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My Biggest Regret as a Programmer thecodist.com
1275 points by doppp  4 days ago   615 comments top 103
didibus 3 days ago 11 replies      
Sounds like the typical success anxiety everyone suffers from today. You could have been everything, successful, rich, famous, but you chose what you wanted and that's ok, it's for the best, that's true success, don't run after the carrot.

Every programmer I meet dream of being CEO, having their own company, making more money. Yet over 90% of them don't enjoy any of their current profit.

Literally, with my programmer's salary, I can do everything I want in the world. There's nothing Bill Gates can do I can't, sure, maybe some of the things when he does them they're bigger, or fancier, but they're the same things. There's no better film for him to see, there's no better waterfront for him to sit, there's no better food, etc. I can afford the best of all.

I think we need to stop with the regrets, the illusions, etc. If you ain't driven to be tech leader, don't force it, just accept you're not and enjoy life.

askyourmother 4 days ago 8 replies      
Regrets as a programmer: 1. Every piece of unpolished, unfinished code that management decided should ship to the customers regardless2. Ever using node and npm.3. Seeing and living through the train wreck of J2EE and the XML horrors that ensued.4. Not seeing the beauty in simple functions early on. Not everything needs to be a class or module.5. Most business problems are political/social - regret every time we were called in to try and provide a "technical" band aid to those same problems.6. Again, any project with node and npm.
ImTalking 4 days ago 2 replies      
For me, software has been nothing more than a tool to get myself the lifestyle I want. I enjoy the creativity associated with writing solid software of course but it's not a hobby, it's certainly not a religion for me, it's a tool, nothing more. I enjoy the creativity associated with developing a solution that people use and pay me for, but at the end of the day, I am a business-guy who uses software to get what I want, unlike a lot of programmers who are techies who happen to be in business. The difference in these two attitudes are night/day.

I feel the writer is looking at his past as though he was somehow entitled to succeed since he could develop software when the industry was young, and many fortunes were made by the industry pioneers. This is a dangerous attitude as the world really doesn't care about anyone. Anyone is replaceable.

Around 1990, I started a business selling a Clipper-based (anyone remember that?) real estate program where I sold it to about 300 firms at $299 a pop. I couldn't believe the leverage and excitement of selling a product of my own mind to others. Sold yearly upgrades for $199 which worked out to around $60K annually sitting in my bedroom. Had to pinch myself. Got into telephony when the deregulation happened, created switching software for dumb switches (Dialogic, Redcom) for long distance resellers and at one time had 120 exchanges using my software to switch calls. Sold the IP for around $0.5M. 10 years later, created software for the mortgage industry and sold that company for 7 digits in 2010. Must say that I failed more times than I succeeded but that doesn't matter (for example, developing Call-Me functionality for web-sites when the industry was just too young - should have stuck with it). Last/this year, I'm working on software for the another industry which I feel is unserviced wrt software.

My reason for writing all this is that I never thought of software as a career. I saw the businesses that I could create using software as the career. I think the article writer labelled himself as a programmer early-on and never really understood what that role meant to him.

wdr1 4 days ago 5 replies      
> I simply didnt realize how little room you have to advance as just a programmer

I think this is one thing that has changed dramatically (and for the better) in the last ~10 years.

I started as a developer in the 90s. The only way to advance was to go into management. I was pretty conflicted, as I was promoted from developer to manager. Quit, went to be a developer at a new job, and got prompted to manager again. Quit again & later was promoted to manager again. Did it a forth time & then have been in management ever since.

I really loved coding, but coming from lower income family, was terrified of poverty and thus very motivated to climb whatever ladder someone put in front of me.

I'm an engineering manager today at Google and really happy to see there's now a world where engineers can excel without having to be a manager.

Over the years, I've had a lot of good career talks with people about if they wanted to do people management (or at least try it).

A little bit of a tangent, but it's interesting the myriad of ways those conversations go. Sometimes people who would be clearly great at it, don't want to try it for less-than-good reasons. (E.g., not feeling worthy, would the team respect them having been a peer).

Sometimes people who would be terrible at it, really want it for bad reasons as well. (E.g, manager = power (ha!), manager is the only way to advance or be respected (not true!).)

Of course, they sometimes want/don't want for very good reasons too. (E.g., "I like helping people grow" or "I would have to talk to people and I hate that", respectively.)

Zelmor 4 days ago 32 replies      
He would have been unhappy with the other choice as well, because then it is the programming side he would be missing out on. I would advise everyone to read The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.


You chose one option out of many, and the others may no longer be a possibility. However, the writer's unhappiness does not spawn from his inability to be successful at what he does, but what the never-manifest possibility of what could have been. Maybe he would have been terrible at that kind of work. That doesn't matter, because in his head, he had the skills but made a bad decision. Instead of looking at what he has achieved in his life and career as a programmer, he is pondering what could have been in a reality that is not, never was and never will be.

This kind of thinking leads one astray.

>My sister started as a programmer 30 years ago but jumped into management [...] My sister has 10X the assets I have.

I just have to say this: So typically american.

dunkelheit 4 days ago 1 reply      
Ouch, that was a sad post. "Yes, and actually we have two ladders of advancement here - you can deepen your technical expertise and go up the technical ladder if that is your thing", an enthusiastic recruiter tells you. But when you reach the bifurcation point, the management path seems fairly clear - just try and get more people under you and you will be ok, but the technical path is murky as hell. I'd argue that this third path (becoming a genuine world-class expert as opposed to staying "just" a programmer or going into management) is the hardest. Not in the least part because at most places real technical challenges are scarce (and management challenges are in abundance). I would love to hear some thoughts on how to pull it off.
kazinator 4 days ago 2 replies      
I will always be a programmer, no matter what. My regret is only about not being richer, that's all.

I don't want another kind of job; I want a shitload of money, so I can code whatever I want all day long, until I drop dead at the TTY prompt.

Plus do a ton of cycling, running, guitar playing and such.

Regret over not having tried this job or that seems misplaced to me. If the job you're missing out on could be done as a hobby, do it as a hobby. If you think management looks like fun, then you can volunteer in some non-profit or volunteer organization; you will then have something to manage. If that doesn't cure the regret over not having tried management, then you have to be honest with yourself: it's really about the money.

okyup 4 days ago 10 replies      
I agree that programming is a dead end job. It's popular and relatively easy. It doesn't require any special skills. Anyone with an average IQ can learn it. There's low cost and barrier of entry to getting started. It's fun and addicting when you're a kid. Then you get trapped and it becomes monotonous.

There's only so good you can get at programming. Beyond that, most of your time is spent on debugging trivial issues or trying to keep your knowledge of the overwhelming amount of tools and platforms up-to-date. If you're a really great programmer you might be able to get 3x as much done as an average programmer, but you won't be able to get 10x as much done to warrant 10x higher pay.

Programming is just one step above working on an assembly belt. There's plenty of competition for your position including from cheap foreign workers from the 3rd world and, since your job can be done remotely, you're even more expendable.

That technology is a luxury, makes your position nonessential. You will be worthless if Western civilization ever fails and drops out of the Technological Age.

When you stare into computers all day you aren't developing social skills or really any skills that would be applicable to most other jobs. If you don't want to be a programmer forever, the sooner you stop wasting your time staring into computers, likely, the better.

If you want to be highly valuable, you need to have skills that are rare and desirable, that make oodles of money or change the world. Such skills are usually of a social, political, or otherwise creative nature - things that can't be learned from a textbook by anyone capable of logical thinking.

Programming is simply grunt work. It's the grunt work of dealing with the disarray of present day technology. As we advance and become more organized and cohesive, the need for programmers will be reduced.

pmontra 4 days ago 2 replies      
There are many more jobs as programmer than as CTO/CIO/VP. Furthermore, what makes you think that you would be as good at politics as you are at coding? People in management positions are often in competition with each other on a kill or be killed basis. OK, not that extreme but you get the idea. Politics is important in that game.

There was also an interesting post on HN a few days ago about the hurdles of management: https://medium.com/the-year-of-the-looking-glass/unintuitive...

Number one point from that post: "Imagine you spend a full day in back-to-back 1:1s talking to people. Does that sound awful or awesome?" If the answer is not and "long for the days when you were able to manipulate something directlypixels, words, lines of code, bars of musicquietly and with headphones on", management is not for you and your management career will suffer.

arturadib 4 days ago 2 replies      
Obviously this is a very personal matter - i.e. if you don't enjoy managing people and prefer to tinker with, learn, and build things, pursuing a management career is the worst choice you can make from a happiness standpoint.

It's also not generally true that managers (even those with fancy titles) are more financially successful than engineers. By definition, there are far fewer VP/Director level positions than there are engineer positions, so everything else equal, as an engineer you have a lot more opportunities to pick and choose where you want to work, and that can be very financially rewarding.

I personally joined Twitter over a year before its IPO, and the financial reward there transformed my family's life. I am also incredibly proud of the products I've built over the years, whereas most work done by Directors/VPs at smaller companies wouldn't even come close to the reach and visibility of the work me and my fellow colleagues have done. (Take a look at my resume for added color: http://linkedin.com/in/arturadib).

One could easily imagine an opposite article written by someone who was a VP at several not-so-successful companies and never had anything to show.

Above all, choose what makes you happy. And if you're so fortunate as to have several equally fulfilling choices, and if financial reward matters to you, pick a company that is high-growth, hopefully pre-IPO, and negotiate at least a market-average stock compensation (glassdoor.com is your friend here).

<3, -A.

buro9 4 days ago 2 replies      
My biggest regret is not shipping more.

Sometimes the cause of that is management, and I long to be on that side defining the missing specs, building out the absent project plans, speaking to customers, allocating resource, championing it all and pushing it forward. At those times I despise being a programmer because being a programmer isn't enough to get product shipped.

Other times (but it feels less frequently) the cause is the programmer. And we all know well enough how frustrating it can be to watch someone not do what you think is easy, and how quickly we want to stop managing, stop designing, stop everything and just code our way out of whatever mess a project is in. A sole programmer is not usually enough though, and I stray back into wanting to manage so that we can ship.

Either way, just having that desire to ship, to make a difference, I feel has kept me in a limbo where I straddle both and am frustrated and hampered by both, and never quite shining at either.

Still I regret not shipping more, and rush into the areas that I hope will help product be shipped.

My greatest career joy was running my own company. I know I failed at the sales and marketing, but we did ship. We shipped a lot, and made a lot of people happy. A massive achievement in a short amount of time, and a good mix of both management and programming. A joyful time even though it was hard work for little pay.

It's a shame positions that really blend these skills seem quite thin on the ground or that they don't really value those who can move from one to the other.

ryandrake 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, this was a tough read because it hits very close to home. I'm in the same boat as the author financially and career-satisfaction-wise. I truly empathize with the author, and I think people here are being too critical of him. It is difficult to go through life full of regret of your career choices, full of bitterness of the bad luck you encountered, and having the good fortune of others rubbed in your face every day. Commuting two hours past nice neighborhoods knowing that the only thing that separates you from them is that they rolled the dice and picked Netscape for a career back in the 90s and you rolled the dice and picked LayoffTech, and then IncompetentManagmentSoft.

Look on the positive side though. It could be worse. You could have decided to be a factory worker or a cab driver or someone else whose livelihoods are being deliberately and systematically hollowed out. People should be grateful to be in tech no matter how frustrating the lottery-like nature of your career is.

kdamken 4 days ago 6 replies      
I think this guy may actually just be dumb. Yes, C-Suite positions make more money, and get to make more decisions. If he wanted to do that, it sounds like he could have at any time. Of course just being a programmer would earn you less.

> Being a programmer for nearly 35 years...

> I doubt I will ever be able to really retire.

How do you have a good paying job like being a programmer/the other high level gigs he mentioned for 35 YEARS and still not have the assets to retire? How do you manage your money that poorly?

Did you buy a house that was way too big? Some brand new cars you have a nice, several hundred dollar monthly payment on? Did you not save 30-50% of what was probably a very fat paycheck?

It's one thing for someone working minimum wage their whole life to not be able to, but barring some crazy expense like medical bills, people with white collar jobs don't really have much of an excuse.

scandox 4 days ago 2 replies      
"I can still feel the regret of not seeking the challenge of just leadership." He's right. Programmers need to get into leadership, because they have a chance of knowing what "just leadership" might look like. When non-technical people lead technical people, the chance of getting into a good flow is less (though by no means impossible).

The problem is that many technical people are not "people" persons. Part of that may be personality, some of it is background, but a lot of it is study and thinking too.

My brother builds huge buildings. He's very proud of them. He often (gently) gives out about the marketing people and their mad notions and lack of technical understanding. But, as I point out to him, if they don't sell the apartments, he doesn't get to build the buildings in the first place.

Ultimately, therefore, if you're going to put your skills into a corporate enterprise (of any size), you need to accept that it all originates with selling. "Business is simple", says Alexandre Dumas, "it's other people's money."

Progammers should either accept that they love playing in the intellectual sandbox of coding and that the material rewards will be variable. OR they should seek leadership.

thegayngler 4 days ago 2 replies      
Im of the belief that technical people and managers should really be at the same level financially and otherwise quite honestly. That's really the only way I can see the whole manager/programmer thing can work out for the benefit of everyone. When you have non-technical managers or technical-managers who's skills are out of date making decisions on behalf of the programmers you end up with a mess. That is often the case. The people who you hired as experts are the ones the management should be listening to... not necessarily managers who really only function as a way to grease the communication channels.

I know at a lot of places I've worked managers only function is to keep programmers out of meetings so they can do the real work. Management is really a bad title. I think the mgmt structure needs flattening and the current system pits management against programmers... I think this has to change....as well as the whole management track vs technical track. The technical people are what you need to build the products. No amount of managers is going to get you a product without a programmer to build the products.

Companies are so obsessed with hierarchy that they lose themselves in the politics of it all. I think companies and people need to embrace the idea that programmers and communication people are at the same level in terms of financial benefits and in terms of treatment at a company and that technical experts should be making decisions not necessarily managers.

owenwil 4 days ago 3 replies      
I'm curious what the path is to move from developer into a CTO/VP/Product Lead type role, for anyone here who has made the jump from nuts and bolts. How did you go about it? Did it just happen, or did you actively need to push for it? Would love to hear more from someone experienced, because from where I sit, it's hard to figure out how to jump that divide.
jareds 4 days ago 5 replies      
If you can't retire comfortably as a programmer where was all your salary going? I enjoy programming, but also realize I'm limited in how much I will make. I'm ok with knowing I won't own a 5000 square foot house or buy the newest laptop every two years because I'm putting money away for retirement.
markbnj 4 days ago 1 reply      
As a working software developer at age 55 I appreciate some of what the author is saying. Your salary peaks. Your upward mobility peaks. People who move into leadership positions quickly pass you in terms of material assets. All true. When has it ever not been true? There's something else that is true: not everyone is suited to be a leader, and there are relatively fewer positions for leaders compared to followers. Ultimately you have try to be happy doing something to put food on the table. Perhaps if the author was a leader he would not have passed up those opportunities. Something inside would have nudged him in that direction, rather than in the safe direction of practicing what he already knew how to do. Ultimately, the piece just reads like the regret of a mature person looking backward at the choices he's made. I've made some I regret as well, and if I can learn from them that's great. But pining after a re-do is not the path to a happy existence, at least for me.
ChicagoDave 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been a programmer since 1985, so 31 years. In the last 10 years I've been more in the lead/architect role, but in relation to this article, still just a programmer. I too am good at delivering, so I make pretty good cake as a consultant in Chicago.

Even so, it's true you rarely have a voice in changing things. On the plus-side, you generally don't get involved in office politics as a consultant. On the minus-side, this leaves you with nearly zero power.

I've gone through cycles of looking for ways out and I found one outlet that may or may not pan out, but it keeps my skills fresh.

I'm a serial entrepreneur (currently without a success) that works on my own ideas with my own money working with people I like and respect. My first start-up was in ed-tech and although every (and I mean everyone) loved my idea, I couldn't get it off the ground.

My second is a work in progress, I have a partner, and our app should release this summer. It will be interesting to go through that process.

Even so, I still love coding and being around coders. I was at a design agency a couple of years ago and a young guy, early twenties, out of the blue said, "Dude, you're awesome."

I had no idea what he meant and then he added (I'm paraphrasing), "You've been writing code for 30 years and you still love it. I just started two years ago and I love it and I've always wondered if I could do it as a career...if I would still be passionate when I get old. You're living proof that I can. You're awesome dude."

The OP was kind of talking about money and stability and effecting change, but there are also responsibilities on that side of things some of us programmers just aren't cut out for...so I say be passionate programmer and be happy you have a marketable skill.

Without one or both, the world gets a lot darker.

amelius 4 days ago 3 replies      
My biggest regret as a programmer: not sitting in correct posture for 30 years :/

On the bright side: I'm correcting this now, and I really feel like a different person.

listingboat 4 days ago 0 replies      
Having gone this route - 8 years software engineer enterprise software - 8 years management enterprise software - downturn - back to software engineer mobile - now back to running an engineering team, there are trade offs.

First, what I realized going back to writing code in my early 40s, after 8 years in management, is how rewarding each day was when I was coding. You could get to the end of the day, point at what you did, and realize that you actually accomplished something.

In management, I have rarely felt like that. There is nothing to point to. It's all soft and mushy. Has anyone yelled at you today? Did any of your team get pissed at you? No? Ok, maybe you had a good day.

It's not all about the money or the 'career path'. Sometimes it's about contentment every day.

mikx007 4 days ago 1 reply      
The grass is always greener on the other side. I have another story... I started off as Unix admin, a programmer, about 15 years ago became a technical manager, director, vp and so on.

Frankly, looking back at it, I wish I never made that choice and stayed software developer or admin. Trust me, its much more fun.Unfortunately it is a one way street. Paperwork, schmoozing to get funding for your team and sitting in various meetings all day, not so much...

osweiller 4 days ago 0 replies      
Does he regret not buying a lottery ticket when he sees that someone else won? He may very well (especially if the winner was someone who intersected in their lives, making it seem more proximal), but that's essentially the argument given that there is absolutely no guarantee that they would have seen any success in the technical management space. It's presumptive and egotistic to assume it would have been a successful pursuit.

And while the leadership path has very high highs, it is also the route to career death for many people who went that route. When companies do cutbacks, "middle management" is virtually always the first target. These are the people who often have the hardest time justifying their value.

Slix 4 days ago 0 replies      
What does the "non-programmer"'s job look like on a day-to-day basis?

I like coding because there's relatively little time management. It's not super chaotic except the few instances where there's a deadline. You just have to think and code, preferably in the zone for as long as possible.

Being a CTO or CEO sounds a lot more painful to manage. Lots of deadlines, people to manage, people demanding things on time from you.

yitchelle 4 days ago 0 replies      
His other post about his view of the downside of being a programmer is also relevant here..http://thecodist.com/article/programming_is_a_dead_end_job
studentrob 4 days ago 0 replies      
> all I will be until I croak is what I am now

Aw, this is a sad story. I'm sure there are more positive things in life this guy could look back upon. Starting his own company sounds cool to me and he is obviously a caring brother.

> So yes I regret not taking that choice and seeing where it would have led me, yet I would have missed all the fun of writing code and the soul-draining jobs that often come with it where you cant really fix anything.

I believe there will more often be good jobs than soul-draining ones for programmers in the future. Tech people will become better leaders and create better positions for young programmers. Even janitors are sometimes very happy in their positions. It depends on management and your state of mind.

I have a little bio myself on the subject of being "just a programmer" [1]. Everyone makes mistakes and wonders how life would've been different. The trick is to not dwell on them. Stay curious, take breaks, read some self help books, seek out new friends and activities, etc. It's not easy but a little hard work to get out of some bad habits can feel great.

[1] http://robhawkins.info/

dubmax123 4 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome post. Being in the ditches often allows you to see easy ways to fix problems. Being a leader makes it hard to see what's going on in the ditches. There aren't many leaders that listen to the people in the ditches. Unfortunately, most corporations and people in general don't value leaders who listen. They value leaders with charisma. They value leaders that project confidence even if they don't know what the hell they are talking about. It's up to us as programmers to start taking those leadership opportunities and take the road less travelled.
Starsgen 4 days ago 3 replies      
As a programmer, this kind of reads like a sore lottery loser. I as well didnt score big working at one of these companies, nor did I engage in leadership roles, but thats the way the ball bounces.

Also, I know programmers making 50k, more than those making over 100k, but I live in the midwest.

Cant save much, but I can take care of my family and that is what is important to me.

pcglue 4 days ago 0 replies      
A good friend and I both started out as software engineers. Dunning Kruger or not, I am a very good software engineer and so is/was he. He also has an insatiable craving for status and cares immensely about how successful he's perceived as being by others. I don't, at all. So for the past 20 years, I stayed a mere developer and strongly resist any attempts to promote me into management. I will actually start looking for another job if I am promoted over my ardent objections. I cannot stand being a manager or tech lead of any kind. I just want to be a programmer despite the popular advice here not to do so.

My friend has gone from engineer to product manager, marketing manager and in "business development" now. He has tried to explain to me what the latter two jobs entail (I understand product manager), but I just do not get what it is he does all day. He hates his job, but really really gets off on how successful society says he is (between management title and salary) such that it seems to compensate for the daily misery.

I am, however, waiting for the day he becomes a CEO and I can be his admin assistant or some other low-key, lower-stress helper (we are still good friends). Beyond a good salary, I really don't care about status or title. I think I would be happier as a janitor if it paid 120K+.

TLDR: Different strokes for different folks.

graycat 4 days ago 1 reply      
IMHO, the OP is missing a big, huge point: He is really in the best position. So, here is what he should do:

Step 1: Create a small business. For this, he should pick a product or service that can be that of a significant business, e.g., the one he would like to manage as as technical CEO and where initially he can develop the product or service mostly just by programming on his own. Then from that product or service, get revenue.

Step 2: Be the CEO of the business, still just a one person startup except with as much outsourced as possible -- e.g., rented offices, bookkeeping, accounting, taxes, benefits, business insurance, legal, colocation or cloud for the server farm, consultants for specialized technical topics he is not already good at, etc.

Then as the first hire, hire an office manager later to grow to one of an administrative assistant, chief of staff, head of HR, or COO. Hire the product development staff and then the CIO to manage that staff. Hire a CFO, CMO, etc.

Then for this business, be the leader he wished he'd been in the past.

His abilities as a programmer let him do well in Step 1 and also be good at the technical parts of management in Step 2.

unabst 3 days ago 0 replies      
This piece has nothing to do with programming. The problem is simply with jobs, and a common career mentality, which goes something like this: "If you do good work, your career will take care of you. If you weren't taken care of, then it's the career's fault."

Nothing could be further from the truth.

There are two things that boost careers. The first is the employer. Your employer determines your success through their success, and so your fate truly is in their hands as long as you are just doing work that is provided. Hence successful companies produce successful employees with successful careers. But to be good at this, you need to be a visionary employee. You must be able to tell apart the good entrepreneurs from the idiots. You need to become a good follower, not worker.

The second is overreaching your job's boundaries and overachieving. This is what catches a lot of people, because it's being non-complacent when that's all that is being asked of you. It's the ability to demarginalize yourself because jobs are maginalizing, not people. If you fit a better job, your career will take you there. Either a good employer will recognize your worth, or you will recognize the worthlessness of your employer and move on.

I have this extremely strong hunch that we all rise to our potential. And when I see someone complaining of how little they've accomplished, in more cases than not, they will make excuses, talk of regrets, and list all the bad luck and negative circumstances that surrounded their demise. Rarely do I hear them admit how bad they sucked, or how bad they compromised, or how they let it happen because they didn't act otherwise.

"I am still just a programmer."

That's you marginalizing yourself. Mark Zuckerberg was just a programmer. But you become more not by fitting tighter into that cast. You become more by breaking it. Eventually people will stop calling you just a programmer. And if that's your employer, you either just got promoted, or fired.

nine_k 4 days ago 0 replies      
tl;dr: guy craves status and money, chooses engineering instead of management, feels unhappy.

Well, yes. If you want status, go into a profession built around status (a manager, a politician). If you want big money, go become an entrepreneur or again a manager.

If you're ok with mere six figures of salary, but crave certain other things, you can consider engineering. (If you can withstand five figures but have even stronger craving for these certain other things, maybe you're hardened enough to go to science.)

asn0 4 days ago 1 reply      
I faced this same decision (for very similar reasons) about 15 years ago, and decided to go the management track (I'd been a back-seat manager before that too). I enjoyed helping "underlings" succeed, was well-respected (not always popular) by those people I managed, had some good mentors, and had some good success moving up the ladder. I was reluctantly getting used to the fact that I spent most of my time in meetings, and made no direct contribution to the bottom line of the company.

After 3 years a programming job came up from a company that was an early adopter of telecommuting and had (organically) adopted many business concepts since popularized by 37Signals (i.e. better job by eliminating the crap). The company I was at was asphyxiating due to 2008 crash, so I took the leap. Coincidentally I had read 4 Hour Week around that time. I knew it was a potential "step back", but it seemed like a better way to work (I could be a programmer, and strongly influence the direction of the company, and have a much better work-life balance).

Best choice I ever made. I have since changed jobs twice (first company got bought out by a bigger public company, who ruined the fun with bureaucracy), but what I look for now is a company that is structured in a way that front-line technical people (and Support people, and Sales people) can meaningfully influence the success and direction of the company, and the executive management spends most of their time with sleeves rolled up, coding or closing deals, and very little time as overlords. Those companies are out there, more now than before.

Many people who I have worked with in the past are now in executive positions. They often try to persuade me to move into management (so far, unsuccessfully). Some of them make more money than I do (that, fortunately has also changed in the last 10 years). All of them spend their days doing things that I would enjoy less than what I get to do, the things I would have been doing if I'd stayed on the executive track. The pay/asset difference would not make up for the work and life I enjoy now.


andyidsinga 2 days ago 1 reply      
I made a the choice to go into leadership. (note I still avoiding the word "manager" as that makes me feel like a PHB ..but I'm getting over it).

The epiphany:

A VP I respect a lot was is still a crazy tinkerer with a strong technical background. He once made an automated dog watering bowl - it was stupid and brilliant and gained him a special kind of respect among engineers (myself included). I felt especially good because he asked me for advice on how to code bits of it[0].

This was the example I needed to realize I can still be a developer and a leader who writes code - achem - tinkers - for fun, bragging rights etc. I love telling my engineers that I hacked together some stupid thing (twillio api irc bot haha) while being careful not to pretend its the kind of pro-work they do day in and day out.

[0] I'm not sure if he realized it - but that was an act of motivational leadership. The vp asking his 2-level-down report for some pretty detailed advice - then coming back to show the results. It may seem obvious to some, but this was a major epiphany for me, and I've since seen this quality in all of my favorite bosses & mentors.

ThomaszKrueger 4 days ago 0 replies      
While I appreciate the OP's point of view, I have to say that in my experience once you start making more than you really need your job becomes taking care of that extra money, and the drive to do what took you there in the first place diminishes.

One (like myself) must have a sense of need or urgency to feel compelled to do things such as development. Once the need is gone, so is the will, and I could argue, the thrill.

TheAndruu 4 days ago 1 reply      
My office mate (both programmers) put it this way: Your title walks into the room before you.

In an initial meeting with external customers / partners, the invitees may not know anything about you or your actual role . They see the titles on other people on say a meeting invite- "Senior Architect" or "Director of Engineering" and have much more interest in those guys and ask them the questions. Despite those guys often being so far removed from the actual technology they (in our experience) knew nothing and just said "yes" to everything... or just asked us later.

It's stupid, and it's petty... but it happens, just like this guy tells it.

liberatus 4 days ago 0 replies      
So you're an IC suffering under "incompetent management". Yeah sometimes you just can't work around this, but often times you can learn to sell your ideas better to those specific people. Maybe they don't jive with your delivery. Change it.

If you speak the language of revenue, you can rationalize almost anything that will grow it responsibly.

If the language of revenue and various delivery tactics still don't convince your management, then it's time to leave.

I too struggle with focusing on the negative sometimes, so I constantly encourage myself (and the author and others who are feeling similarly) to redouble efforts to optimistically communicate in the language of revenue.

byw 4 days ago 4 replies      
I keep hearing stories of non-technical managers making elementary mistakes when it comes to technical decisions.

Many of the things are so widely established, they can be learned by spending a little time reading a few books, talking to a few people. So I have to wonder what the obstacles are here.

An aversion to reading? Inflexible management dogma? Distractible lifestyles? Poor critical thinking in general?

xiaopingguo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Once you deal with FOMO (the fear of missing out) you are then free to deal with all the rest of your fears, leading to much higher life satisfaction.

Stoicism, eastern philosophy (esp. ZhuangZi), travel and experience of other cultures, all help a lot.

Jonathanks 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow! It's great knowing some person have been in the art for so long and have accomplished so much.I've had a laptop computer for about a year now and I've not done anything really good with it. It came with Windows and some programs (Office, Mavis Beacon, a CAD software, etc) installed and I've found my passion for breaking things increase since then.After learning how to type on the keyboard (with the Mavis Beacon software), I got annoyed at the OS pestering me to enter an activation key (it wasn't activated) and I got it activated. I dealt with little inconveniences, tried to fix things that weren't broken (just out of curiosity), broke more things in the process (viruses helped me do this too), crashed my hard disk, got a bad LCD screen, lost precious files and had some other misfortunes (all in less than one year).Now I've found myself in a strange relationship with Linux (so addicted I test distros for fun). I'm thinking of installing Slackware for no valid reason than 'I just like it'.I tried my hands on web development, read some books, did a few pages for fun and soon found myself visiting and leaving languages like a tourist, without knowing anyone well. All in about one year. I tried taking Harvard's CS50 on edX and I couldn't complete because of freshman college work and here I am now, back at web design.I seem to have no skill; just curiosity and impatience. But I'll learn. And for the nostalgia I feel about the things I've broken, I'll build more.
ChrisDutrow 4 days ago 0 replies      
> Trying to be both leader and programmer was simply too much.

I learned you cannot lead and do work at the same time while running my Christmas light installation company. With a team of 4 people, the less I worked the more got done - by a large margin.

This is because the labor of the other 4 people was leveraged much more efficiently when I was observing, supervising, and coordinating.

Caveat: You have to do a little of the work, otherwise you won't have the understanding to make good decisions.

forgottenacc56 4 days ago 1 reply      
The best time to start a project was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
calibraxis 4 days ago 0 replies      
Definitely good advice. Corporations are often not structured for you to have an impact outside your tunnel: they're too top-down. (Of course, many workers internalized that during school, which was much the same, so they seem happy with the arrangement.)
davidhyde 3 days ago 0 replies      
This post makes me sad. Where we should be encouraging others to join this field, this does the opposite. These are the golden years of computing where we mere humans can still make worthy software (before AI writes our software for us). I find it to be a privilege to work in this industry and actually be paid for what I do. Yes I consider writing software to be a form of art and I pity others who don't have the same job as us. I think that the author's career path has more to do with is adversity to risk than the decision not to go into senior management. Leaving apple when it was shaky, leaving startups when there were problems. If I was lucky enough to work for a startup or any business that had a sound business model but was suffering from managerial incompetence I would leave and compete.
yes_or_gnome 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just a quick comment for content creators. On your personal websites, please make yourself prevalent. Most of the time, I like to get to know the author before reading their blog post. Having that background helps to frame the article(post), so I don't have to jump to conclusions about your experience.

In this case, I only have the author's name because of the copyright line at the end of the page. There are quite a few entries in the archive posts, but quickly skimming through them, I don't see an obvious introduction post. The first few posts look well written, but jump right into the subject; again, without giving any background on the author. And, it appears that the articles are out of order (possibly because the earliest articles have been updated).

Google search brings up a few people with the author's name. Researching an author, without a wikipedia article or some other published article, feels more like stalking.

In conclusion, please have an 'about' section. It doesn't have to be your entire CV, but, please, give some basic info about yourself.

g8oz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose is what we all want. Bad leaders are getting in the way of his Autonomy so he feels like he lost his Purpose. Hence the longing for an objective metric like money. It's a poor substitute.
kluck 4 days ago 1 reply      
Management has always politics involved. And politics get ugly fast, strange personalities fighting over small stuff with minimal importance.

Now exchange "Management" in the first sentence with "Programming in a team" ;)

shade23 4 days ago 0 replies      
I would have this dilemma too.The choice of whether to take up a Technical Management role to remain in coding is something every hacker will face.I say hacker because I consider a hacker different coder on the basis that a hacker loves what he is doing.What you need to realise is that context matters a lot:For example,from the OP's link "When I pointed this out the manager said [...] Eventually I gave up and left. This change could be brought about without being a VP/CTO too.It would involve taking up more responsibility than what your current job description dictates.If you as an employer care enough to bring about change and be considered responsible for such changes ,then you will be able to bring about the change you wanted.The OP also says "(I knew several people) but they were afraid to make any changes".This shows that those people were not ready to take up the responsibility for the matters discussed.I feel that the difference between a programmer and the rest of the professions that the OP mentions is the difference between "People Management" and "Code Management".Something which commonly intersects in the role of a "Technical Lead".

Also keep in mind that it commonly happens that one of the first few programmers become a CTO? .That is not only because of the requirement of such a position but also a genuine care for the product which leads to him shouldering responsibility for the same.

So now if you were doing this responsibility shouldering and people management for 10 years,you cannot expect yourself to up-to-date and be tech savvy forever.Some people move to that position to also ensure relevancy.-It is much harder to remain relevant as a programmer in comparison to being in a managerial position.

TLDR;It all depends on how much you like to code in comparison to see through a finished product which sells.Both are symbiotic fields which need specialists in each area.

nunez 4 days ago 1 reply      
This post resonated with me. I've realized that, more often than not, technical individual contributors have very very little influence over the general direction of a product, let alone a business, and have a very well-understood (and, in my opinion, low) salary cap. Job hopping helps with ensuring that your compensation doesn't stray too far off from market rate, but this only brings you closer to the proverbial glass ceiling. I've also worked in organizations with technical management that were barely technical and happened to get into those positions for other reasons, yet they somehow made more in bonuses and raw salary than ICs.

These two things have made me want to focus on getting into management as soon as possible. (I'm 28.) I might hate the additional responsibility, or I might not, but I feel like going this direction will give me some more upside than I currently have now.

jkot 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think the right path is to be both a manager and a programmer. Starting business is getting easier and one person can manage both.
grif-fin 4 days ago 1 reply      
Don't we just love these such discussions and don't such fork roads in life go back to the core philosophy of an individual's values of her or his life.

I know friends who have always loved programming and will continue till last breath living happily in their world of programming (which is huge these days).

I also know dear friends who have got the most advanced degree's irrelevant to computer science and yet are dreaming to be a programmer.

All said, what can one conclude from Mr Andrew Wulf's judgement of his life? I'm thinking about the answer as I'm writing this... hmm what does this tell me... perhaps not much else that there exist another person who regret his past decision, true or false, the chances are that it is applicable to anyone including me is as much as how much Mr Andrew Wulf's complexity of life and his state of mind are similar to others reading it.

gtirloni 4 days ago 1 reply      
While I agree that it might be harder for full-time developers to have a lot of material assets (but still make a decent living), that simply is not the case when it comes to impact: just check all the open source projects that are integral to everyone's life these days.
frostymarvelous 4 days ago 0 replies      
My biggest regret as a programmer is having to work for businesses who neither value nor understand the software development process. Who simply aim to milk, milk, milk and milk some more till you ate burnt out and sapped.

Programming itself, I will never give up on.

alexc05 4 days ago 1 reply      
Ohhh... man. This is a bit tough to read.

After 20 years in programming I've recently started looking into going back for a CS degree (masters or undergrad). But this guy makes me wonder if I should reconsider the MBA option.

FrankyHollywood 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is very personal. I couldn't sit with the suits talking high level about the future company directions, new improvement and efficiency processes bla bla.

My first job was at a crapy webshop with all juniors. Worst code I've ever seen (except offshore code). Last years I have had projects with developers all >10yrs experience. It is very rewarding!

I like programming, I like technical discussions, and I like to tell management they are wrong (which they very often are). You can have a lot of impact being someone who actually knows what he talks about.

imtringued 4 days ago 0 replies      
Your biggest regret should be including pointless google translate and twitter integration to a perfectly good website that would otherwise load within less than 500ms instead of two seconds.
lifeisstillgood 4 days ago 0 replies      
I started coding $LONGYEARS ago, and then took the management path cause I wanted to y'know, get paid. After five years as a CTO I finally realised I was coding maybe once or twice a week and gave it up, went contracting and while I know "leadership" basically is needed if you are going to have more effect than just your efforts, I only want to do that now for my own product company - not someone else's.

So contracting till I finally make the full time leap.

In short: you can go back.

GeoffreySteven 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been both the programmer and the entrepreneur. With multiple exits, I've been choosing my projects for years.

Software is more deterministic that humans. When businesses fail, it usually comes down to the other business partners/clients making and enforcing the wrong call - often in unpredictable ways. If you have to choose, manage the software, control the company.

IMHO, it always works out better for yourself when you own & control everything. If you have partners, have the veto.

Make and keep the gold I say :)

mrzool 4 days ago 0 replies      
So, TLDR: "my biggest regret as a programmer: having been a programmer"
GBond 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a depressing OP and comments section but it is not all doom and gloom. The tech industry is slowly getting better at reward/valuing/promoting the individual contributor. Keep in mind corporations are, by nature, hierarchal so higher up the chain = higher pay & more respect is the natural thing to do. A trend of the larger tech companies have been emphasizing individual contributor roles within org particular in innovation and strategic roles. They often have different name (Distinguished Engineer, Engineer Fellow, CTO office, Innovation Office, Program Manager). I would seek out out companies that have such a program if your desire is to stay technical and an IC while still being promoted. Next to zero chance getting this at a super small startup or non-tech.

If your goal is to be a technical manager/CTO, the Product Manager role is a good path. For me, I transitioned to a Sales role (Sales Engineer), which is another route to the CTO path.

d--b 4 days ago 0 replies      
> I could have been almost anything

Also, he could have tried it and lost it all.You can regret not trying, but you can't regret not winning!!

ErikAugust 4 days ago 0 replies      
A great read for this author would be "Don't Call Yourself a Programmer" by patio11:


bantic 2 days ago 0 replies      
I worked at a company that hired a developer who was slightly consumed by his regret at being an early employee and then getting out of Groupon pre-IPO. We'd be at a bar and the conversation would die down and he'd look sort of glum and say, "I should be on a yacht right now...". I felt bad for him.
seivan 4 days ago 1 reply      
Yishan Wong talks about this here http://algeri-wong.com/yishan/engineering-management.html

It is also my Bible. Yet to find a place that runs like that.

jaza 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a programmer in my 30s. I've always said (only half-jokingly) that my career goal is to avoid management for as long as possible.

I decided to be an IT professional because I like spending most of my working day programming. If I wanted to spend most of my day talking, meeting, leading, and selling, I could have gone into politics. Or, if I really wanted to make truckloads of money, I could have become an investment banker.

I really don't picture myself ever feeling the regret that the author talks about. The more time spent coding stuff, and the less time spent doing management, the better.

kafkaesq 4 days ago 0 replies      
Over the years Ive seen how little ability you have as a programmer, no matter how good you are, at making a difference or changing things that are broken. I simply didnt realize how little room you have to advance as just a programmer (or even architect or the like); the power to change exists at a level not available to you as a mere delivery device.

Not only will you not have the ability to change much (either about your environment, or in what direction your company takes as a whole) -- you'll frequently find your fate decided by people who have even less general business knowledge than you do, and little or no experience actually managing people.

fatagun 3 days ago 0 replies      
My biggest regret is, I could have been a lawyer or doctor easily but i choosed to be a "programmer". I worked at New York(appnexus) and SF (yahoo, ebay). Now I work as Director of Software development for a very large org.

Programming is hard. really hard. I hope we can all agree on this. It is not easy to develop proper software. There are always changes along the way, hence we choose to be "agile". But still there is always something missing. I guess this is the nature of it.

pmarreck 3 days ago 0 replies      
I remember DeltaGraph!

I'm also at the same crossroads- 44, have some money, want to push FP and TDD and the languages Elixir/Erlang more, maybe just do it by starting a new company? Encountering too much current trying to push for it in existing orgs as a "mere" programmer. Figure if I think I'm on to something, I should just start a development consultancy or programming shop specializing in the things I think will matter down the road, now.

jsogbein 4 days ago 0 replies      
If only life was so linear and predictable You could have remained at Apple and Steve Jobs would have never returned and several other possibilities and cumulative possibilities based on the combinations of all those other possibilities.
dayre 4 days ago 0 replies      
I made a similar choice, now at 45 years, have not been unhappy at all. My last few jobs i've actually removed experience from my resume, and applied for jobs that pay less than what my experience could demand (i don't NEED six figures) and it's worked out very well. I still enjoy programming and working with new technology, less responsibility, more time for the things i enjoy working on. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjvazX03EOU
arvinsim 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have been working as a programmer for 8 years. I agree with him. It is exciting to learn new things and implement elegant code but if the bottomline is money, my experience is that you have to get into leadership roles.
davidw 4 days ago 1 reply      
> The CIO at the same place never believed anything his employees told him but believed everything vendors told him. Of course we knew he was taking kickbacks as we kept buying things we had no use for and he kept writing articles for them relating how wonderful their products were for us. Yet we used almost none of it. Some time after I left he was fired and perp-walked out of the company yet immediately got another similar CIO position.

That is galling, but it seems to happen with some frequency. I can't quite figure it out to be honest.

noam87 4 days ago 0 replies      
My biggest regret as a programmer: starting when I was 25 instead of 15.
advertising 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hindsight. Could have become VP or stayed with apple and gotten hit by a bus the next year. So many paths that could have played out as a lowly "programmer" and this person is just looking at his/her sister as if it's as simple as option A or option B and if only he/she picked the other. That's not life. I'm not down with this post.
bawana 4 days ago 0 replies      
He wrote the same stuff two yrs ago (look at his blog entries). That he now gets to the first page of HN shows how many more people resonate with his feelings. More evidence that capitalism neglects humanity. Though it is so far the best model for quantifying human interaction, the code of capitalism needs to be revised to adjust the quantities transacted. Long term value needs to be added into the calculation of price. Perhaps deep learning and big data (big learning?) can provide these adjustments.
akman 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting to see similarities between this and Camille Fournier's post on the same topic 11/2015:http://www.camilletalk.com/whilefalse/2015/11/truth-and-cons...

The common message is you often have less influence if you don't go the management track.

thegayngler 3 days ago 0 replies      
Management types are simply pimping someone else's talent. In reality they should only get a small financial cut from doing that rather than the oversized influence and share of the decision making they do get from doing such things....that's how the entertainment industry handles "management".
Nemant 4 days ago 0 replies      
What is more depressing than OP is the HN crowd agreeing or saying how "programming is a dead job" and "it's easy" (see @okyup's comment).

