hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    18 Aug 2014 Best
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1
MathBox 2
641 points by teamonkey  3 days ago   88 comments top 34
1
zabcik 3 days ago 2 replies      
I gave up trying to understand it and just clicked through for the eye candy. Cool stuff as usual from Steven Wittens.
2
reedlaw 3 days ago 11 replies      
> Please view in Chrome or Firefox. Chrome is glitchy, Firefox is stuttery.

I really want to get behind WebGL, but when is it going to have decent performance/compatibility? I tried this out in both FF and Chrome on a powerful desktop computer (i5-4670K, GTX760, 16GB RAM) and it was glitchy/stuttery as described. Firefox rendered some scenes at what seemed like 2-3 FPS. Chrome was much smoother, but I couldn't tell what parts were glitches. For example, the "classic demoscene water effect" looked completely different in Chrome. But neither FF nor Chrome produced an effect remotely resembling water.

Although this looks like a great library, personally I prefer to stick with OpenGL programming until WebGL's quircks are sorted out.

3
iamwil 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm pretty excited about it. I think there are three impressive things about it.

First is that you can write vertex shaders in a reactive DOM. That makes it much easier to get pictures up on the screen. If any of you have ever messed around with vertex shaders, it can be a bit of a nuisance.

Second is that while the reactive DOM doesn't really exist as XML, it can be expressed as such, and would be easily diffable. This is important for collaboration.

Lastly, because it's making the GPU do all the work, data visualizations can be done by pushing large amounts of data to it. We should be able to see more patterns from data as a result.

4
jarpineh 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is one of the most beautiful things I've seen for some time. And to think this is all in a browser, usable from JavaScript. I feel like there could be so many applications for this, for more complex, interdependent visualizations, yet easier than D3 and the like. Also, in the end it's described as Reactive DOM. So, now I wan't to see TodoMVC redone with this. It must be the fastest yet (I'm only half joking!).

I wonder what it needs to handle text presentation and input. HTML overlays are mentioned. Perhaps there are already WebGL text renderers that could be integrated. Of course visualizations this complex make my Macbook scream, but that's all right since I'm seeing something new (in a browser) and delightful. I have a few million data points that could benefit from vantage point like this, which need complex dependencies and controls.

5
gravity13 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Education is the art of conveying a sense of truth by telling a series of decreasing lies."

Nice.

6
thebokehwokeh2 3 days ago 0 replies      
And here I am, learning to do 2d visualizations with d3.js.
7
gavanwoolery 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looks great, seems like this takes advantage of implicit calculations a lot. For example, there are two ways to draw a graph:

Calculate just the points to be drawn, then draw them (explicit generation).

Calculate the entire surface/volume, and draw values where they exist (or based on magnitude or whatever properties are used) (implicit generation).

The second method is in some circumstances less efficient, especially if the graph is very simple and takes up little screen space, but overall much easier to work with. Its similar to the difference between ray casting and rasterization, in a way.

8
rpwverheij 2 days ago 0 replies      
wow, just wow. amazing stuff Steven. I've been working on a framework for very easy data structure creation and instance management in a 3D environment. I was building it in 3D flash first, and have tried to build exactly those kind of curved arrows, though everything was calculated on the CPU. I've also been wanting to get to generating geometries from a static set of properties/datatypes for a while, and I was wondering to what degree I'm gonna have to get my 'hands dirty' and learn new things to do that. So wow, am I glad there's people like you building libraries like these!

I'm just about ready with rewriting the underlying semantic web framework to typescript and will soon be plugging it in to either Away3D TS or Three.js. Since I already know Away3D and it's written itself in Typescript I thought I might try that first, but seeing this ... and knowing how much more tested three.js is... I think I'm gonna go with Three.js

I really can't wait to play it with once you release it. I hope you can find some time for good documentation though. Cause at the moment I know just too little of the concepts involved to understand everything you explain in the slides.

Thank you already for this amazing presentation

9
saganus 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. Simply stunning.

It's eye candy AND it's interesting at it's core... wow. Beautiful work.

I just can't articulate a better thing than "wow". Really. This is incredible.

10
mck- 3 days ago 1 reply      
His website [1] is one of the most impressive websites on the internet. Famo.us got nothin' on him!

First time I heard about Steven was when I saw this [2] post last year.. the best part is that he leaves many easter eggs or "achievements" around for you to discover :)

[1] acko.net[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6268610

11
MaysonL 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems to work pretty well in Safari 8, with occasional mild stuttering.
12
exDM69 2 days ago 0 replies      
Finally, something useful with WebGL. So far we've seen lots of techdemos, but WebGL being so far behind the state of the art, it's like watching techdemos from 10-15 years ago but in the browser, with glitches.

But this is something I really want to see. WebGL and GPU acceleration being put to use in the Web proper. Not just a box of 3d graphics inside a web page. Plotting neat 3d graphs with nice shading, fast and smooth rotate and zoom, etc. While you could probably do this using Canvas or SVG, you probably couldn't match the performance.

Now I'd like to see this technology being used outside of tech demos. Some real world data plotted this way.

13
anigbrowl 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's driven by code though, it's not a graphical UI.

I hoe someone builds the latter on top of it, since the flow-based paradigm is so effective in these contexts. Excellent presentation.

14
m_mueller 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd really really like some in depth post on how these callback capabilities have been implemented. This is quite a big accomplishment for GPU code.
15
KerrickStaley 3 days ago 1 reply      
What is a BOF in the context of a conference? I've seen this in several places but haven't seen a definition.
16
lukasm 3 days ago 2 replies      
17
chatmasta 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow that's impressive. Could make for a cool visualization of DNA replication.
18
dj-wonk 3 days ago 0 replies      
> By adding only three operators: RTT, compose and remap, MathBox has suddenly turned into Winamp AVS or Milkdrop.

I have waited so long for a good hardware-accelerated 3D screensaver in my browser! ;)

19
jschrf 3 days ago 1 reply      
Any plans for Oculus support? I'm building a code analysis framework with a visualization tool and if MathBox were to support the Rift it would be a no-brainer over using raw SVG or D3.
20
MattyRad 3 days ago 0 replies      
The visual representation of calculus, speed, velocity, and acceleration taught me more in 60 seconds than would take in 4 hours worth of lectures. Fantastic! (Makes my laptop catch on fire though)
21
socialist_coder 3 days ago 1 reply      
Amazing as usual!

I don't get why he says vertex shaders aren't doable in web GL though. Don't the various shadertoy type sites let you write vertex shaders right now?

22
abroncs 3 days ago 1 reply      
Site crashes both Safari and Chrome on my iPad. What is it about?
23
jackmaney 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty, but I don't need a single tab consistently eating up 50--75% of the overall (quad-core) CPU capacity on my laptop.
24
bla2 2 days ago 0 replies      
This runs surprisingly well in chrome/android.
25
joeblau 3 days ago 0 replies      
Please do another talk on this! This library looks amazing, I can't wait to test out some data viz on this.
26
cessor 3 days ago 0 replies      
I feel overwhelmed. It is really beautiful but the math is inaccessible to me.
27
starterblock 3 days ago 0 replies      
People are smarter than me.
28
helpbygrace 3 days ago 4 replies      
Wow, after viewing the examples, almost 10% battery was consumed.
29
vosper 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is great (really, it is), but showing off a "classic demoscene water effect" that was classic in 1996 serves as much to highlight how far WebGL has to go as much as what can be done with it.
30
chandrew 3 days ago 0 replies      
I almost thought this was related to CandyBox 2
31
shanselman 3 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing. Seems to work great in IE11 also.
32
jypepin 3 days ago 0 replies      
genius!
33
maurizzzio 3 days ago 0 replies      
best site ever
34
forrestthewoods 3 days ago 0 replies      
What an infuriating to use site. My god.
2
Show HN: Put GIF in front of any YouTube URL and hit enter
514 points by RoryGlyphic  1 day ago   159 comments top 39
1
JoshTriplett 1 day ago 3 replies      
Very nice. If this had a simple way to add timed annotations ("#ann=top,10s,18.3s,SomeText" or similar), that'd be absurdly useful.

What technology did you build this with? What do you use to decode videos and write out gifs?

Here's a useful bookmarklet to apply this to a video:javascript:location.host="gifyoutube.com"

EDIT: are you getting hammered by traffic right now? Because I tried this on a 15 second video, and it's been processing for ten minutes.

2
downandout 1 day ago 6 replies      
Great job with this. Very useful. The only issue I see is that Google may sue over domain/trademark issues. Facebook has done this to many sites for using "fb" in their domains. While you're getting lots of attention, you may want to offer a browser plugin/extension/bookmarklet that interfaces with the site (have the bookmarklet use a domain less likely to be contested) so that you can keep momentum going if they happen to take your domain.
3
NamTaf 23 hours ago 2 replies      
The presentation of the page ("copy pasta z", the fullscreen gif background, the popup in the middle, the banner in the top left) all strike me as being dodgy/malicious and from a site that I'd immediately want to close and never visit again.

I'm not sure why you see the need to be so 'internet' with it all when you could do a fully functional equivalent that would be easier on your servers too. Just make it clean and usable and it'll be far better.

4
georgemcbay 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is nice work, but I'll go ahead and be the token negative nancy HN poster and say:

Fuck GIF; just because the patent expired doesn't mean we should use this piece of shit (by modern standards) format for things it was never really intended for and for which there are far better solutions, like just linking to the actual video.

5
lotharbot 1 day ago 3 replies      
As an amateur sportswriter, I expect to be using this a LOT during the upcoming season -- provided there aren't any legal issues with the youtube name, copyright on clips, etc.

Took like 15 seconds to make http://share.gifyoutube.com/lcD.gif a game-winning shot from a couple seasons back).

6
robszumski 1 day ago 1 reply      
Really great idea. A little feedback: the huge animating background is really distracting. It also doesn't play well with click-to-play flash blockers.
7
fragmede 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, someone else gets it - keep it simple!

I made quietyoutube.com (put 'quiet' in front of any youtube video) and get a page of just the video, nothing else. I made it a couple years arg. Shame I can't get the SSL cert, though the bookmarklet I made works well enough.

8
im3w1l 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool idea, interface looks nice, but I never actually managed to convert anything. I guess it's because the server is hammered right now.
9
mesozoic 1 day ago 3 replies      
I love it. You should probably get another domain though for the imminent C&D
10
valarauca1 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is really cool. And I hate to be that guy, especially so early. But wouldn't it be easier on both networking and cpu to convert it to a webm?
11
Shorel 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Now I only need to send that link to http://www.gfycat.com/ for it to load fast.

Full circle!

12
xccx 1 day ago 1 reply      
This looks great!! Thanks. Coub.com has great ui for user selecting precise in/out points. http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=WThZsGOVkbk&p=n#/458;464 lets you select LOOP in/out right in URL. But neither make GIF, so easy to cut and paste.

Feature request: please enable preview of youtube loop right in your url like gifyoutube.com/y0ut0oo0biD&loop=123.4;5.67 where first number is 'start time' then second number is 'length'. And allow millisecond specification.

File size could be smaller? EG 0.14 second frames instead of 0.08, longer duration frames aren't too noticable and may cut bulky GIF sizes almost in half.

13
seanewest 8 hours ago 0 replies      
14
personlurking 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Really cool!

One issue I see is when someone uses the same word as title, no one else can use it (as opposed to a number-based titling system where no one would care if /90289432 was in use). Also someone else can peruse other people's gifs by just checking random titles (perhaps a non-issue, though).

15
gus_massa 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like that you can choose the starting time directly in the video. But I'd like to choose the finishing time in the video too. (I wouldn't remove the option to choose starting point+lenght).
16
scrollaway 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are you willing to add a way to easily export to Mediacrush (https://mediacru.sh)? Would be super useful.
17
mwhite 19 hours ago 0 replies      
There seems to be a bug where if you try to create a gif at the same starting point but with a different length than one you've already created for the same video, it only ever returns the original length gif.
18
mattl 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is neat but putting it in front of the URL gives me:

GIFhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ

Which doesn't work. I am amazed that Google hasn't complained about the gifyoutube.com domain.

19
innguest 1 day ago 3 replies      
Really good idea and well executed.Would you mind saying a few words behind the code?

Do you scrape the whole video, or just the part requested? And is the conversion to gif a library or something you wrote?

I'm totally ignorant when it comes to scraping videos and converting them, but I find it interesting.

20
bkd 1 day ago 1 reply      
My videos get stretched from 4x3 to 16:9 (they're stuff I've transferred from film). Example: TcoLoIcxCRg
21
archon810 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks like it's getting crushed with traffic, so I can't even check it out.

But one key feature for me would be the ability to add text to various frames/time ranges. That would make creating GIFs that actually say stuff you can read much easier.

22
brianzelip 12 hours ago 0 replies      
RoryGlyphic thanks for seeing "the need to be so 'internet'"!
23
lnanek2 1 day ago 1 reply      
Worked good...I'm amazed it hasn't been crashed from being top on Hacker News Oo It mentioned queueing work and things like that, must be impressively well written to not just try every request at once and hose itself.
24
cjrd 1 day ago 1 reply      
Excellent job! I love url hacking =). I still frequently type "repeat" after "youtube" in order to loop songs, but I probably wouldn't bother to cut and paste the url into a third party site.
25
dpweb 1 day ago 1 reply      
In case typing "gif" is too much work for you. A Chrome extension.. http://goo.gl/BnRKuN
26
midhir 1 day ago 1 reply      
So cool, congratulations! I made this in a few seconds - http://share.gifyoutube.com/lin.gif
27
mac1175 1 day ago 0 replies      
I had the SAME idea after seeing not-so-good options out there. Great job! I am interested on how you did this. The conversion speed is really quick!
28
michaelq 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is awesome. Less than a minute to create this: https://www.gifyoutube.com/gif/kWm
29
lectrick 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now we just need something like this for gfycat.
31
notastartup 1 day ago 1 reply      
Really cool but wonder how youtube's legal department will react to having youtube in the domain name let alone copyright claims.

What are you using for the queue?

32
mkoryak 1 day ago 1 reply      
always feel a bit weird when I view the source and find things like this:

<font color="#AAAAAA">/watch?v=QgaTQ5-XfMM</font>

how does one go about deciding to use such markup?

33
floodcow 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is great! Reddit/4chan and what not is gonna abuse the service.

:)

34
hellbanner 1 day ago 0 replies      
Doesn't load in the same time I watched a 3min video on Vimeo
35
leke 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is wonderful.
36
lelandbatey 1 day ago 2 replies      
Wow, talk about a really small world! OP (RoryGlyphic) are you the guy who sent me a text message asking if I'd want to get involved with making a YouTube-to-Gif site (specifically, this conversation[0]). If so, I wanted to say good job on finishing your project, it works great and is easy to use (an much less hackish than my original GifMachine[1]).

Also, I'm super excited that something I made a long time ago prompted someone else to make something waaaaay more awesome.

Question, you asked about using Gunicorn in our conversation, is this written in Python or is it written using something else? I'm really curious about the technologies you use to make this work!

Also of note, why do you ask for a title? I don't see it on the resulting gif page: https://www.gifyoutube.com/gif/lP1

[0] - http://i.imgur.com/KVl7beK.png

[1] - http://gifmachine.xwl.me/

37
judk 1 day ago 1 reply      
http://makeagif.com/youtube-to-gif

Surface UI really does make all the difference.

Interestingly, makeagif also has trouble with vevo vids.

38
chenster 1 day ago 1 reply      
+1 simplicity!
39
frickentrevor 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Seriously what is up with the emotions? You use quite a bit of them.

EDIT: The emoticons in your comment replys

3
Hextris
480 points by kome  12 hours ago   84 comments top 43
1
garrettdreyfus 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
Hey guys, one of the developers here. We've heard many people talking about the differences in speed. Previously we had based speed on the framerate driven by request animframe. We realised this was a mistake so we've switched to time based now. It just got merged and should be updated in the apps pretty soon.
2
zwegner 8 hours ago 4 replies      
Cool game! A few notes:

I think your choice of license may be incompatible with the GitHub terms of service--there's an implied right to fork by using GitHub, but your license states no derivatives are allowed. IANAL, but something to look into: https://help.github.com/articles/open-source-licensing

As I mentioned in another comment, it's pretty slow under Firefox.

Lastly, the game is quite pretty, but I feel that since the gameplay involved is so precise, the imprecise visuals can be confusing. It's hard to tell exactly when a piece is going to set in place, when a group is eliminated, what would happen if you rotate and a piece is blocked by a stack already in place, etc. I went by pure geometry at first, but I definitely got bitten a few times where a piece moved after I thought it was in place, or a piece didn't get eliminated with the rest of a group since it hadn't fully landed in its column. The collision animations don't quite help there either.

3
abritishguy 11 hours ago 6 replies      
It gets too fast - if it had a limit to how fast it got then it could go on forever but with it as it currently is there are limits to how high your score can get before it is too fast for you to be able to react and once you reach that score you aren't very motivated to keep playing.

I'm struggling to beat 5863

4
minimaxir 11 hours ago 1 reply      
This is more Hex Puyo Puyo than Hex Tetris.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puyo_Puyo_(series)#Gameplay

5
chasing 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting idea.

One quick criticism:

I played a couple times and maxed out around 700pts. Then played a game where I didn't touch a single key -- no rotation whatsoever -- and managed to score 3292pts.

I'm not sure what this indicates, but it feels off.

6
morgante 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
Awesome (and addicting) games.

Also particularly impressive as the creator(s) seem to be high school students.

7
ryangittins 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey, excellent game! I'm sure I'll waste a lot of time on this, haha.

One feature that might be cool to have would be to make the gray background hexagon one block larger if you get four or five blocks in a row. That way, you'll be able to keep your ahead above water a little better when things really start to speed up. It would add another level of strategy and planning to the game.

Keep up the great work!

8
Cyranix 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Welltris[0]. I was pretty hooked on it at one point in my childhood. Fun implementation!

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welltris

9
rythie 9 hours ago 1 reply      
10
kazinator 11 hours ago 1 reply      
"I wrote Hextris way back in 1990." -- David Markley

http://www.hextris.com/

Kind of misleading to use the name "Hextris" for what looks like a very different game. The original Hextris is 2D falling blocks exactly like Tetris, except that the world consists of hexagons, and so the pieces have six rotations. I played this like crazy for a brief time in the mid 1990's.

11
codystebbins 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Fantastic idea. Beyond the feedback already given I wanted to commend you on the valid use of permissions on Android (just Wi-Fi). Very specific and reasonable for the game.
12
snarfy 11 hours ago 1 reply      
It needs a 'drop brick' button.
13
Rampoina 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool game, I got to 11079 points.

A few comments:

I think a key to drop faster would be a nice addition.The speed progression could be tweaked a bit. It's a bit boring until it gets faster, and it takes a while.

14
nacs 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the game "QbQbQb": http://qbqbqb.rezoner.net/

I believe that game was made for a Ludum Dare originally.

15
zem 7 hours ago 0 replies      
neat - this is a genuinely new twist on the colour-matching mechanic. sadly, i didn't find it as much fun as some of the others; i got no sense that i could build up a neat structure and then clear it in chunks (a la tetris), or set up and trigger cascades (a la columns). it was always just a matter of reacting to the current piece and putting it somewhere it would go away as soon as possible.
16
adnam 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh God, I'd only just got over my 2048 addiction...
17
moultano 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd remove the reload button. I've hit it three times by accident already.
18
suchabag 9 hours ago 1 reply      
It's great. I wish there was a color blind friendly version though!
19
ahultgren 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Just one suggestion, get rid of the shaking. Completely disorienting. Imagine tetris with shake.
20
codezero 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is pretty great. Playing it for 30 seconds stressed me out as much as Tetris does, so I immediately closed it. Definitely caught the heady essence of the original.
21
kevinmchugh 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It's Tempest-ified Klax. Tempest saw Space Invaders as happening on a piece of paper. Tempest took that paper and turned it into a tube. That's very similar to what's happening here vs. the Klax gameplay.
22
emilsedgh 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Here we go. A new addiction. I was just free'd from 2048.Kudos. This is real fun.
23
cbhl 9 hours ago 0 replies      
When you click on the tweet button after you've finished a game, it might be worthwhile for the tweet text to contain the score a player just received.
24
sungeuns 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Great game! Thanks for sharing :D
25
RoryGlyphic 10 hours ago 0 replies      
EXCELLENT.

Maybe a little walk through/instructions displayed for longer. Had to start over to quickly read again (was zoning out first time)

26
jnishiyama 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Landscape mode would open up the screen quite a bit. Also, a high score board would be awesome.

Can't stop playing regardless.

27
diminish 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Every time I get a glimpse of other people's phones I endeed up seeing crush candy saga and then 2048. let's see if hextris re-loaded will get a dent.
28
tatterdemalion 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Fun! It's similar to the navigation puzzle in the online game Puzzle Pirates.
29
wavesum 5 hours ago 0 replies      
how about doing collapse check only after all of blocks that appeared at the same time have landed?

This would allow combos even if the pile heights are different.

30
Pistos2 10 hours ago 0 replies      
FYI: Nothing is displayed if you don't accept the site's cookies.
31
5414h 10 hours ago 4 replies      
How can the iOs version weight only 4,7mb , i dont get it .
32
aembleton 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, that is seriously addictive! Love it.
33
highace 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Coming up next: a bot that plays this automatically.
34
whistlerbrk 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Love it! I'm terrible at it!
35
asronline 11 hours ago 0 replies      
WHY HN?! Just when I was being productive again.
36
bdcravens 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Clone on App Store in 3, 2, 1 ...
37
ff_ 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, a really awesome game!

It's the perfect mashup of Tetris and Super Hexagon.

38
dls215 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Ha, my all time high was ~800,000.That is.. until someone changed the speed.
39
edsiper2 7 hours ago 0 replies      
great game!, please make it multi-user (matches!
40
joaorj 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Post your first try score! (and don't waste more time playing, if you can)

Mine: 3387

41
thakobyan 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. I like it.
42
josekpaul 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Cool game!
43
sergiotapia 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Now build it using Swift|Elexir|Haskell. :P
4
Project Euler Returns
464 points by garycomtois  2 days ago   98 comments top 13
1
hyperpape 2 days ago 4 replies      
I should preface this by saying that I love Project Euler--I spent a ton of time there while learning to program. I also am impressed by anyone who volunteers to create something for the community, and invests effort in maintaining it.

However, not storing emails, and thereby giving up account recovery with the explanation that it's about security is a shit sandwich.

My email is <myfirstname>.<mylastname>@gmail.com, a pattern I share with millions of people. This is public information. I could spray paint my email address on local bridges without in any way making my email less secure (cops might complain, though).

I understand that some people have reasons to have private email addresses that they don't want released (they'll give them to family, but not the general public). They should never sign up for anything with those email addresses, because the moment you sign up for things, you will almost certainly be entered in a database somewhere, and eventually be spammed or subjected to whatever other bad consequences you're concerned about.

Account recovery is a basic feature of a website (except those that contain data too sensitive to have account recovery), and they're giving it up for phantom security.

2
philbarr 2 days ago 1 reply      
As far as I'm aware, Project Euler doesn't make any actual money, so you have to give the team behind it a lot of kudos for actually taking the time to get it back up and running.

Must have been really tempting to just sack it off as a bad job. Congrats to the team!

3
hardwaresofton 2 days ago 1 reply      
If Project Euler is trying to make itself less interesting to hackers/less vulnerable by storing less information(email), why don't they consider OAuth for login?

I know OAuth has it's own warts, but isn't part of the point to offload the burden of authentication to someone else?

Also, feel free to replace OAuth with Mozilla Persona or OpenID.

[edit] - s/storing less password/storing less information\(email\)/

4
jonahx 2 days ago 5 replies      
> The decision to no longer store any private/personal information in no way reflects a lack in confidence of the steps we have taken to make the new website secure, but if history teaches us one thing it is that for every "unsinkable" Titanic built there will always be icebergs.

I love PE and I don't intend this question snarkily at all, but am genuinely curious why securing a database of emails for a site as simple as PE would be such a perilous problem? I know security in general is always more difficult that it appears, but in this case I would have thought we were dealing with a solved problem. I'd love to hear about why my assumptions are wrong.

5
Bootvis 2 days ago 4 replies      
I have been curious for a while:

What is in the opinion of the HN community a good score on Project Euler?

For which scores do you tip your figurative hat?

6
rikkus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I created an account but couldn't log in.As I've had the same happen before, I tried using only the first 32 characters of my password when logging in. That worked.

Remember kids: Most software development isn't about puzzle solving and algorithms, it's about making stuff like forms work properly.

Of course the puzzles and algorithms are fun, which is why I'm signing up for PE again!

7
curiousfab 2 days ago 2 replies      
Who returns, Project Euler?

Neither the news page, nor the "about" page, nor the front page of "Project Euler" care to explain what this website is all about. Of course, I can guess that it has to do with mathematical problems of some sort.

It is sad if you have to turn to Wikipedia to find out the basic details about a website. A sentence or two of introduction would have made everything better :-)

8
asgard1024 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if the people behind Project Euler have names or it has all been done by this prolific guy Bourbaki?
9
zerr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Btw, anyone has a list of subset tasks on this Project Euler more related to pure CS/Algorithms rather than Math? Preferably mentioned the level of experience. So far, as I can see, it is aimed for very beginners, right?
10
kbar13 2 days ago 1 reply      
it would be great if PE was open source :)
11
ZacharyPitts 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, I'm glad I have a git repo of all my solutions, so I can get back up to my original 102 problems solved. And then go back to not doing it again because it is too hard now.
12
rqebmm 2 days ago 2 replies      
What is project euler? The "about" page has lots of helpful information about submissions and scoring, but nothing ABOUT what it is!
13
mathattack 2 days ago 0 replies      
Glad to see them back!
5
Show HN: Stressed and burned out, so I created my first app Remember Win
449 points by entangld  4 days ago   97 comments top 57
1
ErikRogneby 4 days ago 2 replies      
I love the concept. +1 for an android version.

One feature to add might be a view for one year ago today. There are journals that have 365 pages and you write a line for each year of the highlights of the day. As you write the new year's line you end up reviewing what you were doing in previous years. It seems like you have most of the pieces to do this.

2
elwell 4 days ago 1 reply      
120 points in 1 hour is a nice start. I think you can add a self-referencing entry to your achievement list: "Launched Remember Win App"
3
Lambdanaut 4 days ago 2 replies      
I love the sentiment and inspiration. I think this is great for fighting burnout and getting back in the game. The design of the app is really clean and it looks great.

That being said, I feel like the replies here are a bit of a hugbox. As far as the app's value itself goes, I don't see any benefit of this compared to an accomplished.txt file. In fact, a txt file is better because it covers more use cases and has a simpler interface(just start typing).

Why should I use this rather than a notepad? Look for features you can add that would be useful for manipulating data about accomplishments. Find ways to set the app apart.

Accomplishment ranking could be one useful feature. Then you could list even the tiny accomplishments, but if you want to just look at the big accomplishments you can always sort based on ranking to clear out the noise.

4
zeratul 4 days ago 0 replies      
Entangld, this is a great app. I hope you will find some time for healing.

Stress burns the mind in the same way as physical activity burns the muscle. At some point you need to give your mind a rest. I suggest this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Full-Catastrophe-Living-Wisdom-Illness...

or this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Wherever-You-Go-There-Are/dp/140130778...

This should help you keep your strengths intact regardless of your current situations ... who is to say that next endeavor will be better than the previous one.

5
ph0rque 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks neat... do you plan to make an Android version?
6
xmmx 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is the information stored on the device or on your servers somewhere? I like the idea but I'd also like to keep this data for longer than a company may be around for.
7
anishkothari 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great job! I started writing down my daily "wins" after reading about Marc Andreeessen and his anti-todo list. http://blog.idonethis.com/marc-andreessen-productivity-trick...
8
Bjorkbat 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is super rad! +1 for android as well. No pressure though. If anything I might just create a personal clone for myself.
9
jsingh 4 days ago 0 replies      
This concept is powerful, wrote about it recently :)

https://medium.com/@jasdev/small-moments-159df5db89a5

10
kenrikm 4 days ago 3 replies      
I like the concept, good job on getting it out there! However the choice of font (Lobster) pains me, there was a period where it was so overused that it's almost on the level of Comic Sans at this point. #sadface
11
tangen9000 4 days ago 0 replies      
This looks awesome, another +1 for Android. Definitely an app to be proud of, and a really cool idea.
12
travisfischer 4 days ago 0 replies      
I clicked through expecting an app that offered a nostalgic walk down memory lane with screenshots and features of the Windows operating system. I'm not sure why that is the first thing that came to mind, but it did.

While that would have been moderately amusing, the actual application is a much more useful and helpful concept.

Great job on launching something!

13
oddevan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for this. I do need to remind myself about victories, even small ones. Especially when it comes time for annual performance reviews. :D
14
anvarik 4 days ago 0 replies      
What went well today? got #1 on HN.
15
jbigelow76 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great concept and great name, good luck with it.

How about a Windows Phone version (Hey stop laughing! I am too being serious)

16
baby 4 days ago 2 replies      
It's a great idea and I can see a lot of people using such an app. But I don't feel like it's really productive, or even healthy to look too much at the past. Reminds me a quote "if you spend your day thinking about yesterday, what will you do tomorrow?"
17
jmcmahon443 4 days ago 1 reply      
Just downloaded it, great app.

I find critique useful, I hope you do too. I do not like the notifications, how you set them. I would prefer to wake up to my morning alarm and see a random awesome thing I did the day or week before, along with a motivational 1-a-day quote.

18
samspot 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have been thinking of making an app to help me do regular journaling. The idea is that it iss quick and easy enough to do in one minute per day and that it would help me remember notable events in my life. This fills that niche really well!

One thing I wanted in my app was a timeline view so that I could see an overview of the most notable events in my life, and drill into certain periods for more detail. I think you could do that with this app.

Lastly, provide a way to export data. I want to remember these things forever, even if you decide not to continue supporting the app.

19
51Cards 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wonderful... another +1 for Android please.
20
madaxe_again 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great concept. I'm sat here, having been instructed by our investors to write up our achievements in the last two years, drawing a total blank. I know we've achieved lots of stuff, but I can't view anything as an achievement, so so far, I've managed "not totally failing" - which I don't think is quite what they're after.

Ho hum.

21
datasmash 4 days ago 0 replies      
Neat concept. In my experience its helpful to reset the clock and remember the mindset you were in when you were happiest to help guide you towards where you should go next.
22
leftwich 3 days ago 0 replies      
I created a notepad document two weeks ago to track a.) each day that I do not move my car (bike everywhere instead) and b.) each meal that I prepare myself and eat in. I have ambitions to start tracking some more day-to-day goals like these.

I'm giving this app a shot to see if it has benefits over the .txt file. Thanks!

23
physcab 4 days ago 1 reply      
The data here would be very useful for performance reviews for employees. For HR, it would also be helpful for looking at morale at a high level.
24
k-mcgrady 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice idea. I'm going to try it out over the next few days. One critique: you've used some non-retina graphics for bar button items.
25
kator 4 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of a gift my father gave my daughter when she recently had her first child "The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal for Mothers" [1]

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Happiness-Project-One-Sentence-Journal...

26
graup 4 days ago 0 replies      
I like this. Last year I started writing down "one cool thing I've done" every day and it definitely helps me appreciate my life more. Recently I had a couple of days where I couldn't come up with anything to note, which reminded me to check if I'm still doing what I love and not spending too many days with only tedious work.
27
redgrange 4 days ago 2 replies      
Great idea. It seems like something that would be incorporated in Facebook given it's ostensible goal of documenting your life. Perhaps they'll even hear about your idea and release a "new Achievements" feature in the coming months. Have you considered building your own on top of their api/platform to increase the "virality" of remember win?
28
keeptrying 4 days ago 0 replies      
Had a similar idea. But where others give you badges because it means a little bit more if others give you someting.

Great start.

29
SSilver2k2 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea. I've had something like this on the backburner as well. Congrats on making it a reality!

Looks nice too :)

30
jjudge 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice app - I just downloaded it and added a few wins this year. Looking forward to using it.
31
atmosx 4 days ago 0 replies      
A Jobs quote, hmm... A Dostoevsky quote... That's impressive... Nice idea, be strong!
32
SonicSoul 4 days ago 1 reply      
very nice! I have a few ideas but have never done mobile development and frankly it seems a bit overwhelming for the 2-5 spare hours in a week. Is the best way to get started to create a reactive site and port it into an app?
33
AndyNemmity 4 days ago 1 reply      
I run an online game, and I think I'm going to try this as a notice for players of positive achievements in the past. Perhaps it makes them all feel like they are doing better than they feel they are.

Great concept.

34
himanshuy 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just downloaded and loved it. Great app. Is there a way to include quotes?
35
Kronopath 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'd love to hear more about your actual story, how you came to realize you were burning out and what kind of changes you made in your life to fight it. Did you leave your job to develop this app?
36
robbyking 4 days ago 1 reply      
Was this influenced by Reddit's "Daily 3?[1]"

[1] http://www.reddit.com/r/Mydaily3/

37
nothiggs 4 days ago 0 replies      
Serious question: Knowing what it's like to feel burned out,I don't understand how you found the energy to create the app. Did you create it after recovering ?
38
jere 4 days ago 0 replies      
That's a great idea and good looking app. I had kind of a similar idea: an app that would preserve nice things said about you by others to counteract all the negativity.
39
tsax 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm really impressed by all these polished launch pages that Show HN folks design. Lack of such is an admittedly lame reason why I refrain from posting projects on HN.
40
gdiocarez 4 days ago 0 replies      
The quotes really humanize your app. Kudos and Godspeed.
41
napolux 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can you tell us something about technologies used for the app?
42
bl00djack 4 days ago 0 replies      
This app is great. I really need this.

I'm a recent graduate, in the weird transition of student life and real life.

43
nichodges 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is so great. I have a text file named "1000 Things" that I update weekly. The file has headings "I am an aspiring ____", and I list the things I did that week to move closer to that goal, counting down from 1000.

So my questions...Is it possible to load up a bunch of existing data in to the app? And would there be a way to implement a count of the achievements for each category?

44
bobbyongce 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great idea! Thank you for creating this. Looking forward to tracking my daily wins too!
45
kevando 4 days ago 0 replies      
First I saw the domain and I thought someone was trying to bring back winamp... Nice job on the app!
46
mindtwist 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really nice concept, trying it out right now.
47
ShonM 4 days ago 0 replies      
+1 for Android. Happy to part with $5 for such an application
48
victor_mg 4 days ago 0 replies      
Excelent app +1 for one android version.
49
awkwit 4 days ago 0 replies      
damn. saw the url and for a second thought it was to celebrate and remember winamp =(
50
hooklah 4 days ago 0 replies      
except he used an iPhone4 for all the images on the home page.
51
52
nether 4 days ago 0 replies      
seems trendy, hn will love it for a day or two
53
olsn 3 days ago 0 replies      
+1 for android
54
purans 4 days ago 0 replies      
Like it!!
55
abhididdigi 4 days ago 0 replies      
Please an API please.
56
JakeWesorick 4 days ago 0 replies      
there is no blog link on the about page.
57
mountaineer 4 days ago 1 reply      
Will check it out more, have had a similar idea on my back burner for a while too.
6
Email Is Still the Best Thing on the Internet
418 points by plg  3 days ago   195 comments top 34
1
jabelk 3 days ago 19 replies      
Wholeheartedly agree with the article. I have absolute control of my inbox with filters, labels, and signing up for newsletters and/or updates on various subjects. There is no way a centralized end-to-end service is going to eclipse email for me, unless they radically change their business models.

The value proposition is just really bad in all the services I've seen so far.

"Oh, you want me to sign up for your service so that I can look at the content you think I should see alongside the ads you're making money off of? And what exactly is in it for me?"

Something I would pay for: a rolodex social network. No centralized feed. No useless info. Your profile is 2-3 sentences and your current city (with some sort of maps integration for when you travel, to see who's near you). Two buttons, one to request to view resume, and another to request to view email. That's it. With the idea being, you use the site to enable you to keep up with people. You add people you know or have worked with to your network, and you can easily get their current email and catch up when you're in the same city. Simple, no obnoxious ads, no slimy tactics to increase time on the site.

Probably will never come to pass, but I can dream...

2
bane 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm pretty firm in my belief that one of the great marketing moves of the 21st century is convincing people that email is not a social network. It's almost on par with making people believe that diamonds are romantic and a necessary part of the marriage ritual.

I think this has been helped by the general lack of innovation in the email space. From pretty basic mail, we ended up with a few (very surprisingly few) email clients and very little advancement on the original theme outside of html formatting and huge inboxes.

Lots of people dump on Microsoft, but one of the huge upsides of exchange is the tight integration of mail and calendar. From a conversation you can immediately schedule actions. Invites are even sent out over SMTP if I'm not mistaken. Getting a calendar to integrate well with gmail was one of the major accomplishments of web-based email, yet it seems like repeating this anywhere else is an accomplishment comparable to discovering cold fusion.

There's also been pitifully little work done in improving the experience of managing email and calendar servers. Managing spam is still a tremendous problem and all this adds up to most places, if they aren't using Exchange, just buying corporate Outlook.com or gmail accounts for their employees.

The problem of course is that for any serious advancement to really work, everybody (both client and server) have to move to support the advancement.

But one lesson to be learned from Facebook and G+ is that email can be replaced by an easier to use and friendlier system. There's a possibility of disruption, but it's obviously not in anybody's particular interest to keep reinventing email+otherstuff in this kind of highly centralized way. If Facebook goes down, there goes a huge chunk of the global communication system. At least with email I can be pretty sure my message is going to arrive at the destination at some point.

Another lesson to be learned is that social networks like Facebook are actually just a combination and integration of two (or three) common things that used to be all over the web: a personal website and email. You get a profile (which does a good enough approximation of the personal homepages of the web 1.0 days but actually a bit more like ) and people can message you (and more recently IM you). Basically a global presence you don't have to put much effort into to manage and a way to contact you. More importantly Facebook offers you various levels of control over who can see your presence and who can message you. Spam is almost unknown in Facebook's version of email.

So when I see distributed social network efforts like Diaspora, and all this talk of authentication and protocols and whatnot I wonder why we're not really using and extending the distributed infrastructure we already have. Even if we improve it in some way that makes it no longer work with the old email network, it won't be the first time a better internet service replaced a previous one (WWW replaced gopher for example) -- there's no reason two competing distributed messaging services can't run in parallel.

3
inopinatus 3 days ago 2 replies      
As this article alludes to: the heart of email's longevity, the thing that prevents it being closed by a single entity, is being a classical IETF protocol: federated, decentralized, open and interoperable.

