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First-Person Hyper-lapse Videos
1450 points by davidst  2 days ago   167 comments top 59
UnoriginalGuy 2 days ago 6 replies      
The result is quite simply breathtaking. It looks like something shot for a movie using a stabilised dollycam, the fact they were able to achieve the same thing using nothing but a GoPro, their software, and likely a week of post-processing on a high end desktop PC is simply amazing.

I hope we see this technology actually become readily available. There might still be work to be done, but in general if they can reproduce the demo videos with other content then they're on to something people would want.

Mithaldu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Since it's not quite obvious, the supplementary page has videos with better bitrate than what youtube did to them: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/hype...
rkuykendall-com 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting that the final video ( mostly the rock climbing ) resembles a video game, where shapes and textures "pop-in" as they are rendered. The technical explanation video was really well done.
msane 2 days ago 2 replies      
If the MSR researchers are here -- I'm curious what does it look like when bordering hyperlapse with regular input? i.e., if there were a video consisting of input frames at the beginning and the end, with a stretch of hyperlapse in the middle, what does the transition look like? Does it need much smoothing?

Also you probably saw this over the past week: http://jtsingh.com/index.php?route=information/information&i... disregarding the politics of that) Whatever he's doing (I assume a lot of manual work) it has a very similar effect and it has these beautiful transitions between speeds.

Amazing work and the videos are stunning.

spindritf 2 days ago 2 replies      
The videos don't load for me (due to mixed content, I believe), so here they are:



The hyperlapse of the climbing video looks like an FPS game from a decade ago with texture refreshing as you get closer.

jahmed 2 days ago 1 reply      
I walked around Boston once with some friends for 7 hours. When I remember it I see it as the hyperlapse, not moment for moment or sped up. Super interesting work.
steven2012 1 day ago 1 reply      
Okay please sign me up. I'm willing to pay hundreds of dollars for this software. I have hundreds of gigabytes of time lapse that I've taken that is just sitting there because of lack of ability to do something. I'd easily pay $200+ for this software right now just so I can have those videos and free up massive hard drive space.
moultano 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how far you can get by using a "naive" timelapse of selecting frames from the video, but being smarter about which frames you choose. Rather than just choosing every nth frame, try to choose visually consistent frames by making the intervals between the frames loose, then apply conventional stabilization after the fact.
iamshs 2 days ago 3 replies      
Bloody amazing! Fantastic work! Release it. Release it soon. This is something that everyone would want.

I see they have listed a Windows app coming. Is that Windows desktop app?

Lifescape 2 days ago 3 replies      
It appears as if the mountains are loading in the background (like in a video game) as you get closer to them.

Awesome idea/execution!

readerrrr 2 days ago 2 replies      
Great results but looks expensive. I wonder how many minutes of processing per minute of video.
adt2bt 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is so insanely cool. I plan to get a GoPro some day soon and will take it on hikes in the Pacific NW. If I could turn my hikes into beautiful time-lapses like these, I'd be blown away.
31reasons 2 days ago 1 reply      
Mind blowing results! Although the name Hyper-lapse doesn't really convey the goal, it should be named Smooth-Lapse, because thats what its doing. Too much hyper-x already.
oh_sigh 2 days ago 1 reply      
Really great results. I wonder if this could be coupled with google street view data to give a smoother time-lapse of a path.
itchmasterflex 1 day ago 1 reply      
Would it be possible to do something like this for audio? It would be incredible to sample an hour-long album or mix in minutes.
tehwebguy 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is incredible! If you want a good look at how it handles moving objects / people check out the part at 2:15


photojosh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would use this for sure. I do timelapses of runs I do and set as challenges for our social running group. The source is a head-mounted GoPro.The problem with them is that a straight forward pick-every-nth-frame gives a motion-sickness inducing video, as well as blurry. If you could extract the frame from the top of each stride when the camera is most steady, I would imagine it would be very much more watchable.
sabalaba 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is great. I have weeks of footage from a camera that I wear around and would love to use that video to make a hyperlapse. I would also be interested in seeing how well this does with photos taken every few seconds as opposed to video. Although, after reading the paper, it looks like there would be a lot of optimization that would need to happen to make it more efficient. (Their original implementation took a few hours on a cluster.) Luckily, as they stated in the technical video, they haven't tried to do anything more than a proof of concept; so there is plenty of room to optimize. I'd be interested to see how well a single-machine OpenCL or CUDA implementation does compared to the CPU clusters they were using in the paper.
pwenzel 1 day ago 0 replies      
The city demos remind me of the Blues Brothers' car chase scene in downtown Chicago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMagP52BWG8
washedup 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is incredible. By watching the hyper lapse versions of the mountain climbing, you can clearly see which path is taken, are able to get glimpses of whatever paths are available. This would be a huge advantage for people learning how to rock climb. I can image that a similar situation would occur for many other activities. Great work!
jelveh 2 days ago 1 reply      
Yuioup 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised Microsoft never releases anything cool like that to their app store.
bitL 1 day ago 1 reply      
Very nice! Is there software available I can use, or do I have to implement the algorithms from the paper myself?

I make a lot of 4K hyperlapse movies, it is tedious as AfterEffect's warp stabilizer is useful only in a small fraction of cases, Deshaker is more consistent but also not perfect, and the only option in the end is multi-pass manual tracking and stabilizing which is very time consuming and tricky for long panning shots.

closetnerd 2 days ago 0 replies      
That honestly has fantastic results.
ntenenz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Szeliski also has written a comprehensive Computer Vision book for those looking to learn the field. It's a fairly good one (and available for free online - http://szeliski.org/Book/).
bsimpson 1 day ago 1 reply      
As others have commented, the videos look great, and much closer to how people remember journeys. However, there appear to be some image persistence problems (many street poles simply dissolve as they get closer to the camera).

I'm curious to see what happens if they insert more action-packed footage. An MTB course with trees, switchbacks, and jumps would be an interesting stress test of this technique.

aceperry 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pretty cool that they've included the raw video. Everyone can use that to compare their alternative method to the microsoft researchers' results.
rumham 2 days ago 1 reply      
Incredible results. I'd kill to try this with Oculus Rift.
jalopy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow please release this either standalone or even better as a feature of some MS movie production tool. iMovie needs some competition.
NicoJuicy 2 days ago 0 replies      
What's the best alternative for this? I'm doing a GoPro video while cycling with some friends... And this would be insanely usefull
the_cat_kittles 2 days ago 0 replies      
be sure to watch the technical exegesis at the bottom, its almost more amazing
bellerocky 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't understand how computers figure out 3D from single camera video without parallax. How do they do that?
issa 2 days ago 1 reply      
I want to put something more meaningful into this comment, but all I can think to say is that this is really amazing. Well done!
tumes 1 day ago 0 replies      
This looks like something Michel Gondry would've figured out manually 20 years ago with an 8mm camera and a paper cup or something.

That being said, it really does look amazing!

hrjet 1 day ago 0 replies      
I downloaded the .mp4 file and watched at half-speed. It looks great at half-speed too, and much more realistic. I wonder why they couldn't have slowed it down a notch. Perhaps, as a research result, they are just staying true to their algorithm's output frame rate.
crahrah 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm thinking of trying to recreate this - does anyone know if this is covered by a patent?
rbanffy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Couldn't it be done with a wider angle lens, a better imaging sensor and conventional image stabilization techniques? If such captures become commonplace, it's easy to imagine capturing with a wider field of view so that the stabilizer would not be so overtaxed.
sjtrny 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know how the match graph is created? (The part that is used to identify redundant frames). The paper barely mentions it.
joseman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very excited about this being released as a product. HURRY UP!
michaelmachine 1 day ago 0 replies      
Woah, very cool. I would love to see this applied to a SCUBA diving video.
zobzu 1 day ago 0 replies      
wow i wanted this for a while

now to implement it open source ;)

Netcob 1 day ago 2 replies      
A GoPro timelapse is also called a prolapse.
lukasm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is this Hamburg? "getrankemarkt" :
unphasable 1 day ago 0 replies      
wow this is incredible!
suchetchachra 1 day ago 0 replies      
Excellent work!
gcb0 1 day ago 0 replies      
i would pay to have that on a video player fast forward feature.
bobwaycott 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of the most impressive things I can recall seeing from Microsoft in years. Would absolutely love to have this as a cloud service or desktop app.
GhotiFish 2 days ago 0 replies      
awww. I always have mixed feeling about a new microsoft funded tech. Something really really cool that I will never get to use/exploit/play with/anything.

The technical video breaks down some of the techniques they used. Global match graph is particularly interesting. This technique alone could lead to a big improvement in timelapses, by trying to select consistent changes between frames.

http://cg.cs.uni-bonn.de/aigaion2root/attachments/FastSimila... <- maybe this?

jaequery 1 day ago 0 replies      
anvarik 1 day ago 0 replies      
why paper is 35MB?
manos_p 2 days ago 0 replies      
still sucks
EvanL 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cool technology, applications?
tibbon 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'll be the immature one and say I'm curious how funny porn would turn out with this speeding it up by 10x. They don't show much of how it deals with people and I imagine the results would be terribly funny looking- but perhaps awesome.

Also, I will pay $$$ for this to use with my motorcycle footage from GoPros.

tannerc 2 days ago 1 reply      
Stunning effect, can anyone help me see the practical or entertainment-value use?

I'm also curious if anyone else got motion sickness while watching the video.

l33tbro 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great tech. But it really just looks like a steady-cam sped up x10. I get the technical brilliance, but visually it's not terribly innovative.
melling 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now we need a little facial recognition so you can scan to where you meet your tagged friends... of course, there are other surveillance opportunities too.
philip1209 2 days ago 1 reply      
The server supports HTTPS, but the videos are improperly embedded resulting in mixed-content errors. This is disappointing.
rasz_pl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nice results, but missing forest for the trees.

One of the by-products of this algorithm is fully textured 3d model representing filmed environment. Offering that as pure data dump, or even a manual process allowing user to control camera would be as valuable as fully automatic one-off timelapse no one ever watches (except maybe your granny).

What sounds better - a video tour of a house, or a 3D model of a house you can traverse however you like?

I wonder if 3 letter agencies have better structure from motion implementations a la "Enemy of the State" (Isnt it sad that this film turned out to be a documentary?). I suspect something like a 3d reconstruction of Boston Marathon (FBI did collect all video footage of the event) would be very helpful to the investigation.

boyaka 2 days ago 2 replies      
Video stabilization + more FPS / slower rate than the "every 10 frames timelapse" + feel good inspirational music = this

I would guess that I could upload a shaky video to youtube to get it smoothed out, download it, and speed it up with similar to their rate and get similar results. The timelapse that they show that is so much worse uses way less frames of the raw footage (every 10th frame?) and goes way faster than their "hyperlapse". It isn't a fair comparison.

Polaroid Cube
550 points by dskhatri  1 day ago   175 comments top 30
msandford 1 day ago 9 replies      
Finally someone else is stepping into the GoPro market. Good to see competition here. I know the feature sets aren't identical but sometimes worse is better.
aeturnum 1 day ago 4 replies      
Polaroid is pretty much a hollow shell used to market white label products these days. Anyone know if they actually developed this camera, of if they're just the front for another company?
Gracana 1 day ago 2 replies      
I remember when polaroid cubes were indexable disposable flash bulbs.
tlrobinson 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many young people will think "Polaroid ripped off Instagram's logo!"?
gk1 1 day ago 2 replies      
> Its wide angle lens...

You'd think they'd have someone proofread a product announcement.

_s 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just a side note for those comparing these to GoPros's - this isn't a direct competitor to the GoPro; Polaroid already sell the XS100 which is actually a pretty decent action camera - probably best bang for your buck currently (I have one and use it regularly; it's still very much first gen, rough around the edges but excellent where it counts).

I think the cube is awesome for a fun, inexpensive little camera to stick in places quickly and just start filming without worrying too much - and at that price point you can buy a few and stick them in your car for a road trip, or hand a few out to friends when going down a slope; it's size, shape, colours and accessibility would be targeting even the non-action-sports crowd and there's a huge market of young skate boarders, soccer players etc etc.

I only wish they would market themselves a little better, and also fix up the poor software that tends to be on / accompanies their products.

damian2000 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Could it be stuck on top of a car roof (via magnet) and become a dashcam equivalent, with the advantage of a wider angle?
reustle 1 day ago 1 reply      
Based on the video at the bottom of the page, I'm not really impressed with the video quality. Sure, it might be "1080p" but it still looks pretty fuzzy
mkoryak 1 day ago 1 reply      
I might as well drop this link here: http://www.chucklohr.com/808/index.shtml

I have the #16 and its a neat little toy for my cheap syma quad copter.

chrissnell 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I want to see a utility camera manufacturer produce a product that is more readily integrated into DIY hardware/Internet of Things projects. These rugged little cameras are awesome but I've yet to see one that provides an open interface for enthusiasts to manipulate the bulb/mode/settings externally to the camera. I'd like to see a Bluetooth (perhaps BLE) -enabled camera that can be triggered from an Arduino, watch, smartphone, or whatever the user can dream up.
oliyoung 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Somewhere in Eastman a Kodak executive is weeping.

Polaroid may not be the same company they used to be, but at least they're attempting to stay relevant.

adambware 1 day ago 3 replies      
No WiFi. No remote control. Not bad for $99 though!
t0mislav 1 day ago 0 replies      
Shots from Cube from Youtube clip looks awful. :/ Check clip starting from 21st second.
downandout 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think it's going to be amazingly difficult for Polaroid, or anyone for that matter, to take on GoPro. For whatever reason, GoPro has captured the imagination of the video/photo creating public in a way that few brands have. For several years after the iPhone came out, competing phones could match or exceed its specs, but were largely viewed as toys by comparison. In the same way, GoPro will enjoy a near monopoly on this market segment until their competitors have outmatched them technologically for enough years that the media catches up and makes it socially acceptable to buy an alternative to GoPro.
heynk 1 day ago 1 reply      
I didn't see it mentioned, so I have to bring up that a magnet mount will not cut it for action sports where you might 'crash'. I know multiple skiers who have lost their GoPro in the snow because mount plastic snapped on a decent fall. I can't imagine a magnet will do better.
atmosx 1 day ago 0 replies      
This seems exactly what I need. I wanted to buy a camera for my snowboarding ventures as long as my track days. The GoPro was kinda expensive, so much that I came close to buy the cheap model three times but never did. But 100 is a price that I can accept without thinking twice. :-)
cbovis 1 day ago 1 reply      
I can't work out if this is waterproof as standard or with the waterproof casing accessory. Any ideas? Is it perhaps just splash proof without the casing?

Also I wonder if it floats in water... would be great for chucking around the pool.

mkoryak 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is cool. Ive been using my v1 contour roam every day for about a year and the battery life is starting to suck.

I went on amazon to buy a new contour roam but it has actually gone UP in price from $120 to 200+ :P

hoopism 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not a bad offering from an undead company. The lack of remote shutter and connectivity severely limit the applications.

With a remote shutter I'd be in for one just for retro-ness of using a Polaroid.

jerhinesmith 1 day ago 2 replies      
Are there technical/practical limitations that prevent it from reading microSD cards above 32 GB?

I'm mostly asking out of curiosity, as 64 GB seems fairly inexpensive on Amazon...

alphakappa 1 day ago 1 reply      
Would be very cool if it could be programmed to do timelapses with a specified interval. Also, if the recording time was like a ring buffer, it would make for a great security/dashcam.
jisaacks 1 day ago 2 replies      
Wonder how strong the magnet is. For example, would it fling off if you swung a driver it was connected to? Wondering since they show it on a putter.
programminggeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
It doesn't print cute little pictures. That seems like a missed opportunity.
lbotos 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'd love to use a bunch of these to build a "bullet time" camera array. Can anybody think of a cheaper/easier method?
rnernento 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The circle is almost complete...
mentos 1 day ago 0 replies      
GoPro is pretty small but I wonder what new opportunities this may open up being even smaller
bellerocky 1 day ago 0 replies      
I want to put a bunch on a weather balloon and send it to space.
newman8r 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't see anything special here, pure marketing play
collyw 1 day ago 4 replies      
What's different / better about this than a GoPro?
kris_zhang 22 hours ago 0 replies      
awesome I like it.
They're Made out of Meat
549 points by ColinWright  4 days ago   169 comments top 33
Zikes 4 days ago 12 replies      
This reminds me of a proposition put forth once (I think on tumblr of all places) that while humans are normally considered a "baseline" species in sci-fi, what would a sci-fi universe look like where humans were the superbeings?

There were dozens of replies along the lines of:

"I heard humans can survive losing a limb! Or even multiple limbs!"

"Their strength and tolerance for gravity far exceeds our own!"

"When one of their organs fails they can just swap it out with another compatible human that's died recently!"

It's pretty funny to imagine, and it's a perspective not often seen.

praptak 4 days ago 1 reply      
It might look like they're conscious but in fact it's only their actions that closely resemble those of conscious beings. The actions are obviously fully automatic because how could meat be conscious?
evo_9 4 days ago 1 reply      
It would be cool if HN had a 'Classics' section or something like it where stuff like this could be permanently placed because this and a handful of other stories get reposted every 1.5 years or so.

Fun read for sure and a good example of how a scifi story can be so simple but still have a lot to it.

pdkl95 4 days ago 1 reply      

The short-film adaptation of this was very well done. The David Lynch-influenced directing style worked well.

smcl 4 days ago 3 replies      
Not sure how appropriate or relevant this is, but both me and a friend read this and were reminded slightly of the stuff "written" by Matthew Holness' "Garth Marenghi" character. Sharing a couple of choice excerpts in case anyone is curious, but the real gold is in "Garth Marenghi's Darkplace" - a series set in 1980s hospital in Romford.

Dead Centre - http://www.garthmarenghi.com/books/deadcentre.htm - "This near-legendary collection of short stories includes 'The Streaming Face' (about a boy whose face is turned into a river by a magical elk because he spat on a gnome)"

Juggers - http://www.garthmarenghi.com/books/juggers.htm -"I wanted to write a book about the triumph of the female spirit over a gigantic lorry. Of course, looking back, I realise the truck actually represents AIDS.'"

simias 4 days ago 5 replies      
It's quite a fun read but I don't understand why the author chose the word "meat". I mean, if for those aliens human biology is so weird and foreign, how could they have a concept of meat? Or meat flaps?

That seems to imply that they're familiar with non-sentient meat, but what would that be? And if those aliens are so different from us they probably don't have the same concept of food as we have, so it wouldn't make a lot of sense to single out "meat" at all. The story works better for me if I replace "meat" with, say, "carbon blob" or something like that. I still the humour still works out and it's a less culturally-loaded phrase.

bjliu 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin and Hobbes


arethuza 4 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe they should talk to the "psychopathically righteous" GCU Grey Area - which apparently takes quite an interest in meat beings.
lobo_tuerto 4 days ago 3 replies      
If you like these kind of short stories, then you'd probably like this:


eterpstra 4 days ago 1 reply      

An excellent podcast/radio adaptation, along with an interview with Terry Bisson

markyc 4 days ago 6 replies      
It's a nice story, but not very logical

If meat thinking beings were so unheard of, you'd think they'd be all over us, trying to get to know what makes us tick, and why not, talking to us.

Like if we'd find a talking dog.

Maybe a more logical conclusion would be if they'd go: "Oh, it's just another meat civilisation. Just let them wander around in the dark like all the others, there's no chance they'll ever find anyone". Not as funny, but more logical :D

cratermoon 4 days ago 0 replies      
I read this story decades ago. I challenge anyone who thinks of aliens in even vaguely anthropomorphic terms to read books like The Black Cloud (https://cmdev.com/isbn/0141196408) or Stanislaw Lem's Solaris (https://cmdev.com/isbn/0156027607).
DiabloD3 4 days ago 4 replies      
One of my favorite stories ever. That, and The Last Question.
midhir 4 days ago 0 replies      
I can't help but make the assumption that the protagonists are machines and then wonder that they weren't 'invented' by a meat species at some stage in their history.

The arrogance of the meat-species, eh! They could be cells of phosphorescent algae, communicating by radioactive emission, or collections of electrical charge in balls of substrate. Who the Hell knows.

Great story!

lucozade 4 days ago 3 replies      
I don't know what all the fuss is about. I'm a Turing test.
deanjones 4 days ago 1 reply      
This story was used by Stephen Pinker in "How the Mind Works" as part of an attempt to reject the validity of Searle's Chinese Room argument against Strong AI. IIRC Pinker's point was that Searle's argument rests on a narrow definition of what it means to "understand", and he used this story to illustrate his argument that a broader view of concepts like "understanding" is required.

Personally, I wasn't convinced but I liked the approach.

adorton 4 days ago 0 replies      
These aliens obviously haven't visited the Meat Planet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZP7K9SycELA
Gravityloss 4 days ago 1 reply      
Stanislaw Lem has written a lot of stories, long and short, in a bit similar vein. About fifty years ago. The wittiest and most hilarious stuff I've ever read.
adventureloop 4 days ago 0 replies      
There is an opera of this poem by Fredosphere. I think it comes out really well, but I always get strange looks when it comes out of iTunes.


romaniv 4 days ago 2 replies      
Is there any point toposting this aside from smug reassertion of the local hivemind's belief in equality of humans an hypothetical thinking machines? Because I don't see any insightful reasoning in this piece aside from simple reversal, which is only convincing if you already a believer.

The reality is that we don't know how minds really work and we don't have thinking machines. The belief that the limited knowledge about brain chemistry "explains" consciousness is similar to the belief that knowing how semiconductors work "explains" hardware and software engineering.

Edit:Down-votes on an opinion without any explanation in reply simply prove my point. This is a hive-mind belief and opposing world views are not tolerated.

sillysaurus3 4 days ago 5 replies      
Could any life travel faster than the speed of light? (Including digital life.)

Do we know much about dark matter yet? Could it travel faster than light, or is it bound by the same rules as normal matter?

solomania9 4 days ago 0 replies      
Surprised nobody's linked to this video yet:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tScAyNaRdQ
tim333 4 days ago 1 reply      
>We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take long. Do you have any idea what's the life span of meat?

I'm wondering if we can fix that one.

celerity 4 days ago 1 reply      
I first heard this performed on a podcast called, "The Truth: Movies for Your Ears." Very good podcast for dramatic stories, sometimes artsy like this one.
antirez 4 days ago 1 reply      
At this level of evolution for the aliens it would be obivous that intelligence can come in different forms but the basic process is the same and mostly irrelevant.
ck2 4 days ago 0 replies      
Versus what - molecules of minerals that randomly fuse together in a way that just happens to form an integrated circuit, memory and OS ?

The thing about organic life is that it goes though millions of trials and errors before something survives long enough to have memory and inheritance.

dmitri1981 4 days ago 0 replies      
BTW, the movie of this, featuring the brilliant Tom Noonan and Ben Bailey is online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tScAyNaRdQ .
netcan 4 days ago 4 replies      

I wish there was a HN for short stories.

angersock 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is basically the same response native coders have when encountering Javascript for the first time.
squozzer 4 days ago 0 replies      
"For superior beings they sure like to rub it in."- Marge Simpson

"Obviously, I. Asimov was a robot."- I. Doo Notremember

kamaal 4 days ago 0 replies      
Also see, The Black Cloud - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Cloud

One of themes explored in science fiction often is the possibility of we coming in contact with life forms so different we wouldn't comprehend the very nature of it.

If all the singularity, AI stuff ever comes true. Some day it will hardly make sense for any of us to even live inside a biological body.

fasteo 4 days ago 0 replies      
LordHumungous 4 days ago 0 replies      
That was Snowden's secret.
How we turn $199 Chromebooks into Ubuntu-based code learning machines for kids
491 points by mojombo  6 days ago   214 comments top 31
rglover 6 days ago 2 replies      
Hell yeah! This is a great initiative.

By university, many students have already set their minds against a career in tech. We need to reach kids earlier, when they are motivated by curiosity instead of social pressures.

This came up the other day. A 19 year old kid came to my door working for the electric company. We ended up talking a bit and he asked what I did. I explained I'm a designer/developer and I work from home. For him, that was a total mind blow and he explained how he always wanted to be a game developer. I suggested that he should try and that his current job was just a temporary thing he could use to invest in getting better.

The thing that bothered me, though, was that he didn't even think that he could do that, purely based on where he was from and what he saw around him (he alluded to being from the south side of Chicago). Stuff like Codestarter is a great step in the direction toward teaching kids of any background that they can do this stuff, just like everyone else.

Personally, I'd like to see something like this but with a more down-to-earth "here's what they told you and here's why it's wrong" lesson up front.

Aissen 5 days ago 1 reply      
The problems exposed show that being a distributor is harder than it seems;

> The developer mode boot screen is scary and unhelpful.

Then put your own bootloader ? You can do this by accessing the hardware: http://www.chromium.org/_/rsrc/1381990807648/chromium-os/dev... and removing the write-protect screw.Of course the chromeOS team is making sure it's not easy to bypass their security features, and it has the (desired?) side effect of preventing this kind of mass-scale re-purposing.

> Kernel updates wipe out the custom kernel modules.

Then put your own kernel. Being a distributor means taking responsibility about what's running on your hardware. Make your own repositories, recompile the kernel(you can even automate it), and while you're at it, add all those packages you're installing in the script(hello .deb package downloaded over http), and VERIFY THEIRSIGNATURES with apt.

About the kernel, you could also make sure the upstream kernel supports the trackpad, and then make sure the (intermediary) distributors pick up the associated patches, so it's a burden off your plate in the mid/long term. You could also probably pay Canonical (or anyone else) to do this job.

imaffett 6 days ago 4 replies      
(disclosure: I'm an Intel employee)

I love the C720. My dad got me one for xmas, and himself. I used crouton to install Ubuntu, but like your approach better. I work on the Intel XDK team and am pushing the C720 as a great development machine since we provide cloud based builds for hybrid apps. You should look into the XDK for Code Starter https://software.intel.com/en-us/html5/tools

pgeorgi 6 days ago 1 reply      
Getting rid of the nag screen is explained here: https://johnlewis.ie/how-to-make-seabios-the-default-on-your...

Since this _totally_ undermines the security concept, some dis-assembly is required (open the case, turn a screw, close the case), which is described in the chromeos developer documentation

lukebennett 6 days ago 2 replies      
I have an Acer C720 myself but put ElementaryOS on instead of Ubuntu - runs like a dream and looks great to boot.

A good thing about the C720 is that the SSD is upgradeable fairly simply[0], though it's easy enough to stick an SD card in as a stopgap.

I picked up a refurb (not that you'd know to look at it, feels brand new) for 130. Wouldn't get an 8.5hr lightweight laptop for anything close to that elsewhere.

[0] http://www.thessdreview.com/daily-news/latest-buzz/acer-chro...

dshankar 6 days ago 7 replies      
I quite like the work you've done here! Most computers in a school are ill-equipped for programming needs.

I'm a bit concerned that this laptop is designed with an experienced programmer in mind. I don't think the *nix Terminal is friendly to noobs, considering it comes with no safety nets. Additionally, a teacher who is unfamiliar with Ubuntu is likely to have a hard time helping students. I tweeted a few more thoughts here: https://twitter.com/dshankar/timelines/497091774792228864

In it's current state, perhaps this laptop would be better suited at college students who are already familiar with the basics? At middle school/high school, students & teachers need a more friendly introduction into the programming world, not the real & scary one that is modern day Linux. However at the college level, students need tools that will prepare them for the industry and Codestarter packages all the tools one will likely use.

drewg123 6 days ago 1 reply      
For the driver problem: You should look into DKMS. That's a better stop-gap than holding back the kernel modules. What DKMS does is to re-compile your kernel module each time the kernel is updated. It can also move aside kernel modules with the same name in the base kernel. See http://linux.dell.com/dkms/manpage.html
bnejad 6 days ago 3 replies      
Cool project but sublime text is not free software and a nag screen isn't exactly fun to see quite often especially for kids.
html5web 6 days ago 5 replies      
You can buy Toshiba Satellite 15.6" with 4GB Memory and 500 GB hard drive for $229 http://www.bestbuy.com/site/toshiba-satellite-15-6-laptop-in...
keithpeter 6 days ago 0 replies      
OA says Java is being included.

Would processing (processing.org) make a good added extra? Has a lot of example 'sketches'. Has audio as well as graphical code examples. Lots of example projects around, some ambitious[1], exhibit Web sites, plenty teaching material available, peer reviewed/published stuff (might help with school committees). Comes with an integrated IDE and docs.

Might act as a bridge between the simplified graphical environments and Java/Eclipse while developing code concepts further.

[1] https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/opensource/library/os-dat...

afarrell 6 days ago 2 replies      
I know I can donate, but why can't I buy one through you? If you've already done the effort to develop the product, why not sell it to the "savvy developer looking for an inexpensive laptop to travel with", reduce your per-unit costs, and make some profit you can pour back into the project?
owenversteeg 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a mentor for a Lego robotics team and have been for years - this year's season will mark my eighth year of Lego Robotics. I love to help the kids learn and I even try to teach them (to some extent) how to code.

This looks great, and I'd much rather get four of these for my team than a new laptop for myself. However, it's crucial to have Mindstorms software, which only runs in a VM [0]. Can you test if it's at all possible (speed-wise) to run the NXT-G software in a VM? I don't care if it's a bit sluggish or if it takes five minutes to start as long as it's usable.

If so, this would be absolutely revolutionary. So many teams don't have enough computers or have to share one computer.

If you don't have the software or an NXT, I'd love to buy one from you guys, test it out, and evangelize it to everyone I meet. My kids would go crazy for another computer.

[0] http://superuser.com/questions/364864/is-it-possible-to-run-...

ff_ 5 days ago 2 replies      
When I bought it this Acer C720 was like an experiment, at first I was skeptical.

Now it's my main dev machine: its very little weight enables me to carry it wherever I go, the battery lasts 18h (18 HOURS, CRAZY!) if I read only PDFs, the 2gb of ram and the dual core are just perfect (but not tempting about running virtual machines on it), and with the SSD it performs better than more powerful machines with HDs. Oh, and I just love the 12" format.

(Of course I have thrown away ChromeOS, now I run elementary OS)

tokenizerrr 6 days ago 2 replies      
I got an ARM chromebook, and one of the biggest downsides is that I cannot run Sublime Text. Very disappointing there is no ARM build.
Sephr 6 days ago 1 reply      
I think crouton is a much better-integrated experience than dual booting. You can set up the Ubuntu chroot exactly the same way you have in this, but you don't have to reboot if you want to watch Netflix or use Chrome OS. With the crouton integration extension (synchronized clipboard, open links from Ubuntu in Chrome OS), Chrome OS will feel like "just another app" (even though Ubuntu is the "app"/chroot).

Another benefit of using crouton (with an SD card) is that if the user accidentally hits space during the boot warning and developer mode is disabled, they can simply re-enable developer mode and nothing is lost in the Ubuntu chroot. Unfortunately, the C720 has an extremely slow SD reader, so you'd probably want to go with the Dell Chromebook 11 (same processor, ~90MB/s SD reader, better battery and build quality, $70 more) if you wanted to go this route.

aceperry 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have the Acer C720 and installed Linux on it. It is an excellent development machine for what it is. Cheap but sturdy, light enough to carry places that I'm afraid to bring my Chromebook Pixel, cheap enough that I wouldn't be too bothered if I were to lose it instead of the Pixel, and fast enough to do most of what I want.
listic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Are you sure you won't run into limitations of 2GB RAM? That's the thing that worries me most about these Chromebooks, if the SSD is indeed expandable. I routinely run over 2GB on 32-bit Ubuntu with regular office and internet browsing tasks; sometimes over 4GB.
ck2 6 days ago 0 replies      
Here is a refurbished C720 for $130 if that helps


thebiglebrewski 6 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome! Reminds me of this article on my blog


hardmath123 6 days ago 0 replies      
I wanted to mention that you can install Scratch 2.0 offlineit runs as an Adobe Air app. See http://scratch.mit.edu/scratch2download/

The offline editor also lets you import extensions, which means that if you're adventurous, you can hook up Scratch to your NXT, your Arduino, your LEAP Motion, your Sphero, your Kinect, anything. That should be pretty exciting for new coders. A friend of mine's speaking about this at the Scratch conference now-ish.

dharma1 6 days ago 1 reply      
One of our sdk devs broke his mb air and got one of these as a temporary replacement. Seemed to work really well, used it over a week long sprint. Wish they came with more RAM though
angersock 6 days ago 1 reply      
It's good to see Minecraft mentioned--a friend of mine recently ran a two-day Saturday class on beginning programming in Python, using Minecraft on Raspberry pis.