These are what you call script kiddies who create CRUD apps and pretty UIs. I'll probably get downvoted by the hoards of script kiddies. I mean c'mon, these are the same kids ranting about how their world coming to an end with the whole left-pad fiasco.

yason 4 days ago 0 replies      
They say that making money is easy but only so if it is the only thing in your life.

If you are willing and able to make tradeoffs that help you to focus on what is financially lucrative, then it's probably easy to find the highest paying path available. Factor in the rest of what's in your life and what you want to do; not so easy and usually it is "the money, and..." that people want.

goodgoblin 3 days ago 0 replies      
The limiting factor in whether someone becomes a manager or stays a coder is that there aren't very many manager roles available relative to programmer positions. Almost perversely because these roles are scarce, they pay more, but are managers really harder to find than programmers?
jarsin 4 days ago 1 reply      
Meh most people in management suffer from imposter syndrome either consciously or unconsciously.

Management is meeting + politics aka waste of time + drama.

Dev for life!

npsimons 4 days ago 0 replies      
Two things:

Not everyone can be a manager, or move up the management chain; even if you're good, there's not that much room, and you might not be able to cut it. Not saying don't try, but there are more programmer jobs than management jobs.

> being a programmer means you have to be happy with the opportunity to build cool things.

I can live with that.

nvusuvu 4 days ago 0 replies      
So is there a way to do both? I've gone down the manager trail for the last 7 years, but I'm not sure I want to do it anymore. But after 7 years, I feel like I am behind all the engineers that have that many years of technical experience under their belt.
edwcar13 4 days ago 0 replies      
After reading this I get the understanding that in my life if I am to start a company and being a programmer that I will inevitably have to let go of being a programmer and focus on being solely a leader. This never is a thought that I never even fathomed.
jcoffland 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've always had the fear that I would be forced into management and wouldn't get to program anymore. This is a much scarier prospect to me. It seems a lot of programmers are eventually pushed into management roles.
JimboOmega 4 days ago 0 replies      
Is there any good advice on how to set yourself on the path to being a manager? Not merely how to manage well (I've read plenty of those), but on how to get yourself in a position where you do manage.
DrNuke 4 days ago 1 reply      
Not only programming: all salaried jobs end in tears if the employee realises there is more than a paycheck in life but, that said, he/she can't afford to try and startup as an entrepreneur.
djtriptych 4 days ago 0 replies      
Man this is great. And very true. There are almost no programmers good enough to write their own rules at a large company.
PaulRobinson 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've made a similar decision in the last 12 months and I disagree with almost every bit of logic deployed in this article.

This time last year I was a CTO of a 10-20 headcount firm which was turning over about $10m/year in revenue.

A few years before that I helped build a company from me and the CEO and got it to about 20 headcount and a $15m pre-money valuation.

I am now a senior developer/tech lead in a 150+ headcount firm. There are two layers of management above me to CTO.

Why? It's quite simple. I wasn't happy in my role, because like the author I felt stressed and I wasn't doing anything particularly effectively.

So I sat down one Sunday morning and feeling the dread of Monday morning coming closer I wrote down a list of things that happened on bad days hoping to identify things I could eradicate, and a list of things that happened on good days with the view to do more of that.

It doesn't matter what was on the list of bad things, the list of good things was quite short: get to work on code/infrastructure; solve problems in a hands-on way; work in a great team as a peer, not as a manager.

It's a joke of mine that in very small startups CTOs have to write code, and in much larger startups CTOs don't have time to write code, but in 10-20 headcount size startups the CTO has to write code but doesn't have time to.

That meant in my previous roles I was still quite hands-on. Other CTOs I met told me I was not a "proper" CTO. One was amazed I knew how to code. Fuck 'em. I started as a dev, enjoyed being a dev, I would dive into dev when I could.

In the end, I realised I enjoyed coding. It wasn't the easiest thing in my job, it was the most satisfying.

So I quit, and put out a developer resume. Everybody told me I couldn't go back. I disagreed. I took a substantial pay cut to work somewhere else, and immediately within a week felt happier.

I realised that I could have empathy with tech management and use my own experience to talk in their language to influence decisions, but ultimately I wanted to write code as much as possible.

I'm fortunate that I work in a firm where engineers are given a fair amount of autonomy over tech decisions, taking input from product owners on priorities from the business. We have a voice, we have influence, we can change things. That means the traps are not as deep, the despair is not as entrenched.

Sure, things fuck up. Sure, we disagree sometimes. But that happened when I was CTO as well. There were huge arguments with CEOs at times. There were disagreements with VCs about tech strategy. There was crap bubbling up all the time that got on my scope. The fact I was the guy making the final call on this stuff didn't mean suddenly everything was fine because I was good, it meant my stress levels increased because the cost of getting it wrong was a couple of dozen families not being able to pay the mortgage next month.

That doesn't mean if you want to CTO, you can't. You can and you should, if that's what you want.

What I would argue is that you have to optimise for energy and happiness. Get energy and happiness right, you can do anything else you want. It all starts with those two.

You shouldn't choose the "easy" option, you should choose the option where you get to look forward to Monday morning, the option where you go home and feel satisfied with the contribution you made that day. For some, that's writing code. For some, that's automating CD pipelines. For some, that's figuring out how to save the company $x/year by moving services around from one vendor to another.

I expect I'll go back to smaller startups one day. I like the idea of trying to be an indie dev or getting paid to work on open source on my own terms to some extent, but right now I'm happy having the stability of where I am, and I get to write code, and I work with great people.

WalterBright 4 days ago 0 replies      
The article would be the same if the author was an engineer, or an accountant, a scientist, lawyer, etc.
meric 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm into my third year working full time programming. Thanks for the heads up. Will retire sooner.
Xeoncross 4 days ago 0 replies      
You can avoid waking up at the end of your path if you keep an eye on road while traveling.
educar 4 days ago 0 replies      
I really enjoyed this honest article. The zen is programming is a tool and not a goal itself.
win_ini 3 days ago 0 replies      
As a Product Manager - my biggest regret was not learning to code.
known 4 days ago 0 replies      
Programmers should compete with other programmers, not managers;
ArkyBeagle 4 days ago 0 replies      
IOW: The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.
iofj 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's the software he seems to have been the owner for :


Certainly looks like it had potential. Of course he was going up against microsoft at that time. Certainly wouldn't have been easy.

dataker 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure if still holds true nowadays.

It's becoming harder and harder to move from programmer -> VP/CTO/CIO/CPO.

X years of experience? Nice, but did you go to HBS?

tanker 4 days ago 0 replies      
Author is not Scott Adams.

I double checked.

msimpson 3 days ago 0 replies      
Money != Success
humbleMouse 4 days ago 0 replies      
35 years of programming and not enough money to retire? Should have saved more money...
eggman 4 days ago 0 replies      
I regret sitting down.
kingofhawks 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can not agree more.
YouTube-dl: Open-source YouTube downloader rg3.github.io
966 points by h43k3r  2 days ago   304 comments top 60
guycook 2 days ago 17 replies      
The tragedy of this software (and many like it) is that despite working exactly as advertised, easily and with a lot of features, because it's a quiet open source project without any SEO rigging it will never appear in page 1 of any searches by laymen trying to download videos ("save youtube to hard drive", "download youtube videos" et al).

The amount of crapware I've had to remove from family member's PCs just because they wanted to save a video is ridiculous.

FiloSottile 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nostalgia time. Even though I'm not actively involved anymore, youtube-dl has been the first OSS project I seriously contributed to, and strangers still thank me at conferences for it.

I owe a lot to the maintainers (hey, phihag!) for tolerating and trusting a much younger version of me :)

I still remember the emotion of getting this merged: https://github.com/rg3/youtube-dl/pull/342

It's also one of the most impressive community efforts I've seen, with just about anyone contributing support for new sites and fixing broken ones: https://github.com/rg3/youtube-dl/graphs/contributors notice how the GH interface is limited to 100 contributors, and #100 still has 3 commits in the tree)

jtokoph 2 days ago 7 replies      
Some of the things that make this the 'ultimate':

- Supports hundreds of services, not just youtube [0]

- Allows you to extract audio in multiple formats

- Download entire playlists (and general batch support)

- Configure video/audio quality

- Extract/build metadata

- Cross platform

[0] https://rg3.github.io/youtube-dl/supportedsites.html

Kristine1975 2 days ago 5 replies      
I've been using it for years now and it's great. Not only for Youtube videos, but also for a lot of other video hosters, up to and including TV stations such as the German ZDF or the French Arte.

To fully use its features you should install ffmpeg though. Youtube-dl will automatically use it if it's in the PATH, and then can download Youtube videos with higher frame rates and resolutions (they store video and audio in separate files, and ffmpeg is used to mux both together). ffmpeg is also required to download from some streaming video hosters.

For me it's essentially:

 youtube-dl -F '<url>'
to get the list of available video and audio formats, followed by

 youtube-dl -f <video format>+<audio format> '<url>'
and then wait for the download to complete. And

 youtube-dl -U
to self-update youtube-dl (because it gets updated just about every day).

SG- 2 days ago 6 replies      
Here's something i've added to my .bashrc that lets me type in simply 'play <some song name>' using youtube-dl and mplayer (I forget where I found this gem, and sorry for weird formatting, won):

 function play { youtube-dl --default-search=ytsearch: \ --youtube-skip-dash-manifest \ --output="${TMPDIR:-/tmp/}%(title)-s%(id)s.%(ext)s" \ --restrict-filenames \ --format="bestaudio[ext!=webm]" \ --exec=mplayer -vvv "$*" }
play rick astley never gonna give you up

sdk77 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm in China and streaming youtube videos is mostly out of the question, due to the very unpredictable and usually too slow nature of connectivity (I gave up on VPN long time ago and use a number of strategically placed cheap virtual servers). Over the years, youtube-dl has been a godsend. I ssh into one of my servers, download the video and then rsync it over to my laptop. Most of the time I don't really need to have the video stored locally - if I was at home I'd just stream it again - but for some niche applications like mine it's next to nothing. The buffering built in to youtube itself too often just stops or throws me into 'an error has occurred'.
ryuuchin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another great thing about youtube-dl is its integration in mpv[1]. On Windows as long as you have both mpv.exe[2] and youtube-dl.exe in the same folder you can use it to play pretty much whatever youtube-dl supports. This should also work on *nix/Mac as well just check your distro's repo's or wherever you look for stuff like that on Mac (can you tell I've not used Mac stuff ever).

I rather like using it for things like twitch streams since I can bypass having to use Flash and get a higher quality renderer in the process (with things like high quality scaling[3] and debanding[4]). And it goes without saying that it's nice for youtube stuff as well because of the aforementioned benefits. Basically it makes stuff look even better than if you watched it the browser, and I like that.

[1] https://mpv.io/

[2] https://mpv.srsfckn.biz/ official Windows builds)

[3] https://mpv.io/manual/master/#video-output-drivers-opengl mpv supports ewa_lanczossharp (aka jinc) for scaling among others

[4] Also a huge fan of the debanding which can be left on all the time

danso 2 days ago 1 reply      
Mostly OT: A friend of mine posted this article from his local newspaper as an example of how slow news is in his town:


> What is a GIF?

> OTTUMWA Chances are if you have been on the Internet lately, you have encountered a GIF...In honor of National Teen Tech Week, the Ottumwa Public Library offered a session on GIF making for local teens Saturday afternoon.

OK, not a traditional article topic for a newspaper, but the library described seems to be very much on the ball, teaching teens how to use youtube-dl to download movies:

> He walked each of the teens through the steps required for making GIFs by using movie trailers found on YouTube. He then had the kids copy the web address and use the program youtube-dl to download the video. OPL also provided flash drives for each person so they could access the program at home.

extrapolar 2 days ago 6 replies      
Note that it is against YouTube's ToS to download videos:https://www.youtube.com/static?template=terms

"You may access Content for your information and personal use solely as intended through the provided functionality of the Service and as permitted under these Terms of Service. You shall not download any Content unless you see a download or similar link displayed by YouTube on the Service for that Content."

agumonkey 2 days ago 0 replies      
The work-horse. If the author/maintainers are here, thanks a lot. With an old laptop I need mpv/mplayer to be able to play videos without overheating. youtube-dl is my youtube backend, one of the most used commands on my terminal.
mundanevoice 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a great project. I have been using it for more than 4 years and it has never disappointed me ever. It picks up from the interrupted download, can convert in any format you prefer and get only audio out if you will.

Great work guys! Thanks for creating such an awesome piece of software.

lochlainn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nothing but positive experiences with youtube-dl, invaluable piece of software IMO.

For people interested in tools like this, or for people who want to just watch videos without downloading, I would also recommend Livestreamer. I use it to watch Crunchyroll streams, and I avoid all the strange issues that come up with their terrible player. No more skipping to random sections of the episode.https://github.com/chrippa/livestreamer

leni536 2 days ago 0 replies      
Note that mpv integrates well with youtube-dl. With an "open with" like addon it's relly handy especially on sites that are still stuck on flash.
corradio 2 days ago 0 replies      
I actually made a small script to download offline youtube videos using youtube-dl.


mtrn 2 days ago 0 replies      
youtube-dl is great. It belongs to a class of software, that could not exists without a place like github (or any platform, that makes it easy to contribute). Many developers (here: 403) sharing the burden of keeping the scrapers up-to-date, which would be a dull and mind-numbing task for a single person or small group of people.

Other wonderful projects in this category would be homebrew[1], wiki*, OSM, ...

rb2k_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Huge props to the team working on this.

I once maintained something similar in Ruby (https://github.com/rb2k/viddl-rb), and the amount of changes necessary just to keep a hand full of plugins up-to-date is crazy.

joeyspn 2 days ago 1 reply      
Download mp3 with the maximum possible quality.

$ youtube-dl --extract-audio --audio-format mp3 --audio-quality 0 --output "%(title)s.%(ext)s" <URL>

bfung 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you use mac, it's available on homebrew. even easier.
givan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use vlctube https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/1783-vlctube to not only download youtube videos but to also use vlc as default player, there is a huge performance boost, I no longer hear my cpu fan when playing a youtube video.
amelius 2 days ago 0 replies      
It would be nice if there was a "shadow" version of youtube on bittorrent. So instead of using youtube-dl, you could just pull the file from bittorrent. Besides this being faster in most cases, it would also mean that a big part of our cultural heritage is no longer locked inside google's silo.
Walkman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here is a script I use to download a lot of videos in a queue with it:https://github.com/kissgyorgy/interactive-youtube-dl
joshstrange 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've used this tool a ton of times and it is a standard install on my multimedia fetching VM. I really want to take the time to allow for a Sonarr[0]-for-youtube (and other supported sites) app that uses this on the backend. For example I love CGPGrey but don't want to constantly be downloading new videos (But I do want to watch them through my Plex setup). Some channels have convenient playlists I can download (and keep downloading) but I normally want to change the naming to a convention I specificy.

[0] https://sonarr.tv/

k4rtik 2 days ago 1 reply      
User for >4 years. Absolutely love the nifty little tool. But I hated opening up a terminal each time I wanted to initiate a download.

For PopClip[1] users on Mac, I made a little YouTube-dl extension[2] which lets you initiate the download just by selecting the video URL (best when done from browser's address bar) and clicking a button. Been using it as my primary ytdl client for past 5 months now.

[1]: https://pilotmoon.com/popclip/

[2]: https://github.com/k4rtik/popclip-ytdl

lottin 2 days ago 3 replies      
The only thing that irritates me about youtube-dl is that by default it will try download audio and video tracks separately and then remux them on your computer. While it's a cool feature, I don't think this is what most people want 99% of the time.
MiguelVieira 2 days ago 7 replies      
Honest question: why would you want to download a video from YouTube? The main use case I can think of is you want to watch videos offline on a mobile device but don't want to pay for a YouTube Red subscription.
milge 2 days ago 2 replies      
Recently, I wrote a chrome plugin that saves information of all of the songs I listen to on youtube to amazon since youtube's history API is shit. Theoretically, I could write a nightly job that runs YouTube-dl to turn all of those videos into MP3s. Taking it even further, I could run a nightly SyncMe job on my phone to copy the MP3s locally. A setup like this would be good for people with limited phone bandwidth. Imagine not having to search out MP3s anymore. Is it still considered pirating if a robot does it?
bradlys 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you want a button built into youtube's webpages in Chrome this will do too. I believe there are other projects that do similar things but many aim at doing much more (mine is solely for the little download button which offers all the video/audio formats that youtube-dl does).


plug 2 days ago 1 reply      
What a funny coincidence - I just discovered and used this a few hours ago. I wanted to rip some YT audio from (mostly) old records that I have that are not on Spotify etc.

I looked at some browser plugins but I wasn't really impressed. This, on the other hand, was a great discovery. Really configurable and well documented.

Assuming you have `ffmpeg` installed just run:

`youtube-dl --extract-audio --audio-format mp3 $URL`

and you're done! I expect my phone will be packed of bizarre prog/jazz before the end of the weekend :D

interfixus 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a sort of atavistic thing against streaming. I download things, and then I watch.

This is a really nifty tool, though I must say that Flashgot on Firefox does the job nicely for me, 99% of the time.

yasoob 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a simple GUI which I made for this script: github.com/yasoob/youtube-dl-gui. I hope you guys would like it :) All bug reports are welcome.
nxzero 2 days ago 0 replies      
YouTube needs a "download" button; love this code, it works like magic, but for the average user the real answer is that YouTube needs a way to download a video; otherwise, YouTube is just enabling all the 3rd party sites that exploit YouTube making it easy to "hack" a way to download the files, but hard for the average user who ends up getting malware to download the video.
pieter_mj 2 days ago 0 replies      
previous discussion : https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8647943

I used this (on windows) to easily convert/resize videos i had saved earlier using a file:/// url, but this possibility has been removed since a few months because of the obvious security hole (in a linux context)

Jarwin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not just YouTube, over 200 websites including daily motion, vimeo and, well were all adults here so I'm just gonna say it,pornhub. Supports authentication. And you can download with any format using -f flag. Also I'm not sure about that, but I thing you can use apt-get to download it as well.
maremp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why is this so popular last 24h? I am using it for about a year and never saw this much hype. Is there any new feature or is it just that someone rediscovered it and it went viral?
adrianbd 2 days ago 0 replies      
I often use mps-youtube, which I believe is based on youtube-dl and works great to listen to music off youtube from the terminal.


ontouchstart 2 days ago 2 replies      
I have a docker image to run it on OSX, haven't tested on Windows yet.


akagetsu01 2 days ago 1 reply      
I made something like that over Christmas..it's pretty shit but it works to download youtube videos as mp3 :-/http://akagetsu.com/youtube/
jaimehrubiks 2 days ago 0 replies      
I built a gui/music downloader using this last year. Called musicBoo in case you want to check it out. Its multiplatform, having problems in deployment though (in java swing
pknerd 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Works like charm. Only if laymen can be convinced that CLI is far easier than GUI.
hatsunearu 1 day ago 0 replies      
fun fact: mpv couples youtube-dl to itself and can view youtube videos simply from the command line.


mpv "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3Ey4YChtEU"

(you need quotes because most shells will try to glob match)

aryamaan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not exactly related to this but I remember someone wrote a script which lets you download any song (by name, artist or some phrase from the song).

It uses youtube api to search the song and then download it using youtube-dl.

tachion 2 days ago 2 replies      
There's a web app[0] that uses youtube-dl to provide non-cli functionality. Does anyone knows if there's similar tool/lib in Go?

[0] http://pullz.in

aguynamedben 2 days ago 0 replies      
Been using it for a while. Great for hacks, downloading 360 VR videos, downloading all videos for a channel.

Was happy to see it here, it's nothing new, just a great tool, great job of surfacing it HN!

justinwr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Damnit! I hate it when people advertise my favorite software.
em3rgent0rdr 2 days ago 1 reply      
Initial commit is from 2008. I think title should be updated to reflect the initial year, since this is not a new project. I've been personally using this for many years.
diegorbaquero 2 days ago 1 reply      
I used this years ago to create a Youtube2MP3 site. This tool is great. Nice to see that it's still alive and maintained
noir_lord 2 days ago 0 replies      
youtube-dl -f 141 <link>

Gives you decent quality audio file from pretty much any video, you can even feed it a playlist.

konart 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm amazed many people do not know about it, considering it is installed via brew together with mpv, lol.
rasz_pl 2 days ago 1 reply      
The best use case for youtube-dl is extracting direct mp4 link and piping it to mplayer

youtube-dl -g url | mplayer

CoelacanthsKill 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been using this for years to rip ~256k mp3's off youtube.
sig_chld_mike 2 days ago 1 reply      
what idiots. there isn't one complete example of how to use the project with a url from Youtube. Instead we have to decrypt what the hell the documentation means.
goldenrules 2 days ago 4 replies      
i love youtube-dl. i've been interested in doing the same with soundcloud, but i have no idea how to go about learning how their streaming works. any advice for where to start?
jayadeeptp 2 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't it against the ToS of Youtube to download videos?
techaddict009 2 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't it illegal to download youtube videos?
GizaDog 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great stuff! I wish I can program stuff like this.
jisagigi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any thoughts on livestreamer vs Youtube-dl
alvern 2 days ago 0 replies      
So excited to try this out tonight
fordarnold 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nice simple tool
draugadrotten 2 days ago 1 reply      
> It's a bit worrying how many people run to defend corporation profits by default.

Surely you are keen to make a profit yourself with your unicorn startup idea, dear unique snowflake.

personjerry 2 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like "ultimate" in the title is misleading.
Nest Reminds Customers That Ownership Isn't What It Used to Be eff.org
731 points by DiabloD3  5 days ago   306 comments top 39
acidburnNSA 5 days ago 7 replies      
> In an ideal world, Hub owners would be free to point their devices at a different central server, run by a third-party competitor or a trusted friend, or even run such a server on their own. They would likewise be free to collaborate on improved software that would unlock the potential of the Hub hardware or purchase such software from a competitor to Nest.

This ideal world exists, and it is glorious. I somewhat recently set up a Raspberry Pi 2 with https://home-assistant.io and a cheap z-wave USB stick. The interface is through a webpage (not an app), and I access it remotely using a OpenVPN server on my router.

It's interfacing with door sensors, motion sensors, wall switches, cameras, my stereo, HUE lights, etc. It can email me or send me SMS for notifications. When I wake up and walk past a motion sensor, the lights come on in a dim scene. When I come home and open the door, the lights turn on. I have tons of rules and it's super fun. Totally self-hosted, and the main server is completely open-source (written in Python3).

I haven't set it up with a thermostat but lots of other people have.

altitudinous 4 days ago 2 replies      
This is illegal in Australia. A customer can reasonably expect that if they pay $300 for an electronic thermostat then it will function for a reasonable amount of time, otherwise the manufacturer will repair or refund/replace. The reasonable amount of time in this case, particularly for a $300 thermostat, would be at least 5 and probably at least 10 years.

There was a case that passed through the courts yesterday, Steam tried to exclude these warranties. They didn't get far with that. Source : http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2016/03/australian-federal-court-f...

tobyjsullivan 5 days ago 6 replies      
This whole saga serves less as a warning to customers and more as a warning to businesses. Be careful about acquiring other companies - liabilities come in many forms.

It may have seemed like a great deal when Nest bought Revolv - after all, we know acquihires are usually based on the fact that the acquired company was going under anyways. Pay a minimal amount for a failing company and get some great engineers.

But it sounds like they didn't anticipate the brand problem they would ultimately face for ending support for a product that was inevitably going to disappear in either case. Something early messaging (say, at the time of the acquisition) could have helped soften.

Nest didn't build this product - Revolv did. And they banked their company on its success and lost. Nest might be alive and healthy but it doesn't seem right to say they somehow acted dishonestly just because they picked up the pieces of a failed company but didn't want to prop up a product which nobody wanted.

sqldba 4 days ago 2 replies      
What I love is the number of people who keep espousing cloud services of every other nature. "Everything is already there! They're better at security than you!"

And then history shows services close down, change ownership, prices fluctuate, and there are inside and outside attacks and data loss.

You try to tell people that though and they just close up and repeat the same argument.

This is why I think repeatable installs / setups of infrastructure is important, and tested on self hosted infrastructure before bubbles pop.

barney54 5 days ago 6 replies      
As the owner of a nest thermometer, a couple nest cams, and a nest fire alarm I sure hope that nest reverses their policy on the Revolv hub. I have been pretty happy with my nest products so far, but this makes me seriously reconsider buying any more.
zik 5 days ago 3 replies      
Surely this is illegal? If a Nest tech turned up at your door and when let in to do "service" he took a hammer to the device destroying it, people would be suing left and right for property damage. Surely this is just the same?
astebbin 5 days ago 4 replies      
From The Verge, "Nest says it may offer 'compensation' to Revolv users for disabling smart home hub:"


StreamBright 4 days ago 0 replies      
It is kind of funny that we discussed here a service few weeks back with life time usage granted to the users and my argument was that I cannot take anything like that seriously from a company that was not around 10+ years at the very least. This move from Nest/Google just confirms that we cannot trust these companies with "lifetime" promises.
nkrisc 5 days ago 3 replies      
Time to buy a new car because Google no longer wants to support yours.

The wonders the future holds.

dclowd9901 4 days ago 1 reply      
To me, the solution to this is simple: if you eol a product that renders it useless, open source it. Allow someone else to support it and perhaps at a profit. The same would happen if a phone or cable company decided to drop and unprofitable area.
fiatjaf 5 days ago 1 reply      
More eletronic devices, more broken devices.

More smart devices, more devices infected by viruses.

More IoT devices, chaos.

The only people who are able to use smart devices are the ones who projected them. There's no point in trying to sell to the large public a lot of things they will not understand, this will only make them dependent.

visarga 4 days ago 1 reply      
This kind of behavior is reverse piracy: instead of people pirating Big Corp's music and movies, it's Big Corp that's leaving people without the use of their products. So, the internet gods requested two sacrifices: privacy and ownership. Did I miss any?
cm2187 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think it is more generally a warning to anyone relying on the cloud.

If you develop an app that is hosted in one of the main cloud providers, not the sort of app you have a team developing actively, rather the sort of app you develop once and forget. The cloud is a living thing and doesn't guarantee stability.

First there is always a small risk that they may terminate your account as a result of whatever change of policy.

But mostly the technologies on which your app rely (web framework, storage API, cache API, etc) will likely be retired on a short notice. Outside of a VM, the cloud is not the right place to host something you want to run for 10 years without having to take care of it.

unclebucknasty 5 days ago 2 replies      
The fact that software drives everything now means that we never quite own the product we initially purchased. I remember thinking this a year or two ago when Samsung dropped from my Smart TV an app for a streaming service that I used quite a bit.

While this Nest situation is an extreme case, we're now always one update away from products being altered in ways that make them very different from what we originally purchased.

mwsherman 5 days ago 1 reply      
Similar to another commenters note about Raspberry Pi, this seems like an argument that an well-supported, and ideally open, OS is the way to go for devices. Android comes to mind, even iOS would be unlikely to leave customers in a lurch.
tomc1985 5 days ago 0 replies      
It is amazing that so many are so desperate for shiny new tech that they're willing to put up with this kind of stuff. I used to consider myself an early-adopter, but its clear they're being played for fools...
exabrial 5 days ago 0 replies      
Ok, I was thinking about buying a Nest, definitely avoiding it like the plague now! My home is a long term investment!
cmdrfred 5 days ago 3 replies      
I was going to buy a nest, but now I'll just rig myself something up with a Raspberry Pi. Lower cost and I know it will still work in a few years.
milesf 4 days ago 1 reply      
Remember when Google's guiding philosphy was "Don't be evil"?
a3n 5 days ago 0 replies      
>customers who reasonably expected that the promised "lifetime" of updates would enable the hardware they paid for to actually work,

That would be the functional lifetime of the device. "All these on this list are dead." Promise fulfilled.

mattlutze 4 days ago 0 replies      
We're buying products whose core functionality, or for which bricking functionality, relies on software outside the device that costs money to maintain.

If you're buying stuff that relies on the cloud to run, you're just buying the plastic and silicon, not the actual capabilities those deliver.

Maybe the law needs to define what "lifetime" means, and whether a company that buys another company inherits the lifetime of their products. Maybe Nest should have spent some time and money updating the services so that things would run off of existing Nest cloud services and turn these Hubs in to weird-colored Nest devices.

But, the bigger issue is thinking that we're buying capability when we're buying just the plastic and bits through which the capability arrives.

If we want to buy the capability, we need to start demanding that again.

13of40 5 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't catch it in the article, but I assume they're turning them off because they have a back end service that's going to do nothing but cost them money if they continue to run it. Does anyone know if that's the case?
frogpelt 4 days ago 0 replies      
We better get used to hardware-as-a-service.

Cars will soon be all-electric, self-driving and pretty much unrepairable.

IoT and smart devices will push everything to subscription model.

Your television and the Internet will no longer be the only place you are served ads. When you reach into the fridge for your store brand dairy product, the fridge will say, "Start living healthier now with almond milk! It's currently on sale! Just tap OK on the screen to order a gallon!"

gerbilly 4 days ago 0 replies      
> Lifetime support

Silly consumer, not _your_ lifetime, the lifetime of the product.

BTW, we just declared your 300$ gadget end of life. kthxbai...

elcapitan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe a stupid question, but is there a follow-up/replacement to the product they are turning off, and why didn't they contact their customers and propose free replacement? Would be such an easy way to completely avoid this customer relations nightmare.
awesomerobot 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's no reason cloud devices can't have a limited fallback service. This is just lazy software.

We're creating a culture where it's ok to throw fully functional hardware into a landfill because of bad code.

WalterBright 4 days ago 0 replies      
So my thermostat stops working when the internet connection goes down? No sale.
johnm1019 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's always nice to see the author of such serious articles is in fact human. Can we use this as a way of detecting the robot writers? (is being actually fun hard for AI?)

> Customers likely didn't expect that, 18 months after the last Revolv Hubs were sold, instead of getting more upgrades, the device would be intentionally, permanently, and completely disabled. (To be fair, the Revolv Hub design resembles HAL from Space Odyssey: 2001, so perhaps someone saw this betrayal coming).

tombert 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is the frustration I have with "cloud" devices, and why I try to avoid using them.

Sure, they're convenient as all hell, but if it points to a webservice that I don't/can't control, it inherently has a shelf-life.

The issue is that while I totally could figure out how to set up a self-hosted home-automation thing, I'm not sure that the average non-technical user could, which means these cloud-devices are here to stay.

ed_blackburn 4 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty sure this would be illegal in the EU. Seems a bit flying by the seat of your pants to me.
ehudla 4 days ago 0 replies      
chris_wot 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was interested in Nest devices, but will now never buy one.
awinter-py 5 days ago 2 replies      
If you excavate any square yard of ocean you'll find a bunch of sharks' teeth in the sediment. They're like tree rings for ocean paleoclimatology. They're 'high tech' (in the sense that an apex predator uses them), effective and constantly being replaced.

Now do the same thing with a landfill and you'll find generations of silicon doodads in the strata.

My point: we shouldn't be too surprised when things are disposable. Sharks' teeth aren't useful after they fall out. Companies can't be supporting ten generations of gadgets.

tempodox 4 days ago 0 replies      
Nest should be sued into oblivion over this. If they get away with this, it will destroy a whole market.
kahwooi 4 days ago 0 replies      
That is google.
dang 4 days ago 1 reply      
We've banned this account for trolling.
incepted 4 days ago 6 replies      
> It used to be that when you bought an appliance, you owned it, and you could take it apart, repair it, and plug in whatever accessories you wanted without the manufacturer's knowledge or permission.

That's some glorious equivocation the EFF is pulling here.

You can still do this today. Nothing stops you from taking apart, repairing and tweaking devices you buy.

What you can't get today and that you could never, ever get before either, is the guarantee that the company you bought that device from will keep its servers alive for any given period of time.

Anyone who thinks that open source is the way out of this dilemma needs a reality check.

The fact that the source is open gives you exactly zero guarantees that a company will keep paying for servers that runs this code. Zero. If you're lucky, someone will pick that source up and deploy servers to run it, but again, no guarantees.

> Customers likely didn't expect that, 18 months after the last Revolv Hubs were sold, instead of getting more upgrades, the device would be intentionally, permanently, and completely disabled.

Then they were nave customers. If the terms of service don't include such a guarantee, then you don't have it, period. It doesn't matter if the source is open or closed or if the company that provides the device is worth billions or just an angel funded startup.

> In an ideal world, Hub owners would be free to point their devices at a different central server, run by a third-party competitor or a trusted friend,

They can do this today, the world doesn't need to be "ideal", there just needs to be a financial incentive for a company to run such software. That's what happens in a free trade economy, supply and demand rule. This economy gives us a lot of benefits but you need to be ready to face the reality that sometimes, it won't give you what you want.

> But there's another way to push back against untrustworthy devices, and that's refusing to buy electronics and software that prioritize the manufacturer's wishes above your own.

What a great idea. Now, can you give a few examples of alternate devices that give us the kind of guarantee you are advocating?

I would certainly love to hear about them.

Sometimes, I wonder if the EFF lives on the same planet I live on.

facepalm 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think the lesson is more "don't promise your users a lifetime subscription", because it is unlikely that you will be able to make good on the promise.

End of life is pretty common for software products. My Wii doesn't support multiplayer anymore. Most smartphones don't get updates anymore after two years. Sure, we can keep using them, but the reality is it would probably be better to switch them off rather than walk around with countless security issues.

capote 5 days ago 2 replies      
I feel like this is all a bit dramatic. It's not too big a deal to deactivate something that isn't supported anymore. Can't security issues arise from unsupported hardware/software after all? There must be some reason.

Also, nobody's walking into anyone's house... these comparisons are so over the top. Even if it is unfair (and I see the point, it is somewhat irritating) can we stop with the rampant and out of control use of slippery slope arguments? I feel like that's all I read anymoreslippery slopes happening everywhere with everything.

Also, why has nobody asked or investigated as to why they want to brick hardware intentionally? Let's figure that out before we go crazy about this.

SpaceX Launch Livestream: CRS-8 Dragon Hosted Webcast youtube.com
836 points by cryptoz  2 days ago   353 comments top 61
joshrotenberg 2 days ago 7 replies      
That was so cool. If you feel like launching one yourself, they have a user's guide: http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/falcon_9_users_guid...

And pricing information: http://www.spacex.com/about/capabilities

(edit: added pricing info which might be helpful)

manaskarekar 2 days ago 3 replies      
Reminds me of one of the most inspirational interviews by him after three failed Falcon 1 launches: http://www.wired.com/2008/08/musk-qa/

> Musk: Optimism, pessimism, fuck that; we're going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work.

cryptoz 2 days ago 0 replies      
The SpaceX subreddit has an excellent megathread with lots of information about this launch. https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/4dtoly/rspacex_spac...

Here is a link to the technical webcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh8V0COrrzE

This is SpaceX's first ISS cargo mission since their last attempt last summer, which ended in an explosion and loss of all cargo. They will also be attempting a barge landing of the first stage, which they have not yet successfully completed. They will likely stream the landing attempt, but live video is no guarantee as there is usually too much interference.

dzdt 2 days ago 3 replies      
Count degrees of freedom that have to be zeroed out in that landing: three coordinates of position, three coordinates of motion, two axes of tilt, rates of yaw, pitch, and roll.

That adds to 11 dimensions of control. And their flight computer nailed it, without even zeroing one at a time! Only roll rate around the axis of the rocket was zeroed well before touchdown. Impressive!

dsp1234 2 days ago 1 reply      
First successful landing on the drone ship

Also, primary Dragon deployment appears successful as well.

ChuckMcM 2 days ago 2 replies      
That was pretty impressive, and while I love that New Shepard has flown three times, putting something into orbit and having the booster land on a drone ship is pretty freakin' awesome.

For me, the really amazing thing is that if SpaceX has been pricing their launches to cover their costs (and I realize that is a big if), they have been developing the re-usable tech on the back of those flights. And now they have 5 (or 6) test flights where two were successful that is moving that tech forward. Developing it on top of an already profitable space flight business, that is pretty amazing.

Really impressed.

partisan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've watched several times now and seeing things like this make me optimistic about the future of humanity. The commercial space industry is literally being born before our eyes (not the utility space industry of lift/transport, but the one where private companies begin to capitalize on the resources of space).

My only problem with this whole thing: Weyland-Yutani Corporation sounds so much cooler than SpaceX.

jjm 2 days ago 3 replies      
A rocket lands like it's done it 1000 times from space, and my company can't even code a simple microservice or use containers.
mholt 2 days ago 3 replies      
To put this in perspective, they just landed a supersonic toothpick upright on a turbulent matchbox.
Anchor 2 days ago 3 replies      
Successful landing on the autonomous drone ship. Awesome to be witnessing the amazing progress.
manaskarekar 2 days ago 1 reply      
History in the making. Successful landing on 'Of Course I Still Love You'.

Very, very inspirational.

grondilu 1 day ago 7 replies      
I'm very conflicted about SpaceX.

On one hand, I can appreciate the technical performance like everyone, and I do believe this may have a great impact for sending things to space, including humans.

On the other hand, SpaceX's main goal of having men living on mars to me sounds completely insane. No matter how cheap is the trip to mars, I would not live there as I could not afford to, and I doubt anyone on Earth currently can. Maybe a scientific base with public funding would make some sense but it would still be so insanely expensive that it'd be tough to sell to the tax payer. And it's clearly not what SpaceX has in mind, anyway. Also I don't share the fear of an upcoming cataclysm that would make Earth worse a place where to live than mars. I just don't get it.

For reference: https://youtu.be/3YDnGHaXdxw

sixQuarks 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm embarrassed to say I was screaming and cheering like a little school girl upon landing.
helicon 2 days ago 2 replies      
Not wanting to be overly dramatic, but as someone who wasn't around in the sixties this feels like our moon landing!
ronnier 2 days ago 1 reply      
themgt 2 days ago 0 replies      
That really felt like watching history being made. And damn, that ship is getting some waves.
avivo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Gorgeous success! Fascinating to hear chants of USA USA USA in the background. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pUAydjne5M&t=37m13s
cryptoz 2 days ago 1 reply      
Gifv of landing: http://i.imgur.com/lH4qRaK.gifv

Fascinating how it seems to bounce or slide at the end. Also: WOW!

llomlup 2 days ago 7 replies      
Watching the webcast feels like being at some blockbuster movie premiere. There's a largish crowd following the launch and applauding on every launch stage completion. Not that it's a bad thing per se, it's rather the opposite, it however, feels quite weird and staged as opposed to launches done by ESA, Roscosmos or even NASA.
intrasight 2 days ago 1 reply      
Honestly that's the most amazing thing, besides watching my daughter be born, that I've ever witnessed.
product50 2 days ago 5 replies      
Maybe this is a stupid question but why do they land that thing on floating vessel vs. fixed target on land? Seems like it will be more difficult to manage this in the ocean given that the vessel itself is moving around with the ebbs and flows of the waves..
Falcon9 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hello, Of Course I Still Love You, nice to land on you.

[I love that SpaceX has the Falcon and the Dragon, and that the autonomous landing drones are named for starships in Ian M. Banks' Culture series. Cool technology _should_ get cool names.]

not_that_noob 2 days ago 1 reply      
That's so freakin' cool!

Does anyone know how the rocket meets the drone surface at landing so precisely especially when the drone is pitching and rolling? Is it processing on the rocket or some other mechanism?

mmsimanga 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amazing, well done Space X. Watching the live feed gave me goosebumps and was more exciting than the any blockbuster I have ever watched.
verytrivial 2 days ago 3 replies      
Does anyone know how do they "secure" it to the drone?
photonwins 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sensors, control systems, software, hardware and of course the weather. So many things can wrong despite your best efforts. Just think about it, the entire rocket goes through multiple cycles of extreme temperature/pressure variations in a very short span, the different materials used in the vehicle expand and contract at different magnitudes. You have got to get your calculations absolutely right. It is mind boggling to even think about it. Kudos to all the Engineers, Scientists and the support staff for pulling off such a feat. I feel lucky to be able to witness history in the making.
joeblau 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's crazy how they can do this in real life and I still can't land this in the game[1].

[1] - https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/76866912/

tom-_- 1 day ago 0 replies      
brainpool 2 days ago 0 replies      
That landing was amazing to see. The landing they did on land was more spectacular, but having seen their failed landings on the barge earlier it feels so good they succeed at last. Godspeed SpaceX!
iamcreasy 2 days ago 1 reply      
After main engine cut-off(MECO-1), 1st stage turns around and fire it's engine to zero out all it's lateral velocity.

Wish there was a video of that!

gjkood 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is my kind of Super Bowl. A win for humanity.
ggonweb 1 day ago 0 replies      
The SpaceX Reusable Rocket Story and other attempts https://medium.com/lazy-collections/trying-to-land-a-rocket-...
aws_ls 1 day ago 0 replies      
Amazing stuff! BTW, can we buy those "Occupy Mars" T-shirts somewhere? :-
andersen1488 2 days ago 0 replies      
Self driving electric cars, virtual reality, now this. I think 2016 is the future you guys.
mmaunder 2 days ago 1 reply      
I literally tuned in 5 seconds before it touched down. So glad I caught that - feels like it's bit of a step forward for mankind actually. Huge congrats to the SpaceX team. We're all very proud of the awesome work you're doing!!!
hyperion2010 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tuned in just in time to see stage 1 sitting happily on the drone ship. Not as much data about what can go wrong, but hey, they got an intact stage 1 back and going over that is going to provide them with mountains of data. Looking forward to more.
shogun21 2 days ago 0 replies      
Elon is having a very good week!
r0m4n0 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here is footage of the Falcon 9 stage 1 landing and the celebration that ensued... (if you missed it)


parr0t 2 days ago 0 replies      
So annoyed my alarm didn't wake me this morning to watch this live, glad it didn't explode this time and made an awesome landing. Huge congratulations to SpaceX!
agumonkey 2 days ago 0 replies      
Musk is having the week of his life.
smegel 2 days ago 3 replies      
It came down at quite the angle.
hipaulshi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow!! Wow!!! Wowww!!!! That is SOOO COOL!!! >.<
tunesmith 2 days ago 2 replies      
Missed it by five minutes :) Is there a replay?
mbreese 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just seeing the first stage come in for a landing was amazing. Being able to stream that video was a wonderful surprise.
perseusprime11 2 days ago 4 replies      
Can somebody please remind me again why we have to land this thing on a barge on water instead of land?
jroseattle 2 days ago 1 reply      
Somebody tweeted last week that Elon Musk is the new Steve Jobs.

I think he's the new Tony Stark.

