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Two days ago the police came to me and wanted me to stop working on this github.com
1539 points by realfuncode  5 days ago   525 comments top 53
1
mrb 5 days ago 27 replies      
I was visiting China recently (my first time there). I thought bypassing The Great Firewall was going to be as simple as an "ssh -D" SOCKS setup, or a "ssh -w" tunnel. Oh boy, I was wrong. If you try this, or even a basic OpenVPN setup, you will quickly find out your VPN works fine for about 5 minutes, but then latency increases to 5sec, 10sec, 30sec(!), and then everything times out. After some research I read online the government does deep packet analysis and uses machine learning to find heuristics to guess which TCP connection or UDP stream is likely being used as a VPN. When they think there is a high probability a VPN is detected, they simply start dropping all the packets.

Encryption is not enough. You need to disguise your VPN traffic to make it look like standard HTTPS sessions (since they don't block HTTPS). For example in a traditional HTTPS session, if the client browser downloads, say, a 500kB image over HTTPS, it will send periodical empty TCP ACK packets as it receives the data. But when using a VPN that encrypts data at the IP layer, these empty ACK packets will be encrypted, so The Great Firewall will see the client sending small ~80-120 bytes encrypted packets, and will count this as one more sign that this might be a VPN.

That's why people in China have to use VPN tools that most westerners have never heard of: obfsproxy, ShadowVPN, SoftEther, gohop, etc. All these tools try to obfuscate and hide VPNs. I have a lot of respect for all these Chinese hackers like clowwindy who try to escape censorship, as it takes more technical prowess than you think to design a VPN that works in China.

2
hipaulshi 5 days ago 3 replies      
For people who are not aware of this: Shadowsocks is a popular and very simple tool to circumvent Great Fire Wall in China. It is written to reduce characteristics in network traffic so that GFW cannot easily block it by deep traffic analysis. clowwindy is the original author.
3
blackgear 5 days ago 3 replies      
This is the end of a century. People in China had used 4 kinds of tools to skip the GFW: freegate, openvpn, goagnet, shadowsocks.

freegate is a traditional http proxy or socks proxy built by Falun Gong (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falun_Gong). They built lots of software with the same technology: freegate gpass freeu dynapass... People share this kind of banned software sending to each others just like teenagers share adult videos. After update of GFW, it become un-available and un-usable.

openvpn turns break GFW as a business, people sells openvpn account at $1.66 a month regularly. They sell this kind of services package including pptp l2tp ssh openvpn to those who need a free network.

goagent is a free software written by Phus Lu. It use Google's application engine as server so you can use it without paying money.So it replaced openvpn since it cost $0. After China banned Google, this way become more and more hard.

shadowsock is a protocol designed by clowwindy. It become a environment. People use python, C, nodejs, golang, rust, obj-c, java to write their own client and server. Some organization share their server for free, some people sell account and provide high speed. shadowvpn works as a VPN while shadowsocks works as a socks5 proxy, but share the same technology.

This is the end of shadowsocks. I means recently more and more evidence shows that GFW has finally find a way to recognize shadowsocks's packets. Then they stopped the development of shadowsocks.

That's all. The winter of China's network comes.

4
Rangi42 5 days ago 7 replies      
This wasn't a thorough deletion. The shadowsocks-iOS project has been switched to the 'rm' branch, but the 'master' branch still contains all the source code: https://github.com/shadowsocks/shadowsocks-iOS/tree/master There's also a downloadable 2.6.3 release with a built .dmg and source code: https://github.com/shadowsocks/shadowsocks-iOS/releases

Even if it does get completely removed, a duplicate exists on GitLab: https://gitlab.com/mba811/shadowsocks-iOS No guarantee that it has all the commits prior to deletion, or that it hasn't been modified from the original in some way.)

I can only hope the police in clowwindy's country don't know how to switch GitHub branches.

5
babuskov 5 days ago 4 replies      
I find this comment amazing:

https://github.com/shadowsocks/shadowsocks-iOS/issues/124#is...

Even with root account, you are not in full control of your Mac - you are sandboxed by Apple.

6
djyde 5 days ago 3 replies      
As a Chinese developer, I got more and more disappointed to my country.

I'd read a book written by LinYutang, called My Country and My People. All my understandings of my country after reading this book are not same as nowaday China.

What's wrong? I don't know. I just wanna have freedom for Googleing. I just wanna the people in this country be happy not only because they get enough to eat.

7
realfuncode 5 days ago 2 replies      
Two days ago the police came to me and wanted me to stop working on this. Today they asked me to delete all the code from GitHub. I have no choice but to obey.

I hope one day I'll live in a country where I have freedom to write any code I like without fearing.

I believe you guys will make great stuff with Network Extensions.

Cheers!

8
catinred 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using this anti-censorship software for about 2 or 3 years. It's the most stable one of all anti-censorship softwares I've ever used. For those who's not in China mainland, you can not imagine how many breaking-wall softwares we've ever used.From ssh -D,pptp,L2tp/ipsec,to OpenVpn. In order to access twitter,someone even create twitter api proxy such as Twip,btw,the creator was ever forced to "drink tea" with the police ,too. The Chinese gov just blocks any sites they want and frighten anyone who is "troublemaker". Best wishes for the gov,and for the heroes who is creative and brave to develop all these anti-censorship softwares.
9
mobutu 5 days ago 7 replies      
On this note, we've been trying to upload gigabytes of data via rsync from Europe to China (we are software company who are trying to deliver tools to our Chinese customers..). Connection used to be fast when it was night time in China, but lately the connection has been really slow or unusable. Is there any alternative way to get lots of packages from Western countries to China?
10
UserRights 5 days ago 0 replies      
What an awful government, simply horrible!

Now imagine, one manager coming to you with an idea:

"Hey, here is a great way to make big money: we fire all our expensive US workers and move the whole production chain to China, people are much cheaper there and governement will keep it that way!"

Would you adore such a greedy $$$hole and make him manager of the century?

Just another crazy idea: Imagine we would produce all our hardware for all our communication devices in a country with such an authoritarian neandertal-government! Oh, wait...

11
ambrop7 5 days ago 0 replies      
As the author of tun2socks (which is currently used under the hood in shadowsocks-android and Psiphon3 for system-wide proxying), I wasn't even aware this effort was in progress. Very sad to see it stop.
12
medecau 5 days ago 4 replies      
https://github.com/Long-live-shadowsocks/shadowsocks

The original repositories have been/are being reset. (Some branches were not removed.)

Non-obvious ways to search for forks as the network graph is unavailable for larger projects.

https://github.com/search?utf8=&q=shadowsocks+language%3APyt...

13
brobinson 5 days ago 1 reply      
Main site for the software: https://shadowvpn.org

Were the repos mirrored anywhere, or would that present a risk to the original author?

14
fexy 5 days ago 1 reply      
I am living in Iran and shadowsocks was by far the best tunneling software I have ever used, and believe me I've used almost ANYTHING!

I appreciate the efforts of clowwindy and it's talented developers and hope the development keep going.

That might be nice if some independent organization take ownership of the project so other individuals feel safer contributing to it.

15
auganov 5 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone able to verify clowwindy is okay and the encounter with police ended at that? Their twitter seems to be accept-only now.
16
daurnimator 5 days ago 0 replies      
Holy shit, clowindy was asking me questions related to this issue just last week.

This is a scary wake up.

17
vladmiller 5 days ago 2 replies      
And there are more than 500 forks. I'd say good luck deleting that :D
18
jdenning 5 days ago 0 replies      
I know there are plenty of copies out there, but in case anyone needs a link, here's my (unmodified, except for the rm branch/removal message) fork:

https://github.com/jasondenning/shadowsocks-iOS

19
smaili 5 days ago 2 replies      
While I understand what the gov is trying to do, who's to say somebody else that doesn't live in China maintains the project and puts it on GitHub for all the world to see?
20
sidcool 5 days ago 3 replies      
I seldom wonder; what is that the Chinese government aims to gain from all this oppression? What any government hopes to gain? North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, China, Russia (?) etc....What exactly do they want?
21
adamfisk 4 days ago 0 replies      
At Lantern (https://www.getlantern.org) we make censorship circumvention software that shares some similarities with Shadowsocks but that also uses p2p. Since the @clowwindy announcement we're the #3 trending repository on GitHub basically because a ton of Chinese coders have been starring it - https://github.com/trending
22
kodisha 5 days ago 0 replies      
Right about now in China, GFW HQ:

- Hey guys, we are on front page of HN again!

- Yaay, lets upvote!!!

23
grondilu 5 days ago 3 replies      
> I have no choice but to obey.

Did he ask a lawyer? Because it looks to me there are two possibilities. One, he was not doing anything illegal in which case the police had no authority to stop his activities. Two, he was indeed doing something illegal in which case he can be glad he got out of it with what appears to be only a warning.

24
baozi1989 5 days ago 0 replies      
In China, People give their country another name --- West Korea.
25
skynetv2 4 days ago 1 reply      
I am confused .. did the Chinese police come and ask him to stop working on it? Which country is he in?
26
sneakOwl 5 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of people set up shadowsocks on their VPS and then spread it to their circles. It's the growing community and that more people are communicating with each other via means the party can not control that upsets the party. This will not stop, it's our fight for freedom.
27
sidcool 5 days ago 0 replies      
Knowing as much as I know about China, I somehow feel it was considerate of them not to arrest the person or hack into his computer. They sent some guys to make him stop.May be I have a very bad impression of the Chinese government.
28
hachiya 4 days ago 1 reply      
So how did the Chinese police find clowwindy?

His contact information doesn't look readily available online.

Did Chinese authorities contact Github, which readily complied with information that led to him being located?

29
smilekzs 5 days ago 1 reply      
From Wikipedia:

> The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.

30
nadams 5 days ago 3 replies      
This feels rather suspicious to me. Either the police are complete idiots (because people have forked his code and you can still get it from the forks) or there is more to the story.

It would make more sense to just send a DMCA takedown for that plus all forks to ensure that the streisand effect doesn't come into play. Because now I gotta grab a fork and squirrel it away - even though I'm in the US I feel like this is important stuff to keep.

31
wolfgke 4 days ago 0 replies      
Quote: "Two days ago the police came to me and wanted me to stop working on this. Today they asked me to delete all the code from GitHub. I have no choice but to obey.

I hope one day I'll live in a country where I have freedom to write any code I like without fearing."

I claim that the west is hardly better: Just say "copyright law".

32
FooBarWidget 5 days ago 1 reply      
Any knows a good shadowsocks tutorial for OS X? I'm going to China next week but I need to keep working while I'm there. I need to access Gmail, Github, AWS, etc. I can't get it to work with the few tutorials I found: the connection appears to freeze, and only certain browsers respect the OS X socks settings (no command line tools).
33
aflying 4 days ago 0 replies      
oh,this seems to be a controversial question.The point is how to regard GFW in China.To be honest,every countries has its censorship.However,the point is GFW in china is opaque,which is not accepted.A man has rights to know what he want to know,and for gov,managing should be public.As for the author of shadowsocks,it is very sorrowful that she is asked to stop his work,which helps many Chinese people.For developersthis is what their work needs;for users,this is chances to see the real Internet.Remember everyone does not want to oppose gov,they just want to see something useful for their jobs,which also includes some politic news against Chinese gov.
34
seanhandley 5 days ago 0 replies      
687 forks. Good luck to the authorities!
35
bakabaka9 4 days ago 0 replies      
This saddens me personally, as I once worked with this guy; he is very productive and talented developer. Imagine how god-awful he feels now, threatened by police and forced to stop committing to his very own projects.
36
anabis 4 days ago 1 reply      
Tangential, but the icon is from , a Japanese game. It has not been turned into anime, so can he read Japanese decently, or just using random pics?
37
diegolo 5 days ago 0 replies      
I happily bypassed the great firewall using https://github.com/apenwarr/sshuttle
38
kinosang 5 days ago 0 replies      
Long live the shadowsocks.

People who do not yield to the GFW already made backups of all the repos under github.com/shadowsocks. And new tools to bypass the GFW is under development.

39
geggam 5 days ago 0 replies      
Have we all forgotten corkscrew ?

http://agroman.net/corkscrew/

40
acd 5 days ago 1 reply      
But censorship when the citizens can travel in and out of the country carrying USB,SSD and hard drives will not work.
41
jglauche 5 days ago 1 reply      
So, isn't the real question how to get you into a more liberal country so you can continue your work?
42
personjerry 5 days ago 3 replies      
Oh dear, I hope the clones of this repo on Github don't cause the GFW to block Github altogether.
43
SwimAway 5 days ago 0 replies      
Cancerous governments desperate for control. Swim away.
44
aianus 5 days ago 0 replies      
How did/does this tool compare with obfsproxy?
45
Nanshan 4 days ago 0 replies      
IPv6 is the powerful tools over the GFW
46
MarkPNeyer 5 days ago 2 replies      
what was this?
47
OJFord 4 days ago 0 replies      
48
lifeisstillgood 5 days ago 0 replies      
Is this then a sign that the network architecture of back hauling everything to SF in order to send it back to Beijing so one can update ones neighbours wall, that architecture is flawed and needs to fall back to a peer to peer approach - one that truly can route around censorship
49
somerandomone 5 days ago 3 replies      
> I hope one day I'll live in a country where I have freedom to write any code I like without fearing.

Can the author reach the US by whatever mean and apply for political asylum? That 'fear that they will suffer persecution due to: ... Political opinion'[0] seems legit.

[0] http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum

50
geff82 5 days ago 9 replies      
as a sidenote I encourage all people with talent to leave countries with suppressive regimes. I think they should be erased from their position. One way to do that is to encourage everyone to leave their country. One can argue that staying in a bad country may one day help to build it up again, but on the other hand, nothing hurts bad people in power more than complete brain drain.
51
cLeEOGPw 5 days ago 3 replies      
Any technology can be used for both good and bad. There's nothing inherently wrong with technology.
52
brobinson 5 days ago 0 replies      
53
jondubois 5 days ago 3 replies      
Who Hacked Ashley Madison? krebsonsecurity.com
403 points by david_shaw  22 hours ago   275 comments top 24
1
philangist 21 hours ago 5 replies      
> They said Avid Life employees first learned about the breach on July 12 (seven days before my initial story) when they came into work, turned on their computers and saw a threatening message from the Impact Team accompanied by the anthem Thunderstruck by Australian rock band AC/DC playing in the background.

This reads like a scene straight out of Hackers or some other campy tech movie. Life imitates art.

2
smtddr 22 hours ago 15 replies      
I don't condone this hack, but morals/ethics aside for a moment:

The one positive thing this hack has done is really give serious ammo to the battle for online privacy, because the demographic hit by this hack is the most politically & economically powerful demographic in the world....

3
signaler 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The old narrative of vigilante justice in the hacker set is getting repetitive. I wish reports weren't so biased to use 'hacker' in their stories because it forever connotes hack with something unsavoury. This is an infosec breach, not a hack. The 'Impact Team' even said they did not have to try that hard. Any good hack has hack value, and the only reason AM was booted offline was because it happened on their clock, and not the clock of any other {random} internet database. This could have been any site. Also I wrote this small piece on hackerdom and what paths we can take if we are inclined to hack: http://blog.higg.im/2015/05/27/hacker-with-lots-of-free-time...
4
tempVariable 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I know it's a giant long shot, and the Zhu is not using his own IP/ISP, but could the FBI use the screenshot showing his desktop with Twitter, Youtube, Google and do an intersection of IPs on those services for the pattern that matches his use on those services ? The twitter user Zhu, who listened to Thunderstruck and went to Google within a time period.

edit: I'd like to have 1% of the $500k bounty wired in Dogecoins please

5
LordKano 20 hours ago 2 replies      
My reaction is still mostly schadenfreude.

If/when these people are caught, they should face the consequences of their actions but I'm not going to wrap paranoia over my own peccadillos in fake outrage over internet privacy.

I'm opposed to people doing unauthorized things with other people's property on general principles. I'm far more concerned with the IRS's data breach because every victim was legally compelled to submit certain personal information to the IRS. Everyone on Ashley Madison was there voluntarily for nefarious purposes.

Catch them and prosecute them but don't cry crocodile tears either.

6
lawl 21 hours ago 3 replies      
So Krebs has no conclusive proof for anything?

As he himself admits:

> It is possible that Zu is instead a white hat security researcher or confidential informant

Jeez, how about talking to the police and let them do their job, or at the very least censor the name.

This is just a witch hunt.

7
GigabyteCoin 21 hours ago 2 replies      
>To say that Zu tweets to others is a bit of a misstatement. I have never seen anyone tweet the way Zu does; He sends hundreds of tweets each day, and while most of them appear to be directed at nobody, it does seem that they are in response to (if not in reply to) tweets that others have sent him or made about his work. Consequently, his tweet stream appears to the casual observer to be nothing more than an endless soliloquy.

Perhaps that's all Zu is? A bot, or a covert chat channel of some kind. Perhaps prime numbered words from every third tweet contain the real message, or something like that?

8
jasonmp85 17 hours ago 0 replies      
> But there may something else going on here. It is possible that Zus approach to tweeting that is, responding to or addressing other Twitter users without invoking the intended recipients Twitter handle is something of a security precaution. After all, he had to know and even expect that security researchers would try to reconstruct his conversations after the fact. But this is far more difficult to do when the Twitter user in question never actually participates in threaded conversations. People who engage in this way of tweeting also do not readily reveal the Twitter identities of the people with whom they chat most.

I love how Krebs has reframed "subtweeting" as some sort of new security practice as opposed to an annoying passive-aggressive thing everyone does from time to time :-D

9
mahouse 20 hours ago 1 reply      
OT: where's the source code for the AM website? Is it inside one of the dumps?

Edit: found it in "Ashley Madison 2nd dump 20 GB"

10
hackuser 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmmm ... is it appropriate for Brian Krebs to dox this person (at least to some extent), in a much more public forum than someplace like 4chan, because Krebs suspects him or in order to compel him to talk to Krebs?
11
mackeeeavelli 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The AM hack is similar in tenor to the Sony hack. Nothing about the hack has the feel of a lone wolf or black hat operation. I have no doubt someone will get pinned for the hack, but I also think if it wasn't an inside job it was state-sponsored.
12
danblick 19 hours ago 3 replies      
I can imagine two separate motives for this hack:

(1) The hackers dislike the idea of adultery and wanted to harm the site & punish its users;

(2) The hackers wanted to blackmail the site and its users by threatening to expose them if they did not pay hush money or perform other services (e.g. reveal secrets).

It seems that motive (1) has some acceptance (people are cheering the hackers), but I think (2) seems more plausible. These guys aren't heroes: they found a vulnerable target and went after it.

13
deadlycrayon 20 hours ago 1 reply      
This is pretty poor journalism. Reminds me of the reddit Boston bombing witchhunt. Note that in the comments, Krebs had to be "reminded" to reach out to Thadeus Zu for comment.
14
madrinator 20 hours ago 1 reply      
AshleyMadison reward = $500k CAD ($376k USD) divided by 40M users = $0.01 #privacy should be worth more than 1 cent!
15
graycat 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Can we also ask, HOW did they hack Ashley Madison?
16
Zenst 19 hours ago 0 replies      
17
akash3333 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone else wondering what tool would Krebs use to download another users timeline?
18
ivoras 19 hours ago 0 replies      
deuszhu's tweets are indistinguishable from a bot's. Well, most of them.
19
werber 21 hours ago 0 replies      
My impression is that Zu is actually an author researching a real life cyber crime novel.
20
andyl 19 hours ago 0 replies      
If caught, what types of legal liability might the AM hacker face??
21
lifeisstillgood 22 hours ago 2 replies      
This seems awfully meta - as the AM hack revealed 30m people to have lost any real privacy in the digital age, the person seemingly / likely / possibly responsible is hunted down and much of his life laid out like a private investigators report through his digital trail.

It's curious - we are all being affected by the new digital pollution

22
futureYCalum 21 hours ago 0 replies      
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Benichmt1 21 hours ago 0 replies      
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satanrepents 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Bcachefs A general purpose COW filesystem lkml.org
385 points by koverstreet  6 days ago   100 comments top 17
1
wscott 6 days ago 3 replies      
He doesn't really mention how this relates to the current bcache code. That one is brilliant. I run a 4 drive raid with slow spinning 2TB drives and a 100G SSD drive as a writeback cache top. It detects strides so reading and writing large files stream directly to the raid, but little reads and writes got via the SSD. By filtering all the little traffic, the actual traffic to the drives is moreefficient and spends less time seeking.In that setup bcache effectively creates a cached block device and I format that with ext4. It seems now it includes the filesystem.Not sure I like that, but it seems to be the trend in filesystems since ZFS.
2
webaholic 6 days ago 0 replies      
Another file system pursuing the lofty goals of ZFS/btrfs on linux (the other being tux3). It is a catch 22 situation for these guys. If they do not release it early there will be no users to test and report bugs, if they do release it early it is half baked. I hope the guy has a large stash in his bank. File systems take notoriously long to stabilize.
3
santiagobasulto 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think it's great to see new FSs targeted to SSDs. There's an alpha version to try out: http://bcache.evilpiepirate.org/
4
ilurk 6 days ago 5 replies      
> PLANNED FEATURES: erasure coding

Now that is something I'd really like to see in Linux filesystems. AFAIK the GNU/Linux implementations of ZFS do not support ECC. Only the Oracle version.

5
tobias3 6 days ago 0 replies      
And just today I was wondering what happened with this btrfs patch set which introduces some of the benefits of bcache to btrfs: http://marc.info/?l=linux-btrfs&m=129622115023547
6
KenCochrane 6 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds like a really cool alternative to aufs, would love to see a Docker storage driver added to support this, once stable. https://docs.docker.com/reference/commandline/daemon/#daemon...

Any chance this might get added to the mainline kernel? aufs was never able to get merged in. OverlayFS was merged in, but IMHO isn't as good as aufs.

7
e12e 5 days ago 0 replies      
Looks very interesting. Would be cool if it was also compared against my favourite "dark horse" fs: nilfs2[1]. I always thought it'd make a great fs for flash storage -- but in the end I've generally ended up running ext4 over LUKS on my SSDs so far.

[1] http://nilfs.sourceforge.net/en/

8
amenod 5 days ago 0 replies      
> It's taken a long time to get to this point - longer than I would have guessed if you'd asked me back when we first started talking about it - but I'm pretty damn proud of where it's at now.

This seems true for most of the non-trivial projects. :)

9
mwilcox 6 days ago 1 reply      
the guide for bcache mentioned raid/erasure coding isn't implemented yet - anyone know if that is up to date and/or when it could be expected to be integrated?
10
ck2 6 days ago 6 replies      
The performance is so close on all filesystems right now on Linux, why not just contribute to the code for one of the existing solutions and make it more mature?

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=linux_rai...

F2FS is looking really promising for SSD

ps. Kent's benchmark numbers struck me for one particular aspect I haven't seen in other benchmarks - max latency - and EXT4 is looking darn good in that aspect - I still use EXT4 over XFS, I simply do not trust XFS enough yet

11
danbee 6 days ago 1 reply      
Anybody else just see this? http://cl.ly/ccI0
12
jeffbe 6 days ago 7 replies      
ext4 seems always to be the best.. no?
13
transfire 6 days ago 1 reply      
Are acl and xattrs active by default?
14
mtgx 6 days ago 1 reply      
Does it outperform F2FS on flash storage, too?
15
AnbeSivam 5 days ago 1 reply      
Is the support of O_DIRECT available or planned ?
16
SFjulie1 6 days ago 1 reply      
17
nwmcsween 5 days ago 0 replies      
WordSafety Check a name for unwanted meanings in foreign languages wordsafety.com
423 points by randall  1 day ago   270 comments top 105
1
pavlov 1 day ago 14 replies      
Hey guys, I made this last week as a two-evening side project. Happy to see it posted here, thanks randall!

I know the word lists aren't complete. This was the best I could do given the time constraint, the fact that I don't actually speak 19 languages... And also, after two evenings of googling dirty words, I started feeling like I'm about to acquire Tourette's in some unknown language ;)

I'll update the database with the words submitted here and through the form on the site. Thanks!

--

Edit -- here's Google Analytics for this site after 1 hour on the HN frontpage:

http://wordsafety.com/img/analytics_2015-08-25_1736.jpg

This is a site that had essentially zero traffic before HN, so I figured this would be a potentially interesting glimpse into HN's audience.

2
BasDirks 1 day ago 4 replies      
Dutch: http://www.taalkabaal.nl/scheldwoorden/indexa.php

Have fun. Some of these are spelled incorrectly, so run them through a spell-checker.

While I'm at it, let me translate some personal favourites. I realize they are quite long and unlikely candidates for the next hot SF start-up, but why keep knowledge away from the masses:

adderengebroedsels - offspring of vipers

argeologisch kontfossiel - archaeological ass fossil

bosuil - Strix aluco

duinbewoner - dune dweller

ebverzuiper - person who drowns during ebb (burnnn)

greppelheks - ditch witch

ingeblikte atlas - canned atlas (??)

janksnor - literally "crying mustache"

kamelenzuurvleesoog - literally "camels-Sauerbraten-eye" (???)

mountendeldarmbeklimmer -- literally "climber of Mt. rectum"

paashaasschaamhaarverzamelaar -- literally "collector of Easter Bunny pubes"

rioolpinguin -- sewer pinguin

tepelbaviaan -- nipple baboon

I have submitted several short and useful Dutch words to grant myself license for this comment.

3
orjan 1 day ago 0 replies      
"He had a computer that knew all the names of all the companies, and another one that checked if the made-up word meant "dickhead" or something in Chinese or Swedish."

-- William Gibson, "Mona Lisa Overdrive"

https://books.google.se/books?id=QojrNYyGMyEC&pg=PA118#v=one...

4
mcorrand 1 day ago 8 replies      
"bite" is safe according to this tool.Any french speaker does a double take when they see that word though, especially in certain sentences.

For reference:https://askafrenchguy.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/petite-bites-...

Edit: Yes, I have submitted it to the database, it should get vetted eventually. A crowdsourced process for the vetting could be fun too!

5
arihant 1 day ago 2 replies      
So this seems to work for a very small subset of the words I typed. Also, it seems to only check against dictionary meaning and not cultural usage.

"Tatsu" means "to stand" in Japanese, but is culturally used for erection. This is just an example, I tried a bunch which I know and none were flagged.

6
candeira 1 day ago 1 reply      
One of the most recent corporate mishaps I've learned of is Microsoft Nokia calling their phone "Lumia", when in Spain "lumi" or "lumia" is an informal word to mean "prostitute".

Your app doesn't reflect that. I was going to say that you need to source slang dictionaries, but this one is in the Diccionario de la Real Academia:

http://buscon.rae.es/drae/srv/search?val=lumia

And even in the first random online bilingual dictionary Google threw up:

http://diccionario.sensagent.com/lumi/es-en/

So maybe do a bit of scraping/spidering of multilingual dictionaries, starting with your collected list of bad words?

7
olympus 1 day ago 2 replies      
I saw this and immediately thought of an old story where General Motors tried to sell the Chevy Nova in South America. It hardly sold at all in South America even though it was a hugely popular car in North America. The reason turned out to be that "No va" in Spanish translates to "won't go" so GM was basically trying to sell a sporty car with a misleading name.

Unfortunately this website wouldn't have helped GM sell the Nova since it's only looking for profanity, but I think that the concept is great and clearly needed. I hope you develop it further and get to make some money off of it. Great job!

8
616c 1 day ago 2 replies      
Obligatory Arabic story of the last few years: the Pakistani ambassador who was rejected for service in the Gulf, because his name is Akbar Zib.

This is Arabic for biggest cock.

https://encrypted.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%D8%B3%D9%81%D9%...

No reputable source mentions this; only crap newspapers in different countries mention this. But every person I know in the Arab world knows this internet meme.

Almost as bad as naming your son after a deceased Libyan dictator, before he was dead of course. Perhaps I know one of those too. Talking about parenting jokes.

9
elros 1 day ago 5 replies      
I'd be really interested in knowing how do they do the phonetic matching. Things like, the nonexistent English word "bocket" sounding like Brazilian slang for blowjob ("boquete"), but only when spoken the way a Brazilian would.

I think this cross-pronouncing thing would actually be harder to tackle: It's more important to try to match the way users on their home locale would say the foreign term, than the way the foreign people would say it.

To illustrate what I mean, consider the word Skype, said in Portuguese, is pronounced as if it were spelt in English as "Shkuipy" (I mean [kaj'pi]).

10
sanbor 1 day ago 1 reply      
Tried the Spanish word "pajero" (usually translated to "wanker" or "tosser"). Mitsubishi named a car "Pajero" and they had to change the name to "Montero" in Spanish speaking countries.

Another unfortunate car name is Suzuki Moco. This word neither appears in this app. "Moco" means "snot" or "booger" in Spanish.

11
maartenscholl 1 day ago 3 replies      
"expertsexchange" only matches the Chinese cha, and not "sex" or "sexchange".
12
eterm 1 day ago 0 replies      
There needs to be a "No results found" type result. Currently it's impossible to tell the difference between no result and an empty result.
13
orf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting, I recently found out that one of my usernames on a popular game means "shitman" in finnish or swedish, not through this site though (and it doesn't appear to bring anything up). Great idea though!

Also the word search field has an XSS, try entering "<script>alert(1)</script>". Not sure if it's a big deal but it's good to be safe.

14
odabaxok 1 day ago 1 reply      
I believe you can make a good use of http://www.urbandictionary.com/ to update your database, because there are also lot of foreign words, which you miss at the moment. (pula - Romanian for dick, fasz - Hungarian for dick, pia - Czech/Slovak for cunt, etc.
15
ecesena 1 day ago 2 replies      
Suggestion for improvement: numbers.

I was about to name a project "Plate88", and a couple of people independently pointed out a reference to the nazi salute [1].

We then renamed it to Plate28, hopefully safer.

Anyway, maybe worth considering these use cases.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/88_(number)

16
personlurking 1 day ago 1 reply      
Pretty cool. And the example I chose, funny.

I searched "foda" (f--- in Brazil) just to try it out, here's the result, which actually mentions the Amazon. http://i.imgur.com/CUpSgN6.png

17
Someone 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Results for Hello

hell

English: heck

Direct match at start or end, potentially serious issue!335 million native speakers, about 1.5 billion speakers in total."

Isn't that overdoing it a little?

18
paulsutter 1 day ago 1 reply      
Excellent idea.

Given the number of people here who missed the "add a word" function, you might want to mention it up top with a negative result.

> No results found for this search. It looks likely that it's safe...

say this in hopes to get fuller coverage because it looks like a useful tool.

19
kinow 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's a company here in New Zealand called RaboDirect. Rabo means "tail" in Portuguese (and in Spanish maybe?). But it can also mean arse or ass. In most cases I'd think people were talking about arses than about tails. This was not caught by wordsafety :/

Not sure if you are breaking up words. I remember a friend told me about some algorithm that works for that, and is used by German linguists... not exactly stemmers, but there was another thing that could be useful too.

Anyway, thanks for sharing! Looking great.

20
petercooper 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've submitted it but it brought up nothing for "wog". Did this due to the "wogrammer"/"wog" issue pointed out on Twitter yesterday. I haven't heard it in recent years but "wog" was used much like the n-word when I was a kid in the UK and appears to still carry some of that meaning: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wog

"slope" is another, but I don't know if I'll submit it since no-one seemed to have heard of it at the time. Jeremy Clarkson got in trouble over it though - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/top-gear/10995483/Jeremy...

I absolutely love the idea of having a newsletter on the backend full of awful words submitted though - a rather "cute" idea.

21
temuze 1 day ago 4 replies      
This is great! There are certain puns/combos that would be really hard to catch though.

For example - the Ford Nova. In Spanish, it literally translates to "no va" "doesn't go". Terrible name for a car.

