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Raspberry Pi Zero: the $5 computer raspberrypi.org
1243 points by MarcScott  2 days ago   502 comments top 90
maheart 2 days ago 7 replies      
This is seriously impressive.

While the Raspberry Pi is not the perfect hacker-friendly computer, it has done a lot of good. Some reasons off the top of my head:

1. Providing a low cost computer has given many people access to computers. Giving more people access to the web, email, an office suit, a programming environment AND giving people the ability of safely tinker without the fear of bricking an expensive device.

2. Introduced many different types of people to the FOSS landscape of powerful tools (e.g. distros such as Debian, tools such as Python).

3. The Raspberry Pi foundation has paid developers to write/optimise FOSS (e.g. paid Collabora to optimise WebkitGTK+ -- I think some Wayland work was also done).

4. Built on top of existing FOSS tools (e.g. building Raspbian on top of Debian), instead of doing everything on their own in a proprietary fashion. This has no doubt also helped to introduce new people into these communities.

This is a really good counter-point to all the "locked down" (hacker unfriendly) devices like smart phones and tablets.

noonespecial 2 days ago 3 replies      
Oh Nice! They are finally delivering on what I feel was the great promise of the Raspi in the beginning. Full linux install in the size and price of a micro (read: Arduino).

Some people are bound to gripe about the "lack" of ports but its not like this one displaced the A or B models. Its just another spin of the concept where you don't have to pay for expensive physical parts you don't need. Its a linux server at a price cheap enough to buy one for each little project you want to do and then leave it there. Makers rejoice.

I've got to hand it to the Raspi folks. They've really done an outstanding job creating their product line and getting it out to the masses. When they started, there was nothing but a sea of vaporware and "next-year" promises in the inexpensive SBC linux world. I rather famously doubted them at first. I am very happy to have been wrong.

Jemaclus 2 days ago 13 replies      
I've got three Raspberry Pis. I don't know why. I don't know what to do with them. None of the projects that I've seen have been particularly compelling to me, and I'm not creative enough to come up with a good idea. So they sit on my desk, gathering dust, and act as a conversation piece when friends come over. "That? Yeah, I can build X, Y, or Z." and they say, "oooh, cool" and then I never actually follow through. I'm a terrible nerd. :(
tomjacobs 2 days ago 1 reply      
This seems like an important moment for humans and computers. The cable to connect the computer now costs more than a 1GHZ computer.

It feels a lot like a tipping point for something.


TeMPOraL 2 days ago 6 replies      
Arduino Uno for $2, NodeMCU for $3, RPi for $5... please let this trend continue. A year or two, and we'll basically have computronium - simple dev boards powerful and cheap enough to just tile your house with them.

I've recently figured out that there's no point in designing your own PCB for placing sensors at home, when you can get an Arduino and an ESP8266 for $5; add power (and some ~$0 of voltage regulation) and you have a base station. Or just buy NodeMCU for $3 and skip on wiring Arduino and ESP8266 together.

malandrew 2 days ago 3 replies      
I would love to see someone sell these as preconfigured as minimal bandwidth tor exit nodes with wifi so they can be spread far and wide. Just connect to power, make sure it is connected to a wifi network and then leave it alone. Just make sure it advertises itself as such so that law enforcement knows that it is likely not owned by the owner of the Internet connection and therefore doesn't make sense to do anything other than find the device and disable it if that's what they want. It should have a similar disclaimer as the standard tor exit not notice, except it should say something like "this tor exit node is operating on a disposable computer and was placed clandestinely on this network without the consent of the owner" or something to that effect.

I know there are ethical implications here, but that doesn't mean that something like this shouldn't or won't exist eventually.

djfergus 2 days ago 2 replies      
Love watching the progress of Raspberry Pi. The attraction of the platform to me (compared to something more capable, with more ram ghz etc) is that the ecosystem is now so mature, you can easily google and get a cut and paste guide to exactly what you want to do. This means you can spend time tinkering with aspects that interest you rather than maintaining an operating system or troubleshooting hardware...

I'm curious to see how far optimisations could go. Analagous to the old consoles where developers could squeeze incredible performance out (compared to the equivalent processors elsewhere) since it was so uniform. e.g. the later games on a nintendo or neo geo were incredible compared to what was capable on a typical 8/16 bit computer of the time.

A $5 version is just going to accelerate this ecosystem... looking forward to it.

StavrosK 2 days ago 1 reply      
The 80s are widely considered as the golden age of hacking, but what the hell? I just bought ten microcontrollers that can run Lua/Python/C for $20, there are full-blown computers for $5, and all the supporting ecosystem (sensors, components, etc) is cheaper than most toys.

I am very optimistic about the future, given that people (and children) these days have trivially cheap access to powerful programmable and easily connectable computers, and hopefully they'll start to demand more and more that all their other devices are equally hackable. If most people have a microcontroller at home that they made themselves that controls the coffee maker, they will want to be able to connect other stuff around the house up, and that can only be done with open protocols.

The next few years are going to be very interesting on the maker scene.

cconcepts 2 days ago 5 replies      
Amazing. If only I'd get my act together and do all the amazing stuff I planned when I bought my first pi - then I could justify buying this
rockmeamedee 2 days ago 12 replies      
This is great, but for people who want to "get started in computing", don't they also need a display, a mouse and a keyboard?

LCD screens are like, $100, a mouse is $10-$20 new and low-end keyboards are $10-$30.At that combined price, why does it matter if the computer is $25 or $5?

And if one is going to outlay the 150 bucks in peripherals, they might as well spend a bit more than $5 on the computer to get a significantly better computing experience.

Is there anything else going on here? Do they have a different approach that I'm not getting? It feels like, yeah, Moore's law is great and computers are cheap, but once RPi got to around or <$50 (which it did with the first version anyway), the computer was already cheaper than everything you needed to plug in to it.

foxpc 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ah well. I recently (a week ago) started a new project with the Arduino and then they release this beast. It's basically cheaper than an Arduino (except that there's no storage in the Pi) AND faster than the Arduino.

Sure, it won't have the same IO capabilities as there's much more layers but it will be pretty close and I don't really need great performance anyways.

I guess, I'll have to switch to the Pi, it's not even a fair race at this point.

(luckily for me, I was mostly writing the SaaS that would work with the Arduino and only spent about a full day's work doing C/C++ coding so far)

trymas 2 days ago 4 replies      
Next awesome step would be RPi with integrated wifi/bluetooth, and it would become ultimate IoT/embedded development platform.

Such step would increase price, I know, but AFAIK, most people are almost always buying either wifi or bluetooth dongles anyway.

All in all, RPi ables to deliver exciting, rather (for me) unexpected and most importantly great and user-friendly products.

Yaggo 2 days ago 2 replies      
Too bad they didn't include camera module connector (CSI). Low-latency hardware-encoded h264 stream from camera is one of the most cool features in RPi platform. The Zero would be great e.g. for FPV fying folks, if it supported camera module. (USB cameras aren't answer here, as they typically don't have low-latency hw-encoding.)
robzyb 2 days ago 1 reply      
I just... I don't... I'm a bit lost for words.

The sheer amount of "stuff" you get for $5 (albeit USD) is staggering.

I am designing some simple electronics gadgets for Burning Man, and the electronics (low-end MSP430 based) for that is costing me a significant portion of $5 yet its significantly less powerful.

I know, I know, volume is a key issue, but honestly, that doesn't make it any less impressive to me.

buserror 2 days ago 3 replies      
Broadcom must be delighted to have managed to find a use for their obsolete part from 2007 or so. Some accountant, somewhere, is happy :-)

Probably a neat little board too, but unlikely to be $5. It's at 11.88 [0] ex VAT ex shipping at farnell UK (and can't be ordered anyway) -- that's more like nearly $20 these days.

[0]: http://uk.farnell.com/raspberry-pi/raspberrypi-zero/sbc-zero...

schappim 2 days ago 2 replies      
The Specs:

- A Broadcom BCM2835 application processor

- 1GHz ARM11 core (40% faster than Raspberry Pi 1)


- A micro-SD card slot

- A mini-HDMI socket for 1080p60 video output

- Micro-USB sockets for data and power

- An unpopulated 40-pin GPIO header

- Identical pinout to Model A+/B+/2B

- An unpopulated composite video header

- Our smallest ever form factor, at 65mm x 30mm x 5mm

Source: http://raspberry.piaustralia.com.au/products/raspberry-pi-ze...

mschuster91 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd like an updated Compute Module. Given how small the Pi Zero is, it should be doable to fit it inside the layout and with the connectors of a MiniPCIe board (though, of course not with the pinout).

Also, the compute module has support for USB Slave mode but there is no documentation for this - I'd like to see some expansion in this area as well.

Or choosing of a CPU with a MII interface to allow real GBit or, heck, fiber/powerline/wifi adapters...

jws 2 days ago 0 replies      
- 1ghz arm11 (40% faster than original pi)

- 512MB ram


- Micro-usb

- Micro-SD

- 40 pin GPIO


jwr 2 days ago 4 replies      
I learned to take these pricing claims with a large grain of salt. $5 sounds great and makes for great news. But then I head over to Farnell/element14 and learn that a) this is unobtainium, because the first shipment is expected on Dec 21, and b) it will cost me $17 + VAT + shipping.

The title should say "the computer that might be available to some people at $5 at some time in the future".

aorth 2 days ago 2 replies      
Fantastic development, but I can't help but think about the years of pain we're going to be in security wise when people inevitably start using these for all sorts of "Internet of Things" purposes. Software stacks on these type of devices inevitably have lackluster cipher suites, sub-par protocol support, unpatched kernel/userland, etceven if they run all the latest things out right now, they WILL get out of date and WILL NOT receive patches!
frigo_1337 2 days ago 7 replies      
I don't see anything about Ethernet/Wi-Fi. Am I missing something?

I understand they had to cut some features to reduce the prize. But networking is such a fundamental requirement for these types of systems, you'd think that it would be the last feature to be excluded.

castell 2 days ago 1 reply      

 The Zero, which like its predecessors is being manufactured in Wales
I have an original RPI made in China. That was right before the made them in UK, as far as I remember.

The Zero would need an Ethernet-port addon-board.

And for further RPI 2 iterations they should move the power-connector to a different position (e.g. like the original RPI) - would be better for headless embedded projects with limited space. Having the Ethernet and power cable on the same (or opposite) side would be a great benefit.

jgowans42 2 days ago 8 replies      
I find the lack of ethernet or wifi concerning. I get that they're trying to keep it small and low cost, but I can't immediately see any use for a Pi that can't run standalone.
abdelhadikhiati 2 days ago 3 replies      
Raspberry still costs more than 100$ in my country, due the rarity of such tools sometimes we found ourselves obliged to buy it with that price and pay the difference, and even though this is such a great step, i really doubt it would have any effect on 3rd world countries where this is really needed.
RohithMeethal 2 days ago 1 reply      
It is so sad that when it comes to India price is increased to $18 http://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-79263
atmosx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Quick specs for those who don't wanna click on the article:

 A Broadcom BCM2835 application processor 1GHz ARM11 core (40% faster than Raspberry Pi 1) 512MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM 1 x micro-SD card slot 1 x mini-HDMI socket for 1080p60 video output Micro-USB sockets for data and power Unpopulated 40-pin GPIO header Identical pinout to Model A+/B+/2B Size: 65mm x 30mm x 5mm

em3rgent0rdr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Free Raspberry Pi Zero with the magazine, wow!

"Zero" is a great model name, since the price is negligible (approximately equal to 0 for most purposes).

nl 2 days ago 0 replies      
$5 is an amazing price for something so functional.

The current go-to device for semi-disposable network-attached devices is the ESP8266, which was supposed to be a WiFi add-on board for the Arduino until someone ported Lua to run on it[2]. That is ~$3, but nowhere near as functional as the Pi Zero.

[1] https://batilanblog.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/first-experienc...

[2] http://nodemcu.com/index_en.html

trymas 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's great.

Personally, one of the downsides of the original RPi (and RPi 2 as well), was it's , believe it or not, size.

Sometimes I wanted to have some portable embedded projects, for which small micro-controller would not be enough, but RPi, was 10 times bigger.

But it's just my personal nitpick, overall RPi devices, community and it's ecosystem is just great.

spencertg1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love the whole raspberry pi mission. I wonder if in 10+ years time we'll see the children learning on it today generating a growth surge in "middle(young)-aged hobbyists"? We all hear about the heyday of the homebrew computer club, maybe the future waves of innovation will be from the "homebrew raspberry pi club". Here's to hoping!!
StavrosK 2 days ago 0 replies      
By the way, if you get a bunch of these and want to have them communicate with other devices and themselves in a secure manner, I wrote a library to do just that:


Feedback appreciated!

Aissen 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just as CHIP was announcing their $8 computer: http://getchip.com/ . It has wifi and bluetooth though. Same as Pi, watch for high shipping costs.
rwmj 2 days ago 2 replies      
I know I'm complaining about an almost free computer, but ARM11 (ARMv6) isn't compatible with most Linux OSes which long ago moved to ARMv7. If only this was compatible with ARMv7 it would run a lot more stuff.
woodson 2 days ago 3 replies      
Somewhat disappointing that in Australia RPi Zero costs AU$19.38 (plus AU$12.95 shipping). Quite a lot more than US$5 (=AU$6.93).
sawwit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Someone made this nice comparison over on Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/3uc55k/58_years_on/
metral 1 day ago 0 replies      
Amazing news to see this! I made a Homemade Sports Ticker using a Model B almost 1.5 years ago and its still going strong.

Here's a couple of links:

* Blog post: https://medium.com/@mikemetral/a-homemade-sports-ticker-875c...

* Code to write to LED Sign: https://github.com/metral/led_sign

* Code to pull the scores: https://github.com/metral/scores

* The LED sign itself: http://brightledsigns.com/programmable/indoor/bs-4x16-mini

Fair Warning: I haven't touched the code in over a year so it's not maintained. If I were to do things today, I'd probably switch to Go to make the score requests a bit more streamlined than the single synchronous process I have now, and I would throw it into a container as the #1 request I get is people struggling to install both the code base and the dependencies.

Happy Hacking!

visakanv 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is awesome. I wonder what the next iteration will be? Will they eventually start giving out Raspberry Pis for free?
lamby 2 days ago 1 reply      
The "$5 computer" is, of course, 4 in the UK. http://pimoroni.com/zero
SarahofGaia 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Today, Im pleased to be able to announce the immediate availability of Raspberry Pi Zero, made in Wales and priced at just $5.

I'm confused: they say it's $5 but at Adafruit (one of the places where USAians can buy it), the cheapest are the Raspberry Pi Zero Starter Pack and the Raspberry Pi Zero Budget Pack, priced at $59.95 and $29.95, respectively.

solipsism 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd like to get into this world. At this point I don't have enough experience or knowledge to know what kinds of things I can do with this thing. Or what kinds of things this is more appropriate for compared to a Raspberry Pi 2, or vice versa. Any pointers?

Could I make some kind of driver/controller for a small synchronized christmas light show with this? Or some kind of toy with lights and sounds for my toddlers?

javipas 2 days ago 0 replies      
Even without the Ethernet connector this is impressive. Yes, you should add the microSD, cables and peripherals cost, but even adding that the RPi Zero is a marvel.


Its amazing what you can do with $5.

xuhu 2 days ago 2 replies      
To what degree are the power requirements on their faq still valid for the pi zero ? https://www.raspberrypi.org/help/faqs/#power

The question I really want to ask is, how long will a 1.2A supply last with nothing else attached to it ?

ck2 2 days ago 0 replies      
$5 price tag makes sense now considering you can buy a full smartphone for that much now:


(just don't try to order more than two or hours later your order will be canceled)



pavlov 2 days ago 1 reply      
A single transistor cost several dollars in 1950. A full-blown 1GHz computer is now the same price (cheaper even, accounting for inflation).

What will $5 buy in 2080? It's going to be a billion times faster than this, but it's hard to imagine the form factor.

bootload 2 days ago 1 reply      
Blown away with this. As a youngster cutting my teeth on Cambridge based computers, great to see a Welsh machine. Currently using RPis for most of my development, I'm working on a design for a RP laptop. Not hard, but I did want to thrown in multiple boards. This looks to be one way to achieve this. Technical details (cant seem to find any power requirements) and tour here from adafruit:

- https://learn.adafruit.com/introducing-the-raspberry-pi-zero...

- https://www.adafruit.com/products/2885

wiradikusuma 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just received "Black Friday promo" from chip (http://getchip.com/) which claim to sell s/$9/$8 computer. I wonder how they fare with this new RPi.
tlrobinson 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is neat, but I'd rather see a $10-$15 board with onboard WiFi.
mingodad 2 days ago 3 replies      
I just bought 2 magpi to get 2 raspiberry pi zero but connecting then to a android charger (without and with sdcard http://director.downloads.raspberrypi.org/raspbian_lite/imag...) none of then lights the green led to indicate power on.

Someone have a different experience or can tell something about this ?

cdnsteve 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I see $5 all I can think about is a massive cluster of these working together with something like Apache Mesos (http://mesos.apache.org/). The Raspberry Pi Zero, due to low cost, low power requirements (Around the 160mA mark (0.5/0.7W!) and small form factor, could be the future of data centres.

You could literally build a 100Ghz machine for $500.

kgs42 2 days ago 5 replies      
Hi, maybe not entirely relevant for this topic - but maybe you guys have any idea how to build and cheap system which will gather temperature wireleslly to one place. Ideally I'd like to have 2 sensors (one inside and other outside, with own batteries) which will send data to some central device.

I have home server on MacMini - so WiFi could be option. Any ideas?

I've always wanted to build something like this which - but always ended calculations that are rather expensive and devices are relatively big.

harel 2 days ago 0 replies      
The MagPi magazine comes with a Raspberry Pi Zero, like the old floppies of the 90s. The lady at WHSmith told me they run out as soon as it got in today.
davidone_f 2 days ago 1 reply      
Any place where could I find this magazine, guys? Tried in Liverpool Street / Moorgate (WHSmith / Waterstone) with no luck.
mhandley 2 days ago 0 replies      
For me, the best thing about this is not the price. It's the combination of small form factor and no Ethernet/USB hub. With the original Pi, almost half the power consumption came from the USB hub/Ethernet controller chip - this was always the main advantage of the Model A, which could be very useful for small robots. I would assume the Zero shares that advantage, while being smaller, faster, and more RAM.
zaf 2 days ago 0 replies      
All sold out!

Wanted the MagPI Magazine with a free RPi Zero but its sold out!

kevindeasis 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is intriguing.

Is there a list somewhere that shows the cheapest possible place to get raspberry hardware modules.

Also, where do you guys buy your modules? You can include Arduino stuff.

vonklaus 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does it make sense to run your own hardware again? If you leased rackspace at a provider, you could just have tiny clusters of these everywhere for each service and pay virtually nothing. You could have it triple redundant and have it configured however you wanted.

Edit: it was a dif time, but wasnt that hiw google got started? Tgey just bought a ton of hardware.

facepalm 2 days ago 2 replies      
What I would like to know more about is how to power these gadgets. Say I want a sensor that sends data to a server. Do I need to plug it into a power outlet? Can I run it off a battery for a significant amount of time (months)? Can I use solar power? How much power does WiFi consume, or should I look into Bluetooth or ZigBee?
eddd 2 days ago 2 replies      
I am no Rasberry expect, so I need to ask: Is it possible to connect Rassbery Zero to some network in some convenient way?
mentos 2 days ago 0 replies      
What speakers/mic/battery/wifi dongle would be best to pair with this if I wanted to make my own open version of the Amazon Echo?

I could see printing a 3D shell and selling a kit for $20 with the appeal of users being able to easily break it down if they wanted to repurpose the RPi.

harperlee 2 days ago 1 reply      
So for the price of a $1000 pc I could get 200 of these. What would be great experiments for them?
iM8t 2 days ago 3 replies      
Is there any way to buy these from Europe?
CJefferson 2 days ago 0 replies      
I suspect this is in competition to the currently-being-released Micro Bit, the BBC's similar tiny computer (The microbit isn't aimed at the same market, as it has buttons and LEDs built onto it, and no HDMI. But it is threatening to push the Raspberry Pi out of UK schools).
gloves 2 days ago 0 replies      
Jack Lang, Chairman of Raspberry Pi gave a fascinating talk about how the Pi came to be at Business of Software Europe last year. (really is worth 33 minutes of your time)


Leuli 2 days ago 3 replies      
It would be nice if there was an interface to solder on one of these dirt cheap wifi modules. SPI?
xzion 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was really hope they refresh the R-Pi compute module at a pricepoint like this.
agumonkey 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cute form factor, let's have pizero hats (battery, lcd, foo).

ps: too late, they're call phats http://pimoroni.com/zero stupid me)

agumonkey 2 days ago 0 replies      
Beside the product himself, thumbs up at the whole team. From a funny project to a very famous name and large community. I can imagine Eben and his friends surprise.
Hockenbrizzle 2 days ago 1 reply      
Awesome sauce.

I wonder if they plan to make it modular like the folks over at Project Ara from Google ATAP. That would be a total hit with the Maker community.

kubiiii 2 days ago 1 reply      
I immediately ordered one. It does not have a camera port though, I hoped there were ways to operate the camera through the GPIO but could not find anything.
linuxkerneldev 2 days ago 2 replies      
Nice. Interesting design choice to not have ethernet on it.
api 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Pi is a wonderfully disruptive thing. I think it's a quiet stalking horse for the second personal computing revolution.
gloves 2 days ago 0 replies      
Jack Lang - Chairman of Raspberry Pi gave a great talk at Business of Software Europe on how RP came to be and its success since.


partiallogic 2 days ago 0 replies      
I picked one up because why not but now I need to also buy several adapters so that I can use it.
Raed667 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm still bothered by Raspberry Pi's choice not to include WIFI by default in all/some of its products.

Almost every Raspberry Pi project I have encountered needs some sort of connectivity and doing this with 3rd party dongles (some don't even work on most recent versions of Raspbian) is just ridiculous in my opinion.

72deluxe 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very interesting! Still loving my early Raspberry Pi boards.
jawns 2 days ago 1 reply      
For $5, I'm in. Now: What the heck can I do with it?
callesgg 2 days ago 0 replies      
That is pretty great, i do which that it had wifi built in. As generally you need an Internet connection, and the usb port for a keyboard.

Plugging in a USB hub fixes the issue, but then it would be smarter to just buy a normal PI.

hoodoof 2 days ago 0 replies      
The missing piece to this puzzle is being able to buy these connected to high speed Internet. Maybe Raspberry Pi build build a data center filled with these things.
mschuster91 2 days ago 2 replies      
Still lacking: USB Device Mode support... :(
ausjke 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really need a full-sized USB host port, so you can hook all kinds of gadget/dongles to it without an odd adapter dangling.
shams93 2 days ago 0 replies      
for me this is my chance to build a cool digital synth with csound at the core
Patronus_Charm 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great, truly impressive.
davexunit 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does it still require proprietary blobs to function at all? A $5 ARM computer sounds great, but not if it needs blobs.
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty awesome price point.
suneilp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sold out at Adafruit which is really the only place to buy it in the US. Life is sad right now...
eccstartup 2 days ago 1 reply      
I want to buy 10.
rebootthesystem 2 days ago 1 reply      
To me the most significant event is that of a magazine giving a way a computer.

For me something like NVidia Jetson is a far more significant (and useful) development than the ever-shrinking bubblegum stick computers that simply aren't that useful. Yes, it costs 100x more but there's no comparison when it comes to what you can do with one.

And, if that's too much, how about something like this for $39 (includes CPU):


or this for $59 (includes CPU):


of this one for $99 with a quad-core 2.4 GHz Intel CPU:


No doubt that a $5 stick computer has huge value for educational purposes and in some parts of the world it's going to make a HUGE difference. Bravo for that.

Yet, we still need a keyboard, mouse (maybe) and a screen. Because the Pi Zero has an HDMI output the cheapest monitor you can buy is likely to be in the $80 to $100 range:


In other words, this is great in that now the cost of the computer has become a rounding error in the total cost of everything you need to actually make it useful.

In other parts of the world if you are going to be in computing the difference between spending $5 and spending $100 is zero. If you have an iPhone in your pocket (very likely) you or your parents can certainly afford to spend $200 on a computer.

Every single kid in the FRC robotics team I mentor has a smart phone and a laptop. If they want to hack on some hardware it'd be no problem for their parents to buy them a $200~$300 setup. You can buy a whole new mini laptop for that kind of money.

Same token, every single kid in the FLL team I mentor owns one or more Lego Mindstorms kit at $350 a piece.

Maybe what I am saying is this: What I would see as having more impact in education (again, the economic in other part of the world are different) isn't necessarily a cheaper computer. A race to the bottom with a crippled $1 computer isn't what is keeping the kids I interact with from having access to technology and computing. No, what's keeping them from entering is a lack of motivation due to a decidedly uninteresting process.

When I was a kid I had to work hard to have a computer. I had to build it out of chips. Wire-wrap it. Bootstrap it with assembler. Write my own Forth. Write my own text editor. Learn about electronics and software. Build my own floppy disk controller board, etc. I was challenged and had to engage in discovery and there was no internet to hold my hand.

I am not sure what the modern equivalent to this might be. I find that things like Pi, for some kids, make things so easy that they are bored almost instantly. Once they get the thing up and going there's nothing to do or whatever it is they can do gets complicated and messy very quickly.

At the other end of the scale I see kids absolutely ripping it with Scratch on their laptops. It's fun, interesting and challenging enough with some guidance.

I don't have the answers. Just a brain dump from working with about 100 kids of different ages and levels of motivation in two robotics programs.

markokrajnc 2 days ago 0 replies      
First thought: Is this an April Fools Joke? :-)

Second thought: This is G-R-E-A-T!!! :-)

nojvek 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'll be that guy. The chip is cool but still requires multiple components through usb to do something useful. What I want is a $5 hackable phone with battery, touch lcd, camera, wifi e.t.c

Great if it has a solar panel and gpio, so I can stick it anywhere and forget about it.

codecamper 2 days ago 3 replies      
The biggest problem I had with my Raspberry PI was that it is seriously slow compared to a desktop machine. It takes time to setup. Time is money, right?

I suppose if you have some mass deployment to do, then great. But for the individual maker hacker.. there must be a better way to setup and experiment than waiting for this computer to reboot with the new config, recompile, etc.

Macbook charger teardown: surprising complexity inside Apple's power adapter righto.com
546 points by robin_reala  3 days ago   312 comments top 43
throwaway420 3 days ago 24 replies      
Despite the visual appeal of their products, Apple normally does a very good job with prioritizing function over form except in this case with the charger wire being so fragile and thin. I know I'm not the most careful and delicate person in the world, but the failure rate here is ridiculous compared to other similar products I own. The end of the cable gets frayed every single time.

Otherwise, Apple makes ridiculously durable products that I use for years on end. It's just weird that their charger's wire almost seems purposefully designed to break in this manner.

This isn't just a minor annoyance and monetary concern where I'm just annoyed at having to buy a new charger every year or so - there's a real safety issue here with this wire being so fragile - it could be both a shock and fire hazard.

Shame on Apple for ignoring this very real problem with their product.

weland 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is a pretty interesting article! I raised more than my fair share of eyebrows by telling people I'm not really surprised with this kind of complexity (note: I'm an EE by formation, I took a frickin' two-semester course on power supplies) but that it doesn't fully justify the price difference.

Also, Jobs was a blatant liar :-). The SMPS in any modern computer is based on a standard topology that Rod Holt -- though a brilliant engineer in his own right -- didn't invent. I don't remember the specific details, but it's based on a flyback design that was certainly well-known at the time.

Analemma_ 3 days ago 7 replies      
My takeaway from this is that the $80 Apple charger is definitely safer and has higher-quality components than the $12 cheapo Chinese charger, but not nearly so much better that it solely explains the price difference, and that Apple is making a healthy margin on these things. So my question is, is anyone selling a quality charger without the Apple tax? Is there anyone making, say, $40 chargers that have the components of the real thing?
tomcam 3 days ago 1 reply      
You know what's not surprisingly complex? My feeling about how screwed I felt when I got the Macbook and its charger consisted only of straight-to-plug wall wart, power cord to Mac, as opposed to cord-to-wall-wart, wall wart, power cord to Mac. They halved the length of the cord while forcing you to stick your wall wart right into the socket, crowding out other cords if it's on a small power strip. That and the fact that it's not MagSafe anymore.
agentultra 3 days ago 3 replies      
I really hate how weak they made the strain relief. I found mine frayed within a year of use (in and out of bags and often hastily "wrapped up" in exactly the way the device suggests one should by form... but which everyone advises against). So I did what any enterprising hacker would and tore it open to strip and re-solder the connection... only I found super-thick solder points and don't have a strong enough gun to de-solder them.

Ended up just blowing cash on a new brick.

I was rather impressed by how many components they stash away in these things. I just wish the cables themselves were a little more reliable. They're otherwise fine devices.

woah 3 days ago 2 replies      
Hidden gem in this article is a comically bald-faced lie from Steve Jobs:

> "That switching power supply was as revolutionary as the Apple II logic board was. Rod doesn't get a lot of credit for this in the history books but he should. Every computer now uses switching power supplies, and they all rip off Rod Holt's design."

sethkontny 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
tear down and data transmission reverse https://www.instagram.com/sethkontny/
zik 3 days ago 1 reply      
One thing which bugs me about this article is he conflates "complex" with "good". As an electronic designer I spend a huge amount of effort trying to make things as simple as possible. Complexity may be required to meet certain requirements but in general keeping it simple makes things more reliable and more cost effective.
Sakiina_ 3 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone here heard of the Magsafe saver?


This is what I got-- took an eternity to get to me, but it works well enough. I wrap my cables. I had my Macbook Pro for two years, abused it, charger was fine. I sold it with the Macbook when I moved back Stateside after living abroad.

My next charger broke, because my kitten decided it made a great teething chew. Cha-ching. $80. I noticed a bit of wear, so I got the dinky plastic protectors. They seem to be working well. I use it on my lightning cable, too.

tomcam 3 days ago 0 replies      
The embedded TI MSP430 microcontroller can easily be had for $.15 in quantity 1 compares to the original Mac's 68K, but using 1% of the power of the 68K. From the article:

The 68000 microprocessor from the original Apple Macintosh and the 430 microcontroller in the charger aren't directly comparable as they have very different designs and instruction sets. But for a rough comparison, the 68000 is a 16/32 bit processor running at 7.8MHz, while the MSP430 is a 16 bit processor running at 16MHz. The Dhrystone benchmark measures 1.4 MIPS (million instructions per second) for the 68000 and much higher performance of 4.6 MIPS for the MSP430. The MSP430 is designed for low power consumption, using about 1% of the power of the 68000.

specialp 3 days ago 0 replies      
All Apple needs to do to stop their cables from fraying at very high rates is to use a continuous flex cable like these: http://www.igus.com/wpck/15029/productoverview_CF?C=US&L=en I used to work on amusement rides, and we had a problem with cables on bumper cars breaking very often due to movement. After replacing them with these they never failed again.
jupp0r 3 days ago 1 reply      
Mine fail on me every 9 months. I think there is just no way you can avoid that if you just roll/unroll the cable several times per day. Their AppleCare program takes care of for "free", but the downtime is really annoying, that's why I keep one of those fake adapters around to bridge those gaps.
msoad 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm so sad to see MagSafe was replaced with USB-C in the new MacBook. Hopefully they don't deprecate MagSafe for larger laptops. I won't mind USB-C + MagSafe charging capability though! ;
jabl 3 days ago 2 replies      
Fascinating. The magsafe connector is awesome in preventing something snagging the cable from dragging your laptop along with it.