The first two of those properties arise from being based on the DNS for SMTP endpoint discovery.

This is why every protocol needs to specify that it uses the DNS, and how.

And that is why I get so worried that the draft HTTP/2 editors so steadfastly refuses to do so.

4
blueskin_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
What I find interesting about people who say email is bad is they they almost all have some vested interest in another communication method, especially something proprietary...

Email will outlive everyone commenting here because it works. I run my own server so I know the NSA don't have direct access to content (although I always take note of any inbound messages that are flagged as not having used TLS, or where the other address is gmail etc.), I can make disposable addresses, addresses specific to websites (to identify sites that sell/leak your address), I can run my own spamfiltering that doesn't invade my privacy, I can DKIM sign my messages and have a provable way that only I sent the message, I can use PGP for any private information, I have a set of filters to classify email so I don't even need to spend that much time dealing with it, and I can access it from anywhere I can get an SSH client. No service does that.

5
specialp 3 days ago 0 replies      
The main power for me in email is that I actually own it. I have my own domain. While I use Slack, Google Hangouts, Hipchat and a bunch of other services, none of them replace email. It is standardized and despite social media/chat services living and dying over time I have had my domain and email for 15 years now. I can't think of many other services I can say that about.

It is also a good medium for non urgent communication that paper mail used to serve. The problem people see with email is actually not a problem at all with email, it is with how it is sometimes abused. My boss sometimes sends me an email and then prods me via Slack if I did not read it in 5 minutes. That is what these chat/message services are replacing... The short term action required requests that were formerly served with a phone call.

6
jeffreyrogers 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand the point about college students viewing email as stale. I'm in college and email is used more than ever. I used to get tens of emails a day from various student groups (now they get sent to spam), and it is pretty much the easiest/fastest way for groups to communicate with each other.

Sure, email isn't "sexy" anymore, but that doesn't mean people of my generation don't appreciate it.

7
nchuhoai 3 days ago 3 replies      
This brings up a point I think about a lot:

Is email our last success in popularizing an open and federated standard?

Maybe you can count OAuth, but IMO i have low confidence that we'll in the near future be able to collaborate on an open protocol so that many benefits of email such as control without vendor lock-in can be enjoyed.

We have too many entrenched interests by the main players. I have been working briefly on improving the exchange of trust/reputation data online, but it seemd for us that there was no alternative to a proprietary system if you wish to see widespread adoption.

EDIT: I guess Bitcoin has good potential.

8
footpath 3 days ago 3 replies      
Email was one's passport and identity. Before Facebook became a true alternative for verifying one's identity on the web, the email address was how one accomplished serious things on the Internet. Want to verify a bank account? Email. Amazon? Email. Forums? Email. Even Facebook in the early days? Email.

Looking at Facebook's sign up page right now, and it seems that email is still required for registering a new account.

The thing is, almost every Internet service still requires an email address to sign up, and that ranges from mobile games to ecommerce shops. Some services provide the alternatives of allowing users to sign up via Facebook/Twitter/Google+; but in order for the users to get a Facebook/Twitter/Google+ account, they'll still need to sign up using an email address. Besides, almost all services that allow social network sign-in gives their users the option to sign up with email as well.

The services that do not allow email signups are few and far between -- like Medium.com, for example, but as said before, in order to get a Facebook or Twitter account, the user would still need an email address. Even mobile only apps like Whatsapp still appear to require an email address to sign up for their online support site.

9
dools 3 days ago 1 reply      
I still use pine :)

I use gmail so that I get good operation cross device but it's heavily filtered so I only see a fraction of total email on my phone, but I can search everything.

I then pop everything off using fetchmail and process all emails down to zero once or twice a day using pine (either in Terminal or irssi connectbot on my xperia).

This suits me not only from a day to day perspective but also because if gmail locks me out for some reason I can easily route around it and still have a full

backup of my email history.

10
jokoon 3 days ago 1 reply      
and this, gentlemen, is why you should create actual protocols, not applications.

applications die, protocols stay.

if your software solution use the web protocol, you're already limited by it. that's why I hate 99% of the internet techs.

11
byoung2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Want to verify a bank account? Email. Amazon? Email. Forums? Email. Even Facebook in the early days? Email.

This is a big part of why email continues to thrive. So many services have email baked in (e.g. a new WordPress install sends you an email). There are some services that let you choose between email and SMS, like plane reservations and banking alerts, but 95% of the time, any notification will come through email.

Given that, there is no way you could eliminate email without cutting off all those services in the process. Any new protocol to replace email would have to be a drop-in replacement for anything that currently sends out email or at least coexist peacefully alongside it.

You would think that if anyone could accomplish that it would be Facebook or Twitter, but I haven't seen any integration like that so far (e.g. get your plane reservation update or Amazon shipping confirmation by Twitter DM or Facebook message).

12
coldcode 3 days ago 7 replies      
What if someone designed a new email protocol/etc from scratch without any reference to the existing one. Could it be made better? Can you even define what better is?
13
AnonJ 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can never imagine how would a university/its various student organizations get their messages through to students, without email. I went on a full-year exchange to Chile, where the email service simply is useless and everybody(including university officials) seems to rely on Facebook, which to me was simply crazy. Why would something like FB be used for any serious business? How would they suppose that everybody has a FB account and likes to use it? That was a truly horrible experience, especially for a Social Network avoider like me.
14
erikb 2 days ago 0 replies      
People who think that email can die are the people who don't understand technology. Email is simply sending text from one user to another. There is nothing more simple than that. Therefore it probably won't die as long as we use text interfaces to our machines. What cute interfaces you put on top or machine learning features, that's all up to the marketing department. But all cool social networks and chat Apps can't do better than simply sending text.
15
3pt14159 3 days ago 4 replies      
Email will always be around, but I must say that "Email killers" are really going to be successful.

For example, I don't remember the last time my team sent an internal email that wasn't a forward from a client. We use Slack. Exclusively. We organize projects around it, sales efforts, everything. It has the async nature of email, the separation of topics like email, and the search power of email. It also means that none of us ever feel like we're out of the loop.

16
AndrewKemendo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the main thing keeping email as the baseline for communication on the internet is it's cost. There has been no other service that can provide such a varied yet simple medium of communication - text, images, video attachments with history and an audit-able trail - for free.

The closest that anyone has come have been the big social providers with messaging applications which mimic email in many respects. Even then, they are copying the email model with a branded version - not replacing it.

It will take an entirely new and different protocol that simplifies communication with the same or better capability scope to displace email.

17
LeicaLatte 2 days ago 0 replies      
Webmail was the first and continues to be the most successful implementation of cloud. Ever.

I don't see cloud designs of now working on top of standards like email does. No wonder data tends to get stuck in silos these days.

18
sytelus 3 days ago 0 replies      
Slack is obviously not killing emails as they are advertising through lot of PR. They have 150K active users so far. However one thing that they are correctly going after is fantastic search abilities for our own data that would include all emails, chat, attachments etc. My feeling is that eventually communication client that excels in search would indeed surface to the top. This client would then drive communication standards of the future, including emails. So in essence, problem is not integration of desperate sources of communication, but ability to search them efficiently.
19
gjvc 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'll rise to the bait.

http://incubator.apache.org/wave/ first from Google, now Apache) was/is a brave try. The main problem with email is the lack of consistent formatting rules which means that it's difficult to keep track of structure.

But hey, it's a massive success. Worse sometimes really is better.

20
tomphoolery 2 days ago 1 reply      
I somewhat disagree with the background data this article cites as reasons for why everyone wants email dead. I do not believe people like Slack, Asana, et. al. are trying to kill email, rather, I believe they are trying to offer services that help to reduce email's dominance over communications.

One thing that email does not provide for anyone is choice. The barrier to entry is running your own IMAP, SMTP, and possibly spam blocker servers, which almost no one wants to or even knows how to do anymore. It's also somewhat inefficient for conversations, just like regular snail mail is inefficient for conversations. You mail letters, not one-line replies.

So I tend to think of IMs, chat rooms, and other methods of communication on the Internet as simply compliments to email, not replacements for it. Nothing will replace it, because nothing needs to. It's email.

(sidenote: I'm pretty sure one big reason everyone uses email is because they were given an email account, and didn't have to search out the technology. You don't see people clamoring about the reduced use of Usenet in comparison to forums nowadays. Same can be said for texting, I personally got a phone one day and someone sent me a text message, that's how I started texting. Probably never would have thought getting text messages sent to a phone that I can just talk on would have been a useful enough communications platform to seek out and possibly pay for.)

21
eyeareque 3 days ago 0 replies      
I tend to disagree. To me the WWW is the best thing on the internet.

But I do use the heck out of email ever since I quit all social networks a couple of years ago.

22
tatterdemalion 3 days ago 0 replies      
Email and WWW provide everything proprietary services are providing people now, but with less flash. The problem is that so many people are moving to these proprietary services that it becomes very difficult to organize and communicate people without making that move. I needed to coordinate with multiple people, and one of them emailed me that we should start a group chat on Facebook; why not just cc them?
23
nickhalfasleep 3 days ago 0 replies      
Email is still inherently a conversation with a person or people, and that is why it has value.
24
shmerl 3 days ago 1 reply      
An interesting post on this subject by Aaron Seigo:

http://aseigo.blogspot.com/2014/07/one-singular-sensation-yo...

25
Fastidious 3 days ago 3 replies      
I agree. I think there is more that can be done to enhance it, and make it a more enjoyable tool. Email clients --and I am not talking about third party services a la Mailbox, who rely yet in another server-- are still very primitive.
26
nerdben 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice article! We totally agree and don't believe in those "we need to replace email with an app" approaches. For example, that's why we build our service StandupMail (http://standupmail.com) completly upon emails.
27
mpg33 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's like a phone number or address.
28
redtrackker 3 days ago 1 reply      
It would probably only take one innovation in email, something that Gmail could probably pull off, to make email lovable again.

I really think that if Google could help alleviate people's concerns with email (volume, spam etc), people would be quite happy with email again :)

29
obilgic 3 days ago 1 reply      
what if we limit email to 140 characters and make it the ultimate decentralized push notification system?
30
kris_zhang 2 days ago 0 replies      
Email is important, WWW is all
31
mjt0229 3 days ago 0 replies      
That is, except for kittens.
32
oafitupa 3 days ago 0 replies      
Bitcoin is better IMO.

But I agree that email is a great thing. I hope someone creates a sick email client that turns back the flow from Facebook to the email. I'm fine with Thunderbird + Enigmail, but I don't see the average person using it any time soon (or ever if unchanged).

33
sarahkennedy 3 days ago 1 reply      
Has anyone got an invite code for the new Email product Sortd.com?
34
gailees 3 days ago 4 replies      
Facebook Messenger will eclipse email. Social network is the perfect spam filter.
7
Y Combinator And Mithril Invest In Helion, A Nuclear Fusion Startup
378 points by gwintrob  3 days ago   191 comments top 30
1
rdl 3 days ago 4 replies      
It's interesting that you can justify this investment in at least four separate ways, independently:

1) Even if there is a low chance of success, it would be wildly profitable if successful, and investing early gets you a good share if it's successful.

2) Fusion power would make the world a better place; investing in this way, when you already have huge returns and it's someone else's money, is actually rational even if you think it's not the best financial investment.

3) This looks like an amazingly smart team; even if they fail at fusion, they might find something worthwhile in the process. Just handling magnetics and high power well could be a useful toolkit for other problems.

4) "Halo effect" -- both because it's awesome science/engineering and because it shows a willingness to take extreme risks -- boosts YC (which probably doesn't need it) and Mithril (which is maybe even more awesome than YC, but nowhere near as widely known). If it loses $1.5mm but makes it more likely the next Facebook comes to either of these funds, it's a win.

2
cwal37 3 days ago 2 replies      
Nature had a fun article a few weeks back on the current trickle of VC into fusion startups.

http://www.nature.com/news/plasma-physics-the-fusion-upstart...

It's certainly interesting, and I wish these companies all the best. The consternation I see occasionally over a company like this getting a (relatively) small amount of funding confuses me. There are so many software startups that receive equivalent or greater funding that eventually die or pivot into something else. Here, you have physical cutting edge engineering with potential implications that blow something like Slack, or Square, or even Uber away. Personally, I love seeing companies in the physical space get in on today's Silicon Valley high.

Semi-related, but I've been to NIF (National Ignition Facility), since I spent a summer at LLNL, and the inside of that facility is like the dream vision of every little kid that was into science and science fiction. Unfortunately (as my physicist significant other who was not working there found out) the public tours are far more restricted and you don't get to see the cool stuff.

3
sbierwagen 3 days ago 1 reply      

  Safe: With no possibility of melt-down, or hazardous nuclear   waste, fusion dose not suffer the drawbacks that make   fission an unattractive alternative.
Eyeroll. D-He3 fusion produces less neutron flux than D-T, but it's hardly aneutronic-- otherwise they couldn't breed He3 from it. After a decade, the whole reactor will be nuclear waste.

I wonder what the service interval on an installed reactor will be? Or are they doing isotope separation on the produced helium on-site?

(Fun fact: you can get deuterium from water[1] but helium comes from natural gas fields![2] It's literally a fossil gas, which is why we're running out of it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium#Occurrence_and_productio... )

1: Commercially, heavy water is a byproduct of electrolysis plants: since deuterium doesn't electrolyze quite as easily as light water, it tends to accumulate in electrolysis stacks

2: The same rock formations that trap natural gas also trap helium.

4
sam 3 days ago 1 reply      
What's the plasma configuration of the machine? I think there's a research group at U of Washington working on merging spheromaks which create a field reversed configuration. Is this a spinoff of that group?

edit: looks like it is - this is the group: https://www.aa.washington.edu/research/plasmaDynamics/phdx.h...

5
marcell 3 days ago 3 replies      
Can someone explain why this team is confident that they can build a commercially viable reactor in 3 years? Conventional wisdom is that nuclear fusion is "decades away". What does this team know that others don't?
6
iLoch 3 days ago 2 replies      
Can someone with some knowledge on nuclear energy explain to me how this solution varies from say, General Fusion (http://www.generalfusion.com)? They're a company more local to me, and while these companies are looking to accomplish the same thing, their approaches are wildly different.
7
lquist 3 days ago 0 replies      
The New Yorker wrote an amazing article on ITER and the pursuit of nuclear fusion: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/03/03/a-star-in-a-bot....
8
tomp 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Helion Energy [...] says it has a plan to build a fusion reactor [..], a challenge whose solution has been considered decades away for, well, decades. Helion CEO David Kirtley says that his company can do it in three.

Three decades? Either this is a very long-term investment, or a very confusingly written article.

9
mbesto 3 days ago 0 replies      
Guess that explains this:

https://twitter.com/paulg/status/499448951372660736

I had office hours today with a co in the current YC batch whose (genuine) TAM is so big I worry investors won't be able to parse it.

10
aetherson 3 days ago 3 replies      
> Helion CEO David Kirtley says that his company can do it in three.

Three... years? Decades? Days? Millennia?

11
beambot 3 days ago 1 reply      
They're using a deuterium reaction? That's not bad (per se), but the neutron production can create difficulties: major regulatory hurdles (can be used for nuclear material refinement?), difficult to extract energy, and causes a lot of nearby material fatigue.

Another big contender (IMHO) is Tri Alpha's aneutronic approach: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tri_Alpha_Energy,_Inc.

Either way, cool stuff!

12
abstractbill 3 days ago 1 reply      
YC used to get a lot of criticism for only funding "trivial web companies". You don't hear that so much these days.
13
cletus 3 days ago 1 reply      
As much as I hope this succeeds and as glad as I that HN is betting on such "moonshots", I remain skeptical about the practicality of nuclear fusion as a commercially viable power source.

Fusion works particularly well for stars because of gravity. We're trying to use magnets to contain superheated plasma.

The Sun generates less energy on a kg-for-kg basis that compost [1]. And it has gravity to contain the byproducts (other than energy).

But the real problem is neutrons. To start a fusion reaction with a small amount of matter we use heavy isotopes of hydrogen (specifically deuterium = 1 neutron, tritium = radioactive isotope with 2 neutrons). The fusing material releases neutrons that damage the containing reactor.

This is using the most "promising" deuterium-tritium reaction.

Alternatives are suggesting using He3. Unfortunately that's super-rare, which kinda defeats the point of "free" energy.

I remain skeptical but hoping to be proven wrong.

[1]: http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2012/04/17/3478276.ht...

14
curtis 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think these guys are using MagLIF (Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion).

Here's an article about MagLIF research using the Z Machine at Sandia Labs: http://www.nature.com/news/triple-threat-method-sparks-hope-...

15
jonknee 3 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing that this kind of research can be funded with a mere .0015 Instagrams (or even better, .00008 Whatsapps).
16
grondilu 3 days ago 1 reply      
When talking about breaking even, does that include the energy needed to make the deuterium? Or rather to collect it, considering it has to be extracted from water or something. IIRC deuterium costs quite a lot of energy to produce and as a result for a while it was only produced by countries having large amount of hydroelectricity available.

Not exactly related, but this made me wonder : inside a tank full of liquid hydrogen, do the DH and DD molecules lie on the bottom? Is it possible to just siphon them from there?

17
kayhi 3 days ago 4 replies      
Anyone have more insights into how this works?

The figure, deuterium fuel is confusing as deuterium is an isotope and am unsure what they mean 'extraction' (how?).

18
SideburnsOfDoom 2 days ago 1 reply      
One thing that I am curious about: What does it mean by "the expanding plasma is converted directly into electricity" ?

Directly how? No boiling water driving pistons, no intervening steps at all? It seems a bit like "and then a miracle occurs" to me.

19
keerthiko 3 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one who finds the names in this headline SO FRICKIN AMAZING?!

They are all so apt -- A steampunk-sounding mechanism for combining things[1], a mythical element/alloy of magical powers, and a naked Helium nucleus. It just tickles something very artistic for me.

Edit: [1] ok fine it's actually a math function, but I like my perception of the name better.

20
todd8 3 days ago 0 replies      
This whole discussion about weapons seems strange. It's true that the words "nuclear fusion" appear in the article, but my reading of the article doesn't make me feel that this research will lead to some terrible, existential risk to mankind.

For comparison, consider robotics, drones, nanotechnology, and AI. I am fascinated by these subjects (and, apparently, so are many other HN readers), but I have some concerns that these non-nuclear technologies may end up having very negative consequences. Yet these high tech areas, with which I would guess the HN readers have a better understanding than fusion, don't engender such negative reactions here.

21
Symmetry 3 days ago 1 reply      
They're using deuterium, but the figure mentions that they're fusing it with helium. But helium-3 is very expensive, and I'd been under the impression that deuterium / helium-4 fusion required impractically high temperatures to work?
22
fuddle 3 days ago 1 reply      
Excellent news, I can't wait to drive a Tesla powered by fusion power.
23
kumarski 3 days ago 2 replies      
The reasons Nuclear Fusion presents a difficult problem:

1.) There's no chain reaction mechanism.2.) The probability of a reaction constrains reaction size. 3.) The absurd amount of heat generated by fusion. I think I once heard it was 100M degrees.

Curious, anybody know how they design around this? Are they using some form of magnetized containment?

Excited to see this funded.

24
misterfusion 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nuclear fusion is a good investment for the world. Truthfully, fusion power is the final answer to our future energy needs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8n7j5k-_G8
25
pinaceae 3 days ago 4 replies      
is this the equivalent of throwing shit at the wall and see what sticks?

why do vcs with a specialty in software suddenly stray into completely unknown territory? nothing left to fund in software? rarely does this end well.

26
netcan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Slightly tangental but "end energy dependance on other nations" grates me. It sounds so nationalistic.
27
higherpurpose 3 days ago 2 replies      
For that kind of money they could've just kickstarted it.
28
philip1209 3 days ago 2 replies      
$1.5 million is not much runway.
29
crassus2 3 days ago 0 replies      
The most important question: what are the demographics of the founding team?
30
porter 3 days ago 5 replies      
another perpetual motion machine?
8
Choose Firefox Now, Or Later You Won't Get A Choice
372 points by walterbell  1 day ago   294 comments top 60
1
jfuhrman 1 day ago 4 replies      
For those saying Google is a benevolent company, here are a few signs that the bean counters are taking over:

Tracking Google Apps for Education and even paid Google Apps for Business emails to build ad profiles, making misleading statement to the public that they're not doing so, and then when it finally came to statements to federal court, lacking the dare to continue lying and finally confessing the truth and then claiming the consumer Gmail policy applied to Apps for Education data.

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/03/13/26google.h33.ht...

Conspiring to kill SkyHook(and succeeding) with its 500lb outsized influence like Microsoft used to.

http://www.theverge.com/2011/05/12/google-android-skyhook-la...

Tracking the physical location of Android phones for ad purposes without properly informing users and disabling things like Google Now if you disable the tracking.

http://digiday.com/platforms/google-tracking/

Google employee access personal information of others. Google says it has fixed the issue, but how do we even know? Is there any legal safeguard against someone at Google reading your email?

http://gawker.com/5637234/gcreep-google-engineer-stalked-tee...

Paid inclusion for shopping search results

http://marketingland.com/once-deemed-evil-google-now-embrace...

Ranking Google+ reviews over Yelp results even if the user explicitly searches for Yelp

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/yelp-complains-outranked-...

Decreasing contrast in the background of ads, this especially hurts older people as ability to see contrast decreases with age, and the FTC found that almost half the people fail to notice that there are ads on the page, thus forcing products that are first in the organic results to pay Google for ads.

http://ppcblog.com/fbf0fa-now-you-see-itor-maybe-not/

http://blumenthals.com/blog/2012/01/31/is-google-intentional...

http://wallstcheatsheet.com/stocks/ftc-googles-ad-practice-i...

Making people literally cry with the forced Google+ integration into Youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ccxiwu4MaJs warning, NSFW language)

Extracting petty revenge on CNET for googling(!) information on its CEO

http://money.cnn.com/2005/08/05/technology/google_cnet/

2
srean 1 day ago 10 replies      
Almost every other comment that have been posted so far are complaining that FF tabs are not independent processes. Let me express my contrarian opinion. For my use case FF is just excellent and has served me well, I have absolutely no complains now. There was a time when FF leaked, and held a lot of memory, that time has since passed, at least seams so.

I regularly keep several hundreds of tabs open for months on end on my PCs one a 32 bit m/c another a 64 bit both with about a Gig of RAM (one a shade below 1 Gig). Trying to do the same with Chrome has been a torture.

I have used Chrome, its pretty good, but am very happy with FF. Some people get allergic reactions when I mention keeping so many tabs open, I have commented about it here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2936369#up_2936784

A few others have a snark ready, "buy some RAM", I perhaps could, but I would rather use my RAM for other purposes than clogging it with a browser (cat pictures), window manager eye candy etc. In addition, this low RAM environment has turned out to be a good filter, software written without much attention to detail or resource efficiency just doesnt run well, and thats perfectly fine with me. I like hanging out with better ones.

3
pdkl95 1 day ago 1 reply      
Separate process tabs? Rendering and javascript speed? UI features? I know it's popular on HN to focus on technical features, but that entirely misses the point of this post.

Technical features will continue to improve over time. The browser that is "best" in any given area will change as the code evolves. Most of the other reasons to like a given browser are the subjective opinions we all have or the particular use cases we have in mind.

None of this matters. When comparing Firefox and Chrome, the substantive difference isn't which browser is faster or which browser uses less memory. The difference that matters is the power of monopoly and what their dominance means for our future. Supporting Chrome by using it is a vote in support of Google being able to dictate standards. Chrome already sends way too much data[1] for storage[2] and analysis.

Even worse, using Chrome instead of Firefox will eventually damage the Free Software[3] ecosystem. While most people focus one the availability of source code, barriers in interoperability is the more fastest and most effective way restrict both developer and user freedom. This is why the LGPLv2 puts a special restriction on static linking; you (usually) can't replace or modify the Free Software components unless they are dynamically linked[4]. We already see Google following Apple's lead in restricting phones. Do you really want the browser to end up with Android-style limitations[5]?

Even though I don't think it's a good idea to let anybody aggregate and analyze all the data we generate, I can respect the decision of someone who actually wants Google/Chrome to win over Firefox. I'm primarily suggesting that there are Big Issues going on around us and - intentional or not - there seems to be a lot of people being distracted by stuff that won't matter in the long run.

    "...we have to create the future, or others would do it for us."        - Ivonova, B5/"Sleeping In Light"
[1] Firefox has problems here as well, unfortunately.

[2] Even if Prism and XKeyScore didn't exist, that data is still merely a subpoena or "national security letter" away from the NSA or any other branch of government.

[3] "Open Source" is not the same thing.

[4] (lack of) interoperability is also the problem a lot of us have with systemd. Too much focus on technical features that distracts from the threat to interoperability.

[5] https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/android-and-users-freedom.htm...

4
specialp 1 day ago 6 replies      
This is actually very true. Having Chrome/V8 out there has definitely improved the state of browsers as far as performance; especially in regards to JavaScript. But now we face a situation where Google is getting such a market share with Chrome and their other web properties where lock in is a very real possibility, and the only way to keep an open, standardized web is to make sure there are still other browsers with major market share.

I once switched from Firefox to Chrome as Firefox became bloated and drifted away from its original mission to be a light weight branch from Mozilla (the browser). Now it is much better, but I still end up using Chrome when doing front end development as the developer tools on Chrome are fantastic. I do notice lately though that Firefox is putting new emphasis on devtools.

5
dmethvin 1 day ago 2 replies      
How can everyone--including O'Callahan--be giving Apple a free pass on this issue? Pointer events are a great example of Apple's obstructionism. The W3C tried for years to standardize touch events and Apple blocked them several times by claiming patent rights. Microsoft proposed pointer events, and everyone seems to agree that they are much better as a future standard and a way to unify pointer models, but Apple seems to have no interest in implementing them.

Whether you agree with Google or not (I don't), be realistic and admit that any web platform standard like pointer events that lacks an Apple implementation won't help developers--how good is a "standard" that doesn't work on the iPhone/iPad? My guess is that Apple sees no reason to move quickly on improving web standards, since they'd rather have people develop for their proprietary walled garden. They just created a new proprietary language to do so!

Microsoft and Mozilla lack the market share in mobile devices to be able to move standards in any direction by themselves. Google is in the driver's seat. Apple is willing to sit quietly in the back and we seem to be okay with that?

6
codeflo 1 day ago 5 replies      
As someone who switches browsers about every six months, I feel that Firefox is still quite a bit behind in terms of stability and performance. I mostly blame the single-process model, which makes crashes and hangups way more global than they should be in 2014.

On Windows, there's also the 32-bit issue. On machines with 8+ GB of RAM, having all tabs share a 2 GB address space just doesn't cut it. Especially when your addon model, one of the key features that sets Firefox apart from other browsers, eats an additional 4 MB of this limited space per tab (and that's just for one addon).[1]

Having said all that, I know that brilliant people are working on fixing this, and there have been huge improvements in the past year. And that's how I hope they'll win back users: by building a better browser, not just by appealing to open-source ideals and fear.

[1] https://blog.mozilla.org/nnethercote/2014/05/14/adblock-plus...

7
recalibrator 1 day ago 4 replies      
Developers, please stop making add-ons and extensions for Google products. You accelerate Google's domination and vendor lock-in when you do.
8
wingerlang 1 day ago 4 replies      
I've gone back to FF after using Chrome literally form the day it landed. I changed because of vimperator + the ability to theme the header slimmer (i'm on laptop 24/7).

But frankly it kind of sucks a bit and I have to jump over to Chrome a lot because almost no videos will play in FF.

9
k4rthik 1 day ago 3 replies      
I agree with Paul Graham on this one. "Has any other company grown to Google's size and remained as benevolent? (Not saying they're perfect, just the best that big.)"(https://twitter.com/paulg/status/495948643149426688)I'll stick with Chrome for now as I find it slightly better than firefox.
10
mythz 1 day ago 4 replies      
If the premise here is that Google is the evil empire, why is Google still on the Home Page when running Firefox?? Apparently large sums of money can have an effect on ethics.

Obviously the underlying goal here is a plea for more FF marketshare, but it's a tad hypocritical if the message is to not use services from a company you're promoting yourself. That's do as I say, not as I do type stuff.

11
tux 1 day ago 3 replies      
I really like firefox and still use it as my main browser. But you guys started to force users to your own standards. By locking or removing many options.

For example, you have locked (left and right) arrows and now refresh button. What's next home button ? I don't mind arrows been locked, even throught I like to have a choice. But having my refresh button locked in one place without ability to move it to alternative spot is just rediculous.

Then you guys completely removed JavaScript disable option, even throught I can still enable it by going to "about:config" and switching "javascript:enabled" from "true" to "false".

Another weird option which is missing is ability to disable PDF view inside firefox browser. Again I can use "about:config" and switch "pdfjs.disabled" from "false" to "true".

But having this options in Preferences will be much better.

Not to mantion a lot of websites load much faster in Chrome or Chromium then Firefox.

I think this is why many people ether user it as second browser or switching from Firefox to Chrome/Chromium.

As for Google search engine, I have been using "DuckDuckGo.com" as alternative for some time now. For email use "ZoHo.com" instead of Gmail.com

12
tambourine_man 1 day ago 1 reply      
If your only argument is ideology, you are in serious trouble. I know from experience.

Firefox changed the game back in the early 2000s not only because it fought for the open web, but because it was way better than the competition.

Granted, beating a very actively developed product is much harder than a stagnant one. Google's got a lot of smart people working on it. I think Mozilla is going to have radicalize and go places where competition isn't willing to be. Crazy different features and UI besides evangelizing on privacy.

13
userbinator 1 day ago 2 replies      
I use Chrom(ium), Firefox, IE, and Opera, and even Lynx, so I have no particular loyalty to any one browser, but it doesn't feel like there is all that much of a choice anymore among the "mainstream" ones as they all seem to be converging in design. Even Opera, which used to use its own rendering engine, has moved to WebKit, and Blink is not all that different from WebKit either. I certainly hope Mozilla will never choose to turn Firefox into yet another WebKit shell, and neither Microsoft with IE.

Web developers trying to make their pages look exactly the same in "all browsers" may enjoy a browser monopoly since it reduces the effort, but I think that's the wrong way to do it; instead, they should aim for "similar enough" - after all, content is what site visitors are after. The idea of progressive enhancement/graceful degradation, which can make for a better environment for browser diversity, seems to be completely lost on many developers.

14
darklajid 1 day ago 2 replies      
Ff fan here. Running Aurora on desktop, laptop and mobile.

Love the project, have nothing but minor complains.Currently leading the list: For quite a while FF on Android has a 'broken' long press menu on links. Someone thought that it should be

Share Link ->

Open Link in New Tab

Open Link in Private Tab

Copy Link

Bookmark Link

I.. guess I don't understand how others use their browser. The last action doesn't make sense to me (bookmarking a link I haven't visited/open?), but worse: The first item annoys the hell out of me. Same question applies (share a link that isn't open?), but reserving the top spot for that? In my world you use the 'open in *tab' operations or copy a link. I regularly hit 'Share Link' and curse about the UX and shake my head trying to figure out what process lead to this design.

Minor quibbles.. :-) Best browser, hands down.

15
rburhum 1 day ago 0 replies      
I read this and said, yep, let's switch for all my home surfing. Nevertheless, I only use my iPad for browsing at home (running Chrome). As soon as I went to the Mozilla site to download Firefox for iOS, I realized Apple is blocking it. I can only imagine what would happen if Microsoft blocked Chrome from installing on Windows. It is time for some laws to be made around this topic.
16
wlv 1 day ago 0 replies      
They make great stuff but it is worrying they control everything and buy everything they don't and it feels like they're locking small businesses out of the search results these days, preferring to only link to major established sites.
17
Bahamut 1 day ago 1 reply      
18
FreakyT 1 day ago 1 reply      
Firefox on Windows is nice, but on the Mac the UI feels just slightly off, presumably thanks to the XUL layer. Until they finally ditch XUL and just start doing native UIs, I suspect they'll always be playing catch up in the "feeling native" game. Here are a few examples:

* Still no elastic scrolling, 3 entire years after that became the standard scroll behavior for all Mac apps (this started in Mac OS 10.7)

* Still missing HiDPI icons for most toolbar and sidebar icons, 2 years after the first Retina Macbooks were released

* Took nearly THREE YEARS to adopt the new scrollbar style first seen in Mac OS 10.7 [1]

[1] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=636564

19
e40 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was fully on the Chrome train. For a long time. It was a good ride, until I really started to suffer Chrome bugs. I would often find a huge discussion on the chrome google group, and sometimes the thread would be months old. It became clear to me that Google doesn't care about fixing bugs that affect users.

At the point that the bugs were interfering with my daily life, I switched to Firefox. There are a few extensions I miss, but overall, it's made my life better.

The only thing I really miss is the separation of tabs from each other, so that one tab can't bring down the entire browser. It is very rare, but I was visiting a site yesterday that did it. It was painful to wait until the UI would be responsive enough to kill the tab.

20
dammitcoetzee 1 day ago 2 replies      
Everyone's mentioning this separate process business and subtle engine differences web developers compensate for and I never experience. However,I really don't care about all that. Chrome is just nicer to use: one search/url bar, few buttons but all purposeful, can drag and split windows easily. Best browser. Only recently annoying thing is it asking me to sign up for some sort of sync constantly. I have no idea why I'd ever want to do that. When I load up Firefox I'm just overwhelmed by how much stuff there is. If someone made a chrome-like Firefox I'd use it no problem.
21
zak_mc_kracken 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's some sensationalism there.

A web browser is probably the least sticky software application you could conceive of. Switching from one browser to the next can typically be done in minutes, so reading something like

> So if you want an Internet --- which means, in many ways, a world --- that isn't controlled by Google, you must stop using Chrome now

makes me think the author of the article has a huge chip on his shoulder.

This not the right tone for this kind of discussion.

22
AshleysBrain 1 day ago 0 replies      
> "Other bad things are happening that I can't even talk about."

This may be true but it doesn't seem to do much to bolster the argument. I just want to know - what are those things?

23
DCKing 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Google is bent on establishing platform domination unlike anything we've ever seen, even from late-1990s Microsoft."[citation needed]. I think this is an assumption, and it needs to have some basis. Can somebody explain to me why it would be in Google's interest to obtain platform dominance?

I find their own reasoning for making Android and Chrome in the first place quite compelling. They're making platforms from which it is easy to use their services and distributing them freely. With that in mind how is creating lock-in in their interests? What motives would they have for creating a lock-in with their platforms? Why would Google want to risk less use of their products from other browsers and platforms? Google makes money from the use of their services, but not from Chrome directly. The only way they're making money on Android "directly" is the Play Store.

The examples mentioned in the blog post are not very strong examples of Google creating lock-in. Of course offline Docs is coming to Chrome (and Chromebooks) first. Google has long announced that Chrome would become Android's default browser (and was criticized when it was not). I don't think they are particularly laudable actions on their own, but I don't think they are evidence of a bigger Google plan to create lock-in.

24
sauere 1 day ago 0 replies      
Remember the early 2000 days? When Internet Explorer had a 95%+ market share? Well look at where we are now... we have a somewhat diverse market with IE, Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari. Not counting some other new and upcoming browsers such as Midori. The browser market has a healthy competition and can fix itself if one player is abusing their power. If you belive that Chrome is a threat to your privacy, feel free to use Firefox or something else.
25
ksec 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this is going to anger a lot of people and gets downvoted into oblivion. But I will say this anyway.

Open Web, Javascript Only world, and Patents free video codec etc, doesn't matter to 98% of the users online. It is a very noble thing to do, but most users dont care.

Do i care? I do, but none of these are going to pull users away from Chrome. As a matter of fact, if Firefox didn't have a bunch of loyal fans, Chrome would have taken over 60% of Desktop Browsers market shares. With the majority of the rest going to IE, then Safari and Firefox.

Users care about speed. Having deployed over 100s installation of Firefox, and forcing them to use it, everytime they get to touched Chrome their instant response was, why is this so much faster. Can I use this?

They dont care about e10s, tab per process, Different set of Superfast JavaScript Compiler that only works with 10% of the site. Or What ever newest GC that was added it. They wouldn't know, and dont want to know either. All that matter is the result, the experience of using the product.

I am a Firefox Fans, but I hated it, all because i love it so much.

26
pender 1 day ago 0 replies      
The vast majority of users are not developers and wouldn't even spend the time paying any attention to any of this. The only way Firefox is going to survive is by being 1. Easy to use 2. Fast 3. Secure and the priority is in that order. Right now Firefox fails, on all three, when compared to Chrome.

Want Firefox to succeed? Then they will need to change priorities.

27
hokkos 1 day ago 1 reply      
For me Firefox is just superior to Chrome with the Tree Tab Style extension and the absence of multi-process.

The multi process in Chrome is implemented in a very bad way that multiply without a reason the RAM usage, it is better implemented in Safari but still heavy, I eventually have crash in Firefox once a month, but the session manager addon can remedy. As for addons they use way less memory in Firefox, you can see it with the about:addons-memory addon (yes another one), "add block edge" uses around 25MB, whereas in Chrome it is 10x more. I still use Chrome for webdev, but the firefox dev tools are progressing.

Tree Tab Style is a better way to navigate the web, you can see more tabs because screens are wide and the web is vertical, so it makes a better use of the screen. Also the tree structure is better for the way to browse the web with hyper-links, it is like a multi stack trace of page you saw.

28
agumonkey 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've followed Mozilla efforts to slim down and perf up Firefox, and they did miraculous things considering the resources they have (in comparison to Chrome, IE, etc). Like many I still wish for process isolation (wip). But beside that, as a recovering nerd, I'd like to be able to hook into it like conkeror. 50% of my links are sent to printfriendly.com, many time I don't wanna use the basic ergonomics of the web and write js/jq snippets to change things. Sure one can always write a firefox extension but it feels like a burden to me. Emacs might have spoiled me for good.
29
corobo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does Firefox have separate processes per tab/window yet? Literally the only reason I switched to Chrome back when
30
88trh 1 day ago 5 replies      
The separate URL and search bars are the one reason I don't switch. Such a silly UI feature that feels years behind other browsers.

I know you can get rid of it, but then I have to fiddle around with about:config to get it working as I want it to out of the box. All very strange.

31
findjashua 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's all about the extensions!

I use Firefox on the desktop mainly because of Tree Style Tabs and Snap Links. I can't browse the web without these two anymore.

I use Firefox on mobile because it allows me to use extensions. Especially, with Ad Block Edge, I can browse mobile web without the annoying ads. And with Phony (user agent switcher), I can easily switch to the desktop version of a site.

