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1
The purpose of DRM is not to prevent copyright violations (2013) plus.google.com
724 points by adrianmsmith  3 days ago   233 comments top 36
1
jbk 3 days ago 9 replies      
This is one of the most important points about DRM.

DRM are marketed to users (and the society, including politicians) and to artists as a way to prevent copies. Most engineers implementing DRMs think so too. And all the discussions we've seen on HTML5 are around this. People have little arguments against this because it "sounds morally good" to help artist "live of their creations".

I am the de facto maintainer of libdvdcss, and have been involved on libbluray (and related projects) and a few other libraries of the same style; I've done several conferences on this precise subject and I've fought the French High-Authority-on-DRM in legal questioning about an unclear piece of law... Therefore, I've studied DRM quite closely...

The truth is that if you consider the main goal of DRM to prevent copies, no DRM actually work. ALL of them got defeated in a way or another. Indeed, GoT-broadcast-to-top-of-TPB time is counted in a couple of hours; so why do they try to push those technologies still?

The answer is probably because the main goal of DRM is to control distribution channels, not copy-prevention. Copy-prevention is a side goal.

This post of Ian is excellent to explain this.

PS: You can see me speaking of the same point, in French, in June 2013 here: http://www.acuraz.net/team-videolan-lors-de-pas-sage-en-sein...

NB: I'm not discussing here whether DRM are good or bad.

2
couchand 3 days ago 6 replies      
Had CDs been encrypted, iPods would not have been able to read their content, because the content providers would have been able to use their DRM contracts as leverage to prevent it.

Moreover, the iPod most likely would have never been invented. How about that for killing innovation?

3
programminggeek 3 days ago 3 replies      
I was going to say, the purpose of DRM is to get you to pay for multiple licenses. It's the same reason why a lot of paid download software is now on a SAAS model. If you can buy 1 copy of something for $20 and use it on whatever devices you want, then the company has made $20. If you DRM that to be for just one device, and you have 5 devices, they make $100. If you are a SAAS operator, you are effectively doing the same thing.

Somehow people are more okay with paying an ongoing fee for software or some perceived notion of services, but that same does't yet apply to content in a larger way. The closest equivalent is probably the cable companies and they are taking their huge sums of money and are buying the media companies, so maybe eventually there will be just a flat $100/month fee for experiencing a company's content on whatever device/experience it's available on. Maybe even movie theaters.

4
jamesbrownuhh 3 days ago 5 replies      
What DRM does is makes the 'pirate' goods, the 'hacked' players, the illegitimate rips, better, more usable, more flexible, and generally superior in every way to the officially released product.

Which I'm sure is not the intention.

Say I can't copy-and-paste a section from an eBook or run it through a speech reader? Tell me I can't skip the trailers before watching the DVD I have paid for? No. Fuck you. Bullshit like that is a red rag to a bull - you just created an army of people who'll bust off your "rights management" just to show you how wrong you are, and that YOU DO NOT GET TO DECIDE how people consume the things they own.

Sorry and all. But that's how it is.

5
noonespecial 3 days ago 2 replies      
Drm is primarily used in practice to do market segmentation. The rest of this comment is not available in your region.
6
beloch 3 days ago 2 replies      
Nothing makes me want to turn pirate quite like being forced to sit through unskippable anti-piracy ads preceding a movie I've paid for.
7
azakai 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is very true, but also preaching to the choir. Probably most of an audience like HN already knows this.

The real question is what we can do to fight DRM. The only real option is to push back against the companies that promote it. For EME, the current DRM in the news, the relevant companies are Google, Microsoft and Netflix.

It's all well and good to talk about how DRM is pointless. Of course it is pointless. But unless we actually push back against those companies, DRM will continue to win.

8
Karellen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Previous discussion (421 days ago, 22 comments):

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5406733

9
josephlord 3 days ago 0 replies      
This rings quite true to me. I had protracted arguments about the limitations the BBC wanted to impose on TVs supporting Freeview HD in the UK (copy protection flags and only encrypted local streaming) despite the fact that the content itself was being broadcast at high power across the country completely unencrypted. What is it the CE companies need to license? The Huffman compression tables for the guide data which in the license agreement you have to warrant that they are trade secrets and that you won't reveal them. I did send the BBC a link to the MythTV source code which contains this trade secret. If you work out who I was working for during this discussion don't worry, the content arm of the company was (at least according to the BBC pressuring them the other way as a supplier).

And the end result? We caved for the shiny Freeview HD sticker.

10
shmerl 3 days ago 0 replies      
Of course not. Reasons for demanding DRM can be different, but none of them are valid or good. As discussed here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7745009 common reasons are:

1. Monopolistic lock-in. DRM is more than often used to control the market. It happened with Apple in the past, and was one of the key reasons that music publishers realized that being DRM-free is actually better for them.

This reason also includes DRM derivatives like DMCA-1201 and the like. It's all about control (over the markets, over users and etc.).

2. Covering one's incompetence. DRM is used to justify failing sales (i.e. when execs are questioned about why the product performs poorly, they say "Pirates! But worry not - we put more DRM in place").

3. Ignorance and / or stupidity (many execs have no clue and might believe that DRM actually provides some benefit). This type can be called DRM Lysenkoism.

11
tn13 3 days ago 0 replies      
I do not think there is any problem with DRM. It is pretty much right of the content providers to chose how they will distribute their content.

What really gets my gears grinding is when I see an open source browser like Firefox is forced against their wishes to implement it because DRM has somehow reached a standard.

The job of W3C standards is to protect the interests of ordinary web users and not content providers.

12
jljljl 3 days ago 2 replies      
Speaking of controlling distribution channels, does anyone know how I can share this post outside of Google+, or add it to Pocket so that I can reread in more detail later?
13
crystaln 3 days ago 3 replies      
There is zero evidence of this claim in this article.

DRM is, in fact, to prevent unauthorized usage and copies. In fact, even some of the examples in this article are exactly that.

What is more important is that DRM doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to make unauthorized usage very inconvenient - enough that a few dollars is worth the cost for most people.

14
jiggy2011 3 days ago 2 replies      
Pretty much this.The people who will pirate are going to pirate regardless, you could offer all your movies DRM free for $1 each and some people will still pirate them.

So the purpose of DRM is to make maximum revenue from those who won't pirate, for example by charging more for group viewings of the movie or viewing on multiple devices.

15
HackinOut 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Sure, the DRM systems have all been broken [...]"

I have worked with MS PlayReady DRM (which is the "latest" one from Microsoft, the one used by Netflix) for some time and never stumbled upon any cracks. Not because it's impossible or even difficult but probably just because nobody cares about cracking Netflix (which brings PlayReady it's main source of "users")... Once you pay, you can watch as much as you like, why bother. Netflix made it extremely simple and accessible. (Yes some features like multicasting might be missing but it's still way better than Plesk or PopcornTime. For now at least... The main problem is clearly that the Film industry make it too difficult to have all content in one place). There is plenty of other "easier" sources (alternative VOD offerings with already cracked/worse protections, Blu-rays) to get the copyrighted material from for underground channels.

I am sure other DRM systems have a clear log for the same reason: No major incentive to crack them.

16
userbinator 3 days ago 0 replies      
The purpose of DRM is to give content providers leverage against creators of playback devices.

One thing that's always seemed odd to me is that the DRM use case is presented as a battle with "content providers" on one side and everyone else on the other, but aren't these content providers also users? Do they also consume DRM'd content, and if so, are they perfectly fine with the restrictions? Do those who devise DRM schemes not realise that they may also be the ones who will have these schemes imposed on them?

17
Kudos 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can someone explain to me how businesses can provide a subscription model without DRM?

I refuse to purchase anything with DRM, but I don't give a shit if it's a rental or subscription service.

18
gagege 3 days ago 4 replies      
Why isn't screen capture software more widely used? It seems like a dead simple screen capture suite could make all these DRM worries go away.
19
mkempe 3 days ago 0 replies      
If one wants a parallel to social-politial battles around the means of production in recent centuries, it's an attempt by licensing companies to abolish ownership of reproductions of works of art -- and to establish a monopoly on the means of distribution.

My perception is that few people understand or care -- and the US political elite mostly acquiesces because it has been (or wants to be) bought by those aspiring monopolists.

20
chacham15 3 days ago 0 replies      
While everything that is said in the article is true, the end result is that the control that the distributers want to have is circumvented by pirating. Therefore, by continuing to try and control the content more, what is actually being done is increasing the demand for pirated content. I know of many people who buy content legally and then in addition acquire the pirated version to use as they please. Therefore, as that process becomes easier (lookup popcorn time to see how easy it can be), the purpose of the control becomes more meaningless.
21
RegW 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have come to find the whole circular debate about DRM particularly boring. So much so, that I won't bother to read the whole article or comments here.

Yes, DRM is always broken - eventually, but yes it does work - sort of. It is a technology and legal arms race in a constantly changing landscape.

> DRM's purpose is to give content providers control over software and hardware providers, and it is satisfying that purpose well.

No not really. DRM's purpose is to give content providers a return on their investment, everything else is just a consequence of trying to achieve this.

DRM isn't going to go away as along as people want to be paid for creating content, and other people want to get that content without paying for it.

Sadly it is probably true that it is always the biggest players that get the biggest slice of the pie. Irritatingly the open source community refuse to engage in this battle and support the small player. As a consequence the smaller content providers have no choice but to hook up with the big commercial channels who decide how big a cut they want.

22
ingenter 3 days ago 1 reply      
>Without DRM, you take the DVD and stick it into a DVD player that ignores "unskippable" labels, and jump straight to the movie.

>With DRM, there is no licensed player that can do this

So, enforcing some rules (via DRM) to the player manufacturing, content provider makes my experience worse as a consumer.

Again, I am a consumer, what is the advantages of DRM for me? So manufacturer must enforce me watching ads?

23
nijiko 3 days ago 0 replies      
Eh, at the end of the day, there are thousands of ways to go around it, so why implement it in the first place?

People pay for things that are good, easy to pay for, are appropriately priced, and not a burden or expense more than they see it worth (has to deal with pricing and roadblocks). DRM, and poor delivery services are usually those roadblocks.

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wyager 3 days ago 4 replies      
Interesting. I was unaware of this.

But if this is the case, why is there such a push to put DRM in HTML? Browsers aren't DVD players. Users are free to use software like ABP to circumvent any features like "unskippable ads" mentioned in the post. Pressure on browser makers seems much less valuable than pressure on device makers.

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pje 3 days ago 4 replies      
> Had CDs been encrypted, iPods would not have been able to read their content, because the content providers would have been able to use their DRM contracts as leverage to prevent it.

What? Why? Nothing would have prevented people from recording the playback of an encrypted CD and putting that on their iPod.

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mfisher87 3 days ago 0 replies      
Steam would have been a great example for his article. Steam does nothing to prevent you from copying games. In fact, some games on steam can be bought without DRM from other sources. Steam just forces you to use Steam or buy your games again.
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torgoguys 2 days ago 0 replies      
So I read the page, but find the argument VERY unconvincing. If that really was the goal of DRM, then you wouldn't need the really complicated schemes used. You just come up with a simple scheme that legally requires licensing and always use that. No need to keep switching schemes, adding more safeguards, and so forth.

The content creators still get the same leverage over the legal distribution channels because they can still be forced to follow the rules outlined in the examples. That and it lowers your R&D costs on making complicated DRM. If the article is true, what have I missed?

28
spacefight 3 days ago 0 replies      
TL;DR

"DRM's purpose is to give content providers control over software and hardware providers, and it is satisfying that purpose well."

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gcb0 3 days ago 0 replies      
dammit, reading G+ on a small 720p laptop screen is absolute hell.
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chrisjlee84 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yes and David Sterling is clearly not a racist.
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briantakita 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone who commits double speak is not worthy of trust.
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briantakita 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good thing it's easier than ever DIY.
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QuantumChaos 3 days ago 1 reply      
This argument is completely ridiculous.

Control of how a person consumes content that they legally own is incidental. If a company can force you to buy content rather than pirating, they will make a lot more money. Controlling the exact manner in which you consume that content is the icing on the cake.

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tbronchain 2 days ago 0 replies      
and that makes perfect sense!
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webmaven 3 days ago 1 reply      
Needs a [2013] label in the title.
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10098 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can still make "unauthorized" copies of DRM'ed media and play those back on non-drm devices. E.g. record sound from a locked-down music player using a microphone, convert that to MP3 and listen to it using a normal MP3 player. So it's not 100% bulletproof.
2
Tremor-cancelling spoon for Parkinson's tremors liftlabsdesign.com
358 points by mhb  3 days ago   89 comments top 18
1
97s 3 days ago 0 replies      
Things like this are just a total blessing to people who need them and its awesome to see affordable technology like this taking place for people who can't even take part in the one of the most important functions of life. A lot of people are talking about if there is a big enough market/etc, we should probably assume the creator only wants to cover his cost since this invention was probably created by people who had family suffering from such a thing. Any profits would probably make the inventor(s) delighted.
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caublestone 3 days ago 0 replies      
My brother has downsyndrome and struggles with muscle control. When he eats he tremors quite a bit losing food on his plate forcing him to take a desperate eat fast approach to his meals. He has gone through quite a bit of muscle therapy to help. Needless to say, I will be buying this for him and can't wait to see what other types of people find an improvement in their lives with this product.
3
gottebp 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm a little late commenting, but I developed a Windows app [1] that does exactly this for the mouse. It basically applies some fancy FIR filters to the x and y deltas. [1] www.steadymouse.com
4
srean 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think some will remember the news story that Sergey Brin has the Parkinson's mutation. He is keen to fund technologies that makes progress in this field. That would indeed be welcome. Diagnosing Parkinson's with confidence with a specific authoritative test is no easy task. For my dad, the doctors cannot decide if it is essential tremor or Parkinson's.

I recall a post on HN which showed that our vocal signals have enough information to help wwith such diagnosis. Voice as carried by phone's now dont have the spectral resolution for this. However it might have enough bandwidth if voice is coded for that purpose. Seems like a worthy problem to take a stab at.

I think the corresponding NPR story https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7752627 was posted a few days ago but did not make the front page. So I am glad this made it.

5
stevesearer 3 days ago 1 reply      
My grandfather has Parkinson's. My dad has slightly noticeable hand tremors - no diagnosis at this point. I haven't read up on the likelihood that I'll get it, but I assume that I'm at high risk.

That said, this looks pretty neat and seems like basically a spoon version of Canon AF lenses. Will definitely look into these for my grandpa :)

6
caycep 3 days ago 8 replies      
This is interesting, but IMHO, will not be as useful in most cases of Parkinson's disease.

1) Parkinsonian tremor is typically at rest or with distraction. When you actually engage in purposeful action, such as using a spoon, the tremor usually dampens or goes away.

2) The main problem in Parkinson's is actually "bradykinesia" or slowness of movement. A more accurate term, in my opinion, is slowness of motor planning, that is, the brain systems cannot process the information require to, and then generate, a plan of movement for the limbs fast enough. The spoon won't fix that.

3) Parkinsonian and other forms of tremor do have relatively safe and effective treatments in medications or deep brain stimulation implantation.

My thoughts are - this spoon, if it works and isn't a mechanical nightmare, would be useful in a limited subset of cases where the tremor resembles another condition known as essential tremor, where the tremor instead is an intention or action tremor, where purposeful activity amplifies the tremor. Even so, these would only be in those patients who cannot get deep brain stimulation surgery for some reason. The reason being that DBS, while brain surgery, once done, is the more elegant solution. I.e. your tremor goes away, rather than requiring a superficial "hack" like this spoon.

7
fletchowns 3 days ago 0 replies      
Heard about this on All Things Considered this week: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/05/13/310399325/a-spoon...
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enjo 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would like to "sponsor" a few of these for folks. Does anyone know of a resource, non-profit, or...something that can help facilitate that?
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jmadsen 2 days ago 4 replies      
This is wonderful!

I have to wonder - why is it that it took so long to come up with such a simple idea for such an obvious problem?

I'd like to blame it on the "get rich, web app startup" mentality, but really, that's a fairly recent thing.

Perhaps this is a harder problem than it seems? Or is it true that all our new inventors are chasing riches?

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Jim_Neath 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a sufferer of early onset parkinson's, it's great to see products like this being developed. Hats off.
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brianbreslin 2 days ago 0 replies      
My grandfather had parkinsons and this would have been a true blessing to him. I watched in frustration many times as he had a hard time doing tasks like this.

Seeing this kind of GOOD being invented makes me happy. This made my day.

12
bigmattystyles 3 days ago 1 reply      
This sort of filtering should also be put in a mouse driver
13
jablan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder why wouldn't be possible to use some kind of passive method for tremor cancellation, like a miniature version of a steadicam. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steadicam
14
asgard1024 2 days ago 1 reply      
I like the idea, but I think the spoon is a bit shallow. It would be hard to eat soup with it.
15
maddisc2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well done, Really great work!
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logicallee 3 days ago 7 replies      
Let's entertain the notion, prevalent here, that this idea itself (like all ideas themselves) is worth absolutely nothing, and that any one of the teams in the world who have access to gyroscopes, servos, and microchips, should have the right to reproduce this hack at unit cost and drive these guys out of business. Its cost is listed at $295.00[1] and this is their only product. It's huge compared to what the best facilities and teams in the world can produce to the same specifications, relatively unaesthetic as a utensil in its present form as compared to what a better-funded team can produce in a matter of weeks, and is clearly first-generation. They have no brand in the medical space. It is an eating utensil, yet it is not waterproof.

It is, however, patented.[2] This single fact allows this company (in its present form) to exist, to have done its research, to have raised its investment, and to bring their prototype in the form we currently see to market, at the price that it is currently listed at.

But patents are "wrong" and "stifle innovation".

Granted it's pretty obvious that this makes a huge difference in people's lives. So perhaps we should leaven our desire that their margin disappear, with hoping that more teams are somehow magically and irrationally in a position to do the world's R&D before losing their shirts as their margins disappear from under them. Having seen the size of this thing, the fact that it's not waterproof, the lack of an existing trusted brand-name behind the product, and a lack of any distribution except their web site (see their FAQ) shows that there is no way that is the best that any team in the world can build now that they've seen how it's done. Therefore, lacking protection, this team would no longer be competitive in a short number of weeks/months.

We can, however, agree that it is good that this has been made. So, how shall we reconcile this? Well, perhaps we should simply hope that funding, such as they have raised, would magically continue to be available even without any any margins that are guaranteed in the results (should they succeed in embodying their claims), which would allow the investors to recoup their investment. In short, we need investors to be crazy enough to keep funding innovations such as this one, while we remove the protections that would justify that craziness. Basically, we would have to hope that investors never catch on.

This is crucial for our purposes, as otherwise ideas such as this would not exist. Someone could have had this idea in 1999 or 1989. But without the investment, it might have stayed at the "worth-nothing" idea stage, rather than what we might call the "worth-nothing-but-has-now-actually-beend-developed-and-actually-been-built-and-proven-and-it's-no-longer-a-pipe-dream" worth-nothing stage. Which the rest of us deserve to access for free without investing anything.

There is an analogy to be made here with Tesla, who died nearly penniless: his meager earnings had come from his patent royalties. Imagine if we had the ability to rewrite history and take even this away from him, along with the food from his stomach and equipment from his labs, so that Edison and the rest of the world's teams would have full access to all of his inventions, working or impractical, without any protection. Imagine what progress that would have led to.

In summary:

1- ideas like this deserve no patent protection

2- teams should prove incredibly speculative techniques such as this for free and with no compensation or protection

3- investors should continue to invest in such ideas forever, even after it becomes abundantly clear that there is no way to recoup the investment in such a fledgling idea.;

</sarcasm>

Just kidding!! Phew. I hope we can all agree how ridiculous the above position would be. It's great that these guys brought their patented, high-margin product to the world. All this could have been done in 1984 - 40 years ago - if someone had had the 'wortheless' idea then -- and we would all have access to it today.

It took a team's phenomenal genius and dedication today to bring this to market, and the whole world will have it soon - unlike any of the Idea Sunday ideas that have no such protection, were never fully developed, and for which the entire program was crapped.

Here's to sane patents and to the progress they bring!

[1] http://store.liftlabsdesign.com/ $ 295.00. Note that my estimated margin at this price: (for copycat) 98.64% margins - ex assumed "worthless" idea - assuming a COGS at scale of $4, which is enough for several batteries, gyroscopes, microchips, cases, what have you. If we assume a $20 cost of goods that margin shrinks to 93.22% gross profit, again excluding the idea (which we assume is "worthless") or its development (which we assume the world should have access to for free, now that they've proven it.)

[2] http://www.cnet.com/news/smart-spoon-helps-stabilize-parkins...

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logicallee 3 days ago 1 reply      
I made a point about the importance of patents for this invention, but it is better to receive it straight from the source: http://imgur.com/Q99L8V3

(the bottom just quotes my letter, already visible)

This product and company would not exist without patents on what amounts to an idea.

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rubyn00bie 2 days ago 0 replies      
Holy crap was I confused for a minute, I misread the title as "Tremor-canceling spoon for Pakistan's tremors." I was just thinking "there must be A LOT of earthquakes in Pakistan."

... Anyway this is a great invention, even if it's not intended to be used during earthquakes ;-)

3
How I bypassed 2-Factor-Authentication on Google, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn shubh.am
353 points by sounds  1 day ago   143 comments top 27
1
Shank 1 day ago 5 replies      
I love how Google's response is akin to "well, if the password is compromised...anything is possible" logic and tagged as won't fix. Facebook and Linkedin of all people immediately triaged and started fixing the issue.

Unacceptable response from a company promoting its services as identity and communication platforms.

2
kabdib 1 day ago 3 replies      
Google's response _The attack presupposes a compromised password, and the actual vulnerability appears to lie in the fact that the Telcos provide inadequate protection of their voicemail system. Please report this to the telcos directly._

... is reprehensible. It's a problem with the design as a whole, Google's customers are going to experience the flaw, and just passing the buck doesn't make the problem go away. I'm really disappointed in Google.

3
jameshart 1 day ago 1 reply      
Seems to generally demonstrate that sending a token to a voicemail is secured at best by voicemail PIN; he's demonstrated effectively that it certainly doesn't require possession of the phone. That turns two factor authentication -something you know, something you have - into 'wish-it-was-two-factor-authentication' - something you know, and something else you know.

Sounds like the right approach is indeed to not give away 2fa codes when the recipient hasn't demonstrated that they have the user's phone in their hand

4
danielpal 1 day ago 6 replies      
Sorry, couldn't resist. Shameful self-promotion, but this is why companies shouldn't implement their own two-factor authentication. Getting everything right is hard and chances are that you aren't reading or informed of the latest attacks.

At Authy we are obsessed with Two-Factor Authentication and spend a huge amount of time looking at whats happening in the ecosystem, which new attacks do we need to be aware of etc. It might look easy to build a quick two-factor authentication system, but history will repeat itself, and like passwords we'll see lots of bad and insecure implementations because its harder than what people think.

5
JulianRaphael 1 day ago 3 replies      
Maybe Google's incredibly irresponsible response hints at their general strategy regarding authentication on the internet: they are already pushing for the replacement passwords.I'm quoting: "[Google plans] to release an ultra-secure and easy to use identity verification platform that eliminates the need for long, user-generated passwords. Dubbed U2F (Universal 2nd Factor), the consumer-facing side of this initiative will be a USB dongle called the YubiKey Neo. Built to Googles specifications by security specialist Yubico, the YubiKey Neo is a small, durable and driverless device that requires no battery. Plugged into your computers USB port it will add a second, highly secure layer of verification when you point Googles Chrome browser to your Gmail or Google Docs account. Youll initiate the login by typing your username and a simple PIN. The browser will then communicate directly with the YubiKey Neo, using encrypted data, to authorize account access. With U2F verification, if someone wanted to login surreptitiously to your account, he or she would need to know your username and PIN while simultaneously having physical possession of that specific YubiKey Neo."

Furthermore, they had Regina Dugan, former DARPA director and now their VP of Engineering, Advanced Technology and Projects, on stage at All Things Digital in 2013 talking about electric tattoos and edible passwords which would turn your whole body into an authentication token with a 18bit ESG light signal. (Link to talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzB1EcocAF8).

So maybe they just don't care because they won't use 2-factor-authentication for much longer anyway.

6
crb 1 day ago 3 replies      
Would recording a DTMF tone as your voicemail greeting get around the "press any key to get your code" prompt?
7
cturner 1 day ago 1 reply      
A different issue - but around phone companies and security.

When your contract is running low, they call you and ask you to tell you them your security information as part of resigning you under new terms.

To emphasise: they cold call you and claim to be from the firm (which you don't know - it might be a phishing attack), and then ask you for your security details. They socialise their customers towards being vulnerable to phishing attacks.

I had this ages ago with an Australian provider (Telstra), and recently in the UK (O2).

Having followed up, I know it to be O2 policy that they are happy to do this. They... defended it on commercial grounds around practicality.

I'm sure that I'm not the only one to have though this is crazy. I raised an incident but as you'd expect it went nowhere. Has anyone else tried to pick it up with firms that do it?

Imagine a simple piece of legislation that banned calling and asking for security information. Would there be edge-cases that would make this a bad law?

8
rdl 1 day ago 1 reply      
I hate 2fa based on SMS or voice auth. Requiring proving control of a number is decent as an anti spam or flooding technique, but is horrible for authentication of anything high value enough to justify 2fa.

I also strongly prefer 2fa systems which allow me to enroll my own hardware token or use a software token (eg AWS IAM) vs systems which supply the seed so I can't (CloudFlare is depressingly the only service I use which still suffers from this, despite being otherwise pretty awesome.)

9
thret 1 day ago 6 replies      
Here's an idea: get rid of voicemail completely. The only person, the ONLY person I know who has used mine is my father, and his message is always "Sorry I missed you, call me when you can." Which I know already, thanks.
10
cstrat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Probably should note, for all Australian readers:

    All vulnerable endpoints for Optus Voicemail have been fixed. Including the endpoint I used to bypass their initial fix.

11
enscr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very comprehensive and will written post. Also, good job on the due diligence of alerting all concerned parties and posting detailed responses.

Google's reply is too complacent. Despite this being Telco's fault, Authy & Duosecurity are better at mitigating it.

12
izacus 1 day ago 2 replies      
Hmm around here in EU pretty much noone uses voicemail (and is disabled by default on most mobile accounts).

Is that such a huge issue in US?

13
raesene3 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interesting article, I've always thought that phones are one of the weaker links in the 2FA chain (but a lot cheaper than dedicated tokens).

The general use of SMS/voice mail has another potential weak point which is where people start using VOIP services a lot. If an attacker has compromised someone's client computer with the usual set of trojans and they use something like Skype to receive SMS and voice calls, 2FA which relies on tokens via SMS or voice could be easily compromised as the attacker will already have access to them..

14
nwh 1 day ago 1 reply      
For the Optus (and their MVNO) it's fairly trivial to just nuke the voicemail completely with a call to a specific code. Seriously, who even uses it anyway? Bear in mind that in Australia we are charged a clear dollar a minute to retrieve voicemail messages.
15
mjs 1 day ago 0 replies      
At least if you have a recovery email address configured, you can only initiate the process that sends codes to phones via a link sent to the recovery email address.

So being able to intercept codes sent to a phone is not enough: you also need to have control over the recovery email address.

16
monsur 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hang on. The first step of this exploit is that "The attacker logs into the victims account on a 2FA enabled web application". How does the attacker do this if the account has 2FA enabled in the first place? And if the attacker can already log into the victim's site, why are the other steps even necessary?
17
currysausage 1 day ago 2 replies      
Wow, this Open Sans font is just plain unreadable on Windows (7) machines. It might be the fault of Windows' subpar font rendering, but here, the font is just too thin and blurry to be read.

Damn, how I miss the days of simple HTML pages with no styling at all. Not beautiful, but readable, usable, fast, and ... yes, somehow beautiful in a pragmatic and very nerdy sense.

18
iLoch 1 day ago 0 replies      
I never use TFA if it's SMS based. I don't understand why every company isn't using the standard TOTP TFA with a secret key, that way I can manage who has access to my TFA codes very easily. I just scan a barcode on my phone once and I'm able to generate TFA codes for myself, what's better than that?
19
noisy_boy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Am I missing something or the fact that once gmail password is compromised, the attacker could easily change the phone no. or set it to use Google Authenticator? Further steps regarding voicemail etc. will be moot after that.
20
tedchs 1 day ago 0 replies      
If your telco has broken voicemail, I suggest using Google Voice and doing the dance to forward your no-answer/busy calls there.
21
kolev 1 day ago 1 reply      
Microsoft and other services don't use 2FA for all services. I'm sure this can also be exploited to log into vulnerable service without 2FA and then being logged, change the password.

My favorite is services that use secret challenge responses to reset passwords. Some of those "secret" questions are colors, car makes, etc., which narrows down the choices to just a few.

It's unfortunate that many idiots carry the title of "software engineer" when they completely hack basic analytical thinking and basic math skills to prevent such exploits!

22
beyondcompute 1 day ago 1 reply      
Yes, the Google's response (if it is real) to this problem is embarrassing. "It is not our problem that we practically post your credentials to open access at some occasions" [as this post shows using voicemail is akin to doing this in case of significant number of providers]. That's so disregarding to customers.
23
kolev 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can those services that require interaction be tricked by hacking the voicemail and recording a message with touch tones in them? Fortunately, most that require # also use it in voicemail greeting recording to end the recording, but the example, there are some that require any key, which probably is vulnerable.
24
kolev 1 day ago 2 replies      
Third comment on this post, but anyway. Why are 2FA providers still using SMS and not USSD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unstructured_Supplementary_Serv...)?
25
Siecje 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why is it a phone call and not a text message
26
PythonicAlpha 1 day ago 1 reply      
2FA based on mobile phones is a very weak method of security. It goes worse, when using smartphones. When you use your smartphone to access internet services (worse: make banking) secured by 2FA, your 2FA is reduced to 1FA, Trojaner prone security.

There are also already cases known, where attackers just made phone companies send a "replacement" sim card and the attackers intercept those. Thus the second factor was very simple out. Some phone companies are more aware now, but all is very much prone to social engineering.

So: 2FA is only a good idea, when using some dedicated device, else it just makes the barrier a little higher, sometimes not so much, as you think.

27
Theodores 1 day ago 0 replies      
To use an automotive analogy this is a bit like using social engineering techniques (e.g. pretending to be from the electricity company) to enter someone's house and then, once in, getting paperwork pertaining to their car. Theoretically you could then ordering a new set of keys from a locksmith, doorstepping the locksmith (when he arrives with the replacement key). You could then steal the car. Realising this stunt could work with any of the manufacturers that the locksmith can get keys for, you could then complain about how useless their cars were, that their locks were essentially broken. Of course, the attack would be entirely theoretical as the car 'stolen' would be one's own (because you were testing this attack vector so you could blog about it).

He should have got a job with News International. Essentially their 'phone hacking' relied on standard, factory set voicemail codes and their 'work' only came to disgust the general public when they deleted voicemail messages off a murdered teenager's phone, in so doing giving the parents false hope that she was still alive (as they were able to leave new messages as the voicemail inbox was no longer full).

Had the 'journalists' at News International known about this little trick for 2FA then, would they have really been able to glean anything useful? Yes, however, it would have been a one-time trick.

As soon as some junior royal (or footballer or politician) realised that they could no longer login to Facebook/whatever (because the password had been reset), they would have to reset it for themselves, plus they would have emails in their main inbox stating that their password had been changed. During this time the Facebook/whatever account could be thoroughly gone through, however, on-going access would be unlikely. So, in practical situations, e.g. getting scoops for 'newspapers', there is still limited use to this technique.

4
I'm About as Good as Dead: The End of Xah Lee ergoemacs.org
328 points by craftsman  2 days ago   300 comments top 54
1
wfjackson 2 days ago 7 replies      
Edit: He seems to have a lot of interest and worked a lot on good documentation, which is the bane of the typical OSS project. Why doesn't Red Hat/Google etc. throw some money at him to write docs for underdocumented OSS stuff? Sounds like win win for all. It's hard to find really smart developers that are interested in writing documentation.[End edit]

If you don't really know him, his LinkedIn profile shows more details about his work.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/xahlee

Xah Lee's Summary

Full stack web site development. Heavy backend experience + unix sys adimn. Seek startupish, small team engineers environment.

Accomplishment highlights:

Autodidact. High school dropout. No degree. Taught graduate math students at National Center for Theoretical Sciences, Taiwan. Invited speaker to Geometry And Visualization workshop, Tokyo Metropolitan University. Work cited in US Patent. Well-known open source contributor in emacs and LISP communities. Expert in: JavaScript, Perl, Python, PHP, Emacs Lisp, Mathematica, MyLinux, SQL, Second Life Linden Scripting Language. Each with at least ten thousand lines of code. (working knowledge Java)

Specialties: Design, code, entire system. Understand language, protocols, raw. Do not depends on frameworks/libs when unnecessary.

Portforlio:

Xah's JavaScript Tutorial http://xahlee.info/js/js.html Xah's {Python, Perl, Ruby} Tutorial http://xahlee.info/perl-python/index.html Xah Emacs Lisp Tutorial http://ergoemacs.org/emacs/elisp.html Xah's Java Tutorial http://xahlee.info/java-a-day/java.html Xah Linux Tutorial http://xahlee.info/linux/linux_index.html Xah's HTML5 Tutorial http://xahlee.info/js/index.html Xah's CSS53 Tutorial http://xahlee.info/js/css_index.html Programing Language Design http://xahlee.info/comp/comp_lang.html

Xah Lee's Experience

Author and WebmasterXahLee.infoJanuary 2007 Present (7 years 5 months) San Francisco Bay Area

Creator and author of award-winning website http://xahlee.info/ , since 1997.

8 thousand visitors per day. 240 thousand visitors per month. 5 thousand HTML pages Frequently cited in academic journals as well as online sites such as StackOverflow, Hacker News, Reddit, Wikipedia. Also cited by Microsoft TypeScript publication. (see list of citations below.)

Published more than 50 software. Have a look at

Xah's JavaScript Tutorial http://xahlee.info/js/js.html Xah's {Python, Perl, Ruby} Tutorial http://xahlee.info/perl-python/index.html Xah Emacs Lisp Tutorial http://ergoemacs.org/emacs/elisp.html Xah's Java Tutorial http://xahlee.info/java-a-day/java.html Xah Linux Tutorial http://xahlee.info/linux/linux_index.html Programing Language Design http://xahlee.info/comp/comp_lang.html Xah Lee's Projects

Programming Tutorial: Python June 2006 to PresentTeam Members: Xah Lee

2
andywood 2 days ago 3 replies      
I am willing to 'out' myself as a human being who has struggled with serious mental illness my whole life, if there's a chance it could help this person. I have also had a long and prosperous career, including 5 years as a senior engineer and lead at Microsoft. These two things are very nearly orthogonal. I.e. my medical history has very little to do with my employment history.

But being compassionate does not require you to analyze this person's merits. The only thing to 'analyze' is that he begged you for help.

Also, please remember the hackers, family, and friends we have lost to suicide. People say "I wish we'd known. Maybe we could have helped." Well, you know; and there is a chance you could help.

http://www.paypal.com

3
mercer 2 days ago 8 replies      
Cases like this, when the talented person in question is a geek who "doesn't interview well," always frustrate me.

Most of my professional success is a result of social skills and a lot of experience with wildly different social environments and cultures. While I do work hard at being actually good at what I do (because that's just more fun!), I could get pretty far as a cruddy developer.

And that just feels unfair, and frustrating. I do understand that social skills matter when you work for a company, in a team, but it often feels like they're way too important (evidence: incompetent people at top positions in companies who primarily excel at manipulation or are extremely socially skilled).

Of course, there's a difference between a geek who just lacks social skills, and a geek who is just not a nice person and also lacks social skills to hide this (or lacks social skills because of this). I've met my share of those.

But even then, it's hard to (fully) blame the person in question. I've met my fair share of arrogant, abrasive, unsympathetic, or misogynistic geeks who seem to have mostly become that as a reaction to having been bullied or ostracized. Often, it's self-defense or just inability, and quite frankly the main reason I didn't turn out that way was because I was in the right place at the right time, and I had wonderful peers who dragged me out of my isolation.

It just sucks. And I wish I could fix that. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to know that you are competent, or even well above average, and still not get the jobs that downright incompetent people seem to have no trouble getting.

(I don't mean to justify 'bad' behavior, by the way, but to a degree understanding where it comes from allows me to still sympathize with, say, a racist.)

4
Beanis 2 days ago 2 replies      
I interviewed/phone screened Xah Lee about 2 years ago.

I'd never heard of him, so I skimmed over his resume and checked out his site an hour or two before the call. I remember when I was looking at his site I was seeing various articles around math and programming, and then articles about things like "2 girls 1 cup". The breadth of articles completely threw me off. He seemed to have this unfocused interest in EVERYTHING. After looking over everything I could I had no idea how we'd be able to use him, but I was really interested in talking with him.