But, as the article says, reliability is a problem. The thing is definitely not toddler-proof. I have a 2012 Macbook Air, and I'm on, I think, my fourth charger.

mpg33 3 days ago 1 reply      
I actually find Apple's charging cables to be pretty flimsy and not very durable.
tptacek 3 days ago 1 reply      
The LED in the Macbook power connector is programmable? Has someone written a tool to make it blink or something?
silveira 3 days ago 1 reply      
All this and the thin wire is what is going to break. I was around my 4th charger when I lost count.
grandalf 3 days ago 0 replies      
While it's clear that Apple attempts to limit the production of junk peripherals by patenting its connectors, it would be great if licenses were made readily available to companies wishing to make high quality stuff.

Even just putting a magsafe connector on the brick itself would allow the cable to be easily replaced if it frayed.

Does anyone know if Apple laptops contain enough protective circuitry to be used safely with inferior power adapters? It appears that some of that sophistication is actually just moving parts out of the laptop and into the adapter.

jloughry 3 days ago 1 reply      
An interesting feature of switched-mode power supplies like this is that they'll run on DC input, if that's all you have! DC passes right through the bridge rectifier into the chopper---not sure how happy the PFC circuit would be about that---and the rest of the circuitry works as usual. If the DC supply voltage is high enough, it'll work.
joeyspn 3 days ago 0 replies      
> The ironic thing about the Apple Macbook charger is that despite its complexity and attention to detail, it's not a reliable charger.

Maybe that's what they want...


pfooti 3 days ago 1 reply      
Fraying on the charger (dc-carrying) cable is definitely an issue, but my biggest gripe about these chargers is the form factor of the AC-carrying part of the power cord. I can't speak to non-US chargers, but the three-prong cord that plugs into the wall has no coiling shape. If the plug itself had a self-clip (like at the end of the charging cable), at least I could keep my cord from unrolling in my bag and expanding to fill the entire free space. I'm usually torn when I'm leaving the house with my macbook: do I bring the long cable and deal with bag disorganization, or do I hope I'm close enough to a plug and the plug orientation doesn't make me regret my lack of regular power cord?

You'd think with all this industrial design effort spent (pretty successfully IMO for the most part), there'd be an improvement in that particular cable.

chmaynard 3 days ago 1 reply      
Heres my approach to the MacBook flimsy cable problem:

1. Sometime during warranty period, purchase AppleCare extended warranty.

2. Dont worry about cable strain, just treat cable as if it were well made.

3. When cable frays, return power adapter to Apple Store for a free replacement.

4. Rinse and repeat.

AppleCare also comes in handy when the $800 display fails.

joshmn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Now do the cord, and find out why they always turn to shit.
swiley 3 days ago 1 reply      
You can tell they're non trivial if you do any kind of HF radio stuff. When you plug one in the higher end of the spectrum fills with one kind of wideband digital looking noise for about a second, and then another noise there after.
ageofwant 3 days ago 0 replies      
No mention of Dave's eevblog ?

Its both entertaining and informative:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi-b9k-0KfE

seesomesense 3 days ago 1 reply      
"most of the circuitry is covered by the metal heat sink, held in place by yellow insulating tape."

This sounds a bit dodgy to me.Could someone with domain expertise comment on whether this is normal ?

rdtsc 3 days ago 2 replies      
> The charger uses an advanced design called a resonant controller, which lets the system operate at a very high frequency, up to 500 kilohertz.

Wonder what would happen if the 500 kHz signal would be fed to an antenna? Would that emit a signal, would it not work at all or become dangerous and probably highly illegal?

Here is an example what an antenna for 500 kHz looks like:


DanBC 3 days ago 0 replies      
> I think with the smallest amount of care and consideration the apple chargers last a long time

I treated my Apple chargers carefully. They destroyed themselves after about 2 years.

Laptops get transported a lot. Their chargers should not be so delicate.

mosdave 3 days ago 0 replies      
> There's a lot more circuitry crammed into the compact power adapter than you'd expect, including a microprocessor.


_sword 3 days ago 2 replies      
Has anyone else ever had the cord of their magsafe charger start sparking or catch on fire (as it burns through the insulation and rubber) right behind the adapter? I've had it happen with I believe three chargers across two different computers.
pi-rat 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wish Apple used magsafe connectors for both ends on their charger cables. Sucks to throw away a perfectly good charger, just because a tiny length of cable (usually near the brick) is frayed.
bdcravens 3 days ago 0 replies      
I haven't had wear and tear issues, but I rarely use it (have Thunderbolt monitors home and office, with built-in power) and I keep it in a Quirky PowerCurl when I do use it (usually only when traveling)
blhack 3 days ago 0 replies      
>It enables the output when the charger is connected to a Macbook, disables the output when the charger is disconnected

I don't think this is actually true...

I found out by doing something really stupid. The pins on my charger get really dirty, which makes the charger connector get REALLY hot (like burn your finger hot). One day, I was cleaning the pins off with a wire brush, but I [stupidly] forgot to actually UNPLUG THE CHARGER. I knew this because when I applied the brush, (the end of it looks a lot like steel wool), it started sparking against the brush.

praveenweb 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess there is a similar problem with the lightning connector for iPhones. I had to change my iPhone cable multiple times in the past 4 years. Be it the 30 pin connector or the new lightning connector, its so fragile. Always been an ardent fan of Apple and its products, but disappointed with this strategy of making money through intentionally designed fragile cables that won't last more than a year leading to accessory sales.
swingbridge 2 days ago 0 replies      
The detail of engineering inside of Apple's products is impressive. A lot of attention paid to things that one almost never sees. Like others though the cable ends on computer and iPhoje chargers do always get frayed. I wish they could make that bit better.
mcv 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very interesting. So why do these expensive things keep breaking all the time, and how can I fix them? I'm on my third charger for my Macbook.
mschuster91 3 days ago 2 replies      
What I wonder: EVERYTHING is available as China knockoffs, but I have yet to see a fake, replacement MagSafe connector...
outworlder 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Thunderbolt display is handy to avoid carrying chargers around - except if you own a Macbook Air (and even more so on the 13" model).

You see, a Macbook Air charges on one side, but the Thunderbolt port is on the other side. It creates a lot of strain. No such issue with Macbook Pros.

ctz 2 days ago 0 replies      
> the imitation leaves out the ground connection

Genuine Apple adaptors come with plugs with plastic earth pins. You can feel the tingle from leakage current with such plugs.

nvcken 2 days ago 1 reply      
Technically , have anyone can give me advice that we should keep charger plug-in when using macbook or plug-out when full-charge?
capitan417 2 days ago 1 reply      
There's no way that the cost of these individual components can be used to justify the price tag. That's pure delusion.
frankiechh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Queue the Hacker News Noobs complaining that the charger isn't "open" enough.


mindo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Need to change MBP charger every 6-12 months because of the crappy cable. It's super fustrating.
Firefox: We Don't Need Google's Money Any More cnet.com
490 points by bmelton  2 days ago   248 comments top 26
auvrw 2 days ago 12 replies      
> On smartphones, its share of browser usage is virtually nonexistent

that's surprising b/c i've had a good experience with firefox on android: i particularly like the "send tab to desktop browser" feature, and although i'm still using adb for debug, newer versions apparently do debugging direct with desktop browser instances, no adb needed. for all i know, chrome has similar features as well, so i'll just say that i haven't found firefox mobile lacking.

i was totally unaware that mozilla was making that much money (or any significant amount of money) from corporate deals, but that's probably b/c i'm naieve. proprotionally larger donations will go to wikipedia instead of mozilla in the future.

Sven7 2 days ago 4 replies      
Kudos to Mozilla!

Mozilla can be more ambitious. Or atleast as bold as they once were, when they took on Microsoft.

If they can convince Baidu, Yahoo et al to keep them open, independent and competitive against the likes of Apple, Google or Microsoft, then there is no reason they can't pull the same thing off to fund an open social network or a open search engine that can shake things up a little at Google and Facebook.

I am really quite sick of the Google and Facebook ivory towers deciding where and how things should work. Most of these decisions are based on empire defense rather than the common good.

They speak the language of the common good, but constantly do things that benefit them disproportionately.

So what is their purpose at the end of the day, other than "... we are the rich; we own america. God knows how. but we intend to keep it".

They need saving from themselves. And I am glad Mozilla exists like a Ralph Nader does to keep things honest.

firebones 2 days ago 2 replies      
I don't know nothin' about nothin', but Mozilla's involvement in Rust is a huge plus that someone is focused on the right things. Don't have to be the biggest thing in the world to do good for the world, or industry.
hardwaresofton 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not sure I like the adversarial title, but it's great that the changes are going over well. Firefox does a lot to better the entire ecosystem that is the Web, and I'm super glad they're around.

Also generally my first move when I install FF on a new machine is to switch out the default search provider so... This doesn't affect me too much

frik 2 days ago 5 replies      
A bad article. Mozilla relies on Yahoo's Search-Engine (Bing) cooperation (instead of Google) and probably with partnerships like Pocket (will be removed).

Mozilla's work on Firefox, Rust and Servo is great. Thunderbird and a real multi-process browser could get a bit more love. The later probably can only be achieved with a Servo based engine (probably not not with Gecko and its XCOM, XUL legacy code - the current multi process work uses just two processes (sandbox plugins) and doesn't scale - opening hundreds tabs won't spawn dozens of processes as we know from IE and Chrome (with all its downsides but even more upsides (stability, usability, UI latency)). Firefox with Firebug and all its plugins is the best web development browser, Chrome with its ever changing DevTools (UI changes) comes second (for me).

Mozilla's browser is very important for the open Web.

tmalsburg2 2 days ago 2 replies      
Looking at Firefox' dwindling market share and Chrome's spectacular success, Google is probably thinking: "We don't need Mozilla's browser any more."
AC__ 2 days ago 2 replies      
I love Firefox, their addon api is pretty fucking sweet. I've made 2 super simple addons, one to kill a paywall on my local guardian site and a second just last night to easily set lightblue background with black text using a context-menu button, literally took 10 minutes. Can't beat Mozilla documentation.
dimdimdim 2 days ago 1 reply      
Firefox created the revolution of "better browsers"! Google was smart enough to have market their own browser by having themselves be the default search on it. Once you land on Google, the "install Chrome for a better experience" slowly had people move to it.
Grue3 2 days ago 3 replies      
But then they remove great features like Tab Groups because it's "too expensive to maintain them". I would actually pay them to maintain this feature indefinitely, I'm sure others will as well.
DiabloD3 2 days ago 4 replies      
Hopefully this means they can achieve market share parity now. I'm seriously considering switching from Chrome to Firefox due to how badly it behaves on my Ivy Bridge era MBPr.
balladeer 2 days ago 0 replies      
I see some comments treating this news as if it is a win for something like privacy advocacy. Here's what it is and that too in the very first lines:

> The organization once banked on the millions that Google paid for search traffic from the Firefox browser.

Then, there is this:

> Now it relies on Yahoo, Baidu and others, and it expects revenue to grow.

and this:

> is confident new search-engine deals will bring in even more money

bobajeff 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder what they'd do if Yahoo decides not to renew their deal with them. Would they go back to Google or go to Bing? What if no search provider thinks they are worth the amount they are getting with their current deals?
iSnow 2 days ago 3 replies      
It pains me to say, but I'd rather Mozilla used all their man-power to fix the god-awful performance of desktop Firefox.

Granted, I have a lot of pages and tabs open, more than 20 at any given time. But I fail to understand why that leads to such a dramatic slow-down after having the browser open for a day or two. If I type text, it will appear with a delay of up to 20s - on a 16GB computer where a lot of RAM is free. And with only uBlock.

Something in the core of Firefox is completely rotten.

forrestthewoods 2 days ago 0 replies      
They're still completely dependent on money from someone for default search status.
1024core 2 days ago 3 replies      
> In 2014, that deal accounted for most of the nonprofit organization's $330 million in revenue, according to financial results just now released for that year

Wow, that's a lot of cash. What are the top expenditures of Mozilla?

krick 2 days ago 2 replies      
So, let's make DuckDuckGo default in Europe then?
zmmmmm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like Mozilla ought to be banking / investing a large slice of their revenue and aiming to live off the profits. They need to turn themselves into a self funded foundation that truly needs money from no one. They definitely shouldn't get used to rivers of gold flowing in, especially as their market share keeps falling.
joeblau 2 days ago 0 replies      
While this might be true, I don't think this needed to be said out loud. Statements like this always have a way of turning into "famous last words" sometime down the line.
ddingus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good, I hope. Long time Firefox fan here.
atmosx 2 days ago 0 replies      

I like how the article references twitter quotes:

 <span data-popup="twitter">"We're going where the users are going,"<span class="icon-small-twitterBlue"></span></span>


Patronus_Charm 2 days ago 0 replies      
Firefox is my second favorite browser behind Safari. I am actually glad they got that albatross off their back.
bitmapbrother 2 days ago 1 reply      
>Firefox: We Don't Need Google's Money Any More

So you're just reliant on Yahoo/Bing money now.

richardboegli 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well if Firefox doesn't want it, I might go and ask for some :P
z3t4 2 days ago 0 replies      
So who types in URL's or use bookmarks!?
justinator 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is it just me, or is CNET breaking the back button?
ionised 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's not at all what the article is saying.
Shrinking to Zero: The Raspberry Pi Gets Smaller bbc.co.uk
475 points by bpierre  2 days ago   2 comments top 2
dang 2 days ago 0 replies      
trymas 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pirated Courses on Udemy medium.com
678 points by petercooper  1 day ago   223 comments top 44
citricsquid 1 day ago 1 reply      
This happens fairly frequently to Jeffrey Way of Laracasts and there's a lot of money involved in stealing his material:

 Hey @udemy - For the third time this year, my content is being stolen and sold on your site. Don't use Udemy, folks. [1] So @udemy, 373 users signed up for that stolen series at $19 - or a total of $7,087.

 Update on the Udemy selling my stolen content issue: they finally responded, and will not reimburse me, unless there is a court ruling.
Udemy do not care.






Animats 1 day ago 4 replies      
You can go after Udemy. They're not just a hosting service. They claim ownership of the content. "Each of our 35,000+ courses is taught by an expert instructor". Many courses are paid. If Udemy charges for access to the course, they lose the DMCA safe harbor. Then they're liable for full copyright damages.

This may even be criminal copyright infringment under 18 U.S. Code 2319 (Criminal infringement of a copyright) if the total retail value exceeds $2500.

Get a lawyer. This looks winnable.

mapgrep 1 day ago 9 replies      
Lol you people are really amazing. No sense of irony? Really?

Hey guess what, Silicon Valley has been doing this for nearly 20 years to other people. Funny how the HN crowd gets riled up when it happens to programmers.

Movies cost tens of millions to make and employ hundreds if not thousands. Tv shows are maybe an order of magnitude smaller, records maybe one more. Any of those media products blow these aggrieved programmers out of the water, impact wise.

But the founders of YouTube -- who played this little copyright game like a fiddle -- are heroes in the Valley. So are the founders of Napster, one of whom helped get Facebook going.

I guess "move fast and break things" is a great motto until it's your stuff getting broken.

nickjj 1 day ago 2 replies      
Udemy really is one of the worst platforms imaginable for instructors.

They will even brand your videos without your consent by adding Udemy logo watermarks to every video.

If you guys want to hear another horror story about Udemy, take a skim through:


(note: the above post is a few days old)

Someone really needs to step up and create a more reasonable course hosting platform.

greenyoda 1 day ago 2 replies      
Filling out Udemy's "Report Abuse" form to report a "Copyright or Trademark Violation" probably doesn't create any legal obligation on their part to take any action. The author (copyright holder) should have filed an official DMCA takedown request, directed at Udemy's designated DMCA contact, whose e-mail and postal addresses can be found here:


soyiuz 1 day ago 2 replies      
I feel like the OP highlights a problem common to the new breed of "marketplace" platforms like Uber, Airbnb, and Udemy. All of these substitute open, public, regulated markets (taxis, hotels, universities) with closed, private, unregulated markets. Once a near-monopoly is reached, the rules of the marketplace can be changed to benefit the marketplace owner (instead of the service provider).
wturner 1 day ago 6 replies      
I don't want to derail this with a personal story but this might be useful.

I wrote a JavaScript course that I was contracted by someone on Elance to do for very little ( relative to the amount of time I put into it ), he then sold it to another company, that company then put it on Udemy. For a small amount of time it was at the top of the list of beginner JavaScript courses and had over 10,000 students enrolled. I'm grateful my name wasn't on it as it was my first shot at a full on multi hour long course and there were some problems with it...


Lesson: If you create courses and sell them to people have stipulations regarding resale.


My story wasn't theft so it's not the same, but I figure it might have some utility to someone on hacker news.

jwarren 1 day ago 0 replies      
I saw and reported some plagiarised content at Sitepoint. After what I assume was a fact-checking and research period, they got in touch and told me they were taking down the plagiarised material and banning that submitter. Not only that, but they put in place a peer review system for submitted content. That's how you handle this sort of thing, you take ownership of the problem.
xan92 1 day ago 1 reply      
HAHA! I got myself into a wrong course and Udemy haven't refunded me till now. They say you can try it before you buy, But they don't give the money back once they have it. Nobody even answers your queries seemed very shady. Not surprised to see this now.
makecheck 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Perhaps they need to start periodically saying things like "just a reminder, this video is from <University of XYZ> and is copyright by us" and periodically scribble that on a whiteboard too. It may make the class sound a bit silly at times but we live in a world where plenty of people are just fine with making blatant copies of things.

I am against DRM. I don't think it helps anyone to hide content behind buggy technologies, especially when they cause problems that have nothing to do with protection such as security holes. I think you just have to modify the content itself; make it "hard" to cleanse every last mention of the true copyright owner, and stop worrying if some loser actually wants to spend the time and effort it would take to strip all of those mentions out.

yarou 1 day ago 0 replies      
The sad thing is that in this day and age, independent content creators don't have their copyrights respected, while megacorporations patent troll and abuse our broken intellectual property system.

The only solution that comes to mind is for independent content creators to vigorously litigate and ensure that their DMCA claims are taken seriously.

jsilence 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I just deleted my account at udemy:

"Dear Udemy Company,

I read about your questionable practice of not fighting against pirated content on your platform and not rightfully reimbursing the original creators.https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10638795 I am not willing to support your stance on this topic and will delete my account within minutes.

Good bye!"

ps4fanboy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Using DCMA is a good first step when trying to deal with these issues, posting an angry blog and defaming a company as being made explicitly to sell stolen content on twitter shouldn't be your first action.


sergiotapia 1 day ago 0 replies      
Udemy is one of those sites that surprise me. No offense, but it looks and feels like a shitty wordpress themed site, with a crappy backend system tied to it. I've never bought anything from it just because of this intangible 'ick' factor. It seems my gut feeling was right on the money.
snorrah 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Udemy always seemed questionable with some of their course titles. Lots of 'How to make money easily doing X' and other extremely clickbait-y names.

Now it's actually proven they don't give a shit what's happening on their 'platform' and have a frankly absurd response to copyright claims. Given how quickly Youtube will block a video given a content claim, it seems any sort of legal action against Udemy will bring their house of cards down extremely quickly.

kkt262 1 day ago 0 replies      
Besides piracy, udemy itself is just a terrible platform. Unless you agree to sell your course for $10, you'll pretty much never get promoted there organically. They want YOU to do all the work of promoting it to your list, etc. What's worse is that they close off their system as well, making it impossible for you to collect email addresses or send marketing messages.

It's a much better idea to use your own platform.

cdnsteve 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe an approach could be to actually reach out to authors that are creating accounts and to verify identities more than just an email account rather than focus on contents of that said account. I would also imagine that certain geographic regions have higher reports of said activities. So extra checks should be added for them in the approval process. In the end if they don't shape up they are only hurting themsleves in the long run.
vermooten 18 hours ago 0 replies      
blazespin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Doesn't Udemy lose safe haven when they start taking a cut?
giarc 1 day ago 0 replies      
>and Udemy not only let them do this, theyre encouraging others to do the same.

Is there proof of this? Author went from providing examples and evidence, to pure speculation. Kind of lost me there.

codezero 1 day ago 0 replies      
When I was at Quora, people posting Udemy courses were a major source of spam content. The system clearly has very broken incentive systems.
manigandham 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Udemy is just a ecommerce/merchant service that just happens to be tailored for hosting video series. This is no different than users stealing content and then uploading to youtube or selling it through a paypal/gumroad/stripe link. In every case the companies would be making a profit either through ads or transactions.

The fault is with the user who uploaded the content and the most effective and realistic option for companies that host user provided content is the DMCA process. No matter how good the filtering process (and I do think Udemy needs to improve vastly here) it's never going to catch everything and this situation is all explained and handled by the DMCA.

The real issue is how they're handling the takedown requests. If they are prompt and accurate with the takedowns and refunding customers then there should be no issue. How they get their own money back from the fraud user is their problem as well. If Udemy is not handling takedowns or refunding customers, then there definitely is a problem and that should be met with actual legal action, not just social/twitter justice.

Edit - why the instant downvotes? haven't seen much other than emotional rants about how Udemy is profiteering but no evidence that the proper DMCA process was followed but denied.

alain94040 1 day ago 0 replies      
This post would benefit from providing more context. Did the author make those videos on behalf of a company? Did he post them somewhere online? Was there ever any kind of license (creative commons for instance) attached to them?

My expectation is that at a minimum, Udemy would investigate the claim once it's reported to them. But you need to provide sufficient proof that you are the content owner. Just because your face is in the video is not enough, but it's a great start.

erikb 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The number of people who really want to live off of other people's work is much smaller than we often think. More often than not harm is done by people that are either incompetent or desperate.

Should that stop us from getting a lawyer? Certainly not. Can we still believe in humans usually trying to do good? Yes.

wieckse 1 day ago 3 replies      
What is a good Udemy alternative?
VivisClone 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I really hope the programs that I've purchased aren't pirated, But Then again I just used the code that made anything 5 dollars. So... eh?
Halienja 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Not the first time I am hearing this. Udemy has no standards whatsoever!
aracena 1 day ago 0 replies      
We create content in spanish www.oja.la here in udemyhttps://www.udemy.com/u/pixelpro/

it has been almost a year since I notified them

AlexeyBrin 1 day ago 0 replies      
> but udemy got videos off of pluralsight, uploaded them to their own servers, and are then selling them off as udemy's own courses.

You are confusing things here. A Udemy user took some content from Pluralsight and published the content on Udemy. Where Udemy is in the wrong is in not taking the content down and banning the teacher from their platform.

judk 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Is udemy just a scam site that trades ofd consumer confusion in with Udacity?
joeyspn 1 day ago 0 replies      
After reading the blog post and the comments here, I'm wondering what are the affected parties waiting for? they should organise a class action lawsuit and sue Udemy's ass...
PiotrOwsiak 15 hours ago 0 replies      
To all who try to discuss the details of DCMA, copyright, etc. the bottom line is this part from the first comment "Udemy do not care.". THIS is the real issue.
gamekathu 16 hours ago 0 replies      
disgusting! either way I dont use Udemy because of the cost involved, now I am definitely not paying for someone else's stolen hard work
bootload 1 day ago 0 replies      
If Udemy is such a bad service, what are the hurdles to create a better, more ethical competitor?

Its not like theres a database of copyrighted content out there you know

Ahh so a database of copyright might work. cf https://twitter.com/robconery/status/670389852974657536

gosukiwi 1 day ago 0 replies      
He sounds so mad. Writing something while angry is not wise. Still, I knew Udemy was bad but not THAT bad.
kzrdude 22 hours ago 0 replies      
> But I had never seen a business actually profiting from piracy.


Facebook freebooting, too.

aurizon 1 day ago 0 replies      
where is udemy? is there a small claims court there?File for 100% of the money.
xacaxulu 1 day ago 3 replies      
I wonder how many people who wrote courses that are now being pirated on Udemy ever torrented music or movies illegally, used someone else's Netflix account, DRM stripped Kindle books etc. I don't agree with Udemy, but it's always crappier when it happens to you.
shawnwildermuth 1 day ago 0 replies      
Scary that we'd get no response on this.
briandear 18 hours ago 1 reply      
This is rich. There is a set of HN readers who are outraged over this while at the same time waiting for their next movie torrents to seed. Seems like a tiny bit of hypocrisy happening. The simple truth is that if you own a piece of content, you should have control of that content. Stealing movies, books or music is wrong no matter how much you may pontificate against the "evil" copyright owner. Copyright infringement is a disincentive to content creation.
pkaye 1 day ago 1 reply      
Growth hacking?
lemevi 1 day ago 1 reply      
Did he even try to contact Udemy support and get a response? It would seem like the thing to do before writing a hit piece. I interviewed at Udemy, but ended up taking a position somewhere else, yet they struck me as good people trying to make a good product. I don't like piracy and the author has been wronged, but this blog post is unfair.
ps4fanboy 1 day ago 6 replies      
While I sympathize with the author its (edit)unreasonable to suggest that they should be validating each course. However it appears more should be done to ease the path to getting your content taken down.

You would think the person selling the course would have payment information that could be used to track that individual down, the correct course of action is to sue.

If the content isnt worth doing this then the content isnt actually that valuable to the author.

Google Launches Android Studio 2.0 techcrunch.com
528 points by Garbage  5 days ago   168 comments top 21
talloaktrees 5 days ago 7 replies      
"Instant Run lets developers build and deploy their apps once (both to the emulator or to a physical device) and then as they change their code and deploy it, itll only take a second or two before they can see those changes in the running app. This feature will work for all apps that target Ice Cream Sandwich and later. Cuthbertson politely refused to tell us how exactly Instant Run works, but promised that Google will detail the technology behind this feature in the future."

This could be awesome, if it works as advertised.

benmarten 5 days ago 3 replies      
Here's the link to the Download page:http://tools.android.com/download/studio/builds/2-0-preview

It's not in the stable channel yet, so I assume it's not really released for the broad public yet?

angry-hacker 5 days ago 7 replies      
Sorry for off topic but why does every news site mobile layout wants me to click read more/continue reading? Now techcrunch too. I tried to Google the question but didn't get an answer.. Who and why invented this trend?

Is it to measure engagement? Surely there are better ways.. Most of the sites don't lazy load the hidden content, so there's no bandwidth benefit either...

nathanb 4 days ago 2 replies      
Can someone explain this to me?

Windows version: x64

Mac OSX version: x64

Linux version: x86

Why? Why do companies not release 64-bit versions of their programs for Linux? This seems to happen all the time, and it utterly baffles me.

itafroma 5 days ago 0 replies      
Official announcement on the Android Dev blog: http://android-developers.blogspot.com/2015/11/android-studi...
phjesusthatguy3 5 days ago 1 reply      

Did TC have the best rewritten press release? There doesn't seem to be any mention of 2.0 on http://developer.android.com/tools/studio/index.html for example.

bndw 5 days ago 3 replies      
Is there any reason to hold out for a non Java/JVM Android development experience? I remember rumors of Dart or Python, but those seem to have died.
siegecraft 5 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know how this compares to the speed of running apps under something like genymotion? It basically creates an android device in virtualbox. The speed blew me away compared to the old android virtual devices. Granted, I hadn't messed with android development for a couple of years before that, so it's possible everything is that much faster now..
LegNeato 5 days ago 0 replies      
Instant run sounds a bit like Buck's exopackage:


Although the example they show is editing a resource, so it could be fast-pathing resource-only edits (buck does that too).

More docs here:


swah 5 days ago 8 replies      
Offtopic: is the experience as good on Windows and Linux as on OSX? I'm planning on selling the MBP (too expensive to keep hardware up-to-date in third-world countries).
Mithaldu 5 days ago 5 replies      
Is there any chance of Java 8 support landing anytime soon?
rifung 5 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if these capabilities will come to the few of us who still prefer the command line or if we'll be forced to upgrade.
eggy 5 days ago 0 replies      
I am torn between this and CodeWorks for Android by NVIDIA. I realize CodeWorks is more for game devs, and carries a lot of GPU support, but it is a one-click install and ties nicely into MS Visual Studio.
iLoch 5 days ago 0 replies      
Does the emulator support high density displays yet? It's been like 4 years.
msoad 5 days ago 0 replies      
Video of announcement during Android Dev Summit:


Skip to ~1:00:00

RegW 4 days ago 0 replies      
> One area Google has recently focused on is app indexing, which brings content from apps into its search engine

Hmm. I wonder if the search engine is going to phone home anything it finds interesting in your local files.

seanwilson 4 days ago 1 reply      
I have to admit, I vastly prefer web development right now as waiting at least 30 seconds for your native Android app to compile and run on a device really sucks the fun out of it for me compared to just refreshing a browser. Hopefully the live reload feature improves this!
sunasra 4 days ago 1 reply      
The best part they solved is improved compilation speed!
smegel 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's a preview. 1.5 just comes out a short while ago.
zatkin 5 days ago 4 replies      
Google has the resource to build their own text editor -- so why don't they do it? It seems displeasing to have to work with 3rd party software in order to develop an Android app. And this is not to say IntelliJ is a bad choice, but it would seem that they could rid away with any extraneous portions of the editor. It could also be optimized for Android development, unless that's what this "Android Studio" is.
caskance 5 days ago 5 replies      
Does Microsoft really not care when competitors release their own IDEs called * Studio?
MagSpoof wireless credit card/magstripe spoofer github.com
530 points by pornel  4 days ago   105 comments top 15
peteretep 4 days ago 5 replies      
One day in the future, Samy (the creator of this) will stop being the coolest person on the internet, but today isn't that day. Previous projects include:

The Samy MySpace worm: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samy_%28computer_worm%29

EverCookies: http://samy.pl/evercookie/

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

And so much more... http://samy.pl/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samy_Kamkar

brokentone 4 days ago 2 replies      
It's stunning how bad many card issuing systems are (as noted in the post, AmEx et al). When I was in college all of the administrative buildings, student common areas as well as many of the student housing areas were controlled by magstripe. Meals were also kept track of by card.

I knew from people losing their cards which continued working some places but not others there was a relationship in the issuing. I got a reader, decoded the card (zeropadded student ID, issue number, and XOR checksum).

I found other places to find the student ID number, and could enumerate a few issue numbers. I built this spoofer: http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Magstripe-Emulator/Then I could get into my friend's apartments (as a POC with their permission of course).

I disclosed and got a thank you (I built a good relationship with my IT dept over the years), but never figured out if they fixed it.

pornel 4 days ago 6 replies      
There's more gems in there, e.g. a couple of Amex vulnerabilities:


> I found a global pattern that allows me to accurately predict American Express card numbers by knowing a full card number, even if already reported lost or stolen.> This means if I were to obtain your Amex card and you called it in as lost or stolen, the moment you get a new card, I know your new credit card number.

guyzero 4 days ago 4 replies      
This is how Samsung Pay works, right?edit: And LoopPay which I guess Samsung acquired.
JaggedJax 4 days ago 5 replies      
I was very surprised to learn there's no check for Chip and Pin requirements beyond what the magstripe requests. I naively assumed if the card had that feature the terminal could force it to be used. What would happen with the other fields he mentions, like whether or not you can withdraw cash with the card?
mistercow 3 days ago 0 replies      
> What's incredible is that the magstripe reader requires no form of wireless receiver, NFC, or RFID

Another way of looking at it is that the magstripe reader is a wireless receiver. It just usually works with signals so weak that they can only be transmitted a miniscule distance.

deutronium 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote a little tool that decodes the data optically from a credit card, using a photo of the credit card and an iron solution.