Kids had a lot of fun making functions to do cool things in Minecraft. Gamedev is probably the most rewarding way to learn programming.

sspiff 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'm wondering, technically you're supposed to buy Sublime Text. Are you just running the (infinite) trial version of Sublime, are you purchasing a license for every laptop, or do you have some kind of sponsoring by the guy behind Sublime?

Same question goes for Minecraft.

dpcan 6 days ago 2 replies      
Everything was going fine UNTIL.... one accidental press of the space bar and you wipe everything out! Yikes. :) Still looks great, but something tells me this would be in my kids' hands for about 3 days until everything accidentally got wiped out.
kleiba 6 days ago 2 replies      
Sorry for my lack of knowledge, but will this leave ChromeOS side-by-side with Ubuntu? If so, is this because it's technically not possible to only run Ubuntu, or because of other (legal, warranty, etc.) issues, or simply by choice?


rrss1122 5 days ago 0 replies      
Why must it run Ubuntu? Especially if you're gonna turn around and make Chrome (not Chromium) the default browser anyway?

Is it for the Minecraft (which, by the way, encourages a construction mindset, not an engineering mindset, since Minecraft takes numerous liberties with the laws of physics)?

That seems like the only good reason, because you can already learn to code just fine on Chrome/Chromium.

yeukhon 6 days ago 1 reply      
Do people remember Edubuntu? Maybe there should be a version called Codebuntu.
luckyno13 6 days ago 1 reply      
Im not a kid but I may look into this to learn a bit of code myself.
cashoil 2 days ago 0 replies      
In programming there are doers and thinkers.

Thinkers also write code, but they have a perfect understanding - breadth and depth - of the application, the environment, the tools they use, the purpose...

They have full autonomy and initiate things.

They have passion and basically do not need any formal education in CS.

Doers receive requirements and implement using the framework they have being told to use.

Most people who have been told to do CS because it is financially rewarding or a good job end up in this category. It is any-office-job for them.

cpursley 6 days ago 1 reply      
Or do it the easy way without messing up the bootloader and Os: Set them up with Nitrous.io and get right to coding.
tmathmeyer 6 days ago 7 replies      
I'll probably get a bunch of hate for this, but I honestly think this is a bad idea. My main concerns are the phrases "It must run Ubuntu", "It must have Google Chrome as the default browser", and "It must support Minecraft", and I have minor concerns with the solutions to the other statements.

* Ubuntu: why ubuntu? because it is _popular_? that's a bad reason, and it's magnified that this is supposed to be a teaching tool. How can you justify teaching kids to do something because it's popular?

* Must have Chrome: I read this and laughed. As a fairly large supporter of the free software foundation, I am frankly appalled that you want to use chrome when there are many better and more free alternatives. There is of course firefox, which is free, but if your real desire is the webkit rendering engine or v8, then there is always chromium or DWB.

* Minecraft: I play minecraft, and I think it's fun. I write mods, and I run servers. But to include video games on an educational computer is repulsive and you should be ashamed. So what if kids like it? Kids like refined sugar too, lets just give that to students as a way for them to enjoy food.

Some other points:The wide variety of programming languages is good, but the list you provided is noticeably lacking C (the most widely used language) or any systems language. Programming is about much more than stupid hello world programs and writing silly kiddie games, and should be treated as such. I also noticed a lack of purely functional languages, which bothers me more than I can effectively express in words.The lack of internet is good, but you completely missed the existence of man pages and virtually all compilers work offline as well.Having a great editor is fantastic, and I use sublime text (I even paid $70 for the license!), but as many people have said, you shouldn't. That $70 is much better spent on better hardware for the computer, and shipping with unlicensed software is wrong. Vim and Emacs are both more than capable of doing EVERYTHING sublime does and are much lighter weight, and free.Including the paragraph about the 'custom sidebar' is laughable. Aside from the fact that I dislike Unity and that the sidebar can be configured by students already, I don't think it's appropriate to coerce students into using the software YOU want them too. That flies so hard in the face of the unix philosophy.the function keys are easy to remap. I suggest looking into sxhkd as a replacement for the bloated tools you listed. It's free software and can be found on github. It is written by the same author as bspwm.developer mode screen: so reformat the laptop. I did it with arch and it works fine and has no 'scary screen' as you put it.*trackpad support is not the responsibility of the kernel, and a kernel update will not in fact remove support. This problem can easily be solved by distributing modified versions of the apt-get remote upstream lists.

My final remark is that every time I hear someone refer to themselves as a 'coder' rather than a programmer, I die a bit inside. Please take this profession seriously and don't encourage what are commonly know as 'skript kiddies'.

US Sought Permission to Change Historical Record of a Public Court Proceeding
436 points by philfreo  7 days ago   71 comments top 12
revelation 7 days ago 4 replies      
The transcript is a good read, too. The EFF explains how the NSA grabs data wholesale from fiber optic cables (step 1) and then filters it according to selectors (step 2). This is the governments rebuke:





This person doesn't have an understanding of how selectors work. He doesn't realize that you can't decide if something is a phone number or an email account until you have already taken a look at it. This is the level on which they argue. They trick people into thinking that you can put a bunch of selectors in one bag and have only matching communications magically appear in a second one, circumventing the obvious constutional issue of collecting everything. But gravity is still in effect, so anyone with a basic understanding realizes that you can't get to (2) without having taken step (1).




You're not sure if he is just ignorant or feigning ignorance. And the problem is that it might just work. It brings back memories to the Java APIs case where the career lawyer argued a trivial three line Java code Google copied verbatim constituted copyright infringement. He didn't know, of course, what he was talking about. There was no mental framework for him to realize the sheer stupidity on display.

philfreo 7 days ago 2 replies      
> The transcript of a court proceeding is the historical record of that event, what will exist and inform the public long after the persons involved are gone. The government's attempt to change this history was unprecedented. We could find no example of where a court had granted such a remedy or even where such a request had been made. This was another example of the government's attempt to shroud in secrecy both its own actions, as well as the challenges to those actions.

Reminder to donate to the EFF: https://supporters.eff.org/donate

RexRollman 7 days ago 4 replies      
What kills me is that this is all happening under the leadership of a president who once taught constitutional law. If someone with his background won't stop this kind of thing from happening, who will?
mjn 7 days ago 1 reply      
Tangential question: reading the transcript, I'm surprised that two of the three parties' lawyers are attending the court session via speakerphone. Is that common?
natch 6 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks EFF for fighting this.

>The government's attempt to change this history was unprecedented.

How does the EFF know this was unprecedented? If there had been a precedent, wouldn't it be hidden?

I would expect the EFF to avoid statements that seem naive, even while I appreciate what they do.

javajosh 7 days ago 2 replies      
Awesome job, EFF. You are doing important work.

Curious: we have laws against "attempted murder", are there any laws against "attempted illegal redaction of court proceedings" that can be applied here? My concern is that there is no deterrent to this being attempted again, perhaps in a context that is less visible, and less ably defended, than in this case.

jonah 7 days ago 1 reply      
We need a service like this[1] to track the changes from all courts, not just the SCOTUS[2].

[1] http://www.dailydot.com/news/twitter-tracks-supreme-court-ch...

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/us/final-word-on-us-law-is...

esbranson 6 days ago 1 reply      
> We could find no example of where a court had

Given the exorbitant fees the PACER system charges, I doubt anyone, even the EFF, could afford to find such a case out of all the federal court cases.

factchecka 7 days ago 2 replies      
Loving the url for Shubert v. Obama:https://www.eff.org/cases/shubert-v-bush
shmerl 6 days ago 0 replies      
Police state mentality in action.
gohrt 7 days ago 2 replies      
"US Sought Permission" ? That's an odd phrasing. Who did the US ask?
dreamweapon 7 days ago 2 replies      
Everything faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth.

-- George Orwell, 1984, Part 1, Chapter 7

Announcing UberPool
430 points by jefftchan  7 days ago   155 comments top 42
minimaxir 7 days ago 8 replies      
I'm a little surprised at the choice of "Pool" instead of more conventional terms in the sharing economy such as "UberShare" or "UberContribute." I was very disappointed that UberPool isn't a swimming-pool-as-a-service.
necubi 7 days ago 8 replies      
Sounds very similar to Hitch[0] which launched a couple of months ago in SF. It sounds very useful for long, expensive trips (e.g., cross bay, down to south bay) where the fixed cost of picking up or dropping off another passenger is a smaller factor.

On an unrelated note, how is the form at the bottom supposed to update you when UberPool is in your area? Area codes are going to be inaccurate for anybody who's moved since they got their cell phone number.

[0] http://www.takehitch.com/

andrewmunsell 7 days ago 3 replies      
I'm a periodic Uber user and tend to use it later when public transit isn't running. This would be interesting, and if cheap enough, could be more convenient than waiting for a bus if you're in an area where they don't run frequently and it's storming, extremely hot, you don't want to wait around.

I also just tried out Car2Go which costed me ~$15. The same trip from Uber, albiet at a different time of day, costs $9-12, and I get a driver. If Uber's pricing is even lower due to car sharing, then services like ZipCar and Car2Go may be in a little trouble.

Of course, I realize if you're going to pick something up from a hardware store or whatever you may not want to use Uber, but for many types of trips using a service like Uber or Lyft is better and more convenient than driving yourself

AVTizzle 6 days ago 2 replies      
>>Even if we dont find an UberPool match for you, well give you a discount on your ride.

That's huge.

A huge problem Hitch faces is having enough demand-side riders on the market to make the marketplace viable [1]

Uber is going to be subsidizing the demand-side of the marketplace until the marketplace matures and demand fills in.

[1] http://www.crewlab.net/uberpool

msoad 6 days ago 2 replies      
There is a car sharing service in France called Blah Blah. Passengers have rated "Blah" so you don't have to share ride with people who speak less or more than you usually.


bluthru 7 days ago 1 reply      
It would be interesting if Uber quantified carbon requirements per passenger mile and used this rating to encourage users to share rides. Uber users could get benefits or discounts for being green.
acabrahams 6 days ago 2 replies      
I've been waiting for something like this to arrive for a while. In Israel and the West Bank, services called sheiruts act as mini-buses; they're taxis that pick up multiple passengers going in the same direction, usually for the same price as a public bus ticket. When buses are scarce, they are a really useful service. Could UberPool be like this?
dojomouse 7 days ago 0 replies      
We're building a similar service at Teleport, and recently ran a few numbers on the benefits of this sort of trip sharing assuming large scale and self driving EV's.Really can change the entire transport experience in cities - cleaner, faster, safer, cheaper.http://teleprt.com/50-cities/
untog 6 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of people have tried this idea before, but they've never had the infrastructure or users to pull it off. Uber definitely has the infrastructure, but I suppose time will tell whether enough users sign up for it.

Imagined future scenario, though: UberPool Buses. At the right peak times it could work, but I wouldn't like to use it in New York.

dk8996 6 days ago 4 replies      
Where can I bet that Google will buy Uber and make self-driving Uber cars? (I am not joking, do people know where I can place a bet on this?)
soheil 6 days ago 2 replies      
Almost in every single other country this has always been the way to ride a taxi.

"This is also a bold social experiment." come on!

They're making it sound like they discovered nuclear fusion.

malandrew 6 days ago 0 replies      
Based one what time you typically leave the house and where you go everyday, I'm certain there's also room to mature this market by suggesting carpooling groups to anyone who has tried to use the service at least once:

For all users who try UberPool at least once, find clusters where they all leave regularly at approximately the same time and head to the same destination.

Uber can even ask something like "Do you mind if we collect your commuting data for 1 week. If there is low variability, find clusters and suggest routes.

It think this could work bananas in places like SF-SouthBay, SouthBay-SF, and Washington DC where a sizeable chunk of people move back and forth in the same direction each day.

totalrobe 7 days ago 1 reply      
What happens if you are requesting a ride and have a friend or two with you? UI could get a little complicated. And will they charge extra now if there is more than one rider?
velocitypsycho 7 days ago 0 replies      
Now if this worked for my commute, that would be amazing. Would take it in an instant when the trains were far apart.
jfoster 6 days ago 2 replies      
"Our friends at Google will also be joining us in the beta. They share our vision of a more energy-efficient world with less traffic congestion and pollution in our cities and are excited to be early adopters of UberPool."

I don't quite understand what that means. Are they saying that all Google employees have access to the beta, or is Google involved in some other way?

rottyguy 6 days ago 2 replies      
Along the lines of reducing fossil fuel consumption and having just returned from a trip to Copenhagen and Amsterdam, I really wish the bicycling culture was better embraced in the States in the bigger cities. NYC has Citibike which I find fantastic! But DC doesn't have the density of bike stations to make it convenient. How are the other cities? Miami, Chicago, San Fran, etc?
gwintrob 6 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of Via[0]:

"Shared rides in a premium SUV or Mercedes van.As fast as a taxi at a fraction of the price."

All of the competition in ride sharing has been great in the Bay Area. UberX is sometimes in a price range closer to riding the bus or BART.

[0] http://www.ridewithvia.com/

jljljl 7 days ago 0 replies      
People have talked about Uber as a way to reduce pollution and wasteful driving, and the limits of Uber's ability to do so since it still needs to address peak usage.

If they make this work, the Uber could turn out to be a huge environmental boon, reducing both the number of cards manufactured as well as fuel and road usage.

Hope it works...

twelve40 6 days ago 1 reply      
I like the general idea but don't completely get it

> just happens to be requesting a ride along a similar route> Uber from the Castro to the Financial District

Isn't 90% of the time it's like, one person goes to the Financial District, and the other one will just drop off Mid-Market, or just a few blocks towards SOMA, thank you?

So do you get stuck waiting until there is a person with just the same exact route, or how is this partially-overlapping ride determined and split? You detour a few blocks to the right to accommodate the "nearby SOMA" person? But what if the original person says, screw SOMA, I'm not paying or waiting for any detours, I need to get to FD on a straight line asap.

Sounds pretty hard, matching millions of similar but different routes.

pastalex 5 days ago 0 replies      
In NYC, a startup called Bandwagon has been doing this--matching users going the same way--for awhile now, and is pioneering a system for shared rides at the taxi lines of airports and events.

This is what they did at CES: http://blog.bandwagon.io/post/92569728340/meet-the-hop-lane-...

netcan 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is interesting. It's potentially a bridge into "mass" transit.

Sam Altman's insight about his own (high end) car use and the potential cost of replacing it completely with Uber is one legitimate example of how they could expand beyond of the taxi market. I don't think it's impossible for uber to have a few hundred or thousand core users in major cities that spend $10,000 per year on Uber. That only really applies to a small group of wealthy individuals.

But, the real big markets are usually nearer the bottom of the pyramid.

Disruptive_Dave 6 days ago 1 reply      
Cab With Me[1] is doing this in NYC right now (head of biz dev here). MIT came out with a study[2] that showed ~80% of cab rides in 2011 could have been shared, if there was an easy facilitator.

[1] http://www.welcome.cabwith.me/[2] http://www.citylab.com/cityfixer/2014/03/how-system-shared-t...

mrsuprawsm 6 days ago 0 replies      
A buddy of mine already made and launched the exact same thing (without Uber branding, obviously): http://www.jumpinstudent.co.uk/

It was really successful; and he got bought out for a decent sum of money.

antaviana 6 days ago 0 replies      
How soon are we going to see demonstrations of Uber drivers complaining about Uberpoolers taking their business?
seliopou 6 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like Uber will eventually converge on a model of privately-owned publicly-accessible mass transportation.
prawn 6 days ago 0 replies      
This could easily be extended to larger vehicles (minibus) plying regular and popular routes at peak times. Do a pick up from a few square blocks and drop in a particular work district. Could be more convenient than a bus and eventually approach the same pricepoint.
coldcode 6 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how well this would work in a less concentrated city than SF. Uber doesn't even go to my house (S of an interstate in DFW area) though I don't know why; maybe it's a volume problem which would make pooling even less likely.
jlas 6 days ago 2 replies      
There's some weird styling going on in the "Mobile Number" input box: http://i.imgur.com/bSG9eKx.png
Grue3 6 days ago 0 replies      
For a service that entirely depends on network effect, they surely aren't making adoption easy. It's the same mistake Google made with Google+.
free2rhyme214 6 days ago 1 reply      
The most exciting thing about Uber and Lyft launching these sharing services is not owning a car in the future. What do you think?
philmcc 7 days ago 0 replies      
re: beta signup.

How will they know if I'm in their area? I wonder if they cross-referencing my phone # with my existing Uber account.

jbarham 6 days ago 5 replies      
Every time I read about Uber I wonder who the target market is. Then I remember that as a father of three young boys our car has three car-seats in the back row, a CD in the CD player and more in the glovebox to keep the boys quiet, snacks in the center console to placate them when they're hungry, and a stroller in the trunk. And then I realize that Uber is made by and for young, single, childless people with lots of money who live in SF and NY.
ricardobeat 6 days ago 1 reply      
In case any Uber employee is looking: scrolling on this page is almost non-functional on an iPhone.
dkarapetyan 6 days ago 0 replies      
Is uber trying to eat its own tail?
aluhut 6 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how this will influence the legal problems Uber has here in Germany.
vamega 6 days ago 0 replies      
The First Name and Last Name fields do not appear to work in Firefox. The input is correctly entered, but the text is not Visible.

Disabling the box-sizing: border-box shows the content. Anyone ever run into an issue like this before?

whoisthemachine 6 days ago 0 replies      
The signup form doesn't work in firefox nightly :/
up_and_up 6 days ago 0 replies      
Shared taxis have existed for long time. This is just optimized with the iPhone app. It's really time vs money. You are paying less but it will likely be longer trip since the other rider is not likely going to your exact location.
welder 7 days ago 0 replies      
Ride-sharing that can actually work!
free2rhyme214 6 days ago 0 replies      
I believe Uber will be successful with this idea and kill quite a few startups in the process.
johnvschmitt 6 days ago 0 replies      
With all the data, carpooling/sharing a ride is great.

But please, the phrase "game changer" is horribly overused today & diluted.

keeptrying 7 days ago 1 reply      
This is obviously a data grab.

Also has the potential to kill their own service. Very smart.

Storemapper: Bootstrapped to $50k/year in 2 years
421 points by TTringas  1 day ago   53 comments top 23
aaron987 1 day ago 4 replies      
This story has another lesson buried inside it, and it is one that I first learned not long ago in a video (unfortunately I can't find a link to it).

The lesson was: "The best way to get into business is to be in business". In other words, the best way to build a successful business is to get started. Do something, anything to get started. You have to do that to get into contact with people and start getting feedback to see what other problems they have.

I noticed the same lesson in this post. Initially, the author was making money from freelancing. But as clients began asking questions and providing feedback, a more profitable idea came to the surface.

Do something. Just get started.

Great post.

edpichler 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a good story. I'm facing the same experiences with a small web app I did (tool for travel agents). I currently have just Google ads but now it's at least paying the servers.

The interesting is that every business is different to growth. I really tried a lot of strategies and the only one that have really worked well was the cold email I sent for potential customers. This to me seems really annoying to do because it's almost like spam I think, but when you really knows your "personas" and you have a good product to them, they answer you with a big Thanks and you feels good, like doing a favor.

There is a very thin line that separates the spam and the mail marketing.

Another thing I learn is that users don't help you, very difficult to someone answer you when you ask feedbacks. They only answer you when they think they will gain something valuable in change. Same behavior in all countries I tested.

My biggest dream is my App give me enough profit to I get out of my regular job and work on this full time. Storemapper is really a inspirational and motivational case to me. Thanks for sharing.

lquist 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a fellow bootstrapper, congrats!

A few recommendations:

* I recommend A/B testing a pricing structure 3x what you currently charge. I'm guesstimating this to be the sweet spot, but I think you're underpricing significantly.

* Hire a professional designer to make the site look less amateurish.

* Advertise to web developers/consultancies. Again, I don't know too much about your customers, but I think marketing to web developers/consultancies will have a high ROI

maxbrown 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice job! Especially love the value you're creating in the analytics back-end... that a company can gather and analyze their users' location searches for planning and growth is great. I'm not sure I would have seen the possibility for that little gem.

One piece of feedback for you, in my opinion the sign-up form could really use some work. It has this "survey" sort of feel that does not excite me or give me confidence. I wonder how much this affects conversion - how many people follow a CTA from the homepage but fall off here. Some design & UX focus here could go a long way, happy to give more detailed ideas if you'd like.

frankdenbow 1 day ago 0 replies      
Salute to another solo dev boostrapper from Brooklyn!

Do you have any stats on how effective the "Powered By" link was in getting new conversions?

The oDesk lead generators plan is something I am trying now with finding leads for press for a Kickstarter campaign. It works well when you can very clearly define the steps for what you'd like (in my case supplying the list of Kickstarter pages to research). It has to be repeatable and less up for interpretation. I'm using eLance and have had luck with some admins.

I also had a side project that turned into a full time project. Clearing away distractions and focusing on one product made a world of difference for me (still learning to do this). When I kept things as side projects, I wasnt fully able to test if what I was working on had real potential and I wish I would have focused earlier.

Great post Tyler!

johnparkerg 21 hours ago 1 reply      
This is the kind of story that motivates me. I like being reminded that the internet hasn't become the place where initiatives (big or small) either become billion dollar companies or they fail completely, contrary to the picture the startup sphere tends to paint.

Truth is that having a backup like Storemapper can empower you to do something way bigger, in other words it can be the greatest investment you can make.

jxm262 1 day ago 9 replies      
Thanks for sharing.

For this line - "I know that starting from this position, with certainty that some customers will pay for the product is a fantastic starting point for a small business or passive income side project."

As someone who recently graduated college and wants to create some sort of startup/side-business some day; how does one go about finding what things someone would be interested in paying for?

Any tips on how to find that initial starting point?

pmorici 1 day ago 1 reply      
What is the over head of running a service like this is this 50k in profit or revenue?
palidanx 10 hours ago 1 reply      
For those who subscribed to the $99/year plan, I'm just curious, do you auto renew them for the second year? My current model is monthly, but I have been toying around with a yearly model.

And also, for those who subscribed to the $99/year plan, have you had anyone who wanted refunds?

ohfunkyeah 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great product but even better support. I integrated storemapper in a meteor.js based website for my brewery http://twbrewing.com/where_beers. The meteor framework gave me some grief as it tends to do with embeddable js widgets but Tyler got back to me within a day or sooner everytime I had a question.
skeoh 1 day ago 2 replies      
This was a fascinating read. I'm having trouble with the statement "switching customers to monthly billing is great for your cashflow and sanity", given that the previous paragraph details switching customers from monthly billing to annual billing. Am I missing something? Which is preferred in this case?
reillyse 1 day ago 0 replies      
"With an eight hour layover in the Flagship Lounge I was looking at nearly 36 hours of free wifi, unlimited champagne and coffee and very few distractions." and you decided to nerd out.... I'd do the same but what does that say about us :)
theworst 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm currently in the pre-preparation process for moving to another country, something you alluded to in your article.

Argentina is one of the places I've been considering. Can you point me to any resources you used to decide where to live, preparatory work, any gotchas, etc.?

minikomi 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey mate, good article. If you read this - the links to the examples on your front page are broken (they're missing http://)
BorisMelnik 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Very well done, its always reassuring seeing smaller companies with so much success. Your execution and focus was so spot on, so many companies try to tackle so many different problems.
lowellgoss 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great story! Congratulations. I love the time boxed goal of launching when you landed.
mkal_tsr 1 day ago 1 reply      
From one solo-bootstrapper to another, great read and well done!
jacquesm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Super work! Now you need to scale it, if you can't find any good reasons why you can't do $500K per year then that should be your next target.
reustle 1 day ago 2 replies      
Do you pay for a google maps commercial license of sorts?
kamilszybalski 1 day ago 0 replies      
Someone once said that a startup becomes a business as soon as it makes its first dollar.
at-fates-hands 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Lesson learned: always test higher prices. I didnt bother with the setup required to run simultaneous A/B tests. I just raised prices and watched what happened."

Not enough startups do this on a regular basis. They're too worried about losing clients. If you don't reinforce your value proposition on a regular basis by adding features, you will lose customer regardless.

With several of my side projects, I would add a new feature, then raise prices for new customers. At the same time, clients who renewed (I used a subscription based model) would get a discount. It was like magic. More people wanted in earlier, instead of waiting for a more mature, more expensive product. They gladly paid a lower monthly fee up front, in order to avoid the increase in price later on.

ericthegoodking 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing.
vuzum 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hey Tyler, I hate to do this to you (and to SnapWidget and others), but there's something cooking.

With the API and feature rich product updates that are coming up, I think we'll hit a cross road. I don't think I have to go into details, you'll figure it out with this sample widget + Editor:http://blogvio.com/widgets/util/map-with-google-maps/composi...

I just want to let you know that we appreciate you opened up and shared your story. I checked your product and it's cool. Keep up the good work! Don't hate the messenger. :-)

Chesscademy Learn How to Play Chess
435 points by lumens  4 days ago   116 comments top 38
Matetricks 3 days ago 6 replies      
Hello HN! I'm Andrew, a national chess master and one of the co-founders of Chesscademy. We're a part of this year's upcoming Imagine K12 cohort and it's great to hear all of your feedback so far. I'll try to answer any questions you guys have and respond to your comments.
palosanto 3 days ago 2 replies      
Great work, Andrew and team!

I played with the Tactics interface for a few minutes. I love the clean design; the interface is delightful; "well done, tactic solved in XX seconds" animation is fun and totally addicting.

One gripe I have is that the quality of the tactics seems to vary widely. I'm not talking about difficulty level; some of them just don't make sense to me.

I'm not sure how this one, for example, qualifies as a tactic: chscd.me/tactics/16685. It's just a pawn capture. The fact that I have "solved" it after recapturing my rook seems arbitrary.

Out of the half dozen tactics I played through in my first visit, I had a couple other questionable ones like this. It made the site lose credibility for me. (note: I am a chess master. But my problem isn't that the tactics are too easy, it's that they are kind of random)

I'm curious, are you generating these tactics by hand or with software?

I understand you probably have a massive database of these. But it might be a good idea to have Andrew or another strong player moderate the tactics to make sure they all meet a certain standard of quality.

Looking forward to following your progress!

icco 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm working through "Introduction to Tactics" and I enjoyed the video, but the lessons are frustrating. I'm doing a valid "fork" or "skewer", but the examples just slap my hand and say "no, try a fork or skewer". Explanations why moves are wrong would make the examples far more useful, so I understand why the very specific combo the tutorial is looking for is the right choice.
octatone2 2 days ago 4 replies      
Hi Andrew,

Thanks for the site. I find the lessons quite informative and easy to follow, but the exercises are often impossible to get right as they are expecting one series of moves vs. applying what is learned in the lesson to reach a specific goal with a specific style of play, tactic, etc.

As an example I am stuck on http://www.chesscademy.com/exercises/initiative-controlling-...

My current board now looks like this: http://i.imgur.com/DxjsAKx.png

But no matter what I do, a popup keeps telling me "that move does not uphold initiative". It doesn't tell me why it doesn't, and I assume it doesn't actually know, rather it is looking for me to make a preprogrammed move. It won't allow me to attack the queen with a defended bishop, it won't let me do a lot of things that to me would continue to force the opponents hand.

I am certain for you the most optimal next move is obvious, but as learner the inflexible format of the many move/exchanges exercises is really frustrating.

taejo 3 days ago 4 replies      
On exercises where one really struggles (yes, I'm super stupid when it comes to Chess -- I can play Go which is supposed to be harder but for some reason anything beyond the utter basics of Chess eludes me) it's very frustrating to be shown the same hint over and over again when it's irrelevant or unhelpful (e.g. "Think about the name of the tactic - the windmill... it goes around and around!" Yes, I'm thinking about it! Now give me a hint!)
hucker 3 days ago 1 reply      
This looks sweet! Exactly what I was looking for.

One tip though, the "Start course" button is so grey that I thought it was unclickable.


riffraff 3 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome idea and implementation!

But: it seems to pre-populate the username from fb login on signup, but forbid characters that allowed in it (i.e. "."), causing a messed up situation in which you are half signed up.

Siecje 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've been doing tactics and it is confusing that there is a 'arrow pointing right' and 'next tactic'.

After I fail it should automatically restart.

If I fail after one move, it should say "Get checkmate in one move", otherwise I don't understand why I failed.

It should be win the game from this point, not move into these specific places.

Unless you have already determined it is detrimental to progression to continue playing out the scenario.

maaaats 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm around 1000 on chess.com blitz (5min games), and found a lot of useful stuff here. Especially the positioning is what I feel like I'm losing on at the moment. I don't do big blunders anymore, but somehow I'm often in a worse position than my opponent.

I started a few months ago, and have progressed nicely. But lately I've been stuck. Looking up resources, they have often been too simple ("learn chess, this is how the pieces move") or too advanced ("5 variations of opening X" isn't very useful at my level of play).

Zakuzaa 3 days ago 1 reply      
The interface looks a lot like treehouse. Is there any connection OR just an inspired design? (or neither?)
GeneralMayhem 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've never studied chess formally or played in a tournament, but my parents taught me the rules when I was 3, so I've picked up some of the basics and recreated things that look like the openings in the "moving past the basics course" over time, even if I don't know the official names for them.

The videos here are great. I've tried to pick up chess books and sites before a couple times, but I always very quickly feel like I need to memorize a few hundred board positions before anything will make sense (or worse, the "lessons" consist of nothing but THESE 3000 THINGS ARE GOOD, DO THEM). Putting things in a logical order for learning is very helpful.

I have to say, though, the exercises really need a better gradient of feedback, especially when you get to the later lessons with some more ambiguous positions. I only "solved" the "make your pieces happy" test by trying moves at random - I had correctly identified f5 as the target square, but I'm still unclear as to why it needs to be the left-hand knight that works its way over there. I know it would be a lot of work, but an after-action walkthrough of the solution and a couple wrong answers would be extremely helpful.

Raphmedia 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is this yours? If it is, take a look at the buttons, they all look "deactivated". #DADFE1 is too unsaturated. Or at least, add an hover colour on it.
sireat 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like the nice clean look of the site! Quite pleasant to use.

As far as content I am not in the target demographic(FM), but the Dragon section gave a useful overview of the basic motifs for the opening. Really needs more content but I am sure that will come with time.

quotient 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great stuff. Beautiful feeling to the site, though the 'Train' section could do with an explanation as to what you're meant to do on the exercises ('tactics'). I'm tempted to suggest integrating this with en.lichess.org, a similarly awesome chess-resource.
gosukiwi 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow seems nice, the website is also very well designed. Good job! I play League of Legends in Diamond level for quite some time, and I know how hard is to get to high level in a game, Chess has always intimidated me because there's just so much to learn, and playing blindly is just a waste of time IMO, but with guidance you can advance way faster, maybe I'll give it a shot and beat some friends here and there hehe, good job and thanks for sharing.
chigley 3 days ago 1 reply      
I seem to be stuck on the first tactic (not in the chess sense). I complete it, hit the green "Next Tactic" button, and it just gives me the same one again! It's Tactic 20628, which is the first one I was given after telling the site I'm an intermediate player. Reloading the Train page puts me back on the same tactic too. Any ideas?