Speaking of Ad Block Edge, anyone complaining of Firefox being slow and hogging memory, it's probably because of Ad Block 'Plus'. Replace it with Ad Block 'Edge' and enjoy smooth browsing!

32
xkiwi 1 day ago 1 reply      
One thing I want to point out immediately when I saw this post: Chrome makes virus-like auto-update, It just freak me out. Google keeps their product auto-update and gave a reason: better services, but ALL I CAN FEEL is FINFISHER is coming closer and closer.

Second, Firefox give me more freedom so far. I can install whatever plugin I want, regardless whether violate Google's terms of service. Instant example, you can't download a Youtube video with chrome store app.

33
rwmj 1 day ago 5 replies      
I do use Firefox, through inertia, but honestly it's not a good browser. It consumes 50%+ CPU constantly. It uses huge amounts of RAM. It crashes from time to time. Every few months I end up losing all my open tabs permanently. There's no isolation (process per tab). And they keep making gratuitous changes to the UI that don't improve the real UI problems but do require searching through about:config to revert them.

I would love there to be a minimal but usable browser.

34
ensignavenger 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would love to switch to Firefox as my primary browser, however, I cannot get my tabs to properly line up with the top of the screen in Linux Mint Cinnamon. There is the ever present title bar that just doesn't go away, not matter what hackery I have tried. (Without breaking something else, that is). I use Chromium, because the tabs are where they should be. Any suggestions on how to fix this would certainly be tried.
35
babby 1 day ago 0 replies      
A practical reason not to use Chrome is the chrome app store.

It's littered with garbage-ware. Outdated extensions, broken extensions and extensions with fucking ads. It seems like anything can get in and you don't know if it's broken until you test it yourself.

It's a mess. At least with Firefox addons you can expect a certain level of quality, especially with the vetted addons, and you know before you install it whether it;s likely to be compatible.

36
akoster 1 day ago 0 replies      
When working with many a bunch of tabs in Firefox or SeaMonkey, I use the new about:memory page to garbage collect, minimize the heap, et. al. I encourage other users with triple-digit tab counts or those having issues with performance to take a look. I also have disabled all plugins, having only flash and java activated on click.
37
billconan 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't like google taking control of everything. I tried to force myself to use DuckDuckGo for searching. But soon, I had to switch back to google, because google is so integrated. Not only I need to search, I also need gmail, map, news. All these are not provided by DuckDuckGo. Similar things happen with firefox.
38
sidcool 1 day ago 0 replies      
It so much sounds like an apocalyptic cry. It has substance but the degree to which it is shown to harm is us not to be taken seriously, I believe. To be honest, Chrome is a good browser, both on desktop and mobile(at least Android). And Google does not have a hegemony on the entire Web.

EDIT - This thread is an example of 'That escalated quickly!'

39
plicense 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was an ardent Chrome supporter and always wanted to make the switch to Chrome. Thanks to your post, the switch has been made. I feel a lot of difference, particularly with respect to how easy my Google searches were, since I was signed in. But then, that's the whole reason why I am switching to Firefox.
40
ekianjo 1 day ago 5 replies      
This guy writes against Google world domination using Blogger. A good example of how to shoot down your credibility. But hey, he is a hacker. Looks like its out of a hackers reach to host your blog. But choose Mozilla.

By the way isnt Mozilla like 90 percent financed by Google?

41
Fizzadar 1 day ago 0 replies      
I will use Firefox when a single tab can't cause the entire browser to pause. Until then, for better or worse, Chrome wins.

EDIT: Would much prefer Opera if it supported all my Chrome extensions.

42
iancarroll 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've tried. I just cannot keep closing Firefox every time it hits 600MB of RAM usage. It's getting insane, I've even purged it and it comes back the next day!
43
fred_durst 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just want to add how important your browsing choice is. Everytime you visit a site you vote for a browser. Its one of the easiest ways to help keep the web open.
44
VMG 1 day ago 5 replies      
Please remind me why Google is the default search engine in Firefox.
45
Kenji 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why should we choose a product that is qualitatively worse (in my opinion, this is up to debate, but just compare the JavaScript engine, V8 owns) just to keep having a choice?A free market works exactly because people choose what they like the most and let the things that can't compete die. Through this darwinian selection, products gradually converge towards a better quality. What you are proposing is completely irrational.If Chrome were to suddenly drop in quality for any reason, there would be a million people creating a better solution. But there aren't because Chrome works very well right now.
46
_cipher_ 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm calling bullshit.

Firecrap will support HTML5 DRM. What kind of choice are you talking about? We have _no choice_ (well, except from way smaller projects, which doesn't matter. I can't see the majority of users using netsurf or some other cool project).

Yes, I still use firefox from time to time, but the situation is getting worse. Instead of fixing older bugs, they keep adding new ones. Huge memory leaks and for what? For a browser that supposedly let's you view... web pages.

I begin to think that unix and it's simplicity destroyed my way of thinking. ;)

47
tmikaeld 1 day ago 1 reply      
If Google really wanted to show that they are for openness and privacy, they would have moved Chrome to a not-for-profit foundation instead of owning it themselves.
48
mythz 1 day ago 2 replies      
> Google is bent on establishing platform domination unlike anything we've ever seen, even from late-1990s Microsoft.

With `bent` you mean like they're trying to build the best products people would want to use? What should they do instead, not try as hard?

> Google controls Android, which is winning; Chrome, which is winning; and key Web properties in Search, Youtube, Gmail and Docs, which are all winning.

IOTW success of a competitor is bad.

49
boot13 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm having trouble understanding why this FUD is the top story on the otherwise excellent HN. Having choice is good, but assuming Google's domination would be a bad thing just because it was bad with Microsoft doesn't give Google enough credit. I currently use Firefox because it is the least crappy browser out there, but I'd love to switch, because it still has stability issues, particularly with animated GIFs and video.
50
Hurricane2K5 1 day ago 0 replies      
PRODUCTIVITY of 100 TABS?When it comes for FF performance, what is the market share breakdown of number of tabs open versus those who scream the loudest?

# of open tabs - % MarketShare1 50%??? 2357101215202550100??200 tabs open?

And also do it by browser type?

Plus Why not show us how productive you are with hundreds of tabs open in FF? Or for that matter any other browser?

51
raverbashing 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oh, I stopped using Chrome some time ago.

They're actively making it worse. It's slower and more bloated than ever.

Not to mention it caused a small periodic interruption in MacOS (you were typing and then it would stop the whole system). Shut down Chrome and voila, no more interruptions.

I'm using Chrome exclusively for GMail, and I keep logged out of Google on FF which is used for everything else.

52
drunkcatsdgaf 1 day ago 0 replies      
I constantly see google hiring people for the XUL language, which firefox uses. Can anyone give some insight on the usage?
53
guilloche 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope that FF keeps to be different from chrome. Otherwise why not use chrome directly.

I am using firefox because it is multi-threaded (vs. chrome's multi-process) and thus lighter. My version is still 28 since it has less dependencies than current one.

Be different, otherwise FF may die.

54
smegel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can a single tab still crash firefox?
55
owly 1 day ago 1 reply      
Seriously, why isn't DuckDuckGo the default search in Firefox? Or maybe on first launch a list of search engines pops up with DDG at the top?
56
higherpurpose 1 day ago 1 reply      
I expect 2 things from Firefox before I consider seriously switching:

1) Bring security sandboxing already.

2) Fix the terrible rendering on Android. Seriously, Firefox has literally the worst rendering out of all mobile browsers. And by worst, I mean slowest. I don't know whether it's some kind of on purpose delayed rendering, or if it's just that slow, but they need to change that. It's especially more obvious on lower-end phones (where Firefox OS is supposedly making a big push).

Also, after all this time, Opera Classic (not the new one) is still my preferred browser on Android. It acts the way it should when double tapping (makes the page big and usable). Chrome/new Opera don't really do anything when double tapped. And it has the fastest rendering.

It also still has a great mobile browser UI. I don't know what Opera did with the new one, but they totally killed that UI in it. Anyway, my point is, Firefox could learn a thing or two from Opera Classic for mobile.

57
romerro 1 day ago 0 replies      
Amen
58
c2prods 1 day ago 0 replies      
Utterly stupid. The only reason that would make Firefox win is because it's a good piece of software, which it's currently not, especially when you compare it to chrome. You're not going to convince the average joe with a rant like that ;
59
_random_ 1 day ago 1 reply      
Mozilla's persistent over-promotion of the legacy technologies (HTML, JS, CSS) as the only acceptable way of web development is a very strong turn-off for me.

NaCl let's you use e.g. C# in-browser without shitty and low-performance workarounds like transpiling. I hope it will become mainstream.

60
adamors 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Google is bent on establishing platform domination unlike anything we've ever seen, even from late-1990s Microsoft.

Because they make a good browser? Firefox is still slow, hangs frequently and the developer tools are still not up to par to Chrome's. All IMO of course, but as a developer I don't have the patience to use slower, clunkier tools "just because".

Also, Mozilla gets most of its revenue from their partnership with Google[0]. Is there a difference between using a Google made browser or a Google funded browser?

[0]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozilla_Corporation#Google

9
An Unreal Decision
315 points by cledet  3 days ago   98 comments top 16
1
reitzensteinm 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm a PC game developer that's been using Unity for 2.5 years, and it was pretty clear after getting involved in the ecosystem that Unity Technologies was just resting on its laurels, and making decisions primarily on marketing to sell even more copies. Just a few pain points:

1) Mono hasn't been updated for five years due to licensing issues on iOS. GC pauses with a complex game can be hundreds of milliseconds, being stop the world non generational.

2) A similar story of PhysX, though I can't pin down the exact date, 2010 at the latest

3) They added a new particle system with flashy features, but no scripting access. I don't even...

4) Unity 4 added next to nothing useful (DX11 naturally on Windows only, Mechanim which was broken etc), though it was necessary to purchase to keep getting bug fixes

5) No 64 bit editor is very painful (I have 32gb of ram laying around doing nothing)

6) The project is riddled with bugs, being added and removed each release, though probably much less than hacky in house solutions which are the norm in the game industry

7) Nasty serialization formats make programatically changing the hundreds of meta files in a project next to impossible

However, I'm getting the impression that the new Unreal licensing scheme has been a real kick in the ass for UT, and they're taking the competition seriously. Nearly every major problem I've had with Unity seems to be being worked on now, for Unity 5, after a long period of atrophy.

I fully expected Unity to die a slow death, and that it was just a question of when to switch to something else (there is not much high quality competition), but now I'm not so sure. If they pull off their roadmap, it'll finally be an engine I will be happy to use and recommend. Right now my feeling is: it does the job, mostly.

Note that the experience making small puzzle games for iOS etc may be very different, I've done that kind of thing but not with Unity.

2
keerthiko 3 days ago 1 reply      
My teammate and I started moonlighting on the first game for our studio about 8 months ago, right before Epic announced the current $19.95/seat pricing model. We decided to go with Unity purely because I already owned a Pro license, that we could use to make final beta builds and be responsible for the advanced visual effects that needed Pro. Additionally I already had lots of experience with Unity, and nearly none with UE.

We are only a two-person team, making a fairly limited-scope 3D puzzle racer game. Thus we didn't hit the major issues with collaboration bugs (we did a few times) or platform switching (we're focusing only on PC). We were able to build our MVP in less than 2 weeks of hacking, and it felt amazing. The asset store was also an amazing resource to circumvent the artist issues.

However, it's been nearly a year since then, and polishing the game to the standards we'd like has been presenting larger and larger challenges -- performance, obscure shader behaviour, limited editor extensibility (it's good, but not quite good enough), and reading this post, it looks like at this stage of development Unreal would have served us much much better.

If we can get our studio rolling and increase our team size to actually incorporate dedicated artists, we'll have to seriously consider switching to UE4 for our next game.

Jeff's write-up sheds insight that few people can have, given not everyone has spent the time to get well-enough acquainted with both engines in the team setting to know their professional tradeoffs as well, and I appreciate it a lot.

3
Coincoin 3 days ago 3 replies      
As someone who tried to develop a Unity game on a big team, it was hell. The collaboration is horrible, there are conflicts all the time for no reason. Simply getting the source, running the game and updating would produce conflicts. We also had to buy the cache licenses to make it somewhat workable.

But the worst was the support. It was worthless. Anytime we would open a ticket, they would simply google and return us links to forum threads that didn't address our issue. When we asked about missing important features or bug fixes, they told us to buy something on the asset store.

4
Tepix 3 days ago 6 replies      
I recently started getting to know Unity3d and it was extremely easy and quick to learn. One annoying discovery was that their variant of JavaScript is not real JavaScript, it's "UnityScript". It took me quite some time to convert a simple script that I had written for node.js to UnityScript.

I need the pro version of Unity3d to generate iOS, Android or VR games for the Oculus Rift.For someone who is just doing a bit of indie development, that's too expensive.

So I checked out UE4 also. You can subscribe for a month for $19 and then continue using the version that was the current version during your one month of subscription. If you need updates later on, subscribe for another month.

UE4 is harder to learn but looks a lot better than Unity OOTB.

Anyway, I hope Unity will be competitive again regarding pricing with the imminent announcement of their 5.0 release.

5
klodolph 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've been bitten before by some of the problems regarding Unity and collaboration with source control. Everyone wants to test out their changes on the same scene, but it just blows up when you go to merge... even if you use a dumb merge strategy like ours or theirs (as a Git user) it seems to break things. Unity seems really cool, but I'm never going to use it again for any project with more than one programmer.
6
mahyarm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Their entire attitude of accessible, changeable source, accepting patches and responsiveness is really refreshing. If you do windows or apple dev, the frustrations of having none of that available is a big productivity drain. The high amount of responsiveness part is even nicer, since that seems rarer in platforms such as unity or android.
7
Fr0styMatt 2 days ago 2 replies      
These are my gripes with Unity, in question format :) Would love to hear from anyone that has concrete answers for these:

- How does UDK build apps for iOS natively on Windows without requiring a Mac? Are they doing some kind of insider thing that Unity can't replicate?

- I see Unity as massively extensible and that's one thing I like about it. Comparisons are often made between vanilla Unity and UDK; what about Unity + PlayMaker + UFrame + Level Builder, etc. I don't see this ease of editor extensibility with UE4 (I'm sure it's there; but the Unity Asset Store just lets me cherry-pick one, click buy and then just have it to use immediately after download - I like that).

- My biggest gripe with the editor is the font size. Will the new UI that's coming in 4.6 and/or 5.0 allow me to increase the font size used by the Unity editor to actually make it comfortably usable rather than fatiguing?

FWIW I've preordered Unity 5 and I use UE4 at the moment as well. Nothing big completed in either engine (just some side work here and there) but no fanboy-ism for any particular one (though a bit of a fondness for Unity as I encountered it back in the old Mac days when Unity were called Over The Edge Entertainment; GooBall was pretty cool by the way).

8
joeld42 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm writing my own engine. That's a terrible idea, I'd be much better off with either unity or unreal. But since game dev is more of a hobby for me, and writing the engine is the fun part, I'm ok with that.

However, for smallish projects (smaller than Republic Sniper, I mean) sometimes it's the right choice. I see a lot of indies struggling with lugging around and maintaining a huge engine (unity, especially, but even cocos2d), and running up against the limitations like difficulty integrating with native sdk features, and their game's requirements are modest enough that they could probably code it from scratch in not too much time.

9
JabavuAdams 3 days ago 0 replies      
I may eventually do the same for a project I'm working on, although for me the draw would be UE's battle-tested network prediction code.

For visual programming in Unity, there's PlayMaker -- an add-on available from the asset store. It allows creation and graphical editing (and graphical runtime debugging) of FSMs (though not hierarchical FSMs). It's quite a good implementation of a FSM / event / action framework. It's basically superior to some tech I spent half of 2013 developing for an in-house proprietary engine.

I agree on the collaboration problems. Even with purely text-based serialization, collaboration is one of Unity's weak points.

10
jokoon 2 days ago 1 reply      
I remember being at a private game programming school, there was a school project to make a game with unity 2 or 3. An entire class was using it.

Things were synced using subversion.

I never really jumped in that. I did not continue at that school.

I really think a video game is something that should be made with your custom tools. A good smith makes his own tools. Of course if you want to save time, you can use an expensive, well-made tool, but it will be at the expense of something else.

I'll always remember at that school, quickly arguing with a guy, that in C++ a vector is just a linked list.

Game programming is often highly technical, and often much more complex than what you're expecting it to be. That's why you should not neglect your tools and highly concentrate on making choices that fit your work.

11
mrfusion 3 days ago 2 replies      
Side question. Where do single indie developers get the artwork for games?
12
georgeecollins 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have been Producing a very large game project with Unity. We have a large team, at times 50+. Our graphics aren't as state of the art as they could be but the performance of the Unity engine does not seem bad. The cross platform compatibillity is very strong. The third party tools are very strong. It's worked out well.

Unity seems like it was built with ease of of entry as a first consideration. As people do larger and more ambitious projects with it they are hitting some of the tradeoffs and limitations. I am sure UE4 is a good choice as well.

13
malkia 3 days ago 0 replies      
Haven't used the tools much, but I'm subscribed, and simply in awe of Unreal's internal UI system (used for the Tools), and hope EPIC release it in some more independent form.
14
LeicaLatte 2 days ago 1 reply      
Recently moved to UE4 too. Used to do Unity.

I moved because I was originally a C++ developer. Had code lying around I could use easily.

15
_random_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
The problem is that Unity3d is being mis-marketed as a triple 'A' tool-set. It's not.
16
rodgerd 3 days ago 0 replies      
> The other big obstacle was that the UDK tools which were Windows only. MartianCraft is a shop of (mostly) dyed-in-the-wool Mac folk whod rather not spend their days using Windows.

That really doesn't seem like a great way to run a railroad.

10
The Python I Would Like To See
313 points by rachbelaid  1 day ago   79 comments top 15
1
pixelmonkey 1 day ago 4 replies      
It's an interesting article, as a tour of some Python internals.

But it comes off as a rant without a real suggestion.

Python 3 was an internal interpreter cleanup. That's actually part of its lack of widespread popularity. The core developers didn't add a ton of unique functionality (and most of the new stuff was backported to 2.7 anyway), but they fixed some annoying problems in the CPython codebase and broke some things in the name of cleanup/unification of concepts. They made Python easier to maintain and easier to build new features atop. They sharpened the axe.

Yes, they didn't clean up Armin's pet thing -- slots. And they created new problems for library developers in their bytes vs unicode changes. But they cleaned up a whole lot of other stuff.

I personally think with the maturity of pypy and the stability of both the 2.7 and 3.4 lines of development, the Python ecosystem has never been more exciting. The advances in pypy make Python attractive for CPU-bound work and the inclusion of asyncio in the stdlib will make it more and more attractive for I/O-bound work over time. Python has long been a winner for mixed workloads, and the ecosystem around Python, especially pydata utilities like numpy and pandas, keep getting better. Stop complaining -- let's just build an awesome future atop this marvelous language.

2
nakovet 1 day ago 1 reply      
I follow Ronacher's work, open source and posts and I agree with his arguments.

This post remember me of Spolsky's one (http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/LeakyAbstractions.htm...) though. When you get to a point where you get to know what's under the hood and why it's not working the way you are trying to use, however in a majority of cases you are just fine and don't need to know what's happening under the hood and maybe if this majority is big enough that's just fine.

3
GnarfGnarf 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm learning Python and I must say it is a wonderful language. Being able to concatenate strings by simply saying "a + b" is a great productivity boost (coming from C++). Python libraries are powerful. I can read an Excel spreadsheet with one line of code. I can create plots in PDF format with a half-dozen lines. Amazing!

However, I am disappointed with the difficulty of turning a program into a Windows EXE. I wrote a small program (couple of thousand lines), tried Py2exe which failed to handle the Numpy (or Matplotlib, I forget which) imbroglio.

PyInstaller works, except that the EXE is 85MB, and takes one minute to start up. Not practical for customer distribution. I can't expect my customers to install the Python runtime. In contrast, my 500KLOC C++ program, with all its third-party libraries, is 19MB. Yes, I know, Python needs everything including the kitchen sink. Still, 85MB is not practical.

Too bad. Not all programs run on a server.

4
philh 1 day ago 0 replies      

    >>> original = 42    >>> class FooProxy:    ...  def __getattr__(self, x):    ...   return getattr(original, x)    ...    >>> proxy = FooProxy()    >>> proxy    42
For anyone else who found this as confusing as I did ("wtf, how can proxy actually be 42?"), what's going on here is that it's calling `proxy.__repr__()` when it attempts to display `proxy`, which in turn calls `42.__repr__()`. (Similarly, `proxy + 1` calls `42.__add__(1)`.)

5
berdario 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was a bit puzzled by the "lightweight old style classes" remark, so I tried it out:

    >>> sys.getsizeof(OldStyleClass), sys.getsizeof(NewStyleClass)    (104, 904)    >>> sys.getsizeof(OldStyleClass()), sys.getsizeof(NewStyleClass())    (72, 64)
I agree that OldStyleClasses might be simpler (while less featureful), but I think I'd care more for the footprint of instances, rather than class objects themselves

6
orf 1 day ago 1 reply      
I switched to Python 3 this year and I haven't looked back -there are some niggles, but overall its a great improvement.

A great feature that's not really talked about is the __prepare__ function in metaclasses: you can supply a custom type that stores all class members. You could whip up multiple-dispatch using this (it lets you handle classes with duplicate property names) in conjunction with signature annotations, which I think is pretty neat.

7
hosay123 1 day ago 3 replies      
This post is surprisingly confused, it is phrased as a complaint about the language, then immediately degrades into CPython implementation specifics that have little bearing on the usability of the language itself.

Ronacher should also know better than to post microbenchmarks like the one provided here, especially without corresponding (C) profiler output. At the C level, slots allow the implementation constant-time access to the most common code paths for an object, and especially when you have C code calling other C code via the type system (IMHO the primary use for Python, and still its strongest use case), "interpreter overhead" is reduced to a few extra memory indirection operations.

In the alternative world, sure, perhaps some microbenchmark may behave faster, but now systemically, and for e.g. "reduce(operator.add, range(1000))" requires more hash table lookups than I can count.

Python is all about providing a lightweight way to compose bits of fast code (the kernel, network stack, NumPy, MySQL, whatever). Unfortunately somewhere along the way solutions like Django got popular, which are almost the antithesis to this old viewpoint. Ronacher seems to be advocating that we should punish the CPython implementation's traditional strong areas in favour of.. actually, he didn't even describe any vision that was impacted by his complaints. He just seems to want the CPython implementation to suffer.

Perhaps his complaint about new-style __getattribute__ would be better suited as a bug report, it seems the only substantial observation made about the language itself in this post.

8
mpdehaan2 1 day ago 3 replies      
I think most of the things I'd want to see first would come in the standard library and in unicode handling.

I'd probably argue that most uses of metaclasses are a reason to step back and make the code simpler. There are a few cases where they come in very usefully, but at least in open source code, they create a barrier to understanding and increase complexity.

ython starts to get ugly when you start writing code that does "automagical things", and that's somewhat tolerated because it's not a language for building automagical things.

Or, to say it another way, if you have to think about how the interpreter works, your python has jumped off the idiomatic wagon a while ago.

That being said __slots__ as a performance enhancement is crazy useful - and I'd like to see more things in that area.Though for most people, the thing that would lead to cleaner code would be a more powerful and elegant standard library.

9
alberth 1 day ago 1 reply      
From the OP:

>>"In recent years there is a clear trend of making Python more complex as a language. I would like to see the inverse of that trend. I would like to see an internal interpreter design could be based on interpreters that work independent of each other, with local base types and more, similar to how JavaScript works."

Sounds like OP should investigate Lua (and LuaJIT in particular).

He might like Lua more than Python.

(Given that OP created Flask, I'd love to see a Flask equivalent developed in Lua)

Edit: typo

10
futuredale 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ah nice. I was always curious why __getattribute__ didn't fire for specific dunder methods. Made subclassing pandas objects much more complicated.
11
xorcist 1 day ago 0 replies      
Armin for BDFL!

(Just a joke, people. Just a joke.) Anyway, I wonder why Armin's not more involved with core Python things, his perspective should be valuable. As someone doing some Python stuff on the side his articles are always worth reading carefully.

The Python community has always been the best part of the language, but the important subcommunities like NumPy, Twisted and PyPy has always seemed like they are a bit outside looking in. I don't know why. Perhaps the language would have evolved differently if these projects were a bit more involved in the actual language development.

12
rattray 1 day ago 3 replies      
It seems pretty clear to me that we're ready for Python 4 by now. Experienced Python devs know the problems. We even have some solutions.

So I think it's about time that leaders of the community like Ronacher, Rietz, Gaynor, etc come together to talk about the next generator of Python.

We have PyPy now; why not use the tremendous advances there in the next Python?

We have Go and Javascript to compete with and we understand a lot of why they're winning; it's time Pythonistas fought back instead of just leaving.

Python 3 was supposed to be "the next thing" five years ago; it fizzled. Let's make the real "next thing" for 2016. Python 4.

13
fndrplayer13 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the very informative post. I've been a full-time Python developer for only the past 7 or 8 months now. I had not in that time learned about the slot system or the CPython implementation.

Also, <3 Flask. So good.

14
notastartup 1 day ago 1 reply      
I moved from Javascript to Python 2.7 and haven't looked back since. I now strictly use Python in all of my projects, Javascript only because browser doesn't support it.

I wish that Python would introduce a few things from the Javascript world. Easy async, and a real-time Meteor like framework.

15
PythonicAlpha 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really would like to see, when the suggested, simpler system would be tried. It is sometimes amazing, how by simplification gains could be reached against common wisdom. And even, when no gains or little losses would be there with the new, simpler system, it could be worthwhile to change, since the current system has his huddles, that I also already stumbled about, and which are not clearly communicated, since it is such a deep implementation detail of CPython. Also it was mentioned, that a simpler system could be even more powerful.
11
Inside the Dark, Lucrative World of Consumer Debt Collection
309 points by aet  2 days ago   251 comments top 25
1
blhack 2 days ago 8 replies      
This is one of the most unbelievable articles I've ever read.

If you didn't read it all the way through, do so over lunch or something; it's amazing.

The idea of "millions of dollars" worth of debt being traded for around on thumb drives, and that all those thumb drives really contain are excel spreadsheets is mind boggling. Those people in those spreadsheets are real people, and they're being completely duhumanized.

Also the fact that debt is being purchased for 1/12 of a penny is completely just...unbelievable.

Honestly this whole article reads like some dystopian nightmare. Shady former criminals trading peoples' lives around like it's nothing.

Horrifying.

2
AdmiralAsshat 2 days ago 5 replies      
Advice from someone who works on debt collection software for a living: never, ever let a check bounce. Returned checks operate in a legal loophole that circumvents most of the consumer protection afforded to regular debt. Collection agencies can begin pursuing it immediately, can begin reporting it to the credit bureaus immediately, and the interest rate they're allowed to charge on it is ridiculous.
3
nostromo 2 days ago 4 replies      
I think that borrowers should have the right of first refusal when their debt is sold.

For example, if you're about to sell $1.00 worth of my debt to someone for $0.10, first you must offer it to me at the same cost: $0.10.

4
patio11 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is actually something I think a startup could do a really good job at disrupting, but you'd have to have a very high tolerance for both a) schleps and b) dealing with poor peoples' problems.

Billions of dollars are being thrown around at companies where the average level of technical sophistication is Excel spreadsheets and the prototypical competitor is a high-school graduate with an average of N weeks of experience in the industry.

5
ams6110 2 days ago 4 replies      
I was called by a collector once. Old medical bill, the clinic had sent it to an old address and the mail forwarding had expired. Why they never called or tracked me down I don't know, but they eventually sold it to a collector who had no trouble finding my phone number.

When they called I was confused at first, then remembered and realized it was legit, paid it, end of story. They were utterly professional and courteous about everything.

6
yonran 2 days ago 8 replies      
When the collectors call the debtors, can the debtor demand a paper trail to prove that the collector is the actual owner of the debt? Why should a debtor pay any amount of money to a random person who calls them and says they bought an old debt?
7
wtbob 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's a bit of a pipe dream, but it seems to me that this is a perfect use-case for digital signatures. If I sign over debt to Bill, and he signed it over to Jim and Nancy, and then Jim collects it and Nancy signs it over to Stu, and then Stu find that it's already been collected, then Stu and Jim can compare provenances and sue/beat-up/whatever Bill.

The real question is how to make digital signatures work for people at that level. That's a really tough question; I don't have the answer there. Maybe Excel could have some sort of row-signature cell type, which could stack (e.g. First Martian Bank would sign each row upon issuance, then each seller would just sign it again). It'd be even better if it weren't just a statically-signed document, but could also document stuff like 'Joe Smith paid down $320 in principal.'

Gosh, almost sounds like Bitcoin or a similar protocol would make sense here

8
thisone 2 days ago 0 replies      
And then there's those of us who have non-existent debt sold on to these people.

About 12 years ago, I started getting letters from a debt agency about a medical bill that I did not owe. Letters that I forwarded to the insurance company.

Then the phone calls started, with people trying to convince me to pay a bill I didn't owe.

It took about 9 months to get it sorted out. What had happened is that the doctor had improperly billed the insurance, for a fee they had already billed for, and the insurance refused to pay it.

The doctor's office sent it to collections. And the collections agency would only stop harassing me if I got the doctors office to call them and admit they had billed incorrectly.

That was not fun.

9
justifier 1 day ago 0 replies      
The people's bailout was a form of protest that resonated with me:

they take donations to buy debt and instead of then trying to call in that debt, they just forget it, absolving the original debtor

http://rollingjubilee.org/

10
bengali3 2 days ago 0 replies      
missed it the first time, but check out the link at the end article to play 'Bad Paper'

http://static.fusion.net/badpaper/

11
enraged_camel 2 days ago 5 replies      
I find it very scary that huge portions of our economy are basically houses of cards built upon more houses of cards. We're so desperate to generate circulation for money that we've invented an intricate set of rules where it's OK to pretend that you have money, as long as you promise to actually have it at some point in the future. And then of course another set of rules has to be invented to manage the risk of that particular future not coming to fruition.

My mind bends, but cannot wrap around why this game is necessary.

12
ahi 1 day ago 0 replies      
"It remained unsaid, of course, that this paper had often been purchased for as little as one penny on the dollar, and there was no mention of the fact that many of the debts that Wilson specialized in were too old to appear on a credit report or to be sued for in court. Most negative information disappears from credit reports after seven years and, depending on state law, debts may be unrecoverable through a lawsuit after as little as three years."
13
nodetrend 2 days ago 2 replies      
"Most negative information disappears from credit reports after seven years and, depending on state law, debts may be unrecoverable through a lawsuit after as little as three years"

So all I have to do to get out of my loans is live off the grid for 7 years? I wonder if this is the same for student loans.

14
kclay 2 days ago 0 replies      
Man, me and the wife are dealing with this right now (didn't read yet). One company sold to another to keep it going. We got it off but now the next company is trying to collect so we have to go through it again, but not until it hits her credit. Just BS if you ask me.
15
uberjon 2 days ago 1 reply      
There is an interesting startup in the space, trying to do things right. https://www.trueaccord.com/
16
cnp 2 days ago 0 replies      
And to think that I paid all of my debt last year only to be confronted on my latest credit check with an alert saying that it was all back, and had quadrupled in value.
17
xSwag 2 days ago 4 replies      
1. Get loan

2. Don't pay it back

3. Ask debt collector friend to buy debt

4. Pay him off

Why would this not work?

18
BallinBige 2 days ago 0 replies      
The CFPB has made the debt buying industry more difficult to operate in. for better or for worse
19
ebiggs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Debtors need to take control. They need to collectively seize the paper at the giant discount and then dismiss the debt.

How to do such a thing? Seems impossible, but even a 4x or 5x overhead would be a giant bargain for the debtors next to the sharks, and the sharks wouldn't be able to compete on those margins.

20
sybhn 2 days ago 0 replies      
entertaining read! and learn 2 important things: 1) don't ever go to collection, your personal data will circulate across the globe for many years, 2) look at statute of limitations before taking any collection call seriously.
21
newaccountfool 2 days ago 1 reply      
Honest question here, where would I purchase some of this paper?
22
jqm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very interesting article.

I'm sensing a collective consumer opportunity. Form a group, take donations, buy the bad paper (for pennies on the dollar) and forgive all the debts on it. No doubt many of the people would be simple deadbeats, but lots of them are probably just people who ran into problems, and something like this would help clear up their credit and give them a new start. What a gift! I'd kick in $25 for something like this.

As a side effect, with cleaner credit the debtors would be able to start racking up more debt again and this would stimulate the economy!

23
Mz 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is sort of funny stuff to me:

Not long after getting out of prison, Wilson took a job as a debt collector. He proved quite good at it, and soon he bought some paper and opened his first agency. Later, he also became a debt broker or dealer, a type of role he knew quite well: I used to buy pounds of weed, all right, and then break it down and sell ounces to the other guys, who were then breaking it down and selling dime bags on the corner, right? Well, thats what [Im] doing in debt.

I mean a lot of it has comical tones -- granted, darkly comical. But, hey, I have probably had more real financial problems then most folks on HN and my dad once collected about 98% of the defaulted debts kept in (probably) a shoe box at a small business he worked for. So I have seen kind of both sides of this quite close to home.

24
mrjaeger 2 days ago 0 replies      
This seems like a problem that the bitcoin protocol could help to solve, at least the tracking part (aka no double selling of debtor lists, knowing who actually OWNS your debt). To try and retroactively do this is probably suicide but I could imagine where all new debt sold off is kept track of in a system like this and people can at least know they are paying to the correct collector.
25
fred_durst 2 days ago 1 reply      
Father was a personal injury lawyer. Son was a debt collector. Solid family values over at the Seigels.
12
What Do Blind People Actually See?
303 points by dnetesn  4 days ago   117 comments top 24
1
jareds 4 days ago 7 replies      
As someone who has been blind since birth this is accurate. I know that people who go blind later in life continue to dream in color since they have the memory of color to reference while I do not. I wonder if someone who goes blind later in life experiences things differently, possibly by automatically filling in what they assume they would see based on what they know of there surroundings from there other sences.
2
bramd 4 days ago 2 replies      
First of all, be aware that the group that's actually totally blind is relatively small. Most people who are legally blind have some form of light perception, or can see something. I've been totally blind since birth.

Blind people can have a good or bad sense of direction, just like their sighted peers. I think the device described in the article might be more useful on short distances and less relevant for knowing where your home is while you're far away from it. This because blind people don't have the visual queues to determine if they're walking in a straight line for example. Getting immediate feedback could help with such skills and learn them how to verify the signals from the device with other senses.

Sensory substitution, aka how to replace input from one sense with input from another is a quite interesting topic.

3
deanclatworthy 3 days ago 0 replies      
A great article. I recently visited the "Blind Exhibition" in Warsaw. They show you some items that blind and visually impaired people use on a daily basis and then you have to guess what they are for. I'd never contemplated how blind people know when a coffee cup is full, or pair their socks.

They then take you into a series of rooms (bathroom, the street, art gallery, kitchen etc.) which are completely black. Not a shred of light. You are blind. I can't describe how it felt other than terrifying. I didn't know if my eyes were open or not. It wasn't the black that I saw when closing my eyes, or am sleeping in a dark room. It was this empty hollow of nothingness.

As someone who has always wondered what it's like to be blind then closed my eyes for a few minutes and stumbled around my home - it's nothing like that at all. I left having found a new sense of understanding for the struggles that blind and visually impaired people go through on a daily basis.

An interesting but harrowing statistic they mentioned at the end of our trip was that the majority of people go blind, instead of are born blind. And the main cause is diabetes. It's not uncommon that those with diabetes lose their sight and then their sense of touch. Imagine not being able to feel your way around after going blind.

I highly recommend the exhibition if you're ever in Warsaw, and I think they have it in a couple of other cities:http://niewidzialna.pl/en/

4
tokenadult 4 days ago 2 replies      
A very interesting take on the perceptions of blind people. I don't think I am acquainted with anyone who has been entirely blind from birth (which is a rare condition of life). I know a professor of psychology (who indeed does much of his research on human visual perception)[1] who has very limited vision, and thus is "legally blind." He began life, I think, with a bit more vision than he has now, but has long been visually disabled. In a personal conversation, he related that his originally intended research field was astrophysics, which of course can be studied by analyzing instrument readings from radio telescopes and other devices that don't necessarily have visual outputs. My wife is his piano teacher, and she has had to adapt her teaching to her first student who cannot read a printed musical score.

A much younger person I know who has very limited vision (and the prospect of declining vision as she grows up) attends summer mathematics programs with children running around playing soccer and Frisbee and seems to handle that with aplomb. To not even be able to recognize shapes or moving human beings, something that the blind people I know best are still able to do, would be especially challenging.

Aside: Have you all noticed that people who have acquired profound deafness that begins in adulthood have much less understandable speech than people with normal hearing? Apparently we all rely on feedback from our own senses to keep our speech behavior within the phonologically normal range of whatever language we speak as a native language, and habit alone can't maintain the fine tolerances necessary for readily understandable speech.

AFTER EDIT: Of course anyone can experience total lack of sight simply by going into a totally unlighted place. The human eye doesn't emit vision rays, after all (even though the ancient Greeks seemed to think otherwise), so if you are where there is no light, you see nothing with your eyes.[2] Studies on the human diurnal behavior cycle are sometimes done in deep caves with no source of artificial light.

[1] http://legge.psych.umn.edu/

[2] http://www.spring.org.uk/2008/03/50-of-college-students-thin...

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/10/30/241906619/seeing-...

5
eru 4 days ago 5 replies      
I still want that vibrating compass belt.
6
steffan 4 days ago 3 replies      
> When the belt experiment was over, Wachter felt lost

It seems slightly cruel to me to give someone a device to augment their senses without some provision for them to continue using it if the experiment is successful.

I suppose it's also possible that Wachter didn't want to continue using / being reliant upon the belt despite the loss of the spatial sense it had provided.

7
exch 3 days ago 0 replies      
Having congenital Glaucoma, I've always had to live with the possibility of one day being blind. My left eye is already pretty much there.

What has always fascinated me about sight is how our brains augment and outright invent things you think you see with your eyes. It's not at all about believing what you see, but about seeing what you believe.

The Glaucoma has steadily been eating away at my retina and optic nerves over the many years. Causing blind spots to form all over my visual field. In daily life, I can't see those spots. As in, there are not actually black holes in the images I perceive. The brain somehow manages to fill in those gaps with visual information directly surrounding those gaps and combine it with what my experiences/memories tell me should be there.

