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Uber's playbook for sabotaging Lyft
1220 points by coloneltcb  2 days ago   388 comments top 77
mikeyouse 2 days ago 8 replies      
I've been mystified how Uber's kept up their "Underdog" mantle for as long as they have. They've raised over $1.5B in investment from some of the biggest companies, private equity firms, and VCs on earth. I think you stop being an underdog as soon as Goldman Sachs, Blackrock, TPG, KPCB, Google, and Jeff Bezos are invested in your success.

They likely have more cash-on-hand than the cumulative Taxi base they are 'disrupting', they've been caught multiple times sabotaging competitors, they've been outed for dishonest advertising, and have been repeatedly accused of hostile actions toward their drivers. They ignore sensible regulations like maximum hourly workweeks and insurance minimums (do you want your driver working 90hrs/week without liability insurance?) under the guise of fighting the taxi cartel.

It often takes a 'push' to get bad laws changed, and Uber's provided much of that push, but not all laws that restrain business are bad and not all companies that break bad laws are good.

untog 2 days ago 10 replies      
I know this may sound hyperbolic, but I hope that others join me in finally getting around to installing the Lyft app today.

Before now I'd considered them too small to be worth bothering with, but hey, if Uber is worried then maybe I should give it a try. After this, and Uber's attempts at doing the same with GoTaxi a few months ago, I'll be very happy to take my business elsewhere.

I'd also be interested to know if the VCs that invested in Uber were aware of these tactics. It's especially sad to think of good startup investment money being used to defraud a competing company rather than invest in good customer service.

cmsmith 2 days ago 3 replies      
Please be sure to read this article before commenting.

It is NOT about Uber ordering fake Lyft rides to keep Lyft drivers off the street, as was alleged by Lyft last month.

It is about:

1. Uber using the Lyft service to get in touch with Lyft drivers, then trying to recruit them to be Uber drivers by presumably paying them more

2. Lyft trying to block Uber contractors from using Lyft, so that they cannot do (1)

3. Uber using burner phones and fake Lyft accounts to enable them to keep doing (1)

Also keep in mind the uproar here over the past year caused by Apple/Google/etc trying to increase profits by subverting the free market for tech worker salaries. Is the only difference that then it was collusion as opposed to an adversarial arms race? Or does the collective opinion depend on whether HN readers stand to benefit financially?

mythz 2 days ago 4 replies      
Can't stomach unethical, morally bankrupt anti-competitive tactics. Sabotaging a competitor's services distorts the free-market, ultimately harming consumers. If Uber aren't suitably punished by the courts, I hope at least their reputation is tarnished in the court of public opinion. Although that's not clear since "there's no such thing as bad publicity" and Uber's been getting a lot of that recently.

Either way, I'm at least glad I've never used Uber yet, and now never will.

napoleoncomplex 2 days ago 4 replies      
Uber has a culture of breaking the rules. As beneficial as that was and is in their growth, it's not surprising it mutates in less pleasant ways as they grow. The same actions that seemed benevolent before, will seem more and more malevolent as they look less and less like an underdog.

A cheesy line from Batman comes to mind, they will live long enough to see themselves become the villain. The customers will end up asking for more regulation in a few years. Maybe Uber will start issuing a limited amount of medallions in every city. But a lot of money to be made along the way.

sah88 2 days ago 2 replies      
IMO Uber's greatest threat is someone coming along and making a similar service and licensing it to cities so that the cities could control who becomes a driver, total number of drivers, as well as integrate with traditional taxi services and take a cut of the revenue. Then all the sudden Uber et al. are competing with a entity that has the ability to legislate them out of business.

Underhanded tactics like this is just more ammunition for anyone who wants to make the argument that the industry needs to be regulated. Uber might be shooting Lyft in the foot but they're also putting holes in the floor they're standing on themselves.

ericdykstra 2 days ago 4 replies      
Price comparison SF:

Uber X: $3 base fare, $0.30 per minute, $1.50 per mile

Lyft: $2.25 base fare, $0.27 per minute, $1.35 per mile

Both have a $1 trust and safety fee, and Lyft has a lower minimum.

Ive personally had better experiences with Lyft overall, and Ive taken at least 100 rides with each service.

billyhoffman 2 days ago 4 replies      
Is it just me or does "growth hacking" and having good "hustle" actually means doing sleazy things and being a dick.

I don't understand why Silicon Valley and Startups think acting like this is not only acceptable, but should be applauded.

michaelbuckbee 2 days ago 2 replies      
If you set aside the hyperbolic title, this actually is an exoneration of the worst things that Uber has been accused of: namely they were NOT pranking or trying to deliberately mess up Lyft.

The hangup calls were the side-effect of their extremely aggressive recruitment efforts for Lyft drivers - where it seems they'd hang up and call back later to try and get a different driver that they hadn't already pitched.

While not great, it also doesn't strike me as particularly underhanded or evil (this is a scenario where the "best" outcome for Uber is paying Lyft for a ride where they try and give the Lyft driver a phone and presumably a better paying job).

sremani 2 days ago 1 reply      
Its unfortunate but I am surprised here, aren't there any laws to punish this kind of systematic sabotage.

Would the VCs like Google Ventures and other VCs self-police and influence Uber from this tactics. Uber already has first entrant advantage, this is not childish, this is sinister. Some driver somewhere burned lot of gas and rubber only to be disappointed that there is no fare there.

I will not use Uber until they make mends, I know I am a small hummingbird but anything with in my means to discourage this practice.

calbear81 2 days ago 3 replies      
It's a dog-eat-dog out there and if they weren't the market leader we would somehow all come around to agreeing this is the ultimate "growth hack" or appreciating Uber's "hustle". But by being top dog and having sterling investors like Google Ventures backing them, we hold them to a higher standard (much like their "polished clientele").

Since most of the risk to these services comes from the regulation side, I wouldn't be surprised that someone's greasing the wheels in Sacramento or Washington. There's enough money at stake here for those involved to do whatever is necessary. When I heard a few days ago that a lawmaker who voted in favor of rideshare restrictions was caught drunk driving the night after the vote, my first thought was that maybe it was a set up. Hire some people to buy this guy a few drinks, encourage him to get on the road, call the police to report a driver driving dangerously. Would you be surprised? I wouldn't.

Anyways, regarding the product - I use Lyft a lot more than Uber since I know a few folks there but most of my friends use both and Sidecar interchangeably. Every time I catch a Lyft, I tend to talk to the driver to figure out how much they're making, what are the pain points, and what can these services do better and there seems to be an opportunity to differentiate. Here were some ideas I had:

- Drivers tell me they can't find a place to relieve themselves since parking is hard to come by around SF. I think they would appreciate some designated "refuel" stations where they can pull up, park, pee, get coffee/red bull, and maybe vacuum or clean their cars up.

- I would love to be able to pick a fuel efficient car and see Lyft do a green mustache to indicate I'm making a choice for a hybrid. Maybe hybrids can get bonus payments since they can stay on the road longer per tank.

- Several friends have complained recently about how random the route-finding applications were that these drivers used. Some used Apple Maps, the built-in nav on the apps, or Google Maps but it wasn't always consistent and some of the routes were TERRIBLE. Seems like an opportunity for either Lyft or Uber to build better path-finding in their largest markets via maybe highly localized traffic information or by paying off the city for access to bus/taxi lanes.

Kronopath 2 days ago 0 replies      
To those who have used Lyft: do you get any choice in which drivers come to pick you up?

If not, I can see how the combination of Uber's policies can lead to a lot of cancelled rides even without Uber explicitly telling their recruiters to do so. To wit:

- You're an Uber recruiter, and you call up a Lyft driver to pick you up from somewhere.

- At some point, I assume you get to see the driver's profile through Lyft, at which point you flip through your messaging app and realize that he's already been pitched.

- Since Uber discourages you from pitching to the same driver more than once, you cancel the ride.

This leads to a lot of cancelled rides coming from Uber's recruiters, while letting them keep their company line of, "We don't ask our employees to deliberately cancel rides". Because, technically, they haven't.

bhaumik 2 days ago 1 reply      
CEO Travis Kalanick is attempting to defending Uber's practices in a Twitter conversation with DHH.


far33d 2 days ago 1 reply      
So which is it - is poaching another company's drivers bad, or is making secret anti-poaching agreements bad?
dpeck 2 days ago 0 replies      
DHH had a really great comment on this worth sharing with HN:

"Take the higher ground, man. Let the runner-ups do the runner-up shit. You're sitting on a throne but acting the peasant."


boldpanda 2 days ago 2 replies      
So Google, Facebook, and Apple are bad because they come to secret agreements to not poach each other's employees and now Uber and Lyft are bad because they'll do everything in their power to poach each other's employees?

Make up your minds.

This sort of poaching is good for the drivers, and this sort of ruthless competition is a good indication of a market that is good for riders.

johnrob 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think we need regulation in order to eliminate cutthroat behavior in the transportation industry. Oh wait...
geebee 2 days ago 0 replies      
As an aside, I'm starting to think that some types of non-disclosure agreements should be as unenforceable as non-competes in California.

"After Uber became aware that The Verge was asking questions, Target CW sent out multiple emails warning contractors that talking to the press violated a non-disclosure agreement they signed when they joined."

My problem isn't using these agreements to protect trade secrets, or when they are simply a contract between a company and an employee or contractor (you agree to treat certain types of things as "our property" rather than going off and selling them to a competitor).

My problem with non-disclosure is when they are used to hush up embarrassing details or otherwise keep the public in the dark about shady business practices.

sprkyco 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just dropped Uber. Guess now I have to sign up for Lyft. These tactics seem very similar to the Hoffa era, really had high hopes for a sharing economy but things are escalating quickly to become similar to Hoffa era tactics. Minus the whole fighting for the middle class spirit.
ninv 2 days ago 1 reply      
Evil company. Once they destroy the competition, they will use these tactics to squeeze out customers.

As an end-user, we must avoid Uber. We can't let them win.

KVFinn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, burner phones and CC numbers?

Start off as a darling outdoing the establishment and taking all their business. After you've made it, the very next day, start acting just like the establishment you disrupted.

jmaha 2 days ago 1 reply      
I decided to try Lyft Line yesterday and it matched me with somebody else in the neighborhood. Just as the driver pulled up to the second (shared) fare, the ride was cancelled and my driver was stuck driving me alone and accepting the half fare.

While I can't confirm whether the cancelled fare was Uber initiated, it did occur to me that both Lyft and the driver were getting screwed by the cancellation. If it happens enough times, I can definitely understand why my driver would jump ship and drive for Uber instead.

quackerhacker 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's amazingly sad that instead of competing through innovation, marketing, or price adjustments...that capital would get devoted to competitor sabotage of QOS (almost like a real life DDOS attack). What a terrible usage of capital and resources!
alain94040 2 days ago 0 replies      
An article well worth reading: it contains an actual smoking gun, not just speculation and he says/she says.

Hint to all entrepreneurs and managers out there: if your job includes building an online form so that your team can generate any number of fake credit cards numbers as well as throw-away cell phone numbers, maybe you should take that ethics 101 class again.

chris123 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Naw, Silicon Valley doesn't have a sexism problem, a greed problem, a fake do-gooder problem, a black-hat, dirty marketing problem (Uber is just the latest in the ongoing, playbook pattern), a drug problem, or a hooker problem. Not at all, Bra.
Apollo1101 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting thread.One thing I think is missing from this discussion is how significantly even the nature of transportation has changed in the era of mobile phone tech. Some context: I live in Seattle, grew up in Minneapolis, went to school in New York, and my aunt and uncle lived/live in Manhattan and have for the last 25 years. I recently got them to experiment with Uber in New York. They rarely take taxis, so it was just sort of a novelty. They hated the experience but only because they believe there has been a significant loss of "institutional knowledge" about cities (for lack of a better term, I guess). What I mean by that is this driver had no clue where to go. I think this is sort of a danger with rideshare (not that I'm arguing against it...I'm not) wherein the drivers rely overtly on the technology to guide them. Someone visiting the city can't get in a cab (uber) and say "Hey, I'm looking for x, y, and z tonight...where can I find that?" My Uncle was telling me that, as bad and dangerous as it was years ago, cab drivers were basically the resident experts of a city. They were so plugged-in to everything that they had almost a 6th sense about them. That's been my experience with Uber in Seattle. I cannot rely on the driver to get around the city at all. My experience with Lyft has been so much better that in some cases I'd rather walk the mile back to my place than catch an uber. All of this might just be the learning curve uber has built for themselves as a direct result of the rate at which they've been expanding. But it's something both companies should address. If uber/lyft really are going to dominate urban transportation (and even inter-urban transpo....uber vegas anyone?) then they need to do more than just take me from point A to point B. They actually have to know where they're going.
bproper 2 days ago 3 replies      
This seems like cutthroat tactics, but not illegal as far as I can tell. Anyone know if this is by the book?
nezaj 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is bad taste. Makes me think twice about using Uber
brianbreslin 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would hope that uber has bigger fish to fry by subverting the taxi industry, but strategically I can see why they are as scared of Lyft as they seem to be. Still seems distasteful to sabotage a fellow startup.
iblaine 1 day ago 0 replies      
I know people at both Uber and Lyft and will say that Lyft has just as many assholes as Uber. Given both companies have great people, this article is about Uber being the unlikable of both of them and there are reasons to not like either company...if you take some things personally. That aside, cab fares that used to cost $120 now cost $35, so the customer is winning here. If anyone has a right to complain then it's the drivers that are getting the cancelled rides.
rdlecler1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now imagine if Uber had a monopoly? I'll be taking Lyft from now on. Thanks!
jallmann 2 days ago 4 replies      
The indignation over this makes no sense. Sure it's aggressive, but Uber has to be in order to maintain their market position and keep growing.

As developers, we get recruited all the time, even while employed. The horror! This is a good problem for drivers to have. No one is forcing them to switch (or even stopping them from driving for multiple services concurrently). They will drive for a company as long as the offer is good.

These are competitors offering an essentially identical service, and apparently fighting over an important resource -- drivers -- so the moral outrage is absurd. This is the free market in action.

I'll say it: from everything I've seen over the years of Uber, I like their playbook. Call it whatever you want -- underhanded, blatant, political, amoral, spotlight-stealing, $linkbait_adjective. Most importantly, it is damn effective.

itazula 2 days ago 2 replies      
Traditional taxi drivers need to be less grubby -- Uber was able to take advantage of that. How important a factor that is would depend on the country or city. But in some countries, it may be a way of filtering for drivers that speak English. For example, for Tokyo, Uber lists a flat rate of 40,000 yen, roughly 400 USD (!), for a ride from Narita Airport to any of the 23 wards of Tokyo. Pretty steep, given that a very nice bus, hotel shuttle, or express train is less than a tenth of that cost. Of course, the "last mile" is a consideration. For taxis, though, there are already established taxi services; http://www.narita-airport.jp/en/access/bus/#taxi shows that fixed fares range from 16,000 - 26,500 yen.
swang 2 days ago 0 replies      
The problem I see with the, "we're just recruiting drivers! fair game!" is that it's not.

When an Uber Rep goes into Lyft Driver's car, the Rep is technically a "customer" and the Driver can't exactly hang up on the Rep, ignore the Rep, nor drive away from the Rep. They are essentially forced to listen to a spiel about Uber that they may or may not want to hear. Yes the Driver is getting "paid" for the time spent but the Driver no longer has control over being recruited.

Recruiters sending me emails? Kinda annoying and takes a bit to click "delete" if I don't care for it. But at least I can choose not to read the email. When one of these Uber Reps gets into the car, the Lyft Driver has no choice.

skrebbel 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why is there a 300 comment discussion on a taxi company on Hacker News? How is this different from a fast-growing yoghurt company or an IT consultancy? Why do we care so much?

Because they have an app? Seriously?

retrogradeMT 2 days ago 0 replies      
Even if you ignore the ethical side of this issue, the risk that these practices create for Uber should have prevented them from developing SLOG. They had to know that this story would come out.

SLOG is now Uber's reputation. And Lyft becomes an even more lovable underdog.

kevind23 2 days ago 0 replies      
From the comments here, it seems a lot of you missed the bit at the end about Lyft aggressively recruiting Uber drivers. My impression is that Uber is less subtle about it, and perhaps less ethical / more aggressive, but still, competition is competition. If Lyft were such an underdog, then Uber wouldn't be so afraid of them. From a consumer perspective, I hope that competition cools off a bit -- the price drops are great, but if they keep escalating, neither company will be particularly friendly. It would also be terrible if one company were edged out completely, ending the price wars.

That said, I always take Lyft -- simply because Uber doesn't work for my phone.

rsobers 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is it fair for George Clooney to hit on your girlfriend? Yeah, let the best man win! But it's still kind of a dick move.

Regardless of whether you agree w/ tactics, the attitude and behavior leaves a bad taste.

jacquesm 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's very sad that Uber engages in these completely sleazy practices. I've never used either Lyft or Uber but Uber strikes me as a company that would be best to avoid.

Any company that engages in underhanded attacks at their competition rather than in the marketplace by offering a better service and possibly lower prices is not going to be nice to their customers in the longer run either.

apa-sl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Uber just started here in Poland (currently only in Warsaw, our capital city). I was quite surprised that event Polish startup oriented blogs and news outlets were rather sceptical about Uber and were preffering already available local services (iTaxi, Taxi5, German MyTaxi). Usually it is quite opposite when some global startup is staring on Polish market.
onewaystreet 2 days ago 0 replies      
Two different tactics are being conflated here: Canceling rides on purpose and scheduling rides in order to recruit drivers. The former shouldn't be done, but the latter sounds fine since everyone is getting paid.
joshmlewis 2 days ago 1 reply      
I find this somewhat funny in a way because I've ran into several drivers that were "double agents" driving both for Uber and Lyft. It makes a lot of sense actually driving for both to make up for dead times.
blunte 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a denial of service attack. It is "cheating" and playing dirty.

As a matter of principle, I will never use Uber.

goblin89 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Uber and Lyft are competing to become the first app you think of when you need a taxi, and the service with the most drivers likely stands the best chance of winning.

Aren't there other differentiating factors? Quality of service, etc.?

niix 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is ridiculous. The competition is great for us as consumers. To be honest, when I first moved to the city I used Uber exclusively. The sort of "executive" brand really appealed to me. As of late, with the news of Uber's shady tactics, I've been using Lyft more and more. Lyft Line, which was released prior to Uber's attempt at the same feature, has been a lot of fun and a really great way to meet random people in SF.
itazula 1 day ago 0 replies      
I thought I was going to coin a new word -- uberize. But then I thought to look it up. Lo and behold, there is an entry from 2007: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=uberize. The meaning of the word? To destroy or defeat in a quick and effortless manner.
iillmaticc 2 days ago 0 replies      
As someone above spoke to it seems like these claims are now facing public outcry because Uber is beginning to lose it's underdog moniker...I imagine myself saying "now would I be concerned this was an ethically egregious action if that had been trying to 'sabotage' cab companies?" The answer to which being...eh I'd probably say "GO new/little guy!...f* those guys."
encoderer 2 days ago 0 replies      
BS Clickbait headline.

Here's the gist: Uber and Lyft each try to recruit from each other. Canceling rides does not seem to be about disrupting their service. Disruption may happen as a side effect to their recruiting efforts, but that's not the point. And if you ask Uber, they tell you Lyft is doing this all right back to them.

Sure, it's an unsavory practice. But sabotage? C'mon....

anthemcg 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am not surprised by this. I am sure Lyft is just among a list of threats to Uber and we are only seeing a small part of that strategy.

Its ethically not good but I think it would be wrong to say that we penalized many other companies that make similar plays or resort to tactics that are just as ruthless. It doesn't seem illegal just mean and aggressive.

Honestly, it kinda seems like something they would do.

mikeleung 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interview with Travis kalanick last week, check out 4:40 where he is asked about the Lyftaccusations: http://www.bloomberg.com/video/uber-s-kalanick-hires-former-...
kin 2 days ago 0 replies      
So now it's just like Venmo, except Venmo uses your checking account vs. your debit card which is really just a difference of security IMO.

Also, losing as much as a quarter per transaction doesn't scale. At this point, Square seems like they really need an exit and it needs to be big.

sourshot 2 days ago 0 replies      
Quoth Uber:

"Operation SLOG (Supplying Long-term Operations Growth)"

Backronym if ever there was one..

atmosx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Uber, as any market-driven that respects itself, tries to create a monopoly. Given the companies that backed the 1.5B investment, I see where the pressure to quickly eliminate competitors from the market comes from.
ShinyCyril 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm need to make a trip from San Diego Airport late at night in about a month and was hoping to use Lyft. Sadly their app is unsupported as I have an iPhone 3GS running iOS 6.
robg 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been exclusively an Uber customer. Reading this, I'm installing Lyft and giving them a shot.
raverbashing 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks Uber for proving you're as sleazy as the taxi drivers you're trying to replace.
cylinder 2 days ago 2 replies      
Heard plenty of stories about Travis Kalanick well before Uber took off the way it has. To that end I'm not surprised by any of these shady (and most likely illegal) tactics. Not sure if Google Ventures really knew what they were getting themselves into.
danielweber 2 days ago 0 replies      
Assuming true, this is exactly what made everyone hate Microsoft back in the day. Google "knifing the baby" or "cut off the air supply," the top hits of both are ways Microsoft tried to deal with Netscape.
bicknergseng 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'll just leave this here: http://mashable.com/2014/08/12/uber-lyft-dirty-tactics/

Uber might be slimy, but Lyft is no better.

abritishguy 2 days ago 1 reply      
I love Uber but someone high up needs to instigate a culture shift - this is just not ok.
wahsd 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm always amazed at how low our businesses will stoop in a specious claim of free market and competition. Our business are monopolistic, corrupt and corrupting, and like ber is revealing itself....grotesquely, rapaciously, and insatiably greedy. Our companies cannot simply compete, they have to corrupt and sabotage and cheat and steal. It's pathetic, but unfortunately our society rewards it because at some point ber will morph from it's current state of cheating and stealing to corrupt our government and legislature and implement regulatory capture that locks into place their ill gotten, undeserved gains and advantages.

It's disgusting.

misiogames 2 days ago 0 replies      
Those tactics sounds like something cab companies will do to competitors in the 20's.Call me old fashion but this piece of the "sharing economy" sounds like a little for many, a lot for a few.
malditojavi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Uber paying a 3-figure for getting new drivers? Not a sabotage for me, but a big bet on user acquisition with a referral system.
ctl 2 days ago 2 replies      
Uh... which of Uber's actions here are unethical?

Aggressively poaching drivers from Lyft seems all right to me. That's just healthy competition.

And this stuff about wasting Lyft's money by booking and canceling rides -- it's a bunch of nonsense. By Lyft's own estimate, Uber employees booked and canceled 5000 rides since last October. That's like $100k/yr in lost revenue. It's nothing. Certainly not a systematic attempt to undermine Lyft.

Am I missing something here?

Disclaimer: of the two services I only use Lyft. I've had bad experiences with Uber's customer service.

Aaronontheweb 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is in poor taste, but it's not illegal or unethical. If Uber was trying to hire Lyft drivers via LinkedIn, it'd be totally cool right?
vampirechicken 2 days ago 0 replies      
What's to stop all the taxi companies in all of Uber's markets from engaging in the same behavior?

Seems like this could get fun, fast.

rwhitman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Uber must feel really vulnerable if they think there's a need to be this aggressive about undermining the competition.
itazula 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can see Uber, Lyft, and traditional taxi drivers reading Sun Tze's The Art of War. Well, maybe Uber and Lyft.
ape4 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sadly my city has Uber but not Lyft, or I'd switch.
robot 2 days ago 0 replies      
for me this is a reason not to ride on Uber
_pmf_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
No honor among thieves.
ianstallings 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is anyone really surprised that people in the taxi industry are acting in a shady fashion? I kind of wonder how many deals Uber and Lyft have made with local crime syndicates just to operate in certain cities. It would be par for the course.
geuis 2 days ago 0 replies      
And this is why I exclusively use Lyft these days. Uber can bite my shiny metal ass.
jcampbell1 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am fine with this, the only thing I don't understand is why they cancel the rides. They should just give them a full fare to a destination where the driver is likely to get a new passenger.

From the driver's perspective, it seems like this is a fare, and a job offer. What is so wrong about this?

api 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder sometimes if certain markets -- like taxi services, used car dealerships, domain registrars, etc. -- have inherent and non-obvious structural characteristics that bias the market toward "slimy" behavior.

To some extent Uber and Lyft are being driven by customer dissatisfaction with the expensive price-fixed "cab mafia," but in reading about these companies it seems like the sliminess has just shifted to other domains.

notastartup 2 days ago 0 replies      
What a great PR move for Uber!
jellicle 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you use Uber, you're an asshole.

By this point, it's an excellent job interview question. "What do you think of Uber?" Anyone says they love Uber is a no-hire.

Show HN: I got hacked, felt paranoid, made an app GlassWire
998 points by greenwalls  3 days ago   328 comments top 112
gregbarbosa 3 days ago 8 replies      
Wow. I hate how so many Windows applications are considerably uglier compared to Mac counterparts. The Windows apps don't seem to push forward Windows design but rather get stuck in the Windows XP design days. This is beautifully designed and clear.

The graph visualization is prime, and I love that the peaks are "rounded" out instead of sharp declines (sharp declines would make it look more like a live stock ticker).

Extremely well done, and exactly something I have been looking for. I will keep an eye out for the Mac version.

mbrownnyc 2 days ago 2 replies      
Hello all,

The company that made this is: SecureMix LLC (est. 04/15/2014); aka Free Firewall Antivirus LLC (est. 10/17/2013); aka Blue Quail Capital, LLC (est. 06/21/2010).Here is the corporate registration: https://mycpa.cpa.state.tx.us/coa/servlet/cpa.app.coa.CoaGet.... The person opted to use a CPA (EDWARD H. GOWETT) to register their LLC (looks like a nice guy: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=34375436). And finally, the man, the myth the legend: ANTON BONDAR.

highercenter 2 days ago 3 replies      
I got hacked, felt paranoid, made an app... Yeah right!

This app is not a one man show! This app, with all it's license stuff, backdoors etc.. all ready to know a lot of all your network traffic going in and out, and you agree upon all this when you install it. Now YOU got hacked! Or do you think the app will also show in detail what data they store and share on their servers and third parties and more?

767 point and counting on HN, amazing...

Good luck!

Sir_Cmpwn 3 days ago 6 replies      
All software related to security should be open source. This particular piece of software doesn't sit at a crucial point in a secure system, but a greater deal of transparency would be appreciated. I personally avoid using closed-source tools for security purposes, and especially closed-source tools that are hoping to monetize. I use Linux, though, so I guess it doesn't really matter to me in this case :)

I would also say that calling home is a huge no-no for this software. I would seriously consider revisiting that choice if I were you.

superpano 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can anyone explain why the Qt DLLs are offset in size? I compared them to Qt 5.3 and even replaced them and app works fine with original Digia compiled versions. Maybe it is the digital signature? I just recall a trojan people used before by re-compiling the Qt Libraries with malicious intent.
TeMPOraL 3 days ago 3 replies      
Holy hell, this was the app I was looking for for a long time! It does exactly what I want it to do and does it beautifully. Thank you! I'll be happy to pay you when you provide that option.

By the way, I'm surprised this isn't a default feature of OS'es. I always thought knowing exactly what apps are talking to the world and how much is something one would like to know about.

cyanbane 3 days ago 1 reply      
Beautiful app, I looked at the Privacy Policy on the site & breezed through the Install legalize and it doesn't seem to include specific network traffic information being relayed back to remote servers in anyway (I easily could have missed this), can you confirm that you guys are not collecting network usage statistics from the app?
Swannie 3 days ago 1 reply      
Holy crap, this got popular fast.

This will probably stop some drive-by hacking - great. But my understanding from some well informed people, is that increasingly rootkits can hide their network traffic.

So, whilst this will add piece of mind, you'll still need to maintain security - because all this will really do is let you know you've been "hacked" again. Sure, it may prevent the dropper from connecting out - but often that would look like Flash or Java just connecting out to a random host.

As someone who got hacked, and installed NoScript, I'm amazed at the number of hosts that even mainstream websites connect out to. I struggle to stay on top of my whitelists. I just don't think you're going to see the dropper in time and stop it.

purpl3p3rs0n 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is immensely helpful (and beautiful). I really like how you can monitor remote boxes. Customization of alerts is great too!