I'm planning on seeing if I can decode data from higher density mediums with the same approach, when I can get my hands on some iron nanoparticles.

oxplot 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hmm, I'm very surprised that magstripe readers don't have sensors that detect physical presence of a card, even to this date. But regardless, the main point for me was how trivially one could downgrade the security by setting the bit about Chip/PIN capability off.
the_mitsuhiko 3 days ago 0 replies      
The shitty thing is that because of Samsung Pay it's impossible for a merchant to distinguish a cloned magstripe from a legitimate samsung pay transaction using MST. I wrote a bit about this a few months ago: http://lucumr.pocoo.org/2015/8/31/the-thing-about-samsung-pa...
vermilingua 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can anyone explain the legality of building and using one of these (for your own cards, obviously)? I know there are similar appliances, but do they need to be accredited?
JimmaDaRustla 2 days ago 0 replies      
It mentions "disabling chip and pin", meaning it will convert the sentinel character on the magnetic stripe which tells the terminal that it is a chip card. By disabling the sentinel character and using this on a chip enabled terminal, the financial institute (BASE24) SHOULD decline the transaction because the Track 2 data will be incorrect.

Edit: I meant on an EMV compliant terminal.

Edit: Also, that is considered fraud and your best not testing it, unless you like the prison environment.

0x2015 4 days ago 1 reply      
I recall people demonstrating something similar this with passports at defcon some years back from quite the distance. Picking up credit card data and ids wirelessly is definitely not new. This is why I use small magnetic / RFID blocking case while traveling.
Animats 4 days ago 1 reply      
It should be possible to detect this with a reader firmware upgrade, if the reader reads more than one track on the card. If both read heads are showing similar signals, the signal isn't coming from a normal card.
xseven 4 days ago 1 reply      
So much for Coin
Smushman 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is too damn cool to pass up - talk about convenience... I would have been willing to pay for such an item!

Yes everyone is going to run around and scream 'security!!' when they realize how ridiculously trivial this process always has been, but it does not change facts - it has always been this easy, but this is a new way to highlight that fact.

Support for older versions of Internet Explorer ends on January 12, 2016 microsoft.com
397 points by JoshGlazebrook  3 days ago   160 comments top 29
watson 3 days ago 15 replies      
Am I the only one who finds all the happy faces Microsoft have injected into the page a bit weird? It feels like they are trying to sell me some bad news but make me feel happy at the same time.

Don't get me wrong - I think it's a good move to discontinue support for older IE versions... There is just something with all the smiling and laughing faces all over the page that make all my alarms go off

douche 3 days ago 5 replies      
Thank goodness. IE 11 has enough warts and weirdness; having to deal with all the brokenness in IE 8 was driving my front-end colleagues to alcoholism...

I have a beautiful dream sometimes, where I go to work, and I only have to care about supporting Chrome...

tow21 3 days ago 2 replies      
An unfortunate datapoint: for one of our products I'm still seeing >25% users on IE8.

This is a (primarily UK) product most of whose users are on internal bank networks. It's come down from about 40% 2 years ago, so it's heading in the right direction - but I'm not sure I see it going away any time soon.

There's huge organizational inertia inside these banks around IT systems - if we want to serve them, we need to support IE8 for the foreseeable future.

andy_ppp 3 days ago 2 replies      
The document makes things wildly unclear as to which versions of IE are actually supported by Microsoft.

In practical terms it's still IE9 and IE11 for a while (so far as I can tell)?


I'm sure there is still a load of Windows Vista SP2 machines around...

davidjgraph 3 days ago 1 reply      
I love the way they can't even give a straight answer to their own questions:

"Does this mean Microsoft is changing the support lifecycle policy for Internet Explorer?"

"The latest version of Internet Explorer will continue to follow the component policy, which means that it follows the support lifecycle and is supported for as long as the Windows operating system on which it is installed. Focusing support on the latest version of Internet Explorer for a supported Windows operating system is in line with industry standards."

A simple yes or no will do.

stephenr 3 days ago 1 reply      
From the document - "older" means < 11.
Falkon1313 3 days ago 3 replies      
Apologies for the rant, but this is the second article today that I've seen about a company discontinuing support for outdated software. (The other being a gnu rant about Windows not supporting XP.) And there was a third a couple days ago about an open source community announcing pending EOL of an old version.

What bugs me is so many negative comments along the lines of "What about all those poor helpless trillion dollar megacorporations that are stuck on an old version because they use proprietary custom software? Microsoft is evil because they don't guarantee to support and repair everything that they've ever made for free until the heat death of the universe!"

Those companies and organizations are stuck not because of Microsoft, but because they mismanaged their own proprietary software or web applications. For more than a decade, they never even bothered to plan for maintenance, although they routinely plan, budget, and schedule depreciation and maintenance for everything else in the business - things that move much slower than software and far far slower than web development. I'm no fan of Microsoft, but that's their fault, not Microsoft's.

My Windows machine is still on Windows 7 now, and not ready to upgrade to 10 yet due to compatibility issues. But I have 4 more years to get things working in a virtual environment, or find replacements. Software that I run dates back to the 70s, so some didn't work by default in 7, but in the end there was only 1 program that I couldn't replace or get working with an upgrade or VM. I reverse engineered the data to migrate it (it used an obsolete floating point format from before floating point ops were standard in PCs). If I can do that, a company or large organization can do it.

For web software, the pace of the state of the art is even faster. Most anything over a few years old probably needs a rewrite and data migration if it hasn't been maintained properly (and possibly even if it has). Especially anything that used old plugins.

But the focus on browser versions is weird. I strongly dislike the practice of web developers/designers speaking of 'supporting' IE6/IE8 or whatever. That's a Microsoft product, Microsoft supports it or not, you and I don't. We support the websites that we build, which we build to current industry standards (such as they are). If you try to access it using a nonstandard client like IE6, Arachne running on DOS, Hyperlink on a C64, or a line mode browser on a teletype, then your experience will be different. The server side will work fine, but your client may not do what it's not capable of.

You can't expect to stick a blu-ray disc on a record player or shove a flash drive full of MP3s into an 8-track tape deck and have the end-user experience be the same. It just doesn't work that way. Sure we can try to build custom client-side workarounds, but is that worth the cost (especially given that new browsers are free)?

Overheard at a meeting once:

Client: "Our stats say that'll be fine for our customers, but our executive team mostly has older versions of IE, so this won't work for them. We don't want it to look bad to the CEO."

3rd Party Agency Manager: "We'll order new laptops for them and have them delivered, just tell us how many and where to send them. It will be much cheaper for you and save us all a lot of time."

daurnimator 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting that the meta tag for this page is "end-of-xp-support"
jp_sc 3 days ago 2 replies      
After that day we only need a really bad 0-day exploit to make everybody actually update their browser or switch to Chrome.
orionblastar 3 days ago 4 replies      
There are a lot of businesses that use older versions of Windows and use Internet Explorer as their default web browser and use group policy from a Windows Server to prevent the install of a third part web browser. Forcing everyone to use IE.

They will be vulnerable to attacks because of this and they will refuse to pay money to upgrade from XP or Vista to go to Windows 10. It will be because their business software only works with older Windows versions. They can't afford someone to migrate to Windows 10 or they lost the source code after programmers retired or got fired and took it with them on their personal laptops because they lacked a source control system.

It is a big mess out there. Colleges are even worse as is the federal government who use outdated Windows Updates by three years and expired antivirus products.

sengork 3 days ago 2 replies      
Some of the lower tier (but very common) LAN network hardware requires old versions of IE to function during firmware upgrades and configuration changes with no CLI equivalent options.

In most cases the hardware vendors never address the browser compatibility issue (due to focus on new products) and only provide a warning sign upon login. Likewise the hardware isn't easy to replace in some environments.

This use case is completely absent from the web browsing traffic usage patterns on the internet which predominate in browser usage statistics.

tempestn 3 days ago 2 replies      
Wow, I'm all for EOL'ing old versions of IE, but I'm surprised at the complete lack of notice (on a corporate scale). Was this known to be in the works for a while?

My thinking is just that most larger companies will have zero chance of hitting a January deadline, and once the deadline passes, there's really no urgency to upgrade by any particular time. I would think a ~12 month deadline might be more effective in getting people to upgrade (as well as resulting in fewer compromised browsers).

zmmmmm 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's pretty interesting to see Microsoft edging out onto this limb of abandoning their long held policy of supporting their software for long periods of time. There is pretty much no alternative, so on the one hand it is not like their enterprise customers have anywhere else to go. On the other hand, it's one less argument for companies to stick with Microsoft if they are already on the edge. I'll be interested to see how it turns out if they keep pushing in this direction.
qxxx 3 days ago 1 reply      
ok, microsoft wont support it.. but my customers will support it forever. As a webdeveloper i have still customers that are using internet explorer 8 because it is their company policy (big company)
hartror 3 days ago 5 replies      
We still have customers with IE6. Risk adverse institutions like airports really don't want to upgrade things.
gglnx 3 days ago 0 replies      

As Vista is still supported, the IE9 lives on.

kriro 3 days ago 0 replies      
Random thought that popped into my head when reading this (apart from the obvious...stockhappyness): I'm curious and know very little about this topic in general. How does an announcement like this affect 0-day prices? My guess is that IE11- 0-days should skyrocket for a bit but then fall because for a while they'll be really valuable and no patches will come but then eventually too many people migrate to the higher version?Could 0-day prices actually be a decent way to forecast future adaption?
Theodores 3 days ago 2 replies      
So does this mean I no longer have to test my website with Windows IE (6!) 7-10 at all ever, under any circumstances? And be able to tell clients that IE11 onwards is all that has to work in IE-land?
kentbrew 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just updated http://noaiee.com to reflect the new countdown deadline and discovered that conditional comments aren't working in IE10. Anyone know how to detect IE10 without using JavaScript?
pilif 3 days ago 1 reply      
Of course this doesn't change anything for the 70% of our users who are still on XP and Vista. At best we get IE9, at worst IE8
gamesbrainiac 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is good news for those who aren't using older versions of Windows (older than Windows 7). For everyone else (which is still a lot of people), this is very bad news.
jgalt212 3 days ago 0 replies      
Our front-end team welcomes this news, but I still think a non-trivial amount enterprises who do their own security work will still be using IE 8 into 2017.
ollie87 3 days ago 0 replies      
My work ICT department recently upgraded us.

To IE 9. :(

hackerboos 3 days ago 0 replies      
Are they just going to do what they did with XP and extend support to those that have the cash?
kyberias 3 days ago 2 replies      
Are there any guesses when the support for IE 11 ends? Or when will Microsoft remove IE from Windows? Never?
Zardoz84 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oh... And we must support IE 8
_ao789 3 days ago 1 reply      
everyone smiling there is a frontend dev
dfar1 3 days ago 0 replies      
Best Christmas gift ever!
nowprovision 3 days ago 0 replies      
How will I sleep tonight...
The Secret Ingredient in Orange Juice foodrenegade.com
459 points by pmoriarty  2 days ago   256 comments top 45
beloch 2 days ago 14 replies      
"Juice removed from the fruit is just concentrated fructose without any of the naturally-occurring fiber, pectin, and other goodies that make eating a whole fruit good for you. Did you know, for example, that it takes 6-8 medium sized apples to make just 1 cup of apple juice? You probably wouldnt be able to eat 6-8 medium apples in a single sitting. (I know I can barely eat one!) But you can casually throw back a cup of apple juice, and you would probably be willing to return for seconds. Thats why fruit juice is dangerous. Its far too easy to consume far too much sugar."

This paragraph is, arguably, far more important than all the hysteria about flavor packs, but it's only partially correct. Fibre does help provide satiety but, in and of itself, it isn't what's good for you about eating whole fruit unless you simply aren't getting enough fibre and have issues with constipation. What fibre does do is reduce the rate at which we absorb sugar. Apple juice will give you a nice fast sugar high and then a low, much like candy. An apple will give you a gradual surge of energy for a while. If you're going to eat something sweet, it's far better for you if it comes combined with fibre.

So don't go searching for juice that doesn't use flavor packs. Don't buy a juicer and juice your own either, because you're still throwing away what separates fruit from candy. Don't mess around with fermenting juices and all that probiotic jazz. If you simply must drink your fruit, use a blender.

morsch 2 days ago 2 replies      
Having read the article I was left with the assumption that pretty much all commercial orange juice contained these "flavor packs". This does not seem to be the case: http://www.toxinless.com/orange-juice

Maybe don't buy your orange juice from subsidiaries of the Coca Cola company and Pepsico, as a starting point.

Also interesting: https://www.reddit.com/r/YouShouldKnow/comments/2684u1/ysk_t...

sparkzilla 2 days ago 3 replies      
On its face, I find this difficult to believe because why would any company pay to add massive amounts of chemicals to something to give it a taste that it has naturally? The most important point in the article is that storage in the oxygen-less tanks deprives the juice of its flavor. No proof is provided of this assertion. When I follow the source link I get a similar article [1] that then is sourced to a similar one [2], neither of which has and proof, other than the author's assertion. So I tried to track down the original. I found this article [3] which links the original expose to Dr. Oz (whatever) and to a book, Squeezed: What you dont know about Orange Juice, and an interview with the author [4], where she asserts that the stored orange juice is flavorless, but we don't know if that's really true or not. Did she taste it? Reading the organic juice's page it seems clear that any 'flavor packs', which are made from orange peel and oils, are added to standardize the taste, rather than creating the taste, which seems to be a far more reasonable suggestion, but hardly something to feel alarm about.

[1] https://christinescottcheng.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/tropica...

[2] http://civileats.com/2009/05/06/freshly-squeezed-the-truth-a...



lemevi 2 days ago 4 replies      
This author has a history of being on the wrong side of science, and fear mongers on the harms of GMO. For example:


Just google GMO and this blog:https://www.google.com/search?q=GMO+site%3Afoodrenegade.com

jinushaun 2 days ago 5 replies      
I know this article is trying to "scare me with science," but it actually makes me proud that science allows for orange juice year round. Fresh is always better than not fresh, but this is something we as a society should be proud of, not ashamed.
ricardobeat 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is one of the little things that make me happy about the Netherlands: the local market chains sell lots of minimally industrialized products. Orange juice tastes fresh and will spoil in a couple of days. If you still don't trust it, there are machines where you can choose fruit and squeeze your own juice. And it's usually cheaper than the big-brand alternatives.
gruez 2 days ago 3 replies      
> Im not questioning the health or merit of added chemicals (natural or synthetic)

Oh good, I thought you were afraid of chemicals

>Im questioning the health or merit of so-called foods that are so devoid of flavor or color that we have to add back in chemical flavorings and colors to make them palatable.

Wait what? I thought you weren't questioning the health or merit chemicals? People like orange juice (more specifically, not from concentrate), and the cheapest way to produce something that resembles that is to store them in oxygen-free vats and add back flavor packs. Who cares if chemicals were used to achieve that flavor?

thaumasiotes 2 days ago 1 reply      
I found this a little odd:

> Havent you ever wondered why every glass of Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice tastes the same, no matter where in the world you buy it or what time of year youre drinking it in? Or maybe your brand of choice is Minute Maid or Simply Orange or Floridas Natural. Either way, I can ask the same question. Why is the taste and flavor so consistent?

And then

> The packs added to juice earmarked for the North American market tend to contain high amounts of ethyl butyrate, a chemical in the fragrance of fresh squeezed orange juice that, juice companies have discovered, Americans favor. Mexicans and Brazilians have a different palate. Flavor packs fabricated for juice geared to these markets therefore highlight different chemicals

GigabyteCoin 2 days ago 2 replies      
I was always confused as to why "100% orange juice not from concentrate" tasted so wildly different from fresh squeezed orange juice.

It's almost as if they are two completely separate drinks.

skybrian 2 days ago 1 reply      
Another lesson is that if you're going to buy industrial food (and it's something we're all going to do sometimes since it's an efficient way to make convenient food available at scale), it's better to go with something that doesn't hide what it is.

It's one reason why I'm a fan of Soylent. I hope it starts a trend where we get we get honest industrial food instead of fake natural food. I'm not not at all convinced that their product is unique, but I hope it starts a trend, where manufacturers don't hide the fact that flavor and nutrition need to be designed in, and instead try to explain why the design they chose is the best design.

SunShiranui 2 days ago 4 replies      
Is there any actual evidence that MSG should be "cause for concern"?
peteretep 1 day ago 0 replies      

 > Im sure youre careful to buy the kind thats 100% > juice and not made from concentrate. After all, > thats the healthier kind, right? 
If you're going to drink sugar water, it's unlikely to make much difference if it came straight from an orange or from concentrate. It seems a bit like worrying about whether your cigarette papers were naturally bleached or not.

 > flavor packs are made from orange by-products even though > these by-products are so chemically manipulated that they > hardly qualify as by-products any more.
I would love to know what that actually means, other than being scare-quote-tastic. How does something stop qualifying as a by-product?

 > Yet those in the industry will tell you that the flavor > packs, whether made for reconstituted or pasteurized orange > juice, resemble nothing found in nature
The pork sausages I buy come exlusively from pigs, herbs, and onions, and yet they also "resemeble nothing found in nature", unless Big Feline has invented meat grinders while we weren't watching.

kazinator 2 days ago 2 replies      
If the juice is based on the use of flavor packs, then it is, to some extent, "made from concentrate"; if it is labeled as "not from concentrate", then that is a flat out lie.
jeena 2 days ago 2 replies      
The best orange juice I ever had was on the streets of Marakesh. It's freakin' amazing, hard to describe actually. I never before or after this visit had that good of a orange juice.


shiftoutbox 2 days ago 0 replies      
My father grew up on an orange grove in Lebanon and ate lots of citrus fruit and drank a good amount of juice as a child . Living in the New Jersey for the majority of his adult life he always said that the frozen concentrate orange juice tastes the best; and it looked like orange juice . He always disliked the bottled juice , saying it didn't taste right to him, and it was too damn expensive. As I grew up I noticed that Tropcana and Minute Maid cartons gave me horrible indigestion, so I gave up on orange juice . I told my dad about this and he reminded me of two things one this is what you get when a large company makes food , people in suits with MBAs tell chemical engineers to make me a more profitable product . Two don't drink orange juice, stick to coffee , it has caffeine. Ymmv
bitmapbrother 2 days ago 0 replies      
You should also watch this CBC Marketplace episode on the secrets behind Orange Juice. Quite revealing.


umsm 2 days ago 1 reply      
There was an interesting CBC News show on this:


The most interesting thing was that people were so used to the taste of the processed OJ that they preferred it to the fresh squeezed OJ.

dplgk 2 days ago 2 replies      
So they don't have to list the flavor packets as ingredients. But why are they allowed to advertise "100% pure premium Florida orange juice"?
meursault334 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've wondered why the fresh orange juice machines you see in Spain commonly are never seen in the United States. Is there a food safety law that prevents this or is it just a matter of preference?
jheriko 2 days ago 1 reply      
i'm not sure i care that much tbh.

this is a tiny part of the price i pay for being able to buy it in a shop from bulk suppliers rather than having to juice my own fruit... besides that, i don't think its a heavy price to pay - i'm not sure i really see the harm tbh.

its not like they are flavouring it with deadly toxic poisons.

m104 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very interesting reading. I've gotten many migraine headaches over the years that I can only correlate to having consumed major brand name orange juices. Minute Maid, Tropicana, that kind of stuff.

Since realizing this, I've stuck to plain old oranges and fresh squeezed OJ and not had a problem. The link between consumer OJ and my migraines, if one exists at all, never made sense ("it's just crushed oranges, after all") until now.

So, theoretically at least, my body could have a bad reaction to whatever is in the flavor packs that are used to make the tasteless juice taste more like real orange juice.

cubano 2 days ago 3 replies      
If you don't care for how your OJ is processed, you should really dislike that bottle of wine, too.

Sulfur Dioxide The most widely used wine additive. It kills microbes and prevents oxidation. Few vintners dare to bottle a wine without it, but overuse can make a vino stink like burnt matches.

Ammonium Salts A touch of diammonium phosphate revives dying yeast and keeps it from producing too much sulfur.

Water If a batch of vino ends up a bit too boozy, just add some water.

Oak adjuncts Oak barrels can make wine taste drier and lend it notes of vanilla, but theyre expensive. A cheaper alternative? Oak chips, sawdust, or essencea liquefied wood product that can be added directly to an otherwise finished wine.

Tartaric Acid A naturally occurring acid found in grapes, its particularly critical in white wines, where tartness gives each sip a pleasing snap. Wines with insufficient acidity can get a boost from powdered tartaric acid.

Powdered Tannin Naturally present in grape skins and seeds as well as oak, tannin creates texture and astringency. Typically made from a growth on oak trees called a nutgall, powdered tannin can punch up lackluster wine.

Sugar If grapes arent ripe enough when picked, adding cane or beet sugar to the must can help them ferment. The catch: Adding sugar, called chaptalization, is illegal in California, Italy, and Australia. (Its legal in New Zealand, Oregon, and parts of France, though allowed amounts vary.)

Pectic Enzymes Complex proteins that can be used to alter color, improve clarity, release aromatic compounds, and speed up aging.

Gum Arabic Made from the sap of the acacia tree, gum arabic softens tannins to reduce astringency and make the wines body more silky. This can make a tough and somewhat bitter red wine ready to drink immediately.

Velcorin (dimethyl dicarbonate) First introduced in the 1980sthough increasingly controversialthis microbial control agent can kill a half-dozen wine-ruining bacteria and yeasts when added in minute quantities. Its also widely used in fruit juices.

Mega Purple Made from the concentrated syrup of Rubired grapes, Mega Purple is a thick goo that winemakers rely on to correct color issuesa few drops can turn a bottle of wine from a weak salmon blush to an appealingly intense crimsonand to make a wine look consistent from batch to batch. In a 119-liter wine barrel, just 200 milliliters is enough to do the trick. Mega Purple is made by Constellation Brands, the company behind famous labels like Robert Mondavi and Ravenswood. While on the record no one will cop to using it (or any other additive), industry insiders say that even high-end winemakers have employed it to deepen the color of their wines, a trait that connotes richness and quality, earns better ratings from critics, and commands higher bottle prices.


cobweb 2 days ago 0 replies      
The home vs shop bought items rings true. I can make a bean burger without much effort. And I have a good idea what went into it. But if I buy one, I'm not sure how old the ingredients are, how long they have been stored and what other processes those foods have been through.

I have gotten it into my head that these are pretty much low-nutrition non-foods, and as such, I only eat them on the rare occasion.

sehugg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Uncle Matt's costs a couple bucks more, but doesn't use flavor packets. They store their juice in frozen drums in the off-season: http://unclematts.com/resources/flavor-packet-faqs/
magicbuzz 2 days ago 0 replies      
I buy a heap of organic oranges each week and make my own juice - which tastes awesome. I don't buy bottled OJ anymore and I have found that non-organic oranges tend to be always mysteriously bigger, have heaps more pulp to deal with and just don't taste as good.

And I always found the OJ to have a very distinct and unusual taste when in the US.

outworlder 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, that explains some things.

Being brazilian, I find US "orange juice" to be TERRIBLE. So yeah, we do have different tastes in juice.

Nothing beats freshly squeezed juice, as in just squeezed. Try to drink it one hour later and it will have changed the taste already.

jakejake 2 days ago 1 reply      
Regardless of how you feel about additives, healthiness of juice or whatever, you should at least want your food labels to be honest and accurate. To me that's really what I take away from food posts about ingredients, GMOs, etc.
farresito 2 days ago 0 replies      
Most fruit juices are unhealthy because of their high sugar, low fiber content. Buy them from the store and they are even more unhealthy. A better option is probably to make shakes (throw the whole fruit in).
Pxtl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Frustrating that we either give up on natural foods or on the economies of scale and industrialization.

With two incomes and 3 kids, my family has no time for homemade organic fermented (!?) Lemonade.

m1keil 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is why I only drink Orange Drink..


kennydude 1 day ago 1 reply      
In the UK I just stick to Innocent drinks who don't use any of that stuff. I love how they just use pictures on the labels :)
necessity 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is turning into reddit with all these clickbaits.
ju-st 2 days ago 1 reply      
So orange juice made from concentrate is better/good?
LoSboccacc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Article seems interesting but damn all the javascript tracking shit make it a pain to read on a oldish iphone (5s)
cobweb 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I ever buy shop bought tomato pasta sauces, there is a flavour in most that repulses me. It's something I can't recreate with home cooking. So this post does make me think that it could be something like a flavour pack. I always thought it was a preservative.
clumsysmurf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Next up for deceptive labeling: GMO Salmon


cobweb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is this a U.S. thing? Is it the same in the U.K.?
Pxtl 2 days ago 0 replies      
So is the frozen concentrate better or worse?
privacy101 2 days ago 0 replies      
I usually mix my juices with about 40% water before I drink them.
tripzilch 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Do you buy orange juice at the store? If you do, Im sure youre careful to buy the kind thats 100% juice and not made from concentrate. After all, thats the healthier kind, right? The more natural kind? The kind without any additives? The kind thats sold in the refrigerator section so it must be almost as good as fresh-squeezed orange juice?

I'll tell my experience when visiting the US a few years ago. I'm from the Netherlands, and here almost all orange juice is "from concentrate"[0].

It doesn't quite taste like freshly pressed juice, but I was never quite able to put my finger on it what was missing.

In the US I saw cartons of "actual really real juice not from concentrate really" for the first time, in a Whole Foods supermarket in Manhattan, NYC. So I got one of those and it was delicious. Still not quite like fresh juice, but really close.

(I don't think you can actually get the "real fresh orange juice" experience if you don't have fingers that smell like orange peel, and this vague worry that you should really wipe the kitchen counter before it'll dry all sticky)

So two days later I got another, different brand carton of "actually really real juice for realness totally not concentrate really". And it tasted pretty much like the "from concentrate" stuff at home (which still isn't bad, IMHO--unlike that "nectar" crap).

Next time at the same Whole Foods supermarket, I took a good look, and discovered there's basically (at least) two kinds of orange juice in the US: made from oranges in Florida, and made from oranges in Brazil (I think it was Brazil, 98% sure).

Now it made sense to me. In the Netherlands, nearly all our orange juice is from Brazil (afaik). And it was the "real juice not from concentrate" stuff from Florida oranges that was the juice that tasted (to me) mostly like fresh juice. And the Brazilian "real juice not from concentrate" that tasted like the "from concentrate" stuff at home.

Unfortunately I couldn't completely test the theory that maybe Florida oranges just juice better, concentrate or not, because at this particular Whole Foods I couldn't find any "Florida orange juice from concentrate". I'd have totally bought it to test the experiment, but I just couldn't spot any.

Does this make sense to any US-people? That have more time to buy and try different types of OJ? :-) Otherwise, just disregard this N=1 anecdote (but do let me know :P)

[0] There's an even cheaper kind called "orange nectar" which is half juice-from-concentrate plus water and some sugar/sweetener, but I can't imagine why anyone would buy that, ever. You can add water to juice at home without the sugar and it'll taste better, be cheaper, and healthier.

iokevins 2 days ago 2 replies      
TL;DR: producers store juice in oxygen-less tanks, for up to one year, then add natural/synthetic chemicals, to restore taste, prior to distribution. The author suggests people make their own juice, instead.
caiob 2 days ago 0 replies      
Portland much?
xenoclast 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love! It's love, isn't it?
hmate9 2 days ago 2 replies      
It seems like nothing you can buy in a supermarket is healthly.
aaron695 2 days ago 0 replies      
To those who aren't religious like this author Coke is always better than juice. It has caffeine in it a least which is good for you.

Of course sugar free Coke is close to good for you compared to the toxic juices and Coke.

Water is only better than sugar free coke in that it teaches you not to continuous rely on the addictive sugary taste and better on your teeth.

First Timers Only medium.com
499 points by MindTwister  3 days ago   65 comments top 22
pella 3 days ago 3 replies      
similar :

Mozilla "Mentor BugsIf you are looking for a bug with guidance, we maintain a set of bugs that are marked with an assigned mentor (see "Whiteboard" field). The mentor will help you get the necessary information to understand the issue, point out relevant parts of the code to look at, etc. You can browse these bugs on Bugs Ahoy!, but here's a list of unassigned mentor bugs to get you started:"


Other examples:

#easyfix: https://github.com/facebook/flow/labels/easyfix

#beginner: https://github.com/eslint/eslint/labels/beginner

#exp:beginner https://github.com/docker/docker/issues?q=is%3Aopen+is%3Aiss...

BinaryIdiot 3 days ago 2 replies      
Great read. My favorite part is this bullet point:

> Use npm scripts so people dont have to understand or globally install any build tools

I do this on every project I work on. In fact, where possible, I completely skip globals entirely (for instance in my msngr.js library it uses Grunt but it executes grunt locally without it being installed globally on the machine).

I think it's really important that anyone can go up to a library, pull it down, and start it with little to no further effort. The less friction you can provide a developer the better.

peterjmag 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love this.

I've been thinking about a very similar issue for a while now, and I'm still trying to organize my thoughts into a blog post or something, but here's the basic idea:

Hire more juniors. Or cross-train people from other departments[1]. Doesn't really matter who. But they should be pretty darn close to beginners.

Assign a relatively small issue to them. The kind of thing that would only take about an hour for a more senior dev to look in to. Plan more than an hour for the junior. Probably a lot more. Also plan some time for one of those more senior devs. Sit them down next to each other.

Point the junior to the readme. Ask the junior to ping / poke / bother the senior every time they hit a roadblock. Every single time. Ask them to be relentlessly persistent. (Not everyone's good at being relentlessly persistent. So encourage them. Create an environment where they feel like they can be relentlessly persistent.) Then leave them alone.

Give it a day or two. Watch as interesting things start to happen.

Watch as the junior dev learns how to be a better communicator. Watch as they learn how to make problems visible. How to get help. And as an added bonus: how to program.

Watch as the senior dev goes insane at first from all the questions. Watch them start to wonder how they can avoid going through this every time somebody needs to touch their code. Watch them remove obstacles. Or at least reduce their number. Watch them automate things. Or speed up things that are already automated. Or improve processes in ways they had never even considered before sitting with the junior. Also watch them learn how to be a better communicator.

Do this a few times. Watch for magical things. Code quality improves. Onboarding times plummet. Hiring friction melts away. Teamwork starts... working. Productivity skyrockets. Job satisfaction goes up. Happiness prevails.


[1] See also https://twitter.com/patio11/status/657902663686754304

neogodless 3 days ago 3 replies      
As a true open-source zero timer, I can't quite figure out what PR means. My gut was "pull request" but it sounds like you're "committing a fix" at this point, so I suppose "push request" might be the answer, but it's an ambiguous pair of letters.
ant6n 3 days ago 2 replies      
As a bit of a nitpick, I find it slightly ironic that this article uses TDD and PR as unexplained abbreviations.
amirmc 3 days ago 0 replies      
We've a curated set of Pioneer Projects for MirageOS [1], where more established contributors have agreed to act as mentors for newcomers. It's worked really well for us!

One of the unexpected benefits was that we could quickly take part in things like Outreachy and GSoC, as we already had a curated list. Reviewing this list every few months has become part of the normal process now.

In addition, asking people to act as mentors also gives them a different perspective on the existing code base, especially where things are particularly thorny.

