the mind that there is immense value in being able to figure out difficult proofs. The process develops your logical ability.
nilkn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Heh, I knew this title seemed awfully familiar. Here's the discussion on Hacker News which (presumably) spawned this:


vsbuffalo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Funny, this title is the same as a recent thread on HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7331791
napowitzu 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is true with many, many things. Very often it is the connections between ideas that yields the deep understanding, not the ideas themselves. Focusing too intensely on a single idea or subject results in not making connections and, consequently, not really understanding.
jmnicolas 4 days ago 1 reply      
Before a few articles of this kind I never suspected there was such depth in Maths.

There's already so much to learn in programming, but I'm sure I'd love to dive in Maths (without the pressure of school like "understand this or you're an idiot").

mathattack 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's strange to hear mathematics described more as a search for art and structure than computation. Unfortunately most of my math education was on the computational/applied side. I'm only getting into number theory and the more esoteric math later in life for fun. As a parent I think we can't let the school system destroy our kids love of math through too much rote learning. We have to make it fun for them. (Same with music btw
minikomi 4 days ago 0 replies      
First time I've intentionally kudos'd
GIFtheory 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of this great quotation, which Oksendal places before the preface to his stochastic differential equations book:

We have not succeeded in answering all our problems. The answers we have found only serve to raise a whole set of new questions. In some ways we feel we are as confused as ever, but we believe we are confused on a higher level and about more important things.Posted outside the mathematics reading room, Troms University

trevorhartman 3 days ago 1 reply      
Jeremy, I really appreciate this post and all the excellent content over at Math Programming. Thanks, and please keep it up!
beltex 3 days ago 0 replies      
Loved this post.

FYI, the Andrew Wiles quote is from the opening of an awesome BBC documentary about how he solved Fermat's Last Theorem - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FnXgprKgSE

gaius 4 days ago 0 replies      
A svbtle article worth reading, deserves an upvote.
egdelwonk 4 days ago 2 replies      
What's the best way to relearn math?
graycat 4 days ago 1 reply      
No, the OP is giving bad advice.

Reading good foundational text books carefullyis darned good advice. But for solving everyexercise before moving on, no, that's not agood idea. Instead, be willing to be happy solving some 90-99% of the exercises. For therest, guess, with some evidence, that they areincorrectly stated, out of place, just too darnedhard, or some such. If insist on solving 100%, then get on the Internet and look for solutions.

Next, if read some foundational text books, thenin each subject alsoread several competing text books, perhaps just one mostly but alsolook at least a little at the others for viewsfrom 'a different angle' that can be a big help.Why? Because likely no text book is perfect and, instead, in some places is awkward, unclear,misleading, clumsy, etc. So, views from a 'different angle' can make it much easier tolearn both better and faster.

His description of doing applications by justgetting what really need and forgetting the restcan be done but is not so good. Instead, havinga good foundation helps a lot. And, commonlyfor an application in an important field, therereally is some good material in that field thatshould understand with the application. Elserisk doing the application significantly lesswell than could have.

His description from Wiles is more or less okayfor doing some research but, really, not forlearning. And for research, more of a 'strategic'overview, i.e., with the 'lay of the land',would be good, i.e., for publishing notjust one okay, likely isolated,paper but a series of better papersthat yield a nice 'contribution'.

I am not an introvert. I am just busy tabini.ca
280 points by mtabini  3 days ago   142 comments top 44
peteforde 3 days ago 11 replies      
You know, there's a time and a place for quiet reflection. If the author needed time to reflect, he should go for a walk alone, not go to a party.

I'm a shy introvert, but I see this fellow's problem a mile away: he needs to get better at saying no to people. Sure it's important to be present for social functions, and there's an art to "making an appearance" that is just part of playing the game. But if you're consciously aware that you should be somewhere else... GO.

A room full of tech geeks will get this. Actually, they most likely won't notice that you're leaving. That particular neurosis is rooted in ego: part of you wants someone to notice that you're missing, so that you can be not just doing something important but be a hero about it.

Deep down, we're all frequently irrational in similar ways.

"I don't want to be alone, but I want to be left alone." - Stephen Fry

alex_c 3 days ago 3 replies      
I love the writing, I love the anecdote, and I love the self-awareness it shows.

Almost just as much, I love the comments here - they're just so incorrigibly HN. Not everything is a problem that should be taken literally, dissected, and solved. The story is not the author asking for help with enjoying parties, relating to others, or troubleshooting bugs. It's a beautiful example of an internal monologue that shows not only how people approach social situations differently, but to what extent they think differently. I'm not sure the author needs any of the pseudo-analysis being offered to him (however well-meaning it is) - the writing suggests a lot more awareness of his perspective and that of the people around him than most of the comments rushing in with the most literal interpretation.

Either way, great piece of writing that seems to hold a mirror up to the reader more than anything - it clearly strikes a chord but each reader appears to be taking away something different.

jxf 3 days ago 2 replies      
This story reminded me of the "Why you shouldn't interrupt developers" cartoon: http://i.imgur.com/PtMx9GJ.png
kabdib 3 days ago 2 replies      
My personal theory: For something really hard, you have to put in your time and think about the issue. It has to consume you. You can't hold decent conversations. Eventually that janitor in the back of your head wanders up to your mental whiteboard, looks at the problem, says "Harumph!" and scribbles down an answer, and you wake up in the middle of the night with the answer so obvious and a shriek on your lips.

But there aren't any shortcuts, and the janitor is not at your beck and call.

sukuriant 3 days ago 1 reply      
So, this guy went to a social event that he didn't want to go to because his mind was on work things and had been for a long, long time.

[edit] I'm taking the stance that there was a good reason for his going. Otherwise the question is just "why did he go?"[/edit]

Why wasn't he in the moment at the party? I suppose there's several reasons. I'm going to assume he was having a great time, someone that he was talking to left and then he wandered back into thought rather than going off to talk to someone else. That's fine, whatever. So, now I wonder where I'm supposed to go from here with this piece. The thing is this can't be about are getting flustered at people for interrupting your thought. It doesn't look like it. Therefore, I'm going to assume it's something like I'm doing right now: stream of consciousness. If that's the case, then, neat! I've been there! Very cool. Sorry it got awkward for you there. The other guy is a CEO, he understands being in thought all the time. "Just one sec, I gotta write this down" and then scribbling a bunch of notes wouldn't be too offensive to a man in charge of a whole company. He's done it plenty of times, and those ideas come at any random moment. I wouldn't be offended by a brief scribble before some proper salutations. After all, that CEO has now been given your undivided attention after about 5 seconds of scribbling (presuming you can write something short down that can be used to jog your memory). People like undivided attention. Makes them feel important, be they your boss, co-worker, friend, spouse or child.

Now, what is this story being used for. "I am not an introvert. I am just busy." No, you're not busy. Or, at least, your busy-ness shouldn't be with work things right now. You're at a party and should be in party mode with your friends. It's kinda like a father going home and saying he's going to spend time with his children, only to completely space out when he's playing catch. His mind should have been on his children. Your time is with your friends, there. Not giving them your attention is rude to them. "I am not socially awkward / going through the motions. I had a sudden thought I need to write down 'real quick" but that wouldn't be as catchy of a title.

There's those little notebooks that fit in front pockets that people buy and carry around. Maybe this is what those are for; or, as someone else in this thread pointed out, that's what the 'notes' app on your phone is for. I'd honestly not considered that is a reason, or if I have, I just re-realized that's what they can be for. Anyway,

We can take this to some other situations where it wouldn't be acceptable to be sucked into this train of thought: a meeting about a different feature at the job you're working at. They want you present on their tasks, too.

Live in the moment, be that completely absorbed in your current work task, or hanging out with your friends, laughing about stupid things, or hearing a friend talk about his story.

jamra 3 days ago 2 replies      
I would like to see this story rewritten from the point of view of a super hacker who likes to visit bug lists, track down the programmers assigned where they work, and psychologically hack those programmers into finding the solution. He protects his identity wearing only a hoodie.
chaz 3 days ago 2 replies      
> Are they actually talking to me? Unbelievable. I cant talk, Dan; cant you see? Im hanging to this idea by a thread as it is

My problem with this story is that it makes it sounds like it's Dan's fault for walking up to the author at a party/social event. We've all been there -- an all-consuming problem or an unexpected moment of clarity. Or maybe you realize something that puts you into a sour mood. We can't expect those around us to be mind readers.

scoofy 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you look on your phone, you might have a little app called "notes." I use that and still have a great time at parties.
pdpi 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nope, sorry, you're wrong. You are the exact definition of an introvert. You're in a social environment, surrounded by other people, and instead of interacting with others, you're lost in thought about something else entirely.

Just wikipedia it: Introversion is "the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one's own mental life". That exactly describes the behaviour you're relating. Now, being an introvert isn't a problem, but that title tells me that you're no so much concerned about introversion being a problem, as you are about grandstanding and making your "busyness" mark you as important somehow.

rip747 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think the take away is that sometimes you can't see the forest through the trees, so look at the sunset.

When I'm working on something and I just can't figure it out, I take my dog for a walk and hold some ridiculous one-way conversation with him. Yeah I know I must look like a manic talking to an eight pound pomeranian, but the point is to put your mind completely somewhere else. It's amazing how the solution just appears when your mind isn't engulfed in the problem.

Gigablah 3 days ago 0 replies      
There's a difference between being "busy" and being "self-absorbed".
austinhutch 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm an introvert and that doesn't prevent me from enjoying parties and being sociable. It irks me when introvert is used as a pejorative or like it is something people have to "cope" with.
sudhirj 3 days ago 0 replies      
What doesn't seem to be coming through here is the power of the subconscious to pattern match and work on problems independently of our main heads. The way this guy figured out the solution to his problem was by observing another person's behaviour in an elevator, which matched a pattern in his mind.

aStimulus is often a good thing. I've actually found watching a lot of unrelated everyday interactions helps with designing systems.

pbhjpbhj 3 days ago 1 reply      
My mother still recounts that at primary school (5-11) all I'd did is day-dream all day and they could never get me to do any work. That's not strictly true of course - I was reading "top class" books when still in infants and was never challenged by the maths we did, taught the teachers about electric circuits (perhaps they were just humouring me).

One of my favourite things to do is simply sit and stare out the window, or sit on the stairs but I'm always thinking about something. Always inventing something in my mind or doing some gedanken or other.

I wish this had been recognised as indicative of internal complex state rather than laziness and vacuity and then I might have been encouraged towards developing those thoughts properly.

... but then I'm prone to blame external forces for my failings.

castlegrove 3 days ago 2 replies      
I totally get this. As one who works in a coworking space I have to fend off people all day. I love to talk, but not when I'm trying to write code. Some people don't realize that headphones are the universal sign of "I'm busy".
notlisted 2 days ago 0 replies      
Replace 'CEO' by 'my wife' and you have my life. It's difficult to explain apparently, but me sitting quietly in my underwear in the office chair staring at the wall on a Sunday morning doesn't mean I'm not busy. Those pancakes can wait.
kirab 3 days ago 0 replies      
Actually its obvious that the author is an introvert. Its just the negative connotations which make him deny it.
intull 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is one of the best articles I've read for situations like those. I fall into such situations every now and then! And I'm going to pass this on to my friends as a "nice article". ;)
Kronopath 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is why I used to carry around a pocket notebook with me at all times (nowadays I use the Notes functionality on my smartphone). Managed to figure out the solution to a problem I've been struggling with? Got a sudden flash of creative inspiration I don't want to forget? Need to remember to do some chore later on this evening? Pull out the notebook and pen, quickly write it down as best I can, then put the notebook back in my pocket and return my focus to what's going on around me at the time. That way I can put that idea out of my mind, returning to it when the situation is right.
cgriswald 3 days ago 0 replies      
Fantastic read. I'm not a fan of the labels introvert and extrovert as they apply to people. However, I think as they apply to behaviors they are useful, and I found the fact that you didn't advocate for yourself to get out of there (possibly even at the expense of being rude) to be a bit introverted. Same with the idea that you usually "blow it" during conversation. (Alternatively, perhaps I am asocial.)
mvkel 1 day ago 0 replies      
I never understood why being an introvert is looked at as a negative, like the last thing you want to be is an introvert.

If this piece is this guy's inner monologue, he's an introvert. If he's incessantly focused on _things_, and people seem to be a distraction from that thing, that's a pretty big indicator of an introverted personality.

Extroverts can't _help_ but think about connecting with people. They thrive on it. They're people people.

AdrianRossouw 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in a situation now where I might end up taking my first office job in more than a decade.

I'm actually kind of worried that the impact of having other people around will significantly limit my productivity. The few times I have gone to a remote office to do some work, I really suffered with the open plan situation.

I have to make a conscious effort not to be gruff and terse with my SO when he breaks my concentration, and I outright love him. I have to remind myself that other people aren't able to perceive what is going on in the virtual world.

Maybe it will work out fine, but in all honesty having to commute and be somewhere every day at a certain(ish) time is probably what's going to kill the experiment for me, not the other people.

shakeel_mohamed 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Seriously, who wears a hoodie at an office party?"- As the only intern in a small office, I did it last year :) (Partially because I was forced to go)
kirillzubovsky 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just want to say, love the writing style!
thenerdfiles 3 days ago 4 replies      
I know a developer who once walked over to a business analyst to ask about an interesting ID in our database. She chatted with him for a bit, drew her question, then they bantered some.

At the end of it, he recalled the interesting ID that she originally queried about, as they conversed, told her, then as she passed on to her next endeavor, her closing comment was, "Now let me try to remember that number all the way back to my desk."

Now granted, this is just an ID not a bug, an "idea" or something embedded in some complicated (dis)array of logic but she engaged the person whom she asked, and through human interaction and grace, the two pulled out an answer together. Then she took it in strides that memory is up to her.

I remember when I used to be more like her and less like this antihuman, perpetually brooding, code-distressed, oh-can-you-leave-me-to-my-precious-mind sob-story archetype that you rage-hackers (again perpetually) perpetuate.

Why do we romanticize this? It's becoming obnoxious the glorification of obnoxiousness. Your mind is your garden, and no one owes you peace of mind. And if people wish to browse your garden, you should be absolutely fucking thrilled.

Why are you propping up and romanticizing this "do no enter" sign at the entrance of your gardens?

You know there's a Java dev here that often times will start off an interruption with, "How can I provide you with outstanding customer service today?"

How about this? Forget your "engineer" metaphor. Forget your "prodigious self-torment". If you want to fold to the Machines that's YOUR M.O. Stop sharing with piss about it. Stop whining. Our job has one distinct role, and that's to protect EACH OTHER from this massively complicated world of machines. Do your goddamn fellow human a favor, and pay more attention to HUMANS than you do machines.