11thEarlOfMar 2 days ago 0 replies      
deegles 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can't wait to see this first stage land again! (and again and again...)
zump 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is there anyone here who doesn't drink the SpaceX Kool-Aid?
carlosdp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice, congrats SpaceX!
RPG11Slayer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow simply amazing.
dang 1 day ago 1 reply      
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11458754 and marked it off-topic.
verytrivial 2 days ago 0 replies      
vvanders 2 days ago 0 replies      
Max-Q, looking good!
randonymous 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yesss! They landed it!
sangd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wowwww, amazing. Congrats!
vvanders 2 days ago 0 replies      
They did it! On the ground!
yoda_sl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow! Mind blowing stuff today
rgovind 2 days ago 0 replies      
Woohooo. It landed back safely.
Forbes Site, After Begging You Turn Off Adblocker, Serves Up Malware 'Ads' techdirt.com
593 points by jackgavigan  2 days ago   271 comments top 57
ikeboy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Blogspam of the story discussed in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10870892
georgespencer 2 days ago 11 replies      
My process

1. Click Forbes link2. Get blank page where ad should be and "Continue to site" link3. Click continue4. Get request to turn off ad blocker5. Laugh that I can't remember that Forbes blocks ad blockers6. Google the headline7. Read the story someplace else

Hope that helps.

untog 2 days ago 10 replies      
IMO, this is the biggest issue facing ad providers today.

I get the anti-ad blocker complaints - there are a lot of sites that depend entirely upon advertising revenue for their continued existence. And this isn't just crappy blogmills - even a company like the New York Times doesn't make enough money from subscriptions alone to continue operating without advertising of some sort.

Maybe there's a different model out there but as far as I'm aware no-one has found it yet, and in the mean time I'm quite prepared to tolerate advertising on web sites in return for the content I get. I'll even tolerate a pre-roll ad or a full-screen takeover before I get to a page every now and then - but there's a line. The mild end of it (for me) is ads clearly intended to make you click by accident, and the severe end of it is malware like this. And in my experience it's on the rise.

By all means implore your users to turn off their ad blockers. But clean house first and make sure you know what you're serving. The real problem is that it's borderline impossible for anyone to do so, given how many reseller networks exist out there these days. I often see people say that sites should arrange and sell their own advertising - but the reality is there's no money in it. Selling yourself out to the Google ad behemoth is often the only way out.

coldpie 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm willing to compromise on web advertising, but not while this is possible. I don't understand why on Earth ad networks, and more importantly content publishers, allow arbitrary Javascript and Flash through their networks and onto their websites. You as a content publisher are not allowed to compromise your users' security, full stop. You are responsible for any compromises that come through your website. Until content publishers get that through their thick fucking skulls, I will continue to use an ad blocker and strongly recommend them to everyone I know. I would rather all ad-supported businesses fail than allow this malware to continue be distributed.
JacobJans 2 days ago 2 replies      
Google is largely responsible for the situation we're now in. As the largest provider of ads on the web, they regularly turn a blind eye to malware advertising served by their network.

They simply do not take malware seriously. They continually let it exist on their ad network. As a publisher that uses Adsense I find this extremely frustrating. As example: I've spent quite a bit of time attempting to block ads that lead to the "ask.com toolbar." These are always deceptive. They confuse my visitors and then I hear about it.

Additionally ads where the only text is "Download Now" or "Read Your Private Messages" are clearly deceptive. And yet they're allowed.

There are so many easy ways Google could improve the situation. And yet, they don't. This is a serious problem, and it is only going to get worse until Google responds appropriately.

davesque 2 days ago 2 replies      
Because it may not be obvious, this article is from early January. A number of different sites reported on these incidents back when they happened. Here are a few examples:




K0nserv 2 days ago 1 reply      
My $0.02

Publishers should look to Stack Overflow and be inspired to run ads of high quality and relevance[0].

Throw out the ad networks, tracking, and reject rich media ads. Instead focus on high value ads that align well with your readership and manually verify the quality of these ads. If publishers do this I am willing to turn of my ad blocker.

0: https://blog.stackoverflow.com/2016/02/why-stack-overflow-do...

ArtDev 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is why I use an adblocker blocker blocker (https://github.com/reek/anti-adblock-killer/).
xori 2 days ago 2 replies      
Pretty sure they didn't actually serve malware and that news sites just made the click-bait title for clicks.


tombert 2 days ago 0 replies      
I remember thinking this was suspicious. I remember about three months ago I added a bunch of known malware sites to my hostfile so that I wouldn't give them traffic, and I couldn't get to Forbes.

Funny, too, because I don't even use Ad-block.

SCAQTony 2 days ago 0 replies      
Those sites that serve up malware scripts and call them ads, perhaps ad-blockers should rebrand and start calling themselves malware-blockers?
jordigh 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, the language, "hold their content hostage". I hate ads probably more than most[1], but still, if Forbes doesn't want to give up their articles without fair compensation, that's their prerogative. They're not taking hostages.


[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10939083

tracker1 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure why one of these big sites haven't been hit with a class action lawsuit... the website is responsible for the content it delivers... period. Especially when they force users to disable their ad blockers.

It seems to me, that someone who got an $xxx ransomware, or paid the nerd herd to remove malware from their computers could be the base of a class action lawsuit... That's what it will take to get this crap to change is to actually hold one of these larger media sites responsible.

tmaly 2 days ago 1 reply      
I noticed there are a lot more sites that can detect Ad Blockers. They hassle you about disabling the blocker.

Why not just make the ad inline into the content of the page. It would speed up the site as you would not have to make all the extra connections to these ad networks via thirdparty javascript.

ihsw 2 days ago 0 replies      
So what's wrong with image-only ads? Why do we have to let advertisers inject their own JS into a web page?
justsaysmthng 2 days ago 0 replies      
What bothers me in the ad blocker debate is that publishers want me to turn it off so I can see the ads.

Not click on them, just see them. Even though I never click on any ads, they still consider it valuable to subliminally influence me into wanting stuff I don't want.

To me, this is even shittier than forcing me to click on an ad before giving me the content. But to also serve me malware... is beyond shitty, it's dangerous.

Content is cheap these days. There's too much of it out there, high quality and free. In fact, I wouldn't mind if there were less content produced on the Internet.

I know that the content that is really valuable will still stay and all the bullshit that needs ads to stay afloat will disappear.

Forbes with malware? No, thanks.

For me the rule of thumb is this - if you need me to turn off my ad blocker, then I don't need your content.

tripzilch 1 day ago 0 replies      
Apart from the security aspects (and Forbes' responsibility therein), I'd like to say something about an argument I hear often in this context: That without payment via advertising, the "quality content"-writers won't have a reason to produce more quality content and it will dry up (or something; the actual consequences are often left to the imagination).

Consider clickbait.

Consider listicles, blogspam, the "you'll never guess X these celebrities Y", reposts of photos of cool-seeming-yet-utterly-impractical things to do with food/furniture/clothing/lifestyle/health/etc. At some point you probably helped clean out a friends' Windows laptop, tried to Google whether some process or application is useful or safe to remove--yeah those sites. I can't list all the types and categories, there's hundreds.

The only reason trash like this even exists, the only way this unfathomable high-volume fire-hose of vapidity is made possible, is because of these advertising networks.

This is what the vast majority of all those advertising dollars buys us.

Who is more likely to stop producing content if advertising revenue disappears? The high-volume low-effort clickbait-linkspam writers, or the "quality content" writers that actually care about the things they write about?

I'm convinced that if the online advertising industry were to collapse some day (I can hope, but I doubt it'll happen), it will be a net-positive for ALL the content online. Not just because an Internet without advertisement is just so much nicer, but also because the clickbait writers will be the first to stop producing "content", because unlike the quality writers that care, there will be exactly zero reason for them to continue producing informational landfill.

joeblau 2 days ago 1 reply      
I use Steven Blacks hosts script[1] and every time I see Forbes paywall, I just leave. If the article is that important, some other outlet will cover the news.

[1] - https://github.com/StevenBlack/hosts

http-teapot 2 days ago 1 reply      
I run both AdBlock and Ghostery. I experienced the same interstitial as every one, was particularly interested in the article headline, disabled AdBlock, reloaded the page, still blocked, disabled Ghostery, reload the page, worked.

Ghostery disabled, it initially reported that about 60 trackers loaded in the page which then quickly turned to 97 to then reach more than 110 trackers.

I highly recommend installing Ghostery.


barretts 2 days ago 1 reply      
Forbes' "Please turn off your adblocker" interstitial is a great reminder not to read Forbes' clickbait bullshit pseudo-journalism.
oli5679 2 days ago 1 reply      
Yesterday I tried to read a Forbes article on my mobile. It presented me with the banner asking me to turn ad-blocker off (which I haven't installed). I reloaded the page and was faced with pop-ups claiming I had won free Amazon products.
Mikho 1 day ago 0 replies      
The other day on Forbes site I clicked political article title in "relevant articles" section just to be directed to penis enlargement web-site w/ popups & malware. Interestingly the political article was definitely relevant not to the article I read, but to my region. Checked back and found that this "relevant" section is actually some 3rd party content exchange widget that masks malware links under popular keywords and titles relevant to a reader region where all titles lead to a malware web-sites.
kr0 2 days ago 0 replies      
I block all ads globally. Until this "different model" becomes prevalent I'm not budging. The argument that there are websites that can't operate without ads is valid, but there is no websites that __actually__ need ads that would be willing to wall users of ad blockers. Sites like YouTube could never implement such a wall without significant loss of revenue.
joesmo 2 days ago 0 replies      
How is this not a violation of the CFAA? Why isn't Forbes being held responsible and prosecuted? So if I go and access one file whose name is not public on Forbes' website, I'm looking at least at 5-10 years in jail but Forbes can infect millions and they get off scott free. The problem isn't ad blockers, the problem is the ad networks. They are criminal and should be held responsible. They should be shut down like any other spam network. They should be made to pay. And anyone who uses these criminal networks to infect computers is an accomplice and should be treated so.

At the very least, the people who are anti ad blockers will hopefully shut the fuck up now because they're wrong and it's not a matter of opinion.

vlunkr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Forbes is truly terrible at this. I tried to read something there, had to disable my ad blocker and ghostery. After refreshing, ghostery counted 40+ trackers on the site.

https://www.ghostery.com/ - I recommend it

brianbreslin 2 days ago 1 reply      
If Forbes set a minimum price for their ad backfill inventory (the shitty ad inventory they fill with low quality ads), could it economically not make sense to the networks to fill that space with malware ads?
guelo 2 days ago 0 replies      
You don't want me as a reader and I don't want to read your ads, including the ad about turning off my ad blocker. But the search engine I use sent me to your site and it doesn't let me filter out sites with ads. I wish it did. Obviously Google is never going to do it since they're the ones selling ads. I had hopes for duckduckgo but they're showing more and more ads. What I'm saying is, we need a search engine that excludes sites with ads.
vthallam 2 days ago 0 replies      
Apart from this, i have given up on Forbes because they keep almost all content in multiple pages with no option to load in a single page(at least on mobile).
Esau 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe we need to hold websites accountable for the ads that are served through them. Maybe once they are sued a few times, they will take this seriously.
hashkb 2 days ago 2 replies      
Wasn't there a report like this about Forbes and malware a few months ago? Have they responded in press? (Hopefully on Medium so I can read it.)
mavdi 2 days ago 1 reply      
Business opportunity:

Browser extension that gets all the articles, post-processes to strip the ads and serves the content when user asks for the same article url. I'd pay $9.99 for it. If the publishers won't get on board a unified subscription service, let's just go around them.

chris_wot 2 days ago 0 replies      
You know, this is why my dad's computer is riddled with malware every single time I go over to his place. No new apps were installed, he doesn't even know how. But he does browse the web.

First thing I'm doing when I get over there is install the most restrictive ad blocker I can find.

noahster11 2 days ago 0 replies      
Simple fix: https://github.com/Mechazawa/FuckFuckAdblockI don't know why more people use this. It simply blocks sites from taking you hostage
Magi604 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'll just take this opportunity to plug the Forbes Splash Screen Bypass Chrome extension.

It's not my extension, and I don't know the nitty gritty details of how it works, but I do know it stops that horrible Forbes splash screen from popping up.

forrestthewoods 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is why I block all ads, all the time. No exception. There are no "good" ads.
decals42 2 days ago 0 replies      
This article is true, but it's from January. Why is it at the top of the heap now?
slipstream- 2 days ago 0 replies      
And that's why I use a nice helpful userscript that aims to work around these things: https://github.com/adsbypasser/adsbypasser
revelation 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seems simple enough, sue Forbes.
delgaudm 2 days ago 1 reply      
So far pi-hole[1] network based ad-blocker has proven to be the best use of the Raspberry Pi i bought and didn't know what to do with it.

[1] https://pi-hole.net/

nyolfen 2 days ago 0 replies      
if you're interested in escalating the adblock arms race, i've been using IsraBlock[0][1] and it seems to work well

[0] https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/israblock/kekndmao...

[1] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/israblock/?sr...

chinathrow 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sue them, file a class action and I am sure, they will learn.
crablar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Forbes is dealing with ad networks that aren't trustworthy.

The ad networks that are most profitable are going to have some terrible deal flow that includes malware and viruses.

Animats 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why isn't this producing litigation? Users can sue Forbes. Forbes can sue their ad supplier. There's a strong argument for negligence here.
brokentone 2 days ago 0 replies      
There needs to be a user-side ad validation layer, something that displays any ad that meets industry security, load time, and tracking standards.
PhasmaFelis 2 days ago 0 replies      
I saw the title and thought "What, again?" But the article is three months old; it's about the original incident.
fightfortheuser 2 days ago 1 reply      
And that's why I never go to forbes anymore. It's a bad user experience. Now they can add greedy and not secure to the list.
Overtonwindow 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I really, really need to read an article on Forbes, I put the link in Pocket. Strips away all the advertising and everything.
mamcx 2 days ago 0 replies      
What is the reason a server-side solution is rarely used? What are the opportunities to develop such thing?
netman21 2 days ago 0 replies      
I stopped writing my column on security for Forbes after they started to refuse entry based on Ad Blocker use.
ArkyBeagle 2 days ago 0 replies      
They're dead to me. Dead.
hvoiiita 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm glad I stopped going to Forbes when they put up the adblock blocker
perseusprime11 2 days ago 0 replies      
I stopped visiting Forbes site. I will not turn off my Adblocker.
sysbot 2 days ago 0 replies      
Lower your shields so we can fire our nuclear torpedos at you!
coreyp_1 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have stopped going to Forbes at all for this very reason.
spriggan3 2 days ago 0 replies      
Between that and the pop ups that try to trick you into calling fake Windows customer services, why are they still asking themselves why people block ads?
intrasight 2 days ago 0 replies      
Forbes should just turn off that steaming pile of a web site. Either that or turn off all the ads since it is only damaging their reputation.
Android Studio 2.0 Released android-developers.blogspot.com
623 points by ingve  3 days ago   95 comments top 22
DCKing 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's great that they improved Android emulator performance. Major frustration when developing Android apps is all the time spent waiting for the emulator or device deployment.

What always mystifies me about Android development is that there's no equivalent of the iPhone simulator (not emulator) of iOS development. I mean, Google has a perfectly fast Android runtime that allows you to run apps directly on your desktop at native speeds. It's currently built into Chrome OS, is already cross platform [0], and while it obviously doesn't give you to access some phone hardware features, it should be perfectly adequate for 90% of development scenarios. Why doesn't Google leverage that for click-and-run Android development?

[0]: https://github.com/vladikoff/chromeos-apk/blob/master/archon...

mikestew 3 days ago 2 replies      
The new emulator runs ~3x faster than Androids previous emulator, and with ADB enhancements you can now push apps and data 10x faster to the emulator than to a physical device.

About time. I don't know of any other aspect of Android development that gets as much hate as emulator perf (and I include Eclipse loathing when I say that). Though I'll say on latest with a recent MBP and SSD, the stock emulator isn't nearly as bad as it once was.

I am disappointed with a continuing lack of a decent test tools story. Whether UI automation or unit tests, I continue to run into "you need foo to get this to work, but the app's dependency on bar means you'll never get the two live in harmony". Espresso continues to look promising, but ramp up is still steep.

cryptoz 3 days ago 4 replies      
This is really exciting!

> Finally, the new emulator has rich new features to manage calls, battery, network, GPS, and more.

Interesting! I've long wanted more sensor/hardware feature availability in the emulator, so this is a good start.

I can't wait to try out the Cloud Test Lab integration. If it works well, that would be awesome (and futuristic). Still looking for official support for WiFi debugging.

chinhodado 3 days ago 5 replies      
Everytime I tried to switch to Android Studio from Eclipse I switched back because of how incredibly slow AS's build time is. Eclipse builds and deploys my app in seconds, AS takes at least half a minute. I tried all the tricks I can find on SO, etc. without success.
swsieber 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've seen some venting in the comments here about Gradle and general build times. So I thought I would mention Buck[0] as an alternative build system. Vine as a great article up about how they sped up their build when switching from Gradle to Buck[1] - a large part of that was due to Buck's exopackage[2] feature.

For the curious, Google has a system like Buck - Bazel[3]. From what I know it served as the inspiration for Buck, but I could be wrong.

[0] https://buckbuild.com/

[1] http://engineering.vine.co/post/117873038742/reducing-build-...

[2] https://buckbuild.com/article/exopackage.html

[3] http://bazel.io/

virmundi 3 days ago 0 replies      
How does this compare to running Android in VirtualBox via osboxes.com? I pretty much have to do this in order to make my setup work (unless I want to use my phone for testing).

I have ArangoDB running in VirtualBox to provide backend data. If I try to run the emulator, I can't because VirtualBox and the emulator don't play well. The only think I've found to get the emulator to work is to use an ARM version of the emulator, which makes it hard to use.

An all VirtualBox setup works fine. I'm not sure how to make the emulator phone like rather than tablet. Other than that, I'm ok.

namelezz 3 days ago 1 reply      
How fast is the new emulator compared to Genymotion[1]? Is intel HAXM still required?

[1] https://www.genymotion.com/

levemi 3 days ago 2 replies      
> IntelliJ 15

That is not the most recent release of IntelliJ so it's at least one version behind. I should also note that IntelliJ has abandoned the version number name, the newest versions of the IntelliJ IDEs have the year now. The most recent IntelliJ IDEA is IntelliJ IDEA 2016.

That such a widely use fork of IntelliJ is behind a version is important for plugin developers who will be held back from adopting new features if they want to support Android Studio.

I think IntelliJ 15 shipped with its own JRE so it may be possible to write plugins in Java 8 instead of Java 6 for Android Studio though, so if that's true that's nice.

z3t4 3 days ago 1 reply      
For those getting lost in the IDE I recommend trying command line. Here's a good tutorial:http://geosoft.no/development/android.html you'll have to change some file paths due to SDK path changes though, just search for the executable)

I find Android development very tedious though (compared to web-dev) both with and without the IDE. Especially the xml-files and "enterprise" Java code.

orbitingpluto 3 days ago 1 reply      
What's with the handholding when downloading? I'm trying to download the Linux version on a Windows machine and it keeps trying to force the Windows version down my throat... spoofing my user-agent fixed it.
fulafel 2 days ago 0 replies      
How feasible would it be to run your own virtual Android device on a VM and access it remotely like VNC or rdesktop?This could be nice for running clients like WhatsApp or Snapchat and accessing them from a real computer with less privacy worries to boot.

(Yes I know there are per app ways you can often archieve this if you tinker around enough, not the point)

johndoe90 2 days ago 0 replies      
AFAIK they used modified version of QEMU to run Android. Will the speed enhance take any effect on the base QEMU? Or there were just OS optimizations?
jorgec 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am been using the 2.1 canary (beta) version for a long while that i didn't noticed about the new version.

However, in sum, using a emulator is still a bad idea.

therealmarv 3 days ago 1 reply      
OS X: just wanted to start my 3 weeks old Android Studio to update and realized it wants Java 6 from Apple. Is this normal? I have Java 8 installed here.
iLoch 3 days ago 1 reply      
Glad to hear emulator performance has improved so drastically. Did the Android team take the time to tackle the, what, 5 year old bug that prevents retina computers from seeing the screen clearly yet? Kinda of a huge pain in the ass and makes me groan whenever I have to start the emulator and test my Android apps.
w8rbt 3 days ago 0 replies      
We've used the beta releases for a few small class projects already with good results. No major issues.
esilverberg2 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was very excited for the improved emulator, but I also run Docker to simulate my app server, and the Android emulator does not run simultaneously with VirtualBox. Sticking to GenyMotion I guess...
vdfs 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does this support 32 bit linux?
awinter-py 3 days ago 1 reply      
any word on how 'warm swapping' compares to buck build?
rewqfdsa 2 days ago 1 reply      
lostgame 3 days ago 1 reply      
Man, I just grabbed Studio today to install on my new MBP, and I was baffled to see it had completely changed from the version I had installed on my old one like...two days before?

Way to surprise me.

dmritard96 3 days ago 0 replies      
Did you see the compile to iOS plugin, thats so cool! OK just kidding. But seriously waiting for it.
Internet hyperlinks do not infringe copyright, EU court advised reuters.com
517 points by jonbaer  3 days ago   107 comments top 22
pwenzel 3 days ago 6 replies      
The 90s are back! Clinton is running for president, and the legality hyperlinks are up for debate again.

In 1999, a similar lawsuit was brought up against 2600 Magazine over the issue of linking to source code that could have the potential to violate copyright:



caractacus 3 days ago 4 replies      
This is NOT a court ruling and NOT law. Yet.

Note the word 'advised'. This is a legal opinion from an important individual who looks at the case and tells the court what he thinks. But (i) the court can ignore it or look at the case themselves and make their own opinion; and (ii) any ruling they do make does not bind any EU government to implement it (though it should strongly decisions in EU countries). It's like asking your mechanic friend what he thinks of the car you've got lined up to buy.

As the CJEU press release states:

> NOTE: The Advocate Generals Opinion is not binding on the Court of Justice. It is the role of the Advocates General to propose to the Court, in complete independence, a legal solution to the cases for which they are responsible. The Judges of the Court are now beginning their deliberations in this case. Judgment will be given at a later date.


talles 3 days ago 9 replies      
Off-topic: anyone else find the article picture really odd? (who uses a laptop that way?)


alva 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how this would have affected the UK TVShack.net case [0]. Richard O'Dwyer was subjected to the absolutely awful UK-US extradition agreements over linking to copyrighted content.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_O%27Dwyer

mtgx 3 days ago 1 reply      
This comes at the right time, because the EU Commission was just preparing to put "copyright infringement by hyperlinking" into law:


France was also planning to ban "hyperlinking without permission":


profmonocle 3 days ago 4 replies      
Seems absurd to legislate this when there's a simple technical solution. If you don't want to allow "deep links" on a public web site, simply block any request where the HTTP referrer isn't from your domain (or from domains whose owners have paid you for linking rights, if you can find anyone inclined to do so.) You could go even further by encoding a base64-encoded expiration date + HMAC into the URL, so that your deep URLs can't be saved at all.

I think doing either of these things is silly - why even run a public web site if you're going to do this? But it's their site, and their right to make bad decisions with it.

If a site owner chooses not to do this, it's safe to assume they intended to allow deep links, since links are a fundamental, well-known feature of the medium they chose to use.

domergue 2 days ago 2 replies      
I saw a video from EU parliament where Gunther Oettinger urged that paper pritning news industry will die thanks to hyperlinking and so we, the EU, must do something about it (ratify this law). I think it's pretty clear where his second wage is coming from. Or he's absolutely stupid and doesn't have a clue about economy and prosperity.
hmmdiggy 3 days ago 3 replies      

 A link to a website which publishes photos without authorisation of the author does not in itself constitute a copyright infringement
Sorry for my naivety here but the way this is worded is creating confusion for me. Does the article mean:

1) Linking to photos that you don't have authorisation to use on your website isn't copyright infringement.

2) Linking to a website that doesn't seek authorisation to use photos on their website.

To me it reads like the latter, in which case how is one meant to know if a website has sought and gotten authorisation for each photo they use?

ricksplat 3 days ago 1 reply      
Oh thank god I'll be able to link to Irish news websites again without fear of prosecution!


amelius 3 days ago 3 replies      
What if I put base64 encoded content into the hyperlink? Will it be legal still? :
greglindahl 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this will have an impact on DMCA takedowns against search engines?
criddell 3 days ago 0 replies      
So I guess card catalogs in libraries are safe as well.
Esau 3 days ago 0 replies      
I honestly can't believe this is even being debated.
sschueller 3 days ago 4 replies      
So the pirate bay is legal?
pvaldes 3 days ago 0 replies      
Given the legal uncertainty introduced by the new Spanish law, I think that is not worth the risk to put links to spanish webs anymore in the 90% of the cases. Definitely, not more free linking to news on online journals related with AEDE by now.

Unless absolutely necessary, I now give just a couple of clues and let people find the page for themselves in google if they want. Stupid measures for stupid times...

Just my opinion.

brightball 3 days ago 0 replies      
Things like this are why I often wonder why people hail court verdicts so much. We've clearly established that courts are rarely even close to logically consistent, yet a court ruling in favor of or against an issue being discussed is often hailed as absolute truth.
lutorm 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't understand how a link could ever be judged to infringe copyright. No copy is made, any more than if I tell my friends, in person, to go and check out the cool, copyright-infringing photo that one of us have.
kzrdude 3 days ago 4 replies      
This doesn't really go into hotlinking, does it?

What's the legality of hotlinking? = embedding an image in your page by using an URL directly to an image that is hosted & controlled by someone else.

TheManuell 3 days ago 0 replies      
link to the CJEU press release, with details (PDF)http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2016...
nkrisc 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is at least reassuring. I don't think it's a big leap from saying that a link to a site with infringing content is itself an infringing act to saying a link to a site that links to a site [... etc] is itself infringing.
sspiff 3 days ago 0 replies      
So does such an advise also include things like magnet links, which do not include the content, or its location, but instead a description of the content by means of a hash or checksum?
known 2 days ago 0 replies      
"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants" --Isaac Newton
React v15.0 facebook.github.io
689 points by clessg  3 days ago   163 comments top 17
bshimmin 3 days ago 5 replies      
The referenced pull request for removing the <span>s (https://github.com/facebook/react/pull/5753) is terrific - a real paragon of open-source professionalism.
coltonv 3 days ago 6 replies      
Is there a reason why the file size has exploded?

react.min.js is now 145.4kb. For comparioson, angular.min.js is 155.2kb. One of React's biggest selling points was that it was much smaller than Angular/Ember/Backbone etc, but I'm not sure that argument can be leveraged anymore. I think React is a culmination of some great ideas, but in my view this is a big step back. Especially since Angular/Ember/etc. offer a lot more tools out of the box.

I don't intend to tell anyone here that React is a bad framework because it's not, but I think it should be a big priority to tighten down the file size. When React is big pretty much all their selling points go out the window.

Perhaps they can split files up so you can just import the APIs you want. I wonder how much that would help with the bloat.

I feel like some of the smaller VDOM frameworks like Cycle/Mithril/Riot are a lot more appealing now, since they focus on small file size and low bloat.

kuon 3 days ago 4 replies      
If you are using typescript, you should read:


TLD'R: React 15.0 broke TSX in typescript but the workaround is easy.

HorizonXP 3 days ago 1 reply      
Amazing. Honestly, React made me love developing for the web again. It's a huge component of our software, and is what allows us to move so rapidly.

Really happy to see the SVG support, and the continued fast-paced development of React. Onwards!

joshmanders 3 days ago 2 replies      
As a recent converter from Angular to React, I'm so excited for this release. Great job Dan & React Core Team!
nevir 3 days ago 2 replies      
There's a bit of irony here, but in a good way: Switching back to DOM APIs (e.g. document.createElement) was a performance boost.

('cause the browser vendors have done a ton of awesome work speeding up DOM APIs in recent years)

CalmStorm 3 days ago 1 reply      
I just tried the new release. The data-reactid is indeed gone when rendering on the client side. But on the server side, the html string generate by ReactDOMServer.renderToString still has data-reactid. Is it because client side can validate the server result and decide if it needs to re-render the page?
nailer 3 days ago 0 replies      
> There were a number of large changes to our interactions with the DOM. One of the most noticeable changes is that we no longer set the data-reactid attribute for each DOM node.

Nice. I currently use another functional reactive virtual DOM data binding mechanism and the data attributes everywhere was one of the things that didn't appeal about react. Since react is getting crazy network effects from community I might check it out for my next project.

brotherjerky 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great to see React continue to improve and streamline as new versions come out. They've managed to avoid the huge bloat that happens to frameworks as they age. Kudos.
rabelrabel 3 days ago 1 reply      
React 14.x was built with babel 5.x. React 15.x is compiled with babel 6.x. Must user jsx code now be compiled with babel 6.x to be compatible with React 15.x?
abengoam 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great news about the support for all the SVG tags and attributes. Now I can get rid of ugly dangerouslySetInnerHTML hacks for unsupported elements :)
calcsam 3 days ago 1 reply      
In ReactConf, Ben Alpert noted that there would be a ~10% performance improvement from v15.0. Is that still true?
rjurney 3 days ago 3 replies      
Can anyone say what this SVG support means for d3.js integration?
zactato 3 days ago 3 replies      
Has Facebook removed the potentially dangerous patent restrictions?


kriro 2 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting renaming choice. ReactPerf.getWasted()


ndreckshage 3 days ago 0 replies      
Really nice work with all this! Great blog post on update
qudat 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is the `key` prop still required?
The FBI Director Puts Tape Over His Webcam npr.org
551 points by molecule  2 days ago   203 comments top 41
white-flame 2 days ago 6 replies      
To me, Comey is a man who has lost the goal in pursuit of his particular mission.

Defense, intelligence, policing, all these things exist in order to uphold the constitution, protect the "American ideals", etc. Many of his statements pretty directly show that he doesn't care about the collateral damage to innocent people's privacy or any founding principles, he just wants his mission to be unhindered. It's the same mentality behind police forces wanting to make their job less dangerous and more straightforward, by escalating use of force and trampling rights.

With this hypocrisy, as has come many times before (congress shocked and demanding privacy when the CIA spies on them, for instance)... I can only shake my head. Come on.

Encryption is our webcam tape.

rdl 2 days ago 13 replies      
I care about audio so much more than video, and text/keys/etc captured from the machine even more. As long as my screen and keyboard are out of the frame of the camera, I don't really care about it getting RATed. At worst, you'll see me naked, or making angry/etc. faces at someone on irc or email. While embarrassing it would be less bad than most of what you could accomplish by stealing actual information.

OTOH, carrying around a microphone connected to the Internet which can be remotely enabled at any time without leaving any real trace (battery use/network use is the only real sign, although even that could be covered up to a great degree -- there is probably a way to do either low-fidelity or infrequent audio pickup, maybe keyed on location and charger state, and on-device pre-processing) -- people do this all the time Mostly because there's no real alternative to carrying smartphone yet.

Plus, of course, there's the fact that no modern desktop OS is particularly secure -- either you give up auto-updates and likely fall to bugs, or use auto-updates and are at risk to your OS vendor or anyone who can compel him. So sensors attached to it, as well as stuff processed on it, is also at risk. You can somewhat mitigate this through a large combination of other protections, but it's almost impossible for a single user single machine to solve that problem.

I'd love a custom run of Dell Chromebook 13 or Lenovo Thinkpad 13 Chrome Edition with no built-in mic/camera, and an EPROM vs. EEPROM, and some special case features. Would be willing to commit to buy 10k units at ~$800/unit retail in 8-16GB x 32GB config.

kobayashi 2 days ago 3 replies      
>"I saw something in the news, so I copied it. I put a piece of tape I have obviously a laptop, personal laptop I put a piece of tape over the camera. Because I saw somebody smarter than I am had a piece of tape over their camera."

Such a telling statement. It's my belief that this man does not adequately comprehend the magnitude of the issues at hand. General Hayden, on the other hand, is a man whom I believe to actually understand the technology that he was charged with professional addressing.

jandrewrogers 1 day ago 0 replies      
This can't be unfamiliar to the director of the FBI. I have tape on my laptop cameras placed there by intelligence agencies as a prerequisite for bringing my laptop inside their security perimeter, albeit in a quarantined space.

The reason I was given for the tape when asked was interesting, since they obviously didn't care about the microphone. Supposedly it was possible for the camera to capture people in the facility in the background and through glass that could be matched with facial recognition. The very fact that certain people were seen inside their facility could be sufficient to expose secrets they wanted to protect. Audio, on the other hand, just captures ambient noise in quarantined spaces which isn't that interesting since the discussion is not classified. In that sense, the camera has much greater range than the microphone. Which makes some sense.

But surely the Director of the FBI would know this.

a3n 1 day ago 0 replies      
> "absolute privacy" hampers law enforcement.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ..."

Sorry man, you were instituted to serve me, at my consent and pleasure, not the other way around. You have the make the case to me to do what you want, not the other way around.

tlrobinson 1 day ago 1 reply      
EFF sells a sticker set specifically for this purpose: https://supporters.eff.org/shop/laptop-camera-cover-set
everly 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'd be interested in finding out how many people do this with the front facing camera on their phone. It seems to be a much lower percentage than those who do it with their laptop webcam (from what I've observed at least).
dublinben 2 days ago 0 replies      
So does my mother. She is able to coherently explain why, though, and isn't a massive hypocrite when she does so.
throwaway0209a 1 day ago 0 replies      
I used to have a piece of tape on my webcam. But I figured that it couldn't possibly be so interesting to see my face, so I took a different strategy, and moved the tape piece 1cm to the right, so it covers the led indicating if the camera is in use. I don't trust that LED anyway, and if someone should peek at me, I do not want to be made aware of it (and thereby distracted)
comboy 2 days ago 6 replies      
I don't really understand the webcam paranoia. If my computer is completely compromised, somebody watching my face is the least of my worries.
x0054 1 day ago 1 reply      
How stupid do you have to be to doubt the security of your laptop enough to put tape over your webcam, but not enough to stop using it all together. If you are concerned that your laptop might be compromised, then you should stop using it. If hackers have access to your webcam, they most certainly also have access to your keyboard, mic, and every file on your system as well. So, what you are basically saying to the world is you don't care enough about your personal communication, files, and speech to properly secure your laptop, but by god, no one shall see you in front of your laptop. It's like sitting in a car that's on fire and saying to your self: "I know, I'll turn on the air con!"
livus 1 day ago 2 replies      
Honest question. Not to ignore any flame wars

I have been following this surveillance and privacy debate. I understand that encryption cannot go both ways. We cannot create back doors that are only available to the good guys. Add to this that the 'good' guys are known to abuse power.

But I also cannot deny that at certain times there are legitimate reasons for law enforcement. What solution, maybe political if not technical, can we adopt to meet the legitimate demands of law enforcement?

StanislavPetrov 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been telling friends and family to do this long before the Snowden revelations (as well as disabling their computers internal microphone). Many of them mocked me about the shine on my tinfoil hat. They don't do so much mocking anymore.
sreenadh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is it just me or is there at least one other person laughing their ass-off. Honestly, I am not sure to know if I am laughing at or feeling sorry for the FBI director. I felt that the director of FBI would not be scared of anyone monitoring him.
downandout 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it's a big stretch to compare this to uncrackable encryption. While the piece of tape makes one avenue of surveillance impossible, it doesn't block them all. If law enforcement needed to surveil him in the same way that a webcam could, they could get a court order and place a camera in his home.

Uncrackable encryption, on the other hand, blocks all possible avenues of surveiling the desired communications. That isn't a bad thing, but it is different than placing tape over a webcam. I am definitely a proponent of government-proof encryption technologies, but grasping at straws trying to call this guy a hypocrite seems like a wasted effort to me.

giardini 1 day ago 0 replies      
Comey: "Because I saw somebody smarter than I am had a piece of tape over their camera."


dsmithatx 1 day ago 0 replies      
If I were director of the FBI I'd have an internet device secured by the sharp minds I hire. Probably more than one to route through and log packets, especially outgoing ones. I'd think as director of the FBI you could even get something like that setup on your personal laptop. I've been using OpenBSD, Snort, and also FreeBSD/PFSense to monitor my networks for at least 16 years even my own personal ones. The fact such a high profile target (and his team) can't figure out technology in this way seriously let's us know how inept and incompetent they must be.

If he worries someone is watching him through his webcam I wonder how he feels about the microphone? Does he talk about top secret things in front of laptops?

mwti 2 days ago 2 replies      
All these little wires [0] emit electromagnetic radiation that be intercepted and turned back into whatever you see (and more).

Despite what you read on Hacker News no amount of encryption or software trickery is going to stop this.

[0]: http://imgur.com/IHXKlNw

make3 1 day ago 0 replies      
Genuinely funny song on the issue :The Government Knows- Knower : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zH9Zca1vRM&app=desktop
cm3 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are actually smartphones and laptops where you can close the camera with an integrated sliding window. I don't know of such a thing for integrated microphones, but Thinkpad's bios allows disabling mic and camera, though if you don't trust bios's software switch, I'd recommend pulling the internal cables. Then you can connect a USB headset and/or camera on demand, knowing there's no always-on mic.

But, since even Windows desktop edition has Cortana these days, I'm afraid mic will be harder to disable in newer machines.

irixusr 1 day ago 0 replies      
NPR suggests people in the director's position have a more legitimate need to cover their webcams "... It's certainly not unreasonable to worry about webcams, especially for someone as high-profile as Comey"

And teenagers?

There is no mention in the article of the "Lower Merion School District" case where school officials were spying on teenagers through their webcams in their rooms.

Call me old fashioned, but I think that's an important case for the general public to know about when discussing webcam privacy...

robertkrahn01 1 day ago 1 reply      
grumble1234 1 day ago 0 replies      
While it's not reasonable to ask this of everyone, it would seem to me that if anyone should strive to have "nothing to hide" it would be politicians and people in positions where they are definitely under foreign surveillance.

Like okay, they have to do deal with classified material and sensitive things - but there is a time and place for that and I trust the FBI director doesn't use his personal laptop for work.

He should be basically streaming his video camera on the internet for everyone to see - b/c the people that want to see it probably will

jff 1 day ago 1 reply      
For a while there, when built-in webcams weren't quite as common, my employer would either remove the camera completely or, if that wasn't possible, they would smash the lens and sensor with a metal punch.

They eventually quit (now we can use Lync to do video calls, even) but a lot of people now put little sliding windows over their cameras (you can get them at conferences these days, branded with the Splunk logo or whoever's giving them out)

awqrre 2 days ago 1 reply      
So even the FBI can't protect their networks?
zhte415 1 day ago 1 reply      
Every corporate laptop I've worked with has the camera and microphone physically removed.

If needed for a function, a USB camera and/or microphone is applied for through various chains of approval, and plug-in pull-put tracked.

daveheq 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wait, is he also blocking the microphone on his laptop? That seems like a much bigger security risk than his face.
workerIbe 2 days ago 1 reply      
If it's a company laptop, put tape on it.
zekevermillion 1 day ago 0 replies      
In Russian FSB top officials use only typewriters, and physically destroy the ribbons when done. Compare to our security officials, current and former. The political appointees who helm our security state bureaucracies bring to mind one's kindly uncle who still emails from AOL and forwards pop econ items from yahoo news.
strooper 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder what he uses as a (Smart)phone, if he uses any at all. Since there are very few with physical lens cover for the back camera, and probably none covering both (the front camera and the back).

Recently, I have got back to feature phone after decade long struggle with several smartphones, keeping all on my desk for app development purpose only. I hope Comey would follow me. If not doing it now. ;)

CullingTheHerd 1 day ago 0 replies      
So 21st century.

If this was 20 years ago, headline would read: "The FBI Director Puts Electric Tape Over His Blinking VCR Clock"

daveheq 1 day ago 0 replies      
The FBI knows how bad hardware and software security is, as well as how they're being exploited, and doesn't want the same things he wants from you.
ww520 1 day ago 1 reply      
I put a tape over the camera on all my laptops. It's just basic security measure.
thorin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Best surveillance film ever http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0071360/
themartorana 2 days ago 0 replies      
Trust me, I wouldn't.
dandare 1 day ago 0 replies      
Isn't mic of much bigger importance than camera?
billhendricksjr 2 days ago 6 replies      
Don't almost all cameras activate their "on" light when being used?
known 1 day ago 0 replies      
He should NOT represent FBI as long as he puts tape over his webcam;
ck2 1 day ago 0 replies      
no-one tell him the mic is still always on
dschiptsov 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am using a small sticker from some apples brand.)
trollian 1 day ago 0 replies      
tin. foil. hat.
Congratulations Youve Been Fired nytimes.com
658 points by dcschelt  1 day ago   408 comments top 59
chrisyeh 1 day ago 13 replies      
For the record, I'm one of the co-authors of "The Alliance," which Dan Lyons refers to in his op ed. Dan refers to our book and quotes a single sentence fragment: "Your company is not your family." Everything else he writes in that section of the piece has nothing to do with the content of the book.

1) "Youre serving a tour of duty that might last a year or two" Actually, the book makes it clear that the duration of a tour of duty depends on the mission the employee has agreed to tackle--tours of duty can be 6 months long, but then can also last for a decade (think of NASA scientists working on a deep space probe).

2) "Companies burn you out and churn you out when someone better, or cheaper, becomes available." This is purely Dan Lyons; the point we make in the book is that few employees expect or want lifetime employment at a single company; what people really want is lifetime employability and career progress. We would consider companies that behaved like Lyons described as "breaking the Alliance," which would harm their reputation as an employer.

3) "In this new model of work, employees are expected to feel complete devotion and loyalty to their companies, even while the boss feels no such obligation in return." Once again, this is the exact opposite of what our book says. We believe that employers and employees need to recognize that employment is a voluntary, mutually beneficial alliance, and that managers should be explicit about how an employee's job assignment is going to help develop his or her career.

Dan Lyons certainly has right to his opinions, but he shouldn't have a right to misrepresent our ideas.

martin1975 22 hours ago 5 replies      
Programmers are still operating under the delusion that they are so much better (or worse) than the guy working next to them. It is this kind of egotistical thinking that probably gets in the way of them unionizing. You want to give a large caliber a-hole like Bezos the finger while working in his own company? It takes balls to do that - stage a walk out and strike. It takes camaraderie, intimacy and loyalty to a cause (or a person) that supersedes the workplace, an all in support to that cause by engineers/programmers alike.

For as long as the pissing contests over languages, productivity, hubris, etc continues among intelligent people like programmers, their Jimmy Hoffa won't be born and their cause will lie with the company's objectives.

In a nutshell, programmers -deserve- the Bezos and Hastings of this world. Keep thinking you are God's gift to programming and insure the demise of your own fellow programmers.

I have zero sympathy toward programmers (having been one for 17+ years now) - not because I don't love the profession or the contribution we make, but because of the infinitely immature attitude and disunion that exists among engineers.

If there's one thing that has motivated me to think of doing something else, it's that...

aleyan 1 day ago 7 replies      
Issues raised in the article aside, I am here to argue semantics.