It's only when I start concentrating on really small details, that these holes become apparent. Particularly when looking at small LED lights in a dark environment. The LED keeps disappearing and reappearing as I slowly turn my head in various directions. Everybody has a single blind spot like this in the center of their visual field which behaves in the same way. Imagine this, but multiplied over 60 - 80% of your visual field.

Additionally, my almost-blind left eye has caused me to lose depth perception all together. This means those fancy stereoscopic 3D things are pointless to me and one would expect I would have a hard time in traffic. Not being able to judge the distance to an oncoming car can be deadly. But again, the brain seems to draw on its memories and years of experience and somehow manages to account for the lack of depth perception. It's not perfect, but enough to cope in daily life and safely move from A to B. At least on foot, that is. I am not allowed to drive a car for obvious reasons. A moped is technically permitted, but I don't. It moves too fast for me to accurately judge my surroundings in time. The same even goes for a bicycle. I only ride those in daylight. Not at night.

As far as blindness goes, I've had this once. As a kid, I fell out of a tree and landed flat on my back. For the following 45 minutes I was completely blind. It freaked me out to no end, as I was terrified it would not go away. Luckily it did. Not looking forward to that again!

8
icantthinkofone 3 days ago 0 replies      
Many years ago, blind people might put their hands on your face to help them get a sense of you. A blind friend of mine, Jim, got in the car with us, one night, and sat next to a friend he did not know. He put his hands on the other guy's face, then paused, then said, "Man, you are uuuuuugly!".
9
tempestn 4 days ago 0 replies      
This made me realize that while it is instinctively difficult to imagine a lack of sight or touch, a lack of sound, smell, or taste, seems relatively easy to imagine. Sight vs sound is especially interesting; we tend to think of lack of sight as blackness, as the article describes, but there doesn't seem to be an instinctive parallel for lack of sound (at least in my mind). I guess it would be "silence", but that's much more akin to lack of sound than the concept of blackness is to lack of sight (even if blackness is technically lack of light).

Although having written that, I now wonder whether a person who loses their hearing might be plagued by phantom hums or such things, as can sometimes happen to hearing people when exposed to extended silence.

10
netcan 3 days ago 0 replies      
There's an analogy I like to bring up. I don't remember where I heard it, but It would be great to find a better articulation, but here it goes.

Gregor Mendel is called "father of modern genetics" for his work on plant hybridization and discoveries in the area of hereditary traits. He's called that because he described "invisible factors" producing "traits." We would now say that he discovered genes and their expression.

Around the same time Charles Darwin produced his great works on evolution. He was also essentially relying on invisible factors inherited from previous generations producing discernible traits in subsequent generations. He went beyond that and hypothesized about how constant sexual and natural selection would allow certain traits to be more common in the species as a whole.

Both of these men were essentially studying and describing genes, geneplexes & DNA. But, DNA was unknown to them. They knew that traits are handed down from one generation to another. But, if you asked them what the physical form of these traits was, they would have no answer.

DNA & Genes were not observable to them. They had placeholders in their mind. I guess they new that the seed produced by the parent plant contained the traits, but they might have also used "spirit" or "essence" as their placeholder.

We are at this stage when it comes to cognition. We don't know what a thought, memory or emotion looks like. We don't know what their physical form is. We know it has something to do with neurons and the brain, but we don't really know the how and what.

There is an obvious hole in our knowledge. It' missing in discussions like this.

11
tylerpachal 3 days ago 0 replies      
For me this raises a question on a slightly different topic: if you're born deaf, what languages do you think in? I can consciously think in English and French, but if you have never heard a spoken language before, what would your thoughts be like?
12
tallanvor 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm mostly blind in one eye. --The center of the pupil was destroyed by a parasite when I was very young, and I have no memories of normal sight. I do have some peripheral vision in that eye, but not enough to read or perform normal activities, especially because I have to turn my head to see, such as it is - I can make out certain objects and get a sense of colors, but nothing is clear - reading would be out of the question, for example.

Describing my lack of sight is difficult, because few people have the necessary frame of reference to understand. The best way I've found to describe it is to say that I can only see one side of my nose. Now, I know the other side is there, obviously, because I can look in a mirror and see it with my good eye. But without a mirror, that side of my nose doesn't exist to my vision. --There's not a dark blob or anything like that - it simply does not exist.

It also means I have no real depth perception. I have to try and estimate the distance of an object based on what I know of it's true size - when it's moving towards me, I don't get a real sense that it's actually coming at me, just that it's getting larger at some rate. Needless to say, that makes playing games like baseball very diffciult as there is not necessarily other objects around that make it easier for me to recognize the rate at which the ball is flying towards me.

13
jamesjyu 4 days ago 0 replies      
This reminded me of the language of the Guugu Yimithirr [1] who always describe left/right/forward/back with cardinal directions. Thus, they always have a great sense of direction, and know where north is, even indoors. In that case, it's like the vibrating belt is built into the language.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/magazine/29language-t.html...

14
janus 4 days ago 1 reply      
This story reminded me of the guy that had a magnet implanted in his pinky finger, who was then able to sense electromagnetic fields and other stuff

http://gizmodo.com/5895555/i-have-a-magnet-implant-in-my-fin...

15
mkoryak 3 days ago 0 replies      
A couple of years ago I read a non-fiction book called Crashing Through[1] - about a guy who was blinded by some chemical at a very young age (<1y) and was able to have his vision restored in his 40s via a new procedure.

It went on about some difficulties he had processing the new data. His brain had to "learn" how to see. It was so difficult that he would sometimes close his eyes and and rely on his echolocation skills to navigate.

Very interesting book if you want a first hand account of what it is like to go from being blind to being able to see. (and also about being blind)

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Crashing-Through-Extraordinary-Story-D...

16
dkresge 4 days ago 1 reply      
I was born (40 some odd years back) with an underdeveloped optic nerve in my left eye. An early surgery for Amblyopia corrected my gaze, but those first years of wearing a patch over "my good eye" resulted in nothing more than a lot of stress for my folks. And while I attempted to explain what I could see (are they shadows?), I never really had an answer as to why I could count "how many fingers" someone was holding up. Curiously, it was only within the past few years that I realized my left eye renders what one perceives peripherally. Hold your hand to the side of your head -- it's there, but do you really _see_ it? I can't imagine putting blindness into words.
17
pje 3 days ago 0 replies      
Herzog's Land of Silence and Darkness [0], which follows some elderly members of the German deaf-blind community, is one of the most fascinating documentaries I've ever seen. One quote in particular has stuck with me since I saw it years ago:

People think that deafness means silence, but they are wrong. It is a constant noise that ranges from a gentle whisper going through some cracks to a constant buzz, which is worse.

[0]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_of_Silence_and_Darkness

18
cel1ne 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have exotropia on one eye and completely lack binocular vision.

My right eye is my "main" eye (95%) and my left eye just submits the missing parts from the left that my right can't see because of the nose being in-between.

I always have the right side of my nose in my field of view, except that at the same time it's somehow not there. Like 50% opacity. The left side of my nose isn't visible.

When I "hide" a finger behind my nose for the right eye and look in it's direction it's gone. When I stare straight forward, it appears again.

(My) vision is weird :).

19
xenophonf 3 days ago 0 replies      
Katawa Shoujo actually addresses this in-game. One of the game's characters, a blind woman, describes her dreams including sensations from her other senses: smell, taste, touch, hearing. As something I have wondered about, I was really pleased that the game's authors thought of this.
20
3pt14159 4 days ago 0 replies      
A blind person once explained it to me:

> I see what sighted people describe as "white". When I ask a sighted person what they see out of their elbow they typically get it. They see "nothing", but if pressed will usually say "static" or "white".

21
gd1 4 days ago 2 replies      
I suspect you experience true blindness (briefly) during laser eye surgery, when the flap is cut in the cornea. I remember how odd it felt - the feeling of seeing nothing at all, not even darkness.
22
joedevon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Tommy Edison, the Blind Film Critic's take: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDHJRCtv0WY
23
dicroce 4 days ago 0 replies      
They see what you see out of your elbow.
24
gohrt 4 days ago 3 replies      
Strange that the article doesn't mention the blind spot that everyone as.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_spot_(vision)

13
I'm 25 years old and I am lost
292 points by mlost  3 days ago   260 comments top 109
1
webwright 3 days ago 11 replies      
Why do you want to do great things? Seriously, dig into it. When I ask a lot of people in startups this question and dig long enough, it comes down to money-- they want to be rich, they want to be free.

Fact: I've met these rich/free people and they are largely working their asses off to get more rich (and presumably more free?). The ones who make it (largely) LOVE THE GAME. The few who get rich somehow but don't actually love the game of getting rich are listlessly complaining about being unhappy.

You don't love the game, it seems. The way to be happy/satisfied is to find the game that you love or learn to love the game you're playing. The latter is often what to focus on-- there people with much less interesting jobs that are satisfied with them. Whatever job you have, figure out how to be freakin' awesome at it and opportunities fall into your lap- trust me. Or be the guy who gets by, can't be happy, is always looking out the window.

All that said, don't settle for a shitty job. Get one where you're surrounded by people who impress you in an industry/market that has potential. That's where you'll find your next co-founder.

If you've got great ideas, start side projects. They turn into businesses all the time.

Reduce your burn rate ruthlessly and save $. Seriously, your car/house/clothes are too nice, and you have them because society makes you feel less successful if you don't. Happiness and stuff have virtually no correlation. Get to the point where you're downright smug about your burn rate. Smirk at people who drive BMWs.

Remember that a million years of evolution has made humanity naturally discontent-- do you think happiness/contentedness is a survival trait? Add to that the external pressure of peers who make it big, do "great things", and the river of marketing telling you that you need fancier watches, shinier cars, the newest iPhone. Being happy/content takes smarts and discipline that most people simply can't manage. Be one of the ones who can.

2
mattzito 3 days ago 6 replies      
There's two ways to look at this that I'll suggest, since I have a certain amount of familiarity with this.

1) You're 25 years old, and already have one acqui-hire under your belt. That's pretty impressive. Considering probably 90%? 99%? of people will never have a startup they build acquired under any circumstances, it seems weird to describe yourself as an underachiever.

There's this weird cult of young entrepreneurship, where it's implied that if you're in your 20s, you must be founding companies or you're just wasting your time.

I'll throw something out there instead - why not spend the next few years working at your day job and trying to learn how to be a better startup founder the next time you do it? Think of it like being in training for the next gig.

2) my other perspective on this:

> What do you do when you believe that you can do great things but something that you have no control over is holding you back? You believe that you are good at what you do and are meant for great things but you have to do your job even though it doesn't do justice to your capabilities.

That's called "adulthood". Sometimes you have responsibilities that limit your options or make it hard to do what you love.

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TheMagicHorsey 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like you pine for social status.

When you get older you'll see that it doesn't mean much. Once you achieve the status you've set your eyes on today, some higher status will beckon. The treadmill will never stop.

You can find happiness in work only if you find happiness in the work itself. Not only because of some monetary or prestige-based result.

Prestige chasing is not a recent phenomenon, but it is certainly more common now than it was in the past.

My father and engineers of his era entered the field for the love of making things. Yes, it provided a solid middle class job, but their aspirations were to work on some machine they were fascinated with, and to provide for their families. Becoming a millionaire or billionaire was not in the realm of possibility.

And yet they were so happy and content.

In my own generation many engineers are filled with angst. The stories of rich engineers fills them with envy ... and sometimes drive.

Because some engineer made it, you feel your good grades mean you can make it.

But success in business is not often linked to your engineering chops. And sometimes its not even linked to your hard work.

You need a combination of a lot of different traits.

And even with the traits you might be born in the wrong country and not make it.

But it is no loss to not make it. Happiness is not guaranteed by commercial success.

And many without commercial success are happier than those with commercial success.

As one of many who turned down a Google job long before it reached its lofty current share price, I have often had reason to question my life choices. My former colleagues who took the Google jobs are very comfortable (understatement). Sometimes I have pangs of regret. But they pass.

My regrets are mostly not for myself, but for my wife and family. I see missed opportunities where I could have helped the people I love.

But I am fortunate that my family really doesn't need my help that much. My wife is self sufficient (actually makes more than I do). My extended family can take care of itself, even if I have to lend money every once in a while (which hurts).

I focus on these things. I also try to do those things which make me happy--like going to meetups that I enjoy (Go, Docker, CoreOS, Clojure, etc.), playing video games, watching movies, hanging out with friends. When I do these things with my rich friends, I realize our happiness is not materially different from moment to moment.

Really our subjective wellbeing is exactly the same when we are living in the current moment. Only if I contemplate my mistakes of the past, or the possibilities of the future does my happiness and theirs diverge. Otherwise we are traveling along the graph, parallel to the time axis, with two almost co-incident lines. In times of volatility their line may even dip below my line ... deaths ... bad days with spouse ... etc. Mine may soar above theirs sometimes ... a great meal, the birth of my nephew ... meeting a cute puppy ... giving some money to someone I know will use it well.

We will all have some ups and some downs. You are in the downs right now.

The downs happen a lot in our twenties because we don't understand at that age that our brain is sometimes like a state machine. We have to manage the state transitions from bad states to good states using conscious actions, applied whenever we find ourselves in an unwanted state.

You will soon realize what you need to transition from bad mood to good mood.

For example, if I am hit with melancholy I do several things which 99% of the time guarantee a cure. First I run or lift weights till exhaustion, and then I eat a big meal with a friend and discuss some interesting topics. And then I come home and give my wife a tight squeeze and sleep. In the morning usually I will have transitioned to being upbeat again.

You will find for yourself what your transition processes are. Just try some stuff.

Good luck.

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fredleblanc 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think it's important to remember that in the world of the Internet, "running your own business" doesn't have to be "a startup." I'm 32, and had a similar realization a couple years back. I hated having bosses. I don't know if my ideas were the best, but I feel like I tend to have good gut instincts. I was tired of not having control of what I was doing.

I worked at a small web shop, a big ad agency, and a tiny remote-only web thing. I saw what people were doing, and what was out there, and knew that I knew enough that I could survive.

The hardest part was making the leap. To say "OK, I design and develop websites under my own flag," and then to find people. Having worked in the industry for a while, I had contacts, and so far (knock on wood) I haven't really had to do a lot of marketing. It's all mostly word-of-mouth. Build something, do a great job, get remembered/recommended, repeat.

Even though when you first get started you'll take a couple projects you might not be thrilled with to get your feet underneath you, soon enough you'll be raising your rates, getting to say no to projects your not interested, and maybe even working on small product-like projects too to mix in with your client-work. That's what I'm doing, I also co-lead development of a little CMS called Statamic. I use it on a lot of my clients' sites (if they're OK with it), and using it lets me improve it, while improving it helps me sell it.

It's not glamorous. It will probably never net me a 7-figure-profit for a year. But it's fun, challenging, and rewarding. You don't have to build a product that makes hundreds or thousands of people happy. You can build one site for one person and they'll be just as thrilled. And on top of that, all the challenges of business are there too. You get to pay taxes and everything. :)

You also mentioned family obligations. For me, being self-employed helps with that too. If something comes up, I can walk away from my desk and go help out whether it's picking up the kids, or just meeting my wife for lunch if she's having a bad day.

Self-employment is risk, but it's a calculated risk that balances with freedom. If I want to make more, I take on more projects. The hardest part I've found is turning that off. ("You mean working 80 hours pays me 80 hours!? SIGN ME UP!" that just leads to burn out.)

Anyway, I know Hacker News is more startup-focused, and that you're probably more interested in that, but I wanted to throw my two cents in that there are other things you can do relating to the Internet that are just as interesting and just as rewarding.

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joebo 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm 32 and have found that my priorities have shifted over time. I had goals of running a start-up and making work optional by 35.

I've been involved in start-ups and have been a partner in a couple.

I now have 3 kids and view my 8-6 job as an athlete views game day. I seek to perform at my highest level during work hours and then try to turn it off after. I don't miss it when I'm with my kids or my wife or friends. For me, there's more to life than work/job/running a business.

I've also come to the conclusion that I have 100% certainty of improving my kids lives through spending time with them. That time doesn't scale like running a startup, but it's guaranteed to be effective. I'll take those odds over the 1 in a million of running a startup, even if it's just improving 3 lives.

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hyphyphyph 3 days ago 3 replies      
Just want to preface this: the following contains a giant wad of sarcastic tone and is mildly accosting; this comes from my own internal dialogue with myself about this same issue. My internal voice doesn't take my real voice very seriously. It's not meant to be unkind whatsoever.

---

There's something called Y-Generation; you're it.

Good for you, you think you're special. And your friends all think they're special. Guess what? I think I'm the most special of everyone. Yup... this is our plight, and frankly, we just need to get the hell over it. :)

If I really believe I'm capable of doing great things (which I do), then there's no reason I shouldn't be doing them. But for some reason... shrug Excuses -- my biggest one, ultimately, is that because I think I'm sooooo smart, and capable of suuuuch grand things, I'm scared shitless of trying and failing and realizing that maybe I'm not quite as exceptional as I thought. Poor little baby ego, awwww.... Keep putting up a front though.

You managed to say the sentence "Thus, I have picked up another job which I'll join in a few weeks." Do you have friends who don't work in tech? Like, for real? Normally... in the real world... you don't just "pick up" a job as if you were going shopping. Spoiled goddamn brats, the whole bunch of us!

My suggestion is to go find a local pub with good staff and good regulars that you can relate to. Go there more and more often until you're blowing all your money getting tanked every night of the week. If you keep that up long enough, and then push it just a little bit longer, you'll either figure out you're exactly where you belong, or you'll get so fed up that you'll end up back exactly where you are now. But this time you'll have something to run away from.

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JonnieCache 3 days ago 2 replies      
>meant for great things

This part of your post sticks out like a sore thumb. What "things?" How will you know when the "things" you have "done" are "great" enough? What makes you think you are "meant" for them? What does "meant" mean? Was your birth heralded by a double rainbow or something?

I'm betting that "great" is defined relative to some imagined ideal that you can never reach, or which you will constantly shift to ensure your own continuing dissatisfaction.

Decide what you want.

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kasey_junk 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be careful about falling into the HN echo chamber. Lots of the most important and interesting technical work I've done has come in boring/traditional companies and industries.

To be perfectly frank, I don't think you can learn the true craft of software development (you didn't say you were a developer but I am so it's my perspective) at least without a few stints in the "real" world.

I've also found the meme that big corps. are full of bad employees and startups are full of the best and brightest to be completely untrue. At this early stage in your career if you can't learn something from a traditional job you aren't trying hard enough.

Also, you've been in the working world for one of the high times in our industry. Those don't last, and startup scenes dry up. This won't be your last move in/out of that world.

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stygiansonic 3 days ago 0 replies      
You might have Imposter Syndrome. Take a step back, and make a list of all your accomplishments. This is not about being self-centered, it's about taking a honest view of your life. During the day-to-day shuffle, with short-term deadlines and other obligations, it's easy to forget about the long path you've taken to get to where you are.

You co-founded a company that was acquired - how many people can say that? Even if it was an acqui-hire, does that really make a difference? Why do you feel that this accomplishment is not worthy of praise?

You didn't like working at the parent company and so you left to find different work. What is wrong with that? I would bet that most people on HN have been through a similar circumstance. If you don't like working at a certain place and don't fit it, it's not necessarily your fault or anyone's "fault".

Furthermore, you had the ability and confidence to leave a job you did not like and take a job that perhaps will be a better fit. Why does it matter that it's not in a "sexy" or "trendy" industry? Reading just the big headline stories on HN or other tech websites will leave you a bubble where it seems like everyone is working for an ultra-trendy hipster startup that will be "the next big thing", when in reality many software developers work in more mundane industries but are still very technically astute and have a fulfilling life.

If it's something you can do day after day and it doesn't bother you, in my mind that is great. Don't compare yourself to what others want, compare yourself to what you want.

Which leads me to my next point: Why do you believe that you are an underachiever? Compared to what benchmark? There is nothing wrong with being ambitious - motivation often provides the drive to succeed. But if you are always left wanting more, then you never really get to savour the reward from your efforts and hard work.

Take a step back and try to figure out what really fulfills you in life. Work is often treated as a means to an end, and there's nothing wrong that. However, some people really do relish work and for them, that is an end in an unto itself. But if that's not what fulfills you, you shouldn't try to pigeon-hole yourself into someone else's goals by way of comparison.

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ChuckMcM 3 days ago 0 replies      
It might help to change the way you "score" your life. I'm suggesting that because your comment suggests you are mentally evaluating your progress against some internal metric and seeing failure rather than progress. Allow me to share an example that my own daughter (Also in her 20's) went through.

She was 'failing' at getting a job, for the summer. She had made over a dozen attempts and not a single offer. The lack of success was putting a huge damper on her ability to motivate herself to try again. When we talked I suggested that perhaps rather than "failing" to get a job in an attempt she "succeeded" in learning something new. By letting the 'end goal' of getting a job go for a minute, and concentrating on things to learn, she when from failing 12 times to get a job to succeeding in learning 12 new things. Different spin on the same circumstance. And before you say "But Chuck, isn't that just a mind game you play on yourself?" The answer is no it isn't, you really are learning new things and recognizing that is important, like the App on this site recently called 'RememberWIN' that is the key, realizing you are making progress even when it doesn't feel like it.

This is especially important in the 'do great things' sort of arc because frankly it is generally impossible in normal circumstances to do something truly great in fewer than 5 or 10 years[1] and it is generally impossible to do great things alone. That means you have to find some folks who can be part of it, communicate a vision and a plan to achieving that vision, and then executing on that plan. All of that takes time.

Because of that the only productive way to 'score' your progress is by noting successes in 'found a great web designer' person or 'sales person type' or 'engineer' or 'mathematician' what ever. Assembling the folks who you will want to be the team will take time as well.

When I have something that it going to take a 'long' time to get done I try to write out the history of that in reverse with options, example lets says it is "deliver an electric vehicle", so just before that you've got the "car passed all its manufacturing approvals and tests". Before that you've got "opened manufacturing plant", before that you've got "designed manufacturing plant", before that you've got "found a parcel to build the plant", before that you've got "closed funding to buy a parcel", etc and walking back to where you are now with just an idea and you'll have a series of milestones you can work on between now and then.

The trick is that people see things happen when suddenly "all this stuff comes together" but for that to happen "all this stuff" has to be converging. If you plan for that you can understand when things are converging and when they aren't and that helps inform where you are needed most at any given time in the process.

[1] This arises from the fact that there are lots of smart people out there and 'great things you can do in a year' have all been taken. Times of war and disaster however offer accelerated schedules since there are lot of people already motivated to do something and leading them to do something great is then possible in a shorter period of time.

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shadowfiend 3 days ago 0 replies      
Some realize it later than others, but life is long. There's a lot of emphasis on carpe diem, live today like it's your last, etc. That's actually a very good way to get anxious about what you're doing today when you could be doing it tomorrow. Sounds like procrastination, I know.

The thing is, putting things off makes sense. You can't do everything you could ever want today, or tomorrow, or this week, or next. But you also have several decades to do things. I think my greatest peace of mind comes from the knowledge of three things:

- I have plenty of time. And if I die suddenly from disease or accident or whatever, the bad thing will be death, not I didn't do everything! - I won't ever do everything I want to. My mind is coming up with new things that might be interesting to explore on a reasonably regular basis. But that's okay. The things I choose are what make my life distinct from that of others. - What I want to do is going to constantly change. More of a corollary to the previous one, but what I'm doing today will have inevitable influence on what I want to do tomorrow.

Choosing to focus on taking care of your family now doesn't mean you'll never have another opportunity to attain financial freedom. That opportunity may take a different shape than what you're thinking of right now though. Sometimes it's good to just let things settle for a while before launching into the Next Big Thing. Sometimes you let things settle out and you realize the Next Big Thing wasn't what you originally had in mind. That's what makes things fun ;)

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teekert 3 days ago 0 replies      
"What do you do when you believe that you can do great things but something that you have no control over is holding you back?"

Whoever taught you that made a mistake. This is very typical of our generation (yes me included) we all think we can be the president if we just work hard at it. While all our parents heard was: "You know when you work hard you might own a house, with a garden even!"

Happiness is reality minus expectation.(http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/09/why-generation-y-yuppies-are-u...)

And you, your expectations are too big. Yes you can change reality but how hard do you have to work to make it match your expectations of greatness? Perhaps you should just learn to be content with what you have, be happy, who knows what comes on your path. Your alternative is facing a high chance of never being happy with yourself and your achievements.

I'm half way through this book:http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Good-Life-Ancient-Stoic/dp/01953...On the advice of the HN crowd. So far I'm liking the message. Try, regularly, to imagine life without the things you hold dear. Try to want the things you already have.

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dumbfounder 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have 2 kids under 2 and I am working on 2 startups at once. That is basically like having 4 babies. I don't believe you should necessarily wait for the right time, for any kind of baby. There may never be an ideal time. If you have something you are passionate about you go for it. If you don't then you bide your time.

I have gone through periods of burn out and extreme passion about my startups. Sometimes it's nice to have a steady paying job and be stress free for a while. That's you biding your time until the right idea/opportunity comes along.

I went through an acquihire myself. Don't feel bad, startups are a longshot, and to see any positive outcome is much better than nothing. I worked for that company for 2 years, became frustrated, had an idea I was excited about, and then started something new.

So my advice is, take the stress-free job until you build up the passion to work on something new. And then do it.

EDIT: typo

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agentultra 3 days ago 0 replies      
What do you do when you believe that you can do great things but something that you have no control over is holding you back? You believe that you are good at what you do and are meant for great things but you have to do your job even though it doesn't do justice to your capabilities. How do you cope with that? Seeing your future as an underachiever pains you. What do you do?

This is what I call the "hero myth." We're all inculcated with the idea that there is a heroic destiny before us from a young age. The stories we read, the movies we watch, the parents and educators who teach us beseech us to "believe in yourself and you can do anything." This seductive myth gives us the escape hatch from reality that lets us believe we are special and that everyone else is normal. It's a terrible myth and responsible for many summer blockbuster movies and burning out many bright, young people.

It's bullshit. Do things. Enjoy your time doing them. Don't worry about what other people think. Every person who has done great things is feeding the tulips right now. You will one day too.

As for dealing with having responsibilities: get used to it. It doesn't limit you. You have be more tactical with your time and learn to cut away all of the fluff and focus. It tests you to learn what you truly appreciate.

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seanalltogether 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I was 21 I started a company with 4 other people that lasted about 2 years before we ran out of money. After that I went to work for an insurance company. At the age of 26, the contacts I made from my startup started to blossom, and I got back into a trendy company that I stayed at for 6 years before breaking off on my own again around the age of 32.

Here's the thing, I was worried about going backwards in my carrier when I went to work for the insurance company, but instead it taught me discipline and gave me the chance to learn from veteran programmers. I would not trade in those years for a new startup firm.

Don't feel like you're giving up just because you have to step back a bit. Use it as a chance to get a different perspective on our industry.

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madaxe_again 3 days ago 1 reply      
Welcome to the human condition.

I received some advice a number of years ago which has stuck with me, and served me well.

If there's something you want to do with your life... Don't talk about it. Don't think about it. You'll do so forever.

Just do it. You'll be 50 before you know what the hell happened.

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artur_makly 2 days ago 0 replies      
The most important thing, as I see it, is that you have connected with the self-realization of doing great things. That is precious.

Most people don't ever wake up to this fact ( that we all have this capability ). Our culture instills fear on all fronts to undermine this. It prefers quiet complacent followers to disciplined gadfly leaders.

But with greatness comes great sacrifice. One day you will wake up with a vision for such an application of greatness which you will want to share with the world for its betterment.

Write that shit down.

Got immediate responsibilities? Shit we all do. Get pragmatic. GrowthHack your situation.Ideally find the right job/culture that either has a great collection of people you can learn from or projects which can hone those skills you will need to leverage later for your vision.

Your vision can be nurtured as a seed within the largest corporate office parks. While you are plugging away at your daily grind, take time every day to learn what parts of your corp experience can be leveraged into your newfound vision. Perhaps its a product growth process or some efficient OOP architecture..whatever..put it in the toolbox.

Test the vision.Network. Make crazy connections. Have conversations with your colleagues about your (hypothetical) idea. You will notice they would much rather small talk brainstorm about that than actually work. Take notes.

Life is not linear. Its not perfect. But your vision and passion is infinite. Keep beating the drum.It will get you through the tough times.

(Watch : http://www.ted.com/talks/larry_smith_why_you_will_fail_to_ha...)

Personally.. I deal with this everyday. Im about to turn 40! I should be an internet retirement home in Florida by now.

I grew up in NYC and rode the internet bubble..always working for various agencies and a few startups. One day I said fuck it..I'm tired of the rat race and want to craft my own perfect SaaS.

I was 32, a bit frightened, used to my expensive NYC lifestyle, had crazy ccard debt and was still paying off grad-school loans.

But I didn't want to live with the 'what if'.

How could I pull off the 6-month runway i needed to create my perfection?I moved to Argentina - where I found my dollar had 3x the buying power - and was able to stay in the same time zone with my existing clients in NYC. (most didn't even knew I left )

>> Fast fwd 8 yrs later.. Im on my 3rd startup. But now I have a co-founder wife and 2yr old that keep my ass in check.

Everyday is brutal.. its slow going ( since we are bootstrapped and split time between consulting) and on the toughest days I do think about just ejecting and going back to a cushy golden-handcuff job..especially now that my family needs stability...and I dream of a good night's sleep.

But then there are those days when I'm user-testing..and get to watch people come to life with the dormant creativity which our platform has re-awakened deep inside. Or when a random VC calls to say "I really love what you are doing..let's keep in touch".. Thats when its all worth it.

Its when you are faced with death at your throat - and have your family in your corner - that greatness truly has a chance to blossom.

I have a few more rounds left in me. But regardless I will never have regrets; instead Ive got one hell of a story, family, and mvp to be proud of.

So do your good work quietly, laugh everyday water your seeds....and one day they will sprout, young man.

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rkayg 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm 23, and I'm in the same position as you.It might be a generational problem. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wait-but-why/generation-y-unha...

I also think we are tuned to focus on the future and all its glory and not focus on the present, especially in an environment that is all about "becoming the next big thing." So, one suggestion is to focus and be mindful of the present because if your head is always in the future or in the past, then you will be always unhappy. I see this present mind advice everywhere, but it is easier said than done. I don't have nearly the success you have, and I go through the same issues. "Why can't I start up a company and get it going? Why am I just working at a company? Why don't I get all the cool perks like Facebook employees? Is this going to be my life? Am I going to find someone to settle down with?" These questions naw at my core, but I am starting to find ways to avoid them.

One of the best ways to focus on the present is to exercise. When I mean exercise, I mean the gasping for air at the end exercise, which I accomplish via basketball. I only just starting realizing how truly blissful I am after a game of basketball because all I can focus on is getting air into my lunges. Nothing else matters at that point. My mind is forced to clear out because the need for oxygen has taken over.

The other one is to be introspect and read about this kind of stuff. I journal almost every day about my experiences, my emotions and that exercise helps me be more mindful of myself. I bet just writing this HN post felt good for you! Once in a while on HN, I will see articles posted about mindfulness and behaving in a zen-like manner, such as http://zenhabits.net/toolset/ and http://nyti.ms/1ld9lfU. A lot of this stuff is very nebulous, but the more you read and the more you write, the more it solidifies.

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bussiere 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's my point of view but why center your life around your job ? You already have done one impressive things for your age.

My advice would be do what you please, maybe take a job and learn things asides and live.

With such a resume you will not have problemes to find a job, why not just live ? Travel , meet people , try to learn things and skills.

And there is two things in life , things that you control and things that you can't control. Don't worry about the second part. Enjoy yourself and don't forget to laugh and have fun. Life is hort.

Even i you are the best in something, you may not achieve renown because of unluck or politic.

Find something / someone that you like and do it. An other things is that as long people that you respect, respect you tell the others to f* off. You don't have anything to prove to anyone.

Once you will realise this you will be more peaceful.Life is short enjoy , go out your circle of confort.

I worked in a lot of menial job (doorman was the worst for some aspect, having some drunk rich kids spent your monthly wage in one night) but you may find in something interesting in it (for me it was networking my contacts and practice undercover hypnotism on asshole drunk people).

Live. and don't forget to laugh :

For life is quite absurd

And death's the final word

You must always face the curtainwith a bow

Forget about your sin - give theaudience a grin

Enjoy it - it's your last chanceanyhow.

So always look on the bright sideof death...

(Whistle)

a-Just before you draw your terminal breath...(Whistle)

Life's a piece of shit, when you look at it

Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true

You'll see its all a show, keep 'em laughin as you go

Just remember that the last laugh is on you

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrdEMERq8MA#t=21

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drblast 3 days ago 0 replies      
Life doesn't have an award ceremony at the end, so any measurement you make of your success is pressure you're putting on yourself. Nobody else, including your family, cares about the "great" things you could be doing.

Unless you subscribe to one of the many religions that tell you that there IS an award ceremony after you die, you can rest assured that your presence here has absolutely no point or goal. To some people this is extremely depressing, but I firmly believe this and it's the most liberating thing in the world. There is nobody I have to impress, no goal I have to meet, and no level of success I have to achieve before I'm happy.

That's liberating because my life is more like play than work. You ever play a pick-up game of a fun sport, where you don't keep score and you just enjoy the competition with friends for its own sake? That is ALWAYS better than organized competition with awards and a goal, and I've done both.

I'm not saying check out and smoke pot all day, unless that's really your thing long term (probably isn't). But nobody gives a shit about how successful you are but you.

  I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed: And on the pedestal these words appear: 'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!' Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away."

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rpwverheij 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can only give you some advice with what has worked for me. I'm 29 now, I've been programming something I'm very passionate about for the past 4 years, earning just enough on the side to work on that. Last year, it took a big conversation with my girlfriend to accept that it was time to set aside the project for a bit and start working as a freelancer. For the first time I took a serious attempt at making a good CV/portfolio website and reached out through several channels to get some work. What worked in the end was to work though consultancies (which I had a grudge against). They gave me good connections which then gave me new work without the consultancy. I learned what I was worth per hour (much more than I used to ask). And because I did small jobs it was also very dynamic. The work wasnt always fun, but to develop myself like this was very much fun! And guess what, I grew a LOT in this time, my coding got better, mostly because I had to deal with lots of real life demands. My toolbox grew. My confidence grew. My professionality grew. My wallet grew. Then after bout a year I switched back to doing as little as possible and working on my own project. It took some effort, determination and time, because I had build up some responsibilities, and they tend to keep going for a while, but you also don't have to cut it all. Just keep the best :) .. right now I'm in a sweet spot of 1 day of well paid work and 4 days of doing my own project. And if you don't know what product to build next, I would suggest following your heart first, finding you passion, find what drives you. Give yourself the freedom to explore that. Because that's what will keep you going and motivated. And once you've found that... THAN it's time to find a way to make a living with it, preferable while helping others in the process. Good luck!
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ghgh 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was feeling the much same way when I was 27. I had a lot of ambitions, but my financial obligations (and weak resume at the time) prevented me from doing what I thought I was capable of.

I saved up some money, then took the best paying, most flexibleyet reliablepart time work I could find. I got really lucky and found a boss who was very understanding of my situation.

For the next few years I was fairly broke, but by having a steady part time job, I was able to swing back and forth between developing new skills, working on my own SAAS business, and freelancing when things got tight.

My business didn't hockey stick, but it had a steady bootstrapped upward incline. When it was making enough to pay the bills, I stopped freelancing, then eventually quit my part time job.

I traveled overseas a bunch, toured with my crappy band a few times, did all the other stuff on my bucket list, then bought a house and had a kid. Business is still good and consistent. I'm not rich, but I'm not poor either.

I'm 35 now. I spend my days hanging out with my son and answering the occasional email, hacking at night or whenever. I've never been happier than I am these days.

Sometimes, I wish I could travel back in time 10 years so that I could tell younger myself, "hey, things will turn out really well." Would've made the trip here a lot easier.

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gretful 3 days ago 0 replies      
Being lost is pretty much normal at your age. You've only just (what, 3 years ago?) finished college. You haven't yet experienced enough of the world to know what you want to do for the next 10 or so years.

Take the day job, save money, travel, enjoy life, meet people. You don't have to set such enormous expectations for yourself - you'll always end up disappointed in what you do (like you are now).

Find something you like enough to do as a hobby, and grow it into something more. And go easy on yourself.

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artur_makly 3 days ago 0 replies      
The most important thing, as I see it, is that you have connected with the self-realization of doing great things. That is precious.

Most people don't ever wake up to this fact ( that we all have this capability ). Our culture instills fear on all fronts to undermine this. It prefers quiet complacent followers to sacrificial gadfly leaders.

But with greatness comes great sacrifice. One day you will wake up with a vision for such an application of greatness which you will want to share with the world for its betterment.

Write that shit down.

Got immediate responsibilities? Shit we all do. Get pragmatic. GrowthHack your situation.Ideally find the right job/culture that either has a great collection of people you can learn from or projects which can hone those skills you will need to leverage later for your vision.

Your vision can be nurtured as a seed within the largest corporate office parks. While you are plugging away at your daily grind, take time every day to learn what parts of your corp experience can be leveraged into your newfound vision. Perhaps its a product growth process or some efficient OOP architecture..whatever..put it in the toolbox.

Test the vision.Network. Make crazy connections. Have conversations with your colleagues about your (hypothetical) idea. You will notice they would much rather small talk brainstorm about that than actually work. Take notes.

Life is not linear. Its not perfect. But your vision and passion is infinite. Keep beating the drum.It will get you through the tough times.

(Watch : http://www.ted.com/talks/larry_smith_why_you_will_fail_to_ha...)

Personally.. I deal with this everyday. Im about to turn 40! I should be an internet retirement home in Florida by now.

I grew up in NYC and rode the internet bubble..always working for various agencies and a few startups. One day I said fuck it..I'm tired of the rat race and want to craft my own perfect SaaS.

I was 32, a bit frightened, used to my expensive NYC lifestyle, had crazy ccard debt and was still paying off grad-school loans.

But I didn't want to live with the 'what if'.

How could I pull off the 6-month runway i needed to create my perfection?I moved to Argentina - where I found my dollar had 3x the buying power - and was able to stay in the same time zone with my existing clients in NYC. (most didn't even knew I left )

>> Fast fwd 8 yrs later.. Im on my 3rd startup. But now I have a co-founder wife and 2yr old that keep my ass in check.

Everyday is brutal.. its slow going ( since we are bootstrapped and split time between consulting) and on the toughest days I do think about just ejecting and going back to a cushy golden-handcuff job..especially now that my family needs stability...and I dream of a good night's sleep.

But then there are those days when I'm user-testing..and get to watch people come to life with the dormant creativity which our platform has re-awakened deep inside. Or when a random VC calls to say "I really love what you are doing..let's keep in touch".. Thats when its all worth it.