Maybe your life will be filled with more spontaneity, warmth, and gifts because all a fucking computer is going to give you is rules. One key subcomponent of our job as developers, programmers, etc. is Customer Service and that's because humans first.

Why else is "human-readable" a thing?

drivingmenuts 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well-written article. I can relate (I often zone out at social gatherings that I don't exactly know if I could skip out on, which is most of them).

Amazing how much bike-shedding is going on here.

Or perhaps not.

sakura_k 3 days ago 0 replies      
~(introvert || extrovert). Or perhaps a better definition is that there is no common mutex for introverts and extroverts. Or we're all a little introvert and all a little extrovert.

Introverts are powered by self-reflection and alone time spent understanding the things they love. Extroverts are powered by spending time with other people and reflecting on what they love. Most of us are a linear combination of the two. I'm about a 0.6i + a 0.4e (factors subject to change; some amazing people's factors add up to 1.0; warranty void where prohibited).

Introversion and extroversion aren't necessarily a dichotomy and aren't anything to apologize for. We partake of these modes of socialite as life permits. If you're binary on the scale, great - that helps other people understand you. If you're analog on the scale, great, you can help others understand you where you are currently.

zwieback 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice story, please ignore all the whiner comments.

What I want to know is: did your inspiration help fix the bug?

chris_mahan 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is why I always carry a small notebook in my back pocket. And pens.
iamthepieman 3 days ago 0 replies      
I enjoyed reading this. I don't normally like stream of consciousness writing but this was catchy.
hessenwolf 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very entertaining. Virginia Woolf stream of consciousness in a socially anxious situation.
markbnj 2 days ago 0 replies      
You seem too anxious. I don't know about you, but once an idea occurs to me about what might be causing a problem, there's zero chance of forgetting it. You should have just enjoyed the party. After all, the ROI on the relaxation had just gone up significantly.
griffinheart 3 days ago 0 replies      
There was never a time that a "F*ck this, i'm going for a drink/dinner" moment didn't help me solve a problem.

What i feel is that after grinding on a problem for a while we get tunnel vision, the only way out of that, for me, is to turn off and go do something else.

randac 3 days ago 0 replies      
Jot some notes on the back of a napkin and the issue becomes less of one. The real problem, as others have said, is agreeing to things that you would rather not go through with... Now, that I can sympathize with. Not least because I struggle with it too.
robbiea 3 days ago 1 reply      
Love the writing style of this post. He may be in an introvert but he's a damn good writer!
inquist 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have a similar bug. But I was able to code a workaround so the original leak has still not been found. Good news is it's not causing any problems :)

Sometimes it just needs to work.

frade33 2 days ago 0 replies      
the title is now my twitter tag line, thanks for that. People often accuse me of being introvert, while I am shy of telling them the truth ;)
dsschnau 3 days ago 0 replies      
That was a wonderful little story. I really enjoyed it.
1602 3 days ago 0 replies      
No, woman, no cry. Just be in a present moment and everything is gonna be alright.
PhasmaFelis 3 days ago 1 reply      
I honestly can't decide if being like this would make me more happy (because totally dedicated to something that fascinates me) or less (because can't enjoy personal time for itself).
dave_chenell 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is perfect
tdsamardzhiev 3 days ago 0 replies      
No, you are an introvert.
mello151 3 days ago 0 replies      
I thought it was just me...
puppetmaster3 3 days ago 0 replies      
Opposite is also true: I have nothing to do, let me call a meeting a blowhard.
Linus Torvalds: I'm happily hacking on a new save format using libgit2 plus.google.com
279 points by hebz0rl  2 days ago   254 comments top 25
mrcharles 2 days ago 12 replies      
On the game I'm currently working on, it's built very heavily around Lua. So for the save system, we simply fill a large Lua table, and then write that to disk, as Lua code. The 'save' file then simply becomes a Lua file that can be read directly into Lua.

This is absolutely amazing for debugging purposes. Also you never have to worry about corrupt save files or anything of it's ilk. Development is easier, diagnosing problems is easier, and using a programmatic data structure on the backend means that you can pretty much keep things clean and forward compatible with ease.

(Oh, also being able to debug by altering the save file in any way you want is a godsend).

bhaak 2 days ago 14 replies      
What's with all the XML hate? Of course, doing everything in XML is a stupid idea (e.g. XSLT and Ant) and thanks heaven that hype is over.

But if I want something that is able to express data structures customized by myself, usually with hierarchical data that can be verified for validity and syntax (XML Schemas or old-school DTD), what other options are there?

Doing hierarchical data in SQL is a bitch and if you want to transfer it, well good luck with a SQL dump. JSON and other lightweight markup languages fail the verification requirement.

WalterBright 1 day ago 3 replies      
Back in the bad old DOS days, instead of creating a file format for saving/loading the configuration of the text editor, I simply wrote out the image in memory of the executable to the executable file. (The configuration was written to static global variables.)

Running the new executable then loaded the new configuration. This worked like a champ, up until the Age of Antivirus Software, which always had much grief over writing to executable files.

It's a trick I learned from the original Fortran version of ADVENT.

jmnicolas 2 days ago 2 replies      
From the comments (Tristan Colgate) :

"XML is what you do to a sysadmin if waterboarding him would get you fired."

Made my day :-)

tzury 2 days ago 5 replies      
I just realized that Linus' posts are the only reason I ever go to Google Plus.
oneeyedpigeon 2 days ago 3 replies      
I don't quite get Linus' problem with XML for document markup (for anything else - config files, build scripts - sure, XML is horrible). Does anyone know any more details about what his specific gripe is? For me, asciidoc (which looks very similar, conceptually, to markdown) suffers from one huge problem: it's incomplete. Substituting symbols for words results in a more limited vocabulary, if that vocabulary is to remain at all memorable.

Sure, XML can be nasty, but thats very much a function of the care taken to a) format the file sensibly b) use appropriate structure (i.e. be as specific as necessary, and no more).

lifeisstillgood 2 days ago 2 replies      
What I like is the "I dont start prototyping till I have a good mental picture"

I am currently stuck on a project I want to start becasue I cannot get it to fit right in my (future) head. And I am glad I am not an idiot for not being able to knock out my next great project in between lattes.

(Ok, in direct comparison terms I am an idiot, but at least its not compounded)

josephlord 2 days ago 0 replies      

I didn't really know what he was talking about but I think this is it.

The title does need changing though as it is definitely file formats under discussion not file systems.

k2enemy 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't really understand what he's talking about here (my ignorance, not his fault.) Is it something like https://camlistore.org/ that is a content addressable (the git part) datastore?
fuzzix 2 days ago 1 reply      
> "I actually want to have a good mental picture of what I'm doing before I start prototyping. And while I had a high-level notion of what I wanted, I didn't have enough of a idea of the details to really start coding."

This I like. The race away from the waterfall straw man has also stripped us of the advantages of BDUF.

While rigid phase-driven project management helps nobody, I think there's still room for speccing as much as we can upfront within iterative processes.

Or you could run to the IDE and start ramming design pattern boilerplate down its throat the second you're out of the first meeting ;)

splitbrain 2 days ago 1 reply      
he talks about a save file format, not a file system. or do we have different concepts of "file system"?
twic 2 days ago 2 replies      
Title is entirely misleading. Tech support! TECH SUPPORT!!
pcj 1 day ago 1 reply      
>>So I've been thinking about this for basically months, but the way I work, I actually want to have a good mental picture of what I'm doing before I start prototyping. And while I had a high-level notion of what I wanted, I didn't have enough of a idea of the details to really start coding.

This might be a tangential discussion. Earlier, I used to have a similar approach. Can't code until I have the complete picture. But, it's tough to do in a commercial world and you have deliverables. So, nowadays, I start with what I know and scramble my way until I get a better picture. There are times when that approach works. But, there have been days where I was like - "wish I had spent some more time thinking about this".

I am curious how folks on HN handle this "coding block".

beagle3 1 day ago 0 replies      
tedchs 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why reinvent on-disk data formats when you can just make a file of protocol buffers? https://code.google.com/p/protobuf/
Gonzih 1 day ago 0 replies      
Current title that I see "Linus Torvalds on implementation of human-readable file system" is off. It's about file formats, not file systems.
aashishkoirala 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is what Linus does. He has strong opinions and he throws them around. You can't let that get to you. Both XML and JSON are just fine if used properly.
senthilnayagam 2 days ago 1 reply      
why do you need to view filesystem and make it readable for humans, you would interact it via commands "ls" or some gui

git as the basis of filesystem is interesting, hope we don't need to manually make branches and commits to use it

hardwaresofton 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why not sqlite or sexpressions? Linus states that databases can't hold previous state but that's not really true...

I'm not sure why git is the best tool for the job in this case, even after reading the post & some of the contents.

joelhaasnoot 2 days ago 1 reply      
Worked on a project a few years ago where we needed distributed sync capability. Using git (or bazaar or mercurial) was one of the options - store everything in it versus a database. Interesting to see the same thought "coming back".
signa11 2 days ago 0 replies      
erik-naggum's most excellent xml rant: http://www.schnada.de/grapt/eriknaggum-xmlrant.html
vfclists 1 day ago 0 replies      
What is it with HN commenters and their demented ability to send topics completely of track? I would have thought someone might have examined the code or what Linus is trying to implement and comment about it.

But here we have threads about Lua, why people hate XML and love JSON and all kinds if irrelevant issues which have been well hashed elsewhere ad nauseam. Why not restrict to an analysis of whatever it is Linus developing?

HN is getting truly annoying and sucky, if it isn't so already.

sam_bwut 1 day ago 0 replies      
At work we have a git backed document store that just saves as json - versioning makes keeping track of audit points nice and easy.
meapix 2 days ago 1 reply      
xml haters!!! using other formats how can I define DTDs?
bananas 2 days ago 4 replies      
I think this title is wrong.

Firstly some clarification - this appears to just be about the persistence format for his dive log. It was XML, now it's git based with plain text.

As someone who had to manage a system which worked with plain text files structured in a filesystem for a number of years in the 1990s, this is done to death already.

You now end up with the following problems: locking, synchronising filesystem state with the program, inode usage, file handles to manage galore and concurrency. All sorts.

Basically this is a "look I've discovered maildir and stuffed it in a git repo".

Not saying there is a better solution but this isn't a magic bullet. It's just a different set of pain.

Yes, The CIA Spied On Congress andrewsullivan.com
270 points by interpares  3 days ago   90 comments top 14
suprgeek 3 days ago 9 replies      
So the CIA Illegally Spied on the Congress Staffers investigating illegal CIA Torture Methods?

------illegality recursion too deep-----------

But seriously this is a critical test for Pres. Obama. These agencies shouldn't be allowed to pull this kind of Shit without suffering serious consequences.

Time for the Executive to step-up, fire a bunch of high-rankers and NOT sweep this under the carpet as some sort of "Bad Apples" or "Mistakes were Made" whitewash.

Otherwise all that Hope & Change sloganeering will be empty rhetoric.

shadowfiend 3 days ago 2 replies      
Oh man, I hate this as much as the next person, but I thinkthe best thing we can say right now is that there is nowherenear enough (public) evidence that this is a believable allegation.What we have is an article from McClatchy whose title ends ina question mark (Probe: Did the CIA spy on the U.S. Senate?),which to me is the red flag of red flags that they have nolevel of certainty whatsoever. Then the article seems to drawdubious lines between this allegation and some questions inhearings. Other articles building on it imply additionaltenuous connections between all this stuff and a letterMark Udall wrote that may be referencing this vaguely, maybe.

It's a problem that all of this stuff has to remain vague.It gets in the way of our reaching conclusions. But assumingthe lack of information is information in and of itself isproblematic for me in this case. I think it's fair to waitand see what the justice department's investigation, if any,reveals. If there's no investigation, then we have to makedo with the information we have.

The fact that the CIA has been shown to be doing all sortsof terrible stuff doesn't mean that our obligation to beskeptical about allegations in general needs to be suspended.To me, it's likely that this is true, but I won't tout itas fact until something clearer than the current foggy tangleof vague statements emerges.

As a side note, I think the greater question to arise from thisis the fact that during a Congressional investigation, it wasthrough agreement that the CIA wasn't supposed to bemonitoring Congressional investigators. Why is that sort ofthing not clearly ensconced in law?

wpietri 3 days ago 1 reply      
The thing I would be wondering in a Congressperson's shoes shoes: what other things have I been doing that the CIA has been spying on?

Chilling effects indeed.

And for those inclined to brush that away as implausible, it might be time for a refresher on J. Edgar Hoover and his secret files on political leaders. [1] 50 years later, our tech is a lot better, so it would be much easier to gain inordinate power through surveillance.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Edgar_Hoover

intslack 3 days ago 1 reply      

>Congressional aides involved in preparing the Senate Intelligence Committees unreleased study of the CIAs secret interrogation and detention program walked out of the spy agencys fortress-like headquarters with classified documents that the CIA contended they werent authorized to have, McClatchy has learned.

>After the CIA confronted the panel in January about the removal of the material last fall, panel staff concluded that the agency had monitored computers theyd been given to use in a high-security research room at the CIA campus in Langley, Va., a McClatchy investigation found.

>The documents removed from the agency included a draft of an internal CIA review that at least one lawmaker has publicly said showed that agency leaders misled the Intelligence Committee in disputing some of the committee reports findings, according to a knowledgeable person who requested anonymity because of the matters extraordinary sensitivity.

>Some committee members regard the monitoring as a possible violation of the law and contend that their oversight powers give them the right to the documents that were removed. On the other hand, the CIA considers the removal as a massive security breach because the agency doesnt believe that the committee had a right to those particular materials.


>While eating lunch during a visit to New Britain, Conn., with four New England governors, Obama was asked by a reporter if he had any reaction to the allegation that the CIA monitored Intelligence Committee computers.

>Im going to try to make sure I dont spill anything on my tie, he responded.

vamega 3 days ago 0 replies      
For what it's worth here's a whitehouse petition.


jostmey 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can't congress just pull funding? I suppose the CIA has too much dirt on many of our congressmen for that to ever happen.
cookiecaper 3 days ago 2 replies      
This just in: spy organization spies on important national political figures.

Did you guys never hear of intelligence agencies before Snowden leaked his docs? This is normal and expected. It's the reason intelligence agencies and spies exist. They're supposed to spy on the most important people in the world, and make sure that the important people don't plan anything the agency's employers may consider ... untoward.