Any chance you will support hi-res screens (see http://imgur.com/ztN8cL3)?

maouida 3 days ago 3 replies      
Bug report: After few hours of installing the app. I got a blue screen KERNEL_SECURITY_CHECK_FAILUR which repeated 3 times.I removed the app from the start up list and disabled the windows service. now everything is back to normal.System: Win 8.1
ofir_geller 3 days ago 1 reply      
Please send my compliments to the designer of both your app and website. both designs are clean, beautiful and work with the UI. bravo.

it would be nice to have more info about how you monitor the connection and prevent any Trojans from going around the monitor point.

frik 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice app. Please test it with the Windows classic theme (Windows 7/2008 R2), the "Glasswire" button is a bit glitchy.

What's the overhead of Glasswire? For me it's 2-6% CPU (of my many core systems).

What does the gwdrv.sys kernel driver do exactly? Hook into the TCPIP.sys kernel driver?

Is the "Glasswire control service" an app update service? Blocking it in the "Firewall" tab has no negative side effect so far.

bbarn 3 days ago 2 replies      
I know some have mentioned white/black lists, but in addition to known malicious stuff, one feature that might be really helpful is a known list of what connections are used for, or processes/executables.

i.e., "spynetus.microsoft.akadns.net" could have some clearly Glasswire edited note that said something like "Used by Windows Defender". You could even add a +1232 Safe/-12 Unsafe that linked to a crowdsourced/forum sourced "what's this" registry. Sort of like reviews on processes or hosts.

SoreGums 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great.

Surprising really it has taken so long to get an app like this on Windows. I've been using My Data Manager[1] on Android for a the previous 2-3yrs.

The closest I've gotten on Windows up to this date is CFosSpeed[2] in traffic shapping = off mode + process explorer. There have been other apps that attempted to present the data, however none have done it like GlassWire.

Looking forward to the paid version, this is awesome :)

Got a few rendering issues on Windows 8.1[3]

Hopefully these issues get sorted out, quickly.

[1] https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mobidia.an...

[2] http://www.cfos.de/en/cfosspeed/cfosspeed.htm

[3] http://i.imgur.com/0jOFvos.png

agildehaus 3 days ago 1 reply      
Beautiful. I can easily see using this regularly on my Windows machines.

Some items:1) It'd be nice to be able to scroll around directly on the graph using mouse gestures (middle-click drag?).2) Graphing of bandwidth seems to be off somehow. If I do a speedtest.net, my ~104Mbps transfer shows up on the graph as 38 Mbps and the graph scale shows a max of 20 Mbps. http://imgur.com/QkZMVvj

shitlord 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really great work! I installed it yesterday and I have to say that I like it. It's different from most AV/security products in that it is very low-profile -- probably because it is intended for a more technically-inclined audience. It doesn't bother you when you try to do stuff, it doesn't really spam notifications, and it doesn't nag you to buy useless shit.

Is there any way to opt-in to share network stats? I, personally, would not mind and I think it would lead to a stronger product.

Here is a small suggestion. I actually didn't know I could close the tray notifications. When I looked closer at the notification, I saw the X in the top right corner. The X looks just like the background; maybe you should make it a little darker or somehow add more contrast.

Also, I think I may have discovered a bug. GlassWire thinks that Microsoft Word has transferred 253.7 MB, when it was actually Microsoft Silverlight (I was watching Netflix and had MS word open for a while). http://i.imgur.com/84qFF42.png

eps 3 days ago 1 reply      
From FAQ page:

> GlassWire keeps an up to date list of known suspicious hosts and alerts you if you contact one. Suspicious hosts are often related to botnets, malware, and other malicious behavior

How is this implemented exactly? Does the app phone home? Does it do some sort of RBL check (if so, against which servers)?


acasetta 3 days ago 1 reply      
I actually just signed on to HN to comment on this news. Great job, first of all for a good solution to a real problem. Next, great design: finally an application that does not pale in comparison to its Mac counterparts.
gravedave 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll definitely try this app out. Also, love the title!

Getting hacked? Make an app! Feeling paranoid? Make an app! House getting repossessed? Make an app! Hangover? Make an app!

fabulist 2 days ago 1 reply      
Would you or others care to share the story of how they got hacked?

The only time I've been aware of getting hacked, my friend handed me his computer and said, "You're a nerd, find me a live pirate stream of the Big Game. Quick, people are coming over!" Friend may be too strong a word, but I gave it a shot even though I thought it hopeless. I went to some sketchy pirate sites, and I clicked on a link. A popup launched, and immediately there was an error; "Shockwave has crashed."

"Do you install updates?"

"No, why?"

Another time, my brother was lamenting that he couldn't take pictures with his phone because his SD card broke. I never used mine, so I pulled it out and handed it to him. A few days later I had to get some information immediately and the only device available was my phone. I was on a website and an error popped up; it was to the effect of "Can't download someapp.apk because you don't have an SD card."

Close call.

Edited to add:

https://incidents.org has good reads.

cheeyoonlee 3 days ago 0 replies      
Clearly one of the most beautiful app on Windows. Just installed on my desktop, looking forward to the mac version ;)
walterbell 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice graphs. On the site, why did you choose to promote the monitoring features over the outbound firewall features?

Can it import existing whitelists or blacklists?

If there are competing products (paid or free), a comparison would be helpful.

nanexcool 3 days ago 0 replies      
I know saying just 'Wow, what a beautiful, useful app' doesn't really add much to the discussion, but it's all I can muster.

Beautiful app. Amazingly designed. Insanely useful with zero configuration. Would love to pay money for this, especially if you can bring this sort of zero click usability to a LAN environment.


ki11a11hippies 3 days ago 1 reply      
ITT: people care way more about the superficial qualities of security software than, ya know, security.

This looks way easier and prettier than open sourced NIDS and HIDS like snort and OSSEC, and I think that's why I'm supremely skeptical they hired enough security people versus frontent people.

stronglikedan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Beautiful! And just a future feature request for the paid version: Would it be possible to limit the bandwidth allotted to an individual application? I know it's a monitoring tool, and that would be more of an administration tool feature, but I think it could fit in with the concept.
DogeDogeDoge 2 days ago 0 replies      
You felt paranoid and made an app which a random binary from internets we should download and run.

Feels like a trap.

miles 3 days ago 3 replies      
Beautiful UI! Just curious: why not block connection attempts from new programs automatically? By the time a user has noticed and blocked future connections, it may well be too late.

On a related note, I recently tested a number of firewalls for Windows using Comodo's HIPS and Firewall Leak Test Suite[1]; the only one I found that passed all tests with virtually no setup or changes was SpyShelter Firewall[2]. Not an endorsement by any means, just an observation.

[1] http://personalfirewall.comodo.com/cltinfo.html[2] http://www.spyshelter.com/spyshelter-firewall/

ps4fanboy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Any chance of a write up of the design process and UI frameworks used?
wnevets 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looks pretty but I dont know how well this will help with detecting a compromised system. Once a system has been compromised cant it lie about its network usage?
cmdrfred 2 days ago 1 reply      
I work in IT and I just installed this on one of our servers. This is just the kind of thing I needed.
morepyplease 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looks beautiful, What's it written in?
JimmaDaRustla 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow. Presentation is everything. You nailed it.

Downloaded it just to see if those screenshots were real. Keeping it because its awesome!

wfjackson 3 days ago 1 reply      
What about rootkits that can falsify the data that the app sees? It would be good to have something similar that plugs directly into the router logs.
biot 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've wanted a replacement for CoreForce for quite some time:


It was a piece of security software modeled after OpenBSD's pf firewall which let you define policies around network, file, and registry access for applications. You were able to setup really fine-grained policies as well, for example to only allow access to the C:\temp directory for list and read access, but to deny delete access, and to ask the user to accept/reject if it tries to open a file for writing.

So instead of monitoring access after the fact, CoreForce let you actively grant permissions and would either silently deny or interactively prompt you when an application went outside the resources you granted.

px1999 3 days ago 1 reply      
Impressive software. Simple (looking, and to use) and beautiful; but with plenty of technical depth/value. I've been running it on my machine all day, and plan to roll it out to others in my local network.

I'm definitely curious to see what the paid features will be...

jelias 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's Little Snitch for Windows? Love it.
The_Double 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone else remember sygate?

That used to do almost exactly the same as glasswire is advertising, 10 years ago. It died in 2005 when symantec acquired the company and killed the product.

danielweber 3 days ago 0 replies      

Could you make it so when the graph rescales, it just doesn't snap into place, but gradually (say, animate over a half second) resizes?

EDIT: If I have GlassWire on my second monitor, and click "+ 2 more" to see what else is going on, the pop-up opens on my first monitor.

codexon 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not to be a downer, but I don't see how this is any better than a real firewall like Comodo.

If you cannot block new connections, it is likely the valuable information on your computer has been siphoned off, or glasswire bypassed before you noticed it on those fancy but useless graphs.

geoelectric 3 days ago 2 replies      
Shamelessly bikeshedding, since I can't use the app until you have an OS X version, but would be nice if it could query my router via SNMP to get whole-network usage.

That's what I currently do via NetUse, but this looks quite a bit better.

voltagex_ 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if the OP should set up UserVoice or similar for feature requests/voting.

My wishes:

* A pay-once Pro version

* A plugin API so I can add my ISPs usage monitor

* Per-app bandwidth limiting (difficult on Windows I think)

nilved 3 days ago 3 replies      
Cool app, but if you're the kind of person who gets hacked, why should we trust your sec?
itisbiz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great app! Serious question: why hasn't something like this become a standard app if not OS feature? It is something I have always wanted. Want something similar for Android phone too.
service 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looks awesome. Little Snitch is one of the things I miss most from my Mac days and this looks like it will feel that hole nicely.

e: After trying it, yep, this is excellent. And far too good to be free. I almost feel guilty using it.

serve_yay 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't have Windows so can't evaluate, but this looks quite nice. Good job!
breadrab 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really good looking software. Very rare. But...

Isn't the best "trojan" horse that one, that comes as a security programm?

I'm always afraid, that software programs that aren't open-source steal sensitive data from my computer and upload it to the web. I experienced, how easy that is and no user ever knows, especially on MS Windows.

justkos 2 days ago 1 reply      
Another request from me for a Linux version!

---maybe related...I remember when switched to linux some years ago, the software I really missed was ZoneAlarm and still haven't find a nice alternative (for fast and easy control of the outbount(!)/inbound net trafic). I liked that I could block and unblock the internet access of each application from the systray icon.Any suggestions?

ejp 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is excellent - I was looking for similar functionality just recently in the Windows networking system. I look forward to seeing what the paid features are!

Here's my minor feature request (I'm sure you'll get a hundred or so today) - how about a config setting to turn on an automatic virus scan of the executable on first network activity? I imagine this would not be enabled by default for performance reasons, but I'd like to run it this way for a few days before reverting to default settings.

Siliticxx 3 days ago 0 replies      
I gotta ask, why not open source? i feel slightly paranoid - too.
luckysahaf 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is great app. However, I am facing an issue.

I am not able to connect to a remote server. I don't know why! This is what I am doing:1- Allowing server access in Server tab in Settings on one computer.2- Trying to connect from another machine using the credentials.

I am not able to connect. Does anyone else face the same issue?

superasn 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wish there was something like this for my wifi router (or in the Tomato Firmware) because that way if there is a malware in the phone, or my laptop I can immediately know about it without installing this on each device.

Also I hope it has list of known malware hosts for which it should give a huge red alert dialog if a connection is made to it.

listic 1 day ago 0 replies      
What are the good tools to monitor network traffic that run on Linux? Probably, there are better open-source alternatives to this?
AriinPHD 1 day ago 0 replies      
greenwalls, thank you for a lovely looking product. It is definitely a keeper even this early in development. I'm looking forward to seeing it grow.

I've encountered an issue with the Anti-Virus scan function. I'm using Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) and the SEP logs indicate that GlassWire does not perform any scans what so ever. A response to this would be greatly appreciated!

mback2k 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great application, please create one that can be run on Linux and Windows machines as a service and monitoried using such a beautiful client software.
kingcan 3 days ago 1 reply      
This looks really nice. One thing I'd like is that it would show the current download and upload speed when hovering over the tray icon.
lechevalierd3on 3 days ago 1 reply      
Stunning landing page!You get the message instantly and it got me curious enough to want to boot my windows box to try it out.

Great job.

Semaphor 2 days ago 1 reply      
It doesn't seem to do what it says.According to it, Outlook initiated it's first Network connectivity just now. A point in time where I had already sent and received mails for some hours.

At least it so much better looking than other windows apps

skrskr 15 hours ago 0 replies      
@developers: I wonder what your business model behind this product looks like. Please elaborate!
leemac 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looks beautiful. I love its simplicity as well. Can you give a quick breakdown of what was used to develop this? Looks like Qt was used.
bobbles 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know how to remove the red notification numbers from the icon? I hate these things drawing attention in my taskbar
ToastyMallows 3 days ago 1 reply      
Site is getting hammered right now, but everything looks awesome. Are there any settings for VPNs? Does it work with VPNs?
blub 3 days ago 1 reply      
This looks brilliant and is badly needed on Windows. However the fact that it's free gives me pause, especially since we're talking about privacy software that is not open source.

What usually happens with freeware like this is that it becomes adware or dies. I think you have enough features to charge for it now.

elwell 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is really pretty, but I don't use anything in this vein except for Spybot Search and Destroy. I wonder what other HNers are think about that: am I asking for trouble? I haven't had any problems in years. I'm a Windows user, and I run SS&D every month or so (I don't run the resident process).
jagermo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Installed it under Windows 8.1, got several BSOD and restarts. Looks awesome, but it made my system highly unstable.
paranoid123 2 days ago 0 replies      
See my problem is that I am already paranoid... How do I know glasswire does not provide access to my machine to its developers?

My point being it's a closed source project by using it you implicitly trust its developers.

g3orge 3 days ago 0 replies      
something like this for linux?
geographomics 3 days ago 1 reply      
I haven't installed the app, so I don't know if this is part of some alert functionality, but why are there Twitter and Facebook API links in the code? https://i.imgur.com/QPIYUfQ.png
tokenizerrr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks very nice, though as with any security software it would be lots better if it was open source.
sahaskatta 3 days ago 1 reply      
I just installed this on a Surface Pro 3. First off great app, but just wanted to give you a heads up: The icons in the taskbar and notification area are blurry due to a HDPI screen. A good portion of the interface is cut off or broken likely due to scaling issues.
hrjet 2 days ago 0 replies      
While this is great for certain types of attacks, I wouldn't be surprised if the really smart attacks try to fly under the radar, by distributing traffic and activity. Does this app somehow help detect that?
andrea_s 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is awesome. I would be happy to pay for your upcoming "pro" version. Do you already have an in-app mechanism that will warn me when this is available?
jonalmeida 2 days ago 0 replies      
This has been an application idea I've been wanting to build for a long time, but not having much networking know-how when it comes to these things, I put it on a to-do list.
marcamillion 2 days ago 1 reply      
Love this. The installed app looks just as good as the screenshots.

One question, what does "powered by Symantec" mean?

Is this just a sexy UI on top of a Symantec engine?

gcb0 3 days ago 1 reply      
well done. but useless for the intended purpose.

most malwares will rip thru this like butter.

i would only trust something like this running out of the box believed to be compromised. in the router for example.

ferongr 3 days ago 1 reply      
Minor nit, not everyone has their notification area at the bottom right of the display (I use a vertical taskbar on the left). It'd be neat if the notifications showed up near the notification area.
aen0 2 days ago 1 reply      
I believe that the hosts history should not be visible by default. It also shows hosts while browsing in private mode.

Maybe only visible with an UAC auth.

nkohari 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looks like a nice implementation of a good solution to a real problem. Kudos.
farmdve 2 days ago 0 replies      
A person who failed to keep his computer safe wrote software to protect others? Sorry if I don't feel incredibly safe.
Fundlab 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why does it only pop up internet explorer icon in the alert? Is it possible to show an icon of what application is initiating the connection instead?
BorisMelnik 3 days ago 0 replies      
really love the color scheme and design on your website. sorry I don't have any more relevant feedback to add. I deal with colors, UX and UI all day long and this was refreshingly lovely.
EGreg 3 days ago 1 reply      
How do I know this isn't a trojan? :P
whyleyc 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is really well done - congrats.

How are you planning to monetize - Will there be a "Pro" version ?

woohoo7676 3 days ago 1 reply      
Downloaded it, love the idea and UI. My only niggle about the app now is that it could use better support for hidpi (the text is a bit jumbled). Other than that, great work!
fra 3 days ago 1 reply      
Really nice looking page. I'd love to get an OSX version...
hammer_of_thor 2 days ago 0 replies      
beautiful design!

other than that am gonna say what everyone ELSE is thinking, Security + Microsoft, give me(us) a break, last time i checked the word security does NOT exist in Windows

am surprised how THIS made it to the top of HN, probably has something to do with those users who were defending IE's developer tools ;)

servowire 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of BlackIce back in the day... awesome tool this Glasswire. This is what I wanted for everyday network paranoia.
huhtenberg 3 days ago 3 replies      
Any reason why WhoIs data on glasswire.com is concealed?
kruxor 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is such a nicely made app, Thank you!!
RubyPinch 3 days ago 1 reply      
considering you are also monitoring physical changes to the box (network interface changes for example), would it be within scope to monitor workstation locking/unlocking and hibernation? same question with removal/addition of plug-and-play devices (HDDs for example)
vini 3 days ago 1 reply      
Beautiful, would be nice if it had an option to open the folder where the listed apps are located.
jnazario 3 days ago 1 reply      
very great stuff, nicely packaged and presented. jealous it's only for windows.
voltagex_ 3 days ago 1 reply      
Any plans for a plugin API? I'd love to add my ISPs usage monitor to this.
patatino 2 days ago 0 replies      
little bug: ireland flag is wrong, you used the flag of italy.
Xorlev 3 days ago 0 replies      
Beautiful app. Almost (but not quite) regret jettisoning the Windows ecosystem.
guest123 3 days ago 0 replies      
what is the charting library that is used for time-series data?.
Brosper 3 days ago 0 replies      
What about AUTO-UPDATE ?
nehz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does it use a kernel driver? and how does handle rootkits ?
wyck 3 days ago 0 replies      
oh wow it's so shiny. Seriously people are downloading this and it's not open source, maybe they should blog about it on medium.
shreshthmohan 2 days ago 0 replies      
You sound a lot like Linus Torvalds. :-)
duiker101 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ok, I need to know. how you made such a beautiful app?
sinofer 2 days ago 0 replies      
The software and graphs look amazing. I started Windows after a long time just to try it out. I hope you will launch the linux equivalent soon.
Zakuzaa 3 days ago 1 reply      
What are you using for forum software?
Joyfield 3 days ago 0 replies      
What graphing components do you use?
fgvb 2 days ago 1 reply      
"GlassWire is not compatible with this Operating System."

XP x64

GimbalLock 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is so gorgeous.
haukurk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thumbs up! Really.
Brosper 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, this app is the most beautiful app for Windows ever made.
nmb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you.
api 3 days ago 0 replies      
All OSes should have this built in.
Todoed 3 days ago 0 replies      
kolev 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oh, wow! Amazing! Puts "Little Snitch" on Mac to shame!
ninjakeyboard 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is cool - looks more appealing than little snitch - needs a mac version :P
Feynman Lectures on Physics now free online
744 points by silenteh  5 days ago   93 comments top 19
vanderZwan 4 days ago 3 replies      
Great! This part kind of surprises me though:

> However, we want to be clear that this edition is only free to read online, and this posting does not transfer any right to download all or any portion of The Feynman Lectures on Physics for any purpose.

I know it doesn't actually mean anything in practice, but still, I'm shaking my head in disbelief that there's still people out there clinging to this mentality. Aside from the fact that it's fundamentally technically impossible to read something online without downloading it first.

kabdib 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd love to buy the PDFs, but they're DRMed and I refuse to rent ebooks.

I guess I could buy them and then download the "pirate" versions from somewhere.

Instead, I'll stick with my hardcopy edition.

cjrd 5 days ago 2 replies      
Wow - this is awesome. Anybody interested in helping me map out a dependency graph of the concepts in the Feynman Lectures?
rdxm 5 days ago 3 replies      
every now and then i go into the library and read a chapter out of my hardcover set of these. my kids do the "geeez dad" thing when i make them sit with me and look at them.

classics.. to be sure....

edit: i almost feel like these shouldn't be something that gets digitized.....this knowledge and its presentation belongs in a tactile medium...

CountHackulus 5 days ago 3 replies      
Disappointed it's explicitly not for download, but it's still excellent to be able to have access to all of these.
leephillips 5 days ago 2 replies      
These books show more than anything else why Feynman is so revered among physicists as a teacher. An introductory course in physics, simple yet demanding, and shot through with Feynman's unique approach and personality.
allegory 5 days ago 1 reply      
Wonderful news but particularly sickening for me as I fished out 130 for the hardback volumes last year!

Absolutely great books however!

I've learned a lot already from those books.

Also, the "For the Practical Man" (algebra, geometry, trig, arithemtic) series of books on mathematics that Feynman started his career with. They are hard to get hold of and expensive but the calculus book is wonderful if incredibly dense and written in an early 1900's style!

Those, a cheap Casio calculator, a box of pencils and some school exercise books have taught me more than a university degree and years of industry experience.

Edit: found a legitimate PDF of "Calculus for the practical man" http://physsocyork.co.uk/notes/J.%20E.%20Thopmson--Calculus%...

gourneau 4 days ago 1 reply      
Project Tuva has a great series of lectures Feynman gave around that time http://research.microsoft.com/apps/tools/tuva/
paulvs 4 days ago 1 reply      
Just chapter 1 contains answers to many questions that I've had on the back of my mind.. Why does water ice expand when it melts? If water ice is a crystalline structure, how can it vary in temperature (e.g. -5 degrees to -10 degrees). A very good read.
foobarqux 4 days ago 1 reply      
How does this compare to Susskind's "The Theoretical Minimum"?
k-mcgrady 5 days ago 6 replies      
Is this worth reading for someone without a particular need to understand physics in depth? What I mean is if I take the time to read these will I learn anything useful to someone not pursuing a career in physics or related field?
nirai 3 days ago 0 replies      
An offline version of the website is still floating around the Internet space.
madengr 4 days ago 1 reply      
Don't forget the audio is out there too!
jayvanguard 4 days ago 1 reply      
It is awesome how while the page is loading you see stuff like this:

"Now if we multiply Eq. (41.19) by [math], [math]. We want the time average of [math], so let us take the average of the whole equation, and study the three terms. Now what about [math] times the force?"

Soo... am I going to need math skills to understand this stuff?

dominotw 4 days ago 1 reply      
Has anyone completed all of the 3 parts? How much time did it take you ?
rodrigoavie 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the material. Anyone working towards translating the material?
3rd3 4 days ago 0 replies      
One of the rare cases of "internet done right".
josealicarte 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great lecture, this very useful :) to all fresher
Some Dark Patterns Now Illegal in UK
651 points by robin_reala  2 days ago   254 comments top 32
epaga 2 days ago 7 replies      
Sounds like an excellent law to stop the horrid practices in so many online shops. Let's hope a form of this law spreads throughout Europe and the U.S.

This caught my eye, however:

"A failure to comply cancels the transaction. You can get your money back and keep the goods. If the sale was for a service or a digital download, the contract is cancelled and no further payments are due."

Wow. Seems like it would make a ton of financial sense to go hunting for online shops located in the U.K. that are not complying with this law yet and take advantage of this, helping them learn "the hard way"?

yardie 2 days ago 2 replies      
Hey AirBnB. I hope you're listening. Sneaking in service charges and "cleaning fees" is no bueno. I know it's not you doing the later but I hate it when I find an apartment at an appropriate price then good hoodwinked for additional services I don't particularly care for.
idea15webdesign 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hi all - glad to see the interview creating such a buzz!

Regarding all your questions, I've listed all the original source texts of the law and its implementing guidance here.http://www.consumerrightsdirective.info/links-and-resources

idlewords 2 days ago 8 replies      
A good example of beneficial government regulation, for people who refuse to believe such a thing exists. (Another good example is the Internet itself, but it's best to start small)
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 2 replies      
I am not sure this attempt at legislating good behavior will have much effect. Too often these things are easier for the bad guy to ignore than for the individual to prosecute. I've wondered for a while if there was a way of creating some sort of "Small Claims Court as a service" system that would not overly benefit cranks. Something where you could mail in a complain with attached details and have the prosecution engine just run through it. Someone gets a bunch of these and it upgrades to class action or something. The downside (and reason I've not done something like this yet) is that it also enables bullies and malicious prosecution. It is quite a challenging system (weirdly with many parallels in game design where you're trying to keep opponent factions "balanced")
dsirijus 2 days ago 1 reply      
Any sufficiently advanced business model is indistinguishable from a scam.
TeMPOraL 2 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder why there seem to be no companies that use "not being cheating bastards" as a marketing advantage. I'd gladly pay more to buy from a shop that emphasizes transparency and fairness.
techmatters 2 days ago 6 replies      
"A failure to comply cancels the transaction. You can get your money back and keep the goods. If the sale was for a service or a digital download, the contract is cancelled and no further payments are due."I would think that, under contract law, you get your money back and you return the goods - that would be cancelling the transaction. Likewise for digital downloads or services. Can anyone explain why the provider would be penalized further ?
zem 2 days ago 0 replies      
i was pleasantly surprised that the article called out specific, high-profile companies. all too often the writers simply pussyfoot around that part.
jiggy2011 2 days ago 6 replies      
I wonder what effect this will have on ryanair ticket prices? As I understand it the tickets themselves are not profitable, it's the extras.
mcv 2 days ago 1 reply      
The title says UK, but the article says it's for the entire EU.
hyperpape 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised how hard it is for me to think of a case where including some extra by default makes sense for both the seller and customer.

My initial reaction was a mixture of happiness about combatting hidden charges and suspicion that it might rule out some reasonable practices. I opt out of the sandwich drink and chips combo at a lot of restaurants, but most other patrons like it. But after mulling it over, I can't think of any of the latter that would apply to online sales.

tim333 2 days ago 0 replies      
The worst one I had was Vistaprint. I bought some business cards then found a mysterious 9.99/month charge disappearing from my credit card which turned out to be for some discount club they'd signed my up for in the small print without me being aware. Bastards! I never did get that back. Hopefully the new laws should help stop that.
suvelx 2 days ago 2 replies      
> As a part of that, retailer fees and surcharges must be brought out into the open and explained. Retailers can no longer charge processing fees in excess of what it actually costs them.

Does that mean charging me to print out my own ticket is now illegal?

Because it certainly doesn't cost 2 quid to generate a pdf.

sentenza 2 days ago 1 reply      
Oy. That was legal? It seems that I have been cross-border shopping a bit too carelessly.

I know that the English Newspapers will manage to put an anti-EU spin on this, but cross-border e-commerce has to become easier. From regulation to shipping cost, there are a lot of things that need to be harmonized.

whyleyc 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Quite simply, businesses who dont comply face a loss of revenue. If you make a purchase, whether thats buying goods or a service, on a non-compliant web site, you have the right to recourse through your nearest Trading Standards office. A failure to comply cancels the transaction. You can get your money back and keep the goods. If the sale was for a service or a digital download, the contract is cancelled and no further payments are due."

... has anyone successfully tried this in practice yet ? It would be good to know of "test cases" on sites potentially in breach. You can bet if complaints are upheld those sites will suddenly experience overwhelming interest from consumers :)

thomasfl 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really looking forward to buy airplane tickets from Ryanair without having to remove insurance from my shopping basket manually.

EU has been doing lots of good things to ensure consumer rights over the years.

JohnTHaller 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've noticed that eNom/Bulk Register has stopped sneaking bogus 'mobile website converter trial' and similar nonsense into the cart when you buy/renew domain names as of late. They're designed to not have a fee for the first month, so they sneak it into your cart and then hope you don't notice when it starts automatically billing to your credit card a month later. I wonder if their disappearance is related to this?
AJ007 2 days ago 0 replies      
For those addressing a US audience, some of this stuff will get you in trouble with the FTC as well as State AG's. Other practices may bring in revenue now which will have to be paid out later from class actions.