Loving the site so far apart from the above problem, though! Getting back into chess was one of the items on my to-do list for 2014. The Learn resources are looking like they'll be pretty useful. Great job!

izietto 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great site! My first chess learning resource at the moment is Mato [0], I suggest to take a look at how his videos are: nice and smart. Another good thing of Mato is that he has not a strong english accent, so for one who is not english motherlanguage like me is easier to understand what he says... by the way: what about adding subtitles?

[0] https://www.youtube.com/user/MatoJelic

cowpig 3 days ago 1 reply      
The rating system for problems seems like it needs to add in some kind of variance factor, or at least a provisional period. I'm altering problems' ratings by 20+ points with my default 1200 rating despite having less than 10 problems completed. My actual strength is hundreds of points above 1200, and so if I play on this site without making an account a bunch of times, I'm going to artificially lower every problem's rating...
grimmfang 3 days ago 0 replies      
I remember seeing this somewhere at Startup School NY. Very very impressive. I'm not a regular chess player myself but I have visited Chesscadamy a few times out of interest since then.
vdm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not lessons, but open source: http://lichess.org/
ivanhoe 3 days ago 1 reply      
The training section is great, I love it, and IMHO the problems presented are harder than the ones at chess.com (which I'm paying for). The only problem that I've noticed so far is that some of the training problems end in a very strange way (e.g. opponent gives away his queen or rook for no reason whatsoever). It's not a big issue, but you should try to make it a bit more realistic.
the4dpatrick 3 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats, its a very clean app.

I was watching the intro to tactics video and I wished there were more visual queues signaling the transition between topics. ie skewer, fork, etc. Maybe its cause I had to think a little longer about the previous topic and couldn't easily stop that train of thought.

antoinec 3 days ago 1 reply      
The site looks great!What's the goal of the tactics? I've passed one but couldn't figure out why I "won". Is it just supposed to make me learn what a good move would be in a random situation?If it's the case it's fine, but I think it should be better explained.
j2kun 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm working on the lessons right now. I would like some further explanations. For example, in playing the first few moves of the "Ruy Lopez," I am very curious why protecting the hanging pawn is not the correct move (whereas castling is).
manish_gill 3 days ago 0 replies      
This seems really nice. I've played chess on and off since I was a kid, but never really studied it. Lots of the basic tactics I saw in this course I remember using intuitively. It's nice to have a formalised notion of all those things, so you can consequently move forward to the more advanced stuff! :)
serf 3 days ago 2 replies      
that's really cool, but the font contrast is killer (bad) on certain parts in firefox nightly. I signed up; I can never seem to get as consistent with chess play as I'd like. I'd be thrilled if this helped me achieve those goals.

example : http://i.imgur.com/cqNPcgf.png . The light blue is really difficult to focus on using a laptop panel. I found myself cocking my head to see it more clearly. It may be more the font than the color. I don't know. The more I look at it the more it's the grey that bothers me rather than the blue. I can't put my finger on it, but something hurts readability for me.

shire 3 days ago 3 replies      
I think I'm a pretty good chess player but a lot of the times I'm just playing the game without tactics or strategy but I win most of the time. Do tactics actually help against a great player
rak 3 days ago 0 replies      
This kind of has a nice Team Treehouse look to it too.
Ologn 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I consulted on Wall Street I felt my mind turning to mush. Some of my co-workers would kibitz or play chess in the park, and I began playing as well. I became very focused on improving as I felt it was keeping my mind sharp, as my day job was not doing that.

One way to improve your chess skills is to play tournament length games against opponents at or slightly above your skill level. Then you go over the game with a better player (or a chess engine) and see where you made your worst mistakes. Then you look at those positions and remember what the proper move to do is.

So that's what I did. I ran crafty against my online tournament games and had it find what my worst moves were (missed opportunities and blunders). Then I ordered the moves in terms of how bad the mistake was. Then I kept looking at the boards over and over to train myself in what the right move was. If I did it long enough, I'd memorize the boards and instantly know what the right move was. Doing this improves your game.

I put the results here - http://blunderchess.sf.net . It requires a LAMP setup. It also has components which are useful in and of themselves - a program that converts PGN format to FEN format, a PHP function which converts a FEN line into a graphic chessboard and so forth. I put development of the suite of tools aside as I got busy and stopped playing chess and stopped working on the tools.

j2kun 3 days ago 1 reply      
Using a touchpad; I would appreciate a two-click option to move the pieces instead of forcing you to click-drag.
ekm2 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wish there was a similar site for Go(weiqi)
ausjke 3 days ago 1 reply      
how does this compare to chess.com, which is probably the most popular site for chess players these days? I paid two memberships at chess.com for others, but wondering what will be the 'selling' point for chesscademy to make it unique or stand out?
jeffreyrogers 3 days ago 1 reply      
This looks awesome.

I also have a question for HN. I'm sure some of you are pretty good chess players. I thought it would be interesting to learn and started looking into where to start a few days ago, but was overwhelmed by the options. Does anyone have some recommendations (in addition to Chesscademy)?

tonyoconnell 3 days ago 1 reply      
Lovely website and great resource. Can I ask what you built your website with?
colmvp 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic and a resource I wish I had growing up. Very beautiful design too.
Zakuzaa 3 days ago 1 reply      
What would the potential business model be?
verroq 3 days ago 0 replies      
Saw Andrew Ng and thought it was for machine learning.
iamshs 3 days ago 2 replies      
The site is not helpful, and gets in the way of teaching. I am the target demographic, and went straight to the exercises. So much clicks on every step, the buttons to click on are grey and mouse focus turns them even more dull. Provide some visual clues on what buttons to click next, going forward and going backwards button both are the same color. Exercises themselves are more trivia then help in teaching what the piece does or where you went wrong. And "moving past the basics" exercises are http://i.imgur.com/c54R08y.png I just left on the first exercise itself. One of the hints: Attack two pieces at once. Yeah, right. Nothing like codeacademy at all.
OpenStreetMap Then and Now
401 points by sashazykov  1 day ago   105 comments top 23
pilif 1 day ago 6 replies      
The one enlightening experience I had in the 2009ish timeframe is how incredibly easy it is to contribute valuable information to OSM.

Intuitively I would have assumed that this would be really difficult to do, but the tools OSM provides for editing are actually quite easy to use even for people with no clue like myself.

You don't even require accurate GPS hardware or anything. Knowledge of your surroundings combined with the (blurry, but available none the less) satellite imagery might already be enough for you to really do good.

In my case, I've added building numbers of my neighborhood, marked one-way roads, added a few gravel foot paths where they were missing and I knew where there because I walk on them on my commute and so on. All this required zero hardware nor actual knowledge in map making (also: The changes are still in unaltered, so I assume they weren't all bad).

Using a cheap GPS tracker and a bike I furthermore added a few small lakes and a small creek close to where I live. The GPS tracker was very helpful as the satellite imagery was (understandably) just showing forest, but biking around the lake a few times was really helpful in giving me the correct measurements.

All this was both a lot of fun and absolutely trivial to do. I highly recommend that you give this a shot on your end. I'm a person with zero experience in map making and yet I could easily contribute my part and I had an absolute blast doing it.

Also, if you are good with directions, this isn't limited to the places you live now - I've also added a lot of detail to the map around the place where I went to elementary school (yes. The environment has changed a bit, but that was a great opportunity to visit the place again).

Contributing to OSM is a very pleasant and fun experience.

mattlondon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some of the most relaxing & satisfying things I have ever done with a computer was spending hours updating OSM from fresh satellite images.

It was giddying to discover that Bermuda had great satellite images, but zero mapping and then a few hours later you'd literally put a well-known place like Bermuda "on the map" by drawing in most of the main roads, airport and so on. Great to see that others have built on this with detailed information.

Very fond memories.

luos 1 day ago 1 reply      
I recently went abroad in Europe and because of the price of data roaming I decided to install the OsmAnd android app for navigation.

In Romania, Transylvania using instead of a map it was very good. Even the little dirt roads were there. I had three problems with the app. The navigation did not wanted to respect my setting for "prefer highways", we always tried to regenerate the route, "we are near, maybe now it will know". Seemed like it hated highways. The app felt very buggy, I know it is free, but froze a lot of times and has un-intuitive controls. For example if I wanted to add navigation to a target it sometimes used a location from yesterday or something totally unrelated. Asking a question "Do you want to keep the current route?" it sometimes keeps the current route, sometimes reverts back to a route before, sometimes even just shows where I was yesterday. Third is, searching is a PITA. Because a lot of house numbers are missing you can only input intersections, sometimes it works, sometimes not. Searching for POI-s is good (remember, it is offline), but a lot of things are missing. I found if I add favorites and want a route between them then that usually works. (I don't know how the app creators are related to OSM.)

Anyway, I recommend the app because it is valuable and usable if you don't have connection (and free if you use only 10 maps).

Recently I wanted to use a web based map in one of my project and I found it is very easy to use OSM with http://leafletjs.com/. It has some bugs (I couldn't get a "map loaded" event out of it, maybe it is just me) but overall I think it was easier to set up than a google map. The one thing I missed is the geocoding of addresses, it is not really reliable because of the missing house numbers, instead of OSM I used the google solution and they can work together flawlessly.

I am glad to see a free map solution gaining popularity. Where I live there are events for mapping. I think on Saturday there was an event for mapping accessible roads/buildings for disabled people and someone even added all the fire hydrants downtown.

exDM69 1 day ago 2 replies      
OSM has really evolved in some places. For the immediate vicinity of my home, OSM is a lot better than Google Maps or any other map I've looked at.

OSM even includes horse trails and bicycling routes that I can't find in any other map available online. Not even local, official maps.

The weakness in OSM still is that it's difficult to tell whether or not the maps are of good quality and up to date for a particular region.

vog 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very nice idea and good visualization, although I'd have preferred a single "switch" button to quickly switch the whole view between 2007 and 2014.

While this demonstrates the huge progress of OSM, it is important to keep in mind that the hardest (and not so rewarding) part of the work is not to create the maps, but to keep them up to date!

That's why it is important to keep supporting OSM.

samcrawford 1 day ago 0 replies      
The poor Comcast business connection that's hosting the 2007 tile data is really struggling with the traffic! Lots of retransmissions (caused by packet loss) by the looks of it, likely because his upstream is completely maxed out.
beaker52 1 day ago 3 replies      
Open Street Maps are way ahead of any other maps in my opinion. In my town they have all the fields, ponds, lakes etc all accurately mapped. Amazing.
devnill 1 day ago 2 replies      
I really want to like OSM, but the default UI is really holding me back. Even with its limitations, Google maps looks great out of the box. Open Street Maps is downright ugly.

Aesthetics is a huge selling point, especially when used for business, and I can't help but think that its the factor that is holding OSM back from prime time.

lovelearning 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm rather surprised that even North Korea is mapped quite extensively in OSM.(https://mvexel.github.io/thenandnow/#14/38.9911/125.7365).

For a long time, North Korea was shown as a featureless area in google maps.

k-mcgrady 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's amazing how easy it is to improve these maps. I just searched for my small town, created an account and started editing. Added a few alleys/shortcuts and about half a dozen POI's in 5 minutes.

What is the best way to use OSM on mobile, specifically iPhone? I remember trying some apps before but I didn't like them. Is there anything as polished as the Apple/Google apps?

hyptos 1 day ago 5 replies      
The difference on my island is huge :D


yuribit 1 day ago 0 replies      
I still can't believe, that's my city, Rome: https://mvexel.github.io/thenandnow/#11/41.8974/12.4987 I am truly amazed by the wonderful job which has been done by the community.
seltzered_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
FWIW, the maker of this (Martijn Exel) gave a talk on where to improve OSM last saturday in Seattle at the OSM 10th anniversary event. Slides from his talk are here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ey85IHqupj7aWxq92Rzq...

Personally like his other tool, the OSM vs. US Census Tiger 'battlegrid' :

cliveowen 1 day ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one who see this working backwards? If I move towards 2007 everything gets more detailed.
Brakenshire 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's also interesting to see how much activity has been going on in the recent past - ITO World have maps that can show you OSM edits made in the last 90 days, and in the last 7 days. For instance, this map shows the last 90 days of edits around Y Combinator's head office:


Vvector 1 day ago 3 replies      
My last three addresses and all surrounding roads cannot be found on OSM. The streets are all there, they are just tagged incorrectly. With some help from the forum, I tried to correct the errors, but it never worked. Apparently there are 'broken relationships' that are beyond my ability to correct.


ErikRogneby 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is going to be addictive. One, last, edit...
mcv 1 day ago 1 reply      
Zoom in on Artis (the Amsterdam Zoo), or the various parks. The amount of detail is staggering!
brickmort 1 day ago 0 replies      
Truly astounding. 2007 doesn't even seem like it was a long time ago.
tonny747 1 day ago 4 replies      
I feel like this is somewhat exaggerated... https://mvexel.github.io/thenandnow/#11/-34.9324/138.6289
glomph 1 day ago 4 replies      
Has any one made a directions engine that runs on OSM in the browser?
Jekyll 1 day ago 4 replies      
Anyone ever tried printing a paper copy of OSM for their region?
BillFranklin 1 day ago 0 replies      
The power of online collaboration is inspiring.
Gamma FinFisher hacked: 40 GB of internal documents and source code published
400 points by srslack  6 days ago   102 comments top 15
o3877 5 days ago 0 replies      
Although many of the files in the leak are PGP encrypted, the files contained the Key ID of the destination. I ran these through various keyservers to determine who the recipient of the files happened to be, but the results were not too interesting:

This key is a NL law enforcement officer:pub 1024D/5A14D578 2003-02-21uid Jochen van der Walsub 2048g/00BE9690 2003-02-21

This key appears to be a part-owner of a German private contractor (VERVIS):pub 1024D/66878388 2013-04-17uid Alfons Rauscher <alfons.rauscher@vervis.de>sub 2048g/8269976E 2013-04-17

This key is for a gentleman who describes himself as a "Senior Security Specialist & Consultant for Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agencies around the world."pub 2048R/3F895273 2013-03-05 [expires: 2018-03-04]uid Alexander Hagenah <ah@primepage.de>sub 2048R/F166F2CA 2013-03-05 [expires: 2018-03-04]

This key turns up pretty much nothing:pub 2048D/89A4703C 2013-07-04 [expired: 2014-07-04]uid USB on Fire <usbonfire@gmail.com>

Same with this one:pub 1024D/85E86971 2009-06-12uid campo@campinator.com (New key 12/6/09) <campo@campinator.com>sub 4096g/C3F3EC1B 2009-06-12

These are obviously Gamma's (although the first has a typo):pub 2048R/D81082F4 2012-03-08uid Melvin Teoh (Gamma Group) <mt@gammmagroup.com>pub 2048R/A7A4AC21 2013-03-05uid Hari Purnama (pgp) <hp@gammagroup.com>

The full list of keys, should you be able to correlate these with the oppressive regime of your choice:


tedks 6 days ago 3 replies      
Seems like the original author is only commenting on Reddit. It's surprising that this was posted to /r/Anarchism instead of a bigger subreddit like /r/tech or /r/politics. That makes me think that the original leaker was already involved in the /r/Anarchism community in some way.

Interesting comments from the author on the Reddit thread:


Not just replying to you, but directed at everyone that'll say I should've leaked it to some organization and that it's 'irresponsible' to dump the raw data on everyone or something:

I'm unconvinced that news stories about government's surveillance capabilities are actually effective in fighting those systems of control. Listening to stories all day about how we're all being hacked and spied on just feels disempowering. When everyone can participate it's more empowering, more fun, and far more effective. Gamma deliberately avoided storing identifying information about their customers, the customers I've managed to identify so far are from looking at the metadata in the documents they sent finfisher support staff and other mistakes they made. The more eyes looking at it, they more we'll find. I want the researchers at citizen lab and elsewhere who have been researching finfisher attacks to use this data in whatever way it'll help them. I want whoever wants to try their hand at forensics to be able to look through it and find what they can about Gamma's customers. I want programmers, hackers, and reverse engineers to have access so they can analyze the software and take it apart. In enabling people with diverse talents to actively participate in the research, we can hopefully develop a better understanding of the tools, organizations, and methods of operation involved in these attacks so that those targeted can actually defend themselves, not just read headlines about how powerful the organizations targeting them are. I want everyone having access to the data, not just the headlines! Seed the torrent!


"""What rechelon said about the EFF. They're reformist lawyers that do some good work, but are terrified of anything too radical or illegal. There's no way they'd touch this, they aren't wikileaks. In the unlikely event that I ended up on trial for this, EFF probably wouldn't even help with the legal defense. They help with some hacking related cases like weev's or DeCSS, because those cases were on the edge of the law and legal precedent was being set. The EFF does not defend computer hackers if it's not setting legal precedent and aligning with their reformist goals.


It'll be very interesting to see how this aspect plays out. I expect "anarchist hacker" headlines before long.

dmix 6 days ago 0 replies      
Canadian IP addresses show up as 5% in June 2010 in the leaked web analytics screenshots for FinFisher's support website:


This coincides with G20 Toronto in June 2010, where one of the largest amount of mass-arrests happened in Canadian history (1100 people total were detained) and where the Toronto police invested hundreds of millions of dollars in survillence and security: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_G-20_Toronto_summit

The Canadian gov has also recently attempted to make hacking peoples phones with a warrant legal, part of a sprawling 'cyberbullying' law.


SchizoDuckie 6 days ago 1 reply      
Great... they have MBR infections too..

The SQL database contains a lot of support tickets detailing the internal workings of some of the exploits and attacks:

  2x MBR Infection - Windows XP 32bit SP3   One of them is on 2.41 and one is on 2.51   Master is 3.0  After the upgrade to v3 the targets are online and connectible. Very fine. And everything worked flawlessly until the upgrade.  Except the fact, that *no* module is installed anymore and of course cannot be added. Means, no modules can be seen neither in live session nor in configuration.  Therefore, the targets are useless since then.  FYI: The attached error ./TargetActivity/$ID/$ID.log didnt show up anytime before and is Target reports error -10017 now reoccurring all the time.

rdl 6 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how long until someone does "FinFisher, Community Edition".

While FinFisher was a huge threat to people like democracy advocates in Bahrain (which is what I am hopefully speaking about at SXSW 2015...), now it's out there and even FVEY friendly organizations need to fear it.

FFCE should be usable by pure criminal or even script kiddie type organizations. FF was a pretty decent package, but freed of licensing constraints and designed for more autonomous deployment, FFCE should rapidly surpass it.

(EDIT: Apparently not too long: https://github.com/FinFisher)

thefreeman 6 days ago 4 replies      
For the curious, here is a magnet link of the leaked dump (38.7gb)


x0x0 6 days ago 3 replies      
First takeaway from here [1] and the other docs:

1 - don't allow physical access to your machine. If you are worried about nation state actors, consider filling firewire and usb slots with super glue.

2 - don't use skype

[1] https://netzpolitik.org/wp-upload/FinSpyPC.4.51.ReleaseNotes...

Finny 6 days ago 1 reply      
In www/GGI/SecureLink/secure_link.php, I present to you the password of the year:$SecureLinkKey="finfisher!@#$%^"; // Set to random string used to encrypt links
pwnna 6 days ago 1 reply      
> An intelligence agency used FinFly ISP in the main national Internet Service Provider network. It wasenough for the system to only know the targets log-in information into the ISP network to be ableto deploy a remote monitoring solution on his computer and monitor him from then onwards.

Wow. See https://netzpolitik.org/wp-upload/FF_SolutionBrosch%C3%BCre_... for FinISP.

allegory 6 days ago 3 replies      
A big round of applause to whoever did this.
centizen 6 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like the site might be under attack or just overwhelmed by traffic. Here's the google cache for those who can't access the site:


fabulist 6 days ago 1 reply      
Governments need to stop using private contractors for such sensitive projects. It exponentiates their attacks surface, and as Peter Zatko pointed out[1], they have little incentive to defend themselves; if another state steals a covert capability from a defense contractor, the government's response is to... hire a defense contractor to replace it with a new, improved capability.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBtzaRHqP2c

Edit: perhaps I should clarify that I don't actually support governments doing this.

hummel 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is no news on this topic? It's a very important and almost have no relevance on the media. The leak detail the hac k here: http://t.co/QWRRo9cCLN
psykovsky 5 days ago 0 replies      
After downloading the torrent for a while I noticed this on my router firewall logs entries

FIREWALL icmp check (1 of 1): Protocol: ICMP Src ip: Dst ip: 82...* Type: Redirect Code: Redirect Datagram for the Host

The IP address that has the asteriks is MY IP address and the other one belongs to Deutsche Telecom. Are they trying to MITM me or what?

P5.js: Processing for todays web
380 points by bpierre  6 days ago   93 comments top 20
html5web 6 days ago 9 replies      
Holy shit! This is great presentation http://hello.p5js.org/
bGriz 6 days ago 4 replies      
I'm naive. What makes this comparable to - or better than - D3 js, Easel js, Three js, Raphael js, Kinetic js, Paper js, Famo.us js, Impact js... and boy I'm sure I can think of many more. I realize they don't all share the same feature sets... but I'm not understanding what makes this new or exciting.

Edit: Maybe I don't get the "processing" part... isn't this about creating interactive experiences? The examples demonstrate so and I didn't see examples of processing complex data sets or anything. Would love to hear some elaboration on it.

I noticed the statement "p5.dom lets you interact with HTML5 objects beyond the canvas, including video, audio, webcam, input, and text." This is interesting. Perhaps the point here is P5 manages more interactive components without the developer having to mash different tools together?

ghostwords 6 days ago 3 replies      
Have you guys seen Bret Victor's criticism of Processing in http://worrydream.com/LearnableProgramming/?
filearts 6 days ago 2 replies      
If you would like a simple environment to play with p5.js right now, I've created a simple template in Plunker: http://plnkr.co/edit/tpl:ElV3rt?p=preview

Have fun and great job on the library!

mbrzuzy 6 days ago 2 replies      
I don't mean to be that guy, I'm genuinely curious. Is this pretty much the same thing as http://processingjs.org/ ?
Osmium 6 days ago 0 replies      
Shame there's no 3D; I guess it's still Three.js for now. They have plans for it though, and it looks like a great start so far otherwise, and they have official support from the Processing foundation too.
SoapSeller 6 days ago 1 reply      
From the "Start" page:

  If you didn't type it correctly, you might not see anything. If this happens, make sure that you've copied the example code exactly
This is definitely a big no-no if your goal is "to make coding accessible for artists, designers, educators, and beginners".

arikrak 6 days ago 1 reply      
How does this compare to http://processingjs.org/ ?
smrtinsert 5 days ago 0 replies      
Is processing.js deprecated now? Are both js implementations going to co-exist? Seems a little unfortunate that there is an obvious split without any hard language describing the future.
nutate 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great return to the roots for processing. Always more of a fan from the periphery than a user. It harkens back to the original days when they only had the proce55ing domain.
WhitneyLand 6 days ago 2 replies      
It's cool. Great to have this spirit, keep going.

Feedback:The editor currently starts up showing an empty function. Would be nice to add a line of code in there for instant gratification of seeing something draw from code right away.

Shouldnt have to explicitly call createCanvas() for simple apps. Why not do it by default to match the current window size?

Cant get the editor to refresh without stopping and starting, I assume thats a beta issue?

atmt 5 days ago 3 replies      
hm, im not sure what to think about this. Despite beeing another 'framework/library' that promises to ease the learning curve for non programmers to produce graphics, i do not fully understand why using it should be more easier than drawing to blank 'raw' canvas element with a bunch of wrapped drawing methods. Eg. why do i need to an 'updatePixels' wrapper of putImageData, just to ensure syntax equality, overall the abstraction layer just seems really thin. Should we not accept that every platform has its own tools, and stopmaking the ultimate crossplatforn artist drawing framework. Wouldnt it be better to accept the languages own features and try building stuff on top of that, instead of trying to mimic another language, also without considering the target languages limits (eg. p5.js isnt caching anything, constantly getting context via getContext('2d') is just slow...).

sorry for the rant

cordite 6 days ago 0 replies      
The presentation was really well done, it kept my attention and the interactivity helped make their points.
aikah 5 days ago 1 reply      
It basically looks like processingjs without the processing language.

Couldnt they contribute to processingjs directly instead of creating yet another framework?

_nullandnull_ 6 days ago 0 replies      
I am super excited about this. I don't have much background in Javascript but I used processing back in the day. This sounds like fun to mess around with. Thanks for posting.
msane 6 days ago 2 replies      
Looking for examples / demos.
ausjke 6 days ago 0 replies      
awesome stuff, this is one of the best way to get kids involved in programming too.
joeyspn 6 days ago 0 replies      
Really cool! Reminds me a lot of ActionScript but (finally) for the browser
balls187 6 days ago 0 replies      
Many of the examples did not work for me in Firefox (latest-OSX).
alessioalex 5 days ago 1 reply      
Too bad it's GPL licensed instead of a more permissive one :(
The Matasano Crypto Challenges
374 points by sweis  1 day ago   67 comments top 20
fasteo 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Out of context, but I couldnt resist.

"Matasano" is one of my favorite words in Spanish, not for its meaning, but for how it sounds. Anyway, here is the meaning:



So, literally it means to "kill the healthy" and it is used to refer to doctors, usually in colloquially, rather than pejorative, terms.

Sorry for the interlude.

csdrane 1 day ago 2 replies      
Also by Matasano, and tons of fun: https://microcorruption.com

In-browser reverse engineering game.

Rangi42 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm stuck on set 1 challenge 4, detecting single-character XOR. I know how the cipher works, having solved challenge 3, but when I brute-forced all 327 hex strings in their challenge data with each of the 256 possible one-byte keys, none of them deciphered to anything like English. I suspect a typo in their data, since one line -- 1c3df1135321a8e9241a5607f8305d571aa546001e3254555a11511924 -- actually has 58 hex digits, not 60. Has anyone else run into this problem?

Edit: Of course I would solve this right after a post saying I can't. I was only looking at the (string, key) pairs which deciphered to all-printable plain text, but forgot that \r, \n, and \t count as printable ASCII characters.

Vivtek 1 day ago 2 replies      
Incredibly good news! I emailed earlier this year and got no response, and I was afraid the whole thing had gone away. It's like Christmas in August!
cpach 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Great that the challenges are up!

Feel free to join #cryptopals on Freenode :)

andrewparker 8 hours ago 1 reply      
A good complement to this set of challenges is Dan Boneh's Crypto class on Coursera. The coursera class is more theory-driven, whereas these challenges are more practical... they mix well. https://www.coursera.org/course/crypto
showdead 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Glad to see that this was not dropped! I did notice that matasano.com/articles/crypto-challenges/ has been returning a 404 for the past month or two.

Will there be a way to automatically submit / advance, for those of us that would like to do them without encountering spoilers?

candeira 15 hours ago 5 replies      
What textbook would be recommended for someone wanting not only to accept the challenge, but also to get some theory under their belt at the same time?
Osmium 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I only did the first two, which I hear are pretty trivial in comparison to the later ones, but I still had a great time and learned a hell of a lot in the process. Definitely highly recommended even if it's just for fun or out of idle curiosity, and no prior knowledge required. Looking forward to reading some 'proper' solutions now...
jonahx 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Once solutions are up, will there a be a way to test your answer against solution without actually viewing the solution, as there is on project euler?
yuhong 23 hours ago 1 reply      
On http://cryptopals.com/sets/4/challenges/31 , I'd just make it return the offset of the first byte that don't match to simulate the information that a timing leak would reveal.
sweis 1 day ago 2 replies      
These are great challenges for learning crypto. They've provided solutions in 10 different languages.
lelf 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Will it be some more than implement & compare with the provided solution?
fierycatnet 1 day ago 3 replies      
Something isn't right.

Not Found


elwell 1 day ago 1 reply      
Would like to see real-world-ish Clojure crypto concerns.
aye 1 day ago 1 reply      
Thanks for bringing this back! I've been wanting to study crypto, and I usually enjoy @tpacek's comments on this site.
wnevets 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I still havent finished the first email
hobs 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Easter egg spooked me:"I'm killing your brain like a poisonous mushroom"
goodvibes 23 hours ago 0 replies      
All cryptography is broken before implementation so, it really only looks like a compression mechanism for now.
Justin.tv has shut down
396 points by abstractbill  7 days ago   137 comments top 28
Zikes 7 days ago 7 replies      
I recently signed up on twitch and started watching 1-2 hours of streams a day, usually whenever TotalBiscuit, Hafu, or Amaz are on in the evenings CST (which isn't terribly often). I also use Netflix exclusively as opposed to cable or satellite, and this is the unfortunate result:


I used to think I'd have to torrent to hit typical consumer data caps, but that's no longer the case. I didn't do any torrenting whatsoever in July, but I still used over 300GB.

Even if Verizon ever pull their head out of their rear in regards to peering, so long as data caps exist we'll still be artificially throttled in our internet usage.

LandoCalrissian 7 days ago 2 replies      
This had been in the cards for a long time now. Justin.tv was a huge liability since there were so many streams running pirated content. They were really smart in acknowledging the success of video game streaming the platform was having and focusing their efforts there. Honestly one of the better pivots I have seen.

I think they are a really smart company, it will be interesting to see what happens post Google.

tdicola 7 days ago 2 replies      
Kind of sucks access to old videos is gone. I remember watching a lot of Arab spring and occupy wall street streams live as they happened on the site. It's a shame to lose those videos and the interesting historical info in them.
MilnerRoute 7 days ago 0 replies      
I feel nostalgic, in a weird way. With Google Glass coming into the world, it's nice to remember there was a time when filming your day required a pioneer spirit and a DIY rig.

I remember this interview when Justin was just getting started...


jedberg 7 days ago 0 replies      
I remember in the first weeks of JTV when the crew would hold a weekly BBQ at their apartment, so that people would have something interesting to watch. It was fun to go up there and joke with Justin about his shenanigans for the week while watching Kyle build ever smaller portable rigs.

I'm glad that that crazy idea ("I'm going to live stream my life and people will watch!") has turned into the best live streaming gaming site on the internet.

vanisher 7 days ago 0 replies      
I used to visit justin.tv a lot in the early days, they used to have more interesting people broadcasting but the quality declined over the last 5 years. A lot of the more premium channels/brands broadcast on other sites.

This is reflected in the traffic, just look at the decline from a peak in late 2009. Looking at this graph, it's no real surprise that they are shutting it down:

https://www.quantcast.com/justin.tv#!traffic click all below the graph)

They have done really well to develop the gaming side on twitch.

crazypyro 7 days ago 2 replies      
Sounds like Twitch is slimming down after Google buy. Smart move. Google cares about the demographics of Twitch a lot more, I'd imagine.
guiomie 7 days ago 7 replies      
I understand there was lots of pirated content on justin.tv, but I am surprised that focusing on streaming live video games is better in the long term then focusing on live content in general.

I see the live content market with more possibilities ... live events, reality shows ...etc.

I'm not an expert on the subject, can someone enlighten me?

teddyh 6 days ago 0 replies      
DNA Lounge used Justin.tv. JWZs reaction here: http://www.dnalounge.com/backstage/log/2014/08/05.html
troymc 7 days ago 10 replies      
What are the major, general-purpose livestreaming options now? Ustream? Google Hangouts? What else?
hodgesmr 7 days ago 1 reply      
"Your account is now closed, and you will be unable to access any settings or content"
victorvation 7 days ago 0 replies      
I guess this was inevitable after Twitch was acquired.
aeturnum 7 days ago 0 replies      
There's a lot of talk about how this is due to the google acquisition, but if you paid any attention to twitch / justin, this is the logical extension of the slow justin.tv sunset that has been going on for the past few years.
ashmud 6 days ago 0 replies      
rapind 6 days ago 0 replies      
I first heard about Justin.tv in an Amazon EC2 case study. They were one the the pioneers on the platform and laid out a blueprint on elastic scaling to handle their encoding. I found it very interesting and inspirational.