Franklin_B 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's ridiculous to believe that the CIA deserves the benefit of the doubt in this matter. More likely there are worse things we just aren't privy to.
baddox 3 days ago 6 replies      
Anyone want to make bets over whether anyone will ever be legally punished over this?
gadders 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't surprise me, given that congress and their assorted hangers on would leak confidential information for political advantage.
zhemao 3 days ago 0 replies      
Right, because the CIA has no electronic surveillance capabilities whatsoever. They can't cast a large dragnet over all of the country's communications like the NSA can, but they can sure as hell tap a few congressmen's phones and email.
sentientmachine 3 days ago 1 reply      
How far does a government agency have to go in breaking law before the military is deployed to put boots on the ground to reel in the agency back under the rule of law?

I'd like to think that if agencies started hiring their own armies and created their own version of law enforcement zones from other countries, and started killing people who opposed them, that someone would actually do something to stop that... right?

Show HN: A visual HTML5 animation editor in your browser animatron.com
268 points by carizan  2 days ago   133 comments top 45
MarcScott 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's so refreshing to see a service that requires no signup. Normally a signup acts as a barrier to entry for me, especially when it requires a link to a social media identity. I'm going to have a play around now.
Trufa 1 day ago 2 replies      
Wow! I don't have any use for this right now, but I'm in awe!

The landing page is beautiful and the video catching, registration is easy and the tutorial is great, color me impressed.

pavlov 1 day ago 1 reply      
There's a lot of nice things about this UI, well done! The difference between "animation" and "design" modes isn't quite obvious at first glance. The switch doesn't tell you anything, so you have to experiment to find out what it means.

I'm happy to see that you're using Canvas for the published animation. It's the only way to go for artistic animation where content needs to update at every frame -- CSS just isn't enough for that.

Some three years ago, I made a HTML5 animation tool that outputs to Canvas + video:http://radiapp.com

Despite all the hours I put in, I never managed to figure out a way to turn it into a real product. I think you will fare better :)

muyuu 1 day ago 3 replies      
Looks interesting but an authoring tool is not something I want to run "in the cloud" and be dependant on a connection and a service that may or may not be there when I need it.

Wouldn't invest much time in a tool that is not available for download, to be honest.

Nevertheless it looks well done.

bsimpson 1 day ago 3 replies      
I was really excited to try it after watching your cartoon demo, but this is all I see when I open the editor in ChromeOS 34:


hughes 2 days ago 2 replies      
This looks like a really full-featured and powerful animation tool! The tutorial movie was very impressive.

The gallery[0] has some good looking examples, but they all run very slowly (1fps) in both chrome/firefox on my MBP. Not sure why performance is so poor on my machine.

One thing I couldn't figure out from the site is what their revenue model/pricing plan is. I saw that guest accounts are active for 15 days, but what are the limitations after I sign in?

[0] http://www.animatron.com/explore#staff-picks

frik 2 days ago 2 replies      

  Your browser is too old or not yet supported!
And a link to Chrome frame, a retired Google product.

Please use feature detection instead of sniffing the browser agent. My browser (IE11) is perfectly capable and supports HTML5 APIs fine (e.g. Canvas 2D).

selectout 1 day ago 1 reply      
Would love a paid option of like $5-$10/month that gives me the actual source code so I can just take it and run it on my own stuff. Great work though!
bhouston 1 day ago 2 replies      
I really like the interface and the timeline. I also like the learning tooltips. I think that we can learn a lot from your UI design.

BTW I wonder if it is worthwhile to try and hook up an interconnect between this and our 3D modeler/animator/renderer: http://clara.io

bunkat 1 day ago 1 reply      
The tool looks great and everything was really well done, but who is the customer for this?

It seemed like it was for non-designers but when I open the editor I get a blank canvas and I have absolutely no idea where to start to make a professional looking animation. Seems like I would still need to hire a visual designer/graphic artist who would most likely use the tools they are already familiar with.

WoodenChair 1 day ago 1 reply      
So, this is Hype in the browser: http://tumult.com/hype/
wyuenho 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd love to try this out as I've been looking for something like for a long time. But I can't use it because I can't sign up with a password longer than 16 characters. This is a rookie security mistake that I see over and over again and makes me worry. As a rule of thumb, you should NOT limit the length of a password. Salting will take care of the weak password problem and a long password is, well, the securer the better.

Edit: use a secure hash on the password before storing into the database

ethana 1 day ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of the early days of Flash 4. Very nice indeed. But flash animations made the web horrible, I don't suspect HTML5 animations will fare any better.
marukokinno 1 day ago 1 reply      
I still use the tiny lightning fast Macromedia Flash 4 to make simple animations, when its just simple animations, without all the script power, features and Photoshop integration you get with the Adobe 2 Gb in disk elephant. I used to run this Flash 4 in a Pentium 133hz with only 16 MB RAM and it wasn't that slow. I was waiting, wondering why didn't someone bring something like that for HTML5 yet, and Finally it is here! Thank you .
tekmate 1 day ago 1 reply      
that's the kind of user friendly killerapp that made flash so ubiquitous, because everyone and his mom were able to make animations.

While i love canvas, it's downright impossible for non-programmers to do any of the footwork that is needed to create even the most basic animation.

i will certainly keep an eye on this project, great job

arunoda 1 day ago 1 reply      
I personally in love with older version of Flash. This reminds me that and I'm gonna use this a lot. Thank you guys.
pkorzeniewski 2 days ago 1 reply      
That's really impressing, very easy and intuitive to use!
asciimo 1 day ago 1 reply      
How much of that demo video was made with the product? 100% would really impress me.
anovikov 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nice, yeah let's make a Flash IDE in a browser, which will compile results into a real .swf, which will then play in an HTML5-based Flash player on any device. Maybe support of a few things like rtmfp protocol will be tricky, but who cares.
malkia 1 day ago 1 reply      
I see a lot of 2D/3D/CAD editors on the web - but one simple thing puzzles my mind - how multiple monitors are supported?

Or docking (windows in windows, with maximizing)?

yangcanvas 1 day ago 2 replies      
Really nice work. A flash-like canvas animation is due gain popularity in the near future.

Your fill-bucket tool is a little freezy, as I'm sure you are aware. I made an HTML5 static image editor http://yangcanvas.com/paint and I found a good fill-bucket tool hard to implement too. Your tools does fill ranges perfectly, which is really nice. Good luck making that work more efficiently without sacrificing precision as I did.

vram22 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just had a short look at the video right now, going to check more, but looks good. Is there a way to embed the video in a blog post? Would like to blog about it and embed the video. When I right-clicked on the video, it had an option to copy video URL, which I did, but that results only in the link to the video, not the embed code.
markjspivey 18 hours ago 1 reply      
great find for me! i am in design/dev for the learning and development industry, so naturally many teams have strong backgrounds in Flash, and lately Adobe Edge Animate and Tumult Hype (even Google has thrown something into the ring). Literally the only thing I did to determine whether I would investigate Animatron further was opening it up and dropping some audio into the project, and seeing whether the waveform shows up on the timeline layer. This is a MUST regarding WYSIWYG sync of animation to audio... its what Flash IDE had that Edge and Hype still do not! The next thing is determining the workflow for integrating with eLearning standards such as SCORM and TinCanAPI / Experience API... naturally this is the type of product I would also pay premium to integrate further into my team and client's workflow for Instructional Design, etc...
basicallydan 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow! This really takes me back to my Flash Animation days. Very cool and slick. I like it.
monkeynotes 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks like HN killed your API:

> http://api.animatron.com/anonymous net::ERR_EMPTY_RESPONSE

alexRohde 1 day ago 1 reply      
I just have to say I tried this out for about 20 minutes (not an artsy guy really) and found it amazing. Very intuitive, clean, fast, and seems entirely free. Highly recommend.
lxe 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is very impressive. As someone who has no idea what I'm doing, I was able to make an animation of a circle moving and growing from left to right in 30 seconds without reading the manual or tutorials. This is how user interfaces should be built!
subdane 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great - all the tools that come close to this have been flash and don't run easily on phones and tablets. I noticed it crashed mobile safari for me. Do you have plans to make this workable for non-desktop users?
greggman 1 day ago 1 reply      
Was the opening animation made in the tool?
james2vegas 1 day ago 1 reply      
Logo looks a btit like Duke: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wave.svg
rjf90 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been looking for something like this. Powtoons is ok but sucks for someone who wants a little more out of their animation tool. Can't wait to try it out!
pwpwp 1 day ago 1 reply      
Was it very painful to develop this great GUI or is GWT/HTML5 at a point where it's OK?
dagge 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'll have to add a shameless plug to the visual HTML5 editor in the browser that I've built. Also created with GWT, and using GreenSock JS for animations.

Available at http://tweenui.com/animator/

What do you think? How does it stack up?

enthdegree 19 hours ago 1 reply      
This is amazing! Does it have facilities for frame-by-frame animation and onion-skinning?
chii 1 day ago 1 reply      
I really like that it's using GWT too! You don't often see much GWT apps these days.
wehadfun 1 day ago 1 reply      
Do you have to host in the cloud or can you down load this.

Is there a limit to how long the animations can be

idlewan 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love how they compare their potential users to easily-distracted cavemen.
camus2 1 day ago 1 reply      
nice, yet too slow for production use right now in my opinion.But it has a great potential.
kafkaesque 1 day ago 2 replies      
What video formats can I export to?
Edmond 1 day ago 1 reply      
the discussion on layers and masking reminds me of Gimp, did you take any inspiration from it?
donut2d 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why are passwords limited to 16 characters? That's unnerving.
sogen 1 day ago 1 reply      
Where's the Gallery? Can't find it.
jbeja 2 days ago 0 replies      
Que arrecho!.
d55 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm impressed.
joyeuse6701 1 day ago 0 replies      
How to Think farnamstreetblog.com
267 points by darklighter3  23 hours ago   39 comments top 19
suprgeek 18 hours ago 2 replies      
This is an excellent piece with a couple of important lessons on how to think effectively:

- The ability to think creatively

- The ability to substitute initially attractive moves with well thought out log-term effective ones.

However on the other side of the coin is what we hackers face more often - Analysis Paralysis.

Once you fall into the Analytical Mindset, there is such a thing as being too analytical. Sometimes if it feels right you just go ahead and F*ing do it.

Otherwise the fear of making a wrong decision will paralyze you into inaction - which is worse than a screw-up (usually). So it is a balancing act - think enough but not too much. Analyze but not to the point of paralysis.

Edit: Spelling

bluecalm 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't like it.I think it's very important to make people comfortable with the idea that they often make mistakes and their thinking is not up to par. You need to make them comfortable thinking about their thinking and being open about it. To do that you need to point a lot of mistakes and encourage them to think about the process leading to them. That's difficult for many people (because of ego mainly).However the woman from the article doesn't achieve it in my view. Her way is to inflict guilt:

>>Spiegels face tensed. We did not bring you here so that you could spend two seconds on a move, she said with an edge in her voice

>>This is pathetic. If you continue to play like this, Im going to withdraw you from the tournament,

>> Im very, very, very upset to be seeing such a careless and thoughtless game.

I call it bullying. Why not just focus on the thought process and try to detach emotions from it, that's what the kid needs to learn in the first place:

-"How much time did you spend here?"

-"Two seconds"

-"You see, spending two seconds here led to a blunder which you suffered from for rest of the game, we need to work on your thinking habits. There is not much time for that now and as I screw up as your teacher not teaching it to you before for now I only suggest that once you decide on a move, look away from the board, try to reset your mind, sit on your hands and look at the board as freshly as possible for 15 seconds to see if you are not blundering anything".

Then you add: "Thinking habits in chess are everything, a lot of brilliant players never make progress because occasional slips and a lot of not-so-brilliant ones enjoy success because they avoid simple mistake thanks to good habits". "We are going to work on this after the tournament, there are many ways. Rest assured it's main problem chess players have, you are not alone. How well people improve in that area is going to be a difference between winning and losing so it's exciting area to focus on". Then you discuss ego, how not willing to admit your own mistakes is major road block and how it's perfectly ok to discuss mistakes but it's not ok to be happy about them or comfortable with them! You need healthy dose of ambition you need to be disappointed... but optimistic and believing you can get better. Feeling guilty won't lead there. Feeling like you are disappointing other people won't lead there (even if it won't be long term, it's dependence on external motivator - disappointing someone. At one time this someone won't be there). If you act like the woman from the article people will avoid you - nobody wants to feel guilty after all. They want to improve, work on their thinking, compete and have fun.

Her way shows characteristics of bad teachers and bad parent. I've encountered both and I think it's the best way to kill natural joy and passion quickly even if you get some quick results - it won't be long term and it won't be to maximum potential.

lotharbot 21 hours ago 2 replies      
> Its uncomfortable to focus so intensely on what youre bad at,

When my wife was learning to play the piano, her teacher used to say "if you're going to make a mistake, make it loud so we can hear it and fix it." I make my students do math in pen for the same reason -- instead of silently making the same mistake over and over again, it gets made once, analyzed (by the students), and fixed. This bothered the students at first, but they've come around and become much more thoughtful about what they write.

> Teaching chess is really about teaching the habits that go along with thinking, Spiegel explained to me one morning when I visited her classroom. Like how to understand your mistakes and how to be more aware of your thought processes.> " I saw Spiegel trying to teach her students grit, curiosity, self-control, and optimism."

Which is really what teaching is about. I think most teachers know this, and we get a fairly healthy dose of it in professional development every week. I'm a math teacher, but the training I get during the school year isn't in math, it's in things like "accountable talk". It sounds like the teacher in this article is particularly gifted and practiced.

This isn't just for classroom teachers. The same concepts matter for parenting and in the workplace.

pdonis 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Excellent quote here:

And I really believe that's why we seem to win girls' nationals sections pretty easily every year: most people wont tell teenage girls (especially the together, articulate ones) that they are lazy and the quality of their work is unacceptable. And sometimes kids need to hear that, or they have no reason to step up.

This could apply to boys as well as girls, and indeed to anyone at just about any age; sometimes we need to be told that we're not measuring up. I am reminded of Philip Greenspun's story about the venture capitalists who wrecked ArsDigita, the company he had built (from http://waxy.org/random/arsdigita/):

[F]or most of this year Chip, Peter, and Allen [the VC Board members and CEO] didn't want to listen to me. They even developed a theory for why they didn't have to listen to me: I'd hurt their feelings by criticizing their performance and capabilities; self-esteem was the most important thing in running a business; ergo, because I was injuring their self-esteem it was better if they just turned a deaf ear. I'm not sure how much time these three guys had ever spent with engineers. Chuck Vest, the president of MIT, in a private communication to some faculty, once described MIT as "a no-praise zone". My first week as an electrical engineering and computer science graduate student I asked a professor for help with a problem. He talked to me for a bit and then said "You're having trouble with this problem because you don't know anything and you're not working very hard."

thruflo 18 hours ago 1 reply      
The unparalleled Think Like a Grandmaster by Alexander Kotov explains not only planning and strategy in chess but also the methodical use of time.

