hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    7 Mar 2016 Best
home   ask   best   2 years ago   
1
Dsxyliea geon.github.io
1341 points by geon  3 days ago   199 comments top 41
1
AceJohnny2 3 days ago 9 replies      
This reminds me of the meme that went around a few years ago (dear god, 2003!?), claiming that Cambridge researchers showed that you had no trouble reading scrambled word text:

 "Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe."
Of course, it later circulated that you could absolutely make hard-to-read scrambled text, it really depended what words and how scrambled.

Anyhow, because the Internet is magic, an actual researcher from Cambridge has since posted a more thorough examination of the phenomenon, with counter-examples and proper citation:

http://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/people/matt.davis/cmabridge/

2
possibilistic 3 days ago 4 replies      
This is uncannily similar to my own personal experience with ADHD. Instead of words appearing scrambled, though, my focus during reading is drawn to random words within a text. I might skip to a new sentence or jump down a few paragraphs; it's entirely arbitrary. This process usually continues forward and back, resetting every few seconds. The longer I read something, the worse the effect becomes. It takes a lot of effort to get through things sometimes.

Whatever this effect is, it is somewhat lessened by adequate sleep, a low-sugar diet, and prescribed medication. It never completely goes away, though. I have good days and bad days; even at my best, though, working through long texts, papers, or technical literature will eventually cause my mind to wander. Whatever this is (I blame ADHD), it's prevented me from ever being able to enjoy reading literature or long-form journalism. It's a pity, too, because I enjoy the content. The task itself is just too mentally stressful. Reading is, sadly, a form of labor.

It's weird, because skimming comes easily. Visual forms of information are also incredibly easy to digest.

Do others with ADHD have a similar problem with this?

3
oib 3 days ago 16 replies      
Ugh, as someone with dyslexia, it's nothing visual, so trying to visualize being dyslexic is an exercise in futility.

You know those "drunk" googles that distort your view? They certainly make it harder to walk, but they in no way make you feel drunk...

Try explaining someone what it feels like being on LSD... you can't.

Telling people that letters jump around is an easy way to dismiss people whit out having to do a lengthy and tiring explanation that likely wont be understood anyway.

I do appreciate the effort that went into this, and that people try to understand, but I don't think this particular experiment is helpful, because people will get the wrong idea about what dyslexia is.

Edit: Arzh is right in that I'm being a bit harsh/dramatic here, so I made some small changes.

4
slg 3 days ago 4 replies      
There are a variety of different forms of Dyslexia, so I can't speak for everyone. However, this doesn't resemble my own personal form. I would be curious to hear from other Dyslexics to see if this is anything close to their experience.

The way I usually explain my variety is that my brain is trying to read faster than it can physically. I have no problem reading words (which seems to be what this code is focusing on), the problem is my brain is already moving forward and the word I read is often not the word written on the page. Sometime I can make the contextual correction in my head while other times I have to reread the sentence to make any sense of it. In that instance, I can understand the "jumping around" description as I can read a sentence for a second time and suddenly my brain will see a different word than it saw the first time.

5
matthewcford 3 days ago 3 replies      
Having dyslexia, I would say this is rather extreme, I can't speak for everyone but reading isn't like this for most dyslexics.

Usually it is a pair of letters being swapped, or numbers order reversed. They don't jump around/change randomly, you just misread it.

http://dyslexia.learninginfo.org/symptoms.htm

The new font for dyslexics also goes into this some more:http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-font-helps-dys...

6
ALee 3 days ago 0 replies      
Fun fact: Dyslexia in Chinese is anatomically different than Dyslexia in English - so you may be dyslexic in English, but function fine in Chinese: http://www.economist.com/blogs/analects/2014/09/dyslexia-chi...
7
obeone 3 days ago 1 reply      
According to Alice Wellborn, a dyslexia expert of some note:Many years ago, researchers believed that dyslexia was a visual perceptual problem - that it was based in how a person saw letters and words. Now we know for sure, through brain imaging studies, that dyslexia is a problem in the language system of the brain, not the visual system.

Dyslexia is the result of a significant weakness in the phonological processing system, or how a person's brain understands and can use the sound-based reading "code". A dyslexic reader has difficulty cracking that code.

Here are some important facts about dyslexia:

Dyslexia is based in how a person's brain functions. The brain structure is normal - the glitch is in the wiring. Fluent readers use a part of the brain for reading that dyslexic readers do not use. This means that reading remains a slow, laborious process for children and adults with dyslexia.

Dyslexia is not related to a person's level of intelligence. Many children and adults with dyslexia are gifted, highly accomplished, creative people.

8
patio11 3 days ago 1 reply      
For extra fun, imagine you're reading in a language where the characters look like and sometimes the lines decide to wiggle like Medusa's hair.
9
krschultz 3 days ago 2 replies      
Shameless plug: if you know anyone with Dyslexia or other learn & attention issues, send them to https://www.understood.org. It's a non-profit with many free resources for people trying to overcome these challenges.
10
Alex3917 3 days ago 2 replies      
I actually don't have much difficulty reading this, with the exception of a couple technical terms I wasn't familiar with. There was a similar thread a while back with a couple different fun examples, albeit designed to show how we read based on the shape of words (not spelling) rather than to demonstrate dyslexia:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=222459

11
randomgyatwork 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is certainly a cool effect, but as someone with dyslexia I've never experienced text like this.
12
alexcasalboni 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you are wondering about the JS code:

https://gist.github.com/alexcasalboni/ba7c99fb3484579c0dad

13
bobisme 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe this is important, not because it an accurate representation of dyslexia, but because it can simulate the effect of it. I could read everything pretty quickly and accurately except for some of the longest words, but I got this feeling of my brain's CPU overheating. At the end of the article I was frustrated and tired. I wanted to stop reading. This is coming from someone who probably reads tens of thousands (or more) of words per day of articles, emails, comments, and source code.
14
jv22222 3 days ago 0 replies      
It would be great to be able to dyslexiafy any page on the internet (both with and without animation) then a lot of folks could use it to explain the various versions/intensities of the condition.

For example, therapists could use the tool to help parents understand what their kids are going through.

Edit: Of course, this assumes that this is a useful tool to really help people understand dyslexia, which I am not able to judge.

15
mostafaberg 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how something like http://spritzinc.com would work for a dyslexic person ?

It basically gives you a single word at a time to read, would that make it easier for a dyslexic person to read bigger text if it was split into smaller one word chunks ?

16
mgrennan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can you understand this? Why do we complain about spelling?

Eye have a spelling chequer,It came with my Pea Sea.It plane lee marks four my revueMiss Steaks I can knot sea.

Eye strike the quays and type a whirredAnd weight four it two sayWeather eye am write oar wrongIt tells me straight a weigh.

Eye ran this poem threw it,Your shore real glad two no.Its vary polished in its weigh.My chequer tolled me sew.

A chequer is a bless thing,It freeze yew lodes of thyme.It helps me right all stiles of righting,And aides me when eye rime.

Each frays come posed up on my screenEye trussed too bee a joule.The chequer pours o'er every wordTwo cheque sum spelling rule.

17
sbassi 3 days ago 0 replies      
The demo is enlightening, but the text is not telling to more important thing about dyslexia: The main problem is not the difficult to read (that is an issue of course) but the social implications for the people with this, when parents, teachers and pairs believes the kid can't read because is dumb or lazy. Self esteem goes to the floor and also impact in performance even in thing not related with reading.So awareness that this is a real issue (and not that is lazy) and that the kid has to make a lot of effort to catch up is very important to help them have a better future.
18
hammeiam 3 days ago 0 replies      
Some quick thoughts on the code: http://pastebin.com/hYiB01RH

First, the isLetter function is both wrong and unused.

Second, messUpMessyPart is suboptimal. Rather than using a while loop to generate random numbers until a < b, why not do something like `var nums = [rand, rand].sort(); a = nums[0]; b = nums[1]`. There's still the case where a=b, but maybe you just run the function 2/10 times instead of 1/10 to compensate for that case.

19
Your_Creator 3 days ago 0 replies      
This may help some people who deal with this problem.

http://www.anlp.org/how-could-nlp-help-me.php?cscid=11

http://www.anlp.org/files/dyslexia-strategies_33_153.pdf

for those who are having extreme difficulty, you may want to let your computer read that to you.

best of luck to all, I hope this makes a difference for someone.

20
bosdev 3 days ago 0 replies      
If anyone would like to try this on more websites, I wrapped it in a quick Eager app: http://preview.eager.io/dyslexia/

I also modified the source to not use jQuery in the process: https://github.com/zackbloom/dyslexia/blob/master/script.js

21
ecobiker 3 days ago 2 replies      
What tools do people use to get around dyslexia? I recently realised that most auto-correct and spelling correction tools breakdown for dyslexic people. The challenge for them is that they know how a word sounds but takes more time than usual to recollect the spelling. The recommendations suggested by standard spell checkers are way off the mark in those cases. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
22
stegosaurus 3 days ago 8 replies      
I'm guessing this is supposed to do something? Expecting the letters to jumble themselves or similar.

Doesn't work for me on either Firefox or Chrome desktop.

23
ninjakeyboard 3 days ago 0 replies      
The attempt at simulation of dyslexia is thumped by the fact that the brain can read fairly fluently when the letters are mixed up. http://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/people/matt.davis/cmabridge/

Still, this is a cool and share-worthy article imo :)

24
mlkmt 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have a mild suspicion that my 4 year old niece may be dyslexic. She can read and write all the letters and their sounds, but she can't seem to tie the sounds into syllables, not even the simplest ones. She is not being pressured into reading, she just liked it up to this point.Is there any tell-tale sign I should be aware of ?
25
tremguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Somehow i just don't get why this is so popular? Someone care to elaborate on what i may have missed? As far as i understand, it doesn't even simulate the real life condition very well, as some dyslexia sufferers here have pointed out.
26
samstave 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, could you use this plugin to effectively DRM a document?

This may be a stupid question...

Assume you wanted to ensure non plagerism, just use this this to make it such that each visitor is given a random version of the document which the human mind can read but will be tough as hell to copy/paste phrases or paragraphs?

27
SandersAK 3 days ago 2 replies      
Pretty interesting stuff.

What was strange for me is that I had no problem reading 90% of that at the same pace as I usually read except for word I have never seen before.

I tend to speed read contextually skipping over words entirely. Maybe a bad thing now that i think of it...

28
afandian 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of a thing I made. Requires a mouse. http://afandian.com/moreover/alide-in-wonnerlanc/
29
geekamongus 3 days ago 0 replies      
I went to this site with NoScript on, and it took me 5 minutes and a trip back to these comments to figure out that something was supposed to be happening.

Is there a name for that?

30
itsnotvalid 3 days ago 0 replies      
Funny thing is that the text is still very readable (slower, but still readable) to me. I think it should be much worse for people who have the real problems...
31
geon 3 days ago 2 replies      
For extra fun, try looking at the JS source in Chrome devtools.
32
yummybear 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Frok it on Ghitub"
33
Jemm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great thing about poor vision is I can read this without problem
34
antilketan 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think it would be possible to train a model (and present it as an app for people with Dyslexia) that cancels out the jumping letters. It is kind of like superimposing two waves which has a coherent text, that most of us see, as the product.
35
yev 3 days ago 0 replies      
funny thing, if you will look in the page source, he is changing the google analytics script as well
36
horsecaptin 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if people with dyslexia can read things rendered with the dyslexia app like normal people can read normal text. That would be a trip!
37
kator 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know about other dyslexics but this not what it feels like to me. For me the words don't move they're just different. The letters are often swapped, I could stare at a word for a long time because I can't quite tell what it is.

I even looked at the title of this and thought it was spelled right but then something inside my head said "look again". When I went to the site the problem is the words move rapidly and the changes are too obvious. The challenge with my dyslexia is that the words have changed before I see them in subtle ways that trip you up when you start reading.

A couple of things I've noticed:

* Handwriting is ok for me if it's printed but cursive is almost impossible for me to read.

* Using light fonts on a dark background really helps a lot, when I switched my ipad kindle to black background and white font my reading speed went up almost 20x. It felt like I was part of the human race finally and understood what people meant by a "quick enjoyable read".

Accidently my work on computers started on old CRT terminals where the fonts where light and the background was dark. Green screens and Orange screens were awesome I was most productive on them. Over time I got sucked into the windows white background and found myself lost again. I literally at one point thought I was loosing my ability to code and that my writing and reading was getting worse. At some point I would ssh into boxes and use vi because I felt more productive, over time I realized the reason was the ssh client I was using was like the old CRT terminals and had black background with colored foreground fonts. Once I figured that out I changed everything I can to this format of dark background and never looked back.

I've also noticed as I get tired my dyslexia really kicks in, I start to ask my wife "Is this word spelled right?" and even with spell check I second guess it's suggestions because the words don't "look right". It's strange I can't tell you the letters are swapped or not, I just feel like cognitive dissonance has kicked in.

Dyslexia is hard to explain, if you've ever had that feeling where you were talking along and all of a sudden couldn't remember the name of an old friend or something and your train of thought just collapses on this one issue, maybe even you find yourself embarrassed or a feeling of tunnel vision falls over you. This is exactly how I feel, stupid, what's wrong why can't I read this word, I must be an idiot. I've struggled with this feeling all my life, it permeates my life and I have to battle it almost daily. I know I'm not stupid, but growing up unable to read like my classmates and having teachers tell me I'm an idiot did not help much on this front. I think the hardest thing about dyslexia is that until you know you have it and until others believe it you end living in this horrible self doubting and self deprecating world convinced there is something wrong with you and that you're an idiot. This is the secret pain of dyslexia...

I was told in High School that I could never be a programmer because my short-term memory and dyslexia would make it impossible for me to be successful. I was devastated because I was already coding in BASIC on a TRS-80 Model I and having so much success, for once I had found a thing I could type wrong things into over and over and not be judged. Then when I got it right it would just "work". No judgement, no "SYNTAX ERROR AGAIN YOU IDIOT". For the first time in my life I felt accepted and smart, I could code for days and build amazing things. But, being told I couldn't do it killed me, I spent days in a haze and then one day it hit me. The person who told me that was the idiot, not me, they weren't programming, I was already doing it, and better than anyone at my entire school. So luckily for me I ignored that and went on to enjoy 35 years of being in technology, writing any language I desire and mastering anything I put my mind to.

In the end dyslexia is just a thing, like all of us we are dealt a hand of cards in this life from random genetic expressions to accidents and horrible people who put us down while we are growing up. It's up to us to overcome, to push through and make the best of all the tools we were given in that random lotto and try very hard to learn along the way and hopefully find some love while doing it all.

38
agumonkey 3 days ago 0 replies      
My new salt generator.
39
myohan 3 days ago 1 reply      
The disabling aspects of Dyslexia are correctable and can be overcome.
40
ArtDev 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is not dyslexia. It is both a curse and a gift.

It is extremely misunderstood. This only makes that point more apparent.

Dylexia is a gift, once you understand how to adapt.

This project is quite stupid.

41
gilescope 3 days ago 0 replies      
(First post so apologies if i've not got the rules right). As a dyslexic myself I'd like to know if any other dylexics speed read and if they do, do they do it by default. I hear myself reading and thus the speed is the speed of someone talking. I found https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11162927 interesting and wondered about the crossover with dyslexia. Personally I suspect there are a few different flavours of dyslexia - I don't have words move about for me. What I would love to see is a spellchecker done correctly - remembering arbitrary spellings is hard because they are arbitrary. I want a spell checker that tells me the word is wrong and shows me which letters I should be adding / subtracting to get the right spelling. Autocorrect just holds me back from being a better speller. I'm also convinced I'm a much better developer for having dyslexia - far more leftfield than most.
2
Study Finds No Gender Gap in Tech Salaries dice.com
675 points by replicatorblog  3 days ago   530 comments top 38
1
ahoy 3 days ago 25 replies      
This is fairly consistent with other studies. The "77%" number is arrived at by comparing the median wage of full-time male & female employees. It doesn't account for differences in industry, job title, experience, etc. It's super broad. That doesn't mean we should ignore it, but it means we need more granularity.

Coming out of uni/grad school, male and female salaries are equal in comparable fields. They depart a few years after that. Women tend to find themselves funneled into specific career paths that prioritize flexible hours and often pay less. Men face an opposite pressure - toward inflexible hours but higher pay. This is in large part because care for family members(children and elderly parents usually) is more often foisted upon women in our society than on men.

That doesn't mean the "gender gap" doesn't exist, or that it isn't an issue to address. It means that the way we tackle it isn't as simple as "pass a law mandating equal pay for equal work".

We need to de-stigmatize flexible schedules. We need to upend the idea that family care is solely the domain of women (normalizing parental leave for fathers with newborns is a good start).

*edited for typos

2
abraca 3 days ago 5 replies      
I'm surprised. In a technical PM role a few years ago I found out that I earned 20-40% less than other PM's at the company. There were more than a dozen PM's and I was the only woman who was mid-level seniority. My male direct report made almost the same as me, while my female direct reports made a lot less. In my case it was not due to lack of initial negotiation, but that at each promotion I didn't get a sufficient bump (and since I was getting a raise, I felt grateful instead of negotiating in middle of promotion/raise!) Second reason, was that a lot of the male PM's had threatened to leave in the past and negotiated their raises that way, whereas I had never done that. Since then, I have negotiated HARD for every position I've taken and have not hesitated to turn down jobs if I'm not confident that they are offering me 50th percentile relative to men in the role. I've also encouraged women to find out salary data for their peers in order to get raises. Often when someone leaves the company they will openly tell you their salary or if you are friends they will just tell you. In so many cases, where a woman is one of only 1-2 women out of 15-20+ men, it turns out that she is making far less than men who have previously held her role or been in same role. It's strange to me that HR never seems to pick up on things like this!! Seems like the first thing you'd check given all the publicity on issue. Anyway I've only seen negotiation work well (even where a woman is making way less than peers) where the woman has also gotten a competing offer, so that's number 1 thing I encourage.
3
whiddershins 3 days ago 1 reply      
Obviously it is important to be skeptical when controlling for job title.

If there were an institutional bias against women tech workers, one way it could manifest is by women receiving less recognition and promotions, or being hired in to lower positions with the same skills and experience. Which would mean they might typically have a lower job title than the equivalent male worker, so controlling for job title could hide the bias.

I'm not saying this is or isn't the case, but it is a rather blatant possibility that isn't addressed by what is seeming like a naive study.

4
_jmar777 3 days ago 1 reply      
> theyre getting equal pay for equal equal positions, education, and experience

While those are certainly relevant control factors, I would presume that any conclusions are premature without demonstrating a lack of bias in the actual positions men vs. women are promoted to, relative to their experience and education.

I.e., large disparities in salary by gender for "Software Engineer III" within the same organization are a bit hard to overlook, whereas there are often much fuzzier criteria involved in who has that title in the first place.

Not looking to necessarily refute the article, but the control factors themselves are still rather variable.

5
api_or_ipa 3 days ago 5 replies      
What is interesting is the breakdown of motivations between men and women. It seems readily apparent that women on the whole prefer flexible work arrangements because of child raising obligations. This is exactly the same argument lobbed across the wage gap discussion for years now. Proponents of the wage-gap point that women have an unfair obligation to child-raising duties, which puts them at a disadvantage when compared to their male peers.

I'm not a social scientist and nor am I particularly well versed in the quagmire of social & gender obligations, so I'll keep out of making a normative judgement on this topic.

Suffice to say, in Tech, the longer you spend at the office, the more you appear to be motivated and hardworking. I fear that might just be too ingrained in management psyches for a solution to be readily available.

6
4bpp 3 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone seems to be quick to reduce the gender disparity in seniority/paygrade of jobs occupied to a childcare/parental leave/homemaking question, but is there any data for the single, infertile or asexual segment of the population to back this up?

My impression always has been that long before parenting even starts being relevant, there is a difference between the genders in terms of readiness to engage in self-sacrificial or -destructive behaviour for the sake of self-realisation and status climbing (which is often correlated to pay in one way or another). Regardless of whether this difference is predominantly biological or cultural and which gender deserves the "blame" for it if it is the latter, I think that any attempt to reduce the disparity by policymaking should at least try to address this.

7
brongondwana 3 days ago 0 replies      
"I have to say, wouldnt it be nice if these options were in addition to, instead of a replacement for, higher salaries?"

That was a kind of pointless observation. I too would like a pony.

Obviously the jobs with both flexible work options _and_ high salaries are going to be very fiercely competed for, since they're the best jobs to have.

8
leeleelee 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nursing is a field dominated by women. And there are very large salary gaps between nurses with 0-10 years of experience and nurses with 10-20 years of experience. I'd also bet that there are much more women with 10-20 years of experience than men. So if you broke it down in the same way as the tech industry and did not control for job title or years of experience, you'd find a reverse gender gap in the same way you see in the tech industry. Controlled for job title and experience, you'd probably find it equal just like this study shows. I don't think there is any more discrimination in the tech industry when it comes to salaries than there is in nursing. I think both do not suffer from gender discrimination.
9
samd 3 days ago 2 replies      
That's good news if true, the women who make it and get promoted earn the same as their counterparts. Still lots of work to be done removing the barriers that keep them from getting these jobs and promotions in the first place.
10
TazeTSchnitzel 3 days ago 0 replies      
> What does still exist is a position gap as researched in earlier years.

This is key and should probably be mentioned in the title. People of different genders in the same position have similar salaries. It's the disparity in positions they attain that creates a wage gap.

11
robbyking 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's not the issue; the issue is the hiring gap in tech jobs and reasons behind it.

The film "Code: Debugging the Gender Gap" does an excellent job of documenting the phenomenon. Nationally, young women taking high school placement tests score as well or better than their male classmates, but are placed in advanced math and science classes at a much, much lower rate. Because of this, the number of female high school graduates who meet academic requirements for university STEM programs is much lower, and so on though graduate school until the number of qualified female candidates for jobs in STEM fields has dwindled to nearly nothing.

12
itsdrewmiller 3 days ago 5 replies      
Controlling for "job title" basically makes this invalid; if men are being promoted more often at the same experience/education level and consequently making more that is obviously a gender gap.

Edit: "invalid" is maybe a strong word for the study itself - the headline "no wage gap exists" is definitely invalid, but the actual results are interesting.

13
thekevan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wish I could find it but I saw a study that said when you take out hazzard pay for dangerous jobs and the jobs which experience the largest number of work related deaths, there was no pay gap by gender.

If anyone knows the study I am taking about, I'd love to take a closer look at it.

14
rqebmm 3 days ago 0 replies      
If anyone is curious, I created a google doc with the pay gap for each occupation based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 2015: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/15vJGu8IMbvrVz6FqCg3r...

source:http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat39.htm

15
coldtea 3 days ago 3 replies      
Gender Gap obligatory video link (Maddox):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDj_bN0L8XM

16
RA_Fisher 3 days ago 1 reply      
No data, no code, no way to verify they didn't fat finger the stats. :(
17
kough 3 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone have a link to reliable breakdowns of different professions by race and gender? Tech gets slammed particularly hard for being "white male cishet scum" and I'd love to see how it compares to other fields. I can't imagine fields like law or nursing or mining or teaching or policing are much more equal.
18
elchief 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is also a smaller earnings gap for lesbian women vs straight women (vs men)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/02/25/the-s...

And for Asian women vs non-Asian women (vs men):

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/06/why-i...

19
JoeAltmaier 3 days ago 1 reply      
No gap in pay for the same position. But the position gap is still alive and well. Also called the glass ceiling. So, the average women in tech are paid less than men. The title is quite misleading.
20
ianamartin 3 days ago 0 replies      
From my anecdotal data, what I noticed the last few years I worked in Texas was that I was seeing a pretty remarkable influx of middle eastern women filling technology roles.

These women were some of the most competent people I've had the opportunity to work with. If you go out and have a drink and a conversation with some of them, you'll find out that they: feel like they have two strikes against them in the U.S. and in technology.

Their response is to work really effing hard to get insanely good at what they do. And it works for them. Most of the people I'm thinking of right now had higher titles and salaries than the males they work with.

I'm not arguing that there's no discrimination or anything stupid like that. But I do think there is some nuance to the situation. For example, the leadership and culture isn't driven by them, even if they are at the top end of the individual contributor spectrum.

It's a tough nut to crack. Knowing that you have certain knocks against you can have different effects for different people. One person can look at a situation and say, "What's the point? I'm not going to be successful because of gender/education(or lack of it, in my case)/ethnicity/company culture/whatever.

Other people look at that as part of the fun in life. Bucking the odds, overthrowing stereotypes. I don't know that there's a strong gender correlation with these attitudes.

But in my very non-representative experience, where you get hired and how much you make in the technology field are not consistently tied to whether you have boobs or if you have a college degree, or if you're a privileged white male, or if you're a recent immigrant.

I would not argue that the situation is all roses for women and minorities in this country. But I don't think it's as bad as is sometimes portrayed.

I think that the real race and gender discrimination start in early life education. Women are not-so-subtly guided in different directions than men are. And many minorities just don't have much of a chance because our education and social mechanisms are mostly just crap.

The imbalances that we do see in the job market are a direct result of our inadequate and unequal social and educational systems. The market is reflecting the values that we've decided on.

21
littletimmy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Even if there is a gender gap, should the state really be intervening to "make it more fair"?

Personally I am against anti-discrimination laws. If I start a company, and I want to employ only men (or only women or only bald eagles), that's my business. Why shouldn't I be free to choose to be productive with whoever I wish?

22
Chefkoochooloo 3 days ago 0 replies      
It is a very interesting article, but I wonder if companies would show the average Gender hiring when it comes to applicants. Sure, a man with the same skills could've gotten the job, but what if there were 5 women who also applied with the same skill set? It just depends on the way that you view the situation. Different perspective, in my opinion.
23
LargeCompanies 3 days ago 0 replies      
Get as much money as you can especially while our skill/experience is in high demand; man or woman!

Use recruiters to your advantage; utilize them to get a higher salary or hourly rate. I.E. When they message you tell them your making more then you really are to see how high they can go.

24
kaonashi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Note, a gender gap in salaries does not imply an absence of a large differential in proportional representation.

In fact, given the tech sectors large salaries compared to the population at large, the presence of proportionate salaries and disproportionate representation would add to the overall wage gap.

26
msoad 3 days ago 0 replies      
In our community we share our salaries we make. I am male recently hired by Google. My package is exactly equal to my friend which has the same amount of experience and is a female.
27
epx 3 days ago 0 replies      
Even if the 80% thing is true, this is not a difference to lose the sleep about. It should be fixed, but the statistical noise is too significant to aim at 100%. The marginal value of money is log(x), and log(0.8) is almost 0.

When women were limited to a couple professions (nun, teacher, nurse) it was a buyer's market, and even brilliant women would have to give in to minimal salaries, or opt out of professional work. At that time, the difference was like 10x, so women made 10% of a man, and log(0.1) is a significant number. This was successfully resolved (with the help of two world wars and the invention of washing machine).

28
fapjacks 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, that throws a wrench in some of the complaint machinery.
29
timwaagh 3 days ago 0 replies      
this is good news of course, although largely irrelevant since almost no women bother with programming.
30
floor__ 3 days ago 0 replies      
This should be spread around.
31
clevernickname 3 days ago 2 replies      
When those gender roles are all but constant across countless independently developed cultures existent over tens of thousands of years, with distribution of visible physical traits to match them, it's pretty safe to assume that they're baked into our DNA and not some random whim of western culture.

Imagine how long a tribe with male caretakers and female warriors (who it cannot be argued are not on average significantly smaller and weaker than men) would survive against a tribe of male warriors and female caretakers.

There are species with much less divergence in biology between males and females. We would not have evolved to have such divergence if it were not useful for our fitness to have distinct fighter/protector and caretaker roles. Indeed as K-strategists that take a very long time to mature, having dedicated caretakers was an extremely useful evolution.

33
apta 3 days ago 6 replies      
> What if it's a natural preference given

It is known that women tend to be more emotional than men for instance. As such, they do well in nurturing roles like you described. I'm not saying that men can't do them, it's just that more women feel "at home" doing that kind of work.

34
s_dev 3 days ago 0 replies      
Link broken - 404
35
readymade 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wherein a bunch of privileged white men all agree that they were never privileged all along.
36
bobby_9x 3 days ago 1 reply      
Don't let the facts get in the way of a good discussion. These facts have been out for at least 5 years now and nobody cares.
37
jonesb6 3 days ago 3 replies      
"No salary gap exists between women and men in tech, says job search firm Dice, looking at its annual survey of 16,000 tech professionals, as long as you are comparing people with equal experience, education, and job titles.

That, of course, is a big if. And previous data from Dice found about a $10,000 pay gap between men and women if not controlled for those factors.

Dices president, Bob Melk, in a letter to the media, indicated that, while generally the men (54 percent) and women (51 percent) surveyed reported being satisfied with their compensation, cash just doesnt mean as much to women as it does to men. Melk indicated that employeers are offering women alternatives to higher salaries, including flexible work hours and the ability to telecommute. (I have to say, wouldnt it be nice if these options were in addition to, instead of a replacement for, higher salaries?) Dices complete analysis of motivators is in the figure at right."

38
PhasmaFelis 3 days ago 0 replies      
> No salary gap exists between women and men in tech, says job search firm Dice, looking at its annual survey of 16,000 tech professionals, as long as you are comparing people with equal experience, education, and job titles.

> That, of course, is a big if. And previous data from Dice found about a $10,000 pay gap between men and women if not controlled for those factors.

Annoying that the article itself seems to contradict its title. We don't have a breakdown of how much effect those different factors have, but from the summary it's possible that women get equal salaries for the same job titles, but are less likely to be hired for/promoted into better-paying titles--which would be the same thing as a gender-based salary gap.

3
Transmission BitTorrent app contained malware transmissionbt.com
858 points by mroling  22 hours ago   317 comments top 44
1
pilif 7 hours ago 1 reply      
The fact that the binary was infected, I can somewhat understand. However, the way communication happened/is happening on this issue is very disconcerning and basically makes it impossible to know whether it's safe to currently download 2.92 from their site.

Questions like

- how did the compromised binary get there? Was the source code hijacked or was the binary altered after it had been built?

- Were the SHA256 hashes on the site also compromised (btw: Having hashes on the site is good enough for making sure you're not installing a corrupted binary. It doesn't do anything against intentional alterations of the binary though. These hashes need to be stored on an external site)?

- How did the compromise happen?

- what steps were taken to ensure that the same compromise doesn't happen to new binaries posted?

- Did the attacker leave any foothold on the compromised system(s)?

- How were such footholds removed?

All questions that need to be answered before it's safe to upgrade transmission either from the website or with the AutoUpdate feature. A red warning telling me that one binary was infected and that I have to download another binary isn't good enough.

I know the transmission people are volunteer developers and no PR people and I can totally accept that, but there's some things that just need to be made clear before we can safely update to later versions (and thankfully, 2.8 keeps running just fine)

2
moyix 21 hours ago 3 replies      
VirusTotal has some more info, including the files it writes:

https://www.virustotal.com/en/file/d1ac55a4e610380f0ab239fcc...

(Look under the "Behavioural information" tab)

Written Files and Created Processes are interesting:

[Transmission] /Users/user1/Library/kernel_service (successful)

[unknown] /Users/user1/Library/.kernel_pid (successful)

[unknown] /Users/user1/Library/Saved Application State/org.m0k.transmission.savedState/window_1.data (successful)

[Transmission] /Users/user1/Library/Saved Application State/org.m0k.transmission.savedState/data.data (successful)

[Transmission] /Users/user1/Library/Saved Application State/org.m0k.transmission.savedState/windows.plist (successful)

[kernel_service] /Users/user1/Library/.kernel_time (successful)

Created processes

/Volumes/Transmission/Transmission.app/Contents/MacOS/Transmission (successful)

/Users/user1/Library/kernel_service (successful)

kernel_service (successful)

Edited to add: If anyone has a copy of the DMG, sha1 5f8ae46ae82e346000f366c3eabdafbec76e99e9, please link me a copy via email (brendandg@nyu.edu) or twitter DM (@moyix).

3
oxguy3 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Do the developers have an explanation anywhere as to how this happened? The homepage ( https://transmissionbt.com/ ) has a big red warning to upgrade to 2.91, but I can't find any info about how someone went about putting malware in the download.
4
dave2000 20 hours ago 7 replies      
All that stuff - bittorrent, soulseek, calibre etc - lives in a vm, with access to the host only via samba shares. I'll decide what you see and where you can write. Yes, it's great you download stuff. No, you can't write to the stuff I'm sharing. Yes, having a web-server serving up books to the outside world is great. No, you can't serve up anything from my filesystem to anyone who feels like it.

When you can't (be bothered to) vet the source code, stick it in a vm. On a sensible machine with an ssd it's only 10 seconds away. Why risk it. Especially if the software you want/need to run only works under windows.

5
sandstrom 21 hours ago 0 replies      
CNBC isn't a website I'd expect to read anything tech-related on, but there are actually a few details in this article:

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/06/reuters-america-apple-users-t...

- It's Ransomware.

- Seems to be a 3 day grace-period (chance to remove it, possibly).

- The Transmission developer certificate [Gatekeeper] has been revoked.

6
nodesocket 11 hours ago 2 replies      
If the file /System/Library/CoreServices/XProtect.bundle/Contents/Resources/XProtect.plist contains:

 <dict> <key>Description</key> <string>OSX.KeRanger.A</string> <key>LaunchServices</key> <dict> <key>LSItemContentType</key> <string>com.apple.application-bundle</string> </dict> <key>Matches</key> <array> <dict> <key>MatchFile</key> <dict> <key>NSURLTypeIdentifierKey</key> <string>public.unix-executable</string> </dict> <key>MatchType</key> <string>Match</string> <key>Pattern</key> <string>488DBDD0EFFFFFBE00000000BA0004000031C04989D8*31F64C89E7*83F8FF7457C785C4EBFFFF00000000</string> </dict> </array> </dict>
Does that mean I am infected?

7
zymhan 22 hours ago 12 replies      
Along with the recent Linux Mint hijack, this really illustrates the need for people to verify programs they download. Though I think most people can't be bothered to verify the checksum on a file every time they download it.

On the other hand, the Windows and OS X App Stores are awful. Linux package managers are looking like one of the only straightforward ways to distribute applications securely.

8
justsaysmthng 21 hours ago 8 replies      
I've become increasingly paranoid lately, given that things like these happen and major bugs are uncovered in software that I use almost every day.

It's good that the Transmission developer reacted quickly and made waves so that people can at least be aware that they might have been exposed..