There are also strict rules regarding influencing how the designs of providing permission to call a user behave; these were updated with the TCPA and went in to effect earlier this year. Many companies remain out of compliance and subject to $2,000+ fines per individual called.

spindritf 2 days ago 3 replies      
Financial services are exempt under the Directive

Great. Let's take all the downside of heavy regulation but give up most of the upside.

mason240 2 days ago 0 replies      
>The sneak into basket pattern is now illegal. Full stop, end of story. You cannot create a situation where additional items and services are added by default.

active.com is a horrible offender. If you sign up for an event, you are automatically enrolled in their $60/year subscription fee - which they don't charge for until a month later.

rcthompson 2 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like this is at least partially a success story for people like those at darkpatterns.org who have put a lot of time and effort into documenting these abuses. It seems pretty likely that without someone cataloging all these abuses, they would have been able to stay under the radar and remain just something you have to put up with.
skynetv2 2 days ago 3 replies      
when will the US adopt a similar law? Ticketmaster will be first one to go bonkers if this law ever makes it to the US
andy_ppp 2 days ago 1 reply      
I find that Ebay makes it very unclear what the fees are if you sell something; this 0.50 to list something I assume they would have to say + x percent of the say price now? Be even better if they were force to list an estimated sale price and fee...
Shivetya 2 days ago 0 replies      
I seem to be missing something, are the direct fines for non compliance. Refunds and keeping an item are all nice and such but still requires action on part of the consumer. Some sites may factor that in and continue the process.
ehPReth 2 days ago 0 replies      
Related: http://darkpatterns.org/ - provides a list of common dark patterns with examples
ck2 1 day ago 0 replies      
In the US, hidden charges would be rallied against as "unamerican" and "let the consumer decide" (when consumers have virtually no such power because of lack of options/transparency).
njharman 2 days ago 1 reply      
TIL there's a thing called "Dark Patterns".
tn13 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is ridiculous. So now every tom dick and harry trying to sell something online need to keep in mind a new government regulation which can be bypassed in 10 different ways by those who will do it nevertheless.

At this rate government will even regulate the size and position of buttons. This is something the tech community should unwelcome rather than acting like cheerleaders.

thomasahle 2 days ago 2 replies      
Sorry, but this seems like a stupid law. Clearly fraud was already illegal, all that was needed were court cases clearly demonstrating these patterns.

A law like this just encourages people to tweak their practices slightly and continue as before.

cessor 2 days ago 1 reply      
I feel really bad about the fact that this is a thing. Apparently there are a lot of "entrepreneurs" that will always choose to annoy and damage others for a little currency. Why do these things have to be made illegal? They were immoral to begin with, that alone should stop people from doing it. Shame on you, people who sneak insurance into shopping carts and Ask-Toolbars into Java installers.
lorddoig 2 days ago 2 replies      
Take the number of times you've heard the sentiment "and this will protect consumers! yay!" - call it h (for hope). Now take the number of times you've heard such sentiments be justified in a logical, rigorous manner - call it j.

Calculate an independent thought index, t, as follows: j / h.

Call me if it's greater than 0.01. I'll be over here in the corner watching as we entrench half- (or hundredth-?)baked ideas into statute books that don't change for decades.

The economic damage of these petty regs (enforcement, compliance, cognitive load on businesses, yadda yadda) far outstrips that which brought them into existence in the first place - that I'd put my life on (but good luck actually measuring it.)

These kinds of 'consumer protection' laws are exactly the reason why the UK only has 5 major banks operating as a government-backed cartel - the laws became so complex that the market is impossible to enter now. Just ask Richard Branson - he wanted a bank for a long time, but the only way he could get one was to buy a preexisting one. This argument extends almost verbatim to the insurance and payment processing (and more) industries.

The internet is what it is because it has been almost completely free (as in liberal) and had very low barriers to entry up until very recently. The day I have to fill in a government form to open a webshop else fear prosecution is the day we let another good thing die - and shit like this is a big step down that road.

A Single Div
647 points by brbcoding  2 days ago   139 comments top 35
anateus 2 days ago 4 replies      
I haven't seen so much nay-saying on HN in a while. It's like because there's an artistic element this or it's pure-web tech the appreciation of a cool hack and interesting exploration of a technology is completely gone. This is a classic example of a "hack", pushing CSS slightly beyond what it was intended for and potentially what is practical.

But it's beautiful and clever, and if you truly can't appreciate it, that's sad.

justhw 2 days ago 3 replies      
For those who don't understand. Each image is not in fact an image, it's css styles applied to a single html element. Very impressive.


disillusioned 1 day ago 3 replies      
What shitty fucking whiners you lot are. This is a fun technical experiment. It's clearly not advocating for some sort of production environment usage of pure CSS/single-div imagery in lieu of SVGs. It's a mental challenge and a fun "I wonder if" experiment.

Any of you busily shouting high from the mountaintops how this is useless and pointless and stupid and derf, don'tyouknowthisisn'tpractical should stop well short of daring to call yourselves engineers, and even shorter of calling yourselves creators, for a key tenet of a great engineer is occasionally looking at absurd challenges and seeing if they can make something happen.

I'm glad most of this trash has since been downvoted into oblivion where it belongs.

rtorr 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you read https://github.com/lynnandtonic/a-single-div/blob/gh-pages/R..., she obviously knows this is not the most practical way to make illustrations. Maybe its for fun and research? Some harsh people on here today.
blt 2 days ago 4 replies      
I am unmoved by the many "... in pure CSS" posts, but I guess they are the equivalent of "HTTP server in x86 assembly" for CSS designers.
grimmfang 2 days ago 0 replies      
These are really impressive. Are you using a program to compile these to CSS or are you just a wizard?
MalcolmDiggs 2 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting to see CSS coming into it's own. Sure it's not the most practical thing at the moment, but I could certainly see some smaller-scale uses being useful today (like iconography and such).

Makes me wonder if we'll begin to see icon/image libraries released with pure css versions.

infinitivium 2 days ago 2 replies      
Would love to see a blog post detailing some of these techniques.
jianshen 2 days ago 0 replies      
This was really fun challenging myself not to look at the source and thinking thru how I would do each one myself. Things are not as hierarchical as you might expect. Great job!
marpstar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very cool. Kind of funny if you open it in something old, like IE9, just to see. Some of them are close, but none of them work 100%. Kind of like failing the old Acid test.
shaurz 2 days ago 0 replies      
And still less verbose than SVG.
n0rm 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is wizardry.
pattle 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is pretty cool, the attention to detail is great. I did something similar a while ago - http://pattle.github.io/simpsons-in-css

Don't let the SVG naysayers get you down. Yes SVG would have been a better tool for the job but its not about that, its about pushing CSS to it's a limits and that what you've done. This is an awesome hack!

kelvin0 2 days ago 2 replies      
Could someone please enlighten me as to what I am looking at?The images are nice, and ...?
prasath5s 1 day ago 0 replies      
Awesome!!!This is absolute Hacking!!!
okaka 1 day ago 1 reply      

IE9 is not fully supported.And doesn't support IE8 and below.

But It's still wonderful.

skalla 1 day ago 0 replies      
Open this on Internet Explorer LOL!Try from IE6 until IE 11. You can watch the evolution of SingleDiv
penguindev 1 day ago 0 replies      
maybe this will actually work in more browsers than svgs do. I tried about 15 inkscape-made svgs the other days, really simple clipart, and out of 3 (current!) browsers most of them rendered differently :-( One svg was different in all 3 :-(
Kiro 1 day ago 1 reply      
How do they create two eyes out of one :after in the mushroom?
secutor 1 day ago 1 reply      
What happens if you turn the web standards and css time back on this: https://twitter.com/secutor/status/504591841447399424Amazingly pictures how hard it is to develop anything cross IE platform...
jokoon 1 day ago 0 replies      
shouldn't SVG be more relevant for this ?
dinkumthinkum 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised at the comments. To the person that did this: Great job! This is very neat and shows the kind of boundaries you can push with CSS. So what if this is not practical per se, it does show that you can potentially do simpler things than this in pure CSS and that may, in fact, be practical in some cases. Seeing an example like this makes it abundantly clear that that simple of effect you might be wondering if is possible to do in CSS is definitely because clearly this exists.

Besides that, this is HackerNews; it's relevant.

obasa 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can't believe this.
collyw 1 day ago 1 reply      
I saw 19 divs when I clicked on view source.
cseelus 1 day ago 0 replies      
littleyangqh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Only CSS? cool
icalc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great work.
shmerl 2 days ago 3 replies      
What is the point of doing that instead of using SVG?
jastanton 2 days ago 0 replies      

boom. see more here: http://www.polymer-project.org/components/paper-elements/dem...

Pxtl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Making images in css is like making a game engine in cobol. it wasn't a good language/model to begin with, and this is a particularly difficult application of the subject that only occurs to people because we're stuck with the technology.
na85 2 days ago 2 replies      
I came in expecting this to be an example of a website without tons of nested <div> elements- the problem that html5 was supposed to solve but didn't.
mikeryan 2 days ago 1 reply      
The first couple of these all have before and after pseudo elements. If you're going to use those its kind of cheating calling it a single div when you have 3 styleable elements
benatkin 2 days ago 0 replies      
The outer div could be replaced with the body tag. Those divs are just for showing multiple examples on the page.
leni536 2 days ago 3 replies      
They are really nice but I really don't see the point why they are implemented in css. Most of the images make use of the capability of directly using gradients in the background-image property. Of course it could be easily replaced by the appropriate svg element.

For the lollypop shadow I would make use of the 3D transformation capabilities of CSS3. AFAIK svg is only capable of affine transformations (why?) while CSS3 can handle perspective transformations too.

Using Google Earth to Find an ISIS Training Camp
546 points by mmayberry  6 days ago   105 comments top 23
e98cuenc 6 days ago 4 replies      
It makes me super proud that he used Panoramio, a site I created 9 years ago. Nowadays with the prevalence of Google Street View is less useful than it used to be for this kind of stuff, but there are still places that the GSV guys have not (yet) covered.
hemancuso 6 days ago 7 replies      
Anyone who is impressed by this should seriously check out Andrew Sullivan's view from your window contest. Most weeks a reader submits a photo from their window, literally anywhere in the world. And people track it down with very similar techniques, to the exact window. And a lot of the contest photos offer much less to go off of than this [namely, only 1 photo, low res, country/context unspecified].

Here is the winners archive.


Some of photos aren't too crazy or offer a landmark that is recognizable if you'd seen it before. But most of them offer very little in terms of knowing where to start unless you've got a huge body of contextual knowledge you can draw on.

A couple ones that I had absolutely no idea where to start with:


I imagine the CIA/NSA has a crack team of a couple dozen people doing this exact job.

mmayberry 6 days ago 2 replies      
I'm sure the government is on this as well but its pretty incredible what a citizen journalist can do from his home computer with a few basic web sites. Some of the other projects that he has worked on (finding a russian training camp, authenticating an Egyptian revolution movie, etc..) are worth a read as well
joelrunyon 6 days ago 3 replies      
Interesting that as it's getting easier & easier for "normal" people to do stuff like this - our media is getting worse and worse at it. They've essentially given up on reporting or investigating anything original and simply spew back "opinions", "tweets" or PR releases.
jebus989 6 days ago 1 reply      
I like this, but probably worth mentioning that this isn't a covert group so it seems somewhat akin to reporting where the Donetsk separatists are.
qstyk 6 days ago 0 replies      
What an odd introduction: "Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go through training as an ISIS terrorist? Or better yet, where you would go to find such advanced training?"


DrSayre 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is pretty awesome! I wanted to do something similar with the video of James Foley, but I figured there was people smarter than me already doing that and I really didn't want to watch that video.
moskie 6 days ago 2 replies      
This is cool and all, but I can't help but be reminded of the hunt for Boston Marathon bombers. Sure, maybe the author's heart is in the right place, but Random Person On The Internet could easily have gotten something wrong, that seems intuitively correct to the author and a general audience (us), but is in fact incorrect. Which makes me inclined to instead leave stuff like this up to the professionals. (appeal to authority, i know, but... getting this stuff right is important.)
carlob 6 days ago 1 reply      
Honest question: what's the advantage of using FlashEarth over Bing maps (which appears to be the source of the data)?
misiti3780 6 days ago 0 replies      
I read an interesting article a while ago about who they have tried (unsuccessfully) to track


from land artifacts. I supposed it is a bit more difficult as google maps didnt make it to Waziristan yet.

It sort of reminds me of this article from a while back


MrJagil 5 days ago 0 replies      
Such an interesting analysis, and seemingly a very nice site too. A shame the comments are so headless.

It's a travesty communities and discussions devolve so quickly on the internet (though I of course know from PGs eternal struggle how hard it is to prevent). Whoever can solve this problem (nice try disqus etc) will certainly claim fame.

Up and down votes won't cut it. It will require a serious inquiry into psychology, sociology and behavioural studies I believe.

lolryan 5 days ago 0 replies      
When looking for new apartments in NYC, a combination of Google Street View and the Flyover feature in Apple Maps does wonders to validate how truthful brokers are in their listings.
maouida 4 days ago 0 replies      
But isn't the place already mentioned in the video footage? "State of Naynawa", which is a well known place.
magicalist 6 days ago 0 replies      
Wait, so is the "new construction" around the tower the training camp? The article doesn't seem to say explicitly. Or is this more finding where they do training marches?
bmmayer1 6 days ago 0 replies      
Way to crowdsource ours and Iraq's military intelligence! I'm sure someone will find this useful.
Too 5 days ago 0 replies      
I bet this guy is good at https://geoguessr.com/
jqm 6 days ago 1 reply      
Western governments didn't know this already?

I have a hard time believing they didn't. There are (in my opinion) strategic reasons ISIS was allowed to get as far as it did. And reasons they were allowed to appropriate large amounts of cash and US weaponry.

notastartup 6 days ago 0 replies      
Absolutely amazing investigative work. This is very good intelligence from using everyday resources and a keen eye from the determined.
justplay 6 days ago 0 replies      
this man deserve a huge applauds. He is our sherlock holmes.
IBCNU 6 days ago 0 replies      
Nice work.
kelukelugames 6 days ago 1 reply      

What are the next steps?

known 5 days ago 0 replies      
You don't need great weapons. Just Drop A "Heat bomb" In Antarctic Ice Shelves. You'll Drown The World.
elleferrer 6 days ago 4 replies      
We need more bellingcats' - this was a great find - can we expect a planned airstrike in this location any time soon?
Vermont Quits War on Drugs to Treat Heroin Abuse as Health Issue
479 points by benblodgett  2 days ago   143 comments top 15
codeshaman 2 days ago 6 replies      
Just back from Boom Festival in Portugal, where personal drug use is decriminalized.

There was almost no police/security at the gates or inside the festival, although selling drugs was not tolerated (eg. people selling on the festival grounds were kindly asked to leave). There were 42.000 people from 152 countries and most of them used some kind of substance or plant there (marijuana being the most abundantly and openly used). As a consequence (or despite this?), this was one of the safest and warmest places I have ever seen.

Instead of police watching everyone, there were a number of premises: there was a drug info stand, were one could go and test their drugs. The queue was quite long there, people stood 2+ hours in the queue to test their substances.

Then there was the Kosmic Care, a place were 20+ psychologists, doctors and shamans would bring people having 'bad' trips back to earth. They had 70 'bad' trippers in the first night alone and they were expecting a lot more on the full moon night.I've spoken to the psychologists there (out of curiosity, not because of a bad trip :) ) and they told me that that the majority of bad trips were caused by people taking 'fake' LSD. In fact, she said, 50% of the LSD people tested was not actually LSD but some designer substance with unknown consequences and effects.Other reasons for bad trips - was people mixing substances or taknig too much (usually young, unexperienced people) and people having prior mental illness.

I asked a guy there, how can one prevent people from having a bad trip again and the answer was 'well, after such an experience, most people grow up pretty quickly and it's unlikely they would take these substances lightly the next time'.

In most countries, these young people would end up in a hospital and then get arrested and possibly spend time in jail.

The war on drugs has caused a lot of suffering and has done very little to reduce drug use or addiction, yet it costs billions every year.

Protugal's approach to drugs is a great example of how the negative effects of drug use can be handled with minimal costs and lead to positive outcomes in drug users.All it takes is a bit of acceptance and common sense.

awjr 2 days ago 2 replies      
"War on drugs" is a terrible world affliction. Prohibition neither works nor is conducive to a better society. Governments should just tax and sell the drugs to the general public. Alcohol is considered to be the most harmful drug but is legal because it can be taxed, controlled, and makes money. (http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2010/11/drugs_caus...)

Governments should also support people that want drugs to come off those drugs and while we're at it, release all prisoners who are specifically in for possession/dealing/trafficking.

We really need to give up on this idea of a drug free world.

I think we need to look to Portugal for an example of what can be done and also as a starting point for possibly developing a better model http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/evaluating-drug-d...

praneshp 2 days ago 4 replies      
I really wish it wasn't called "War on drugs". One of the things I dislike about America, as an outsider, is their tendency to call everything "War on X", which essentially makes everything us vs them.
girvo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Treating heroin addiction as a medical problem is why I've been clean for two years, after being an addict for 6. Australia is surprisingly okay on this front all things considered. If I was afraid of being arrested for seeking help, then I can guarantee I wouldn't be here today. An acquaintance overdosed once, and we called an ambulance straight away -- if I had lived in a place where a drug overdose means a police car following the ambulance, he would be dead. The fact it was illegal stopped exactly nobody...

Anyway, I'm glad I got help. Life's too good to throw it away :)

amykhar 2 days ago 4 replies      
The demographics of Vermont makes me curious. Many people say that the war on drugs is racially motivated in that more blacks and hispanics are prosecuted than whites. Vermont is 95% Caucasian. I wonder if this fact influenced the new policy in any way.
tim333 2 days ago 2 replies      
>This is an experiment, Shumlin says. And were not going to really know the results for a while.

Good stuff. I really wish those in power would more often try a scientific/engineering approach to see what works rather than politicians shouting about war on whatever.

par 2 days ago 4 replies      
What a wonderful world it will be when we help our sick instead of imprison them. I am looking forward to the rest of the world following suit. I'd also like to add this is a great time for US democracy to shine, as it is through statehood that things like this can be tested on a small scale, before rolling out to 'prod'.
blueking 2 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder why the government needs to force everyone to hit a collective rock bottom before considering a new strategy. Throwing everyone involved in jail was a bad idea from day 1.

What they need to do is manufacture and sell the drugs at cost to registered addicts. This way you destroy the business of the drug cartels and you insure your citizens are at least using pure drugs.

Regardless of the legality of the use of the drug it is a health issue that the drugs your citizens consume are pure. The safety of your people should come first and a government that has taken this long to realize something that basic is simply incompetent.

Prioritizing law enforcement before public safety is a revealing and meaningful sign of incompetence or even corruption.

emhart 2 days ago 0 replies      
Most of my life we've had an outsized problem with heroin and other opiates in Vermont. Recently this has developed into an odd symbiotic relationship with New York State, where Heroin is exchanged for guns across the border.

I recently left the state, but only a year ago I was living in Saint Albans when a warrant sweep rounded up dozens of my neighbors, including one who had been moving thousands of grams of heroin monthly.

Throughout 2013 there were ongoing sweeps in 3 major counties, all focused on narcotics only. Dozens were arrested each time. We're a small state with a terrible economy. As glad as I am that Shumlin is taking this step (and he's made it clear for a while now that he's happy to ignore the political consequences of this action) this has been a very long time coming. I remember first hearing about the heroin problem in my state 20 years ago, when I was in middle school and there was a report of someone overdosing in a park adjacent to a summit on combating opiate addiction.

Vice did a good story on all of this last year: http://www.vice.com/read/the-brown-mountain-state

doctornemo 2 days ago 0 replies      
If only the state would spend more money on this strategy. But we aren't.
BorisMelnik 2 days ago 1 reply      
why not set up more suboxone clinics? I know it is just substituting one addiction for another, but it will reduce crime and stop deaths.
lasermike026 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great! How do I get this in my state?
the_cat_kittles 2 days ago 0 replies      
this is a great video of Russell Brand discussing this attitude shift and other ideas about how we address addiction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_LHuII-jYQ
omegaworks 2 days ago 2 replies      
>Representative Thomas Burditt: As everybody knows, the war on drugs is lost, pretty much. Its time to go down a new road.

There is a sane Republican! Hurrah!

dscrd 2 days ago 1 reply      
War on Drugs has been won, not lost.
Amazons Twitch Acquisition Is Official
475 points by lalwanivikas  3 days ago   249 comments top 34
fidotron 3 days ago 5 replies      
Amazon really aren't on the radar round here nearly as much as they should be. As some in this thread have pointed out their strategy is to spend absolutely all income on slightly out there R&D, which in the case of things like their web services wildly over return.

Just because they aren't based in the valley and make Apple look positively liberal when it comes to secrecy and working practices doesn't mean they should be ignored. Quite honestly I think they're the single most terrifying company in the US today, an idea Bezos would take as a compliment.

The big picture is they are gunning to become the universal middle men for when people actually spend money on the net. Google only have the ad side of things together, but never really cracked getting end users to open their wallets, yet Amazon are in the position of starting in front of users, and slowly moving themselves into being the background glue between everything else, facilitating transactions between everyone while taking their cut and enforcing their rules. Terrifying, and brilliant.

dang 3 days ago 1 reply      
We changed the url from http://online.wsj.com/articles/amazon-to-buy-video-site-twit... because everyone hates the paywall.

In general, we want the best article out there on a given topic, where "not being behind a paywall" adds points toward "best".

staunch 3 days ago 13 replies      
Twitch is not going to be another YouTube success story. There just aren't enough great uses for live streaming yet and video game streaming is very far from being mainstream. Twitch obviously can't believe it's very close to reaching NFL-like status either or it wouldn't sell for a mere billion and change.

Amazon or Google will piss off or drive away the Twitch user base. The users will all move to Hitbox.tv or any number of new sites that will pop up. It's easy to do live streaming, it's just expensive. This acquisition will bring funding and Yahoo will buy the next popular live streaming site.

christopherslee 3 days ago 6 replies      
I thought it has previously been confirmed a few months ago that Google was acquiring Twitch. Did that fall through or was the confirmation later retracted?
imjk 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think this makes sense for Amazon for two reasons:1) One of the barriers to entry of live-streaming sites is the expensive hosting costs. With AWS infrastructure, Amazon could potentially have another competitive advantage over other live-streaming sites. They may even provide a better service through higher resolution streaming as they wouldn't be as constrained with bandwidth costs.

2) As Amazon enters the online advertising space to compete with Google Adwords and Adsense, they'll want to own web properties with high impressions for their display ads. User based video creation is great for that but comes with risk for copyright violations. Twitch solves both these issues as it'll give display ads high impressions without much concern about copyright violations as these will mostly be legit user-originated content.

antoncohen 3 days ago 0 replies      
The acquisition has been confirmed by Twitch:


mmxiii 3 days ago 6 replies      
Twitch is a great marketing platform for games/new games and this opens up the ability for Twitch/streamers to monetize through Amazon referrals.

For now, Amazon is selling physical copies, but seems reasonable to reuse their content delivery infrastructure for game downloads in the future.

samelawrence 3 days ago 3 replies      
Wow. Google buying them made a lot of sense for deeper integration of live-streaming services into YouTube and going after current-gen console owners... but Amazon?

What are you working on, Jeff?

bhouston 3 days ago 2 replies      
Theory: Something some imagined synergies with gaming to the Amazon FireTV Console. But none of the micro-consoles have really succeeded with gaming.

Does anyone have statistics on whether FireTV is doing better with gaming that OUYA? Does anyone actually use the gaming features?

alexgaribay 3 days ago 0 replies      
Regardless of who actually ends up buying Twitch, I'm happy to see that they are valued so highly. They are a great service and have helped make competitive gaming more mainstream due to exposure.
ig1 3 days ago 0 replies      
Actual confirmation from BVP who are investors in Twitch:


tehwebguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
tdicola 3 days ago 3 replies      
How much longer does Amazon have before investors start beating the drum to become profitable? Would love to see where Twitch fits into their bottom line--I guess it might help sell Fire TVs?
bdz 3 days ago 2 replies      
As an avid gamer I'm happy about that. Rather Amazon than Google.
Someone1234 3 days ago 4 replies      
In recent times Amazon has started making content exclusive to their own hardware (Amazon TV, Fire tablets/phones). Go check out the comparison chart here:


Note what Amazon Prime Streaming works on. Then go here:


Note that aside from Apple's devices, Amazon Prime video works only on Amazon's own mobile hardware.

Is this why they're buying Twitch? To make it another "Amazon Exclusive" for Fire devices? Frankly that would explain a lot. If they can lock the content down it will force people into their ecosystem if they want mobile access.

eroo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Non-paywall article on the same: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/08/amazon-not-google-repo...

None of the reporting outlets have any substantial details yet though.

chx 3 days ago 1 reply      
How is $970 million more than $1B?
oelmekki 2 days ago 0 replies      
Could that be acqui-hire dodging ?

As mentioned, twitch is a very central part of esport community. But in the same time, it might not have enough credibility on "mainstream" startup world. I wonder if google was interested in twitch service more than twitch team.

funkyy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Alternative link that does not require log in or sign up to WSJ:


mbesto 3 days ago 1 reply      
The underlying story for me here is this:

Twitch has the potential to both compete in the same sentence as ESPN ($$$ bil) and provide a new model for content delivery in sports content consumption.

LeicaLatte 3 days ago 0 replies      
Given their recent track record in making products in house (looking at you 3d phone lol) this is good for amazon. They can never build a streaming community this cool.
MarketingDevil 2 days ago 0 replies      
In this rate it's just a matter of time until e-sports becomes more popular than some contact sports.
LeicaLatte 2 days ago 0 replies      
Glad Twitch has some clout now to fight big intimidating movie studios whenever needed.
tzm 3 days ago 0 replies      
I predict Twitch will become Amazon's Youtube.
goeric 3 days ago 1 reply      
Here's a short URL to the full WSJ article: http://bit.ly/wsjtwitch
programminggeek 3 days ago 1 reply      
So, this will change basically nothing about Twitch? I assume all of their infrastructure is already on Amazon, so probably more business as usual than having to move everything on to Google's infrastructure (which seems to usually derail product development for 3-6 months on most acquisitions).
mmuro 3 days ago 4 replies      
Amazon.com Inc. has agreed to acquire Twitch, a live-streaming service for videogame players, for more than $1 billion, according to a person who has been briefed on the matter.

The deal could be announced as soon as Monday, the person said.

Google Inc. had earlier been in talks to acquire Twitch, but those talks cooled in recent weeks, according to people familiar with the matter.

Twitch, launched in June 2011, is the most popular Internet destination for watching and broadcasting videogame play. The startup raised $20 million from investors, including Thrive Capital and videogame-maker Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. in September.

News of the acquisition was earlier reported by tech website The Information.

namityadav 3 days ago 4 replies      
Can we please have a rule against posting paywall links? I know we can find a cached version or search on Google or whatever, but it's still frustrating! We're not talking about work-arounds.

Imagine what our reaction will be if someone posts a link to their own blog which doesn't allow visitor to read the content without paying $1. Even if they have a work-around like you can inspect element and hide the paywall popup.

kudu 3 days ago 0 replies      
In this case, linking to the WSJ article wasn't helpful or advisable, and isn't in the best interest of readers. First of all, it's paywalled, and requires a Google search as a workaround, and not every reader is aware of that.

The main issue with it is that it doesn't bode well with the requirement for original reporting. In this case, there are 4 sources of which I'm aware (The Information, WSJ, Bloomberg and Recode) who reported on this, and all of them were original reports. Even if The Information was first to press, they all conducted their reporting indepedently and the fact that four sources have the same information is very relevant. By linking to only one original report, you're depriving the average HN reader of knowledge of this journalistic consensus.

Even if the link had to be to an original report, it would make more sense to link to The Information, which is also paywalled, but was first to press. But really, I'd prefer the top HN link to be to a site like Ars Technica, which diligently compiled all the different reports.

genericacct 3 days ago 0 replies      
Please let me know when it's official so i can short AMZN ..
rhspeer 3 days ago 1 reply      
I just watched 4 guys get stuck in a dumpster and shout profanities at each other for 2 minutes. A questionable use of a billion dollars IMHO.

Maybe this means I'm old now?

paul7986 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm still bummed they closed my cable TV service, justin.tv.