[1] https://github.com/mirage/mirage-www/wiki/Pioneer-Projects

thewhitetulip 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a really nice initiative, when I was starting with open source development I had no idea how to do what we needed to do and almost no project i talked to had any initiative like this where they keep some part of their project open for first timers like me, i had to struggle a lot to get started, it'd be great if more and more influential projects started to use this and if they were a little more open to feedback, of late I have noticed those who manage the project just don't listen to feedback what so ever.
jedanbik 3 days ago 0 replies      
Mentorship in OSS makes everyone involved a little bit better at something, be it following instructions, learning practical tooling, writing clear instructions, justification of process and habits, etc.
jondubois 3 days ago 2 replies      
There are a lot of ways to contribute that don't involve making pull requests. Identifying and raising issues is a good place to start for someone who is not familiar with the codebase.
nartz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think the KEY thing here is that you wrote the tests, that gave someone the 'confidence' to say whether or not they were even on the right track - this is amazing - the tests give exactly the right context for someone to dive into the code.
javajosh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea.

I would add: if someone tries to do contribute something, but maybe they have a git issue, don't step in and push it yourself. This happened to me on one project, and it bothered me so much that I stopped contributing entirely (which was the right move, it turned out).

thanatropism 3 days ago 1 reply      
... and this is a prime example of the "developer ergonomics" v. "end-user needs" trade-off that was being discussed a few days ago re: web frameworks.

I mean, it's very well possible that the long-term investment in expanding the "base" of willing coders is worth the short-term loss in productivity. But even long-term investments in human capital need better planning than just "hey, I bet a high-schooler could deal with this simple accounting spreadsheet; that would train him even if it takes him a day to fix what I can fix in ten minutes". It's fine investing in high-schoolers, sure, but that's not the point.

alexc05 3 days ago 0 replies      
One thing that he left off his list of things to make contributing successful is seeking up a "docker" box which is ready to go for development.

(Or a vagrant file)

If the image is set up so it "just works" and has all tools preinstalled, you can be up and running locally in seconds.

With NPM scripts, its often possible to run I to problems with node-gyp... Or any other number of cross platform incompatiblities.

The docker/vagrant route is a really novel solution I've seen used effectively in other projects.

jakejake 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is really great. I've contributed to lots of projects and it would be nice if maintainers were all this thoughtful. If not actively encouraging people to get involved, it would be nice of maintainers to simply acknowledge or appreciate someone's effort.

I've contributed a lot of code and have had vastly different experiences. Sometimes people are excited and accept a PR without question. Some people just ignore PRs. Some people make you feel as though you've just spit in their face. I had one pull request that I thought was reasonable which was met with a ridicule from the maintainer at how useless my idea was (to him). I'm a seasoned programmer with my own projects and a lot of code under my belt but, even knowing how these things work, that one really soured me on his project. I can't imagine if a novice who was excited at their first PR was treated so poorly.

If I could suggest anything to maintainers, it would be to simply appreciate that somebody was trying to contribute. If their code doesn't meet your goals or standards, try to still respect that they spent some time on your project.

twic 3 days ago 0 replies      
metasean 3 days ago 0 replies      
Along the same lines, I'd encourage everyone, first timers and grey beards alike to check out http://24pullrequests.com/ they use a 'beginner' instead of 'first-timers-only' as their novice-friendly tag).

If you're in the Salt Lake area, also please consider joining us next Saturday [1] or Tuesday, Dec. 15 [2] as we give a little back to the Open Source community!

[1] SLC JS Learners - monthly JavaScript Study Group - http://www.meetup.com/SLC-JS-Learners/events/224563977/[2] SLC JS Learners - monthly meetup - http://www.meetup.com/SLC-JS-Learners/events/226862778/

yandrypozo 3 days ago 0 replies      
This world needs more people like you. Thank you !!
munchor 3 days ago 1 reply      
At elementary OS we have "elementary Drive By Contributors" :) https://launchpad.net/~elementary-driveby
eitland 3 days ago 1 reply      
Jenkins has been filling my twitter feed with information for new contributors lately under the hashtag #hacksgiving I think.

Edit: Changed "spamming" to "filling" That was meant as a positive thing but I guess I shouldn't have used the word spamming.

MindTwister 3 days ago 2 replies      
Huh? Says I posted this 2 hours ago, but I'm pretty sure I posted it yesterday
batrat 3 days ago 0 replies      
This titles man are worst than FB. Why not just "Click here!"?. Or could just copy and paste the title: "A suggestion to Open Source project maintainers"
J_Darnley 3 days ago 2 replies      
As far as I can tell this information is specific to Github and development on Github.

Why is CONTRIBUTING.md important? Its just another file for someone to read alongside COPYING, INSTALL, README, TODO, and perhaps what's in the doc/ directory. And why markdown?

Organising and comments are good but people have been trying to get devs to do that for decades and we're still mentioning it.

"Add an up-for-grabs label" to what? Where? How will people see this?

Adding a githook might be useful on a remote repository but I don't want to run a full test suite every time I commit, ammend a commit, rebase, or otherwise trigger it.

What's NPM? Why would anyone use it over a makefile?

I would extend my first comment and say this is for javascript projects which use Github and only Github.

Blue Origin Makes Historic Rocket Landing blueorigin.com
371 points by adwn  4 days ago   4 comments top 3
dang 4 days ago 0 replies      
sciurus 4 days ago 0 replies      
elbigbad 4 days ago 0 replies      
Please, please, please don't make me regret coming over here from Reddit thinking the conversation would be at a higher level.
Dell shipping laptop with rogue self-signed root CA reddit.com
396 points by cstross  5 days ago   105 comments top 17
tedunangst 5 days ago 3 replies      
Karmic. Straight from Dell's website:

Dell is serious about your privacy

Worried about Superfish? Dell limits its pre-loaded software to a small number of high-value applications on all of our computers. Each application we pre-load undergoes security, privacy and usability testing to ensure that our customers experience the best possible computing performance, faster set-up and reduced privacy and security concerns.

jkot 5 days ago 4 replies      
Seems like a way to bypass signed drivers. Sending drivers to Microsoft for signing takes a few weeks and costs money. I bet this certificate was used on prototypes, but was not removed from final version for some reason.

Source: I worked for hardware vendor and wrote windows drivers.

ctz 5 days ago 1 reply      
Here's a test website from Kenn White:


guelo 5 days ago 6 replies      
On Android I only buy and recommend Nexus devices because of crapware, privacy and security concerns. It might be a good time for Microsoft users to switch to that same strategy and only buy Microsoft devices, since the introduction of Microsoft's own laptop makes it possible. It's also pretty much the Apple model.
stronglikedan 5 days ago 1 reply      
I have a Dell M3800 that was purchased in March and has this cert. I am not well versed in this area. What do I do? Can I just delete it from the "Certificates" snap-in in MMC? (And should I?
Animats 5 days ago 1 reply      
Take a look at the screenshot of the certificate store. Why are expired certs from 1999 in there? What's that "NO LIABILITY ACCEPTED" cert? Do you really have the private key for the self-signed cert?

This is worth a vulnerability report to US-CERT, and more publicity.

philh 5 days ago 3 replies      
[1] suggests that this can be used for code signing, but not to MITM network requests, which makes it bad in a different way to superfish.

[1] https://np.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/3twmfv/dell_ship...

01Michael10 5 days ago 3 replies      
One should always do a clean install of Windows with a OEM disc when buy a new PC. You can avoid a lot of issues that way...
nailer 5 days ago 0 replies      
Related: how to control the SSL CAs your browser trusts, on nearly every device (except iOS 9).


devnull42 5 days ago 0 replies      
Regardless of why this is here, negligence or cost cutting, this is pretty bad and leaves the systems pretty open.
Spooky23 5 days ago 5 replies      
I love the Dell response: "We have top men working on it."
guelo 5 days ago 1 reply      
This should be the NSA's job, keeping us safe from all the corporate and foreign government cyber espionage that is completely out of control. In reality they don't give a shit because they like to free ride on top of all the other backdoors as well as the ones they create.
giancarlostoro 5 days ago 1 reply      
One thing to note is, if you have your own Windows disks (some organizations might have) or if you use Linux this might not really matter to you. I wish laptops and desktops were sold without Operating Systems by the major companies, outside of server space.
Avitas 5 days ago 3 replies      
It's hard for me to imagine a company as big as Dell making such a bone-headed blunder.
rasz_pl 5 days ago 2 replies      
Off topic: I dont reddit that much, so this is a first time I see this banner (specifically crafted to not be copyable!)

> You have been linked to a read-only version of this subreddit. Please respect the community by not voting.Please do not vote or comment when you come from external subreddits.


NickHaflinger 5 days ago 0 replies      
Test for eDellRoot certificate ..


doggydogs94 4 days ago 0 replies      
The self-signed certificate is probably something a developer at Dell was using for testing and forgot to delete.
New Shepard: Bezos claims success on second spaceship flight bbc.com
333 points by lentil_soup  4 days ago   224 comments top 30
vassvdm 4 days ago 10 replies      
Elon's reaction (quoted from Twitter):

"Congrats to Jeff Bezos and the BO team for achieving VTOL on their booster

It is, however, important to clear up the difference between "space" and "orbit", as described well by https://what-if.xkcd.com/58/

Getting to space needs ~Mach 3, but GTO orbit requires ~Mach 30. The energy needed is the square, i.e. 9 units for space and 900 for orbit."

ColinWright 4 days ago 3 replies      
The same thing is being mentioned in several places elsewhere, but to put some numbers on it:

Orbital velocity is in the vicinity of 7500 to 8000 m/s. At that speed your KE is 1/2.m.v^2 which is about 32e6 Joules/kg.

Orbits are, conveniently, at about 320 km, so your PE is m.g.h, or about about 3.2e6 Joules/kg.

In other words, the energy to get to orbit is ten times the energy to get to the altitude of orbit, and this exercise only got to 1/3 of that. So the energy involved was about 1/30 of that required to put something in orbit.

It's still a fantastic achievement, and an important - nay, critical - step on the way to properly reusable rockets, but it does lend some perspective to it.

danielvf 4 days ago 5 replies      
I noticed a major difference in the landing sequences of the New Shepard and Falcon 9 first stage.

The Falcon 9 first stage, if I recall correctly, is incapable of either hovering or slowly decending. The engine has simply too much power. A Falcon 9 first stage, stopped mid air has two choices, keep the motor on and go up, or turn the motor off and fall - and I don't think the motor has too many extra restarts available.

Because of this inability to hover the Falcon 9 first stage, SpaceX is attempting to have the rocket's vertical velocity reach zero at the exact moment the rocket reaches the pad. This is why when you watch the grasshopper or other SpaceX landing videos, you always wonder for a split second if the rocket has just smashed into the ground. In order for this to work, all nine axis (three each of position, rotation, and velocity) must be brought to zero at exactly the same fixed time. This is insane level control theory here.

Now this type of landing is theoretically possible - and I think it has been tested on the grasshopper at lower speeds, but it scares the willies out of me. There's almost no room for error nor for the chaos of the universe.

New Shepard on the other hand, comes to a hover about 100? feet above the pad, moves horizontally to be above the pad, stops, then lowers itself down. This is tremendously simpler since the rocket only really cares about one or two set of axis at a time, it does not have to be nearly as precise, and you have time to fix anything that's not lined up.

I'm still curious to see if SpaceX can pull off their landing style, or will instead change so that their first stages will be able to hover.

sandworm101 4 days ago 2 replies      
So this was just a vertical hop?

It would seem that SpaceX remains in a totally different league. By only going vertical, this is a very limited "spacecraft", more akin to the Virgin spaceplane than SpaceX's launch vehicles. For proper access to space, rather than tourist hops, everyone wants to see a reusable launch vehicle --> a craft to actually boost something towards orbit rather than an altitude record. That means returning to some sort of landing after huge downrange progress. So while this is an impressive achievement for space tourism (roller-coasters for billionaires) I still see SpaceX's efforts as the more revolutionary.

Already__Taken 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is super cool, in case any of their engineers read this thread congratulations.

To jump in with the inevitable SpaceX comparison. Worth noting is you see the Blue Origin booster: fall, slow, hover, correct any drift, descend then land. The SpaceX booster cannot hover, it has more thrust than it weighs.

Symmetry 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm sure SpaceX will land their Falcon 9 sooner or later but I think this goes to show that being able to hover makes things a lot easier. Real rockets can't be set to any throttle like in Kerbal Space Program, most can't throttle at all. The Merlin's ability to throttle down to 70% is impressive, and the BE-3's ability to throttle down to 25% is very impressive.
adwn 4 days ago 1 reply      
Direct link to video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pillaOxGCo

The landing footage begins at 1:40.

andys627 4 days ago 0 replies      
Video I think is from yesterday... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pillaOxGCo
gchokov 4 days ago 3 replies      
Amazon Prime next-day deliveries to the International Space Station just got one step closer...
butwhy 4 days ago 1 reply      
I find it quite amusing that Bezos does this and what's everyone's first reaction? Let's find out what Elon has to say!
leroy_masochist 4 days ago 1 reply      
Just watched the video....I think it's pretty lame that Jeff Bezos has no idea how to spray champagne out of a bottle.
ctdonath 4 days ago 2 replies      
Looks like they'll be taking passengers soon. Expected ticket price? Waiting list time?
scentoni 4 days ago 1 reply      
The Delta Clipper was historic. This has been a followon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_DC-X
throwaway000002 4 days ago 3 replies      
I'm far from being an expert on such matters, but why doesn't SpaceX attempt to lasso the upper part of the rocket on landing? How about a super big soft pillow? At the very least spread out some huge arms to aid stability?
Swannie 3 days ago 0 replies      
I used to be enough to get lots of big boats:

Larry Ellison; Oracle:http://www.superyachtfan.com/larry_ellison.html(including his Americas Cup yachts)

James (Jim) Clark; Silicon Graphics, Netscape:http://www.superyachtfan.com/sailing_yacht_athena.html

Paul Allen; Microsoft:http://www.superyachtfan.com/paul_allen.html(3 very large vessels)

And more recently:

Larry Page; Google:http://www.superyachttimes.com/yachts/details/333

Now you need a rocket! OK, Paul Allen did go there first, as far as I can tell.

yavramen 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is this is the first attempt by Blue Origin? The first one turned to be successful?
borplk 4 days ago 0 replies      
Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos competing with each other? That's great!
JoeAltmaier 4 days ago 2 replies      
Is this what happens when an Engineering company decides to go to space? The video (https://www.blueorigin.com/news/blog/historic-rocket-landing...) of the booster coming down like a freight train, igniting, arresting velocity and correcting for yaw, then landing on a dime was absolutely uncanny. This thing reeks of technical competence and flawless execution.
saneshark 4 days ago 3 replies      
Does anyone know why it is 5x the effect of gravity for reentry? I would think it would just fall back into the Earth's gravitational pull after its thrusters are turned off. Or is it because it has an arcing path, and thrusters are deliberately not turned off during reentry so that the rocket spends less time burning up in the atmosphere? Anyone know? It's not clear to me why it would be 5x the effect of gravity on reentry.
pilatesfordogs 4 days ago 2 replies      
Investing in space is great for humanity in general but what's gonna stop this industry from going the way of the airlines?

Is this gonna turn into a price war ?

Twirrim 4 days ago 0 replies      
Between SpaceX, Blue Origin and co it is great to finally see such competition and progress in the space sector.

As the great philosopher Mike Tyson once said:I'm a dreamer. I have to dream and reach for the stars, and if I miss a star then I grab a handful of clouds.

treblig 4 days ago 1 reply      
Space noob here: why is it that just after liftoff, the rocket swings out to the right, and corrects. Is this intentional?


Shivetya 4 days ago 1 reply      
The video was really exciting to watch. It does appear they come back much more rapidly than Space X but this might be due to video editing. I also did not notice visible attitude thrusters, was it all done via that main motor gimbal?
adam12 4 days ago 0 replies      
Elon's Grasshopper from 2 years ago:


The New Shepard went much higher though (100.5km vs 744m).

dfar1 4 days ago 1 reply      
That landing was pretty amazing! I was expecting parachutes.
ogezi 4 days ago 0 replies      
The spacecraft did not exit the atmosphere, but this is certainly a prepossessing feat. Congratulations to Bezos and Blue Origin.
Rathan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great Job! Amazing rocket that 'LANDS'.
gchokov 4 days ago 2 replies      
Check the latest Elon Musk's tweets about that.
butwhy 4 days ago 3 replies      
So.. they beat spacex?
The Yale Problem Begins in High School heterodoxacademy.org
510 points by frostmatthew  3 days ago   481 comments top 38
jseliger 3 days ago 9 replies      
I've taught at two colleges and based on my (purely) anecdotal experiences and attention to the climate, I'd say that the number of students and faculty interested in stifling or censoring ideas is small but also very, very noisy. They also have no sense of humor and college administrators as a group have no sense of humor or perspective, and they're chronically worried about accusations of indifference or insensitivity (which are themselves as good as convictions). There is a strong economic and career incentive for administrators to take everything seriously and to keep their heads down as much as possible.

Brew this up and one gets a majority of students who are reasonable but a small minority who drive all the discourse.

I don't teach at Yale and have never taught at Yale or schools with similar cultures, so I can't speak to the environment there, but William Deresiewicz did, and his book Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life came out of that and I recommend it. His book A Jane Austen Education (http://jakeseliger.com/tag/a-jane-austen-education-how-six-n...) is also very good, even for someone like me who does not love Jane Austen.

Edit: Also, almost all of the censorship calls and nasty behavior / comments came from students on the left. Vox's "I'm a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me" (http://www.vox.com/2015/6/3/8706323/college-professor-afraid) is congruent with my experiences.

lumberjack 3 days ago 6 replies      
These people act this way because they are elitist. They think they know what should be better than anyone else and therefore there is no need for debate or for rights like free speech.

I find that quite ironic because presumably, these people subscribe to left leaning ideologies. But maybe there isn't so much of a contradiction. They are simply more elitist than they are anything else.

They don't really stand for equality because they do not possess the humbleness to bring themselves to the level of the common person. They believe themselves to be intellectually and morally superior to the common Joe. And yet they want to dupe the common Joe into thinking that they will safeguard his interests while at the same time thinking so poorly of him!

tosseraccount 3 days ago 6 replies      
Look how Silicon Valley folks treated Brandon Eich when he made a donation to the majority side in a California proposition.

It's not just academia where you can't speak freely.

richard_mcp 3 days ago 4 replies      
I was originally going to lump this article in with other "men's rights movement" stuff until I saw the author was Jonathan Haidt. I had the honor to take Psyc 101 with Prof. Haidt years ago at the University of Virginia. He was a wonderful teacher who expected the best out of his students. He struck me as a very intelligent man who had put a lot of thought into both what he taught as well as his opinions. When he bring up his own beliefs in class he was very open to letting others voice dissenting opinions. More importantly, he always seemed willing to consider alternative views.

I know this is all anecdotal, but I put a lot of trust in his opinions and pay attention when he says something.

Unrelated, but he gave a great Ted talk in 2008 about the difference between liberals and conservatives: https://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind

Nickersf 3 days ago 1 reply      
Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers has done some interesting research, and given many eye opening talks regarding this matter. Reading this article made my morning. It's time we step back and reevaluate the way we are raising the youth. This war on boys is wrong, and could have disastrous effects on our society in the future.
mariodiana 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Alumni should take it into account before writing any more checks.

This is the key takeaway for anyone interested in getting this nonsense to stop.

lanny 3 days ago 0 replies      
While I agree with most of the article, the author tries to politicize it at points, which I think is a mistake. This is not an issue of liberals trying to silence opposition, indeed when we see the most vehement efforts at shaming differing views the language is not ideological but personal: "X was hurtful" "He/she felt threatened".

I'm a true blue leftist not long out of a famously liberal liberal university and I would have raised my hands on the eggshells questions. I vividly recall a student proposing a test on candidates' general positions at polls and being literally shouted down before he could finish speaking. Despite its ugly history in the US it's not of liberals vs conservatives, at least not in the way we use those terms in the US.

We have a problem with limiting discourse in schools but trying to shoehorn it into the usual political framework frankly alienates those of us in the left who are having to choose between apologizing for zealots on our side of the spectrum or aligning with groups that seem to inevitably take on repulsive undertones of intolerance and a whole other host of positions that have nothing to do with our own beyond being marginalized by the same extremely vocal group.

econnors 3 days ago 1 reply      
As a student at Dartmouth, I find this article to be extremely accurate and representative of the culture I've encountered amongst the protests here and (through conversations with friends) at other places across the country. As a white male, my friends and I are too intimidated by the Black Lives Matter protesters and their actions to try to initiate any sort of discussion on the matter in fear that we'll only provoke more anger and protest.
1812Overture 3 days ago 1 reply      
One thing that I haven't seen anyone mention is that this sort of walking on eggshells culture tends to build higher walls around the privileged and powerful group. How often do you think these privileged rich white boys go on to become employers and refuse to higher someone from an out group (consciously or unconsciously) due to fear that the slightest misinterpreted off hand remark could bring hell down on them, but if they hire the other privileged white guy they can comfortably be themselves without risk.

I think even if you have the most leftist SJW views and objectives, you have to see this as counter productive.

purplerabbit 3 days ago 1 reply      
Thank you so much for posting this. It articulated a lot of the angst I was feeling in college that I felt like I couldn't express without sounding insensitive or offensive.
waylandsmithers 3 days ago 1 reply      
This drove me out of the humanities completely when I was in college. The topic of discussion in a class freshman year was whether natural selection still or ever applied to humans. I said no, because decisions on how many kids you have tends to vary from culture to culture, and I mentioned specifically Catholicism and the 1 child law in China. And I was called racist.

Never got accused of being racist in Calc.

ps4fanboy 3 days ago 3 replies      
HN suffers from this problem, and I have found it increasing over time. Sometimes I am afraid to upvote certain stories or comments as I fear the hidden moderators can see what people are voting on and punish them accordingly. I know that this is irrational but still those feelings creep in. Every time the hate mob takes someone down professionally and the more ridiculous the circumstances the more people self censor. The silent majority is the biggest political and social problem of our time. People forget that far left political movements have been just as bloody and hateful as far right. This stuff is dangerous.
holmak 3 days ago 1 reply      
The concept presented here of "seeking justice by appeal to the majority" reminds me of the Twitter phenomenon in which people learned that the only way to get customer service from Google/Ubisoft/Bank of America/(insert giant faceless company) was to tweet a grievance publicly. It seems to work well, at least in a few high-profile cases. At least, it worked a few times when private requests failed. Perhaps people are learning by example?

The old-fashioned ("culture of honor/dignity"?) style of one-on-one negotiation is often futile when you are dealing with a company.

leroy_masochist 3 days ago 1 reply      
For a while now I've thought that 4-year residential college is a dying model. Here's how I view the value proposition of college and how it is being replaced by tech:

* Validation of raw talent by a third party (admissions office) --> can be done by technology today in ways impossible 10 years ago and hard to imagine 30 years ago

* Socialization around other people in the top decile (or higher) of book-smarts --> can largely be done by online communities (not a full replacement for interpersonal interaction but better than what was available before)

* Access to top-tier employers who didn't have time to look through every candidate out there, so economized their recruiting efforts at places where smart young people are concentrated --> this model made largely obsolete by internet

* Access to lots of obscure books at college library --> made completely obsolete by internet

* Access to great lectures --> made obsolete by internet / MOOCs

* Access to a diversity of opinions, the exposure to which will make you a better and more informed person --> these days only applicable if you come from a very sheltered conservative background....otherwise college just reinforces existing biases

If I had to choose between two candidates with the same proficiency in a testable skill set (JavaScript, GAAP accounting, laying brick, whatever else), at this point I'd probably prefer someone who spent four years working on a fishing boat, or trying to make it as a musician, or on a church mission, or hiking the PCT / CDT / AT, or in the Marines, or something else challenging, over someone who went to an elite undergrad institution. They just seem more and more like indoctrination mills that crank out entitled little whiners.

//grumpy old man rant over

msie 3 days ago 0 replies      
I liked the following comment.The speaker himself is probably biased as to what happened to him:

As a student of centerville high school as well, I can assure you this comment is completely true. While multiple questions were phrased as attacks towards Haidt personally, many of them were completely rational. In response to one question (about his annoyance towards people who are pushing women to be in more stem positions) he stated a very vague position on how women, no matter their environmental conditions in childhood, are still predisposed to not be in stem positions (genetically).This was not the only sketchy point he made. The question about his condoning of rape, while completely unnecessary, was founded on his insensitivity towards the subject (which continued into many subjects, including race and gender).His careful picking of data allowed his points to made clearly and succinctly in his mind. Questions that were too long or that had follow ups were completely ignored. In response to one of the first (albeit angry and unnecessary) questions, Haidts response was to tell the audience that in order to fully look at an argument, one had to look at both sides, something I (as someone who did believe in a large amount of what Haidt was saying) had to scoff at. His entire argument was founded on the idea that everyone being free to say whatever they want is the best thing possible for American schools, while being politically correct in all scenarios is the worst thing possible for American schools. Obviously there are positive and negative aspects to both. This completely contradicts his belief to look at both sides of an argument dispassionately, not to mention being hard, as students who do care about their education, to listen to.Haidts talk was difficult to listen to. Even though I believe in almost all of his points (despite being part of many, although not all, of the minority groups mentioned) his inability to speak to us effectively (in a way that didnt seem like he condoned rape) made it so that his argument was not relayed to us clearly. His blatant misunderstanding of his audience put him in the position to be attacked.One can say that he did that on purpose, to prove his point about shaking those who do walk on eggshells. But that doesnt work. Telling defensive people their wrong doesnt work. Sorry.

at-fates-hands 3 days ago 1 reply      
The one thing that perplexes me more than anything is nobody ever thought free speech allows us to monitor the people who have radical ideologies and ideas that threaten our country. When you silence opposition simply because it offends somebody or some group, you lose the opportunity to monitor these people and their ideas.

I want to know if there's skinheads who want to start a race war or the black panther party leader who advocates violence against non-whites. Sure it's offensive to me, but I want to KNOW these people are out there and know what they're thinking.

alexandercrohde 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for posting this article. I've often felt the "walking on eggshells" phenomenon you describe, but I've never even felt able to call it out without risking being labeled an "enemy" of a cause. Seems you found a great way to do so.
balls187 3 days ago 2 replies      
South Park's Stunning and Brave did a great take down on this intolerance of intolerance culture that is growing among US youth.
bwanab 3 days ago 0 replies      
Prof. Haidt was also the co-author of this piece in The Atlantic Monthly: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/greg-luk...
Aqueous 3 days ago 0 replies      
as long the definition of the word 'safety' has been expanded to include removing any risk of emotional distress from day-to-day life, we might as well call the current campus climate 'unsafe' for anyone who doesn't hold the prevailing views. i know i certainly didn't feel 'safe' to express the occasional disagreement with the majority opinion while at wesleyan, even though i was 99% in agreement with those prevailing views. i felt paranoid about (either accidentally or deliberately) saying the wrong thing and therefore provoking mob justice. 'walking on eggshells' was an understatement. that paranoia felt more than justified when people who had expressed contrary opinions were the subject of campus-wide mockery, derision, and ostracism.

being reflexively deferential to every conceivable sensitivity causes us to disproportionately look out for the safety of some at the expense of the overall atmosphere of civility, dignity, respect, and yes, 'safety,' of the campus. it really hit home when recently Wesleyan's campus newspaper lost a good portion of its funding because it dared to publish an op-ed criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement on effectiveness grounds [1]. After all, students no longer felt "safe" knowingly attending the same school as someone who disagrees with them (rightly or wrongly). i am completely embarrassed.

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/free-speech-is-flunk...

aikah 3 days ago 0 replies      
An excellent article. I hope people actually read it instead of dismissing it because someone influential on twitter doesn't like the fact that it doesn't fit a specific narrative. I'm glad academia is starting to wake up on that very specific issue. Good luck to its author, he is going to need it, because some people will be out eager to destroy his career.
matthewowen 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have extremely mixed feelings about all of this.

On the one hand, I think the whole point of university is debate, discourse, critical thought. The apparent trend away from liberalism is very distressing.

On the other, I sympathize with the notion that liberalism can often be a way for the privileged to entrench their privilege, and that unprivileged voices don't benefit from it equally. If you're black and you believe that black americans are owed reparations, you probably can't say that freely without expecting some negative repercussions in your future life: you'll be judged and categorized, marked as "uppity". Liberalism doesn't exist in a vacuum: we have to take into account other societal truths when we're evaluating its effects.

I don't have a great handle on how to reconcile all of this.

ericjang 3 days ago 0 replies      
Meta: In the last few weeks I've noticed that articles about the recent college protests trending up on HN, only to be flagged and vanish.

I'm struggling to understand why these articles should be flagged and removed, rather than downvoted or debated in the comments. Thoughts?

thegayngler 3 days ago 1 reply      
I guess you could argue the up/down voting on this forum is a question of group think or bulling type of behavior.
thucydides 3 days ago 0 replies      
This article Haidt links on the sociology of the new culture of victimhood is very insightful: http://righteousmind.com/where-microaggressions-really-come-...
eecks 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does this stuff happen outside of America? It's all very crazy.
z3t4 3 days ago 0 replies      
The problem is that this also goes on in adulthood and even in board meetings. Even if you have the majority on your side they will sit quietly and watch you take a beating!

Then think about what happens if you try to have a discussion about something that is not "politically correct".

The problem with not allowing discussion about extreme topics is that the extremists will end up only discussing among themselves. And that's where it can become dangerous.

erikpukinskis 3 days ago 2 replies      
There's nothing wrong with what is being said here. Except that there are just as many "climate" issues that woman and people of color have to face, if not more. This person is cherry-picking discussions about race and gender and saying "it's horrible that climate issues are making it difficult for these white/male students from participating" but the same level of outcry doesn't exist even though in almost every other field you can say the same kind of thing: "it's horrible that climate issues in computer science are making it difficult for these students of color" and the same people are silent.

And I realize I am doing a form of derailing right now, because the matter at hand is white boys being heard. But we're actually talking about white boys being heard during advanced discussions of race and gender. And honestly I feel a little bit the same about it that I feel about girls being heard during advanced discussions of parallel CPU architectures. I wish there were more women who were in those discussions, but I don't think the solution is "just let them participate even if what they say is totally ignorant".

Frankly, most white boys are not skilled enough to participate in discussions about race and gender. It's not that there's anything inherently wrong with them, the pipeline is just letting us down completely. Most of us get almost no education in race and gender, while girls and people of color get it for free just because of their gender or race.

The solution in my mind is the same as the solution to getting more women and other disenfranchised groups into computer science. Everyone just needs to take a little bit of responsibility for the part of the pipeline that's one step upstream from them. You can't just have boys who have never thought about what colonialism actually feels like diving right into university-level gender politics classes. But as a university professor I think you can support summer programs for teenage boys to help them do really basic level gender analysis stuff so that when they do get to college, they can actually participate meaningfully with the girls, and not be seen as second-class citizens just because they have less direct experience.

We shouldn't think of these boys as "bad gender theorists" we need to broaden our understanding of what gender theory is, and make sure we are creating opportunities for disenfranchised novices to get involved.

But this naive affirmative action approach OP is advocating, of "just make sure the boys participate equally" is not taking the problem seriously. Proper affirmative action requires you to get in and take responsibility for your recruitment process and the social issues surrounding it.

pedro_delfino 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great post. We have the same thing in Brazil. But I am unsure with this problem really starts in high school.Actually, I think this problem starts on Facebook...
l33tbro 3 days ago 0 replies      
My stock retort always is "Well, I find your narrow-mindedness offensive". Questions, logical and calmly asked, also swiftly dismantle those flapping on about misplaced social concerns.