Assess the position. Identify the variations to consider. Evaluate each variation for a roughly equivalent period of time. Choose the strongest. Sanity check you haven't missed something. Move.

Repeat, exhaustively, without losing focus, for a multiple of hours.

Edit: the parallel with startups is clear. In chess, you can only think so far ahead. This may be one or two moves, or for a strong player it may be five or six. Either way, you have a visibility horizon but you have to move.

thaumaturgy 16 hours ago 0 replies      
For people interested in brutalizing their egos and learning how to think in some of the ways this article mentioned -- longer-term, more deliberately -- I cannot strongly enough recommend learning how to play Go (http://www.britgo.org/intro/intro2.html).

It's a less popular, but probably more suitable game than chess. The individual rules are far simpler than chess, but the game play is way more complex, with lots of edge cases.

It also has a built-in handicap system that makes it possible for players of different ranks to play fair games, and the game board size can be scaled down for beginners while they learn the basics.

KiwiCoder 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The article is titled 'How To Think'. It might be more aptly titled 'How To Think About Failure' (in a way that shows failures are opportunities for self improvement while success teaches us little).

Coincidentally the BBC ran a series this week 'The Value of Failure.' http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03xl7ff

The series is well worth a listen - 5 x 15 minutes.

Malarkey73 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this falls in to the same trap as the stories earloer about the LHC Physics group that have abandoned PowerPoint for a whiteboard.That something is a good idea for a particular intellectual exercise its a good idea generally for thinking, learning,success!No, chess is a quite particular skill where you can't afford to make mistakes and the problem is bounded and can be fully rationalised. Most creative or scientific endeavors are quite different and some maybe be best learnt by experimentation trial and error.I'm sure she has a great way to teach chess but I don't think its a panacea.
yoha 17 hours ago 2 replies      
By principle, I noticed something that looks like selection bias: she seems to only criticize the decisions on wrong moves without comparing them to when he did well. After all, maybe he just spent one second on the good moves because his instinct is very good?

I know in practice he should have used the available time, but I wanted to underline the one flaw of the article; the rest is pretty good.

cbaker 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm sympathetic to the ideas in the article, but is there any, you know, actual /data/ to support that calling kids lazy and telling them their work is unacceptable is an effective way to teach? I talk to people who study this stuff and do consulting for people like the US military (who aren't particularly known for their touchy-feely approach to training), and, as far as I can tell, this doesn't work particularly well.
radicaledward 19 hours ago 1 reply      
My number one concern with this approach is that it creates an extreme dependence on an external locus of motivation. This seems like it would be great if you want to turn children into excellent cogs for your machine, as in the industrial age, but it could be horrible for creating pioneers and innovators.

I would welcome approaches like this when combined with something like the kind of educational freedom given at a montessori school. In this case, we're looking at a chess team. So maybe the children are participating voluntarily or maybe they aren't.

j2kun 19 hours ago 0 replies      
It's really difficult to get students to think hard about the feedback you give them. This article gives a great way to do that, and I think it's a large part of the success. Simply making them confront their own mistakes honestly.
Malarkey73 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this falls in to the same trap as the stories earlier about the LHC Physics group that have abandoned PowerPoint for a whiteboard.That something is a good idea for a particular intellectual exercise its a good idea generally for thinking, learning,success!No, chess is a quite particular skill where you can't afford to make mistakes and the problem is bounded and can be fully rationalised. Most creative or scientific endeavors are quite different and some maybe be best learnt by experimentation trial and error.I'm sure she has a great way to teach chess but I don't think its a panacea.
startupstella 17 hours ago 0 replies      
If you like this story, check out Brooklyn Castle- a really great documentary about that school and its chess program- http://www.brooklyncastle.com/
NAFV_P 15 hours ago 0 replies      
> Elizabeth Spiegel, the schools chess teacher, was waiting.

At my school in the UK, we didn't have a chess teacher. I'm presuming that not every school in the US has a chess teacher.

Coincidentally, Ms Spiegel reminds me of an old English teacher of mine.

> Before she was a a full-time chess teacher, Spiegel taught an eighth-grade honors English class. She taught them the same way she taught Sebastian: ruthlessly analyzing everything.

I would consider it a shame if she had actually stopped teaching English (especially the comprehension). I often notice how my sentences are elaborated by others, even occasionally on HN.

Elizer0x0309 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't stress enough the main step to increase thinking skills and self is to introspect. Every challenge requires it to fully learn and grow from it. When solving problems for example, it is not only the solution that is important but also the very process to arrive to that solution. Aka: "Thinking" and "Meta-Thinking".
prestadige 18 hours ago 0 replies      
>most people wont tell teenage girls [...] that they are lazy and the quality of their work is unacceptable

Yes. If a male teacher, for example, were to 'rampage' around female pupils, he'd be sacked.

dynamic99 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Farnam Street is an awesome blog. I've been following it for the past year and a half or so, and it's really a collection of priceless information.
whatevsbro 4 hours ago 0 replies      
>> By the end of round three I was starting to feel like an abusive jerk and was about to give up and be fake nice instead.

Feel like an abusive jerk? -She is one. She's behaving like one of those Chinese "Tiger Moms".

>> But then in round four everyone took more than an hour and started playing well.

But then, her bullying started getting results, and she let out a sigh of relief. She wouldn't "need" to tone it down and fake niceness after all.

Fear is an efficient motivator. The kids work hard to avoid the psychological pain she'll inflict on them for not performing up to her expectations.

Show HN: My current App Store Featured Game was written entirely in Scheme apple.com
260 points by rrradical  1 day ago   109 comments top 20
jlongster 1 day ago 3 replies      
Awesome work! I'm continually blown away that people still reference my old work on porting Gambit Scheme for iOS.

Almost makes me want to play around with it again. :)

rrradical 1 day ago 8 replies      
I'm the author. I wrote the game and engine using the wonderful, and fast, Gambit Scheme (http://gambitscheme.org/).

I needed a lisp to manipulate the puzzles, because they aren't based in a strict grid. It ended up being way more natural to program the block structures as lists rather than traditional matrices.

Gambit compiles the Scheme code down to C, which I can then link to Objective-C for iOS, or port to Android or any other platform that Gambit supports.

keithflower 1 day ago 1 reply      
The Gambit interpreter (REPL) itself also runs on the iPhone


and on the Android platform (updating it with the latest version of Gambit is on my todo list):




Note that this is just the interpreter itself - not a very good way of writing games for Android.

codegeek 1 day ago 2 replies      
Good stuff. Interestingly, the very first programming language offered in introductory CS class at my college was Scheme at the time (2000). The power of 'car' and 'cdr' still resonates in my head. At times, the parenthesis used to give me dyslexia but good old days of doing stuff like:

    (car(cdr(car(cdr(cdr a)))))

tokipin 1 day ago 4 replies      
I thought "non-Objective C" languages weren't allowed in the App store, or something like that.
lumens 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love the originality on display with this game mechanic. Too many "samesies" games out there for my tastes.

This developer has another puzzler in the App Store as well: Button Brigade, also quite original, but more of an adventure style puzzle game.



matheusbn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well done! Gameplay video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1T11wl70wjc
Flow 1 day ago 1 reply      
Dear rrradical,

Tried your game, was not disappointed. :-) It's almost spooky that your post came at this time, for I have read a lot about Scheme->C systems this week. This PDF made a great impression on me of the gambit scheme system. http://www.iro.umontreal.ca/~gambit/Gambit-inside-out.pdf

I have a few questions for you:

1. I installed Gambit-Scheme via Brew and compiling any scheme file results in a clang segfault. How did you get around this? For now I use gcc instead. :-/

2. Why Gambit-Scheme and not Chicken-Scheme? I can't really decide which is the better choice for writing a game.

3. Do you use continuations to make coroutines in your game?

eddieroger 1 day ago 0 replies      
Somewhere, deep in Lindley Hall at Indiana University, is an old professor exclaiming, "I told them people used it!"

I wonder if I'd have taken more to Scheme if I were learning it now. At the time, I was double majoring CS and Telecom, but the world of open source hadn't been as friendly to Mac as it is now, and Macs were a prereq for TCom. Getting Scheme running on my old iBook was a pain in the ass, let alone the assignments (which still didn't match the untouchable stability of our automated grading system). I conceptually understood why I needed to learn it, and even grasped many of the concepts of what I was learning, but it wasn't the language for me.

alvatar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great work! :) Congratulations!For those who want to try developing in Scheme, I'm working on a project that could help you get started. Currently only Android is available, but as soon as possible iOS will be as well. http://schemespheres.org
minikomi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I would pay for a good series of tutorials or an ebook on this topic maybe implementing something well known like Tetris etc.
hoprocker 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's truly inspiring to see a project like this completed. I've been wanting to combine mobile (specifically Android) and some sort of Lisp dialect for a while.

Am I interpreting correctly from some of the other components that doing the programming in a language-once-removed (ie Scheme instead of Obj-C) opens an easier path to compiling for both iOS and Android?

dogprez 1 day ago 0 replies      
I play around with this a bit, a few things I learned is that XCode 5.0's llvm crashes when compiling Gambit-C 4.7.0's generated C code. The beta for 5.1 has a fix. Here are a few demos that might help a few people:

scheme REPL over TCP using chibi scheme: https://github.com/clarkeaa/Scheme_iOS_REPL

calling in and out of Gambit-C:https://github.com/clarkeaa/HelloGambit

You can grab a precompiled Gambit-C library from the later project if you want.

arms 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very cool! I always like seeing when something is built using a typically non-traditional language for the environment. I downloaded the game to see how well it performed, and I gotta say, it's a lot of fun. Great job!
seivan 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am so jealous and incredibly happy that you shipped - nice work. I wish I could do that as well.
xkarga00 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just downloaded and tried the app.Simple and elegant, very good work!
mjt0229 1 day ago 2 replies      
Nice work! I think I played ultimate with you this past summer, and we talked about this on the way to a game.
elwell 1 day ago 0 replies      
It shows how spoiled I am that I expected a github link.
oliverlord 1 day ago 1 reply      
great work :) congrats
Shivetya 1 day ago 6 replies      
After reading the story I just have to recall stories from the guys who flew and serviced F4s, they joked they could fly without either wing simply because it was just a rocket sled.

We had one guy knicknamed Major Cablecutter as he "clipped" the guidelines of a radio tower one time. He also had come back more than once with branches stuck to his F4. Being that they were only "Recon" they tended to be aggressive during war games and this game guy over stressed his airframe turning into some F18s trying to tag him.

So many military planes have such high thrust to weight ratios I do not doubt that wings merely become the means to stable flight

Satoshi Nakamoto denies being Dorian Nakamoto bitcointalk.org
257 points by citricsquid  2 days ago   173 comments top 42
pdeuchler 2 days ago 4 replies      
Hmmmmm. Assuming the post was made by the actual Satoshi...

Dorian Nakamoto is Satoshi: This is an attempt by him to throw people off his scent, which would be foolish and desperate since chances are the millions of eyes focused on him will find more concrete proof than the Newsweek article, rendering the posting moot. Almost guaranteeing the drama will continue, if not whip it into a larger frenzy.

Dorian Nakamoto isn't Satoshi: An attempt to absolve someone of harassment. Noble, but not wise, since now he will have to continue to disprove serious accusations of his identity, or else innocent people will be harmed again. And the corollary, if he does not publish a refutation people will assume it's tacit agreement. People will continue looking for him.

It's late and I know I didn't think of everything, but I can't see this being a winning move by Satoshi in any scenario.

My personal theory? Dorian was a member of a crypto group that eventually gave birth to Bitcoin, but he was never part of the implementation. Maybe he thought of the original math/idea, so they named their pseudonym after him in his honor? Probably not true, but fun!

jnbiche 2 days ago 7 replies      
Even more interesting: look who signed Satoshi's key on April Fools Day of last year[1].


(ignore the signature from today, anyone could have done that in the brouhaha following today's disclosures)

Based on that, it looks pretty clear to me that Dorian Nakamoto decided to "latch on" to the Satoshi Nakamoto founder's myth, either as a way to boost his reputation/ego or as some practical joke (or both!).

That or Satoshi the Founder is trolling us all.

1. Originally noted a few moments ago by mpfrank on bitcointalk.

EDIT: Duh, it's fake. Obviously, it's possible to set your system clock back. I was so intrigued I wasn't thinking clearly, even after I pointed this very "attack" out during the Ed Snowden GPG affair. Sorry folks, maybe if it were timestamped in the blockchain.

jbaudanza 2 days ago 1 reply      
josephagoss 2 days ago 4 replies      
This is likely to be the admin of the site perhaps? Or a hacker?

I would have expected the real Satoshi to sign a message from his known address making it certain it's him.

ck2 2 days ago 1 reply      
So this guy has had a stroke and cancer.

Does anyone care the stress might kill him? I guess not.

How about we leave him alone.

bhaumik 2 days ago 0 replies      
New video released of Nakamoto at AP denying any role in Bitcoin:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrrtA6IoR_E
acjohnson55 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I were Satoshi (Dorian) Nakamoto and I wanted people to leave me alone, I might post as Satoshi and tell people I'm not Dorian.

If I'm Satoshi Nakamoto and I'm not Dorian, I might post as Satoshi to try to get people to leave Dorian alone. But that's a pretty feeble attempt. If he cared enough to get people to leave Dorian alone, you'd think he'd come up with something that provided a bit more proof. Otherwise, why bother breaking silence?

danielnaab 2 days ago 5 replies      
I'm confused by all this. I find the drama interesting, but Newsweek quoted this:

    "I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss    it," he says, dismissing all further queries with a    swat of his left hand. "It's been turned over to other    people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have    any connection."
Did the reporter really lie about this statement? That seems like really a massive stretch, to me.

andrewljohnson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is Satoshi saying he's not Dorian evidence of anything? That could also be a ploy to try and throw off the scent, as much as it might be Satoshi trying to save this random sap.

This reminds me of the knights and knaves puzzle for some reason: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knights_and_Knaves

Varcht 2 days ago 2 replies      
Satoshi's Dilemma

Satoshi has created a new currency, a cryptocurrency. The currency has become more popular and valuable than Satoshi could have imagined. Satoshi now holds almost $1 Billion of his new currency. Due to the currencies psuedo-anonimity, low liquidity and it's value in illicit trade it is far too dangerous for Satoshi to cash in and reveal himself...

gasull 2 days ago 0 replies      
P2PFoundation.ning creator, Joseph Davies-Coates, confirms Satoshi's registered account is real:


naiyt 2 days ago 3 replies      
What a crazy bunch of events in the Bitcoin world today.