I have since found other TV/movie streaming sites, but none are as mature or reliable as JTV was.

Gooey: Turn command line programs into GUI applications
485 points by ayberkt  4 days ago   74 comments top 27
abc_lisper 4 days ago 1 reply      

However, it is not for any command line program. It works only for python programs that use argument parser. Though, one can write a python argument parser around a cli to make it work.

jayvanguard 4 days ago 6 replies      
Good idea. I wonder if anyone has done this for general unix command-line apps by parsing out the man pages on the fly. It probably wouldn't work for all programs but may be gnu style ones would be consistent enough.
willcodeforfoo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Something similar for creating GUIs on Mac OS X http://www.bluem.net/en/mac/pashua/
nilved 4 days ago 2 replies      
Really awesome and promising idea, but I think the implementation is limiting. Couldn't it just as well parse help text? It's not guaranteed to be standard, but there are probably more programs that can be parsed that way than use ArgumentParser.
xdissent 4 days ago 1 reply      
I like it! How about an Open/Save button to choose files for stdin/stdout?
devendramistri 2 days ago 0 replies      
Getting error while generating EXE for my script.

I am using py2exe to convert my script into an executable.but getting following error: File "commandui.py", line 1, in <module> File "gooey\init_.pyc", line 1, in <module> File "gooey\gooey_decorator.pyc", line 16, in <module> File "gooey\gui\base_window.pyc", line 16, in <module> File "gooey\gui\header.pyc", line 10, in <module> File "gooey\i18n.pyc", line 37, in <module> File "gooey\i18n.pyc", line 24, in get_path

IOError: Could not find english language file

chj 3 days ago 0 replies      
Beautiful idea. I can see this can be a great front end for wget/curl.
mpoloton 4 days ago 1 reply      
As much as I like the CLI, I really find this useful, because it takes time to go through document and find the desired option. I think the real solution is that every CLI program comes with a description file (probably in XML) that describes its CLI options, their types, combination, etc.

The description file should help automatic GUI creating or shell completion.

agumonkey 4 days ago 0 replies      
Finally something interesting to bridge the gap between GUI and CLI. What about a reverse operations ? so a `program` can be instanced in any situations without having to write separate (or too much) user input logic ?
mandalar12 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool!Does anything similar exist for Android ?I would love to use some bash scripts but I don't find the terminal editors I tried practical.
nnnnni 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was expecting it to merely be a graphical version of "dialog". I was pleasantly surprised!
fndrplayer13 4 days ago 1 reply      
Really pretty neat especially if your tool might be used by less technical folks. I can't count the number of times people in our engineering department have given non-technical people in our company a command line tool because its easier than adding a GUI, be it native or web. I think this will come in handy in those cases.
gamesbrainiac 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm so glad this is made using python :) I can now hack it to my heart's content.
eriktrautman 4 days ago 0 replies      
That looks awesome. Are there similar implementations native to other languages out there?
devendramistri 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can we have a "Restart" button using last arguments.That will be a great addition and really really useful.
coldtea 4 days ago 1 reply      
Another app in this vein was Kaptain (for KDE):


manishsp 4 days ago 1 reply      
How about converting CLI programs into Web based applications ?!!
gnosek 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like the perfect companion to click: http://click.pocoo.org/
andrewchambers 4 days ago 0 replies      
Implementing an api compatible wrapper around argparse might have been simpler than parsing the source code.
Gracana 4 days ago 0 replies      
Back in the days of the classic Mac OS, the Mac Programmer's Workshop included a tool like this, called "commando." One of the neat things about commando was that you could hover over any option to see some descriptive "help" info at the bottom.


bash-j 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice. I think this will help me get motivated to start developing GUI apps. Thank you.
BoppreH 4 days ago 1 reply      
Not sure if my fault, by all images are returning errors, and their folder is 400'ing.
wlievens 4 days ago 0 replies      
Really cool. May try to make something like this for jCommander.
jodrellblank 4 days ago 1 reply      
"Transform your command line apps into user friendly GUIs" - https://raw.githubusercontent.com/chriskiehl/Gooey/master/re...

Encoder (-e). OpenCV FOURCC Type. {Empty text box}.

Just take all possible options and ... shove them right in the user's face. Is that user friendly? Whom is it helping, who doesn't want a CLI but also knows how the CLI program works, but also can't script it?

jstoja 4 days ago 0 replies      
so neat
Walkman 4 days ago 4 replies      
> Turn (almost) any command line program into a full GUI application with one line

and lose the ability to pipe, check exit status, run from cron, run through ssh or a different machine, call from other scripts...

The last couple of months as I know about more and more the command line, and can configure my shell and tools the way I like, I feel I'm more productive with the terminal than any other GUI application.

Hyperlapse, Instagram's new video stabilization app
438 points by bpierre  2 days ago   149 comments top 24
davidu 2 days ago 11 replies      
It's weird that they called it Hyperlapse two weeks after Microsoft Research published a paper on the exact same topic, with the exact same name:

PDF here: https://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/hyp...

Examples here: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/hype...

It's even more weird that the WIRED writer didn't mention this. It was major news all over the place two weeks ago. Good PR folks at Instagram / FB.

mikeyk 2 days ago 5 replies      
Mike from IG here. Here's the direct App Store link while it propagates: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id740146917
netcan 2 days ago 5 replies      
I have a category in the back of my mind labeled 'Stuff Apple should do to prove that they can do it without Jobs." Top of that list is an iOS laptop. But just below that is getting back to their tradition of being a popular easier to use option for professional and prosumer media/art.

Stuff like this should be coming from Apple. For example, it would be awesome if they created prosumer software for filming with a wireless multi-camera setup and edit it all live on a macbook. would love it if upstart young-Turks like web shows could get closer to the production quality of TV talk shows.

Something that makes the right people go wow.

nkozyra 2 days ago 2 replies      
Getting a bit of hyperbole out of this (shocking, I know).

Stabilization is not something that costs $15k, at least at this quality. Yes, it's interesting on a technical level (both with Instagram and MS), but there are low-tech solutions that handle this aptly.

So in essence we're talking about a video accelerator (and presumably decelerator)? This doesn't exactly wow me, but then again Instagram was founded on applying filters to photos, so I should recognize the value of hype (and subsequent audience size).

DEinspanjer 2 days ago 4 replies      
I think that the MS Research project probably has a few advantages over this although I've only looked at Instagram's example videos on Vimeo so far.

The main advantage I see for MS Research is that they enable the full dropping of multiple frames to remove large camera motions such as having a head mounted camera and briefly looking from side to side.

In the Instagram examples, the camera stays on a fixed subject and their Hyperlapse algorithm reduces the shake. I suspect that if there were large camera motions, they would be translated into the final product which could detract a lot from the appeal of that video.

giovannibajo1 2 days ago 3 replies      
For the curious, this is a video rendered with my iPhone 4S, and the road was very very bumpy. This is the quality you get with an old phone and with zero setup / art direction.


chrischen 2 days ago 0 replies      
"What was once only possible with a Steadicam or a $15,000 tracking rig is now possible on your iPhone, for free."

This statement is undeniably false.

jrlocke 2 days ago 1 reply      
Cool project, but if you want the same cinematic smoothing without the time lapse effect, I highly recommend Steady[1].

1. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8048413

Edit: Hyperlapse can do this too. Thank you Wang.

djfumberger 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great app.

On a side not it's kind of depressing / scary / crazy that it's now just common place to release these apps for free.

Indie development if not suffocated already on the App Store has little hope competing going forward.

omarish 2 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like the Midnox team (YC W12) has been busy at Facebook! http://midlux.us/. Great work.
dpflan 2 days ago 3 replies      
Hm, Instagram a little quicker on the draw than Microsoft? http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/hype...
nkg 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just tried it. The result is really better than an un-stabilized video. But I found it a bit blurry.

I can't wait until someone copies it on Android.

vardump 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting it can be done real time on the phone (I assume).

Personally I've been using free video stabilizer Deshaker for 10 years with similar (or better) results. The downside is two-pass rendering. Upside is that it is fairly configurable and can stabilize existing videos. You can get ok results with fairly terrible source video.


dharma1 2 days ago 1 reply      

Non-timelapse but related - I wonder how long until mobile phone manufacturers start using in something like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VphxfCXu984

Post stabilisation is good but it's so much better to get it right in-camera

thisjepisje 2 days ago 4 replies      
The tech demo from a few weeks ago was much more impressive.
hagope 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was excited to download and try it, but honestly it didn't seem like it was stabilizing the frame at all...the camera shaking was still in the video...
duncans 1 day ago 0 replies      
So it's basically a very simplified Luma Camera (acquired by Instagram a year ago) with a speed slider?


qzervaas 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks like it only has native share options for Instagram and Facebook. Seems a bit petty not to offer Twitter. How about let me decide where I want to share?

From an implementation point of view, this app doesn't use UIActivityViewController, but instead one they've rolled themselves.

They could in fact have added Instagram to the built-in share view controller but decided not to. This also takes away options of Twitter, SMS, email.

seeingfurther 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's available in the app store. You find it by searching Instagram then clicking 'related'. I couldn't find it with normal search.
seivan 2 days ago 1 reply      
I might be wrong here but I thought 'Hyperlapse' (functionality) was builtin on the iOS 8 Camera app?

Am I missing something here?

prawn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wonder if they considered charging for this? Looks impressive enough that people would pay for a quality app.
ghshephard 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is one of the first major reasons why the 128 GB iPhone will be important.
kazinator 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would be surprised if this couldn't be done with FFMpeg.

Google for "ffmpeg" "image stabilization".

mark2456 2 days ago 10 replies      
It's 2014, can we get Android and iOS versions at the same time? Starting to feel tired of all this "Android soon".
The Relative Cost of Bandwidth Around the World
363 points by FredericJ  2 days ago   98 comments top 19
Smerity 2 days ago 3 replies      
For those who don't know the story about the Australian internet industry, Telstra plays a pivotal and depressingly stupid role.

Telstra was a government monopoly in the past and owned + owns almost all the copper network in Australia. From 1997, Telstra was progressively privatized without separating the telecommunications business (phones) with the telecommunications infrastructure (cables). This was an idiotic idea.

There were some regulations that forced the infrastructure to be offered wholesale to competitors but they're still the gateway that the majority of the population get onto the internet. It's also problematic as Telstra are doing worse and worse at maintaining the copper network that is relied upon. If you are an ISP using their network, you need to go through their maintenance fees to improve the line quality for any of your customers. The cost of wholesaling through the Telstra network is also fairly high. Regardless, we've got reasonable competition at the ADSL/ADSL2+ level thanks to this.

Forward to the National Broadband Network (NBN), the government plan to connect the majority of Australian homes to fiber to the node (FTTP). Telstra submit the equivalent of a joke tender for the project -- 12 pages connecting only ~90% of the population when the tender requests 98% -- and then suffer their biggest one day stock fall in history when it's rejected.

Construction of the NBN rolls on without them, promising to replace the copper network with a fiber network that will be the new telecommunications infrastructure used by the majority of ISPs.

However... a new government came to power in Australia. One of their election falsehoods was that FTTP was too expensive and too slow and instead a ridiculous hodge podge (sorry: "hybrid") network of failing technologies would be preferred. Instead of building a complete FTTP network for $73 billion, they're instead going to spend $41 billion on a hybrid network that will need to be replaced only five years after completion according to the chairman of the NBN[1].

This hybrid network relies on the old copper network owned by Telstra. Telstra have previously stated that it is ready to die and will have billions of dollars of maintenance issues.

This is also only a very brief discussion of the ridiculousness.

tldr; Telstra played an important role in screwing up the previous generation of Australia's internet. Telstra is continuing to play an important role in screwing up the current generation.

[1]: http://www.zdnet.com/its-time-for-turnbull-to-swallow-his-nb...

slagfart 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just as a note, Cloudflare is not alone in struggling with this. I'm very surprised that the status quo has been maintained for so long. I suggest that Cloudflare should look under the process of transit becoming 'Declared', within the Australian Trade Practices Act. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_and_Consumer_Act_20...
Sami_Lehtinen 2 days ago 3 replies      
I think there are a few huge gaps. Russia, they got as many people as Japan. And another even larger hole is Africa, there's well over one billion people in Africa. Compared to ridiculous 22 million in Australia, that's a lot more. And in India, there's even more people than there is in Africa. Roughly US, Europe and Australia combined got same population as India or Africa which is in same ball park with China.
mrmondo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Australian here: can confirm Telstra as one of the most 'evil' companies I've dealt with and it's very clear to those of us in the Australian IT sector that they're holding us back.
thejosh 2 days ago 2 replies      
Holy crap Australia is expensive. Thanks Telstra, this is why Blizzard and other companies won't come here.
photorized 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this the thread where everyone is sharing how much they are paying?

All of my companies are bootstrapped (and bandwidth is the largest expense item), so some of the rates quoted got me excited.

It sounds like there are a lot of knowledgeable folks here (on the buy side), would you mind sharing some info?

I typically buy between 2..5 Gbps per POP in the US and Europe.

What's the best rate I should be able to get, you think? Tend to buy L3 or premium blend (no Cogent or HE). Any insights would be appreciated.

triggercut 1 day ago 0 replies      
At my place of work our 50:50 Unlimited (not Telstra) is in the low to mid four figures a month.

For a company with offices worldwide, we have by far the most expensive and have the worst performing connection to our regional datacenter.

The standard response from any supplier is to blame Telstra.

Recently I was porting some ISDN phone lines from an old provider to a new SIP provider. Not only did the two need to arrange and agree the porting with each other, but Telstra needed to work on both of their behalf to facilitate the port. One number took 3 months.

Swannie 1 day ago 0 replies      
Note that CloudFlare never states that they use Telstra for transit, nor what the blended cost would be for transit with the other transit providers, so this is actually, somewhat misrepresenting Australia.
santaclaus 2 days ago 1 reply      
No mention of New Zealand. New Zealand is an amazing country, but goddamn, they have some pricey internet access. Wasn't Kim Dotcom planning to finance a new pipe to New Zealand at one point?
guard-of-terra 2 days ago 3 replies      
"Running undersea cabling is more expensive than running fiber optic cable across land"

I always imagined that the opposite would be true.

kondro 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm confused. AAPT, Optus, PipeNetworks, etc all offer transit at significantly lower prices than this for anything I've been quoted with (circa $20-30/Mbps for 100Mbps+).

Is this just because they're offering blended traffic?

parisidau 1 day ago 2 replies      
abdelm 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not sure why Africa and the Middle East specifically aren't really mentioned in that article since the prices would be on par with Australia if not more, also due to having only 1 or 2 ISPs and no competition.
ajcarpy2005 2 days ago 0 replies      
Would it be feasible to have a global federation that played referee to negotiations between citizens and ISP's on pricing for Internet access?
chatmasta 2 days ago 4 replies      
Good article, but frustrating they picked some arbitrary $10/mbps as their baseline instead of a more accurate number.
msrpotus 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why is peering so much lower in the US? Is that a business strategy on the part of ISPs?
sp332 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, North America came out on top of an Internet comparison for once?
valarauca1 2 days ago 2 replies      
The TL;DR of the article.

>If Australians wonder why Internet and many other services are more expensive in their country than anywhere else in the world they need only look to Telstra (Note: ~50% of all internet is from Telstra in Australia).

>What's interesting is that Telstra maintains their high pricing even if only delivering traffic inside the country.

>Given that Australia is one large land mass with relatively concentrated population centers, it's difficult to justify the pricing based on anything other than Telstra's market power.

>In regions like North America where there is increasing consolidation of networks, Australia's experience with Telstra provides a cautionary tale.

jessaustin 2 days ago 1 reply      
In regions like North America where there is increasing consolidation of networks, Australia's experience with Telstra provides a cautionary tale.

But, but, the market is magic! Regulation is evil. Does not compute!?!!

Unknown orange-red glow over Pacific Ocean
364 points by 3rd3  3 days ago   114 comments top 34
gazaleon 2 days ago 2 replies      
From Wikipedia

  "Earthquake light is an unusual luminous aerial phenomenon  that reportedly appears in the sky at or near areas of  tectonic stress, seismic activity, or volcanic eruptions."

Considering there were reports of seismic activity in the area around the approximate time of the event, it's possible that ionized air promoted formation of sprites and/or ball lightning.

davidw 2 days ago 1 reply      
Guy has a lot of other nice pictures:

St. Elmo's fire: http://www.pbase.com/flying_dutchman/image/156304671

Northern lights from inside the cockpit: http://www.pbase.com/flying_dutchman/image/155775399

brianstorms 2 days ago 2 replies      
There was a quake right nearby where the pilot saw this phenomena. Relation?


I wish the pilot had indicated exact UTC time the phenom happened. Hard to pinpoint but nevertheless, his position and the quake's position are quite close, even if the two events were hours apart.

geoffsanders 2 days ago 2 replies      
Considering lava cools and darkens almost immediately under water, I'd imagine it would have to be an incredibly epic underwater eruption (and thus, detectible) for that much light to make its way through that much water and project itself onto the clouds above that location. Also, the light should diffuse as it makes its way through water, air, and onto the clouds above, so the seemingly neat circles of light don't seem to match up with a sea floor-based light source either.
michaelsbradley 2 days ago 1 reply      
Earthquake Alarm: Impending earthquakes have been sending us warning signals--and people are starting to listen


"A light or glow in the sky sometimes heralds a big earthquake. On 17 January 1995, for example, there were 23 reported sightings in Kobe, Japan, of a white, blue, or orange light extending some 200 meters in the air and spreading 1 to 8 kilometers across the ground. Hours later a 6.9-magnitude earthquake killed more than 5500 people..."

pittsburgh 2 days ago 0 replies      
A possible explanation from a 2003 paper is Electron Holes ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron_hole )

"Rocks That Crackle and Sparkle and Glow: Strange Pre-Earthquake Phenomena"

http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_17_1_freund... [PDF]

richardwigley 2 days ago 1 reply      
Mysterious lightning flashes that appear to precede earthquakes could be sparked by movements in the ground below, US scientists say.


"Our first suspicion was this has got to be a mistake. There must be something stupid we are doing," said Professor Troy Shinbrot, of Rutgers University, New Jersey.

"We took a tupperware container filled with flour, tipped it back and forth until cracks appeared, and it produced 200 volts of charge.


Fragment 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, the comments are interesting...


Blahah 2 days ago 3 replies      
Nobody seems to have considered a biological explanation.

What about a tide of bioluminescent bacteria or algae? Typically these emit blue light and are known, in the case of bacteria, as the 'milky seas effect'[0]. But algal tides sometimes bioluminesce red or orange. With a high local concentration of nitrogen or another limiting nutrient (which might upswell from the seabed due seismic activity below) you might get extremely high concentrations leading to the patterns shown in the photograph.

0: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_seas_effect

madaxe_again 2 days ago 0 replies      
How about mid-oceanic methane flares lit by lightning? Would explain the initial flashes and the incandescent look of the lights.
lotsofmangos 2 days ago 4 replies      
Flying towards Alaska south of the Kamchatka peninsula...

I bet he saw this hypersonic vehicle being blown up and the lights from a massive observation fleet.


"An experimental hypersonic weapon developed to reach targets anywhere in the world within an hour has been destroyed by the US military four seconds after its launch for public safety.

The test in Alaska in the early hours of Monday morning was aborted after controllers detected a problem with the system, the Pentagon said, and the launcher is believed to have detonated before the missile was deployed."

eric_bullington 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm hoping a resident atmospheric scientist and/or geologist will show up with answers. There's probably a very good explanation for the (electrical?) bolt of light that he saw at first and the green color of the night sky, and I'd bet almost anything that both have to do with submarine volcanic eruptions.
kevinwang 3 days ago 1 reply      
The comments below the post are mostly toxic.
elijahparker 2 days ago 0 replies      
The lights in the ocean are a mystery to me, but the green light in the sky would be airglow (1). I've seen it many times, even stronger than in the op's photos. I don't believe there's any connection between the sky and the ocean lights. 1: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airglow
callmeed 2 days ago 2 replies      
Browsing the various discussions on Reddit, the most plausible explanation is (IMO) fleets of squid fishing boats.


NextPerception 2 days ago 0 replies      
Chinese lanterns from a cruise ship maybe. Someone should check to see if any were in the area.
dperfect 2 days ago 6 replies      

I could be wrong, but I think it would be almost impossible to capture an 8-second exposure while flying and somehow manage to keep the stars from becoming light trails - at least not without some very serious camera stabilization equipment.

Since the photographer didn't seem to mention anything special used for taking the photos, I'm inclined to say they've been 'shopped.

jusben1369 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty sure this lines up with the US military launching then immediately destroying a new weaponry system in Alaska: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/25/us-usa-military-hy...
jonifico 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sticking to the theory saying it is volcanic material. I mean, it's common sense. Now, when it comes to the northern lights, I wouldn't be so sure. Maybe a reaction caused by the volcanic material reaching out to the sky? It must've been an immense explosion for it to do that, though.
astigsen 2 days ago 1 reply      
When the earthquake hit California there was also people reporting seeing a blue light.

Some examples here: http://abcnews.go.com/US/northern-california-struck-60-magni...

vegancap 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd hazard a guess that the recent volcanic activity, there was probably ash in the air? Especially with a recent earthquake. Red light photons move stronger than other colours in the spectrum don't they? I have no idea... looks amazing though.
narrator 2 days ago 1 reply      
There was a mysterious giant crack in the earth in Mexico last Friday.


atlantic 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised no-one has suggested weather balloons.
CucumberLime 2 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, those stars are amazing at altitude and with no light pollution, I wish the passengers could see up too (and also without a nose-greased, scratched-up plastic in between).
Intermernet 3 days ago 2 replies      
This earthquake (MB4.6 Kuril Islands, Aug. 24, 2014, 9:45 p.m. UTC) matches closely to the time and location, but it doesn't really explain the claimed observations.


windsurfer 2 days ago 1 reply      
Here's an aerial picture of fishing boats near Thailand: http://i.imgur.com/kvOF9nL.jpg

The pattern seems similar.

kghose 2 days ago 4 replies      
I don't understand how, with an 8s exposure from a moving vehicle, the photos have perfect stars. There should be streaking.
moron4hire 2 days ago 0 replies      
At first, I thought this might have been an announcement for a spin-off of "Welcome to Night Vale."

If you're not familiar, it's a fiction podcast that presents itself as a community announcement hour on the town of Night Vale's public radio station. There was a particular story arc involving a sentient, glowing cloud that descended on town and demanded to be made a part of the city council.

It's free, and it's cute. If you like such things, check it out. http://commonplacebooks.com/

EGreg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Underwater volcano is quite possible near a subduction zone. Were they flying over one?
spiritplumber 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is this where we start building giant robots in preparation for the giant monsters that will appear?


No, because that would kick all sorts of ass.

nnq 2 days ago 0 replies      
R'lyeh is rising, of course. Heil Cthulhu!
McCoy_Pauley 2 days ago 0 replies      
nether 2 days ago 1 reply      
These are hostile... Why must we meddle?
waynemr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Viral marketing for Cloverfield 2 or Pacific Rim 2?
Pulling the Curtain on Airport Security [pdf]
363 points by vesche  4 days ago   166 comments top 16
corford 3 days ago 6 replies      
Lots of people are posting highlighting how pointless airport security is given the ease with which a terrorist can bypass it by e.g. blowing himself up in the security line, targeting buses or shopping malls, making weapons from stuff bought "air side" etc.

As this hasn't been happening (despite how easy it would be for a terrorist to do), the only logical conclusion I draw is that the entire terrorist threat is so unbelievably overblown it doesn't warrant even thinking about when it comes to evaluating personal safety. I mean, how can it not be, given how easy it would be for a terrorist to just stroll in to an airport departures hall with a jacket bomb and detonate himself yet the closest we've seen to this is one lunatic failing to ignite some powder in his shoes and another idiot burning his crotch.

I think the real answer is that you can probably count the number of truly dangerous terrorists in the world on two hands. The rest of the current crop are nothing more than brainwashed amateurs who spend their time wreaking havoc and misery in isolated parts of the world that no normal person would ever have occasion to set foot in. This article from the FT makes a similar point: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/ee2a8412-2923-11e4-9d5d-00144...

If I was a black man in the US I'd be much more afraid of looking at a cop the wrong way than being caught up in a terrorist outrage.

idlewords 4 days ago 5 replies      
I wish there was a transcript to go with these slides, or some context. It looks like an amazing talk.

One thing that jumped out at me right away is that the explosives sniffer is also configured to detect narcotics, amphetamine and marijuana. Is this standard procedure at American domestic airports?

nikcub 3 days ago 3 replies      
I ended up finding a way to get cigarette lighters through with a 100% success rate just by brute forcing it.

If you travel a lot and you're a smoker you'd know that the worst part is getting off the flight, crawling through the airport at exit and then not having a lighter because they took it off you at departure[1].

No penalty for being caught with a lighter, so I kept leaving lighters in my bag in different places deliberately to figure out how I could get one through.

Solution turned out to be simple, and I hit it almost accidentally. I removed the metal shield and then dropped the lighter into an inside pocket of my bag that contains pens and loose coins.

Worked 100% of the time thereafter.

The scanners being blacklisting like a virus scanner means they have the same problem, they can only identify known threats. Change the form of the threat and you're through until they update and train their scanners again (both human and machine).

The illusion of safety. I've since quit both smoking and flying frequently.

[1] I gave the TSA the idea of handing out lighters they have confiscated from departing passengers to arriving passengers but they didn't buy into it.

pmorici 3 days ago 1 reply      
Typical. Government organizations think IT security means having strongly worded statements and reams of bureaucratic rules and procedures. If you look closely though the strong words often aren't backed by any meaningful action. In a government official's mind if the 50 page IT security document was filled out and is on file that means the system is secure. It's all a big joke really.
BorisMelnik 3 days ago 1 reply      
"TSA has not audited these devices for even the most basic security issues"

This to me is the most troublesome aspect of this an entire ordeal. Any security pen-testing firm with their wits about them could have discovered these backdoors in a few simple audits.

The fact that he was able to find all of these is very worrisome to me. I can only imagine what other bugs/backdoors are built in to these systems.

Does any of this security matter with the fact that you can build weapons using airport giftshop items?


stevefeinstein 4 days ago 8 replies      
If this isn't the answer, and I'm not asserting it is or isn't. What is, and how do implement it. Or do you suggest if we scrap it all and go back to 1950's like airport security that the few incidents that are inevitable are an acceptable risk? I don't know the answer, but I'd like to have the conversation.
nathannecro 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is there a video to go along with these slides? This is fascinating.

The diagram-heavy slides could certainly use some context.

bussiere 4 days ago 2 replies      
It makes laugh a lot, 9/11 happen because they used cutter.

Airport security will piss you off for a kid cissor.

But they will let you buy a glass bottle of alcohol in duty free.

That you can break properly and use as a weapon ...

Logic ...

jtheory 3 days ago 0 replies      
I keep forgetting that this whole mess is still ongoing. The articles seem to come in waves -- there'll be a new exposure of how useless the scanners are, lots of noise around that, and sometimes articles about changes to actual policy.

I actually had the impression that the silly Rapiscan (what a lovely name!) scanners had been retired a year or two ago. Then this summer I went back to the US (first time in several years!) and it was worse than ever. In the one visit (involving 4 flights including my arrival to the US and departure from) I twice had to turn down the millimeter wave scanner -- apparently having a baby in a sling on my chest wasn't enough to exclude me -- and so I got to experience (twice) the uncomfortable manual pat down process, including the by-the-book warning that they're going to slide a hand up my inner thigh until they meet "resistance".

On the other hand, I have some fairly ugly memories of arriving in JFK in the past (and going through immigration difficulties), and the airport remains horrible (their computer system went down for a half-hour while we waited to pass immigration...), but the people working there were impressively kind, especially to a family traveling with small children.

jimktrains2 3 days ago 0 replies      
I still maintain that security checkpoints are the scariest places to be. So many people gathered, huddled, around a small, politically sensitive area outside the "secure" zone.
neil_s 4 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like the SFO Kronos has been taken offline since this disclosure.
blantonl 4 days ago 2 replies      
"Pulling the Curtain on Airport Security" - This article's title. Wow.