The idea of lifecasting had been around for a while though I think. Josh Harris comes to mind, but maybe even earlier?

bwy 7 days ago 1 reply      
"Twitch is site for gaming-related content only. "

Just wanted to point out a typo in the copy.

Joona 7 days ago 0 replies      
Not really surprising, considering how outdated their site was (visually, at least).

Edit: Users with accounts can migrate them to Twitch.TV here: http://link.twitch.tv/switchaccount

mathattack 6 days ago 1 reply      
Can I retrieve my videos?Unfortunately, videos on Justin.tv are no longer accessible for download. Video archiving and VODs were removed on June 15, 2014.

Were people given advance notice on this?

erikb 7 days ago 0 replies      
This one was shocking to read. At first I thought the company is dying, but they basically switch the focus to twitch. I still remember when Justin's stream was all the rage. What a great time!
pessimizer 7 days ago 3 replies      
You could see this coming when they gave everyone 7 days to back up their archives before they would be deleted. I'm sure most of their employable employees jumped ship since then.
zhyder 7 days ago 1 reply      
Seems abrupt. Would be nice to give users a couple of weeks or a month to download their content.

Edit: never mind, looks like they gave plenty of notice.

ZanyProgrammer 7 days ago 0 replies      
I will miss endless repeats of the entire corpus of Stargate episodes. Really a great way to escape and get away for a while.
lie07 7 days ago 0 replies      
Im gonna miss "The Office" stream.
evadoraz 7 days ago 0 replies      
Would've been nice if he gave heads up at YC Hacks or something.
cazer 6 days ago 0 replies      
End of an era
geuis 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is sad nostalgia. It was 2006-2007 when I was in the process if moving from Miami to San Francisco. I remember finding out about Justin on a cnet interview (I think). He had a setup of some cameras in his hat. I remember quite fondly just watching him walk around the streets of SF and getting a real life view of what my future city looked like.
programminggeek 7 days ago 1 reply      
I would have never thought when Twitch first was a side project that it would become as big as it is. I don't know if it's luck, skill, or good timing, but it's really amazing what they achieved.
sogen 7 days ago 1 reply      
...My cousins had just bought a membership...
Ask HN: I was hired and unhired in 2 weeks, for no reason
364 points by guybrushT  4 days ago   281 comments top 68
jowiar 4 days ago 7 replies      
> I like the founders - they are good guys.

No. They're not. You don't get to screw around with other people's lives and continue to possess the title of "good guy". If they were good guys, you would be receiving tens of thousands of dollars for your difficulties, and such would have enough of a runway on that such that you wouldn't need to ask us for advice. Please do us all a favor and let us know who they are beyond "a YC startup" so that none of us find ourselves in your shoes.

As it stands, if you had one of the other offers you were interested in, let them know that the company that you had taken reneged, and that you would love to work with them. Hiring good engineers is hard (and expensive) enough that any decent company won't mind being your second choice.

jvagner 4 days ago 4 replies      
I've been a CTO/CEO and have hired many people over time. Some of this has already been said, but:

1. Those jobs may still be open, reasonable people wouldn't hold taking another job against you. Work is work, and those who step back into discussion with you will show you a reasonableness that you will value more than before.

2. Situations like this is why sign-ing bonuses were invented. If you're COO of anything, you should also be able to negotiate a proper separation agreement, something like 6 months severance after 6 months of service. The signing bonus covers the initial bump, and then everyone has a window to see if things are copacetic. After that, it's a real relationship with consequences for dissolution.

3. You should be interviewing and considering companies as much as they're evaluating you. There's gotta be more to this story, some of which may be evident as you ponder what really happened. You've gotta develop that antennae. Asking to speak to a company's founders or advisors is a reasonable thing to do, certainly for a COO role that involves international relocation.

4. The "best guys" I've ever worked for f*cked me or our companies over. It's an important qualification to an extent, but character and vision and stability are secondary factors that will wag the dog, so to speak. Especially in startups. Startups are risky, and not always due to market forces or the brilliance of the business idea. Give yourself a good long notch in your work belt.

fpgeek 4 days ago 7 replies      
I'm a bit surprised no one has suggested what I consider the most likely possibility: They had no idea what getting you a visa actually entailed and bailed once you started and they discovered how hard it would be. I'm leaning that way because most people don't understand how hard visas actually are, the way they were vague about their reasons and the timing. Of course, if that's what actually happened, not telling you the truth would immediately take them out of "good guy" bucket.

Other than that, I agree with everyone who is saying to get back in touch with the offers you turned down. Even if they've all hired someone else already, talking to people who wanted to hire you in the recent past is a great way to kick off a job search.

itodd 4 days ago 3 replies      
You are not fucked. Just breathe. Think about it this way, It's likely that this start up will not be around for long if they make such poor decisions with their most important asset. No matter how you think about it, a very poor decision was made.

You have a masters in CS and 6 years of management experience. You are so far from fucked.

zetazzed 4 days ago 2 replies      
(1) Be very happy that this happened before you actually uprooted your life and moved to a new country, only to find yourself jobless there!

(2) Reach out again to the managers behind some of your past job offers. We have hired people who previously passed on us then had the other gig fall through or run out of funding. Many of those old offers will reappear and you'll be fine.

jbarmash 4 days ago 2 replies      
I am surprised nobody mentioned the YC Founder Code of Ethics from earlier this year.

I'd argue these four bullet points are relevant:

-- Treating co-founders and employees with fairness and respect.

-- Not behaving in a way that damages the reputation of his/her company or of YC.

-- Keeping your word, including honoring handshake deals.

-- Generally behaving in an upstanding way.

The OP made a serious accusation against a YC company. I assume YC can pretty easily figure out which company this is. I would expect that YC would investigate and take action if warranted.

festivusr 4 days ago 0 replies      
They are not good guys. They might be good guys in their personal life, but hiring someone from outside the country, letting them cut ties, and then laying them off immediately is not something a "good guy" does.
untog 4 days ago 1 reply      
If this is how the company goes about employing their first employee, I don't think they will be around for long. You might have dodged a bullet.

If you got this job, it's extremely likely that you will get another. Don't get me wrong, it's going to suck to explain to people you promoted the startup to that you actually don't work there after all, but it's not the end of the world.

angilly 4 days ago 0 replies      
This happens a lot.

Mentor whiplash gets the founders all frothy that they need to do X, Y, and Z _immediately_ or their company will fall apart. Unfortunately, it changes to A, B, and C a week later after meetings with another 30 people. These founders aren't bad people. They just have no idea what they're doing. They got shoved into this crazy new accelerator experience, and they're being told by their heroes that they need to XYZ and ABC immediately, and they freak out and they make decisions too quickly.

Founders joining accelerators, do yourself a favor: the minute you think you NEED to hire one of those first employees, wait a week. Wait 2. Chat with some people informally. Don't setup a coffee meeting and ambush them with your whole team. Just breathe and take your time. Building your team is the most important thing you are ever going to do. This is not cliche. The process of building one, especially that initial core team, should be respected. Talk to some people. Do some contracts with them. Take it slow.

guybrushT, this sucks for you more than most given that you (and your wife!) were moving from another country. The founders should have been more careful. If you still wanna move to the states, I'd more than happy to introduce you to a bunch of startups in Boulder. We're always looking for developers here. Shoot me an email: ryan at ramen dot is.

icantthinkofone 4 days ago 0 replies      
This almost happened to me twice in a four month period.

I was given a job offer at Pixar (back when Pixar made their own hardware). I really wanted to go there but my first son was born and I just didn't feel Pixar was quite stable enough so I turned the job down. Turned out I was right because, if I had taken the job, I would have learned Pixar was getting out of the hardware business and I would have been let go two weeks after starting.

The job I took instead was with Silicon Graphics. I was hired for my video expertise. Was sent to training, set up in a local office, and then the company did a re-organization and my new boss was in Dallas instead of Detroit. My new boss decided he wanted a Fortran programmer and not a video expert so, three months after hire, I'm gone.

mcguire 4 days ago 0 replies      
You absolutely need to go back through your contacts and explain exactly what happened. Especially to those who you advised to use this startup's service and those you asked about potential investments. After hearing this story, they may reconsider such involvement---I certainly would.

These are not "good guys". They are at best short-sighted, unprepared, and unprofessional. Hiring decisions are important and difficult; the best spin I can see is that they do not know who they need and are very unprepared for this step. (Want a worse spin? Someone they know has suddenly become available and they wish to give them the employee #1/Coo badge.) This behavior is a big red flag.

(I've been in similar situations before---I'm thinking of a research group at ORNL right now---but rescinding an offer is significantly worse.)

As other people have said, don't worry about your personal situation. Most of your contacts will likely have understood your original decision and find the thing offensive as well.

On the other hand, I don't think you'll be able to convince your wife to move to the US again. Tell her we're not all assholes, though.

balls187 4 days ago 4 replies      
Hypothetical to the larger HN community:

If you got accepted a job offer, and within 2 weeks got a job offer for more money, and at your dream company, would you feel obligated to stay with your initial decision?

If you made the rational (but arguably unethical choice), do you think your reputation should be tarnished, and future employers think hard before extending an offer?

I know it's not the exact situation as the OP, but situations are rarely so straight forward, and often have nuances that we aren't aware of.

To the OP, at the very least, you probably dodged a bullet. So blessing in disguise.

petercooper 4 days ago 1 reply      
I officially joined as the COO.

So did you have an official contract, equity deal, etc? I doubt there's much you can do about these decision not to take you on after all, you probably need to grieve for the job and move on, but you should certainly hold them to their legal obligations, especially if they had to give you notice (which they should be paying you for).

vuldin 4 days ago 1 reply      
While everyone understands there is an added level of uncertainty when taking a start up position, your situation sounds more unusual than most considering that it does little more than screws up your career and short term family plans. You can't really say you worked at this company, you've already gone through what sounds like a lengthy job search and turned down all positions that came up besides this one, made plans with your family to move to the States, and then a week after getting 'hired' you had to make other plans.

I'm not sure why you say you like the founders when they treat people like this. This is a serious blow to your life that they are responsible for.

balls187 4 days ago 0 replies      
> I let all job offers go (I had a few good ones)

Hopefully, when you turned down the job offer, you did so in a classy way. As a hiring manager, if a candidate I extended an offer to, reach back out to me after declining, and said their situation changed, I would consider making a new offer. True you lose negotiating leverage, but I would expect a percentage greater than 0 of companies that would re-engage with you.

> Told my friends/family about the job, and that I will be moving to America

This is a minor issue. Plans change. They'll get over it. Hopefully they didn't throw you a going-away party yet :)

> Reached out to all my contacts (including everyone who was trying to hire me) and attempted to sign them up for this YC service

No good deed goes unpunished. But seriously, you did the right thing by trying to help out this company. I don't see this as a problem.

> I reached out to several people (e.g. at Google, FB, Partners at a management consultancy (i.e. my former employers)) asking them for a potential investment into this company ("Use our personal networks" was a key strategy), some of these helped me find a job that I turned down

I'm sure those same potential investors will circle back around to you, and decline investing, given that you are no longer with the company.

stevebot 4 days ago 1 reply      
Not to sound trite, but I wish I was in your shoes. You have a masters, 6 years of mgmt exp., and most importantly a wife that is _willing to pack up everything and move_. That's awesome man, best of luck to you, you will be on your feet soon.
TheMagicHorsey 4 days ago 2 replies      
Job offers don't disappear. Just go back to the other ones and see what is still open.
simonebrunozzi 4 days ago 0 replies      
Besides all the nice advice that others have added, I'll give you mine: talk to a lawyer, and have him send physical letters to the company, and to YC.

The lawyer gives you two things:

1) He knows if you can be compensated for the damage;

2) It would give YC an opportunity to take care of this matter.

Oh, and by the way: I don't know their side of the story, therefore I don't want to judge; however, it is very likely that they lied to you - letting someone go after two weeks is weird, and I don't believe that "it's not about you".

davemel37 4 days ago 0 replies      
Lots of back and forth about appearing like a bridge burner.

In truth though, regardless of the appearance, bridge burning is never a good idea. NEVER.

I personally know a nursing home company that fired an employee in an unprofessional way. 20 years later she became the person in charge of nursing home licensing in that state. Guess whose licenses got revoked?! 20 years later, millions of dollars in losses.

That story may be an outlier, I don't know... but a simple evaluation of the risks and benefits of burning this bridge indicate very strongly that you should not burn it.

The argument people make about "having the right to know." to be able to avoid that company is really just self-serving curiosity. I am curious too. But...it's really only appropriate to share that info. to an individual, in private, if you feel they are truly at risk of the same unfair treatment.

Just my two cents.

smileysteve 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hey Man, that short term action on a perceived long term decision is rough.


Know exactly what skill-set the founders were looking for; what lifestyle choices they were looking for is probably also related. You can turn this into a conversation that helps both parties ask better interview questions.

Ask that you stay on, making your salary for several weeks as a contractor. If this isn't possible ask that you get paid reasonable living expenses for a few weeks. This provides a little runway for your job search. (Be wary though that this might raise your hopes.)

Always ensure that you get paid. For that one week before they hired you, for the two weeks you were on.

For your network that you asked for investment from, you need to secure that a) you are no longer part of that company b) if an investment is made, you deserve an advisor's fee (5-10% pre round is typical)

JackK 3 days ago 0 replies      
The startup life means there's a lot of legal and financial roiling going on at the management level that Employee #1 and below aren't allowed to see.

Probably a visa issue. Maybe a money issue (they don't dare admit that to any outsider, and employees are outsiders, so get the polite happy faced response management gives the rest of the world). Probably the all-too-typical inexperienced management issue most startups have.

When you choose to join a startup, you have to have a strong tolerance for surprises, some good, many bad. ALL of them are nice-seeming guys (nobody'd work for them otherwise). ALL of them have cool-sounding projects (will they work? Will they step on Big Legal's toes and die in deposition-induced agony? Will another 100 companies jump on the bandwagon before you can get it out there?)

It's a VC-self-serving myth that startups are succeeding at an increasing rate. See: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/corporate-america-hasnt-... for the actual stats.

Keep in mind that chasing startup dreams may not be healthy for family life, especially given that the failure rate for startups has been increasing, not decreasing.

Of course, it's always made to sound like success is just around the corner, but your most recent experience should give you a good idea whether your family's risk tolerance makes it worth it to you and those you love. The odds of dreaming turning from a bunch of extreme hidden hard work into extreme hidden burned-out failure are high. The startup world's only prescription for that is that you rest up a bit, then do it again.

There's a reason some people take the corporate jobs, save up, and only then follow their dreams.

Too many people are wasting their precious youth following the "fail early, fail often" mantra that is counterintuitive for a reason.

VCs make their money on the ones that succeed. The ones that fail don't cost VCs all that much, once you start counting actual funded startups that have passed all due dilligence and cashed the check. It's hard to filter out all those who are really only braging about funding on the way, because they've got to be convincing about already having it to have any chance of getting it.

But a steep price is being paid in wasted best years caused by startup failures. I count as failures, even these smaller "pivots" such as one where an employee is let go because different talents are needed (their stated reason to you). You wasted your time? No skin off their noses, they get to be the nice guy to somebody else they can use.

The startup world's harm is as cruel as any harm the corporate world can do. The startup world is just far less honest about the harm that it does to individual startup employees, preferring to say whatever they need to, keeping everybody's dreams alive until they absolutely can't anymore.

tedchs 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, this likely happens more often than you'd like to think.

If I were in your shoes, I would immediately re-establish contact with the recruiters who previously made you offers, and let them know you were grievously misled by this other company, and you are interested to know if their offer is still available.

You may also consider engaging a lawyer. If it were me, I would demand payment for all time worked, plus additional monies to compensate you for your opportunity cost of turning down these other offers, especially if you left a previous job to work for these guys.

sama 4 days ago 0 replies      
hi there. could you email me? maybe i can help. sam@ycombinator
felixbraun 4 days ago 0 replies      
"I decided to not participate in the startup I mentioned longterm and instead reconsidered your offer from (a few weeks ago?). Coffee?"
throw4323 4 days ago 2 replies      
> I joined as employee #1 of a YC startup

Which one is it?

hpagey 2 days ago 0 replies      
OP, I wanna give you some advice regarding this visa thing, for future reference. As a rule of thumb never resign from your previous position until your visa has been processed. You can always apply for premium processing which is guaranteed to give you results within 15 business days.

For example,if you are doing a h1b transfer, please wait for the h1b transfer to complete before you resign from your previous position.

comeonnow 4 days ago 1 reply      
What are your thoughts on not uprooting before you have a formal offer of employment, and a contract signed. Personally, I wouldn't put any wheels in motion until I had a contract in case something like this were to happen, and then if it did they'd be breaking it.

I'm not saying it's this persons fault, but I don't necessarily think saying the founders are not good guys (aka bad guys), I think it's more about being assertive and protecting yourself.

In my experience, I've never handed in notice without a formal offer and that's for local jobs. If you add moving abroad to that, then there are definitely some extra steps needed to protect yourself.

I sincerely wish you the best in finding somewhere else, and it's a horrible situation, but if you had a similar offer in a month, would you do it differently?

bengali3 4 days ago 2 replies      
Sorry to hear that!

What the consensus on the best way for someone to avoid this? Immediate vesting if let go? Some predefined severance agreement? 6 mo/12 mo contract? I understand it's a big decision for a startup to hire employee #1, but how can I protect myself in such a future case?

uptown 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd seek compensation for whatever time you were formally employed by the startup. I'd also reach out to some of the other companies I'd passed up job opportunities with to see whether they're still willing to discuss working for them. Be open, and honest as to why you're getting back in-touch with them, and perhaps explain why you chose the US startup over their opportunity to completely clear that question-mark in their minds.

Your situation is frustrating, but there's plenty of opportunity for smart, motivated, talented people. To help with your frustration, try to flip the story in your mind. This company is going to have to find a way to succeed without your knowledge, experience, and help. That's their problem now.

Good luck to you.

DanBC 4 days ago 0 replies      
A little humility and self-awareness should go a long way when talking to people about getting jobs. It seems form your post that you're worried that you may have "burned your bridges". But, really, so long as you weren't rude you should be okay.
zerr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Founders think they did nothing wrong or something to be hidden. So please share more details and save some of us from similar perspectives. Thanks!
jebus989 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry to hear your story. IIRC the lean startup differentiates a "start-up" from a small new business by the idea that the former operates under gross uncertainty. Generally HN smoothes over this but stories like yours help keep things in perspective.
striking 4 days ago 1 reply      
Startups are dangerous business. As much as I understand why you'd be chasing the American dream (I too am an immigrant, first generation off the farm) I'm sure you understood the risks of leaping before you looked. Good luck.
gdilla 4 days ago 0 replies      
how fucked can you be really after only 2 weeks? You didn't move yet, you haven't burned any bridges in your network, you have skills that are in demand, you have not uprooted your life for them.
reality_czech 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well, I'll probably be hellbanned for this, but I don't blame the founders. it's a tiny company with probably a few thousand dollars between them. They made a bad decision, obviously. Does that mean they should go under with the weight of an employee they don't need?

You even said that you "found a job that you turned down" earlier. So it sounds like things worked out fine. Of course it was hard on you. But changing a job always is.

I don't know what your home country is, but I do know that there are millions of desperately poor unemployed people in India, 25% youth unemployment in Spain, and a pretty tough labor market here in the US for some low-skilled workers. We should be thankful for what we've got. And part of the reason we've got what we have in Sillicon Valley is a culture that allows experimentation. Quickly setting up a company is only possible if you can quickly tear it down or retarget it when things aren't working out.

You mentioned that you have a postgraduate degree in management. Well, you should know that what you're getting into when you join a startup is different than if you join a big, established company. Be a man (or woman) about this. Don't ask for special treatment.

And for the record, I had an employment offer yanked during the crash of 2001. Fun times.

reon_wi 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can't exactly feel what you feel but I share my story anyway as I think it's related albeit less cruel.

I was offered a job in Singapore by a start-up. I filled all the legal documents required including the employment pass application that I sent them back. Weeks later I got a standard email from HR saying they offered the job to another candidate. I was shocked they eventually withdrew their offer.

The problem was I talked about my friends, family, that I'm moving to Singapore (from Europe). My girlfriend who is living in Singapore was happy, along with me, till the point I told her the offer has been withdrawn.

It is interesting to mention that the CTO of the company is the one who had approached me first whether I'm interested in exploring positions with them. However when it comes to withdraw the offer he never turned up.

I'm happy I didn't make business with them. I found a much better company to work with and moving to Singapore next week.

I wish the best to you, it's for sure you'll overcome this with favorable outcome.

segmondy 4 days ago 0 replies      
You are not fucked. Do not say that again, do not repeat it, do you even think it! Pick yourself up as fast as you can and get going. Start hunting again, don't take too long and get back in the groove. The worse period of my life was the moment I made the mistake of thinking "I was fucked" took too long to come out of it, and all it took was starting to think, "I'm not fucked, I can do better, it's possible" Best of luck.
bussiere 4 days ago 1 reply      
Yeah it happens to me, and now i don't refuse other offer as long as i haven't signed anything.

In french we say "un tiens vaut mieux que deux tu l'auras"."One given is better than you'll get two."

Bref, you have opportunity and to your wife telle the things frankly and breath you'll find job soon.

I wish you well for the next things.


freejack 4 days ago 0 replies      
What kind of help or advice are you looking for specifically? Your post doesn't make it clear what you'd like help with. i.e. finding a new job, negotiating a severance package, revenge, moving on, how to best pick up the pieces with your professional network, etc. I'd like to help, but I'd be guessing if I offered any specific guidance.
Veus 4 days ago 1 reply      
That does suck!I'm not familiar with the law in the USA but in the UK you can be let go for very little within the first 2 years of employment. You don't have a right for unfair dismissal for the first two years.The notice period is 1 week for anyone that has worked less than 2 years.
dxbydt 4 days ago 0 replies      
Was in your shoes two years ago, coincidentally this exact month. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4567857Since then, I've met several people who were in the same boat. This sort of stuff seems to happen with regular frequency but is swept up under the rug as if its no big deal. Props for being bold & writing about it. Good luck to you sir! More than the subsequent job-hunt, it was the memory of all those false promises that hurt the most.
TheGunner 4 days ago 0 replies      
No extra advice here but didn't want to read and run, good luck to you on finding something new. Like others have said, I'm sure there are a few doors still open if you're willing to get back in contact
meritt 4 days ago 0 replies      

There's 500+ other jobs available, you can just as readily find another one.

jusben1369 4 days ago 0 replies      
It sounds like you're more embarrassed than anything else. Ask yourself what your life will look like in just 6 months from today. I suspect just fine. At worst you'll still go a bright red color when you think about this after a couple of drinks. Chalk it up and be glad you didn't make the move and then find this out. I have no idea about the circumstances but it's possible these guys need to be commended for moving very quickly to stop you in your tracks once they determined that for some reason the fit wasn't right.
trmchale 4 days ago 0 replies      
To me this is really simple. You should tell Hacker News who the company is. An employee has the right to leave whenever he wants and a company can terminate you whenever it wants.

Big companies usually do not fire for no good reason because of liability. Small companies don't have to worry as much because they don't have any money to sue for.

However these "good guys" are establishing their corporate culture now, and we hacker don't want to get dicked over too.

nilkn 4 days ago 2 replies      
[I've deleted the contents of this post. I apologize to readers for the inconvenience and confusion. I related a story similar to that of the OP but decided I shouldn't post about it here.]
JackFr 4 days ago 0 replies      
> I officially joined as the COO.

What precisely does that mean?

IANAL, but I know that if you and they signed on the dotted line, apart from the ethics, you have legal rights. Probably fewer in the US than other places, but some protection.

If nothing was signed, then I don't think you "officially joined" as COO. From their perspective, it might simply be more of an episode of serious miscommunication, than any untoward behavior on their part.

koliber 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you are on good talking terms, and it seems like you are since you mentioned the word "polite" a few times in your post, I would politely ask them for a severance package, in case one is not included in your contract. They can of course politely not give you one. Depending on how the conversation goes, you will be able to recalibrate the "nice guy" stick you are using to measure the founders.
menriquez 4 days ago 0 replies      
your not fucked...there is basically an unlimited amount of opportunity out there for what we do.

trust me...i KNOW fucked...i got caught with some recreational substances a few years back and am probation for three felony possession charges. 25y+ of software development and it's impossible..IMPOSSIBLE..for me to get past any HR for ANY decent job.

so chill out...enjoy a week off...and get hired next.

michaelochurch 4 days ago 2 replies      
I like the founders - they are good guys.

No, they're not. "Good guys" don't fire someone without a severance after 2 weeks for no reason, especially not after you've put your reputation on the line as you have.

I let all job offers go (I had a few good ones)

Try to get those offers back. Explain what happened. If there's another solid option you can take, then you don't need to worry. Try to get a month or two of severance from the YCs but don't worry too much if you can't, and don't jeopardize success in your next gig by putting your energies into an all-out legal fight. If you're turned down, however, document it. This is going to help you make a case against the YC founders. The words you want are detrimental reliance, and to make that case, you need to establish damages. A job offer you had, that you lost, constitute damages. You relied detrimentally on the offer (later rescinded) from the YC company. That's a stronger case to make than wrongful termination, which often involves venturing into the undefined behavior of at-will employment.

Then-- if you can't get a severance on the order of 3-4 months, plus reimbursement for any relocation (both ways) or visa costs you've-- get a lawyer involved and sue.

free2rhyme214 4 days ago 2 replies      
Hi Poster,

No you're not. There are no positive or negative events in life. All events are neutral. It is within your power to see them as positive. Reality doesn't care about your "destiny."

So besides my airy fairy comment above what I mean is when something bad happens you have to take massive action to get the result you want. So when young founders make DUMB decisions that screw you over you apply to 40-60 jobs a day and find a better job. You take MASSIVE action to make the situation a positive one.

You have NO time to waste complaining about what happened. Your time needs to be spent working your butt off finding new work. That means 40-60 jobs per day. That also means you should look at investing in assets so your income isn't reliant on an employer or anyone for that matter.

Life will always do this to you. Always. How you react to situations like this is what defines you. Nobody can escape this. Everyone will have ups and downs in life.

Now. Right now. Today is your time to take massive action. Not sit on hacker news or the internet all day. Not complaining to your wife. Now is your time to make this a positive situation.

If you don't believe me don't do what I say and see what happens.

salahxanadu 4 days ago 0 replies      
F them. Those guys are jerks. Make sure you get your pay plus your vacation pay plus a severance.
alexholehouse 4 days ago 0 replies      
Please someone correct me, but assuming you didn't sign anything, I suspect your recourse beyond "AGRGRGRHRGRHGRGHRHGRRHGR" is limited (not that this posts suggests you're looking for vengeance or anything).

That really really sucks.

bjliu 4 days ago 1 reply      
Do you have a green card? Is there legal issues with staying in America? I think this would be helpful information; otherwise, getting a new job in Silicon Valley (or America) should be fine for someone as capable as you.
bdcravens 4 days ago 0 replies      
You're embarrassed, not fucked. You work in a high income industry, and even if you went without work for 6 months, you're not fucked. Seriously, this crisis pretty much epitomizes "first world problems". It stings, but you'll build up tougher skin and better business sense as a result.

"Deal was to work remotely, till we all figured out the visa." Honestly, that was the problem. You were dispensable, in the mind of the founders. Lesson: iron out all details before starting.

"I joined as employee #1 of a YC startup." The founders know this. If they become the next Dropbox, employee #1 becomes a millionaire or better. Even if it fails, it prestigious. Do you think that caused you to take a job that may otherwise have not taken?

digitalzombie 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's like that in start up in california.

Got interviewed, he wanted contract. I told him I'm only looking for permanent. 2 months later, project got cancelled and I got the boot.

alexyes 4 days ago 1 reply      
Go ahead and explain the situation to the employers whose offers you turned down. Especially in the US, people will understand, and the offers should still be valid.
vincentleeuwen 4 days ago 1 reply      
Launch a competitor.
sergiotapia 4 days ago 0 replies      
Name and shame these guys, totally not cool.
ilaksh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Ask them if they would rather pay what they owe you or have the name of the company public in this context.
julie1 4 days ago 0 replies      
Life sux. And being a nice person with good intentions does not mean you are unlikely to do no harm to anyone.

That is the major reason why I first learnt to avoid charismatic/nice employers; I was fed up of being f*cked in the ass nicely. Then I matured and learnt to trust but check.

viggity 4 days ago 2 replies      
well, at the very least, I think it isn't out of the question to be asked to be paid for those two weeks. If they made a mistake, shit happens, but they should still be on the hook for it. I'd even consider asking for severance of a couple weeks. They've hosed you, they should try to offset it a little bit. I understand that it probably isn't about the money, but I would hope they at least offered you that.
jheriko 4 days ago 0 replies      
did you sign a contract?

most standard contracts would be being broken by this behaviour. if i were you i'd squeeze them for having dicked you over...

dinkumthinkum 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm going to tell you this. All those trying to scare you into being a good little child and not "burn" any bridge, I think are being very simplistic. It may show up as some "drama" or it may not but let's be honest people with much more drama in their past than exposing shady business practices are able to have functioning careers. It's your choice but I think the fear is just knee jerk reaction from simple minded thinking.

Some potential companies may look favorably on it. Companies are staffed by people, people are diverse in opinions.

dinkumthinkum 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think you are being too nice. They have served you very poorly and I don't know if it is helpful to make any excuses or tell everyone how you are. This should have been figured out before they hired. Now, maybe you should not have put all the eggs in this startup basket. I hope you are able to find another position in the area, do t stop trying. Next to e, give yourself time to be "excited" and tell everyone about a new thing.
dontbeabitch 4 days ago 0 replies      
Out them. Now.
eleitl 4 days ago 0 replies      
Did you receive a copy of signed work contract? If not, you have no case.
epx 4 days ago 0 replies      
Like soccer players, good people should be paid a "fix" in order to change jobs, so they would not starve when something like this happens.
Guacamole HTML5 Clientless Remote Desktop
369 points by tux1968  23 hours ago   74 comments top 19
jitl 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I run Guacamole on my home network as an RDP client to my Windows and Linux boxes. It's a fantastic piece of software. It beats VMC widely in terms of speed, and RDP narrowly when used across the internet. I run guacd on my home server and use that to access my interior network from any computer. It's stable, consumes low memory, and works nicely over HTTPS with apache reverse-proxying the Java webapp. A+ amaze your friends type of software. I am a huge guacamole fanboy.

Edit: I used a Linux VM on my home windows box over guacamole from a Chromebook as my primary mobile computer for 6 months. Browsing in Firefox on my remote VM was always faster than browsing the web locally on the Chromebook. If only it worked well on tablets...

desaintmartin 19 hours ago 3 replies      
There already have been a few nice VNC web clients around for a few years, like NoVNC (http://kanaka.github.io/noVNC/, python server-side, used in Openstack and others). Unfortunately, there's no magic: you need your VNC/RDP server, then your "clientless server" (proxy socket<->websocket or alike), then your web server to host the "clientless" client.

It's becoming to be interesting when your VNC/RDP client directly supports websocket, eliminating the need of a proxy and only use a STATIC web server to host client. Wait, it's built-in for qemu since 1.4! http://git.qemu.org/?p=qemu.git;a=commit;h=0057a0d59006d00c2...

makmanalp 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Nomachine also has been doing this for a while, and NX is really darn smooth on spotty connections: https://www.nomachine.com/node/2473

I do love that this is open source though. Someone will probably add NX support soon. Sound support also looks pretty impressive.

joeperks 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I have used Guacamole as a solution to supporting remote desktop when the client location's firewall(s) allow nothing except port 80 and 443. Worked perfectly allowing users to connect to multiple desktops with no installation what so ever. Simply the perfect tool for what we needed and setup is a breeze once you familiarize yourself with the documentation.