But I wonder how many more applications from the hundreds that I have installed on my machines contain weird stuff - either intentional (for money) or unintentionally (result of a hack).

Open source software is especially vulnerable to this kind of stuff.

If a hacker gets access to a server holding the binaries for an open source app (which most people download), the hacker can just compile the program from sources and add his own code in there and place the installer online.

Given that many big governments are now involved in the information wars, this scenario is quite likely.

9
ikeboy 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Hm. https://trac.transmissionbt.com/wiki/Changes#version-2.91 lists the following under Mac changes for 2.90

>Allow downloading files from http servers (not https) on OS X 10.11+

Mac version affected in OP was 10.10, though.

Maybe it had something to do with

>Change Sparkle Update URL to use HTTPS instead of HTTP (addresses Sparkle vulnerability)?

Edit: it appears the infection was downloaded from a website, in which case this doesn't help. But one did say the in-app update failed on incorrect signature first.

10
azernik 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Looking more at this issue, it seems like the problem may have been (hard to tell, not a lot of information) a compromise of a third-party mirror to which https://www.transmissionbt.com/ redirected users; the checksum on the HTTPS site was unaltered, and was used to identify the altered download.

Perhaps a defense against this kind of attack would be an altered version of HSTS - one that protected the content of download links, and not just of sub-resources included on the page.

11
zZorgz 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is really bad but there are two good security defenses that came out of that forum thread (which is better than not having them at all).

1. Apple revoked the certificate already. Thus people that have gatekeeper on are safer.

2. Sparkle (for auto updater) denied the malware infected update. Thus downloading from the main website is not necessarily safer, even with the recent mitm sparkle vulnerability.

12
teamhappy 21 hours ago 0 replies      
2.90 was released a couple of days ago[1], so if you haven't used Transmission in a couple of weeks this doesn't affect you.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmission_%28BitTorrent_cli...

13
adidalal 18 hours ago 1 reply      
If you installed/updated via Homebrew-Cask [1], you should not be affected. 2.90 was not always compromised, and looking at Caskroom history, the checksum was only updated for the 2.84 -> 2.90 bump once [2].

It is updated and at 2.92 now, also [3].

(I'm one of the maintainers of Homebrew Cask)

[1] https://github.com/caskroom/homebrew-cask

[2] https://github.com/caskroom/homebrew-cask/issues/19504#issue...

[3] https://github.com/caskroom/homebrew-cask/pull/19508

14
marvel_boy 20 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems that is a ransomware campaignhttp://www.reuters.com/article/us-apple-ransomware-idUSKCN0W...Next monday, tomorrow could pave terror on the office.
15
chimeracoder 20 hours ago 0 replies      
It might be worth updating the title to specify the vulnerable version (2.90) and the platform (OS X - from what I can tell, this is not a vulnerability on Linux or Windows).
16
diebir 18 hours ago 3 replies      
This is a good illustration of why you should not install apps as administrator. Specifically, you should not install Mac OS packages, which allow for arbitrary pre- and post- install scripts to be executed as root.

Same is true for Windows and Linux.

There are privilege escalation bugs in any OS, but it is usually not a given. Throw the application into ~/Applications as a Mac bundle, worst that will happen is your account will be compromised. Much easier to detect and clean. Most trojans won't even succeed.

We are going to have these problems until the developer community realizes that executing a randomly downloaded package installer as a privileged user is giving away the keys to the kingdom.

Application stores is one solution, but really is not an open one. I'd rather see the apps distributed in a form similar to Apple app bundles, where a non-privileged user can just install the app into their home.

17
svetly0 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Transmission put up a new version - 2.92 that supposedly checks for and removes the malware.
18
Philipp__ 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Can someone explain me what Xprotect.plist contains? Are those malware's that are recognized by Apple and are blocked and dealt with?

I saw some post on forum where dude said how his Xprotect now contains at the top OSX.KeRanger.A entry, and said how it means he got infected. It didn't made much sense to me, but I checked mine this morning and found the same entry? Does it mean I am infected too?

But I didn't download anything from their website like 3 months back, I just did the update to 2.90 in Thursday or Friday can't remember, and yesterday as soon as I saw the news I update everything and checked for malicious files and processes which weren't present on my machine.

19
s_kilk 21 hours ago 3 replies      
While we're here, can anyone recommend a good antivirus for OSX?

I've just been looking at BitDefender, which looks promising, but would rather get this right than faff around with potentially crappy AV tools.

20
mmgutz 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Does installing 2.9.1 remove it completely or just from the Transmission app? I'm concerned the malware is still there.
21
rMBP 21 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm on 2.90 and can't find any weird processes running. I'll hold off on 2.91 until they've explained what happened.
22
darfs 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Isn't it quite popular on Debian and derivates too? It's Pre-installed with GNOME there as far as I know.Fair enough, it's extremly interesteing. Never saw such an infection in the "free World", outside the laboratory.I hope they can find the source.
23
codezero 17 hours ago 1 reply      
It looks like they've since changed the upgrade to 2.92 (it was previously 2.91 this morning), wonder why that happened?
24
Matt3o12_ 20 hours ago 3 replies      
Can anyone tell me if this also applies to brew's cask's builds? I needed to download CentOS the other day and wanted to go with a torrent. I got pretty pissed after I realized that BitTorrent installed some adware called Spigot. I tried to remove it as good as possible (I mainly killed the process, removed `Library/Application Support/Spigot` and ran a `sudo find / | grep -i Spigot`).

Ironically I decided to use the good, ol', trusted open source alternative transmission because I just read on HN that Transmission gets updated again...

25
jws 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Just an anecdatum: I got infected by this yesterday when I installed Transmission to download a Debian install CD. When I read about this at MacRumors I checked and had the kernel_service process running and the two hidden files hiding in Library.

I've unplugged and archived the TimeMachine backup disk and done the prescribed cleanup actions to remove he malware. I guess time will tell if it had any other tricks up its sleeve.

26
nodesocket 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Something that is not entirely clear. Does updating to 2.9.2 attempt to clean KeRanger up automatically? Or is some manual cleanup still needed after updating?
27
dzhiurgis 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Popular Mac rumour/news site 9to5mac (that is rapidly decreasing in quality) actually posted about this malicious update few days ago.

Somehow I found it out of place, especially as they have never posted about TransmissionBT before. They sure did get lots of people to update after putting in on front page.

28
nitrogen 20 hours ago 1 reply      
The headline should probably say "at least Mac". I hope we soon learn the source of the compromise, but nothing so far indicates that Linux distributions' packages would be affected by a Mac malware.
29
tomlong 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Posted by one of the researchers that discovered the malware...

"#Transmission just pushed 2.92 update that includes code to > detect and to remove the #KeRanger ransomware. Update it before Monday 11:00am."

https://twitter.com/claud_xiao/status/706579264036950016

30
Heis 20 hours ago 3 replies      
Can someone please confirm that the in-app update is not affected by the hack?
31
maknz 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Checked my install of 2.9.0 from auto-update, it's clean (none of the suspect files are in Contents/Resources). According to a post on the Transmission forums, when a person was (probably) delivered an infected binary, there was a checksum failure as you'd expect. So it seems as though you won't be infected if you used the auto-updater.
32
pjf 4 hours ago 0 replies      
any reason why it's correlated with dht.transmissionbt.com loosing its AAAA record? it's the only IPv6 DHT bootstrap node on the Internet
33
Philipp__ 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh dear god. Used 2.90 past week, when I saw the news I updated immediately, checked for all the files, found nothing. I hope my MacBook will stay fine tomorrow. I got it backed up on Time Machine anyway. Where do we go from here, since I lost the trust, what are the alternatives? And from now one, I'll go with Brew Cask for everything possible.

F* GUI /s

34
jasonjei 17 hours ago 0 replies      
If they indeed used a legit code signing certificate, what is the fix? It seems very difficult to just blindly trust signed binaries anymore. Short of setting up a registry of vetted code signing certificates, it seems that signed code is just as easily manipulated as unsigned code. And even then, the keys to the certificate could be mishandled.
35
finchisko 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Wondering if brew cask can be solution for this.
36
z3t4 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Yet another reason why you should have a (offline) backup of all your important files.
37
thrillgore 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I checked my version of Transmission and i'm still on 2.84. I guess I dodged a big bullet, but tonight i'll go through the diagnostics to see if any versions prior to 2.90 were infected. I may do it sooner if I get a quiet moment at work.

I'm also running the usual litany of tools to check for activity (Wireshark on my WAN Tap, Anti-virus, etc)

My Synology NAS uses transmissiond for its BT Client, so I will be contacting them to see if they are affected by this issue.

38
cabbeer 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I uninstalled the app, but is there a way I can check if i've been affected?
39
ywecur 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Sorry, but how did this happen? Was the website breached?
40
flerchin 17 hours ago 1 reply      
On a related note, Windows Defender detects malware when downloading the windows putty installer.Trojan: Win32/Varpes.J!plockhttp://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.h...Not sure how to report.
41
orionblastar 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to Transmission in Linux but switched to qBitTorrent instead when I switched to Windows 10. It has an OSX version if you don't trust Transmission anymore.

http://www.qbittorrent.org/

http://www.qbittorrent.org/download.php

42
julie1 21 hours ago 1 reply      
The strength of a chain is the strength of its weakest link, and the more "apps" are provided as the system the longer and more vulnerable is the chain.

When it comes to checksums with have the chicken egg problem plus the collision attack of md5.

MD5 has been the standard for too long (and is deprecated since 10 years for crypto checksum). And for next generation of softwares to install that don't do modern checksum how can they trust the download of the package required to check for whatever the new format?Plus the new format is less likely to be checked without errors. A off by one character could easily be discarded in checking given the number of packages that are now required to be installed and the human limitation in focus.

Human are the limiting factors, and security is modeling the user in a kind of grotesque caricature of a robot that can check thousands of informations perfectly and remember 20 characters passwords for tens of appliances.

There is a tyranny of computer engineers regarding what is safe for people having a life not concerned about geeky technology that is a tad annoying.

People have the right to be human and to fail is human. The burden put on human to make the system safe in order to avoid costly for the bosses human interactions is way to high.

And since computer security always blame failure on human behaviour I begin to positively dislike it.

43
MichaelGG 20 hours ago 5 replies      
It's not. Condoms aren't used against a hostile opponent. If your partner is intent on exposing you, a condom won't provide any protection.
44
Dorian-Gray 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one who saw the app and thought "Why the heck is TPB releasing an app?" Makes them more of a target, less stable platform, more easily interfered with , ect.
4
MAME is now Free and Open Source Software mamedev.org
577 points by Lord_Nightmare  2 days ago   89 comments top 11
1
Gratsby 2 days ago 6 replies      
I'm blown away that it was not free and open source already. I remember downloading it. I remember using it. I remember poking through the source at one point. If it was proprietary software, it had the worst marketing program ever. I had absolutely no idea there was any sort of paid alternative.
2
kstenerud 2 days ago 0 replies      
It was actually a pretty herculean effort to fix the licensing in MAME. It's been at least a year since I got email asking for the licensing in my cores to be switched over. They had to get an OK from everyone involved, or rewrite portions of it.
3
0xcde4c3db 2 days ago 0 replies      
This was way, way overdue. For much of its life, MAME was a total mess of license restrictions. Just knowing that a file was in MAME didn't really yield much reliable information about how it was licensed. Some parts of the code were under seriously weird terms, including e.g. an assertion of the "right" to change the license terms retroactively (said license also refers to the code as "copywritten"...).

Kudos to the team for sorting it out, and to all the old contributors who agreed to relicense their code where necessary.

4
Deejahll 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm curious why they changed from noncommercial permissive to GPL2+ instead of GPL3.

If their goal is to prevent misuse of the project by unethical profit-minded entities, GPL3's anti-tivoization language would have ensured that even if a company profits from building or running a MAME-based cabinet (which is good!), they wouldn't be able to deprive their customers' freedom to fix or upgrade the software that runs it. (As they now can!)

It's even worse for the permissively-licensed parts of the code, which can now be used to build locked-down proprietary cabinets that users can't even inspect. I'm glad they got at least part of the project covered by copyleft.

The "common questions" on their site contains some confusing claims, too:

> Q. Can I include MAME with my product?> A. Yes. You can use 3-clause BSD compliant files but project as whole is under GPL-2.0 license so in case you wish to use those part you need approval from specific developers.

You'd only need permission if you didn't want to comply with the terms of GPL2. There's nothing in GPL2 that requires permission for inclusion with a product.

Maybe that's just leftover from before the license change?

5
bsharitt 2 days ago 3 replies      
Nice. Maybe we'll see some legal "arcade collections" from publishers who can now ship their own versions of MAME.
6
daveheq 23 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're up to version 0.171 maybe it's OK to use something like 1.7.1
7
Esau 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love Mame. I use it to play several games that aren't available otherwise.
8
rahimnathwani 2 days ago 1 reply      
Off topic, but does anyone know why I get a '403 Forbidden' error when opening this site from China?
9
HeavyStorm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wait... It... Wasn't?
10
roxsa26 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh yeah
11
blisterpeanuts 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now I can't get this out of my head, darn it!

 You coax the blues right out of the horn, Mame, You charm the husk right off of the corn, Mame, You've got that banjoes strummin' And plunkin' out a tune to beat the band, The whole plantation's hummin' Since you brought Dixie back to Dixie land.
https://youtu.be/mjZ7UwHaY8g

5
BMW Australia Refusing to Comply with Terms of GNU Public License github.com
529 points by jordigh  4 days ago   208 comments top 25
1
zmmmmm 3 days ago 5 replies      
To me this doesn't really look like a clear cut case. Does he own one of these cars? If not, then I think it is very dubious whether he has any standing to request the source code. If he does then included with the car should be an offer for how to access the GPL source code. He should have followed that (or clearly stated that he could not locate it in his email). The requirement for him to enter the VIN to access the source code does not seem unreasonable since they are only required to distribute source code to customers, and he has simply emailed them out of the blue asking them to give him the source without any proof that he's a customer. The statement about BMW being the "sole owner" is probably concerning proprietary parts of the software that may not be subject to GPL at all. It is probably way beyond the skills of some random customer service rep to distinguish the subtleties of those kind of things.

This kind of interaction actually looks to me to be counter to the spirit under which the Free Software Foundation tries to administer the GPL - which is that they work cooperatively to help companies comply rather than try to trick them into legal hot water. I agree with the FSF approach and I don't think this sort of PR ambush type tactic is helpful in promoting the use of free software.

2
SyneRyder 4 days ago 1 reply      
Google could have helped here:

BMW Car IT: Open Sourcehttp://www.bmw-carit.com/open-source/

I'll take a guess based on the filename "ConnStarter" in the BMW firmware that ConnMann is the primary GPL'd software. As the BMW site says: "The ConnMan project provides a daemon for managing internet connections within embedded devices running the Linux operating system.... ConnMan is available under the terms of the GPL v2."

http://www.bmw-carit.com/open-source/connman.php

You can download the source if you like.

3
dmm 4 days ago 4 replies      
What GPL licensed software are they actually infringing upon? The linked post[1] says they found mentions of systemd, but does the firmware actually contain a linux kernel? I don't see anything that looks like a kernel in the file listing.

Also if the firmware is properly signed delivering it over http shouldn't matter, right?

[1] https://shkspr.mobi/blog/2016/02/bmw-are-sending-their-softw...

4
genericacct 3 days ago 4 replies      
Frankly: given recent news (hacked jeeps, software used to cheat on emission tests) I think it is time to _require_ _all_ software used on vehicles that transit on public roads to be open sourced and available to the public.(for independent testing and verification in the name of public safety)
5
OJFord 3 days ago 0 replies      
It seems to me less like refusal to comply with the terms of GPL, and more like denial that they use GPLed code.

 > I have confirmed with our technical department who > advised that ... the usage rights agreement states that > the software is protected by copyright and BMW is the > sole owner... it is not subject to the requirements of a > "Public" licence
That may or may not be the case, but to me that doesn't say "yeah we use, na you can't have it".

6
strictnein 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm confused here. Where is the evidence that they've modified GPL'd software, which they are then distributing, and are refusing to distribute the source code for their modifications?
7
rattray 4 days ago 2 replies      
Worth noting that the BMW people in the thread are in customer support, not legal.
8
greydius 3 days ago 5 replies      
Please correct me if I'm wrong. I thought the GPL only required providing the source code to the purchasers of the product. (Who can then redestribute it if they'd like.) I didn't think it meant that if you use GPL code in your product, then you are obligated to make your code available to everyone.
9
jwildeboer 4 days ago 7 replies      
History has proven over and over again that this kind of public shame and blame approach doesn't help in any way, quite the opposite.

Hand this over to the Free Software Conservancy or the SFLC. And that should have been the first step.

Now that the bridges are burning, BMW will be far less open to civil discussion and cooperative solutions. Well done. #sarcasm

10
fauria 4 days ago 0 replies      
Harald Welte founded gpl-violations (http://gpl-violations.org/about/) 12 years ago. The have been offline for some time, but it looks like they plan to continue with their activities this year: "Actual GPL enforcement activity is expected to resume at some point in 2016." Maybe they can help sorting this out.
11
antocv 4 days ago 3 replies      
Has anyone ever seen GPL being encorced in any country?

Wont this end with BWM uploading a tar.gz of a kernel found on kernel.org and call it a good working day?

Have seen it happen too many times, and in most countries the user has no claim on the license/copyright.

So unless I contributed/own some copyright found in exact Linux kernel version/other software used by a distributor, and buy their stuff, there is zilch I can do.

Which also means, you are free to sell/and break GPL software/license and as long as you dont upset somebody who owns the copyright to it, you're good to go.

12
y04nn 3 days ago 0 replies      
At least their update binaries are unencrypted, which allow us to see what they are using.If some of you want to have a look:The article:https://shkspr.mobi/blog/2016/02/bmw-are-sending-their-softw...

Direct link to the binary:http://www.bmw.com/_common/shared/owners/bluetooth/bin/UPD07...

13
rewqfdsa 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good. I'm sick of people walking over copyleft licenses generally. It's only because of copyleft that there exists a pro-sharing social norm in the software development community. If you kick down the GPL, the norm will shift back toward proprietary software everywhere. You, young developer, have no idea just how shitty a world that is.
14
sargun 3 days ago 0 replies      
Tesla still continues to violate the GPL as well - https://forums.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/gpl-sources.
15
stusmall 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've gotten the same response from a company when requesting kernel source before. What is the best source for help in dealing this? I reached out to GNU but got no response. I know the kernel isn't their project but didn't know where else to turn.
16
_Codemonkeyism 4 days ago 0 replies      
Poor customer support agent.
17
kazinator 3 days ago 0 replies      
Misleading title; it looks more like they in fact refuse to acknowledge at all that some of the code is someone else's.

> Part of the usage rights agreement states that the software is protected by copyright and BMW is the sole owner. So in this case it is not subject to the requirements of a "Public" licence [sic]

I.e. "This is all our software; there is no third-party GPL stuff in it, so we need not comply with any such license."

18
sudhirj 4 days ago 6 replies      
Is it a violation if they don't modify Linux itself? So if I make a device that runs Linux and my application binary, am I required to make my application code public?
19
castis 4 days ago 3 replies      
What is the worst-case scenario for an entity that refuses to comply?
20
duncan_bayne 2 days ago 0 replies      
Duncan here. I'm the one who contacted BMW to ask about source code availability. I don't own one of the BMWs in question, but the chap who wrote the original article investigating the update contents did.

I've since been contacted by someone clueful from BMW Germany, and have put him in touch with the car owner. They are working together to determine what needs to be done for BMW to be compliant.

tl;dr: It looks like it's all going to be sorted out amicably.

21
famerr 3 days ago 4 replies      
So it is strange for me even if I understand GPL.Does it means all the network routers running custom linux have to provide sources of entire modification?I assume if we want companies to make use of linux on a wide level, there should be the ways to overcome this problem(if exists).
22
outworlder 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is ridiculous. So now, any John Doe can contact customer support of any company, then publicly shame them for not getting the response they want? Aren't there organizations with the sole purpose of investigating Free Software license violations, with access to actual lawyers? Where's the email thread of such correspondence?

This sounds like a child crying mommy. Oh, and while I usually approve attempts at breaking the way-too-serious corporate speak, smileys seem to detract from the gravity of the issue being discussed.

Can we get responsible people to handle this, please? Like the Free Software Foundation? Not a flash mob on the internet. This is counter-productive.

23
goerz 3 days ago 3 replies      
It seems to me that they're not distributing any software (i.e., the product is a car, not software), which means licensing doesn't come into play. It would be akin to someone finding out that I'm privately using (and maybe modifying) GPL software, and then demand that I make the source code available to them. Only in GPLv3, the issue of selling a product that uses GPL software internally is addressed. The situation changes of course once they make the software itself accessible to third parties, in which case they'd also have to supply the source code.
24
yeukhon 3 days ago 0 replies      
This topic is getting dull every time on HN. Someone has to argue about GPL, free software vs proprietary software.
25
jolux 3 days ago 0 replies      
pretty sure it's this: http://www.magnetimarelli.com/excellence/technological-excel...

can't find the source for it though.

6
Announcing Rust 1.7 rust-lang.org
480 points by steveklabnik  3 days ago   131 comments top 13
1
dikaiosune 3 days ago 2 replies      
Not mentioned in the release, but in the extended release notes:

"Soundness fixes to the interactions between associated types and lifetimes, specified in RFC 1214, now generate errors for code that violates the new rules. This is a significant change that is known to break existing code, so it has emitted warnings for the new error cases since 1.4 to give crate authors time to adapt."

https://github.com/rust-lang/rust/blob/stable/RELEASES.md#co...

I think this is a fantastic example of the even-handed approach in the compiler stability promises/plans, and it's great to see one of the first real tests of those promises go so well.

2
kibwen 3 days ago 1 reply      
As mentioned in the OP, Rust really hasn't added any language-level features since 1.0, but looking forward there were two major features whose RFCs were accepted this cycle: impl specialization (https://github.com/rust-lang/rfcs/pull/1210#issuecomment-187...) and the `?` operator (https://github.com/rust-lang/rfcs/pull/243#issuecomment-1805...). The former will keep code from having to pay a de facto performance penalty for being generic (preliminary implementation at https://github.com/rust-lang/rust/pull/30652), and the latter is purely an ergonomic change to make our `Result`-based error handling more lightweight (preliminary implementation at https://github.com/rust-lang/rust/pull/31954).

I'm personally hoping the latter one manages to get into the beta release for the next cycle, so that I can use `?` rather than `try!()` for my Rust tutorial at OSCON this year. :)

3
benjismith 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nice! I haven't used rust yet, but I'm really excited about it. I think Mozilla Research is doing some of the most groundbreaking work in CS lately.

The best part about rust is seeing the equally incredible work being done by the Servo team. To get a glimpse into some of their best work, here's a video where they talk about using the GPU to get better performance rendering a DOM than most native GUI toolkits can achieve on a sophisticated layout:

https://air.mozilla.org/bay-area-rust-meetup-february-2016/#...

4
mattgodbolt 3 days ago 1 reply      
Also at http://rust.godbolt.org/ should you wish to see the assembly code generated too.
5
BooneJS 3 days ago 5 replies      
I've been devoting a lot of my daylight hours to writing Go, but with Rust at 1.7 and Go at 1.6 I may have to rethink that. ;)
6
lorenzhs 3 days ago 1 reply      
There was a recent effort by Google to speed up SipHash, it's called HighwayHash: https://github.com/google/highwayhash - it includes a compatible, optimized SipHash implementation (1.5x speedup), a variation on that that is not compatible but similar, SipTreeHash (3x speedup on top of optimized implementation) and a new algorithm, HighwayHash, that yields another factor of 2-3. I haven't yet used it myself but it looks interesting and might be relevant to Rust?

Edited to add that Google's implementation targets Haswell and later (AVX-2), I don't know about the performance of an implementation that targets older CPUs which would of course be very relevant for Rust

7
Perceptes 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you, Rust team! It's like Christmas every six weeks! :D
8
SneakerXZ 3 days ago 10 replies      
I wish Rust team invested more into tooling and maybe introduced officially supported IDE because at the end tooling is more important than the language itself. Java is not the best language but it obvious choice for many people because of its IDE integration.
9
Kratisto 3 days ago 5 replies      
So I don't know a whole lot about Rust. Can anyone give a summary of why/when I should use Rust?
10
dominotw 3 days ago 1 reply      
Any ideas how rust's cross compilation compares with golang?

I am amazed with how easy it to cross compile to different platforms supported by golang. Curious how rust compares.

11
StreamBright 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is there any plans to have a stable version and do not introduce breaking changes after that? Something like 2.x is for Python. I could not find any reference so far.
12
jayflux 3 days ago 1 reply      
When will it reach homebrew?
13
desireco42 3 days ago 5 replies      
250K for hello world example... where is this world going to! :)

I am sure it can be trimmed, but we are getting oblivious to common sense a little. This is system language.

7
Ray Tomlinson, Inventor of Email, Has Died theverge.com
437 points by jrbedard  1 day ago   64 comments top 16
1
contingencies 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Nobody here has considered the environmental impact of this invention. How much physical mail have we stopped lugging around the globe because of email?

Then social impact: by popularizing near-instantaneous global written interpersonal communication we have removed the walled garden of national language, culture and politics. Suddenly, a great force of inertia demands that every profession, every social and political issue must be viewed within its truly global context. Of course, we're not quite there yet but it's a clear trajectory.

Connecting the hive mind was really a red pill moment for humanity.

2
theologic 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Actually email is worth thinking about because if you didn't live it, you might not understand it's path or impact.

I came to age in technology at a strange age, being at a start-up in 1979 in high school, then getting my EE degree at the University of Washington in the late 80s, before joining IBM.

For those of you not around and the time, by the time I got to the UW, we had email and could send messages worldwide with BITNET. However, it was not critical and not used as much as you might think. Actually, USENET was a much bigger part of any geeks life. USENET had an amazing impact on everything we did in academia, and I remember getting on MINIX USENET group and some geek from Europe saying that he was trying to do his own operating system. I was more hardware oriented, and I missed my chance to contribute to early Linux.

Where I first saw email becoming central to a culture is when I got to IBM. PROFS notes, or email, had a massive impact on the entire culture. The combination of calendar and email and the internal culture that had a terminal in every conference room would be familiar with most readers of Hacker news. You could have survived with what they offered in today's modern world.

The person responsible for the addition of email to PROFS was not influenced by what was happening in BITNET. The email in university was like a home brewed computer. I am not saying it wasn't important, but I'm saying that the adoption of email wasn't tied to this. However, the fact that IBM pushed email was as central as IBM creating a personal computer, only in this case it wasn't following Apple.

I saw an article on the founder of IBM PROFS email, and so I hunted him down on email while I was at IBM. I regret I cannot remember his name, but I wanted to say he was in research at Almaden, but this may be an human ECC error. However, I do remember that I wanted to know how obvious the creation of email was for everybody, and how much it was embraced. He stated at the time that most people thought that it would not be central to business life. Nobody saw the impact of email coming.

In the list of cognitive biases, we call it simply "Hindsight Bias."

It just goes to show how the obvious is not obvious until it happens.

My question, "What is happen today, that will be the next email that we are all missing?"

3
shmerl 23 hours ago 4 replies      
We are mighty lucky that e-mail managed to become interoperable and we can easily send e-mails to users of any server without breaking our heads and wondering whether their servers and clients will understand that. Instant messaging on the other hand failed miserably in this regard.
4
sethammons 1 day ago 2 replies      
I work in the email space; thanks to this guy's invention, I can feed my family and have a solid financial life. It is amazing, the web of events, that shape our lives and the lives of others. RIP.
5
bane 23 hours ago 0 replies      
It's funny how core of a service the idea of email is...even pre-internet. Once companies started supplying dumb terminals connected to the corporate mainframe on every executive's desk, "electronic mail" quickly supplanted paper memos.

In my college OS class we had to build a *nix-like OS from the ground up and one of the required basic services we had to build was user-to-user messaging. After hacking out basic versions of "ls" and "cat" that was pretty much what we built next.

What was not so obvious, and much harder to do, and required something like the internet to solve was system-to-system mail transfer, which Tomlinson created. It turns out to be a strangely hard problem to do well. It's not hard to get it up and running, but the edge-cases and abuses have plagued us ever since. Maybe the problem is humans.

6
AdamN 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Internet pioneers used to invent tools of communication like email, TCP/IP, DNS - now the pioneers are building walled gardens like Facebook, Twitter, Google :-/
7
bpicolo 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Have lost a lot of great names in Computer Science lately. While sad, it's a great testament to how fast computers have evolved. Everything here that we have has evolved within a single generation. Incredible. The pace of human technological growth in the last 100 years has been explosive. It seems from my perspective now, it's slowed, but I'm now thinking that assumption is very wrong. I think in retrospect it's going to continue to explode, and it's only my view of what I'm using currently that makes it seem that way. Even a few slow years can be easily ignored in context of the leaps and bounds technology tends to evolve in: The transistor, the internet, the world as mobile...

The future is, and will always be, awesome potential.

8
webwanderings 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Email is the only revolutionary communication technology there is. The next evolution is that of email lists. Anything else beyond these two, be that Twitter, Facebook, etc (they are nothing more than public email) are not evolutionary in true sense.

I'd only take away BCC feature from the email as a mistake, or useless. Email-lists should have been the true BCC.

9
aws_ls 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Email is such a profound application on Internet. Kind of like air or water, and therefore its (nearly) free[1]. The walled garden social networks are like Coke (or sugary water) or polluted air in comparison.

Aren't there any poets here, who could pen a few couplets in his memory & respect? Just saying RIP to such a great Engineer, feels so not enough. Feel proud to call myself an Engineer, when such giants also call them one.

[1] - we have freedom via choice. If you use gmail/yahoo/etc you know you are doing a trade off. But its comforting to have choice.

10
elcct 2 hours ago 0 replies      
100% of people who invented email, died.
11
cantrevealname 19 hours ago 3 replies      
> Thee very first email has been lost to time. As he said in an NPR interview from 2009, they were just random strings of text.

As usual, technical people easily miss the marketing value of sound bites. He should have invented a clever and catchy story about the first email.

Technical people will immediately say that you can't do that because that would a lie, forgetting the thousand "lies" that we are all complicit in (Santa Claus, tooth fairy, "your tie/haircut looks nice", "sorry, I don't have any change to give you").

EBay founder Omidyar said that eBay was invented to trade Pez dispensers, a story he's now admitted is completely false, but no one seems to be too worked up over that. Apparently Omidyar understands the difference between a lie (has an actual negative effect on someone) and marketing fluff (makes for an interesting story but is just trivia).

For such an influential person--in the sense that he had a huge impact on the world--Tomlinson is completely unknown. I'm guessing that his financial reward for inventing email was essentially nothing as well.

12
mattdeboard 13 hours ago 0 replies      
What's the criteria for the black band at the top of the page when a tech luminary passes away?
13
ericfrederich 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Too bad he never got to see it replaced with something like Google Wave
14
techdragon 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I think I'll try to honour this day by sending as little email as possible. As close to an "email moment of silence" as I can achieve I suppose.
15
iMark 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Surely a black banner day, if ever there was one?
16
dboreham 23 hours ago 5 replies      
Not to take anything away from his legacy, but isn't it a stretch to talk about the "invention" of email when we had telex, telegrams, heliography, scrolls of vellum carried by Roman messenger, and so on? What's left to invent?
8
We Hire the Best, Just Like Everyone Else codinghorror.com
512 points by mooreds  3 days ago   357 comments top 53
1
RogerL 3 days ago 6 replies      
tl;dr: The only measure of on the job performance is on the job performance. The only thing that matters to your company is also on the job performance. Why not focus on that?

It is utter voodoo.

I came up in the late 80s. Interviews were maybe 2 hours long. You might be handed a piece of paper with a problem to aggregate some information distributed in a few different arrays and print them out. You know, write some for loops and a few logic statements.

Then you talked about the job. This is the job. Do you want to do it? What do you have to bring to us? Do you have a lot of experience and want to lead, or not a lot and want to learn - we'll adjust position and salary.

And you put a team together. Some were great, some were okay, some needed to be let go. In total, all sw people had a job.

Contrast that with today's voodoo, where proxies are weighed more than on the job performance (the only thing that matters).

In the end, you put a team together. Some are great, some are okay, some need to be let go. In total, all sw people have a job.

It's all exactly the same, except the absurdity of interviewing by proxies. It's simple logic - he average of everything is average. Why have we abandoned logic?

So many things matter more than remembering red-black trees from your midterm (I'm 49. I TA'ed a graduate level algorithms class back in the day, but I don't happen to remember it. That's what books are for). Like being able to run a project. Being able to write documentation. Being able to enter a room with a combative and upset client and keep the business. Being able to mentor your colleagues. Taking ownership. Leading by example. Ability to learn. So many things that are not even discussed in the current interview environment.

I've watched companies spin their wheels for months, rejecting perfectly good people, looking for that mythical person with exactly the right, esoteric combination of skills, who, for some unknown reason, wants to stall their career and get hired into a position where they learn nothing because they are expected to know everything already. People that are eager to learn? No, sorry, not rock-star material. All these prior successes mean nothing, no one could possibly learn a technology or new algorithm, right? And, more than once I've had people get downright snide about it. I'm sorry that you misread my resume, contacted me, and I didn't have that absurdly specific combination of skills. My fault, right?

Y'all have lost your minds. :) Which is okay, we're an eccentric bunch, but jeez, let's inject some reason and introspection into it. The faces are different, but the talent is no different than the 70s and 80s. There's zero evidence that any of these interview techniques are reliable. There's tons of evidence that interview techniques are horribly biased in many ways. Just stop.

2
struppi 3 days ago 15 replies      
Also: Give the "not-the-best" people a chance to develop.

The CEO of one of my past clients, a consulting company, always said: "You can teach everyone to be a great programmer". And he put his money where his mouth was: He hired people with no programming experience (even with no university education) and personally trained them for several months. Also, senior people in the company were encouraged to also help them and guid them.

He had to fire some of those people later, mostly because they were not a good fit for the company. But some of them became great programmers and software consultants.

"Hire only the best" is really only half of the battle. Give people an environment where learning is encouraged and failure is expected. And help them wherever you can. Most will learn and enjoy it.

3
Animats 2 days ago 0 replies      
Look at the reasons startups failed. "Product didn't work" isn't even on the list. For most appcrap and webcrap, making it work isn't that hard any more.

