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Let Snowden Come Home newyorker.com
782 points by donohoe  2 days ago   295 comments top 29
austinhutch 2 days ago 9 replies      
If he were to come back to the USA and then subsequently be detained, I would join the hopefully overwhelming protests in favor of his release. I am hoping if such a time comes, that there will be a historic level of demonstration advocating for his freedom.
fourply 2 days ago 3 replies      
It is infuriating to see SO many articles, even from publications that can usually be trusted, referring to this legislation as "commendable" or "significant reform". It is far from it, and we can't expect the couch-dwellers to pay attention while the dying gasps of the 4th estate trumpet this kind of non-change.
eli 2 days ago 6 replies      
Perhaps a minority opinion, but I believe the NSA vastly overstepped and that they need to be reined in (much further than what the USA Freedom Act contains)... but also that Snowden probably should face charges.

Snowden is charged with "willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person," which -- I think sensibly -- is illegal even if the unauthorized person is a reporter and even if you had good intentions.

I'm not a lawyer, but if he wants to argue that he's innocent or that the law is unconstitutional, it seems like the courtroom is the right place to make that argument.

sneak 2 days ago 3 replies      
Fuck "seeking some sort of deal with his lawyers".

A plea bargain would require him admitting wrongdoing.

He raised internal concerns over the illegal activities he saw and was told to be quiet. Snowden himself has said he feared what happened to John Kiriakou (the whistleblower who exposed CIA's illegal torture program) happening to him had he made an even bigger issue out of it.

The people who should be supporting rigorous checks on government authority and overstep simply aren't; the system is out of control and punishes those who speak up about illegal activity. He did what any reasonable person would have done in his situation when confronted with a massive criminal conspiracy.

A plea deal would allow the government to taint his actions, which were nothing short of heroic.

tzs 2 days ago 10 replies      
There was an interesting comment on Reddit pointing out some things often overlooked in these discussions [1]. People seem to forget that he leaked information on both illegal and legal foreign spying (which is what the NSA is supposed to be doing).

The former is arguably whistleblowing, but the latter is not. Even Greenwald and Binney admit this.

See the reddit comment for details and links to sources. Particularly interesting are Snowden's admitted reasons for working at the NSA in the first place, before he knew of the domestic spying.

[1] http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/38cej4/elected_o...

krylon 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I was Edward Snowden, I don't think I would return to the USA, even if the president offered me a complete pardon and a medal on top.

I don't think I could trust the US intelligence apparatus to not get me into some kind of "accident" or come up with some fake charges to put me into prison. Not to mention the risk of some "patriot" taking justice into his/her own hands.

Which is very sad, but unless the political landscape in the USA - and internationally - undergoes some major changes, coming back to the USA would be a stupid move for Mr. Snowden, unless he is ready to go to Jail for a long time. And given the example of Bradley/Chelsea Manning, that does not sound very inviting.

rfrey 2 days ago 5 replies      
"As Snowden intended, the primary impact of the leaks was on political debate inside the United States."

I think the primary impact has been the complete erosion of whatever goodwill the United States had among the citizenry (n.b. not the governments) of her allies.

That obviously doesn't matter in the short term; but so many things don't matter in the short term.

geophile 2 days ago 3 replies      
As a practical matter, he can't come home. Not even the president can promise his immunity from prosecution -- one day there will be another president. The DOJ could drop all charges. And then impose new ones once he returns. And that is to say nothing of the possibility of his being killed, with blame cast on some nut job, and with all sorts of manufactured dirt on him released afterward.

Put yourself in Snowden's shoes. What could anyone in the government say to you that would convince you it was safe to return to the USA?

ra1n85 2 days ago 1 reply      
Don't just bring him home, honor him.

Ticker tape parades, a federal holiday, buy 1 get 1 free at Carl's Jr. - celebrate what this man did.

adam74 2 days ago 0 replies      
> Michael Morell, a top C.I.A. official, called it the most serious compromise of classified information in the history of the U.S. intelligence community

Well, I'm sure if they had respected our right to privacy, Snowden would have respected theirs.

tosser-004 2 days ago 1 reply      
Snowmen did two things:

1. Exposed the tools and techniques of domestic surveillance.2. Exposed the tools and techniques of foreign surveillance.

The idea of not prosecuting Snowden seems to focus on the commendable exposure of the full extent of the domestic program.

I just don't see how one can ignore his exposure of the perfectly legal foreign intelligence gathering.

bitwarrior 2 days ago 1 reply      
Only a presidential pardon will really suffice to come home without threat of arrest. It may very well happen posthumously, but that of course wouldn't be too useful to him by then.
task_queue 2 days ago 1 reply      
Let's not kid ourselves, he will get the Manning treatment for the trouble he's caused.
serve_yay 2 days ago 1 reply      
If I were him I wouldn't do it, even if some people said it would be OK. I mean he can't seriously trust the US government ever again, it would just be ridiculous.
markdown 2 days ago 1 reply      
> has been languishing in Vladimir Putins Russia for almost two years.

Is this like Obama's USA? What is the purpose of calling it Putin's Russia?

chejazi 2 days ago 0 replies      
On the flip side, by not bringing charges against the NSA, there is a clear double standard:

"...the agency had breached its own privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times a year since 2008."

"Mr. Snowden committed very serious crimes... that he should face."

soraminazuki 2 days ago 2 replies      
Every time I see reports about US surveillance, I'mamazed how so many people seem to think that the US government can spy on anyone they like as long as they're not Americans. Are non-Americans denied their basic human rights or what?
cpt1138 1 day ago 0 replies      
After Ross William Ulbricht was given two life sentences for running Silk Road, someone posted the Federal Guidelines for Life Sentences.

link: http://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/research-and-pub....

One thing that struck me is that after reading this, it seemed like a mathematical tally that was entirely reasonable that he be given a life sentence given the point system.

Given that the first instances in the guidelines where life sentences are handed out are treason and espionage (drug trafficking is second), isn't there a significant concern that if Snowden came back, already admitting what he did, he'd just rot in prison with a pre-tallied up score?

CalRobert 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why should he want to come to the US? It has little if anything to offer him. Better to make a home in Germany or Iceland which are all more likely to respect individual privacy than the US, and are lovely places in their own right.
fixermark 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh man. That'd be great.

Never, never, never going to happen. Not in this generation, anyway. Maybe in 20, 30 years.

Friedduck 1 day ago 0 replies      
It took me a long time to come around to the perspective that we should him as a hero and patriot rather than a traitor, but that's where I've ended up.

We don't view the reporters who uncovered Watergate this way--why him?

aagha 2 days ago 0 replies      
Though others have mentioned it, the fundamental issue is that the 1917 Espionage Act [0] basically provides Snowden no options. Despite the fact that he uncovered ILLEGAL government actions, he's subject to being tried as a spy, not a whistle-blower, which I think he clearly is.

0 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espionage_Act_of_1917

tosseraccount 2 days ago 3 replies      
Did he release secret US Army and Navy documents?

Was he hired to secure them, but then stole them?

Isn't this treason?

Let him come back. If there is enough evidence against him, then he can stand trial.

If he is innocent; then the government won't be able to prove a case against him.

Callmenorm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can we start a white house petition? Is that a thing that make a difference?
guard-of-terra 2 days ago 1 reply      
, , , ...
peter303 2 days ago 1 reply      
Probably not until the Millennials are in political power. Too many of the older generation think he was naughty.
foobarqux 2 days ago 1 reply      
If Snowden isn't punished then it will effectively encourage others to harm powerful interests. So there is incentive to punish Snowden from those who decide whether he will be.
dataker 2 days ago 0 replies      
If Snowden came back to the U.S and got released, he wouldn't be the whistleblowing platform he currently is.
fsdfewjfiekf 2 days ago 3 replies      
As long as "home" means "prison next to Robert Hanssen and everyone else who sold secrets to the Russians", then sure.
FBI: Companies should help us prevent encryption above all else washingtonpost.com
516 points by icpmacdo  1 day ago   315 comments top 63
joshstrange 1 day ago 10 replies      
> "Privacy, above all other things, including safety and freedom from terrorism, is not where we want to go," Steinbach said.

It's where I want to go. Also you have YET to show ANY evidence that we are more safe or more free from terrorism by surrounding our rights to privacy.

>He also disputed the "back door" term used by experts to describe such built-in access points. "We're not looking at going through a back door or being nefarious," he argued, saying that the agency wants to be able to access content after going through a judicial process.

You mean "Rubber Stamp Judicial Process"? Even if you didn't the mere fact that these backdoors (you can rename it all your want it's a BACKDOOR) exist make the whole system LESS secure. What a clown and this is the AD of the FBI's Counterterrorism Division??? Fuck....

kmicklas 1 day ago 6 replies      
Do these guys seriously not realize that "the terrorists" will use end-to-end encryption whether it's legal or not? This literally makes no sense to me unless "the terrorists" is code for "the local weed dealer".
meesterdude 1 day ago 0 replies      
A wise man once said "shove it up your ass!" (george carlin)

Regardless, This guy doesn't know what he's talking about, and should not be speaking, at all. Above all else.

I'm not against the FBI; I understand why they want this and what it means to not have this kind of access. But they can't have it, and there are hundreds of reasons why its a truly horrible idea.

This is just ANOTHER excuse to strip away our rights for the sake of "fighting the terrorists" and "keeping us safe." Enough is enough. Just do your fucking job and stop trying to power play everything.

I don't care what legal blessings or rights of passage you get; if something of mine is encrypted, and i didn't give you access, it's not for you. That I could encrypt crazy stuff or plots or whatever is true; tough shit. There are other ways to sniff out nefarious people, and bring them to justice; the FBI just wants everything served to them on a plate.

Also, please stop putting stupid fucks like this in government. Infuriatingly dumb. Sacrificing our rights is not the way to fight terrorism; it's a path to self destruction from within.

misterbishop 1 day ago 1 reply      
"companies shouldn't put their customers' access to encryption ahead of national security concerns"

Encryption IS a national security concern.

When government agencies discourage encryption, or fail to report known software vulnerabilities, they're acting against national security interests.

michaelvkpdx 1 day ago 2 replies      
Fire this guy and dismantle the FBI. Does anyone remember why we fought the Revolutionary War, why we follow the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution?

This joker should lose his job. He does not represent the values of this country,

phkahler 1 day ago 2 replies      
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

So they would argue that this doesn't apply once we eliminate paper as a medium.

Also, but, but, but... They're only collecting metadata, right?

csandreasen 1 day ago 2 replies      
Jesus Christ - way to bury the lead. The headline reads 'prevent encryption above all else', but three paragraphs in:

"But Steinbach's testimony also suggests he meant that companies shouldn't put their customers' access to encryption ahead of national security concerns -- rather than saying the government's top priority should be preventing the use of the technology that secures basically everything people do online."

Here is the actual hearing: http://www.c-span.org/video/?326360-1/hearing-cartoon-contes...

The hearing was concerning ISIS use of social media as a recruitment platform and how it related to the recent shootings in Garland, Texas and in Boston on Tuesday.

The subject of encryption is not the primary focus of the hearing, but when it does come up I think he makes his point clear at about 39:30 when says this: "I think we need an honest conversation and get past the rhetoric of what we are talking about. We're not talking about large scale surveillance techniques. We are talking about going before the court, whether the criminal court or the national security court, with evidence, a burden of proof/probable cause, suggesting a crime has been committed or in our case there is a terrorist and showing that burden of proof, having the court sign off on it, and then going to those providers and requesting access to the stored information or communications that's ongoing. So we're not looking at going through a backdoor or being nefarious - we're talking about going to the company and asking for their assistance. We suggest and we are imploring Congress to help us seek legal remedies to that and asking companies to provide technological solutions to help that. We understand privacy. Privacy above all other things including safety and freedom from terrorism is not where we want to go. "

He later goes on to suggest expanding he scope of CALEA to include more than just telecommunications companies.

If people are going to debate this topic, I think they should start from his actual position and not a half sentence soundbite.

JBiserkov 1 day ago 1 reply      
I propose a new protocol: HTTPSUFBIHCO - HyperText Transport Protocol Secure Unless the Federal Bureau of Investigation Has a Court Order.

The logo will be a semi-open padlock with a FBI agent holding a FISA court order.

jhallenworld 1 day ago 3 replies      
I've been hacking up a facebook clone at work. I've discovered that it's easier than ever to have end to end encryption. For example, there are now good working RSA and symmetric javascript crypto libraries that work in the browser:

 for RSA: https://github.com/travist/jsencrypt for AES: https://code.google.com/p/crypto-js/
This includes generating your own private key for a totally in-browser "sign up" process (browser can save your private key in a file, you then point to it to "log in").

Add to this: a distributed message passing system: something like torrents with channels shared by multiple users so that you can't easily see who is sending to who with enough traffic.

Also for identity verification: use the bitcoin block chain as a CA.

Anyway, think of a single-page web-app, where the page is stored along with your private identity file on a USB-key (this avoids the security hole of having to download it every time).

multinglets 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yeah, cool, let's all just stop using encryption for sensitive customer data so we more easily can catch the least sophisticated criminals who don't figure out how to do it themselves.

Let's also make it crystal clear to the more sophisticated criminals that they do, in fact, need to do it themselves.

Giving the FBI an easy way to put small time drug dealers in their pocket should obviously be a top priority of software companies.

I will vote for any politician who will tell these people to go fuck themselves.

EliRivers 1 day ago 3 replies      
to build technological solutions to prevent encryption

There is one way and one way only to do that. Remove all general purpose computing devices from the hands of the public, and make it illegal to manufacture or distribute them, or knowledge of how to do so. I can't see it happening, myself.

Cory Doctorow, on the coming war on general purpose computation (although he thought it would be the copyright lobby)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUEvRyemKSg

GeorgeOrr 1 day ago 5 replies      
I'm curious how many people think he understands the technology and just doesn't care if he's undermining security, or is he just clueless.
rilita 1 day ago 0 replies      
As fweespeech says here also, criminals will encrypt regardless of what is going on. The people the FBI is "after" are going to encrpyt, so fighting to make public systems store data and hand to the FBI when desired is pointless.

If the FBI isn't mining normal citizens data for loose connections to stuff that is none of their business, then their is no need for them to have access to the systems they want.

The only argument that could be made is that criminals are stupid and may not use proper encryption on their own, therefore we should watch what everyone is doing so that we can catch these particularly dumb criminals.

The goal of the FBI in all their statements is to try and convince the public that "only criminals need encryption; everyone else should let us watch everything they do." 1984 anyone?

downandout 1 day ago 0 replies      
From http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-terrorism-statistics-every-... :

" You are 35,079 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack

You are 33,842 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack"

So terrorism clearly isn't the issue they are trying to address. That's what makes the people that run the various fiefdoms within our government - people that are not elected, do not answer to the public, and who rarely leave their jobs - so scary. We know they are lying, but to what end? What will their successors do with the power they garner using fear of terrorism? We are rapidly approaching Orwell's worst nightmare.

Bud 1 day ago 3 replies      
"Freedom from terrorism"? There is no such freedom.

And I'm not interested in the FBI trying to create one.

tptacek 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the headline here is misleading. A casual reader could get the impression that the FBI is asserting that the most pressing issue facing the country is "prevention of encryption". Above all else: prevent encryption".

Really, what the FBI is saying (clumsily) is that companies should work with the FBI to ensure that sound encryption doesn't trump every other concern.

typon 1 day ago 0 replies      
This seems so horribly wrong that I can't believe this was actually said in public. And the Washington Post apologist writing is very strikingly clear too.
ChrisAntaki 1 day ago 0 replies      
Merriam-Webster defines terrorism as "the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion" [1].

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrorism

pekk 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not far left. I broadly support law enforcement. I understand opposition to Silk Road and I support prosecution. I even support Snowden going to trial. But my reaction to this is "screw the FBI if that's what they think." Unless Congress outlaws domestic use of encryption, I'm still going to have access to open source encryption and I'm still going to prefer companies which use encryption to maintain my privacy.

So the FBI has a tough row to hoe here, if the people who would otherwise support it are alienated as I am

dognotdog 1 day ago 1 reply      
It is astounding how little most people in government understand how 'cybersecurity' works. Do they imagine it like how baby's think they're hiding when they can't see you?
justaman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Let them outlaw encryption.Let them backdoor all the softwarez.Let them isolate themselves from the intellectuals.

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." - Lincoln

bigiain 1 day ago 0 replies      
"companies shouldn't put their customers' access to encryption ahead of national security concerns"

Which "companies" and which "nation"?

Is he proposing Baidu need to work with the FBI to further US national security? Or Xaiomi? Is he proposing Apple and Google should provide whatever-he-wants-to-rename-backdoor-keys* to the Chinese and Iraqi governments for their "national security"?

[*] I propose "Freedom Keys" to replace "backdoors"

summerdown2 1 day ago 0 replies      
I do find it a pity security organisations like the FBI and NSA are interpreting their remit so narrowly focused on the "attack" side of the role, rather than the "defense" side. It's probably a consequence of the effect of bad publicity on the politicians who provide budget for such things, but I really wish they saw their role as preventative and defensive rather than data gathering. There's so much good could be done to improve the security of critical infrastructure if they put their minds to it.

Also, though I'm not surprised by the fact they're against encryption - They've been against it all through the court case against Phil Zimmerman for example - I am surprised how tone-deaf their arguments are beginning to sound. It's like they don't understand there's a real public debate happening around them.

nathan_long 1 day ago 0 replies      
>He also disputed the "back door" term used by experts to describe such built-in access points. "We're not looking at going through a back door or being nefarious," he argued, saying that the agency wants to be able to access content after going through a judicial process.

"Back door" does not imply nefariousness, it just implies a way around normal protections, which is exactly what they want. Tim Cook used the term "a key under the doormat". I like that description.

Anyone can see that if you leave a key under the door mat for a friend, an enemy may find it. It's inherently unsafe.

Now add to that analogy: 1) unlike in meatspace, the homeowner can't pick an unlikely hiding spot; instead, the authorities would mandate the exact same hiding spot for every house, 2) unlike in meatspace, the enemy has an automated swarm of invisible robots looking for house keys and committing theft and arson, 3) unlike the situation where you hide a key for a friend, the key would be there permanently, not just for a day or two.

All of these issues make it clear that this is a bad idea, even ASSUMING that the government is perfectly trustworthy.

a3n 1 day ago 0 replies      
> He also disputed the "back door" term used by experts to describe such built-in access points. "We're not looking at going through a back door or being nefarious," he argued, saying that the agency wants to be able to access content after going through a judicial process.

Back door: any circumvention of normal access. Normal access in this case would be access after decryption. It's irrelevant whether it's supported by judicial process, it's still a back door, just one that they aren't hiding the use of.

He says he's not looking for a back door (which is a lie, but members of Congress don't understand that, nor the public), and he associates it with the word "nefarious."

The FBI, masterfully twisting the language since 1908.

unics 1 day ago 2 replies      
When the US Government stops their encryption of data and makes everything available to the public, then I will agree with them.
Zikes 1 day ago 0 replies      
Diffie-Hellman already paved the way for encryption for everybody. There's no stuffing that genie back in the bottle.
fixxer 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nothing annoys me more than ignorance. How are you going to outlaw math?
naringas 1 day ago 1 reply      
They want us to communicate over insecure channels so they can ensure everybody's safety.
xtx23 1 day ago 0 replies      
Let's say FBI has those backdoors they want, how can they make sure that the terrorists won't take advantage of those backdoors? When they can just allow China to come in and steal U.S government worker's data like http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/05/us/breach-in-a-federal-com...

I am more worried about them handling the backdoors.

oofabz 1 day ago 2 replies      
> Encryption [...] is "a good thing," Comey has said, even if he wants the government to have the ability [to] get around it.

Doesn't the government already have the ability to get around it, without compromising security? They can subpoena your password or private key.

If this is not good enough for him, that means he wants the ability to decrypt messages without judicial process. Like messages in other countries where the FBI is prohibited from operating. Or mass data collection, reading the messages of millions of innocent people in an attempt to catch one criminal. I don't want the FBI to do either of these things.

golemotron 1 day ago 0 replies      
What bothers law enforcement is simply the idea that there is something they can never have access to. The reality is that it has always been that way. Two conspirators could walk into a pub and sit a corner booth in the days before ubiquitous electronics and the law would never have access to that conversation.

There is nothing about the advent of new communications technologies that gives governments the authority to mandate circumventions for them. It's a attempt to preserve a status quo that never existed.

smegel 1 day ago 1 reply      
And if Apple gave encryption keys to Russia or China I am guessing the USG would be OK with that? Or would that "betray their customers right to privacy"?
gizi 1 day ago 0 replies      
The FBI should first clearly spell out a definition for encryption. Encryption is a function[&] that maps a number on another number. ([&] technically, this is a simplification because encryption tends to map a given number on an entire set of other numbers). What the FBI is asking for, is that some number mapping functions would be declared illegal. But where is that list of illegal number mapping functions? The problem that arises now, is that no matter how long their list of illegal number mapping functions, it will always be possible to design a number function that is not on their list but that would still be entirely valid to use for encryption. Furthermore, how can they actually enforce a law that says that particular number functions would be illegal? You see, they do not like that people use encryption functions on their numbers and they also do not like it when it rains. In both cases, however, their desires cannot overrule the laws of nature.
MangoDiesel 1 day ago 0 replies      
This seems like a pretty clear signal that the ability of the state to conduct mass surveillance may be slipping.
drawkbox 1 day ago 0 replies      
Law enforcement and detective work in this century is very lazy. They want to strip privacy for an easier job.

Engineers that get rid of security or do it half way are seen as bad.

Yet people enforcing the law, stripping away laws and rights they are here to protect, do this to make it easier for 'national security'.

Respect for the law has taken a huge dive down with the War on Terrorism and the War on Drugs with many similar parallels. It appears to be diving even further. Good quality detective work is being worked out in favor of constant surveillance.

alan_cx 1 day ago 1 reply      
General thought...

Two things strike me about these issues. Firstly there is a disconnect between a lot of citizens and those who are supposed to be there to protect those citizens; and second, we need to decide how much risk we are prepared to accept for freedom.

The FBI, MI5, and their ilk are there to protect the people. Yet an awful lot of the people talk about the likes of the FBI as thought they are just doing what they do because it pleases them, and them alone. But Im pretty sure the FBI believe that they are there to protect the people. To that end, I believe the people who work in the FBI are sincere. Somehow this must be reconciled.

As must freedom v's risk. I think there needs to be a rational debate about how much risk we are prepared to accept for an agreed amount of freedom. We simply cant have freedom with out risk. The only way to eliminate risk, is to eliminate freedom.

People need to address these two issues fairly soon, other wise, I think we are all in a while lot of trouble.

Fando 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is it incorrect to say that America is the biggest threat to world peace? American military industrial complex seems like the biggest terrorists in the world. Which country has killed more innocent people across the world and started most wars since WW2?
smitherfield 1 day ago 3 replies      
It's an unpopular opinion amongst techies, but I do think people should recognize the genuine nuances to this issue.

It probably won't ever happen, but as a "live and let live" kind of guy who nevertheless recognizes there are truly evil people out there, and the purpose of government almost above all else is to protect society from them, I think the policy which would make the most sense for this sort of thing would be for a government to simply come up with a sort of digital social contract with its citizens:

We couldn't care less if you're buying weed on the internet, or cocaine, or if you're selling them, or emailing your mistress, or pirating HD tentacle hentai. You can do these things in public or private, as you so choose. In the digital realm, we respect your privacy and subscribe to the principle of de minimis.

In return, we're going to require that encrypted internet traffic in our country be routed through our servers, with software that flags a limited amount of suspicious, IP-anonymized traffic for human review. If the algorithm turns out out to be wrong in your case and the email was only about the nuclear bomb-grade heroin you snorted off the Pakistani general's long-range missile during your secret gay tryst in Islamabad, we don't care. We'll destroy those records immediately, and there's no way for our human reviewers to see your IP address. We know exactly who reviewed your records and we'll throw the book at any one of them who leaks any private data.

And because we have lent our citizens this exceptional freedom to use the internet for any peaceful purpose, that means encrypted traffic that isn't routed through our servers must be treated as suspicious. It may or may not be legitimate, but much of it may well be related to terrorism or violent crime, or child pornography, or financial crime, or foreign agents. So, we will continue our policy as stated above; we won't punish you just for using encryption illegally, but doing so does give us reason for questioning you and requesting access to your private keys.

jokoon 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't understand, who else than the government has the right to tap internet lines ? If there's nobody, encryption does not protect your privacy, since investigations require warrants.

The problem is that the more the government watches everybody, the more people will encrypt. The logical path would to forbid anybody to tap lines. Then, of course, encryption would not be necessary, since data would flow securely.

Also, as long as its the authorities, as long as data does not fall into the hand of private interests (which is a risk), I don't see what the government would do about this ability to spy on its people since government represent the interest of voters. Ideally of course, in reality there would be many abuses.

By the way I don't understand why the authorities benefit for using Tor.

rietta 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, at least he is being more straight forward than Comey was. He's laying it out there that in his opinion it's key escrow or else!

Of encrypted device users, just how many have not opted to have the key backed up by Apple or Microsoft? Backing up seems to be default, which is self-elected key escrow. 99% of the the rest of everyday users probably have a 4 digit PIN that can be cracked very quickly under forensic examination. Anyone with a real security need is going to be following their own opsec protocols anyway, which they would do with or without a law preventing good default security for everyday users.

They really do seem to be overblowing just how dark the network is to them under their investigatory powers.

tsotha 1 day ago 0 replies      
Honestly, I don't understand how this can work as a practical matter. For companies and their customers to have a chance of surviving criminal hacking attempts they have to be as secure as they can be.

If it's easy for the FBI to track people they have a legitimate interest in it'll be easy for some guy on the other side of the world to lift your SSN.

thrillgore 1 day ago 0 replies      
Me: 'Go fuck yourself'
RexRollman 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's a power grab, plain and simple. The FBI and CIA are probably happy that 9/11 and neverending terrorism occurred as it gave them the excuse to do it.

"It's for your own good."

tracker1 1 day ago 1 reply      
Terrorists are already going to use encryption... so "stopping the terrorists" is a weak argument (not the one used here, but just saying).

Beyond this, given that every level of access the U.S. government has been given in any kind of automated fashion has been abused... "Fuck 'em" ... They do not have a right to violate the 4th ammendment at any given level just because "papers" and posessions are digital in nature.

fapjacks 1 day ago 0 replies      
You know how you know you're on the right track? When the fascist scumbag terrorists say what you're doing should be prevented "above all else"...
Zelphyr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find it interesting that the FBI is saying we don't need encryption while 4 million government workers' information has been hacked.
dendory 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think one thing clear is that anyone who follows the news will be hard press to use technology that doesn't implement open source encryption. That's the only way we can be sure there isn't a black door. I think we should let every major tech company know that this isn't the time to reinvent the wheel or roll out their own in house solution, but to work on bettering proven open source technologies.
naveen99 1 day ago 0 replies      
you can't prevent encryption. There is no barrier to entry to people writing encryption from scratch. You could even do it with a combination of computer and paPer, if you don't trust the computer... People using 3rd party closed source encryption tools don't really have a reasonable expectation of non-backdoored software.
luckydude 1 day ago 0 replies      
At the risk of getting some list, these guys are the reason that we formed a country. It was people like this guy that made everyone here get a gun and fight. Literally. I'm not some gun nut, but wow, our government has gone off the rails.

This is not what I want for my country, not what I want for my kids.

mauricemir 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Privacy, above all other things" is not the same meaning as "Companies should help us prevent encryption above all else"

Some one has an axe to grind and is deliberately misusing the FBI's quote.

Puts 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think we are focusing in the wrong thing when encryption is all about privacy discussions. If we want to build distributed systems, for example for money transfers, we will need "unbreakable" encryption for signing.
payne92 1 day ago 0 replies      
..and we pay their salaries.
AnEngineer 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is it just me, or is the irony of this story colossal:


ddp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Again? I thought we went over this in the 90's. Sigh.
MichaelCrawford 1 day ago 1 reply      
Unclear on the concept:

I use the Tor Browser Bundle to read my gmail. I figure it's helpful to those working for legitimate regime change, that I put encrypted traffic on the net.

CyberDildonics 1 day ago 0 replies      
When will we have the option to enable multiple layers of encryption at the IP level? It would put to rest so many of these power grabs.
bwb 1 day ago 0 replies      
holy crap, they have lost their damn minds! I can't believe this horse shit :(
new_hackers 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many terrorist attacks have been prevented BECAUSE OF encryption?

Having all information in plain text frankly scares me more...

spacemanmatt 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's some ripe security state propaganda, there.
rebootthesystem 1 day ago 1 reply      
It is time for a moderate Libertarian government. It really is. We need to bring the train back onto the rails.
AC__ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Me to the FBI: "The FBI should help me help them fuck off"
tn13 1 day ago 0 replies      
Any marginal gains that US might achieve in terms of security are not worth the resources and human liberties they need to sacrifice. Of course for those who are in power there is an incentive to paint a needlessly scary picture take our money and destroy our freedom.

I think public schools without bullying would be better and more beneficial objective than protection from terrorists who do not exist.

Today is the end of sheloshim for my beloved husband facebook.com
518 points by dknecht  2 days ago   214 comments top 20
GuiA 2 days ago 5 replies      
Paul Buchheit wrote a wonderful post, after similar circumstances, that I often re-read:

> On a more practical level, what matters most in our day-to-day lives is that we're good to ourselves and to each other. It's actually not possible to only do one or the other -- we must do both or neither, but that's a topic for another time. Sometimes, when I write about startups or other interests of mine, I worry that perhaps I'm communicating the wrong priorities. Investing money, creating new products, and all the other things we do are wonderful games and can be a lot of fun, but it's important to remember that it's all just a game. What's most important is that we are good too each other, and ourselves. If we "win", but have failed to do that, then we have lost. Winning is nothing.


May Sheryl and her family be free of suffering.

redmaverick 2 days ago 1 reply      
Joe Biden's speech in 2012 touches upon similar themes that Sheryl writes about. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwZ6UfXm410&t=5m10s

"I have to tell you. I used to resent people. They'd come up to me and say, 'Joe, I know how you feel. I know, right? I knew they meant well. I knew they were genuine. But you knew they didn't have any damn idea."

"For the first time in my life, I understood how someone could consciously decide to commit suicide. I realized someone could go out and I probably shouldn't say this with the press here, but you're more important I realized how someone could consciously decide to commit suicide. Not because they were deranged, not because they were nuts. Because theyd been to the top of the mountain, and they just knew in their heart theyd never get there again, that it was never going to get never going to be that way ever again."

curun1r 2 days ago 2 replies      
Reading this took me back to the experience of grieving for my dad.

The realization that it will never be okay, but that I can become more okay with it never being okay. The bizarre feeling of grief so unbearable and yet it being one of the few connections left to someone so important to me, and so being unwilling to let go of it. Even to this day, I revel in that grief. I've learned to look at it as consequence of so many wonderful experiences instead of hurt of so many missed experiences. The feeling of that void inside me is the same, but my reaction to that feeling is now to smile rather than to cry.

My heart goes out to her in this time when everything is so fresh and so confusing. I know the feeling of having had someone taken from me long before I even thought about the possibility and yet I'm sure her experience is distinct from mine in so many ways. But in writing about her pain, she's allowed me to tap back into mine in a way that I'm thankful for.

Fede_V 2 days ago 2 replies      
I have nothing but empathy for her grief - everything I've read about her makes her seem like an amazing woman, but I am very deeply uncomfortable with public displays of emotion like this.

I guess this is one of those dumb culturally ingrained traits, because rationally I cannot really come up with any reason why it should make me feel so uneasy, but I feel like I'm gawking when I read someone describing their grief so publicly.

I wish her and her family the best. May they find the strength to go on.

Sven7 2 days ago 1 reply      
As a non user of Facebook it's incredibly weird to see like scores assigned to every tribute or condolence comment.
themartorana 2 days ago 2 replies      
The prayer got me the most.

"Let me not die, while I am still alive..."

That's powerful stuff. The idea of asking for more time like a kid in a swimming pool - just 5 more minutes!

I hope I do die while I'm still alive though. Dying after I'm done living sounds worse.

joegaudet 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really great read, I recently lost a friend who was among many other great things Jewish. As a "Gentile" I found the entire Shiva process both historically / anthropologically interesting and very helpful with the mourning process.

My thoughts go out to her and her family.

bitskits 2 days ago 0 replies      
Her thoughts on what makes mourning, and specifically the interaction with other people so difficult, are really enlightening. It reminded me that each person experiences life differently, even when we are all united by the same feelings of satisfaction, love, frustration and grief.

My deepest condolences to Sheryl, as well as anyone else who reads this who has lost a loved one. Life is both amazing and delicate, and I think we could all focus a little more on the little things that make all the difference. I know I could.

nerdy 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's easy to lose sight of what's truly important amid the fog of day-to-day life.
DavidWanjiru 2 days ago 0 replies      
The way I see it, life is basically a long-winded effort to get loved. To get loved by ourselves, by others and by our gods. Everything everybody does in life boils down to this. From Hitler to Mother Teresa. From Osama bin Laden to the Dalai Lama. You want to do things that matter, to change the world? Why? How do you know they matter? Because those to whom they matter love you for it. You love yourself for it, others love you for it and by your own spiritual presumptions, your gods love you for it, or they will some day. And so, it is not the big things or the small things that matter. It is not saving the lives of millions or attending your kid's play that matters. The only thing that matters is you finding love, however you find it. If there is no love feedback for you, it doesn't matter. That's why nobody is trying to save the starving children in the planets of the Andromeda galaxy, coz there's no feedback for it. And if you think that's a poor analogy, well, there was nobody coming to the slums of Africa to do the things people these days come to do.
esusatyo 2 days ago 3 replies      
My favourite part:

> "Celebrate your birthday, goddammit. You are lucky to have each one."

michaelsitver 1 day ago 0 replies      
If Facebook posts were eligible for Pulitzers, this would win. This is so incredibly thought-provoking, well-written, and well-constructed.
Dewie3 2 days ago 3 replies      
> Judaism calls for a period of intense mourning known as shiva that lasts seven days after a loved one is buried.