I'm unsure how to make this understand the context of the product, but that would be the next step

22
SNvD7vEJ 1 day ago 1 reply      
Yeah, also, a classic one we had here in Sweden:

Honda released this new small car model named "Honda Fitta", and one of the slogans were something like "small on the outside, large on inside".

In Swedish, "Fitta" is a crude word for female genitalia.

The car was quickly renamed "Honda Jazz".

A link to a Swedish article, translated by Google:

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&pr...

23
werber 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is really a shame, I would hate to see unintentionally awful things in corporate media go away!
24
tsotha 1 day ago 1 reply      
If only Miyazaki would have had this when he named Laputa: Castle in the sky
25
osipov 1 day ago 3 replies      
26
tucif 1 day ago 0 replies      
It would be nice this detected double meaning phrases, although it might be hard to implement. In spanish many combinations of 'safe' words will generate very 'unsafe' meanings, probably many other languages too.
27
jstoiko 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just tried the word "crotte" which means "dung" in french. It returned "No results found for this search. It looks likely that it's safe." Phew, it's a good thing I speak french :)
28
mojobot 1 day ago 0 replies      
False positive: "hat" was flagged for "idiot" in English. I can't find a dictionary with that definition, and it's not one that I'm familiar with as a native speaker.
29
limaoscarjuliet 1 day ago 1 reply      
Do not trust yet - list is not complete. Some known Polish bad words are not there.
30
raverbashing 1 day ago 1 reply      
Maybe it should include English words as well?

Beaver returns nothing

'caca' and 'pede' do return, so props for that

'bosta' matches but maybe Josta should?

'sharmuta' also matches (with a different spelling, but it's probably a variation)

31
fabiofzero 1 day ago 0 replies      
Found a hole on my first try. 'Foda' in Portuguese is 'fuck', yet the app deemed it to be safe. 'Foda-se' (fuck you) wasn't there either - submitted both.
32
JoeAltmaier 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is a start. How about death and failure type words? Muerta doesn't elicit any warning. And 'Nova' is famous for its Spanish meaning (apocryphal?) - words like that might be hard to catch.
33
wyclif 1 day ago 0 replies      
'Results for nova: Spanish: did you know that the popular anecdote about the Chevrolet Nova is an urban legend? Google for "snopes nova".'

I liked that.

34
alanh 1 day ago 0 replies      
> We respect your privacy input is never logged or monitored.

Except it is logged and monitored by the US Government because this site uses unencrypted HTTP.

Otherwise, a commendable sentiment

36
rlidwka 1 day ago 0 replies      
It doesn't list the word "Belgium". Even though according to Douglas Adams that's the most offensive word in the galaxy. :)
37
cwkoss 1 day ago 3 replies      
Anyone find any real-world matches? I was able to get positives by typing in foreign curses directly, but couldn't find any startups with foreign curses in their name.
38
avar 1 day ago 0 replies      
I looked up "Bora". No results. The Volkswagen Bora was somewhat famous in Iceland because "Bora" means "Anus". You could drive the Volkswagen Anus! The vendor went out of its way to mispronounce the name in their TV ads as "Bra", which would be like pronouncing "Anus" as "Aneece" or something like that.
39
bbrazil 1 day ago 0 replies      
Doesn't catch "tineh", which is apparently a derogatory term for Indians http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=tineh, so probably wise to also check UD and Google.

I was going to have that as part of my company name until I discovered that (tineh is a transliteration of the word for "fire" in Irish).

40
pablomolnar 1 day ago 1 reply      
As we are in the subject, does the brand names "Dickies" "Dick's Sporting Goods" or even the character "Dick Tracy" seems awkward name choices for US people/native english speakers?

As a ESL, the first time I heard of them it was kind of funny. I guess when one grows up in the context of those names is not that appalling...

41
tomsmeding 1 day ago 1 reply      
It seems that "fuk" is not recognised as sounding like "fuck". Might want to look at that phonetic matcher :)
42
bernardom 1 day ago 0 replies      
I added "cu" (Portuguese for "ass"), but I'm not able to get it to match. Guessing there's a size limit?

I wonder if it makes sense to add "ku" as well? When I was a kid, I'd always giggle at the American candy bar "Kudos."

This is really cool....

Kudos.

43
berbatof 1 day ago 0 replies      
Aren't you the creator of Pixel Conduit? I used your tool for some VFX works and recently saw that you are creating software for web animations, but it ia a surprise to see you come up with such a tool. By the way, I am planning to create a slang database for Turkish and Turkic languages. I would like to share the database with you as I develop.
44
babuskov 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is Russian really supported? I tried both Cyrillic and Latin transliteration of some words and it reports it's all safe. For example, try any of the Russian synonyms for "shit". "" transliterates to "govno" and both check out as safe.
45
cosmez 1 day ago 1 reply      
No results found for this search. There's a reasonable chance that it's safe...

But you can never be quite sure. There are over 6,000 languages spoken in the world. Somewhere deep in the Amazonian jungle, "anal" could be an insult that gets you killed.

46
semicolondev 1 day ago 2 replies      
Submitted bunch of Nepali swear words. People in Nepal will laugh out a loud when English speaking people talk about renting a Condo or generating a Rand number. Here are few /swear/ words in Nepali (Spoken by ~30M people)

Chick

Goo

Moose

Turi

Condo

Moot

Rand

Chalk

Lado

PuT

Fuse

If you are wondering what these words mean check this:

http://www.youswear.com/index.asp?language=Nepali

47
maartenscholl 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think this should also do a phoneme based comparison, for example the photo sharing website Flickr is pronounced like this word (as a slang word it is well known) https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/flikker
48
lvh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Excellent idea, but the lists need to be expanded. Didn't catch any of the Slavic words I threw its way.
49
pvaldes 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of the funniest in Spain: facultad (faculty). An innocent word, with a very common and poisoned abbreviature. "Nos vamos a la fac" (We go to the university). English speakers always hear another thing. Totally homophone with the called "f-word"
50
thetruthseeker1 1 day ago 0 replies      
It will be great if the program checks for phonetically similar words as well, currently, looks like it doesn't. Bhat (India), pronounced like 'butt' is not flagged.
51
RIMR 1 day ago 0 replies      
So there's a restaurant near me called "Pho King". It's pho king delicious. Anyway, this tool doesn't know how 'pho' is pronounced in Vietnamese because it didn't catch it.
52
joshmn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use a similar method to find brandable names and domain names. I'll input a word or synonym of into Google Lang Tools and translate it into all the available languages. I've had really good success in doing so.
53
cmenge 1 day ago 0 replies      
It wouldn't have saved Mitsubishi: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_Pajero

But I like the idea and will submit a few words

54
iskander 1 day ago 0 replies      
Missed a few of the ones I tried:

"zina""eir""khuee" "popa"

55
davidw 1 day ago 1 reply      
Italian one needs work. It did not have 'minchia' in it, which is no longer even all that regional, AFAIK. Didn't have 'mona' either, although that could be foregiven as it's dialect in the Veneto.
56
AtlasLion 1 day ago 1 reply      
Searched for Tina but it found nothing, in North Africa it means pu$$y,
57
garfieldnate 1 day ago 0 replies      
Funny, it gets Siri, which has to be katakana-ized specially, but it misses both ketu and ketsu. What kind of database are you using?This is a great idea, by the way.
58
ajonit 1 day ago 0 replies      
You seem to have a good grip on Hindi words :) This is a good idea. Last I heard, Accenture spent good amount of $$$ to verify the name in several languages before fixing on that name!
59
maxhou 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd have expected a small easteregg for the word "bro" ;)
60
glibgil 1 day ago 0 replies      
61
akie 1 day ago 0 replies      
It literally fails on the first word I tried, the/a Dutch word for 'penis': http://imgur.com/Mw6Efx0
62
schoen 1 day ago 1 reply      
This seems like a nice idea, but many of the comments here are pointing to omissions that the people commenting feel could be serious.

I guess I see six kinds of potential difficulties:

There are so many languages out there, including languages will millions of speakers who might eventually come across your thing. Maybe that's not an issue for tangible products that will be marketed to specific territories.

There are so many slang terms out there; each individual language might well have thousands of terms that have a rude, sexual, or excretory meaning, or that are used as a slur against some group. Also, some languages have expletives that don't correspond to expletives in other languages. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_French_profanity

People have pointed out that phonetic matching is hard when you're dealing with different languages' orthographies and phonologies, and you can have the problem of "the source language's intended pronunciation sounds like an offensive word in the other language", "the other language's likely pronunciation of the written term sounds like an offensive word in the other language", or even other combinations among highly multilingual populations. "Sounds like" is sometimes challenging to automate in software, for example because epenthesis of a vowel may not be enough to remove the association. (But I think Levenshtein edit distance between phonemic transcriptions can kind of sort of work.)

Also, the "MR2" example someone gave shows that understanding how people will pronounce something in different languages is complicated: you have to know that the number two in French is "deux" /d/.

People might also perceive something as an offensive reference that isn't even familiar to people elsewhere, like a reference to an upsetting person, place, or event. Reportedly some people in India have named people and businesses after Adolf Hitler just because he was famous, for example. I bet it's easy to do this cross-culturally in general.

As people point out with the Chevy Nova story, there might be a reason why a product name would become the target of ridicule in a particular language even if it's not offensive. That's true even if it didn't literally happen to the Chevy Nova.

It might even turn out that the space of offensive references is so dense that there is nothing that isn't a near-homophone of something pretty offensive in some language.

Anyway, I think this project is really neat; I'm just reminded from people's comments that natural language is hard! There's scope to keep expanding this site, and I think there are also existing "cultural consultant" businesses that try to deal with these problems through human review (I wonder how many of them have consultants on contract from many widely varying cultures, which seems especially useful in the Internet era).

63
rramdin 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been blessed to name my new startup "Phucker."
64
randunel 1 day ago 0 replies      
It doesn't match some balkanic or eastern european words.

Some of us don't appreciate tracking links, please get rid of tracking so we don't have to manually edit the urls.

65
DarkContinent 1 day ago 1 reply      
I tried Tessa and it means "to pee." How come it is not on the list? I know it's not a swear word, but it's still a name with negative connotations.
66
sandworm101 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's missing rather a big one. "Mist" means something very different in german.

My point: Is this connected to dictionaries or is it all crowdsourced data?

67
nutjob123 1 day ago 0 replies      
Results for homehoEnglish: womanDirect match at start or end, potentially serious issue!335 million native speakers, about 1.5 billion speakers in total.
68
jagermo 1 day ago 0 replies      
The guys at Wix should have had that before they entered the german market.
69
tptacek 1 day ago 0 replies      
Misses "matasano" -> "quack doctor".
70
PaulHoule 1 day ago 0 replies      
The phonetic matching doesn't catch "Phuck"
71
sytelus 1 day ago 0 replies      
This would sell much better as baby name checker.
72
paulnechifor 1 day ago 0 replies      
While you have this on the front page, why not start a repo where people can send pull requests, rather than submit one word at a time?
73
scoopr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ah good, it matches perse, which was a slight amusement when seeing the expensive clothing brand James Perse while visiting the US :)
74
konne88 1 day ago 2 replies      
I would have expected "Coq" to fail.
75
normloman 1 day ago 0 replies      
This doesn't work for Esperanto. Fiku vin!
76
Hydral1k 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting. You even have support for converting to ss. e.g. scheissekopf -> scheie
77
ivankirigin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I searched "gift" expecting "poison" from German, and was disappointed when nothing came up.
78
sterl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Missing Zune which means Penis in Quebec.
79
wordbank 1 day ago 0 replies      
You'll have a real hard time with Slavic languages. ;)

Trying to add all the things you missed meanwhile.

80
serverholic 1 day ago 1 reply      
FYI this doesn't check for words that sound like swear words. For example, it'll detect Fuck but not Fack.
81
dradtke 1 day ago 0 replies      
It didn't catch anything on "phuck," despite claiming that it checks phonetically.

Still a nice idea, though.

82
return0 1 day ago 0 replies      
Doesnt detect any greek curse words
83
briholt 1 day ago 0 replies      
It doesn't have "pinche" which is about the most common Mexican curse word.
84
Aardwolf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Doesn't support even the most dirty Dutch words! Could use more languages :)
85
dark_knight3141 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very nice ! could save the day in foreign country
86
mrbig4545 1 day ago 0 replies      
It says "pute" is fine, but google translate says otherwise

edit: I submitted it

87
hougaard 1 day ago 0 replies      
Missing danish !There are some really good curse words in danish :)
88
carrotleads 1 day ago 0 replies      
tried a few words from Indian languages and got matches for other languages..

Interesting to see how you have implemented this...

89
donatj 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Results for boomerang

> bum

> English: butt

> Direct match at start or end, potentially serious issue!

lol.

90
magic_beans 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Bite"... means "dick" in french...
91
philfrasty 1 day ago 0 replies      
wix.com should have had a look at that site...
92
tegansnyder 1 day ago 0 replies      
There might be a good service in this as an API.
93
JJN 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wang. No results found! Kimmy. No results found!

Interesting.

94
hokkos 1 day ago 0 replies      
Doesn't work in French : caca, bite
95
adad95 1 day ago 0 replies      
"GIT" is safe. hehehehe
96
zobzu 1 day ago 0 replies      
tried a few common insults in my native tongue (french) and it detected none...
97
markdown 1 day ago 0 replies      
How do you account for spelling?

In Fijian, "caita" means "fuck" or "fuck it", but the word is pronounced "thaita". From a fijian perspective, seeing both "caita" and "thaita" would bring the swear-word to mind.

98
xd1936 1 day ago 1 reply      
99
GhotiFish 1 day ago 1 reply      
Where was this when these guys were picking their name?

http://pidora.ca/

100
lifeisstillgood 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's great :-)

However, could I Suggest there are two markets for this and you might be falling between two stools.

Firstly there is the market we have here - looking for dirty words in different languages. I love the petites bites ad - and it would be great to have a crowd sourced "daily WTF" site of amusing failures

But the usage of your site looks ... Serious, with half an eye maybe on charging marketing departments for access. Which is almost impossible because no sane database can catch MR2.

But if the entertainment site catches on, you have a ready made list of reliable dirty-minded experts whose private opinions and double entendres you can charge marketing depts to put their ideas in front of them - confidentially ensuring they don't screw up. And given that the number of language to language potential screwups is n^^2 and the experts are n you should be ok.

Anyway - it's a lovely idea and reminds me of Douglas Adams' "Go stick your head in a pig".

101
gre 1 day ago 0 replies      
mensa means stupid in spanish.
102
BasDirks 1 day ago 0 replies      
submitted a bunch in Dutch.
103
RomanPushkin 1 day ago 1 reply      
pajero is not safe
104
anEasternGoat 1 day ago 0 replies      
poo is all good.
105
gernig 1 day ago 1 reply      
Bernie Sanders' 404 page berniesanders.com
424 points by duggieawesome  1 day ago   261 comments top 18
1
philangist 1 day ago 13 replies      
I don't follow politics at all, but the more I read and hear about Bernie Sanders the more I like him. I'm sure we've got a few political experts on Hacker News so I'd love to hear if you guys think he actually has any chance of winning the presidency.
2
ceejayoz 1 day ago 4 replies      
There seems to be a trend to interesting/funny 404s for presidential campaigns.

https://www.barackobama.com/45325r/ has a "thanks, Obama" GIF meme.

https://www.bobbyjindal.com/dfka blames the 404 on Obama with #ThanksObama" too.

3
dmschulman 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think we have The Atlantic to point to for making campaign 404 pages a "thing". They've been including a blurb about the 404 page on each candidate's website on their 2016 Election Cheat Sheet (http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/08/2016-ele...)

404 pages are an opportunity to hide an easter egg but I wonder what presidential 404 page got The Atlantic focused on this trend in the first place.

4
TazeTSchnitzel 1 day ago 5 replies      
Isn't it Bernie Sanders', not *Bernie Sander's?

(Edit: or Sanders's, indeed. That's what I'd usually write.)

5
mxfh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wish he could possibly record a video response for all the HTTP status codes. Especially interested in 417 Expectation Failed and 451 Unavailable For Legal Reasons
6
iamthepieman 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this says more about Bernie or more about his supporters. The video almost reminds me of how I talk my 88 year old grandfather through computer tasks.
7
rabidonrails 1 day ago 1 reply      
I can't be the only person who thinks he sounds like Seinfeld's George Steinbrenner (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJtDt10fRqw)
8
dataker 1 day ago 0 replies      
It might seem weird for young adults, but many 60+ would believe it's a quite useful and easy 404.
9
lnanek2 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty nice UX, actually. Even a stereotypical grandma with no knowledge of the internet would probably have a high change of getting being told to scoot down to the nav below with a hand gesture and head back. Bet it retains users on the site better than a 404 without the video would.
10
arjunrc 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anyone have a transcript for this? For the folks like me, who have access issues at work.
11
quotedmycode 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I've been following him since I took the 'isidewith' quiz. I hadn't even heard of him before, but he's 96% compatible with my stances.

Wouldn't it be nice if everyone instead of voting for a certain candidate, voted on the issues, and the candidate who voted most like the population would win... and their votes would be made public.

12
kazinator 1 day ago 4 replies      
Most 404 accesses are from people probing a server for common URL's belonging to vulnerable web applications.

Thus my 404 page is a honeypot, and too many 404 accesses in a short period results in an automatic IP ban.

13
jnpatel 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm just curious from where in his campaign management the impetus to pay attention to this sort of detail would have come.
14
tomjen3 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Warning: the page auto plays a video. Apparently its HTML5 so flashblockers don't work.
15
mindcrime 23 hours ago 0 replies      
16
mgiannopoulos 1 day ago 1 reply      
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davidy123 1 day ago 1 reply      
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VMG 1 day ago 1 reply      
Unity Comes to Linux: Experimental Build Now Available unity3d.com
365 points by fractalb  1 day ago   127 comments top 17
1
yarper 1 day ago 9 replies      
It's an unfortunate title for this post since unity is something altogether different for a lot of linux users

see: https://unity.ubuntu.com/about/

Though there is a certain appreciable irony in having two totally different things named unity.

2
QuantumRoar 23 hours ago 3 replies      
Hooray for Linux!

But there's something that has been bothering me for a while about games for Linux compiled with the Unity SDK.

Does anybody know what kind of dependencies a game written with the Unity SDK has? I'm pretty clueless about that stuff but I'd still like to know what it would take to get a game running on a minimal Linux install (like a naked Arch or Gentoo). Ubuntu obviously comes well equipped for the task but I don't really care about that.

So where do the graphics come from? Does it need some special libraries apart from OpenGL? Where do fonts come from? How does it interface with hardware, i.e. does it need X, or does it come with its own drivers for keyboard, mouse, gamepad?

I fear that it is necessary to install half of Ubuntu to get the games running but - as I said - I don't really know anything about that.

3
pluma 1 day ago 2 replies      
I thought it already had Linux support? For example, Wasteland 2 was built with Unity and works on Linux.

Or are there multiple game engines called Unity (on top of the existing confusion between the game engine and the Ubuntu thing)?

EDIT: I think the announcement is about Linux support in the SDK, not the actual software developed with Unity?

4
rocky1138 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been considering switching from Windows 8.1 on my main machine for a while but not being able to work on my game in Unity3d has held me back. This might finally put me over the edge.
5
bobajeff 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Todays build is what we call an experimental build; future support is not yet guaranteed. Your adoption and feedback will help us determine if this is something we can sustain alongside our Mac and Windows builds."

I think we all know the future of this then.

6
pdknsk 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I am dissapointed in it still requiring 32-bit libraries, like Steam.

 $ gdebi unity-editor-5.1.0f3+2015082501_amd64.deb ... Requires the installation of the following packages: lib32gcc1 lib32stdc++6 libc6-i386

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andresmanz 1 day ago 2 replies      
Nice, so Unity is finally an option for me. Now it would be nice if the Unreal editor had official Linux support as well. (I know there's Wine, but it didn't work too well for me.)
8
jarcane 1 day ago 11 replies      
grumbles something about developers saying "Linux" when they mean "only supported on Ubuntu"
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jestinjoy1 1 day ago 1 reply      
This came just in time when I was thinking of switching to Mac. Blender game engine has features but not upto the mark to compete with game engines like Unity. The python scripting in Blender is good.
10
amyjess 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Misleading title: should be "Unity Editor Comes to Linux". Unity games have been running on Linux for a while.
11
rrhyne 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Personally, I'd rather they spend time making webgl production ready to ensure Chrome player support.
12
billconan 22 hours ago 1 reply      
for me, Unity is too expensive. I hope Unreal can do the same. there is an unofficial build instruction for unreal.
13
yellowapple 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Yay. Nore more having to run it in Wine :)
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x5n1 1 day ago 0 replies      
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gpvos 1 day ago 1 reply      
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werber 23 hours ago 0 replies      
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gcb0 22 hours ago 2 replies      
UK surveillance worse than 1984 says new UN privacy chief arstechnica.co.uk
310 points by fukusa  2 days ago   229 comments top 16
1
deltaprotocol 1 day ago 3 replies      
Seriously, I read several posts here that I'm absolutely sure where written by NSA/GCHQ agents working very comfy to try and manipulate technical opinion. Anyone with a brain and enough technical knowledge (which can be assumed of HN readers) knows the situation is much worse than 1984, beyond Orwellian, absurd, ridiculous, disgusting.

If you where a Secret Agency, and you knew the top 100 news/forums for opinionated technical people, would you not set a division of monkeys to try and confuse people? They win if some people even "doubt" or "question"... we must all be 100% sure of what is happening, 24h a day, ready to feel threatened and abused by cameras, abusive permissions, tracking devices, dragnets. We must feel the disgust 24h a day.

2
dijit 1 day ago 3 replies      
All these words and nobody is talking about Tempora[0]?

I mean, tempora is pretty bad, rank and file stronger than the collection obtained by NSA, metadata is stored, content is stored, there are examples of "owning" certificate authorities and even examples of downgrading SSL/TLS to not include perfect forward secret ciphers.

And this is done for any content that passes UK borders. :|

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

3
mc32 1 day ago 3 replies      
>So the situation in some cases is far worse already."

So, that's the thing, in some ways it's worse. It has more detail, it's voluntary and less intrusive. The one thing which is quite different is it's not a system to control people, by control I mean controlling as in Orwell's vision.

And, for the most part, with few sheepish objections, people are willing to trade in their privacy in exchange for services rendered. People in practice value free resources and services over privacy, else we would have seen a system of micropaymets or economic alternative take root but it has not.

At some point people may change their minds and may want to hold on to their privacy and begin paying for services, maybe, but for most people that is not the case at this time.

4
Paul_S 2 days ago 25 replies      
Disclaimer: I am one of the most paranoid people I know and I know some pretty radical left-wing hippies.

I never understood why people hate CCTV cameras - they are in public places. Places where anyone can film you at any time. Public places are not private. Online surveillance has better arguments against it but 90% of Internet surveillance is by permission (possibly given by people who are not fully aware they are giving it). It is not as bad as this hyperbole makes it out to be.

But if articles like this is what it will take to finally get mesh network projects off the ground then I'm happy to be outraged.

5
JumpJumpJump 2 days ago 7 replies      
In '1984' every room of every house and apartment was monitored, if this is currently not the case in the UK, the quote is hyperbole.
6
philip142au 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is the UN chief worried that hes being surveilled by every company and government? It's always ok when it's happening to everone else but when it hurts those in power then things change.
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mtgx 2 days ago 1 reply      
People here are missing the point, where it's "less", "more" or "just the same" level of surveillance as 1984 is kind of besides the point.

The point is he's asking for a Geneva convention for the Internet, and I think that would be a good thing to have, even if some abuses will exist, at least we'll have a framework other than the current "whatever the spy agencies can come up with in terms of surveillance is a-okay".

8
nbevans 2 days ago 1 reply      
A lot of CCTV cameras in the UK are privately owned, not state owned. I would guess the majority are actually.
9
spacecowboy_lon 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sorry this guy sounds like a minor career technocrat angling for a budget increase and pandering to the crowd.

Possibly pointing a finger at the Euro states that still have mandatory ID cards and allow local government to run their own secret police as well as the main federal ones - might be more useful.

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xacaxulu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Christopher Hitchens has an amazing book called "Why Orwell Matters" and I strongly advise reading it. He also does a takedown of Kissinger in "The Trial of Henry Kissinger".
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SixSigma 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Whereas today there are many parts of the English countryside where there are more cameras than George Orwell could ever have imagined.

As a regular visitor to the English countryside, where are these rural cameras ?

12
EGreg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure what the UN or any organization would be able to accomplish in an ecosystem of organizations and improving tech.

The genie is out of the bottle.Welcome to the big data revolution.

http://magarshak.com/blog/?p=169

13
amyjess 2 days ago 3 replies      
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AndrewOMartin 2 days ago 1 reply      
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PlzSnow 2 days ago 1 reply      
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veidr 2 days ago 3 replies      
Designing and Building Stockfighter, Our Programming Game kalzumeus.com
365 points by jsnell  6 days ago   155 comments top 25
1
Chirael 6 days ago 6 replies      
Maybe it's from the length of the message or the general impressiveness of the project, but the first thought that came to mind was, "Wow, I'd have to be unemployed to have enough time to work on this - there's no way I could tackle these challenges in the real world otherwise."

Worse, if this is something that's designed to showcase one's technical skills to potential employers, I don't imagine there's a way for the system to distinguish between "took a long time solving challenges because just not smart enough" vs. "took a long time solving challenges because have a day job and a life outside of work/tech".

Since this is designed, essentially, to showcase how smart someone is to potential employers, assuming solving time is a factor, it's almost better not to compete until you know you'll definitely have lots of time to devote to it, because otherwise there is the risk of taking too long and looking not-good.

I'll add it to the long list of "things I really, really wish I had time for" - or I'll assign it to clone #1023 once that becomes viable :-/

2
quot66555 6 days ago 2 replies      
I'm very interested in Starfighter and am looking forward to the release. However, there's something from your original announcement that still worries me. In this post you said:

The designed operation of our trading levels is Play them, lose horribly, write a program, reset the level, run the program, have it crash with a bug, fix and re-run, lose modestly, adjust your approach, re-start the level, run the program, win. (Folks have asked whether well hold this against you. No, no, of course not. We log everything under the sun, but losing/restarting levels is planned. That capability is an advantage of doing this in a rich simulation as opposed to real life you can go Knight Capital as many times as you want and no one loses their job!)

This feels good. But earlier, this was said [1]:

We will track player behaviors and skill at incredible levels of granular detail, instrumenting them like they were built by the Orwellian MiniPeace... We can tell you exactly what happened when your candidates tried to implement a REST API. We can compare their performance against hundreds of other talented engineers (including your current employees) on the same task.

Can you please elaborate on what exactly is going to be tracked? Is any of this configurable by the player? Personally, I'm going to have a hard time enjoying and learning if I feel like every mistake I make, or every extra piece of time something takes is going to be judged and count against me later on.

[1] http://www.kalzumeus.com/2015/03/09/announcing-starfighter/

3
EFruit 6 days ago 3 replies      
I have to say, this is both impressive and infuriating; they beat me to it!

My effort was started in Nov. 2014, and is similarly written in Go.Clocking in at ~1600 LoC, it is certainly nothing special. I have no background in finance and only a cursory understanding of the technical aspects of the exchanges. It's mostly working, but I've really stalled because I can find neither a real purpose to continue, nor any resources on building interesting models. All it does is make financial noise (random trades between similarly irrational parties)

All in all, I'm happy for the guys working on this for doing what I apparently couldn't.

If anyone's interested, I'd be happy to post it to Github.

4
pjungwir 6 days ago 0 replies      
Patrick, you should just admit it that the reason you are starting off with a financial theme is so you can include a level about breaking into a Bitcoin exchange. :-)

More seriously, to somewhat address the "8000 words?" folks, the runup to Starfighter reminds me a lot of StackOverflow. Both seem like projects that would have flopped if not for the creators' existing audience and great care in cultivating excitement by explaining in depth the need, the goals, and the philosophy of the project. It'd be interesting to revisit the early StackOverflow marketing and compare the two more closely.

5
ctz 6 days ago 5 replies      
I do wonder about the logic of collecting the email addresses of interested parties, then sending them 2000 and 8000 word (respectively) essays. Do people actually read and value such long emails? Do you not lose a bunch of on-the-fence users each time you send them an email which isn't immediately useful or actionable?

Then again, I know very little about running a startup; patio11 has a track record. Maybe this works as a strategy.

6
MichaelGG 6 days ago 2 replies      
This is awesome. I still don't see how this isn't easily cheatable. What's stopping me from writing up a little tool that can win these levels and providing minimal instructions?

At one point, it even says they will award people that write OSS for it. Doesn't that just further reduce the effort needed to pass levels?

Not to be negative. I'm very, very much looking forward to this.

7
radmuzom 6 days ago 3 replies      
Interesting sentence in the article - "Trading systems touch low-level coding, networking (all seven layers of hello OSI Model), APIs, end-user UI, databases, embedded systems, enterprise web frameworks, cutting-edge programming language research, Big Data, state management, etc etc.".

However, whenever the topics of programming in finance come up in HN, I see a general tone of disdain somewhere along the lines of "why do you want to waste your life in finance when you could be starting a start-up in Silicon Valley?". Of course I am generalizing a bit here, but I have always felt that finance provides incredible challenge to technical people - especially those with a background in mathematics or physics and interested in programming.

8
bliti 6 days ago 5 replies      
@patio11:

Why should I "play" this and not blog about programming? I still have to go through the usual technical interview when applying for a job. What's my incentive? I'm trying to find a reason to spend time learning this, because it doesn't translate into marketable skills. I can't put "Level 65 player in StockFighter" (because this might turn out to be a niche product that no one outside HN will know about), but I will definitely include "XSS research on Java Spring".

Note: I'm not trolling or trying to put the project down. I'm interested in it but unsure.

9
Pyxl101 6 days ago 0 replies      
> We do not intentionally expose you to the speed of light as a limiting factor early in Stockfighter but we cant remove latency as being an actual limitation distributed systems have to overcome.

Couldn't you remove latency as a factor, at least in a game world? To play devil's advocate, it seems like you could build a game where time advances according to the player's control by API.

Imagine if each API call optionally took a parameter describing by how much time should have advanced since the last call, upon the arrival of the current call. If the parameter is omitted, the server advances the world by the corresponding amount of real clock time. The game simulates that time passing, and simulates receiving the call at the time specified. Perhaps an API to stop and start the flow of game time, or run the game for a certain time and stop.

Players can interact with the game naturally, and solve problems without controlling time, but if they run into latency issues they can orchestrate the advance of time on the server precisely. I understand this will not be simple to implement, especially if the game consists of multiple communicating agents, but it could allow you to remove the uncertainty of players interacting with the game over a network, and more easily set up complex race conditions or timing attacks. It will also more gracefully handle any slowness that occurs in the game or bot simulations, since while game calls might take longer real time to return, they will presumably not take more game time. Last but not least, it could allow you to design test cases that are deterministic in ways that involve time, i.e., this event occurs exactly 100ms after the game world begins, every time. Players can exactly reproduce situations that would otherwise occur nondeterministically, while you retain your ability to simulate interactions that you want to be nondeterministic.

(I'm just exploring the idea because it seemed interesting, not making the case that this is especially important in the scheme of things.)

10
jsingleton 6 days ago 2 replies      
This sounds really fun but that is one long post/email. Almost 8000 words! Will read it later though.

Looks like the schedule has already slipped. The email said "2~3 weeks of today" but the blog post says "3 weeks of today"! :P

11
lewisl9029 6 days ago 2 replies      
On the topic of automated trading:

I strongly encourage anyone interested in real-world algorithmic trading to take a look at Quantopian.

https://www.quantopian.com/home

It's not HFT by any measure, but it manages to make algorithmic trading extremely accessible by providing a platform where users can develop their algorithms, backtest them against 13 years of market data, live trade them with paper money, or live trade with real money by linking a brokerage account.