Almost feel sorry for them, like these views are thinly-veiled insecurities about some aspect of themselves or trauma experienced.

sremani 3 days ago 1 reply      
The Intolerance of the those crusading against Intolerance is funny until it is not.
wcummings 3 days ago 3 replies      
I don't think college students being involved in radical politics and protests against their school is a new trend.
coreyp_1 3 days ago 8 replies      
This directly relates to us in tech. Specifically, there is a huge push to reach out to women and girls in CS. I am not opposed to females in CS at all. I will encourage males and females alike to pursue it, because I see CS as the great equalizer; the only thing that matters is what you produce.

What I can't stand are these "Women in technology" conferences and workshops to "close the (gender) gap". Why? Because if you focus on one group, then you are actively not focusing on another. Given the dichotomy defined by their stated purpose, they are actively dismissive of men (boys). That is wrong.

I don't care about the men/women ratio. People will choose whatever path they enjoy and want to work at. I do care very strongly, though, about treating people equally.

If I say this publically, then I, too, will be ostracized. That is why this article is so very important!

ps4fanboy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Are you suggesting that people should be marginalized because they are white and male? How is this not hate speech?
daveguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
It is strange to me that the SJW-callers seem to be the most vocal and active group trying to bend speech and criticism to their own idea of "right".
peter303 3 days ago 0 replies      
Poorly written article. Title undefined until last paragraph.
zekkius 3 days ago 4 replies      
I find the underlying premise of this article and the claim that there is a "war on boys" absurd. It's a old argument from the same old set of people who have the same old intolerant (and dying) paradigm.

Not sure why it is on HN at all as the content has nothing to do with tech...

genericresponse 3 days ago 5 replies      
Just for everyone's awareness, there is a broad astroturf and professional political push that has been happening for over a year by FIRE, a right leaning think tank. This is a concerted effort to bring controversy around campus free speech into the news.

My perception is that this is an effort to weaken student's ability to speak freely, but is coded as a "free speech" issue. Similar to how many churches coded marriage equality as trampling on their freedom of religion.

Just to remind everyone how free speech works: You are free to say whatever you want. I am free to choose to speak out against you or even pull my support from you if I disagree with what you say. My freedom extends to let me voice my opposition to you just as loudly as you voice your opinions. That is not censorship.

Webtorrent BitTorrent over WebRTC github.com
360 points by rvikmanis  7 days ago   108 comments top 15
chc4 7 days ago 4 replies      
I've been using https://instant.io/ a bit to share files with people. You don't have to care about captchas or size thresholds because you aren't storing anything on the server, except for the tracker file. The more people that download and stay on the page, the faster it will be for everyone else too.

Of course, it's not perfect. It appears to try and load the entire file to memory to seed, which makes sense, but that means you can't transfer a 1GB file without using 1GB of RAM...

griffinmb 7 days ago 1 reply      
If anyone feels like testing it out, I was actually just playing with webtorrent a couple days ago: https://stark-springs-9580.herokuapp.com/

It's very basic, and doesn't have proper error messaging. Would recommend only attempting to stream mp4 (h264) if you're giving it a shot.

anarcat 7 days ago 1 reply      
this reminds me of http://ipfs.io/ although IPFS doesn't run natively in the browser (it's a go app) and has much wider objectives (ie. the whole web site is loaded from the swarm, not just specific media objects, and it is trackerless, essentially).
jacquesm 7 days ago 1 reply      
Could a website use this to host/download torrents in the background unknown to the user?
raffomania 7 days ago 0 replies      
There is a gratipay account for WebTorrent if you want to support them: https://gratipay.com/webtorrent/
vital 7 days ago 2 replies      
Looking forward to a WebTorrent-based Popcorn-Time app, itself hosted over WebTorrent...
Ir0nMan 7 days ago 0 replies      
Quite a nice file sharing implementation done here: https://file.pizza/
jd3 7 days ago 0 replies      
sort of reminds me of that torrenttornado javascript extension by one of my favorite Mozilla add-on developers


pepijndevos 6 days ago 1 reply      
I see one issue here. Who is going to seed? Someone keeping a web page open after they got the download is even less likely that someone keeping their torrent client running after they are done downloading.
ChrisCinelli 7 days ago 0 replies      
Ferros did a great job with this. Full stop
Fastidious 7 days ago 1 reply      
Please excuse my ignorance. Is Node required for this to work?
BenoitP 7 days ago 4 replies      
Server down
J_Darnley 7 days ago 7 replies      
Why would I ever want to do this in my browser? I cannot think of a larger waste of resources except for pdf.js.
nyan4 7 days ago 0 replies      
Browsers are some of the most complex and [therefore] vulnerable applications.Implementing more functionalities into them is really bad for security.
striking 7 days ago 2 replies      
Reinventing the wheel.

Rather than restricting what browsers can send and making kludgy workarounds that waste resources, why don't we just allow browsers to send whatever they want?

Things the media does to manufacture outrage medium.com
283 points by akshat_h  2 days ago   90 comments top 31
c2the3rd 1 day ago 3 replies      
This article is far too shallow in its diagnosis.

Yes, the media manufactures outrage for attention. This is not the problem. The media has done the same for as long as it has existed. The problem is that real people are willing to believe and act upon this "outrage", sometimes in an extreme manner, to avoid being on the "wrong side".

The action I care about isn't the media writing a libellous "story" about how "outraged" people are at some action of mine, though they are scum for it. What I care about is when people use it as justification to call my boss/family/friends and go after me personally.

It's not the media that doxxes, makes death threats, and gets people fired. Who does that is a population that increasingly cannot tell the difference between words and violence, a population that sees bad thoughts as assault and disagreement as evil. Even the smallest infraction is justification for ruining lives.

Brendan Eich was ousted from his position at Mozilla for his donation years ago. A pizzeria owner was threatened with death for merely saying he wouldn't serve gays. The mob retaliations are completely disproportionate to the "crime".

That's why people are afraid of the new outrage. They know one violation of the ever changing set of rules can now cause a mob to go nuclear on everything they hold dear.

gkoberger 2 days ago 4 replies      
I hate when articles hide behind an invented "Twitter backlash", and then include 4-5 tweets with a handful of retweets. 6,000 tweets are sent every single second. You could build a narrative for anything with that logic.

If your best example is a grammatically challenged tweet that racked up 4 favs and a retweet... you're probably inventing a controversy.

Here's some insane examples from the first page of a Google News search for "Twitter Backlash":





HappyTypist 2 days ago 4 replies      
This is a consequence of writers at Business Insider and other brands being ranked by the number of clicks their pieces generate. Writing for them is more of a social science than journalism, with specific words and phrasing A/B tested and Web page designs optimised to get you to stay on the page just a tiny bit longer (so Google doesn't penalise them for bounce rate). Ever recall how BI articles end with an unrelated, click bait video?
exstudent2 2 days ago 1 reply      
What a great writeup! This is an example of an issue 100% created by the media.

To be fair though there is a culture of "outrage" that exists. The media may be implicit in propagating it but they don't always create it.

For example, this recently happened:


I think it's important to study the media's role in creating and extending the reach of outrage, but it's equally important not to deny that there is a growing movement of people who are interested in limiting free speech and get very outrageous about it.

icanhackit 1 day ago 0 replies      
Where possible I encourage friends and family to approach news as a single recent frame from a long-playing narrative, a blurb tacked onto the end of history. Without history you have no context. My agenda is to get them to ignore the 24/7 news cycle and review topics from a historical standpoint - Wikipedia and podcasts make this easier than ever before. They're imperfect sources, but if you want to crawl through dozens of topics for no cost, they're fantastic tools. From there you can purchase books on topics that you'd like to learn more about.

Something about the Middle East? You need at least a hundred years of historical knowledge to understand what is playing out. Ideally more. But it's not that simple; you need to understand the politics of countries that are recent but significant players.

And this is the problem: people believe it's reasonable to form an opinion on complex matters from consuming a few soundbites and massaged footage. How is that at all reasonable? Answer: it isn't.

pdkl95 2 days ago 1 reply      
TL;DR - just watch [4]

The internet has a serious problem with fame.

Before the internet, fame was usually something that required an investment in media access. Everybody knows about the big Hollywood movie because they paid for a lot of advertising/etc. A low-budget film could potentially be more popular if people knew about it, but the meager (or nonexistent) advertising budget usually guaranteed it would never[1] become famous.

This is what the internet changed. It's fundamental power is that anybody can publish because the network doesn't differentiate between "publishing" hosts and "consumer" hosts. All peers are supposed[2] to be equal in capability. The internet is media access. What used to require significant investment of time and/or money now happens to people regularly when they post something casually on the internet: they can become famous.

Unfortunately, our social norms are still adapting to this change. As this article shows, trivial posts are incorrectly interpreted and the author ends up wading through flames and insults. This is because what started as a casual post is now addressing an audience.

For a very good explanation of this type of change-in-relationship, I suggest watching "This is Phil Fish"[4]. As this is HN, many of you probably know the drama involving Phil Fish and his game "Fez", but tht doesn't matter because this video is about everybody who is not Phil Fish: the audience that supplies the projection, tokenism, and hatred that fuels the media when they want cheap hits/impressions.


[1] I am ignoring the phenomena of some movies gaining a cult following a long time after their initial release for simplicity and questionable relevance (time).

[2] NAT has destroyed a lot of this equality, creating a situation where you have to get the permission of a 3rd party (port forwarding at the router, some centralized server, etc). If we allow this digital imprimatur[3] to continue to exist, then the internet has truly reverted back to "TV".

[3] https://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/digital-imprimatur/

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmTUW-owa2w

peeters 2 days ago 1 reply      
The Starbucks fiasco was fascinating and frightening to me. Timeline:

- Nov 5: Breitbart reports "Starbucks faces criticism from politicians and campaign groups today after it decided to remove all references to the festive season from its Christmas red cups'

- Nov 8: Huffington Post picks up the Breitbart story and reports "Some Christians Are Extremely Unhappy About Starbucks' New Holiday Cups"

Note the difference in headlines. This started as a Tory MP and a professional Christian shit-stirring group in the U.K. criticizing the move. It is rapidly generalized to "Christians".

In an age of people consuming news in 140 characters or less, news outlets really have a responsibility to apply the same journalistic integrity to their headline as to the rest of the article. They are there to report the news, not cause the news.

lmorris84 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm always suspicious when news articles embed tweets as "evidence". The one case that sticks out for me was Tim Hunt losing his job because of his joke at a conference. I wonder if UCL also fell for media manufactured outrage in the decision to hastily get rid of him, or whether there really were tens of thousands of twitter keyboard warriors venting their offence all over the situation.

Either way, for my own sanity I now have to avoid twitter and any article that even remotely looks like it might be about someone being offended about something.

danso 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can't be the only person who sees the irony in that this great post is written by someone who works for Upworthy, an outlet who more than any other spawned the science of using superlatives in clickbait headlines to increase Facebook engagement.
Maarten88 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another angle to this is that there are agencies, who manipulate media and stir up controversies like these just to get attention for their clients' brands and products.[1]

This whole story (including this post) may just as well be part of a smart promotion stunt for Sephora lipstick. Some agency might be getting paid for generating all this attention, stirring up controversy around the brand, with the media and bloggers masterfully manipulated into cooperation. There's no way to know...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trust_Me,_I%27m_Lying

wwzuk 2 days ago 1 reply      
Your best bet is just to get rid of all social media. I honestly think that the drama that social media encourages is unhealthy and subtly ruining people's lives.

It gives the impression that certain political groups are more influential than they are. It encourages outrage culture and the censorship that follows that movement. It's a lazy tool for certain types of journalists.

There's so many more constructive things to do than use social media. Delete your accounts, wait a month for any addictive urges to pass and enjoy life again.

the_cat_kittles 2 days ago 0 replies      
great write up. i've always felt that people on tv and writers on the net should really only talk about their own opinions- if there is something "people are outraged about", then have them on to discuss it.
javajosh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Okay, now what? The media outlets and authors responsible for this will continue doing it - and probably got (and will get) high praise for the traffic numbers.

She gets some more attention for calling attention to this, and increases our collective cynicism a little more (and rightly so).

It's tempting to call this a victimless crime, but it's really not. The victims are those who are actually outraged, often by actually outrageous things, like US police taking people's money, beating them up, and killing them. Or by regulatory capture in energy and banking. Or by US foreign policy hypocrisy. Or any number of other things.

Honestly, if there was some way for me to fine media outlets in general and specific authors in particular for this behavior, I would do it. It is wrong to shovel shit into people's minds especially if you have an official "press" designation. You've violated trust, and if the media doesn't police itself, then the media itself is going to be replaced with something that does.

kelukelugames 2 days ago 2 replies      
I hear more people complain about outrage than actual outrage. It's especially hilarious when I go to sensitivity training and a bunch of privileged co-workers complain about being afraid to have fun.
baby 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was thinking earlier today that I felt like I was now understanding why my parents made me believe in Santa Claus. It's because you need to learn only on that you can't trust people like that. Maybe they should make a law or something that 1 out of every 100 news must be fake, so that people would be more compelled to check out facts.

Also journalism = marketing now. Headlines, scoops, shocking videos...

tdkl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh the drama.

Close down Twitter, the 140 characters are exactly enough why those things get blown out of proportion. Also why ADD "journalists" adore Twitter.

ShirsenduK 2 days ago 5 replies      
The saddest part is that the best public communication channel; Twitter; has been hijacked to become an attention seeking blow horn.
ams6110 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't read the mainstream media. I don't use Facebook, Twitter, etc. I don't really notice any of this.
avn2109 1 day ago 0 replies      
From the article:

"Is the world more easily outraged than it used to be? I dont think so, but then again, theres no real way to tell."

Presumably one could go build google N-gram timeseries plots for various n-grams associated with what the article calls "outrage culture" and then look for big bumps in the curve.

I'm not close enough to the phenomenon to guess the correct buzzwords. Maybe "problematic" or "offensive"?

darkhorn 2 days ago 0 replies      
You should see Turkish news on web sites. "Scientists are in shock! Shock shock shock! Evry european talks about this! Here is what everybody should give attention!"
necessity 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like how she exempts herself from "the evil media", while being in the media to start with.
nkozyra 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't understand ... The article references the author's tweet, notes it got little traction and then decides it was the source of the stories and speaks for the rest of the people that likely (and more 'successfully') tweeted about it.

Some fairly weak logic.

petergatsby 2 days ago 1 reply      
"World outrage" isn't a constant.

The internet means information travels faster than ever before, but also inadvertently causes "interesting things" to outpace "the truth".

Properties like Upworthy/Buzzfeed/ect. exacerbate this. Von D is right not to capitulate.

chatman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Noam Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent" is very similar and an insightful read.
sago 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think it is utterly disgusting what the media do to manufacture outrage. They ought to apologise unreservedly. But what can we do about it? A lot! We, as consumers with power, ought to boycott any of them that don't get the message.
kriro 1 day ago 0 replies      
1) Reverse engineer how/why news sites search the twitter stream

2) Craft tweets that are likely to be picked up

3) Sit back and enjoy (for extra credit, mail predictions about the news to someone in a sealed envelope)

TeMPOraL 2 days ago 0 replies      
Worth posting Scott's civil and thoughtful take on this subject:



And now for my less civil and less thoughtful rant:

This is why I think journalism and media is one of the biggest thing that's turning the world to shit. The key observation from the article:

> 3. The narrative told by the media in step 2 is considered reality.

Every time they lie - and they lie often, regardless whether you want to call it "bias" or "agenda", it's done on purpose; you can't not notice that level of intellectual dishonesty - every time they lie, people believe them. And no, lying in headline and "correcting" it in the middle of the article doesn't cut it, almost nobody reads the damn article. People go on believing what they read, and then they demand changes accordingly, and then they vote accordingly, and stupid policies get instituted and people get hurt.

As the good old LW quote goes[0], "Promoting less than maximally accurate beliefs is an act of sabotage. Don't do it to anyone unless you'd also slash their tires." Except in case of media it's really sabotage. It can take your job, your career or your home at a whim. It changes national and international policies.

Take Europe and the immigration crisis. You know what's actually the problem there? It's not just immigrants, and it's not just xenophobia. It's media feeding off each other, causing outrage after outrage, overblowing the issue to the point of turning half of otherwise sane people into aggressive xenophobes, and the other half into high-horse riding apologists.

I tend to get strange looks when I say there's a problem with media, because Free Media is obviously a Key Element to the Democratic Process (and Democratic = Good). But you know what also is free to do whatever the fuck it wants? Cancer. And it doesn't end well for the host organism. So maybe we need to reevaluate what do we really gain from having this feedback loop running unchecked.

I'm not saying, get rid of media. I ask only one thing, I ask it from editors and from journalists: have some fucking integrity. Don't publish blatant lies.

And yes, I know that's in a way not your fault, Moloch - "the abstracted spirit of discoordination and flailing response to incentives" - publishes whatever he wants. But if you want to stand up to him, I'm willing to join. I'd be happy to pay for a news source whose primary goal would be to present facts and just facts, the way they are. No spin, no lies, no reporting scientific papers as if they proved the opposite of what they actually do - just the raw truth.


Another thing. It used to be that the best way to filter out lies and propaganda was to run articles through Reddit and/or Hacker News - lots of people with random biases, combined with quite a good chance of there being a person directly involved with the thing described, was usually enough to sanitize the news story. But I'm worried this is slowly stopping to work too. Outrage is exactly what's eating us. I've seen too many times HN jumping to conclusions. Hell, I've personally been guilty of this myself far more than I'm willing to admit. And don't even get me started on Reddit.

[0] - http://lesswrong.com/lw/uy/dark_side_epistemology/

gcatalfamo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Business insider average titles: this is huge, this is big, this could be a big problem, this is insane, this is awesome, this is awful..BI is technically...utter garbage...And kind of worrying
pistoriusp 2 days ago 0 replies      

 We are the angry mob We read the papers everyday We like who we like, we hate who we hate But we're also easily swayed
- Kaiser Chiefs, The angry mob

kmonsen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good article, but the name underage red must have been named just to provoke a response.

Also, if you get offended by "underage red", maybe your mind is dirty is a bit weird defense. What is the name meant to imply?

And finally, if we should be outraged by anything isn't underage red better than war on christmas?

tibiapejagala 2 days ago 0 replies      
So it appears that media manufacture outrage for cheap clicks, therefore outrage is not a real problem.

I don't follow this line of reasoning. Let's say the same media often create a fake sexism/ism scandal out of something innocent or unrelated. Can we conclude that sexism/ism is not a problem anymore?

Aren't safe-spaces real? Is this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QqgNcktbSA staged? I don't remember things like that from my university years.

The Triumph of Stupidity (1933) russell-j.com
378 points by mutor  1 day ago   260 comments top 30
jasim 1 day ago 12 replies      
In "How to Make Wealth", pg points out that the emergence of the rule of law made the modern economy as we know it possible. It did - social progress has made institutions like democracy and ideas like liberty and rationalism more popular than it has ever been in history.

This used to give me a dangerously false sense of optimism - that the modern society is a stable scientific one, where good intelligent people are in charge, and that the state of affairs are always improving. This notion partly came from the privilege of never having lived in a war-zone. The life of chaos of those who are unfortunate to be in one is even now beyond my understanding.

I think that the idea that humanity is always marching forward to better days is something implicit among people who live in peaceful affluent societies. But if you look at history, the world has always gone through cycles. No matter how much we improve socially, a regression seems almost inevitable. The Roman Empire did fall, and was followed by the Dark Ages.

Even in the most democratic countries of the world, fascism is only just around the corner. There is a large chunk of society who're easily swayed by purely emotional rhetoric based on in-groups and out-groups, and likes to follow leaders who make a show of macho masculinity. The status-quo is pretty fragile. The nerds aren't safe. Those with warrior tendencies always have upper-hand over those with nation-building tendencies, and that reads like a tautology.

mattgibson 1 day ago 5 replies      

 "The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt."
This seems to be the Dunning-Kruger effect in action. Knowing more means having greater awareness that what you know is only a small part of what you could know.


 "A hundred years ago the philosophical radicals formed a school of intelligent men who were just as sure of themselves as the Hitlerites are"
If true, I wonder what caused this. Could anyone suggest cultural, social or technological reasons that may have temporarily united the intellectuals of the age?

noja 1 day ago 1 reply      
"In this gloomy state of affairs, the brightest spot is America. In America democracy still appears well established, and the men in power deal with what is amiss by constructive measures, not by pogroms and wholesale imprisonment."


jacquesm 1 day ago 5 replies      
That's an incredibly prescient piece of writing, to see that clearly what would happen in the next 14 years and to write it down so un-ambiguously and tersely. Who is our present day Bertrand Russell?
nabla9 1 day ago 1 reply      
"civilised world" is kept together by midddle- and working class people. What people need is hope and predictable outcomes from their personal efforts.

The Great Depression of 1929 struck America hard but Weimar Germany much harder. Incremental changes and hard work did not produce improvements. Life was uncertain and critical amount of people felt that life was unfair to them. They were ready to try stupid and unorthodox.

I find it unlikely that radical and stupid ideas alone can rock liberal democracies. They are always present. What is needed is personal uncertainty and fear of the future that resonates with the society.

yc1010 1 day ago 2 replies      
Replace Germany with Russia in article and you would be describing the sad state of things in modern Russia, the most brutal and stupid are running the show there now.

Aside here is an interesting article regarding this > https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/russia-great-for...

yread 1 day ago 1 reply      
> In America democracy still appears well established, and the men in power deal with what is amiss by constructive measures, not by pogroms and wholesale imprisonment.

Well all was not perfect even there - just a couple of years later all Japanese were "wholesale imprisoned".

jonnybgood 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't understand this essay. It seems to be a romanticism of intelligent individuals, but he refers to Nazi Germany as the triumph of the stupid. However, isn't Nazi Germany the product of a small group of highly intelligent individuals?
scrrr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it is a potentially dangerous mistake to put the "stupid" label on all those that support anti-democratic tendencies.

Among other things, such as having a false impression of what else is possibly going on, one might be inclined to dismiss the problem too easily.

RyanMcGreal 1 day ago 1 reply      
Haunting and frighteningly timely short essay. This particular part jumped out (not least because the first sentence is highlighted):

The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt. Even those of the intelligent who believe that they have a nostrum are too individualistic to combine with other intelligent men from whom they differ on minor points.

Around the same time (1930), Sigmund Freud articulated the concept of "the narcissism of small differences" in his book Civilization and its Discontents, a concept that is endlessly useful in understanding how otherwise like-minded people tend to tear themselves apart. A related concept in software development is "bikeshedding".

simonh 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's a classic, but I do think there's more to it than stupidity versus intelligence. It's also about conviction versus cowardice.

In my experience bullying and persecution are very often more about fear and insecurity. If you're persecuting and blaming someone else, you're not being persecuted and blamed yourself. It's a way to deflect hostility and responsibility away from yourself and on to other people. It seems to me most of the people Russel was writing about may not even have been going along with the mainstream because they genuinely thought Jews, Communists etc were a real threat, but because if everyone is having a go at them they're not having a go at me. If I join in then I become one of the team and can buy safety and security for myself that way. In the uncertain and dangerous times Germany had been through, any route to personal security and safety must have looked very attractive.

How is this relevant today? Clearly Putin is using this sort of response to great effect by using conflict and rivalry with foreigners to deflect criticism away from his abysmal record at actually achieving anything of value for the Russian people. Even having a Russian jet shot down by Turkey plays to his advantage in that respect.

For us the question is, how to treat Muslim minorities in the West, and what to do about the Syrian refugee crisis. The refugees didn't create this crisis and are the primary victims. The vast majority of Muslims in the west are against ISIS and deplore it's tactics. But blaming 'The Muslims' for all of this and using excuses such as that terrorists will infiltrate the west disguised as refugees are blinkered and cowardly. What are we going to do? Drive millions of refugees back into the Mediterranean sea?

It's going to take determination and perseverance to do the right thing. Take as many refugees as we can. Build bridges with Muslim communities in the West. Confront IS and it's backers militarily and economically. There will be further attacks. Integrating so many refugees is going to be expensive, hard work and there are going to be negative consequences and mistakes made. It's not going o go smoothly. But we still have to do it not because we are 'Intelligent' but because we have courage.

Dowwie 1 day ago 2 replies      
Thanks for sharing. We could spend hours drawing from this essay.

Let's consider this part:

"A hundred years ago the philosophical radicals formed a school of intelligent men who were just as sure of themselves as the Hitlerites are; the result was that they dominated politics and that the world advanced rapidly both in intelligence and in material well-being."

Another example of this is neo-liberal capitalism: from Hayek [1] and his disciple, Friedman [2], to myriad think tanks, Reagan and Thatcher, SCOTUS (eg Powell [3]), etc. We're still living with the outcome of a generation of intelligent, organized, ambitious people united by a [flawed] ideology.

[1] Hayek - "The Road to Serfdom" http://amzn.to/1PRWyDj[2] Friedman - "Free to Choose" http://amzn.to/1QKIewt[3] Powell - "Attack on American Free Enterprise System" http://bit.ly/1Q2bHR7

dmichulke 1 day ago 3 replies      
Throughout the last hundred and fifty years, individual Germans have done more to further civilisation than the individuals of any other country; during the latter half of this period, Germans, collectively, have been equally effective in degrading civilisation.

Russell here is making the same mistake as most people today. It wasn't the "Germans collectively", it was the German government, tolerated by a mostly ignorant population with a few "hawks" to show support for the government action.

Contrary to the top post here right now, this is the same thing happening in the US right now. The government bombs another country every 1-2 years and people let it happen. We're still in appeasement times but the state already gradually disrespects individual liberties and soon America will become a collective much like the one described in the article.

applecore 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yeats's The Second Coming, written in 1919 and following the cataclysm of the First World War, conveyed the same horrific and accurate vision of the future:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

lquist 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of Yeats' The Second Coming (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Second_Coming_(poem)):

 Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. The darkness drops again; but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

randcraw 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it's not stupidity (nor the Dunning Kruger Effect) that leads mankind astray; it's groupthink, in any shape or form. When you blind yourself to whether you and your allies do more harm than good, in service of some abstract ideal or philosophy, you fail.
jcrei 1 day ago 3 replies      
Is there a way forward? A way to avoid the same mistakes and perhaps save humanity from the triumph of stupidity?
lquist 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fukuyama presents an interesting counterpoint in The End of History (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_End_of_History_and_the_Las...):

"What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."

windhover 1 day ago 0 replies      
Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels, and Hermann Gring, and the other leaders of the National Socialist party were horribly brutal, but they were not stupid. They were some of the brightest in the most well-educated country in the world. The same goes with French influenced Marxists such as Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Bertrand Russell is right on many points, but he's terribly wrong to think the enemies of civilization are stupid. Read Machiavelli.
gtpasqual 1 day ago 0 replies      
Today, Americans shouldn't take this as luck, but as a cautionary tale.
shitgoose 1 day ago 0 replies      
Russell wrote this piece in 1933, just one year before US government confiscated gold from its citizens (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_6102). "Brightest spot" didn't last long.
dmfdmf 1 day ago 0 replies      
> The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.

It was Hume and Kant who injected skepticism back into Western thought and are responsible for empowering the stupid, including the Nazis. If you know the cause of your plight then you can fix the effect.

myth_buster 1 day ago 0 replies      
For me it was present day US in place of Germany.

It would be interesting if people reading this would say here which country they associated Germany to. I suppose almost all the countries will be on the list.

So an interesting question would be which country you associated the US in the essay to?

yAnonymous 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it's simpler than that. Politics attract assholes and intelligent people avoid assholes.
dennis_jeeves 1 day ago 0 replies      
Opportunist here, riding on the popularity of this post. See my recent post which is partly along the lines of thoughts expressed by Bertrand Russel:https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10611416Summary - readers who think that vast majority of individuals are 'stupid' - please contact me. One of the failings of 'sane' intelligent people is that we do not band together.
henriquemaia 1 day ago 0 replies      
Written in 1933. In the same year, Heidegger joined the Nazi party.

Now go figure who was the most prescient of the two.

DyslexicAtheist 1 day ago 0 replies      
>>> By murder, by torture, by imprisonment, by the terrorism of armed forces, they have subjected the intelligent and humane parts of the nation and seized power with the view of furthering the glory of the Fatherland.

reminds of current US foreign policy.

DrNuke 1 day ago 0 replies      
aka the raging cretinisation of the world or overfitting, from data science jargon; second time in a row I'm forced to write this here on HN, I'm probably overfitted too. :(
d--b 1 day ago 5 replies      
This does not belong here.
littletimmy 1 day ago 6 replies      
By murder, by torture, by imprisonment, by the terrorism of armed forces, they have subjected the intelligent and humane parts of the nation and seized power with the view of furthering the glory of the Fatherland.

^ The terrorism of armed forces part is particularly important. We tend to think that terrorism is something crazy non-state actors do in religious or delusional fervor, but it is really just the use of violence to achieve certain political ends. This is precisely what the American army started doing around the world after World War II. If you include psychological manipulation with it as well, as recently evidence by the disclosure that the DOD was paying NFL to propagandize during games, we get a very concerning picture of the role of the US military in today's world and in the US itself.

In this gloomy state of affairs, the brightest spot is America. In America democracy still appears well established, and the men in power deal with what is amiss by constructive measures, not by pogroms and wholesale imprisonment.

^ How dated that sounds. Wonder what Russell would say about the America of today, with the oligarchy entrenching itself to replace a democracy, a wide-scale militarization of the police, a pogrom against Muslims in some southern states, the wholesale imprisonment of African Americans, and the popularity of near-fascist leaders like Donald Trump.

The End of the Internet Dream medium.com
355 points by phantom_oracle  6 days ago   203 comments top 28
pspace 5 days ago 8 replies      
The internet dream is almost here! Patents and IP have lost their bite compared to the 80's (continuing to do so) and piracy is easier than ever.

More countries are participating in the global conversation than ever before.

Enhancements in security and privacy are evident and improving (albeit slowly).

The internet is becoming a lot less like TV and will continue to do so. People care more about commenting and creating content. They care about participating more than they ever did and this is increasing. In fact, this is a problem because the quality of participation is diminishing as EVERYONE jumps in.

Existing power structures are not being retained. As the internet enters the equation new laws are being put into place. Look at Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb. The only difference in how they are regulated is basically because they are internet oriented.

Yes we still have work. Infrastructure is still a big issue. If we want to reduce centralization, we need better infrastructure and equal access to it. That one is very political.

We got this ;) Stay vigilant friends.

TeMPOraL 5 days ago 5 replies      
The Internet Dream is sadly not compatibile with profit-driven world. We had some good times back when it all begun, because then nobody besides techies cared. Now that the Internet is a money making machine, there are tons of incentives to make it worse and little to make it better.

In order to keep the corruption away, or maybe even limit it, all of us and our coworkers would have to start risking their livelihoods by torpedoing the insane ideas our managers and bosses have. I tried, and it's hard, and unless it's a collective action your boss won't listen to a lone techie telling him that this business idea of his is actually socially destructive and is abusing the users.

And that even doesn't begin to solve the problems of techies who went over to the dark side, who have both the profit-at-all-costs mindset and skills to pull it off.

austerity 5 days ago 2 replies      
Good article. However I don't understand why so many smart people fear decision-making machines. In my experience the decision makers in bureaucracies, government and private alike, never ever show the "humanity" ascribed to them in arguments about this issue. Instead they follow their instruction (which is actually a program written in human language) to the letter and are usually so obtuse and unempathetic it seems even the present day primitive AI would be much smarter and more flexible. The reason of course is not that people are dumb or mean, but that they are driven by incentives and incentives in these positions are never right. Machines on the other hand are not afraid to lose their job and are (potentially) capable of much deeper and broader analysis of any situation than humans while simultaneously being less prone to error.
afarrell 5 days ago 2 replies      
> You wont necessarily know anything about the decisions that affect your rights, like whether you get a loan, a job, or if a car runs over you. Things will get decided by data-crunching computer algorithms and no human will really be able to understand why.