Its when you are faced with death at your throat - and have your family in your corner - that greatness truly has a chance to blossom.

I have a few more rounds left in me. But regardless I will never have regrets; instead Ive got one hell of a story, family, and mvp to be proud of.

So do your good work quietly, laugh everyday water your seeds....and one day they will sprout, young man.

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IkmoIkmo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd say there's 3 things to consider

* You should be really proud of your achievements so far, an acqui-hire is no joke.

* I understand you may be afraid of starting or joining a risky startup. But what have you got to lose? At age 25, you can live a scrappy life, there's no social pressure not be a salary man anymore these days, especially in a startup scene where it's so normal. You're young and can take the risk.

* Third, the only point that really matters in my opinion, is the people you have to provide for. If there's no way around it, there's no way around it. I know what that's like and I respect that. Just make sure to check your assumtions carefully. I'd had to take care of my sick dad for a long time, but wouldn't throw away an opportunity I really believed in, as he'd hate himself if he was an obstacle, and he'd still have my mom and my bro, and I'd still be able to support him partially. Talk to those who you support, and consider if they really depend on you. Sometimes there's room to juggle both, sometimes it's possible to find an alternative caretaker.

Lastly, there's quite a few startups that are challenging and do pay decently from the get go. Bitcoin is a fun space for example, and Bitpay and Coinbase pay well, yet exist in a challenging and ever in-flux ecosystem.

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brichardsfx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Minimize your expenses, encircle yourself with close friends, spend time outside, buy a small plot of land and plant some trees, seriously, I think most of the tech/starup scene is a forest through the trees problem. Most "successful" people work themselves to death "preparing for life" during their best years. You are 25 man, relax, travel, find someone with REAL problems and put a smile on their face.
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Sloveni4n 3 days ago 0 replies      
1. Startups are tough and I am afraid.

> This will never change. Conquer your fears and do it.

2. I have a few financial responsibilities towards my family which I have to take care of.

> Manage these as you work to own #1.

You're 25. What a great age to be! To be young enough to take risks, fail, and get back up and begin again. In my experience, most of those who were/are successful in their endeavors, were at the brink of financial failure and dealing with both issues you mention, when the risks paid off quite literally overnight. Of course startups can be absolutely huge undertakings, but the risks and rewards involved are the reasons we go after them.

Don't miss out on a chance at your passion because you were too afraid or intimidated. Regret sucks. There are just as many lessons (or more) in failure as there are in success for the next project you take on. Regret has nothing to offer but regret. It's a complete waste.

Go after what makes you happy--no matter what and never ever stop. Anything less and you will remain unfulfilled as you mention in your opening statement. Go get it and good luck!

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simonbarker87 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hunker down in the new job for a couple of years, don't fall for needless lifestyle upgrades just because you have a salary now (Mr Money Moustache methodology) and come back to a start up in a couple of years if you want to with a bit of cash under your belt and a new perspective.

Good luck what ever you choose, it's likely that there are no bad choices right now which is why you're feeling like this.

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aniijbod 3 days ago 0 replies      
As long as you wake up in the morning with something to look forward to, something you are going to feel good about doing in the future, you will be able to get through anything.The whole thing about 'wasting the crucial years of your life' applied to a time which has now passed. The Y Combinator observation that it's getting cheaper every day to start something potentially world-changing by making something a lot of people really want is not going to go away, just because you're older. Yes, your energy and health may decline in the coming years, but that could happen even if you were working on the startup of your dreams right now.Never imagine that you're going to miss the boat: when you're feeling ready to do another startup, that will be the right time for you. This notion of whether you have a 'window' in your 'lifespan years' as far as starting startups is concerned might have once been 100% true, but if anyone tells you it's still true now, you cannot use expect the past to be a reliable guide.
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bjones53 3 days ago 0 replies      
I understand this is easier said than done, but stop living in the future and start enjoying the present. One way this can be achieved is by setting short term realistic goals; learn a skill, volunteer, help others, meet new people, etc.

This might sound cheesy, but fulfillment and happiness are usually achieved in the process of working towards your goal, and are rarely found after an accomplishment.

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72deluxe 3 days ago 0 replies      
You're young and sounds like you have done very well.

I think taking care of your financial responsibilities is wise and responsible. Just keep plodding on.

Picking up another job is not an easy thing to do in this current economic situation, so I would be pleased about this! Non-sexy and non-trendy industries are still important. Working in farming is not very sexy or trendy but people always need food. Just because it isn't trendy doesn't mean it isn't important.

The difficulty is that the things we want to do are put off by the things that we HAVE to do. We unfortunately have no control over a lot of the things that are holding us back, but probably just need to accept that we have no control over them and carry on anyway. If we have no control over them, there's nothing you can do.

Try working on things on the side that do do justice to your capabilities, even if the main thing you are doing perhaps doesn't. The main thing will cover your financial responsibilities whilst you scheme to escape it. That should keep things in balance.

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nakovet 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hi, I am 28 years old, I never started my own startup but want to, I do not consider myself a underachiever cause there are young people making billion dollar deals, if you live for the news/press/media you will always fell a underachiever, the car of your dreams, the teenage singer that sold a million albums, you got the point.

You need to reflect what's most important for you, what makes you happy, is it money? Is it helping the other? Is it reading books? Does being happy mean having buck loads of money? Do you feel alone? Do you feel good about yourself being alone? Do you like the company you have? Partner, family, friends?

We live in a amazingly connected world with billions of people, so while you are brushing your teeth there will be people practicing gymnastics, people winning gold medals, launching new programming languages and selling million dollars companies, it's fine, you can't keep up with everyone, don't compare yourself, don't envy, the key is to understand what makes you happy, in a peace state of mind.

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annythesillicat 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm Anny. I am 25 too and I'm facing situation like yours and I am also lost. I don't have any fancy advice but I want to share some stuff that may work with you as it works with me.

For sure in the future I know that I will have my own business. But Right now I'm trying to get a new job. Also I have to maintain the responsibility that I have to support my family. It is very tough life. I was very suffered. I recently just realised that yeah suffering demands to be suffered, we have to experience it and never hold back, but once when we done with it we just let it go and look for positive possibility and pursue it.

I was very miserable for past months and just recover from letting those shit go. I choose to be thankfully happy not miserably lost. I am now having job interview with Amazon AWS and Google. I keep positivity high but expectation low and still keep looking for, again, positive possibility. I keep telling myself that always believe in yourself, always look for positive possibility, focus and pursue! Lifehacking is fun after all :)

here are some of my stories. I wrote it couple weeks ago when I was super miserable and I didn't know what to do.

http://fleurblanc.tumblr.com/

Enjoy lifehacking!

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b_emery 3 days ago 0 replies      
Some great comments here. I'll add a few favorite quotes that I think are relevant:

On doing great things:

"It turns out that for all their diversity, the strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success. The first is a superiority complex a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite insecurity, a feeling that you or what youve done is not good enough. The third is impulse control.

The way to develop this package of qualities not that its easy, or that everyone would want to is through grit. It requires turning the ability to work hard, to persevere and to overcome adversity into a source of personal superiority. This kind of superiority complex isnt ethnically or religiously exclusive. Its the pride a person takes in his own strength of will."

On resilience:

"They use difficulty as a catalyst to deepen purpose, recommit to values, increase discipline, respond with creativity and heighten productive paranoia translating fear into extensive preparation and calm, clearheaded action. Resilience, not luck, is the signature of greatness.

... turn it into one of the best things that ever happened, to not let it become a psychological prison.

The 10Xers exercise productive paranoia, combined with empirical creativity and fanatic discipline, to create huge margins of safety. If you stay in the game long enough, good luck tends to return, but if you get knocked out, youll never have the chance to be lucky again. Luck favors the persistent, but you can persist only if you survive."

On finding happiness:

"Forget about finding your passion. Instead, focus on finding big problems. Putting problems at the center of our decision-making changes everything. It's not about the self anymore. It's about what you can do and how you can be a valuable contributor. People working on the biggest problems are compensated in the biggest ways. I don't mean this in a strict financial sense, but in a deeply human sense. For one, it shifts your attention from you to others and the wider world. You stop dwelling. You become less self-absorbed. Ironically, we become happier if we worry less about what makes us happy. "

Best of luck to you.

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samelawrence 3 days ago 0 replies      
First off, good for you for asking for help and advice. Too many people keep to themselves and stagnate. Learning to ask for help is something that took me nearly a decade to understand was okay.

5 months ago, I posted something very similar here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7398968

I'm only 26, so I can't give you the wise advice that others in this community can, but I'll say that I just stuck it out, and things got better. I was in a job I really didn't like, I was personally unhappy, and felt very alone.

Simply as a process of time, continuing to get better at my craft, and continuing to poke on my network, I now am in a much better place, working on something I'm excited about with a team I really respect. I don't even like calling it a job.

I think a lot of us are going through the same thing you are, especially people our age when we look at the web and see all these other people our age who are far more successful. Just remember that if you see some 26-year-old millionaire on the front page of TechCrunch, it's because that person is an exception, not the rule. You don't have to size yourself up against their level of success, or even what you perceive as their happiness.

Live your life. Find and follow your path. You're always doing what's in your heart, so listen to it. You cannot run from your own nature, so take time to sit with it, discover it, and fall in love with your own desires. If you truly know yourself, and can discover what you truly, deeply want to do, I think you'll be happy. Just know that there's no timeline on when you discover it. I still haven't found my "thing", but I'm happy because I know I'm getting closer to it.

My email is in my profile. Please reach out if you need someone to talk to. I'm sure there are many others (older, wiser heads) here who would offer the same.

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adamzerner 3 days ago 1 reply      
> What do you do when you believe that you can do great things but something that you have no control over is holding you back? You believe that you are good at what you do and are meant for great things but you have to do your job even though it doesn't do justice to your capabilities. How do you cope with that? Seeing your future as an underachiever pains you. What do you do?

It sounds like your someone with ambition. You know you're capable of great things and wouldn't be satisfied with anything less. I'm like that too and I thought a lot about it.

IMO, the ultimate goal is to be happy, so the natural question is how these ambitions translate to happiness and whether you could do better by taking another approach to happiness.

Other approaches might work for other people, but I suspect that they wouldn't work for people with true ambitions. I suspect that people with true ambitions are so driven and motivated to do big things that they won't really be able to rid themselves of these thoughts. If you try to settle down into some nice relaxing lifestyle where you should be happy, you'll always be haunted by the thoughts that you could/should be doing something better.

Note: I'm saying "suspect" a lot because I'm only 21 and am not too confident in this hypothesis.

So if you're ambitions are a core part of you, I suspect that it's best to pursue them. And if you need to get yourself some stability in the short term, don't worry about it. Do what you can with what you have, and think long-term.

- - -

Also, I hate the idea that smart and ambitious people can't pursue their ambitions because they need to pay the bills. I wrote about it here - https://medium.com/p/f4902d078f58. I think you'll be able to relate.

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ascotan 3 days ago 0 replies      
"I don't know if this is what they call a quarter-life crisis."

This is what happens to most post-college grads. You're led to believe that you are the smartest most capable person in the world and that _you will_ make a difference.

Then you get a real job and and eventually come to understand how the world really works.

I'd say:

1. Put your family first. They are likely the only one that will not give up on you in the long run.

2. Pursue what you enjoy. It's a long life (hopefully) and you will do great things _because_ you love what you do.

3. Plan the future. You will end up _somewhere_ is 5 years. The destination can be determined by planning.

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IanDrake 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can you say what exactly is not under your control? I hear that frequently, but most times people misinterpret their feeling out of control with not having the ability to control things in their life.

At 25 I was married, had a house, a riding mower, 3 cars, and everything felt out of control. I had pretty much the same crisis. At that point I was making good money, but my stuff owned me. So, I sold the stuff and started to take control.

One year later, I was debt free and had tons of options. I could have put my few possessions in storage and lived in Costa Rica or backpacked across Europe. I didn't do that, but I could have, and that made a huge difference in my mental state.

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AnOldGit 2 days ago 0 replies      
You are 25 years old, you have your whole life ahead of you, you are still wet behind the ears in terms of learning your chosen profession and in life experience - frankly this is the bleat of a spoilt child ... "I could be great but someone else is stopping me from being so". "I'm going to under-achieve yah di yah".

Stop whining and grow up would be my advice. Life is about taking knocks, getting up and getting on with it - sure ask advice but its hardly a "crisis"

Speaking from a perspective of being close to 60 years old and having worked in IT for 38 years. considerably longer than you have been alive, my observation is that what has truly mattered has been the people I have met, the friendships I have made, my family and my children.

Great things ... cough ... dont come from yet another better version of Javascript or some other re-churn or regurgitation of yet another way of presenting mobile/web data content or whatever is fashionable.

In your context - great things are defined by adding something of fundamental value to your chosen professional discipline or field. That comes from damn hard work, intellectual rigour, a willingness to face and overcome obstacles, vision and often sheer bloody-mindedness

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mattm 3 days ago 0 replies      
> I have no idea where it is going to take me in two years

No one knows the future. The best experiences of my life have been things I hadn't even thought about a year before they happened.

> You believe that you are good at what you do and are meant for great things but you have to do your job even though it doesn't do justice to your capabilities

Spend one hour per day working on your own project idea. Maybe it will turn into something, maybe not. But at least it will be something you own and you'll learn a lot from it. Does it suck that progress will be slow? Yes. But 1 hour per day over the course of two years can add up to something pretty impressive.

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Aqueous 3 days ago 0 replies      
'Even though it was termed an acquisition, it was really an acqui-hire.'

What the hell is the difference? Someone was interested enough in your company to buy it. This is a very superficial distinction and irrelevant.

All of these voices telling you you should be crushing it are coming from within, and actually originate in some sort of arrogance/insecurity where you simultaneously believe you are amazing but are also not sure of it, and the only way to prove it to yourself for sure is to prove it to other people.

I spent my 20s with a debilitating chronic neurological illness, to the point where I was totally unable to live up to what I originally thought my potential to be. Even though this used to be a source of great distress for me, I eventually learned to stop struggling. Instead of fighting it, I began to understand that on each and every day I'm only the person I am that day, and only have the capabilities that I have that day. I let myself off the hook, and things became a lot easier as a result.

And if you think it's different for you because you don't have a neurological disease, you're wrong. You too only have to be the most amazing person you can be today. If you find that to be distinctly un-amazing, that's ok - you might be different tomorrow.

Remember too there are those out there who are in a much worse position than you are. Keep perspective. It is easy to lose sight of that in the tech bubble where everyone is always crushing it 100% of the time. (They aren't, and you don't have to either.)

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reqqi_ben 3 days ago 0 replies      
You're 25 and still to young to worry about 'responsibilities', I'm 34 and have similar feelings and my appetite for adventure and greatness may just have to sit on the back burner for a few years if I want to settle down and have a family.

If your family care about you then they'll know you'll pay them back at some point.

If you've got something and feel that you're destined for greatness don't hide it away, it'll only make you miserable.

Live the dream whilst you can.

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sbouafif 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hi,

I'm 25 too, I've been like you and I'm starting to getting out of this 'crisis'.

Like you I lived awesome things in the last 5 years, things that I would have never think I will accomplish.

I don't have a solution for you, but for me what's worked is reading books (non-fiction). In a book, you will generally find a condensed version of the life of the author and that's great. In a few hours you'll understand what he went through, how he did this or that and what they learned from that experience.

And that's great because at 25, your lack of experience doesn't help you make choices.

Here is a few books I can recommend you:

- Choose Yourself (James Altucher & Dick Costolo) - It's mostly about how to become your own boss, but there's a few chapter that are really useful when your a bit 'lost' or in 'crisis'

- The Obstacle is the Way (Ryan Holiday) - Really great reading!

- Satisfaction (Gregory Berns) - I'm in the first chapter but it's seems to be a good book.

These books are really easy to read.

If you don't like reading, listen to James Altucher podcast https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ask-altucher/id868149214...

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abhigupta 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like you are a perfectionist in nature :) Perfectionist tend to be rarely "happy" with their achievements and are always striving for more. It is very hard to be fulfilled with such a mindset. I would suggest checking out this book with some more information on being a perfectionist http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004BKJB6Y/ref=oh_aui_d_det...
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darren884 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am 27 and going through the same thing, it seems no matter where I work until I can truly setup the structure or foundation for a project I never feel like I am working on something glorious because I think it wasn't put together well or sloppy; I have worked at places where I believe it was put together well so I'm not always putting down code I inherit. The way that I keep sane is I try to stay positive by going to meetups and being with other people who are excited about the more advanced things and have the same type of hunger for purpose. At home I also work on personal projects and explore new things and I would recommend that. I quit my job like you a year after the startup I was with was acquired because they really didn't care about the tech aspect of it and joined a new one but I am not really challenged (even thought they needed to hire a senior software engineer) and try to lose myself in my routine so the day goes by quick. I think what I am going to have to do for purpose is do more open-source projects or build small apps of my own. I would recommend that. Focus on your family too and your non-tech life, remembering how valuable they are in helping you not think of this. There are tons of us like you.
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tsunamifury 3 days ago 0 replies      
You'll get a lot of advice on money from self-righteous spendthrifts, or workaholic try-hards like myself projecting their own image on to you -- but this is about you.

What makes you happy ... dig really deeply into this question by:

0) Acknowledging that you are free to do whatever you want (really!)

1) Seeking out and being around people you admire

2) Trying brand new (scary) things

3) Practicing collecting data about your state of mind and happiness, and pursuing behaviors that improve it.

4) Acknowledging that unhappiness and happiness can exist in a healthy balance which both motivates and rewards you.

5) Do what you want.

6) Accept that your goals and ideas about happiness will change over time and aren't static

Right now I'm an over-working, game loving, big spender. And right now its pretty fun because I have the confidence to love this lifestyle for what it is -- pretty silly. Its not who I am nor who I will be forever. I've also been a survivalist and outdoor photographer for magazines, a car-living homeless person, a Master's student, a startup-er, and most recently a researching for one of those big SV companies.

You'll find it. You'll do great. Don't be afraid.

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andrewdubinsky 3 days ago 0 replies      
1. Freelance until you figure it out. Just pick up short term contracts if you can.

2. Spend time with family and friends.

3. Find a way to help others. Get out of yourself for a bit.

4. See a therapist. There's no shame in getting an emotional 'tune up'.

5. Life is longer than you realize. And harder than you imagine. Start being good to yourself.

6. Remember that difficult times don't create character. They reveal it.

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AndrewKemendo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I know for a fact that I want to run my own business and attain financial freedom but I can't risk another startup at this moment because: 1. Startups are tough and I am afraid 2. I have a few financial responsibilities towards my family which I have to take care of.

I just turned 30 two weeks ago. I am married, have three children and a mortgage. I am leaving the government in December to build my start-up (visidraft.com) into a successful business.

The reality is, beyond a certain point your responsibilities will not shrink. The key questions once past that point are: Is your family on board; and is the risk probably worth the payoff? If you can answer yes to the first and maybe/yes to the second then your mind should be eased.

Beyond that though, it sounds like you need to figure out where you want to be and then set a path for how to get there. The fact that you had a positive in your favor liquidation event is massive and you should not spit at that. Maybe your path requires you slogging at a regular job for a little while, building up a war-chest to bootstrap the next project.

Bottom line is: you need to find a place that you want to be in the future and then determine what your vectors are to get there.

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irrationalguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Actually working for someone really isn't that bad.

I had my own company for about 8 years and had quite a lot of fun doing it. The money wasn't great, but the freedom to do what I wanted was nice. Or so I thought at the time. I probably put in 60+ hours a week. I was constantly thinking about it. I rarely took long vacations simply because there really wasn't anyone to answer the phone when I wasn't there.

Then I gave it up, and went to work for client of mine and now had the freedom to actually take a couple weeks off. And to actually work on interesting projects without worrying about my paycheck. I had a wife and a 1 year old daughter and being able to leave the office and forget about work until tomorrow was wonderful. And it wasn't something I was able to do at my company.

After 13 years doing that, I've gone out on my own again. Consulting for my old employer and picking up a couple new gigs. Its not going to make me rich, but that's not important to me.

Anyways, enjoy the different kind of freedom of working for someone else. Maybe you'll find you like it. Maybe you wont. But at least you'll have some more experience under your belt.

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samuelm 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you're still feeling stuck after all of these great answers, feel free to hit me up over email (should be on my profile) and we can setup a time to skype and dig into this. I've been told I'm a good listener and ask good questions, so let's see what we can unearth about your situation. No charge and no funny business. I've just had my own experiences with being lost and want to help.

-Samuel

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nm_101 3 days ago 0 replies      
Don't beat yourself up too much. Doing great stuff takes time, you learned a sh*t load from your last company and next time you can avoid some of the mistakes. As irritating as it is to endure - doing a mediocre job should give you some respite, time to think and the ability save some cash.

Aim to save the maximum humanly possible (reduce spend/be frugal) to give you potential budget or run-way for your next project. Start it while you are employed, work on it when you are at work. Be a terrible employee while more-or-less still looking good... but vest your time in new projects or ideas, or exposing yourself to where you might find them (not pointless crap like most other bad employees do).

Personally, I am in the latter stages of 'medicore job' period after a very similar gig at a fairly similar age (few yrs older). I am hitting 70% net wage savings rate and have one project in-hand progressing reasonably well and a bigger/ambitious project in the works. I spend the majority of my work day working on these projects while still delivering for my job - I really dislike working for someone else but, as a means to an end, this is pretty cushy.

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mattyfo 3 days ago 1 reply      
You're so young, enjoy the ride.

Cultivate a rich life and identity outside of work. It's hard but what we do doesn't have to be what defines us.

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volume 3 days ago 0 replies      
The questions I read were in the 4th paragraph where you talk about not being in control.

There's a range of possibilities that you are more in control of things than you think. Is it The opinions of others? Perhaps take a needed vacation to travel. Travel alone to reflect or just not think about it. Perhaps someone is actively trying to control you for what they think is best for you?

I believe in a 25 year old crisis. Because you still have people out there who think they inspire you, or want to influence and guide you. Or you are legally an adult but there's all these older folks to still see you and treat you as a kid. Or you overcompensate for it by out-adulting the adults. Or you are self-aware of your age and how your accomplishments overshadow those who are older than you. You have surpassed them in some ways yet still try to find meaning in life. I think that's what I'd call something like the quarter life crisis.

I guess no matter what age you're at, it's time that matters in how you invest it and appreciate it. I want to control time!

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sailfast 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think reframing the way you're thinking about this would help.

Instead of saying "I'm annoyed that I can't do these things arg" why not say "I've made a decision to do Y because, and I'm going to make the most of that." Next, try to evaluate whether you are succeeding in that role. Are you learning? Growing? Maybe you're not coding as much but you're learning a crap-ton about how NOT to do things, or about a business domain that has a bunch of meaty problems you can solve later.

Look hard at the things you really want that make you happy (spending time with family, creating things, etc) weigh them, and use that as a new target.

Unfortunately your conundrum is a constant struggle throughout life for those that want to have an impact. First, breathe and relax, and know that it is impossible to do everything all the time. Second, realize that you have a bunch of time left, and there is no formula that determines when in life you can have an impact or be successful. You'll be just fine.

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dreamweapon 3 days ago 0 replies      
Look at it this way: just the fact that you know you're "lost" puts you way, way, way ahead of the pack. "The pack" being, of course, all these kids working for Google, Twitter, Uber, etc who think they're on some glorious "path" to meaning and success just because they're doing something instantly recognizable and buzzworthy.
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matthewcanty 3 days ago 0 replies      
Please read: 'Thinking Fast and Slow' by Daniel Kahneman (Note: the last 1/3 of this book is quite arduous and not really related to your issues...).

'Thinking Fast and Slow' changed the way I think about everything. In fact I need to read it again.

I like you have had perhaps two periods of feeling incredible inadequate since I moved to London 3 years ago. The quarter-life crisis is well recognised if you do a quick search.

One thing is certain: Money != Happiness. Last time I received a pay rise I requested a day off every fortnight. That day I get so much done, it is unbelievable. Just that day makes me happy. My aim is to keep reducing the number of days I spend sitting in offices.

> I'm 25 years old and I am lost

I can easily look back and apply the same sentence to the way I've felt at times.

Good luck!

PS email me if you would like more advice. I mull over this sort of stuff almost indefinitely.

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datasmash 3 days ago 0 replies      
You're listening to your gut! I'd say that's a pretty good start. Most people ignore what their gut is saying while they make the "comfortable" safe choice.

I would try to shift your mindset. Nothing is permanent, nothing is forever, and there is no perfect situation.

Try to view life as a series of choices. Right now you're choosing stability and that's fine. When your financial situation improves, you'll be able to make another choice.

Plus there is always bootstrapping on the side :)

Learn what you can out of your new situation and try to view it in the most positive light. It's not your ideal situation, but ask yourself "What can I learn from this experience?" and it will be easier to digest. A stable company has the potential to teach you about leadership, the structure of successful companies, how strategy scales beyond 3 people in a room, and you also have the potential to form friendships and relationships along the way.

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victori 3 days ago 0 replies      
I fell into a similar frame of mind a few months back.

I've been running a tech business since I was in school, it's all I've ever known. Ten years on it's not like a startup any more, it's a daily slog and I dislike it immensely.

Friends and family think I've done well even getting this far but all I see is the lack of real growth for the past few years. I thought I would be a lot further ahead than this.

So I'm now doing my best to stop feeling sorry for myself. I've started helping my wife progress her career and it feels far better than anything I've ever done for myself. It gives me a reason to carry on with my boring job every day, knowing that doing so brings in enough money to give someone else the chance to follow their dreams.

I don't think I'll ever give up on my own dreams but at least if I can help someone else in the mean time I'll never have to say that it was all for nothing.

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Link- 3 days ago 0 replies      
Make 'peace' with your 'current' situation.

This does not mean 'accepting' it and 'acknowledging' that mediocrity is all you're bound to. This means that for the time being, you will make the 'best' of the opportunity 'at hand', you will work for a better one to present itself while eliminating all the negativity and irritation associated with the present.

Changing your mental state, to become a catalyst for progress instead of a shackle, is the actual problem and the real challenge. Work on this point, the rest is relatively clearer (side projects, another startup, better offer, fancier pay, more exciting challenges/problems to solve etc...).

I'm in the same position, at the same age, battling the same demons. The above is my realization after a prolonged phase of depression. 'Work with what you have to reach what you couldn't before'.

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milesf 3 days ago 3 replies      
My advice will likely be laughed at, but I chose to follow Jesus Christ. Start with the Book of John. I'm 45 now, and have been following him since age 20.

I have friends who are millionaires, and one who is close to a billionaire. I don't think they are any happier than I am, and in fact my relationships are much better than most of theirs. It's weird, but when you do finally have tonnes in the bank, and you've had your fill of partying and the good life, it becomes a bit tiring. Then the question becomes "now what?".

Also, what do you do with your guilt?

Once you get the meaning of life sorted, everything else makes sense. Whether you are rich or poor, healthy or sick, or

This is, of course, just my opinion. I respect a person's right to believe whatever they want, all I ask is they respect my right to believe whatever I want.

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joeguilmette 3 days ago 1 reply      
My mom always told me do what you love and the money will follow. Sounds trite but I've spent the last six years going 50/50 between working as a professional skydiver and traveling internationally. Now I am successfully transitioning to web design so I can travel full time.

If it isn't fulfilling then don't do it.

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VaedaStrike 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've found that as I do what I know is my obligation to do, while still reaching for what I feel is my dream, that things seem to almost conspire to move me in routes that actually enhance, rather than detract from, what I really wanted.

Keep the vision of what you want liquid. Go in a general direction. Role with the punches and don't swing at every pitch. Try and use your distinct perspective to give you insights that others do not have.

While the journey might take longer, or may not be as conventional, if you stick at it my experience has been that things work for me when I stay at things regardless of how distant or implausible they may appear at any given point.

I'm only speaking from my own experience, but every seeming downside I've had has, after enough time and experience, actually appeared to be a boost rather than a drag on my long term aspirations.

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amackera 3 days ago 0 replies      
Firstly, don't be ashamed of your acqui-hire - that's a hard thing to pull off and you should be proud that you didn't fall over like 99% of all startup companies do.

Secondly, take some time for yourself. Assuming the terms of the acquisition were favourable, you should have a fair amount of financial freedom (at least for a few months). Take some time to travel and see parts of the world that are new to you. For me, travel is a very effective "reset" that helps me examine my life and the world more holistically.

After founding a startup and working hard to see it succeed, you're probably used to a fast-paced cadence and it's hard to relax into a less high-producing role. Time box your relaxing so you don't feel like you're just giving up - but give yourself some space to live.

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Tekhne 3 days ago 0 replies      
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untog 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why do you want to run your own business? What are the positives you hope to gain from doing that? I spent my mid-twenties convinced that I wanted to found a startup and live that life, but having recently emerged in my 30s I've realised that what I actually wanted was the freedom to make my own choices about what I work on and how. I never cared about entrepreneurship.

I left the startup world behind and my life satisfaction went through the roof - I no longer felt guilty for not crushing it 100%, or that I hadn't sold a successful company by the age of 24. I'm not saying this is the answer for you, but it's never a bad thing to get some perspective. Get out of the bubble - take a road trip around some states, maybe. Take a break from Hacker News. You and your friends might be chasing the wrong thing.

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kfk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Part of the reason you are lost is because you have no experience. You are trying to solve problems with startups, but the quality and profitability of the problems you can solve at 25 is not that high. Simply because you have not seen enough. The other part of the reason is that our (I am 28) generation has a lot of freedom and a lot of free time too, we are having troubles dealing with that, many just waste time/freedom on useless stuff (carrier, facebook, TV, etc.), others waste it thinking of how to obtain a better future (financial freedom, sounds a bell?). My advice is: go out, go have some fun; meanwhile get good at whatever job you are doing and I ensure you that in a couple of years you will have seen lots of profitable/interesting problems worth solving.
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ngcazz 3 days ago 0 replies      
A guy with an acqui-hire under his belt describes himself as an underachiever -- I don't think you realise how insulting that might be to other ambitious people who are in much, much humbler places :)

Grab that bag of money and go travel if you can. Have a good time, you deserve it.

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ashwinaj 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think you should chill out for a while. Travel and experience other places, people and cultures. Read meaningful books which provide you thoughtful insight on the vagaries of life. IMO you will appreciate the smaller, more meaningful things in life, which is actually what makes people happy rather than materialistic endeavors (there's nothing inherently wrong in being materialistic, it just doesn't give people long term happiness. See this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_psychology
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matt_morgan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm 46 and rode the Web revolution to a great career, working for some amazing places, and I'm still worried about some of these things. I've done a lot of things I'm really proud of, and I still don't feel done, so trust me, this never goes away and maybe it doesn't even make you lost, just searching.

One approach I can suggest: in my generation if you wanted to change the world you went into nonprofits, which is what I did. You don't have to build a startup on one of your own ideas to make a difference. What are your causes? What do you care about?

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Havoc 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm hearing a bit of Impostor syndrome there...sometimes just bringing this to a conscious level can help counteract it.

I find that it also helps to remind myself that life is managed not cured.

So you're working a non startup gig for a while - there is zero shame as that. If you've got your heart set on a startup long term then see it as a tactical retreat whilst you gather your strength and evaluate options. Chance are it might just help you - sometimes its better to bid your time and attack from a position of strength than charge at the problem blindly.

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ighost 3 days ago 0 replies      
I know how you feel.

I've worked at a couple of startups, two groups at Apple, two groups at Google and now at Twitter. I've learned two things chasing a feeling of fulfillment, like you seem to be:

1. You can't expect your job to give you the all of the fulfillment you need.

2. The most fulfilling work is the kind of work that's just challenging enough, but not too challenging--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)

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jlandover 3 days ago 0 replies      
Try not to focus on yourself and inward. Focus outward. There is no right answer to "what should I do" but it is also the wrong question. Instead I would read Viktor Frankl and ask "what does life expect from you." Maybe it demands you work a job that you are not passionate about right now. This job won't be forever. Maybe the world right now demands you quit your job and work on a great idea and seize a great opportunity. Only you can answer these questions, but make sure you are asking the right questions.
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keithly 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just because your current job isn't in a sexy or trendy industry doesn't make it bad. You can learn a lot about working with people and business even if you're somewhere in the bowels of a large multinational corporation. I know I have. Also, there are really excellent developers in companies like that, too, not just in startups in the valley. Even if this job isn't for you, a couple years in a place like that isn't very long in big scheme of things. You might get ideas for some sort of B2B startup that you wouldn't have otherwise.
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snorkel 3 days ago 0 replies      
You have more freedom than you think to do great and interesting work in the job you have now. Just don't wait to be asked, you just invent without being asked to invent.

You just need initiate and bootstrap the idea yourself on the side quietly, then when ready for demo, show it to your boss and ask for some sponsorship to keep working on it (you gotta make sure it has clear business impact for them) Most reasonable bosses will allow for some time invested in new and interesting ideas. If your boss always shoots it down then find a new boss.

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rburhum 3 days ago 0 replies      
As you know this yourself, all "startups" are not risky. early stage startups are risky. "Startups" that have reached a growth stage are not necessarily risky (that scaling phase is about throwing gasoline in the fire). Your compensation package, role and type of work you do at any of these companies is on par with that of a big company. Many metropolitan areas are filled with companies that fit this profile... why work at a crappy place when you can get steady income from a safe place & fun place?
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spacenick34 3 days ago 0 replies      
Start learning about meditation, but like, for real. I went through the same "mid life crisis" (I'm 23) and it helped me immensely. Especially vipassana. I'm still a massive massive newbie but I can get a tiny tiny grasp of what true happiness is. Startups are an amazing work environment but they're also incredibly stressful and sometimes just shade away what's the real meaning of life. Building startups, optimizing UI/UX, etc etc etc is NOT real life. Just my 2 cents
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runjake 3 days ago 0 replies      
You're only 25 years old. You have the world at your feet. Not only that, but you're accomplishing great things.

You will have these transitions in life. They are not failures. They are the closings and beginnings of chapters.

Before you know it, you'll be approaching the end of the book. But right now, you're young. Take more (positive) risks. Enjoy everything, knowing you have plenty of options. And definitely don't waste any of your youth on self-pity.

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free2rhyme214 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm your age. All you need to do is find your passion and work on it after your day job. If you don't like your day job find another one.

Money alone doesn't bring happiness because happiness comes from within and not from external sources.

Email me if you'd like to talk more.

You'll get all sorts of advice on HN but at the end of the day all that matters is that you're happy and excited to work on your goals everyday while providing for your family.

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JSeymourATL 3 days ago 0 replies      
> How do you cope with that?

Don't underestimate the Mental Game aspect of this personal challenge. An unusually good read on this subject, Way of the Seal by Mark Divine. Here's a recent interview> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_bDMEUF7F8

Mindset is crucial. And a 24-36 month game plan to pay-off debt, salt-way cash, & plot your next move is a smart strategic play.

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jasallen 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would take 'enjoy the ride' a step further. Use the ride. If you are never anything but a successful entrepreneur you will fail:

1) To be a good boss to anyone except the elite talent2) To understand how/why gears of productivity can grind to a halt as you get layers of management beneath3) To have a vantage point to appreciate what you achieve later.4) To meet anyone who you can say forever was there for you when things weren't going rockstar sexy.

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phkahler 3 days ago 0 replies      
Working at a regular company can provide you ideas for your next project. Find out how things are done, figure out how they could be done better. Your next startup should solve a problem for someone, why not solve a problem faced by your employer and its peers? In fact, there's a problem right there - a capable person like you doesn't want to work for a company like that - why? There is a problem there. Much bigger than what I had in mind when I started this comment.
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Immutant 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's possible to be happier with less, plain and simple. What did people living with far less throughout human history do? I guess you think they were just miserable, that we've reached happiness as a society through comfort goods. I think you're just a wimpy comfort junkie with no imagination.
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jedione 3 days ago 0 replies      
If need money, start freelancing or get a job. With a job, you can build a small sidebiz and when you're ready to make the jump you'll have either existing revenue from your new product or freelancing gigs.

I've been doing this for last few years. I currently have a startup that has very little funding but I have cashflow from consulting, so it's not that risky (can still pay the bills)

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jdalton 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great things never came from comfort zones. If you want to reach your goal of financial freedom you're going to have to put yourself back out there.
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logn 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think you need to (1) find a significant other and (2) partake in debauchery. I say this because you seem to be myopically focused on business/success, and despite doing pretty well for yourself, you've derived almost no satisfaction. Maybe you need someone to share your life with. And maybe you need to step outside of your own thoughts. Live!
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nerdy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Startups will always be tough and you'll probably always be afraid.

Take care of your financial situation and push on with your new startup.

It is easy to feel panicked when facing a situation you want to change, but I'm sure if you reflect upon your life you've felt that way before and made it through. Problems ahead can often seem insurmountable but few things in life actually are.

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hariis 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Universe is much bigger than you. Go with the flow. Have your ambitious goals as an intention, but take what you are getting now with peace. In the end, your achievement or lack of, hardly matters. Your living of your life with peace, matters. Be attentive and opportunities that suit your intention will knock on your door. Until then, don't sweat.
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michaelochurch 3 days ago 0 replies      
When people congratulate me on that, I know in my heart that it's not true and it doesn't really make me happy.

It won't (make you happy, that is). Acqui-hires usually end badly, but they're good for your career because you've joined Those Who Have Completed An Exit. This industry tends to overemphasize past results (which are 90+ percent noise) because the people in power have no ability whatsoever to judge talent. Be thankful that you're on the winning side of that error source. After two years and some distance, you'll probably be at peace with how this has played out. You have something most people don't. You can say that you were acquired. Most people have to lie to cover up shortfalls in their 20s; you can actually tell the truth about your career.

Thus, I have picked up another job which I'll join in a few weeks. It is not in a very 'sexy' or 'trendy' industry and I have no idea where it is going to take me in two years.

Sexy/trendy is overrated. Those VC darlings are good at marketing themselves to broken people (such as midlife-crisis chicken-hawk VCs who want to be "cool" because, when young, they never were) but those companies often have broken cultures and harbor a lot of terrible personalities.

On the other hand, there are companies in "boring" businesses that have great cultures and, under the hood, are actually doing fascinating work. Personally, I'd rather do machine learning for a retail company or a bank than repetitive grunt work at a "sexy" startup.

Macroscopic sexiness doesn't matter unless you're an owner, and it sounds like you're not ready for that stress, and that's fine. Just do the work, save money, cut away time to learn the things you'll need to know for your next gig-- even venture into "resume-driven development"-- and get an education on someone else's time and risk.