They have also open-sourced the algorithmic trading engine used to run their platform:

https://github.com/quantopian/zipline

12
minimax 6 days ago 1 reply      
My order came back saying that I had bought 0 shares. And the quote from the exchange now read 500 shares available at $120.

Maybe I don't get the full picture, but it sounds like you have to poll via REST API to query the book? Modern exchanges just give you a feed of updates (adds, deletes, trades), so you don't run into situations like this. You can just check the feed to see what happened.

13
davidw 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'll admit to not finishing that - it was cool to see Patrick geeking out about the impressive tech he's been working on, rather than marketing, though.

Good luck, guys!

14
mwcampbell 6 days ago 0 replies      
Looking forward to figuring out the REST API for the GM server, then writing a command-line client for that and the exchange itself. Then, presumably, we can play the trading tree of Stockfighter mostly or entirely from the terminal.
15
lmorris84 6 days ago 2 replies      
We solved this in a roughly similar way to a real stock exchange: the order book is persisted entirely in memory, in Go.

What happens if your process crashes? how do you rebuild the order book?

Great work btw guys, can't wait to get started!

16
sireat 6 days ago 0 replies      
Two anecdotal data points on somewhat similar sites from an employed programmer and father.

Codehunt (from Microsoft Research), very addictive yet nice concise format, polished interface, allowing Java or C# a plus.

Minuses - Requires some unnatural code golf for maximum stars. Needs new problems and difficulty is too variable. I got in Top 5 but realized it was a completely worthless achievement as it just was not hard enough, somehow I hoped for a short note from MS saying GJ here is the next challenge level.

Bonus: Did not feel bad about playing this at work on breaks.

Codecombat - program in javascript, using classical MMORPG terminology, this should have been more addictive but something was off, maybe it was the latency or browser glitches.

My bot using simple strategy got in top, but I realized that I would rather go back to writing my scripts for real MMORPGs where my bots make actual money from RMT.

I still get Codecombat monthly e-mail reminders of new features but somehow the appeal of fake MMORPG is not there.

Also, felt very guilty about firing Codecombat up at work...

So you guys not going for the standard DnD type of setting might be a good idea.

17
listic 6 days ago 2 replies      
There's a lot of things going on here. But what is the point of Arduino?
18
donkeyd 6 days ago 1 reply      
I've just started programming professionally. I've noticed I'm a quick learner and I'm pretty good at problem solving. However, because I just started I lack quite a lot of knowledge. Will I still be able to play this game, or is 5 years of full-time work on multiple languages a prerequisite?
19
hawkice 6 days ago 1 reply      
Really simple question: do the privacy settings have any impact on the recruiting stuff? I would love for you guys to poke around my data, I trust you guys, and would love for you to be able to get my name, but I would otherwise prefer to be anonymous. Ideally it would be a privacy-orthogonal checkbox, maybe?
20
ExploitsforFun 5 days ago 0 replies      
Out of curiosity, have you gotten any press inquires about your launch from major tech publications? I know that your company is outside of the VC funding publicity bubble but I am curious if anyone has reached out?
21
pja 6 days ago 0 replies      
So, do I prioritise Stockfighter or TIS-100?

Decisions, decisions :)

22
runevault 6 days ago 0 replies      
If nothing else reading this has me interested in trying Go. Kind of wish the new book by Kernighan was out before November, as that book feels like a great excuse t do a deep dive on the language.
23
galois198 6 days ago 1 reply      
Looks great - I get that this was built using Rails/Go, however what language(s) will players be coding in?
24
FLUX-YOU 6 days ago 0 replies      
Do you guys model regulation through world simulation (e.g. the twitter feeds) and is there a Federal Reserve/Mint with related data?
25
lifeisstillgood 6 days ago 2 replies      
Well apart from "there goes October, dang I had real work planned", I am really welcoming this game. I would normally have jumped all over their compiler "tree", but I have been in my first Finance contract this year and I have not yet understood HFT.

Edit: this post got longer than planned - apologies - but this HFT / algo thing has been bugging at me for ages and this seems a likely thread for knowledgeable folks.

The references to Flash Boys worry me slightly - Lewis sold a false scenario there - it's pretty clear that no fool is going to see Bob buying a million Apple shares in London, then zip over their speed of light towers and front run Bob in Frankfurt for another million Apple shares. Who knows if Bob wants a million? Flash boys it seemed relied too much on a protected type of trader (market maker) getting roasted by the emergence of real competition - the "algo" traders.

It seems incontrovertible- equity market spreads have fallen by about 5/6ths in the past decade (no wonder Lewis' hero trader thought someone was stealing from him) but ... How and Why?

what algo traders actually do is a bit of a mystery to me.

The basics I kind of understand :

There are correlations between shares - spot those and you can make money. Let's say oil goes up, car manufacturers will go down by some amount. Short them and make money. The first time people did this they probably thought they had found a money printer. But then someone else starts playing the same algorithm - so you have to get your orders in taste than that guy - pretty soon you are worrying about the speed of light over glass.

But other correlations exist and get spotted and tried out and ... Well it seems a bit of a weak business model to me to live in P of .95.

So the business model of HFT is a bit weird, and the way their actions feed into reduced spread / liquidity is a bit unclear - but anyway, I look forward to totally screwing up my social life in a few weeks.

Anyone who can enlighten me, please shout.

Windows 10 users are being banned from torrent sites irishexaminer.com
363 points by ourmandave  3 days ago   345 comments top 26
1
x5n1 3 days ago 13 replies      
Basically M$ adoption of this strategy is the death knell for any semblance of privacy on the PC. It's amazing how far we have come to accepting such draconian measures in order to further marketing. There is still time people, come on over to Linux, the privacy here is still fine and will continue to be fine. And if you come over, then all the desktop software makers will port their software to Linux and all the collapse of privacy will be a bad dream. Barring that, every single thought you have you will not be able to record or publish without the surveillance apparatus of your country and the US knowing about it.

This is not some unfounded fear this is pretty much the current reality. Anyone who doesn't agree lives in a Pre-Snowden fictional world.

2
Phoenix26 3 days ago 1 reply      
3
stinos 3 days ago 3 replies      
But there is less concrete evidence to support the pirates most worrying claims.

less, or just none (e.g. the claim about data being sent from local disk)? In any case this is turning to be far from ideal for MS and makes me wonder if they really didn't see this coming when defaulting to not-so-private defaults: I already know people asking 'I heard this new Windows sends all your data to Microsoft, is that true?' because they picked up something vague about privacy in the local newspaper..

4
sz4kerto 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is an overkill I believe. Are Android devices banned from torrent sites? Chromebooks? Windows 10 is a cloud-based operating system, as is Android and ChromeOS -- most of the code runs locally, but it heavily relies on cloud functionality.

It is extremely naive to think that if MS tells you in the EULA that many services in the OS work based on the user behavior suddenly opens up new doors for spying. If MS wanted to spy on you, they could have done that already (they might or might not, I don't know, but it's certainly not the EULA that prevents them from doing that).

/snarky comment:

I guess most people on the torrent sites already give full permissions to the torchlight app on their phone.

5
jsf666 3 days ago 3 replies      
Shouldn't the built-in botnet/spyware push all major companies and goverments away from Windows? I don't know how they would be ok with all they're data sent/shared with them (and probably a dozen of US agencies). It's like buying a rooted by design system
6
homakov 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like clickbait, did not find content interesting. It makes you think windows 10 users a banned by microsoft. Should be "torrent sites ban windows 10 users".
7
exar0815 3 days ago 1 reply      
It is very well possible that behaviour like This will result in massive problems in the European Union with its much more atrict privacy laws. Microsoft should ask Intel about huge fines.
8
diego_moita 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is small stuff, compared to the headaches MS and Windows 10 will have with foreign governments. Snowden showed us that the US regularly spied on the German, Brazilian, Mexican and French governments. I wonder how anxious those governments are for Windows 10 adoption.
9
macns 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great news for Linux. Reading almost every comment (out of 270 atm), I see only good in this, windows will surely lose a small percentage of it's user base, and (hopefully) a lot more in the long run.
10
ohitsdom 3 days ago 2 replies      
Has there been any response or explanation from Microsoft yet with this situation?
11
analog31 3 days ago 2 replies      
Ask HN: Could Win10 data leaks be managed by some kind of firewall or parental-control software? I mean, if we know what sites are being accessed, just block those sites.
12
datalist 3 days ago 3 replies      
What does that even mean?

How would they ban Windows 10 users from trackers? A bit of more details wouldnt be bad.

13
adrianb 3 days ago 3 replies      
Has anyone compiled a privacy checklist for Windows 10? What settings people have determined are best to use? I was somewhat forced to do the upgrade and didn't have the time to explore all settings (also they got more confusing since Windows 8).
14
Kequc 3 days ago 2 replies      
> The controversy began because of a line in Microsofts service agreement. This allows Microsoft to issue updates that will stop users playing counterfeit games, according to TorrentFreak.

Game companies have been issuing updates that stop users "playing counterfeit games" ever since it was possible to do so. Microsoft is a game company, or one of the divisions are. It's interesting that they would stop there, rather than say "use of counterfeit software". That would be much broader.

Microsoft has been doing that for some time so what is the justification for gamers all of a sudden freaking out.

15
zkhalique 3 days ago 0 replies      
Next version of Windows will let you spoof the OS, because of all the backlash :P
16
malkia 2 days ago 0 replies      
Happily using OSX, Linux, and Chrome (with crouton).

I only need Windows now if I want to play a game, but the consoles at home, and steam under crouton/linux/osx solves that for some of the games I play.

Nothing else really!

17
deutronium 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know how the trackers themselves can detect Win10 users, is the Win10 TCP/IP stack sufficiently different to previous versions of Windows that you can fingerprint it?
18
roosterjm2k2 3 days ago 1 reply      
So... Microsoft wants to stop piracy by trying to read users contents (or so they say) ..

So in response, torrent sources help them by stoping them from downloading...

So torrent sites are giving MS what they want?

19
drzaiusapelord 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm glad to see HN's mindless love of Nadella going out the window. I've been railing against his leadership for quite some time and have often been told how wonderful he is, apparantly because he's not Steve Ballmer. I can't imagine anyone defending his policies now. This scenario is far, far worse than anything during the Ballmer/Gates years. Nadella may be the CEO that watches the world shift to a non-MS OS in significant, company threatening, numbers. Its incredible how he just couldn't deliver "Windows 7 but better," instead of this privacy nightmare OS.

And just to nitpick, we had to change our patching policy at work considering how badly QA has fallen under Nadella's watch. Pretty much every patch Tuesday is a problem for us. There's always a rotten patch that breaks something. I also am unimpressed by all the marketing surrounding the start menu coming back. Its barely a start menu, its just a panel to stick Metro-style widgets onto. The default widgets are a lot junk. The Win7 defaults of Documents, Computer, Control Panel, Printers, etc was near perfect from a productivity perspective.

20
kinosang 3 days ago 0 replies      
This title gives ambiguity to readers.
21
Vendan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Personally, I'll be getting a windows 10 box running soon enough. It's going to be headless and only have steam installed on it, and I'll be using it to play windows only games over steam in-home streaming on my linux desktop and laptop.
22
josteink 3 days ago 1 reply      
Last time I read something about this, it was specifically the original underground sites and trackers which were banning Windows 10 users. Not sites like TPB, KAT, etc.

Any news on if this has changed?

23
EGreg 3 days ago 0 replies      
The genie is out of the bottle. It's not just the NSA that wants your data - it's everybody!

http://magarshak.com/blog/?p=169

24
roflmyeggo 2 days ago 1 reply      
25
amyjess 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have to wonder how soon it will be before torrent clients just start faking their user agents and pretending to be from older versions of Windows.
26
wcchandler 3 days ago 1 reply      
Stocks Off Sharply as Market Upheaval Grows nytimes.com
321 points by superfx  3 days ago   409 comments top 33
1
grellas 2 days ago 3 replies      
People's investment philosophy will vary and tolerance for risk will play a major role in it all.

My own view is this, and it is based on a lifetime of having made all the typical mistakes.

Steady is the best way to go for your investable funds. That means, go with stocks for a decent segment of your investments but temper this with investments that will help preserve capital when things get rocky. Keep a ratio between the two that is age-appropriate. There is a rule of thumb floating about among advisors that your stock percentage should be 110 minus your age. This may or may not be a good ratio for you but some method that helps discipline you in these decisions will help you and this is not a bad one for many people. The other major factor is to avoid impulse buying or selling and to keep transaction costs at a very low level - and this usually means going with broad-based no-load index funds for much of the ride.

Doing the above will not make anyone rich. It will, however, ensure that you have the best chances of getting decent, normal returns on average over time while helping to preserve your capital as you go. If you want extraordinary returns, get them through your startup or by doing extraordinary things in your work. For your investments, the rule is different. You do not "underperform" by hitting averages with your investments. You simply meet the goal that should be the defining goal for most people in that area.

2
code4tee 3 days ago 7 replies      
Broadly speaking the US economy is quite healthy and people were expecting a correction in the stock market for some time. Within tech, it will have some negative impact on the plans of some companies as it will be harder to get lofty valuations based on 'fluff'... during such times investors want to see hard facts and real results to back-up value--but that's a broader trend thats been slowly developing for some time.

Internationally, China is clearly having a hard time dealing with the realities of 'the market.' People have long since suspected a lot of the figures coming out of China were not accurate and everyone knows the place is rampant with corruption and such. Things are going to get a lot uglier there before it gets better.

3
acjohnson55 2 days ago 5 replies      
A whole lot of aphorisms in this commentary about falling knives and dead cats, but very little actual information.

If you're trying to time the bottom you may as well take your money to the blackjack table. The quants are probably going to make a bunch of money, but if you're just a regular person, you should probably just continue making your regularly scheduled 401k contributions and diversified investments. Historically speaking, all the movement is going to average out in the long run to modest gains.

4
Cshelton 3 days ago 5 replies      
I think it's a bad sign when they can write an article and get it out in under 25 minutes...but by the time they release the article, the market has gone up by half the amount it fell on opening. This market is severely flawed.
5
plg 2 days ago 2 replies      
Unless you need to take your money out in the next couple of months (or unless you are facing a margin call) why not consider this as a fire sale? Your favourite stocks and mutual funds, ON SALE!
6
kailuowang 3 days ago 2 replies      
The global panic might have a good reason, this is probably the first time China goes through a true financial crisis. Their ability to deal with such situation is by and large unknown to anyone.
7
kazinator 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's only 10:21 Eastern Time on a Monday as I read this at 7:21 a.m. in the Pacific time zone. Like, wait for the trading to close, then tally up the damage.
8
piratebroadcast 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm a Web Developer with a few years of experience on the East Coast. I do OK, salary wise. I missed the first bubble and am not on the East Coast. What should I expect from this? Layoffs mean more developer supply? Just trying to be cautious and prepared for worst case.
9
kchoudhu 3 days ago 2 replies      
Oh look, an opportunity to buy.
10
geff82 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nothing to be surprised here.

Anyway, finally this might be the perfect time to consider a market entry again after a lost year so far. Lost if you were refusing to buy at much too high prices. Let it go down some more days and invest then.

11
dataker 3 days ago 4 replies      
I'm assuming the Fed will not raise interest rates now.
12
rdudek 3 days ago 3 replies      
Stocks are rebounding. Someone made it off like a bandit this morning.
13
ceejayoz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seesawing pretty heavily at this point. It was back up to -500ish a few minutes ago, then back to -800ish.
14
joezydeco 3 days ago 3 replies      
How do oil prices factor into this? The price has already been diving in this last quarter. Oil stocks also make up a huge portion of the Dow formula.
15
swalsh 3 days ago 1 reply      
Best time to buy is when there's blood in the streets :D
16
vasilipupkin 2 days ago 3 replies      
I just want to offer everyone a professional piece of advice. Large down moves in equity markets is exactly when you should buy equities because that's when expected returns are at their highest.
17
carsongross 2 days ago 1 reply      
"There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved."

https://mises.org/library/human-action-0/html/pp/818

18
IceColdCoder 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm just injecting some alternative thought here but I think one major question that needs to be asked about the health of the economy is:

"How much of the weighted average person's day is that person spending on survival".

I don't see how slow shift to a 60-hour instead of a 40-hour work week is indicative of a healthy economy but I could be wrong. To me it seems that survival is taking more and more time when it should be taking less and less if the economy were actually growing. This is probably just a "correction" but I think we will be seeing more and more of these here soon. I've been looking at the robotics industry and I can see them going into full public view within the next decade. The results will be interesting.

19
jayess 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe the failure of central banking bubble-blowing will finally be realized... I'm guessing not though.
20
randomname2 2 days ago 1 reply      
Markets are green again thanks in part to move in AAPL worth over 80B in market cap.

This happened after Tim Cook's email to Jim Cramer, which may have violated Fair Disclosure regulations: https://mobile.twitter.com/carlquintanilla/status/6357996299...

21
alistproducer2 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's easy to get out, hard to get back in. I moved 401k money out June 30th. Planned to get back in at SP 1900. If we close down < 2% I'll call bottom and get back in at close prices today. > 2% loss and it signals real fear that is probably not over yet. Either way we'll get a bounce tomorrow.
22
tzm 2 days ago 0 replies      
From what I've heard from locals.. the recent chemical explosion triggered general fear of wide-spread corruption and an impending economic coup d'tat from nationalists who want to disrupt the current power.
23
ultramancool 3 days ago 1 reply      
How about a more useful index than the Dow, which fails to account for basic stuff like market cap? S&P 500 % drop or something would be more meaningful.

EDIT: The page in question lists it actually, S&P 500 down 4.1%.

24
sbt 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would recommend an article by George Magnus called "The Chinese model is nearing its end", which was printed in the FT on Friday. You can bypass the paywall if you Google for it.
25
icedchai 2 days ago 0 replies      
In the grand scheme (meaning, 5+ years), this is a small blip. Buy more.
26
williesleg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Usually happens before a big political shift. Buy the viix.
27
meapix 3 days ago 0 replies      
yeah, scratch your head, that's the best you could do.
28
ojbyrne 2 days ago 0 replies      
That graph has become significantly less panic-inducing.
29
mylons 2 days ago 0 replies      
and now this headline isn't relevant. stocks are UNCH or ^. white knuckling it
30
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 3 replies      
I find it fascinating how this discussion goes, Do we differentiate between "healthy" and "strong" ?

The US economy is, as far as I can tell, tethered in a macroeconomic sense, to the bill of the very expensive land wars it recently fought. The cost to the economy both in terms of government spending and workforce depletion as national guard troops were mobilized for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

American worker productivity has remained high, which has kept real wage growth low, as employers leverage they "be thankful you even have a job" meme over the heads of employees who perhaps just scraped by in the great recession or spent months or even years unemployed.

America's largest trading partner, China, is running a partially managed economy with a fiat currency that is priced more on government policy than market realities. That pricing has lead to some unsustainable conditions in the Chinese economy which are being "addressed" by some pretty big moves (currency devaluation is not something you do lightly in the worlds second largest economy).

So the interesting question is how does the world see it? And how will it play out? Everyone has their bets, but and you can read about some of them in Barron's or the Economist or the WSJ.

The current disaster is Chinese. By devaluing their currency they are effectively "taking value" from people who were trading with them relative to the partner's home currency. So lets say someone like Apple contracts to buy 10 million iPhone 6 baseboards, in Rmb at an exchange rate of $100 per board, and now when it comes time to actually take delivery and buy the boards they cost Apple the equivalent of $150 each. Apple needs to pony up an additional half billion dollars for their phones. This then will hit their bottom line in terms of revenue, which means their stock price will go down (they won't be as profitable a company) and so funds holding Apple will lose their value in proportion to their Apple stock. And China has done this by devaluing its currency.

It doesn't change how strong Apple's market presence is, or that they can sell a phone for a ton of money, but it changes the cost/value equation faster than Apple can respond and so there is a disruption in their earnings. That will ripple across a lot of companies.

But is that a 'health' issue for the American economy? Not really. Rather it puts pressure to restructure the costs of the economy into a different place. People still buy iPhones and will for the forseeable future. So the economy is still strong, but if the price of those iPhones doubles their volume will likely fall and so Apple's earnings might be 'weak'.

The stock market is responding to the adjustments in China, internalizing the lack of fiscal oversight in that economy, and pricing it into the value of companies that do a lot of business there. I expect a hell of a correction and some interesting new markets opening up (like India, Vietnam or Thailand if the Thai can get their governance under control) as the cost of doing business in China begins to more accurately reflect the real costs of doing business there.

EDIT: As folks have pointed out the currency hit is reversed, Apple would get its parts for less if they priced them in RMB vs Dollars. Any RMB they were holding in their cash pile would have lost value, so to the extent that their sales in China have not been moved into Euros (we know they aren't repatriated into Dollars for tax reasons) are going to buy less than they did before.

31
jebblue 3 days ago 1 reply      
32
cryoshon 3 days ago 12 replies      
33
jsf666 2 days ago 0 replies      
China Stock Market Drops 8.5% marketwatch.com
372 points by electic  3 days ago   228 comments top 23
1
timr 3 days ago 20 replies      
Fun bedtime story: the systemic shock of this downturn causes investors to do what they are naturally prone to do, which is become fearful. Money dries up for the most speculative investments first, which removes the flow of dumb money from late-stage unicorn rounds.

Unable to raise further "growth capital" at attractive valuations, and burning money like there's no tomorrow, we see the first unicorn layoffs within 3 months. This spooks investors further, which dries up whatever funding was left for early stage deals. Within 6 months, the weakest startups are beginning to fail outright, which pulls back the tide a bit, and reveals the ponzi scheme of startup-servicing-startup revenue cycles for what they are. Suddenly, a number of heretofore assumed "safe" investments with "strong" revenues are revealed to be precarious, as 95% of their revenue streams were correlated.

Companies go from healthy revenue to practically nothing overnight, as dozens of companies all cut back on burn simultaneously. This only exacerbates the cash flow problems, and startups that were flying high are now flying into the ground at remarkable speed. Market gurus are revealed to be wearing no pants.

Within a year, the valley is in full recession, and people are clamoring for U-Hauls out of San Francisco, which are in short supply...

(In case you were wondering, this is essentially what happened in 1999, minus a few wild-cards like companies with totally fictional revenue, and companies that had no revenue at all.)

2
netcan 3 days ago 3 replies      
...1,968 stocks fell by the maximum 10% allowed by regulators, or 68% of all stocks in China

I don't really understand the way a price regulated stock market would normally work. Anyone understand this?

Normally the problem with price regulation is that the market doesn't clear. If the 10% limit was hit, there are sellers out there that tried to get out at the lowest allowable price but failed. Doesn't this mean they are probably going to be shares for sale at a lower price tomorrow?

Any time you hit the floor price you are accumulating a backlog of sellers. I don't think getting a call from a broker that he was unable to sell your shares is likely to cause calm tomorrow morning.

Basically, how's China's regulatory stuff going, now that it's getting tested in rough conditions.

3
alkonaut 3 days ago 3 replies      
Brent is now $44. Russia produces 10 million barrels per day. Their budget was amended earlier to account for the massive drop from $100 -> $50, leaving a huge hole in the revenues and a massive expected deficit. With a price more than 10% lower than that level, things are about to become really interesting (in the worse sense of the word).
4
jackgavigan 3 days ago 2 replies      
European markets are down ~3%.

EDIT: Make that ~4.5%. This is getting interesting!

Index futures markets suggest that the S&P500 will drop by ~3%, and the NASDAQ will drop by 4% when the market opens.

Tech stocks get hit harder in circumstances like this: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8a62642e-49b9-11e5-9b5d-89a026fda5... Google "Market turmoil leaves tech sector exposed" to bypass the paywall).

Bill Gurley is being bearish: https://twitter.com/bgurley/status/634573025329807360

It's worth remembering how markets really work: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CNKLWDOW8AAgUBv.jpg:large

5
joshuahedlund 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looks like it's time for the first real-world test (for most of us younger folks who didn't have anything invested in 2008 and have enjoyed a bull market since then) of all the theories I've read from financial independence gurus about index funds, i.e. how the market always recovers and goes up and if it doesn't none of this will matter anyway, the financial heads will always say it's different, the investors will always panic and oversell, just stay tough, hold on, maybe buy more, and come out ahead...
6
thewarrior 3 days ago 5 replies      
Allow me to barge in with my armchar financial analysis ...

If you check the Baltic Dry Index , it's started dropping in the past few weeks indicating a slowdown in global shipping. Similar for crude prices.

There was a similar pattern in 2008 (though the reasons this time are a bit different) with crude and the Baltic index starting to tumble in August before the market nosedived in September. Not that we will repeat 2008 but we definitely have a leading indicator for renewed weakness in the global economy.

7
jakozaur 3 days ago 3 replies      
Meanwhile S&P 500 is also failing:https://www.google.com/finance?q=INDEXSP:.INX

46 days ago, I suggested that China slowdown may have global impact:https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9851214

I'm glad that I sold my stock ETFs.

8
rndn 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is that surprising at all? If we take a look at the Shanghai Composite index in the past 5 years the bubble is pretty obvious [1]. That makes me wonder whether a simple averaging/smoothing law could mitigate such crazyness without limiting sensible business traffic significantly. I don't know enough about the stock market to say how and whether this could work, but the fact that a monstrous apparatus like this is allowed to develop such abnormalities seems absurd.

[1] http://i.imgur.com/gpHe1gc.png

9
w1ntermute 3 days ago 0 replies      
Dow, S&P, and NASDAQ futures have tanked: http://money.cnn.com/data/premarket/

This week is going to be ugly.

10
crorella 3 days ago 2 replies      
A good time to buy more!
11
loso 3 days ago 0 replies      
A good thing to look at right now is the "Asian Contagion" in 1997. While we have different spark there is a good chance that the pattern could be similar. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1997_Asian_financial_crisis. I'm hoping that we don't have a LTCM https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-Term_Capital_Management hidden with this drop but there is a good chance we have several.
12
kriro 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone have a good link to a quick refresher on fundamental analysis and/or a reading list besides Graham and Buffet? Seems like just about the right time to look over some financial statements/balance sheets in depth.
13
jamesblonde 3 days ago 3 replies      
For China to regain some measure of competitiveness, the easiest and most probable solution is to devalue the Yuan around 20% against the dollar:http://www.barrons.com/articles/why-chinas-currency-could-fa...

This will lead to massive drops in global equities due to fears of deflation.

14
eddd 3 days ago 1 reply      
China is at the "fear" level [1], prepare for more :)[1] https://steveblank.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/bubble-phases...
15
known 2 days ago 0 replies      
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiemgauer can create millions of new jobs in the economy;
16
riaqn 3 days ago 1 reply      
"It's neither bear market nor bull market, it's monkey market".
17
dpacmittal 3 days ago 0 replies      
India's Sensex and Nifty is also 6% down wiping almost $120B from the market.
18
acd 3 days ago 0 replies      
19
curiousjorge 2 days ago 0 replies      
20
a3voices 3 days ago 1 reply      
21
sidcool 3 days ago 4 replies      
22
codecamper 3 days ago 1 reply      
23
obayesshelton 3 days ago 0 replies      
GCC is moving to git gnu.org
294 points by ingve  6 days ago   132 comments top 7
1
phragg 6 days ago 6 replies      
Vim is moving to git, GCC is moving to git. What's with all the change?
2
rem7 6 days ago 3 replies      
Will they keep the repo in GitHub? :
3
atorralb 5 days ago 1 reply      
Where is Linus when you need him?
4
orvr 2 days ago 0 replies      
git is moving to GCC
5
jussij 5 days ago 1 reply      
6
hasteur 5 days ago 2 replies      
7
KyleBrandt 6 days ago 1 reply      
John Carmack's son's game in Racket groups.google.com
400 points by tesmar2  2 days ago   168 comments top 28
1
bcantrill 2 days ago 4 replies      
I imagine this sentiment is going to be very unpopular here, but as a parent of a ten-year-old, I find this kind of fetishizing of the accomplishments of ten-year-olds to be disturbing. I think it's great that Carmack's son has taken an interest in programming at such a young age, but why need this be so public? Not only does this do his son a disservice (who, despite his precociousness, is not old enough to understand how cruel the internet can be -- or how long its memory), it also does other children a disservice by implicitly encouraging absurdly aspirational parenting. Witness this comment, found in this HN discussion:

I am so jealous when I hear these damn stories. Another 5 or more years to go. Does anyone have a book about the method they develop? I bet that, following it to the T or not, it would sell here with the HN crowd.

It's great to inspire your kids to program (computational thinking is literacy, after all), but it's deeply misguided to believe that normal ten-year-olds exhibit the kind of intense interest that Carmack's son seems to display here -- and indeed, believing that a "method" can yield this kind of interest in a child can result in the kind of paternal (or maternal) disappointment that does lasting emotional harm.

Good on Carmack's son for showing such interest and talent, but let's encourage that to be fostered relatively privately -- and thereby allow him to be what he is first and foremost: a ten-year-old kid.

2
myth_buster 2 days ago 5 replies      

 Dropping a newbie into Eclipse or MonoDevelop makes them feel like they are walking around in a byzantine museum, afraid to touch things, while DrRacket feels closer to old-school personal computers where you felt like you were in command of the machine. 
I think this is a very important observation. As with most things, it's extremely important to get in during the humble beginning stage and then tracing your way up to grok more complicated systems. Similar to the "first principle" approach.

3
Arjuna 2 days ago 2 replies      
"Now I get to show him how there is actually a cleaner 1000 line program hiding inside his 2000 line program."

https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/status/635831064846594048

4
ohitsdom 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Im still taking a little heat from my wife for using an obscure language instead of something mainstream that is broadly used in industry

That is hilarious.

5
dpcan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome!

My 11 year old son submitted his first LudumDare Jam game this morning. It's a Javascript / HTML5 clicker/incremental game (think Cookie Clicker) built on a game engine I created. He's been getting so much better at coding all summer long. I had to help a lot at first, but now he's implementing everything on his own, and only comes to me when he can't hunt down a bug - which 99.9% of the time is a missing end-quote, ) or }

I'm not sure I want him to have a public website though with photos and an email address posted :/ I guess I'm not as trusting of... well... the entire world. Then again, maybe it's a good idea. I don't want him to leave the house at 18 and be surprised at how nasty the Internet can be.

6
bitwize 2 days ago 1 reply      
> DrRacket feels closer to old-school personal computers where you felt like you were in command of the machine.

This motivates the design of my Scheme IDE, Glass Table [https://github.com/bitwize/glasstable], which is modelled on old-school micro BASICs (notably from Microsoft).

GT is implemented as a series of hooks into the REPL, which listen to all typed input for variable, procedure, or macro definitions and log them in a "workspace" which can then be saved as a Scheme file. Individual definitions in the workspace can then be edited with an inferior editor (or, if you are working from inside emacs, with emacsclient).

Not to take anything away from DrRacket of course. Any programming tool that puts direct, immediate command of the machine at your fingertips is a good thing.

7
btzll 2 days ago 2 replies      
The son's favorite games don't include any games of his dad. That's quite funny.
8
vivekian2 2 days ago 6 replies      
Nice!

A bit off-topic here, but still related I guess. I have a 1 year old daughter and I keep wondering what would be the right time to introduce her to computers and programming in the future?

I have always thought that she should spend time reading books, playing in the backyard and lego before she delves into computers.

Have any other programmer parents thought about this as well? Or any other experiences on how they introduced programming to their kids?

9
tomphoolery 2 days ago 0 replies      

 Im still taking a little heat from my wife for using an obscure language instead of something mainstream that is broadly used in industry,
That's adorable. Of course John Carmack's wife would be ribbing him about what programming language he uses.

10
confiscate 2 days ago 0 replies      
Woah. Nice job Ryan

It's pretty cool how he added squealing sounds when the FLY character dies. I died several times while being in Ghost mode. This game is hard!