The article used the word start-up 3 times, plus one more in the title of his book. The company he worked for however, HubSpot is 10 years old and public and thus by definition is not a startup. Other two companies mentioned, Amazon and Netflix are both over a decade old and public and thus are not start-ups by any stretch of the imagination. Startups and tech companies are not synonymous and using them interchangeably is harmful to our discourse. If we can't agree on what words mean, how can we agree on deeper issues?

PS. I also have issue with author's use of the word "tech worker" to describe telemarketers. I maybe wrong, but a "tech worker" to me is not someone who works for a tech company but rather is one who creating the tech.

ianstormtaylor 1 day ago 18 replies      
Does anyone have more context on Dan Lyons?

After reading this article, and the one from Fortune[0], and his post on LinkedIn[1], it feels like he's out there scraping together blatant PR for his new book. And it makes me honestly wonder whether he went to work for HubSpot looking for a story to write in the first place... and being a writer for the "Silicon Valley" TV series doesn't really help his credibility in that sense.

Disclaimer: I really don't know anything about this story. Something just feels off. Maybe HubSpot really is that bad, who knows.

[0]: http://fortune.com/disrupted-excerpt-hubspot-startup-dan-lyo...

[1]: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/when-comes-age-bias-tech-comp...



After listening to the interview from @CPLX's response[2] I have to agree, he doesn't seem outlandish or anything. And all of the points he makes about HubSpot's content model being complete spam I agree with. I've definitely never liked interacting with HubSpot as a consumer, that much I know.

I feel like in these scenarios he's incentivized to get outlandish PR for his book, so some of the things I'd take with a grain of salt--sentences like, "The offices bear a striking resemblance to the Montessori preschool that my kids attended: lots of bright basic colors, plenty of toys, and a nap room with a hammock and soothing palm tree murals on the wall." But there is probably a lot truth to his story as well.

@ghaff also summed it up well: "That said, I find it's a cogent perspective even if it probably shouldn't be taken as literally accurate reportage."

[2]: http://www.npr.org/2016/04/05/473097951/laid-off-tech-journa...

justin_vanw 1 day ago 6 replies      
So does the author think that everyone is great at their job? What do you do when you have an employee that can't do the work and you are confident that they won't improve?

Pointing out the age difference in the manager and the employee, and their sexes, is just baiting. Unless he wants to make the case that there was sexism or agism from the manager, or that the company engaged in sexism or agism, it is just a red herring. In fact, it's quite cowardly, since it implies something the author isn't willing to actually say.

Finally, the fact that the person who was fired was with the company for 4 years doesn't mean anything at all unless we also get the context. It may be that this person struggled from the beginning, and they hesitated and didn't fire her for four long years. Or it may be that they hired her to do some specific job, and that job went away, and despite repeated attempts she just could not manage to learn anything else.

The thesis that she was 'disposable' is just ludicrous. If she was good at her job, then the manager is just an idiot who is cutting his and the companies own throat, and we can't make a moral argument against stupidity. If she couldn't do the job then there is no reason to be discussing this. If she was borderline, we still can't make a moral case, since borderline situations are at worst slightly wrong.

So once you cut through the left handed implications, I don't think there is any argument left.

hartator 1 day ago 9 replies      
> She was 35, had been with the company for four years, and was told without explanation by her 28-year-old manager that she had two weeks to get out.

I think that's a bit funny that the author implies you can't be good as a manager at 28. Specially when you are writing an article about bias.

capote 1 day ago 4 replies      
Though I do understand most of the criticism this piece is getting in this thread, can we at least agree that all that bullshit about being a star and "graduating" is total bullshit? What a total slap in the face. Culture aside, crying at your desk aside, spare me the extra layer of fake, pointless language to disguise what is happening. I expect professionalism and respect from an employer, and that involves being straightforward, respectful, and to the point.
dataker 1 day ago 2 replies      
The philosopher Slavoj iek explains this with the postmodern boss:

>Not a master but just a coordinator of our joint creative efforts; the first among equals. There should be no formalities among us, we should address him by his nickname, he shares a dirty joke with us but in all this, HE REMAINS OUR MASTER.

tobbyb 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is an interesting perspective based on real life experience. The author also has decades of experience around the tech scene in general. I don't understand why he is being put on trial for sharing his experiences in a book or seeking to promote it via interviews. That's the way books are normally promoted. Reading this thread one would think its illegal.

Hubspot is a campaign management and lead management tool like Eloqua, Marketo, Unica and dozes of other tools in this space. They are not remotely interesting unless you are interested in b2b marketing tools. One does not need to disparage hubspot, its a decent marketing tool. But it is not remotely world changing in any way. That is hubris so the author appears to be spot on with some of his observations.

Everyone recognizes the fakery and dubiousness of empty and vacuous corporate slogans. A psychological tactic to induce frenzy and artificial value in your workforce is exploitative and disrespects other human beings. Surely there are more respectful and time tested ways to motivate your workforce without making a mockery of them to promoting your own interests.

Repositioning a firing as a graduation is the stuff of comedy scripts, nearly Monty Pythonisque. With material like this anyone would be tempted to write a book. But this is not comedy, these guys are serious. In the real world this can only be interpreted as insensitive, grossly exploitative and dangerously disconnected from reality.

superswordfish 1 day ago 3 replies      
Doing cold calls in a boiler-room is a shitty job. News at 11.

> Tech workers have no job security.

The bad ones have none. The decent ones might, it depends on circumstance. The good ones almost always have plenty.

But don't call yourself a "tech worker" when you're making sales calls.

kdamken 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find companies that do the whole "we're a family, we're changing the world!" thing to be worse than your standard corporate gig that is more up front about you just being a cog in the machine. At least those companies are more honest about it, the other kind come off as fake and insincere.

Companies do not care about you. At all. You are nothing but a business asset to them. They may value your work, but they do not act in your best interest - they're going to try and pay you the least amount they can to have you work there.

This isn't actually a bad thing. Chances are, you don't really care about your company either, so it's kind of fair.

It's good to keep in mind - you are your own business, and you need to make decisions that are best for you.

neurobuddha 1 day ago 3 replies      
I have to wonder how many anti-Lyons comments in this thread are HubSpot employees in stealth mode. Doesn't HubSpot do 'Sentiment Analysis' and that sort of stuff?
devishard 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The problem here isn't that jobs don't provide job security, it's that they lie about it. How many times has someone called your company a "family"? Why is talking about a future in which you don't work for your company taboo? I'd have no problem working for a company that I knew wouldn't hesitate to fire me, except that there's no way to judge when that might happen. I'd appreciate hearing, "If we don't get this next round of funding, we might have to let you go," but instead the funding talks are done in secrecy while we go out for drinks and talk about how the company is such a family and how you're doing a good job, until suddenly someone is getting laid off.

The flipside of this is that if you do have job stability, it's usually not worth it to stay anyway. I've always worked for companies who needed me more than I needed them, so I've never really had to worry about job security. Over the past decade I've switched jobs 7 times, each time getting a 10-20% increase in income. In 5 of those cases I wanted to stay at my employer, but when I asked for a 10%-ish raise and explained that I could get more than that by leaving, they came back with 4-5% answers. In two cases they noted that 3% was "standard" (which was true for them--I talk to my coworkers about pay). In many cases, never giving significant raises works for companies: I still know people working year after year at my previous employers and accepting their annual 3% raise.

The underlying problem in both cases is that companies simply don't care about your goals. You're an equation to them, which can be tipped in their favor either by treating you like a liquid asset and firing you at their convenience, or by not paying you what you're worth. It's not an "alliance": that implies shared goals. It's companies using their workers for the company's goals, no matter what that entails, even if it means pretending that it's a family or an alliance when it's not.

Scoundreller 1 day ago 3 replies      
> I joined the company in 2013 after spending 25 years in journalism and getting laid off from a top position at Newsweek. I thought working at a start-up would be great. The perks! The cool offices!

> It turned out Id joined a digital sweatshop, where people were packed into huge rooms, side by side, at long tables.

It sounds like this journalist failed to investigate their new job before Day 1...

JayHost 1 day ago 2 replies      
Amazon is new Walmart.

They don't care that you don't like their work environment.They have money; you need money and have little options.

I think instead of being interested in recycling talent; Amazon is interested in those who will take the most abuse.

lsc 23 hours ago 0 replies      
so, what I find weird is that everyone seems to complain that companies treat them like mercenaries, while I have the opposite complaint. Whenever I interview, I feel like I have to pretend like I want to be there forever, or else I'm not dedicated enough.

I mean, yes, of course they are going to let me go when they are done with me, and I'm okay with that. My problem is that they seem to expect me to pretend like this is the job I want or the company I want forever. They want me to pretend like we're family, rather than business associates.

Hell, even as a contractor, half the time you have to pretend like you really want a full-time long-term job to get in.

I find it pretty irritating.

reuven 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I read this article and said, "Yup, that sounds like a lot of startups I've worked with."

I should say with, and not for. I've been a freelancer for 20 years, and while I love to help my clients succeed, and I definitely work too many hours, I don't have someone standing over me, expecting that I'll work 60-hour weeks, be around for 7 p.m. meetings, or explicitly tell me that my needs are secondary to the company's needs.

Startup employees -- and hi-tech employees in general -- are expected to work long hours, and to put family and friends aside, all in the name of... well, what? Sometimes it's lots of money, but too often it's because this is what they're expected to do in so many companies.

It's true that tech companies are (and have always been) desperate for good talent, and people who are great can often get great salaries and benefits. But it's rare for a company to say, "Yeah, we'll pay you tons, give us access to our cafeteria, and offer on-site massages, and you don't have to be here more than 40 hours per week."

I'm OK with asking employees to pitch in before a deadline, or in an emergency. But that should mean a few days every few months, not a few months out of each year.

And those descriptions of "graduation" e-mails that Lyons mentions in the article just gave me the chills.

Something is wrong if these are the expectations at lots of high-tech companies, and I have to wonder if Lyons is right, that we're looking at some very well-paid people who have little or no power, and move to a new job every year or two not just to get more money, but to get a bit more control over their own schedules, or some better work-life balance.

467568985476 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's the same Dan Lyons story about Hubspot that was on HN a week or two ago.
sjg007 2 hours ago 0 replies      
jsmith0295 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have a hard time thinking of people making 6 figure salaries as being an instance of capital exploiting labor. Part of why the average length of employment is only around a year is probably that employees are choosing to go elsewhere for higher pay because the demand for good engineers is so high.
shadowfiend 1 day ago 0 replies      
The interesting thing about this is that Lyons quotes Jeff Bezos's letter to shareholders, which some places described as a very late response (http://www.theverge.com/2016/4/5/11373438/amazon-corporate-c...) to the NYT's own story from earlier this year Lyons quotes it to demonstrate how Amazon is totally down for this exploitative culture he's trying to describe. But while I was pretty horrified reading the NYT's original story, Bezos respondedadmittedly internallyshortly after the original article came out. He basically dismissed the idea of the type of culture Lyons is describing (I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay. I know I would leave such a company.), and that response was fairly widely circulated.

To me, while I recognize some of the anecdotes that Lyons is describing as indeed representative of things that happen at startups, this is the kind of cherry picking that rapidly turns a potentially interesting book (or article) into total nonsense. If you can't choose your supporting arguments well, your main argument falls over.

(Worth noting: Pretty sure these sundry* articles all just possibly-adapted excerpts from the book.)

cleandreams 1 day ago 0 replies      
I dunno. I've worked at startups a lot and none are dismal in quite the way described here. They are dismal because the founders are irritating and have bad judgment. Or they are dismal because the idea flops. Or you run out of runway, etc. But I have never gotten deluged by this kind of b.s. Who has time? This sounds to me less like a tech startup than something dreamed up by marketers with fancy degrees and no sense.
cortesoft 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am kinda getting sick of these Dan Lyons "pr for my book" pieces.
WalterBright 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Given the choice, I think Id rather make furniture.

So go start making furniture.

yason 12 hours ago 0 replies      
And this would be all right if the pay would correlate with the possibility of enjoying this "graduation", much like CEOs get paid a lot for their work and paid a lot when sacked supposedly because the risk for a CEO to get fired is much larger than for normal workers.
codeddesign 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can someone tell me why in the first paragraph age was brought up? The author initiates the argument by bringing up the age of the manager, as if there was an age requirement. If you are going to make a compelling argument, it's probably best that you don't begin by belittling others.
Kinnard 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think I'd be significantly more interested in reading proposals about how to improve the nature of work and all working relationships.
Mikeb85 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interesting article, but this has nothing to do with startups. This is simply the new equilibrium in the job market. Employees have lost power. Unless you guys unionize or something, it'll only get worse from here...
jondubois 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's like stabbing someone with a rusty knife and then calling it "Iron supplement... Delivered intravenously."
Evenjos 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Working at various tech companies, I've observed a major shift towards the fine art of bullshit. Employees constantly have to prove their worth and put a fresh spin on how valuable they are to the company.

Talent and merit and work ethic is falling by the wayside. The top salaries go to people who make themselves sound talented and worthy, while the shove the actual work down the line. I've seen projects outsourced on nine levels. Everyone wants their cut.

bhewes 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nassim Taleb's "How to Legally Own Another Person" or David Graeber's book The Utopia of Rules and now this article could be categorized as welcome to working in a bureaucracy. I grew up in corporate land and I am use to ex PGW, Deloitte, or McKinsey employees being called alumni. So it makes sense as the current generation of tech companies mature they become more bureaucratic. Hopefully this means we will see a new batch of startups hit the scene soon!
pj_mukh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Unpopular opinion but current SV workplace culture is not the final refined product in the evolution of the workplace. It is a stepping stone. I consider it to be better than the drudgery of blue-chip, 9-5 (especially for the current generation).

Most of these workers at the large firms (Amazon, Google etc.) are empowered enough to leave their jobs if they don't believe in the founders' mission. They remain long enough for the companies' viability.

As for compensation (or "sharing of the riches") at all levels, most of SV's leadership have identified issues [1][2], as the culture evolves this will certainly get better.

P.S: This is the first time I've heard of Hubspot's problems, but don't doubt them, rotten eggs abound.

[1] http://blog.samaltman.com/employee-equity[2] http://www.inc.com/tess-townsend/does-yelp-pay-at-market.htm...

thieving_magpie 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the part where he shits all over software and romanticizes early 19th century woodworking in factories. Yes - I'm sure those were just lovely conditions to work in. We created laws to protect laborers and children as a direct result of those conditions - but let's all whine about how Amazon views its employees as a 'team' and not family.
jim-greer 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't know much about Hubspot, but Lyons should know that sudden firings without an explanation are not common. The norm is quarterly reviews, and firing only after you've had several negative ones.

Extortion is obviously not common either...

Content farms are also not common at solid companies - more typical of fly-by-night marketing-driven places without much real tech.

The claim that there's a lot of pressure to perform is more valid, but that's not unique to tech at all. The bias problems are also there at many companies (though I think racial bias is less common than age or gender).

Overall he seems to be generalizing from a company with an unusually bad culture.

(The extortion charges: https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/03/23/documents-re...)

linkmotif 23 hours ago 0 replies      
to me it's not that you get fired willy nilly. that's fine imo.

what's scary, though, is the doublespeak you find in these environments. people act like you're part of a family. which is weird, because you're just working for a company.

thetruthseeker1 1 day ago 0 replies      
This article talks about how companies over inflate the value of the work tech workers are providing almost to the extent of feeling like being in a cult - which was something I was thinking all along but didn't want to say out of fear of being called a kill joy.

While in many successful tech companies this might not be to the same degree, I bet the scale is tipped towards the direction of cult like indoctrination. My guess is the part of the problem is in many technology companies that are not seeing huge profits, there are no true metrics to measure the value of your work - so they can get away making bold corny claims

BogusIKnow 22 hours ago 0 replies      
"She was 35, had been with the company for four years, and was told without explanation by her 28-year-old manager"

What's the fuzz about the ages? Age discrimination by NYT author?

mikehines 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dan Lyons is just another gold rusher mining the gold rushers with papers and pencils.
bitwize 1 day ago 0 replies      
Our tech business culture is officially turning into Logan's Run.
skennedy 1 day ago 7 replies      
> Imagine a frat house mixed with a kindergarten mixed with Scientology, and you have an idea of what its like [working at a startup].

Is this an accurate description? I feel this might be more of the well funded ones but would not know.

iolothebard 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Imagine if the government did its job and protected labor instead of capital. What a world we could live in in the "richest" country in the world.
Your_Creator 9 hours ago 0 replies      
while being upfront about employment terms is always a good thing,

this sort of arrangement is unilateral in the company's favor. you sit there, churning out codes and solutions and they get to keep it after you leave.

what do you get other than a pat on your back and some space filler on your resume?

shares of the company?

free software updates for life?

a chance to preview new hardware before anyone else?

how about free hardware? or at least the chance to buy it at cost?

what about using whatever you help create, somewhere else?

there are non-tech businesses that work this way and the morale is typically through the floor. you see this at brick and mortar businesses when there's no room for advancement within the company, because the company isn't expanding geographically they have one location and they like it that way.

most of those companies, love these loopholes they can take advantage of, like less than full time hours so you don't get healthcare benefits and because the turnover rate is so high, no one ever really gets a raise. oh, they have protocols on the books, but no one makes it that long.

it's like the rat box experiment -

one box of rats has food and a way out - they spread out and flourish

one box has no food, but a way out - they all leave

one box has food and no way out - when the food runs out, so do they

one box has no food and no way out - you end up with one really fat cannibal rat

just because we humans like to pretend we are civilized, we are not immune to succumbing to our animal instincts.

interestingly enough, this behavior can also be observed in neighborhoods in NYC where there are many NYCHA buildings grouped together like Queensbridge and Morrisania Houses. from their perspective there's no future, no food, no money, no hope - no discernible way out.

so what do they do? they turn on each other.

what do humans do where there is a massive blackout and we are suddenly back in the stone age?we behave like the animals we are. we've seen it time and time again.

I recommend becoming well versed in IP law if this is a 'lifestyle choice' anyone wants to make. at least then, you can protect your own right to profit off of anything you create in these set ups.

mark_l_watson 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the spirit of the article, but I think that Douglas Rushkoff makes these ideas more clear in his book "Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus" in which he nails workers vs. employers issues, growth of corporations, etc. That said, I also enjoyed the article.
xiaopingguo 1 day ago 0 replies      
>"like-minded people"

This particularly obnoxious phrase seems to be coming up a lot more these days. Maybe it is just people admitting they really do not want diversity except in looks rather than substance. It seems to reflect a lack of ability or desire to deal with real world conflicts of opinion.

pdkl95 23 hours ago 0 replies      
> when you got fired, it was called graduation.

"Smile or Die" (RSA Animate)


This seems to be a variation on the Wall Street style of magical thinking.

arikrak 1 day ago 0 replies      
> The average Amazonian lasts only about a year at the company, according to a 2013 report by PayScale.

This study was very flawed, see https://www.quora.com/Why-is-Googles-employee-turnover-so-hi....

gmantom 1 day ago 3 replies      
Look startups aren't perfect. You will most certainly work harder than at a large established firm. Your life balance will be no where near as good as at a large firm.

But why are you electing to work at a startup?

1) You are getting some options and have the possibility of a big upside which does not exist at a large firm.

2) You want more responsibility and you will certainly get it in the form of wearing many hats, but you will work harder.

3) If things are working out you will be promoted faster and move your career forward much quicker than most established firms.

4) There are many other points I could make here but arguably the most IMPORTANT reason to work at a startup is to LEARN, and learn you will.

There are tradeoffs with working at a startup, startups aren't perfect. To say that they are much worse than large corps who are scared of key man risk and keep you at an arms length so they can fire and lay off thousands at a time is disingenuous.

Corporations are generally only after profits big or small. You as an employee have a responsibility to make the right decisions for you.

Edit: some spelling mistakes.

hvmonk 1 day ago 0 replies      
And, being the top thread, he is doing a good job in getting the PR ship :)
bikamonki 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is from HubSpot's homepage:

SALES SOFTWAREStop cold calling. Start closing.

Funny, uh?

kelukelugames 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is glassdoor review for my last company about how they are saving money by hiring only from colleges. Any number of my colleagues could have written it. Or for any number of companies. :)
partycoder 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Collective bargaining?
facepalm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't understand where employees get their sense of entitlement from.

I don't like the working conditions in many companies either. But the correct answer is to try to establish a company with better working conditions. Nobody owes you anything. OK maybe society owes you a proper foundation, but individual companies don't owe you anything. Don't like them, quit, and don't buy their products.

blisterpeanuts 1 day ago 1 reply      
It seems to me that the author was generalizing from one specific experience he had, plus some anecdotal experiences he has gathered from others, to impugn the entire start-up community.

There may be some validity to what he says; I'm inclined to agree that there's disproportionate age-ism and sexism and probably several other kinds of -ism's in the start-up community, perhaps because their founders tend to be younger and less well versed in mainstream corporate behavior which in recent decades has been moving away from discrimination.

I don't see how a "glorified telemarketer" working on a desktop that watches him is a typical start-up tech worker, though. It sounds like tough and thankless work and I hope people get the message in the VC funding community that the way to build a high value company is not to treat people really badly and thus create this kind of bad press. At least, I hope it's not the way you create a good return on investment! Otherwise we're all in trouble.

I'm curious as to whether the comments about Amazon are broadly valid. Have not worked there myself, but have interviewed over the phone in the past (very negative experience). Yet, as a customer, I admire Amazon and consider them one of America's great companies. Could they really have gotten to this point by treating their rank-and-file like a disposable commodity? Could Apple?

vacri 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Tech workers have no job security.

To generalise in the same manner as the article, they also have no loyalty - job-hopping is more common in tech than any other industry I've seen, excluding perhaps hospitality. It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem.

Create 20 hours ago 0 replies      
"How should we make it attractive for them [young people] to spend 5,6,7 years in our field, be satisfied, learn about excitement, but finally be qualified to find other possibilities?" -- H. Schopper on the Future of Particle Physics, Prestigious Discoveries at CERN 2003.
beatpanda 21 hours ago 0 replies      
You know that old saying about playing poker, that if you're sitting at a table and you can't figure out who the sucker is, it's you?

Well if you work in the SF Bay Area tech industry and this sentence doesn't ring true to you:

"Imagine a frat house mixed with a kindergarten mixed with Scientology, and you have an idea of what its like."

Congratulations; you're the sucker.

drharby 22 hours ago 0 replies      
funny, I am on a second round interview at Hubspot...
joesmo 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Treating workers as if they are widgets to be used up and discarded is a central part of the revised relationship between employers and employees that techies proclaim is an innovation as important as chips and software."

Really? I've never heard that and never met a single person who thinks this. I guess pieces like this just like to pull things out of thin air. It makes zero sense for any non-executive to think this way and most techies are not executives.

passionstefani 22 hours ago 0 replies      
WordPress.com turns on HTTPS encryption for all websites techcrunch.com
434 points by jblz  2 days ago   120 comments top 24
dankohn1 2 days ago 7 replies      
Kudos to the Let's Encrypt and Wordpress teams. This is what the future looks like. Every webpage needs to be encrypted, and http (as opposed to https) needs to go the way of telnet (as compared to ssh).

What's particularly great is that there is no configuration of any kind for Wordpress authors or their readers. Like they have done, we need to always default to secure.

kyledrake 2 days ago 4 replies      
Not to say this is a bad thing, but I'm sure Wordpress just broke a lot of links on their user's sites. For example, any embedded images from other servers not using HTTPS means that they won't load anymore due to browser policies, essentially breaking the links. It also means that any embedded images/videos/etc. will only work if the remote server has HTTPS. Again, not a bad thing, but it's pretty painful to have to deal with this with a lot of users that aren't experts on HTTP, and I'm sure it's a similar story at Wordpress.

I can flip the switch for default HTTPS on Neocities in a day. The hard part is figuring out how to not break user's sites in that process. Ideas welcome.

wfunction 2 days ago 3 replies      
Not relevant to the WordPress part, but can someone explain to me why websites like eBay don't run on HTTPS except during login? Doesn't that allow any sniffer to steal your authentication cookies?
geostyx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Awesome to see stuff like this. LetsEncrypt is really doing a great service to make the Internet a better place.
simonw 2 days ago 4 replies      
WordPress.com illustrates an interesting challenge in supporting SSL if you allow people to use subdomains on your service:

https://bestcrabrestaurantsinportland.wordpress.com/ works fine

https://www.bestcrabrestaurantsinportland.wordpress.com/ displays a certificate warning

Unfortunately I don't think there's a good solution for this. Humans are gonna www- things.

dredmorbius 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great news. All the more so as there is a tremendous amount of high-quality content under the Wordpress.com domain, something I chanced on while seeking out signs of intelligent life on the Internet.


pred_ 2 days ago 1 reply      
Meanwhile, the chromium preload list just passed 10.000 domains. Things are moving forwards.


rogerbinns 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is anyone providing a certificate solution for LAN deployed devices/software where there isn't a stable name, or for that matter an administrator?


hising 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is awesome news. Hopefully we will see Chrome starting marking http only sites as non-secure and Apples App Transport Security (ATS) forcing people to switch to https all over the web within a year or two.


iimpact 2 days ago 2 replies      
I would recommend the HTTPS everywhere extensions for your fav. browser. It forces all web-pages to be loaded using HTTPS (if available).


anarcat 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how they work around Let's Encrypt rate-limiting?
dogweather 2 days ago 0 replies      
A little on-topic hype if allowed: free "HTTPS Everywhere" monitoring https://nonstop.qa. Hacker News passes with flying colors:


(Free because I'm applying the GitHub model: free public projects, will eventually charge for private ones.)

teekert 2 days ago 2 replies      
Let's encrypt is great, but I'm still running into people that have Chrome on WinXP or even IE8. It's crazy, I know. They did promise to start supporting both o XP because it had something to do with an intermediate cert somewhere. They didn't deliver on that promise. I don't blame them.

By the way, the cert on Wordpress.com is issued by GoDaddy, all the examples I could come up with are also. Guess it's a roll out process.

ikeboy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great. Tumblr enabled it earlier this year as well.
brainpool 2 days ago 0 replies      
Let's Encrypt is great, but Start SSL has also shaped up considerably. A while back their process and the GUI was a real stumbling point. Today however it is a breeze to get it going. (Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Start SSL)
RawInfoSec 2 days ago 2 replies      
While this helps *.wordpress.com users or custom domains using the wordpress.com back end, it's going to cause a ruckus with self hosted ones.

Neither WordPress or LetsEncrypt has any way to modify global server setting on any shared hosting environment. Slapping in an SSL certificate doesn't make a site secure, properly configuring the services that use the cert is what makes it secure.

GoDaddy isn't going to let Company Xyz rebuild Apache or configure cyphers server-wide...

In the end, while this is a move in the right direction, I fear it will give false confidence to many web providers that don't have enterprise experience with security fundamentals.

ne01 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if they bundle multiple domains in one certificate?
vram22 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google's Blogger is moving to https too, over time, my dashboard shows.
muloka 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is awesome news.

I wonder if Squarespace will follow suit in this endeavor.

billhendricksjr 2 days ago 1 reply      
Squarespace needs to follow suit
upbeatlinux 2 days ago 0 replies      
12+ years in the making.
chinathrow 2 days ago 1 reply      

However, they could have shelved out a couply of hundred of bucks for a wildcard cert before.

frugalmail 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wordpress is still a security nightmare.

PHP, mostly dyanmic everything, unmoderated cesspool of plugins, themes, etc... where you just drop code, predictable URLs and pages to brute force, I could go on...

Free Deep Learning Textbook by Goodfellow and Bengio Now Finished facebook.com
597 points by mbrundle  3 days ago   126 comments top 20
j2kun 3 days ago 11 replies      
I spent a few weeks closely reading this book and I have to disagree with the majority here. I didn't like the book at all. And I am an advanced math geek.

My main issue is that the book tells you all about the different parameter tweaks, but passes little concrete wisdom to the reader. It doesn't distinguish between modeling assumptions, and it replaces very simple explanations of concepts with complicated paragraphs that I can't make sense of.

I think it boils down to something that I have been feeling and hearing a lot in the past few years: the statistical jargon is so overwhelming that the authors can't explain things clearly. I can point to many examples in this book that I feel are unnecessary stumbling blocks, but the fact is that I'll spend an hour or two discussing parts of this book with a room full of smart machine learning researchers, and at the end we'll all agree we don't understand the material better than we did at the start.

On the other hand, I'll read research papers that don't force the statistical perspective down the reader's throat (e.g. http://arxiv.org/abs/1602.04485v1) and find them very easy to understand by comparison.

It might be a cultural difference, but I've heard this complaint enough from experts who straddle both sides of the computational/statistical machine learning divide that I don't think it's just me.

baltcode 3 days ago 1 reply      
First impressions:

1. It also covers "classical" artificial neural networks, i.e., things like backprop from before Hinton and others made breakthroughs for deep learning. This means you can start with this book even if you are new to ANNs. The later sections cover "real deep learning".

2. The language is great for beginners and users. You don't have to be an advanced math geek to follow everything. They seem to cover a fair amount of ground too, so its not dumbed down either.

3. I guess it covers most of the underlying theory and practical technicques but is implementation neutral. You should probably pick up a tutorial for your favorite implementation like Theano, TensorFlow, etc.

All in all, I like it a lot.

MasterScrat 3 days ago 2 replies      
This looks interesting, can't wait to dig into it.

Another great great free online book on this topic:http://neuralnetworksanddeeplearning.com/

rtnyftxx 3 days ago 1 reply      
liviu- 3 days ago 0 replies      
For anyone interested, Goodfellow is answering questions about the book at: https://www.reddit.com/r/MachineLearning/comments/4domnk/the...
muyuu 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't claim to have a solution, but these models of book monetisation really seem doomed. What are the chances that I will buy this book just because they made it artificially harder for me to download it? Probably a net negative.
phatbyte 3 days ago 5 replies      
Thanks for this. I'm currently re-learning statics/probabilities and linear algebra so your book will be useful in a few months down the line ;)
uptownfunk 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looks great, any other recommendations for enjoyable reads on ml/stat learning?

ESL ISLRdoing Bayesian data analysis w/ jags/Stanbda3 - gelmanprob graphical models Convex analysis - Boyd adv data analysis from elem pov - shalizi

Trying to build out my library. I have a background in prob/stats/analysis and measure theory/linear algebra and also knowledge of algorithms and data structures at the advanced undergrad level, So I'm not too concerned about technical depth just want to enjoy a good technical expository and gain intuition.

osoba 3 days ago 5 replies      
Does anybody know how to make the book actually readable? http://i.imgur.com/C4rhclk.png
kkylin 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can any practitioners / experts out there comment on the range of topics? For example, I understand the book to be introductory, and so the scope is likely somewhat limited. But how close does it get you to the ANNs currently in use, at least conceptually if not in complete detail? Thanks!
jjawssd 3 days ago 0 replies      
Remove Facebook link
wodenokoto 3 days ago 3 replies      
The HTML format is quite peculiar.

It kinda looks like someone ran the original PDF through PDF.js and saved the rendered output to a HTML file.

MistahKoala 3 days ago 3 replies      
A bit unrelated, but can anybody tell me what typeface is used for the body text in the PDF?
maxaf 3 days ago 1 reply      
Athena (http://athenapdf.com/) does a phenomenal job at turning those HTML pages into convenient PDF files.
arbre 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does this book mention attention models?
patmcguire 3 days ago 2 replies      
Don't quite get the complaints about it not being available in PDF. "We'll publish your book, and you can give it away for free as long as you make people click through to each chapter" is a much, much better deal than I would expect from a big publisher.
dandermotj 3 days ago 5 replies      
Somebody please package the html into a pdf!
1024core 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does it cover new(er) topics like Deep Reinforcement Learning, Residual Networks, Inception nets, etc.?
chatman 3 days ago 2 replies      
If there are restrictions around distribution formats, it is misleading to call it "free".
max_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
They better release a PDF in the future.
Ask HN: Pick startups for YC to fund
858 points by dang  4 days ago   281 comments top 96
kevin 4 days ago 7 replies      
Hey everyone! I manage and run the Fellowship program at YC. I just want to build on top of what Dan wrote about being nice. Were not asking you to do this because we think its good manners. We actually believe its the right way to think and act like the best investors.

Its easy to form some really bad habits when you sit in a position of power to judge the potential of a person, a team, an idea and their executionbelieving that you know better and focusing your time on finding weakness.

The best investors dont spend a lot of time on what can go wrong. They already know the odds are against every startup that ever comes into existence. They already know every startup is a shit show. Those will be the reasons why all the other investors will miss out on an unpredictable opportunity. The best investors try to figure out what can go right. They dream a little with the startup and they then sell that vision back to the founders.

Remember that the big wins in startups come from the margins. For you to find what no one else could have predicted, know that it will take the shape of something that isnt obvious.

Being nice gives you a good foundation for being open and optimistic, which is what we strive for when we read applications here at YC.

Thanks again for trying this out with us. I'm really excited about what we discover together.

cperciva 4 days ago 2 replies      
we're already seeing quite a few Apply HNs, so we'll add a link for those a la /ask and /show

Quick poll for the community here: I run Hacker News Daily (http://www.daemonology.net/hn-daily/) which many people know about; but also Ask HN Weekly (http://www.daemonology.net/hn-weekly-ask/) and Show HN Weekly (http://www.daemonology.net/hn-weekly-show/). In each case the methodology is the same: The 10 highest-scoring items which (a) appeared on relevant "front page" in the day/week in question, (b) and haven't appeared on a previous Daily/Weekly.

Would people be interested in having an "Apply HN Weekly" set up along similar lines? It's straightforward for me to copy the scripts and edit a few paths (once the HN link appears) but there's no point if nobody would want to read it.

EDIT: I'm seeing lots of upvotes to this comment, which I'm going to assume is an indication that people would like to see me implement this. If you were upvoting simply because you wanted to make more people aware that I had a really lousy idea, please add a comment to disambiguate.

arihant 4 days ago 2 replies      
I am not very sure about this for a few reasons:

1. There is possibly several ways to game the upvote system. HN community is not anonymous, and there are people who have more friends here than others. A lot of very good founders would probably not have enough friends here. That might create bias once an Apply HN post reaches first page vs. another.

2. Participating startups risk facing public bashing while hoping to get priceless feedback. This happens often here, even unintentionally sometimes. This also poses a risk that a lot of startups would not be 100% honest in one way or another to minimize bashing. This is commonplace on Reddit. But this is not Reddit and any founder cannot forever escape people here. This is an ecosystem forum which is extremely civil in Show HN (with a few exceptions) but might not be so when competing for a resource -- the 2 YCF spots. Maybe Reddit is the way it is because everyone is competing for points.

3. Publicly applying for funding might step on private financing laws of several states and nations? It might also be against some by-laws. Would this constitute a public offer?

Maybe this could be helped better by doing one or more of these:

1. Apply HN posts should not make it to homepage and should be a separate section.

2. The heuristic should not be known publicly of what YC partners are looking for.

3. Companies should still be required to fill a YC app before posting. Then it's a public contest rather than a public offer to sell shares.

This would be interesting for sure!

minimaxir 4 days ago 5 replies      
Ranking by upvotes/comments seems highly problematic, even with HN's antibrigade features.

A) There are many external factors that can implicitly cap the number of upvotes/comments. (time submitted, amount of competition, etc.) HN has repost rules to alleviate this problem: would Apply HN posts be able to repost too?

B) Not to mention that it encourages sockpuppet voting/commenting, especially since there is a high reward for doing so.

Product Hunt, for example, thrives on "how can I get exposure for my startup submission outside of the intrinsic quality of the startup itself?" and it would be an improper fit for HN.

vit05 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm curious to know how many companies from first Fellowship managed to end the program with a product. Will have more interview after you choose some from the HN ?I read all applications, and it seems to me that some of the startups are more suitable for Indiego or looking for a direct fund from VC than to apply for YC Fellowship. Fellowship is buying 1.5% of the company to 20k + counseling + other YC services. And you'll need to be fully dedicated to the company for at least 8 weeks in office hours. Some of the projects seem to need more money or perhaps the founder will not be able to be dedicated exclusively to the startup. As you said: "startups are far more likely to die by suicide than by homicide"
zaguios 4 days ago 4 replies      
I actually already wrote this as a reply to another comment, but I think it merits a comment of its own.

The best way to do the scoring for the applications is to actually make it into somewhat of a game. Each application should be given a starting elo of 1200. Every time a user wants to go and review applications they will be presented with two separate applications with a similar elo and then will be asked to vote on which one they think is better. Elo will then be added/subtracted with normal conditions based on the vote. This system would very quickly and accurately identify the best applications. I've seen this done before for other things and it's been proven to be very effective and prevent almost any sort of bias.

tclmeelmo 4 days ago 1 reply      
To be frank, my first reaction on reading this idea was negative.

I think part of my reaction is because I'm not seeing a useful goal: "interesting things" is certainly a goal, but strikes me as being too vague from which to extract useful information. What are interesting things? If you don't know what they are, how will you know if they happened? Are you set up to measure interesting things? If so, can you quantify them, and what sort of sensitivity/specificity, dynamic range, etc. do you expect your instrumentation to provide? What is the duration/endpoints of the experiment? Does the experimental design support the objective, and with what power does the experiment have to inform?

I think that the other part of my reaction is that, as an experimental scientist, I am specifically trained against doing something so unstructured. Practical considerations like safety and budgetary waste aside, I am the person I trust least: it's very easy to fool oneself about the significance of a result with an ongoing experiment that one is conducting. Experimental discipline, like planning ahead (and preregistration) and blinding and good controls, serve to promote objectivity and help reduce bias.

I have no doubt that this experiment would produce "interesting things". I am very skeptical that, as presented, you would know why it produced interesting things.

Of course, I'm just a dog on the internet. Best of luck!

pbnjay 4 days ago 2 replies      
Will there be a new toplink for "Apply HN" submissions? I think random sorting on that page would be a good idea to encourage all submissions get an opportunity for discussion.
6thSigma 4 days ago 5 replies      
I think a mini application with a few questions from the normal YC app as a comment would be helpful. I see a ton of Show HNs in which I have no idea what the product does (either because the website copy is vague/confusing or because I don't know the market). Having a comment template or something reviewers can look at without have to ask the same questions in every thread would be great.
hoodoof 4 days ago 2 replies      
Truth is, I'd start writing code to copy any idea that I was totally blown away by, and I don't need any funding to start doing that.

Putting your idea right there in front of some pretty fast moving programmers has to be something people would think twice about.

Having said that, it's hard to imagine an idea being sufficiently compelling to start writing code to implement it immediately. The only ideas that really blow me away are my own and they usually turn out to be silly anyway, after I've spent six months building them to crickets.

I don't think ideas are worth nothing by the way. Just ask the Facebook twins.

lettergram 4 days ago 1 reply      
About a year ago I ran a series of tests where I continuously posted the same 15-20 articles tracking the number of up votes within the first 10-15 minutes.

It turns out it was essentially random, and although every one of the posts were decent enough to make it to the front page 2 or 3 times sometimes it received zero votes, sometimes 10.

It seems somewhat unfair to use the standard ranking system with this being the case, since it's essentially random. I think there would need to be a way to randomly show them to users and have users vote. Similar to /r/starups[1]

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/startups/

BTW I eventually received an email from the YC staff, thank you for not banning me :) No one should do this.

dsugarman 4 days ago 1 reply      
I see a lot of 'entrepreneurs' who spend their time getting their fb friends to vote for them in local startup pitch competitions, they don't actually spend any time making a company, but are very effective at getting votes.

The HN community might just be a better barometer, hope to see this experiment work out and bring attention to worthy and unnoticed startups.

davidw 4 days ago 1 reply      
Thought: in the original Wisdom of Crowds book, an important point was that people's selections need to be independent of one another, otherwise you get bandwagon/cascade effects. I don't know how that could be made to factor in to things.
dmritard96 4 days ago 1 reply      
One concern I could see is around disclosing the idea. I know, I know, idea.pre_exectution_worth = 0, idea.post_execution_worth = $, but I have to think that some of the most interesting applications to YC or any other accelerator are at least partially executed hence giving out their intent, or some of the sexy secret sauce which might help them gain a favorable ranking is pitted against a desire to remain secretive. Obviously you have other submission processes but seems like perhaps something to consider, my 2 cents.
jdp23 4 days ago 3 replies      
Interesting idea, and kudos to you for kicking off the discussions to refine the approach - and for the "be nice" rule, which I think is very important here.

A question: What are the situations where you think it will benefit people more to go the open route than applying directly?

One way of thinking about it is

advantages of "Apply HN": getting significant calibration and feedback on an idea that improves it whether or not it is selected, a chance for a partial team to begin discussions with other potential co-founders, and the (small) chance of having an idea selected because of overwhelming support when it wouldn't have been chosen through the normal process

disadvantage: exposing the idea in a very early state to thousands of smart motivated people who are then have the time to come up with better variations on it

Obviously the tradeoffs are different for different teams and ideas ... and there certainly might be some advantages and disadvantages I missed. In any case, I'm curious about who you think might benefit most from this.

aarkay 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just read through a bunch of Apply HN's (~90) and realized how important it is for startups to clearly tell what their company does in the first sentence.

Even though many of the YC partners have mentioned the importance of this, I could feel the pain of reading through the first paragraph and not being able to picture anything about the company in my head. Might be a good strategy to stick in a summary of your startup in the apply hn corpus and ask close friends to see if they understand and get excited by the idea before applying to YC.

Another thing I noticed was how biased I was towards ideas which addressed problems I have had. So hopefully Apply HN will help YC look into companies which are catering to completely different industries and sets of problems which they haven't experienced.

This is a great experiment !

pcmaffey 4 days ago 0 replies      
The best part of this is YC's commitment to subverting their bias.

Whether successful or not, you guys (and your machines?) will learn something valuable about your process vs. the wisdom of crowds. Really commend your approach to experimentation.

benjamincburns 4 days ago 0 replies      
@dang: Apologies if this has been said elsewhere, and hopefully it doesn't get lost in the noise.

If upvotes are the most important metric, then vote counts should be hidden to viewers at least prior to their voting. This prevents the situation we have here with news articles where an initial small/fast scurry of upvotes is the only way to capture the attention of the larger audience. In this situation the first few votes likely have far more influence than they should.

rmason 4 days ago 2 replies      
If I was to guess I'd say HN readers would be more impressed with innovative technology than how the company actually would make money.

I would be wary however of learning very much with a one time experiment with only two funded companies. That would be similar to giving a prospective angel investor the advice to invest in two companies in the next thirty days and then no more.

vonklaus 4 days ago 0 replies      
Dang, this is awesome!

I think it would be really cool if you did the experiment blind. E.g the startup applys to YC, if they want to participate they also do HN. you have your interview make what would be your decision, then do the HN piece. that way you can gauge the delta between how the community thinks & how you would've decided without our input.

Either way, this is pretty great idea. As you flesh it out a more, an in depth write up would be great!

nlh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Well I for one think this is also a super cool idea. Agree with what many have said re: gaming -- just be particularly aware that people will try to figure out how to game this.