I went into the call expecting a lot of tangents about various topics he was passionate about and thinking I'd constantly have to refocus the conversation. Instead the conversation was pretty boring and not really going anywhere. He had breadth, but the depth was not there. At least not for the things I brought up. I couldn't understand how someone who seemed to be interested in everything could have no real interest in anything.

For the last couple of minutes we talked about his site, and how he maintains/updates it. He finally seemed to light up, and we hit on something he was really interested in talking about. The basics of the site looked like it was just a couple of scripts, a lot of static text files and some emacs. The setup might have been impressive in the mid-to-early 90's, but it wasn't relevant to anything we would have wanted/needed.

The call lasted maybe 20 minutes, and then we wrapped it up. Every topic, other than talking about his site, was a dead-end. My internal feedback at the end was: "No! Maybe... if we were trying to hire encyclopedia writers".

I think his main problem with interviews is that his real-life personality doesn't even come close to his online personality. If I would have gone in expecting the standard slightly-awkward developer interview, things might have gone better. I still would have said no, but it would have been a weaker no.

5
terhechte 2 days ago 2 replies      
Xah, if you're reading this: Based on the comments on your page it is not clear whether you can or can't accept money via Paypal. Your Emacs resources have always been very helpful to me. I'd be willing to send you some money. Do you happen to have a Bitcoin address that I could send something to?
6
throwaway283719 2 days ago 5 replies      
He could start by rewriting his resume. This in particular stands out -

  Accomplishment highlights:    * Autodidact. High school dropout. No degree.
To almost any employer, that is not an accomplishment, much less a highlight! If you're a high school dropout who is very accomplished since then, just silently drop any mention of your education from your resume. Everyone will assume that you left it off because it's irrelevant given all your experience since then.

If the first paragraph of your resume calls attention to the fact that you didn't even graduate high school, it sets a bad tone for the rest. Many people will throw your resume away without reading further.

7
louhike 2 days ago 0 replies      
At the bottom of the page:

"if you can help, paypal to xah@xahlee.org

buy my tutorial:

Buy Xah Emacs Tutorial (http://ergoemacs.org/emacs/buy_xah_emacs_tutorial.html)

Xah's JavaScript Tutorial (http://xahlee.info/js/js.html)

Xah's {Python, Perl, Ruby} Tutorialor buy my entire xahlee.info site content for $50. see Xah Code (http://xahlee.info/perl-python/index.html)

Xah Lee's Resume

or, send paypal to this my previous effort to something similar to a kickstart. https://pledgie.com/campaigns/19973

i won't actually be able to draw money from paypal, due to bank/IRS problem. So

better, send your check to:

Huynh Kang at huynh.kang facebook (https://www.facebook.com/huynh.kang) or huynh-kang linkedin (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/huynh-kang/24/8b/535)professor Richard Palais, home page at University of California Irvine http://vmm.math.uci.edu/, Wikipedia Richard Palais, richard-palais on linkedin"

8
brudgers 2 days ago 2 replies      
Writing is thinking and one person's philosophical pondering can be another's trolling, e.g. this post.

Sure trolling is sometimes just being an asshat. But it's also a way of creating diversity. An attempt to deprogram members of a cargo cult. It can be fighting group think and ideological tribalism. I've come to think about trolling as often being an expression of a desire to write - it's very essence is writing something that didn't need to be written and doing so in a way that's tailored to one's audience. Just as sarcasm can be a low form of wit, trolling can be a low form of literature.

If everyone who trolled the Usenet or a mailing list or an online forum was condemned for it, who would be left and would anyone want to read what they had to say.

Xah Lee is a person whose particular genius doesn't fit well into a prefabricated category. But his website expresses a genuine desire to help others by sharing what he knows - and what he knows, he knows really well. There but for the grace of god, go I.

9
partisan 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can empathize and I feel bad for anyone in what feels like a helpless and hopeless situation. I sometimes feel like I am there as well despite having "enough" money for a rainy season or two.

Some people need to hit rock bottom to even begin to understand that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Manual labor, however humiliating and seemingly beneath him, may give him the proper motivation he seems to be lacking.

10
saalweachter 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reading the blog/comments I don't think a development job is what he needs/wants. I think what he really needs is a patron.

So why not Patreon?

Some people find value in the content he creates, and his needs are modest. It is not implausible that enough people are willing to chip in to keep him going, and Patreon provides a way to do that.

11
rando289 2 days ago 0 replies      
Xah's website has been an amazing resource for emacs users, me included. I really hope someone can help him out a bit.
12
userbinator 2 days ago 2 replies      
Did he just post a screenshot of his bank account with the session key visible in the URL!?

(I know it's probably not too significant and there are other checks in place, but I found it rather ironic when the text right above it happens to be "I try to be VERY VERY careful".)

13
cognivore 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is there context here I'm missing? The screen shot with the legal fee leads me to believe so, but I can't sort it.
14
rafekett 2 days ago 1 reply      
Xah needs to seek help for his mental illness. Look at his posts on comp.lang.emacs for evidence. He's been spending all these years on $3 a day trying to figure out a more "ergonomic" keyboard for emacs, but many of his suggestions are really just based on what he wants and are less ergonomic than standard emacs.

EDIT: comp.lang.emacs doesn't exist, it's been many years. gnu.emacs.BLAH

15
moistgorilla 2 days ago 0 replies      
Props for asking for help.
16
muyuu 2 days ago 1 reply      
What in the f*.

I've been following this guy since a bit before Orkut/Tribe days when he had full hair (~2003?). He's been very inspirational. At first I thought he was a bit of a jerk and a troll (not the right place or time to elaborate on this, but well this was long ago so it doesn't matter) but when I saw him take on his education in his 30s I was quite impressed with what he achieved.

I think this guy is top drawer and seems hard working. I have no idea what happened to him, although I do guess his peculiar character has a lot to do with it.

17
thegeomaster 2 days ago 2 replies      
I don't think anyone should judge him based on the small amount of information available. I understand that his situation is mostly his fault, but there may be other things at play. Why be so fast to condemn someone when an unfortunate sequence of events could've put some of us into a similar situation? I'm not defending Xah Lee's irresponsibility nor I am defending people who condemn him, I just want to say that we are all imperfect, after all, and these kinds of things can and do happen because of that fact.
18
seansoutpost 2 days ago 1 reply      
Xah,It really sounds like you need a bitcoin address. Coinbase.com (YC S12) is a great place to start. Once you have some coins, you will find no shortage of people in the bay area willing to buy them off of you.

I would even be willing to run a btc fundraiser on your behalf. I don't have a lot of rep on here, but it's pretty solid in the bitcoin space. Google Jason King Bitcoin or Sean's Outpost

Best of luck, man. Stay strong.

19
deadghost 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've come across his blog multiple times when I started with emacs and he seems like a cool guy(anyone that can spoon raw oatmeal into his mouth like it's the greatest thing ever is cool by my book).

It's great he's asking for help instead of showing up on the front page as another dead hacker.

20
BadassFractal 2 days ago 0 replies      
The problem with someone like Xah is that you don't quite know what you're getting yourself into.

Why has he not worked for a decade, and what reassurances are there that he will be able to be productive? There's no chain of trust that would prove that you're not hiring some kind of a ticking timebomb. There's no proof that he's up to speed with any tech since the 90s. There's no proof that he'd not be potentially very quirky and difficult to work with in a team environment. It's a very difficult position to be hired from, and it mostly has to do with the fact that he "let himself go" for a long time.

If you have the option between hiring someone good and "someone potentially good, but also very unpredictable, high-risk and likely to be a long-term project", you'd go with the former every single time, it's a no-brainer.

21
kayyyl 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you really think you can code, Fiverr (http://www.fiverr.com/) is the place you have to go. There're many little jobs for you. Do 5 per day, let's do it now mate.
22
ThinkBeat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Standing as the precipice about to lose your home, your possession and things you have tried to hold on to isan extremely traumatic affair.

Its very hard for someone honest and hard working in our world to admit to having problems and asking for help fromthe general population.

He has done good things, and he is a fellow human, who needshelp. Leave it at that.

Who cares if he has upset some people on usenet. You think its some kinda karma?Wut? Troll the net, lose your house?

If there are trolls on the net that should be taken careof it is assholes to humiliate and denigrate a man in hishour of need, when he is down and humiliated. That takesa lot more of an asshole than having spirited discussionsregarding technical topics on usenet.

23
auganov 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, that's pretty shocking. As an emacs user I'd often stumble upon his articles. Even bought an emacs autohotkey-mode from him. It's so strange to see a person you thought was this amazing genius that surely did well for himself struggle like that.Hope you take care of your problems Xah.
24
peterwwillis 2 days ago 4 replies      
He needs to find a social services office that can help him get organized and take care of his personal responsibilities. It's completely his fault that he's in this mess, but he probably has some kind of personal/mental health problem that requires assistance.

The one thing nobody should do is simply send him money or give him a job, since there's nothing on this page that indicates he won't go back to exactly the same thing he's been doing for the past 10 years.

(Also, 1600 rent? what the fucking fuck? dude needs to go sleep in a shelter and use that money to get a thrift store interview suit and pay off his bills)

25
nkozyra 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know that this is necessarily a good idea when the IRS has a lock on your account(s), either:

>> better, send your check to: [snip]

26
clutterjoe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Initially I typed some snark into this textarea, but thought better before I clicked submit.

It's troubling to see a human in pain and even more so to derive joy or a false sense of righteousness from it.

I'm not sure the help he wants is the help he needs, but I hope he finds his way out of that dark place.

27
danso 2 days ago 2 replies      
Almost sent the OP money through PayPal, but I saw this at the bottom of the post:

> i won't actually be able to draw money from paypal, due to bank/IRS problem.

Which is confusing because in a few lines above, this is written:

> if you can help, paypal to xah@xahlee.org

Can someone who knows the OP provide more context to all of this?

28
cenazoic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sacha Chua recently did one of her "Emacs Chats" with Xah Lee:

http://sachachua.com/blog/category/podcast/emacs-chat-podcas...

29
chaired 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 ) Perhaps this could be the start of Xah Lee learning some social skills. If so, good on him. He'll go a lot further with them.

2 ) Surely someone in this community can offer him a job writing documentation, at the least? Think of it as charity if you must, but he will probably deliver good value, and he would probably be happy to work cheap, if you're into that sort of thing.

3 ) I will donate $, since that's what I can do from where I am.

30
garretraziel 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is mostly unfortunate. As an Emacs user, I have read a lot of his tutorials and they are very good, I will consider buying one of them (but I don't understand; does or doesn't he accept money through paypal?).

On the side note, he should really edit that bank account screenshot. These downloaded images really looks like they were downloaded from imgur. And if you type those filenames into imgur...

31
driverdan 2 days ago 2 replies      
> why i didn't seek job all these years? well, i can only say i procrastinate and is ok living on a dime.

Why would anyone give this guy money? It sounds like his money woes are all his fault. He's just begging online rather than begging in the street.

32
Globz 2 days ago 0 replies      
From the python mailing list:

Xah Lee wrote:

> What does a programer who wants to use regex gets out from this piece of motherfking irrevalent drivel?

> Any resume that ever crosses my desk that includes 'Xah Lee' anywhere in the name will be automatically trashed.

-rbt at athop1.ath.vt.edu

33
octopus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Best thing someone can do for this guy is to help him fill his taxes declaration retroactively and create a fund for him to write an Emacs book for e.g. Seems quite competent writing about Emacs, so it should be right on his alley.

Maybe someone from Apress, Pragmatic or Packt Publishing can contact him about an Emacs book.

34
galfarragem 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the biggest help we can give him is to redesign his website: very few people (without knowing his struggling situation) would ever pay for the content. His website content is pure gold but looks like crap..
36
fharper1961 2 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one who thinks that the IRS should not be able to make someone who is mentally fragile homeless, just because he hasn't filed his taxes? It seems very inhumane to me.
37
pawelkomarnicki 2 days ago 1 reply      
WTF? "why i didn't seek job all these years? well, i can only say i procrastinate and is ok living on a dime."
38
ww520 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's saddening to see fellow hackers falling on hard time. I'm going to Palo Alto next week. I'll swing by to Mt View to see what I can help out.
39
methehack 2 days ago 0 replies      
I sent him $10.
40
fantomass 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you look at Xah's website with the eyes of business owner it could be a problem that that it handles a lot of exotic stuff, that is almost never a subject in a small to medium IT companies, but is written and fostered with great passion and care.

So there might be concerns if he would fit in to company with all its mundane day to day problems.

I think I would be helpful if he could do an internship or some sort of a program, where he can prove his capabilities to do - "boring" stuff - follow orders of his boss- working teams

Once this is approved, he might had better chances.

41
BryanBigs 2 days ago 0 replies      
I feel for him - he seems to suffering both mentally and physically. But I have a hard time believing he hasn't legally had to file his taxes for the past 10 years. At the very least, if he really has only had $1k in income (which isn't credible - he's showing $700 of income on that bank statement alone) he would have gotten a few hundo from the EITC - which when you only make $1k is a big deal.And admitting you didn't file for 10 years isn't going to help him going forward either.Hate to see someone in pain - but this really looks self-inflicted.
42
geetee 2 days ago 0 replies      
I couldn't help but see what tqOSxqI.jpg is on imgur. NSFW
43
logfromblammo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds like the guy needs a friend more than he needs a job.
44
arjn 2 days ago 0 replies      
What about an Indiegogo campaign to help this guy out ?
45
chj 2 days ago 0 replies      
I read some of his emacs related posts before, not that pleasant to read, but can be very helpful.
46
stefap2 2 days ago 0 replies      
"well, i can only say i procrastinate"

No there is my motivation to end the lunch break earlier.

47
yiedyie 2 days ago 0 replies      
I anything this story tells is how much hacker need to adapt to business as usual. So much for the power to change.
48
roghummal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Someone get this man some vim, stat.
49
graycat 2 days ago 0 replies      
There may be some government and/or privately funded social services in the area that could help him, e.g., emergency rent money, housing, food, counseling.

His Web site with 240 K visitors a month, with some ads, should be enough to help him significantly.

50
itsameta4 2 days ago 0 replies      
Go. On. Welfare.

Jesus.

51
yung_ether 2 days ago 6 replies      
Who would hire a 45 year old programmer? Certainly good as dead. Have fun at the laundry.
52
jqm 2 days ago 1 reply      
This kind of case is why I don't think guaranteed income will work. Some people won't even be able to manage that money. We have to find a way to insure people have the basics without money (in their hands anyway). The salvation army type/soup kitchen programs aren't it. No dignity, 5000 other guys (a significant percentage of which would slit your throat for a rock), an underlying "join the cult theme".... no, that environment doesn't make things better. Basic privacy and dignity are needs too. And if someone is going to become productive they need access to basic tools like a computer also. If people like Lee could forget about money and work on what they love I think the world would have more for it. Or else a lot more trolling. IDK...

I think what we are seeing here is similar to heroin addiction or alcoholism. But this is an internet 24-7/ trolling rush/ porn addiction that makes it hard to live in the real world. I bet his isn't the only case either. I recommend a three month cold turkey session in the woods of Canada this summer. No net. Up at dawn chopping wood. Real face to face interaction most of the day. Fix this poor fellow right up and give him a new lease on life. I do feel for his case... in the same way someone who drinks a little more than they should might feel for homeless drunk passed out on the sidewalk.

53
phkahler 2 days ago 3 replies      
So you claim to be a decent programmer, but haven't been working a traditional job in years because why? You claim to be smart but don't know the value of maintaining a basic financial safety net. It won't be hard to bail you out, but this should not be happening in the first place. Let it be a lesson to others. Or is this just a fake?
54
bestest 2 days ago 6 replies      
I simply can't resist it, but alas, see what will happen to you if you code in emacs!

On the serious note though, he did admit he enjoys procrastinating. Why would I help someone who never had and still does not have any motivation?

5
Creative Cloud outage leaves Adobe users unable to work macuser.co.uk
313 points by danso  3 days ago   230 comments top 29
1
nnq 2 days ago 6 replies      
My recipe for dealing with "cranky" proprietary software like this:

Step 1. Buy CC subscription and install what you need.

Step 2. Look for a good patch/crack that makes everything work ofline, and that still allows you to update.

Step 3. Make peace with the risk of having installed some possible malware on your machine with the patch/crack (ie. do the sensible thing of doing you shopping and ebanking on the other dedicated machine you only use for this).

Step 4. Stop caring that step 2 is illegal and get on with your life, you paid for the damn thing and nobody will really sue you for using it in a way that breaks the damn EULA anyway...

2
e12e 3 days ago 6 replies      
And this is why I won't trust SaaS that doesn't provide a viable self-host solution (which for practical purposes tends to mean Free software, although I suppose "binary" only self-contained jars might be a realistic alternative). And also why I can't see myself selling/working on such a solution without providing some form of viable/realistic exit strategy/alternative.

With traditional apps, you run the risk of eg: your laptop crashing/being stolen -- but if you need to work, you can just go and pick up a new laptop, burn an hour or so reinstalling your application(s) -- and hopefully get your work done by the deadline. With a self-hostable SaaS, you can spin up a vps/dedicated server and install, maybe even in less time -- but with "closed" SaaS -- you have no option.

Of course, with all (high-bandwidth) SaaS-solutions, network access becomes a single point of failure.

3
peterkelly 2 days ago 1 reply      
"A distributed system is one in which the failure of a computer you didn't even know existed can render your own computer unusable."

- Leslie Lamport

4
bitL 2 days ago 0 replies      
I find it funny that my graphics card is now faster than the world's fastest supercomputer in 1997, yet I am forced to "offload" stuff to cloud.

I bought CS6 suite as it became clear Adobe is moving full steam ahead with CC. I think it is one of those examples where the move serves only company's interests and doesn't make much sense to users (except for continuous updates that might accidentally break things as well). The initial pricing might have been competitive for some packages, for many users however caused substantial increase if they used to skip one cycle for upgrades. I understand Adobe needs a predictable revenue stream though I consider this as a flop.

5
aeberbach 3 days ago 4 replies      
And this is why proprietary lock-in is wrong.

Adobe seem to do all they can to screw up the computer their software is installed on. On a Mac you are supposed to drag an app into the Applications folder; to delete it, drag it to trash. Adobe software doesn't work like this. To install a trial of their software you have to install multiple apps, that can't be easily removed, and put up with their stupid Adobe logo in the title bar even when you're not using their software. You can't even use a trial without signing up for a "Creative Cloud" account.

Adobe's "Creative Cloud" is a great example of how to alienate and annoy your customers.

(Don't get me started on Flash)

6
rgrieselhuber 3 days ago 2 replies      
As a result of this outage today, I found myself switching Pixelmator and Sketch. So far, so good.
7
abandonliberty 2 days ago 0 replies      
Could this be grounds for a class action?

> Adobe had categorically assured users and journalists, when replacing Creative Suite with Creative Cloud in May 2013, that apps only needed to check in with the server every 30 days, telling MacUser in a written reply that products would continue to work for 99 days in the absence of a server connection.

8
kbatten 3 days ago 3 replies      
I have a hard time understanding why anyone would lease a service that is vital to their job, or at least without a backup. If your livelihood depends on something then spend your money appropriately. Even if you did sign up for CC you can still have an older version ready to go in a pinch.
9
ISL 3 days ago 3 replies      
Does anyone have access to GIMP download statistics for the past ~10 days?

Edit: Answering my own question... Not the main repository, but it's something.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/gimp-win/files/GIMP%20%2B%20...

10
codeshaman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Cloud computing is a great theoretical idea, but extremely fragile in the face of serious crisis, like economic meltdown, wars, sanctions or even natural disasters.

All the websites, always-on apps, mobile operating systems, etc will be worthless if (when) the shit hits the fan. In case of global economic meltdown, the companies would be unable to pay for the huge data-centers, the providers will go belly up and it would be next to impossible to restore or recover the data stored in the 'cloud'.

Imagine waking up one day and not having access to the Internet. Try it and see how much you can do with your computer.

And with Russia under KGB dictatorship (read: insane, evil people), that shit can hit the fan as soon as this year.

That's why it is imperative to create an offline database of important things which would be available even when the clouds evaporate.

By 'important' things, I mean open source code (eg. offline github), wikipedia and other encyclopaedias, scientific works, books, music, movies. From this angle, I consider thepiratebay to be the most important archive of art that humanity has collectively produced. I've even started working on some sketches of a distributed read-only filesystem based partly on the concepts in the bitcoin blockchain, but I guess a simple solution using torrents plus a distributed offline index, can do the job just fine. Anyone else thought about this ?

11
girvo 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm a developer, and I only use Adobes products to pull images and the like out of Photoshop/Illustrator files given to me by my design team. I don't want to use Adobes software, as its entirely wasted on me. But I don't think any of the other apps handle PSD's (a horrid file format) well enough to allow me to replace them :( Anyone in my position that has replaced them? What should I look at?
12
thejosh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Was just restored an hour ago apparently, with no compensation for the downtime of the people affected....
13
cageface 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bohemian Coding has finally fixed the grid snapping bug that plagued all previous versions of Sketch so I will definitely not be renewing my CC subscription when it expires. CC feels like it has much more do with Adobe's needs than mine.
14
edj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a list of Mac OSX alternatives to everything in the Creative Cloud: http://mac.appstorm.net/roundups/graphics-roundups/the-best-...
15
ShaneOG 2 days ago 1 reply      
What should happen due to this outage:

Adobe Management: Oh no, our users cannot work. Let's remove the requirement for our software to phone home just to open/work.

What will probably happen:

Adobe Management: Hmm, maybe let's try to make our servers more available?

16
vetrom 2 days ago 1 reply      
It really is the moments like this when I look at my stack of Gimp, Inkscape, Scribus, and Darktable, and am glad that I invested in the alternate solution.
17
Mister_Snuggles 1 day ago 0 replies      
Never outsource your core business.

Never outsource critical infrastructure that your core business requires to operate, unless you have a backup plan. If GitHub goes away, you can switch to BitBucket. If Digital Ocean goes away, you can switch to Linode. If Adobe CC goes away, what do you switch to?

18
bane 2 days ago 0 replies      
One of the issues with the move to the cloud with formerly desktop software is exactly this. I used to use the analogy of an army using guns, except instead of a magazine holding bullets they had a long hose feeding them rounds. It sounded great to the generals, because instead of carrying around 20lbs of munitions, the soldiers just needed to carry around their guns. Of course all it took is for somebody to put a kink in the hose to put them out of the fight completely.
19
Mandatum 3 days ago 0 replies      
And this is the sticking point for cloud-focussed systems. It's too early to implement an "always-on" attitude in so many parts of the world. I hope the backlash to this 24-hour outage (which in some cases will lose clients over) acts as the poster-child for would-be cloud-only services.
20
lifeformed 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wait, do you really have to have a constant internet connection to run Photoshop now?
21
blueskin_ 2 days ago 1 reply      
Meanwhile, sensible people who don't rent their software are laughing from CS6.
22
theFletch 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have CC and was able to work fine all day. I wasn't able to sign in but that has no bearing on me doing my job. Was this something that affected the licensing servers and I just happened to be lucky?
23
derengel 2 days ago 1 reply      
I just bought acorn and idraw but everyone here is recommending pixelmator and sketch :(
24
lotsofmangos 2 days ago 3 replies      
Complete non-hacked photoshop CS2 is freely available with serial - http://www.techspot.com/downloads/3689-adobe-photoshop-cs2.h...

It works pretty well in Wine as well, if you fiddle with the settings.

25
jacquesm 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I had to go out to buy licenses a few months ago for an intern at our company and found out that it is no longer possible to buy the regular Adobe licenses for the latest products we solved this by using competitor products and open source projects to give us a patched together set of tools.

The money was not an issue, what was an issue is that I think that tools should not be shoehorned against all logic into a pay-to-play model, they should just work. Imagine your c compiler or your editor failing to work because some third party service is down. To me that is not an option.

I hope Adobe learns their lesson and re-instates the licensing model they used in the past and gets rid of their 'Creative Cloud' nonsense asap.

And if they don't then I hope some competitor will realize this is a huge opportunity and will jump into the gap opened up here.

Adobe is good, but they can be beaten, especially if they shoot themselves in the foot (repeatedly).

26
pasbesoin 2 days ago 0 replies      
7.5 hours worth of repeated (and I mean repeatedly explaining the situation to each new contact) tech support calls over a licensing issue that was, ultimately, a 10 minute fix (allowing for included administrivia) that was already sitting available for access/correction on the computer in front of a "supervisor".

That left me swearing Adobe would never see another dime from me or people I advise. And it leaves me repeating this anecdote every time the news surfaces another story about their cr-p administration systems and support.

And these are the people who are going to be involved in e.g. EME DRM in our browsers? I sincerely hope not.

27
camus2 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's what you get when a business has a monopole on a market.You're now free to go to competition... not.Put the industry itself is responsible for this.
28
l0stb0y 3 days ago 4 replies      
I wasn't a fan if CC at first but it's turned into an incredibly good deal for me at $30 per month. A little downtime from time to time can't be avoided. People just love to complain.
29
jawngee 2 days ago 4 replies      
You can still use CC software, you just can't update or have access to their shitty sync software.

But all the apps work, they don't require an internet connection (for 30 days at least), so it's not the disaster everyone is making it out to be.

6
Pain we forgot lighttable.com
310 points by Morgawr  1 day ago   144 comments top 25
1
weland 1 day ago 8 replies      
I also wish that programming were a lot different today than it was when I started learning it. That being said, a lot of this article's points are things I've heard before. They led to the development of Visual Basic & co., mostly by people who had no contact with the Smalltalk and Lisp environment in the 80s, while people who did were shrugging and throwing tantrums like WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T YOU FUCKING LIKE IT TEN YEARS AGO?

IMHO, all these things went down to the bottom of history because things like these:

> Anon the intern needs to be able to open up Programming and click 'New Web Form'

are adequate for people who usually don't program, and extremely inadequate for people who usually do. Generally, and for good reasons, programmers will dislike a tool that hides implementation details for ease of operation. Past a certain level of complexity, the time spent manually doing the right cruft becomes significantly smaller than the time spent manually cleaning up after a smart tool.

I sympathize with Anon the intern, but perhaps he should rethink his expectations about complexity; if discoverability is a problem, perhaps he could switch to something that's better documented?

And at the risk of sounding like an elitist schmuck who rants about how things were back in his day, maybe he ought to start with something other than web programming. The size and complexity of that tech stack is humongous, to the extent that a large proportion of those who use it don't understand it more than two layers of abstraction down. Programs are also hard to pack and the environment that runs them is hard to setup. Because it involves at least two servers, possibly with several add-ons in order to allow the server-side languages to run, learning at least three languages (assuming server-side JS is an option), two of which (HTML and CSS) aren't quite being used for their original purpose. This is a beginner's nightmare and it has exactly nothing to do with the development tools.

And then there are things that are far harder to solve than they originally seem:

> I want to just type 'email' and see a list of functions and libraries relating to email.

Related how :-)? Should MIME-related functions, needed to reason about attachments, also come up here? HTML parsing/converting, in case you need to deal with HTML email? Information cluttering does nothing to alleviate the opposite problem of information breadth: if Anon the intern's problem is he doesn't know how to Google for libraries or how to make efficient use of documentation, an IDE that presents him with a gazillion of possibly related things won't help him. Especially when, like all beginning programmers, one of his main difficulties is correctly defining the problem he's working on which, in turn, makes it likely for the solutions presented by the IDE to be nowhere even close to the one he needs, because the IDE (like Anon himself) thinks Anon is trying to solve another problem.

There is, on the other hand, a lot more truth in this:

> Tightening the feedback loop between writing code and seeing the results reduces the damage caused by wrong assumptions, lightens the cognitive load of tracking what should be happening and helps build accurate mental models of the system.

I do think that the real resolution to this problem is writing simpler programs whose state is easier to track. On the other hand, programming tools today suck considerably at presenting program meaning. Things like evaluating what an expression comprising entirely of constants, or at least evaluating it based on the default values of the variables involved, are well within reach for today's tools, and yet programmers' calculators are still employed because 99% of the available IDEs couldn't evaluate ADDR_MASK & IO_SEGMENT if the life of every kid in Africa depended on it.

This is wicked cool: http://repository.cmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1165&c... . However, I also find myself thinking that the very fact that we need debuggers that are this smart is proof enough that we don't reason about our programs well enough. Except for the fringe case of having to quickly debug a (possibly horrible) codebase I haven't written, I'd much rather prefer being good enough a programmer to avoid the need for a debugger that can tell me why foo is not 8 despite the fact that I fucking said foo = 8 ten lines above, than being a programmer with good enough tools to help me when I'm stupid.

2
ggchappell 1 day ago 1 reply      
What a wonderful article.

I'm not allowed to forget a lot of this pain. I teach programming, so I see it anew every semester.

And of course I still experience much of it in my own work. So, yes, let's deal with these issues better.

One little disagreement. In the "What?" and "Why?" sections the writer present some ideas for debuggers. While these are good ideas, I prefer to think of the inadequacies of existing debuggers as motivation for good practices: modularity, loose coupling, unit testing, etc. Certainly, it would be nice (say) to be able to examine the entire state of a running program easily. But I would rather code in such a way that I do not need to.

So to those who would write the World's Greatest Debugger, I say, "Good for you." But even better would be to turn your efforts to producing languages, libraries, frameworks, and programming environments that make such a debugger superfluous.

3
gedrap 1 day ago 1 reply      
I totally agree. It's true even for us, experienced Web guys (and gals), in this mess ruled by packages and their managers.

For example, I am trying to make my first Rails app outside a tutorial.

Okay, I want to use bootstrap. Should I use gem? Guess that's the ruby way. Okay seems like there a few of them. Tried one, another one. Doesn't work. Don't know why, since I am just copying half-cryptic stuff because I am new to Rails.

A friend suggests to use Bower. It's easier. Right! I had totally forgotten about bower, it rocks! Google: bower rails. Okay, there is that thing sprockets which I apparently need to configure. Googled, a few blog posts opened, they offer a bit different advice each, let's try. Doesn't work. Nope. Not really... Google: bower rails bootstrap sprockets. And yay! Works.

Two hours later, I have included Bootstrap. Properly.

4
cclogg 1 day ago 1 reply      
Oh man, I've definitely felt this pain many times lol:

"The samples will be missing lots of implicit information such as how to install the necessary libraries and how to deal with missing dependencies and version conflicts. Transcribing and modifying the examples may lead to bugs that suck up time. It's not terrible, mostly thanks to sites like stackoverflow, but it's still a lot of unnecessary distractions from the task at hand."

So many times, the actual programming isn't tough, it's just getting all of the stuff around it setup that is hard.

5
ilaksh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can't be sure but it seems like the surveying has resulted in most of the right conclusions and the right direction for the project.

HOWEVER, I still think most everyone is missing the REAL issue here. As evidenced by the powerful tools cited in this article that address various aspects of the "programming" problem, there have been numerous efforts to move the state-of-the-art in software development forward. And to a great degree those efforts have _proven_ quite a few superior paradigms.

And yet, we haven't seen those new paradigms become truly mainstream for most programmers. Why? I do NOT believe it is because the approaches haven't integrated the right new concepts, because there are so many existing useful tools combining many different new ideas effectively which have failed to become mainstream among programmers.

I think many of those new approaches could and should have become normal operating mode for programmers.

I think the reason they did not is this: the core definition of "programming" (and by extension "software engineering" etc.) is an antagonistic and largely manual process of creating complex textual source code that can be used to describe system behavior. Period.

For example, if I want to call myself a web "developer" I DARE NOT use an interactive GUI tool to generate and maintain the source code for my web site. Web developers will always say, for example, they avoid this because the source code generated that way is less maintainable by hand. In many cases that may be true. In some cases with advanced code generation it is not. Regardless, I don't believe that is the actual reason. Its just a rationalization.

What do we call someone who's entire job entails creating a web page using a graphical user interface? In other words, this is a hypothetical person who has found a hypothetical GUI tool that can accommodate all of his web site design and implementation needs without any manual edits to source code. If he builds a web site or web application this way, and writes zero lines of code, do we refer to him as a very smart and advanced web "developer"? Or do we call him a web designer or simply a WordPress user (for example)?

We do NOT refer to him as a web "developer". He has no right to refer to himself as a "developer" or "programmer" because he has not wrestled through an antagonistic manual process to create complex textual source code. And that's what people are not understanding. The reason we don't call him a programmer is NOT because he didn't create an effective program or website. Its because the way he did it wasn't hard enough and doesn't match our outdated definition of what "programming" is.

To create a POPULAR system (among "real" "programmers") that makes programming more practical or easier using new paradigms, you must either redefine programming to include the possibility of new paradigms and a non-antagonistic process, or perhaps somehow trick programmers into thinking what they are doing is actually harder than it is. Maybe if there are a few places to type a command to generate source code, that will be sufficiently complex to still be considered "programming".

If you are too successful without doing those things then you will just have another tool that only "users" or "beginners" would ever admit to using.

6
fragmede 1 day ago 3 replies      
> I want to just type 'email' and see a list of functions and libraries relating to email.

Do people even remember what life was like before Google?

I type 'email python' and get back a link to an email module. Am I being closed-minded in thinking that can't get much easier?

Yeah, I need to understand a bit as to how email works, smtp and imap/pop and what not, and how to send vs receive email, but some level of understanding is just necessary.

7
unwind 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was somewhat surprised, but very happy, to see Verse mentioned in this context (although he did get Eskil's last name wrong, it's "Steenberg").

I co-developed the initial version of Verse with Eskil; I think it was a bit before its time perhaps. It was hard to get real traction for it, but at least the things Eskil has gone on to build on top have gotten some real attention. Great, and very well deserved!

8
tim333 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Regarding Anon the intern wanting to build lunch_app I've been in a similar position learning programming from the basics and wanting build some apps. I'll put in a vote for web2py as being a good tool that gets around a few of the gripes in the article. It's largely one click to install server, editor, db, debugger etc. and was specifically designed for teaching beginners (it has versioning as well using mercurial but I wasn't able to get that going with one click). It also does most stuff you'd need and is all in Python so you can use the libraries and rewrite bits if you can't get the framework to do something. Even so it would take Anon a while to make his app but I think it's some sort of progress. The creator talks about it here youtube.com/watch?v=iMUX9NdN8YE
9
rafaelferreira 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Not often I can read an essay that leaves me at the same time so excited and so disappointed.

Excited because I found myself agreeing with every point: isn't it obvious to everyone that the programming experience could be so much better? We created wonderful tools for graphical expression and number crunching, that keep getting better [1] [2], while our own day-to-day tools remain basically in a rut.

Disappointed because it seems LightTable is foregoing an incremental path to reach the goal, choosing the boil-the-ocean approach. We do need more long term start-from-scratch rethink everything kind of projects; like what VPRI's STEPS project aims to achieve [3]. But there is a lot that can be done to improve the programming experience today, and I don't see enough work in this area. IMO, the latest meaningful improvement in software development tooling was Intellij Idea around 2001 (arguably the functional programming renaissance represents another meaningful improvement, but the real breakthroughs there happened in the 70s). LightTable moving to the Blue plane leaves the PinkPlane unattended.

[1] http://www.adobe.com/technology/projects/content-aware-fill....[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UccfqwwOCoY[3] http://www.viewpointsresearch.org/html/writings.php

10
mkozlows 1 day ago 0 replies      
Articles like this one annoy me, because it's easy to diagnose big problems -- here, watch me do it: "Why should compilers choke if you forget a semicolon? If they can diagnose a syntax error, can't they also fix it? Can't functions be smarter about seeing when they're used improperly and tell you while you're writing the code instead of when you're running it? Why can't the code be understandable to anyone who knows English?"

What's hard -- and often impossible -- is fixing those big problems, because a lot of times they're genuinely intractable; and when they're not, they're often so difficult that they might as well be.

So just sitting around and complaining about them sounds insightful, but it doesn't really get anything done. And yeah, I know that they're allegedly working on "fixes" for these issues, but based on the track record so far (LightTable promised all sorts of revolutionary views of what an IDE could be; it's delivered... not a whole lot of revolution), I don't have any faith that Aurora is going to amount to much either.

And I don't want to be too negative, because sometimes a previously-intractable problem turns out to now be tractable, and it takes someone who was willing to question long-accepted pain to find that out. So I'd be pleasantly surprised if this project delivered something that had even as much effect as the development of, say, git or xunit. But I'm not holding my breath.

