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Being sued, in East Texas, for using the Google Play Store [video] youtube.com
1555 points by egb  3 days ago   399 comments top 66
tomglynch 3 days ago 7 replies      
A comment from a reddit thread states: The gist behind this case is that the Judge's son owns patent law firm in East Texas where they often represent both sides. This guy doesn't live in East Texas. However, the dad lets these stupid cases into the town to bring business to his son. Really shady.

I agree with clavelle's comment. It's not so much the laws, but the system that allows this to occur.

Link here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/4n08jj/developer_i...

mdip 2 days ago 0 replies      
Patent trolling issues aside (they're valid, but discussed and I'm just another one of the "software patents suck guys"), I'm surprised that Google doesn't provide protection for developers using the Play Store. It's a very critical service for developers writing code for Android -- though it's not always required it is if you want your app to be seen.

They certainly don't have to and I'm not sure if Apple or Microsoft do or not for their equivalents, but I know Microsoft offers patent indemnification for a lot of things these days. It would be in Google's best interest to have a patent indemnification policy for Google Play store.

I'd love to know what the actual numbers look like but I'd be willing to bet that the costs are extremely low since it works as a deterrent to these kinds of lawsuits. Patent trolls go after these lone developers because they'll settle rather than incur the cost. It's an easy buck. This guy didn't make Google Play, he didn't write the code that "supposedly" infringed on the patent. He simply used it because that's the only way for practical purposes to publish an Android app. And since the patent covers a large set of features that Play uses for licensing, he couldn't have published through Play and not infringed in the eyes of Uniloc. The law allows anyone in the chain (including the guy playing with the Flight Simulator) to be sued for infringement, but they'd be very unlikely to do this kind of garbage if they knew Google would bring their legal team into the fold. By not protecting their developers, Google has a deterrent to people using their platform.

hhsnopek 2 days ago 7 replies      
I find it oddly funny how Google hasn't stepped in to support their "clients", I'd think they'd help shutdown patent trolls so developers can continue to improve and distribute applications
6stringmerc 2 days ago 8 replies      
So, no attempts to bring Davis in front of the Texas BAR association for unethical practices?

I'm also curious why numerous developers have not demanded an Insurance Protection Product / Plan that would take a premium in return for subrogation (defense) if a frivolous Patent Suit is filed. I'm rather certain the market exists and while it may be for larger businesses or players, developers forming a Mutual Company and writing on some big name AM Best A paper (or even going to Lloyds) could be helpful.

Anybody know of such an organization or idea?

I guess my line of thinking here is that "Yes, this is totally unfair and rigged" and then move on to "How do I work around the issues, at least to a limited extent, to avoid these pitfalls?" Sign me up for reform, sure, I'm all for it. Until then, I don't like banging my head against walls, I prefer to figure out ways around or over them.

mmaunder 2 days ago 1 reply      
Also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8XknFl1l_8

He visits East Texas and shows that the 'offices' of the 'companies' that hold each patent are empty shells.

josaka 2 days ago 0 replies      
The patent in the video is US 6857067. Claims 1, 20, 22, 30, 31, 67, 107, and 108 were invalidated by the Patent Office in an administrative proceeding, but claims 21 and 22 survived that particular challenge. See IPR2013-00391, Final Decision. Cost for these challenges is around $300k (and often much less for troll suits), rather than the $2-5 million that is typically quoted for district court cases.
comboy 3 days ago 5 replies      
Couldn't Google offer defense in such cases for its users? Every case is the same so it shouldn't even be that expensive (I guess, IANAL), and it would discourage future cases because the troll would know he will have to fight against Google.
vosbert 2 days ago 3 replies      
Can these services just be disabled in East Texas to avoid their jurisdiction? At the very least, it would force the patent trolls into more neutral territory.
corysama 2 days ago 1 reply      
Here's a vid from the same guy last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbyW_QS8Ef8

He had just won a three year litigation with the same group, after which they pointed out that even though he had won a battle, they had enough BS patents to keep him in court for several lifetimes. He is currently in year 4 out of a projected 450.

dingo_bat 2 days ago 4 replies      
Someone with money and lawyers needs to sue the state of Texas for allowing a father and son duo to practice in such a conflict of interest fashion. This is a clear cut case of corruption.
kevinpet 2 days ago 0 replies      
I happened to read this article about recusal recently and I don't understand how some of these allegations wouldn't be explicit grounds for recusal, specifically the son being a lawyer with a firm that tries cases in the father's court.

https://popehat.com/2016/06/06/lawsplainer-when-must-federal... Article is in the context of Trump, but you needn't let that turn you off.

eonw 2 days ago 0 replies      
i was the victim of a patent trolling company called acacia research. they sent me a bunch of legal threats but had my name spelled incorrectly, which happened to give away who had sold my info to them(in exchange for dropping the case a certain entity traded all of their affiliates info to acacia). i was 19 at the time and laughed it off. nothing ever came of it, but in hindsight it certainly wasn't a laughing matter. in the end i think someone staged a pretty good defense and crushed their patent.
dougmccune 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is there a unified place one can donate to that people think is the best way to put some money toward real change in the system? I'm happy to send some money to the EFF, but I'd up that 100 times if I knew it was going 100% toward killing patent trolls and I thought it was the best organization to fight that fight.
Claudus 3 days ago 2 replies      
FesterCluck 2 days ago 0 replies      
JakeWesorick 3 days ago 3 replies      
Really seems like Google/Apple should make some kind of statement calling out how ridiculous these lawsuits are.
aurizon 2 days ago 0 replies      
The only way you can deal with trolls is to slay them. Attribution of costs does not work. Most trolls consist of lawyers who create paper work and file it. They do not hire outside law firms at $500+ per hour - the ones their victims are forced to hire. The only tru costs they have are the file fees, which East Texas keeps low. That town is totally a parasitic town and they award wins to trolls to keep the town in cash that trickles down.

I say slay the trolls, slay the judges, slay them all - by legal means if possible. I would love to find an old Texas law that allows trial by combat with no substitutions...

curiousgal 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm no advocate of violence but this makes you wonder about the ethics of beating such guys up. The legal system seems pointless.
jiiam 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's good to raise awareness, especially on the users of the play store (I mean, the developers).

For example I learned a lot from this video: in case I decided to sell an app on any store, I'd better contact my lawyer to get advised on where and how to incorporate my company.

I don't know if it can be easily resolved by incorporating in another country, but the difficulties of an international litigation should discourage trolls.

barkingdog 2 days ago 2 replies      
A while back, I did some research into patent trolls, and came across the history of NPE firms that do DPA (defensive patent aggregation), like RPX [0]. What surprised me from a game theoretical perspective was how murky things got. These situations can be tough on entrepreneurs and seem to create space for said entrepreneur to purchase protection in the form of patent aggregation to mitigate against potential devastation caused by this. On one hand, I can see how it can amount to a protection racket. On the other hand, the existence of patents and how they relate to property are pretty complex. This TechCrunch article about RPX does a good job of going into further detail about this, but truth be told, I am even more on the fence after reading this. I agree that patent reform would be necessary to rectify this situation, but in the meantime, I can't think of a better alternative. The cynic inside me can't help but think that business is always it's own kind of war, sadly.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RPX_Corporation[1] http://techcrunch.com/2008/11/24/is-rpxs-defensive-patent-ag...

kukx 2 days ago 3 replies      
What about making an "anti patent troll" website that will allow users to share their legal approaches and documents and the rest of the defense materials. Some of them may be reusable. I guess it should significantly limit the legal costs for everyone and improve their position against trolls, right?
djsumdog 2 days ago 2 replies      
America needs to follow New Zealand's example:

Ban software patents!

dak1 2 days ago 1 reply      

"Ric Richardson is an Australian inventor. He is the holder of multiple granted patents including the Uniloc patent US5490216 and the Logarex patent 6400293. Although he spent twelve years in California to promote and develop products produced by Uniloc, Richardson grew up in Sydney and currently resides just outside Byron Bay.

He is the founder of Uniloc, a company based on the technology he first patented in 1992."

Here's his picture from the Uniloc web site:http://uniloc.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/ricrichardson.p...

He's apparently insanely talented, having "invented" the panic button, the visual voice recorder, the 3G skype phone, the secure browser, the universal database, the carbon scrubber, the book dispensor, "media objects", the "Internet Computer", QR Codes, DRM, a password replacement system, TV muting, and several dozen other devices, just in the past 16 years alone.[1]

[1] https://sites.google.com/site/ricricho/ric-s-inventions

rwhitman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Yet another example of the consumer software industry being completely impotent when it comes to defending itself.

Patent trolls file these frivolous lawsuits because they make millions and suffer zero consequences for their actions. Why? Because there is no industry trade group representing the software industry with any sort of teeth. They know software developers have money, and they know software developers are absurdly weak when it comes to defending themselves. Software developers are easy prey.

Other than the EFF who is out there to represent us with any measure of real leverage over the legal process? Who is out there with the muscle to make patent trolls and software unfriendly lawmakers have second thoughts when targeting developers?

With no lobbies or trade associations with any sort of power out there representing consumer software, anyone with even minor influence over government can simply walk all over software developers, again and again and again. The consumer software industry has enormous amounts of cash at it's disposal, surely a few cash rich companies can pool enough resources together to kick off a trade association worthy of punching back, hard

pascalxus 16 hours ago 0 replies      
For all the entrepreneurs looking for a problem to solve, here it is: Create a company/product that automates legal services (start with the niche case for defending against Patent Trolls): then offer it as a service, say with a flat fee. If the cost of this service is on the order of hundreds of dollars, say less than 500$, it should solve the problem of frivolous law suits. This sub-niche is huge!
finstell 2 days ago 0 replies      
Uniloc has this piece of Google Maps screenshot hosted at their web server. Isn't this not allowed? http://www.uniloc.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Screen-shot...
fouric 2 days ago 2 replies      
While I applaud what Austin Meyer is doing by raising awareness about patent trolls, does anyone here but me wish that the content had been made available in some sort of text medium instead? I can't think of any important parts of the video that couldn't have been reasonably conveyed through the use of text.
tronium 2 days ago 2 replies      
Interestingly, the login button doesn't even work at uniloc.com, and if you look in the source, there's a ton of commented-out paragraphs that say stuff like "<h2>The spirit of innovation is alive and well at Uniloc.</h2>".
masswerk 2 days ago 2 replies      
What to do about this?

I'm told, you may be put to trial in East Texas, if you're selling your goods or services there. So, why not stop selling to East Texas and let them settle the resulting collision of interests themselves?

JustSomeNobody 2 days ago 1 reply      
How has East Texas not been shut down already?
cft 2 days ago 0 replies      
One practical thing one could do is to forward this to an influential tech journalist, ideally to a mainstream publication that has a technology section, like CNN or WSJ.
froo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Someone really needs to create a patent that defines methods of patent trolling, so every time one of these scumbags starts a lawsuit you can sue them.
x13 15 hours ago 0 replies      
touchofevil 2 days ago 2 replies      
Would incorporating your tech company in England instead of the USA protect your company from these patent troll lawsuits? It's extremely easy to start a company based in England, even as a US citizen living in the USA. With the patent trolling this out of control in the US at the moment, would basing your company abroad offer you any protection?
captainmuon 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's only so far a justice system can get dysfunctional before people say fukitall and it looses its legitimacy. It's not just patents, civil forfeiture is another thing that comes to mind and I'm sure there more.

I imagine if in future somebody gets such a patent lawsuit, they'd just rip up the letter and throw it away. Police comes to carry out court orders because they decided in absence? "Sorry officer, the reason you're here is just patent bullshit." - "Oh well, I won't lift a finger for these idiots. Sorry for bothering you, have a nice day!"

Or a more extreme reaction: already in this thread, a couple of people are fantasizing about violence, hiring a hitman and so on. I realize it is mostly meant jokingly, but self-justice is another effect of a justice system that's lost legitimacy.

Rule-of-law is a great thing to have, but it only works if these laws are somewhat reasonable and in accord with peoples moral values...

owaislone 2 days ago 0 replies      
Will Peter Thiel help? These trolls are actually destroying lives.
Alupis 2 days ago 0 replies      
Judge Leonard Davis presides over a large amount of these "Patent Troll" cases, and his son (!!) Bo Davis is a Lawyer who represents these very same Patent Trolls in court!

If that's not a racket, I don't know what is.

Sharma 2 days ago 0 replies      
How about creating a petition here about this issue and we all sign it?


tronium 2 days ago 1 reply      
Question: Is a lot of the backend supposed to be available through going directly to the wp-content? If you go to uniloc.com/wp-content/, there's backups, images, plugins, and even a .sql file...
TheMagicHorsey 1 day ago 0 replies      
The American patent system is a dead weight drag on the American software economy. The quality of software patents is atrocious, and the value of the tiny fraction of good patents in this space does not make up for the Billions lost to trolls and the costs of administering the system.
abrookewood 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's written coverage of the situation in case you don't have time to watch the video: http://www.technobuffalo.com/2016/06/07/x-plane-flight-simul...
blubb-fish 2 days ago 0 replies      
How about a patent about placing the right foot into a solid hollow object with three to four cylinder shaped objects (with low height to radius ratio) separating that hollow object from the surface of the earth - yeah - and well, then driving with it ... will have to think about how to make that sound smart and original.

How is this even for real - why is Google not putting an end to it?

BuckRogers 2 days ago 0 replies      
If Google won't step in and litigate the patent trolls into poverty, ruining everyone's life who is involved and possibly even promising to ruin their children's and grandchildren's lives long after the actual patent trolls are dead...

that would stop it.

But in the meantime, guess I'll just be writing webapps.

thinkcomp 2 days ago 0 replies      
The docket for the lawsuit in question is here:


jitix 2 days ago 1 reply      
Somehow this all seems illegal. I'm not that familiar with the US law so can somebody explain if the defendant can claim that the judge has a conflict of interest and is not fit to handle the case because his son profits from it?
veeragoni 2 days ago 0 replies      
Someone patent "the idea of having a patent" and Sue these companies in Hawaii.
bnycum 2 days ago 0 replies      
I live less than an hour from Marshall, TX. Maybe an hour and a half from Tyler, TX. I'd love to help in any way I could, but since I'm not a lawyer I bet anything I could do is slim to nothing.
cgtyoder 2 days ago 0 replies      
"I'm not here to raise awareness! Ok, yes, maybe that's what I'm doing."
zoner 1 day ago 0 replies      
So do not register your company in the USA, otherwise you have to deal with patent trolls.
dematio 2 days ago 0 replies      
If Peter Thiel could do it, why not Google? It does not cost much for Google to invalidate the patent.
VonGuard 2 days ago 0 replies      
OK HN, get out there and find this man some prior art so we can all just put this company out of business...
johansch 2 days ago 0 replies      
How do you americans still allow East Texas to be a part of the United States? They're clearly rogue?
mholt 2 days ago 0 replies      
"... defend myself for committing the crime of ..."

But a lawsuit is a civil case, not a criminal case, right?

lintiness 2 days ago 1 reply      
welcome to a political system (and indeed a world) run by lawyers.
iLoch 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is the process of filing a patent patented?
floatalong 2 days ago 0 replies      
As angry as this video makes me, I'd point out that we've been making some progress in the fight against trolls. Yes, they're still a problem, but some things that have weakened them:

The Supreme Court's ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank, which dealt a fatal blow to a lot of software patents out there (especially the awful, vague and overly broad patents that trolls love so much). The Supreme Court reaffirmed that merely "adding a generic computer to perform generic computer functions" does not make an otherwise abstract idea patentable. [0] This ruling helps get rid of cases earlier. While it doesn't kill off patent litigation, it makes it easier for us to fight low-quality assertions. More importantly, this puts a tougher filter for prosecution of new patent applications, the vast majority of which are dumb and overly broad.

Inter Partes Review (IPR) proceedings, which are rather expensive (average $278,000) [1], but are much cheaper than litigation. Third parties can use IPRs to challenge patent claims (patentability) based on prior art patents and publications. In the case of Austin Meyer's patent defense, many of the patent claims were invalidated through this kind of proceeding, and petitioned by a consortium (Distinctive Developments, Ltd., Electronic Arts Inc., Gameloft S.E., Halfbrick Studios Pty Ltd., Laminar Research LLC, Mojang AB and Square Enix, Inc.). [2]

Heightened pleading standards. Before December 2015, it used to be that trolls could sue dozens of companies with cookie-cutter complaints, citing no real facts, and put on pressure for settlements by threatening lengthy and costly discovery proceedings. But thanks to decisions in Iqbal/Twombly, complaints must plead facts and recite aspects of the accused product that are alleged to infringe. This butchers the spam lawsuit tactic, and the day before this went into effect, trolls filed a one day record for new suits. [3] Shameful, yes, but it's helped clarify standards governing motions to dismiss.

[0] https://www.eff.org/files/2014/06/19/alice-corp._v._cls-bank...

[1] https://www.rpxcorp.com/2015/07/02/iprs-reality-amid-the-pyr...

[2] search patent number 6857067 and document 37 at https://ptabtrials.uspto.gov

[3] http://fortune.com/2015/12/02/patent-lawsuit-record/

stevesun21 2 days ago 0 replies      
WTF! This is ridiculous. later these people might start sue people use cell phone.
nichochar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Welcome to america
clavalle 3 days ago 8 replies      
People will mention the problem with patents but I see another, perhaps bigger, problem:

We do not have equal access to our judicial system in the United States.

If you have money, you have the power to legally hold people with less over a barrel. That exploitable inequality is poison for a well functioning society. That is the problem that needs solving.

joshbaptiste 2 days ago 2 replies      
TLDW - Patent troll sues Xplane creator after he migrated his app to the Google play store. They claim they own the general idea of the Google play store. Law firms create these cases for billable hours for their lawyers and some of their parent judges in Texas. Patent trolls and law firms in the end want to receive a settlement by targeting app creators and not Google themselves who are well equipped to defend themselves, http://www.thepatentscam.com/ .
2 days ago 2 days ago 1 reply      
And this people, is what you get for $5 when you buy SEO services from UpWork.com
KON_Air 2 days ago 0 replies      
All the Mobile Marketplaces are on fire. Nice.

Posted from my Windows Phone 8.1

superbatfish 2 days ago 1 reply      
At least that totally rad cliff diving video that YouTube queued up afterwards was a nice chaser.
davemel37 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's time to call in John Oliver...He's our last and only hope!
joshuaheard 2 days ago 2 replies      
A couple of misconceptions in this video. Patent infringement is not a crime. A son lawyer appearing in front of his judge father would not be allowed for conflict of interest in most circumstances.

That being said, patent trolling is obviously a problem, and legislation to fix the problem is making its way through Congress.

slmyers 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure if this would help, but I think we should all tweet a link to this video clip to John Oliver.


or maybe this twitter account


A Grain of Salt teslamotors.com
781 points by dwaxe  1 day ago   281 comments top 35
franciscop 1 day ago 6 replies      
Some of Edward Niedermayer recently written article titles in bloomberg [1]:

- Worker Discontent Makes Tesla a Union Target

- Tesla Needs More Than Elon Musk

- Tesla Will Get Trampled by the Mass Market

- Tesla's Radical Update Is Just More of the Same

- Tesla Has to Start Acting Like a Car Company

- Tesla Stock Shifts Into 'Insane Mode' [negative]

- The Empire Strikes Back at Tesla

- Why Tesla Has a Target on Its Back

- ...

And the original cited in teslamotors.com:


It seems that yes, we should take a grain of salt and a lot more. There's definitely something fishy going on here.

[1] http://www.bloomberg.com/view/contributors/ARwBOWvU7QI/edwar...

djaychela 1 day ago 5 replies      
OK, not as tech as many on here, but I've spent the last 25 years as an amateur mechanic, and spent 10 preparing and driving my own rally car, right up to World Rally Championship level, as well as having owned more cars than most people have had hot dinners, and fixed even more than that (sadly!)

The balljoint in question has failed because the rubber boot on it has failed, allowing water/dirt in, and it's rusted out from there. This is nothing specific to Tesla, it can happen on any car - I've seen it on quite a few FWD cars, but never to this degree (total failure) - they will go on for a LONG time with play in them, and take a LOT of abuse before failing.

To have failed in this manner, it would have needed to go un-noticed for some considerable time - I've had ones which have had a year of abuse in extreme circumstances and still been nowhere near as bad as this, so I think you have to ask about the servicing that had been done on this car - whether or not it had been inspected. In addition, this would have had significant play in it for some time, leading to noise which would be noticeable to most drivers when on the road, and easily noticed during any kind of worthwhile inspection (such as the MOT in the UK) - not sure if the state in question has a mandatory inspection?

Yes, being on a dirt road could have exacerbated the problem, but it's not something that a "normal" car can't take - you'd be amazed the amount of physical abuse a mechanically-standard car can take on rough gravel roads at speed.

Components such as this are usually sourced from sub-contractors, who produce them by the thousands/millions without issue, does anyone know if Tesla makes these themselves? Seems unlikely to me.

As has been said elsewhere here, if this had happened on a Ford Focus, no-one would give a monkey's, it's only because it's a Tesla and this guy has an axe to grind.

hbhakhra 1 day ago 5 replies      
"Recently, a Model S was in a very high speed accident in Germany that caused it to fly 82 feet through the air, an event that would likely be fatal in vehicles not designed to the level of safety of a Tesla. All five occupants were able to exit the vehicle under their own power and had no life-threatening injuries."

That is a pretty impressive feat for a car. Also, the voluntary recalls are an interesting case because to me they did something positive in doing a recall before any injury happened. When the news of the recall broke though, people were complaining about the recalls. Part of the problem is that any announcement by Tesla makes the news round while a similar recall by Toyota or anther company, that would affect many more people, wouldn't get a tenth of the attention.

biokoda 1 day ago 4 replies      
Crazy how Tesla as an entire company is scrutinized for car incidents that no one would even remotely care about if it was any other car manufacturer. If this guy had a range rover, or even some other electric car this would be a nonstory.
voiper1 1 day ago 2 replies      
Hmm. http://cdn.dailykanban.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/TeslaG... via https://yro.slashdot.org/story/16/06/09/2122208/tesla-suspen...)

On it's surface, that definitely looks like a full NDA: "don't speak of this" (IANAL)

However, I can see Tesla's interpretation/spin: "It just means: we aren't admitting liability, don't sue us for this, and don't say we paid for part of the repairs" -- which doesn't include "don't report a safety issue".Still, it seems rather strongly worded for that...

NeutronBoy 1 day ago 7 replies      
> With respect to the car that is discussed in the blog post that led to yesterdays news (more on the blog post below), the suspension ball joint experienced very abnormal rust. We havent seen this on any other car, suggesting a very unusual use case. The car had over 70,000 miles on it and its owner lives down such a long dirt road that it required two tow trucks to retrieve the car. (One to get the car to the highway and one to get it from the highway to the service center.) When we got the car, it was caked in dirt.

I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt in this post, but a dirty car has nothing to do with a rusty ball joint. Dirt doesn't cause rust. It means, as they note, the owner lives on a dirt road. The two tow-trucks line is such a red-herring - nothing to do with the issue at hand.

schneidmaster 1 day ago 0 replies      
Since I've seen this mentioned a few times in the comments, it's worth noting: Tesla did not expose the identity of the customer who had the suspension problem. Edward Niedermayer is a blogger who uncovered a post on a car forum[1] and then made hay out of it[2] causing some national media to report about it. Tesla was merely commenting that this blogger has a pretty clear anti-Tesla bias in his other writing. If anyone's responsible for exposing the customer to scrutiny, it's Niedermayer (who linked to the semi-anonymous forum post and turned it into a media story).

1: https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/suspension-problem-o...

2: http://dailykanban.com/2016/06/tesla-suspension-breakage-not...

OliverJones 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have a first-generation Honda Insight. It's sixteen years old and still going. At about 110K miles, the power pack failed, someplace in the Central Valley of California.

Honda (I guess some zone office) had it towed 50 miles to the nearest dealership, which happened to be in Bakersfield. They then replaced the power pack without charging me for it.

Now, I knew I was an early adopter. I knew this could happen. I was prepared to pay for it. And Honda decided to treat me like an early adopter. (They sent the old power pack back to Japan; I suppose they wanted to inspect it.)

It never occurred to me to slag them in the media, or try to get a class action suit going, or some such foolishness. I was stuck in "the desert" for a few hours. But it might have made a good story. The media love stories about design defects in cars, and the big car companies' coverups play right into those stories. If it bleeds it leads.

These EVs don't need oil changes. So the temptation may be to treat them like Soviet tanks and never maintain them. That seems a bad idea. They still have rubber seals on ball joints. They still have pads on the disc brakes. All that stuff is expendable, and needs to be looked at.

Tesla is right to debunk this "big story." One guy who could have been using a 20-year-old jalopy pickup truck experienced a typical failure and turned it into his fifteen minutes of fame.

usaphp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looking at all the blog posts that blogger Edward Niedermeyer wrote on his blog [1] I can't find a single positive thing he ever said about Tesla, it looks like he has some obligation to just write all the negativity he can come up with.

[1] - http://dailykanban.com/author/bjorn/

castratikron 1 day ago 0 replies      
That ball joint is in miserable condition. How had the owner not noticed any problems? The ball joint would be visible to anyone who would have had to replace the tires, which should have happened before 70K miles. Something feels off about this story.

And about the $3k repair bill: You will see that with any luxury car. Low number of cars means a smaller market for used parts, so what usually happens is only the manufacturer sells used parts. When they're the only supplier, they can charge whatever they want for the parts, and they often do. Maybe the owner did know about the problem, but chose not to replace it because it was too expensive.

It doesn't sound like Tesla is at fault at all, but I suppose they feel the need to protect their brand.

abpavel 1 day ago 2 replies      
Material science lifecycles are measured in decades. Just because you "haven't seen it before" does not mean it can't happen. It means you're not testing well enough, or that your data sample is not good enough. Noone is clairvoyant, and excuses such as "dirt" and "70000 miles" don't make you either. Why automatically attack the victim? Is it not remotely possible, that the fault lies with Tesla?
ktRolster 1 day ago 1 reply      
"the blogger who fabricated this issue, which then caused negative and incorrect news to be written about Tesla by reputable institutions, is Edward Niedermayer. This is the same gentle soul who previously wrote a blog titled Tesla Death Watch, which starting on May 19, 2008 was counting the days until Teslas death. It has now been 2,944 days."
jacquesm 1 day ago 0 replies      
What strikes me about this whole saga is that if the dealership had simply recognized that those joints should not have failed this early in the vehicles life and fixed them it would have ended right there.

Also I think that to have a 'will not sue' clause in the agreement to fix issues that are out of warranty is fine but the explicit consent not to talk about it is the kind of thing that will make your lawyer happy in the short term but that will damage your reputation in the longer one. Manufacturers should never try to control the speech of their consumers, even if it benefits them in the short term. It will look like you're trying to cover something up, even when you don't.

awestroke 1 day ago 10 replies      
70,000 miles is an incredible distance. I am impressed the car held together that long.

I see nothing wrong with the agreement. If I fix your car for free, I will make you agree to not thank me with a lawsuit. It's very simple, really. The customer gets a free repair, Tesla does not have to deal with lawsuit-wielding psychopaths.

yellowpug 1 day ago 2 replies      
Big fan of Tesla and their achievement even thus far, but perplexed that they didn't take the high ground, and decided to call out the individual by name in a derogatory and spin-like manner whilst still hiding behind the anonymity of authorship attributed to "The Tesla Team".
heisenbit 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Ok, someone has an axe to grind and there is a blogger with an vendetta. But at the end there was this surprising update:

 Of greater concern: 37 of 40 suspension complaints to NHTSA were fraudulent, i.e. false location or vehicle identification numbers were used Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 10, 2016
If true this goes beyond telling blown up stories and may cross the threshold over to criminal behavior.

pedrocr 1 day ago 2 replies      
This was perhaps not the best phrasing:

"A few things need to be cleared up about the supposed safety of Model S suspensions:"

Maybe it's just me but it seems to imply that Model S suspensions aren't safe. The whole post is written in a pretty aggressive tone as well. Not your run of the mill PR piece that's for sure. If what Tesla states about this case and about the blogger is true I can see why they would be angry about it though.

gnoway 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looking at Mr. Niedermeyer's linkedin profile[0] and what he's doing/where he's worked was kind of enlightening as to his purpose and motivations.

It probably works for him, though. I think 99+% of people, myself included, do not often look at who is writing what they read online. And I'd guess a majority percentage don't think about the fact that they are reading opinion vs. news.

[0] https://www.linkedin.com/in/edward-niedermeyer-35942261

miander 1 day ago 2 replies      
So are the documents customers were allegedly asked to sign real, or fabricated? This post calls Mr. Niedermayer everything short of a liar, and yet they didn't answer the obvious question. I am still withholding judgement.
sathishvj 1 day ago 0 replies      

A list of articles by said Edward Niedermeyer. There definitely are a lot of anti-Tesla articles.

icu 1 day ago 0 replies      
What a coup de grce this blog post is! I have never read any corporate communication that pushed me to finish the whole thing, enhanced my perception of their brand, increased my desire to own one of their products and become a shareholder.
S_A_P 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Edward Niedermayer seems to be more concerned with click bait and controversy than really promoting discourse. The Truth About Cars has almost become readable since his departure, but its still a car tabloid at best. The dude is young and was given a pretty good sized platform, decided he didn't like Elon Musk and has now spent a significant percentage of his time to prove Tesla is a scam.

I wouldn't call myself a die hard tesla fan, and Im not willing to spend the kind of money required to own a model s or x. But I would certainly call them compelling reasons to look into an electric car and they are easily 10-15 years ahead of the entrenched auto makers.

I think that Tesla definitely has challenges ahead as well. The biggest is that they need to have cars fully baked and delivered on time. They need to start showing positive balance sheets regularly and they need to get the gigafactory done. I dont see them failing in the near term but their balance sheet and stock price need to reconcile eventually.

As to the claims of reliability, Ive not seen anything that looks to be egregiously worse than cars in the target market. Ive yet to own a single car that has never had a defect or something break that required a warranty/out of warranty repair. I have had cars that were better than average (My current 2014 A4 has had one thing break in 55k miles) and some that were much worse (2009 Chevrolet silverado - everything electric broke, power rear glass, power windows, cruise control, fuel pump, power seats; 2001 VW GTI vr6 had the check engine light on every 6 weeks after I exceeded the ridiculously short 24000 mile warranty- I think they knew that was all that car was good for. I replaced the MAF twice, several other engine electrics as well)

Whatever happens I have to give Tesla(not just Musk) a lot of credit for taking on a hard problem and creating a credible product.

geomark 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Musk tweeted that "37 of 40 suspension complaints to NHTSA were fraudulent, i.e. false location or vehicle identification numbers were used"[1]

[1] https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/741411531582115841

HeavyStorm 21 hours ago 0 replies      
"That said, sometimes Tesla does make genuine mistakes. We are not and have never claimed to be perfect. However, we strongly believe in trying to do the right thing and, when we fall short, taking immediate corrective action."

This is what makes me feel confident about a company. Doesn't ring like false humbleness or a disclaimer, just something that you'd hear on a open conversation, where the other party is being sincere.

And the worse thing about the whole situation is that damage is already done. Because people will believe anything they read.

hartator 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's worth noting that Tesla models seems to have issues with leaks and water infiltrations that can explain the rust. Anyway, if they beleive in stock manipulation, they should sue.
steve19 1 day ago 1 reply      
NY Times says..

"The nations top auto safety regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said on Thursday that at least some Tesla customers who experienced suspension failures with Model S luxury cars were asked to sign confidentiality agreements about the issue."


rplnt 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is what caused Tesla to dip so much yesterday?


reubensutton 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love how non-corporate the Tesla blog is: "It is deeply ironic that the only customer who apparently believes that this document prevents him from talking to NHTSA is also the same one who talked to NHTSA. If our agreement was meant to prevent that, it obviously wasnt very good."
quocble 1 day ago 0 replies      
Edward Neidermeyer is a douchebag. Look at all the articles he wrote. http://www.bloomberg.com/view/contributors/ARwBOWvU7QI/edwar...
Shivetya 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Great news. Still Tesla obviously expects this type of news to break and it will be an ever constant duty for them to refute or acknowledge issues.

They must also understand that eventually some customers will want to work on their own cars, do preventive service and the like. They need to accommodate them as well.

It is one thing to be serving almost exclusively early adopters, when the III comes along its going to be very interesting to see how they handle it. There will be a whole lot of people who simply don't know how to treat their cars well combined with many who are louder about issues simply because its a bigger investment to them

1 day ago 1 day ago 2 replies      
Please don't be rude.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11875100 and marked it off-topic.

SFJulie 1 day ago 4 replies      
A whole company going after one person. Whether they are right or wrong makes is irrelevant compared to the door to company bullying it opens: if a customer speaks against a company right or wrongfully the arsenal of legal retaliation a company has against him/her is disproportionate (libeling, doxing, mass PR/reputation, secrecy of affair new laws), resulting in de facto possibility for companies to control public space communication.

Government are just giving the key of censorship to corporation. Private owned interests that do not represent the people.

Tesla and its owner's arrogance are creepy.

post_break 1 day ago 0 replies      
The real crime here is Tesla dangling repairs in front of owners only if they sign an NDA.
abpavel 1 day ago 2 replies      
Very interesting Tesla's response:1. The car was not brand new and was actually driven, which is horrible.2. NHTSA did not investigate anything, they just asked us for the documents.3. We don't ask customers to sign anything, just demand that they sign "the agreement".4. We're the best. Customers are idiots.5. We'll even publicly expose the identity of the customer for you to hate. Here is his name, address, and SSN. Have fun!
antihero 1 day ago 0 replies      
> we believe in putting our customers happiness ahead of our own bottom line.

Fuck off with this shit. Your customers happiness IS what defines your bottom line in the long run. Can we stop with all this fucking corporate lies.

I think we need a new trend. Blunt honesty. I'd trust a company far more if they just came out and said yes, we're here to make money and expand. If this means treating you well as a customer, we will do that, but at the end of the day, we make money for our shareholders and to fund other crap we want to do, and we provide you with a thing you are cool with paying for and give you good service in order to do that.

Jessica Livingstons Pretty Complete List on How Not to Fail themacro.com
773 points by craigcannon  1 day ago   187 comments top 39
djb_hackernews 1 day ago 8 replies      
Yeesh. #2 hits close to home.

I think I've asked this question but I found myself a cofounder with 2 others that prioritized too highly IMO coffee meetings with "investors", no name board advisors, expensive conferences, and basically everything on that list. My approach was to gently voice my concern and but also let them do it in the hopes they'd see how useless it was. The other thing that didn't help was I was the "technical cofounder" and the attitude essentially was I didn't "get" business, and sometimes I wondered if they were right.

Interestingly both were woman, and I don't recall too much of #3. They definitely participated in women in tech type groups but I thought it was no different than any other useless networking others that aren't focused would do.

This will be definitely something I probe for in the future. Anyone looking for a cofounder? (I'm serious, and I have a cool little project we could do to see if we can build something people want together)

danso 1 day ago 4 replies      
> 1. Make something people want.

I haven't had a ton of experience in startups...once I had to work out of a startup space. And it amazed me the number of conversations I would hear between aspiring entrepreneurs and random strangers that were variations of, "Please tell me if you think this is a good idea".

Everyone knows what it's like to want something. I didn't really hear about Tinder until after it blew up into something huge, but its proposition always made sense to me: Do you want to get laid? Do you often base your decision on the looks of a potential mate? Would you be OK with requesting consensual sex without having to fill out a form?. Yes to all of that. I can't think of anything I regularly use and/or pay for that I can't sum up as a one-sentence "want", whether it's Google, Twitter, Netflix, Facebook, Uber...of course being the first to recognize the desire does not lead to a desirable product -- there's scaling and marketing and implementation and luck, of course.

But that means the entrepreneur who is trawling around to learn what others want is even deeper in the hole. Is there something in startup culture that heavily cautions against pursuing something that you know _you_ want, because selfish concerns do not often scale (even though they've scaled in plenty of cases if you look at surviving startups, though that's obviously survivor bias).

vonnik 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is a great talk. While most of Jessica's advice is spot on for many startups, there are some special cases, namely enterprise software.

Once an enterprise software startup has built its product, or even 70% of its product, you have to go to conferences. Conferences are where you meet your users, and enterprise software users and buyers are a hard group to target otherwise. Marketing and top-of-the-funnel sales happen there. Conferences are also the places you gather intel about the rest of the industry to get a read on where it's moving and if you're aligned with it. So the question for enterprise software startups is: How do you select the most important conferences and pay as little as possible to attend?

ajessup 1 day ago 3 replies      
It would be wonderful if these sorts of articles (which efficiently generalize advice based on thousands of data points) could back their assertions up with a few telling case studies. It's often too easy to nod sagely at advice like "don't loose focus" but not actually recognize the pathology in ourselves in our day to day lives.
exclusiv 1 day ago 2 replies      
"build stuff and talk to users" is so simple but great advice.

For my first successful startup I did the marketing and build and my partner focused on the users. And we crushed the incumbent in under 2 years completely bootstrapped and they tried to buy us.

Now I have a new startup where I'm handling the build and the customers and another partner is focused on the marketing.

It's a subscription business and talking with users helps retention, acquisition via word of mouth and also product development. Do it even if you'd rather be spending that time building!

cableshaft 1 day ago 8 replies      
Jessica asserts that conventions are too distracting and you shouldn't go to them.

I don't completely agree with that. Depending on what type of business you're making, the best way to get work done is to go to conventions, because that's the only time you can easily meet with a bunch of people that are related to your industry and make new partnerships, check out new hardware/software solutions to save time or money, possibly hunt for some new talent to join the company, discuss business propositions, etc, can all be possible in much shorter period of time than doing the same outside the convention.

Even just having the opportunity to meet someone face to face that you've been doing business with for the past several months can be useful.

That being said, you don't need to go to a lot of them. Attend only one or two of the most productive ones per year (most productive ones are not always the largest), and you should get a lot done without spending too much time at them.

Also don't go if you're strapped for cash, as they're often expensive (depending on the industry). They're not absolutely necessary, and they can be a waste of time if you don't utilize them properly. But they can be helpful tools.

pfarnsworth 1 day ago 8 replies      
You can do all of the above and still fail. Often, success or failure is luck-based and completely not skill-based.
katzgrau 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a bootstrapper of broadstreetads.com (about to pass the four year mark), I can genuinely say that focusing on building what your customers truly need and measuring growth are two critical pieces of advice that do not get emphasized enough.

I love to shut myself in and write code, don't get me wrong. But consistently tracking sales growth, setting goals, and hitting goals (i.e., execution) is what separates the wannabes from the dids.

zeeshanm 1 day ago 1 reply      
I also think it's super important to make something you can sell in addition to making something people want. Frankly, there are so many things people want but not every founder has resources or is well-equipped to sell it.

Your goal as a founder is to maximize chances of __your__ success. Having the right founder-market fit goes a long way.

woah 1 day ago 3 replies      
Focusing on growth and revenue sounds like the right thing to do for a p2p dog walking marketplace, or a SaaS enterprise meal planning app, but what about the startups solving big problems? Is month over month user growth relevant to a nuclear fusion or jet airplane startup?
Sidnicious 1 day ago 0 replies      
Woah, I've been struggling with the idea of going to conferences (on the list of distractions).

I have personal projects that I want to finish (not a startup), and the conferences I enjoy tend to feature people showing off their own projects. Whenever Im at one, I think, Id rather be on stage, sharing something I put months (or years) of love into, than be one of the 100-1000 people in the audience watching.

Of course, going to a conference can be inspiring, or introduce me to people or ideas thatll shape my future work, so theyre not all bad. Im interested in how other HN folks approach this conflict.

Semi-related, I experienced something interesting at a hacking conference a few years ago. Mid-conference, feeling inspired, I hid in the volunteer lounge for almost a whole day and worked on a reverse engineering project that Id been fighting to understand for over a year. I solved it! Being there, and aware of all of the people and activity around me, but actively ignoring it, gave me focus and motivation. That was fascinating, and Ive considered doing the same thing again (or finding a really interesting conference and not buying a ticket, so that I could work while I know Im missing it).

S4M 1 day ago 2 replies      
So networking, "grabbing coffee" with investors and talking to potential acquirers are a waste of time, yet YC insists that startups go to one of the most expensive place in the world just because it's more convenient to to those three things.
EmbeddedHook 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Kudos -- really interesting, thoughtful and useful summary. However (yes, there's always a however), I'm always surprised and baffled why these kinds of lists rarely attribute startup failures to non/mis-management of the development process. I worked for a couple of successful startups and have consulted for the last six years (performance stuff) and am dumbfounded by the amount of time developers waste on "crap" -- trivial bugs, insignificant performance issues, "enterprise" build/QA automation, etc. At one startup, THE key developer went off for six months rewriting the comm stack for a performance problem that didn't exist -- all the while destabilizing and slowing down the product. At my last "real" job, every time I went to the coffee room, I would ask a developer what they were working on and 90% of the time it was "bugs." That's fine if you're working at IBM on DB2 but NOT if your funding dries up in 12 months. IMHO, it is RARE to find a manager/VP who will pull a developer back out of the weeds. I often see an endless series of stand-ups where the status is "fixed a bug" or "recoded an inefficient loop" or "wrote a Java wrapper for the Jenkins garbage collector." It SOUNDS like progress but six months later POCs are crashing and burning because 2/3 of the core features are still missing. Maybe I've had a totally weird career but how come no one talks about this?
usmeteora 1 day ago 6 replies      
as a 26yr old female Electrical Engineer getting involved with entrepreneurship and doing my own software startup, I agree there is too much controversy, talk and fear surrounding being a female in tech.

Don't get me wrong, it is isolating in general but after working for two startups, one bought out by a foreign company and another now has billions in funding, doing software analytics on the trading floor through summer internships in college, and going to a predominately male college for engineering, 70% males overall, and 99% male in my major, I can say I have a diversity of experience even within the tech field and also years of experience working at single companies before moving on, I can say a few things that I think echo what she is saying

1. Most of the people speaking the most about female controversey are not coders, or engineers or in the nitty gritty of tech. While I appreciate their empathy and willingness to latch onto a cause and speak for us, they often get it wrong, and recently have done so much so that they scare the MAJORITY of men to feeling uncomfortable talking about it. What do I mean? onto point #2

1a. Sorry, before I go to Point 2, another way journalists or people wanting to speak out on our behalf (female women in tech) get it wrong is by assuming we want to change the culture to be this outgoing, social fashion forward world. Actually, alot of us are introverted geeks and like doing the same thing other male engineers do. I definitely think wheather you were or are a cheerleader sorority girl who likes to bake and throw parties or an introverted star wars nerd and each one is an engineer, either should feel equally comfortable at a new tech company and not isolated by the culture, but anecdotally I happen to be an extreme introvert, and the excessive socializing and advice or notion that if we have an environment where we can all be super girly like omg together is the vibe I get from alot of female focused events in tech. It's actually overwhelming and makes me feel more out of place than not. Listen to us, not imposing your idea of how we might feel onto us. Get a good profile of what females are saying who are IN tech, and if there is a difference between that and the ones who are latching onto the idea of it or operating in auxiliary roles surrounding tech. These women are just as important, and are are still subject to sexism working around male dominated industries, but if you want more women IN tech, instead of talking about tech but not in it, listen to the women IN it, you might be surprised.


Here is one example where both genders are contributing to the problem but making it harder for women IN tech. my friend is a Biomed Engineer who prototyped and developed her hardware. Keeping her anonymous on here, but she went to a big tech conference in the bay area and was approached by three men asking if she was a "showgirl" at the conference as a starter to the conversation. Of all the things you could possibly say right? How offensive to a female engineer with over 30 pending patents running a multi million dollar company and two engineering degrees under her belt. Welp, those guys are in the wrong, but also why are there showgirls at tech conferences. because hot girls attract geeks to the boothe. But MEN hired these showgirls, and WOMEN are actually fufilling those roles. So both parties are at fault.

Who suffers?The people who suffer are the ACTUAL female engineers who would love to go to a conference and not have it be assumed they are there in an auxiliary tech role until proven otherwise.

once my friend described who she was, both of the guys felt really bad, even embarassed and apologized profusely. They ended up being cool guys she is still friends with. they learned a lesson, but they have also been heavily conditioned by males and females who are both willing particpants in establishing a stereotype that is demeaning to women actually in tech.

2. Most men I've met and worked with in tech are absolutely fine. It is that in general outlier cases good and back stick out in our heads. If there are 200 employees at a company and only 2 females in my department of 40, probably over a 6 months period the chances are I'm going to be made to feel uncomfortable whether intentionally or not by one person atleast. I'm not saying it's acceptable or ok, or that steps shouldn't be taken to fix it, I'm saying 19/20 guys I work with in a random sampling are just fine, and don't make being a girl a thing, and treat me just the same, or if anything are excited to see women in tech and go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. It's then in your discretion to stand on your own two feet and not take advantage of that, because some women do, which brings me to...

3. There are some women who abuse their minority status. I'm NOT saying women who have spoken out about being treated poorly are the ones who are abusive, or that they are lying. It is usually ones that have nothing to complain about and the situations are much more nuanced. I'm sorry people will get mad at me about this statement but I feel comfortable saying it as I've observed it and I work in tech and I'm not going to lie to remain politically correct. Both males and females are capable of abusing their position. Not all males do it, not all females do it. So hating men or making them terrified of saying the wrong thing if anything is just going to make you feel more isolated.

There are also women who still have queen B syndrome and like being the only female around, and actively bully other women. This is so obnoxious. However, in my varied experience in tech, I can say one key indicator of a real female engineer, is that most of us would LOVE a female friend because we don't have many. Females that view male dominated workplaces as a fun new playground because of all the men, are constantly having coworker boyfriends, and view other women as competition, instead of empathizing with them, have probably not experienced the long term years of being in college engineering classes and doing their homework and not having female friends, and the desire to be treated as an equal instead of put on a pedastool or having to prove themselves. Real females doing real work in tech know what it's like to be isolated, and when we get together as females, we are all super super grateful for it, and we all feel uncomfortable going to glitzy girl focused events where we are bombarded by girls not in tech telling us how things should be. This has been my experience.

4. While some of us can't choose who we work for and with, if you are a female IN Tech, not marketing or some soft auxiliary department of a developed company, but you code or prototype electronics or hardware or engineer something, then you are valuable enough that you can move onto thousands of other companies if you don't find one with a culture that fits your comfort zone. Not just because you are a talented brilliant ambitious female, but because you are a talented brilliant ambitious engineer, and they are in great need in any gender, but being a female is always a great added diversity and step into equality for EVERYONE, not just females. AGAIN, it's not ok women should ever have to feel uncomfortable but we live in the real world and not everything is fair, not just for women, but for alot of situations and people in general.


In life in general, forget being a women or startups, a good rule of thumb, and one I took way too long to learn myself in my personal and professional life, if you don't like how you are being treated, then start hanging around different people.

I have plenty of male engineer friends who are low key, we geek out together, order pizza, watch tv, code, switch knowledge, music and talk about latest tech stuff, and its totally chill. What and who makes you feel comfortable but also gets you excited about learning and obtaining your goals? hang around them and your work life and personal life will be better. It's the same as if you want to stop drinking but your friends only method or venue for socializing is drinking, well it's not going to be super fun for you, so hang out with people who gel with your same lifestyle.