Of course, this isn't necessarily proof that Dorian isn't Satoshi. (I personally don't think that he is, but I guess we'll see.) Regardless, it sure will be nice when the media stops hounding this guy. Especially if he really isn't Satoshi. This could have the potential of completely ruining somebody's life, particularly one who seems rather private like Dorian.

obilgic 2 days ago 1 reply      
This does not prove that he is not Dorian Nakamoto, it only tells us that he/them is still alive.
dbroockman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Should we change our beliefs based on this post? Based on Dorian's denials today, isn't this post just as likely in the world in which Dorian is Satoshi and the world in which Dorian is not? I don't have a strong belief one way or the other, but this doesn't seem like good evidence.
pirateking 2 days ago 1 reply      
You can never hope to discover the truth behind the fiction of Satoshi. The closer you think you get, the further fiction will hide the truth. Indisputable evidence is nice, sure - but knowing is not being[0].

The man is a legend for a reason and will remain that way, regardless of anyone who claims or is proven to be, or not be him.

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

sheetjs 2 days ago 2 replies      
At this stage, given the conversation about possible hacking, what would constitute definitive proof that someone is actually Satoshi Nakamoto?
onewaystreet 2 days ago 3 replies      
The "real" Satoshi Nakamoto coming forward after all this time just to say he isn't Dorian Nakamoto seems kind of suspicious to me. It's not like Dorian Nakamoto is the first person to have been accused of being Satoshi.
cjbprime 2 days ago 0 replies      
"That's just what the real Satoshi Nakamoto would say!"
kenjackson 2 days ago 2 replies      
From the AP article [1] he has a response that seems really odd:

When shown the original bitcoin proposal that Newsweek linked to in its story, Nakamoto said he didn't write it, and said the email address in the document wasn't his.

"Peer-to-peer can be anything," he said. "That's just a matter of address. What the hell? It doesn't make sense to me."

Asked if he was technically able to come up with the idea for bitcoin, Nakamoto responded: "Capability? Yes, but any programmer could do that."

For someone who only recently heard about BitCoin this seems like an odd response. It almost seems like if you made a factually incorrect technical statement about BitCoin in his presence -- he might correct you.

nfoz 2 days ago 0 replies      
No, I'm Spartacus
elwell 2 days ago 2 replies      
Video of right before the 'car chase' of journalists: http://instagram.com/p/lNv9-_QaNF/
tonylampada 2 days ago 2 replies      
> I am not Dorian Nakamoto.

Is there any way Satoshi could prove this statement? Apart from revealing his identity?

Cthulhu_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Satoshi/Dorian just wants to be left alone and distance himself from it all; the press conference (if you can call it that) and this is all a big cry for having people leave him alone.

He's probably already taking steps to change his identity and location.

tomphoolery 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hope Dorian is Satoshi's actual brother and they're just fucking with the whole media.
todd3834 2 days ago 0 replies      
Poor guy just wants to be left alone.
Aqueous 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's exactly what Dorian Nakamoto would say.
mattbarrie 2 days ago 0 replies      

Seriously, how about we leave the guy who had a stroke and cancer but just happens to have a similar name alone. It's obviously not him and this is sloppy journalism.

clouds 2 days ago 0 replies      
Meet Dorian Nakamoto. He is just a regular scientist who likes model trains. But the world thinks he is creator of Bitcoin and mafia is chasing him for his $400m fortunes.

What does he do? He cooks meth.

ww2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why Dorian would say something below?Asked if he was technically able to come up with the idea for bitcoin,Nakamoto responded: "Capability? Yes, but any programmer could do that."

"Yes, but any programmer could do that." ---- Either this Dorian is ignorant or it is his natural response. This quote is weird.

tymski 2 days ago 0 replies      
If Satoshi disappeared for as long as he did, would he really come back for THIS? It seems like a waste of time and it's awfully risky. I don't believe Dorian is Satoshi and I don't believe that the response from "Satoshi" is Satoshi. Or perhaps Satoshi isn't as intelligent as he is made out to be and this screw up will in turn screw him, just like the other internet recluses that have fallen?
bruceb 2 days ago 0 replies      
He had to connect with tor right? His brother said he would never admit to being the creator of bitcoin.
terranstyler 2 days ago 1 reply      
Help Satoshi by claiming that you are not Satoshi and don't tell anyone you read this here.
calcsam 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ideally he would have posted this with Dorian on live TV...
elwell 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have a sinking feeling hn's scheduled kernel maintenance is going to make me miss out on new developments of this movie.
NAFV_P 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm awaiting an harassment case from Mr Sakamoto against the press in the next week or so. Either that or a name change.
Rylinks 2 days ago 0 replies      
HN dislikes ning.com; the new page is full of identical dead links to the primary source.
pzaich 2 days ago 0 replies      
Who is Keyser Sze?
adventured 2 days ago 1 reply      
One thing is for certain, if Dorian is the real Satoshi, the Feds - NSA and FBI - are all over him, and they will know for certain whether he is the Satoshi (if they didn't know a long time ago). If Dorian = Satoshi, he's going to be forced in front of the NSA, and interrogated about bitcoin, he will have no choice in the matter (it won't matter if he's no longer involved, and it won't matter if there are no weaknesses to give the Feds, they will still do it).
6d0debc071 2 days ago 0 replies      
It would seem odd for someone who's otherwise been so careful about security to use his or her real name. It would seem less odd for them to flick through the phone book and choose someone else's name though (or pick it off a grave stone, randomly mash forename and surname together - whatever.) Sharing the name is weak evidence at best. With so many people, odds are if you pick something vaguely okay someone in the world will have it too.
williamle8300 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's obvious: his son is Satoshi Nakamoto... c'mon people
azcoder 2 days ago 3 replies      
I think the most compelling evidence that Dorian is Satoshi is described here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7354326[EDIT: if an eyewitness account is compelling enough for you, this is evidence. it is to me, apparently not to some.]

Dorian (as recognized by the retailer) bought a crepe from one of the first retailers to accept bitcoins, the 1st transaction of the crepe retailer's bitcoin address at 1KfQKmME7bQm5AesPiizWk6h3JPUekwoBC for 2.2 bitcoins on July 17 2011, can check the Crepe twitter feed: twitter.com/Ocrepes - "The award for being the first customer who bought crepes for @bitcoins goes to ... anonymous (the winner refused to reveal identity)"

Tracing those addresses/transactions back leads to large volume addresses.[EDIT: 432,000 coins]

Cunningham's Law wikimedia.org
239 points by Garbage  1 day ago   103 comments top 31
nemesisj 1 day ago 8 replies      
This is also a great way to solve a problem. If everyone in the room is stumped, throw out a stupid solution. If nobody can improve on it, then the last solution wins. Works surprisingly well as most people can critique while finding it hard to create from scratch.
tootie 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I use this on my kids.

"What happened at school?"


"Did you race motorcycles in the hallways?"

"No, we had music!"

pyduan 1 day ago 2 replies      
The best part is that now that it's been posted it has now become impossible to disagree, because attempting to disprove it would actually validate the law.
vanschelven 1 day ago 5 replies      
In similar vein, the best way to get help in Linux is by trolling: http://bash.org/?152037
habosa 23 hours ago 1 reply      
This is how I used to get help on Ubuntu forums. If your sound card isn't working and you say "Ubuntu can't play MP3s but XP can!" you'll get help in a minute.
selmnoo 1 day ago 5 replies      
So, uh, what exactly is 'wikimedia'? How is it different from the straight-up 'Wikipedia'? This article seems like it should have been on Wikipedia, but it's on Wikimedia. I've never seen an article of this nature being hosted on wikimedia. What's going on here?
chaz 1 day ago 1 reply      
Relevant here: "I use a trick with co-workers when were trying to decide where to eat for lunch and no one has any ideas. I recommend McDonalds." By throwing out a "wrong answer," better suggestions are made.


spinchange 1 day ago 1 reply      
This, and not simply invective, used to be what "trolling" was about. At least in my romanticized memory of it.
gexla 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think people are often more motivated to point out that someone is wrong than by answering a question.


nostrademons 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I've heard this attributed to Alan Kay instead of Ward Cunningham...

...which probably makes this comment a good example of the law.

pdevr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Related: In IRC channels, ask a question and state that a competing product seems to work better. You will get multiple answers within minutes. Works especially well if it is Linux vs Windows.
andrewcooke 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've made a conscious effort recently to make more mistakes (my apologies to the people on julia-users). I feel it's improved the rate at which I learn things. And I feel validated by "Antifragile" which I've just started reading.

(By chance I am also currently being tested for brain damage. It's bitterly amusing that I end up being unsure if I am actually making more mistakes on purpose or not...)

yoha 17 hours ago 0 replies      
That's basically how I go with links posted on Hacker News or Reddit. Often I can save the burden of reading a terse article by reading the comments. There is always someone who has only read the title, who says something dumb; he is then quickly corrected by someone who did read the article and explain it thoroughly.

On the one hand, getting first to the comments is also good when the source is dubious. On the other hand, some article are definitely worth reading (which is usually easy to guess from the title or first comments), and it feels good to give back when you know what the article is about and can contribute to the discussion.

sudonim 1 day ago 0 replies      
More discussion from when this was posted on reddit.


dredmorbius 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is also an interrogation technique: "We know you did X." "No, I was doing Y or was at Z."

Where Y and Z are what the interrogator was after. More reasons not to talk to the cops.

mjs 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sometimes you can get a solution to a problem by saying saying that after spending a bunch of time attempting to solve it, you've decided that a solution is impossible. The desire to prove you wrong is too much for some to withstand, and they go out of their way to provide you with a solution. (A consequence of http://xkcd.com/386/ "someone is wrong on the internet".)
keeran 22 hours ago 0 replies      
This is how many get help in #rubyonrails on Freenode. Join the channel and state that x is impossible with ActiveRecord/ActionView/ActionController - solution posted in seconds.
Tloewald 1 day ago 2 replies      
So the newsweek story should cause the real inventor of bitcoin to be revealed presently?
devx 1 day ago 0 replies      
This actually used to be a joke about the Linux community.
aDevilInMe 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Best is subjective. Who is it best for, the lazy individual posing the question(incorrect statement) or for people who will reply? In addition how many more questions can the person ask like this before everyone ignores them?
simondedalus 21 hours ago 0 replies      
the best way to get an answer on the internet, as everywhere else, is to ask a very clear question to the right interlocutor.

in other words, you need to do enough work on your own to figure out what you need to know, after which you'll find that (as long as you have a decent command of the language you're expressing yourself in and the general terms in the field of inquiry) it's not difficult to get good answers.

AnthonBerg 1 day ago 0 replies      
paul_f 22 hours ago 0 replies      
There are no interesting examples of this law.
niteshreddy 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This is general human tendency, that is "to correct".
danieth 1 day ago 1 reply      
(with no legit wiki sources)
justplay 23 hours ago 0 replies      
benihana 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Why do mods constantly micromanage submission titles? The original title was the actual law, not the name of the law.
HNisForLosers 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is very true of Hacker News. Everyone here has to be the smartest fucker on the planet, longing for the great PG approval.
nissehulth 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm confused. Is the right answer or the wrong answer?
Heliosmaster 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't agree...
infruset 1 day ago 0 replies      
Finally, someone has unmasked Newsweek's intentions.
Glyphr - HTML5 based font editor glyphrstudio.com
238 points by darrenkopp  4 days ago   50 comments top 28
jeswin 4 days ago 2 replies      
If you make this fully featured, this might spawn an entire generation of font designers (for good or bad :)). Also think about people people forking fonts like on github.

This is magic, congrats.

DigitalSea 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is without-a-doubt, the most useful and coolest thing I've seen hit the Hacker News homepage this year. Seriously, this is amazing. It works really well and is easy to use as well, you could be onto something here. It's seeing people create things like this that motivate me more than any, "Why you should switch to Google Go" article ever could.
nacs 4 days ago 2 replies      
Free and open source too: https://github.com/mattlag/GLYPHR

Nice work!

jacobolus 4 days ago 1 reply      
You should definitely consider adding support for drawing using Raph Leviens Spiro curves: http://www.levien.com/spiro/

Much much better than Beziers for many purposes.

jbeja 4 days ago 0 replies      
You are amazing, "A designer who teach himself to code by making beautiful and awesome apps" best post of the day. But yeah the code is ... but the UI and the concept itself is beautiful ;). Keep improving and good luck.
crazygringo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, the "linked shapes" feature is something I've wanted in a font editor for a long time. Is this the first font editor with something like that, or has it been done before?
jfoster 4 days ago 0 replies      
Am I missing something, or does it only support the ASCII character set?
ttflee 3 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing but it seems that there is an obvious bug in handling scroll events.

I am using Magic Track Pad in Safari so there is no visible drag-able scroll bar in the attribute panel. When I scroll the attribute panel, the scroll events just escaped the attribute panel and cause the glyph to scale. I must concede that the scaling is smooth and responsive, rendering this behavior quite funny but delightful.

Also, it would be more amazing if unicode were supported.

doorhammer 4 days ago 0 replies      
This looks really nice. The demo seems slick so far, though I've never had any experience with font-design. I've always wanted to mess around with it a little more, but it hasn't been very convenient.

Interested to see what folks have to say who have used professional tooling.

Also glad they have the sandboxed online try-out to mess with: http://glyphrstudio.com/sandbox/

ctidd 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. As an typography enthusiast who's miserable with bezier curves, I've never seen something this straightforward. I love the coordinates it gives you on handles and points. Being able to easily work from metrics forward is a great touch as well.

I gave up on trying to learn with Fontlab's TypeTool because nothing was nearly as clear or usable as this.

This is the perfect entrance to type design, and I see myself wasting a lot of my time with this in the coming weeks.

lancefisher 4 days ago 0 replies      
This looks really nice, but there are a couple things I can't figure out. How do I add new characters? How can I add new glyphs for ligatures? How do I set kerning pairs?
sogen 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, and it's free.One suggestion: make the handlebar points a little bit larger, or increase their "hotarea". Hope I explained myself.Great work!
jonahx 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is a gorgeous UI. I'd love to hear about the technologies used in building it.
liyanage 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is great, and I love how they got some UI things exactly right, such as zoom with the mouse wheel, and pan with the space bar held down, including visual feedback for the tool switch.
97-109-107 4 days ago 0 replies      
I personally liked when there used to be a barrier to entry for designing (horrible) fonts. Nonetheless, this is quite a feat, wow. There are other contenders too, there is:http://www.prototypo.io/http://www.metaflop.com/
Nilzor 4 days ago 1 reply      
Since we're on Hacker News: What's the business model here? I see an awful lot of work for a very limited market. $1000+-license after release?