You believe that you are good at what you do and are meant for great things but you have to do your job even though it doesn't do justice to your capabilities. How do you cope with that? Seeing your future as an underachiever pains you. What do you do?

Organizations tend to be talent graveyards. This is the norm. Want to change it? Possibly beat it? Get political. Learn about how organizations work (read Venkat Rao's Gervais series, then mine). Learn about different professional and union structures. Start writing. Advocate. Work within the system while undermining it (but never undermine the company that pays you; be more indirect and lash out at corporatism in general while leaving the activism and your day job separate; rabble-rousing at your day job is a bad idea). Figure out what it will take to drive out the MBA-culture invaders and get technologists the upper hand again, and then go and do it.

99.9% of us have our talents wasted by an anti-intellectual, status-driven corporate system. You're not alone. So figure out how it works and how to beat it, and recognize that the final outcome involves millions of people and is out of your control, so just learn to enjoy the fight itself.

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neotoy 3 days ago 0 replies      
35 here and still lost. Basically lost faith the direction civilization is going. Currently trying a radical shift in 'career' paths; leaving tech & entering organic gardening. Seems to be going well, but I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. Good luck to us all.
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jcromartie 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to be independent, try to come up with an idea for a real business (not a funded tech startup) that you can implement with software, and spend 2 hours a night (or just a few nights a week) on it for a month. By the end of that month you should be able to sell it to someone.
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colemorrison 3 days ago 1 reply      
Holy crap man, this is almost the exact same boat I'm in (except I'm 26) and I feel the exact same way.

I find my biggest problem is a lack energy / motivation to start that next thing. I really have no clue where the fuck it came from... a few years ago I could work endlessly...

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len 3 days ago 0 replies      
diction says a lot about frame of mind. the negativity wont let you think differently here, but its definitely possible.

one foot in front of the other. get rid of the fear, its pointless after the first time - you have a network and a net under you.

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oregonic 3 days ago 0 replies      
You sound somewhat anxious and depressed, feelings I know well.

It will help you to have some tools to deal with these problems. CBT and DBT are two such tools, and can help you manage your thoughts and mood. Counselors teach these tools.

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g8gggu89 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Startups are tough and I am afraid...Seeing your future as an underachiever pains you. What do you do?

Complain about it until the pains of underachieving are greater than your fear, and then take action?

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ARothfusz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have a hard time believing this is a real appeal for sympathy and advice. It sounds too much like a parody.

If it is true, then you're probably doing the right thing by quitting your current job. You don't want to be the bad apple. As the founder of the acquired startup, the acquiring company would have made it abundantly clear if they wanted you to stay by providing "golden handcuffs" as part of the deal. But since you feel so comfortable quitting just after the aqui-hire, I suspect you were not given any such incentives. When you understand why, you'll have a better perspective on how to make yourself and your next role more valuable to everyone. "Make something people want" applies to people as well as products. Maybe especially people.

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dkfmn 3 days ago 0 replies      
mlost - There are some great responses in this thread and hopefully you're feeling supported. The comment you made about it being a "distress call" really grabbed my attention and if you're in the SF area I'd be happy to buy you a coffee/beer and talk about this or whatever you want.

I've been in a similar situation and can relate to the cocktail of hope/anxiety/despair that come with entrepreneurship and the quarter-life crisis. If you're interested: david [at] moctopus [dot] com

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cnlwsu 3 days ago 0 replies      
Those "boring" traditional jobs can actually pay quite well and are a lot of fun. Give it a shot, 25 is not old age. It sounds like you have some entitlement issues honestly.
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london888 3 days ago 0 replies      
Think about what you were interested in, no matter how trivial it seems now, when you were aged 7-14.
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knorthfield 3 days ago 0 replies      
And you'll still be lost when you're 35. Welcome to the human race. :-)
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schneby 3 days ago 0 replies      
Stop the presses. Go travel for a bit. See the world.
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7ru3 3 days ago 0 replies      
Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life

http://biblehub.com/nasb/john/14.htm

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thincrust 3 days ago 0 replies      
Shot in the dark: Yahoo Acquisitions?
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Mz 3 days ago 0 replies      
What do you do when you believe that you can do great things but something that you have no control over is holding you back? You believe that you are good at what you do and are meant for great things but you have to do your job even though it doesn't do justice to your capabilities. How do you cope with that? Seeing your future as an underachiever pains you. What do you do?

Problem Solve. Swallow your pride and do what needs to be done. "Being Great" is not the ego trip you think it is. You get there by doing hard things for a long time while people act like you are crazy, stupid, etc. It isn't all about your ego. Set your ego aside.

If you really believe you can "do great things" than start doing 'great things." But, you know, I think you and I maybe interpret that phrase differently. If you are actually awesome, that will eventually shine through. But it won't be a picnic. You don't get the valor without doing the hard work first.

So, even while you work a regular job, you can make plans for another startup and work on pursuing financial freedom. Paying the bills now, even though it isn't doing something sexy or trendy or ego-enhancing, is part of pursuing financial freedom.

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juliend2 3 days ago 1 reply      
"I know for a fact that I want to run my own business and attain financial freedom"

This is really cool to have that mindset. I'm also building my own business right now while I'm working for another startup.

But are you sure that this is what you want? Why do you want this? Will it make you happier? If so, why? So many people are on the top and yet they are unhappy.

I _know_ I will be downvoted for this, but I can only suggest you to pray about it. My rationale for praying is simply this:

1. If God doesn't exist, I only lost a couple of minutes.

2. If God does exist and what's told about him in the Bible is true, he will hear me.

There's nothing much to lose in both case. Only a potential win. I prayed all my life and I saw answers to them so often.I can assure you God loves you and he really cares about your future. Ask him about it. :-)

God bless.

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6d0debc071 3 days ago 0 replies      
> How do you cope with that? Seeing your future as an underachiever pains you. What do you do?

For myself? I work out what I want to achieve and go work on it. There are several problems I'm interested in at the moment: visual IDEs and complexity, computer aided research planning, local-proxy based encryption, sousveillance as a peer to peer service...

Do I have a job in any of these areas? Well, yeah, one. But that's besides the point - I don't stop working on the others because I don't get paid for them, I just tinker at home. If I lost my job on the one I'm working on at the moment I wouldn't be in a 'The world is over, can't work on what I love.' position, I'd just find someone else to pay me to work on something that interests me.

I feel like you're maybe feeling lost because you want to work on great things but don't know what those are. Might be wrong? The worry there is that great things isn't a thing you can steer towards, it's a magnitude - and in so far as that magnitude lines up with someone's values it's an opinion. You could almost call the want to work on great things an expression of longing for a goal.

So:

What interests you? What problems keep you up at night? What has hurt you in your life? What might you like to help others with? What have you enjoyed and would like to see more of in the world?

What are your current strengths? How well do those fit addressing the earlier problems? What do you have to do to make them fit better?

I feel like sitting down for a few hours with a sheet of paper and answering those sorts of questions might make you feel a bit better. Even if you can't think how to steer A towards B immediately, you at least have a starting point to begin looking into what you'd need then.

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ebbv 3 days ago 0 replies      
First, you need to get over the popular idea that the only way to do something great is to create a start up which gets bought for millions of dollars. That's really flashy and everybody likes having millions of dollars, but there's plenty of other ways to do great, important things.

It sounds like you're not excited about your new job. I understand that you took it anyway because you have financial obligations to your family, and that's great. But the solution is obvious; look for another job and/or do something you ARE excited about in your spare time.

It's up to you if you don't actively dislike the job you're taking, it just doesn't excite you, then maybe doing that full time and working on something exciting in your spare time is the way to go.

If you find your new job miserable, then look for a new one.

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GuySake 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cool
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halfcat 2 days ago 0 replies      
>What do you do when you believe that you can do great things but something that you have no control over is holding you back?

Usually after this realization, most people turn 19. Sorry, but you are not unique in your belief that you have the ability to do great things. Every young boy thinks this (I was never a young girl so I can't speak to that). To be honest, this comes across (to me) as privileged only-child whining, a trait probably absent from most who accomplish great things.

As for family, you have to decide on your priorities. I think family is a worthy priority, and I also accept that realistically, because I make family a priority, that I will very likely never "do great things", outside of affecting a handful of close friends and family.

Here's another reality check you have coming. After the age of 25, very slowly at first, your energy level will decline. By 30 you will notice it and it will affect you. By 35-40 you will willfully admit that your days of pursuing great things are over. Sure, there are a handful of overachievers who run their first marathon at 40 or whatever, but to this point you definitely do not strike me as the "conquer and overcome no matter what" type.

TL;DR: My advice: life is hard, grow up

14
George Orwell's review of Mein Kampf (1940)
294 points by adamnemecek  2 days ago   223 comments top 12
1
michaelsbradley 1 day ago 1 reply      
In 1937, Pope Pius XI published a kind of "review" of the ideas in Mein Kampf and the actions of the Nazi Party. Mit Brennender Sorge ("With Burning Anxiety") remains the only papal encyclical ever principally published in a language other than Latin. That is, the official edition was published in German and other translations were derived from the German rather than a Latin original. Apparently, the Pope's harsh critique enraged Hitler.

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/docume...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mit_brennender_Sorge

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mikeyouse 1 day ago 4 replies      
From a timing perspective, this was published in March, 1940. Some other noteworthy events with their dates:

* Germany invades Poland (September, 1939)

* Britain, France, Canada, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany (September, 1939)

* Soviets invade Poland, which is later split (October, 1939)

* Nazis begin euthanasia of ill and disabled in Germany (October, 1939)

* Soviets attack Finland (November, 1939)

So by the time Orwell published his review, it was clear Germany and the Soviets were mobilizing for war, but it was entirely unclear what would happen next.

In the next six months, Germany would invade Denmark, Norway, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands while beginning their blitz on Great Britain. The Soviets would take Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Mussolini would meet Hitler in Munich, declare war on France and Britain and Italian forces would take Greece and enter Egypt. The Tripartite Pact would be signed by Germany, Italy, and Japan to formalize their alliance.

It's amazing to me how fast things moved during that time.

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Htsthbjig 1 day ago 3 replies      
With what we know today we could see Orwell picture of Germany was incomplete.

People did not want struggling at the time. After the Great depression created by the banks bubble and having everything they could produce taken by countries like France as payment for WWI GERMANS WERE ALREADY STRUGGLING.

Germans were dying in winter because the coal was sent to France as payment. And this is not like winter in Morocco. In Germany you have no energy in winter, with 30 Celsius degrees under zero you die.

Not only they were struggling, but having all what they could make confiscated to pay debts created a very dangerous situation, there was NO HOPE.

They had become slaves. Romans already measured that a slave worked way less than half what a free man did.

So Hitler brought hope. He stopped paying the debt(default), the military occupied the coal areas back for Germany and brought hope.

Is not that he promised suffering, but that he promised that suffering will end.

He also made suffering more tolerable making it social. Hitler created social programs for workers that let them travel and meet other people.

It is probably hard to understand for Westerns, but there are millions of people in Africa or India that are happier than people from the West, even while being very poor, because money is not everything, there are friends, for example, that people from Africa have more than isolated westerns.

Today the world is in Great Depression number II. Countries are over indebted, and we have the same problem they had: economies had stop to a halt and will be there until bad debts are cleaned, and defaults are issued.

4
lisper 1 day ago 4 replies      
This sent chills down my spine:

"He [Hitler] had crushed the German labor movement and for that the property-owning classes were willing to forgive him almost anything. Both left and right concurred ... that National Socialism was merely a version of Conservatism.

Plus ca change...

5
ehmorris 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you guys know a lot about the period, I just transcribed it on Genius and I'd appreciate some help annotating it: http://history.genius.com/George-orwell-review-of-mein-kampf...

(full disclosure I work at Genius.)

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paul_f 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is a great reminder that at one time Hitler was not the caricature of pure evil that he is now. He was real and nobody knew what the future held. Amazing snapshot into that time.
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jokoon 18 hours ago 3 replies      
I wonder if hitler is studied in political sciences.

Especially his speeches, rhetorics and strategies, and why they worked out how they did.

I hate to feel that hitler is somehow still a little controversial today. I don't really want to watch his speeches or read what he was saying because it's a little depressing and painful to think about, but understanding how he politically convinced people, and the underlying causes.

We're safe from that today, but I'd still like to understand how we protected ourselves from that happening again.

8
PythonicAlpha 1 day ago 2 replies      
"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." George Santayana

Somebody asked, why this document is so high up-voted. I would say, we can't up-vote it enough, when we have the chance to learn from history and especially from the dark sides of history and from people like George Orwell.

Chance is very big, that a new era of darkness could fall on humanity, if we don't stop it at the right time (and nobody knows, when the chance is over).

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ekianjo 1 day ago 2 replies      
The comparison with Naopoleon in the text is inappropriate and anachronistic. Napoleon WAS fighting against destiny. France was then attacked on all fronts by foreign kingdoms who wanted to crush the republic and restore the monarchy. Napoleon was the one to rise to defend the nation against foreign powers. It had nothing to do with Hitler agressing other countries around.for the sole purpose of establishing a larger German land and destroying its enemies.

EDIT: I can only attribute this silly parrallel between Hitler and Napoleon to Orwell's origins. Being a British writer, he was probably educated throughout his life to loathe Napoleon, presented as the ultimate Evil causing trouble in Europe.

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Theodores 1 day ago 8 replies      
Has anyone here actually read Mein Kampf? Doing so is probably banned in Germany and I am not sure what there is other than kiddie porn or some al-qaeda training manual that you totally would not want in your browsing history. There could come a time when no living person has read Mein Kampf and nobody would know first hand why it is wrong.
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BugBrother 1 day ago 1 reply      
I assume this is posted and up voted now because of the similarities to Putin?

Anyway, let me recommend "Down and out in Paris and London". It taught me more about the human condition, and why you want to stamp out poverty and let everyone to be able to have a humane life, than most any book I ever read.

Also, imho after learning a bit about Eastern Europe after 1945, I put "Animal farm" along "1984". It is a master piece.

Edit: 'adventured', I really hope you are correct. The problem with your argument is that we see Hitler with hindsight now; he was a joke in the beginning too.

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conistonwater 1 day ago 7 replies      
"However they may be as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life."

This seems wrong (with hindsight, I suppose). My mental image of Orwell is that he was quite sharp. How did he manage to get this bit wrong so badly? Does anyone know the reason?

15
An amateur linguist loses control of the language he invented (2012)
263 points by godarderik  3 days ago   103 comments top 26
1
gabemart 2 days ago 9 replies      
I found this article fascinating and satisfying.

I'm curious about the desire to reduce ambiguity, which seemed to be emphasized as a motivation for the creation of Ithkuil and some of the other languages mentioned.

Is it desirable to completely eliminate ambiguity? I can see why it would be desirable in a scientific paper or a public political debate. But in everyday interactions, (intentional) ambiguity plays many important roles.

In my experience, politeness is bolstered by some level of ambiguity. Rather than explicitly state your needs, desires or opinions, you imply them at some level of abstraction, allowing other participants in the conversation to accept or decline more easily. Imagine Jessica who has brought two friends who don't know each other to see a play. They chit-chat a little afterwards, then Jessica goes home early leaving two virtual strangers to have a drink together. It's not hard to imagine the conversation going like this:

A: "Did you enjoy the play?"

B: "It was very interesting. I thought the stage dressing was a little unconventional."

A: "Yes, I noticed that too. Very creative. I was intrigued by the style of the narration. It really let the audience write the story for themselves."

B: "It certainly didn't constrain the imagination did it? I couldn't help noticing that many of the actors took a somewhat avant-garde interpretation of the source material."

A: "Yes, as if they didn't want it to seem like they were 'acting', so to speak?"

B: It was awful wasn't it!?

A: Thank god! Yes, worst thing I've ever seen!

Ambiguity allows subtle social cues (not so subtle in my example!) that avoid direct confrontation when it might be uncomfortable. If one person loved the play and the other hated it, they each might want to avoid offending the other.

Intentional ambiguity plays an important role in other social interactions like dating or friendship-making. Correct use of ambiguity protects feelings, demonstrates subtlety and good judgement, and avoids non-productive conflict.

In artistic expression too, ambiguity is often intentional or even necessary to the effectiveness of the work. Consider a poem like "My Papa's Waltz" [1]. Does it describe happy memories of the narrator's father, or dark memories of childhood abuse [2]? Can it describe both? Is there something in between? The ambiguity isn't a byproduct of imprecise language. The ambiguity is the meaning. To resolve it is to remove the point of the work. The poem cannot be effectively communicated in any medium that does not allow for the existence of ambiguity.

[1] http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172103

[2] 'Yet, this poem has an intriguing ambiguity that elicits startlingly different interpretations. Kennedy calls it a scene of "comedy" and "persistent love", and Balakian, in part, labels it a "comic romp" (62). In contrast, Ciardi sees it as a "poem of terror"' - from http://www.mrbauld.com/exrthkwtz.html

2
godarderik 2 days ago 4 replies      
Reading this story brings to mind the history of algorithms in the field of machine translation. Early attempts at the problem attempted to explicitly define the rules of converting between tongues using meticulously laid out systems of vocabulary and syntax. This approach proved untenable, in part due to the complex and ever changing nature of language. Modern systems such as Google Translation make use of machine learning algorithms that are fed large amounts of source material and computationally discern relationships between them.

I wonder if a similar approach could be taken with language construction. Instead of spending 25+ years fleshing out the details of a language in painstaking detail, computer programs could be devised that, using large amounts input, determine the most "efficient" means of expressing information. The approach would not only be far less labor intensive, it could also accommodate the rapidly evolving nature of language, for example adding to its "dictionary" in response to new phenomena in need of naming.

3
voronoff 3 days ago 0 replies      
For anyone who is interested in what an ideal language would look like, particularly in respect to brevity vs. informativeness I'd highly suggest looking into Terry Regier's work: http://lclab.berkeley.edu/

I worked in his lab on one of many projects showing that most human languages use a near optimal trade-off in various semantic domains (so far - color, kinship, containers, and spatial relations). His work also includes some of the best evidence for some language dependent forces in cognition interacting with some universal ones.

4
MichaelDickens 3 days ago 7 replies      
Ithkuil seems like what a language should be: as the article said, it is both precise and concise. It looks the way Esperanto ought to have looked. I find Quijada's effort deeply impressive.

I don't know much about designing human languages, but I know how hard it is to design a decent programming language (see http://colinm.org/language_checklist.html), and building a serious human language seems orders of magnitude more difficult. I've never seen an attempt that really intrigued me until I found Ithkuil.

5
ejr 2 days ago 2 replies      
6
tomkinstinch 3 days ago 1 reply      
The same thing happened to Blissymbols[1], as documented by radiolab[2].

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blissymbols

2. http://www.radiolab.org/story/257194-man-became-bliss/

7
ilaksh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ithkuil is definitely one of the most amazing pieces of work I have ever come across. I having been using the name as my email address for many years and another variant of it he had called 'ilaksh' as my screen name (note I didn't have anything to do with the creation of ithkuil/ilaksh, just a fan). I think not only other conlangers but also anyone interested in fields like linguistics, computer programming, knowledge representation, etc. can be inspired by what Quijada did.

I did get a few somewhat weird emails that I think were in Russian some years ago, but I think they figured out pretty quick that it wasn't the right email address to reach Quijada.

8
tokenadult 3 days ago 5 replies      
This is attracting some reader interest here, so I should probably mention, for other Hacker News participants deeply interested in human languages, a definitive analysis of Esperanto[1] explaining why Esperanto has not caught on with more speakers.

[1] http://www.xibalba.demon.co.uk/jbr/ranto/

9
Terr_ 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think there's some research out there that suggests all natural languages have about the same information density, when you factor how two people in conversation will add error-correction or extra context to frame an idea.

IMO this suggests the bottleneck is something about our brains on a biological rather than linguistic level.

10
JoeAltmaier 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Among the Wakashan Indians of the Pacific Northwest, a grammatically correct sentence cant be formed without providing what linguists refer to as evidentiality, inflecting the verb to indicate whether you are speaking from direct experience, inference, conjecture, or hearsay"

This is amazing. But I can't grasp the difference between inference and conjecture - they are both 'figuring out'what happened rather than knowing or hearing?

11
arsalanb 2 days ago 0 replies      
>"Languages are something of a mess. They evolve over centuries through an unplanned, democratic process..."

I'm in awe of the creator of Any language. Because to create a (Good) language isn't easy. This is true or both programming languages and otherwise. However, it comes without saying that adoption is a vital component of any language, and with mass adoption comes evolution.

People will often make changes in languages, make their own dialects (based on things perhaps the can relate to on a deeper level, etc..). This isn't a bad thing. To me it only signifies growth and expansion of the language.

+1

12
pohl 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really enjoyed this article when it was new. Not long ago, when I was learning Octopress, my first post was Hello World in Rust and Ithkuil. (I just wanted to make sure code formatting was working.) I have no idea how correct the translation is. I just googled around until I found someone else's.

http://screaming.org/blog/2014/07/12/ettawil-cutx/

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StavrosK 2 days ago 0 replies      
TFA:

> A sentence like On the contrary, I think it may turn out that this rugged mountain range trails off at some point becomes simply Tram-mi hhsmapuktx.

Wikipedia:

> Romanization: Oumpe xuktx.

> Translation: "On the contrary, I think it may turn out that this rugged mountain range trails off at some point."

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yongjik 2 days ago 1 reply      
That was an interesting read, but the reporter's breathless assertions frequently got in the way of appreciating Quijada and his idea.

I mean, things like:

> A sentence like On the contrary, I think it may turn out that this rugged mountain range trails off at some point becomes simply Tram-mi hhsmapuktx.

Simply?

We could have used LZW algorithm and the sentence could probably become even shorter, just a "simple" sequence of random-ish bytes. If you increase the number of allowed symbols, of course you need less symbols to convey the same information. If you allow for a limitless set of words that are dynamically generated from combining many roots, of course the number of words decreases... sometimes down to 1, as in polysynthetic languages. This is Information Theory 101.

15
mariusz79 2 days ago 0 replies      
While it looks like it's an impossible language to use in every day, I'm wondering if it could be used for science and technology. Just imagine having all scientific papers in it :)
17
thisjepisje 2 days ago 0 replies      
Off topic: Are the drop caps supposed to be lower than the line of text to which they belong? It looks kind of silly IMO.
18
alxndr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm amazed that the article doesn't mention Lojban at all.
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jqm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Losing control of a language seems to be standard procedure.

If this invented language were to catch on, it likely wouldn't be a generation or two and kids who grew up speaking it would start saying the Ithkuil equivalent of things like "yo dog, that's the rad shizaz!". Then, several generations thereafter grandmothers would be regularly using the word "shizaz" and they would have to put it in the dictionary. That's just the way it goes and is probably the reason we don't all speak the same language in the first place.

That being said, I've always been fascinated by the idea of a systematically created universal language and think the world would be much better place with one....if that were possible.

This was a neat article.

20
lawlessone 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any font files for this? would be interesting to use.
21
stuaxo 2 days ago 2 replies      
If there was a site that summarised New Yorker articles in 2 pages I would be there in a flash.
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lotsofmangos 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how well Ithkuil can be represented in Ian Banks' Marain script. http://trevor-hopkins.com/banks/a-few-notes-on-marain.html
23
wyager 3 days ago 2 replies      
Can someone list a few popular constructed languages (maybe comparing them to programming languages)? I'd only heard of Lojban and Esperanto before reading this.
24
QuantumGood 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seems this could contribute to accelerating artificial intelligence towards the possibility of the singularity.
25
sbussard 3 days ago 1 reply      
another hacker news TL;DR article
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selimthegrim 3 days ago 0 replies      
Two things struck me about this article in hindsight when I read it.

-- Whose pot did the Croats, Bosnians and Slovenes piss in to not make it into this super Slavic union?

-- China Mieville wrote a book[0] along very similar thought lines which won the Locus Award.

Also, Garkavenko appears not to have taken the obvious side [1] in Ukraine's present conflict given how he is described in Foer's article

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embassytown

[1] http://maidantranslations.com/2014/06/24/russian-volunteers-...

16
How I built an audio book reader for my nearly blind grandfather
285 points by wkjagt  3 days ago   42 comments top 24
1
lesterbuck 3 days ago 1 reply      
My father is age 92, and in 2001 he lost his central vision to macular degeneration. He wrote long documents on his PC before, but afterward he never had much dedication to figuring out how to use a computer with assistive software for the blind (or more lately, smart phones in assistive mode). Thus we entered a years long search for usable CD and MP3 players. Most devices have tiny uniform buttons and depend on LCD indicators. The best we could find for a long time was a Sony S2 sport CD player that had a hand strap that kept the thumb positioned to work buttons without needing to look at the device.

But years ago he got the free (from the US government) digital talking book player[1][2]. This device is an excellent engineering and user interface solution for delivering audio material to blind users. The buttons are all large and report their functions by audio. There are all sorts of built in modes, including an extensive set of self-tests and diagnostics. Around the US, there is a service infrastructure so if there is any problem with the devices, the user just drops them off at a local library and takes a replacement.

These devices can play prerecorded DRMed audio books or MP3s delivered on USB cartridges or thumb drives. The Library of Congress maintains a large collection of downloadable books called BARD[3].

[1]http://www.loc.gov/nls/digitalbooktraining/LOC_01/LOC_01.htm...

[2]http://www.loc.gov/nls/transition/Digital%20Talking%20Book%2...

[3]http://www.nh.gov/nhsl/talking_books/bard/

2
smkelly 3 days ago 3 replies      
Hello. I just want to say that you should reconsider iOS-based devices. I am very low vision and can use iOS perfectly well. It has both built in zooming and text-to-speech (VoiceOver). Many apps, including Audible.com, are very accessible and work well with VoiceOver. If you have an iOS device on hand, check out the Settings->General->Accessibility offering or look at this: https://www.apple.com/accessibility/ios/. You should also take a look at applevis.com.

You should also check with his local government to see what services are available for the blind and visually impaired. Even with no vision, one can live a happy life and still be an active member of society. All it takes is some help learning how to navigate the world.

3
artpi 3 days ago 2 replies      
Whooooa, I have identical situation with my grandparents!

And I solved it by buying them CD - Boombox and modifying the buttons.That way they can switch CD's themselves and they can also buy them.But your project is awesome with the remote uploading.

Burning all those CD's is soooo timeconsuming, but it's worth it - my grandpa has a lot of fun with those books!

4
jnardiello 3 days ago 1 reply      
Simply a great project with an astonishing outcome. The thing you did great is "UX" - or, to be more precise, lack of ux. You made a device which is perfectly accessible by your grandfather, asking him to deal with "modern" devices like smartphones would have probably resulted in an epic fail. Great work.
5
jankins 3 days ago 0 replies      
I see it's already been mentioned here, but the best commercial version of this is called the Victor Reader Stream, made by Humanware. It has few buttons and simple enough navigation for non-technical people to use. Also relevant is NLS[0] and Bookshare[1]

[0] http://www.loc.gov/nls/ [1] https://www.bookshare.org/

6
justboxing 3 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing story, great Product! You grandfather is giving you realtime feedback (ex: his request for a music player).

Most projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo don't even have a fully functioning product, whereas, you already have your product and your 1st customer, so why don't you take this product to the next level, and sell it to the wider audience of blind people?

You will have a tremendous impact on society doing good, and make a decent side-income at the same time.

7
jawns 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious why a simple CD player boombox wouldn't have been sufficient in this situation.

We have one with just four buttons (play/pause, stop, forward/next-track, rewind/prev-track) plus a volume knob. You can tell which button is which pretty easily based on their position.

It would be fairly easy to switch CDs and control the boombox without the use of sight.

I guess you could argue that by digitizing the CDs, it saves the person from having to change them out themselves ... but it also limits selection. (For instance, my local library has a wide assortment of CDs, but it would be a hassle if I had to rip each of them before I could listen to them.)

---

By the way, anybody who's interested in building stuff that's accessible to the blind, you might be interested in the work of T.V. Raman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._V._Raman), a Google engineer who himself is blind.

Check out this NYTimes article from a few years ago that tells a bit about his amazing story:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/04/business/04blind.html?_r=0

8
j_s 3 days ago 0 replies      
In the US, the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped provides a great deal of information explaining the services they provide for free as well as various commercial offerings available on their website: http://www.loc.gov/nls/reference/factsheets/readingdisabilit...
9
micampe 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's a wonderful project. I'm sure you building it makes him a lot happier than if you had found something ready to buy.
10
mwcampbell 3 days ago 1 reply      
Using RFID-tagged physical objects to represent the audiobooks is an interesting twist. Why did you decide to do that rather than add "next book" and "previous book" buttons, and use text-to-speech (or even pre-recorded audio files) to tell him which book is currently selected? After all, your approach increases the amount of maintenance your brother has to do, and makes the whole assembly a lot bigger.

EDIT: I'm also curious about which products you looked at and why you rejected them. For example, did you look at any dedicated talking book players, such as the Victor Reader Stream or the BookSense?

11
peter303 3 days ago 1 reply      
I sat near a blind girl testing on the bus.She way playing that touch-keyboard like a violin and knew where every letter was touch. The phone was on low-volume audio and she knew what she typed.
12
utopkara 3 days ago 1 reply      
OSX (and iOS) has great text to speech functionality with some quality voices. It is probably not of everybody, but for people who can use a laptop (or iPad) there is a lot of accessibility potential. I use the Ava speaker for reading long articles in the background while I do other things, and the voice is almost as good as a radio host.

https://www.apple.com/accessibility/osx/

13
daviis01 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great story and project, however one typo.

> I spoke to my grandmother today because it's here birthday,

her

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jason_slack 3 days ago 0 replies      
Kudos to you for spending your time striving to help others in need. This project is amazing and also inspiring!
15
jsgrahamus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wonderful idea. I had a similar thought for a particular set of books using a browser (in large mode) for controlling.

Congratulations!!!

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DanBC 3 days ago 1 reply      
Fascinating!

Have you seen the Kibano DigiPlayer devices?

http://www.kibano.com/digiplayer.html

17
peter303 3 days ago 2 replies      
A low-end ereader is $50 these days. They all have audio options.
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milliams 3 days ago 1 reply      
A lovely story about making something truly useful.

  ...running Debian Wheezy
That's a strange choice given the existence of Raspbian.

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bdevani 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great project. Love that you did this for your grandfather.
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namDa 3 days ago 0 replies      
This story made me tear up. Awesome project for your grandfather!
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SoCool 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great job and great product.
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donnut 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wonderful project!
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filmgirlcw 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great project!
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comrh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome! The fact that he is requesting music is very interesting because you have made a device much more accessible than an iPod.

Listening to the music from their youth is shown anecdotally to have a HUGE impact on people with dementia and Alzheimers[1]. But often iPods are too much for these people to manage, maybe a simpler device (such as yours) could be used in this space?

[1]http://musicandmemory.org/

17
Show HN: I'm building a game for the Nintendo GameBoy
256 points by BonsaiDen  3 days ago   101 comments top 29
1
deathanatos 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Tuff including all graphics, characters, ideas, sounds and maps are Copyright (c) 2014 Ivo Wetzel. All rights reserved.

(emphasis mine) IANAL, but my understanding is that at least in the US, it is the expression of the idea (the software and code, the graphics, and the other things mentioned on that line) that are subject to copyright, not the idea. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idea-expression_divide.

2
readerrrr 3 days ago 4 replies      
I have moved to the negative zone after trying the B button. :)

http://i.imgur.com/pkZhTCJ.jpg

The screens are positioned correctly next to each other.

----

Are you writing this in assembly?!

3
pavel_lishin 3 days ago 0 replies      
The attention to detail is awesome - I played for a little bit, then started reading, and when I scrolled up the little bunny character was sleeping!
4
cadr 3 days ago 1 reply      
If anyone wants to go back more, AtariAge has good tutorials on 2600 game programming. Nothing like counting clock cycles to make sure the CRT beam is far enough over before changing the background buffer :)

http://atariage.com/2600/programming/

5
matthewwiese 3 days ago 2 replies      
Reminds me a lot of Knytt and Knytt Stories created by Nicklas "Nifflas" Nygren [1]

[1] - http://nifflas.ni2.se/

6
ralphc 3 days ago 2 replies      
So why JavaScript for the assembler? Was it familiarity with the language, did the dynamic nature of the language help out...?
7
Lambdanaut 3 days ago 1 reply      
Rad. I'm writing a Z80 emulator in Haskell. I'll be sure to test Tuff on it once I'm to the point where graphics are being drawn.
8
wslh 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you like this post you might like the titles in development for the Atari 2600+ https://atariage.com/development_list.html
9
arcatek 2 days ago 0 replies      
> On the web GameBoy Online is probably the best of the available JavaScript based emulators out there.

That's true, but I'm really trying to shake it off! And looking for contributors, should you be interested :)

[1] https://github.com/arcanis/virt.js

10
tvirelli 3 days ago 1 reply      
Very cool. Not sure this was meant to happen, but at one point I did a double jump over a wall and then just started to continuously fall and it never stopped.
11
bttf 3 days ago 1 reply      
Could you go into a little more detail on how the process is for adding sounds and sprites to the game?

I am very interested in this type of work and have been hacking at trying to build a game for the SNES. All I've been able to do so far is to collect all relevant documentation for developing it: https://github.com/bttf/snes_dev

12
graup 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hey Ivo! Remember you from the Nintendocast days. Great to see you're still doing awesome stuff! Rock on!
13
bane 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow fantastic. I can't wait to see it complete. Great art style and control feel. Lots of nice subtle details.
14
0xA115A 3 days ago 2 replies      
Awesome project!So, are there any hard-way books or something, to begin developing for GB platforms? ASM and C have already learned by me, but I'm really frightened about code environment like IDE, testing and run on real hw? Are this question already answered or I'm really can't google?
15
dahart 3 days ago 0 replies      
The feel of this game reminds me a lot of Montezuma's Revenge, a classic in my book. Very cool, and nicely done!

I really like your project page as well, very concise, extremely informative, and covers exactly the things that someone wanting to make their own would need. Bookmarked!

16
justinlloyd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice. You can find RGBASM at OtakuNoZoku.com and the Gameboy Cribsheet too. Along with a bunch of other tools and code. I can send you complete game source if you want to study it.
17
prezjordan 3 days ago 4 replies      
I would love to write GB/GBC/GBA games using something like Ruby (or JavaScript!). Is this possible? Have any higher-level languages been used to write games for these platforms?
18
hayksaakian 3 days ago 1 reply      
i fell below the water and began infinite falling

-----

really cool and impressive that you developed an published a game on such a platform, that's still easily playable via a browser

19
Gracana 3 days ago 1 reply      
Cool project!

I got stuck really early on, oops: http://i.imgur.com/pqAblgU.png

20
tutts 2 days ago 1 reply      
I really did get stuck.

http://imgur.com/syZX03k

21
Globz 3 days ago 1 reply      
Seriously I am amazed by your project! I wish I had the time to do something like that! Great job and I can't wait to play the final version.
22
jastanton 3 days ago 4 replies      
Open up spotify on your mac and start playing a song.Visit http://bonsaiden.github.io/Tuff.gbis the audio from spotify garbled?

I submit this bug: https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=403907&t...

23
Sealy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thats really cool. Don't you find developing for it frustratingly slow though by today's coding standards?
24
gnuvince 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty nice, I was even able to go out of bounds :)
25
thisjepisje 3 days ago 0 replies      
How does this site manage to lower the volume of iTunes?
26
c0deporn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of A Boy and his Blob. Good work.
27
thanesh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can I play this game in full screen?
28
Dewie 2 days ago 0 replies      
The sound I get when I open this page is pretty sharp, noisy and unpleasant. I prefer it when websites have that turned off by default (unless it's obvious that the web-page involves a video that I'm supposed to be watching or something like that).
29
VikingCoder 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool. I hope to have spare time again in my life, at some point!
18
I am not planning any nuclear attacks
248 points by technicalfault  2 days ago   143 comments top 21
1
BrandonMarc 2 days ago 3 replies      
Bruce Schneier calls this the "war on the unexpected". If you take average people, who aren't experts at security / investigating / etc, and you tell these people "if you see something, say something", then you're going to get a ridiculous amount of false positives.

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/11/the_war_on_th...

Everything "unusual" becomes suspicious. See a guy taking photos at an airport? Must be a terrorist! Can't be a photographer and aviation enthusiast, no!

As Bruce says, the CYA angle is also horrific. Landlord sees something, thinks it might be nothing, but just in case, tells the local cops. Cops figure it might be nothing, but just in case, calls the FBI. Branch office figure it might be nothing, but just in case, gets regional / national HQ involved. Somewhere in the chain someone inadvertently gets word to the other 3-letter agencies, and the effect is magnified.

... and every time it's escalated, people figure "well, the people below me wouldn't have escalated unless they had reason to" ... while at the same time thinking, "well, I'm not sure, but I'm also not going to be the scapegoat if I fail to neutralize a potential attack and something does happen."

Everyone in the chain has plenty to lose and little to gain for not escalating to the next level -- nobody wants to be the guy who missed an opportunity to stop / neutralize a threat, especially in the unlikely-but-possible scenario that an attack does occur.

Regarding "if you see something, say something", Rick Moranis had an intelligent take on that at the beginning of his guest column in the NYTimes:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/opinion/16moranis.html?_r=...

2
samspot 2 days ago 8 replies      
Devil's Advocate:

You are a nontechnical person and stumble upon what appear to be plans for a terrorist attack. You talk to the person about it and they say "Don't worry. is computer game".

A great exploration of this is the 30 Rock episode where Tina Fey reports her neighbor for what ends up being a plan to get on the show 'The Amazing Race'.

The problem is, not knowing any better, you feel obligated to report the activity just in case. Let someone much smarter than yourself decide what is really going on. If you say nothing and someone gets hurt, can you forgive yourself?

As a hacker, I would understand this is definitely a game. But can I really expect the same from non-technical people?

3
madaxe_again 2 days ago 3 replies      
Ah, letting agents.

I got evicted from a property years ago because they did a surprise inspection while I was out (which is, of course, totally illegal), and decided they'd found "mountains of cocaine" on the kitchen counters.

It was fucking Ajax kitchen cleaning powder. Still, they didn't care. The police (who they contacted) thought it was laughable, but couldn't do anything about the fact they were evicting me.

4
stevebot 2 days ago 1 reply      
This reminds me so much of an awesome 30 Rock episode where Fred Armisen plays the middle eastern neighbor of Tina Fey's character. She ultimately gets him turned in for planning an attack, when he was just preparing for The Amazing Race with his friend.

Its sad how sensationalist and afraid we have become.