I definitely have my frustrations, but my successes and friends male and female far outweigh my desire to spend most of my time feeling negatively. This is coming from a girl who has been through some troubling times with male coworkers. It's not that is hasnt been harder, its just that I have so many things I want to do, I'd rather "show them" by being successful and acheiving my goals than fighting a legal battle. I am glad some women have chosen the legal path, but I actually would be upset if someone chastized me for not spending all my time in court. There are lots of way to bring tech forward with everyone, not just articles and legal battles. Sometimes, just being a good role model, the girl you wish you had to hang with 5 years ago when you had no female friends, goes alot farther in the world of tech females who actually need a friend, not just people reading the hottest news. Any new girl I meet in my company or department or otherwise who is an engineer or software developer, I atleast attempt to make friends and go out to lunch or a grab a drink with them , let them know I'm available to chat or otherwise, and every time I've been endlessly thanked saying I'm the only female friend they have. Well, now I have like 5 awesome female engineer friends and we all are friends as a group now, it's not much, its not enough, but its more than we ever had and it's all we have time for, because you know, we are also coding, starting companies and doing all the same things males do so we are not over here just being social butterflies. As cliche as it sounds, and something I never would have believed about myself years ago when I was feeling isolated, is that I focused on being the change I wanted to see in the world, and the role model I wish I had when I was fresh out of college, instead of fighting legal battles. Sometimes thats the right thing to do, sometimes my path is a good one too, and I don't regret it.

I've had to abandoned some groups, and in one case a company because I was around egotistical chovenistic males who challenged me on everything and even worse it was all subconscious sexism so it was not even easy to address. no its not ok, but I decided to instead of fighting for it for years and years, to move onto something better for me, and now I can spend the majority of my time coding and working on my goals, instead of fighting against people. It was the best decision I've ever made, I'm able to be alot more technically advanced, and by holding my head high and deciding I could do better, instead of tearing other people down.

Atleast three of those guys have come to me years later to apologize (with no prodding on my part), tell me I was a good player on the team, and I know from females who joined that same team later, they are treated very well. Those guys straightened up because sometimes the most powerful thing you can do, is know you deserve better, walk away and discover a place that fosters your worth. If you have real tech skills, this will always be an option for you as a woman, or a man. It's ok to stand up and "fight" and it all depends on your situation. I should have had more support in mine, but honestly I think I made the right choice by just moving onto something better.


She is right, don't be scared. JUST DO IT. If you can actually code or prototype, then do it. Perform, let your product speak for itself and noone can argue with you. That is the cool thing about coding or being an engineer, if it works and people are paying for it, who cares if youre a girl, or a transgender, or have purple hair, wear tennis shoes to work, or if you are a hippopotamus. It's not going to be easy, it's going to be WORTH it, and there may be some extra barriers, but how rewarding for you to be a trailblazer.

I never thought of myself that way until people started calling me a trailblazer or a "badass" years out of college and now that I think about it, hey yeh, I've been through some pretty hard times but damn this is cool, minority or not, I love what I do and nothing is going to stop me. In fact, I had no idea when I first went into this that anyone would want to stop me, or feel threatened by me, and honestly, that is the hard part.


The hard part is realizing that some people are actually not supportive of you, subconsciously or not, alot of the anger on your part comes from the confusion surrounding the challenge of understanding this concept, because if youre an awesome person who doesnt need to tear other people down to have success, this isn't going to be intuitive for you to understand other people are actually that lame. Once you realize yes these warped people in self denial who project their own insecurities onto you DO exist, and probably always will in some form or fashion, then you can be like "oh, no I'm better than that sorry". Sometimes again, legal is a good way, sometimes not.

Just do you and find that confidence. if you don't have it, dig deeper, if youre reading this youre already way ahead of the game and have nothing to feel insecure about. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond and how you let it effect your opinion of yourself or your subconscious belief about your capabilities.

Have that attitude, and support other girls around you, focus on your work and not people, and youll be amazed. In the words of Dr. Suess "oh the places youll go.."

zxcvvcxz 1 day ago 1 reply      
> So while Ill tell you that it is going to be harder for you as a woman,

I read this phrase a few times. I'm genuinely curious - and didn't really see it in the article - what are the reasons for which Jessica is referring?

Edit - downvoted for asking a genuine question...? Did it ever occur to anyone that I may be asking to see how I could help, seeing as I'm involved with a few startups?

kayhi 1 day ago 5 replies      
"The best metric to choose is good old fashioned revenue."

The best metric to choose is good old fashioned profit.

I appreciate that growth can be hindered by making a profit, but isn't that what matters in the end? Amazon, Twitter, Box and many other public tech companies went public without turning a profit so it seems I'm wrong.

mathattack 1 day ago 0 replies      
Measuring the right things is very important too. I was at a company that lived and died on user counts. We grew 30X in users over my year there, but no revenue so we ultimately died. (And costs were out of control too, and we lost focus, so much of this article hits home
chmike 1 day ago 0 replies      
A parallel to "don't waste time in conferences" is don't waste time on hacker news. Ha! I don't run a startup, so I'm allowed.
tmaly 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think #1 is the key to the whole thing.

I love how Pat Flynn talked about building a market map in his recent book Will It Fly. I think this method is very helpful in finding out if what your doing is something people want.

Derek Sivers of CDBaby has this same mindset. He has always worked off the pull method rather than the push method for what he creates.

Ash Maurya in his book running lean gives you a nice script for customer development interviews. I have tried this with a previous startup idea, and they saved me from going down the road of working on something people did not want. They are probably a bit more involved than Pat's method, but it is something else to consider.

micah63 20 hours ago 0 replies      

1 - Seed money is given on promise

2 - How to get VCs to invest: Build something people want + talk to users + focus = 10% growth

3 - Be default alive, which means: existing cash + revenue - consistent expenses gets you to breakeven

*How to shoot yourself in the foot: Overhire -> Default Dead -> Ugly Duckling -> No VC

poof131 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not sure I agree about advisors. Getting smart people who have experience in places the team is lacking seems pretty critical to me. Perhaps its different at YC where you have advisors built into the program and getting boards of advisors is extraneous, but for other teams without those resources behind them this seems like bad advice. Find people whove done it before and learn from them.
ssreeniv 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Doing a partnership, thinking it will get you more users

Why is this a distraction?

ape4 1 day ago 1 reply      
On "making something people want"... You don't always know. If its a cheaper version of something else then - yah. But if its a new category you don't know. eg Nest - turns out people did want an expensive smart thermostat. But wasn't obvious.
davesque 1 day ago 1 reply      
The only way not to fail is not to try. Even then you could argue that you failed to try :).
sbardle 1 day ago 0 replies      
Solid advice. I think YC advice gives you the road map, but in addition speeches like Paul Buchheit's "The Technology" can also help stimulate the vision in the first place.
k2xl 1 day ago 2 replies      
How many startup founders do you know think they aren't building something people want?

These are some nice tips, but the problem with this advice is that it probably won't change founder behaviors.

Most startup founders I know would think that they are focused, building something people want, not over hiring, etc...

With the exception of the default alive or dead, none or the other tips are really quantifiable.

I appreciate everything Jessica has done, and she has a wealth of experience and exposure to a wide variety of startups, but this advice is too subjective.

JBiserkov 1 day ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of http://paulgraham.com/die.html and http://paulgraham.com/startupmistakes.html

P.s. I haven't seen her talk yet.

banhfun 1 day ago 0 replies      
She forgot #8: Be Lucky
logicallee 1 day ago 1 reply      
Could someone help me understand her list under Point 2, Stay Focused? She writes:

>One of the most conspicuous patterns weve seen among the thousand startups weve funded is that the most successful founders are always totally focused on their product and their users. To the point of being fanatical. The best founders dont have time to get caught up in other things.

>Heres a list of things that I see easily distract founders. These are like the startup equivalent of wolves in sheeps clothing.

[she includes 8 points, of which I quote 4 below - I am quoting selectively.]

> - Grabbing coffee with investors

> - Networking

> - Doing a partnership, thinking it will get you more users

> - Going to conferences

Now, I need help understnanding this. She has listed some of the items that separate people building startups in unfundable locations where there are 0 startups, and startups building in the Bay Area.

If you don't need to do these things, why did YC shut down it's Boston program and make everyone do it in the Bay Area?

If you don't need to do these things, why can't you build a startup from anywhere in the world as long as you speak good English and have no costs?

Aren't these things literally the things that make startups fundable, financiable, possible to grow into huge businesses?

I and anyone else on HN who has been in the Bay Area and in startup-dead locations knows the huge difference. She seemed to quote some of it under 'distractions'.

Can someone help me understand why they aren't, in fact, part of focus?

akshatpradhan 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm in the interesting position that I've built something that everybody needs, but nobody wants.

I've built a product that manages the compliance process for the Big 5 (i.e. PCI-DSS, SSAE16-SOC2, HIPAA, ISO 27001, and FEDRAMP).

My product, ComplianceChaos[1] competes with RSA Archer, Protiviti, Lockpath, Aruvio, and MetricStream.

From my research, 80% of IT operations around the world can't confidently certify themselves against any of those information security frameworks. When recently talking to Security Directors and above, they claim "I don't need to comply" or "well we may not be the best, but we're not the worst, so compliance just isn't a priority."

We understand that a big business like General Electric will not do business with your company unless you can show some kind of proof that you're compliant with the Big 5. For example, if you're a cloud service provider or SaaS, GE wants you to certify for SOC 2 and ISO 27001.

We also know that if you host on Amazon's FEDRAMP Compliant environment or Catalyze.io's HIPAA compliant environment, it doesn't automatically mean your company is also compliant. Your company still needs to go through the compliance process too."

When I first set off to build this product a couple years ago, the security officers first exclaimed, "We need a compliance tool so that we don't have to deal with scattered documents and long spreadsheets." When I built the MVP and continued iterating on it, security officers again exclaimed, "this is the most beautiful compliance product I've ever seen! Better than RSA Archer."

However, when I asked them to use it, for FREE, they would say, "Well it's nice, but compliance just isn't a priority for us because the business has other missions like doing real security work". Explaining to them that compliance frameworks like ISO 27001 and FEDRAMP is real security work was met with deaf ears. In fact, they would retaliate saying, "Compliance like ISO 27001 isn't security. It's a low bar, bare minimal, and not enough."

When I counter with, "But 80% of the industry can't confidently assert that they've done due diligence in meeting the compliance controls. If compliance is so bare minimal, then why do only 20% go all the way to Attestation instead of all 100% of you guys?" That question would again fall on deaf ears.

I've recently pivoted to a services company, no thanks to TrustWave for getting sued for performing subpar security compliance auditing work. I'm specifically looking at you auditors who ask employees to put their passwords in a spreadsheet.

So here I am, having built a product and auditing service that IT Operations do in fact need, but do not want. They don't want the politics behind it nor the emotions behind it, and wish to sweep compliance under the rug.

How do I solve for #1 Make something that people want, when nobody wants compliance, but definitely needs it?


I'm going to sleep now, but I would really appreciate reading your responses in the morning and I'll definitely respond too.

erikb 1 day ago 0 replies      
just as a side note. She pretty much says that "ugly duck hiring" (hiring start-ups that seem to be on a good track but have burned too fast through their money) may be a thing to make money with.

PS: And i don't like the "not fail" part. You don't want to not fail. You want to succeed. If you fail and succeed the failing is fine.

kreetx 1 day ago 0 replies      
I want a T-shirt which says "Jessica Livingston"! Very good advice overall.
ck2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Video of keynote by Jessica Livingston


draw_down 1 day ago 1 reply      
- Don't do bad stuff.- Do do good stuff.
1 day ago 1 day ago 3 replies      
I believe you're talking about Elizabeth Holmes.
1 day ago 1 day ago 3 replies      
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11871755 and marked it off-topic.
nutheracc 1 day ago 3 replies      
"...shares her learnings about..." -- this is not English. Failing in the second sentence.
outworlder 1 day ago 2 replies      
Overall, I found the reading very enjoyable. And down to earth, which is refreshing.

Until this part, that is:

> And you know where the founders of these big winners are going to come from? From this room!

Not sure how to view this part. On one hand, of course she's right. If no "unicorns" ever came from YC, they wouldn't be around still. But it seems to imply that all founders that are going to be wildly successful were in that room. That's either appealing to emotion for morale purposes, or way too elitist. Not sure which.

qznc 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Make something people want. This is YCs motto, and after 11 years and more than 1000 startups, I know we picked the right one.

I find this sad. It tells you something about humanity. Don't build something people need. Build what they want. Make it addictive. We either don't know what we need or if we know it, we still want something different.

Its cheaper to build multiple native applications than one responsive web app hueniverse.com
612 points by cdnsteve  1 day ago   301 comments top 85
donatj 1 day ago 10 replies      
I don't think that's remotely true if you keep the responsive web app simple. YNGNI and KISS and what not.

I've been doing this for over ten years. In that time I've seen large web applications built for under 4k; I've also seen massively overbuilt simple applications go for 50k+. It comes down to often how needlessly complex you make the stack.

If you stick with solid simple guaranteed tech instead of cutting edge you can knock a web app out relatively cheap and easy.

When it comes right down to it, 95% of web apps have two jobs. Present text to the user, take text from the user. Everything else is a nice to have. HTTP has been doing those two jobs amazingly well for decades. It's a solved problem, don't make it harder than it needs to be.

Lastly: Don't fight the browser. Design for the browser. Responsive is easy if you design for things to flow as the browser would have it. It's one of the biggest mistake I see so often. If a design requires you to fight the native behaviours of the browser, it's likely a bad design. Fight back against that junk, it just makes future work that much harder.

tl;dr Develop for the web of a couple years ago and not the web of today. It'll save you time and headaches.

hanginghyena 1 day ago 1 reply      
Seems like you're deferring one dragon for another.

Deliver the project got easier; "Control the customer" got significantly harder. You've now got someone's app store in the middle of your customer relationships and are exposed to approval drama, various forms of revenue squeeze, and other meddling from the platform owner. What happens if the folks running the platform decide to launch their own offering?

Speaking as another small developer, our solution to the cross-browser feature support is simple: anything that doesn't run on most modern browsers doesn't make the final design. If the customer doesn't bite on basic design, we don't expect a miraculous shift with the latest widgets.

donw 1 day ago 1 reply      
I can speak with some knowledge of a not-insignificant B2C company -- not my current gig -- that went down this exact same route some years ago.

Swore off mobile web in favor of pushing people to the app, because app conversions were much higher.

A satellite office broke away from the fold and implemented a responsive mobile site, immediately increasing their bottom-line revenue by 30%... and that's before doing any sort of conversion optimization.

The main office followed suit shortly thereafter... with a new head of engineering.

Native apps are no easier or harder to build than web apps. Equivalent level of difficulty in my experience, with apps being slightly harder because end-to-end testing needs to be done almost completely manually, and because the release cycle is partially outside of your control.

But for most businesses, you really, really do not want to neglect the mobile web.

Yes, conversion for in-app users is broadly higher across the board. But that's not because conversions suddenly spike when people use an app. Rather, your most dedicated users -- the ones most likely to convert -- are the ones that will install an app.

For the rest of us, if it's "app or bust", we will pick "bust".

As a consumer, I deal on an annual basis with probably over a hundred different companies. I do not want an app for each of those companies. And if you force me to download an app from the get-go, I will go to your competition.

54mf 1 day ago 13 replies      
"You want mobile notifications? Sure, but not on mobile Safari."

You can do this with PhoneGap.

"Multiple line ellipsis? Sure, but only on webkit."

Okay, yeah, this sucks.

"Consistent rendering size across browsers? Just fuck off."

This is probably your fault.

"We fix a layout bug on Safari and break something on Edge."

This is probably your fault.

"We change font size on Chrome and now all you can see on Firefox is the letter F."

This is probably your fault.

"How about hiding the address bar or controlling swipes from the left edge of the screen? Dont be stupid."

Stop trying to make the browser not a browser. Users hate when you hijack expected behavior. (See: Imgur.)

"Oh, and dont get me started on all these new custom mobile keyboards you can use and how autocomplete can fuck with your input box events."

You can disable autocomplete. Did you mean predictive word suggestions?

TL;DR: "We tried to make a responsive web app act like a native app and it didn't work because it doesn't work, and that makes me a grumpy goose."

untog 1 day ago 0 replies      
Even if this is true, I doubt it's a wise idea, given that the average US consumer downloads zero apps per month:


Unless you're in a very fortunate niche, you can't afford to not do the web. You can afford to not do apps.

jordanlev 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't like how the author mocks other people who make decisions based on money over ideals:

> That group, btw, has mostly sold out taking high paying jobs at Facebook and Google, and have not heard from since

...but then later justifies his argument to forsake his ideals because "hey I've got a business to run":

> I dont need you to troll me on Twitter and tell me how Im betraying the web and the free fucking world. I am just trying to keep my startup going.

tmaly 1 day ago 2 replies      
I can totally relate to some of this.

If you take a look at Meeker's 2016 Internet trends report that came out last week, you will see that 3 apps dominate 80% of the usage on phones. I decided when I started my food side project a year back, that I was not going to do a native app.

I have been trying to make the front end look better, but I did not want to use very heavy frameworks, so I settled on using the SASS mixin library Bourbon.io along with the grid and a few others the company provides.

The css that is produces is very tight, and I can save on developer costs. I should say, save on finding another front end developer as the one I was using took some money and ran.

0xsnowcrash 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think this is a bit of "grass is greener" syndrome.

I developed web apps for 14 years before building ios apps for 5 years.

The last couple of years I've worked on both native apps and responsive web sites.

Both can be pains in the ae. But the pain points are different.

Both are moving rapidly. eg Ios: having to rejig xibs to storyboards was annoying.

Css: Supporting older versions of IE has been a pain.

I could go on at length but plenty of people have already done so.

Illniyar 1 day ago 0 replies      
There might be something to the headline but the content isn't delivering.

1. You can't compare making an ios and android app to making an app for every bloody broweser, I mean you could just as easily built your webite to safari and chrome for mobile. You want a true cost comparision compare building an app for universal windows, and mac and linux.Of course if you reduce the scope of your app's access you are going to get reduced costs.

2. Building a messaging app is probably the least appropriate and one of the hardest things to build with web technologie( after a game).Use the appropriate technology for your app.

3. By your remarks on how costly mobile developers are, I'm guessing you've hired to inexpierenced web developrs. Get expierenced developers who know the limitations and best practices and you wont encounter so many issues.

brlewis 1 day ago 1 reply      
"One app for iOS, one for Android, and I got over 90% consumer coverage"

What's the consumer coverage for Mobile Chrome + Mobile Safari? Giving up on total cross-browser compatibility doesn't have to mean writing native apps.

jaredcwhite 1 day ago 0 replies      
This article might have had some resonance a couple of years ago. Today it's just not the reality. Mobile apps are running into major engagement issues. App Stores are loosing their value prop and running towards web-like SaaS pricing models (Apple's hand was basically forced here).

On the other hand, mobile web browsers are way better than they ever have been. Desire to maximize web performance instead of allowing bloatware JS and ad cruft is at all-time high of industry awareness. Many mobile apps are "hybrids" anyway. Basecamp 3's new mobile apps are good examples of how you can create a pretty solid experience with a sensible mix of native and web-based functionality.

In other words, the open web is actually in better shape now technologically than several years ago. If only the big VC-backed SV startups would see that instead of chasing their tails trying to grab app users' ever decreasing attention.

ksenzee 1 day ago 2 replies      
When you multiply that 90% consumer coverage by the percentage of people who will install your app when you ask them to, it's going to knock down your 90% pretty considerably.
ams6110 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're a two person startup quit building on quicksand. Use stuff that works. Once you have some users you can start venturing towards the bleeding edge of what's possible.
seanwilson 1 day ago 1 reply      
Meh, supporting a couple of iOS versions and a couple of Android versions for a native app along with device specific quirks is as much of a pain as supporting Firefox, Chrome, Safari and IE. Also, maintaining two code bases for native Android and iOS apps is a massive investment compared to a single web app code base.
wesleyfsmith 1 day ago 3 replies      
Ehhhh, I really haven't had these issues with any of the meteor apps I've made. Even getting swiping and full page animation transitions has been relatively simple. My experience is anecdotal, but I actually left being android developer to do mobile web and I've found the experience to be far easier.
z3t4 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Yes, you can build 2007 websites much better now. They will be consistent across platforms and perform great.

There you have it. Using bleeding edge features will create a lot of problems. First you need to figure out what type of users you want to target, PC users with 24 inch monitors and keyboard? Or 12 year olds with iPads? But still, for your software to really work across as many units as possible, and continue to work for years, you have to look what existed 5-10 years ago, and only use those features that are still standard.

I have a mobile phone that no longer gets updates. It is HTML 5 compatible, so it should handle everything that is not bleeding edge, but still many web pages, for example medium.com does not work!

I remember being a web developer ten years ago, it was your professional duty do make sure it was pixel perfect on existing GUI based browsers and even look good on the text based ones. I think web dev's today is too quick to jump on the latest and greatest.

If you take a look at the browser features that existed 5-10 years ago, it's way behind the native phone app experience! It seems browser vendors totally missed the mobile explosion, and only lately have begun to catch up! Considering how fast the web tech moves now though, the future for web dev looks bright. I think that in in 5-10 years, the mobile browser experience will be on pair or even ahead of native, at least considering dev experience and cross device/platform support.

joeyspn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Comparing "responsive web apps" with native mobile apps? Really? What about cordova/phonegap/ionic?

Don't blame the web because you made a poor decision picking your tech stack (or hiring your devs). Nowadays a single webdev can ship OSX, Android and Windows apps with frameworks like Ionic... in weeks.

Starters (there are hundreds) help a lot: https://market.ionic.io/starters

sawthat 1 day ago 1 reply      
(note: I've met Eran a few times, he is very smart and I respect his opinion)

Note aside: this is one of those "it really depends" kind of situations. For many cases native apps are always going to be cheaper to build. For others the web is just much better. It seems like the problem Eran is describing is more of a labor shortage. It's really, really difficult to hire good web developers. I have no idea why this is.

mikeryan 1 day ago 2 replies      
One app for iOS, one for Android, and I got over 90% consumer coverage

However with a huge friction point of requiring users to download and install an app.

bryanlarsen 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sure, it may be cheaper to build an Android app and an iOS app than it is to build a responsive web app. I'll buy that.

But most customers want an Android app, an iOS app and a web site for desktop.

It's certainly cheaper to build that desktop webapp if you don't have to make it mobile-y, but is it cheaper to build an Android app, an iOS app and a desktop webapp than it is to build a responsive webapp?

cjcenizal 1 day ago 1 reply      
Pro-tip: You can make your article sound like it's been written by a grown-up if you find/replace all instances of the word "fucking" and "fuck" with "".
jflatow 1 day ago 1 reply      
'www' should stand for wild, wild, web. In many ways, the web is a technology frontier, with all the frustration and liberation that goes along with it.

I sympathize with the author. The problem is trying to tame the web, as opposed to embracing it for what it is.

llamataboot 1 day ago 0 replies      
"native app developers seems to think $50K is the smaller amount you should bill for a native app these day"

Ummm, yeah, I would say $50k would cover a small native app using Parse or similar or an extremely light backend. Even a medium size native app is going to run $100-150k. That's the price of software development if it's happening in the US.

r2dnb 1 day ago 0 replies      
One thing we tend to forget as developers is that in any industrial process, there needs to be technical limitations enforcing requirements before requirements enforce technical specifications. We tend to be too easy because everything seems achievable with software systems.

A project should start by considering political things such as: is it smart to have this particular application hosted in a marketplace. Right after that, the chief engineer should be consulted to know the technical approach (platform, stack, etc...) that should be used, and the technical limitations that the requirements should observe to allow the development effort to be successful and efficient.

The more self-imposed technical constraints are observed, the more successful and easy the development will be - and passed a certain point, the more difficult it becomes to sell the product or service.

Applying this reasoning to the article, to me the problem is the very thing they have decided to develop.

bradscarleton 1 day ago 0 replies      
Responsive web apps are difficult to build, however settling for native Android and iOS is not sufficient for comparison since he's leaving out the desktop (so he should probably include Windows and OSX for some level of parity for what a responsive web app can do).

The real underlying problem is the state of the mobile web browser, which neither Apple nor Google have much incentive to improve due to their revenue generating app stores. That's not to say that there wouldn't still be some major differences between native apps and mobile web (especially in the discovery / delivery department), but if you had better feature parity between these platforms I think rants like this guys would be fewer and farther between.

tl;dr: He picked the wrong technology platform for his product, therefore since it didn't work for his use case, it must be fundamentally broken.

gmarcus 22 hours ago 0 replies      
How about a real world example.

tl;dr The Hybrid app took longer to ship (+ 20%), and was more expensive (+ 525%)

We were able to participate in a unique experiment:- Develop a native app for iOS and Android at the same time a separate team was developing the exact same app as Hybrid (Cordova/React).

The app had 20 screens and used modern UX (onboarding, profiles, hamburger menus, alerts, GPS, content rich screens (text/images/video) with lists/details talking to a backend REST API with local/offline/sync'd storage.

Native = 8 man/weeks

- 1 iOS dev for 4 weeks- 1 Android dev for 4 weeks

Hybrid = 50 man/weeks

- 5 Hybrid devs 10 weeks

You can argue that the 5 devs had overhead in communication and project management, but we observed that was not a major contributing factor.

The above was for app development (not the server). Hybrid app required the same amount of QA as the Native app.

pfooti 1 day ago 0 replies      
Mobile Chrome + Mobile Safari would be a great way to cover enough bases to make a good responsive web app reach a huge audience. The core problem is that Mobile Safari is really quite frustrating in a lot of ways.

As a simple example, I had a bug with some of the dialogs and menu popups I was using not rendering in Mobile Safari. It turns out that if you have a div that is a child (in the DOM) of a div that has overflow: hidden, that child will not be rendered outside of the clipping box of the parent, even if the child div is position: absolute and at a higher z-index than the parent. This works differently in chrome.

There are plenty of workarounds available, but the basic strategy of creating a position: relative context and having a position: absolute floating menu / dialog that's rendered near the button that creates it won't work if your menu bar has overflow: hidden on it. But then you have to make sure you've got your menubar set up well so that it doesn't become super-tall in narrow screens, because you specified overflow: visible. Or you have to put your floating divs elsewhere in the DOM tree and specify their position as fixed and manually calculate where to put them using javascript.

It's things like this that frustrate me the most in working with safari - I'm constantly wrestling with a rendering stack that doesn't seem to do what I want (it was only in recent versions that I could stop setting flex-basis: 0.01px instead of flex-basis: auto (on safari) like I do everywhere else on divs that had only text children that I wanted to make expand but also become multiline text instead of pushing everything way out to the right. And don't get me started on safari's support for indexeddb, let alone the other neat features that chrome is supporting to make mobile just plain better.

I'm at the point now where I'd literally be willing to tell my users: "install chrome for iOS" if it were actually chrome, instead of supporting safari. But instead, I deal with the sort of resonance back-and-forthing when I fix a safari layout bug that introduces oddities in chrome's renders.

amasad 1 day ago 1 reply      
>The web is the future. The web will always be the future. But thats the problem. I need to ship products now.

It's like tomorrow is always tomorrow -- it is never today. One thing that bothers me about the web dev community is the insistence that technology has a will of it's own. As if the web will just eventually win no matter what. I consider myself an advocate for the Web but it needs to be good or better than the alternatives.

So, joke aside, it doesn't follow from the rant that the web is the future. It follows that there is a lot of work that needs to happen before you can say it might be part of the future.

mozey 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Do I miss IE6? As a CEO, actually yes." Seriously? Article should just have started with this, then I wouldn't have had to read the rest.
siegecraft 1 day ago 0 replies      
The core of his argument really boils down to: I have to do it this way because my audience is 12 year olds and this is what they want. A good lesson in knowing your customer I guess. But I don't think the conclusion is useful for most people.

Another thing that stood out to me: "a closed ecosystem will always deliver higher quality in any given moment." Which is so absolute it's ridiculously easily disproved, even while being true at certain points.

joehewitt 1 day ago 0 replies      
I used publicly whine quite a lot in favor of open web standards. When the specs were simpler, this made more sense, but as they grew more and more complex I felt overwhelmed with the chore of developing cross-browser apps. The investment of time required just didn't make sense anymore, and I felt like the only way to serve the web was to develop simple content-focused pages, and leave any complex functionality to native apps.
petermolyneux 1 day ago 0 replies      
I built this app with web tech. It was sweaty, and I many times wished that I had gone native. But now that it's done it is something native could never be :) http://www.oneviewcalendar.com
Joeri 1 day ago 1 reply      
The web's view layer, html and css, has the wrong granularity for building precise ui. Html's controls are too high level for pixel perfect manipulation, and too low level for easy assembly into rich ui. CSS meanwhile tries to get you to make general rules that interact to produce a precise rendering, which you never quite achieve because there are always unintended side effects of the rules. No native view api works like this, and for good reason. Since these technologies are almost entirely but not quite unsuitable for building a native-like view layer, people build abstractions around them to approximate the view layer api any native ui gives you. But then the problem becomes one of synchronizing the facade view to the real view, hence ten thousand templating and layout frameworks, all while continually dealing with the leaky nature of the abstraction.

I guess what i'm saying is that i believe in the principles of the web, but i think html and css are terrible technologies that do a disservice to those principles.

volune 1 day ago 0 replies      
Problem is no one wants to download your native app.
ciokan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Agree with everything except with the numbers. Users won't install your app that much so it goes to a balance. It depends of course on the application itself but, since you're struggling so hard to go 'web', I presume it might be a mobile version of a website. I visit a lot of websites each day but do I install everything those websites suggest? No!
jokoon 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd say it again: break compatibility and make an open, preparsed/compiled/binary HTML format. You'll get several order of magnitude speed increase and reduced memory consumption in browsers (parsing text is expensive). Something a little similar to microsoft .CHM file format.

So instead of having a competition in browsers, you'll have competition is the HTML parsers that developers will use.

No more messy W3C messy standard which is VERY hard and ambiguous to parse for any browser.

I've repeated that rant so often, I might start making a simple example of what I'm talking about. We just MUST abandon the text only approach. It allowed the internet to thrive without microsoft's attempt to make money with it. But today browsers are so ubiquitous, all that there is to do is enable browsers to just render binary HTML, which would just be a tree of rectangles and styles, so really simple. I think.

mark_l_watson 1 day ago 2 replies      
The author of the article ignores user experience: it is much nicer to use a web app than install yet another app. Personally I don't like installing web apps, even if they don't ask for a lot of permissions. Also re: notifications: I think most users don't like to be interupted by notifications.
unicornporn 1 day ago 1 reply      
VERY relevant article: https://govinsider.asia/smart-gov/why-britain-banned-mobile-...

Ben Terrett was former head of design at the UK Government Digital Service and he wholehearted disagrees.

eggy 1 day ago 0 replies      
> How many of our web evangelist are using an Apple laptop, the most closed ecosystem around?

He's got a point here. I gave up my MBPs for a Win 10/Linux notebook, and I've come across some opensource and commercial projects I hadn't noticed only worked on OS X and Windows (MAX/MSP). Sometimes Linux is supported, but as a third, less-supported option (Mathematica 10.4).

Maybe it's because I made the change that I am focused on this now, but every talk I watch has the Apple logo.

I've noticed some older coders with cred are rocking Lenovos and 3 to 5 year old laptops. I used keep a laptop for 4 or more years, but now I am guilty of 'upgrading' every 2 to 3 years.

z0r 1 day ago 1 reply      
>But it pisses me off every time I see a Twitter thread about how native apps are destroying the free world.

I can't understand this sentiment the author claims to see. Web apps are generally going to be less free than native apps. A native app doesn't have to be open and a web app doesn't have to be open, but a web app is definitely going to require that you connect to the host, will probably keep all your data stored away from your grasp on its servers, and may change its functionality and terms of service at any time. Native apps can share many or all of these traits but at least there's a chance you can control a copy of the software. The web is a terrible software platform for users.

ProfChronos 1 day ago 0 replies      
Really excessive and sometimes completely out of the road:"Open standards are always going to be inferior to closed ones. How many of our web evangelist are using an Apple laptop, the most closed ecosystem around?"You have many open standards that are superior to closed ones, simply because it unleashes creativity of the community. Many techies use Apple because they build an amazing user experience, based on a closed but very large ecosystem - go to the App Store and you'll see most of the apps you need
nikdaheratik 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can sense the frustration, but I don't think it's the web's problem necessarily, and I've done work in both areas. Some ideas just don't work well in a web browser, because despite 20 years of attempts to force it down that path, a web browser isn't the same as something like Flash, let alone a native software stack. There are more stakeholders than just the app development people, and they don't always care about the same things you do.
enturn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I completely agree with the article. I joined a startup a few years ago and we went mostly native on Android and iOS with some simple screens as web views shared between them. Later on some clients wanted desktop and Windows Phone versions so we built a lesser featured version as a website to cater for any other devices (adding features as necessary). We started out as 3 software developers and a designer and are expanding. Native apps was a more cost effective way to deliver a good experience while the competition mostly developed web apps resulting in a lesser experience in my opinion.
return0 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good luck having the users download your app. I use everything from the browser, including gmail and twitter (both load faster and don't bother me with notifications). However I hate how they prompt me to download the native apps every fucking time (obligatory). I actually wonder, what are the action rates for those app install prompts?

If you don't play games there is barely a reason to download an app ever.

And really how bad or difficult is the mobile web? Use bootstrap and you have a pretty fine experience. I think we are focusing too much on slick experience instead of offering something useful.

ChrisArgyle 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you miss Ted Dziuba's writing at Unvoc you will thoroughly enjoy this article
csours 1 day ago 0 replies      
You should still STRONGLY PREFER Web Apps. The cost and headaches of a web app will be MUCH LOWER than native or even hybrid app development.

BUT, if you need a Native App, make a Native App and don't try to fake it on Web.

Glyptodon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there some rule that startup CEOs have to say "fuck" a lot?
anuraj 1 day ago 0 replies      
We do the same - each of our Android and iOS developers can complete a medium complexity app in 2 months flat without any issues - Web - not so much - while initial work is done much faster - it takes ages to tackle responsiveness issues even with Bootstrap. So although our web apps are responsive - we still provide native Android and iOS apps to clients. I don't see web apps replacing native apps anytime soon.
takno 1 day ago 2 replies      
A lot of the issues here are with mobile Safari. I agree it completely sucks just due to how behind Safari are with ES6. On the upside the work is complete to fix this in dev releases, so there's a very good chance that we're 3 months or so away from a large step change. I'm not planning on releasing anything in the next 3 months, so that timetable is okay for me, YMMV
jtmarmon 1 day ago 0 replies      
It might be true that it's a pain in the ass to write a responsive web app, but that doesn't mean it's not worth it. Users are unlikely to download a mobile app just because you say so.

Of course YMMV. If you have control over what the user does like some kind of internal enterprise app then go for it.

padseeker 1 day ago 5 replies      
I understand and empathize with the author's aggravation. But cheaper? Really?

So iOs and Android are more than 90% of the market. You are telling me that it is cheaper to build and maintain 2 separate apps and pass on the remaining part of the market than have one app that covers everything?

Android device support is supposed to be a nightmare - there are so many versions to contend with, each device manufacturer can customize things.

iOS is easier to support but fighting with Apple can be quite the ordeal.

Using the web means you bypass these other issues but have to contend with the ones cited in the article. It sounds like pick your poison.

I could conceive that after the initial cost of building 2 separate apps, for iOS and Android, that perhaps it is less aggravating and costly to maintain them, as opposed to dealing with the web. However how complicated is the UI for the web apps? Can't you keep it simple? Unless you can show numbers I cannot in my wildest dreams believe that building and maintain 1 web app is more than twice the cost of building and maintaining 2 separate native apps.

What are you building that requires building a 2016 Web app with every new feature? Maybe that is your problem.

tonyle 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if multiple native app is still cheaper than maintaining multiple different web builds.

Reminds me of this library I stumbled across.


People either respond with this is cool or your going against the web when I told them about it.

chadcmulligan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Have a look at Delphi if you want cross platform native apps https://www.embarcadero.com/products/delphi. It's very easy, $50K would take you a very long way.
danjayh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Key takeaway: "Open standards are always going to be inferior to closed ones." This is totally true, but as the author notes, open standards still have their place.

Also, I realize he's mad, but he really needs to expand his expletive vocabulary :)

evo_9 1 day ago 1 reply      
Since the article doesn't touch on specific I'm wondering where React Native falls regarding all this. I'm considering using it for our pending iOS and Android apps, seems like a no-brainer at this point versus true native.
njharman 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Building" is very small part of software life cycle.

Is it also cheaper to bug fix, add features to, update apps when each native platform updates, hire developers who know details of each platform, etc.

nsxwolf 1 day ago 0 replies      
This person is angry. I can't imagine that if someone was ridiculing me on Twitter for destroying the free internet I'd care enough to start swearing up a storm.
lsiebert 1 day ago 0 replies      
My current employer bought the app I work on from my previous employer. It embeds websites in webviews with JS-Objective-C/JS-Java bridges so they can make native calls. You get most if not all the benefits of native apps, native UI when you really want it, quicker iteration then the App Store, and can build in whatever stack you want. Of course I've had to follow an intermittent bug from the rails back end, to the angular front end, to the native java and up to the companies api servers before, so YMMV.
andrewclunn 1 day ago 1 reply      
He forgot to mention how web frameworks come and go, and then you've got this legacy code nightmare. Also breaking upgrades and dependency hell. I'm a front end web developer, and yeah. If your building something simple, the web is the way to go, but his complaints are totally on spot.
WalterSear 1 day ago 1 reply      
No it's not. Get better designers - ones who understand responsive design, and developers who speak modern javascript.
gallonofmilk 1 day ago 0 replies      
at first I rolled my eyes but by the end I was filled with sympathy and agreement! spot on!
hartator 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it's interesting to know that native apps need to be responsive as well.
mkem 1 day ago 0 replies      
The requirement logic of my benefactors necessitated no less...
jtwebman 1 day ago 1 reply      
Has he looked at mixed tech like React? Get web tech with native controls!
Bino 1 day ago 0 replies      
You're clearly doing it wrong...
fallo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, I'll take all of that instead of the fg cp the native gives me from all the bright minds at ge, ae and mt, anytime. The future is here.
myoxide1337 1 day ago 0 replies      
Makes sense and reminds me of 2006-2007 when this was a big topic in the US with Android and Windows mobile apps with Apple in the passenger seat
sidneys 1 day ago 0 replies      
you're wrong. dead wrong. about 2012 was the turning point in this game...
mmanfrin 1 day ago 0 replies      
But which is easier to maintain?
EGreg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seriously... there should be a framework that takes care of all that for you.

We built this framework. And it took us four YEARS. Ok, it also does a ton more stuff than just make the app work across devices.

But, the web rocks. Seriously. PhoneGap lets you basically stuff the web app into a fullscreen shell and go to town. And the best part is that you gey to control updates, totally legally without Apple holding you up. Have a front-end bug? Fix it for everyone tomorrow! Have a new feature you want to roll out to only 5% of your users? YOU CAN! And then A/B test it. Whoa. Like how would you A/B test with the app store? Yeah, that.

Also... when invitation links are clicked, where do you think the mobile user goes?


And so... you need a web experience anyway, that does more than say "Please download our app. Here is a nice picture and description so you can clutter your phone now."

And finally... web push notifications? Yes, this is one of the TWO BIGGEST THINGS MISSING in iOS Safari. (The other is access to the address book, with permission of course.)

But I think that's about to change at WWDC. Android Chrome has Web Push!

jcoffland 1 day ago 0 replies      
What this article needs is more F-bombs. Otherwise it's ranty but makes some good points.
dalacv 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like the last line
myoxide1337 1 day ago 0 replies      
Makes sense
chriswwweb 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think "web apps" are as problematic today than they were several years ago. I don't say this because I hope web apps will be the future of app development, but because together with a few other devs we have built such an app at the company I work for. I think the result is a success but unfortunately I didnt have enough time to write about our experience yet. I hope I will have the time to so anytime soon.

Yes the development costs are super important, especially for small companies / startups. As important is the performance of your app(s) and also super important is the usability of such an app. If the development costs are much higher than building native apps besides your website, then you failed. If your app is slow and unresponsive then you failed. If your users dislike the app because it is not smooth like a native app and feels sluggish then you failed.

But does this mean that building mobile web apps is impossible, I dont think so. We did several things that helped us to keep the costs as low as possible and for sure much lower than if we would have written server, apps and client code using different languages / frameworks and libraries.

Our server side code, the code of our web apps as well as (obviously) our client (browser) code are written in javascript. We have used typescript to write all our code, this allowed us to use the latest ES6 features and gave us features like strict typing. The ES6 features we have most used are promises and classes. Typescript compiles our ES6 code into ES5 UMD modules. We choosed Visual Studio as IDE as it compiles typescript on the fly, which allowed as to quickly test new code almost in real time. We also used the node js tools for visual studio which allowed us to use the node js debugger from within our IDE. Setting breakpoints (typescript creates Javascript to TypeScript source maps), reading stack traces or watching variables was a piece of cake.

We have built an isomorphic website first. Our server side got built on top of express js (node js). All our modules and libraries are UMD modules, which means that more than 95% of the code we wrote is the same that we use on the server and in the client. We have built a server views renderer using Backbone and domino. Our collections and models are the same on the server and in the client, the only difference are the adapters we wrote to make ajax or server side requests. We use the same router on the server and in the client, which means the first page that gets served is always built on the server but the next pages are built in the client. This also means that crawlers can harvest our pages but for users we only retrieve the data needed to build the pages from server and do all other work in the client, which makes the pages load very quickly. We also had to write a cache library once, the only difference again are their adapters, the server adapter of our caching library saves objects into redis while our client adapter saves them in IndexedDB. A lot of things needed to built the pages get cached too, so each template, each translation and so on only needs to get fetched once by the client and can be reused until we publish an updated version of the item.

Our web apps are built using phonegap. Again 95% of the code of our apps is the same as the code that is being used by the client (browsers). Obviously we had to write clean and powerful code to ensure that our apps come as close as possible to the speed that people expect from a native app. We had to track every minor memory leak, especially those that occur when binding events to ensure that our apps use a minimum of memory. This was not only important for the web apps but also for the node js code. A memory leak is something you really dont want to have when writing a nodejs app ;).

I think what helped us to keep the costs low, was that we used the same language and therefore resulting code for the client, server and apps. But this did not only allow us to work quickly, it will also allow us to add new features quickly in the future. If we now write a new feature, as soon as we release it, it will be available to users that use our website as well as users that are using our Android / iOS apps either on their phone or tablet. The same is true for bugs, if we find a bug in the client and fix it, it will be fixed for all our platforms.

The other big advantage was that all the know-how we had but especially the one we acquired during the time we needed to build our project did benefit all our platforms. We didnt have to optimize our Java code for Android our Objective-C or Swift code for iOS and our PHP, Ruby or .Net code for the server. We just needed to optimize our Javascript code. We reduced the amount of platform / language specific problems to a minimum. It is really great when all your devs use (speak) the same language ;).

api 1 day ago 0 replies      
At age 38 I'm a little bit of an oldster for this industry, and I remember PCs in the 80s. I was a kid but that's when I learned to code and I distinctly remember what it was like.

It was a lot like today: loads of fragmentation and loads of vertical 'silos' with their own peculiar way of doing things.

Until the late 1980s you had a million little vertically integrated platforms: Apple II, TRS-80, Commodore 64, TI-99, IBM PC, etc. Even within manufacturers you had major incompatibilities, like Commodore VIC-20 vs. Commodore 64. Those were almost totally different machines.

Then the explosion of cheap IBM PC/AT clones changed all that and killed all the smaller players. There was a brief period from about 1988 until roughly 1999 when we had essentially one platform MS/Intel. That was MS-DOS and Windows, and the latter would usually run DOS apps. You also had one UI metaphor: the mouse and the keyboard and the screen. You had some hardware fragmentation but if you were targeting OS APIs and not trying to be bare metal it wasn't too hard to deal with. You mostly had one platform you could target and get 90%+ of the end-user market.

No more. Today if you want that 90th percentile of the user base you have to roll at least three completely different UIs at a minimum. Either that or you go all-web, which as this author correctly points out is a major headache if you want something that's mobile friendly. We've had good luck with bootstrap+react but it is more work than targeting a single native platform. (Not sure if I buy that many native platforms are more work... probably depends on the stack.)

On one hand all this diversity is interesting, but on the other hand if you just want to ship a damn product it's infuriating. It's also true on the backend: you have at least six Linux distributions, Docker, a million different 'stacks', clouds like Amazon building closed mainframe platforms like lambda, etc.

sockopen 1 day ago 0 replies      
dang 1 day ago 4 replies      
Although a rant, this is also pretty substantive. We've replaced the baity title with a representative sentence from the article in the hope that commenters will follow suit.
moribondus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Consider the following problem. If this very question is relevant, then your project is not.

Would it have mattered what they had picked for Google Search? A web site or an app? No. It would not have made any difference.

If what you are building is compelling to its users, they will want it badly. Otherwise, regardless of how well you package it, it will be a waste of time.

You see, for example, companies choose SAP, and then they buy the servers, desktops, and other hardware and software that is suitable for running in a SAP context.

Nobody cares whether the SAP client is a desktop GUI or a web client. It is immaterial. In other words, if that kind of things matter, your program doesn't.

1 day ago 1 day ago 1 reply      
Personal attacks aren't allowed on Hacker News. We ban accounts that do this, so please don't. Instead, find a civil, substantive way to make your point.

We detached this comment from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11871902 and marked it off-topic.

prozaic 1 day ago 0 replies      
if web is future then future is now!
meerita 1 day ago 0 replies      
1 dev = all5 device dev = 5 apps

1 dev 100k1*5 500k in salaries

Kazamai 1 day ago 1 reply      
I guess he hasn't heard of React Native...
mknocker 1 day ago 0 replies      
What about developing a core codebase to build an app for different platforms (including the web)? There are framework out there that can help you do that. At least in C++ (this is the language I use the most).
josh_carterPDX 1 day ago 1 reply      
And if only there were solutions that made it easier to prototype and get your backend running faster. It could make it even cheaper to make native apps. end: self serving response :)
Gawker Files for Bankruptcy, Will Be Put Up for Auction wsj.com
497 points by apsec112  22 hours ago   524 comments top 45
grellas 20 hours ago 24 replies      
A few thoughts:

1. The pressure point here was a court ruling declining to stay enforcement of the $140M judgment pending appeal. This left Gawker having to post a $50M bond in order to avoid enforcement proceedings by which its assets could have been seized and its business literally dismantled. Gawker may or may not ultimately prove to have a successful basis upon which to get this judgment reversed but, without a stay of enforcement, it had no way of staying alive until it could have the matter decided by the appellate courts. No stay, no hope.

2. The bankruptcy filing, then, forces Gawker to give up its business but gives a vehicle by which the parties in interest behind the company can get $100+M by which to continue the fight through appeal in hopes of getting the judgment reversed and presumably leaving them with some significant value to salvage from what is now a desperate situation.

3. Concerning the social policy question here, it has repeatedly been framed as whether it is proper for a super-wealthy individual to fund another party's litigation to get payback or for some other suspect reason and what implications this has on the news media. This is a proper question but it is framed too narrowly. The broader question is whether the law should permit any third-party funding of litigation where the funder has otherwise has no connection with the merits of the dispute. Historically, the answer to that question was an emphatic no. Indeed, that sort of activity was defined as a crime - specifically, the crime of "maintenance." The statutes defining this crime originated in England and dated back the 1200's and so could truly be called ancient of origin. Basically, the idea back then was that feudal lords should not be permitted to use their wealth to interfere with legal process and thereby to potentially corrupt. By the 1700's, William Blackstone summed up the nature of the offense (as part of his famous work summing up all of the English common law) by defining maintenance as "officious intermeddling in a suit that no way belongs to one" and called it an "offense against public justice, as it keeps alive strife and contention and perverts the remedial process of the law into an engine of oppression." In contrast to this long-established hostility toward the interfering use of wealth to influence the judicial process, modern attitudes (dating back at least 50 years) came to see more litigation as being good for society as it could be used as a tool to help correct inequities in society - hence the litigation explosion. Owing to this changed attitude, many erstwhile barriers to open-ended litigation came tumbling down and along with them came the near-universal repeal of the crime of maintenance (and the related offenses of "champerty" and "barratry"). With this repeal, it became open season for any wealthy person wanting to fund anybody else's litigation for whatever purpose suited him. If people have a problem with that, that is the issue that should be addressed and not a narrow issue involving added protections for the press only. Litigation abuse is litigation abuse; if it is bad for the press, it is bad as well for other victims in society.