Almost all airport security is a theater... The TSA are simply the actors...

warcode 3 days ago 0 replies      
The increasing amount of security is more terror than any real group could hope to inflict. Technically the terrorists won.
est 3 days ago 0 replies      
jqm 3 days ago 0 replies      
About a year after 9/11 I flew from Phoenix to Corpus Christi Texas. I brought a carry on case from work with me full of papers and (unknown to me) some tools including a large folding knife, a smaller pocket knife, a leather man and some screwdrivers. I honestly had completely forgot about the tools, they were buried in the bottom of the case under papers (yes, my case was not very organized).

So, I took the case carry through x-ray in Phoenix, then, during a layover in Dallas I went outside the airport with the case, came back in through security, re-boarded the airplane and proceeded to Corpus Christi where I passed my vacation. After vacation, on the return flight to Phoenix, they found the knives and tools at the small airport in Corpus Christi as I attempted to board. I gave them to security and nothing came of it but I didn't feel it wise to tell them that I had already been through two checkpoints with the contraband. I realize things have probably tightened further since then but still... I was a bit shocked. And I'm still thinking a lot of the "security" at airports is for show.

joshfraser 4 days ago 0 replies      
expensive security theater
The Surveillance Engine: How the NSA Built Its Own Secret Google
355 points by aburan28  3 days ago   88 comments top 17
pdkl95 2 days ago 1 reply      
What I want to know is if this search tool is the backend for the "parallel construction" application forms[1] from earlier this year?

[1] https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140203/11143926078/paral...

eyeareque 3 days ago 2 replies      
People always assumed they did this but now we have proof.

I thought it was amazing that the government spent so much time discussing the call records being logged.. when they are doing so much worse. Maybe that's how they keep people focusing on what the government wants to talk about? (aka look over here, nevermind that thing over there...)

This find is way worse than call detail records..

us0r 3 days ago 1 reply      
Somewhat OT but its amazing out of 3 "FTEs" 1 was for design ("GUI") and this is what they came up with. [1] pg 22


MalcolmDiggs 3 days ago 3 replies      
It's kind of remarkable that they kept the lid on this on long as they did. With so many local/loosely-related agencies involved, I'm surprised somebody didn't leak this much sooner.
curiousDog 2 days ago 7 replies      
Wonder how and where they recruit their top-talent. Pretty much every top scorer in my school went to Facebook/Google/Msft/Amzn. The mediocre ones went to Northrop Grumman/Raytheon/Rockwell and the like.
niels_olson 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is it just me, or is it tragicomical that I can't access firstlook from a government network?
eli 2 days ago 2 replies      
I guess it's always cool to learn about top secret stuff that spies do, but I don't get why the specifics of how their search engine works is significant. Am I just missing something?
DigitalSea 2 days ago 1 reply      
Imagine if hackers were to somehow to find out where this tool is being hosted and then brute force their way in? Presumably such a tool is heavily secured and off the grid, but if it is somehow accessible from the Internet and an attacker were to find out where, it's only a matter of time now that the cat is out of the bag. Could you imagine hackers having access to troves of metadata and information like that? It's a scary thought.

I'm surprised such a thing took so long to be revealed. If you've got as much data as the NSA has, wouldn't you want a Google like search engine to be able to search through it? It makes so much sense which is why I am surprised some people are surprised about this.

wyck 3 days ago 0 replies      
Brought to you by meta data commodities and pattern recognition limited - don't be evil. just be data.
srj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe there was an earlier release I missed but this report looks to be the first to show the extent of the call record data being collected. SIM, IMEI, Lat/Lng and more. Logged for every American, every day, all since 2007. And now shared outside of the military context it was gathered and authorized under to civilian agencies.

It's possible the program has been reigned in since these slides were authored but that seems unlikely.

BorisMelnik 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am just not surprised about this at all. They have more information than I could ever imagine, wouldn't any rational person assume there is a search engine to index, sort, parse, and return results?

seems like a lot until you consider how many indexed pages Google has:http://i.imgur.com/EqIJAoL.jpg

why not throw in grains of sand or atoms in the universe?

cryptolect 2 days ago 0 replies      
To me, this explains why the five eyes nations are pushing for (meta)data retention legislation. It's a condition of participating in the scheme.
nowarninglabel 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think it remained "under the radar" like some are commenting. There's mention of it in Snowden's disclosures and if you search around, lots of government recruiting related info, e.g., http://www.socnet.com/archive/index.php/t-108034.html
Twirrim 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think I'm more surprised that this was a surprise to people.

Of course they built a search engine. Wouldn't you? Don't you have similar at your workplace? We use them all the time. Think about web interfaces built on top of ElasticSearch, for example. Is that not a 'search engine'?

DanielBMarkham 2 days ago 4 replies      
This has been released and is use by almost two dozen federal agencies and now is the first time we're hearing about it?

When folks tell us crazy things, like the government is tracking every place you go and your opinions through your cell phone and social networks, we're supposed to say something like "That's extraordinary. With extraordinary claims, we require extraordinary proof" Then, if they persist, we're supposed to say something like "Such a program would require far too many people to keep a secret. We couldn't even keep the atom bomb a secret. The government is terrible at keeping secrets. Such a claim is just too far-fetched."

These are the traditional things taught to people who are supposed to be clear-headed and rational. It's the way we engage crackpots without taking them too seriously.

These responses seem to have failed us miserably in the current circumstances. As it turns out, yes, that's what they were doing, and yes, it was extraordinary and required lots of people to keep incredible secrets. But it still happened.

These things keep happening in the realm of automated surveillance, both by the government and corporations (and worse, when corps do it and the govt scoops it all up later) that would have been considered completely whacked just ten years ago. The stuff of paranoid fantasies.

Our tools of rational inquiry have failed us.

fit2rule 2 days ago 0 replies      
I believe its really telling that, rather than take the tactic of fully promoting open society, the inclination is towards more and more secrecy. Like, dire, utter secrecy. Kill someone-style, secrecy.

Imagine the other end of the scale - where in fact every detail about everyones lives is wide open and available for everyone and anyone to access. Willingly. Freely. A new order of celebrity: total telepathy.

Do you think we'd be dealing with terrorism, then? Would there be the idealist, killing souls, for a little private time?

Dolimiter 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is anyone else puzzled that stories about the NSA are accepted as gospel fact when posted on Hacker News?

The Reality Distortion Field appears, and people believe, because they want to believe.

It depresses me, the lack of intelligent discourse.

Most tech people I meet actually believe that the NSA records and stores all telephone calls. It's depressingly stupid, but I have given up arguing, logic and sense are not welcome when the NSA is the topic.

Death Valley National Park: First Observation of Rocks in Motion
336 points by McKittrick  1 day ago   52 comments top 10
IvyMike 1 day ago 3 replies      
Lorenz (one of the co-authors of this piece) has disproven his previous theory--that the rocks were temporarily embedded in a slab of ice which then floated. [1] I mean, I know that's how science is supposed to work, but in these days of politicized everything it's cool to see someone say "new data disproves my previous hypothesis" and continue working to find the real truth.

[1] http://www.livescience.com/37492-sailing-stones-death-valley...

steven2012 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been to Racetrack Playa, and it's awesome. I'm glad a rational, scientifically plausible explanation has been found for the movement of the rocks.

You need to rent a Jeep with reinforced tires, otherwise you could find yourself in the same predicament as some people we met, who got a flat tire on their rented SUV at Racetrack Playa.

Luyt 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Ice sheets moving rocks, this has been seen before: http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4021

"The surrounding mountains were still covered with snow, and the playa itself was firm but had a large lake covering about a fifth of its surface, perhaps an inch or two deep at its edges, concentrated at the playa's south end where it's lowest. We ventured out, armed with cameras, shortly before sunrise. The temperature was just above freezing. The wind, from the south, was quite stiff and very cold. When we reached the lake, we found to our great surprise that the entire lake was moving with the wind, at a speed we estimated at about one half of a mile per hour. The sun was on the lake by now and we could see a few very thin ice sheets that were now dissolving back into water. This whole procession was washing past many of the famous rocks. It's easy to imagine that if it were only few degrees colder when we were there as it probably had been a couple of hours earlier the whole surface would be great sheets of thin ice. Solid ice, moving with the surface of the lake and with the inertia of a whole surrounding ice sheet, would have no trouble pushing a rock along the slick muddy floor. Certainly a lot more horsepower than wind alone, as has been proposed. The wind was gusty and moved around some, and since the surface is not perfectly flat and with rocks and various obstructions, the water didn't flow straight; rather it swapped around as it moved generally forward. Ice sheets driven by the water would move in the same way, accounting for the turns and curves found in many of the rock trails."

duncancarroll 1 day ago 3 replies      
Still not quite sure how the trails themselves are formed if the rocks are riding on ice sheets 10's of meters in area, or am I reading this wrong / quickly?

Edit: n/m, it appears the ice sheets are massive and free-of-friction enough to actually push the rocks around. Cool!

nickhalfasleep 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great to see off-the-shelf technology creatively applied to assist in good research in any field of science.
jonah 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's a human interest story on the study and its authors in a local paper: http://www.independent.com/news/2014/aug/27/death-valley-mys...
brunorsini 1 day ago 0 replies      
"In addition, rock movement is slow and relatively briefour GPS instrumented stones traveled at speeds of 25 m/minute for up to 16 minutesso casual observation is likely to miss rocks in motion." Sounds like a passage that could be in Einstein's Dreams :)
bmoresbest55 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I would really enjoy seeing a time lapse video of this stuff. It is incredibly fascinating.
hellabites 1 day ago 1 reply      
They use the term velocity to mean speed a lot :(.
JoeAltmaier 1 day ago 9 replies      
A little puzzled by all the effort put into this. Some wind moved some rocks - call out the physicists? Where is this research going?
C3.js: D3-based reusable chart library
328 points by nekgrim  1 day ago   77 comments top 25
capkutay 1 day ago 8 replies      
Out of raw d3.js, nvd3.js, cubism, and rickshaw.js, I've by far had the best experience with nvd3.

I was particularly pleased with the way nvd3 supports sliding data off line charts without any extra work.

D3.js is an excellent, low level visualization library. But you will find yourself spending days to a couple weeks with custom styling, tooltips, legends, etc. Many high level charting libraries are nice because they have this out of the box.

However, I want a library that lets me make visualizations that I can run on my monitor for 10 days straight without running into obscure bugs. Rickshaw failed me in this regard. I have a caching scheme in my client-side application. Rickshaw has its own local copy of data which requires the developer to write custom, messy javascript to evict. I found that rickshaw actually has some custom 'sliding window' logic. I was unhappy because I had to go to stackoverflow to discover that feature rather than using the documentation.

nvd3.js simply worked for me.

muyueh 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I build visualizations with d3.js for my clients (http://muyueh.com/42/), and I have always wonders whether I will be one day replaced by library such as c3.js.

I have been watching closely different library, and felt that most of the library are just providing default value to d3.js, plus adding some nice plug-in (such as tooltips). If we are looking for a bar chart, then it's very fast to use a bar chart library to build what we want. Yet some problems may occur:

1. Control, we thought that we need bar chart, but we actually need bar chart. In my process of developing effective visual, I often need to access different part of the API.

2. Choice, currents charts provided by most of the library are available in Google Charts and Excel. This might a question of time: these library are fairly new, and maybe in the near future these library will provide all visualization available in the d3.js page. But maybe its not because of time, but of complexity. If these library were providing better abstraction, it should be easier to develop more complex charts.

3. Extendability: We probably don't just need the bar-chart as a stand alone visual, but as building block that can interact with other component (texts or maps).

An interesting question is to ask why d3.js was designed so low level, why not directly releasing a high level library? My hypothesis is that maybe this is the right level of abstraction. When you tried to get higher, you actually lose power/control over your visual. Maybe thats the reason why people are sharing a lot of their work on http://bost.ocks.org/, doing some small experiments, laying down some building block, perhaps currently that is the most efficient way of building re-usable chart.

I shared my thought on the issue, in hope that people challenge my hypothesis: my current work depends on it.

cereallarceny 1 day ago 1 reply      
This totally goes against the whole point Mike Bostock (creator of D3) laid out when he talks about creating reusable charts...


"To sum up: implement charts as closures with getter-setter methods. Conveniently, this is the same pattern used by D3s other reusable objects, including scales, layouts, shapes, axes, etc."

You get none of that with C3.js...

AYBABTME 1 day ago 7 replies      
The type of chart I've found most useful is heat map charts, and none of the charting library I've looked at provide that:

Here's an example from a Datadog dashboard: https://cloud.githubusercontent.com/assets/1189716/4064956/6...

I wish such a chart style was more common, it's so much more useful than a typical line chart of the median/p9x. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar enough with D3 and such to write my own; it would likely be crap.

aw3c2 1 day ago 2 replies      
Careful, this has pretty much zero documentation and inconsistent options available for each chart type. I started a project with it and after a great start realised I had to scrap it all and start from scratch with some more complete alternative (haven't started looking yet).
ryanmarsh 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't intend to diminish the hard work you put into this. It looks clean and useable. Congratulations.

If you (people in general) are using d3 for simple charts you are doing it wrong.

d3 is a visualization library. It excels at helping you make non-trivial things. For the trivial there are some great chart libraries such as Highcharts. I build visualizations at work and for those I use d3. Whenever I need something as simple as a stacked area chart I simply use Excel or Highcharts. Everytime I've tried to use Highcharts for a complex viz, or d3 for a simple chart, it's been a waste of time. I've used NVD3 as well as some other D3 based charting packages. None of them are as simple as Excel or Highcharts IMHO.

webXL 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like C3, but I discovered it has some major performance issues with thousands of data points a couple months back. It has something to do with the pie chart rendering code: https://github.com/masayuki0812/c3/issues/172#issuecomment-4...

I've been evaluating HighCharts, Vega, Rickshaw, NVD3, C3, but the one I've been impressed with in terms of performance thus far is Epoch: http://fastly.github.io/epoch/

daigoba66 1 day ago 1 reply      
I also like http://nvd3.org/. We almost now need an index of the various D3 based charting libraries.
ne8il 1 day ago 0 replies      
We evaluated Rickshaw and Dimple (http://dimplejs.org/) for awhile (to migrate some custom charts initially built with D3.Chart http://misoproject.com/d3-chart/). We went with Dimple and I've been very pleased with it. There is ample documentation, the source code is readable, and the developer behind it is responsive to questions and issues. Also, it's very easy to get access to the underlying axes/series/legends/etc if you want to do more complicated work not provided out of the box and are familiar with d3. I would highly recommend it if you're looking for a d3 chart library.
auvrw 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not familiar with all the available chart libraries built on top of d3.jsbut having used vanilla d3 on several projects, my first response to this article was that c3 looks really useful/cool... That said, it's probably worth mentionting that there are some useful examples of "reusable charts" on mr. bostock's website, and constructing a customized version of this JSON chart format probably wouldn't be too difficult, although making it performant on large datasets might be.
frik 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Great, but I dislike the combined JS filesize. 267kb is simply still too big for mobile websites, given that it is only a part of a website. It seems to consume a bit too much memory for my iPad2, the first time I saw a blank demo; had to re-open Safari. (combined: c3 is 120kb and d3 is 147kb) c3.min: https://github.com/masayuki0812/c3/blob/master/c3.min.js , d3.min: https://github.com/mbostock/d3/blob/master/d3.min.js

A charts library that has no dependecies (no d3, no jquery, etc), has a filesize of less than 100kb and still looks great and offers useful features would be awesome. SVG vs. Canvas2D is another hot topic.

jbogp 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is nice, easy to use. It is however only using an extremely limited subset of d3 capabilities, which makes me wonder what added value is brought by the fact of making this d3 based compared to other "pure" and lightweight chart libraries which have the same functions [1]

My usual go to library: Flot http://www.flotcharts.org/

thinkersilver 1 day ago 0 replies      
This looks like an interesting project. The struggle I've had in the past with similar libraries is the level of extensibility provided by the API. It's not clear from he docs how to add your own custom viz. I would love a d3 based chart library that would provide an easy to use chart api,such as we see in c3js. Which I do like. But also a DSL that is not as low level as D3 but provides enough flexiblity for creating new visualizations. There have been some nice declarative charting libs posted on HN, which links I can't find right now. Keep up the good work, I'll be following this project closely.
state 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is how demos are supposed to be done. Seriously. Spare me your video, your soundtrack, and all of your BS. Just show me the thing working and let me play with it.
Alex3917 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm currently using this for a project. My only complaint is that there is no API documentation, so you just have to look for a relevant example every time you want to do something.
novaleaf 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I like hearing about other options, but I wish the top rated posts were about the OP, not alternatives....
pselbert 1 day ago 0 replies      
I could have sworn there was a ClojureScript wrapper for D3 that was also called C3.

Taking a quick search shows that it is actually called C2[1], from Keming Labs.

[1]: http://keminglabs.com/c2/

dsjoerg 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm a long-time highcharts user. What are the advantages of this over highcharts?
based2 1 day ago 1 reply      
j_s 1 day ago 1 reply      
dc.js has similar goals (though more focused on large, multi-dimensional data sets), with 1 extra year to mature


cereallarceny 1 day ago 1 reply      
C3 looks nice, but it'd be really great if the library didn't demand passing things in object format. Why can't we have something that implements chaining like D3? It seems a bit counter-intuitive...
omouse 1 day ago 1 reply      
annnd it suffers from the same problem as other javascript libraries: the documentation is awful.

If you want your reusable library to be adopted widely, you have to write good docs. I was hoping I could replace NVD3.js with C3.js but the docs are on par.

deutronium 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm looking for a chart library that can plot real-time data, can anyone give any suggestions?
EGreg 9 hours ago 0 replies      
How does this compare with nvd3?
Building 3D with Ikea
319 points by panarky  1 day ago   61 comments top 19
fizixer 1 day ago 5 replies      
In case anyone has about 30-60 minutes and is interested to get a quick glimpse of how easy (I guess meaning free and accessible at the least) it has become to do such graphics:

- Download and install Blender 2.71 (http://blender.org/download). On linux (Ubuntu) I did not even have to install it; I just extracted the tarball and ran the blender binary.

- Go through this two part ceramic mug tutorial (30-60 minutes): http://youtu.be/y__uzGKmxt8 ... http://youtu.be/ChPle-aiJuA

As someone who does not have graphics training, I was blown away when I did this. Apparently there is this thing called 'path tracing' based rendering, that takes care of accurate lighting, as long as you give the correct specification of geometry and materials.

Some interesting videos:

- Octane 2.0 renderer: http://youtu.be/gLyhma-kuAw

- Lightwave: http://youtu.be/TAZIvyAJfeM

- Brigade 3.0: http://youtu.be/BpT6MkCeP7Y

- Alex Roman, the third and the seventh: http://vimeo.com/7809605

Brigade is an effort towards real-time path tracing, and it's predicted that within 2-3 GPU generations, such graphics would be possible in games.

bhouston 1 day ago 0 replies      
There was more information given on this at Martin's talk at SIGGRAPH as part of V-Ray Day's - but I can not find out if it is online anywhere:


The renderer used by Ikea is V-Ray, the same renderer we have integrated into our online 3D modeling & rendering tool: http://Clara.io :)

Here are two simple Ikea-like furniture scenes which if you click "Edit Online" you can edit it in your browser, both the geometry, the materials and the lighting setup, as well as rendering it photoreal via V-Ray:



groovur 1 day ago 0 replies      
Even IKEA doesn't like putting their furniture together ...
bjelkeman-again 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'll never be able to look at an IKEA catalogue the same way ever again.
johansch 1 day ago 6 replies      
So when do they take the obvious step of providing an easy to use 3d modeller where customers can model their homes using ikea furniture?

They do have a tool sort of like this for kitchen design (developed by Configura in Linkping, Sweden). But I want something for the entire home!

cyberjunkie 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how active the 3D-CG scene is these days. In the mid-2000s there was so much activity on CGsociety (then cgtalk.com). The kind of work people posted there was just out of this world. Absolutely impressive attention to detail. I was an enthusiast too so I would visit the site many times a day.

Of late, I haven't been in touch. Good to see stuff like this on Hacker News.

emmanueloga_ 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I was hoping this was about an app to build 3d things by mixing and matching ikea parts. I know there's at list one community around that idea [1] (and I've done it myself :).

1: http://www.ikeahackers.net/

cluster1 18 hours ago 1 reply      
> We use every computer in the building to give power to rendering as soon as they are not being used. As soon as someone goes to a meeting their computer-power is used, and of course there is overnight when people go home.

I'm very curious how they manage the distribution of computation?

jlarocco 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wish they had given a bit more information about the actual workflow.

Specifically, I wonder if they leverage the original CAD models? And if so, how are they converted to 3D Studio Max, and if the process is automated in any way?

mentos 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here are some realistic renders from Unreal Engine 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO7Bp4wmd_s

Epic is encouraging all kinds of applications such as architecture simulations and not just video games. I'm interested to see how the engine can be used to do something similar to what Ikea is doing.

swalsh 1 day ago 2 replies      
It would be great if ikea sold some of these model libraries for use in videos etc.
igl 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I am amazed on how this could be cheaper and faster than actually doing real life photos. The scenery and lighting quality is amazing though. Can't do that in a warehouse full of ikea products and fake housings either.
neovive 1 day ago 1 reply      
The entire concept is very interesting and is a logical extension of the product catalog business (think about the impact of 3D and CG on movies, architecture, etc.).

I've been experimenting with Blender and Skulptris lately and 3D modelling is quite amazing. A wonderful mix of technical and artistic skills. I wonder if IKEA will ever rethink their large super-store model and move towards smaller stores where you virtually walk into and interact with rooms and furniture.

mcpherrinm 1 day ago 0 replies      
A lot of my furniture is from Ikea: It would be great to have this software for seeing how new room layouts look!
wmf 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is becoming pervasive in the industry: http://www.wired.com/2013/03/luxion-keyshot/
trhway 1 day ago 0 replies      
the photograph in the office with people - are these real people on the office or rendered models too?


A model of model rendering itself....

By the way, instead of home furnishings of different colors for people with Google Glass or similar devices IKEA can just sell an app which will color a furnishing (only in the image projected onto retina) into "bought" color whenever owner looks at the piece, Emerald City style.

johnnyio 1 day ago 0 replies      
They should use Sketchfab for that. It is lighter and better thought for the basic user to see the 3d model.
borgchick 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am Jack's 3D hatred.
Show HN: Stellar Git for PostreSQL and MySQL
322 points by obsession  6 days ago   76 comments top 23
robert_tweed 6 days ago 4 replies      
Generally the hardest thing with version control on a database (for an evolving codebase) is separating unrelated changes - such as schema changes vs content updates - and branching and merging those changes in sync with the code dependencies. Another issue is non-destructively replaying development changes into test/production environments.

So for example, you might have a feature branch that includes some schema changes and some value modifications, and a content branch that includes a bunch of inserts into a few content tables that happen to include foreign key references to each other (so you need to maintain referential integrity when replaying those updates/inserts).

I don't see anything in the description that indicates this tool address those problems. For me, those are really the only problems that a DB version control system ought to be focused on. Speed of snapshotting is not all that important in a development environment as you typically work on a cut-down dataset anyway. A minute or so to take a snapshot a few times a day isn't a huge deal, whereas taking more frequent snapshots doesn't seem like something that adds any value, if it doesn't address any of the other problems.

mbrock 6 days ago 5 replies      
I wish projects like these would always include some basic info in their README about: (1) how it works, and (2) how it might fail.
amirmc 6 days ago 2 replies      
If anyone's interested in git-like storage systems then it's work checking out Irmin [1]. Previous discussion is at [2].

Excerpt: "Irmin is a library to persist and synchronize distributed data structures both on-disk and in-memory. It enables a style of programming very similar to the Git workflow, where distributed nodes fork, fetch, merge and push data between each other. The general idea is that you want every active node to get a local (partial) copy of a global database and always be very explicit about how and when data is shared and migrated

Irmin is not, strictly speaking, a full database engine. It is, as are all other components of Mirage OS, a collection of libraries designed to solve different flavours of the challenges raised by the CAP theorem. Each application can select the right combination of libraries to solve its particular distributed problem."

[1] http://openmirage.org/blog/introducing-irmin

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8053687

falcolas 6 days ago 2 replies      
So, it appears to just copy tables around within the database. I wouldn't want to use this on a DB over a few MB in size. Sure, restores are "fast" (a table rename), but copies are not so much.

I can't imagine this would be kind to a production database (lots of cleanup from copied & deleted tables), and would consume a lot more space than a gripped logical backup of the tables in question.

m3h 6 days ago 0 replies      
Why does the author compare it to Git? The functions this software performs are no where near those performed by Git. Nor it is a proper version control system.
lucian1900 6 days ago 4 replies      
This sort of thing is useful, but already supported by Postgres through transactional DDL. Migrations that fail will have their transaction reverted.
Gigablah 6 days ago 1 reply      
From the code:

    INSERT INTO %s.%s SELECT * FROM %s.%s
Yeah, good luck with that.

bronson 6 days ago 0 replies      
Nice. I wrote a similar tool for Rails / ActiveRecord models: https://github.com/bronson/table_differ

It takes snapshots and computes diffs between snapshots or the live database. It lets me drop and re-import some of my app's tables, then compute the minimum set of changes between the previous import and the new import. I wouldn't call it "git for ActiveRecord models" but it appears to be similar to this project.

Comments welcome! The docs, as always, could use some help.

squigs25 6 days ago 6 replies      
The implications for this extend beyond backing up your database.

Imagine a world where daily time-series data can be stored efficiently:This is a lesser known use case, but it works like this: I'm a financial company and I want to store 1000 metrics about a potential customer. Maybe the number of transactions in the past year, the number of defaults, the number of credit cards, etc.

Normally I would have to duplicate this row in the database every day/week/month/year for every potential customer. With some kind of git-like storing of diffs between the row today and the row yesterday, I could easily have access to time series information without duplicating unchanged information. This would accomplish MASSIVE storage savings.

FWIW efficiently storing time series data is big problem at my company. No off the shelf solution makes this easy for us right now, and we would rather throw cheap hard disk at the problem rather than expensive engineers.

crad 6 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe I'm missing something, but I didn't see anything with regard to indexes, users, stored procedures, views or what not.

Seems like it's for table schema snapshotting in a database without any external storage.

Browsing through the code, I see that it's highly table centric using SQLAlchemy.

swehner 6 days ago 1 reply      
Line 53 of https://github.com/fastmonkeys/stellar/blob/master/stellar/o... is

                CREATE TABLE %s.%s LIKE %s.%s
This made me think of a table called

                create table `a; drop table users;`  (col int);
... which works in mysql.

I don't know if the stellar code will trip over something like this. But mysql (SQL) shouldn't even allow names like that.

codeoclock 6 days ago 1 reply      
Unfortunate name, excellent project :)
jdc0589 6 days ago 0 replies      
Shameless plug for mite: https://github.com/jdc0589/mite-nodeSimple migrations that take advantage of everything you already know about git and sql, plus some other cool stuff.

It's not too mature yet, the readme is mediocre at best, and it has some issues that will popup when working with a team, but it's pretty damn useful.

jimktrains2 6 days ago 0 replies      
While not exactly the same thing, I've recently found and started using https://github.com/nkiraly/DBSteward to specify schema and then store the spec in my repo with the code. It also supports diffing the current schema against a previous one, so that nice upgrade sql scripts can be generated.
iurisilvio 6 days ago 0 replies      
I expected something related with Stellar coins.

Looks like a good project, I definitely want an easy way to manage development databases.

jamesmoss 6 days ago 1 reply      
Interestingly they don't show MySQL benchmarks in the readme; I suspect it might be because the MySQL implementation is pretty basic


level09 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is a nice project. I used to have my database dump tracked by git (in binary mode). anytime my db changes I'll have to overwrite the file with the new database dump and include it with the commit.

I'm just wondering if this project offers anything special/better than the method I described.

iso8859-1 6 days ago 1 reply      
how does this compare to time travel queries? http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Temporal_database#...
JohnDotAwesome 6 days ago 2 replies      
How does it work? Where does it breakdown? Why are these things not in the README?
ZenoArrow 6 days ago 0 replies      
Just a small correction; it's not PostreSQL, it's PostgreSQL.
edem 5 days ago 0 replies      
Folks might confuse this with the Stellar currency (stellar.org). You might give some emphasis in the title.
mosselman 6 days ago 0 replies      
Looks very nice, could you put up some practical examples?
josephcooney 6 days ago 0 replies      
Typo? Shouldn't it be PostgreSQL not PostreSQL?
Useful Unix commands for exploring data
326 points by aks_c  1 day ago   145 comments top 38
zo1 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Just one other thing I'd like to mention before everyone moves on to another topic. Not all of the unix commands are equal, and some have features that others don't.