It's strange to me to prescribe how long people should mourn. Some people are appalled when someone seems to get over someone quickly after they've died. But if they are truly not sad about it any more, I say good for them. What does it help the deceased for the living to be sad over them?

xchip 2 days ago 2 replies      
Can anyone summarize that long text?
rokhayakebe 2 days ago 0 replies      
Option A is not available. So lets just kick the shit out of option B.
guelo 2 days ago 4 replies      
For those like me that are wondering what is going on, apparently some Silicon Valley executive died recently.
nness 2 days ago 5 replies      
I believe it to be distasteful to use the death of someone whom this community has some connection to push a separate agenda. You can call out our priorities as being too short-sighted if you want, but this is a poor way to do it.
xchip 2 days ago 0 replies      
talsraviv 2 days ago 3 replies      
Generalizing, dogmatic attitudes, some of which are religious - and some of which are expressed in your comment - are harmful.

It's just as silly - and intellectually easy - to blindly condemn culture and religion as it is to blindly follow them.

There's a wonderfully epic two-part South Park episode that makes this point:


sambeau 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you can't understand why Sheryl Sandberg and David Goldberg are important to the Hacker New community then I fear you have a misunderstanding of what Hacker News is.
Tmux has left SourceForge github.com
501 points by anishathalye  2 days ago   178 comments top 21
ghshephard 2 days ago 1 reply      
As a daily user of Tmux, I can't tell you how happy I am that they've bailed out of there. It was always really odd to me that they weren't either on a self-hosted CVS server somewhere or on GitHub - how all is well in the world.
artursapek 1 day ago 3 replies      
I see SourceForge as being to code hosting platforms as GoDaddy is to domain registrars. They both started in the late 90s, exploded, and suffered from their success. They became infested with bad management, became bloated and difficult to use, and employed skeezy money-making tactics. GoDaddy doesn't seem to be in trouble the way SourceForge is, though.
joosters 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now just wait for the 'tmux.mirror' project to appear on Sourceforge, 'maintained' by the SF admins...
smaili 2 days ago 19 replies      
Are there any big projects still using SourceForge? I know "big" is a little subjective here, but it seems like most active projects have already migrated.
doiwin 2 days ago 4 replies      
SourceForge was founded 1999. Now, 16 years later they start to abuse their power. GitHub was launched 2008. Does this mean we can expect GitHub to start abusing our data by 2024?
alptony 2 days ago 6 replies      
From the "tmux-users" mailing list:

> Will pull requests on GitHub now be allowed as a means of contributing patches?

> No, patches still need to come by email to me [Nicholas Marriott] or the ML.

I wonder, what's the main reason behind it? What's wrong with Github PRs?

caf 2 days ago 6 replies      
I notice they're using Google Groups for mailing lists - how have people found Google Groups as a technical mailing list provider?
raverbashing 2 days ago 2 replies      
With so many alternatives (even besides GitHub) I wonder why some took so much time to change.

There was Google Code, Landscape, or even self-hosted Git amongst others.

jedisct1 2 days ago 1 reply      
I really wish MSys2 also left SourceForge, especially since it comes with a Windows installer.
jbnicolai 2 days ago 0 replies      
Glad to hear!

Small plug, but I suppose the only people reading these comments are interested in tmux: https://github.com/tmux-plugins

jhallenworld 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ugh, what a PITA this is going to be (my project JOE is on sourceforge and people are starting to complain). All links point to sourceforge, so how long will they take to update? When I search for "TMUX source download" I get sourceforge. If sourceforge takes over your abandoned project, I imagine that they will remove forwarding links to the replacement.
brg 1 day ago 0 replies      
For some background on why a team may wish to leave SourceForge, I found this earlier hn article to be enlightening:


fithisux 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do you know why souceforge.jp has become osdn.jp?

I usually download new tera term releases from there.(and of course ffftp)

MichaelCrawford 2 days ago 0 replies      

We are not the customers, we are the product.

notfoss 2 days ago 0 replies      
For the last few days, I was getting 404s on a lot of tmux links on sourceforge. Guess this explains that ;)
seba_dos1 1 day ago 0 replies      
Everybody should, and that shouldn't be newsworthy.
codychan 2 days ago 1 reply      

I remember that the fist problem occurred to me that wasn't not solved by Google was solved by asking in the mailing list of tmux, and now it it moved to Github, I can finally ask question at the issue page.

GutenYe 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great news :)
mataug 2 days ago 0 replies      
Finally !
kolev 2 days ago 0 replies      
reustle 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is probably the commit you're looking for


Autopsy: Lessons from Failed Startups autopsy.io
445 points by tilt  23 hours ago   180 comments top 38
karmacondon 18 hours ago 4 replies      
Startup success is mostly random. I'm reminded of a quote from SMBC [1] that I've always liked:

"Doubt kills more dreams than failure...but Random Chance is like, Grim Reaper for dreams."

Success in startups (and life in general) is not the linear function that most of us want it to be. It isn't related in direct proportion to the amount of effort, intelligence, work, time, love, energy, etc that's invested. It's more of a logarithmic function. There is a minimum amount of effort and those other things that must be put in to have any chance of success. But after that the returns diminish rapidly. It's comforting to think that if we just try harder or smarter we can triumph in the end. But the fickle winds of fate have the ultimate say, and any sense of control is probably an illusion.

Saying that a company failed due to lack of product-market fit is like saying that a sports team lost due to not scoring enough points. It's always a true statement, but it doesn't illuminate the cause of the failure in a way that would be instructive to others. Most startups that were successful enough to be included on this list probably did 80% of things "right". Some times "it just didn't work out" is all that you'll be able to say.

Despite all that, I think there is a lot of value in these autopsies. Being able to learn something, anything, from the experience of others is very valuable. Knowing more about what causes failure won't guarantee success, but it sure as hell beats knowing nothing.

[1] http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3506

achow 21 hours ago 3 replies      
The human angle behind these stories transcends way beyond the business one.Its uncanny how these two founders articulated about the pain in almost the same way as each other:

99Dresses - Nikki Durkin:

Many startup folk say that failure should be celebrated. Fail fast, fail early, fail often! they all chant, trying to put a positive spin on the most excruciating pain any founder could experience..Let me tell youfailure fucking sucks..I travelled to my parents place in the countryside of Australia, locked myself away in my room and cried for what seemed like an entire week.

Critica - Jason Huertas:

Youll hear the phrase Fail fast or Its good to fail. Which is true. You cant learn without failing. But what they dont tell you is just how utterly devastating failure actually is for an entrepreneur. To sacrifice your personal relationships, finances, and health to the dream, and to still come up short. How could this happen to me? It was a very frustrating and dark place to be in.

The case of 99Dresses was an eye opener. I would beg to differ with the general sentiment in the comment section here about how co-founders lacked sense of product market fit etc.

Nikki Durkin had oodles of determination, immense grit, was a YCombinator alumni, had great product-market fit, managed decent seed funding, had good traction which many startup can only aspire to in the initial days, a team who were behind her most of the time, still..

All things being equal (actually the case showed even if they are not) fate, right-time-right-place is a factor which nobody can control, and which has decisive play in the scheme of things.

I can only wish good luck to Nikki Durkin, and Im 100% sure that she would come out with something amazing in future.

feedjoelpie 22 hours ago 7 replies      
Can we vote on which ones accurately assess their failings and which ones still harbor serious delusions about them?
jdimov9 23 hours ago 8 replies      
Looking through the list, it seems to me like a good 90% of these (if not more) can be summarised as "lack of product-market fit", meaning that they blew their money on building something that nobody wants.

Anyone notice anything else standing out?

codeshaman 20 hours ago 7 replies      
Two days ago I've met this friend of mine, who's been working on a project for the last 1.5 years. He's been living off savings and he's got a couple of months of money left. The project is not ready yet and even if it were there's the huge question of how it can ever make money, being open source and all.He's been working day and night and he's so obsessed with it and the myriad of complicated technical issues that plague the project. He will not take a weekend off. He doesn't want to rest because he has a lot of work to do.

From the looks of it, he'll not make it, but how can I possibly tell him that ?How can I possibly take his dreams and hopes and break them into pieces and hope to still be a friend after that.

Sometimes failure is unavoidable, no matter how much people will warn you about it.Failure is something so personal and private that the only way to understand it is to live through it.

brandonb 22 hours ago 2 replies      
It's interesting that so many startups listed lack of product-market fit as the reason for failure, even though another startup with an adjacent idea has been able to get traction.

For example, the first was a "same day ingredient delivery service" that "simply didn't have legs", but both Blue Apron and Instacart could be considered same-day ingredient delivery and both are growing fast.

I wonder if we can "unpack" product-market fit into a checklist of smaller goals?

shawnee_ 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It may be interesting and important to note that some of the "failures" on this list may have simply been before their time. I see a few going back to ~2006 that might actually have a decent chance today if given another go.

Sometimes the fine line between failure:success hinges on nothing more than timing itself. The optimal time to enter a market is a variable that should be weighted almost as heavily as cash to burn.

njp89 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Hey HN!

@NiralSJP hereone half of the team that put this together.

Glad you're finding it useful and we appreciate the comments and suggestions

vincele 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I whish there was a column "successful startup with similar idea". Then we could have a better understanding of the quality of realization.
mellavora 23 hours ago 1 reply      
What a great database! I keep a "worry" list, things I check often, and this will certainly go on it.

Reminds me of one of the best books I ever read on SCUBA theory: a case by case description of some 30 odd fatal incidents.

Knowing what goes wrong is helpful

pdevr 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Partially related: Third party analyses of failures. [1] and [2] analyze Webvan's failure 14 years back.

It is fascinating to read it now and see how much of it they got right (and see how much was wrong, with the benefit of hindsight).

[1] Why E-commerce Didnt DieWith the Fall of Webvan http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/2496.html

[2] What Webvan Could Have Learned from Tesco http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/what-webvan-could...

AndrewKemendo 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Absolutely invaluable. So how do we get more unsuccessful founders to add to this?
rdlecler1 6 hours ago 0 replies      
RE: Elon Musk -- I see a lot on luck in the comments, and agree with most. Another aspect of luck is timing. If Musk graduated in 2002 would he have been able to start a successful company, or would capital not have been there?
jasim 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Betting so much of one's soul into a consumer play is a risky decision. The pay-outs are huge, but the odds are enormous, as bad as a lottery. Consumers decide to use a product based on intangibles; brand recognition, emotions, entertainment. These are fleeting, like fashion, and for an entrepreneur, hard to pin down what works and doesn't. There is no repeatable model for us to experiment and learn from.

Businesses on the other hand are considerably more rational. B2B decisions are made based on value. Even when a deal doesn't go through, you get tangible data to see why. But make yet another photo-sharing app and no one uses it? That's a lot more harder.

praveenster 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It might be valuable to add the ability to have discussions for each of the entries on autopsy.io, allowing people to analyze it further and include the founders in the discussion. From this it might be possible to combine the analysis of a couple of the autopsies and launch a new idea.
sxates 21 hours ago 2 replies      
The thing I noticed many of these startups had in common: Awful names.
c17r 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Awesome list to look through! I remember a few of these postmortems when they first posted, like the Wesabe one.

It'd be great if the table had start/close dates, or "months alive", or something.

kzhahou 20 hours ago 1 reply      
There's selection bias at play here, but anyone else notice that 99% of these are consumer plays? There's mostly photos/food/social/video/community/jobs ideas. In consumer plays, there's a lot of luck involved, since the company is essentially guessing whether the problem itself is significant, let alone their particular solution.
bbody 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I tried something similar with My Startup Fail (http://www.mystartup.fail/), but definitely like Autopsy's approach better.
heyalexej 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a great idea. I wonder if you thought about implementing some sort of comment/discussion section, maybe with a voting system. That way people could express their opinions and maybe even give valuable advice as to how they'd deal with certain aspects of these failures.
tathagatadg 22 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a really great effort. It feels like a nice addendum to Sam Altman's class (http://startupclass.samaltman.com/) - take that knowledge and use it to come up with what would you have done differently.
bpg_92 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know what happened to Goldee? It was a good product with a killing web page, I don't know what exactly happened.
bau5 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be neat to see some lessons from companies that still exist, but have major plans that failed, like 42floors. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9140768
kisna72 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Findory's link links to Findery. They are two different companies that do the same thing. I find it interesting that the names are so much alike. I wonder if there is a connection.
Goladus 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Thought this one was a neat idea: Critica: https://medium.com/@jasonhuertas/my-startup-failed-6c54bd68c...
davidu 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Would be great to also add a column for "date of death" as timing is often a major component related to failure.

While on the subject of timing, I'd add a column for years in business, but that might be getting too cluttered.

xtat 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many of these are actually related to interpersonal issues, mismanagement, or co-founder turmoil. Nobody talks about it.
usmeteora 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with feedjoelpie. One criticism I have here is that there is a lack of comprehensive data analytics from their actual portfolios before they cut the chord, and that it relies on self reported data from the founders, which is bound to be bias to some degree. Some of these failed that are exact clones of companies that were the exact same idea but implemented more quickly and ended up and still are very successful, and in those particular ideas, the autopsy of the failed companies never seems to want to admit their idea was just not that original, or not implemented as well.

Examples that stand out to me just from knowing really successful competitors of the same idea:


Overall, I value their feedback (and I am glad to see it compiled as opposed to every failed company posting on here as if they have some diamond in the ruff wisdom on why they failed) but I would prefer some more data based trends.

Overall interesting idea to start pulling more calibrated analytics from. I was also thinking someone should do the same thing for lessons learned from how VCs and Angel Investors screw over companies.

It's actually going to take some time for me to find something on this list that doesn't reek of knocking off popularized trending app ideas.

I happened to see 99 Dresses on this list, whom I saw on Shark Tank somehow (the one time I watched the show). I'm a girl and for me personally I don't really give about the idea of weddings and think its nonsense, and think it's a waste of money, but I thought it was a pretty cool idea that basically you could rent a wedding dress, and that sounded unique to me and a good niche of rent the runway, though I doubt I'll ever invest in a wedding dress myself in any capacity. Point is weddings are a billion dollar a yr industry and wedding dresses are sometimes the most expensive part aside from venue and catering. As culture becomes less traditional, it's less likely women will view their dresses as a long term investment their posterity will wear.

Additionally, I think I know of plenty of girls who would rather rent a designer wedding dress they could never afford outright (especially if their posterity is not going to wear it as culture is these days) than settle for something they like alot less because that is all they could afford to buy, that will sit in a closet. Additionally, now that we have facebook and social media, girls do not need to buy the dress (despite posterity) so it can collect dust in their closet for the sake of nostalgia. Now we have social media to document not only the dress but how the woman looked in the dress. Therefore, providing the capability to rent one of the most expensive clothing items the average woman will ever invest in, seemed like a pretty solid idea, and at least there was something a little unique about it. However, I have no idea how well she implemented the idea nor did I follow the company after the pitch.

Other than that one company, I didn't see anything I have not heard of realistically, atleast 5 times before.

go37pi 14 hours ago 0 replies      
"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." -Tolstoy
ericjang 20 hours ago 0 replies      
There's often considerable link rot associated with these sites, so it'd be a good idea to save autopsies as well, not just link to them.
jakejake 15 hours ago 0 replies      
An interesting column to add to this would be the amount of funding raised, if known.
codeshaman 21 hours ago 2 replies      
This is a good* resource. We should have more of these. I wouldn't mind having an app with a stream of these which pop-up notification on my desktop: notification of failed dreams.

Because they are many - a lot more than in that list. And there will be a lot more of them in the future.

For every startup success story, there are about 9 silent tales of shattered hopes, financial ruin, depression and even suicides.

Success stories are so shiny an bright, that all the smart 20-somethings are blinded by them - and why not - who doesn't want to be a billionaire ?

The theme is always the same.

A really cool idea - which will totally transform, disrupt, reinvent and reimagine the world and will forever change it for the better.

Your heart beats faster, you're full of enthusiasm, you're obsessed, you talk to everybody and you infect others with your enthusiasm. They come on board, you find money, then the coding starts.

It's so fun and cool - you're on that path - you're an actual startup - the coolest thing you can do with your life - sacrifice a bit of yourself for a huge payout sometime in the nearest future.

And so you put in days and nights, you replace food with caffeine, sleep with debugging sessions. You ignore the wisdom of others, because they're not you - you can do it better, you will prove it in the end.

And then, suddenly, after so much work, your main coder drops the bomb that he's accepted a job at XYZ.

You now have little money, no users and a repository full of spaghetti which only your coder understands. You need to launch fast. You use duct tape and saliva to keep everything from falling apart.

And...... You launch! Version 0.1 beta. Then 0.2 beta. Then 0.3 beta.You have 231 users after two weeks. 0.4 beta. 0.5 beta. Two months in and you've still less than 500 users. According to your business plan, you're short about 49500 users by now.

More Red Bulls, it's 3 o'clock in the morning again, when did I sleep last time ? The fucking thing still crashes. Where's everyone ?

Your mother calls. "I'm fine, mom. Everyting's fine.". She knows you aren't, it breaks her heart, she tears up.

You can still do it. Look at XYZ - they've been through worse and they made it. Never give up. Never give up. Rent is due next week. Jack doesn't show up to work and doesn't answer his phone.He's burned out and he's had it, he's leaving.

I can still do it alone, I just need to re-write the whole thing and it will be much better. How long could it take ?

You're in denial, but reality knocks on your door. It's time to move out.

You've failed. You're not good enough. You disappointed everyone and yourself. You're not built for this. You will never make it. You lock yourself in your room for weeks. You put on weight. Days are nights are days are nights are...

Your girlfriend wants to really talk about something. She can't take it anymore. Fine, we split up. Maybe it was because of her anyway...

Depression kicks in. The dark place. The 'there's no escape' place. The 'i'm worthless' place. The 'I'm a failure place'. The shame, the guilt. The disappointment.

The place were all failed people go. By now, you should have been having an IPO, rubbing shoulders with the big guys. Instead, you're in that place - the silent place, the place nobody wants to talk about.

You will be there for a couple of months, maybe years, before you recover. Or you'll swallow your guilt and get a job. Any job. Maybe in another city, maybe in another country.

And then things fade, life gets better, you meet another girl, you fall in love, you recover. You're good again. You have energy. You have power. Your mind is energized.

And then ... the coooolest idea in the world pops up in your head. If you don't do it, who will ?This time you know better. You've learned from all the mistakes of the past. This time will be different.

This time you'll make it... You've got a 10% chance.

travis-bickle 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Make it more complete crowd sourcing (with voting)Then only the list will be more useful
mx10 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Would be good to know how long were the founders they committed to the startup? Extra column OP?Thanks!
magic_beans 22 hours ago 1 reply      
A little off-topic, but does anyone know how Plated succeeded where Dinner failed?
crasshopper 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for doing this! I hope more people add their stories.
tjradcliffe 15 hours ago 1 reply      
This one contains some solid insights, mostly about doing a better job of proving demand: https://medium.com/@michalbohanes/seven-lessons-i-learned-fr...


There is no business idea I cannot kill using a sufficiently cold and objective evaluation. I can show the demand is not there, that it doesn't solve a customer pain-point, that the price is too high, that the model won't work in this market, that the technology won't scale...

At the end of WWII Vannevar Bush, the head of the American military rocketry program, said that human beings would never go to the Moon because you'd have to take a rocket the size of a battleship, stand it up on end, and launch it into space, and this was obviously impossible.

Prediction is hard, especially about the future. Entreprenuership is fundamentally about courage, because you've got to jump off that ledge knowing the odds are you'll fail. If you dig too deeply or look too closely at the problem you may never start, because the risk is always going to be unacceptably high to any sane person.

So it's important for entrepreneurs to balance their optimism against reality, rather than just giving in to realism and sticking with the day job.

Nobody's Going to Steal Your Idea candyjapan.com
409 points by bemmu  1 day ago   192 comments top 48
gregpilling 1 day ago 14 replies      
TL;DR - It can turn out ok.

Someone did steal my idea, a sales rep I fired. He took my product samples and copied it down to the flaws (small errors I had made in CAD), and on top of that made their product in Taiwan (vs mine USA), and they had much better execution, marketing, and much deeper relationships in the industry. They quite literally got the front cover of every industry catalog, of all the major distributors in all 50 states (1). I have estimated that by the time they got the first 40' container of product in from Asia that they were double our size; we worked out of a 16'x16' garden shed at the time (2).

I have battled them for 10 years and they just sold for 12 million. I would be happy with 1 million. But the truth? The truth is that having a competitor HELPED not hurt. The sales conversations went from "why would I buy that?" to "How does it compare to the other guy?" . in short, their aggressive marketing towed me along in their wake. The geeky informed buyers would buy the USA made original (mine), and the mass market would buy his.

The main outcome is that I could stop spending marketing on advertising, and focus on innovating and product development. Since my industry is distributor based, and my competitor was #1 in all of them, the best way to compete was to out innovate. Also the easiest, and most fun way. Anytime a new truck comes out I usually have a 3-6 month exclusive window before his overseas operation can deliver product. We pick up a lot of new wholesale customers when that happens.

I think that the outcome could have been worse without the 'copy'. For years we couldn't have made the product any faster, we had massive growth in sales. $90K first year, $500K second, $800K, 1.2M, 2M .. it was hard to buy steel some months we grew so fast. In the end. a competitor is not the end of the world, it is a way for the buyer to make a choice - this guy or that guy. It can be easier to sell if they have someone to compare to; when they have nothing it is a little disorienting for a buyer and they tend to not buy anything.

1. product: leveling kit for trucks, so people can put aftermarket wheels and tires on. Another 20 companies copied the product afterward but we don't hear much about them.

2. We have moved twice. From the 16x16 garden shed, to 6800 sq ft, to the current 15,000 sq ft. We now employ 10 people and 5 robots.

neilellis 1 day ago 2 replies      
If your startup is based on execution and/or customer relationship sure this is true. However some startups are IP based in which case this is not true, now admittedly there is a low % of IP based startups on HN.

Some startups can execute better than you and can be better funded. Remember Hojoki anyone, nope - Slack moved fast got the momentum, scaled and wham! Hojoki used to be better than Slack btw. However if you operate in the public arena most people will know or guess your plan as soon as you spin up your MVP anyway :)

Right now down to the elephant in the room. Apple regularly release products/features that look remarkably like 3rd party apps, but not enough to be sued. So yep, idea stolen, implemented and market cornered by a virtual monopoly.

The truth is a complicated thing and the word Nobody is just factually inaccurate.

I'd go with:

'You're more like to fail executing than have your idea stolen.'


patio11 1 day ago 6 replies      
"Competition is not a key source of concern to your small business" might be a better title, and I totally endorse it. BCC was cloned at least five times, AR at least once. (I don't mean "Someone entered the market" I mean "Someone literally had an oDesk project whose description was 'Create a clone of bingocardcreator.com.'")

You could barely it happened from the inside perspective, since the effect of competition was dominated by e.g. the business cycle, the whims of the Google gods, and my health/focus/energy level/ability to continue executing on the businesses.

midnitewarrior 1 day ago 1 reply      
100% truth here. I was working with a client rolling out a new offering circa 2007. Client was a top-tier player in his field and was our premier client. We presented our rollout together at a conference. We met to deepen the relationship and talked about new features and launching another initiative.

Then, he stopped returning my calls. No more emails, calls rolling to voicemail.

I was distraught and depressed and so was my partner, we didn't know what went wrong and eventually wrote it off as a misunderstanding.

I had forgotten about it and met with someone else in the industry a few months later about how to take what we were doing to the next level. In her research, our colleague another company offering our exact same product, and the company was winning industry awards for the concept. It was lead by my ex-client, who had deep pockets. Things unraveled after that, heart ripped out of chest.

Ultimately, the niche this lived in was short-lived and didn't grow much as a market, but it still was a painful lesson.

Xixi 1 day ago 2 replies      
CandyJapan has been a great source of inspiration for launching a business with a similar business model: Tomotcha (https://tomotcha.com), a Japanese green tea subscription service.

Bemmu gave me a lot of advice at the last HN Kansai meetup to find more customers... thank you again Bemmu :)

At first I hesitated to do it the other way around: to import French wine in Japan and sell it as a subscription, but from the outside it seems harder. The rules for importing goods (especially alcohol) are quite a bit harder than the rules for exporting...

bane 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've had a few ideas stolen.

- In one case it was some fairly novel code, and the guy who stole it and put his name on it was soon called out because he didn't understand it enough to continue improving it. Elements of that code still keep me employed a decade later, but I've moved vastly beyond it. While he's out of the industry and looking for work.

- In another case, it went to another company who threw millions into marketing a collection of ideas that they had re-implemented (they had stolen ideas, and code, from a few places and used huge venture backing to buy their way into the market) and millions more in hiring groups of smart engineers to maintain it. For a while the company I worked for was able to simply out-innovate them, but their tens of millions in sales teams vs. our handful of many hatted engineers pressed into sales service wasn't sustainable for us and we closed shop.

However, recently I heard that in the places where we've both been, one of our customers had achieved such better results with our more innovative software that they simply bought up all the old assets from my company (and dealt with the debtors) and are now paying a new team to modernize the code and bring it all back to life.

danieltillett 1 day ago 1 reply      
Lots of people will steal your idea if it is good, but few will be able to execute on it correctly. There seems to be something about the people that copy other people's ideas that stops them from fully grokking what is involved - maybe it is those that are too lazy to come up with their own idea are also too lazy to correctly implement the concept.
newman8r 1 day ago 0 replies      
Respect to OP for creating his own successful business - You're selling candy and blogging about it, I don't think it's even possible to steal your idea. Not to downplay the achievement either - as it's a great thing. I would call your site innovative but not an innovation, a 'business idea' rather than an idea for some sort of new technology that nobody has ever seen before and therefore might be inclined to rip it off.

There are people doing small time, applied research in cutting edge areas. These types of innovations can and do get ripped if they are good enough.

If you look at the history of science, there have been a ton of sharks.

TL;DR - just because nobody is going to steal your business idea doesn't mean a truly original innovation won't get ripped off if someone sees it.

more_original 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you will have to ram it down their throats."

-- Howard H. Aiken

aflyax 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Stealing an idea" is a poorly defined concept. What is one supposed to be stealing exactly? I.e., what is being owned? You can't own a piece of someone's brain (or otherwise privately owned information carrier... which, I repeat, is already OWNED by someone else -- not you), and platonic objects don't exist (or, at least, there is no evidence that they do, and the phenomenon of information can be explained without them, so... Occam's Razor).

So, it's like saying "square triangle" or "later than 3 but earlier than 1". It's an ill-defined concept and a legal fiction, and applying it in practice costs millions of dollars, people's lives, creativity, and violates people's rights to their ACTUAL, not fictional, property.

jpobst 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Nobody's Going to Steal Your Idea"

That sounds suspiciously like what someone who was going to steal your idea would say...

starshadowx2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hey, this is cool. I sent @bemmu an email a few months back asking him about Candy Japan and he sent me a list of all his competitors just like this article. I was stopping my Japancrate subscription because of the cost but I never did start a new one with anyone else. Seeing Candy Japan on here might convince me to subscribe for a bit.
davidandgoliath 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Nobody is going to steal your idea".

Excellent, feel free to publicly announce all your future projects prior to completion! :p Your competitor's would love to be first to market with some of your ideas.

An example being my company: I run a web hosting company (http://www.fused.com, y'know those antiquated LAMP stack ones that aren't cool around these parts) & it's an idea anyone & everyone can execute with some effort. Yay, launch a host today! Good luck.

The main company aside, I've got a few internal projects brewing that can, and will differentiate us from our competition (or, quickly turn into something we wholesell to them directly) that are far beyond run of the mill ideas.

Those 'secret sauces' are too all about execution, but I'd still like to be first to market with them :)

ww520 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nobody is going to steal your idea, but people will steal successful ideas. An idea is just that, nothing. Lots people come up with plenty of ideas. Many ideas will lead to nowhere and fail. People don't want to steal untried ideas cause they don't want the effort to find out if they work. Successful companies have tried numerous ideas and doing minor or major pivoting before landing on a workable idea. That is the one people will steal.
WalterBright 1 day ago 1 reply      
Back in the 80's a friend of mine noticed that boxed software sold for much more in Europe than the US. So he started buying the boxes in bulk, shipping them to Europe, and undercutting the competition. He made bank for a few years, until others started copying his business plan. Taking advantage of price differentials is called arbitrage, and candyjapan is just another example of it.

Heck, read about the gold rush and how the arbitrage investors made the real fortunes.

griffinheart 1 day ago 1 reply      
Here is another one for you https://www.otakyou.com/en/otakyou-box disclaimer: used to work for them)

From the moment the business had this idea I forwarded them your blog and website, don't think they really appreciated the amount of knowledge present there.

As an immigrant in Japan you're an inspiration for launching my own business (one day).

tantalor 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's certainly worth your time to recognize your imitators. At the very least it validates your idea.

I keep a long list of alternate versions of a game I invented at http://johntantalo.com/wiki/Planarity/

rl3 1 day ago 1 reply      
In practice, usually an idea will be independently created and executed by other people well before anyone has a chance to steal your version.

However, if it's a fantastic idea, then keeping it tightly held certainly doesn't constitute undue paranoia. Especially if you're pre-traction.

paulsutter 1 day ago 2 replies      
> I thought it was pretty unlikely that anyone would also bother sending specifically Japanese candy.

Living in Japan, I often hearing foreigners coming up with the great business idea of selling Japanese products back home. Candy is pretty common as an idea.

samsquire 1 day ago 3 replies      
Implement my ideas please


empressplay 1 day ago 3 replies      
I presented an idea at Startup Weekend that got a mediocre response so I shelved it, and a year later I met someone at another startup event who asked me to try their app (which looked suspiciously like what I'd pitched) and it turned out their co-founder had gone to that Startup Weekend event.

I would have been sore if their app had been successful, but it wasn't, so I'm glad I didn't waste my time on it =)

So yes, people will steal your idea if they think it's a good one, but that doesn't actually mean it was good.

Kiro 1 day ago 1 reply      
So a couple of questions. What's up with the agar.io picture and what's up with the cursors? I'm intrigued.

I also find the "Update: Wow, this really exploded, thanks to all 366 people currently reading this page :-) We even got 26 orders since this post went live." cool. That's it's updating live that is.

Matheus28 1 day ago 1 reply      
Am I starting to go crazy or is there an agar.io picture at the bottom?
bikeshack 1 day ago 0 replies      
It is not a rare case that some startup will have more seed capital than you and a lot more drive. They will probably have an entire team of hungry interns too working for free to push out product revisions. I say let them steal my ideas all they want, because frankly if my idea gains some weight, my job is done and I can go home. No I will not smoke a cigar in a Hawaiian beach house because of it, but that is not the point. If egoism and money gets in the way of idea dissemination we have a real problem.
aburan28 1 day ago 0 replies      
Honestly people that believe that no one will steal your idea are frankly naive. People always point to patent trolls and want to get rid of all patents but cannot fathom reform. Yet this notion benefits the big fish in the market disproportionately to the everyday programmer/startup. IMO there should be narrow specific patents that are cheap and for the everyday programmer's startup and only for a short time like 6 months. They would not own the 'idea' but rather the rights to a commercial application of this 'idea' within a given time period. Patents could protect startups too if the system is reformed
gargarplex 1 day ago 0 replies      
(With apologies to bemmu)

There's of course the counter-example of Steve Blank where his startup E.piphany's entire slide deck was stolen verbatim.. they failed though. Does that make them nobodies?

wodenokoto 1 day ago 0 replies      
Funnily none of the competitors mentioned seems to target Asia. A friend told me of a friend who paid for his exchange in Japan by selling promotional toys and merchandise from Japanese shops to Taiwan.

Apparently there are a lot of Japanophiles in Taiwan who are willing to pay a premium for a Japanese mister Donuts toy you get with 5 purchases.

bernardlunn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Startups are 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. His description of running a market experiment is bang on the nail. 99% of ideas will fail. You have to see if market demand actually exists by getting a product out for people to try. During that process people can steal your idea. If you get traction you have to move fast.
advertising 1 day ago 1 reply      
The moment you have your idea, ten other people had the exact same idea at the same time and it's s race from there.
mirkules 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are there any restrictions selling food products from overseas, specifically in the US (FDA approvals, for example)?

In addition, is it also possible to run into export issues or licensing problems with the foreign candy/food makers?

I ask this because I've often thought about doing this for products from "back home", but ultmiately am stopped by stories about redistribution problems.

lnanek2 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've actually had a jlist subscription, one of the other options he links, for much longer than Candy Japan has existed. Although I do reading material, not sure when they started doing snacks. If it was before Candy Japan as well, then they wouldn't have had much different impact on him that wasn't already there at the start.
vgnanand 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hey bemmu, Would be great if you could add a email newsletter service to the website, to showcase new candies being shipped/ or any new updates on your business. Although I could subscribe to the blog through RSS, but I bet email newsletters would be much more effective.
jokoon 1 day ago 0 replies      
To be honest, if I have a great idea and somebody else makes it happen, I would be glad. All I care about is somebody executing it well. That's why I'd prefer to execute it, since I think I understand my idea better.

I would not really care about the money. It's pretty hard to execute an idea and make sure you are credited for it. I would gladly have a platform when people would just post idea for free and see how they're executed.

It's just a matter of making the world a better place, and I would be happy enough to just use a product that did not exist before, even if I don't get the profits.

The patent system is overrated. Are there really so many single inventors who benefited so much from patents ?

free2rhyme214 1 day ago 2 replies      
Disagree. See Uber and Facebook.
bikeshack 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ideas are not stolen, they are merely moved to where they can fully blossom
brudgers 1 day ago 0 replies      
The best ideas are worth $20.