4. To illustrate how this sort of intermeddling tainted the processes in this case: lawyers routinely will add claims that will bring in insurance defense coverage to ensure that they can collect on any judgment but here the lawyers were directed to exclude a claim that would have allowed Gawker to bring in its insurer to cover costs of defense and potentially any judgment; parties also routinely will make serious efforts to settle any high-stakes litigation at various critical points but here it was all scorched-earth all the way to the bitter end with no prospect of the parties achieving a reasonable settlement along the way.

I don't think too many people will shed a tear over the demise of Gawker but the public policy issue here is an important one. Can the modern mindset - so enamored with the supposed benefits of expanding redress through litigation - ever go back to reinstating laws forbidding "maintenance"? I doubt it. But perhaps the time is right for a debate and reconsideration. I think we are otherwise left a little unsettled over what the promiscuous scattering of third-party money throughout the courts might do. Whatever it is, it likely is not good.

whack 21 hours ago 11 replies      
Libel and slander have no place in a functioning democracy. By building an entire business model around such practices, Gawker is not only spreading disinformation, it is also crowding out more reputable news sources that could have better helped inform the public.

The only criticism I can give in this entire tale, is that it shouldn't take a billionaire to sue and win judgement against slanderous publishers. Such recourse should be made available to every common man, regardless of wealth.

But still, progress is only ever made, one step at a time. Good riddance to Gawker.

nostromo 21 hours ago 23 replies      
Gawker may have been terrible, but we should all be a bit concerned at the precedent this sets.

It's sort of like defending the free speech of terrible groups like the KKK. We do it because we treasure free speech, not because we support the KKK.

I generally have positive feelings about Thiel, but his actions here make me very uneasy. I worry that the aristocracy will now use this method to try and close down unfavorable media outlets. I believe this will have a chilling effect on the media in the US.

josh_carterPDX 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Gawker didn't fail because of anything other than a complete lack of integrity. They were aggressive, manipulative, and unethical. I remember we had a co-working space where Gawker had some people. We couldn't say shit out loud and had to make sure our screens could not be seen by anyone else in the building. There's nothing more unnerving than actually feeling as though someone was watching/stalking you. This company and the people they employed were vultures. To call this thing a publication is an insult to people who are actually digging up stories that have an impact to society. This was worse than the National Enquirer and the world is a better place without them part of it. Good riddance.
dh8 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Coming out of the closet was a really painful process for myself and some of my gay friends. The pain that gawker has caused to many gay individuals is pathetic and indefensible (outing theil, publishing industry executive, etc.). I will have a drink to their downfall tonight.
baldfat 22 hours ago 8 replies      
Messed up lawsuit and I actually don't know what to think.

1) Gawker was garbage dwelling story makers. I am glad they aren't going to do stories anymore.

2) Who will it be the next time something happens like this will it be a actual journalist and good content producer that gets sued to death? Scared for journalist????

Also would be nice to see LifeHacker survive this.

rm_-rf_slash 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Gossip rags come and go. As long as there are celebrities there will be celebrity tabloids.

Privately funding a lawsuit for someone else so you can settle a grudge is ethically dubious, at best.

The American system of allowing juries instead of judges to set reward amounts only ultimately benefits overpaid lawyers, and society as a whole is worse off from the damages of frivolous lawsuits.

That's all I think there really is to say about that...

julian88888888 21 hours ago 0 replies      
here's a summary:

Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy Friday and the company will be put up for auction after a judge ruled that a $140 million jury judgment against it in a costly legal battle with former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan would stand.

The sale auction will begin with an opening bid of $100 million from the digital media company and publisher Ziff Davis LLC, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The sale was triggered after the judge overseeing the invasion-of-privacy case brought by Hulk Hoganwhose real name is Terry Bolleadeclined to issue a stay pending Gawkers appeal.

Proceeds from a sale will go into a fund to finance further litigation costs and cover whatever damages may ultimately be leveled following the appeals process, which could take years to resolve.

Two weeks ago, it emerged that Silicon Valley billionaire and investor Peter Thiel has been financing Mr. Bolleas legal fight and other such battles involving people who Mr. Thiel feels have been targeted unfairly by the media company.

mevile 21 hours ago 6 replies      
I don't like Gawker, but I like the idea of a billionaire being able to bankrupt news sites that he doesn't like even less.
adamnemecek 22 hours ago 6 replies      
And nothing of value was lost.
danso 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Sad in a way. AFAIK, Gawker is not only one of the few independent online media companies (VICE/Vox/BuzzFeed/BusinessInsider are heavily funded/owned by massive media conglomerates), it was one of the few media companies period making a healthy profit:


> The companys revenue had grown from about $5.3 million in 2006 to $43.8 million in 2014. It was consistently profitable, with a 2014 operating income of $6.7 million. Most importantly, it had an ambitious plan to create a lucrative new revenue stream by monetizing third-party content on its proprietary online publishing platform, Kinja, that promised to deliver the site from many of the increasing pressures facing ad-supported digital publishing.

I wouldn't be surprised if Gawker were the only online-only media company that was making profits in the range of millions. That Hogan video, which couldn't have brought in more than a good week's worth of traffic, was a fucking dumb way to flush a nearly billion dollar company down the toilet. For legal reasons, Gawker has publicly stood by the former editor who published the post (and then who went on to create another Gawker-like site [1], that immediately folded because of non-traffic), but I wonder if Gawker employees are privately treating him like a pariah.

[1] http://ratter.com/

soneca 21 hours ago 0 replies      
IMO, Thiel did not bought the justice, it only worked out fine for him because a just judge ruled that Gawker was wrong according to the law.

And those who think he de facto bought the law; they should fight for the justice system itself to be reformed, not shaming or trying to regulate who pays the lawyers bill (although I think it could be a public information).

univalent 21 hours ago 1 reply      
The size of the award is insane. Wrongful death suits are awarded far lower amounts.
markplindsay 21 hours ago 0 replies      
That's what happens when you're a news organization critical of Silicon Valley, and a tech billionaire doesn't like it. Which media outlet is next on Thiel's hit list?
olliej 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Its amazing how many people are coming to claim this is "100% awesome", but in another thread will say that reddit closing threads that share stolen nudes or preteen porn is censorship that should be illegal and is demonstrating the power of SJWs.
Fej 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Nothing of value was lost. Good riddance.

Of course, they may very well just end up under a new owner, which might change things... a little... hopefully.

jshevek 21 hours ago 0 replies      
As a fan of privacy rights, this pleases me.

Also, sites like Gawker benefit from encouraging the most base aspects of our culture. Seeing one head of the hydra getting chopped off isn't really progress, but it is satisfying.

leothekim 20 hours ago 0 replies      
The thing I have trouble reconciling is that the merits of the case were judged in a court of law and found in favor for Hogan and against Gawker. AFAICT, the fact that Thiel was funding Hogan's case only became widely known after the judgment. Honest question - would there have been the same judgment against Gawker if Thiel didn't fund the case?

I also have trouble understanding how what Gawker did as ethical journalism, relativistically speaking or otherwise. It's hard to compare a sex tape of a former wrestler to uncovering scandals in a major institution, like the Washington Post did for Watergate, the NY Times did with the Pentagon Papers, the Boston Globe with the sexual predation in the Catholic church, or even what every major media outlet published with the Monica Lewinsky affair. Publishing this sex tape was for clickbait, which is purely about metrics and much less about holding our institutions and public figures accountable for unethical or illegal activity.

pmarreck 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm torn between everyone having their privacy and ripping the band-aid off by exposing everyone's private life at once so we see how things really are instead of how we think them to be

For instance, I'd bet that many marriages are largely keeping up appearances while hiding some big secrets which would put the whole concept of "Western marriage" at risk (perhaps justifiably)

corin_ 22 hours ago 1 reply      
'The media company [...] had assets of $50 to $100 million and liabilities of $100 million to $500 million, filings showed.'


soheil 21 hours ago 0 replies      
It's worthwhile to remember free speech is not absolute. There are several cases where it's not considered free speech, here are some examples:Obscenity, Fighting words, Defamation (includes libel, slander) Child pornography, Perjury, Blackmail, Incitement to imminent lawless action, True threats, Solicitations to commit crimes.

I know people love to protect freedom of speech and I'm on that bandwagon, but please let's remember just because it appears freedom of speech is being violated doesn't mean it is (e.g. in cases were most people don't support something and it appears the mob rule is triumph, it should indeed be sign that something may be wrong but let's not use that sign as enough evidence that free speech is violated.) Sometimes it's not the freedom of speech that is being violated, but some person's rights.

cloudjacker 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Anybody want to set up a group buy for Jezebel? I want to shape what women think about to be more in line with my image of reality.

partially kidding

igorgue 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Thin skinned billionaires...
hoodoof 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Will Darth Thiel now give Hulk Hogan the money he won't get from the court outcome?

Or is Hulk Hogan left as just a pawn in the game, with the court victory but no payout?

intrasight 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Good riddance. They took a gamble and lost. That's business. That's life.
badloginagain 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Cant read because of paywall, but I have been following along with this "dramady." I wonder what form of invasive media will fill the void in Gawkers wake. If anyone thinks this is the end of Gawkers distasteful form of journalism they are very wrong.

Gawker worked. It was nasty, but it worked. Companies will form and fill the gap; but they'll be more resilient because they'll remember how Gawker fell.

elcapitan 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder what kind of horrible stuff they'll put up for sale that they probably didn't dare to publish themselves.
danvoell 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Does the auction include debt obligations?
alistproducer2 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Any lawyer here care ti tell why the following would not work?

1. Start new corporation2. Buy new set of domain name with said corporation3. Redirect Gawker (and other gawker sites) to new domains until they sell the carcass of the now-defunct Gawker.

willvarfar 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I just don't get why Gawker was an American company. If you want to do something sue-worthy, just base your legal self in some uncooperative country e.g. Russia?
jonah 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope Jalopnik survives largely intact. It's one of the better/more entertaining general car sites put there.
BFatts 19 hours ago 0 replies      
YAY! Score 1 for decency in the media!
incompletewoot 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if Thiel will follow the management around waiting to pounce on them doing something else, just to solidify his brand. Kinda like the IRS loves seeing reporting of people suffering from IRS & tax problems as an advertisement to not mess with the IRS.
jagger27 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Whatever the outcome, I hope Jalopnik sticks around.
ryanlol 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like Thiel going public crushed any hopes Gawker may have had of being able to acquire funding to fight the lawsuits.

Very well played by Thiel, whether or not you agree with what he did.

meira 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Liberals cheers for this, and get angry when Brazil blocks Whatsapp or Facebook. Logic. None.
sunstone 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Gawking at Gawker circling the sewer drain.
beatpanda 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Lovely to see Hacker News praising the wisdom of the billionaire who just managed to shut down a press outlet he didn't like. This new era of feudalism is off to a great start.
geerlingguy 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Some context, for those who haven't been following:

 - Peter Thiel, Tech Billionaire, Reveals Secret War with Gawker[1] - Hulk Hogan awarded payout over Gawker sex tapes[2] - $115M verdict in Hulk Hogan sex-tape lawsuit could wipe out Gawker[3]
[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11774588

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11315985

[3] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11318100

21 hours ago 21 hours ago 5 replies      
"A racist billionaire[1]"

Penn Jillette has a great saying on this (paraphrasing):

"Unless the person has explicitly said they're racist, claiming someone is racist requires the power to look into someone's heart, which no one has. The KKK and stormfront are very open that they are racists, and you can call those people racist because they say they are. You cannot make these sorts of claims without putting words into other people's mouth".

And you're putting words in someone's mouth. According to that article, Thiel believes that affirmative action is not helping the poor or disenfranchised, but is rather helping the middle and upper class people. Extrapolating racism from his statements is a giant leap in logic.

21 hours ago 21 hours ago 3 replies      
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11878202 and marked it off-topic.
benten10 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Don't anger the Billionaire. He can fund the Lawsuits longer than you can stay solvent.
nekosune 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh dear
synaesthesisx 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Ah, schadenfreude at its finest!
mc32 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Purveyors of news take note. Provide news. Don't engage in useless insight into peoples' personal peccadilloes which have little if any bearing on people at large. Don't be lured by the clickbait revenue model or trade in inconsequential lurid tales and try to pedal it as hard news.
Police use new device to seize money in bank accounts or on prepaid cards news9.com
606 points by jonstokes  3 days ago   496 comments top 87
joveian 2 days ago 0 replies      
Radley Balko talks about this article and has links to more details of past asset forfeiture abuses in Oklahoma:


downandout 2 days ago 3 replies      
Here's a fun little video from the manufacturer extolling the virtues and showing a demo of their device: https://youtu.be/XYbgnCi7NYI

These are some truly evil people. Apparently they can only target prepaid cards with this thing, which unsurprisingly will disproportionately affect people with lower incomes (the "unbanked"). According to the manufacturer's FAQ [1]:

Intel and ERAD-Recovery will only retrieve balances from open loop prepaid debit cards. Debit cards attached to a valid checking account or valid credit cards cannot be processed using the ERAD-Intel or ERAD-Recovery system.

Law enforcement already depends heavily upon lower income neighborhoods to justify their existence, and upon criminal convictions of poor people that can't defend themselves to keep up demand for prison and jail guards. Now they want to take the money of those they can't arrest, knowing that their targets cannot afford to hire lawyers to get it back.

[1] https://www.erad-group.com/faqs

linkregister 2 days ago 5 replies      
From the article:

 State Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, said that removes due process and the belief that a suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty. He said we've already seen cases in Oklahoma where police are abusing the system. "We've seen single mom's stuff be taken, a cancer survivor his drugs taken, we saw a Christian band being taken. We've seen innocent people's stuff being taken. We've seen where the money goes and how it's been misspent," Loveless said.
If State Sen. Loveless's statement is accurate, it appears that these victims were unable to get the charges reversed by their banks' fraud departments.

So what would this device look like? Is it performing ACH or wire transfer transactions? Or is this just sending card information to the company, which then automates the state government's garnishment process?

I'll be interested to get the full story when details are available.

I'm glad there's some pushback from the state legislature!

rm_-rf_slash 2 days ago 5 replies      
Symptom of a bigger problem: nobody in the criminal justice system is punished for making the wrong move. There is no law enforcement downside to civil asset forfeiture. Officer-involved shootings are discouraged from prosecution or otherwise involve highly-paid "expert" witnesses saying the officer had no other choice - at taxpayer expense.

Prosecutors are valued by the number of wins, not by how many innocent people are spared the gauntlet of the American justice system.

Prisons (especially private prisons) are rewarded for high recidivism rates, instead of being punished for wasting taxpayer money on an expensive and brutal daycare.

If the state does badly enough it can get sued. So the taxpayers foot the bill while the offenders are free to do as they do.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: prevent this kind of garbage from happing without consequence by mandating docked wages/pension benefits to pay for all or part of lawsuit damages. Change the incentives and people will change themselves.

wccrawford 2 days ago 4 replies      
This reads like The Onion. I can't believe they're serious.

>"If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you. And we've done that in the past," Vincent said about any money seized.

... Legit reason? How am I supposed to prove where every cent came from? What happened to "innocent until proven guilty"?

DickingAround 3 days ago 4 replies      
And the scanner maker gets a 7% cut. What could go wrong: "the state is paying ERAD Group Inc., $5,000 for the software and scanners, then 7.7 percent of all the cash the highway patrol seizes"
molecule 2 days ago 2 replies      
> Here's how it works. If a trooper suspects you may have money tied to some type of crime, the highway patrol can scan any cards you have and seize the money.

Given the low-threshold for seizure and how we've seen civil-asset forfeiture exercised by law enforcement, that's terrifying.

imroot 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a copy of the contract that the OHP with ERAD Group:



* ERAD is taking 7.7% of all funds seized.

* Anywhere between 9.95 and 14.95 per each virtual terminal used to scan for the funds.

* $1000-ish per physical terminal used.

50CNT 2 days ago 2 replies      
That is physically revolting.

First you have civil-asset forfeiture that let's police seize money from you when you are carrying large amounts of cash (with a generous false positive rate potentially disastrous to victims).

Now to get around that, you could try handling everything by card or bank transaction (unless you're one of the unfortunate few without access to a bank account due to low credit rating or other legitimate reasons). And now they can seize that too?

That's not ripe for abuse, that's designed for abuse.

As a non-American, what's wrong with your country?

ikeboy 2 days ago 3 replies      
>The largest part that we have found ... the biggest benefit has been the identity theft,

Oh, so if I have a card in someone else's name, you'll charge it, thus causing someone who doesn't even know about it to lose?

Any lawyers here want to weigh in on whether this would be identity theft/credit card fraud/etc on the part of the police and hence illegal? Isn't scanning/charging a card without authorization illegal?

wwweston 2 days ago 0 replies      
Civil asset forfeiture needs at least these reforms:

1) Police departments cannot keep anything they seize (or proceeds from its sale/liquidation). Incentives matter. If the funds need to go somewhere, they should be assigned by lottery so they're not a solution to anyone's problems. Or, perhaps have them go to the public defender's office, which is going to need them because...

2) There absolutely has to be due process here. "Civil" is a loophole-technicality if the reason for the seizure is a suspicion that the asset was involved in a crime. PDs should be provided for those who don't have their own counsel, and burden of proof should be on the state.

(I know, sending the funds to the PDs office could create a conflict of interest. A straightforward arrangement wouldn't work; there'd have to be a likely state-level layer of indirection and some stipulations incentivizing the hiring of more staff rather than inflating existing staff salaries much beyond the current exorbitant premiums PDs command. :/ )

technofiend 2 days ago 1 reply      
Thus begins a new round of escalation and avoidance - cash is seized? No longer carry it. Credit Cards maxed? Keep it in a separate account and load only as required. In an account but you can direct funds from your phone? Hand that over.

At some point you just rely on biometrics for every transaction, it turns into an automated shakedown scheme or you just learn to avoid the state of Oklahoma.

Digit-Al 2 days ago 7 replies      
As an Englishman, I have a couple of questions for you Americans on here.

1) Does anyone know who came up with these "civil asset forfeitures"? (Personally, they seem most un-civil to me.)

2) Can any of you defend America as "the land of the free" when more of the population are in prison than in almost any other country in the word and the police not only have the power to strip you of your property and assets without even needing a solid reason, but can shoot you dead and barely get a slap on the wrist?

Not having a go at America or Americans, but it seems to me that those who truly believe it to be a land of the free are deluding themselves.

[edit: damn keyboard]

oolongCat 2 days ago 2 replies      
I come from an Asian country, we are used to bribes, crooked politicians, government workers etc etc.

To me the USA was the place where Neil Armstrong lived, it was the country that gave me so much that I was thankful for, it was a country where the words "Freedom of speech" ruled above everything. To me it was the country I wanted to be in if I had a wish.

Little by little, that idea I had of the united states is being changed, may be its my fault since I idealised the USA too much. May be its the news I read about, large scale surveillance, government officials who has no regard for civil liberties, people more powerful than the FBI, people above the law, power crazed security guards at airports etc etc.

I really really dislike this, wish I would once again get to believe that there is a place where people are treated right.

kstrauser 2 days ago 1 reply      
Do you want to be called pigs? Because this is how you get called pigs.

I'm a very law-and-order guy, but I have zero sympathy for police departments who pull shenanigans like this and then bitch and moan that their communities don't respect them. This gives limitless ammo to critics who want to paint police as noncaring, profit-driven thugs, probably endangering officers' lives in the process.

What an utterly despicable, contemptible move. It's simply not defensible in any way.

diyorgasms 2 days ago 5 replies      
I've seen it said before and I'll say it again. Anyone who works for companies who make products like this in any capacity should be blacklisted in the industry. The missing scruples here could fill several large containers.
maxaf 2 days ago 6 replies      
This can't possibly be legal or even technically feasible. The victim can call her bank and report a fraudulent transaction, which pits the bank against a warrantless seizure that's impossible to defend in court. Surely banks can catch on and frontload an "identity protection" mechanism that'll simply block transactions from anything matching "ERAD" or however they identify themselves to the ACH.

It's doubtful that local or state PDs have enough political pull or money to battle banks over this through the court system.

unimpressive 2 days ago 0 replies      
"News 9 obtained a copy of the contract with the state.

It shows the state is paying ERAD Group Inc., $5,000 for the software and scanners, then 7.7 percent of all the cash the highway patrol seizes."

This is truly disgusting. I have no words.

joesmo 2 days ago 0 replies      
This should firmly cement law enforcement's status as thieves rather than civi servants. As if civil asset forfeiture didn't do that already, already making police the #1 class of thieves in the US: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/23/cops-...

To steal and murder! The correct police motto.

DanielBMarkham 2 days ago 1 reply      
As a libertarian, I've seen a long line of articles that make me go Holy Cow!

It's gotten so I feel bad about it. I even apologize. Each time, I think "Well that's it, there's nothing that could go beyond this."

Holy cow!

Several years ago I sold a small lot which had an office on it. The guy who bought it paid cash. Cash is kinda unusual for this kind of transaction, so I asked him where he got it. He told me that he was a general contractor and had been saving for over ten years.

Then he told me that the previous month, while he was moving his savings to his mom's house, he got pulled over for a bad taillight.

They almost took all of his money. Holy cow! This was my introduction to Civil Asset Forfeiture.

There are many parts of this story that are amazing. Right away I note that if you're truly wealthy? You have nothing to fear. You have enough assets to pay the one lawyer who golfs with the local DA and get this thing fixed quickly. But if you're not? If you're like my friend saving up for a large purchase? Good freaking luck.

Read an article once from a former LE guy. I remember one of his points. He said that cops are hunters. They hunt bad guys. We are their prey.

As we are finding out, the definition of "bad guy" is wonderfully malleable. Just about anybody can be one. The more political power you have (whether through contacts, as a politician, or by having money), the less likely you are to be one.

There has been a long tradition in the states of assuming the best when dealing with the local constable. They have tough jobs, usually the training isn't terribly difficult, it's a good spot for people who like guns and violence but want to be one of the good guys.

This tradition is coming to a close. While the constable himself might be a nice enough, stand-up guy, the system as a whole is terribly corrupt and overbearing. I might go so far as to say evil.

This cannot continue. Reforms are desperately needed.

solotronics 2 days ago 0 replies      
One more reason to keep a reserve of Bitcoins. With a hardware wallet like a Trezor your bitcoins are secured on a physical device with a PIN and password. The police in the US can do civil asset forfeiture on gold, cash, and now bank accounts so obviously a more secure asset is needed. Bitcoin is that secure asset that can be moved in a few minutes in any amount to anywhere.
rando444 2 days ago 1 reply      
You have to wonder how this works.

Like how does the officer know how much you have and how much is 'appropriate' to confiscate?

I wonder if it does a series of authorizations looking for some sort of upper limit to figure out how much money is in the account and then they determine what to take from that?

Either way, this goes way beyond reason for what a trooper should be able to do on the side of a road during a traffic stop.

nfriedly 2 days ago 1 reply      
> News 9 obtained a copy of the contract with the state. It shows the state is paying ERAD Group Inc. [...] 7.7 percent of all the cash the highway patrol seizes.

I think that might even be worse then the police being able to sieze all of you money.

FreedomToCreate 2 days ago 0 replies      
This seems looks like it was designed to be abused. If this is used, their must be additional training for cops on how to make a seizure decision, and major repercussions if they seize money from a person who is then proven to be innocent.
rrggrr 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is the worst systemic abuse of police authority in contravention of the constitution - ever. Innocent accused will have to spend money in attorney's fees, lost work, lost interest, opportunity costs ... to retrieve their property. This is essentially an unlawful seizure.
Zikes 2 days ago 3 replies      
So we can't carry cash, because they'll seize that directly. This device could probably do some sort of run around the new chip system in cards. Bitcoin is nearly useless in the real world. So where does that leave us? Google & Apple Pay on our phones? At least our phones can be password protected.
quickben 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a canadian reading this, my instinctive reactions were:1. Is this a parody of some kind?

After it turned out it's legit news:

2. So why they simply aren't maxing out people credit cards too?I mean, by the same flawed logic, it would stop crime if people are more in debt. You can of course prove you aren't going to use your credit card for further crimes and have the money returned.

Then again, I should stop giving people ideas.

nappy-doo 2 days ago 4 replies      
My understanding with asset seizure is that you can show why the money was yours, and it is returned. What happens to the 7.7% taken by the servicer? Is it automatically returned as well?
l3m0ndr0p 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is outrageous. The police can get away with this because they have a weapon, a gun, which can kill you if you resist. Or at the very least, call other cops, arrest you and throw you in jail and ruin your life while you have to prove your you are not guilty & try to get your money back.

This defies all logic and is a clear example of the corrupt state this country is in (USA).

jmuguy 2 days ago 4 replies      
I think part of this is just shoddy reporting from a local news source, I believe this is tech they're talking about.


While the implications here are certainly pretty creepy, this seems more like something to use in investigations of money laundering, etc.

cmurf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Turning law enforcement into highwaymen.
ck2 2 days ago 1 reply      
Remember this is without trial, without immediate oversight.

Hopefully the incredulity of this will put a spotlight on civil forfeiture and end it once and for all.

But it probably will take a decade to get to the supreme court and this will ruin lives in the meanwhile.

And then there is who is going to fill the next three supreme court judge slots and how they feel about "the police can do no wrong" authoritarianism.

jmuguy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Are you required to surrender your credit carts, etc to the cops during a traffic stop? What if you refuse?
jschwartzi 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can't think of a better reason to stay out of Oklahoma.
Zikes 3 days ago 0 replies      
> "If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you. And we've done that in the past," Vincent said about any money seized.

Literally the opposite of how presumed innocence is supposed to work. Furthermore, good luck mounting a decent case now that they have all your money.

sundvor 2 days ago 1 reply      
As a Norwegian/Australian, I'm just shaking my head reading this. Sorry, I have nothing but reactionary drivel to add - but I wouldn't be surprised if this was to further (if that's even possible) increase US gun violence. For personal protection against robbery. This now appears as a marginally valid reason for your gun ownership; if they're going to take all your assets on a whim, leaving you with nothing to fend for, what have you got to lose? I mean, how do you survive in the "no handout" US with no money anyway?

This is the rich looking after the rich in the most corrupt and reprehensible way possible, see how this is going to work out for you as resentment grows in the population roots.

ifdefdebug 2 days ago 2 replies      
"If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you."

- Well my grandma saved it for me when I was a child. - Prove it. - Sorry but she's dead and I moved it to a new bank account two years ago. - Yeah sure.

This is just disgusting.

visarga 2 days ago 0 replies      
>"If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you."

The so called presumption of guilt. I am sure everyone has the proofs and doesn't need the money while they are held by the police.

ible 2 days ago 1 reply      
Cops and robbers really means something different these days.
lasermike026 2 days ago 1 reply      
What does this say about the security of our electronic funds? Gold bugs are going to have a field day with this.
pklausler 2 days ago 1 reply      
What are the practical means of defense against these thieves with badges?
jitix 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is physically repulsive and literal theft by the state. Do other developed countries (EU, Canada, etc.) have similar laws?
kyleblarson 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's called a flyover state for a reason.
_audakel 2 days ago 0 replies      
>It shows the state is paying ERAD Group Inc., $5,000 for the software and scanners, then 7.7 percent of all the cash the highway patrol seizes.

If your cash is seized the police will go ahead and keep the full amount less the 7.7% fee. So what happens if the person is proven innocent? Does the police dept have to use its own funding to repay the 7.7% fee?

This seems unlikely to me (but that is based on no facts). Or does the company have to repay the money? It would seem like they could legally say they preformed a service and should not be required to refund the money.

Sadly it looks like if you are seen as "potential guilty" and your assets are seized, even if you are proven innocent you still lost 7.7% of your money. Then tack on legal fees associated with proving your innocent.....

programmarchy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like a good use case for Bitcoin.
andyjdavis 2 days ago 0 replies      
>We've seen where the money goes and how it's been misspent

Serious question, where does the money go and how is it spent? Who is it spent by?

We do have a process for the confiscation of proceeds of crime here in Australia. I believe the money goes into a big pot controlled by a federal government department (https://www.afsa.gov.au/ ie not the police) to be spent on community projects. I am sure that there is plenty of scope for waste etc but if nothing else the system would seem to do a good job of removing any financial incentives for the police to seize stuff.

dmitrygr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Repeat after me:

"No, officer, you may not see my wallet. I do not consent to a search of myself, my vehicle, or my property. I furthermore, refuse to have any further conversation with you. May I go now, or am I under arrest?"

Works every time for me.

googletazer 2 days ago 0 replies      
"If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you. And we've done that in the past"

Absolutely terrible. Finally bitcoin et al have a legitimate use - protecting your property from grubby government hands.

adrenalinelol 2 days ago 0 replies      
So they can drain your bank account... Then you'll need to hire a lawyer (after you've lost all your money) to prove you're innocent? Does ERAD give back the 7% fee? This has turned policemen into highwaymen.
retube 2 days ago 0 replies      
It blows my mind this is even technically possible. Surely the target needs to enter a pin or something in order for the bank to authorise the transaction.

That said seizing cash whether physical notes or electronic must be subject to due process and a court order.

gherkin0 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is total, corrupt bullshit. How the fuck is a traffic cop supposed to ascertain the origin of the money in your accounts, let alone if it was from the "the commission of a crime?"
japhyr 2 days ago 1 reply      
So a highway patrol officer can ask to see my license, and I'm supposed to show it.

Now they're asking to see my entire wallet?! I'm assuming we're all well within our rights to refuse to hand over our wallets?

daveheq 2 days ago 0 replies      
So you're guilty until proven innocent, police are spending the money, and 7.7% is going to the manufacturer; sounds like a racket!
twinkletwinkle 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reason #19836 not to go to Oklahoma...
tslug 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Woo. I wonder if this news could spark a wee run on the banks?
GigabyteCoin 2 days ago 0 replies      
>"We're gonna look for different factors in the way that you're acting, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. John Vincent said. We're gonna look for if there's a difference in your story. If there's someway that we can prove that you're falsifying information to us about your business."

So basically... guilty until proven innocent?

balls187 2 days ago 0 replies      
> If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you.

I am dumbfounded by this statement.

awqrre 2 days ago 2 replies      
They figured that if they can steal your cash without any consequences that they should go further, wow. What will it be next, your home?
zyxley 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds like there's now a market in Oklahoma for cards that are debit-only and will automatically reject all credit transactions.
x1798DE 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is the first time I've thought it would be useful to have a device like the ill-fated Coin. Not that I keep money on prepaid cards, but if I did, it would be nice to back up my cards at home so that if stopped by the police I could pre-emptively delete the memory of the meta-card.
a3n 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why should I have to prove anything about myself to the government if I'm not suspected of a crime? Merely having some of what everyone else has - money, drugs, etc - doesn't itself make me suspect. It just makes me a target.
masmullin 2 days ago 1 reply      
If citizens united proved that money is speech, does civil forfeiture not impede on the first amendment?
NotSammyHagar 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is pretty horrible. How can this happen.... Taking advantage of poor, the weak, it is just the lowest.
gohrt 2 days ago 0 replies      
The article headline is an obscene lie."OHP Uses New Device To Seize Money Used During The Commission Of A Crime"

The article is a balanced analysis that speaks truth to power, but the headline is statist propaganda.

Negative1 2 days ago 1 reply      
7.7%!? WOW! They really hustled those cops. I always hear how difficult it is to work with schools, law enforcement, basically most gov agencies. Surprising to see how well that company played the cops in this instance.
apo 2 days ago 0 replies      
orbitingpluto 2 days ago 0 replies      
Remember, tribute is required when traveling through the United States.

Wow, so it's now safest to travel around the country with your encrypted Bitcoin hid steganographically....

BrittTheIsh 2 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't there a limit to what police can ask you to provide during a traffic stop? How is it legal that they can ask to see your debit / credit cards?
hackaflocka 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if the same companies that make these cards also make the devices that allow extrication of money from seized cards.
elliottcarlson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know if pre-paid cards will be required to go chip-in-card due to the EMV liability shift?
Havoc 2 days ago 0 replies      
>"If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money

aka Guilty until proven innocent.

Scoundreller 2 days ago 0 replies      
> We would be happy to introduce you to some of our clients. Please call us at 571-207-ERAD (3723)

Call now!

trbvm2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Booster for crypto-currency
ivanstojic 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess I'm never visiting Oklahoma.
moosetafa 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yet one more reason to stay away from a shithole like Oklahoma. All that jesus worshiping has completely fried their brains.
millzlane 2 days ago 0 replies      
From my cold dead fingers.
alistproducer2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems legit.
mrhargro 2 days ago 0 replies      
moribondus 2 days ago 3 replies      
The police will keep encroaching until they meet some kind of resistance, which will not easily materialize because people here would be the first ones to utterly condemn respect-instilling reprisals.

If everybody else around you accepts to get arbitrarily molested in the butt, you either accept it too, or else you move out.

I have personally chosen to move out. Unfortunately, you can see the United Nations, USAID, international NGOs and similar organizations coming over here to convince the locals to accept similar abuse from their own government, by advocating "the rule of law". Of course, there are also the Christian organizations advocating to the locals to offer their other cheek to such thefting police.

Since I cannot keep "moving away", at some point I will have no other option than to finally make a stand.

The Art of War says that the secret of success consists in never letting the enemy choose the time and the place. You must always choose the time and the place by yourself. Therefore, it suggests that it is us who must schedule forceful attacks against the police. Seriously, I am all for it.

jbigelow76 2 days ago 3 replies      
They took a whole Christian band? Are they going to be shackled and forced to play county fairs and police fund raisers for the rest of their lives?
PhrosTT 2 days ago 2 replies      
What the fuck is happening to this country?
eonw 2 days ago 7 replies      
From Article:"If you can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you. And we've done that in the past," Vincent said about any money seized.

Under no circumstance should i have to PROVE where my money came from nor how i got it. this is assumed guilt and utterly unamerican IMO. Where is the burden of proof that must be reached before taking my assets and forcing me to prove that i have the right to have them. OK = backwoods state full of backwoods laws, and apparently backwoods people that keep voting for these types of idiots.

fapjacks 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is the crux here. The "rule of law" is equivalent to "rule of men in black with automatic weapons". If you call the police, you are just outsourcing your violence to the men in black uniforms with automatic weapons. Because at the end of the day, they will use force. The "rule of law" is not "let's have a reasonable conversation about the issues".
agoa 2 days ago 0 replies      
If only we could get similar technology in London?


Roboprog 2 days ago 3 replies      
Welcome to the post-Reagan era, kids. This stuff really took off during the 80s war on drugs. (which is about as successful as the war on alcohol was - for gangsters dealing)

If only Thatcherism / Reaganism never happened... (and Laffer, Friedman and all the other related right wing propaganda that's been catapulted down our throats)

I suppose things will eventually get bad enough that people will eventually realize "Everything that demented old man proposed was wrong?!?" (demented as in literal "alzheimer's patient")

iancarroll 2 days ago 1 reply      
The DHS says this is only for prepaid cards, which are more likely to be fraudulent: https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/prepaid-card-read...
Why I turned down $500K and shut down my startup medium.com
637 points by jason_tko  2 days ago   172 comments top 41
timoth3y 2 days ago 14 replies      
Hi. Tim here.

I'm delighted that this article struck such a chord. I'll try to answer the most common questions here. I wish I could answer everyone directly.

1) I called it off before anyone sent money or quit their jobs. The only one who lost money or a job because of ContractBeast was me. If the money was in the bank and the team on board we would have gone ahead. That's why I had to make that decision when I did.

2) I'm not saying there was no solution. There might have been, but the team and I could not find one. Think of it this way. You and a team decide to summit a mountain. It's a high-risk endeavor. After weeks of going over your maps and equipment you just can't see a plausible way up. Do you call it off or set out hoping you'll be able to figure it out. It doesn't mean no one can do it. I means I could not do it with that team and that equipment.

3) Why didn't we leverage the contract approval features that customers loved? We tried. The problem was that those kinds of approvals were not core workflow for SMBs. It was useful when importing contract templates, but was not used much after that. Nice feature but not important enough to get companies to sigh up for multiple seats, which is what we needed.

4) Whats going to happen to the code and to Tim? No decisions yet. I'm open to suggestions on both counts.

tyingq 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Having some experience dealing with the "purchasing" side of the house at large companies, I can guess part of what might have gone wrong.

Contract Beast's customers were likely exclusively these "purchasing" people, and thus, that's where the feature requests and feedback were coming from.

But, in the end, the success of the product within a customer company is often more driven by the "non purchasing" users...the actual departments that are trying to buy (or sell) something. It's not unusual for the wants/needs of these people to be completely different than the purchasing department.

I watched several attempts for contract management software fail because of this. In the end, what won out was narrowing the solution down to the biggest pain point...implementing just e-signatures. That got rid of all the manual print / sign / scan-or-fax cycle, which everyone could agree on.

santoshalper 2 days ago 1 reply      
It sucks when you realize you have built something that users like, but they don't really NEED. I like the good habits analogy - I built several great workflow apps for a Fortune 500 company in the past few years, but discovered most users don't really want the yoke of workflow and there wasn't enough immediate lift to tempt them.

Sorry man. Good call not to waste a year of your life.

zer00eyz 2 days ago 2 replies      
The underlying idea behind what he did here is sometimes called Ethnography. There was another great article a while back on this going on at adobe/photo shop: https://medium.com/startup-study-group/my-two-years-as-an-an...

As far as tools go, ethnography can be very powerful in the right hands.

lordnacho 2 days ago 4 replies      
"When users are unhappy but cant explain exactly why, they often express that dissatisfaction as a series of tangential, trivial feature requests."

This bit resonates the most with me. I worked on a project worth little traction where we'd keep getting feature requests from the client facing team members for things that were of minor value but sometimes major effort. It grinds you down over time as you realise there's no real demand. Eldorado isn't over the next hill.

Sometimes it feels like the people giving feedback are just too eager to please you with positive feedback.

capkutay 2 days ago 5 replies      
"I was deciding whether this venture was worth committing to another year of 70+ hour weeks. I need a higher level of certainty than investors do because my time is more valuable to me than their money is to them. Investors place bets in a portfolio of companies, but I only have one life."

That's the key quote in the article. It's a fair decision from his standpoint but I wonder if saying that will lead investors to question his determination in the future (if he tries a new venture). I suppose the investors could also appreciate that he didn't want to waste more of their money if he didn't believe in the product.

encoderer 2 days ago 6 replies      
I have to say, I don't agree with this part at all:

"But most of the time, customers dont really want the the features they are asking for. At least not very badly."

Customer feedback drives an absurd amount of our roadmap at Cronitor. We have a good idea of the many shortcomings of our product and are constrained primarily by resources in developing it faster. When a customer -- especially somebody on a trial -- puts their thumb on the scale of a specific flaw or deficiency, we look at it as an opportunity to seriously delight that user and at the same time level-up the product for all users after. We don't build everything asked for, but I would say "most of the time, customers know exactly what they need, and we try to give it to them within our ability."

A specific example for us would be Etsy, who uses Cronitor on a part of their business and during evaluation asked for a couple API endpoints to expose more advanced functionality.

angelbob 2 days ago 0 replies      
This story has a ridiculous amount of integrity. You did what was right, even when convention went the other way.

Future investor reaction to it will tell us what they think of actually bucking convention to do the right thing.

hyperpallium 2 days ago 1 reply      
I guess that's why this top-down market hasn't been disrupted. This guy is seeing clearly. Cutting the old makes way for the new - it would be better if I did this with my own zombie business.

And now, the armchair brainstorming: focus on the "contract review and approval" immediate gratification and marginal user wins - if not sufficient benefit for them to buy, make it multi-month free trial, make it a year. After some "months of use", users get the delayed gratification. They become your sales force from within, and CIO's notice the long-term benefits, validated within their own company, and mandate its use top-down.

It's a long slow burn and mightn't work.

EGreg 2 days ago 1 reply      
People live lives. Companies create products.

Sometimes what you build becomes bigger than you. If you want to quit, and everyone else wants to keep going why not let someone else run the show?

If you started a chess club, or even a chatroom, and had no time (as the guy says, he only has one life) to be an admin, would you just close down the whole thing and kick everyone out? Maybe. If they really were so passionate they'd pick up the pieces and start their own thing. Your old group might have a way to transfer the accumulated wealth to the new group. Instead of just losing it.

I remember writing an article about this a couple years ago called the Politics of Groups:


Here is an excerpt:

If the individual - the risk is that the individual may have too much power over others who come to rely on the stream. They may suddenly stop publishing it, or cut off access to everyone, which would hurt many people. (I define hurt in terms of needs or strong expectations of people that form over time.)

pookeh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Often times, the products we make should really be features of a larger offering. Did you guys explore building on top of your contract tech or getting acquired by a company that requires your tech? for example:1. Marketplace of services that need contract signing between parties.2. Project management app for SMBs or freelancers3. Legal document authoring app that extends to contract signing.

There are prolly more ...

e12e 2 days ago 0 replies      
It sounds like most of the customers had a flawed process - or perhaps an actual process that was different from the process they felt they should have. Perhaps they were even in breach of some guidelines legal had drawn up, or even laws or statutes on acquirement.

And it sounds like the product automated a good, sound process. One that was different from the customer's actual, current process.

I don't know how one could hope to sell a new process (incidentally along with an automation framework) without massive training, and, well, consulting.

I'm a little surprised they didn't take the opportunity to pivot. Maybe none of their beta users were interested in the 100x(?) investment buying such a package would cost? It sounds like they found a different market, smaller in number of customers, larger in revenue - and chose to walk away because: software is fun, human process is hard and boring?

It's a valid choice to be sure, but it strikes me as a little odd. I thought the idealised, naive idea of a computer system being more important than the human systems it enables was more of a delusion limited to Silicon Valley, than a general problem.

I'm reminded of how model-view-controller was internally known as model-view-controller-user, and how shortening it to mvc[1] was probably a terrible mistake that obscured most of the valuable idea behind the concept (that of mapping the users mental model of domain knowledge to widgets on the screen and on to the data models used by the software).

[1] according to a talk Trygve gave, but it kind of shines through in his brief history of mvc too: https://heim.ifi.uio.no/~trygver/themes/mvc/mvc-index.html

epynonymous 2 days ago 1 reply      
that's why i firmly believe you have to find the idea that you're really interested in because that's what will pull you through those 70+ hour work weeks or through those days where you're on the brink of failure wanting to fold shop. there are many ideas that are interesting and probably could be good businesses (lifestyle or startup), but can you overcome all those things not just on sheer will power, but just because that's what you enjoy spending your time on?
chalam 2 days ago 0 replies      

Interesting comment in there about 'Approvals' being one of the most used feature. Why couldn't you build around that? A more generic approvals solution for any kind of contract.

reilly3000 2 days ago 1 reply      
Moving down market is tough. The reason why enterprise ecosystems can flourish is that consultants have a symbolic relationship with software, act as a silent sales force, drive legitimacy and solve the soft issues that make software projects fail. Creating a simple CRM system isn't that hard, but getting mass adoption AND offering a customizable product takes hand holding. Content alone doesn't hold hands, nor does (most) UX. Software that changes how people's jobs work (accounting, CRM, EHR, etc) naturally invites pushback because PEOPLE HATE CHANGE.

Maybe the next generation of UX will have change management built into the system, not just tours and tooltips. For now, the burden of software adoption is best served with donuts and somebody how cares enough to make it work for the business that is investing in it.

spupy 1 day ago 2 replies      
"Ive started four companies in the past with a mixture of exits and bankruptcies, so I understand that this is what startups are supposed to do, [...]."

As someone completely unfamiliar with the world of startups, this sentence baffles me. If this describes your track record, how do you even get funding? Obviously I'm not an investor, but this sentence alone is a massive red flag.

selectron 2 days ago 2 replies      
Quite interesting. Why couldn't you build in a reward system to using the product? Similar to how games like WOW do?
agentgt 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know much about contract management so take most of what I have to say as an ignorant opinion.

I'm trying to figure out how ContractBeast's problem of continuous usage is any different than almost all the business tools out there that require human intervention (with the exception of email, and MS office suite).

It seems every investor and entrepreneur has this desire to make "crack" and not just tools. Good tools don't need to be used all the time. They don't need to provide some sort of gamification, feedback loop, or enjoyment.

As for money making good business tools don't need even need to be used by the user... in fact they really should be automated. I know this because we had some of the some problems ContractBeast did and the key was not getting the endusers involved at all. Automate and integrate so they are almost out of the loop completely (again I don't know much about CLM... maybe this isn't possible).

As far as top down selling it is almost impossible in the B2B market to do something different. Managers force users to use tools and those users use MS Office most of the time but those tools still get bought and eventually those tools do provide value (aka sales force).

Steeeve 2 days ago 0 replies      
500K is not a lot of time. It's six months with a small team and maybe not even that considering you need to either have time to pitch another round of funding or get to the point where you can pay the bills independently. If you don't see a path to something strong enough to get you to the next level in that amount of time, there is no choice but to walk away.

Every idea to fix it takes time to develop, and with whatever time remains you have to make progress with sales and the existing customer base. With any given product and the right team you can get there, but the only way to get the right team to commit is with a passionate belief that you will get there before you run out of money.

If you spend the time trying to build a roadmap out of whatever options you can come up with, and none of those options give confidence given time and budget constraints... well, then you've done all you can do. It's not hard to come up with a list of reasonable options to move forward with, but it is hard to come up with one that's worth committing to.

If you've grown to the point where you can man up and make the decision to walk away early, you have a good future.

veritas213 1 day ago 0 replies      
"ContractBeast did not address the problem of providing a significant, consistent and immediate benefit"

Neither does insurance but its pretty much a no brainer for most companies.Contact management isnt suppose to give instant gratification. Its supposed to provide peace of mind knowing you will not miss important dates in the FUTURE.

Hate to say it but Mr Romero seems to have given up way too early. All the smart people on HN someone will pickup the baton and run with this idea.

arcticfox 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's pretty surprising to me that there was no way to shift enough of the value gain from "huge gains in efficiency" forward to keep people motivated about the product.

For example: use a chunk of the $500k as rewards to push people through the initial adoption. Then presumably the real gains would take over and they'd be happy customers.

matchagaucho 2 days ago 0 replies      
The challenge with CLM is that you're constantly competing with users desire to use MS Word.

Moving everything to the cloud would be far more efficient. But the corpus of legal text captured in Word and Legal's preference for redlining email attachments is the status quo.

Dwolb 2 days ago 0 replies      
If we're going with the whole human centered design approach here the writing doesn't sound as though you were thorough enough in the research, analysis, and synthesis.

There should have been some guideposts here: who were the power users? what did they love? who were the huge detractors? what was their big issue? how did ContractBeast fit into the ideal world? how were people splitting their work between the old system and ContractBeast? were there network effects for the old system?

Yeah we can look at some sort of short term win and long term gain framework, but it's pretty reductionist to a) only depend on that framework and b) not be able to come up with any solutions to fulfill short term wins.

advertising 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like the right move.

If you had discovered this when you were 6 months in, spent 50% of the cash and had employees would you have made the same decision? To pull the plug and return remaining capital vs trying to make it work.

icu 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the entrepreneur failed to assess why it had to be him to solve the market problem and give birth to the company.

Sometimes it's not necessary to assess this because you are compelled to act and you can't stop.

In this case I think had he asked this hard question sooner he would have found his heart wasn't in it. Either way dropping it was the right thing to do.

In comparison my 'why' for the thing I'm working on makes my soul burn and is a limitless well of determination.

Call it 'Conviction/Opportunity' pull.

dharma1 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you don't believe in what you're doing then I think it could have been a mistake to take the money and carry on.

If the team and investors believed in the product, perhaps you could have asked if some of the current team were willing to take it on, and make it work. You could have retained a bit of equity for the year and the hard work you put in so far without having to commit any longer yourself.

ztratar 2 days ago 2 replies      
"It would have been different if we had been debating which plan among several to implement or how to shore up specific weaknesses, but we had nothing."