This isn't a change from the current state of things. For a hundred years, each of these decisions have been made by neural networks which we scarcely understand.

wcummings 5 days ago 2 replies      
I think Snowden's disclosures were a loss of innocence for many technologists, and this reflects that. I can't imagine this would have been written in his absence.
Animats 5 days ago 2 replies      
As long as you can read ISIS's Dabiq on line [1], censorship isn't working.

As long as you can read Stormfront's White Pride World Wide [2], censorship isn't working.

Facebook is not the Internet, even if Zuckerberg would like it to be.

[1] http://www.clarionproject.org/docs/islamic-state-isis-isil-d...[2] https://www.stormfront.org

beatpanda 5 days ago 1 reply      
You know, one way out of building an internet none of us actually wants just because the people with the money tell us to is to organize as a union.

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of leverage software engineers already have, as evidenced by the wages and benefits that are standard in this industry, that we nevertheless refuse to use to try to exert some control over what we are building.

Decade 5 days ago 1 reply      
As a lawyer, I don't think Granick appreciates just how the Internet has become a realm of haves and have-nots.

She talks about right to tinker and end-to-end communications. Back in the 90s, I played with HTTP and SMTP services on my Mac. It was just install a program and go. No root permissions for special ports. No configuring port forwarding, because even on dial-up I had a global IP address. And HTTP was a simple text protocol. Network protocols these days are so complex, I don't know how kids learn how they work.

One essential component is IPv6. I perceived that centralized control would be a problem as soon as I heard about how NAT works, but short-term costs have kept IPv6 inaccessible. This is an immense frustration.

Loic 5 days ago 0 replies      
The best example that the Internet Dream as she sees it is near the end, she published her essay on medium.com instead of using her own system.
ivanca 5 days ago 1 reply      
Is unfortunate how she mixes racism and sexism in this essay, which makes the subject too broad, specially when bringing things like "only 30% of google is female", firstly because such companies are the ones making the "internet dream" die, so you are asking diversity by the "enemy", also when the "internet dream started" it was a lot less diverse than now, the steryotype of lonely male teenager messing with computers is silly but it IS based on real life mostly because men are more likely to be loners who seek refuegee in things like tech, D&D and such "hobbies". And nobody would care for diversity if this particula hobby (tech) weren't the one shaping the world.
danr4 5 days ago 0 replies      
The way I see it, there's 2 main hurdles for truly free internet: hardware and encryption.

When normal folks start having personal servers at their home, and have all their traffic and data fully encrypted on their personal server which is in their turf, they will have the freedom to act as they like.

The problem with these two hurdles is infrastructure (being ISP dependent) and regulation (Government can make up rules for personal servers) - if we can get past those, oh my it will be wonderful. But I don't think it will be possible until someone forms a "Digital Country" - a territory with 'open source' government with some sort of 'digital rights constitution' that would allow the above to really happen.

EvanPlaice 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yay! More click bait-y doom-and-gloom nonsense from Medium.com. /s

Seriously, what's the deal with these poor quality posts and why do they float so high in the Hacker News rankings?

Aside: The same can be said for posts linking to theguardian lately.

The internet dream is far from dead. Despite numerous setbacks surrounding lack of security/privacy, new standards/practices are being introduced to fix the issues.

The whole personal computer ecosystem that used to be dominated by vendor-monopolized platforms have continually become more open and flexible over time.

The flexibility to share data and services across the web in a standardized manner has never been better. 10 years ago, tools like Zapier that thrive in the ecosystem of openness never would have been possible. There are public APIs and microservices for anything and everything nowadays.

The developer tools and platforms are evolving at an ever-increasing rate. Data silos are crumbling. Patent/copyright trolls are getting paid their due. Sources of very high quality educational materials are abundant and free. etc...

We live in truly exceptional times.

rayiner 5 days ago 0 replies      
The Internet is not a place apart from society. It exists within society. And society will exert the same amount of control over it as it asserts on other facets of life in order to meet social priorities.
Paul_S 5 days ago 0 replies      
Back in the 80s on BBSes and 90s on usergroups and finally the Internet a bunch of techies did whatever they wanted and normal people didn't get anything. Now they're getting more than any of us got back then and we're not standing still either, it's just moved on from the web. The Internet dream is alive and is evolving and whilst the original manifesto sounds a bit childish to me nowadays it's still part of what drives us. Wherever the mainstream catches up so do the old hierarchies and we move on.
obrero 5 days ago 2 replies      
Twenty years ago, there were hundreds of Internet Service Providers, and each large (and most medium) one gave access to Usenet discussions.

Then with increased monopoly and commercialization, the ISP's shut down, and Verizon and AT&T gained a duopoly over the majority of the US's wired and wireless last mile. With this accomplished, they shut down their Usenet feeds.

A programmer I know calls it digging ditches with air conditioning. Programmers are wage slaves, just a slightly more exalted position than the people who come in at night to empty the waste baskets.

surge 5 days ago 0 replies      
Right now the biggest threat I find is the lack of options in terms of ISP for most people, and somewhat mass surveillance which will likely be used for profit rather than prevention of illegal activity. ISP's that are creating arbitrary data caps, filtering/throttling or modifying content as it comes in, and little is being done by the FCC to stop it, these are the most dangerous trends.

Beyond that encryption, etc has allowed us more freedom.

natrius 5 days ago 4 replies      
This is one of my favorite topics because I have cause for hope.

The story of internet centralization is one of network effects. Even though the internet connects every computer on the planet directly, finding people to interact in the ways we want is difficult. We post things to Facebook and Twitter because that's where our friends and like-minded strangers are actually looking for things.

To fight this, we tried federation. We tried building social systems that allowed people to choose their own provider but participate in the same network, but federation hasn't worked since email. If you take a long look at email, you'll see why: federated systems can't keep up with the pace of evolution that we see in successful social systems. The design-test-iterate loop that design thinkers use to build products people want doesn't work when the rest of the federated providers don't keep up, and they never do.

Where federation failed, I believe decentralization will succeed. There is an honest-to-god renaissance happening right now in decentralized systems, and the tools to continue the internet dream are reaching maturity. Core to this renaissance is our new ability to use blockchains to establish universal cryptographic identities with no intermediaryno federated server to hold back the tide of progress. When you want new features, you don't switch servers, you switch clients. They all speak the same peer-to-peer protocol using the same portable, blockchain-based identities. This has a very useful side-effect: systems that don't rely on servers never shut down as long as people keep using them. Decentralized systems are forces of nature.

This combination makes network effects a public good. Second place companies in network effect industries today have their own private networks that just aren't as useful. It is in their best interest to make their networks as large as possible, and treating the decentralized network as part or all of their network achieves that. It creates a network used by all the competitors who aren't in first place, even as those competitors die off. I think the immortal network used by competitors will over time become as large as the front-runner's. At equal size, the open network is more valuable than the closed onethe open one can be built wholesale into any other product that benefits from it. If you want, you can use a ride-hailing app that uses your social network connections to share rides with friends of friends instead of complete strangers, and anyone can build that app when the ride-hailing and social networks are decentralized.

When our industry gets great at creating decentralized application protocols, it will no longer be feasible to build a business on privately controlled network effects. It's not a defensible business anymore. Users will be able to choose which clients they use instead of being forced to sacrifice their data to a company to benefit from its network.

The internet dream is back, y'all. If you want to help rebuild it, come join the folks using Ethereum, IPFS, and related protocols to build networks we can't control.

tajen 5 days ago 1 reply      
"At Google, women make up 30 percent of the companys overall workforce, but hold only 17 percent of the companys tech jobs"

Hence what? In France prison population is 96.5% male. Does it prove sexism? That's it, I quit reading women, they can't write without pulling the cover to themselves.

mark_l_watson 5 days ago 0 replies      
Great talk. I just posted the link to people who follow me on T and G+

As sosuke mentions in another comment, possible alternative mesh networks might regain some freedom and flexibility but we will all be vulnerable to embedded IoT technology that tracks us and because of laws prohibiting looking at embedded code (assuming this happens) it will be difficult for white hat privacy advocates to check the information shared out by these devices. Cars, home appliances, electronic gadgets - a lot of areas that might leak privacy.

zby 5 days ago 0 replies      
http://geer.tinho.net/geer.blackhat.6viii14.txt - some more technical analysis on what can be done

Another interesting site here is http://citizenlab.org/ and the idea of 'distributed security' they champion.

sosuke 5 days ago 4 replies      
Are there any solutions? Is it possible to create a new network? How do you champion free speech and then try to control the ugly side?

I'd love to read more I guess.

randomname2 5 days ago 1 reply      
Are any politicians explicitly defending the kind of Internet/technology-related civil liberties mentioned in the article?

The ones that are often written about are Wyden (D), Rand Paul (R), Amash (R), Massie (R), any others?

JustSomeNobody 5 days ago 0 replies      
Sadly, we can't go back.

But we can go a different route. Would love to see mesh technologies get dirt cheep so we could stick nodes everywhere. Develop a new internet such that nobody would be in control.

loginusername 5 days ago 1 reply      
"People are sick and tired of crappy software."


oneJob 5 days ago 1 reply      
During the period being discussed, the constituency of the communities participating in the Internet has completely changed. The percentage of non-paid contributors has drastically declined; the percentage of professional contributors has drastically increased. The percentage of active or contributing participants has greatly declined; the percentage of passive or consumer participants has greatly increased. The norms, laws, and conventions are increasingly made by politicians and bureaucrats and less and less by community members. The majority of interaction and activity on the Internet is now mediated and tracked by commercial interests. Even if you disagree with one or two of my points, I think you'll grant me the general point.

In a strange twist on things, where in the traditional body-politic one says, "It's the economy stupid", in Internet-politics it's actually the politics. Who participates. What are the power relations. Who makes the laws or enforces the norms. I think this is because, where as in traditional economies money and goods are scarce and so we must have a healthy economy to eat and have shelter, in the information economy scarcity is fast becoming a thing of the past and so a democracy is being replaced by a do-ocracy. Whoever builds it, makes the rules. The law is always two steps behind. So as corporations and governments increasingly hire and direct all the professionals and bureaucrats that produce the Internet, it is created in their likeness or in their interest. So participation, power dynamics, and participant empowerment become foundational.

Unfortunately, the tech industry often superficially dismisses traditional politics. When it does engage it often claims the ideology of libertarian or plays the part of technocrat, seeking purely utilitarian approaches. Libertarianism, you'll please forgive me for phrasing it this way, is rather sophomoric. It's rather like that guy in college that had the Che Guevara t-shirt, but really didn't know what it was all about. Like it or not, we're in a highly coordinated, interconnected, interdependent society, and just as fully realized communism was a very romantic notion but would never get the job done, libertarianism just won't get the job done. We need each other, and we need participation from each other. And this is, in a nutshell, a political issue. Technological, disruptive, efficient "solutions" will not solve this problem. Or worse, the tech industry might engage purely to satisfy its commercial interests. Think about the idea that, a start-up creates a product, and then hires lawyers to "legalize it". Then the start-up claims that it is libertarian or not participating in politics.

We need the equivalent of "The Federalist Papers" for our time. Something contemporary, but grounded in history. Something academic, but pragmatic. Something plain spoken, but inspiring. Instead, we've created the TPP.

InclinedPlane 5 days ago 0 replies      
I don't buy it.

First off, there's always a tendency to overplay the negative aspects of the present while dismissing the positive aspects and to treat the past with excess nostalgia.

Moreover, it's very difficult for most people to grasp the significance and degree of major changes in society, culture, and the economy on short time scales while immersed in it.

I've been using the internet for more than 20 years and while there are certainly many negative developments that have happened along the way there have also been many positive ones. I would not at all characterize the modern internet as heading toward less freedom, not at all. My impression is that far more people are far more aware of issues of injustice and oppression today than was previously the case. It used to be that only a tiny sliver of "radicals" were really clued into those issues, and many of them also adhered to one or another nonsensical conspiracy theory to boot, which weakened their cases when it came to appealing to the modern world. Today I see growing kernels of increasingly less marginalized and increasingly more powerful people who have been educating themselves, participating in the conversation, and speaking out.

No it's not perfect, and it's not happening absent a lot of the revelation of lots of repugnant behavior. And it's also happening seemingly very, very slowly. But my perception is that the trend is for the most part in the right direction and strong. Giving up is the only sure way to lose at this point.

The bulk of this article seems to be completely out of touch with the way people have been using the internet, especially younger people. It's not becoming more TV-like, it's becoming more interactive and participatory. It's not retaining existing power structures. That only appears to be the case when you look at bullshit measurements based on bogus statistics like paper valuations and user counts. The reality is that the real power is in the people. In the content creators, in the groups, in the social networks themselves. The value layered on top of that or spread in-between to facilitate it is fragile and small by comparison. It's the same as in Silicon Valley. Having a billion dollar valuation doesn't mean your company is powerful or secure any more than having a billion users does. And it doesn't.

I predict that within the next 5 or perhaps 10 years there will be another great shift and "implosion" of one of the current major "internet powers". Perhaps facebook, or youtube, perhaps even google or amazon. I don't think people understand the mobility of the modern technological market. You do not own users or customers, you retain them through superior service. It will probably shock people who vulnerable these mega-corps are to disruption, and once one of these big shifts happens once you are going to see a crapton of bloviation from the chattering classes about how absolutely unpredictable and ground-breaking the whole thing is, but it means nothing more than that they haven't been paying attention.

dang 6 days ago 0 replies      
Url changed from http://boingboing.net/2015/08/18/the-end-of-the-internet-dre..., which points to this, which is technically a dupe (https://hn.algolia.com/?query=The%20End%20of%20the%20Interne...) but didn't have much discussion.
necessity 5 days ago 4 replies      
Again with this "there aren't as many women in computing/politics/NASCAR/mining industry as there should be" bullshit. I'll just paste previous comments because it's always the same irrational shit people like to vomit to get an audience.

Why are there so few male manicures? Why so few male babysitters? Why so few female NASCAR drivers? Why so few female in the army? Why so few male in the wedding dress business?

We MUST to do something about this! People of a certain gender cannot prefer some activities over others!

This is ridiculous.

Relevant: https://youtu.be/ENL-Jv8GVkk#t=29m15s

Breaking the fourth wall with Minecraft hashbang.gr
366 points by gebe  5 days ago   70 comments top 16
kohanz 5 days ago 14 replies      
> I have a couple of WiFi-enabled bulbs near me, wouldn't it be nice to be able to control them using Minecraft?

I mean nothing against the author and like-minded individuals and I have the utmost respect for people with such a "tinkerer" mindset, but often reading things like this on Hacker News makes me feel like a bit of a fraud, because my internal answer to the question above is basically "No, not really". I'm wondering if others feel the same way. Does it make me less of a "hacker"? I enjoy programming, sometimes I wonder how things work, but oftentimes I don't mind that it is abstracted from me and "just works", and I rarely if ever have the urge to integrate two seemingly unrelated things to create a unique hack.

kator 5 days ago 2 replies      
Reminds me of dockercraft, discussed recently at: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10584956

I have a raspberry pi controlled cat feeder I built and have been playing around with the last couple of weeks as a side project. I showed this to my wife and she said "Oh so can you make it so I can feed that cats while playing minecraft?" LOL

nkrisc 5 days ago 5 replies      
I'd like to hear more about the bulbs used. Cheap wifi bulbs with a simple protocol sound like fun.
Tepix 5 days ago 0 replies      
Also check out "Minecraft: Pi edition" for the Raspberry Pi. It comes with embedded python support and is free: http://pi.minecraft.net/

Somewhat unfortunately, it hasn't been updated since 2012 and lacks a lot of features of the Pocket or PC version.

NovaS1X 5 days ago 1 reply      
Now the next step is to build a replica of his house and this specific room down to the details so he can turn the lamp on in game which turns on the lamp in the real world.
ccvannorman 5 days ago 1 reply      
This is what Code Hero, which I helped develop [1] tries to be. I hope this will have some success as well! With the right spark, there is a ton of creative fuel that can be channeled from excited kids into computer programming.

[1] http://primerlabs.com/codehero

vidarh 5 days ago 0 replies      
This seems like it'd be awesome for Minetest [1]. Minetest has a lot of (very) rough edges, but basically it's a Minecraft-like engine where most functionality beyond the very basic is added through mods written in Lua. I'd be fun to be able to live-code the mods on an in-game computer..

[1] http://www.minetest.net/

EvanPlaice 4 days ago 0 replies      
Finally, 'Hackers' the movie style 3D interfaces for managing networking infrastructure.

In all seriousness. As networking structures become more modular, it might not be a bad idea to have systems where the architecture can be modeled and monitored visually.

I have come across presentations of some custom/proprietary systems that provide interesting visualizations of networking interactions. It would be awesome to see a generalized platform implementation.

nonword 5 days ago 0 replies      
So cool. Reminded of Gibson's The Peripheral - even if there's nothing so existentially twisted in what the author actually did. I suppose the interesting part is just that the author is controlling a light IRL from the center of a russian-doll of emulated environments, but it sure feels profound given that one of those environments emulates an environment you can walk around in.
accommodavid 5 days ago 1 reply      
Now if this whole thing could be accomplished using pure redstone circuitry http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/109385-Computer-Bu...
seccess 5 days ago 0 replies      
Open Computers is very powerful. I once knew a modded Mincecraft server admin who used Open Computers to receive and send text message updates about his base and the state of server when he was away from his computer.
dataminded 5 days ago 0 replies      
Would be great if Microsoft extended the python API they set up for the Raspberry pi to other platforms. It's tons of fun to play with.
tlrobinson 5 days ago 0 replies      
Now implement a video chat protocol in Minecraft. How trippy would it be to receive a video chat call from a Minecraft avatar?
stabs 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'd like to play minecraft in minecraft. I would totally install minecraft on that minecraft also and play minecraft on it.
intrasight 5 days ago 1 reply      
Who else thinks that Minecraft will become the next iteration of nested simulated universe.
Yahivin 5 days ago 0 replies      
Now you just need to be able to SSH into the server running the game itself...
What can a technologist do about climate change? worrydream.com
393 points by michael_nielsen  4 days ago   286 comments top 45
chaosphere2112 4 days ago 6 replies      
I work on climate software at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory[1]. My team works with big data and visualization. We support ACME[2] (the Department of Energy's climate modeling program), PCMDI[3] (a team that's been evaluating climate models since 1989), and a number of other projects and groups.

If you are interested in what you can do for the climate, we need all the help we can get. Our code may not be the epitome of hygiene (think decades-old python with docstrings that haven't been touched in that long), but in the time I've been here we've gotten loads better. All of our code lives on github ([4] and [5]), we have way more funding than we know what to do with, and we have more work to do than people to do it.

If you're interested, shoot me an email (in my profile). I'm still hunting for the job application link.

EDIT: Job link found! http://careers-ext.llnl.gov/jobs/4494026-software-developers... Don't worry about all of the skills listed, it's a generic one. Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions.

[1]: https://www.llnl.gov[2]: http://climatemodeling.science.energy.gov/projects/accelerat...[3]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Program_for_Climate_Model_Diag...[4]: https://github.com/ESGF[5]: https://github.com/UV-CDAT

davedx 4 days ago 1 reply      
I did considerable research into jobs where I would have the opportunity to help with climate change while I was a freelancer. I came up with a short list of companies, evaluated on a somewhat subjective basis of "effectiveness". (I read an essay by Bill Gates where he explained his investment strategies to "making the world a better place" were based on applying financial input where it had the most leverage.)

Most of the companies were here in the Netherlands, one was in the USA. I applied to them all, and got 3 interviews. I ended up choosing a utility startup called Vandebron based in Amsterdam.

Vandebron (https://vandebron.nl/) means "from the source" in Dutch. They're an AirBNB-style marketplace for renewable energy. Customers choose the supplier ("generator") they want to buy their energy from. They're growing quickly!

I've been there a little less than 3 weeks, and I feel like it's the best career decision I've ever made. I've never felt so motivated before. I encourage anyone wanting to join the effort against climate change to dig deep. Find the company you think will make the most impact. Get yourself in the door. Most companies are happy to find talented IT people.

mouly 4 days ago 1 reply      
Bret Victor has provided a first principles approach to solving climate change. I work at SolarCity we take a similar systems thinking approach and tackle the problems at their fundamental level. We have been vertically integrating the business from manufacturing highest efficiency solar panels, mounting systems that enable fast installation, electrical systems that can work with the grid, financing for homeowners that don't require any downpayment.

Our Software engineering team specifically works on improving efficiency of our sales workflow, geo spatial systems that support our installation crew, grid systems that monitor and work with the grid, and providing the best experience for our customers.

I'm happy to talk to anyone who is interested in joining us. Shoot me an email at mkumaraswamy@solarcity.com

Our career's page: http://solar.solarcity.com/careers/software-engineering/

cies 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great piece. I was thinking: "what programmers can do?" And came up with the "use compiled languages" answer.

I compare Ruby and Haskell, as that's what I have experience with; but I expect it to hold true for any Ruby/Python/Java/etc vs C/C++/Haskell/Go/Rust/etc shootout.

Just some typical numbers:

Disk space to house one app deployment: 800MB Ruby/Rails vs 80MB Haskell/Yesod.Memory consumption of one instance: 350MB Ruby/Rails vs <1MB Haskell/Yesod.Time (CPU bound) needed for a request: 80ms Ruby/Rails vs 8ms Haskell/Yesod.Startup time of app: 30sec Ruby/Rails vs <1sec Haskell/Yesod.

Especially for large scale apps this makes a difference. Just through metal at it, is not a sustainable answer. The Googles and FBs know this; and they compile a lot.

I think going compiled is going green with your software in many cases; especially on scale.

Pxtl 4 days ago 6 replies      
I'm disappointed that the one item most accessible to the software/consumer-electronics world: telecommuting, doesn't appear much in the article.

Giving people the tools to properly manage a remote team (including non-experts that are unaccustomed to remoting) is something we can do and that will take commuters off the roads.

pdeuchler 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is really awesome, both layout wise and for it's data visualizations. I'm a huge fan of Brett's work and this seems like it fits right in with his other exposes.

That said, anything that doesn't discuss the global shipping industry (or more abstractly, emissions due to globalized trade), nuclear power, and solutions for developing countries* is missing more than half of the discussion (I'd personally argue it's almost missing the entire forest for a couple of trees). I'd be very careful to follow any conclusions or suggestions that don't factor any of that in.

* This is the biggest annoyance for me when climate change is discussed in general. Moving the US and other developed countries to clean/renewable energy is mostly a matter of time and money. But developing countries like, say, India, have neither the money, infrastructure, or time to do so (not even broaching the fact that some don't even have the human rights framework to maintain an environmentally sustainable economy). Furthermore there's a moral issue, in that US/China led development essentially set the stage for global climate change. Is it morally acceptable to punish developing countries for following the same route? Fossil fuels are essentially the only way these companies can begin to compete... and after all it's the developed countries that took us, at a dead sprint, to the edge of the cliff.

haxel 4 days ago 3 replies      
I look at the human-caused part of climate change as a billion or so smaller and easier-to-solve (but still hard) problems. Each one of these billions of problems is a person like you and me who acts without truly knowing what they are doing. Not in the sense of faking our way through life, but that we have only a superficial awareness of the consequences of our habitual or culturally-driven actions. This makes climate change an information problem, and technologists do information splendidly.

It's an information problem because we base much of our behavior on feedback loops. When we get a big electricity bill, we take a closer look and perhaps rely less on our heaters or air-conditioner. When we see the odometer on our car hitting big numbers too soon (and repair bills looming), perhaps we look into a job closer to home. There's thousands of examples, many of which have an impact our our environment.

So if we focused on developing a tool whose sole purpose was to give us quantified feedback on the consequences of our actions - much like how we use utility bills - we might be able to make a real dent in the big problem of climate change and others like it. We already have the pieces for a tool like this (Internet, computers everywhere, software libraries) along with the skills of technologists, so what's needed is the vision and the demand.

I recently wrote these ideas in long form: (https://medium.com/@SteveHazel/we-re-drowning-in-low-quality...)

guscost 4 days ago 2 replies      
While I don't really agree with the premise, my initial impression is that this should get ten upvotes for being so well reasoned and executed. Amazing work, I'm confident a lot of good will come of it.

One recommendation, at your earliest convenience do something about this:

> I didnt mention nuclear because I dont know much about it.

Zach_the_Lizard 4 days ago 2 replies      
The best you can do is lobby for denser development and ending the rules that force a suburban character. Suburbs are more wasteful than cities. Riding a bike to work generates less pollution than a car. Buildings themselves are more efficiently insulated when it's 100 units on a block vs. 100 single family homes on 50 acres. Deliveries can use more efficient and less polluting forms of transport, such as rail, more often or for more of the trip. Delivery trucks can stop on the block

While that's going on, lobbying for a carbon tax would be a great way to lower emissions from industrial or other sources.

greggman 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'll probably get downvoted but I'm honestly interested in some thoughts on my dumb thinking.

This is an amazing presentation and I've loved Bret Victor's other presentations but, and I'm making an assumption here, I kind of assume he's rich or at least financially independent given where he's worked and when he worked there. Assuming I'm right I find it a little hard to listen to the advice which sometimes sounds like "Consider saving the planet but with a high possibility of a financially challenged life. I've already made my money so I'm free to give you this advice in comfort and security".

Of course that doesn't mean you can't get rich following one of these solutions. It also doesn't mean that money = happiness or anything like that. It's only this nagging feeling that the reader is being asked to sacrifice something the author themselves has not and that the author has forgotten where they are in their lives relative to most of the people they are asking.

If I knew all my financial needs (health care, retirement, family) were already well met I'd have less trouble dedicating my time to worthy causes like say Bill Gates apparently is. But, I'm not there yet. I do have to worry how I will retire, how much I'll need to spent on healthcare as I age, etc... Sure I can still make the decision to chase financial independence or chase worthy causes but it's just, I guess maybe the word is frustrating, to be asked to make that choice but someone who I assume doesn't need to choose. They've already achieved financial Independence and therefore the choice is far easier. (maybe one more reason for basic income).

I'm also aware it sounds stupid to even bring this topic up. There's all kinds of ways to frame this and ignore the part of it I just mentioned. But, for whatever reason I can't ignore it. I guess because I've seen my father too old to get an engineering job he's qualified for and too poor to retire.

spenrose 4 days ago 1 reply      
(1) This is great.

(2) Political economy is a much bigger issue right now than technology. Most of what we need to do is deploy, and the tech we have is good enough for that.

(3) Low-hanging fruit for self-identified "Technologists" is to reconsider some of the blind spots caused by their social identities. David Roberts explains:


jf 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is a masterpiece. I'm excited and overwhelmed after briefly skimming through it.

I'm looking forward to the hours it will take me to work through this web page and its hyperlinks.

oberstein 4 days ago 1 reply      
Buy iron, dump in ocean. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_fertilization) Donate to geoengineering efforts and lobbying against insane moratoriums against geoengineering efforts.
nabla9 4 days ago 2 replies      
>Heres an opinion you might not hear much I feel that one effective approach to addressing climate change is contributing to the development of Julia. Julia is a modern technical language, intended to replace Matlab, ...

Well that was awkward transition.

tobr 4 days ago 1 reply      
Interacting with that graph of world carbon emissions and gradually realizing what it is showing me. Stuff of nightmares (and fantastic interaction design).
briantakita 4 days ago 1 reply      
On a fundamental level, one can learn the discipline of systems thinking. Permaculture is an example of systems thinking with the ethics of Earth Care, People Care, & Fair Share.

It may also help you become a more effective & well rounded technologist.

IanDrake 4 days ago 1 reply      
>Climate change is the problem of our time, its everyones problem, and most of our problem-solvers are assuming that someone else will solve it.

I would change that to say, "Climate change is a problem that will always be 50 years away".

brandmeyer 4 days ago 1 reply      
I have a controversial opinion on this topic: I don't think it is morally ethical to use inefficient languages in high duty-cycle applications. By "high duty-cycle applications" I specifically refer to environments which consistently consume the bulk of available CPU resources: big web servers, caching intermeddiate servers, etc. The common rationale is to trade off engineering time for CPU time. But that trade also means trading engineering time for carbon emissions, too.
xigency 4 days ago 1 reply      
Honestly, reading even a little bit of this article leads to the conclusion that the only solution is to switch to nuclear energy as our primary source of energy.

I'm sorry, but wind kites or wind blimps aren't going to substantially affect carbon emissions.

Shivetya 4 days ago 0 replies      
I still think that in addition to storage work needs to be done with super conductors in order to one day circle the earth with various power lines that fed from where energy is being produced to being used where generation is currently lacking. Before writing it off, it would not have been that long ago that wrapping the world in cables for communication would have been seen as a pipe dream either.

I am not a fan of the idea of lithium or current tech batteries being stacked in mass. I just think that there would be bigger environmental concerns long term with these as servicing is a big issue.

Still as a technologist two things.First never consider the science of the climate as settled. As soon as you do you close so many doors in your own mind that you will hamper yourself.Second realize the one big area we are truly short on isn't the technology but the people who can service it. From electricians, hydraulic engineers, and mechanical. Get people interested in those careers too. For many who might not have the technical chops to create such systems many more are far more capable of maintaining them

lexcorvus 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is well-done, but I wish such treatments spent more effort establishing that climate change projections are (a) reliable and (b) catastrophic. Those two points are the essence of the case, and yet they're usually just assumed. (Note that whether climate-change is anthropogenic or not is utterly beside the point. That so much attention is paid to this peripheral issue is a major red flag.)
cpr 4 days ago 9 replies      
I still like Burt Rutan's take on the AGW question (http://rps3.com/Files/AGW/EngrCritique.AGW-Science.v4.3.pdf).

He looks at it as an engineer, using generally-accepted data. His conclusion is that the alarmists are wrong.

beatpanda 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you're an engineer and you want to help enable sustainable deployment of solar power infrastructure, my company Genability is hiring for all kinds of roles right now. http://genability.com/careers/work_with_us.html
jessriedel 4 days ago 4 replies      
I'd think there are better sources for reading about climate change than an author one who must admit "I didnt mention nuclear because I dont know much about it."
spot 4 days ago 0 replies      
The model-driven section (ability to write models, publish models, and for them to become the standard for public decision making) is important to me and I am working on solving it through the Beaker Notebook, an environment for data modeling, visualization, communication, and publication.

Check out http://BeakerNotebook.com and especially https://pub.beakernotebook.com/#/publications

The final step of making authoring and execution work in the cloud is still under development...

kushti 4 days ago 0 replies      
So what can I do as a software developer? Any OSS written in Haskell / Scala / Java / OCaml I can contribute to?
jrcii 4 days ago 0 replies      
The whole climate thing has become so politicized I'm suspicious of anyone who's passionate about it either way
davidw 4 days ago 1 reply      
Ride your bike to work and encourage others to do likewise. Might be a small gesture, but it's something you can do tomorrow.
codeshaman 4 days ago 0 replies      
Fantastic article with so much information.. I feel humbled when I see how much work people put into these things and how great the result looks like !

Haven't read it all yet and forgive me if I'm repeating what's already mentioned there, but I would also add the following..