M8 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tesla vs Edisson, Xerox vs Apple etc.
samstave 1 day ago 4 replies      
Bullshit. EndGame stole my middle out compression algorithm!
youngButEager 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Hi Mark, my name is Cameron, and this is my brother, Tyler."

"Good to meet you. Sweartagawd your idea is safe, my lips have a zippers." (makes zzzzzzzzip sound)

"Mark, me and my brother trust you. In addition, no one could possibly execute our idea as well as we can, since we have the original idea. Can you start coding right away?"

"Sure, yeah, come again though about that 'execute' stuff? I'm so clueless about business! My rate will be $20 an hour to code up your idea."

"Okay Mark, keep us updated when you finish -- and again, we're not worried you'll steal our idea. We're not even going to ask you to sign a non-disclosure -- you look so dadburned honest and humble, Mark! And reliable too."

"Thanks Cameron and Tyler, come again with that 'steal your idea' stuff? I'm so naive! I have no experience stealing ideas! I'm a virgin when it comes to betraying people!"

"Okay Mark, don't pop that cherry with us!"

___________________________________________________LATER..............Cameron and Tyler discuss the Zuck hire...

CAM: "He's a bit naive but he can code, that comes from a trusted friend who worked on a project together."

TYLER: "To me, he came off as chronically baffled. I wager we're going to be disappointed in his work, Cameron."

alaskamiller 1 day ago 1 reply      
Birchbox started the trend in 2010.

I started spinning the idea for an asian snack box thereafter. I found you in 2011 and gave up on it.

By 2012 it became the default business model for online wantrepreneurs.

Then Cratejoy spun up in 2013 and went gangbusters in 2014.

Now in 2015 it's the late comers to the trend with most of the profitable niches already covered.

I imagine by 2016 with all the low hanging fruits taken you're gonna need to be a established player to play the game considering the logistics costs and distributing something of substance.

Then we'll be on to something else to copy.

Biggest lesson I took out of watching the mail order box business is more or less it's a marketing game. It's all pretty much the same but reaching the potential audience is the hardest part.

This isn't competition like McDonalds vs Burger King where you can just drive a block down to get a burger, it's competition to being first to introduce the idea of hamburgers.

graycat 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Let's be more clear on two points:

(1) The Idea.

So, sure, mail subscription candy to Japanis an idea, a business idea, that is,a short description like might be givento a prospective customer, supplier, banker,investor, prospective employee, etc. Sucha business idea can be really important.

(2) Secret Sauce. In addition to a business idea,sometimes there is secret sauce thatenables the execution of the business ideaand, maybe, is intellectual property,e.g., to be protected as a trade secret,and that maybe can provide a barrier toentry. Such secret sauce might betechnical -- from biology, physics,math, engineering, technology, etc.

Generally once a business has customers,the business idea (1), at least inbroad terms, becomes quite well known.

Then it can be good to have some barriersto entry. Some of those might bethe secret sauce (2). Some more might beVC Fred Wilson's "large network ofengaged users", a "network effect", abrand name, etc.

To many people what is crucial about(2) secret sauce are ideas --since they may be important to a business,business ideas. But commonlyvery much we want to protect thesecret sauce ideas and not letthem be stolen.

So, some business ideas we very much donot want to let others steal them.

sova 1 day ago 0 replies      
turns out helping your competition helps you.
spiritplumber 1 day ago 0 replies      
One word: OpenROV.
myheartcardio 1 day ago 0 replies      
Remember FTP leeches? Cool.
natmaster 1 day ago 0 replies      
misleading title
plantbased 1 day ago 3 replies      
You're adorable candyjapan. I want to bounce you on my knee. When you eventually run a biz that doesn't just generate millions in revenue but is massively profitable, give me a shout and let me know if you still feel this way.

Imagine you have a biz that prints money. You literally have dump trucks that roll up to your gate every morning and unload, and amazingly you get to keep about half of it.

It's rare to create a business like that and if word gets out you'll have competitors swarming all over you driving down your margins until you're blowing every last cent trying to out market them and all that profitability will go away.

So you learn to STFU. Because people will steal your idea.

In the Valley among startups almost no-one is profitable and so it's all about sharing the love and lots of hugs because no one has anything to defend.

thomasmarriott 1 day ago 0 replies      
olh 1 day ago 1 reply      
I will.
Yahoo Pipes End-Of-life Announcement yqlblog.net
357 points by michaelhoffman  1 day ago   175 comments top 51
brettproctor 1 day ago 5 replies      
Pipes was the first service I ever owned from an ops perspective (circa 2008). We had two clusters, one on each coast. I thought we had capacity to take one offline to do a full upgrade, turns out we didn't.

By the time I turned the west coast back online, the east coast was failing health checks, and the LB failed everything over to the west coast, which then proceeded to be overloaded, and everything flipped back to the east coast... Ping ponged for about 2 hours until they finally settled.

Fun times.

Another fun story: For the longest time the front page had an example pipe that merged search results from various online sites (amazon/ebay/cl). It was made by a former employee and was easily one of the most popular pipes. One day we found out he had his affiliate id in all of those links. We chuckled and moved on.

idlewords 1 day ago 6 replies      
I worked on Pipes briefly, shortly after it launched. It was really two distinct products rolled into one. The visual interface was groundbreaking and stunning-I think half my team was hired on the strength of that demo. No one could believe Javascript could do that.

The backend was an extremely useful tool for munging RSS feeds. With any kind of support, or even benign neglect, the product would have been successful. It took a lot of active mismanagement and folly to keep Pipes from living up to its promise.

Hats off to psadri and the other Pipes creators for a really stellar piece of work.

psadri 1 day ago 11 replies      
pipes creator here: sad to see pipes shutdown. i am surprised it lasted this long -- it was abandoned years ago. on the positive side, it is nice to see it mentioned in the same sentence as y! maps which used to be a big deal back in the day.
arepb 1 day ago 2 replies      
In an alternate universe not too dissimilar from our own, Pipes is an independent startup and this announcement is Yahoo buying it for 8-9 figures
denimboy 1 day ago 3 replies      
Yahoo pipes was obviously influenced by UNIX pipes and as such is one of the best demonstrations of flow based programming to date. I really loved Yahoo pipes and it influenced the way I think.

Pipes was a basic web "agent". It made basic programming available to the everyman much like HyperCard. Perhaps is just needed a runtime UI that matched the excellence of its design time interface.

Yahoo is focussing on mobile yet here they had this custom agent building tool that could easily be re-purposed to mobile to make a killer platform for Yahoo users.

Hopefully they will opensource the first generation perl version.

Some of my favourite flow based programming links follow.

Surprised nobody has mentioned noflow node.js workflows:

Also this (untested) will convert your yahoo pipes into Node.js

and this one (also untested) will do the same in python:

There is also python pypes which has a yahoo pipes like frontend with a stackless based backend.

 http://pyvideo.org/video/400/pycon-2011--large-scale-data-conditioning--amp--p https://github.com/fullscale/pypes
Other python flow based programming tools

 https://wiki.python.org/moin/FlowBasedProgramming http://www.kamaelia.org/Home.html (BBC research) http://www.ruffus.org.uk/index.html
Wireit is a javascript pipes like frontend

As you can see I loved pipes and I can

Animats 1 day ago 1 reply      
Most of what Pipes did can be done locally, in a library. FeedReader for Windows did this.[1] Unfortunately, they recently announced "Get ready for the brand new FeedReader! ... Check our site later this March for a new amazing web service, featuring industry-best RSS search and analysis.", which means it's becoming "cloud based" and probably has ads or worse. "rss.com" already went that way; they charge $6/month to read RSS feeds.[2]

Following RSS feeds on a continuing basis takes a lot of RSS polls. Most RSS feeds do not implement RSS in a way that allows getting only new items reliably.[3] The RSS "etag" mechanism is not reliable. Some sites with multiple servers and a load balancer have different etag values on each server. The "guid" field sometimes changes when the content hasn't changed. My experience is that nothing short of full text comparison eliminates duplicates properly. I wrote an RSS reader which does a MD5 of the text of each incoming message to throw out duplicates. Presumably the "pipes" system did something similar.

If RSS feed servers complied with the standard, there'd be less need for feed aggregation services.

[1] http://feedreader.com/[2] https://www.rss.com/[3] http://www..com/blog/2006/08/rss-dup-detection

bryanh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Aw man - that is sad. We at Zapier took great inspiration from Pipes, it was such a cool and powerful product! It was a shame to see it languish.

I'd sure love to pick the brain of anyone formerly involved in the project - it seems like there is a lot we could learn from the trail it blazed. My email in profile, obligatory beers/coffee/etc. offer.

danso 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yahoo Pipes was the backbone for ProPublica's first news web application in 2009: http://www.propublica.org/article/changetracker-howto

> ChangeTracker watches the White Houses web site so you dont have to. Whenever a page on whitehouse.gov changes, well let you know via e-mail, Twitter, or RSS. But ChangeTracker is not a piece of software. Its the output of a series of powerful and mostly free Web-based tools, lovingly connected over the Internet. Heres how to do it yourself so you can track changes on any Web site on the Internets.

shavenwarthog2 1 day ago 2 replies      
I used Yahoo Pipes to find my apartment.

One pipe would grab data from Craigslist, strip out irrelevant items, and send me a text if anything new and interesting appeared. Ditto for Westside Rentals.

This combination worked great. If a lame apartment appeared in CL, I'd edit my Pipes regex to strip the same thing out of WR. In this way I'd get only texts for awesome places.

Vaya con dios, Yahoo Pipes!

Volt 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've used this pipe as my Hacker News RSS feed for the last 5 years, which flips the link structure so the main link for each entry is to the comments.


Thanks to whoever made it. I guess I'll have to find a way to do it myself now.

juliendorra 1 day ago 0 replies      
I used Pipes as the basis of data mashup classes, with non-developers students that were mostly afraid/bored of anything related to programming.Using Pipes, in just a few hours they would make small,custom data apps. A typical example would be a student building a pipe gathering the weather from one source and trying to fetch the relevant clothes from a retailer with pictures and links. I had a student using the location entity extraction to geocode his favorite street art blog that cited cities in the text but didn't use rssgeo, and then output the augmented feed to a map view.

It was an eye opener for some: they could get, transform and repurpose data, and it could be fun.

Pipes wasn't without its flaws: V1 was buggy and gave us a lot of trouble when 30 students were trying to use it from the same IP, the interface was plagued by the usual issues of visual interfaces (clutter). Some things were odd, some a little too hard for what they achieved and other were magically easy!

But at a moment when every tech company is saying that "learning to code" is important, it's sad to see a tool that had real educational value disappear.It was a really effective tool for non-developers to learn about data markup standards, to think in term of data flows, to get introduced to the idea of a data or web API.For this particular use in education I'm not sure there is a replacement.

matznerd 1 day ago 6 replies      
Who is working on a pipes replacement and where can I sign-up? Maybe this will be like when google killed Reader and RSS replacements became a hot area...
donnellyp 1 day ago 3 replies      
Just a shout out to the awesome Pipes community and some people that really helped it along the way. All the original creators (pasha, JT, ed, daniel), community members and team: hapdaniel, dawnfoster, kentbrewster, mirek, spullara, janluehe, dspark, kevink, brettp, lolo, laurencecoates, earth2marsh, psychemedia, davglass, ssaine, sadaf, ido, nagesh, ameya. I know i'm missing tons more, but just top of my head. You are all awesome.
chrisamiller 1 day ago 2 replies      
Oh man, I use 3 or 4 pipes to filter various RSS feeds. Ugh. Good suggestions for replacements (especially those that don't require my own server) would be much appreciated.
FractalNerve 20 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the truly powerful services, I will really miss. Mrs. Meyer squeezes out things at Y! like a lemon.

EDIT: added OSS & Commercial alternatives

free or commercial:

 [1] http://createfeed.fivefilters.org/ [2] http://www.feedsapi.com/ [3] https://theenginuity.com/search/ [4] https://zapier.com/ [5] http://www.elastic.io/ [6] https://ifttt.com/
open source:

 [1] https://github.com/olviko/RssPercolator [2] https://github.com/fogbeam/Neddick/ [3] https://github.com/cantino/huginn [4] https://github.com/fullscale/pypes [5] https://github.com/jparkrr/ISyTT [6] https://github.com/atask/shifttt [7] https://github.com/KLVN/F7_T7_RSSFeed

kentbrew 1 day ago 0 replies      
While working for YDN I was the one who spilled the beans about the top-secret Pipes _callback parameter, which turned your JSON reply into JavaScript. The service fell over instantly, of course, but far from being upset with me, the team was thrilled with the exposure. Viva Pipes!

Any word on whether YQL will live or die?

donretag 1 day ago 2 replies      
I use Yahoo Pipes to get around Netflix's walled garden.

Netflix does not believe in RSS, even though their Influencer content is not behind a subwall. I use Pipes to parse Netflix's json content and then turn it into a feed. I even created a Pipe that took any influencer ID and automatically created an RSS feed.

The idea was started because Daniel Tunkelang of Netflix was very anti RSS. I showed him, but alas, no more.

I never figured out how to use IFTTT. How can you grab any content from the web, like Netflix's json content? There is no HTTP input as far as I can tell.

bootload 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember well using and playing with Pipes when it came out early 2007. The service worked. I mostly played around with my twitter and flicker feeds. Here's some screenshots of what it looked like.

cloning twit user: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bootload/385441178/

multiple feeds into one: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bootload/385433038/

extracting flickr data: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bootload/385101700/ and flickr backend https://www.flickr.com/photos/bootload/2789198106/

extracting twitter data: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bootload/385194782/

clogged pipes: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bootload/384133421/ and https://www.flickr.com/photos/bootload/384128224/

Read the comments on this link to get an idea of how I used Pipes and the logic behind it: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bootload/385101700

tomsoderlund 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm a big fan of Yahoo Pipes, and sad to hear it's being shut down. Pipes and Visual Basic shaped my view of how fun and easy programming can be.

We're trying to build on this legacy with Weld(.io). See a sneak peek of our programming UI at 0:40 here: http://youtu.be/faG3uuOnqxY

If anyone in the Pipes team would like to be involved somehow, ping me on tom@weld.io

wiresurfer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have been a fan of Pipes for a while. Kudos to @psadri and others who made it possible with the state of web tech back in the days. It was a very well made tool both frontend and backend wise!

I have a emotional connect with Pipes as a tool. Right out of college, and before the whole API thing was pervasive, I had leveraged pipes for so many small projects and hacks. Infact I used it in a Yahoo Hackday hack and it landed me a gig at Y!

More relevant to the present, It has been something I have mentioned to so many people who have come to me discussing UIs for automation/control systems/or to manage workflows, processes. In a way it was what noflow's UI looks like, but years in advance. In a different parallel universe, it may be the way people use APIs, or right big Haddop/Spark/Storm jobs/topologies, and the front end was open-sourced back in the day, with full integration with hadoop for job management.

chinpokomon 1 day ago 0 replies      
So sad to see Pipes go! I absolutely love Pipes and was just raving about it to a coworker this week. Terrific UI and a fantastic idea. When development fizzled out, I tried to find another service as a replacement, but everything I've tried has fallen short. I'm really disappointed as Pipes is definitely one of the best ideas that never caught on line it should. Popfly, while short lived, had the advantage of being able to modify the code behind, but it didn't come close to the fantastic ease of use and tremendous potential for reuse.
joshstrange 1 day ago 0 replies      
This a disappointment if not an unexpected one. I used pipes again just a few weeks ago to do some simple modification of feed but thankfully ended up taking another approach (not a pipes replacement I just wrote some code for it). Pipes was a really cool tool and it will be missed. Does anyone know of/use any alternatives?
s0me0ne 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Pipes gui was revolutionary when it came out and to me is invaluable. Shame to see it and rss die out from mass appeal :(
spdustin 1 day ago 0 replies      
As some deeper comment posted, Huginn [0] is awesome, an open-source connector-of-things like Zapier or IFTTT, but on your own server.

[0] https://github.com/cantino/huginn

narrator 1 day ago 0 replies      
In the enterprise space this concept is thriving and doing well. For example, SnapLogic has been building enterprise integration technology that can easily tie hundreds of different data sources together using pre-built or custom components using a GUI or programmatically. In order to become a critical part of business infrastructure it needs to be a professionally supported and maintained product. Yahoo Pipes was just an experiment and not a serious business so people never built anything serious on top of it that would pay for the underlying maintenance and infrastructure.
xefer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I always knew this day would eventually come. It's kind of sad.

I had created this years ago to display Twitter data using Pipes, YQL and Google Charts. I haven't had to touch it in years but it's always just quietly worked, and some people seem to like it:


; e.g.;


I liked that Pipes allowed services to be chained together driven from the browser.

juxtio 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sorry to see Pipes being sunset. It had a major design and UX influence on a number of us during the early Web 2.0 days. Kudos to the Pipes folks for a seminal creation.

On a related note, a couple of us have been hacking on a Pipes like user experience around Data Integration and Analytics with Web feeds and APIs -- we had been planning a separate announcement but thought this might be a useful place to post if there are others who are looking for alternatives. Please message me directly - my contact info is in my profile.

bluesmoon 1 day ago 0 replies      
My website is partially powered by pipes. Looks like I'll have to rewrite.
Aissen 1 day ago 0 replies      
I loved yahoo pipes. I used it to filter high-traffic RSS to do a trivial word-match on content. I am now in the process of moving this to Newsblur, which allows filtering RSS content on tags, authors, or any word in the title. It's actually quite good, although we can't use the same filters for multiple feeds; at least it does the job.
michaelhoffman 1 day ago 2 replies      
I figured this was going to happen years ago. Any suggestions for a replacement?
interactiv 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm really motived to create an opensource alternative as I was a big pipes user. I set up a repo (obviously empty for now) ,I'll try to come up with a minimal working app before yahoo pipes gets frozen:


didn't decide yet what serverside tech i'll be using but quick deployement is a priority for me. If anyone's interested.

EDIT: a lot of useful information here about existing projects, thanks.

pjbrunet 1 day ago 0 replies      
If I was looking for a replacement, maybe I'd look for an RSS aggregation plugin for WordPress? Personally, I have my own PHP code that will slice and dice feeds however I want.

I got about halfway through building a "news blend" app where you tap just the categories you want and it would blend all the latest articles from just your categories into one news feed and email that to you daily. But we never finished it.

bootload 1 day ago 0 replies      
Using pipes was interesting and certainly did what it reported. I always capture what

Showing operators: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bootload/385194782/

callumjones 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can understand why Pipes would be shut down by Yahoo, it was a impressive technical feat but it definitely appealed to very small developer focused crowd.

I feel like IFTTT is our best bet, while it doesn't do the "Unix pipe" that pipes offered it at least provides some usability to the process.

ChrisArchitect 1 day ago 0 replies      
back when pipes came on the scene it was so out there but it was amazing. We couldn't fathom what kind of magic was making it all work and there seemed to be so many possiblities. Future bright etc. Of course, landscape changed etc...but it was / remains a display of what is possible with the web and kind of the 'idea' of an open web/apis/all that jazz.

I am still using it to repurpose an XKCD feed into a fully formatted feed with images that then is picked up by IFTTT and tweeted out as a tweet with images when new comics go up. I used Pipes just because it was point'n'click and seemed to have all the key components I needed to do the task without worrying about the code-route.

jccalhoun 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sad but not expected. It was really powerful but, like most people, I stopped using it years ago. It kept breaking either due to the sites I was using it with changing things or the service being neglected (and my limited ability to understand how it worked!
llamataboot 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yahoo Pipes was probably one of the best examples of letting non-programmers be developers. I created a lot of useful pipes back in the day for friends and family. Used a particular craigslist one for years.
waldr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pipes was certainly an inspiration behind what we've been working on at tray.io - sad to see this come to a close.

Hats off to all those that worked on the product - great to see it remembered so fondly.

nreece 1 day ago 0 replies      
Disappointing news. But, if you're just looking at creating custom feeds for webpages, then try out Feedity - https://feedity.com
jotm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Aw damn, that kinda sucks, but the project has been dead for a while now. I used it for content aggregation, but moved on to custom scripts, which were way more powerful...
gsam 1 day ago 0 replies      
First Google Reader and now Pipes? What's the problem with RSS and please tell me what's better?
flinty 1 day ago 0 replies      
There was an awesome pipe which allowed you to get a rss feed of commentators you want to subscribe to. Sadly no more
donatj 1 day ago 0 replies      
As the one person still using Yahoo Pipes, I'm rather saddened by this. Does this also imply an eventual end to YQL I wonder?
pknerd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sad to hear that. I guess Pipes was the first and probably the last innovative product ever shipped by Yahoo!
cloud36 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wonder how many people still use pipes?
tomcam 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pipes was awesome. But was there ever a credible strategy to monetize it? Does anyone on HN have any ideas?
UserRights 1 day ago 0 replies      
please open source it, thank you!
ing33k 1 day ago 0 replies      
in 2010 I attended Yahoo Hack Day in Bangalore/ India. Thats where I learned about Pipes. This was the only tool needed to create a tech mashup.
orliesaurus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for your service! You've done great!
paulhauggis 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is why I just roll my own data mining tools.
bitwize 1 day ago 0 replies      
Web mashup! Hey, remember the late 2000s?
RedditStorage github.com
365 points by newtonapple  1 day ago   165 comments top 37
joefreeman 1 day ago 4 replies      
If you had a language model (say, trained on existing comments from Reddit), you could encode the data in the comments in English, and make the abuse a little more subtle.
rndn 1 day ago 18 replies      
There should be a contest: Who can find the most implausible data storage medium? (Rated according to various criteria such as ingenuity, reliability, max. data read/write rates, latency, storage size, costs)
Vexs 1 day ago 2 replies      
Well there's some pretty amusing abuse. I recall there was a botnet a while back that got it's commands from a subreddit as well. Quite brilliant actually- who would suspect reddit as a command server?
gkop 1 day ago 2 replies      
If this idea appeals to you, you may also be interested in the 2009 paper Graffiti Networks:A Subversive, Internet-Scale File Sharing Model [0] by Andrew Pavlo.

tl;dr: the researchers discovered that MediaWiki instances were good soft targets.

[0] https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~pavlo/static/slides/graffiti-dc401-o...

Goronmon 1 day ago 0 replies      
An expected reaction from the reddit admins...


jakejake 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is pretty much exactly how binary newsgroups got started. Not to be all "I thought of it first" but I had thought it would be funny to do something similar on Twitter.
jamesjwang 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of the co-creators here; as a disclaimer, we didn't mean to threaten to break reddit at all. We're amazed that someone even found this repo since we abandoned it back in January, and that it's even gotten any amount of attention. Honestly we just built this in a week over winter break cause we were bored
diminish 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can anyone do a rough cryptoanalysis of the code? It uses AES block cipher in CBC mode with a random iv. Which attacks is this open to?

First, I suspect it's lacking a secure integrity check (MAC), so is weak against chosen ciphertext attacks.

 def encrypt(self, plaintext): plaintext = self.pad(plaintext) iv = Random.new().read(AES.block_size) cipher = AES.new(self.key, AES.MODE_CBC, iv) return iv + cipher.encrypt(plaintext)
I'm also not sure about his padding of zeros to attain the AES block size - was there a more secure padding?

 def pad(self, s): return s + b"\0" * (AES.block_size - len(s) % AES.block_size)

exacube 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like the proof of concept, but I hate that anyone would abuse Reddit this way.
jedberg 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wouldn't it be funny if reddit just randomly edited the comments to break the encoding...
Someone1234 1 day ago 2 replies      
Shame an encryption key is REQUIRED, could be a useful way to transfer files between Reddit users. Of course the file has to be encoded, but the encryption should be an optional extra.
Freaky 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't use this for anything important, and certainly not with a non-unique password.

Key is derived from a single SHA256 (can be brute-forced very rapidly), cyphertext isn't authenticated (can be tampered with or corrupted without anything noticing), and the padding function is broken (strips trailing NULLs, so no good for binary files).

stephengillie 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interesting idea... Since image formats already store a huge BLOB, how much more would it take to make ImgurStorage?

(Ideally, it would be slightly more elegant than just renaming a zip file.)

empyrical 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pretty clever. If it was stored in reddit's wiki system instead of comments, it could have a revision history!
s_dev 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think this will break your ToS with reddit and result in a ban on the account. That said, I don't know. It's kinda cool though.
kej 1 day ago 1 reply      
Presumably something like this is what's happening in /r/A858DE45F56D9BC9/
ratsimihah 1 day ago 0 replies      
You missed the joke :(
lucb1e 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lol, I've thought of doing this so many times on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and reddit. Seeing the amount of points this gets, I guess I should have done it. I didn't because it seemed so pointless: they'll just block accounts using this.
deelowe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Welp. This won't last very long. :-)
meesterdude 1 day ago 0 replies      
Somewhat related project i had going... https://github.com/meesterdude/reddit-rust-servers http://ruru.name/reddit-rust-servers/ show/hide columns to see more options)

I used to run the rust servers sub. I would have people post JSON posts, which i would then spider and generate a JSON DB from, and created a UI (see the gh-pages branch) to grab the JSON and present a searchable/filterable way of finding servers that are relevant to you.

math0ne 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been preaching the similarities of reddit to newsgroups and IRC forever so this seems like a natural evolution to me. Probably fairly easy for reddit to shut down though unfortunately.

Now if ISP's would start offering their own cached usable versions of reddit we would be getting somewhere :)

vbezhenar 1 day ago 1 reply      
I thought about creating an anonymous peer-to-peer network like BitMessage but over Twitter instead of over TCP/IP. The main benefit is that for the watching government hardware your traffic will flow to twitter, not to some suspicious computers. Of course if government can talk to Twitter, it might find out that activity, but not all governments can talk to Twitter.

Another improvement might be not to send base64 abracadabra, but instead send some readable texts (autogenerated or fragments from wikipedia) and encode message as a slight deviations (typos, etc) using steganography. But it would require a lot of messages to transmit enough data.

SyncOnGreen 1 day ago 1 reply      
I had the same idea few months ago, I've even coded simple POC in Java which mapped submissions in subreddit to files. You could use FUSE to create virtual device and map files in mounted folder to comments. For Java I was using fuse-jna - there should be binding for Python.
KeytarHero 1 day ago 0 replies      
Perhaps something like this could explain http://www.reddit.com/r/A858DE45F56D9BC9
nickpsecurity 1 day ago 0 replies      
A nice new example of what's called "parasitic storage." This kind should be easy enough to detect on Reddit's end: encrypted and binary data look very different from text. Further, if a site allows binary, it's different from crypto. The only type that's hard to filter is custom stego whose patterns look similar to normally accepted traffic. Extra true if it's a high volume site.
mtanski 1 day ago 0 replies      
You could randomly spread this over various subs, that and add erasure coding. This way if a chunk or two goes missing you can reconstruct the original blob.
digitalsushi 1 day ago 0 replies      
RedditStorage reminds me of a couple business models we tried out that tanked..

The first was a new business where we would go to trade shows, conventions, hell even fast food places, and just collect as many free beverages, condiments, napkins et cetera as possible. Then we'd sell them online.

The other one didn't do much better. We'd go to a Lowes Tool Rental, and just rent a bunch of tools and then re-rent them out of our truck in the parking lot. They had to have them back an hour before Lowes closed for the night.

Our current business model is, we go to bars and hit on people, and if we get their phone numbers, we add it to a subscription service where other people can have access to it.

Honestly, I feel we're no more in the wrong than RedditStorage is.. /s

biturd 1 day ago 2 replies      
how do you get a Mac OS X GUI around this if it is written in python? Can you do the same with perl, php, and other languages? Interface Builder has always been a stumbling block for me to even begin to learn Obj-C or Swift.
justintbassett 1 day ago 0 replies      
Please don't do this . . .
zedadex 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember once briefly thinking how fun it'd be to do something like this, before realizing with the spam filters the way they are it'd probably be the last thing I ever did on the site.

Neat proof-of-concept though

tomphoolery 1 day ago 0 replies      
> RedditStorage uses an AES encryption algorithm which requires you to choose a password (e.g. "bunny")

Some people still don't know what a password is? =D

harel 1 day ago 1 reply      
What happens when someone uses this to pollute popular subreddits? People will get pissed off...
vladtaltos 1 day ago 0 replies      
that is awesome in its complete disregard of reddit :) and a death sentence to itself if it gains popularity as reddit-admins will have to ban the accounts/discard the content :) so it's not that secure a storage idea...

nice little engineering work though. kudos.

mihau 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yeah, it can be done, but who the fuck needs that ?
spydum 1 day ago 2 replies      
does reddit not have some sort of posting throughput limit?
Hello World cockroachlabs.com
328 points by francesca  1 day ago   98 comments top 29
mackwic 1 day ago 2 replies      
The design page is the most interesting place to look at: https://github.com/cockroachdb/cockroach/blob/master/docs/de...
marknadal 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm the author of a distributed database, competing with them. Overall I'm refreshingly impressed with their design document. Which I am sad to say that most other databases don't come any where near thinking these things through except as an after thought - so I am glad to see they are making it their priority.

With that said, they seem to be assuming that their clock skew () has a fixed maximum boundary which is incredibly disconcerting to me as it implies that in certain (rare and anomalous) network partitions that they'll get data corruption and fail.

I can see how they, coming from a Spanner background with atomic clocks, might assume this. But this assumption requires that their database cluster is always connected, within some heartbeat interval (which they mention) such that they can trust there exists a maximum bounded skew.

So while it seems like a dumb question, I honestly must ask a very trivial question: how does CockroachDB handle basic network partitions? I assume they have a good answer to this, but it needs to be clarified in order to answer the more important issue of anomalous partitions, like split brain. This might rip the crockroach in half, quite literally, meaning that all other "guarantees" they give get thrown out the window like linearizability and global consistency.

patorjk 1 day ago 5 replies      
I know this is a small gripe, but the name of the company (even though it makes sense) makes my skin crawl a little. The name does stick in my memory though, so I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.
AgentME 1 day ago 1 reply      
I love hearing about a database that decides to focus on replication and self-healing itself! It drives me nuts how most databases implement a data store and then leave all the complexities of sharding and replication as an exercise to the reader, who is busy trying to get other things done.

I've been looking for a database which does sharding and replication automatically and without throwing away any focus on consistency and transactions, so I figure I'm likely to use this in the future. I've struggled to try to find any others meeting these criteria.

eis 1 day ago 1 reply      

 "Today, were launching CockroachDB for everyone. Use it. Build on it. Contribute to it!"
Does this mean it's more or less ready? The status in Github hasn't been updated in quite a while and lists it as Alpha with important parts like raft concensus still missing.

Can someone (preferably from the team) clarify the current situation?

PS.: CockroachDB is the only distributed DB that I would bet on going forward and being a solid base for a big distributed DB.

curiousDog 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been following the development of this project from the beginning and it has been very interesting to see how they've productized it. IIRC, they all used to work at Square (and before that in a startup called viewfinder) and started it on a hackweek.
EliRivers 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Opening line: Databases are the beating heart of every business in the world

Well that's not remotely true, is it? Not even close. Is it really a good idea to lead with something so obviously untrue? If you're trying to convince me of something (i.e. that this product is good), putting such a jarring, obvious falsehood right at the start is a bad idea. I'm wondering if they're deliberately spoofing their own seriousness, but I see nothing else in there to support that.

Mahn 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's worth noting that they are backed by Google Ventures apparently: https://twitter.com/GoogleVentures/status/606534505332154369
smrtinsert 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Team page looks like a Silicon Valley promo.
exacube 1 day ago 2 replies      
Man, these guys have a lot of stellar engineers with really strong backgrounds. They also have "free fridays".. which is crazy.
tzury 1 day ago 1 reply      
Using a bug name for a software product is an interesting strategy.
mbell 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Cockroach is a distributed key:value datastore (SQL and structured data layers of cockroach have yet to be defined) - emphasis mine

I guess this is interesting, but distributed hard consistency pure K-V stores have been done before, Zookeeper, etcd, etc. It seems like the vast majority of the hard work is left to do. I don't want to get into naming arguments, but I wouldn't really call this a 'database' yet. It doesn't sound like you can do anything but a key lookup or range query currently, which is incredibly limiting for most real world applications.

I somewhat question the approach. e.g. why not figure out the hard part first? i.e. build the `SQL and data layers` on top of zookeeper or etcd then replace the backend to scale better? I would think this would get a lot more early adopters. As is, it's a very niche usage case that the alpha fills.

danmaz74 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great storytelling, accompanied by a call to action at the end... but right there at the end a big bold button (or link) is missing, you need to figure out that the tech details are from the menu. Make it simpler for the reader!
mindstab 1 day ago 0 replies      

"The highest level of abstraction is the SQL layer (currently not implemented)."

dreamdu5t 1 day ago 0 replies      
How does Cockroach Labs plan on making money, with regards to the free license? Do you plan on providing hosting and support?
gauravagarwalr 1 day ago 2 replies      
As a consultant, how am I to ever push for this technology to clients and their developers?!
ilya-pi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Would love to see how it performs against Jepsen
rudiger 1 day ago 1 reply      
Arguably, the highest level of abstraction will be in the query language exposed to applications. Will it support SQL?
paulkonp 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well, at least users don't have to worry about open-source selling out...or do they?
zenogais 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been following this project for well over a year now. It's come a long way, has a long way to go still, but it's pretty exciting as an alternative to weak consistency stores available now.
posnet 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would be interested to see how it performs against the YCSB+T benchmark. Many claim SSI but very few achieve it.
noir-york 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looks awesome! Can't wait for the alpha.
liyanage 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm very happy to see that this is released under the Apache license.
jmspring 1 day ago 2 replies      
"Fast forward to the mid-2000s, when Google ushered in the NoSQL movement." ... Hubris? Fanboyism? Or not knowing history?


bra-ket 1 day ago 0 replies      
does it understand SQL?
tantalor 1 day ago 0 replies      
Proper title, please.
panon 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is what my brain messaged to me:https://xkcd.com/927/
brento 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm getting a 503
Rainymood 1 day ago 1 reply      
When I click on the image I am taken to this page. There seems to be no way to go back to the main page ...