I don't really understand "having nothing" -- you're either creating value or you're not. You guys spotted a real problem, but your v1 solution was meh. There were certainly multiple ways out (and not just tack on gamification), and even if some were long-shots, the uniqueness of a startup is to place those bets.

rkwz 2 days ago 2 replies      
> About 35% of our users continued to use the system at least three times per week after completing registration.

OT, but curious, how is it possible to get this kind of engagement data?

Querying DB to get number of logins per week? But that doesn't mean that they're "using" the system.

Google Analytics? I'm not aware of any such GA feature

Third party analytics?


amenghra 2 days ago 0 replies      
Selling products to SMBs is hard. Most small businesses will often take the free trials but won't be willing to pay for a product if it entails a financial commitment.

I have seen a small companies use student licenses instead of paying for the more expensive commercial license in order to save every possible penny.

Chyzwar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nope, His business was perfectly reasonable. He could become next Taleo/Atlassian/Slack, grow slower but dominate space. He only needed to extend offer with with self hosted version.
dnautics 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why not make an open offer to anyone who thinks they can solve this problem and turn this around?
spectrum1234 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great article. However given its by a ~4 time founder the logic to shut it down doesn't apply to most people reading it (first time founders).
frozenport 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can't you just charge them $2.99 for each contract, and go with volume?
chrismcb 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sure the fact that this was in private beta had nothing to do with the fact customers weren't using it all the time.
leroy_masochist 2 days ago 0 replies      
> I left my job in January so i could work on ContractBeast 70+ hours a week. The rest of the team kept their day jobs. That was fine. It made my final decision easier.

Reading between the lines here, I'm picking up some resentment. I think an underlying cause of the decision to walk away from ContractBeast might have been a specific subtype of founder burnout -- the kind that happens when you feel like you're pulling more than your share of the weight, and/or you feel like you're more committed to the company/project than the rest of your team is.

There's a downvoted comment at the bottom of this thread stating that the commenter would never give this guy money. That's a bit harsh, but at another point in the comment he makes a very (IMO) valid observation that burnout is at play here and the author should have taken some time off. That rings true to me.


> Weeks of brainstorming and dozens of hypotheses later, we had nothing. Not a single, plausible way of providing our users with the instant gratification their cerebella so desperately crave.

> With no clear path forward, investors ready to wire funds, and the team ready to quit their day jobs, I decided to pull the plug.

Is it just me or does this seem like there's a big hole in the plot here? The whole team spent several weeks trying to figure out how the product was going to get traction, came up with zero good ideas, and everyone's still ready to quit their jobs and work on this full-time?

Assuming this is accurate and absent further details, I can think of two non-mutually-exclusive hypotheses for how this might have actually happened:

1) "We had nothing" was really "I had nothing". Either because of a failure on the part of the author to communicate with the team, or their indifference upon hearing the author's description of the problem in question, the only person really working on solving the problem was the author. To the extent that this was the case, it would certainly have exacerbated the "I'm working way harder on this than my cofounders are" burnout described above.

2) It's also possible that the other prospective cofounders and/or early team members were aware of the headwinds facing ContractBeast and just really, really hated their day jobs and were thinking, "I honestly don't even give a shit if this company works out, I just want to go somewhere I can get paid while not having to deal with my current boss, and if it fails it's not a big deal, it's a startup, they fail all the time and I'll be able at a minimum to use the newfound flexibility in my schedule and relative seniority in the organization to make myself much more available for interviews at other companies."

redneck_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tl;dr I burned out.
getgoingnow 2 days ago 3 replies      
Why is Paul Graham defining a word that's already well defined and understood? Go to Google and type in "define startup" and you will see that:

 startup = a newly established business
I think the reason he wants to redefine the term is so that people associate starting a business with rapid growth, which will benefit him personally. How do you achieve growth in almost all cases? By taking VC money. What happens when you take VC money? Investors expect an exit. So, even though he says you don't need to take venture funding or 'exit', he really wants people to do that, because he can make money from it.

moribondus 1 day ago 0 replies      
ContractBeast would have accumulated lots of data that would be compelling for its users. The only problem is that you cannot hand out that data directly: How much did someone else pay for the same contract? What conditions did he get? If you find a way to effectively use this information without actually revealing it, you would have found the compelling feature that you were looking for. ContractBeast would have become the go-to place to check if your contract actually makes sense.
DarkIye 2 days ago 0 replies      
it was a bad idea #savedyouaclick
vinceguidry 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems like the marketing was all wrong. If you're selling to big business, you need a big business sales process. If you can't afford that, you're just pissing in the wind. He was focused on product when he should have been focusing on his sales and on-boarding.

Patrick McKenzie has demonstrated that you can do high-touch corporate sales as a small organization or even as a single person. He just needed to figure out how.

ChicagoDave 2 days ago 5 replies      
After this, I'd never give this guy time or money and I doubt anyone else will either. No matter how shitty you feel about your start-up, if you have a willing team and cash, you should see it through. Being an entrepreneur isn't always about having all of the answers. It's very often about not knowing the answers and figuring things out. Especially if you have a team and cash flow and investors.

I think this guy needed to take a day off or seven and get his head back on straight. I'm nearly positive every entrepreneur goes through the "doubt" process many times in a given start-up.

It's the person that figures out how to renew themselves that ends up succeeding.

How Silicon Valley Nails Silicon Valley newyorker.com
491 points by sajid  1 day ago   294 comments top 33
zippergz 1 day ago 5 replies      
Silicon Valley is so realistic that I stopped watching a few episodes into the first season. I was going through a rough and very stressful time at work, and the show was reminding me too much of that rather than being an escape (as I usually want TV to be).

Thankfully I'm in a better place professionally now, and I recently came back to the show. Now I enjoy it a lot, even though it can hit very close to home.

dang 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't know the show very well, but this is a much better article than I expected. The vignette about online forums is so perfect I can't resist quoting it in full.

Silicon Valley, a show about computer nerds, has a fan base that is particularly attuned to minutiae, and particularly apt to argue about them on the Internet. If a Post-it, URL, or line of code is legible on the show, it will be screengrabbed and scrutinized. Last year, a few hours after an episode aired, a Reddit user with the handle HeIsMyPossum started a thread called Why did the writers just obliterate all the good karma they had built up with their core audience? He made an impassioned argument that a plot pointthe accidental deletion of data from Pied Pipers serverswas implausible. So the files were being converted live while coming through an FTP? And that affects disk deletion speed? Come the fuck on guys. Rob Fuller, a software engineer and a consultant on the show, logged on to Reddit to defend his work, mostly by displaying his own nerd plumage. Stuff like this happens, he wrote. I think even Amazon had an outage because one of the admins fat fingered a DNS or ACL change at one point. Another user responded to Fuller: Thanks for engaging us here, we really appreciate it. The thread amassed nearly three hundred comments. Sorry for being a dick, HeIsMyPossum wrote.

Edit: well, it's weirdly anticlimactic sitting here. But it was hilarious in the New Yorker.

gnahckire 1 day ago 1 reply      
A friend of mine who works in tech called me and said, Why arent there any women? Thats bullshit! I said to her, It is bullshit! Unfortunately, we shot that audience footage at the actual TechCrunch Disrupt.

Unfortunately, unsurprising.

timewarrior 1 day ago 1 reply      
I completely agree. Silicon Valley talked about the reality.

I founded a startup and headed engineering for another. I have seen more than half the things there as follows:Getting money in tranches.Investors making you spend invested money for personal gain.Having a business CEO who has no product insights.Board control issues.Employees trying to overthrow founders and getting fired because of that.Being forced to hire friends and family of investors.Lawyers represent the company and not you.Founding company with someone whom you do not trust.Investors getting involved in day to day running.

Luckily each of the startups had an happy ending. But it took a lot of hard work and a few miracles.

minimaxir 1 day ago 6 replies      
If you want proof that the SV producers go the extra mile, a couple episodes ago there was a split-second appearance of a GitHub repository belonging to one of the characters. Turns out it's completely real (https://github.com/Stitchpunk/atari-ai ) and the owner has accepted pull requests!
ben_jones 1 day ago 5 replies      
In last Sunday's show they were ramping up to launch a beta of their product and had a closed alpha session where the team could give out access codes to close friends. The three team members, all engineers, got universally positive feedback for how great their user interface was. Well except from Monica, who couldn't quite articulate why it was just off to the casual user [1].


Essentially everyone in the engineering team's social circle either were engineers themselves who wouldn't recognize good design if it hit them in the mouth, or intentionally did not give criticism of the product in order to suck up to the promising new startup.

smilbandit 1 day ago 0 replies      
For me the most realistic scene, one that only people in the field would understand, is when they made the "box". The lead up from hating the assignment to not being able to do shit work really hit home. I've probably had had a few projects that i hated but spent more time then needed. To either make it work faster or modulerized it even though it was probably never going to be updated, just to keep my interest or to learn something.
joshu 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am a consultant on the show. I am super impressed with them. I find it less "funny" and more "accurate" on a regular basis.
qnk 1 day ago 1 reply      

The article contains several spoilers. You may want to hold off if you follow the show.

jewbacca 1 day ago 1 reply      
> In 2015, Weissman convened the Stanford Compression Forum, which resulted in a forty-page white paper outlining what middle-out compression might mean. One of his graduate students, Vinith Misra, worked out the math more explicitly in another paper.

The paper they link to from there (https://www.scribd.com/doc/228831637/Optimal-Tip-to-Tip-Effi...) is actually "Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency: a model for male audience stimulation". Not that I'm complaining, that is absolutely incredible, but does the compression paper actually exist?

jpatokal 1 day ago 6 replies      
Great article, with some glorious lines:

Its capitalism shrouded in the fake hippie rhetoric of Were making the world a better place, because its uncool to just say Hey, were crushing it and making money.

Some of us actually, as nave as it sounds, came here to make the world a better place. And we did not succeed. We made some things better, we made some things worse, and in the meantime the libertarians took over, and they do not give a damn about right or wrong. They are here to make money.

In the real Silicon Valley, as on the show, there is a cohort of people who have a real sense of purpose and actually think theyre going to change the world, and then theres a cohort of people who say farcical things about their apps that they clearly dont believe themselves.

dccoolgai 1 day ago 0 replies      
In a lot of ways, "epochs" of software development track to Mike Judge productions... a lot of things changed after Office Space lampooned the industry the first time... I wonder if Silicon Valley will have the same effect.
fataliss 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think it's good that people in the actual tech industry and startup eco system can laugh about themselves. It's healthy. The day they/we stop laughing is the day we have a problem.
swampthinker 1 day ago 11 replies      
There was an article a while back on The Verge noting the irony in the show being "comedy". It's supposed to be a caracature of startup culture, stories, and the insane numbers that are casually thrown around. But as most people on HN know, Pied Piper would have had a similar path if it was a startup in real life.

What I'm getting at is that even in it's attempt to be more insane than what startup life is like, it's strangely... more accurate.

And I can't really tell if that's a good or bad thing.

mmmBacon 1 day ago 1 reply      
The attention to detail on the show is amazing. For example, during their move to the new office I noticed that they had Corovan moving boxes. If you don't know Apple uses Corovan exclusively and if you've ever moved offices chances are high that they moved you. Not sure why but it was amazing to me that they bothered with a detail like that.
josu 1 day ago 4 replies      
I personally didn't like the humor of the show and stopped watching it after 3 or 4 episodes.

On a related note, a few days ago [1] Marc Andreessen recommended another show based on startup culture: Halt and Catch Fire [2]

I haven't seen it, but I will probably give it a shot.

[1] http://fourhourworkweek.com/2016/05/29/marc-andreessen/[2] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2543312/?ref_=wl_li_tt

trhway 1 day ago 0 replies      
>Its capitalism shrouded in the fake hippie rhetoric of Were making the world a better place, because its uncool to just say Hey, were crushing it and making money.

the world does seems to be a better place when you're making a lot of money.

ModernMech 1 day ago 10 replies      
The thing about SV that always gets me is the forced "code" vs "hardware" rivalry between Gilfoyle and Dinesh.

"My code can beat your terrible hardware!""My hardware is terrible because of your terrible code!"

That just doesn't happen in my experience. Has anyone else seen this?

rexreed 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Silicon Valley show makes me anxious. I laugh but I also feel the pain from experience. And I'm not sure if that's good. I want and need to catch up but I almost dread it. I wonder if it's the same for cop drama shows and cops who watch them.
jrnichols 1 day ago 0 replies      
One of my favorite parts of the show is the opening credits. Being an old Netscape employee, I still get a little sad when I see the Netscape logo fall off that building, only to be replaced by Chrome. tears
jagermo 1 day ago 1 reply      
My favorite from the article:

Teller ended the meeting by standing up in a huff, but his attempt at a dramatic exit was marred by the fact that he was wearing Rollerblades.

blue11 1 day ago 7 replies      
I have really enjoyed watching this show but the last few episodes it seems like the writing has went downhill. There were a number of cringe worthy scenes like "tabs vs spaces".
peter303 1 day ago 0 replies      
NPR Fresh Air broadcast a similar article today:http://www.npr.org/2016/06/09/481377115/in-hbos-silicon-vall...
f_allwein 1 day ago 1 reply      
for a similar satire of high tech culture 20 years ago, check out Douglas Copeland's "Microserfs": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microserfs
zw123456 1 day ago 1 reply      
It seems to me that "Silicon Valley" is somewhat of a Roman a clef, as such I think it would be great if the HN readers could provide the "key". Anyone out there willing to give it a shot ?
untilHellbanned 1 day ago 0 replies      
Best part:

Some Valley big shots have no idea how to react to the show, Miller told me. They cant decide whether to be offended or flattered. And theyre mystified by the fact that actors have a kind of celebrity that they will never havetheres no rhyme or reason to it, but thats the way it is, and it kills them. Miller met Musk at the after-party in Redwood City. I think he was thrown by the fact that I wasnt being sycophanticwhich I couldnt be, because I didnt realize who he was at the time. He said, I have some advice for your show, and I went, No thanks, we dont need any advice, which threw him even more. And then, while were talking, some woman comes up and says Can I have a picture? and he starts to poseit was kinda sad, honestlyand instead she hands the camera to him and starts to pose with me. It was, like, Sorry, dude, I know youre a big dealand, in his case, he actually is a big dealbut Im the guy from Yogi Bear 3-D, and apparently thats who she wants a picture with.

rconti 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have a really, really hard time understanding how anyone can watch the show and be offended.

OTOH, maybe it's just because I'm neither rich nor important.

drumdance 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just once I'd like to see Dinesh win against Gilfoyle.
keypusher 1 day ago 2 replies      
As someone that works in enterprise storage, the last season has hit very close to home.
nasalgoat 23 hours ago 1 reply      
One question I'd like answered is how Richard lost controlling interest of his company. The ownership percentages are never really talked about other than Erlich's 10% and the two coders getting 7% each. One minute Richard is majority shareholder while Reviga has 20%, then Reviga has majority?

It's the only thing that gives me pause.

pyb 1 day ago 1 reply      
Does anyone else find that the show is running out of steam ? I think the quality of the writing has gone down in this new series.
p4wnc6 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love the Sweet Valley High series. Glad to see it's enjoying a renaissance of sorts.
1 day ago 1 day ago 8 replies      
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11872823 and marked it off-topic.
Program your next server in Go golang.org
536 points by rjammala  3 days ago   371 comments top 42
fpgaminer 3 days ago 17 replies      
All of the server backends at my company are written in Go. This was a result of me writing a couple servers in Python a few years back, ending up with lots of problems related to hanging connections, timeouts, etc. I tried a couple different server libraries on Python but they all seemed to struggle with even tiny loads. Not sure what was up with that, but ultimately I gave Go a swing, having heard that it was good for server applications, and I haven't looked back. It has been bullet proof from day one and I am overall happy with the development experience.

That was the good. The bad? Garbage collection, dependency management, and lack of first-tier support in various libraries. Garbage collection makes the otherwise lightweight and speedy language a memory hog under heavy loads. Not too bad, but I have to kick the memory up on my servers. Dependency management is a nightmare; honestly the worst part about it. The lack of first-tier support in various libraries is a close second. AWS's API libraries had relentless, undocumented breaking changes when we were using them, all on the master branch of their one repo (breaking Golang's guidelines for dependencies). Google itself doesn't actually have any real API libraries for their cloud services. They autogenerate all API libraries for golang, which means they're not idiomatic, are convoluted to use, and the documentation is a jungle.

We continue to use Go because of its strengths, but it just really surprises me how little Google seems to care about the language and ecosystem.

matthewmacleod 3 days ago 1 reply      
Go has been great for me at providing things like simple microservices, network plumbing, CLI tools and that kind of thing. The C integration is also super simple and makes it easy to wrap up third-party libraries.

It's also a bit tedious to write in practice. It's dogmatic, and that's obviously a benefit in some ways but comes with the cost that quite a lot of time in my experience is wasted fiddling around with program structure to beat it into the way Go wants it to work. Dependency management is better with Glide but still not perfect. The type system is quite annoying, and although it's a cliche the lack of generics is quite annoying. Lots of silly casting to and from interface{} or copy-and-pasting code gets old quickly.

Still, it's a great tool for its niches and I really think everyone should pick it up and use it - the idea of simplicity it promotes is actually kind of interesting, in contrast to the "showy" features one might expect of a modern language.

oconnor663 3 days ago 4 replies      
> When writing code, it should be clear how to make the program do what you want. Sometimes this means writing out a loop instead of invoking an obscure function.

For example instead of the obscure function

you can use the clear for loop

 for i := len(a)/2-1; i >= 0; i-- { opp := len(a)-1-i a[i], a[opp] = a[opp], a[i] }

avitzurel 3 days ago 4 replies      
I love Go.

It has become the default Go-To (pun intended) language for me for almost anything that needs to be small and portable.

However, I don't see myself writing a full server with it, I would still prefer a dynamic language like Ruby/Python for that and use Go for micro-services CLIs and the rest.

For example:

Our main application is Rails, it communicates with SOLR as the search index, in between the application and SOLR there's a proxy server that backups the documents onto S3 and also does Round-Robin between slaves.

One other thing is that we use Go to communicate with all external APIs of 3rd parties, the application code is rails and it communicates transparently with a Go server that fetches the data from 3rd parties and responds to the main application.

tokenizerrr 3 days ago 5 replies      
What about debugging? This is the major pain point for me. I've tried using GDB, but...

> GDB does not understand Go programs well. The stack management, threading, and runtime contain aspects that differ enough from the execution model GDB expects that they can confuse the debugger, even when the program is compiled with gccgo. As a consequence, although GDB can be useful in some situations, it is not a reliable debugger for Go programs, particularly heavily concurrent ones. Moreover, it is not a priority for the Go project to address these issues, which are difficult. In short, the instructions below should be taken only as a guide to how to use GDB when it works, not as a guarantee of success.


shurcooL 3 days ago 2 replies      
I like slide 41 [0].

 What just happened? In just a few simple transformations we used Go's concurrency primitives to convert a - slow - sequential - failure-sensitive program into one that is - fast - concurrent - replicated - robust. No locks. No condition variables. No futures. No callbacks.
It's the ability to make these kind of transformations effortlessly at any level, whenever I need to, that make me appreciate choosing Go when solving many tasks.

[0] https://talks.golang.org/2016/applicative.slide#41

nimmer 3 days ago 5 replies      
I'd love to see Nim on this diagram: https://talks.golang.org/2016/applicative.slide#13 - it could be close to the top right corner.
robohamburger 3 days ago 0 replies      
I will have to try Go again. It seemed really awesome at first then quickly seemed like a regression in a lot of PL design things (which is good in some cases). I personally like rust but maybe I am a glutton for type based punishment.

Solution: design the language for large code bases

This seems crazy but whatever works. I would assume that would only buy you some wiggle room inside whatever order of magnitude of committers you have. It seems like eventually you would need to split up the code base if you are having contention issues.

cryptos 3 days ago 4 replies      
There are some questionable statements:

> Go differs from Java in several ways

> Programs compile to machine code. There's no VM.

This tries to imply that having a VM is a bad thing.

> Simple, concise syntax

The syntax is simple, but not overly concise. For example the lack of generics leads to a lot of repetition.

> Statically linked binaries

You can have them with Java, too.

> Built-in strings (UTF-8)

Should this suggest that Java doesn't have trings?

> Built-in generic maps and arrays/slices

Yeah! Some of the most awesome things about Go is the limited set of data structures and the limitation of generics for exactly this few structures.

> Built-in concurrency

It is questionable whether this is good or not. There are a lot of good concurrency libs for the JVM.

> Sometimes this means writing out a loop instead of invoking an obscure function.

This is completely strange! The lack of abstraction is sold as a good thing. Actually a lack of abstraction leads to redundant and error prone code.

yanilkr 3 days ago 8 replies      
I once tried to convince an enterprise java developer to give golang a try. The guy passionately hated it and the reasons were very very petty. The other younger engineers who did not have prior bias loved golang and they were productive so fast.

The person truly had a java supremacy attitude that was very difficult to deal with. Golang is a kind of shift in thinking that you have to first unlearn your existing ways of thinking and then you will have a place for it. Some people are not willing to take that leap of faith unfortunately.

capote 3 days ago 0 replies      
How do the bullet points in "Why does Go leave out those features?" address why Go leaves out the features on the preceding slide?

All it talks about is clarity (important but not the only important thing) and I just don't see how any of the left-out things are inherently unclear. I think you can write clear and unclear code alike with all of those left-out features.

zZorgz 3 days ago 0 replies      
I had a PHP program that processed HTTP requests and stored some data onto a local database, and decided I needed to rewrite it for various reasons so I decided to choose Go. Some points I recall:

* Static typing is good.

* As I expected, the standard library and other packages available had the http & routing stuff I needed, which is all good.

* I like that errors are specified in function signatures, unlike exceptions in languages like ruby/python.

* I don't like errors being easily ignored, and return values being assigned default or arbitrary values. I once may have also accidentally used the wrong equality operator against nil.

* Defer is nice, but would be better if it was based on current {} scope.

* Append on arrays? has very bizarre semantics sometimes mutating or returning a different reference.

* Initially I ran into trouble reasoning how to use some sql package and ran into "invalid memory" deference issues or some such when passing a reference. Thus, I'm skeptical about "memory safety."

This was only a simple program though and turned out to be worthwhile for me in the end.

thom 3 days ago 2 replies      
Holding up Perl and JavaScript as examples of languages that are 'fun for humans' makes it pretty clear I'm not the target market.
PeCaN 3 days ago 5 replies      
What are some cases where I would choose to write a server in Go instead of in Erlang?
fauigerzigerk 3 days ago 1 reply      
">50% of code base changes every month"

I wonder what unit is being counted here. I don't think it's possible to actually review and rethink 50% of what has been created before. That's just not sustainable.

voltagex_ 3 days ago 4 replies      
Can anyone convince me to use Rust over Go, or the other way around?

My target machines range from i7s with massive amounts of RAM to Raspberry Pi with slightly-less-massive amounts of RAM.

iagooar 3 days ago 2 replies      
One important niche I see that Go serves very well is in distributed, fault-tolerant deploy platforms (aka schedulers), like Kubernetes or Mesos. If you look at the amount of tooling that uses Go, you almost feel there just is no other choice out there.

I would not adventure to say state-of-the-art schedulers would not have been possible without Go, but for sure Go fits the requirements pretty well.

moyok 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really like go. I just love that it compiles to a native binary and is so easy to distribute. I love the way interfaces work and that types specify interfaces automatically without explicitly specifying that.

I love the "strictness" of the language - for example the code won't compile if you declare a variable and not use it, or import a library and not use it. I love that there is a standard gofmt which means code auto formats to a standard format. These features really help set some "discipline" when working in a team.

I love the way concurrent code can be called easily and the use of channels. I love the performance - it has been more than fast enough for my use cases so far. I love that I can get started with an HTTP server using just the standard library, and the most popular web frameworks in go are micro frameworks.

Overall, there's a kind of a simplicity about the language that underlies all of the above things, and that is what makes me excited about go.

I have used go in some minor projects that have been running peacefully for months without any hitches, and am using it in a big project mostly in the form of microservices and scripts. It has become my favorite language now.

squiguy7 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Clarity is critical.

When you need to write high performance code this is a great maxim. I enjoy the simplicity of Go and the guarantees it provides. Being able to reason about code and not having to guess is a win for any development team.

BooneJS 3 days ago 0 replies      
I use Go exclusively for command-line applications, previously using Perl (ducks). It's a fairly simple language, you can pick it up quickly, and gofmt/godoc/etc are useful utilities in reducing friction.
dicroce 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Sometimes this means writing out a loop instead of invoking an obscure function."

I can't help but think this is specifically a dig in C++'s direction. Since C++11 lambda's I've been using <algorithm> a lot more and I don't think you could get me to go back at this point... Yes I had to learn exactly what a few methods do, but now I have beautiful straight line code...

moron4hire 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been experimenting with this concept with C# recently [0], where I have a small backend written in C#, exposing a simple, RESTful HTTP server, that automatically finds itself a local port to run on and opens the default browser to a default page.

It's actually kind of nice. Until I did this the first time, I hadn't realized just how much bullshit I had previously put up with, with setting up local web servers, trying to get configurations down, etc., etc. At some point, I think most web framework's configuration options just got too complex to be considered configuration options and became weird, poorly defined scripting languages for defining web servers. Having a real programming language to do that instead is just a wonderfully smooth experience.

Some things I plan on implementing with it:

* local file system access, to ultimately implement an FSN [1] clone in my WebVR project.

* my own Leap Motion WebSocket service, because the default one doesn't use the latest Orion beta and its associate JS library is complete garbage.

* A similar dude for MS Kinect data.

* Ultimately, get the previous two to run over WebRTC instead (not easy, there is no WebRTC library for Windows outside of major browser implementations) to be able to stream their respective camera data.

* Live raytracing of model textures for baked lighting in scenes in the WebVR session.

Right now, it's just a source file I drop into a standard C# console project. I'm thinking about making it a full-on library, though at this point there isn't much need.

[0] https://github.com/capnmidnight/HereTTP

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fsn

poorman 3 days ago 0 replies      
server is a pretty loose term. Most servers* these days require some sort of full stack, with frontend, ORM, etc... Go adds a lot of development time if you need all of that. ...On the other hand, one off tiny microservices, it's absolutely great!
justinsaccount 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Lingo: Logs analysis in Go, migrated from Sawzall

Would love to play around with this

inglor 3 days ago 2 replies      
The slides are awesome and I really am fond of go, but the examples using channels are all more code to write considerably than I'd write in C# or JavaScript with async/await and not any more robust or safe.

Go is great for actor based systems where you model things using channels and goroutines for what they stand conceptually - not when you use it to simulate Task.WhenAll/Promise.all with a timeout.

I think _that's_ what they should be selling - that your server's architecture should typically be different.

yvsong 3 days ago 4 replies      
Any comment on Swift vs Go, potentially for server programming?
chuhnk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Go is a phenomenal systems programming language and becoming quite useful as a general programming language too. It's clear from the projects that are now coming into existence that Go lends itself well to the world of distributed systems and from the language design you can see that it was created with network programming in mind. The fact that concurrency is built into the language and errors are treated as values that should be dealt with just highlights those facts.

We used Go at Hailo for our microservices platform and it served us incredibly well. I've gone on to create an open source project called Micro https://github.com/micro/micro that builds on those past experiences. It's just a joy to write micro services in Go.

epynonymous 2 days ago 0 replies      
golang is great, i use it to do 3 things thus far: restful api server (net/http, gorilla mux), dynamic web server (net/http, amber, sql), and websocket server (net/http, gorilla websocket, redigo/redis). the libraries are well implemented, the syntax is beautiful imho, and i'm able to quickly write code similar to interpreted languages like ruby, python, but scale much higher. i used to do lamp, then shifted to python tornado, ruby sinatra, nodejs/expressjs, but find golang to just be more compact and fast. my sinatra environment required rbenv, gems, and i just wasn't impressed with it.

what i like the most about golang is that the end result is a binary where my production server doesn't need to have any dependencies except for the ability to run elf binaries. i like having this option, but in reality the binary size gets pretty unwieldy for upload, so i actually end up doing a pull on the source code, compiling and starting up.

package management has not been a problem for me.

i do find html template packages to be a bit deficient, amber, ace, there are ports of haml and jade, but they all seem pretty half baked. i had to have a lot of hacks in my code to get this stuff working.

also sucks that there isn't a standard orm, but i can hang and keep up with raw sql.

the language expressiveness is not as convenient as say ruby, but it's pretty close.

sly010 3 days ago 0 replies      
Go is my secret and I wish less people used it, so I had an advantage over them ;) Edit: typos
Matthias247 3 days ago 0 replies      
The presentation focuses a lot on [web] servers and google scale, but I found that Go also works quite well for applications/services on embedded linux systems.

Main pros for me there are:

 - Easy to cross compile and deploy - Daemons often need to do a lot of communication (some also for providing web APIs) and need to embrace concurrency. Both are covered very well by Go's ecosystem. - Compile-to-binary eases distribution concerns in cases where you want to avoid to publish all source code (and thereby know-how) compared to VM languages or scripting languages.

warcode 3 days ago 0 replies      
I always see Go promote Clarity/Readability and yet in the second example its already "fmt.Fprintln". That is not easily readable for humans.
VeejayRampay 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder why on that fun/fast diagram, it appears as if Perl faster than Python, which is faster than Ruby. They're all about as slow.
sargas 2 days ago 0 replies      
The fast/happiness graph of languages is pretty interesting.

Unrelated: Rust would probably be around the right-most area in the horizontal axis, close to C and C++, and a little below Go in the vertical axis.

satysin 3 days ago 1 reply      
The only place I would want to use Go is for a server tbh. It isn't all that great for anything else imho.
bfrog 3 days ago 0 replies      
Go is a fine language and a very good run time, though having written a large program with it I've learned its warts well enough to not want to use it again personally.
insulanian 3 days ago 1 reply      
Which kind of applications does one write in Go? Asking this from perspective of a developer working mostly on business apps with Angular frontend and .NET (C#/F#) backend.
hobo_mark 3 days ago 1 reply      
I might have strange requirements for a server, but I need rdma, verbs, libfabric... Is there any way to use them in an idiomatic way in go?
callumjones 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think "Program your next server in Go" is a little too broad, the specific language features that Go explicitly leaves out makes it hard to build an extensive backend server. Go is best suited to use cases listed in these slides: simple services that do very focused things.

I love Go and used it to build some very useful web hook and CLI tools. It just doesn't lend itself to something where you expect to have a vast set of APIs under one Go project.

aj7 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can't read on IOS
codedokode 3 days ago 1 reply      
Here are the problems I had when tried to write a simple CLI utility (tool to run any program in seccomp-bpf based sandbox) in Go:

- using case of a first letter of identifier as a public/private flag. You end up with half names starting in a lowercase letter, half in an uppercase (the code looks inconsistent) and forgetting how to spell them. And having to rename the function everywhere when you decide to change it from private to public.

- no official package manager. Unclear how to add external libraries to your project and how to set specific version you need. I ended up adding necessary files into a separate folder in my project.

- Go manual suggests you have single directory for all projects and libraries. That was inconvinient because I develop on Windows and use Linux only to test and run code in /tmp directory, I do not keep the code there. And why would I want to keep unrelated projects inside the same directory anyway?

- no rules how to split contants, types and functions into files and folders. For example in PHP there are certain rules: each class goes to its own file and you always know that class Some\Name is stored at src/Some/Name.php. Easy to remember. And in Go you never know what goes where. Large projects probably look like a mess of functions scattered around randomly

- no default values for struct members, no constructors

- no proper OOP with classes

- standard library is poor

- open source libraries you can find on github are not always good. I looked for library to handle config files and command line arguments and didn't like any.

- standard testing library doesn't have asserts

- easy to forget that you need to pass structures by pointer (in OOP objects are passed by reference by default). And generally use of pointers makes the code harder to read and to write.

- weird syntax for structure methods. They are declared separately from the structure.

- go has 2 assignment operators (= and :=) and it is easy to use the wrong one

- having to check and pass error value through function calls instead of using an exception. So most of functions in your code will have two return values - result and error

- no collections library

- simple things like reading a file by lines are not so simple to implement without mistakes

- static typing is good but sometimes you cannot use it. For example I wanted to have the options in a configuration file mapped to the fields of a structure. I had to use reflection and every mistake lead to runtime panic. And you cannot use complex types like "pointer to any structure" or "pointer to a reflect.Value containg structure" or "list of anything" or "bool, string or int".

Of course Go has also many good parts that might outweight its disadvantages but I am not writing about them. For example I have not used goroutines but they look like a simple solution for processing async tasks or writing servers.

I think Go is not ready yet for writing large applications. It might be ok if you write a small utility but I cannot imagine ORM like Hibernate or web application written in Go.

Also I took a look at the code in the presentation. I wouldn't want to write such code. For example, here https://talks.golang.org/2016/applicative.slide#20 they use static methods (http.HandleFunc(), log.Fatal()) instead of instance methods. So you cannot have two logs or two servers. Using static methods everywhere is bad especially in large applications. Google itself uses Go only for small utilities like simple proxy servers.

naivepiano 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm afraid HN has a serious problem with downvoters. Why -in heavens name- is the above a question that deserves downvoting?UPDATE: whoray - I got downvoted too. Gee man. Just not worth it. Buy and thanks for the fish.
3 days ago 3 days ago 3 replies      
The instructions are literally at the bottom of the first slide.
Mastering Programming: An Outline facebook.com
554 points by KentBeck  3 days ago   120 comments top 29
keyle 3 days ago 2 replies      
Sadly just an outline but I didn't mind that. Good read.

I'd add a few things I've noticed over the years. Great developers like to pair program on tricky stuff, because they always learn something. They will try 2 different implementations if they're not sure which is best, and then the right one will then be obvious. They back their arguments with real world proofs. They try most fringe/new technology, even if it's not right for the current project. They hold large amount of domain knowledge in their heads. They admit when something is twisting their brains, draw it on paper, talk about it and then bang it out. They fantasize about what-ifs, in a perfect world, scenarios. And they love to share knowledge.

0mbre 3 days ago 3 replies      
Something that is helping me a lot recently is trying to know all there is to be known about the tools/concept that I am using and the problem that I am solving. Too often have I used tools I half understood to solve problem that I didn't define clearly enough.
bcbrown 3 days ago 6 replies      
> Call your shot. Before you run code, predict out loud exactly what will happen.

That's probably my favorite bit of advice. It really helps with understanding how much your assumptions diverge from reality.

shadesof 3 days ago 1 reply      
> When faced with a hard change, first make it easy (warning, this may be hard), then make the easy change.

This is my favorite bit. Katrina Owen mentions this in her talk on refactoring. "Make the change easy; then make the easy change."


elliotec 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd like to see this fleshed out more with examples, because I don't really know what some of these mean.
KentBeck 3 days ago 3 replies      
I updated the description of 80/15/5, a career risk management strategy.
jasim 3 days ago 0 replies      
These are attributes that everyone can, on honest personal judgement, can mistake to possessing themselves to varying degrees. But it might be a useful list to read through when stuck at a problem that is simply not giving way.

Unless we have the chance to learn from and be coached directly by a master, what would be helpful is narratives on how they think and solve problems.

The best I have so far come across in a book is "Coders At Work". https://github.com/aosabook/500lines promises to be another. Rich Hickey did great service by talking pragmatically about the meta aspects of programming through Hammock Driven Development and Simple is not Easy. Dijkstra's and Alan Perlis' writing that has been gaining a resurgence in popularity is also of a similar ilk. http://damienkatz.net/2005/01/formula-engine-rewrite.html also is an intriguing story.

sleepychu 3 days ago 2 replies      
My top piece of advice:Programs behave predictably, when something impossible is happening it's because one of your assumptions is wrong. When that happens you'll find the bug the moment you start testing your full set of assumptions.

For some reason, even though this is invariably true, my friends at school didn't appreciate "I can't understand why I'm seeing this weird behaviour", "One of your assumptions is wrong!" xD

sigill 3 days ago 2 replies      
The article makes a number of good points. The first three points in the "Learning" section resonated very well with me.

Then there's stuff I just don't understand. For example:

> Multiple scales. Move between scales freely. Maybe this is a design problem, not a testing problem. Maybe it is a people problem, not a technology problem [cheating, this is always true].

What does he mean by scales?

quincyla 3 days ago 1 reply      
There is wisdom behind these bullet points. This wisdom could be better communicated through a series of fleshed-out articles with real life examples.

Otherwise, these points are difficult to contextualize, retain, and apply.

arekkas 3 days ago 1 reply      
After reading that, I don't feel a bit smarter then before. That's usually how it goes when you make a bold, universal statement about something and put it into 10 lines of text.

I aknowledge what Kent Beck has done and what facebook is doing but this doesn't deserve to be on HN front page.

jondubois 3 days ago 5 replies      
This article should be called 'Mastering large-scale team programming'. In reality there is no single correct approach to programming. All programmers/engineers/developers have different specializations.

Some developers are really good at getting an MVP out the door quickly but their code may not quite work at scale. Others are good at working in large teams on large projects, others work better alone or in small teams. These different types will produce different types of code - the utility value of various programming habbits changes based on team size, project size and urgency requirements.

There could be some 'Master MVP programmers' and 'Master team-player programmers', 'Master large-project programmers'... You can rarely put them all under a single label - As developers we tend to get stuck with particular styles depending on which kinds of companies we have worked for.

It is not quite correct to assume that because a company is financially successful and handles many millions of users, that its methodologies are the only correct way to do things.

Programming is an adaptive skill and should change based on economic/scale requirements.

kevindeasis 3 days ago 0 replies      
() Anyone else knows other paths/checklist from beginner programmer toexpert/senior programmer in different domains (front-end,back-end, dev-ops/sysadmin, android, ios, system programming, gaming, 3d, image, video) ?
aryehof 3 days ago 0 replies      
I also think it important to understand the nature of the environment your problem is in, because it so much flavors the approach and the solution.

If in computer and data science, emphasis is on algorithms, data structures and ADTs. But if in business, commerce and industry it's the representation of complex domain concepts, real and abstract, and their interactions that are key.

In some ways there is a fundamental divide between the two. While the ops advice is valuable, for me an understanding of where and how to apply techniques across that divide is one of the biggest impediments to "mastering programming".

makuchaku 3 days ago 1 reply      
I just noticed, this note is being served by www.prod.facebook.com? Note : ".prod.facebook"
gavinpc 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Good design is about taking things apart."--Rich Hickey

I think that statement captures several of these. He says it in the context of methodology and "architectural agility" in a great talk called "Simplicity Matters." [0]

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI8tNMsozo0&t=9m49s

minusSeven 2 days ago 2 replies      
>Rhythm. Waiting until the right moment preserves energy and avoids clutter. Act with intensity when the time comes to act.

What does this mean ?

JayHost 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Move fast and break stuffabstract stuff and build quickMove Fast With Stable Infra"

How about just put in the work and learn the hard way?

hcarvalhoalves 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great summary. One could change the title to "Mastering Problem Solving" and it would be just as true.
caseymarquis 3 days ago 1 reply      
It'd be interesting to compare this to "Ask HN: Habits of the master programmer?"
mathattack 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great outline. Given the source I would like to see it taken down a level of detail in the future.
sklogic 3 days ago 0 replies      
Despite hating anything XP, I can strongly relate to this one:

> When faced with a hard change, first make it easy (warning, this may be hard), then make the easy change.

It aligns well with my natural process: for any problem, spend most time designing and implementing a DSL for it, and then solve it trivially in this DSL.

partycoder 3 days ago 2 replies      
While the author is known (technical coach at Facebook, creator of XP software methodology), I sort of disagree.

You can follow this guide and still be a low value programmer. This guide won't take you to mastery level.

And, there is also a sense of irresponsibility around one item: "easy changes". Easy changes as in, duct tape programming? That's pretty much turning your project into a Jenga tower... you add your "easy change", that incurs technical debt, fix a problem... but lower productivity for following changes. Also sets a bad example for other people to follow.

raarts 3 days ago 1 reply      
Old German proverb: In der Beschrnkung zeigt sich erst der Meister.
MciprianM 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why prod.facebook.com?
yoyo_io 2 days ago 0 replies      

That's new to me.

Teeboo 3 days ago 2 replies      
What? Seriously, what?

What argument are you making here? Boxing / Ali was an analogy to demonstrate the widespread respect of the engineering community that KB has earned.


To be clear; my post was not about you being boxer.


Teeboo 3 days ago 2 replies      
EDIT: Just reviewed your Twitter. It's 2000 tweets of snark and criticism of everything you come across - GoT, other coders, Agile, politics. I doubt we will get anywhere constructive on this thread but my original post remains below.

Original post >>

"Doesn't give him the chops or credibility to tell others how to program or solve problems."

...that cannot be serious. Am actually smiling at that. Also laughing at the idea that modern coders think they have nothing to learn from Grady Booch.

Plinkplonk you are absolutely someone I would never want on my team or contributing to a product I was involved in. Aggressive, combative and dismissive of the precedents that laid the foundations for modern software engineering. You need to mature (my opinion). Your post has not painted you in a flattering light.

But feel free to prove me wrong - in your eyes what DOES give someone the chops to support others with engineering advice? What do they need to have accomplished?

3 days ago 3 days ago 3 replies      
Please don't post like this here. Comments on HN need to be civil and substantive. If you want to make a criticism thoughtfully, that's fine, but don't call names.



Electric vehicle battery costs rapidly declining, Tesla cited as leading evannex.com
400 points by mgdo  3 days ago   243 comments top 17
narrator 3 days ago 14 replies      
I find it amusing to see so many people questioning why Tesla didn't release a cheap Tesla sooner. The answer is: They don't have the batteries to do that. That's why they are building the GigaFactory.

People don't get that, on a large industrial scale, you actually have to think about supply. They think you just spend money and supply shows up because they are used to thinking on a household scale where supply is generally infinite for anything they could possibly consume.

I think one pervasive economic fallacy is that any amount of money can fix anything. We just need to find someone to write a big enough check, either the government or wall street and all those batteries will materialize instantly out of some technology horn of plenty. This has driven the focus on "stimulus" and "aggregate demand" in various forms of economic dialogue. We could use more supply side thinking about very large problems that the economy faces, especially in the public sector. Health Care, for example, is one of those things where, if you're not thinking about supply, spending more money just makes everything more expensive.

pmarreck 3 days ago 2 replies      
Tesla is going to be a gigantic company one day.

Disclaimer: I own one (Model S P85+, about 2 years old). And everyone I let drive it (yes, I am crazy enough to do that... As a fan who pushes the bleeding edge, it's important to share the experience in order to change minds... Anyway, my insurance covers me even when I'm a passenger!) cannot stop talking about it afterwards. I actually think Tesla's market is limited right now not only by the people who can't afford one, but by the people who haven't even had the opportunity to drive one yet and have thus not yet had their eyes opened...

Driving is believing. If you have any opportunity at all to experience driving one... Do not hesitate. It makes everything else feel like a noisy clunker.

The older guys I let drive it, like the real car guys of old... they have the best reactions. The look of shock and disbelief on their faces... The stories they start telling about their first muscle cars... The whooping and "OH MY GOD"'s and whatnot... It's totally awesome

OliverJones 3 days ago 1 reply      
US$145 / kWh -- GM's late 2015 price for Volt / Bolt power -- is OK.

But the differential in price, in New England where I live, between peak and offpeak electricity, is US$0.027 (2.7 cents) per kWh. I worked it out: my investment in a battery setup at those rates would take about 17 years to pay off: far too long.

If we want this to work, we need a smart grid: a grid that can announce pricing based on current costs. Then we need baseload electricity costs (hydro, nuclear, gas, coal) to be significantly lower than peakload (fuel oil, Storm-King style pumped gravity storage) costs.

The smarts for a household energy storage system wouldn't be hard to work out IF the grid were smart enough to advertise present costs, and meters were smart enough to bill for present costs. My Power Wall could charge with cheap power and run my lights during a nasty summer brownout.

I understand they're experimenting in Europe with announcing prices using the FM radio sub channels now used to display song names. That's interesting.

sremani 3 days ago 3 replies      
caution.1. a tesla accessory site.2. the report is full of projections and hard to understand what is wishful and what is not.3. GM: $145/kw Oct 2015 - Tesla $100/kw in 2020, how is Tesla killing it?
mtgx 3 days ago 2 replies      
4x drop in battery prices, (or) 5x increase in density in only 8 years. Pretty damn good for batteries that "aren't following Moore's Law", something most battery-related articles are quick to remind us. Hopefully, this continues for at least another decade, which should make EVs more than competitive with ICE cars.
Aelinsaar 3 days ago 2 replies      
Between this and the projected increase in PV solar efficiency, drop in cost and toxicity of manufacture... I don't think I've felt this kind of cautious optimism for a renewable energy infrastructure before.
jpm_sd 3 days ago 1 reply      
"since 2008 [...] battery energy density had a fivefold increase"

Citation needed! In that time period, the highest energy density 18650 cells on the market have gone from ~200 Wh/kg to ~250 Wh/kg.

olivermarks 3 days ago 1 reply      
Look to China for mass production of cost effective batteries, not Tesla... firms like EV West help me demystify the true state of maturity of this market http://evwest.com/catalog/
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would love to see $100 kWh batteries. Worst case, my house uses 30kWh a day in electricity so 90kWh would be a 3 day+ UPS for the house. Update the solar on my roof and be off grid for an addition $9K in batteries? That would be totally doable for me.

I think it would be hilarious if houses went back to just having a gas hookup like it was prior to the spread of electricity.

Shivetya 3 days ago 1 reply      
So were are only talking about numbers they are hoping for, not currently in production? GMs numbers are current, what are Tesla's current battery costs? Just because they want 100 by 2020 doesn't mean they are leading the charge, simply leading the wish list.

Still waiting on density improvements because frankly 400kg for 200 odd miles of range is not good. Of course with higher density means better charging and hopefully standards are ready for it

macspoofing 3 days ago 2 replies      
Can Lithium battery supply even meet the demand if a significant portion of the auto market switches to electric?
disposeofnick9 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can't wait to buy the plastic battery holder grids for Tesla-sized cells. My first 18650 pack is made from 4 laptop batteries and is capable of about 63 A at 0.2C.
tn13 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't see how cars will have any impact on battery life. How many cars do we sell each year? Even if we assume 10% of cars are electric it is nothing but a drop in an ocean in terms of number of batteries being sold.

I am unable to see how Tesla car could have any impact on battery industry in terms of economy of scale. Any battery based solution for homes etc. could possibly bring economy of scale into picture.

dovdov 3 days ago 0 replies      
If people pay $35k for a compact car, why would you sell it cheaper? Now Tesla introduced the Model 3, I'd bet we'll see a $25k Leaf next year with better range.It's business, don't blame it on the sub-par 25 year old technology batteries.
agumonkey 3 days ago 2 replies      
What about recycling btw ?
Animats 3 days ago 3 replies      
From the article: "Since 2008, estimates of battery costs were cut by a factor four and battery energy density had a fivefold increase."

We're not seeing that kind of improvement in mobile devices.

bunkydoo 3 days ago 3 replies      
The big problem lies still in the fact that most electricity is generated from coal and nuclear. Every Tesla on the road today is effectively a coal powered car with the potential to be converted to green energy. Solar panels likely being the equilibrium. But the decline in battery cost is good, means it won't be long before they stop losing 1k on every car sold
Typosquatting programming language package managers incolumitas.com
482 points by xrstf  3 days ago   142 comments top 25
wbond 2 days ago 6 replies      
We've gotten flack from package developers submitting new packages to Package Control [0] because all additions to the default channel are hand reviewed. Part of this process is to prevent accidentally close package names, to try and encourage collaboration and to encourage developers to actually explain what their package does and how to use it.

My hope is to be automating a large amount of the review in the next few months, however I think this is a good argument for never having it be fully automatic. Having a human sanity check submissions isn't a terrible idea if we can keep the workload down.

Certainly this doesn't prevent a malicious author from posting a legitimate package and then changing the contents to be malicious, but that can be somewhat solved by turning off automatic updates.