Definitely keeping this in my mental toolbox!

iandanforth 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I've found remote desktop setup immensely frustrating in the past. Every six months or so I'll think "Wouldn't it be cool if it I could have an Ubuntu AMI on EC2 I could boot and remote desktop into?" Then it's hours of googling and config settings editing. Hopefully someone will point me to the easy way I've been missing?
egeozcan 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Having an HTML5 client built-in doesn't mean that it's "clientless" but it's still impressive. MIT license doesn't hurt, too.
fulafel 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I see a lot of these front pages with "major bummer, this video can't be played with your setup". Feels like the era of Flash all over again.
leishulang 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks promising! Could be use to control bittorrent server from work. Maybe call it pluginless instead? Clientless kinda makes me imagine it's pure js/html5 app but actually it uses a server as client.
ibisum 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder if this can be used to set up a multi-headed workstation environment, where each user has their own desktop (Linux) on the same large, megalithic server? I have a machine with 128gigs of RAM and 1TB of SSD .. this seems like the perfect situation where I can give a desktop to 3 or 4 users on the same machine. Anyone know how well that works with Guacamole yet?
blutoot 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm thinking of the implication of something awesome like this. Hopefully in the long-run it will boost the likes of light LTE-enabled Chromebooks, at least for tech professionals. That of course requires high-speed LTE infrastructure and ISP backbones.
maho 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Can I use this for a setup where multiple users look at the same "screen"? I combed through the documentation and am attempted to say no...
annnnd 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Just wondering: what features of HTML does Guacamole use to make this HTML5-only? Is it video tag? Canvas?
ivan_ah 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Could this be used on a Mac?

I would like to have remote/shared access to Xcode + iOS dev stack... Or is there some other way to get that?

codezero 20 hours ago 3 replies      
The Github repo for the client says it's 50% Java, can someone clarify, is this an HTML5 client, or are there other things happening?
jimmcslim 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I see that there are a number of folks around with Docker containers for Guacamole, but it seems there might be nice for there to be an 'official' container for this project.
unicornporn 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like to see some OS X binaries or a homebrew keg!
Yardlink 16 hours ago 1 reply      
This could enable some very low development cost cloudwashing of legacy desktop software!
xorcist 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I use something called Spark View for this. How does Guacamole compare?
vnz 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Can this be used with custom credential providers through RDP?
Open Source Email Templates
378 points by bvanvugt  4 days ago   60 comments top 14
mrmch 4 days ago 6 replies      
sendwithus cofounder; we've had a template gallery internally in the product since launch, but we felt that these templates were something that everyone should be able to use.

We didn't want to launch "just another template gallery", like many others, so we've made these open source. Contribute a pull request on github[0], we'll merge it, run it through Litmus and make sure it's still responsive. You can read about it on the 'about' page[1]

[0] https://github.com/sendwithus/templates

[1] https://www.sendwithus.com/resources/templates/about

Aldo_MX 4 days ago 3 replies      
This is amazing, although I can't help but feel skeptical every time I read the word responsive next to the word e-mail considering only Thunderbird and Apple Mail speak responsive.

Sadly, email design is like travelling to a twisted dimension.

The most effective markup for layouts are the dreaded tables, the most effective way to style your markup is with inline styles, and the most used email client (Microsoft Outlook 2007~13) has an engine exponentially worse than Trident from Internet Explorer 6[1].

And don't get me started with Android/Gmail because Google seems devoted in beating Microsoft with the worst experience for email design.

[1] http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa338201(v=office.12...

JoshTriplett 4 days ago 2 replies      
If you build emails based on these, please make sure you send them multipart/alternative with a text/plain version as well. And in particular, make sure that text/plain version isn't just "go read the HTML", or worse a copy of the HTML complete with tags.
rquantz 4 days ago 1 reply      
I can't tell you how many times I've wanted something like this. The pain of writing and testing html email is pretty huge, and the only people doing an even halfway decent job with them seem to be the proprietary email campaign companies, and until now they don't seem interested in making them as accessible as this.

Plus, these templates look pretty slick.

eli 4 days ago 2 replies      
They are much less fully fleshed out, but Zurb Ink has some sample templates along with a whole system for responsive email design: http://zurb.com/ink/templates.php
programminggeek 4 days ago 4 replies      
You know what's funny? Often the highest converting and best user experience emails are... just text and links.

Yep, all the branded shenanigans and responsive mumbojumbo doesn't necessarily beat just sending an email in its native form.

As it turns out, most of the logos and branding are self serving and nobody cares. Many of the most profitable email lists on the internet have no style at all, are long form text, have plain blue links, and they make millions of dollars in sales.

This is a cool project, but don't forget to treat email in its native form.

adhsu01 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is great. Thanks a lot for sharing. We're working on html emails for our own project and it's shocking how arcane and backwards this entire thing is. Hopefully these templates will save us a lot of time.
nichodges 4 days ago 1 reply      
These are great. I'm a week off shipping a product that is primarily delivered via email, to C-suite'ers. Most of these people check all email on their phone, so these are an amazing help in shipping the MVP.
ramoq 4 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent job. For those interested in just seeing (no source) really well designed emails can alwasy check out: http://reallygoodemails.com/
wesleycyu 4 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome responsive email templates. More info here: https://www.sendwithus.com/resources/templates/about
danieltillett 4 days ago 1 reply      
In my endless fight with Microsofts worse than useless spam filters (my how I hate hotmail and her ugly sisters), how does using a common template like this affect the false positive junk mail rate?

On this topic does anyone have any trick suggestion beyond the obvious (spf, dkim, etc) to keep emails away from Microsofts junk mail filter?

thehal84 4 days ago 2 replies      
Very nice! Just a shame most of these will not work with gmail since it blocks internal style sheets.
_fluffy 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I saw "open source mail templates" I thought it'd be things like ways of insulting people who report bugs or provide patches, or calling everyone idiots for not wrapping their plain-text emails at 72 columns, or whatever.
_asciiker_ 3 days ago 1 reply      
very misleading title for a commercial solution.
Uber's dirty tricks quantified: Rival counts 5,560 canceled rides
348 points by wfjackson  1 day ago   237 comments top 31
CodeWriter23 21 hours ago 4 replies      
It's pretty simple, Uber understands that to win the game, you need the a supply of drivers that just barely exceeds the demand for rides, to avoid surge pricing. To digress for a moment, surge pricing is brilliant in that it gets riders to volunteer to wait a long time for a ride, instead of getting pissed off like they do at Taxis, or give them the choice to pay up for an expedited ride. Anyway, the recruiting strategy worked for them in SF, they recruited so many Lyft drivers that Lyft was almost constantly in "Prime Time" (their name for surge pricing), that riders got upset and switched to Uber. It's at the intersection Business 101 and Econ 101 if you ask me.

The only pushback I've seen from Lyft is mobilizing drivers to hand out free ride cards at slammed venues, like music festivals, when Lyft is at maximum Prime Time of 300% and Uber is at 800-1300%. Not a bad strategy, but basically, Uber is giving Lyft a hyper wedgie by cutting right into their supply.

To put the cancellations into context, I met a Lyft driver who was recruited by Uber. He told me the same lady was recruiting in his area on an ongoing basis, just catching rides to make the pitch (which is a TOS violation on either platform). He said the recruiter would request a ride, sometimes 4 or 5 times, and keep getting him, then she would cancel shortly afterward when she recognized his name. So yeah, I'm sure some Lyft drivers spent gas, time and miles, but I also believe for the most part, the cancellations occurred in a minute or less.

As far as which company are the biggest assholes, I think you need to look at it with some historical context. Uber started out as a company that created a better dispatch system for Black Cars, and got Livery companies and independent Limo drivers to sign on. That was good, because riders and drivers could be paired based on proximity. Combine that with Uber's marketing to increase ridership, and it is an all-around win. The savings/increased business for your average Livery operator more than made up for the Uber commission.

Then Lyft comes along and says "Hey, let's open this up to your average joe with his car and car payment". Ok, so what they are doing actually is sucking the equity out of people's cars, because by the time you amortize all the expenses, you're making $10-$15 an hour (on Lyft, Uber you can make more), you might as well work for In-N-Out and get benefits too. Not to mention the insurance issues if you get into a wreck and its your fault (cancellation and no payout on your collision policy). Sure, the network will cover your liability, but only because they have been forced to by regulators. I classify this type of business (and AirBNB too) as "Slumlord 2.0". Slumlords buy an asset and drain the equity out of it for profit. Slumlord 2.0s drain the equity out of someone else's asset for profit. Uber had to counter Lyft with UberX, and get into the Slumlord 2.0 game themselves.

Bottom line for me, I drive for them both, and I hate them both. I tolerate them because they enable me to continue to work on my startup, or I guess I should say, reboot of the family business. I can't wait to be done driving for them and become a rider.

bedhead 1 day ago 19 replies      
This being a techie-oriented site I'm sure I'll find myself in the minority here, but here goes.

I think that Uber, as someone else noted, is a company run by assholes. Rideshare services like UberX and Lyft are going to get more-or-less shut down, and deservedly so. Remember that period in like 1999 before Napster got shut down? Yeah, that's rideshare right now. While many consumers cry "choice!" and "innovation!", the reality is that these services operate in a loophole which any objective observer will point out is complete bullshit. We have a system, which is probably unfair to begin with, but an existing and functional system nonetheless that rideshares effectively hacked. One group plays by the rules and is taxed and regulated and fee'd, the other magically escapes it.

If you have a complaint it should be with cities that require medallions - they are the ones to blame for the current situation. Maybe we should get rid of medallions completely, I dunno. But be careful what you wish for.

cge 1 day ago 2 replies      
There were 5,560 canceled rides, but the article suggests that a single Uber recruiter was responsible for almost 30% of those, and another was responsible for a further 10%. It would be interesting to see the data here in more detail: it may well be that 177 Uber recruiters have booked and cancelled rides, but that 160 of them have done so at a rate similar to average users, while 17 have been absurdly abusing the system. I'm actually a bit confused as to how single individuals were able to perpetuate such abuse without Lyft preventing it: after a single phone number has made a hundred cancellations on a bunch of accounts in the course of a few days, why weren't there automated processes in place to prevent those accounts from making another 1,400 of them. For that matter, why was the person even able to sign up for 22 accounts with one phone number?
jonknee 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Here is what's going on:


> "I was driving for Lyft in November when I picked up two attractive women," said the driver, who declined to give his name because he fears repercussions from the apps. "Like anybody, we started chatting, but they were sort of awkward. I knew something was up when they didn't tell me clearly where they wanted to go."

And this:


> Another part of the game is knowing the enemy. Uber employees and loyal Lyft drivers regularly try to infiltrate opposing driver ranks for inside information, and often call up a rival car for a ride so they can pitch the driver on switching.

The cancellations are probably after they see that they got a driver they had already tried to pitch. A huge portion of them came from just a few recruiters... Seems like an easy fix if Uber wants to fix it, though they may not considering Lyft isn't exactly free from devious ploys:

> On Tuesday, the rivals descended upon the humble intersection, where Uber usually hosts car inspections. Lyft started recruiting drivers by hosting daily luncheons in the parking lot (with a free taco truck, pink mustaches ziptied to the chain-link fences and two bouncers in black at the gate).

tux1968 1 day ago 3 replies      
Okay, Uber has to face the music on this one. But...

Why is there no rating system for passengers? How can a single phone number be tied to 21 accounts and cancel over 1500 rides without Lyft ignoring orders from that phone number? Why weren't the accounts deactivated long before this level of abuse? It doesn't seem like they're taking good care of their drivers' time or expenses.

alrs 1 day ago 3 replies      
It feels plainly obvious that Uber is run by assholes, and that anyone who works there has a black mark on their resume forever.

But that's how it feels. Is Lyft just better at PR?

untog 1 day ago 1 reply      
In case anyone had forgotten, they did the exact same thing in NYC to another competitor, Gett, a few months ago:


Can't wait to see how Uber rephrase "It was likely too aggressive a sales tactic" this time around!!

jmcnevin 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've used Uber dozens of times, but stories like this really make me think I should give Lyft a shot. After all, if this company is operating in such an underhanded manner this early in the game, it's troubling to consider what they'd be capable of down the line.
habosa 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I just moved from an Uber-only market (Philadelphia) to an Uber and Lyft market (SF) and it was immediately clear to me that these two companies are at war. UberX offers 25% off this summer, Lyft offers 30% off. Lyft announces Lyft Line, Uber beats them to the punch with Uber Pool. The drivers tell me that either company will give you $$$ to switch and that drivers are coveted. Every feature that one gets, the other will imitate.

As a consumer it seems that there is basically no difference between the two services, I take whichever has less surge at the moment and/or whichever my friends want to take. It seems like this price war has served to totally commoditize ride sharing; I don't know anyone who has a serious preference between UberX and Lyft (black car and SUV are another story).

Do they really think they can squeeze the life out of each other like this? I feel like VCs will just keep pumping money into them and fueling the price war. It seems to me that instead one should focus on really differentiating the service in some way to reverse the commoditization of private, on-demand rides. They either need to make their service preferable in some way to consumers (like Dropbox has done for file sharing) or make it a no-brainer choice for drivers to exclusively drive with them.

Not that I'm complaining, this war basically just serves to make private transportation cheaper for consumers like me.

edwardhotchkiss 23 hours ago 2 replies      
In all fairness to my selfish self, that has lived in NYC, SF and finally in LA: Uber (regardless of and possibly because of ) knee-capping other services is now a dominant, helpful service in my life. When I lived in SF and moved to LA I had a problem that only NYC had a solution for: "Many Many Cabs, Everywhere".

Two years ago I couldn't go go five miles in traffic without paying $50 and needing cash; and that was if I was somewhere where cabs hung around.

Regardless of them being "assholes", it's extremely useless in my life.

awwstn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lyft should come up with a way of flagging and hellbanning these accounts. The user could continue to think they have booked a ride, and think they have cancelled it, when really the whole system ignored them.
mkal_tsr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this something that the investors of Uber encourage / don't discourage? If not, what actions are being taken by either Uber or Uber's investors to prevent this from happening again? (cnn reports this is not the first time
supahfly_remix 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Why can't drivers be part of both Lyft and Uber?

Doing so probably violates their respective terms of service, but why can't drivers just "disrupt" the sharing economy themselves by being part of both?

edibleEnergy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Warning, loud auto-playing video.
korzun 11 hours ago 0 replies      
> One Lyft passenger, identified by seven different Lyft drivers as an Uber recruiter, canceled 300 rides from May 26 to June 10. That user's phone number was tied to 21 other accounts, for a total of 1,524 canceled rides.

Sounds like Lyft is a shit show. For a service like this, that number should have been black listed within first 3 'rides'.

wcummings 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Since Taxi rides are basically futures contracts for a car ride, why doesn't someone create an agnostic taxi-ride orderbook. Aside from the fact that taxi companies desperately want to avoid market discovery of rates.
USAnum1 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't feel this fits in any existing thread here, so I'll just put it at the root level.

Doesn't the "look" at ~2:04 in the video sound inserted, perhaps to make Kalanick sound abrasive? I may just be over analyzing it, after having watched a short documentary on shaping opinions with small manipulations of video interviews awhile back.

(I sincerely apologize that I can't find a link).

I digress. The fact is Uber has been playing fast and loose, and push is starting to come to shove with regulation. Whether Uber or regulators cave is now the question.

brownbat 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe charge a deposit?

Not trying to blame the victim, just really curious about how to build a business that can't be DOS'd by competitors.

Often wondered how a Netflix or Redbox prevents competitors (once Blockbuster now Amazon?) from renting a bunch of DVDs only to return them with scratches.

Maybe track problem accounts then ban them is best you can do?

7Figures2Commas 1 day ago 0 replies      
Many states have unfair competition laws under which the type of behavior alleged could very well be actionable. Bringing the alleged behavior into the court of public opinion is appealing but I suspect that if the allegations are true, Lyft's business would be better served by addressing this in a court of law.
tlrobinson 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Certainly sketchy behavior by Uber, but also pretty embarrassing that Lyft wasn't able to detect and ban the Uber employee who cancelled 680 rides.
ryan-allen 22 hours ago 1 reply      
A mandatory cancellation fee would be handy, but of course Uber and Lyft would have to opt-in. I think it'd be fair to charge customers $5 for a cancellation.
pbreit 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This would certainly be a dick move by Uber, even in the land of hyper competition. But how the heck was Lyft unable to foil it?
bitJericho 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure why a company that engages in illegal behavior would be afraid of engaging in more illegal or (at the very least) fraudulant behavior.
mrgordon 23 hours ago 0 replies      
One more reason to look for a Sidecar or Lyft before an Uber. Usually cheaper too.
eurleif 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Does Lyft's TOS prohibit this? If so, couldn't this theoretically be a criminal offense under the CFAA?
mulcher 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Honestly.. Lyft needs a better spam filter.
fred_durst 1 day ago 0 replies      
Free markets make men do amazing things.
chenluis5 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Number of people defending Uber and their actions are too large. Why not accept the mistake and take responsibility for it ?Also, YC is no hero. If YC speaks highly of such companies and Uber is using such tactics to gain business all you can say is everything is double talk on this site. I used to hang out a lot on this site but just look at number of shills employed commenting , shifting discussion to compare with Taxi industry when actual issue at hand is unethical practice. Uber is no different than FUCK YOU , FUCK SHARING ECONOMY, give us your money we tank it in founders and select-fews pockets and enjoy.Can't wait to all of this blow over and someone files major lawsuit.
tarminian 1 day ago 5 replies      
And now you see why we have taxi regulations.
aboodman 1 day ago 0 replies      
For pete's sake, it's 5k rides over like 9 months. How many Lyft rides are there per day in SF alone?
jonknee 1 day ago 1 reply      
Odd that Lyft appears proud to claim that they have a very easily gamed system without anti-fraud filters. Now that the word is out I would watch out for taxi drivers to get in on the fun.
3D Object Manipulation in a Single Photograph using Stock 3D Models
342 points by nkurz  7 days ago   60 comments top 14
mxfh 7 days ago 0 replies      
Anybody remembers MetaCreations Canoma released in 1999?

Worked also with only one photo.

Extending this into using known 3rd party geometries of identifiable objects instead of reconstructing by hand seems like a very logical extension in retrospect.



As cited in the paper and by Canoma this 1996 paper by Paul Debevec is really where it all started: Modeling and Rendering Architecture from Photographs:A hybrid geometry- and image-based approach


Still very impressive Video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPhGEiM_6lM

drcode 7 days ago 6 replies      
Darn, it looks like it won't be long before photo editing software can (1) Find stock models for all objects in a scene (2) Align them perfectly (3) Let you manipulate them arbitrarily (4) Render an output picture with all the changes applied that is virtually indistinguishable from a real photograph.

Once this happens (and it doesn't look like it'll take long) photography will no longer be an accurate reference for knowledge about the real world.

benwen 7 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the Running Man (1987) scene where, in supposed real-time, a video production editor synthetically composes Arnold Schwarzenegger's and Jesse Ventura's characters together in a deathmatch. One would have to go from rigid-component origami birds on static frames in this CMU paper to semi-solid human figures on moving frames in the movie. 3D models of famous actors' bodies are already made for special effects, painstakingly rendered and composited together in batch mode.

(Personal recollection: there was a solid model Shaq's head at 3d modeling company Viewpoint Datalabs back in the day. His head is huge.)

Stills from Running Man taken at about 01:19 - http://imgur.com/rQlxigG

bhouston 7 days ago 1 reply      
This is a neat approach. Basically it is a combination of:

(1) Fitting 3D stock models to existing models using a simple but interactive ray casting approach.

(2) Estimating soft lighting on objects fairly convincingly.

(3) Re-rendering the stock models using the artificial lighting and textures of the original photographs.

It is a pretty cool approach. There are real limitations to this but I think that the automated lighting estimate is just cool and has wide applications in the visual effects space.

dm2 7 days ago 2 replies      
This is very impressive, but were the fingers behind the paper crane drawn in by hand? I don't see how any algorithm could create that kind of content.

I'd really like to see a video of someone starting with an image and using these algorithms and tools to create one of these effects from start to finish.

wildpeaks 6 days ago 0 replies      
If you like this kind of effect, you should also check out VideoCopilot because inserting 3D objects on top of reference images or video is a recurring use of After Effects (it even ships with a lite version of Cinema4D now).

Example with a 3D truck:http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/3d_truck_compositing/

This and Photoshop's context-aware fill (to help fill the holes left from removing the object in the reference image) are very handy to achieve such effects.

Osmium 6 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, it's time for SIGGRAPH again! Excellent. As a layman, I always look forward to the new "looks like magic" results that come out of there.
bakbek 6 days ago 0 replies      
Taking this approach geared towards pre-made 2d still imagery and implement on rendered stills out of a 3d model and some serious MAGIC can take place!

In this scenario you already have all 3d elements in hand, so no need to look for them, as well as the complete environment. lots of things that called for re-rendering can be done with this approach post render.

stevebot 7 days ago 2 replies      
This is cool. As a non-photo editter, can someone explain to me this statement?

"the user (c) interactively aligns the model to thephotograph and provides a mask for the ground and shadow"

What is a mask for ground and shadow and how hard is it to develop one?

phkahler 7 days ago 5 replies      
We need a way to do digital signatures on images such that they cannot be faked. It should verify the image, location, time, and serial number. I know, this seems impossible since someone (the camera) needs to know the private key and that could be compromised.
jgreen10 6 days ago 1 reply      
Why do the legs of the rendered chair connect at the bottom, while those are hidden in the picture and the stock 3D model does not show them?
syshen 6 days ago 0 replies      
you can also check out this app, https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/insta3d-instantly-create-you... , which also turns a person's selfie picture into a 3D avatar model.
jbhatab 7 days ago 0 replies      
I tried downloading this and running it but they both had issues. Any way I can get on an email listing for when it is officially launched?
nileshtrivedi 6 days ago 1 reply      
So if you have a 3D model of a person, you can make completely fake videos of them doing something?
Lightspeed A Browser Experiment
354 points by khc  4 days ago   179 comments top 46
phlsa 4 days ago 4 replies      
Hi, I'm one of the people who worked on this and I wanted to provide a little background and a few clarifications.

Lightspeed is currently not a product. It's a collection of sketches and thoughts. It is also NOT the next version of Firefox. While some ideas might find their way into mainline Firefox at some point, many of the assumptions on which Lightspeed is based are the exact opposites of Firefox core values (e.g. no settings or customization in Lightspeed).

More than anything else, Lightspeed helps us think outside the box that Firefox is. It's a place where we can dare to explore more radical thoughts like not having any settings or or even menus. Having constraints like these stimulates creativity much like, for example, the character limit on tweets forces you to make your message more concise.

Ideas are worthless when they just exist in your head. Sketching out Lightspeed has helped us to make make lots of ideas more tangible, so they can be evaluated.

That being said, just reading through this thread has sparked some interesting new thoughts we'll keep experimenting :)

bane 4 days ago 9 replies      
At first I thought "oh no, another distraction for Mozilla", but then I sat through the presentation and thought there was some really cool ideas (amazebar!). In fact, I think it can be simplified and paired down even more. Even better, some of the assumptions here even make the software portable (as in doesn't really need to be installed and could just run off a usb drive/out of my dropbox).

Automatically being in a private/secure mode makes lots of sense to me as well.

Some ideas I don't like:

- get rid of loved sites/bookmarks altogether. Frequent usage should just percolate autocomplete suggestions to the top. This design doesn't really need them, and tbh I've barely used bookmarks in any browser in a long time.

- too much going on in the amazebar, drop all the suggestion (which will quickly get stale, tabs, email search, etc. Just focus on most frequent sites and autocomplete, it feels like the presentation is just burying lots of the clutter that used to take up GUI space in the amazebar.

- please don't default to a "downloads" folder. I've never liked it and before I bother to change it, my downloads folder quickly turns into a "random junk I've downloaded" folder. Forcing me to put it someplace actually is simplifying my workflow. It's almost the first option I change as soon as I install a new browser.

- keep tabs more present, don't bury them in the amazebar

insky 4 days ago 2 replies      
The problem I have with Firefox is that it just doesn't really innovate. We've had some small UI changes. But there's legacy cruft still in there that isn't addressed.

Like the bookmarks and history manager. There isn't anything particularly wrong with these data-table windows, but I don't really enjoy using them either. In some ways I think they should be at the heart of the browser.

I think a lot of people use tabs because bookmark management is so crap.

The only bit I resonated with was the similar sites suggestions. But you'd need a setting to setup suggestion services. There's a privacy concern with that.

Other helper features:

Pagination buttons were built into Opera driven off the rel=prev and rel=next, link elements. Navigation could further be ripped out the page window into a browser control. Searching sites and pages could be friendlier. Better form helpers needed. A good feed reader would be good. Tools to help read web content more simply (readability style) would be nice. Plus I like personalising the look and feel of my web browser ever so slightly, and even Firefox doesn't do that particularly well (it ignores some of my desktop theming).

So I think Firefox should really be thinking how to answer the question: 'How can we make it easier for users to consume web content?'. This has to go beyond the rendering engine. So actually a fatter featureful browser I think would be better - but with some very intuitive and simple controls.

mkohlmyr 4 days ago 2 replies      
I was surprised to see this rise on the front page. Am I the only one who didn't get excited at all by this?

When I see a post titled "a browser experiment" from mozilla.org I tend to think I'm going to get more than some wireframes and talk about "busybees". It will be an experiment once some (any) of it has been built.

In any case from what I did see in the video I would say: 1) Bookmarks are broken, but removing them is probably the wrong approach. Tagged searchable bookmarks would be more useful - they don't need a bar in the ui, but make them full-text searchable and put them at the top of auto-complete options.

2) Tabs are an ingrained key-part of how people interact with browsers. They need to be (obvious) in the ui and easy to use. Do not go the mobile route if that is the plan. Tabs on mobile are the way they are because of constraints of the form - not because it is good ui.

There are quite a few other suggestions I would take issue with but I realise I am not the target market. E.g. I don't want or need huge tiles of sites I love - I can enter their url and autocomplete. If its a site I frequent it should be at the top of the list - navigating to it is not a problem that needs solving with more ui.

jbardnz 4 days ago 1 reply      
Pretty interesting video. A few things of note:

-Tabs are important to almost all web users these days. Maybe you could hide them and display them on hover but I don't think you should ever move them an extra click away.

-Not a huge fan of the click-to-play feature. Maybe it would work if you could whitelist plugins rather than websites, I guess you lose most of your security benefits by doing this though.

I think he actually raises a good point at the end though, he wouldn't use this for work but may use it elsewhere. That's great, but typical web users only want to use one browser, they get familiar with the interface and stick to that everywhere they go. If people use a certain browser at work chances are they use the same one at home, and I don't think this is powerful for many people to use at work.

cypher543 4 days ago 5 replies      
> Auto-updates are always on

I really hope this isn't going to become a standard thing. There are still plenty of people like me who are stuck with something like satellite internet, which forces us to micromanage our data usage. I can't afford to just have things auto-updating whenever they want.

shurcooL 4 days ago 0 replies      
A very specific thought on this:

I love the fact that there are no settings because of one advantage it offers (it has disadvantages too, like any trade-off).

Namely, that you can always be sure of what settings you've changed. The answer will always be none, since there are no settings.

Removing settings altogether is not the only way to achieve that; for example see how Sublime Text does its settings, you have a very easy to read explicit list of all settings you've changed. So resetting to default or undoing a bad chance is as easy as removing unwanted entries from that Preferences.sublime-settings file.

Having less choices is nice for when you don't want to change anything, since you know your settings are optimal defaults and you don't need to spend time on making sure that they are. If you use 100 apps and each offers 100 choices, that's 10000 settings to ensure are optimal. If you don't, they likely won't be.

99% of software pushes towards more choices, more settings, more customizability, which adds to cognitive overhead of using said software if you care about having optimal settings, so I'm glad to see an experiment that boldly pushes in the opposite direction.

ben0x539 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised "private & secure" only goes as far as deleting the browser history and cookies every once in a while.

Shouldn't a privacy-by-default experience get rid of many of the information leaks currently inherent in the web browsing experience? Shouldn't it disable the http referer header and third-party requests to tracking sites? Shouldn't it sandbox flash so that it respects the browser's proxy settings and doesn't persist its own cookie-like objects?

Just hardwiring the current porn window behavior into the whole browser seems to create more problems than it solves privacy issues. (Makes search through weighted entries in the browser history impossible, which has 99% replaced bookmarks for me; makes restarting the browser a lot bigger of a deal, especially if it also disables opening recently closed tabs).

cowchase 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great concept. Getting rid of settings, add-ons and plugins for people that "just want their browser to work" is a good thing, especially when this is paired with good privacy defaults.

However, I see the auto suggestion features of the Awesome Bar at odds with the goal of protecting the user's privacy. This essentially means that all search terms that you enter into the search field will be sent to to all web services that were integrated by Mozilla, including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Bing, Wikipedia, Amazon etc.

Just imagine using the Awesome Bar to search your inbox for a (business) "proposal". Then, a little while later, your partner uses your laptop for online shopping and Amazon helpfully reminds him or her that you recently searched for "proposal". Depending on your relationship status, this could become very interesting...

justfooit 4 days ago 0 replies      
They should remove all the crap that is non-essential. For example, social and other things. Firefox size has nearly doubled in size between version 15 and 31. Also, I don't think that security would be good. I run noscript and similar. Notice how around slide 33 they said 3rd party cookies would be cleared? 3rd parties should not be allowed. Also, what if my trusted sites does not match their trusted list? Also, what if I don't want certain plugins to be enabled. Sounds less secure to me.
owlish 4 days ago 2 replies      
Disappointed that there isn't any innovation wrt tabs; they aren't mentioned at all.

I understand Lightspeed aims to be minimalistic, but many of these defaults are just illogical. Default click-to-play at the moment already ruins many audio sites where the flash applet is hidden, and turns others into a game of Where's Waldo.

Completely dropping extensions is antithetical to the central idea as well. Ideally, the browser would be barebones and fast (what Firefox once was) and any features would be an addon. Otherwise, you get sucked into the mentality of "if only there was this one feature".

All in all, there seem to be several inconsistencies in the central idea, but it could definitely turn out to be an interesting idea.

richard-cliqz 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi there,adding to the discussion a little late, but grateful for your comments on this one.We at the small Munich-based start-up cliqz are heading in a kind of similar direction - please have a look at https://addons.mozilla.org/de/firefox/addon/cliqz-beta/German-heavy at the moment, but going international soon, hopefully by the end of August.Please let me know your thoughts - we would be happy to take your suggestions and together with you make it more "amazing"!Thank you!Richard(richard@cliqz.com)
Pxl_Buzzard 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this could be made into a modification of Firefox, such that a user could choose the "simple" version when installing for the first time. If you wanted to switch between browser modes, just visit "about:config" and flip the switch to have the full experience of Firefox. Not to say that Lightspeed would be bad as a standalone browser, but the install base and the code base already exist for Firefox.
ChikkaChiChi 4 days ago 1 reply      
Not a bad start.

This can be pared down even further:

* Adjust search results based on your own clickthrough rates. If you bounce out of a site a few times (hello, quora) then it grays out or falls off. Sites you go to and stay on become more prominent.

* Kill downloads. I know this won't be popular, but the ability to download a thing isn't necessary for everyday use. There would be a heightened awareness for the user if they had to switch browsers to download something.

* No cross-site loading of any kind; all source material MUST come from the domain you are on. This would seriously break some sites but it would close large gaps in security and tracking.

A browser just for browsing!

MarkMc 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if natural language processing could remove the need for a dedicated settings page. For example, just type "Change search engine" or "use this page as my homepage" or "search my bookmarks for obama" and the amazebar shows the appropriate widget or result.