I think that climate change is the consequence of people doing too much X.One way to curb it would be for people to do less X or do (more) Y instead. No governments, no grants, you and me - the people, aka users.

But that involves changing the people's behaviour, which is very hard. Or is it ? Well, advertising works quite well and we've become very good at manipulating and determining people to do (buy) all kinds of things.

What if we used all that ad tech and all that exposure that tech corporations have and implement a global 'climate change' propaganda ?

This can be done starting tomorrow.

Microsoft Windows popping up an alert "Do you really need all your lights on in your house ?"

Facebook wall containing ads encouraging people to be less wasteful, respect nature and think about the future (we can do incredibly cool ads nowadays!).

iPhones displaying "plant a tree !" on the home screen with the button to actually schedule it in the calendar.

Google search returning a 'sponsored' link to climate-healing projects ...

There's so much, we, the tech people working at the big corps can do today .. We don't need startups for that, we already have most of the eyeballs of the planet in our operating systems, social networks or search engines.

It's a matter of delivering the right information and people will follow. We all want to do this, regardless of country or race or religion.

So, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple , etc - why not allocate 1% of your UIs to fixing the climate ?

You can reach everyone on the planet and we are ready to do it, just give us some pointers, remind us to do the good stuff and we will, because that's how advertising works !

I'd happily discuss this more, so let me know if anyone's interested ;).

jbrande 4 days ago 0 replies      
I like the increasing focus on climate change but what about any one of of the other really damaging things we are doing? Acid Mine drainage, for one, is heavily related to the tech world with the ever growing demand for more materials to build our hardware.

Let's figure out how to build electronics & devices in a manner that enables systemic recycling and has more reasonable power costs. As it is, we just bury our old tech under a pile of trash and go mine some more. That is not a sustainable or in my opinion, sane, practice.

protomyth 4 days ago 1 reply      
The simple answer to the question is to create source of power and distribution that are cheaper, easier, and as reliable as gas, oil, and coal. Add to that a cheap solution to remove carbon from the air and oceans and you solve the problem. Anything that requires sacrifice of the first world or impedes the third world's progress is not going to be adopted.

Swing for the fences since we need the homerun.

blondie9x 4 days ago 0 replies      
Beautiful. Thanks for sharing Michael. A really through look at how we can use data and technology to help in preserve stable climate.
bborud 4 days ago 0 replies      
Develop products and technologies that are better for the environment while at the same time more attractive than what it replaces. People don't want to sacrifice: they want better. So real change is about better alternatives.

You need a long planning horizon. Be prepared to spend decades for the problems that matter.

suyash 4 days ago 0 replies      
Do you find that navigation in the middle annoying, specially since user has to scroll to find it again. Content is great but design didn't quite do justice to the research.
super-serial 4 days ago 0 replies      
Build mining robots. Those robots can mine olivine, crush the rocks, and spread it all over the oceans. We can offset all human CO2 emissions with this method.
cozzyd 4 days ago 0 replies      
Many workplaces are built in suburban wastelands. Perhaps if enough people refused to work in such a hostile-to-any-mode-other-than-car environment, that might help.
mildweed 4 days ago 0 replies      
re: "Coordination (consuming when?)"

Z-Wave already has ADR (Automated Demand Response) capabilities. http://z-wavealliance.org/energy-management/

So the protocol (OpenADR2.0a) is defined, the messaging is available (from a DRAS), and the consumer client is listening (Z-Wave). We just need more appliances to build ADR integrations to Z-Wave.

frankiechh 3 days ago 0 replies      

Technologists have a hard time being employed past a certain expiration date.

mkesper 4 days ago 2 replies      
I always wonder who might invest in and how much CO could be saved by bringing the Americas to 230V.Due to half the voltage, the current needs to be doubled for the same power at 110V leading to much higher losses due to resistance (U=I*R).
jonesb6 4 days ago 0 replies      
Writing more efficient software?
Jemaclus 4 days ago 15 replies      
I've asked this question a few times but haven't really gotten a satisfactory answer. There are a lot of what I might call "epic problems" out there. Malaria, homelessness, HIV, refugees, war, climate change, income inequality, gender inequality, hate crimes.

I don't know anything about creating vaccines or cures for malaria or HIV. I don't have a degree in social work or behavior science. I don't have any experience with economics outside of personal investment and filing my income tax paperwork each year. I don't have billions of dollars to fund a company to focus on these things.

I make a small salary relative to what's required for these things and have very limited knowledge.

I'm a programmer and a manager. So how do I contribute to these problems? How can I take the skills I have and get homeless people the help they need? How do I take my web development skills and reduce income inequality? How do I help stop the next Trayvon Martin incident?

I have no idea. This article goes into great detail about climate change, but I finished reading it and still have no idea. I don't even know where to start.

DHJSH 4 days ago 0 replies      
Weather resistant building design, for example, concrete dome construction.
masterponomo 4 days ago 0 replies      
First determine the ideal temperature and climate conditions. Then, if the ideal is cooler than the current temp, wear the same clothes twice as long between washings; if the ideal is warmer than the current temp, wear them half as many times. But I cannot overstate the importance of Step 1 before taking a potentially irreversible action. Coup de Grace: Apply the same calculus to your every energy-consuming/heat-generating activity, and lather/rinse/repeat (metaphorically).
ilaksh 4 days ago 3 replies      
I actually believe 'climate change' is a type of cover for geopolitical issues related to the petrodollar. I believe that humans affect the climate, but the real scientific basis for that being the primary driver of climate change isn't there. But they are using 'da earf is melting' as a substitute for another truth that is just as scary.

That truth is that the United States and its closest allies use about twice as much fossil fuel as the rest of the countries, and being able to continue that is completely dependent upon a massive military campaign that stretches thinner as the years go by.


Technologists can work on education and preventing the spread of war propaganda, which is rampant in Western television and media. Notice how the terrorists always seem to be loudly explaining which currently most strategic middle east country they come from.

If you want to believe the main problem is just that 'da earf is melting' or climate change or whatever, the root of the problem is still fossil fuel dependency.

The massive amount of fuel used for moving 3,000 pound vehicles to and from offices everyday, for work that probably 75% or more can be done over the internet with Skype or whatever, is the most obvious low-hanging fruit.

Another thing is, as the dollar hegemony fades, what replaces it, and what sort of conflict arises during that transition? Something like bitcoin might be a good alternative to WWIII.

We can also look toward alternative technological frameworks for society that support decentralization. Named-data networking, IPFS, Ethereum, etc.

Suburbia is a prime target for reform. Here is my idea: https://runvnc.github.io/tinyvillage/

ommunist 4 days ago 2 replies      
Technologist can do approximately the same thing about the climate change, that our Sun can do about the average temperature in the Milky Way. Keep calm and carry on! Humanity is not a geological force on this planet.

UPD: Lovely stockpile of relevant information though. But I have a better one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfeytbHBPFM. Snows always melt. Look at glaciology data, dudes!

The Architecture of Open Source Applications: Nginx aosabook.org
288 points by larsvegas_  5 days ago   123 comments top 15
evincarofautumn 5 days ago 7 replies      
No matter how many times I see nginx, and know that its supposed to be engine X, I always pronounce it as [ks] in my head!

The way nginx handles requests and responses in an implicit event loop reminds me of a recent talk by Brian Kernighan, in which he mentions the ubiquity of the patternaction model in many domains. I think its a very useful architectural pattern to have in mind when youre designing a configuration system or a DSL.

I also liked this quote:

> it is worth avoiding the dilution of development efforts on something that is neither the developers core competence or the target application.

sinzone 5 days ago 2 replies      
Lua support in nginx is phenomenal, especially when combined with LuaJIT. It basically allows to transform nginx into an application server and run arbitrary code that can pretty much do anything.

I would like to mention agentzh and his team that did an amazing job in releasing OpenResty[1] which makes it easy to extend nginx with custom Lua functionality, which also happens to be the backbone of CloudFlare architecture, and the core technology being used by projects like Kong[2] when it comes to microservices management.

[1] http://openresty.org/

[2] https://github.com/Mashape/kong

nisa 5 days ago 5 replies      
I really enjoy nginx, as it's more flexible to configure but I've never understood why Apache got this slow label...

FTA: In February 2012, the Apache 2.4.x branch was released to the public. Although this latest release of Apache has added new multi-processing core modules and new proxy modules aimed at enhancing scalability and performance, it's too soon to tell if its performance, concurrency and resource utilization are now on par with, or better than, pure event-driven web servers. It would be very nice to see Apache application servers scale better with the new version, though, as it could potentially alleviate bottlenecks on the backend side which still often remain unsolved in typical nginx-plus-Apache web configurations.

I'm using Apache 2.4 with mpm_event + mod_proxy_fcgid and it's doing fine - 99% of the work and time spend is done in the FastCGI application anyway and for static content mpm_event is good enough. I wouldn't run a dedicated static CDN box on Apache but for everything that can run on a single server Apache can also do the job... even HTTP/2 with mod_h2 works fine as of 2.4.17

A problem with nginx is to figure out what matches in a complex config... it's not straightforward. .htaccess is nice and simple for a shared server with lot's of users.

I really like nginx but I guess most people just don't really need it. Migrating to 2.4 and mpm_event should be good enough.

arca_vorago 5 days ago 1 reply      
While I like nginx over apache because I've been burned too many times by strange apache configs, I have recently found and am growing to love Hiawatha. It's a GPL webserver focused on security, uses PolarSSL which jut got bought out and is now mbed, and it's pretty fast. All the benchmarks I've seen show it comparable to stock nginx, apache, but once you tack on some of the optimizations nginx will beat Hiawatha. It also has a very easy config syntax.

Just for anyone interested: https://www.hiawatha-webserver.org/

The dev doesn't do much advertising, so word of mouth on a place like HN really helps.

alexandrerond 5 days ago 2 replies      
Every "new" webserver tries to fix apache configuration syntax mess, and imho they all fail. Yes, setting up a reverse proxy looks simpler with nginx or haproxy for that matter. Now when it comes to complex configurations they all suck, and I'm not sure a json/yaml config format is going to fix that as long as webservers have such wide scopes (from serving static pages, to proxying traffic, authorizing, authenticating, encrypting...). At least apache is very modular on this regard and some credit should be given to it having survived and evolved along with all the newer options.
davidmichael 5 days ago 1 reply      
I wish there was more input as to why Apache 2.4 isn't suitable. It's been 3 years since its event driven model was released and it is a perfectly acceptable web server even for static content.
davidw 5 days ago 1 reply      
> Although Apache provided a solid foundation for future development, it was architected to spawn a copy of itself for each new connection

That's not really correct:


Nginx makes it easier to handle a bunch of concurrent connections, but it's not as if Apache simply forks for each new connection.

jrochkind1 5 days ago 1 reply      
> In February 2012, the Apache 2.4.x branch was released to the public. Although this latest release of Apache has added new multi-processing core modules and new proxy modules aimed at enhancing scalability and performance, it's too soon to tell if its performance, concurrency and resource utilization are now on par with, or better than, pure event-driven web servers.

When was this written? Is it still too soon to tell? 2.5 years seems like enough time to tell?

gtrubetskoy 4 days ago 0 replies      
Back when I was tinkering with mod_python performance[0] there was this web server called nxweb[1], which out-performed nginx consistently by quite a bit.

[0] http://grisha.org/blog/2013/11/07/mod-python-performance-rev...[1] https://bitbucket.org/yarosla/nxweb/overview

losvedir 4 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know how this architecture compares to cowboy? I know erlang is known for concurrency, but I'm assuming erlang isn't as fast as the custom-tailored C here. OTOH, I feel slightly less concerned about security issues with erlang.
anowlcalledjosh 5 days ago 10 replies      
Why do web servers always seem to invent their own config file format? Whilst nginx seems to do it slightly more sanely than Apache, it still doesn't use something like YAML or JSON; is there a good/obvious reason for this I'm missing?
maattdd 4 days ago 0 replies      
More impressive in the same book, how another server (Warp) written in Haskell (GCed lazy functional language, supposedly way slower than C over epoll) achieves the same performance as nginx!


DonnyV 5 days ago 1 reply      
I love using nginx but it seems that all the new features lately are only accessible through their enterprise service.
jsprogrammer 5 days ago 1 reply      
>These days the Internet is so widespread and ubiquitous it's hard to imagine it wasn't exactly there, as we know it, a decade ago. It has greatly evolved, from simple HTML producing clickable text, based on NCSA and then on Apache web servers, to an always-on communication medium used by more than 2 billion users worldwide.

The Internet[0] has a much richer history and larger ecosystem than just the World Wide Web. The Internet started nearly six decades ago, the web has only been around for a bit more than two.

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

ferbivore 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sort of unrelated, but I would love to see one of these for Unreal Engine. If there's an internal architecture overview somewhere, I haven't found it.
How a little bit of TCP knowledge is essential jvns.ca
297 points by dar8919  7 days ago   40 comments top 12
Animats 7 days ago 4 replies      
That still irks me. The real problem is not tinygram prevention. It's ACK delays, and that stupid fixed timer. They both went into TCP around the same time, but independently. I did tinygram prevention (the Nagle algorithm) and Berkeley did delayed ACKs, both in the early 1980s. The combination of the two is awful. Unfortunately by the time I found about delayed ACKs, I had changed jobs, was out of networking, and doing a product for Autodesk on non-networked PCs.

Delayed ACKs are a win only in certain circumstances - mostly character echo for Telnet. (When Berkeley installed delayed ACKs, they were doing a lot of Telnet from terminal concentrators in student terminal rooms to host VAX machines doing the work. For that particular situation, it made sense.) The delayed ACK timer is scaled to expected human response time. A delayed ACK is a bet that the other end will reply to what you just sent almost immediately. Except for some RPC protocols, this is unlikely. So the ACK delay mechanism loses the bet, over and over, delaying the ACK, waiting for a packet on which the ACK can be piggybacked, not getting it, and then sending the ACK, delayed. There's nothing in TCP to automatically turn this off. However, Linux (and I think Windows) now have a TCP_QUICKACK socket option. Turn that on unless you have a very unusual application.

Turning on TCP_NODELAY has similar effects, but can make throughput worse for small writes. If you write a loop which sends just a few bytes (worst case, one byte) to a socket with "write()", and the Nagle algorithm is disabled with TCP_NODELAY, each write becomes one IP packet. This increases traffic by a factor of 40, with IP and TCP headers for each payload. Tinygram prevention won't let you send a second packet if you have one in flight, unless you have enough data to fill the maximum sized packet. It accumulates bytes for one round trip time, then sends everything in the queue. That's almost always what you want. If you have TCP_NODELAY set, you need to be much more aware of buffering and flushing issues.

None of this matters for bulk one-way transfers, which is most HTTP today. (I've never looked at the impact of this on the SSL handshake, where it might matter.)

Short version: set TCP_QUICKACK. If you find a case where that makes things worse, let me know.

John Nagle

jfb 7 days ago 1 reply      
I really enjoy reading Julia's blog. Not only does she have a real, infectious enthusiasm for learning; not only is the blog well written; but I also often learn a lot. Kudos.
barrkel 7 days ago 2 replies      
This is a general problem of leaky abstractions. If you're a top-down thinker, you're going to have a bad time some day and have a hard time figuring it out.

OTOH bottom up thinkers take much longer to become productive in an environment with novel abstractions.

Swings and roundabouts. Top down is probably better in a startup context - it's more conducive to broad and shallow generalists. Bottom up is great when you have a breakdown of abstraction through the stack, or when you need a new solution that's never been done quite the same way before.

p00b 7 days ago 0 replies      
John Rauser of pinterest gave a wonderful talk about TCP and the lower bound of Internet latency recently that has a lot in common with what's discussed in the article here. Worth a watch I think if you enjoyed the blog post.


PeterWhittaker 7 days ago 0 replies      
Summary: If you know learn a little, you realize that each packet might be separately acknowledged before the next one is sent. In particular, note this quote: Net::HTTP doesnt set TCP_NODELAY on the TCP socket it opens, so it waits for acknowledgement of the first packet before sending the second.

By setting TCP_NODELAY, they removed a series of 40ms delays, vastly improving performance of their web app.

colanderman 7 days ago 0 replies      
You don't need to entirely disable Nagle; just flash TCP_NODELAY on then off immediately after sending a packet for which you will block for a reply. This way you still get the benefit Nagle brings of coalescing small writes, without the downside.

(Alternatively, turn Nagle off entirely and buffer writes manually or using MSG_MORE or TCP_CORK.)

johansch 7 days ago 1 reply      
This can be generalised. It is also one of my favorite ways of doing developer interviews. Do they have a working/in-depth knowledge of what keeps the inter webs running? So many people have never ventured out of their main competence bubble, and that bubble can be quite small (but focused, I suppose).

For all I know, they believe everything is kept together with the help of magic. I guess I don't trust people who don't have a natural urge to understand at least the most basic things of our foundations.

dantiberian 7 days ago 1 reply      
I came across this this week working on the RethinkDB driver for Clojure (https://github.com/apa512/clj-rethinkdb/pull/114). As soon as I saw "40ms" in this story I thought "Nagles Algorithm".

One thing I haven't understood fully is that this only seems to be a problem on Linux, Mac OS X didn't exhibit this behaviour.

bboreham 5 days ago 0 replies      
Why wouldn't an http client library turn off Nagle's algorithm by default?
neduma 7 days ago 2 replies      
Can wireshark/riverbed (application perf tests) profiling help to solve these kind of problems?
rjurney 7 days ago 0 replies      
In highschool I carried TCP Illustrated around with me like a bible. I cherished that book. Knowledge of networks would eventually be incredibly useful throughout my career.
Ono-Sendai 7 days ago 2 replies      
This is my proposed solution to this kind of problem: Sockets should have a flushHint() API call: http://www.forwardscattering.org/post/3
The New Atomic Age We Need nytimes.com
231 points by markmassie  12 hours ago   178 comments top 26
T-A 11 hours ago 7 replies      
> We already know that todays energy sources cannot sustain a future we want to live in.

Is this really true? In Lazard's 2014 comparison of total cost per MWh, both wind and solar beat coal and nuclear [1]. Costs have fallen so much that it's becoming hard to justify continued subsidies [2].

[1] http://energyinnovation.org/2015/02/07/levelized-cost-of-ene...

[2] http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/us-energy-secreta...

PaulHoule 11 hours ago 4 replies      
The key problem in my mind is the failure of project management in building reactors.

If they said it was going to take 2 years and 1 billion dollars and it stretched out to 3 years and $1.5 billion that is one thing.

Back in the 1970s it was more like 2 years stretches to 9 years and $15 billion and you could blame union workers who never did nuclear work before, the no nukes, high interest rates, etc.

The industry was supposed to come out with standardized reactor types like the EPR, and we have low interest rates, little active opposition to nuclear power, and projects like Olkiluoto-3 are still 9 years late.

Nobody is going to put up billions of dollars unless there is some predictability in terms of cost and schedule. The fear of Fukushima is just icing on that cake.

indifferentalex 1 hour ago 0 replies      
As much as the causes at Chernobyl can be attributed to the poor quality of the systems installed and of incorrect safety procedures, it shows that bad things can indeed happen, simply saying that they were caused by incompetence doesn't prove nuclear power is safe. Likewise stating that "fewer than 50" died at Chernobyl, while possibly true (referring to the immediate area), is a severe understatement of the crisis. All european countries were forced to react, radioactive dust sent up into the air by the fires was carried across the continent and whole crops had to be destroyed. The low figure of consequential deaths is thanks to a large and costly effort to prevent further problems. Much like Fukushima. This article is reverse fear mongering and it is just as wrong, nuclear energy is without a doubt an incredible resource and the pros objectively outway the cons compared to fossil fuels, and the claim that the gap left open by insufficient adoption of renewable energy can be closed by nuclear in the meantime is a valid one, downplaying the dangers of nuclear however is not the correct way to move forward.
shaunrussell 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It is a shame that we went all in on uranium reactor technology (so we could make bombs) instead of further pursuing liquid fluoride thorium reactors, which are much safer.

Kirk Sorensen at http://flibe-energy.com/ has some great talks about this. I highly recommend watching some of his content on youtube.

This is a good place to start: https://www.ted.com/talks/kirk_sorensen_thorium_an_alternati...

bjt 5 hours ago 2 replies      
While I agree with the basic argument that we are hurting ourselves with an irrational aversion to nuclear power, some of Thiel's arguments seem weak or overreaching. The worst, in my estimation, is this:

> Critics often point to the Chernobyl accident in the Soviet Union as an even more terrifying warning against nuclear power, but that accident was a direct result of both a faulty design and the operators incompetence. Fewer than 50 people were reported to have died at Chernobyl; by contrast, the American Lung Association estimates that smoke from coal-fired power plants kills about 13,000 people every year.

So on one hand you take the failure of a single nuclear plant, and count the direct, local deaths from that. On the other hand you take the sum of all coal-fired plants, and count the number of global, indirect deaths from them. OF COURSE the latter number is going to be bigger. The comparison is dishonest.

blisterpeanuts 10 hours ago 4 replies      
Where are we at with nuclear fusion? At this time, the only promising progress I know of is happening at Lockheed Martin's Skunkworks[1] where they are developing a truck-sized 100 MW [corrected from Mhz] power plant in an incremental, iterative fashion and claiming to have something operational by 2020.

As regards solar and other "clean" alternatives, there exists vast potential for reducing daytime electric grid load by throwing a few panels on residential and office rooftops. Why don't more people do it? As the cost of panels plummets, the payoff time is decreasing and ROI over time is increasing.

A whole industry of solar panel leasing has sprung up, whereby residential home owners let an installer put in the panels for free, then pay a discounted electric rate. Not exactly like going off-grid, but it does have the same effect of reducing demand for coal/oil/gas generated power.

I'm envisioning future new home developments where every house comes with solar pre-installed. No decisions to make; the cost is baked in (so to speak) and you get a home that will incur minimal electric bills.

I don't see a government role in all of these initiatives, which are market driven. People want green energy these days; it's become a fad. Almost gone are the days when homeowners associations sue a member for putting "ugly" solar panels on his roof.

1. http://www.eweek.com/news/lockheed-martin-claims-sustainable...

mronge 9 hours ago 3 replies      
How does this compare to what Elon Musk says about solar power? In this presentation he shows that a reasonable amount of area could power the entire US (if we used roof tops etc for solar panels).

Is that not feasible?


ommunist 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Currently only France, US, and Russia can build reactors for energy, but these are using U or Pu in different flavours. This fuel is hard to get. China can't afford that kind of fuel in quanities it will need. This is why China backs breakthrough research in Th fission, delivered by Norway. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the future.
ScottBurson 7 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm in the middle of reading a great book on geoengineering, Oliver Morton's The Planet Remade. Engagingly written and comprehensive; I recommend it highly. From the introduction:

If the world had the capacity to deliver one of the largest nuclear power plants ever built once a week, week in and week out, it would take 20 years to replace the current stock of coal-fired plants (at present, the world builds about three or four nuclear power plants a year, and retires old ones almost as quickly).

Morton goes on to make the case for considering geoengineering, and for ramping up research on it. I don't know that I can do justice to the argument in a short summary, but one key point is the extent to which we're already doing it in an unplanned way. We all know about all the carbon dioxide we're putting in the air, along with other greenhouse gases -- nitrous oxide, for example -- but there's also the massive amount of reactive nitrogen we're creating, mostly for fertilizer. We all know about the massive local environmental effects of burning coal, but there's also some evidence that coal smoke has a cooling effect; changing from coal to nuclear may actually worsen warming in the short run.

I was favorably disposed toward geoengineering before I got the book, so I can't claim to have been won over, but there was an awful lot I didn't know about it -- for example, how the various approaches would affect different regions of the globe differently, and how those effects could be adjusted to some extent, though not optimized for everyone simultaneously.

Again, I highly recommend it.

namespace 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I think that recent initiative by YC under sam to invest in startups that may herald breakthroughs in sustainable fission is a great start. This should lead to a healthy competition which so far has been missing since it used to be a government only venture for a long time.
tomohawk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Any technology that requires political machinations to work is a non-starter.

Nuclear technology's achille's heel is waste disposal. Sure, there are technical aspects to it, but it's mostly a problem in the political realm.

The Feds were supposed provide a disposal mechanism, but there's apparently no political will to do that any longer. Instead, we have nuclear waste piling up all over the place at facilities that were never meant to store it. As soon as we have a natural disaster at one of these facilities, it will be like fukushima all over again. Such a shame.

jkot 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Coal plan produces more radioactivity than nuclear plant. There are radioactive elements in coal and they get released in smoke into atmosphere.
lumberjack 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Nuclear Fission is not a plug and play solution either. Unlike other possible solutions like a breakthrough in mass energy storage, we know that fission could satisfy our needs. But it will still require some 30 years of investment to figure out the new breed of reactors and where to source the fuel from.
Pietertje 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Does somebody know if nuclear power will actually be an improvement for the environment (only considering temperature here)? Essentially you just release heat which is stored as mass.

A quick calculation shows that if you only consider heating up our atmosphere and assume an entire switch of all our energy consumption to nuclear energy you end up with a temperature rise of 0.1 deg C per year. I know it is a worst-case scenario - energy will be stored in land/water as well, dissipation etc. - but still.

Compared to fossil fuels, the plus side is you do not produce any greenhouse gases. However, I'm unsure which contributes more to global warming, could well be the former is negligible. Would love to hear an expert on this.

nova22033 9 hours ago 1 reply      
In 1949 the federal government built a test facility at Idaho National Laboratory to study and evaluate new nuclear reactor designs. We owe our nuclear power industry to the foresight of those New Dealers, and we need their openness to innovation again today.

Thiel is a self-described conservative libertarian.


jensen123 8 hours ago 2 replies      
He does not mention bombs. I'm certainly no expert here, but I think I read in the book An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore a long time ago, that if you have the ability to build a nuclear power plant, then building a bomb is not very hard.

I'm not terribly keen on living in a world where most of the countries in Africa, the Middle East etc. are able to build nuclear bombs.

danbruc 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Why not simply outlaw nonrenewable energy sources over ten years or so? Problem solved.

EDIT: Would someone care to point out why that is not an valid option? Lack of technological viability? Lack of energy storage technology or capacity? Ideological resentment against a political over an economical driving force for the change?

11thEarlOfMar 11 hours ago 0 replies      
YC has two nuclear start ups: Helion and UPower. How are they doing? What is their path to prominence?
ilaksh 1 hour ago 0 replies      
That equation changes when you move to a sustainable society.

Much smaller residential plots in suburban/urban areas, cut out commuting by 60 plus percent by using Skype etc. Move to much smaller single passenger electric vehicles (300 pounds instead of 3000).

Switch to high-tech (or low tech) efficient ultra-local food production, like potato bags on every roof, a tilapia farm on every corner. Solar on every roof, transparent VAWT on every roof. Solar roadways. Ground-source heat pump and net zero airtight ventilated homes. Wide deployment of residential energy storage.

We can literally make society 5-10 times more efficient.


dfar1 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Coincidence that this article is released at the same time as the youtube/google petition campaign?
Zigurd 11 hours ago 0 replies      
After reading this, I still have mixed feelings about nuclear. On the one hand, we have an overhang of old-tech nuclear power that is dangerously obsolete, poorly run, and insanely expensive to build, run, and clean up after.

On the other hand, new-tech nuclear looks very attractive. The argument gets circular, because new-tech nuclear is speculative. Lots of old-tech nuclear should get shut before we get another Fukushima. So despite the theoretical ability to scale up faster, does nuclear really have an advantage over renewables?

squozzer 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Forgive my skepticism, but Mr. Thiel did not offer to live near a reactor. For someone with his obvious intelligence, his oversight could not have been accidental. Does he fear the radiation or the decline in property value?

When a robber baron like Dale Carnegie wanted people to believe in his steel bridges, he staked his life and reputation and walked across the damned bridge.

Another major risk not mentioned by Mr. Thiel is a financial one, as it seems every nuclear project in the West at least has become a boondoggle. Even the project a few hours from my house - Plant Vogtle - where the state legislature generously transferred the financial risk to the taxpayers and customers - is behind schedule and over budget.

Until nuclear cheerleaders develop a taste for risk that will not be borne by others, maybe we should reduce consumption. If Las Vegas were to shut off 90% of its' outdoor lighting and fountain displays, would everyone there go blind and lose their enthusiasm to play slots? I doubt it. Just a thought.

bro-stick 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Thiel skips the fact that Chernobyl is uninhabitable for thousands of years (save bloggers on motorcycles), all of the dispossessed persons and extra 40k+ cancer deaths. Plus Fukashima. Big PWR/BWR reactors will always be too inherently dangerous because of high pressures and too expensive to build, regulate and insure (in the US, without insurance and NRC approval, there is no project). And the risks of dual-purpose reactors and long-term storage for large amounts of waste.

Taylor Wilson's TED talk on low pressure, molten salt, modular reactors built as standardized modules with a scram / recycle pool underneath and made in a factory is one of the best ways to go. Smaller, isolated, modular setups limit failure risk compared to a single reactor having a big, explosive meltdown. The other one is thermal generation using chip-like technology with tiny amounts of radiological material isolated in individual "wells" making it safer, more efficient and scalable for many types of battery and generation use-cases.

I think we can do fission safer, cheaper and smarter, responsibly, but repeating the same failures by taking the same risks without learning from the past is inherently dumb.

Disclaimer: nuclear energy consultancy alum

etaty 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I like how Thiel writes his sentences about safety, to avoid saying anything wrong. I invite him to spend the rest of his life in Chernobyl or Fukushima.

Personally nuclear energy is dangerous because when it goes wrong the result is really bad.

And the source of error is infinite, human, software, design, terrorists, war, civil plane, drone ...

macco 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a feeling Mr Thiel didn't cosider important facts.

Nuclear energy is highly deficient, building nuclear plants uses much more energy and concrete (bad for the environment) and you have to store nuclear waste.

I know Thiel is a long term thinker, but maybe Kaynes view is also important.

cft 11 hours ago 6 replies      
I am afraid that the real goal of at least 50% of climate change activists is not clean energy, but the disruption of current elite and wealth redistribution by taxation vs value creation. It is because of these 50% the realistic proposals like Peter's will not fly politically.
Less than 24 hours on Udemy as an instructor and Im close to leaving nickjanetakis.com
287 points by baobaba  1 day ago   34 comments top 9
mr_luc 1 day ago 0 replies      

To some people, that article is going to seem like nit-picking, and insofar as it affects most people, it may be.

But my feeling on reading this article is gratitude. Thanks for writing it.

It's good for Udemy. If their business practices end up costing some content creators 87.5% of list price, then it's because the evil and/or lazy forces in the company have gained ground, and this kind of sunshine may weaken them.

It's good for content creators.

It's good for consumers. As a potential customer of courses like yours, I was discouraged at seeing their incentivization of cheaper, spammier courses. Why? Because even if education is turned into a product, it's is still a "buy-it-for-life" product where quality matters, and quality is the only metric I (and probably many of Udemy's shoppers!) really care about. Anything that could result in less noise/spam in their signal is appreciated.

It'll be interesting to see how Udemy responds.

mmaunder 1 day ago 3 replies      
As someone who has been doing screencasts with voice, I can tell you the mic is really important. If you use a headset, even a good one, you can generally hear the spit swishing around in your mouth. It's awful.

A buddy runs a pro recording studio and recommended Aphex Microphone X. I haven't looked back. Aphex makes amazing pro microphone preamps that are pricey. They launched something called Microphone X which has a compressor and a "big bottom" feature that were previously only in their high end pro gear. It's quite affordable - about $200 compared to an EV RE20 broadcaster mic for $600. It's a USB mic, so you don't need a preamp or digi interface. You just plug it into your computer and you're all set. I use it with a boom stand and pop filter. I love them so much I use them for everything including skype calls.