[0] https://packagecontrol.io

Mahn 2 days ago 1 reply      
> In the thesis itself, several powerful methods to defend against typo squatting attacks are discussed. Therefore they are not included in this blog post.

http://incolumitas.com/data/thesis.pdf section 5 "Practical implications". Just wanted to point out that in case you skipped it it's worth a read, some interesting proposals there that are worth discussing with package manager maintainers.

I particularly like the preemptive approach of auto-blacklisting common typos by simply monitoring the number of times a specific unexisting package is requested over time (5.10). So if a lot of people regularly attempt to install the unexisting package "reqeusts", it could signal that it's a common typo and should be blacklisted to prevent malicious use in the future. False positives could always be sorted out manually by communicating with the package manager maintainers.

zeveb 3 days ago 2 replies      
Reminds me of the quote, 'there are only two hard things in computer science: naming things, cache invalidation and off-by-one errors.'

I think that this clearly falls under the heading 'naming issue.' People know what they want, but do not enter it properly.

I can't think of a 100% off-hand, which isn't surprising, because it's a hard problem.

pmontra's suggestion to use typo blacklisting ain't a bad idea. Maybe some sort of reputation-per-name could help?

szx 2 days ago 2 replies      
When you think about it, how different is the destructive potential of an npm/pip install from curl | bash that (some) people tend to froth at the mouth about?

It's pretty mind blowing how big of a blindspot package installers are. I guess running everything inside a e.g. Docker container/VM would be a partial interim solution for the paranoid?

eudox 3 days ago 4 replies      
I'm a fan of the approach of personally submitting projects to the repository maintainer (e.g. through GitHub issues), and having the maintainer personally approve them.

It does raise the barrier to entry, but it would prevent typosquatting and regular namesquatting.

EDIT: Does any major package manager provide a "did you mean" functionality, offering a list of actual package names similar to what you typed?

baby 2 days ago 0 replies      
After watching this awesome Defcon talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqxaKGA9Lnc I wondered if there was any use cases for bit/typo squating in crypto. This is a pretty cool one! Not crypto but interesting none-the-less :)
pmontra 3 days ago 3 replies      
Probably the maintainers of the package managers know which typos their users do, because of the 404s in the logs or equivalent errors. A preventive action could be starting to blacklist any name resolving to 404. If somebody eventually tries to upload a package in the blacklist, a maintainer should check the code and whitelist the name. Obviously people can be very crative with typos and with squattinq and there is no real protection against mistakes.
Mizza 2 days ago 6 replies      
This seems like pretty unethical research to me.

Also, doesn't point out that the bigger threat is that this is wormable.

PeterisP 2 days ago 1 reply      
Part of the problem is the many packages that require sudo permissions to install - IMHO that should be an exceptional case, but it isn't.
cormacrelf 2 days ago 0 replies      
And 'npmjs.org' is misspelled as 'npmsjs.org' in the introduction. Nice.
nichochar 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, this a very good study and explanation of what typo squatting is, and I really liked how he proved it's effectiveness.

I wonder what kind of steps we can take to prevent this risk.

ysavir 2 days ago 2 replies      
Instead of blacklisting, why not respond with a "You requested package ABD, but we think you might mean package ABC. Enter 'yes' to continue or anything else to start over."

That way authors can continue to use any name they want, and the emphasis is on letting installers know that they might be installing the wrong package.

zmanian 2 days ago 0 replies      
We need operating system vendors to give us a mechanism for easily creating and managed sandboxed dev environments.

Ones dev environment should be a place where remote code execution is a high probablity and we need better tools to partition that from high value data.

airless_bar 2 days ago 5 replies      
This only seems to be an issue for languages where packages reside in a global namespace, like Python, Rust etc.

I think most languages these days are a bit smarter and avoid this beginner mistake (for various reasons).

bennofs 2 days ago 5 replies      
Did anyone else find it surprising the the number of total requests (45334) is so much higher than the number of unique total requests (17289)? It is more than twice the number of unique requests!

Possible explainations:

* Perhaps many of those are automated build systems, which would also explain the high number of systems with admin access (for example, if you use travis without docker, every build runs in a clean vm with admin access).

* People download one package and install it multiple times? Seems unlikely

Any other ideas?

mirekrusin 2 days ago 2 replies      
with npm there should be at least an option which prompts for Y/N/A when package has preinstall hook.

but even this just tries to put the problem under carpet. you could still for example have requests package which just installs request package, works as expected, just sends request/response to your own server from time to time. ie. when there's http basic auth used only.

mbroshi 2 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe this is overly naive, but when I make a typo in the Google search bar, it doesn't even search for my typo-ed term (even if it would have gotten some hits), it searches for what I actually meant to type. Can't package managers have a similar feature?
ryanmarsh 3 days ago 1 reply      
So last week my client discovered there's a gem named bunlder... sigh
jwilk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Trying to parse the title made my head hurt.It should be "Typosquatting software package names" or something.
jogjayr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I thank my stars every time I get a "Package not found" error due to a typo, because I'm reminded that it could have been much worse.
tbrock 2 days ago 0 replies      
The homebrew model where packages and changes to packages are reviewed takes care of this problem quite nicely.
andrewstuart 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ouch. This really hurts. So hard to protect against human error.
sheerun 2 days ago 0 replies      
Glad to hear bower is stated to be safe in this regard :)
irremediable 3 days ago 0 replies      
Really cool applied research. If I get the time, I'll check out the author's thesis.
optimuspaul 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm confused.. is it 17 computers or 17000 computers? inconsistent use of decimals in this article.
2001: A Space Odyssey rendered in the style of Picasso bhautikj.tumblr.com
466 points by cjdulberger  1 day ago   86 comments top 25
mockery 1 day ago 4 replies      
This is cool, but the frame-to-frame variance is distracting. I really want to see this reimplemented with temporal constraints a-la this paper:


mgraczyk 1 day ago 3 replies      
I remember watching an interview with the creators of South Park in which they described the transition from animating using cardboard cutouts to a system with CorelDraw and other pieces of software which helped speed up the process. The bulk of the efficiency improvement came from carefully defining all the frequently used objects (characters, houses) once with movable components, and reusing those objects in the per-episode animation pipeline.

I can easily imagine an animation system like the one presented here enabling another massive improvement in animation efficiency. In the same way animation software allowed South Park to reuse pre-drawn objects, a deep learning system could enable south park to carefully define the entire drawing style just once, then generate complete episodes based on simple story boards and animation directives. Fortunately, South Park already has a significant amount of training data available, specifically every South Park episode yet produced.

nsimoneaux 1 day ago 2 replies      
"It means nothing to me. I have no opinion about it, and I don't care."

On the first moon landing, quoted in The New York Times, (1969-07-21).


Curious about his feelings regarding this work. (I find it beautiful.)

stepvhen 1 day ago 7 replies      
I have two opinions: 1) I don't think cubism transfers well into a motion picture format, 2) I think these experiments, as they are currently, attempt to merge two styles and end up with neither, and nothing novel in its place; there is little Kubrick or Picasso in the final piece.

I think it's superficial and doesn't do either source justice.

jjcm 1 day ago 1 reply      
I remember when The Scanner Darkly came out there was a lot of talk about how they achieved the style of the film. Some of it was automated, but a lot still had to be hand done. I wonder if using deep learning systems we could achieve the same effect that film had with nearly zero human interaction.

For those that haven't seen the movie, here's the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY5PpGQ2OWY

fractallyte 1 day ago 0 replies      
Possibly the finest painting software currently available is Synthetik's Studio Artist (http://synthetik.com/). Compared to Adobe's powerhouse software, it's relatively unknown, but that doesn't make it any less innovative.

It uses an algorithmic 'paint synthesizer' to generate brushes (with hundreds of presets) and auto-paint canvases, and is designed for animation (rotoscoping) as well as static artwork. The output can be reminiscent of the style of the movie 'A Scanner Darkly', but the software is hugely flexible. Here are a couple of rather amazing examples: http://studioartist.ning.com/video/auto-rotoscoped-dancers and http://studioartist.ning.com/video/dance-styles-animation-re...

Also, unlike most other 'painterly' software, the graphics are resolution independent - meaning that they can be scaled up to any size without loss of detail.

Udik 1 day ago 4 replies      
There is something that escapes me regarding this very cool neural style transfer technique. One would expect it to need at least three starting images: the one to transform, the one used as a source for the style, and a non-styled version of the source. This last one should give the network hints on how to transform the unstyled version in the styled one. For example, what does a straight line end up being in the style? Or how is a colour gradient represented? Missing this, it seems that the neural network should be able to recognize objects in the styled picture, and derive the transformation applied based on a previous knowledge of how they would normally look like. But of course the NN is not advanced enough to do that.Can someone explain me roughly how does this work?
shiro 1 day ago 0 replies      
It certainly has a wow factor, but once you pass the initial impression, it's interesting that the brain starts recognizing the content (motion of characters and objects) separately from the visual style, and even starts applying negative cubism filter so that we won't actually see the visual style anymore. (In other words, the brain treats those applied style as noise.)

It could be a way to exploit the mismatch of content and style as certain form of expression; but it may be more interesting if we can modify the temporal structure as well.

yxlx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Like someone said about this on /r/programming:

>Pretty tight that computers can drop acid now.

Anyway, here's a direct link to the video for mobile users: https://vimeo.com/169187915

habosa 1 day ago 0 replies      
The big changes frame-to-frame certainly add to the "trippiness" but I'd love to see this where the value function (or whatever it's called for ML) prioritizes reducing the frame-to-frame diff so that I could actually watch the full length movie like this.
slr555 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am much more of an artist than a technology person and the rendering inconsistency the author refers to is one of the coolest aspects of the video. This is the kind of happy accident that gives work originality and makes it more than a slavish copy. Reminds me of Link Wray putting a pencil through the speaker cone of his amplifier.
2bitencryption 1 day ago 1 reply      
I kind of want someone to do the same thing with a "NON-neural network" Picasso filter, like the ones in Photoshop and similar image editing programs. I want to compare how much the neural network's understanding of Picasso's style adds to the work (I imagine it's a lot, because this looks incredible).
elcapitan 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Poetry is what gets lost in translation","Art is what gets lost in machine learning".

I think it's interesting that it's possible to create basically filters from existing images, but then applying those filters to large amounts of images (like in this movie) quickly loses the novelty effect and is just as boring as any photoshop or gimp filter became in the 90s after seeing it 3 times.

When I look at Picassos actual pictures, I am astonished and amazed with every new one I get to see. With these pictures, I get more and more bored with every additional image.

jamesrom 1 day ago 1 reply      
A whole new debate about copyright is around the corner.
jamesdwilson 1 day ago 1 reply      
Serious question: how is this different than one of the many photoshop filters that could be applied iteratively to each frame?
ggchappell 1 day ago 1 reply      

It needs some kind of averaging with nearby frames (or whatever), to avoid the constant flicker in areas of more or less solid color.

tunnuz 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Oh my God, it's full of layers."
6stringmerc 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Not trying to over-state my qualifications to make the following claim, but I'm pretty sure Kubrick would have hated this. And, as such, have it destroyed.
TrevorJ 1 day ago 1 reply      
Would be interesting to see if they could reduce the temporal noise without compromising the overall effect.
stcredzero 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Is it just me, but have all forms of art simply melded with self-promotion? (Melded in the sense found in the movie "The Fly.")
rorygreig 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder how long it takes to render each frame.

Eventually with fast enough GPUs you could render a video game in this style, now that I would like to see.

auggierose 1 day ago 1 reply      
Awesome. Just the black monolith should stay black :-)
jdblair 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is amazing. That said it doesn't have the distorted perspective I think is a hallmark of Picasso's work.
golergka 1 day ago 2 replies      
Can someone knowledgeable estimate, how far are we from rendering this in 60 frames per second? Can't wait to try it as a post-processing layer in game development.
kodfodrasz 1 day ago 1 reply      
So basically you take someone else's work. Run it with some content (someone else's work also), post it, and wow innovation.

Actually in the last year myriads of similar things were created, and this is simply boring.

This is as interesting as a random tumblr reblog. May be curious, but lacks any sense of achievement or originality.

A deportation at the UK border medium.com
432 points by analyst74  1 day ago   310 comments top 47
2skep 22 hours ago 6 replies      
Enough has been said about bad treatment by border guards about every country on earth so don't need to repeat it but I had the following exchange with a Canadian visa officer.

Visa Officer:Your Name? How can I help you Me: Dr XYZ. I would like to apply for a visitor visa to Canada Visa Officer: Why would you like to go to Canada Me: I have been invited to speak at a conferenceVisa Officer: Hmm I see.Me: Is there a problem?Visa Officer: You see, you are not allowed to do public speaking on a visitor visa. You will have to apply a visa for public speaking which takes longer and requires additional formalities and checks.Me: Oh, I see. I am surprised that is the case, I go around the world to conferences and it seems unusual in Canada.Visa Officer: Can I ask you a questionMe: SureVisa Officer (with a smile): Would you say that your main purpose of applying the visa is to attend the conference and you will be sharing your professional and not political views.Me: Yes. Absolutely!Visa Officer: You should then get a visitor visa which will be ready tomorrow after 4. Remember, when asked say that you are attending the conference. Enjoy Canada

rossng 1 day ago 3 replies      
I am not happy about the continued existence of what are essentially rights-free zones at border crossings. Unfortunately, with the current political climate in the UK, I'm not sure the majority of my fellow countrymen would agree. And I'm certain Theresa May doesn't care.

It's easy for politicians to ignore these problems, as they will almost never affect their own citizens. A similar situation exists with the NSA abusing the privacy of foreigners - after all, they're not US citizens, so why should they care? At least the Border Force appeared to be more-or-less following the rules (twisted as they might be) in this particular instance.

paulsutter 21 hours ago 5 replies      
This is a great article on how /not/ to talk to immigration officials, anywhere. I don't defend any heavy-handed attitude of the officers. It's just useful to understand the purpose behind the process.

> the young immigrations officer at LHR was very inquisitive about this old friend I was going to meet while I was in London for a conference: Who was he? Where did he live? What was our relationship? My awkward answers and copious fear sweating must have been unsatisfactory,...

The officer is trying to determine whether she is coming for a brief visit, or secretly planning to stay for a long time. That's their primary purpose in life. Expect these questions, and give the answers matter-of-factly.

> I just wanted to tell him what he wanted. But somehow that wasnt enough. He tried to play games to prove something, but I didnt seem to play along the way he hoped

It's an interrogation. Which is exactly like a game. It's their job. The secret trick is to tell the truth.

> I told him point blank: there is nothing I can tell you to make you happy. I have to be very careful what information I volunteer, because if I talk too much, you get angry. And now if I dont talk enough, you get angry.

Translation, "I have something to hide and I just want to manipulate you". He doesn't want to hear what makes him happy, he wants to hear the facts. After this they really had no choice but to send her back, even if they were leaning the other way.

jackgavigan 23 hours ago 8 replies      
Unfortunately, like other countries, the UK's Border Force[1] clearly has an above-average share of incompetents and bullies. If you give such people any power whatsoever, they will abuse it. Sadly, that's what happened here.

The real problem is that there is no accountability in these organisations. Even if a complaint by Rachel triggered an investigation, the culture in organisations like this is to protect their own. The worst that is likely to happen is that those responsible would be given "words of advice", which is more like a pat on the back than a slap on the wrist.

1: Incidentally, the Border Force is part of the Home Office, which is led by Theresa May, who is behind the push for 1984-style mass surveillance of the UK population.

petercooper 23 hours ago 3 replies      
There is no VISA you can get to receive an honorarium for speaking in the UK

Potential international speakers should also be warned this is also true of the US - except for certain types of academic institution (INA 212(q)). The UK also allows it via https://www.gov.uk/permitted-paid-engagement-visa but again, only for arts or academia. A commercial conference doesn't count, annoyingly (or even a community conference that merely happened to offer honoraria). However, if you are being paid by your employer to attend a conference to speak, it is fine (big disclaimer: IANAL).

Related from a few years ago, Uncle Bob was turned away from the UK: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3282583 - but I'm pretty sure he has been back since.

ahaaaaaaa 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Keep in mind, this was a white American detained for some arbitrary visa restrictions which is a rarity. Middle Eastern individuals are very frequently put in the 'corral of shame' for reasons unbeknownst to them. I can't recall how many times I've been randomly searched, or have had officers keep an eye on me. I've also occasionally put through interrogations by irate border patrol over the mundane minutiae of my travel. Her entire ordeal is one I've faced several times solely based off my appearance and name.

These acts and laws only give legitimacy to discriminate and harass travellers of certain backgrounds, yet failing to add any measure of security.

growt 23 hours ago 7 replies      
Just a small remark: If you're visiting the USA your fingerprints get taken every time (at least thats my experience). So that part of the story (an american complaining that their fingerprints got taken in the UK) is kind of skewed perspective.
moon_of_moon 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Human rights in immigrant detention centres is something everyone should get behind.

Unfortunately this exact kind of treatment is common at the US border. Search for: denied port of entry nightmare.


I guess when you see scores of people trying to scam the system you get hard nosed about it in time.

jbob2000 23 hours ago 7 replies      
This was her mistake:

"..where a young man somberly asked me what brought me to the UK.Im giving a talk at a conference then traveling to see a bit of England. I have a letter of invitation, I replied, confidently handing over the requested documents."

Just say "A short vacation", whether it is or not. Don't give the agent any more information than they need. Throughout her entire encounter with the agents, she was giving way more information than she needed to, which was prompting further questions.

CaptSpify 1 day ago 1 reply      
I do often think that we should get rid of special treatment for "important" people going through these types of systems. If politicians, executives, etc had to go through the same thing, I think a lot of the inefficiencies would get fixed. As they stand now, there's no reason to make them efficient, because anyone who has the power to do so bypasses the system entirely.

Imagine how fast things would change if the president had to go through the TSA.

rdtsc 22 hours ago 1 reply      
> Never tell them youre coming for anything but tourism.

> When I was finally able to talk to my husband again, one of the very first things he told me was, Dont blame yourself for being truthful.

Very true. Your response goes into a "bin" (or a checkmark on a form). There are only so many bins there. One for terrorists, one for migrant workers, one for tourists. Self employed web developers, who are paid by a German company, do not fit in any of the bins. But they'll still try to pick one.

The lesson bureaucracy is teaching people is to lie. Even though officially on paper they warn people to tell the truth. To put it another way. Consider who you are talking to and decide if they can handle the truth. A bureaucracy and its minions cannot handle it. Or rather, they'll handle it at your detriment.

pjlegato 20 hours ago 1 reply      
It's unfortunate what happened to this woman, and probably to many others, but there's no evidence given at all that the "people who look like us" angle was ever a factor in what happened. That is FUD that serves solely to to provoke an irrational emotional response in the reader, not rationally supported in any way.

There's no evidence presented in this article to support the author's many claims that the UK immigration system discriminates on a racial "people who look like us" basis. ("It seems to me..." does not count as evidence.)

Yes, the immigration bureaucracy is badly broken. Yes, the laws are in many cases stupid and ought to be changed. No, latent racism, sexism, or classism are not in any way factors -- at least based on the events described in this article. The very basis of the article -- a middle class professional white woman from the US was deported because she broke the rules, despite her "looks like us" appearance -- is evidence to the contrary.

The one time in the article when she meets someone who might possibly be a racist (which is not even clear), the possible-racist even says that "the rules" always prevent her from ever acting on any of her possibly-racist impulses. Doesn't that mean the system is actually working pretty well in terms of preventing racist factors from entering into its operation?

That whole "people who look like us" theme is fearmongering, pandering to those who both love to speculate wildly about others' motives without evidence, and who are also consumed by liberal guilt. (The only thing missing is a "glance of solidarity" somewhere.)

She is understandably angry that she was deported, and feels like publicly shaming the system that deported her, so she picks a favorite pet issue (hidden racism) that has cachet in society and projects it onto that system, without any supporting evidence at all.

Now, if there is actual evidence of racism in some system, that's another matter entirely. But "it seems to me.." is not, in itself, evidence, it's just unfounded guessing and speculation designed to rile people up into a fit of righteous indignation, on an emotional rather than rational basis.

BjoernKW 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Unfortunately, I suppose this is exactly what we (meaning the electorate who voted since 2001) wanted. By allowing politicians to pass bills like the Patriot Act (which started this whole mess and quickly brought about similar security and surveillance laws in at least every other country that's on friendly terms with the US) we brought this kind of treatment on ourselves. How can one establish organizations like the TSA or the Border Force - its UK counterpart - and seriously not expect things like this to happen?

Unfortunately, the majority likely doesn't care at all when some 'snotty' designer gets held up at the airport and sent back to her home country. "Probably deserves it anyway in some way, doesn't she?" In fact, resentfulness towards people who get to 'live the life' and travel for 'work' might play a role here, too.

The aspect of a German company paying her in British pounds. shouldn't be a problem at all. After all, that's what the EU single market should be about. Theoretically, that is ... It seems as if the EU can't get anything right anymore these days, though.

Just claiming VAT you payed in another EU country has become so ridiculously complex I have given up on it. Fortunately, in my case it's just things like the occasional conference fee so the loss is minimal but I can't imagine how anyone could run say an eCommerce business in Europe and sell in more than one EU country these days without having to resort to founding a company in each of those countries.

leovonl 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Funny, my experience as South American is the exact opposite: expensive USA VISA (USD 160!) for attending a conference, US border asking about everything, checking my story and even knowledge about programming (!), etc - UK border just asking the purpose of my travel, stamping the passport and saying "welcome to UK". And I didn't even need a VISA.

One thing for sure is: you have to know the visa requirements and you have to answer what they want to hear. That's true everywhere - USA included - so you're just lucky as a USA citizen to never go through the USA interview process.

imron 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Unrelated to the issues raised by the article - I love that the callout text was not simply repeated quotes from the body.

I wish more sites/people would follow this author's lead.

kintamanimatt 22 hours ago 4 replies      
This is a horrible experience that she went through, but one quote stuck out:

> The rooms only other occupants were men. I do not feel comfortable in rooms full of men I do not know with the door closed.

Why? This doesn't make sense. What does she think is going to happen? Are most men really presumed to be rapists or something?

olalonde 21 hours ago 0 replies      
> The handlers, they talk like you arent listening.

Experienced this at US border a few months ago. Officers repeatedly referred to my wife and another man's wife (both Chinese) as "bitches". After flying 12 hours from Hong Kong and not wanting to be put back on a plane, the best you can do is shut up and play their games until they let you through.

I was also told by the officer that I was stupid for having shown my visa and "nobody does that" (I'm a Canadian who works in the US, I was under the impression I had to show it each time I re-entered... still confused about what he meant).

tachion 23 hours ago 3 replies      
Not that I dont feel sorry for the author of the story, since this is terrible experience, no matter who experiences it, but as an American, a citizen of a country that has one of most restrictive and humiliating border procedures around the civilized world (try landing with valid visa on JFK as non American human being...) complaining at this sounds - well, odd.
michaelbuckbee 23 hours ago 5 replies      
Stepping slightly back from this particular horrible experience, I don't understand _why_ this particular set of institutional rules are in place.

Was there a thought that foreign speakers who were subsidized by foreign governments were inciting rebellion?

Are there tax issues?

Was this some big money laundering loophole or something?

Is there a concern that people were using this as figleaf to immigrate illegally?

davb 22 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm Scottish, and I absolutely detest traveling through Heathrow. The security and border controls there are some of the most oppressive I've ever encountered.

Depending on where you're flying, that could include multiple baggage searches and multiple biometric photos (flying OUT of the UK, I counted three - security, a secondary queue before entering the terminal concourse, and at the gate). Questioning why you're being photographed (let alone asking about data retention policies) just invites further scrutiny and questioning.

Recently I had my bag emptied (I wasn't allowed to unpack it carefully) and was questioned very rigorously as to why I was carrying so many cables (I had a micro-USB cable to charge my phone, a laptop charger, and an HDMI cable to watch some Netflix at the hotel). I had to justify each item in my bag.

The attitude is the worst part. I feel like I'm being treated like a criminal and have to prove that I'm not. Every time I travel in or out, I feel the anxiety rise. It's difficult to explain.

That's not to suggest Glasgow Intl Airport is much better. Flying to the US last month, I check-in queues for AA were enormous. Some staff (I assumed they were customer service agents trying to keep the queuing travellers happy) were walking up and down, chatting with people.

They cheerily asked "Where are you going?". "Oh that's exciting. Have you been before? I love that city! Did you have to save up much spending money for an 8 day trip? What are you planning to do when you're there?"

As the questions went on, I got more suspicious.

"What do you do for a living? Oh that sounds exciting. Did you grow up in Glasgow? What about your fiance, what does she do? Oh, you got engaged in the US? How long was that trip and what did you see when you were there?"

At the end, the guy asked for my passport and attached a "Security cleared" sticker to it.

I'd been surreptitiously interviewed and subject to behavioural profiling by staff from a contractor named ICTS [1]. It wasn't a good feeling. I felt deceived. It felt like they were putting a friendly face on trying to catch me out.

This only seemed to be happening in the AA line, and I've never been subject to this sort of interview in the past.

Does this actually work? I'd assume that any determined terrorist or trouble-maker would have a big smile and a well-rehearsed story.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICTS_International

s_kilk 1 day ago 0 replies      
What a horrible story, but sadly not surprising to me anymore.

UK Border Control: a uniformly hostile and spiteful organisation.

opendomain 20 hours ago 0 replies      
My biggest problem with this is that Speakers at conferences are NOT paid. This has to be the biggest lie ever told.

I know some 'conferences' are small and for the good of the development community. Then the entrance fee should be free.

I have been to conferences that paid nothing or 'honorarium' amounts to speakers, but they charge THOUSANDS of dollars to enter. PLUS expensive Hotels.

This is what everyone should say when asked to speak at a conference: NO SPEC WORK. SHUT UP- PAY ME.

Singletoned 23 hours ago 4 replies      
I can't imagine a circumstance where I would be entering a country like the UK or US, and when asked what my visit was for, I would say anything except for "I'm on holiday". Being out of the ordinary is very dangerous.

That said people shouldn't be subjected to such unnecessary unpleastantness.

andrewaylett 17 hours ago 0 replies      
It bothers me that people have to already know their rights to be able to take advantage of them.

On one hand, due process. I can see that the option to waive one's rights might be occasionally beneficial, but mostly to the police/border force, rather that to the individual. Police do at least have to tell someone their basic rights, but I find it really difficult to understand people who think that it makes sense to try to deny anyone due process by not doing that (see the Boston Bombers).

On the other hand, there are positive rights mentioned here, like the right to go to a hotel to get some sleep. It doesn't seem likely that anyone would know about it unless they were told, so why don't we tell them at the appropriate time? Again, time constraints might mean that in some cases people don't want to take advantage of their rights, but I'm disappointed at how much worse the author's experience was than it should have been.

DanBC 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm sorry she had a terrible experience. But the visa requirements are pretty clear, and she needed a standard visa.

Here's the "do you need a visa" website. https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa

Walk through it. She's from the USA. She's travelling for work, academic or business. She's planning to stay less than six months.

Here's the result:https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/usa/work/six_months_or_le...

 You don't need a visa for some business and academic visits, but you must get a visa to work in the UK. You may be able to come to the UK without a visa if you: are invited as an expert in your profession come for other business or academic activities

 If youre invited as an expert You can stay in the UK for up to 1 month without a visa, but you can only be paid to do certain things, eg: give guest lectures at a higher education institution provide advocacy in legal proceedings take part in arts, entertainment or sporting activities Check the full list of what you can be paid to do - its the same as what you can do on a Permitted Paid Engagement visa.

 If you come for other business or academic activities You can stay in the UK for up to 6 months without a visa, but you can only do certain academic or business-related activities, eg: go to a conference, meeting or training take part in a specific sports-related event perform as an artist, entertainer or musician do academic research or accompany students on a study abroad programme Check the full list of what you can do - its the same as what you can do on a Standard Visitor visa.
Here's the permitted paid engagement visa: https://www.gov.uk/permitted-paid-engagement-visa

Here's the standard visa: https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa

bald 20 hours ago 0 replies      
That's a very detailed account of what happens for EU citiziens at the US border.
Velox 1 day ago 1 reply      
The author quite rightly points out that most of the English speaking countries would treat people exactly the same way, however I find it a little odd that she wouldn't ever go back to the UK, but makes no mention of visiting these other countries. It seems that her opinion of the UK doesn't quite match up with the statement that they are all the same.
alejohausner 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Perhaps it's a generational thing. The OP and many posters here on HN had very nice, supportive parents who told them that the world is on their side, that they would succeed in whatever they tried to do, and that people are generally good-willed.

I on the other hand am afraid of figures of authority. I fear the police. I don't think that things will necessarily go well. And I'm especially afraid at the border. I answer the officer's questions as laconically as possible, usually in monosyllables. Things usually go well.

Imagine a thought experiment, where the OP's middle class white mind was teleported into an African American's body, dropped into a poor part of town, and stopped by the police. She would have been just as traumatized.

kennell 22 hours ago 2 replies      
As someone whos job was to oranize visas for various countries around the world for some time, here is my advice. If you are doing this kind of semi-business/semi-pleasure/speak-at-aconference/whatever trips, just get a tourist visa. Everything else is a giant mess.
blibble 23 hours ago 1 reply      
gov.uk might look pretty, but often the language used on it is imprecise and often inaccurate.directgov (the previous site) was terrible to use and look at, but the information on it was unparalleled in its accuracy and comprehensiveness, which is what I really want from the government.

sadly gov.uk have stated that they are more interested in making the information easy to read, rather than accurate.

no1youknowz 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I remember when I came to the US 3 years ago.

I had a return ticket.I had sufficient funds to pay for a hotel, food, travel around the city.I had medical insurance.I was self employed.

The problem I had? When I told the border patrol inspector who was asking me questions, that my stay was 3 months vacation. His reaction was like... NO WAY, THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN.

This was in New Jersey. I was brought to the back, answered all the questions. They took my phone and went through it. When the other border guard came back, he said there were "inconsistencies" with my story. I just said "Oh ok" and held firm.

He called the contact I had even him and I think what helped, was the woman who answered. Bitched at him for 5 minutes straight, she was at the airport. I was staying with her until I got a hotel and she was demanding to know "as a tax payer". Why I was there, when I was visiting her and I was a tourist.

They let me through.

After the 3 months, I returned back to the UK for 2 weeks. I then went back to the US. This time, I had learnt my lesson and went via New York. The border patrol officer this time didn't even look at me. I presume he saw my previous flight information and that AGAIN, I was staying for 3 months.

He stamped my passport and "off you go".

I've travelled all over the world. Wherever I go and for whatever duration. I am a tourist. End of story.

PaulHoule 23 hours ago 3 replies      
England has probably the toughest border to cross of any country I have been to.
intoverflow2 23 hours ago 2 replies      
Pretty much the same sort of experience you'd get travelling any international borders.
anentropic 23 hours ago 0 replies      
foreign bands coming to play SXSW have the same problem entering USA
ommunist 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Meet the Leviathan. British one is a rather small creature comparing to the US one.
pbarnes_1 14 hours ago 0 replies      
"I'm here for vacation."


"I'm attending a conference."

The end. Say as little as possible, nicely. Don't turn it into a thing.

gambiting 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm currently an EU citizen living in UK. This here is exactly the reason why I fear that UK might want to leave EU, even though every single English friend of mine is telling me that I would obtain a visa to stay and continue working here without any problems, if visas were introduced. The truth is - if I had to have a visa to stay here, I would rather go to the country of my birth, even though I feel no connection to it. I don't think I could mentally survive the anguish of being denied entry to UK, even though I live here, work here, have my partner, our house and our whole lives here - just because a border official might not like my visa or what I said. It would be just humiliating and the thought of that happening is feeling me with real dread.
droopybuns 23 hours ago 1 reply      
The writing style is muddled and kind of hard to read. I'm sorry this happened to her, but it seems like she could be a candidate for a perfect storm of miscommunication.
VonGuard 22 hours ago 0 replies      
UK border guards and customs people are, literally, Vogons.
sparky1990 10 hours ago 0 replies      
"I told him point blank: there is nothing I can tell you to make you happy. I have to be very careful what information I volunteer, because if I talk too much, you get angry. And now if I dont talk enough, you get angry."

It was over for her right here.

She came across as nervous, evasive, defensive and then antagonist. She is leaking privilege all over this post.

And she really was treated just like everyone else in detention. Of course she wasn't a terrorist, but she was being detained and that never feels good, nor is a hotel. That's reality.

Border agents have enormous latitude. Your attitude matters when dealing with any authority. Maybe it shouldn't, but there are roles here and when you step out of the expected role you start triggering something. How would she have spoken to a judge in a court of law?

Sure, she didn't deserve this, but she didn't do anything to improve her situation, either. It doesn't matter how little sleep she had, or how virtuous her cause, or whether she is a big deal in her industry. It's naive to think that any of this is relevant, frankly.

No border guard cares about your self-perception of virtue. They are about tax avoidance and illegal immigration. And just like a pediatrician develops the ability to instantly detect a "funny looking kid," a border guard who sees thousands and thousands of people has similar behavioral flags.

"I'm here for a conference."

"What topic?"

"Web development."

"How long are you staying?"

"One week."

"What else will you be doing?"

"I will do a little sightseeing while I'm here."

"Have a good stay."


No lies, nothing cagey in this. There are bins and categories; don't do anything that puts you into a special bin. It's not that hard. Be like the other thousand people they saw this week who are attending a conference.

I travel all over the world to speak at conferences. Apart from China and Russia, I never mess around with invitation letters or special papers. I am calm and matter of fact, and so is the border agent. Each of us plays our role and then we move along.

"I'm here for a conference." Which is true.

FFS, I live in the US and my wife (a Finn) has a UK permanent residency and works in London. I go back and forth about six times a year, I stay for weeks. When they ask the purpose of my visit I simply say, "I'm visiting my wife." I'm friendly and calm.

"Are you planning to immigrate?"

"Maybe some day."

I thought being married to a UK resident would be a flag, but it actually isn't. They care about illegal immigration and tax avoidance because that is their job. I am calm, even friendly, and I don't trigger any suspicion. I finally applied for Frequent Traveler status and now just use the UK /EU electronic gates. That wasn't hard, either. Didn't even need to give a reason for that!

Don't be defensive, don't provoke suspicion, don't volunteer unnecessary details. Don't lie, but be shrewd about this situation. Don't trigger special handling.

OP does seem to express a bit of a special snowflake tone in her piece. Privilege. Not a good vibe once they are triggered. Earnest humility is the tone you want to adopt. That is proper etiquette given the real power differential. This isn't being subordinate, it's just like being in court. Respect the judge. This border agent is actually judging you--that's their job.

None of what happened to her was personal and no one here was ever going to say, "well, you seem like a decent person doing good work; I guess we can just fudge this a teeny bit." They can't and won't do that, and frankly, her attitude probably evoked a little contempt, thus reducing her chances for even what teeny latitude she might have had.

Her experience was exactly what people who expect to get a little special handling have when they encounter faceless rule-driven systems. "But this is ME! Why are you doing this to ME?"

People without privilege have no such illusions and understand these situations.

nnd 13 hours ago 0 replies      
"I just follow the rules". - So were the participants of the Milgram experiment.
grownseed 19 hours ago 0 replies      
If you ever feel like being dehumanized in the most senseless fashion, immigration is definitely the way to go.

Currently an immigrant in Canada, I recently went through a bit of an ordeal. I've been a Temporary Foreign Worker for a few years now, and every year or so, you are required to renew your work permit. So far, this is pretty standard. My first work permit was issues in about five days under a special clause for French speakers, allowing my to forego the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). It went really smoothly overall.

The next year, I renewed my work permit, only this time around it took three and a half months. The clause for French speakers had been renamed and moved to a different set of documents, but I had found it. My original work permit had expired while waiting for the renewed one, but at least I was on implied status, so I could work, though I no longer had access to free healthcare, nor could I leave the country (as it would mean losing implied status).

Then last year, I went through the same motions to renew my work permit. This time, it took even longer than the previous time and the same "implied status" thing applied. Four and a half months later, I received a message telling me that as of a specific date, the same date I received the message, I no longer had status, because of a missing form from my employer. As it turned out, Canadian immigrations had changed the rules the previous year, and employers were now required to submit a fee along with a form to essentially prove they wanted to hire you (different from an LMIA). This is quite obviously a money-grabbing scheme, but let's not get caught up. I was never made aware of this change in the rules, and clearly my employer didn't pick up on it, yet I was the one paying the consequences. This is all knowing that the conditions of my employment have remained completely unchanged during my whole time in Canada.

Not knowing what was going to happen, I was pretty distraught. On top of that, my original application fees had essentially gone down the drain, and I had to re-submit my application and the associated fees, including a premium to restore my status (all within thirty days), all the while receiving no income and not being eligible for Employment Insurance (which I pay, but ironically am not entitled to, since no work = no status = no benefits). I thought I could at least leave the country and go work somewhere else for a while, but that would have invalidated my work permit altogether, a risk I could not take.

So I went through the motions, again, getting and submitting information I had already provided countless times. My friends and family kept asking how long it was going to take, to which I had absolutely no answer, nor any recourse to get any sort of clarifications. I had no idea how long my money would last or what my life would become (I've very much settled here, relationship, friends, etc.). Trying to find reassurance through other people or on the Internet ended up achieving the opposite (some of the stories you can read on immigration forums just want to make you cry).

A few months later, my work permit was thankfully restored. I now have to mention my work permit refusal and restoration in all immigration-related matters, in the same section that asks you whether you've been associated to terrorists, have murdered somebody and the likes.

There are many situations far worse than mine, people having their immigration applications cancelled out of the blue, people unable to work but stuck in the country for up to a few a years at a time, not knowing what the outcome will be, etc.

The uncertainty and opaqueness of the whole process is truly mind-boggling. It is genuinely impossible to find a single, reliable source of information. The Canadian Immigration website contains a lot of conflicting and outdated information, lots of links don't work, the language is wildly inconsistent, and more. Calling Canadian immigration will have you on hold for extended periods of time, to eventually be told in one form or another that they won't provide you with any information that's not explicitly on the website. Should you ask for any clarifications, or god forbid point to a problem with the information that's provided, you will systematically be told to seek private help. This essentially means finding immigration lawyers, who I learnt later (from an immigration lawyer friend as I did/could not hire one) do most of their work based on precedent, as immigration law is so unpredictable.

This is actually an absurdly compact version of the whole story. I could have mentioned the inherent stress of never knowing whether you have done something wrong, the profiling of immigrants in the name of equality, the rampant abuse of the immigration system by elected officials, the government-backed ponzi scheme for immigrant qualifications, and many more. Hopefully though, for those who are new to this game, this is enough to digest for now.

johansch 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Last time I flew into the US (from Sweden) for another week of work meetings with the team in the Bay area something almost like this happened to me. I wasn't deported though, just sent off to secondary interrogation and was scared and delayed for an extra hour because of nothing.

The reason? I was asked by the clerk when I last flew out of the US. Being quite groggy from a very long trip, having made made, many other international trips since that date in January, I was not able to quickly enough answer him in a "confident" manner. I was not allowed to use my phone to actually look up the date.

At almost every step until the absolute last minutes, when I actually got to talk to someone, explain my situation, show my business card etc, I was met with passive aggressive hostility.

My passport was taken away with my by some random uniformed person who just walked away with into some other room. I had no trust in this obviously incompetent system, so I worried about actually getting the passport back. Everything just seemed incredibly... stupid and arbitrary.

If it's just a matter of keeping these mouth breeders occupied it would be a lot more transparent and less disruprupting if you'd just ask an entry fee to your magic kingdom, to pay for the upkeep of these people.

ck2 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Several generations from now people are going to tell their kids stories of how there used to be people that traveled between countries.

I don't see how technology can prevent this outcome, if anything it will make it worse.

Governments are just too paranoid and criminals/terrorist too eager to make them punish everyone for their crimes.

Vaguely related, did you know Japan has taken in a total of THREE immigrants this year? Japan imprisons applicants and makes life living hell for anyone that wants to migrate there because they are paranoid about outsiders. Tourism is fine as long as you leave.

tomp 22 hours ago 2 replies      
> They are now in a database for ten years where they will be shared with all members of the EEA, which is most European countries.

Given that she's an American, I really have no sympathies for this. I've had to give my fingerprints to the US border agents every time I went to the US.

23 hours ago 23 hours ago 10 replies      
"I would love to know if people from the UK suffer the same sort of troubles entering the US"

I personally have had extended grief entering the US on a number of occasions - not in the last 4 or 5 years though. Worst was probably an extended session with me being asked why I went to Turkey so often from the UK (saying "it's a nice place to go on holiday" seemed to make them angry [maybe a lack of vacation days] - I think I must have provided 20 variations on that statement).

A friend who was a senior corporate lawyer had it much worse when he visited the US from the UK to attend a legal conference - extended stay and a "cavity search".

This is not a place of honor energy.gov
449 points by erubin  4 days ago   280 comments top 53
amk_ 4 days ago 2 replies      
Holy shit. Dieter Ast was my landlord in college. This explains so much about my basement.

To those who haven't read the article yet, the real title is Judgment on Markers to Deter Inadvertent Human Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Prof Ast was the material scientist on one of the multidisciplinary teams tasked to design warning symbols for 10,000 year nuclear waste storage sites. He used to go around collecting old lab computers that were going to be thrown out and resurrect them with Windows 2000 or Puppy Linux installs.

orbitingpluto 4 days ago 5 replies      
I'm never understood this marker system. Graves have been marked in a threatening manner so that they would not be plundered. It doesn't work.

The point is to hide the waste. The system should be designed to progressively unveil warnings if some future man starts digging. Otherwise, you're just asking for them to dig it up.

Another thing not mentioned is to design the container so that anyone who plans to excavate will think they have hit rock bottom... like Pharoahs' tombs or a multi-level pirate cache.

Or even better, put something horrible and poisonous twenty feet down. It might be better to obviously poison a couple people if they start digging this up. That would be easily understood and eventually avoided.

Remember the radioactive sign in the Star Trek episode where Data gets shishkabobed? They made jewelery...

jtolmar 4 days ago 4 replies      
Contrary to many of the comments here, I think they did a good job of considering what it takes to make something foreboding without sounding like "here be treasure." The pseudo-mystical messages sound hokey, but they're effectively a backup system in case the straight-up "This is atomic waste, here's a description of atomic waste" descriptions are incomprehensible to future generations. And the more primitive communications deserve more consideration, because that's the harder part.

Additionally, I don't think the "no marker, anonymous patch of ground" plan is sound. 10000 years is a long time, which will hopefully be inhabited by peoples more advanced than us, and they could do a lot of digging in that time.

That said, the approach I'd suggest would just be a big plain monument that's physically obnoxious to get around. Although the insides of the pyramids have been robbed, the pyramids themselves will last another 10000 years, and I doubt anyone will try to mine under them during that time. And experience has shown that the best way to preserve a language is to make sure there's a large enough sample for someone to brute-force it, so these pyramids could contain chambers full of detailed explanations with pictures.

frostirosti 4 days ago 1 reply      

99pi did an awesome about this. I thought the most interesting idea was that culture permeated much deeper than anything else. So seed our world with these stories of cats that changed color near radiation or something like that would do best. Since symbols meaning change but oral tradition or old wives tales last much longer.

valbaca 4 days ago 1 reply      
I had an internship here during the summer of 2010. For the most part it was incredibly boring as there was SO much emphasis on safety (rightfully so).

For example, people would have to be cleared from an area in order for janitors to vacuum an area, so that no one would trip on the power cord.

I did get to go down into the salt shaft which was incredibly cool (also literally cool, which was a relief because it was the summer in New Mexico).

For the most part I upgraded some software systems and helped with some hardware upgrades.

The engineers were all characters. Several of them were preppers convinced that I was silly for going into computer science and not stocking up on gold.

kbart 4 days ago 3 replies      
Any marks would only attract people's attention. I can't come up with a single historical example where some marks would successfully keep people away. Even now we keep digging once forbidden and sacred places like pyramids, graves, temples, plague victims' burial grounds. Furthermore, a "menacing earthworks" example from the article looks like a treasure is buried inside that square. Why not bury it deep enough in an unmarked grave (for example, put it in the tunnels inside a mountain then blow all entrances up) so no primitive civilization could dig it up? If civilization is sophisticated enough to dig deep enough, they must be well aware of radiation as well.
tgb 4 days ago 1 reply      
Wait, can we all just take a minute to relish the extreme nominative determinism in Ward Goodenough being involved in this project? This man was born for this role.
labster 4 days ago 4 replies      
It's really interesting to me to see architecture used for its typical antithesis. It is typically used to bring a sense of bring out positive emotions, to inspire, to bring facility to humanity, to sanctify. Here it is being used to desecrate, to decrease utility, to ward away.

As a hacker, I'm used to the thought of "what is the worst possible way I can make this UI", but it's cool to see it applied in an entirely different field.

jrockway 4 days ago 2 replies      
I like the comic where the happy man has successfully plundered the nuclear waste. It contaminates him and he is observably less happy, though still exhibiting signs of above-average satisfaction with life. Then in the final frame, his beloved treasure stolen, he sadly dies of what appears to be thyroid cancer. His dying thought is that the person that robbed him of his ill-gotten plutonium squeezings will soon be suffering the same fate. Justice.

If I were watching a movie where the protagonist goes in to get some ancient artifact and this comic showed up on the wall, I would be like "yeah fucking right, some spooooky spirit kills the tomb raider? suspension of disbelief fail!" But of course this is real and is actually what would happen. If the society in 10,000 years is as cynical as me (and has forgotten about radioactivity), this comic will just egg them on!

korethr 4 days ago 7 replies      
Honestly, reading this, I kept thinking to myself, "Man, this is just waiting to be turned into science fiction short story." It could go in different directions, future humans discover such a site, humans discover an alien analogue of such a site on $planet, aliens discover such a site crafted by humans on $planet, etc. Either way, there's potential for a good story there.
pqhwan 3 days ago 2 replies      
I find the "human comes near box with radioactive sign/sign is on human now/human sick" drawing to be a pretty universal warning sign.No matter how many years we're aiming for the message to survive, as long as we're warning against humans, wouldn't using the human form somehow in the message be the best way? Isn't drawing narratives with bipedal stick figures something we've had since the dawn of humanity?
antihero 4 days ago 4 replies      
Surely written warnings, if some future society discovers them, they might be curious enough to have decrypted at least one of our present day languages/methods of communication.

Just have the same concepts relayed in as many languages/ways as possible, and then make the site sufficiently difficult to infiltrate that it would take a sufficiently advanced civilisation to break into it.

You could even tier the messages, and use words that would likely be common and thus more likely to have been recognised based on discovering whatever other shit we've left around.




And progressively more complex and complete messages, etc translated into Chinese, Spanish, Braille, French, pictograms, what the fuck ever.

And if they're too lazy/careless to try and decrypt any of the fucking obvious messages, fuck 'em.

ktRolster 4 days ago 3 replies      
To prevent people from entering, they should place statues of soldiers in front of the entrance. Thousands of them. Each should be sculpted individually from terra cotta.
jtmarmon 4 days ago 0 replies      
> (a) We have all become very marker-prone, but shouldn't we nevertheless admit that, in the end, despite all we try to do, the most effective "marker" for any intruders will be a relatively limited amount of sickness and death caused by the radioactive waste? In other words, it is largely a self-correcting process if anyone intrudes without appropriate precautions, and it seems unlikely that intrusion on such buried waste would lead to large-scale disasters. An analysis of the likely number of deaths over 10,000 years due to inadvertent intrusion should be conducted. This cost should be weighted against that of the marker system.

Wow. reminds me of the ford pinto case:http://users.wfu.edu/palmitar/Law&Valuation/Papers/1999/Legg...

dbrower 4 days ago 3 replies      
I've read the report several times (it keeps coming back every 5-7 years or so) since publication, and I've never felt like a reliable solution had wither been found, or was in the offing. There is good thinking, but the problem itself seems very daunting. I think that is the real lesson.
apsec112 4 days ago 3 replies      
We should just assume that nuclear waste lasts forever, like a lot of chemical waste does, and then treat it the same as the equivalent class of chemical waste. When someone says "10,000 years", people start thinking about how to wait it out. When someone says "forever", people give up on waiting it out, and start thinking about more realistic safety measures.
SCAQTony 4 days ago 2 replies      
What language(s) did the earth speak 10,000 years ago. The concept is electrifying for will English or any other language written or spoken today even exist?