There are exceptions, where making it work is the hard part. Theranos is poised to fail because they can't make their medical test technology work. Cruise (YC 14) will fail if their autonomous driving doesn't stop crashing. Space-X lives or dies depending on how often their rockets blow up. Those companies need "the best".

Go down the current YC list.[1] Who has a hard problem?

Hard:

- 20n: A computational synthetic biology company

- Industrial Microbes: Upgrade natural gas to chemicals using synthetic biology

- Transcriptic: Access a fully automated cell and molecular biology laboratory, all from the comfort of your web browser

- Raven Tech: We are building the next generation OS (website sucks; all giant images, no info.)

Not hard to implement:

- Cleanly: Laundry & dry-cleaning delivered at the tap of a button

- GiveMeTap: Each bottle purchased gives a person in Africa clean drinking water for 5 years

- EquipmentShare: Rent high quality equipment at the lowest price, guaranteed

- Meadow: Buy medical cannabis delivered from local dispensaries

- Cinder: Notifications when food is done. All in a countertop electric grill.

If you're on the "not hard" list, you're probably better off hiring people who've done something similar but aren't superstars. Otherwise, you'll get overdesigned IT infrastructure, like Soylent. (Soylent does maybe two shopping cart transactions a minute, and boasts about how elaborate their systems are. They're bikeshedding. They're in the food business; IT is a support function.)

[1] http://yclist.com/

4
hitekker 2 days ago 2 replies      
The article is a real gem. One part I particularly like:

>This level of strictness always made me uncomfortable. I'm not going to lie, it starts with my own selfishness. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get hired at big, famous companies with legendarily difficult technical interview processes because, you know, they only hire the best. I don't think I am one of the best. More like cranky, tenacious, and outspoken, to the point that I wake up most days not even wanting to work with myself.

Jeff Atwood has the self-security to say something like this publicly. It's really small-applause worthy in my book, since people will look for anything, especially anything unrelated to leadership, to tear a leader down[1]

As an aside, I think the political cost to admitting faults ties in roughly with the "Great Man Fallacy"[2] We're looking for an Iron Man to believe in, but when Tony Stark can't actually write a program to hack into a government mainframe in two hours, we get disappointed.

It reminds me very strongly of when Zuckerberg tried, for fun, to solve an engineering problem after two years of being the CEO of Facebook. He had a lot of trouble writing basic code; the engineers watching him struggle, who all thought Zuckerberg was this amazing super-genius who could do anything, ended up condescending him.[3]

[1] I do believe that plenty of so-called "leaders" are not actually good leaders. Rather that those people who grow to learn to be leaders, should not be detracted on certain details that are tangential to their business.

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Man_theory

[3] There should be a specific term for "Gosh darn it, I may not have a billion dollars b-b-but at least I'm better at this thing in this particular way!"

5
phamilton 3 days ago 3 replies      
We used to ask "What makes this candidate weird?" during the decision meeting.

It wasn't always a deal breaker, but it was very important that the team would be different after hiring someone. We hired quite a few non-CS grads, whether they came via a boot camp or were just self taught.

We ended up with a ragged team of misfits and it was awesome. I've never worked on a team that was so effective at challenging assumptions and biases and shipping features faster than anyone else. I'm convinced it wasn't through Herculean efforts by individuals, rather the product of clear communication and trust within the team.

Ive tried to explain why this worked. One observation: Very rarely did someone make implicit assumptions. Such assumptions are often wrong, but they happen because individuals are similar enough that extrapolation a partial understanding into a full one implicitly happens. We assume that since we got from A to B on the same path that the path from B to C is likely the same. On a team of misfits, you have to clearly communicate the entire sequence of events because everyone is on an entirely different page to start with. The result is that the final product is 100% on target, whereas normally there are a few deviations as the result of implicit assumptions.

6
OpenDrapery 3 days ago 4 replies      
I work in the "boring" old insurance industry, based in the midwest. I love reading articles like these, and as I read them I get excited and say to myself "yea!" and "spot on!". But they seem to center around startups and Silicon Valley.

The truth is, when it comes to building, maintaining, and supporting internal, line of business apps, management isn't even pretending to look for high end talent. They want predictability, reliability, and someone who will "fit".

I wonder how many people out there fit my profile. That is, they get excited by reading blog posts like these from some of the thought leaders, and desperately want to apply the thinking to their own workplaces, but then feel like we aren't really the target audience.

7
karterk 3 days ago 5 replies      
This might be an unpopular opinion on HN, but another example of this problem manifests in the sheer volume of companies that require a HackerRank screening test these days. Apart from the clumsy web editor, recording someone under a time constraint means nothing in the larger context of how a programmer's actual work happens. Sigh.

By using such automated tests, companies want to identify top talent by taking a shortcut and not investing any time on their side.

8
ryandrake 3 days ago 3 replies      
This fear of not hiring the very best explains why everyone in the Valley seems to be interviewing candidates like crazy but nobody is hiring. When I interview I try to tease out potential, and look for signals that show the candidate will work hard and learn fast. Then someone comes in and says, "Well I hazed him and he couldn't implement a red-black tree on a whiteboard. No hire." This mad pickiness causes the mythical "shortage of engineers" meme to spread.
9
cubano 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've said it for many many years...hiring selects for those whom interview well and have good social engineering skills, not necessarily for those whom can get the job done and make the company successful.

The utterly meaningless "top 1%" metric always makes me laugh. By definition then 99 of every 100 engineers don't make that cut, which means, again by definition, your team has very few if any of them, no matter what hiring practices you employ.

Plus I've found that very often management uses the "oh we hired the wrong people" as an easy cover for its own failings.

10
p4wnc6 3 days ago 6 replies      
In the spirit of this advice, if you are serious about really finding the best people, you should offer very comprehensive severance packages as part of every offer -- on the order of 6-10 months of salary, possibly even "grossed up" so that it results in at least 6 months of salary after taxes.

Instead of spending money on needlessly complicated hiring processes, with back and forth phone calls, panel Skype interviews, foolish interactive coding exams, multiple on-sites, etc., you can spend that money on severance.

Use a cheaper and more straightforward hiring process. Talk to people, dig into their background and preferred working style a little. If they appear to be competent, then just hire them. If they are not qualified for the job or they are not a cultural fit later, just fire them.

Because you will have explained to them that their first month on the job is still part of the overall fit assessment, and that you value the risk they are taking by offering them severance to re-engage in a job search if it turns out you made a mistake by hiring them, you are not doing a disservice to the new hire. You're merely letting both parties gather more evidence about goodness of fit.

This is money well spent, and for most companies, 6 months of salary is easily affordable for severance. In fact, an unwillingness to offer at least that much to each new hire would be a huge red flag.

11
draw_down 3 days ago 5 replies      
My team does take-home project, a small problem to solve that should take at most a couple hours. It's the same problem for every candidate so we're judging them on common work. It's not real work, it's made up.

In interviewing discussions in places like HN, there is enough pushback against this idea, which is a bit surprising to me. I thought a few hours work was reasonable when I was interviewing. But my point is that just this small bit of work seems already too big for many people, let alone working 10-20 hours a week moonlighting. It's cool that they pay for it, but that pay is pretty insignificant in the overall scheme of things. (Also, now you're not really interviewing, you're doing client work. Different relationship.)

When I have tried moonlighting in the past I found the stress incommensurate with the additional income. So I don't think I would do it as an interview, personally.

It sucks that companies take a risk during hiring. But I'm not really interested in making that my problem, as a job seeker.

12
Gyonka 3 days ago 5 replies      
I really agree with the sentiment of audition projects. The interviews I have enjoyed the most all involved some sort of take-home project, although I have never been paid for one. On that note, how expensive does it become for a startup to dole out many interview projects across a wide range of candidates? I think a better strategy would be to conduct preliminary interviews and then based on some granularity, assign projects. One more issue I have with take home projects is that it is not always possible to tell who did the work. When it comes to interviews at startups I doubt that there would be much cheating, but for large companies where candidates are more easily able to slip through the cracks, I image this may present an issue. Can anyone speak to this experience?
13
pcunite 3 days ago 0 replies      
Happy to see someone calling out what is happening in our industry, namely: this morbid fear of "hiring the wrong candidate" is making people ... hire the wrong candidate!

A word to the hiring managers out there, look to the future, cast the vision, and onboard people who want to go there with you.

14
metasean 3 days ago 0 replies      
Jeff mentions some studies of something known as 'Implicit Bias'. One of the leading Implicit Bias research institutions, out of Harvard, makes some of their tests available online. I highly recommend going through a few of them - https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html
15
sakopov 3 days ago 0 replies      
I worked for companies which "hire the best." My experience was always exactly the same - a group of very talented engineers who couldn't accomplish a damn thing together because egos got in the way.

My current company doesn't hire the best, but instead focuses on people who enjoy making impact in a small team, share the same vision and have a bit of an entrepreneur in them. We don't quiz people or give them tests. We just sit down with them and start talking tech. The results are really amazing and make for a great place to work because everyone feels like the project they work on is their baby.

16
andrewstuart 2 days ago 1 reply      
The concept of "The Best" is meaningless anyway.

When someone says "We Hire The Best", ask them to quantify precisely what "The Best" means. They can't. They weasel around and avoid answering. And that is because they can't define in a tangible way what "The Best" is. And if you can't define it then how do you know you found it?

Assuming you can define "The Best", an even bigger problem is working out a provable mechanism for measuring - in a quantifiable way - whether someone meets the criteria for being "The Best".

And the final absolute ripper problem is that the more you strive for "The Best", the less likely tou are to find anyone so you'll spend months interviewing and hiring no-one until the boss decides to pull the budget for that position because you didn't hire someone and anyway the commercial opportunity that validated the hire is now evaporated because we couldn't get the code written.

My term for this is "Voodoo Recruiting" in which there are rituals and dances and songs and meetings and processes and tests but it's all just a magic show because in the end the decision is not scientific, it's a magical outcome based just on personal likes and biases. In Voodoo Recruiting a company forms a set of beliefs about its recruiting processes and practices that become sacred and magical - such as "everyone has to do our test, and it actually tells us something meaningful about the candidates and we know how to interpret the results in a meaningful way".

Here's a few posts I wrote on the topic:

I sent one of the best developers I know to a job interview, he was rejected.http://fourlightyears.blogspot.com.au/2014/12/i-sent-one-of-...

Employers don't want great developers, they want what they want.http://fourlightyears.blogspot.com.au/2014/12/employers-dont...

Is your developer recruiting process just stroking your company ego?http://fourlightyears.blogspot.com.au/2014/12/is-your-poor-d...

17
userium 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great post. "Try different approaches. Expand your horizons. Look beyond People Like Us and imagine what the world of programming could look like in 10, 20 or even 50 years and help us move there by hiring to make it so." We are helping companies to do that at https://stayintech.com/. In the future people who build technology should represent the people who use it.
18
timothep 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love the first graph on Jeff's article. It shows how versatile the "best"-word can be in such a context: - If you have the best programmers in the world but they failed to help you identify when/where to pivot, you fail.- If you have the best programmers in the world but let them run too fast and burn, you fail.- If you have the best programmers in the world but let their ego/drive ignore customer feedback, you fail.- ...

There is no definition for "the best" beside a "well balanced human being"...

I have been researching this exact space for the past few months (www.developersjourney.info) and am now more and more convinced that once you reach a technical-threshold, in order to close onto "better-developers", you need to hunt for the 3-C-values: create, care and criticize. A balanced team should be a patchwork of cultures, backgrounds, desires and skills. But I think the drive toward those 3-Cs isn't optional...

Plug: This is very much an ongoing thoughts-process for me. If you have further input for my DevJourney Project and/or want to appear on my podcast on this subject, please contact me!

19
ThrustVectoring 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Only hiring the best" can paradoxically lower the average quality of the candidate you end up hiring, anyways. Suppose there's two ways for someone to pass a strict interview: they're either a good programmer, or they're good at bullshitting you. With a higher bar, you're giving bullshitters more opportunities to bullshit you.

From the perspective of a subordinate doing hiring, raising the bar makes perfect sense. You don't want to get blamed for a risky hire going bad, so you optimize for making your choice defensible rather than good. Non-hiring is also risky - it's just risky in a way that damages the company rather than the person doing the hiring.

20
Chris2048 3 days ago 2 replies      
"We hire only the best"

"What do you pay?"

"Market Rate."

21
spitfire 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tokenadult isn't around to chime in here, so I'll take his place today. Hunter and Schmit did a meta-study of 70 years of research on hiring criteria. [1]

There are three attributes you need to select for to identify performing employees in intellectual fields.

 - General mental ability (Are they generally smart) - Work sample test (NOT HAZING! As close as possible to the actual work they'd be doing). - Integrity (The first two won't matter if the candidate is a sociopath).
This alone will get you > 65% hit rate.[1] http://mavweb.mnsu.edu/howard/Schmidt%20and%20Hunter%201998%...

22
staticelf 3 days ago 2 replies      
I really like this post, that most companies require workers to be at a specific location is very strange considering our type of work.

I don't want to work in Sillicon Valley, even if the work is interesting. I live in Scandinavia and for me scandinavian countries are the best to live in the world.

23
FLUX-YOU 3 days ago 0 replies      
>I think our industry needs to shed this old idea that it's OK, even encouraged to turn away technical candidates for anything less than absolute 100% confidence at every step of the interview process. Because when you do, you are accidentally optimizing for implicit bias.

Now you've got to spend time optimizing your interviewing team. What if one guy just says yes to everything? He might as well not be there but he's still a weight in that decision. What about the opposite where he says No every time? When do you decide he is actually going to say No every time and not worth being part of that decision process?

The more people you put on this decision table, the lower the chances that any one candidate will make it through. But there's an opportunity cost of time/money to that, so you've got another thing to balance.

I think it would be really, really hard for one person to simultaneously impress 10 people beyond a doubt just because of how many people have to reach consensus. And can you imagine the stress of knowing one dude with a nitpicky attitude (that none of the others know about yet) could sink your chances?

24
dworin 2 days ago 0 replies      
The missing part of the advice is that you need to hire the best _for your company_. But there isn't an objective definition of 'best.' People can be great at one job and not right for another, great in one company and not right for another. Hiring and job hunting is about fit.

I've worked with people who were A players, hired into a new firm, and quickly spun out. Other people were C players, found a new job, and quickly became A players.

If you're a company who's great at training people, you can hire for energy and eagerness to learn. If you expect people to know everything on day one, hire for experience. The same people who succeed in one of those companies will fail in the other. A big part of hiring is knowing yourself and knowing what makes people successful.

25
dorfsmay 2 days ago 0 replies      
A few things have happened in the last few years that make me believe that the meaning of the best is a lot more influenced by our own biases than we will ever be ready to admit. This is a huge issue with hiring:

1. The study about blind interviews in orchestras mentioned in the article. Think about it, most people in symphonic orchestras have a university education, and often with more years of education than your average engineer, they learned all about critical thinking etc... They are artists, whom are usually considered more open minded (ok debatable). But, they as a group, were able to acknowledge that they have strong biases to the point of trying (and eventually adopting) blind interviews. This, tells me that these people have a strong sense of the fact that they are aware that they biased, and able to admit it, and aware that it might influence their interview process, yet, the experiment showed that they were not able to see passed gender! This has seriously made me rethink about my beliefs about being conscious of my own biases.

2. I have worked for company A, which hired only the best (besides me I guess ;-) ) pretty much as described in the article, I have recommended people I had worked with previously and whom I knew were amazing, but they didn't get hired. I was seriously surprised, but you know the "it's better not to hire one of the best than err and make one bad hire". Ok.

3. I then worked for company B. I recommended somebody who was hired at company A. That person was not a friend, but somebody who passed all interviews with flying colours at company A. I worked with that person and they are extremely smart. Everybody at company A was amazed how smart that person was, even after seeing them fly though all the oh-so-though interviews. Working for close to a year with that person, and everybody was still positive about how smart and good that person was, so they aren't just good at interviewing. That person was turned down at company B.

PS: Yeah, maybe I just need to stop recommending people, I now realise I'm the common thread in people not getting hired in my story!

26
elcapitan 3 days ago 3 replies      
tldr:

"The most significant shift weve made is requiring every final candidate to work with us for three to eight weeks on a contract basis. Candidates do real tasks alongside the people they would actually be working with if they had the job. They can work at night or on weekends, so they dont have to leave their current jobs; most spend 10 to 20 hours a week working with Automattic, although thats flexible. (Some people take a weeks vacation in order to focus on the tryout, which is another viable option.) The goal is not to have them finish a product or do a set amount of work; its to allow us to quickly and efficiently assess whether this would be a mutually beneficial relationship."

27
quirkot 3 days ago 0 replies      
To put this in context, "Hire the Best" means: adopt an incredibly risk tolerant nature, initiate an incredibly risky business venture, and then tolerate zero risk in your hiring decisions.
28
rl3 3 days ago 0 replies      
My favorite is when you see companies droning on about how they only hire "the best" and their advertised salary ranges are at or below market.
29
mathattack 3 days ago 1 reply      
There's a very big time cost to hiring just the best. If you're afraid of even one bad hire, then a growing company must be willing to have all their managers and top employees commit 20+% of their time to hiring. Then you ask "Is the 1-2 standard deviation in performance improvement worth it?" If the answer is yes, then it's worth it.

And... Interviews are awful. Seeing how someone work is even better. This is one reason why employee referrals are so important, and audition or temp-projects a good second-best method.

In the end I think it's a Fools Game though - someone who is best in one environment may not be that great for the next. Managing people post-hire is something that can't be avoided.

30
whatever_dude 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is one of those great articles that open up a collection of other articles to look at, whether you agree with the author or not (or somewhat). The links in the body are very informative.

Thanks for sharing.

31
blue11 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really enjoyed the article until he got to the audition process. That would shrink the pool of candidates so much that all the previous advice about widening and diversifying the pool becomes irrelevant. Almost no one with significant experience would agree to that. Almost no one with a family would do it either. And let's face it, it's a buyer's market, not just for "the best", but even for the "just OK".
32
jldugger 2 days ago 0 replies      
> What I like about audition projects:> It's real, practical work.> They get paid. (Ask yourself who gets "paid" for a series of intensive interviews that lasts multiple days? Certainly not the candidate.)> It's healthy to structure your work so that small projects like this can be taken on by outsiders. If you can't onboard a potential hire, you probably can't onboard a new hire very well either.> Interviews, no matter how much effort you put into them, are so hit and miss that the only way to figure out if someone is really going to work in a given position is to actually work with them.

I'm finally sitting down to read Peopleware, and from what I can tell, this is what they recommended back in 99 or 87 or whatever. Alongside portfolios of work. I need to find a 2013 edition, to see if they mention GitHub portfolios at all.

33
nullundefined 2 days ago 0 replies      
You hire the best? How come your offer package for a full stack developer is 100,000-115,000?
34
rockcoder 3 days ago 2 replies      
When every company hires only "the best" (top 1%), what are the rest of us (99%) suppose to do?
35
woodcut 2 days ago 0 replies      
In regards to the paid trial period method. My experience is mixed, on one hand you get a real insight into how someone works and approaches their tasks but you lose that crucial emotional distance, so to say... you go soft on them.
36
willvarfar 3 days ago 0 replies      
A rehash of http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/HighNotes.html

Haven't heard so much from Joel these days - sad :(

37
criddell 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Using screens to hide the identity of auditioning musicians increased women's probability of advancing from preliminary orchestra auditions by fifty percent.

I thought that the increase was largely attributed to more women being willing to audition anonymously?

> if that describes you, and you have serious Linux, Ruby, and JavaScript chops, perhaps you should email me

I don't know why, but I always thought the Atwood was 100% invested in Microsoft technologies. Not that it matters, it just surprised me.

Speaking of Atwood, has anybody ever used one of his keyboards? Any opinions?

38
matchagaucho 2 days ago 0 replies      
The hidden, but most impactful message in this article is "be a remote first company".

The best programmers are Internet savvy, therefore able to effectively collaborate across time zones.

39
DrNuke 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is always someone better than YOU, even if you hire the best (and you can't), so stop bullshitting wannabe slaves and learn to respect real people. Signed: the best.
40
autotune 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Linux, Ruby, and JavaScript chops

One of these things is not like the others.

41
zpatel 2 days ago 0 replies      
In this world of open source software and super fast servers , hiring is over hyped especially for apps & enterprise solutions. The best enterprise/web app coder is not necessarily the best analytical thinker or apolitical individual. Indeed, there are some domains where you will need specialists.

Any one who is hard worker (can learn etc) and has open mind to discussing design pros and cons is a good hire for 80% of software.

42
beefman 2 days ago 0 replies      
A great company is not something that contains great people, it is something that makes people great!
43
debacle 2 days ago 0 replies      
Encouraging hiring discretion and audition projects creates a situation where a massive amount of people who don't want to work on a project for a few weeks only to find out they aren't a 100% good match will never apply to your company.
44
gargs 2 days ago 0 replies      
> The most significant shift weve made is requiring every final candidate to work with us for three to eight weeks on a contract basis

I guess that's another, more polite, way of saying that 'we require that you don't need any kind of work permit sponsorship'.

45
emodendroket 2 days ago 0 replies      
Steve Yegge's old essay was arguably better. http://steve-yegge.blogspot.com/2008/06/done-and-gets-things...
46
stillworks 3 days ago 0 replies      
Getting a job is an accident you get involved in (most of the times) knowingly.The interview is the collision (or the contact event)The job represents how well you survive after you come home after treatment.There is no best... only better.
47
paulddraper 3 days ago 2 replies      
Just because everyone is trying to hire the best doesn't make the advice wrong. It just means that some will be able to execute it, and some will not.

A successful sports team should hire the best, even if that's what everyone else is trying to do too.

48
ArkyBeagle 2 days ago 0 replies      
If we didn't sort people, we would get better results. Of course we are all different. But the madness of status makes us all crazy.
49
sandworm101 3 days ago 4 replies      
There is no "the best". There are only people. Some people work wonderfully at one shop, but horribly at another. This can have nothing to do with their skill or even their personality. Each working environment is unique as is each candidate. You simply cannot tell which will work perfectly until long after someone is properly hired.

So why bother interviewing? The goal is not "we only hire the best". Hiring is only half the battle and a short term goal at most. The long term goal should be "we only retain the best". Sometimes that means firing people, but more often it means going to the mat to keep the people who work best: Treating people like human beings and, most importantly, paying them. Pay well and the good people will not leave. Actually fire those who don't work out in the long term and even they will do nearly anything to stay.

Or do what most startups do. Pay next to nothing. Treat everyone like widgets in a great machine. Fire only those whose admit having a life outside of work. And hire only those who share similar opinions on ultimate frisbee because culture!

50
maxaf 2 days ago 11 replies      
> The most significant shift weve made is requiring every final candidate to work with us for three to eight weeks on a contract basis.

Are you fucking kidding me? What am I going to tell my current employer while I "audition" for the mere possibility of a next job?

Most working adults in the US don't even get three to eight weeks of discretionary vacation that they aren't already using to spend time with family or, you know, recharge after working the salt mines for meager scraps.

This is the wrong approach for anyone except - maybe - very junior candidates. Fresh out of college, zero responsibility, wide open prospects. Those people could actually use 3-8 weeks of paid auditioning. Those of us who have families simply can not afford to do this.

51
a_puppy 2 days ago 0 replies      
> I think there is a real issue around diversity in technology (and most other places in life). I tend to think of it as the PLU problem. Folk (including MVPs) tend to connect best with folks most like them ("People Like Us"). In this case, male MVPs pick other men to become MVPs. It's just human nature.

This theory makes intuitive sense, but some evidence contradicts it. Several studies have found that men and women discriminate against women equally, or even that women are harder on other women than men are:

* Steinpreis, Anders, and Ritzke (1999) http://www.cos.gatech.edu/facultyres/Diversity_Studies/Stein... ; Moss-Racusin et al. (2012) http://www.pnas.org/content/109/41/16474.full ; and Reuben, Sapienza, and Zingales (2014) http://www.pnas.org/content/111/12/4403.abstract found that men and women were equally biased against hypothetical academic job candidates in a study based on reviewing resumes with male or female names.

* Nosek, Banaji, and Greenwald (2002) http://projectimplicit.net/nosek/papers/harvesting.GroupDyna... found that in implicit association tests, women show slightly stronger implicit biases towards traditional gender roles in the "Gender-science" and "Gender-career" tests.

* Of course, there's Terrell et al. (2016) https://peerj.com/preprints/1733/ the GitHub gender bias study that was discussed on Hacker News the other day) in which the authors found that women are harder on other women than they are on men but decided not to mention this in the paper https://peerj.com/questions/2002-do-you-have-data-on-the-gen... .

On the other hand, I also found some studies that concluded that men have stronger gender biases than women:

* Bowles, Babcock, and Lai (2005) http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=779506 found that male managers penalize women who attempt to negotiate salary more than female managers do.

* Uhlmann and Cohen (2005) http://www.socialjudgments.com/docs/Uhlmann%20and%20Cohen%20... found that men exhibited a stronger gender bias than women did in rating hypothetical applicants for a job as a police chief.

This is just what I dug up in an hour of searching; I'd be interested in finding more research on this. Does anyone know of a review paper on this subject?

52
adamkaz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amen.
53
MajorLOL 2 days ago 4 replies      
>Those of us who have families simply can not afford to do this.

Then don't take the job?Your life choices (Children, wife, loan payments) aren't the fault or social responsibility of your prospective employer.

Why get so uppity about a job you aren't even going to apply for?

9
Visual Studio Code for Go github.com
466 points by rdudekul  4 days ago   212 comments top 37
1
schmichael 3 days ago 10 replies      
We're a 100% Go shop and everyone on my team but me uses Visual Studio Code for Go. It's really amazing. (My mind has just been so corrupted by years of vim usage I'm trapped.)

It's bizarre to think my team writes in a language created by Google in an editor created by Microsoft on System76 laptops running Ubuntu. Never would have been possible in the Gates or Ballmer eras.

2
atonse 4 days ago 3 replies      
I'm going to add the customary "I love this new MS" line here. About 10 years ago a friend of mine offered to make an introduction with her cousin, who was an exec at MS, to see about a job when I got out of college. I said "no way, they're working on such boring and dull stuff there"

But after having worked in C# for a few years now (loving the language) and seeing all the open source moves they're making, it seems like a really exciting place to work these days.

And I'm sure there's a ton of renewed energy there.

3
lukehoban 3 days ago 9 replies      
Maintainer of the extension here. Happy to answer any questions about VS Code or the Go support specifically.
4
pkaye 3 days ago 1 reply      
I like VS Code a lot. It is cross platform and not too heavy. It has a lot of the modern features and look/feel. Don't have to load 50 million plugins to get something reasonable working. I've pretty much stopped using vim/emacs/notepad++ and numerous other editors though occasionally I use vim because I'm on a ssh connection. To me it seems the right balance between complexity and simplicity.
5
saiki 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have been working for sometime with Visual Studio Code and with this Go extension. I used to use Sublime 3 for Go development, but with this extension I have noticed that I use more often vscode than sublime for Go development.

It is also a big plus that vscode works very well with TypeScript and you can work seamlessly with TypeScript front and Go backend code.

One nice thing is that you can navigate e.g. function calls easily, which places call a function or directly find correct function in question like foo.New() by pressing F12 or shift+F12. When using Sublime to navigate to foo.New() would probably reveal quite many functions that are in your workspace path.

Go extension also imports automatically packages that you use in your code. Renaming types or functions also works nicely if your code compiles.

There are certainly things to be improved like not being able to conveniently use directories outside your vscode project e.g. common packages across different projects. But over all developer experience is really nice.

6
KirinDave 3 days ago 0 replies      
Even if you don't like MS or distrust them, seriously...

VS Code is a very good spiritual successor to TextMate. It has better performance characteristics for me than Atom, and I find extending it much less intimidating than Atom. I'm still more comfortable with Emacs keys, but I found it easy to add the emacs keys I miss.

Its license is such that even if MS abandons it I suspect the community will keep it going. So give it a try.

7
pjmlp 3 days ago 1 reply      
A bit off topic, but usually I tend to avoid browser based UIs for desktop applications, but the quality of current Rust support in Visual Studio Code made me open an exception just to use it.
8
alexc05 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really love VSCODE. Like really love it.

In all fairness I am aware that I can also a bit of a Microsoft 'fanboy' at times... so I held off on trumpeting around the office how truly great I think it is.

Of course if it came up in passing or anything like "should I open that in sublime?" came up, I'd make a sweeping grandiose statement like "anything but VSCODE is for chumps" (and we'd all laugh then move on about our day)

Anyways, a developer from another team recently saw over my shoulder and said "oh yeah, I'm really liking VSCODE... I've pretty much switched to it full time now" and that was the moment I thought maybe it's not me just being a fanboy... this particular developer was pretty much known as our resident "sublime expert" so much so that he'd given multiple lunchtime presentations and talks around the office on subjects like "how to turn it up to 11 with your sublime text editing" and "snippets for sublime - making you a bajillion times more productive"

Anyways, I know how we used to have the religious holy wars about VI/M vs. EMACS vs. whatever, so people really tend to fall in love with "their" text editor and are not really quick to switch BUT VSCODE has really got something special going on.

9
minionslave 3 days ago 8 replies      
I've never programmed in Go before. Coming from a C# background. Can someone tell me, how does Go feel? Is is pleasant to work in, or is it tricky like C.
10
anthnguyen94 3 days ago 0 replies      
VSCode's API is great for extensions. Markdown Viewer is incredibly useful in VSCode. I also really like the way VSCode does its Git integration.

I've gotta say though, I'm still getting used to the non-tab layout...

11
andrewingram 3 days ago 2 replies      
I hate to be that guy, but I guess I will, because aesthetics are important to me when choosing a tool i'll be using for several hours a day.

I love how Atom looks. Alongside the nicer extension system, the aesthetics of the default theme are what lured me away from Sublime Text.

I sadly can't say the same for Visual Studio Code, which I hear so many great things about, but can't bring myself to use for more than a few minutes. From what i've been able to tell, the only visual customisation available is choosing the syntax colour theme.

12
samuell 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is great. I love how definitions are display on hovering over any variable or function, the go to definition feature and the split window feature, which makes it sweet and easy to keep reference code bits while coding ... I think with the definition display on hover, it even beats vim.
13
mholt 3 days ago 0 replies      
I had a good experience overall with this plugin (once it was set up, which wasn't exactly trivial), but it keeps auto-completing in comments so when I hit [return] it inserts some random word rather than going to the next line. Every time I want to go to the next line I have to press [esc] then [return].
14
pasbesoin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Years ago, when MS was thick in the anti-trust contentions, pops and I agreed that were they to break up, it would be great to have one segment be "tools." MS has long had and offered some great programming support -- compilers, development environments, etc.

However, with monolithic MS, those too often seem tied to and influenced by the larger corporation's goals. You know, world dominance, crushing the opposition, and all that.

I hope that this new push by MS is genuine and does not morph into another embrace, extend, and -- purposefully or simply inevitably -- extinguish effort.

I'm not in the thick of it. This is probably an outdated and way far outside observation. Nonetheless, MS support still leaves me looking for the strings attached.

15
CSDude 3 days ago 1 reply      
Not related to Go plugin, but in VsCode I hate the tabs in the left panel, feels very different and I could not even adjust it after 6 months.

However, the Go plugin is really nice and works perfectly, even, the debugger works /most of the time/ . It is fast and handy. Recommended.

16
thewhitetulip 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder why this was featured today, I have been using vscode for Go since a few months now. It is totally amazing, especially the ctrl+P option! It isn't highlighted but it is a little gem.
17
dcw303 3 days ago 1 reply      
Delve integration is better than I anticipated. Breakpoints, step in, step over work as expected. Step out not functional but that's a given as delve doesn't do it either. Call stack is implemented. Variables doesn't seem to automatically work, but adding a var to Watch is ok.

With the debug tools, linter, and navigate in/out of definitions, this looks like a pretty efficient workflow.

Caveats: I can't compare to Atom, or anything other than vanilla Vim (haven't configured either of them with any of the go integrations).

18
SonicSoul 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've used it on a macbook for a short time for node/javascript development, but found it buggy and had to switch back to sublime. The undo (cmd+z) would occasionally get in a weird state where the undo would happen partially (not all lines or columns?) and the whole history would be screwed, or outright stop doing anything. Few times i had to close the file to get last saved version. Perhaps it's something I was doing wrong but it was enough not to use the product, which was great otherwise! Will try again when I hear of new versions coming out..
19
yegle 3 days ago 1 reply      
I find it funny that README refer syntax highlighting as "colorization".
20
bipin_nag 3 days ago 0 replies      
I code a lot in Go. I use Sublime Text mostly and this feels like an upgrade. Integration with Git, better plugins/support I am loving it.
21
swalsh 3 days ago 2 replies      
Wait, does the debugger work now? The last time I picked up Visual Studio code with a C# core project I couldn't' get the debugger to work with dnx web
22
nowprovision 3 days ago 0 replies      
What does Visual Studio Go offer that I don't get from vim-go? Does it have gofmt hooks on file save?
23
zerr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like Acme got a serious competition... :
24
michaelwww 3 days ago 1 reply      
Visual Studio Code is my favorite editor. I've mentioned it before but I wanted to add that I'm working on a PHP project and by using XDebug on a local server and VSCode as an editor/debugger I have a really nice lightweight debugging solution. The PHP extension to VSCode is solid.
25
hit8run 3 days ago 1 reply      
WTF!? I already posted this exact link 4 days ago and it got almost no attention :D Sometimes HN is weird.https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11193028
26
cdnsteve 3 days ago 0 replies      
Debug support, syntax highlighter, looks very nice.Having trouble getting go build on save working.
27
sakopov 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been a .net dev for years now and it's such a joy to see stuff like this come out of MS. I'm a heavy VS user and haven't had the need to switch to VSC yet. I might check it out for angular/js apps.
28
rshetty10 3 days ago 0 replies      
VS Code seems a bit of overkill to use as an editor for golang editing. As someone already mentioned in the comments, my mind is also corrupted with Vim awesomeness and vim with vim-go works shockingly every-time.
29
aqtrans 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've found myself always coming back to VSCode for my (stupid simple, nothing crazy like Docker or anything) Go projects. They've really done a fine job with the editor and extensions. Bravo Microsoft!
30
donatj 3 days ago 1 reply      
If you write Go and haven't tried LiteIDE I'd recommend it strongly.
31
ausjke 3 days ago 0 replies      
If it has source-navigator capability(generate call-graphs etc like what source nagivator does, or similar to ctags) that will be awesome!
32
alooPotato 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone used Atom with the Go plugin, can you compare?
33
valevk 4 days ago 3 replies      
What's the difference between lukehoban's Go extension?
34
spv 3 days ago 0 replies      
Would love have support like this for Python.
35
Maxence 3 days ago 0 replies      
I use it daily, this one is very good.
36
m6w6 3 days ago 1 reply      
JFC, that's how VS looks nowadays?
37
kampsy 3 days ago 3 replies      
I like VsCode especially for js css and html5 stuff. The problem I have with it is that it starts to lag when my codebase gets larger eg above 600 lines. Thats the reason why I switch to Atom. I think Atom is the best free text editor.
10
Why I think Tesla is building throwaway cars syonyk.blogspot.com
549 points by Shivetya  1 day ago   346 comments top 41
1
ryandrake 23 hours ago 20 replies      
One of the things that makes a car valuable is having a healthy aftermarket. It looks like, from this article anyway, Tesla is doing anything they can to make sure there is no aftermarket for their vehicles.