In fact, I think that Siri-fication could be a huge step for a vast number of applications. I develop an accounting app and it would be a huge benefit to my users to be able to just type, "pay invoice 364" or "print a statement for John Smith" or "add my logo to documents"

gatehouse 4 days ago 2 replies      
Having an intelligent non https submission warning could be good... You could go so far as to flat out refuse to send a cc number in the clear.

The degree of dependence on the search engine is troubling, would be interesting to see how much could be handled by a local mini index without involving a 3rd party.

Also think browser history could be a lot more useful if it were organized better. For example, maybe grouping pages by the search terms that led to them... Also would be nice to have a quick way to get a detailed history on any given site, along with the pages led in and followed out.

The main way I still use bookmarks is for organizing reference material, I think this could be automated partially as well.

ejr 4 days ago 2 replies      
I had a flashback to the days of web portals. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, I like that they're trying something because complacency is never a good thing. You have to try things to see if they work.

I think the biggest allure of this is that there are people with simple needs that want their technology to "just work" as they said. I also agree with owlish's comment in that there are some quirks that need rapid alleviation that aren't being addressed like click-to-play and dropping extensions doesn't seem like a good way to approach this.

I applaud the experimentation so long as the end results are choices we can make for ourselves.

dclowd9901 4 days ago 0 replies      
My first thought: "Well, this is just the new Spotlight isn't it? Why do we need another Spotlight?"

My second, more intelligent thought: "Oh, most people don't have Macs." I think there's some pretty great ideas here, and since my gut tells me 95% of computer time is spent in a browser, it makes sense for it to be extremely intelligent about inferring what you want.

cgio 4 days ago 0 replies      
>Plugins are click-to-play everywhere except for a whitelist of trusted sites (e.g. YouTube, Netix).

what is the impact from a neutrality perspective?

phloxicon 4 days ago 2 replies      
Wouldn't no plugins mean no adblock? I would never go back to not using it.
danialtz 4 days ago 0 replies      
OT: anyone knows which tool he uses for the mockups?
greglo 4 days ago 1 reply      
I like the idea, although really this is very similar to Chrome (and other browsers) where you just never open the settings tab. Except for the search bar, this is just one of today's browsers with tweaked defaults.

I really don't see the disadvantage, minus the small developer overhead, of having all the choices they have made here configurable.

romaniv 4 days ago 0 replies      
Okay, let me go over the things I don't like about this concept.

1. Everything is hidden by default. No signifies. That looks less confusing... until you want to find something or something changes and you don't even notice until it's not "there" anymore. It's not clear what will happen when you interact with the UI.

2. Everything is mushed together. I type something and zillion things pop up on the scree. How am I supposed to know what are they and where they come from?

3. No settings in this context sounds like no choice. I don't want every download go to Downloads folder, because it will become a bloated mess in about 3 days..

izzydata 4 days ago 1 reply      
The one thing I find very weird is how this guy designing this and other people are saying "Well, I can't use this for work of course because I have hundreds of tabs open." Wouldn't make so much sense to try and solve that problem in particular? It seems like everyone does this, but it seems worthwhile to ask why everyone does this.

Do you have a tab open because you don't want to lose unsaved data? Do you want a tab open because it is faster switching to that tab than reloading the page? There must be some reason and I believe it can be integrated into a much simpler navigation than looking at hundreds 16 pixel icons squeezed side by side horizontally.

lucb1e 4 days ago 4 replies      
Something about the "there are no settings to adjust" makes me want to fork Firefox and only apply security updates from the version before this new UI gets out of beta.

And tabs a click away? That's a nightmare.

Mixing what I type with search results, history and suggestions? Hello Chrome lookalike. I thought the separate search bar and awesomebar was one of the killer features for Firefox. Once that's gone, odds are I'll be switching browser.

Like with Firefox 4, it seems they are trying to redesign the browser like Chrome and doing it badly. Last time they did that I switched to Chrome for a few years before going back to open source (Firefox). Here we go again.

SaveTheRbtz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks a lot like Yandex.Browser[1]. Also built around Search, Favorites, Quick Links, Synchronization and Security.

[1] http://browser.yandex.com/desktop/

ZenoArrow 4 days ago 0 replies      
Lightspeed could be an interesting alternative browser, if it could be made without diverting too many resources from Firefox then I'd like to see more of it. Could be a good browser to recommend to the less tech savvy.
zawaideh 4 days ago 0 replies      
Bookmarks should be replaced by "app/website" drawer that shows up on your homescreen. They are useless when they are hidden in a separate window and you have to always remember to go to them. It is faster to search for them or have the them come up in the amazebar.

Instead if the new tab window provided a list of "installed/bookmarked/recently used" webapps/websites, then it will make the experience of bookmarking a lot more relevant.

jfeser 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting that his concept for inline search looks almost exactly like a current google results page. It would be very cool to have something like that available without necessarily relying on google for it.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure that a composite view like that, which queries multiple services, can be created quickly without aggregating the data before the search is performed. That's problematic if you want to avoid relying on a single search provider.

channikhabra 4 days ago 0 replies      
I really like the popup from the url bar. Safari 8.0 on Yosemite already has it, but the one they show in the presentation is more interesting and useful. I already use Spotlight as the only way of accessing applications on OSX (habit most emacs users get from using smex), so I +1 a universal "Search interface"; it's much more useful/productive then moving your mouse and pointing to icons or open an application and look for stuff.
jumpwah 4 days ago 0 replies      
I already sort of have the amaze bar with pentadactyl and using duckduckgo bangs so... no, keep this to the buzybees and don't change firefox into this.
mproud 4 days ago 0 replies      
This guy has too many ideas, and the ideas he has conflict. How can you offer contextual links without saving some information?

Im not sold yet.

webwanderings 4 days ago 1 reply      
I would like to run this browser on an OS which is nothing but CLI. This imagined CLI based OS will come with two things only: A gigantic and thoroughly indexed PDF file containing hundreds of commands to do all kinds of things (so you would only use Ctrl+F to search what you're looking for); and a modern browser with least minimum settings.
yeukhon 4 days ago 3 replies      
The no setting part is not really an option. No matter how simple you want to the browser to be, if you want this to be the one browser for the personal use, you need some settings.

* setting search engine - this should be dead simple to implement and totally should be customized. I don't mind using Google but some people just don't like that.

Actually I don't get why Firefox search engine customization is the way it is. If you want to SE that is not part of Firefox's bundle choices, you have to install add-on. To me, this should be simple to implement. A user click on "manage search engine preference", press "Add", gives a URL of the search engine (e.g. https://google.com) and then OK. Firefox should just take whatever user types into the search bar / address bar (this case needs to know whether the "keyword" is url or not) and just redirect user to http://mysearch-engine.com/?q= / ?query=.

I can even imagine this useful when I want firefox to do code search. Imagine instead of me going to dxr.mozilla.org to find the code I want, now I just need to set the search engine to http://dxr.mozilla.org/mozilla-central/search?= yay!

I can even write an addon that does that right now in probably 30-50 lines of JS right now.

* home page. I think many older Internet users still set a home page.

* Download folders - you still want to expose where to set it because some people prefer to set it somewhere else.

* Bookmarks - if there is no concept of bookmark, how exactly do I find the things I want quickly? Imagine I <3 a bunch of stuff today and tomorrow I want to find that one awesome blog post I want to re-read. If I can't recall the blog title or the domain, how do I do search?

What really helps users, including me, when I just want a browser.

* security, private, clear cookies - awesome, lightspeed would be super awesome on shared computers

* Big buttons. When I first install Lightspeed I should just be prompted a couple pages with big buttons and bars to set homepage / search engine preference

* When I <3 a bookmark, fade in search bar or show me a page with big list of bookmark categories.

And personally, a little cuteness like the wireframe in the demo is always welcome.

See these scratch drawing 1 and 2. I am not a designer, so pardon me. I am also trying to do a mobile experience here. In the bookmark case, you can type, you can mouse over / click and expand to see the top 5 in that category.

[1]: http://imgur.com/Bvtrnhi&WjAoic8

[2]: http://imgur.com/Bvtrnhi&WjAoic8#1

And yes, as a developer, Lightspeed is awesome to me.

yarou 4 days ago 3 replies      
The design choices really look interesting. But shouldn't Mozilla focus more on eliminating the ever persistent memory leak bug that has plagued it since forever? I can't even use Firefox on a netbook. I end up installing Midori.
marcoms 4 days ago 0 replies      
See https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Web/ for a similar (released) approach
vacri 4 days ago 0 replies      
I felt my hackles rising throughout the video, then I realised I'm not the target audience - I'd loathe most of these ideas to make it into a general-purpose browser (though I can't see FF's separate search box surviving much longer, sadly).

Still, 'no settings'? How do you do 'no settings' and also do "with your permission, we'll search your email"? Ultimately I don't really understand the difference between a "no settings" browser, and a browser where you just don't bother to change the settings.

drivingmenuts 4 days ago 0 replies      
In only 20 short years, we've gone full circle back to AOL, but now with an amazing new interface.


NanoWar 3 days ago 1 reply      
Two questions: What are the 1 % wizards? :D And how can I block ads without add ons?
NickWarner775 4 days ago 0 replies      
I love the idea of the simplicity. Would be especially useful for not so tech savvy adults.
yazaddaruvala 4 days ago 0 replies      
If it doesn't have a debug console. I'm not supporting it :P
therealunreal 4 days ago 2 replies      
Maybe "LightFx" would be a more fitting name for this experiment.
GhotiFish 4 days ago 0 replies      
Given your target demographic, I wouldn't willingly install this for a family member, as there is no ad block.

Without being able to protect my family from scams/manipulation/malware, this is a non-starter. I'd have to alter the hosts file. I'd need to install something that updates it. Erk, and then some sites would just break permanently with no recourse.

I would say the answer would be to add filtering as part of the interface. "Hey, lightspeed filters websites so you can read them easier, is the site misbehaving, try turning me off!" Or something.

That said, even if everyone was fine with the UI proposed, there is no way the idea would be implemented. Regardless of how much of a benefit it is to the consumer.

html5web 4 days ago 0 replies      
Time to use Firefox!
xj9 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think Mozilla should focus on making Firefox fast and easy on memory usage before they start trying to "innovate" in the UI space, even if it's just conceptual.
murali89 4 days ago 1 reply      
I don't know why this is getting up votes. This looks like a browser for bimbos. No, seriously. I don't want the browser telling me what sites to go to and while doing that, blocking my view when the address bar is in focus. 10 minutes (well, 6) wasted!
What happens if you write a TCP stack in Python?
318 points by jvns  13 hours ago   97 comments top 28
tptacek 12 hours ago 10 replies      
The idea that Python is so slow that it's confusing TCP sounds wrong to me. I think it's more likely that your packet capture scheme is slow. It looks like you're using scapy, which I assume is in turn using libpcap... which may be buffering (in high-performance network monitoring, the packet capture interface goes out of its way to buffer). Which is something you can turn off.

About 13 years ago, I wrote my own programming language expressly for the purpose of implementing network stacks, and had a complete TCP in it; I didn't have this problem. But I do have this problem all the time when I write direct network code and forget about buffering.

Similarly: "Python is so slow that Google reset the network connection" seems a bit unlikely too. Google, and TCP in general, deals with slower, less reliable senders than you. :)

What's the time between your SYN and their SYN+ACK?

sly010 12 hours ago 1 reply      
If an 8MHz microcontroller is fast enough to implement TCP, then Python should be fast enough too.

Here is my two cents on the expirement:

1. You don't really have to ack every packet, you have to order them, drop duplicates and ack the last one.

2. Google ignores the TCP flow control algorithm and sends the first few hundred packets very quickly without waiting for acks. They do this to beat the latency of the flow control algorithm. That's why you end up with so many packets on your side. You could just try anything but google, and you would probably see that you have a less insane packet storm.

kashif 10 hours ago 3 replies      
I have actually implemented a TCP stack in python, unfortunately I can't share it publicly just yet.

The authors problems are because she is not using RAW_IP_SOCKETS.

Making TCP packets using pythons struct module is a breeze. I can post specific examples in code if anyone is interested.

Finally you can write a proper TCP stack in python, there is no reason not to. Your user-space interpreted stack won't be as fast as a compiled kernel-space one - but it won't be feature short.

PS: I guess, Google is probably sending him a SSL/TLS handshake which he isn't handling.

Edit: Corrected author's gender as mentioned by kind poster.

jnbiche 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a fun write-up. If you enjoy this kind of playing around with networking in a dynamic language, and don't want to have to worry about ARP spoofing to do these kinds of experiments, you may want to take a look a Snabb Switch. It provides userland networking in Lua, connecting to the NIC directly (only a handful of popular NICs currently supported) [0].

I've not used it yet, but I've read over the documentation and am itching for an opportunity to do so.

0. https://github.com/SnabbCo/snabbswitch

mholt 12 hours ago 1 reply      
ARP spoofing... clever. This was an amusing read and really informative, too. There is definitely something to be said for explaining lower-level concepts (e.g. TCP handshakes) using the common tongue. IMO, not a bad way to begin learning. Someone could perform the same experiment now and use Wireshark to see the raw packets, then draw conclusions to what is happening.

Anyone know why the Python program is so slow? I'm looking at the code and my first guess would be this part[1] but I can't explain why, overall, it would be so slow that a remote host would close the connection.

[1] https://github.com/jvns/teeceepee/blob/7e93970e16fbb0c3d4bee...

blutoot 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This wins the Internet today for me... "my kernel: lol wtf I never asked for this! RST!my Python program: ... :("
malone 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I like your solution to prevent the kernel from interfering with your packets.

An alternative method I've used in the past is to add an iptables rule to silently drop the incoming packets. libpcap sees the packets before they are dropped, so you'll still be able to react to them, but the kernel will ignore them (and therefore won't attempt to RST them).

srean 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Too late to join the story, but I am really curious if datacenter nodes intended for heavy mapreduce use implement this layer in user space.

The bottleneck for such processes is typically network I/O and I can imagine that taking control of the network in the user space might offer some modest to significant wins. For Hadoop in particular network packets needs to traverse quite a few layers before it is accessible to the application.

Has anyone done this sort of a thing for mapreduce. Pointers to any writeup would be awesome.

In fact TCP itself might be an overkill for mapreduce. The reduce functions used are typically associative and commutative. So as long as the keys and values are contained entirely within a datapacket, proper sequencing is not even needed. Any sequence would suffice.

kalleboo 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems odd to me that Google would time out that quickly. You could never reach Google from a GPRS connection if that was the case. I'd investigate the ACKs you're sending. Are you missing packets or sending them in the wrong order?

In Uni we had a networking course where we got to build a network web server software stack from the bottom up, starting with Ethernet/MAC, TCP/IP, and then on the top HTTP, all being flashed onto a small network device (IIRC it was originally a CD-ROM server). It was an extremely enlightening exercise. I recommend you go deeper instead of just using a premade Python library for TCP!

norswap 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're interested in the matter, here's more background info on userland TCP stacks:


kfnic 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Shouldn't the TCP handshake look like this:

---- SYN ---->

<-- SYN/ACK --

---- ACK ---->

rather than having the client send two SYNs to the server?

latiera 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not Python that's slow, but scapy, which is dog slow. In fact, it is so slow that it should comewith big WARNINGs that it's only really meant for interactive use. Do the dissection yourself or use something built for that purpose.

It's really surprising to me that lots of ppl are usingscapy for things that require performance but then againif you look at the scapy website or the docs, it's not immediately apparent that their tool is not meant for this.Which I guess says a lot about the scapy developers ratherthan the scapy users.

tl;dr Scapy is a joke, performance-wise.

js2 8 hours ago 1 reply      
All three volumes of TCP/IP Illustrated may be found on the Internet in pdf form, but they are well worth buying.

Tangent: One of my favorite interview questions is to ask how traceroute works. The question works best when the candidate doesn't actually know. Then we can start to discuss bits and pieces of how TCP/IP works, until they can puzzle out the answer.

beering 12 hours ago 3 replies      
I wonder if it would have a better success rate on a site other than Google's, since I've heard that Google's done extensive tuning of their TCP stack to send page data faster.

Somebody's oversubscribed $3/month shared PHP hosting might not ramp up the speed as quickly.

lukego 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool :).

I also learned a lot about networking by writing a TCP/IP stack in Common Lisp. http://lukego.livejournal.com/4993.html if you are interested.

beagle3 9 hours ago 0 replies      
While not immediately relevant, if you find this discussion interesting, have a look at sshuttle:

sshuttle[0] is a pure-python one-way TCP VPN solution that is very well behaved and quite efficient. The source is highly readable as well. +1 to everything Avery Pennarun has released (including wvdial, bup)

[0] https://github.com/apenwarr/sshuttle

lnkmails 9 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone who worked on writing protocol specs as code for simulation purposes, I can see how much fun this is. A pure python network simulator (ns2 is C++ and painfully hard to debug) would actually be nice and encourage a lot of theoreticians to get into real programming. I've spent a reasonable amount of time in the industry building distributed systems and I can say with confidence understanding low level protocols improves your thinking.
fragmede 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately, most people are going to read the headline, read the conclusion (that Python is too slow for TCP), and not realize that it's wrong.

Hopefully someone will blog a response post that gets popular on HN proving just how wrong it is.

wslh 12 hours ago 1 reply      
And in Squeak (Smalltalk) ? take a look at: http://www.squeaksource.com/@Hl1Cdo4NwCmLqQl0/Im9cEg0J
philangist 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Fun read. Does anyone here know how to deal with the Python being slow at sending ACK packets problem? Or is it a built-in limitation that comes with dealing with high level languages?
c_plus_minus 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Ha! Nice read, perfect after lunch material with my coffee :) Good job
peterwwillis 10 hours ago 0 replies      
You don't need to spoof a different MAC or IP to implement your own stack on a raw socket, Python is not too slow to handle negotiating a connection, and your interpretation of how tcp/ip works is flawed. I highly recommend you read a good book about tcp/ip and learn how the kernel works with network applications of different types.

In terms of using Scapy for your packet crafting, here are some guides with examples that may help you work around your issues. (Hint: use the Scapy-defined sending and receiving routines and don't implement your own, or stop using Scapy and implement your own raw packet sockets) http://securitynik.blogspot.com/2014/05/building-your-own-tc... https://github.com/yomimono/client-fuzzball/blob/master/fuzz... https://www.sans.org/reading-room/whitepapers/detection/ip-f... http://www.lopisec.com/2011/12/learning-scapy-syn-stealth-po...

kernelwaste 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This is not an implementation of a TCP stack.
cookiemonster11 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This is not a TCP stack.
zzzeek 9 hours ago 0 replies      
My first thought was "it'll be slow as shit", then I clicked the article to confirm. Win!
prht 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know what TCP stack is, but in case if you are interested in implementing TCP/IP stack http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/lwip.git/tree/src
kesor 12 hours ago 2 replies      
And there is no mention of ScaPy? http://www.secdev.org/projects/scapy/
Arrow: Better dates and times for Python
313 points by amarsahinovic  7 days ago   71 comments top 20
rhettg 7 days ago 4 replies      
I think Arrow still leaves too much confusion around how to handle timezones. That's why I wrote DMC(https://github.com/rhettg/dmc).

Not to be confused with Delorean (https://github.com/myusuf3/delorean) which is a lot like Arrow.

calpaterson 7 days ago 4 replies      
Suggestion: rename arrow.now() to arrow.localnow() to make it even clearer that it does not generate utc. I've run into this mistake many times with datetime.now() vs datetime.utcnow()
googletron 7 days ago 1 reply      
Arrow is ambiguous when dealing with timezones, a lot of the high functionality ideas were copied from Delorean. Delorean has many more sensible default and is clear about educating people about naive vs. localized datetimes and a lot more sane.

Documentation is very educational too well worth the read. http://delorean.readthedocs.org/en/latest/

fletchowns 7 days ago 7 replies      
Is there any language that got the date & time library right the first time? It seems like people always suggest to use a third party library. JavaScript has Moment.js, Java has Joda-Time, and now Python has Arrow.
mardix 7 days ago 0 replies      
Y'all may wanna check out python dateutil. https://labix.org/python-dateutil
zimbatm 7 days ago 1 reply      
The library looks really nice usability wise.

The arrow.get function tries a bit too hard to be user-friendly ; it lets me wondering if a value could have an unexpected interpretation.

One use-case that seem to be missing is time deltas. There is a support for time iteration but I don't see a good way to transform two timestamps into a time interval.

jessedhillon 6 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like it's written by someone who prefers Ruby or JavaScript -- where there exists already a culture using names which are cute first, even if they are opaque -- over Python. These method naming choices are baffling

Arrow.to() converts to a new timezone? And .replace() applies a relative offset!? Replace the hour field of this object with -1 should not return an object having hour=11. Arrow.get() is doing some kind of quadruple duty, neither of which would I describe as "getting."

And what about that class name? Arrow as the name of a package is fine, but what do you expect someone to make of <Arrow [...]> -- what's wrong with arrow.DateTime?

Great work on making and releasing something, but this API is surprising -- as in, one would be unable to predict how it works. I will continue using python-dateutil

batbomb 7 days ago 3 replies      
It would be cool if python could support date/timestamp literals.

I've implemented something similar in a query language I wrote, where dates are represented similar to ISO 8601 format:

     d'2014-12-01'     t'2014-12-01 12:52'     t'2014-12-01 12:52 PST'     t'2014-12-01T12:52:20.0820Z'     t'2014-12-01T12:52:20.0820+08.00'

dirtyaura 7 days ago 1 reply      
Looks promising! Although author said that moment.js was an inspiration, I'm glad that he didn't implement .replace functionality as mutation like moment does. It was a constant source of errors.
iamwithnail 7 days ago 1 reply      
Ah, this is lovely. If there's one routine thing I trip up over again and again, it's times, every time. Big fan, nice work. Will definitely look at using this next project.
tiramisou 6 days ago 0 replies      
Looks nice. I noticed the ceil function has an offset of one microsecond, this way it is not consistent with e.g. ceil in numpy. What was the reason for this?
Tinned_Tuna 6 days ago 1 reply      
There are too many ways to do something, best implement the One True Way.

There's an obligatory xkcd somewhere on this...

e1ven 7 days ago 1 reply      
Very nice! This replaces a lot of code I'm manually implementing now, to do things like humanize() and floor()/ceil()
dangayle 7 days ago 0 replies      
I've used this in the past. Good, well-written library. The stdlib datetime/time modules are such a PITA sometimes.
erikb 7 days ago 0 replies      
This might be what I am looking for since I looked at the datetime docs the first time years ago.
masklinn 6 days ago 0 replies      
re. parsing and formatting tokens: because what we needed was yet another date/time pattern format which looks like LDML's but behaves completely differently.
pekk 6 days ago 1 reply      
It would be better to stop reinventing this wheel.
noise 7 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice, thank you, definitely using this in new code.
yeukhon 7 days ago 4 replies      
Nice. One thought: why do you call it arrow? I know you can call it anything you want, but one reason requests is so popular because the name totally makes sense. My little 0.2 is why not rename it to pydate or something more intuitive.

What's the difference between .utcnow() and .now()? Is one supposed to be an alias or is .now() default to the time the platform is set to?

I've opened an issue regarding calling convention. What do HNer think?


hyperliner 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is a very interesting problem to tackle for all runtimes.

In my experience, the main issues are: [1] How do we store the date / time fields in the database tier[2] How do we display those fields to users in multiple time zones and cultures and gather validated input from those cultures [3] How do we do date / time math in a simple manner

Issue [1] has implications for manipulating data directly (i.e. querying or reporting). Should the data be stored in UST or in some "local timeframe"?

Issue [2] always seems to trip some developers: how do we render a time or date in a way that makes sense in a global world (i.e. "8/5/2014" vs. "5/8/2014" vs. "5-8-2014" or 3:26 PM vs 3:26 etc).

Issue [3] is always a pain too, based on whatever decisions were made for [1] and [2].

Test of awesomeness: if your code works in Hebrew or Thai cultures!

Don't be a jerk
333 points by ColinWright  5 days ago   130 comments top 41
bdcravens 5 days ago 5 replies      
I know I've had times when the answer/response made me look dumb, arrogant, etc, and I've been tempted to delete my comment. In those cases, it wouldn't have been the jerk thing to do, but the cowardly thing to do: if you say, own it, regardless of how it makes you look.
S_A_P 5 days ago 2 replies      
There always seems to be a touch of nostalgia for the good old days when situations like this come up. People undoubtedly yearn for the time when Hacker News was smaller and more close knit community. Ive been a member here for about 3 and a half years. I suppose that in that time, some of the quality has declined, but I really cant even say for sure that is the case. I think I have learned a lot here, and because of that I may perceive certain topics and discussions here not as stimulating as I did back when I joined.

As for downvotes, I reserve that for obvious trolling and overly snarky comments that just seem to be aimed at stirring the pot. I have noticed that some genuinely funny comments or puns based on the discussion get downvoted, which I disagree with. It may not add to the intellectual value, but I enjoy a good laugh as much as I enjoy learning.

I would agree with some of the sentiments here that the person probably deleted their question out of fear that they would "look dumb". I think experience has taught me that while Im not the smartest person out there, when something doesnt make sense to me, there is usually someone else that doesnt get it either. Ive also learned that people that react poorly to "stupid questions" are probably feeling defensive of their own knowledge/incompetence.

Anyway, I agree Colin, there is basic courtesy that if you are asking for help, it should be acknowledged and thanked when its provided. Nobody knows everything, and asking for help isnt a bad thing. So OWN your questions folks!!!

stevewilhelm 5 days ago 1 reply      
Life's too short; do things for your own edification and satisfaction, not for the praise or recognition of others.
jedanbik 5 days ago 4 replies      
I don't think there should be a downvote option.

There should be an option for upvoting, and an option for flagging offensive content/content that is against the HN community guidelines.

As it stands, there is no visual emphasis on high quality comments. There is a visual emphasis on low quality comments. Why is that? Apologies in advance if I am making an ignorant statement.

dustingetz 5 days ago 0 replies      
i think you're out of touch. HN is valuable because experts sometimes post things here that you can't get elsewhere. Try to post comments that are valuable to everybody and further the discussion. Comments like "Thanks", and responses from non-experts, contribute to the discussion derailing. All it takes is one non-expert to make an incorrect side remark and the discussion risks derailing into a flame fest.

Here is an example excellent, useful discussion with comments from experts: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8143905

Here is an example of a not useful discussion with comments from non-experts: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8133835

This post falls into the latter category which is probably why it just got nuked off the front page.

free2rhyme214 5 days ago 0 replies      
In my experience I've learned you can't control other people so telling them not to be a jerk would rarely cause them to change their behavior in the future.

You can only control your reaction to them.

The way I look at it, you don't have enough time to waste caring about how someone treats you bad or annoys you because there's more important things to do Now that need to get Done.

sillysaurus3 5 days ago 14 replies      
It seems like this is an instance of a more general trend: The commenting ecosystem is in decline. It's better than Reddit, but it's a shadow of what it once was.

I've noticed downvotes are trending now. The downvotes do correct themselves... most of the time. But there's a lot more frivolous downvoting due to the influx of people that have attained downvote privileges but haven't really shunned the mindset of other community sites that encourage that sort of thing. Eight years ago, pg wrote about a problem that may be happening here now: http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comments/15n2/the_incontr...

It used to be that you could hold a contrarian opinion and not be at risk of being jumped on by the community or your position being misinterpreted. That seems no longer the case: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8143432

The person you responded to may have deleted their question because they're worried about how people might judge them for merely asking the question. Since HN consists of people you may be working with in the future, people have to be more concerned about choosing their words (and questions) carefully. It's not so easy to just speak your mind or ask innocent questions anymore when your identity is tied with your handle.

I don't know if there's a solution. There may not be another vibrant community of developers for another decade, for the same reason there isn't a second vibrant online auctioning site. Smart people are on HN because other smart people are on HN. The only solution I can think of is to resist letting irksome things irk you. Easier said than done, but it beats giving up.

m0nty 5 days ago 1 reply      
I took the time to email someone about a specific problem and didn't hear back - how long does it take to hit reply and type "Thx"? The effects are corrosive: why should I bother to reply next time?
Consultant32452 5 days ago 4 replies      
Maybe I'm doing something wrong but HN doesn't notify me when someone responds or something like other communication platforms do. If and when someone responds to a question on here I assume they are not ever going to check it again. I know I almost never do. The only exception is if there's sort of a conversation going on with responses every few minutes. Once it's been a few hours, or god forbid the next day, I'm highly unlikely to go back.

Also, if it's a 1on1 discussion with someone via e-mail, skype, or some form of private message, I'll almost always say thank you. But if I put a question up on an open forum and one or more persons happen to respond I tend not to say thanks. I dunno why, it just doesn't seem to be common internet etiquette to do so. A quick google search on a couple big name technical help question sites shows that it's not very common for people to say thanks for open ended questions to the community.

jonalmeida 5 days ago 1 reply      
I find the same problem here as in SO. People like downvoting for what ever reason, but there's never any context as to why. If you feel a comment should be downvoted, go ahead, but provide a comment as well so the author knows why it was so. How are you supposed to be better yourself otherwise?
jgrahamc 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote about this a long time ago: http://blog.jgc.org/2010/10/power-of-gratitude.html
macguyver 5 days ago 0 replies      
Totally agreed. I think the biggest issue with the Gen XYZ (I am part of X) is that we as a whole (a big generalization, of course there are exceptions) tend to be too self-centered. We are always concerned with our goals, our aspirations, and we don't think about, care for, or appreciate others nearly enough.

Our parents' generations (baby boomers) had responsibilities that involved caring for siblings, raising children, tending aging parents, and they often put themselves LAST. Not to say that it's better, but after talking to friends my age who have started families, I think it really sheds light into why so many young people are lost, confused, and unfocused. People are wandering around wondering what their purpose is, why they're unhappy, this and that, when they just have to open their eyes to see how blessed they are, how good they have it.

I think at the end, the purpose that Gen XYZ seek is right around them - if they will look up from their smartphone devices - human connection. We need to appreciate more what we have, the help that people give us, and start to give more to others and the world around us.

MisterNegative 5 days ago 0 replies      
You are asking a question, and I see quite a few peopleanswer. Since you expect others to show appreciation for your contribution, why have you not shown any towards them?

Also name calling everyone that doesn't adhere your cultural rules is quite mean from my perspective.

ColinCera 5 days ago 1 reply      
Some people are jerks. Some people are too frazzled to remember good manners. Some people were raised by wolves and aren't even familiar with the concept of manners.

I don't expect people to say thank you when I answer a question. I used to, but that expectation was beaten out of me a long time ago. But I definitely appreciate it it's a nice surprise when someone does bother to say thank you, and I try to remember to always say thank you myself.

KedarMhaswade 5 days ago 0 replies      
If you enjoyed responding (like I am doing now), then that's that. You got the worth of the time you spent. Of course, if one were _expecting_ more than that (e.g. others not being a jerk or even being nice), then its fulfillment is an added bonus. By not getting the bonus, should we be unhappy also about the salary that we already got? Or is this too idealistic an opinion? If the others' behavior _deeply_ affects us then we are too vulnerable, no?
thaumaturgy 5 days ago 0 replies      
FWIW, I've noticed that most of the Ask HN threads don't seem to get much participation from the person doing the asking -- so I've answering any of them, even on the really rare occasions when I might be qualified to answer or have an opinion on the question.