11
iammyIP 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe every tool that we invent and use is two-faced: it makes life both easier and harder, and therefore the wish to make programming easy could result in one of the most difficult journeys so far, comparable with inventing an AI indistiguishable from a human. If i imagine a success in 75 years, then i would probably sit infront and talk to a human-like android: "play me some music based on Bach with the voice of Eddie Murphy, mellow, with a hint of tragedy, but not too sad" - then it would in the blink of an eye play me some music and sing along with it. Chances are i would change Eddie Murphy to some other singer that is readily available at the huge human voice archive this machine has access to. But i am bored with archived and old fashioned music, i want something new and exciting. So i try to teach the machine a new voice. As it turns out it is pretty good at mixing characteristics of multiple voices and synthesizing a new one out of it. I let it do some hundred random variations with hints on what parameters i prefer. "that rough whiskey vibe - keep that and mix it with Presleys guttural hiccups"... "no , not like this, listen". I try to sing what i have in mind, but i am no good singer, so the next test comes out worse than before. "go back ... one more". We spend the rest of the day analyzing Presleys archive and filtering out the guttural characteristic that i meant. I heard i am an expert programmer, my grandma called me that, and i sit down with this android for a whole month and explain in all details the music i want to hear, constantly listening and tweaking my instructions in a flawless instant feedback cycle. The most time spent, or what i sometimes feel - wasted, is actually searching for the right words in my own head to describe what i mean. After 2 weeks i found out that we have broken down the characteristic of a singers voice into twohundredandeighty relevant parameters. Relevant not for everyone of course, but for me and this music i am working on. Maybe i am taking this too far. "delete MelodramaticChorusAccentuationTongueModulationMode two to four". I spend the next week with condensing these parameters down to thirtythree. At some days in the next week i am really without any inspiration and just let the android play thousands of random variations based on the current version that i judge on a 1 to 10 basis while doing some gardenwork. Sometimes i would only change a little note, or the single expression of a syllable. "uah insiide meeee... you see the "siide" must sound more desperate because this guy is on the verge of losing his lifelong dream at that moment." - we spend the rest of the day tweaking that "desperate" thing. This android is amazing. After a month and three weeks the music is ready. I save it and do some other things, mostly gardenwork and watching the drones fly at the evening - they really got some nice new formation techniques that i enjoy greatly. The next day i speak with Andreas (another real human) and tell how good the android has learned my personal preferences for singing voices and how fractalising Bachs harmonic structures to the fifth degree is worth it but no further without structural simplification at the base while keeping the dimensionalitys denominator intact (that was really a complicated talk, i cant get into all the details here). We agree to exchange our Androids preference patterns - my bach-presley11786 for Andreas painting-images9904, and our androids get automatically updated. Next day i try it out. This may take a while, Andreas has warned me. But over the next days i can watch the android painting a really amazing photorealistic but nonetheless astonishingly dreamlike image with Andreas pattern, although the process is, as he said quite slow by design, and one image at a size of four square meters takes about 3 weeks to finish since it includes a complicated technique of iterated de- and reconstruction with additional time for the oil paint to dry up inbetween. But the result is definately worth it. After the image is finished, i call Andreas and congratulate him for his exceptional good taste on imagery (afterall he worked two and half a years on it). He also thanks me for the musical pattern and asks if he can use the guttural Elvis thing in one of his next Crazy Donkey Singalong Performance. That asking just being a polite convention, i naturally give him full permission. We agree to hold another meeting to talk in detail about his structural approach to synthesize dreams without crossing over to kitsch in two weeks. The rest of this day i am back in my garden, the drones fly really low this week... maybe a thunderstorm is coming... but this is great! Every human is a programmer now, which essentially means that he tells other beings what to do, in more or less detail, and of course the fact, that these to be told are not humans anymore, but human-like machines. So, if one of these humans does not tell a machine what to do, he usually enjoys not telling other humans what to do (besides the endless debates about how to tell another machine best what to do (and not to forget - the debates about how it could be better to directly think to a machine rather than speak to it and why it has not been implemented yet)).
12
lemming 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm glad to see IntelliJ getting some love there for making much of this easier - few companies have worked so hard at it, and the results are amazing. Looks like Microsoft is making some great steps too, Bing Code Search gets a bad rap for pandering to blub programmers but I'd love something like that in my editor.
13
shortstuffsushi 1 day ago 0 replies      
The analogy to me seems similar to that of programmers and compilers. I want to write programs to do xyz, but I don't particularly care to know the lower-level to machine level implementation. Instead, I know a roughly-english set of instructions to tell the compiler what I want to do, and it takes care of the rest for me.

Could it not be possible to take this even further, to the point where I say "I want to do ..." and all of the "code," be it high or low level is generated for me.

I realize making something capable of this level of abstraction would be incredibly difficult, but it would certainly be fun to try.

14
Goopplesoft 1 day ago 0 replies      
> We still program like it's 1960 because there are powerful path dependencies that incentivise pretending your space age computing machine is actually an 80 character tty. We are trapped in a local maximum.

Love this (although I don't like extra long lines). He's talking to you Pep8.

15
webmaven 12 hours ago 1 reply      
While I am watching the development of LightTable with interest, it seems to me that the example used in the OP is missing the forest for the trees. It isn't hard to imagine Anon Intern managing to cobble together a solution for lunch_app that isn't an 'app' at all, just a form created with a builder like WuFoo or Google Forms, and some 'recipes' in a tool like IFTTT that has built in integration points for email, the accounting system, etc.

Arguably this wouldn't much of an improvement over the VB6 + Access status quo (or Visual FoxPro, or FileMaker Pro, etc), except that the individual components can be much more robust and scalable, monitored, auditable, and so on, without Anon Intern having to worry about any of that.

16
dreamfactory2 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great article but isn't a lot of this more about using different levels of abstraction i.e. frameworks, DSLs and specific to those? That could either take the form of being sufficiently focused that a simple text editor is adequate (e.g. high level commands, no cruft), or a full-featured managed environment (state, docs etc) specific to the framework. I'm not seeing how this is a task for a generic IDE unless I missed something about light table and they are creating a new language.
17
politician 1 day ago 0 replies      
"The samples will be missing lots of implicit information such as how to install the necessary libraries and how to deal with missing dependencies and version conflicts. "

Docker pretty much solves this problem. Writing samples for your new project? Start with step 1 `docker pull yourproj/your_tutorial_image`.

18
SolarNet 1 day ago 0 replies      
Personally, I think this is an extremely important topic, we need to change the way we program. It isn't the 70's anymore, why do we still program like it is.

Why does it take teams of developers to create and manage applications which do really simple tasks in the grand scheme of things (and I realize the amount of complexity in building applications is staggering, but large portions of it could be better automated). Where are the auto generated GUIs, where is the ability to ship execution control to arbitrary devices, where is a hypermedia layer with independent view and presentation code?

I'm approaching this from a different angle than the light table guys appear to be (I agree with everything they are saying). My angle is an attempt to build a cross platform module system (where platform includes runtime and programming language as well operating system and architecture): https://github.com/OffByOneStudios/massive-dangerzone

My argument is: before we can build the next generation of useful tools, we need a framework for managing both generations. massive-dangerzone is an attempt at bringing next generation usage (like that described in the article) to existing tools. It's still a big work in progress though, and is barely useful at the moment.

19
zem 1 day ago 0 replies      
solving this problem was part of REBOL's dream.i really wish it had been properly open-sourced from day one and built up a good community and momentum around it; it was a very promising language.
20
logicallee 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'll delete this if you don't like it, but I think this is why non-engineers like Steve Jobs, Jony Ives, and a person at HP I won't name, were able to make remarkably good consumer products without knowing how they work. It may be better for a non-engineer to design a laptop than for someone who actually knows how it is put together and exactly how it works.

Of course, in a narrow sense, this means such a person isn't really designing it at all: the real engineers are, which may cause resentment. There is a very good chance that a non-programmer can design a programming IDE that is two or three orders of magnitude better (by whatever standard) than the status quo. This means such a person can't actually implement any part of it, or even know exactly what it's doing.

Quite a surprising conclusion.

By the way I have experienced this myself, when designing for a target I didn't know yet: after/while I was learning it, the resulting design iteration process was much worse than when I didn't know the implementation details. It's harder to think from the user's perspective, after you have been forced to think from the implementation's perspective.

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SSLy 1 day ago 2 replies      
Edit: I've mismatched deps and imports, indeed that could be useful. Disregard my post.

If I select a function from autocomplete, its dependencies should be automatically added to the project without any fuss.

For the point, that that post makes, this one is at least available if you use IntelliJ with Java or Scala.

22
zan2434 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Saved. Can't wait to look back at this in a few years.
23
naturalethic 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pretty sweet article. Needs a once over from the author for some edits though. "if you don't have something useful to say, don't say nothing at all" made me giggle.
24
dclowd9901 1 day ago 4 replies      
Are these guys ever going to actually finish the IDE, or postulate on what it means to program, ad infinitum. I'm glad they're being considerate in their design, but this whole project is starting to reek of over-aggrandized vaporware.
25
rch 1 day ago 1 reply      
I thought this project was about improving the programming experience for programmers, not students (or interns) who will in all likelihood never excell as programmers.

Edit: after downvotes I decided to read the whole thing afterall, but remain unswayed. This guy has an important opportunity and I sincerely dislike seeing it squandered.

7
A Windows 7 deployment image was accidently sent to all Windows machines emory.edu
306 points by slyall  2 days ago   137 comments top 36
1
perlgeek 2 days ago 10 replies      
https://twitter.com/DEVOPS_BORAT/status/41587168870797312

"To make error is human. To propagate error to all server in automatic way is #devops."

Frankly, I'm surprised things like this don't happen more often. Kudos for the incident management. Also a big plus for having working backups, it seems.

2
miles 2 days ago 9 replies      
Snark and sarcasm aside, I am impressed with the level of detail that the IT department is sharing; it is refreshing to see such a disaster being discussed so openly and honestly, while at the same time treating customers like adults.
3
beloch 2 days ago 1 reply      
This reminds me of my undergrad CPSC days. The CPSC department had their own *nix-based mainframe system that was separate from the rest of the University. The sysadmin was a pretty smart guy who was making less than a third of what he could get in industry. Eventually he got fed up and left. About a week or two later the servers had a whole cascade of failures that resulted in everyone losing every last bit of work they'd done over the weekend (This was a weekend near the end of the semester when everyone was in crunch mode).

Long story short, the sysadmin was hired back and paid more than most of the profs. Academia may tend to skimp on salaries for certain positions, but sysadmins probably shouldn't be one of them.

4
Fuzzwah 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've just been hired to run a project using SCCM to upgrade ~5000 PCs from XP to Win7.

This was amazing reading. Reading such a detailed wrap up of an IT team going through my worst possible nightmare was enlightening.

5
8ig8 2 days ago 3 replies      
Mistakes are made. In related news...

Lawn care error kills most of Ohio college's grass

http://www.wral.com/lawn-care-error-kills-most-of-ohio-colle...

6
Fomite 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of some emails that went out at my old university during a cluster outage, and got progressively more informal as the night went on, detailing people leaving dinners with extended families, a growing sense of desperation, etc. The last email might as well have ended with "Tell my wife I love her."

It was both direct and funny enough that I was only mildly annoyed that the cluster was down.

7
jonmrodriguez 2 days ago 2 replies      
Forgive my beginner question:

Since a reformat was done to the affected machines, does this mean that researchers' datasets, drafts of papers, and other IP were lost? Or were researchers' machines not affected?

8
rfrey 2 days ago 0 replies      
My nomination of the top bullet point of 2014:

* As soon as the accident was discovered, the SCCM server was powered off however, by that time, the SCCM server itself had been repartitioned and reformatted.

9
facorreia 2 days ago 1 reply      
> A Windows 7 deployment image was accidently sent to all Windows machines, including laptops, desktops, and even servers. This image started with a repartition / reformat set of tasks.

Wow. That is very unfortunate, to say the least...

10
Fuzzwah 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was just watching the "Whats New with OS Deployment in Configuration Manager and the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit" session from TechED and hit the section on "check readiness" option which MS have added to SCCM 2012 in R2. It sounds like having this in part of the task sequence at Emory would have (at the very least) stopped this OS push from at least hosing all the servers.

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2014/PCI...

11
randlet 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reading that just made me feel sick to my stomach and my heart goes out to the poor gal/guy that pushed "Go" on that one. Shit happens, but a screw up that big can be devastating to ones psyche.
12
mehrdada 2 days ago 0 replies      
As soon as the accident was discovered, the SCCM server was powered off however, by that time, the SCCM server itself had been repartitioned and reformatted.

I guess that's how robot apocalypse is gonna look like.

13
chromaton 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of The Website Is Down, episode 4:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0mwT3DkG4w
14
stark3 2 days ago 1 reply      
There was a similar catastrophe at Jewel osco stores many years ago. Nightly, items added to the store pos were merged back with the main item file at each store location. The format of the merged data was exactly the same as loading a new file, except the first statement would be /EDIT instead of /LOAD.

One of the programmers decided to eliminate some code by combining the two functions, with a switch to control whether /LOAD or /EDIT was used for the first statement.

There was a bug in the program, and the edits were sent down as loads.

A guy I knew, Barry, was the main operator that night. He started getting calls from the stores after around 10 of them had been reloaded with 5 or 6 items.

Barry said it was the first time he got to meet the president of the company that day.

15
pling 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not quite as disastrous but when I was at university the resident administrators configured the entire site's tftp server (everything was netbooted Suns) to boot from the network. This was fine until there was a site-wide power blip and it was shut down. When it came back it couldn't tftp to itself to boot because it wasn't booted yet (feel the paradox!). Cue 300 angry workstation users descend on the computer centre with pitchforks and torches because their workstations couldn't boot either...

Bad stuff doesn't just happen to Windows networks.

16
smegel 2 days ago 3 replies      
Automation can also mean automated disaster.
17
rfolstad 2 days ago 0 replies      
On the bright side they are no longer running XP!
18
grumblepeet 2 days ago 0 replies      
I _very_ nearly did this whilst working for a University back in the early noughties. Luckily I managed to get to the server before the "advert" activated and wiped out everything. It was so easy to do I am surprised that it is stil possible. I feel for their pain, but it does sound like they are doing a good job of mopping up. I did allow myself a snort of laughter when I read the bit about the server being re imaged as well. That is pretty darn impressive carpet bombing the entire campus.
19
svec 2 days ago 0 replies      
With great power comes great responsibility.
20
sergiotapia 2 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't this more the fault of the system architect than the guy who accidentally fired the bad deploys?

It's similar to a database firehose: If you accidentally start deleting all data you should have a quick working backup ready to quickly bring the dead box up to production.

21
durkie 1 day ago 0 replies      
hah! delighted to see this here.

my roommate works at the emory library and has had a fun slow week there of coming home early many days because no one could do work. they were apparently also given laptops as an interim solution, but those somehow also wiped themselves eventually (?).

poor IT people...just as they're starting to get a handle on the actual sitation it starts blowing up on the internet.

22
ww520 2 days ago 0 replies      
Disasters as well as mistakes are unavoidable, such is life. A hallmark of a competent organization is how they handle the situation and recover from disasters or mistakes.

So far all the signs have indicated they are doing great in recovering. I just hope there won't be onerous processes and restriction afterward due to desire on "make sure it won't happen again" stance.

23
deckar01 1 day ago 0 replies      
"As soon as the accident was discovered, the SCCM server was powered off however, by that time, the SCCM server itself had been repartitioned and reformatted."

Unicast fail.

24
zacharycohn 2 days ago 0 replies      
I thought this "accident" may have been on purpose... until they mentioned the servers.

In my days of university tech support.

25
keehun 2 days ago 0 replies      
I asked my friend attending Emory right now, and he didn't even realize anything was going on. He says that the Emory IT department has a notorious distinction on campus as being regularly terrible, mostly with an unreliable internet connection.

However, it looks like they handled this accident the best they could! Perhaps this accident would not have happened at a more reliable IT department.

26
mantrax5 2 days ago 1 reply      
You know how in movies you need at least two people to bring their special secret keys, plug them in, and turn them at once to enable a self-destruct sequence?

That is a real principle in interface design - if something would be really, really bad to activate unintentionally, make it really, really hard to activate.

If you design a nuclear missile facility, you don't put the "launch nukes" button right next to "check email" and "open facebook".

Same way it shouldn't be easy for users to delete or corrupt their data by accident due to some omnipotent action innocently shoved right in between other trivial actions.

I wouldn't blame the person who triggered this re-imaging process. I'd blame those who designed the re-imaging interface, to allow it to happen so easily by accident.

27
tbyehl 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've built a few systems for deploying Windows... and the last thing that every one of them did before writing a new partition table and laying down an image was to check for existing partitions and require manual intervention if any were found.
28
sorennielsen 2 days ago 0 replies      
This happened at one a former workplace too. Only the Solaris and Linux servers was untouched.

It "mildly" amused the *nix operations guys to see all the "point and click" colleagues panic.

29
k_sze 2 days ago 3 replies      
Funny how they mention iTunes as one of the "key components" that are restored first, whereas Visio, Project, Adobe application are relegated to a second round.
30
nissehulth 1 day ago 0 replies      
Next time I'm about to complain about a bad day at the office, I will read this story again.
31
imgur 2 days ago 0 replies      

  > As soon as the accident was discovered, the SCCM server was powered off  however, by that time, the SCCM server itself had been repartitioned and reformatted.
That made me laugh. Poor SCCM server :)

32
gojomo 2 days ago 0 replies      
"... to the cloud!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jR6xbulUmsg

"Yay, cloud!"

33
CamperBob2 2 days ago 1 reply      
stark3, you seem to be hellbanned.
34
lucio 2 days ago 0 replies      
reads like a short dystopian novel
35
leccine 2 days ago 1 reply      
We accidentally re-imaged all of the Windows servers with Linux the other day. Nobody noticed though...
36
filmgirlcw 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've never been prouder of my alma mater. /s
8
Google is Breaking the Internet jeremypalmer.com
302 points by kposehn  9 hours ago   236 comments top 36
1
Matt_Cutts 8 hours ago 11 replies      
I talked about this phenomenon recently on This Week in Google with Leo Laporte and Gina Trapani: http://twit.tv/show/this-week-in-google/248 Skip to 4:15 in to listen to the discussion.

Note that there are two different things to keep in mind when someone writes in and says "Hey, can you remove this link from your site?"

Situation #1 is by far the most common. If a site gets dinged for linkspam and works to clean up their links, a lot of them send out a bunch of link removal requests on their own prerogative.

Situation #2 is when Google actually sends a notice to a site for spamming links and gives a concrete link that we believe is part of the problem. For example, we might say "we believe site-a.com has a problem with spam or inorganic links. An example link is site-b.com/spammy-link.html."

The vast majority of the link removal requests that a typical site gets are for the first type, where a site got tagged for spamming links and now it's trying hard to clean up any links that could be considered spammy.

If you read the original post closely, it's clear that this is a site asking for a link to be removed--the quoted email isn't from Google.

2
milesf 8 hours ago 3 replies      
My solution has been to recommend friend and family to switch to http://DuckDuckGo.com or just http://ddg.gg)

This may seem to be an impossible task, but in days not too long ago people switched search providers often. I went from the curated links of Yahoo, to Lycos, to AltaVista, to Webcrawler, to Google, and now DDG.

Google got a lot of mileage out of my in my mind with their motto "Don't be Evil", because I had some trust for them. I don't trust them anymore, and I regularly explain to others why they should no longer trust them either.

3
ronnier 8 hours ago 6 replies      
I own http://ihackernews.com which reformats HackerNews for mobile phones.

I had a DMCA takedown notice sent to me on behalf of a website owner who didn't want me linking to their site. My hosting provider gave me 24 hours to remove the link or else they'd cancel my account.

The owner of the link claimed that their Google rankings were dropping because my site, iHackernews, linked to their site. With this, they were able to force me to remove it via a DMCA takedown notice.

4
sbierwagen 9 hours ago 7 replies      
Jeremy Palmer is a SEO marketer, who also appears to be doing some scammy affiliate thing. Google considers his links low quality because they are low quality.
5
jawns 8 hours ago 3 replies      
"As a publisher I refuse to nofollow any links, outside of banners and advertisements. I compel you to do the same."

I believe you mean "implore."

6
andybak 8 hours ago 2 replies      
From my understanding Wikipedia adds nofollow to stop incentivising people from constantly trying to sneak links into Wikipedia to boost SEO.

Any ranking system that gave any value to links would suffer this problem.

nofollow is a necessary evil if you allow untrusted sources to publish content on your site that contains links. It's a way of saying "I don't vouch for these links in the same way I vouch for other links on my site".

Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

7
cromwellian 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Why are being saying 'nofollow' "breaks the internet". First, it's the wrong terminology, nofollow is an aspect of the Web, not the internet.

Secondly, nofollow applies to crawlers, not human beings. It doesn't even "break the Web", it has zero impact on an end-user's experience of navigating links.

What you could say is that excessive "nofollow" breaks PageRank and other search engines. Less melodramatic and link-baity, but more accurate.

What you could claim is that search algorithms are opinionated and 'mold' content and link structure across the Web. That would be true, but unavoidable. It's impossible to have a search engine that would not editorialize in some respect, and any engine that gained prominence for sending lots of traffic would quickly be descended upon by people like Jeremy trying to figure out how to mold content to game the algorithm.

Even if we had some sort of incredible AI based search engine that could understand meaning and nuance like spam, it might still have an editorial opinion that people would optimize around.

8
franze 8 hours ago 1 reply      
is google breaking the internet? naah (well at least not with google search - G+, google local and the new horrible google maps is a complete other story)

are webmasters breaking the net because they follow SEO worst practices? definitely.

i wrote this article for techcrunch in 2010 http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/07/startups-linking-to-your-co... the tl;dr: pagerank is thoughtcancer, if you start thinking of links as some flow of mystical pagerankjuice you will make bad decisions, decissions that will hurt your business, your users and in the end the internet.

the stupid "remove link emails" are just the newest iteration of this thoughtcancer.

my recommendation stays the same: link to whatever you like and link to whatever your users like, want or need, oh, and also link to your competition. but for gods, your sanities and the internets sake: don't do it for any kind of page/trust/magic-rank or any kind of link/penguin/panda-juices....

my name is franz enzenhofer / i'm the most successful SEO in europe / i do not care about links

9
jonknee 8 hours ago 1 reply      
> Site owners and publishers are now afraid to link to each other because they dont know how Google might respond to that link. For example, Wikipedia and the New York Times have added the nofollow" attribute to most of the links outside of their editorial control.

I'm a little confused why he cares about nofollow links--if Google doesn't "own" the internet, what does nofollow matter? It's certainly better than not having a link at all.

Furthermore, the "credit" he so desperately wants publishers to receive is only a thing because of Google Page Rank in the first place.

10
alexandros 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Interesting that this is coming up again. I'd written an essay on the fundamental pattern behind what is at play here, it was well received on HN at the time:

http://lesswrong.com/lw/28r/is_google_paperclipping_the_web_...

11
gordaco 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a distorted variation on Goodhart's law [1], although in a non-economical environment. In other words, poorly thought incentives generate poor behaviour (this is not the core of Goodhart's law, but rather a common consequence). I'm not sure if all the blame for those incentives is on Google, or SEOs are culprits in some way.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodhart%27s_Law

12
thu 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Do I understand correctly that Google will try to punish you (or the other party) if you host links in exchange of money but that Google is doing it in its search results ? (And I receive from time to time unsolicited regular paper mail from Google so that I advertise my enterprise through them.)

Page Rank is a neat idea, but making everyone listening to Google so that Page Rank remains meaningful is stupid. What do you do if suddenly Google thinks Twitter or Facebook are to be considered spammy link farms (which would be true) ? Do you ask everyon to delete their tweets linking to you ?

13
mixedbit 5 hours ago 0 replies      
To support the point from the article. StackOverflow had to put significant effort to figure out a policy that would allow some links to have a 'nofollow' attribute but wouldn't impede organic traffic from Google (see a discussion around this questions: http://meta.stackexchange.com/a/51156).

Such things should be handled automatically by the ranking algorithm. High quality sites shouldn't need to research what are the ranking algorithm internals. Today most sites prefer to stay on the safe side and put 'nofollow' on everything, which is detrimental for original content creators.

14
userbinator 4 hours ago 0 replies      
What really needs to be changed is Google's algorithms. The number of links to a site may be correlated with content quality and relevance but shouldn't be taken as an indicator of such, since it basically promotes large sites with lots of links - but not too many - while penalising the "less developed" (in terms of linkage) parts of the Internet, the parts that in my experience also tend to have the most interesting and valuable content.

Basing ranking on characteristics of the page content is also going to pose its own problems, since instead of linkfarming, the SEOs will just focus on generating useless content (they are quite good at that already.) Without very strong AI, it's difficult to tell whether the content was there just to spamdex or if it's something that may be equally low-entropy (for example) like tables of useful information. In my mind, even a totally random ranking (not one that changes every search, but maybe ~monthly) would be better than one based on links or page content. At the very least, it would expose many users to more parts of the Internet that they might not otherwise experience if they stayed within the first 1-2 pages of search results (if I'm looking for something that happens to be relatively obscure, I routinely go into the 100th or more page of results, since there is often good content there too!)

I haven't received any such link removal requests (the sites I have a relatively small), but I do not care about SEO that much and if I did receive any my response would basically be "go complain to the search engines, not me."

15
richdougherty 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The nofollow attribute is a way for site owners to say "I don't endorse this link". nofollow is very handy for site owners because it removes the incentive for users to include spam links in user contributed content.

Howeverand I think this is the point of the articleuse of nofollow doesn't just disincentivise spam links, it also means that many valid and useful links no longer contribute to PageRank.

It would be great if we could have a way to allow all to links contribute to PageRank, but still protect ourself from spam.

Which got me thinking

At the moment the only options for site owners are to say "yes, I endorse this link" or "no, I don't endorse this link" (by adding nofollow). Instead I could imagine something more fine grained, a system where site owners could tag specific content within their site as coming from specific users.

Content tagged like this is neither endorsed nor disavowed, instead responsibility is pushed to the user who wrote the content. In other words site owners would be able to say something like this to search engines: "this content is created by user X, don't blame me if it's spammy!".

Smart search engines could use this more fine-grained content ownership information in their search algorithms. That means they wouldn't need to throw out all user contributed information on the internet just to protect the internet from spam.

There are a few challenges, of course. :)

* How to identify users? (Anonymously?)* How to have users endorse content on different sites?* How to work out which users are trustworthy?* Building a PageRank algorithm that incorporates fine-grained trust information.

But it's fun to think about technical solutions.

16
soheil 1 hour ago 0 replies      
That email is perfectly legitimate. I can see why now someone doesn't want their website linked from a shady website, that maybe at some point wasn't as shady. To say Google is "breaking"the Internet is easy to proclaim maybe only if to get enough attention on HN. He's using the same exact tactic as the one he is accusing Google of using, namely FUD. How is removing links and placing nofollow attr on links breaking the Internet exactly? If anything this will make the Internet more relevant. The opposite doesn't even make sense from the point of view of Google. They're making money by showing you the most relevant search results so if the Internet is broken and less relevant no one will be using their search anymore and they'll lose too.
17
toddh 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This has happened to me too. A client who bought ads on my site wanted the links pulled so as not to make Google mad. That Google would think me a spammer is very very broken.
18
spindritf 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Nofollow link to a human user is just as good as a regular, do-follow link. From reader's perspective this changes nothing so who cares? Game the link attributes as best as you think you can and let robots figure it out.

They're only breaking their own ranking algo.

19
wmkn 8 hours ago 1 reply      
There is this omnipotent master somewhere in the cloud. His power is large, but his ways are unknown. To please the Lord of cloud, strict rules have to be followed. Rules, that, when not followed, will cause the cloud Lord to strike you down with vengeance. Unfortunately, the cloud Lord is intentionally vague about these rules.

Some people have taken upon themselves the task to discover the rules that please the cloud Lord. In the process these priests have found a large number of arbitrary rules that have to be followed strictly. Breaking any of these rules is a reason for the cloud Lord to banish you to the dark corners of his empire - or so the priests say. For only a small fee the priests will give you a glimpse of the rule list that might you good standing with the cloud Lord. It may work, or it may not, because the cloud Lord works in mysterious ways.

20
drivingmenuts 3 hours ago 1 reply      
>As a publisher I refuse to nofollow any links, outside of banners and advertisements. I compel you to do the same.

No. No, you don't. You implore. If you compel, I rebel.

Also, if someone doesn't want you linking to their site, shouldn't it be more a case of "Whatever. Your loss."?

It's one thing if you're pointing out fraud, abuse, illegal acts or unethical behavior (in which case, you'd probably be posting the evidence on your own site), but if it's a friendly link and they don't want it, don't give it to them.

21
humain2 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I have website since 2007 and 90% of my visitors is Google visitors. 2 months back i lose 85% of my traffic without any reason. I don't have any message in Google webmaster. Google is applying filters to reduice my traffic on search results. Sometime it go to normal so i receive all my visitors and 2 days after penality comeback. I don't undertand how google works and i am not using any spammy links or other. So google is kelling the web ....
22
nso 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I run a decent sized discussion forum. I literally get 3 of these emails a day. I have an auto-reply that goes something along the lines of "Unless you previously have hired shady companies to do shady SEO for you on the forums, these links are organic. Do not contact me again regarding this subject."
23
peterhunt 7 hours ago 1 reply      
false positives happen. let's move on with our lives.

- a facebooker, working at a google competitor :P

24
pgrote 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Matt ...it is clear Google has no way of dealing with search past the no follow attribute. Is there anything cooking to make search good again without no follow?
25
d0ugie 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Jeremy: Sing it sister! But do you know what I like even less than occasionally not seeing eye-to-eye with Webmaster Tools? Link farming.

While I'm not sure I understand your objection to nofollows as a compromise, have you any alternative methods in mind to improve the web without "breaking" the internet?

26
bryan_rasmussen 4 hours ago 0 replies      
If sites can make spammy links to another site and google would then hurt the linked to sites ranking it follows that a profit model would soon arise -> Make spammy links and charge to have links removed.

Has this been seen? Can anyone show a case?

27
al2o3cr 5 hours ago 0 replies      
"linking with nofollow set" != "not linking". Repeatedly equivalencing the two does not lend the author much authority.
28
znowi 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Reading the comments from Matt Cutts here, I see the worst is ahead of us.
29
eddie_catflap 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I get a regular drip feed of these requests. Depending on my mood I check the outgoing link. Usually it's from someone recommending the service or product that the site asking me to remove the link offers. I've mailed quite a few of the requestors back. I explain that I've set all links to be nofollow and that it was a real person that created the link. Only 1 person has ever understood this. The rest all demanded the link still be removed with varying degrees of politeness. I just don't think site owners get it and to echo several comments here perhaps Google could make some clearer instructions about what they want.
30
willu 8 hours ago 0 replies      
In some regards I agree. The rules are constantly shifting and they are unevenly enforced in a way that favors large, established sites which is frustrating for smaller players. Good examples here:http://nenadseo.com/big-dogs/At least the person mentioned in this article received an unnatural link notice. In other cases Google will just sink your site into oblivion overnight with no explanation or recourse.

At the same time, they have to deal with an entire industry that exists to exploit the very metrics they rely on to rank results so I don't blame them for just saying screw it, let's just float up our own content and well-known brands for every search and call it a day.

31
neurobro 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't help but wonder why Google thinks links from OP's site are "unnatural" (assuming they're all natural). E.g. is this a consequence of allowing do-follow links in comments - and if so, does vigilant moderation make a difference? Or perhaps an indication that the site was compromised and there are pages of spam hidden off in a corner somewhere?
32
the_watcher 8 hours ago 0 replies      
>> webmasters are going out of their way to control the flow of page rank from their site to other sites.

I agree with 90% of this piece. But this particular comment isn't new. Webmasters have been looking to control flow of PageRank since they learned what it was.

34
javajosh 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Are there any documented cases of a black hat attacking a site by linking to it too much? This would seem to be a difficult attack to thwart.
35
kevin_bauer 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe we should change <a href="..."> to <google="...">. or insert a google-search into the href-url!
36
jqm 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I understand the point.

But you could be friendly and agree to remove the links in questions since they seem to believe it will harm their business. Not doing so "out of principal" may effect others as Google believes your links are low quality.(although it sounds like their SEO company is mostly to blame for their problems).

9
The shock of playing the Ouya, one year later wololo.net
296 points by dumpsterkid  2 days ago   153 comments top 23
1
lhnz 2 days ago 8 replies      
The problem with calling it the perfect "party gaming" console is that it completely doesn't work for that when "it took me almost an hour to update the firmware and configure the 4 controllers."

I'm not saying that to hurt OUYA, I'm just saying that if they want to find this niche they should focus some effort on fixing that.

Edit: I'm not implying that other consoles are better fitted to this. I'm implying that engineering a console so that setup time is always fast even when you've not touched it for weeks could be a valuable feature in the "party gaming" market.

2
dpcan 2 days ago 4 replies      
My take-away from this article was that if every OUYA shipped with a $10-$25 gift card or starting account balance, people would get into it a lot easier, and not box it up after a week.

Most consoles ship with full games. If the OUYA is only shipping with free trials, they aren't really competing.

Side-note, the home page of their website, what are they thinking? It looks like a stop sign. Or a "come back later". I literally went to their site earlier this year and thought it wasn't live yet, didn't bother going any further - until today. Shoot, it might as be one of those giant red circles with a line through it saying "go away!"

3
hahainternet 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is exactly how I feel about my Ouya. It sits on the side of my TV stand completely unobtrusively, and if friends come over within 30 seconds we can be playing frantic, immersive games. Not desperately struggling to figure out how we get a second player online without a second xbox live account.

It's a shame enough people didn't realise this from the start, but $150 is not a lot of outlay for what I got in return and when the games eventually move on to Ouya 2, I will just put XBMC on it and it's still a great device.

4
ch0wn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wired Xbox 360 controllers work out of the box, as well. I feel like they missed an opportunity in promoting the compatibility more, especially as they got so much negative press about their controllers.
5
arrrg 2 days ago 2 replies      
Local multiplayer is also coming back on other platforms, by the way.

For example, the recently released Sportsfriends (a collection of four local multiplayer games): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zh5EXf4rpo

6
KVFinn 2 days ago 1 reply      
The trend the author is seeing is not just on Ouya. 'Sportsfriends' on PS4 (and PC soon) has four unique games as good as any he played for local multiplayer. Towerfall is better on PS4. And many more like these the pipe! I heartily recommend Nidhogg when it comes out for PS4 later.

If you have a PS4 and more than one other local person to play with occasionally you must be Sportsfriends right away!

7
sehugg 2 days ago 1 reply      
These are all fun games, but the Ouya's problem is that these are all the same games the author would have been playing a year ago.
8
greggman 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess this is self promotion but it seems relevant.

I probably should have posted this early but I've been working on a library/framework for making party games with lots more than 4 players.

Players use their smartphone as the controller but all look at the same TV to play the games.

I've only had a couple of "larger" sessions so far but have had 17 player space wars and 14 player bomberman like. Going to try for 30 to 40 players in a few days.

http://greggman.github.io/HappyFunTimes/

9
programminggeek 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Ouya has some fun games and it's a cool little console. It's not even remotely perfect, but I'm glad it exists. Between Ouya, Kindle TV, and maybe someday Apple TV or other smart TV's, there's going to be a nice place to put fun little indie games in more places, which is good for developers.
10
bovermyer 2 days ago 0 replies      
This article put the Ouya back on my radar. I'll have to look into it.
11
lingoberry 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very interesting, I'm surprised to see that Ouya is still alive. This is sort of what I want in a console today. I don't have time to play lengthy AAA games and prefer social games, but there are few alternatives for that type of gaming.
12
ebbv 2 days ago 4 replies      
> I have terrible memories of coming to a gamers place to spend the afternoon playing Fifa, Street Fighter 4, etc in all these AAA titles, the guy who owns the game basically beats your ass so hard that all the fun is gone.

This is not a failure of those games, this is a failure of the person who owns the game to not be a dickhead.

Street Fighter 4, for example, has handicapping. You can tilt the game wildly in the novice's favor, to the point where if they land a few lucky hits they win.

I've never played FIFA, but I'd be surprised if it didn't have some way to skew the balance of the game in favor of the novice.

13
reidmain 2 days ago 1 reply      
Towerfall is also on the PS4.
14
notlisted 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do not own an ouya, but I have been very pleasantly surprised by both performance of the device and quality of the games on my FireTV. Expect great things going forward.
15
trustyhank 2 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of his arguments (good party console, hardware doesnt always matter, etc) also apply to Nintendo consoles. Ive always loved the Wii for similar reasons (the fact that it is easy to softmod doesnt hurt either :P
16
raldi 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is anyone else finding this article's pale-gray-on-white color scheme very difficult to read?
17
dclowd9901 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is this the same wololo who hacks Vitas and PSPs? If so, this guy's a legend in the handheld hacking community.
18
TruthSHIFT 2 days ago 1 reply      
His favorite Ouya game, Hidden in Plain Site, is also available for Xbox 360 and it's totally excellent.
19
Rayne 2 days ago 2 replies      
I probably would have actually enjoyed the Ouya, but it had such terrible input lag that it was effectively unplayable. Couldn't find any way to fix it, so it just sits on a shelf in my apartment now.
20
NicoJuicy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I also bought an Ouya, but for some reason.. I only use it for Plex...