When I was 10 I was probably still reading choose-your-own-adventure paperback books. Ryan's already wrote his own game in a functional language.

Nice job!

11
agentultra 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not only John Carmack but Mathias Felleisen in one thread? How cool is that!?

I had the same impressions as Carmack, I think, about the suitability of the DrRacket environment for young programmers. It's nice seeing that it can work for young, motivated programmers.

12
Osiris 2 days ago 2 replies      
I have never done any game development and my primary programming experience for the last few years has been JavaScript.

My 10 year old daughter has a lot of ideas for games, but since I have no game programming experience I literally have no idea where to start with her. Does anyone have any suggestions for a good framework / toolset to get started for a simple game?

13
cicero 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am beginning my second time of teaching out of HtDP/2e at the high school level. My experience last time I taught it (3 years ago) was similar to what Carmack describes. There are many advantages to the DrRacket environment and the Racket language (or BSL teaching language) for teaching beginners, and I think HtDP teaches some valuable design techniques and disciplines.

I also felt that the approach to drawing taught in HtDP became awkward as things got complicated, so I appreciate some of the advice given in the thread. I may try some of these things this semester. I may also try jumping out of BSL into full Racket at some point so that we can use some more advanced features.

14
Axsuul 2 days ago 2 replies      
That's great to see that John Carmack's son has a similar passion for programming as his father. However, what if his son turned out differently and didn't have it in his blood? Would John Carmack still pursue it?
15
technomancy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hopefully he will eventually share the source code. I showed it to my son who was very interested to see how it was made. We go back and forth between Racket and Lua Love; he thinks Love is easier, but seeing examples of Racket that other kids had made might encourage him to explore it further.

I would love that since Racket is obviously a much better language than Lua for learning, but Love is still a bit more approachable for graphics than Racket's universe library.

16
argklm 1 day ago 0 replies      
As someone that volunteer to share computer literacy to kids, I can assure you that kids are underestimated by a big margin. I saw a lot of kids adsorbing concepts more easily than some adults. I'm not obviously talking about Monads; but the concepts are still fundamental to programming. Kids can get sufficient results to do something on their own and to really enjoy it.

The thing that I see most, and in this activity, the thing that displease me most is: parents that work as programmers and they pretend that their children must be programmers too. They bring them because they tried in all ways to make them interested and didn't succeed. One parent, a programmer, was worried with the quality of the teaching and wanted to be present a day. After the end of the meeting(I like to call them meeting. Kids see school as prison rather than joy, and I don't want to make them feel uneasy) the programmer seemed pleased of the experience and made a praise about the kids being happy and interested. He told me that he would send his son, in the hope that this time he would listen and asked about the price. I told him the truth and true nature of that meeting: they are all kids that really wanted it: When I am the new batch I usually try to talk of other things and wait something that makes me happy: a kid asking me when we begin. This is the clear sign that there is something in the room that is happy to learn. The programmer looked a bit puzzled and I told him my opinion. Are you sure that this is what your son want? If you imprison your son in something, he will totally hate it, wasting an activity that he could have enjoyed at a later time. I finished the speech saying that I'm doing it for free. My reward is making them have a good time and hopefully, giving them a better future.Kids in front of other people can have problems and feel anxiety. So, Carmack, I'm worried if having an entry bar of all the Internet watching your son, could be a burden too high. Are we sure that this is what he wants? Is he ready to compete?

Kids are precious, they will be the mark of our efforts and their mirror. I think that your son should enjoy as much as he can what he is doing and be kept away from the Internet consumerism for now ...

Have a nice day.

17
drcode 2 days ago 0 replies      
For anyone interested in yet another opinion, I've had good experiences with my young daughter using the Wonder Workshop robot as an early programming introduction. It has pretty solid hardware and relatively flexible programability: https://www.makewonder.com/
18
Kiro 2 days ago 1 reply      
> but Im not sure that the functional drawing paradigm ever really sank in while my son was working with it, rather it felt like you just drew everything backwards with missing parenthesis at the end

Can someone explain this? How are things drawn in functional programming?

19
nickbauman 2 days ago 4 replies      
FRP notwithstanding, the comment about UIs is important in that OOP was originally developed around the needs of user interface components with their inherent "mutable state" and single-threadedness (ever find yourself needing to use two mice at once?)
20
tbrock 2 days ago 0 replies      
From his web page: "My new game is about a character name Barb B. Queue"

It's enough that he's an amazing 10 year old programmer but he's also funny!

21
pmelendez 2 days ago 1 reply      
I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Good job :)
22
sytelus 2 days ago 0 replies      
So we are hearing about lot of 6-8 year old writing code. I'm trying to figure out what is normal and what are edge cases. I'm wondering...

What is the age they start reading proficiently?

What is the age they start writing effortlessly?

What is the edge they can read a web manual for, say, Racket and actually understand it?

23
malkia 2 days ago 0 replies      

 ] 10 PRINT "HELLO" ] RUN
It was that easy from my Apple ][/c

And this was pretty much fun

 ] CALL -151 * T

24
hauget 2 days ago 0 replies      
Man I wish I'd had this kind of experiences when I was his age... WELL DONE to both father and son!
25
js4win 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very impressive Ryan!This kid is going places :)
26
tremendo 2 days ago 1 reply      
at 10 his son is likely in 5th grade or so, knowing Racket is going to be handy for Math homework, especially fractions.
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fernly 2 days ago 0 replies      
28
ericfrederich 2 days ago 1 reply      
The Post-YC Slump samaltman.com
328 points by moritzplassnig  6 days ago   169 comments top 41
1
toomuchtodo 6 days ago 8 replies      
"At the end of a YC batch, the general consensus among the partners is that about 25% of the companies are on a trajectory that could lead to a multi-billion dollar company. Of course, only a handful of them do. Most go on to be decent or bad."

"You have to keep up a high level of intensity for many, many years."

Don't take this the wrong way /u/sama, but could it be that perhaps business models are the problem and not founders not grinding away for years on "real work"? 90% of startups fail [1] [2]. I am highly suspect of the idea that this is caused by teams not being committed or working on "fake work". More likely, markets shift, business models aren't viable, and so forth. This is not a case of people "not giving it their all".

[1] http://www.quora.com/What-percentage-of-startups-fail?share=...

[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2015/01/16/90-of-start...

EDIT: Its been proven scientifically that people encounter diminising returns past 40-50 hour work weeks. [3] Don't encourage grinding harder. Encourage finding where to exert the most leverage, and hiring best people you can hire today. Quality people + automation leverage (your software) + quality marketing is a solid formula (but not a guarantee) for success. Luck, while no one wants to admit it, is a non-insignificant component of success ("right place at the right time").

[3] http://www.lostgarden.com/2008/09/rules-of-productivity-pres...

2
ceejayoz 6 days ago 4 replies      
> The main problem is that companies stop doing what they were doing during YCinstead of relentlessly focusing on building a great product and growing, they focus on everything else. They also work less hard and less effectivelythe peer pressure during YC is a powerful force.

I'm curious about why there's no consideration of the possibility that perhaps such a high-intensity pace is simply not sustainable on a personal level for most people.

3
untog 6 days ago 3 replies      
This seems like a failure of YC - if companies that have gone through the program are consistently forgetting the lessons it has taught as soon as they leave, maybe they're not being taught correctly?

That said, I'm not surprised. YC is a rare opportunity, and people will absolutely punish themselves for the duration of their stay in YC to get the most out of it. Few people can maintain that kind of pressure longer term. I don't think that's a weakness, I think it's just being human.

4
webmasterraj 6 days ago 1 reply      
I have to disagree with a lot of people who seem to be saying that "working hard" necessarily means torturous 100 hour weeks.

I don't think the measure of working hard is counting how many hours you're at the office. I think the signal of working hard is how often you let yourself get into your comfort zone and coast.

I think working hard means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone - continuously. It means forcing yourself to ask the hard questions about your business you're scared to ask. It means figuring out how to do things you're not good at, like hiring or selling. It means identifying the most important problem for your company today, and tackling it, even if it's not what you want to be doing.

I'd guess that during YC, the partners and the community act as a force to keep people asking the hard, honest questions about their business. And I'd guess that after YC, without those outside forces, people revert to their default comfort zones, with things that feel nice. Getting press feels nice. Going to conferences feels nice. But what's true early is true later too: it's the work that doesn't feel nice that usually matters most.

You could spend 40 hours a week in the office doing the right things, or 100 hours doing the wrong ones. One of those will lead to growth, the other one won't. And it doesn't have to do with the hours.

5
steven2012 6 days ago 0 replies      
"So how can startups avoid this slump? Work on real work."

Simply working hard does not guarantee any path to success, at least in the world of startups. You can work extremely hard, do no "fake work", and have really great product and the vast majority of startups will still fail. You need a great deal of luck as well, ie. #rightplacerighttime, and that's something that isn't admitted by VCs whatsoever.

6
lanstein 6 days ago 1 reply      
One common theme from the YC CEOs I've talked with (maybe 8-10 - small sample size, etc.) is that post-YC they don't know the basics of sales (what a purchase order is, etc.). It would not surprise me if this was part of the reason.
7
rexignis 6 days ago 0 replies      
What a contentless article, "Work harder! Grumble grumble grumble." We all know that none of these VC "gurus" are actually cleverer than the rest of us, but yet we give them an audience for empty posts like this because their job is (hilariously) to maintain the VC guru image.

I just don't get why these "insightful advice" posts ever gain traction.

8
babababa 6 days ago 1 reply      
I think there's also a theme around young founders, the ability to work as a team when the going gets tough, hubris, and the fame that comes with being in YC.

During YC, you're in a very controlled environment - everyone around you is working hard, you have a deadline, you don't have money, and you just focus on building, etc. Once you leave YC, suddenly, a few things happen (I've seen this with exactly 2 start-ups so apologies for extrapolating):

1. You suddenly have a lot more money, and simultaneously lose the very guided structure you had at YC

2. A lot of YC founders are young, haven't worked in teams with different personality types, etc before and they have to learn how to manage people and each other

3. Because growth is the only thing they've been taught to look for at YC, at the first sign of any slowdown in growth (which could be natural and acceptable, or due to some other reason), they start freaking out and churning. This further exacerbates point 2 and they start stressing out their team and each other

4. There's a bit of a personality cult around YC founders right now - I recently attended a YC party in an apartment in a fancy high-rise in SF and it's amazing how many hanger-ons that were there fawning over the founders. It was a very SF start-up version of a celebrity night-club in LA/NYC. This unfortunately builds on the narrative of infallible YC founders who are building great billion dollar companies, etc

I guess where I'm going with this is that in addition to just growth, folks need to be taught how to work in teams, how to gear up to build a longer term, sustainable company, and to appreciate that they can and will make mistakes, but they need to handle that with grace and maturity.

9
jashmenn 6 days ago 1 reply      
I think it's super interesting to hear that they're developing software to automate traction updates. It would be so cool to be able to "gem install yc" into your Rails app (or whatever) and then have hooks that will automatically keep them abreast of user growth and engagement.

It provides really interesting opportunities for them to be proactive about giving help at the right time. For instance, they'll be able to setup rules for notifications e.g. when you're having a slowing rate of growth, or to send congratulations when you've had a strong month etc.

I imagine one of the problems in investing in so many companies is that you aren't always aware of problems before it's too late. By using software to collect metrics about their portfolio companies, they can systematize how to become aware of and help out companies where they can make a difference.

10
hyperion2010 6 days ago 1 reply      
YC is a coaching environment. Imagine if you took a professional soccer team and removed the coaches for a month. They would start loosing and if they didn't you would find that one of the players had taken on the role of a coach. This is almost certainly what is happening here.
11
BatFastard 6 days ago 1 reply      
"Raising money and getting press is fake work"

Raising money is not fake work if you don't know how you are going to pay your team in 6 months, or 3 months, or next month. Twice I have taken out a second mortgage on my house to pay my team, its not a good idea.Press seems to be a necessary evil, again I have made the best product on the market, only to go unnoticed because of lack of press coverage. Its not like 99.9% of the press are out looking for a great product, they are being lead by the PR agents.

I agree raising money and getting press are "non productive work" as far as product advance goes. But so are things like washing the dishes in your house, they don't help you get more work done that day, but it is a needed part of the system.

So maybe y-combinator should take those two VERY important survival aspects over for the 25% of companies that they feel are the unicorns. For another 10% they will make sure they have enough money for the next year, and that they will get the press they need. Seems like a natural extension....

12
Nimitz14 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised how many people here seemed to have missed the point of the article.

What the author is talking about is how there are a lot of fun things one can work on that could be useful at some point in the future. But probably not within the next week or month. Instead, the author is saying to focus on the things that will without a doubt be useful within the near future (<month).

13
grndn 6 days ago 0 replies      
Couldn't this just be a form of the "Sports Illustrated cover jinx", that is, regression to the mean?
14
param 6 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like it would be a simple inexpensive investment (probably completely outsourced) for YC to set up fortnightly (down from Tuesday dinners/weekly) dinners for founders of a single batch to come and report updates to each other.

I recall reading somewhere that YC batches are now split into clusters because there are so many companies in each batch. Maybe these dinners can be cluster specific as well.

As the companies grow in size, they can democratically decide to reduce frequency to monthly - I can see how changes would be slower as the companies become larger.

Edit: To clarify, this is purely a peer group - no YC presence needed. Have to do it this way to scale.

15
bsbechtel 6 days ago 0 replies      
I believe this could be a problem in general, but I keep thinking about a recent high profile failure from YC - Homejoy. They had a number of problems with their platform, but from what I've gathered through the press/blogs is that they focused too much on (geographical) growth after their $38mm round at the expense of fixing issues with quality and their business model (costing them retained users and continued local market growth). I think this is an outlier to Sam's theory, but it also provides some food for thought.
16
wbeckler 6 days ago 0 replies      
This pre-investment spike for startups reminds me somewhat of the pump and dump marketing tactics of a more mature company looking for a sale or an IPO. I've been in companies that have done this: go overboard trying to game some unsustainable metric, such as top line traffic, until you don't have to anymore. If you have done digital marketing for awhile, you can come up with dozens of ways to "grow" your metrics that appear sustainable on the surface but have some kind of catch that makes it impractical long term.
17
JacobAldridge 6 days ago 0 replies      
After the startup curve, the focus has to be about Revenue. And in a simple way, there's a formula, and activity outside of this formula is a lot of the 'fake work' Sam mentions.

Revenue = Value x Sales Activity x Conversion Rate x Retention

The specific approach will differ depending on your size, your vision, funding or bootstrapped etc, but the fundamentals are the same.

Value: Covers getting your business model right. Volume x Margin, Product-Market fit kind of thing. It's essentially a hypothesis you're taking into Sales activity and refining.

Sales Activity: Includes lead generation, but I don't like to put 'Marketing' as a separate heading because blogging and chatting to bloggers is the easiest way to feel busy and achieve nothing. Are you getting in front of clients?

Conversion Rate: And how many of your clients are actually buying? Track this! Segment it when you can! [channels the power of Danielle Morrill] "Know your numbers!"

Retention: Obviously depends on the business model, but ongoing or repeat clients are lovely. In a recurring revenue business, churning a client for every new one you bring on board wastes all the previous steps.

18
pesenti 6 days ago 0 replies      
How about backing these assertions with real data? Can YC show that companies are more likely to flatlines post-YC vs. while being coached? Or is that simply due to fast growth being hard to sustain? A careful statistical analysis of the growth of their companies, given the large sample they have, could have made this an interesting post rather than just a smug one...
19
rdlecler1 6 days ago 0 replies      
We felt this coming out of 500 Startups B12. We were a team of four, we had limited analytics in place, we were ranking horribly for SEO, accounting was a mess, and we were doing a ton of things that didn't scale which we needed to now scale. Post demo day we had to worry about fundraising, then recruiting, hiring, and now training--and in some cases firing, and starting all over again. If we get this iteration wrong we're doomed to fail. Basically we needed to add a whole new level to our pyramid and we need to find people we can delegate tasks to do that the process scales and so everything has come to a grinding halt for a few months. If you raise more money quickly it may be possible to attract more & better talent at the top of the funnel and run this process more quickly but it's been a massive growing pain for us.
20
imh 6 days ago 0 replies      
> Burnout seems to almost always affect founders whose startups are not doing well...

There doesn't seem to be an obvious causation here. I could totally see either causing the other, or there being a common cause of both. Seems weird to just assume burnout is a result of doing poorly.

21
msellout 6 days ago 0 replies      
One can easily gain momentum by simply adding mass, which is completely the wrong metaphor. Let's end the practice of misusing the word "momentum" in business. Use "velocity" or simply "speed".
22
help_everyone 6 days ago 1 reply      
Not sure how I feel about cleaning up a code base as doing "fake work".
23
rdl 6 days ago 1 reply      
Bullshit fake work is way worse than strictly time-boxing work. A focused 20-40h/wk is a lot more effective than 100h/wk of working on 90% bullshit, particularly because the bullshit reduces your per-hour marginal productivity as much if not more than real work, so you're not even getting just 10h of real work. And because 90h of bullshit this week means, due to sunk cost fallacy, prior commitments, etc., you're basically going to have to spend at least 50h the next week on similar bullshit.
24
nashashmi 6 days ago 0 replies      
The article should have been titled "never lose momentum". Burnout is always a big thing. And distractions are even bigger. And complacency is fall of many.
25
rwhitman 6 days ago 1 reply      
"But the list of fake work is long."

I would honestly really love to see a full list of tasks and activities that could be classified as 'fake work'.

26
dewitt 6 days ago 2 replies      
This post is probably the best reason I've seen yet to be a YC startup. The investor who can call you out on stuff like this is the investor you want.
27
mindcrime 6 days ago 1 reply      
Momentum is definitely a big thing. When you get a little bit, everything seems to feel a little bit easier. Your morale and confidence peak, it's easier to stay motivated and focused, and the sky even seems bluer. OK, maybe not that last bit, but you know what I mean.

We were in a place like that towards the end of last year. We got invited (finally, after several applications) to the CED Tech Venture Conference, which was an important chance to raise our visibility, meet investors, etc., and I had speaking engagements lined up at All Things Open, Tri-JUG and an NCTA event. In the span of 2 months we had 4 big chances to be "out there" getting our name out, and we had some really cool new stuff ready to demo... life was good.

And then two weeks after All Things Open, I find myself on the back of an ambulance, being rushed to the hospital with a heart attack. Talk about your momentum killers. :-(

After that, things went into something of a tailspin. Obviously there was a period of time when I couldn't have cared less about startups, business, or even technology. I was just happy to be alive, and was focused on bike riding, diet, and cardiac rehab. But all through that, I figured it would be easy enough - eventually - to step back into working on Fogbeam and get things moving again. As it happens, it hasn't been quite so easy.

I mean, don't get me wrong... I'm back. Definitely, absolutely, 100%, back. But I can only say that as of maybe sometime in the past month. But there was a 9 month gap in there where I really just wasn't in the right place mentally to focus on this. It's hard to explain, as I was back to normal physically within a couple of months, but the mental recovery was actually the harder part, and getting back to where I am excited about technology and excited about building a company took a LOT longer than I expected.

I had a little false start back in Feb., when I wrote some code, did some stuff, and thought I was back on the horse, but it didn't last. It's been discouraging to deal with all this, and even more so very exactly because all of this happened when we did have some momentum going. Now I find myself wondering what it's going to take to get that back.

I guess there are a lot of things that can kill your momentum: the "fake work" that sama talks about, dealing with fundraising, dealing with acquisition talks, whatever. But from my personal experience I'll just throw in "health issues".

I'm sure you guys get (or will get) tired of hearing about this from me, and I am generally not the preachy type but I'll reiterate this again: pay attention to your health. No, really, do it. It's super easy to assume you're indestructible and immortal, and to push aside concerns about health. I know, I lived that. And the younger you are, the easier it is.

But trust me, it's not a good idea to blow that stuff off, no matter how young you are. Don't say "I'll wait to get back in shape once we have our exit". I mean, there probably won't be an exit if you're dead; and if there is, you won't exactly benefit from it. And remember, on things like heart disease, the artery damage that leads to heart attacks and the like, can begin really young. Even as young as your teenage years. So no matter how busy you are, or how old you are, NOW is the time to start eating right, lose weight, quit smoking, whatever it is you need to do.

Sorry, I'll step off the soapbox now.

28
sparkzilla 6 days ago 0 replies      
Is it really the case that out of this startup batch that "25% of the companies are on a trajectory that could lead to a multi-billion dollar company"? I haven't really looked at this batch, but I highly doubt that 25 out of the current batch have that ability, just on common sense and past performance.
29
tlogan 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is an excellent blog: "Focus on growth and never lose momentum. Momentum cures everything. "

I have one question: What to do if your growth flatlines even if you work super hard? How to approach that problem? (I know that there is no simple solution for this - but what would general approach to solve lose of momentum).

30
gtrubetskoy 6 days ago 2 replies      
"I tell founders to consider how directly a task relates to growing." - but is it really all about growing?
31
espitia 6 days ago 0 replies      
"Stay focused on building a product your users love and hitting your growth targets."

How can you grow without a product users love? Say your retention rate is nowhere where it needs to be yet, isn't it counterproductive to work on getting more users when you those users won't stick around?

32
trcollinson 6 days ago 0 replies      
33
GiusCo 6 days ago 0 replies      
Are there statistical differences in slumping rate between pure-software startups vs domain-specific startups that use software as a tool? Numbers, please. Thanks.
34
7Figures2Commas 6 days ago 0 replies      
> At the end of a YC batch, the general consensus among the partners is that about 25% of the companies are on a trajectory that could lead to a multi-billion dollar company. Of course, only a handful of them do. Most go on to be decent or bad.

Pure hubris.

> The main problem is that companies stop doing what they were doing during YCinstead of relentlessly focusing on building a great product and growing, they focus on everything else. They also work less hard and less effectivelythe peer pressure during YC is a powerful force.

No, the problem is that it's difficult to build a large company. High growth is easy in the beginning when you're going from 0 to $100,000, but try going from $100,000 to $100,000,000. "Fake work" isn't what prevents the vast majority of companies from doing this.

35
vasilipupkin 6 days ago 0 replies      
don't you think part of it is, startups that are not clearly hotshots that are going to raise a ton of cash quickly end up needing to focus on fundraising, and, as an investor, I would expect significant adverse selection on those startups that didn't land big time backers right away
36
lordnacho 6 days ago 0 replies      
Make them stay for longer. That way the good habits are more likely to build. Have you considered that?
37
throwaway41597 5 days ago 0 replies      
typo: "Many YC startups learns these lessons" (s/learns/learn/)
38
Uptrenda 6 days ago 1 reply      
So tl; dr: keep working hard.
39
subdane 6 days ago 1 reply      
Something about "startups fail because they simply don't listen to us, get confused, and stop working" feels wrong coming from the President of YC. It bothers me that there's no institutional or personal responsibility being taken. It also bothers me that the risk the founders took isn't being acknowledged - that all the failures are being placed back on the founders' shoulders. YC selected these founders from thousands in an incredibly selective process. Why is Sama crapping on alumni? Wouldn't you want your president going to bat for you and defending your efforts?
40
rokhayakebe 6 days ago 0 replies      
My favorite fake work is "I am doing research." It is also the most important work one can do prior to making decisions, however it just gets to one point where you have to admit to having enough data to move forward.
41
powera 6 days ago 2 replies      
I know that Sam knows 100 times what I do about failing startups, and that some probably do fail for this reason. But I think this meme that "your startup probably failed just because you stopped trying hard enough" is awful.

Even Sam says IN THIS ARTICLE that "Also, very small startups can grow by sheer force of will, even with a bad product." Looking at the TechCrunch reviews, I think probably half of these companies will turn out to be pretty bad products in hindsight that could never have gone anywhere.

I Had a Baby and Cancer When I Worked at Amazon medium.com
442 points by denzil_correa  23 hours ago   292 comments top 25
1
tinbad 22 hours ago 16 replies      
This story doesn't surprise me at all. My 7 month pregnant wife is currently going through the exact same experience at Google. As soon as she notified her manager of her pregnancy, a week later they are trying to get rid of her. Made her pick between PIP or 2 months severance. Before she could make her decision, luckily, her doctor put her on leave because of a higher risk pregnancy (twins), she was entitled to short term disability but the company that handles Googles disability is a complete mess to deal with. It seems like make it super difficult to make use of these 'perks' so you just give up and don't bother. Anyway, long story short its the same everywhere. Im sure Larry and Jeff had good intentions when they started their companies but now that it's in the hands of middle management it's no different than any other big corp.
2
curveship 23 hours ago 5 replies      
Holy cow:

 "After my surgery [for cancer], while I was still on maternity leave, I received a form letter saying that the health insurance provided by my employer had been terminated. Dozens of panicked emails and phone calls later, the whole thing was, I was told, a glitch in the system. After a week of back and forth, I was offered COBRA coverage, by which point I had already switched to my husbands insurance, where I remained for the duration of my care."
That's a pretty GIGANTIC "glitch," one that turned out hugely in Amazon's favor. Cheiffetz claims she accepts that it was an "administrative error," but you have to wonder. By getting her to switch to her husband's plan, Amazon may have saved themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars.

3
grecy 23 hours ago 5 replies      
It saddens me that in the 21st century in the richest country in the world people having babies and being diagnosed with cancer have to worry about treatment and money, the last thing they should be thinking about.

What a sad state of affairs.

4
kevcampb 23 hours ago 1 reply      
If you can lose your health insurance for being sick, it's not insurance.
5
roymurdock 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I once took a class on business operations. In it, we studied the value discipline model of the firm:

To succeed in the marketplace, companies must embrace a competitive strategy. Authors Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersma describe three generic competitive strategies, or value disciplines: operational excellence, customer intimacy and product leadership. These are described in their book, The Discipline of Market Leaders (1997).

The authors main premise is that companies must chooseand then achievemarket leadership in one of the three disciplines, and perform to an acceptable level in the other two. [1]

Operational Excellence: Amazon, Walmart

Product Leadership: Apple, Mercedes Benz

Customer Intimacy: Nordstroms, Home Depot

We studied Amazon and Walmart as case studies for companies that have pushed the boundaries of operational excellence. You can also think of these companies as the ones who cut costs on a race to the bottom; companies at which efficiency is prized above all else.

Don't have a kid while working for a company that demonstrates a strict adherence to the value proposition of operational excellence. You will be regarded as just another expendable cost on the bottom line, and you will be replaced by a younger, hungrier individual with less commitments outside of work. The company will find a way around the laws that generally protect mothers/fathers in these situations - that is why they are a market leader, because they will go where no other companies are willing/able to in order to uphold the mantra of operational excellence.

[1] http://www.marsdd.com/mars-library/competitive-strategies-in...

6
mjt0229 22 hours ago 5 replies      
A coworker of mine at Amazon was diagnosed with cancer, and as far as I can tell, he was treated with the utmost respect and decency. His team and managers made a lot of accommodation for him while he underwent treatment. Unfortunately, he eventually passed away - to my knowledge, he was still employed to the very end (I moved away and left the company for other reasons, but many of my friends/coworkers stayed and are still there today).

So, I have an anecdote, and this story is an anecdote. I'm not saying that my friend's story offsets the story here (especially because I wasn't the cancer patient in either case). Let's slow down before we draw too many conclusions from either one.

7
webaholic 23 hours ago 1 reply      
The NYTimes article just turned the tap on. I am sure that the snippets in the nytimes article were not one off anymore.
8
Sealy 23 hours ago 1 reply      
If you aspire to be a startup entrepreneur, take note. Stories are the most powerful form of communication you can use. Whether its your experience in working for Amazon, or a multi billion dollar pitch for your next startup.

Great piece.

9
darren884 22 hours ago 4 replies      
This is why I would never want to work at Amazon. I get requests from their recruiters all the time and based on these stories even though they most it seems are not related to the technology department make me disgusted when I think of working for them. They have great products (which I really enjoy) and software but if they cannot take care of their employees how well can they take care of their customers? It is sad that a company like this does this. It tells me you cannot enjoy your life working for a company like them.
10
bechampion 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Good for her that switched jobs and carried on.In terms of Amazon ... who knows .. another company that don't give a shit about their people.
11
Xyik 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you. For all this talk about Amazon being a 'data-driven' company, I have yet to see any data on their employee churn rates from the people defending Amazon. I wonder why we don't hear about these types of horror stories from other companies?
12
pbreit 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It's frustrating because Google and Amazon are no doubt extremely impressive and truly have "changed the world".

The problem is that a lot of jerks are using the self-proclaimed "changing the world" mantle as cover for their lousy behavior.

13
coderdude 23 hours ago 7 replies      
I'm going to take the road less traveled and be critical. For a piece that is essentially about a (painful and harsh) health insurance screw-up, this article is shoehorning quite an agenda:

> I met some of the strongest, most brilliant women of my career there.

> I quickly noted, when it came to leadership positions, they were almost all men.

> the voices commenting on the New York Times piece so far have been predominantly male leaders of male-dominated teams.

> Women power your retail engine. They buy diapers. They buy books. They buy socks for their husbands on Prime.

> On behalf of all the people who want to speak up but cant: Please, make Amazon a more hospitable place for women and parents.

> You cant claim to be a data-driven company and not release more specific numbers on how many women and people of color apply, get hired and promoted, and stay on as employees.

Those types of statements can make sense in the right context but they seem out of place here, in this article. I wasn't able to make that connection that she seems to be able to make readily and without effort.

14
davidann 22 hours ago 0 replies      
As a shameless plug, where I work (Moz), offers 3 months of paid paternity/maternity leave.

I'm always learning, always growing and it's a great place to work.

https://moz.com/about/jobs

15
amyjess 23 hours ago 3 replies      
> I was placed on a dubious performance improvement plan, or PIP, a signal at Amazon that your employment is at risk.

Ah, the PIP. Shorthand for "we're going to get rid of you because of office politics, but only after we humiliate you and make you feel like a horrible person".

16
williamtrask 15 hours ago 0 replies      
how does this have 420 points after 8 hours...yet is on the 4th page?
17
MCRed 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I totally understand and sympathize with her viewpoint, even though it differs from my own, because much of this reads like someone who was kicked out of Scientology but still thinks the Church of Scientology is full of brilliant people making the world a better place-- that adoration for how great a company Amazon is, that comes thru in this piece, is the exact same flavor that the company cult works to reinforce, much the way the scientology cult does.

Yes, as someone who has dated a member of the church of scientology, and had a good friend get married there, then divorced when they discovered her husbands great grandfather worked for the IRS, and then re-married in a scientology arranged wedding, and seen the consequent personality changes and manipulations, .... and as someone who worked for Amazon for three years... I feel quite comfortable comparing Amazon to the Church of Scientology.

The funny thing is, this article reminds me of something I didn't notice. Things really were different in the way women were treated. There's definitely a bit of male chauvinism going on, and also women were treated better at amazon, probably because they were seen as more helpless and delicate. They certainly got less abuse in my group than the men did.

This is the lesson to take away-- the really dangerous thing is not just that Amazon is often a hostile and abusive workplace-- you can find that anywhere, and you can find pockets of decency in Amazon as well.

The lesson to learn is-- and this is leaking out about Amazon over and over-- that Amazon is a cult.

Her comment about the PIP being obviously a way to move out out-- shows that the actions (the PIP) have the opposite intended purpose to what they are supposed to. If an employee messes up (eg: goes thru a divorce and their work suffers) then they should be helped to improve.

That PIP is obvious code for "we're giving this person the ax and we're only keeping them around to cover our asses legally" shows that the company is manipulative and deceitful. -- If a firing was legitimate, they wouldn't need to lie with the PIP. If PIPs were used for their intended purpose, people wouldn't know that it was time to resign.

This kind of mantra heavy, "culture" heavy, ideological heavy, deceitful attitudes from a company are, in my experience, clear signs the company is very much like a cult.