But I'd emphasize the qualitative side of the evaluation process -- it should be based on a somewhat opaque mix of upvotes, thoroughness of discussion, and thoughtfulness of answers.

I'd almost treat the various 'Apply HN' threads as open source interviews. Upvoted and the like should be a ROUGH filter, but I'd hope that the YC partners will look at the answers in the threads as a crowdsourced interview and select on the merits more than anything else.

Anyway, excited to see how this experiment plays out.

harperlee 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think here is where the "you cannot unvote" design decision for HN breaks. It's one thing to vote several comments that deserved an upvote and whose subthreads I want people to see and comment with priority; and another thing altogether to manage votes that I know, in the end, will end on one company being selected at the detriment of the rest. Here I want to have the ability to vote only to the one that mattered the most, and I want to be able to unvote if further responses of the startup make me uneasy of my already casted vote. It's not sufficient to take my attention elsewhere.
newguyonhere 3 days ago 0 replies      
Forgive me if this comment doesn't belong here: I wanted to say that I enjoy reading YC. While I'm not exactly sure what all HN or YC are about, and some of the topics are over my, I have learned some interesting things. It's awesome intelectual the exchanges can be. And at this moment I find the concept of being nice refreshing in an online forum. Anyhow good look with this startup idea. I'm sure some good stuff will surface and everyone will benefit.
skoocda 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think there's a definite disparity between the key formative aspects of a soon-to-be successful startup, and the popular image that people will vote for. Nobody on HN as enough time or motivation to perform the gritty research on the market or the founders, which means the votes will tend towards flashy sounding concepts. As long as you guys only take this as a cheap and plentiful way of judging the 'wow' factor of these ideas, I think the Apply HN idea is great.
danieltillett 4 days ago 0 replies      
Dan I think this is great idea (I am all for trying new things). One suggestion I do have is to score a startup not by up votes, but by the quality of the discussion that results.

The commentship of HN is not exactly a representative cross-section of the unwashed masses, but it is filled with amazingly knowledgeable and intelligent people. A startup that generates thoughtful and helpful discussion may well be a stronger signal of success than crude up votes.

Edit. arg! I see Dan already had this idea.

andreis_ 4 days ago 2 replies      
Some sort of support for people working on building "lifestyle businesses" as side projects would be fantastic. Not all of us have megalomaniac dreams of running the next AirBnb. Question: would YC Fellowship be a good fit for that?
fweespee_ch 4 days ago 2 replies      
> Questions or suggestions? Let's discuss and refine this together.

The upvote/commentary is likely going to be highly problematic:

A) I'm pretty sure Dang can't list all 9 accounts I've used on HN over the past few years. I'm also pretty sure 9 accounts in good standing [1500+ karma] would be enough to seed an initial vote if handled carefully. The ones he'd be able to name are the 3 most recent. This being the case...yeah. The danger of sock puppetry is way too high, particularly when combined with strategic downvotes and VPNs.

B) Anyone with control of an existing community/following can use it as a targeted campaign.

C) The reward from bypassing these functions is substantially higher ($20,000 + professional advice from YC) than previously existed for YC.

D) If you want to stick with a vote-based system, I'd offer a larger bounty [say, $50k for manipulating a post to the top of the pile for Apply HN] for finding a way to bypass the vote brigading and other countermeasures. This it is really the only countermeasure I can think of to counter manipulation problems.

E) All the other external factors (time of submission, competition around that time period, repost rules, etc.) are likely to bias the process in unexpected ways but that is probably less problematic than direct manipulation.

> I think we're on the same page to some extent. What I meant by 'ranking by comments' is that we want the ranking to depend on the quality of the discussion. That's the one thing that can't be gamed.

Put a bounty on that to test that theory.

I'm pretty sure someone could create a network of socket puppets that had "quality" discussions between them if the reward was $20k.

timwaagh 3 days ago 0 replies      
wow. this is really unprecendented. i know some guy who works at a different startup accelerator. one which is funded with EU money. he made some comment about his acc being a lot better on a value-for-equity basis (like obviously). i tried to explain yc would continue to be the #1 not just because of its size or the amount of funding per share to its startups but because of the way it is run. this is an excellent example.
biot 4 days ago 1 reply      
Fede_V 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am really curious to see how this plays out.

Kudos for the 'be nice' rule - rejections really really hurt, and if they are in public, even more so. Anyone who is willing to put themselves out there like that deserves to be treated with kindness - even if the actual feedback is critical. Snark is very easy.

phillc73 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have a question about the YC Fellowship model.

If I had an idea, which I knew would never likely grow beyond $1M in revenue, just because the market is so niche. B2C, but the entire consumer group is probably only in the region of 10,000.

I'd imagine the company would probably max out at 4 or 5 employees.

I have little to no interest in building a product out to $100M or aiming at an IPO.

The YC Fellowship rules indicate that the $20k funding, for convertible security, at least assumes the goal is $100M or IPO.[0]

I'd very happily offer 1.5% right up front for $20k, no need to worry about convertible security, as long as it was clear my aim was never to hit $100M or IPO.

Would such a view exclude me from a YC Fellowship grant and thus Apply HN?

[0] https://blog.ycombinator.com/fellowship-v2

adrusi 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm a little concerned that this experiment could attract the wrong kind of behavior on HN, and bring in new users for the wrong reasons. I'm excited to see how this goes, but it will be quite a shame if the quality of regular content on HN suffers as a result.
vonklaus 4 days ago 1 reply      
Also, while I don't loce what I'm about to suggest it makes sense:

1 upvote = 1 + (Account Age In Years / 2)

Or some metric discounting (but not eliminating) new accounts while proportionately weighing soneones contribution/participation in the community.

while to some extent everyone should be represented, but some members of the community have been here much longer, are much more knowledgeable, and participate a lot more. they helped shape the community, etc and may have gone to YC in early days.

ive been here for ~2 years, i know a little bit about tech and startups, however(and this doesnt map 1:1) some people helped build this community and are core contributors, there votes (as their advice) is worth some percentage more.

kristoforlawson 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really love that you're bringing some of the process to the HN community. I remember the first YCF batch had huge numbers of applications and I think it's likely that many great ideas were lost in that volume. Will be interesting to see what surfaces :)

P.S have submitted my idea here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11461008

viviennelee 3 days ago 1 reply      
Curious -- Are Apply HN threads only meant for existing HN users to comment/upvote? I'd be more interested in this if it were condoned and encouraged to have my startup's existing userbase upvote and post comments about why they love the product. My typical user is not a HN user. I know it can be done anyway, but if it's viewed as "gaming" the system I wouldn't want to do that.
hashvin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Let's just joined with our idea to help people - Meet amazing people, & do fun stuff. Check us on: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11462402
diegorbaquero 4 days ago 2 replies      
Can one apply to Apply HN if one applied to S16?
elliotec 4 days ago 1 reply      
This seems like a silly idea to me, frankly. What makes you think any of us are qualified to decide what the best company to fund would be? See this for precedence: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/22/world/europe/boaty-mcboatf...
dzink 4 days ago 0 replies      
If we read the answers to this thread as a meta lesson of what a founder would expect, I think the answers would benefit from a scorecard. A poll at the top could summarise scores. Here is my iteration for the idea of "Apply YC":

1. Would I use this product? - Only for projects I have a lot of traction with and wouldn't mind competition for, or a project I am not sure/serious about (toss and see if it sticks). Anything in between would be risky if we're serious about the "What do you know that competition doesn't" question.

2. Would I join this team? - hard to learn about team without much research on HN

3. Would I fund/work on this problem? - Yes - a low friction way to vet and support startups is needed. I've worked on other iterations to find a way. I've thought about it a lot, reply/ping me if you want to discuss.

4. What would I improve: For start, add a scorecard, so the founders can use brainpower to iterate instead of trying to interpret why they were not up-voted by strangers with different motives.

5. Any concerns: A ton can go wrong here, but what matters is what can go right - what parts of the HN experience are conducive to solving this problem, and what tweaks will finish the job of solving it. If this works, you will see a rich data set of problems that people are attempting to solve, votes that show the demand for each problem, solutions who get to see traction by potential users, and VC analysts who are trying to crunch the data to direct their own funding/sourcing, competitors taking notes, etc.

Then there are also the projects that are just poor fit with the HN subset, would you reject those in YC if you see them down-voted here?

botterworkshop 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is brilliant and immediately reminded me of "wisdom of the crowd" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOucwX7Z1HU start at 2:00 if TLDW).

Basically average crowd > individuals. 160 people guess # of jelly beans in a jar. Few are close, but averaging all the guesses leads to 4 away from actual.

Would be fascinating if applied to this as well...

hooande 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure about considering upvotes. People might send out message to all their friends saying "There's this thing called hackernews, can you sign up and vote for me?". Similar to how someone would launch a kickstarter. I don't think that this will be very common, especially not in the first few batches, but it will become common sense after a few years.

Remember, you're dealing with hackers here. I worked my YC application from every angle and tried to get every possible edge and advantage. Not necessarily because I wanted to game the system, but because I'm a hacker, and it's my nature [1].

On the whole, this is a really good idea. It's kind of mind blowing that YC would seriously try this. The concept itself is a brilliant hack on the idea of startup funding. Maybe they'll find the next AirBnb/Cruise/Dropbox, but probably not. Either way it's a great example of pushing the envelope to find new ideas, which sama has been all about lately.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scorpion_and_the_Frog

exabrial 4 days ago 1 reply      
You guys need to diversify and try to solve hard problems that have slow paybacks. Sure making the next twitter is cool, but how about funding a startup that makes does cheap inpatient monitoring,ordering,labs,diagnosis, drug interaction, of patients at hospitals? There are huge players in that space:Epic,Cerner, etc but if you look the sheer amount of $ a hospital is willing to spend on EMR systems...
swalsh 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is the wikipedia model. The idea is so obviously bad, it just might be good.
ibnaks 4 days ago 1 reply      
Simple question: If we've already done a Show HN can we do a Apply HN?
augb 3 days ago 0 replies      
What are the dates for the fellowship? (As in, if accepted, when does the 8 weeks begin and end?)

Edit: Added comma.

jbarks 3 days ago 1 reply      
This link indicates a March 24 deadline in the FAQ. It should be updated? https://fellowship.ycombinator.com/faq/
sajeevaravind 1 day ago 0 replies      
Vaultedge - private Google for private data. Please post your questions, comments in the thread.https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11460485
manav 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting idea, but I think the guidelines should be clarified.

Since it's under the umbrella of the Fellowship, is YC looking for anything well beyond the idea stage?

Also, it would be useful to have some kind of simple submission process after making a post on HN so its easier to track and view all of the applications.

NicoJuicy 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think HackerNews itselve should mostly fund startups like Sendy. Eg. Have a Reseller-option ( or brands option) so you can manage stuff for clients, others and you can self host it. This adds a huge market of technical people that can create wealth for their own

That is a totally different approach then the "cloud apps" that get funded through YC or other investors, yet it supports the same "sort/type of apps".

It should require some technical experience ( i believe HN in it's core is still for technical people)

It would be interesting to see what reselling does for bootstrapping a startup ( faster sales because more brands/people can resell it ?)

Benefits, we can hack our way through the code :)

api 4 days ago 0 replies      
My couple cents: that which can be gamed will be gamed, especially in a community full of "hackers."
gpsgay 4 days ago 1 reply      
Very nice! Should we publicly apply uf we have already filled a yc application for this batch?
rebootthesystem 3 days ago 1 reply      
OK, I'll be the one asking this question:

Are you planning on compensating the people who participate in this experiment in any way.

Here's the point: YC will be receiving a massive amount of help in filtering and vetting dozens or hundreds of potential companies to fund. Once funded, they might fail but they can also be huge successes. YC stands to make millions, tens or hundreds of millions (or better if the starts align).

So, you got a bunch of smart people to use their time and intellect to act as filters for your investment. What do they get in return?

The fair approach would be to give them some ownership. Even a single share would have meaning.

jrsnyder 4 days ago 0 replies      
Establishing a public forum for earnest discussion of startup ideas seems likely even more valuable than the actual funding of community-picked proposals. But also, the chance of receiving funding adds incentive for discussion and earnesty!

I'm excited!

dude_abides 4 days ago 0 replies      
My 2c: "Upvotes" is too noisy a metric, and will give too much importance to HN ranking. I strongly suggest tweaking the HN ranking model for "Apply HN" posts to be as random as possible.
faizshah 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea, I have a couple of questions.

Since YC Fellowship is intended for startups at the idea stage/prototype stage, is ApplyHN a catch all for businesses at the idea stage looking for feedback from the HN community?

Can you do an ApplyHN twice? Presumably once you get feedback from your initial ApplyHN idea post, you might flesh it out more and have a stronger application the second time.

If you're at the prototype stage normally you might do a ShowHN, should you create a separate post for an ApplyHN if you want to apply?

OoTheNigerian 4 days ago 1 reply      
If it will not bring about complications, can that category of submission be open for say one week.

Then the feedback and comments would be open for say another week.

Putting time restraints would help give applicants approximately the same amount of attention. And also allow members take out time and ask all questions they want.

In addition, can the submission be restricted too so we do not see 400 words submissions? I'll go for a maximum 2 mins video pitch alongside a link to a website.

Finally, great idea!

pforpineapple 4 days ago 0 replies      
Promising ! This could be an interesting way to stimulate startups from around the globe. Last time I felt this way was when I discovered Stripe Atlas.
yikyak1 3 days ago 0 replies      
great way to discuss ideas! we are in...https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11452153
GBond 4 days ago 2 replies      
Great idea. Can you also consider an equity arrangement for HNers who would like to invest in the selected startups?
pratim 3 days ago 0 replies      
We need your thoughts on Gift Card idea. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11447924
ebbv 4 days ago 0 replies      
That's really awesome idea and I can't wait to see what kinds of cool applications come through.
jorgecastillo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Y Combinator can't get more awesome than this! I hope something great comes out of this experiment.
pratim 3 days ago 0 replies      
Please provide feedback on our Gift Card Idea. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11447924
nojvek 4 days ago 0 replies      
I went through the startups, but its really hard to make a decision from the description. I would suggest that the startups fill answers to the YC application form so there is more data and background to ask further questions.
pavornyoh 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is an excellent idea. Do you need a prototype and a team in place before participating?
_pius 4 days ago 0 replies      
OK, this is very cool. Great idea!
andychase 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is such an interesting concept that I'm excited to see it happen. This also perfectly answers the call for yc to release applications of rejected applications.

Can a group or an individual submit more then one application?

speeder 4 days ago 1 reply      
If this existed a year or two ago I would apply, but now I can't :(
ball_of_lint 4 days ago 0 replies      
For the purpose of selecting startups, HN should have an option to vote for each apply outside of up votes, and then the votes ought to be weighted by reputation and account age.
n72 4 days ago 1 reply      
Given any consideration to giving some percentage of the profit YC makes to charity or something? After all, YC is benefiting from the wisdom of the crowd and the crowd gets nothing.
ausjke 3 days ago 1 reply      
How much will the YC fund be normally? Will someone be concerned to disclose the product he/she is building here when stealth mode is preferred?
rubynav 3 days ago 0 replies      
Such an awesome opportunity for a broader community! YC is making the an even playing field for everyone! Congrats YC and hope to see you soon!
kgc 4 days ago 0 replies      
Suggestion: Vote with money and use that to fund the company. The people who put their money in to fund the company become collective shareholders alongside YC.
sgarg26 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great idea! Can we get a 'Apply HN' link added to the top menu bar as well? Would make participating in the community way easier
GFischer 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think that for this experiment to be valid, only accounts created before today should be allowed to vote (or make a karma threshold for new accounts).
tommynicholas 4 days ago 1 reply      
If it's both a "Show HN" and an "Apply HN" what do you recommend as a headline? Apply and Show are related but not the same.
soneca 4 days ago 1 reply      
Suggestion: make links on Apply HN posts clickable. No reason to rely on that usual first comment "clickable here:"
tedmiston 4 days ago 0 replies      
> we'll add a top link for these

Could you add an Apply HN endpoint to the Firebase API in the same style of ask and show too?

browseatwork 4 days ago 1 reply      
Could you please unbreak /ask by moving apply posts elsewhere? /ask is much less useful now.
vishalzone2002 4 days ago 0 replies      
sounds like kickstarter on HN
wslh 4 days ago 1 reply      
Do you expect "Apply HN" to continue in Winter's batch?
alouanchi 4 days ago 1 reply      
Hi there, is it possible to post/apply for more than one idea?
jacques_chester 4 days ago 1 reply      
I feel it would be less drama-inducing, and probably as effective, to run a lottery.
jlas 4 days ago 2 replies      
What's the incentive for helping you pick the next big startup? What if you gave users a trivial amount of equity for their input?
known 3 days ago 0 replies      
Do I get paid?
sharemywin 4 days ago 1 reply      
sounds like my suggestion was a bad idea. (won't let me delete).
George_MacApp 4 days ago 0 replies      
We are two childhood friends who started company with focus and we built it without any fancy and bootstrapped it from zero to a million dollar company.

We never had time to even spend with family we just slept four to six hours and focused on what we wanted to built.

We never had any social accounts and never socialised in Internet not went to do networking.

We thought let's built a great product and enjoy doing it.

A Story of How Two Childhood Friends from Village has built their startup up from Zero to a million dollars


Only time we spent time is registering and applying for YC.

Coming from a small town with no business background, learning all things ourselves and with self motivation and dream if we were able to do this much.

Joining hands with YC we can do a lot more faster and quicker to change the world.

This is the reason we applied for YC. Even our employees are from rural they can't even communicate good in English but they code like hell.

If you ask a guy how to built an ap. A may tell a good story but not actually do it. B may do an excellent app but not tell it in an effective way. A May have more friends but B may not.

So founders we play as a team. George does the coding and he has no social accounts. I do the design idea and also communicate and be active to know what's happening in the world.

This is a good initiative let's see how it goes.

imd23 4 days ago 1 reply      
Small note: I recommend the search query to include quotes "Apply HN"
tke248 4 days ago 0 replies      
It would be nice if there was a link up top to filter the submissions similar to show/ask links.

Here is my submission:PaySQR - the new secure way to pay!https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11444053

TheLogothete 4 days ago 0 replies      
Bee Smart Technologies tries to tackle the Colony Collapse disorder. Cool use of technology, huge social impact, enormous monetary potential.


I'm not affiliated though.

lettergram 4 days ago 0 replies      
We are working to fix mental healthcare by adding analytics and bringing the healthcare to the patient.


filipmandaric 4 days ago 0 replies      
We have upvotes and utterly no discussion happening. Thank you HN for your unquestioning support!


tomjacobs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Zippy self driving meal delivery robots, in: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11444797
vs2370 4 days ago 0 replies      
Redoubtable 4 days ago 0 replies      
Right because the first thing I think as a founder is oh definitely I'd love to have my work judged by the insane neckbeard posse that is Hacker News Commentariat. That's totallllllly something I'd love and will likely to end up producing better and more diverse result. Sorry guys I should really not even get involved but this is baffling. HN is second only to Reddit in terms of its nasty, divisive, anti-anything that doesn't pattern match to the literalism horror show that is white men in technology.
20 lines of code that beat A/B testing (2012) stevehanov.ca
534 points by _kush  4 days ago   155 comments top 35
orasis 4 days ago 9 replies      
Here's what everyone is missing. Don't use bandits to A/B test UI elements, use them to optimize your content / mobile game levels.

My app, 7 Second Meditation, is solid 5 stars, 100+ reviews because I use bandits to optimize my content.

By having the system automatically separate the wheat from the chaff, I am free to just spew out content regardless of its quality. This allows me to let go of perfectionism and just create.

There is an interesting study featured in "Thinking Fast and Slow" where they had two groups in a pottery class. The first group would have the entirety of their grade based on the creativity of a single piece they submit. The second group was graded on only the total number of pounds of clay they threw.

The second group crushed the first group in terms of creativity.

spiderfarmer 4 days ago 6 replies      
I did a lot of A/B testing, but I think the examples that are used in a lot of articles about A/B testing are weird.

For small changes like change the color / appearance of a button, the difference in conversion rate is not measurable. Maybe if you can test with traffic in the range of >100K unique visitors (from the same sources), you can say with confidence which button performed better.

But how many websites / apps really have >100K uniques? If you have a long running test, just to gather enough traffic, changes are some other factors have changed as well, like the weather, weekdays / weekends, time of month, etc.

And if you have <100K uniques, does the increase in conversion pay for the amount of time you have invested in setting up the test?

In my experience, only when you test some completely different pages you'll see some significant differences.

sixtypoundhound 4 days ago 1 reply      
Novices also tend to gravitate towards "end-game" business metrics which have a lot more inherent variation than simple operational indicators.

For example - optimizing a content site for AdSense; many folks would gravitate to AdSense $$ as the target metric, which is admittedly an intuitive solution (since that's how you're ultimately getting paid).

But if you think about it....

AdSense Revenue =>

(1 - Bounce Rate) x Pages / Visit x % ads clicked x CPC

Bounce rate is binomial probability with a relatively high p-value (15%+), thus you can get statistically solid reads on results with a relatively small sample.

Pages / Visit is basically the aggregate of a Markov chain (1 - exit probability); also relatively stable.

% ads clicked - binomial probability with low p-value; large samples becomes important

$ CPC - so the ugly thing here is there's a huge range in the value of a click... often as low as $.05 for a casual mobile phone click or $30 for a well qualified financial or legal click (think retargeting, with multiple bidders). And you're usually dealing with a small sample of clicks (since the average % CTR is very low). So HUGE natural variation in results. Oh, and Google likes to penalty price sites with a large rapid increase in click-through-rate (for a few days), so your short term CPC may not resemble what you would earn in steady-state.

So while it may make ECONOMIC sense to use test $ RPM as a metric, you've injected tremendous variation into the test. You can accurately read bounce rate, page activity, and % click-through on a much smaller sample and feel comfortable making a move if you're confident nothing major has changed in terms of the ad quality (and CPC value) you will get.

ReadingInBed 4 days ago 2 replies      
I thought this was a pretty good follow up to show the strengths and weaknesses of this approach: https://vwo.com/blog/multi-armed-bandit-algorithm/. Personally I think this approach makes a lot more sense than a/b testing especially when often people hand off the methodology to a 3rd party without knowing exactly how they work.
3dfan 4 days ago 3 replies      

 10% of the time, we choose a lever at random. The other 90% of the time, we choose the lever that has the highest expectation of rewards. 
There is a problem with strategies that change the distribution over time: Other factors change over time too.

For example let's say over time the percentage of your traffic that comes from search engines increases. And this traffic converts better then your other traffic. And let's say at the same time, your yellow button gets picked more often then your green button.

This will make it look like the yellow button performs better then it actually does. Because it got more views during a time where the traffic was better.

This can drive your website in the wrong direction. If the yellow button performs better at first just by chance then it will be displayed more and more. If at the same time the quality of your traffic improves, that makes it look like the yellow button is better. While in reality it might be worse.

In the end, the results of these kinds of adaptive strategies are almost impossible to interpret.

tristanj 4 days ago 1 reply      
Earlier discussion (989 points, 1407 days ago) https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4040022
ryporter 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is a good overview of the multi-arm bandit problem [1], but the author is far too dismissive of A/B Testing.

First of all, the suggested approach isn't always practical. Imagine that you are testing an overhaul of your website. Do you want daily individual visitors to keep flipping back and forth as the probabilities change? I'm not sure if the author is really suggesting his approach would be a better way to run drug trials, but that's clearly ridiculous. You have to recruit a set of people to participate in the study, and then you obviously can't change what drug you're giving them during the course of experiment!

Second, it ignores the time value of completing an experiment earlier. In the exploration/exploitation tradeoff, sometimes short-term exploitation isn't nearly as valuable as wrapping up an experiment so that your team can move to new experiments (e.g., shuting down the old website in the previous example). If a company expects to have a long lifetime, then, over the a time frame measured in weeks, exploration will likely be relatively far more valuable.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-armed_bandit

PaulHoule 4 days ago 2 replies      
It is really funny how communities don't talk.

For instance, A/B testing with a 50-50 split has been baked into "business rules" framework from about as along ago as the Multi-armed bandit has been around, but nobody in that community has ever heard of the multi-armed bandit, and in the meantime, machine learning people are celebrating about the performance of NLP systems they build that are far worse than rule-based systems people were using in industry and government 15 years ago.

chias 4 days ago 2 replies      
I like the premise of this a lot, but it seems to me that the setting that the author chose (some UI element of a website) is one of the worst possible settings for this: what matters a whole lot more than if your button is red or green or blue is some modicum of consistency.

If you're constantly changing the button color, size, location, whatever... that is an awful experience in and of itself, is it not? If the Amazon "buy now" button changed size / shape / position / color every time I went to buy something, I would get frustrated with it pretty quickly.

hoddez 4 days ago 0 replies      
There is at least one caveat with multi-armed bandit testing. It assumes that the site/app remains constant over the entire experiment. This is often not the case or feasible, especially for websites with large teams deploying constantly.

When your site is constantly changing in other ways, dynamically changing odds can cause a skew because you could give more of A than B during a dependent change, so you have to normalize for that somehow. A/B testing doesn't have this issue because the odds are constant over time.

davkap92 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting but since the writing of this article (2012) Google do offer Multi Armed Banned Content Experiments...https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2844870?hl=en
conductrics 4 days ago 0 replies      
When thinking about what type of approach is best, first think about the nature of the problem. First is it a real optimization problem, IOW are you more concerned with learning an optimal controller for your marketing application? If so then ask:1) Is the problem/information perishable - for example Perishable: picking headlines for News articles; Not Perishable: Site redesign. If Perishable then Bandit might give you real returns.2) Complexity: Are you using covariates (contextual bandits, Reinforcement learning with function approximation) or not. If you are, then you might want your targeting model to serve up best the predicted options in subspaces (frequent user types) that it has more experiences in and for it to explore more in less frequently visited areas (less common user types).3) Scale/Automation: You have tons of transactional decision problems, and it just doesn't scale to have people running many AB Tests.

Often it is a mix - you might use a bandit approach with your predictive targeting, but you also should A/B tests the impact of your targeting model approach vs a current default and/or a random draw. see slides 59-65: http://www.slideshare.net/mgershoff/predictive-analytics-bro...

For a quick bandit overview check out:http://www.slideshare.net/mgershoff/conductrics-bandit-basic...

thecopy 4 days ago 4 replies      
Offtopic, but why do i have to enable Javascript to even see anything?
llull 4 days ago 0 replies      
Bandits are great, but using the theory correctly can be difficult (and if accidentally incorrectly applied then ones results can easily become pathologically bad). For instance, the standard stochastic setup requires that learning instances are presented in an iid manner. This may not be true for website visitors, for example different behaviour at different times of day (browsing or executing) or timezone driven differing cultural responses.There is never a simple, magic solution for these things.
saturdayplace 4 days ago 0 replies      
So I googled A/B testing vs Multi-Armed Bandit, and ran into an article that's a useful and informative response to the OP: https://vwo.com/blog/multi-armed-bandit-algorithm/

edit: Ah, 'ReadingInBed beat me to it. tl;dr: Bandit approaches might not _always_ be the best, and they tend to take longer to reach a statistically significant result.

tmaly 4 days ago 0 replies      
I remember reading this post back in 2012. I ended up getting a copy of the Bandit Algorithms book by John Myles White.

Its short, but it covers all the major variations.

creade 4 days ago 0 replies      
One of the best talks I've ever seen was Aaron Swartz talking about how Victory Kit used multi-armed bandits to optimize political action: https://github.com/victorykit/whiplash
jedberg 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just a warning, this isn't a magic bullet to replace all A/B testing. This is great for code that has instant feedback and/or the user will only see once, but for things where the feedback loop is longer or the change is more obvious or longer lasting (like a totally different UI experience), it doesn't work so well.

For example, if your metric of success is that someone retains their monthly membership to your site, it will take a month before you start getting any data at all. At that point, in theory almost all of your users should already be allocated to a test because hopefully they visited (and used) their monthly subscription at least once. So it would be a really bad experience to suddenly reallocate them to another test each month.

mabbo 4 days ago 1 reply      
This presumes a few of things about the decision being tested, many of which aren't always true.

I ran a few basic A/B tests on some handscanner software used in large warehouses. The basic premise is that the user is being directed where to go and what items to collect. The customer wanted to know how changes to font size and colour of certain text would improve overall user efficiency. But the caveat was that we had to present a consistent experience to the user- you can't change the font size every 10 seconds or it will definitely degrade user experience!

My point is that it sounds as though the 1-armed bandit will probably work great provided the test is short, simple, and the choice can be re-made often without impacting users.

scottlocklin 4 days ago 1 reply      
Reinforcement approaches are certainly interesting, but one of the things missing here (and in most A/B stuff) is statistical significance and experimental power. If you have enough data, there are hand wavey arguments that this will eventually be right, but in the meanwhile, if there is some opportunity cost (say, imagine this is a trading algo trying to profit from bid/ask), you screwed yourself out of some unknown amount of profits. There actually ways of hanging a confidence interval on this approach which virtually nobody outside the signal processing and information theory communities know about. Kind of a shame.
paulsutter 4 days ago 0 replies      
Author is confusing the map and the territory.

A/B testing is comparing the performance of alternatives. Epsilon-greedy is a (good) way to do that. it's better than the most common approach, but you're still testing A against B.

dalacv 4 days ago 0 replies      
A post on why the bandit is not better: https://vwo.com/blog/multi-armed-bandit-algorithm/
shade23 4 days ago 0 replies      
A side note:I love the website UX/Design. Especially the flowing comments layout.
cle 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is only appropriate in certain situations. There are many business situations in which it's more appropriate to run a traditional A/B test and carefully examine and understand the results before making a business decision. Always blindly accepting the results of a bandit is going to explode in your face at some point.

There is no silver bullet, no free lunch. There is no algorithm that will beat understanding your domain and carefully analyzing your data.

Zyst 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thought this was interesting, so I made it in C#. I could've optimised a bit more in the Choose function but regardless, this is super cool!


zardeh 4 days ago 0 replies      
What I love about this example is that its the same algorithm applied in two completely different areas. This algorithm (or variants of it) can be used in place of A/B testing. The same algorithm can be applied to game playing and you get Monte Carlo Tree search, the basis of AlphaGo.
tarsinge 4 days ago 0 replies      
A/B Tasty (most used platform in France I think, not affiliated) uses this approach :


aub3bhat 4 days ago 2 replies      
"Like many techniques in machine learning, the simplest strategy is hard to beat." is a thoroughly ridiculous statement.

It should instead say "Like many techniques in machine learning, the simplest strategy is easiest to implement" as the title of the post (20 lines) makes it clear.

orasis 4 days ago 1 reply      
I've been using bandits in my mobile apps for the last 3 years and am now packaging them as a saas REST API. Message me if you want an early look.
imaginenore 4 days ago 0 replies      
Multivariate A/B testing lets you test combinations of multiple changes simultaneously.
gaz 4 days ago 0 replies      
there is a startup (unlaunched) built around this approach http://www.growthgiant.com
mkj 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why 10%? Sounds like a magic constant.
wnevets 4 days ago 0 replies      
isn't this how a/b testing works with google analyitcs?
sideproject 4 days ago 0 replies      
I digress, but this site has an interesting comments layout..
pitchka 4 days ago 0 replies      
John Langford and the team (Microsoft Research) have built a contextual bandit library in Vowpal Wabbit.

It can be used from active learning to changing webpage layouts to increase ad clicks. It has the best bounds out of all exploratory algorithms.

Structured contextual bandits that come with LOLS (another algorithm present in vowpal wabbit) is extremely powerful.

All for free under BSD3.

Design better databases dbpatterns.com
498 points by fordarnold  3 days ago   171 comments top 31
mortehu 3 days ago 14 replies      
Tip for SQL users:

If you give all your ID fields unique names, e.g. by calling your field "reservation_id" instead of "id", even in the reservation table, you can do stuff like:

SELECT * FROM reservation JOIN guest USING (reservation_id);

By doing "USING (reservation_id)" instead of "ON reservation.id = guest.reservation_id", the field will be automatically deduplicated, so you don't have to qualify it elsewhere in the query, and "SELECT *" will return only one copy.

clay_to_n 3 days ago 5 replies      
It's an old-looking website, but I've found this site has some really cool data models:http://www.databaseanswers.org/data_models/index.htm

As someone in the healthcare space, looking at some of these models gives me a better idea of how various aspects of the healthcare industry work, and the things they interact with. Ex) http://www.databaseanswers.org/data_models/patient_data_ware...

klodolph 3 days ago 6 replies      
I just clicked on the second "featured" pattern and found this hot mess:


It has the "let's put a UUID on every row" disease common to designers who have never really learned anything other than object oriented design. Price is a string (I guess so you can put "market price" on the fish?), and there's a currency symbol on every "delivery". The whole thing just makes no sense. 18 stars. Unbelievable.

zenogais 3 days ago 0 replies      
Kinda misleading title. Doesn't really have anything to do with database design. It has to do with sharing Entity-Relationship diagrams. Maybe "Design better relational models".
jordanlev 3 days ago 1 reply      
If anyone is interested, there is a 2-volume set of books called "The Data Model Resource Book". They've been around for a while, so for more traditional businesses, but very thorough and broken out by industry:



koolba 3 days ago 3 replies      
More of an ER modeler than a database designer. The interface is pretty slick/simple. Here's a sample I just cooked up: http://dbpatterns.com/documents/570699101514b428de8893a1

I can't imagine using it for anything real but it was fun to play with.

If the creator is reading this, here's a bug report: If the user hasn't hit "Save" when they export the schema, they get an empty text file and they'll think the app is broken. It should either auto-save or prompt the user "You have unsaved content, do you want to save before exporting?"

UPDATE: One more bug report, the export doesn't escape the columns names at all. It just naively adds double quotes around them. This breaks with double quotes in field names (yeah yeah which is stupid but still..):

 CREATE TABLE "foo" ("id" int,"baz" varchar(255),"bar" varchar(255),""test"" varchar(255) );

iamleppert 2 days ago 1 reply      
Looking around I see lots of people just blindly using UUIDs for everything. At a prior job, I had a boss who forced me to use UUIDs for everything, before we had even collected a single row of data.

It hurts my pragmatism to solve a distributed systems problem before we even had a distributed system! Don't be a sheep and use UUIDs, rather than a simple integer primary key or composite key that is natural to the table. People say it's just an id, who cares? But I say people making these kinds of decisions are probably making other poor choices backed by something they read and don't understand.

Here's a great article on locality and the need for uniqueness and why UUIDs should only be introduced when needed and to solve very specific distributed systems problems. The reality is almost all applications will never need to have multiple concurrent writers.


cmrdporcupine 3 days ago 1 reply      
Y'know I really miss designing relational schemas. As much as I hate SQL the language I love the relational model that it is a (butchered and ugly and compromised) implementation of. But working where I do on the systems I do now this is something I never have to deal with anymore.

There's something very therapeutic about organizing data using a system of rules, and the relational data model is a powerful one.

gholevas 3 days ago 0 replies      
I built an electron app that allows you to design, generate, and share Mongoose Schemas if anyone finds it useful:http://mongomulch.com
moron4hire 2 days ago 0 replies      
These schemas seem like pretty simple, straightforward adaptations of specific problems. This doesn't actually look like any sort of actionable advice on how to design better schemas. Are we supposed to just osmose the knowledge somehow? I was expecting something more along the lines of recommendations like "foreign key relationships should always be indexed, nobody ever came up with a realistic example where they shouldn't! Why the hell isn't this the default behavior?"
igrekel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting idea but it the way it is currently done isn't that great.

Most of the patterns I've seen are obvious simple things but they are missing a lot of content like :- What was the design's intended properties?- Expected volumes, access patterns?- Good places for indices?Maybe the comments could be of some help but really haven't seen much. I've actually found more interesting content in the HN comments than on the site itself.

hghar 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think this must be called "patterns" in computer science patterns are a model applied to give solutions to recurring problems. I was expecting something like Martin Fowler Patterns-Enterprise-Application-Architecture but for databases.

This should be called something like database designs.

nxzero 3 days ago 0 replies      
One of the keys to understanding SQL, and on that note, I would highly recommend SQLZoo's interactive tutorial that allows someone to query a (fake) database and progress using baby steps:http://sqlzoo.net
haddr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cool website, for off the shelf models. For anything more advanced you should be careful, as modeling real world scenarios is rarely so abstract and mamy times you need to make some scenario-specific tradeoffs during the modeling phase to fulfill your requirements.
barryosull 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like theyre trying to create a repo of open source DB schemas for domains.That's putting the cart before the horse in my mind. People dont start with DB schemas when building domains, they end up with DB schemas after modelling them.
adwf 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a database guy this makes me feel good. From looking at a lot of these schemas, my job is not going to disappear anytime soon...

Most egregious example for me is probably the prevalence of a lot of "type" tables when a simple enum column would do. Or maybe the sheer number of UUIDs that are being thrown around.

I even saw a circular ID chain in one. Would be fun setting up foreign key constraints for that!

Scirra_Tom 3 days ago 0 replies      
Had a quick look through, don't understand what audience this is targeted towards.
tacone 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like this site. As simple as it is, it has a lot of potential community-wise.

- it could allow sql exports for various platforms- it could feature an API so people can write their own framework drivers (for example creating migrations, importing existing schemas etc)

Lets hope that it gains users, so that the voting system (the star) can become more useful to filter out the garbage.

Edit: please remove the login wall to see the starred items, it raises the entry barrier quite a bit. Do you really want new visitors to see low rated schemas as the first thing?

n13 2 days ago 0 replies      
Was wondering how difficult is to code a UI like this? i.e. SVG with draggable boxes with the connections/lines?
Mister_Snuggles 3 days ago 0 replies      
When looking at an author, I can see all of their patterns. This one, in particular, has a pattern that was forked 13 times: http://dbpatterns.com/accounts/profile/thaichor/

How do you see the forks?

raziel2p 3 days ago 0 replies      
Most of these seem extremely simple. I would like to see some examples where a good database schema isn't so obvious.
olalonde 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, that's really cool! Would be nice to have a "migration" export format for Rails, Knex.js, etc.
jdc0589 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was bored, so here is a quickly thrown together generic "thing" DB model: http://dbpatterns.com/documents/5706a53c1514b428de88940c
intrasight 3 days ago 0 replies      
An empty schema diagram is to a data modeler what a blank canvas is to an artist or a blank page to a writer - thrilling but somewhat intimidating.
burrox 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like it, I think there's a real use case for it. I spent quite some time looking for examples on how to create an schema for an activity based workflow webapp.
stevesun21 3 days ago 0 replies      
I thought about the similar idea to create domain models to elaborate business rules with UML ORD rather than database ERD.
jmcgough 3 days ago 0 replies      
The search function doesn't seem to be working - I can't get it to return results ever.
geniium 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like a big playground...
vonklaus 3 days ago 0 replies      
wow. doing my first real data model. tough to find resources like this, started literally resterday. can't wait to check this out
gherkin0 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Public Newsfeed

> jnichols created new pattern

> Penis

> 24 seconds ago

Ok... maybe they need to start with some patterns about filtering spam and noise.

whatnotests 3 days ago 0 replies      
Kinda cool but the UX really needs some re-thinking.

Simple things like dialogs getting stacked on top of each other, using `prompt("...")` sometimes and modals other times, foreign key relationship arrows not indicating cardinality, etc --

Looks good but please don't consider it "finished" yet.

Jeff Bezos letter to shareholders sec.gov
444 points by adamsi  3 days ago   273 comments top 19
shuri 3 days ago 7 replies      
You have to love this sentence "We want Prime to be such a good value, youd be irresponsible not to be a member."
sabalaba 3 days ago 5 replies      
I see this letter as an attempt at vindication for the controversy sparked by the NYT article on Amazon's corporate culture. Jeff Bezos was clearly affected and I see this as a defense of their "distinctive culture". "For better or for worse" that culture got them to $100 billion in annual sales faster than any company in history.
preordained 2 days ago 5 replies      
I work at a small software company, and too often our CEO and company will latch onto nuggets from material like this and use it to justify a "swing for the fences", "nothing ventured nothing gained" sort of mindset. All well and good, but they blithely overlook the "we fail all the time" parts, and sometimes we take risks where the potential losses are not easy to absorb, or we don't have the vast resources of a big company to attempt a thing without impacting our mainline investment. Unfortunately, I've seen first hand that interesting, inspiring ideas can turn cargo cult real quick without some reality to temper them; namely, there are only two scenarios where you can easily justify risk (that is, not sweat over it): 1. You have nothing to lose. 2. You have relatively little to lose.
an_account_name 2 days ago 2 replies      
From the 1997 letter that's included at the bottom:

> We established long-term relationships with many important strategic partners, including America Online, Yahoo!, Excite, Netscape, GeoCities, AltaVista, @Home, and Prodigy.

That takes me back.

kopos 3 days ago 0 replies      
His point about Type 1 and Type 2 decisions - so telling. Been there, seen it in action. Every line of the letter was so well thought out.

And he is big on India! Flipkart has a lot to worry about.

holri 2 days ago 3 replies      
Stallmans letter to Amazon customers:


jlubawy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not 100% sure how the Amazon/Zappos relationship is setup but I think it's odd that Zappos isn't mentioned anywhere in this or AFAIK anywhere in there investor documents. Does anyone now how Zappos is performing since being acquired? Especially with all of the controversy with their management styles? To be fair I'm sure Zappos is probably a small part of Amazon's revenue, but as a Las Vegas native I'm interested.
okyup 2 days ago 2 replies      
He knows the importance of image and says all the right things to tug at your heart strings... they're fighting global warming, they're helping single moms, and they're running a startup-like environment unlike the other big evil corporations.
julianpye 2 days ago 0 replies      
AWS and Prime are winners. So is marketplace, he says. Maybe financially for Amazon, but from a customer standpoint I think marketplace is a real failure. It's the reason I tell relatives not to buy on Amazon, because several got burned so many times by accidentally buying from dodgy sellers, thinking it was from Amazon.
tpae 2 days ago 0 replies      
"To invent you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that its going to work, its not an experiment."
peteretep 3 days ago 9 replies      
Help me understand how:

"We learned from our failures and stayed stubborn on the vision"

isn't mutually exclusive

yoyomamayo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think there is a fair bit of misunderstanding about Jeff's letter on this thread. For those who have not read all of his shareholder letters from the past 20 years, I would really recommend you to do so. What Jeff is saying in this years letter is nothing new. He's literally been saying the same things for 20 years now.
DrNuke 2 days ago 0 replies      
Occasional customer here buying only discounted goods from Amazon logistics only and always at the total minimum I need not to pay shippage. Quality is overall worsening year after year but Amazon has always been a bonanza, the day it ends thank you and good riddance, going local again.
danblick 2 days ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one who read "Type I and II decisions" and thought "System I and II decisions" (from Thinking, Fast and Slow?). I like the idea of distinguishing reversible from irreversible decisions, I just wish he'd come up with better names...
ww520 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's very telling that he devoted a large portion of the letter on AWS.
awinter-py 2 days ago 0 replies      
kylehotchkiss 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm trying to do some math. What is the total economic value of the actual Amazon river, and how many Amazon rivers economies did Amazon.com make last year.


kahwooi 3 days ago 3 replies      
Amazon isn't making any money yet. Maybe in future they will make some. I don't like using AWS (I just don't know why), I prefer Microsoft Azure and Digital Ocean.
Senate encryption bill draft mandates 'technical assistance' thehill.com
385 points by chlodwig  2 days ago   208 comments top 41
rietta 2 days ago 5 replies      
This is not just govt access. For a judge to be able to order your computer unlocked, means people at Microsoft, at Lenovo (or whoever you use), and at your ISP all have the keys to unlock your data even if you used an encryption feature. You have to trust every company, everywhere to never have a security incident involving the keys.