Haven't gamed with it, but perhaps i should after reading this.

21
nebulous1 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just can't see the OUYA surviving the Fire TV
22
higherpurpose 2 days ago 0 replies      
I know this is exactly the opposite point the article is trying to make, but I'll wait until they're selling a version with a Denver CPU and a Maxwell GPU, before I even consider buying one. However, I'm not sure they'll survive that long. Maybe releasing one with Tegra K1 this year would sustain them a bit longer. I don't think you can even do 1080p games on OUYA, unless they are 2D. Maybe that's fine for kids or something, but not for me.
23
everyone 2 days ago 6 replies      
I wish people would stop using the term 'AAA' . Its meaningless imo as any other members from the implied scale (AAA, AAB, AAC, whatever) are never referred to.I find it one of the more annoying americanisms.

edit: What people actually mean when they say " an AAA game" is "a game with a very large development budget"

10
YouTube to Acquire Videogame-Streaming Service Twitch for $1 Billion? variety.com
296 points by Ocerge  5 hours ago   161 comments top 39
1
minimaxir 5 hours ago 9 replies      
It's worth noting that Twitch partially became popular because it wasn't YouTube, and gamers could stream without content restrictions (e.g. copyright and region)

Miraculously, this could end up making YouTube comments even worse.

2
arrrg 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Thats sad. Less competition, worse both for those watching and making content.

Makers of (gaming-related) content for YouTube worried about the future of YouTube have often already been relying on Twitch to provide them some stability, to stand on more than one leg. This competition also insured that YouTube couldnt do literally anything. Makers of content had a place to go if things didnt work out.

This is a potentially great move for Google and more specifically YouTube, but I dont see any upside for anyone else (ignoring those profiting from the sale for the moment).

3
tpeng 2 hours ago 0 replies      
WSJ confirms talks -- "early stage" "deal isn't imminent"

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1000142405270230442270...

4
dshankar 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This is now probably Y Combinator's largest acquisition!
5
Maarten88 5 hours ago 5 replies      
Compared to recent other aquisitions, 1 billion somehow seems like a bargain. Twitch has clear potential to play an important role in the future in TV and entertainment. Compare that to i.e. Snapchat...
6
tomasien 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Congrats to Justin and everyone involved in Twitch!

As a side note: most of my friends are LoL fans, and I seriously believe professional gaming will be one of the major professional sports in the next few years, perhaps on the level of Hockey. They're super normal, social, extroverted people - yet they'll interrupt a trip to make us watch a LoL match on Twitch. They all came of it independently too.

I really believe Twitch could have been a big, independent company. They did what they thought was right and I NEVER want to be that guy that craps on acquisitions, but I wish this one hadn't happened. I was rooting for Twitch big time. Still, very happy for them, hope YouTube does this right! I assume if everyone doesn't Riot (pun intended) the technical chops at YouTube will actually make Twitch a much more pleasant place.

7
programminggeek 4 hours ago 2 replies      
It's interesting that YouTube is acquiring Twitch and not Google. I realize that's sort of a smallish point, but it's interesting how that might be announced officially. Google obviously owns YouTube, but in terms of branding and identity and control, it's interesting.
8
tjmc 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow - what an amazing ride to acquisition. To think it all started when Justin strapped a camera to his head! Congrats guys!
9
tomasien 19 minutes ago 0 replies      
This tweet from a friend I assumed hated YouTube and loved Twitch sums up why this might actually be a home run https://twitter.com/macpheed/status/468237136882597888
10
Nanzikambe 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Twitch is massive in the Eve Online community along with other MMOs precisely because it isn't Youtube and allows streamer to play whatever background music they chose.

I can a fairly substantial move away from it if Youtube begin applying the policy that removes all audio, if even a snippet of something copyrighted is detected.tracks for

11
smoyer 5 hours ago 3 replies      
My son watches a lot of Starcraft tournaments on Twitch and his immediate response was that YouTube might actually improve the infrastructure so that they could handle streaming to everyone who wants to watch.
12
dang 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Since this is unconfirmed, we added a question mark to the title.
13
owenwil 5 hours ago 2 replies      
This is disappointing. YouTube's 'community' is extremely toxic, I can imagine if Twitch is rolled into it, it'll die a long, slow death.
14
robryan 5 hours ago 1 reply      
If they do acquire Twitch I hope that they still let it run separately and just improve the back end (as while it has improved it still lags for a lot of people around the world).

I worry if they tried to roll it into youtube that it would turn people away. Their numbers are pretty dependent on a small number of League/ Dota/ Hearthstone and a few other games casters and steamers.

15
bobbles 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder how companies like Sony feel about this considering a part of their service is now owned by Google.
16
burritofanatic 3 hours ago 0 replies      
One summer night in 2007, I found myself playing poker with Justin Kan in a living room of the "Y-Combinator" building in San Francisco. Emmett Shear may have been there, but amongst the crowd in the living room was Steve Huffman, who was playing around with a new electric guitar, and Alexis Ohanian who was doodling on paper. I didn't know what reddit was at the time, nor did I know that the acquisition by Conde Nast had occurred -- I only connected the dots a several years later.

After seeing this headline, I can't help but think that the power of networks is real, as is the results of deliberate, focused dedication to one's direction and craft. Pretty awesome stuff, congratulations!

17
scotty79 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Semi-related question... Do you know who came up with an idea of allowing companies to own other companies (and when)?
18
mhartl 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, congrats to the Twitch team!
19
nedwin 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Justin Kan = 2 acquisitions in 2014. Not a bad result.

Has anyone else done that?

20
J_ 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone roughly know what Twitch's revenue/profitability is? I know that they're pretty profitable, but I'm not sure to what extent.

1 billion USD seems somewhat low considering Snapchat was valued at 3.5 billion, and I'm pretty sure their revenues are non existent in comparison to Twitch's revenues.

21
sergiotapia 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I hate YouTube with a passion, this is terrible news for Twitch users. YouTube is absolutely dreadful and makes design decisions that just go against common sense. This is a terrible loss. :/

Will I still be able to see Twitch streams on my PS4? Blergh.

22
Orangeair 3 hours ago 4 replies      
Why on Earth would Twitch let themselves be bought by a company that was in the news just a few months ago for systematically destroying the Let's Play community?
23
KalobT 4 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of people are saying this is a bad move because insert reason that contradicts YouTube's existence. But consider Tumblr's sale to Yahoo! and nothing changed. Google bought YouTube when Google has 1% of the internet traffic. YouTube already had 6% [2006] (and is the worlds most popular site per unique visitors).

To be honest, I'm surprised MSFT didn't try to buy them first.

24
vdaniuk 5 hours ago 3 replies      
If confirmed, this would definitely be a smart decision. Twitch will be extremely important in ecosystem development as e-sports break in the mainstream worldwide. Lots of engaged eyeballs.

Google near monopoly on online video market bugs me though, community at large would benefit from multiple players and more competition.

25
elinchrome 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Newbie question here. How can youtube acquire things? Wasn't youtube acquired by google? So isn't it google acquiring?
26
free2rhyme214 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's an idea: Google buys Twitch and shuts it down. Thus making people go directly to YouTube to stream.

But something more realistic is they buy Twitch and then integrate it into YouTube so everyone has to use YouTube to stream everything. Smart.

27
wildmXranat 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Time for for Twitch V.2. in my opinion.

There is so much copyrighted material on Twitch streamed by users, whether it games, music etc that it would throw youtube TM-auto filter into overdrive.

28
karangoeluw 5 hours ago 2 replies      
> Reps for YouTube and Twitch declined to comment.

Yeah. I call this just a rumor.

29
creativityland 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This will be interesting given the recent Google Plus integration into YouTube. Will the same happen to Twitch?
30
bdz 5 hours ago 1 reply      
You now need a Google+ account to spam Kappa

And in before every popular channel gets shut down for copyright infringement...

31
relampago 2 hours ago 0 replies      
After reading this headline my first reaction was a verbal "aww man!" I don't really know why. Is it that I don't trust google? Maybe, but I think it's more that I like supporting the little guy and not the BnL's of the world. When I hear of an acquisition like this, thinking of Valve, I fear the brands I love will never be the same.
32
rinon 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone have any other confirmation of this? Seems like a crazy rumor, but... maybe?
33
tomeric 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Twitch has rapidly become the site I stay on the longest, mostly for Hearthstone and Magic the Gathering streams. It's the first time I enjoy watching a "sport" live. Just a few hours ago I decided to pay for a Twitch account in order to not see ads, something I wish YouTube would allow me to do (I don't want to use AdBlock, because I think it's unethical).

I hope that if this is true, it's a feature that YouTube will copy and not one that will be disabled in the future.

34
trevmckendrick 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Was Twitch a YC company?
35
hookey 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I know of some Twitch streamers who migrated to Twitch entirely and stopped using YouTube because of what it had turned into.Where will they go to now?
36
free2rhyme214 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Justin Kan is now going to be pretty rich. Good for him. Congrats!
37
toastedzergling 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many more months I have until I'm required to use a Google+ login to chat on twitch.
38
vecio 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I don't know what this means to my startup Shou.TV
39
benguild 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Why is this worth $1bil?
11
Why I Dont Do CrossFit erinsimmonsfitness.me
232 points by r0h1n  21 hours ago   165 comments top 36
1
omegaham 13 hours ago 5 replies      
I deal with CrossFit a lot, as a lot of my coworkers do it and my unit's PT seems to be going in that direction.

1. As said by other posters, CrossFit is huge. And it's not like McDonald's - there's a large amount of variation that's inherent in an organization that barely looks at its members. Instructors are free to come up with whatever program they want.

2. Most personal trainers know absolutely nothing about actually training people. They know what works for them, but they have a very hard time in applying workouts to other people. The workout plan that fits a 220-pound male rugby player is not going to fit a 110-pound female volleyball player or a 350-pound couch potato who is trying to get into shape. Applying the same program to these three people is going to lead to disaster.

3. Crossfit is different from traditional weightlifting, which seems to attract a certain class of people. These people basically say, "I made this switch, and it's done wonders for me! The old paradigm is flawed, and you're an idiot for sticking with it!" You'll notice this incredibly annoying group of people whenever there's an alternative - religion, programming languages / frameworks, etc.

4. Apply #1, #2, and #3, - a very large organization with idiots who loosely fall under it, and a group of people who look down on anyone who isn't a member, and you get a group of people who are really, really easy to hate. And, to some extent, it's completely true. You get the stereotype of the typical CrossFit user who won't shut the fuck up, makes fun of people who go to "regular" gyms, and doesn't actually know what he's talking about. It leads to the jokes of "The first rule of CrossFit is to talk about CrossFit" and "A CrossFit workout isn't complete until you post it on Facebook."

My own experience with CrossFit is that some parts are perfectly fine; there's absolutely nothing wrong with circuit courses, and there's nothing wrong with explosive movement. The problem is when you start doing exercises that require lots of weight and proper form and then CrossFit them - doing as many reps as possible as quickly as you can. Push-ups? Go for it. Burpees? Be careful, but go for it. Snatch, deadlifts, and pull-ups[1]? No, and run far far away before you tear your rotator cuff.

The last thing is that CrossFit doesn't seem to have a goal in mind. As Mark Rippetoe states, "Exercise is physical activity for its own sake, a workout done for the effect it produces today, during the workout or right after you're through. Training is physical activity done with a longer-term goal in mind, the constituent workouts of which are specifically designed to produce that goal."[2]

This is supremely important. Even someone whose goal is as simple as "Lose weight" and "Look more muscular" needs a training goal, not an exercise goal. CrossFit doesn't seem to deliver that. They talk about their goal being all-around fitness, but they don't have a good methodology for doing so. Take a look at what decathletes, strongmen, and even the CrossFit Games athletes are doing - it certainly isn't CrossFit. That, in and of itself, should let you know that something is badly wrong.

[1]http://cdn.styleforum.net/3/37/314x314px-LL-375a6e39_TooBO.g...

[2]http://www.t-nation.com/training/crossfit-the-good-bad-and-t...

2
Jabbles 16 hours ago 7 replies      
Another article on CrossFit, written by Mark Rippetoe, a famous and influential strength coach, is here:

http://www.t-nation.com/training/crossfit-the-good-bad-and-t...

He makes many of the same points, but I find the arguments more persuasive. It's also interesting to note the arguments in favour of CrossFit.

Finally, Mark seems to have completely different opinions about deadlifting; he regards them as a staple to strength training, whereas the OP "doesn't do" them for unknown reasons. I find the disagreement among professionals to be intriguing.

3
mitchellh 18 hours ago 5 replies      
Disclaimer: I've done crossfit for over 2 years at this point.

This is actually one of the best written anti-crossfit posts I've come across. Most are anecdotal "I went to one gym that didn't focus on form so all gyms must be bad" posts, which are tiring. This post goes over some great details which as a crossfitter I would say are true.

That being said, after doing CrossFit for 2 years I have a few tidbits of advice:

  * Find a gym that focuses on form over workout. They exist, and crossfit is popular enough at this point that you should be able to find it.  * If you don't plan on being SUPER into CrossFit, ask for substitute workouts for the gymnastic moves: handstand pushups, most things with rings, parallel bars, etc. It just isn't worth the time learning how to do these, and you can hurt yourself. Just do something simple, they always have substitutes.  * I personally, like the author of this post, don't do deadlifts and rarely do kettlebell swings. I am not a professional athlete or trainer, but I really primarily only heard of people getting hurt with these workouts, so I chose to avoid them. Sounds like this was a good decision. There are substitute workouts for each.
My goal with CrossFit isn't to be ripped and exploded. My goal with CrossFit is to remain in good physical health based on the fact that I sit (or remain still standing) for 10+ hours per day. To that end, its been a HUGE success. The team environment of CrossFit is a great motivator both to workout hard but also to show up (social pressures). The diversified workouts of crossfit keep my strength up pretty high.

All this being said, listen to the linked post of this entry. It has really good info.

4
king_magic 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not going to refute the author, merely, here is my experience: I've done CF for 2+ years, and frankly, I've gotten a lot out of it. I like/trust my coaches, I like the community, and I like the challenge. I never thought I'd be capable of what I can do these days, and so for me, it's a success story.

I go twice a week, and have been doing so (roughly) for the past two years, except for a period of a few months where I had a hernia repaired. The origins of the hernia were 5-6 years old, and it never was very painful or caused much in the way of problems, and I actually think that a year of CF actually helped reduce the severity of it (and my surgeon agrees).

Thess days, I take things much easier, but am still making progress against my personal goals.

So at the end of the day, does the author have valid points? Sure. But I think, like pretty much everything people are passionately for or against on the internet, the truth is in a gray area. It's not as black and white as I think the author is making it out to be.

CrossFit has helped a lot of people, myself included. CrossFit hasn't helped some people who have tried it.

You could replace "CrossFit" with "college" (or a lot of other things in life), and I think you'd find that again, the truth is really in a gray area, somewhere in between the opposing factions.

5
jff 9 hours ago 4 replies      
Here's a crossfitter who severed his spine with a poorly-done lift, be warned it's a bit disturbing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qc3kDCB7bA

Crossfit! http://i.imgur.com/AoClAei.gif

Crossfit! http://i.imgur.com/uLWrijU.gif

Crossfit! http://i.imgur.com/s4GWEmj.gif And again! http://i.imgur.com/7gCoxY7.gif and again! http://i.imgur.com/uOXc113.gif

Crossfit! http://i.minus.com/iZUsT11hiMbCz.gif

Crossfit! http://i.imgur.com/MPSXRUT.gif

Crossfitttttt! http://i.imgur.com/Y2yrqPS.jpg

Crossfit! http://gifsoup.com/view3/4092663/crossssifttt-o.gif

Crossfit! http://i.imgur.com/gs28aPU.gif

Crossfit! http://i.imgur.com/0iQG9fx.gif

A lot of what you see in there is either officially encouraged ("kipping" = basically cheating at pullups/lifts/whatever for more reps with shit form) or arises from a total lack of proper training on anyone's part (the guy who just powers up the weight with his arms and back rather than using his legs)

Remember, Crossfit: not even once.

6
natejenkins 15 hours ago 1 reply      
For the most part, I think people want a workout to follow, they want to be part of a gym, and they want fellow sufferers and coaches to motivate them.

I don't think the motivation for people doing CrossFit is worded correctly. People want to do CrossFit because it's fun. For most people, going to a normal gym is boring. I tried gyms on and off for years but could never stick to going more than 4-6 weeks at a time before losing interest. While I don't do CrossFit, I do another sport that replaces lifting, climbing in my case. I get most of the benefits of going to a gym plus it is insanely fun and I've met countless friends through it.

There is a huge market out there for fun replacements for the gym. I'm guesstimating that 75% of the people in a regular gym are not having a good time and would swap their current workout routine with something enjoyable and social. There simply aren't many choices. I can think of climbing, CrossFit, the up-and-coming parkours gyms (looks awesome: http://www.apexmovement.com/), probably boxing (although surprisingly getting punched in the face sucks), what else? In principle yoga could be on this list but in practice the yoga centers I've been to feel a bit uptight and certainly aren't social. Team sports are great fun but all I can think of are cardiovascular and don't give you any muscle building exercises.

7
krick 15 hours ago 1 reply      
From the medical point of view what author says is true. Actually, it's not something new, there are many complaints about crossfit from knowledgeable people. Especially often I see powerlifters ranting about crossfit being harmful.

But here's the problem. As you know HN isn't sports resource, yet article about CF is on top. Why? You see what I mean? It's extremely popular amongst people that don't want to be powerlifters or swimmers or sprinters, that don't really care about competing at all, they just want to have some exercising program to follow and stay fit. Which is totally fair. For which crossfit is better than nothing (at least until you injure your ankle while doing box-jumps). And I completely understand those who doesn't follow advices like "don't do crossfit, do powerlifting" as powerlifting competitions cannot be the goal for them.

What I'm saying is when there is counter-advice there should be advice as well. Now, Erin isn't a powerlifter and sure she provides something like "fitness training plan", but while the idea of crossfit training is clear (maximizing intensity whatever exercises you do) neither she nor others provide enough material for self-education to be able to do some "not-harmful crossfit". And people essentially want "not-harmful crossfit", not training for judo or sprinting or powerlifting unless they do judo or sprinting or powerlifting of course.

So, tl;dr: crossfit is harmful nothing new here. "Train like an athlete, but train safely." not informative/constructive enough.

8
blue11 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This was probably the best critique of Crossfit that I've read so far. Personally, I've been doing Crossfit for 2+ years and I've got a lot out of it. In fact, I have been in the best shape of my life because of it. At the same time I've always had issues with some things. For one, the nutrition principles that they advocate, basically the Paleo diet, is quite questionable in my opinion (although not really harmful , since it's basically a low carbm, high protein diet). And, yes, there are lot of practices that predispose to injuries. In fact, I'm currently recovering from an injury that I am pretty sure I got at CF, although it wasn't the type of injury that you can pinpoint to a particular moment. Even though I believe that it was mostly my fault, because of bad form, and because of underestimating the damage for months and making it worse, at the same time it is true that the CF environment is such that it increases the chance of people injuring themselves.

However, this and other articles criticizing CF don't really understand the appeal of CF to most of the people that go there. The criticism is usually coming from serious athletes (and I use the word broadly to include professional athletes, semi-professional, and people that have always been just good at sports). Guess what, most people are not athletes, they do not have the knowledge or the motivation to come up with a proper training program and execute it on their own, and they are easily discouraged when sports do not come naturally easy to them. Most people are like me, they want to show up 3 times a week, do whatever workout has been prepared for them, and have an instructor advise them on what their doing. There is not much out there that comes close to CF. There are two big strengths of CF: Variety and Accessibility. Variety: CF is an all around training program, which might be bad for professional athletes, but it's great for people who just want to be fit. Where else would you go if you wanted to "properly" train on your own? Regular gyms like 24-hour Fitness don't have some of equipment like climbing ropes, GHD sit ups, pull-up bars (they might have one for the whole gym), and they have limited areas for doing things like barbell squats. (There was recent story about a popular gym eliminating the squat frame because it was "intimidating".) Accessibility: CF welcomes _everyone_. The complaint that the WOD is one-size-fits-all is not quite valid. Any exercise can be scaled down appropriately for each member. That means reducing the weight, reducing the reps, exercise substitution (e.g, doing inclined push-ups for beginners, or doing 3 pull-ups & 3 dips instead of 1 muscle-up, etc.), reducing the workout length and so on. That's how everyone gets to do the WOD. This is a big deal when you are a beginner! Even if you can't do a hand-stand or a musle-up, there are other things you can do and actually make progress. An finally one other thing: price. Yes, CF membership is expensive, but it is also several times cheaper than a personal trainer, and if you go to classes that are 5-12 people you basically have a trainer when you need one.

I've tried different things before, but nothing was as easy to follow or as effective as CF. Right now I'm kind of worried about going back to CF after I recover, as I realize that the chance of getting another serious injury is significant. But at the same time I don't see anything else that has all the benefits. I'd be kind of curious to hear if other people have found alternatives. Most of the suggestions so far are a long of the lines what a motivated athlete would do, but they don't work for people who just want to exercise casually for 5 hours a week and get a balanced workout.

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jasallen 12 hours ago 1 reply      
While I agree with the end sentiment "Crossfit is not a great program" I've got several problems with this article.

1) A lot of discussion of being sore. Sure one of the first things mentioned is "I've been sore before", but then we move on to more complaining about it. That is a natural part of doing any new movements, no matter how in shape you are overall.

2) No appreciation of the value of high rep movements. True, they are not good for hypertrophy (probably, even there the research is shakey whether low and high should be mixed), but they are good for building connective tissue strength, for burning calories, for increasing range of motion in a movement, for bone density...

3) Author links a balanced WebMD article but the link text implies it fully agrees with the negativity.

4) Article doesn't talk much about joint issues which are probably the biggest concern a lot people have with crossfit movements. The violence of many of the movement can lead to muscle and connective tissue problems, but those heal and are obvious.

So, what are my issues with Crossfit?

1) Quality control. The excuse of crossfitters to "just find a better gym, they aren't all like that" is inadequate. Its a single program and a single franchise making money off each gym-goer, not an abstract concept like say HIIT. Ask Krispy Kreme or Quiznos how the no-quality control franchise theory works.

2) They rely on joint stability and momentum as much or more than on muscle. You are simply getting no benefit from that.

3) The movements are violent unnecessarily, this I agree with the author on. The joint reliance, the tugging at muscles and tendons, are all high risk for injury. While there are things that type of work can build that regular weight training cannot, the risk/reward is only worth it for people with specific training needs and doing specifically valuable movements. Kettle bells and kipping pull ups are pretty much never as valuable as good mornings, dead lifts, assisted pullups, and lat pulldowns. Clean and jerk has valuable movements taken separately, but combines them with high joint risk moves in between.

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eshvk 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Crossfit was my first introduction to Weight lifting. In that sense, I am very grateful to CrossFit. However, the process of learning form is incredibly hard. I went to one of the best Crossfit boxes in SF and while I have complete faith that they did emphasize good form, being overwhelmed by the number of new things I had to learn while maintaing good form was too much for me. This came to a culmination where I hurt my knee while doing fast reps of deadlifts.

Since then, I follow my own program of mixing strength and cardio-vascular activity. It took me two years to learn good form. And good form is really really hard to learn. Mainly because you have to go beyond prescriptive advice from books, coaches or the internet and find out what works well with your body. For example, I have relatively long femurs and a narrow squat stance ends up creating additional pressure on my knees. It took me a long fucking time to get over the prescriptive instructions that one's squat stance has to be shoulder width.

Another thing that I personally realized was that very few people understand the principles behind a fitness goal as opposed to cargo cult practices. For example, for a long time, I thought that the only way to build strength was to do barbell exercises. On the other hand, there is a place for machines. This surprised me. Especially since the internet (bodybuilding.com/reddit) seem to chant about how anyone who doesn't do barbells is doomed.

Also, learn the limits of your body. If you are not 17 and filled with natural testosterone or pump your body with steroids, it is going to be hard for you to achieve the kind of transformations that a lot of people appear to achieve. As you grow older, your body just doesn't want to keep gaining muscle.

11
peteretep 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Why I don't do CrossFit: I got tired of getting injured.
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danielodio 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm seeing lots of opinions from people who don't do CrossFit.

Here's one from someone who actually is doing CrossFit:

I'm a member at the CrossFit Palo Alto (CFPA) box (that's what we call the gyms, because they're typically a sparse box-shaped gym). I've also dropped in on other boxes across the country, which I do when I'm traveling.

The #1 thing to know about CrossFit is that while it's a 'brand,' it's not a consistent experience between boxes. It's actually very, very different. Erin's post doesn't make a ton of sense to me because it's as if she's saying "I don't date men, because all men are jerks." Some men are, but some aren't. It's the same with CrossFit. I'm sure that the things she described actually happened to her at a CrossFit box, but they've never happened to me at CFPA.

I've been to boxes where I wouldn't go back. But CrossFit at CFPA has been life changing for me as an entrepreneur. It's one hour, three times per week. I get a very high ROI off of those three hours of commitment. I've been at it for a year now and while I was intimidated when I first started, I've gotten to the point where I look forward to the workouts now. The thing that's great about CrossFit is how it makes the other things you do in your daily routine easier. I'm a new dad and I carry my daughter in a bjorn, which means I have to squat when she drops something and I have to pick it up. CrossFit has made squatting easy, for example.

CrossFit can be disastrous if you don't know how to keep from pushing yourself harder than you should. Everything at CFPA is tempered with weight decisions that are very personal. I've never once felt pressured to go to a higher weight; if anything I was frustrated early on because the coaches wouldn't let me go as high as I thought I could. Some boxes likely aren't as good at monitoring that.

United Barbell up in SF is good, as is Horsepower in LA. Those are the three boxes I've been to that I thought were very professionally (and safely) run. Hope that helps.

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micro_cam 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The popularity of cross fit can be explained, at least in part, because it promises to cram an extremely effective workout into a short period of time that is easy to fit into ones day using short intense intervals and paired opposition exercises. It is almost presented as a hack to get fit in a small amount of time (and is not, to me, out of place on hacker news).

Setting aside the idea that the culture can contribute to people doing exercises wrong and risking injury the debate over cross fit become about weather short, intense, interval workouts are effective.

Famed alpine climber (and trainer to the stars of the movie 300) Mark Twight was an early proponent of the cross fit style work outs but has since returned to including longer endurance style workouts in his programs. He stated in an article titled something like "There is no free lunch" that he saw initial gains from the cross fit style but that endurance began to suffer seriously after 18 months. [1]

Another great climber/multi sports athlete Will Gadd has a number of posts and articles on cross fit and is generally a fan but uses it between sports specific training and with more emphasis on correct form and less on time. [2]

A balanced conclusion would seem to be that cross fit style work outs are better then nothing, can be effective as part of a large training plan even for serious athletes but that we should be aware of the risks of injury and must take personal responsibility for doing exercises correctly. And should still find time to get out for long hikes, bike rides etc if we are interested in having true all day endurance fitness.

[1] The article has since disappeared from his "Gym Jones" website but excerpts can be found here:http://conditioningresearch.blogspot.com/2008/07/intervals-f...http://www.catalystathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5963

[2]http://gravsports.blogspot.com/2009/11/congrats-to-gm-crossf...http://willgadd.com/injury-and-a-few-crossfit-mods-as-a-resu...

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bmoresbest55 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I am was a college basketball player and have played some professional ball as well. I lift on a daily basis and have been doing so (not daily) for just over a decade. I honestly don't know that much about CrossFit. I don't get caught up in all the hype of different weight lifting exercises or different name of workouts.

The number one thing that I can gather from reading this article and understanding how people typically act when exercising, trying to make themselves better, is that they judge others harshly. Even the OP is quite harsh on CrossFit. She has so much "experience" because of her championships and whatnot but I, to a certain degree, have to disagree with her. Not because she is right or wrong but because of her lack of experience in CrossFit. She is telling others not to do it under any circumstances simply because she never experienced these workouts in her collegiate career. Maybe this is something new and better (probably not) but I do not like how she has given herself power to proclaim so many others wrong. Just as they would do to her if given the chance. I think the OP should have been more understanding or even more persuasive in her post. That, I feel, is a make better way to get people on your side. (Not that we are not all on the same side.)

CrossFit on the other hand does not seem to be a proper vehicle for getting the masses in a proper routine. Trainers should not be deemed as such in a weekend and that is sad. However, as always people are lazy and do not read the fine print. This is a problem deeper than CrossFit or exercising in general.

I guess overall my comment is here to say make your own path and earn it. Do not rely on others to do so and also if your do have experience and truly think your can help others become a trainer or coach (after YEARS of training) and help others reach their goals. Don't post an off-the-cuff article about how you are awesome and everyone else is not and expect things to change.

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AndrewBissell 8 hours ago 0 replies      
One thing no one has really mentioned yet, which I will throw out as a major positive impact from CrossFit, is that it's often a member's first exposure to more paleo styles of diet. I've personally found that to be hugely beneficial in reorienting my attitudes toward fat and meat, which are still unfortunately (and baselessly) viewed as dangerous in both pop culture and mainstream diet orthodoxy.
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rrosen326 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm an ex-crossfitter and thought this and the Rippetoe article mentioned were excellent. They have the ring of truth. I loved Crossfit, miss it, and yet probably won't go back.

It wasn't the suffering - that was a positive. It wasn't the injuries - I had chronic shoulder pain that ultimately led to a torn bicep tendon during a set of high-rep cleans for time (of course). The problem was one that Rippetoe mentioned - I just wasn't improving. I suffered extravagantly. Most days I was prostrate on the floor. Many days took me hours till I wasn't nauseous. But I just wasn't getting better. I actually switched to Rippetoe's Starting Strength program and now Wenders 531 and have made steady progress (on strength, at least).

So Crossfit was super fun, but didn't work for me. But the weird thing is that there were many INCREDIBLE athletes in my gym. They were SUPER fit. And they got that way doing Crossfit. So somehow this random variation of high-effort work does work for some people.

Another challenge is what to do if you want to improve but not do Crossfit? There are 3-5 CF gyms within 15 minutes of my house. There are a couple of lame normal gyms. My old CF gym had world-class knowledgeable instructors. I have not been able to find a replacement. And while learning from a book like Starting Strength is ok at the beginning, eventually you need expert help. CF is easy to find. World class strength coaches for the recreational athlete are not.

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jttam 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I am an injured crossfitter. I herniated my L4 vertebrae's disc, and I will likely never be the same. That being said I also used to be a 305 pound man who became a 192 pound man on Crossfit and its concepts. I have never been a "zealot" but I do have some problems with this article.

My problems with this article are multiple, but the big glaring one which people seem to be repeating here over and over again are that Crossfit level 1 certified coaches only "spend a weekend". They make it sound like these people literally came off the street never having done Crossfit before and got certified that weekend.

Maybe that's true. But I've never met a person who took the level 1 let alone became a coach at a box that didn't already have a good chunk of time actually doing WODs and improving from them under their belt. They have gone through the discipline in their own practice and have decided coaching that would be something useful for them. Unlike NASM where you can read a book and get certified, there is a hands-on/lab teaching component. This should be lauded. And no, not everyone is a great teacher, and the best judgment is on the community to determine if someone is working or not. (I've seen Crossfit instructors be dismissed from boxes.)

I would like the OP to quote some articles and provide some science around why the Crossfit HIIT/circuit style training is actually dangerous. I understand the concept, that when in fatigue doing additional work is dangerous, and that Crossfit encourages this at some level, but it's always on the discretion of the participant to put the bar down, to stop doing the pull-ups, and to stop where they got to that session in a WOD. The real challenge in Crossfit is not to leave it all out on the floor, it's to know when to stop leaving it.

What Crossfit does that I see a lot of personal training and individual training programs neglect are concentrations on proper mobility, warm-up, and form. And this comes from a guy who started Crossfit basically near the worst possible shape you can.

Another thing is I was able to study for a year+ with a multi-year Crossfit Games placing athlete, and they used Crossfit WODs to train. Pretty much exclusively. The volume was amped up for sure, but the same movements and the same formats. Maybe the really, really successful people don't do that? But the interviews I see with Rich Froning and Mikko Salo tend to basically say they do three workouts a day in the crossfit-style format. Metcons, endurance, strength. Oh well, I'm late to this party, but my $0.02.

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theboss 18 hours ago 1 reply      
cross fit is really an infiritating thing. The people who do it are sometimes diehard fans with absolutely no knowledge of how to build strength or an "elite athlete". A lot of people just like the brand...

But the diehard fans aren't the worst part. Cross fit the organization loves to shut people down who speak poorly of them. They also have made a lot of unsubstantiated claims about the type of results that can be expected by following cross fit programming (which is laughably bad). Its also thought that they run the cross fit games unfairly since there is a conflict of interest in sponsoring their top athletes and putting on the cross fit games where their sponsored athletes and no sponsored compete.

The worst part is the bad programming and the dangers of having a coach who is instructing you to do things that are obviously bad ideas. Extremely high rep oly lifting is a reciepe for disaster since the lifts are very skill based.

With all that said. One thing about cross fit is really good. They have got people training with barbells and started a lot of people down a path where they can start getting information they need to train better and smarter. But I'll be saving my 100 a month..

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steffenhiller 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Finally a better anti-crossfit post with details and references.

My question: Whats a good alternative?

Ive been only to one crossfit gym for half a year (and stopped because I went to a place without a crossfit gym nearby, I plan to start crossfit again).I think I got lucky to have been at a good gym,and as others have pointed out, the author cannot simply assume all gyms are bad.

Heres my personal experience:

- Before a WOD, we ALWAYS did a refresher on the form of the WODs exercises WITHOUT weights

- The gym offered weekly special classes from professional weight lifters and gymnasts for working on form

- Sometimes, at the end more often, there were 2-3 coaches for a group of around 5 - 15 that watched the form

- I think we never did deadlifts within a WOD, only before as a separate exercise

- In WODs with time-limited sets the coaches always said we can take a minute time out if we reach the limit of a set

- I never saw coaches screaming boot camp-style

- I didnt like partner WODs as they pushed me too hard and therefore made me neglect my form. Those partner WODs were only done once a week, so I simply didnt go at that day.

Overall, my experience in terms of coaching and results was multiple times better than at any normal gym I went before.

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socrates1998 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I have always said people like and do Crossfit not for the workout, but for the atmosphere.

It's a subpar workout done in an unsafe manner, but they have created a strangely cult-like culture that people are dying to be a part of.

People want to be a part of something that is "cool" and "advanced".

This is the primary draw of Crossfit. And the girls.

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DennisP 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm wondering whether CrossFit's approach is especially hard on the heart. A friend of mine, in his mid 40s, had been working out for a year, then went to his first CrossFit class. At home afterwards he laid down for a nap, had a heart attack, and died.

It's entirely possible that it was going to happen anyway, but for us older folks maybe a little extra caution is warranted for this type of exercise.

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decasteve 16 hours ago 2 replies      
As a former athlete I like the direction CrossFit took even though I have similar complaints to the article. I try not to paint all CrossFits as the same. I know a few that are exceptionally well run. I like that CrossFit got people away from the 1980's muscle-mag workouts--isolation exercises, i.e. everyone training like Arnold.
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iblaine 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The first rule of crossfit is to tell everyone that you are taking crossfit. I went to crossfit in the bay area. Seriously some of the most annoying people in the world.
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jonas_b 18 hours ago 1 reply      
FWIW. Here in Oslo, everyone has to do a weekend-intro just to become a member. And instructors are here are really thorough. Other than getting a personal trainer, I don't see how you could get more attention/correction than going to entry-level workout at my gym.
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barsonme 19 hours ago 0 replies      
CF is so easy to hate on, and for good reason. My only issue is that the idea behind CF (work till failure, repetition, and so on) isn't bad in and of itself. Doing 50 cleans isn't bad, per se, it's how you do it that makes it bad. And CF tends to be run by people who propagate bad form, too much weight, and that leads to people getting hurt.

I think it brings both good and bad things to the table, and gets loads of hate because the bad is really bad.

I still won't do CF though. And it does tend to be much like a cult, as ZenPro said. That's weird as well.

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the_watcher 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Not commenting on CrossFit, but the author makes some simply incorrect assertions (kettlebells aren't beneficial? Empirically untrue. Doesn't mean everyone has to do them, but that doesn't mean there is no benefit).
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newaccountfool 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I get coached at Olympic Weightlifting and all the people in our circle slag of Crossfit due to the cult nature of it, the lack of form and the cost. Is it really that expensive how much is it to train at a Corssfit gym in the states?
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eterps 17 hours ago 3 replies      
The problem is that other than having a personal trainer I don't see anything better than CrossFit gyms. The 'normal' gyms are usually a lot worse than CF ones, at least around here (I am living in Amsterdam). Would love to hear other experiences though.
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paulbaumgart 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I've only done it at http://www.crossfitv16.com so my experience may not be typical, but in the classes I've been taking, there's a strong emphasis on good technique and no pressure to push yourself past reasonable limits. It's definitely a bit amateur compared to what top coaches can offer, but it's also affordable to amateur athletes.