5
downandout 2 days ago 0 replies      
What are the odds that someone leasing a house has control of an ICBM and is making plans to use it on his home whiteboard? People, especially stupid people, that can't mind their own business, are both dangerous and endlessly frustrating. Personally, I hope this guy tries to get the letting agent fired.
6
smcl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Henry I'm not sure if you are checking this thread, and I can't find a way to contact you on your site but...

I wanted to see more of your posts, so trimmed the URL down to "http://henrysmith.org/blog/" and got an error message "Included file 'navbar.html' not found in _includes directory" at the top of your page. Clicking your name in the left directs me to henrysmith.org which doesn't have this problem.

7
artumi-richard 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm doing work with a drug testing company, that generates a lot of stuff you wouldn't want taken out of context. This kind of stuff: "How's the meth goin?" - "Oh great. We're getting loads this week" "And the Steroids" - " Ah, not so well. Bob's lab is running behind, they're really busy"
8
bencollier49 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be livid if something like this happened. I think it's worth this chap getting the details of the police report, and speaking to someone on the force directly. He needs to be assured that he won't end up on any "lists".

I'm not sure whether he has any legal recourse over this. I doubt it, but he has potentially been materially disadvantaged (if indeed, it goes "up the chain" and he finds visas being denied).

At the very least, he needs to enumerate to his landlord the various ways in which this could seriously affect him, and ask for a rent reduction.

9
kjjw 2 days ago 4 replies      
Par for the course with letting agents in the UK. I'm surprised they didn't begin evicting the renter. Using a property for work is often prohibited in the boilerplate rental agreements they charge 100 a time to change the name on.
10
Bahamut 2 days ago 2 replies      
Sadly, if you look carefully at the pictures, it's pretty clear it's for a game...and I didn't even need to read that he mentioned that they were game ideas.

Goes to show how dumb people can be.

11
Someone1234 2 days ago 2 replies      
Common sense isn't quite as "common" anymore. If you actually read those diagrams it is pretty obvious (to me) that that is a game, and not some missile design or "plan" (although who plans a state missile attack from their apartment?).
12
e40 2 days ago 0 replies      
This seems relevant:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc

Title is "Dont Talk to Police" from 2008. Henry Smith should probably watch it.

13
apple314159 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, sounds like 1990 over again i.e. Steve Jackson Games.
14
danneu 2 days ago 1 reply      
Planning a missile strike by drawing a crude world map with an explosion (labeled "explosion") is like planning a killing spree by drawing a stick figure with an uzi in each hand mowing down other stick figures.
15
smacktoward 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wondering if Introversion Software had to deal with this when they made Defcon (http://www.introversion.co.uk/defcon/)...
16
lamontcg 2 days ago 0 replies      
"I am not planning any nuclear attacks as my centrifuges are on the fritz and I have been unable to procure switches accurate enough to get a good implosion out of my C4 detonators. Also, it turns out that my ICBM designs are prohibitively expensive, and the Russians will not let me have access to their launch sites for some reason."
17
murbard2 2 days ago 2 replies      
Shall we play a game? How about Global Thermonuclear War.
18
mcguire 2 days ago 1 reply      
That's a hell of a blast radius.
19
notastartup 2 days ago 0 replies      
Law enforcement is full of retarded psycopaths? What's new?
20
reinier_s4g 2 days ago 0 replies      
hahahaha, awesome!
21
CalRobert 2 days ago 2 replies      
Something weird-looking about France and Germany there...
19
What's the matter with PGP?
253 points by silenteh  4 days ago   163 comments top 32
1
tptacek 4 days ago 10 replies      
At one point in this essay, Matt suggests that every successful end-to-end encryption scheme has employed transparent (or "translucent") key management. What he's referring to is the idea behind, say, OTR: two people can use it without the key handshake required by PGP.

Matt is wrong about this. He's being victimized by a pernicious fallacy.

It certainly appears that the most "successful" cryptosystems have transparent keying. But that's belied by the fact that, with a very few exceptions (that probably prove the rule), cryptosystems aren't directly attacked by most adversaries... except the global adversary.

In the absence of routine attacks targeting cryptography, it's easy to believe that systems that don't annoy their users with identity management are superior to those that do. They do indeed have an advantage in deployability! But they have no security advantage. We'll probably find out someday soon, as more disclosures hit the press, that they were a serious liability.

There is a lot wrong with PGP! It is reasonable to want it to die. But PGP is the only trustworthy mainstream cryptosystem we have; I mean, literally, I think it might be the only one.

2
Tharkun 4 days ago 3 replies      
Learning to drive a car is hard. You have to watch the road, coordinate hands and feet, anticipate other drivers' moves and so on. No one bats an eye about this, because "it's a skill you have to learn". If you don't play by the rules of the road, you'll end up killing someone, or getting killed.

But for some reason (maybe because it's generally less life-threatening), people seem to expect deeply complex subjects, like e-mail encryption and identity management, to be easy. "Yeah, if you can just give me a fancy, easy-to-use GUI with forward secrecy, that'd be great!" Sure, it'd be great. But it's not going to happen. And that's not because PGP is broken -- of course, it does have its weak points. It's because people are too lazy to bother to learn.

What's the old addage? You can have quick, cheap and reliable. Pick two? Same here. You can have secure, easy to use, and reliable. Pick two.

3
acqq 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why isn't RFC 1751

http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1751.txt

used to provide the fingerprints that are readable? Verifying would be much more convenient than now.

"For example, the 128-bit key of:

         CCAC 2AED 5910 56BE 4F90 FD44 1C53 4766
would become

         RASH BUSH MILK LOOK BAD BRIM AVID GAFF BAIT ROT POD LOVE
Likewise, a user should be able to type in

         TROD MUTE TAIL WARM CHAR KONG HAAG CITY BORE O TEAL AWL
as a key, and the machine should make the translation to:

         EFF8 1F9B FBC6 5350 920C DD74 16DE 8009"

4
blueking 4 days ago 2 replies      
I don't agree. I use GPGtools on OSX with the openpgp smartcard and it works flawlessly and is truly convenient. Furthermore I can use 4096 bit RSA keys.

One thing I have learned watching the crypto forums over the years is that there are well calculated misinformation campaigns trying to dissuade people from using secure methods. I see it again and again and the people on this forum need to think carefully before swallowing this as sincere.

I would never never never trust a solution from Google or any large American corporation. They have just been caught lying about prism (Google) and taking bribes (RSA). These companies are now and always will be totally untrustworthy.

5
rmoriz 4 days ago 4 replies      
In my opinion, mail crypto needs to become mainstream usable. E.g. even trivial contents should be encrypted by default and this should be usable by default. Currently, S/MIME does a better job than PGP.

While the CA-model seems to be broken in most X.509 use cases, like TLS/SSL, where a duplicate certifcate can be used to do a man-in-the-middle-attack, this does not really affect S/MIME, especially after both parties started a "conversion". People that need to communicate "really" secure, should therefore be able to ignore all "CA-Trust" and white-list certificates on a per user basis (e.g. like PGP).

Ordinary communication still can by default fall-back to the existing CA-model to keep it usable (but not secure).

Some steps:

1. We need more love by the MUA-vendors, who mostly support S/MIME but it's still a PITA to use. Google e.g. still does not support S/MIME on android, see https://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=34374

2. We need CAs that are usable. StartSSL is nice and free, but it's not easy to use. Lower the entry barrier for getting and renewing/recreation of certificates

3. (most important) Make it easy to manage local CA-trust. On each new system, the user should be able to select a "trust no CA/whitelist only" approach and then be responsible for trusting other parties. No vendor (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Mozilla) should silently distribute and trust new CAs without users consent.

6
pdkl95 3 days ago 1 reply      
Problem:

PGP is complicated (VERY complicated, to the average user), resulting in next to zero adoption.

Suggestion:

Simplify the goals in a way that can be upgraded at at some later date.

I think we need a browser plugin (All browsers. Other non-browser tools too, ideally, but the browser is important) that lets you securely SIGN posts locally in a style more or less like GPG's --clearsign option. Ideally, this should literally be --clearsign for compatibility, with the plugin hiding the "---- BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE ----" headers/footers, though these details are less important.

The key should be automagically generated, and stored locally in a secure way. (Bonus points for leting you use the keyrings in ~/.gnupg/ as an advanced, optional feature). The UI goal is to simply let people post things and click a sign this button next to a <textarea> or similar. Ideally, later on, this could become sign-by-default.

On the other side, the browser plugin should notice signed blocks of text and authenticate them. Pubkeys are saved locally (key pinning). What this provides is 1) verification that posts are actually by the same author, and 2) it proves that someone is the same author cross-domain (or as different accounts/usernames).

No attempt is made to tie the key to some external identity (though this would be somewhat easy for to prove). The idea is to remove the authentication problem (keyservers/pki) entirely. This can be man-in-the-middled, but the MitM would have to be working 100% of the time or the change in key will be noticed.

No attempt is made regarding encryption (hiding the message). This should also greatly simplify the interface.

The goal here is to get people using proper (LOCAL STORE ONLY) public/private keys. The UI should be little more than a [sign this] button that handles everything, and a <sig ok!> icon on the reading side. It should be possible to get the average user to understand and use such a tool.

Later, when the idea of signing your posts has become more widespread and many people have a valid public/private key pair already in use, other features can be added back in. As those "2nd generation" tools have a large pool of keys to draw from, it should be easier to start some variant of Web Of Trust. Even if that never happens, getting signing widespread is useful on its own.

I realize this doesn't protect against a large number of well-known attacks, and only offers mild protection against MitM. This is intentional, as the goal is getting people to actually use some minimal subset of PGP/GPG-like tools, possibly as an educational exercise. The rest of the stuff can be addressed later.

7
ef4 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, usability is the problem. But none of these proposed solutions manage to actually solve the usability problem without throwing out the security.

We really do need to let users manage trust, because trust is a rich concept. And humans are actually really good at trust, because we've been thriving and competing with each other in complex social situations for a long time.

The trick is finding ways to recruit people's evolved trust behaviors into an electronic context. That is, can we build meaningful webs of trust through repeated social interactions, just like in real life?

So it's not the mail client vendors who are best positioned to solve the problem, it's the social networks.

(Whether they want to solve the problem is a separate question.)

8
junto 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm using TextSecure on my Android phone as a Messaging replacement and it is great. However it appears to me that the service is not decentralised in any way. Is that assumption correct?

I like the email model such that anyone can install and run an email server. I'd actively push friends, family and colleagues to use a decentralised email replacement that was as easy to use and secure as TextSecure.

9
Teodolfo 3 days ago 0 replies      
The user needs to control the encryption, not Google or Yahoo. Surely Google is not proposing a system that prevents them from reading your email and serving you ads? Until we have something that actually prevents Google and Yahoo from getting the plaintext, none of the other problems matter that much.

The NSA isn't my concern, Google etc. are. I don't want to bother going to the lengths necessary to secure myself from the NSA since that just isn't practical. But it would be nice if google and its employees didn't have access to the plaintext of my email. If I send an email to anyone using gmail and they decrypt it in a way that lets google see my text when they reply, all of my own security steps are worthless.

10
nextw33k 3 days ago 0 replies      
PGP is about identity and privacy. We are not going to get that from Email. Email isn't worth fixing. Its time to move on.

In the last few years we have seen IM and SMS merge into an almost seamless experience. Surely we could engineer a UI that also copes with larger bodies of text at the same time?

We need clients or servers that are multi-protocol. That way we can experiment with new ways of communicating.

11
TeMPOraL 4 days ago 2 replies      
Just a random thought - maybe there is a way to nail hard the point that "you cannot have security if you're lazy"? The society expects people to do driving licenses before getting behind the wheel. Why not expect people to put some amount of effort to be able to get mortgage or interact with court, etc.? Sure, many people will screw this up, but maybe this will be enough to secure majority.

</dream>

(confession: I myself am too lazy to use PGP)

13
ajb 3 days ago 1 reply      
This could perhaps be made easier to use if you had a UI like this:You phone pops up a message saying: "Hey, I notice you seem to be in the same room with Bob! We can increase security of Bob's messages to you my exchanging a fingerprint. Do this now? (Yes/No/Woah, Bob isn't here!)

If you click yes, you then exchange fingerprints using eg QR codes, and the authenticity of messages from Bob are retrospecively checked

Problem is, it's not obvious this can be done without compromising privacy of location.

14
jolan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a handy guide which addresses a couple of these problems:

https://help.riseup.net/en/security/message-security/openpgp...

15
lelf 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not mainstream suck.

Also, about terrible mail client implementations, the problem is, to not be terrible for many is to be built-in to GMail (and work transparently there). The consequences of that are obvious I hope. So no, thanks.

16
muyuu 3 days ago 0 replies      
These are largely problems with email, not PGP - which btw is not just by email, in fact I almost never use it with email.

SMTP is not meant to be secure. You insist in communicating through an insecure channel-protocol and making it secure as an afterthought, and it's always going to be inconvenient or otherwise suck. I say PGP is pretty good at what it does, and it's nice in that it doesn't promise what it doesn't do.

17
zokier 4 days ago 1 reply      
> Adding forward secrecy to asynchronous offline email is a much bigger challenge, but fundamentally it's at least possible to some degree.

Is it really fundamentally possible? The author asserts this without really backing it with anything. I can understand how OTR-like systems can work between a static pair of clients, but it is not entirely clear if it is possible at all to extend such scheme to work in scenarios where message delivery is async and I might be using a set of clients/devices for messaging.

18
motters 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good article. However if your adversary is a three or four letter agency then by all accounts it seems that PGP/GPG still does work. Snowden and Greenwald used it, apparently successfully after some tuition.

The article also doesn't mention Bitmessage, which addresses a lot of the concerns. Bitmessage isn't forward secret though.

19
exabrial 4 days ago 2 replies      
PGP needs to onboard themselves with Elliptic Curve Crypto... significantly smaller makes them more distributable which solves a few of the problems mentioned.
20
colanderman 2 days ago 0 replies      
> even modern elliptic curve implementations still produce surprisingly large keys.

> Modern EC public keys are tiny.

Well, which is it?

21
perlgeek 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can forward secrecy even work for emails, where you don't have a bidirectional communication channel? (Maybe the answer is "You have to build that bidirectional communication channel", but that means such a system can't simply use mail, it has to use mail plus X).
22
alaaibrahim 4 days ago 1 reply      
> Now let's ignore the fact that you've just leaked your key request to an untrusted server via HTTP.This is a public Key, so secrecy it's not needed here, also he is providing the Fingerprint on another location, so if there was a MITM attack, it should happen on both twitter (HTTPS) and pgp.mit.edu
23
warcode 3 days ago 0 replies      
keybase.io and the mailvelope browser plugin both do fine work in making PGP simple to use.

It isn't about being NSA-proof, its about having the volume of "Enveloped"/PGP encrypted emails be so high that it isn't possible to directly target everyone.

24
gkop 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here is a good criticism of PGP from 1999 that explains why it isn't usable by ordinary folks - http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~tygar/papers/Why_Johnny_Cant_Enc...
25
skrowl 3 days ago 1 reply      
No perfect forward secrecy. If someone gets your PGP key, they get all of your messages (past / present / future) and you might not even know your key was compromised.
26
BillFranklin 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think https://lavaboom.com/en/ addresses most of the issues mentioned. Just because pushing for privacy (an abstract idea, difficult to measure the worth of - especially on the Internet) is hard doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. Encryption is one of the fews things we can rely on and we should be using it. PGP isn't a lost cause, we just need to make it easy use - this includes automating (to some degree) the key exchange. /I'm one of the founders of Lavaboom, happy to answer any questions/
27
eyeareque 4 days ago 1 reply      
I just hope that however google and yahoo implement PGP into their mail offerings, they do it in a way that cannot be intercepted by governments/bad guys.
28
aestetix 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm kind of sad the author didn't touch on key signing at all. The trust levels are basically meaningless. What does it mean to trust someone more than someone else? If doing a request to get someone's key exposes your social network, imagine what publicly signing someone's key does. Just some food for thought :)
29
zimbatm 4 days ago 2 replies      
> Except maybe not: if you happen to do this with GnuPG 2.0.18 -- one version off from the very latest GnuPG -- the client won't actually bother to check the fingerprint of the received key.

Even in it's long form, it's relatively easy to generate different keys that have the same fingerprint.

30
graycat 4 days ago 1 reply      
> If the NSA is your adversary just forget about PGP.

Why? Last I heard, breaking PGP was equivalent to being able to factor large integers into a product of prime numbers. So, NSA is able to do that, and no one else can, no one in the public heard about it, no university research mathematician published about it, NSA has mathematicians who figured out how to do that but their major profs back in grad school don't know how, no one got a Fields Medal for it, etc.? I don't believe that.

What's going on here?

He means I need a Faraday cage? Okay, tell the NSA I have one; put it in place this afternoon.

He means the NSA has trained cockroaches that can wiggle into my hard drives while I sleep and steal all my data? If so, then fine. I'll spray bug killer.

Otherwise, why should I believe that the NSA could crack my PGP encrypted e-mail?

31
uvTwitch 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah really, it's actually Pretty Good if you think about it.
32
pconf 3 days ago 0 replies      
This article fails my smell test. The adolescent vocabulary doesn't correlate with the otherwise polished writing style and the technical merits fall far short of the proposed remediations. It is therefore likely to have been funded or otherwise inspired by the NSA in an attempt to smear PGP, still the most effective cryptography available to the average person.
20
Print this file, your printer will jam (2008)
246 points by JoshTriplett  3 days ago   64 comments top 15
1
PawelDecowski 3 days ago 4 replies      
Reminded me of The case of the 500-mile email: http://www.ibiblio.org/harris/500milemail.html
2
famousactress 3 days ago 3 replies      
One of my first jobs was QA for some printer-scanner-copier machines at HP. My favorite bug that I found was that I had an 8x10 photo of my girlfriend at the time, scanning which bricked the device. We were never able to find another way to reproduce so that photo ended up in the regression suite's archive of assets (maybe it's still there).

The relationship didn't last, so the morale of the story ended up being always trust software defects when it comes to relationships. This turned out to be especially true later when a pretty egregious Myspace bug introduced me to my wife :)

3
ay 3 days ago 4 replies      
Reminded me of a problem I had been debugging ages ago. The initial complaint was that the particular file transfer through a firewall was hanging. Further tests: it hangs at the same place.

More testing: not just this file, some other file transfers from unrelated places as well - and always at the same places within the file (but different across different files).

Take the tcpdump on both sides - always the same segment of data within each of the file transfers does not make it through the PIX. Take the offending segment and convert it into a small file of its own - this file is impossible to download through, gets dropped.

Needless to say, this all was observable only on that particular setup - not in the lab.

Finally I noticed that the CRC error counter on the inbound interface increments by one every time I try to push through the offending small file.

Replacing the Ethernet cable connecting that interface had solved the problem with all of the "hanging" transfers.

We did not do any further research into the root cause (the user did not want to put back the previous cable), but the working theory was that the initial cable was made bad, but not bad enough to not work at all - and the fault only showed up on particular sequences of data.

Given that neither 10BaseT nor 100BaseT used scrambling, this seemed plausible enough of a theory, but was quite fascinating nonetheless.

4
bulte-rs 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Reminds me of the time when ..." printing a file with some patched up negative page count actually upped your printing quota in university.
5
praptak 3 days ago 3 replies      
Some similar bugs, the later one looks like an urban legend:

"Printer won't print on Tuesdays" :http://mdzlog.alcor.net/2009/08/15/bohrbugs-openoffice-org-w...

"A member of the famous Black Team manages to create a sequence of operations that topples over the tape drive":http://www.penzba.co.uk/GreybeardStories/TheBlackTeam.html

6
usea 3 days ago 1 reply      
In college I shared an apartment with some friends. Every few weeks, when somebody was watching a movie it would spontaneously rewind part-way into the movie. It happened infrequently enough that we didn't really investigate until one night when a bunch of people were over. The movie would rewind whenever the lights in the living room were off, and somebody pulled the cord on the ceiling fan to change its speed. It was 100% reproducible, but baffling.

After much investigation, we traced the problem to a Rock Band drum set foot pedal. It has an AC adapter plugged into the wall, and also acts as pressing L on the PS3 controller when it's triggered. Somehow, pulling the cord on the ceiling fan made the foot pedal act like it got kicked, which would rewind the movie playing on the PS3. Unplugging the foot pedal or drum set solved the problem.

7
VBprogrammer 3 days ago 0 replies      
My favourite impossible bug was during a autonomous robotics course in which we had to design a small robot which would collect balls and move them within a target area using quite simple sensors.

One of these sensors was a simple conductive sensor which sensed metallic tape on the floor of the arena.

One of the teams had a freezing issue that they couldn't get to the bottom of, until they realised that it froze when their back roller (a sphere in a cage so it can rotate in 2 directions) went over the metallic tape.

The theory goes that the moving lego parts generated static electricity which was then conducted somehow down to the metallic tape, which caused some fault in the single board PC we used.

I wouldn't have believed it unless I'd seen it. Replacing the metal roller with a lego piece cured the issue.

8
mehwoot 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just because a bug seems impossible doesn't mean it is.

Why would anyone who has used a printer more than once think it would be impossible to reliably jam a printer...

9
peteretep 3 days ago 0 replies      
10
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice, I remember the LPS-20 :-) My favorite though is the person who figured out you could pwn a printer by printing the right document on it [1]. For network attached printers you could print this guy's resume and he would then have a node under his control on your network. Scary and cool all at the same time.

[1] http://events.ccc.de/congress/2011/Fahrplan/events/4780.en.h...

11
bambax 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Just because a bug seems impossible doesn't mean it is.

How true.

12
PhasmaFelis 3 days ago 4 replies      
This reminds me of an article I read some years ago about the powers and pitfalls of genetic algorithms. I don't remember the details, and I'd love to find a link to it again. The main thing was that these guys were using GAs to generate circuits to perform a simple signal-processing function. They worked fine, but they were blindingly incomprehensible, the physical equivalent of undocumented spaghetti code.

One of them memorably had a wire or a resistor or something that wasn't connected to anything else in the circuit. So they removed it.

The circuit stopped working.

They put it back in.

It started working again.

The best anyone could figure was that that bit of metal was interacting electromagnetically with the rest of the circuit in some immeasurably small way that the entire thing depended upon.

13
arnarbi 3 days ago 1 reply      
TL;DR: The render time of that file caused the drum to have to stop just briefly enough so that it couldn't start properly again.
14
edem 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can't see an attached file. I would like to try it out. Did I miss something?
15
kazinator 3 days ago 0 replies      
21
Georgia Teens Develop App to Document Police Abuse
227 points by logn  2 days ago   50 comments top 15
1
brianbreslin 2 days ago 4 replies      
How come there is not a single link to the actual app in the article?

Here is a link to their app on their website:http://pinetartinc.com/?p=44

2
zerop 1 day ago 0 replies      
On similar lines 'I paid a bribe' from India.. http://www.ipaidabribe.com/reports/paid#gsc.tab=0
3
n72 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very similar to NYCLU's stop and frisk app: http://www.nyclu.org/app
4
Renaud 2 days ago 0 replies      
The execution could need some polish and the UI isn't doesn't seem very friendly (lots of fields to fill in) but such an app fills a real need.

This certainly doesn't replace official complaints but having independent data collected on Police interactions can probably increase political pressure to tackle abuses.

5
bsder 1 day ago 4 replies      
More power to them, but it's not like we need more documentation of police abuse.

We need some way to force a consequence with said documentation. The police in Missouri simply don't care because the penalties are so small that they can be written off.

6
KMag 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's great to see kids doing great work for the public good.

Though, I do wonder how the app compares/will compare with the ACLU app for the same purpose.

7
mhluongo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wooh, that's my high school! Very cool.
8
ck2 1 day ago 2 replies      
There is a much easier answer.

Take the billions of dollars the pentagon and homeland security is giving to these departments and instead of buying useless armored tanks and other nonsense, buy a wearable camera for every cop in the country.

There are 700,000 cops in the usa. Bulk purchase at $100 each is $70 Million. Throw in $30 million for tech support, downloading, etc. and you are at a "mere" $100 million. Since it is a government program, budget it at five times the cost and you are still "only" at half a billion, which is a fraction of the pentagon's program.

Fund it now, make it a law they have to wear it at all times while on duty or instant termination.

"suspects" will behave better, cops will behave better, it is already proven.

9
downandout 1 day ago 0 replies      
Somebody call Marissa Mayer....I smell a $30 million payday for these kids. Seriously though, they saw a problem in their daily lives and tried to use technology to solve it. If they repeat that process enough times, eventually they will succeed with something. Based upon the screenshots, this specific app looks like it could use some polish, but then that could be said about Yo and Snapchat.
10
lazylizard 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can they do it for Symbian s40? Record n send by sms?
11
onedev 1 day ago 0 replies      
Let's fund em.
12
gojomo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now if they just join YC, then I can say I called it 6 months ago:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7235346

| YC (S14): "Yelp for Police Officers"

13
kordless 2 days ago 0 replies      
Please connect this to a blockchain.
14
kazagistar 2 days ago 5 replies      
Why the hell is it a smartphone exclusive app? Isn't the target audience largely underprivileged populations who might not have access to a smartphone?

Why do people want everything to be an app, when a website would do the job better?

15
stasy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just made an app too, but probably not as important...
22
Why was Pinball removed from Windows Vista? (2012)
223 points by pzaich  1 day ago   67 comments top 22
1
shurcooL 1 day ago 5 replies      
One of really cool (personal favorite) games from that era was Hover by Eric Undersander. While not removed, it only runs on Windows with limited resolution options, etc.

I was lucky enough to contact its creator and he agreed to open source it, so I can one day finish a modern cross-platform port that I can enjoy on OS X at 4k resolutions, etc.

https://github.com/shurcooL/Hover#hover

Unlike books, games tend to suffer this fate where you can't easily enjoy the classics from many years ago because they run on proprietary/closed source systems and aren't maintained.

2
notacoward 1 day ago 1 reply      
The best part of that post is the comments from (AFACT all of) the original Cinematronics developers. It's a refreshing reminder of the days when programmers couldn't rely on raw hardware speed to make something like this run as smoothly as it did. They routinely had to invent their own clever (or sometimes not-so-clever) performance hacks, and what's really impressive is how well they remembered those hacks even a decade later.

It's a wonderful thing that we now have faster hardware, and better knowledge of how to solve these kinds of problems cleanly, and more available libraries/frameworks to encapsulate that knowledge. Still, hats of to the pioneers who were traveling that territory before the superhighways were built.

3
DiabloD3 1 day ago 1 reply      
Pinball in Windows was just the first table of Maxis Full Tilt Pinball (which was published but not written by Maxis iirc), and was very fun, however, I don't think it was the best Pinball table made. That award I would give to Epic Pinball's Super Android table, which is shareware from the 386 era and runs fine in DosBox.
4
thisjepisje 1 day ago 1 reply      
You can download it here:

http://www.techspot.com/downloads/5697-microsoft-pinball-for...

Works for me on Windows 7.

5
TD-Linux 1 day ago 2 replies      
The pinball game, by the way, is a stripped version of Maxis Full Tilt! Pinball. I had a copy of the game bundled with some other Maxis game.

That said, I had several other pinball games at the time and I thought that Full Tilt! was one of the worst ones, so I don't understand the love that surrounds it.

6
biot 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are some great comments from the last time this was submitted: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4938348
7
mmaunder 1 day ago 0 replies      
Code needs constant loving eyes on it or rigor mortis sets in and it's almost impossible to revive.
8
yuhong 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can anyone confirm if Pinball shipped with XP/Server 2003 x64, and whether it was a 32-bit or 64-bit executable there? (if you have the CD, you should be able to look for PINBALL.EX_ on it and expand it to see if it is 32-bit or 64-bit)
9
hrbrtglm 1 day ago 2 replies      
If my memory doesn't trick me, there was a text you could type on word with a certain keyboard shortcut or something like that (sort of konami code) which let you play pinball under the Word program. Any one remember that one ?
10
mschuster91 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anyone here by chance who has contacts at Sierra Entertainment? I'm reverse engineering good old EarthSiege 2 and could use some help from its creators :)
11
tokenadult 1 day ago 1 reply      
Always comment your code. The online post kindly submitted here documents one reason why commenting code is important. (And why structuring the code reasonably around modules that reflect the code's functionality is a good idea.) Yeah, code is only rarely written that way, but the code that is better documented lives longer.
12
nileshtrivedi 11 hours ago 0 replies      
All they needed to write is a collision detector detector!
13
JelteF 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe add 2012 to the title?
14
Theodores 1 day ago 1 reply      
Pinball did an excellent job of showcasing the graphics possibilities of Windows at a time when people expected to fire up MS-DOS for a PC game beyond Solitaire. Although it was instantly playable (and enjoyably so) it did not suffer from being overwhelmingly addictive - work was possible. In some ways the limited life of the game is fine, it did its job and showed that games on Windows could have little touches like hi-res colour graphics.

Currently I have a Windows 8 PC that is there for reading emails. I do all my real work on another box. I have tried to use the Office apps and such like so it is not like I have not tried to use this Windows PC. However, I have no idea what games it comes with. On older Windows such feature would be discovered in seconds even if you had never used a computer before. With the newer Windows 8 there is no such discovery - in fact I only learned how to do power off 'mouse only' without using CTRL+ALT+DEL last week.

Looking back I wish Windows did have pleasant surprises such as the Pinball game rather than be what it has become. Windows isn't really a 'serious' piece of software any more.

15
phpnode 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most of the comments on that article are really depressing, ill considered mumblings from armchair programmers.
16
isaacdl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I volunteer to invest the time to port it :).
17
orionblastar 1 day ago 0 replies      
As I recall when they went from Vista to 7 they removed Inkball and some others as well.

I thought it was some licensing problem because most if not all of the games were licensed from third party companies.

Anyone remember the old Microsoft Windows Entertainment Pack with Tetris and other games? They were all 16 bit and when Windows went to 64 bits they wouldn't work anymore and they didn't convert them to 32 bit, and I think they didn't have the license to Tetris anymore to make a 32 bit version because of some lawsuit that Atari, Nintendo, and others had made illegal copies of it over the licensing rights between the Russian programmer and the company he worked for at the time he wrote Tetris.

18
kazinator 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you want to play a great, classic pinball game, install an Apple II emulator and look for a disk image of Night Mission Pinball.
19
sentientmachine 1 day ago 2 replies      
Windows 8 came across as a kind of entertainment toy device that focused on content consumption and advertisement delivery embedded right in the start menus.

Removing the silly game could be part of Microsoft's agenda to undo the damage that Windows 8 did to its image, and rebrand itself as a "Windows OS is for getting work done" tool, rather than a novelty 'yon dungeon' video game where you try to swipe, swirl, shake, and charm your way through the 7 steps everyone must do to get to the control panel.

20
codeflo 1 day ago 1 reply      
And presumably, they couldn't just ship the (still working) 32-bit executable because... politics.
21
timmaah 1 day ago 3 replies      
So Microsoft openly admits they shipped code with their operating system that they did not review or even understand what it contained.
22
wizardhat 1 day ago 3 replies      
Well that's just sad. Pinball was dropped because of incompetent programmers. Don't 32-bit binaries work on 64-bit anyways?
23
In Ferguson, Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery gives account of his arrest
217 points by ForHackernews  3 days ago   100 comments top 19
1
suprgeek 3 days ago 9 replies      
In Ferguson we are finally getting to see the glimpse(just a peek) of the tyranny creeping up on us in America.

- Fully militarized police with a Tank(!) and multiple snipers with assault rifles confronting unarmed civilian protesters.[1]

- Tear gassing and arresting reporters

- Al-Jazera news crew was shot at and tear gassed [2]

- No fly zone over all of Ferguson

- Street level blockades & teargassing of porches to keep people inside

- No badges, tags or any identifying marks on police

- etc, etc,

This is a disgrace for America and a wake up call for all of us.

[1] https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bu9CVPGIYAA_tFz.jpg:large[2] https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bu-N9uIIIAEImna.jpg:large

2
olefoo 3 days ago 3 replies      
One striking thing about this and many other accounts of police misconduct is the refusal of law enforcement officers to identify themselves.

"""He was denied information about the names and badge numbers of those who arrested him."""

If hiding the badge numbers or other identifying marks distinguishing law enforcement officers from each other isn't already a crime it ought to be. And it ought to be one that disqualifies the officer involved from serving in any position of authority over the public.

There is no excuse by which law enforcement can expect to have both legitimacy and the cloak of anonymity. If there is one thing the last 4000 years of recorded history has taught us; it is that unaccountable power will be abused.

If our civilisation is to have a solid foundation of law; it's law enforcement authorities must be more law-abiding than the average citizen rather than less. As is so glaringly the case in Ferguson tonight.

3
baddox 3 days ago 3 replies      
> My hands are behind my back, I said. Im not resisting. Im not resisting. At which point one officer said: Youre resisting. Stop resisting.

One of the scariest subtleties with these situations is how police officers always chant "stop resisting" regardless of whether the person is resisting. It's almost as if they are explicitly trained to repeat that mantra. It's eery.

4
idlewords 3 days ago 4 replies      
It's striking in the photos coming out of Ferguson to see municipal police in full military gear. They have even brought out armored vehicles, and there are multiple reports of police pointing automatic weapons at journalists and protestors. These cops seem out of their depth. They should not have access to this kind of firepower.
5
jonknee 3 days ago 2 replies      
The Economist recently touched on the militarization of US police forces. It's worth a read:

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21599349-america...

> But it is hard to see why Fargo, North Dakotaa city that averages fewer than two murders a yearneeds an armoured personnel-carrier with a rotating turret. Keene, a small town in New Hampshire which had three homicides between 1999 and 2012, spent nearly $286,000 on an armoured personnel-carrier known as a BearCat. The local police chief said it would be used to patrol Keenes Pumpkin Festival and other dangerous situations.

And worse:

> Householders, on hearing the door being smashed down, sometimes reach for their own guns. In 2006 Kathryn Johnston, a 92-year-old woman in Atlanta, mistook the police for robbers and fired a shot from an old pistol. Police shot her five times, killing her. After the shooting they planted marijuana in her home. It later emerged that they had falsified the information used to obtain their no-knock warrant.

6
SyncTheory13 3 days ago 1 reply      
None of this is new as anybody involved in protest (most recently and notably - Occupy) could attest to. This was the single most radicalizing event that we witnessed. Peaceful protestors that had once struck down any radical protestors suddenly turned radical themselves upon watching family and friends get beaten for filming and arrested for not obeying conflicting demands. A close friend of mine was only able to save the SD card in his sock and switch it out with a new one before the cops took it, pocketed the (unused) SD card and then spiked his digital camera on the asphalt.

This situation is going to keep escalating. If you visit Ferguson, you'll see the business-district smashed up but the residential areas nice, calm, well-kept - with families literally everywhere walking around. The community is united and organizing. I can only hope that the period of chaotic rage settles down into something strong, long-lasting, and effective. This would be a true tribute to Michael Brown.

Last - I want to mention that a St. Louis City Alderman/Protestor was also arrested tonight. He remains peaceful as his respected reputation depends on it, so one can only gather that it was to silence his filming.

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5677157

An account of STL police two years ago:http://antistatestl.noblogs.org/post/2012/03/19/a-personal-a...

And some resistance:http://antistatestl.noblogs.org/post/2012/04/22/welcome-to-c...

7
jmathai 3 days ago 0 replies      
This really got me. Mike Brown's mother said this [1].

  You took my son away from me. You know how hard   it was for me to get him to stay in school   and graduate? Do you know how many black men   graduate? Not many. Because you bring them down  to this type of level where they feel like "I don't  got nothing to live for anyway. They're going to  try and take me out anyway."
[1] http://theweek.com/speedreads/index/266242/speedreads-white-...

8
spain 3 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder how long it's going to take for people to take up arms (unless they already have), as this is exactly the kind of event some people use to justify gun ownership (huge emphasis on the some, I personally believe you don't need justification for gun ownership and that it's a human right and I know I'm not alone in this, but I also know some people have used it as justification and I wonder if they'd ever put their money where their mouth is). It's a miracle some nut hasn't snapped and engaged in all-out warfare already.

EDIT: Why the downvotes? Honest question, how much more are people willing to take?

9
grecy 3 days ago 1 reply      
How many incidents like this need to occur and make headlines before citizens of America realize they often don't have the "Freedom and Liberty" they so often drone on about?
10
jmadsen 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really surprised that I don't see anyone already providing this information. I'm afraid I don't have a lot of time right now, so won't provide links to back up these statement, but others please do:

I don't believe the issue you are seeing with regards to the militarization of police stems to anything so terribly insidious. Instead, I think it is just another sign of corruption in politics & business as usual.

There is a terrible amount of money being tagged for "Homeland Security". Police departments are _still_ strapped for cash, but are given the option of buying expensive toys with funds that can only be used to buy these toys from the companies of successful lobbyists. In other words, "sorry, no money to hire more officers this year. however, we can give you a grant for $20,000 to spend on an armored carrier - but nothing else"

The money won't go away, because if a congressman _does_ stand up to this sort of abuse, they just give a big donation to his opponent to runs TV ads saying he's "soft on terrorism"

So what's a police chief to say? it's free

After that, we enter the simple world of psychology - it's a well-known fact that when you give people pads and helmets, they will act in a riskier and more aggressive manner. If you give them a mask, they will become more belligerent. Toss in an "us vs. them" situation, stand by your team, etc.

So, these men are simply doing what psychiatrists say we would all do, if you strapped us into a Robocop getup and told us to go protect the city.

That said - the Chief of Police should be experienced and responsible enough to judge the situation and tell his officers "No riot gear". This is their normal riot gear, but someone should have used some common sense to tell them to leave it at the station. That is the fault at the local level.

11
sschueller 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is just the tip of the iceberg.

The US has such poor police training that this problem will not go away. There are also way to many people in the force that are mentally not fit for the job.

Sadly the the Police appears to reflect the conscience of the country. Where force rules over diplomacy. Shoot first ask questions later and revenge over forgiveness.

12
bdevani 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you're looking for a live stream of activity you can find it here: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/9035483/events/3271930

Anonymous has claimed that they will be releasing the name of the cop who shot Mike Brown if they recover it: http://www.salon.com/2014/08/13/anonymous_released_alleged_a...

13
Shinkei 3 days ago 0 replies      
It takes a lot of courage to stand your ground in these situations. Sounds like the classic South Park "Respect my Authoritah" sums up the cause of this confrontation.
14
ugh123 3 days ago 0 replies      
Police have enormous protection from their unions. Their internal investigation units are often staffed with people directly affiliated with the union or former police personnel. This is often the reason why they can run with no accountability or recourse for their actions.
15
bdevine 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's an article detailing just how it is that all these local police departments are getting such lovely weapons of mass murder:

http://www.newsweek.com/how-americas-police-became-army-1033...