I posted my full thoughts after the first reading through this at https://rietta.com/blog/2016/04/08/feinstein-burr-encryption....

Specifically, any U.S company would be required to maintain the ability, through unspecified means, to retrieve the plain-text from any data made unintelligible by a feature, product, or service owned, controlled, created, or provided by the [company]. And the company would then be required to turn over such data in real-time concurrently with its transmission or expeditiously, if stored by the [company] or on a device.

It's chilling.

etjossem 2 days ago 7 replies      
"A covered entity that receives a court order for information or data shall provide such information or data in an intelligible format; or provide such technical assistance as is necessary to obtain such information or data in an intelligible format or achieve the purpose of the court order."

Okay, so I get that the main section of the bill requires companies which provide encryption to decrypt data upon receiving a court order demanding access to it. If the company is capable of decrypting its customers' data, that's a scary thought.

But it's followed by two very conflicting subsections: (b) nothing in this act may be construed to require or prohibit any specific design or operating system to be adopted by any covered entity, but (c) a provider of remote computing services to the public shall ensure such products are capable of complying with a court order to decrypt.

It seems like this could be read as "you must build backdoors", but also as "we're not telling you how to architect your product." These two sections are completely at odds.

By the way, Scribd sucks. Have a downloadable PDF: https://josephhall.org/f0eabaa89b8ee38577bf7d0fd50ddf0d58ecd... it's still just non-OCR'd images though :<)

isomorphic 2 days ago 3 replies      
"We don't have the first notion how cryptography works," said the politician-senators in a joint statement, "but we're hoping the voters will see past the blatant trampling of civil liberties to think we're doing something to be tough on the trrrrists."
sdihehjnss 2 days ago 1 reply      
The funniest part is feinstein is California senator.Know who San Francisco congress rep is?, pelosi another champion of freedom...Voting doesn't work, it's a waste of time, our corrupt illegitimate government will continue to violate every ethic and change every law which increases their power.Anyone who defends such monsters are no better than monsters themselves.Again, the US government kills with impunity, tortures with impunity, commits war crimes like the recent hospital bombi ng, has the highest incarceration rate in the world... The list of goes on and on and yet people plug their ears and bury their heads in the sand. We live in a police state, just accept the truth.


The community can down vote but can't respond to the truth.

kabdib 2 days ago 2 replies      
I just wrote my senators. I encourage you to do the same.

Talk here is fine, but it's more useful to let folks on the hill know what's up.

I think the bill is over-the-top bad; they are obviously going for a compromise of some kind. By appearing to reach a middle ground they can paint the pro-crypto camps as being uncooperative.

Of course, there's no middle ground with math.

jfoutz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe the right answer isn't fighting. Maybe the right answer is just getting a few friends together, creating a town, appoint someone judge, someone else prosecutor and someone else sheriff.

There was a report of someone speeding. Use the awesome government powers to subpoena cell phone connectivity, credit card transactions, or whatever to identify the speeder.

Police have auctions for seized stuff, presumably you could just auction off that data off to recover the costs (and then some)

Then repeat, over and over.

If you're feeling really enthusiastic, start targeting aws's DOD stuff. [1]

[1] https://aws.amazon.com/compliance/dod/

johngalt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Politicians aren't idiots. Neither are they Machiavellian schemers. They are just in a situation where supporting bills like this are all upside and no downside.

If this passes and five years later computer security is swiss cheese, politicians know that most people will blame the computer companies and vendors not the government.

If this fails due to tech company opposition, they will get to avoid any criticism for not preventing the next terrorist attack. Instead they will simply find one encrypted iPhone and blame Apple.

astockwell 2 days ago 3 replies      
Crypto == Math. Full stop.

All thoughts on civil liberties aside, it's sad that these officials don't even realize that what they're asking for is (or will hopefully shortly be) impossible for companies to do.

Then the real fighting will start. I'm sure Congress sees this proposal as a middle-ground between DOJ desires and freedom/privacy, but once it dawns on them that things like "no knowledge" encryption are really what it says on the tin, they will feel backed into a corner, with the only visible choices being something asinine like, criminalize encryption or ... give up?

Maybe that's something for this community to start thinking about, if we want to have a constructive say in this whole mess. Come up with a way to frame the "Give up" option in a better light, so Congress can point to it and tell the DOJ "look we did X for you", while still not outlawing encryption.

Cshelton 2 days ago 0 replies      
No way this passes....it blatantly violates the First, fourth, and fifth Amendment.

How can we stop this...Vote! Vote the people that support this out of office.

....also...If they want to make everything unsecure...hack the congress members bank accounts, private information, Ashley Madison account, every email and text they send, every phone call they make...every password they've used on any site ever. Make them wish they never made such a stupid law. Maybe then they will learn how important encryption is.

koenigdavidmj 2 days ago 1 reply      
If this passed, I would appreciate a determined stance to make the government's technology experience difficult. No more smartphones. Google and Bing refusing traffic to government IP blocks. No more Windows updates past whatever Microsoft has already agreed to by contract.

Obviously there's no financial incentive for any of this.

ultramancool 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ah yes, the good old "let's ban math" bill.

Not the first time: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indiana_Pi_Bill

fooey 2 days ago 1 reply      
Unless they backdoor in backdoors, it seems like this will just force companies to make sure there's no possible way for them to access the data.

If your company ever has any way to view the data, the government will find a way to force you to give it to them.

cgearhart 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is my sincerest hope that this bill goes into the filing cabinet with Dihydrogen Monoxide [0] and legislating the value of pi [1]. I appreciate the challenges that encryption creates for law enforcement, but it has nothing to do with placing people "above" the law; rather it is a simple truth that you cannot create a system that is both designed to be secure and circumvented by authorities (and no one else). It is asinine that we must continue to have this debate.

[0] http://www.nbcnews.com/id/4534017/ns/technology_and_science-...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indiana_Pi_Bill

makecheck 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, demonstrating yet again how insane it is that we hand so much power to people who know so little about the domains they control (and worse, seem to do little to change their lack of understanding). Will bills like this spur people into action to change how the government operates? I suspect at the very least, this will pointlessly cost technology companies millions as they desperately try to counteract the bill.

What would we do if this passed? I suppose I would winnow and chaff the hell out of my data, sending literally 42 gigabytes of garbage bytes for every one-kilobyte file. That way, if somebody wants to decrypt it, they will at least have to sift through tons and tons of garbage to do so.

popctrl 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Were still in the process of soliciting input from stakeholders and hope to have final language ready soon." Who are stakeholders in this context?
alkonaut 2 days ago 0 replies      
The way I read the text (which is quickly and layman-y) I don't see anything that mandates back doors or encourages weak encryption. So to me it looks mostly fine or even just a formalization of the status quo?

It seems to say that if a company can read their customers data in plain text, then that plaintext should also be provided to authorities upon request/warrant.

So the bottom line is: use strong crypto and build products with strong crypto and ensure only the end users hold the keys to the data. Then all the aid you can give authorities is "no can do" - and that's still acceptable? I'm kind of fine with that.

gnoway 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do bills like this one pass? This reads like childish foot-stamping.

Anyway, if there's a product out there which doesn't provide this capability, no amount of bill passage is going to make that product work like some congressperson wants.

Esau 2 days ago 1 reply      
As far as I am concerned, this bill is unconstitutional.
ipsin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Could someone help decode this?

"covered entities must provide responsive, intelligible information or data, or appropriate technical assistance to a goverment pursuant to a court order."

I assume that this includes secret FISA orders, but what's with the language about "a government"? Could this be construed to include non-American governments? (i.e. Five Eyes?) Or is that a term of art?

x0054 1 day ago 0 replies      
If the goal is to stop terrorism and illegal drug trade, this is the epitome of idiocy. End to end encryption isn't trivial to implement, but at the same time there are many open source projects that implement it already. If this become the norm, than professional criminals will simply adopt open source tools and 3rd party programs, as well as products offered by companies outside US to ensure their privacy. So this will weaken the security of all honest people and do basically nothing to achieve any of the goals set forth in this legislature. Of course if the goal is to further control and subjugate the citizens of this country for the benefit of it's corrupt government, then by all means, it's a brilliant piece of legislature.
donatj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Doesn't the 13th amendment to the constitution outlaw slavery?

> Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

If you've done anything illegal, they can't compel you to work?

Seems to make this whole thing sound unconstitutional.

hellbanner 2 days ago 0 replies      
YC staff: Since YC is a huge source of economy and technical innovation.. have you considered talking to the USG about security?
intrasight 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can see from reading the comments that I remain in the minority in thinking that such a law will actually bring benefits in terms of security since it will promote FOSS approaches which, being based upon free speech, will be beyond the reach of this law, and which being open will in any case be more secure.
jrapdx3 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ignorance is everywhere, especially concerning computer security and especially among the representatives and senators in the US Congress.

We must combat ignorance by educating the ignorant, and that includes elected officials. Many here at HN have knowledge and high level of awareness of the importance of privacy and security, and I'm sure there are more than a few genuine experts tuning in. In any case most of us probably have salient information and experience to share, and it certainly needs to be shared.

If you are a US citizen by all means write to your Representative and Senators. Voters' opinions do matter, particularly in an election year.

This afternoon, I sent messages to all 3 members of my congressional delegation exclaiming how bad an idea the Burr-Feinstein bill happens to be. I urge you do do the same.

jakelarkin 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you're in California, here is a form to email Dianne Feinstein your thoughts on this bill.https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-me
tomohawk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Now that the Supremes have ruled that the feds can force you to buy a product (health insurance), it's not such a large step to force people to perform work on their behalf.

One of the major gripes of the American revolution was the forced quartering of soldiers in people's homes.

api 2 days ago 1 reply      
So this hands the entire security software market to overseas companies...?
andrewdb 2 days ago 1 reply      
If this manages to become law, how would this impact open source crypto? Which company would hold the responsibility of compliance? The project sponsors, code repo hosts, or other?
0x07c0 1 day ago 0 replies      
"made unintelligible by a feature, product, or service owned, controlled, created, or provided by the [company]."

So no more Hash functions I guess, better store those passwords in clear text. Also encryption is the key to any form of distributed system where you have misbehaving actors.., you know like the internet..

dbcooper 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's rather disheartening that Californians haven't managed to organise serious resistance to Feinstein.
anthony_james 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know if foreign companies that operate within the United States would be subject to these laws?

If not, then perhaps a lot of big US tech companies will move offshore?


Laaw 2 days ago 3 replies      
I mean... you literally can't legislate crypto, can you?

Could someone explain what this would look like, in a practical sense? Would self-signed keys become illegal, and all PKI would have to have a "government" parent key of some kind?

etjossem 2 days ago 0 replies      
The plaintext version of the draft bill (cleaned up):


anonbanker 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is why none of my business, and none of my personal data (outside browing with PrivacyBadger enabled), goes to companies residing in the United States.

(written on an rk3288-based ARM laptop from China, over a VPN from Iceland)

mortdeus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well it was only a matter of time before we digressed back into a nation with legalized slavery.
tonmoy 2 days ago 0 replies      
So the publisher that publishes text book on crypto have to provide a bank door to the government?
lasermike026 2 days ago 1 reply      
No, absolutely not. I'm tired of this stupid conversation. The answer is always no.
Bluestrike2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reading through the bill, it's apparent that this is actually a pretty poor attempt at circumventing the rise of encryption. I have my suspicions as to why.

The bill mandates technical assistance, yes, but the obvious argument is that no amount of technical assistance can accomplish that which is impossible. If the data can't be accessed, it can't be accessed. Interpreting this as barring companies from implementing those implementing those features would require an unduly expansive reading of the text, to say nothing of issues with Sect. 3(b).

Sect. 3(c) seems to contradict that, but 18 USC 2711 defines a "remote computing service" as "the provision to the public of computer storage or processing services by means of an electronic communications system" [0]. That would seem to include iCloud services, for instance, but not the iPhone itself. For reference, 18 USC Chapter 121 covers the storage of electronic communications and access to transactional records.

It's possible that this is part of a long-game. Breaking the encryption debate down into smaller pieces lets them control the narrative a bit more and defuse some of the strongest arguments against backdoors and weakening encryption. They can point to this bill a few months down the road and see "look, nothing bad happened. The evil hackers those San Francisco techies were complaining about never stole your identity." It would make the opposition appear more reactionary, and give them more time to muddy the water further.

To the average person, the bill seems entirely reasonable. Who could object to companies giving assistance when they have to comply with a court order? In that sense, it's a perfect starting point.

But most likely, this is a trial balloon meant to help them refine their arguments and position before they get around to a concerted push. That seems likely given that the Senate Intelligence Committee doesn't really have jurisdiction over this issue [1][2]. If they can pass it, great for them. If not, they'll come back around for another go in a bit. They've got the time, and for various reasons, they've chosen this hill to fight upon.

If the want to stop these efforts before they eventually manage to stumble into a "success," the tech industry eventually has to gear up for a lobbying and PR war with a degree of cynicism that's unheard of in Silicon Valley. Eventually, simply reacting to the government's efforts isn't going to be enough.

Groups like the RIAA and MPAA, even when they've failed to actually implement their policy proposals, have had remarkable successes in manipulating Congress to go along with their plans. At least until they backfire. Like the NRA with the second amendment, encryption will have to be the primary focus. Everything else has to be secondary. Supporting backdoors and the weakening of encryption has to be transformed into a toxic issue for politicians. Hammer home the potential consequences to every retiree and everyone else who doesn't like the idea of their identity being stolen and their assets being spread amongst the criminal element.

With this debate, there's really no room for optimism or taking the "high road." There's no high road in sight, and success is the only metric that matters here.

0. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2711

1. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/04/burr-feinstein-proposa...

2. http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/about

dschiptsov 1 day ago 0 replies      
Encryption which can be decrypted by third party is not encryption but encoding.
sehugg 2 days ago 0 replies      
The bill begins:

It is the sense of Congress that--

 no person or entity is above the law; economic growth, prosperity, security, stability, and liberty require adherence to the rule of law;

Confused here, I thought that the process between Apple and the FBI was taking place in the courts and not on some kind of aquatic platform in international waters.

ted12 2 days ago 6 replies      
There's a real, reasonable fear at the heart of this legislation.

If encryption becomes widespread and providers/individuals start using it correctly, then it will greatly hinder law enforcement's ability to gather physical evidence for certain types of crimes.

At the end of the day this is just another situation where we have to weigh the positive of greater freedom against the negative of the impunity this freedom may provide to those breaking laws that we all support.

I don't know what the answer is, but acting like anyone who supports this legislation is just after more control is immature.

The Sugar Conspiracy theguardian.com
394 points by oska  3 days ago   347 comments top 38
leonroy 3 days ago 14 replies      
Jack Lalanne (American fitness guru) stated "If man made it, don't eat it". I recall reading that and scratching my head at the sheer number of food products that encompassed. I thought it a rather presumptuous statement.

Five years later and after many books and articles on nutrition I now fully agree with him. When I hit the grocery store I skip the middle aisles and head straight for the fish and meat counter or the fresh fruit and veg section.

My only (dietary) vices are coffee and the odd glass of wine (both very much man made).

I think that the human body has evolved to run on a certain fuel and of course we adapt but it takes time. Grains and milk are relatively recent to our diet (past 10000 years) so you will see some people who can and some who can't digest them. Sugar however and all the other myriad man made products on store shelves are even more recent and apart from as occasional treats should really be avoided.

As an aside one incredibly beneficial thing people can do for their health is exercise. The lymphatic system which helps rid the body of waste substances is 'pumped' by respiration and physical activity. If you want to eat that cupcake or enjoy that cold glass of beer be sure to exercise it off. It really is incredible how effective exercise can be at covering a multitude of dietary sins!

asadkn 3 days ago 3 replies      
It's typical how most people really want to immediately buy into the simple fixes and religiously believe them without knowing why it worked. Overweight? Must be the fructose (recently) / carbs (a while back) / fats (further back). Same old story. Somebody makes rounds in media and makes a lot of money after publishing a book with something "new" - a simple fix.

Fortunately we have people like Lyle McDonald, Alan Aragon, Guyenet out there talking some sanity. Unfortunately, they never make it to mainstream media.

Some Resources:



https://medium.com/@lylemcdonald/highly-processed-carbohydra... (A comment by Lyle on the rhetoric posted by Ludwig)

Synaesthesia 3 days ago 9 replies      
Very interesting how people can all subscribe to an orthodoxy for so long, ignoring evidence to the contrary.

Max Planck: A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

js2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Stephan Guyenet, obesity researcher and neurobiologist, critiques the carbohydrate-insulin-obesity hypothesis put forward by Lustig, Taubes, et al. He and Lustig exchange arguments here:




tomaskazemekas 3 days ago 2 replies      
One diet that reflects these findings and is tested personally is "5:2 fast diet, proposed by M. Mosley. This method really is effective in reducing the ill effects of modern food and lifestyle and is easy to turn into normal weekly behavior pattern. https://thefastdiet.co.uk/
Udik 3 days ago 1 reply      
Here is a more balanced and more scientific article about sugars and health:


fasteo 3 days ago 6 replies      
It is sad to see how we are going from fat phobia to carb phobia, repeating the same mistakes 50 years later.

I have genetic metabolic disease and I have thought about this many times. My conclusion is simple enough: Eat real food, ignore the macros, listen to your body and adapt your food intake accordingly. Paul Jaminet's diet [1] is the closest I have found to fit this idea.

[1] http://perfecthealthdiet.com/

Cshelton 3 days ago 1 reply      
Here is what worked for me to lose fat (weight), but not muscle.

It really is simple.

- Reduce carbs/sugar intake to around ~100 grams/day, this varies slightly per person. Just reducing bread/grain intake alone is a TON. Grains are turned into glucose, same as sugar, it's effectively the same thing. This also means getting rid of all sweats, processed food. They are just bad for you whether you are overweight or not...don't do it. Occasional is fine.

- Drink water. Often times when you are hungry, you're dehydrated. If you drink soda or something else, do the "diet" version at least. Diet Coke, Miller Lite, etc.

- Portions. Most restaurants in the U.S. server portions that are way too big. Eat half your plate, then wait 10 - 15 min while having a conversation with others or whatever, do something else. Take your mind off food. I bet after 15 min, you won't be that hungry anymore. That super tired feeling you get after a big meal...yeah, you should never have that. That means you overate.

- Get your heart rate up for at least 10 min a day. Try to do an hour, but sometimes that's not practical with limited time, etc. Even just doing jumping jacks for 10 min will do the trick...Just do it. It's crazy how many people will go a day...a week..or more without out ever getting their heart rate above 100 bpm... That's terribly bad for you.

Forget all the fads or popular, trending stuff out there... They try to sell you on quick fixes. Weight loss is not a quick fix. Instead of viewing it as trying to lose weight, just look at it like trying to live a healthy life style. Don't obsess checking the scale everyday or counting calories. Take a picture of yourself in underwear once a week in the mirror. Every month, not any smaller intervals, check your 4 pictures from that month and see how far you've come. This should drive you more.

That's it, you'll be healthy in no time.

coldcode 3 days ago 2 replies      
When I was taking nutritional chemistry in the late 70's the idea that serum cholesterol had little to do with consumed cholesterol was something our professor repeated over and over again. The next 40 years I heard the opposite over and over again. Now people are finally accepting this fact.
sjwright 3 days ago 1 reply      
[In response to a now-deleted comment]

It is still a fringe theory in the context of "mainstream" nutritional science. It just happens to also be a theory that aligns surprisingly well with evidence. This paradox is what makes the story increasingly interesting to the community and media.

Whether or not the fundamentals of this line of argument turn out to be ultimately correct, it shines a light on the way practical science can become myopic.

Phlow 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Look at a graph of postwar obesity rates and it becomes clear that something changed after 1980. In the US, the line rises very gradually until, in the early 1980s, it takes off like an aeroplane."

Not that I disagree with the premise of this article, but the graphs I can find show that there is a steep increase in the late 70's, not after the Dietary Guidelines were written in the early 80's.

henrik_w 3 days ago 0 replies      
I thought that "Why We Get Fat" was pretty interesting. It argues that sugar, not fat, is the reason.


dantiberian 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think it's pretty likely that in 10-20 years, the sugar companies of today will be seen in the same light as the tobacco companies of yesterday.
teslabox 3 days ago 3 replies      
The article is pretty good, but neglects to mention that there are more types of fatty acids than the saturated kind. Unsaturated fatty acids become more unstable as the level of unsaturation increases. The so-called "essential" fatty acids, the polyunsaturated oils, are the most unstable of all.

Soybean oil is useful as biodiesel, and not much else.

tim333 3 days ago 0 replies      
>We no longer live in a world in which elites of accredited experts are able to dominate conversations about complex or contested matters.

Yay, go internet. The public opinions of the elites on complex contested matters often seem to degenerate into something like party politics.

chinathrow 3 days ago 1 reply      
"We replaced steak and sausages with pasta and rice, butter with margarine, eggs with muesli. But we still grew fatter"

Check mueslis and the sugar most of them contains. It's _horrible_. I try buying a no sugar muesli once in a while - within regular european supermarkets, it's next to impossible!

SeanDav 3 days ago 1 reply      
Looks like "Nutritional Science" has been an oxymoron for far too many decades, perhaps it should have been replaced by "Closed Minded Egotist".
Mc_Big_G 3 days ago 0 replies      
Only hacker news could bikeshed over the definition of man-made food.
nxzero 3 days ago 1 reply      
"But instead of becoming healthier, [America] grew fatter and sicker."

Complex topic, but this sentence to me was the most interesting from the story; in part, because of how much focus is put on solving problems that do not harm nearly as many Americans being over weight & unhealthy.

It be curious to know if this topic has even come up once in America's election.

simook 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sugar free for almost two years now and I avoid it like the plague. Really glad to see more and more articles like these.

All the naysayers should continue to eat sugar, and let nature do it's "thing".

guard-of-terra 3 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't it, like, obvious that excessive sugar is bad for you?

It tastes good, and you consume a lot of it. Kind of easy to make an inference. Doesn't require any research.

I was taugt from my childhood that excessive sugar leads to obesity and diabetes. Not that I cut down its consumption by a lot :), but at least I was aware, as everybody else around me.

Maybe it's because we're all hypochondriacs here so we assume that anything is bad for you unless proven otherwise.

at-fates-hands 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Nobody could have predicted, it is said, how the food manufacturers would respond to the injunction against fat selling us low-fat yoghurts bulked up with sugar, and cakes infused with liver-corroding transfats."

It's interesting the author notes trans-fats as a by product of the injuction against fat, which couldn't be further from the truth.

Trans-fat has been around since the 1900's and was used widely as a substitute for butter when it was in short supply during WWII. Remember Crisco? Mom's in the 1970's used it for everything, including baking and cooking. It wasn't until the 1990's that the FDA finally put warnings out regarding partially hydrogenated oil.

The fact is, trans fats had been around a LONG time before before the government decided to start saying that it was bad for your health. Hell, it took them another decade before they made the recommendation to stop using trans fats after the 1980 guidelines came out.

joesmo 3 days ago 1 reply      
My take on this article is that nutrition science is not science, no one knows what the fuck they're talking about, and we're basically still in the 1920's with absolutely no real nutritional information or system (usually science in our society) to get there. Having lost someone very dear to me to "cholesterol" and knowing it was a lie at the time, let alone now, this makes me fuming angry. But I live in the US, where the primary driving factor for such misinformation is continuing to profit off of people's misery, so it's hardly surprising that profit has completely kicked science out of one of its most important subjects. Maybe when we stop letting companies profit off of misery and pain, we'll learn something, but I doubt that will ever happen.
heisenbit 3 days ago 0 replies      
Throwing two things in a bucket and information is lost. This makes the topic so complex everyone talks about carbs but almost no one talks about that fructose and glucose are very different in very significant ways:

1) Natural prevalence: Glucose is more common2) Digestion: Glucose is transported by different mechanisms from the gut to the bloodstream. The mechanisms for fructose are in some people significantly weaker3) Regulation in the body: Glucose is regulated by insulin and handled by all cells. Fructose is left to the liver and contributes to blood triglycerides.

If intake, processing, regulation and resting places are different should there not always be two different discussions?

minikites 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Eventually, he tracked down a copy after submitting a request to his university library.

Unrelated to nutrition, but libraries and inter-library lending can track down all sorts of things and your taxes already pay for this service, so take advantage of it.

blubb-fish 3 days ago 2 replies      
30 years ago people had to be proactive and smart enough to gain information. Now people have to be proactive and smart enough to distinguish between sound and unfounded (aka bullshit) information.

From that point of view not that much changed really.

minikites 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Despite requests, he cited no examples of her unprofessional behaviour. The vitriol poured over Teicholz is rarely dispensed to Gary Taubes, though they make fundamentally similar arguments.

I wonder why more women don't want to go into science.

st4ck3r 3 days ago 2 replies      
It will take a solid 5 years minimum for the 'main stream dietitians' to start believing this and promoting it. My mom with all the information I have shared, still refuses to give up milk and thinks I may be reading too much into a 'FAD DIET' to say things like milk can be bad for health. Either she is too entrenched/doesn't care or I am not providing enough evidence or need to provide an alternative way of making her switch.
basicplus2 3 days ago 4 replies      
the healthy diet..

lots of vegetables, fatty meats, rice for carbs, and no addded sugars, and nothing you see in bakeries ( ie no breads etc) and virtually no pasta.

talles 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm still waiting for a prominent figure in the nutrition world to start the debate about intermittent fasting just as Lustig is doing with sugar.

Many nutritionists are prescribing the exact opposite of it: avoid fasting for more than very few hours. Heck, my coworker have a timer that fires every 2 hours to remind him to eat something.

estambolieva16 3 days ago 0 replies      
Some of you have criticized governments here, and this is why small tech startups come to offer help. Lustig or not, the time for us to collect all useful nutrition information, tone it down so everyone can read and understand it, and give it to the population. Then, each individual can make this own nutrition choices - very much like smoking cigarettes and knowing the dangers this habit can pose to the long-term health.

Take the European Sugarwise for instance: https://www.facebook.com/aboutsugarwise/. Powered by a handful of social entrepreneurs, Sugarwise is a mobile application to count nutrient intake and provide diet alternations when nutrient deficiencies are detected. The idea started with raising awareness about added sugar and exposing it in foods, and grew to cover a full range of nutrients and minerals. The bests part of it is that it is one of many great social projects that shape our future.

LCDninja 3 days ago 2 replies      
A friend watched "That Sugar Film" and it had a profound effect - I'm told that it's very difficult to avoid sugar these days in processed food (especially in fat-free products). I was blown away to learn that even low fat milk from the supermarket contains sugar.
csours 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sugar: The Bitter Truth Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM (as I did not see it linked
leshow 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sugar is not to be demonized, there is an overwhelming amount of research pointing to overconsumption as the culprit in ill health affects normally associated with sugar.
tempodox 3 days ago 0 replies      
Had Yudkin posted HN comments, he would have learned quickly that telling the truth is not only profoundly unpopular, but actively being penalized.
zaruvi 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'll just leave this here...http://nutritionfacts.org
steaminghacker 3 days ago 0 replies      
big up the sugar tax! demonise sugar so we can tax it like tobacco...
tkyjonathan 3 days ago 6 replies      
I still dont agree that sugar is the problem. Lustig himself seems to have not figured out what the secret is to health and weightloss as he is obese to morbidly obese.

Saturated fats still do cause heart disease, strokes, alzheimers.. anything where blood is blocked or doesnt reach the organ it needs to.

If anything, processed sugars like HFCS which is extracted from corn by a chemical enzyme process, could be the cause. But the problem to me is when people think chocolate bar, cake, pizza or milk shake.. these are food items with 75% calories from fat. So if you exclude high fat items and greatly reduce heavily processed sugar foods, you will not have the issues we are facing today.

Hungarian government briefly proposes to criminalize encrypted services mappingmediafreedom.org
308 points by randomname2  2 days ago   85 comments top 20
Vivtek 2 days ago 2 replies      
This appears to be a rather sensationalist headline for a move that is admittedly boneheaded on Orbn's part. To ensure the state's ability to surveil, the government had a plan to enforce the inclusion of backdoors.

However, it appears that after some consultation with people that had a clue - of which Hungary actually has a large number - the government has decided that would be a Bad Idea and has tabled the plans.

Source: Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (http://tasz.hu/en/news/hungarian-government-plans-enforce-en...).

This is actually very typical of Fidesz (Orbn Viktor's ruling party). They love making abrupt and sweeping changes to the law, then leaving everybody else to pick up the pieces. Occasionally, cooler heads prevail before the law is actually broken, but normally there's just a mess.

pestaa 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm Hungarian. This bullshit is actively being reverted.

Originally there was a plan to put encryption app users in jail for up to two years.

But not all communication apps would be treated equal: mainstream applications already using encryption, such as Skype or Viber, would be perfectly okay. Only using those applications specifically written to encrypt communication, primarily CryptTalk, would have been punishable.

Edit: Our speculation is that this is the same strategy seen with the internet tax. Spreading FUD and stealing state wealth while everybody runs in circles.

Edit 2: They did ban using CryptTalk and similar products (all communication services with encryption as their main selling point). No information on how they plan to enforce this decision: their only tool is to ask mobile app stores nicely to hide these apps from plain sight.

dtf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ironically, parliament awarded CryptTalk an innovation award last week.


tobbyb 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is a now a growing awareness of the unhealthy level of obsession governments have about citizens communications.

This is in effect the same as the Burr-Feinstein encryption bill, one penalizes users, the other service providers. The bottom line is there is a lot of posturing about privacy but little commitment. All governments without exception are obsessed with your communications and data. It is unsettling and creepy.

I really think some users will have to take 'secure communications' into their own hands depending on the level of need and address metadata exposures. If its remotely life threatening or impacting it would be foolish to depend on any service provider or technology.

You can't win an encryption 'arms race' against state level actors with near endless resources, capabilities and the will. And the law and willingness to arm twist service providers and projects with secret courts, orders, intimidation, harassment.

One can't help feeling current technologies however committed fall way short and are only lulling us into a false sense of privacy and complacency. A solution that does not acknowledge a state actors sheer range of capabilities and clearly articulate how it is addressed is not a solution. Perhaps something that completely randomizes metadata and makes it too expensive to break per user.

lossolo 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is what happens when someone that do not know anything about internet architecture tries to make something illegal. Good luck in enforcing this law.
adambrenecki 2 days ago 0 replies      
So, does this make (for example) visiting a website over HTTPS illegal? Or does it compel Hungarian ISPs to MITM their customers? It seems to imply one in one sentence, then the other in the next.
SixSigma 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you want to get technical, ASCII is a single-alphabet substitution cipher.

Remember, lawyers have tried asserting that copying to RAM is copyright infringement.


negrit 2 days ago 2 replies      
I can't access the article right now. But I'm fairly certain that a couple of stupid deputies who don't understand anything about technology/cryptology want to introduce a law against it and everyone is going ape shit "Hungary want to criminalize the use of encrypted services".

The same thing happens in France from time to time.

venomsnake 2 days ago 3 replies      
I cannot open the page. Can some Hungarian provide context and explanation. A lot could be lost in translation. Or bias.

The title suggest that it will run afoul of a thousand EU regulations.

But it is hard to be alive in Europe and not run afoul of any EU regulation - but that is another topic.

a_imho 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would say encryption is somewhat of a red herring. It is the introduction of similar surveillance policy that is quickly becoming widespread, I don't even think Hungary is an early adopter here. The sources even citing roughly 'granting powers other governments already have' and establishing an agency TIBEK with similar access to data (without warrant IIRC) as common 3 letter agencies. They even use the same terrorism/ISIS/Brussels/France reasoning.I guess in the end everyone can pick their surveillance point on the safety - freedom graph.
jkot 2 days ago 0 replies      
> anyone caught using encrypted software can be punished by 2 years of prison

> The providers would be obliged to ensure access to the content of the encrypted messages

I am not sure if users can be punished. I could only confirm that providers have obligation to provide data under penalty.

European countries are pretty benevolent to end users, for example in some it is legal to download copyright protected music and videos for personal use. And providers already have obligation (by EU law) to provide information and archive it for some time.

haddr 2 days ago 0 replies      
So.. no HTTPS for them?

But the general question is this: would companies rather exit from such country and protect some values, or provide a non-encrypted version of their services to secure their userbase?

IvanK_net 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ok, so people in the government realised, that there exist encryption methods, which can not be "decrypted", and technology makes encryption accessible to everyone.

When will they realise, that there is no way to detect, whether a message is encrypted or not-encrypted, and there may be multiple levels of "tunneling". It is not possible to find out the original form or the source (app) of information.

Monitoring online communication is in not any simpler, than monitoring verbal communication between every 2 people.

markhahn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Stasi called and want their infamy back.
vox_mollis 2 days ago 0 replies      
Meanwhile, the Burr-Feinstein draft dropped today and it's absolutely horrifying.
jdalgetty 2 days ago 1 reply      
Are these governments really spending all day spying on us?
xufi 2 days ago 1 reply      
Urban really seems to be on tyrant mode for the pasty ear. Especially when he restricted the media laws and tried to censor opinions about government
acbabis 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know if the proposed Hungarian law considers a web browser to be an "application intended for encrypted communication"?
gragas 2 days ago 0 replies      
John von Neumman is turning over in his grave!
zackkatz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pig Latin will be outlawed!
Hidden latency in the Linux network stack cloudflare.com
384 points by jgrahamc  3 days ago   60 comments top 14
nkurz 3 days ago 3 replies      
Stray thoughts:

1) Any chance this bug would have manifested as "connection reset" errors when accessing HN? I exchanged email with Dan a couple months ago trying to figure out why about 10% of my requests were failing, but we never figured out the root cause before (after some weeks) the problem went away.

2) As others have pointed out, doubling the number of hash buckets seems like a bandaid. But other than the scolding comment, is there any reason not to go to an appropriately sized hash? If you know in advance that you are going to have 16K addresses (ie, not the use case the original code anticipated), it would seem beneficial to choose a data structure that has a fighting chance of providing good performance.

3) This seems like a wonderful argument for _against_ running your high performance DNS server on the same machine as your other services. Would containerization have helped here, possibly with each OS pinned to a set of cores? Is the cost of splitting it off onto a separate physical machine prohibitive? At the optimization level you are aiming for, "process isolation" seems like a pretty leaky abstraction.

4) Going farther down the path of reducing jitter, have you considered running a tickless (NOHZ_FULL) kernel? Perhaps you are already doing it, but quieting down the cores running your important services can make a significant difference. I've been exploring this direction, and have found it rewarding. Info on one way to measure is here: https://kernel.googlesource.com/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/fre...

charliedevolve 3 days ago 4 replies      
Why did increasing the size of the hash help? Wouldn't the %64 (or whatever the new value was) just send all the port 53 sockets into the same bucket again? It seems you'd need a different hash function that provides more uniformity.
kazinator 3 days ago 0 replies      
In the internet protocol suite, there is something called ARP. That will cause a small latency spike whenever an ARP cache entry expires.

The host wants to send a datagram to some IP address Y somewhere. It knows that the route for that IP goes through some local gateway with IP address X, so it must actually send the datagram to X, for which it needs the MAC. Normally, it knows the MAC of that gateway, because X is associated with the MAC in the ARP cache.

From time to time, the ARP cache entry expires. In that case, before the packet can be sent to the remote host Y, an ARP query must be performed: an ARP "who has X?" broadcast request is generated, to which the gateway will reply. Only then can that host send the packet to Y, through X.

This extra ARP exchange shouldn't take anywhere near 100 milliseconds, of course. But that is beyond the control of the host that is querying.

ecma 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not entirely convinced that increasing the size of LHTABLE solves anything. True, it may remove some collisions in the hash table but note that 63925 % 64 = 53. Given that the two slow ports listed seem to be arbitrary and assigned to customers, they're probably just a symptom of the overload on 53/UDP. I'm not suggesting they chose 64, that's unclear, but whatever they chose probably just shifts problem the elsewhere. Increasing it /would/ inherently reduce the frequency of the events though so you can call that a win.

A nave solution would be to choose a bucket based on the destination port as well as the source port if one is available (e.g. TCP). This might help balance load affecting particular local ports since we can assume the source port for TCP will be random enough. However, it doesn't solve the problem - it'll just hide it. Random spikes in latency for connections to random customers? Sounds undesirable.

A reasonable solution might be to work out a way to map gateway 53/UDP to a diverse set of ports which are bound to rrdns processes on the boxes which currently have 16K IP addresses. For UDP packets, this would be possible by doing on-wire modifications to the transport header and recalculating any checksums. Perhaps that just shifts the burden though.

deegles 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love these mysterious bug deep dives. I should start aggregating them somewhere...
Gratsby 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why not look into changing the hash keys such that they are not bound to listening port or alternatively put a new lookup and hash in place for this specific purpose?

While bind to star works, it feels like you answered an operational concern but left the design consideration on the table.

forgotmypassw 3 days ago 0 replies      
Even though I'm not using CloudFlare myself, I always enjoy reading their blog posts, these guys are amazing hackers.
alberth 3 days ago 2 replies      
What about DragonflyBSD?

I'm curious is if Cloudflare has investigated using DrafonflyBSD, given that it has a lockless network stack.

ishtu 3 days ago 2 replies      
Can anyone suggest a good reading on differences in linux and freebsd network stacks?
Zenst 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how if this was IPv6 if this problem would still entail and if IPv6 has design aspects that would negate this issue?

Would the lookup be different or the design aspect that produces what many would class a edge case instance, one that as companies grow, is only going to become more common.

triplenineteen 3 days ago 2 replies      
It seems like they are using a non-standard netstat switch:

 $ netstat -ep4ln --udp
Is that '4' a typo or something?

lttlrck 3 days ago 0 replies      
It would be helpful to show the improvement for the two changes made individually instead of lumping them together.
js2 3 days ago 1 reply      
What did you increase the size of LHTABLE to? I don't see that mentioned in the post.
known 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can't we fix/configure it in /etc/sysctl.conf
Bash on Ubuntu on Windows microsoft.com
416 points by aymenim  3 days ago   422 comments top 61
siscia 3 days ago 15 replies      
I am a little scared from the distinction we are start to make between "computers" and "developers' computers"

In most computer nowadays you cannot code (tables and smartphones), are computers doomed to be an expensive tool for few "nerd" ? What will be the impact on computer literacy ?

atgreen 3 days ago 10 replies      
As I understand it, Microsoft has copied the Linux kernel system call interfaces and provided their own underlying implementation.

Given that Microsoft supported Oracle's view that the structure, sequence, and organization of the Java programming interfaces were covered by copyright law, then surely they would also agree that the same holds true for the Linux kernel system call interfaces.

I don't like the APIs-are-copyrightable decision, but given that's the current state, why aren't we talking about how this is a violation of the Linux kernel copyright license -- the GPL?

captainmuon 3 days ago 5 replies      
I have to say after the initial excitement, I'm a bit disappointed about how this is implemented. Apparently, there is no or little interaction between the Linux world and the Windows world in this system. I don't see the benefits over running a classical Linux-as-a-process like coLinux, or something like Cygwin or MinGW.

The option to run unmodified executables is nice if you have closed-source linux binaries, but they are rare, and this is directed towards developers and not deployment anyway (where this might be a useful feature).

When I heard "Linux subsystem", I was hoping for a fuller integration. Mapping Linux users to Windows users, Linux processes to Windows processes etc.. I want to do "top" in a cmd.exe window and see windows and linux processes. Or for a more useful example, I want to use bash scripts to automate windows tools, e.g. hairy VC++ builds. And I thought it would be possible to throw a dlopen in a Linux program and load Windows DLLs. Since I don't need to run unmodified Linux binaries, I don't see what this brings to me over cygwin.

I am hoping though that this might be a bit more stable (due to ubuntu packages) and faster than Cygwin, and that it might push improvements of the native Windows "console" window.

sz4kerto 3 days ago 4 replies      
I can confirm that you can run (at least some) GUI apps if you start an X server on Windows (like Xming, etc.), and export DISPLAY.
dboreham 3 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder who came up with the "Bash on Windows" tagline. That was a really smart idea. I think most of us would have run with "Emulated Linux syscall layer from user mode processes on Windows". Promoting bash specifically seems to me like engineering marketing genius -- less technically knowledgeable people are more likely to be familiar with bash, while the more knowledgeable are going to think "wait...what? how do they do that? that would mean...", which works better than simply saying what they have done.
sveme 3 days ago 1 reply      
Smart move by Windows. I guess that developer usage of an OS ultimately results in developer developments for the OS, though I don't have any number for this. It seems to me that a lot of developers, especially at startups, have switched to OS X with its shiny GUI and UNIX compatibility. I'd hazard the guess that this will ultimately result in OS X becoming more of a developer target over time. Initially for developer-related stuff (see Dash as an example that is only available for OS X (and Zeal for Linux)), but later probably for other stuff as well.

What's illustrative for the dominance of *NIXes in development are the number of projects on Github that contain only +NIX installation instructions and no Windows instructions (again, anecdata).

So if Windows wants to remain competitive, they need to retain developers. And as the +nix way of developing seems to be dominant now in quite a number of fields, Microsoft needs to adapt.

Why, you're asking, do I think that the +NIX way of development is dominant today? In a nutshell, Web -> Unix Servers -> POSIX shells -> Languages that work best with POSIX -> OSs that are POSIX-compliant.