It's sort of unfortunate to see the usual suspects, like patio11, putting effort into a comment on an Ask HN thread only to see no response from the submitter.

k2enemy 5 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe they didn't want to bring down their average comment score? I'm not saying that is a good reason, just a possible reason.
markolschesky 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is actually my #1 problem with Quora too. I try to write a lot of pragmatic questions to answers, mostly because I like the idea of helping folks. Unless I'm totally in left field, I feel like I'd like some acknowledgment that my answer was either what they were looking for (thanks!) or that they thought that it was incorrect (I disagree because...).
nanoscopic 5 days ago 0 replies      
Are you sure that the original author deleted the question, or was it a moderator? You may be pointing a finger at the wrong person.
computerjunkie 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is all too common with online communities, I am part of other online communities and you will always find people who post a question and receive great answers but the original poster will not even respond with a simple thank you.

More stringent rules when joining the community possibly?

teekert 5 days ago 1 reply      
Was it an "Ask HN:"? It Took em some tries until I figured out that was just it, add "Ask HN:" to the title. I have deleted 2 earlier tries. Didn't see any responses though, but perhaps I should have hit F5.It could have been that someone was just being naive.
aharonovich 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't take it personally. It was kind of you to answer the question, but take into account that while you are (evidently) HN savvy, many are not and perhaps lack the skills to send you a personal note about them having to delete the question quickly.
iancarroll 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't it make sense to prohibit deleting after x comments have been made?
jlees 5 days ago 0 replies      
Also phrased as:

Remember the person behind the keyboard is a real person. You might not agree with them, but they're a living, breathing human being who took time out of their day to type what they typed.

eduardordm 5 days ago 0 replies      
I usually check the ask section so I can read answers from you, patio11 and a few others. You have helped me a lot and I learned a big deal of interesting and helpful things. That said, thank you.
sosuke 5 days ago 0 replies      
You aren't out of touch, I feel like the downvotes are being used more often on HN, maybe someone like dang could look at the actual data to see if there is any validity to the feeling.
JTon 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm with you. Seems like it should be common courtesy to me.
jdhendrickson 5 days ago 0 replies      
If your reply was technical in nature and their user name is their actual name it could simply be worry about being googled during a job application.
4k 5 days ago 0 replies      
May be that person felt embarrassed/stupid after asking the question. Personally, it wouldn't compel me to write a post about it.
Htsthbjig 5 days ago 0 replies      
Take a shower,take you partner or children with you and get out for a walk, look at the birds, the threes or the sea, or better go to a place where you can look at the thousands of millions of trillions of stars.

Then you will realize that it doesn't matter. Seriously, it doesn't matter at all.

Sometimes it happens to me too and I need to focus again on what is important and what is not.

capex 4 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't saying 'Thank you' against the ethos of HN?
peterwwillis 5 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe they didn't like your answer. Maybe they didn't like their own question, which is why they deleted it. Maybe they'll upvote you instead of saying thanks. Maybe they aren't around to give a thanks reply or forget about it. Or maybe they just don't care.

You're not completely out of touch, but it's unfair to put conditions on your answers. I recommend letting your kind deeds be their own reward and get on with your day.

cinitriqs 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ah well... I have a -4 downvote just because I accidentally replied to the wrong thread one day.. big deal... won't sleep any less over it... guess that's part of the internets...
eau 5 days ago 0 replies      
S/he probably did not learn about common courtesy growing up. Society will give this person a lesson one day...
0-o 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you!
snowwrestler 5 days ago 0 replies      
I don't believe in deleting comments in general. I've said some stupid and mean stuff here on HN, and I think it's important to leave those up, especially if there are responses below them. If nothing else it helps me feel an incentive to be less stupid and mean the next time.
beachstartup 5 days ago 0 replies      
> People - don't be a jerk. If you ask a question and someone answers, say thank you. They've taken the time, does it cost you too much to be polite?

this is why i am in the habit of top-quoting my replies if i put any effort or thought into it. when people are wrong, embarassed, or let something slip they shouldn't have, they're likely to delete. it's just human nature.

blutgens 5 days ago 0 replies      
korzun 5 days ago 2 replies      
Welcome to the internet.

Maybe they erased the post by accident? How do you know that your answer solved their issue or was relevant? You might think that was the case but it might not be.

In general, I think this is a extremely silly.

I had instances where I would post about cloud infrastructure and somebody would crawl out of their hole to 'educate' me on colocation, thinking they are solving a ground breaking issue.

forca 5 days ago 0 replies      
danbucholtz 5 days ago 1 reply      
This advice really applies to all walks of life. If you're running a start-up (mine is gopaperbox.com), this is how you should treat your customers. More than likely there is someone that does something similar to you. The best way to win is to treat your customer with the utmost respect and be as fair as possible to them. Cliche advice, yes, but it is absolutely integral to success.
Transducers are coming to Clojure
317 points by siavosh  6 days ago   100 comments top 12
tel 6 days ago 3 replies      
This sort of reminds me of the Church-encoded form of a list.

    newtype Fold a = Fold (forall r . (a -> r -> r) -> r -> r)    fold :: [a] -> Fold a    fold xs = Fold (spin xs) where      spin []     cons nil = nil      spin (a:as) cons nil = cons a (spin as cons nil)    refold :: Fold a -> [a]    refold (Fold f) = f (:) []
Notably, since `fold` and `refold` are isomorphisms then we can do everything we can do to `[a]` to `Fold a`

    map :: (a -> b) -> (Fold a -> Fold b)    map x (Fold f) = Fold $ \cons nil -> f (cons . x) nil    filter :: (a -> Bool) -> Fold a -> Fold a    filter p (Fold f) =      Fold $ \cons nil -> f (\a r -> if p a then cons a r else r) nil
but all of this work is done without concrete reference to `(:)` and `[]`... you instead just use stand-ins I've been calling cons and nil. What's nice about this is that `Fold` can be used to build anything which can be "constructed from the left"

    foldSet :: Fold a -> Set a    foldSet (Fold f) = f Set.insert Set.empty
It's sort of dual to the stuff I was exploring in Swift here [0]. It also creates laziness for free because you can't really execute the chain until the endChurch-encoding is really a form of continuation passing.

The downside of this idea is that each time you "consume" a Fold you redo workthere's no place to put caching necessarily.

Maybe that's what they're solving with the Fold transformers representation.

[0] http://tel.github.io/2014/07/30/immutable_enumeration_in_swi...

vbit 6 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not quite sure what this means, so here's my attempt to translate this into Python. A reducer is a function such as `add`:

    def add(sum, num):      return sum + num  
Of course you can plug `add` directly in `reduce(add, [1, 2, 3], 0)` which gives `6`.

A transducer is an object returned by a call such as `map(lambda x: x + 1)`.

You can now apply the transducer to a reducer and get another reducer.

    map_inc = map(lambda x: x + 1)    add_inc = map_inc(add)    
Our first reducer simply added, but the next one increments and then adds. We can use it as `reduce(add_inc, [1, 2, 3], 0)` which gives, I'm guessing, `9`.

Since the transducer returns a reducer as well, we can compose transducers:

     r1 = filter(is_even)(map(increment)(add))     # use r1 in reduce()     
It seems in clojure, reduce() isn't the only useful function that works with reducers, there are others which makes this all worthwhile.

Is my translation accurate?

pron 6 days ago 2 replies      
I think that a good way to understand transducers is to look at their implementation (shortened a bit). Here it is for map:

    ([f]    (fn [f1]      (fn        ([result input]           (f1 result (f input)))        ([result input & inputs]           (f1 result (apply f input inputs))))))

    ([pred]    (fn [f1]      (fn        ([result input]           (if (pred input)             (f1 result input)             result)))))
And it gets more interesting with take:

    ([n]     (fn [f1]       (let [na (atom n)]         (fn           ([result input]              (let [n @na                    nn (swap! na dec)                    result (if (pos? n)                             (f1 result input)                             result)]                (if (not (pos? nn))                  (reduced result) ; a terminal value indicating "don't reduce further"                  result)))))))
The transducer is supplied with the reducer next in the chain (f1) and returns a reducer function that gets fed with the reduced value by the preceding reduction (result) and the next element (input). Note how the take transducer maintains internal state with an atom. This could get a little tricky for more elaborate reductions, as how the internal state is maintained might have a significant effect on performance, depending on exactly how the reduction is performed. For example, if the reduction is done in parallel (say, with fork-join), then an internal state that's updated with locks (like refs) might significantly slow down -- or even deadlock -- the reduction.

AFAICT mapcat still only returns lazy-seqs.

oafitupa 5 days ago 5 replies      
As someone who tried Clojure and failed, serious question: Does anyone actually use all these crazy features/patterns that keep getting added/discovered and talked about?

I ask because even though I can imagine someone smart mastering these things and programming faster, I can't imagine a second person being able to understand his code, maintain it, and generally be productive. I imagine the second person losing a lot of time trying to understand what is going on, or even thinking he understood but in reality he didn't and messing things up.

So how do you even form a Clojure team?

undershirt 6 days ago 0 replies      
I just saw this morning that many functions in core.async are marked "Deprecated - this function will be removed. Use transformer instead." I guess Tranducers will provide a generic replacement for those. Looking forward to seeing some examples.
unlogic 6 days ago 1 reply      
This looks exciting, but I'm confused about the decision to add extra arity to collection-manipulating functions. "filter" that returns a collection or a transducer depending only on arity seems a little counter-intuitive.
tel 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is about as close as I could get in Haskell so far. It uses a slight twist on (x -> a -> x) called a Fold (which has a lot of great propertiesit's a profunctor, an applicative, and a comonad).

Nicely, this construction lets us write `take` purely!

    {-# LANGUAGE GADTs         #-}    {-# LANGUAGE RankNTypes    #-}    {-# LANGUAGE TypeOperators #-}    import           Control.Arrow    import           Control.Category    import qualified Prelude    import           Prelude hiding (id, (.))    data Fold a r where      Fold :: (a -> x -> x) -> x -> (x -> r) -> Fold a r    data Pair a b = Pair !a !b    pfst :: Pair a b -> a    pfst (Pair a b) = a    psnd :: Pair a b -> b    psnd (Pair a b) = b    newtype (~>) a b = Arr (forall r . Fold b r -> Fold a r)    instance Category (~>) where      id = Arr id      Arr f . Arr g = Arr (g . f)    amap :: (a -> b) -> (a ~> b)    amap f = Arr (\(Fold cons nil fin) -> Fold (cons . f) nil fin)    afilter :: (a -> Bool) -> (a ~> a)    afilter p = Arr $ \(Fold cons nil fin) ->      let cons' = \a x -> if p a then cons a x else x      in Fold cons' nil fin    fold :: Fold a r -> [a] -> r    fold (Fold cons nil fin) = fin . spin where      spin []     = nil      spin (a:as) = cons a (spin as)    asequence :: (a ~> b) -> ([a] -> [b])    asequence (Arr f) = fold (f (Fold (:) [] id))        aflatmap :: (a -> [b]) -> (a ~> b)    aflatmap f = Arr $ \(Fold cons nil fin) ->      Fold (\a x -> foldr cons x (f a)) nil fin        atake :: Int -> (a ~> a)    atake n = Arr $ \(Fold cons nil fin) ->      let cons' = \a x n -> if n > 0 then cons a (x (n-1)) else x n      in Fold cons' (const nil) (\x -> fin (x n))

fnordsensei 5 days ago 1 reply      
Tentative benchmark results have surfaced: https://github.com/thheller/transduce-bench

Add salt according to taste.

davdar 6 days ago 1 reply      
Clojure transducers are exactly signal functions from Haskell FRP literature, for those interested in such a connection.
dustingetz 6 days ago 2 replies      
Not sure I understand - so Clojure is getting first class support for lazy collections and curried combinators? Or am I missing the important part?
nohat00 6 days ago 1 reply      
> "these transformers were never exposed a la carte, instead being encapsulated by the macrology of reducers."

What does 'macrology' mean in this context? Is this a common usage? Or a novel application of a word that ordinarily means "long and tedious talk without much substance"

graycat 6 days ago 2 replies      
I'm sorry, but from the OP I can't be at all sure I can understand notation such as:

     ;;reducing function signature     whatever, input -> whatever

     ;;transducer signature     (whatever, input -> whatever) -> (whatever, input ->   whatever)
Or, in mathematics there is some notation

     f: A --> B
where A and B are sets and f is a function. This notationmeans that for each element x in set A, function f returns value f(x) in set B. Seems clear enough. Maybe the notation in the OP is related? How I can't be sure I can guess at all correctly.

I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days
298 points by sethbannon  1 day ago   115 comments top 21
phillmv 1 day ago 1 reply      
From the TFA,

>Also, as I went to bed, I remember thinking Ah, crap. I have to like something about Gaza, as I hit the Like button on a post with a pro-Israel message.

>By the next morning, the items in my News Feed had moved very, very far to the right.


>Rachel Maddow, Raw Story, Mother Jones, Daily Kos and all sort of other leftie stuff was interspersed with items that are so far to the right Im nearly afraid to like them for fear of ending up on some sort of watch list.


>While I expected that what I saw might change, what I never expected was the impact my behavior would have on my friends feeds.

This article has so much modern anxiety in a nutshell. We have the pervasive surveillance society, and having our behaviour affected by algorithms.

What this really highlights, to me, is the extent to which Facebook exerts editorial control over the news that you're subjected to. This has all sorts of other effects on how media dollars are spent and as a result the shape of discourse - I'm immediately reminded of http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/05/22/facebook_s_mi...

This is not to say that there haven't _always_ been pernicious incentives at work; but before you could at least question those incentives and motivations instead of shrugging, and pointing to there's an unexplainable, mysteriously biased, support vector machine et al pulling strings.

eumenides1 1 day ago 9 replies      
I was thinking of a way to destroy my facebook account because you can't actually delete it, this is pretty much it, like everything. Also I guess you could check-in every where at once all the time.

I didn't think about the collateral damage it could cause to others, which is to bombard your "friend's feeds". This is also interesting because, well you can destory facebook in this manner. If enough people are peeing in the pool, people are going to get out.

Maybe I should write a greasemonkey script to accomplish just that. Not that I want to destroy facebook, but that if i wanted to destroy my data this would be the way because facebook doesn't give me that option.

Also does everyone else think it's creepy when your friends stop using facebook and old "likes" pop up on your feed to make it look like that user hasn't left?

protonfish 1 day ago 5 replies      
So if you like everything on Facebook, the result is political extremism and the most insipid pop culture trash. What frightens me is what if this has nothing to do with Facebook, but is instead about human nature? Does this also describe what happens to a person's life when they stop caring, when they are no longer motivated to put forth the effort to be discerning, when they give up trying to make anything but the easiest and most immediate choices?
uberdog 1 day ago 1 reply      
I did sort of the opposite. I would click on "don't want to see this" for any link to an external site. It took a few days, but now pretty much all I see is updates from friends.
ChikkaChiChi 1 day ago 5 replies      
Confirmation bias bubbles like a social media feed like this are atrophying the debate muscles of our society. When we don't actively participate in two-sided discussions we lose the empathy and scope of how so few things are really black and white.

I wish there were more discussion venues where the quality of your participation was based on the value to the discussion, not as to whether or not you supported what that person said.

scoot 1 day ago 1 reply      
Could someone please put 'Liked' in the HN title in quotes so it makes grammatical sense.

As it stands, the title makes it sounds as if someone tried Facebook for two days and was happy with what they saw. (I know this is the original title, but that doesn't make it correct.)

webwanderings 1 day ago 2 replies      
Nice. This is the post I needed to read, as I am on one-week fasting from Facebook (in fact, I am fasting from all kinds of email/group, facebook interactions). It is hard work, but much needed. I tend to believe, as humans in this age and time, we are losing our fundamental ability to delay gratification.
NhanH 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just a very tangential point to the post, but the author mentioned a FB employee trying to connect him with the PR department. Exactly what does FB have in mind in doing that?
sosuke 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd love to be able to hit the reset button on my FB profile, undo all the profiling they've done on me and start again. Same thing for Google. What does it look like to be a vanilla user?
artumi-richard 1 day ago 2 replies      
Could there be a browser plugin to like and share everything as you wander through the web? That would be an interesting way to demonstrate tracking technologies.
sebkomianos 1 day ago 2 replies      
This made me think about creating a second profile on facebook, adding myself as a friend and liking whatever I post on my original - just to find out what "advertising value and quality" I create. Anyone got any ideas on how to automatise this?
milge 1 day ago 1 reply      
The only winning move is not to play.

Or in this case like/post.

skimmas 1 day ago 1 reply      
it's possible to unlike everything you've ever like isn't it? I'll try that one day.
viniciosbarros 1 day ago 0 replies      
this could be some kind of metaphor? =D it starts with a simple but very humanist text, about everybody should like everybody, but this all ends with the statement that after he had liked everything, he got with nothing that he really likes. This could be the same with our relationship with people, where if you dont stand for your principles you could get around with people you don't appreciate.
donbronson 1 day ago 0 replies      
So, that's what the bots see in Facebook. Doesn't that mean that bots are consuming most of the ads?
po 1 day ago 0 replies      
This article has reminded me of how astoundingly ahead of his time Andy Warhol was.
snowwrestler 1 day ago 1 reply      
There's going to be a lot of Facebook bashing in this thread, but I'm going to posit that this response from the Facebook software is not unexpected or even wrong, because the author is purposefully playing against the assumptions built into Facebook algorithms.

Most people rarely "like" branded or advertising content on Facebook. So Facebook has tuned their algorithms to be very sensitive to the few data inputs it receives per person.

Now, here is a person flooding it with input. I am not surprised that the result is crazy deluge of branded content. It's like taking a carefully balanced lever and pushing real hard on one end. The other end is going to move a lot.

> I kept thinking Facebook would rate-limit me, but instead it grew increasingly ravenous.

Why would they build in a rate limit? The vast, vast majority of the time, the level of input is very low. To build in a rate-limiting system would be pointless gold-plating.

The rarity of this sort of flood is obvious from the fact that a human being at Facebook noticed the level of activity and contacted the author. That is an incredibly high bar at Facebook, which prides itself on automating everything.

flippyhead 1 day ago 0 replies      
Every since I read The Circle stuff like this seems to ring true.
stevebot 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interesting read. wonder what would happen if they added a dislike button.
PaulHoule 1 day ago 0 replies      
Somebody still uses Facebook, film at 11.
limaoscarjuliet 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm so put off by Facebook that I'm even put off by articles describing how one is put off by Facebook.

Full disclosure - I closed my account 2 years ago. Did not miss it even for 10 seconds.

LinkedIn to pay nearly $6M in unpaid overtime wages and damages to 359 employees
316 points by e15ctr0n  7 days ago   164 comments top 12
Smudge 7 days ago 3 replies      
> This company has shown a great deal of integrity by fully cooperating with investigators and stepping up to the plate without hesitation to help make workers whole ... We are particularly pleased that LinkedIn also has committed to take positive and practical steps towards securing future compliance.

I'm surprised they're getting praised so much for complying. It's not like they had a choice.

Instead of commending them on their newfound diligence, we should be asking why and how these overtime violations occurred in the first place. Was it a systemic problem with lower management incentives? How far up did knowledge of the violations extend? Why wasn't it detected until now, and what can we do to prevent it from happening elsewhere, not just within LinkedIn?

allsystemsgo 7 days ago 8 replies      
I don't get it. So if I'm working overtime for my employer, a lot, I'm entitled to money?

I get that my work after hours is essentially "free" labor. But I wasn't aware that there are actually laws that say salaried employees are entitled to more compensation when working after hours.

pudo 7 days ago 2 replies      
This is one of these HN discussion moments when you, our American friends, just have imagine all of Europe sitting with an open mouth, enjoying the radical feeling of labour law disaster tourism.
crdblb 7 days ago 0 replies      
The reach of these kinds of lawsuits (see also the Yahoo one from a few years ago) goes far beyond the affected employees. For example, I'm a dev but I've never worked in ops or any other role where I was considered "on call", so I have never had the opportunity for being in the plaintiff class of any of these kinds of suits. But just reading about them makes me reconsider a lot of things. Despite not being "on call", I have still put in tons of unpaid overtime over the years, which is unfortunately considered typical for a software dev these days. Reading about lawsuits like this has essentially motivated me to stop doing that. If others are getting paid for overtime (even if it's through lawsuits) but I'm not, then I won't put in those extra hours. It's changed my life for the better, despite not being directly affected.
morgante 7 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone have insight into which LinkedIn employees this actually applies to?

I'd think that the majority of LinkedIn employees are computer professionals or sales people, to whom overtime laws don't apply.

Also, this thread has a lot of consternation/discussion about overtime payment for software developers. If you consider our bargaining power, overtime protection is completely unnecessary. Just find a new job where people will either pay you a commiserate salary with your work hours, or find one which doesn't expect ludicrous hours.

Despite the stereotypes, it's perfectly possible to find great technology jobs where you work 40-45 hours a week.

djvv 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how did the Linkedin employees organized in order to file the lawsuit? I imagine that, if the wrong person heard about the plan, the organizers would be fired right away.
rainhacker 6 days ago 0 replies      
How come Investment Banks are never fined for this ?

People have died working overtime in the past: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-22/bank-of-america-sta...

shunya 7 days ago 0 replies      
Who are these employees? I don't know any developers who get paid overtime. Even at shitty companies with shitty pay I have worked at least 55 hrs/week and during launches over 70 hrs/week.
aneeskA 6 days ago 0 replies      
I live in INDIA. I read the verdict and think - I could have been a millionaire if this happened here :D
codezero 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really curious if this was isolated to a particular department or team, or type of worker.
larrys 7 days ago 2 replies      
I had this happen to me at a company that I owned in the past. I got the DOL to chop the total amount due in half and then got them to allow us to pay it out over 4 or 5 years. (All without a lawyer btw...)

Edit: Reason for downvotes?

revelation 7 days ago 5 replies      
prohibiting off-the-clock work to all nonexempt employees

I presume this doesn't include computer professionals, which for some reason are exempt [1], as are sales staff on commission or, you know, farmworkers. Can someone explain why this insanity continues?

The original source for that exemption seems to be [2], an act from 1990

To eliminate "substantial documentary evidence" requirement for minimum wage determination for American Samoa

which also includes this provision. All I can figure from the history of this bill that can be found online is that in 1990 Idaho, senator James McClure decided to fuck over tech workers and sneaked that into a bill on American samoa (snooze). 25 years later and here we are not getting paid.

[1]: http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/screen75.asp

[2]: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-104/pdf/STATUTE-104-Pg2...

Navdy: HUD for your car
332 points by adambratt  7 days ago   214 comments top 65
tshile 7 days ago 8 replies      
Using a HUD to read/write texts/tweets? It seems like the creators missed all the studies about the dangers of distracted driving.

And pilots use HUD's so this must be safe? That would potentially hold water, if the pilots were using huds to tweet, text, and select music while landing... instead they're using huds to display important information...

I like the technology, I just don't like the suggested use cases for it...

100k 7 days ago 9 replies      
HUD navigation could be cool, but anything that takes attention from driving like showing text messages is a terrible idea and should be banned. Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous. Even hands free phone calls are distracting.


josephwegner 7 days ago 2 replies      
Just need to share my first reaction...

Your hero image with an example of a HUD should probably not be a prompt to watch a video. That's just about the most dangerous thing that a HUD could ask you to do.

dchuk 7 days ago 3 replies      
I'm not sure that showing off how your new product can make texting while driving easier is the best idea. The whole hands free debate isn't about literally keeping your hands free of objects, it's the psychological distraction of texting/talking/browsing that causes the safety issues. If it were just about keeping your hands free to stay on the steering wheel, people with one arm wouldn't be allowed to drive.
declan 6 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a pilot and was surprised that the Navdy video invoked the "pilots use it -- it's safe" language.

Um, when I'm flying a plane, I don't:

- have other 4,000-lb planes 3' away that I could collide with after a moment's distraction

- compose tweets by speaking aloud while staring at a screen, and then when the voice recognition system doesn't work properly, have to retry multiple times while staring at the screen

- talk on the phone to my mother

- play music while navigating through crowded airspace (some pilots do on longer cross-country trips, of course)

- need to have my airspeed projected in front of me (maybe on takeoff it would be useful)

- have apps pop up notifications directly in my field of vision when I'm trying to focus on one of those 4,000-lb objects that's about to collide with me

- have some of those other 4,000-lb objects near me controlled by people who are composing tweets, etc. rather than focusing on the task of flying

What I do want to be doing is scanning the airspace around me for other planes, scanning my instruments to make sure all is well, etc...

Navdy seems like a good HUD implementation from a technological standpoint, and unlike other folks here I don't think it should be banned. But assuring everyone it's safe because "pilots use it" seems like a statement made without, well, talking to pilots first.

caio1982 7 days ago 2 replies      
When I read "HUD for your car" I imagined a super cool HUD like the ones in nearly-sci-fi jets showing actually useful info about my crazy driving skills, other objects in sight, about routes and parking stuff, and about the car itself. I really didn't see it coming when it showed people using social media apps. But it's alright as long as it makes HUD displays more popular anyway... I guess!
mattholtom 7 days ago 0 replies      
Glad I'm not the only one that thinks driving should be a full time activity. If you don't have a personal chauffeur, you are not important enough to need your phone while driving. If you do have a personal chauffeur, text away Mr./Mrs./Ms. Important.
Yaggo 7 days ago 0 replies      
My 2010 Prius has little monochrome HUD showing speed, navigation info, and power consumption (configurable). Although less fancy than Navdy, it's really useful because you will always see the road in background. Should become a standard in every car.
gcb0 7 days ago 1 reply      
having felt prey to the "ok google now" scam i will pass this one.

i know i will only be able to control minimal navigation and calls options.

no other app will ever play along. e.g. you skype calls will either block everything or only show up on your phone screen... to the point integration is so bad you still have your phone on the holder next to that screen and in the end you are using your phone directly more than that projector.

uptown 6 days ago 1 reply      
States have laws regarding this stuff. So let's look at California, where this company is based:


Video Screen RestrictionHands-free Cell Phone Use OnlyBan on Texting While DrivingRestrictions on Cell Phone Use for Novice Drivers and School Bus Drivers

Law: Prohibits any person from driving a motor vehicle if a video monitor, or a video screen or any other similar device that displays a video signal is operating and is located forward of the driver's seat or is visible to the driver. Provides exceptions for emergency equipment.Statute: California Vehicle Code 2890 (West 2004)Penalties: No Penalty Specified.

Law: Prohibits the use of handheld cell phones while driving. Allows exceptions in emergency situations.Statute: California Vehicle Code 12810.3 and 23123Penalties: $20 for first offense, $50 for each subsequent offense.

Law: A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send or read a text-based communicationStatute: California Vehicle Code 23123 (2009)Penalties: Infraction - $20 first offense, $50 for subsequent.

Law: School and transit bus drivers and drivers younger than 18 will be banned for all cell phone use while driving (regardless of hands-freeheadset).Statute: 2007 California Statutes, Chap. 214Penalties: $20 for first offense, $50 for each subsequent offense.


ricardobeat 6 days ago 0 replies      
I recently drove a Citroen rental car with a HUD display. It only displayed critical info: gear, speed, cruise control mode, and next gps turn.

This is just a gimmick. I would never, ever want it to display tweets or whatever distracting content, just because you can still see the road doesn't mean it won't take away your attention. Until we have self-driving cars there is no technology that will magically make it possible to multitask while driving...

buro9 7 days ago 0 replies      
As soon as I saw that it combines OBD II information from the car with turn-by-turn information from Google Maps... and they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee upon receiving it... sold.
vive1 6 days ago 0 replies      
Yes I definitely think there is a real need for HUD for our car. Kudos for the Navdy team for such a brave attempt.

Few challenging tasks ahead for Navdy team like:

1. I get tonnes of marketing SMS, It should recognize which SMS should be delivered to HUD might depend the ratio of conversation I make with the sender and decide based on that? (Yeah I live in other side of the planet)

2. I might not need integration with Twitter and other social media accounts they are definitely not meant to get my focus while driving

3. As per other HN commenter, it would be awesome if it can recognize the signals or detect objects ahead of some 10m and warn me and get me a path way to ride? determine the pathway depending on the car dimensions ? (Yes, I live in India and commuting here in city is really makes you very skillful in driving :), something like in Captain America 2 film wind sheild? Yeah I know easier said than done )

4. May be get them the HUD view of rear and help me to drive reverse without need to turn around ? (Asking for too much?)

But definitely worth an attempt.

jcdavis 7 days ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised the OBD II port is capable of powering something like this. I hope they aren't cheating by running off the onboard battery while running and charging while the car is off.
pnathan 7 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting idea, but certainly the demonstrated applications seem to be awful. Now, a HUD with map and information about upcoming traffic & road conditions would be useful.
daniel_reetz 7 days ago 1 reply      
As an optics guy, I was seriously considering building one of these myself. Awesome stuff. I'll be ordering...
cordite 7 days ago 0 replies      
I would feel a lot safer if this product did not have an emphasis on something like texting.

If it detected you were at a red light, maybe it might be appropriate to display such, but please, not while a kid might be running in front of you, ignorant of your presence.

obisw4n 7 days ago 1 reply      
Why does this look like a very bad idea? I think the last thing we need is some gadget thats right infront of their view and distracting.
LemonPieDeluxe 7 days ago 1 reply      
Video @ 0:33: Am I the only person who noticed the Bentley badge on the Ford Fusion? Director Easter egg?
tashoecraft 7 days ago 2 replies      
Why are people comparing Navdy with not using a cellphone at all. That isn't the point of this device. People use their cellphones while driving, and are going to continue unless the government can physically prevent it all the time. This device isn't trying to prevent all types of distracted driving that cellphones create, but to minimize it. As a whole, the public is going to not only use cellphones to the level they are now, but are going to increase their usage. If the usage is going to increase and people will not stop using their phones while driving, isn't it better if they use Navdy? This is a good idea, but I think it's too pricy to convince people to stop. The tech costs too much in order for most users to decide to get it. Ultimately car manufactures will create their own in-car tech through partnerships with the big tech companies that will do it better for cheaper. Or it will be packaged in with your car and you won't notice the 1.5k charge when you are paying 30k for the car.
astockwell 7 days ago 0 replies      
Although you could see this sort of product coming years ago, the creators are ignoring the fundamental lesson that more mature US industries learned the hard way: Regulate yourselves, or raise red flags and force the government to step in and do it for you (and most likely gut your business model). Or at the very least, show some tact.
Eiriksmal 7 days ago 0 replies      
Woah. So my Maxima can become as cool as my buddy's Z06 for the low, low price of $300? Interesting. Having a tach thrown onto the windshield is much preferable to squinting down through the steering wheel into Nissan's lovely (not), isolated pods. Keeping both eyes on the road while shifting into 2nd a hair past the redline? Nice.
joelcollinsdc 7 days ago 2 replies      
The guy in the video is the same guy from the Coin concept videos...
poof131 6 days ago 0 replies      
While part of me is fascinated by the idea, part of me is slightly appalled. For one, they seem to be mixing internet UX with aviation UX and hoping for the best on Americas roadways. Ive flown extensively with both a HUD and an HMCS. Even a missile alert is a small flashing icon, not a giant picture. And this is in a plane where other objects are not usually in your immediate vicinity. All I can think looking at that picture with mom calling, is wow, I just drove off the cliff because mom called, this sucks, well at least the scenerys beautiful, and this HUDs pretty cool.
unsignedint 7 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe it's just me, but I just don't understand why drivers feel like they need to receive/respond to their call/text while they are driving.

More often than not, someone other side won't realize I'm driving and see I can work out some magic until I tell them I'm driving.

Because of this annoyance I've started ignoring any attempts to reach me while I'm driving.

What would be cool service, actually would be the service that can cause call to go through only when it's really urgent, but caller only gets a certain number of "urgency" calls to be saved for REAL emergency.

brk 6 days ago 2 replies      
"Shipping early 2015. We will charge your credit card immediately upon pre-order."

When it did become legal (or even advisable) to charge a credit card more than 30 days in advance of shipment?