I saw it in Scientology, at Amazon and at another company I worked for (also terrible)... but none of this existed at the other 20+ companies I've worked for in my career.

18
danharaj 23 hours ago 4 replies      
No matter how skilled you are, no matter how much you're compensated, to be labor is to be the disposable, exploitable end of these modern relations of production. To management, to the owner (whether an individual or a corporation owned by institutions owned by faceless stakeholders) you are but labor-power.

Your body, your self, your individual knitted from human fabric is a liability. If they could chop your labor-power from your flesh, from your family, from your community, and expropriate it as their own, the owners would. The labor market is not a market for human beings, it is a market for working bodies. Bodies that don't work profitably are bad bodies.

19
wwwhatcrack 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Congratulations?
20
angersock 23 hours ago 9 replies      
21
brookside 23 hours ago 0 replies      
22
KiDD 22 hours ago 0 replies      
23
torgoguys 22 hours ago 0 replies      
24
78666cdc 22 hours ago 4 replies      
25
wehadfun 23 hours ago 3 replies      
Shutdownify is shutting down shutdownify.com
420 points by jawns  7 days ago   95 comments top 52
1
kzhahou 7 days ago 7 replies      
Truth is, this service never quite delivered on their promise. When my last two startups closed shop, it took shutdownify over 3 days to process the first one, and the second was still a full two days to get up and running. At that point I could have just put together a page myself.

It didn't help that they rewrote their tech stack from Ruby to Node even as they were trying to find customers. In the end, the user doesn't care what it's built with.

2
mischanix 7 days ago 2 replies      

 $ whois shutdownify.com Updated Date: 19-aug-2015 Creation Date: 19-aug-2015 Expiration Date: 19-aug-2016

3
cpmsmith 7 days ago 3 replies      
Haha, brilliant. I believed it for more than a moment. The WHOIS records spill the beans, though:

 Creation Date: 19-aug-2015

4
sz4kerto 7 days ago 0 replies      
Testimonial:

I've been a Shutdownify client as a CEO of many companies, and I must say it was a joy to shut down my companies using Shutdownify!

5
gk1 7 days ago 2 replies      
While I feel bad for the companies who relied on this service and must now write their own shutdown notices, it's their own fault for trusting a SaaS and not using a self-hosted solution.

Edit: Can anyone suggest alternatives?

6
bbcbasic 7 days ago 1 reply      
The problem with this business model is clearly that if a company is shutting down it has severe cashflow problems and would not be willing to pay for a SaaS service for such a thing as trivial as a shutdown notice. It really is a badly formed business model and is rampant in this 'oh lets get a good team and we can always pivot if we fuck up' world.

This kind of start up irks mes as a sign that we have really reached the top of the bubble. Really sell your SF real estate now. Its is going to crash. It is such a waste of developer talent to put effort into hapless startups like this. I would like to know which fools invested in this so I can avoid taking their investment too.

</ Look someone has to take it seriously ;-D >

Edit: Damn this backfired. The downvoterz haz spoken!

7
actsasbuffoon 7 days ago 0 replies      
Are we sure they're actually shutting down? Maybe this is just a demonstration of their product, and the quality of the shutdown notice is so high that we're unable to distinguish this from the real thing.

As a matter of fact, fake shutdown notices could be a great source of...

=== NOTICE OF COMMENT SHUTDOWN ===

The board has decided that this comment stopped being funny several sentences ago, and has decided to disband the whole thing and go get a sandwich. Cheers!

8
joshrotenberg 7 days ago 5 replies      
Calling themselves shutdownly or shutdown.io probably would have saved them.
9
danso 7 days ago 0 replies      
Well-done satire...having the blog run on Tumblr and using a barely modified Bootstrap template, with parallax scrolling over a background image of a Brooklyn coffee house would've made it perfect.
10
edgesrazor 7 days ago 0 replies      
You just know there's a startup somewhere saying, "Dammit, that was our idea!".
11
pbreit 7 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, for a split second I thought that was real!
12
edvinbesic 7 days ago 1 reply      
Does this count as dogfooding?
13
jliptzin 7 days ago 1 reply      
"Our board has decided that the company should shut down now and sell all remaining assets"

I am floored that someone actually invested in this idea, much less an actual board of directors.

14
huhtenberg 7 days ago 1 reply      
I really hope this is a brilliant piece of satire.
15
dvanduzer 7 days ago 0 replies      
For all the satisfied clients, and the investors that just took a writedown on this year's tax return, now's a good reminder that the Internet Archive accepts donations:

http://web.archive.org/web/20150819204235/http://www.shutdow...

16
jbyers 7 days ago 0 replies      
Cue the press release announcing their assets have been purchased by Acquirely...
17
hakcermani 7 days ago 0 replies      
I had the opportunity to meet the CEO and founding team. Brilliant guys. But they got too caught up with the how. Ruby then to Node and now to Go. The promises - from companies shutting down to pay up, didn't pan out. I wish there was a consumer version of this - I would love to set up a page to survive me after my demise and I prepay for 10 years of hosting. Demisify ?
18
syncerr 7 days ago 1 reply      
If you guys don't know the author (Shaun Gallagher), he's a pretty awesome guy!

He's also the author of http://www.correlated.org/

19
rdl 7 days ago 0 replies      
The funny thing is this actually could be a good idea. Big companies do source code escrow as part of on premise software purchases. A SaaS equivalent which handled data portability, ongoing legal/compliance, etc, as a 10% surcharge on invoices or something, could solve this for SaaS, making purchases happen when they might not now.
21
noonespecial 7 days ago 0 replies      
Shutdownify's last meal is its own dog food.

Believed it right up to this brilliant bit of snark.

(re)Curse you, Shutdownify!

22
elwell 7 days ago 0 replies      
Or, it's real and this is a publicity stunt to get some exposure, or a noncommittal way to see how people react to find out if anyone would actually be interested.
23
forgotAgain 7 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone said they were the next unicorn. What happened?
24
kazinator 7 days ago 0 replies      
I heard a legend that the Shutdownify stack detects that an entry has been created for Shutdownify itself. When that happens, it is treated like a FIN packet: the software serves up the shutdown notice, but schedules an actual shutdown of itself after a configured period.
25
StavrosK 7 days ago 0 replies      
I was in the market for such a solution and tried to use them, but the pricing was really high. I'm not sure that paying per view on a shutdown notice is the best model, I would have preferred a flat fee.
26
dredmorbius 7 days ago 0 replies      
JMK: In the long run we're all dead.

Would've made a good corporate motto.

27
ryanSrich 7 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know what it says about myself or the current state of startups but I thought this was real until coming to the comments.
28
pkfrank 5 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of a 30 Rock bit where Jack is talking about Tracy's kooky investment:

(S03E15) "His video game made a fortune and he invested all of it in a company that dismantles bank signs. They're doing very well."

29
landtco 7 days ago 0 replies      
As a very loyal and frequent shutdownify customer, I am willing to save the business. Offer is equity only.
30
d2xdy2 7 days ago 0 replies      
How does something like this even get investors? The business model banks on the fact that start-ups are going to fail-- I could imagine scenarios where potential investors also have money invested into the companies that Shutdownify would be servicing.
31
bbali 7 days ago 0 replies      
It was a perfect business that didn't get the timing right. Their business would have thrived during 2000, 2008. Now if they lasted a few more months, they would have been perfectly positioned to take major market share in the Fall 2015 recession.
32
protomyth 7 days ago 0 replies      
Sadly, my first thought was someone tried to outsource the gathering of company failures to the actual company so they could write an f'd company article for the ad revenue. Worse, this didn't sound as bad as other business concepts.
33
aerovistae 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is fucking hilarious.
35
beambot 7 days ago 0 replies      
Business model failure: Bankrupt startups couldn't swing the monthly recurring payments after shutting down. Pity. Goodbye Shutdownify.
36
taytus 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is the Silicon Valley version of Mbius Strip.
37
fredkbloggs 7 days ago 1 reply      
They really should have tried to find a way to keep going (longer than a day, at least!). There's going to be a lot of demand for this service in the coming year. Someone should buy their assets and wait for the coming bust^Wboom.
38
franze 7 days ago 1 reply      
while we are chatting trivialities, does somebody know where the constant "pinterest is shutting down" rumours http://replycam.com/i/Screen_Shot_2015-08-19_at_22_50_13_1B8... are coming from?
39
ronjouch 7 days ago 0 replies      
Brilliant. Considering they can still use their own service, does the recursion mean infinite $$$, or a stack overflow?
40
yaronn01 7 days ago 0 replies      
Shutdownify github page now leads to 404. You would think they should know better than that. Stay classy, S9Y.
41
hathym 7 days ago 0 replies      
That's what you get when you bet on other startups failure
42
nickpersico 7 days ago 0 replies      
This should've been their landing page all along.
43
gpvos 7 days ago 1 reply      
Is this legit? I can't find anything about them.
44
thatdrew 7 days ago 0 replies      
can someone actually build this service? thx.
45
erbo 7 days ago 0 replies      
Far and away, one of the great trolls of all time!
46
logfromblammo 7 days ago 0 replies      
Guess they couldn't compete with ExitPlan.com . They do full shutdowns and acquisitions, as well as auctioning off the redundant employees to the highest bidder.
47
jsprogrammer 7 days ago 0 replies      
Is it just me or does this title keep changing?
48
samstave 7 days ago 0 replies      
Best HN title I have read in a while.
49
stbullard 7 days ago 0 replies      
50
kungfooman 7 days ago 0 replies      
kthxbye
51
BjoernKW 7 days ago 0 replies      
52
zeeshanm 7 days ago 0 replies      
Petition UK government to not ban encryption petition.parliament.uk
292 points by chrisdew  6 days ago   106 comments top 33
1
pjc50 6 days ago 1 reply      
http://www.revk.uk/2015/07/crypto-wars.html

"If a British citizen with an iPhone purchased in France and roaming in Germany iMessages a Chinese citizen roaming in Sweden using an iPhone purchased in Denmark, which government's keys need to be inserted in the iMessage communications by an American company (Apple) legally based in Luxembourg using servers hosted in Eire?"

2
untog 6 days ago 6 replies      
Urgh. This should be better phrased. From the BoingBoing article:

David Cameron says there should be no "means of communication" which "we cannot read"

It's very specific to communication, and reading between the lines, messaging, as opposed to something like HTTP communication between a bank and a customer. Don't get me wrong, it's still incredibly stupid, but the government will be able to reply to this petition with "we do not intend to ban encryption" and close it.

3
spuz 6 days ago 2 replies      
The government's story has been "we need a way to access people's data so we can catch pedophiles, drug dealers and terrorists" and it seems there is a widely held belief that in order to do this, they would need to either ban encryption or weaken it sufficiently to make it effectively useless. However, as far as I can tell, backdoors into your phone or your desktop PC already exist. All the government has to do is convince Apple, Google, MS or Ubuntu to provide an 'official' update to a target computer, wait for the user to accept (or the OS to accept it automatically) and they have full reign over your device.

Many people say that opening our devices to a special chosen set of good guys is equivalent to opening them to all the bad guys as well. If that's the case, surely we're already vulnerable given most commonly used devices update automatically?

The only purpose I can see for attacking encryption in general is to enable mass surveillance. The government have in fact not been specific about what they are actually asking for, but if they want selective ability to search digital devices, they already have it. If they want further powers, then we need to ask them what they need them for.

4
Jaepa 6 days ago 1 reply      
For the record Cameron was not suggesting on banning everything that uses encryption. Primary seeking a ban on end-to-end encryption messaging applications (ie, textsecure/signal, whatsapp, snapchat) that does no provide the UK government with a backdoor.

Its still a terrifying idea, and shouldn't be allowed to happen.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encryption_ban_proposal_in_the...

5
arianvanp 6 days ago 2 replies      
Honestly. I'd like to see them try to ban it. They'll see their entire internet economy crash and hell will break loose. People getting pissed why they can't login to gmail or facebook or paypal or do any online shopping. It's such an entirely ridiculous idea that i can't even describe it in words.

Okay to be honest I haven't really read into the material. but is their actual plan to "ban" encryption? Or do they want to license it to certain parties? Or have a weakened "export" encryption scheme like the US government tried? What's the plan?

6
iamcurious 6 days ago 1 reply      
I think we are fighting the wrong battle here. The power equation is already in favor of the government snooping everybody, making it law only puts things in the open. We should fight in that direction, making it so that everything is more transparent. Wanna have my data? Okay, but I want to have yours. I specially want to have all the data about what you do with my data. I want to be able to request all the data you got of me. I want to be able to erase some of it (or at the very least mark it as invalid). I want to be able to add directly to it. I want to know whenever it is used. I want a due process every time it is used for something that affects me. And I want people that make use of data for their own purposes or that don't follow protocol to be prosecuted or at the very least banned from public office.
7
mrbig4545 6 days ago 0 replies      
Cameron doesn't want to ban encryption. he wants encrypted end to end messaging services to have backdoor keys for the security services use. which is stupid, but very different to banning encryption.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in favour of this, but the distinction is clear and false misinformation isn't going to help prevent this.

8
oneandoneis2 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think it could be better worded as "Please stop being so bloody stupid"
9
jdimov9 6 days ago 1 reply      
There shouldn't be a need for any petition. A government with the illusion that it can "ban encryption" has already lost all authority and credibility, so should not be governing anyone.
10
andybak 6 days ago 0 replies      
To all those saying "it's not about banning encryption - only encrypted messaging then surely either:

a) they ban all end-to-end encryption

or

b) this law is ridiculously easy to circumvent for even non-technical users

An example of b) would be: piggyback messaging on an existing service that has a valid reason for being encrypted

11
dgmdoug 6 days ago 1 reply      
It really worries me that the leader of our nation does not appear to have all the information required in order to make a decision on a topic as important as this. I would have thought that a domain expert within government would have be consulted before Cameron goes off half cocked in debates and discussions.

With technology a key and growing industry within the UK, shouldn't we expect our leaders to at least attempt to understand the issues around governance?

12
jimworm 6 days ago 0 replies      
I wish they would just go ahead and ban it outright today, and in my naive imagination the whole country would plunge into disaster. Airliner crashes, car crashes, market crashes, the whole lot.

Unfortunately, selective enforcement of this ban will quickly turn it into a tool of tyranny, same as any other.

(Yeah I have a site that doesn't display that stupid cookie notice, but it doesn't matter because I haven't pissed off anybody powerful yet.)

13
reasonishy 6 days ago 3 replies      
They're not going to ban encryption. Seriously. Stop wasting time on misquotes taken out of context blown up by The Guardian. There's more important things to worry about.
14
sandworm101 5 days ago 0 replies      
Just One.

The US has the greatest control over apple. From the US is it shared with the five eyes. GCHQ's oldboys network then passes it on to basically any European who asks, while one of the thousands entry-level "analysts" at the many US intel agencies passes it on to the Chinese. Then the next snowden leaks it to the guardian and every other paper still alive, half of which are under surveillance by various police groups. So within a week the only people who cannot read this text are 50% of us who aren't government employees.

One keyring to rule them all.

15
Joeboy 6 days ago 0 replies      
Hopefully we can mostly agree that they're not really going to try to ban encryption.

Would anybody like to speculate on what proposals we might see in reality? Are they going to ban me, as an individual, from using GPG? Are they going to ban companies from operating encrypted messaging services in the UK? Are they going to block traffic from non-compliant overseas providers? Are they going to just have a quiet word with the SnapChat people?

16
p01926 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's pretty staggering that the FBI and gov.uk should choose now a time of daily, massive security breaches dominating the headlines to have the "your security is too good" conversation with tech companies. And, compared to the last time we went through this idiocy, they now refuse to put any specific proposals on the table. The whole enterprise is an embarrassment, and not going to happen in a million years.
17
sorokod 6 days ago 0 replies      
Sir, the serfs are using HTTPS again!
18
redblacktree 6 days ago 1 reply      
What is the enforcement plan for this? Will people be taken to jail for sending encrypted communication? How will messaging be differentiated from banking? (if those who claim a more limited scope are correct) The whole plan just seems unworkable.
20
totony 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting idea. I could go to the UK and hijack all of their end-to-end communication easily? Sounds like a fair deal to me.

EDIT: In fact, I wouldn't even need to go there

21
sillygeese 5 days ago 0 replies      
So let's see..

Governments are passing increasingly Orwellian laws, obviously against our wishes. They clearly don't want us to have any privacy whatsoever, and are basically just making that a legal reality too. Hello police state.

In response, people ask governments to stop stripping away their privacy.

How would you expect governments to respond, besides with some PR-bullshit to placate us or give us a false sense of security. "We would never read the contents of your messages, only the metadata! Honest!".. and people buy that as if they didn't know governments lie to us all the fucking time.

Imagine a King telling his subjects he'll raise taxes until the economy implodes. The subjects ask him nicely to please not raise taxes quite that much.

What does the King do? -Whatever the fuck he damn well pleases, as long as people aren't willing to risk their lives in de-throning him. Of course, after a revolution, a new King is throned, because THIS time it'll be different!

This is so fucking insane.. When will people wake up?

22
walshemj 5 days ago 0 replies      
Nice but pious, It would be more useful to find an MP who was lucky in the ballot for private members bills - and try and get a law passed.
23
jackgavigan 6 days ago 2 replies      
24
tired_man 5 days ago 0 replies      
25
ccvannorman 4 days ago 0 replies      
banning encryption today because "criminals use computers" is equivalent to banning locks 100 years ago because "criminals use doors"
26
elcct 6 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure if that petition will be valid, because it is encrypted... ;)
27
kiddico 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm assuming that as a US citizen I cannot sign this. Correct?
28
ommunist 6 days ago 0 replies      
Some people in Britain will always be more equal than the others.
29
sft 5 days ago 0 replies      
As if they could, even if they wanted to.
30
samuellavoie90 6 days ago 0 replies      
31
leni536 6 days ago 0 replies      
32
terefere 6 days ago 0 replies      
33
agd 6 days ago 1 reply      
Real Life First Person Shooter, Chatroulette Version [video] youtube.com
421 points by makmanalp  6 days ago   41 comments top 15
1
kendallpark 6 days ago 3 replies      
This is amazing.

It also speaks to the absurdity of FPSes. I was laughing so hard at all the little FPS tropes. Like how the guns were cached in "obvious" places or how the guy knew there would be something of use inside the conspicuous pot outside.

"Okay, now dual-wield the pistols."--said no one ever in real life

2
nsxwolf 6 days ago 1 reply      
Great stuff. Ben Folds did something similarly fun and surprising with Chatroulette:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEYxiK0kpEw

3
tempestn 6 days ago 0 replies      
That was so amazing. It's a great thing about technology in general; when Chatroulette was built, it's pretty clear they didn't envision people using it in that way. Often the tech has to come first, and the awesomeness follows. (Also a lot of penises, but that part probably was foreseen.)
4
morey 6 days ago 1 reply      
It is on HN before it is viral. The technology they put together for this is great!
5
camperman 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is hilarious. Reminds me of the real life remake of Goldeneye 64:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RR5V0rmN4o

6
chime 6 days ago 1 reply      
There was a movie called Gamer (2009) with a similar concept: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1034032/ trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2g94xQmtHw
7
shoo 6 days ago 0 replies      
Hilarious. It reminds me of the terrible DOOM movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45jgCxucL0k

This is much better than the movie. The interactivity and the humanity of it is wonderful.

8
skeuomorf 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty cool. It reminded me of [0] where a guy emulates kinda GTA-like behavior.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb1hOCX_UVo

9
hanniabu 6 days ago 0 replies      
That's really awesome and well done. Great job to all involved, even the players!
10
beyti 6 days ago 0 replies      
now, I think "video game" has a different meaning than before.

I'll be waiting for this to create this type of games and going on even multiplayer era. great stuff.

Btw I think, this would allow elder/non-tech people to enter gaming

11
notahacker 6 days ago 1 reply      
Corny sets. The fear of impending doom. Watchers giving not-always-very-helpful advice.

All it needs is sarcastic commentary to take me back to my childhood and the Crystal Maze, from the pre-FPS era.

12
toisanji 6 days ago 1 reply      
someone make this into a company
13
Ratelman 6 days ago 2 replies      
Freakin brilliant! Almost makes me want to try out Chatroulette just for the chance at something like this.
14
arc_of_descent 6 days ago 0 replies      
Innovation!
15
downandout 6 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon Underground amazon.com
324 points by acjohnson55  15 hours ago   122 comments top 37
1
sigmar 14 hours ago 5 replies      
Took me a minute to find out what "actually free" means:

https://developer.amazon.com/public/solutions/underground/do...

"Interstitial Advertisements

When a user launches an Amazon Underground app for the first time, a welcome message in the form of an interstitial ad plays. In subsequent times that a user either launches or resumes the app, paid interstitial ads will also sometimes play."

Interesting. So amazon deals with putting in the ads and the app dev gets paid for every minute the app is used. Seems like an interesting idea, probably useful for games that are very engaging (read: time drain)

2
justin_vanw 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I bought my daughters Kindle Fire's for Christmas. It doesn't have the Google Play store. 99.99% of the apps available, either free or even paid, are cookie cutter, mass produced, generic garbage. Almost all the free apps were complete junk.

Besides that, the Kindle Fire is a fundamentally useless device for kids. The kid mode was so buggy as to be useless. Take more than a few minutes of video and the wifi won't work. Some bug about if the disk is full wifi fails to work. There's just about no way to get the videos off the device, and no way for kids to do it. Download 2 movies? The wifi stops working. Install an app? 80% of the time, it never shows up in the menu.

The entire experience was stunningly bad. Amazon's entire Android device category is garbage. People complain about the extensions to Android by Samsung, etc, but honestly at least those other companies don't fundamentally ruin the device.

3
eloff 15 hours ago 5 replies      
I see this as hugely superior to the freemium model, both from the perspective of the user and the app developers. App developers no longer need to cripple their apps and sell in-app band-aids to make money. The developers of the more entertaining and engaging apps will make more money. End users no longer spend a bunch of time on a game only to find out they need to pay to advance to the next part, or bypass some artificial restriction that shouldn't be there.

It just seems like a much more civil relationship.

4
mkaziz 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Did anyone look at the list of permissions? Amazon isn't paying developers for interstital ads ... it's paying them to have an excuse to track everything on your phone:

http://www.amazon.com/Amazon-com-Amazon-Underground/dp/B004G...

5
Animats 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Amazon's announcement probably violates FTC advertising rules.

"The FTCs longstanding guidance to companies is that disclosures in their ads should be close to the claims to which they relate not hidden or buried in unrelated details and they should appear in a font that is easy to read and in a shade that stands out against the background. Disclosures for television ads should be on the screen long enough to be noticed, read, and understood, and other elements in the ads should not obscure or distract from the disclosures."

Every once in a while, the FTC does clamp down on this.[1]

[1] https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/09/opera...

6
PhrosTT 42 minutes ago 1 reply      
I actually tried to install this, but stopped when it prompted me for permissions. It literally asked for every permission I can imagine (read and write my files, all contacts, all calls & texts, all sensors, etc etc etc).
7
mordrax 13 hours ago 2 replies      
From the author's pov, it's an interesting proposition.Take sorcery for example: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dba...

I bought this and played it for about an hour to completion.For my hour, I'd have made them $0.12. Instead, I paid $4.64.

So for them to get to the same profit using this model, they'd have to attract $4.62/$0.12 = 38 times more users. i.e instead of having 1000+ downloads, they'd need to be in the 38k+ downloads range and for everyone to have played it to completion.

I see two problems for this particular game.1. Fighting fantasy based games are a niche market so is there going to be a large enough user base to support this?2. I'd say that the length of a typical gamebook shouldn't be more than 1-2 hours as it will get very complex. So they're kind of capped re per player usage.

Since it's a niche market, I don't imagine there would be hundreds of thousands of people trying this out for 5 minutes each.

8
thezilch 14 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want to browse their apps to see what is "actually free" before going through all the trouble of their app: http://www.amazon.com/b/ref=rw_tiny?&node=11350978011
9
sleepychu 28 minutes ago 0 replies      
The sideways text made this very hard to read!
10
biot 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I got an email from Microsoft today with this kind of "letter". See https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CNSgnyfWEAAvd9J.jpg:large

I hope this doesn't become a trend, like using a picture of laminate flooring as a website background was a number of years back.

11
hackuser 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Isn't this the same model that funds most websites? Zero cost in exchange for advertising and, I'm guessing, giving up your private information - with all the positives and negatives associated with that model.

I'm too lazy to check: Does Amazon say what private info is collected? Info on phones can be much more personal and more accessible to other applications.

12
azernik 14 hours ago 1 reply      
They reaaallly want the Amazon app store to happen on Android, don't they? We'll see if free content will be enough to get non-tech-savvy users to go through the trouble of installing an .apk file.
13
mordrax 14 hours ago 1 reply      
> Actually free

I'm feeling a bit sad that I'm overjoyed to hear that this category exists.

Paid, Free, Actually free

I like how they explain up-front that they pay the authors instead of perhaps another hidden payment model within 'Actually free' that ends up charging users.

14
smonff 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I hope underground is no copyrighted or a trademark right now, it would really be ridiculous.
15
serve_yay 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Interesting. Curious about the reaction to Google Play not allowing such an app. (I'm guessing restrictions on app stores are ok when Google does them)
16
haser_au 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems like Amazon are trying to replicate WeChat by creating a platform that people don't leave to use apps. By owning this 'ecosystem', Amazon can (a) collect all sorts of data from what apps people use, how long they use them, when they use them, etc. and (b) can provide ads (as Sigmar states) that are very targetted.

Smart play. It's definitely disruptive...

17
hyperpallium 6 hours ago 0 replies      
What is security like on Amazon's appstore? It has all-encompassing permissions.

always online? Must the apps be used online, for monitoring usage and downloading ads - or can they be run offline, with the Amazon appstore app uploading stats/downloading ads when connected? (I ask this because I run games in "airport mode" and "stop" them afterwards, as a security measure, having been burned).

18
sahaj 14 hours ago 1 reply      
One problem with Amazon App Store on Android phones is that if I replace my Android phone, I have to start all over again. Using the Google ecosystem, it's a matter of signing in and all my backed up apps and data are reinstated. There's a lot more friction to keep using the Amazon App Store/Underground app than there is with Google Play Store.
19
robmiller 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Downloading now and it is coming from Akamai. Surprised it isn't coming from AWS.
20
argklm 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The discussion linked here, may also be interesting for you: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9752948
21
shade23 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Isnt this how the Amazon App store would work on the kindles?Instead of one free app a day,you have several apps free.
22
zrgiu_ 13 hours ago 1 reply      
This is Android - what about apps that run mostly in the background ? A music player, fitness tracker, activity tracker? What about apps that run continuously, like a launcher ?
23
alblue 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This Trojan horse gives Amazon complete control of your device, from network connections to cameras to data.

But don't look at that! Free shiny! Pay no attention to the virus behind the curtain.

24
valhalla 14 hours ago 7 replies      
Is the reason Amazon isn't releasing this for iOS because of Apple's closed ecosystem or is Google just a bigger competitive threat?
25
sb23 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Australia is left off the list of countries. I can still sign in with my Australian account, using the US option though.
26
wasyl 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Worth noting that "The Amazon Underground program is currently available in the US, UK, Germany, and France."
27
driverdan 13 hours ago 0 replies      
There are serious privacy implications of this. Is there a separate privacy policy for this? Will there be cross app user tracking / retargeting? Are there any privacy opt-outs?
28
amrrs 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Amazon's attempt to create its own App-based-Ad-Network? Fighting Ad-blocker or Killing Google?
29
frozenport 8 hours ago 1 reply      
30
ck2 3 hours ago 0 replies      
So what's the direct download url for Amazon_App.apk ?

Oh here we go: https://amazon.com/gp/mas/get/android?dl=1

Take off the ?dl for a better splash page http://amazon.com/gp/mas/get/android

31
pervycreeper 13 hours ago 0 replies      
To install, it requires a rear-facing camera for some odd reason.
32
hosh 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Well played, Amazon.
33
curiousjorge 14 hours ago 0 replies      
34
gp7 14 hours ago 0 replies      
35
buzz27 14 hours ago 1 reply      
36
x5n1 14 hours ago 0 replies      
37
swehner 15 hours ago 0 replies      
It Is Done textfiles.com
328 points by kryptiskt  6 days ago   38 comments top 13
1
bane 5 days ago 3 replies      
It's hard to unroll the importance of this effort, and the work Jason Scott and archive.org does...but think of this.

Today, we look back at the development of mass manufacturing from a historical perspective, there are entire museums dedicated to nothing but preserving and educating people about this technological transformation...and we still learn modern lessons from it every day.

For example, you can go to Harpers Ferry, WV and see a small museum with a working workshop that's capable of converting nothing more than raw materials and river power to guns.

To wit, an impressive amount of my career has been about nothing more than applying mass manufacturing techniques to previously bespoke work, and I'm proud to say that it has transformed the way some organizations approach certain classes of problems. And it's often nothing more than me coming into a workplace and saying "let's see if we can get this problem up-to-speed with the industrial revolution"

These manuals are not so much about how an individual can operate outdated equipment as that they capture how humans dealt with complex technical challenges over decades. In a hundred years, historians looking at the digital scans of this archive might find a "first of" known process or technology that turns into a later technological revolution that we might not even be aware that we're part of right now that could transform all of humanity.

Astonishing work and well done.

2
mey 5 days ago 0 replies      
Context earlier on the site - http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/4683
3
jszymborski 5 days ago 0 replies      
Jason Scott does it again... I love that guy, and am inspired by the passion with which he seems to undertake everything.

I've been following this, and if I didn't live eons away, would have been there in a flash.

4
keithpeter 5 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds like OP had a blast. A few takeaways from OA...

But this went down in less than a week, and here we are.

And what an achievement! And how many new 'converts' made? Might pay dividends down the road as we begin to lose the paper archives.

I took the word of someone standing right there over someone on a forum bloviating about the One True And Right Way.

Situated knowledge wins every time. Listen to the ones doing it and moderate/evaluate the feedback.

Like it often is with professionals, they didnt whine, grate, or sniff when faced with a room of boxes they just got to it.

I, as part of a team, aspire to this smooth well articulated action.

5
Animats 5 days ago 1 reply      
Nice.

Of course, once they started throwing money at the problem, it went better. Boxes were purchased and quickly delivered. Trucks were rented. A storage space was rented. Professional movers were brought in. Then it's no problem.

OK, now what's the plan for the next phase?

6
namuol 5 days ago 1 reply      
Jason Scott is a real-life Indiana Jones of the digital age.
7
Osiris 5 days ago 1 reply      
Is the plan to scan all those manuals to make them accessible online?
8
pavs 5 days ago 1 reply      
Those moving guys are very photogenic!
9
cwkoss 5 days ago 0 replies      
Jason Scott (and all who helped), thanks for all of your work!
10
bmir-alum-007 5 days ago 0 replies      
Community archivism FTW (with a dash of leadership, out-of-pocket $, project management and planning).
11
eljimmy 5 days ago 2 replies      
So, forgive me for being naive, but I am left wondering... why do this at all? Is there a demand for this stuff?
12
leax 4 days ago 0 replies      
it's javascript in python style
13
adamkochanowicz 5 days ago 4 replies      
LLVM Foundation Granted 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Status llvm.org
227 points by ingve  6 days ago   47 comments top 4
1
_delirium 6 days ago 3 replies      
Would be interesting to read some more details about how this got through, and what the pitfalls were, along with solutions to them. As I understand it, the main tension is that things that look more like industrial consortia, developing common technology primarily for the benefit of an industry, don't qualify as charities, though they may qualify as other kinds of nonprofits. For example, the Khronos Group, steward of OpenGL, is an industry consortium and not a charity. While organizations primarily aiming to educate and serve the general public, rather than primarily to improve the technology or standards in an industry, can be charities. LLVM as a project seemsto a non-lawyerlike it could go either way, since it has elements of both types of goals.
2
webaholic 6 days ago 2 replies      
This foundation is the best thing to have come out of GPLv3. Cos of it Apple had to support LLVM which has made compiler research and quality increase by leaps and bounds. Thanks to the authors of GPLv3!
3
zkhalique 6 days ago 1 reply      
What does it take to get 501(c)(3) nonprofit status?