In any case, great job by the programmers here.

optymizer 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Features galore" and yet, holding Shift does not restrict the cursor to only X or Y movements for dragging in straight lines.

That said, this is a very cool project.

coldcode 4 days ago 0 replies      
Needs keyboard support (PC and Mac) like for undo. Also needs to support moving objects with the mouse.
jamestomasino 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is there a method to import a TTF or OTF font to start from? I've done a lot of work on a personal font I use, but I'd love to see how it plays out in Glyphr. Recreating it from scratch seems like a big ordeal.
NKCSS 4 days ago 1 reply      
Very cool! Works as expected, except one arrow on the F demo didn't allow me to change the angle (near the 2nd bar of the F), but otherwise: awesome!
arikrak 4 days ago 2 replies      
Nice editor. Though I wonder with all the font links lately, is the world really short on fonts? Shouldn't Google fonts and the like just about cover any need?
drhodes 4 days ago 1 reply      
The path nodes indicate direction, that's useful.
glyphrstudio 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hello, Hacker News!I've been seeing a huge response since we released Glyphr Beta 3 earlier this week - it's been very exciting! I'm trying to answer all the questions i'm receiving. Until then, please play with the app and let me know if there is any feedback. Thanks!

Glyphr Studio team (aka Matt)@glyphrstudio

monkmartinez 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is dope. Muchas Gracias de Tucson!!
mo9329 4 days ago 1 reply      
There are two additional on-line font editors:

FontStruct - build a face with pre-defined blocks, uses Flash, proprietary, sponsored by FontShop. 6 years old.


typism - development history and novel path drawing, uses SVG+JS, MIT licensed. Fonts are distributed under OFL. 5 years old.


gdiocarez 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice, the tool is minimalistic
SimeVidas 4 days ago 0 replies      
It should be possible to generate the font file in-browser (using Web Platform tech), right?
logicbased 4 days ago 0 replies      
I joined Hacker News to just say WOW ! Cool !
Stick bomb wikipedia.org
236 points by mxfh  3 days ago   57 comments top 30
maxmcd 3 days ago 4 replies      
Never thought I'd be sharing an A-Trak video on HN, but there's a nice implementation of these in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GbYR5Aud4Y
fit2rule 3 days ago 2 replies      
One of the most pleasant web pages I've read on the Internet in a long time:


I even get an earworm from some of the videos .. ;)

ambrop7 3 days ago 2 replies      
Can't be done with lego technic bricks. http://www.pasteall.org/pic/show.php?id=67816
ceejayoz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great, now popsicle sticks will get you in trouble at TSA checkpoints.
awj 3 days ago 1 reply      
When I was a kid I would make something similar out of a (partially) unfolded paperclip. Seeing it on youtube makes it seem much less amusing than I remember.


zhng 3 days ago 1 reply      
freshyill 3 days ago 0 replies      
My toddler's favorite toy is a huge box of craft sticks. Now it will be my favorite toy as well.
cyanbane 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is there a nomenclature around the patterns used? Anyone got a good site?
WickyNilliams 3 days ago 0 replies      
As a kid in the 80s, I used to make these kind of structures out of old lollipop sticks you'd find around the streets in summer time. Would make into 7-8 sticks into a kind of star of david shape, which was excellent for a) throwing like a frisbee b) exploding on impact.

Simple times! No idea who taught me how, or what they were referred to, but boy did I have fun

gwern 3 days ago 1 reply      
So that is what those are called!
just2n 3 days ago 1 reply      
This kind of stuff reminds me of these as a child: http://www.amazon.com/1-5-inch-Rubber-Poppers-Pack/dp/B002R2...

The memories.

medwezys 3 days ago 0 replies      
JoeAltmaier 3 days ago 0 replies      
When the kids were into crafts, I made one of these for fun - never saw it before, just tried to weave them together with the minimum of sticks. There is a 4-stick 'airplane' possible; the article shows the easier 5-stick version.

So I think its useless to try to find the 'inventor'; endless people have independently discovered this novelty.

jgrahamc 3 days ago 0 replies      
Now I know what I'm doing tonight.
LeonM 3 days ago 0 replies      
While we are at it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7RaPRmxY5I This clip must have taken ages to set up, film and reset... Very well done!
seestheday 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. I know what I'm doing with my four year old this weekend. I have been building the triangle bombs with him with paint stir sticks and he loves them.
qwerta 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great, now TSA will take away my sticks.
mholt 3 days ago 0 replies      
A common variation is Cobra Chains or Cobra Weaves. Actually made one today for a college class (go figure?) ...
ScottWhigham 3 days ago 0 replies      
I know what my 10yo and 5yo boys will be doing over Spring Break next week:


spencerp 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oh my god, I used to make these things as a kid! We had a popsicle-stick building contest and while we were waiting for the glue to dry we'd make these and throw them at the other kids' bridges. I had no idea they were actually a "thing". Thank you for posting, brings back memories.
larkinrichards 3 days ago 1 reply      
The pitch is easy:

"Xyloexplosives -- like dominos, but made with tongue depressors."

steerj92 3 days ago 0 replies      
Made these a few years ago, so much fun. Great physical hack!
Moulde 3 days ago 0 replies      
How the hell did i never know about these? So cool! :) Just stumbled upon the SUBARU radio controlled car video an hour ago.
mvanvoorden 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just spent way over an hour reading the website and watching videos about stick bombs :o
futurist 3 days ago 0 replies      
How do you set a stick bomb off? Is there a particular way?
mehmedrecip 3 days ago 0 replies      
Before you know it, the TSA will ban popsicle sticks.
valleyman 3 days ago 0 replies      
physics is so cool sometimes
Jxnathan 3 days ago 4 replies      
Why is this on HN? Somebody help me out here.
Netflix disables use of the Chrome developer console pastebin.com
235 points by just2n  3 days ago   162 comments top 30
gergles 3 days ago 6 replies      
"self-XSS" (the thing this malfeature is purportedly protecting people from) is a made-up concept. It's basically "don't run your own scripts to interfere with our site, and we'll use scary-sounding security words in an attempt to discourage you from doing it." I don't believe for a second this is about helping the user - more likely is that FB and Netflix want to prevent users running scripts that add features or do functions they find inconvenient, like exporting your address book or movie rating info.

I get to run code just as much as you do - it's MY computer, MY browser, and MY bandwidth. Making up a scare word (that just means "users running code I don't like") in an attempt to legitimize disabling access to development and exploration tools is beyond the pale. There is absolutely no reason to permit this kind of behavior, and I'm frankly a little appalled a community of startup founders and hackers would ever defend this kind of behavior, as some of the comments here have done. If you want to protect users from themselves and limit and restrict what they can do, write a mobile app. Don't try and put your shit on the web if you want it to be a walled garden.

userbinator 3 days ago 8 replies      
I've noticed a rather disturbing trend of thought in technology that's been showing up more and more recently with things like this: "Make it harder for users to know how things really work. Make it harder for users to explore, make mistakes, and learn. Make it harder for users to become developers. The less the users know, the easier it'll seem to them, and the easier it'll be for us to stay in control. Keep them ignorant and consuming. Lock them in a walled garden and tell them it's all 'for your security/safety'. Because knowledge is power, and we don't want that in the hands of the users."

Netflix doing this is one of the more obvious manifestations, but they are not alone - many other companies and even open-source, free-software projects are taking this approach, Google included.

matt_heimer 3 days ago 4 replies      
You can defeat this without any extensions, here is how:

Since this only applies to Chrome, so do the instructions:

1) Open netflix.com

2) Open developer tools.

3) Go to Sources tab.

4) Click on the tiny icon for "Show Navigator" on the left.

5) Find the JavaScript file that has:(function(){try{var $_console$$=console;Object.defineProperty(window,"console",{get:function(){if($_console$$._commandLineAPI)throw"Sorry, for security reasons, the script console is deactivated on netflix.com";return $_console$$},set:function($val$$){$_console$$=$val$$}})}catch($ignore$$){}})();

For me this is cdn1.nflxext.com/FilePackageGetter/sharedSystem/pkg-nflxsrc-*

6) For me the offending line is line 3. Click on the line number, this will set a breakpoint.

7) Reload the page, now the Script will pause before running line 3.

8) Switch to the Console tab.

9) Run:Object.defineProperty(window, "console", {configurable: false});

10) Switch back to the Sources tab and press the resume script button or F8.

11) Enjoy console access again.

staunch 3 days ago 2 replies      
Its just a bug in Chrome that you can disable it. A cat and mouse game that Chrome should easily win, given that it holds all the cards.
yeukhon 3 days ago 3 replies      
I didn't read the whole thing, but I think the actual motivation is to prevent self-XSS which is in the first line.


Anyhow, I will just quickly dismiss this has anything to do with NSA. If I may, be an ignorant once, called this pastebin a bullshit.

Artemis2 3 days ago 2 replies      
I really like the comparison with right click deactivation.

Anyway, people who use social engineering will still win; you can put JS code in the browser bar with the good old javascript: "protocol" if you want somebody to execute something.

cge 3 days ago 2 replies      
There are legitimate security reasons why various major sites want to do this, and the changes do appear to be in response to actual, self-XSS attacks that have been seen. While I am no fan of the NSA, I don't see how this has anything to do with them. I also think this is very distinct from the right-click-disabling that used to be so popular: that was not in response to actual attacks, and also, to my knowledge, never happened on reputable sites. Additionally, I don't recall it being justified as being for "security" reasons: websites were usually rather honest about having it to prevent saving or copying and pasting.

This is, in my view, a poor solution to the problem, but as a temporary measure, it makes some sense. A change to Chrome to make a warning message appear the first time the developer console is opened, or javascript is used in the location bar, could be a good idea. And, as the pastebin notes, there are likely better, if more complex, technical solutions from the website side. All of these, however, will take considerably more time and effort, and the attacks are already happening.

sergiotapia 3 days ago 2 replies      
Google please fix this bug in Chrome. Websites SHOULD NOT be able to override the console.
josteink 3 days ago 0 replies      
First Netflix attempts to subvert web-standards with WebDRM. And now they attempt to lock down the regular HTML as well by disabling legit inspection tools. I can't wait to see what's up next!

It should be clear by now that if you care about the open web, Netflix is not a company you can trust, much less fund with your money.

Cancel Netflix if you already haven't.

syncerr 3 days ago 2 replies      
Just enter this in the address bar (may have to manually re-type "javascript:")

> javascript:void(delete window.console);

arg01 3 days ago 0 replies      
Things like this always annoy me. It's a marginal annoyance to people who know what they're doing. For those less knowledgeable, who were using something they learnt by rote to improve their experience, they'll either google and find another way to do it (thanks to a blog post/youtube video by someone with a bit of nouse) / download some virus / wait until they see the person who originally showed them what to do.

It just seems like a bit of grief for a temporary gain.

BadassFractal 3 days ago 3 replies      
Guess it's time to recompile the browser (Chromium in this case?) with some extra switches to remove that chunk of JS code before it's executed?
pippy 3 days ago 2 replies      
Instead of developers throwing their toys out the cot, try to imagine a conversion along the lines of:

MPAA executive: we need to lobby W3C more to get DRM!

Netflix: why?

MPAA executive: because they'll steal our content!

Netflix: no need! we've disabled the developer console so they can't steal your content!

MPAA executive: That sounds good!

It's nice having a "yeah but you can do X" retort to the people making these decisions.

The ideologically driven 'but the web should be oooopen' argument won't go far.

dieulot 2 days ago 0 replies      
And interestingly, Chrome (even Canary) still allows the user to run javascript from the omnibar.

Worth noting that they remove the "javascript:" part when you paste from clipboard.

My guess is that it protects against people telling others to "copy this in the address bar to steal your friends' Facebook accounts", much like why Facebook disabled the console previously.

jebblue 3 days ago 2 replies      
Doesn't affect me on Ubuntu, they can't even play a movie in the browser which is something Crackle does a great job at.
bambax 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Google should really patch this. The command line API should be privileged so that third parties can't modify how the browser behaves without explicit authorization (i.e. an extension)

Absolutely agree. Why don't they do that, or at least make it an option?

subleq 3 days ago 1 reply      
> API requests can be made inaccessible from XSS (and that includes self-XSS) by means of a CSRF token that is properly secured

How can self-XSS be prevented with a CSRF token? Can't the script included via self-XSS get the token out of the page and use it to make requests that appear as if they originate from the app itself? Can't a script injected through self-XSS do absolutely anything the page can do in the first place?

meowface 3 days ago 0 replies      
This mentions that there are ways to secure CSRF tokens so that they can't be stolen via self-XSS (or any kind of XSS) attacks.

How exactly could this be implemented, not including adding a captcha or requiring the user to retype their password for every action?

seba_dos1 3 days ago 1 reply      
Facebook at least allows an easy opt-out.
decad 3 days ago 0 replies      
I threw together an extension during my lunch that should work against these types console disables [0], using the method the poster suggested.

[0] https://github.com/Decad/ConsoleDefender

brownbat 3 days ago 0 replies      
What are some things everyone's using the dev console on Netflix for?
banterability 3 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone filed this on http://crbug.com/ yet?
zobzu 3 days ago 0 replies      
i would have called that "for security reasons" :)
madrox 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think the goal of this is to hide legitimate uses of the dev tools. As many have mentioned, it's really easy to circumvent. It's to shut down an attack vector.
blueskin_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's a major WTF that Chrome even allows this.

Still, I suppose it is google...

artellectual 3 days ago 0 replies      
never trust the client. no matter what kind of hacks you come up with to protect yourself. you have to assume the client side is always compromised. always protect yourself in the parts you have full control.
higherpurpose 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting that this happens soon after Google restricted extensions to developer mode, isn't it? Back then I said the "security reason" is definitely BS, because they already took a "strong enough" measure to only allow extensions to be installed with drag and drop into the Extensions page.

Plus, when you have the company that lives by data, not show you the data that made them make this move, you know something is up. I asked then, and I actually asked when they moved to drag and drop, too: show me the data that proves this is so necessary!

Even before any of this, Chrome was far better than IE and even Firefox at staving off bad extensions. So to me both of those moves seemed unnecessary, and most likely with another "agenda" behind. Now we begin to see that that agenda could be.

I've also connected stuff like this with MPAA taking board membership at W3C. Expect stuff that's much worse than this, and the MPAA-influenced W3C to start keeping features away from browsers that MPAA freaks out about, while Google will increasingly start to ban various extensions from the store for various "ToS reasons".