To me, a car that you can't service yourself is worthless. A car that needs the manufacturer's permission to activate is not your car--it's owned by the manufacturer. And, when the manufacturer places a threatening call to the "owner" after he tries to get diagnostic information from his own car [1], well that's so far beyond crossing the line it's not even funny.

I think we're going to start seeing "jailbroken" Teslas soon after they start falling out of their warranty period. I'm surprised it hasn't happened already. You'd think that out of the thousands of people who have already bought one of these cars, there might be one out there with both the skills and desire to actually own what they paid for.

1: http://gas2.org/2014/04/14/road-slightly-traveled-hacking-te...

2
brandmeyer 23 hours ago 3 replies      
> A lot of Tesla fans claim that electric vehicles are inherently superior, because with fewer moving parts, they'll be able to stay on the road basically forever - no piston rings to wear, no transmissions to fail, no oil to change.

There are at least two major components that "wear out" in power electronics - capacitors and power transistors. Traditional vacuum-impregnated motor winding insulation also has a wear-out mechanism.

Electrolytic capacitors have both an electrolyte breakdown and dryout at extended temperatures and voltage. Film capacitors also have a (much slower) dielectric breakdown. Power transistors have two wear-out mechanisms: one that is based on thermal cycling of the wire bonds and one that is based on thermal cycling of the solder between the transistor and direct-copper-bonded substrate.

Datacenter-scale UPS addresses both of these with field-replaceable modules. The main AC and DC capacitor banks are replaceable in advance of failure, and power transistors are field replaceable in much larger power modules, typically only after a failure.

Vacuum-impregnated motor winding insulation is typically not completely void-free. The high dV/dt that a direct-connected inverter imposes on the windings causes large repetitive voltage spikes across the winding insulation. The voltage spikes trigger partial discharge in the voids, which in turn erodes the insulation.

IMO, long-lived electric cars should at least have capacitor banks that are schedule-replaced, and drive modules that are replaceable after failure. With the level of diagnostics and history monitoring available today, we should be able to replace both components in advance of failure as well.

Do electric cars have lower maintenance, longer life, and higher reliability than ICE cars? Definitely, probably, and probably, respectively. But "lower", "longer", and "higher" don't mean "zero", "forever", and "infinite".

3
qume 23 hours ago 8 replies      
This is a good place to share this with geeks who may not be into cars: I drive a 1994 Mercedes (W124 chassis). One of the most reliable cars ever made. Simple to repair yourself. A TON of info available online for anything you could want to fix.

Pretty much (probably 100%) of all parts on the car are available super cheap as chinese replacements because the model was around for so long and so many of them are still on the road (I just replaced the car window regulator - normally a few hundred $$, got it on amazon delivered for $23).

Made to be serviced/repaired. Quite a bit of fun doing it too. You can pick one up for $2k and it will probably do another 200k miles no problem.

And the best bit? FAR FAR more environmentally friendly than a new Tesla. I'll leave that up to you to figure out ;)

4
valine 23 hours ago 2 replies      
This is very troubling to read. I can understand that tampering with an automobile might pose safety concerns. I can also understand that Tesla is trying to protect its brand. That being said, the fact that Tesla is monitoring individual cars in a way that they can detect when you're used the Ethernet port is seriously Orwellian. I can only imagine this will get worse as cars become more autonomous.
5
bri3d 23 hours ago 3 replies      
The "paywalled workshop manual" requirements are common to every manufacturer. The only reason service manuals are available for free online for other modern cars is that they're ripped from the manufacturer's pay portal, not that the manufacturer is supplying them out of the goodness of their hearts. And the service prices are pretty much in line with other luxury cars at the price point.

Not that that really defends Tesla, though. Cutting off an owner from dealer parts supply because their car is salvaged is unprecedented as far as I know. And the cutthroat attitude that every part of the car is a trade secret is ridiculous.

I think the biggest challenge for Tesla when they release the Model 3 will be scaling up their service network while scaling down costs. $70,000 car owners are generally willing to pay $400-$800 every few years for a dealer service. $30,000 car owners aren't. And for most manufacturers, scaling dealer service is a franchise : they need to supply parts, training, and certification, not a whole service department. For Tesla, it's a brave entry into a challenging core business.

6
nkw 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm glad someone wrote about this. I have a deposit on a Model X, and this is the single largest issue that is making me lean towards not buying the vehicle. I occasionally enjoy doing my own maintenance or repair on stuff I own and my present vehicle (close to a Model X equivalent but dinosaur powered and German) has been pleasant in that regard. There is nice fully functional (though Windows) third-party diagnostic software available, the actual service documentation is available to owners (for a pretty reasonable fee), there is a bit of competition on parts price amongst dealers (though ultimately only within a certain range as they still originate with one manufacturer) and I haven't once felt like instead of owning the car I merely have a license from the manufacturer to use it. I worry after the warranty expires that I will be at the mercy of Tesla for any service and support, which is an unknown quantity right now. I've seen the terrible spot a product owner can be left in when a manufacturer decides (for whatever reason) that service and support are now their primary profit center. Not only are you screwed in that your product now costs a fortune to maintain, your product is now essentially worthless for resale because everyone knows the cost to maintain and repair it makes it uneconomical. (See, e.g. several private aircraft companies which went bankrupt)
7
nraynaud 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting, I work in the wind turbine industry (at the margin, and since one month, I guess I'm an expert), and it's the same, there are interesting sensors and data everywhere, but everything is locked down, and as long as the warranty runs, the owner of the turbine is at the mercy of a very reluctant maker for every maintenance task. The owner can't use any of those very useful sensors to assess the state of the turbine, he has to call external consultants who will re-instrument the turbine with external sensors at great cost, when they could have just downloaded the existing data from their office to give a look at it.
8
norea-armozel 1 hour ago 0 replies      
There's always been a push in the automotive industry to make parts in cars that the average person can't replace or repair easily. If anything, this makes more money for the automakers (like Tesla) because they can setup all kinds of service licenses and the like at their leisure. And if a particular product line gets too long in the tooth, then you just killed off any authorized servicing and parts. Now you got an instant customer if they keep thinking it's worth it. Especially if Tesla were to institute some sort of trade in program that would be cheap to finance but great for PR especially if it touts the recycling angle. Frankly, I'm surprised no one would think such a possible outcome was going to happen. Elon's not dumb, he's a businessman first and foremost. Telsa cars aren't a charity. You buy them to feel good, they are nice fun cars to drive, then when the time comes you're likely to get bored with it anyways and want to trade for the newest model because you're a good little consumer, right?
9
pcarolan 22 hours ago 2 replies      
This sounds a lot like the open vs closed system debate we had/(have?) with computers. I'm glad that in my youth I could wrench on the internals of a PC and I'm glad that in my 30s I never have to because my Mac 'just works'. Also, this debate is older than I am: http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Art-Motorcycle-Maintenance-Inquiry...
10
dkhenry 20 hours ago 1 reply      
This article is spot on, but the author fails to account for the fact that on _most_ new cars, your in the same boat. Unless its a maintenance item, your not going to be able to replace it with anything but the manufacture's blessing. The biggest difference is there are a lot more maintenance parts on a conventional car, so you have more of an opportunity to replace things. It was my understanding that the only true maintenance part on the Tesla was the wiper blades.
11
phkahler 23 hours ago 1 reply      
This is dumb. Can you replace the tie rods, brake pads, tires? So long as the regular maintenance items can be handled I don't see a problem. Electronic parts on other cars are getting herd to replace too - they do things like record the VIN code upon first use and refuse to work in a different car, all in the name of anti-theft. Also, as people get excited about self driving cars, safety becomes a huge concern. You have throttle, brakes, steering, camera systems, radar, all working together to achieve that. You're not going to be tampering with any of that stuff on any car in the near future.

So if regular maintenance items can be replaced, and body damage can be repaired, I don't see the complaint.

12
tokipin 22 hours ago 2 replies      
People used to repair televisions but at some point it became cheaper to just buy a new one due to the tech/manufacturing being sufficiently evolved and commoditized/cheap, as well as the issues involved with repairing more complex circuitry.

Electric cars have the same potential, I think, because of their inherent simplicity. That potential already seems clear given that battery costs will keep falling.

13
vvanders 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't think things are as dire as he makes it out:

1. Small amount of cars on the road so there's limited incentive for aftermarket parts.

2. People already do brakes/tires/suspension/etc. It's a car after all.

3. I wouldn't want to get near the powertrain. 425kw(~400V @ 1,000 Amps) will kill you if you touch something that you shouldn't.

I think it'll be a bigger issue once we see the Model 3 on the road.

14
charlesdenault 23 hours ago 1 reply      
If Tesla's longterm business strategy is to build a fleet of autonomous cars that operate in fractional ownership/lease models, of course it makes sense to build a car that has a <10 year product life cycle. They can iterate quickly, release new versions, and not have legacy hardware on the market. If they use a buyback program similar to Apple's it might make sense for their particular demos.

Time will tell, and it will be interesting to see what the Model 3 has for a warranty, considering it's targeting a much broader market than the Model S/X.

15
sremani 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Great article, very forward looking and constructive criticism. Tesla is a young company with Silicon Valley ethos, it does not surprise me, they are treating Cars like Software. Where you are licensed to use software but do not own it and how that world view may or may not work.

I am just wondering since Volt is from Old guard, its chances are better because the maintainability is a bit more traditional (but not all Volts can be repaired at any GM dealership). We may need a different model for EVs and PHEVs.

http://www.voltstats.net/Stats/Details/1579

Logically it may extend to other EVs and PHEVs like Model S, but here is a real world volt which crossed 300K miles (the driver has a long commute, its kind of real world validation of longevity of EVs/PHEVs)

16
pyb 22 hours ago 0 replies      
After reading the article, really I don't think Tesla is offering particularly worse conditions than any other manufacturer. Their 8 year guarantee is actually pretty inclusive, and now it's transferrable as well.The lack of indie garages is the only item in his list I agree with, but things could change in the future, as the pool of ex-Tesla mechanics grows.
17
matt_wulfeck 23 hours ago 1 reply      
why wouldn't an electric car be easier to service? A combustible engine has so many moving parts, fuel pump, filter, oil changes, regulator, etc etc. an electric car is just a battery and an electric engine, which is actually a pretty old peice of technology.

I do concede that the battery is a pretty complex piece of engineering. My fear is that DRM "authorized" replacements will become like the toner cartridges of the future.

18
protomyth 21 hours ago 1 reply      
How is "Tampering with the Vehicle and its systems, including installation of non-Tesla accessories or parts or their installation, or any damage directly or indirectly caused by, due to or resulting from the installation or use of non-Tesla parts or accessories;" not a violation of MagnusonMoss Warranty Act?
19
greendesk 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I remembered this story when reading the article:

A boy wants to repair his dad's printer. As he troubleshoots the problem, he calls a repair shops with the information on the printer.The repair shops gives him guidance on how to repair the printer on his own and sends the parts for it.The boy asks:"Why would you do it? Would not you make more money by asking me to have it repaired at the shop?""Oh, but when people try to repair it on their own they usually spend much more money after their attempted repair."

I have been burned many times by car repairmen. A misdiagnosed or malice repair is a very big nuisance. I rather trust official repairs than garage shops. If I had a Tesla, I would lean towards using the official service.

20
AndrewKemendo 22 hours ago 2 replies      
So maybe this is a dumb question but does this mean that whomever builds an "open" EV will win in the long run? My guess is not and people will just get locked into their "platform" vehicle in the same way that you are locked into Apple devices.
21
al_biglan 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting, but Tesla is both just getting started and "feeling the space" in the auto industry. They have taken pride in taking a different approach to traditional car companies and I imagine some of the wording around the Extended Warranty is simply being new and not copy-pasting examples from other companies.

Also, Tesla isn't making cars for everyone (yet) but instead focusing on expensive/luxury cars. Rather than compare against GM/Honda/etc. How do they compare against Maserati/Aston Martin/etc.?

Finally, as a young company, it may indeed be their _goal_ to build cars that last forever, but the first few generations they are still pushing the envelope of (their) understanding. In this case, bringing ell cars back to their repair centers may be the "right" way to build this experience into their future automobiles.

So... "yeah, they aren't making cars that will last more than N years unless you, as an owner, are prepared to sink a bunch of cash into achieving this" It may be more interesting to watch the auto that replaces the Model S. Both in terms of their timeframe for introducing new models (beyond expanding into different classes of vehicles) as well as how they adopt what they learn into more fundamental design changes. Thank you to all those cutting edge people willing to buy Teslas now. I'll wait 5-10 years till they get mainstream and keep my Honda and Toyota on the road for 250k miles :-)

22
mhandley 20 hours ago 0 replies      
If the resale value of an out-of-warranty Tesla ends up being essentially zero, the new ones will start to look like a pretty poor investment. This will impact Tesla's sales. You can be pretty sure that Tesla will rectify this eventually if they want to stay in business in the face of emerging competition from other electric cars.
23
lacker 23 hours ago 8 replies      
None of this seems "throwaway" to me. It just means that rather than build a product that ends up being repaired by a distributed army of mechanics, they are going "full stack" and aiming to repair everything in-house. To me that seems like the ideal system - some people like the author might enjoy repairing their own cars, but I would rather not.
24
mizzao 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems like at least one of the problems mentioned here is going to be common to many cars in the future: more and more of the vehicle will involve software rather than hardware, and as such is less transparent to the end-user. It's not just Tesla customers who will be dealing with this.
25
callesgg 20 hours ago 1 reply      
The first thing that hit my mind was that they are doing it the apple way, apple is doing quite fine with its locked devices.

like most engineers I like to play with and explore my technical equipment but for most people it is just a hasle.

26
greggman 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Given the cars have various levels of self driving it would seem like the moment you mod your car Tesla would want nothing to do with you because you've changed something that could cause a crash.

That seems in some way different from a non-self driving car. Of course you should be able to do anything you want with your car but would it be unreasonable if Tesla basically disabled all their software and services at that moment? Basically making it clear if you mod the car they want no responsibility in what happens when it's self driving.

27
rebootthesystem 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Inherent issues with anything battery powered:

 - I have 20 year old grid powered drills, saws, routers, sawzalls, sanders - They all work and in perfect condition - Same period: Three sets of battery powered drills - Technology changes: NiCd to Lithium - Battery pack voltage/form-factor EOL - Aftermarket batteries expensive crap - Good motor, gearbox, chuck discarded - Environmental impact of early EOL?
The Tesla scenario:

 - Will they be around in 20 years? - Will there be any parts for current cars? - Will you have access to service manuals, software and information?
The battery packs:

 - Technology and chemistry will evolve - No reason to make packs with 20 year old tech - Will Tesla guarantee replacement packs in 10 to 20 years? - Could be vehicle lifetime limiting factor - Shame to crunch a perfectly good chassis, motor, etc. - Potentially significant environmental impact
Working on electric cars:

 - Most people not qualified, even most techies - 400~500 V DC systems are deadly dangerous - Electric cars will be the domain of experts, not hobbyists - High voltage, high power, high energy density system can do horrific things in accidents - Who wants to be the responsible party?
After market:

 - Potential for advanced after-market companies - More efficient, smaller motor controllers - Smaller, lighter, more energy-dense battery packs - On-board computers and entertainment systems - Might not be viable market for another 20 years - Tesla (and others) likely not interested in doing this themselves, they want to sell new cars
Electric car market:

 - In 20 years all makers will have electric cars - Multiple models per maker, multiple choices - Buying from established makers gives you massive sales and support infrastructure - As market grows Tesla might have trouble reaching scale - Tesla has a 3 to 5 year window to become mainstream - If they fail at that they might well become irrelevant - Battery manufacturers (Panasonic, etc.) will support large car makers - Car manufacturers know how to make cars by the millions - Ford made a million F-150 trucks last year - That's just one maker and one model - They have the factories, people, process and product know-how - Electric cars far easier to build than IC cars - Tesla might be reduced to the Ferrari/McLaren of the industry
Better for the environment:

 - Nobody talks about/quantifies dirty battery manufacturing - Nobody talks about/quantifies dirty battery disposal - Nobody talks about/quantifies dirty electricity generation - It's like leather: Process is dirty and disgusting but the end product looks beautiful and clean and nobody thinks about how it got there - Where is reality of environmental impact of 100 million pure electric cars when considering the entire chain of events that leads to manufacturing, using and retiring one? - I don't know the answer - Point: Don't be too sure you are "clean" - Maybe you are...by a little bit
In all, today, analytically, I don't think electrics make much sense yet. Good for you if you are OK burning cash on one of these things. Thank you. I think.

The inflection point for this industry is 100% connected to better battery technology. No other technology matters one bit. We know how to make cars, electric motors, transmissions and electronics. We need better and cheaper batteries.

The minute a new battery technology (super-capacitors?) emerges with twice the energy in half the volume at half the cost we will have dozens of pure electrics to choose from. The infrastructure will be built as soon as companies can start making money with them.

28
micheljansen 20 hours ago 1 reply      
A lot of this is not that uncommon for other car manufacturers as well. The "Premium" warranty of a used BMW also depends on the car being serviced at an authorised repairer. Yes, it's the manufacturer trying to be more of an "integrated" service provider and keeping the resale value up, but it also ends when the car gets older. Most of those cars the go on to lead a long life with aftermarket parts and repairs.
29
deagle50 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Lease and all the complaints go out the window. Why buy when battery density keeps going up? Not to mention the autopilot features and other tech.

Model S well equipped lease is <$1000, why the hell anyone without f-u money would shell out $100k upfront I'll never know.

30
imh 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This seems to be part of a larger trend towards controlling the things we own. Cell phones, tractors, cars, and I'm sure tons of other things are moving this way, where they're trying to make it illegal to root/jailbreak/service your own property. Cell phones seem to be trying to move away from ownership in general. What's the solution?
31
kayman 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't care to own the car. From my point of view, it's a service I want access to, to get me from point A to point B. Tesla makes that process enjoyable.

Because Tesla leveraged software, like an app, I want Tesla to handle the updates for life of the car.

32
Johnnybe 15 hours ago 0 replies      
And now I know for certain I will never purchase a Tesla. What a shame.
33
api 1 day ago 1 reply      
A lot of this revolves around the new business model of using the Internet to lock everything down. Basically half your car, house, whatever will be in the cloud.
34
Spooky23 22 hours ago 3 replies      
It's pretty easy.

They don't want an aftermarket for the cars because the batteries will wear out, essentially cannot be replaced, and you'll see lots of Teslas in the side of the road.

I still don't understand why these cars exist. You pay a premium that vastly exceeds the fuel savings vs a comperable gasoline vehicle. The warm fuzzy feeling associated with saving the earth is low value to me.

They also aren't magical machines that don't break. A guy on my campus bought one about 18 mos one and it's been towed (presumably to NJ or Boston) 2-3 times. There goes the warm fuzzy feeling about saving the earth!

35
Animats 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Just think of it as customer engagement. It's like calling slavery "job assurance".
36
pravda 23 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't think anyone who buys a Telsa for 100 grand cares the slightest bit about being forced to pay overpriced dealer service rates.

And it's not like a 'worn out' Telsa is going into the car crusher. Every part is going to be pulled from it and sold on eBay.

I look forward to being able to buy a Telsa motor for cheap on eBay. Maybe in 2026.

37
ck2 20 hours ago 1 reply      
So super-liberal-progressive Vermont doesn't have a "right to repair" law?

Interesting Mass. is the first.

Should be a federal law.

38
sklogic 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Not sure singling out Tesla is fair. Pretty much all the modern (built in 21st century) cars are far less serviceable and far less modular than they used to be before. The military designs are the only exception from this unfortunate trend, for the obvious reasons.
39
kuschku 23 hours ago 3 replies      
This is an interesting topic.

And an interesting idea for a hack: Hacking a Tesla Model S to work without any connection to Big Brother, eh, Tesla, I mean.

40
gcb0 23 hours ago 0 replies      
it's a $100+k car.

it's a luxury, anyway you look at it, not a necessity for anyone.

it's not the same as a car but the same as a money pit Lamborghini.

stop trying to make Tesla happen so hard, internet yuppies.

41
njharman 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Haters gonna hate and short sellers gonna drum up FUD.
11
Source: Microsoft mulled an $8B bid for Slack, will focus on Skype instead techcrunch.com
327 points by crsmith  2 days ago   279 comments top 55
1
cdnsteve 2 days ago 6 replies      
We initially used Skype on our team to communicate with others. However, the software was horribly buggy on OSX. Slack has become part of our main toolchain. It works, has the basic features you need and doesn't get in our way. The integrations are great and we'll continue to use them.

Unless Microsoft rebuilds Skype for the ground up, I don't see us leaving Slack for it. They had their chance, and they dropped the ball.

2
chollida1 2 days ago 7 replies      
I wonder if the outcome would have been different if Slack was incorporated outside of the US where Microsoft could use some of its non domiciled cash on the acquisition?

http://www.ibtimes.com/microsoft-admits-keeping-92-billion-o...

Also interesting to think that Slack could be worth so much. Look at ICQ, Microsoft instant messenger, etc.

It seems as though slack like tools get eclipsed every 5-10 years as a new generation comes along with a new favorite tool.

I'd be interested in hearing from someone who would argue that slack will be a dominate communication tool in 5-8 years time and still exist in a meaningful way in 10 years time.

3
reitanqild 2 days ago 3 replies      
> Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and CEO Satya Nadella were among those unconvinced by the idea, with Gates pushing instead to add more features into Skype to make it more competitive with Slack in the business market, our source says.

I'd say fix it first.

Somehow the Skype name has gone from being an asset to being a liability to the point where I cannot understand why they renamed Lync to "Skype for business".

4
nakedrobot2 2 days ago 2 replies      
Skype is horrible. I'm sorry but it is such an awful tool. It crashes, it loses my old conversations, group calls never work. It is truly horrible, the codebase is a rotting pile of garbage that will never be fixed.

I am glad that Slack will not be eaten by Microsoft. I hope they really do implement voice soon.

5
untog 2 days ago 2 replies      
Sad thing is that Slack would be a far better fit for Microsoft, given that it's primarily business-focused. I've used Skype for work but only because it's the only option we've had, not because anyone actually wants to use it. Hangouts and Slack are so much more business-friendly.

That said, I think MS made the right call given that they already own Skype. It could be good - great, even - if they actually tried. They don't need a Slack acquisition for that, but they probably could do with rebuilding every native app they have from the ground up, every single one is awful.

6
mmaunder 2 days ago 2 replies      
Really glad MS didn't buy Slack. I think they're going to be an amazing big business that will generate a lot of cash and opportunity.

Most acquisitions by big businesses, either early or late stage, destroy value. Big biz thinks they can innovate by buying. Smaller biz wants an exit. The innovation exits on acquisition and after earn-out. Both suffer and we all lose what could have been the next Google.

7
BlackjackCF 2 days ago 0 replies      
Slack would have been a great investment for Microsoft.

Still, I look at Skype and realize that Slack would have probably declined in quality after an acquisition. Kind of glad it didn't pan out.

8
nickik 2 days ago 0 replies      
Even more focus on Skype? Great, maybe they can break it even more. Every chat client, developed by 2 guys in their free time works far better the skype chat. Message not delivered, hundrets of new messages when a new client logs in, annyoing link replacment with pictures, group chats not working, adding people to calls not working and so much more.

Fucking horrorshow

9
jefflinwood 2 days ago 1 reply      
Here's a list of Microsoft's announced acquisitions:

https://www.microsoft.com/investor/Stock/AcquisitonHistory/A... warning, asked for an MS Login first)

From their results from previous acquisitions, I don't understand what they think they would get by purchasing Slack (unless it is a purely defensive move against Slack developing an in-house document collaboration service, Office 365/Google Docs style).

10
lifeisstillgood 2 days ago 0 replies      
What amazes me is just how bad the politics in MS must be to not swat Slack aside like a fly.

Slack is basically an IRC server with bots. Office communicator / Msn messenger/ whatever it is now / is installed on every Windows / office machine and ties into the moat used apps in the world.

MS-Slack ought to have "Mary just updated the Walmart contract" messages flinging around every marketing department in the world.

The fact it does not is testament to how far Giants can fall (in the 80s and 90s Microsoft would have already danced on Slacks grave).

Larry And Sergey need to study Microsoft a lot more carefully than "it was Ballmers fault" to try and avoid the same fate.

11
vonklaus 2 days ago 1 reply      
slack needs to sell asap.

edit: to expand. Slack has 0 technology moat. The reason Github has been so successful and has gone many years without significant competition, is that it is an open platform in the sense that I have my personal, work, and private repos there. Many open source stuff is up there, and the platform allows me to contribute to my private repos, public repos and quickly download software.

To some extent slack has this idea where you can have 3 or 4 organizations in the app, but user to user seems to not be implemented, or at least non-obvious. Everything is siloed in an org.

lots of companies and apps are working on chat and are substitutes for pieces. It was not obvioius Github could make money or was significant for a long time. Professional chat is the opposite.

* Low barrier to entry

* high competition

* limited revenue/margin

* open source alternatives

* largely based on users/social proof. e.g. could get myspaced.

* competing in a space that is "hot" and many larger companies are moving in, already poised to take this.

12
vitaut 2 days ago 1 reply      
Skype reliability has deteriorated considerably over the years. We have switched over to Google Hangouts which is more reliable and has better video quality.
13
dpacmittal 2 days ago 0 replies      
How about they start by focusing on better linux and OSX compatibility. Skype is horribly broken right now. Linux client hasn't been updated in 3 years:

http://community.skype.com/t5/Linux/Why-is-Skype-on-Linux-st...

http://thevarguy.com/open-source-application-software-compan...

Also, I added $10 skype credit a while back when I needed to make few international phone calls. I used about $3 of it. The rest $7 was in my account for a while and then it disappeared. What's the reasoning behind that? It's totally unacceptable to have credits disappear like that. In that same period I added $10 to Viber as well and I still have $8 remaining on it even after 1.5 years.

14
mtgx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Has it even recovered $1 billion in profit from the $8.5 billion it paid for Skype itself 5 years ago? And Skype's best days may be behind it. I wonder if they'll do another big write-off in 3 years like they did for aQuantive and Nokia.
15
kasperset 2 days ago 1 reply      
Did they forgot Yammer?
16
sand500 2 days ago 3 replies      
Switched from Skype to Discord for gaming. No regrets.
17
gdulli 2 days ago 0 replies      
Small anecdote about Skype specifically as an instant messenger.

When eBay acquired Skype there was little willing adoption of it for IMs at eBay corporate. AIM (through whatever client) was the de facto standard. Management didn't like this but also didn't have the courage to say, "Skype is what you're using now."

So there was an embarrassingly transparent mandate from "IT" that AIM was disallowed due to a vague (but critical) "security" concern. That somehow persisted across versions and years.

This was sort of my experience of working at eBay and my impression of its management in a nutshell.

Skype may be good for voice/video, I don't know. It's a terrible instant messenger. The only one I ever used where I had to worry about it swallowing messages and couldn't just assume the recipient got them.

18
ljw1001 2 days ago 0 replies      
If slack is worth $8 billion.... Sorry, There's no way to complete that sentence. How about, Slack is worth about as much as Basecamp.
19
sandworm101 2 days ago 0 replies      
Skype has dropped linux. SKype is now dead to me and those I work with. Dustbin of history.
20
intrasight 2 days ago 2 replies      
All my enterprise clients are MSFT shops. They will make due with whatever collaboration tools that MSFT provides. Also, they would never use a product from a company named "Slack".
21
dbg31415 2 days ago 0 replies      
Woah woah woah. Comparing Slack to Skype... it's not just apples to oranges... it's comparing Iron Man's Jarvis to a rotary telephone.

Slack is how we bring together all of our project data -- from all of our tools -- in one place, and how we automate tasks like daily Scrum and contract creation. Slack asks us, "Hey what are you working on today? What are your blockers?" and builds an automated list. We can ask Slack to do work for us, like, "Slack, create an MSA from our template and send it Joe at Clientcorp." A million other uses. Slack is great and saving SO much time.

Skype sits unused and spams me every month asking me to put in more quarters for some bizarre concept of "long-distance" phone calls. And honestly the UX is so horrible, it's going to take a total re-launch to make it something I'd even consider installing again.

22
sosuke 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why not build one? Why keep trying to lift Skype to this purpose? It seems if they really wanted to they could make a good product.
23
sergiotapia 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder why Discord isn't more popular, it's basically Slack with voice chat baked in that works really well. All of your favorite Slack shortcuts work exactly the same. Even pressing the Up arrow key to edit your last message.

I guess the 'gamer' branding hurts it's potential use in the workplace.

24
hacknat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Slack works on Linux, which is a big deal for some teams. Before people jump on me, stating, "Linux market share for dev machines is too small to matter." Consider that there are some members of organizations who need to use it. Is an org going to leave those users out in the dark? Slack working on Linux is quite convenient for my team, which has some Linux and OSX users. Lync and Skype on Linux just don't work (at least, I couldn't get them working).
25
Ono-Sendai 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone else find it bizarre that what is effectively a web-based IRC is (possibly) worth $8B?
26
brianbreslin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Doesnt microsoft alredy own yammer? Wouldnt thatbe a better fit to compete with slack?
27
StreamBright 2 days ago 0 replies      
They should just ditch all of their efforts to try to make Skype or Lync working and either start it over or acquire a company that can do voice/video calls and text chat reliably like WeChat for example. Skype is such a tragic product that I can hardly believe that anybody would using it in a corporate environment if it wasn't MS who were pushing for it. One interesting question that comes up in my mind: is group voice calling a really hard problem to solve? At this stage I am much more likely to use a simple phone conference than Skype because it works just so much better. Curious what others think.
28
SeanDav 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would be a fan of Skype, if they did not route everything through government spyware.
29
ThomPete 2 days ago 0 replies      
Before I started to use Slack more frequently I was in a Skype chat group with some ex colleagues of mine. We simply started a group chat and just kept it consistent.

It was actually a pretty easy and great way to share links and discuss things. We even toyed with some ideas around a link grabber for alle the stuff we shared there. We only moved to Slack because of better support for link sharing and some other things.

If Microsoft can't figure out how to turn Skype into a Slack competitor they are more than welcome to contact me. I have plenty of ideas on how to to do that :)

30
tanv_nadkarni 2 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft should have been the most natural choice of in-team communication. While their sales team was busy selling crappy software to large companies and ignoring small ones someone built a kick-ass product called Slack.

It does not make sense for Microsoft to buy slack. Microsoft already has the sales muscle to reach millions. What Microsoft does not have is a product that can compete with Slack. They should build it ASAP as part of their Office suite. Skype is not that solution.

31
chrisgd 2 days ago 0 replies      
No one in here mentions Jabber. . .
32
Sealy 2 days ago 0 replies      
This situation strangely reminds me of MSN Messenger for anyone old enough to remember that. It ended in failure. Most blamed Microsoft's management for it.
33
herbst 1 day ago 0 replies      
Skype is old and broken on Linux, and the worst battery nightmare on Android. I could not even use it if i wanted to.

Slack on the other side just works everywhere i could ever need it, including a lot of automation tasks.

How could skype even get popular with the crappy API they offer?

34
andrewguy9 2 days ago 0 replies      
And all the slack users breathed a sigh of relief. Their most beloved tool wasn't destroyed by an accident prone behemoth.
35
usaphp 2 days ago 1 reply      
I keep hearing over and over about how horrible Skype is. I've been using it for over 5 years (on OS X) now and I have not noticed any issues, and the improvements to UI over the years made it really nice and user friendly. So I don't really know if people who complain about it actually used it in the recent years or not.
36
Ensorceled 2 days ago 1 reply      
Please focus on Skype, it's a mess.

Now that we are no longer using HipChat, the buggiest application I use on a regular basis is Skype.

37
giancarlostoro 2 days ago 0 replies      
Slack might of made a great addition to Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code... I really don't want to see it happen though, they need to fix up some odd security problems with Skype and the sluggishness of Skype is really bad, used to be somewhat bad, but lately it's gotten worse.
38
pfarnsworth 2 days ago 3 replies      
What a disaster that would have been. The people that use Slack are much younger than the enterprise customers that Microsoft has. It would have been another failed acquisition.

Plus we used Slack and moved aggressively back to HipChat. I thought it was fine but there's no real difference between Slack and Hipchat.

39
horsecaptin 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've always thought of Skype as a personal product that was also used for business, and Slack as a primarily business oriented product. I'm afraid if Skype gets more features rammed into it for groupware, then it'll be even more bloated.
40
jaysoncena 2 days ago 0 replies      
It would be really cool if they can make Skype easier for app integration similar to Slack. Also, if they can update their Linux client.

Anyone tried running Skype for windows on wine?

41
perseusprime11 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is just sad. Slack and Github fit into their strategy perfectly as they both tie into productivity. This must be another one of those bad moves from Bill Gates.
42
0x0 2 days ago 0 replies      
The day MS buys Slack and assimilates it into "Skype for X" is the day I cancel our business subscription and rotate our credit cards.
43
derFunk 2 days ago 0 replies      
First Microsoft destroyed Skype, now they want to destroy Slack? Hopefully not gonna happen.

We're in the process of moving away from Skype, which we used for 10 years in the company, to Slack. Partners went away from Skype to Flowdock and Hipchat.

Instead of buying Slack, Microsoft should invest to make Skype great again. Yet I'm not sure if this is still possible after they broke all features Skype excelled at. Or use the money to found a new competitor. But please don't buy Slack. This can only fail.