Do you think we can do it if we want to make the Qbix Foundation around our open-source platform?

4
aidenn0 6 days ago 5 replies      
Apple Loses German Top Court Case on Swipe-to-Unlock Patent bloomberg.com
241 points by bitzerlander  1 day ago   119 comments top 19
1
JustSomeNobody 1 day ago 1 reply      
This always struck me as an "On the computer" patent. The slide to unlock mechanism has been around since forever (think any bathroom stall or old wood screen door, etc). Just because it's on a computer screen shouldn't make it patentable.
2
germanier 1 day ago 2 replies      
Minor nitpick: The ruling court was not "the German Supreme Court" (which there is no single direct equivalent - often the term is used for the Bundesverfassungsgericht but that's problematic on many levels). The court was the Bundesgerichtshof which is the highest court for civil cases. Best is the avoid the term "Supreme Court" at all when talking about the German court system.
3
TheMagicHorsey 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Even the so called "good" software patents have a lot of the same elements as this bad patent. The problem is, most people aren't going to bother to read the claims of those patents and try to understand what the concepts claimed really are.

I have been involved with several patent suits (on both litigant side and defendant side) and as an engineer, I have to admit that there has never been a time when I haven't read the statement of the problem the patent says its going to solve, and not thought of the solution myself, way before the patent presents the same solution. In other words, every single litigated software patent I've been asked to review has been BLATANTLY obvious. And I'm no genius. I've talked to other engineers and they've all said the same thing. I just explain a problem domain, and they usually give a solution that comes under the claims of the litigated patent.

This is not to say that there aren't non-obvious software patents. Its just that those never seem to get litigated, because they aren't some obvious concept sitting at the nexus of a well-trodden path the industry is following.

I can't describe or link the specific patents I've been involved with, for obvious reasons, but the stuff I'm talking about sounds like things as follows:

"Receiving at a server a data packet, the data packet comprising a user identification number and a merchant identification number

retrieving a record in a database referenced by the user identification number

determining if the record in the database contains an authorization entry corresponding to the merchant identification number

responsive to the record in the database containing an authorization entry corresponding to the merchant identification number, transmitting a second data packet, containing an authorization token, to a server operated by a merchant."

I am not lying to you. This is how stupid each of these patents have been. Sometimes even worse.

Nobody not involved in these litigations understands how bad it is. And this is coming from someone who has made at least enough money to buy several luxury cars, providing consulting services to this particular legal industry. In other words, I have a financial interest in things remaining this fucked up. And I'm still telling you, its really fucked up.

4
minthd 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think this should apply generally to touch screen gestures. Once someone invented a good enough touch screen display(capacitive) , the gestures are not that big of a step.

All Apple did was to acquire the inventors of the capacitive touch - and worked a bit on the UI. And while it's valuable to be the first company who recognize the importance of a capacitive touch screen - that isn't a basis for a patent - and Apple did get enough benefits anyway.

5
JohnTHaller 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This is long overdue. As is invalidation of the bounceback patent. Like so many of "designy" patents, there's quite a bit of prior art.

The whole "but on a computer" patent needs to go away. "Sliding a latch from one position to another to open but on a computer" should not be patentable.

6
thomasrossi 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well in EU some algorithm is surely patentable if it has a "technical effect", for instance if you can move a robot arms consuming less energy or producing less waste materials, it must have a physical impact on something. Quote: "the method didnt reach a level of sophistication needed to award patent protection", just this, lol at patenting it in the first place.
7
tempodox 1 day ago 0 replies      
The contested patent thus isnt based on an invention.

It seems there are more patents that fill this description.

8
brlewis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Judges on Tuesday said that the iPhone makers method didnt reach a level of sophistication needed to award patent protection

Just so I understand what happened, can someone summarize German patent law? Is it the same 3 tests as in the U.S., i.e. statutory, novel, non-obvious?

9
DasIch 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interesting that the article doesn't mention that there is prior art, which was discussed in court, in the form of the Neonode N1m.
10
amelius 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm waiting for a future where we can ask a "blank" AI to come up with trivial solutions to new problems, so that we can just invalidate such stupid patents. If the AI can invent it, it is not worthy of a patent.
11
kriro 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty obvious this was going to happen. Pretty much the only software that is patentable in Germany is stuff that controls physical machinery of sorts (embedded break controls or something). Control of forces of nature to cause an expected effect is what qualifies. "Technizitt" (technical character) is what it's called. It's one of the four criteria. The other being it has to be "new" (no prior publications including your own), marketable (no clear cut criteria) and an invention (an "imaginary expert in the field" can't come up with it, also pretty debatable).

So technically not much really qualifies.[IANAL]

12
littletimmy 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't get how this was a patent to begin with. The door in my room has a "slide-to-unlock" lock that dates back 50 years. Surely Apple did not invent this.
13
Tloewald 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't think "obvious in retrospect" is a fair criterion for invalidating a patent. Those are actually the most valuable patents. The safety pin and the catseye (road reflector) were both patented and made fortunes for their inventors (or in the case of the safety pin the company that bought the patent).

Now arguing the whole patent system is fucked up is perfectly fair but we shouldn't celebrate a legitimate, non-abstract patent being incorrectly invalidated.

14
shmerl 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Good. Such stuff should never have been patentable to begin with.
15
mildrenben 1 day ago 2 replies      
16
jheriko 1 day ago 0 replies      
17
chubs 1 day ago 1 reply      
18
jchrisa 1 day ago 0 replies      
19
astazangasta 1 day ago 3 replies      
Updates Make Windows 7 and 8 Spy on You Like Windows 10 hakspek.com
360 points by Sami_Lehtinen  3 days ago   269 comments top 54
2
kstrauser 2 days ago 3 replies      
I submitted a story to Boing Boing (at http://boingboing.net/2015/08/10/windows-10.html) about the weird experience I had after upgrading my son's laptop from Windows 8.1 to 10. We did this on a Saturday, and Monday morning I had a "family safety report" email from Microsoft detailing which websites he'd visited, which apps he'd used (and for how long), etc. since the upgrade.

According to Microsoft's Family Safety FAQ (https://account.microsoft.com/family/faq/):

> On Windows 10, youll need a Microsoft account in order to use Microsoft family whether youre a part of a family as an adult or a child. When kids are added to a Microsoft family with a Microsoft account, any time they sign in to a Windows 10 device, their settings will be applied and their activity will be reported to the adults in their family. Adults can always turn off activity reporting or remove kids from the Microsoft family at account.microsoft.com/family.

By default, unless you log in and explicitly disable it, Windows 10 collects kids' usage activity and uploads it to Microsoft's servers. Presumably the same mechanism is disabled for adults. Presumably.

I definitely didn't enable it, and I'm sure my son didn't check any "narc me out to my parents" checkbox.

Edit: we already had a family account set up for our Xbox. I suspect that's how Microsoft determined that the emails should go to me.

3
jahewson 2 days ago 0 replies      
This looks like a deliberately misleading and overblown claim to me. Looking at the knowledge base articles, we see that the diagnostics tracking service is enabled only for users who already participate in the customer experience program (a very clear option when setting up Windows for the first time:

- KB3080149: "The diagnostics tracking service collects diagnostics about functional issues on Windows systems that participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP)."

The second update is short on details, but it's specifically targeting the UAC "Run as Administrator" dialog (which is implemented by consent.exe), presumably to collect information on unsigned applications which request admin privileges. Microsoft should provide further details here for sure, but I see nothing nefarious. One might guess that the information collected here might be the hash of the exe requesting admin privileges.

- KB3075249: "This update adds telemetry points to the User Account Control (UAC) feature to collect information on elevations that come from low integrity levels."

Compare this with the ridiculous claim in the article that this is "allowing for remote monitoring of everything that happens within the operating system."

4
mintplant 2 days ago 2 replies      
Article text, since the site seems to be down:

Windows 10 has been launched and already installed on more than 50 million computers worldwide. It is now a known fact that Windows 10 user data is being sent back to Microsoft servers back in Redmond, Washington. Well, now new updates that are being deployed to all Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 machines will turn their computers into a big piece of spyware, just like their predecessor, Windows 10.

The updates in question are KB3075249 and KB3080149. if installed, these updates are known to report your data back to Microsoft servers, without user interaction. KB3075249 Microsoft Update adds telemetry points to consent.exe in Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, allowing for remote monitoring of everything that happens within the operating system. KB3080149 ensures that all down-level devices receive the same updates and treatment as Windows 10 boxes get.

As you would guess, forums are lit up with speculation on these updates and more. Below you can find a list of other Windows updates that some users have questioned. Please keep in mind, avoiding some or all of these updates may cause your environment to be unstable and/or unsecure.

KB2505438KB2670838 Windows 7 Only (corrupts AERO and blurry fonts on some websites)KB2952664KB2976978 Windows 8 onlyKB3021917KB3035583KB3075249

5
tinfoilman 2 days ago 3 replies      
Brilliant, 2 options I see

Never do updates again (which is what I will be doing this evening) and make system perm insecure

Or let MS and the NSA rape me for even more data than they already have

Go [insert abusive word] yourself Microsoft and to think just last week I got a 3rd windows 7 license because I was planning to stay on 7 long term and not upgrade to 10.

Steam hopefully will push linux gaming that i can finally get rid of this crap.

6
rbx 2 days ago 0 replies      
kb3075249 - "...adds telemetry points..." (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3075249)

kb3080149 - "...Telemetry tracking service..." (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3080149)

kb3068708 - "...Telemetry tracking service..." (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3068708)

kb2976978 - "...performs diagnostics on the Windows systems that participate in the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program..." (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2976978)

kb3021917 - "...Telemetry is sent back to Microsoft..." (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3021917)

kb3035583 - "...installs the Get Windows 10 app..." (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3035583)

kb2952664 - "...ease the upgrade experience to the latest version of Windows..." (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2952664)

7
inevitable2 2 days ago 6 replies      
Here is a more in-depth analysis of windows 10 and what is sent to MS

http://aeronet.cz/news/analyza-windows-10-ve-svem-principu-j...

For those who don't speak Czech:-It sends all text you type anywhere (not just into search) every 30 minutes to MS. If you type about a holiday to your blog, next day you'll see holiday ads.

-Every 30 minutes it sends your geo-location and network information.

-If you type a telephone number into Edge it sends it to MS after 5 minutes.

-If you type anywhere in Windows a name of some movie, Windows will start indexing all your media files after a while and will send it to MS after 30 minutes of your inactivity.

-After installing W10, it will send about 35MB of data once.

-After turning on your webcam for the first time it sends data to microsoft once.

-Everything you say is transferred to MS, it works even if you disable and remove and uninstall cortana. Parts of Cortana are needed for the core of the OS to run.

-Voice is transferred every 15 min, 80MB of data.

-After 15 minutes of your inactivity or when screensaver is on, network activity ramps up and everything else is being sent to MS.

-Blocking in hosts doesn't work, IPs are hardcoded into their code and DLLs.

8
cakeface 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen a lot of posts about people worrying about personal privacy, as they should be! Right now I'm actually curious about the business implications. Is data going back to Microsoft? Should we be banning Windows for developers, finance, customer support? I'm worried about personally identifiable information (PII) leaking out of our company. Also developers still handle credentials with access to production systems, AWS, sometimes SSL certs. This data cannot be sent out of the network. What is the impact for businesses?
9
aikah 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's what happens when a single vendor has more than 95% shares of a market. There is no competition , where the hell people using Windows software are going to run ? I'm really angry at this. What's the difference between this and a spyware / key logger / trojan ? there is none conceptually.

I sincerely hope it backfires because it's just insane. If MS wants to collect on my hard drive or log my key strokes , it should ask for my approval first and not hide it behind a license.

People are outraged with the AM hack scandal, well nothing guarantees that MS will never be hacked. And when a database like this get hacked , every windows user data will be in the wild. That's just crazy. Is the the "new microsoft" , a lot of HNers like to boast about ? Same as the old one.

10
fiatpandas 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have my windows 7 PC set up to automatically install "important" updates. Are these telemetry updates considered "important" or "recommended"?
11
beloch 2 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft has already raised our suspicions by offering Windows 10 upgrades for free. As a result, we're perfectly primed to believe the worst about these updates.

Microsoft needs to do something convincing to reassure it's users or Windows 10 will likely become synonymous with "Big Brother" regardless of what's actually going on.

To reiterate, we're leaving territory in which it would have been reasonable to "do nothing and hope it all blows over". MS needs to respond quickly or they're going to have another dud release on their hands, in spite of giving it away for free.

12
Navarr 2 days ago 5 replies      
2016 is the year of desktop linux.

For the kind of people who care about this sort of thing.

Also puts "Scroogle" into perspective.

13
fataliss 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe a chance for the Linux gaming scene? Finally a window (see what I just did?) for an other gaming OS? Hail Unix.
14
throwaway77632 2 days ago 2 replies      
No wonder they intend to no longer describe what's in an update... Only using Windows in a VM still. Just set the network connection host-only. Didn't really need internet there anyway, and given these circumstances, I might as well get rid of it completely. I guess any inclination I had to think Microsoft is on the way up just vanished again. Too bad it also means I'm probably going to throw away my plans of diving into F#. Open source, but still too tied to this company I'd better just give up on.
15
SpikedCola 2 days ago 0 replies      
Found a useful script on SuperUser that removes KBs as well as hides them in the future. Just need to change the list slightly

 FOR %%X IN (3075249 3080149 3068708 2976978 3021917 3035583 2952664) DO ...
http://superuser.com/questions/922068/how-to-disable-the-get...

16
jimeh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google cache of the article as the site seems down: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3Awww.h...
17
minthd 2 days ago 3 replies      
If that's true - doesn't this expose microsoft legally ? I mean we paid for win 7 under certain terms, and now they're changing them.
18
DrNuke 2 days ago 0 replies      
This news is another nail in the coffin. The pattern I can see among my peers and my small market is that people are more and more uneasy with using the web for sharing valuable info and data, both on public and private networks. They prefer face-to-face meetings and paper docs. Food for thought and some ground for new startups maybe.
19
ptx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Parents spying on their children's communications seems hard to reconcile with the principles in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child[1] which most countries are signatories to, in particular articles 13 and 16:

"Recognizing that the United Nations has, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants on Human Rights, proclaimed and agreed that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,

...

"The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice.

...

"No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.

"The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

Given that Microsoft is a US company and the US is one of very few countries that hasn't ratified the convention[2], the concept of children having human rights might seem strange and foreign to them, but almost everywhere else, the state is (it seems to me) obligated to protect children from this kind of intrusion. (Maybe the EU could look into forcing them to release a special spyware-free edition...)

[1] http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx[2] http://www.unicef.org/crc/index_30225.html

20
bung 2 days ago 0 replies      
Been waiting for an article like this but even though it points to two items, KB3075249 and KB3080149, it doesn't seem like "firm" information as there is a huge list of "maybe" items as well as a warning that removing things can mess up your computer.

How likely is it that we'll ever have a "firm" finite list?

21
mosselman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I put this in a file called something.bat and ran it as administrator to uninstall (I hope) most of the KBs. Any feedback would be great:

 wusa.exe /kb:3075249 /uninstall /norestart wusa.exe /kb:3080149 /uninstall /norestart wusa.exe /kb:3068708 /uninstall /norestart wusa.exe /kb:2976978 /uninstall /norestart wusa.exe /kb:3021917 /uninstall /norestart wusa.exe /kb:3035583 /uninstall /norestart wusa.exe /kb:2952664 /uninstall /norestart

22
SwimAway 2 days ago 0 replies      
Where are the security researchers? Credible, elaborate, and well-documented articles? Has this not captured their attention or is it a lack of concern?
23
toufka 2 days ago 0 replies      
Installing spyware via a software update is a huge moral hazard for Microsoft. It incentivizes people to maintain an unpatched operating system.
24
mosselman 2 days ago 1 reply      
So I just started my windows and it seems that I am 'infected' with this anti-privacy stuff. How do I get rid of it? Re-install from the installation disk and disable updates, or can I still remove the updates?
25
tacone 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how any IT corporation of decent size, with internal data policies will be able to live with something this.
26
JustSomeNobody 2 days ago 0 replies      
So, does this mean MS has lost all their good will points earned from releasing all the open source code recently?
27
hfpn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft's got even bigger balls then I thought they had... I hope this is the beginning of the end.
28
IkmoIkmo 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think it's time that we don't ask of users to protect themselves by reading hundreds of pages of EULAs, and then ostracising themselves from mainstream electronics use (both at home, as well as at work) because they refuse to use software that's loaded with insane levels of spyware (record and transfer all voice and every keystroke). That's a large burden. It's perhaps time this becomes a legal matter rather than purely a user-choice matter.

In society we have all kinds of protections for people that make a lot of sense, that take away individual responsibility. For example, even if a person wanted, you're not allowed to become a slave, it's simply not allowed. Even if a person wanted in most of the developed world, you're not allowed to work for less than minimum wage, or in a toxic environment. Similarly even if a person says 'I don't mind if people are misogynistic towards me at work, or discriminatory, I just want this job no matter what because I need the money', that's not allowed, either.

Similarly, I think it's time we start to think of legal protections again this level of spyware. We shouldn't put the burden of acceptance on individuals when you'll have millions of people who'd prefer to live in a world where they don't have to use this software at home or at work, but have no choice (particularly at work), and thus accept spyware because the loss of their job works as a blackmailing force, just like in the above examples.

That doesn't mean I'm saying there is no legal place for software like this under any conditions. But the notion that it can't be turned off is insane. Even 'on by default' is a step too far, but now Windows is saying whether you use windows 7, 8 or 10, we're spying on you, and you can't turn it off, and if you tamper with our software manually you'll fail because we've hardcoded it. That's not acceptable and my point is, it shouldn't fall upon users to boycott such harmful parts of software they paid for (in the case of Windows 7, half a decade ago).

It should fall upon the rule of law to prevent this and allow at least an opt-in, a choice, a choice that isn't 'use any Windows product, or use no Windows product'

If OSs were more free like say, the automotive industry, I wouldn't mind as much. Like if Toyota one day decided to record audio in cars, that's one thing. You can switch to more than a dozen top-quality car manufacturers who don't do this, and it wouldn't affect your jobs or anything like that. But we're talking about a desktop/laptop market where <2% of marketshare is Linux and OS X is ~10%, the remainder is virtually all windows and its got hardcoded spyware features.

29
ausjke 2 days ago 6 replies      
Happy linux desktop user here, I only need windows for turbotax once a year, so I will worry about this in Feb/Mar, anyone provides a cloud-based tax filing service?
30
CamperBob2 2 days ago 0 replies      
The lack of public disclosure, commentary, and, yes, outrage surrounding Windows 10's privacy policy is a lot more disturbing than Windows 10 itself.
31
superskierpat 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well I can see Russia putting alot more money into ReactOs
32
nly 2 days ago 3 replies      
Easiest way to block this for sure is probably going to be harvest a list of hostnames and/or IPs microsoft are using and block them at your border gateway/router.

I've recently considered setting up a separate wifi SSID where everything outbound except DNS, and tcp 80/443 is blocked, as well as TLS SNI and plain HTTP logging just so this sort of thing can be monitored.

33
alimbada 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's been a number of revelations about the invasion of privacy prevalent in Windows 10 (and now according to this article/thread 7 and 8 too), but curiously Microsoft have been very silent on the matter which is only making things worse for them as users will naturally take that as a confirmation of the relevant findings.

It's also strange to see Microsoft making this move given that this invasion of privacy is probably illegal in many ways in countries that are forward thinking enough to have laws against this type of thing.

Maybe they see it as a short term ploy to try and collect as much data as they can before there is a big enough uproar against it and then decide to pull the "feature(s)". They may see it as worth the controversy if they can gather enough data for future products/improvements.

34
mizzao 2 days ago 7 replies      
People who use their google accounts and Chrome ubiquitously already get spied on by GA at a much bigger scale through all the sites they visit in their browser.

Why is it a big uproar when it happens at the OS level? Seems like it's pretty much the same thing. We always have the option of using Linux if we don't like it.

35
yuhong 2 days ago 1 reply      
FYI, you can't disable telemetry on Win10 unless you have enterprise edition, but you can select levels.
36
lewisl9029 2 days ago 0 replies      
What exactly is going on with the decision making at Microsoft?

With all the backlash that has resulted from the Windows 10 privacy issues, you'd think their next thought wouldn't be "we should piss off our customers with more of the same".

37
antaviana 2 days ago 0 replies      
Curiously, the net effect is that now there is one reason less to skip upgrading to Windows 10!
38
rileyteige 2 days ago 5 replies      
If I could figure out my wireless card/GPU drivers, I'd swap to Linux in a heartbeat. Plug-n-play drivers is the only reason I'm still on that closed-source OS. Just don't have the patience to hunt down third-party drivers.
39
dmfdmf 2 days ago 0 replies      
When KB3035583 GWX/Win10 Spam came out I removed it and put my updates into manual because I figured it won't be long before MS put out another updated to push Win10. This is much worse, now I find out there are a number of updates that I have to track down and uninstall. Going forward I will always have to lag a month or so behind updates to make sure MS is not installing a key logger on my Win7 computer. I guess my move to Linux is sooner that I thought.
40
rdudek 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have a question that I can't seem to get a straight answer anywhere. If I were to use Win 10 Enterprise edition, could I theoretically disable all the spying and telemetry?

It also now seems like we need two computers. One that is open for "spying" so the government looks at my usage and white-lists me as a "good citizen" and another computer that basically is encrypted and hides anything I don't want anyone to know about.

41
fsloth 2 days ago 1 reply      
If we try to apply the principle of charity - could there be seen any advantages that this telemetry data would provide to the end user?

I can't come up with any at least.

42
vmp 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote an utility in C# to make it easier to uninstall the offending updates: https://github.com/schumann2k/UpdateAntiSpy

Feedback & pull requests welcome. :)

43
tacone 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm with Ubuntu/Gnome3 and it's pretty fine. It took some plugin installing (very easy btw), but it feels pretty good. Time to switch?
44
archimedespi 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is there any tool like DisableWinTracking for Windows 7?
45
hadeharian 2 days ago 0 replies      
Windows, now like AOL but better!
46
mtgx 2 days ago 1 reply      
What an unbelievable lack of respect and a big FU to Microsoft's own customers. At least using Windows 10 is a choice (I think - do they force it on Windows 7 machines?), but to do this to all existing customers - wow, just wow.

Behold everyone - this is the "new" Microsoft, worse than it ever was.

47
balabaster 2 days ago 0 replies      
.... aaaand Windows Update Automatic Updates is getting disabled.
48
Raed667 2 days ago 0 replies      
49
komicsans 2 days ago 0 replies      
As far as I know, these updates are optional.
50
rasz_pl 2 days ago 1 reply      
51
leonatan 2 days ago 0 replies      
52
miralabs 2 days ago 0 replies      
can they be sued for doing this?
53
mamon 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems that Microsoft was right when calling Windows 10 "The Last Windows" - after such insolent violation of privacy people will switch to Linux or Mac OS just to avoid it. Microsoft is doomed, let's celebrate! :)
54
jsingleton 2 days ago 3 replies      
Not sure why this is being down-voted. Just trying to be helpful in case people want to avoid these optional updates or uninstall them. Maybe I should just delete the comment?
A Woman Who Spent Six Years Fighting a Traffic Stop themarshallproject.org
274 points by danso  22 hours ago   120 comments top 19
1
rayiner 21 hours ago 5 replies      
> Larvadain, who is now 74, worries that young lawyers are less concerned with right and wrong than with chasing dollars. Although Patricia Parkers lawsuit against Woodworth offered small hope of a big payday, Larvadain agreed to represent her. Because I saw wrong had taken place. And I knew someone had to take a stand.

I know a lot of young lawyers who'd love to take on a case like this one. But matching people who need help to lawyers who have the time and institutional resources to take on these projects pro bono isn't easy when you're talking about folks wronged in rural Louisiana.

Also, I think there's something of a hesitancy to for business law firms to add suing municipalities to their pro bono docket. Which is a shame--a few New Orleans firms building up a pipeline of pro bono suits against places like Woodsworth could do a lot of good.

EDIT: If you're interested in (potential) justice porn, it's worth following Fant v. City of Ferguson. The DOJ gave a lot of ammunition to plaintiffs' lawyers when it concluded that the city was systematically using fines and other police actions as revenue sources, particularly against poor black people. It's Woodsworth writ large. The complaint is here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/02/08/us/ferguson-co.... The docket is available here on Justia: https://dockets.justia.com/docket/missouri/moedce/4:2015cv00.... With her opinion last month on reconsideration, the judge has effectively denied the city's motion to dismiss. Dispositive motions are due May of next year, so we'll likely see by then whether this is granted class status. If so, things will get interesting.

2
ars 21 hours ago 5 replies      
I've always felt that all fines - for any cause - should be turned over to the state. Even simple parking tickets.

The state should fund the court for hearing those cases (but not enforcement).

Then we'll see if cities really care about safety or about money.

3
jugad 16 hours ago 1 reply      
It boils my blood to read about such incidences.

US is turning into the India that I came here to avoid. Policemen in India will stop you at their whim and find a reason to fine you (exact a bribe really).

A cop followed my car in Salt lake city for 10 miles before he stopped me for turning on my blinkers for only 2 seconds before changing lanes. Apparently the law in Utah says that it should be 3 seconds. I wish I had recorded that incident, simply because it is so unbelievable.

The incident smelled racist, and made sure I will never live in Utah / Salt Lake City.

4
gknoy 21 hours ago 0 replies      
In case you miss the link inside the article, be sure to read the ruling[0]. It is both thorough and entertaining.

http://www.la3circuit.org/Opinions/2015/03/030415/14-0943opi...

5
netfire 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Godwins testimony shows a complete lack of knowledge of the restraints imposed upon police conduct by the U.S. Constitution and the laws and Constitution of the State of Louisiana.

This. The 4th amendment protects against seizure (which a police stop constitutes) without reasonable suspicion of a crime. The problem is, unless you are fined, as the woman was in this case, and then appeal, what recourse do you have?

Is there some way to seek damages for the violation of your constitutional rights? (even if the inconvenience is minor) It seems like this problem would go away if the police department and city had to pay for their violations of the constitution instead of just forfeiting potential money from fines.

6
qiqing 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow. "A woman told the paper that she was pulled over by Woodworth police while in labor and was kept for more than a half hour."
7
11thEarlOfMar 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Read the judges findings from the appeal. The article did not even mention the purported signed confession:

"Ms. Parker admitted that she made the initials PP but stated that none of the other handwriting was hers. She also indicated that none of the other handwriting was on the document, including Ms. Gunters signature, when she filled in the initials PP."

Woodsworth went so far as to commit fraud in order to take money from Parker.

http://www.la3circuit.org/Opinions/2015/03/030415/14-0943opi...

(thx gknoy)

8
542458 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Wow - that's a much more interesting article than the title would imply. I wonder if anything changed in Woodworth in response to the verdict (I doubt that it did, but still).
9
tempestn 10 hours ago 0 replies      
> On Feb. 18, she provided the documentation. Her license had, indeed, been valid. But the mayor didnt drop the two license-related charges. Instead, he asked her how much money she had with her, an appeals court wrote. She responded she only had about $300. The Mayor informed her she could at least pay the unlawful use of a drivers license charge that day.

> So she did, paying $215.

> But despite what she paid, despite the documentation she showed, despite the registration count having earlier been dismissed, she was presented this same day with a bill of information, saying Woodworth was charging her with all four counts originally written up by the officer. She was given until March 18 to pay whatever money was still owed.

Uh... what? I didn't expect the shakedown to be quite that blatant.

10
barsonme 14 hours ago 0 replies      
> in fiscal year 2006, each officer wrote an average of 1,539 tickets.

Assuming a 2080 hour work year, that's 1.3 tickets per hour. To my (admittedly naive) idea of how many tickets police write per hour, that's nuts.

11
cafard 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Good for Lavardain and the appellate court.
12
joesmo 15 hours ago 0 replies      
"The case also exemplifies a suspicion that, at times, law enforcements motive is profit."

"At times"? Really?

I think they mean all the time for a growing majority of districts.

13
drzaiusapelord 21 hours ago 3 replies      
I used to live near a town like this. Thornton, Illinois is the site of a giant limestone quarry and there's one major road you can drive on to get around the quarry if you don't want to get on the expressway (which is a bit out of the way depending on where you're coming from). These streets have 25 or 30mph signs, yet are wide and underutilized enough to easily be 35-45mph streets. Drivers unfamiliar with the area would be taken off-guard by these slow speed zones as they enter from neighboring towns. The police there pull people over for 2 or 3 mph over regularly.

According to IDOT, there were 2,334 traffic stops in Thornton in 2014. This town's population? About 2,300. That's one stop per man, woman, and child in this town! This is naked profiteering and pretty much all small towns in strategic areas turn into police-led profit centers. The real question is why isn't anyone stopping this?

14
xacaxulu 18 hours ago 0 replies      
This is quintessential americana.
15
rasz_pl 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Life imitates art? This is straight from 'Nothing But Trouble' (1991)
16
travelervdriver 17 hours ago 0 replies      
it is completely unlawful to require non-commercial travellers on public roads to have licenses, insurance, inspections, and registrations, let alone subject them to stops, arrests and tickets or fines when no crime has been committed. unless actual or imminent destruction of property, or violation of anothers' rights has occurred, there is no valid cause of action. no right for a stop. traveling on public roads is not a privilege granted by the government [1].

it's already been adjudicated, by the supreme court, and state supreme courts, many times [2]. it seems, however, that the irrational fear of chaos and harm that might result from people travelling without government licensing and regulation is enough to keep these absurd and sometimes incredibly harmful and costly situations going for the foreseeable future.

ask yourself; would you spend tens of thousands on a vehicle only to crash it into others' property, or use it to intentionally murder or otherwise harm others? no? have you ever met anyone who would? if yes, would having or not having a license in their wallet stop such a person? i don't think so.

police should only be involved when actual crimes occur or are potentially about to occur. see a vehicle hit a mailbox, get in a wreck, with a leaky exhaust disturbing the peace, or someone driving recklessly endangering others, etc. then you can call 911.

search "Driver Licensing vs. Right to Travel", for a fuller list of relevant case law.

[1] "Personal liberty largely consists of the Right of locomotion -- to go where and when one pleases -- only so far restrained as the Rights of others may make it necessary for the welfare of all other citizens. The Right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, by horse drawn carriage, wagon, or automobile, is not a mere privilege which may be permitted or prohibited at will, but the common Right which he has under his Right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Under this Constitutional guarantee one may, therefore, under normal conditions, travel at his inclination along the public highways or in public places, and while conducting himself in an orderly and decent manner, neither interfering with nor disturbing another's Rights, he will be protected, not only in his person, but in his safe conduct."

II Am.Jur. (1st) Constitutional Law, Sect.329, p.1135

[2] "The right to travel is part of the Liberty of which a citizen cannot deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment. This Right was emerging as early as the Magna Carta."

Kent vs. Dulles, 357 US 116 (1958)

 "The essential elements of due process of law are ... Notice and The Opportunity to defend."
Simon vs. Craft, 182 US 427

 "Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them."
Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 US 436, 491

 "Moreover, a distinction must be observed between the regulation of an activity which may be engaged in as a matter of right and one carried on by government sufferance of permission."
Davis vs. Massachusetts, 167 US 43;Pachard vs. Banton, supra.