Show HN: Mockups fixed by making collaboration effortless, built with React precursorapp.com
332 points by dwwoelfel  2 days ago   101 comments top 48
thebouv 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'm trying to figure out the audience.

I've never had to collaborate on a mockup. I make mockups. I review mockups. I mark mockups up. But I've never wanted to do one live with someone else. That's just me though so an example of when this is used would be great.

Some feedback: I use Balsamiq and have for years. The whole reason I use a mockup tool in the first place is so I don't have to draw everything by hand or make boxes in Photoshop. The ability to use pre-drawn UI items is golden.

While the collaboration features are cool and hi-tech, this seems like the beginnings of a mockup tool, but not a full one yet. So saying "we fixed mockups" seems a bit of a stretch. It's a nice start though and I look forward to seeing where it goes.

swannodette 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just wanted to chime in and say this beautiful application was built with a pretty cool technology stack: ClojureScript, Om (ClojureScript bindings to React), Clojure and Datomic.
arihant 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have mixed feelings here:

1. This is just wire-framing, not mock-ups. Adding mock-up features will take away the realtime-discussion-ness of the product, so that's that.

2. Wire-framing is essentially a brainstorming exercise. I'm not sure if it's actually very worthy to do initial brainstorm together.

3. But, what is valuable is that once you brainstorm, to show that to coworkers and let them make edits in realtime to discuss.

4. However, this product is fully focused on making the brainstorming part collaborative, not the review part. So much so that for the review use case, I can use it for free.

So I don't know. I'd still like to explore and brainstorm alone. Things must pass a threshold before they are shown out. Maybe there is a market, but I have never started on a blank canvas with a coworker.

foxpc 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is pretty amazing!

I am looking for a quick way to sketch some apps and this might be the simplest way to do so even though it misses a couple of things.

Some of the things to improve:

* Snapping. Sometimes when the area is small, the snapping is annoying as I won't be able to vertically center text in the box even though it should be possible physically. Maybe, turning off snapping?

* More text settings (font size at least)

* Predefined elements. Surely, it must be kept simple but things like arrows would help a lot and my crooked hands won't have to draw crooked arrows :)

dwwoelfel 1 day ago 1 reply      
If anybody from Trello is around, we'd love to do an integration. As Trello users ourselves, we want to be able to attach a Precursor wireframe directly to a card and sketch our ideas in a Precursor doc without leaving Trello.

Contact daniel@precursorapp.com

enriquecastl 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd like to congratulate you for such an impressive user interface: so fast, sleek and well designed. For the purpose of creating mocks I'd like to have more prebuilt components though.
dluan 1 day ago 0 replies      
WOW impressed with the shortcuts. Within a second of loading, I started using all the typical adobe shortcuts, and they even got a shift+? for the shortcut menu.

That alone is pretty impressive and shows that these guys know who they are building for. Well done!

* I know this is a tall order, but even adding some of the more technically difficult but basic functions like colors, shapes, borders, radiuses, gradients, etc would be incredible. Could you make a browser version of Sketch?

* * Slack needs to buy this app, now.

jondot 1 day ago 1 reply      
Amazing! I think you just raised the bar for UX. The level of detail is OCD crazy.

Any chance you can share how you got to such polish? the workflow of modeling the animations and UX? How you concluded SVG would be best? tooling you used?


1qaz2wsx3edc 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think something that could really help this app succeed, is sharable UI elements.

There are a lot of common things I don't want to redraw (date pickers, dropdowns, file uploads, etc, etc). However, I don't want these provided as a static set, because the web and my needs are always changing/growing.

If I was able to browse the community's drawings and add them to my profile for quick insertion into a mockup that would be great or even create my own for reuse.

Just my two, - Cheers

alextgordon 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is awesome. One tiny minor thing. Can you add a little bit of a delay to releasing shift when drawing a shape?

I'm spoiled by the behaviour in Photoshop where there's a little bit of a delay (~75ms) between releasing shift, and it taking effect. This means that both shift and the mouse button can be released simultaneously, instead of having to consciously be aware of the order that you release the keys.

JoelSutherland 2 days ago 0 replies      
This works amazingly well on a Surface with pen/touch. It's the fastest app I've seen for going from idea to wireframes. So impressive that this could be done with web tech.
guylepage3 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow! Impressive tool. We already can see the use cases for our workflow. One great one is when we need to quickly get the teams input on an idea or UI element. Dare I say Slack for UI?
ripberge 1 day ago 2 replies      
No offense, but this tool seems pretty raw. Why announce it now?

https://moqups.com is a great web based mockup app I have been using for a few years. It's very slick.

csel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Although there are many different tools out there, sometimes I just want to fire something up and start working on it. Speed, as in how quickly you can start working on something without having to tinker around with different tools and components is a huge plus. Use case scenario = design meetings, brainstorming sessions, client meetings etc. Plus the right click palette and the UI is very useful.

Assigning different colors for users working on the same canvas will be helpful to track who is working on what.

Considering this is an initial release, it is pretty amazing.

robotnoises 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice looking landing page. On the surface this seems to fill the void left by Easel.
artursapek 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like the tool selection mechanism. One minor suggestion there: allow me to make more quick, "jerky" gestures to select a tool by not limiting the size of the circle when I click/release really fast. So I should just be able to right click and flick to the right to get the rectangle tool. It's a tiny detail, but one that might be fun to implement :
mortenjorck 1 day ago 1 reply      
What's really great about this is that it is a prototyping tool that enforces low fidelity. Not having multiple colors, not getting to choose fonts is actually a major feature, because it requires all collaborators to focus on the layout and functionality before getting into the weeds.
desireco42 1 day ago 0 replies      
UX is great. Like others pointed out, it is of limited functionality. You would need to add pre-made elements to be able to wireframe things. Then ability to link those.

But UX is a solid foundation to continue developing this idea.

malux85 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow this is amazing! Great work guys. It's fluid and beautiful and functional.
newobj 1 day ago 0 replies      
The app is not personally useful to me, but this has to be the best feeling web app I've ever used. Fluid, no illusion-shattering glitches, everything just works, including "desktopisms". Kudos.
leephillips 2 days ago 0 replies      
Apparently this is made with Om (Om makes React available to Clojurescript).
danhardman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Having trouble zooming in and out (ctrl + scroll). The zoom is incredibly sensitive and once I've zoomed one way, I can't get back to normal... Only to the polar opposite.
krat0sprakhar 2 days ago 1 reply      
Good work! Looks like its built in Om?
rainings 1 day ago 0 replies      
First of all, this is an amazing app. It uses many SVG animation. But the drawback about SVG animation is when it comes to cross browser support, especially safari. You will have many issue working in safari browser. That is one of the reason i still pending to implement cool SVG animation and UI in to the real project development. Last but not least, Good work, keep it up.
Spooks 2 days ago 2 replies      
How did you find the process of working with React for this project compared to other js libraries
andrepd 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think this is a criticism of this app, so much as web developing as a whole, but it's crazy how this app is hogging one CPU core at 100% to draw a circle AND still runs at around 15fps.
vfrogger 1 day ago 0 replies      
Serious Slow Clap guys. To do this as a web app is really impressive. Great UI. Only recommendation would be to have a library of prebuilt commonly used components, similar to balsamiq, but I'm sure you are aware of them.
Omnipresent 1 day ago 0 replies      
Amazing app. I haven't explored React much yet. How is the collaboration part working i.e. changes made in one browser window show up in the another instantly. Is React being used for this?
cracell 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why can't apps like this have a accessible demo available to try it out? Not interested enough to spend time signing up and I avoid SSO whenever I can for various reasons.
nazgul1 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like it a lot but it's unusable for me as I need to make things that are longer than the screen (often much longer), yet this forces me to work within size of the screen.
planetjones 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have a black screen, a blue tooltip saying "Right-click" and nothing whatsoever happening when I right click.

Firefox 31.5.0

edit: is it really necessary to downvote for reporting a valid bug !?

patrickaljord 1 day ago 0 replies      
The presentation/intro/design looks amazing. Can't comment on the product itself as it's not my field of expertise but great job!
ciriarte 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks amazing! I love the responsiveness. Congratulations.
hoodoof 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sure looks cool and like looks of coding went into it.

Whether its something that meets a need, dunno.

mako-taco 1 day ago 0 replies      
Beautifully designed, and props to the engineers for keeping everything so snappy, even with all the animations. Really quality work.
randall 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've used this before and really liked it.
alexgaribay 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing app! The design is very elegant and clean. I love The minimal use of colors and UI interactions are delightful.
bliti 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is it supposed to work on mobile?
elwell 1 day ago 0 replies      
Excellent execution. I hope you can find a niche were it pays off.
mkagenius 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good work!

The pencil tool could be a little more smooth maybe? Like, when making circles?

drivingsouth 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love the design / feel
brobdingnagian 2 days ago 1 reply      
This app doesn't render correctly on my chromebook.
pachydermic 2 days ago 0 replies      
This seems really well made, guys. Way to go!
tacone 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's pretty sluggish on Firefox.
inflam52 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love this tool. Clean and easy to use.
dbg31415 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is cool, in concept. But there's no way that drawing all the shapes manually is an improvement over my existing system for creating annotated wireframes using Balsamiq (https://balsamiq.com/) and Red Pen (https://redpen.io/).

While I certainly do like feedback from the team, I don't want other people marking up my wireframes in a way that makes it impossible to tell who drew what / said what.

Site note, the latest version of Balsamiq is REALLY great. They added a bunch of simple things like Font Awesome Icons, and the ability to keep all the project wireframes in one file.

geniium 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very interesting!
ryan-allen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ah, this is nice, and fast!
Firefox Bugzilla: Remove Pocket Integration mozilla.org
326 points by toggle  19 hours ago   167 comments top 28
MisterWebz 18 hours ago 10 replies      
It is so unlike Mozilla to introduce something like that, I ran a virus scan and checked what programs had been installed recently -- I assumed it had been put there in the same way that IE users used to get the Ask Toolbar installed.

Exactly how I felt. What the hell were they thinking? I'm generally very supportive of Mozilla, I even supported their initiative to put advertisements on Firefox's start page. But bundling stuff like Pocket and Hello with Firefox is just ridiculous. Why not make it an official extension? That way users can easily disable or remove it.

jkaptur 18 hours ago 2 replies      
I really like both Firefox and Pocket, but I can't imagine a good reason for them to be integrated at this level. I searched for what justification has been offered and found [1]. I'd love to read something more informative and convincing.

[1] http://www.planet-libre.org/?post_id=18514

pc2g4d 15 hours ago 1 reply      
The Bugzilla ticket has been closed and people are instead being pointed at a corresponding post on the Mozilla Governance mailing list: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/mozilla.governance/2...

That's probably the most productive place to directly contribute to the official conversation.

BUT it also seems that the Pocket integration wasn't previously discussed on that mailing list. At least, that's what my cursory search seems to show: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/mozilla.governanc...

It makes me wonder whether mozilla.governance is really where these sorts of decisions get made....

(Note: cpeterso already posted the mozilla.governance link but I felt it deserved a top-level entry.)

SwellJoe 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I opted-in on the basis that I thought it was a Mozilla thing. I'm always willing to try new Mozilla things because I trust Mozilla completely. Or, at least, I did trust Mozilla completely.

I didn't know I ever had to read the fine print with anything from Mozilla, and it turns out I was wrong.

Which, I think is why so many people feel so strongly about it. At least, it's why I feel uncomfortable with this decision. It was not at all clear to me that Pocket was a third party service; I'd never heard of it, and the text describing what I was opting-in to didn't (that I recall) explicitly state who ran the service or that it was not a Mozilla service.

I don't want to go overboard about this; this isn't like SourceForge shipping malware. And, I don't want to make it seem like Mozilla isn't a provider and organization that I trust. But, this chips away at my trust. I feel misled, and I never thought I would feel that way about something Mozilla would do, which maybe makes it worse.

chimeracoder 18 hours ago 5 replies      
Since all of the comments on this page so far seem to be opposed to the integration:

I love Firefox's "Reader View". It's the only way that some pages are readable on my desktop or mobile device, because so many websites try to hijack scrolling, insert modal overlays and ads, or do all sorts of things that make it unbelievably frustrating to just read static text.

On the other hand, Reader View lacks a sync feature. There was one for a few days in Nightly, but it was buggy for the short time it existed, and it was removed.

I was hoping Firefox would improve the sync feature and bring it back eventually, but in all honesty, this is way better. The work that goes into making a seamless, syncing reader view is not trivial[0], and it makes more sense for Mozilla to focus on building a browser than to reinvent the wheel when Pocket already exists and works incredibly well with the same use case.

As for whether this should be "bundled" into the browser vs. an extension: I agree that it would be nicer philosophically if Pocket were a preinstalled extension. On the other hand, Firefox Hello is literally a preinstalled extension with no special integration or privileges (other than being preinstalled), and still some people made the same complaint about it when it launched[1]. So I take that complaint with a grain of salt.

And as for the performance impact of either, I'd have to see some data demonstrating that this actually leads to an appreciable (let alone measurable) increase in memory or CPU usage to be convinced that simply not using it is not an acceptable alternative.

[0] it may look that way, but there are a lot of corner cases

[1] From what I understand, Firefox Hello is simply an extension that leverages WebRTC features already built into the browser to enable video chat (with the assistance of a service provided by Telefonica, which assists in the routing).

firasd 18 hours ago 2 replies      
This trend of Firefox increasingly bundling more services and features is an interesting paradox considering that Firefox started as a quiet project to make a slimmed down, no frills browser in comparison to the main Mozilla browser.

Ive recently resumed using Firefox as my main browser partly driven by support of the project but also because Chrome was taking too much RAM and causing performance issues. Of course, when Chrome first came out it was a very slimmed down browser that used a lot less RAM compared to Firefox. Everything moves in cycles

pc2g4d 18 hours ago 1 reply      
A nicely written complaint about the inclusion of Pocket in the Firefox browser. The tone was respectful, but clear about the philosophical and technological flaws in the inclusion of Pocket.
zobzu 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Fuck yeah. Remove this crap. Never do it again.

Colleague working at mozilla showed me an internal email where the CEO says they checked metrics and Tiles and Pocket did not affect Firefox, and that their survey indicates people are okay with it.

This seems like total bs... I don't know anybody - including fx devs - that think its a good idea. In fact earlier versions of fxnightly had their own, not-pocket version that used sync as a backend.

bharad 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I am a Firefox user and also a Pocket user.I am on the same lines as the author. Pocket should not be bundled into Firefox. It should be an extension (hint: featured extension).
omouse 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Okay, develop a free/open source version. This is how it's been done in the past; you use a proprietary version of something until there's a free software version and then you work on the free software version until it's good enough.

Mozilla is in a heated competition with Google and other proprietary players. It isn't a niche product, it isn't made for a small part of the population. If adding Hello or Pocket to the browser gets more people to use Firefox or stick with it and spurs people to create free/open source replacements then it's alright.

The only thing I dislike is the underhanded way these changes have showed up. As if they knew the loud minority of users/devs wouldn't like it.

Animats 17 hours ago 3 replies      
I keep turning all that stuff off, and wonder if I missed anything. I don't want Firefox "social integration". I don't want "Pocket" in the browser. I don't want "Hello" snooping on my contact information. I don't want Yahoo (Yahoo? They just resell Bing) as the search provider.

Someone may have to fork Firefox. It's still open source, more or less.

kozukumi 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I want to love Firefox like I used too but shit like this keeps putting me off. It is the little things that are annoying me now. Pocket integration without asking. Lack of a decent EN_GB dictionary (and I have to go and hunt for the damn thing myself).

It is just depressing the state of browsers today. Sure they are more standard compliant but they all suck.

CarloSanta4 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't like the latest trends at Mozilla at all. I used to use Firefox for privacy. It was small and fast and stable. I don't want to disable all the bloatware like share, sync, Mozilla account, tab ads, pocket, chats whatever. Mozilla is on a big sellout trip. When Mozilla is not different to Google we can equally use Chrome - it's better anyway.
gcb0 14 hours ago 1 reply      
why stop there?

- telefonica service for voice chat.

- google scam site checker, phone-home component for every site you visit

- google services (the things responsible for ads no less) just so you can stream videos on android (can't even build firefox without including that SDK)

- adobe binary blob for DRM on netflix. (who even uses netflix on the browser?)

imrehg 8 hours ago 0 replies      
> Bugzilla is not for discussion of product decisions.

That sounds like a very arbitrary distinction, and an argument of convenience. Every line of code that gets into a software is a product decision one way or another...

scott_karana 18 hours ago 3 replies      
Add yourself to the CC list to endorse this ticket, without cluttering up the thread with needless "I agree" posts! :-)
ethana 18 hours ago 3 replies      
What I don't understand is that Firefox also include its own read later service that sync to Firefox users account. Are they planning to drop its own implementation and partner with Pocket?
ChrisGranger 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This page http://help.getpocket.com/customer/portal/articles/1999137-h... purports to tell you how to disable Pocket for Firefox, yet all it does is remove the button from the toolbar. Searching "pocket" in about:config reveals numerous preferences that can be edited, including browser.pocket.enabled which remains set to true after following Pocket's instructions.
GeorgeHahn 14 hours ago 0 replies      
What happened to the native Reading List? It was in Nightly for a time, but it appears to have disappeared recently.

I love Pocket, but I was looking forward to migrating to a setup where my data was kept private.

mordocai 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This bug report has been closed, we have been told to report this elsewhere. There are already many posts on their feedback forum, I haven't seen one on their governance forum.
maqr 18 hours ago 1 reply      
What's the best way to make this more prominent for Mozilla to see?

I made a bugzilla account and added my name to the CC list, but is there anything else I can do to help this get more recognition?

junto 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Before you know it they'll be bundling in Java, ActiveX and Ask toolbar.
paulmd 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I did my part: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1172218

Even though it will cost me a buttload of time to rebuild all my cookies: fuck Mozilla, when did they turn into SourceForge?

anonymousab 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Why couldn't it have been a bundled extension? Heck, add the option to turn it on to the update page.

At the very least it would allow people to remove it easily and entirely.

Siecje 15 hours ago 3 replies      
What is the difference between using Pocket and a bookmark?
netdog 10 hours ago 0 replies      
A remembrance of Zawinski's law seems apropos here.
sp332 18 hours ago 4 replies      
This bug report is not really clear. Does the submitter consider it bloat, or a privacy violation, or what? It should be obvious that the way it appears in Developer Edition (two releases ahead of "release") is not the way it will appear in the final version. This report should be about the way the feature is explained to the user, or about how hard it is to disable the feature, so that it can be improved.
ta0967 16 hours ago 0 replies      
mozilla, meet sourceforge.
In Search of the Red Cross' $500M in Haiti Relief npr.org
303 points by juanplusjuan  1 day ago   201 comments top 39
avar 1 day ago 8 replies      
The biggest revelation to me in that article, which I feel should be highlighted more, is that the Red Cross provides almost zero information about how it spends its money.

It refuses to provide more than very vague information about how the money was spent in Haiti (information like "35% of $488 million on shelters"), with no specific details about what projects they spent the money on, how those projects went etc.

When the author challenged the general counsel of the Red Cross to provide more detailed information ("because clearly you must have it") he just gave her some evasive boilerplate spiel about having provided the summary information he'd provided already.

How can anyone donate to a charity that's so stunningly opaque about how it spends its money?

jacquesm 1 day ago 8 replies      
I stopped giving to 'big charities' twenty years ago and since then have only helped people locally where I can see what happens to the money. That's a real pity because of course on a relative scale those are probably much less in need than the people in Haiti (and Nepal and other areas devastated by natural disasters). But the red cross - once a paragon of virtue - and a number of other big time charities that were very successful at raising capital but extremely poor at spending it well - if at all - except on themselves are directly to blame for this and I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only person that feels that way.

They'll never get another cent out of me until at least one of their large scale disaster responses works out well. If they can't spend a few million in a direct, useful and efficient way then I don't see how they could spend orders of magnitude more.

Governments are similarly inept at spending their money efficiently (well, maybe not quite this inept but there is plenty of incompetence there too), but we can't avoid paying into the tax coffers and where applicable we do get roads, healthcare, education, national defence, a police force and social security in return.

Because of the total lack of end-to-end accountability with organizations like the red cross and others like it there is nothing to stop them from squandering what they rake in. It would be a lot more efficient to mail an envelope with cash to a random address in a disaster area than it is to expect these organizations to make a go of it. They really ought to be ashamed of themselves rather than belligerently defensive such as illustrated in the article.

Security situation indeed, I think he meant 'job security'.

jonstokes 1 day ago 7 replies      
My wife and I worked in some Red Cross shelters in Lake Charles, LA in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. I wrote a bit about what I was doing here: http://arstechnica.com/security/2005/10/disaster-livecd/

My take-away from that is that I would never, ever donate a dime to that organization. The people in the local chapters who were the first to respond immediately after the disaster were fantastic. But when the national org eventually came in (and brought layers of on-site bureaucracy with them) it was a train wreck, and they started throwing their weight around cluelessly and got in the way of everyone and everything. If the full-time, paid staff of the Red Cross had just left things entirely in the hands of the local volunteers and had stayed out of the area entirely, things would have gone much more smoothly.

Private companies did so much more than many of the relief orgs. Sprint, for instance, gave us free event phones for the shelter residents to use to try to contact family. No worries about billing, or even if they'd get the phones back. Home Depot's efforts in the aftermath have been well-documented. And I believe it was IBM (my memory may be faulty) who donated thousands in computer equipment to the shelters where I was working, which the shelter residents used to track down friends and family who they'd been separated from by the storm.

I don't know if I'll ever have another experience like talking to some lower-level person at a big company, telling them that I'm there from a Katrina shelter where I just showed up to volunteer and have no formal association with any org, then immediately being escalated all the way up the chain to someone who makes decisions and that person says, "just tell us what you need from us and we'll do it. Don't worry about any cost or billing issues. Tell us what and when and where." That was awesome.

It was also a stark contrast, to be totally empowered by the likes of Sprint and IBM on the one hand, and then ignored and pushed aside by the Red Cross on the other. Pretty crazy.

The Salvation Army was maybe the one aid org that had their act together. Red Cross national staff and FEMA were worthless. Anyway, I regret that I didn't write all this down after it happened. Between my wife and I there's a great book -- or at least a really long magazine article -- in there somewhere.

mason240 1 day ago 1 reply      
There is a good analysis of this on skeptics stackexchange.


>TLDR: The article has accidentally or deliberately confused the earthquake relief project with the much smaller neighborhood renewal project, and attacked them both for not doing things they weren't intended to do. The Red Cross did much more in Haiti than build six houses.

lucb1e 1 day ago 4 replies      
TL;DR (the informational bits):

> First the Red Cross took a customary administrative cut, then the charities that received the money took their own fees. And then, according to the Red Cross' records, the charity took out an additional amount to pay for what it calls the "program costs incurred in managing" these third-party projects.

> In one of the programs reviewed by NPR and ProPublica, these costs ate up a third of the money that was supposed to help Haitians.


> said that a fifth of the money the charity raised would go to "provide tens of thousands of people with permanent homes ... where we develop brand-new communities ... including water and sanitation."

> The charity built six permanent homes and, according to their own account, no new communities.


> the project manager [...] was entitled to allowances for housing, food and other expenses, home leave trips, R&R four times a year, and relocation expenses. In all, including salary, it added up to $140,000.


These are the only factual bits I can find. I'm not saying the rest is untrue, but they include statements from locals who "cannot see that $24 million has been spent here," whatever that means.

Another example is where it says "first, the plan was to build houses," then going on to describe that people are still living in tents. But how many people live in tents? What percentage? How many houses were actually built? Or did they build 10 villas and leave the rest in tents? There is no real information that I can find.

A bit further on, it does include this:

> The original plan was to build 700 new homes with living rooms and bathrooms. The Red Cross says it ran into problems acquiring land rights.

... so then out of the 700, how many were built? It doesn't say anything about that.

bretthagler 20 hours ago 2 replies      
We could fund 83,000 homes in Haiti with $500,000,000.

We're Newstorycharity.org - a current YC nonprofit working in Haiti to crowdfund homes- 100% of public donations go to home construction - donors see exactly who they give to before they donate and a video of the EXACT family they funded in their new home after

We're launching a summer campaign "100 Homes in 100 Days" [newstorycharity.org/100] in Haiti, and would love for the support of this community in showing how the future of philanthropy is built on transparency and technology.

mod 1 day ago 2 replies      
This organization is doing good work in Haiti, check it out: http://mohhaiti.org/

They get a stellar rating; to my recollection, 96% of donated funds go to the cause (4% overhead).

They're an overtly Christian organization, which may or may not be your thing. But they're doing good work.

Disclaimer: A company I worked for did some work for them a couple of years ago. I'm no longer affiliated in any way.

Gupie 1 day ago 7 replies      
$500M sound like a large sum. It is if that is you personal wealth. However for Haiti with a population of over 10M it is only $50 per head.

According to the article the Red Cross built shelters for 130,000 people. The would be $384 per shelter if that was all the Red Cross did. But they also fed people, provided clean water, medical aid...

It is easy to attack big charities. You get support from people who feel guilty for being mean bastards, for people who don't like foreign organisations, from big business who want to profit out of natural disasters...

jnbiche 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Just think the impact that would have had if it had been divided up and given directly to each Haitian adult. The adult population of Haiti is roughly 6 million, so we're talking about almost $100 per adult Haitian. Roughly, it's about 1/8 of the per capita GDP of Haiti.

Imagine what you could if you were a poor American and received 1/8 of the American per capita GDP after a disaster (~6000 USD). That's a new roof, or a replacement vehicle, etc.

It's not life changing, but it would have been very significant, and massive in scale.

comboy 23 hours ago 0 replies      
For those wanting to help, I highly recommend Givewell[1]. I imagine many of HN readers are (were) also lesswrong readers. This article[2] gives you some insight how Givewell evaluates organizations that they support.

[1] http://www.givewell.org/

[2] http://lesswrong.com/lw/cbs/thoughts_on_the_singularity_inst...

xacaxulu 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I've spent years working in sub-Saharan Africa with defense, security, oil firms etc. and have spent a fair amount of time interacting with non-profit, NGO, microfinance orgs. Not only do they operate with the weakest of reporting requirements, taxation burdens and investigatory/compliance statutes, but the people they employ are usually doing so out of a desire to help people, often taking seriously sub-standard salaries for similar work. So the top brass at these orgs are killing it and raking in money, while most of the grunt work is done by hapless bleeding hearts who are seriously underpaid for the work they do. It's a win at both ends for management.
pumblechook 20 hours ago 0 replies      
NPR is targeting ARC, but this is actually a bigger, more difficult problem for the charity industry than one organization not disclosing where it spends its money.

I used to work for a large ($500 million+ annual revenue) NGO fundraising department, both in major gifts and direct response marketing (digital), and I have colleagues who now work for similar organizations (including ARC). We would all tell you that most organizations, even (maybe especially) the largest ones, are absolutely horrible at having any idea whatsoever of the impact of their programs. Even worse, the leadership in these organizations are ambivalent at best at assessing the impact.

Why? Because organizations simply don't have much, if any, incentive to do so. And perhaps more shocking to me, the vast majority of donors don't care. Most people are content to give and reap the warm/fuzzy feeling they get, then not think about it again until year end when taxes are due. Simply put, most people treat giving like buying a product at the store: they hand over money in exchange for the warm and fuzzies. Transaction over.

The people who actually demand some sort of accountability are a minority who are often treated as anti-charity, as in, "Why would we spend money on assessing impact when we can spend that money helping more people?". The result are token 'watch dog' groups like Charity Navigator that latch on to red herrings like 'efficiency' ratings which non-profits have learned to manipulate to the point that they are functionally useless.

ARC is simply the product of a rotten system, and it is far from the only one. If you want to help cure this sickness, only give to organizations that can demonstrate the impact your dollars are having on the cause you care about. Ignore the so-called efficiency splits that say charity Y gives z% of your dollars to programs. These are accounting shenanigans, and nothing more

guelo 1 day ago 0 replies      
chkuendig 1 day ago 1 reply      
I just finished reading The Big Truck That Went By [1] by Jonathan Katz. It's an amazing account on what happened after the earthquake has hit and why most development help didn't have the impact we had hoped for.

One of the reason he touches is that emergency relief groups like the Red Cross (and other, e.g. MSF) aren't setup to do the nation-building Haiti actually needed, but for more rapid and short term support as is needed in war zones, refugee camps or rural disaster areas (tents, water, food etc.).

I can only recommend the book. I found it through his article on the NYTimes [2] which touches most points.

Most embarrassing for a journalist, they were wrong in ways that would have immediately been made clear had we taken the time to ask some basic questions.

Food and water, for example. When I was in Haiti two years later, to research the relief effort for a book, I was shocked to discover that no one could tell me with any precision if there was ever a food or water shortage in the first place. No one among the responders had even contacted the Coordination Nationale de la Scurit Alimentaire the Haitian government agency overseeing food security to find out what might be needed. Indeed, earthquakes tend to inflict the worst damage on cities, not farms especially in countries that already have limited infrastructure and Haitis urban areas didnt have any sewers or piped drinking water to begin with.

People indeed lost their homes and incomes, and markets closed. But the World Food Program had enough supplies in its Port-au-Prince warehouses which survived the quake to feed 300,000 people one full meal for three weeks. There was no acute food or malnutrition crisis after the quake; that much we know. But it seems very likely that the city could have avoided one even without the frenzied aid push.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/The-Big-Truck-That-Went-ebook/dp/B009O...

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/28/magazine/how-not-to-report...

orbitingpluto 23 hours ago 2 replies      
My antecdote about corruption in Haiti.

Went to a friend's wedding in 2007. One of the guests worked at CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency). I asked the guest as many questions as I could. There was a preliminary research trip before a Canadian official made her visit to Haiti. The purpose? To geolocate and photograph the facilities. And when I say facilities, think toilets. Making sure the white Canadian could poo-poo comfortably counted as aid.

Sure Haiti is incredibly corrupt, I remember that one of the ex-president's (Not Aristide) was head of the local kidnapping ring in Port Au Prince. But that's just small stuff. America and Canada use Haiti like it's their own toilet and want it to remain that way, in spite of the intentions of a select few and the limited posturing to the contrary.

One of the most disturbing things for me is to look at Hispaniola on Google Maps. The Dominican Replublic is lush and green. Haiti is a greyed out ####-hole.

I could go on and on, but reading up on an actual humanitarian in the region, Dr Paul Farmer, and his publications is a good start:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Farmer

swframe 1 day ago 0 replies      
At the end of the story, they mentioned that local Haitian organizations were building lots of homes. It was also mentioned that there is lots of money still unspent. It seems that the Red Cross (or the US Gov) just needs to fund those organizations with a proven track record.

Sometimes I think news organizations are (unintentionally) exacerbating the root cause of these problems. They report on incompetence but don't report on how the public can fix it. I don't think the Red Cross will fix it without public pressure. It leaves the audience with a sense of helplessness that leads to cynicism and apathy. It would be better to end the story with suggestions on how the average citizen can fix these issues.

bretthagler 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Where 100% of http://newstorycharity.org donations go: (1)http://newstorycharity.org/roseline*be sure to click on the home cost breakdown.

The 33 families we've funded in 6 months: (2) http://newstorycharity.org/families-page#funded-families

Example of a video every donor gets: (3) http://newstorycharity.org/maria-rose

sehugg 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow .. could their PR be any more defensive?

NPR and ProPublica were "creating ill will in the community, which may give rise to a security incident," the email says. "We will hold you and your news organizations fully responsible."

No security incident happened but residents did ask if they could keep the brochure.

geetee 1 day ago 1 reply      
VICE on HBO did a good piece on the failure of USAID in Haiti: https://nonprofitquarterly.org/policysocial-context/26018-hb...
bargl 1 day ago 2 replies      
OH man this infuriates me. Ive spent time volunteering in two different locations (Bolivia and Haiti), both were great experiences for me, but I only feel that my time in Bolivia really benifited the people there in the long term.

I spent about three months on the ground in Haiti after the earthquake. I wasnt a first responder or anything, I actually arrived 6 months after the earthquake, so most of the emergency relief was over. I left during some unrest and was told not to return by the nuns there for fear of my safety. I regret not going back to this day.

After that I went to Bolivia for 6 months. There I was a teacher and mentor to some of the more rural communities. Again, both were great experiences but we actually helped in the Bolivian community in a long term manner, where as in Haiti, we didnt really help anyone, we just floundered like fish out of water. Which is what I think most people were doing.

The reason I think this was the case for most NGOs in Haiti is because of the bias that is expressed in the article. NGOs come to work on the Haitians not with them. I was there to sell them a bill of goos, and not to ask what they needed.

This was made very clear by one example. I was shown a groundbreaking new technology, where you could assemble a house from simple materials made of compressed wood that would stand up to hurricane force winds. The issue is that it wasnt something the Haitian people wanted to use. When we showed it to them they seemed baffled as to how this was a permanent house. They all aspire to the same things we do, that is a solid 4 walls and roof over our heads, not just temporary shelter.

The shelters ended up being a dead end project that floundered because we couldnt get Haitian support, and I left feeling that I had been more a burden then a support for my friends in Haiti.

In contrast my time in Bolivia was focused and intense. We were working for the nuns in Bolivia, not on them. The goal of this project was to build up a school on the shoulders of American volunteers and then leave the community when it was stable, and when the nuns said they didnt need us anymore.

In the beginning of the program the volunteers taught core math and science courses and they were integral to the operation of the school. 10 years later (during my time there) we taught basic English classes and visited the neighboring communities. It was rewarding work, but we could see that soon they would no longer need volunteers. After about 20 years of volunteers in this community the school was self-sufficient and the nuns let us know that they didnt need any more volunteers.