Finally, the workouts are clearly not optimal for strength gain, but the idea is to train coordination and balance as well.

So I guess my point is, YMMV when it comes to Crossfit gyms, perhaps unsurprisingly given that it's a franchise.

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huherto 15 hours ago 5 replies      
But it doesn't answer the question. How would you modify crossfit to make it safer and more effective and keep it fun.
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ZenPro 19 hours ago 0 replies      
A well written and comprehensive rebuttal to the cult-like CrossFit. Thanks for the link.
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cyphunk 10 hours ago 0 replies      
WTF, this is frontpage HN?
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QuantumChaos 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Many people have commented on the safety of deadlifts in the article.

I believe that there is a cognitive bias towards attributing injuries to form as opposed to random chance.

Suppose that even with perfect form, there was baseline injury rate (and the injury rate increased beyond this with bad form). It would be very easy to attribute any injury, ex-post, to bad form. Reasons for this might be that a person doesn't want to appear unknowable/unskilled, wanting a feeling of control over their future outcomes, or feeling guilt about not having accomplished their goals.

When I injured my knee doing squats (patellofemoral tracking/pain), I related my symptoms to a doctor friend, who correctly diagnosed the issue, and commented that it usually happens when people try to squat too much weight. I was about to correct him that the weight in itself is not the issue, if perfect form is used. At that point I realized that the bias I described above might exist.

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Huggernaut 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't do CrossFit and I think CrossFit has many problems. I do not however, think that given proper instruction and supervision, the exercises and rep ranges are particularly problematic. The key point to keep in mind regarding CrossFit is the end goal, the CrossFit games. CrossFitters are not training to be bodybuilders, powerlifters, strongmen, football players or sprinters, they are training to be CrossFitters. If they do a WOD, it is not designed optimally to make them aesthetic or strong, it is designed to improve them in competition. Much like you would not go to an athletic track and complain that the sprinters are not optimally training for a marathon or go to a powerlifting gym and complain the players are not training optimally for bodybuilding, why would you go to a CrossFit gym and complain they aren't training optimally for any number of other forms of competition that involve weight?

That said, it should be clear to people when they sign up to a CrossFit gym that this is indeed the case and other benefits are side effects.

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paltman 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's a mistake to apply one-size-fits-all advice to CrossFit. Can it be dangerous? Sure. Can it work well if you are not an idiot? Sure.

Bottom line is, you, as the athlete, must listen to his body first and foremost.

Push through soreness, sure. But acute pain? No way.

The problem is, perhaps, that non-athletes come into CrossFit and haven't learned the difference and are not coached on the difference. As a former college athlete (football), that nuance had become second nature to me and therefore I know when to use the coaching prompts to push through to motivate me and I also know when to ignore them because I feel a potential injury coming or realize my form is breaking down.

I think part of the problem might lie in how easy it is to become CrossFit certified, not with the regimes themselves.

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skizm 14 hours ago 5 replies      
First let's start with a lesson on affiliate vs franchise. Crossfit (the company) is an affiliate model. You pay $3k a year to use their name and $1k to be "certified". That's it. You can start whatever kind of gym you want now, as long as you don't bash the Crossfit name. Crossfit cannot enforce quality control measures as an affiliate which is why so many gyms are shit. If Crossfit enforced quality control, they would be pushing themselves into the franchise category and open themselves up to all kinds of liabilities. They don't want this so they stay hands off and just run the games each year.

Back to the article...

Welcome to every single Crossfit argument for the last 10 years. Coaches are bad, high rep oly moves are bad, everyone's form is bad, blah blah blah.

The answer to every single complaint this guy has is that he is in a terrible crossfit gym with terrible coaches. Granted, there are a lot of terrible crossfit gyms out there and a lot of terrible coaches. That doesn't make crossfit in general bad.

Crossfit is a sport, just like boxing, MMA, and skateboarding are sports. Sports come with inherent risks. Deal with it or don't do it. Some people do these sports with the main purpose of getting in shape, but also want to have a little fun since benching by yourself in the morning can get boring. They dumb down the movements to remove some of the risks but still capture the nature of the sport. This is exactly like people who take kickboxing classes at the YMCA. Kickboxing is dangerous, yet no one is arguing that we should cancel all kickboxing classes.

It boggles my mind sometimes. Why are people so offended by Crossfit? Who cares what other people do to get in shape? There are people doing parkour on the top of buildings, jumping dirt bikes over the grand canyon, and snowboarding down mountain sides and no one cares about them. Why is Crossfit special?

12
Why Van Halen's tour contract had a "no brown M&M's" clause snopes.com
229 points by magsafe  2 days ago   155 comments top 26
1
Monkeyget 2 days ago 4 replies      
It reminds me of the orange juice test.You organize an annual convention for hundreds of people.

You tell the banquet manager of the hotel you are considering that the morning breakfast must include a large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice for everyone of the attendees. It must be squeezed no more than two hours before the breakfast.

It is not possible to do so. Squeezing that much orange in much a short amount of time would be prohibitively expensive.

If the manager says yes he is either lying or incompetent and you'd better find someone else who will tell you it's not possible.

2
JonnieCache 2 days ago 9 replies      
This seems like a good opportunity to post RMS' rider again:

https://secure.mysociety.org/admin/lists/pipermail/developer...

Fabulous stuff. I wonder how often he has/gets to hang out with random parrots since this document became widely known. In my mind he is surrounded constantly by sandal-wearing acolytes wielding exotic birds of every variety.

3
emiliobumachar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Engineer's version: Write-only memory

"Out of frustration with the long and seemingly useless chain of approvals required of component specifications during which no actual checking seemed to occur, an engineer at Signetics once created a specification for a write-only memory and included it with a bunch of other specifications to be approved. This inclusion came to the attention of Signetics management only when regular customers started calling and asking for pricing information. Signetics published a corrected edition of the data book and requested the return of the 'erroneous' literature."

4
bane 2 days ago 0 replies      
One of the interesting things about tech work is that it's almost all "brown M&Ms". It's amazing how important attention to detail is in this field and how quickly something will simply not work if the details aren't sweated.

We see it time and again when things go into production where the "brown M&Ms" haven't been looked into and we end up with things like enterprise class websites that cost millions of dollars to produce crumbling under the load of a dozen simultaneous users.

5
exDM69 2 days ago 1 reply      
I recall reading that the "no brown M&M's" clause was added after a near-fatal accident on stage where a member of the Van Halen band got electrocuted because of bad wiring on the stage.
6
JunkDNA 2 days ago 0 replies      
See previous HN discussion (360 points, 1,744 days ago) here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=743860
7
Nanzikambe 2 days ago 5 replies      
A contract "poison pill" or litmus test. Pretty ingenious, is that sort of thing common practice in contracts?
8
spingsprong 2 days ago 1 reply      
An episode of the TRC podcast covered this, and came to a different conclusion than snopes.

http://www.trcpodcast.com/trc-219-can-men-and-women-be-frien...

9
gnyman 2 days ago 1 reply      
There are quite a few applications that do something similar, they leave a "disabled=1" or similar in the config to make sure people look at the config before trying to run the software.I remember the eggdrop IRC bot doing it (http://cvs.eggheads.org/viewvc/eggdrop1.6/eggdrop.conf?view=... , look for the lines starting with die) this and I'm sure there are more.
10
dvanduzer 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can listen to Ira Glass and John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants talk about it in the prologue: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/386/f...

"there's 30 people the promoter's going to hire on our behalf ... but in only half of them did we require that they be sober"

12
ctdonath 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've read thru a bunch of other nit-picky riders. Strikes me that an under-discussed factor is that these high-value stars (contracts running into the $millions) are under extreme pressure, which is severely aggravated by so much change on a daily/hourly basis; something as "trivial" as wrong-temperature or brand drinks (I dislike Poland Spring water, and prefer Mt Dew in cans not bottles), uncomfortable seats, or even brown M&Ms (hey, everyone has a pet peeve) can be an unnerving "last straw". Having a few "perfect" arrangements everywhere gives them something to center on for mental stability.

ETA: I realize this is a tangent. Methinks it's relevant.

13
YesThatTom2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Once I buried a crazy request in a list of "you need to agree on these points or the book won't make the deadline" email to my publisher. My editor flat out agreed to them all.

That's how I knew she was lying about having read them and I had to escalate to the production editor.

It saved the book.

14
Roonerelli 2 days ago 3 replies      
Ive heard similar stories regarding developers and IT Services

Where the devs werent allowed access to the Production environment so would have to leave written instructions on how to deploy the software theyve written. And convinced that IT Services werent reading their instructions they would write something really offensive in there and see if they complained

Possibly just a myth, but amusing all the same

15
salehenrahman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm stealing this tactic when interviewing a QA guy, if I ever do end up looking to hire QA guys, that is.

Me: "So here are a set of instructions are programmers were asked to follow. Can you see anything wrong"

QA candidate: "Why yes. They forgot to remove the brown M&M's"

Me: "You start tomorrow."

16
rhizome 2 days ago 2 replies      
Contrary to Snopes' last-updated, this is at least 10 years old.

Summary/spoiler: It was to ensure the contract was read thoroughly.

17
yp_all 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe a more interesting question is whether they ever exercised their right to terminate for brown M&M's.

Is there any notion of material breach, major vs minor breach, etc. in "tour contracts"?

18
bttf 2 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of some IRCd configurations, in which the server will not function properly unless you've thoroughly read through the conf file and found the single commented line which disables the entire process.
19
HERRbPUNKT 2 days ago 1 reply      
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwHO2HnwfnA

Interview with Eddy Van Halen, telling the story first hand. :)

20
sgdread 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen same kind of tests on one of the fire ranges. You have to read safety rules. One of the points was to put x mark on the 2nd page if you read that.
21
supergeek133 2 days ago 1 reply      
22
harryb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting lesson about getting confidence by adding bugs. This was mentioned at a recent tech talk about Java Mutation Testing and PIT http://pitest.org/ - video here http://vimeo.com/89083982
23
quotha 2 days ago 0 replies      
You have to remember, it was the 80s!
24
circa 2 days ago 0 replies      
How is there no mention of Wayne's World in these comments?
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pjbrunet 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm not a lawyer, but as I understand contract law, delivering something "close enough" is all that's required to satisfy a contract. Let's pretend everything's perfect except for one brown M&M. I'm sure a lawyer can explain it better, but if everything else is in order, I think Van Halen would have to perform their end of the deal.
26
bjourne 2 days ago 3 replies      
Maybe a mathematician can explain whether this "trick" works or not? Intuitively, I can't see that knowing whether the M&M demand was filled makes it more probable that the other demands are filled.

Say you have a pile with five black or white marbles. You want them all to be black. So you check that the first marble in the pile is black (ie no brown m&m:s). Is it now more probable that the other four marbles also are black?

Because you are just checking one specific marble instead of sampling a number of randomly chosen marbles (which of course would increase the probability), I don't see how it can work.

13
So Youre Not Desirable nytimes.com
225 points by wallflower  1 day ago   128 comments top 21
1
Udo 17 hours ago 6 replies      
The article makes a good case for "when they get to know you, some of them will fall for you."

When I was still young and at least somewhat cute, I remarked to a friend how depressing it was that women always go for rich and arrogant men. My friend's reply absolutely changed my perspective on this: by choosing socially well-accepted and successful men they actually place a lot more emphasis on the inner values than males do. In a very real sense, women love you for who you are (=rich and successful) as opposed to what you look like (=a characteristic you can't do much about).

Contrast that with male perception, if you think a girl is attractive, everything she says suddenly sounds meaningful and important. Of course the article is correct, once you actually get to know people, this changes. But for getting the foot in the door so to speak, attractiveness and an aura of importance respectively are probably still the most important vectors.

I just want to mention for completeness' sake, and only because it would be taboo to express this in a magazine article: if you're really unhappy with the dating rat race, and it's genuinely not realistic for you to improve your chances by optimizing these superficials, it is possible to just opt out of everything. I know it's controversial and for some reason it upsets a lot of people when I tell them that I just stopped. Contrary to popular belief, this mating thing is not something which you absolutely must accomplish. I've crossed to this other side, and it's really really peaceful here. ;)

2
te_platt 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I remember during my first year at college looking through a friend's high school yearbook remarking on some of the girls I thought were cute but he didn't. He made comments that didn't have to do with their physical appearance - like "she was mean" or "she was rude". When he looked through my yearbook the same thing happened, we just switched sides. I thought it was interesting how knowing the person actually changed the assessment of how physically attractive someone was. Not overwhelmingly so but definitely enough to notice.
3
rjknight 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel that this could have been stated much more simply:

1) There are personal attributes which are easily observable (mostly physical, also charismatic and possibly social status). This is basically what we can know about a person from appearance alone.

2) There are personal attributes which are less easily observable, and these include temperament, interests, response to various situations, behaviour outside of group situations. To know these things requires much greater time interacting with a person, possibly in smaller groups or one-on-one.

People's tastes in #1 are mostly uniform. Someone rated highly for #1 by one person is likely to be rated highly by any other person. The same is emphatically not true of #2, where ratings vary wildly.

As exposure to #2 increases, it increases in importance over #1. Let's say that #2 constitutes 80% of your overall "rating" of a person, and you really like them so they're a 9 despite scoring only a 5 on the initial assessment. Their total score is 8.2. Someone who scores a 10 for #1 but a 4 for #2 scores 6.2. These numbers might be off and they might vary between people but I think it's a pretty simple idea.

Most people are taking this as a suggestion about their own attractiveness, but the flip-side argument is possibly even more important - the person you're most likely to be really attracted to isn't necessarily the person who scores most highly on #1, and if you're using #1 as a filter then you're ruling good people out.

4
greggman 22 hours ago 5 replies      
I'm not sure how this is helpful. I've known I'm personally more attracted to personality than looks. That's not the problem.

The problem is it's hard (at least for me) to get the opportunity to be around members of the opposite sex long enough for them to see my "uniqueness"

Personal examples. My last job of 5 years had 100 people on my floor only 2 of which were women. My friends are generally all geeks who have no women friends to include in our activities.

I'm not whining. Only pointing out that telling me it's okay because my uniqueness will win over my consensus desirability is not helpful because no one gets the chance to learn my uniqueness

5
spindritf 19 hours ago 0 replies      
if you do not have a high mate value, take heart. All you need is for others to have the patience to get to know you

Or increase your mate value. In traits like conscientiousness or intelligence 40-60% of variance is genetic. There is no reason to think that somehow charisma is a weird outlier with which you're stuck. She thinks anyone can act much more charismatically https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMu_md_5PQ4 Feels a little newagey but otherwise completely reasonable.

It's the same with meeting people. You probably live in a large city with millions of them. Even with strict selection there are at least a few thousands of potential mates. Why wait until you end up in a small group with one of them?

It also means that you have as many attempts as you want. Blowing out with one person will not haunt you through that social group forever.

This is one of those articles that is supposed to make people feel good about themselves, and maybe it does, but at the cost of bringing counter-productive advice.

6
socrates1998 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I usually disagree with papers like these but this one is a little more accurate to real life.

The concept of "value" in dating is absurd. Everyone judges value differently. Being attracted to another person has so many variables it can't bit factored in.

Are there some "universal traits" that make people physically attractive? Yes, but that doesn't mean the dating world is a hierarchy with the beautiful people at the top.

And having a super beautiful girlfriend isn't always great. I know models who are insanely insecure about their bodies and are just a pain to be around because they are constantly worried about how they look.

I think I generally date cute girls, but I once dated a that was definitely physically more attractive than most of the rest. She would get tons of attention when we went out. Guys would constantly check her out or give me "Great job man!" looks and comments. I knew she was constantly getting invited to social events, parties and probably dates as well.

This amount of attention can really be unhealthy to a relationship. If she is constantly being tempted by tons of guys and opportunities every day, then its just a matter of time when she starts to think, "You know he is nice, but that other guy was really cute."

And thats really how it ended. She just stopped returning my texts and phone calls one day, so I am pretty sure she just moved on to something else. It wasn't too bad for me, she had a lot of flaws even though she was gorgeous.

7
bambax 19 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a blog post on OKCupid that discusses the same concepts:

> the more men as a group disagree about a woman's look, the more they end up liking her

http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/the-mathematics-of-beauty/

If everyone agree you're ugly, that's bad. But if some people lilke you a lot and some people dislike you a lot, that's much better than if everyone agree you're "okay", or "cute".

However, the OP has a rather floating concept of uniqueness that they seem to conflate with intimacy or friendship; of course once you become friends with someone they're unique to you, but that doesn't mean much about their "uniqueness" as a property of their being.

8
personlurking 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I spent my teens and 20s working hard on my uniqueness out of a feeling that I was different. I forced myself to like anything that was out of the ordinary (this manifested itself in attaching myself to any concepts, interests, and preferences that were non-American). I allowed my search to be different to overtake me, making me a bit of a vagabond, more interested in exploration than in work (discovery-oriented rather than goal-oriented).

Liking interesting things can act as a repellent because it becomes so much harder to find others who have worked a lot on their interestingness or who can appreciate your differences, knowledge and tastes.

Now in my 30s, I've let it go (due to a realization that I don't need to try so hard) and it feels as if a lot of it just disappeared. Like a great meal, I loved it while I was eating it but afterwards there's just an empty plate and the memory of the meal.

9
hypron 22 hours ago 5 replies      
>In a related study of approximately 350 heterosexual individuals, we collected these same measures in networks of opposite-sex friends, acquaintances and partners. Among these well-acquainted individuals, consensus on measures of mate value was nearly zero. These are the people who know what authors you like, what you wore for Halloween six years ago and what obscure movie you will quote the next time you all get together. But they cannot agree on your mate value. Over the years, it has evaporated before their eyes.

I'm curious if this is the cause of the so-called "friend zone". A guy and a girl meet and become friends. After getting to know each other, the guy still thinks the girl has mate value, whereas the girl doesn't think the guy has mate value.

10
31reasons 22 hours ago 2 replies      
>>All you need is for others to have the patience to get to know you, and a more level playing field should follow.

And a different career than engineering, so you can find more time and possibility of meeting possible mates at work.

11
enraged_camel 22 hours ago 0 replies      
What this article seems to be saying is that uniqueness has a multiplier effect on attractiveness. You can have a "base attractiveness" of 5 out of 10, but the more unique you are, the higher (and lower) you will appear to various people as they get to know you better.
12
galfarragem 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The smartest blog I know to understand relationships. A must read:

http://www.therationalmale.com

13
kyberias 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I find it hard to grasp the concept of charisma. Its definition seems to be vague and highly subjective. It was mentioned in this article like it was something very specific. My pet peeve I guess.
14
bambax 18 hours ago 1 reply      
The existence of ugly people is proof that their ugly parents did mate.
15
FD3SA 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The most interesting aspect of the modern mating paradigm is the opportunity costs associated with mate-seeking behavior, and the impacts on successful societies.

Most primate societies are focused on mating and survival, without much surplus effort remaining for any other tasks. Humans, by virtue of technology and social engineering, have gained a rare ability to dedicate an incredible amount of time to creating heretofore unfathomable works of the imagination such as science, engineering, art, music and literature.

Though many believe this was natural progression, there still exist a few human societies that are effectively hunter gatherers, and expend little energy in advancing their societies technologically. The trillion dollar question is this: what role do mating paradigms play in determining societal structure?

My own hypothesis, and one shared by a surprising number of old scholars, is that mating paradigms are a fundamental determinant of societal structure.

There is a very strong correlation in history between societies that practised very strict mating policies and those that are considered successful. In fact, it seems increasingly likely that the purpose of strict religious practices was to tightly control the mating marketplace in order to prevent the devastating opportunity costs associated with a no holds barred mating market.

As such, I'm interested where the increasingly liberal sexual marketplace will lead societies. Men who spend too much of their time creating wonderful works of art, but fail to reproduce, will be unsuccessful in the long run. Many born in this day and age believe modern civilization has always existed, and will always continue. However, as many countries around the world demonstrate, advanced civilization is an extremely unstable equilibrium. A perturbation of even one pillar can have disastrous, irreversible consequences.

We live in interesting times.

16
streetpickup 22 hours ago 1 reply      
> One recent study of a representative sample of adolescents found that only 6 percent reported that they and their partners formed a romantic relationship soon after meeting.

> It seems most likely that it is the consensually desirable people who pull off the rare feat of quickly leveraging an initial positive impression into romance, while a vast majority of us get to know our romantic partners slowly, gradually, over time.

I think anyone can learn how to do this.

17
sizzle 8 hours ago 0 replies      
anyone ever been in this situation? what was the outcome like?
18
lsv1 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought this article was about not being desirable in the job market for some terrible fact or harsh truth. Instead I was greeted with a fluffy article. I'm question the value of this article on HN.
19
Dewie 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Romance is funny. On one hand, people believe in some intrinsic uniqueness in people that make a few of them destined to be their "soul mate". This is purely a matter of being-who-you-are, which can't be measured as objectively good or bad, but is perfect for the few that are your destined "soul mates" (some people won't call it 'soul mate' or have such a mystical aura around it, but may believe in the same thing just as well).

On the other hand, people believe that people can be objectively measured and that they can be assigned a dating market 'value'. Then people have to assess their own value in order to be realistic about who they can date, lest they (gasp) overshoot and try to be with someone who is out of their league.

These two viewpoints are polar opposites. Yet it seems that people seem to either concern themselves with one or the other, at some point in time.

There is nothing like this league-stuff for friendships (perhaps except for in high school) or any other human relationships. Why? Perhaps it's because of the seemingly almost universally accepted concept of monogamy.

20
hellbreakslose 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I seriously don't like this article...

Why should we try and scientificaly explain the only things that keeps us human? Then come out with a pattern and become robots?

Also in the other hand of the article, my attractivness is medium to low, and I don't attract women easily (my looks are ok, but I got that weird mindset that drives them away).I've had a relationship with a woman that was hot 9/10 very very smart studied in ivy league with scolarship and she was very attractive to the point that we had guys coming after her when we were going out... My life experiences proves that article jibberish ...

21
jamesaguilar 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I definitely know some unique folks, and that does really seem to work for them in romantic settings. Like those other qualities -- wealth, attractiveness, power -- only a few can be the "most" unique. Maybe it's cynical, but I guess that most people aren't that exceptional, and that's OK.
14
The Trade of the Century: When George Soros Broke the British Pound priceonomics.com
211 points by nols  3 days ago   180 comments top 26
1
AndrewBissell 3 days ago 3 replies      
Politicians always like to blame speculators when their attempts to fight the market inevitably end in failure, and this instance is no different. Soros didn't "break the GBP," it was already broken and the British government's guarantee to prop it up was never sustainable in the first place.

Someone was going to a lot of make money when the British government's scheme unraveled. Soros just happened to make a lot more than anyone else. Reminds me of a good Rhett Butler quote: "Opportunists have always been held in disrepute. Especially by those who had the same opportunities and didn't take them."

2
temuze 3 days ago 4 replies      
Can someone explain to me what the effects of China's artificial devaluation of the yuan vs the dollar are? I understand that they are doing this to make themselves more competitive as an export economy, but can they really keep it up? I mean, to maintain this valuation, they have to constantly sell yuan and buy dollars, but they can't do that forever, right?

So when the yuan finally increases in value, will the dollar's value crash?

3
seizethecheese 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's interesting that the loss to the Bank of England is attributed almost entirely to Soros. If you accept that the fixed rate was unsustainable then even without Soros the Bank of England would have been forced to defend an untenable position, and eventually would have lost enough to give up. It's reasonable to assume that the acceptable losses for the Bank of England would have been similar whether they were sustained in one day or over the period of weeks or months.

Soros' brilliance was to see the inevitable and take almost the entire opportunity for himself.

4
ryandrake 3 days ago 0 replies      
Bank of England thought they could achieve the Impossible Trinity [1] and failed:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impossible_trinity

5
bsaul 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how much money soros fans lost when they tried to do the same in the previous years, trying to speculate on the end of the euro.

I love the paragraph saying "there was no way the sterling would go up". Those are really the kind of reasonning you can do 20 years later. You never know that there really "is no chance".

6
pjc50 3 days ago 2 replies      
In some ways, this was a comparatively cheap way for the UK to discover that fixed exchange rates between economies must force the pressure into current account deficits instead; such as has happened to Portugal/Ireland/Greece/Spain. Falling out of ERM kept the UK out of the Euro, which was beneficial in the long run.
7
loso 3 days ago 0 replies      
A pretty good documentary from the BBC about Black Wednesday. Shows more from the government side and the mistakes they made than Soros part but still gives you a good understanding of what happened. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=K_oET45GzMI
8
duncan_bayne 3 days ago 0 replies      
"As it turns out, Margaret Thatcher was right: the UK had no business trying to artificially prop up its currency in an era when a handful of hedge funds could assemble more capital in a few hours than the Bank of England had at its disposal."

Unfortunately, power-lust and ideology usually trump reason when politicians are involved.

9
phkahler 3 days ago 2 replies      
So what is the play today? The US is backed into a corner. Interest rates are near zero (Fed fund rate) and they're buying $75Billion in bonds a month to keep interest rates low. That was $85B and was supposed to taper, but as soon as they dropped a little bit mortgage rates rose and home sales dropped again - the housing market is at another peak with the low interest rates with nowhere to go but down. They keep hoping to get some inflation going by pushing on that rope and it's just not happening. All the money is going into stocks. If we do get significant inflation they'll have to raise rates and destroy the housing market (worse than last time). So we're on the brink. It's hard to short stocks when they're rising so fast - one who could time this thing could make Soros' gain look like lunch money. What is the play?
10
blueskin_ 2 days ago 1 reply      
Yet again, Thatcher showed her intelligence and foresight by opposing the ERM. There's a reason many people in Britain referred to it as the Eternal Recession Mechanism.

It is a shame bordering on a national disgrace that so many people don't know of actions like that, or indeed, her being one of the biggest proponents of lean-burn technology that would yield several times the fuel efficiency of modern cars but has since been all but abandoned[1]. She saw climate change as a future issue before any other politician, but was unable to act given the conditions of the time. Instead, she is best remembered for the collapse of the coal industry, something that was inevitable in any case, but she simply refused to subsidise it to keep it staggering along for another couple of years.

Not only this, but she was responsible for Britain winning one of the few post-WW2 wars fought by the West against anything close to an equally well equipped foreign power.

[1]http://iaindale.blogspot.co.uk/2009/02/margaret-thatcher-cli... http://conceptual-reflections.w43w.com/1036/unleaded-paintin...

11
westiseast 3 days ago 2 replies      
If you see an online service whose online security is terrible, do you (a) notify the company (b) hack them and privately inform them off the exploit or (c) hack them, steal all the data, sell it on the open market and make a million pounds, simultaneously disadvantaging millions of average customers?
12
alexmayyasi 3 days ago 4 replies      
I'm interested to hear people's reactions to the article and the Soros trade.

I'd also like to know what the HN crowd thinks about opinions like this recent New Yorker article that asks how hedge funds "get away" with charging such high fees without producing superior returns:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2014/05/ho...

13
arbuge 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's a previous century.

This century's trade of the century so far might be John Paulson shorting various mortgage securities during the financial crisis.

14
coreymgilmore 3 days ago 0 replies      
Free markets always win. The markets have a very good history of correcting themselves and it just happens to be that corrections are always rough to most people, and highly profitable to a few. Ex. the 2009 housing bubble in the US. A few people made a ton of money of this. Same with gold coming off its all time highs.
15
facepalm 2 days ago 1 reply      
One aspect in stories of this kind always seems to be somebody trying to artificially inflating the value of some stock (or currency) by buying lots and lots of it. In this case, the bank of England. (I've read the same thing about Indonesia, and the Barings Bank incident).

That seems so silly - I mean here are these supposedly highly trained financial experts, and all they can do is try the most primitive stock manipulation imaginable?

What would have happened if the Bank of England wouldn't have tried to artificially inflate the pound by buying lots of it? Would it have had the same cost to the tax payer? Obviously there would have been a cost because of the devalued pound (less buying power for foreign goods), so perhaps the question is did it even make any difference? Either they lose because of the diminished buying power, or they lose directly because of the buying spree of the Bank of England?

16
seanccox 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting timing to post this, since the New Yorker explored the data available on hedge funds' returns just yesterday, and found them lacking...

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2014/05/ho...

17
honksillet 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here is the take away. "As it turns out, Margaret Thatcher was right..."
18
rurounijones 3 days ago 0 replies      
So it seems that everyone knew the pound was mis-valued, the only thing stopping them from just revaluing was politics and the egos of politicians.

They were a bleeding man in water and Soros was a shark; I don't praise or like him for what he did but he was not the main cause, he just acts as you would have expected him to.

19
the_watcher 3 days ago 1 reply      
So this is basically the worst case scenario of activist monetary policy by governments, right?
20
Vanayad 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am really curious what would have happened if the British Government bought DM as well during this period (and maybe not disclose it?) Then they would exit the ERM, and the pound would fall and they would exchange all their money back to sterling and would be rich... :/ I know my logic has a mistake in it... it can't be that simple :P
21
PhasmaFelis 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why is it that taking advantage of loopholes and incompetent bureaucracy to take things from innocent people is monstrous if you do it on a small scale, but heroic on a national scale?
22
truantbuick 3 days ago 3 replies      
I don't know that much about finance, so can somebody explain to me why I never hear anybody censuring Soros over this? I only hear congratulations for bamboozling the incompetent British government.

He made billions at the expense of an entire country.

I'm not saying it was illegal, and maybe people like Soros are needed to help deter governments from artificially manipulating their currency like the British did. However, when it comes down to it, he benefited by executing a bet meant to enrich himself, compound the problems of the pound, and diminish the wealth of a nation. It seems like a plainly immoral thing to me.

23
kyleblarson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Funny that he now uses profits derived from the incompetence of one government to purchase elections in another.
24
mikecb 3 days ago 0 replies      
| 2.78 DM to 3.13 GBP.

I think they mean between 2.78 and 3.13 DM per GBP.

25
alexnewman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hardly the trade of the 1900's. In fact Soros has had much better deals. Also, on the notion that the pound was inherintly broken, one should probably checkout adam curtis mayfair set.
26
jokoon 2 days ago 0 replies      
world finance is brutal
15
Baidu Hires Andrew Ng technologyreview.com
205 points by chriskanan  2 days ago   80 comments top 15
1
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, that was unexpected. I admire Ray Kurzweil but Andrew has always struck me as that rare sort of person who can both see the big picture and pick out the stepping stones to getting there. That is incredibly valuable and I did not expect that Google would let him be poached by a rival search company.
2
varelse 2 days ago 4 replies      
The most interesting thing about this announcement is the huge emphasis on GPUs at Baidu driven by Ren Wu:

http://on-demand.gputechconf.com/gtc/2014/presentations/S465...

Combine this with Andrew Ng, whose own student Adam Coates matched Google's cat detector network with 64 consumer grade GPUs, and we are in for interesting times...

http://www.stanford.edu/~acoates/papers/CoatesHuvalWangWuNgC...

3
pjungwir 2 days ago 4 replies      
Wow, I just finished his Coursera ML class this week. I hope that course continues to be offered. I wish I could tell him thanks for teaching it! The way he balances cutting-edge research with popularization of hard concepts reminds me of Richard Feynman. Best of luck to him.
4
chriskanan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Andrew Ng on why he decided to leave his day-to-day responsibilities at Coursera for Baidu: http://blog.coursera.org/post/85921942887/a-personal-message...
5
strebler 2 days ago 2 replies      
Baidu's deep learning based image search is actually quite impressive: http://shitu.baidu.com/
6
ant_sz 1 day ago 1 reply      
As a Chinese I have to say baidu dose have a bad reputation even in this country. Even my friends that works at baidu feels confused after heard this.

Baidu devotes a lot in algorithm and machine learning. But when it comes to Chinese market we can see that technology does not even play an important role in one companies' success (marketing and government relations plays a more important role).

I am wondering how long will baidu keep investing in deep learning as it has so many troubles in international market (where technology really matters).

7
galfarragem 1 day ago 0 replies      
China is in the process of becoming a real superpower. They are making what US made last century: attracting brains.

http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=2014032...

8
bayesianhorse 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hm, leaving Coursera to work at the most censored search engines of all times? Not a good day for humanity...
9
billmalarky 2 days ago 3 replies      
"For now, relatively few people are versed in the tricks needed to get deep learning to work well"

How does one exactly become one of these people? Is any of this information public yet?

10
happyscrappy 2 days ago 3 replies      
Baidu has a long history of being one of the most proactive and restrictive online censors in the search arena so how does he reconcile this contradiction?
11
auston 2 days ago 4 replies      
Andrew, is in my opinion, one of the smartest people alive today. Call it what you'd like, but I'd love to see his work going into an American company.
12
tomaskazemekas 1 day ago 0 replies      
It looks like the trend of search engines becoming more like recommender systems will continue.
13
chriskanan 2 days ago 1 reply      
A more detailed article by MIT Technology Review: http://www.technologyreview.com/news/527301/chinese-search-g...
14
tiatia 1 day ago 1 reply      
They should have hired Chuck Norris instead to shoot all the people that block the internet in China or make the internet slow. With slow I mean slowing gmail down by factor 40.
15
arctansusan 2 days ago 3 replies      
By completely leaving Coursera, this is a vouch of confidence for MOOcs in general. sarcasm Horray for worthless online degrees that have an attrition rate past 90% of total registered students and a near-zero overall completion rate. I'm sure MOOCs will have a great future henceworth now that the CEO of a very visible MOOC company has left.
16
Mac keyboard shortcuts mattgemmell.com
200 points by ingve  3 days ago   119 comments top 34
1
yan 3 days ago 10 replies      
I live by keyboard shortcuts, and one that I use many times a day that I find lists of OS X shortcuts always miss is how to restore a window if it's minimized, or open a new empty document if no windows are active.

Normally, when you cycle open apps with Command+Tab, if you land on an application that has minimized windows, nothing happens. The way to remedy that is as follows: Hold Command and tab to the app you want to un-minimize. Without letting go of Command, press down Option, then while holding down Option, let go of Command.

It's a little awkward to use at first, then you'll do it automatically. I hold Command with my thumb, then tab with ring finger, then just move ring finger back down to Option, and let go of thumb.

Edit: Bonus tip: When landing on an application icon with Tab, continue holding Command and use Tilde (~) to cycle through windows of the same App. I use that one a lot too.

2
userbinator 3 days ago 3 replies      
I find the philosophy behind keyboard shortcuts in Mac OS vs Windows interesting; the former appears to be designed with a much heavier emphasis on mouse use, with keyboard shortcuts added later, while the latter feels somewhat more balanced and the shortcuts easier to discover. E.g. menubars can be navigated in Windows via Alt, the arrow keys, and Enter, with the underlined items also accessible by pressing the corresponding key; in Mac OS the corresponding shortcut is Ctrl+F2, is only available after enabling it with Ctrl+F1. and there's no underlined letters to guide you. Things like moving/resizing windows can be accomplished pretty easily with the keyboard in Windows (Alt- -M/Alt- -S), there's no equivalent by default on a Mac.
3
raamdev 3 days ago 1 reply      
I work in web browsers a lot and the greatest thing I've ever done for productivity is use the Vimium extension in Chrome, which allows me to easily navigate the web using my keyboard.

Pressing "f" instantly tags each link on the page with one or two letters that I can type on the keyboard to go to that link (if I type them as capital letters, the link gets open in a new background tab, otherwise just a new tab).

Even if you're not a fan of the vim editor, if you enjoy keeping your hands on the keyboard it's worth learning the few keyboard shortcuts that Vimium provides for navigating the web.

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/vimium/dbepggeogba...

4
sikhnerd 3 days ago 1 reply      
Highly relevant if you're interested in learning these, or are bad about remember all the random keys in disparate apps is CheatSheet: http://www.cheatsheetapp.com/CheatSheet/

Pop up that shows available keyboard shorcuts (activated by a keyboard shortcut of course :)

5
nimeshneema 2 days ago 2 replies      
Well how many of you felt frustrated when not being able to use Cmd+x / Cmd+v for moving files/directories in finder and have to take a recourse to mouse, open the source and destination finder windows and drag files manually?

I recently discovered this gem that accomplishes the feat using keyboard shortcut. Use Cmd+c to place the file(s)/directorie(s) on clipboard. Now move to destination directory and use "Cmd+v" to do copy-paste and use "Cmd+Option+v" to move the selected files and folders.