 "... the only limitations found restricting the right of the state to condition the use of the public highways as a means of vehicular transportation for compensation are (1) that the state must not exact of those it permits to use the highways for hauling for gain that they surrender any of their inherent U.S. Constitutional Rights as a condition precedent to obtaining permission for such use ..."
Riley vs. Laeson, 142 So. 619;Stephenson vs. Binford, supra.

 "We find it intolerable that one Constitutional Right should have to be surrendered in order to assert another."
Simons vs. United States, 390 US 389

 "... For while a Citizen has the Right to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, that Right does not extend to the use of the highways, either in whole or in part, as a place for private gain. For the latter purpose, no person has a vested right to use the highways of the state, but is a privilege or a license which the legislature may grant or withhold at its discretion."
State vs. Johnson, 243 P. 1073;Cummins vs. Homes, 155 P. 171;Packard vs. Banton, 44 S.Ct. 256;Hadfield vs. Lundin, 98 Wash 516

17
revelation 20 hours ago 2 replies      
18
bbcbasic 17 hours ago 4 replies      
19
youreadit 20 hours ago 3 replies      
I recommend YOU read the appellate cases.

It was established that NONE of the citations were correct. She had a valid license, registration, and insurance at the time of the illegal stop. The second appeal makes this crystal clear. (http://caselaw.findlaw.com/la-court-of-appeal/1693755.html)

Nothing about the situation was valid. Not the stop, not the citations. There's a reason why she was willing to fight a traffic stop for 6 years, and why an attorney would take on such a penny-ante case: because it was pure injustice, top to bottom.

Perpetuating the notion that the victim had legitimate charges dismissed on the technicality of an illegal stop is wrong practically unto libelous. Don't do that.

On being the maintainer and sole developer of SPITBOL (2012) daveshields.me
334 points by Zuider  4 days ago   95 comments top 20
1
101914 4 days ago 5 replies      
This is from 2012.

He's wrong of course about being the only user.

I love this software, along with k/q. I admire the work Mr. Shields has put into this project. I especially like the use of musl and provision of static binaries.

I do not use Perl, Java, Python, Javascript, Go, Rust, Closure, etc., etc. Whatever the majority of people are recommending, that is generally not what I use. It just does not appeal to me.

I guess I am stubborn and stupid: I like assembly languages, SPITBOL, k/q, and stuff written by djb. Keep it terse. Ignore the critics.

Yet this is now on the front page of HN. Maybe because it is the weekend? I really doubt that the software I like with ever become popular. But who knows? Maybe 10 years from now I will look at this post and marvel at how things turned out.

There is no "structured programming" with spitbol. No curly braces. Gotos get the job done. Personally, I do not mind gotos. It feels closer to the reality of how a computer operates.

Would be nice if spitbol was ported to BSD in additon to Linux and OSX. As with k/q I settle for Linux emulation under BSD.

2
braythwayt 4 days ago 1 reply      
The first programming language I used was WATFIV, a Waterloo FORTRAN implementation. It seemed straightforward, and if thats all there was to programming, I probably would have dropped it in 1974 to play more D&D. FORTRAN felt like the same arithmetic I already knew how to use. It was obviously way more powerful to use a program to do calculations, but it was all stuff I could have done by hand or with a calculator.

But one day, as I waited for a keypunch to make some changes to some program or other I was writing, my eye fell upon a copy of the Green Book left behind by some other programmer. I started reading it, and my little mind was completely blown.

SNOBOL was something else, it forced me to think about programs in a completely different way. It wasnt about specifying steps to be taken one by one, it was about designing a way to pattern match.

And more than in the obvious, RegExp way, but you could do things as the pattern was matching, and thus you were writing a kind of program where the control flow was determined my backtracking and success or failure of matches.

To this day, my programming is highly influenced by one feature of SNOBOL, I guess it imprinted on me: Patterns are first-class values (like regular expressions in other languages), but they are also composable, there is an arithmetic of patterns. To this day I favour designs where things can be composed and decomposed at will rather than used as opaque, monolithic entities.

Im not saying SNOBOL was better than the FP and OOP and multi-paradigm languages that dominate today, but the experience of learning a new way to think was intoxicating, and once a year or so I re-read the Green Book and think about thinking differently.

If you are interested, I highly recommend you read the whole book. If you see pattern matching and think Regular Expressions, you will miss the forest for the trees. Im not sure that anybody needs to know SNOBOL (or its descendants), but I think that its a valuable exercise to learn it once.

"A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming, is not worth knowing.

--Alan Perlis

3
geophile 4 days ago 3 replies      
I love SNOBOL4/SPITBOL. It was a completely bizarre and original language that was quite powerful.

In the late 70s, I took two compiler courses with RBK Dewar, one of the creators of SPITBOL. Those courses were wonderful. He mentioned SPITBOL occasionally, and I remember one story in particular. The implementation was done in assembler, (if I'm remembering correctly), and it took 20 runs to get a working system, (I guess that means a basic suite of tests running successfully). That style of working is completely alien today, and arguably less effective.

Dewar also spent some time talking about his work on the SETL language (for processing sets). Flow analysis for global optimization could be expressed extremely concisely, and was of course applied to SETL itself.

4
breadbox 4 days ago 1 reply      
Since this is all about obscure languages, it maybe worth pointing out here that the original INTERCAL compiler was written in SPITBOL.

On one or two occasions I asked Don Woods to clarify some feature of the language that was incompletely described in the original INTERCAL document, and he dug out the original SPITBOL code in order to answer my question.

5
ORioN63 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you're searching for examples, search instead for SNOBOL.

From Wikipedia:> SPITBOL (Speedy Implementation of SNOBOL) is a compiled implementation of the SNOBOL4 language.

Also from wikipedia SNOBOL page shows some examples:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNOBOL

And C2 talks about it as well:http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?SnobolLanguage

6
coderdude 4 days ago 2 replies      
https://github.com/spitbol/x64/blob/master/demos/sentenc.sbl

In Python, you would probably use regex for the pattern matching. In SPITBOL, you can accomplish the task at the language level. I doubt the pattern matching is as capable as regex but that's a useful feature to have (edit: based on braythwayt's comment, it sounds like the pattern matching is more capable than regex). It might be better suited to NLP tasks. According to the developer, "SPITBOL is unique in the power it provides to manipulate strings and text. Ive yet to see anything else come close."

See Zuider's comment for more information.

I hope all-caps-keywords is optional.

7
millstone 4 days ago 3 replies      
> Can you name a widely-used contemporary programming language that still uses the 60s software technology of reference counts to manage storage?

As opposed to the 50's software technology of garbage collection?

What an off-putting remark to include.

8
jopamer 4 days ago 1 reply      
A few years back, Dr. Dobbs posted a pretty great series of articles on some of the techniques RBK Dewar employed when building the original SPITBOL compiler: http://www.drdobbs.com/cpp/some-programs-are-poorly-designed...

(I was lucky enough to study compilers under Prof. Dewar when I was a grad student at NYU - I still have my notes on SPITBOLs architecture, somewhere)

9
dwharrison 4 days ago 0 replies      
I first encountered SNOBOL when I was 15, running an implementation on an old IBM 360 at university. It was the 3rd language I mastered (after Fortran and an early T/S version of Basic...both on the same 360) and the first I completely fell in love with.

It awoken me to just how different and amazing a programming language could be and bent my mind around something very different than what I'd been doing with Fortran. It was an entirely new way to think about designing solutions.

Years later when I was introduced to Prolog, everything thing felt very much at home...Prolog's backtracking algorithm being very much like SNOBOL's pattern matching system.

Of all the languages I've worked with over the years, SNOBOL and FORTH are in class by themselves for how they informed my thinking about problem solving...lessons I carried with me in work done in many other languages.

It's a shame that both languages have passed into history...they each had subtle things to teach a developer just learning their craft...

10
floatboth 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think parser combinator libraries are pretty similar. In Haskell, people often use Parsec instead of regular expressions.
11
jhallenworld 4 days ago 1 reply      
This makes me think of a generic assembler I wrote at one point (in C++ I think, I should put it on github). The idea was that you could define the instruction set right in the assembly source. It included a backtracking BNF parser to support it with these pseudo ops:

 .rule name value pattern ; Define a syntax rule .insn pattern ; Define an instruction ... ; Macro expanded on pattern match .end "pattern" contains literal characters, whitespace and references to other rules with "<rule-name>" or <expr> for a math expression. "value" is a comma separated list of expressions which can contain "argN" to reference the Nth value from the pattern (as returned by embedded rules). For example, this is how you could construct the instructions "lda <expr>", "lda #<expr>", "ldb <expr>", and "ldb #<expr>": .rule dual 0x01 lda .rule dual 0x02 ldb .rule mode 0xf8,arg1 <expr> .rule mode 0xfa,arg1 #<expr> .insn <dual> <mode> .byte arg1|arg2 ; Emit op-code .word arg3 ; Emit argument .end
SNOBOL4 itself is not an assembler, but I think you could make one like this from it.

12
raldi 4 days ago 1 reply      
> SPITBOL is unique in the power it provides to manipulate strings and text. Ive yet to see anything else come close.

Can anyone elaborate on this?

13
thisjepisje 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just found this on wikipedia: SnoPy, snobol pattern matching for python.

http://snopy.sourceforge.net/user-guide.html

14
Zuider 4 days ago 0 replies      
SPITBOL is an enhanced version of the SNOBOL language.

From Wikipedia:

SNOBOL (StriNg Oriented and symBOlic Language) is a series of computer programming languages developed between 1962 and 1967 at AT&T Bell Laboratories by David J. Farber, Ralph E. Griswold and Ivan P. Polonsky, culminating in SNOBOL4.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNOBOL

TkS*LIDE is a Tcl/Tk based IDE for SPITBOL (along with SNOBOL4). Binaries for SNOBOL4 and SPITBOL are included with the IDE, along with a tutorial and sample programs.

http://rms.republika.pl/slide.html

SNOBOL is also distinguished by being described in Guy Steele & Richard Gabriel: 50 in 50 speech as one of the three languages worth knowing:

https://vimeo.com/25958308

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geophile 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was thinking about why I liked SNOBOL4/SPITBOL so much. The bizarre syntax and control structures appealed to me for some reason. If you haven't used the language, each statement can succeed or fail. At the end of the statement, you can optionally specify a goto target for success and for failure. There are no higher level control structures that I remember (except for functions), so indenting is not something you (OK, I) normally did. This resulted in very clean looking source code, for some reason. I just remember that impression very strongly. But that doesn't really explain the appeal completely.

The string processing is fantastic -- extremely powerful. I think regexes have a lot of the same power, but I always found SNOBOL4 more readable after the fact, when I had to go back and read and fix my own code. But that's not it either.

I think the main reason I liked SNOBOL4 so much was that it was the first dynamic language I used. Values have types, variables do not. That was a big revelation. I don't think I actually exploited it very often, but it was a cool new idea. And the absence of type declarations also contributed to the sense that the code looked clean. Automatic memory management was also very nice. I had spent a lot of time dealing with memory management in C. I must have in Pascal also. And I really don't remember what Algol-W did for memory management -- a free or delete statement maybe? And of course in FORTRAN, COBOL, and BASIC, there was no dynamically allocated memory at all, so you had to guess high, keep track, etc. Not having to worry about tracking memory was a nice change.

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Pyxl101 4 days ago 0 replies      
> I have several reasons to push on:

> SPITBOL is unique in the power it provides to manipulate strings and text. Ive yet to see anything else come close.

I would be interested to know more about what features SPITBOL offers for string processing. I'm going to take a look at the "Green Book" [1] Dave mentions, but if anyone else has relevant focused resources on that topic I'd love to give them a look.

[1] https://code.google.com/p/spitbol/downloads/detail?name=Gree...

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ruricolist 4 days ago 0 replies      
On the subject of SNOBOL descendants still in use, there is also Snowball, designed and used exclusively for writing stemming algorithms:

http://snowball.tartarus.org/

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ZenoArrow 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's unfortunate the article doesn't have any examples to show off SPITBOL's expressiveness, or have any benchmarks to show how fast it is compared to solutions in other languages. Reading the comments here, it seems like it could have some decent benefits.

Would be interested to know what built-in types are currently available. I wonder also whether this language would also be a good fit for test case writing.

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ChristianMarks 4 days ago 0 replies      
I used SNOBOL4 in the 80s. It was beautiful for parsing.
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Pyxl101 4 days ago 0 replies      
> If you know of anyone else who is maintaining an open-source implemenation of a programming language that has only one user, please let me know [...]

The author of HolyC and TempleOS, Terry Davis, might be in a similar position:

http://www.templeos.org/Wb/Doc/HolyC.html

Though I imagine with the exposure it's gotten over the years, Terry might not be the sole user (probably sole regular user).

Imba A new programming language for the web imba.io
318 points by judofyr  7 days ago   168 comments top 44
1
curveship 6 days ago 2 replies      
I just spent an hour looking at the Imba benchmark. Yep, it's cheating. Which is a shame, because I really like the framework as a whole.

The vast majority of the speedup comes from a single sneaky line of code. The majority of their "Everything" benchmark's time is spent in the reorder step. They've implemented this as "remove a random todo, render, push the removed todo back onto the end, render." The Imba implementation, and it alone, caches the rendered todo view, so that they can re-use it once the todo is reinserted.

This single optimization is responsible for the vast bulk of their claimed speed. Removing it puts Imba only 2x faster than React, not 60x.

If you want to try it yourself, look at line 55 of app.js. Change:

 res.push((this['_' + todo.id] = this['_' + todo.id] || t$('todo')).setObject(todo).end());
... to:

 res.push(t$('todo').setObject(todo).end());
Furthermore, this isn't a caching strategy you'd want to use in a real app. It holds onto all DOM nodes ever created, thereby leaking quite a lot of memory.

Again, I think Imba is cool, and fast, just not otherworldly fast. I hope this was just an "oops!" and not an intentional misrepresentation.

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shadowmint 7 days ago 5 replies      
This isn't a competitor to react; its a competitor to ES6/typescript/coffeescript.

React is a template library, not a language.

JSX is a way to write templates, but that's not react, and its not what react does. It's just a shortcut to writing XML.

You could say this is a competitor to JSX, perhaps; but anything more is hyperbole.

People aren't using react and angular because they have a nice syntax, that's just nice, they use them because you can build applications with them.

How do you build ui components using imba? Use react? :P

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judofyr 7 days ago 5 replies      
Disclaimer: I've been following the development of Imba while it's been a private project (for six years now). Lately I've been helping out fixing bugs and improving smaller parts of the language.

Having tags as a proper part of the language is very nice. This just works in Imba:

 <ul> for event in @events <li> if event:type == "like" <like event=event> elif event:type == "comment" <comment event=event>
In React I'd have to use `map` and refactor parts into variables. I've been struggling to use React on teams with designers because small design changes can cause rather huge changes in how the code is structured.

Other than that you can think about it as indentation based JavaScript with implicit method calling (`foo.bar = 123` calls the setter `setBar`) and saner handling of `this`.

4
TeeWEE 6 days ago 4 replies      
The author of imba has some problems understanding languages vs frameworks/libraries.

I quote:

 "Imba is a new programming language for the web that compiles to performant and readable JavaScript."
Ok, so i understand Imba is a language spec with an implementation that compiles to javascript.

 "It has language level support for defining, extending, subclassing, instantiating and rendering dom nodes."
Ok so there is special syntax to create DOM elements. Nothing new here. Its just syntax over javascript. What can be done with imba, can be done with vanilla javascript.

 "it is more than 20 times faster than React"
Wait, what? React is a javascript library, not a programming language. Written in javascript.... How can Imba be faster? Does Imba also include a dom-diffing algorithm.. If so, why would you built that into the language... Woudnt it be better to write a library in imba-lang that can do dom diffing? I'm lost here.

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viach 7 days ago 2 replies      
"if Ruby and React had an indentation based lovechild, what would it look like?"

Let me guess!... CoffeeScript?

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meowface 7 days ago 4 replies      
I actually think this looks really good, but 3 things:

1. Why differentiate it from CoffeeScript so much? Why not call it DOMCoffeeScript or something? Are there any core language changes from CoffeeScript other than the tag features?

2. I'm not sure how I feel about the mixture of XML tag characters with HAML/Jade-like indentation. My gut instinct is to always look for a closing tag with XML/HTML. Why not use some kind of sigil like % or @ or ! to represent a tag, since clearly the requirement for both a left and right caret is now obviated?

3. Why require the `var` keyword instead of making it the default? That's one of my biggest pet peeves with languages like Javascript and Lua. Local-by-default always makes the most sense.

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mangeletti 7 days ago 4 replies      
I have to admit I was really not excited to see this:

 var answer = if number == 42
The language looks shockingly pleasant in a number of ways, but everything being an expression seems odd. Would somebody mind helping me understand the value (semantic, performance, etc.) of such a choice?

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nailer 7 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think of react as a language, but rather a virtual DOM + JSX.

This looks like a nice modern syntax which is both an ES6 focused minimal JS (removing unnecessary tokens) with HTML building included.

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endymi0n 7 days ago 1 reply      
So this is basically coffeescript. Where's the react part?
10
batiste 7 days ago 0 replies      
Very similar in concept to what I have done with CokeScript. https://github.com/batiste/CokeScript
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rushabh 7 days ago 0 replies      
As someone who has been developing using Javascript for 10 years and has seen many frameworks comes and go (including authoring one), this looks refreshingly good on first impressions. Far better than coffeescript or React. Congrats!

Plus, I love the fact that the syntax looks Pythonic :)

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raffomania 7 days ago 1 reply      
Is there more information about how the 'very efficient rendering' part works?
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rgbrgb 6 days ago 0 replies      
We've been using this coffeescript/jsx project throughout our codebase: https://github.com/jsdf/coffee-react

Similar idea but just ads JSX tags to Coffeescript (cjsx).

Only ergonomics problem is that the syntax highlighting sometimes breaks on single quotes used within the XML tags so you end up having to do something like `<p>{"you're fired"}</p>` so that it doesn't mess up the highlighting in your whole file.

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thom_nic 7 days ago 0 replies      
So... I don't understand if you're supposed to use this with react, or instead of react?

If the answer is "instead," is it a language and a view framework?

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cpursley 7 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting, great work. As someone who's never been able to get on board with JavaScripts syntax, this looks like a viable alternative to CoffeeScript.

Also, for React applications I've found that LiveScript (a functional compile to JS language) makes for a great JSX alternative as shown here: https://arch-js.github.io/docs/02-basic-tutorial.html

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PSeitz 6 days ago 0 replies      
I usually don't like the javascript transpiler languages, but this one seems really decent. The classes are even more powerful than those in ES6
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gaigepr 6 days ago 2 replies      
Personally, I am really over the white-space as a delimiter in my programming languages. I used to love python but that is a long lost love.
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andrewmcwatters 6 days ago 0 replies      
I don't see the point.
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abecedarius 6 days ago 0 replies      
The tag syntax looks like the biggest advantage over ES6. Couldn't ES6 do that though as a template string type? -- like

 dom`<div> ${contents} </div>`
As far as I can tell on a quick google, this remains to be done. (I saw some hits for HTML string templates as opposed to direct DOM construction.)

20
keithy 7 days ago 0 replies      
Hmm might have to try this out. The TODOMVC test http://somebee.github.io/todomvc-render-benchmark/index.html looks promising .
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abecedarius 7 days ago 0 replies      
Loops as expressions return an array as the value, the page says, but the JS code on the right doesn't seem to show this happening. Which is right? Or does the compiler notice in these cases that the value is not used, and not produce it?
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timothycrosley 6 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me a little bit of the Python -> Javascript two way compiler I wrote: https://github.com/timothycrosley/jiphy
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EugeneOZ 7 days ago 0 replies      
Again that mistake with ASI - I wonder how much people like stepping on the same rake.
24
BrianDGLS 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's quite beautiful looking.

Unsure of what use it would be, but nice for a change.

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alkonaut 6 days ago 0 replies      
The overview didn't answer my biggest question: what kind of (compile time) type system does it have? Can I use it to get proper type checking, inference and primitive types?
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aorth 7 days ago 0 replies      
Fun fact: "imba" means "sing" in Swahili, a language spoken in East Africa (Tanzania, Kenya, and to some extent Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, and DR Congo).
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uptown 7 days ago 1 reply      
Anybody know the color scheme for the code on this page?
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Geee 6 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting. Have you built real apps with this?
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shaunxcode 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think there would be value in publishing what ever you call your react lib (all the t*$ stuff) as a distinct js library.
30
jzig 6 days ago 0 replies      
Ugh. I want to use this but I want docs and how bootstrap this into my build process.
31
Goranek 7 days ago 0 replies      
really love the design, and how it shows the whole language on the frontpage.
32
SomeoneWeird 7 days ago 2 replies      
I lot of these things are basically irrelevant if you use ES6/7.
33
spyder 6 days ago 1 reply      
Can it render on the server-side (Node.js) without JSDOM?
34
kazinator 7 days ago 0 replies      
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SeeThruHead 6 days ago 0 replies      
Comparison against Elm and Purescript?
36
javajosh 6 days ago 1 reply      
Okay, so I just took Imba for a little spin. Some thoughts:

I like the way it looks. A lot. Love, love the tags. Really like the simplified object literals. The use of global variables for class state is deeply troubling - they are not scoped at all. The parser is far too forgiving. if you change do |x| xx into something like do x xx it will compile fine, but be wrong. The tooling is quite nice, and I like the defaults - although it's still a little bit of a mystery where the imba.js file comes from in the Hello World browser example (I ended up just copying it from Github). I'd like to see argument comprehensions, and the option to generate code outside of an immediately excuting function (so I can play with instances at the dev console)

I would like to see a "strict" mode for imba that chokes on a do block without pipes, for example. I think that if JavaScript has taught us anything it's that anal compilers might frustrate us at build time, but that frustration is nothing compared to the frustration down the line when things break at runtime.

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techpeace 6 days ago 0 replies      
38
bashyal 7 days ago 1 reply      
39
bedeho 6 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome!!
40
ilovefood 7 days ago 0 replies      
41
chipchappelle 6 days ago 0 replies      
42
dopamean 7 days ago 2 replies      
43
joeminichino 7 days ago 2 replies      
44
pluma 6 days ago 2 replies      
The Future of Developing Firefox Add-ons mozilla.org
279 points by zawaideh  6 days ago   295 comments top 42
1
scottjad 5 days ago 5 replies      
A funny comment on the post:

"BTW, if you really want to show us that you trust this much in these new WebExtensions, the first ones to appear at AMO should be Pocket and Hello.

Remove that code from the core Firefox and put it where it always should have been: an extension that anyone interested can easily install."

And a more serious comment from a developer of DownThemAll!:

"I was thinking of abandoning add-on development for a while now, mostly because of the Walled Garden signing approach that went live, which I strongly objected to and still strongly object to I might have come to terms with it, once I see it play out in an actual implemention

But deprecating XUL-based add-ons with XPCOM access takes the cake. Once that happens, I will abandon ship for sure. Simply because I cannot continue developing most add-ons at all as they will not and cannot fit into any WebExtensions API. The flexibility of what XUL-based add-ons can do IS the major selling point of the Firefox add-ons ecosystem and therefore IS one of the last remaining selling points of Firefox itself that isnt purely ideological. In comparison, the APIs that Chrome and competitors offer, that the Firefox Jetpack/ Add-on SDK offers, are just toys.

To give a little background about myself to show that Im not just the random hater shooting a drive-by comment: I wrote some more or less successful add-ons in the past, including DownThemAll!, and reviewed many, many add-ons as an AMO volunteer."

https://blog.mozilla.org/addons/2015/08/21/the-future-of-dev...

2
shock 6 days ago 4 replies      
> The Beta and Release versions of Firefox based on 42 and above (Beta 42 will be released at the same time as Firefox 41) will remove the preference that allows unsigned extensions to be installed, and will disable and/or prevent the installation of unsigned extensions.

This is very bad news for me. I'm a power user that prefers the balance of new features/chance of breakage that the Beta channel offers and I take full responsibility for the addons I install and the security decisions I make. I don't need Mozilla to be "defending" me in this case.

3
__david__ 5 days ago 1 reply      
So on the one hand I love that they're moving forward. Sometimes it's good to get rid of cruft (and boy is XPCOM crufty). On the other hand, the rich extension ecosystem is one of the highlights of Firefox.

I honestly don't know what I'll do if my TreeStyleTab extension is disabled. I lucked out because the Beta version has the preference to use unsigned extensions. But that extension is so fundamental to my Firefox experience that if they remove that preference in the new version then I think I'll have no choice but to turn off updates and live with my current version indefinitely. And that doesn't make me happy.

4
keypusher 5 days ago 4 replies      
Disabling unsigned extensions without any opt-in is a terrible decision. Putting up barriers to entry for addon developers in a browser that survives primarily based on the addon ecosystem is suicidal. Addon developers do not want to run unstable alpha channel builds, they don't want to have to manage multiple profiles, they don't want to build Firefox from scratch because the version they need is not available via a package manager. I really don't care about the rest of these changes, but they need to rethink their stance on unsigned extensions.
5
kibwen 6 days ago 1 reply      
Standardizing the basic means of browser extension is something that I've been eagerly awaiting ever since Microsoft announced that Edge will support both Firefox (Jetpack) extensions and Chrome extensions. But how will future versions of Firefox handle the extensions that just can't exist in Chrome, such as NoScript and Tree Style Tabs?

EDIT: I'm also excited at the idea that this could give Servo a running start at an extensions story, since Servo will never in a million years support XUL or XPCOM and hence all non-Jetpack Firefox addons are destined to fail there anyway.

6
slasaus 5 days ago 0 replies      
"A major challenge we face is that many Firefox add-ons cannot possibly be built using either WebExtensions or the SDK as they currently exist. Over the coming year, we will seek feedback from the development community, and will continue to develop and extend the WebExtension API to support as much of the functionality needed by the most popular Firefox extensions as possible."

So to all extension developers leaning on the current permissive features or XUL/XPCOM, please contact Mozilla and help them with finalizing their WebExtension API in the upcoming year.

Also, in the future if all XUL in Firefox is replaced by browser.html, there might be full customization options again based on html/css/js (thanks to nwah1 for pointing that out).

7
_wmd 5 days ago 1 reply      
As a decade+ Firefox user I think this is fabulous news, not because it'll be easier for Chrome exts to come to Firefox, but because the old extension 'API' was a heap of junk and made it trivial for third parties to really gum up Firefox internals. Also huge kudos to Mozilla for not bikeshedding some new/slightly incompatible API, which I'm not sure Google would have been capable of. :)

Chrome's API is much better designed, I suppose, because they had the first chance in 15 years to actually sit down and design a modern/safe API for this specific purpose. XPCOM just exposed JS to endless unsafe internal Firefox interfaces.

8
shinratdr 5 days ago 1 reply      
Long time coming, the FF extensions system has been a security risk and a development burden for years. Yes, it offered unique advantages, at a significant cost though.

Judging by the number of users on Chrome, it's hardly a dealbreaker change for most. Signing & locking down extensions is a necessity. Anyone who has to deal with the user side of IT will attest to that.

You can't bury your head in the sand and expect the problem to go away or wipe your hands of it and insist users should know better. The fact of the matter is, browser extensions are one of the most common malware attack vectors nowadays and vendors should be concerned about that.

It's going to be an unpopular change amongst hard-core Firefox users and FF-only extension developers, but you can't let diehards force you to drown with the ship. They'll live and find a way. It's regular users who will happily jump ship to Chrome, Edge and Safari without a second thought.

9
shwetank 5 days ago 0 replies      
We at Opera have called on for a single (or at leat a shared) API for making browser extensions, which I think will benefit the developer community immensely (instead of making one set for each browser).

I think now the time is right to take a look again at NEX https://dev.opera.com/blog/introducing-nex/ and standardising core parts of browser extensions.

10
simonster 5 days ago 3 replies      
It used to be that Firefox extensions could have the same capabilities as Firefox itself. It seems that this move is relegating them to second-class status.

Here's a list of things missing from the Chrome/WebExtensions API that our extension currently does:

- Customization of the browser UI beyond a single, simple toolbar button or a few other specially implemented widgets.

- Reading/writing arbitrary files to the file system. There is chrome.fileSystem, but it's limited in what it allows, and it isn't available to extensions, only Chrome apps.

- Interfacing with other applications. This typically requires using platform-native APIs, which was possible with js-ctypes (https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/js-ctypes). Chrome has a socket API, but it's not really the best way to do IPC, and it isn't available to extensions anyway.

- Some kind of SQL database. Firefox has an SQLite interface (MozStorage), but it's not part of the WebExtensions API. Chrome actually has WebSQL, but Firefox never implemented that (with good reason, IMO; it's tied to a SQLite and shouldn't be used on the web). I guess you'd better like IndexedDB.

- Native-looking UI widgets. This is certainly possible to do in HTML, but it's not always so easy. For example, we have yet to find any reasonable HTML-based replacement for our tree view that's both visually appealing on all platforms and reasonably performant with thousands of items. (If you have suggestions, let us know!)

I guess Mozilla's viewpoint is that, since everyone is already supporting Chrome, they don't need these things. However, for our extension, the difference between the Chrome and Firefox implementations is that the Chrome implementation needs to talk to a separate app, while the Firefox implementation can do everything itself. Firefox used to give us a very powerful toolkit for writing apps, the same toolkit they used to create Firefox. Now it looks like all we'll have is a toolkit for writing simple browser extensions.

I think many people use Firefox because they can customize it the way they want to. Soon you won't be able to customize Firefox any more than Chrome. Maybe Mozilla is banking on Servo being so fast/secure that people will use it over Chrome even when all the other advantages are gone.

11
superkuh 6 days ago 6 replies      
Well, this is all terrible. They mention having to use the nightly or developers releases instead of their walled garden versions. But both of those are unstable and very crashy. And how likely are they to keep the unbranded version up and updated as time goes on?

And getting rid of the entire firefox add-ons community is just insane. The add-ons are what makes firefox good. It's why people use Firefox. I guess if they just want us to use Chrome this series of changes will work great.

12
jasonhansel 5 days ago 1 reply      
I switched to Firefox in part because XUL-based extensions can heavily customize the user interface. Things like Tile Tabs, Tab Mix Plus, and other extensions have been extremely useful to me. Despite my dislike of XUL as a language, I'm sad to see XUL extensions go; I suspect that WebExtensions will, like Google Chrome extensions, be much more limited.

In fact, I had always hoped that FF would move in the opposite direction, and split itself apart into a bundle of extensions, so that even more customization could be possible.

I've also always enjoyed being able to run the latest versions of extensions, which sometimes take a while to get Mozilla's approval.

Are there any plans to maintain a fork of Firefox that will not include these changes?

13
super_mario 5 days ago 2 replies      
And this is how Google killed Firefox. Why do people use Firefox? For extensions. What breaks extensions, frequent updates and extension API changes.

Google managed to suck Mozilla into frequent releases and now extension API changes that make Firefox yet another generic easy to substitute browser. Wow, just wow.

14
nocman 6 days ago 1 reply      
"we will require all extensions to be validated and signed by Mozilla starting in Firefox 41"

I hope there is an "opt out" option to this for people who know what they are doing. I understand the reasoning behind it, but what about an extension I write just for myself that I don't wish to share with Mozilla? I don't particularly like having that option taken from me.

Yeah, I know, I could edit the source and work around it -- but based on past attempts to just build firefox, that could be a real pain.

15
mrbig4545 6 days ago 2 replies      
It doesn't mention addon permissions, which I would assume is something WebExtensions has, since that's how addons work in chrome. At least I hope this is the case, lack of permissions in firefox addons is a little scary, and probably one of the reasons I have the minimum addons installed

Anyone have more info on this?

16
fra 5 days ago 0 replies      
I worry that extensions that implement their own navigation and user experience will no longer be possible.

I use Vimperator extensively and would hate to see it go.