Edit: Asterisks don't work as expected here. At least not in a Markdown-compatible way.

shultays 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'd just like to interject for a moment. What youre referring to as Windows, is in fact, GNU/Windows, or as Ive recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Windows.
bigiain 3 days ago 6 replies      
So 2016 is _finally_ the year of Linux on the Desktop?
ghshephard 3 days ago 4 replies      
I'll be interested in hearing from anyone who uses this and finds it offers them more than they are currently getting from cygwin or VMware+Linux VM. I realize it's a very different beast from cygwin - an entire User Mode Linux environment, as opposed to being able to download windows versions of the Linux Environment, but, on a day to day basis, It will be interesting to see what people do differently, and why they would use WSL as opposed to just running a Linux VM on their workstation if cygwin isn't sufficient.
themckman 3 days ago 6 replies      
Can anyone comment to how nice or awful running some sort of Linux VM (maybe under Hyper-V) and using Putty to SSH to it for development on Windows would be? This work is promising, but doesn't appear "quite there", yet. I run OSX now, but don't really ever develop directly on the machine and am mostly SSH'ed to Linux hosts for development.
NamTaf 3 days ago 2 replies      
What a time to be alive! I'm holding out on upgrading to Win10 until I buy a new PC since my 7 -> 10 upgrade ties to hardware, but I hope to have that done by the end of next month. I can't wait to try this out.

edit: Specifically, I want to understand to what extent - if any - will it allow some of the horror problems you have working with certain Python libraries (compiling Numpy on Windows is like pulling teeth) to be a thing of the past. I'd be more than happy to work in WinBash for Python if it means having the easy Linux install processes available for some of the more scientific packages.

BoysenberryPi 3 days ago 2 replies      
Maybe it's because I haven't been following this very closely but I'm confused. Does this mean I can do things like compile Haskell or OCaml from terminal as easily as I do on my Linux install? Can I use apt-get?
bechampion 3 days ago 1 reply      
Man i do think this is a big step for windows , it's 2016 and still complex to pull a du -sh or df on windows.Things we take for granted on *nixes. Much love.
aurelien 3 days ago 1 reply      
GNU / WindowsThat is just GNU running on the Windows kernel.And not the Linux kernel running in windows!
paradite 3 days ago 8 replies      
I honestly don't really see the point in this.

If you like Ubuntu/Linux more, then just install Ubuntu/Linux on the computer without Windows. Why go through the additional layer of Windows?

Perhaps the use case is limited to people who need to run Windows/Mac-only software like AutoCAD or some Adobe software.

eulji 3 days ago 1 reply      
I do not get the hate. This is superb
krisroadruck 3 days ago 1 reply      
Installed it to give it a go. It's impossible to install java on it. This is makes it fairly useless for my purposes. sigh
woodman 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does anybody know if this interface is Linux kernel functions + whatever POSIX is required to run Ubuntu stuff? I haven't seen that addressed, which strikes me as strange because it could have some pretty serious implications. Am I worrying over nothing, or could this make POSIX irrelevant pretty quickly as the new portability standard becomes the Linux ABI. I've cheered on Microsoft's recent moves in open source, but if they wanted to deal a serious blow - rendering POSIX irrelevant would be pretty devastating.
jordigh 3 days ago 1 reply      
Which bash version is it? Is MSFT actually shipping GPLv3 without killing their entire company? Could it be that GPLv3 isn't a death blow to business? Whatever happened to cancer?
mih 3 days ago 0 replies      
What about character sets? Do I still need to 'chcp 65001' from the DOS prompt to type/cat utf-8 encoded text files before running bash?
johnchristopher 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why is it promoted with Ubuntu since it's basically - as put here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11446420 - the implementation of the `Linux kernel system call interfaces' ?
ruffrey 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's not on Ubuntu on Windows, right? It is Ubuntu bash on Windows via a compatibility layer.
elcct 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome! Can't wait to get my hands on it. If this works well, it is like a dream come true. I never wanted to abandon Windows because of a lot of music software that I am using. Now I will have the best of both worlds. Neat.
nailer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just switched the the 'fast' ring and have installed all updates, but can't see the new 'Windows Services for Linux' item in 'Features'. Anyone know how to fix it?
spriggan3 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is great for cross-platform development Linux will benefit from this.
holografix 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've been using Docker for my dev environment (Python, Django, Postgres, etc). I expose a folder with my code to the Docker container so I can keep editing the code on Windows using Sublime. One thing that has been annoying me is the fact that I can't get Python code completion on sublime because Python and the packages are in the container. Does anyone know if it's possible to point Sublime to the Linux subsystem and get code completion? Also, has anyone tried installing Tensorflow yet?
staticelf 3 days ago 2 replies      
They sure seem to deliver. Unfortunately I am not a windows insider. I will probably wait until the anniversary update.

I guess this bash on ubuntu on windows won't be available for Windows 7?

Bedon292 3 days ago 0 replies      
I put this on my machine last night, and quite enjoyed playing around with it. apt-get, python and everything I tried worked. Even vim works great, as long as you don't mind 16 colors. The one thing I could not figure out was getting 256 colors out of Command Prompt.

Has anyone come up with a solution for that yet? I wonder if you can install something like xterm, and get that running outside of Command Prompt...

Keyframe 3 days ago 1 reply      
I am still on Windows 8.1, so if anyone that tries it can confirm if this works well with ConEmu and if Vim works well? Also, what the performance is like compared to running stuff on full stack linux. Also, does one have access to full hardware, like GPUs? That would be a good start. On Windows, my tool of choice was/is Babun... but damn 32-bit cygwin and it tends to get real slow (git especially so).
partiallypro 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have it installed, and I don't know how you are supposed to set up bash profiles with this folder structure, or for instance if I need to move something to my /bin/ folder to set up commands. I'm sure there is a way, but it's not quite like base Ubuntu since it's using the Windows folder structure and permissions.
SXX 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry for off-topic, but have a legal question regarding Windows Insider. Is it legal to install Insider build without activation and keep it running if it stay in fast updates ring?

Currently updates postpone temporary license expiration, but I can't find an answer how licensing work actually. I only run Windows in VM and I don't want to mess my 8.1 system with genuine license.

poizan42 3 days ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately it seems that it won't install if you are running as a domain user: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CfZhLruXEAEp56x.jpg:large

It works if I try as a local user on the same machine. Also Windows Store otherwise works fine for that domain user.

MattBearman 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really want to try this on a VM in OSX, just so it could be "Bash on Ubuntu on Windows on VirtualBox on OSX"
giis 3 days ago 1 reply      
- Does ls -li (show/emulate inode number ? I don't know whether NTFS has inode number or not)

- Find with exec , xargs is supported?

jsmith0295 3 days ago 0 replies      
There's a lot of comments related to the legality of this and whether or not it violates either the GPL or at least the Linux trademark. Even if it wasn't technically legal, I don't think the right parties have anything to gain by suing.
ivthreadp110 3 days ago 0 replies      
Finally a reason to upgrade my office PC to Windows 10 (I run linux on my personal machines)...
StreamBright 3 days ago 1 reply      
I am hoping there is going to be CentOS/RedHat available like this too. It would be pretty awesome.
janus24 3 days ago 1 reply      
Sad that the VM (1) are no update to the #14316 version.

(1) https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/tools/v...

annnnd 3 days ago 1 reply      
So, if I understand correctly, one can now run Docker containers "natively" on Windows?
doczoidberg 3 days ago 1 reply      
I switched to fast Ring on my two PCs yesterday. I don't get the update? Any ideas why?
koolba 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can anyone who's tried this out comment on the terminal?

Does it have all the same issues as gitbash/cygwin/mingw/winpty (garbling, bad resizing, etc) or is there finally a decent local terminal on Windows?

TorKlingberg 3 days ago 1 reply      
How much work is it to try this, starting from a normal Windows 10 install?
simula67 3 days ago 2 replies      
Will this be enabled by default ?

The ability to do 'curl some-site.com | bash' or ssh <hostname> 'curl some-site.com | bash' without having to worry about platform compatibility would be amazing.

Starsgen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can I run chron and schedule jobs?

I have Win 7, so I was thinking of running a VM with Win 10 to try it out (once it is officially released).

It sounds like it runs X/Windows which is fantastic!

cmdrfred 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sometimes I feel like Microsoft is spying on me. I've used Windows since I've used computers, a few months ago I 'upgraded' to 10. Sure it was slower and unstable but I figured I'd give Microsoft some time to fix it and struggled on. Then one day I come home and my lock screen is a ad. Right then I downloaded Debian, made a usb drive and said goodbye to Microsoft on my personal machines forever. I'll never look back. A week or two later they announce this. Sorry Microsoft, after you get a taste of the power, customization and flexibility of Linux you never go back.
heldrida 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why is it called Bash on Ubuntu on Windows ? What benefits does this bring in comparison with running a Ubuntu VM for example ? Sounds interesting although.
jagermo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can anyone say anything about the stability of build #14316?
greenspot 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just went to Amazon looking for a Windows notebook
altano 3 days ago 0 replies      
Everything I try to apt-get is giving me the error "Could not resolve 'archive.ubuntu.com'"
gambiting 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can you do that on Windows 7? I could use this on work but our company hasn't updated to Windows 10 yet.
amgin3 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not seeing this windows feature in the options.. is it not available on Windows 10 Home?
jedisct1 3 days ago 0 replies      
Doesn't work for me :(

The initial "bash" command freezes and doesn't download anything.

edwinyzh 3 days ago 0 replies      
No Windows 7 support, and I guess I will stick with Windows 7 in the near future.
askvictor 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does this make installing Python binary packages (such as numpy) less hellish?
kyriakos 3 days ago 3 replies      
"bash on Ubuntu on Windows" am I the only one who finds the name weird?
solarized 3 days ago 0 replies      
And windows now more vulnerable. #bashViruses.

From: Alien

To: SomeWindowsBashUser

Attachment: naked.jpg




rm -rf /


ngrilly 3 days ago 0 replies      
Do symlinks, mmap and epoll work?
basicplus2 3 days ago 0 replies      
could this be the thin edge of a very large wedge?
simplemath 3 days ago 0 replies      
Look at me, im the Linux now.


groktor 3 days ago 4 replies      
Now we just need someone to make a nice laptop that can compete with the MBP...
9-year-old reporter breaks crime news, posts videos, fires back at critics washingtonpost.com
380 points by yurisagalov  5 days ago   127 comments top 22
avivo 5 days ago 11 replies      
This is not a sign that "news organizations should try harder" (quoting another comment).

It's a sign that good local news is not profitable to produce e.g. a failure of the free market to provide a critical public good. As a corollary, it's a sign that a prerequisite of functional democracy is failing.

One potential solution is directly government funded news, but then the government can control the news, which is a potentially worse scenario!

A more effective alternative might be a universal tax rebate of say $100, which can only be allocated to news organizations. (though of course there are lots fiddly details to make this actually work)

danso 5 days ago 1 reply      
Her name is Hilde? The same as the heroine Hilde Johnson in the greatest movie about journalism (yes, that includes All The President's Men IMHO), His Girl Friday? You couldn't ask for better journalism parents :).

BTW His Girl Friday, directed by Howard Hawks, is not only one of the best movies of its era, it is one of the few great movies that are truly in the public domain. You can watch it on Internet Archive:


aaron695 5 days ago 1 reply      
These articles are all so clichd aimed straight at the masses.

A child seems to be doing something only an adult could do and better even! Stupid adults, kids showed them.

There exists an adult who's mean about it! OMG get out the pitchforks we get to be self righteous, the world is beating on a child.

Why can't we take things as they are. It's very cool she's writing stories. It's an interesting slant for her readers that she's a child. Leave it at that.

bobajeff 5 days ago 5 replies      
When a 9 year old consistently does your job better and more thoroughly than you do purely out of enjoyment maybe it's a sign that you should try harder.
jsonne 5 days ago 1 reply      
That's super neat! It's really unfortunate people are being so negative. Sometimes the anonymous aspect of the internet, while overall a good thing, can lead to people being critical of others for no reason at all.
bootload 5 days ago 0 replies      
Because shes the only one doing community news, shes developed sources who trust her to cover the news. One of her sources contacted her, and she was able to confirm it with law enforcement. She knocked on every door, like shed seen me do with the Daily News. There were no other reporters there.

Old school journalism. Ask questions, check with sources, get independent confirmation, write it up. Woodward and Bernstein had to get confirmation for three different independent sources before the Washington Post would run their major story that took the President down.

davemel37 5 days ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of the Wonder Showzen segments called "Beat Kids" https://youtu.be/IwvrGHsjD7g
ArnoldCarlyle 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure whether being 9 makes her more vulnerable to manipulation by figures who want to make themselves look good in the news, or less. It's certainly different, ie unlikely to have the same sorts of biases as other reporters, which can be quite valuable.
matt_morgan 5 days ago 0 replies      
Well, MY 9-yo can tell you how to beat lots of Pokemon gym leaders and Elite fours.
erikb 4 days ago 1 reply      
Like: little girl already takes something that serious and works hard on it.

Not like: Hard to believe that a 9 year old kid gets these ideas really by herself. I worry a little that her father is pushing her too much. Also investigating murders is maybe not something a child should do.

Not understand: Why is it such a big deal that someone reported something first? Never really got behind why that's a deal. Maybe this way you can understand your "job" more as a "game"? I don't see people switching from newspaper/blog number one to newspaper/blog number two, because number two reported one story faster.

cpeterso 5 days ago 0 replies      
The article available without a paywall on this news site:


benclarke 4 days ago 0 replies      
What a promising young woman, I'm sure her parents are very proud! Sadly, it's not very hard to beat the local paper anymore. Now that we consume most of our news online for free, media companies rely entirely on ad revenue and simply can't afford to provide good local coverage. Ad-supported professional journalism just does not work for local stories that can't attract a huge audience.

Some of you have suggested Government funded news - while I agree that quality local news is a critical public good, I believe that Government intervention in the industry is dangerous. I'm confident that the free market will eventually solve this problem with a creative new business model.

doozler 4 days ago 0 replies      
Such a shame about all of the online trolls targeting a 9 year old girl. I'm so glad she has not let it faze her and stood up to the bullies!
caffinatedmonk 5 days ago 0 replies      
[Here's a link to the original response video which the article failed to include.](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ShfNQOUeAY) Probably to reduce bounce rates or something.
DaniFong 5 days ago 0 replies      
I love this kid
pknerd 5 days ago 1 reply      
At one side I am happy to see this new kind of journalism where people would get news from genuine sources instead of some _madeup_ stories while on other hand I am sad for this kid who got into such things in the age where she should get involved in things that help her to enjoy life.
free2rhyme214 5 days ago 0 replies      
I remember hearing about a startup that tried to crowd fund the news. I don't think it worked but it's a cool idea.
numinit 5 days ago 0 replies      
Probably better than the typical sensationalized crap, that's for sure.
ps4fanboy 5 days ago 0 replies      
I am sure she has better content than Buzz Feed
ilostmykeys 5 days ago 0 replies      
way to go!
sydneysider 5 days ago 1 reply      
RudeLouis 5 days ago 3 replies      
"Her father is an author and former New York Daily News reporter who took Hilde to his newsroom and to stories he covered around New York and hooked her on the rush of chasing news."


WhatsApp Rolls Out End-To-End Encryption to Its Over 1B Users eff.org
322 points by randomname2  2 days ago   224 comments top 26
ianpurton 2 days ago 4 replies      
It's great that WhatsApp can't see my cat pictures anymore. But there are 2 privacy and free speech issues that are not met.

Firstly META DATA. They know who I contact, when I contact them and how frequently. So people could derive information about me based on who I talk to.

Secondly, they can ban me.

Perhaps the EFF need to add more criteria to their secure message score card. https://www.eff.org/secure-messaging-scorecard

But on the whole, a positive move.

lrei 2 days ago 1 reply      
Apps that force you to give them (and everyone else) your phone numbers for .. ummm ... "contact discovery" and yet talk about privacy are a bit of a contradiction.

No plausible reason for why apps like WhatsApp (and Signal) couldn't use e-mail addresses for this. Or at least provide it as an alternative. It's even problematic for people who change phone numbers, have multiple phones, want to use desktop clients, etc

My opinion: if it requires a phone number, it's not really interested in privacy. Move on.

tptacek 2 days ago 9 replies      
EFF should stop with this silly scorecard. I hate the thing because it's inaccurate and incoherent (arguments I've made ad nauseam elsewhere on HN), but on this thread you can see another good reason: it makes EFF the ref, and crowds always try to work the ref.

So whatever "score" WhatsApp gets, it's the wrong score, because: not open source; because: runs on iPhones; because: metadata; because: Facebook is evil, &c.

_wmd 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is quite a cavalier recommendation for proprietary unaudited (for the public at least) spyware that uploads your phone book to a company participating in PRISM.
jfindley 2 days ago 2 replies      
Doesn't appear to mention metadata at all.

While metadata is somewhat tangential to the actual encryption, it's still a vital part of a truly secure messaging platform - who we talk to reveals quite a lot about us.

I'm not sure how solvable this is without sacrificing the usability that makes whatsapp as nice to use as it is, and I certainly don't want to take away from how great it is that they've done this - but it is important not to lose sight of the fact that encrypting the contents of your messages is only one part of the puzzle.

eeturunen 2 days ago 1 reply      
Too bad 8/10 of your contacts have automatic backups to iCloud or Google Drive enabled. Kind of defeats the idea of "end-to-end". More like end-to-end-to-cloud.
qetuo 2 days ago 1 reply      
That's nice. What I really want to know is, can Mark Zuckerberg read my messages? Do WhatsApp servers have access to the private keys needed to decrypt my communications? If the answer to those questions is "yes", then it's great that we are now protected from most cybercriminals, but the NSA is probably monitoring our messages. If the answer to those questions is "no", I may actually decide to start using WhatsApp.
ekianjo 2 days ago 3 replies      
EFF recommending closed source clients, erm they just drop in my esteem.
1024core 2 days ago 0 replies      
But WhatsApp requires a phone number, and requires that the recipient (of your message) have your number in their contacts list (or at least you should have their number in your contacts). Once your number (and your contacts') have been leaked to WhatsApp, enough metadata has been leaked to make communication risky.

Why doesn't WhatsApp allow anonymous communication? I should be able to create ephemeral WhatsApp "IDs", and anyome who knows my "ID" should be able to communicate with me anonymously and securely, no strings attached.

confusedjs 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a bit weird. I don't believe WhatsApp are lying but there's absolutely no proof they're not.

I could release a closed source app with a bunch of padlocks in it and copy/paste their white paper and have exactly the same level of proof of security. Would I get a 7/10 from EFF?

shaggy 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's important to point out that all the Whisper Systems code is open source (https://github.com/whispersystems/). So if you have concerns, go read their code. Some of the best minds in security have, and they've come away with good things to say. There's a desktop version of Signal coming, which I'd personally be inclined to use over WhatsApp, but this is still a fantastic move.
lazyjones 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's an improvement, but proper end-to-end encryption on unsafe devices is about as useful as seat belts on an airplane.
lifeisstillgood 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am still trying to wrap my head around privacy in the modern age, and this triggered something for me - this is the end of the privacy-at-a-distance problem.

There is a large body of law around making distance communication private ("secure in ones papers" I think is the phrase from American law. Not allowing people to steam open your letters etc)

This move, which I am including the inevitable "pgp emails using whatsapp collected public/private keys" seems destined to end the problem - two hundred years of law, one code release.

Really sure an email app will be next now they are building a base of secure keys

Edit: it's now the purview of regulation to require me to keep / handover private conversations as pre-Snowden and that seems a good thing. It forces surveillance to be active and open once again

SeanDav 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am so cynical (or is that realistic?) these days, that I would not trust the encryption on WhatsApp as far as I can throw a large, adult saltwater crocodile.
sleepychu 2 days ago 1 reply      
web.whatsapp.com still works, so clearly it's possible for something outside my phone to gain access to my phone generated keys. That doesn't seem backdoorable to me /s.
tinus_hn 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is quite a big win for privacy. If you use Whisper, Tor or most of the other privacy minded communications mediums, you are in a small minority so you stand out. Because a very large part of the population is using Whatsapp this allows you to communicate privately without standing out.
darkhorn 2 days ago 1 reply      
What happens when I log on to WhatsApp Web? How they send my private key from my phone to my web browser?
antihero 2 days ago 0 replies      
Has the WhatsApp code been audited by trusted third parties? I know it's not quite as good as it being open source, but if we had people we trust audit it, that seems like a good step. Also, disassembly and teardown.

I think something this big needs people to really really scrutinise it.

gcr 2 days ago 3 replies      
How does the WhatsApp encryption model differ from Apple's iMessage encryption model?

- In iMessage, Apple handles key distribution, so if I'm in your contacts, I know the keys for all of your Apple devices. (I'm guessing the private key stays on the device, but I'm not sure).

- iMessage seems to provide no way of verifying someone's key fingerprint.

- On the other hand, whatsApp seems to force you and your contacts to meet at a Starbucks so you can distribute and sign each other's public keys. Interesting.

What other differences are there?

(to make this easier, let's assume that both companies implemented the system the way they claim they did)

mark_l_watson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fantastic news - gets us closer to most Internet traffic being encrypted.

I have seen complaints that meta data is not hidden, that is, there is a record with who you communicate with.

I might have an unpopular opinion here, but I don't think that having the meta data unhidden is in general such a bad thing. I am happy having my communications secure but having who I communicate with potentially public knowledge. Fair compromise.

For whistleblowers, protecting metadata is important, so use something else.

daveloyall 2 days ago 0 replies      
Garden path questions:

What's the easiest way to get a copy of your own WhatsApp private key from your phone?

What's the easiest way to get a copy of your friend's WhatsApp private key from their phone?

What if the phone is rooted, or you can root it?

What if they won't hand you the phone?

What if they are on your specially built wifi?

What if you have a fake cell tower?

What if you have a real cell tower?

What if you have a different makes/models of phone?

for fun: s/phone/debian laptop/g

nxzero 2 days ago 0 replies      
Get the sense that EFF didn't even talk to any of the parties involved before posting their review, and to me, given how much weight they carry in the community, it's unclear why they didn't.
darkhorn 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why some people got "you are end to end encrypted with your friend" while their same friend got "the connection is not end to end encrypted with your friend"?
jsprogrammer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is there a way to build and deploy whatsapp from source?
sickbeard 2 days ago 1 reply      
What? How can you give it 6/7 stars if you don't even know what holes are in the code?
sschueller 2 days ago 1 reply      
I hope I can get my friends to switch to actor IM [1] or some other open source solution that doesn't suck. In the end all these chat systems turn into crap full of ads even if they aren't spying on you.

[1] https://actor.im/

How a Car Engine Works animagraffs.com
370 points by kercker  1 day ago   115 comments top 21
delbel 20 hours ago 4 replies      
I'm changing my career slightly from full stack development to repairing and restoring old tractors and farming. I have a 1952 Case SC, a 1957 Fordson Major, and a 1946 Ford 2N in various conditions. I'm building a shop to work on them. Basically its an excuse to buy a sand blaster and paint room. Buy them for $500 and sell them for $3500 restored, pay for the tools and the next project tractor. Hopefully picking up a 1970 Ford 3600 this week. Old Diesels fascinate me.
WalterBright 1 day ago 4 replies      
I learned how they worked by taking one apart, putting it back together, and got it to run (it was a junkyard car). My auto shop teacher told me he was amazed, because I was a nerd and nerds had no mechanical aptitude.
semi-extrinsic 1 day ago 4 replies      
The animations are nice, but it wouldn't hurt to step up the level of detail: there's no mention of ECU, MAF sensor, lambda sensors, injector pulse duration, throttle body, crankshaft sensor, flywheel, turbocharging, connection to accelerator pedal, etc..

But the most annoying detail is showing a distributor on a fuel injected engine. Come on, this isn't 1986, at least show us a dual coil pack wasted spark system.

andrewdb 1 day ago 2 replies      
The timing chain and the camshaft seems really inefficient; I'm looking forward to when camless designs become more mainstream. Koenigsegg (among others, I assume) has been working on this tech [0][1].

0: http://blog.caranddriver.com/koenigseggs-camshaft-less-engin...

1: https://youtu.be/Bch5B23_pu0

ju-st 19 hours ago 0 replies      
If you like designing engines and cars then look at this game http://store.steampowered.com/app/293760
infocollector 21 hours ago 2 replies      
What software do they use to make these animations? Does anyone know?
Animats 1 day ago 1 reply      
The Cartoon Network version.[1] Not bad, actually.

And, inevitably, the Jam Handy / Chevrolet film on engines.[2] There's a whole series of these, with ones for suspensions, transmissions, differentials, lubrication, and frames.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQj00NTFXew

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKbSloJ5o7o

RKearney 1 day ago 0 replies      
tmptmp 16 hours ago 6 replies      
I have a question: exactly what causes the piston to come back after the intake/power stroke?Let me write what I guess I have understood -

1. The intake stroke piston movement may be considered to be caused by gravity and/or atmospheric pressure

2. The power stroke piston movement may be considered to be caused by gravity and/or atmospheric pressure and/or the expansion due to explosion all taken together

Correct me if I am wrong.

But what baffles me is this: what causes the piston movement during the compression stroke and exhaust stroke?Any expert here to enlighten me on this?

edit: typo

capote 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow! What a straightforwardly cool and enriching post. I've had a vague idea of how engines work (as well as turbochargers) but somehow I've never bothered to get it straight.
ericjang 1 day ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know what software was used to render the animations? His interview with Adobe suggests that he makes 3D models in Blender, but I'm not sure about the renderer.
ankit84 17 hours ago 0 replies      
How a gun works is also an amazing piece of artwork: http://animagraffs.com/how-a-handgun-works-1911-45/
kevindeasis 1 day ago 1 reply      
Most of my guy friends really like cars. They know good amounts about different parts of the cars.

I've never enjoyed reading about them. So, I've never tried learning much about them. It also takes alot of time.

I wish there were more of these type of animated illustration. I've scanned it for a few minutes and I grasped the concept it was trying to show me relatively faster than anything I've ever encountered.

m0rganic 1 day ago 4 replies      
Single piston engine technology looks pretty promising as it has proven to be 30% more efficient than 4 piston combustible engine.


electriclove 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like the animation on this site: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/engine1.htm
carsongross 1 day ago 2 replies      
It may be karma-bait, but it's very nice looking karma-bait.

OTOH, no inline six, which is the platonic ideal of the ICE.

As such, I can't up vote this.

jedanbik 1 day ago 0 replies      
Watercooling on an enthusiast/gaming PC and a car's radiator + waterpump definitely has its similarities.
intrasight 1 day ago 1 reply      
When I click and drag the mouse, it doesn't rotate or zoom the model. Am I using it wrong? ;
gnarbarian 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Suck, squish, bang, blow.
known 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Brilliant post;
maerF0x0 1 day ago 0 replies      
It was only worth a few points each time its submitted. If you're going to post something a few years old, then put the date in the title.
Why Erlang Matters sameroom.io
417 points by _oakland  3 days ago   206 comments top 18
atemerev 3 days ago 11 replies      
AFAIK, Erlang is still (as of 2016) the only distributed actor model implementation with preemptive scheduler.

All other major implementations (including Akka) have cooperative scheduling, i.e. forbidding blocking code in actors. Erlang allows it. This is huge.

And actor supervision is the best way to write reliable systems. I have wrote some code in Akka without much effort and testing (streaming market data aggregation), and it is still running with a few years uptime.

jandrese 3 days ago 8 replies      
I'm a very green Erlang noob, but given what I have seen from it I find articles like this kind of strange. Sure concurrent programming is difficult and we need to think hard about how to make programs run quickly in a multiprocessor environment, but the fundamental architecture of Erlang seems to be in conflict with big data and high speed computing. It seems like a language that can scale much better, but has such enormous constant time penalties that the scaling can't overcome the hurdle until you're talking about thousands of processors.

Every single state change requires a function call, every function call involves a pattern matching algorithm that has to account for all of your program arguments (effectively almost the entire state of your thread!) and isn't even strongly typed. And then there is synchronization and data sharing between threads, which seems a bit handwavy and effectively requires a database running in your program that the threads can poll.

If your problem set is lots and lots of small independent tasks that don't have to finish overly quickly, then Erlang is fantastic. Stuff like switching voice circuits for example. But I'm trying to imagine manipulating a 1TB dataset with thousands of worker threads if you have to make a copy on the stack for every change every worker makes.

I know people do some big data stuff with Erlang, so these have to be solved problems somehow, but I can't help but to suspect that they have to compromise some of the ideals espoused in this article to make it work.

rb808 3 days ago 5 replies      
I'm really tempted to use Erlang/Elixir for a project at work but unsure of its traction. Is it leading edge or trailing edge? I don't even know, but don't want to saddle the firm with a white elephant - even one that is impeccably fault-tolerant.

Is Erlang too esoteric?

amsha 3 days ago 1 reply      
Any programming language can do IPC, but Erlang/Elixir is the only language I've seen that makes it really easy. Erlang IPC is transparent whether you're sending messages between to local processes or remote processes. Most languages have trouble with local IPC (usually because of race conditions in data). Every other language I know of, including Go, needs custom code to handle remote IPC.
waf 3 days ago 5 replies      
I'm really interested in BEAM languages, but the fault-tolerance / supervisor aspect of it doesn't speak to me. Aren't all modern application fault-tolerant, as long as you don't design something really poorly?

For example, I've never had a single HTTP request bring down an entire website -- that's already isolated. Same with message-queue listening processes. For general batch applications, I've always had them short-lived and running periodically, e.g. every minute, so even a complete crash there is isolated between runs.

One powerful aspect is how it strongly encourages you to design loosely-coupled message-passing systems that should be easier to scale out. But I'm not convinced that's enough to warrant a switch.

tombert 3 days ago 0 replies      
You know, even if Erlang didn't have great SMP scaling, or wonderful distributed properties, I think its fault-tolerant, actor-model-ey nature would make it wonderful anyway.

The fact that you program expecting failures, and forced isolation of everything allows for incredibly "sturdy" code. The other features are fantastic, but they're just gravy as far as I'm concerned.

atemerev 3 days ago 2 replies      
The future is already here: http://erlangonxen.org/
bitmadness 3 days ago 3 replies      
Erlang is glacially slow. Even on a 20 core machine, a multithreaded Erlang implementation will usually be trounced by a good singlethreaded C++/Go/Java implementation. All this stuff about multicore scaling is baloney - who cares it is scales and is still slow?
dschiptsov 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is Armstrong's thesis (google it) which explained all the major design decisions much nicer that this arrogant "Erlang matters".

The foundation principles is not only in selecting a functional language and enforce immutability, but explicitly rejecting all sharing (threads in the first place) and providing a theoretical basis of why JVM is an unacceptable target for reliable, soft-realtime systems, (no matter what Scala guys might tell you) - a crashed process would affect none other, no data corruption, no locks, no messed up stack. This is what is behind the "let it crash" meme.

Erlang is not "matters", it is a masterpiece of software engineering to study and learn insights from. Especially, how to make ones own decisions based on right principles and rejecting sectarian dogmas (run everywhere!) of wast majority.

eddd 3 days ago 0 replies      
To me the power of Erlang comes from a combination of powerful VM and OTP. In the era of hype for SOA, OTP

You can run multiple apps on the same VM and they will run concurrently and communicate with each other using protocols that are core of the language.

I agree, erlang seems weird at first, simply because there is not anything like it. It also solved todays problems with software a decade ago.

d33 3 days ago 1 reply      
One word: ejabberd. That's why erlang matters to me :)
zwischenzug 2 days ago 0 replies      
I made an argument that we were reinventing many of the ideas of Erlang in the DCOS model (Docker, Kub, and cloud etc).

Text is here (CTRL-F erlang):


Video here:


ssmoot 3 days ago 4 replies      
This seems like it could've been called "Why Actor Systems Matter".

If you're on the JVM, I'm not sure what Erlang buys you in practice. It's slower and more obscure. It has a much smaller ecosystem. While process-safety is frequently touted, in the real world this is a non-issue among non-issues. It's just not an actual thing. It's not like the JVM goes around Segfaulting all the time.

I'm totally sold on Actor Systems and think it's something more programmers should expose themselves to. I'm just not sure there's much of an argument for Erlang vs the JVM unless you're completely sold on the notion of process isolation for some reason.

simula67 2 days ago 1 reply      
Please let me ask some noob questions.

> Erlang matters today because it demonstrates how these semantics can be elegantly packaged in one language, execution model, and virtual machine.

Why is it so important to demonstrate that these semantics can be packaged into such a homogeneous environment ? Is it even a good idea ? Is this way of doing things superior to having micro-services that talk to each, all managed by a supervisor system ? Wouldn't that allow us to take advantage of the unique upsides of multiple programming languages, virtual machines and execution models ?

tmerrifi 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Cache coherence doesn't scale."

This is a controversial statement, and an opinion that is not shared by many respected computer science researchers: http://research.cs.wisc.edu/multifacet/papers/tr2011-1_coher...

ragnar123 3 days ago 1 reply      
Linked article "power-wall" (http://daimi.au.dk/~zxr/papers/treewalls.pdf) seems to be unavailable.

Does anyone working link to this article?

dboreham 3 days ago 5 replies      
Doesn't the existence of Golang remove most of the reasons to use Erlang these days?
amelius 2 days ago 0 replies      
One missing feature is that you cannot run the same code in the browser and on the server (which is very useful).

Is there a language that compiles to both Erlang and Javascript?

SpaceX just landed a rocket on a drone ship for the first time techcrunch.com
333 points by Perados  1 day ago   139 comments top 11
rootlocus 1 day ago 2 replies      
Seeing this puts my daily job in another perspective. Engineers at SpaceX can launch a rocket, deliver the cargo, and safely land it ON A FREAKING MOVING PLATFORM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING SEA perfectly, and I can't write a stupid UI that doesn't break some unit tests.

I've become so used to writing (and working with) less than perfect (sloppy) software, I'm ashamed to be called an engineer (not that anyone calls me that). I wouldn't be able to write software that lands a rocket anywhere without first crashing ~100 prototypes.

crispyambulance 1 day ago 5 replies      
Here's one thing I don't understand... The rocket lands upon a floating platform in the ocean. Presumably the platform rocks along with the waves. How do they keep the rocket from tipping over after the landing? If it were as huge as an aircraft carrier I can imagine that it might be possible but the platform is relatively small.
savagej 1 day ago 2 replies      
manaskarekar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's some information about the drone ships themselves:


Some pictures of Marmac 303 : http://www.worldmarine.com/projects/barges

esmi 1 day ago 1 reply      
Presumably once it gets "cheap" to launch stuff many projects which were uneconomic become possible. Does this mean low earth orbit gets overcrowded rapidly? Is there an international space traffic control? I wonder if this will be another area where the regulation is as tough a problem as the tech.
username223 1 day ago 9 replies      
Maybe this is a stupid question, but why is it better to land the rocket on a ship instead of having it plop into the ocean and float for a few hours or days until a nearby ship can scoop it up?
ablation 1 day ago 2 replies      
Very Iain M Banks-esque name for that drone ship. Is Musk a fan?
dyarosla 1 day ago 3 replies      
I can't seem to find the answer to this anywhere: Why did the Stage 1 not land on the midpoint on the drone ship (which has seemed to be the goal of all the other landings)? Did SpaceX take a page from Blue Origin and not aim for a perfectly mid-point landing to increase the chance of it surviving?
jakozaur 1 day ago 6 replies      
We will be talking about this milestone (first reusable space rockets) the same way my parents talked about first step on the moon.
wcummings 1 day ago 1 reply      
So... cheaper satellites? Thrilling.
More Than 40% of Student Borrowers Arent Making Payments wsj.com
320 points by prostoalex  4 days ago   422 comments top 57
sh1ps 4 days ago 25 replies      
A big takeaway from this article (for me) is that people are surprised that 17 year old kids don't understand what they're doing when they take out that college loan. Shock and astonishment despite there being little to no preparation for this kind of financial understanding previously in their education. That surprise and shock shocks and surprises me.

Honestly it kind of reminds me of the whole Yelp minimum wage thing. Person knowingly takes a minimum wage job in the most expensive city in the world and is surprised a year later when that wasn't very much money and they're struggling. The simplest cost of living calculations would have said "moving to that city and taking that job is a really bad idea."

This isn't to say that there aren't things that need to change. Education reform is necessary as well as a living wage, but I'd also argue that basic financial literacy is also a requirement for being an adult and should be treated as such.

rdtsc 4 days ago 5 replies      
> The Education Department has assembled a behavioral sciences unit to study the psychology of borrowers and why they dont repay.

Ha! There is a bit of a hypocrisy there -- if big banks / companies piss away money and choose to strategically default then (and some even get bail-outs), it is just business. If people do it for whatever reason, well clearly the are immoral, deficient somehow, their psychology needs to be studied by a special committee.

> Some borrowers arent repaying even when they can.

Yap, makes sense. They see banks get bailouts, why shouldn't they get bailouts. Now maybe they shouldn't have been allowed to borrow to start with. But maybe so shouldn't have banks and insurance companies been allowed to leverage to unsustainable levels.

> The singular goal of our student loan program is to help all students get a degree that sets them up for success

One a separate note, that needs to be reviewed and re-evaluated. There are deeper issues here. Simply handing out billions of dollars for degrees like Masters in Basket Weaving from Phoenix University cannot possibly be seen as solution to anything (except well, handing out tax payer money to Phoenix University...)

igetspam 4 days ago 7 replies      
My wife is one of these borrowers. She has a master's degree in teaching. It cost her over $100k to get and she can't find job that would pay her enough that she'd be required to pay anything back. I've seen her loan repayment docs and her minimum payment due is $0 every month. While I think her decision to get a masters in education was a bad one (before we were married) I laugh at an institution that would loan her money for a field that doesn't pay, ask her to pay at least $0 a month and then complain that the loans are not being paid back. I just paid Navient the outstanding $18 they've been bounding her for and plan on paying them nothing again until my houses are paid off.
tyre 4 days ago 3 replies      
We have set students up to fail.

On the one hand, we tell them that everyone has to go to college and that more education is better. Regardless of whether more education has any financial return. Is that the only metric? Absolutely not, but there is a point at which education is a luxury.[1] My entire high school education was focused on how to get into the "best" college.

On the other hand, in order to get that education, they have to take out significant loans. At 17 or 18, they have little to no understanding oflet alone, ironically, educationabout personal finance.

So financially uninformed take on large amounts of debt with no gauge of whether that is a positive investment. Sound familiar? We did the same thing to uninformed mortgage buyers until they started to default in 2007.

[1]: I say this having majored in Philosophy. It was a luxury that, coincidentally, is immensely valuable. At the time, however, I didn't know that, I was just interested.

guelo 4 days ago 11 replies      
There's a simple solution, the Feds should cutoff loans for schools that don't get their students jobs. The government are the only ones that are able to accurately calculate which schools are completely worthless. In fact they should take it one step further and advertise to the whole world what percentage of students get jobs in their studied field and the average starting salary. That would finally put some market pressure on schools to do their damn job and teach useful skills.
manav 4 days ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to explore what kind of short positions are possible. The majority of student debt is federal, so you would probably be looking at the big private issuers like Nelnet and Sallie Mae/Navient (https://www.navient.com/about/investors/debtasset/).

I don't know if there is much of a CDO/CDS market anymore for student-loan debt because subsidies ended some years ago. Lending standards have probably tightened as a result, but it's possible that there are some student-loan backed securities out there with a high probability of default.

I've thought about shorting Navient/Sallie Mae directly, but their ties to the federal government make me think that they could possibly benefit from a government bail-out or takeover if it came to it.

There's also the possibility of taking a short position on the for-profit education industry. Institutions (or rather Companies) like DeVry and University of Phoenix probably have some of the highest debt and default rates. If they lose federal funding, their future is grim.

nothrabannosir 4 days ago 1 reply      
The Education Department has assembled a behavioral sciences unit to study the psychology of borrowers and why they dont repay.

We obviously have not cracked that nut but we want to keep working on it, said Ted Mitchell, the Education Departments undersecretary. He said many defaulted borrowers dropped out of school and are underemployed.

This is surreal. Could they be any more patronizing?

sooper 4 days ago 1 reply      
In New Zealand the Government has started to arrest defaulters at the border[1]. This may not work as well for US as I am not sure of the percentage who travel outside the country versus NZ.

[1] http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objecti...

kdamken 4 days ago 8 replies      
Not surprising. Lots of kids are holding out hoping that someone will get elected and wave a wand to magically erase the money they borrowed.
thearn4 4 days ago 4 replies      
If graduates had the option to discharge their student loan debt in bankruptcy in exchange for revoking their degree, I wonder how many would end up taking that option.
Shivetya 4 days ago 2 replies      
Sorry, but when there is no testing to determine if they borrowers can even complete the course of study they have chosen why should we expect any other result? If you wanted the best example of why college education should not be free this is it. I am all for community style colleges that could be free or heavily discounted but the idea that people can simply choose ask for their degree be paid for without first demonstrating that it is course with a worthwhile career the country needs, they are capable of completing it, and they are also capable of holding a job, doesn't work for me.

It isn't a right. When you become an adult you make choices, choices that come with responsibility to your self and others. This does not include demanding others support your flight of fancy, let alone one that may never pay out or benefit anyone other than the person taking the money

robbiet480 4 days ago 2 replies      
To everyone complaining about the paywall, try hitting the "web" link at the top of this page (to the left of the story comments link)
hibikir 4 days ago 1 reply      
The student loan system lies in the special place that brings in the worst of private and government sectors.

General loans work pretty well out there: Loan costs are aligned with loan risks, because nobody wants to loan money to those that can't pay. But student loans are guaranteed by the government, so for all intents and purposes, anyone can get a loan, whether they'll be able to pay it or not. At the same time, it never goes away, and it's given to people who probably still live with their parent. They bear a bigger risk than I do with my mortgage, but they might get tens of thousands of dollars in debt without deciding on a major first!

What really makes this pernicious is that, since everyone gets access to the loans, in practice, this means college can be far more expensive than it'd be otherwise: Without all the loans, most colleges would have to be cheaper. Same thing if colleges also bear the risk of non-payment. And it's not as if this money is being spent enriching teachers: It's mostly administration and facilities.

So now we have a system where everything is very expensive, and most students get huge loans that they can't afford, and where ultimately, the taxpayer will end up having to foot the bill: The only winners here are the universities themselves.

Just think of what this is doing to medical schools and law schools: They know that even the poorest student will be able to max out on their loans! So dropouts, and in the case of law school, graduates that went to the wrong school end up in a worse situation than they would have been 30 years ago.

The country must choose: Either stop giving money to private colleges, and just focus on good, cheap, no loans, public universities, or let people pay for their own college with no guaranteed loans: Less people will even go to college, but those that do will afford it, because colleges would have to adapt to lower budgets.

Guaranteed loans to pay for expensive, private universities? This just makes sure that millennials will end up worse off than their parents for the first time since the industrial revolution.

relaytheurgency 4 days ago 0 replies      
I made a comment to this effect as a reply, but I don't understand why the government charges so much interest on these loans (and then only lets you deduct a small portion of it from your taxable income in some cases).

Let's assume you actually do end up bettering your life by taking out student loans and getting a degree. Although it seems almost memetic these days that you'll sink 100k into a school and wind up flipping burgers, in my situation it was actually the opposite. I was a cook for a catering business making very little money such that my federal tax burden was virtually nonexistent. After finishing school I make quite a bit more money, but I'm paying very high student loan payments (not complaining really, I was aware this would be the case) and the interest on my student loans is higher than on my mortgage! These are federal loans as well, not private.