The monument would have to be a "Rosetta Stone(s)" quite obtrusive and large like a pyramid. It would have to be written in multiple present and ancient languages. It would would have to feature math formulas and illustrations etched foot deep into Titanium, carbon fiber, or a material that wouldn't degrade in 10,000 years. Then inside the monument would have to feature even more information. WOW!

duckingtest 4 days ago 1 reply      
I don't want to sound evil... but why? It's not like digging up low-intensity radioactive waste is going to end the world. Just look at how alive Chernobyl zone is... So let's say some people bring it up, they get sick and die, which makes people remember that radioactivity symbol = bad for the next several hundred years or so.

On a related note, wouldn't it make more sense to turn the radioactive waste into powder and dump it over a large area of sea or desert (Sahara is HUGE)? Given a large enough area it wouldn't even be detectable.

hugh4 4 days ago 0 replies      
The only way in which something like this will be useful is if, for some reason, civilisation collapses but humans survive. (If humans don't survive then 10,000 years is far too soon to worry about another intelligent species arising.)

If that happens, some major catastrophe has undoubtedly already occurred which makes the possible death of a bunch of future-cavemen who happen to start digging in the wrong patch of desert pale in comparison.

If we're really worried about this scenario we should worry less about marking specific sites, and more about trying to come up with a way to store all our existing scientific and cultural knowledge in a non-perishable manner, in many places, that can be dug up and hopefully eventually decoded by people of the future. Purely from an avoid-human-suffering point of view, telling people "don't dig here" isn't nearly as valuable as telling them about infectious diseases, and vaccination, and...

stonogo 4 days ago 2 replies      
If their goal was to create a hokey-sounding quasi-spiritual ward that future generations will consider naive and ignore, they've certainly hit the nail on the head.

Probably a better approach is to accept the fact that nuclear waste will either be cleaned up or destroy humanity long before ten thousand years comes to pass, and spend the money they spent on this exercise in speculative fiction instead on working toward a real solution.

mooreds 4 days ago 1 reply      
See also Into Eternity, a movie about how the Finns are dealing with this, with a 100,000 year timeframe.


JoeAltmaier 4 days ago 1 reply      
I worry an elaborate structure will attract unwanted attention. Think about it - would you be interested in visiting it? Aren't you already interested? Why would future-people be any different. I know, the average shmoe would hear about this thing in the desert and think "Whatever" and go back to eating cheetohs and screwing. But what about an architect? A philosopher? An engineer? A historian? An artist? Pretty much any intellectual would be fascinated.

It could become the 'intellectual' version of a 'predator trap'. Like the LaBrea Tar Pits attracted more apex predators than most any other ancient formation (because of all the grazers trapped and dying, predators were captured in greater numbers than anywhere else in the fossile record).

Its almost a mechanism for ensuring that Idiocracy comes to pass - a trap that kills or reproductively damages smart/curious people only, draining the gene pool and leaving an ever-duller population of humans stuck in some post-apocalyptic dark age with no hope of getting themselves out.

So yeah I'm against it.

smegel 4 days ago 1 reply      
> Put into words, it would communicate something like the following

That initial text was not intended to be written, but communicated through the design of the message system. Interesting.

I expected more skulls and crossbones.

Aelinsaar 4 days ago 2 replies      
It's a fascinating problem, a way to communicate the concept that this is not a treasure trove, not a historical site, but something dangerous that was meant to be sealed away for many thousands of years due to its hazardous nature. The parting thoughts seem most telling to me thought.

They wonder if this really worth it, since in the end coming into contact with the waste is a bit of a self-limiting problem, in that people exploring will become sick and die. It will ergo, become a "Place to avoid" anyway. If the cost is bound to be a few explorer's lives every few millennia in any case, and that's what will send the real message, then... well... you see?

Finally though, they just wonder how to construct something massive, durable, and yet not likely to be cannibalized for parts or scrap! They even raise the issue of what 400+ generations of unknowable humanity might do to the marker structure, without disturbing the rest of the site.

mesh 4 days ago 1 reply      
andrewflnr 4 days ago 1 reply      
Use the heat of the waste's radioactivity to power infrasonic emitters, and induce horror and panic in anyone who comes close. Or maybe set it up so that the wind creates infrasonic vibrations. You'd stand a very good chance of convincing people that the place is literally haunted.


joshmarinacci 4 days ago 0 replies      
While I appreciate the effort they put into it, trying to plan anything for 10,000 years in the future is sheer folly. We have no idea what humanity will be like in 200 years, much less 10,000.

Assuming we are around at all, we'll likely have mastered fusion power (thus no longer creating nuclear waste) or have mastered space flight (thus we can chuck it into the Sun) or have discovered that concentrations of radioactive materials are incredibly useful and not waste at all. A few hundred years ago crude petroleum was a waste product as well.

3pt14159 3 days ago 0 replies      
What I don't get is why nobody ever thinks about the international relations angle.

Say there is a biological weapons attack and humanity is wiped out aside from some remote communities like Alert, Canada. Some tech survives like gears, but obviously computers go away for a while. In 3000 years people are aware that humanity was once great, but then destroyed itself with hubris. They may even have a fairly developed understanding of science based on what they could save (university text books would _certainly_ be hoarded and copied 10 years after the bio-attack).

Now the society enters an age that is kinda like a more advanced renaissance. No more easy coal or oil, so they use electricity from wind turbines.

What happens when they figure out what is at that site? They weaponize it. It's so obvious to me. If we want to stop people from getting killed by it we should hide it as best as possible. Or make it as hard as obtaining enriched uranium. Humans have always had a "Do whatever it takes" approach to war and there is no way a emanating death object is going to be avoided once they understand what it does.

hexane360 3 days ago 0 replies      
These parts stood out to me:

"We decided against simple "Keep Out" messages with scary faces. Museums and private collections abound with such guardian figures removed from burial sites. These earlier warning messages did not work because the intruder knew that the burial goods were valuable. We did decide to include faces portraying horror and sickness (see Sections 3.3 and 4.5.1). Such faces would relate to the potential intruder wishing to protect himself or herself, rather than to protect a valued resource from thievery."

"We must inform potential intruders what lies below and the consequences of disturbing the waste. If they decide that the value of the metal component of the waste far outweighs the risks of recovering the metal, the decision is their responsibility, not ours."

Interesting how much stock they put in both the rationality and irrationality of any future individuals. Appeal to their emotional side and appeal to their logical side.

danieltillett 4 days ago 2 replies      
I would have thought that to an advanced civilization that a nuclear radioactive waste dump may well be of value.

I do think worrying about radioactive waste given how much carbon dioxide we have dumped into the atmosphere is a bit like bandaging a stubbed toe on an amputated leg.

mholt 4 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting. I know that the idea of launching radioactive waste into the sun or out of the solar system is highly criticized for the potential for things to go wrong (and rightly so), but do the critics really think that the earth -- with humans on it -- will be more reliable in 10,000 years than space flight even 100 years from now?
JoeDaDude 3 days ago 0 replies      
This team should collaborate with the makers of the Clock of the Long Now (http://longnow.org/clock/), another device intended to last thousands of years. There is a discussion of their research into various methods pursued by different cultures over the centuries to pursue similar goals, see video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nphxoUxSvgY
theoh 4 days ago 0 replies      
Recent documentary by Peter Galison and Rob Moss:


gruez 4 days ago 2 replies      
It appears that most of the images are missing (there are figures that are refereed to but do not exist). Is there a complete copy somewhere?

edit: found a mirror http://prod.sandia.gov/techlib/access-control.cgi/1992/92138...

gadders 4 days ago 0 replies      
This just makes me wonder what toxic substance the dinosaurs/space aliens buried under Stonehenge now.
agentgt 4 days ago 1 reply      
It seems like one of the problem is that the place "is not a place of honor".

In modern civilization memorials and/or historically significant places are continuously safeguarded and most importantly remembered.

Yes they can be targets of attacks but they get rebuilt. That is their significance is remembered and protected. It seems like a bad idea to make a dangerous place forgettable.

So instead of hiding I propose a solution might be an extremely conspicuous stone like edifice built on top of the land with information about what is underneath etched in stone (I am assuming the land above is tolerable). Maybe even make it look nice so you know it gets protected. It could even become a cultural landmark.

Bromskloss 4 days ago 1 reply      
Do the signs ever get to the point and say that it's about radioactivity?
Zelmor 4 days ago 0 replies      
It is very optimistic of them to presume that there will be any kind of civilization here in ten thousand years. By then. either humanity moves to the stars, or moves back to fighting with sticks and stones.
stevetrewick 3 days ago 0 replies      
Full report at [0] (PDF, 351 pages). According to the WIPP Wikipedia page [1] the final report is expected around 2028.

[0] http://prod.sandia.gov/techlib/access-control.cgi/1992/92138...

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waste_Isolation_Pilot_Plant

ageofwant 4 days ago 0 replies      
Funny stuff. A product of the narrative of the day, and in less that 30 years its already changed. Of course there will be no nuclear waste in the future, that stuff is way to valuable as fuel in modern reactors.
stared 4 days ago 0 replies      
I feel that all warning are doomed. If we discovered some ancient site (let alone ancient alien site), each marking would prompt us to dig further and explore more.

No warning works (even if an explicit one), when met with a curious being. See: Eve and the Tree of Knowledge (from Genesis) or Pandora and her box.

And when the beings are not curious, it is unlikely that they would develop technology, or be tempted to new, alien places.

socket0 4 days ago 0 replies      
One clear problem with using A.D. (anno Domini) as measure for time elapsed, is that in 10,000 years Domini will no doubt be taken to mean either Bender Rodriguez or Donald Trump.
AnonymousPlanet 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is there any kind of science fiction or fantasy that includes such a place marked with repulsive myths and symbolism to repel explorers from nuklear waste?
JoeAltmaier 4 days ago 1 reply      
Seems like overkill. What's a few poisoned people in 12,000 years? I imagine that people dying around the site will be the most effective ward to keep others away.
beedogs 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why does the US bury its nuclear waste, and not recycle and refine it again?

It seems incredibly stupid.

homero 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can we tour it?
amelius 4 days ago 0 replies      
It seems that what they are trying to accomplish is the exact opposite of advertisement.
PaulHoule 4 days ago 0 replies      
People 5000 years from now could very well see WIPP and Yucca Mountain as valuable sources of Plutonium, Uranium as well as other fuels and nuclear explosives.

What if 5000 years from now the Mormons and the Scientologists are fighting over the Yucca Mountain site in search of materials to build nuclear weapons?

tn13 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can someone summarize this page here ? It is too long and I am unable to understand the context.
takshak 4 days ago 1 reply      
why not write in a language that has survived more than 10000 years?
kaishiro 4 days ago 2 replies      
Just wanted to say I accidentally fat fingered a downvote while trying to do the opposite. Sorry!
gaur 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sad that even in 1993 the government was still producing documents on a typewriter with shitty, photocopied black-and-white line art. Photoshop had already been available for three years at this point.
We won the battle for Linux, but we're losing the battle for freedom linuxjournal.com
398 points by alxsanchez  2 days ago   236 comments top 20
kardashev 1 day ago 4 replies      
From the comments it doesn't look like many read the article. Here's the tldr:

Free software won. Yay!However, what about hardware, infrastructure, and services? Oops. All those things have been become increasingly centralized. Centralization has diminished our privacy, and therefore our liberty. Time to put restrictions on corporations so we can have liberty again.


Now the only part I disagree with is the last part. Laws and regulations got us into this mess in the first place. These companies are huge because they can sue or prevent others from competing through laws and regulations. Guess who lobbies to create these laws in the first place? (It's not the little guy) The biggest problem is Intellectual Property (IP). Because of it we have DRM and many companies have very literal monopolies (enforced by government) on things. Apple has a patent on rounded rectangles for heaven's sake.

What we need is a decentralization of power, and a turn towards distributed systems. The best way to do that will be to eliminate IP. That will take some time, but we should do it gradually. By allowing people to "copy" it will create competition and weaken the monopoly-like position many of these companies hold. Power will fragment and decentralize. That should be the goal.

gaius 2 days ago 4 replies      
Apple's OS X, which wouldn't be what it is if Linux hadn't already been the leading nix OS.*

Well that isn't true. NeXTStep was built on the 68k from 4.3BSD which originated on the VAX. It has no lineage in common with Linux, and in fact pre-dates it. And OSX now is by far the most popular workstation Unix.


legulere 2 days ago 3 replies      
I think the problem is that the FSF's definition of freedom still stems from a time where everybody being a programmer was seen as a realistic and achievable goal.

The actual situation is that we have two groups that care about different things: Users and developers.

Users' biggest concern is that the software helps them achieve what they want to do. They care about restrictions like DRM if it hinders them in doing what they want to do. The only way free software can help here is that other people (developers) can remove those restrictions. Proprietary software can easily offer the same freedoms for users.

dTal 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is a great article, if a little slapdash on the details. I don't agree with the notion that we're "losing"; the reason is neatly exemplified by the HN front page:

 3. FreeBSD 10.3 officially supported on Microsoft Azure (microsoft.com) 138 points by tachion 6 hours ago | flag | 77 comments 10. Microsoft Edge WebGL engine open-sourced (github.com) 308 points by aroman 13 hours ago | flag | 80 comments 24. How the Windows Subsystem for Linux Redirects Syscalls (microsoft.com) 330 points by jackhammons 20 hours ago | flag | 243 comments
Microsoft. Open-sourced. Time travel from even 5 years ago and that HN front page would blow your mind. Industry-wide, it's more and more common now for "free" to be the default. Heck, complain about Android all you like, but for all that, the OS itself is miles more free than Windows. We actually owe this dire forking situation to the freedom Android affords - imagine if every fly-by-night laptop manufacturer felt comfortable rolling their own custom branded Windows with proprietary interface components.

I don't argue for complacency. We need to up our game with things like GPL compliance and reclaim the concept of a "distro", but on phones this time. But taking the long view, we're definitely "winning".

massysett 1 day ago 4 replies      
"So what's our next fight?"

I don't have a next fight. If I'm going to fight for something, it's going to be something a whole lot more important than computer software. Free software is here to stay. Success has occurred. I'm not going to grope around for another fight. Instead I'm going to harness my software freedoms to write software that does what I need it to do.

Hydraulix989 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm pretty disappointed. If anything Silicon Valley really screwed up by achieving the exact OPPOSITE of what the FOSS movement was striving for.

The commercialization of software has resulted in these walled gardens of proprietary software, closed data, closed formats, etc.

It's a sad day, for example, when a large percentage of the population actually believes that Facebook is the Internet.

lmm 1 day ago 4 replies      
We lost Linux. The big thing about Linux was that you could swap out pieces of it for better ones if you wanted. "Linux is about choice" - vi or emacs, KDE or Gnome and so on.

OSX doesn't have that. Android doesn't have that. And in these days of systemd, Linux doesn't even have that any more.

the8472 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think what's contributing to the whole hourglass thing is that browsers do not play nicely with native/low-level primitives. It's bascially yet another waist above the OS waist (browser APIs) and the IP waist (HTTP).

Develop a nice decentralized solution? Maybe it involves some UDP multicast? Forget the browser.

Want to have two devices on the network talk to each other? Bounce it through a cloud provider.

Want to use "everything is a file"-files? The browser's interaction with the filesystem is incredibly clumsy.

So if you wanted to use the full strength of linux/any other lower layers, this would hamper adoption.

api 2 days ago 3 replies      
Free <> Freedom

Since everything in OSS has to be free, there is no economic model. Eventually things with an economic model supersede or embrace/extend open ecosystems because they have the resources to do so. They also have the resources to address user experience, which is the most important thing unless your target audience consists of only hackers. (Even then it still matters.) Good UX is an immense amount of work, and it's the sort of work that devs tend not to find fun and therefore must be paid to do.

Until and unless there is an economic model for free-as-in-freedom, surveillance-ware and closed models will continue to dominate.

Esau 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think that if you are concerned about freedom, then you need to use an OS that is not controlled a commercial entity. OS X, iOS, Windows, Android, ChromeOS, and Ubuntu all have issues; even though some of them are open source.
Pica_soO 1 day ago 0 replies      
The battle is for the heads, and the future battlefield are the minds of tomorrow. The defeating blow is that Microsoft owns now minecraft - the first experience of the hacker culture a kid could have today where tech has become magic. This "Do-it-yourself" could have educated a million freedom demanding, because limits not accepting citizens. Now its hugged to death.
bluejekyll 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wish he would have gone more into the design of the kernel and significant changes that are going to be needed to take advantage of the NVRAM based systems that are coming very soon. The I/O design needs to be completely overhauled.

It's probably going to be a great time to rewrite and resign portions of Linux, but I honestly don't think the community will be capable of doing a major architectural change. Kernel modules have been a great step towards modular design, and this needs to be pushed everywhere so that more changes can be isolated in the development process.

I've been a huge Linux (and GNU, most of what this article is about really is GNU, not Linux) user since being introduced to it in 1996, but as much as I love it, I do wonder if there are new options that will reveal themselves in the next few years that will better answer some of the modern hardware advancements. Linux is a beast of a system now, with a lot of technical debt and a hard to penetrate C code base, I hope it can evolve where it needs to, but I think it will require huge commitments from the community.

zanny 2 days ago 7 replies      
Meanwhile, Windows is still pretty much the only desktop OS for 99% of people, Nvidia has stolen large-scale compute with a holistically proprietary CUDA, and Google has hijacked the ecosystem and culture with Android and ChromeOS (the former by having vendors use the incredibly destructive model of forking the kernel and stuffing it with binary blobs rendering it stuck to that version on whatever device you have, and the later replacing userspace with Google's web properties exclusively).

> So it's hard for a generative OS to support whole stacks of hardware below and software above.

Is only true because of how Google broke Linux. If we had gotten all these garbage phone vendors to upstream open drivers rather than shove proprietary bullshit into every Android handset, Cyanogenmod would not be the only group even remotely capable of keeping up with legions of arbitrary kernels with tons of broken proprietary bits littering the market.

This post is more about the mindshare effect Facebook and Google properties have on people, but there is actually and honestly nothing we can do about that at this point. No killer feature or guarantee of privacy or distributed solution is going to break the network effect of Facebook or Twitter now. As long as we keep the social network alternatives like ostatus and diaspora alive and we can claw long and hard to pull some users there just to keep them afloat we can't really expect to do more.

But we can do a lot more on the hardware front. We are still crippled by proprietary firmwares everywhere[1], rampant with backdoors, and there is no mindshare there to worry about - all it takes is a concerted effort and focus and within several hardware generations we can reverse this dire course, and the consumers do not even need to notice it happening. But if we can get at least some viable computing platform without any trade secreted proprietary freedom-crippled bits that could be spying on you, stealing your info, or just not operating how you want, we could at least sit in our silo and preach from a hardened rather than rickety tower of ethics.

[1] http://mail.fsfeurope.org/pipermail/discussion/2016-April/01...

PS: Considering this is about the Linux anniversary on Linux Journal, it is worth mentioning the gross negligence in enforcing the GPL with Linux has contributed a lot to the ability for corporate market dominators to seize control. All those Nvidia CUDA servers depend on the passivity in addressing Nvidia's proprietary kernel modules, and all those Android phones depend on the apathy of Linux developers to ever go after the hardware manufacturers for obviously and blatantly violating the GPL on almost every Android handset by forking the kernel, integrating proprietary driver software, and then going so far as to modify the free parts in some ways incompatible with upstream to make it work with the proprietary parts. The day Linux GPL enforcement is a thing is one step closer to curtailing the power abuses by many of these large enterprises over their users because that is actually a straightforward way to do it.

throw2016 1 day ago 0 replies      
A tad premature one thinks and who is the we? Linux has been incubating a monster within its midst that goes by the name Redhat. This is the cathedral that was born in the bazaar with $2 billion in revenues, tight ties to the freedom loving US security industry and wielding massive influence thanks to its the ability to fund developers and projects to get things its way. If your fundamental altruistic principles depend on a commercial organizations goodwill your position is already comprised.

A cathedral is primarily concerned with self preservation and it will be naive to ignore how money drives decisions in the real world. A lot of the freedom that got Linux here and Redhat itself to its billion dollar revenues are now being slowly plucked away to entrench Redhat's continued dominance but this is not Redhat's fault. Any organization that got that big would do the same and it's the open source world's failure to anticipate and account for the disproportionate influence something like this would wield.

Even today most Linux organizations are industry bodies with no voice for the users, and in many circles there is open contempt for users nevermind its their commitment though some pretty dismal software that got you in a position that you can choose to ignore them in the first place. A project without users has no reason to exist.

As for Android how is it Linux? You can't run Linux on your Android phones. The GPU, hardware and drivers is locked down so tightly it makes Microsoft and Intel look like Stallman's soulmate when compared to Arm and its vendor ecosystem. And Google too, Android was designed to work around the GPL. Using Android to beat the Linux drum is galling and self defeating.

What we have is thousands of companies benefiting from Open source to build multiple billion empires. 20 years later there is not a single resource that tell you all the companies using open source and how they support it or give back. There is no transparency, pressure or even the felt need to give back. The newer lot of developers do not seem to even care about GPL though that could just be the audience here. Gloating about winning in the context seems misplaced even if it were true. It was never about winning but about choice.

shmerl 1 day ago 1 reply      
Linux has surely advanced, and in some areas clearly won. Not everywhere though. Desktop usage and gaming are still an uphill battle against incumbent monopolists.

I agree with the rest. Decentralization of services and usage of FOSS for them is critical for freedom as well. Consider what a major mess instant messaging still is. Despite all the years of innovation it's a horrible mix of non interoperable walled gardens (unlike e-mail). How can this mess be fixed and "next Facebook" be avoided exactly? Decentralized social networks exist, but they are still in infancy, and making them grow is not trivial.

But of course it goes beyond all that. More importantly, consider advancement of society towards some non too distant technological future. Do we want to see a grim cyberpunk like domination of governments+megacorporations meld which controls everyone's life through access to augmentations and technology of everyday things, or we want to preserve free society while still having advanced technology?

aminok 1 day ago 0 replies      
I see a lot of promise in distributed Turing Complete blockchains like Ethereum giving a nonproprietary and decentralized alternative to centralized services. There is a positive feedback loop where the more smart contracts are uploaded to the blockchain, the more useful it becomes, and the more people upload their programs to it to utilize that functionality. All of these smart contracts necessarily make their code accessible to the public, in being hosted on a public blockchain, and are copyleft, since there's no way enforce IP law on their use.

It could conceivably neutralize the forces that enable big government and big business.

ovt 2 days ago 0 replies      
I page through, knowing already that there's a problem, to see what he's thinking in terms of solutions.

At the bottom I catch a reference to ProjectVRM. I follow the link and what I find is all bloggy and vague. If there's anything concrete in there, it's not brought together in front of the new visitor.

nxzero 1 day ago 1 reply      
As someone that deeply cares about tech & freedom, truly feel most techies fail to see that that majority of the world does not see freedom as a priority.

While I do not know the answer, I do believe it's possible to find one.

Focus on building relationships first, then tech.

officialchicken 1 day ago 2 replies      
Like everyone, I want more freedom, not less: the battle should begin with a sane GPL version 4. See the MIT, BSD and LGPL licenses which provide more freedom over GPL3.
tacos 2 days ago 3 replies      
We're also a lot older now and many realize the "us versus them" thing wasn't helpful. Shame the article opens with such a flattering retelling of a wonky strategy.

It was always the data, not the code. Try and find an open dataset for any interesting machine learning problem and you'll realize that while "freedom" was busy doing things like setting back the use of precompiled headers in GCC a decade and making it virtually impossible for an artist to get a copy of ffmpeg that handles all the file formats she needs, the real value remains the data.

We don't need 15 open source PDF viewers. We need open access to the papers. And even hippie scientists at Berkeley seem unwilling to share those for some reason. So odd given the heritage.

I don't care much about Google's half-baked machine learning library. Give me the 128k neural output from the 250TB of voice queries if you wanna be "open" and advance machine learning. Unsurprisingly they've got that locked up tight. But culturally you can make the argument that's very much "ours" just like government-funded research papers are.

Given interesting data, nerds will ALWAYS find a way to read it. Focusing on code was a bit of a mistake; that's cheap and you get it for free. And the gap between open software licenses and Creative Commons licensing always seemed odd.

MongoDB queries dont always return all matching documents engineering.meteor.com
443 points by dan_ahmadi  3 days ago   397 comments top 46
im_down_w_otp 3 days ago 8 replies      
Said it before, will say it again... "MongoDB is the core piece of architectural rot in every single teetering and broken data platform I've worked with."

The fundamental problem is that MongoDB provides almost no stable semantics to build something deterministic and reliable on top of it.

That said. It is really, really easy to use.

lossolo 3 days ago 8 replies      
I've just migrated one project from mongo to postgresql and i advise you to do the same. It was my mistake to use mongo, after I've found memory leak in cursors first day I've used the db which I've reported and they fixed it. It was 2015.. If you have a lot of relations in your data don't use mongo, it's just hype. You will end up with collections without relations and then do joins in your code instead of having db do it for you.
hardwaresofton 3 days ago 2 replies      
If you're currently using MongoDB in your stack and are finding yourselves outgrowing it or worried that an issue like this might pop up, you owe it to yourself to check out RethinkDB:


It's quite possibly the best document store out right now. Many others in this thread have said good things about it, but give it a try and you'll see.

Here's a technical comparison of RethinkDB and Mongo:https://rethinkdb.com/docs/comparison-tables/

Here's the aphyr review of RethinkDB (based on 2.2.3):https://aphyr.com/posts/330-jepsen-rethinkdb-2-2-3-reconfigu...

lath 3 days ago 2 replies      
A lot of Mongo DB bashing on HA. We use it and I love it. Of course we have a dataset suited perfectly for Mongo - large documents with little relational data. We paid $0 and quickly and easily configured a 3 node HA cluster that is easy to maintain and performs great.

Remember, not all software needs to scale to millions of users so something affordable and easy to install, use, and maintain makes a lot of sense. Long story short, use the best tool for the job.

danbmil99 3 days ago 3 replies      
Oh, the fud of it.

The behavior is well documented here https://jira.mongodb.org/browse/SERVER-14766

and in the linked issues. Seasoned users of mongodb know to structure their queries to avoid depending on a cursor if the collection may be concurrently updated by another process.

The usual pattern is to re-query the db in cases where your cursor may have gone stale. This tends to be habit due to the 10-minute cursor timeout default.

MongoDB may not be perfect, but like any tool, if you know its limitations it can be extremely useful, and it certainly is way more approachable for programmers who do not have the luxury of learning all the voodoo and lore that surrounds SQL-based relational DB's.

Look for some rational discussion at the bottom of this mongo hatefest!

ahachete 3 days ago 1 reply      
Strongly biased comment here, but hope its useful.

Have you tried ToroDB (https://github.com/torodb/torodb)? It still has a lot of room for improvement, but it basically gives you what MongoDB does (even the same API at the wire level) while transforming data into a relational form. Completely automatically, no need to design the schema. It uses Postgres, but it is far better than JSONB alone, as it maps data to relational tables and offers a MongoDB-compatible API.

Needless to say, queries and cursors run under REPEATABLE READ isolation mode, which means that the problem stated by OP will never happen here. Problem solved.

Please give it a try and contribute to its development, even just with providing feedback.

P.S. ToroDB developer here :)

cachemiss 3 days ago 1 reply      
My general feeling is that MongoDb was designed by people who hadn't designed a database before, and marketed to people who didn't know how to use one.

Its marketing was pretty silly about all the various things it would do, when it didn't even have a reliable storage engine.

Its defaults at launch would consider a write stored when it was buffered for send on the client, which is nuts. There's lots of ways to solve the problems that people use MongoDB for, without all of the issues it brings.

vegabook 3 days ago 2 replies      
I have moved from Mongo to Cassandra in a financial time series context, and it's what I should have done straight from the getgo. I don't see Cassandra as that much more difficult to setup than Mongo, certainly no harder than Postgres IMHO, even in a cluster, and what you get leaves everything else in the dust if you can wrap your mind around its key-key-value store engine. It brings enormous benefits to a huge class of queries that are common in timeseries, logs, chats etc, and with it, no-single-point-of-failure robustness, and real-deal scalability. I literally saw a 20x performance improvement on range queries. Cannot recommend it more (and no, I have no affiliation to Datastax).
jsemrau 3 days ago 0 replies      
Weird to see that Mongo is still around. We started to use them on a project ~4 years ago. Easy install, but that's where the problems started. Overall terrible experience. Low performance, Syntax a mess, unreadable documentation.

They seem to still have this outstanding marketing team.

paradox95 3 days ago 1 reply      
Should an infrastructure company be advertising the fact that it didn't research the technology it chose to use to build its own infrastructure?

All these people saying Mongo is garbage are all likely neckbeards sysadmins. Unless you're hiring database admin and sysadmins, Postgres (unless managed - then you have a different set of scaling problems) or any other tradition SQL store is not a viable alternative. This author uses Bigtable as a point of comparison. Stay tuned for his next blog post comparing IIS to Cloudflare.

Almost every blog post titled "why we're moving from Mongo to X" or "Top 10 reason to avoid Mongo" could have been prevented with a little bit of research. People have spent their entire life working with the SQL world so throw something new at them and they reject it like the plague. Postgres is only good now because they had to do some of the features in order to compete with Mongo. Postgres been around since 1996 and you're only now using it? Tell me more about how awesome it is.

ruw1090 3 days ago 6 replies      
While I love to hate on MongoDB as much as the next guy, this behavior is consistent with read-committed isolation. You'd have to be using Serializable isolation in an RDBMS to avoid this anomaly.
twunde 3 days ago 0 replies      
The real problem with Mongo is that it's so enjoyable to start a project with that it's easy to look for ways to continue using it even when Mongo's problems start surfacing. I'll never forget how many problems my team ended up facing with Mongo. Missing inserts, slow queries with only a few hundred records, document size limits. All while Mongo was paraded as web scale in talks.
aavotins 3 days ago 1 reply      
MongoDB reminds me of an old saying that if you have a problem and you use a regex to solve it, you end up with two problems.

I have personally used MongoDB in production two times for fairly busy and loaded projects, and both times I ended up to be the person that encouraged migrating away from MongoDB to a SQL based storage solution. Even at my current job there's still evidence that MongoDB was used for our product, but eventually got migrated to PostgreSQL.

Most of the times I've thought that I chose the wrong tool for the right job, which may be true, but still leaves a lot of thought about the correct application. Right now I have a MongoDB anxiety - as soon as I start thinking about maybe using it(with an emphasis on maybe), I remember all the troubles I went through and just forget it.

It is certainly not a bad product, but it's a niche product in my opinion. Maybe I just haven't found the niche.

wzy 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does Meteor support a proper database system yet, a la. MySQL or Postgres?
jtchang 3 days ago 0 replies      
This single issue would make me not want to use MongoDB. I'm sure there are design considerations around it but I rather use something that has sane semantics around these edge cases.
fiatjaf 3 days ago 2 replies      
CouchDB is simple and reliable. You can understand it from day one. I can't imagine why it isn't being used.
Animats 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not when they're changing rapidly, anyway. Well, that's relaxed consistency for you.

Does this guy have so many containers running that the status info can't be kept in RAM? I have a status table in MySQL that's kept by the MEMORY engine; it's thus in RAM. It doesn't have to survive reboots.

avital 3 days ago 1 reply      
I believe this is solved by Mongo's "snapshot" method on cursors: https://docs.mongodb.com/v3.0/faq/developers/#faq-developers...
rjurney 3 days ago 0 replies      
Mongo is hilarious. Ease of use is so important, we just don't much give a shit that it has all these gaping holes and flaws in it.
shruubi 3 days ago 2 replies      
Seriously, who looks at MongoDB and thinks "this is a sane way of doing things"?

To be fair, I've never been much of a fan of the whole NoSQL solution, so I may be biased, but what real benefits do you gain from using NoSQL over anything else?

d3ckard 3 days ago 0 replies      
I worked with MongoDB quite a lot in context of Rails applications. While it has performance issues and can generally become pain because of lack of relations features, it also allows for really fast prototyping (and I believe that Mongoid is much nicer to work with than Active Record).

When you're developing MVPs, work with ever changing designs and features, ability to cut off this whole migration part comes around really handy. I would however recommend to anybody to keep migration plan for the moment the product stabilizes. If you don't, you end up in the world of pain.

hendzen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Actually, if this lack of index update isolation is correct, you can get the matching document zero, one or multiple times!
doubleorseven 3 days ago 3 replies      
Mongo, in one word: sucks.Couchbase, does not.
alkonaut 2 days ago 0 replies      
So it's a bit weak in the design department, offers a bit less rigid semantics than one might hope, and from the start it's a technology that was almost a reaction to the rigid and enterprise-y of old.

Mongo reminds me a wee bit of JS...

spullara 3 days ago 0 replies      
It literally returns wrong answers for queries. I can't believe anyone this thread is defending it.
xchaotic 3 days ago 0 replies      
Unless you want to code every rdbms and enterprise feature in the application layer, don't use Minho, use Postgres or Use Marklogic. It is 'nosql', but it is acid compliant and uses MVCC so what the queries return is predictable.
jitix 3 days ago 1 reply      
What storage engine are you using? I wonder if the same issue comes in wiredtiger MVCC engine.
clentaminator 3 days ago 0 replies      
An interesting read into the development of a project that started using MongoDB and switched to PostgreSQL after eight months in production: http://www.sarahmei.com/blog/2013/11/11/why-you-should-never...
Osiris 3 days ago 1 reply      
I hear a lot about MongoDB's reliability issues. How do CouchDB or other document store database compare in terms of reliability and consistency?
partycoder 3 days ago 1 reply      
This use-case is not something that you would use MongoDB for. Try Zookeeper.

This being said, I would feel embarrassed to post this on behalf of the engineering department of a company.

This post is just a very illustrated way of saying "we have no idea about what we are doing and our services are completely unreliable".

This is so bad that is more of an HR problem than it is an engineering problem.

tinix 3 days ago 0 replies      
Y'all know other storage engines exist, right?

I searched the comments for "percona" and found nothing...


Meanwhile, https://github.com/percona/percona-server-mongodb/pull/17

bbcbasic 3 days ago 0 replies      
xenadu02 3 days ago 0 replies      
Use of MongoDB at PlanGrid is probably the single worst technical decision the company ever made.

We've migrated our largest collections to Postgres tables and our happiness with that decision increases by the day.

mouzogu 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is MongoDB really that bad?

I am someone just getting into Meteor Js and it seems like moving from MongoDB would make it Meteor trickier to learn.

Is it difficult to switch to an alternative? Thanks

wvenable 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how much data they are storing and in what pattern that they actually need a NoSQL database. I'm curious why someone would make that choice.
acarrera 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you were inserting changes in the status you'd have much better data and never incur in such issues.
geoPointInSpace 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm prototyping in meteor using MongoDB and Compute Engine.

I have two VM instances in google cloud platform. One is a web app and the other is a MongoDB instance.They are in the same network. The connection I use is their internal IP.

Can other people eaves drop between my two instances?

vs2370 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am pretty excited about cockroachDb. Its still in beta so not suggested for production use yet, but its being designed pretty carefully and by a great team.. check them out cockroachlabs.com
opless 2 days ago 0 replies      
But it's web scale! </sarcasm>
apeace 3 days ago 1 reply      
TL;DR During updates, Mongo moves a record from one position in the index to another position. It does this in-place without acquiring a lock. Thus during a read query, the index scan can miss the record being updated, even if the record matched the query before the update began.
3 days ago 3 days ago 6 replies      
That crosses into personal attack, which is not allowed on Hacker News.

Also, please don't create many obscure throwaway accounts on HN. This forum is a community. Anonymity is fine, but users should have some consistent identity that other users can relate to. Otherwise we may as well have no usernames and no community at all, and that would be an entirely different forum.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11860186 and marked it off-topic.

 3 days ago 7 replies      
Your many accounts trolling this thread are a serious abuse of Hacker News, and we've banned all of them. Please don't do anything like this here again.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11859027 and marked it off-topic.

wizardhat 3 days ago 3 replies      
TLDR: He was reading the database while another process was writing to it.

Why all the Mongo hate? I'm sure this would happen with other databases.

throoooowaway 3 days ago 1 reply      
But is your database webscalwebscale? MongoDB is a web scale database.
rgo 3 days ago 4 replies      
Everytime I hear arguments for going back to relational databases, I remember all the scalability problems I lived through for 15 years in relational hell before switching to Mongo.

The thing about relational databases is that they do everything for you. You just lay the schema out (with ancient E-R tools maybe) load your relational data, write the queries, indexes, that's it.

The problem was scalability, or any tough performance situation really. That's when you realized RDBMSs were huge lock-ins, in the sense that they would require an enormous amount of time to figure out how to optimize queries and db parameters so that they could do that magic outer join for you. I remember queries that would take 10x more time to finish just by changing the order of tables in a FROM. I recall spending days trying different Oracle hints just to see if that would make any difference. And the SQL-way, with PK constraints and things like triggers, just made matters worse by claiming the database was actually responsible for maintaining data consistency. SQL, with its naturalish language syntax, was designed so that businessman could inquire the database directly about their business, but somehow that became a programming interface, and finally things like ORMs where invented that actually translated code into English so that a query compiler could translate that back into code. Insane!

Mongo, like most NoSQL, forces you to denormalize and do data consistency in your code, moving data logic into solid models that are tested and versioned from day one. That's the way it's supposed to be done, it sorta screams take control over your data goddammit. So, yes, there's a long way to go with Mongo or any generalistic NoSQL database really, but RDBMS seems a step back even if your data is purely relational.

TimPrice 3 days ago 1 reply      
The article is interesting, but title is fud.Besides, all this is not unexpected:

> How does MongoDB ensure consistency?

> Applications can optionally read from secondary replicas, where data is eventually consistent by default. Reads from secondaries can be useful in scenarios where it is acceptable for data to be slightly out of date, such as some reporting applications.


The Most and Least Expensive Cars to Maintain yourmechanic.com
374 points by zabielski  18 hours ago   296 comments top 49
femto 13 hours ago 4 replies      
The results for Toyota are a reflection of their dedication to production engineering [1], dented by recent recalls. The popular view of bleeding-edge engineering is putting exciting new features into customer's hands. An alternative view (which can be just as satisfying from an engineering perspective) is creating a bleeding-edge factory to produce millions of otherwise mundane products that "just work". As an aside, there's a certain smugness (and sense of power?) that goes with producing a product that the end user takes for granted but you know that few other people could produce.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Production_System

zippergz 16 hours ago 5 replies      
I think I brought this up last time there was a post about Your Mechanic. But I am still curious about it. I wonder how much their data is skewed by the fact that they're a third-party mechanic. I don't think they necessarily see a representative sample of cars and problems, especially in the early years. I have owned different kinds of German cars for the past 15 years, and they've all gone to the dealership for the vast majority of service for at least the first 5-7 years.

I only take new-ish cars to a third party if I need something the dealership doesn't specialize in (body work, tires, etc.). I'm not that price-sensitive about service, and I like the dealership experience (nice new loaner cars, all the parts are on hand, etc.). So I'd wonder what it is that drives people to Your Mechanic, and if that affects the volume and type of problems they see. For example, maybe people are more likely to use them if they have just received a large estimate for a major problem from the dealer. Or people who are more price sensitive go there, which might skew the mix of models they see. And so on.

While this is interesting data, I have a hard time considering it representative of reliability as a whole without some additional context.

tuna-piano 16 hours ago 7 replies      
It's kind of crazy to think of it this way- most cars on the list have one engine to think about.

But the car with the lowest maintenance cost- the Toyota Prius, which had the full gas engine system PLUS an electric battery+motor, and the complexities managing the two together. Truly remarkable. Toyota should be really proud.

UnoriginalGuy 17 hours ago 9 replies      
This is one reason why I don't buy American. I actually really like Ford's vehicles (the infotainment system might be the best available) but they consistently get bad reliability scores along with other American brands (Chrysler, Dodge, etc).

Why don't American manufacturers work to improve their reliability? People really are buying Toyota/Honda/Mazda for that reason. And while Kia might be unreliable as all heck, they come with the best included warranty available[0].

American vehicles actually cost more too in many cases, so you're paying for the "privilege" of getting a less reliable vehicle.

[0] http://www.cars.com/go/advice/Story.jsp?section=buy&story=ma...

tobyjsullivan 17 hours ago 6 replies      
I'm really confused by this data. How could the average cost of the most expensive model be less than the cost of the most expensive brand?

For example, I'm taking issue with all BMW's costing $17,800 over 10 years on average. Yet, the BMW model with the highest maintenance cost, the 328i, only costs $15,600 over 10 years.

Edit: Tried, quite unsuccessfully, to improve clarity

spydum 17 hours ago 6 replies      
Did I misread?

>In order to estimate annual maintenance costs, we found the amount spent on every two oil changes (as oil changes are generally done every six months).

This cost only considers oil changes? That is not a realistic cost of total maintenance over 10 years.

westwooded 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Tough to trust this analysis... For example Cadillac is the #3 worst brand yet there are no Cadillac models in the worst 20 models.
beloch 17 hours ago 0 replies      
"This data reveals which companies live up to their reputation for reliability (Toyota), which brands sacrifice reliability for prestige (BMW and Mercedes-Benz), and which models deserved to be discontinued (the Hummer 3)."

Ouch. There's one more reason to laugh at people who bought the H3.

vanilla-almond 17 hours ago 2 replies      
It's interesting to compare this US survey with this one from a 2015 UK survey of 50,000 car users.

In summary, Japanese cars were deemed the most reliable and relatively cheap to maintain, while German cars were the least reliable according to the survey's respondents.

The rankings were calculated according to how often a car needed to be repaired, and the cost of the repairs.


ifoundthetao 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Man, it would have been nice to have text instead of images for those tables. Would have made me more confident in my searching through them.
peckrob 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Purely anecdotally, my ten year old Toyota Tacoma is the best vehicle I've ever owned, so I'm not really surprised to see it at number five on that list. Had one major problem in ten years (clutch springs broke at 60k). Otherwise with routine maintenance (oil changes, tune ups and tires) it just keeps working.

Ten loads of mulch in a weekend? No problem. Hauling a half ton of Bawls energy drinks to a different state over wet mountain roads? An adventure but no issues. Moved my (now) wife to town in 2007 and moved all our stuff when we bought our first home. We took our daughter home from the hospital in it. It almost feels like part of the family.

I kinda want a newer car, but I can't really justify it because my Tacoma just keeps working every single day (and it's paid off). Toyota can make a really good vehicle.

fmsf 17 hours ago 4 replies      
I would be curious of data on entry level sport cars that people use in commutes/daily driving i.e.: porsche
kazinator 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I had a 6th gen Civic (DX Hatchback) for 7 years between 2005 and 2011. Most of what it needed, I did myself, cheaply:

- cracked exhaust manifold, replaced with boneyard unit, $80. Before that I went to the dealer, and they quoted me over $300 for a new one. Get this: they were so nice when I said I will probably get a used one, they gave me the new nuts for the joint between the manifold and the A pipe I would need. "Hey, you will likely need these; they are special heat-resistant nuts that don't expand."

- bushing gone on rear suspension arm causing clunks and squeaks: boneyard good part, $10. Couldn't remove a bolt in the suspension without an air ratchet: I broke two cheap socket wrench bits trying! I paid an air-conditioning garage to help me out, $40.

- broken manual window crank on driver's side door. $10 for used one.

- The ignition switch started cutting out. I Googled up that this was a secret warranty (big safety issue), and got free fix at the dealership.

- I paid a few hundred for an all-wheel brake job. At one point, the master relay went, so I paid a few hundred to get that taken care of. Car was completely dead; had to be towed.

- Fixed water leaking into the trunk. This ingress occurs through the tail light apertures! The fix was a $7 tub of silicone caulk on both sides of the tail light gaskets, with plenty left over to do a bathtub or three. The trunk was dry after that.

- Moisture destroyed the particle board trunk floor that covers the spare tire. Made a sturdy new one out of 6mm thick plastic: $30 bucks for that, plus labor.

- Cracked radiator: good used one for under 100 bucks.

- All fluid and other changes: engine oil, manual transmission, air filter, oil filter, etc, myself.

- Paid a few hundred for a timing belt and water pump change.

- O2 sensor changes, self, < $100 a pop for two of them.

- Spark plugs: don't remember; inexpensive.

usaphp 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Does it take into account the fact that BMW offers free service (even oil changes) for 3 years (36,000 miles) and on top of that you can get relatively cheap extensions, and if you buy a certified pre-owned used car you get a "free" extra 2 years /50K miles on top of the original warranty and you can even get an extra protection plan for 6 years/100K miles.
gcb0 7 hours ago 0 replies      
this has 300 comments so probably just pissing in the ocean here, but this highlights nothing but confirmation bias.

title should be "how much people that uses our yuppie startup pays to maintain their cars"

of course the bmw diy wil not show up. nor the toyota that goes to the dealer the moment a dash light goes on.

overcast 14 hours ago 3 replies      
A 328i costs $15,600 to maintain over ten years? My seven year old xDrive 328i hasn't had a single cost besides oil and tires. I don't know any friends that have paid an additional 15k to maintain theirs either. That's just nonsense.
rdtsc 17 hours ago 1 reply      
> Brands most likely not to start: Hummer

There's something ironic about it. Here they got a car which "looks" like a reliable military vehicle, that you'd think could take it to some remove off-road location (desert, camping, etc). Yet as a brand, it is most likely to fail to start.

infecto 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Typo, Lexus should be Cadillac.

"Luxury imports from Germany, such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz, along with domestic luxury brand Lexus, are the most expensive"

garyclarke27 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting matches my experience - I've had many BMW's over the years - currently x5 4.8 and 535d - when they work, they are fantastic but and a big but, they are so unreliable and so expensive to maintain in the UK, main dealer labour rates are over 200 ($300) per hour, non dealers cheaper but struggle with the complexity so often give up and part prices can be crazy - eg 2k to replace a diesel particulate filter.
dakridge 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm curious to see how Tesla will compare to these after they have been out for a while. I heard they are cheap to maintain, I hope that turns out to be true.
matdrewin 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Boring cars cost less to maintain.
busterarm 17 hours ago 5 replies      
Mazda would be much lower on their already low spot on the list if not for the Mazda 6.

Though my RX-7 is a beast to maintain, financially. I imagine they're only tracking models that are still current for the past 10 years.

Also some 'common' but lower-volume brands are not on the list at all (Alfa Romeo is a notable exception here)

agentgt 11 hours ago 0 replies      
There are probably some confounds to why some brands may not do as well particularly brands that make mini vans and/or all wheel drive cars.

AWD is just inherently more complicated and thus requires more maintenance. Thus Subaru probably has unfair advantage since almost all their cars are AWD.

As for Prius reliability... I have passed many stuck sliding on the road in New England blizzards... in my "high maintenance" Subaru.

johnhess 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems relatively likely that there's some selection bias going on here.

It could stand to reason that less reliable brands get discontinued. But there's an alternate explanation. If the only population of Saturns you're looking at is 5-10 years old, and the selection of Hondas your're looking at are 0-10 years old, the "average" Saturn requires more maintenance than the average Honda because on average, it's an older car.

sjclemmy 7 hours ago 0 replies      
My rule of thumb for budgeting is that a car is going to cost me about 1000 a year to keep and maintain. This includes road tax, insurance, tyres, brakes and servicing etc.