6
alxndr 3 days ago 1 reply      
There are some other symbols which are (somewhat) common in OS X's shortcut listings but which aren't listed on this page, like Escape, Home, End, Delete... Found them listed here: http://www.danrodney.com/mac/index.html
7
tuananh 2 days ago 2 replies      
OS X is emacs-friendly, for example C-A, C-E works as home and end respectively.
8
smallegan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Screenshot shortcuts are my favorite:

Cmd+Shift+3 = Capture the entire screen

Cmd+Shift+4 = Capture a selection with the mouse

Cmd+Shift+4 -> Space Bar -> Move cursor and click on window = Capture the selected window

By default it will save these to an image on the desktop. By holding down the Control key it will copy it to the clipboard.

9
Shivetya 2 days ago 1 reply      
I love my Mac, I really do, but damn why is Mail such a POS? Really do I need a three key combo to mark a message read? Why can't I have my smart mailbox mark its messages read? Let alone Mail went through all those trials and tribulations where it really didn't want to think you read your mail.

Still there are still other quirks that can be irritating, as others have mentioned window controls and my favorite, accidentally finding a three key combo that puts things off the main window or worse changes the zoom and you have to figure it out the hard way (yeah, have had Macs for over ten years now and there are key combos that elude me still)

10
DontGiveTwoFlux 3 days ago 1 reply      
Better Touch Tool (http://www.bettertouchtool.net) is another great free app that can really up your productivity. The biggest features for me are additional multitouch gestures that you can program any way you like. My favorites are three finger swipes up, left, and right to reposition windows a la Windows-Key Up Left Right.

While it isn't strictly a keyboard app, it also gives you a lot of flexibility and does support the keyboard. My latest addition is a script that pulls up the Lastpass extension from a global hot key and puts the mouse over "Copy Password." It is very useful for getting passwords into the command line.

11
quackerhacker 2 days ago 2 replies      
My FAV key combo is simple: FN + Backspace

Since I use the terminal ALOT, this key combo is the same behavior as delete on a full keyboard. It will delete text in front of the cursor.

Another helpful one I found out through trial and error is Fn + Shift + <- OR ->

The above moves the cursors placement to the beginning or end of a terminal prompt. Hope this helps someone else :)

12
jongraehl 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love how my 3 year old macbook pro has "alt" and "option" labels on that key that in shortcuts is some awesome unrelated glyph, and the key labeled "control" is in shortcuts described as "^" (which at least is familiar from TTY)
13
dba7dba 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good stuff. Most importantly, it highlights Cmd+Spacebar. It's amazing how many of the non-hard-core geeks know about Cmd+Spacebar on Mac.

Someone told me an investment firm took AWAY computer mice from all employees because using just keyboard makes you 20% more productive (I think they were all Windows shop). And I believe the 20% figure.

14
edanm 3 days ago 1 reply      
The "shortcat" application recomended seems pretty awesome. Playing around with it now.
15
jimmcslim 3 days ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately ^F2 doesn't seem to consistently work in my experience, so I have unmapped it and use a Keyboard Maestro macro triggered by same keystroke globally...

1. Save mouse position2. Mouse mouse to 0,03. Click left button.4. Restore mouse position.

It's a hack but it works.

I also wish there was a consistent keystroke for focusing to the top-level element of a page in Safari: when browsing using Chrome I frequently use the excellent Vimium extension (Vim shortcuts in Chrome; plus great highlighting of links to pretty much navigate quickly with keyboard only). In Safari I use the similar, but not quite as good Vimari. However I find that after navigating to a page from the URL bar, the shortcut to trigger Vimari doesn't ALWAYS work until I click on the document somewhere...

16
chappi42 2 days ago 2 replies      
A bit shallow.

For me the main problem was that Macs had a completely different shortcut layout than Windows and Linux. With 'KeyRemap4MacBook' I was able to get consistency across the different platforms (not perfect but ~ok).

17
ChikkaChiChi 2 days ago 1 reply      
The most glaring issue I have with Mac keyboard shortcuts is the lack of a Meta+L lock feature like in other OSes. "Hot Corners" are idiotic for this purpose.
18
personlurking 3 days ago 1 reply      
My one gripe is they took away Dictionary definitions as first results from Spotlight (command+space). I'll look into using the Dictionary shortcut mentioned in by the OP but I often used the Spotlight way for words I wasn't looking at on my screen.
19
3rd3 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can set up a shortcut for tagging files in Finder which I find really helpful: https://coderwall.com/p/8li8hw
20
simscitizen 3 days ago 2 replies      
One that doesn't seem to be mentioned: if you want to navigate to an absolute path using the keyboard from within a Finder window or a Save dialog, use G to open a little "Go to..." panel that lets you type in a path. It has path completion and has tilde expansion.
21
abruzzi 3 days ago 2 replies      
useful stuff, but is skipped the easy shortcuts to get accented characters:

option-n then n or N : or

option-e then a, e, i o or u : or

option-u then a, e, i o or u : or

option-` then a, e, i o or u : or

option-c : or

there are probably others but I'm more familiar with French, Spanish and German than say Czech.

22
donatj 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Opening recent items" doesn't seem to work for me with any app including TextEdit. I just get Expos
24
mrb 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why this trend of using large font size on blogs? (1.225em from http://mattgemmell.com/stylesheets/screen.css). This is ridiculous, especially when this is done on mobile too. I have to scroll to be able to even read the first word of the first paragraph on my phone!
25
biafra 2 days ago 0 replies      
My favorite shortcut is:

ctrl-shift-eject

to start the screen saver and lock the screen if screen locking is enabled.

26
bonjourmr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great list. I'd also like to suggest this small plugin which allows you to rearrange your windows on your screen as you would in Windows 7/8 with the snap to feature:http://most-advantageous.com/window-keys/
27
fadeddata 3 days ago 0 replies      
Most of the basic Emacs navigation bindings work as well

C-aC-eC-bC-fC-pC-nC-d

probably more...

28
sbecker 3 days ago 0 replies      
SizeUp is a great utility that gives you keyboard shortcuts for resizing and moving windows around. Essential!

http://www.irradiatedsoftware.com/sizeup/

29
matsur 3 days ago 2 replies      
Command-Shift-G in the save dialog or in a Finder window brings up a "Go to folder" prompt that allows text input of a path _with tab completion_.

As an aside, these posts remind me of macosxhints.com of years past.

30
danso 3 days ago 1 reply      
If there was one basic skill that is critical for all novices in moving from novice to intermediate, it'd be keyboard shortcuts...a mechanical skill that's seemingly banal yet important to day-to-day development as typing is to modern writing...and it's even more easily overlooked because most aspiring programmers know how to type at a decent rate, and expect that that's all that's needed to become a decently productive programmer.

Doing power-scripting may not require a ton of keyboard-skill...but for novices trying to leapfrog into web-app development (let's not debate whether that's even wise)...it's excruciating to tell them "OK, now look in config.rb and see if that matches what you see in the main_controller.rb. Then switch to Chrome, refresh, and see the output"...and watch them take 5-10 seconds to poke through each open tab in Sublime Text (or just as bad, explore each branch of the project tree)...by which time, they've forgotten what they were supposed to be looking for in the first place.

In other words, if aspiring developers want to take the quick shortcut, past basic computer science and operating system theory, right into web app development, then they must make up for it in other areas of efficiency. Learning keyboard shortcuts isn't the only vital skill, but it's the easiest to master...and the easiest to pooh-pooh.

31
Axsuul 2 days ago 0 replies      
Turning CapsLock into a modifier key changed my life.
32
peterfisher 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seriously how can you write a keyboard shortcut tutorial and not include any mention of keyremap4macbook.
33
5partan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Finder/Help/Search: keyboard shortcuts. Second topic.
34
superbaconman 2 days ago 0 replies      
on osx the shortcuts are different for emacs between the terminal and x forwarded sessions. it kills me inside that this is the best hardware I can afford for now. oh I also had to remap OSX shortcuts to keep from closing my xfowarded emacs session.
17
Dual-touch smartphone design concept assaflavie.com
199 points by assaflavie  1 day ago   56 comments top 32
1
nutjob123 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sony has already released a gaming console with this feature, the PS Vita. http://www.modojo.com/features/playstation_vitas_rear_touch_...
2
joshmlewis 1 day ago 2 replies      
Ok, try picking up your phone and trying out the movement on the back of the phone that this would require. It doesn't work. If the majority of the phone is touch sensitive how are you supposed to hold it? It makes for really awkward movement of your hand and let's say you figured out how to get the scrolling down, you still have A HUGE issue of UI. The iOS experience nor its apps were made for any kind of cursor or mouse interface.

If you need to reach across the screen without taking up screen real estate, use your other hand. Or use a stylus. Problem solved.

Edit: Also not to mention that for the most part iOS does a pretty good job of letting me be pretty accurate with my bulky fingers. It's not perfect, but it's certainly not terrible.

3
gfodor 1 day ago 1 reply      
as others have mentioned it's not a new idea. i think the reason you don't see it in Apple products at least is because it is a step backwards in terms of metaphor. the iPhone's core metaphor is direct manipulation. this requires that your brain visually connects the motion of your finger with the objects on screen. if you manipulated things via the back touchpad, this illusion would be broken and it would feel more like interfacing with a traditional computer and less like direct manipulation.
4
ortusdux 1 day ago 1 reply      
The Notion Ink tablet originally had this back in 2010. It was disabled and eventually removed entirely. There were rumors that it was squashed by an apple patient, but I cannot find anything more substantial.

The whole NI tablet debacle made me quite jaded towards miracle tech. I'm lucky it predated kickstarter, because I would have most likely backed it up to 50% over retail. It's probably why I don't own a 1st gen pebble.

Here is a good overview of the concept's rise and fall: http://www.engadget.com/tag/NotionInk/

5
pmjordan 1 day ago 1 reply      
As I understand it, the PlayStation Vita has a rear touchpad. I've never used one, does anyone who has care to comment on how well it works?
6
yig 1 day ago 1 reply      
"LucidTouch: A See-Through Mobile Device" byDaniel Wigdor, Clifton Forlines, Patrick Baudisch, John Barnwell, Chia Shen. Published at UIST 2007.

paper: http://www.cliftonforlines.com/papers/2007_wigdor_lucidtouch...

video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbMQ7urAvuc

7
r0h1n 1 day ago 2 replies      
> "The biggest problems is that your fingers are not transparent. They obscure the screen."

I've never realized this was even a problem, much less the biggest one.

8
dnautics 1 day ago 1 reply      
How about instead of a 1:1 touchpad on the back, which could have problems, Put a trackpad on the back of the phone, but have it just be a small square. So it wouldn't be a "full-fledged" touchscreen, but a small touch sensistive section. You could also have a discrete capacitance detecting sliver on the side of the phone so that it's only active if you're physically holding the phone. Clicks would happen using a button.
9
ekr 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know anything about how well this works or how well it was made:

DOOGEE DG800 : sub $120 smartphone with dual touch : http://www.pandawill.com/doogee-valencia-dg800-smartphone-cr...

10
tgb 1 day ago 1 reply      
I suspect that Apple, Samsung, etc. have thought of this, so why aren't they doing it? (After all, the PS Vita has had a back touchpad for a while.) The first thing that comes to mind is that people hold their phones with the back. Accidental clicks would be very difficult to avoid. In contrast, the PS Vita is larger, held with both hands and has non-touchpad areas of the back where you can grip it, as I understand.

I'd still like to see someone try it.

11
acd 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the future of smartphones are foldable either in the middle like a foldable sheet of paper or expandable flexible oled displays formed like Chinese hand fans or origami.

Further more the cell phone of the future will be ableto borrow any big screen in its vicinity. Something like NFC from the large display/computer monitor and built in AppleTV, Google Chrome MiraCast functionality. You will also be able to borrow local keyboards for better input, but without the bluetooth hassles of setting it up. So the cafe, workplaces of the future will have wireless chargers and screens that you can borrow for your mobile device.

So you will carry your device around but borrow larger displays and keyboards. The device will be powerful enough todo your everyday computing. No need to drag a big laptop around if you do not want to.

These devices will also be user serviceable like Google/Motorola Project Ara. It is simply not good for the environment to throw away a whole phone just because the display, battery is bad or because you want to upgrade the radio components. So in the future devices will be made to be recyclable, this trend will be driven by the scarcity of rare earth metals. It will simply not be good enough to buy and throw devices and not think about the recycling of rare metals and the environment.

The future is bright.

12
henryli 1 day ago 0 replies      
Apple, Google, and others have patented concepts around this. No clue whether they're working on them...

http://www.slashgear.com/google-patents-rear-touch-controls-...

http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=...

13
ereckers 1 day ago 0 replies      
The first thing that came to mind was the Nokia Gem concept from around 2011:

http://conversations.nokia.com/2011/11/10/nokia-gem-what-sor...

The whole thing was a touch screen.

Here's an Engadget article on the Nokia concept with a fair amount of comments:

http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/11/nokia-gem-concept-dazzles...

14
nnutter 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Notion Ink Adam tablet, from a year or two ago was going to have this feature.
15
perlpimp 1 day ago 1 reply      
... "The samples will be missing lots of implicit information such as how to install the necessary libraries and how to deal with missing dependencies and version conflicts." ..

Even people who grasp code pretty well loading up some code(stable library) needed by tutorial might get tripped up by a wrong advice such as library that was fixed for some security vulnerability that broke a number of thing that current examples need to work and failing code just misbehaves in a number of ways, one remarkable - blaming general implementation of examples that they are trying breaking security standards and not give any alternative to do otherwise. that is unless you find a reference somewhere on some obscure blog that says that you have to load specific version pre-alpha/HEAD^3 because HEAD is broken so many subtle ways that it will cause you even more pain. This happened not once and not only to me I bet. I know I could've patched my code but with the deadline and fact that I don't know much about cryptography that would not be a sane option.

16
enscr 1 day ago 1 reply      
Now that @assaflavie has written about it, does it constitute as 'prior art' and nobody can patent it?
17
ookblah 1 day ago 2 replies      
what about everyone who has a custom case of some sort on their phone? pretty much negates that...
18
rcchen 23 hours ago 0 replies      
The Motorola Backflip (http://www.gsmarena.com/motorola_backflip-3079.php) actually had a touch pad in the back that could be used in the same way trackballs were used on Blackberries. It was pretty awful to use, though that might have been because it ran Android 1.6
19
jotm 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's a good idea and all, but you know what would be better than two touch panels? A button to turn them off!

With screens bigger than your hands and accidental touch detection being as bad as ever, a simple button to turn off the digitizer would make a lot of people happy...

20
jimfleming 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sensus (http://sensusxp.com/) is working on something similar as an external case for the iPhone. Dislaimer: I have a dev kit.
21
Gregordinary 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Motorola Charm had a trackpad on the back of the phone. I know it could be used for scrolling, not sure if it worked in the same capacity as the dual-touch design concept. http://www.oneprice.in/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Motorola-C...
22
apple314159 1 day ago 0 replies      
Makes more sense to use the front camera as an eye tracking device. Then you get a screen without obstruction. Maybe Apple is already on it:

http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2013/10/apple-fi...

23
avivo 1 day ago 0 replies      
This seems particularly useful for very small touch screens, assuming you can comfortably hold the device without miss-clicks.

Perhaps a smart watch could even have its screen on one side of your wrist, and a "touchpad" on the other.

24
freeslugs 1 day ago 0 replies      
There was something like this at the CES (consumer electronics show). They had it with an iPad. Not sure if this is the most practical idea.
25
cjbenedikt 19 hours ago 0 replies      
It's impossible - until it's done.Patent it! ;-)
26
design 1 day ago 0 replies      
The best thing touch screens have going for them, though, is direct interaction.
27
charlie_vill 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is the sort of content I intend to find on Hacker News. This is why I am here.
28
finalight 1 day ago 0 replies      
for scrolling maybe

for gaming, most likely uncomfortableusers are used to using thumbs to play rather than using their index fingers

i rather be waiting for those kind of panel-less screen

29
karangoeluw 1 day ago 0 replies      
Would be pretty useless if the phone has a case.
30
kevingadd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sony put this into the Playstation Vita and it's awful. Few games use it, and it's clumsy in the games that do. It's possible that a company like Apple could make it good somehow, through sheer will and hardware/software expertise, but I suspect it's just not a good idea in practice even if it's good on paper.

Based on my limited experience, some potential issues:

Not having the user's fingers obscuring the view of the screen may in fact increase the perceived latency, since they're focused on the screen and don't have the motion of their fingers to distract them.

The latency issue would be twice as bad if you want to render a 'ghost' of your hands on the screen as described in this design concept.

Interacting with onscreen elements is more difficult when using your hands on the rear of a device, even with a 1-1 mapping. I don't really know why this is, but even with a cursor onscreen, I have found it to be true.

Accidental interaction is 5 times worse with a rear touch panel. Apps on the Vita that use it extensively are a huge pain in terms of accidental swipes and touches, especially if you try to lay the device down on a surface for a moment, or set it on your knee to use the front touch panel.

The core problem with virtual buttons/joysticks/gamepads is that you have no physical feedback about where your fingers are, and as a result you lose your 'centering' and your inputs end up being misinterpreted or not landing. Moving your fingers to the rear of the device makes this worse, because you can no longer look at your fingers to figure out where they are.

31
gdi2290 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sony called, they want their PS Vita back
32
shahocean 1 day ago 0 replies      
Apple was working on it at some point! so as Google!
18
Hello from 1978 nycresistor.com
194 points by rbanffy  1 day ago   38 comments top 19
1
jzwinck 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Fifteen years ago I was handed a Wang (http://www.computermuseum.li/Testpage/WangVS100.htm) and told to get it working. Apparently some company my employer had acquired used this thing to store its business records, and my employer used PCs so they just wanted to archive what was on the Wang then get rid of it.

The thing booted up but there was no display--the integrated screen was somehow blown. So I got a suitable television and that worked, modulo the TV's overscan clipping off the first character on every line. I then found enough adapters to get it to print, connected a dot matrix printer with continuous forms (just like Wang intended!) and printed every single document on the disk drive. Imagine.

It came to perhaps a thousand pages.

2
hughw 1 day ago 0 replies      
The 11/34 powered the Schlumberger wireline logging units in the offshore Gulf of Mexico, beginning in about 1980. Schlumberger designed dozens of Unibus cards, one as a controller for each logging tool. So most of the system was a giant slotted cage for sliding the appropriate cards for the job, into. The main peripherals were a TI thermal printer and keyboard, a tape drive, a Tektronix display, and a continuous film recorder unit that captured the scrolling Tektronix image. I found this image: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-O6FC-DLQI5w/ThWTeDxv2-I/AAAAAAAAB2... The PDPs are lower left; behind the panel directly in front of the engineer is a whole mess of Unibus cards. The most amazing thing about the system might be the number of cards you could plug into it.

Edit to add: The plugin cards were way more than controllers. They were (analog) computers too, fulfilling signal processing functions, and other computations, the poor little PDP could not hope to keep up with. For example, one device detected, I presume using analog circuitry, the peak of the first arrival of a sound wave transmitted through earth and mud, across a couple of meters. The card would report the time between the click and the peak of that arrival, back to the PDP. Nowadays you'd digitize the signal and write a program to look for the peak. Back then you designed circuits!

3
johnohara 1 day ago 1 reply      
I took one computer programming class in college. PL/1 with a PL/C compiler using punch cards. Said no way, this is absurd.

Three years later (after graduation) I was introduced to an 11/34. Then an 11/44 with 1MB on internal memory and removable disk packs. On to a VAX 11/780, an 11/785, an 11/750, clustering, an 8650, a 6310, etc. I even built a MicroVax I from parts purchased used.

There's a ton of us who still remember 30 and 60 amp power supplies and sequenced spin-up of drive stacks.

And we walked uphill both ways to our jobs with nothing but a TI calculator in our pockets.

4
kabdib 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Meta-nostalgia is when you find one of your own postings in someone else's nostalgia.

I feel old. :-)

5
ChuckMcM 1 day ago 1 reply      
Always fun, next up doing a SYSGEN on RSX-11M :-) I'm impressed that the RKO5 worked. The filters on those things would often decay into dust.
6
delinka 1 day ago 1 reply      
I want to know more about the "digitized monkey brains."
7
mratzloff 10 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're into this kind of thing and are in Seattle, I recommend stopping by the Living Computer Museum. You get to sit down and interact with the machines. :-)

http://www.livingcomputermuseum.org/

(They don't have a PDP-11/34, but they have a lot of mainframes and other machines.)

8
Aardwolf 18 hours ago 1 reply      
9
Splendor 1 day ago 1 reply      
I do some work in OpenVMS so the video looks surprisingly like 2014 to me.
10
mrbill 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Enjoying old hardware like this is one of the reasons I've run a mailing list dedicated to the rescue of old computer hardware for the past sixteen years. It was originally Sun-specific but years ago we changed it to cover any hardware.

http://www.sunhelp.org/mailman/listinfo/rescue

11
nkozyra 1 day ago 2 replies      
Would love to go to a museum with a chronological tour of computing.
12
owenversteeg 1 day ago 0 replies      
The rapid improvement of technology (even forty years ago) really impresses me, especially considering that commercially available handheld calculators were only available eight years prior (and were very expensive.) (I'm a vintage calculator collector.)
13
markbnj 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Very cool! The last time I saw one of these was approximately twenty years ago. It was covered with dust and lying under a workbench in the back of some machine shop in a little town in Israel.
14
nasalgoat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Man, it is so amazing to see the dates on those files! Some of those files are older than my wife.
15
nullc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Always mount a scratch monkey.
16
fit2rule 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The DIR in the video is such a lovely moment, somehow very touching to me .. I've always believed we should not retire computers, and indeed have my own swelling collection of old stuff that still boots and can be used for some purpose.

Old machines never die - their users do. Keep the Expensive Machine running ..

17
benbojangles 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The year I was born :)
18
zobzu 23 hours ago 0 replies      
i need to get myself one of these.nice story!
19
EGreg 1 day ago 2 replies      
"When faced with the bootup of an unfamiliar OS from the 1970s, DIR seems to be the most likely command."

I would think "HELP" :)

19
LibreSSL An OpenSSL replacement openbsd.org
178 points by claudius  1 day ago   39 comments top 11
1
dj-wonk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Since no one has said it yet -- (maybe it is too obvious?) -- thanks to anyone who takes the time to improve old crufty code that most of us rely on. (Yes, even if you weaponize Comic Sans.)
2
dj-wonk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there a US-based not-for-profit that sends money to LibreSSL? (Yes, this is a little round-about, but a tax benefit is nice.)
3
rhblake 1 day ago 0 replies      
Audience recording of the talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnBbhXBDmwU
4
bitwarrior 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm curious as to their funding goal. Sounds like a couple salaries for a year or two. It almost seems appropriate to test the waters here with a KickStarter. OpenSSL is pervasive in technology, I wouldn't be surprised at all if they were able to achieve even somewhat lofty donations from a combination of both individuals and private organizations.
5
ams6110 1 day ago 1 reply      
The software used to create this is MagicPoint. The link in the slides is wrong, currently the website is http://member.wide.ad.jp/wg/mgp/
6
cauterize 1 day ago 3 replies      
7
mk3 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Shouldn't it say LibreSSL - An OpenSSL fork :)?Seems cool that we kinda have a choice, and do not need to depend on one OpenSource project to have SSL, on other hand it seems it will be another underfunded project, waiting for another heartbleed to happen. :)
8
TazeTSchnitzel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Transcript in the other front page submission: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7760615
9
jeltz 1 day ago 2 replies      
Sounds like they are doing excellent work here but it is a pity the license can never be GPL compatible.
10
krzrak 1 day ago 2 replies      
OK, I don't get WTF is so funny with Comic Sans?
11
amix 16 hours ago 4 replies      
This presentation is tasteless and totally takes any seriousness that should be related to making and promoting an OpenSSL replacement. I personally can't take it seriously and I would recommend hackers to think about what image their presentation and design conveys.
20
I Dont Want to Hire Women clarissasblog.com
178 points by jseliger  2 days ago   205 comments top 53
1
ignostic 2 days ago 6 replies      
As a male who manages both men and women, I think the author is guilty of selective perception and unfounded bias. I have had women on my team cry in meetings, but I've had men on my team explode in anger. Neither is appropriate.

Women on my team often want to "gossip," but I've learned to recognize it for what it is: a (misguided) attempt to build rapport with me. I'm learning to redirect the conversation to be more positive. The men on my team are more likely to be jockeying for position, claiming credit for things they had small roles in, and generally exaggerating the truth. I'm learning to ask follow-up questions to get them to think twice before making any claims.

Males on my team are just as hard or harder to retain when compared to the women. I believe they're more likely to leave when they're passed over for a promotion or raise. Females at my company are perhaps more likely to leave because they aren't feeling close relationships. Keep in mind that the reason someone gives you for leaving is not always the real reason. The author doesn't seem particularly sensitive, so I wouldn't be surprised if she's getting "reasons" for quitting that are actually just evasions of hard topics.

These are all just my observations and experiences, but I'm sure there are plenty of studies showing the pros and cons of hiring men and women. Whether biological or cultural, I'm positive there are both pros and cons to hiring either gender.

Regardless, you should see my point: it's easy to get a little selective perception when you notice all the bad things about one gender. The fact that the author claims to be a woman and a feminist doesn't excuse a thing. That just means she's a woman and a feminist who stereotypes and wants to discriminate against women.

2
mediaman 2 days ago 7 replies      
I think this anonymous blogger should evaluate her hiring practices.

I have hired many women and men. If anything I have had fewer melodrama issues with women. The women I have hired are focused, analytical, meticulate and disciplined. I had exactly one so far leave for "soft" reasons; she wanted to pursue nonprofit work in a developing country and we remain on good terms.

In a manufacturing environment, I've had far more issues with gossip, melodrama and feuds with men. As I have brought more women in (not intentionally, but just because they were good candidates) many of those issues have disappeared and our production operations have become more upbeat with fewer personnel issues.

In general, I find a much higher incidence rate of irresponsibility among male production candidates: outstanding arrest warrants, inability to resolve past DUI offenses with the courts, domestic violence that spreads into the workplace, absenteeism, etc. -- all actual issues we have had to deal with.

Obviously not all male candidates are like this, and it would be wrong to draw the opposite conclusion. It is also fairly easy to weed these people out of the recruiting process, or, at worst, to part ways with them if we are not successful in catching it before hiring. But if you find you have hired a bunch of melodramatic and uncommitted women, you should probably ask yourself why your hiring processes selected people with those traits (hint: it is not because of their gender).

3
vijayboyapati 2 days ago 3 replies      
She writes: "I am also yet to have a single male employee come to my office to give me dirt on a co-worker or share an awkward gossip-like story. My female employees though? Every. single. one."

The Economist had an article which tangentially comports with her comment above:

http://www.economist.com/node/21551535

4
soneca 2 days ago 2 replies      
Sounds a lot of bad luck (or bad hiring skills) that every single woman she hired was a failure. But every communication issue has two sides. I am pretty sure she reinforced - even if unwillingly - this behavior after reading this:

"I have developed a different approach for offering constructive criticism to male and female employees. When I have something to say to one of the men, I just say it! I dont think it through I simply spit it out, we have a brief discussion and we move on. They even frequently thank me for the feedback! Not so fast with my female staff. I plan, I prepare, I think, I run it through my business partner and then I think again. I start with a lot of positive feedback before I feel that I have cushioned my one small negative comment sufficiently, yet it is rarely enough. We talk forever, dissect every little piece of it, and then come back to the topic time and time again in the future. And I also have to confirm that I still like them again and again, and again."

When you put so much effort on something that is not the focus, that thing becomes the focus. If a woman cries after a reasonable feedback and you spend a lot of time trying to justify and compensate on that crying, the crying become justified. So you just reiforced the behavior. But if you are sure your feedback was a fair one; just let it go. Let her cry on her own, without giving much attention to it. She will stop crying sometime, think about things more rationally and the next time she will take feedback differently.

I think the case is just that women express themselves different from men. Women cry at the spot and go emotional. Men keep the things for themselves and talk trash about you later on the bar. If you, as a boss, could listen to the men employees and tried to get some confrontation about the trash talk men do, this would reinforce the trash talking and a lot of new issues would appear on the professional realtionship.

It is just bad luck in this particular scenario that women express their emotion more strongly and vocational; so I think some conscious actions must have being taken so this particular behavior doesn't extrapolate in more serious issues.

5
steven777400 2 days ago 0 replies      
Of the issues she describes, I have seen them in men as well. I have male friends who have quit with nothing in particular lined up next. I have a male coworker who cried in a meeting, and went to his manager to demand that I apologize for offending him and making him cry. Dirt and gossip? I get just as much from male coworkers as female.

I don't mean to undermine or invalidate her experience, but I feel that the sample is too small. At least, my experience is not consistent with hers.

6
eduardordm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Except for me and my partner (founders, CTO and CEO respectively) all our directors are women. Females represent more than 60% of our company. We never had any of such events happening in the workplace. Immaturity is asexual.

This situation happened months ago in my company:

One female intern came to me, she was almost crying, telling she wanted to quit. She was about to tell me what happened but I only wanted to hear her only after she was a bit calmer. I told her to take the day off, since she had a son, she could use the day to do something more fun. At this point I thought that maybe it was some sort of problem with a phone call. She worked primarily answering calls and giving initial support to users.

After a quick investigation: some employees had a whatsapp group for sharing reddit links, gossip. She asked for an invite and was in the group only as a reader, months later she never reads the group messages and didn't realize the group now became a porn-heaven. Three engineers forgot that she was there made some vulgar comments about her, she discovered. After she confronted them they did some nasty sexual comments about her being in a porn-only whatsapp group.

The three nasty commentators were fired on the spot. Engineers often think code and their github account the is exclusive reason I'm hiring them. They argued about how that was their private, personal activity outside office hours, digging their hole deeper.

After firing them I had a private talk with every engineer and explained what happened and talked about the event. The reason I did this was to find another employees with the same mindset as the ones who were fired, and I did. They were fired weeks after.

One of the three nasty engineers was a woman, when confronted it was clear to me that she was either a sexist or some sort of misogynist.

7
kstop 2 days ago 0 replies      
In a decade of managing teams on and off, I have had more melodrama from male staff members than female. The major flameouts and freak-outs have all come from men. Given that I never got to 50% parity and we're talking less than 50 hires overall it would be a mistake to draw any major inferences from my experience, but the same is probably true of hers.

That said, different people need different management styles. But IMO this is mostly cultural, not gender-based. It happens that in Western culture there are gender behavioral norms that you have to allow for. This is something you just have to get over, because a) nowadays you'll never get away with only hiring people just like you and b) the benefits of hiring people from different backgrounds far outweigh the hassle of having to display some sensitivity and treat your reports as individuals.

8
keithpeter 2 days ago 1 reply      
"...we were two women, both mothers with very small children, opening a company in a very competitive industry."

I'm a teacher in adult education in the UK. The students, mostly but not all women, with lots of children/parents and other care responsibilities are, in my experience, the ones who hand work in on time and who really focus in lessons. They have so little time that they have to plan things carefully.

The younger students, mostly chaps, who have no responsibilities take the most management. "Go figure" as I think the Americans say.

Seriously: good luck to Clarissa but she would need a really good HR lawyer in the UK.

Edit: Just bought a copy of 'River of Shadows' as I'm into Muybridge. I could not give a kipper's dick about how the book's author behaved at a cocktail party (having never attended one), I'm interested in the content, you know, what she has to say on the subject. Good blog. Makes you think. Argue even. On my list.

http://clarissasblog.com/2014/05/15/feminism-triviality/

9
chrisBob 2 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone is giving this woman a hard time, but I have heard my wife say something similar. I think a large part of what the (presumably male) posters here are missing is how differently women interact with other women.
10
johngalt 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if the author is judging other women for not making the proper feminist choices 'mooching off a boyfriend' etc... Putting a magnifying glass on other women while not even noticing a male who quit to pursue a video game addiction. Someone cried in a meeting. So what? Who yells and pounds tables in a meeting? Why don't we just cover all the stereotypes about gender? Even if everything this author says were true, it doesn't excuse prejudging individuals based on their gender.

There aren't enough skilled people in the world. Don't cut the number available to you in half.

11
KerrickStaley 2 days ago 1 reply      
> I get extremely angry when I come across articles that insist there are gender differences that extend beyond physiology.

This is backwards. There are certainly psychological differences between men and women (see e.g. [1]).

However, assuming that statistical averages determine individual characteristics is also wrong. People are highly varied, and an individual's difference from the mean often dwarfs the mean difference between two populations (e.g. men/women). Add to this the fact that people are self-conscious and can change their innate behavior. Sex is a very poor predictor of an individual's psychological traits.

[1] http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/2159115...

12
srdev 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't say I've ever seen these problems with women at my work. I wonder if these issues stem from larger problems in the workplace.

For example, if there was subtle sexism resulting in devaluing the women's work, I could see why they would be seeking positive reinforcement from their female manager.

13
wcfields 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wtf kind of 1950's world is this person living in? It sounds much less a woman problem than a personal problem that this person is having.

Our company is probably 60w/40m and the dev/tech teams are at 36% women and I can't imagine ANY of this happening.

14
Consultant32452 2 days ago 0 replies      
I read through a bunch of the comments and it seems like the author was a victim of her own attitude. She talks about how she intended to employ and empower women in her workplace. It sounds like she might have started with a pro-woman bias but it had the negative side effect of creating a more "casual" environment with the women than the men. The men continued to interact with her professionally but the women interacted more casually and therefore took feedback more personally.

I've personally worked in a number of professional environments with men and women and never seen this from any woman that had any sort of professional job. I have seen it among low paid wage jobs, but no more often than the violent or other harassing outbursts from men in those types of jobs.

15
timdierks 2 days ago 2 replies      
Note that this is an anonymous "guest post"I thought for a while that it was an account by the blog author.
16
stcredzero 2 days ago 2 replies      
Wait, I said, So, I did thank you then? Yes! But you did not elaborate on what exactly you liked about them! Why didnt you? She had bought them with the company credit card and I actually did not like them at all, but I digress.

This is a startup? Why not just say: Actually, I don't like those. Also, why not just tell employees that you're not one for gossip? Did the author understand direct communications? How good was she at cementing close relationships with coworkers?

17
mingabunga 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a female friend who owns several womens fashion retail stores and so hires all females. She always asks in a job interview what they do in their spare time, if they answer that they hang out with their girlfriends all the time, doing girly stuff etc then they don't get hired because they end up causing bitchy problems in the workplace. If they answer that they hang out with a mix with guys quite a lot, they're never a problem in the workplace. It's worked for her for many years.
18
dclowd9901 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think there's enough information here to make any judgments one way or another. I find non-professional behavior has far more to do with the position held than the sex of the person inhabiting it. I have a hard time imagining a female VP, for instance, behaving so unprofessionally. Conversely, it wouldn't surprise me to see a sales guy acting like a jackass. It's rather more likely that one's professionalism stems from 1) the professionalism that's expected from someone in their position and 2) the effort the individual has gone through to reach their position.
19
xarien 2 days ago 3 replies      
Disclosure: MBTI has tons of issues and it's certainly not the end all for evaluations. There's a reason why HR folks aren't allowed to use it in most firms when recruiting. However, with that said, I think it's quite applicable in this case.

MBTI; NT vs SF. Find women that fall into the NT category and your problem is solved. This isn't an issue with gender as it is with certain individuals. Although looking at the numbers, you will encounter more women falling into SF and more men falling under NT. But, let me throw this out there, don't miss the chance to hire some great women simply because you've encountered some bad apples. You should simply tailor the initial screening phase to catch some of these unwanted behaviors. Additionally, you can employ the try before you buy option and remove bad apples within the first 90 days before they rot the tree.

20
gravity13 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's just as many idiot men as there are idiot women in the world.

The issue stems from the fact that every time there's an idiot man nobody looks at him and says, "look, you're confirming a cultural stereotype!"

21
watwut 2 days ago 1 reply      
Women she employs are entirely different then all women I ever met.

I have never seen a women cry on meeting. I never knew any women that would "stay home to figure out what to do next". On the other hand, I have seen men leaving jobs without having another one lined up. I'm not sure whether she sees significant difference between the two or why she would care what employee is going to do.

I find it fascinating that she hires outstanding women and somehow ends up with selection of worst possible personalities. All of them are so super sensitive, that she can not communicate with them without extensive preparation. Maybe, just maybe her criteria for "educated, intelligent and highly articulate" actually select emotional and manipulative people?

It might be just my bias, but I suspect the "highly articulate" criteria. Highly articulate is advantage in some jobs (sales), but irrelevant in jobs like receptionist. Maybe she should look for "educated, intelligent, communicates as adult and in control of emotions" instead. She will get more introverts and less drama.

I also met women managers they managed not to become therapists for underlying - not even for needy employees. So, I suspect there is something in her behavior that encourages them to come into her office again and again.