44
pmlnr 2 days ago 0 replies      
It would be about time for Skype to get a serious competition and force M$ to fix it, especially for non-Windows platform.
45
xufi 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how SKype will go in to Business use. Perhaps it'll be like Google Hangouts
46
perseusprime11 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not to worry. They will buy it when it becomes $20B. Old companies move slow.
47
pcmaffey 2 days ago 2 replies      
The real question is, would Stewart B. take the offer?

Anyone who cares about their product knows a sale to MS is a death knell for innovation. Becoming a hit like Slack is such a rare opportunity. I mean, why are you in this business if not for a chance to build a transformative platform? Which is what Slack has right now, a chance.

48
a-dub 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Skype for Business" has some of the worst UX I have ever seen.
49
taf2 2 days ago 0 replies      
When the number is over 1 billion the answer is always yes... Mmmk
50
myth_buster 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yikes... Being acquired by big CO is the equivalent of "we sent buster to your granny upstate"...
51
boredatnight12 2 days ago 0 replies      
Classic Microsoft.
52
aabajian 2 days ago 0 replies      
Came for comments about Lync, was not disappointed.
53
bigpoppa 2 days ago 0 replies      
a bargain if you ask me
54
sirmike_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Please no, stay away. I thought those kinda days at MSFT were over ...
55
a2tech 2 days ago 2 replies      
And Skype will continue to be terrible. Just installed Office 2013 with its included 'Skype for Business' and boy does it look terrible. Its got a distinct MSN Messenger from the early 2000's vibe going on. Lots of buttons, very bright color choices (lots of white and bright blue).
12
When the U.S. air force discovered the flaw of averages thestar.com
462 points by hecubus  1 day ago   100 comments top 19
1
banku_brougham 1 day ago 4 replies      
The concept of no members of a group fitting into the average range for all observations is reminiscent of the 'curse of dimensionality'. Can anyone with a data science background make the connection here?

Secondly, this seems to explain why everyone hates autocorrect.

2
keenerd 1 day ago 4 replies      
While hindsight is 20:20, parts of this should have been more obvious.

> Daniels generously defined as someone whose measurements were within the middle 30 per cent of the range of values

> Daniels discovered that if you picked out just three of the ten dimensions of size ... less than 3.5 per cent of pilots would be average sized on all three dimensions.

30% raised to the third power is 2.7%. Basic probability. I guess everyone assumed there would be heavy clustering instead of largely independent variables?

3
trhway 1 day ago 2 replies      
joint distribution of 2 normal distributions isn't necessarily a normal distribution in 2 variables. Independence would be sufficient condition for that, yet obviously there is no independence between various measurements of a human body.

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

4
TreeMan 1 day ago 0 replies      
My company Treemetrics has been challenging the forest industry for method used for measuring forests. They use the average tree size as the method for valuing a standing forest. From our data we see forests with thousands of trees where only a handful of average trees actually exist. Very helpful article for me to explain the flaw of averages.
5
tokenadult 1 day ago 4 replies      
Wow! This has implications for human genetics (a study that originated partly in considering human body size measurements like those described in the article) that I think most popular writers on human genetics have not taken into account. There was an article posted to Hacker News earlier this week that suggested, surely falsely in my opinion, that human genomes can be optimized for intelligence to such a degree that we won't even be able to estimate IQ scores for future individuals with the same kind of tests that we use now. I rather doubt it. Because of pleiotropic effects of genes, almost surely there isn't a gene shuffle that will massively increase human intelligence, but rather just strategies (as likely to be environmental as genetic) to improve average intelligence within the range already found in the worldwide human population.

Similarly, imputation of "race" by genome testing depends crucially on assuming that the average genome is informative, but for any trait of interest, a person who by both genome testing and known historical ancestry is categorized in some "race" category might have any degree of variance from "average" in the trait found in the whole human genome. It will be exciting to follow up on larger and larger data sets on these issues as human genomics projects continue.

7
bsbechtel 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm pretty sure averages used in the wrong way affect many more fields than any of us can realize today.
8
Sophira 1 day ago 0 replies      
For anybody getting a message that says "Please try loading the page again after activating mobile data or connecting to a Wi-Fi network." = it's not your connection, despite what the page says. The mobile site, http://m.thestar.com/ , is giving that message on desktop too and it comes from the site itself.
9
wpietri 1 day ago 2 replies      
The thing that strikes me here is how much we repeat the mistake of Norma (taking the mythical average body and assuming that differences mean problems) today in talking about people's minds.

I started using computers before it was fashionable, before my fellow nerds started being worth billions and ending up on magazine covers. It's hard to describe now how much our difference was seen as wrong, as the sign of a problem.

I have to wonder how much other natural differences gets medicalized. I know I have friends who take drugs for "insomnia" even though the only problem they experience is that they don't always get the "average" night of eight hours uninterrupted sleep. (Which anyhow is a modern invention. [1]) When I was in mourning after my mom died, a few buttinskys suggested I talk to my doctor about antidepressants, even though actual experts thought I was doing fine. And I worry about the number of schoolkids who have their differences medicalized because, in effect, they are inconvenient for overburdened teachers using industrial-age models of education.

I have no solution here, but I definitely find it troubling.

[1] For more, see this podcast, especially the "Til Morning is Nigh" segment: http://backstoryradio.org/shows/on-the-clock-4/

10
dap 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a great example.

It doesn't take a lot of dimensions, though. I've seen many system workloads where the average latency was not the latency of any of the requests.

11
ocdtrekkie 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is incredibly poignant in a world where our designers and engineers are moving to provide users less options and less configuration, deeming their ideal designs, meant to meet 'most users needs', is superior.
12
DigitalJack 1 day ago 2 replies      
Has nobody heard of quetelet?
13
brad0 1 day ago 2 replies      
Is it just me or does this sound oddly familiar to machine learning recommendation systems?

ie: show an item based on the average of all the other items that everyone else has looked at.

14
my5thaccount 1 day ago 9 replies      
Articles like this remind me how rational and practical the military is. I know so many brilliant military minds, yet war itself seems outdated and plagued by so many emotionally irrational decisions. I can't reconcile those two thoughts.

How can people inside the military be so incredibly smart, yet still think it makes sense to ... you know, kill people's friends and families and not expect them to become terrorists.

What am I missing? It can't just be greed. Military industrial complex. The military minds aren't smarter than that? I struggle with it.

15
my5thaccount 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thinking about this and the wisdom of crowds makes my brain feel fuzzy.
16
beachstartup 1 day ago 0 replies      
analogous anecdote: if you've ever tried to drive a sports car in a seating/steering/pedal/shifting position that isn't tailored to your body, it feels really awkward and it's very difficult if not impossible to drive fast with precision.

i would guess that in a sports or race car, everything needs to be within a few millimeters of where it "should" be in order for it to feel right. multiply the speeds and divide reaction times by 4-5x and i can see how you could easily crash a plane with a tiny margin for error.

17
daodedickinson 1 day ago 0 replies      
If the environment was homogenized enough this would no longer be an issue.
18
j0e1 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reminded me of

Be together. Not the same

~Android :)

19
sandworm101 1 day ago 3 replies      
I don't see the problem. The fact that no person fit the model perfectly doesn't mean that the model was a poor choice.

The question shouldn't be whether any customers fit the cockpit perfectly, but how many customers do and do not fit absolutely. You build the legroom so that most legs will fit, and headroom so that most heads will fit. Then as many people as possible shall fit. Everyone will have some dimension that isn't perfectly accommodated, but few should be rejected. The fact that nobody fits perfectly doesn't take away from a design that reasonably accommodates as many people as possible.

A cockpit is not a suit. It's a communal chair/workspace meant to be used by various persons over many years. The metric of a good design should be how many/few people are so out of standards that they cannot work properly in the space. This is a perfect metaphor for hiring. Look only for that 'prefect fit' and you won't hire anyone, or you end up with hiring the only applicant to get past the roboreader. Seek a broader standard and you'll find plenty of good people even though mr perfect never appears.

13
Amazon Echo Dot amazon.com
348 points by endtwist  4 days ago   400 comments top 59
1
startupfounder 4 days ago 9 replies      
The transition from primarily visual UX towards an auditorial UX is really powerful.

Looking at screens to get key information distracts me from my surroundings and seems archaic.

My wife is a sound designer who has opened my eyes to the importance of sounds both in film and in the world. It's not that I was unaware of sounds, but I didn't realize how important they are to centering me in this world and the made up worlds of films and games. Try watching a scary movie with the sound turned off, it turns into a comedy.

I think its unexplored territory that has huge potential to impact the way we interact with the real world, even more so then Glass or Hololens.

When I listen to music as I walk down the street I change, my mood, my posture and the way I look at the world. The music augments the reality around me in a way that visual UX never can because it's a lens between my eyes and the world.

2
Rezo 4 days ago 7 replies      
"If you have more than one Echo or Echo Dot, you can set a different wake word for each".

This is something I've been thinking is becoming more problematic as well as an opportunity for real ubiquity. I have 3 separate devices nearby that are Google Now voice activated (the newer devices support this even if the screen is off), and they will sometimes trigger at the same time accidentally.

Since the processing is cloud based, and they know my identity, why don't the devices recognize this fact and cooperate. Instead of just 7 beam forming mics in the Echo, if you have two within hearing distance you could have the benefit of 14 and a unified response. Don't tie the request & response to a particular device, instead think of it as ubiquitous network that moves with you as you walk around the household, you should be able to continue your conversation from one room to the next seamlessly.

3
caractacus 4 days ago 13 replies      
When did I turn from the enthusiastic kid who dreamed of audio-controlled personal assistants like this to a cranky old man who doesn't want anything remotely spy-possible in his house?
4
danesparza 4 days ago 4 replies      
There is something delightfully ballsy about making this only available to users of Alexa Voice shopping:

"Echo Dot is available in limited quantities and exclusively for Prime members through Alexa Voice Shopping. To order your Echo Dot, use your Amazon Echo or Amazon Fire TV and just ask: "Alexa, order an Echo dot"

Also, this makes me sad. I'd kind of like to try this out, but I have no Alexa voice service currently (I don't think)

5
jbob2000 4 days ago 3 replies      
Somewhat related, but if I don't subscribe to any of the services listed, this is a pretty useless product for me. I don't listen to internet radio, I don't stream music, I don't order delivery, I don't use uber, there's already 10 million ways to check the weather, and my life isn't busy enough to need a voice-activated calendar.

Is this the future of tech? Like do I need to have some kind of urban-go-getter lifestyle to find use in any of this? When can I get something useful, rather than "thing I already do, but in a new package"?

6
xd1936 4 days ago 8 replies      
My problem with Alexa is, I don't want to invest in a new ecosystem. I'm fine with Amazon being the hub that connects all of my services, but I don't want to use Amazon To-Do List, Amazon Prime Radio, Amazon Traffic, Amazon Sports, Amazon Calendar, Amazon Weather.

That being said, they announce partnerships with more and more services every month. Things are looking up.

7
rdl 4 days ago 2 replies      
Just ordered a Dot -- what is the Tap? They added that to the page, too, but no info. Is it just the next gen Echo?

http://www.theverge.com/2016/3/3/11148776/amazon-echo-tap-sp...

Ahh -- the Tap is a portable device with wifi speaker.

(Probably wouldn't call an audio monitoring box the "tap"

8
binarymax 4 days ago 5 replies      
Be forewarned - if I am invited into your home for any reason, and I see an Alexa device, I will vocally add a large shopping list of nonsense to your Amazon cart :
9
swalsh 4 days ago 2 replies      
Will this be linked together with my echo? One thing I do quite often since my echo is in my kitchen is use it to set a timer. I'd like to be able to go to my office upstairs, and ask it how much time is left. Today, i don't think that's possible even with a second echo.
10
thecodemonkey 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, what a coincidence. I just did a setup like this with Amazon Echo and Sonos, by "hacking" the Amazon Echo to do audio-out.

I wrote up a little post on it here: https://medium.com/@MathiasHansen/hacking-an-amazon-echo-and...

Obviously, actually having bluetooth speakers with the Echo Dot is a much better solution, but after using the Sonos setup for 3-4 weeks I must say that it works surprisingly well, and despite the audio hack the sound quality is excellent on my Play 1's.

11
Fluid_Mechanics 4 days ago 2 replies      
Amazon was the only Big Four company silent on the data privacy lawsuit with Apple. Why would I place one of their always-listening products in my living room?
12
nilsjuenemann 4 days ago 1 reply      
Only for US customers...

"Requirements

* A U.S. Amazon account

* A U.S. shipping address (50 United States and the District of Columbia only)

* An annual Amazon Prime membership or 30-day Amazon Prime free trial

* A payment method issued by a U.S. bank with a U.S. billing address in your 1-Click settings

* A device with access to the Alexa Voice Service (such as Amazon Echo)"

13
pierrebeaucamp 4 days ago 2 replies      
I would love to have something similar as open source software. How can I trust this device if I can't examine the code used for hotword recognition?

Also, it would be great to be able to put the software on different hardware - something with digital audio output for example. The concept of Alexa is amazing, but distributing it as properitary software limits its potential.

14
davis_m 4 days ago 3 replies      
I'm not entirely clear on the difference between the regular Echo and the Echo Dot. It appears you have to have an original Echo in order to purchase a Dot. Is this simply an extension that proxies all of the requests back to the original Echo?
15
BatFastard 3 days ago 3 replies      
I love my echo! I probably use it 15-25 times a day.1) Acts as my alarm2) Turn on my favorite radio station while I make breakfast.3) Timers for cooking breakfast.4) Listen to flash news5) Alarm again if I need a nap.6) Timers for lunch meal7) Add item to shopping list.8) Add todo items.9) Plays spotify while I work on my computer from across the room.10) More flash news (its really quite extensive)11) more naps12) dinner timer13) news14) word definitions15) Tell it to stop when it starts talking in the middle of a conversation (a bit annoying).16) more todos17) Order more dogs treats18) Play bedtime musicWorth every penny.Where did the strange sense of "everyone is spying on you" come from? A bloated sense of self importance?
16
rogerb 4 days ago 3 replies      
I would not be surprised if it turns out that Alexa is the biggest thing they've ever done, including AWS.
17
monkmartinez 4 days ago 2 replies      
Still too expensive, imo. I've read a lot about "Alexa" and Echo... and beside the privacy issues, in many cases the Echo quickly becomes an expensive speaker (after the kids and everyone else gets tired of asking "Alexa" questions).

$89 is not in my compulsion buy price range. I may be in the minority on that though...

18
tnorthcutt 4 days ago 2 replies      
Echo Dot ($89.99) is available exclusively for Prime Members through Alexa Voice Shopping. To order your Echo Dot, use your Echo or Fire TV and just ask: Alexa, order Echo Dot.
19
Gratsby 4 days ago 2 replies      
Man... I had my audrey doing this in the '90s. I can't believe I missed the boat and somebody else is making a bajillion dollars. It's time to search through the archives of all the cool stuff we did 20 years ago and put it in a shiny new wrapper.
20
gizmodo59 4 days ago 1 reply      
"To order your Echo Dot, use your Amazon Echo or Amazon Fire TV and just ask..." An Expensive marketing campaign to sell Echo and Fire TV?
21
IgorPartola 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hmm. The Dot might be a good addition, but it's too expensive. I want to put several mic & speaker combos around my house, but I don't want to pay $90 per room. Something in the $25-$40 range would do much better, even if it was a simple relay to the main Echo.
22
ausjke 4 days ago 3 replies      
My FireTV is also upgraded to Alexa silently recently and it's fun to play with.

Is it possible for me to upload my own content, say an audio book, some music I own etc so I can use Alexa as a voice command to fetch my own data too? be it on the cloud or my local NAS/DLNA box.

23
chinathrow 3 days ago 1 reply      
My problem with Alexa is, I don't want a far field cloud based voice recognition device within my reach.

I'm fine with a device doing the voice recognition on premise/on device with the same functionality.

24
roymurdock 4 days ago 2 replies      
Classic hub/spoke model

Echo = hub, too expensive and large to buy 10 for every room in the house, used for receiving, processing, routing info from spokes and cloud

Echo dot = spoke, microphone and AI functionality at a lower price point, distributes connectivity network throughout the entire house so that you don't have to walk from your kitchen to your living room to order new paper towels from Amazon

25
JabavuAdams 4 days ago 0 replies      
I want this technology, but I don't want to send this info to Amazon. Guess I have to continue on my own half-assed implementation.
26
source99 4 days ago 1 reply      
How are these 2 "new" products different from the normal echo?
27
tostitos1979 3 days ago 0 replies      
What is the difference between Echo, Tap and Dot? It is confusing me a bit.

Dot: has no speakers? Requires bluetooth based pairing. Requires an Echo to work?

Tap: has wireless speakers with a built in battery. Also seems to have a Mic. Do I need an Echo to make this work? Can the tap work with the dot?

28
mc32 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't own one of these devices, yet I'm curious, can you "modify the device's name"? I mean, what if someone in the household has the name Alexa. No, not you Alexa, the other Alexa. Alexa do your homework. Alexa take out the garbage.
29
fosco 4 days ago 1 reply      
when I saw Amazon 'Tap' I was hoping to see a star trek communicator[0]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communicator_(Star_Trek)

30
Roanoke 3 days ago 1 reply      
Any reason why Echoes couldn't communicate with other Echoes? My friend and I own Echoes. I could say "Alexa, call Joe" Joe and I could talk to each other through the Echoes over the internet.
31
rdudek 3 days ago 2 replies      
What's stopping people from accidentally ordering things with this thing? Could I go into somebody's house that has one of these devices setup and say "Alexa, order some breast clamps" ?
32
Roanoke 3 days ago 0 replies      
Any reason Echoes couldn't communicate with each other? I envision my friend and I own an Echo. I could say "Alexa, call Joe". We could talk to each other through the Echo over the internet.
33
masonhipp 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is a better product than the original. They added one of the most requested features (audio out) and didn't remove anything important (unless you don't have a better plug-in speaker system).

The biggest oversight is now the fact that it can't work together with an existing Echo: Amazon is making us order these _using_ an Echo... but the two devices don't communicate at all and require individual wake words. I wanted this as an added mic for my existing system, not as a new independent system.

Big step in the right direction though.

34
azinman2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can anyone else order this through their Fire TV? I'm just getting "Your search did not match anything in our catalog."

I could also be doing this wrong as I literally unboxed my fire tv just for this. I'm using the companion iOS app to access the microphone, but selected the phrase on the Fire TV.

The voice rec also sucked. I had to say the damn sentence like 9 times in an unnatural way. I hope that's not indicative of this experience I'm wanting to order...

35
FoeNyx 3 days ago 0 replies      
In one example: "Alexa, adjust my home thermostat to 74 degrees"

It would kill some people if used here in Europe (because we would rather adjust our thermostats in radians).

More seriously, is there any protections against dangerous orders? (eg Your kid ordering 42 tons of sweets on Amazon)

"I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that"

36
tlrobinson 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Echo Dot ($89.99) is available exclusively for Prime Members through Alexa Voice Shopping.

Huh? Why would they prevent new customers from ordering this?

37
atemerev 4 days ago 0 replies      
As usual, all goodies are US only :(

I want Alexa for my home automation, and I don't mind speaking English to her. But tough luck in Switzerland.

38
mjmj 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would buy the Tap if it was always on listening while on the cradle but then push button while portable. Doesn't look like it works that way from the description. I get that it takes too much battery to have 7 always listening microphones on, but while on the cradle, this should be a non-issue.
39
horsecaptin 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd love to read a few stories about how people use their Alexas in meaningful ways.
40
sh1mmer 3 days ago 1 reply      
"If you have more than one Echo or Echo Dot, you can set a different wake word for eachyou can pick "Amazon", "Alexa" or "Echo" as the wake word."

So they haven't solved the I have multiple Echos in my house problem yet..

41
donpdonp 3 days ago 1 reply      
The dot sounds great but I cringed when I read about the tap. Its increasingly common for people to play cell phone audio in enclosed places without consideration of others. The tap seems to be designed to make it even easier to do so.
42
gagzilla 3 days ago 0 replies      
If Amazon gains by providing this service to prime members then why don't they have a voice control app for iOS/Android to connect with Alexa? (not just the setup Alexa app)
43
hayksaakian 3 days ago 0 replies      
Note: this refers to the "Alexa" voice assistant, not Alexa the domain ranking company (also owned by amazon)

http://i.imgur.com/B6dsMNm.png

44
GaetanJUVIN 3 days ago 0 replies      
Actually, I think this is very useful for two things:- Set timer for cooking- Listen music

Im sceptical about getting other skills. "Alexa ask MyApp to do something its very long and annoying

But I strongly believe they will improve that.

45
bovermyer 4 days ago 0 replies      
I absolutely adore my Echo. But I live in a small apartment, so I really don't see a need to buy a Dot as a second Echo device, even if the size and price make it a more attractive option than the original Echo.
46
skc 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm wondering why it took the product being from Amazon for geeks to finally be ok with a device that silently listens to everything you say in your home and sends that data to Amazon's servers.
47
ASinclair 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'll always be a bit bitter toward the Echo project. I had a really great manager transfer to that project when I worked at Amazon. It's part of the reason I left. Glad to see them do well though.
48
wehadfun 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think the number 1 use for voice control is the car. The current (Apple Car/Android Auto) are good but I would be interested in a better experience. Would like for Amazon Alexa to work in auto.
49
josep2 4 days ago 1 reply      
Would be awesome if I could connect and control my Sonos from it.
50
mrbill 3 days ago 0 replies      
This, a sort of "extender", is what I've been wishing for since the original Echo came out. Ordering tonight (since I can't do it from work).
51
nataliam511 4 days ago 0 replies      
This solves a huge pain point I have with my Alexa. That being said, it will still understand any man's voice in my home better than my own. Decisions decisions.
52
donpdonp 3 days ago 2 replies      
Are there any open source projects trying to emulate the cloud-based voice recognition that Amazon/Google/etc are doing for Alexa/OK Google?
53
steele 3 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon is offering a free t-hirt to people adding new Alexa skills... that's the bar for adding to their ecosystem now -- a t-shirt.
54
goshx 4 days ago 0 replies      
I like this idea very much. By making it cheaper and smaller, Echo can easily become the ears of any electronic in the house.
55
andy318 3 days ago 0 replies      
"To order your Echo Dot, use your Amazon Echo or Amazon Fire TV and just ask: Alexa, order an Echo Dot."
56
snickmy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Device with a microphone always on from a an NSA affiliate company.

Interesting.

57
ckl1810 3 days ago 0 replies      
How is this any more invasive than what FB/Google knows about us?
58
dabeeeenster 4 days ago 3 replies      
Why don't Amazon have an Alexa iOS/Android app?
59
swehner 4 days ago 0 replies      
Everything a (smart) phone should be able to do, no?
14
Reports Coming in of Big IBM Layoffs Underway in the U.S. ieee.org
332 points by zeveb  3 days ago   404 comments top 24
1
jwiley 3 days ago 5 replies      
During the dot-com bust of the early 2000s, I was working at a super-market. One of the guys stocking shelves was a software engineer laid off by a large company after 40 years. The management at Winn Dixie put him stacking boxes in the freezer section...since they knew he needed the money and wouldn't quit.

Maybe he deserved to get fired, maybe he didn't. The lesson to me that has been reinforced over my career in the tech sector is: don't ever expect a company to value you more than the next quarters earnings reports.

2
moonlighter 3 days ago 4 replies      
Meanwhile, IBM's CEO Ginny Rometty not only pocketed a salary of $1.6M in 2015, but also took a bonus of $4.6M. Not bad for 16 straight quarters of shrinking sales, evaporating profits and a falling stock price.

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-ibm-s-ceo-w...

3
mathattack 3 days ago 13 replies      
Here's what I don't get... If you have any options at all, why stay at a company with sub-par technology that abuses their workers? They've been stuck in low 3 Glassdoor [0] range for a while. It's layoff after layoff as they slowly dismantle the company. Why stay? Geographic limitations? Narrow skillsets?

[0] https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/IBM-Reviews-E354.htm#trend...

4
ImTalking 3 days ago 4 replies      
I worked for IBM during the 80s at the height of IBM's power. It was the golden ticket. 400,000 employees and everyone was convinced it was going to hit $100B market cap. When I quit to form my own business, my 2nd line manager said "Why would anyone want to quit IBM?". Long time ago.
5
rdtsc 3 days ago 6 replies      
That is a good sign. It means the ship is slowly turning around. It sucks for the employees being laid off, no doubt. However they have to do this. There is no other way. They bet big on support and services in early 2000s. So they have lots of those employees. Could they all start to learn new things adapt to the new environment, yeah, some will but not everyone will.

Heck, if they didn't lay off people, they'd still have punch-card machine cleaners and even cheese slicer designers (they used to sell those way back in the day).

6
JohnTHaller 3 days ago 4 replies      
There have been a couple folks on Facebook reporting that the H1-B folks they trained are staying while they are let go (ala Disney et al).
7
dsmithatx 3 days ago 1 reply      
I was at IBM from 1999 until my layoff in 2002. It was the 9th layoff for our group (Websphere). These layoffs suck and the stress nearly killed me. Back then the layoffs occurred after the dot com bubble burst. Lately I've been hearing lots of rumors from investors of wide spread belief of a tech bubble about to pop again. I'm guessing IBM is aware of this speculation and trying to be ahead of the game this go round.

They hate to see their stock price drop and I'm very glad I'm not in a situation like that anymore.

8
negrit 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting considering that IBM and IBM India filled 836[1] and 5420[2] LCAs for H-1B workers this year already. They are probably still hiring but are getting completely away from some aspect of the business.

[1] http://data.jobsintech.io/companies/ibm-corporation

[2] http://data.jobsintech.io/companies/ibm-india-private-limite...

9
mark_l_watson 3 days ago 2 replies      
That is awful. I wonder how much of this is cursed by the bet everything on IBM Watson strategy that I have read about. Are they laying off non-Watson staff?
10
apo 3 days ago 2 replies      
IBM layoff rumors have been around for awhile:

http://www.cringely.com/2015/01/26/ibm-right-gadfly/

I'm not sure what to make of this one.

11
manishsharan 3 days ago 0 replies      
IBM borrowed a ton of money to buy back its stock to boost share prices. With interest rates set to go up, their interest payments will go up as well and they don't have a runaway hit product to makeup for interest and principal payments.
12
davidw 3 days ago 1 reply      
Sort of relevant. Paul Graham tweet on IBM patent trolling: https://twitter.com/paulg/status/705416252563419136
13
swalsh 2 days ago 0 replies      
No one ever got fired for choosing IBM, but apparently working for them is a different experience.

Seriously though, IBM is a dinosaur of a company that is quickly losing its merits. They cater to "old" large enterprises. They charge big licensing fees, and huge consulting rates.

Young "enterprises" that embrace open source software are finding it competitive advantage. We don't have to wait for IBM to fit us into their dev schedule (hint, we'll never make it in) because we can modify the product to do what we need.... and we don't have to keep paying for the privileged to use it every year.

If you think of IT as a cost center, you probably are an IBM customer, if you think of IT as a competitive advantage you're probably avoiding IBM...

14
SilasX 3 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone know how this affects their Watson division? They have a new SF office and they've been recruiting pretty heavily in the Bay Area.
15
justsaysmthng 3 days ago 0 replies      
As technology gets better, it also gets cheaper. Probably exponentially so.

That's why we're going to see this trend accelerate within the industry during the next couple of years - layoffs, bankruptcies, etc.

There's just too much really really good technology out there.

A lot of the problems that tech people were hired to solve years ago, have now been solved by the improved software/hardware.

So it would be a good idea to start working on a really narrow skill set, which is something about human beings, before the AI takes over what'll be left of today's tech jobs.

16
michaelZejoop 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does this mean it'd be waste of time to write up my "let me tell you about my favorite database" story as part of an application for a job at compose.io ? (serious question)
17
fencepost 3 days ago 0 replies      
I saw some reports that a lot of those affected are ones who've been there for a long time (= older workers), along with comments along the lines of "last year I'd have gotten 25 weeks severance - now I'm going to get 4."

Makes you wonder whether any of those folks will now decide that the reduced severance payment isn't worth giving up the opportunity to sue.

18
artur_makly 3 days ago 1 reply      
or u can change your environment parameters and simply move to a country where the USD is 4-10x. Then u will have the extra bandwith of time to work / study on the next big idea/framework/rev stream. ive done this 10yrs ago. went from a cog ina a wheel at Aol to a serial entreprenuer. stay flexible.
19
tschellenbach 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well more talent for the rest of us :) Stream is pretty close to the IBM offices and we're hiring in Boulder, CO: angel.co/stream
20
yeukhon 3 days ago 0 replies      
IBM has a fortune of so many old technology they built and acquired over the years. However, these money making recipes are also the dead weight of IBM and stopping IBM from actually making a change. IBM at this point is already too big to fail, so IMO there is no other way but to spin off IBM into multiple companies.
21
pfarnsworth 3 days ago 2 replies      
It seems untrue if an IBM spokesperson denied it. It would look really bad if their official spokesperson denied it and then the next day had to say the opposite.
22
anfroid555 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sad to see one of the giants slowly dieing that you grew up with.... Hard to change the direction of a major company
23
AYBABTME 2 days ago 0 replies      
What I don't get is why anyone would accept an offer from them.
24
reddytowns 3 days ago 2 replies      
What a dastardly fellow! How dare the elected officer run his company as he sees fit

WHY ALL THE DOWNVOTES!!?!?!?!

15
Legal marijuana is taking a bite out of drug cartels' profits washingtonpost.com
278 points by potshot  22 hours ago   200 comments top 12
1
caseysoftware 18 hours ago 5 replies      
> The latest data from the U.S. Border Patrol shows that last year, marijuana seizures along the southwest border tumbled to their lowest level in at least a decade.

That does not mean there are less drugs being imported, just that less are being seized. I worked with the Border Patrol years ago and it was astounding how they tracked success:

- When arrests increased, they celebrated that enforcement was working.

- When arrests decreased, they celebrated that deterrence was working.

Heads I win, tails you lose.

While I'm in favor of legalization, you should take these numbers and the process that created them with a grain of salt..

2
gregpilling 16 hours ago 4 replies      
Another reason not mentioned in the article is quality. Domestically produced hydroponically grown marijuana is so much better than the Mexican weed. I live 60 miles from Mexico in Tucson Arizona, we see a lot of it around here. The quality difference is huge - compare your favorite craft brew with Bud Light that has been left in the sun too long.

I had a friend give me an ounce of Mexican weed last year. That is a fair bit of weed. I tried a sample one night, and then gave it back. It wasn't worth keeping around, even for free. I knew I would just never use it, it was typical Mexican ditch weed and my tastes had gone to better things.

So which beer did you want? Sam Adams, or this Miller with a cigarette in it? The Mexican weed is just disgusting now. Only people on a tight budget will use it, not people with a choice; maybe 10% of the users I know. Everyone else gets the good stuff. Light, fluffy with 20 strains to choose from, tested and graded, and you can pick out the individual bud that speaks to you; or compressed brick that smells a little like coffee or grease and has an unknown THC level, unknown origin, unknown anything.

The only positive attribute to the Mexican weed is price.

3
pcl 19 hours ago 6 replies      
The cartels, of course, are adapting to the new reality. Seizure data appears to indicate that with marijuana profits tumbling, they're switching over to heroin and meth.

This is a really interesting development. There's always been this "gateway drug" argument around pot: once people start with marijuana, they'll move onto the harder stuff. I can imagine that there might be a correlation, but I expect that the causality is the other way around: once you break the law a bit for pot, and discover that it's really not a big deal, you assume that the other illegal drugs are probably fine too.

As marijuana becomes more and more legal in the US, it'll be interesting to see which way the causal link goes.

4
cygnus_a 20 hours ago 3 replies      
This is one of the main reasons I support legalization and/or decriminalization of all drugs. Demand is demand, and a black market economy is worse than a transparent & regulated economy.

I think it's still necessary to focus on reducing demand (through education and self-help, not punishment).

5
oldmanjay 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The actual headline would be better expressed as "legal marijuana undoing what the drug war caused"
6
LAMike 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow what a Black Swan event.

Take something illegal and taxing it heavily has a negative impact on the black market's profit and a positive impact on the economy. Truly disrupting the space.

7
WalterBright 18 hours ago 0 replies      
It's pathetic that we've learned nothing at all from Prohibition.
8
spoiledtechie 19 hours ago 1 reply      
While the seizure rate has gone down, I believe this to be a two part or multiple part reason. Border agents have also gone way down along the border. It's a number that has also been rapidly decreasing over the past four years from the current administration. Ex: I am a past employee of Customs and Border.
9
logibly 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Why was marijuana in the "illegal" list in the place ? Any scientific studies that it is more harmful then alcohol or smoking ? Here in India it is legal and part of the religious traditions since thousands of years. It's known as "bhang" in hindi.

Essentially legalizing is just getting thing right which was wrong earlier.

10
ChuckMcM 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Its nice to have some data to confirm what many predicted. That said, the DEA is acutely aware that it is much easier to move drugs around once they are already in the country and so their mission my require installing border crossing checkpoints on states that have legalized those drugs.

I saw a sign on the Kansas side of a highway leaving Colorado that said "If you bought pot, leave it behind." Clearly someone had seen an uptick in drugs coming in that way.

11
LordKano 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Is anyone surprised by this?

It's the same thing that happened when alcohol prohibition was lifted.

12
andrewstuart 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Pot is still illegal in Australia because, you know, it's bad.
16
Go by Example gobyexample.com
388 points by kercker  3 days ago   72 comments top 18
1
dpflan 3 days ago 2 replies      
Go does have some nice, clean resources, provided by the core language group and users. I find golang.org to be quite helpful. If you're interested in learning Go, I suggest Go's A Tour of Go to start: http://tour.golang.org/welcome/1

There is a previous discussion of Go by Example if you want to mine the comments: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7075515

There is also Effective Go for learning about, well, idiomatic Go: https://golang.org/doc/effective_go.html

And there is a previous discussion of Effective Go if you want to mine the comments: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4285461

2
moonlighter 2 days ago 3 replies      
I can highly recommend "The Go Programming Language". I find it extremely well written, and worth every penny. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0134190440
3
lukasm 3 days ago 1 reply      
Really nice. I'd be better to have them in a single place, similar to http://coffeescript.org/

Better grepablity.

4
paradite 3 days ago 5 replies      
Edit: This site is great, really good for people who haven't seen it. (Please stop downvoting me:))

Am I missing something here? This site is well known and I have been using it as reference for a long time.

5
pif 3 days ago 5 replies      
> Go is an open source programming language designed for building simple, fast, and reliable software.

By the way, what would you use for complex, fast, and reliable software?