Given all the kickstarter hardware startup fiascos, there is NO way I'm paying for a piece of technology this complex 4+ months in advance of estimated delivery times. I'm fully expecting to see "Where is my Navdy!!!?!?!" threads around about this time next year.

iamthepieman 6 days ago 0 replies      
Were they purposefully going for the "stoned" vibe with that video? Just seemed like an odd choice for something they are trying to say is both safe and cool.
daphreak 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great. Now hackers will have a connection to my car.

If they are using the CAN connection on ODB-II then I'm connecting my car to the internet. Sure, most cars only put non-critical stuff on that particular bus but I don't want script kiddies turning on my radio or flashing my lights while I'm driving.

Hopefully its not required and I can just make a power only cable.

ojbyrne 7 days ago 0 replies      
I wish it had more about the legality of this beyond: "Some states may also have legal restrictions regarding where accessories may be mounted on the dashboard"
thebiglebrewski 7 days ago 3 replies      
This is the same guy from the Coin video (https://onlycoin.com/)! Who is this guy?
lsiebert 5 days ago 0 replies      
Hmm... seems to lack a gps. Given that it's running android, it would be nice if it used it's position and size to have a better gps antenna then your phone. Also it could totally store offline maps for when you can't access the network.
supernova87a 6 days ago 0 replies      
HUD is a reasonable tool to augment driving information. It makes sense for maps, directions, vehicle alerts.

Using it to make texting and other non-driving related functions more accessible is a slippery slope towards driver distraction and pretty directly linkable liability for this company.

skbohra123 6 days ago 1 reply      
I think the point they want to make is that no matter how dangerous it is to operate your mobile phone while driving, a lot of people do it. So, I think replacing that with a HUD like this might just be safer than using your mobile while driving.
mrfusion 7 days ago 2 replies      
Side note: I'm always annoyed that Siri insists I read a preview of what it thinks I want a text message to say. Otherwise texting could be completely voice based.

Why can't it read the message back to me? That would give me a rough idea of whether Siri got it right?

MattyRad 7 days ago 1 reply      
My senior project in college was very similar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axDyhF1N7hY

Navdy's interface looks quite a bit nicer though, for sure.

JacksonGariety 6 days ago 0 replies      
"But you can't use your phone in your car. When you do, bad things happen."

gets pulled over by a cop

Yes a ticket is the worst that can happen when you're distracted while driving.

kentf 6 days ago 0 replies      
Powered by Tilt no less ;)

https://www.tilt.com | https://open.tilt.com

ph0rque 7 days ago 0 replies      
It would be even better if combined with a backup camera and parking sensors.
oliwarner 7 days ago 0 replies      
WHY CAN'T PEOPLE JUST DRIVE?!?!! Why do they think they need to be reading and replying to SMS messages and emails and calls.

Just focus on the 1-3 tons of vehicle you're bimbling around in.

state 7 days ago 2 replies      
It's the same actor from the Coin video [1]. How strange.

1 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9Sx34swEG0

tamour 6 days ago 1 reply      
In the future I'd like to be able to look down at my phone/tablet/book/food/etc while my car drives me to my destination. This is not the future.
desireco42 7 days ago 0 replies      
Really cool, I plan to get something like this as soon as it becomes available, my money is here, please post when you have product I can order and is reviewed by Ars or Engadget.
macrael 7 days ago 0 replies      
That's @lonelysandwich, he is the director of a lot of tech startup demos: http://sandwichvideo.com
coherentpony 7 days ago 0 replies      
I would use this solely for navigational purposes with Google Maps turn-by-turn. This is exactly why I would not pay $300.

Why does my car need Twitter?

viggity 7 days ago 0 replies      
"compose new tweet". for fucks sake, pull over and use your phone.
mmsimanga 6 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one who initial read HURD?
rafeed 7 days ago 0 replies      
If you have an Automatic and want to use both, this will be a no go since each will need to use the OBD II port in your car.
elitrium 7 days ago 1 reply      
I think this is a really good alternative. While I do believe that anything that takes away from your attention (texting) while driving, should be banned. It's always going to be a problem whether there is a law against it or not.

It comes down to.. would I rather someone be sending a text while looking down at their phone. Or would I feel better about someone sending a text, a message that's being sent regardless, while looking ahead in front of them.

EvanL 7 days ago 0 replies      
Great product video! Actually quite funny. This technology can be a nice little stop gap before the driverless car revolution.
Linear-b 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is a terrible idea. If it were up to me I'd ban phones in cars entirely until self driving cars are a thing.
mmastrac 7 days ago 1 reply      
I really like what these guys have done -- I've been jealous of the vehicles that ship with this built-in.
Fastidious 6 days ago 0 replies      
Looked interesting. Lets watch the video! "Missing Plug-in." Duh! (Homer style)
culshaw 6 days ago 0 replies      
Navdy seems gimmicky, (Husband) I'm worried about Adam trying to hit on my wife...
dqmdm2 6 days ago 0 replies      
You can get a HUD in a Corvette, but it simply displays info from the gauge cluster.
smackfu 7 days ago 0 replies      
Very optimistic with the ship date. Early 2015? Do they realize it's August 2014 already?
jcfrei 7 days ago 0 replies      
I would like to see a working prototype first before I'd consider buying one.
ep103 7 days ago 0 replies      
This seems really cool, I'd definitely want to try it out first though.
tgraham 7 days ago 0 replies      
Great product. Surely a matter of time before buyout from a big car company.
dalek2point3 7 days ago 0 replies      
any ideas where the map data comes from? OpenStreetMap?
HNJohnC 6 days ago 0 replies      
Jesus, this is a terrible idea.
circa 6 days ago 0 replies      
40% off at $319? Wow.
matponta 6 days ago 0 replies      
Just bought one :)
notastartup 7 days ago 0 replies      
I stopped watching when the HUD was actually a tiny piece of screen glass limited to the device. I thought it would project light into the dashboard somehow.
vernie 7 days ago 0 replies      
Howdy, Mr. Sandwich Video
Compile like it's 1992
309 points by cremno  2 days ago   40 comments top 9
zak_mc_kracken 1 day ago 3 replies      
Have to hand it out to Fabien, he's not just an amazing developer with baffling skills to understand code and graphical routines, his dedication to understanding old games of yore is second to none.

Nice job, Fabien!

haberman 1 day ago 1 reply      
In a similar vein, here is Lua 5.2 being compiled with Turbo C 1.0 (impressive that software written in 2013 compiles unmodified on a 1990 compiler!)


hayksaakian 1 day ago 3 replies      
Its nice that they made it public domain. There are 1000 more games from that era whose code will simply dissapear despite being simply bits and bytes that may be perfectly preserved for ever.
GnarfGnarf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Borland 3.1 also came as a graphical IDE. For a while Borland was ahead of Microsoft's character-based Programmer's Workbench. Borland had a great IDE.

My company stuck with Borland until 4.5. We parted ways when the compiler generated code that GPF'ed when calling 'new' in a DLL, or declared some global variables undefined that had successfully compiled a few modules earlier. Also, Borland couldn't step through 32-bit code in debug mode. Visual Studio 6 could.

gavinpc 1 day ago 2 replies      
I remember getting the Borland C compiler as a ten or eleven year old and thinking, twenty megabytes! What in the world could they need twenty megabytes for? That was like, my entire hard drive.

N.B. you have a typo

    Z:/> mount c ~/systen/c

russtrotter 1 day ago 4 replies      
Does anyone else find it sorta ironically odd that one of the masterminds behind this great stuff is now a .... gasp Facebook ... employee?? my heart kinda aches.
webmaven 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nice trip down memory lane (and a good counter-example to those who claim that web development today is soooo much more complicated and tedious than desktop development was back in the day...).
frozenport 1 day ago 1 reply      
Will it build with a modern compiler?
ramgorur 1 day ago 0 replies      
nostalgic :'-(
Robin Williams, Oscar-Winning Comedian, Dies at 63
286 points by kmod  1 day ago   61 comments top 34
robg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Crying. A terrible loss of a kind soul. My favorite story:

[Christopher Reeve's] approaching operation to reattach his skull to his spine (June 1995) was frightening to contemplate. I already knew that I had only a fifty-fifty chance of surviving the surgery. Then, at an especially bleak moment, the door flew open and in hurried a squat fellow with a blue scrub hat and a yellow surgical gown and glasses, speaking in a Russian accent. The man announced that he was a proctologist and was going to perform a rectal exam on Reeve. It was Robin Williams, reprising his character from the film Nine Months. Reeve wrote: For the first time since the accident, I laughed. My old friend had helped me know that somehow I was going to be okay.

I only wish someone was there for him in his last moments. A horrible illness that is truly indiscriminate. RIP.

SoftwareMaven 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are few actors whose passing would really sadden me. Whether it was Mork and Mindy from my childhood, his appearances on Whose Line Is It Anyway, shared by my kids and I, or the Genie from my kids' childhoods, he has been responsible for a lot of my favorite entertainment memories. Rest in peace, Mr Williams.

Far too many people are laughing on the outside to cover up the pain on the inside. I know I've done my share.

JshWright 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yet more proof that depression (and mental illness in general) does not discriminate... When I think about the friends I've lost to suicide, the list includes one of the smartest people I've ever known, and someone who fits the description 'full of life' better than anyone I can think of... Now one of the funniest people the world has seen.

My thoughts and prayers are with Robin's friends and family. I hope they are able to find ways to celebrate his life, and aren't plagued by 'what ifs'. I also hope this pushes us just a little bit further down the road of reducing the stigma associated with depression...

asadotzler 1 day ago 0 replies      
Terribly sad. He sure was fun to watch. He must not have been very fun to be. I'm thankful for the decades he was able to cope and share with all of us.
Smerity 1 day ago 0 replies      
I usually don't react to such things but Robin Williams is such a strong part of my childhood and youth. Jumanji, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Flubber, Hook, Bicentennial Man, Good Morning, Vietnam, Good Will Hunting ... RIP mate, you've been integral to so many stories.
click170 1 day ago 0 replies      
Mr Williams was the face of comedy for me growing up, as much as Jack Nicholson could be said to be "the face of evil".

I love the work done by Mr Williams and will be watching Mrs Doubtfire tonight.

I was watching The Daily Show with John Stewart a few weeks ago when he had Seinfeld on and Stewart said something that kind of hit home for me, he said something off-the-cuff to the effect that once Seinfeld left TV he was in people's hearts and minds but that once he (Stewart) left TV he would vanish from memory.It really struck a chord with me and made me want to send him even a brief written note. Comedians never vanish from memory. They are in our thoughts, our behaviours and mannerisms. We absorb the comedy we love and carry it with us, leaking it everywhere. I figured I should write to him, even if only so his secretary can filter it out for the trashcan. Everyone can use a pat on the back sometimes, even the people we look up to. I have resolved to write that note tonight.

azinman2 1 day ago 0 replies      
So sad that depression can bring down someone as great as him.

His kids went to my school growing up, and I remember him picking them up and always being nice to us schoolmates and doing impersonations for us. He definitely seemed affable and happy then, but typically depression hides beneath the surface in a destructive isolated world.

baby 1 day ago 2 replies      
Oh captain my captain. Rest in peace Robin Williams...
siculars 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of the funniest guys out there for a long, long time. It's hard to believe that someone with access to any type of help one could get could not find the help he needed.

Someone you grew up watching is no longer around. I'm really broken up about it.

robflynn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel.

Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain.

Doctor says "Treatment is simple. A great clown, Pagliacci, is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up."

Man bursts into tears.

Says "But, doctor..."

"...I am Pagliacci."


This is sadly true all too often.

drblast 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's an outstanding recent episode of Louis (Louis C.K.'s show) where Robin Williams is a guest. In the show they both attend a funeral for someone nobody liked because they feel obligated, and they talk a bit about life and death.

Definitely worth a watch, and very poignant in light of his suicide. RIP Robin.

giantrobothead 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Tremendous talent, admirable range as an actor, and, mostadmirably, he seemed possessed of a genuine compassion forhis fellow human beings. Certainly he'll be missed by those who knew him personally and through his work.

As a child of a parent who suffered from bipolar disorder, his death hits fairly close.

Goodbye, Robin, may all doors be open to you and all obstacles removed from your path.

el_duderino 1 day ago 1 reply      
RIP to an absolutely brilliant performer. His unique brand of madcap genius will never be duplicated, and he will be sorely missed.
ObligatoryRef 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Sometimes you got to specifically go out of your way to get into trouble. It's called fun."

RIP, Robin.

Taek 1 day ago 0 replies      
I know I'm just another comment, but I'm too moved not to add my own goodbye. His work was inspirational and he's been one of my favorite professionals since childhood. Very sad to see that he's moved on, especially by his own choice.

May he rest in peace.

MaysonL 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just last night, I saw him in a 1977 Richard Pryor roast. Sad.


jmromer 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Somehow, and sadly, I wasn't surprised to learn the cause of death. To me Williams's jovial veneer never seemed very convincing. RIP to a gentle soul.
shiven 1 day ago 0 replies      
Incredibly sad. Loved his performances. One awesome thespian in every way.

Alas, my secret wish, for a performance I wish he had given, but never did, will forever be only a wish now:

Khalil Gibran's The Prophet, Read by Robin Williams (in a voice from the Park Scene in Good Will Hunting).


hkmurakami 1 day ago 0 replies      
So many of my favorite childhood movies involved him (still live watching Hook now and again). So sad and shocking.
ck2 1 day ago 0 replies      
What a filmography, going to be so hard to watch many of these ever again:


He even goes back to Laugh-In and Carson shows.

carljoseph 1 day ago 1 reply      
I may be jumping to conclusions here, but I wonder if depression was part of the issue for Robin Williams.

In our industry or technology, depression, burnout, mental illness are all areas I don't feel we deal with very well.

squiguy7 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another sad testament to one of the most overlooked illnesses in this country and the world for that matter. I don't want to parade one single suicide as cause for action, but something needs to change in this arena.
litmus 1 day ago 0 replies      
this incidental interview with stephen fry and robin williams is kind of poignant, not in small part because of the difference in the exterior behavior of two interesting bipolar personalities and the way fry effortfully tries to forgive williams for his intrusions.


tonteldoos 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just echoing other sentiments here - some of my most memorable childhood movies and times involved Robin Williams. His death is a loss to all of us.
computerjunkie 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of my favourite actors when I was growing up. Rest in peace Robin Willams.
slake 1 day ago 0 replies      
A little bit of happiness has gone out of this world. RIP Robin Williams.
bhaile 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sad and a memorable actor. From Awakenings to Mrs Doubtfire. Good range.
slurry 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nanu nanu.
iloveyouocean 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another addition to the painfully long list of tragic comedian deaths.
GoldenHomer 1 day ago 0 replies      
"I can't believe it, I'm losing to a rug."
seanmcdirmid 1 day ago 0 replies      
Really hackernews, keep it classy and don't mod this out.

Edit: classiness is in short supply.

ajani 1 day ago 0 replies      
RIP Robin Williams.
001sky 1 day ago 0 replies      
A slightly longer piece on the subject, as well


simonebrunozzi 1 day ago 12 replies      
Don't throw stones on me, but... Why on HN?

(besides, I am as saddened as you are. I truly loved his as an actor and comedian - I just used his acronym scene from Good Morning Vietnam 4 days ago in a presentation I gave).

Judge rejects $324.5M settlement over Apple, Google hiring
277 points by uptown  4 days ago   170 comments top 20
bkeroack 4 days ago 6 replies      
The otherwise amazing book by Ben Horowitz (of Andreessen-Horowitz fame) called The Hard Thing About Hard Things has a chapter that basically lays out and encourages this type of illegal behavior (called "Is It Okay to Hire People from Your Friend's Company?").

It literally recommends that companies maintain a "do not hire" (aka "do not poach") list of other organizations from which HR is forbidden from recruiting. It also recommends calling the CEO of the other company on the down-low to ask permission before extending an offer.

It really disgusted me when I read it. Such smart people doing such dumb things, and encouraging would-be CEOs to do the same.

olefoo 4 days ago 1 reply      
"Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it." -Santayana

This is yet another iteration of American labor politics. That it involves workers with greater skills than in previous iterations is not germane. The reason that labor unions arose in the first place was that capitalists actively exploited workers. And, guess what? Capitalists still exploit workers, even when the workers tools are laptops and VMs rather than steam engines and Bessemer converters.

How easily we forget that our grandfathers fought and died for the forty-hour work week. How easily we give that up, because we're working for "disruptive startups".

If you want to know what previous iterations of no-hire agreements looked like; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blacklist_(employment)

suprgeek 4 days ago 2 replies      
I had two concerns when this was made public:

that this was a laughably low amount considering the scope of the collusion and the time-scale over which it happened.

that it looks like a good deal to all the companies concerned on two fronts - 325 Million is a pittance compared to what Apple, Google or Adobe make in a month.and the perception of the non-tech folks that this is about the rich whining about not getting caviar rather than a real issue.

At least the first one is being addressed (somewhat). I hope the final settlement really makes them hurt financially so that it becomes one more item in the HR manual - "thou shalt not enter into illegal no-hire agreements even when pressured by an asshole" .

For the second issue there needs to be some effort put in towards communicating with the non-programmer public and educating them about why shit like this is a VERY bad idea no matter who does it or who is impacted.

erobbins 4 days ago 1 reply      
Good. the decimal point needs to move (right) before this settlement can even remotely be considered fair.
MangezBien 4 days ago 3 replies      
Is there any recourse for the engineers who weren't directly affected by the collusion but were affected by the indirect effect on the market as a whole?
numlocked 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's strange that even the NYT got this wrong -- the bulk of the agreement was not in fact about poaching engineers, but rather sales and product people[0].

[0] http://www.businessinsider.com/emails-eric-schmidt-sergey-br...

jessriedel 3 days ago 0 replies      
> After the plaintiffs lawyers took their 25 percent cut, the settlement would have given about $4,000 to every member of the class.

> Judge Koh said that she believed the case was stronger than that, and that the plaintiffs lawyers were taking the easy way out by settling. The evidence against the defendants was compelling, she said.

Can anyone explain this from the perspective of the economic/sociological motivations of the lawyers? People often complain about a huge chunk of the money going to the class-action lawyers who are too eager to settle, but the traditional argument is that a fixed percentage structure (rather than an hourly or flat rate) gives the lawyers the proper incentive to pursue the interests of the class by tying their compensation directly to the legal award.

Here's my best guess: Lawyers, like most people, are risk adverse for sufficiently large amounts of money. (They would rather have $10 million for sure than a 50% chance at $50 million.) On the other hand, the legal award will be distributed over many more plaintiffs. Since it will be much smaller per person, the plaintiffs are significantly less risk adverse. So the lawyers settle even thought it's not in the best interests of the plaintiffs.

This suggests the following speculative solution for correctly aligning the incentives of the lawyers and the class action plaintiffs: either (a) spread the legal work over many lawyers such that the potential compensation for them is small enough that their utility function is at least as linear as the plaintiffs or (b) turn the class-action lawsuits legal team into a corporation which must answer to many shareholders.

Proposal (a) has problems because it might require the number of lawyers to be comparable to the number of plaintiffs, which could be thousands or millions. Proposal (b) strikes many people as weird, and introduces other principal-agent problems, but it does have precedence:


Would love to hear an expert opinion on this.

mrbird 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know how many people are likely to actually be paid out as part of the class?
yuhong 4 days ago 0 replies      
From https://plus.google.com/103157122834258782502/posts/dvxSd4wn...

"I'll settle for a personal letter of apology, written by and signed by Eric, Larry and Sergey."

AFAIK the SEC is already beginning to push for admission of wrongdoing.

justina1 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm curious if this will have any impact on the practice other than companies getting better at not leaving a paper trail.

If it doesn't, the only people this settlement will help is those at the named companies and not the trickle down effect it's had on the rest of the industry.

GeneralMayhem 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is still worrying.

>In her ruling, Koh repeatedly referred to a related settlement last year involving Disney and Intuit. Apple and Google workers got proportionally less in the latest deal compared to the one involving Disney, Koh wrote, even though plaintiff lawyers have "much more leverage" now than they did a year ago.

>To match the earlier settlement, the latest deal "would need to total at least $380 million," Koh wrote.

$380 million??!!?!?! That's not really any better when they're suing for $3B, and having it come from a judge's mouth is NOT helping. I'm glad she turned down $324m, but the new number is still insulting.

chaostheory 4 days ago 0 replies      
I know this is illegal but I wonder whether any, most, or even all of the plaintiffs will be blackballed from most large companies in the future? Yes it's wrong, but in practice it's both easy to do and get away with it.
yutah 4 days ago 0 replies      
'To match the earlier settlement, the latest deal "would need to total at least $380 million," Koh wrote.'
funkyy 3 days ago 0 replies      
$324.5 is just a wild number or is there a math behind it?
justina1 4 days ago 0 replies      
I hope the perception leans more towards 'uber rich tech execs conspired to pay their employees less' and not 'some of the best paid employees complain about how little they make'.
dreamdu5t 4 days ago 1 reply      
There's nothing wrong with "collusion." Collusion is nothing more than free association. Same with "poaching" for that matter. There's nothing wrong with two people agreeing to work for each other. People should be free to negotiate their own agreements.

The arguments for criminalizing such free association are based in sentiment not reason.

aceperry 4 days ago 0 replies      
The plaintiffs have those companies "dead to rights."
davidf18 4 days ago 2 replies      
This collusion depressed the price of engineering talent but so does H1B Visas. Need to work on the current battle as well...
cognivore 4 days ago 1 reply      
"The ruling by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, said the proposed settlement amount "falls below the range of reasonableness," before dashing back to her new two million dollar home to pack for her European vacation.
mcfunley 4 days ago 3 replies      
Their collusion depressed the price of engineers generally. I spent a lot of the years in question ignoring recruiting emails from those companies, and this affected the amount my employer needed to pay me to do that. We should dig up the corpse of Steve Jobs and tar and feather it.
Questions about Nasa's space drive answered
285 points by ColinWright  5 days ago   196 comments top 28
gus_massa 5 days ago 5 replies      
Short version:

Unless they believe the machine breaks some of the fundamental physics laws, the device must emit something. With this definition using a red LED Laser powered by a 1.5V battery in the back of the spacecraft is a "no reaction mass" thruster. The problem is that the momentum / energy ratio has theoretical limitations, and they are getting too much momentum.

Long version (based on a previous comment https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7162069):

Ill try to explain what I had understood trying to find an explanations that dont break the physics laws.

To move the spaceship you need momentum. You must use some particles to carry the opposite momentum away. Its not clear, but the main candidates are photons (aka light). (The other possibility is gravitons, but that would be even more amazing)

The photons have no rest mass, but they have energy. So to produce them, you must "spend" some energy. The energy source can be carried in the ship (a nuclear reactor) or absorbed in place (solar panel).

If you are using a nuclear reactor, a small par of the mass of the atoms is transformed into energy and you put that energy in the photons. So the net effect is that some of the mass of the spaceship goes away, and it's no long a "no reaction mass" ship. (The same idea is valid to electric batteries, but the mass difference comes from the chemical bounds and not from the nucleus.)

If you use a solar panel, then when you absorb the photons the spaceship gains a little of mass. Unless you have a mechanism to dissipate the mass the spaceship would get heavier. Luckily, the photons that you are using for propulsion carry a little of mass (and the heat you are dissipating also helps). So this is essentially a solar sail, you get some photons, and send them in a different direction, and the change in the direction of the photons give some momentum to your ship. Perhaps a complex setup (solar panel + led) can be more directional that a simple setup (mirror). Perhaps you can gain a x3 or x6 efficiency. (But someone has to do the calculations, because this might break the second law, unless you get a laser light and also dissipate some heat without a specific direction, and the net result as good as a mirror.)

In the previous comment, throwaway_yy2Di noted that with photons "the ratio a photon's momentum to energy is fixed at 1/c, which is 3.3E-6 N/kW". The problem of photons is that to get some moment you need a proportional amount of energy to create them. Another possibility is to create particle-antiparticle pairs and accelerate them, but this is even more inefficient that using photon and you get less than 3.3E-6 N/kW.

The alternative solution is to accelerate other particles (for example the hydrogen atoms in the rocket fuel), you don't need energy to create them, because they are already there. So you can get more than 1/c=3.3E-6 N/kW, but it's not a "no reaction mass" ship.

They claim 40 microNewton/28W = 1.4E-3 N/kW ~= 400000/c. This is in the like 400000 times the theoretical limit, so they have a measurement problem (or they'll get a Nobel price).

michael_nielsen 5 days ago 0 replies      
Every few weeks on Hacker News we have the following cycle:

(1) News article! Prevailing view of physics overturned! Etc! Etc! Etc!

(2) Many excited comments!

(3) Much less excited comment, pointing to skeptical remarks by well-known professional physicists (e.g., John Baez, Sean Carroll).

(4) Much to-and-fro. People who once saw a Discovery Channel special on physics now appear to believe that they're in a better position to evaluate the new claims than the people from (3).

Now, points (1) and (2) do sometimes happen, without points (3) and (4).

For instance, the neutrino faster-than-light claims attracted very cautious comment from professionals. In other words, point (3) was absent or rather muted. That's because the people who'd done the experiments were known for being extremely careful, and were, in fact, very cautious in their announcement.

That kind of thing is genuinely exciting, and worth discussion.

Another nice example of an exception is the Alcubierre drive. It satisfied (1) and (2) (or the 1996 equivalent), but (3) was absent, except that professionals noted that the drive required the stress-energy tensor to have some unusual properties, not satisfied by any known substance. Indeed, Alcubierre pointed this out himself.

Again, genuinely exciting, and worth discussion.

But when the professionals are loudly deriding a result, it'd be nice for the amateurs to make a serious attempt to understand why, and not just airily dismiss it.

didgeoridoo 5 days ago 3 replies      
Deep breaths. Probably experimental error. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof...

God DAMN this is exciting.

FiatLuxDave 5 days ago 2 replies      
I've read the abstract, but apparently Wired has access to more information. Any idea where the primary source for that information is?

I'm interested to see what magnetic shielding was used and how well they characterized the magnetic field in the experimental volume. There was a mention of shielding against electromagnetic effects, but that could just mean a Faraday cage or Helmholtz coils, neither of which will reduce the B-field to zero.

Because the device is based upon microwaves in a conducting cavity, I would think that the first place to look for a theory of operation would be E&M, not quantum. The level of force involved is the kind that you can see when interacting with the Earth's magnetic field. Normally we ignore the force produced by the interaction of currents with the Earth's field, because they are so small. Was a mu-metal shield used, and if so, what was the remnant field? Was a stronger field induced to see if that increased the force? I hope that the experimenters try this if they have not already.

tobinfricke 5 days ago 4 replies      
Here are two nice posts by physicist John Baez with some reasons to be skeptical about the "reactionless drive":



mrfusion 5 days ago 2 replies      
Why does number 7 say a superconducting version of this drive does not require energy to hold things up?

Are they just referring to how superconductors can float in an external magnetic field? That doesn't seem to give general purpose hover boards.

vkal 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm reading Contact by Carl Sagan right now and my heart kept fluttering as I read this article.

I'm unqualified to comment on anything in this article, but this is really cool, and I didn't know Wired produced science journalism (or a highly technical Q/A) like this.

JulianMorrison 5 days ago 1 reply      

  A superconducting version of the EmDrive, would, in principle, generate thousands of times more thrust. And because it does not require energy just to hold things up (just as a chair does not require power to keep you off the ground), in theory you could have a hoverboard which does not require energy to float in the air.
If they have just solved flying cars and hoverboards, I think we can officially declare this to be the future already.

jobu 5 days ago 0 replies      
Best part of the article is the answer to question 9:

"9. Why isn't there a simple explanation of how it's supposed to work without violating the laws of physics?"

"If the new drive results continue to be replicated, then theory may have to catch up."

Reminds me of the quote: "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is."

tgb 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wired gets some flack these days but that was a thorough article. Maybe I need to read the actual paper now instead of just dismissing it off-hand.
bitL 5 days ago 1 reply      
So what's the difference between what NASA does, what Chinese did with Em drive and what Russians have orbiting in Yubileiny satellite?

More interesting question: can I make one at home? I can do magnetic levitation, both pushing and pulling with high-frequency electromagnets; it would be cool if I could do this as well and having floating objects in my home 8-)

madengr 5 days ago 0 replies      
Photons (i.e EM fields) have no mass, but do carry momentum and can transfer it to charged particles (i.e. the solar sail). So if the drives uses EM field to transfer momentum to the quantum vacuum particles, wouldn't that upset the net-zero energy balance of the quantum vacuum? I though the particles are popping in and out of existence, hence net-zero energy?
jcfrei 5 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a demonstration video of the EmDrive in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57q3_aRiUXs

However this test rig apparently doesn't adhere to the same strict experimental setup used by NASA.

mangeletti 5 days ago 0 replies      
Shortest version:

They think it works, but we don't know how. More tests will tell whether or not we have finally discovered the technology required to drive around easily in the solar system and propel skateboarding into the realm of Back to the Future.

noselasd 5 days ago 1 reply      
Besides the frequency of the electromagnetic waves , is this the same concept as the "Pioneer Anomaly" - where they eventually figured out it was thermal radiation emitted from its satellite dish which slowed down the spacecraft ?
Gravityloss 5 days ago 3 replies      
The most important question that should have been top center: with reactionless propulsion it is possible to create a free energy device.

Attach the thruster to a wheel.

When the thruster is firing, it consumes constant power and the wheel accelerates, spinning ever faster.

The wheel can be attached to a generator that produces power which is thrust times the rim velocity.

Thus, after a certain speed, the wheel produces more power than the thruster consumes.

This was discussed on a rocketry list.

bad_user 5 days ago 0 replies      
Given the steady push of this drive, if it actually works can it be said that a significant percent of light speed could be reached?
grondilu 5 days ago 1 reply      
I liked the comparison with high-temperature superconductors. We don't exactly know how they work either. But they do work.
spingsprong 5 days ago 4 replies      
Please be true, please be true!

How big is a two megawatt nuclear power source anyway? A quick search showed nuclear power plants are in the hundreds to low thousands of megawatt range, and RTGs are in the tens to hundreds of watt range. I have no idea what something that lies between those two would be.

readerrrr 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is very exciting; a new propulsion method that already works much better than existing thrusters, doesn't need propellant and without requiring years of research.

It sound too good to be true. My bet is on experimental error.

crusso 5 days ago 1 reply      
Doesn't this remind anyone of the not-so-long-ago overhyped E-Cat?


davedx 5 days ago 1 reply      
Is this the same thing as the Q-thruster?


mrfusion 5 days ago 3 replies      
Would this be how impulse drives are supposed to work in Star Trek work? Just curious.
cookiemonster11 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's probably powered by N-rays.
VikingCoder 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Prototype engine weighs about 15 kilograms"

"EmDrive, produced 91 micronewtons of thrust for 17 watts of power"


428 miles per hour, after a year.

Am I doing the math wrong?

thisjepisje 5 days ago 2 replies      
Where can I find blueprints?
DanielBMarkham 5 days ago 0 replies      
A less conservative projection has an advanced drive developing ten times as much thrust for the same power -- this cuts the transit time to Mars to 28 days, and can generally fly around the solar system at will, a true Nasa dream machine.

If we had this plus a reduction of cost-to-orbit by a couple orders of magnitude, say getting prices down to $10 per kilo? Space travel would actually become a thing -- something available to most people. And we could lower cost-to-orbit in a lot of proven ways, like using mass drivers for non-human orbital insertions.

This is firmly in the "too good to be true" category right now, but hell, I'm a believer. Even if we're wrong, even if there's some experimentation error, science still wins. People are being energized, lots of imaginative scenarios about space travel are playing out across the net, and so on.

This is a very good thing.

pistle 5 days ago 1 reply      
Ugh. That's a Buzzfeedy title if ever there was one. I'm surprised it isn't:

Space Scientists Don't Want Obama To Know These 10 Secrets About Warp Drive

       cached 13 August 2014 02:11:01 GMT