What this does is negate the changes in volume as you get closer or further from the mic (compressor). Add some nice radio bass to your voice with the big bottom effect. And generally give you a pro quality mic with a USB interface.

Here are all three:




Sure, purists will argue the EV20 is worth every penny. But pre's like the aphex have gotten so good that they've made the gains from a high-end source mic worth a lot less, if anything.

anderspitman 1 day ago 7 replies      
The author raised $12,451 USD from 13 backers for a Flask course?


Maybe I'm in the wrong line of work.

devonoel 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Udemy's getting absolutely slammed today on HN. I wonder if they're paying attention.
ivan_ah 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very informative writup about a platform I had only heard of before.

Some comments on book publishers:

> A book publisher will happily give you better margins >

No. If, an author makes 5% royalties on their book sales they're really lucky! Mainstream publishers must make a cut, so they'll only fork out a tiny percentage of the profits, which is a tiny percentage of the wholesale price, which is 45% of the list price (standard wholesale discount).

So 12% royalties, is really like 4-5% of profits, and if the book is sold with extra discount, we're dropping into the 2-3% range.

> than that AND print you high quality hard cover books > while bending the world to sell it for you in the process.>

More no. They'll put the book in a few catalogues, and maybe make a flyer or two. No world bending stuff.

grogenaut 1 day ago 0 replies      
takeaway: break you lessons up into $5 (to you) chunks and the let them go on sale for $10.
kkt262 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Udemy is a TERRIBLE platform. I'm surprised that so many instructors consent to putting their stuff on there. It's so much better to just have your content on your own hosted solution or Teachable (previously Fedora). Looks like there's a lot of room to innovate in this space.
listic 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know if it's an open course hosting platform, but there's http://02geek.com/
alexandros 1 day ago 1 reply      
You appear to believe the author is making a global appeal and has deliberately put this on the HN front page. Please remember that this is the author's personal blog, the readers there probably know who this is, and some of them shared the link which made it here. Take the content for what it's worth, spare the author the patronising lecture.
0 A.D.: A free, open-source game of ancient warfare play0ad.com
296 points by andrevoget  1 day ago   45 comments top 12
jfaucett 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is an absolutely awesome open source game. I keep a list of awesome open source games and its one of only two super high quality ones I've been able to find. It also has an embedded SpiderMonkey engine for scripting which was really useful when I was trying to figure out how to get an embedded scripting engine setup a while ago.

Heres the link to its source for those interested: https://github.com/0ad/0ad

The other game Hedgewars has a great haskell server, you can read a summary here with lnk to source: https://github.com/jwaterfaucett/awesome-foss-apps#hedgewars.

Anyway tip of the hat to O A.D devs they are doing a great job!

frik 20 hours ago 2 replies      
0 A.D. is great. I used to play a lot of RTS (real time strategy) games between 1995 and 2005. Sadly the whole RTS genre died because of the shift of PC game developers to consoles and their casual softened gameplay (HaloWars, C&C4) didn't work out. And the free-to-play AoEOnline / C&C Generals 2 (beta) were failures and SC2 drifted into a hardcore online niche. Not everyone wants to play repetitive Moba/tower defence style games. There would be a huge market for RTS games.

I loved the Age of Empires series, as well Empire Earth, C&C Generals. And building games like The Settlers, Anno 1602, Sim City.

0 A.D. is similar to Age of Empire/Mythology. Keep up the good work!

willvarfar 1 day ago 0 replies      
0 A.D. is gorgeous!

Another great RTS, with a strong focus on fun gameplay and modding, is Megaglest https://megaglest.org/

kelvinn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Good coincidence seeing this here, as my partner and I are about to play a game while our baby (hopefully!) takes a nap. We call it our 'team bonding activity'.
superskierpat 1 day ago 1 reply      
I only really played a game for the first time the other day, but I lost my entire afternoon.. I really like that all the factions are so different, I dont remember having had that much fun with age of empires.

I kept getting my ass kicked by catapults though...

andreyf 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm curious how a little bit of randomness and more realistic combat would affect the RTS genre. Perhaps something like Overgrowth [1] for combat, and maybe even a MMO/RTS combination for intelligent units? Does anyone know of games exploring this possibility?

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ct7xp0R-tnQ

onionjake 1 day ago 3 replies      
I love 0 A.D.! The only issue I have ran into is it slows down so much that it is basically unplayable with more than 4 players or so (or a few AI players). I've been meaning to jump in for awhile and help improve things.
JoBrad 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cool. It looks sort of like an upgraded Age of Empires.
ancymon 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's current version is "0 A.D. Alpha 19 Syllepsis". Is it done and playable? Maybe it's better to wait for some "real" release?

By the way, it seems to me that open source games don't have visible milestones. So one cannot notice when there's a good moment to download and play bug free game. Do you have same impression?

eklavya 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Can't thank you enough. You people totally rock!!
gamesbrainiac 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd definitely pay for a game with a campaign built on the foundations of the game. I miss good strategy games with nice long campaigns.
Tharkun 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's either 1BC or 1AD. There is no 0AD.
I may be the only evil bit user on the internet benjojo.co.uk
289 points by benjojo12  2 days ago   35 comments top 10
geofft 2 days ago 3 replies      
The "security by obscurity" bit is interesting. I'm now imagining a server where it checks that the initial sequence number of the SYN packet ends with your current OATH two-factor authentication code, or something, and it drops the packet if you have the wrong code. (Which elevates it quite a bit past simply "obscurity.") The traffic is indistinguishable from normal SSH traffic, and there's very little code that has to process anything from untrusted sources.
xorcist 2 days ago 3 replies      
While a very good story, I suspect the offending firewalls might drop traffic with any of the reserved bits set, not just the "evil" bit. Very fun exercise though!
rmc 2 days ago 2 replies      
In 1990 Bergen LUG implemented TCP over Avian Carriers. http://www.blug.linux.no/rfc1149/ The ping over that link was not good http://www.blug.linux.no/rfc1149/pinglogg/
barosl 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Is it that someone didnt see the date of the RFC, maybe sarcasm doesnt translate very well, possibly someone in the real world actually sent the evil bit when doing evil things, and cause some products to target it?

I think it was done just for fun. It is slightly concerning that a live equipment has such a joke enabled, but I'd say its fun-to-price ratio is relatively high.

eponeponepon 2 days ago 2 replies      
I yearn for a world in which that RFC were viable.

I love that anyone's implemented it at all though, and I really hope it's deliberate on the part of the people who drop the packet.

hdmoore 1 day ago 0 replies      
Funny enough, we found a practical application for this during my time at BreakingPoint. The BPS-1000 appliance would mix a huge number of concurrent streams through a device under test; we added a feature to flag the exploit traffic as evil by setting the RFC 3514 bit: https://strikecenter.ixiacom.com/articles/permalink?month=06...

This made it easier for manufacturers of IDS/IPS/UTM/NGFW equipment to quickly isolate false negatives during fully loaded tests.

daveguy 2 days ago 0 replies      
One of the domains that identifies and drops evil bit packets -- Kaspersky.com ... Smart, Kaspersky, smart.
frik 2 days ago 0 replies      
Some of the websites used probably Kaspersky software (anti virus, etc. from Eastern Europe)
tomrod 2 days ago 1 reply      
What's going on here, exactly?
yanazendo 2 days ago 0 replies      
The evil bit is valuable; but with byzantine attacks who knows what to believe.
LittleD SQL database for IoT, can run queries in 1KB github.com
244 points by pfalcon  4 days ago   102 comments top 14
geedy 4 days ago 5 replies      
I am the author of LittleD.

I am more than happy to answer any questions. It has mostly been an academic project while I was doing during my undergrad, but I am now looking at continuing the project as part of a Ph.D. Of course, I would love to coordinate a broader development of this project. :)

You may also be interested in another project I and some lab mates have been working on over the last couple of years, IonDB: https://github.com/iondbproject/iondb.

EDIT: You might also be interested in the initial paper, which can be found here: https://people.ok.ubc.ca/rlawrenc/research/Papers/LittleD.pd...

I investigated query precompilation in another paper I am waiting to here back on, and once everything has been a little better tested, that code will get pushed out as well. :)

And seriously, if anybody is interested in contributing, I would love to have some help. Get in contact with me!

listic 4 days ago 1 reply      
When would you actually need a relational database running on such a small platform, today?

I understand programming in general and microcontrollers; I was paid to program one. Still, surely nowadays a system with a tiny 8-bit microcontroller is probably considered as auxillary to some kind of larger machine, which should be way better equipped to do the heavy lifting such as SQL databases?

jwiley 4 days ago 3 replies      
I haven't created large amounts of C/C++, so I'm certainly not an expert, but I was impressed by how well the source was commented and structured. Nice to see well documented, well thought out code, congrats
coleifer 4 days ago 2 replies      
This looks like a very cool project. I cloned it and generated the docs, and while the code is certainly well-document, I didn't see any type of high-level narrative or public APIs. Was hoping to see at least a "littleD.h" or something, but it seems you have to do some source diving or look at the tests to figure out how to use this library.
SEJeff 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'd be quite interested to see this on an ESP8266 board. I use the Adafruit huzzah version[1] which comes with a lot of extra fluff for developers, but the core microcontroller is a 32 bit MCU with 64k of ram. It is about the size of a US Quarter Dollar coin and can be had for as low as ~$2 USD.

[1] https://www.adafruit.com/products/2471

nitrogen 4 days ago 2 replies      
What is the advantage of using a database vs. rolling your own data structures on such a small device?
Carrok 4 days ago 3 replies      
As someone who has spent the past year and change developing an automation system using the targeted platform (Megas) I can say that this sounds like a very bad way to do things.

While I applaud the effort, and it will certainly be useful for many people for many other reasons, I don't think IoT is the best use case here. If your data is at all valuable/useful, you don't want it sitting out somewhere on some device that will hopefully/maybe be online when you go to query it. Plus now just to be able to query it remotely you will still need to develop some sort of API that lives on the device that can talk to the LittleD database.

Finally if you really are doing 'IoT' you clearly have a bunch of things that you want to view/control from a centralized platform. When you have the devices talking to a server, you can do this. When you have to ask each device individually what is going on with it, this becomes much harder.

tptacek 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is really neat. What's a realistic use case for a SQL-like database running on a microcontroller?
nickpsecurity 4 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting. Hope the author gets a usable subset there in a flexible coding style. Might be ported to other devices and become a general thing.

Love the name, too, haha.

Note: How much of a need is there for a SQL database on 8-bitters, etc? Can't one do that in a front-end at the client side and just have simple commands sent over network to device? What I always did for limited or security-critical devices. No way I'd put a whole 4GL on them lol.

shanemhansen 4 days ago 0 replies      
I discovered my IOT camera in my home runs sqlite.
myth17 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do we have transaction (ACID) support? If not, have you thought about it? Is is feasible with the IOT constraints?
donpdonp 4 days ago 1 reply      
What are the actually memory usage/recommended RAM sizes for LittleD?
mirchiseth 4 days ago 0 replies      
This would be a good learning project in CS classes as well.
rattray 4 days ago 8 replies      
Is the size of SQLite really a problem? Is its reliability something that hardware devs are willing to sacrifice?

(In other words, how big is SQLite and what are the size restrictions for IoT devices I haven't built one before)

A Python tutorial on Bayesian modeling techniques github.com
217 points by gedrap  4 days ago   15 comments top 6
markdregan 4 days ago 4 replies      
I am the author of this tutorial. If you are interesting in contributing a section to this tutorial, please get in touch. Some suggested topics: survival analysis, mixture models, classification, time series models... Twitter @markdregan
colund 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's a good initiative!

However, I think the introduction could be improved by briefly describing the "why/what" of Bayesian modeling before you get into the first Hangouts example.

zeldron 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great initiative!

I have a few suggestions, maybe i missed it, but a prerequisite section would be useful both for knowledge and platform, software etc.

I am new to python and believe this tutorial would be great for me. However in the case of novice-users as myself, lots of time is spent getting the environment right rather than understanding the code.

For example, after downloading and installing anaconda, jupyter and seaborn, i stumble on error message "C:\Anaconda3\lib\site-packages\ipykernel\__main__.py:89: FutureWarning: sort(columns=....) is deprecated, use sort_values(by=.....)"

And here i am stuck, my next step, had it not been this post, would be to investigate syntax changes in python.

Maybe I that's not a correct way to address that problem however that is mainly my point. If the tutorial is targeted to beginners as me, a few more pointers to common errors setting the environment up would be helpful!

Thank you for otherwise great tutorial and keep up the good work!

nl 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is great work. I don't have any substantive comments (need to read it in depth for that). I did miss the lack of "next" links, though - not sure if there is a Jupyter-native way to do that.

I like the matplotlib style created for this too.

toddm 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nice work, thanks for taking the time to put this together. Bookmarked.
lovboat 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't have any Google Hangout chat messages to run the first example of using jupyter. I know that you are not going to share your data, but it should be handy if some fake conversations could be included. People like me like to first install the applications and then run it to see whether it works as claimed. I installed the conda distribution and the jupyter notebook works correctly. (I installed conda in ubuntu and then seaborn, PyMC3 and panda (PyMC3 and seaborn with pip since conda install 2.3 of PyMC3). It works.

I should say that the first step is to clone:

cd where_you_want_the_data_to_be_copiedgit clone ....

# and now start jupyter notebook with

jupyter notebook

# go to File/open/ and select the first section.

I see that I can edit the markdown. I translated the introduction to section 0, here it goes. Thanks for this tutorial. The graphics are nice.

### Seccin 0: IntroduccinBienvenido a "Bayesian Modelling in Python" - un tutorialpara personas interesadas en tcnica de estadstica bayesiana con Python. La lista de secciones del tutorial se encuentra en la pgina web del projecto [homepage](https://github.com/markdregan/Hangout-with-PyMC3).

La estadstica es un tema que en mis aos de universidad nunca me gust . Las tcnicas frecuentistas que nos ensearon (p-values, etc.) parecan rebuscadas y en ltima instancia di la espalda a este tema en el que no estaba interesado.

Esto cambi cuando descubr la estadstica Bayesiana - una rama de la estadstica bastante diferente a la estadstica frecuentista que se suele ensear en la mayora de las universidades. Mi aprendizaje se inspir en numerosas publicaciones, blogs y videos. A los que se inician en la estadstica bayesiana les recomendara fervientemente los siguientes:

- [Doing Bayesian Data Analysis](http://www.amazon.com/Doing-Bayesian-Analysis-Second-Edition...) by John Kruschke- [Python port](https://github.com/aloctavodia/Doing_Bayesian_data_analysis) of John Kruschke's examples by Osvaldo Martin- [Bayesian Methods for Hackers](https://github.com/CamDavidsonPilon/Probabilistic-Programmin...) fue para m una gran fuente de inspiracin para aprender estadstica bayesiana. En reconocimiento de la gran influencia que ejerci en m, he adoptado el mismo estilo visual que se usa en BMH.- [While My MCMC Gently Samples](http://twiecki.github.io/) blog de Thomas Wiecki- [Healthy Algorithms](http://healthyalgorithms.com/tag/pymc/) blog de Abraham Flaxman- [Scipy Tutorial 2014](https://github.com/fonnesbeck/scipy2014_tutorial) de Chris Fonnesbeck

He creado este tutorial con la esperanza de que otros lo encontrarn til y que les servir para aprender tcnicas bayesianas de la misma forma que me ayudaron a m. Cualquier aportacin de la comunidad correccin/comentario/contribucin ser bienvenida.

Dream of New Kind of Credit Union Is Extinguished by Bureaucracy nytimes.com
190 points by edward  3 days ago   1 comment top
dang 3 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft's Software is Malware gnu.org
261 points by talles  4 days ago   172 comments top 39
laumars 4 days ago 14 replies      
> "Microsoft cut off security fixes for Windows XP, except to some big users that pay exorbitantly."

XP has had longer support than any Linux distro out there (aside the rolling release ones, but that's a little different).

I know this submission is intended to be biased, and I do honestly favour Linux over Windows anyway. But surely FUD like the above is so painfully transparent that it only undermines the credibility of the larger argument?

RyanZAG 4 days ago 3 replies      
It's all true and yet not true at the same time. Each item on the list has valid business requirements and is needed.

For example, the backdoors are required by government, and Microsoft is not above the government and cannot really refuse if it is a legal requirement for national security. They're not exactly designed as backdoors either - mandatory security updates are necessary to prevent the spread of botnets. There is a valid argument that users should not be allowed to stop these essential security updates. Unfortunately, there are far more changes than only security updates.

DRM is pretty much required for Microsoft to be able to get into distributing media for a fee. The same applies to a lot of the rest - it's all for being competitive in a world where Apple and Google are doing the same thing.

However, that they are all legitimate doesn't actually change that it really is malware at the end of the day and this page is pretty much true.

ChrisLTD 4 days ago 3 replies      
"Microsoft cut off security fixes for Windows XP, except to some big users that pay exorbitantly. (...)

A person or company has the right to cease to work on a particular program; the wrong here is Microsoft does this after having made the users dependent on Microsoft, because they are not free to ask anyone else to work on the program for them."

Microsoft did not make anybody dependent on them, and should have zero obligation to open source Windows XP. There are thriving alternatives to Windows like OS X, Android, Chrome OS, and iOS that XP users could have moved to in the last 14 years.

outside1234 4 days ago 6 replies      
All of this is true, but where is the equivalent attack on Google, whose software is essentially entirely designed to spy on you. Isn't that also Malware? Or is this sort of malware ok because it runs the Linux kernel?

I really want to support GNU and FSF but they seem to be constantly fighting some 20 year stale war against a company that is in many ways way more open than Google, Facebook, and Apple.

johncolanduoni 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not a fan of pretty much anything on this list, but I do think the thing about phasing out Windows XP does stand apart. I don't know exactly how long you should expect an OS to be supported, but I feel like 12 years falls somewhere on the right side of that line.

They add the following disclaimer about that:

> A person or company has the right to cease to work on a particular program; the wrong here is Microsoft does this after having made the users dependent on Microsoft, because they are not free to ask anyone else to work on the program for them.

which if that is the case, means the whole spiel at the beginning about non-free software not automatically being malware in the FSF's eyes pretty empty if "non-free software not supported forever" is malware.

cwyers 4 days ago 2 replies      
"Malware means software designed to function in ways that mistreat or harm the user."

Some days I'm pretty sure bash is malware, too.

ramblerman 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hmm, I agree with the some of the points on this page but the language used is incredibly childish, "Microsoft Tyrants" and "Microsoft Sabotage"....

I think there are better ways to educate and spread this message. Whoever wrote this page is a bit too emotionally vested imo.

dsr_ 4 days ago 1 reply      
I like the FSF. I like the fact that RMS exists.

I love open source software, and I even like the GPL a fair amount.

Do I think this goes too far? Absolutely. The Free Software position is that the benefits of Free (libre) software outweigh all of the disadvantages, so anyone who chooses proprietary software has already made a big mistake.

Given that the mistake has been made, there's no particular advantage in castigating the manufacturer of that software for living up to the FSF's predictions. It's not a surprise, and the FSF is much better off pointing out that, sure, enough, they told you so, and it happened. Make a better choice next time. Here are some alternatives to help you out.

This is a tactical mistake.

diivio 4 days ago 1 reply      

Stallman feels the same way about Facebook as well. He got mad at Berkeley when he came to speak and found out someone posted a Facebook event about him coming to campus to speak lol.

He also feels cloud computing endangers us because we aren't in full control or fully aware of the computations being done with our data.

(He told us this at a meeting in Berkeley back when I was in school)

So he has similar views on Google, Apple, Facebook but only Microsoft is being hated on here lol

His views are a little extreme. even if his points are valid they seem impractical given the computing paradigms and cultures of today.

Don't get me wrong I work at Microsoft in hybrid cloud storage in a team that's a startup that got acquired and I think not having the NT kernel under a GNU v2 license is sad. Any kernel imo should be open source but I don't want to get into a debate on this at least not today.

But I'm glad people like him still exist.

gkop 4 days ago 3 replies      
I had the opportunity to try Windows 10 last week. I was surprised to find that Windows now has pop-up advertisements for Office and Bing embedded in the OS itself that recur during day-to-day usage and cannot be dismissed. That seems wild to me. Also, contrary to opinions that I have heard on HN and elsewhere on the web, Windows 10 is typical poor quality Microsoft software, not one of the "good" Windows like XP and 7 were. For example, there are literally two control panels that are different: the classic control panel and a Settings tool (not a different view of the control panel but something completely different) that comes up when you search for various settings in the Start menu. The Start menu is super clunky and slow as well.
bad_user 4 days ago 0 replies      
> "In practice nonfree software is often malware, because the developer's awareness that the users would be powerless to fix any malicious functionalities tempts the developer to impose some"

I'm finding this claim from the article to be very true and it's a pity. Users are often powerless in fixing the software they bought, or the services they subscribed for, with the cost of switching to something else being often very significant. Users are also often uneducated or ignorant in what the software does, not realizing the long term consequences of their interactions with software.

And because users are often powerless or uneducated or ignorant, software developers feel empowered to move the boundaries, preferring to ask for forgiveness than for permission as they say, with current casualties being the loss of privacy and even the loss of freedom of speech. And then it isn't a wonder that intelligence agencies get a free pass to spy on everybody's communications, I mean if the software makers and the service providers are doing it themselves, the government would be stupid to not be a part of it, given that we've made it so easy.

I've always disagreed with Richard Stallman's stance on Free versus Nonfree software, preferring Open-Source instead and being relaxed about developing and using nonfree software. I've always said to myself that many companies are doing a good job and software developers have to eat, including myself. But some of FSF's arguments hold very true and it makes me wonder. Maybe Free Software is the only ethical choice.

beat 4 days ago 0 replies      
When was this written? 2002? It feels archaic. Right down to the antique cvs $Id$ tag used for the file version at the bottom. It's like the open source version of some crufty enterprise legacy code.
ksk 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think the reason why people (who aren't already RMS fans) don't agree with some of his views is that he has not made a good moral argument against proprietary software. The writings[1] on the moral question fail to convince most people, who then reject other positions that build on that foundation. We see some of that whenever people link to his writings.

Even if people do not produce material objects, I think that products of labor especially those can be exchanged for material wealth do require legal protection. (Note that this is separate from Intellectual Property, as in simply thoughts and ideas)

If you want proprietary software to go away, you should pay people to write even more open source software and then give it away. You should not have an agenda that demonizes people trying to earn a living. Calling someones means of living as illegitimate/immoral/unethical is simply going to ensure that they never support you.

[1] http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/why-free.en.html

johncolanduoni 4 days ago 1 reply      
My biggest problem with the FSF's point of view is that they see these kind of eventualities as inevitable for all non-free software.

I would claim that there is not only room for non-free open source software sans abuse, but even closed source software. When it comes to something you want to use as a core foundation on which to build (whether you are building software, general business, academic work etc.) I completely understand how this is very likely to lead to you being exploited. This applies for example to an operating system, or a programming platform (JVM, .NET, etc.). But there are plenty of places where you can use closed source software that don't put you in such a disadvantageous position.

One example is non-required tooling like an IDE. If Jetbrains goes Dr. Evil on everyone tomorrow (though I guess some would argue their recent pricing model changes have done that), there is still Eclipse and plenty of room for someone else to break into that space. Changing IDEs isn't nothing, but it's not like I'd have to rewrite my code.

Another is various general XaaS offerings. If Heroku (or more likely Salesforce) goes off the deep end tomorrow, worst case is that I have to administer some servers myself. Again, I don't lose anything that I would have had before anyway.

The current trend is already building everything on top of open source infrastructure. Even the JVM and .NET are open source now, as are most other pieces of the development puzzle (Databases, libraries of all shapes and sizes, etc.). In fact, I don't think even a big player like Microsoft would have much luck trying to get people to invest in another closed source platform. So if we walk this line between open and closed software, what do we lose by using some replaceable closed source tools or services? That is one question I think the FSF doesn't have a good answer for.

ghduxjc 4 days ago 1 reply      
Ahh, the circle of life continues.

RMS produces an opinion piece -> everyone denounces it as extremist -> some time passes -> something horrible happens that proves RMS was right (like the NSA disclosures) -> everyone freaks out at what's happening -> some more time passes -> RMS produces another opinion piece -> repeat

eka808 4 days ago 5 replies      
And after reading that, let's take a deep breath and think about Android.

From my personal opinion, it's not better than and maybe worse :- Obligation of having a G+ account. Disable it is NOT straighforward at all and it will try to recreate himself often.- Personal content publicly uploaded/displayed in G+ accountI had the bad surprise, and few friends also to see that the photos taken with my android phone were automatically published on my G+ account !

When you notify what it's visible, you are are afraid about what is not visible...

arca_vorago 4 days ago 0 replies      
What amazes me is that people on HN still continue to rail against RMS and the FSF while blatantly showing their ignorance of the principles they both stand for, and often not even through logically sound arguments.

Personally, I understand the main reasons people have issues with this though, because very often they simply haven't actually taken the time to think of computing as a philosophical choice as well as a practical choice.

As the surveillance and control engine enlarges itself though, those who are more closely aligned with GPLv3-esque ways of computing will have more freedom and control over their systems than others who accept fuedal walled gardens will be, and it is at that point that the walled garden people will start to understand the real impact of what are often considered frivolous arguments like BSD vs GPL.

Enjoy your locked down BSD playstation/iBrain/iHome etc, I for one intend to stick with GNU/GPL, and the FSF, as much as possible. The reality is that we have been locked in so much though that this process takes time and should be started now and not later. For example, in my various workflow pipelines, I still have a handful of apache, mit, and bsd licensed programs, but I have at least dramatically reduced the number of them...

If you haven't taken the time to understand the differences between BSD and GPL you owe it to yourself, as I consider it foundational knowledge for modern computing, the same way I consider history foundational knowledge of current events.

neya 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was just casually checking and looks like they have a page for Apple too..ha


dayon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Spoke in person with Stallman. I asked him why he doesn't complain about server side code. His beef is with software we "own" being proprietary, so apparently server-side code isn't a big deal to him. It puts a huge dent in his logic, though, because if you follow his concerns to the end, then the internet in general is malware. Even if a site claims to be open-source, posting its code online, you can't know what version of the code it's running unless you're given access to the server. So, even if we use all open-source, free hardware, firmware, and local software, as soon as we connect to a remote site, it goes out the window.
mark_l_watson 4 days ago 0 replies      
I support the FSF financially (and sometimes using their licenses) but I think that this article is a little bit off in the criticisms about updates.

I use OS X, Ubuntu, and sometimes Windows 10.

I want security updates as often as they are released.

I don't often use my Windows 10 laptop but when I do the first thing I always do is to update the system and anti-virus definitions.

I also frequently check and update OS X and Ubuntu.

I happen to trust Apple and Microsoft to perform automatic updates, but that is my personal decision.

HillaryBriss 4 days ago 2 replies      
The BitLocker recovery key for the users device is automatically backed up online in the Microsoft OneDrive account.

Even if we trust MS, do we trust MS to keep these keys safe from outside hackers?

KeyBoardG 4 days ago 1 reply      
"Windows 8 on mobile devices is a jail: it censors the user's choice of application programs."

I laughed. I don't think its their choice that the app store is horrific.

Silhouette 4 days ago 0 replies      
However, in practice nonfree software is often malware, because the developer's awareness that the users would be powerless to fix any malicious functionalities tempts the developer to impose some.

Speaking as a professional software developer who typically does not write free software: [expletives inappropriate for HN deleted]

The allegation that any developer who does not share the FSF's views on the advantages or otherwise of free software is inherently more tempted to screw their users is not only wrong, it's offensive. I have never imposed any of the kinds of malware listed in this article on any user of any project I work on, nor would I be happy to do so in the future. This is more than can be said for several popular software products that also happen to be FOSS.

Also, the idea that Microsoft, or any other commercial software provider for that matter, should be responsible for supporting its software indefinitely, entirely at its own expense and regardless of context, is just silly. I think it is sensible to expect and if necessary legally require a basic level of support for commercial software products that were defective when first supplied, for some reasonable period that will probably vary greatly with context. In practice, actual regulation or legislation has rarely been necessary as most major software vendors have volunteered such support anyway, though the unwelcome trend is for this to change and so the regulatory/legal framework may need to change to match. However, Microsoft has, at least until recently, gone far beyond that industry norm in terms of long term support for its older software, and far beyond any major Free Software project. It might have been fair to say that Microsoft was the last very large software company that should be criticised on this score, but for their recent shifts in policy to much more user-hostile terms.

dexterchief 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think FSF could learn a lot from what Micah Lee is doing at the Intercept. He's been doing a bunch of articles that are a nice blend of why and how with a nice conversational feel.

In terms of outreach and informing new generations of users... I think adopting that style would be a big win. Even non-technical users have a multi-year investment in Windows, and in spite of all the polish of modern distros, the jump to FOSS is still a big one. Help people make it.


Beltiras 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm glad RMS has a platform. I even agree with the majority of the sentiments expressed. This list is too juvenile for my taste. The corresponding Apple hit-list is more toned down and not so acerbic. Free speech is important but for the sake of the cause I hope that some judicious edits will be made.
api 4 days ago 0 replies      
Many of the things on this list are more or less technical requirements. Forced security updates are required to stop the spread of botnets, for example. If you make security updates optional people will turn them off and you'll get botnets, ransomware, and DDOS flood epidemics. DDOS floods are a major threat to the open web, requiring web sites to cluster behind MITMing 'protection services' like CloudFlare.

I do agree about the privacy aspects, but unfortunately most users do not care about security or privacy and "most users" (the mainstream of the market) pays the bills. Until users care and vote with their wallets, companies will continue to disregard these things.

yuhong 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think it is pretty fun to compare "Windows as a service" with actual "SaaS" (eg Google Docs). As a side note, I once mentioned how Win10 driver signing requires EV certs that are not sold to individuals, and remember this response: https://twitter.com/ericlaw/status/619309157791891456
bittercynic 4 days ago 0 replies      
The mandatory updates seem like a major problem.

One of the greatest benefits of purchasing software instead of using SAAS products is that you can keep using your purchased software regardless of changes the vendor may make in the future. If you're not free to reject updates, you've lost this advantage.

swiley 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just a reminder about why people still use xp:, earlier versions of windows supported a real time mode (sort of like the preempt rt Linux patches). This is needed in order to run some equipment but later versions of windows (post xp) have dropped support for it.
exo762 4 days ago 2 replies      
Informing NSA about bugs before fixing them is grand. This alone qualifies MS software as malware.
noorah 3 days ago 0 replies      
How can a user without computing background be sure that Linux is not what Microshaft Windoze is?
ape4 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wish Microsoft had a way to pay for Windows 10 so I can opt out of the ads, tracking.
Arzh 4 days ago 2 replies      
I guess all of the internet is also malware. Neat.
dstaheli 4 days ago 0 replies      
This article is weak-minded propaganda.
bitmapbrother 4 days ago 0 replies      
PC Does What?

What an apropos marketing campaign.

joenathan 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is way a Neo Nazi or KKK member would describe people of color, cherry picked 'facts' to build an absurd argument.
oldmanjay 4 days ago 3 replies      
You'll have a hard time finding any believer in any religion who would admit to the biases in their beliefs.
littletinman 4 days ago 1 reply      
Shots Fired!
       cached 29 November 2015 03:11:03 GMT