6
DocSavage 3 days ago 0 replies      
Note that clicking the tiny gopher icon in the upper right of the code box will launch play.golang.org with that code. That's a good way to play with code and see results in your browser.
7
wooptoo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Thank you so much! Was looking for exactly something like this.
8
VeejayRampay 3 days ago 3 replies      
Great resource for beginners. Though I've noticed a trend when trying to familiarize myself with languages and Golang in particular: examples tend to be too simple and I've found myself struggling once I tried to create more "real-life" things with it (similar to hello world or server examples on Node.js).

Though this is most likely personal/anecdotal and the website is an invaluable resource for a beginner. Well done.

9
throwaway6497 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is awesome! Thank you. This is especially helpful for programmers who are good at other languages and want to get a feel of go quickly over a weekend. Much easier to map the existing mental models built over-time to the new go programming semantics. Humans learn best by example and comparing the new stuff with what we already know.
10
andrewstuart2 3 days ago 0 replies      
As an aside: Holy heck, CloudFront. 14ms! That's like half the best RTT I get to my office right down the street.
11
thewhitetulip 2 days ago 0 replies      
I had recently started to write a short guide about writing webapps in Go,

https://github.com/thewhitetulip/web-dev-golang-anti-textboo...

12
mcintyre1994 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a really nice resource and I've been wanting to look at Go for a while! Could anybody point at the sort of projects that the goroutine/channel infrastructure excels at in particular?
13
chuhnk 3 days ago 0 replies      
By far one of the better ways to learn the syntax of Go.
14
muhammadusman 2 days ago 2 replies      
are there websites like this for other languages too? I really like the format of this.
15
josep2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sweet list. Thanks for posting.
16
mattiemass 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks great - well done!
17
brianberns 3 days ago 1 reply      
Dang, I was really hoping this was going to teach me how to play the game of Go, not how to program in the Go language.
18
LanguageGamer 2 days ago 0 replies      
I clicked expecting a go-the-board-game learning site.

I think I need to learn the rudiments of go-the-programming-language, just so I stop forgetting there's still something to disambiguate when I see the word 'Go' as a noun.

17
Bitcoin transaction processing takes up to 10 hours coindesk.com
271 points by elorant  1 day ago   183 comments top 17
1
buttershakes 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is a really complicated discussion, that has been splashed all over reddit and other forums for the last year. The reality is that the network is rapidly approaching if it hasn't already exceeded capacity at 1 MB. This doesn't break the network, but it ends up with load sheddding (people who no longer transact) and worse, people who transact but due to rapidly changing fees have to wait in line indefinitely to get their first confirmation. The mempool will eventually randomly eject transactions, but this can cause issues for wallets and other services.

To say that centralization increases dramatically at 2 MB just isn't the case. Once people stop running full nodes because they don't believe in Bitcoin's potential as a transaction network then what? This is all about control, who gets to control the fate of the Bitcoin network, and right now that battle is being waged between large well funded companies each of which has its own vision for what Bitcoin is.

Development should under no circumstances be centralized with one entity, but there you have it. The only people who benefit from bitcoin being unable to scale are those who want it to simply be a digital gold / store of value, and those that sell alternative solutions for various markets. This is just going to lead to capital flight from Bitcoin into alternative networks that have a growth potential despite being inferior at the moment.

2
matthewbauer 1 day ago 2 replies      
This may be a little unpopular here, but I really appreciate the conservative approach by the Bitcoin core team. There's a lot of cryptocurrencies out there and Bitcoin's dominance is from its long history and staying power. Bitcoin needs to have a near majority of agreement for any breaking change or else its risking its own dominance. Hopefully, transaction fees become less over time, but regardless they're necessary to prevent spam. No matter how big of blocks you have, you're always going to have a spam problem and the Bitcoin forks have yet to show how bigger blocks will mean faster transactions.
3
Animats 1 day ago 9 replies      
It's a free market. If you pay a higher transaction fee, your transaction gets processed sooner. Typical transaction fees are now $0.04.

The big spike seems to be over, anyway.[1] Median time never exceeded 13 minutes. Note that this does not include no-fee transaction requests. There may be an attack underway which involves lots of tiny transactions that may never clear. One of the purposes of the fee is to discourage such spamming.

[1] https://blockchain.info/charts/avg-confirmation-time?timespa...

4
barrkel 1 day ago 1 reply      
If your transaction eventually got confirmed, contact the vendor with the transaction hash. The last three times I used bitcoin, I had to do this; I've yet to be refused by a vendor.
5
pbreit 1 day ago 1 reply      
Brian Armstrong also just posted this:https://medium.com/@barmstrong/what-happened-at-the-satoshi-...

Bitcoin is starting to look like "decentralization" at its worst. Pretty much the only asset ever in existence that hasn't fallen in price due to uncertainty.

Regarding "the halving", how in the world could you design in a doubling of expenses on some arbitrary date in the future? That didn't make any sense to me.

6
exolymph 1 day ago 4 replies      
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't this just mean that fees have to be higher? Welcome to markets, where technical constraints and supply/demand dynamics both influence price.
7
dontscale 1 day ago 1 reply      
The tone of the article is objective, but surely Coindesk has an interest in Bitcoin Classic. I read it as nothing more than propaganda.

I don't have a side one way or another, and I don't own bitcoin. But, it's ridiculous to see these bitcoin 'companies' taking such desperate measures. Given the nature of all the characters I've seen come out of the woodwork thus far, it is not surprising.

8
yxitcti 1 day ago 7 replies      
Coinbase has an interest to increase the block size so that the protocol can be further centralized, making people more reliant on their centralized bitcoin as a service business.

Honestly, the whole bitcoin ecosystem is a sinking ship at this point. The protocol is broken and there are too many vested interests to properly fix it. It's time to move over to Ethereum.

9
nonuby 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does Ethereum have the same scaling issue if a group setup a direct currency on it?
10
lojack 1 day ago 4 replies      
Is there anything preventing an implementation vote by the miners? I would think that convincing 50% of miners would be all it takes to change these types of features.
11
aminorex 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Which is part of the reason why I think taking the long side in the brewing short squeeze in XMR will be brilliant for me.
12
kang 1 day ago 0 replies      
"up to" being the key word in the title. Don't pay enough fees and it'll take even days.
13
jackgavigan 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this vindicates the banks' decision to build their own blockchains instead of building on top of the Bitcoin blockchain.
14
look_lookatme 1 day ago 3 replies      
If companies like Coinbase, which live and die by the health of the Bitcoin ecosystem, have taken so much capital, why can they not solve this problem by spending money to shore up the health of bitcoin ecosystem (I assume this requires adding processing power)?

I don't know anything about Bitcoin, so maybe it's just unfeasible.

15
al_chemist 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why it takes so long? Because network is being DoSed.How? By sending a lot of small transaction to fill out blocks - they also pay for those transactions.Why? Well, to prove the point. "You need bigger block, you need our fork".

DDoS - the best weapon of Internet, still undefeated.

16
oleganza 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can't help but notice that the only news about Bitcoin that ever enter HN front page are some sort of drama, or "issue with bitcoin". There are a lot of truly great things going on in the space, yet these are carefully kept off the mainstream news outlets and even HN.
17
julie1 1 day ago 2 replies      
You don't have to be smart to understand the universe is resource bound. Bitcoin core seems to have made a money that has a "resource" like behaviour.

The more you mine it, the more it costs. They seem to have a concern about a virtual currency that unlike real ones can prevent some "non realistic" transaction behaviours that are not compliant with the real world.

Transactions are never free. And the bigger a system is the more a a transaction costs.

What frightens me is the High Tech business trying to piggy back on a pretty sane currency and want to influence for their personal interests the system in a way that might deserve the economy globally.

Are all High Tech companies sociopaths just caring about nothing but their private benefits built upon other's works?

18
Wealth Inequality Is Even Worse in Reputation Economies locusmag.com
331 points by Uhhrrr  2 days ago   128 comments top 28
1
Animats 2 days ago 8 replies      
"But reputation is useless as a hedge against the real nightmare of a setup like Ebay: the long con. It doesnt cost much, nor does it take much work, to build up sleeper identities on Ebay, fake storefronts that sell unremarkable goods at reasonable prices, earning A+++ GREAT SELLER tickmarks, even for years, until one day, that account lists a bunch of high-value items on the service, pockets the buyers funds, and walks off."

That was the business plan of at least half the Bitcoin exchanges.

2
elihu 2 days ago 7 replies      
In "Liars and Outliers", Bruce Schneier talks about reputation as a tool that society uses to force its members to behave well. In small societies, reputation by itself is usually enough, but the problem is that it doesn't scale because people can ordinarily only keep track of about a hundred to a hundred and fifty people (Dunbar's number).

I'm of the opinion that, since Dunbar's number is a purely biological limitation, there's no reason to think that computer-assisted reputation can't scale to much larger groups of people. I think Cory Doctorow is right to be worried that an authoritarian government could use reputation as a tool of coercion (and this is why we should worry about things like government collection of phone metadata). However, I think it's also worth considering that reputation could be used as a tool by the people to obtain some accountability from the rich and powerful, and to help distinguish grass-roots support from astroturf. (I went so far as to create a site, http://polink.org, as a sort of collaborative graph database of how powerful people and organizations are connected to each other. It's one of those side projects I feel like I should get back to and work on one of these days.)

One of the reasons I think computer-assisted reputation hasn't taken off is that it's actually kind of hard to implement a good reputation engine, or even agree on what sort of properties a good reputation system ought to have. A lot of awful reputation systems have taught the technology industry to have very low expectations, which is a shame because I think they can be very powerful if implemented well and used correctly.

3
michaelchisari 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you watch Community, there's a whole episode about this. Except instead of "whuffie", it's "meow meow beenz".

(This came out the year before Peeple launched, I just noticed).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI4kiPaKfAE

Spoilers: The result is a Communist revolution against meow meow beenz.

4
dnautics 2 days ago 1 reply      
"If this sounds familiar, its because thats how money works."

Whuffies sound a whole lot more like politics than money. As a medium of exchange, usually to get something of value you must give up or at least risk some money. Yes, there will be a power kaw distribution (as with any network phenomenon) but it will be tempered by self-redistributive, non-zero-sum property of exchange.

Whuffies don't have that, so obviously the inequalities will be greater.

5
MarkPNeyer 2 days ago 0 replies      
" its a score that a never-explained set of network services calculate by directly polling the minds of the people who know about you and your works, reducing their private views to a number. The number itself is idiosyncratic, though: for me, your Whuffie reflects how respected you are by the people I respect. Someone else would get a different Whuffie score when contemplating you and your worthiness. "

This is exactly what i'e designed with github.com/neyer/respect

It's basically the same as pagerank, but it has an important feature that the author doesn't seem to have considered.

Look at the notion of 'soundness of respect' in my code, and see how different it is from anything out there. It provides multiple parties who aren't directly part of a conflict with an incentive to find a resolution.

> Gamergate could use to destroy yours employment and personal life, possibly permanently, just by mass-one-starring you.

This is specially what the respect matrix works against; people who one starred someone else for spurious reasons end up dinging _themselves_ if they are at all connected, which the social graph says we all are. You'll lower your soundness score if you give someone else a shitty rating, and yet you have an implied positive rating through other links.

6
akkartik 2 days ago 1 reply      
There's been a couple of really deep articles recently on reputation economies and how they interact with conventional economies:

http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2016/02/11/minimum-viable-superorg...

http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2016/03/03/inequalities

7
dnautics 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think his analogy to reputation economies is quite right: having been a Lyft driver, I did observe that it was difficult to get out of ruts when you have a low score (a passenger entering a car with a low score is going to be more vigilant and critical). Yet, scores are constrained to being between 1 and 5 so it's relatively easy, with the right strategy, to create upward momentum and bring oneself back into a high range. There is no power law distribution in the scores because they are constrained to a small range.

I don't think the "inequalities" really generally apply to constrained reputation economies.

8
api 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's rather obvious. Due to Dunbar's number (the rough maximum number of human relationships you can maintain), reputation is a very scarce resource.

To the extent that corporations and brands are virtual individuals, I think this explains why so many Internet markets are winner take all. There is only one Facebook because Facebook occupies a "Dunbar slot" in the minds of its users and those slots are scarce.

Also means that more B2B or behind the scenes Internet companies may not be as winner-take-all as B2C Internet fronts and gateways. To an extent the 'portal' hype from the original dot.com boom was correct-- portals are super-valuable and tend to be winner-take-all or at least a few winners take most.

9
chadk 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is a chapter in Tom Slee's (excellent) book "What's Yours is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy" which goes into depth about rep systems and product ratings, why they are different, and why rep systems are a bad way to measure things. There are a bunch of footnotes. I recommend it if you are looking for an even more critical take.
10
jamespitts 2 days ago 2 replies      
Excellent perspective, particularly so because it comes from someone who did so much to describe where a reputation economy could go.

Science fiction writing is amazing in how it gets us to imagine, be bewildered, or be alarmed by things that have not happened yet, or could never happen.

It is a starting point, giving us the confidence to keep building -- but also the foresight to be ready for the ills that our creations will no doubt introduce.

11
patio11 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder what the Gini coefficient of karma scores is. (In the sense of "legitimately curious" rather than "attempting to make a joke which will further concentrate karma in the hands of the 0.001%.")
12
haberman 2 days ago 3 replies      
Did I miss something or does the article start by making an argument about what works or doesn't work in the real world by invoking a fictional novel that he himself wrote?
13
siosonel 2 days ago 3 replies      
"... Citizen Scores are a near-perfect expression of reputation economics: like most other forms of currency, they are issued by a central bank that uses them to try and influence social outcomes."

It seems to me, and I could have misread, that the biggest problem with the examples of currency systems in the article is that the 'pooled' currencies are unquestionably accepted by participants. Take that guarantee away, and someone could design a reputation currency where participants could reject payments from disreputable participants. In which case accumulation of units does not imply the long-term ability to use them; instead, there will be a long-term incentive for participants to maintain a good reputation.

See this overview of a counter-example to the article's point, a reputation currency system without a central issuer: https://tatag.cc/ui/home-about. (Disclaimer: I'm the developer of the linked site.)

14
Animats 2 days ago 2 replies      
If you want to see a reputation currency treated seriously in SF, read "Daemon" and "Freedom" by Daniel Suarez. Augmented reality meets level grinding.
15
daodedickinson 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Whuffie has all the problems of money, and then a bunch more that are unique to it. In Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, we see how Whuffie despite its claims to being meritocratic ends up pooling up around sociopathic jerks who know how to flatter, cajole, or terrorize their way to the top. Once you have a lot of Whuffie once a lot of people hold you to be reputable other people bend over backwards to give you opportunities to do things that make you even more reputable, putting you in a position where you can speechify, lead, drive the golden spike, and generally take credit for everything that goes well, while blaming all the screw-ups on lesser mortals.

If this sounds familiar, its because thats how money works."

No, that's how democracy "works".

16
vixen99 2 days ago 0 replies      
" As anyone whos ever tried to figure out the he said/she said campaigns run by the US climate denial lobby can attest, doubt is much more powerful than outright suppression.".

I don't know about the campaigns but the point about doubt is as it should be because if you put forward a hypothesis it's vital (a la Popper) to subject it to tests to see how well it matches reality.

The CO2 versus global temperature relationship is anything but simple. Between 1998 and 2013, the Earths surface temperature rose at a rate of 0.04C a decade, far slower than the 0.18C increase in the 1990s. At the same time, CO2 levels rose uninterruptedly as they did earlier. Someone should compute the enforced degree of depression of industrial activity across the world which would according to the theory, have reduced global temperatures to be consistent with those figures. What a pointless and tragic exercise that would have been.

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v6/n3/pdf/nclimate293...

Of course CO2 is implicated in the energy balance on Earth but to claim a direct strong causal relationship is simply in denial of the facts.

17
Uhhrrr 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting to see some of the problems mentioned play out in the article posted today about Arduino's origins: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11212021

Especially since Doctorow flogs Arduino endlessly on BoingBoing.

18
yason 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reputation only works if you effectively can't disappear. One reason why good reputation can be trusted somewhat is that you can guess how likely the person enjoying it will go protect it for the future.
19
lisper 2 days ago 2 replies      
This will come as no surprise to anyone who has studied game theory. The rational move in a prisoner's dilemma if you know (or control) when the game will end is to defect. This is also why term limits don't work.
20
bb101 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting application of reputation to market-based economies. Doctorow's article won't be a surprise to anyone who lived behind the Iron Curtain during socialism.

The State held information on every citizen, and all official transactions resulted in stamps and signatures in little booklets. The stamps and signatures were a proxy to reputation. Don't have the 40 years worth of stamps in your employment booklet? That's a problem for your retirement. Know the right people with the right connections? You get a better apartment than everyone else.

Plus a change...

21
cousin_it 2 days ago 0 replies      
> attempt to establish a basis for strangers to trust one another

That's a perfect problem description for a new business. Existing reputation systems don't do it well, but then again, search engines before Google didn't do search well.

22
nickysielicki 2 days ago 3 replies      
> Theres no objective measure of merit so theres no way to know whether your society is meritocratic or not.

Does he really believe that you can't quantify ability in any way? I don't buy that.

23
seeing 2 days ago 0 replies      

 Theres no objective measure of merit so theres no way to know whether your society is meritocratic or not.
Is this true?

24
musesum 2 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps reputation should behave like neural nets and have a tanh(x) activation function.
25
randyrand 2 days ago 0 replies      
is economy the new word for market?
26
electic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Please make the font smaller. It is way to big!
27
bobajeff 2 days ago 2 replies      
Where Whuffies meet the real world is in reputation systems being used in society today: Amazon and eBay seller reviews, Uber and lyft driver reviews, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.
28
ktRolster 2 days ago 1 reply      
From the article:

 >[money] ends up pooling up around sociopathic jerks who >know how to flatter, cajole, or terrorize their way to the top
It's actually kind of hard for me to care about the inequality of people who vote for Donald Trump

19
Samsung ships the world's highest capacity SSD, with 15TB of storage computerworld.com
263 points by elorant  3 days ago   139 comments top 10
1
userbinator 3 days ago 3 replies      
The 15.36TB PM1633a drive supports one full drive write per day, which means 15.36TB of data can be written every day on a single drive without failure over its five-year warranty.

In other words, assuming good wear leveling, each bit can only be rewritten ~2K times, which is actually quite low for endurance... the capacity is high and they're using that to hide the fact that it's low, but if this was e.g. SLC flash with 100K endurance, you'd be able to write 50x more.

No mention of retention either, which makes me think SSDs today are more for temporary nonvolatile not-quite-RAM storage and not for more permanent applications.

2
hendry 3 days ago 2 replies      
On Amazon UK, the highest capacity Samsung SSD I can find is 2TB for 620GBP. So I am wondering when this 15TB we actually hit stores and what's the sweet spot price wise between 1 & 15TB.
3
Animats 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's awe inspiring to see fifteen terabytes of solid state storage in that little box.
4
antocv 3 days ago 3 replies      
Samsung can try to sell me 100TB SSD, and Ill decline thanks.

Their EVO drives suffer from read degradation slowly over long periods of time. See EVO 840, after about a year it was down to 20MiB/s of continuous read speed. An SSD they call that thing. They refused warranty and released a "Speed up flash warez tool now.exe" as help, which all it did was move the data around on the SSD in the background so as to keep up the charade that their SSDs dont suffer from manufacturing/design error.

5
scurvy 3 days ago 2 replies      
Why SAS and not NVMe? You can buy all NVMe enclosures/servers now.

Is this solely aimed at replacing drives in existing enclosures? Not much good there as most of them will be SAS6. They'll still work, but not nearly as fast as SAS12 nor NVMe.

6
NovaS1X 3 days ago 4 replies      
Impressive. First question that pops into mind is how long the rebuild time would take if one of these failed in a RAID. I can imagine it'll take a while.
7
dcip6s 3 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone care to take a guess how much the 15TB version will cost?
8
izzydata 3 days ago 0 replies      
I hope I can get a 1TB SSD for ~$100 in the near future. I'd love to replace all my HDD.
9
fakename 3 days ago 2 replies      
and a 2015 macbook pro still ships with 128gb
10
pcunite 3 days ago 0 replies      
Bye bye mechanical ...
20
Apple VP: The FBI wants to roll back safeguards that keep us ahead of criminals washingtonpost.com
299 points by ropiku  15 hours ago   97 comments top 12
1
rdtsc 12 hours ago 3 replies      
This is what good PR looks like.

In cases like this it is always FBI and the govt. which usually have the PR upper hand. They wait to find a most abhorent crime that nobody sane would want to defend (terrorism seems to work well today) and use that as an example. "Oh look everyone, Apple doesn't want to fight terrorism. We are keeping people safe and what side are they on?". It is almost too easy.

Fighting that is an uphill battle. One can present the technical details ("They could have cracked that particular model themselves") or appeal to more general ideals of freedom and privacy etc. Those typically are not as effective in convincing the average joe out there when the other side uses the "T" word.

But here they are playing the same card as FBI -- using a crime that most people can fear -- their phone getting stolen, their identity used. Everyone has heard stories, has friends at least who this happened to and so on. So it works well. Terrorism is more scary, but this is more real. Great work.

2
clhodapp 13 hours ago 5 replies      
What do we think the likelihood is that at least some of the three-letter agencies already have the capability to get into a locked iPhone (likely their method would be based on some sort of baseband vulnerability) and this whole thing is simply a bid to gain the ability to openly unlock these phones?
3
kriro 8 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems Apple is committed. As strange as it may sound, I wonder how that will influence recruiting. Apple was never really on my radar as an employer (silly as it may be I still categorize them in the "hipster and annoying apple store" bin). Their recent "hardline" regarding privacy has made them a nudge more attractive. And that's despite me usually favoring non-proprietary stuff for everything if possible.

Strange to catch yourself in these thoughts but the narrative seems to work.

4
mirimir 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Are the FBI "criminals", when they're breaking the law?
5
jkyle 13 hours ago 5 replies      
While I find security fascinating I would not consider myself expert in the low level implementation details or hard limitations of these specific systems.

Perhaps someone more knowledgable could clarify, but....

Isn't the entire point of good security that I don't have to "trust" Apple to do the right thing? Shouldn't it be impossible for them to do the wrong thing?

For example, if I encrypt my phone with my key and set it to secure delete after so many failures how could Apple circumvent this in a truly secure system? Shouldn't they not be able to push an update without my permission? Permission that can't be given because the phone can't be unencrypted?

So the fact that Apple can circumvent the encryption of they want is an indication of a vulnerable system?

6
malandrew 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Simply put "The FBI and other law enforcement agents want to make it easier for many criminals to commit many new crimes for the sake of solving a few crimes already committed"

Basically, the FBI's actions are tantamount to being accomplish to every crime they enable if they succeed in forcing us to make the iPhone knowingly vulnerable to law enforcement and criminals alike.

7
valine 14 hours ago 4 replies      
"They have suggested that the safeguards of iOS 7 were good enough and that we should simply go back to the security standards of 2013." This is interesting. Perhaps instead of requesting a custom version of iOS with specific vulnerabilities, the FBI should simply request a signed version of iOS 7.0. They could use existing vulnerabilities to gain access to the phone, without placing an undue burden on Apple.
8
lucio 14 hours ago 2 replies      
if you can access it, a determined criminal with a $5 wrench can too.

https://xkcd.com/538/

9
jgalt212 14 hours ago 2 replies      
There's gotta be a way for Apple to deliver the FBI the data they want without compromising every iPhone user.

And if Apple doesn't find a way, you can sure bet the NSA will work harder on its efforts to break the iPhone in the general case.

10
geographomics 14 hours ago 3 replies      
The backdoor is already present, through Apple's design. The FBI are just requesting to use it.
11
matt_wulfeck 12 hours ago 3 replies      
> The encryption technology built into todays iPhone represents the best data security available to consumers.

I appreciate Apple's willingness to fight, but this article could have benefited from less bragging PR talk and a little more humility. If the issue really is larger than Apple (and they are claiming it is) then we don't need this kind of messaging.

The message is that being forced to create a backdoor is bad for everyone, and they're doing it to Apple today but they'll do it for everyone else tomorrow.

12
empressplay 11 hours ago 3 replies      
I have sympathy for Apple's position but when they resort to hyperbole they seriously undermine that goodwill.

The "if we make this software, criminals will get their hands on it" argument is absurd. Does Apple have no faith in their own security? The FBI has at no point suggested the modified firmware would ever leave Apple's possession.

Does Apple have a problem with theft of internal code that I am not aware of?

Further, I'm just waiting for someone to transpose the argument, for example: "Apple says guns shouldn't be manufactured for any reason because they could kill someone" or "Apple says cars are unsafe and should be banned because people are killed in accidents."

facepalm

EDIT: Behaving like a bad actor even if you believe your cause is just still makes you a bad actor, albeit one with good intentions. If they want to win the argument they should stick to realistic positions and leave the manure shovelling to "those other people".

21
Let's code a TCP/IP stack, 1: Ethernet and ARP saminiir.com
299 points by ingve  23 hours ago   47 comments top 13
1
notalaser 20 hours ago 3 replies      
This is a discussion that has happened here before and has generated its share of sparks, but I'll risk it :-). It is hardly a problem in the context of a userspace TCP/IP stack (I don't think Linux runs on any machine with non 8-bit bytes); it's just a good illustration about the kind of pitfalls that programming at this level sometimes poses.

I would suggest being a little more careful with this:

> unsigned char dmac[6];

because there are several platforms, all of them high-performance, non-legacy processors, where unsigned char is not 8 bits :-). E.g. on AD's SHARC, it's 32. You're declaring the struct with __attribute__((packed)), so I assume you're going to want to fill it automatically through DMA at some point in the future. On such a platform, it won't have the expected results. A colleague got bit by this, on a device that's sitting on my desk right now, and it's not a vintage piece of equipment from the 60s.

I would suggest using uint8_t instead, just like you're using uint16_t a few lines below.

2
songgao 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Shameless plug: In case anybody is interested in playing with Ethernet frames in Go, I've got two tiny packages:

TUN/TAP: https://github.com/songgao/water Linux only for now)

Raw Ethernet: https://github.com/songgao/ether Linux, FreeBSD, Darwin)

3
dkopi 22 hours ago 3 replies      
Implementing ARP is an awesome introduction to networking and low level packet processing. This was often the first task I would give out during training for Real Time / Embedded programmers

A few things I'm missing for this to be a more complete ARP implementation:1. Answer Ip to Mac conversion requests from the above stack

2. Send an ARP Request if the mac is missing (+Retries)

3. Static ARP configurations (To prevent ARP spoofing attacks)

4. ARP entry aging. Otherwise you'll run really quickly into "ERR: No free space in ARP translation table\n"(And of course a much larger cache than 32 entries)

5. Ignore unsolicited ARP replies (Helps prevent ARP spoofing attacks as well)

6. use uint8_t instead of "unsigned char" for packet structures.

Awesome work!

4
arm 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of an old book on Open Transport I started reading for fun a few years ago (what I found particularly interesting about Open Transport was that it used Unix System Vs STREAMS instead of Berkeley sockets).

Anyway, I linked the book here because its actually quite well-written, and the introductory section in particular actually does a good job of describing basic networking concepts.

https://web.archive.org/web/20040626025717/http://developer....

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

https://developer.apple.com/legacy/library/documentation/Car...

https://web.archive.org/web/20041113084430/http://developer....

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

5
danieljp 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Should I write a TCP/IP stack in 2016, I would do it IPv6 only. There are several methods for translating IPv4 into IPv6 so that you can get both protocols working anyway. Writing it IPv4 only is useless and harder to extend later.And don't come to tell me that we are not using IPv6 please... ( https://www.google.com/intl/en/ipv6/statistics.html )[Edit: link]
6
pjc50 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Some while ago I wrote an ARP implementation in Verilog for FPGA use; a very simple state machine. Testing it (and the other TCP parts of the system) involved using the TUN/TAP devices to connect the simulation to real Ethernet and the application it was supposed to talk to.

TUN/TAP is very useful for doing nonstandard things with networks, implementing your own VPN, etc.

7
jws 19 hours ago 0 replies      
In my own TCP/IP stack I have defined things like IPv4 addresses and port numbers as unions instead of integers, and given them functions to convert to host order and back. e.g.

 typedef union { uint32_t net_order; uint8_t byte[4]; } ipv4_address; _Static_assert( sizeof(ipv4_address) == 4, "ipv4_address is not 4 bytes long"); static inline __attribute__((overloadable)) uint32_t as_host( ipv4_address a) { return other_order_32(a.net_order); } // more functions follow, like // bool equal(a,b) // int compare(a,b) // ipv4_address ipv4_address_from_host( uint32_t)
The nice part of this is that it would take an act of willful ignorance on my part to accidentally miss or over include a conversion from network order to host order.

The compiler is still happy to slam these around in registers like integers so I haven't changed the runtime performance. The downside is that C won't let you compare structs or unions with ==, so I have to have that equal() function which dirties the source code a bit.

That __attribute__((overloadable)) makes as_host() an overloadable function so I don't have to have a giant family of incredibly_long_function_names to convert all my different types to host byte order or to compare them with themselves.

That _Static_assert isn't terribly useful in this case, but there is one on all of the structures where I expect to have explicitly specified a layout. That way when the compiler tries to pull a fast one on me because some language lawyer spent too long reading the spec, I'll find out at build time.

8
Animats 21 hours ago 5 replies      
Nice. Retro C code. Declarations of working variables at the beginning of the function, and a call to "strcpy". Very 1980s.

Doing this in Rust would be a good exercise.

9
jnbiche 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Very interesting tutorial, more people should know about using tun/tap for directly accessing ethernet/ip frames.

However, please note that this is not production-capable code. Casting directly a struct directly into the data as a way to "parse" is easy and convenient, but ignores issues like endianness, alignment, etc. By all means, use a struct, but for production code, pick off the bits bit-by-by or word-by-word using appropriate bit operators and assign them to the struct members. Also, someone already mentioned the `char` issue with certain architectures. I'm sure I'm missing some other issues, since writing safe, portable C code isn't always obvious.

I look forward to reading the next part of these series.

10
FullyFunctional 16 hours ago 0 replies      
The is interesting and I hope it will get around to all of the modern implementation tweaks.

Hopefully not too off-topic but I would love to learn how we would have implemented a state-of-the-art global interconnect protocol today. There's of course efforts like http://named-data.net but what about the lower levels like about congestion control. Is dropping packages really the best paradigm?

EDIT: to be clear, I mean if starting from scratch in a world where IP never existed (and no backwards compatibility mattered).

11
godojo 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I would assume endianness to be an issue in such code. Where in these structs would the order need to be validated? Or am I wrong in thinking that the byte order matters for x86 targeted c network code?
12
superuser2 18 hours ago 0 replies      
It doesn't reach all the way down to ARP, but worth noting is UChicago's ChiTCP project in undergraduate Networks class:

http://chi.cs.uchicago.edu/chitcp/

13
p1mrx 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This is not an IP stack, per the modern definition of IP:

https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6540

22
Why Forcing Apple to Write and Sign Code Violates the First Amendment eff.org
248 points by morninj  3 days ago   108 comments top 13
1
rayiner 3 days ago 8 replies      
Note that the focus of the EFF's argument is not on writing the code, but on expressive act of signing the code. Part I of its argument establishes that the government cannot compel a company to convey a message it disagrees with. Part II argues that the act of conveying trust in code by signing it is still expression even though it involves code.

The EFF's framing has the advantage that it doesn't require the unworkable corollary that the government cannot dictate the content of code--and so operation of digital products--because "code is speech" in all circumstances.

2
sigmar 3 days ago 1 reply      
Other amicus briefs from today:

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2746620/Apple-Ami... Airbnb Inc., Atlassian Pty. Ltd., Automattic Inc., CloudFlare Inc., eBay Inc., GitHub Inc., Kickstarter PBC, LinkedIn Corporation, Mapbox Inc., A Medium Corporation, Meetup Inc., Reddit Inc., Square Inc., Squarespace Inc., Twilio Inc., Twitter Inc., and Wickr Inc.

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2746626/Apple-Ami...AT&T Mobility LLC

3
sbuttgereit 3 days ago 2 replies      
Not worrying about what the law actually is for a moment, what I'm a bit curious about is how some here likely support the invocation of rights under the First Amendment for Apple in this case, yet will maintain that First Amendment rights for companies shouldn't be recognized when other issues are at stake, such as a question of politics is involved (thinking the Citizens United case specifically). How does one resolve that contradiction in constitutional interpretation? (Yes I do know that historically constitutional rights have had partial applicability to companies recognized by courts... But even so that seems contradictory to the proper definition of a "right" guaranteed by the Constitution: either they apply or not.
4
otterley 3 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder why they didn't argue that it also violates the 13th Amendment's prohibition against involuntary servitude.
5
cm2187 3 days ago 2 replies      
Sort of off topic but I wonder why the most cited articles in the constitution are all amendments

 1st - free speech 2nd - bear arms 4th - searches and seizures 5th - self incrimination 6th - cruel and unusual punishments
I almost never hear any of the original articles being cited in any heated debate.

6
acgourley 3 days ago 4 replies      
Would it be contradictory to be OK with this argument but against the logic of the Citizens United ruling?
7
throwaway173197 3 days ago 1 reply      
Counterpoint: Since the government can compel you to testify about facts (without self-incrimination), compelled code-signing may not be a 1st amendment violation.

One could posit that code-signing is solely Apple stating that a given sequence of bytes has not been subsequently modified. You might even view Apple's EULA - that includes "AS IS" clauses disclaiming warranty and fitness for purpose - as supporting this interpretation.

8
swehner 3 days ago 5 replies      
I submit this is cynical. To call this speech is just misleading.

Laws will always be around to make people do things they don't want to do. To twist this into some kind of speech issue is silly.

9
ReedJessen 3 days ago 2 replies      
Doesn't the government force recalls of products like fault car accelerator pedals? Presumably theses are software fixes which the companies are compelled to write?
10
scelerat 2 days ago 0 replies      
This story reminded me I had allowed my EFF membership to lapse. Fixed.
11
daodedickinson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why can we force automobile manufacturers to include seat belts and air bags?
12
hoi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just wondering, what would be the legal case if this was not the USA?
13
pklausler 3 days ago 2 replies      
The gov't doesn't need to get Apple to write or sign anything; they just have to subpoena the private key and the source code.
23
Mr. Farts Favorite Colors medium.com
351 points by philfreo  1 day ago   62 comments top 13
1
Negitivefrags 1 day ago 8 replies      
I've run into the programmer vs normal person difference in thinking quite often with regard to customer support calls.