22
jqm 2 days ago 2 replies      
"I welcome your comments, as I secretly continue placing the resumes of female applicants into the call later folder."

Not a lawyer, but I'm not sure this is a good idea for an employer to put in writing.

23
zachlipton 2 days ago 1 reply      
Right, because no men ever behave badly in the workplace?

Sure, there are stereotypical ways in which a small number of people from each gender behave like assholes and create toxic work environments. The solution is to not hire jerks and to get rid of them if you've made a mistake, not blame all ones ills on a particular group of people.

24
arbutus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone who was ever a teenaged girl at any point in their life can confirm that the people who complain the most about drama are generally the people who create the most drama.
25
smrtinsert 2 days ago 0 replies      
It sounds like women just hate working for "Enterpreneur".
26
michaelochurch 2 days ago 1 reply      
It is not men who sabotage women and stump their career growth it is women themselves!

I wonder if she is (subconsciously?) part of the problem. Now, I'm not saying that she overtly engages in that sort of passive-aggressive, competitive behavior (stereotypically female, but characteristic of the sexes about equally, if not more often by men, in the office context) against them... but it could be that she carries a subconscious bias that leads her to hire a different and possibly lower quality of women than the men she brings on.

If it seems far-fetched, consider the casual misogyny of a high school or college campus, and the vicious cycle it creates for young men. We're not talking about a raving woman-hater. We're talking about the average-case college male who thinks women are irrational, flighty, and manipulative. He's actually right-- about most of the women he pays attention to. That's the misogyny loop: guys who think ill of "women" tend to hang around low-quality women (high-quality women just avoid them) and end up confirming their own biases ("misogyny loop"). If he stopped focusing on the bubbly/popular girls with broken personalities (who get away with it, because everyone wants them) and took a representative sample, he'd realize that women aren't any worse or better than men. Of course, such guys are usually blind to their own broken personalities.

See, I've never seen these patterns she's described. I've worked with a lot of horrible people and only one of my top 10 is female... and, to her credit, she was pretty "active-aggressive" in her toxicity.

I know that these behaviors exist in workplaces, but I don't think they're especially gendered. Passive-aggressive, gossiping men are out there as well.

27
sergiotapia 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can confirm, I've worked in a workplace where it was about 6 men and 48 women (no lie).

The gossip dear lord the gossip and cliques that were formed. The cattiness among each other, the talking behind each others back - it felt like high school on TV.

The guys were 4 on tech team and 2 on management.

The rest were sales girls, making calls to close sales in the higher-education sector. (Think e-learning master degrees). Never worked in a place with that many women so I don't have any other measuring stick, but yeesh did that leave me with weird memories.

28
josephschmoe 2 days ago 0 replies      
There could be some bias coming from the career paths these individuals are coming from. We can't know because she doesn't elaborate on her industry, but here's an example which would produce this kind of bias naturally:

If she employs engineers (or some other equivalent), there's a good chance they will provide little issues as they tend to be better-educated and more stable than average. They are also predominately male.

Other office jobs are a mixed bag and tend to employ average individuals, with a variety of education levels and backgrounds. This is often 50/50 or sometimes predominately female, such as in HR.

In that case, it would be more accurately comparing average vs. unusually well-educated individuals. Gender would only be proportional to this because of her specific business case.

29
BESebastian 2 days ago 1 reply      
> a feminist, ... I dont just stand for equality I have crashed the glass ceiling in every aspect of my life.

> As a feminist ...

> ... which is why I have decided not to hire women altogether.

Something doesn't add up here!

30
dcre 2 days ago 1 reply      
For once I'm satisfied with HN's reaction.
31
malandrew 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't find the links now (signal to noise ratio is low given the search terms I tried), but I've heard on numerous occasions that there are a few landmark studies where men were given estradiol and other estrogens and that resulted in behavior changes that ape the behavior patterns that most frustrate the author of this essay.

Can anyone here point me to the experimental studies exploring the administration of sex hormone to the opposite gender and its effect on behavior? I've never read them myself and was curious as to their validity and the strength of the results.

32
apta 1 day ago 0 replies      
> People in the past 2 hours I have had to Spam 63 comments from losers who tried to inform me that men and women are psychologically / emotionally, etc. different. Once again, anybody who embarrasses him or herself by chirping idiotically yes, men and women are different will be banned outright.

"losers"? "embarrasses him or herself"? Yes, men and women are different, what's wrong with saying that?

33
briancaw2 2 days ago 0 replies      
The problem here is that she is holding one group's (Women's) behavior to the standard of a workplace created by another group (Men).
34
mblack68 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am very disappointed that one of my "own kind" is disparaging women. If that's what females in this field encounter, no wonder there are so few. My deep disappointment cannot be expressed in words right now. Hiring is hard to get right, period. Why are we worrying about gender traits--this article is generalizing to the point of absurdity.

I feel motivated at this point, to change my name to a gender neutral one for hiring purposes.

When people see articles like this, it is affirming, and others will follow silently.

35
GUNHED_158 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is the essence : "It is not men who sabotage women and stump their career growth it is women themselves!"
36
epx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Indeed sounds a lot like bad luck. I have been working with women, as subordinates, and superiors, and it is perfect.
37
swayvil 2 days ago 0 replies      
The view that our gender (glands, various gender-related cues, etc) influences our mind and behavior seems to be surreally unpopular these days. Many well worded essays on such in the comments.
38
littlemerman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I completely disagree with the presumptions of this article. Hopefully not too many employers feel this way.
39
smtddr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well... this doesn't match 95% of my experience. I've worked with several ladies(especially in my current gig) but only back in at&t do I vividly recall 3 very gossip-driven, melodramatic women. This was out from an org with like 40+ women in it. But those 3... those 3.... sheesh, you could see 'em coming a mile away. They just had issues in general and happened to be females.(sidenote: if any of you are reading this, you know who you are. The whole department knew who you were)

I've worked with more unpleasant men than women, but this tech so there's just more men than women in general. Yeah... I don't know where I'm going with this other than this blogger's experience is not an accurate representation of the employee-pool at large.

40
Dewie 2 days ago 1 reply      
It seems that she is swinging from one extreme - from being enthusiastic about lifting women up and helping them, to actively avoiding them. But maybe a more balanced approach would yield better results?

Maybe the women just became spoilt by how accommodating she was? She says, for example, that she has to scrutinize every interaction with her women employees, for fear of the ensuing drama. Maybe she should just tell them to get over it? I don't know. But some people will readily bite the hands that feed them too eagerly.

41
orionblastar 1 day ago 0 replies      
I worked with both men and women.

Some women are really good at their job, really professional.

Other women are not good at their job and unprofessional.

It is the later that are being talked about here. The ones that paint their nails at work and then refuse to do any work until they dry. The ones that gossip and lie about other people to stir up trouble. The ones that refuse to do work and avoid doing work by reading romance novels, watering plants, making coffee, bringing in food, walking around with a clipboard and not doing anything, and wasting as much time as they can just to get that paycheck.

Some men waste time as well as do some of the things some women do to be honest.

42
devnonymous 2 days ago 0 replies      
Heh, what I find mildly amusing is the fact that in writing the blog post and replying the comments the author is just reinforcing the very stereotype that leads her to conclude that women are not worth the risk of hiring.

She is indulging the same type of drama she alleges is the cause of forming her opinion !!

43
rokhayakebe 2 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe women are too sensitive. Tell a girl at work her hairstyle does not look nice after she asks you, and she is mad at you.

Maybe men are too sensitive. Tell a guy at a sports bar his team sucks and they should be put out of the league, and you are lucky if he does not punch you.

So someone can write a post about women gossiping at work and how that creates all sorts of tension. And someone can write a post about how their boyfriend is so sensitive about his app that telling him the truth and saying it's kind of crappy will probably end up in break up.

Who is more sensitive? I have my opinion, but maybe all of this is a matter of perspective?

44
devnonymous 2 days ago 0 replies      
I read the article and AFAICT, the basic problem is right there in there in the first paragraph:

  > I get extremely angry when I come across articles that insist there are  > gender differences that extend beyond physiology.
That's just ridiculous and ignorant. Of course there are differences between men and women that extend beyond physiology !! [1]

Reading the comments and the replies, the author seems to deny this fact and wants everyone to be behaviourally uniform.

On the one hand she is applying broad strokes and describing her own experiences with her male Vs female employees but on the other she wants to deny that some of these differences exist and can be explained 'beyond physiology'.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_differences_in_humans#Psych...

45
breadbox 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is all I can think of: http://xkcd.com/385/
46
ripb 2 days ago 3 replies      
How is this HN appropriate content?

If I could flag this, I would. This is an anonymous post on a completely irrelevant blog that has nothing to do with the world HN surrounds.

Is it too much to ask that Reddit/Tumblr-esque gender wars not be dragged into every online discussion forum available?

From the guidelines:"On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity."

Just look at the quality of the discussion this has spawned - pure and utter trash.

47
softatlas 2 days ago 1 reply      
Do you folks even know what gossip is?

Small talk !== Gossip. God, it's obnoxious reading like 98% of you.

You think "stuff I'm not interested in" is gossip, which is even worse than the assumption "Small talk === Gossip".

Look, adding a qualification or narrative component (predicates not strictly quantifiable over the domain) is a mark of conversation.

BUILDING RAPPORT is NOT GOSSIP.

BUILDING RAPPORT is NOT GOSSIP.

BUILDING RAPPORT is NOT GOSSIP.

BUILDING RAPPORT is NOT GOSSIP.

BUILDING RAPPORT is NOT GOSSIP.

AGAIN:

BUILDING RAPPORT is NOT GOSSIP.

VAGUENESS is not gossip.

It's SYSTEMATIC oppression. A laundry list of "why this, why this" at the end of a post COMPLETELY FAILS to grok what SYSTEMATIC/STRUCTURAL oppression MEANS.

Learn how to more categories of conversation. LEARN what speech genres are. Stop reducing everything to "gossip/actionable". Stop the elimination of human spontaneity. Stop building the ideal language that the ideal person must speak.

Stop. STOP.

48
peterwwillis 2 days ago 1 reply      
INSERT COMMENT GENERALIZING ABOUT ALL MEN OR WOMEN BASED ON SELECT PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

BACK UP WITH STUDY FROM 1972 LINKING GENDER WITH PREDETERMINED BEHAVIOR

CORRELATE THE TWO

49
fred_durst 2 days ago 5 replies      
> She had bought them with the company credit card and I actually did not like them at all, but I digress.

She definitely sounds like someone I wouldn't want to work for. Apparently she didn't like the flowers "at all"? Who hates flowers? This is probably one of those cases where the person complaining might want to look inward as a first step.

EDIT: Oops, it was butterflies. Either way, is a picture of butterflies really some to not like "at all"? Just sounds bitter and angry to me. And why does she feel the need to "digress" and let us know that she didn't like them?

50
lampe3 2 days ago 0 replies      
click bait...
51
cbp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Holy shit this site. This crap is getting so much upvotes, the comments in here make me vomit. Where are the mods? surely they would never allow this kind of link on this site?
52
arctansusan 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is such a bullshit misogynistic article that hurts women in the work force and makes sweeping inaccurate generalizations. If the HN staff have any once of morality and sense of equality, please delete this article from HN now and ban the author.
53
mhurron 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's too bad it's anonymous, because it so nice when assholes label themselves as such.

It never ceases to amaze me how stupid people can be, women do this, ethnic group a can't do that. We're all human, we're just not that different.

21
Basics of Machine Learning ed.ac.uk
176 points by luu  14 hours ago   20 comments top 6
1
3pt14159 11 hours ago 2 replies      
If you want to get into machine learning, it is actually pretty easy, provided you studied Math, Engineering, or Science in University. The papers are hard at first, but they don't hide like other papers do. Everything is laid out there for you to code and run with your own data. In a field like, say, Structural Engineering, the paper writers can make claims about the structural resilience of an Ultra High Performance Concrete that they tested, without you ever being able to hope to repeat the exact experiment. You may not even be able to get your hands on the proprietary compound they used.

In ML, you might not be able to use the same corpus / training set, but you're usually able to recode the actual algorithm and you're usually able to find a compatible type of data set to work off of.

Also, most ML people are lazy, so if they don't work for Google or Facebook they're usually using open data datasets anyway, which are trivial to drop in and verify.

2
imurray 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The main course website is here: http://www.inf.ed.ac.uk/teaching/courses/iaml/

There are more notes and so on there. It isn't an online course though, so don't expect too much.

3
petulla 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm sure these lectures are great but my computer was none too happy about 100 embedded videos in a single Web page.
4
jds375 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I also highly recommend these lectures from Cornell. The lecturer is well-known for his free SVM-light implementation. http://machine-learning-course.joachims.org
5
Legoben 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Any chance we can get the lectures before #5?
6
graycat 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Best I can tell, it comes in a Champagne bottle with a cork held in by wire and a nice, new label, but, when open the bottle and pour out the contents, what get is 99 44/100% pure, old cookbook-style, applied statistics, some curve fitting, some hypothesis testing, some statistical estimation with definitions, theorems, and proofs mostly filtered out. Also not much in experimental design and only little in 'resampling' techniques.

Right: Since we need a computer to do the data manipulations, the computer science people want to conclude that the statistics is also part of 'computer science'? Now bookkeeping, accounting, numerical solutions of differential equations, etc. are also part of 'computer science'? Or, what the heck ever happened to the field of statistics, biostatistics, quality control, etc.?

22
What Do Animals See in a Mirror? nautil.us
174 points by aaronbrethorst  3 days ago   79 comments top 18
1
srean 3 days ago 3 replies      
I think an animal capable of self recognition may still fail the mirror test if visual sense is not their primary window to the world.

Take a hypothetical example, say we were presented with a non-visual smell mirror, would we pay it any attention, let alone recognize or identify ourselves in it ? Highly unlikely, on the other hand an animal like scent-hound might find such a thing interesting.

2
stevewilhelm 2 days ago 2 replies      
In the same vein, I have come to the conclusion that my dog does not have a sense of humor.

I have never seen it play a joke on another dog or a human. It will tease others, but not play jokes.

I have never seen it exhibit anything similar to a laugh. It will wag its tail in happiness, but never respond to a situation or event with anything that would be construed as a laugh.

3
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've always wondered what would happen if they had two chimps they thought could recognize themselves in the mirror, and marked one. Would the unmarked one look at the chimp in the mirror? or recognizing the other chimp turn around and look at it directly?
4
duckingtest 3 days ago 8 replies      
I'm not sure about all cats. My cat ignores mirrors - even previously unseen ones - altogether, at the same time he reacts to youtube videos with cats. However, when he has seen himself in the mirror for the first time in his life he behaved like it was another cat, for two minutes or so.

Divide an almost identical uniform background with a piece of glass, block smell and sound if possible. Put two cats on the opposite sides of the glass and observe their reactions. Put mirror in the place of glass and observe reactions. I can bet the reactions would be drastically different, and not just for cats.

5
3minus1 3 days ago 3 replies      
I would have liked it if this article listed all of the animals that appear to pass the test. What about dogs and octopuses?
6
tiziano88 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder what's going to happen when computers will pass the "mirror test" (think of it as an advanced Turing test). Should we consider them as persons too, with their own rights? Should we be morally responsible for turning off a machine, even though its internal state is completely represented in a finite amount of information, and could be "paused", "resumed", and even "cloned"?
7
personlurking 3 days ago 1 reply      
And what I've always wondered is if animals of the same species recognize each other as belonging to the same 'group' and, if yes, then at what point would they recognize another animal as different. For example, a horse seeing a zebra, or a cat seeing a lion.
8
pacaro 3 days ago 3 replies      
My dog likes to lay in front of a mirror and stare at himself, as with most of his behaviour I have no idea why.
9
damon_c 2 days ago 0 replies      
One interesting animal mirror implementation is with chameleons.

Chameleons get very upset when they see another chameleon in their space who refuses to back down no matter how threateningly they may posture.

10
antimora 3 days ago 2 replies      
I have always wondered about such mirror experiments. If an animal became aware of the spot on the forehead, has this aninimal known previously the spot was not there before? How an animal who does not use a mirror on a regular basis would be become aware of the spot? What if the spot was there from the birth? Would it mean they have been using some sort of natural mirrors like water reflection to look at themselves?
11
erikb 3 days ago 2 replies      
I found in intercultural situations that you miss a lot when you try to apply your point of view to others. So animals might not see the world at all in the binary shapes of self awareness and non self awareness. They might see something completely different. Instead of finding a way to apply our logic onto the animals thinking we should spend more time understanding how they think and might be surprised and educated by what we find.
12
geuis 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hypothetical test:

With human subjects, we have other ways to gauge theory of mind.

Take the statement, "For example, compared to controls, schizophrenic individuals were less likely to understand a request hidden in a husbands statement to his wife, 'I want to wear that blue shirt, but its very creased.'

Perform these alternate types of tests on subjects in a FMRI machine. Conceivably with enough subjects, it may be possible to discern distinct sections of the brain responding to these questions.

Then test the subjects with the mirror test. Place a spot on the nose, or eyebrow, etc.

The first thing to check is if, indeed, the same areas of the brain respond in the mirror test as in the other non-visual tests. If so, this is an excellent indicator that the mirror test is actually showing what researchers have believed it to show.

The next step would be that if the mirror test proves to be accurate, hook up chimpanzee subjects in a FMRI and perform the mirror tests. See if associated sections of their brains respond as ours do. Further, test this against various great apes. If all of us have passed the standard mirror test, I would hypothesize all great apes will have similar responses.

Things to check for in subjects (human and ape): Mental disease. As is mentioned in the article, patients with schizophrenia would not be good test subjects. Try to make sure the apes aren't diseased in a similar way.

13
V-2 3 days ago 1 reply      
Would they show surprise if their reflection in the mirror (or a big display...) suddenly began moving in its own way?
14
nubs 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd like to recommend the WWW Trilogy by Robert J. Sawyer. It explores the thoughts behind the instilment of conciousness and awareness. A highly thought provoking read that has a lot of neat parallels to this article.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWW_Trilogy

15
davidcbc 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wait, so you're telling me the guy on the other side of the glass portal thingy in my bathroom is ME?
16
mantrax5 2 days ago 0 replies      
Folk psychology is precisely the way I see this supposed link between self-awareness and mirror recognition.

Ascribing intelligence and self-awareness only to those species that share specific superficial traits with us is the kind of thinking that allowed us to think one sex is inferior than the other, or that one race is inferior than the other.

But while all intellects start from the same place (nothing), they are not all necessarily going in the same direction. A monkey is not a less evolved human and a cat is not a less evolved mammal.

Many animals have abilities, including intellectual, that we can't match (and some we can only crudely replicate with tools). Species have the traits they needed in nature to survive and be efficient. So those that didn't need the circuitry for dealing with mirrors, simply didn't evolve that ability.

You can't prove self awareness or disprove it. Even science has limits. Hell, I can't even prove anyone except me is self-aware. But I don't have the arrogance to claim everyone but me will be presumed not self-aware until proven otherwise.

So as a species, it'd be best for humans not to cast the animal kingdom as not self-aware "until they prove otherwise" (in silly arbitrary tests).

17
alisson 3 days ago 0 replies      
To me it looks like any living thing is somehow self-aware, it is what makes anything a live. Even plants take conscious actions, like specifically calling a pollinator among others, recognising members of the family and helping them.

If something doesn't show evidence of self-awareness it doesn't prove it isn't. It just proves it don't show up how you'd expect. Maybe it is self-aware but in a different way.

18
onmydesk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe humans are wrong about mirrors and the animals know it isn't them.

Humans can be arrogant in their assumptions about animals.

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so muchthe wheel, New York, wars and so onwhilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than manfor precisely the same reasons. - Douglas Adams, hitchhikers

23
Leaked NYT innovation report is one of the key documents of this media age niemanlab.org
167 points by cpeterso  3 days ago   58 comments top 17
1
Pitarou 3 days ago 7 replies      
TL;DR

The New York Times remains a newspaper with a website attached. It is optimized for:

- one distribution channel (newsstands / deliveries)

- one format (big sheets of paper)

- one consumption pattern (peruse the current edition, then throw it away)

- one production pattern (professional journalists)

- one means of attracting eyeballs (the front page / home page)

The digital folk are enormously frustrated. They know they could do so much better, if the organisation would get behind them. Time after time, they miss opportunities to:

- repackage old content that remains relevant, or becomes relevant again

- promote curated collections of material

- monitor the "online impact" of stories

- take advantage of user-generated content

- and so on...

So they get their lunch stolen by the likes of the Huffington Post.

The infrastructure and processes are also lacking. There are too many one-offs and "just make it work now" hacks, and material is not tagged properly.

2
ritchiea 3 days ago 3 replies      
What's tough here, and I agree wholeheartedly that the Times isn't doing a great job digitally, is that the companies that seem to have a better grasp on digital (HuffPo, Buzzfeed, Vox, etc.) only have a grasp on strong digital business models and don't seem to have a grasp on delivering quality journalism/user experience.

The Times is still a great news site because of it's great reporting. And valuing great reporting is inherited from the paper newspaper days. But it would be amazing to see a company value great reporting while simultaneously seizing the ways the internet has improved our ability to communicate.

3
suprgeek 2 days ago 2 replies      
I hope they do not throw out the baby with the bathwater.In their rush to "repackage" and rebrand they need to be careful to not devolve into Upworthy-BuzzFeed-Mashable style popcorn BS. That stuff is worth about 15 seconds of glance thru, never remembered, never quoted, never relevant beyond ad-clicks.

There is a real danger here that in the course of changing their looks they may lose their soul.

4
tsunamifury 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think, newsroom-culturally, the best thing this report illustrates is the complex relationships between the people working on journalism-as-content vs journalism-as-product. This has been a painful issue as print journalist refused to consider the legitimacy of re-examining their distribution product for years due to a belief that their work had inheret value regardless of its promotion, display, or distribution.

The report details specifically how the value of their content is being extracted by organizations with better products who beat them in all three areas.

This is a key point that needs to sink in at the nyt since they have avoided the iterative developement of new products due to an over reliance on inherit value of their content. I think if they simply hire the right talent in data, ux and machine learning they could begin to release a series of technologically exciting products which are powered by their exceptionally high quality content.

5
jey 3 days ago 0 replies      
6
ryandrake 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good one from the report, relevant to any org that does big projects:

When it takes 20 months to build one thing, your skill set becomes less about innovation and more about navigating bureaucracy. That means the longer you stay, the more youre doubling down on staying even longer. But if theres no leadership role to aspire to, staying too long becomes risky.

7
allochthon 2 days ago 2 replies      
With regard to decreasing traffic to the front page, I did not see the elephant in the room mentioned in the summary article -- the Times started limiting free access to 10 articles per month a year or so ago. I love the NYT. Since 1996 or so I would visit its front page way too much and then click through to the articles, and they no doubt got advertising money from my pageviews. Now I'm careful about which NYT links I click on so as not to waste an article. In this context the front page is less enticing. I now read a much larger variety of news sources, which has been a nice development.

Whether the choice to limit free access was a wise one is not for me to say and is something their business people will be more on top of.

(I realize that there are easy ways around the limit, but I haven't wanted to use them.)

8
dredmorbius 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've long thought that a syndication system in which content is compensated based on a schedule and a combination of both general tax funds and a portion of broadband access fees (the former for progressive costing, the latter as a bit of a user fee) might fit information markets better than other alternatives. Advertising in particular raises numerous problems.

There are a number of aspects of this:

But the payor will determine the content: actually a problem of the present system.

As Jacob Nielsen noted in 1998:

"Ultimately, those who pay for something control it. Currently, most websites that don't sell things are funded by advertising. Thus, they will be controlled by advertisers and will become less and less useful to the users."

The message is determined by the payment medium: a fundamental statement of the physics, if you will, of creative activities.

Estimating the size of the syndicate

Using my preferred reference for economic data, xkcd's "Money" chart[1] , the total size of the US arts and entertainment industry is $528 billion, where the publishing industry is $152 billion. Estimating online access as, say, 20% of this (which I freely admit was pulled from /dev/ass), works out to about $100 per person annually, which isn't too outrageous a number. Reality might scale up or down from this a ways, but even with a few powers of two in either direction, it seems generally reasonable.

Phil Hunt's Broadband Tax / Content Compensation Fund proposal, and the Rent-Seeking Economy: http://redd.it/1vknhc

My own Modest Proposal: Universal Online Media Payment Syndication: http://redd.it/1uotb3

________________________________

Notes:

1. http://xkcd.com/980/huge/#x=-9133&y=-4660&z=6

9
baldfat 2 days ago 1 reply      
NYTimes Cost -All Digital = 8.75 a week ($455 yearly)NYTimes.com + Tablet = 5.00 a week ($260 yearly)NYTimes.com + Smartphone = 3.75 a week ($195 yearly)

I can't afford that. $35 a month for news is tooo much.

10
nmodu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very interesting article. Some of these statistics are surprising. Only 1% of Times readers comment and only 3% of Times readers read comments? Only a third of Times readers visit the homepage? Those numbers are far smaller than I would have expected (an expectation based solely on my own experience; I enjoy reading the comments on Times articles and I always access articles through the Times home page).

David Leonhardt (of NYT's The Upshot) was on Charlie Rose the other night discussing the Times's approach to digital [1]. The leaked memo complements the interview nicely.

[1] http://www.charlierose.com/watch/60387818

11
danso 3 days ago 1 reply      
Of special interest to HN readers, Jeremy Ashkenas and Mike Bostock get a shoutout on page 60 of the report as being "Digital Stars":

http://i.imgur.com/X5w61xm.png

12
xtx23 2 days ago 2 replies      
It is kinda interesting that it mentioned Gawker repackaging and archive without any mention of the new Timesmachine, http://timesmachine.nytimes.com, which is "a better job of resurfacing archival content."
13
hagbardgroup 2 days ago 0 replies      
In print, the production is handled by people considered to be proletarian subhumans who are paid almost nothing and disposed of at a whim. This was not always so: when printing was closer to high tech, it was also higher prestige. Manufacturing in general also used to be higher status than it has been since the 1970s.

There's been this change in US culture that provides a special aura to people who do nothing but write and speak. People who interact with physical things, and particularly machines, come to be seen as unclean.

With computers, you have to pay those people well and give them some authority so that they can do their jobs well. Socially, this does not play out well within traditional print organizations, in which the production side is invisible to the journalism side (the Times' manufacturing plant is not even close to its midtown office building), and the business side is ritualistically forbidden from contaminating the sacredness of the content side.

Stuff like labeling stories with appropriate metadata doesn't get done not because it's challenging (it's similar to slapping a Dewey Decimal code on a file folder and sticking it on there), but because writing an HTML element has the potential to make a religiously sacred 'writer' impure. A lot of print people see any sort of demand for learning technical skill as an insult, because technical knowledge is seen to be polluting.

Also you see a lot of knowledge silos in that report because it's clearly difficult for the organization to 'read' the skillsets of technical generalists.

We don't like to see it that way, but ordinary American business types see programmers as spiritually dirty people who do not deserve authority. At the Times in particular, business people are seen as particularly spiritually dirty, so much so that they must be literally segregated from the population of sacred scribes.

The change that the Times would need to make is less technological and more social: they would have to make coding not Haram anymore. That might be one reformation too many to ask for. This report is really good, but they would probably have to fire everyone over 40 to achieve its goals. Authority is zero sum, and asking the entire leadership to devolve authority is not likely to have a positive outcome.

14
NicoJuicy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really hope NYT does something with this research. It contains a lot of valuable information.

A worthwhile read!

15
davidy123 3 days ago 0 replies      
very interesting. but even in this introspection it's still a very consumer-publish model. wikipedia is as great as the internet in impact.
16
higherpurpose 2 days ago 0 replies      
Times made a big screw-up by not writing about the Program in 2004, and because of them not doing that, Bush got a second term. They also barely touched the Snowden stories, and when they did, they made his image worse, somehow.

So I won't cry for their decay and downfall. They've been shooting themselves in the foot for the past decade anyway, by relinquishing their integrity and becoming more and more like the other corporate media entities.

17
bsder 3 days ago 2 replies      
The problem isn't "NYT needs to engage more with social". The problem is that the Times needs to figure out how to be RELEVANT.

Let's start with this: be hyper-local. I should be able to easily plan a trip and tour to New York without ever leaving the NYT website. I should be able to know every single Broadway and off-Broadway play that will be running when I get there and be able to get tickets NOW.

Reporting: How about being actively antagonistic toward government? How about real, hard-hitting government coverage? How about tracing every single dollar, favor, and deal until the politicians don't just hate you, but actively FEAR you.

Editorial: how about some informed opinion pieces? How about starting to peel apart complex topics in multiple parts and report TRUTH rather than both sides?

Gee, you know, that sounds like a ... newspaper. Shame this country doesn't actually have one anymore.

Sure, the NYT gets their lunch stolen, but mostly by one offs.

An aggregate of clever obits. A repackaging of Nelson Mandela's death. Could you predict those IN ADVANCE? Doubtful. Chasing them is like saying "We need to create Gangnam Style". Great. But it isn't going to happen.

24
New York City photographed with the Game Boy Camera in 2000 ironicsans.com
159 points by smacktoward  10 hours ago   22 comments top 11
1
nsxwolf 58 minutes ago 1 reply      
This reminds me of another cool toy camera, the PXL-2000 - which recorded digital video onto a compact audio cassette tape.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PXL-2000

2
userbinator 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Great demonstration of "toy level camera tech" 14 years ago!

The interesting thing about the sensor in these things (Mitsubishi M64282FP) is that it has an analog output, so it's capable of much higher bit depth than in Nintendo's implementation of it. There are various other (mostly robot vision) projects using it that you can find on the Internet, and you'll see that the images are far less pixelated.

I also think it's rather amazing how much the tech has progressed - 15 years ago, the cost of a 128 x 123 (there's 5 black lines probably for BLC) - 16KP - monochrome array fixed-focus sensor module would be around the same as a 5MP AF colour module today, of the type used in smartphones.

3
idoco 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Neil young's Silver & Gold album cover was shot by Neil's daughter Amber with a Game Boy Camera.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_%26_Gold_(Neil_Young_alb...

4
seryoiupfurds 9 hours ago 1 reply      
The linked colour pictures are also pretty neat.

http://www.ironicsans.com/2007/09/idea_color_photos_with_the...

5
The_Fox 6 hours ago 2 replies      
The subway speeding past photo is interesting- the door is clearly slanted to one side. Is this an artifact of the camera scanning line-by-line relatively slowly? Or something else?
6
greggman 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Here's a web app that will "gameboyify" a photo

http://www.tabletop-pixel.com/retroizer/

7
minikomi 3 hours ago 0 replies      
A music video created with a gameboy camera: http://vimeo.com/19868821

It's also worth noting that the gameboy camera also contained a very weird and limited sequencer called trippy-H, which you accessed by first completing an objective (take so many photos or make an animation or something).. and then shooting the right thing in the shooting game.

Here's a demo of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SDQ7vF5CIQ

I loved that the gameboy camera had a ton of completely hidden weirdness (pre-internet!) which you found out and shared with your friends.

8
servowire 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow. I remember that cam.

Fun to do. Put one of those pics on your screen and walk back a few meters. For example the picture of the guy in the subway sleeping. You'll notice the details start appearing because your brain is filling in the details.

9
snissn 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been wondering for a long time why Nintendo never went ahead and made a smart phone. This really cool blog post sort of twisted the knife to me about their possible missed opportunity.
10
t__r 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Quality doesnt seem to be that much different from the first ever digital camera, the cromemco cyclops (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cromemco_CYCLOPS). Judged by the few examples that can be found via Google images, that is.

Incidentally, that camera used rather interesting technology. Its sensor was a regular CMOS ram chip with the opaque cover replaced by a transparent one. Bits would flip back from 1 to 0 due to the light projected onto it.

11
dang 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Url changed from http://www.designboom.com/art/game-boy-camera-photographs-05..., which pointed to something that pointed to this.

Submitters: HN prefers original sources. Please check what you post for cases where it's just pointing to something else.

25
Who Has Your Back 2014: Protecting Your Data From Government Requests eff.org
153 points by weeha  2 days ago   94 comments top 23
1
scrrr 2 days ago 7 replies      
(with a little bit of sarcasm:)

Oh I guess then it's safe to put my data on the American cloud again.

Just kidding, wouldn't do it. And neither should you.

It's sad, but as a foreigner I don't see that, regarding government policies, anything at all has changed since Snowden went public. I have nothing against the USA taking various leadership roles. Biggest democracy, newest technology etc, but since early 2000s it seems they are doing a bad job in many areas.

No thanks.

2
ronaldx 2 days ago 4 replies      
The EFF apparently cares a great deal about government surveillance but does not comment on corporate surveillance.

Is it a coincidence that some of the 6 star corporations who supposedly "have our back" are funding the EFF? Sigh.

A lot of the EFF's work seems to go into defending Google's rights rather than defending individuals' rights. This is bizarre behaviour for a privacy advocacy group. See also: https://twitter.com/EFF/status/466727797713825793

I find that I can no longer support the EFF's work.

3
etiam 2 days ago 0 replies      
The PRISM companies have been saying they 'have our backs' since that story broke, and it's more clear than ever that they were lying in those statements. (notably, see the material in Glenn Greenwald's recent book No Place to Hide about direct surveillance agency access to severs, in spite of coordinated statements from the companies denying precisely that. Not that most people found them credible back then.)

What I'd like to know is who is acting to protect their users, and for a lot of the of the entries on this list I have negligible levels of trust that words and actions tell the same story.

Still, all the star categories here are at least somewhat verifiable, and giving bad actors credit for improving is a good thing. I think this has limited value as a guide to what companies can be trusted, but great value as a survey about the response of U.S. society to the Snowden releases, and these trends look somewhat encouraging. Thanks EFF, for pointing the spotlight.

4
skrebbel 2 days ago 2 replies      
Significantly more stars than in 2013! [1]

This is a very good development, and it also suggests that these kinds of publications may have some positive effect in encouraging more companies to, well, "have your back".

[1] https://www.eff.org/who-has-your-back-2013

5
Cieplak 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's funny that no one talks about credit card companies actually selling personal data to the highest bidder:http://www.businessinsider.com/credit-cards-sell-purchase-da...

Not very hard to deanonymize a person's every card purchase.

6
Zirro 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am happy to see the significant increase in stars, but I do wonder if the same rules apply to both US and non-US users. The report is vague regarding this.
7
sspiff 2 days ago 1 reply      
They are basing this largely on statements by the companies in question, not on their actions or any proof that these companies actually abide by their promises. Seems a bit hollow to me.
8
salar 2 days ago 0 replies      
If people are interested in a more in-depth view about this, check out https://transparency-reports.silk.co/. It covers other countries too and has more raw data on both companies and governments.

The EFF collaborated with us [1] on this and we're very excited about being able to provide the data in an accessible and easily comparable way on the web.

[1] https://www.eff.org/press/releases/which-tech-companies-help...

9
junto 2 days ago 1 reply      
It is indeed a sad state of affairs when you have to read the title "Protecting Your Data From Government...".

It highlights the fact that government no longer works for us; that that majority of people either do not care about the issue, or they do care and democracy is a farce.

Of those options, I firmly believe that democracy is a farce.

My 90 year old Gran's father was one of the founder's of the British Labour Party. She says that if someone starts a revolution she she join in. She thinks she is too old to start it, and to be fair she is blind and deaf so she's doing pretty well. We need more people like her.

10
ikawe 2 days ago 0 replies      
From the article:

> CREDO Mobile, a new addition to this years report, demonstrated through its exemplary policies that it is possible for a telecom to adopt best practices when it comes to transparency and resistance to government demands.

I'd never heard of Credo Mobile before.

Regardless of the intentions of Credo, since they appear to be leasing Sprint's towers, doesn't that ultimately put Credo's customers at the whim of Sprint in terms of who gets wiretapped / transparency reports / etc?

Or is it possible for a tenant on the infrastructure to be reasonably assured that outsiders can't intrude into their communications.

I know very little about it, but what I've seen of cell network security research, makes me assume that no such security exists for tenants leasing towers.

11
x1798DE 2 days ago 1 reply      
>Tell users about government data requests. To earn a star in this category, Internet companies must promise to tell users when the government seeks their data unless prohibited by law, in very narrow and defined emergency situations,[2] or unless doing so would be futile or ineffective.[3]

Those caveats make this a meaningless category, particularly the first one. Nearly all the data requests that people are concerned about have been coming with gag orders attached. Not to mention, how can the EFF even verify this? One assumes the criteria are assessed by the companies' policies, not by their actions, and that's clearly meaningless if the government is essentially compelling them to lie, keep silent or "massage the truth".