Chrome does have Vimium, but it is quite clunky and limited compared to the couple of Firefox solutions.

17
tetraodonpuffer 6 days ago 3 replies      
I was under the impression that add-ons like ublock / umatrix were possible only in firefox due to its very permissive add-on model, if mozilla is going to deprecate XUL / XPCOM would it mean this kind of add-on won't be possible anymore?
18
Tobu 5 days ago 1 reply      
Great news.With the current system, firefox's stability, upgrade compatibility and performance were entirely dependent on every author of every extension I use being sufficiently careful. It meant a lot of periodic purges, housekeeping, and reduced trust. I'm sure the overhead helped users move to chrome, despite Firefox's vanilla install being lighter. Reducing the API surface was a necessity.

Also, it takes a lot of effort to cope with the churn in internal APIs, and I had to get rid of promising extensions like Pentadactyl because they broke too often. With a smaller, stable API, that problem doesn't exist. I don't believe that the current tradeoff of power vs responsibility was working out in the majority of cases, and I've seen enough evidence in the form of lagging addons and neglected ports.

19
annoyingdisb 6 days ago 0 replies      
WebExtensions is very good news. One of the biggest pains is to develop extensions compatible both with FF and Chrome so it would make our lives a lot easier.
20
dannysu 5 days ago 0 replies      
I still don't like that the AMO review process can take weeks and months. Mozilla even says it themselves!

But hopefully with WebExtension and a permission model things will get easier for getting through reviews.

21
Animats 5 days ago 1 reply      
"A major challenge we face is that many Firefox add-ons cannot possibly be built using either WebExtensions or the SDK as they currently exist."

That's so Mozilla. There's a long history in add-on development of Mozilla deprecating the old thing before the new thing works.

XUL/XPCOM had to go. The mobile browser, "Fennec", doesn't use it at all.

But the "Jetpack" API, the one Mozilla wanted everyone to use instead of XUL/XPCOM, is apparently being deprecated as well. The announcement says it will "continue to work", but the new API seems to be completely separate from Jetpack. That probably means bugs in Jetpack won't be fixed, and bug reports will be answered with "convert to (new thing)".

Mozilla AMO. Embrace the pain.

22
neves 5 days ago 0 replies      
I loved this: " We would like add-on development to be more like Web development: the same code should run in multiple browsers according to behavior set by standards, with comprehensive documentation available from multiple "
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jaredsohn 5 days ago 1 reply      
>Blink-compatible API in Firefox called WebExtensions

Does anyone know why they are calling this API Blink-compatible rather than Chromium-compatible? My understanding is that Blink is just the rendering engine and extension code can be found within the main Chromium project.

My best guess is that they are referring to it this way since I think that currently the list of browsers that use Blink is the same as the list of browsers that use Chromium code and people are more used to categorizing browsers based on their rendering engine rather than where the code originated.

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toyg 5 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like a bad case of Big Rewrite. Which is mildly unsurprising, coming from an organization that was created to undertake a Big Rewrite; however, after the dismal Jetpack experience, I'm surprised they want to do it all over again, just harder and with no safety net.

How can you tell your own developer community "what you're doing now, it won't be allowed next year; but what will be, we don't know yet"? You might as well tell them to go home.

25
ajnin 5 days ago 1 reply      
We all know too well what happens when a backwards-breaking change is imposed without strong functional justifications : most developers don't actually put the effort to upgrade and as a result the vast majority of extensions break. Case in point : python modules, after tremendous effort and years of waiting about 2/3rd of the existing modules have been ported from python 2 to 3.

This is relatively "mitigated" in the case of add-ons because backwards-incompatibility has become the norm so old add-ons are likely to break anyway at some point, but this still seems like a very bad idea for Mozilla to kill a large portion of their ecosystem in that single move, especially if in the bunch are very differentiating extensions like Tree Style Tabs.

Justifying the decision by becoming even more interchangeable with Chrome is especially baffling, what is the strategic point of this?

26
thiht 5 days ago 0 replies      
>We have decided on an approximate timeline for the deprecation of XPCOM

Thank god, this undocumented crap is a nightmare to use

27
scottjad 5 days ago 1 reply      
They want to kill XUL for Firefox, so they must first kill XUL for add-ons so that the add-on situation sucks so bad with XUL Firefox that people don't lose anything by moving to non-XUL Firefox.

And once they kill XUL, they can kill gecko, the maintenance of which is the bane of their job.

28
e12e 5 days ago 1 reply      
Uh-oh. The main reason I use firefox is vimperator. Followed by the open source, easy to self-host sync framework, noscript and adblock.

One thing I don't see anything about wrt extensions is user control. If ff is to remain relevant - signing extensions will need to come with a trust management framework. I might want to run extensions signed by Debian and myself - but not mozilla (in iceweasel). RedHat (or other vendor) might want their unbranded ff fork to only use RedHat extstensions by default; maybe with an option to also allow upstream ff signed exstensions.

Without that; I see no point in signing support in a free software product?

29
Illniyar 5 days ago 0 replies      
Frankly the only reason I keep using Firefox instead of Chrome is because of TreestyleTabs.

If this change means TreestyleTabs will not work/won't get updated, then I don't see myself continuing to use it.

30
reitanqild 5 days ago 0 replies      
We can talk about "only approved extensions" after they have taken time to consider the pinboard extension.

For now I am happy someone have told me that Pale Moon exist.

31
serve_yay 5 days ago 1 reply      
> ... [cross-process object wrappers] are much slower than the equivalent DOM operations in single-process Firefox, and can affect the user experience negatively. Also, some accesses arent supported by the compatibility layer and will throw exceptions.

Hmm, that sounds... bad?

32
jimmaswell 5 days ago 0 replies      
33
antman 5 days ago 0 replies      
The last Symbian in Nokia phones was also very strict with signed applications. I bypassed it, but it is my impression that most people did't bother.
34
dafrankenstein2 5 days ago 0 replies      
though its late, security review is a great thing! (maybe firefox realized its urgency after a major security flow found in Pocket.)
35
jpatel3 5 days ago 1 reply      
There used to be a time when I loved firefox..the new versions are slow and sluggish. If I open the developer console, its super slow.
36
amyjess 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm really disappointed with them deprecating XUL extensions.

I use a number of extensions that extensively modify the UI (e.g. Tab Mix Plus), and honestly I'd rather just stick with an older version of Firefox than use Firefox without these extensions.

37
fweespeech 6 days ago 3 replies      
The title is a bit misleading:

> We are implementing a new extension API, called WebExtensionslargely compatible with the model used by Chrome and Operato make it easier to develop extensions across multiple browsers.

This is basically the creation of a new, multi-browser API standard for browser extensions. This isn't them just adopting a single competitor's ecosystem. There is also a slim chance IE and Safari will join the plugin ecosystem.

EDIT:

Ty mods, this title is more reasonable.

38
Aardwolf 5 days ago 0 replies      
Well, that might make me look into SeaMonkey again...
39
mindcrime 5 days ago 1 reply      
Ya know, my initial reaction to this was pretty negative. As a developer, I don't like the idea of losing access to a more powerful technique in favor of a less powerful one. If I want to write an add-on, I want XPCOM / XUL, etc., at least as an option.

However, giving it more thought, I think this might actually be a Good Thing in the long-run. OK, it's a stretch, but hear me out... I've been a vocal opponent of this whole idea of making the browser a poor man's operating system for a while. I want a Web where browsers are really good at, well, browsing hypermedia, and other applications handle "application stuff". So maybe, in a roundabout fashion, making it a little bit harder to extend the browser even further, will encourage people to shift back to a model of handing off some kinds of requests to an entirely different app, rather than trying to shoe-horn the kitchen sink, bathtub, 3d printer, milling machine, jumper cables, semiautomatic pistol, bandsaw, swimming pool, and clown suit all into the browser.

Or maybe not. Hey, a guy can wish, right?

40
Nadya 5 days ago 1 reply      
41
tenfingers 5 days ago 1 reply      
42
pekk 5 days ago 2 replies      
M, a personal digital assistant inside Facebook Messenger wired.com
314 points by jasonlbaptiste  21 hours ago   158 comments top 34
1
shostack 18 hours ago 13 replies      
My issue with these services is they always tout these use cases like:

>"Can you make me dinner reservations?"

or

>"Can you help me plan my next vacation?"

I'd really love to better understand who is actually asking those types of questions in such a vague fashion, and what their use case is. When I'm picking something as simple as a restaurant, I typically want options, I want to read reviews, I want to consider distance, parking, attire, etc. While their AI/human trainers might be able to handle this level of complexity eventually, the actual phrasing of the question would likely be much more complex than "can you make me a dinner reservation." Doubly so for something like a vacation which has a lot more moving parts.

But I respect that I'm reflecting on a sample size of one...me. So I'd love to hear from others with more insight into the data around this. Are people actually searching with such generalized queries when it comes to tasks like this? Do most people not sweat the details of things like which restaurant to eat at, or where to spend hundreds or potentially thousands of dollars on a vacation?

Not trolling, serious question.

2
roymurdock 20 hours ago 1 reply      
You have lots of AIslike Siri, Google Now, or Cortanawhose scope is quite limited. Because AI is limited, you have to define a limited scope, Lebrun says. We wanted to start with something more ambitious, to really give people what theyre asking for. This meant the team would need more than AI...Even after bringing neural nets into the mix, he says, the company will continue to use human trainers for years on end.

I can't help but picture a large, fluorescent-lit room of jolly old British "trainers" in safari khakis running around admonishing misbehaving AI for telling bad jokes, all the while trying to juggle placing calls to the DMV and restaurants to make reservations for 700 million messenger users.

3
mbesto 21 hours ago 5 replies      
The first thing I see when someone asks "find me a good burger place in Chicago" is "how can companies game this through official ($) or artificial (spam) means?"
4
msvan 20 hours ago 5 replies      
This seems like a move into the Chinese-style mega-app where you can do everything from one app - buy shoes, talk to your friends, figure out when the train departs. Facebook already has two top-50 apps, and creating new, unproven apps and promoting them to that point is expensive. So, to increase influence they are putting more into the existing apps.
5
visarga 18 hours ago 2 replies      
> Todays artificial intelligence, you see, requires at least some human training. If you want a system to automatically identify cats in YouTube videos, humans must first show it what a cat looks like.

The article is written by someone who doesn't know what he's talking about. The "cat videos" story from a while back ostensibly used Unsupervised training, that means, the Google team didn't have to tell the deep neural net what a cat looks like, it discovered the concept of "catness" by itself (there was a "cat" neuron in the top layer).

I'm wondering who writes all the AI articles I read every day. Such a detail was crucial for the cat story. It's easy to make a cat/non-cat classifier with a few thousand labeled images for each category. The hard thing to do is to take raw photos with no labels and still discover cats.

6
viksit 19 hours ago 3 replies      
Thought: There's going to be a need for a very open platform that can do things like this, which will offset many of the worries that have been echoed on this thread today about one or a few corporations having access to everything.

To use an analogy - if messaging apps are the new "browsers", then content accessed through them are the new "websites". What FB is doing is the equivalent of AOL in the 90s.

What then, is the equivalent of a search engine like Google/Yahoo, in that world?

7
mintplant 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The AI tries to do everything, says Alex Lebrun, the founder of Wit.ai, a startup Facebook acquired to help build this smartphone tool. But the AI is supervised by the people.

Congrats to ar7hur! Here's the original Show HN introducing Wit.ai: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6373645

8
__michaelg 20 hours ago 0 replies      
It looks like you're writing a letter. Would you like help?
9
pdeuchler 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Is it just me or does this article read as a thinly veiled sales pitch to anyone else?
10
tomg 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Have an ad network buy products on my behalf? No thanks.
11
viksit 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Haha, it looks eerily similar to Myra, the cross platform assistant I launched last week [1]. Including the name. Interesting times.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10060074.

12
BinaryIdiot 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The part I find most interesting here is I'm working on something mildly similar in my spare time. Though it'll certainly be more limited than something a big company like Facebook can come up with but I'm tired to sending all my data every time I want to do something so I'm trying to squeeze this into a phone without the need for the internet to, at least, process commands. Oh and extending it will only require a little bit of JavaScript.

But I'm far away from launching it and it's only a side project. But it's cool to see so many in the space doing something I also want / wanted to do.

13
dominotw 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Calling this "AI" is bit of a stretch. Any software that responds in natural language is not automatically AI.
14
jhgg 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Very interesting that the human trainers are being used to train the AI to eventually do their jobs.
15
bla2 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The cycle of software life:

1. Motivated team in a larger company builds new, cool product (in this case Messenger)2. It's good and becomes successful3. The rest of the company wants to get in on that, think of ways to add value4. A bunch of stuff gets bundled, some good, most bad5. Some of the original team stay around, most get disillusioned and go work on something else6. Eventually, the app becomes another iTunes

16
fizzbatter 18 hours ago 1 reply      
For those of you more familiar with NLP, are there some "dumb but effective" techniques to approach https://wit.ai/ like functionality? (Libraries would be great, but i doubt there are any, for Golang)

I know NLP is difficult, and frankly i hate doing it, but i want an expressive language to "speak" to an internal process i use (a bot), and NLP seems like the only solution. I imagine a rule based approach is best (for my simple needs), but i have yet to see any examples that come close to wit.ai.

Appreciate any replies :)

17
swalsh 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I want Amazon to build a personal digital assistant, and then integrate it into filters. Today I was searching for socks, I care about 3 things, the size, the color, and whether they go up to the ankle or not. It seems like information they probably have (or a well trained net could figure out), so it would be nice if it was offered as a filter.

A few weeks ago I was trying to find toys for my son. I was most interested in "things for a 6 month old". They did have that filter, but it was 0 - 24 months. At this age a few months make a HUGE difference. I wish the box was a bit more fine grained.

18
btbuildem 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Ah, Mechanical Turk strikes again..
19
viach 21 hours ago 1 reply      
"It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more"

So it can spend my money in behalf of me?

20
kirk21 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Pretty cool. Written about Slack bots before and my main complaint was that I missed 'one bot to rule the all':https://medium.com/@RecurVoice/rise-of-the-slack-bots-5a7928...
21
marcusgarvey 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Facebook's answer to Magic?
22
apetresc 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone figured out how to sign up for the test? Is it a contact you can add to your Messenger list, like chatbots of old?
23
zkhalique 21 hours ago 1 reply      
My main question is - how did facebook make a HUGE picture show up when you share this page on facebook? Anyone know?
24
andyl 17 hours ago 1 reply      
What is the best alternative to Wit.ai, now that they have been consumed by Facebook??
25
cm2012 19 hours ago 0 replies      
This is basically a search engine. That is insane news for the advertising world if this is successful. Imagine FBs targeting + some intent information. I am slavering...
26
dhutchinson 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I can appreciate FB trying to innovate, but with the on going privacy issues and the fact that it seems they are just repackaging existing tech, i'm just not into it.
27
aiiane 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm curious what the latency is like for interactions, given the human element.
28
chimeracoder 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I really love the logo. I kind of wish they'd made it a mobius strip (this one has two sides), but either way, it's awesome.
29
rebootthesystem 17 hours ago 2 replies      
User: "Hello M."

M: "How may I help you?"

User: "What are my options for deploying a Python/Django project and making sure it is setup for scalability from the start? Compare five hosting providers for me. No, I don't know what metrics I should look for. Please research these and let me know what they are when you deliver the report. I also need an objective evaluation of our project in order to determine the risks that might be involved in going with Python 3.x rather than 2.x in the context of the libraries we might need to use in the future. Analyze the nature of our application in order to determine what the applicable libraries might be. Also, go through PEP's and make me aware of anything that might be relevant to the above. You have one week."

M: "My responses are limited. Would you like me to find you a restaurant?"

User: "No. I've lived in this town all my life. I know where most restaurants are and I know the handful I frequent. I need help with real questions. I can get the latest weather report, I can find a restaurant, I can order pizzas, I can go to the drive-through if needed and I sure as hell am not going to plan a vacation for my family this way. What I could really use is having you run through seriously time-consuming research, summarize results and present them to me in an easy to consume form. What I could really use is having you save me from doing 40 hours of research across 100 websites. Food, the weather and vacations are not a problem."

M: "Ah, but there's a great new BBQ joint not too far from you"

User: "I'm vegetarian"

M: "My responses are limited. How would you like a thrilling and exciting hunting safari in Africa?"

User: ":-("

30
andybak 20 hours ago 2 replies      
The article title has the word 'Facebook' in whereas the post just mentioned 'Messenger'. Is 'Messenger' clear enough? I'm old enough to think that refers to Microsoft Messenger!
31
umanwizard 21 hours ago 3 replies      
It's M, not Q.
33
zkhalique 21 hours ago 0 replies      
34
nedwin 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Finland considers basic income to reform welfare system bbc.com
256 points by pierre-renaux  7 days ago   233 comments top 24
1
netcan 7 days ago 15 replies      
Basic incomes have always been an interesting idea, appealing to a lot of smart people from radically different economic-political camps. There are some potential massive wins on long term unemployment that come from eliminating incentive issues, some answers to the "living wages" and other positive rights problems. Less bureaucratic micromanaging of people's lives. There's a reason it hold attention on HN, it's a real interesting idea. But..

Basic income is the type of idea that is very, very hard to implement within our current (possibly any) political systems. There is very little room for compromise, half measures and gradualism. It does not lend well to caveats exemptions, and design by committee.

One of the big selling points is that basic income is funded largely by replacing different welfare state institutions: unemployment benefits, child benefits, housing subsidies, state housing, pensions This allows (A) A big enough basic income (B) big savings on welfare institutions running costs, (C) the simplicity needed for a clean re-write of incentives.

Where do the "efficiency savings" come from? Largely they come by cutting salaries associated with managing a welfare system. Can a government reduce public sector employment to that extent?

The danger for any country implementing this is that once they get into the political procee, they will chop and compromise and water down the idea until it is just another item on the big list of ingredient in the social welfare soup 212.13 per month that you qualify for while keeping everything else that exists.

Reforming the tax system and the welfare system as radically as required in a short time is a tall order. Maybe the Finnish can pull it off. They have a good track record. More broadly, I expect that this would have a high failure rate.

The best chance (IMO) is for very a small country to try it first.

2
lordnacho 7 days ago 7 replies      
The article alludes to the fact that you remove marginal disincentives to work by doing something like this. Many existing systems have some form of means test, which in practice results in very high effective tax rates.

Once we decide we want to support people on low incomes, there's a question of how the best way to do that is. The Nordics especially have built up enormous bureaucracies that in themselves cost a lot to administer various handouts and benefits. It might make more sense just to cut a cheque to everyone.

3
jfaucett 7 days ago 0 replies      
This is great. One of the main reasons I think political progress is so slow is because its near impossible to experiment with any new ideas. Few countries can just scratch something and say ok that didn't work lets try something else - because 10s of millions of people are already working in or dependent on said system. There are however a handful of countries in the world that can actually do this, because of the wealth and relatively small populations they have. Finland is one of those, so this is exiting.

The same problem exists in city planning. I'm sure civil engineers could design much more environmentally friendly and efficient cities, free of cars and with optimal transit, waste, and housing systems. But you always have an existing city where millions already live and work, and you have to have 20/30 year plans to get anything changed.

Its like trying to build a new piece of software but having to mold it out of a 20 year old monolithic legacy app where everything is interconnected and you have to maintain full backwards compatibility.

4
jmadsen 7 days ago 2 replies      
I don't "know" if any of this is a good idea, but I'm glad to see it at the top of HN & elsewhere, where people can start to consider different ways of dealing with a changing world economy. We need to allow ourselves to consider new ways of thinking about work, welfare and income
5
kfk 7 days ago 5 replies      
The problem in those countries is taxes and social contributions. You need to make 10 in order to bring home 5, that kills work, completely. Now the basic income, so basically we want the State to manage even more of the economy. If past experience would prove this effective, then OK, but it just proves the opposite!

Let me do some back of the envelope calculations for you. In Europe we pay around 40% of income tax. On top we pay at least another 8% for pension, which we will never see, and another 8-10% for health insurance, which is not great at all. On top of that, companies have another 30-40% of cost, _on top_ of the bruto salary of an employee in taxes and similar to pay to the state. Bottom line: more than half of your cost to the company goes to the government.

It's just incredibly bad. If you have a 10% unemployment the most effective way to help people is to bring that down to, say, a 3%. That will help most definitely. But for that to happen you need to bring down the cost of labor, which is just too high.

And don't let me start with pension. Europe is basically starving an entire generation, you don't see it now, you will see in 30 years when the young of today will start to go into retirement age. There will be no money to pay a real pension to everybody. You know how much you need to have a very comfortable pension? At a 6% rate, about 500 euro a month for 40 years. That's it, that's all you need. Right now we are paying close to this amount for a public pension, will we see that money? Absolutely not.

Bottom line: they have to fix the economy. That's the only long term solution and the only way to bring people out of unemployment and poverty.

6
bmir-alum-007 7 days ago 2 replies      
Food for though:

raw cost for a below-poverty annual subsidy of $12.5k to all adults in the United States:

209,128,094(&) * 12,500 = 2.6 trillion USD/year

That's equal to about 66% of the 2015 federal budget or 15% of 2015 GDP.

Would that make it affordable or unaffordable?

Notes:

& http://www.infoplease.com/us/census/data/demographic.html

8
jbb555 7 days ago 3 replies      
You remove the marginal disincentive to work at the low income end. This is good.

However you add a large incentive to give up work at the higher end.

As an example, I own a house in london. I'm by no means rich but I have a fairly decent income and significant savings. Enough that if I downsized my house and lived frugally I could support myself for 10-15 years.

That's not enough to retire on. If I was to receive 4-5 free income a year though, it would make enough different that my saving would last 20 years or more and I'd be able to give up work now.

There might be a relative small number of people in my situation, but together we probably pay a great deal of tax that would be lost.

I think it is this that dooms any such scheme.

9
tarvaina 7 days ago 0 replies      
Although there seems to be enough support by MPs for basic income so that it realistically could be trialled, I wouldn't be holding my breath. The government has too many other things on its plate.

Finland is suffering from a period of slow growth and rising unemployment. The three immediate reasons are the economic troubles of euro area, the decline of Nokia, and the trade sanctions against Russia, one of Finland's largest trading partners. Add to that the quick rise of wages until 2008, the aging population, an expensive social welfare system, and the inability to devalue the local currency, and the troubles seem very hard indeed.

The government's main goal is to adapt the Finnish economy to the new reality, by spurring growth and improving state fiscals. It has many options on its plate, basic income being one of them.

Currently, however, the government's focus seems to be in short-term. The current hot topic is the so-called "social contract", which is essentially government trying to make a deal with labor unions to increase the length of work week from 37,5 hours to 40 (or a similar reduction in wages). This plan, perhaps not so surprisingly, seems to be failing. After it is buried (probably within the next few days), the government may try "fiscal devaluation", i.e. moving tax burden from companies to citizens. And then some painful public finance cuts. And after that, who knows what?

Regarding long-term efforts, other pending reforms have more support than basic income, but still not enough agreement to be hammered out quickly. The two most important ones are health care reform and the change of municipality responsibilities. Both of these have been in talks for years without signs of being resolved.

All this is made more difficult by the fact that the rising populist party 'The Finns' is in government for the first time, still learning how it wants to play the game.

In summary, it isn't clear when the government will move from short-term considerations to longer-term restructuring, and if the basic income will still be on the plate then.

Edit: grammar.

10
jpatokal 7 days ago 1 reply      
Finn here. Some figures to put the floated numbers of 500-1000 euros/month in perspective:

Average salary, before tax: 3150 EUR

Average salary, after tax: ~2000 EUR

Market rent for one bedroom apartment in central-ish Helsinki: 1000 EUR

In other words, 500 EUR/month is a tolerable budget for a skin-flint student living in subsidized/free accommodation, but it's going to be pretty tough going for an adult, and completely prohibitive for eg. raising a family. 1000 EUR would be more realistic, but obviously also twice as expensive to implement.

11
iamcurious 6 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how this interacts with savings, credit and location. Knowing that you are guaranteed an income would mean that people could spend all their income. It would also mean that it would be a lot less risky to offer certain level of credit. Lastly, it would allow people to go and live where life is cheaper.

It seems to decouple many complex concerns.

12
kisstheblade 7 days ago 0 replies      
As long as this cuts off all other social security payments, like for housing and child care etc. So if you are poor then you have to live cheaply.It's ridiculous that the only people who can afford to live in downtown Helsinki are the very rich and the unemployed... "They have to live near where the work is!", what a joke...
13
Gustomaximus 7 days ago 2 replies      
14
kpil 7 days ago 1 reply      
Great, the Finns can have our 100.000+ refugees that comes to us in Sweden.
15
acd 7 days ago 1 reply      
Finland has an aging population and too low birth rate 1.8 / little migration to support the elderly. The need to fix the 0.2.
16
firichapo 6 days ago 0 replies      
Has anyone tried to implement basic income using crypto-currencies? Is it feasible?
17
pluma 7 days ago 0 replies      
In response to the deleted comment because I had already typed it out when the parent was deleted:

> proof that unemployment benefits incentivizes staying at home

I have yet to see conclusive evidence for this "people are lazy" argument. Humans aren't rational actors in a vacuum (except psychopaths). There is social pressure to contribute to society and "carrying your own weight" -- just ask anyone who's ever spent a non-trivial amount of time unemployed.

BI can be more than a replacement for current welfare but it aligns very nicely as a replacement for the current systems of unemployment benefits. Of course there are people with special needs and of course BI can't replace all of the welfare system but it significantly reduces a lot of complexity.

In my opinion, the potential effects of a BI are far greater than just redistributing wealth (which the tax-sponsored welfare system already does). It raises the barrier from zero to a liveable wage. IMO this entirely eliminates the need for minimum wages and drastically changes the dynamics of the job market. It significantly reduces the inequality in the labour/capital struggle -- it eliminates the major social factor of "will I lose all of my possessions and ruin my family's lives" from fundamental job decisions.

Instead of having to worry about your (and your family's) continued financial and social existence when you lose your job (or your company tanks or whatever) you have a built-in financial safety net making sure that even if you do fall, you won't hit rock bottom.

Basically it's "rich parents for everyone".

> everyone thinks "I'll get more" or "they'll get more"

But that's not what it's about. In all likelihood, if implemented correctly, most people will get pretty much what they have now or maybe less. But as with existing unemployment and welfare systems, BI guarantees that you won't be out on the street if your employment situation changes. Unlike most existing unemployment or welfare systems, BI also creates a smooth transition for when you do find a new job (or start a new company).

It's a zero sum game. It has to be. Everybody can't be better off financially merely because of a universal basic income. It's the market dynamics that change, not the amount of money in the system.

You're basically arguing against welfare, not against the BI. BI is no more about closing the gap between the rich and the poor than welfare is. It's like socialised healthcare (a recent import from communist East Bloc countries like the UK): it's not about helping you when you're already fine, it's about preventing your life from being ruined when you're not fine anymore.

> it's not popular to disprove BI here

You're merely disapproving, not disproving. That's why you get the downvotes.

18
wahsd 7 days ago 0 replies      
19
1971genocide 7 days ago 2 replies      
20
elcct 7 days ago 0 replies      
21
alexivanovs 7 days ago 0 replies      
22
TheSpiceIsLife 7 days ago 1 reply      
23
jsf666 7 days ago 1 reply      
24
bmir-alum-007 7 days ago 5 replies      
Haskell for Mac haskellformac.com
294 points by grayprog  2 days ago   177 comments top 19
1
carterschonwald 2 days ago 1 reply      
This looks like it's by Manuel Chakravarty. He's a long time Haskell contributor / researcher. His research lab is responsible for a huge chunk of array fusion related research that's happened using Haskell over the years.

Given the baked in support for sprite kit, I presume that this is an evolution of the tools he used to teach his young ones how to write games.

2
gamache 2 days ago 10 replies      
As required by the Mac App Store, Haskell for Mac is sandboxed. Consequently, Haskell code executed in a Haskell for Mac playground cannot access any data except for Haskell for Mac documents, the app container, and those system files white-listed by the operating system. Any attempt to access other files or to initiate a network connection will be rejected by the operating system.

This seems unnecessarily crippling. Is this really required of desktop App Store apps?

3
erpellan 2 days ago 3 replies      
I bought it. If someone (cough)Jetbrains were to offer a full blown IDE with code-navigation, refactoring tools, smart autocomplete etc etc. I would pay them 10 times as much.
4
eridius 2 days ago 2 replies      
Reading this page, it sounds very cool. It also sounds like it's heavily inspired by Swift Playgrounds, including using SpriteKit as an example.

I am a bit baffled as to why it says the Haskell code can't initiate network connections. Yeah the app is sandboxed, but sandboxed apps can easily request network access. And it seems like that's a common-enough thing to want that it should support it.

5
trymas 2 days ago 6 replies      
I would like to see some demo version, as 20 is a bit too much to drop.

Looks cool, lots of inspiration from swift playgrounds. Though, aren't there any open source alternatives (I have never tried haskell), probably similar to ipython (jupyter) stack?

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JadeNB 1 day ago 2 replies      
I imagine that this is a nave question, but it's sincere: what does this app offer for its $20 cost that the Haskell platform doesn't? Of their five big selling points, three don't seem really convincing: it mentions that it includes 200 librariesmore than HP, but not the sort of thing one needs to pay for; there is SpriteKit support, of which they say:

> We will release the SpriteKit binding under a permissive open source license for general use as soon as possible.

; and "Let the type system help you", which, of course, is just a feature of Haskell, not of this environment.

A drag'n'drop project manager is nice, but doesn't seem like that big a deal; so I guess that the real selling point is the "Immediate feedback". Indeed, that seems to be a huge selling point, and it's something for which I've often wished while coding Haskell. However, their blurb on it is very brief:

> Haskell playgrounds provide instant feedback, displaying types and results of computations, both textual and graphical.

Is there any way to read more about this, and, in particular, to evaluate how much value it adds before buying?

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mseri 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I've read the title I thought it was about leksah [1]. I've not used it since some time but according to recent reviews is getting quite good.

[1]: http://leksah.org

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szastupov 2 days ago 2 replies      
Looks amazing, I really want to try it. Maybe a trial version? Because with current exchange rates in Russia, $24.99 is a shitload of rubles :)
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jd3 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm just glad there's a nice binary of GHC available to download from somewhere. I'm running 10.11, and I had to compile GHC from source (homebrew) on my MacBook air in order to install youtube-dl with rtmpdump support. It took literally all night to compile. Hours and hours and hours.
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song 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would buy it if it were not sold through the Mac App Store and not sandboxed...There are applications that make sense to sell in the Mac App Store, a programing environment isn't one of them.
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shocks 2 days ago 2 replies      
Any plans for Linux support?
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vitd 1 day ago 0 replies      
This looks really cool! I tried learning Haskell on the Mac a year or two ago. It was painful having to use command-line tools and text editors. I eventually hacked Xcode to do the syntax highlighting and to run the build commands for Haskell. But that breaks every time Xcode updates, etc. This looks like it solves that problem! Can't wait to try it out.

One thing I'd like to see is how well it works for calling into the OS, or at least calling into or being called from C/C++/Objective-C (and eventually Swift).

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spike021 1 day ago 2 replies      
Was a bit disappointed when I found out they don't have any education/academic discount beyond education bulk purchasing.

Looks pretty cool though.

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zer00eyz 2 days ago 3 replies      
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xbshift1 1 day ago 1 reply      
I will buy this as soon as it can initiate network connections.
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wyager 2 days ago 0 replies      
For something similar that is free (as in beer, but also just a wrapper around free-as-in-speech software), see http://www.kronosnotebook.com/haskell
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evandrix 1 day ago 0 replies      
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tempodox 2 days ago 3 replies      
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amelius 2 days ago 5 replies      
       cached 27 August 2015 15:11:01 GMT