Occasionally I will be called by someone from some company or government department because they want to notify of something. Lets say for example, I forgot to pay my insurance bill.

At some point in the call they will ask me "I just need to verify your identity with some security questions." and ask me for something like my date of birth or my home address.

The only correct answer to this is "I can't give you that information. You called me. I have no idea who you are."

I'm always met with complete incredulity at this concept. About 50% of callers don't understand at all what I'm trying to get at. Most of the rest just don't have any idea how to continue.

What I tell them at this point is that the correct way to handle this is that they need to give me an extension number for them personally and I will find the external number of their company/dept myself on their website and then call them back.

Unfortunately a lot of these callers either can't (due to not having a personal extension number) or wont (it's off protocol I guess?).

The problem is, I feel like an asshole for taking a stand on things like this ("Why is this guy trying to make my job difficult"), but more people need to understand that it's all too easy to be socially engineered!

2
ivraatiems 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this is a fantastic article - and I thought it was genuinely funny, but my sense of humor is about 80% butt jokes so I think that's just an unusual alignment of my taste with the author's ;).

Now, allow me to take this article about irreduceable complexity and reduce its complexity: the question is not even about which shade of security gray to go with. It's an ongoing psychological battle between security and security theater, which is an unrelated set of activities that is almost, but not entirely, exactly unlike actual security.

Security theater operates on the level of what feels right, instead of what is logically right. That makes it powerful. It offers an appearance and feeling of safety, and there's value in that. Of course, if you ask someone "do you want a phone that feels safe or is actually safe," they'll pick the latter, but actually, they want and need both.

That's the problem with this issue. The general public doesn't feel the difference between these two domains clearly enough to know how dangerous the governments plan for the iPhone is - they don't understand that it shifts the balance wholly from security to security theater, when what you actually want is a blend of both. You need The Great Tagliatelle and the locked cockpit door. You need laminated paper and you need to have pilots with secret codes. Without security, an iPhone will still FEEL safe - it just won't be.

The problem is, feeling safe is good enough for most. That's why we mostly have metal locks and not giant flaming Doberman-lauching turrets on our lawns. Until the public gets the need for a balance, this debate will go nowhere fast, and the government - who is very used to getting its way - will skillfully play on our desire to feel safe in order to get what it needs.

3
rzimmerman 1 day ago 4 replies      
It is really surprising the amount of paranoia and thought that goes into software security compared to pretty much everything else. A driver's license is mostly a laminated piece of paper with some holograms. Social security numbers are 9 digit passwords you share over and over again that can't really be changed.

I was recently asked to sign a receipt at a store when I'd used Apple Pay. My phone uses a fingerprint reader to authorize a one-time-use token for payment that's transmitted in a cryptographically secure way. But that signature - that's the real unfakeable proof.

4
hueving 1 day ago 1 reply      
The anecdote about the airline industry in the US is half-correct. It's true that cockpit protocol didn't change after the German crash, but that's because the airlines in the US already have a better version than the German one. When a pilot leaves the cockpit to drop a grenade, a flight attendant must enter the cockpit to sit with the remaining pilot until the bomber returns.

While this doesn't protect against a completely insane pilot (he/she could kill the flight attendant), it does eliminate scenarios where the cockpit only has one person present.

5
dclowd9901 1 day ago 2 replies      
I have nothing to say other than, author, if you're reading this, this opinion was... There's no other word for it: utterly fantastic.
6
DrScump 1 day ago 0 replies      
<This is the moment you realize that some people just want to watch the world burn.>

Or, maybe the user is "kicking the tires" to see how robustly it was coded, concerned that poor data verification practices reflect weaknesses elsewhere in the code as well.

EDIT: s/inadequacies/weaknesses for clarity

7
gboudrias 1 day ago 2 replies      
Good article, very click-baity title.

The article is about software security and how it compares (or doesn't compare) to real-world security, and what this means for the Apple case.

What drew me in is mostly that the beginning is written in a very light-hearted style, so it's a pretty easy read at first.

8
jacobolus 1 day ago 1 reply      
In thinking like a technologist, this post is missing the context/subtext in the airline security game.

The metal detector makes the airplane neither more nor less safe than the security theater porno scanner machine, and the precheck also doesnt accomplish anything. The only reason most of the people need to be diverted through the porno scanner machine is that the federal government spent a few billion on them in a handout to some senators friends, and to scrap them now would make the tremendous waste of money obvious to everyone.

But at the same time, business travelers dont want to go through the new machines, so we let them pay a nominal fee (easily amortized down to trivial if you fly a few dozen times per year) to go through the old metal detectors instead. Bonus: they now get to take a shortcut in the security line that they didnt used to get. If someone without a real precheck manages to sneak through the metal detector line by counterfeiting some paper token, it isnt a real security risk.

9
wangii 1 day ago 2 replies      
I was astonished by how un-safe the road/traffic system really is 8 years ago when I started to learn driving. Just think about it, driving on road is extremely vulnerable: any other driver on the road could make a small mistake to get you both killed, accidentally or intentionally. Yet the road system is far more secure than its cyberspace counter part. Why?

* Potential damage is roughly symmetric. A bad/evil driver might kill others but very likely also kill himself.

* Threat is local. There is no way a bad/evil driver to kill all the drivers.

* The road system as a whole does not have the single point of failure.

I think the claim in the article is dangerously wrong. We should never be given a binary choice in such big issue.

10
kyberias 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really liked the style of writing in this piece. The author certainly should consider writing a book. Reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell.
11
dstroot 1 day ago 0 replies      
Best read in months. Thanks for posting this.
12
jessaustin 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Mr. Fart" is the best nickname for them yet, much better than that "Female Body Inspectors" one sees on t-shirts.
13
purpled_haze 1 day ago 0 replies      
The best security: be honest and place complete trust in those you employ. Hire people you trust. If there is nothing that is blocking you, then morale is higher, and people get more focused on what is important. If there is nothing to break into, there is less temptation. Your employees won't be perfect, but if they are trusted, if you let things be, there's a good chance everything will be fine- at least as fine as it would have otherwise.
24
Tim Sweeney: Microsoft wants to monopolise games development on PC theguardian.com
257 points by saint-loup  3 days ago   283 comments top 46
1
optimiz3 3 days ago 7 replies      
This is pretty one-sided. UWP is nice for users because it sandboxes apps that are built for it.

Some benefits:

1. I know the game won't dump save and log files in my Documents folder (that place is mine, GTFO).

2. I know there won't be garbage files or side effects in the registry when I uninstall the app.

3. The game can't install rootkit-like spyware to inspect other processes on my system (hello Warden).

It would be nice if there was a way to distribute UWP apps outside the Windows Store, but UWP apps are way easier to trust than Win32 apps.

2
ewzimm 3 days ago 0 replies      
It seems strange to be so vocal about it with such a weak argument. The three points he says it needs are: 1. Being able to install from the web. 2. Being able to integrate with other stores. 3. Not locking it down in the future.

According to Microsoft, 2 was always possible, 1 was fixed in November (it was previously possible but required bypassing some things), so that leaves only 3, promising to never lock it down in the future.

This idea that Microsoft could lock down its platform in the future is nothing new, and part of the nature of having a proprietary platform. It really isn't up to them to fix this problem. It's up to developers to make their software available on free and open platforms where they know that no future lockdown is possible.

3
throwaway13337 2 days ago 2 replies      
Looks like Microsoft finally found a way to eat Valve's lunch - release a windows API that forces you to only publish via their app store.

I'm surprised this is the first they've done this. In a way, Valve has been reaping the same benefits of Apple and Google without supporting an OS.

It's too bad things are headed completely in this direction. Rent seeking app stores have shown that there is little resistance from developers even with ridiculous margins (30% of revenue!).

4
frik 2 days ago 1 reply      
Windows 10 Mobile is dead, 1.1% market share of all Windows Phone version in Q4 2015, see IDC: https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS40980416 or a critical non-advertisement article http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/28/10864034/windows-phone-is-... )

And what Microsoft does to force Windows 7 users to 10 is shaddy. Welcome to the old new Microsoft, with their evil tactics and nowadays also with software that spy's on you. So mean, shame on them. So sad, I really like Microsoft products from the 1995-2010 timeframe, and now have to replace all the legacy, though I have time until at least 2020.

5
mdip 3 days ago 2 replies      
Maybe I missed it in reading the article but what, specifically, is not available to developers if they choose to write the application against the typical Win32 APIs?

Are they, for instance, making certain hardware accelerated APIs only available for UWP apps? If so, are these APIs designed in such a way as to prevent someone from creating an API that runs on top of Win32 that exposes the capabilities (i.e. by requiring drivers be locked down in such a way as to disallow interaction outside of UWP)?

I can't see a way outside of driver feature lock-out that the OS could effectively prevent game developers from developing games the way they have been in the past. I'm guessing this has a lot to do with their "Write it for Xbox One and it'll work on Windows 10, too" goals, but that feels more like a convenience than a lock-in -- games are a constant exercise of porting to get them on each platform, so getting them onto a non-UWP target would be another platform (which many developers would simply skip since UWP would be theoretically easier).

6
madspindel 2 days ago 8 replies      
I don't really understand the problem here. Windows is an open plattform. I can install Steam. I can listen to Spotify. Browse the web with Google Chrome.

If you don't like the Universal Windows Platform, well. Don't release your games on it. I have heard Steam is a quite popular alternative...

7
chokolad 2 days ago 1 reply      
BTW, Phil Spencer posted this on twitter

https://twitter.com/XboxP3/status/705795213709561857

UWP is a fully open ecosystem, available to every developer, and can be supported by any store. Broad range of tools http://bit.ly/1QIHTf0

8
glaberficken 3 days ago 4 replies      
I have a kind of mixed feeling about this.So if you do a mobile OS its ok to have app walled gardens, but on Windows you cant?

Won't we always have the "option" of going the Linux way?

I think it's really telling that Valve has been investing heavily in developing it's Linux gaming econsystem, they saw this comming a mile away.

9
pjmlp 3 days ago 3 replies      
So Tim Sweeney apparently is fine with Apple, Google, Sony and Nintendo controlling their eco-systems, only Microsoft cannot do it.
10
SloopJon 3 days ago 2 replies      
What we've learned from Steam and Apple's app stores is that users will make a Faustian bargain if they see the terms as favorable enough, especially when it lowers prices. This in turn attracted developers.

However, with the history of PlaysForSure, Zune, Games for Windows, Windows Phone, and the Windows Store, I don't have much confidence that Microsoft will win the hearts and minds of users or developers this time around.

11
sgdread 2 days ago 0 replies      
The second Microsoft will try to lock down distribution of software from platforms like Steam and GoG to gain competitive advantage and profits, they will be sued by Steam, EA and other platform owners.Apple with 10 major book publishers tried to do same on eBooks markets with Amazon. Ended up bad for them."Sue the bastards!" (c) Richard Branson
12
staticelf 3 days ago 2 replies      
I really like the initiative of UWP but I agree with the author that you should be able to install UWP-apps from any source. Is it really true that you can't?

Maybe it's time for game developers like Epic to support Linux and make gamers choose linux as their desktop, that would probably create a surge of new users and contributions to the linux desktop development and maybe finally provide a "real" alternative.

Why I am running Windows is mostly because I can't stand all the issues with Linux desktops and that graphic drivers and games barely exist on the platform, I am loving Valves support though.

13
endergen 2 days ago 3 replies      
Does anyone know exactly which features you don't get access to unless going through their distribution?

Cause anything short of not getting the latest drivers or something or anything that affects performance or existing feature sets isn't the worst thing ever. Ok it's lame to try to close a system that's been open forever. But this is exactly what Apple is doing with their App Store, minus I believe preventing any serious Platform APIs from being called.

14
cyanbane 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is the core of this that game purchaser is losing the ability to purchase this type of game from other channels and forced to from the MS store in exchange for this game being able to run on any hardware (Win 10/XBox One/Windows Mobile)that runs UWP. Are they betting that a lot of PC gamers may see value in knowing that an app is vetted and will work with minimal configuration on their PC in exchange for only using this channel for purchase? Is the hardware amalgamation of PC and Xbox Live that bad to the end user or just the game devs or just to 3rd party AAA title devs that have to compete with MS's AAA titles and bargain to get into this new channel?
15
pearle 3 days ago 0 replies      
Polygon podcast [1] where Tim is interviewed about his article:

[1] http://www.polygon.com/2016/3/4/11159584/tim-sweeney-windows...

16
joewood1972 2 days ago 2 replies      
The problem with an open distribution system is that it easy to abuse, and that leads to security problems. Most of us all know non-IT literate family members that have clicked through a web advert advertising to "speed up your computer" to end up installing some bad spyware/malware or whatever. I'm happy for Windows to become a walled garden by default, as long there's an easy option to switch it off.
17
macspoofing 3 days ago 1 reply      
Tim Sweeney is pissed at Microsoft for trying to do what Apple and Google already done on mobile devices.
18
exodust 2 days ago 0 replies      
So much speculation in the article and in the comments.

I won't pretend I'm across the whole doomsday prophesy implied, but... a lot of the reason (not 100%, but a lot of the reason) why many gamers own a Windows PC is for Steam.

Okay, so I have no data to back that up except... lots of my younger cousins and nephews and their friends who beg their parents (and me) for a new graphics card so they can run this or that game. They are ALL on Steam, it's in their blood. They might do a bit of homework and multimedia stuff on their Windows boxes, but Steam is a major application, not least of because the social integration and features that run very deep within the Steam network.

Microsoft trying to ruin that party will be like Google trying to convince everyone Google Buzz is the social platform of the future. Barely a pebble in the pond rippled from that attempt, and Microsoft are no strangers to the art of pebble-throwing.

19
ekianjo 2 days ago 0 replies      
This post is like Stockholm's Syndrome: "Oh Microsoft please don't close your platform. Because anyway we want to keep using it no matter what". You know, you could have chosen to mention Linux instead or keeping your hands tied. But no, Tim likes to be a prisoner.
20
Eyas 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems like the real complaint is that Windows Store lock-in is bad (which might be the case for distributers, jury is out for me whether its bad for gamers).

Universal Windows Platform, however, is an API that is strictly better and safer in many cases. It means an app can run on phone and PC, be sandboxed, offers power and lifecycle management features which the Win32 API does not, and a generally saner API.

21
jsingleton 2 days ago 1 reply      
This image caption struck me:

 Minecraft is developed by Swedish company Mojang. Will future games be developed now that Microsoft is closing its borders?
I hope this was added afterwards by the guardian. I'm pretty sure Tim wouldn't have missed the MS acquisition. You can bet anything Minecraft will be in the Windows Store.

22
kregasaurusrex 2 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like this is going to become a tipping point for which Vulkan and DirectX offer competing system calls for accessing a computer's GPU. The UWP being shown here will be essentially locking developers into using the DirectX library and drop future support for Vulkan against what users want to see in gaming as being platform-agnostic. Coming into this console generation, gamers wanted to see games from AAA publishers be able to come out on X1/PS4/PC faster because of similar system calls; such that code for one platform wouldn't require a total re-write to work on the others. MS is now wanting to lock out developers from using an open platform such that their calls will be different and "better" than those made by an open one.
23
mastax 2 days ago 1 reply      
The day Microsoft kills Win32 is the day Windows dies.
24
MikusR 2 days ago 0 replies      
Epic is just transitioning their Unreal launcher into a storefront. So they need to launch an attack on competitor. Similarly when Windows 8 launched Steam owner (Gabe Newell) also ranted against Windows store.
25
WhoBeI 2 days ago 0 replies      
A bit half arsed though..

They could have signing certificates that automatically timeout and force publishers to update often and then charge for the certification. Publishers can always get a little extra by paying for the "editor's pick" feature. Oh, and also, because users despise long downloads why not have a normal and premium download rate for both publishers and end users.

And leaving an off switch in there... I think someone got a chair in the head.

26
Animats 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's clear where this is going. Apple did it first, with rigid control of the IOS platform. Then Google gradually tightened the screws on Android apps. Now it's Microsoft's turn.

It's not just about games. It's about control of the app business. Apple won't let you sell an IOS app that competes with an Apple product. In time, neither will Microsoft.

27
vamur 2 days ago 0 replies      
Steam has a defacto monopoly for gaming on Windows and there are over 2000 games for Linux on Steam. So Microsoft would be foolish to try and restrict games to their own app store. That would be the end of Windows as a gaming platform. And given Microsoft's past efforts failing miserably it's unlikely whatever they come up with this time can win on its own.
28
pearle 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good for him, I hope others speak out as well.
29
gehrforce1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't most of this because they also want the same apps to run on Xbox, Phone, Hololens, etc?
30
bitmapbrother 3 days ago 2 replies      
Tim has nothing to worry about. Microsoft was never a player in PC gaming and never will be. Steam is PC gaming. Microsoft has tried a couple of times to take on Steam and have failed spectacularly. Microsoft should either try and buy Steam (although Gabe would never sell) or embrace it.
31
CleanCut 2 days ago 1 reply      
My studio, Agile Perception, will be boycotting UWP. I'm glad Tim brought this to light. I was wondering whether or not our next project should include UWP. https://agileperception.com
32
rl3 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's bad news when Tim Sweeney decries the very existence of your platform.
33
shmerl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hopefully stronger push for Linux gaming will prevent this kind of thing.
34
Skoofoo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft is trying to monopolize an industry? Stop the presses!

I wish Microsoft never entered the video game industry in the first place. They made it worse for everyone for their own profit.

35
sfunk1x 3 days ago 3 replies      
Rings a bit hollow.

Easy solution - don't develop games for Windows or Xbox!

36
pmarreck 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can't someone come up with an open-source Linux OS fork that is designed mainly for games?

Oh, wait... Valve is trying that. ;)

37
wnevets 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hope game devs remember the train wreck that was games for windows.
38
ryao 3 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe the publishers should start publishing exclusively for sane PC platforms like Mac OS X and Linux instead of Windows. I believe that they can do all three via Steam though.
39
dragonbonheur 2 days ago 0 replies      
Long live Win32 and Linux!
40
superuser2 2 days ago 4 replies      
Epic (in the context of Windows and software) is an electronic medical records company in Wisconsin. Might want to specify that this is Epic Games; that was confusing at first.
41
ekke 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice photo caption fail: "Minecraft is developed by Swedish company Mojang. Will future games be developed now that Microsoft is closing its borders?"

In the light of: https://mojang.com/2014/09/yes-were-being-bought-by-microsof...

42
dang 2 days ago 0 replies      
43
parenthephobia 3 days ago 1 reply      
Meta: HN's title could stand to be less vague. Not everyone knows who Tim Sweeney is. Readers might confuse him with Tim Cook!
44
serge2k 2 days ago 1 reply      
I couldn't get past the first paragraph. The FUD is strong with this article.
45
tobltobs 3 days ago 3 replies      
Maybe it wasn't a good idea of them to support the gaming monoculture called Windows for the last 20 years.
46
drzaiusapelord 2 days ago 2 replies      
At the end of the day, Win10 is a mobile OS with some legacy desktop support. I think once we see it for what it is, we'll be more comfortable with it. Does this guy from Epic have a problem with publishing these games to iphone/ipad? The game changed pretty quickly and Nadella has no interest in re-creating Win7 or going back to Desktop OS's and open-ish platforms. This is the new reality for MS, good or bad. Personally, I'm not happy with it, but I think people should be aware of what it means to upgrade to Win10 and be part of the modern MS ecosystem.

edit: really 4 downvotes? Care to tell me what is wrong in my comment. Are you guys really defending Win10 and Nadella here? This is his vision - iOS-like system on the desktop and that 30% app revenue. Being cognizant of that should be a positive.

25
War Is a Racket (1935) ratical.org
280 points by pmoriarty  14 hours ago   134 comments top 19
1
pgnas 13 hours ago 10 replies      
I read this and I think of the courage that it must have taken to write, however, I quickly realize that my thoughts are based on today's mindset where questioning the government gets you labeled a conspiracy nut or traitor.

We have been warned by many about the military industrial complex, yet, it doesn't sink in.

Our current president was elected on promises of ending these wars and somehow he will go down in history as the champion of military occupation and perpetuating conflicts in places we don't belong.

Truth is that peace doesn't make money, it doesn't grease the wheels of industry, the difference is that where is the industry? It used to be that the US would at least benefit from the industry through employment and tax revenue, but what if the production is no longer in the US? Who benefits then? I can tell you with accuracy who doesn't ..

2
pmoriarty 14 hours ago 4 replies      
"But the soldier pays the biggest part of the bill"

I'm not sure how it was in Butler's time, but I've read that the overwhelming majority of casualties in modern warfare are civilians. It would seem to me that they are the ones who pay "the biggest part of the bill".

Not that I would deny that the people doing the mass murder can themselves become the victims of war. But I'd personally have more sympathy for civilians who are not trying to murder others but are themselves murdered.

3
ghouse 14 hours ago 2 replies      
"The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost taxpayers $4 trillion to $6 trillion, taking into account the medical care of wounded veterans and expensive repairs to a force depleted by more than a decade of fighting" - Washington Post, March 28, 2013
4
chishaku 11 hours ago 0 replies      
> Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn't they?

A couple notes on the war drum:

The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force [0] targeting the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks has been invoked to deploy US armed forces to Afghanistan, the Philippines, Georgia, Yemen, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq, Somalia and Syria. [1][2]

A new proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force [3] targeting ISIS, "its associated forces," and "any successor organizations" is arguably more open-ended.

The author of the proposal, Lindsey Graham (Senior Senator from South Carolina), seeks to grant the next president "the ability to go after ISIS without limitation to geography, time and means." [4]

[0]: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-107sjres23enr/html/BILLS...

[1]: https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/aumf-071013.pdf

[2]: https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R43760.pdf

[3]: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/sjres26/text

[4]: http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/policy-budget/congr...

5
p4wnc6 13 hours ago 6 replies      
My understanding of many of the most recent military engagements by the US is that they are basically sandbox experiments for prototyping new warfare tech and tactics, especially to study things like asymmetric urban warfare in which the distinction between combatant and civilian is difficult.

We enter the conflicts under whatever pretext is popularized in the media, but the real reason is to fuel warfare R&D efforts, grow surveillance infrastructure, and collect data that reflects situations our military leaders forecast to be important.

Large contracting firms profit. Soldiers lose time, often also money, often their mental health and family relationships, and sometimes their lives. Taxpayers lose money. Foreign civilians lose their lives. Few benefits are ever given to soldiers or foreigners, if they are even paid lip service with promises of benefits at all.

It's basically a string of smaller scale proxy wars to fuel tech, surveillance, and population control between larger, "actual" wars.

I fear we are already past a point where democratic process could stop it. I think by now it would require almost an actual revolt from U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, and that it would be bloody, and that part of the military engineering being studied is exactly how much civilians will tolerate before being pushed to the point of revolt.

As long as you can watch Netflix on your iPad and put it out of your mind, then while it might ruffle your feathers, you won't actually take action that could jeopardize your creature comforts. Even things like Occupy Wall Street seem like they are more data collection opportunities than anything else. "OK, so they will protest via X, Y, and Z, but too few of them can be pushed to do A, B, or C for us to care."

It's a very depressing feeling. In the meantime, just like everyone else, I have to worry about money, family, life goals, comforts, health, and all my biases push me to ignore the military industrial conflict, because already giving it maybe 1/100th of my overall bandwidth is exceedingly depressing. Something close to 40% of the country believes in young earth creationism. Open up to a highly-visited YouTube video and scroll down to the comments and behold the inanity of how we use our time and what our priorities are.

How could enough people possibly coordinate beliefs and actions around humanity-affirming rebukes of the military industrial complex? Of course they won't, so then I guess I'd better put my brain towards how to live in a world where they won't, which is too depressing to think about... and the cycle continues.

I'm sure it has been articulated even earlier than the early 1900s. It's just goes on and on.

6
Terr_ 13 hours ago 0 replies      
> "[It's] peace, not war, that makes wealth for a country. War just transfers possession of the residue from the weaker to the stronger. Worse, what is bought with blood is sold for coin, and then stolen back again. [...] It's a wondrous transmutation, where the blood of one man is turned into the money of another. Lead into gold is nothing to it."

-- "The Curse of Chalion", by Lois McMaster Bujold

7
Animats 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Butler is famous, but not for his US military service. For his military service with the United Fruit Company and duPont.[1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smedley_Butler

8
kingkawn 1 hour ago 0 replies      
War allows populations that don't share markets to still develop markets in relationship to each other for weapons, infrastructure repair, etc.
9
yourapostasy 3 hours ago 0 replies      
If you liked Butler's perspective, then you will probably also like Garet Garrett's [0] oeuvre. He was an outspoken critic of WWI, and of America's entry into WWII until after Pearl Harbor. His position against an imperial America delivers a wider context to Butler's field experience as handmaiden to American power elites' ambitions accomplishing just that outcome.

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

10
carsongross 11 hours ago 0 replies      
For those who are interested, a good book on the history of opposition to war is:

http://www.amazon.com/We-Who-Dared-Say-War/dp/1568583850

It was written by a leftist and libertarian/paleoconservative working together, so you will likely find something you love and something you hate in it, as with all good books.

I very much regret my early support for the Iraq war.

11
mxfh 12 hours ago 0 replies      
While Butler was quite spot on with his early 1930s post-mortem assessment of WWI, a less isolationist approach might have possibly lessened the scale of WWII.

Some aspects of it's stance, like home territory limited military presence and exclusive zones of interest are simply obsolete in an era of ICBMs and satellites.

For some context and general description of sentiment in the 30s:

https://www.americanhistoryusa.com/power-of-isolationists-be...

https://history.state.gov/milestones/1937-1945/american-isol...

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutrality_Acts_of_1930s

12
Cieplak 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me very much of Eisenhower's farewell address from 1961:

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisenhower's_farewell_address

13
nihonde 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket. Eric Hoffer (paraphrase
14
ForcesOfOdin 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I love Smedley Butler! Good link. Always wiki - the business plot to see how corporate america tried to get Smedley Butler to lead a military coup of mercenaries against the US government during FDR's presidency.
15
basicplus2 5 hours ago 1 reply      
War is always connected to money... here is an example..

http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/allwarsarebankerwa...

16
0x99 14 hours ago 4 replies      
While it is hard to argue with the points in the article, there is this concept of 'global influence' or influence on global politics, which is hard to put a $ value on.

Hasn't this global influence played a huge part in maintaining USA as a global superpower ?

17
glasz 5 hours ago 0 replies      
i am surprised butler got this far on hn. read this before the next elections. before the next assad. before your friends and relatives go on tours with the troops.
18
griffinmahon 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I read an NYT article a while ago that made the argument that the effect of people who did not support the Vietnam War evading the draft was a military that was, twenty or so years later, when the people who did join became senior, very conservative or willing to wage war. Along the lines of the critical theory idea that some of the Left have become ineffective by not involving themselves in actual politics, I think it's important to not be deterred by this idea of war, as the only way the military-industrial complex will change is if people with better values come to make up more of the military. Maybe this will come to be the case as younger people see decreasing future job prospects and turn to the military as a career.
19
arca_vorago 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have read through the comments, and it strikes me that I dont see more combat vets on here. I knew some really smark hackers while I was in the Marine Corps, even though I was just a bullet sponge grunt in OIF/OEF.

It also gladens my heart just to see my favorite Marine, Smedley Butler, get some "air time". It does dissapoint me that so many in the comments are making escuses for war as a profit or r&d center, or for war crimes prosecutions of what are essentially pawns on a grander chessboard.

In the Marine Corps, a lot of people have a hardon for Chesty Puller, but the phrase I used to use is "If you like Chest more than Smedley you do the country and the Corps a disservice." Why? Because not only did Smedley Butler wake up and realize the true nature of the part he played, but he spoke out against it, and beyond that, something I havent seen mentioned yet but something I think is of the utmost importance is his thwarting of the business plot. His convressional hearing testimony is vital to understanding the modern racket of war, and now we have the unredacted version, (though still not his full testimony, because it was heavily edited before even entering the record). If you havent read the unredacted testimony, I highly suggest it.

All that being said, war indeed is a racket, and it continues to be. The WFA (waste fraud and abuse) I saw in Iraq by contractors is barely the icing on the racket cake. There is a reason that something like the richest three counties in the US are in Virginia. The true racket though, is much larger than the contractor world, and primarily involves banking and resource oriented interests.

I spent a long time voraciously reading anything I thought could help me understand the bigger geostrategic/political chessboard, and my primary conclusion about the wars were that resource wars are on the horizon, and the wars were destabilizing measures designed to contain China and Russia by prevention of resource pipelines being built to them. Take a look at the maps of resources and their pipelines...

The other factor is that the traditional nation state actor threat model is being upended by texhnology, to the point that the military industrial congressional complex isadjusting very quickly.

My primary problem with this is how much the people of the US have been lied to and misled. If the United States has some interest in destabilizing an area, I would prefer that this just be said and the case be made outright, instead of sending young dumb warriors like myself to die for causes they dont understand and are lied to about. You want to know where I feel like the primary failure lies at? Every O-5 and above officer who just went along with it and didnt pushback against the Cheney, Bremer, Wolfowitz, Rumsfield bunch of Chicago school Straussian neocons backed by Kissinger and Brezenski. When you cant tell me what my fucking objective is, how can I be expected to accomplish it?

In truth, where we are headed currently is a return to the tripolar world, but in this move, I think we will never fully understand the almost complete subversion of our government that has happened at the behest of the globalists. Smedley Butler caught a glimpse of the beast and had the courage to fight against it openly. He will continue to be my favorite Marine until I die.

Oh, and for any of you touting the economic benefits of war, I hope you never are on the ground on either side when that benefit is being extracted by blood and corruption...

26
Biggest patent troll of 2014 gives up, drops appeal arstechnica.com
222 points by imglorp  2 days ago   60 comments top 4
1
MichaelBurge 2 days ago 4 replies      
If they're a shell company, I wonder if they'll actually end up paying the fee or just declare bankruptcy and start another shell company. Can the owners be made to pay the fee?
2
toomuchtodo 2 days ago 1 reply      
The ArsTechnica piece says the judge ruled the patent invalid. I assume that overrides the USPTO?

"eDekka's patent, which had been used to sue a wide array of online retailers, described nothing more than "the abstract idea of storing and labeling information," Gilstrap found. Those were "routine tasks that could be performed by a human" and didn't meet the standard for getting a patent. Gilstrap ruled the patent invalid."

3
steveeq1 2 days ago 1 reply      
Didn't they pass some law making patent trolling a lot harder to do? People keep telling me this, but this behavior seems to continue.
4
JDiculous 2 days ago 2 replies      
How the hell does something like this get granted a patent? https://www.google.com/patents/US6266674
27
Proselint proselint.com
314 points by g1n016399  11 hours ago   102 comments top 38
1
jonstokes 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm a writer and editor, and I dislike the idea of this tool quite a bit.

1. Writing isn't coding. In coding, you can do various types of "cargo cult programming" and "copypasta" and what-have-you -- in other words, as long as the code runs you don't necessarily have to know why or how a programming idiom or convention works, or how/why expressing it one way in code is better than expressing it another way in code. This definitionally untrue with writing. If you don't know the why/how of something, then it's better for you to botch it and let the reader attempt to parse it so at least they know what they're dealing with and how to interpret it ("oh, this guy's a non-native speaker, so I'll adjust my reception accordingly" or "ah, this person is kind of clueless about the whole sexist language thing, which is good info for me.").

2. 90% of writing style advice falls into one of two categories: a) hotly debated, and b) totally wrong. Most of it is in the latter category, and this includes Strunk & White (just use google for numerous takedowns of that text). I looked through the PR queue and saw that it consists of eager coders finding style advice from various sources and trying to work that into the tool. That is terrible, terrible, terrible... This will guarantee that the tool will represent a collection of awful writing advice gleaned from dubious sources and wielded with unforgiving ignorance.

This tool may be a terrible idea, but the idea of automated prose linting is not terrible. Most beginner to intermediate writers have tics, and as an editor I often have a couple of writer-specific find/replace things I do when I get a new piece from a particular writer (e.g. "this person uses 'however' when she means 'but', and this person overuses these four business jargon terms, etc.). If editors were able to easily compose and execute writer-specific linters from within something like Wordpress, that would probably be pretty great.

But this particular command line tool is destined to be either totally unused or massively abused.

I'm sorry, I hate to be mean... or, actually, there is a small part of me that enjoys playing Mr. Party Pooper when I see a mob of enthusiastic programmers trying to tie down some great cultural Gulliver with a thousand tiny little automated, black-and-white rules.

2
IanCal 7 hours ago 4 replies      
This sounds interesting. As a bit of constructive criticism, please put some examples high up.

You tell me it does cool things. Great, show me. I've looked about on the various pages and can see only one example and I don't understand it:

 text.md:0:10: wallace.uncomparables Comparison of an uncomparable: 'unique' can not be compared.
What's the context of this, what's the error it would have caught in my writing?

The tool is in a perfect place to show this off as it's text.

3
gepoch 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
4
rosser 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I can see a lot of value for this sort of tool, and might even play with it myself, for sake of evaluating whether or not to incorporate its suggestions into my writing. At the same time, however, I have some wariness that its widespread use could actually have a shaping, and, specifically homogenizing, effect on language. For me, a large part of the beauty of language is how facile it is, how judiciously breaking its rules can create a more artful and compelling means of expression than linted if you will, "prosaic" prose seems likely to offer.
5
dcw303 9 hours ago 1 reply      
This sounds promising, but I think a lot of potential users would be deterred by the lack of examples.

This positively screams for a online interface to test drive.

6
MichaelBurge 7 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're on Ubuntu, you want to run 'pip3 install proselint' rather than 'pip install proselint'.

I ran it on a couple 800 word emails and it didn't catch anything except me using 2 spaces instead of 1 in one place. I also ran it on my city's sidewalk maintenance ordinance, and it didn't report anything.

7
MatthewWilkes 6 hours ago 1 reply      
While the idea is interesting, I do worry about the proliferation of linting to prose. Especially the hint about authoritative near the end of the article. Linters turn guidelines into steadfast rules in programming, removing all ability to use judgement if you want your PR merged. I personally want less of that, not more.
8
czechdeveloper 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know about similar tool for scientific papers? Specifically to help non native English speakers to write high quality scientific papers?
9
stared 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Is it already in Atom or Sublime Text?

EDIT: I must be blind - they say about ST plugin (although they don't link to it). https://packagecontrol.io/packages/SublimeLinter-contrib-pro...