E.g. I mainly work on AIX, and a lot of the commands are simply not the same as what they are on more standard linux flavors. From what I've heard, this applies between different distros as well.

Not so much the case with standard programming languages that are portable. E.g. Python. Unless you take in to account Jython, etc.

etrain 1 day ago 2 replies      
Some more tips from someone who does this every day.

1) Be careful with CSV files and UNIX tools - most big CSV files with text fields have some subset of fields that are text quoted and character-escaped. This means that you might have "," in the middle of a string. Anything (like cut or awk) that depends on comma as a delimiter will not handle this situation well.

2) "cut" has shorter, easier to remember syntax than awk for selecting fields from a delimited file.

3) Did you know that you can do a database-style join directly in UNIX with common command line tools? See "join" - assumes your input files are sorted by join key.

4) As others have said - you almost invevitably want to run sort before you run uniq, since uniq only works on adjacent records.

5) sed doesn't get enough love: sed '1d' to delete the first line of a file. Useful for removing those pesky headers that interfere with later steps. Not to mention regex replacing, etc.

6) By the time you're doing most of this, you should probably be using python or R.

zo1 1 day ago 7 replies      
"While dealing with big genetic data sets I often got stuck with limitation of programming languages in terms of reading big files."

Hate to sound like Steve-Jobs here, but: "You're using it wrong."

Let me elaborate. If you're coming across limitations of "too-big" or "too-long" in your language of choice: Then you're just a few searches away from both being enlightened on how to solve your task at hand and on how your language works. Both things that will prevent you from being hindered next time around when you have to do a similar big-data job.

Perhaps you are more comfortable using pre-defined lego-blocks to build your logic. Perhaps you understand the unix commands better than you do your chosen language. But understand that programming is the same, just in a different conceptual/knowledge space. And remember, always use the right tool for the job!

(I use Unix commands daily as they're quick/dirty in a jiffy, but for complex tasks I am more productive solving the problem in a language I am comfortable in instead of searching through man pages for obscure flags/functionality)

CraigJPerry 1 day ago 5 replies      
>> If we don't want new file we can redirect the output to same file which will overwrite original file

You need to be a little careful with that. If you do:

    uniq -u movies.csv > movies.csv
The shell will first open movies.csv for writing (the redirect part) then launch the uniq command connecting stdout to the now emptied movies.csv.

Of course when uniq opens movies.csv for consumption, it'll already be empty. There will be no work to do.

There's a couple of options to deal with this, but the temporary intermediate file is my preference provided there's sufficient space - it's easily understood, if someone else comes across the construct in your script, they'll grok it.

WestCoastJustin 1 day ago 2 replies      
My personal favorite is to use this pattern. You can do some extremely cool counts and group by operations at the command like [1]:

  grep '01/Jul/1995' NASA_access_log_Jul95 |     awk '{print $1}' |     sort |     uniq -c |     sort -h -r |     head -n 15
Turns this: - - [01/Jul/1995:00:00:01 -0400] "GET /history/apollo/ HTTP/1.0" 200 6245  unicomp6.unicomp.net - - [01/Jul/1995:00:00:06 -0400] "GET /shuttle/countdown/ HTTP/1.0" 200 3985 - - [01/Jul/1995:00:00:09 -0400] "GET /shuttle/missions/sts-73/mission-sts-73.html HTTP/1.0" 200 4085  burger.letters.com - - [01/Jul/1995:00:00:11 -0400] "GET /shuttle/countdown/liftoff.html HTTP/1.0" 304 0 - - [01/Jul/1995:00:00:11 -0400] "GET /shuttle/missions/sts-73/sts-73-patch-small.gif HTTP/1.0" 200 4179
Into this:

    623 piweba3y.prodigy.com    547 piweba4y.prodigy.com    536 alyssa.prodigy.com    463 disarray.demon.co.uk    456 piweba1y.prodigy.com    417 www-b6.proxy.aol.com    350 burger.letters.com    300 poppy.hensa.ac.uk    279 www-b5.proxy.aol.com
[1] https://sysadmincasts.com/episodes/28-cli-monday-cat-grep-aw...

CGamesPlay 1 day ago 1 reply      
For working with complex CSV files, I highly recommend checking out CSVKit https://csvkit.readthedocs.org/en/0.8.0/

I've just started using it, and the only limitation I've so far encountered has been that there's no equivalent to awk (i.e. I want a way to evaluate a python expression on every line as part of a pipeline).

pessimizer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd like to repeat peterwwillis in saying that there are very Unixy tools that are designed for this, and update his link to my favorite, csvfix: http://neilb.bitbucket.org/csvfix/

Neat selling points: csvfix eval and csvfix exec

also: the last commit to csvfix was 6 days ago; it's active, mature, and the developer is very responsive. If you can think of a capability that he hasn't yet, tell him and you'll have it in no time:)

tdicola 1 day ago 4 replies      
If you're on Windows, you owe it to yourself to check out a little known Microsoft utility called logparser: http://mlichtenberg.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/log-parser-rock... It effectively lets you query a CSV (or many other log file formats/sources) with a SQL-like language. Very useful tool that I wish was available on Linux systems.
hafabnew 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not to sound too much like an Amazon product page, but if you like this, you'll probably quite like "Unix for Poets" - http://www.lsi.upc.edu/~padro/Unixforpoets.pdf . It's my favourite 'intro' to text/data mangling using unix utils.
ngcazz 1 day ago 2 replies      
No one gives a shit about cut.

    $ man 1 cut

zerop 1 day ago 1 reply      
sheetjs 1 day ago 1 reply      
caveat: delimiter-based commands are not quote-aware. For example, this is a CSV line with two fields:

However, the tools will treat it as 3 columns:

    $ echo 'foo,"bar,baz"' | awk -F, '{print NF}'    3

xtacy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am surprised no one has mentioned datamash: http://www.gnu.org/software/datamash/. It is a fantastic tool for doing quick filtering, group-by, aggregations, etc. Previous HN discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8130149
nailer 1 day ago 2 replies      
I love Unix pipelines, but chances are your data is structured in such a way that using regex based tools will break that structure unless you're very careful.

You know that thing about not making HTML with regexs? Same rule applies to CSV, TSV, and XLSX. All these can be created, manipulated and read using Python, which is probably already on your system.

letflow 1 day ago 0 replies      
To run Unix commands on Terabytes of data, check out https://cloudbash.sh/. In addition to the standard Unix commands, their join, group-By operations are amazing.

We guys are evaluating replacing our entire ETL with cloudbash!

jason_slack 1 day ago 2 replies      
The author states:

    uniq -u movies.csv > temp.csv     mv temp.csv movie.csv     **Important thing to note here is uniq wont work if duplicate records are not adjacent. [Addition based on HN inputs]  
Would the fix here be to sort the lines first using the `sort` command first? Then `uniq`?

LiveTheDream 1 day ago 2 replies      
I use this command very frequently to check how often an event occurs in a log file over time (specifically in 10-minute buckets), assuming the file is formatting like "INFO - [2014-08-27 16:16:29,578] Something something something"

    cat /path/to/logfile | grep PATTERN | sed 's/.*\(2014-..-..\) \(..\):\(.\).*/\1 \2:\3x/' | uniq -c
results in:

    273 2014-08-27 14:5x    222 2014-08-27 15:0x    201 2014-08-27 15:1x    171 2014-08-27 15:2x    349 2014-08-27 15:3x    230 2014-08-27 15:4x    236 2014-08-27 15:5x    339 2014-08-27 16:0x    330 2014-08-27 16:1x
This can subsequently be visualized with a tool like gnuplot or Excel.

bmsherman 1 day ago 0 replies      
I may as well plug my little program, which takes numbers read line-by-line in standard input and outputs a live-updating histogram (and some summary statistics) in the console!


It's useful if you want to, say, get a quick feeling of the distribution of numbers in some column of text.

emeraldd 1 day ago 4 replies      
uniq also doesn't deal well with duplicate records that aren't adjacent. You may need to do a sort before using it.

   sort | uniq
But that can screw with your header lines, so be careful there two.

forkandwait 22 hours ago 2 replies      
"rs" for "reshape array". Found only on FreeBSD systems (yes, we are better... smile)

For example, transpose a text file:

~/ (j=0,r=1)$ cat foo.txt a b cd e f~/ (j=0,r=0)$ cat foo.txt | rs -Ta db ec f

Honestly I have never used in production, but I still think it is way cool.

Also, being forced to work in a non-Unix environment, I am always reminded how much I wish everything were either text files, zipped text files, or a SQL database. I know for really big data (bigger than our typical 10^7 row dataset, like imagery or genetics), you have to expand into things like HDF5, but part of my first data cleaning sequence is often to take something out of Excel or whatever and make a text file from it and apply unix tools.

aabaker99 1 day ago 0 replies      
You should mention this behavior of uniq (from the man page on my machine):

Note: uniq does not detect repeated lines unless they are adjacent. You may want to sort the input first, or use sort -u without uniq.

Your movies.csv file is already sorted, but you don't mention that sorting is important for using uniq, which may be misleading.

$ cat tmp.txt






$ uniq -d tmp.txt


billyhoffman 1 day ago 3 replies      
For last line, I always did

   tac [file] | head -n 1
Mainly because I can never remember basic sed commands

(Strange, OS X doesn't seem to have tac, but Cygwin does...)

michaelmior 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's good to note that `uniq -u` does remove duplicates, but it doesn't output any instances of a line which has been duplicated. This is probably not clear to a lot of people reading this.
baldfat 1 day ago 1 reply      
Certain people might miss the point of why to use command line.

1) I use this before using R or Python and ONLY do this when this is something I consistently need to be done all the time. Makes my R scripts shorter.

2) Somethings just need something simple to be fixed and these commands are just great.

Learn awk and sed and your tools just go much larger in munging data.

vesche 1 day ago 1 reply      
Using basic Unix commands in trivial ways, am I missing something here?
dima55 1 day ago 0 replies      
Then you can make plots by piping to https://github.com/dkogan/feedgnuplot
known 1 day ago 0 replies      
sort -T your_tmp_dir is very useful for sorting large data
OneOneOneOne 1 day ago 0 replies      
awk / gawk is super useful. For C/C++ programmers the language is very easy to learn. Try running "info gawk" for a very good guide.

I've used gawk for many things ranging from data analysis to generate linker / loader code in an embedded build environment for a custom processor / sequencer.

(You can even find a version to run from the Windows command prompt if you don't have Cygwin.)

forkandwait 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is a command on freebsd for transposing text table rows to columns and vice versa, but I can't remember or find it now. It is in core, fwiw.
peterwwillis 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can also find tools designed for your dataset, like csvkit[1] , csvfix[2] , and other tools[3] (I even wrote my own CSV munging Unix tools in Perl back in the day)

[1] http://csvkit.readthedocs.org/en/0.8.0/ [2] https://code.google.com/p/csvfix/ [3] https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/7425/is-there-a-rob...

CharlesMerriam2 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Do you have a pastebin of the CSV file? Time to play...
squigs25 1 day ago 0 replies      
sort before you uniq!
geh4y806 1 day ago 0 replies      
just checking!
cyphunk 1 day ago 0 replies      
really HN? if you find yourself depending heavily on the recommendations in this article you are doing data analysis wrong. Shell foo is relevant to data analysis only as much as regex is. In the same light depending on these methods too much is digging a deep knowledge ditch that in the end is going to limit and hinder you way more than the initial ingress time required to learn more capable data analytics frameworks or at least a scripting language.

still, on international man page appreciate day this is a great reference. the only thing it is missing is gnuplot ascii graphs.

gesman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Use splunk.

'nuff said.

lutusp 1 day ago 3 replies      
Quote: "While dealing with big genetic data sets ..."

What a great start. Unless he's a biologist, the author means generic, not genetic.

The author goes on to show that he can use command-line utilities to accomplish what database clients do much more easily.

JavaScript: Servos only garbage collector
303 points by brson  2 days ago   16 comments top 6
aboodman 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is similarly motivated, and a similar approach to Oilpan in Chromium (http://www.chromium.org/blink/blink-gc).

But because Oilpan is written in C++, there is still some manual annotation of GC'd members that needs to be done.

mercurial 2 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome writeup. It's really interesting to see how some classes of errors can disappear entirely with the right technology.
haberman 2 days ago 3 replies      
Does this suggest that "Encodable" isn't the right name for this trait, if it's being used for something that has nothing to do with encoding?


userbinator 2 days ago 1 reply      
The interaction between native code and JS on the DOM is certainly an area of complexity and plenty of chance for subtle bugs in a browser implementation - I wonder if the observation that native code can only manipulate the DOM in a limited fashion compared to JS could be used to simplify things.

For example, the initial DOM tree will be created (by native code) when loading the document, and it needs to be freed as a whole when another (or the same) page is loaded. On the other hand, JS can create/add/remove objects on it, but they must not be freed if some parts of the tree still reference them. This suggests to me that some sort of ownership scheme is appropriate, and in the case of Servo they've decided to make the GC own everything - which certainly makes a lot of things easy - but it might be interesting to think of whether being able to transfer object ownership between GC and something else would have any advantages, e.g. "all objects in the DOM tree of the document are owned by their parent, and objects not in the DOM tree because they've either been removed from it or newly created by JS are owned by the GC."

stonemetal 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is there any plan to write a javascript engine in Rust as part of the servo project?
getsetgoweb 2 days ago 1 reply      
Easy to use
Hal Finney being cryopreserved now
276 points by mlinksva  6 hours ago   242 comments top 29
declan 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This is sad news, but less sad than a funeral and cremation would have been. I met Hal in the 1990s via the cypherpunks list, where a young Julian Assange was also hanging out. Hal went on to work for PGP Corp. in its glory days, and was involved in the early stages of Bitcoin as well. He is (not was!) the consummate cypherpunk and extropian.

A lot of those discussions have been lost to time, but here's a note from Hal that I posted to Politech in 1999 where he warned against building surveillance backdoors in Internet standards:

http://seclists.org/politech/1999/Oct/24"If the IETF sets the precedent of acceding to the wishes of countries like the US and Europe, it may find itself forced to similarly honor the desires of less open societies."

And here's Hal responding to one of my Wired articles by pointing out the absurdity of the MPAA's claims against Napster:

http://extropians.weidai.com/extropians.1Q01/3833.html"Looking at it over the history of Napster the amount would have to runwell into the quadrillions. Surely this would be the largest legalclaim in history! I wonder if the record companies can present thisfigure with a straight face."

I'll miss Hal. At least there's a very slim, but non-zero, chance he'll log back on again.

FiloSottile 5 hours ago 2 replies      
It's fascinating, and personally a bit disturbing, to read about his death as an announcement of cryopreservation ("being cryopreserved now") instead of the sad news it is anyway ("died today"). Also the discussion here revolves around he coming back, not he leaving.

Maybe it impresses me because he seemed so hopeful to be able to choose life in his post back then when he was diagnosed: "I may even still be able to write code, and my dream is to contribute to open source software projects even from within an immobile body. That will be a life very much worth living." http://lesswrong.com/lw/1ab/dying_outside/

I guess one can argue it is a good thing about cryonics, less mourning, more hope. Anyway, I'd like to write down a regular epitaph:

Hal Finney (May 4, 1956 August 28, 2014), second PGP developer after Zimmerman, first Bitcoin recipient, cypherpunk who wrote code.

cousin_it 6 hours ago 0 replies      
In 2009, he described his experience with ALS in a poignant post titled "Dying Outside": http://lesswrong.com/lw/1ab/dying_outside/ . I'm very sad to see him go.
WalterBright 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Hal was one year ahead of me, and the next dorm room over at Caltech. Hal was scary smart - but you had to get to know him for a while before you'd find that out. He was completely unpretentious, just a regular guy.

And a great person - I never knew anyone who had anything but good things to say about Hal. It was a privilege to know Hal.

rdl 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Hal Finney was one of the best people on the cypherpunks list -- wrote frequently, great developer, involved in some of the most interesting products of the past 30 years. He was also remarkably friendly and civil, even more amazing in a place like the cypherpunks list. A really great person, and will be missed. (but hopefully only for a few decades until the reverse-cryopreservation thing is worked out...)
mef 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Interesting that someone would choose to be cryopreserved somewhere where there's no legal assisted suicide. Wouldn't your chances of being successfully revived improve if you got cryopreserved while still alive?
donohoe 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Hey Hal, when you Google all of this and stumble across this old page I hope you find this note and get in touch for a drink.

I'd love to hear your story!

owenversteeg 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Black bar anyone? I think he is very worthy of one.

Either way I just set my topcolor to 000000. Seems it doesn't take hex triplets.

ericb 6 hours ago 9 replies      
I'm curious--in these cryopreservation arrangements, what is done to incentivize future people to resurrect you? Anyone know?
bryanstrawser 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I knew Hal back in the early days of remailing (94-96) where he ran several remailers and I had one nestled within the hidden confines of Indiana University (the gondolin remailer).

He will be missed.

strlen 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's an interesting discussion results about near-term studies on inducing hypothermia was a way to save gun shot victims from brain death:

The article -- http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22129623.000-gunshot-v...

HN discussion with some insightful commentary -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7477801

haakon 5 hours ago 0 replies      

If you haven't read his post "Bitcoin and me", now is a good time. https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=155054.0

ryan-c 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised nobody has made the point that "death" is not a binary thing - it is a progression. If we consider a scale where "1" is alive (breathing, heart beating, higher brain functions working, etc) and "0" is when your brain has been unambiguously destroyed, we have a probability distribution of whether a person can be returned to "1".

At one time if someone left "1" (e.g. heart stopped), that was pretty much it. Now we can often recover someone whose heart has been stopped for several minutes with little to no long term damage through medical intervention. A cryonic procedure pushes a person to a place on the scale where the probability distribution provided by current technology is a big fat zero. There is some hope that as technology advances that probability distribution will look favorable to the those frozen. We're pretty much just guessing about that last part though.

morpheous 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Sad, and in a way beautiful (I hope that's not an inappropriate word to use), at the same time. This man lived his life to the full, and faced the end of his life (as he has known it), with the courage of an adventurer.

I must admit i had never heard of the man himself, although I do know of bitcoin. But I am humbled by how he is smiling in all of his pictures, despite his physical body slowly giving up on him; his wife constantly by his side, through thick and thin.

I get the impression that Hal would have been a genuinely nice man to know. His life and the way he has faced his challenges head on is (should be) an inspiration to all.

aerovistae 5 hours ago 1 reply      
The thing I don't understand is how circulating cryoprotectant chemicals through the brain doesn't destroy the tissue. How could anything other than blood safely circulate through the brain?
TeMPOraL 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Seeing people going all "cryonics is another religion" saddens me in a way. It's a tragedy that we've learned to accept mortality to the point that as a species we're not only unwilling to try and fix it, we're calling those few who try nutcases.

Even if current cryonics won't work, how about focusing on trying to find another, better way to fix death, instead of throwing the towel and sneering?

simonebrunozzi 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks Hal Finney. You've done some good in the world. Hope to see you alive again.
jdnier 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Ancillary to the sad news, for a fictional treatment of cryopreservation (circa 1993) -- one that I couldn't help think about as I read that email/release -- Gregory Benford's novel, Chiller, works through many of the thought-provoking implications. http://www.gregorybenford.com/product/chiller/
pron 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I didn't know Hal Finney, but condolences to his family.

Comparing different religions' various flavors of afterlife is very interesting, but perhaps this isn't the right forum for it (though maybe it is; I don't know). One thing is certain, though: cryonics's promise of an afterlife is definitely the most materially expensive of all religions -- on average, that is (some Christians spent what probably amounts to more than the cost of cryopreservation to expunge their sins). It is also the most strictly transactional since Catholicism prior to the reformation. The burial practice itself, however, bears a lot of resemblance to ancient Egyptian religion, and probably some other religions of antiquity.

cowmix 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Any time cryogenics comes up I'm reminded of this story from This American Life:


letstryagain 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Hal Finney's ALS Ice Bucket challenge
ogig 6 hours ago 0 replies      
In this post[1] Hal Finney writes about ALS and his involvement with bitcoin. Recommended read:[1]: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=155054.0
dghughes 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Funny how the mind plays tricks I read that as cryptopreservation.
staunch 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm sad for him that we haven't progressed far enough to treat him. I'm glad he has a shot in the future.
Schwolop 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Hal Finney (May 4, 1956 August 28, 2014 [probably])
jaekwon 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh, now I understand mummies.
techdragon 6 hours ago 1 reply      
So rare to hear about this kind of thing so "present tense"

And is it just me or is it just a little bit funny to hear about an ALS patient getting frozen cryogenically right as the ice bucket challenge sweeps the globe... I dare say he's truly taken the ultimate ice bucket challenge!

NhanH 6 hours ago 6 replies      
On the topic of cryopreservation, to borrow a question from Scott Aaronson [1]: have you signed up for cryopreservation? And regardless of your answer, how do you defend yourself against the charge of irrationality?

On one hand, it seems like a different version of Pascal's wager - if you can afford it, the upside is potentially far more beneficial than the downside. On the other hand, well, it is crazy...

I can think of one reason for not doing it (personally): I don't necessary want to live in a society that can perform my revival. Not to say that there's anything wrong with that society, they would just be so far away from me that I can't fathom how that would be like.

[1]: http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=455

amalag 6 hours ago 1 reply      
He is legally dead, so good luck bringing him back to life.
On bananas and string matching algorithms
259 points by cjbprime  5 days ago   62 comments top 5
zackmorris 5 days ago 3 replies      
I've seen some very strange things in my career. I find posts like this delightful, because I can point to them and say "see, here is proof that even code written with the best of intentions can still have bugs."

Programmers tend to fall into (at least) two camps: the skeptics and the pragmatists.

Sometimes when I report a finding, programmers accuse me in one way or another of messing something up because that cant possibly be failing. Those are the skeptics, using incredulousness almost like a shield to protect their worldview. They tend to have an up-close/whats right in front of them approach to programming, are prolific and usually take a positive stance on programming.

At other times, reporting a finding is met with resignation, almost like please work around it because we just dont need this right now. Those are the pragmatists, taking the long view/forest for the trees approach, knowing that programming is more than the some of its parts but also that its a miracle it even works at all. They are the daydreamers and sometimes are perceived as negative or defeatist.

I was a pragmatist for as long as I could remember, but had a change of heart working with others in professional settings. I saw that certain things like databases or unix filesystems could largely be relied upon to work in a deterministic manner, like they created a scaffolding that helps one stay grounded in reality. They help one command a very mathematical/deliberate demeanor, and overcome setbacks by treating bugs as something to be expected but still tractable.

But here is one of those bugs, where the floor seemed to fall out from under our feet. One day I mentioned that SSL isnt working and about half the office flipped out on me and the other half rolled their eyes and had me track it down:


The gist of it is that OpenSSL was failing when the MTU was 1496 instead of 1500, because of path MTU discovery failing and SSL thinking it was a MITM attack and closing (at least, that is how I remember it, I am probably futzing some details).

That was odd behavior to me, because I see SSL as something that should be a layer above TCP and not bother with the implementation details of underlying layers. It should operate under the assumption that there is always a man in the middle. If you can open a stream to a server, you should be able to send secure data over it.

Anyway, we fixed the router setting and got back to work. All told I probably lost a day or two of productivity, because the office network had been running just fine for years and so I discounted it for a long time until I ruled out every other possibility. Ive hit crazy bugs like this at least once a year, and regret not documenting them I suppose. Usually by the time they are fixed, people have forgotten the initial shock, but they still remember that you are the one weirdo who always seems to break everything.

StefanKarpinski 5 days ago 5 replies      
Really interesting post and good debugging work. A couple of take-aways:

1. This is one reason it's a good idea to use signed ints for lengths even though they can never be negative. Signed 64-bit ints have plenty of range for any array you're actually going to encounter. It may also be evidence that it's a good idea for mixed signed/unsigned arithmetic to produce signed results rather than unsigned: signed tends to be value-correct for "small" values (less than 2^63), including negative results; unsigned sacrifices value-correctness on all negative values to be correct for very large values, which is a less common case here it will never happen since there just aren't strings that large.

2. If you're going to use a fancy algorithm like two-way search, you really ought to have a lot of test cases, especially ones that exercise corner cases of the algorithm. 100% coverage of all non-error code paths would be ideal.

srean 5 days ago 1 reply      
There are many comments discussing whether length should be unsigned or signed. There are arguments for and against it. This a prototypical carpet bump, you squash it in one place it raises its head somewhere else.

I see it not as a question whether lengths should be signed or unsigned but whether subtraction, assignment etc should be polymorphic w.r.t signed and unsigned. I think the issue here is the polymorphic variants of these binary operators are inherently risky.

Casting gets a little tedious, but languages that do not have operator overloading should disallow subtraction from unsigned and subtraction that return unsigned. You either cast it up, or if possible reorder the expression/comparison so that the problem goes away. Even assignment can be a problem. Ocaml can get irritating because it takes this view but I think it is safer this way.It is very hard to be always vigilant about the unsigned signed issue, but hopefully a compiler error will mitigate risks, not completely, but it is better than nothing.

That leaves languages that allow operator overloading, in those cases if you are overloading an operator you better know what you are doing, and watch out for cases where the operator is not closed.

sitkack 5 days ago 3 replies      
Why is this code so damn fancy? Shouldn't the fanciness be offset by proofs or extended testing? Open loop!
alayne 5 days ago 1 reply      
I try to never look at GPL/LGPL code if I'm going to implement something at work or under another license.

Sorry for suggesting a good practice to avoid legal liability.

Announcing Calibre 2.0
274 points by cleverjake  6 days ago   97 comments top 13
vj44 6 days ago 8 replies      
I'm sure calibre 2.0 is a great technical feat, and kudos for all the work put into this product, but judging by the screenshot the user interface is equally clunky as in 1.0.This software does mostly everything I need it for to convert ebooks... but can you, the authors, please improve the UI?
dredmorbius 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'll take a look at this, as my long rant on what's wrong with browsers[1] basically ends up with the admission that something along the lines of Calibre or Zotero is probably more of what I want from a reading app: the ability to manage a library of works, local, networked, or on the Web, with a highly uniform presentation (ignore virtually all document formatting in favor of my own preferences).

From my relatively light explorations of Calibre to date (v. 1.25 on Debian jessie/sid):

The UI is clunky. Especially when trying to edit / capture bibliographic information I've found it beyond frustrating.

The built-in readers are severely brain-damaged and I've found no way to change them. The PDF reader is complete and total fail, the eBook reader isn't much better, and I seem to recall that accessing HTML docs is similarly frustrating.

By contrast, I've been impressed by the Moon+Reader Android eBook reader, generally like the Readability online (Web) reader and Android app, and had found a Debian eBook reader that was fairly decent client -- fbreader. Its main disadvantage is in not having the ability to set a maximum content width. I find that 40-45 em is my preferred width in general. Among fbreader's frustrations: I cannot define a stylesheet, though I can apply a selected set of styles (defining margin widths, e.g., but not the _text_ width, which is frustrating). The book I've presently got loaded is either right or center justified -- the left margin is ragged, again, frustrating. And text doesn't advance on a <space>, like virtually any other Linux pager.

If calibre readily supported alternative clients, I'd be a lot happier with it.

The ability to include / reference / convert Web content would be somewhere north of awesome. There's still a large amount of information online that I reference, but would prefer to archive or cache locally, and/or convert to more useful formats (usually ePub or PDF).

Optimizing viewing experiences for wide-format, vertically-challenged screens would be hugely useful. 16:9 display ratios mean vertical space is at an absolute premium. Most PDF viewers are utterly brain-dead in this regard (evince, for example, requires four manual repositionings to view a typical 2-up document). The Internet Archive's BookReader does an excellent job of consider positioning content and paging through it as two separate functions. I strongly recommend taking some UI notes from it. https://openlibrary.org/dev/docs/bookreader

Alternatively, the old 'gv' ghostscript Postscript and PDF reader will page through documents in a highly sensible fashion: top-bottom, left-right. Why this was achieved in 1992 while PDF readers of the subsequent 22 years have utterly blundered in this regard escapes me.