And people still think W3C's DRM extension won't be used to close down the Internet? It took Netflix weeks to take advantage of Google's recent move. Watch what happens when DRM can be enabled in the browser by anyone, just as easily, Then we'll see if the "convenience" of not playing Netflix through a plugin was worth it.

nilved 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why can websites disable use of the developer console? That seems like a critical security bug,.
shultays 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you facebook
lern_too_spel 3 days ago 2 replies      
The NSA ranting around here is out of control. Not only did the poster somehow tie this bit of javascript to the NSA, but he claimed that the NSA records our phone conversations too. There is no evidence that it does unless you're a head of state or somebody the FBI has a warrant to tap.
Attorneys for Barrett Brown want case on linking to hacked material dismissed theguardian.com
234 points by dmazin  4 days ago   139 comments top 29
suprgeek 4 days ago 6 replies      
Google links to a lot of sites, even a large number that contain Hacked/Obscene/Defamatory/Copyrighted material as defined by appropriate laws.

Since Google is posting these publicly (using many fancy techniques to improve their relevance no less) how many billion years of Sentencing will Brin & Page face under these extremely well worded/just/sane Federal Laws?

gamblor956 4 days ago 8 replies      

This is a federal case, and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines (while now discretionary, see Booker) simply don't work that way. 100 years is the potential maximum he would get if the sentences were served consecutively, but at the federal level, there must be special circumstances to justify imposing consecutive sentences. Consequently, consecutive sentencing is the exception, not the rule, and is almost exclusively reserved for the most heinous crimes, i.e., rapes, murders, or high-level drug offenses. (Note that certain factors can also result in consecutive sentences, such as gun "enhancements" which can add 5-25 years to a base sentence.)

Edit: The above assumes the case even proceeds to the sentencing stage. Several US courts have already ruled that merely hyperlinking is not enough; there must be an additional circumstance to make the hyperlinking illegal. For example, if the information hyperlinked was clearly intended to be protected or private (i.e., Schwartz and the AT&T subscriber data), then dissemination of links could fall within the meaning of one or more statutes for unauthorized access.

A physical analogy to explain why this matters: a URL isn't simply an address; it is a path, and this makes all the difference. A p.o. address, for example, may tell you how to get to someone's apartment but it wouldn't tell you how to get up there if the front door is locked. A URL is more akin to giving someone an address and telling them how to get inside. (And for you nitpickers, in this example also assume that you don't know the person at this address; you simply know the URL.)

discardorama 4 days ago 0 replies      
"You make an example out of a couple of people, and the rest fall in line pretty quickly" . . . .

I wonder what Daniel Elsberg[1] or Woodward and Bernstein would face today, if they tried to do today what they did then?

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

beedogs 4 days ago 1 reply      
In a just world, these charges never would have been brought. In a sane world, a judge will dismiss these charges.

We're not living in the first world, and I fear we're not in the second anymore, either.

ama729 4 days ago 0 replies      
Reading all the comments here, have people not been watching the news like ... ever?

Large sentence are the norm in the US, not the exception. Petty thief in California and elsewhere[1] are sentenced to 25 years minimum if they are repeat offender, it's completely crazy.

In that regard, it seem unlikely Brown would get a light sentence.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_strikes_law

RKoutnik 4 days ago 2 replies      
Reality check: The actual verdict will probably be much lower than 100 years, given that this is his first arrest.


csense 4 days ago 2 replies      
Here are some questions raised by this case:

(1) The circumstances under which hyperlinking to material posted and hosted by others is, or should be, a crime.

(2) If it is a crime, whether the proposed sentence is proportional to the alleged offense.

(3) Whether the prosecutor is trying to exert pressure for a plea bargain. E.g., if they offer him 100 days in jail if he pleads guilty, or 100 years in jail if he's convicted, it would make sense to plead guilty from a pure risk management perspective, even if he has an enormously strong case.

(4) If this length of sentence for this behavior is authorized by statute, whether the statute falls foul of the Constitution's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

(5) Whether the First Amendment protects hyperlinks to unprotected speech.

ageisp0lis 4 days ago 1 reply      
A link can't contain credit card numbers or CVVs on its own. It's just a pointer to where the data resides. It's entirely possible that Brown didn't know what he was disseminating. One has to download and open the file to find out. The government is expecting us to know what's in a link before we share it, which is an unreasonable burden. And they're equating transmitting the link with possessing the underlying information. Moreover they haven't shown any illicit transactions resulting from it being shared.

How can reporters verify sources or security researchers examine data dumps without fear of being prosecuted now?

This is a chilling attack on digital rights and needs to be stopped. I hope the judge listens. Stratfor was sued because they failed to sufficiently protect their systems and rightfully so. The actual hacker Jeremy Hammond got less time than this guy faces.

jmnicolas 4 days ago 3 replies      
Seeing it from outside the American judicial system looks really scary.

Maybe I'm making a generality of a few fringe cases but since 9/11, and the rise of TSA and several horror stories of Police abuse I abandoned my project to one day visit this great country.

kordless 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is barely more than a thought crime. A link? Seriously?


quackerhacker 4 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, so now we should all start linking through bit.ly to circumvent direct links? (sarcasm...yet timidly true)

What I find concerning is his lawyer's argument, "Brown did not 'transfer' the stolen information as he arguably would have done had he embedded the link on his web page" ... does this mean for us webmasters, linking to a webpage (even as Google or Bing may do) would mean incrimination. I understanding hosting....but linking!!! WTF!

gadders 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've never understood the hate for StratFor. I signed up to see what all the hatred was about, but their analysis of foreign affairs seem interesting and detailed. If they remind me of anything, it would be Economist articles.
walru 4 days ago 1 reply      
Someone once said, the pen is mightier than the sword. What does that then make a link worth? A nuclear warhead?
guelo 4 days ago 0 replies      
The sad part about our system of justice is that the police and prosecutors are immune from any consequences of their abuses.
esbranson 4 days ago 0 replies      

Sarah R. Saldaa is the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas... But who is the lead Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) on this case?

tzs 3 days ago 0 replies      
He's facing 100 years the same way I faced a 75000 calorie lunch when I went to McDonald's a few days ago seeking a burger, a side, and a drink.
vpeters25 4 days ago 0 replies      
U.S. prosecutors are out of control and something needs to be done to reign in on the practice of piling on charges to extort a plea, a couple of ideas:- Accused have the option to take the plea but continue the trial. If found guilty he only serves what he pleaded.- Sentences are limited to the max sentence already applied for same crime to somebody else.
zacinbusiness 4 days ago 0 replies      
I read somewhere (many years ago) regarding hacking that the actual act of intruding a system and/or causing damage and so forth is one crime, and that teaching someone how to do it is another. It could be that the source was simply incorrect (as there are security courses readily available), but I wonder if this is the same kind of scenario? Regardless, -linking- to something isn't the same as actually doing it. But I feel that the same kind of argument has been made against, say, Isohunt.com and it seems to have worked against them.
yaix 4 days ago 0 replies      
Don't judges feel somewhat stupid sentencing people to "100 years" of something?
tim333 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder where they'll draw the line? I mean what if you just say where to find the info? For example much of the Stratfor stuff Brown linked to can be found by googling "wikileaks stratfor". Does saying that make me eligible for 100 years too?
staticelf 4 days ago 0 replies      
Cut off the US from the rest of the world's internet or you guys will ruing everything for us as well.
nounaut 4 days ago 1 reply      
At the time of his arrest the biggest fuss was made about him threatening a federal agent and his family in a vlog post. Are these charges dropped?
EGreg 4 days ago 0 replies      
"as he arguably would have done had he embedded the link on his web page, but merely created a path to files that had already been published elsewhere"

I am pretty sure they meant "documents" not "link" here

icholboy 4 days ago 0 replies      
How many years should the 5 Eyes alliance get then? not for the linking but for the hacking itself.Ridiculous.
quarterwave 4 days ago 0 replies      
Are there any countries where this kind of prosecution would not even get past the court clerk?
n1ghtmare_ 4 days ago 0 replies      
If this is not bullshit, I don't know what is!
jheriko 4 days ago 0 replies      
this is disproportionate and sadly very expected...

although something about playing with fire and being burned comes to mind..

thenerdfiles 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hm. I wonder if this question poses more harm than good, but I'll ask it:

Does the right to free speech protect in this way:

    <a href="[not_protected]">[protected]</a>?

sentientmachine 4 days ago 0 replies      
You don't ban pool halls because mafia members wink and nudge to each other all the time there.

Banning the pool hall is not going to deter the crime. And banning links in chatrooms by making it illegal will not do anything either.

The problem is not the criminal, it's the guy trying to classify the criminal. Just because the baby is in the bath water has a little dirty water on him, doesn't mean we bag up the baby and throw it out.

This website has a lot of unclosed h3 tags sewingandembroiderywarehouse.com
227 points by austenallred  3 days ago   132 comments top 47
jtchang 3 days ago 1 reply      
That page loaded ridiculously fast.

Maybe flat HTML is the way to go.

bananas 3 days ago 5 replies      
I think half the people here haven't seen the ultimate crime:


The service in the shop is just as bad as the web site as well!

hayksaakian 3 days ago 1 reply      
This website handled HN traffic like it was nothing, i'm taking notes
eob 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is almost as wonderful as Subway's old website. I think that one had something like five HTML tags and a few BODY tags sprinkled randomly throughout.
glifchits 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is an example of a page that begins talking about sewing and embroidery, and eventually becomes about typography.
madiator 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hilarious! Initially I was thinking "poor fellow who made this mistake" and eventually I felt like I got trolled, this almost feels like its not a mistake! PS: There are 38 <h3>s and 2 </h3>s.
lupin_sansei 3 days ago 1 reply      
It actually renders fine without increasing the font sizes in IE 8. The creator maybe only tested it in IE?

See TIFF export here https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1388427/__www.sewingande...

MattBearman 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's actually beautiful, I'd never considered this as a possible outcome of nesting tags with em font sizes. By the bottom of the page one letter was about 3000px high.
einhverfr 3 days ago 0 replies      
There's a subtle brilliance here. The font starts out reasonably small and increases in parallel with the frustration of the individual doing the troubleshooting.
paullew 3 days ago 2 replies      
This might explain it:

<META name="generator" content="Microsoft FrontPage 5.0">

mcherm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Right at the very top of the page, they explain that. in case of "Thread Breakage" you should "try re-threading the machine", and also "make sure the thread goes through all guides".

It appears that their web designer has taken this advice to heart.

chris_wot 3 days ago 1 reply      
I haven't laughed this long for ages!
andrewliebchen 3 days ago 0 replies      
I thought it was a result of nested <font> tags with font-size defined by em units. Since the each <font> tag is 1.75 times larger that it's parent.
izolate 3 days ago 0 replies      
In college, one of my professor's syllabus page had this exact problem. It wasn't so bad at first, but half way through the course you had to scroll so far down the page that the syllabus was barely legible. So I downloaded the page, cleaned the markup and sent him the refactored HTML page, much to his delight.
quahaug 3 days ago 1 reply      
Every single troubleshooting tip is of greater urgency than the last!
shangxiao 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oh god the h3manity
Intermernet 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know why, but I liked this... It sort of reminded me of some of Monty Python's publications.


egwynn 3 days ago 1 reply      
Matt Gemmell described it pretty well: https://twitter.com/mattgemmell/status/301735038733676546
vsviridov 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you create a stylesheet through dev console and change h3 font-size it's funny to see how it gets re-rendered in slow-mo :D
eclipxe 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great viral marketing!
spullara 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like modern browsers aren't rendering the page correctly.
softbuilder 3 days ago 0 replies      
We've all had a laugh but I hope whoever found this is helping them correct the problem.
thomasfoster96 3 days ago 1 reply      
It also uses <center> tags. But I'm not here to judge, obviously.
devinmontgomery 3 days ago 1 reply      
This feels like a mashup between "If the moon were only one pixel" and Spritz.
Orangeair 3 days ago 2 replies      
Dear God, the entire source is on one line. There aren't even spaces between tags. From looking around the website a bit, this doesn't appear to be a joke, so I'm seriously wondering how this could happen without anyone noticing.
GnarfGnarf 3 days ago 0 replies      
For the ultimate (and entertaining) list of bad Websites, check out:


A veritable "How not to" of design.

tomrod 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's hauntingly beautiful.
nanch 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reference since we seem to have broken it: http://web.archive.org/web/20130723081436/http://www.sewinga...
hoprocker 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think I felt my pulse quicken as I started to scroll.

edit: Actually, it has a bunch of unclosed h3 and h2 tags.

cauliturtle 3 days ago 0 replies      
> If a problem persists, we recommend that you contact> Sewing and Embroidery Warehouse


rileyjshaw 3 days ago 0 replies      
8000px at the bottom of the page.
cinitriqs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone actually using frontpage... or dreamweaver visual editor... just saying...

You can say: "gotta start somewhere" but... make that "somewhere" be "notepad" ... please... thank u...

pimpl 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is an art.
ironash 3 days ago 1 reply      
Renders perfectly in IE8.
cellover 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like how elements are nested for an even more optimal web experience!


NicoJuicy 3 days ago 0 replies      
This made me realize how h3 and em works... Awesome (didn't expect that from a site like this :P)
hk__2 3 days ago 1 reply      
Unclosed h3 tags are valid HTML.
lucasnemeth 3 days ago 0 replies      
Superb, a work of art.
state 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's perfect.
hipsters_unite 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, that's almost a work of art.
ForFreedom 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for the link...I just got my eye checked for sight and its fine.
esdailycom 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like a neat linkbait. Unlikely the owner never noticed this..
achairapart 3 days ago 0 replies      
What do you expect from a website that starts with SEW SEW SEW SEW SEW SEW?
ageyfman 3 days ago 1 reply      
even my non-programmer wife found this page to be hilarious
notastartup 3 days ago 1 reply      
this page would be tough to scrape with an xpath to get to "Dull Needles" text node.


angelortega 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's hipnotic. I absolutely love it.
rajeemcariazo 3 days ago 2 replies      
makes me understand more how h3 tag works
Find your color scheme colourco.de
225 points by kidmar  2 days ago   48 comments top 28
jimhart3000 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks great! One thing to consider - the Sass download button is a US Dollar sign, which initially confused me when I saw it as I wondered if there was some sort of paid feature.
visakanv 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh wow, this is a beautiful tool that I've always dreamed of having! Wonderful! I agree with some of the nitpicks, but overall, omg I've always wanted this. Thank you!
scottjad 2 days ago 1 reply      
What formula do you use to calculate the color for the foreground text that shows the color of the background?
dack 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love this tool and just put some of the colors in my current scss-based app. Thanks!