The main difference between our success in Bolivia and relative failure in Haiti was customer buy in. In Haiti we were working on the people not for them. The trust (as stated in the article) wasnt there and the Haitian people were not leading the effort. This led to some very beautifully created architecture that the people didnt want to live in.

In my opinion the goal of any NGO should be to build self-sufficiency in a community so that it can stand on its own. The Red Cross didnt do that. There are organizations out there that have (even in Haiti) if youd like some references on how to donate to a meaningful charity read Mountains Beyond Mountains and help Paul Farmer out, or just donate to Partners in Health. Note: I have no affiliation with him or his foundation.

I do have more anecdotes, but Ill leave it at that for now.

Edit: Re-Wrote the whole thing. Thank you nate_meurer, I hope this is clearer, if not please let me know where I can clean it up and Ill try to get it right. The original in comments in my response to nate_meurer.

meesterdude 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm building an app that utilizes people giving to charities - red cross seemed like an obvious choice to include, but now there's no way.

This has been helpful in sleuthing out reputable charities: http://www.charitynavigator.org/

88e282102ae2e5b 1 day ago 2 replies      
Their defense is pretty weak. Essentially they're claiming the reason houses didn't get built was because they didn't know how to build them, or that there were land disputes. All of which are true. But that should have prevented them from spending any significant amount of money.
tertius 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I find it interesting that no one here has mentioned the Clinton Foundation, they raised a LOT more money and we have the same problem. They did build a hotel though... And they're getting more involved in gold mining.
sul4bh 1 day ago 0 replies      
This makes me think if they will repeat this all over again in Nepal.
vittore 1 day ago 0 replies      
We need totally transparent charities across the globe. A lot of my friend here in US prefer to support small local charities that they exactly know how money are going to be spent, even more, they can donate time and participate in those activities. Unfortunately for the charities of a large scale other concerns comes to play, especially here in US - taxes.
carsonreinke 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I always like to research a charity a bit, because of this fear. Charity Navigator is a good one: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary...
kamilszybalski 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of the best and most transparent charities I've ever donated to - https://www.charitywater.org/ I heard the founder speak at a company event a while back and it's truly inspirational.
brianstorms 1 day ago 0 replies      
This story reminded me of the Pink Ribbons [1] documentary, which exposes the money-making charities behind breast cancer. Worth finding and watching.

[1] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2035599/

vasilipupkin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sorry for the plug - but that's why I invested in https://publicgood.com - I think they can make it easier to donate to more nimble, locally focused and potentially more effective organizations
dsugarman 1 day ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know anything about the effectiveness of other Haiti efforts like Mercy Corps?
cletus 1 day ago 2 replies      
Sadly this kind of mismanagement and questionable decision-making isn't new [1] [2] [3].

It really seems like a lot of big charities are simply in the business of raising money rather than helping people. One wonders how that money is actually spent.

It seems very much like good local charities are a far better conduit for charitable gifts.

[1] http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Red_Cross#September_...

[2] http://www.cbsnews.com/news/red-faces-at-the-red-cross/

[3] http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-09-28-katrin...

the_ancient 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Never Donate to the Red Cross..... There are far far far far better organizations out there.
coldcode 1 day ago 1 reply      
Any charity that doesn't give you a detailed list of what the money was spent on shouldn't get your money.
kyrre 23 hours ago 1 reply      
this is the exact scenario in envision whenever someone asks for donations, which happened /a lot/ when i was living in London, where it appears to be a thriving "industry"

imo, working for charitable organizations is unethical

CyberpunkDad 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Just listened to the NPR piece the other day and it does really sound shady.
ck2 1 day ago 1 reply      
Red Cross is notoriously corrupt, yet after every disaster they get so much free publicity.
wahsd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wait. Didn't VICE do an excellent expose on this very topic, relief capitalism? edit: they call it disaster capitalism, but relief capitalism is also a real thing.

Pretty sure it's not the full episode, but this is a summary of the episode. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNM4kEUEcp8

America's dirty little secret is that the majority of our "aid" is really not aid at all an not really meant for aiding and assisting. This is not really a new thing. It's actually a very old and disastrous thing.

pvaldes 1 day ago 1 reply      
"The original plan was to build 700 new homes with living rooms and bathrooms. The Red Cross says it ran into problems acquiring land rights. Their internal memos, show there were other serious problems, including multiple staffing changes and long bureaucratic delays. And then there was a period of almost a year when the whole project appears to have sat dormant."

Haiti people was claimed as one of the worsts enemies of Haiti.

A lot of projects were stopped for months by bureaucracy. Some volunteers even claimed to had been menaced with a trial if they dare to move a single rock blocking the street without papers (that often never arrived). Volunteers and doctors did what they can, and it was a lot (thousands or probably hundreds of expensive chirurgical interventions). Finally, tired to sit and wait for months, volunteers spend their last pennies and started returning to their homes and former lives. Other big disasters with hundreds of lifes in danger occur, and Haitians just lost traction and their opportunity to use all those talented people.

Red Cross provides information about how spends the money and pass external audits from independent companies. Each year. In all countries. Local finances are published in red cross bulletins that are available each six months to all people supporting the red cross with their money or time. Maybe this periodist just didn't knew how to use google:


Or maybe some of the promised money from donors was just this, a nice promise, and now they need a scapegoat.

OpenSesame A device that can open fixed-code garage doors in seconds samy.pl
293 points by gh0std4ncer  1 day ago   101 comments top 15
mrb 1 day ago 9 replies      
Three weeks ago I reverse-engineered my garage door opener wireless protocol. I probed the remote's PCB with a Saleae logic analyzer and found it was a 12-bit code ASK-modulated at 390 MHz with bits encoded as sequences of 10 kHz and 20 kHz pulses. I bought a $13 spare remote to hack it and control the RF transmitter section from my computer through an FT232 sending the ASK signal. I just cut off the digital signal trace going from the MCU to the RF transmitter and hooked it to the FT232. I built a brute-forcer and it works quite well. I do not have my notes at the moment, but IIRC one code takes 25.6 ms to be sent. And my manufacturer (Genie) seems to require the code to be transmitted 4 times consecutively to open the door, that's 102.4 ms. Multiplied by 4096 combinations, this gave me a brute-forcing time of 7 minutes.

I had tried Samy's exact attack to reduce the brute-forcing time but it did not work at the time because I tried it before I discovered the code had to be sent 4 times consecutively (5 times makes it more reliable due to RF interferences). So I am not surprised to see Genie absent from the list of models Samy found vulnerable.

But I should try to find out the longest period of time during which these 4 repetitions of the code need to be sent. Maybe it does not have to be perfectly consecutive, but it could be 4 codes received within an interval of 200 ms or 1000 ms. If so it might still be possible to build a modified De Bruijn sequence that repeats codes 4 times while being only 4 times longer.

By the way it is very surprising a description of the 12-bit Genie protocol does not appear to exist online. These remotes are so easy to reverse engineer, so common (Genie is in the top 3 or top 4 most common openers), and so old (the protocol has existed since 1985), you would think there would be information about it online, but nope.

PS: I wonder if there could be commercial interest in cryptographically secure garage door openers? A $0.50 ARM Cortex-M0 MCU is all you need to implement a HOTP based on HMAC-SHA1. Then a simple learning/pairing system writing the key in EEPROM can even sustain the battery being removed from the remote. But there is probably no interest... which is why most remotes are insecure even the "rolling code" ones.

(Edited to clarify some tech details.)

zimbu668 1 day ago 4 replies      
> It may be time to upgrade your garage door opener.

If you're worried about this, make sure your garage door can't be opened with a coat hanger as well:


Also most of your door locks can probably be opened in a few seconds with the right tools+experience:



Of course someone could always just throw a brick through a window.

murbard2 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Wikipedia article doesn't mention this, but the de Bruijn sequence can be computed greedily.

Start with 000...0, keep appending the largest digit possible that doesn't produce a code that's already been used and you'll go through all the codes.

ook 1 day ago 0 replies      
"but most of all, samy is my hero"

Context - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samy_(computer_worm)

phkahler 1 day ago 0 replies      
The "De Bruijn sequence". I was wondering what that was called, since I realized it's optimal for creating IFS fractals. I figured it must have a name. Yay!
unoti 1 day ago 4 replies      
Which should I consider more insecure: my garage door, or the deadbolt on my front door? I wonder how commonly lock picking is used in crimes. I've picked a lock before myself, but I have no real idea how effective locks are in stopping people that want to commit house thefts.

I expect an automated garage door opener is much easier to use than a lock pick though, and probably easier to produce and distribute than lock picks. So I shouldn't consider garages as secure.

josep2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Time to enable two-factor authentication on my garage.
windexh8er 1 day ago 2 replies      
Very interesting. I used to work with an older gentlemen who did RF comms in the military and back in early 2000s he used to tell me stories about his random RF hacking. One such story was around a garage door opener he modified with a potentiometer so he could test opening frequencies by rotating the dial. Obviously this wouldn't work for the "newer" style openers.

I've recently purchased a HackRF to start to learn about RF technologies in consumer grade "security" products like garage door openers, Z-Wave, wireless home security systems, etc. I've realized that after watching the first (very well done) video by Michael Ossman on HackRF that it's not going to be something easy to learn overnight.

While I'm sure this would be "easy" to do with HackRF given what I've read on Samy's site, does anyone have any input on how/why using this recycled hardware would be better in some regard?

acd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can't one just sniff the code from the airwaves with a GNU radio RF scanner? Not that it is as cool as brute forcing it in 8 seconds but in someways it seems simpler and more universal.
unoti 1 day ago 0 replies      
Project idea: use a Raspberry Pi to control your garage door opener, and a battery powered microcontroller in a remote to use a challenge-response scheme to open a garage door.
fapjacks 1 day ago 0 replies      
I created a very similar device when I was 17. Back then though, most people with openers had analog remotes. This was one of the first times in my life I ever used (and subsequently purchased) a frequency counter. Oh, what excellent memories.
tarikjn 1 day ago 0 replies      
That De Bruijn sequence is highly similar to the way DNA codons can be read.
niels_olson 1 day ago 0 replies      
The classification markings (U) are a nice touch :)
pingec 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are there any arduino-based garage door brute forcing projects?
untitaker_ 1 day ago 2 replies      
Might as well post a more direct link: http://samy.pl/opensesame/
Eight years today (2012) paulbuchheit.blogspot.com
268 points by tosh  2 days ago   82 comments top 14
benihana 2 days ago 3 replies      
I can't remember a time where the finality of death and the pointlessness of life hasn't struck me. I can't remember a day past the age of 16 where I didn't think about the fact that everyone I know, literally every single thing I've ever experienced will die, or wither away.

Even the sun. One of the most powerful entities my mind can possibly comprehend. The entire reason for everything we know. The source of nearly every tiny bit of energy we consume. It's temporary. It'll be gone one day and when it is, it'll be like it was never there.

Accepting these things is one of the most terrifying, difficult, powerful and freeing things I've done. It's very powerful to be able to step back and assess my situation in the context of "will this matter in 50 years when I'm on my deathbed?" In so many difficult decisions, it's made the answer clear: "in 50 years, will I remember feeling good because I took my parents' advice and didn't move and didn't upset them? Or will I look back with regret on the opportunity I didn't take across the country."

I really like this article. It's very important to remember that everything we think is so strong and foundational can go away in the blink of an eye.

crimsonalucard 1 day ago 1 reply      
Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.

James J. Lachard

Rainymood 2 days ago 0 replies      
>Eight years since Steve died. I keep looking for meaning, but all I've found so far is that in order to be at peace with the present, we must be at peace with the past, because the present is a product of the past. Accept. Accept. Accept. Learn to love the present moment. What happened, happened. It's difficult to understand the big picture when our lives are mere brush strokes on the canvas of reality. Trusting that it all fits together to form something beautiful is the purest form of faith. Anything else is a dangerous distraction. No contracts with God, no expectations of reward, just trust.

Beautifully written ...

noswi 2 days ago 0 replies      
For me, it was a book on stoicism ("A Guide to the Good Life The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy" by William B Irvine) that showed me that, while it's not possible to avoid the inevitable pains and losses just semi-regular thoughts about it, imagining the world where the losses have already happened, allows immense enjoyment and appreciation of the current moments.

Also, as an unexpected bonus, the book showed that philosophy shouldn't neccesarily be only theoretical high-brow word games, it can be a pleasant and highly practical experience as well.

mod 1 day ago 0 replies      
I found this article a couple of years ago, probably here on HN, and it helped me through a dark time.

I find myself coming back to it very often, or sharing it with others.

I found a lot of peace with this quote:

> I keep looking for meaning, but all I've found so far is that in order to be at peace with the present, we must be at peace with the past, because the present is a product of the past. Accept. Accept. Accept. Learn to love the present moment. What happened, happened.

taphangum 2 days ago 1 reply      
Honestly the best thing I've read today.
joslin01 2 days ago 0 replies      
Beautiful read.

> I keep looking for meaning, but all I've found so far is that in order to be at peace with the present, we must be at peace with the past, because the present is a product of the past. Accept. Accept. Accept. Learn to love the present moment.

Sometimes it helps me to remember that the present is literally the only thing that exists. Looking too much into the past produces guilt; too much into the future, anxiety. I hope in this new world we're building with all the great technology, we put a stronger emphasis on learning contentment which can only come from accepting the present in all its myriad forms.

trequartista 2 days ago 0 replies      
Been having a rough couple of days at work. This is very touching and very uplifting. Thanks for sharing
mkagenius 2 days ago 2 replies      
> Those who push only for the sake of some future reward, or to avoid failure, very often burn out, sometimes tragically.

How does one not become complacent after reading this? I am confused. On one hand people pull all nighters doing mundane things as doing customer support because you are the founder, and you have to do it (and endanger their health and maybe life). And on the other hand this.

danvoell 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing. Before clicking through, I thought this was going to be the story of inventing gmail.
educationcto 2 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks for posting, Paul.
halosghost 2 days ago 0 replies      
Dewie3 2 days ago 0 replies      
Eight years ago, more than three years ago today.
mparr4 2 days ago 4 replies      
A beautiful reminder of the relativity of it all.

Paul's closing remarks remind me of a bit that the late Bill Hicks used to sign off with:

The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it's real because that's how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it's very brightly colored, and it's very loud, and it's fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, "Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?" And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, "Hey, don't worry; don't be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride." And we kill those people. "Shut him up! I've got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real." It's just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok But it doesn't matter, because it's just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It's only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.

Edward Snowden: The World Says No to Surveillance nytimes.com
252 points by digisth  1 day ago   47 comments top 6
nabeelahmed13 1 day ago 0 replies      
Those mistaking Snowden for being naive and idealistic, note that he may actually believe there has been progress.

Sadly, I don't have a source, but I remember him saying in an interview that when he handed over the documents to Greenwald and Poitras, he thought nothing would come of it. That it would be forgotten and never get on the radar.

That isn't the case.

Sure, we have a long way to go, and the situation is much more nuanced than he makes it to be, but from his view, this is progress.

danso 1 day ago 4 replies      
I don't disagree with Snowden's sentiment, and I know it's possible he didn't write the headline...but "The World Says No to Surveillance" is simplistic and inaccurate.

The obvious rebuttal is "But China"...but beyond that, among the Western powers: France and Britain, among others. And Snowden acknowledges this (which is why I don't assume he wrote the headline, necessarily):

> Spymasters in Australia, Canada and France have exploited recent tragedies to seek intrusive new powers despite evidence such programs would not have prevented attacks. Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain recently mused, Do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read? He soon found his answer, proclaiming that for too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: As long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.

Again, it's not that Snowden is wrong in his opinion about surveillance. But it's wrong to think that the world, or any kind of non-U.S.-status quo, is anti-surveillance. The battle is much more uphill than that and those who want to fight it have to keep that in mind.

uptown 1 day ago 3 replies      
"As you read this online, the United States government makes a note."
dpweb 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm no apologist for someone who works for our government and publicly releases secrets that may damage the nation's security - and I've been fooled before - but I was quite moved by the HBO documentary - both in describing his situation and point of view, but also with his intelligence and way he conducted himself.

He would and will have to very sharp (and lucky) to stand any chance against the forces aligned against him. I think a United States congressman publicly called for his murder at one point. I can't imagine. I think, if he does truly care as much as he claims, he will inevitably have come back to the US to face trial. The time is coming when that will be the most important thing he can do to advance his cause.

spcoll 1 day ago 8 replies      
Snowden is a traitor and deserves to be locked up.
vph 1 day ago 3 replies      
I don't get this guy. He seems smart and naive at the same time. He's living right under the nose of one of the largest spy agencies in the world: the KGB. Okay, I can see he doesn't want to talk about them. Fine. But he seems to call for the destruction of the American spy agencies. Really? Russia, China, and all of our "allies" ain't going to close their spy agencies even if the US does. What do you want? America with no spies operating in a this world? How about we give up all of our weapons too? That will make the world a safer better place? Right? I just don't get this guy.
GiveDirectly Gives Poor People a Year's Income huffingtonpost.com
248 points by bcx  23 hours ago   116 comments top 15
datashovel 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
90 cents on the dollar is extremely efficient. And from the sound of it all the studies indicate it's extremely effective as well.

Don't tell FOX News, as I'm sure they'll find a way to give this a negative spin.

tempestn 18 hours ago 4 replies      
This sounds great, and I'm certainly interested in following their progress.

I am curious what the effects are on those who don't receive the transfers. (Those who don't meet the requirements, or live in neighboring towns, for instance.) While I'm certainly not saying it outweighs the positive effects, there must be some negative unintended consequences. Someone uses the funds to start a business, which is enough to make an existing business in the field unprofitable for instance. I wonder how much research has gone into those types of side effects.

My understanding is also that direct cash infusions can have undesirable macro effects - basically Dutch Disease caused by aid money instead of natural resources. Again I'm curious to what extent those effects are understood.

If anyone has knowledge or links to resources along those lines, please share! I did find this somewhat more critical review[1] but it still just focuses on the recipients, rather than knock-on effects.

[1] http://www.ssireview.org/blog/entry/givedirectly_not_so_fast

GFischer 22 hours ago 5 replies      
Very interesting, and a stark contrast to the article about the Red Cross relief:


jbniche points out: "Just think the impact that would have had if it had been divided up and given directly to each Haitian adult. The adult population of Haiti is roughly 6 million, so we're talking about almost $100 per adult Haitian. Roughly, it's about 1/8 of the per capita GDP of Haiti.Imagine what you could if you were a poor American and received 1/8 of the American per capita GDP after a disaster (~6000 USD). That's a new roof, or a replacement vehicle, etc.It's not life changing, but it would have been very significant, and massive in scale."


and the article supports his point, saying that "A 2013 study in Uganda found that people who received cash enjoyed a 49 percent earnings boost after two years, and a 41 percent increase after four years, compared to people who hadn't gotten a transfer. Another study in Sri Lanka found rates of return averaging 80 percent after five years. In Uganda, not only were the cash recipients better off, but their number of hours worked and labor productivity actually increased."

But for smaller amounts (like the U$ 100 proposed), "One program gave $200 to at-risk Liberian men who were either homeless or who made their income from dealing drugs or stealing. The lead researcher, Chris Blattman, summarized the findings in an op-ed in The New York Times:

"Almost no men wasted [the money]. In the months after they got the cash, most dressed, ate and lived better. Unlike the Ugandans, however, whose new businesses kept growing, the Liberian men were back where they started a year later. Two hundred dollars was not enough to turn them into businessmen. But it brought them a better life for a while, which is the fundamental goal of any welfare program. We also tested a counseling program to reduce crime and violence. It worked a little on its own, but had the largest impact when combined with cash.""

nether 10 hours ago 0 replies      
An American architect tried building a school in post-earthquake Haiti. He struggled for a while with growing cost estimates, finding materials, and cutting through corruption and bureaucracy. At the end he thought that just giving them cash would have been better.

> If you could turn back the clock would you just write a check to all the parents of the kids who go to that school?

> Definitely, Meyers said.


brador 20 hours ago 1 reply      
@5% average yearly return, Bill Gates + Warren Buffet could do this for 8 million people a year, every year, forever, and not eat a cent into their initial capital.

For scale: that's the population of Switzerland.

cbeach 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Aid is just a stop-gap. Commerceentrepreneurial capitalismtakes more people out of poverty than aid. --Bono

Bono's brave enough to admit this.

Kenyan economist James Shikwati: "for God's sake, stop the aid:". http://m.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/a-363663.html#spRe...

zobzu 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I like the transparency that there seems to be around this as it makes me more likely to donate the money.

It seems to mean that basically they get 9% of donations to cover various costs. Both non-negligible but also not too bad.

Still would like to know what the "overhead costs" are.

mckoss 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Alaska paid residents $1,800 in 2014 under its Permanent Fund program (a negative tax).
kelukelugames 21 hours ago 2 replies      
When I get home I'm going to read the article thoroughly and do some digging. I've heard of organized charities failing miserably but this sounds too good to be true.
javajosh 18 hours ago 3 replies      
A detail popped out at me: that they picked people based on the material of their roof. Organics get money, metal doesn't.

I predict a "fashion" trend in the poor architecture of the region to eschew better roofs even if you can afford one.

I also think that an editor of a newspaper in Kenya and Uganda should do a cartoon where a villager uses his GiveDirectly money to buy a better roof, and then the company takes the money back and accuses the villager of fraud.

alaskamiller 20 hours ago 0 replies      
They made a real-time dashboard for a crowd-sourced remittance program.
rtkwe 20 hours ago 7 replies      
It feels odd to call this a startup instead of a charity or non-profit. The normal goals of a startup vs a charity, which seems a better description for the things this company/group is doing, don't match well to me (edit in italics: forgot to finish writing this sentence). Nothing particularly wrong with calling it a startup I guess, just strikes me as odd.

This seems to be part of a larger turn towards more data and study driven aid than was the standard. Hopefully the larger nation state players can get around to using aid programs to reap longer term improvements vs the current short term and occasionally overall harmful effects some programs have been reported to create.

Bostonian 20 hours ago 7 replies      
A program that gives money to the poor creates a disincentive to get out of poverty through work. The welfare gain from the poor having more money should be weighed against the welfare loss of their working and saving less.
mx10 17 hours ago 3 replies      
They should give it to them in monthly chunks rather than a yearly lumpsome. When you're poor it's easy to be financially irresponsible.
ARothfusz 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Given that most startups fail, one could consider the whole startup ecosystem a form of charity that, hopefully, produces enough wealthy people to keep the wheels turning. With luck, some of the beneficiaries of GiveDirectly prosper enough to start their own charity some day. The ultimate Y-combinator function?
Three months of Rust scattered-thoughts.net
237 points by abecedarius  1 day ago   104 comments top 12
Manishearth 1 day ago 2 replies      
> The Rust community seems to be populated entirely by human beings.

:D <3

Regarding your borrow checker example, note that your code is now prone to blowing up if `step` is modified too much. You have created the necessity of an invariant (step should not pop out of the vector) which may be broken by later cleverness.

See http://manishearth.github.io/blog/2015/05/17/the-problem-wit... for more details.

Note that in this specific case you could just use `&str` over `&String` everywhere and push "some new thing" directly; `&String` is a double-pointer, whereas &str is a fat pointer.

> Nor am I totally sure what the tradeoffs are between having a self argument and not.

It's not a tradeoff thing; it's a "do I want a static method, or a member method" thing.

> Some kinds of constraints cannot be used in where clauses, so I believe the former is strictly more powerful.

Actually where clauses are much more powerful. With the type constraints stuff like `A: Foo` works but not `Vec<A>: Foo`, but the latter is allowed in where clauses.

Overall, loved reading this post! It identified some areas of diagnostics that we can try to improve (I'm very interested in fixing diagnostics), and is a pretty accurate picture of the language :)

glandium 1 day ago 1 reply      
The take-away for me is this:

"Despite the restrictions of the type system, I am more productive in Rust than I am in either Javascript or Haskell. It manages somehow to hit a sweet spot between safety and ease of use."

When I toyed with Rust last year (so, I'll admit my knowledge is outdated, I need to refresh it), I had a pleasant experience on the productivity side. The big reward for me, coming from C/C++, is that my programs simply worked as expected once I was past fixing all the errors the compiler reported. That usually doesn't happen this way in C/C++, where you spend additional time fixing whatever null deref and whatnot that break your program in subtle ways at runtime.

andrewchambers 1 day ago 5 replies      
"For our 2400 loc it takes 20s for a dev build and 70s for a release build. "

I have played with rust, but not written any large amounts of code. This makes me a bit sad though, I have 7000 lines of go which takes less than a second. I think there is a bunch of bloat in software compilation which the plan9/Go people were wise to stamp out.

Compare gcc/clang/rustc build times from source with building go 1.5 from source which bootstraps itself. It comes down to something like 20 minutes vs 20 seconds.

jwmerrill 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Modern machines are a huge pile of opaque and unreliable heuristics and the current trend is to add more and more layers on top. The vast majority of systems are built this way and it is by all accounts a successful strategy. That doesnt mean I have to like it."

This is a really valuable observation.

"Smart" compilers seem great for letting you write code without thinking too hard when performance requirements are loose, but they make it difficult to achieve peak performance in two ways:

1. The fact that details of the machine are abstracted away from you means that you may never learn them well.

2. It ends up being insufficient just to know the details of the machine, because you also need to know how to coax the compiler into producing the low level result that you want, and then you need to be vigilant that later changes to the compiler don't break your assumptions.

halosghost 22 hours ago 1 reply      
+1, at the very least, because of the nod to Terra. Terra, imho, feels a lot like the perfect middle-ground between Lua and Rust. It has a clean syntax with some handy/fancy features but keeps a simple static typing system that makes me feel comfortable.

Also, nice to read a review of Rust that didn't reduce to C is the worst evar! or Haskell makes no sense!. Reasoned and clearcut. I certainly disagree with various parts of the review, but I don't do any dev for webservices so it is unsurprising that the author and I have a differing of opinion.

d4rkph1b3r 1 day ago 1 reply      
Great to see some feedback on Rust, I've only played a bit but was quite impressed, dsepite being a mostly high level programmer.

However, it sounds like Eve is a simple, dynamically typed programming language/environment. So it's super weird to me to see him rave about the safety and type system of Rust...

phren0logy 1 day ago 1 reply      
The Eve language is an offshoot of what started as LightTable, which was heavily focused on Clojure/Clojurescript.

Interesting that Clojurescript was not the language of choice here, both given the roots of that project and the reputation of lisps for being languages to write other languages.

I wonder if the team would be willing to comment on why they are moving away from Clojurescript?

voltagex_ 1 day ago 2 replies      
Coming from C#, that syntax looks completely alien to me. I need to write a very small monitoring app to run on a tiny armel box so I may try Go. I will still miss Visual Studio's debugger, though.
tatterdemalion 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is a super interesting read! Having come into Rust from an experience with mostly object-oriented languages (Python, Java, C++), what you seem to have taken for granted, I found surprising and new, and what you are surprised by (such as self parameters), I found quite normal. It's great to see the other side of this.
vph 1 day ago 0 replies      
A Rust programmer can't seem to be Rusty. The more he's Rusty, the more he knows about it, which seems like a contradiction.
getsat 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I ported a project to Rust and then ported it to C++14 (which is awesome!), but I only did that because Rust was in a state of massive flux at the time and I got tired of the project breaking every two days due to changes to the compiler/syntax/stdlib. I plan to reevaluate Rust once it's settled down a bit.
cpp098 1 day ago 3 replies      
New languages always are trap.Programmers always waste too much time on new languages or some tricky language syntax. They should focus on the business.

I will never try Rust.

234 points by throwaway_norep  1 day ago   111 comments top 81
gtirloni 1 day ago 3 replies      
I've been through some rough times and luckily made through (with lots of help).

The general feeling afterwards was that my perception of reality had been totally limited to the issues in front of me, and that life was bigger than just that.

For me, it's a process of learning to distrust my negative emotions. Afterwards they always seem unfounded.

I don't know anything but your situation but, based on my own experience and that of others, my advice is to take it easy, slow down and dial back your expectations about whatever is that you have/had high expectations. That will clear your mind and you'll be able to see better soon.

There is a practical exercise I do while driving. As almost everybody else, I don't like to stay behind slow/unsure drivers and that gets me really stressed. While I'm stressed, I try to think "I do not want to be in front of this driver, the few seconds this will get me will not be worth the amount of trouble I'm having (or will have)." I'm essentially trying to remove that desire from the situation, then everything is okay and life moves on.

Relax, take it easy, it'll pass and you'll learn. My best regards.

d3141 1 day ago 2 replies      
Please don't kill yourself,

I don't know your situation and I don't know what you're going through and I can only imagine the pain you feel right now. The funny thing about life is you never realize how much you were loved until you're laying in your casket. I only say this because I am one of three and both of my siblings have passed at their own hands. My eldest brother battled demons unknown to us and took his own life and my youngest brother was bipolar and self-medicated to deal with it and accidentally overdosed. I know this may not seem important at the time but so many people loved them and they probably never realized and I'm sure their are a lot of people that love you.

It is your choice and like I said I don't know what you're going through, suicide isn't right or wrong, it just is, but it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Please don't do this. I'm listing my email below, If you see this and would be up for talking I would love to. I can give you my phone number as well if you'd prefer the phone or if you're close to me we can go get some coffee. Hang in there.

dave.jdough [at] gmail [.com]

watkajtys 1 day ago 0 replies      
1 (800) 273-8255. Call this number. They are the national suicide prevention hotline. The are lovely people. They've heard it all. I've called them several times over the years. It's hard to talk to them, it might be a few minutes of silence. But it's worth it. They are there to help.

You're making the first step in the right direction. Seeking help. To be cliche, it's a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Life sucks a lot sometimes. And sometimes we need help to get through the worst of it. But keep fighting. You're worth it.

jgrahamc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't kill yourself.

Get in contact with someone: http://www.befrienders.org/need-to-talk

And if you feel like it tell us what's up.

sosuke 1 day ago 0 replies      
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number1-800-273-8255

There is always a way out without killing yourself. Whatever the other path is, however emotionally difficult it may seem, is better than killing yourself. Talk about what you're feeling, call a hotline now. It gets better I promise. If you have anyone in your life, think about how it will make them feel to lose you, don't put them through it.

If you're in the US (or even if not if the 800 system works everywhere I think) don't hesitate to call right now and talk to someone who is ready to hear you.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number1-800-273-8255

Here are several other countries hotlines if you're somewhere else or feel more comfortable sharing how you feel in another language.


jackmaney 1 day ago 0 replies      
Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255

To get help via SMS, text "START" to 741-741

From one person with suicidal thoughts to another: please don't do this.

zoba 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Something to think about: If you're really sure that your life is not worth living, then I suggest trying a different life, rather than no life at all. Another location, another career, another group of people to surround yourself with. Being a bartender on a beach in Thailand doesn't sound so high pressure, and should give you lots of time to think.

I don't know much about your situation, and maybe Thailand isn't exactly the answer, but if you're to the point where you're looking for escape by death, why not instead try finding escape by physically escaping to somewhere new?

rayalez 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hey, friend, no. Just don't. I have no idea what's going on in your life, but don't. I have been there, just trust me, it will pass. Just focus on taking it step by step, living day by day, just survive and wait, it will be worth it. I guarantee you there will be time you will be glad you've waited, even if everything is shit now.

Future will be very interesting, you'll want to see it, you'll just need to be there to see it. For now just focus on surviving and waiting and find any reason to go forward.

Even simple/silly ones, like watching the next episode of Sherlock that comes out in 2016, or finishing a good book.

Watch some comedy. Watch Louis CK, watch Bill Burr, watch Community. To me it really helps, even when things are really bad.

Elon Musk will put people on freaking Mars. Self driving cars and robots will be everywhere. Medicine will make amazing progress to fix our health problems. You'll just need to be there to see it, to be a part of it.

Computers will kick ass, scientists will make crazy discoveries. You will find things worth caring about. You will have cool people in your life too, just hold on.

There are people like you, there is a place where you belong, there are things worth living for.

Also when things are bad your brain just gets into a bad place, and a lot of these thoughts are caused by chemicals. Things may seem hopeless but after some time your brain chemistry changes and you look at the same situation very differently, even if it doesn't seem real to you now.

You will find your way, it will get better. Right now - don't be hard on yourself. Just wait and hold on.

Email me at raymestalez@gmail.com if you'll need to talk.

sswong 22 hours ago 2 replies      
came across this quote once, and got stuck to my mind for life. Hope this quote inspire you.

if you have courage to end your life, what else you are afraid of? why not you continue to live on to see where's tomorrow got for you?- [1] anthong wong

original quote

[1] [chinese][video] http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/UVCLmDVwT_A/

aa0981nahsdn 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Hey! Been there. You are not alone. Nowhere close, that's just how depression makes you feel. You're already reaching out, that's great, keep reaching and while most people won't get it those of us who have been through it will recognize where you are and some will reach back. That's how we got out, and some day you'll be the person who's reaching back and trying to help people get through it.

First, and most importantly, if you're _very_ depressed you may need help to break through the veil of darkness that's surrounding you. Peace and happiness are still in this world and their seeds are still in your heart, but depression is system of barriers that you may need very real and tangible help to break through. Sometimes our minds malfunction a little bit, it's in their nature.

If you love HN maybe check out the vlogbros 3 minute talk on perspective and depression[0]. It's the nerdiest account of depression I've ever heard. They also have a crash course on psychology[1] which might make psychology less unknown and therefore less scary if that's maybe a reason you're turning to us instead of a psychologist who is probably better equipped to help you (I'm only guessing based on reasons I don't go to the doctor when I need to.)

[0] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ooCeoh6608[1] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo4pMVb0R6M&list=PL8dPuuaLjX...

anonymousacc 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been where you are right now.

When I was still in college I travelled to and from my home by train. I know now, with the help of a psychologist, that I was suffering from a depressive period during that time.