That said, I'm looking forward to this showing up in Debian's repos (I've got v1.25 presently).



1. http://www.reddit.com/r/dredmorbius/comments/256lxu/tabbed_b...

skant 6 days ago 2 replies      
The author of Calibre claims:In my opinion, calibres graphic interface is damn good [1]

I don't think the author is going to make any strides towards improving/changing the UI


llasram 5 days ago 1 reply      
In 2008-2009 I was probably the second biggest commiter to Calibre (still #4 according to github), focusing entirely on the conversion pipeline and format support. I'm still proud of the OEB modeling as some of the finest OO code I've written, or probably will write now that I've moved on to functional.

For everyone complaining about the UI and management functionality, realize that you are not the target audience. Head over to www.mobileread.com, look at the Calibre forum and the praise Kovid gets, and you'll see that he's largely catering directly to what his core users want.

It is interesting that Calibre and mobileread are still around, and relatively little changed. I lost interest and moved on once pretty much every commercially-available e-book became available in EPUB format. What's left is a very, very specialized core of enthusiasts.

marianminds 6 days ago 5 replies      
One thing that really sucks still is the conversion of PDFs (for e.g. journal articles) into formats suitable for e-ink readers. I've tinkered with its heuristic processing and regex formatting, but I'd never considered manually touching up the final .epub as it comes. If their ebook editor is any good I might start reading journal articles again.
maxerickson 6 days ago 2 replies      
Does it still refuse to index without managing?

A quick glance at the documentation says yes.

nebulous1 6 days ago 3 replies      
I don't suppose he's backtracked on his awful position on auto-updates?
dredmorbius 5 days ago 0 replies      
Can someone point to a good Calibre tutorial?

My use-case: I download material in various formats from online, mostly in PDF, ePub, or some markup format (LaTeX, Markdown, HTML, etc.) I've got a large set of downloads, which I then try to import into Calibre. This is in support of a large research project.

1. It's difficult to tell what I've imported and what I haven't.

2. The import process itself is slow. Enough so that I'll fire it up, get caught up in other stuff, and ... well, tend not to get back to it.

3. The corpus is fairly large: around 1000 books and papers, plus another 5,000 others pulled from web archives.

4. Tracking this by metadata is crucial. Title, author, publication date, and tags. Managing _that_ is a headache on its own, especially adding metadata to works / confirming automatically extracted content is accurate.

5. Once I've got the information organized, reading, referencing, annotating, and other tasks should be supported.

Again: calibre is about the only tool out there I'm familiar with, but it's a pain. Zotero and various LaTeX bibliographic tools are also of some use.

bowlofpetunias 6 days ago 2 replies      
I have a love-hate relationship with Calibre. As a way to manage my ebooks, and especially overcoming the insanity that is DRM, Calibre is a lifesaver. I wouldn't even be buying ebooks if it wasn't for Calibre. (I only bought a Kindle after making sure I could crack the DRM and actually own the books I paid for.)

However, the user interface of Calibre is one of the worst I've ever encountered. It looks and feels like a teenagers first attempt at creating a desktop software prototype back in 1995. (Having to go to the website to download and install every single new minor release also feels like something from a bygone era.)

I donate to Calibre because I need it to continue existing, but I have no love for it.

holychiz 6 days ago 1 reply      
so much hate for the UI! personally, it works and works well for its intended purpose. To me, it's even intuitive at times. By that virtue, it's already better than 90% of software out there, free or not. Can it be better? sure, like everything else in life. Now that I know that the dev is abrasive from other HN comments, i've got even more respect for him, because of the heavier load he has to carried. :)
jrvarela56 6 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone have a decent webapp to replace this? Interested in building one since I haven't found a viable option. As of now I use Calibre and set my folder to Dropbox so I can access books.
yuribit 6 days ago 1 reply      
Is there some Calibre plugin to convert scientific articles with math formulas to epub or mobi?
necrodome 6 days ago 0 replies      
I am trying to find a solution to ditch calibre(at least for library management) completely, and with the advent of cheap android eink devices, this seems more possible now. A simple app that communicates with a web backend to manage my library on such a device would be enough.

one recently released such device is Boyue T62 (http://www.banggood.com/Boyue-T62-8G-Dual-Core-6-Inch-WIFI-A...) Here is an overview (the review is for the same device, just rebranded and with previos generation specs) http://blog.the-ebook-reader.com/2014/08/11/icarus-illumina-...

You also get much better pdf reading capabilities with these devices.

Until the next generation displays for reading come into play, these look much better overall than kindle, nook, etc.

Mozilla Unveils $33 Intex Cloud FX Smartphone
269 points by rhelmer  2 days ago   119 comments top 23
diafygi 2 days ago 3 replies      
I've been a huge fan of Firefox OS for a long time[1], but here's something I think many people here aren't realizing: Firefox OS considerably lowers the barriers to entry for app developers.

Firefox OS apps are just html pages in a zip file, so all you need to create one is a text editor and a browser. In fact, Firefox will soon include an IDE[2], so you don't even need a text editor anymore. I think that will have a massive impact on how many developers will make apps for Firefox OS, especially local developing world apps.

If you only have non-administrator access to a computer in an internet cafe or some other shared computer, you can probably still develop Firefox OS apps since it may already have Firefox installed. Additionally, there's millions of tutorials online about web development, many of which are very beginner friendly and in multiple languages.

This extremely low barrier to entry will allow local communities to easily make apps that cater to just their local needs. Want to know where the best location to get water is? Want to know which farms in the area are hiring? Want to see the local mayor's latest scandalous photo? These all can be coded in a weekend at the local internet cafe.

EDIT: Also, where can I buy one?

[1] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3MU3jxEye8

[2] - https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Tools/WebIDE

personZ 2 days ago 2 replies      
Using HTML5 enables the operating system to be very lean and it requires less memory consumption.

This claim is deeply suspect.

discardorama 2 days ago 1 reply      
Here are some reviews of the phone:



GSM, Camera, Wi-Fi, Micro-USB, Bluetooth, FM radio in a $33 device with a screen and 128MB memory?!?!

suprgeek 2 days ago 3 replies      
India is a great market for a low cost smartphone. For a long time Nokia was king, both high-end to very-low end. There are many people who are now migrating off these cheap Nokia's into these tier-two companies, such as Micromax/Intex etc.

Might as well they migrate to an open hackable platform - Two apps that really need to come pre-installed - WhatsApp & RedBus. I have been stunned when a village lady asked me if my phone had the bus schedule (the last time I was visiting). A 10 minute conversation with her changed my perspective significantly from the Silicon Valley bubble that I am usually surrounded by...

GFischer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope carriers or sellers don't create unfullfilled expectations.

Here in Uruguay, one of the carriers, Movistar, heavily marketed the Firefox OS phone, and quite a few non-techies bought them (including coworkers), and were VERY dissapointed when they found out it was very limited compared to similarly priced Android phones (one BIG disappointment was the lack of WhatsApp, a deal-breaker in my country).

Edit: it seems that "ConnectA2, a WhatsApp client, comes bundled with the phone". Good point :)

Firefox OS needs to be able to combat the network effect of Android and iOS, or it will fail. Windows Phone already suffers from the same.


makmanalp 2 days ago 4 replies      
$33? That's basically a raspberry pi with GSM for an amazing price. If I could pop open the case to get to pins or have a video out or something, this would be game changing.
drblast 2 days ago 0 replies      
At that price it's nearly disposable. I'd LOVE a phone like that; I have a hard time paying a lot for something that I carry and can easily break, especially since I'm not welded to my phone like most people seem to be.
josu 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is this a loss leader? Or what's their revenue model? I'm aware of this:

>WSJD: What is your revenue model? And what is your target?

Hsu: Mozilla is a nonprofit organization. We do need revenue for sure. For now our revenue is mainly from the desktop. We work with a lot of web content search engines and all the service providers; we have a revenue sharing model with them.

We are targeting to see if we can reach one percent market share (of smartphones), and thatll be a good beginning. We dont know when but thats our goal.

But it just doesn't answer my question. I can't see how a $33 phone can be profitable, unless they expect to make more money after the sale.

lovelearning 2 days ago 5 replies      
They've managed to deploy Firefox OS - which is based on AOSP - on just 128 MB of RAM? I'm impressed!
xanderstrike 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've been using the Open C for a couple weeks now, and while it continues to surprise with how capable it is, it consistently seems to just barely scrape by on the hardware (512mb RAM, 1.2ghz dual core). I wonder what sorts of concessions had to be made to make this $33 phone a reality. Will it be all that different from symbian feature phone?

Either way, I'll be buying one when it goes up on ebay.

rdl 2 days ago 0 replies      
These will be so amazing as single-purpose secure devices. It might require new firmware, so I'm not sure how this works.

(I'm increasingly convinced we need cheap and thus single-purpose devices for security. Even if we theoretically could build multi-compartment systems, user error often compromises them.)

lucb1e 2 days ago 1 reply      
I really don't like the WSJ. No paywall this time, but also no source links. I want to see Mozilla's announcement (if any), specs from the phone, whether I can buy it at all from abroad, etc. The article contains only one link: to the paywalled version of the article.

Edit: took a few minutes but I've found the phone on Mozilla's website: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/os/devices/#intex_clou...

Also found their news blog which has nothing since February.

Oculus 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is what Amazon should've done with their phone - make it stupid cheap.
e15ctr0n 2 days ago 2 replies      
If there's anyone looking to buy it or read up on the detailed specs, here's the link:


parfe 2 days ago 3 replies      
So no way to get this phone in the USA? Is there a rationale? Mozilla doesn't want consumers in developed economies buying it and complaining it doesn't compete with an S5 of iphone?
Yaggo 1 day ago 1 reply      
While the $33 is impressive price tag, just a reminder that you can buy a "Chinese" Android tablet with twice as capable hardware (800x480 screen, 512 MB ram etc) for $50.
anigbrowl 2 days ago 0 replies      
That price is in India. I wonder if they will sell it in the US and for how much.
msh 2 days ago 1 reply      
hmm I think this kind of attack from the buttom is the only way for a new player to get a chance against android (it is not going so well for tizen among others who is expected to compete in the high end).
vamega 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in the US, and really want one or two of these!
ck2 2 days ago 0 replies      
If the html runs on the phone completely and doesn't require remote rendering power, then such a device could be used as nifty self contained monitors for websites.

Have a dozen servers?

Well you could have a phone display for each one.

But I guess at that scale you could just buy a 4k monitor and some kind of pc to power it too.

contingencies 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Cloud", sigh.

While this is a laudable product and price point, it is only a partial success. What people don't realize is that in these markets internet is prohibitively expensive for many people when accessed over cellular networks. This means people have to use wifi, which is typically sporadic, shared and unrealiable.

Cheap smartphones in the really developing parts of the world will be revolutionary precisely when they have real ad-hoc and mesh networking over wifi and code that is built to take advantage: thus making distribution of content and applications far more seemless for the sporadically poorly connected masses, censorship impossible, news distribution democratic and non state-issued digital currencies viable. Imagine if someone can close-enough hack the identity problem (eg. using a signup delay, public/private keys, time (proof of work), rough geolocation, and unique email address as a mix) then political polls can be made this way.

I don't think this is a pipe dream, because people in a lot of these areas do have shared, extremely pressing social concerns. Sexism (~50% of people), hatred for the corrupt local institutions (~95% of people), that sort of thing.

Think of the Chinese child being run over video effect... meets ad-hoc virtually unmonitorable wifi meets irrefutable evidence of official corruption. Look at for instance the status of women in parts of south India, it's extremely oppressive. I think we're going to see riots, political change, new social models emerge as a result of the true application of these devices... but not just yet, because the features are missing!

Apple and Google will probably never prioritize these features. Unfortunately, Firefox OS has not prioritized them either.* This is saddening. The door is open for motivated hacking!

* https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=945047

ck2 2 days ago 2 replies      
Resolution 320x480

In 2014 ? That doesn't seem useful.

LukeB_UK 2 days ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately I think Apple may have a complaint with regards to the design.
Gogs: a self-hosted Git Service written in Go
268 points by czsu69jj  5 days ago   107 comments top 18
lukeholder 5 days ago 8 replies      
What i love about Go from a user of some of the open source apps like Gogs, is that its so easy to get the application running.

A single binary with zero dependancies is so awesome. With a ruby on rails app I need to worry about ruby version, ruby implementation, gem versions, compilation of C based gems, etc etc. With Go i simply copy up the binary and run it.

geerlingguy 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you'd like to compare the GitLab and Gogs, I have a couple vagrant VMs you can clone and 'vagrant up' to kick the tires:

  - https://github.com/geerlingguy/ansible-vagrant-examples/tree/master/gitlab  - https://github.com/geerlingguy/ansible-vagrant-examples/tree/master/gogs
Right now I still have a very basic git server for personal use with a bunch of bare repos and no UI, but I'm sorely tempted to start using Gogs or GitLab. GitLab wins for polish so far, but Gogs has caught up very quickly, and feels slightly faster.

hardwaresofton 4 days ago 4 replies      
As a person who recently discovered gitlab and has been trying to push it (make it popular at work, and possibly use it to replace github, and encourage people to use it), this is amazing.

Installing Gitlab was definitely one of the painpoints, having an executable that just works is amazing

What are people's thoughts on open software projects like this eating into github licensing money? I feel guilty sometimes pushing gitlab since I really like github as a company (and want them to thrive)

zackify 4 days ago 2 replies      
This thing is fucking legit guys: "Admin password must contain at most 6 characters"
donquichotte 4 days ago 1 reply      
When considering a github-like service for my company, there were two main candidates, gogs and gitlab.

I favoured gogs because of the ease of deployment. What killed it was the fact that forking public repositories and creating pull requests is not implemented yet.

Since the ease of deployment for gitlab was drastically reduced lately, we settled for gitlab.

kinofcain 4 days ago 4 replies      
This is terrific. Other than the java implementation, is this the only alternate git implementation that doesn't use the core c git code under the hood? That's a pretty important accomplishment.

So many things you could build with a git-like data store...

elementai 3 days ago 0 replies      
Tried to visit gogs demo page, but "502 Bad Gateway", so I'll stay with Gitlab for quite a while.

A lot of people mentioned that Gitlab installation is painful, but for me it was rather simple albeit a bit long. Probably the "IKEA effect" makes me love this awesome project even more.

hliyan 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is brilliant. Works beautifully. I only have very minor feedback:

1. The blue-on-red contrast is a bit hard on the eyes. Try a softer color palette?

2. Repository languages doesn't include Javascript?

3. Issue sorting and filtering might be important

Once again, kudos on a job well done!

moepstar 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ok, since my GitLab testinstall is hosed anyway...

How does this compare feature-wise to GitLab? How does this compare to GitLab regarding updates, i.e. how easy and seamless will update be and how often are they available?

Would be nice if someone could post some first-hand experience :)

swah 4 days ago 0 replies      
Does this implement a git engine like Gerrit? Its worth looking at their design - they can do so much cool stuff (like rejecting badly formatted commits) because they have their own server (IIRC).
Nux 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is great. Till now we had GitBucket, GitBlit etc which are really fantastic, but they require a bit of resources.

If this can run ok on a modest VM then I think we got a winner!

syntern 4 days ago 1 reply      
That is a really cool project, and seems to be much easier to set up as any of the competitors (I'm looking at you, gitlab).
maxcellent 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if federated login is already on roadmap.

Looks great! Good job!

IbJacked 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks great! Are there any plans to include per-repo wikis?
Fastidious 4 days ago 2 replies      
It uses Flash? Good looking application otherwise.
KaoruAoiShiho 4 days ago 3 replies      
Can somebody make a git based wiki. PLEASE.
SoapSticky 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is just FANTASTIC
tempodox 3 days ago 1 reply      
Who uses git any more, anyway?
How Norway has avoided the 'curse of oil'
266 points by diminish  2 days ago   141 comments top 25
prawn 2 days ago 4 replies      
Statoil and how Norway essentially protected its future is a lot like how Australia should have dealt with the so-called mining boom.

Named and outlined better, our "mining tax" could have been this. It could have protected against capital flight and essentially built national strength for all at the expense of those (especially foreign interests) looking to dig up serious swathes of our ground.

Instead, we had a predictable response from the mining magnates and Coalition, an easily duped and panicked public, and a flailing government at the time who named the concept terribly and defended it poorly. And when challenged on the whole "it's barely made any money" front, caved instead of noting that it'd been potentially hampered for political reasons.

What's an easier sell to the public? "Mining tax" or "Future Fund; funded by giant, mostly foreign mining companies."

Look at the Coalition's "$20b" medical research fund. So many people think that's a current $20b fund, rather than a far smaller fund to be built up to $20b over a number of years, and then to fund research only from the earnings of the fund and not from the fund's base value. Labor should have framed the MRRT much more like this and it would've made for a better sell. Avoid the word tax, outline the goal with a specific value range and target date, and name the beneficiaries of the earnings - technology research, medical research, etc.

I can't see how this wasn't a big missed opportunity for Australia.

phaemon 2 days ago 0 replies      
The steps of building infrastructure and investing outside the country, are pretty much exactly the same as was suggested for Scotland in the McCrone report in 1974.

Unfortunately, that report was classified as "secret" at the time, as it was felt the conclusions would boost support for Scottish independence. It wasn't released until 2005.

Link: http://www.oilofscotland.org/mccronereport.pdf

dharma1 2 days ago 2 replies      
Probably one of the best examples of how natural resource wealth has been preserved and invested for the whole nation, instead of being lost to the pockets of few through privatisation, corruption or mismanagement of funds.

I think the magic ingredients (aside from being lucky with natural resources in the first place) are egalitarian society, high level of trust, very low level of corruption, a functioning democratic government and highly skilled fund managers.

cel1ne 2 days ago 4 replies      
Since we're talking about how awesome Norway is, this [0] should be mentioned.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_to_roam#Norway

netcan 2 days ago 1 reply      
The economics of mining are complicated, but there are some similarities to the startup/VC complex. A big part of developing mines is exploration. Finding minerals can be hard, especially in the north sea. The oceans are big. The difficulty is why there are still new deposits being discovered.

Exploration usually happens when the company doing it can hope to make money off of a successful discovery. They might even pay for the privilege. Imagine a scenario where a company finds a motherload of oil after a low probability exploration. Their exploration contracts (being signed before the deposits were known) guarantees them a huge profit. Unseemly, even. They are earning that because they took a risk. Now they get their 100X. Try explaining that in an election year.

New technologies are constantly being invented that improve exploration, surveying & mining. This means that there are new possibilities every year impacting which mine/well is profitable (minerals can be extracted at a profit. These all change underlying economic realities. A $1bn per year mine can only make a slim profit in years where commodity prices are high. It employs many people. The next year commodity prices change or some new mining or processing technique (fracking is a huge gamechanger) mean that some complicated contract is now worth a whole lot of money. The $1bn goes from a 2% margin ($20m) to a 30% margin ($300m) and everyone want a piece of it.

Meanwhile government departments, unions, armies, etc are salivating over the prospect of this wealth. The National University's long impoverished Oceanography faculty has their eye on a fleet of research vessels. Academics are starting companies offering to do (mandated) environmental impact studies. There is a lot of pressure for money now, from industry, politicians, constituents.

Politicians definitely don't want to be investing during their term for the benefit of politicians 10 years from now. The world can be cynical, but not always.

Norway has done well. I'm not sure if any one thing can be learned from them. Have smart people running things. Meanwhile Norway have their own political traditions, values, and probably pathologies.

noir_lord 2 days ago 3 replies      
I've often said the Nordic countries in general are as close to a Star Trek style civilisation as we've ever gotten.

As someone who lives in America Lite (the UK) your policies on just about everything strike me as insanely reasonable.

I pretty much feel shame whenever I think about our last two governments.

praptak 2 days ago 2 replies      
I am jealous of Norway. Social relations in most other countries, even the "first world" ones, seem uncivilized by comparison. I always wonder how they arrived at this point - this looks like they have some magic ingredient that made their Prisoner's Dilemma converge on 'cooperate'. It must be the fjords.
adamnemecek 2 days ago 2 replies      
The story of how Norway's oil industry started is pretty interestinghttp://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/99680a04-92a0-11de-b63b-00144...
maaaats 2 days ago 2 replies      
Kinda ironic having the picture of the current finance minister, Siv Jensen, there, as she is so opposed to us saving this money. She is mainly elected on promises on lower immigration, cheaper alcohol, cheaper fuel and lower taxes. Planning to achieve that by using the fund's money.
makmanalp 2 days ago 2 replies      
There is also the related concept of "Dutch Disease" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_disease) which is what I expected this would be about. The idea is that once a country discovers it has reserves of a valuable natural resource, it tends to exploit and build its economy around that resource, at the expense of its more complex sectors like manufacturing. Norway seems to have handled that decently well so far, and part of the lack of spending probably comes from the fact that they realize their oil's a short term freebie boost not an economic strategy.
jensen123 2 days ago 1 reply      
Bergen is not the center of Norway's oil and gas industries. Stavanger is.


valgaze 2 days ago 0 replies      
The rise of these sovereign wealth funds has been pretty extraordinary- if corruption is kept under control those resources are politically "out of bounds" for spending.

This list ranks SWFs by size- notice there are several US states on the list: www.swfinstitute.org/fund-rankings/

jonifico 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm from Latin America and many countries here have more-than-decent resources to make things happen, but the difference between us and Norwegians is trust, and that changes it all. Take a look at Brazil, for example. There were over 20 megaconstructions planned for the World Cup and one one of them was completed, the Maracana stadium. That's just an insane amount of corruption. So, what happens? Well, since everyone's stealing, I might as well try to get my piece of the cake, and that's when people start to become selfish A-holes for lack generation after generation. We need a new mindset, better governments and trust. Lots of trust.
timdierks 2 days ago 2 replies      
It seems to me that the high levels of trust necessary for this to work also imply a high level of social cohesion (possibly homogeneity). In a society with less internal agreement, I don't see how you could get this much alignment over what is the right management strategy, let alone trust that it's being followed.
gabriel34 2 days ago 1 reply      
Norway could have let its own citizens decide how to spend their share of the money. That would probably result in some spending more than others, resulting in inequality and an overall worse quality of life, even for the wealthier.

Instead they decided on a mandatory saving of the money. This might have been good for them, but it creates a giant State which wouldn't fly in other cultures.

elchief 2 days ago 2 replies      
C'mon man. Norway's the #1 importer of Teslas [1]

Otherwise, man I wish Canada would manage our oil money like Norway. But we burned that bridge a long time ago.

[1] look it up

nwah123 2 days ago 0 replies      
Common resources should be treated as public assets. There's multiple ways you could accomplish that, besides just nationalizing oil fields.

Land value taxation and severance taxes can help recapture the value of our Commons, and allow us to reduce taxes on labor or investment.

Gravityloss 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the key is that Norway was organized, coherent and educated before they discovered oil.
lepht 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fascinating contrast to this Backstory Podcast episode about America's relationship with oil: http://backstoryradio.org/shows/black-gold-2/
suprgeek 2 days ago 0 replies      
TL;DR "Fairly homogenous country of 5 Million people total" coupled with some good decision making.

For reference NY alone has a population of about 8 Million.

Kiro 2 days ago 0 replies      
So are they saving because they're afraid of overheating the economy or that they will run out of oil?
adventured 2 days ago 2 replies      
The oil curse is a silly notion. The US and Canada have both avoided any 'curse.' China is the world's 5th largest oil producer, it too is certainly not cursed by oil.

Norway however has a huge problem coming, soon. Their oil production is running out rapidly: http://i.imgur.com/UlR1B0a.jpg

It has fallen about 40% in a decade +/-.

Even with their large sovereign fund, they will exhaust that quickly if the oil production doesn't stop falling soon. At the rate it's falling, in another decade Norway is going to be in the midst of a crisis economically.

I know some people in Norway are paying attention to this and trying to think ahead. Being conservative about the sovereign fund certainly seems like the very wise thing to do.

jokoon 2 days ago 1 reply      
i want to go there so bad :(
What happened to Motorola
245 points by marban  1 day ago   85 comments top 10
m_throwaway 1 day ago 0 replies      
(Sorry for the throwaway; I still work for the same company and we we still have various relationships with each other.)

I worked in like '04-'08 building third party mobile software for a large variety of manufacturers and devices. Remember, this was pre-iphone, so there was a big business in building component X for device Y on platform Z.

In my experience of device manufacturers:

Nokia was insanely arrogant; the google of its day. Sony Ericsson were quite good, it showed that they wanted to build a quality experience.

The Japanese manufacturers were absolutely insane. They would routinely produce P1 bug reports in the style of "we opened the X application repetatively. On the 1154th time it crashed on start-up. Sometimes."

We had a few projects with Motorola together with US carriers. They were total nightmares - the Motorola engineers seemed like they had been picked up from the streets of Hyderabad the day before. (This is not a racial prejudice: most of the Indian engineers I've come across in the industry have actually been remarkably talented. This is not valid for the Motorola engineers though.) Most of these device projects were very high profile in the US, and presumably important for Motorola; yet they couldn't or wouldn't muster better staffing.

cwal37 1 day ago 4 replies      
This is really a fantastic, in-depth article, and highlights a lot of pieces about Motorola's history of which I was totally unaware. The breadth of their innovations was far greater than I realized, and the early decision to set up a world class shop in China seems to be very visible today in that area of the world.

That the internal competitions eventually led to internal war between different "tribes" doesn't totally surprise me. It seems you always read about that eventually happening in the post-mortem of any company with that type of structure. I wonder if there's a good way to balance internal competition. I imagine you would have to keep close watch on the overall silo-ing of each department.

I'm from the Chicago area, and I remember driving by their campus many times over the years as a kid, only really having an idea that they were somehow involved in phones. I was in high school when the Razr came out, and based on how popular it was I thought Motorola was an absolutely world-dominating company, not a business on the rebound from extremely heady heights.

bane 1 day ago 2 replies      
It really is shocking what a shadow of its former self Motorola has become. There was a time, not all that long ago that Motorola CPUs were a really valid alternative for a huge percentage of personal computers, that's really impressive.

Atari, Commodore, Sega, Apple, SNK, Sharp, Texas Instruments, Sun, and more all made significant systems with their chips.

sirkneeland 1 day ago 1 reply      
As a Nokia employee, reading this article is like viewing my own corporate history through a funhouse mirror.
fndrplayer13 11 hours ago 1 reply      
As a Chicagoan who worked in another closely related telecom company, the presence of Motorola was huge. Not so anymore, but its certainly a 'hallowed' name in the area. You definitely hear a lot of stories regarding the way bonuses used to work, and what it was like working for a company that was sort of "Google-ish" for its day. Its sad whats happened to Motorola, but that is the way the economy seems to work. Another great unmentioned Chicago Telecom name here is Bell Labs. Chicago Mag could certainly write an entire article about the storied rise and fall of that company too.

It just seems like all the Chicago technology greatness has melted outwards to the coasts. Silicon Valley and NYC (as well as foreign businesses) tend to dominate the areas that Motorola, Bell Labs, etc used to rule.

MIKEMAC972 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great article and very interesting comments. One big takeaway for me is the fact that Google retained ownership of all patents after they sold the business to Lenovo. It'll be interesting to watch Google utilize those across their entire business, not just on the mobile side.
immy 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I interned in PCS 2002-2004. Android wasn't out yet (but Danger Sidekick was) and Moto was already working on a Linux+Java OS. That project was the division's great hope, but missed deadlines on and on.

Cramming a Java OS onto 2004 mobile hardware, very risky choice of a savior.

Half the interns used Treo, Sidekick, LG. Half had a Razr.

silverlake 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was at Motorola from 90-98. I recall that they were a bloated engineering bureaucracy that didn't understand software at all. The other thing is everyone knew Chris Galvin was going to run the company. Lots of executives left during that period. Finally, the iPhone killed everybody: Nokia, Ericsson, Blackberry. It was inevitable. When markets make big shifts, big companies can't adapt.
mikeash 1 day ago 4 replies      
The rise and rapid fall of Iridium fascinates me. They poured so much money into something with so little chance to succeed. And yet, it survives to this day. Essentially, the original investors inadvertently gave the system as a gift to the world.