One frustration I ran into - when I'm choosing colors by hovering around the window, sometimes the color I want can only be found by hovering over the "+" button on the right (a particular shade of red)... so then when I click it, it adds a new color instead of picking the one I was hovering on. Pretty frustrating! Overall this tool is great though.

dwightgunning 2 days ago 0 replies      
I found being thrown into "free build" was a bit confusing and took me a few minutes to bash around and figure it out.

Starting with one of the more typical modes (triad etc.) might be a way to ease people into your UI model. It's quite different to other tools that serve the same purpose so being gentle may help.

Otherwise it's eventually very intuitive, ultra fast (in my Chrome) and feature complete. Nice job!

r0h1n 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you! This is my new colour tool instead of Piknik (http://color.aurlien.net/) and Color Scheme Designer (http://www.colorschemedesigner.com).
bphogan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like this. I have used http://colorschemedesigner.com because of the preview features, but there's something different and awesome about this.

I'm having a little trouble with the hovers - I don't see well and have to zoom in the screen - having the menus activate on hover and then having to hover over the tools to see the tooltips is a problem. I understadn the need to save space but I really dislike "mystery meat" navigation.

Also, the two things that are missing for me here are colorblindness simulations and exporting a color palette for PhotoShop. Both of those are features of colorschemedesigner.com

I see it's open-source, which is fantastic. So if nobody gets around to doing the two features I mentioned, maybe I can find some time.

zwischenzug 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've always wanted something like this, as I suck at design in general. Thanks!
wiradikusuma 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a silly question, but how do I use the color for web dev? E.g. 1st column is for buttons, 2nd column is for background, 3rd is for texts, etc.
blueskin_ 2 days ago 1 reply      
One option that is very well hidden: Click to fix the colour, and an up arrow appears at the bottom. From there, you can type in an RGB/hex/cmyk/etc code to change the colour, e.g. if you want to find colours to go with a specific one that's already in use.
pdq 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is basically a clone of: http://color.hailpixel.com/
sgt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool - I find the "analogic & complement" feature to be the most interesting.
calinet6 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love it! The UI is very well executed, such that I've found more color combos I like through playing with this than with other similar UIs. Bookmarked. Nice work.
fauria 2 days ago 3 replies      
Reminds me of Kuler: https://kuler.adobe.com/
highace 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wondered how you were doing the menu slide-in on hover... tables! Despite not being semantic that works really well and looks really easy to set up.
mattlutze 2 days ago 3 replies      
It appears in the very light shades, at least on the analogic, that the sample boxes have slight gradients at their boundaries. Am I just seeing things or is this accurate?

If it's not just my eyes, it makes difficult the experience of judging the very light shades.

Systemic33 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome job! Bookmarked for future usage :)
joekrill 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow this is awesome. And open source! Love it. Thanks!
saimey 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great tool, love the design!

Here's 15 alternatives,


joshmlewis 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think there should be a buffer on the edges especially for people on laptops. Even a 5-10px buffer would be beneficial so I don't have to skirt around the edge of the window.
pattle 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great! Exactly what I've been looking for. I'll definitely use it on my next project
saltcod 2 days ago 0 replies      
Extremely cool. Very well done. Would love to hear about how you build this.
tankenmate 2 days ago 2 replies      
Not working for me on Firefox; I have javascript et al turned on, but no juice.
omegote 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fonts look like crap in Chrome / Windows 7... as usual.
aashishkoirala 2 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent, both idea and execution. So simple yet so useful. Love it.
daGrevis 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is cool. Next step would be a tool that would allow to export this as color scheme for editor!
higherpurpose 2 days ago 1 reply      
This used to be the best for this stuff in the past:


But now yours has definitely taken that place, with a much better UI/UX.

qute 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very cool - I agree with that. One question: it seems I can choose any color in 'Free Build' with one click except gray. Is it intentional or did I miss something?
Behind the stick of theSR-71 sbnation.com
222 points by canistr  1 day ago   88 comments top 23
haberman 1 day ago 1 reply      
> There was a titanium bulkhead between you and the backseat. [...] Literally, a wall.

This is what makes the famous "speed check" story about the SR-71 so effective (http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com/favorite-sr-71-story-107912...).

There is no eye contact or body language possible between the pilot and the communicator in the SR-71. What makes that story so perfect is not just the speed aspect, not just the smugness of the other planes, but the interpersonal relationship between the pilot and his crew member. It's just perfect story-telling.

cobrausn 1 day ago 5 replies      
I'll be honest, I'm kind of enjoying 'Aviation Week' here on HN. This is the kind of stuff that got me interested in math and science to begin with. Too bad my vision is so awful.
jpmattia 1 day ago 8 replies      
Not mentioned in the story (or comments yet): You can see the SR-71 at the Smithsonian out by Dulles Airport, along with a shuttle and a huge array of other hardware. Very cool if you're into that sort of thing.


melling 1 day ago 3 replies      
The world's fastest plane was built before we landed on the moon. We're spoiled in tech by Moore's Law but the difficultly in making advances in commercial and military aviation is disappointing. In the 1970's everyone probably though NY to London in 2 hours was a given by now.

Here's a great book to read about the SR-71.


zibit 1 day ago 1 reply      
Check out this list of 14 Rules of Management by Kelly Johnson. It was true back then for building fighter jets and it's true now for basic software development projects:

"Johnson's famed "down-to-brass-tacks" management style was summed up by his motto, "Be quick, be quiet, and be on time." He ran Skunk Works by "Kelly's 14 Rules":

The Skunk Works manager must be delegated practically complete control of his program in all aspects. He should report to a division president or higher.

Strong but small project offices must be provided both by the military and industry.

The number of people having any connection with the project must be restricted in an almost vicious manner. Use a small number of good people (10% to 25% compared to the so-called normal systems).

A very simple drawing and drawing release system with great flexibility for making changes must be provided.

There must be a minimum number of reports required, but important work must be recorded thoroughly.

There must be a monthly cost review covering not only what has been spent and committed but also projected costs to the conclusion of the program. Don't have the books 90 days late, and don't surprise the customer with sudden overruns.

The contractor must be delegated and must assume more than normal responsibility to get good vendor bids for subcontract on the project. Commercial bid procedures are very often better than military ones.

The inspection system as currently used by the Skunk Works, which has been approved by both the Air Force and Navy, meets the intent of existing military requirements and should be used on new projects. Push more basic inspection responsibility back to subcontractors and vendors. Don't duplicate so much inspection.

The contractor must be delegated the authority to test his final product in flight. He can and must test it in the initial stages. If he doesn't, he rapidly loses his competency to design other vehicles.

The specifications applying to the hardware must be agreed to well in advance of contracting. The Skunk Works practice of having a specification section stating clearly which important military specification items will not knowingly be complied with and reasons therefore is highly recommended.

Funding a program must be timely so that the contractor doesn't have to keep running to the bank to support government projects.

There must be mutual trust between the military project organization and the contractor with very close cooperation and liaison on a day-to-day basis. This cuts down misunderstanding and correspondence to an absolute minimum.

Access by outsiders to the project and its personnel must be strictly controlled by appropriate security measures.

Because only a few people will be used in engineering and most other areas, ways must be provided to reward good performance by pay not based on the number of personnel supervised."


kposehn 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend reading Ben Rich's autobiography Skunk Works. Very good book, and a ton more information about their projects with some great pilot excerpts.

My favorite is the SR-71 that had to cut across France, was intercepted by a Mirage fighter and then left it behind in seconds :D

lisper 1 day ago 1 reply      
There's a link to the SR-71 manual, where I found this gem, in the takeoff section:

"The tires may skid with the brakes on at high engine thrust."

That is not a problem you have to deal with when flying a Cessna 172.

gokhan 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's again this time of the year on HN where avalanche of aviation stories eventually leads to the great SR-71 articles. I love it.
bane 1 day ago 1 reply      
From http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/vetscor/1981814/posts?page...

"The plane was flying a mile every 1.6 seconds, well above our Mach 3.2 limit."

So asked Wolfram about this


2250 mph (3629 kph)

Mach 2.956 at Sea level (340.3 m/s)

I couldn't figure out the magic English sentence that would get it to calculate the Mach at different altitudes.

anigbrowl 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't know why this is on a sports website, but it's great stuff all the same.
dba7dba 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting quotes from the article

> You'd fly the T-38 every day (for proficiency sake).

> As we took off from there and came back around for a pass, the right engine exploded. We had to dump gas, and set about thirteen acres of Maryland on fire as we did that. That was kind of interesting, just spewing flaming fuel and titanium pieces around.

kayoone 1 day ago 1 reply      
Pretty amazing. Here is another SR-71 story that broke up mid-flight at Mach >3: http://www.barthworks.com/aviation/sr71breakup.htm
djyaz1200 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Skunk Works" by Ben R Rich is a great book about the Lockheed guys and the SR-71 + F117. They were basically running a startup at Lockheed.
dbarlett 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you liked this, you'll love Flying the SR-71 Blackbird: In the Cockpit on a Secret Operational Mission http://www.amazon.com/Flying-SR-71-Blackbird-Cockpit-Operati...
Scuds 1 day ago 1 reply      
Got to see one of these in person along with the engines and external starter engines at Seattle's Museum of Flight.

UNREAL especially for 1960 era technology.

curiousDog 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is what sometimes makes me wonder if the US Air Force came into contact with alien technology ;). Imagine going to this in just 60 yrs of flight being invented. Incredible, inspiring engineering.
Schweigi 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting interview with a former SR-71 pilot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeBu6mRDaro
HillOBeans 1 day ago 0 replies      
Got one of these good 'ole birds in the Museum next to Robins AFB in Georgia. They also have the start carts, and even have an engine pulled so you can see the six bypass ducts. They have recently mounted the plane on a stand so it looks like it has just left the runway, headed for the stratosphere....
kyberias 1 day ago 0 replies      
What's with this aviation / war topics week on HN?
z3phyr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pilots were wearing HEV suit!
Turn a Raspberry Pi into an FM transmitter makezine.com
219 points by zaaaaz  1 day ago   64 comments top 20
mentos 1 day ago 2 replies      
Just blew my motherboard by updating the bios via one of dell's software updates and corrupted my bios. The board doesn't have a dual bios configuration so its corrupted so I can't pull the battery or reset the CMOS.

All of my research showed that most people just pony up and replace the mobo for $200. Unwilling to give up I kept researching and found that you can turn your Raspberry Pi into a flashrom to restore your bios. http://flashrom.org/RaspberryPi

Waiting on female to female GPIO connectors to come in mail before I can hook my raspi up to the SPI sockets on my mobo and reflash the bios. Got my fingers crossed, if this works it will be a great win!

sbierwagen 1 day ago 1 reply      
You can also use a bare raspi (plus a couple passives...) as a 10mW QRP transmitter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QRP_operation

With the right software, plus favorable ionospheric conditions, you can get really, really good range. This guy did 7,600km, eastern Austria to south Florida: http://gerolfziegenhain.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/raspi-as-ws...

a-priori 1 day ago 7 replies      
As an amateur radio operator, I think this is fascinating, because they claim it can transmit on the 2m VHF band (144-148MHz) that's popular among hams.

But I have some concerns about its signal characteristics, since you're essentially abusing digital hardware (GPIO) to produce a modulated output it wasn't designed to produce. Someone with a spectrum analyzer should check to see if it produces any nasty harmonics, or similar noise, that could interfere with other stations.

bqe 1 day ago 2 replies      
If you're interested in getting into RF, I'd suggest getting a software-defined radio like bladeRF[1]. It allows you to make a lot of cool devices without being a hardware whiz.

The guys who run it are extremely knowledgeable about RF and there's some really cool stuff being done with it [2][3].

[1]: http://nuand.com/

[2]: http://bladerf.blogspot.com/

[3]: http://www.irrational.net/2014/03/02/digital-atv/

hansjorg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of Fabrice Bellard generating TV signals (analog and digital) with a VGA card.


gesman 1 day ago 1 reply      
It will transmit radio noise on many other frequencies.I played with this stuff when i was a kid to jam neighbor's TV's (they only used antennaes). Worked like a charm.

It's very hard and expensive to transmit signal on a single frequency. And very easy to pollute everything.

ColinWright 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are two previous discussions of this that might also be worth reading:



gbl08ma 1 day ago 0 replies      
Make has covered it before: http://makezine.com/2012/12/10/raspberry-pi-as-an-fm-transmi...

Note that the news here is only the Make project on it, as this has been known and working for well over a year. The current PiFM software uses DMA from the userspace to play without clicks and without taking the whole CPU. The later versions also appear to support stereo, so I can't make much sense of this sentence in Make's tutorial (step 5):

> Each file is then re-encoded into a mono format the PiFM radio can handle.

If their pre-configured image is really doing this, it is doing it wrong, I think. Worth noting that the PiFM script is capable of reading from stdout, and not just play WAV files, so the possibilities go well beyond playing music off a SD card.

By the way, here is the original page in a Wiki (of which Make shows a screenshot, but I found no link): http://www.icrobotics.co.uk/wiki/index.php/Turning_the_Raspb...

edits: add information

ChuckMcM 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice! Way back I did something similar in the AM band with one of the 8 pin PIC chips [1], didn't play music though, just sent morse code. The RPi version is much nicer, you could have it talk to you :-).

[1] http://www.mcmanis.com/chuck/robotics/projects/eelb.html

simias 1 day ago 1 reply      
After starting the broadcast: "Keep in mind that it'll take about 15 seconds to warm up"

What does that mean? What needs to warm up?

pacofvf 1 day ago 1 reply      
you could use this to broadcast RDS, and then tell the other cars on the road that there is a blockade ahead, it would be like that Bruce Almighty scene, well maybe not...
AUmrysh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Would it be possible to modify this to work at 125khz to use passive RFID?
nnnnni 1 day ago 1 reply      
There are some really good legitimate uses for this, but I'm concerned that it's going to turn into another Defense Distributed situation =-(
guipinto 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is it possible to both receive and transmit FM simultaneously?

Could this be used to create a simple, low bandwidth wireless connection between 2 pis?

snake_plissken 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hmm add a line-in, transform the signal, pipe it over to the transmitter and BOOM; silent disco!
stephengillie 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is awesome! Now what kind of bandwidth can we get out of this?
soheil 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why not just make one out of a single transistor and some resistors? #overkill
SoulMan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great ! I just managed to transmit the FM signals, I used my micro USB cable stuck in 7th Pin
post_break 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone have the ISO or a torrent of it?
broabprobe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Personal number station here we go!
       cached 9 March 2014 15:11:01 GMT