12
TallGuyShort 2 days ago 0 replies      
The problem with this list is that I can't tell if the starred company ALWAYS does the relevant action, or HAS done the relevant action at times. Does Google always tell users about govt requests for data? Or does Google sometimes tell users about govt requests for data? Because recent revelations indicated the government could retrieve their data without Google even being involved in each transaction, and they were legally barred from revealing fine-grained details about requests. But they did publicly oppose that policy after the fact and fought (or at least appeared to) the policy after it was revealed. So they get a star in that category now?

It's a bit like charting a flip-flopping political candidate's stances on issues. Does candidate X support issue Y? Yes! Does candidate X oppose issue Y? ... yes!

13
mherdeg 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised that this EFF report doesn't include Reddit.
14
herrschindler 2 days ago 1 reply      
So the EFF is now becoming the lobby for the US surveillance companies?

Several of these companies built their business model on commercial surveillance of their users with the purpose of monetizing their data directly or indirectly.

And these are the companies that are supposed to "have my back"? Really?

15
7schlaefer 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm somewhat unsure about the significance of this stars, it seems too much like a PR checklist.
16
Oras 2 days ago 3 replies      
Facebook is fighting for users' privacy? is it the joke of the day?!
17
butler14 2 days ago 1 reply      
microsoft really earnt their 5 stars, what with them working covertly with the FBI to break SSL
18
akandiah 2 days ago 0 replies      
Six stars for Apple! It's the first time that it's received such an accolade from the EFF.
19
rtnl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Could anyone explain how that list was assembled?

Why aren't there any of the services that actually have our backs on this list? Companies such as https://MyKolab.com clearly seem to belong on that list.

20
hellbreakslose 2 days ago 1 reply      
Apple had 1 star last year. This year has 5/5
21
freechoice22 2 days ago 1 reply      
Lets all just trust these corporations who went behind our backs since start of the 90s.

EFF reports clearly shows now that the major corporations which backstabbed us are doing all they can now to serve our interests and not other agendas. Herd the sheep, and sheep will not say a thing. Well done EFF, show me the way to herd the sheep.

22
kordless 2 days ago 0 replies      
Where's Rackspace, dammit?
23
Zigurd 2 days ago 0 replies      
How many of these companies have made key exchange and Web of trust easy to use and have put your data completely out of reach of snoops?

I know of one that makes the use of private keys and encrypted payload easy: Carbonite. Anyone else? Anyone? Bueller?

26
AT&T to Buy DirecTV for $48.5 Billion nytimes.com
152 points by k-mcgrady  6 hours ago   109 comments top 20
1
suprgeek 6 hours ago 1 reply      
The race is officially on!Can the Telecoms retain their terrible monopolies by becoming streaming providers Faster than the Streaming providers (Netflix, Youtube, Amazon Prime et al) trying to become Content creators?

AT&T is running out of customers to squeeze in the cell phone plans market. This is the next frontier for terrible service, exorbitant prices and regulated monopolies...

2
sillysaurus3 6 hours ago 7 replies      
Do many young people watch TV anymore? It seems like netflix + youtube scratches that itch.
3
npinguy 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Use this as a perfect example to explain to people why Net Neutrality matters.

"What incentive does AT&T have to bring you good streaming experience for Netflix, Hulu, or heck even Youtube when they'd much much MUCH rather you were buying DirecTV from them?"

4
tn13 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is getting dangerous. Imagine a world where a public transportation company owns the network of roads too and denies any other transportation company to come up besides their own.
5
raarts 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Think. How would the content providers - any of them, from Disney to Facebook - get their content at the consumer without the data-distributors, from Comcast to AT&T ?The saying is internet kills the middleman, but this is the real middleman that needs to be killed, and just as our roads are free and open to everyone, so should the digital roads be.
6
capkutay 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised Apple didn't get into this recent movement of communications company acquisitions. For 1/3 of their cash pile, they could have streamlined control of not only the devices (tablets, phones, tv's) and the content market place (itunes), but also the infrastructure to provide media and telecom services through possible acquisitions of time warner, directv, and/or tmobile.
7
k-mcgrady 6 hours ago 3 replies      
There's no way this can pass, especially with the Comcast/Time Warner deal still in process. Maybe this will scare regulators into denying both deals.
8
kmfrk 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Put that WhatsApp acquisition in your pipe and smoke it, Zuckerberg.
9
jmccree 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is interesting. My building has tv/phone/internet via DirecPath, a fiber based isp now owned by DirecTV. The only alternative is via the local telco, AT&T. Will be interesting to see how this plays out.
10
icpmacdo 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this acquisition from cash that AT&T hand or would they go to a bank and work with them for capital?
11
shiift 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Next up AT&T + Comcast merger... 'Cause why not?
12
blantonl 4 hours ago 0 replies      
You have to wonder how much the NFL Sunday Ticket was worth as part of this transaction.
13
sliverstorm 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It's almost like the industry wants the government to step in on anti-trust grounds.

Wait a minute...

14
logicallee 4 hours ago 1 reply      
wow, I thought you meant "million"? You don't just buy a company for $48.5 billion, and have a tiny matter-of-fact headline like this.

What's the last company that got bought for even $30 billion!

This is a mind-boggling sum of money.

Check out the largest mergers and acquisitions of all time:

http://www.bloomberg.com/visual-data/best-and-worst/largest-...

(Do bear in mind inflation - add 45% since 1998 according to http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/)

This deal must still be way up there. I wonder if someone can find the largest acquisitions of the past 2-3 years.

15
edoceo 6 hours ago 1 reply      
According to them lack of competition is good for the market. Maybe Zuckerburg can start a bandwidth company and bring another (desperately needed) player to the game.
16
Istof 3 hours ago 0 replies      
hopefully this will get blocked
17
ILIKEPONIES 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Is it bad that I read this as 'AT&T to Buy DirecTV for 2.7 WhatsApps?'
18
marincounty 5 hours ago 1 reply      
If they can compete against the devil--Comcast; I'm all for this merger.
19
001sky 6 hours ago 0 replies      
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AT&T_Broadband

The cable/telco consolidation 1.0 play.

20
mwally 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Both industries are doomed. I'll stay tuned to see how this turns out in like 5-10 years from now.
27
What If U.S. Cities Just Stopped Participating in the War on Drugs? citylab.com
146 points by samsolomon  1 day ago   131 comments top 12
1
sharkweek 1 day ago 4 replies      
The Economist wrote a near perfect editorial about the war on drugs a few years back:

http://www.economist.com/node/13237193(you might need to Google "The economist failed states and failed policies" to read the article)

Regarding drug policy, the biggest misstep of the past 40 years has been taking a public heath issue and turning it into a crime and punishment issue.

I highly recommend anyone curious about the history of the war on drugs, and the major problems it has created, watch "The House I Live In" -- arguably one of the best documentaries I have ever seen -

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2125653/

2
rayiner 1 day ago 2 replies      
I really hope that in the next few decades we see a deescalation of the drug war. But I think many people overestimate how far along we are in terms of the general public's attitude.

It was only last year that majority of those polled supported legalizing marijuana: http://www.people-press.org/2013/04/04/majority-now-supports.... At the time of the last dot-com bust (2001), it was 60-40 against legalization. Since actual voters skew older and more conservative, it's totally unsurprising that it has only been in the last few years that legalization efforts have gained traction.

Yet legalization of marijuana is just the first step, and one that's easy to take for middle class voters, whose kids may use marijuana or who may use it themselves. It'll still be a long, uphill battle to convince these voters that it'll be better to disengage from the drug war completely. A lot of the people involved in drug distribution are not sympathetic figures to the general public: uneducated, often minorities, and usually with long criminal records. The idea that disengaging from the drug war will mean "going soft" on these people will be a powerful one.

3
us0r 1 day ago 0 replies      
The jury is out and this is a lost cause. Unfortunately it is all about money. This is a massive business. The budget just keeps growing. 2015 drug budget:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/ondcp/about-co...

Of course they make it nearly impossible to figure out a real number of how much is going contractors but since the DEA is supposed to be about only drugs they had a $2,242M FY13 budget. Total contract actions in FY13: $513,659,660.69.

Largest recipient? A scandal plagued private security contractor. Meanwhile in an effort to curb spending House Republicans cut the syringe program in 2011. Needle sharing is 1/3 of all AIDS cases (354,000). Even if you don't want to change drug policy that is just simply a horrible idea.

Forbes article on the horror that happened in Portugal:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/07/05/ten-years-af...

As more State's legalize eventually Washington will need to do something. I have a feeling we will end up with decriminalization which is going to keep the murders, theft and other problems around.

In the meantime Michele Leonhart should be fired, arrested and charged. The NSA running around wild on the Internet is one thing but the DEA using that to build phony cases and investigations is an entirely different animal.

4
sirdogealot 1 day ago 1 reply      
The same thing that would happen to any country or state that decided to stop participating in the war on drugs.

They would be sanctioned and heckled by other city governments.

They may even have their drug enforcement programs carried out by other governments, like when Canada sat back for years while Marc Emery sold Marijuana seeds worldwide.

The DEA basically coughed and the RCMP had Emery arrested on the spot and extradited to the U.S.A. to face charges in a country he was not even a resident of.[0]

I am sure there was a bit more to it than that. The USA probably insinuated some very strong consequences for Canada if they didn't turn him over. But that's entirely speculation.

Marc Emery aka "the prince of pot" remains incarcerated in the U.S.A. to this day.

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Emery#2005_arrest_and_extr...

5
SoftwareMaven 1 day ago 1 reply      
The point about grants brings up what I consider to be one of the Federal government's most pernicious behaviors: micro-managing local government through the use of grants and other funds (see also education and school nutrition).
6
cwisecarver 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Doesn't this just come down to capitalism? If there is a demand someone will find a way to supply it. We could have the government select the suppliers through law enforcement, weeding out the criminals that can't find a way to evade them, or we could license dealers, tax their profits and use that money for schools, treatment, and whatever else (Colorado).

People who have a physical or mental addiction will find a way to get their high. That's what we've learned from the WoD. It's water dripping on a stone, from both sides, distribution and consumption.

Tax-paying citizens, not making any judgements, should get back their investment on the fail that is the WoD.

The government and the taxpayers could easily make as much money through taxing drug dealers profits as they've ever made getting handouts from the prison and big-pharma lobby.

7
acd 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This war was lost when the criminals started using Narco subshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narco-submarine and that they started to use horizontal digging http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/mexican-cartels-are-using-f...
8
Thriptic 1 day ago 1 reply      
Excuse my ignorance, but is it legitimate for subordinate entities in a federalist system to simply not fund enforcement of policies they don't agree with? For example, would it be possible to have a vice squad with a budget of 1 dollar, effectively preventing enforcement of drug-related crime?
9
Spooky23 1 day ago 2 replies      
A: Those cities would develop more obvious/visible crime problems as the drug traffickers fought amoungst themselves unabated. The police forces would take a big hit due to the loss of seizure revenue, which means less overtime and poorer coverage.

I think the "war on drugs" is a joke, but local action isn't going to be very effective, because the locality will bear the brunt of the negative effects.

10
justizin 23 hours ago 0 replies      
they would have to lay off massive amounts of their police forces, which have over the past couple decades come to rely on federal drug war funding for significant portions of their payroll.

i'm ok with that, but are the rest of you?

11
DonGateley 23 hours ago 0 replies      
One problem with this is the number of thugs in city and town police forces. They aren't going to give up their bully franchises easily.
12
GauntletWizard 1 day ago 5 replies      
Then organized crime would run the streets, as the combative pressure keeping these operations small would removed. Gangs would spring up like weeds, get absorbed into syndicates, and wield large amounts of power over ghettos and other blighted areas without regular sweeps to keep them in line.
28
Practical Tmux mutelight.org
145 points by weitzj  2 days ago   92 comments top 15
1
philsnow 2 days ago 6 replies      
I feel like I'm the only one taking crazy pills whenever this topic comes up.

Granted, tmux has a better configuration language.

However the whole session/window/pane/instance model is bizarre, as evidenced by the secition "Multiple Clients Sharing One Session" under "common problems" in the linked article.

On top of that, the below are all given as points in favor of tmux, but they're either arguably better in screen or else a wash:

> Better redraw model

This is one of the (many) things that drove me back to screen. The two times I tried tmux, it had exactly this kind of issue where it would fail to redraw the screen correctly after SIGWINCH.

> screen contents persisted through full-screen programs

doesn't this depend on whether the program calls curses endwin() function ? why does tmux/screen need to know about this ?

> not possible to remove the visual bell from Screen completely

doesn't this work?

    vbell off    bell_msg ""
though I'm not sure why you would want to do such a thing.

> automatic window renaming

last I checked this used a huge amount of cpu. is that no longer the case ? in any case, I name my windows according to what i'm doing in that window, since "bash" or "screen" (I use nested screen sessions) or "emacs" is not a useful window title.

> vertical splits

newish screen does this. I don't see the use. I figure I either have a roughly 80-column screen (default linux virtual terminals) or it's wide enough to have multiple 80-column windows (laptop or desktop running X). If I have enough horizontal space, I'm using a sensible window manager that is better-suited to real estate management.

Also how does tmux handle copy/paste with vertical splits ?

> vi key bindings in copy mode

is this supposed to be a win for tmux over screen ? both basic emacs and vi movement works out of the box in screen.

2
rabino 2 days ago 2 replies      
If you use tmux a lot, I can't recommend tmuxp enough.https://github.com/tony/tmuxp
3
akkartik 2 days ago 3 replies      
I started using tmux recently, and have two life-changing tweaks to share if you're a vim user:

a) A single keyboard shortcut to navigate between both panes and vim windows in a single tmux workspace: http://www.reddit.com/r/vim/comments/22ixkq/navigate_around_...

b) Send a region from vim to a tmux/screen window: https://github.com/jpalardy/vim-slime

The combination of these gives me a nice environment for lisp hacking without needing to switch to emacs.

4
ludwig 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've been using tmux for a while now, and it's a great tool. I hardly open any new terminal windows now.

If anyone is interested in the settings I've accumulated over the months, here is my config file: https://github.com/ludwig/dotfiles/blob/master/tmux.conf

5
weitzj 2 days ago 1 reply      
6
chilie 1 day ago 2 replies      
Can someone explain the benefits of using tmux or screen or something similar over opening multiple terminals in a tiling WM?

The two arguments I could see are resource usage (not an issue on modern machines) or detach/attach (which is a huge benefit when working remotely, but I don't see any gain locally). But other than those, I don't see any benefits to having a second tiling system sitting on top of my current tiling system.

(For reference, I use i3.)

7
cm3 1 day ago 1 reply      
Two issues in tmux not fixed or this way by design are missing flow control and that you have to explicitly bind shortcuts which work in gnu screen automatically without pressing Ctrl twice. Other than that it's good.
8
notwedtm 1 day ago 0 replies      
My one gripe about tmux is that when doing things like `git commit` where it will open my editor (ST2), after I close the editor, tmux never realizes the file has been closed, so it just hangs there. If I do the exact same command outside of tmux, it doesn't.
9
PhineasRex 2 days ago 2 replies      
For those who find tmux a bit arcane and screen a bit too primitive, I've found dvtm+dtach to be an excellent terminal multiplexer and session manager.
10
Soarez 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's another tmux guide with a few other tricks http://blog.soarez.com/post/57348732818/tmux
11
gitaarik 1 day ago 1 reply      
So does anyone know if there's a setting to make searching in copymode case insensitive? This is the biggest reasing I can't switch to tmux...
12
dfc 2 days ago 3 replies      
In one of the recent releases tmux switched from starting new panes in $PWD to $HOME. I am sure they had their reasons but the new behavior is terrible for me. To get the old behavior back (AKA new pane in current working directory) add the following to ~/.tmux.conf

  bind c neww -c '#{pane_current_path}'

13
doxcf434 2 days ago 2 replies      
One annoyance is that both tmux and screen have problems with truncating long lines in less.
14
softatlas 1 day ago 0 replies      
I play tictactmux at pomodoro intervals with clock-mode panes representing state. Roll d9 at turn for next move.
15
druska 2 days ago 0 replies      
byobu
29
Dont Blame Big Cable. Its Local Governments That Choke Broadband Competition wired.com
145 points by apu  2 days ago   144 comments top 20
1
rayiner 2 days ago 8 replies      
I think it is absolutely key to look past all the rhetoric and see what Google is actually asking for in return for building fiber.

> In Kansas City and Austin, local governments wanted Google Fiber more than they wanted kickbacks. So they expedited the permitting process, gave Google rights-of-way access for little to no cost, and allowed Google to build-out selectively i.e., in neighborhoods where consumers actually expressed demand.

Kansas City agreed to get the permits done in 5 days. Provo sold Google for $1 a fiber network they had spent over $30 million constructing. Most if not all of the cities declined to impose build-out requirements: enough users had to sign up in each "Fiberhood" to justify Google deploying there.

This stands in stark contrast to what happens when companies try to deploy fiber or cable in other places.

Read Comcast's franchise agreement for Wilmington, DE, a small, poor, city of about 70,000 people: http://www.wilmingtonde.gov/docs/1320/3716Rev1.pdf.

In addition to the hefty franchise fee, paid out of gross, the city extracts a couple of million dollars in funding for government programs, and imposes a built-out requirement that requires Comcast to build out to every neighborhood above a certain (low) density, even if enough customers don't sign up to make it profitable. Similar build-out requirements killed FIOS deployment in the city: http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/verizon-defends-honor-wil....

In short, I can't have FIOS because Verizon wasn't willing to build it out to all the neighborhoods in the city that have 30-50% of its residents living under the poverty line.

This sort of article typifies the local response: http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2023420101_b....

("Once cities provide these handouts, they dont have much leverage. Theyll end up bowing and scraping and hoping that Uncle Google throws a bit more fiber their way, someday. The experience in Kansas City where suburbs are stuck waiting for Google to extend its fiberhoods suggests that cities in a region targeted by Google Fiber should work together on setting expectations and deadlines. Yes, a provider like Google may abandon a city that doesnt play along. But is that such a loss if the company ends up cherry-picking and making the market less attractive to other providers including public utilities that might come and provide fast broadband for everyone?")

In other words, they want to subject fiber deployment to the typical class warfare that characterizes municipal politics. It's better for nobody to have fiber than for wealthier areas to get it while communities that can't afford it don't. In New York City, the mayor has turned Verizon's FIOS deployment into an economic justice issue and hired a civil rights lawyer: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20140219/TECHNOLOGY/140....

Who do you blame for not having fiber? How many cities would already have competitors deploying fiber if they had adopted the kind of regulatory regimes Google is demanding as a pre-condition for launching fiber?

2
zdw 2 days ago 5 replies      
The fundamental problem here is that in most places we've arbitrarily decided that certain things like:

    - Roads    - Water/Trash/Sewer    - Police/Fire service
Are a part of municipal government, whereas:

    - Electrical    - Telephone    - Cable TV
Are frequently not, but are regulated. Frequently, one of these last 3 will own the poles (usually the Electrical company, but sometimes the municipality) and the Phone/Cable companies lease the poles to put up their lines.

So, what do you do? Make the Electric company put up New Companies A-Z's lines for free? That doesn't work and would quickly lead to companies covering the lucrative part of town (read: "rich") and widening the digital divide.

It comes back to the bad decision that didn't force Cable to be a common carrier. Had that happened, we'd end up with a situation like DSL where there are multiple vendors, except the lines would have the same speed capabilities as Cable.

So, in short, it comes back to a bad FCC decision. Requiring a bunch of new physical infrastructure isn't needed when the existing could just be broken up and leased out as dumb pipes.

3
imgabe 2 days ago 3 replies      
So the cable companies aren't aggressively lobbying municipal governments to keep out competition? Where do you think these costs came from?

And god forbid the municipality try to build out its own network. That will just inspire the incumbent cable company to take them to court until the project gets scrapped.

No, I think we can pretty easily blame Big Cable for this one.

4
yaur 2 days ago 1 reply      
Municipally owned/maintained FTTH with ISP access from an analog to a CO is a good thing IMO and something that the incumbents have used the courts to shut down in the past[1]. The Wired piece makes a seemingly legitimate argument (franchise agreements increase the cost for new entrants) while ignoring the actual alternative (which would dramatically decrease the cost for new entrants) that those outside of the industry may not even be aware of and in that regard is a bit dishonest.

Why is this coming up now? One of the interesting tidbits I picked up from industry coverage[2] of the current round of FCC rule making is "Wheeler intends to nullify state laws that prevent local governments from establishing broadband service". Which is something I don't think the industry wants to happen. So, yeah open access is great but giving cities the "If you don't provide acceptable internet service we will" stick is valuable as well.

[1] http://arstechnica.com/uncategorized/2008/07/telco-wont-inst...[2] http://www.cedmagazine.com/blogs/2014/05/fcc-four-more-month...

5
Aloha 2 days ago 0 replies      
I work for a major wireless carrier - we see this all the time with permitting - many of our rural sites dont even require a permit - we can just go out and swap the equipment on the pad, hand the new stuff on the tower.Our urban sites, some of them are just now getting permits that were applied for in 2011, not to mention the couple hundred bucks in fees (or more) to get said permits - all to simply change a bit of hardware bolted to a concrete pad - and on top, often costs for reinspection once were done bolting the new stuff on.
6
wnevets 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bullshit.

When local governments (i.e counties) attempt to roll out their own broadband, big cable (i.e comcast) sue to prevent it from happening.

7
saalweachter 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I'm reading Wikipedia correctly, Wired is owned by Conde Nast, which is owned by Advance Publications, which also has a large stake in the Discovery network.

Hooray for an independent press!

8
tormeh 2 days ago 1 reply      
Who would want an ISP to innovate? Latency, bandwidth and cost are the only things that matter. ISPs should be prohibited from offering anything else than internet access. No phone, no video, no toilet cover delivery.
9
stcredzero 2 days ago 1 reply      
We seem to be in as bad a situation now, as we were in when the telephone company had a monopoly running right up to the jacks in your house. (And most likely sold you the phone that plugged into that jac on top of it!)
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Goronmon 2 days ago 1 reply      
So, say that every town/city in the country streamlined the process for handling "right of way" and reduced the asking price for access.

Would this actually lead to an increase in competition or would it just lead to greater profits for the incumbents?

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NorthGuy1 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can I blame both?
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sp332 2 days ago 2 replies      
Every local government in America?
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ozten 2 days ago 0 replies      
Many local governments have given exclusive rights to a single private company. I wish that opinion editorial had some data to backup it's assertions.
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higherpurpose 2 days ago 0 replies      
Blame both. The cable companies asked for the local monopoly in the first place...
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closetnerd 2 days ago 0 replies      
no blame both big cable AND local governments ... its always a distraction to polarize the argument ...
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adventured 2 days ago 3 replies      
Where I live Comcast is barred from offering me Internet access due to the small city I live in offering another cable company a long term monopoly.

So I pay $75 for 15 mbps. I could be paying $25 less and getting twice the speed if I lived 10 minutes another direction.

Local governments are at least half the problem, but it's clearly a public + private collusion problem, in which both parties work together to establish monopolies. And the solution is simple (but will never happen): all telecom monopoly contracts should be voided nationally, immediately.

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z3t4 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd say blame the people that don't want more then 10 Mbit. And think that everyone who has 10+ Mbit only use it for "illegal activities".
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VikingCoder 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, it can double the cost?

Well, then we should have seen $150 billion in delivered broadband, since we have given $300 billion in tax subsidies to broadband providers, in exchange for broadband development.

We have not seen $150 billion in delivered broadband value.

Ergo, this argument is wrong. I do blame Big Cable.

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jinushaun 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seattle and SF
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dba7dba 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, really? It's the local govt fault that our internet connectivity sxxxxs?
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India's pro-business Modi storms to historic election win reuters.com
141 points by tokenadult  2 days ago   141 comments top 25
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cstross 2 days ago 11 replies      
Calling Modi "pro-business" seems like a bit of an over-simplication. He's a member of the RSS ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashtriya_Swayamsevak_Sangh ), which is arguably a violently anti-muslim paramilitary group, as well as leading the BJP (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bharatiya_Janata_Party). It's not unreasonable to call the BJP centre-right on economic/business issues ... but they have other policies as well, some of which are rather disturbing.

I'm not Indian and have no connection to the sub-continent. But it does not fill me with the warm fuzzies to read in wikipedia that:

"In 2005, Modi was denied a diplomatic visa to the United States. In addition, the B-1/B-2 visa that had previously been granted to him was also revoked, under a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act which makes any foreign government official who was responsible or "directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom" ineligible for the visa."

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cmadan 2 days ago 5 replies      
Here's a short summary to help others who haven't heard much about him.

Short background - Has been the Chief Minister (equivalent to Governer) of the Western Indian state of Gujarat for 14 years now.

The Good

---

* Achieved a very high GDP growth rate for Gujarat

* Made Gujarat a preferred destination for big industrialists to set up their factories since he gives land & clearances very readily.

* Developed infrastructure in Gujarat - built roads, highways, flyovers.

* Known to rule with an iron fist - a "my way or the highway" style of politician.

The Bad

---

* Accused of not practising all inclusive development. Critics point to poor performance of metrics such as child mortality rates, education, Human Development Index (HDI) etc.

* Many believe that he did not do enough to stop the Gujarat riots in 2001 where 1000 people were killed. After this incident, the governments of US and UK denied Modi a visa to enter their countries

* Describes himself as a "Hindu nationalist", has a history of making communally charged statements although seems to have cleaned up in recent years focusing on development.

The Ugly

---

* Believes homosexuality is unnatural and is against repealing an 100+ year old law which makes gay sex a criminal offence.

* Formed political alliances with leaders such as Yeddyurappa who has many cases of corruption pending and parties such as Shiv Sena who are notorious for using violence to target ethnic groups.

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tokenadult 2 days ago 3 replies      
Submitted in part because a Hacker News participant recently berated Americans on Hacker News for not being more aware of the election in India. (The person who wrote that comment is an American of Indian heritage, I'm pretty sure.) I was drawn to this article from the Google News news aggregator because it was listed as one of the "in-depth" articles. I was also startled by the title because until now I haven't heard most news reports as I have been following the election in India describing Modi as "pro-business." That's an issue I have no opinion about.

I will note for the record that I think a democratic election in a LARGE, multilingual country is an interesting process of human society. Participants here who dream of building startup businesses with truly worldwide reach will want to know how economic development is proceeding in the world's second-most-populous country. (Based on likely trends, India will eventually become the world's most populous country in my lifetime.) I think a free press and contested elections give India a lot of advantages over other countries and can serve as an example to China and other large countries still developing to higher living standards.

AFTER EDIT: Now that this is a breaking news story, I'll list a few other English-language reports on the election results here as I gather them from my usual news aggregator.

"Modi Brings India's Opposition Into Power at Last. Now What?" (BloombergBusinessweek)

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-05-16/modi-brings-...

"Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi claims victory as India's next prime minister" (CNN)

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/16/world/asia/india-election-...

"There are no enemies in democratic politics: Modi" (The Hindu, a newspaper from India)

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/there-are-no-enemies-i...

As before, I am not a voter in India, so I don't have a particular opinion about the voters' choice in the most recent national election in India.

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monsterix 2 days ago 1 reply      
I usually do not write comments on politicians, but being an Indian I feel sad that someone like Narendra Modi has even been considered for the post of Prime Minister by my countrymen. Let alone the decision to elect him for the top job.

But so it is, he is now the PM, and I accept what democracy and fate has asked me to accept and go with.

Having said that I am yet to understand why the following murders by the Godman himself have remain unsolved so far:

To inform and remind people there are quite a few murders that have been carried out by Modi, Amit Shah and D. G. Vanzara:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haren_PandyaThis guy was the Home Minister of Gujarat and key witness to implicate Modi to confess former's role in execution of 3000 children and women in Godhra Kand.

2. http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/kausar-bi-wa...Wife of the hitman used to kill 1 above.

3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Soharbuddin_...The hitman.

4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishrat_JahanUnsolved.

5. The guy with direct reporting to Amit Shah and Narendra Modi: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.G._VanzaraThe hitman with a uniform.

6. and there are several hundred other cases which could and could not surface above Modi's close quarters.

Here is a video of a few criminals who proudly discuss how they went on killing entire families of a particular faith, and how Modi gave them the strength, protection and instruction to do so:

7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFZBNUnG5pI

I am actually reassessing the value in the concept of democracy lately. I think tyrannies almost always figure out a way to come on the top. It's like seeded alongside the Third Law of Thermodynamics.

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darwinGod 2 days ago 0 replies      
To those very new to India's politics, there are few things to consider before forming an opinion of Modi's involvement in the 2002 riots.

(a) The Government in power at the center was the opposition party ( Congress) throughout the last decade. (2004-214). If they had the power to twist Supreme court's arm (appointment of judges etc), they would have most certainly done that, and influenced the outcome.

(b) The Government at the Center (2004-2014) has had at its disposal the main investigative body of the country (CBI) to do any arm-twisting against Modi.

(c)Despite this, and despite intense media scrutiny in India, if the Supreme Court- the highest court in India- has given Modi a clean chit on his involvement in the riots, then sufficient respect has to accorded to the same. It is significantly way,way,WAY more authoritative than any wannabe-investigative journalists airing their opinions non-stop on television or highly-viewed blog articles. Let that sink in.

If a thousand well-indexed news articles/ well followed blogs paint a different picture, that does not change facts.

The Supreme court of India has been known to be strong and independent,even openly rebuking the Center for it's stupidity and corruption ( Search for 2G-Spectrum scam). True we have a lot of corruption everywhere,but the arm-chair dismissal of Indian Supreme Court's weightage- by Indians ourselves- against top 10 google search results - pains me.

If Indians ourselves cant do that, how can we expect the global audience to form an informed opinion?

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kang 2 days ago 4 replies      
A corrupt Business Model.

BJP (the party under Modi's leadership) allegedly spent 100 billion Rs on advertisement. Like cunning businessman they exploited a loophole in the law; the parties are exempted from disclosing the source of their income!

With this amount of money, every child in India could be educated for free. Imagine that for a second.

The huge spendings, presenting a lipstick-on-a-pig development model of Gujrat[1] and bogus-voting (with many people publicly claiming to do so[2] to no brunt by the law) BJP has won these elections.

The money input allegedly came from businessmen Ambani & Adani. They gained 1.5 billion dollars today itself![3] Adani has quadrupled in value over past 6 months.

A very sad day for the minorities indeed. But India is so huge that even if a thousand die, people are unaffected. People have a very weak memory and any deed, howsoever bad, is easily forgotten within days. Add to that the ignorance of people to indirect influence of any event; people wont respond until they get the heat directly. I have lost hope. I feel I don't understand the majority of my nation.

[1](I worked in the capital of Gujrat)[2]http://indianexponent.com/scrapbook/he-bragged-he-voted-18-t...[3] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-16/india-s-ambani-adan...

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Osmium 2 days ago 1 reply      
I found this article very informative for an outsider:

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21600106-he-will-proba...

I'm not advocating the conclusions or opinions in the article (I simply don't know enough, and I know this article was controversial too), but it's an interesting read.

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pessimizer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pro-business is a really narrow way of describing Modi's ideology.

Here's a disturbingly comprehensive post that paints a more complete picture:

Narendra Modi and the rise of Indias neo-fascist Far-Right: The facts

http://www.loonwatch.com/2014/04/narendra-modi-and-the-rise-...

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not_that_noob 2 days ago 2 replies      
I find the Internet supporters of Modi/RSS/BJP a fascinating tribe. They are usually well-educated intelligent Indians, but with a marked tendency to turn off their critical-thinking faculties when the latter is mentioned. In addition, they expend enormous amounts of energy on the Internets trying in futility to paper over the obvious, and play the 'it's-all-a-aniti-hindu-conspiracy-card'. Hence the down votes for rather straightforward factual comments below.
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eshvk 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I last used to be interested in Indian politics ( around 10 years ago). The man was supposed to be a local extreme right wing politician with genocidal tendencies. I am rather surprised that "pro-business" was the tagline the HN post finally went with. Has the man changed since?
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intull 2 days ago 1 reply      
It might also be worth mentioning the numbers here. The BJP, party to which Mr. Narendra Modi belongs to, alone has got more than 50% of the seats in the Indian Parliament and nearly 60% with allies.

The INC (Indian National Congress) has suffered a historic defeat with not even 10% of the seats. Which also brings the interesting fact that the NDA will not have a Leader of Opposition as none of the other parties hold more than 10% of the seats.

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kshatrea 2 days ago 3 replies      
All day I've been wondering when this or something like this would make it to HN. There's going to be polarization now - left wing or "secular" (believe me that is an overused term here in India) and so called liberals versus an opinionated group of people who believe in the Modi form of government and leadership.Not only is this not a good topic for HN - it is about as bad as saying "Pro big-government Obama wins" or "Right wing Conservatives take Britain by storm!" or "Abbott defeats the Labour Party!" or "Merkel gains at the expense of leftists!" or any other such article.Bottom line is: you can not be sure of what Modi or any other politician for that matter will do until he/she does it. Until today, we didn't even know he'd get such a landslide.As for the technological impact of Modi's win - he loves solar & infrastructure(so go long solar & infra stocks) and it is probable that the internet penetration in India will increase - although whether that is credited to him/his party or not is a matter of debate.This entire election is about a nationalist Indian party that has defeated a clutch of leftist parties (similar to other nationalist movements in many other nations) and there isn't a leftist versus nationalist debate in the world that deserves attention on HN.

For the record, I supported Modi's party in this election, so I maybe biased. Take with a pinch of salt.

EDIT: removed my comment about this not required on HN as in hindsight it seemed unimportant to me.

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sgaunt 2 days ago 0 replies      
The greatest trick Modi pulled is not convincing people that he is not responsible for the 2002 pogrom. Lots of peoplebelieve that he is directly or indirectly responsible. But somehow he convinced people that it doesn't matter. Also 10 years of corrupt, incompetent congress goverment made people desperate for change. This reminds me of The Dark Knight quote "You crossed the line first, sir. You hammered them and in their desperation they turned to a man they didn't fully understand".

The election battle looked like Kerry vs Bush. Rahul Gandhi looked so weak and incompetent to lead a country whereasModi projected himself strong(with 52 inch chest!). His PR machinery was so effective that, BJB couldn't have produced the same result with some other leader. My guess is even Modi/BJB was replaced in 5 years, the fallout of this government will stay longer.

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maheshs 1 day ago 0 replies      
People who claim Modi ia a pro development are ill informed. If Gujarat is a "model" than at least 5-6 states are in India which you can call "super model".

Link contains state ranking on various Index (Right Navigation). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_states_and_terri...

People of Gujarat were always pro business and evidence for the same is, people of Since independence, people of Gujarat are least dependent upon government jobs and having low un-employment rate always.

Now why Modi was elected. Reason is same the way congress was winning in last 50 years.

Media, Propaganda, Mix politics with religion and wrap all those into "Hope".

15
joosters 2 days ago 3 replies      
Note that 'pro-business' is a politically empty phrase. After all, no candidate in any election would claim to be 'anti-business'.

If the opposite to any given political standpoint is completely unacceptable, then IMO that makes the original viewpoint empty and meaningless.

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linux_devil 2 days ago 0 replies      
Correction : Certainly not historic , when you say historic would like to correct you that in 1984 , INC (2014 runner-up party) won 414 seats .

One of the party which was crowdsourced "AAP" won only 4 seats but certainly show a ray of hope when leadership has been tossed between both these parties since Independence .

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geekam 2 days ago 0 replies      
With his deep ties with big business families I doubt this "pro-business" is anything but pro corps.

(http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghabahree/2014/03/12/doing-big...)

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harmonicon 2 days ago 0 replies      
While economic development are very important, I hope Mr. Modi will not bend over backward for business interests just to return the favor. Excessive corporate tax cuts and environmental damage all set back the lives of the "lay people".
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anuraj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Remains to be seen whether this will usher in economic revival or the country drifts to religious strife - Modi has potential for both.
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ayushgta 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Commentators have sought to explain Modi to non-Indians, deploying numerous comparisons to do so; but the one that works best, in my opinion, is to see him as a kind of Indian (or Hindu) Ariel Sharon."

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/16/modi-crushe...

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higherpurpose 2 days ago 1 reply      
What are his opinions on mass surveillance in India, which seems to have become about as aggressive as it is in US and UK in the past few years, or has that issue not even been raised?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A91idibgT0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwCixZk0snM

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tn13 2 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of people have turned into sulking mode and are claiming that Mr. Modi is some kind of draconian third world dictator who is now going to kill many people in India.

Even though it may appear to ordinary westerners please be assured that this is far far away from the truth.

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WasimBhai 2 days ago 0 replies      
After 60 years, just as Pakistan is unraveling with religious extremism that has permeated the fabric of society, India elects Modi, someone who has been a life long member of RSS, a fascist Hindu organization, and have often been accused of being complicit in Gujarat pogroms of 2002. An India, which was founded upon the principles of egalitarianism, a Pakistan which was to be a homeland for minorities.

60 years, and both of those principles falling to pieces in each of the states.

       cached 19 May 2014 04:11:01 GMT