By providing me a loan the government has essentially won! They've turned a tax burden into a source of revenue. My lifetime earning potential is much, much higher than when I did not have a degree and was working as a cook. Why are some of these interests rates as high as 6%? It seems insane!

quantum_nerd 4 days ago 0 replies      
As someone who has been paying upwards of 20% or more of my monthly take home pay to student loans, I am surprised the figure of delinquent payers isn't higher. I count myself one of the lucky ones(CS degree, gainfully employed...) and I have college friends making close to minimum wage, with more students loans than I and struggling to make payments.

Who thought a $25,000/year(and rising) public university education was a good idea ?

gtrubetskoy 4 days ago 1 reply      
"About 1 in 6 borrowers, or 3.6 million, were in default on $56 billion in student debt"

I thought "default" is technically impossible with respect to student loans, your solvency matters not, you're obligated to pay it off even if takes your entire life (and/or life's earnings)?

This problem would get fixed very quickly if students were allowed to actually default on the loan and stop paying it, at which point it becomes a loss to the lender, like it is with any other loan. Then these loans wouldn't be handed out like candy to people who are not mature enough to understand what it takes to pay off $100K and thereby ruining their lives.

codeulike 4 days ago 3 replies      
Thats how its supposed to work, in the UK at least. Student Loans are like a distributed tax that only gets paid by the grads who earn enough to repay.

edit: Also, in the UK, once you do earn enough, payment is automatic via deductions from payslips.

gatsby 4 days ago 2 replies      
Full text if you don't want to deal with google/paywall workarounds:

More than 40% of Americans who borrowed from the governments main student-loan program arent making payments or are behind on more than $200 billion owed, raising worries that millions of them may never repay.

The new figures represent the fallout of a decadelong borrowing boom as record numbers of students enrolled in trade schools, universities and graduate schools.

While most have since left school and entered the labor force, 43% of the roughly 22 million Americans with federal student loans werent making payments as of Jan. 1, according to a quarterly snapshot of the Education Departments $1.2 trillion student-loan portfolio.

About 1 in 6 borrowers, or 3.6 million, were in default on $56 billion in student debt, meaning they had gone at least a year without making a payment. Three million more owing roughly $66 billion were at least a month behind.

Meantime, another three million owing almost $110 billion were in forbearance or deferment, meaning they had received permission to temporarily halt payments due to a financial emergency, such as unemployment.

The figures exclude borrowers still in school and those with government-guaranteed private loans.

The picture has improved slightly from a year earlier, when the nonpayment rate was 46%, but that progress largely reflected a surge in Americans entering a program for distressed borrowers to lower their payments. Enrollment in those plans, which slash monthly bills by tying them to a small percentage of borrowers incomes, jumped 48% over the year to 4.6 million borrowers as of Jan. 1.

The Obama administrationworried about taxpayer costs and the prospect of consumers damaging their credit by defaultinghas stepped up efforts to reach borrowers and offer options to enroll in the income-based repayment plans. In some cases, the government is garnishing wages and tax refunds of borrowers who refuse to pay.

But officials acknowledge that a large pool of borrowers have essentially fallen off the radar. Loan servicerscompanies the government hires to collect debtsay they cant reach such defaulted borrowers despite hundreds of attempts through phone calls, text messages and emails. The Education Department has assembled a behavioral sciences unit to study the psychology of borrowers and why they dont repay.

We obviously have not cracked that nut but we want to keep working on it, said Ted Mitchell, the Education Departments undersecretary. He said many defaulted borrowers dropped out of school and are underemployed.

Carlo Salerno, an economist who studies higher education and has consulted for the private student-lending industry, noted that the government imposes virtually no credit checks on borrowers, requires no cosigners and doesnt screen people for their preparedness for college-level course work.

On what planet does a financing vehicle with those kinds of terms and those kinds of performance metrics make sense, he said.

Some borrowers arent repaying even when they can. Research from Navient Corp., which services loans for the government, shows that borrowers prioritize other billssuch as car loans, mortgages and heating billsover student debt. A borrower who fails to pay down an auto loan might have her car repossessed; with student loans, there is no such threat.

Kristopher Mathews, 38 years old, is in deferment on about $11,900 in federal student loans. During the recession he earned a certificate at a Michigan-based for-profit college that teaches media arts, but he wasnt able to find the well-paying job in radio that he hoped for.

Mr. Mathews now works as a logistical analyst for a U.S. auto company, making $46,000 annually. He says he devotes his income to caring for his familyhe and his fiance have three childrenand then paying off two credit cards and a car loan. With all the other necessities in life I just dont have funds to pay the student debt, Mr. Mathews said.

Once his deferment expires, he isnt sure if he will feel obliged to pay down his loan. They promised me everything, he said of his for-profit college. And I honestly have nothing to show for it except a piece of paper that doesnt really do me any good.

Most borrowers who have defaulted owe relatively littlea median $8,900, according to the Education Department.

Advocacy groups, some members of Congress and the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have faulted loan servicers for not doing enough to reach troubled borrowers to offer repayment options. But the picture is more complicated.

Navient, which also services private loans, says it attempts to reach each borrower on average 230 to 300 timesthrough letters, emails, calls and text messagesin the year leading up to his or her default. Ninety percent of those borrowers, which include federal borrowers as well as those who hold private loans, never respond and more than half never made a single payment before they defaulted, the company says.

The administration maintains that the student-loan program, as a whole, will generate a profit over the long term, but the risk is rising that the revenue wont meet the administrations projections.

Even many borrowers who are current on their loans are paying very little. More than a third of borrowers on an income-based repayment plan had monthly payments of zero because their incomes were so low, according to a Navient survey last year.

The Education Department, through private debt-collection agencies, garnished $176 million in Americans wages in the final three months of last year for student debt, federal data show.

The administrations pursuit of troubled borrowers is drawing criticism from student advocates and their allies in Congress. Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Consumer Law Center sued the Education Department, accusing it of blocking public access to data on the agencys debt-collection efforts. The groups suggested that the companies collecting debt for the department might be discriminating against black and Hispanic borrowers.

Dorie Nolt, a spokeswoman for Education Secretary John B. King Jr., said the agency is reviewing the groups public-information requests.

The singular goal of our student loan program is to help all students get a degree that sets them up for success, and we take the treatment of our borrowersparticularly historically underserved studentsvery seriously, Ms. Nolt said in an email.

Overtonwindow 4 days ago 0 replies      
A serious problem with student debt that is not talked about enough is the inflated cost of classes, schoolbooks, and the pile on of all of these extra classes that university forces you to take and pay for, that are there only to pay graduate students. It's crazy how many pointless labs you are forced to take now, classes that have never had labs before. I think we need to dramatically reduce the number of classes that students are required to take to get a degree.
bbarn 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is a problem that only this generation, and maybe part of the one after it will need to face. The answer is simple, and we're on the cusp of getting there.

Like any other industry, education needs to be unbundled. The idea that you need to live in a dorm, in a psuedo-society, for four years, taking a broad set of courses is dated and helps nobody but those offering that experience. I predict in a generation we'll have the people making hiring decisions more and more jaded about the value of these educations and less likely to keep perpetuating the myth that you need a degree from a school to do a job. Instead, we'll see more and more certification programs, or micro-degrees, specializing in subjects that matter to the student.

I believe it to already be happening - I don't look at education except as an afterthought when reviewing resumes. I don't have a degree, and I'm doing well in my field. The types of jobs where I've ever been discriminated for not having a degree I don't think I would have enjoyed anyway. Working at a 5000 person company that cares more about your score on an HR system than what you could really offer them? No thanks.

Abundnce10 4 days ago 1 reply      
Can somebody compare this (let's call it a Student Loan Bubble) to the Subprime Mortgage Bubble? I'm trying to get a sense of how big the problem is by comparing it to the last bubble we just experienced.
ausjke 4 days ago 1 reply      
We have 47 million on food stamps, that's about 15% of the whole population. 47% does not pay a penny for tax, now even for those who are luck to have college educations that 40% of the borrowers are not paying back, I'm just wondering, where will the money come from to fill up the holes?

Adding on the military expense etc, the country is so totally financially broken. How sad.

mathattack 4 days ago 0 replies      
My impression as someone who went to a large public state school for undergrad, and an expensive private for grad...

Most undergrads (more than 50% less than 80%) spend 4 years doing enough to get by, and do a lot of socializing. This is cheap at in state publics, expensive otherwise. The people who get in-demand majors are fine no matter what. Those with other majors who really apply themselves need grad school and more debt to break out.

An English major at Yale or an in state school is fine. The Yale student will manage no matter what. The in state person got off cheap. Everyone else he an expensive lesson in literature.

Despite that, life in most fields is much tougher without he degree.

The guidance counselors are partially wrong in suggesting loans for overpriced schools. They are also wrong for suggesting soft majors at mediocre schools.

jamesblonde 4 days ago 0 replies      
For a really interesting take on student debt, read commentary by the financial historian, Russell Napier, such as this: http://moneyweek.com/russell-napier-give-everybody-in-china-...He believes that deflation is coming (along with a recession) and the solution to deflation will not be monetary stimulus (negative interest rates or bond-buying), but rather political. First on his expected list of measures is a write-off of student debt in the US, to help reflate the economy :)
Overtonwindow 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if there is any school that shows students how much money they are expected to earn after graduation for their selected major, compared to the amount of debt they will have. I work with several people who have large amounts of student debt, but when I ask about their studies at college, the average income for their degrees pale in comparison to any salary they might ever earn that will help them conquer that debt. I think students should be made aware of a cost benefit analysis for their chosen majors.
surds 4 days ago 1 reply      
That is a sad state of affairs, though I must say I have seen worse numbers back in India. Last time I talked with them, I was told that I was one of the 3 active accounts out of 20 granted ones that was repaying the loan.

That's 17 out of 20 in default - a massive 85%. Some of them were actually not in a situation where they could pay back the loan. Others didn't want to. This was the situation at that single bank branch. Don't want to imagine how large the total default amount must be.

khnd 4 days ago 1 reply      
it's these 'for profit college' they have to go. i suspect most are total trash. also - with all these coding bootcamps popping up nowdays, im not sure if people are able to get govt student loans for these or what but it sounds like trouble. ppl are desperate to jump on the coding gold rush and the great salaries and job market. ppl are going to get fucked over big time.

first time i saw this[0] all kinds of warning bells went off. im sure there is a way forward so that people can learn and share the value created from software development job market but i think we should move fwd carefully. ppl will definitely get fd over.

but yea most of those 'for-profit' colleges are totally shady.

do they have everest college in the US? perfect example of this kind of bs. in canada they got shut down, but not before screwing over tons of people out of their money for years[1].

[0]: http://www.inc.com/maria-aspan/max-levchin-affirm-better-stu...

[1]: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/everest-college-closure-no-s...

dv_dt 4 days ago 1 reply      
I this comes out of the flawed meme of private enterprise efficient/gov't inefficient. Thought it's true in some areas, in the area of funding education in society, it's terrible.

The loans push money to unsophisticated buyers (kids and their parents), who use it to make a huge amorphous transaction which is only performed once in their lives and plays out over years. There's insufficient buyer information to provide price discrimination for the asset being purchased - so it's just inflating college prices.

On the other hand, if we took the same amount of money and goverments directly funded public schools - there's a lot of attention over time and many transactions that can be administered by a gov't department to provide funding discrimination and control over the quality of what is provided. (BTW this is how many low cost public schools were funded in the boomer generation... at least in California)

Edit: BTW, Does any reader here know of any interesting economic theory on how to predict if a market will act efficiently? I'm imagining there must be some way to model the structure of a given market with information, quality and quantity of transactions between nodes representing persons/companies/institutions in a market.

kin 4 days ago 2 replies      
I also noticed while doing taxes that if I borrow money, I'm going to pay interest on that money I borrow. One of the incentives to this self investment is that I can deduct the interest that I pay.

However, apparently, if your salary is above a certain threshold, you don't qualify for education deductions and credits.

It's a first world problem, I know, but I just found out and it kind of sucked.

partycoder 4 days ago 2 replies      
Around the world many institutions use factoring.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factoring_(finance)

This converts receivables into cash by selling them a third party at a discount. This doesn't prevent the educational institutions from getting their cash.

Not sure how it works in the US.

roymurdock 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here is an interesting comment on reddit in response to someone asking how they could profit from a mass student loan default scenario:

You bring up a really interesting point, my buddies and I have been mulling this over.

Three important distinctions between student loans and mortgages:

Mortgages are backed by an underlying asset (the house) for which there is a liquid market and transparent price discovery, so it's easy to determine when the borrower's position is insolvent (i.e.; loan balance > home value; negative equity)

For many student loans, the Federal government assumes the risk of default; also, Sallie Mae dominates the secondary market, and shorting them entails political risk (you're betting against a bailout)

While painful, defaulting on a mortgage is a realistic option for borrowers: declare bankruptcy, give up the house keys to the bank, have shitty credit for 7 years, and you're out from under it; by contrast, student loans survive bankruptcy (and the principal keeps growing)

Student loans are far more insidious precisely because it is difficult for the market to take a natural short position and put downward pressure on prices. What would a bubble 'pop' look like? For housing, the slow-down/decline in home prices simultaneously bankrupted hundreds of thousands of over-leveraged owners.

It's hard to imagine a scenario where a significant portion of student loan borrowers simultaneously stop paying, and even if they did the loan owner can chase them through bankruptcy and garnish their wages. That looks like a recipe for a long, slow, toxic drag on the economy.


reuven 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have several reactions to this report.

First of all, I think it demonstrates that American university tuition is way too high. So much of that money goes toward things like sports teams, climbing walls, emotional support dogs, and other things that just don't have to be a part of the college experience. American universities have an unbelievable amount of staff that isn't about education or research.

The thing is, there's little incentive for universities to cut back, because no matter what they charge, they have willing customers. And those customers aren't paying the bills -- not at the time of purchase, and perhaps never at all (as this article states).

Secondly, the notion of work -- not work-study programs, but real work -- should probably become more prominent among US students. In Israel, where I now live, most students work at part-time jobs, and juggle both work and school. It's not ideal, especially since many of them also have families, but it does help to keep debts relatively low.

Thirdly, I think that it's too easy to take out loans. I took out loans for my undergraduate degree, and was fortunate to pay them back within a few years of graduating. I then took out loans for my PhD, and while I've been managing to pay them back faster than expected, no one ever asked me at the time, "Are you sure you'll be able to pay these back?" A bit of discussion at the time of taking out loans, and looking at options, or even giving financial counseling, might have helped me or others to take out less.

Finally, the notion that you cannot ever get rid of your government-sponsored tuition loans is crazy. I'm not saying that people should declare bankruptcy at the drop of a hat, or that there shouldn't be consequences. But people have issues, and excluding student loans from bankruptcy -- which is intended to give people a new start -- seems extremely unfair to the people who need this tool most of all.

No wonder people are just not paying their loans back; if declaring bankruptcy isn't an option, and they can't pay, then they'll just not pay.

aosmith 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a bad situation that's going to get worth. Student aid is great and all but I see a lot of people with useless degrees. If someone can expect to make $35k/year after graduation they shouldn't be able to borrow $200k to get there, it just doesn't make sense.
ameyamk 4 days ago 5 replies      
I wonder if there is investment vehicle I can short to make some profit if these loans do actually go bad?
transfire 4 days ago 0 replies      
FYI Student loans are federally guaranteed. The original lender does not loose money. If default occurs, the tax-payer pays them off. The debt is then sold by the government to credit collectors at a discount, who can seek the entire principle, plus interest, plus steep fees. So the typical defaulted student loan, if ever paid back, procures two to three times the original cost of school. Consequently, the student has no credit, so it is basically impossible for them to fully function in our highly debt-oriented society. This includes not being able to go back to school to finish their education if it not yet complete.

Meanwhile $200 billion is the cost of two-months in Iraq.

taurath 3 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone in my generation is split, those who went to college and now are paying off ridiculous debt, those who have rich parents, and those who are trying to make it on their own. College does give you a step up, but its really screwed a lot of people. Those of us who just want to learn but don't want to be saddled with debt have to make due outside of our 'institutions' of learning, which is too expensive to consider when you already have an OK job.
josephjrobison 4 days ago 3 replies      
Wondering if it would help at all if the parents saved up enough for each kid to fully fund their private college, and then when the kid hits high school tell them - when you graduate, you'll get $50k/yr towards your college. If you go to a private school it will cover it, but not leave much. If you go to a good public school, the extra $20k/yr is yours. If you get a full ride scholarship, the $50k/yr is all yours. Would that work? I'm assuming for some it would.
orange_county 4 days ago 1 reply      
Unable to read due to a pay wall. Anyways, I wonder if there is a breakdown somewhere of the amount of debt and by schools. It be interesting to look at.
jbkkd 4 days ago 2 replies      
We're headed toward a financial crisis. Borrowers not being able to pay loans.. Awfully sounds like the mortgage crisis.
NTDF9 4 days ago 0 replies      
The predatory education system basically did the following:- Find the most gullible segment of human population

- Lend them money with false advertising and without making sure they understand what a loan means

And now they want them to repay? Humans are not rational actors, certainly most aren't. No 18 year old knows the repercussions of a six-figure debt.

michaelbuddy 4 days ago 0 replies      
Some universities have, and this surprised me, a ratio of student to employee 1:1 On top of that you have the upkeep, all the program costs facilities costs are insane. This is not sustainable. It simply cannot work when many people haven't seen a legitimate increase in their wages for years.
Zigurd 4 days ago 0 replies      
It will be interesting to see if this creates economic migrants. When I was traveling to China regularly, I met a few Americans fleeing debt. They didn't have much to lose if it turned out to be a bad idea. The plan was typically to teach English in a 2nd tier city where visa enforcement might be lax.
jeffdavis 3 days ago 0 replies      
1. College is useful for education.2. College is useful for meeting people.3. Most of the time and money spent attending college is used to meet people, and very little on education.

Let's just admit those three facts, and then we can start to have sane policy discussions.

brbsix 4 days ago 0 replies      
And people still say there's no higher education loan bubble.

I suppose it's the same logic that argues the U.S. Federal government can never become insolvent (as it's the world's reserve currency and can simply print money to pay off it's debts).

vs2370 3 days ago 0 replies      
Read this, been through this and thought about this .. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11444810 What do you guys think ?
selimthegrim 4 days ago 0 replies      
Cue this recent hit from Baton Rouge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqbXQa05Z6c
chrischen 4 days ago 0 replies      
Taking out massive loans to study, so that you can work, so that you can repay the massive loans over 20-30 years. Sounds like indentured servitude.
20years 4 days ago 1 reply      
Lots are talking about the tech bubble but I feel this is a much bigger bubble.
alanh 4 days ago 0 replies      
I posted this deeper in the comments, but since its so directly relevant to the topic at hand:


This Salon article says:

Tuition is up 1,200 percent in 30 years. Here's why you're unemployed, crushed by debt -- and no one is helping:

Reading back over journalistic accounts of the tuition spiral from the 80s and 90s, you get the impression that all concerned felt it was a wee bit uncouth to dig too deeply into a universitys pricing practices or suspect the sachems of higher learning who presided over them of anything inappropriate. These were the journalistss beloved alma maters, after all: surely they had our best interests at heart.

And so, beginning in the 80s, university administrators, their words dutifully transcribed by journalists, blamed utility bills for soaring tuition. They blamed libraries, which made a certain amount of sense until libraries went dramatically out of fashion in the Internet ageand yet still tuition prices went up.

They blamed professors, of course, since professors are the most visible part of a university and because its easy to hate professors until the outside world figured out that universities were actually using graduate students and adjuncts to teach their courses and yet still tuition prices were mounting at an insane clip.

Administrators also blamed tuition inflation on onerous government regulations On society on declining student population

Unlike tenured faculty, university administrations actually have grown by 369 percent since the mid-1970s. But blaming administrators proved difficult for journalists, perhaps because administrators were the very people journalists had been going to for explanations in their tuition-outrage stories. Could their sources actually be the culprits? No way. And so, less than a year after the Inquirers series appeared, USA Today ran its own big tuition-shock tale in which the blame was pinned on all the familiar blame-objects: Professors, student demands, technology, gummint regulation. A 1997 cover story in Time magazineHow Colleges Are Gouging U, the illustration shoutedbarely mentioned administrators at all.

What were journalists to do after ringing the alarm bells for so many years without effect? Well, there was one easy answer to this frustrating situation: To discover that there wasnt really any problem in the first place. That the tuition spiral was entirely reasonable, even if no one could actually explain it. How so? Well, if you examine what has come to be called the 'college wage premium'the difference between what is earned by college grads and high school gradsit becomes clear that someone who finishes four years at a university will eventually earn far more than they spent to go there, even at the crazy tuition prices of recent decades. Today this is a universal way of considering the situation, always leading us to conclude that going to college is 'worth it'; that it is a 'bargain'; that it 'pays off.' But it only seemed to enter journalists consciousness in the 1990s, as on the occasion when Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board, explained matters thusly to the Los Angeles Times in 1999:

He said there has been too much focus on the cost of college and too little on the lifetime returns for four years of investment. Because a college graduate today earns about twice as much as a worker with only a high school diploma, he said, a college education is worth about $1 million over a lifetime.

The mind reels when confronted with this kind of smugness. One wonders: Is there some identifiable aspect of a college education that yields that million dollar prizeexposure to advanced literary theory, for example? Is there a way to isolate that particular 24-carat nugget and leave the dross behindall the plush dorm carpeting and the many layers of assistant deans? My guess, though, is that Capertons statement meant exactly the opposite of thisthat there was no need to inquire any further about the tuition outrage. What it implied, by extension, was that since we now know the final value of a college degree (one million dollars!), the colleges can simply keep raising tuition prices and student indebtedness until they have extracted that amount from their graduatesand only after they have hit that figure will we have cause to complain.

devanti 4 days ago 0 replies      
I suspect the same will happen to all the p2p lending startups soon
skywhopper 4 days ago 0 replies      
This headline is misleading. 40% of borrowers "aren't making payments or are behind". Those are two entirely different categories.
thegasman 4 days ago 0 replies      
so how do I make money from this?
tempodox 3 days ago 0 replies      
Debt is the new currency.
jlgaddis 3 days ago 0 replies      
At least part of the problem, in my opinion, is that youth receive basically zero "financial education" in high school.

My girlfriend is 21 years old and just a couple of years out of high school. I can only recall being taught the basics myself: how to make a budget, balance a checkbook, etc. She apparently did not even receive that.

I'm much older than her (37) and, while I'm certainly not "rich" by any means, I'm financially stable and everything I own is completely paid for (ironically, my only remaining debt is my student loans).

She has only recently became interested in the basics of financial matters, such as her credit report and credit score, how loans and credit cards work, etc. Initially, I was amazed at her lack of knowledge in this area. It's not that she's dumb or stupid, she was just never taught anything about finances. She is, fortunately, relatively mature for her age and manages her money well. She has worked since she was first able to and has maintained steady employment and, for some reason, lately acquired an interest in her credit score and increasing it (although it's actually pretty decent for her age).

So we've recently started working on her credit history which, of course, was completely non-existent until she took out a small loan from her credit union for a cheap, used vehicle (with her father as a co-signer) about a year ago. She shops at Victoria's Secret often, so we got her a store credit card from there with a small ($500) credit limit to help her started. I've explained how credit utilization, payment history, etc. factors into her score, so she'll put her purchases (always < $100 for a statement period) on her card and then pay it off in full every month and I've been looking around recently for a good "starter" credit card for her to get. I've considered adding her as an authorized user to one of my high-limit Amex cards (to give her utilization, payment history, and average age of accounts a little boost) but I've read recently that nowadays those accounts don't get reported to an AU's credit report (although AmEx does ask for SSN and DOB when adding an AU so maybe they still do).

She completed a vocational program in high school and is already a licensed cosmetologist; we've talked a bit about whether she'll go to college or not (she's already somewhat "behind", in that she didn't go straight to college after high school) but not how it will be funded if she does. If or when that time comes, I'm glad that I'll be around to help her come up with a plan that won't require her to spend the next 20 years paying for it. I can easily see how a typical 18-year-old about to go off to college just blindly signs up for student loans without any true understanding of just what they're committing to financially and without any idea of how long after they complete their education that it will continue to them.

TL;DR: I got kinda sidetracked there for a minute but my point was that today's high school students receive nearly zero financial education or guidance before heading off to college. I am not surprised at all by the facts and figures detailed in this article.

pilom 4 days ago 2 replies      
Does google get you around the paywall?
pink_dinner 4 days ago 3 replies      
We really need to educate students potentially starting college that they shouldn't major in something that pretty much has no chance of ever paying it back. This applies to most liberal arts programs.

A college education is a major investment. It's sad that culturally, our financial education is this poor.

I majored in a science and had all of my debts paid off within 5 years. I have friends that majored in things like history and still haven't paid their debts off after 10 years.

The popular thing to to is blame society, the university, or even high school teachers for recommending someone go to college. But, students need to take personal responsibility for taking out a loan and being unable to pay it back.

When this happens, we will have less students making foolish decisions.

How a Cashless Society Could Embolden Big Brother theatlantic.com
280 points by kafkaesq  1 day ago   129 comments top 21
stegosaurus 1 day ago 6 replies      
'Could'? Why do media outlets persist in tiptoeing around these issues? A tiny, tiny minority of cashless systems are private and censorship-resistant.

Almost all of the solutions that are actually currently on the table already do help mass surveillance, already does give more control to the government.

If we can get the general public to use open hardware without backdoors and a cryptocurrency or similar, we might be able to come close to the privacy of cash. But is that a realistic goal? Anyone knows how to use cash in a reasonably private way. Barely anyone knows how to use digital technology in a reasonably private way. It may not even be possible (are our systems backdoored? is x86 secure?)

Taxation is always the problem hailed here. I think that fundamentally people should have the power to withhold information from the government. That action may result in negative consequences, but it should be possible nonetheless.

There is a huge distinction between choosing to disobey the law and potentially being punished for it (civil disobedience), and having literally no choice because all other avenues have become impossible.

That is what people are fighting for, that is what freedom is all about. Perfect enforcement is not desirable.

Imagine a world in which homosexuality is impossible. Not illegal, but impossible. That's what perfect enforcement would have looked like in the 50s.

skywhopper 1 day ago 3 replies      
Perhaps my upbringing is coming through, but I was surprised to see no mention of the fact that Christian apocalypse predictors have been raving about the implications of a "cashless society" and the control that would give government over our lives for decades. http://endtimestruth.com/mark-of-the-beast/cashless-society/
riprowan 1 day ago 3 replies      
How is money = free speech only when the recipient is a politician?

For the record, money is just an idea shared between people, and the communication of said idea. For strong demonstrations of this, consider hawala or consensus-based cryptocurrencies.

Humans have been assigning value to tokens and trading on the tokens since the dawn of civilization. Outlawing this activity is dangerous to free society. It will also make the beggar class and the poor generally even more beholden to the state.

cm2187 1 day ago 1 reply      
For those of you who have parents/grand-parents who lived in Europe during WW2, you should ask them what they think about the value of have some money somewhere the government doesn't know anything about (whether it is cash or in a foreign country). This is not a theoretical argument. Germany was a democracy before the war. France too. Italy too.
MikeNomad 1 day ago 0 replies      
GOV absolutely knew what the consequences / ripples of Choke Point would be.

They knew that it would generate support amongst the Vice Hating Crowd, allowing GOV to address the two things they need most:

/ An easier way to issue debt with less scrutiny (Federal Reserve Notes are quite specific debt instruments that we circulate, while GOV's debt load is approaching untenable).

/ A more comprehensive way to track gun sales.

Many people do not trust various levels / types of government, and see gun ownership as a necessary... hedge. Thankfully, the US has the option of The Four Boxes of Governance: Soap, Jury, Ballot, Ammo.

Ultimately, laws and freedoms are maintained at the point of a gun. And it is the Ammo Box, in the hands of The People, that allows the other three boxes to be used.

rtpg 1 day ago 0 replies      
I agree with the sentiment of the title, but does the article really support it?

Operation Choke Point (which, in the end, was just the gov't saying "hey, these industries are dangerous") helped stopped Alexander's donations. But it's not like it's easy to collect online payments in a cash-only society, right? This is like saying "how the internet can embolden wiretapping". The gov't action only increased through the technicality of increased technology.

The fact that Visa and MC responded to Sheriff Dart's letter is disturbing, to say the least, though. Though saying the circuit decision is a first amendment decision might be a stretch: It reads to me more like a mix of that and one about abuse of public office.

So.... this article brings up issues that I think are extremely important though. Visa and MC as payment processors basically reserve the right to not service people. Is there a legitimate case for forcing them not to discriminate? Do we need net neutrality for payments?

Someone will say "Bitcoin solves this!" but it doesn't, at least not until the US government accepts tax payments in USD.

The biggest issue with "payment processor purity" would be the question of how does that work with money laundering laws? There might not be a conflict: if payment processors know who you are, that might be enough.

But seriously, Choke Point would have failed any first ammendment challenge if banks wanted to challenge it. But they didn't, because banks believed what the gov't was telling them, and also don't like high-risk, low-reward businesses. Private enterprise is at the source of these issues!

Instead of worrying about Big Brother, I'd say this article is more about how the government _should_ intervene to ensure 1st amendment rights in a cashless society.

A side note that I feel is lost in these discussions: cashless societies (or mixed cash/cashless, if you will) enable lots of people (like adult entertainers, but also everyone on Patreon, for example) to live a life they couldn't with cash-only universes. Even if cash is always there, we should work to make cashless better than ever if possible.

aub3bhat 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ultimately Big Brother needs Big taxes for Big spending out of its Big wallet...
homero 1 day ago 4 replies      
Bitcoin is the only way I can keep a little privacy anymore
sneak 1 day ago 1 reply      
I spoke at the CCC in 2011 about all the ways in which censorship-resistant payments are essential to the various pillars of a free society.


It's still true. Without free payments, you cannot have free speech, free association, or due process.

kijin 1 day ago 5 replies      
Cash is the only payment method available today that is both distributed and truly censorship-resistant. Anyone can pay cash to anyone else in exchange for anything, without having to report to, or obtain permission from, any third party. If nobody knows what you bought in the back alley last night, nobody will ever find out.

You don't need fancy chunks of metal and plastic to use cash. You don't even need electricity, much less an internet connection, to use it. A three-year-old kid can use it just as well as one-hundred-and-three-year-old great-grandma.

A lot of the time, you can't even tell whether the bills are genuine or not. But that doesn't prevent billions of people around the world from exchanging cash every day. And if dollars suddenly became untrustworthy, people will just switch to another currency or fall back to crates of fish and shiny stones.

Compare that to cryptocurrencies that are being touted as the future of distributed, "censorship-resistant" cash. Sure, they're distributed, but censorship is as easy as cutting off the target's internet connection (or even blocking some ports). If you're a dictator in North Africa, just flip the switch and all the rebels are suddenly broke! Cryptocurrencies also require everyone to broadcast every transaction to the whole world, and all it takes is one mistake to connect a set of addresses to a real identity. Geeks can mix their coins and hope there's no trail left, but good luck getting grandma to use it correctly.

Programmers love to talk about elaborate ways to prevent double-spending and whatnot. But in order to be a plausible replacement for cash, I think virtual currencies need to solve some of these usability problems first. Spending a few satoshis needs to become just as easy as pulling some quarters out of your pocket.

gitcommit 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bigger worry: What if a foreign agency can shutdown the American monetary system because everything is digital?
gkanai 1 day ago 0 replies      
Look at China, where WeChat Wallet and Alipay dominate cashless payments. It's very good for the Chinese government that there are 2 large cashless payment platforms that they can monitor/control.
geggam 1 day ago 0 replies      
Welcome to Bartertown.
brunoqc 1 day ago 0 replies      
People don't care about privacy with a cashless society, they fear they'll have to pay taxes like they should.
peter303 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find it amusing the "share everything" generation goes the other way and posts detailed diaries of their expenses online.
strooper 1 day ago 1 reply      
Every digital transaction is trackable throughout it's lifecycle. Every transaction can be traced back to the origin even it changes hands several times. An ideal government can make a good use of this feature to enforce law for greater good, while a practical government, in reality, enforces whatever suits the powerful ones the best.
franbulax 1 day ago 0 replies      
Stash your cash! Use some of it to buy tangible gold and other things of value like ammunition.
mikerichards 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Atlantic almost used an euphemism for what the effects of a cashless society would be like. I guess they didn't want to use the term "Big Government". That might upset the "When I say Big Business, I mean bad" crowd.

The government is already using this to punish its enemies (political and otherwise). You'll be a slave if this ever comes to pass.

But the real problem is that you have 40% of Democrats (or more) identify as being socialists now. If you're a socialist then you just accept this, because Big Brother/Big Government is what you want. You want Bernie Sanders to bring in Big Government to punish.

The Republicans and Libertarians are spineless. They should be attacking people like Cass Sunstein on a daily basis. Everyday the collectivists like him should be called out and exposed for the totalitarian wannabes that they really are.

known 1 day ago 2 replies      
"Give me control of a nation's money supply, and I care not who makes its laws." --Rothschild in 1744
Shivetya 1 day ago 0 replies      
Physical currency is privacy, it is freedom of commerce, it is property rights. Giving up physical currency means giving up all your freedoms at once. Simply because government can tell you what your money is worth at any instant, where you can spend it, and if you can spend it or are required to do so to not lose it
joesmo 1 day ago 0 replies      
While the ability to censor people has increased tremendously, our government's perverted interest in puritan idiocy seems unchanged for hundreds of years. I just can't believe that who someone decides to have sex with is still something the government insists on controlling. What a sick society we live in and then have the audacity to call everyday natural actions "vice". No, vice is that sheriff's sick obsession with other people's sexual activities and his insistence on controlling them for his own sick pleasure. Vice is indeed the public's willingness to accept and get pleasure based on other people's pain. It's just amazing how much Americans love hurting each other simply for the sake of suffering.
Recreating Daft Punk's Da Funk with Overtone and Leipzig overtone-recipes.github.io
373 points by greenonion  3 days ago   97 comments top 18
dep_b 3 days ago 3 replies      
The original seems to have been made by creating a feedback loop between one of the outputs and the filter input of an analog synthesizer. The examples I've seen were done on a Yamaha CS-15 but a lot of monophonic old analogs allow you to do that, like a MiniMoog. However the filters on a CS-15 are quite unique, don't think you can even do this exact patch on an MS-20.


A good explanation how it works


Slightly better played

recursive 3 days ago 1 reply      
> The key is F major.

Where is this coming from? It's pretty clearly G minor to me. The bass is playing G. The main phrase starts and ends on a G.

> This 1.334 is a ratio of adding 5 semitones in hertz. This should sound like this.

This harmonic overtone kills it for me. I know there are some overtones in the original, but not like this. 5 semi-tones is an interval of a perfect fourth. I think maybe a perfect fifth would work (7 semi-tones) but this overtone pretty much destroys it for me.

hanoz 3 days ago 13 replies      
Well that's opened up a fascinating new world to me. Is there a name for that regular logarithmic by linear music notation in the first image? I suddenly feel like a whole lifetime of musical enjoyment has been denied to me by the utterly utterly ridiculous staff notation system.
arnklint 3 days ago 2 replies      
Might be relevant to the subject: Sonic Pi Daft Punk sample - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cydH_JAgSfg
dmoo 3 days ago 1 reply      
Off topic but Sam Aaron an overtone contributor and the creator of Sonic Pi is currently looking for advice re the funding of his work on Sonic Pi


vdnkh 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not knowing about Leipzig[0], I've been trying to come up with my own representation of music in JS to work with the Web Audio API. My biggest puzzle so far is how to a) keep a rhythm and b) allow musical "blocks", which are indeterminate in length, to fit into this rhythm. I was thinking that these blocks would be pre-defined functions which represent different aspects of music (bassline, riff, etc.) which could be repeated and inserted at arbitrary time in the composition.

If anyone is interested on working on this drop me a pm/comment (it's just for fun)


lwakefield 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was kinda bummed that they weren't referring to the iconic 303 bassline from da funk.
jimmcslim 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is great, I hope there are more Overtone recipes in the future!
randomacct44 3 days ago 2 replies      
Is there anything like this for JS + WebAudio? Have a mate who wants to be able to embed something like this in a website (endless generative music).
joshschreuder 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a recreation of One More Time that I saw on HN a few years back:


And the follow up:


pacomerh 3 days ago 0 replies      
How did I not know about Overtone. Clojure + Music, two things I love. Thanks for this.
lostgame 3 days ago 0 replies      
I had no idea they open-sourced their shit. That's amazing. They're one of my favourite groups.
creullin 3 days ago 2 replies      
Haha. This is awesome. I wonder what the final output would be. A full song?
wodenokoto 3 days ago 2 replies      
It is pretty cool that you can program a song in code, but it looks awfully verbose.

Do people really compose this way?

thro1237 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is there any synthesizer that would sound like a real violin?
clarkenheim 3 days ago 0 replies      
That 303 just isn't a 303.
andrewvc 3 days ago 7 replies      
You're right. It's funny listening to this. They're playing the same song, but it's not even close to as good as the Daft version.

The daft version is loud and has a bite. This version just sounds lethargic and boring.

kevin_thibedeau 3 days ago 0 replies      
I once brought an interviewer to the brink of tears after she revealed how overloaded she was and how the EE team had effectively been eliminated for offshore workers. It was curious that all the other interviewers before her were MEs and systems engineers with no knowledge of the job I was interviewing for. They all kept referring to the "old product line" developed in house and how great it was to work on. The implication being that the new line was shit because nobody was around who new how it worked. All the money went into developing sexy enclosures and nothing into the actual electronics.

There were lots of glossy trade brochures lionizing the founders and how great they were but it was apparent that they went public to cash out and were riding the growth roller coaster to drive the stock price at the expense of capable employees who can sustain the company long term.

The Illegal Map of Swedish Art googlemapsmania.blogspot.com
354 points by chippy  4 days ago   95 comments top 26
belorn 4 days ago 5 replies      
Reading the article from the Swedish national radio, the court decision found that wikimedia database of photo has a "commercial value" that can compete with commercial enterprises of the copyright authors who created the public statues or paintings on buildings.

The journalist asked a lawyer if this mean that its illegal now to take a photo of public statues, and the lawyer said that it legal since the law explicitly says so, but it might not be legal to publish it" on the Internet" as that action might be considered to have a commercial value.

In my view, its a bit weird.

kbrosnan 4 days ago 4 replies      
Lest you think that this is some oddity that does not happen in the US it is an issue in Portland, OR. The Portlandia statue [1] sitting in public display and on a public building. The artist retains copyright. Raymond Kaskey, the sculptor, sued the studio that made Body of Evidence which used the statue in the background of some shots and won. While I can understand the artist's desire that the work of art is respected and the high likelihood that chotchkies and such would not pay to use the likeness. It is at conflict with fair use and parody.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portlandia_(statue)

yason 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am happy to see copyright raising its ugly head in circumstances that might concern the general public as well, not only hackers and hippies in the bit-sharing underground. Maybe in a few decades people will realise it doesn't make any sense. The only thing that remains is that we'll have to stretch this further until it becomes universally absurd.
driverdan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Mods: consider switching this from the original blogspam to Wikimedia's blog post: https://blog.wikimedia.org/2016/04/04/strike-against-freedom...
JoeAltmaier 4 days ago 3 replies      
The app provides pictures of art without permission. That part seems clear.

The OP claims 'even when its in a public place and owned by the public'. That part seems odd. It would be good to (be able to) read the decision.

mzs 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was bored recently and scanned the terms for an amusement park ticket. I gave all rights to my likeness and it was specifically listed that I could not make copies of photos taken by park equipment without explicit permission (I assume when you buy a CD or whatnot you pay for that).
thomasahle 4 days ago 3 replies      
Does this also make Goole Street View illegal?
LoSboccacc 4 days ago 2 replies      
current title "The Illegal Map of Swedish Art " is clickbait. The map is fine, photo of work of art were included in the map and those were found infringing.
brashrat 4 days ago 1 reply      
Who was the plaintiff in this case? The defendant was Wikimedia!

I was curious "who is the plaintiff here" because I didn't see that in the discussion anyplace, so I ran vilhelm_s's helpful link to the decision http://www.hogstadomstolen.se/Domstolar/hogstadomstolen/Avgo...

through translate.google.com and learned to my horror that the defendant in this case was Wikimedia, not some map/app designer.

I could not tell who the plaintiff was, it translates as "Plaintiffs in the district court Image Copyright in Sweden oak. for., 769610-3121 Hornsgatan 103 117 28 Stockholm" I looked at that address on google maps and discovered that it is hard to find the front door of a building in Stockholm.

acd 4 days ago 0 replies      
Background there is a Swedish highest court ruling that bans photos of copyrighted art.http://www.thelocal.se/20160404/wikimedia-breaks-copyright-l...

It has not been tried in the European court yet so it may not be illegal in EU if the EU court over rules the swedish court.

poof_he_is_gone 4 days ago 0 replies      
The public may own the physical artwork, but may not own the licensing to reproductions of it. Searching Cloud Gate on shutterstock.com will quickly show you that all of the images are editorial use only for this reason.
caf 4 days ago 0 replies      
Could they replace the pictures with links to a Google Image Search of the statue's name?
drjesusphd 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Therefore Offentlig Konst can no longer show you a picture of a work of art, even when the artwork is in public ownership, on public display and sited in a public area,

Does the same courtesy apply to human beings?

hitlin37 4 days ago 0 replies      
The current headline is ambiguous. The blog is about copyright law around the map website.
briandear 4 days ago 0 replies      
I find it interesting that many of these types of cases seem to be unique to Europe while the US seems to get the brunt of the copyright criticism.

Why is this something artists in Europe sue about? Do they want their work hidden?

nxzero 4 days ago 0 replies      
If artist are concerned about copyright, then they should make art that can't be copied; take some comfort in knowing Banksy agrees with me, though even then, I'm still have the same opinion.
beedogs 4 days ago 0 replies      
Copyright law makes absolutely zero sense these days.
studentrob 4 days ago 0 replies      
Now I'm curious to see photos of said mapped artwork..
hapidjus 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not familiar with all the details but as I understand it, the problem is not taking photos of the art, but compiling a catalog of said photos.
hugoforte 4 days ago 1 reply      
So, do they sue wikipedia next now?
dave2000 4 days ago 0 replies      
In the UK you can get into trouble "publishing" a photo of just about everything
avesanen 4 days ago 1 reply      
So, will Ingress be banned in Sweden, as that pretty much does the exactly same thing?
sheraz 4 days ago 1 reply      
why not just move this project outside of the jurisdiction of Sweden?
wahsd 4 days ago 1 reply      
Sweden is such a perverse mutation of civilization for so many reasons. This is just one example of a symptom.
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