(Short answer: Congressionally-enabled DoD surplus transfers.)

16
BenSS 3 days ago 0 replies      
What's going on with the moderation here? Nearly 200 points and it's vanished from the first 120 results of the site.
17
Grue3 3 days ago 0 replies      
When did HN turn into /r/politics?
18
bayesianhorse 3 days ago 0 replies      
Stop bitching, start suing...
19
venportman 3 days ago 0 replies      
This thread is going to be deleted, censored, disappeared, etc.
24
How to Be Polite
216 points by cjr  3 days ago   62 comments top 14
1
mbech 3 days ago 12 replies      
I'm all aboard with being pleasant and respectful of others, but find some aspects of this distasteful. Specifically, the portions of the author's "politeness" that involve performance, or adhering to a script I find off-putting. For example:

"Just ask the other person what they do, and right after they tell you, say: 'Wow. That sounds hard.' "

While it seems that many aspects of "politeness" are intended to trigger pleasant feelings in the other person (which seems harmless enough), I find it hard to be in favor of something so disingenuous. Even when it comes to small talk, I think one can be both respectful and charming without having to fall back on a script and cheapen the interaction.

2
vendakka 3 days ago 0 replies      
If I could upvote this twice I would. I still haven't gotten to the point where I can be polite all of the time. However, I find that when I try to be pleasant to people on principle, it takes away a lot of stress. I stop worrying about whether they are treating me well, or if I should start pushing back, because I've already made the decision to be friendly and polite. If they choose not to take advantage of this, that is unfortunate. However, I no longer have to react to their perceived bad behaviour in kind. It is remarkably freeing when I can do this.
3
Htsthbjig 3 days ago 0 replies      
How to be polite IN NORTH AMERICA.

He talks about North American obsession with touch like a normal thing, but in fact it is the exception in the world.

Being polite changes with the culture. In Morocco it is totally ok for male friends to hold hands in the street.

In South America you touch a lot other people. The same happens in Africa. I had India children and adolescent jump over me just after meeting them just playing.

I had played soccer all around Africa and touched shoulders of my playmates, grab their head and hug celebrated with them goals without a problem. Also it was very manly thing to do.

In China or Korea people to burp is ok. Using a kleenex on your nose is not.

In Spain we kiss women when we meet them and we touch kids we recently met a lot. I used to photograph kids a lot. In the US or UK with the obsession in sex they have they can put you in jail for photographic a kid smiling.

4
AceJohnny2 3 days ago 0 replies      
I agree strongly on his thesis, that being polite is a good thing to be and that too many folks are oblivious to its usefulness. I'm not so keen on his writing style, but he makes a number of good points.

"Useless in high school but extremely useful later on": yes, school is when you'd expect to learn such skills, but high-school is such a toxic environment that too many folks learn the opposite of politeness (like how to dominate in an interaction, or flee it).

"it provides insulation against bad situations" (the gloves/dirty laundry paragraph): very much so. Politeness and etiquette provides guidelines to interact in situations that would instinctively lead to aggression.

"it lets you gather information about people": I don't like the manipulation undertones of this part, but it's true that with a little skill you can turn many a conversation into a mine of information and bonding.

"touching and personal space": as others have mentioned, this is very flexible across cultures, but I believe that everyone has some level of personal space boundaries. Break these and the other person becomes defensive, uncomfortable.

5
bellerocky 3 days ago 6 replies      
Hair touching aside, the amount of space required between people is bordering on the absurd. I'm sorry you feel uncomfortable but two arm lengths of personal space at all times is not something you're entitled to.

It's like we all want to live in a bubble. In non-western countries bumping into someone isn't the traumatizing horror it is in the US. It's just about expectations, if people didn't expect to have a vastness of empty air around them they wouldn't suffer PTSD for the rest of the day when someone stood almost within touching distance of them.

I'm not saying it's OK to be breathing down people's necks and people should consider the comfort zones of others, but it's kind of extreme in the US. If there's an empty chair next to you, I'll sit in it, and if there's a public urinal available next to yours I'll make use of it. Deal with it.

6
darrelld 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just remember, polite varies from situation to situation. Growing up in the Caribbean when I was a teen meeting other people my age was a very physical thing. You might have someone's arm around your shoulder or get jostled around a little within hours of meeting them. In fact that was how relationships formed.

Touching a girls hair, or even giving it a light tug was all part of the flirting game. To be clear it's not like you just met someone and started touching them everywhere and it didn't have to happen everytime, but during the course of conversation if it was appropriate and natural a light touch here and there was just part of how things worked.

Moving to the US I found out very quickly that you give most people space unless you were invited in closer, but I've found Europeans that I've met are more open to an appropriate natural touch

7
spodek 3 days ago 3 replies      
Despite his points about politeness helping him, which I appreciate, politeness is still following rules, aka doing what other people tell you.

With social skills, as with any other discipline, merely following rules will make you a craftsperson, not an artist. Artistry comes from knowing the rules so well you can transcend them. I prefer the musician who knows how to improvise sometimes the "wrong" note, the quarterback who shines when the play falls apart, the chess player who develops new moves, ... you get the idea.

Personally, I'm more interested in becoming an artist than just following rules. For example, I prefer to find out how I can quickly create deep bonds, which you can do when you break some of the author's rules. I grew up with poor social skills and the geek scientist in me wanted to understand what was going on. Then the geek entrepreneur in me wanted to use what I figured out and develop it as far as I could. Then the business entrepreneur in me wanted to polish it so people would appreciate it. Now I coach people in it too. I feel like the guy wrote a story about how to play scales on the piano, though I enjoyed the writing style. Who wants to stop there?

My story about my friend and Jack Nicholson at the U.S. Open illustrates the social value in breaking a dress code (from my blog http://joshuaspodek.com/high-status-living-rules-jack-nichol...). There are a million other role models of people who shine in breaking rules, but I'll just tell that one story about him:

A friend who grew up in Queens and became the senior ball boy at the U.S. Open told me a story about his friend who worked there too.

One day he was working at the door to the U.S. Opens VIP room enforcing the jacket-and-tie dress code. Jack Nicholson came by and started walking into the room wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

My friends friend, following the rules, in a nervous high school student voice, said Im sorry Mr. Nicholson. There is a dress code and Im afraid I have to ask you to follow it.

With a polite laugh, Jack Nicholson said I dont think so, and continued in.

I'll bet Jack Nicholson didn't start breaking rules because he became a star. I'll bet he became a star by breaking rules -- not blindly, but intelligently.

8
rheide 3 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent article, and I feel it also applies to me, so I wrote down some thoughts. maqr's comment about this being dangerously close to social engineering rings very true, although I doubt that it's intentional/by choice. Personally I've never had a lot of natural conversational skills, so I find myself falling back to old tricks that work at times when I'm not confident, and sometimes they happen to be tricks that relate to social engineering. I'd like to think that this doesn't make my interactions less genuine. Finding a polite way to proceed through the conversation has not been a problem for me since I learned this.

Lately, rather than moving towards politeness, I'm trying to move away from it. The examples of always replying positively to people, never steering towards or even approach hostility is a very, very tiring path to walk. In my experience, it does pay off on the whole, but I've spent a lot of time talking to people that were just never 'interesting' or 'rewarding' to be with, simply because it always seems easier to please than to confront.

These days I'm trying to move towards blunt honesty with people as soon as I can (after an initial period of polite conversation to gauge if they'd be comfortable with it). So far, I think the people I know appreciate me more for it, and the people who wouldn't appreciate me for it are not in my life.

Or perhaps it just feels good to try something different.

9
binarysolo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised at all the approval of this politeness strategy given my modus operandi -- making sure I'm doing interesting-enough things to have a comfortable influx of people, then filter through them by being upfront and asking hard but honest questions.

I don't think we realistically can connect with everyone on a meaningful level, and given there's 7-8 billion people out there, a search/filter strategy just seems more reasonable than trying to please everyone.

That being said, I am not advocating to the burning of any bridges at all -- as the scenes we walk tend to get smaller and smaller the more focused and specialized they get.

10
AceJohnny2 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's a stereotype that us geeks are poorly socialized. After the all-too-common years of school bullying and stunted social growth that entails, I was lucky enough to meet the right people and learn better skills of communication and empathy.

Politeness for me started as a facade to hide behind, but over time it turned into a tool of empathy and connection. I believe this to be my most useful and powerful skill, far beyond any technical skill I have.

I wish more geeks (such as Lennart Poettering to name just one notorious hacker) would learn this.

11
molbioguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Politeness serves as a buffer. It gives you time to evaluate the situation and gain more information while keeping you from making a rash judgement - both positive and negative. Later on, it keeps you from unnecessarily making enemies of the people you don't respect but must nevertheless deal with. It works hand in hand with patience, which I see as being in very short supply these days. In my experience, it is an extremely valuable trait.
12
lnanek2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems kind of annoying and inefficient to me. If I took someone out on a date and started talking about tumors I'd rather they say to talk about something else than just be polite like he did. Then I could integrate the suggestion and maybe we'd have a good time. He had to wait for years for another chance at something that could have been fixed with thirty seconds of honestly.
13
bowlofpetunias 3 days ago 1 reply      
Most of this is only true for Anglo-Saxon values of politeness, which many other cultures will see as insincere, fake, cold, manipulative and even downright insulting.

This may not apply to the author, who writes "I am often consumed with a sense of overwhelming love and empathy", but certainly to the vast majority of people who don't have such extreme levels of empathy but use the same tactics.

Yes, like many people I will fall for the "that sounds hard" trick, but if I see you pull that multiple times I'll file you under "manipulative cunt" unless I have a good reason to assume you're that one in a million who actually gives a fuck. Because most of us really, really don't.

14
nktr1 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here is the daily Medium article
25
The secret life of SIM cards (2013)
218 points by cthackers  1 day ago   41 comments top 10
1
rjzzleep 1 day ago 1 reply      
i hate to be that guy, and without actually trying to start a flamewar or "who's better", I find it really interesting that americans are so great at marketing things, the german stuff works, but usually looks crappy. here's a CCC talk from 2011 on the topic [1]

you could observe the same thing when the ccc guys had their first gsm phones. Someone just showed up with a base station in the trunk of his car. compare that with the huge buzz that went around the same thing at defcon a couple of years ago. The defcon truck definitely looked WAY cooler.

but on topic what's actually really scary about this is that even newer smartphones would allow sim exploits to roam free. contrary to what you may think it's not just old phones.

[1] http://events.ccc.de/camp/2011/Fahrplan/events/4427.en.html

EDIT: while technically not exactly the same as opensimkit here's an answer to the why question posed by jacob appelbaum. I suspect the same applies here(and it's not really a bad reason either)

https://mailman.stanford.edu/pipermail/liberationtech/2013-J...

2
FryHigh 1 day ago 2 replies      
In Kenya, the SIM card application is very important as most Telecommunication companies have important services that they offer thorugh the application. These include Mpesa, Airtel Money, YU Cash and Orange Money among other services.

The iPhone has a menu option within Settings > Phone > Sim Applications where these are displayed. I haven't seen this on other SIM cards

3
mileschet 1 day ago 2 replies      
It reminds my good days programming simcards, i was the founded of a startup in Brazil that made a good use of simcard programming to store two numbers in the same simcard, around 2010 it's a cool and profitable, the thing is that i managed to insert a local imsi and an a north american imsi registered in the same card so everyone that travel abroad could be free of expensive roaming charges, them we sold the company and now days they are a reseller for some major carrier in US =)
4
farmdve 1 day ago 5 replies      
Wait, what? They're unknown in the U.S? Then what in the world are they using over there?
5
Thlom 18 hours ago 0 replies      
In Norway we can use a SIM application to log into the bank. Don't know how it works, but here's a introduction in English:https://www.bankid.no/Dette-er-BankID/BankID-in-English/Bank...
6
RRRA 12 hours ago 0 replies      
We need to get rid of the SIM card and the closed basebands if we ever want to save the internet / PC / FOSS that permitted this open ecosystem... #KeysToTheUsers
7
matthiasb 1 day ago 0 replies      
They did not mention who was their SIM vendor but each SIM vendor is using their own design for the metal contacts. One could find which vendor was trying to sell them the software which they did not own for $600.
8
thadk 1 day ago 0 replies      
In the public health space, these SIM applications on programmable SIM cards (pass-through sandwiched with parallel carrier SIM cards) are very useful for data collection: See Medic Mobile and http://vimeo.com/45532467 https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/ict4chw/5WKV3c6RfEU
9
Wingman4l7 1 day ago 4 replies      
These must be pretty small applications -- don't SIM cards have under a megabyte of storage capacity?
10
srean 15 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems it would be a lot of fun to hack on these with some version of Lua. A reference counted variant might be more suitable.

Havent had a chance to watch the presentation, perhaps its already answered there: Are these totally locked down or is it within realms of possibility to take out the SIM card from an average GSM phone and start poking around, adding one's own applications.

26
Gavin Andresen, the Most Powerful Person in the World of Bitcoin
207 points by prostoalex  2 days ago   29 comments top 10
1
drcode 2 days ago 2 replies      
Yeah, Gavin was a guest on EconTalk podcast back in 2011, when bitcoins were still $1. I listened to him talk a few minutes and said "Whatever that guy is doing I'm investing in" even though I didn't really understand Bitcoin until much later...

I still think it's no coincidence that Gavin is spearheading Bitcoin- He is impressive because he's very down-to-earth but still supernaturally smart. I'm not sure Bitcoin would have gone anywhere without him.

2
sanj 2 days ago 3 replies      
I was wondering why he changed his name:

http://www.skypaint.com/baby/andresen.html

3
d136o 2 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting, there's another Silicon Graphics alum. Other Silicon Graphics people include: Jim Clark and Ben Horowitz.
4
jdmitch 2 days ago 0 replies      
Andresen has an alternative explanation for why there wont be big changes in the way Bitcoin works. After the transaction issue is resolved, the work of looking after its code will increasingly be a job for caretakers, not master builders, he says.

Doesn't Andresen's response reflect more of how Bitcoin status quo will be maintained rather than actually addressing why it won't change much?

This also seems to ignore the ways in which so-called "Bitcoin 2.0" uses of the Bitcoin-platform-as-ledger will affect the actual nature of the platform, as these uses have yet to be employed on any large scale yet.

5
exo762 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is a plan in progress that will fix issue with big blocks being a problem for miners. This is a first step of scaling Bitcoin to the level of thousands transactions per second.

And it's also a great read.

https://gist.github.com/gavinandresen/e20c3b5a1d4b97f79ac2

6
qwerta 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Then he encountered Bitcoin in 2010 ... at the time and extremely finicky to get ahold of and use.

Excuse me, but mining back them was extremely simple. I could be millionaire if I would not lost my wallet.

7
pjbrunet 2 days ago 1 reply      
Besides the point of developers' influence, isn't the blockchain getting bigger and therefore easier to filter/block, hypothetically?
8
jafaku 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Peter Todd, a developer who has contributed to the Bitcoin project, says Andresen seems in more of a hurry than others involved with the project to tweak Nakamotos design

Peter Troll. The guy never gets tired of derailing discussions and slowing down all development on github issues. It's always about bringing completely unrelated technical or economical issues, for the sake of saying "look I'm smart!". He also loves to imagine conspiracies, like the block size issue (Nakamoto didn't want to keep it at 1MB forever, but Peter says he says he did and even created a website just for that :s). And he is always accepting donations of course, and contracts with altcoins (they get the press -useful for a quick pump/dump-, he gets the money).

9
dang 2 days ago 2 replies      
We changed the title to that of the HTML document because it is a tad less baity.
10
saltyknuckles 2 days ago 1 reply      
At first I read "Gavin Belson..."
27
It's not too late to ditch the ad-based business model and build a better web
212 points by plg  3 days ago   117 comments top 16
1
cromwellian 2 days ago 7 replies      
Does everyone really want tolls and meters for every click and paywalls everywhere?

One of the beauty of the ad model is that it influenced the vast majority of people to publish information in a way that did not require accounts, authentication, or any kind of barriers.

It meant things like crawlers and search engines could exist and scale to the entire Web, without having to make millions of indexing deals or paying micropayments just to index content. It means archive.org and wayback machine can exist.

It meant people could click on a link transaction free.

Though it may displease the people working in the news business, I for one, want to keep the Web as transaction free as possible.

The mobile world of app stores, install apps, and constant freemium nags to buy DLC I hope does not move to the web.

On the downside, some deep pocketed businesses subsidize everyone else's content consumption in exchange for some of their attention. It's a worthy trade for many people. I grew up poor, my parents didn't even have credit cards, we didn't pay for tv, and I had to sell my comic collection just to buy my first computer.

Being able to consume the world's information, ad supported, or charity supported, would be a far better model for my inner city neighborhood of youth than micropayment paywall madness.

2
tikhonj 3 days ago 4 replies      
> Users will pay for services that they love. Reddit, the lively recommendation and discussion community, sells Reddit Gold subscriptions that give users special privileges and the ability to turn off ads.

Users do pay for those services, but not very much and not very often. There are simply too many obstacles in the way, both technological and psychological. To make it practical will require both social change and a much easier way to make small transactions. Not because it's difficult in any absolute sense, but because even the slightest practical barrier is enough to make people reconsider.

The most successful payment models now seem to be app stores and in-app purchases, which are certainly marked by convenience. You just give your credit card details once and then you can buy things with no hassle. A model like this for web content is the minimum for moving off of advertising!

More generally, though, this change is not something we can achieve unilaterally. We'd have to convince everyone else to go along with it, to choose paid services over free. Not an easy proposition at the best of times and, given the nature of the internet, not something we can force. (Fundamentally, this is actually a good thing because it means the internet can't easily be controlled, which is also why the emergence of gigantic, largely self-contained web properties like Facebook is decidedly troubling.)

3
egypturnash 2 days ago 0 replies      
Patreon seems to be working for a growing number of creators. Personally I've seen mine slowly rise to $70 per page of my graphic novel (before fees), during a time when I've been pretty slow on new pages. I'm really not offering anything beyond seeing new pages a day or two before everyone else, either. I'm not gonna be rich off of this any time soon, but if things continue, I'll probably be making a comfortable solo living drawing weird comics.

My first goal for Patreon was 'turn off ads on the current project'. It's REALLY nice to have them gone.

I don't know if there are any multi-person projects that're paying a serious chunk of their living expenses with Patreon yet, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it happen sooner or later.

4
owenversteeg 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Users will pay for services that they love. Reddit, the lively recommendation and discussion community, sells Reddit Gold subscriptions that give users special privileges and the ability to turn off ads.

Reddit's not profitable.

5
aaronetz 3 days ago 9 replies      
I've just thought of a crazy idea: what if there was a subscription service, like Netflix for websites, where you'd pay a fixed monthly amount and get unlimited access to premium websites / webapps, with guaranteed privacy and no advertising? The said service would then pay royalties to the participating websites, depending on the usage.
6
api 3 days ago 4 replies      
I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and I've come to this conclusion:

Free (as in beer) is the enemy of free (as in freedom). It's the enemy of privacy, security, and human dignity as well.

In the beginning there was the bubble. Well, actually there was DARPANet and such, but our story begins with the Internet bubble of the late 1990s.

In the early 90s the Internet hit mainstream. I was there. I got online (first by umm... borrowing accounts at my local university at 14) in 1992, then moved to a legal ISP when such things became available in my area. I basically watched the whole thing unfold.

When the Internet and the WWW went big there was a huge flurry of innovation, lots and lots of companies and open source efforts and various DIY projects and personal home pages and everything else.

The small scale stuff was -- and often could be -- a volunteer effort. To this day there are millions of independent sites and blogs and OSS projects. But the big stuff was expensive.

Building a site that is usable, content-rich, curated, and available for hundreds of millions of visitors is expensive. Building massive services like search engines is expensive. Building really high quality software is expensive. Making the gears turn is often the easy part... the polish that it takes to make something great often takes at least twice as long as it takes to do the "techie" stuff and get a working prototype.

There was always a search for ways to make it pay, ways to finance the new medium, but in the beginning it didn't feel urgent. We were building the future, and damn the torpedoes. (By now I was doing it for my day job, so I was there in the trenches coding up early dynamic sites in PHP and Java, playing with Linux, hacking network code in C.)

Lots of things were tried: early freemium models, paywalls and subscriptions, and of course ads.

Only ads worked.

Freemium can work but only if your costs per user are super-low, which they aren't for content creators or computationally expensive or bandwidth-heavy centralized services.

Paywalls and subscriptions? Nobody wanted to pay. Everyone wants free. Total failure.

Then the bubble popped and all the companies that couldn't find a way to make it pay went out of business. The only ones left standing were those who used the Internet as a secondary channel (print magazines and such) and ad-driven sites and services.

But wait... it gets worse.

Ads work but they don't. People, it turns out, hated intrusive ads, popup ads, and ad clutter in general. Ads were the only way to make the net pay (for most non-b2b businesses), but the more ads you have the uglier your site becomes. Back then they started calling it "portalitis" -- named after the buzz-word "portal" for sites like Yahoo and ICQ (remember that?) that became ad-encrusted messes.

Then Google appeared. They dropped everyone's jaws when they launched with a search engine that not only worked but was incredibly clean. I remember seeing it... a text box and "search." That's it. Lots of people think PageRank was responsible for Google's success, but I think the clean site was a lot of it... maybe as much as half of it.

The techies loved it. The users loved it. But the business folks, I'm sure, were like "huh?!? how!!!?!?"

I'm not sure if Google planned their model or figured it out as they went, but eventually they did introduce ads. The ads were targeted, mixed into results and clearly marked. People clicked them because they were relevant. Genius. Google conquered the world.

Google also did something else. They demonstrated a new and now trendy Silicon Valley business approach: launch a free service everyone loves, get a ton of users, then figure out how to monetize.

It's that approach combined with the information needed to underpin finer and finer grained ad targeting that led to the real disaster.

The real disaster wasn't ads. Ads are fine. The real disaster was surveillance as the business model of the Internet.

Facebook was the second massive company to follow in Google's footsteps business-wise with launch first, get big, then monetize. Google kind of tiptoed into the surveillance business model by way of their ad targeting needs, but Facebook found that mass surveillance was the only way to really monetize. Again I'm not sure if Zuckerberg had this in mind from the get-go or not. I tend to think not. But how else do you monetize a massively expensive to run centralized social networking site where everyone just happens to post all kinds of personal data?

The Internet, which was supposed to be our great liberator and engine of learning, became George Orwell's bidirectional TV set. It's a TV set that watches you.

... and it all goes back to free.

The need to be free (as in beer) has led to a dystopian nightmare. That's because I'm sorry folks, but nothing is actually free. It has to be paid for somehow. Governments do it with taxes. But private entities? They've had to get creative.

Unless we somehow challenge "free," I think it's only going to get worse. Surveillance will get worse. Google Glass failed but it's not the end... pretty soon there will be an effort to normalize the idea of your smartphone turning on its microphone and listening to your conversations. That data will be mined for product name drops.

I'm sure more creative ideas will be explored. I had a nightmarish thought the other night.

Full text analysis and meaning extraction is getting good, and it's only going to get better in the future. How long will it be before Google Docs, Dropbox, etc. start data mining the documents stored on their systems and extracting valuable... umm... information?

Picture this: you're writing a novel. It's a really original plot. Then you see an ad for a Hollywood movie. It is your novel, verbatim. The characters are different but the basic plot points are all there. The story is there.

Gotta monetize those data storage services somehow!

I've started to even wonder if free (as in beer) open source needs to go. The idea that software should be free means that only software that isn't free gets polished to the level that anyone uses it. The market expectation that software should be free leads software writers to look for other ways to monetize, which brings us back to surveillance and data mining. Look at some of the creepy stuff mobile apps can do, for example.

Pay for it, or it pays for you.

7
Natsu 3 days ago 0 replies      
This feels slightly ironic coming from the Atlantic [1]. Though I suppose that one might hope that this implies that they wish to put such things behind them.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2013/01/1...

8
ewzimm 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting that the article ends with buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. We definitely need new ways of transmitting value, and I wonder if these advertising models will lead to exactly the desired result. Algorithms are becoming more accurate at modeling the value of things, and by understanding user preferences, we can understand what has value to a user and allocate micro payments appropriately. Stellar-style peer-to-peer credit systems are exactly what we need to pay for this value. If we could calculate what is giving us value, how much to pay for it, and do so without significant transaction fees, we would have the result of multiple business models reaching a common conclusion.
9
spo81rty 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't mind ads. They teach me about products and services I didn't otherwise know about.

They are also critical to the success of my business as we do a lot of advertising.

10
dalek2point3 3 days ago 1 reply      
Its kinda ironic this notice on the Atlantic website:

"Ghostery found 25 trackerswww.theatlantic.com"

25 is a LOT!

11
sparkzilla 3 days ago 4 replies      
This is absolute nonsense. We spend our days using free services and reading free content which is all supported by advertisers. Google, Facebook, Tech blogs, newspapers. It's not a "sin" -- it's an incredible success.

If you don't like clickbait then don't support publishers who use it. It's easy to avoid Buzzfeed and Upworthy. If you don't like "native ads" don't click them. Support publishers who respect their readers and make a clear distinction between content and advertising. I made such a pledge on my news site.

http://newslines.org/blog/how-i-improved-this-website-with-o...

12
boldpanda 2 days ago 3 replies      
Instead of complaining about Facebook and their ads, use it as a competitive advantage in your life. And by use it, I mean don't use it.

Just as gambling is a tax on the ignorant, Facebook is a tax on the bored and undisciplined.

If you can use Facebook even half as much as the average person, you'll have a huge productivity and happiness advantage.

13
m52go 3 days ago 2 replies      
Flat fee model + modify HTTP headers to allow paying users to skip intrusive crap? Like DNT but with $ attached.

Unregistered users unaffected. Seamless for everyone. Thoughts?

14
Paul_S 2 days ago 0 replies      
Websites are free to choose either one, both or neither. I think it's a good setup.
15
pothibo 2 days ago 0 replies      
The irony of this article being hosted on the atlantic whic has an ad popping up.
16
greglindahl 3 days ago 1 reply      
What if there was a discussion site that didn't use link-baity titles for articles? Then I'd know if I wanted to click through in advance.

In this case: "Free: The Internet's Original Sin" is 100x better than "The Internet's Original Sin".

28
Prison is a bit like copyright, says jailed Pirate Bay founder
200 points by Garbage  19 hours ago   57 comments top 9
1
bane 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's interesting to contemplate that all this is not about TPB relieving anybody of their property, but the possibility of preventing somebody from making the maximum amount of money possible off of their property. TPB doesn't even host copyrighted material, and the access they grant to it requires just enough technical knowhow that most people don't even bother and just pay for netflix and itunes.

Under no conceivable legal system has TPB violated any law (though TPB's users may have). The closest analogy I can think of is putting the mayor of a city into prison because there are people in the city who might break the law, and properly running city services and having functional roads, public transport, property title management, etc. enables them to break the law slightly more easily.

2
mike-cardwell 17 hours ago 6 replies      
That description does not live up to the image I had of Scandinavian prisons. Although I suppose an 8 month sentence will never be about rehabilitation and can only be used as punishment.
3
bellerocky 12 hours ago 1 reply      
> If you dont constantly insist upon your rights, you will be denied them

I think in US Jails like Rikers is that if you insist upon your rights you will be thrown into solitary. Americans don't think prisoners should have rights, they went through the due process system and lost them because they did something bad.

4
zerr 16 hours ago 4 replies      
What I don't understand - I'm still happily using Pirate Bay along with bunch of other torrent sites (but mostly through torrentz.net search engine). So what's the story behind it? Why PB still operates if it is proven that it is illegal?
5
leke 17 hours ago 2 replies      
> Other items that arrive in the mail, such as vegan candy, wont be handed out to him until after his release, but at least the prison has to catalog every single thing you send me, which pisses them off, Peter says with a wink.

Imagine if millions of people from all around the world sent Peter something every week. I think the prison would want him out of there pretty quick.

6
pavanred 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's a question on a slightly related note. It is widely known that Gottfrid Svartholm (anakata) is not provided access to books as opposed to Peter Sunde. But, Gottfrid is allowed to receive letters. I was wondering if there is any legal restriction on the content of the letters sent to such prisoners. If not, would it be OK if books are sent by the page via letters either as-is or paraphrased?
7
agumonkey 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember tpb showing his jail mailbox, so he can read mail but is he allowed to answer them ?
8
hazz 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Here is the original article, paragraphs of which seem to have been stitched together to make the TorrentFreak version:http://senficon.eu/2014/08/prison-is-a-bit-like-copyright-pe...
9
l33tbro 16 hours ago 4 replies      
Knock "centralization" all you will, but users must take responsibility for their online lives. I'm sure it gives Sunde revolutionary feels to espouse decentralization and demonize Big Internet, but the sad reality is that users are the ones that have made Facebook and Google powerful and monolithic walled gardens. Every society get's the internet it deserves.
29
Show HN: Detect articles with corporate sponsors
204 points by typpo  3 days ago   78 comments top 15
1
cheald 3 days ago 9 replies      
I work in media (for Mashable, specifically, though not in an editorial capacity), and I'm puzzled as to how people are getting native advertising so wrong. I'm aware that my paycheck is linked to this sort of thing, so full biases disclosed, but I really do think that there's a misunderstanding of what it actually is. There's this tendency to conflate "someone paid money to have their name attached to this article" with "someone paid to have a good article written about them", and they're wildly different.

(I should disclaim that these are my personal opinions as someone in the industry, and I don't claim to speak on behalf of my employer)

"Native advertising" like The Atlantic's Scientology advertorial is unequivocally bad. It's sneaky, it's underhanded, it purports to be unbiased reporting when it's anything but. However, that is really the exception rather than the rule. (It's worth noting that this has been the status quo in print magazines for quite some time; brands provide 1- or 2-page ads which are presented to look like an article that belongs in the magazine, with a tiny bit of "This is an advertisement" text stuffed in a corner. I'll scan a few if folks are interested. They're massively worse than the sort of native advertising under discussion here.)

"Good" native advertising is the practice of letting brands pay to attach their names to thematically-relevant articles, whose content is not bought, directed by, or advertising the brand who wishes to advertise on it. This pays really well for media outlets, converts well for advertisers, and results in less obtrusive, annoying advertising for readers. For example, from the FTC workshop on native advertising:

> [An example] is American Express, who came to us looking to reach female small business owners. So what we created on Mashable was a site called -- sorry, a content series, including videos and articles and info-graphics called "The Female Founders Series" where we profiled female entrepreneurs in technology, profiles and videos and vignettes, that we published on Mashable that were presented by American Express.

(http://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/public_events/1713... page 43)

In this case, profiling female startup founders is directly in Mashable's wheelhouse; it is relevant to our audience (which is socially and technologically savvy, young, and a majority of whom are female), and it's relevant to our advertiser. At no point are Amex's services pushed or touted or even talked about. Amex doesn't get to write the articles or have any editorial control over them. Our KPIs are typically engagement, so in order to deliver on our end of the deal, we have to provide content that people enjoy and want to share. The sponsorship is clearly disclosed in the interest of transparency, but at no point does the sponsor get to inject their brand, agenda, or marketing fluff into the actual content; it is always adjacent to it in the form of "sponsored by" highlights and traditional ad units.

The key difference here is that Amex can say "We want our name to be in front of people for every page view of this series of content", rather than "We are going to do a traditional ad buy which will be demographically targeted to US females 19-30 years old, which may or may not end up associated with this series of content". They can't say "Write about this founder, and tell the story of how Amex made her business succeed"; we flat out will not do that.

I'm of the opinion that this kind of advertising is actually better for all involved, as long as editorial independence is maintained. All media is sponsored at some level - advertising drives the entire industry - so if the benchmark for "good" content is "content that advertisers don't have any stake in", then...well, good luck. Advertisements that advertisers push through otherwise-respected media outlets in the guise of articles written by the outlet from a journalistic standpoint are bad, but they are the tiny minority of native advertising.

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sp332 3 days ago 1 reply      
John Oliver gets into how bad the practice has become lately in a recent Last Week Tonight episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_F5GxCwizc
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sireat 2 days ago 0 replies      
I remember that a respected West Coast newspaper contacted my tiny retail store about doing some advertising with them in the mid 90s. The sales person actually said it that if I placed a certain amount of advertising with them, I would have a reporter come out and do a human interest story for the local section of the paper.

Talk about native advertising!

Since then I've learned to expect that at least 80% of the stories in papers are planted stories. That is they are stories whose ideas and information is provided by PR firms.

The best ones are the ones where it is not obvious.

A recent crazy but is it? example: national quasi-public radio here in Eastern Europe has been running reports on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transatlantic_Trade_and_Investm...

They sent a reporter to USA to interview what seems to be overwhelming pro TTIP sources.

A public radio station struggling for funds sending a reporter on a month long junket? Something does not vibe right here.

I am hoping the financing comes from some EU public fund and not something even more nefarious.

This reminds of the time that US paid journalists if they run anti-drug stories.

Here's a very leftist source but I assume the facts are correct: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2005/01/will-j13.html

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andrewljohnson 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is cool, but a lot of PR is even more devious! At my first job ever, I was sometimes paid to simultaneously ghost-write stories by executives, then pitch the stories to magazines. So, it was still crap advertorials masquerading as content, but even harder to detect.

I wonder if you could do a linguistic analysis to gauge bias and ad-iness, and show a score. Gather a corpus of paid advertorials and compare to ostensibly unpaid material.

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click170 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can it perhaps have an option to strip native advertising from my web experience completely?

I don't want to see links to native advertising.I don't want to see the short leader blurbs about them showing up when I visit the front page of other news sites.I don't want to even be aware that native advertising exists, I want it completely torn out of any article or website that I go to.

Ironically I would likely even pay a small one-time fee for such an extension/program.

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suprgeek 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great Idea - I think this really should be integrated with http://allaregreen.us/

AllareGreen is a "..free browser extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox that exposes the role money plays in Congress. Displays on any web page detailed campaign contribution data for every Senator and Representative, including total amount received and breakdown by industry and by size of donation."

In fact I am rudimentarily working on a Bias Detector type application that shows, if it is sponsored content, if the main principals mentioned in it are on the payroll of companies etc (does some other things such as Sentiment analysis, chronology ordering etc).

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EyeballKid 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cool - will definitely install!

I've been working on some projects along similar lines. First one is http://churnalism.com/extension

Browser extensions which check news articles against a central database of press releases, and can highlight shared text.Disclaimers: It's pretty UK-centric and I think the infrastructure needs a lot more work. I'm somewhat hesitant to expose it to HN at all... but hey :-)

There is also http://unsourced.org, which lets you attach warning labels onto news articles. There's a browser extension for that too, but the whole project is pretty quiescent right now while I work on other things. But I've got a lot of plans for both these projects...

Not one of mine, but for a more US-oriented tool, also check out: http://churnalism.sunlightfoundation.com/(again a website + browser extension combo)

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veb 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm not sure that I like this. I know it's not really like Adblock or whatever it's called.

I never notice advertisements, and I am surprised more people aren't the same. You've been doing the same thing for years -- it's so easy to tell what's content and who's not.

I so occasionally get caught by the very clever ones - and so what? If you're big on privacy, I guess you would care more tun I would

As I'm growing older I don't mind donating small amounts of monies to good websites and projects. I just wish more people were like me in that regards -- it'd definitely be more profitable IMO. Has anyone got any experience in this (a/b testing maybe?!). I think this behaviour came from the ease of buying from Google Play or the App store... It's almost like, "I just spent $35 on apps last night?"

Some corporate advertisements really are stupid. I just imagine someone's crated the perfect advert and the client goes, "make it pop!!!". Those are the ones I would not mind vanishing - but if it's helping the website then I'm all for it -- my continued visits are purely based on their content and ease of use.

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dbbolton 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think I need a browser extension to tell me that the bulk of content on the example sites they show (especially Forbes and Buzzfeed) is sponsored.

I'm more interested to see how it performs on less obvious sites that at least maintain an air of journalistic integrity.

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seanp2k2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice. I'll check this out. I was also hoping that it did some type of heuristic detection, but I know how hard that can be to get right.
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cheepin 3 days ago 0 replies      
If there's anything worse than the giant banner ads, it's the ones that trick you into clicking them.
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viggity 3 days ago 2 replies      
nice, how are you doing the detection. do you have to some logic specific to each of the major "news" sites, or is it more generalized than that?
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corbinpage 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea!

Installed.

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api 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would like to see a lot more projects along this line of thinking.
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sbierwagen 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's cute. Installed.
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Satoshi's Hashrate
192 points by mdelias  4 days ago   61 comments top 9
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0x0 4 days ago 1 reply      
Looking at the hash rate reductions and how it seems to be explicitly controlled first (1) to drop just below 50% and then (2) fading out, it's almost as if Satoshi was thinking (1) build trust in the network by not maintaining a 51+% attack position and (2) the network is self-sustainable, my work here is done.
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yohanatan 4 days ago 2 replies      
> It's clear that Satoshi was able to achieve some sort of fine tuned [hash-rate] control. I'm not sure how such control could be maintained, but I'm willing to guess that the standard client on a home PC wouldn't be able to do it.

This is something the operating system can provide (or another application). No need for a 'special' client.

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abrkn 4 days ago 4 replies      
I find it increasingly hard to believe that Satoshi was one person. It is, however, in the best interest of everyone but journalists that they keep their identities hidden to avoid ad hominem attacks.
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streptomycin 4 days ago 1 reply      
From this can we estimate what kind of hardware Satoshi was using? Like was it feasible to get that hash rate on 1 desktop computer back then, or would he have been using a large number of computers?
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thekylemontag 4 days ago 1 reply      
very interesting read.

definitely makes it seem as though Satoshi was a group of people running many machines.

would be very interested to see more content like this in the future from other early-stars of the BTC world.

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mcs 4 days ago 0 replies      
There most likely was a simple gpu miner that wasn't public knowledge until later, which helped in balancing out the network without needing a horde of machines early on.
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MrJagil 4 days ago 0 replies      
I hope Gwern and other writers interested in the Satoshi phenomenon keep tabs on stuff like this... I mean, the fact that you might be able to deduce his hardware and other small clues slowly being revealed, might eventually lead to a pretty stable image of the persona behind Bitcoin.
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nikanj 4 days ago 1 reply      
Unscrollable on iPad mini. Why must they keep on "improving" the basic web experience :(
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leeoniya 4 days ago 4 replies      
[off-topic] apparently blogspot.com has something against me wanting to use the top 20% of my scroll bar. (FF and Chrome)
       cached 18 August 2014 04:11:01 GMT