10
kbenson 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Ah, another part of my brain I can offload to an external source. It will be interesting when we get to "social-lint", so those of us that are no good at social interactions (through lack of ability or lack of willingness to spend the effort to combat that with ) or that feel they spend far too much brainpower on social interactions to make up for lack of natural ability can benefit.
11
yitchelle 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Can someone explain in layman's terms how this is any better from an app like the Hemmingway Editor [0]? Both analyses the text and makes suggestions to make it better.

[0]- http://www.hemingwayapp.com/

12
nmstoker 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks really interesting. I'd done some preliminary investigation into whether this kind of concept might work for the style guide at my company, but I never got time to take it further.

Is there any word on business model / the intentions of the developers? Is it something that's being open sourced and then integration assistance would be commercialised?

13
squimmy 9 hours ago 4 replies      
I question how useful a tool like this is for a skilled writer.

Prose isn't code.

Many key elements of good writing are based around the idea of knowing the rules, and then carefully breaking them.

14
vpontis 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Can someone who has tried this share their experience?

It sounds really awesome but it's very hard to tell if it's going to be more annoying or more useful. Maybe it would be useful to have some example linting errors on the homepage.

Either way, I really love the idea!

15
timlyo 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Going through the example, it comes up with:

> Get that off of me before I catch on fire!> Needless variant. 'catch fire' is the preferred form

I don't think I've ever heard anyone say "catch fire" rather than "catch on fire".

From the UK if that changes anything.

16
kmfrk 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is very cool and needed, thank you.

Could you include a sample .proselintrc? rc files tend to have very different opinions on how to be formatted: dictionaries, JSON, bash-argument syntax, and so on. (EDIT: Ah, found one: https://github.com/amperser/proselint/blob/cd428bb0ecc5530c1.... Cant quite get it to ignore butterick, though.)

I find it a little curious that you use a Markdown example and lint for curly quotes and unicode ellipses by default (butterick), since Markdown discourages such pre-formatting in its syntax, but thats just hairsplitting, of which I can tell by your swelling Issues count that you have plenty of as it is. :)

Looking forward to some formatting/syntax highlighting in the CLI output, but I know you have your hands full as it is.

17
synthmeat 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's a suggestion...

Have copy on web site be intentionally incorrect, red-underlined with (small modals? tooltips?) that show what's been corrected/suggested by the tool.

18
raphman_ 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Are there any plans to support rules for texts written in other languages (e.g., German)? Would a set of such rules fit within the scope of this project or is proselint purposely or inherently limited to English prose? (@suchow
19
kaeluka 6 hours ago 0 replies      
20
segphault 8 hours ago 3 replies      
The main problem with a tool like this it that it needs to understand sentence structure in order to find a lot of common anti-patterns. Without some natural language processing, it's just going to be able to scan for word usage and simple things that you can catch with a regex. You could probably build something a lot more sophisticated on top of something like Apple's NSLinguisticTagger and related APIs.

After testing this against a dozen of my blog posts, I'm not terribly impressed with the output. I get more immediate value out of MarkedApp's keyword drawer and word repetition visualization.

21
Dowwie 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you for working on this project and sharing it.

One of the more challenging sections in the GMAT entails sentence correction. A proselint-enabled GMAT prep for sentence correction would be very valuable.

22
gansai 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Will this be used by automated content creators? For example, lots of articles on some of news websites (including wikipedia) are written by bots. So the bot would write an article, invoke proselint and correct, if required?
23
edwinyzh 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Very interesting, and I'm looking into integrating it to http://WritingOutliner.com or as a separate Word addin) :
24
vram22 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Ha ha, slightly related fun snippet I wrote:

http://jugad2.blogspot.in/2015/07/cut-crap-absolutely-essent...

25
vortico 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I was skeptical that it would only detect obvious issues, but the sheer number of built-in checks is surprising. I'll try this on the next large text I write.
26
amelius 5 hours ago 2 replies      
What kinds of NLP technique does this system use?

Is it possible to specify new rules in a high-level way?

Can it learn from examples?

Does it work on a sentence-by-sentence basis only, or does it "grasp" complete paragraphs?

27
willvarfar 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Its a python module? I'm looking forward to making a Pelican plugin so my mate can start checking his blog for glaring errors before he posts! :)
28
jake-low 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been interested in linters and style checkers for English prose for a while, and I'm excited to try this out!

To the author(s): Your website, as far as I could tell, doesn't tell me how to install it; I had to go to GitHub to realize it was pip-installable. You should consider adding that to the main page.

29
zimpenfish 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Most important question - How many linguists are on the team developing this?
30
kylemathews 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice idea.

Bug report it told me I had too many exclamation marks in a Markdown file with a number of images in it.

31
jcoffland 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to run this against campaign speeches as a unbiased way of judging the quality of prose. Surely content is more important but still it would be fun.
32
stared 3 hours ago 2 replies      
What is wrong with "very smart"? (line 86)
33
pron 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Probably a stupid nitpick, but this bothers me:

> detecting grammatical errors is AI-complete, requiring human-level intelligence to get things right.

(emphasis mine)

First, there's a problem of usage. When in CS we say that a problem is class-complete (like NP-complete), we mean that the problem belongs to the class (which in this case is true, because human-level intelligence can check grammar), but also that it is class-hard, which informally means "at least as hard as the hardest problems in class", and more formally means that any other problem in class can be cheaply reduced to the problem, and so finding a suitable solution to the problem is identical to finding a suitable solution to all other problems in class. Not only checking grammar not known to be "AI-complete" then, we don't even know that human-level intelligence is necessary to solve it.

But the reason this bothers me even though I fully understand the statement was made informally, is a little deeper than that: we don't even know what "human-level intelligence" (or intelligence in general) is, let alone what AI means. That people refer to AI as if it's a thing rather than a very vague notion, clouds how people think of AI research as well as intelligence. I would have simply said "we don't know of good algorithms to dependably check grammar, and this appears to be a very hard problem that may require intelligence".

34
biturd 4 hours ago 0 replies      
FYI, seems to work perfectly find in Safari on Mac OS X Desktop.
35
36
true_religion 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm curious is this just a grammar checker? Or does it do spell checking too like aspell?
37
erubin 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Can I use this with latex?
38
blt 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Microsoft Word had something like this round about 1999
28
FLIF Free Lossless Image Format flif.info
325 points by mattiemass  5 hours ago   90 comments top 25
1
pornel 59 minutes ago 3 replies      
Everyone loves the "responsive loading" feature, but that's not even the novel thing about the format (JPEG 2000 did it even better 16 years ago)! The novel feature of this format is better entropy coding.

FLIF decoder adds interpolation to make incomplete scans look nicer than in PNG, but that's a feature of the decoder, not the file format, so there's nothing stopping existing PNG decoders from copying that feature.

Note that it's generally not desirable to have FLIF used on the Web. A decent-quality JPEG will load at full resolution quicker than it takes FLIF to show a half-resolution preview.

FLIF is a lossless format, and lossless is a very hard and costly constraint. Images that aren't technically lossless, but look lossless to the naked eye can be half the size.

e.g. Monkey image from https://uprootlabs.github.io/poly-flif/ is 700KB in FLIF, but 300KB in high-quality JPEG at q=90 without chroma subsampling (i.e. settings good even for text/line-art), and this photo looks fine even at 140KB JPEG (80% smaller than FLIF).

So you want FLIF for archival, editing and interchange of image originals, but even the best lossless format is a waste of bytes when used for distribution to end users.

2
teh_klev 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Do any of these newer/experimental schemes, such as this one, take into account other factors such as CPU load before declaring themselves as "better". For example this project seems pretty cool, but there's no data on how CPU bound, memory bound, I/O bound its decompression algorithm is.

I guess what I'm asking is, if I hit a web page with 20 images @ 100k per image is it going to nail one or more cores at 100% and drain the battery on my portable device. Fantastic compression is great but what are the trade offs?

3
sjwright 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Incredible work. My only comment is that the progressive loading example reveals that their algorithm seems to have desirable properties for lossy compression as well. Why not make FLIF support lossy and lossless? It's hard enough to get a new image format standardized as it is; offering a lossy mode would effectively give us a two-for-one deal.

If PNG had a lossy mode that was even slightly better than JPEG (or exactly as good but with full alpha channel support) it would have eventually supplanted JPEG just as it has now supplanted GIF.

4
p4bl0 4 hours ago 1 reply      
There was a previous discussion on HN about this: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10317790
5
panic 3 hours ago 1 reply      
This looks promising! They ought to include time-to-decode in the performance numbers, though: a smaller compressed size doesn't matter if the process of loading and displaying the image takes more time overall. A graph like the ones on this page would be awesome: http://cbloomrants.blogspot.com/2015/03/03-02-15-oodle-lz-pa...
6
AshleysBrain 3 hours ago 5 replies      
If browsers supported APIs to allow "native" image/video/audio codecs to be written in JS, we could support new formats like this without needing any co-operation from the (very conservative) browser vendors. I wrote a proposal for this here: https://discourse.wicg.io/t/custom-image-audio-video-codec-a...
7
kutkloon7 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Pretty amazing! Particularly nice is that an alpha channel and animation are also possible.

One critical sidenode: it seems FLIF is still not as good as JPEG when used as lossy compression (this is something the benchmarks do not show well).

For example, go to http://uprootlabs.github.io/poly-flif/, choose the monkey image, choose 'comparing with same size JPG', and set truncation to 60% or more.

Also, I'm not sure how efficient en- and decoding is for FLIF.

8
ipunchghosts 11 minutes ago 1 reply      
This is probably the 3rd "replacement" for JPEG I have seen on HN in the last few years. None of these formats have been supported by common browsers. When will this stuff start making its way to the desktop?
9
Zardoz84 3 hours ago 1 reply      
16 bit per channel and on future support for CMYK. Looks like a interesting alternative to TIFF for digital preservation. Sadly, the actual recommended format is TIFF (so, waste of storage space) -> http://www.loc.gov/preservation/resources/rfs/stillimg.html
10
tomtheguvnor 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Apparently it relies on a novel new "middle out" compression algorithm.
11
orlyb 1 hour ago 0 replies      
FLIF really is awesome :) Here's an analysis that compares FLIF to other common lossless image formats such as: PNG, WebP and BPG. http://cloudinary.com/blog/flif_the_new_lossless_image_forma...
12
matheweis 35 minutes ago 1 reply      
I'm curious about patent/ licensing restrictions.

From what I gather it is patent free and the implementation is GPLv3?

Does this mean someone else could make a compatible encoder/decoder with a less restrictive license?

13
thenomad 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmm, this has real potential as an archiving format for video, too.

Any news on what the processing overhead is like for viewing rather than creating the files? Is it less than PNG?

14
matzipan 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anybody understand how lossless JPEG works? To my mind, the whole point of JPEG is to get rid of high-frequency components.
15
wmu 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Looks amazing! Really impressive results. Very cool that progressive loading is composed into the format.

However I am afraid that without support from biggest companies the format will never gain popularity. Just think how long it took to make PNG a web standard. And animated PNGs? Died unnoticed. To make things worse, GIF, a stinking leftover from '90, is still in use (even on HN!).

16
mitchtbaum 1 hour ago 0 replies      
For browser support (Servo), FLIF has an issue pointing to Rust's common image library: https://github.com/FLIF-hub/FLIF/issues/142
17
eddieh 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Honest question. Seriously not trying to dismiss the work.

Why not TIFF? 30 years old, already built into nearly every graphics application, supports everything this proposes and more. Plus it is already supported in Safari.

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

18
fsiefken 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Impressive benchmarks, but how would this compare to lossless VP9, VP10 or h264, h265 image compression?
19
IgorPartola 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
Awesome! So when can I have it in browsers?
20
ekianjo 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks Jon for your work on this!
21
gr3yh47 1 hour ago 0 replies      
relevant xkcd: https://xkcd.com/927/
22
thealistra 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Encoding and decoding speeds are acceptable, but should be improved
23
aheeki 1 hour ago 0 replies      
hello pied piper
24
chris_wot 4 hours ago 3 replies      
I wonder if IE will adopt it? Firefox and Chrome are very responsive, Microsoft not so much.
25
29
CEO jacquesmattheij.com
306 points by jacquesm  1 day ago   153 comments top 19
1
zaidf 1 day ago 5 replies      
"As a CEO you are obliged to keep the company on the right side of the law."

This advice is akin to "don't do drugs." The devil is in the details. And the details aren't always black and white.

The hardest challenge in being a CEO isn't in knowing your obligations. The challenging part is making compromises in order to make good on competing obligations...without letting shit hit the fan.

2
ignoramous 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of peace-time ceo vs war-time ceo [0]

I'm no CEO, but that's some decent advice on the blog, I'd want the CEO of my employer to read it. A question beckons...where would the likes of Amazon/Uber be if they followed rules and regulation? Microsoft, famously trampled its way to success.

My hypothesis is that out of some hundereds of CEOs that do break the rules, only a handful get caught, so the incentive simply isn't there, compared to accelerate growth that could be had by bending the rules, as it were, and acquiring enough wealth or importance that then you can lobby your way through and change the rules to suit your business or motivies.

Ben Horowitz (ironically a partner at A16Z, that's a major investor in Zenefits) wrote: "Wartime CEO cares about a speck of dust on a gnats ass if it interferes with the prime directive." And I tend to agree with that, too. But I never managed a fruit-stand in my life, so what do I know?

It's tough being a CEO. You need a team to make your way through, I guess.

[0] http://www.bhorowitz.com/peacetime_ceo_wartime_ceo

3
HappyTypist 1 day ago 2 replies      
I respectfully disagree. Some laws are better broken, like taxi medallion (read: state enforced monopoly) laws. Uber has improved the lives of millions of people by breaking laws.

I sold my car and save money thanks to uber.

4
olalonde 1 day ago 2 replies      
That post seems strangely specific, am I missing some context?
5
rglover 1 day ago 3 replies      
Brilliant post, but gave me the shivers that he had to write some of that. If the desire (or concern) to write this is legitimateand I can't find much of a reason it wouldn't bethen there are some scary folks running companies out there.
6
ilamont 20 hours ago 0 replies      
As a CEO you set the rules your company operates under and you determine who else has what kind of powers within the company. For instance, you could delegate some of your work to others that you feel are more qualified or that can help you lighten the load. Even so, you are still responsible for whatever it is that they do and even though it is great to work with others and to be able to trust them because the end responsibility is yours you are still required to check up on them to make sure that they actually do what they say they do.

This is an issue that trips up companies that get into legal trouble; oftentimes the CEO or senior management suggest that they are not responsible for the actions of a "rogue employee" or a scheme that was carried out by underlings without their knowledge. In the U.S., the company (and its officers) are liable for the actions of employees.

There is a book by Constance Bagley called The Entrepreneur's Guide to Business Law, 4th Edition (ISBN 9780538466462) that covers this and other issues (contracts, incorporation, fiduciary responsibility, etc.). It's a great resource for anyone running their own business.

7
nickpsecurity 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Great write-up, Jacques. Bookmarked it. :) Nice reference to Interface CEO, too. I like what he did. His presentation style is so good I can never tell if he genuinely cares or just wants us to think so. Just has that kind of smooth delivery. Could've been a politician if he wanted.

Back to your article. You seemed to cover unethical dealings with a warning not to do them. Then, comments here contradicted that where you chose to scheme for survival of business. This brings me to a topic you didn't cover much: competition, esp pricing or service, in many industries can force a CEO to use unethical practices of competitors to achieve parity. For instance, selling cheap clothing to people will almost inevitably end with manufacturing done in low-labor countries if not sweatshops. Likewise, in INFOSEC, one can't build a secure system using certain popular components but demand side forces their inclusion in "secure" or "security" products. Invalidates the whole claim but you fail otherwise.

So, it seems that unethical behavior might be a prerequisite to success in established industries where the inputs or certain value-adds specifically rely on unethical behavior to exist. I would suggest people avoid those industries as a result but many are critical. It might be more ethical to compete with a differentiator, a bit more honesty, and better working/environmental conditions even if still kind of horrific. One is still exploiting and doing damage within the operating constraints but reducing overall damage.

So, what's your thoughts on this part of ethical CEO activity?

8
danieltillett 1 day ago 1 reply      
Jacques the one thing that makes this advice complex is when you are both the CEO and also the major shareholder. I do agree with you that you need to know what the legal and moral limits are and don't cross them. Everything else is hard.
9
dilemma 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Readers may be interested in knowing where the legal requirement to maximize shareholder value comes from. Then it won't seem quite as evil anymore.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principal%E2%80%93agent_prob...

Essentially, when owners appoint a manager (CEO) there is the risk that this manager will make decisions that enrich themselves and their friends (corruption) at the expense of the company, its employees and shareholders.

10
dkopi 1 day ago 3 replies      
Given the sheer amount of laws and regulations, how easy is it really for first time CEOs (or even experienced CEOs) to avoid breaking the law completely?

We often criticize users for clicking "I accept terms" without reading through them, but how many of us have actually read through a law passed by congress?

Having strong legal advisory helps, but very few companies can hold on to huge legal departments just to deal with regulatory compliance.How many times have we heard lawyers talk about a "Legally grey area"?

Its one thing to intentionally break the law. But do we really want startup founders afraid to even begin their company and try to disrupt existing monopolies because they don't want to risk ending up in jail?

11
EdwardDiego 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd love to read more advice like this, especially about how the execs can be effective leaders and lead an organisation to a good culture. I have worked my way to a point where I can now call myself a Chief Something Or Rather, and I'm terrified that the Peter Principle is in play. While I am undertaking some training on governance and finance (which is really aimed at board of directors rather than newbie executives), it's overly formal and doesn't cover the implicit leadership challenges.
12
alexandercrohde 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel like this article is an angry criticism on a situation which I am unaware of. If he knows a company breaking the law then I propose he whistle-blow, rather than right a legal guide on a blog and hope law-breaking CEOs stumble upon it.
13
huuu 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cleaning a wound hurts but is necessary for the healing process.

But it can be very difficult to know how to clean the wound.

I think the most important lesson from this article is to always acknowledge a wound exsists and that a CEO is always responsible for taking care of the wound.

Sometimes I got the feeling that shareholders also like to eat meat from the corpse so they don't mind a living or dead body.

This is a strange conflict.

14
ktRolster 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's a good thing for CEOs to not break the law, but I'm not sure telling them that multiple times in a blog post will have much effect......
15
chmike 1 day ago 0 replies      
These advises inspired me an educational simulation game like the rat race.
16
chinathrow 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Great post.

"You are not allowed to cause the company to break the law."

With spam, growth hacking and whatever someone calls it these days, I see a violation of this rule multiple times a day - done by startups, small businesses and even large corporations. Every single unsolicited mail is breaking those anti spam laws.

And yes, I know the laws where I conduct business about spam, UCE, UBE and whatnot.

17
chris_wot 1 day ago 1 reply      
This seems like great advise :-)

I do have a question: if you get outside legal advise, can you show these people confidential legal documents if they are your own lawyers?

18
venomsnake 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Inaction, or postponing a decision long enough that a situation spirals out of control is generally speaking not an option.

Can you please send a link to your blogpost to EU leadership and some EU nations' leaders? Right now we have probably 3 situations that have spiraled out of control. And getting worse by the hour.

19
santiagobasulto 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm always amazed with the capacity and skills American have to write so many words without any actual content. Just words, ramblings, perfectly synchronized sentences. I remember when I first read "Getting things done". You'd get 1 valuable lesson/advice every 30 pages. Same thing here. 1 valuable piece of content every 5 (giant) paragraphs.
30
What Happened at the Satoshi Roundtable medium.com
265 points by pak  2 days ago   203 comments top 24
1
746F7475 2 days ago 5 replies      
Just by reading the top two points:

1. Some of them show very poor communication skills or a lack of maturitythis has hurt bitcoins ability to bring new protocol developers into the space.

2. They prefer perfect solutions to good enough. And if no perfect solution exists they seem ok with inaction, even if that puts bitcoin at risk.

I get this bad feeling that someone (author of the article) is planning a takeover and for all the wrong reasons. I've seen this "yeah they are smart guys, but they are introverts and our business needs to be extravert and agile and adaptive and fast moving and all other buzz words", then you introduce some of thous extrovert super agile people who just want to "bang out a solution, since any change is better than no change". Next thing you notice is that the old core team members are leaving after their protests about future of the product fell on deaf ears and these new guys are just pushing their own agenda/vision. Fast forward few years and just 1-2 or most likely none of the original team members are there anymore and cracks start to appear and these cracks are because the "better than nothing" solutions back in the day are found after all flawed, but now you have a lot of work build on top of rotten foundation and since your team now consists only of short sighted: "just fix it" people they are going to try to fix the problem at the top instead of at it's core "because we can't hold bringing in new features".

2
Vozze 2 days ago 1 reply      
The problem Bitcoin is facing is not so much the technical question of what blocksize would be best. It's a war about who is in the drivers seat. The current developers of Core want to turn Bitcoin into what they call a "settlement layer" and end its original function as a payment system. Then they want to build new services on top of this "settlement layer". Most (all?) of them are organized in a company called "Blockstream" that received $73 millions in funding to build these new layers. This turns away the original crowd of hackers who liked Bitcoin in the early days. The hackers and users want to keep the original vision of a "Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System" as outlined in the original Bitcoin Paper:

https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf

Also check the discussion about this on reddit:

https://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/48zggz/a_behind...

3
patio11 2 days ago 3 replies      
Miners make money principally through seignorage, but will eventually have to replace it with transaction fees, as Bitcoin is designed to throttle seigniorage down over time and does so in an abrupt, stairstep fashion (50% at a go).

Core (a group of people who presently control the code of the only software that matters on the Bitcoin network) has an argument for miners which goes like this: "We believe the space on the blockchain should be scarce. If space is scarce, people will a) conduct transactions offchain, which is conducive to our interests and b) bid up the price of onchain transactions, which is conducive to your interests. You'll shortly receive a counterproposal from another development group which wants space on the blockchain to be abundant. In this case, the price of transactions will go back to ~0 and, with it, your revenue. Make the right choice."

The "economic majority" [+] of Bitcoin has an argument for miners which goes like this: "You presently have been given, literally, a license to make money -- substantial CapEx and OpEx, granted, but making money is what you do every day. If you attempt to make the Bitcoin network unreliable to increase fees generated by it, the tokens you are creating daily become not-money. You should prefer your license to make money to the planned future license to make not-money."

The economic majority is hoping that miners are long-term thinking entrepreneurs and not, to pick an example totally randomly, slash-and-grab operators taking advantage of a ponzi scheme.

[+] Jargon from the Bitcoin community. The Bitcoin "protocol" allows miners to essentially vote with hashpower. The "economic majority" phrasing is an attempt to recenter the notion of votes away from hashpower, by saying that exchanges/retailers/customers/etc are substantial stakeholders in the network even if they do not control a meaningful number of ASICs. In practice, the economic majority is Coinbase, Bitpay, and "the loosely affiliated ecosystem which turns cash to Bitcoins to drugs to Bitcoins to cash."

4
rsi_oww 2 days ago 7 replies      
For those not following the drama, there has been an organized attempt for the last 6+ months to take over Bitcoin.

A fake "grass roots" campaign was started on Reddit, where numerous sock puppet accounts were used to bombard the /r/bitcoin subreddit with calls to change Bitcoin's "block size limit" to a much larger number.

This would allow more transactions per second, at the cost of hurting Bitcoin's P2P decentralization (the main thing it is good at). These posters claimed there was a dire, urgent need to do this immediately, and used spam transaction attacks on the network to make it look necessary.

They also used downvoting/upvoting scripts to push their posts to the top, and to censor the developer'sresponses (reddit hides posts with a -5 score; any post by developers instantly would be downvoted to that level).

They harassed the developers with constant personal attacks, to the point that it became impossible for themto engage the community. They also flooded the development mailing list, and many developers unsubscribed.

As for the "block size increase", an absurd number was picked (20x increase), and knowing that the developers would not go along with it, the "solution" proposed was a fork of the both the software and the network itself called "Bitcoin XT".

All but 2 of the 90+ Bitcoin developers thought this was a terrible idea, especially since they havecome up with much safer and better solutions to achieve the same goal (scaling up the transactions per second).

Yet when this fork attempt failed to gain any support, a better funded, even more aggressive second attempt (oddly named "Bitcoin Classic") started being promoted.

It is being pushed by the CEO of Coinbase (the author of this blog post) and backed by some of the other bitcoin exchange's CEOs.

I think the creator of bittorrent, Bram Cohen, sums up what developers and the larger technicalcommunity are thinking about these takeover attempts- https://twitter.com/bramcohen/status/697705876337995776

5
Malician 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Some of them show very poor communication skills or a lack of maturitythis has hurt bitcoins ability to bring new protocol developers into the space."

"Being high IQ is not enough for a team to succeed. You need to make reasonable trade offs, collaborate, be welcoming, communicate, and be easy to work with."

The assumption slipped in here is that the writer is, in fact, reasonable with good communication skills - and that those he is addressing are not. He evades evenhandedly discussing their concerns with his proposal or their proposed solution. That's a mark of trickery, not good, honest communication.

I don't know about the team in question, and I don't know who's right on this issue, but I am considering leaving Coinbase after reading this article.

6
sbuttgereit 2 days ago 4 replies      
Reading these things I see two dangers in crypto-currencies. 1) it's difficult to know all of the technical nuance that can have significant impact on value. I bet many merchants and bitcoin holders had no idea of any of this was in the offing. Even with research, non-technical people may not have been able to appreciate the risks from specs and tech discussions. And 2) this really doesn't feel decentralized. Sure there may be no formal organization, but with apparently so few people being able to be closely involved, in almost may as well be.

Of course, I'm a more casual observer on the sidelines, and maybe my take is wrong as others with closer observations may tell me. But I never heard some of these things being issues until just now... bitcoin is clearly not for casual users.

7
apatters 2 days ago 4 replies      
It seems that these problems fundamentally boil down to there being a very small number of people (the five Bitcoin Core developers) who control the destiny of Bitcoin, and who don't represent users of the currency at large.

For a currency which purports to be open, transparent, and free from institutional control, this seems like a huge deficiency. Consider that the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors has seven members, all of whom possess decades of experience in fiscal policy, are nominated by the President, and are confirmed by the Senate. These are experts in the field who are selected by a nominally democratic process.

And Bitcoin wants to replace this with five random devs that most of us have never heard of?

I'm hardly a fan of the Federal Reserve or the US monetary system. But how exactly is Bitcoin offering a more transparent, open, and democratic currency when it can be hijacked by five people?

8
witten 2 days ago 2 replies      
> It is difficult enough to get two people to agree. Three is harder, and four is even harder. Once a community gets to fifty or hundreds of people, getting everyone to agree is an irrational goal. But this is ok. Mechanisms exist to resolve disagreement amongst large groups of people (like voting). Waiting for everyone to agree is the same as saying that nothing will be done.

It's almost like we need some sort of mechanism or formal protocol for reaching consensus among a group of geographically distributed people. A kind of.. distributed consensus protocol.

9
fsiefken 2 days ago 1 reply      
Some other takes on Bitcoin Core:

* Double billing is not healthy competitionhttps://medium.com/@bramcohen/double-billing-is-not-healthy-...

* Lesser known reasons to keep blocks small in the words of Bitcoin Core developershttps://medium.com/@elliotolds/lesser-known-reasons-to-keep-...

* The state of the Bitcoin union is stronghttps://medium.com/@muneeb/the-state-of-the-bitcoin-union-is...

10
CydeWeys 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why should I trust what this guy is saying when he has such egregious misunderstandings about Bitcoin? I expected better from the CEO of Coinbase. The worst one was this:

> The next block reward halving is coming up in July. Lets say that miners on average are able to mine a coin for $250 (I dont know the exact number, so this is a guess). After the halving in July their cost to mine a coin will double to $500. If the bitcoin price stays around $425, it will be unprofitable for a number of miners to continue mining.

You can't just guess about these things! You have to do the math! There are two components to mining costs: The sunk costs (the actual price of the mining equipment), and the oncoming costs (electricity). Once you've already paid the sunk costs, and the miners have, tautologically so, to get to the current network hashrate, you won't turn your miners off unless their yield falls below the cost of electricity.

I've done some calculations and, with the current most-efficient generation of ASIC Bitcoin miners, you generate around $0.25 per kWh. So with the halvening, you'll be generating around $0.12 per kWh. But guess what most miners are currently paying for electricity? Around $0.02 per kWh (yes, they're locating their mining operations like Google locates data centers). So while some inefficient miners on the fringes may turn on, the halvening isn't going to come close to causing the majority of miners to become unprofitable. So you're unlikely to see a big drop in hashrate.

The most ridiculous part of the catastrophist argument is that we already had a halvening from 50 BTC to 25 BTC, and nothing changed! The hashrate didn't go down appreciably and block finding time didn't suddenly jump up. There was nothing different about that time than now; both are governed by the simple economics of mining profitability, which tends to stay at around the same level above cost -- that is to say there are economic self-balancing forces at work that cause miners to enter/leave the system to keep the hashrate adjusted relative to the mining returns over the long term.

So anyone proposing a catastrophe over this halvening has an uphill battle to climb of explaining why it's different than the last one when nothing happened, and that hasn't been done so far.

11
BoysenberryPi 2 days ago 2 replies      
As an outside perspective, the Bitcoin community is one of the most mysterious clusterfucks I've ever seen. Every time I visit the Bitcoin subreddit or any discussion here that has anything to do with Bitcoin it's all arguing over Core vs the world or "we should be using this not that!" The thing that stops me from getting into Bitcoin is the Bitcoin community itself.
12
KannO 2 days ago 7 replies      
The "Genesis" BTC blockchain seems to have its fate sealed.

Elements of a genius ponzi scheme mixed with psychology of the limited edition beanie baby craze and enough allure of "technology is magic" created a "valuable" cyber diamond to send hordes of processing power to "mine" and sell off like hot potato stocks.

As we begin seeing more viable altcoin systems with practical improvements, "investors" and processing power will jump ship to the improved cryptocoin protocols. Bitcoin and the bandwaggon of investing in a BTC as a currency which inherently encourages not spending that currency (deflation as a fundamental design) is such a paradoxical mind fuck it's one of the most brilliant pieces of art I could imagine.

Inflation is incredibly healthy for an economy because it creates an incentive to invest money into new businesses and real goods and services instead of being buried outside of the system where it does no good. The trick is to prevent hyper inflation - and in BTC or other arbitrarily produced currency systems, there should be mechanisms in place to avoid the abuse of the fabrication of the money tokens.

13
kisstheblade 2 days ago 1 reply      
Serious question; where does all the money come from to run these operations (eg. the miners)?

I mean I haven't seen any legitimate use of bitcoin advertised for consumers. So who is using bitcoins for transactions?

Is this like with torrenting where people keep telling "there are legitimate uses for it like downloading linux iso:s" but in reality 99% of the traffic is illegal.

I'm thinking that bitcoin is used mainly for money transfer for illegal stuff (drugs etc.), because I haven't read or heard about any legitimate large scale use of it (exept maybe speculation, so does the money for this come from somekind of ponzi scheme then? Or maybe investors really believe that some day this will be a large legal enterprise?)

14
MikeNomad 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting article. I am not a bitcoin user for a reason that the article seemingly underscores: Bitcoin lacks stability. This makes me sad, because I would very much like bitcoin to succeed.

The more I look into it (and I may not be looking at it clearly), the more bitcoin seems like a digitized version of what we currently have in MeatSpace: An unbacked inflationary currency.

I think worrying about scaling in mining activity is a problem in search of an audience.

If miners hit the wall, and are not able to put more coins into circulation, there is an opportunity to stabilize coin value by having demand tempered by supply. Also, with bitcoin (or any other digital currency) there is the capacity for psuedo-infinite fractionalization of coins.

15
tobltobs 2 days ago 0 replies      
> There are probably a couple dozen qualified computer scientists working on crypto currency research right now, but there are at least tens of thousands of qualified software engineers in the world who are capable of building bitcoin protocol software.

Maybe, but the problem is defining the protocol, not building the client.

16
omarforgotpwd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, so Coinbase wants to throw out the Bitcoin core team. Mutiny!
17
simonebrunozzi 1 day ago 1 reply      
Posted 4 hours before this one, here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11227598

Wondering why one didn't pick any interest, and the other picked 160+ comments.

18
kevingadd 2 days ago 1 reply      
The continued censorship on the main bitcoin subreddit and the main bitcoin forum is ridiculous. It makes the whole bitcoin community and ecosystem look like a joke, which isn't something anyone involved should want. If the currency can't handle an open debate between adults, how do they expect to weather attacks from serious bad actors (criminal, state, or otherwise)?

This article is pretty detailed and does a good job of depicting the events of the roundtable - but as someone who didn't attend, I'd be curious to see how a Bitcoin Core member would choose to describe things. I imagine their perspective would be very different. On the other hand, the history of this whole controversy seems to suggest that the Core crew are as bad at communication as Mr. Armstrong suggests, so I doubt we'll ever see that alternate perspective :(

The risk of miners dropping out en masse once the difficulty goes up isn't something I've seen mentioned before, and it seems pretty scary. I would have assumed that difficulty adjustment would happen more often, so if it continues to have such a long interval, that seems like a threat to the long-term health of the currency. I can imagine some other event knocking miners out of the network, like a sudden spike in the cost of electricity for large mining operations - so even if the immediate risk is addressed it seems like this is still a threat going forward.

Ultimately, it's really sad that what seems to have happened with Bitcoin is that Satoshi put together some really stellar technology and completely overlooked the human component. Handing the project off to a random group of contributors seems reckless under any circumstances, and then it turned out that the random group of maintainers got along poorly. Now the de-facto control of the currency is in the hands of a small group of people with an obvious profit motive, because they have control over the central bitcoin forum and central subreddit. Hindsight is powerful, but it feels like it should have been obvious that the human risks needed to be addressed if Satoshi was serious about constructing a new currency.

19
api 2 days ago 2 replies      
If Bitcoin governance is miner voting, doesn't that mean the Chinese now effectively control it? Or at least nearly so?
20
aminorex 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Massively bullish on XMR due to the short squeezing.
22
cant_kant 2 days ago 0 replies      
Did Craig Wright come to the Satoshi Roundtable ?
23
NelsonMinar 2 days ago 2 replies      
The author is the cofounder and CEO of Coinbase. It seems like an important article.
24
tobltobs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Imagine the internet had been developed by guys like this one. Pushing a agenda instead of looking for best possible solutions. The internet would like teletext/BTX and cost at least an 1$ per hour.
       cached 7 March 2016 16:11:01 GMT