I had arrived on the station, and I saw that my train had just left. That was almost the last straw for me. My memory of this day is very fuzzy, but nearby a jamaican-looking guy was blasting reggae music from his phone speakers, and people all around me seemed so busy with their lives. I felt invisible, like I wouldn't be missed. I tried to make eye contact with the people passing by, but nobody seemed to take notice. I then turned to the schedule to see when my next train would arrive. Instead I noticed that an intercity train would be passing through this station. While the trains do slow down when they go through a station there's still plenty of mass and speed left to kill you, I knew. I left my bag on the bench I had been sitting on and was mentally preparing myself to take the jump when the train came.

I guess I wasn't ready to do it yet, because the train came and went and I hadn't taken the jump.

Now, some time later, while not cured of my depression, I'm feeling better. I never told anyone close to me about that moment, though I did seek help after this. I also quit my study, since that seemed to be the root cause of the extra stress on top of my depression. I've found full-time work in the tech industry, and I've settled in quite nicely.

I'm glad I did. Because while I'm still not the happiest-camper in the world I've also not reached the point again where I contemplated leaving it. These days I look upon it as an anomaly in my mood. I don't feel all that good every day, but it's bearable.

So my advice to you would be to wait it out. Don't trust the feelings you have right now, because it really is only temporary.

jason_slack 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Please don't.

If HN is a cornerstone for you, please let us help you.

I live in upstate NY on a lake with trees and quiet. Want to come hang out and rest your mind?

EDIT: Full disclosure, the DSL isn't great, but we have LTE. I have a lot of books. 30 somethings who enjoy BBQ's and movies.

toothbrush 1 day ago 0 replies      
I feel a bit silly posting a comic, but at one point i discovered it while feeling really down, and i found it very encouraging. I apologise if it doesn't resonate with you, i don't know what you're going through.


TLDR: speak to someone, get help -- there's a silly social taboo on expressing depressive feelings, but there are many many options available. People who are willing and more importantly able to help you.

I don't know you, but like the others here have said, i guarantee that there are people who love and appreciate you, even if we're only talking about potential future new friends you will meet if you stick around here :)

mvanvoorden 1 day ago 2 replies      
If it all doesn't matter anymore anyway, then you got nothing to lose. Find (psychedelic) shrooms somewhere, eat a portion, and reconsider your choice after your trip.

It saved my life.

dang 23 hours ago 0 replies      
As you can see from this thread, many people here have struggled and made it through, and you aren't alone. Please listen to them. Please also find someone specific to talk to. I'd be happy to do that, if you want; write hn@ycombinator.com and I'll send you my personal email and we can discuss whatever you want. But please talk to someone. Help exists and it really is possible to heal, despite what inner torment tells you.
imd23 21 hours ago 0 replies      
DON'T PLEASE. You have at least 3 million people to meet and help you. Contact me if you want to stay home someday https://www.couchsurfing.org/people/imton/
98Windows 1 day ago 0 replies      
Call a suicide hotline, there are people there waiting to help you.

Find a way out, use your creativity. The pain you feel now can be a powerful motivator to radically change your situation.

coffeejunk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't kill yourself.

Call a suicide hotline right now: http://mefiwiki.com/wiki/ThereIsHelp

ericcholis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't lose hope, there's ALWAYS somebody out there to help. Talk to others, call a help line, something! Going at it alone isn't your only option.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline:



justizin 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I've experienced this sort of feeling a lot. It's not something I like to talk about with professional colleagues because I am the guy you expect to be more reliable than you, and if I am sometimes curled up in a depressed ball unsure if I want to keep breathing, how can I be more reliable than you?

Don't do it. You reached out, that's good.

What really got me out of the habit of thinking this way - basically a huge distraction from the things you need to do to make yourself happy - was to try and imagine if there was possibly a way to disappear completely without making the lives of the other people I know worse.

I will say, in my early years in San Francisco as a student, whenever I felt like there was absolutely no hope, I would take a $2 train to the beach, take my shoes off, and walk the entire length experiencing how small I am and comparing my relatively insignificant problems to the vastness of the ocean.

Unfortunately, we can't all have that, but everyone can go outside, stop listening to the same music or whatever over and over and just watch a squirrel climb a tree, two ducks fight over a piece of bread, talk to a homeless person.

And whoever's actions you feel are linked to the way you feel right now, surgically remove them from your life.

Every time I haven't ended my life, I've had the opportunity to experience amazing things that I couldn't even imagine.

The crossroad is an illusion. If you attempt and fail - the most common outcome - you could find yourself further burdened.

ukoms 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Dear You! Don't kill yourself. This one thing we all cannot escape, it's true. But don't rush to it. I've got diagnosed mind sickness which is commonly reffered as "depression". I live in constantinous fear of dying. I was once in point where i was so afraid o death I wanted to kill myself. Then it hit me - killing myself because of fear of death is... illogical (yeah, I know - weird, but hey - this is HN, you get it...).

I didn't believe in medicine, psychiatrists and all "you can live with that" crap. Yet, i went to doctor. I went to therapist. And for about five weeks it was hell. I was affraid more than before, I was so narrowed my vision was almost all blackfield with small, foggy point of view. This was hardest thing I did in my grownup life - endure it.

Guess what - it got better. No, my life hasn't changed a bit - my credits wasn't payd off, my fears didn't vanished, I still had to go to work every morning and I knew I am going to die one day. BUT - and this is most important thing - MY PERSPECTIVE CHANGED. I know I can face all this.

I don't know anything about You. I don't know what had happened to You. Yet I know one thing - you always have a choice. Yes, on the one hand - you can kill yourself, BUT! - on the other hand - you can live. I won't tell you - think about others before you harm yourself. This is bullshit, when you are facing live-or-die choice. In death we all are alone so we can think only by ourselves. So I'm asking you, begging you for real - think about everything you are. You are far better than you think! You are the only one in the world!

You managed to make someone laugh, you did good in your life, you faced tens and thousands problems and won over them, you can do something no one else can do in a way no one else can replicate (even if it's eating a cookie with knife and fork), you have dreams that are waiting to be fulfilled, you have so many tortillas to eat, you can become millionare in a blink of an eye, you can meet love of your life, you have all your life waiting for you.

Please - choose yourself living. God be with You.

izolate 1 day ago 1 reply      
Feel like telling us your story before you go? Perhaps give us a chance to change your mind?
plumdot 1 day ago 0 replies      
Echoing jgrahamc - don't do it.

Find someone to talk to:


We're here too, if you'd like.

allthetime 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the perfect starting point for an adventure... something about nothing to lose... Go somewhere warm and cheap on the other side of the world with a camp stove that can run on gasoline (it can be hard to find white gas sometimes) and see how far you can go.

That's what I did when I wanted to die.

huxley 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Listen to some of the people that are reaching out here.

Sometimes I've felt like I've had crossroad moments for a major part of my life, stuck with deep paralyzing fears because of stupid things I've done.

Find someone to talk to, preferably a professional that will let you talk it out without it spilling into your personal life (guilt about burdening my family and friends was a major impediment in getting help).

Even though it allowed me to cope and have a professional life, one of the worst things I ever did was to learn to hide how hurt I was. Talk to someone about what you think are the consequences, the worst aspects. Let yourself cry and feel stupid, it's alright. That crap builds up inside you and no matter what, you don't deserve it.

And if necessary, consider getting some medical help as well. I have been on anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications ever since I found my father dying from a brain hemorrhage and I couldn't get him to help quickly enough to save him. That event broke me, but I had been building the tension inside for decades. The drugs don't really fix things for me, but they have helped with some of the debilitating physiological aspects, take help from any corner that you can.

carucez 22 hours ago 0 replies      
One way to rephrase this is... why commit to a one-time decision when you might be able to run away and never look back? -- reinvent oneself in a new land.

Few legal constructs cannot be run from. Few legal arrangements cannot be undone. For those that cannot... run!

... just considering this possibility is often enough to give you the strength to keep fighting through whatever current situation or struggle you find yourself in.

xxxmaster 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I am not sure in what situation you are, but before thinking on what you think is the problem, check if you are completely healthy. Even when we think that the situation is crystal clear and we have tried everything and we have all the control over everything, please keep in mind your mental health is tightly coupled with your body's health. The picture is not the same when seen from a different perspective. Even if you do not feel pain or anything you can suffer from something you didn't know and it changes the only thing you trust - your brain. Do not be in a rush try everything in this life and take most of it.

I will always remember a phrase from a movie, where a little girl (suffering from a serious disease) was asked "Do you know what happens after life?" and she responded "There are many different ice-cream flavors that I still haven't tried, I want to try as many as possible when I still have the chance. Then one day I will understand what happens after life - that day will come anyway."

Go get an icecream and see what you can try tomorrow!Be healthy, stay alive!

jimwalsh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Please call a suicide hotline!


rajahafify 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm in the same position as you. I felt hopeless. I felt like there's nothing I can do. When I close my eyes, all I could see is my hand holding a knife, stabbing my heart, over and over. I am heartbroken and I just want the pain to stop. I don't care how.

I don't know what is going to happen in the future, maybe I'll take my own life one day. But for now, I just want to help myself. I wanted to help someone like myself. I'm not good at anything other than making an app so currently, I'm writing an app that I think would help me get by.

I hope the app that I made will help people like me. People like you. If it even save one life, my life would be complete.

eranation 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you are looking for a sign not to do it, this is it, DO NOT DO IT!

When interviewing people who tried to kill themselves and didn't succeed, 99.99% say that they regret it and that they would not have done it again.

nullterminated 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was suicidal in Silicon Valley, having just been fired from my dream job at Stanford.

I'm still alive, and I'm glad that I am. My life is still pretty wretched, but my perspective is different. My misery isn't any less, but I'm out from under it. It's no longer crushing me and I can observe my misery with some detachment now.

I hope that you manage to get out from under your misery. Don't let it crush you.

dopeboy 21 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a lot of posts on here with suicide hotlines - please call them. Once you have, give me a call: 949-521-4954. I'm not a mental health professional or suicide prevention expert - just a random engineer who loves this community as much as you do and wants to make it better.

I should be around most of the day.

whynotkeithberg 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I've attempted twice in my life & I'm extremely glad now they both failed. Dealing with PTSD from multiple Iraq tours plus subsequent drug abuse left me pretty low. But life picks up if you keep moving forward. It may seem simple & cheesy... But in the end everything will be ok. As long as you're still breathing... Everything is ok. You can come back from anything but death. I'm not saying it won't be miserable for a while... But it will always turn around if you will it to.
yowid 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This article [1] by Christina H I read on Cracked some time ago saved my life when I was about to off myself due to severe depression--I hope it can somewhat be of help to you and anyone here who's also currently at the crossroad. (EDIT: the comments are also great read)

Live on, buddy. You can make it. You're worth it.

[1] http://www.cracked.com/blog/8-tiny-things-that-stopped-suici...

jschulenklopper 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wait! Advice here (perhaps even in my comment) might seem emtpy and distant, as I don't know anything about your situation and your crossroad decision, but it is just a humble attempt to express my empathy and offer help.

I've got a list taped on my wall with some things that I need to do daily to improve my life - apparently I need the reminder. Of this list, I hope that some of the following things help you to "find some kind of way out of here":

* get out in nature

* spend time with family and friends

* get enough sleep

* exercise

* talk to a human being

* meditate (or pray)

BTW, "Goodbye" comes from the term "Godbwye", a contraction of the phrase God be with ye. That's my prayer for you.

johntaitorg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Please, please don't do it. It'll be the best news I'll have all day if you post that you won't
girmad 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Tim Ferriss' practical thoughts on suicide: http://fourhourworkweek.com/2015/05/06/how-to-commit-suicide...
atmosx 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey hey, there's no rush to die! Could you to share any more details/background about your situation so that we can share common stories, advises, anything that could help you find a way to ease your demons?
SunShiranui 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Why don't you tell us your story?
uxcn 21 hours ago 0 replies      
There's probably nothing I can say that will change your mind, but if you are really at the bottom, one way to look at it is that there's no possible way but up. I think a lot of people have been at the point you're at now. The one thing I think most people won't actually admit is that it's the one truly defining moment in their life.

I genuinely hope you make whatever the right choice for yourself is. If you need someone to talk to, don't hesitate to let me know.

karmacondon 22 hours ago 0 replies      
"Don't do it" and "Call a suicide hotline" have both been said. Good advice on both counts.

In my experience, everyone who said "Don't do it" is in a better position than I was in. A person with a problem will eventually solve it, or not. A fundamentally flawed person will have only have more problems, generally of the same type, again and again, forever. It's easy to confuse one situation for the other. Most people are not deeply flawed, they're normal people who are temporarily overwhelmed by normal problems. Anything they say to you probably won't resonate. Advice from those who have plenty always has to be filtered through a lens of "easy for you to say".

The only honest thing that can be said in this situation is to evaluate your life with clear and unbiased perspective. Are you a normal person who is going through rough times, or are you the kind of person that, for whatever reason, genuinely has no hope? The latter group is very small and if you're in it, you'll have known it for a long time. Odds are that you're better off than the truly forlorn, and you don't need me to tell you that because you already know it. Count your blessings and try to picture a better life.

I'm sorry if my candor offends some people, but life is too short and we're too smart for platitudes. I hope that you get through this.

brlewis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Finding some kind of way out of here holds way more interesting possibilities than killing yourself. The world is big and varied, and lots of it is interesting and enjoyable.
harveylord 1 day ago 0 replies      
The moment when you were sure it should be over will look strange in retrospect, and you will be most grateful for even little things you decided to stay around for: the first day of summer, what happens in the new episode of Empire, etc.

Once you get out of there, you might think you would even want to live your life locked inside an empty room for the rest of your life, because even that might be infinitely better and more worthwhile than not living at all.

Best wishes.

hirundo 21 hours ago 0 replies      
People say that it gets better. And sometimes it does. But usually it doesn't. The graph for the suicide rate monotonically increases with age. The older you are the more likely you are to kill yourself. In other words it tends to get worse.

You can take this as an argument to do it now and avoid the likely future suffering. But I interpret it differently: It means that if you are going to be one of the minority that gets better it's up to you to take action. Continuing down your current path is a recipe for suicide later if not now. To escape that you need to deviate from the standard. Do whatever it takes to break out of your rut. Even if it's scary as hell. Because any risks in making big changes are likely not to be worse than death.

That realization can be incredibly liberating.

simon_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
I won't presume to tell you that you've evaluated your situation fundamentally incorrectly. If you've come to this point, I doubt that hearing "there is always hope" is going to sway you. Personally, I think you have the right to make whatever decision you like about your own life.

BUT: I know from my own life that it is easy to forget about the value of keeping your options open. Death really is permanent, and always available, so there is rarely a need to rush it. All kinds of unexpected good things really can happen... and if not... you can still kill yourself later.

SO: I'd suggest you make sure you adjust your thinking for the likely bias that you are undervaluing the option-value in all the unexpected good things you can't specifically imagine right now. If you have even a little uncertainty on this point... better to wait a bit and see, no?

Urgo 1 day ago 0 replies      
You may be in a terrible situation right now and feel absolutely trapped but by the time I'm commenting here you already have 51 other comments and 79 votes on here of people supporting you. You can get through this crossroads. People are willing to help you. Accept the help and suggestions here.
watershawl 21 hours ago 0 replies      
What are you thankful for? Take a deep breath. Breathe in. Breathe out. What is going right in your life? Breathe in. Breathe out. Focus on the positives. Breathe in. Breathe out. You're alive. You're loved. Smile. Breathe in. Breathe out.
random_number 1 day ago 0 replies      
> or I find some kind of way out of here

This is a better path to try first.How can we help?

What's the biggest problem, what types of solution can you see that remove that problem? Assuming you are allowed to do anything, e.g. move to another country freely, become a farmer or charity worker, live with distant relatives etc.

throwaway39847 1 day ago 0 replies      
Been there myself in the past. Still struggling with depression.

The only advice I can give you is to give yourself some time. Really think about if you want to do this for another 24 hours, or a week, or a month, depends you how long you can bear it. Play a videogame or do whatever you like, get your mind off your problems for a bit (preferably not with alcohol or similar things) and let your subconscious mind work. When the timeframe you set yourself has elapsed, reconsider. Is it worth doing it just now? Is there stuff you might still want to do in your life?

Keep in mind, you can always kill yourself when the pain gets too heavy, it's not a decision you need to rush.

I don't know if that works for you, but I'd say this has saved my life in the past, just knowing that you can always end it.

meesterdude 1 day ago 0 replies      
While it is certainly within your rights to end your own life, the desire to do so often arises from life transients or changes.

Also, not to criticize, but if HN has been a cornerstone, you might want to look into a wider variety of building materials. HN isn't bad, but compared to the wide gamut of life? hardly a comparison.

Anyway, I know it's not so simple, whatever your reasonings. I've been there and I've talked with friends who were where you are.

If you lack a social support network (like I do) I really recommend getting a psychologist you can trust; huge in understanding thoughts and feelings.

But I hope you find that with some better coping mechanisms, life is easier to manage, and you'd be more up for living it than ending it.

brown-dragon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know you but please believe me - I care for you and want you to be happy. And there are a lot of people like me who would do a lot for you.

Reach a suicide hotline. Let us help. The world will be less if you leave.

moubarak 20 hours ago 0 replies      
call me at +961 71 371133. i'm no organisation, i'm just an ordinary person like you. So if you feel like talking to someone give me a call anytime.
samuel35 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Jhon 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Is There a Solution to Your Problem ?

Jesus Is the Answer to Your Needs

srameshc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Please don't kill yourself. Try not to think of it as an option. I can not better "gtirloni"'s comment. But I am trying to make an effort to let you know that there are many out there who care for you and your life. If you recollect there must have been many instances in the past that felt like there was no exit, but somehow you fought that battle it all worked out and then you moved on. So this one will also go by and you will be fine, but please don't loose hope.
SuperKlaus 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Get in touch with somebody that can help you:


inpastel 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Most folks here tell you to wait because it'll get better. Sometimes it doesn't. I attempted suicide last year due to health problems. I still have them to date and in fact a few are added to the list. However one thing has changed: my tolerance for pain and suffering. It may sound cliche but we can be much more strong than we think we could be. We just need time to adjust.
StoneTable 1 day ago 0 replies      
I saw this quote today, a reminder of my own struggles with depression: "If youre going through hell, keep going."

Keep going, op. We're here for you.

gboone42 1 day ago 0 replies      
Echoing so many others here. Please don't kill yourself. I've felt this way. You will endure this. Call the suicide hotline, a friend, a loved one, or one of the many other resource people have already posted. There are people in your life, both here and IRL, that love and care for you and will help you.

The world is better with you in it.

koof 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Computers can suck sometimes. Maybe stepping away from them for a while might be helpful.
cblock811 21 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're reaching out you must have some will to go on. I think a lot of people on this thread have given good advice. If you're in the Bay Area I would be happy to meet up for coffee and be a sounding board :) Email is in my profile info.
Raphmedia 1 day ago 0 replies      
Have you tried it all yet? I doubt it. Don't end life. There are beautiful things to live. If your life is too much for you, change it. Don't end it.

Change career if need be. Change country. Change friends. Change. Did you ever visit another continent? Take time off. Better than taking life off.

Too 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dont know which stage of life you are in but an easy way to hit reset is to go back to university in a new city and forget about the past, during kick in you will surely find new friends, student dorms are cheap, no boss to report to, you will learn new interesting things.
ruddyadam 1 day ago 0 replies      
there are great things ahead for you that you haven't considered yet! Call a hotline NOW.
vmmenon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been in your position a few times. Take it easy. Step away from your computer, get outdoors, go for a walk, hop on to the first bus you see, go for a ride, watch other people live their lives, and when you finally feel better, go back home.
bhavvik 1 day ago 0 replies      
way i think of it is that its in nature that anything that has a life in it does what it takes to continue its life. there are reasons to want to die, but even while dying (no matter the reason) your soul will continue to fight to live.
pdevr 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I believe that you're not going to commit suicide yet, since you're at crossroads, according to you.

If you believe you will find some way out, you will find some way out. So, believe in yourself.

Good luck!

chipuni 21 hours ago 0 replies      
If you have nothing else to live for, then you have nothing to tie you down.

Instead of suicide, try completely changing your situation. Move to a new country.

cagey_vet 22 hours ago 0 replies      
a friend of mine did the do recently, we were all pretty pissed off, me more so cuz i flew my wife across the country for a wake, and i didnt even get my lockpicks back. anyway, they were fairly close, it really hurt her as a friend, so if you are looking to hurt someone, hurt me instead dude, i will give you my d0x and you can call me and harass me to your hearts content, and give me grief about my (1).
millinet 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sending you positive energy. We all face that kind of thoughts on day. Life is yours; make it beautiful; pain won't last! I swear, believe me!
ms140569 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't throw away your options by doing something terminal about a temporary problem. You're here for a reason. Ask for and accept help.
penguinlinux 1 day ago 0 replies      
don't kill yourself. You are at a crossroad right now, could you elaborate more. Sometimes suicide is the only solution but your mind is not seeing other alternatives, can you let me know what is troubling you that you can't find an alternative other than suicide. Your life is precious so please let us try to give you alternatives.
html5web 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't do it, even if you think you have to!
rastem 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Before drastic action, I recommend living a month away from the environment that engenders these feelings. It's a plane ticket and extended hotel stay away. Don't go thinking you must come back. Go looking for excuses to stay.

I hope this little sliver of advice can help. Good luck, from all of us who've felt pain. You're not alone.

dbpokorny 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Please create a reddit throwaway and post your thoughts on /r/Buddhism.

Edit: why am I being down-voted?

cypherpunks01 1 day ago 0 replies      
Talk to us! We give solid advice for better ways out of all kinds of bad situations.
ck2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't let the world stress you out like that.

Imagine in a few months how looking back you'd feel you were too extreme.

arjunvpaul 1 day ago 1 reply      
"When one realizes that his life is worthless he either commits suicide or travels." go somewhere, do something. message me if you would like need some ideas.
facepalm 1 day ago 0 replies      
My own take: life will end by itself naturally. Compared to the long time that we will be dead, any pain we endure during our lifetime is just a tiny blip. Not worth the energy to make it even shorter.

Also second the mushroom suggestion. Not that I personally would be interested in that, but the point is: if you have nothing left to lose, all sorts of opportunities open up that you wouldn't have otherwise.

Impossible to know what could keep you attached to live. Personally I'm curious to see all the new technological developments.

dimino 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Really ought to delink this one; not sure it's appropriate for HN, and there are plenty of people already here who will keep the conversation going if OP wants to talk.

I know I don't come to HN to have to think about mortality, and for folks who might actually be hurting, seeing a post like this might trigger some nasty memories or feelings.

My step brother, for example, killed himself, and now I'm having to think about that in the middle of my work day, when I was really just looking for a brief distraction...

stressfreeworld 1 day ago 2 replies      
Think about your family and friends
opsbug 20 hours ago 0 replies      
There are ways out, trust me, you will find them. I honestly think that you could use this moment to just forget how your life has worked so far, and try to look at what your future might be. If you don't feel like talking to someone, I think your best friend might be a book. I would recommend Letters to a Young Poet by Rilke
Welcome to America: Here's Your Linux Computer opensource.com
229 points by FOSSSquirrel  1 day ago   101 comments top 12
meesterdude 1 day ago 1 reply      
What a wonderful story! and really a great gesture on multiple accounts, and very thoughful for sure.

Even something like a raspberry pi would be more than enough for someone like a kid who wants to learn and just needs a means to do so.

I never could afford a computer as a kid growing up. All my computers were donations or throwaways that I tinkered with and learned on and fixed up. My first computer was an SE/30 that was getting thrown away. I ABSOLUTELY would not be where I am today if it was not for the kindness of others who gave me the opportunities to tinker and learn.

nshung 22 hours ago 0 replies      
"For digital inclusion and a more inclusive future" as the author states in the article, I am also leading this[1] project for kids in Myanmar/Burma who literally stuck in the civil war between Myanmar Army and local rebel forces.[2] We are just a bunch of volunteers(refugees) from Myanmar who have been relocated to Norway because of the civil war. With Raspberry Pi, we want people to have access to basic education and literacy even in a freaking civil war zone. Never give up!

1. https://laizalibrary.org2. http://time.com/3598969/kachin-independence-army-kia-burma-m...

mey 21 hours ago 1 reply      
If you are in the Portland OR metro area and need a computer or have old computers to donate, please check out http://www.freegeek.org/

They have programs for volunteer work in refurbishing (where you learn about computers) get your own system in return.


dbbolton 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Off topic writing criticism: avoid using synonyms for "said", like "replied", "inquired", and "countered". It's ostentatious and distracting. Let the dialog speak for itself, and only add the bare minimum needed for the reader to keep track of who's saying what:


Now compare this to the original:

"They don't speak much English yet, but maybe the public library will be a useful resource for them," she said.

"Do bring them by here regularly. If they are interested in self-advancing their learning, the public library is the perfect place for them to do that. Do your kids have their own computer at home?" I said.

"No, they currently borrow my laptop, which is not such an ideal situation."

"Tell them they're getting their own donated desktop computer on Monday next week. I'll prepare it for them over the weekend."

omarforgotpwd 22 hours ago 6 replies      
"Remember that shitty computer we got when we were first came to the US?" -- Kids, recounting this experience in 15 years
jackgavigan 22 hours ago 0 replies      
On a similar theme, Kano is a Linux-and-Raspberry Pi-based computer for children: http://www.kano.me/
snambi 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow... what an inspirational story! We need more people like this.
ilaksh 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I do most of my computing on cheap 7" Android tablets. I also ssh in to my Linode for programming but I could use Debian under Linux Deploy too, its just slow compared to the Linode.

The onscreen keyboard works great for typing both in portrait or landscape. You just have to get used to it. Keyboards are mostly a hastle to drag around/setup and they break.

If I was on my laptop I would ssh in on a slightly larger screen.

You can definitely do word processing, spreadsheets, the web, programming, everything on a $100 (or even $50 in some cases) Android tablet. I haven't used my laptop at all in like 4 months.

So I would get slightly used Android tablets and give them out to kids.

I actually don't want to buy another laptop or desktop because I know it will waste electricity and it seems primitive.

The next major shift for me will be to full-time VR for work, which will use Google Cardboard or their new 6dof thing (I might wait until the Android for VR OS comes out next year). But that is still going to be on a phone..

Dewie3 20 hours ago 0 replies      
> If you're a recent immigrant to the United States, freedom of all kinds tastes sweet.

Heh, strong murica-factor.

w1ntermute 1 day ago 7 replies      
It's good to know that you're providing Linux PCs to those who can't afford them, but let's be realistic - unless they turn out to be really interested in computers, as soon as the kids start working and get some money, they'll go out and buy the same shiny iDevices that all their peers covet.
ohmshalalala 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a developmentally delayed sister in law; I placed Ubuntu on her laptop recently without really telling her what it was

Now, we need some beneware that infects every machine on a network, backs up file system, and reinstalls the os with linux, wouldn't it be nice! LINUX!

mwcampbell 23 hours ago 10 replies      
I have to admit I'm surprised to find that anyone is still trying to make desktop Linux work for normal people, i.e. non-programmers who aren't free-software fanatics. I think to myself, don't they realize that it's pointless, that the year of the Linux desktop will never come, that Linux will always be the distant third-place desktop OS?

More constructively, I wonder if recent Linux distros and desktop environments actually run better on 10-year-old hardware than Windows 7. My guess is that GNOME 3 and Unity require roughly as much CPU power and RAM as Windows 7. If that's the case, then maybe kids like the one in this story would be better served by a donated Windows 7 system builder license to go with that old hardware. Then they wouldn't be frustrated at a thousand points by someone's well-intentioned but misguided choice of OS.

What Twitter Can Be lowercasecapital.com
242 points by coloneltcb  2 days ago   171 comments top 30
ThePhysicist 2 days ago 2 replies      
For me, the biggest problem with Twitter are their Draconian rules concerning third-party apps. I had several ideas for cool apps built on top of the Twitter API (e.g. a Twitter-based news aggregator, an online volunteering app, ...), but each time I gave up on the idea after reading the terms of their developer program:

No showing of tweets with content from other social networks, no altering in the presentation of tweets, very severe rate limits, ....

I think if Twitter wad a little less paranoid about protecting their content they could actually become a viable and useful communication tool for a large part of the Internet (even more than today).

normloman 2 days ago 6 replies      
I used to be on twitter. Left because nobody talks with you, just at you. And when you do actually get a conversation going, it's hard to follow when it's thrown in the same chronological time line with other conversations. The hashtag doesn't do much to foster conversation either. Merely a way to label slogans. This dichotomy between being a public feed but also being a place for conversations is at the core of why twitter sucks.
jusben1369 2 days ago 1 reply      
The thing about Twitter is that it should have been TV vs trying to be channels. I don't know why they were never comfortable enough in their skin to let third parties extend the living heck out of their platform. Using Twitter and getting a Gen 1.0 iPhone were very similar experiences. Pretty much wow and thinking the sky was the limit (vs what they actually were initially). Apple harnessed an app developer community and made their product 10x more valuable. Twitter locked everyone out. I always thought the Twitter competitor launched by Dalton (App.net) totally missed the boat. We didn't need a paid service to save us from ads we needed an open free platform that drew in millions and millions of users to draw in app developers etc. That would have crushed Twitter.
smhg 2 days ago 2 replies      
This might sound very weird in this day and age, but in my professional life (web developer), Twitter and G+ compete content-wise. And G+ wins easily.

Disclaimer: I'm a very light Twitter user. I'm almost surely missing out on features I never bothered to discover.

The main advantage G+ has in my eyes is its signal to noise ratio. It seems far better than Twitter's. Again, specifically in my professional world, quite a lot of relevant people post on G+. I guess they either don't post personal stuff or efficiently use Circles. Many, but definitely not all, are of course close to Google.

Some other advantages for me: the fact that you can read the whole story (not just sentence-per-sentence) and the -theoretical- ability to drag in non-professional relationships (yes, I like Circles).

I realize no one takes G+ serious anymore and that it's a graveyard for most. But it seems to work well for some (professionally). In a way it can make Twitter lose (one of) its edge(s): follow tech-people.

This isn't meant as a G+ promotion. I just wanted to make clear why Twitter might not be a good fit for some.

austenallred 2 days ago 2 replies      
Twitters biggest problem is that Twitter increases or decreases in value along with users willingness to curate their feed. Many will never do that.

So Twitter tries to do the work for you, but guessing exactly who/what youd be interested in without tons of info is virtually impossible.

The closest they can get is the current logged-out homepage: Here are a bunch of random categories. You like the NBA? Maybe celebrity chefs? Cute animals? Country artists? (Those are literal examples.) Total shot in the dark.

kin 2 days ago 1 reply      
At first Twitter was awesome because of their API but then that closed off so now I have to use their stuff only I feel as if they haven't done anything in the past few years but scale.

I've tried being a user for years but they really need a better way to manage and view lists. The frequency of celebrity tweets vs. friend tweets vs. company tweets is all different. How I ingest that content is differs depending on my mood or what I want. Thus far, there's no easy way to sort through the content to quickly find what I'm looking for or interested in. It all requires endless scrolling and weeding out the noise.

codingdave 2 days ago 0 replies      
The scariest statistic in that article is that one billion users tried twitter, then walked away. I'm sure some of those are novelty accounts that just never took off, not truly unique users, but that is still a ton of people who already wrote twitter off as irrelevant to their life.

That is a large hurdle to overcome. Where are you going to grow your userbase if that many people already made their decision against you? I can assure you, that is not a tech question, it is a marketing issue.

hagope 2 days ago 6 replies      
One of the best use cases of twitter for me is customer service, a few complaints about @comcast is way more effective than calling and waiting on the phone for 20 minutes and fighting with the customer service agent... I was able to resolve my issue with a few back and forth DMs with @comcastcares ... I don't think many people have enjoyed this experience, it's like night and day.
Animats 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Shortcomings in the direct response advertising category have resulted in the company coming in below the financial communitys quarterly estimates."

Well, yes. The problem with all social networks is that ads interfere with the "social". Ads are a big annoying guy getting in your face when you're trying to talk to someone. Or worse, they're your (soon to be former) "friends" who've been tricked into "sharing" (i.e. spamming) ads.

Remember, Twitter's big period of growth was before they had ads. They only put in ads when they had users hooked.

The first one is always free.

walterbell 2 days ago 2 replies      
Twitter lists (especially in combination with Flipboard) are useful for filtering/curation, but have seen few improvements and remain unavailable in the mobile app.

Lists could exhibit business value comparable to Pinterest curation, if Twitter paid any attention to the feature. They are micro-social networks that amplify the value of Twitter's main accomplishment: a directory of pseudonymns for writers, marketers, subject-matter experts and other publishers of time-sensitive content.

lawl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Twitter died to me when they closed down their API's.
aswanson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe its just me, im too old and not famous enough...but Twitter just seems to me to be a celebrity (that includes fame of any kind) circle jerk...and if you're not famous, you dont exist. Its weird. I hated fb towards the end of my usage of it...but at least like the old sitcom 'Cheers', at least sometimes you could go 'where everybody knows your name...'
throw_it_away 2 days ago 2 replies      
Honest question: I've tried Twitter a bunch of times, tried to engage with it for a couple weeks, then given up when I felt that either the tweets were not curated enough for me or that nobody was listening to me. Is there some guide for technically literate people to start using Twitter effectively? Right now I use Feedly and blogs to serve this purpose, but the appeal of real time news a la Twitter seems quite sweet, if only I could tap into it.
sirbetsalot 2 days ago 6 replies      
of course the author misses the biggest reason twitter sucks. Abuse, fake accounts, and trolling cause more "authentic" real name users to leave every day. Twitter does nothing to punish people who can just grab a picture of you from the net, create and account and start ruining your reputation instantly. And we all know you can't win against a troll unless you out troll them with your own bots. Twitter is the stained toilet bowl of human interaction. Twitter would instantly better if it forced real names and banned people for abusive comments outright. Until then, Twitter is unusable.
moxyb 2 days ago 5 replies      
I think he's describing the perfect digital news platform that I would think of.
shortstuffsushi 2 days ago 0 replies      
This article at one point proposes splitting content into separate apps. I'm unsure of the end goal of this; I guess that it's trying to provide a clearer divide for users, allowing them to filter content in a sense. It seems like this would be better solved by filtering better within the app, separating apps is just going to lead to more confusion, imo.
moey 2 days ago 10 replies      
Serious question people, out of the people here that USE Twitter, how much would you pay a month for Twitter, if anything?