One story that has stuck with me goes that there was a presentation pitching the business case for Iridium. One part of the presentation goes, cell phone usage is projected to rise by X by the time Iridium becomes operational, leaving the market of Y - X for Iridium. Another part of the presentation goes, cell phone usage has consistently outstripped expectations by a factor of four, therefore our upside is even greater than we might expect. Apparently not realizing that the two claims contradicted each other, and that if cell phones really were growing so fast, it would mean little would be left for Iridium, which is of course what happened.

But I can't remember where I saw it, and I can't dig it up now. Anyone happen to know if I'm remembering anything remotely close to reality, and where I might find info on it?

rayiner 1 day ago 2 replies      
tl;dr: We gave away our competitive edge to the Chinese in return for goosing short term profits, and are now paying the price.
Why I'll Never Tell My Son He's Smart
260 points by eroo  6 days ago   63 comments top 26
ChuckMcM 6 days ago 8 replies      
I've had mixed thoughts about this over the years. Sadly you only get to raise your kids once, you can't try other scenarios and see of there is a better path.

Highly verbal kids, and that is generally kids who read a lot, will be told they are smart whether you do it or not. And if you're child's teachers are telling you how smart they are, and they ask you "Dad, my teacher said I'm really smart, do you think I'm really smart?" You'll have to decide what the narrative is.

That said, it's great to reward struggle rather than success and to emphasize that it is through failure that we value succeeding. Everyone I know who shielded their children from failure has struggled later with teaching them how to cope with failure. That isn't scientific of course, just parents swapping horror stories, but it has been highly correlated in my experience. Putting those struggles into the proper light is very important.

A less obvious but also challenging aspect of this though is that you must teach your children that natural skillsets don't determine their worth. You are good at maths but lousy at sports? Makes you no better or worse than someone with the opposite levels of skill. That is much harder as kids are always looking for ways to evaluate themselves relative to their peers. If you endorse that you can find yourself inculcating in them an unhealthy externally generated view of self worth.

jwmerrill 6 days ago 2 replies      
> Dr. Carol Dweck... has found that most people adhere to one of two mindsets: fixed or growth.

I'm sympathetic to Khan's overall POV here, but "research says there are basically two kinds of people..." always tickles my skepticism antennae.

Claims like this are so often overstated by researchers to punch up an abstract, and then so often simplified further in uncritical 3rd party reports that I wouldn't bet a sandwich on the truth of any such claim without seeing the data for myself. C.f. the widely believed and largely unsupported claims about learning styles.

Would be nice of Khan to link to the publications so we could decide for ourselves.

toehead2000 6 days ago 5 replies      
I think there's a flip side to this, too, though. Being told you're smart, or good at math, or whatever, can be a motivator. It can encourage you to seek out and develop that talent, and also to persevere when things are difficult. At least for me, personally, when faced with a tough math concept I would think "well Ive been told all my life I'm good at math and I've been pretty good up until now so I'm sure I will be able to figure this out."

Giving negative motivation to a kid, saying "you're stupid," is recognized to sometimes be a self-fulfilling prophecy. There's no reason that "you're smart" can't work in the same way. I would not be surprised if a lot of this phenomenon of children being negatively motivated from positive feedback ends up having a different explanation than the one posited here.

jkimmel 6 days ago 0 replies      
I found this to be very insightful, as I am not familiar with the cited research. It brings to mind my own memories of growing up, and how being told how "smart," I was could actually act as a hindrance.

As the article notes, I was only praised when I got a correct answer, or used a big word without stumbling. In one particular memory, I am afraid of taking a new mathematics placement test in school -- not because of the difficulty, but precisely because I had gotten a perfect score on the last one. There was no room to grow, if I didn't get them all right again, would that make me not "smart?"

Very simple changes in the language we use with young children could possibly avoid that kind of anxiety in bright youth.

kiyoto 6 days ago 2 replies      
I find this campaign/propaganda dangerous.

I only know of Japan and the US, but as someone who went to one of the most prestigious secondary schools in Japan and universities in the US, I have seen well-educated, smart people with "growth mindsets" struggle later in their lives.

1. Regardless of what we say, in many corners of adult life, results are valued over processes. While a superior process has a higher likelihood of yielding a superior result, this is often not the case, and in a perversely Murphy's law-esque manner, it turns out to be false at critical junctures of one's life. And the deeper the growth mindset is ingrained into you, the more disappointed/despaired you find the situation and feel incapacitated and betrayed. Of course, a singular emphasis on results with no consideration for process is equally bad. Most people find their own local optimum between the two extrema, and I don't see how a campaign towards one end of the spectrum is all that meaningful or worthy.

2. This probably sounds terrible, but not everyone is "smart" as measured by academic performance. Certainly effort is a huge part of the equation, but some minds are better wired for academics than others. And the longer you work at it and hence surround yourself with qualified peers, the more apparent it becomes that not everyone is working equally hard. This realization usually does't mesh well with the emphasis on process from one's formative education, and many people become jaded/hopeless. (And of course, even within academic subjects, there are individual variances). While it is important to try, it is also the responsibility of educators (and adults) to see if the child's potential lies somewhere else, or to borrow Mr. Khan's words, to see if the child can be tenacious and gritty about something other than academics.

AnimalMuppet 6 days ago 0 replies      
Here's the other side: Kids are often cruel. Kids say demeaning things to other kids. One of the frequent ones is "You're stupid". And some kids are more emotionally fragile than others. I don't want my fragile kid to hear "You're stupid", perhaps frequently, without it being countered by affirmation that she is not in fact stupid.

But I also don't want that to be the equivalent of "participation awards" in Little League. For it to be of any real value, it has to go with teaching her how to actually think.

davidgerard 5 days ago 0 replies      
My 7yo is really obviously smart and she knows it - top of class in everything. But so are her parents. So we're hammering home that smart is not good enough and you have to learn to do things, acquire skills.

(Her mum is an excellent role model in this, 'cos she's basically competent in a dizzying array of small skills. "If you want to be good at everything like Mummy is, this is how you learn it!")

Basically the hard part is capturing her interest. Anything she's interested in, she will absolutely kill. Anything she's not interested in, she won't bother with. That bit she gets from me ...

It also reminds us to set a good example: learn things and do them. Because it doesn't matter what you say, it's the example you present.

That said, I was most calmed by the many, many studies that show that, as long as you don't actually neglect the kid, they'll probably turn out how they were going to anyway. So helicopter parenting really is completely futile.

We've caught her at midnight reading books more than once, so I'll call that "huge success" ;-)

brudgers 5 days ago 0 replies      
The article makes me sad.

What makes me sad is the idea that not telling a child she smart is justified so that the child will meet the parent's expectations. Telling a smart child they are smart is honest and kind and humane. I believe that in the long run the attitudes toward honesty and humility and empathy are the most important things I instill as a parent.

Some things are easy for smart people and not acknowledging that as a factor in my child's successes would be dishonest when discussing those successes. It is akin to not acknowledging that a pitcher of cold Kool-Aid is not the product of economic circumstance.

Some success is comes from pure good fortune, some comes from just showing up, and some comes from hard work. Talking honestly about when and how each plays a role is my job as a parent. I hope my child develops the ability to distinguish challenge from a checklist of busy work.

It's not either or. A child can understand that some successes come because the task is easy for them. Others will come from hard work. The can tell the difference between watching an addition video and earning an orange belt.

That said, my standard for good parenting is forgiving. Just trying to do a better job than one's own parents is hard enough. My parenting advice, for what it's worth, is to treat children as antonymous moral agents, fully capable of making intelligent decisions and able to learn from mistakes. Talk with them honestly as such and avoid deceit even when they are small.

Because that is when the foundation for their life as a teenager and adult is laid.

edpichler 6 days ago 0 replies      
"The Internet is a dream for someone with a growth mindset."

Exactly what I feel. Days are becoming too short for such amount of interesting things to do and to learn (Hacker News, Quora, Designer News, Coursera, Khan Academy, TED, Project Guttenberg... the list is long, and it's growing...)

yodsanklai 5 days ago 2 replies      
I don't have kids, but I think I would tell them the truth. First, it's difficult to define "smart" as it's a conjunction of many skills. But even for one given skill, you may be the best in your class or your school, but there are likely millions that are much better than you. No need to worry too much where you lie and try to do the best with what you have.

> "Researchers have known for some time that the brain is like a muscle; that the more you use it, the more it grows. Theyve found that neural connections form and deepen most when we make mistakes doing difficult tasks rather than repeatedly having success with easy ones. What this means is that our intelligence is not fixed, and the best way that we can grow our intelligence is to embrace tasks where we might struggle and fail."

I wonder to which extent this is correct. Sure, it would be nice if it was the case. It's a nice myth that anybody can achieve anything with the proper amount of work. I see it all the time in fields such as maths or music. Some people are naturally so much better than others than even a lifetime wouldn't be enough to catch up.

Aerospark 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is why Salman Khan is one of (if not) the greatest teachers of our generation. When I read this article, I remembered when Khan Academy first started... it was the first attempt to make good education free and easily accessible, exactly the way it should be. Hats off to you sir, thanks for another great lesson I will teach my kids some day :).
gaelow 5 days ago 0 replies      
Regardless of any received training, smart people don't usually struggle as much as normal people when they are presented with a new, different kind of problem. That's something you cannot learn.

Even a kid's brain will not "grow" more or less depending on what kind of stimulus he is exposed to. But it doesn't mean it's bad to reward and compliment your kid for struggling and working hard instead of just being naturally good at something. It helps the child to build a character and face problems instead of giving up. The article is right about that.

There are also many ways to get a better access to the full capacity of your brain. It's not like the movie "Lucy", but many conditions may prevent you for using it to its full potential: Age, injury or illness, sleep deprivation, stress and exhaustion, lack of nutrients, drug abuse and chemical unbalances, etc. Some of those factors present problems that can be treated or even prevented, and you will (most of the time) function at the same cognitive level as a careless smarter person.

Also, the fact that there is no way you can alter your intelligence without altering your DNA doesn't mean you can't use it to discover and apply better problem-solving patterns for a particular discipline, making yourself effectively smarter.

dalek2point3 5 days ago 0 replies      
Aaron Schwartz introduced me to Dweck. It has been an integral part of my life ever since:http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/dweck
eroo 6 days ago 0 replies      
I wasn't aware of this research. Reflecting on my own schooling experience, however, there is something pleasantly intuitive about it.

I'm always impressed with Salman Khan's work.

tokenadult 6 days ago 0 replies      
A readable popular article about this research, "The Effort Effect," was published right after Professor Carol Dweck moved her research base from Columbia University to Stanford University.[1] And Dweck has written a full-length popular book, quite readable and helpful for parents, called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success[2] that I recommend to parents all the time.

[1] http://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?articl...

[2] http://mindsetonline.com/


BrandonMarc 5 days ago 0 replies      
One of the first Aaron Swartz essays I read (first of many) was on this very topic. He gives great details about how she experimented with children and games, and how their mindsets manifested themselves, and how she came to her conclusions about fixed vs growth.


To me, the possibility that anyone can move from fixed to growth is astounding [1] ... that fact itself positively brims with the possibilities it opens up, if only a person can realize they're not stuck and they can expand their horizons.

Khan's description of "interventions" is interesting.

[1] I also suspect the converse is equally possible, given the right circumstances ... which is worth keeping in mind, I 'spose.

blazespin 6 days ago 0 replies      
Great article, lousy title. The point he was making is that smart people are those that appreciate learning more than knowing. The reality is life is very much that - successful people everywhere are those who are always willing to push themselves beyond their comfort zone.
phaet0n 5 days ago 1 reply      
There is a sort of analogue to this: parents praising their children as beautiful/pretty or brave/strong. Both vacuously reduce the childs ability to reflect genuinely on their strengths and their source of self-worth. Beauty (or the appreciation of) becomes solely reduced to the physical (and external), and courage reduced to dare-devilism/ego-centrism instead of the appreciation of fear and acting to overcome it.
spiritplumber 5 days ago 0 replies      
I kept being told "You're smart/gifted" when I did something clever, and "You need to try harder" when I didn't. Left me with some self esteem issues.
riffraff 5 days ago 0 replies      
so pardon my natural question: was Dweck's work replicated?

We have believed for decades in the stanford prison experiment, and it was faulty.

ngokevin 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is common knowledge by now. I didn't even have to read the article, just skimmed it. These types of articles really cater to people who were often told they were smart when they were little, or found school to not be difficult.

I have even seen non-educated mothers state this fact even while playing poker, "yeah I never tell my son he's smart, I congratulate his hard work instead because it changes his mindset".

QuantumChaos 5 days ago 0 replies      
While I wish the best for all children, I feel like this kind of discourse has a negative effect on the very intelligent. By downplaying the significance of intelligence, it trivializes the gifts of the truly intelligent, and places an excessive emphasis in the virtue of hard work. I see on HN all the time the claim that hard work beats intelligence. But I have never really worked that hard, I just have an extraordinary ability in mathematics.

When I was a child, I was told that I was very smart (which I was) and pressured to fulfill my potential. Other children may be pressured to be hard working and studious. I would rather celebrate people who are naturally gifted, and also people who choose to work hard. What is important is that people's actions arise naturally from their own desires, not from external pressure or manipulation.

Swizec 6 days ago 2 replies      
> Fixed mindsets mistakenly believe that people are either smart or not; that intelligence is fixed by genes. People with growth mindsets correctly believe that capability and intelligence can be grown through effort, struggle and failure.

Can intelligence be gained though? I agree that skill can only be gained through effort/practice/etc. But intelligence ... isn't intelligence more like a natural talent than something you can gain?

Much like you can't just train yourself to have a beautiful singing voice or big boobs or absolute pitch hearing, I don't think you can train yourself to be more intelligent. Smarter, yes, intelligenter, not really. It's a talent, not a skill.

kolev 6 days ago 1 reply      
So, I should rather lie?
MisterBastahrd 6 days ago 0 replies      
If my kid is smart he'll figure it out for himself.
Citymapper is what happens when you understand user experience
241 points by ryanwhitney  9 hours ago   123 comments top 34
bhouston 8 hours ago 9 replies      
Slow page. Ah, I see. One of the gif's in that page is 24MB:


And this one is 32MB:


Total size of gifs in this page: 149MB.

Is Gfycat embedable? We should encourage its adoption.

bonaldi 8 hours ago 5 replies      
Citymapper has this bizarre flaw (in London at least) where it relies on average times to give you journey times.

So, for example, if your train takes 10 minutes to reach your destination, leaves your local station every 30 minutes and you've just missed one, CityMapper will show an estimated journey time as 25 minutes (avg wait 15 minutes + 10 min journey), instead of the actual 39.

On multi-train journeys like many Londoners have, that error compounds quickly, and it can make choosing the fastest route near-impossible. And I don't know why they do it, because they have all the timetable data (including live timetables).

buro9 6 hours ago 5 replies      
Google Maps is for car drivers.

CityMapper is for multi-transportation within a few metropolis.

The UX of Google maps for routing when driving is incredible and beats everyone: Apple, TomTom, Garmin... everyone. Down to showing labels on side streets "3 minutes slower" allowing you to evaluate every decision you could make when faced with traffic.

But... for public transport, or mixed transport solutions like crossing a city when so many external factors are at play... CityMapper wins.

It's not an either/or, and it's not that Google Maps don't understand UX. Google Maps just has a different focus... the car.

josephschmoe 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Honestly, the biggest fault of Google Maps is that I can't find something "along the way" to something, just nearby. I'd be much happier if I could specify "TGIF's on the way to Alice's house" or "Gas stations along the way to Las Vegas near the halfway point."

I can't get too mad at it, since I can just zoom out and it'll search from the center of the map - but it's not very effective if the distances are long or if I'm using the text interface.

mcphage 8 hours ago 6 replies      
It's fantastic that they understand user experience, but they don't seem to understand that 95%+ of the world doesn't live in 8 specific cities. Google Maps might be an obnoxious app (it is!) but at least I can use it.
TD-Linux 8 hours ago 3 replies      
OpenStreetMaps has begun to add routing information, and it's becoming very good lately. It would be nice to see Citymapper work with them, as both sides could benefit - OpenStreetMap quality in citymapper's supported cities would improve (though OSM is already quite good in those cities), and citymapper could gain support for more cities. This is the route MapQuest has gone with MapQuest Open.

Still, I'm glad to see Google Maps competitors alive and kicking. Google Maps is one of the main lock-in apps that keeps people inside the closed Google Play Services ecosystem.

austenallred 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Not everyone has the same needs.

When I use Google Maps all I really want is for it to take me from point A to point B in my car.

I type the name of a place and It loads directions, time, traffic, and guides me there using the best route possible. One click. Quite literally the best UX I could imagine.

For most of Google Maps users (the ones who don't live in those 8 cities), Google Maps is almost perfect. It's not that Google Maps doesn't have a good UX, it just wasn't built for you.

keehun 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Great, but the fact that Citymapper is only available in eight cities makes it completely useless to those outside of those cities. From this post, however, it does seem like a very well put together experience.
solutionyogi 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I love Citimapper! I live in NYC and it's the only app I use for navigation now. Highlights for me:

1. Get me Home/Get Me To Work quick links. It takes your current location as starting point and tells you your options for going home/work.

2. You can configure it to monitor your subway line during commute time (7AM to 10AM and 4pm to 6pm) and it will notify you if the subway is delayed for any reason. I use line 6 which breaks down more often than I want and thanks to the App, I can take N/Q/R if Line 6 is down.

3. The way 'Get Me Somewhere' works. In addition to being able to type an address, you can move the map around to point the destination pin to a particular point in map. It's hard for me to explain but it works amazingly well especially in NYC where people often go by cross streets and don't have the actual street address.

I completely agree with author that Citiymapper has an exceptional UI/UX.

darren_ 3 hours ago 1 reply      
It's nice to see a thoughtful critique/comparison (dev on iOS gmaps here). Interestingly I don't think anyone who works on iOS maps lives in a citymapper-enabled city.

Couple of points that might be helpful if the writer reads this:

- you can switch off the shake-to-send feedback (it even prompts you to do so if you dismiss it a few times without leaving feedback).

- I'm not sure how the Citymapper UI in scenario 2 (getting directions from a->b) differs from using the directions search screen in googlemaps (reached via the little button with arrows next to the profile button). It presents the directions search screen immediately and would cut down the time in that scenario drastically. (But I guess if the person writing the article doesn't know about that button that's rather a UI smell. I wonder how many people don't know that our things that don't look like buttons are buttons?)

- Scenario 5 is also fixed by using the directions non-button, your previous searches show up in the zero type suggestions there.

I am however going to try and convince the powers that be that Citibike integration is a must, so I can have a holiday to new york.

xwowsersx 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree that the UX of Google Maps isn't great, but one thing that might not be quite fair in the critique is the point about having to enter the origin destination. On mobile, I'd venture to guess that most of the time you simply want to get somewhere from where you are right now. So I personally don't see the origin destination as something that I need quickly accessible. I enter address, click when it auto-populates, and click to navigate. It's usually 2-3 steps for me on Android and I'm ready to go in 5 or so seconds.
Jabbles 8 hours ago 1 reply      
"OK Google, how do I get to X?"

"It takes 22 minutes to get to X, here are your directions."

I guess that's an unfair comparison. Fair enough about actually using the app though.

smackfu 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I would sure hope that a site that only works in seven cities would be better than a site that works worldwide. Otherwise what's the point?
itisbiz 7 hours ago 0 replies      
"Scenario 3: What are the trains near me?" is great feature.

Even better would be "Where do trains/buses go from where I am?"

It would be very useful to see all route lines radiating out from my location, with next times and freq.

This would help understand the multiple ways to get to another location.

One route might get me directly to location, but leave in 15 min.

Another route me get me 2 blocks from location, but leave in 2 min.

crazygringo 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I use Citymapper to use Citibike, and it has the following big flaws:

- Reloading the app, it never remembers I was on the biking screen, and always goes to the main screen. Minor detail, but annoying, and so easy for them to fix!

- Every time I move the map even slightly, it removes all bike stations from the map and queries the API again for a new set of stations, even if the last request was only five seconds ago. If there's any wireless interference, it complete destroys the functionality. I mean, cache the station locations at the very least! And don't hide the old data while waiting for the new data, if it's less than a couple minutes old.

- The screen real estate devoted to the map is only ~50%! The bottom third is taken up by a totally unnecessary textual list of stations, which can't be hidden

- And you can't even rotate the map!

Granted, it's a million times better than the default Citibike app. But it's still got a ways to go to achieve "ideal" UX.

Peroni 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Citymappers founder, Azmat Yusuf, gave a talk at the Hacker News London meetup earlier this year and it was categorically one of our most popular talks in a long time. Unfortunately Azmat (very politely) requested that we not record his talk for our vimeo page (vimeo.com/hnlondon) which is a shame because it was incredibly insightful.

If you get the opportunity to attend a talk by Azmat or any of the team, take it. They are an exceptionally clever and humble bunch and I'm thoroughly enjoying being a witness to their growth and success.

rumble_king1 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Bye Google Maps? It uses Google Maps...
dazbradbury 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Feature Request / Suggestion - So I tried the "Share Destination / Meet me sonewhete" feature the other day and thought this was going to do something completely different.

How it worked: sent a link to the end location to a friend.

Expected / Hoped for usage: Citymapper would separate who clicked the link (allow you to add a name perhaps), then show where everyone else was on the map, and their ETA.

So I can say, let's meet at this place, send the link, and know everyone's ETA. A bit like latitude, but smarter. Once there, or on my way, I can track progress.

Sure, people might shout about privacy, but it would be insanely useful and save constantly being punished for being on time!

Any Citymapper devs out there fancy championing this one?

matthewmacleod 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Citymapper's UX is really awesome, and I always use it as my example of the degree to which attention to detail is so absolutely vital in this sort of app. Like, first-class, best-app-I've-ever-used level of UX.

I'm still not totally sold on their routing algorithm in London, but I'm not sure exactly what's wrong with it - all I know is it often suggests routes that no same person would take. It definitely seemed to get a little worse maybe 6 months or so ago; it's possible it's just been tuned in a way that doesn't get on with my usage pattern.

EmilLondon 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a backend engineer at Citymapper. Just to let everyone know that we're hiring... https://citymapper.com/london/jobs
djhworld 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Citymapper is okay, it sometimes screws up with its notifications feature though. I live in London and have it set to notify me if my "favourited" tube lines are suffering problems.

A signal failure happened earlier this week on my line and I received no notification of it, only finding out when I got to the station.

It's probably an issues to do with Androids background notification system or something, but I dunno

HugoDias 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Btw, Citymapper website doesn't load in Firefox Aurora, v33.0a2 :/ (https://citymapper.com/apps)
gburt 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This looks great. It needs more coverage and I don't think the silly options are a good selling feature for a real map app. It's just more visual clutter.
alttab 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I havent ever tried Citymapper. That said, if Google Maps re-routes me one more time during my transit I will kill an innocent puppy.
yid 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I was in London recently and was astounded at how prevalent Citymapper has become there. So I'm now taking bets on who will acquire them:

1. Google --> unlikely, they have a large maps team already, and have recently gorged on Waze

2. Apple --> most likely, IMO

3. Facebook --> who knows why? But probably in the running too.

kin 8 hours ago 0 replies      
If I hit "snap to location", Google decides it needs to auto-zoom to a default zoom-level. It's annoying to have to re-zoom to whatever zoom level I'm actually interested in.
serve_yay 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes! I've really been wanting something like this, maps apps are only good at doing one thing at a time and not good for comparing.
eli 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to compare to Ridescout, which seems like a more direct competitor than Google Maps.
robot 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I hate the popup in google maps when I search for a location. It takes up 1/3rd of the screen.
VikingCoder 7 hours ago 0 replies      
https://citymapper.com/ is down. Google Maps is up. I don't think I can say "Bye, Google Maps" just yet...
bundaegi 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone know what screen recording software might have been used to create the gifs/vids in this post?
farmdve 8 hours ago 0 replies      
And yet Google maps has mapped the world, has my little town mapped, Citymapper is but a fraction of what Google maps has done.
hnriot 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I wanted to try it but it doesn't seem to support San Francisco! What kind of app doesn't start with San Francisco, let alone not even include it :)
blutgens 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I suppose when you're on an iOS device it doesn't take much improvement in the UX department to get you fired up.
Earthquake early-warning system gave 10-second alert before Napa quake felt
256 points by damian2000  4 days ago   107 comments top 19
rdl 4 days ago 14 replies      
A few seconds warning seems like it might be kind of useless for humans, especially at 3am, but it would be cool to have this feed into automatic systems to automatically put them in a "safer" state before an earthquake hits. It might even be that 10 false positives a day are worth it to catch one real event, if the "safing" operation is relatively non-disruptive.
melling 4 days ago 1 reply      
To be clear, the detectors in Napa felt the tremors then transmitted the data to Berkeley. They got a 10 second warning because the tremors travel much slower than the speed of light. Being 10 seconds away means the quake is much less intense. This is helpful, but what we need is a warning for people within a few seconds of the epicenter.
largote 3 days ago 2 replies      
Japan, Mexico City, and other seismically active places, have such systems in place and have had them for years. Amazing that California, the epicenter of tech, is just getting on board with this.
ghshephard 3 days ago 1 reply      
Back in 1999/2000 I had a friend in Castro Valley call me in the morning to ask me if I was feeling the earthquake - I said nope, and then 5 seconds later - it hit me in Sunnyvale.

That's another way of earthquake advance warning - taking advantage of the latency between the epicenter and the surrounding area.

PMan74 3 days ago 1 reply      
peter303 3 days ago 1 reply      
"QuakeFinder" is crowdsourcing earthquake warning system. It uses accelerometers in laptops, tablets, smartphones and special PC boards. The hypothesis is that tens of thousands of networked accelerometers with so-so signals may be useful for seismology, compared to few hundred professional seismometers drilled into bedrock. I saw some promising early studies, but lost track of the project.
whyleym 2 days ago 0 replies      
This could be very interesting if the 10 second timescale could be increased - as it stands 10 seconds is not enough time to do anything meaningful other than potentially crawl under your desk.

I know little of the science behind earthquakes and the movement of tectonic plates, however it would seem that if 10 seconds warning is possible today then further longer periods of time in the future could help people and or the technology surrounding building's and the infrastructure within the building to ready themselves/itself for the onset of an earthquake.

oldspiceman 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was in an earthquake in Hiroshima a few months ago. When the shaking started I was really confused. If my phone was blaring "earthquake" it would have been helpful.

Also, the warning on my iPhone was in Japanese and it was impossible to copy and paste it into a translator it so it was useless.

itazula 3 days ago 0 replies      
10 seconds can be a lifesaver for someone doing construction on a high-rise building.
helperdev 3 days ago 0 replies      
10 seconds might be enough time to trigger a custom alert on iPhones and Droids with a specific alarm that an earthquake is imminent. Enough time to get under a table.
adalyac 3 days ago 3 replies      
So... why is it (geologically) not possible to predict an earthquake earlier than 10 seconds? Anyone know of research trying to beat that?
phreeza 3 days ago 0 replies      
There should be a kaggle challenge for this, I would love to give that data a shot.
hnriot 3 days ago 0 replies      
I couldn't find how I could get this. I got a txt from the USGS but that was after the event and because I set up twitter to txt me that account, does anyone know how to get these early warnings?

I woke up, but in SF it wasn't much of a big deal.

fmela 3 days ago 1 reply      
Relevant xkcd: http://xkcd.com/723/
astrocat 3 days ago 2 replies      

[edit] tough crowd...

byteCoder 3 days ago 1 reply      
Of course, we never hear about all the times the system has given false positives.
bigiain 3 days ago 1 reply      
"The system works because while earthquakes travel at the speed of sound ..."

That sounds like a somewhat misleading simplification or a complete misunderstanding.

Presumably "the speed of sound in the earth" and "the speed at which earthquakes travel" is by definition the same - earthquakes just being "sound vibrations" in the earth with macro level amplitudes. I'd be very surprised if that was particularly close to what people think of as "the speed of sound" (which I'd assume means "about 350m/s").

blunte 3 days ago 0 replies      
This post is a nice reminder of the privacy issues (and how users should really consider what information they choose to give away).

Yes scientifically this is interesting. But it also means that we are willingly allowing ourselves to be tracked to great detail. You know they have internal reports or queries to show who has sex and when. Not that this is a big deal - we're human, and humans have sex. But it also can show who is having sex with whom, in some cases.

How long until Jawbone starts receiving court requests for this? (probably already happens).

       cached 29 August 2014 02:11:01 GMT