This will average out over time.

polskibus 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how this ranking corresponds to Dekra statistics that are a good source in the EU.
S_A_P 12 hours ago 0 replies      
My 2014 Audi A4 Quattro is the most reliable car I've owned. I took it in for a replacement oil pressure sensor at 48k miles which was replaced in 60 minutes under warranty. I can't really complain about that. I am currently on pace to put 30k miles on it this year. That said Audi has a reputation for a reason, and previous model years were not so care free.
sergiotapia 13 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a reason why taxis in Bolivia and Peru are 90% Toyota Corolla's. It's because parts are dirt cheap, and labor is dirt cheap.


tmacro 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I have to wonder if this takes into account self maintenance. It is my experience that labor makes up a significant portion of vehicle maintenance costs. That, coupled with the high availability of used parts for popular domestic models, seems like it would bring down costs for those vehicles significantly.
usloth_wandows 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I've had BMW 528i since 1997. Still going strong, but those damn window regulators break so often. I blame it on my mechanic replacing them with cheap Chinese parts. The car went 15 years with no window problems and all of the sudden I've had to replace each of the windows at least twice in the past 4 years (driver side 3 times)!
danmaz74 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Would have been interesting to also have the data as percentage of model price. For a very expensive car, it's also normal that parts will be more expensive.
sushid 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm confused by the author's assessment of Kia cars. It's specifically called out as being one of the most expensive lower-end brands to maintain but two of its most popular cars are listed under one of the cheapest cars to maintain (with none being on the expensive list).

Seems like an unwarranted callout at best.

pwthornton 12 hours ago 1 reply      
One of the things I wonder, as we stare at pulling a release at my work, is can elements of the Toyota Way be brought over to software?

We practice SCRUM, which supposedly learned from the Toyota Product System, but our quality assurance has a long way to go.

brohoolio 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Model year data is important. If there was one model year, like a bad transmission, it will mess with the data.

I drove 6 ford escorts before buying a newer car. The 93 model year was terrible but I pushed my 1998 and 1997 to over 250,000 miles each with minimal repair costs.

shekyboy 17 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a bit early but would love to see how electric cars change the auto maintenance space...
kqr2 11 hours ago 3 replies      
What is the best new car for the diy mechanic in terms of ease of maintenance and availability of parts / service manual?
infecto 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Tried to load the app at https://www.yourmechanic.com/book/. Does not work for me. Bummer
gwern 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Why is the Prius so reliable? I know Toyota is good but I would have expected it to be less than the Toyota average because it's a more complex hybrid car.
dclowd9901 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Land Rover showing up surprisingly (even suspiciously) low in this list. Almost makes me question the data entirely.
kin 17 hours ago 1 reply      
As a MINI owner, you can bump me up a few slots thanks to BMW.
Zikes 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish I could search their system and see where my car falls on each of those lists, rather than just the top/bottom 25 in each category.
rdtsc 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Yap, friend owns a BMW. He drives a BMW dealer loaner car quite often because his car is in the shop.
hanniabu 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd be curious where Tesla would fall on this list. Obviously they haven't been around long enough to get the data though.
az123zaz 17 hours ago 1 reply      
"Luxury imports from Germany, such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz, along with domestic luxury brand Lexus, are the most expensive."

Lexus is owned by Toyota. What makes it domestic?

Shivetya 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Well I am going to have to say pure electrics might fare better but we will need ten years of playing with the tech to know for sure. All the electronics are going to be fun. Almost all the unusual entries are engine related.

Before anyone runs off in celebration of pure EVs just note the number of vehicles being sampled. Issue arise from defects for sure, as they do for wear and tear. However a lot of issues on older cars are because of lack of care. One of the reasons manufactures like BMW include service for 4x50 is so that even the leased cars would get serviced.

There are a few exaggerated entries on the list, one I know of is the Nissan Murano. Its listed quite high but that might have been because of the CVT issues faced in 05-07 that were remedied with Nissan extending the warranties.

mdip 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I found it interesting that the Chrysler Sebring was listed as the most expensive car to maintain. The first car I purchased for myself was a 1995 Chrysler LeBaron Convertible. I was 17 years old and had saved up money from a business my father had started for me when I was 13 years old and due to my dear Dad working in the industry, I was able to buy it on the "C-Lot"[0] for $12,000 (not bad with an all leather interior and 8,000 miles ... or so I thought). During the 5 long years I owned it, I went through not one, but three $2,400 transmission rebuilds. I was young and wasn't smart enough to know to ditch the car after the first. Nor did I know there was an 800 number I could have called that would almost certainly have resulted in a discounted/free repair for the first (which happened about 2,000 miles outside of the warranty period) or the two others (which happened within 1.5 years of each other).

This car soured Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth vehicles for me for life. I have never considered another car from that brand and I wasn't at all surprised to see many Chrysler vehicles on the high-cost list.

It was also nice to see several American made cars on that list[1], including my Ford Fusion. I own a 2012 model (last year before a substantial redesign[also 1]) with 100,000 miles on it and it has never required service other than routine maintenance (and a few more alignments than I'm used to, but I almost never drive being a work-at-home guy so I'm not sure what might be happening while all of those miles are put on[2]).

I would have loved to see the raw data behind the article for a few reasons.

1. Model years are missing and more details about how many kinds of failures would have been nice. Highlighting the most expensive is nice, but if several less expensive parts are failing, that's also very important.

2. The cost of routine maintenance for parts that are guaranteed to wear can vary dramatically depending on where the service is done. The dealer is the most expensive, almost every time, but things like brakes come to mind. Where I live, taking a car for a brake job at a brake place is highway robbery. A friend showed me how easy it is to do brakes and I discovered I could do all 4 for the cost of one at the shop (or just replace the brakes/rotors for the price of a pad job). I later learned that a good shop will do them for about $40 in labor over the cost of parts at a retail auto-parts store (and I thank God that I now have a family friend who owns said shop).

3. It has a bad smell to it and I'd like to understand how they interpreted the data or whether or not the data set is complete. For the American brands, some of those cars have corresponding models from their other affiliated brands (A Chevy X is a Oldsmobile Y or even extreme cases where Eagle [dead now] branded vehicles used to be Mitsubishi products) with very little differences in the vehicles. This makes sense in the case of non-luxury brand/luxury brand because there are more expensive parts and usually major underlying improvements in the luxury brands that affect repair frequency/cost. But in the case of that Sebring, at one point that was pretty much the same car as a Dodge model except for the exterior and I thought I spotted others on that list that had the same situation but with the equivalent vehicle nowhere to be found.

If anyone has that data set and can link to it, I'd be curious.

[0] I may not have this exactly right, including the name, but my understanding is that these cars were driven by higher level employees "lease-style" for a year at a discount (or as a perk). Suppliers and employees can show up on a designated day and commit to purchase the vehicle at a solid discount - mine was $12,000 for an all leather model with about 8,000 miles on it (that would be repaired at the dealership under warranty). The "catch", I learned years later, is that some/many of the employees exercising this perk don't bother doing routine maintenance on the car and generally treat it very harshly.

[1] I live in Michigan, my dad's business is a supplier to the local autos, and there's still a lot of us who remember the days of evil bastards keying non UAW-made vehicles so I'm stuck with the Big Three (making that Two in my case). The general rule has been never buy a car the first year after a substantial redesign and vehicles on the last year prior to redesign are usually the most reliable (kinks worked out). I don't know if that's based on real data or if that's just been good luck (and common sense), but it's been a reliable rule for my family in all but the LeBaron case (I think 96 was the last year). That rule, along with and "if you're buying new, do so when the dealers are trying to get the next model year on the lot" (it was a $7,000 difference with my Fusion) are the only two I know.

[2] I suspect a defect in this case or even more likely -- road conditions. My wife is a great driver, the car has original brakes at 100,000 miles (a feat the mechanic who inspected them last month was impressed with) and everything but the suspension is in amazing condition. The suspension problems and realignment frequency have me thinking her lack of gaming skills is at fault. In this part of Michigan, driving any freeway/major road is like playing a game of "Dodge the Potholes" where failure to win results in blown out tires (we've had two incidents), unusual suspension wear/problems and alignment issues depending on the angle of impact and depth.

imaginenore 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I've had this idea for a long time. It would be amazing to get the data on exactly what gets fixed in each of the auto repair shops, which then would let you figure out which cars are the most reliable, and how much owning one would cost in the long run, and maybe leads to some preventative measures to minimize the damage. I thought about it for years, and couldn't figure out a way to get the data cheaply.
hello_its_will 6 hours ago 0 replies      
df sdaf
18 hours ago 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm guessing you're new here? There's really no point in posting comments like this unless you want to see how low your karma can get.
How the Windows Subsystem for Linux Redirects Syscalls microsoft.com
356 points by jackhammons  2 days ago   266 comments top 21
ataylor284_ 2 days ago 3 replies      
> The real NtQueryDirectoryFile API takes 11 parameters

Curiosity got the best of me here: I had to look this up in the docs to see how a linux syscall that takes 3 parameters could possibly take 11 parameters. Spoiler alert: they are used for async callbacks, filtering by name, allowing only partial results, and the ability to progressively scan with repeated calls.

luchs 2 days ago 2 replies      
>As of this article, lxss.sys has ~235 of the Linux syscalls implemented with varying level of support.

Is there a list of these syscalls somewhere? It would be cool to check it against the recent Linux API compatibility paper [0, 1].

[0]: http://oscar.cs.stonybrook.edu/api-compat-study/[1]: http://www.oscar.cs.stonybrook.edu/papers/files/syspop16.pdf

Maarten88 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have installed the current fast ring build and have tried installing several packages on Windows. Some do install and work (compilers, build environment, node, redis server), but packages that use more advanced socket options (such as Ethereum) or that configure a deamon (most databases), still end with an error. Compatibility is improving with every new build, and you can ditch/reset the whole Linux environment on Windows with a single command, which is nice for testing.
caf 2 days ago 1 reply      
Since NT syscalls follow the x64 calling convention, the kernel does not need to save off volatile registers since that was handled by the compiler emitting instructions before the syscall to save off any volatile registers that needed to be preserved.

Say what? The NT kernel doesn't restore caller-saved registers at syscall exit? This seems extraordinary, because unless it either restores them or zaps them then it will be in danger of leaking internal kernel values to userspace - and if it zaps them then it might as well save and restore them, so userspace won't need to.

emcrazyone 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can't think of much that would benefit from this except for, perhaps, headless command line type applications. The one that comes to mind is rsync. Being able to compile the latest version/protocol of rsync on a Linux machine and then running the same binary on a Windows host would be nice but fun seems to end there plus with Cygwin, this is largely a no-brainer without M$ help.

What about applications that hook to X Windows or do things like opening the frame buffer device. I've got a messaging application that can be compiled for both Windows and Linux and depending on the OS, I compile a different transport layer. Under Linux heavy use of epoll is used which is very different than how NT handles Async I/O - especially with sockets. So my application's "transport driver" is either compiling an NT code base using WinSock & OVERLAPPED IO or a Linux code base using EPOLL and pthreads.

Over all it seems like a nice to have but I'm struggling to extract any real benefit.

Can anyone offer up some real good use cases I may be overlooking?

coverband 2 days ago 1 reply      
With this feature, if you're a Linux developer, you're automatically a Windows developer as well. Almost like being able to run all Android or iOS apps on Windows phones.[1][2]

[1] http://www.pcworld.com/article/3038652/windows/microsoft-kil...[2] https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/bridges/ios

Edit: Now I am puzzled as to why this got downvoted?

Animats 2 days ago 3 replies      
It's too bad that x86 hardware doesn't do virtualization as well as IBM hardware. You can't stack VMs. That's exactly what's needed here - a non-kernel VM that runs above NT but below the application.
kevincox 2 days ago 4 replies      
> the Linux fork syscall has no documented equivalent for Windows

Emphasis is mine. I wonder if this is something that cygwin could (ab)use. Also I wonder why they would need this undocumented call.

bla2 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does anybody know how fork() is implemented? This blog post kind of sounds like fork() would do the slow emulation of it through CreateProcess().
smegel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Funny they don't mention ioctl.
quux 2 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting, I wonder how much overhead is added to syscalls to look up the process type. Does NT still do this check when no WSL processes are running?
obnauticus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent post, Jack.
_RPM 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does Microsoft document all system calls?
prirun 1 day ago 0 replies      
Step 1: embrace
negus 2 days ago 1 reply      
wtf is "pico process" and "pico driver"?
davidgerard 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes, yes, but can we run Wine on it?
zxcvcxz 2 days ago 1 reply      
I use to run Linux in a VM on windows and use Chocolatey for package management and cygwin and powershell etc, then I realized I was just trying to make Windows into Linux. Seems to be the way things are going and with the addition of the linux subsystem it kind of proves that Windows really isn't a good OS on it's own, especially not for developers.

I wish Windows/MS would abandon NT and just create a Linux distro. I don't know anyone who particularly likes NT and jamming multiple systems together seems like an awful idea.

Windows services and Linux services likely won't play nice together (think long file paths created by Linux services and other incompatibilities), for them to be 100% backward compatible they need to not only make Windows compatible with the things Linux outputs, but Linux compatible with the things windows services output, and to keep the Linux people from figuring out how to use Windows on Linux systems they'd need to make a lot of what they do closed source.

So I don't see a Linux+Windows setup being deployed for production. It's cool for developers, but even then you can't do much real world stuff that utilizes both windows and Linux. If you're only taking advantage of one system then whats the point of having two?

I went ahead and made the switch to Linux since I was trying to make Windows behave just like Linux.

2 days ago 2 days ago 4 replies      
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11866402 and marked it off-topic.
dragonbonheur 2 days ago 6 replies      
l3m0ndr0p 2 days ago 2 replies      
Pretty neat stuff. I think that MS should just create their own Linux Distribution & port all MS products. Get rid of the Windows NT Kernel. I believe it's outdated & doesn't have the same update cycle that the Linux Kernel has.

Why run a Linux Application/binary on a windows server OS? When you can just run it on Linux OS and get better performance & stability.

vegabook 2 days ago 1 reply      
Next step is Microsoft basically needs to turn Windows into a flavour of Linux. If they don't, they're under massive pincer threat from Android and Chrome, which are rapidly becoming the consumer endpoints of the future. Windows is about to "do an IBM" and throw away a market that it created. See PS/2 and OS/2.

They should probably just buy Canonical. That would put the shivers into Google, properly.

Planned GPS outages in southern California avweb.com
389 points by eajecov  3 days ago   215 comments top 24
lb1lf 3 days ago 6 replies      
From the article: "Operators of Embraer Phenom 300 business jets are being urged to avoid the area entirely. Due to GPS Interference impacts potentially affecting Embraer 300 aircraft flight stability controls, FAA recommends EMB Phenom pilots avoid the testing area and closely monitor flight control systems, the Notam reads."

That is beyond scary; how anyone can defend having critical aircraft control systems rely on an input which may be turned off at will is beyond me.

Let us at least hope the system fails gracefully and notifies the pilot that something odd just happened and you will have to do your own flying from this point on, rather than just going titsup and be done with it.

matt_wulfeck 3 days ago 7 replies      
Testing against GPS is an interesting challenge. It's technically a critical public service, so any disruption of it should also be broadcast. Any weapon therefore must be tested out in the open.

The development of these weapons probably has some influence on the Navy's decision to bring back celestial navigation[1].

Come to think of it, I don't think I even own a compass.

[1] http://www.npr.org/2016/02/22/467210492/u-s-navy-brings-back...

cryptoz 3 days ago 0 replies      
supernova87a 3 days ago 3 replies      
So, here is just a little bit of amateur desk research into some things we might be able to gather from the information:

The FAA flight advisory provides the coordinates and the nature of the GPS signal disruption, which is centered near China Lake, and has expanding rings of area, each of which rises in altitude. For the pilots out there, imagine the classic upside-down wedding cake shape. Or cone with its point at the ground.

This would seem to indicate some kind of broadcast or interference from a source that is located at the ground, propagating line of sight with larger radii with altitude. Rather than something to do with the satellite itself.

The center of the coordinates are 360822N, 1173846W, which is in a big empty desert area, just south (SSW of Darwin, California), see here: https://www.google.com/maps/place/36%C2%B008'24.0%22N+117%C2...

It could of course be some kind of antenna, or even a flight that is producing this signal. But there's also an interesting long V-shaped two-legged testing(?) facility just to the east of these coordinates, which you can see in the Google Earth image. I might be mistaken about what that facility is, because aeronautical sectional charts also show a mine in that area, but this doesn't look like a mine site. Also there are a bunch of vehicles that look like Humvees on the pad nearby. And there are three antenna looking structures at the north end of the paved line.

Anyway, it's interesting to speculate about.

alpb 3 days ago 2 replies      
From Reddit comments at r/aviation (https://www.reddit.com/r/aviation/comments/4msmh7/gps_interf...) it appears like this could affect civilian GPS usages such as geolocation apps. I wonder if Google Maps or any other GPS apps should be showing a warning that because those apps can just behave weirdly?

As a foursquare/swarm user myself I would be quite pissed off by my OCD if I cannot check in to places I go haha.

guelo 3 days ago 7 replies      
Interesting that the interference occurs 50' Above Ground Level, not sea level. I can't even imagine what technology that is that can somehow jam along the contours of the earth.
tjohns 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interstingly, it looks like this is a semi-regular thing in different parts of the US:


Last one looks to have been May 22-23 in Louisiana, with another one from June 1-30 in New Mexico.

Artlav 3 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder how many of the plane "GPS receivers" can pick up GLONASS as well?

Most consumer units can see both networks these days, however aviation tech is known to lag a lot in such matters.

lutorm 3 days ago 3 replies      
How does the FAA think this is going to work after 2020 when air traffic control will run off of ADS-B positional telemetry from aircraft. It seems a GPS shutdown like this would basically shut down IFR flying and airport terminal control since ATC has no other way of knowing the position of airplanes.
disposeofnick9 3 days ago 3 replies      
Why on earth does the military-industrial complex need to spend money on a duplicate, irrelevant technology? I worked at Trimble Nav in the radio group, and the POTUS has the ability to increase selective available (SA) to an enormous number (which can be defeated by differential/kinematic corrections, but was set to 0 by executive order under Clinton) or disable the unencrypted channel entirely for a particular region or the entire planet (which includes space). WTF!
brc 3 days ago 2 replies      
I know someone who was at sea when their GPS stopped working. They found out later a nuclear sub had come into port around the same time. Seems like it wasn't a coincidence as gps outages are rare.
jackgavigan 3 days ago 0 replies      
GPS jamming is old hat.

A lot of weapons testing takes place at China Lake (where the disruption will originate from), including missiles and guided bombs that use combination GPS and inertial guidance systems.

They're probably testing various weapons systems' ability to continue to function in the face of GPS jamming.

nameless912 3 days ago 4 replies      
I, for one, cannot believe that GPS doesn't have a pre-prod environment. I guess they just don't grok dev ops like us young hip developers.

No but seriously, the fact that we don't have a backup for when GPS inevitably shits the bed sometime in the future is a fundamental existential threat to mankind. We should probably do something about that.

cbanek 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Take that Vandenberg AFB. Surprised they didn't use the Nevada test site.
sandworm101 3 days ago 0 replies      
Um .. why do they need a weapon to "disrupt" GPS? It's their birds. They can turn it on/off selectively whenever and wherever they deem necessary. Or is this meant as a test of something to disrupt the Russian/Chinese systems?

And why southern california? Alaska, the pacific... northern Canada ... there are lots of lower-traffic areas. We aren't getting the full story.

chockablock 3 days ago 0 replies      
According to the NOTAM [1], this extends to SF Bay area as well, even near ground level.

Tests may be repeated on June 7, 9, 21, 23, 28, and 30, between 9:30a-3:30p.

[1] https://www.faasafety.gov/files/notices/2016/Jun/CHLK_16-08_...

gene-h 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have a hunch that some people are going to have difficulty withdrawing cash from ATMs[0] tomorrow. Although, perhaps they are being overly cautious here.

[0] https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20202-gps-chaos-how-a...

Animats 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder what this will do to ground-based GPS users. Aviation doesn't really need GPS; aircraft have multiple other systems. But phones, cell towers, and other devices have no other position input. Car navigation systems may become lost. We now get to see which GPS units have enough smarts to detect inconsistent data.
emblem21 3 days ago 0 replies      
Satellite warfare adaptability simulation?
Raphmedia 3 days ago 2 replies      
Something like that could wreck havoc in a world where all cars are self driving... !
KateBone 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm definitely crossing off the Embraer Phenom 300 from my shopping list of personal jets !

Seriously though, who thought this was a good, or safe, idea?

awqrre 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does that have anything to do with voters suppression for today's election?
shapiro44 3 days ago 3 replies      
Coincidence? Is this meant to disrupt the California primary? Voters getting lost on way to voting stations without reliable GPS. There are a lot of first time voters.
jQuery 3.0 Released jquery.com
304 points by stop1234  1 day ago   150 comments top 9
MichalBures 1 day ago 0 replies      
jerf 1 day ago 2 replies      
I would suggest the release notes are a better link target: http://blog.jquery.com/2016/06/09/jquery-3-0-final-released/

Developers can figure out how to download it if they are interested.

rcarmo 1 day ago 9 replies      
Whenever a new version of jQuery (or Zepto) comes along, I wonder what would have happened if web development borrowed a page from other ecosystems and browser runtimes had subsumed the jQuery API, shipping it natively.

It's a controversial notion, I'll grant, but what if the DOM APIs had been replaced by "native" jQuery support? Would we have been better off? Worse?

Considering the intricacies of standards bodies and industry lobbies, pondering the pros and cons makes for a fascinating exercise.

sebslomski 1 day ago 2 replies      
Apparently there is no migration guide to migrate from React to jQuery :(
forgotpwtomain 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've complained a few times about what seems to me, to be a less-friendly way of handling Promise rejections in es6.

Consider the relatively common use-case - there is a service object which proxies requests, format's the call to the backend (or fetches from cache) and format's the returned response for the caller of the object. So the pattern looks something like: ServiceObject.fetchData(query).then((data) => { / * display data * / }, (err)=> { / * catch error - display no results * /})

At some-point you want to chain the promise to update another part of the ui: promise.then((data) => {/* display something else / }, (err) => { / catch error - display failed to load */ }).

The problem is you can't squash the error in the 'reject' of the previous promise now, because otherwise the error isn't propagated to the last promise in the link and instead you will hit the 'success' function. This 'reject' behavior is alright if there is something your 'success' function can do when the original request failed, but in a great majority of cases if the request failed there is nothing you can do - you put a 'reject' in the first chain of the promise resolution (potentially in the serviceObject itself) with some generic flash-message like 'request failed please try again' and call it good. As it stands you end up with a call chain where what a function higher up in the chain should return should be based on what a resolving function further down the chain is doing -- not having to do this was for me was almost entirely the plus-side of the promise-style over callbacks-style concurrency model.

I bring this up now because curiously the jQuery model of Deferred() precisely did not do this before -(see section#2 of Major Changes):

> Example: returns from rejection callbacks

if an error wasn't re-thrown in a catch, the promise-handling would stay in the 'reject' chain as long as an error had been thrown. I am quite curious as to why the current-model won, I understand some of the potential benefits but in practice I find that this behavior is worse in 90% of use-cases that I have encountered. If someone has a link to a mailing-thread / issue where this was discussed I would be quite interested.

awestroke 1 day ago 26 replies      
Is anybody in the HN crowd still using jQuery for new projects?

If yes, why not use "vanilla" js?

yedpodtrzitko 1 day ago 0 replies      
from changelog: "Golf away 21 byte"

I like how (code)golf has become a term.

formula1 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Theres a few things that I want from the next x.0 release. Until these get done, jQuery will look like a library that doesnt know what it wants to be but used to serve a purpose.

- removal of animation from core

- removal of styling from core

- Create a jQuery 'fx' library seperate from jQuery

- have a standardized serialized / deserialize for forms

- Ability to handle multipart forms in ajax post requests

Coursera shuts access to old platform courses reachtarunhere.github.io
393 points by reachtarunhere  12 hours ago   160 comments top 38
latenightcoding 9 hours ago 3 replies      
It is truly sad to see Coursera getting greedier by the day. I can honestly say this website changed my life, I was living in a third world country and still in high school when I enrolled in Andrew Ng's machine learning class and thanks to that MOOC I was able to get a machine learning job building recommender systems for a Canadian company straight out of high school. There are plenty of amazing MOOCs that Coursera has completely removed from the website or are only available for people who want to pay upfront. Please don't be like Udacity Coursera.

BTW you have until June 30 to download your courses.

znpy 6 hours ago 3 replies      
In case you want to download as may courses as possible before they fade away, here are some notes.

Please forgive me some mistakes, I wrote this a bit in a hurry.


1) Spawn a virtual server on DigitalOcean.

I am using the 40$/month in order to have 40GB of space, but my plan isto shut it down in a day or two.

The advantage is to have storage space AND super-fast connection.

If you don't want to spend money, here is my referral code:


This will give you 10$ credit for free.

2) Install screen, python-virtualenv, python3, python3-pip

3) edit ~/.bash_aliases:

 #!/usr/bin/env bash alias download="./coursera-dl -u <<username>> -p <<password>>" alias download_preview="./coursera-dl -b -u <<username>> -p <<password>>"
4) Install coursera-dl: see https://github.com/coursera-dl/coursera-dl#alternative-insta...

name the virtualenv "coursera", and place it in the root home directory

5) patch to use python3:

* pip3 install -r requirements.txt* patch coursera/coursera.dl:

 #!/usr/bin/env python # -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

 #!/usr/bin/env python3 # -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
6) Edit ~/.bashrc

Add this lines at the end of the file:

 cd coursera source bin/activate cd coursera

The setup process is done. Here is how to use it:

1) Start a screen session: `screen -S coursera`

download_preview compilers-004

you can download more courses in parallel by creating another window (C-a c) and typing donwload_preview $coursename.

lovelearning 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I feel Coursera's pricing strategy is located at two opposite extremes and misses out an entire range of options in the middle. They either make an entire course completely free with no option to pay even if the student wants to, or they put it behind a paywall where one can't even start without paying.

They along with their institutional partners are missing out revenue from people like me who'd like to pay some amount, but not the amount they fix. I'm happy to pay some amount without a certificate. They should consider giving a pay-what-you-like option for all their courses.

mohsinr 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Disappointed by Coursera and Udacity (they positioned for free MOOCs and now they are taking everything back they offered).

More power to KhanAcademy and MIT Open Courseware! For staying true to their mission of providing Free Courses...

wibr 8 hours ago 6 replies      
https://class.coursera.org/ml-005/lecture Machine Learning, Andrew Ng

https://class.coursera.org/algo-003/lecture Algorithms 1, Tim Roughgarden

https://class.coursera.org/algo2-003/lecture Algorithms 2, Tim Roughgarden

Edit:https://class.coursera.org/compilers/lecture/preview Compilers, Alex Aiken

What else?

haches 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Worthwhile to point out that edX is a non-profit [1] unlike Coursera [2] and Udacity [3].

[1] https://www.edx.org/about-us

[2] https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/coursera

[3] https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/udacity

raldu 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been feeling more and more disappointed with their step-by-step implementation of paywalling learners, and a general decline in community engagement. This decision to cut access to the old material is very short-sighted, and it would do more harm than good to their "business".

The old content would have been perceived as having a historical value, as being among the first courses published in the first actual MOOC platform, not to mention the tremendous value those courses contributed by successfully reaching wide audiences around the world, changing many lives. Now they are making a bad image out of themselves.

Coursera has been getting progressively worse. There is no community engagement. I cannot be surprised or engaged by non-discussion going on, which is also the case with edX, by the way. I have done mentorship in one of the paid courses at Coursera and all I could do was to mechanically answer technical questions. Nobody cared about the critical aspects, nobody cared about generating interesting and thought-provoking discussions, even when some mentors have encouraged it. As mentors, what we were doing was just free technical support for the course providers.

Further, the recent content is at best feels like "best seller" stuff for whatever trending industry anyway. Even the UI has been getting slower.

This example provides the meaning of backing up (and further sharing) data stored in the cloud. Mostly we do not think it would be necessary to backup since the data is going to stay there "forever", right?

As a final note, I was surprised that nobody mentioned FutureLearn (https://www.futurelearn.com). It is a new MOOC platform with somewhat "European" feeling to it. I have surprisingly had the best community experience with quality discussions in one of the courses provided there. The overall content is very diverse and interesting. And yes, the UI is faster!

tgokh 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Coursera actually converted a course I was enrolled in to paid-quizzes-only, while I was actively enrolled in the course and on the second to last week of eight. They finally converted it back after 2 days of many of us contacting support but never gave me a straight answer as to whether it was accidentally or intentional :-/ Definitely lost my faith in Coursera as a platform over these recent changes.
veddox 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
Shame! I've done courses on both Udacity and Coursera in the past. Not very many, but they did shape me and taught me stuff I either couldn't have learned any other way or could not have learnt as well.

I understand that they are both businesses that need to take care of their finances if they want to survive. Nonetheless, I am still disappointed - when they started out some years back they were all full of vigour and idealism about free education, and somewhere along the line they have been quietly dropping that idealism. They didn't even try to explain why they were doing what they were doing and why they were changing. In essence, they betrayed who they were at the beginning, and that's what makes me sad.

So thank you, Udacity and Coursera, for who you were and what you gave me, but I fear our roads shall part here...

LouisSayers 10 hours ago 4 replies      
If anyone else is wondering, MOOC is Massive Open Online Courses.

It really gets on my nerves when people don't expand their acronyms when introducing a topic. Of course there are exceptions, but is MOOC really that common an acronym?! I just find it a bit inconsiderate.</rant>

avodonosov 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Script to save course materials: https://github.com/coursera-dl/coursera-dl

I haven't tried it yet. Just was asking around how to save course materials (videos, slides, notes, etc) of an old platform course I want to return to sometimes. Got this advice:

 > app which can help you download all the > materials at one go. > https://github.com/coursera-dl/coursera-dl > Doesn't work all the time, but for old > courses should work.

ajmurmann 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
I understand that they need to make money. However, something like this provides so much value to society that we as a society have a large interest in keeping it as available to everyone as possible. Therefore I think that we need to have a publicly funded platform like this or one run by a non-profit like Wikimedia Foundation. The lower the barrier for everyone to take classes the better.
brhsiao 11 hours ago 11 replies      
I'll probably get shot down for being that typical negative HN comment, but do MOOCs like Coursera actually do much in the way of making education more accessible or society fairer? All the content offered on Coursera already exists on the internet. Really motivated people will aggressively look for study materials, and they generally don't have a problem finding it.

It seems to me that it's actually the internet that improves accessibility and fairness, through which curated collections of study materials are then delivered as MOOCs. Which is terrific, but then it's hardly shocking that they'd eventually have to monetize themselves. We've seen worse attempts to crack down on the internet.

osivertsson 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I agree that removing/limiting access is lousy by Coursera and Udacity, for courses that used to be free and contain valuable fundamentals.

I don't agree that the golden age is necessarily over though. The MOOC space is getting crowded, just look at all the offerings at https://www.class-central.com

MOOCs by government-backed traditional universities from Europe / Asia is taking over a large chunk of the "market" meaning that Coursera, Udacity, etc. is finding it difficult to get any returns.

WalterBright 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If I was a prof, I'd have every one of my lectures recorded and put online for free. I wish I had recorded the lectures I attended in college. Not recalling the lectures means the notes I took in class don't make much sense.

Heck, I record all of the presentations I do, and they get posted for free on the intarnets. I put a fair amount of work into them - why hide them?

jsturner 9 hours ago 0 replies      
A good friend of mine who works at Coursera attributes their descent to the brain drain they've had over the past year.

Apparently, management is sweeping the problem under the rug, and forcing a false rhetoric that the departures were good. Even their Glassdoor page[1] seems doctored now. Sad times.

[1] https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Coursera-Reviews-E654749.h...

bradleyjg 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I just got a somewhat confusing email canceling my enrollment in the ever elusive Cryptography II course. I guess this is what that's about. If so, it's too bad, I had a great experience in the Crypto I but it wouldn't have been nearly as good without the quizzes and assignments.
linux_devil 9 hours ago 1 reply      
There is no point of calling them MOOC , if they are not 'O'pen anymore.
Dowwie 5 hours ago 1 reply      
The author of this blog post has taken to a soap box to shout out, "The Golden Age of MOOCs is over" and that he hates Coursera.

Wow. Really? Do I want to even read what this is about? Fine.

"Of late we have seen MOOC providers caring less about the students and more about the $$$".

Oh boy, here comes the assault on reason.

"they should stop the game of telling people that they care for students and are here to provides universal access to the worlds best education."

Yeah, that's enough for me. Tarun Vangani needs a reality check.

Coursera has brought much good to the world. It has to provide good to the world in an economically sustainable way.

It would be great if the Macarthur Foundation gave its $100 Million grant to Coursera so that it could continue to focus on its mission. Hopefully, Coursera qualifies and applies for it.

z3r0c00l 3 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be great if you guys made a torrent out of the downloaded courses
znpy 3 hours ago 0 replies      
wtf_is_frp 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The only thing I hate about the new platform is that you can't access the info until a week after you enrolled into self-paced courses. It is fucking stupid. Beyond retarded.
znpy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder what would have happened with a flat subscription model... Like "Pay 19.99 monthly and take whatever class you want".
simunaga 1 hour ago 0 replies      
why are disappointed? if everyone had certificates, how much valuable would they be for employers? it's odd. just think about it for a minute.
master_yoda_1 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Please teach a highly complex technical subject free for one month. Then write these kind of blogs.

Otherwise keep calm and mind your own business ;)

plinkplonk 10 hours ago 3 replies      
I always wanted to work through the algorithms MOOCs from Princeton but I kept putting it off. Profs Sedgewick and Wayne are phenomenal teachers. Anyone know if this course will be available in the future?

(probably not, since they had no certificates etc, and I don't see them going along with paid-for-quizzes courses, but it doesn't hurt to ask)

sreeramvenkat 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I hope edx does not follow coursera way.
greenmoon55 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Would anyone be kind enough to provide a script for downloading assignments and quizzes?
agumonkey 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I liked their first offerings a lot, very very well done too and very capable platform compared to some others. It's sad that the model couldn't sustain.

ps: about downloading the courses pdf and videos... it's really the low hanging part, in the sense that lots of universities have open pages with lectures and sometimes videos too. What MOOCs brought were exercices + auto graders (+ student group).

hyperpallium 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is opportunity for free courses.

Freemium doesn't just entice customers; it also denies oxygen to competitors.

The specific difficulty for courses is reputation - but wikipedia has managed it, so it's possible.

etiam 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone here know of an automated solution to get a faithful save of a whole course?As I recall it coursera-dl doesn't capture quizzes and forum, for instance.
znpy 6 hours ago 0 replies      
So I spawned a virtual server and I am downloading some courses I wanted to take.

What a shame. Farewell, free learning.

kercker 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I can not see how Arab Spring made the society fairer. Internet helped the Arab Spring develop, but the Arab Spring is not such a good thing, because look what it left to middle east.
the_wheel 7 hours ago 0 replies      
You can't deliver on your mission of democratizing education or operate as a VC backed business (which enables these attempts in the first place), if you're not making moves toward profitability. These companies are pioneering a space and searching for a viable business model in the process. They're surviving.
Rifu 10 hours ago 0 replies      
To save people like me a trip to google, MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. Today I learned!
ZenoArrow 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks to the author for the heads up, would be real shame if these courses are removed without someone downloading all the material first (I don't care if it's against the ToS, I still think a torrent is the way to go, free education has a greater value than copyright protection).

I'm a bit confused about which courses will be removed and which ones will stay. Is there a list of courses that are present on the old platform but not on the new platform? Also, I don't know where I'd access the old platform and where I'd access the new platform. Am I right in thinking this is a course on the new platform?


If so, where do I go to see the old platform?

fiatjaf 10 hours ago 0 replies      
What is a MOOC? These people should use the <abbr> tag.
wonkaWonka 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Learning is lovely, but without the advatage of being able to directly apply what you've learned toward actually improving your life, it's all just so much education porn.
Microsoft Edge WebGL engine open-sourced github.com
357 points by aroman  2 days ago   97 comments top 14
rossy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well, that's interesting. The state of desktop OpenGL on Windows is pretty awful at the moment. The antiquated WGL APIs make it difficult to control when your application enters exclusive fullscreen mode, and as far as I know, it's impossible to control latency or get any kind of presentation feedback with them. You also can't make UWP apps that use WGL. Google's ANGLE, which is used to implement WebGL in Chrome and Firefox, is a lot better, and it lets you do fancy things like render OpenGL ES content to a D3D11 texture or to a DirectComposition surface. If Microsoft open-source Edge's WebGL engine (currently it seems like only the GLSL->HLSL translator is open-sourced,) it could become another modern way of using GLES on Windows.

Source: We rely on OpenGL to render video in mpv, and we are currently switching from using a WGL context by default to using ANGLE. Maybe this could be a third option?

tracker1 2 days ago 3 replies      
Wow, 45 upvotes and no comments...

While I'm not entirely sure what the strategy is with this, I'm fairly surprised by the move. This is something that would have been unheard of from Microsoft even a decade ago. They've made a bunch of really huge strides in FLOSS, but they've all been centered around developer mindshare. I totally get open-sourcing your developer tooling, especially in consideration of their Azure ambitions, which isn't bad.

I really like VS Code, which has become my daily editor of choice, I keep meaning to try the integrated debugging, but haven't. The .Net core releases have me looking at C# again, in a fairly new light. The Linux Subsystem for Windows is impressive.

All of that said, this move still surprises me. I'm not sure if/how much it will benefit the larger developer community, but it is really nice to see a much more open MS. All I can say is that the next half decade will be particularly interesting in terms of software improvements as hardware has started to level off.

wtracy 2 days ago 0 replies      
The README says the code is published without any build scripts "for reference only", so I expected this to be another "shared source" thing.

It turns out that the code is offered under the (very permissive) MIT license. Cool.

haxiomic 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great to have as a reference - the GLSL parser looks like a very thorough implementation. Thanks!

We've recently produced a WebGL implementation on top of V8 (passing calls through to OpenGL ES) - we needed it for a specific use case where a bundling a complete browser wouldn't do. We're interested in open sourcing if it's helpful to others - I'm curious to know if anyone else has a use case for an embeddable WebGL implementation? (Ours was to run three.js on the GearVR)

greggman 2 days ago 1 reply      
What's more frustrating is that edge had been shipping for a while now with a broken implementation of WebGL.

The conformance tests have been available for years and yet they haven't bothered to pass them


This makes devs have write nasty workarounds if they want WebGL apps to work on Edge

bobajeff 2 days ago 2 replies      
Hmmm, interesting choice to opensource just the WebGL engine without the rest of the browser's layout engine.
Ezhik 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder when the entire browser is gonna get open-sourced.
mark_l_watson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft seems like a different company now.

Off topic, but I am a happy customer of Office 365. I use the web versions of Word and Excel on my Linux laptops when people send me Office files. Works fine. The one terabyte of cloud storage for each family member is nice also.

microcolonel 1 day ago 0 replies      
By the way, this is not the whole WebGL implementation, just the shader transpiler (GLSL to HLSL). Though it's good to see that their GLSL parser isn't totally insane. Somebody really ought to check it for compliance though; we really don't want to have yet another nonstandard shader compiler.
iLoch 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hmm this is very interesting... I was looking for exactly this so I could try to hook up WebGL calls from canvas into HoloLens' 3D environment. Three.js holograms :)
unique_parrot2 1 day ago 0 replies      
call me impressed when i can launch a mirrored copy of my windows ssd from an usb stick without fuss.this is just peanuts.
coderdude 2 days ago 4 replies      
Microsoft is amazing. Top notch work across the board. Not all of their initiatives are aligned with hacker ideology but they are hands down developer friendly. Ballmer always made that important to know. I personally have the utmost faith in them. Their development tools are unequaled.
abpavel 2 days ago 1 reply      
The title is misleading, as the first words on github are: "This repo contains a select number of files".The title should say "Dump of some of the files".Considering the state of popularity if the Edge, maybe even "reference on what not to do"
agnivade 2 days ago 3 replies      
lol, look at those enterprise type comments -

 //+---------------------------------------------------------------------------- // // Function: GetDefaultInitValue // // Synopsis: Returns a string that contains the default HLSL value for // the component of this type. Should not be called on sampler // or void types, as there are no values to init with. // //------------------------------------------------------------------------

Open access: All human knowledge is there, so why cant everybody access it? arstechnica.co.uk
286 points by doener  18 hours ago   75 comments top 11
Houshalter 17 hours ago 6 replies      
I think it's an issue of copyright law being ridiculous.

Nonfiction and scientific work should be treated differently than fictional works. I don't really care if Mickey Mouse goes into the public domain. But it's crazy that 100 year old scientific works can still be under copyright and illegal to distribute. These objectively have value to society, and the argument for the existence of the public domain is much stronger.

It shouldn't last indefinitely. Maybe only 10 or 15 years. I believe 99% of all works make most of their money in the first few years. Having copyright last a lifetime, let alone much longer, is just crazy.

Put a cost on renewing copyright. This is actually how it used to be. Half way through, you could pay a fee to have copyright extended. Very few people paid this fee (because most works aren't economically valuable), so most works went into public domain much sooner. Journals charge $30 to access obscure ancient papers. But I bet they wouldn't pay even $30 to keep the rights to those same papers.

Don't put everything into copyright by default. And again especially works of nonfiction or scientific papers. If the authors want that, then sure. This wouldn't fix the issues with big journals that demand it. But it still seems like a sensible idea to have copyright opt-in, not opt-out.

dougmccune 17 hours ago 2 replies      
If you're doing a startup trying to innovate in the research and academic journal space I'd love to talk to you. I've put out requests for contact in HN comment threads like this before and gotten great responses and great conversations, and one even resulted in a funding round.

I'm a shareholder and board member of SAGE Publications, which was founded by my grandparents. SAGE is about the 5th largest journal publisher and is and will remain a private family-owned company. I know it's hard to believe, but publishers aren't one homogenous evil entity plotting how to rip off the public. There are lots of fucked up things about the journal system, many of which publishers have caused or been complicit in. But there are also a lot of complicated factors that are entirely outside publishers' ability to change. Academia is a mess in a lot of ways, and much of the overall dysfunction of the whole system has manifested in what has become the hard to comprehend journal publishing system of today.

I live in Oakland and would love to meet up with anyone who happens to be in the Bay Area, or just have Skype calls no matter where you are. My contact info is in my HN profile. Drop me an email and I'd love to pick your brain to hear about how you're approaching academic publishing.

We've funded two startups in the last few years. PeerJ is an open access journal undercutting the traditional publishers AND most OA publishers (like PLOS) on price. Publons is trying to provide incentives for peer review and encourage openness in the peer review process. We'd love to find a few more good companies doing truly innovative stuff that will have an impact on academic publishing.

zw123456 15 hours ago 4 replies      
This reminded me of back 30 years ago or more when I first was messing around with Arpanet and it was just turning into the Internet, I remember how all of my friends and I were so stoked about how it was going to change the world because everyone would have access to all the knowledge in the world and how exciting that was, the democratization of knowledge. We speculated on how everyone in the future would be so much smarter because they would have access to so much information and knowledge. Some of that is true, but sadly, not entirely. Much of the greatest knowledge is locked away. And even sadder still, so many people do not really cherish what we have and instead use it for a lot of ridiculous nonsense, which, I guess is me being Judgmental about what the internet should be used for. I guess what it really shows, is that the future often does not turn out the way you thought it would . I think this is a case like that, we thought knowledge would flow freely like from a fountain or oracle of wisdom, but instead it is filled with 140 character snotty comments and pictures of cats with fruit on their heads. Sorry for the rant.
Ruud-v-A 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I try to avoid citing articles that are only available behind a paywall. Even though there isnt always an alternative source available, if enough people favour citing open-access articles over paywalled ones, that should create an incentive to publish in open-access journals, because in academia, citations are everything. (That is a problem in itself, but it is the status quo.)
Roritharr 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I consider my belief how this particular battle will turn out a good litmus test for my pessimism/optimism.

Some days I can't imagine a future where universal open access is implemented, at other times it seems inevitable. Seeing that I must normally believe it to be a 50/50 thing makes it a great way to calibrate my mood out of my decision making process.

More on topic: I wonder if we'll see countries take a stance in these battles. Why isn't Ecuador Hosting a Sci-Hub Mirror for their citizens? The naive observer might think there is only upsides for countries like these to such an action.

doener 7 hours ago 0 replies      
At least in the EU there is some progress on this matter:

All European scientific articles to be freely accessible by 2020


sgt101 8 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a more fundamental issue - try answering questions about science with a six year old and google. Yes, they can frame their question, yes they can type it into google, yes google provides links. But, click on the links and ads, speedbumps and plain clickbait stop them dead. Very disappointing. Ok you say, put an adblocker on.. well yes but there goes the revenue that keeps many sites online.
keyle 10 hours ago 0 replies      
To be fair though, if I had access to all these papers I wouldn't understand a third of it.

It's the dumbed down version of them that should be more proactively shared. And if interested, one can dig deep into the subject at hand.

bra-ket 17 hours ago 2 replies      
An article on open access without mentioning sci-hub?
graycat 16 hours ago 1 reply      
First, some of the "knowledge" is deep, that is, has prerequisites, and getting through the prerequisites can use some guidance, help, etc., say, in high school, college, and graduate schools.

Next, finding the material on the Internet, say, 1 trillion or so Web pages, is too often from difficult to much worse. My startup is intended to help with that.

All the best advice we could find on how to get a job 80000hours.org
360 points by BenjaminTodd  2 days ago   144 comments top 18
graham1776 2 days ago 6 replies      
The one thing I always tell anyone on the job hunt, which few ever seem to take me up on: Informational Interviews.These are informal "can I take you out to coffee?" talks with people in your industry to see what they are working on, what is happening with them, what is going on in the industry. Every job I have ever gotten is through informal meetings with people I have met through my network (whether its the current newspaper, your friends, parents, relatives, or other).

At the end of every one I ask: "Is there anyone else you think I should talk to?" and "Do you currently have any opportunities at your company for me?". Rinse repeat.

I guarantee investing in 30 informational interviews will yield huge dividends vs. 30 career fairs, a personal pitch deck, starting a blog, dusting off your resume, or God Forbid: applying to jobs through Linkedin.


I wrote a free guide on this if anyone is interested, would love feedback.

merpnderp 2 days ago 3 replies      
One thing in this article that really caught my eye was "Do free work". When I was a young kid I remember my grandfather, who was about to retire from a long career at the power utility having been head of the union, and much beloved by all his coworkers and managers, told me about how he got that job. He had been laid off at a grain mill, and was getting by as a butcher. But a friend of his got him in the door to see the hiring manager at the utility. My grandfather said I'll work two weeks for you for free, and if I make you happy, then you can hire me. After the first day, he was hired. I guess this also touches on the article's point about networking.
henryaj 2 days ago 0 replies      
More generally about 80,000 Hours rather than this piece in particular: their advice was pivotal to my taking a dev bootcamp and becoming a software engineer, and donating a percentage of my income to highly-effective charities. They did a one-on-one consultation with me (not sure if those are still available or not), put me in touch with other bootcamp grads, and were generally super helpful.

I'd recommend their advice to anyone, particularly people who think they might be in the wrong job, and want to think about how to best spend their working lives.

BenjaminTodd 2 days ago 4 replies      
Hi everyone,

I'm the author of the piece. If you know any other good resources or statistics we should incorporate, I'm keen to hear about them. If you disagree with something, feedback is very welcome.

linkregister 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really liked this link that was mentioned deep in this post: http://cultivatedculture.com/how-to-get-a-job-anywhere-no-co...

I find that most new grads' biggest problem is not getting the first phone screen.

I could have really used this guide when relocating cross-country. Surprise, the interviews and subsequent offers I got were from direct referrals from my personal network.

p4wnc6 2 days ago 16 replies      
I've been unemployed for about 14 months since resigning from my most recent role -- a role which my close family and friends characterized as "destroying me."

After becoming unemployed, with enough savings to sustain myself for a long search, I then faced a significant family trauma that required me to move away from Boston (where I had lived and worked for most of the past decade), back home to do basically full-time care for the family situation -- located in a very rural part of the Midwest where e.g. I don't even have reliable access to internet connectivity here.