I value the service, and am wondering what other people value it at.

I will post the results here after set number of people vote.

UPDATEInitially I was going to wait a little longer, but after looking at the results from this sample, the trend is pretty be predictable.

RESULTS LINK: (VIEW AFTER VOTING PLEASE)http://directpoll.com/r?XDVhEtRR2EAlaVw2sOrQkWlBcohFw9na8aNc...

I think the results deserve a discussion on their own...

firasd 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great essay (and shows that even if its predictable, its always good to balance criticism with praise, support, and a sense of a positive path forward.)

As for Saccas suggestions, I have mixed feelings on the specific features he suggests for encouraging people to Tweet more (Tweeting Shouldnt Be So Scary) and increasing engagement (Using Twitter Doesnt Need To Feel As Lonely) but I like his suggestions about improving the timeline:

Live Is The Biggest Opportunity Yet.

This is the section he describes most lucidly and is the simplest to implement on top of the existing product. Its currently done in a ham-fisted waywhere I am in India it prods me with modal dialogs about cricket matches!but there will need to be less prodding if its built as a standard set of pages where you can follow the best tweets for a sporting event, TV show or news topic while the situation is ongoing even if youre logged out. Its a bit like following a hashtag, with some curation and highlighting of popular tweets on the topic thrown in.

Channels Will Make Twitter Easy, Easy, Easy.

I sort of lost the thread in the middle of reading this in terms of figuring out exactly how this is different from Live or other category based curated tweets but I kinda get it. These are his examples: Want to know what are the most popular articles linked to on Twitter? That should be a channel. What are the most popular sites linked among the people we follow or people that our friends follow? Great channel. Which books are people Tweeting about? Channel. Which videos are garnering the most attention? Channel. Any particular .gifs blowing up? Channel.

Twitters Save Button Would Let You Keep All The Good Stuff.

This is a relatively complex concept and would be difficult to implement in a clear way but I like the idea. We could keep every product we saw mentioned, every book that looked interesting, every destination we wanted to visit someday, every concert we wanted to go see, and every ad that piqued our curiosity. All of this could be saved to a Vault within Twitter with just one button in line with the RT and Fav buttons in each Tweet.

Grue3 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interestingly, Tumblr already implemented some of these suggestions. With such features like "explore" or new search, The discovery of content is unmatched by other social networks. It is also way easier to get likes and reblogs than on Twitter (if you're a regular person, not a celebrity). Having your post go viral (into 1000s of notes) is quite satisfying and would never happen on Twitter if you're not already popular.
lukasm 2 days ago 0 replies      
> For most people, Twitter is too hard to use.

I don't know how to use twitter and I don't care. Why? Cognitive overhead. I use facebook messenger, whatsapp, HN, stackoverflow, github, Linkedin.

josu 2 days ago 1 reply      
The author of the article is Chris Sacca.
rrggrr 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Tweet nearby" & "Encrypted tweet nearby" & "P2P Tweet": These three functions would blow the lid off active user growth. Across the globe Twitter remains a key means for promoting events, demonstrations and encouraging political action. Give users the means to reach by locale (Concert), and securely by locale (Flash mob), and P2P (Iran, Syria, China) -- and sit back and watch the audience skyrocket.
marssaxman 2 days ago 3 replies      
Nothing in there about turning it into a decentralized open network instead of a proprietary service, so I will continue not to care about Twitter.
derekmasters 2 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps he should have included this, "we stopped talking about arab spring once we realized how it was a bad job that pushed people into depeer shit, perhaps now is the time to lift the carpet again and start talking about how we can build better tools that are powerful enough to put these fucked up countries back together"
joshyg 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think their time has passed. Social media is not like tv. With t.v., People want good new shows, they don't care if they're from nbc or hbo or someone new. With social media people actually want a new medium every few years. I don't think there is any feature Twitter could add that will overcome this fact.
soheil 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I were still at Twitter I'd do anything to get Chris on the team.
adventured 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Though you wouldnt know it by looking at the stock price or by reading the headlines, Twitter is owed recognition for ramping up their product development"

Sacca is incorrect when it comes to Twitter's stock price. They're being given an epic benefit of the doubt on their valuation. Few companies get that sort of charity; ask Groupon, Angie's List, Etsy, etc. about that.

They're substantially overvalued by any normal market standards. A $24b market cap for a company that has never - in nearly a decade of existence - earned a profit; worse, they've bled a billion in red ink over that time. It's also trading at a rich sales multiple of about 16.

yueq 2 days ago 0 replies      
Don't pump. You might consider $WB stock which is way undervalued comparing to $TWTR.
antidaily 2 days ago 0 replies      
Exactly why everyone moved over to App.net, right? Right, guys??
Steam Hardware pre-order steampowered.com
214 points by joubert  1 day ago   198 comments top 20
cwyers 1 day ago 11 replies      
The low-end Alienware box has specs that don't meet the minimum requirements for Batman Arkham Knight, one of the few AAA titles coming out this year that supports SteamOS. And it costs more than either the Xbox One or Playstation 4, both of which will run Arkham Knight fine. I think Steam Machines are a failure waiting to happen. PC enthusiasts can get a Steam Link for $50 for most of the benefits of this. And people who aren't PC enthusiasts have no reason to buy these over a console.
eeho 1 day ago 5 replies      
This might be an easy and cheap option (I'm assuming you can dual boot these with Windows) to have a PC to go with an Oculus Rift.

I'm a Mac user and don't really want to buy or build a gaming rig just for VR. This is an interesting option that seems to meet the Oculus recommended specs.

emsy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Strange that nobody else mentioned this before, but I'm really glad that the Steam machines are getting away from those big ugly gaming towers and look more console like. This was one of the main reasons I am (or was) a console player, because PCs waste a lot of space and look ugly as hell. I'm usually not that sensitive to the look of my devices, but a PC tower is just extraordinarily ugly. I'm curious what others think about this.
jokoon 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I really think this could be a huge game changer for the gaming industry.

It might take a while to pick up, but I don't see why it would not work.

The problem of drivers will easily solve itself. If valve can negociate will AMD or nVidia, I don't see why drivers would not improve. It might take time, and at first it might not be a frank success, but I'm pretty confident that PC enthusiasts are already a good target, and I'm sure many PC gamers will buy it so there's no reason it's dead in the water. There are many good markers. If I was into the stock market I might try to invest in this.

Steam already holds a pretty big market share, so to me they got enough steam (pun intended) to negociate and tuck their way in.

The only issue is that they're not mainstream, they might lack advertising and they might not have a chance to be success with kids and teens. But the hardcore gamer community is pretty big already, so why not ? I'm sure developers will love it, and it might even allow so many more indies to make a buck.

TheEnder8 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really wish there were standard models so game developers could optimize the settings. These are just low-end PCs that manage to cost more than a PS4 or an Xbox One.
wodenokoto 1 day ago 3 replies      
So I'm not even going to sugar coat this. How well can I use the steam controller for my N64 emulator? I'm having trouble getting a good D and C-pad as well as analogue stick on the normal playstation type USB controllors and am looking for something else.
danso 1 day ago 3 replies      
OK, I put down for the pre-order of the Steam controller. And am now remembering what a bad idea it is to be an early adopter. No offense to Valve but I'll be very surprised if they can succeed in a way -- and at a lower price point -- that much more experienced controller-makers have not been able to after decades of iteration. I just hope it's more compatible with my Mac than a jury-rigged XBOX360 controller is.
javipas 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's ironic that this effort is trying to get gamers to buy Steam Machines when gamers already have machines far more powerful than the ones launched. Valve will have a big problem if they want to convince traditional console gamers. Which are the benefits for them if the cost is bigger? It seems TCO is good on Steam Machines on the long run but that's a tough argument for people that want instant gratification.

Steam Link seems the way to go for most HN readers, I guess, and that is the device I would buy if I had to choose. BTW, a question on this: I've read somewhere that although NVIDIA Shield works only with NVIDIA GPUs, the Steam Link will work also with AMD GPUs. Valve doesn't confirm this but says that it supports OS X, Linux and Windows PCs. Any ideas? Doesn't it run on NVIDIA's GameStream, like NV Shield does?

johladam 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was hoping to see some updated information on the HTC Re Vive, though I'm not seeing it on the page, especially since it's expected to release sometime in November. However, I am significantly more worried about the performance problems that may exist with the Vive, particularly with its twin high-resolution displays. My 970 already has a hard enough time pushing new games at 60 fps on High or Ultra, I can't imagine it pushing twice the pixels without seeing significant performance problems...
NamTaf 1 day ago 3 replies      
Is pre-order US-only? I only see 'coming soon' here in AU.
ekianjo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Good thing Syber dropped their AMD GPU line of Steam Machines. Seeing the state of AMD drivers on Linux...
vlunkr 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Well they must be confident that this stuff it actually going to get released soonish. It's nice to see after all the delays with the controller.
jotux 1 day ago 0 replies      
Has anyone used the new controller and compared it to the original that came with the first steamboxes? I had a friend win the steambox lottery and I tried the original steam controller -- I found it simply awful.
simplexion 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wonder whether this controller will have any affect on how the next console controllers will behave.
axcocq 1 day ago 4 replies      
The controller is one of the few things I would buy from Valve( I'm assuming it works stand-alone on a PC )[edit]. Unfortunately I can't even consider buying their games or operating system due to the built-in DRM and/or forcing Steam usage.

[edit]:It requires "Big Picture Mode", which in turn requires Steam to be installed. Sigh...

Steko 1 day ago 0 replies      
That controller really better be awesome because the thing is two years behind the PS/Xbox and will arrive two months after Apple's new TV makes it's bid for console killing.
hitlin37 1 day ago 1 reply      
since most GPUs in these box are from nvidia, shouldn't nvidia be making its own steam box?
mkramlich 1 day ago 3 replies      
pre-order = I give you money, you give me nothing (but, hypothetical promises about a future)

gotta love cool new business models

ekianjo 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's not "their" hardware. They don't design any of it (Steam Machines) and the controller and Steam Link are simple enough to make that I don't think they can be that much of a failure.
gcb0 1 day ago 1 reply      
PC games with a joypad that does not have a keyboard.

that is lame. extremely lame.

Almost as lame as the fact that the xbox controllers when attached to windows box also do not recognize the keyboard attachment.

Valve copying microsoft mistakes.

A year with Go vagabond.github.io
222 points by FraaJad  17 hours ago   188 comments top 20
fixxer 12 hours ago 6 replies      
Today, I got a request for a secure message passing service from our CTO. My group, which is a small team of 2 *nix geeks in a company with ~20 mostly c# developers, has become a bit of a skunkworks operation as we have been responding to external constraints and forced to move quickly.

I was able to implement the service per the provided spec in 179 lines of Go in about ~2 hours. Stress tests passed. The job is done. We march on.

Could I have written this service in C++? Absolutely, but it would have taken me 20 hours to get to the same level of confidence. Maybe some could do it on 2 hours; I'm admittedly not a great C++ developer or frequent user.

Could I have written it in Python? Sure, but I would have had to scale and put it behind a load balancer, adding complexity to get equivalent performance.

From what I've seen of Rust, I like it and plan to give it more time now that it is stable. I haven't spent time with D. I played with Erlang. I don't care for Haskell for anything remotely related to "work", but I don't dispute that it has a place in computer science.

In my 2 years with Go, this is not my first positive experience. I have found that Go works well for cranking out high fidelity, snappy services like this. I think this is the result of the language's constraints enforcing simple patterns. Unlike C++ and Python, there are not a huge number of ways to accomplish tasks (at least not ways that feel natural).

Take it or leave it, but I like Go (for certain things).

nemothekid 16 hours ago 1 reply      
>Adding proper mutexes to some of our code in production slowed things down so much it was actually better to just run the service under daemontools and let the service crash/restart.

Can the author explain this bit some more? If adding mutexes slows down your code to the point where you would rather just deal with data corruption/races it seems to me that there are issues with your code, not the language.

coldtea 8 hours ago 1 reply      
It's amazing how Go caught on.

It's not well designed -- lots of special cases reserved just for the compiler, some bizarro decisions, etc.

It's not modern (with the possitive associates of modern, not fadish, and modern being "the last 30 years of experience" which is still like a millenium in IT years).

It's implementation is not great either. Not a very good compiler, not a very good GC, not good tooling.

My theory is it caught on for 4 reasons:

1) It came from Google, and with some famous names to top. This got it initial publicity in programming sites and media, and Google then coughed for conferences, a spot on I/O etc -- so it caught lots of eyeballs, something independent languages don't have a chance to do.

2) It produces static binaries and this was a real need for lots of use cases.

3) It's easy to get started with, and made converts from scripting languages feel empowered, as if they were "real programmers" writing C, what with "pointers" and static types.

4) It makes writing parallel code for some uses cases easy, which is a good fit for some infrastructure/services apps.

(I don't think most teams outside of Google and some C++ or Scala shops have had any beef with "long compile times" for that to have been a major factor. Though it played to the hype of it being "just like a scripting language").

tptacek 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I could be wrong, but I feel like when people talk about how great the Golang tooling is, what they're really saying is "the compiles are instantaneous". I'm sure he's right that the coverage tool isn't 100% perfect, or even 60% perfect. OK. Fine. The compiles are instantaneous. Write a better one!

Golang is not an especially impressive programming language --- as a language. But it seems to me like it is an undeniably impressive programming tool.

tmsh 3 hours ago 0 replies      
What's confusing about Go, in comparing it to other languages, is that it's a minimum orthogonal refactor of a language. It was born out smart engineers observing the web and other languages for decades and thinking that they needed something low level but high level enough. It's built staring precisely at the past two decades.

C, C++, Java, Python, and an appreciation of formal specs over frameworks form Go.

Most languages to perform professionally in you have to know what not to do (not use C++ templates too much, not give into verbosity in hierarchies in Java, not use the GIL, etc.). In Go, because it is a relatively clean refactor, you don't have to worry about this.

But you do have to invent your own smaller libraries for what you want to do sometimes. Because it's a younger language. This is good though if you like programming and stacking lego pieces on you way to stacking paper.

mikeokner 16 hours ago 5 replies      
I think the author gets closest to the mark in the Conclusion, but still falls short. Go is very attractive as an "upgrade" from Ruby/Python or Java. It's a good replacement for the interpreted languages when speed/performance matters and it makes the async paradigm feel much more accessible. And compared to Java, the fact that Go compiles to a native binary is a huge benefit. It's not a replacement for C or a good "teaching" language, nor would anyone call it "mature" at this point, but it does fill a niche and fills it pretty well.


dvt 16 hours ago 7 replies      
Funny how HN was on the Go bandwagon just a few years ago, and now an article like this is almost unanimously upvoted (without much contrarian discussion(!)).

I contributed to Go in the early phases and I really enjoyed using it and learning it, but I found myself going to either Java if I wanted to write something for production or Node if I wanted to write something as a prototype. Unfortunately, I haven't used it almost at all for the past couple of years :(

smegel 16 hours ago 3 replies      
> if I wanted a language built around concurrency Id use Erlang or Haskell.

And if you wanted a concurrent language that wasn't a functional language what would you use?

4ad 16 hours ago 1 reply      
> I also, apparently, dont understand Gos pointers (C pointers I understand fine). Ive literally had cases where just dropping a * in front of something has made it magically work (but it compiled without one). Why the heck is Go making me care about pointers at all if it is a GCd language?

Well, sorry, but if that's your level of understanding after one year of Go, I'm furious I wasted time to read your article up to that point.

Arzh 17 hours ago 1 reply      
The point isn't about learning something new. It's about trying to apply those things into a language they think is easier to work with.
samora 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I think a lot of us miss the Go point.

There is nothing special about Go. It's simple and just works.

Every time I used Go for a project it just worked. No fuss. With very little effort. And that's the point.

tapirl 6 hours ago 0 replies      
> Why the heck is Go making me care about pointers at all if it is a GCd language?

Apparently, the author doesn't understand how pointers work in Golang. He should read this article: http://openmymind.net/Things-I-Wish-Someone-Had-Told-Me-Abou... . In short, golang pointer is neither c pointer nor java reference.

fishnchips 16 hours ago 0 replies      
> Good languages help evolve your approach to programming

Go certainly taught me quite a bit about closures and programming to an interface.

ffn 13 hours ago 0 replies      
If backend programming was epic fiction, then right now, the world is divided into the following countries: The Kingdom of Java, The United Languages of .Net, and the Confederacy of the Scripting Tongue (where racial tensions are crackle under the temporary truce between Ruby, Python, Javascript, Lua, etc.). For the past decade, these three kingdoms constantly struggled against each other for the most precious resource of all: developer mind-share.

But what they didn't know and couldn't prevent, was that their world would soon become (neigh, has already become) the battle ground of 3 ultra-advanced warring alien species: Go, Rust, and Elixir. Backed by unimaginably powerful forces (except Elixir, which is just open-source by Poland's own Jose Valim), the upstart alien languages threaten to herald in a terrifying future for the current 3 powerhouses.

OP's article, and the fact that lots of people are agreeing, is a sign that one of the invading aliens is weakening.

namelezz 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I always find it's difficult to navigate Go repositories on GitHub. Because there can be several source files under a package it's difficult to look for an implementation of a function or method. For Java, I can easily guess where the methods are by looking at import statements.
webkike 16 hours ago 3 replies      
When I use Rust I am constantly annoyed by how limiting traits are in comparison to interfaces. I much prefer interfaces, which are a single type, as opposed to traits, which are sets of types.
nickysielicki 15 hours ago 2 replies      
> "I just dont understand the point of Go. If I wanted a systems language, Id use C/D/Rust, if I wanted a language built around concurrency Id use Erlang or Haskell."

Agreed. C and Rust are systems langauges, Go is not particlarly great in that category. That is okay.

I will say, I hope you have fun getting an average CS graduate to properly write and maintain a Haskell or Erlang program with concurrency. Go is stupid easy to pick up for anyone who has worked with C/C++/C#/Java/Python/Ruby, which, by no exaggeration, probably encompasses every programmer alive.

Meanwhile, Haskell and Erlang look like gibberish to most programmers. And I'll admit, that's a lacking argument. Functional languages cannot be said to be bad just because most people don't understand the functional paradigm.

But the fact remains, an average programmer can sit down today with no knowledge of Go, and by the end of the day create a concurrent program using Go. And given the lack of flair in go, it's the langauge that lends itself to being maintainable. You won't see anything like in python or perl where you're almost expected to abuse the langauge internals (see this awesome example in python [0]). That's completely by design. [1][2] (scroll up to see the quote by Rob Pike)

If you have a team of a dozen guys working on a project with thousands of lines, your priority is not just performance (Go is quick enough [3]). It's probably not elegance either.

It's software that documents itself.

I used to work as a systems administrator for my schools engineering department. We would deal with fixing perl scripts dating back to the 90's. As students came and went, the result was hack jobs on top of hack jobs by students who are now in their 30's. I hated it. I would commonly have to rewrite scripts because over the years the basic flow of the program became completely asinine.

That's exactly where go does well. Go is a langauge for people who don't want to have to deal with abuses of the language that their coworkers put in place. Go is a language that understands that for programmers, maintaining code means fixing bugs and fixing bugs tends to boil down to hacky solutions. Go ensures that those quick fixes aren't hacks.

> "The only place I can see Go shining is for stuff like portable command line utilities where you want to ship a static binary that Just Works(tm). For interactive tasks I think it would be fine, I just dont think it is particularly well suited to long-running servery things."

I really don't understand why he feels that way. I don't see the distinction.

> "It also probably looks attractive to Ruby/Python/Java developers, which is where I think a lot of Go programmers come from. Speaking of Java, I wouldnt be surprised to see Go end up as the new Java given the easier deploy story and the similar sort of vibe I get from the language. If youre just looking for a better Ruby/Python/Java, Go might be for you, but I would encourage you to look further afield."

This reminds me of The Story of Mel [4].

If you're someone who enjoys programming and are writing the code for fun, I agree. Find the most unique language and do it in the most elegant way. Programming is almost an art, and if you're trying to be artistic, unique langauges are great for it.

But not all software is artistic.

> "Good languages help evolve your approach to programming; LISP shows you the idea of code as data, C teaches you about working with the machine at a lower level, Ruby teaches you about message passing & lambdas, Erlang teaches you about concurrency and fault tolerance, Haskell teaches you about real type systems and purity, Rust presumably teaches you about sharing memory in a concurrent environment. I just dont think I got much from learning Go."

I don't think that all langauges need to be learning experiences. Sometimes you just need to get shit done.

[0]: https://benkurtovic.com/2014/06/01/obfuscating-hello-world.h...

[1]: https://talks.golang.org/2012/splash.article

[2]: http://nomad.so/2015/03/why-gos-design-is-a-disservice-to-in...

[3]: https://benchmarksgame.alioth.debian.org/u64q/go.html

[4]: http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/story-of-mel.html

rkapsoro 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Go is great and all, but I'm really only using it until Rust is ready.
jtwebman 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Sweet, I'll stick to learning Elixir with some (Erlang)!
mdcox 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I totally agree (except for the new-grad conspiracy.) I use Go whenever I need to do something small that requires a simple server or API interaction. Especially if it requires alot of concurrency. It's still a joy to use when I need to get something churned out quickly. The biggest thing it gave me though, was something new but accessible that wasn't Ruby, Python or JS.

It made me think about pointers, and gave me insight to just how complicated strings and growable arrays are under the hood instead of just being givens like in Ruby. It simplified concurrency and parallelization enough that I was able to dive in and learn the concepts which I was then able to use to dig deeper with other languages that don't have the nice channels/select built in.

I've come to realize that, in my learning at least, there are thresholds of information that people get stuck at, but once they cross you get a flood of improvement. Go allowed me to stop thinking only within the code context, but also in the machine context. Now a large amount of my side projects are in C or Rust, and even my day job writing higher level languages has benefited greatly from the new ability to understand the moving parts. It's not going to give you a compsci education, but it'll give you that intermediate step you need to wade into that territory.

Visual Studio Online Supports Cross-Platform Development msdn.com
220 points by dstaheli  21 hours ago   138 comments top 12
baldfat 21 hours ago 1 reply      
> Microsoft provided me both a PC laptop and a MacBook for my job and hired me to coordinate the effort to enable and better support non-traditional Microsoft developers (i.e. developers that use something other than C# and .NET technologies) to easily design, build, test and deploy their software and systems solutions, especially to the cloud.

This is a major change in terms of what I would hear from a Microsoft Blog Post on Software Development Tools and especially Visual Studio.

josteink 21 hours ago 1 reply      
The fact that I'm now complaining about how FreeBSD is poorly supported compared to other Unixes like Linux and OSX really is quite amazing.

5 years ago I wouldn't even be surprised if MS websites intentionally didn't work in browsers not IE. Now this.

ohitsdom 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Love the new Microsoft. For small side projects/prototypes, I have tended to not use version control (I know, the horror). I just stumbled across their free private repo storage this morning, and it's going to be a huge improvement in my at-home workflow.
baldfat 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Free Unlimited Private Git Repos hosted by MicroSoft (Looks like BitBucket has a new competitor) this is really surprising.
robertodelori 21 hours ago 4 replies      
It's absolutelly amazing to see, how MS is evolving. Few more steps like that and I really might consider switching back to Windows and giving WinPhone a try...
elevensies 18 hours ago 6 replies      
Sort of off topic, but it's Friday afternoon so maybe someone has an opinion. Do people who got burned by Microsoft think its different this time? I see a warm embrace of a variety of non Microsofty things, so naturally I'm worried about what comes after (Embrace Extend Extinguish).
morpheous 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If Microsoft continues like this - I'll have no choice but to start liking them and doing more dev on their platform ;)

Somehow though, I can't seem to silence the inner voice in my head that keeps asking: "Can a Leopard really change it's spots"?

It'll take a few more iterations of MS's displays of commitment to "Openness" to get me to believe that they have fully embraced the concept.

I won't be holding my breath ...

Roboprog 8 hours ago 0 replies      
OK, so after wading through all the marketing fluffery, it sounds like MS is coming to the table with source control hosting, and calling it Visual Studio (Online)??? (I sort of expected some kind of web based editing, or maybe even remote debugging, based on the name).

And, judging from the comments, its greatest strength is when it emulates git, ignoring their previous 2 source control products?

baldfat 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Open Standards for APIs

> We make it easy to integrate your custom tool or third-party service with Visual Studio Online using open standards like REST APIs and OAuth 2.0.

alexmuro 17 hours ago 10 replies      
Stuff like this makes me wonder what % of devs use IDE's vs text editors. Personally I can't see myself going over to an IDE, and I would have thought that most 'non traditional microsoft developers' wouldn't consider it either but maybe I am way off base.
sudioStudio64 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Its a shame that every Microsoft post goes the same way.
vermooten 20 hours ago 2 replies      
We used this when it was called something like tfsonline my god it was shit. 18 months later have they fixed it?
Let's Encrypt Root and Intermediate Certificates letsencrypt.org
203 points by schoen  1 day ago   36 comments top 10
Someone1234 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm glad (but unsurprised) to see they're doing things correctly (offline root, then using the intermediate CAs to generate actual certificates).

I tried to set up a similar (identical) scheme for use internally, but for some bonkers reason Microsoft's CA on 2008 R2 makes doing this almost "impossible." Or at least if it is possible it is insanely complex. It just really hated and rejected the concept of an offline root CA that didn't have a Microsoft CA running for it.

I'd love to be able to tell everyone doing an internal/corporate key-chain that "this is how it should be done" but holy heck does the tooling make it more complicated than it needs to be. I should just be able to install the public root key, hide the private root key indefinitely and it should "just work" for any key generated via the two intermediate CAs.

mino 1 day ago 1 reply      
> All ISRG keys are currently RSA keys. We are planning to generate ECDSA keys later this year.

Why, oh why, not ECDSA from the start?

lemming 1 day ago 2 replies      
They mention that the cross-signing means that their certs will be trusted by all browsers out of the gate. Does anyone know if this includes other platforms such as Java? I'm assuming so, but I don't actually know how the cross-signing works.
markwakeford 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cant freaking wait, you guys are truly doing awesome things! Well done.
rmoriz 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wonder why they didn't create intermediate CAs by usage type. Most CAs have different intermediates for, e.g. TLS/SSL (one each for DV, OV, EV), CodeSigning, S/MIME, TimeStamp
aubergene 1 day ago 1 reply      
So many acronyms, this page could certainly benefit from using the <abbr> tag to explain, or link off to a definition of what they stand for.
toast0 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone know how well installed the cross-signed root is? Sounds like it's going to be DST Root CA X3?


diafygi 1 day ago 2 replies      
Here's the details for the Root cert:

 $ openssl x509 -in isrgrootx1.txt -text -noout Certificate: Data: Version: 3 (0x2) Serial Number: 82:10:cf:b0:d2:40:e3:59:44:63:e0:bb:63:82:8b:00 Signature Algorithm: sha256WithRSAEncryption Issuer: C=US, O=Internet Security Research Group, CN=ISRG Root X1 Validity Not Before: Jun 4 11:04:38 2015 GMT Not After : Jun 4 11:04:38 2035 GMT Subject: C=US, O=Internet Security Research Group, CN=ISRG Root X1 Subject Public Key Info: Public Key Algorithm: rsaEncryption Public-Key: (4096 bit) Modulus: 00:ad:e8:24:73:f4:14:37:f3:9b:9e:2b:57:28:1c:87:be:dc:b7:df:38:90:8c:6e:3c:e6:57:a0:78:f7:75:c2:a2:fe:f5:6a:6e:f6:00:4f:28:db:de:68:86:6c:44:93:b6:b1:63:fd:14:12:6b:bf:1f:d2:ea:31:9b:21:7e:d1:33:3c:ba:48:f5:dd:79:df:b3:b8:ff:12:f1:21:9a:4b:c1:8a:86:71:69:4a:66:66:6c:8f:7e:3c:70:bf:ad:29:22:06:f3:e4:c0:e6:80:ae:e2:4b:8f:b7:99:7e:94:03:9f:d3:47:97:7c:99:48:23:53:e8:38:ae:4f:0a:6f:83:2e:d1:49:57:8c:80:74:b6:da:2f:d0:38:8d:7b:03:70:21:1b:75:f2:30:3c:fa:8f:ae:dd:da:63:ab:eb:16:4f:c2:8e:11:4b:7e:cf:0b:e8:ff:b5:77:2e:f4:b2:7b:4a:e0:4c:12:25:0c:70:8d:03:29:a0:e1:53:24:ec:13:d9:ee:19:bf:10:b3:4a:8c:3f:89:a3:61:51:de:ac:87:07:94:f4:63:71:ec:2e:e2:6f:5b:98:81:e1:89:5c:34:79:6c:76:ef:3b:90:62:79:e6:db:a4:9a:2f:26:c5:d0:10:e1:0e:de:d9:10:8e:16:fb:b7:f7:a8:f7:c7:e5:02:07:98:8f:36:08:95:e7:e2:37:96:0d:36:75:9e:fb:0e:72:b1:1d:9b:bc:03:f9:49:05:d8:81:dd:05:b4:2a:d6:41:e9:ac:01:76:95:0a:0f:d8:df:d5:bd:12:1f:35:2f:28:17:6c:d2:98:c1:a8:09:64:77:6e:47:37:ba:ce:ac:59:5e:68:9d:7f:72:d6:89:c5:06:41:29:3e:59:3e:dd:26:f5:24:c9:11:a7:5a:a3:4c:40:1f:46:a1:99:b5:a7:3a:51:6e:86:3b:9e:7d:72:a7:12:05:78:59:ed:3e:51:78:15:0b:03:8f:8d:d0:2f:05:b2:3e:7b:4a:1c:4b:73:05:12:fc:c6:ea:e0:50:13:7c:43:93:74:b3:ca:74:e7:8e:1f:01:08:d0:30:d4:5b:71:36:b4:07:ba:c1:30:30:5c:48:b7:82:3b:98:a6:7d:60:8a:a2:a3:29:82:cc:ba:bd:83:04:1b:a2:83:03:41:a1:d6:05:f1:1b:c2:b6:f0:a8:7c:86:3b:46:a8:48:2a:88:dc:76:9a:76:bf:1f:6a:a5:3d:19:8f:eb:38:f3:64:de:c8:2b:0d:0a:28:ff:f7:db:e2:15:42:d4:22:d0:27:5d:e1:79:fe:18:e7:70:88:ad:4e:e6:d9:8b:3a:c6:dd:27:51:6e:ff:bc:64:f5:33:43:4f Exponent: 65537 (0x10001) X509v3 extensions: X509v3 Key Usage: critical Certificate Sign, CRL Sign X509v3 Basic Constraints: critical CA:TRUE X509v3 Subject Key Identifier: 79:B4:59:E6:7B:B6:E5:E4:01:73:80:08:88:C8:1A:58:F6:E9:9B:6E Signature Algorithm: sha256WithRSAEncryption 55:1f:58:a9:bc:b2:a8:50:d0:0c:b1:d8:1a:69:20:27:29:08:ac:61:75:5c:8a:6e:f8:82:e5:69:2f:d5:f6:56:4b:b9:b8:73:10:59:d3:21:97:7e:e7:4c:71:fb:b2:d2:60:ad:39:a8:0b:ea:17:21:56:85:f1:50:0e:59:eb:ce:e0:59:e9:ba:c9:15:ef:86:9d:8f:84:80:f6:e4:e9:91:90:dc:17:9b:62:1b:45:f0:66:95:d2:7c:6f:c2:ea:3b:ef:1f:cf:cb:d6:ae:27:f1:a9:b0:c8:ae:fd:7d:7e:9a:fa:22:04:eb:ff:d9:7f:ea:91:2b:22:b1:17:0e:8f:f2:8a:34:5b:58:d8:fc:01:c9:54:b9:b8:26:cc:8a:88:33:89:4c:2d:84:3c:82:df:ee:96:57:05:ba:2c:bb:f7:c4:b7:c7:4e:3b:82:be:31:c8:22:73:73:92:d1:c2:80:a4:39:39:10:33:23:82:4c:3c:9f:86:b2:55:98:1d:be:29:86:8c:22:9b:9e:e2:6b:3b:57:3a:82:70:4d:dc:09:c7:89:cb:0a:07:4d:6c:e8:5d:8e:c9:ef:ce:ab:c7:bb:b5:2b:4e:45:d6:4a:d0:26:cc:e5:72:ca:08:6a:a5:95:e3:15:a1:f7:a4:ed:c9:2c:5f:a5:fb:ff:ac:28:02:2e:be:d7:7b:bb:e3:71:7b:90:16:d3:07:5e:46:53:7c:37:07:42:8c:d3:c4:96:9c:d5:99:b5:2a:e0:95:1a:80:48:ae:4c:39:07:ce:cc:47:a4:52:95:2b:ba:b8:fb:ad:d2:33:53:7d:e5:1d:4d:6d:d5:a1:b1:c7:42:6f:e6:40:27:35:5c:a3:28:b7:07:8d:e7:8d:33:90:e7:23:9f:fb:50:9c:79:6c:46:d5:b4:15:b3:96:6e:7e:9b:0c:96:3a:b8:52:2d:3f:d6:5b:e1:fb:08:c2:84:fe:24:a8:a3:89:da:ac:6a:e1:18:2a:b1:a8:43:61:5b:d3:1f:dc:3b:8d:76:f2:2d:e8:8d:75:df:17:33:6c:3d:53:fb:7b:cb:41:5f:ff:dc:a2:d0:61:38:e1:96:b8:ac:5d:8b:37:d7:75:d5:33:c0:99:11:ae:9d:41:c1:72:75:84:be:02:41:42:5f:67:24:48:94:d1:9b:27:be:07:3f:b9:b8:4f:81:74:51:e1:7a:b7:ed:9d:23:e2:be:e0:d5:28:04:13:3c:31:03:9e:dd:7a:6c:8f:c6:07:18:c6:7f:de:47:8e:3f:28:9e:04:06:cf:a5:54:34:77:bd:ec:89:9b:e9:17:43:df:5b:db:5f:fe:8e:1e:57:a2:cd:40:9d:7e:62:22:da:de:18:27

zx2c4 1 day ago 1 reply      
Their intermediate certificates have reference to the location of their Certificate Practice Statement: http://cps.root-x1.letsencrypt.org/
TheLoneWolfling 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is it just me who is concerned that this will very quickly become a single point of failure?

Or rather, a single point of vulnerability?

Crystal Language crystal-lang.org
208 points by necrodome  13 hours ago   100 comments top 15
Nob-suz 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
I made a Crystal Language Web/Git information collection pages.https://github.com/nob-suz/crystal/wiki/1.-Read-First-%28gen...

See Wiki 1. to 9.If you enjoy your first try for Crystal Language, it's nice.

davexunit 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't understand why Ruby's syntax is seen as so elegant. It's ambiguous and a nightmare to parse.


sergiotapia 8 hours ago 8 replies      
I'm looking for something beautiful like Ruby but fast like Go. Do you think Crystal fits this bill?

Also, are there packages/libs/gems for Crystal? What are they called? What do I google for?

One of the major reasons why I dumped Go is that it's just too verbose and makes me write too much boilerplate code. I want to sort a collection and I have to write the same algorithm every single time for every single type. It's just boring and my time could be better spent elsewhere.

I appreciate the feedback HN!

westoque 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
Now. I just can't wait till Rails or something similar gets ported to Crystal.
rtpg 11 hours ago 1 reply      

The Null pointer analysis is great, hope this stuff pollinates some of the more mainstream languages

kibwen 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Crystal looks like a neat language, and it's fun to see how many entrants there are in the modern renaissance of scripting languages that compile to native code. I wish there was some more documentation about it though... for example, does the bullet point "Never have to specify the type of a variable or method argument" from the home page imply gradual typing as per Dart and TypeScript, or is it something else entirely?
zeeone 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Just curious, why Crystal? It looks just like Ruby. What problem(s) are you addressing with Crystal?
trengrj 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been looking at the benchmarks https://github.com/kostya/benchmarks and am pleasantly surprised about the speed. It definitely smokes Ruby, but also is usually faster than Go. I know that all benchmarks are relative but Crystal seems a great language from a performance viewpoint.
AKifer 8 hours ago 1 reply      
At first look, I like it. Would be great if we can build a ruby-to-crystal bridge so all the ruby goodness can run on top of it without requiring programmers to learn a whole new language. No GIL, faster than ruby but syntactically close enough, the dream.
singularity2001 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome!Did you consider synchronizing your syntax with Mirah / typed ruby?Also what's your opinion on the Vala/Gini toolchain?
_RPM 12 hours ago 3 replies      
How long did it take to become self hosting? I checked the first tag on GitHub and it was still implemented in Crystal. Did you originally implement it in C or another language?
agluszak 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow! Ruby was the first programming language I learnt and I still love it. Crystal is going to add features I've always missed: static typing and compilation. Thank you guys, it will be awesome!
singularity2001 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Now someone convince Matz to reimplement Ruby in crystal, add optional typing to CRuby, and you have won big time.
keypusher 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Python is to Nim as Ruby is to Crystal.
MCRed 11 hours ago 6 replies      
I love that we're getting new languages lately, but almost all of them seem to be ignore the significant new requirement of our age: parallelism & concurrency.

Specifically, you need lightweight processes and no-shared-memroy architecture.

While the number of cores on a machine is remaining relatively low, the number of machines in a system are going up.

Erlang got this right and build a lot of infrastructure around it (OTP) and while you can't replicate that infrastructure quickly you can get the fundamentals right.

Simply getting this wrong rules out a lot of languages from consideration (because why learn a new language that is going to be obsolete, or only chosen by people who don't understand how to build systems?)

It's a lot easier to get this in when you're new and can make major changes to the language. Once you start to solidify it would break things- this is why Go's fake concurrency is a tragedy and a huge missed opportunity.

UN Experts Condemn the Human Rights Costs of Secret Trade Agreements eff.org
189 points by DiabloD3  2 days ago   76 comments top 5
walterbell 2 days ago 3 replies      
Let's not forget TISA which covers 50 countries including EU and US, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_in_Services_Agreement

"The agreement bans government mandates for use of open source software, stating "No Party may require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition of providing services related to such software in its territory." The open source word processing application LibreOffice has been deployed by many local governments throughout the EU to save money..

.. the agreement would strip existing protections which aim to keep confidential or personally identifiable data within country borders or which prohibit its movement to other countries which do not have similar data protection laws in place.

.. seeking to end publicly provided services like public pension funds, which are referred to as 'monopolies' and to limit public regulation of all financial services ."

madaxe_again 2 days ago 3 replies      
If only human rights were a thing people were still in favour of - here in the UK the government and the majority of the population (through a sustained propaganda campaign) strongly oppose human rights, and see them as "EU interference". If you dare point out that Britain practically wrote the echr back in the 50's... Well, you try it. People turn purple and start calling you a terrorist.

It's easy in our little bubble to forget that most of the populace don't know, don't care, don't want to know anything about trade agreements, and will simply take the first opinion handed to them as their own.

The alternative is that people rationally think stuff through, and end up going "Down with humans! Dey took mah jurb!", which I can't believe.

Either way, if the UN keep it up, I'd wager you'll start seeing bits in the British press about how the UN wants to take our freedom and give it to someone else because immigration and terrorists and tigers oh my.

DigitalSea 2 days ago 1 reply      
The sad thing about all of these agreements is that they will most likely all be ratified by participating countries. Democracy has been watered down to; we can choose where we live, where we work and if we are lucky where we get buried when we die. That's it. People no longer get to influence the laws that govern them, society has been reduced down to: we pass these laws to protect you, we have your best interests at heart, because terrorism, because ISIS or some threat to our supposed freedom.

We all frown upon countries like China who restrict what their people can do online and offline, what they can say and do, but the ironic thing is these countries don't try to hide their actions and intents like the US and its corporate lobbyists do. We are told the TPP and all of those other agreements will be great for our countries, but will they?

The TPP specifically is a horrible piece of work. I understand free trade agreements are beneficial to keeping the economy going, but Australia (where I reside) ironically already has trade agreements with 8 of the 11 participating countries in the TPP anyway. Do we really need to sign a new agreement just to trade with 3 extra partners? We have a free healthcare system (free as in paid for using tax) where we get access to subsidised generic medicines and doctor visits that don't cost anything (like Canada) and under the TPP these freedoms thanks to corporate interests could be removed entirely.

The very fact that Australia has had to request exemption from our environment and healthcare system from being affected by the TPP and possible ISDS provisions is worrying in itself. If we even get these exemptions will be another matter entirely. Extending the duration under which pharmaceutical companies can block out generic medicines is a lose-lose situation for the poor.

I'm scared for what the future holds. I want my children to grow up having the same freedoms and benefits that I did, not having to pay exorbitant amounts of money to access medicines that would currently cost $10 or so under the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

pjc50 2 days ago 0 replies      
The underlying problem is the strength of intergovernmental agreements. It turns out that making an international agreement to make or not make certain laws is actually more binding than the local constitution, and less subject to local democratic veto amendment.
marcoperaza 2 days ago 4 replies      
All of these experts are involved with the UN Human Rights Council, a thoroughly discredited organization that consists mostly of undemocratic regimes with dismal human rights records, including Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Pakistan, Vietnam, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. There is only a single item that is permanently on the agenda and must be discussed at every meeting of the council: supposed Israeli human rights abuses. I'm not surprised to see more anti-Western and anti-capitalist propaganda coming from these people.
TTIP explained: The secretive US-EU treaty that undermines democracy arstechnica.co.uk
182 points by walterbell  4 hours ago   51 comments top 14
mercurial 3 hours ago 2 replies      
In a blog post entitled "Why Is It So Acceptable to Lie to Promote Trade Deals?," the economist Dean Baker wrote: "Implying that a deal that raises GDP by 0.4 or 0.5 percent 13 years out [in 2027] means "job-creating opportunities for workers on both continents" is just dishonest. The increment to annual growth is on the order of 0.03 percentage points. Good luck finding that in the data."

And that's the best case scenario. With studies which appear to ignore any downside of the trade agreement.

Another choice morsel:

According to CEO's analysis of the leaked document: "as soon as a new regulation is in the pipeline, businesses should be informed through an annual report, and be involved". Specifically, governments wishing to bring in new regulations have to offer companies that may be affected by legislation or regulation an opportunity to provide input, with the rider that this input shall be taken into account when finalising the proposal."

Consumers, on the other hand, can just get stuffed, no privileged access for NGOs.

Not to mention the ISDS mechanism, which is pure madness. What democratic government would want to be subject to secret tribunals, especially considering the litigation-happy nature of US business culture? A system which, apparently, is already used to strong-arm Canada into watering down legislation which would endanger US corporate profits...

deif 1 hour ago 2 replies      
The conclusion to this is very strange. There's vast amounts of people on both sides of this deal that come into the fray in black and white. What I mean is they're either totally for or totally against. I've watched one of these presentations to the EU Parliament and the MEPs completely shredded the negotiators on ISDS. And yet there are still people concerned that the European Parliament is somehow going to lower standards and screw the public over.

The final few paragraphs state that if one EU member votes against TTIP then they will be blamed for not facilitating growth. Yeah, by lobbying companies, but not by the people. The EP have generally been the 'good' guys in history, and I highly doubt that they're going to U-turn and go against everything they created in the past few decades by allowing multinational companies to lobby them into lowering standards.

It's all very sensational and the media takes a very jazz hands approach to presenting the happenings to the public, when in actuality if one did a little research, you would find that the documents that exist right now present the opposite case of what the public believes.

If TTIP is horrible, I still have faith that our MEPs will reject it. But we're not anywhere near a final document to vote on, so I don't think we should be running around waving our hands in the air just yet.

cies 2 hours ago 5 replies      
> undermines democracy

Sorry which democracy? If these talks and their outcomes are already a secret (without discussing matters of national security), then this is one more reason for me not to consider the EU nor the US a democracy. The people have just a tiny fraction of power compared to the corps.

Let's just be fair and teach the next generations that our countries have been hijacked by corps+lobbyists, and that democracy is just a word used to make people accept their totalitarian power.

vinay427 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
All I wanted was for things such as unified vehicle safety standards between the EU and US. If the US adopted the far newer and more relevant EU standards (which has effectively already happened to a large extend due to the globalized car market) Americans would benefit from safer vehicles while Europeans would benefit from more options.

Instead we seemingly ended up with a whole bowl of agreements regarding controversial protectionism, financial regulation, etc.

walterbell 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Lobbyists drafting laws: http://www.ip-watch.org/2015/06/05/confidential-ustr-emails-...

"Through a US Freedom of Information Act request, Intellectual Property Watch has obtained some 400 pages of email traffic between USTR officials and industry advisors ... the emails reveal a close-knit relationship between negotiators and the industry advisors that is likely unmatched by any other stakeholders. "

Worse terms for RCEP in Asia: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/06/just-when-you-thought-...

"RCEP can be compared with the .. TPP, except that rather than being driven by the United States, it is being driven by the ten-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) .. [plus] India and China .. This draft is .. far worse than ACTA, and is even worse than the most recent leaked draft of the TPP."

DyslexicAtheist 45 minutes ago 1 reply      
>> The nominal one million signatures from EU citizens was achieved in just two months; at the time of writing, over 1.7 million Europeans have signed the unofficial ECIa stunning rebuke to the European Commission for refusing to allow this to proceed officially. Resistance isnt limited to the digital world, either. Recently, a global day of action against TTIP and CETA saw 750 events organised around the world, with many tens of thousands of people taking to the streets to show their engagement and concerns.

--> they are now at a 1.9 Mio votes against TTIP. If you're in the EU vote against it here: https://stop-ttip.org/

officemonkey 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Let me guess which "non-trade barrier" isn't coming down: reciprocal work visas for EU and US citizens.
smutticus 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
Any argument at this point will require a level of speculation that makes me uncomfortable. I'm against the TTIP on principle, simply because I cannot read it. That's the only information I need to be against it, nothing else is germane to my stance.

Given that, I feel little need to read up on it, or learn about how it might be terrible. Until I can read it, I don't want to hear speculation about what might be in it.

meesterdude 2 hours ago 2 replies      
My question is, why is this representative of innate inertia? It seems like even if this is managed to be stopped, there will be 3 more similar deals ready to replace it. The people who push for these things do not stop pushing.

Evil only has to win once.

chronikewok 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you're coming to this fresh and want a slightly more approachable, video version:http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Rh0InepmCwQ
PythonicAlpha 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
The trend was started long ago. The whole notion of "globalization" is a development to disempower the single nations. Before the globalization was known in Germany, it was a nation that could stand against the big corporations and say "we have our own rules in this country" (e.g. worker rights, environmental, ...).

And we had a state where wealth was rather evenly divided and with many people that did well. Also we had rather low crime and view people had to worry that they could be poor when they are old.

Than came globalization and the notion that the "free market" will be always right and will make things (automatically) perfect. (That was promoted by Mrs. Thatcher and Mr. Reagan, to name two early adopters). Than the governments in Germany and all over the world started to bend. "It is the free market, we can not do anything against it" was said by them. "We have to bend our laws to comply with the free market".

So it was going all over the world.

What do we have today: All over the world, people get richer ... 1% of the people. The others get gradually poorer and the lowest part of the people are really poor, because in Germany it is already clear, that a big part of the people working today, will not be able to live from the pensions they will get.

So the "free market" took over and the "free nations" are enslaved by one economic theory, that nobody has ever proved.

We are all at the mercy of "unlimited growth". Our economic systems are only stable, when growth is guaranteed. In biology, unlimited growth is called cancer.

louithethrid 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Imagine it would be stoped. The next cooperation constitution suggestion one year later would then be:UTIP?
omniquad 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Democracy is a bad ideal that is much inferior for economic prosperity than one party states/kingdoms like Singapore, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Qatar who have a high degree of economic freedom. This deal would increase prosperity and trade and prevent unelected bureaucrats on both sides of the atlantic from restricting commerce with oppressive laws.

If only US and EU weren't a democracy, but allowed full blown economic freedom, we would all have plenty more money in our pockets.

tragomaskhalos 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Great that this has floated to the top of HN, far more people need to know about this
Computer Scientists Are Astir After Baidu Team Is Barred from A.I. Competition nytimes.com
165 points by T-A  2 days ago   197 comments top 20
nl 2 days ago 5 replies      
Some background:

This competition (the "Large Scale Visual Recognition Challenge" aka "ImageNet") isn't just some random competition. This is the competition that gave rise to the recent explosion in interest in Neural Networks.

In recent years Google, Microsoft and Baidu have been one-upping each other to the point now where they are getting very close to better-than-human performance (ie, humans disagree with other humans more often than their systems disagree with the average human rating)[0].

Andrew Ng went to Baidu to start their team. I don't believe he is still involved in this challenge.

Baidu has been getting close and close to Google's performance. Every year so far Google has topped it at the right time, but Baidu has later passed the Google benchmark that year.

There were reasons to think that this could be the year they finally beat them. [1] is a story from January about the system that Baidu had built then.

Now this.

[0] http://karpathy.github.io/2014/09/02/what-i-learned-from-com...

[1] https://gigaom.com/2015/01/14/baidu-has-built-a-supercompute...

jordigh 2 days ago 16 replies      
Cheating is pretty entrenched in Chinese culture. Sometimes I even wonder if they consider it's cheating at all or if it's just cleverness and they should be rewarded for it. I believe they feel that way about infringing copyrights too: why should they follow someone else's rules that puts them at a disadvantage when they can instead demonstrate cleverness and break those rules?

There was an interesting story recently about how a disproportionate amount of Chinese students are expelled from US universities for cheating.


The problem is so entrenched that some students rioted when they were prevented from cheating, because they felt that this put them at an unfair disadvantage compared to other schools where cheating was tolerated:


trway 2 days ago 3 replies      
In a globalized world, institutions need to tighten up their safeguards against cheating, fraud and dishonesty. In much of the world, cultural attitudes toward cheating are a lot more relaxed than some of us presume.

There was a story about Indian students' rampant cheating at US colleges, that was presumably flag-killed off HN despite the horror stories that were emerging from academics. I've read about Australian universities basically selling degrees to foreigners who can't speak English and get admitted fraudulently. There is a currrent story about fraudulent admissions to US colleges by Chinese students as a result of massive SAT cheating. I'm not picking on Asians: Switzerland seems to have its fair share of scoundrels, as the FIFA scandal reminds us.

We need to acknowledge that gloablization sometimes brings unwanted side-effects and deal with these head-on.

protomyth 1 day ago 0 replies      
Who wrote that headline. It makes it sound like they were barred for no reason and the community is mad. A more accurate headline would be "Baidu Team barred from A.I. Competition for cheating". Its like they are trying not to get censored or something.
phreeza 2 days ago 2 replies      
As a former glider pilot I had serious trouble parsing the headline because of the all caps and this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grob_G102_Astir
dekhn 2 days ago 0 replies      
One important thing to recognize here is that this isn't just unfair play (in the sense of trying to win a competition by submitting multiple entries). It's a loss for all players. The point of having distinct test and training sets, and not training on the test set, is to ensure that your system can generalize (IE, work on things it wasn't trained on). If you don't do that, you're not making progress, just memorizing examples. Example memorization is fine on its own, but it's not really a true improvement.
thansharp 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not an expert, so apologies if my question is stupid.

Why can't the competition have the same test data each week across all participants? So that no matter how many accounts you create, you will train with the same images everyone else gets to train with.

vdnkh 2 days ago 2 replies      
Just some anectdotal evidence, but at work I had to implement a clone of our Google Maps application in Baidu Maps for our customers in China. The only reason I was able to use their API was because they copied Google's interfaces, in some cases, word for word.
chvid 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why is the competition designed in such a way that it is an advantage for a competitor to "run test versions of their programs twice weekly ahead of a final submission"?

How does it work? You submit your classifier to some server and it is run against what? The data set that determines your final score - hopefully not.

solve 2 days ago 3 replies      

The technique is actually pretty fascinating. This is something that's been well understood by the cryptography community for decades, but is somehow just recently being fully appreciated by the ML community. See here:



Summary -

Submitting guesses to a system that gives you back scores for your guesses, will quickly leak out enough information that you can reverse engineer a huge number of hidden numbers/labels in surprisingly few iterations, e.g. 700 iterations to covertly extract 10,000+ real numbers with high precision. This surprisingly rapid convergence is a bit reminiscent of the birthday paradox.

Further, this not only lets you win the against the "test" dataset, as apposed to the final "validation" set, but this allows you to significantly increase the data available to you to train your model on, since now you can train your model against both the "test" and "training" datasets.

Layman summary -

ML breaks datasets into 3 partitions "test", "train", and "validation". In cases where they're evenly split, this technique can double the training data you have access to, which is a massive advantage in ML competitions where scores differ by tiny amounts.

Moral judgement -

My opinion, this moral argument is misdirecting the attention from where it needs to be. Yes, it's bad what occurred here. But at this point, in 2015, and with tools readily available to crack this problem effortlessly, it's inexcusable for contests to allow so many scoring reports against their validation sets anymore. It's no longer a question of whether contestants will do it, but how many of them will. We'd might as well just let people self-report their scores on an honor system, if we're going to be this overly trusting.

Try creating a contest system like this in the cryptography field any time in the past 3 decades and you'd be insulted and laughed out. Allowing so many scoring reports against the validation set is fundamentally flawed. The only solution is to globally limit calls to the scoring api.

Another proposed solution -

Allowing everyone to see everyone else's guesses & resulting scores against the "test" set, so that everyone is on equal ground for reverse engineering the "test" set, and then globally limiting the number of scoring attempts so that the test set isn't reverse engineered too significantly.

Overfitting the "validation" set actually is not a problem either way, because none of these contests are dumb enough to let anyone score against the validation set at all until the contest submission deadline is over.

McElroy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is training of the Google AI the reason that reCAPTCHA is now showing pictures and asking users to select all images of a certain kind?
squigs25 2 days ago 5 replies      
This is clearly cheating.

HOWEVER, the goal of these contests should be to promote the most accurate and powerful image recognition algorithms that will transform the world as we know it. Limiting access to training data makes it more difficult to test changes to an algorithm. These rules do not make sense to me, and I would advocate against them.

programmer_dude 2 days ago 2 replies      
Funny for a moment I thought some one submitted a headline with an Indian word in it. Asthir in Hindi/Bengali means unstable, not stationary or worked up (remotely connected to Astir?)
peter303 2 days ago 0 replies      
In science and technology cheating is often self-correcting. Your result is not reproducible or your product defective if you cheat too much. Everyone will know.
aminorex 2 days ago 1 reply      
The PLA appears to have taken down the NYT story.
jokoon 2 days ago 0 replies      
I began watching Andrew Ng's course just this morning. I had also watched some part of the courses by Pedro Domingo at the Washington University a few months ago.

Having never been employed but having coded for 8, I wish I could get myself educated in this field.

kailuowang 2 days ago 1 reply      
A major company spending so much, even risk their reputation, on a competition in a field where computer already achieved better than human performance. I start to feel that maybe the industry should start looking more on other new application of deep neural network (e.g. reinforce learning by deepmind). There is still a long way to go before we can achieve a thinking machine.
ilaksh 1 day ago 0 replies      
It is odd that there is such a significant cultural difference. On the other hand, the difference in culture may be more subtle than we realize.

For this test, they should have had an automated way to enforce that rule, if possible.

Look at the actual levels of piracy in the US versus China. In the US, you will get some people who say they are worried it might be wrong or that they will get caught. But most people will say something like 'watching this free stream doesn't hurt anyone'.

In the US, we have no problem with high end shoes that look similar to one another, or low-end similar to high-end. But there is a subtle distinction -- there must be some way to claim that this is not copying the other. But maybe it more often comes down to taking a different attitude towards the same thing. E.g. "cheap Chinese knock-offs" versus "inexpensive sensible alternative to overpriced designer brand".

Its also perfectly fine in general for companies to copy a successful business model. But we insist that there must be some distinction. However the difference between these companies may only be slightly greater or mainly surface-level, and so when you get down to the fine analysis, I thinj the real difference between the cultures is smaller than people want to admit.

amelius 2 days ago 1 reply      
Another solution would have been to allow other researchers unlimited access to the test server as well.
travelhead 2 days ago 4 replies      
What's more important, winning a competition or improving AI for the entire world? Do the ends justify the means? I Don't think we should be too hard on Baidu, considering they are attempting to improve their algorithm for the interest of humanity (or evil AI that will bring an end to mankind, depending on how you look at it).
OpenFL: a hardware-accelerated cross-platform reimplementation of the Flash API openfl.org
159 points by swah  2 days ago   31 comments top 8
larsiusprime 2 days ago 4 replies      
Quick note: this is NOT a flash player reimplementation. It's an API implementation. Thanks to Haxe, OpenFL apps can compile out to C++, HTML5, Flash, etc.

I should also note that people might also be interested in the programming language that OpenFL is built on, Haxe, which has been around for ~10 years, is criminally underrated, and has many, many uses besides OpenFL's Flash API implementation (probably the most popular Haxe library).

For instance, here are some other uses :

 - Isomorphic client/server web apps (http://ufront.net/) - Cross platform UI (http://haxeui.org/) - Other game frameworks - (snowkit: http://snowkit.org/) - (kha: https://github.com/KTXSoftware/Kha) - (nme: https://github.com/haxenme/nme)
Course I'm a big fan of OpenFL!

Also, for those who don't like the Flash API, OpenFL has a lower-level foundation called LIME that is just the cross-platform abstraction layer, so you can just use that if you hate all things remotely Flash-like.

larsiusprime 2 days ago 0 replies      
Also, pardon me if this smacks of self-promotion (since I wrote the article I'm about to link), but I think it's relevant to mention home game console support is coming soon to OpenFL as well:


leolannenmaki 2 days ago 1 reply      
Disclosure: I'm one of the developers behind The Masterplan

We've been very happy with Haxe and OpenFL, but for us the most important thing is definitely not the Flash API but a cross platform way for writing games that use OpenGL ES 2.0 for rendering and OpenAL for audio. See Lime (https://github.com/openfl/lime).

We've made a tactical team-based heisting simulator called The Masterplan with this setup. It's finally coming out of Early Access today! The current release runs on Windows, Mac and Linux and hopefully we can release this on many more platforms in the future.


duskwuff 2 days ago 0 replies      
Except that's not what this project does. It's a cross-platform implementation of certain Flash APIs, not a Flash player.
archagon 2 days ago 0 replies      
So, I'm assuming this includes support for hardware-accelerated vector graphics? There's a real need for this kind of tech on mobile; on my old iPad 3, I can not even animate a single full-screen bezier path at 60fps, whereas using MonkVG, I can suddenly do 20 or more at once! (And that's not even factoring in the "free" matrix transforms that don't require retesselation.)

There's a ton of fascinating apps and games that could be made if only vector graphics performance was better. It's too bad OpenVG never went anywhere.

moondowner 2 days ago 1 reply      
Related: for weekly Haxe related news and roundups, there's http://haxe.io/
n8m 2 days ago 0 replies      
That looks like I need to give it a go. Thanks for showing!
methou 2 days ago 2 replies      
Just let Flash die, there's a lot of wonderful, more advanced technologies out there, Flash should obsolete.
Using Protobuf instead of JSON to communicate with a front end wearewizards.io
161 points by teh  1 day ago   90 comments top 25
oppositelock 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I worked on a product inside Google which used protos (v1) as the data format to a web front end, and in practice, that system was a failure, in part to the decision to use protos. The deserialization cost of protocol buffers is too high if you're doing complex data throughput, and even though the data size is smaller, it's better to send larger gzipped JSON (which will be decompressed in native code) and deserialized into JS (also via native code). We weren't using ProtoBuf.js, but our own internal javascript implementation of a similar library, and doing all of this in JS was too expensive. Granted, we were sending around protos that had multi megabyte payloads at times.

We rewrote our app eventually to send protos in JSON format to the app, while just letting our backends still pass around native protos, it worked a lot better.

haberman 23 hours ago 4 replies      
Making JSON first-class is an explicit design goal of proto3, the next version of Protocol Buffers currently in alpha: https://developers.google.com/protocol-buffers/docs/proto3#j...

This will allow you to switch between JSON and protobuf binary on the wire easily, while using official protobuf client libraries. So you can choose easily whether you care more about size/speed efficiency or wire readability. Best of both worlds!

I work on the protobuf team at Google and would be happy to answer any questions.

skybrian 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's possible to encode a protobuf as JSON and we do it all the time at Google. In browsers, native JSON parsing is very fast and the data is compressed, so going to a binary format doesn't seem worthwhile. The .proto file is used basically as an IDL from which we generate code.
justinsb 1 day ago 3 replies      
I like to use Protobuf in my server code, but then support JSON _or_ Protobuf as the encoding. So browsers can continue to use JSON, but the server gets strongly-typed Protobuf structures.
sbarre 1 day ago 0 replies      
The biggest takeaway for me from this experiment was "always make sure you are gzipping your output".
rqebmm 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Having used both on a few projects, including a JS frontend, my advice is:

"Don't use protobufs if you don't have to".

Protobufs can be much faster, and provide a strict schema, but it comes at the price of higher maintenance costs. JSON is much simpler, easier to implement, and MUCH easier to debug. If your GPB looks like it's building properly, but fails to parse, it's a huge pain to try and decode/debug the binary. You'll wish you could just print the JSON string.

If you need the speed and schema, then GPBs are great. In our case, we got a huge speed boost just by avoiding string building/parsing inherent in JSON.

zubspace 1 day ago 1 reply      
One thing, where protobuf (at least protobuf-net) really shines, is serialization of data into a binary format which is incredibly fast. In .NET, all inbuilt alternatives are slower by a large margin.


benjaminjackman 23 hours ago 0 replies      
It would probably be better to try something like Cap'n Proto or SBE if worried about performance. Otherwise I think sticking to GZIP'd json isn't going to lag that far behind. Protocol buffers biggest benefit IMHO is just their .proto file for cross language code generation.

I have it on a todo list to port an SBE parser to ScalaJS. ScalaJS already backs java ByteBuffers with javascript TypedArrays. That should be really fast, the same stuff that is being worked on for making asm.js fast will also make the Cap'n Proto / SBE approach fast, so I think this has the most promise of bringing really high-performance data transfer capabilities to the browser.

Animats 10 hours ago 1 reply      
With one end in Python 2 and the other end in Javascript, using binary protobufs seems misplaced optimization. It's nice to know the support is there (well, not in Python 3, apparently), in case you need to talk to something that speaks protobufs.

I'm looking forward to seeing protobufs in Rust as a macro. It should be possible; there's an entire regular expression compiler for Rust as a compile-time macro, which is a useful optimization.

mhahn 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm curious if Google has a common envelope they send all service messages with. Ie. A common way of specifying pagination parameters, auth tokens etc. when sending protobuf messages between services. I've been using protobufs for my services and wrote a ServiceRequest object which has worked well. I was more just surprised about not being able to find much documentation on actual deployments as opposed to just simple tutorials.
dustingetz 1 day ago 2 replies      
Transit is similar but addresses the flaws described in this article


drawkbox 10 hours ago 0 replies      
There is definitely a place for binary serialization/de-serialization and transmission. Inter-system communication is probably the best place for binary or any place that needs high speed real-time communication with the smallest size to fit in MTU limits (game protocols over UDP for instance). Any place that you control the client and server is ok to use binary.

However, I do feel there is a strange swaying back to binary (Protobuf/HTTP/2/etc). Developers are trying to wedge it in now in places it may cause more problems because it is more efficient in performance but not in use or implementation. Plus, like mentioned in this thread, you can compress JSON to be very small to send over the wire which makes the compactness of it a non-issue in non real-time cases. Going binary just to go binary is more trouble than it is worth in most cases.

- Binary over keyed plain text (JSON) is harder to generically parse objects i.e. dictionaries/lists for just a few fields/keys.

- Binary over JSON also seems to lock down messaging more, people have more work to change binary explicit messages because of offset issues and client/server tools must be in sync rather than just adding a new key that can be pulled as needed.

- Third party implementation and parsing of JSON/XML is more forgiving making version upgrades and changes easier to do. This is especially apparent on projects that are taken over by other developers.

- The language/platform on the backend leaks into the messaging. For instance Protobuf only runs on js/python currently and has various versions. The best messaging is independent of the platform and versioning is easier.

I would bet binary formats end up causing more bugs over keyed/plaintext (JSON/XML and possibly compressed) though I have nothing to back that up by except my own experience largely in game development where networking state is almost always binary, for server/data I wouldn't use it unless it needs to be real-time.

That being said Protobuf is awesome and I hope developers are using it where it is best suited and that developers don't start obfuscating messaging for performance where it doesn't really need to be, better to be simple unless you need to make it more complex at every level.

gobengo 16 hours ago 0 replies      
+1 to "Did this in a real product and fully regret it"
krapht 19 hours ago 1 reply      
How does Protobuf compare with Corba? I'd be interested in anybody's experience if they have used both.
laurentoget 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another way to do this is to specify the protocol in protobuf but have the server translate responses and requests to and from json. The java protobuf library does that for you out of the box. This is easier to implement. I would be curious to compare performance of both approaches in different contexts.
flavor8 18 hours ago 1 reply      
> Reading time: ~15 minutes.

842 words including code.

Average adult reading speed: 300 words/minute.

Does not compute.

rikrassen 23 hours ago 3 replies      
One of the comments on that article was "YAY! JSON is wastefully large. I'd love to replace it." Is this true? I'm confused why JSON would be seen as a wasteful as a format. It seems to be that with any decent compression I would think it's hard to get much smaller. In this case I'm not talking about the other advantages Protobuf offers, I just want to know about size.
omouse 1 day ago 1 reply      
At work we're using HTTP requests and now we added RabbitMQ in the last few months to deal with the fact that our frontend has to talk to our backend. After seeing this article it feels like we chose the wrong tool for the job; protobuf/thrift appear to be typed which would have saved us a lot of frustration as we've already run into multiple cases where the receiver or sender have messed up the type conversion or parsing.
vruiz 1 day ago 1 reply      
I guess it only makes sense if you are already using protobuf everywhere else in your stack. Specially if you are leveraging GRPC[0] which is already profobuf over HTTP. The network tab problem could be solved by an extension, or browsers could offer the tools built-in if there were to become a trend.

[0] http://www.grpc.io/

swalsh 1 day ago 2 replies      
I always wondered why google decided to build Protocol Buffers. ASN.1 seemed like it worked well, and it covered all the corners.
labianchin 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how would that be like with Avro. It also has JSON encoding: https://avro.apache.org/docs/1.7.7/spec.html#json_encoding
imaginenore 23 hours ago 4 replies      
Have you guys tried MsgPack? If so, is it worth it?


jebblue 1 day ago 1 reply      
"While I see the need for Protobuf and Thrift for services communication, I don't really see the point of using it instead of JSON for the frontend."

Ah Ok whew, so the title was wrong or designed for click bait.

zapov 23 hours ago 0 replies      
You can use JSON only as codec, which can give you performance of Protobuf with much better debugability.
nly 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Thrift has a JSON encoding out of the box.
       cached 6 June 2015 15:11:01 GMT