Despite this, I've managed to start a newsletter/website for one of my interests (by teaching myself simple usage of the Hakyll Haskell-based static site tool), and start a pedagogical side project using Cython to write some stuff using fused types and typed memoryviews. It has been utterly demoralizing to try to do these projects in the midst of my family situation and the lack of resources here in this rural area.

I've done literally hundreds of phone interviews, had 7 different on-site interviews, and received offers from 2 of them (both of which I rejected because they asked me to accept compensation/benefits packages that were substantially worse than what I had when last working).

Most interviews have been OK, but I reject a lot of companies if I pick up on red flags, especially related to start-up culture bullshit or poor work/life balance, to protect myself from the insanity that led to this in the first place.

In my experience, tech hiring is just an unbelievable shitstorm of irrationality. I've been rejected for over-engineering (because I included tests and wrote a necessary sorted dict data structure for a take home submission), for not "focusing enough on product" when submitting statistical analysis code for a data science take home test, for not remembering an obscure fact about GCDs and integer lattice points (even though I had correctly solved two difficult coding problems already in that interview), for not having X years of on-the-job experience in any one of Hadoop, Spark, various DevOps tools, and web frameworks (I am a statistician with lots of scientific computing experience, never applied to positions that list DevOps or web development as important needs, even though I'm happy to learn them on the job).

At this point, my extended professional network has basically given up on me. My grad school friends have recommended me for jobs with biotech companies, Facebook, fairly prestigious finance companies, with endorsements like "he is the best Python programmer I know, and it's not even his primary skill set" -- most reject me immediately because of the gap on my resume.

I don't have any more people to ask for job leads. I scour Indeed.com for hours every morning, which is extremely demoralizing. I have a reasonably significant amount of Stack Overflow rep (> 17000) and joined their career site long ago but have never found a single realistic lead since it's dominated by web framework jobs. Most employers (or their needlessly combative tech hiring staff, anyway) seem to make a point of saying cutting comments to me about my university degrees (two Ivy degrees) and my Stack Overflow rep -- even though I don't ever try to project pride about these things and fully welcome and prefer to be judged solely by my talents and do not want any form of laurel-resting, especially not based on "prestigious" degrees (though, to be fair, I did work extremely hard in university and accomplished many things that now seemingly no one cares about).

Recently I got rejected by Snapchat literally less than 11 minutes after submitting my resume and application through their online application site. It was a form letter rejection in 11 minutes. I started to wonder if maybe the application portal just sends them a Snapchat photo of my resume, so they have to accept or reject before it gets deleted. But I'm so cynical by now that it wasn't really funny.

Practically the only ways I can stay motivated after such a long and soul-crushing spell of unemployment have been focusing a ton on personal exercise, focusing on my family and continuing to help them, and focusing on creative efforts that are 100% not related to software or coding.

The degree of burnout frightens me greatly, but currently the financial demands placed on me by my family's situation are so great that as I no longer can afford any form of health insurance at all while unemployed, I cannot even see a counselor or anything to help process my feelings.

Much like this elementary school parable I read where the Sun and Wind have a competition to see who can get a man to remove his jacket, I am like the man when the Wind character just blows harder and harder -- he just pulls the jacket tighter and tighter.

The more that interfacing with the labor market causes me to deal with bullshit start-up culture, the less willing I am to take a job. I simply will not compromise my standards, even literally to my own destruction. It reminds me of a David Foster Wallace quote: "I had kind of a midlife crisis at twenty which probably doesnt augur well for my longevity."

I've been surviving this long enough to know there just is no answer to the problem of seeking a job that actually makes your life better, certainly not here in the Hacker News echo chamber -- just look at all of the Who Is Hiring threads, where, for my given skill area, there has been somewhere around a 1% relevance rate (just try searching for NumPy).

I'm not looking for encouragement, sympathy, or (more likely here) unsympathetic market-perspective brass tacks criticism. I just figured it was worth sharing.

yumaikas 2 days ago 2 replies      
Haven't read the article all the way, but the "Hey HN, sorry to do this" dialog caught me off guard (I know that referrer headers can be used for it). Nice touch, BenjaminTodd.
lazyant 1 day ago 0 replies      
> its better to have 2 impressive achievements than 2 impressive achievements and 3 weak ones.

This is logically false but psychologically true.

known 2 days ago 0 replies      
Project yourself as a highly skilled wage slave
Hoasi 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Do free work""Negotiate after youve started"

Terrible advices, right there.

mjevans 2 days ago 2 replies      
The connections section is both focused entirely on LinkedIn (arguably a worse form of Life Invader than Facebook; I refuse to use either of these or any other such service).

How is someone that values their privacy supposed to get a job or even break in to having a job where they make connections to peers?

kelukelugames 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does HN take feature requests? I wish there is a save button.
Theodores 1 day ago 0 replies      
For me it comes down to this. Step 1 invest in some skills. That also means skills demanded by the world. In my instance PHP based stuff is fine even if not fashionable. People actually use PHP and there is enough there for me.I have had other skills to get work with in the past but for now I only care about a few code keywords for codebases I use.

As well as a skill in demand I like to have a second string to my bow, this being another work thing. This can be an appreciation of retail sales through working in a shop, this may be useful to a client in retail that has bricks and mortar stores. Having worked in science can also be that second string of related experience.

Then there is the matter of being able to show confidence and enthusiasm in all communication. As per the mocking quote at the top, confidence and showing that does matter. As does enthusiasm.

Also, aptitude is important. You have to actually believe the job is as good as yours and to be convinced of that fact. That has to be as certain as your mum doing Christmas Dinner, not to be questioned or thought negatively about.

I very much believe that self belief is really important and that it should come if you do have in demand skills and acceptable recent experience. Exams etc. matter not in an in demand sector.

moribondus 1 day ago 0 replies      
The article is a bit absurd.

If someone can do all of what they propose, he could as well package his day into some kind of product or service, and then sell that instead.

One reason why people want to be employees and not enterpreneur-cum-salesman is exactly because they do not want to do all of that, or are simply not capable of doing all of that.

Ever since I learned to repackage my hourly efforts into sell-able products and services, I stopped looking for jobs and just sold products and services instead. In the end, an employer is just someone who repackages your hours into sell-able products and services.

nicerobot 2 days ago 2 replies      
Don't be "old".
sqeaky 2 days ago 4 replies      
> since people need to engage over several months to get value out of the advice

This is false.

> I find popups annoying too

I do not believe you, if you did you would know that often the first response to popup annoyance is to close the window.

What do your analytics actually say happens when that popup shows? It will show that I was reading your article up until that appeared, then I entered garbage for an email and closed the window.

Will my email GoF##k@yourself.com be counted as a success or failure for your popup?

2 days ago 2 days ago 3 replies      
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11868228 and marked it off-topic.
J_Darnley 2 days ago 0 replies      
Summary without all this marketing/HR bullshit: have Linus Torvalds' skill and be willing to work for 10k.
Passwords for 32M Twitter accounts may have been hacked and leaked techcrunch.com
298 points by zhuxuefeng1994  2 days ago   192 comments top 20
campuscodi 2 days ago 3 replies      
Can someone change the op's link to: https://www.leakedsource.com/blog/twitter

The real source, not this redundant media crap that buried the lede...

Olscore 2 days ago 8 replies      
Question: From my understanding bcrypt is designed for security even when the hashed data is leaked. Each piece of data is uniquely salted and hashed to perhaps varying degrees of difficulty. So for a thought experiment, let's say a site made the password column of their user database public. Given an entirely public password column, even with associated usernames, would this have any use or decrease the security of those user accounts at all, aside from the obvious that their username is known?
mbrd 2 days ago 4 replies      
Does anyone know the significance of the date 9-11-1961? The password list has 10,444 matches for "9-11-1961" and 10,231 for "9111961".

From Wikipedia, I see that Hurricane Carla hit Texas that day but that doesn't seem noteworthy enough to warrant two instances of the date in the top 20, It would be surprising if it was only due to date of birth too, given I can't spot any other date-like entries.

Tinned_Tuna 2 days ago 2 replies      
I can finally recover my account!
bad_user 2 days ago 4 replies      
Twitter also does 2-Factor Auth. If you value your Twitter account, in addition to changing your password (which hopefully is unique amongst your accounts), also activate 2FA.
0xfaded 2 days ago 3 replies      
Just got the email:

 Your account may have been compromised by a website or service not associated with Twitter.
I'd like to know how Twitter credentials were compromised from outside Twitter.

eumoria 2 days ago 3 replies      
Who has 123456 as their password in 2016!? Oh, wait... 120,417 people apparently. ::head in hands::
gravypod 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone here have a raw download to this data set? I'm a student at a university interested in doing some statistical analysis of passwords for a small project.

If anyone is able to help me, I'd appreciate them emailing me. You can find my email under my account.

It would be a huge help!

latenightcoding 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have received 3 warnings about suspicious activity on a twitter account I haven't used since 2011. I wonder how old that leak is.
yawniek 2 days ago 1 reply      
why the heck is 9111961 and 9-11-1961 such a popular password? botfarm?
ec109685 2 days ago 1 reply      
Twitter used to support authentication to their API's with a username / password combination. So this leak could come from an app or service that utilized Twitter apis in some fashion and was hacked.
puddintane 2 days ago 0 replies      
With over 270 million accounts (the largest number I could find) at only roughly 12% of the accounts leaked I'm wondering where the leak occurred? Or possibly the hackers were interrupted mid-download stream?

edit That number is actually active users and I do apologize the number of registered accounts is estimated to be over 645 million! edit2 Actually 4.9% of the estimated accounts were "leaked" (if this is an actual twitter leak since still no official word)

tim333 2 days ago 1 reply      
>the malware sent every saved username and password from browsers like Chrome and Firefox back to the hackers

I wonder how you protect against that apart from the thing banks do where they say enter the third and six character? Even with those if the malware monitored a few of them it could probably figure your info.

pmlnr 2 days ago 1 reply      
I should just close and burn all my social/bigco accounts and keep only the ones where an RSA token is available and forget to worry about passwords, shouldn't I?
visarga 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am sure Twitter can grab this list and invalidate all passwords quickly.
cdnsteve 2 days ago 3 replies      
Why doesn't Twitter have 2FA or U2F? Problem solved, at least in terms of users not losing reputation within their own social space because someone is posting as them.
Zikes 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Other major security compromises which have hit the news recently include a Myspace hack that involved over 360 million accounts

The buried lede for me here is that MySpace has 360+ million accounts. I thought it was DOA.

goldenkey 2 days ago 1 reply      
Thats nothing compared to the amount of fake twitter accounts for paid followers. Probably in the range of 100s of millions of accounts. For the downvoters, or doubters, goto https://www.fiverr.com/ and see if you don't find these services being offered all over the damn place. 1 million followers for 20 bucks.
J_Darnley 2 days ago 0 replies      
And nothing of value was lost.
simonswords82 2 days ago 1 reply      
I didn't need another reason to dislike Twitter but this puts another nail in their coffin, for me at least.

It seems the two platforms I derive the least amount of value from (Twitter and Linked In) are the most vulnerable to hackers and leaked passwords.

I was caught up in the Linked In password debacle recently and now have my e-mail address in the haveIbeenpwned.com database - thanks Linked In. I wonder if I'll get caught up in this mess too.

I only keep my Twitter and Linked In accounts to avoid FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) but this is making me want to shut it all down and erase every trace of personal information I have on both sites.

Freedom of speech is in retreat economist.com
372 points by cronjobber  4 days ago   326 comments top 25
sevenless 4 days ago 16 replies      
Some other legal restrictions on communication that aren't normally included in the "free speech" debate:

* Distributing pirated media/breaking copyright or trademarks

* Slander and libel laws

* HIPAA and medical information privacy laws

* Sharing information for insider trading

* Market manipulation by sharing false or misleading information

* Breaching attorney-client privilege

* Laws governing how jurors are allowed to communicate

* FCC and obscenity laws in US media

* Distribution of illegal porn (for various definitions of illegal)

* Holocaust denial laws in Canada and Europe

* US anti-boycott provisions that ban "furnishing information" about doing business with certain countries

* Military and government classified information (thanks rmc!)

There are many others. The point is we're always a bit selective about what counts as free speech, and there are lots of exceptions, some very well motivated.

These articles about "free speech is in danger" seem to be unnecessarily abstract: if you want to discuss the problems with Islam or the merits of social justice or whatever, don't argue about the way you're having the debate, just have the debate. Because our society doesn't really view free speech as a consistent principle anyway.

return0 4 days ago 4 replies      
I don't know, islamic terror in particular seems to stand out from the rest. I mean, china, or the mexican drug lords are directly defending their interests. Islamic terror is not, it's revenge against a nebulous 'enemy' that they are being forced to tolerate (terrorists are not defending the honor of the peaceful muslims (who wouldnt even read charlie hebdo); instead they are trying to radicalize them).

> he could not live in any country where free speech is allowed

There is something to be said about incompatibility of certain cultures here.

zaroth 4 days ago 5 replies      
Why is Economist pushing the narrative that Innocence of Muslims had anything to do with the embassy attack and murder of the US Ambassador in Libya when that cover story was completely debunked?
BadassFractal 4 days ago 2 replies      
Fascinating and terrifying at the same time. Glad to see the article mention the more civilized cases of free speech suppression such as the Yale one, in addition to the really gruesome and macabre ones across the world. We should prevent a death by a thousand cuts if possible AND obviously do something about the brutality in other parts of the world.
jbronn 4 days ago 5 replies      
There's a glaring omission in the Economist's articles on free speech: the effort to criminalize BDS activism. [1]

[1] https://theintercept.com/2016/02/16/greatest-threat-to-free-...

yk 4 days ago 2 replies      
Disturbing thought, I wonder if free speech is only politically feasible under the assumption of limited distribution. If we look at free speech two decades ago, the two ways of enjoying free speech were, you could convince an editor, or you could copy a few hundred leaflets and distribute them by hand. The first case limits the distribution to people who buy the newspaper (or who buy from that publisher, there's a reason that explicitly Anarchist bookshops are a thing) and the second limits both the numbers and the geographic distribution.

Today anybody can, at least in principle, overcome these limitations just by getting a youtube account, with the effect that for all X, group X is constantly confronted with vile hatred. The effect is, everybody is pissed off, while only groups which are explicitly pro freedom of speech tell themselves that they have to live with the trolls.

The idea is, that as long as freedom of speech was limited by the practicalities of distribution to a, for most people, tolerable level, everybody was happy to endorse free speech. Nowadays it is no longer constrained by distribution and people start to revisit their assumptions about free speech.

Tepix 4 days ago 1 reply      
Relevant link:

Andrew Cuomo and Other Democrats Launch Severe Attack on Free Speech to Protect Israel


rmc 4 days ago 9 replies      
It's interesting that many who advocate a "free speech ber alles" approach have a curious exemption for property rights. They claim the right of Facebook/Twitter/reddit/etc. as privacy companies to control their property (i.e. their websites) apparently trump right to free speech. An earlier free speech article also from the Economist, which is linked from the sidebar[1], claims that private companies should be exempted from free speech rules, and should be allowed to publish, or not publish, anything they want.

Should Facebook's property rights overrule my free speech rights?

[1] http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21699909-curbs-free-sp...

maxerickson 4 days ago 0 replies      
Measuring progress is hard.

100 years ago, a person in the wrong place in the United States who happened to say something someone else didn't like might end up getting murdered by a mob.

I guess that is getting to be a long time ago, but history should not be viewed with a tight lens.

droopyEyelids 4 days ago 1 reply      
US attacks on whistleblowers are not mentioned. US religious fatwahs against abortion doctors arent mentioned, but much is made of Muslim misbehavior.

Kind of a bad article. It also doesnt mention anything about UK slander laws.

l3m0ndr0p 3 days ago 0 replies      
What we will see more and more in America is the privatization of all "public" utilities and services (schools->charter, Libraries-->?). This will enable and allow these non-public corporations to enact and enforce censorship. Since the "free" speech applies mostly to our Government interactions, it won't apply to "private" corporate institutions. They will be outside of the constitution of the US.

America must wake up to what is happening. It's not too late.

We Americans must always be able to speak our minds no matter how offensive, true or false. But we must also never harm ourselves or each other. This should also apply to Government and Corporations. We must always hold those in "power" accountable for their actions public or private.


usrusr 3 days ago 0 replies      
This "right not to be offended" a part of the article is talking about is such a Trojan horse. Groups are not claiming a right not to be offended, they are claiming the right to feel "mortally" offended, giving them leverage to pursue goals often not that much related to the original act of offending speech.

Since it is the offended who get to define what offends them, the term "right, not to be offended" falls quite short of the actual problem. Everybody already is perfectly free to not feel offended by anything. This right is a given, everywhere. So the only thing remaining to claim is the right to declare stuff as offending at will and force those decisions on others.

good_sir_ant 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's really hard to say how our world will look in the coming decades...

On one hand, we have all this explosively liberating technology, cheap and powerful, that is changing the way we communicate and share information. On the other hand, you see the 'natural' result of all this power moving towards the individual: states and governments gripping tighter than ever to control it and maintain their elevated status.

It serves to illustrate how asinine our arguments over 'appropriate' speech are. The result of any kind of forced censorship is the same no matter what the content of the speech is : less freedom.

Jerry2 4 days ago 0 replies      
Canada has blasphemy laws [1]? I knew they had "hate speech" laws which basically meant that they could prosecute you for saying anything that some might find offensive but I had no idea about blasphemy.


[1] http://cdn.static-economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecac...

known 4 days ago 0 replies      
"If you don't read a newspaper you are uninformed. If you do read a newspaper, you are misinformed." --Mark Twain
sergiotapia 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how many people died when Kevin Smith's Dogma came out.
retube 4 days ago 3 replies      
The problem with the free speech debate is everyone has a different definition or understanding of what free speech is.

Free speech should be considered the right to publically criticise and call to account governments, police, judiciary and other state institutions.

It should not mean the right to say absolutely anything to anybody. Having laws on racism and hate speech (for example) provide well-meaning guidance on acceptable behaviour within civilised society and help reduce discrimination, bias etc.

But like all rights "free speech" confers privilege and responsibility on the holder: just because you have a right to doesn't mean you should (e.g the video referenced at the beginning of the article).

jswny 4 days ago 1 reply      
In my opinion, free speech only applies to the state as the state is not a product you can decide not to use such as Facebook and Twitter (from which you do not need free speech protection), that is the fundamental difference.

People should face no punishment other than the potential scorn of the public for their words. Say whatever you want, but be prepared to take disapproval for it.

Edit: I don't know how to explain what I said earlier but apparently I didn't get my point across so I'm going to remove it.

MicroBerto 4 days ago 3 replies      
American free speech as we know it is effectively dead with the replacement of just a couple of Supreme Court Justices.

We are that close to it being gone. 2016 is the most important year in the history of this country, I am thoroughly convinced of that.

ck2 4 days ago 2 replies      
Several people are currently in jail without trial for making non-specific verbal or written threats against schools in the USA.

One could play devil's-advocate and argue that is free-speech since the threat is non-specific and no actual action was taken.

Using that same logic however, insulting a religion specifically to demonstrate/cause violent reaction should trigger a per-emptive jail term without trial in the USA?

But now you've got me defending an abrahamic religion, I feel like I need to take a shower to get clean.

andrewclunn 4 days ago 0 replies      
Are we AGAIN promoting that BS lie that this film was responsible for the attacks on the embassy in Libya? That's a lie that just won't die.
kingkawn 4 days ago 0 replies      
It is comforting to believe in increasing speech suppression when I can't think of meaningful things to say.
basicplus2 4 days ago 1 reply      
ALL religions are cults
H0n3sty 4 days ago 0 replies      
The behavior pattern described is basically the collision of honour culture (belief in retribution) and victimhood culture (easily taking offense).


erikb 4 days ago 2 replies      
How did such an anti-freespeech, "islam=murder" promoting article made it to the front page? And is the economist always so traditional, right wingy?

I have to say I'm a little shocked of what I'm reading here.

Coming changes to Apple's App Store theverge.com
271 points by jontayesp  2 days ago   286 comments top 39
AlexandrB 2 days ago 9 replies      
As someone who buys a lot of apps this is very disappointing. Things that would make me buy MORE apps (demos, upgrade pricing, better support) are still not in the app store, meanwhile the one pricing model I detest (subscriptions) is being added.

I suspect I'll be buying far fewer apps if there's a mass movement from a purchase model to a subscription model among app developers. I'm perfectly happy to pay $20-30 for an app (even a simple app) if it provides value and I'm happy to pay for major upgrades or additional content/features, but I won't pay $20-30 a year just to maintain the ability to launch an app on an ongoing basis.

In addition, after years of terrible search in the app store, coupling search improvements with search-based ads is just a kick in the shins.

localhost3000 2 days ago 1 reply      
As an indie developer my single biggest gripe with the app store (after the obviously asinine review process) is the resetting of visible app reviews any time an app is updated. This is an incredibly expensive tax on shipping app updates which creates a strong disincentive to not incrementally improve your product and a strong incentive for sleazy developers to buy fake reviews when they do ship an update. I detest this part of the app store. DETEST.
adrianhon 2 days ago 1 reply      
Almost exactly one year ago, we switched Zombies, Run! - a fitness game - from being a paid app ($4-8) to a free-to-play app with subscriptions ($4/month, $20/year). Unsurprisingly, I'm delighted by this announcement, because it rewards apps like ours that provide long-term value and entertainment for our users.

Clearly a subscription model isn't for many apps - probably most apps. But it was right for us, as we've been maintaining and improving Zombies, Run! for over four years now, and every week we add new content. With a subscription model, we only get paid if people decide we're good enough to commit to over a long period of time. Since we're about helping people exercise, I think that's fair enough.

surds 2 days ago 3 replies      
Subscription model for all apps...

I don't see a reason to subscribe for apps that are one-time pay and periodic long term use. There is a fine line here that developers will have to be cautious not to cross. A lot of apps have no reason to be subscription model, but the prospect of recurring revenue is too tempting.

Edit: On the other hand, this is totally awesome for services and products that already offer subscriptions on other platforms or on the web, like online streaming, education, and as someone mentioned here, tools like Sketch.

matt2000 2 days ago 1 reply      
One interesting side effect of this might be that reasonably priced single-payment apps might seem desirable again. If a lot of apps switch to a $0.99/month subscription, then even a $4.99 one time payment might seem ok, whereas right now it would considered expensive by most users.
uptown 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Part of that energy has been channeled into figuring out how to sell developers on subscription services, and not only that, but how to keep them keeping on with those subscriptions. Previously, only apps classified as news, cloud services, dating apps, or audio / video streaming apps could sell subscription content. Now its open to all product categories.

For the first year of a subscription Apple will maintain its 70 / 30 revenue share; after one year, the new 85 percent / 15 percent revenue share will kick in (applied per subscriber). The new app subscription model will roll out to developers this fall, though if app makers have subscribers theyve already retained for a year, the new revenue split starts June 13th."

That's a big change.

jaxondu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Apple has put up a "Whats New in Subscriptions" site with a "Coming Soon" label: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/subscriptions/whats-ne...

Also for Search Ads (Coming this fall): https://developer.apple.com/app-store/search-ads/

AndrewKemendo 2 days ago 4 replies      
All I know is that their review process has gotten WAY faster and better over the last month, as in 24 hour review which has been awesome. Have other people noticed this?

I wonder if they added capacity or dropped review quality - so far we haven't seen a drop in quality and they are able to catch problems at about the same rate.

archagon 2 days ago 1 reply      
Bleh, subscriptions. I'm fine with them if your app is offering features that require use of your servers, but it seems many indie developers are interested instead in charging for the "privilege" of running local code on your device (as with Photoshop). I'll pass.
palakchokshi 2 days ago 1 reply      
There are so many problems with the AppStore that need to be fixed and I hope atleast some are with these additions to the AppStore.

1. Fix app discovery

2. Fix app search before putting search ads. e.g. if your app name has a symbol in it searching by app name will NOT return your app in the search results.

3. App review times can be further reduced by automating the review process

4. Try it before you buy it option

5. Better UX

chj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Few customers realize that how much it costs to keep an app going: platform API and UI change will either break your app or uglify it. If the app is using external service, then the service API could change too and that causes a lot of work. New device models come, and you will need a lot of work in redesigning the user interface. Even if you are not adding new features, the cost is real to developers especially if the market for this app is small.
abalone 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if Apple is taking more than a 50% haircut on this post year one.

Credit card fees come out of their share and those could very well account for the bulk of the 15%. Even if Apple pays nothing in payment processor markup, there is a fixed minimum "interchange" cost that everyone has to pay (even Walmart). For "ecommerce" it's:[1]

Credit: $0.10 + 1.8-2.4%

Debit: $0.21 + 0.05%

Those 10-21 cent minimums make a big dent in smaller transactions. For a monthly recurring charge of $1.99, already 6% of that goes to credit card interchange. That leaves a 9% gross margin for Apple (4% if debit).

At $0.99, Apple's margin drops to 3% on credit, and they lose money on a debit card.

Now, there is a "small ticket" interchange category that one would hope these transactions would qualify for. That's just $0.04 + 1.65%. But it says it requires a swipe, so I'm not sure. From a fraud risk standpoint Apple Pay should be treated better than a swipe, but I'm not sure if the rules have caught up yet.

[1] https://usa.visa.com/dam/VCOM/download/merchants/Visa-USA-In...

jaxondu 2 days ago 4 replies      
Interestingly Sketch app announced today they're changing to a subscription model soon. Sketch app abandoned Apple store last December. Looks like Sketch will be back to Mac App Store this fall.

It is sad that Apple only took action now, after years of requests and complains by indie developers. Now that app boom is over, I doubt this App Store changes will have any impact.

have_faith 2 days ago 0 replies      
I detest subscriptions of all kinds. I don't want to manage them. I don't want to figure out how much I'm paying out per month across all types of subscriptions. I don't want a service to manage it for me, I just don't want the cognitive overhead. I don't want to remember the terms of each subscription, how long it takes to cancel (if and when I can get through to someone to cancel it). Or the fact that I lose access to something when I stop paying. I don't want to forget to cancel it only to find I'm bound to another 6 months. Etc, etc. I could go on.

I also strongly dislike that they know that x% of users after signing up will barely use the service and it's essentially free money. I know this is why they do it, and I won't support companies for trying to take advantage of users.

sagivo 2 days ago 0 replies      
the +15% more after a year is a joke. like this article mentioned - the majority of the apps are games, games after a year are usually forgotten and they make most of the revenue on their first year on the market.

about subscriptions - i don't see any reason a developer would share the subscriptions revenue with apple while they sale it for free and make in-app subscriptions.

lips 2 days ago 0 replies      
This won't substantially change anything, given the existing power-law type distribution of app-store earnings.When the ~app~ store debuted, I called it the K-Martization of software.This is just Apple expanding into Rent-A-Center.
canistr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this will further reinforce the notion of the "Dunbar's number of apps". In the sense that on a country-by-country basis, the disposable income of people could become the limiting factor affecting how many apps that users install.

If the supposed cognitive load of people for using apps is around 26-27, then is there an economic load that says that people will max at say--- $60/month--- in total app subscriptions in the US? And this number could change drastically for users in other countries based on fluctuating dollar values.

galistoca 2 days ago 0 replies      
Unless there's a legitimate reason for subscription (if it's cloud based and deals with private content) the law of supply and demand will kick in, which means it will work for these particular types of apps but won't work for others because there's always going to be a competitor who will provide the same service for free.
rodeoclown 2 days ago 0 replies      
In my opinion, the two most important features as a developer for the App Store:

1. Rolling deploys - right now releasing on iOS is scary and big bang, combined with the review process it keeps devs up at night worrying.2. AB Testing on images and copy - you can only update this on each (scary) release, so you can't learn what works quickly.

dcw303 2 days ago 1 reply      
Apple's revisions to the App Store reinforce that they consider it a rival to the World Wide Web.

Google cornered Web search. Reaction: As they own the walled garden, Apple completely control search within the App Store. Adwords owns Web Advertisitng. Reaction: Apple will launch paid search in the App Store.Companies like Netflix, Blizzard, and Salesforce have direct lines to their customer's wallets through subscriptions. Reaction: Apple will launch subscriptions in App Store and take a cut from their developers.

I don't see any of this as a surprise. In fact, I see it as Apple playing to their own strengths. The web is too open a platform for Apple, and history has shown they don't succeed when they don't have control.

overcast 2 days ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one exhausted by "apps"? I've gone as far as to limit myself to only two pages worth on my phone, without folders. I feel like most apps could just be the mobile/responsive versions of the existing site. Maintaining separate interfaces always leads to inconsistencies.
zkirill 2 days ago 0 replies      
Our business management app is free to use on iOS but we charge a monthly subscription to use the web client and that has been working pretty well. With these coming changes I wonder if it would make sense to start charging monthly subscription for Pro features on iOS and how users will react to that.
nfriedly 2 days ago 0 replies      
I won't say that I really like the idea of search ads, but I think it will be better than the current situation because it should at least reduce the amount of money that's currently spent on illegitimately gaming the search results.
intrasight 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reading this discussion, I've seen several comment on the "hassle of managing all those subscriptions". But wouldn't it be the case that the app store is going to do that for you, and give you both a single notification channel and a single point of management? Isn't that the whole purpose of managing the subscriptions through the app store instead of having customers visit your web site directly? Isn't that what Apple is getting %15 to perform?
JustSomeNobody 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wait until most apps have switched to subscription, sell yours for a one time price, profit from those users who hate subscriptions.

Maybe not sustainable, but hopefully keep you in the black until the next project.

cpeterso 2 days ago 0 replies      
If a user doesn't renew their subscription in year 2, can they continue to use the "year 1 app" without receiving year 2 updates? Or does the year 1 app just go dark?
kybernetyk 2 days ago 0 replies      
> All he will say about free trials and paid updates is that Apple "looks at everything. We evaluate what will be a better experience for the user, and we make choices based on that."

How are free trials not a "better experience for the user"? I just don't understand Apple's paranoia when it comes to free trial versions.

post_break 2 days ago 3 replies      
Death by a thousand cuts. All those apps that charge to turn off the ads? Suddenly you pay yearly for that. iAP to unlock those extra levels/features/etc, better pay the tax man because those will now be yearly. Apps will no longer be "upgraded" from 1.0 to 2.0 where you have to pay for the new version. No, you pay that yearly fee whether you like it or not. Sorry this isn't going to turn out well and I might just have to switch back to android where there are things like 2 hour to 48 hour return policies.
pkamb 2 days ago 1 reply      
Are these changes coming to the Mac App Store?
bitL 2 days ago 0 replies      
How to kill your platform 101: Subscriptions
johansch 2 days ago 2 replies      
I guess these are the kind of innovations we can look forward to while Cook is running Apple. :/
tdaltonc 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a very un-apple way to announce major changes.
DavideNL 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if the ad-blocker works on those ads... :)
1_2__3 2 days ago 1 reply      
Apple wants a subscription service because then they can hobble the developers AND the users to prevent them from ever leaving.
cloudjacker 2 days ago 1 reply      
They need to make cancelling subscriptions easier
codecamper 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why not just A/B test trials & see how they do? Apple could be missing out on a sizable amount of revenue.
embiggen 2 days ago 1 reply      
What a terribly written article.

Just give me the TL;DR already please!

Emma11 2 days ago 0 replies      
Apple is also going to start showing search ads for apps in its iOS App Store search results for the first time, something the company had previously resisted. "Weve thought about how to carefully do it in a way that, first and foremost, customers will be happy with," Schiller says, adding that he believes the ad auction system in App Store search will be "fair to developers, and fair for indie developers, too."

Brace for the shitstorm

My comment on reddit:https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/4n62ny/app_store_20/

rosalinekarr 2 days ago 1 reply      
> For the first year of a subscription Apple will maintain its 70 / 30 revenue share; after one year, the new 85 percent / 15 percent revenue share will kick in (applied per subscriber).

This is the exact opposite of what Apple should do. App startups in their first year need all the revenue they can get. After the first year, most of those companies have either reached profitability or gone out of business.

This policy is going to mean more revenue for the large, established app companies, like Instagram or Snapchat, and less revenue for any potential usurpers. They're effectively suppressing innovation and locking in any monopolies they've helped to build.

Why I Would Raise Chickens gatesnotes.com
346 points by kuusisto  2 days ago   259 comments top 43
paganel 2 days ago 6 replies      
My parents live in a village in Eastern Europe with less than $2 a day (I also chip in to financially help them), and they do indeed raise chickens, they've being doing that for the last 15 years or so, since they moved out to the countryside.

Bill Gates is correct in his assessment, it's way more profitable to raise chickens than, say, cows. You need to have a bigger barn for cows, you need to do all the hay thing, which is very time consuming and demands a lot of extra work just for feeding said cows, you need to pay someone to take care of the cows when they go out to eat in the summer on the communal field. It's easier to just barter your chickens' eggs for some milk or cheese, that's at least what my mom does.

It's also quite profitable to grow beans and cabbage. They preserve well over winter well into spring and you can also use them for bartering.

whiddershins 2 days ago 1 reply      
Re: many people wondering why this hasn't happened organically, it is easy to underestimate how much cultural attitudes can affect common practice.

As an anecdote, when I visited rural China a couple of years back I asked my friends who grew up there why, if most people had one chicken, they didn't simply grow a few more?

The response was "you don't know what it was like back then. In the Mao attitude people would say ... 'who are you to have two chickens when everyone else only has one' " ... which was enough social pressure to keep everyone to one chicken, no matter how much that contributed to malnourishment.

I'm not proposing the same social attitudes are at play in these regions, but there may be other non-obvious contexts discouraging people from getting started with a flock.

For some scenarios I could imagine an initiative like this helping to break through inertia and change norms.

bko 2 days ago 13 replies      
> If you read this article, watch the video above, and answer one question below, I will donateon your behalf via Heifera flock of chickens to a family in poverty.

Giving a flock of chickens to desperately poor families sounds like a great idea that will pay dividends for many years. However, I can't help but be reminded of the many charitable programs that sound great but end up having very unusual unintended consequences that often defeat the purpose or make it worse. Anyone care to speculate as to some unintended consequences this project may have?

gearhart 2 days ago 3 replies      
Anybody else surprised by how much a chicken costs in Africa?

$5 is 3.45[1] and I can buy a (dead, plucked, gutted, packaged, delivered to my door) chicken in the UK for 2.95[2].

I realise the local supply's much lower because my Sainsbury's chicken is grown in a cage in a factory somewhere, but nonetheless, I didn't expect that.

[1] I presume USD is the currency in the video, since 5 of the local currency is 0.006

[2] http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/shop/gb/groceries/chicken/sainsb...

edit: looks like I left the page open for longer than I thought - this discussion happened elsewhere hours ago. Apologies.

jakeogh 2 days ago 2 replies      
I started raising chickens 2 years ago. A few things I have learned: If you have a yard that they can run free in, they don't need a coop. Chickens will happily roost in the trees. I live in southern Arizona, so the winters are mild, but I know of people that do the same thing in much colder climates. Chickens are tough. An added benefit is they are actually safer, if they are locked in a coop, and a predator gets in, it's going to kill them all. Outside, they can hide (good luck finding a scared chicken, they are really good at bolting to a hideaway) or fight. Chickens make all kinds of commotion if there's a predator around. They will make their nests in secluded shady spots and unlike a coop, they do not poop in their nests so the eggs are very clean. I supplement their foraging with chicken feed, but it's not necessary, there's enough critters and plants, they often just ignore the feed. What they really want is your compost, no need to separate out what they eat and don't eat, they do that. The rest attracts their favourite food of all: bugs. Going coop-less also removes the chore of cleaning the coop. In AZ their poop dries up very quickly and if they are free range it's not really noticeable since it's so spread out.

They need lots of water and shade, so make a continuous drip somewhere in the shade.

Domestic cats don't mess with full grown chickens, and in my experience they leave the chicks alone too if they are fully feathered and about pigeon size. The cats eat pigons on a regular basis, but they let the chicks run around and seem to enjoy them. In the daytime it's common to see the cats and chickens laying around in the shade within a foot of each other. Racoons like chicken, and they are good climbers, but the chickens just make lots of noise and fly off if one gets too close. By then I have my paintball gun out and the Racoons learn quickly to get dinner elsewhere. I'm constantly surprised about how smart they are, if they know they are not allowed in a spot they will wait for you to go away and then rush over. If you catch them in the act, they freak out and run off back to their allotted area. I find small firecrackers a good way to tell them "stay away". They learn quickly.

Most of my chickens are good flyers, they can easily jump up to a perch 5ft above the ground and then into a tree from there. They could also easily fly over my fence and exit the yard, but they _never_ do.

I wish I had started years ago, the eggs are fantastic.

fiatmoney 2 days ago 2 replies      
I don't get it. As mentioned in the article, chickens are incredibly easy to bootstrap (ie, it's not like they require a huge capital outlay to get started, and they literally pay dividends in further chickens), and have been present in the area for centuries. What has been the obstacle that has kept them from already being common enough to drive the expected benefit of further investment to ~0? And how is that obstacle going to be overcome?
ensignavenger 2 days ago 1 reply      
I know a older couple that have spent the last year or so traveling around Africa doing 'chicken projects' where they help build chicken coops and teach poor families how to raise chickens (pretty simple to do, actually, but there are little strategies one can use to increase profits- hardest part is keeping predators from eating them!) Cool stuff, glad to see Bill Gates onboard!
Animats 2 days ago 1 reply      
Some idiot in my neighborhood tried raising chickens, and they got loose. Some days I've had 16 chickens in my front yard. There are at least two roosters, so the flock is self-sustaining. They hide in the creek gully where they're hard to catch. This has been going on for two years now.
lumberjack 2 days ago 3 replies      
It is not specified what they mean by "chicken" (age and breed and sex) but $5 seems like really expensive.

I know that you can buy baby chicks from an incubator for egg laying purposes for like 3 euro or less in rural western Europe. Breeds meant to be harvested for their meat cost even less.

dingleberry 2 days ago 0 replies      
Raising chicken is a recession-proof investment which made robust by 'cloning' <- you put initial capital, got divident of its type; type can be money, chicken, plant, whatever; multiply base by cloning.

I plant kangkong. Initial capital is 1usd, about 300 stems. harvesting biweekly, i get 2600% roi. That's divident part.

I can clone the kangkong by cutting and replant cut stems. It's multiplying the capital part.

Similarly with chicken, one can eat dividend (eggs) and multiplying base (breeding/'cloning')

with cash only, i cannot get good dividend (say, by buying bond); much less luck with cloning cash legally.

Extrapolating to basic income, observe that poverty is lifted fast if the cash is invested in high roi activities (like entrepreneurship) that grow and scale fast.

It's the type of activity that matters more than the cash.

clumsysmurf 2 days ago 3 replies      
If you want to raise backyard chicks, double check your local chicken ordinances! Unfortunately, even when they are allowed, it can be the source of tension between neighbors:


grishas 2 days ago 1 reply      
Pretty much all research has shown that the best way to improve poverty is to give people money, and not some sort of good that you've decided is better (goats, chickens, cows, whatever).Unfortunately, giving away money just doesn't sell. :(
bencollier49 2 days ago 6 replies      
If six times as many people raise chickens, won't the sale price of chickens go down and negate (part of) the effect of providing all the chickens in the first place?

Shouldn't the number of people raising chickens have already reached a market equilibrium?

BadassFractal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any threat that by increasing the # of chickens around humans' living quarters in the third world we might be increasing the chances of developing avian diseases that jump onto surrounding humans, creating new epidemics?
shireboy 2 days ago 3 replies      
I am not poor, but did recently raise chickens for about a year, and did the math on how they fared as an investment. I would disagree they are "easy and inexpensive", though in a 3rd world setting with some luck it may vary. Here's a rough summary from my experience:

-1 x Coop (self-made from scavenged wood, home store bought wood, wire, and hinges) ~$400-5 x laying chickens ~$100 (Chicks are cheaper, but you pay to feed them for N months before they lay, and they need special care. Even then, some died or got sick and quit laying)

So let's call it a $500 initial investment. Mine laid roughly 12 eggs a week. Near me, we pay $5 for a dozen farm-fresh eggs. So it would take ~100 weeks to pay off my investment, not taking into account the ~20/mo for feed, bedding(hay), wormer, and time spent fooling with them. Time-wise, in addition to building the coop, etc. I had to let them in/out daily and feed and water them.

They were fun. I like fresh eggs and I'll probably do it again sometime. But a good investment they were not.

cplease 2 days ago 1 reply      
> They empower women. Because chickens are small and typically stay close to home, many cultures regard them as a womans animal, in contrast to larger livestock like goats or cows. Women who sell chickens are likely to reinvest the profits in their families.

Uh... this is empowering???


> If you read this article, watch the video above, and answer one question below, I will donateon your behalf via Heifera flock of chickens to a family in poverty.

OMG, it's finally happened for real. Anyone remember this?

"Hello everybody,

My name is Bill Gates. I have just written up an e-mail tracing program that traces everyone to whom this message is forwarded to. I am experimenting with this and I need your help. Forward this to everyone you know and if it reaches 1000 people everyone on the list will receive $1000 at my expense. Enjoy.

Your friend, Bill Gates"

trial1234 2 days ago 0 replies      
I used to spend majority of my Summer each year (when I was a pre-teen) in a very poor South Indian village where my extended family lived. Our family owned a large flock of chicken. I enjoyed feeding the chicken, feed like rice, maize, wheat, etc., though for the most part, the chicken did not expect to be fed anything. They would just graze on whatever they found. Now that I look back, interestingly, every family (even the poorest) in that village owned a flock of chicken. It was as though the flock of chicken was one common thread that ran through every household in the village. At the time though I didn't have the sagacity to realize the economic incentives of owning a flock of chicken.
LionessLover 2 days ago 1 reply      
> A farmer who sells 250 chickens a year can bring in $1,250, versus the extreme-poverty line of about $700 a year.

(That's the comment when you answer the quiz correctly.)

What a simplification. I'm all for the chickens, but the quiz and this quiz-answer-comment make it seem a little too easy.

If you want to sell 250 chickens a year you a) need quite a few more than that, b) you need SPACE - and it should provide plenty of free food for hundreds of chickens (so, LOTS of space), and c) the more chickens the higher the risk of disease, and several hundred chickens is <i>a lot</i> of chickens for a poor guy, d) if you don't have LOTS of space you will need to get food from somewhere (and pay for it?).

nunb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Joel Salatin of Polyface farms might be an interesting read. He also has a lot of videos on youtube. Here is one [1] but I recall seeing an interesting video where he runs larger ruminants (cows) and then chickens (coop on wheels) and then plants the area (the chickens aerate the soil). He also wrote an article "Everything I want to do is illegal" and has several books on the mess of agricultural bureaucracy.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdQ5y5_0dRc

raintrees 2 days ago 0 replies      
Meta: Almost 10,000 lines of code for that web page (I have NoScript on by default, I check source to see what I am missing when I get blank pages).

But back to the main point: When my wife and I moved up to this very rural area of coastal Northern California, we took over dad's chickens. He had been keeping them penned, but we let them out, and the eggs became drastically better tasting. More protein, I assume.

It has also taught me that chicken-based epithets carry some weight, they are not the brightest of creatures.

We are considering adding a few more this year, we have avoided roosters, so we do not have the risk of fertilized eggs. The trade off is we pay for the odd hen or two, once every couple of years or so.

We now enjoy more traditional recipes that use uncooked eggs or lightly cooked - I hadn't realized what I had been missing.

I have definitely learned quite a bit, but so much more to go.

walrus01 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Watch the video to get +100 Pts"

What is this, some sort of gamification to get people to read and watch more content on the gates website?

ddon 2 days ago 2 replies      
According to this table, raising ducks is more interesting than growing chickens:


cmurf 2 days ago 2 replies      
Impractical to raise chickens in cities where it's illegal to butcher them. The egg laying tapers off at 3 years, but they'll live to ~10 years. That's a pet, or a freeloading chicken you have to feed but don't get eggs from. So...? Yeah, not terribly practical unfortunately.
ktRolster 2 days ago 0 replies      
This isn't the first program of this type, so he's not going into it blind. See this for one example: http://www.cityfarmer.info/2013/11/15/gaza-urban-rabbit-rais...

I also remember reading about a rabbit raising program in the Philippines several years back, but I can't find a reference to it.

swehner 2 days ago 2 replies      
If they're so great, why do they need to be promoted?
gfo 2 days ago 0 replies      
This sounds like a fantastic idea.

However, if he really gives a flock of chickens to a bunch of families in need, won't that reduce their monetary value over time?

If every family has chickens, the monetary incentive isn't there for others to purchase them, or the higher supply will squash demand and drive the price down.

There's still the health benefit and it's obviously a great initiative.

jds375 2 days ago 0 replies      
I find it a bit odd that he doesn't mention actually eating the chicken itself at any point. He mentions selling the chickens for more nutritious food than just eggs... But isn't chicken meat alone pretty nutritious?
josu 2 days ago 0 replies      
A touch of humor, a clip from Harmony Korine's brilliant Mister Lonely:


psadri 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wish a local person could give us their perspective on this initiative.
Dowwie 2 days ago 0 replies      
Please note Bill's address to the community about his charitable donations contingent upon our participation. I like how he is engaging the community to spread a good idea.
tbrock 2 days ago 2 replies      
What is the ratio of female hens to male roosters? Quick googling tells me 10 to 1 but I'm not sure if that is correct.

Is there any other species that has a similar extremely lopsided number of one sex?

shirro 2 days ago 0 replies      
Lots of people keep backyard chickens even in developed countries. Most of the local schools have chicken coops.
spydum 2 days ago 2 replies      
maybe I'm missing something, what will the chickens eat? "whatever they find on the ground" is not exactly a strategy for growth, especially if everybody is raising chickens, you can pretty much expect the availability of edible stuff to reach zero in villages. not saying this doesnt work, but it's still an energy in/out problem right, where is the new source of energy?
neves 2 days ago 0 replies      
What about the chicken feces? Wouldn't it be terrible for your health to live in a small house full of feces?
tkyjonathan 2 days ago 0 replies      
This makes no financial sense. You would be better to eat the chicken feed yourself (corn/grains) and get x50 more caloric value for your money.
known 1 day ago 0 replies      
The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.
carapace 2 days ago 0 replies      
(Useless blank page without JS enabled. Whine. Complain.)
spoofball 2 days ago 2 replies      
The way chickens are raised today, you'd be insane to raise chickens.

Chickens of the old, roamed the grass, picking little shits that no one could find or eat, growing slowly but steadily, surviving and mating.

Today, they gorge on soybean-B12 juice that was raised on ex-rainforest area.

It's highly unsustainable and ridiculously bad investment.

Bill Gates has previously written about meat and its sustainability and has shown serious lack of understanding of how it all works on a global scale.

Yes, chickens being raised on a field filled with little nutrients only chickens can see is exactly the same as cows being raised in an environment where grass grows around them and climate is pretty stable.

That's not the way Africa or India will get its dosage of meat, and it cannot be done in any way other than massive soybean way (the best source of protein and growth for all living animals).

When we get Africans or Indians on the luxurious flesh, we'll never get them off the bandwagon and the unsustainability of the process will ruin more rainforests, more oceans, more living species and more life.

Absolutely disappointed with Bill.

I guess he's totally oblivious to the dead oceans zones that are caused primarily by animal agriculture.

Or that 90% of the rainforest is being cut primarily for soybean, that is primarily given to the animals in the animal agriculture.

Can't believe a guy was solving a problem this huge and he seems to still be on the meat bandwagon.

roel_v 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reading the comments on that post make me weep for the future of mankind. It's like Youtube but worse - because at least on Youtube everybody knows they're being idiots.
0xdeadbeefbabe 2 days ago 0 replies      
When he says stuff like this does it affect the commodities market?

Edit: just more unintended consequences if so, and it is things like this that make me aspire to be a good neighbor instead of a Manager.

known 2 days ago 1 reply      
Bill Gates should live in a 3rd world village for 6 months to really understand the nuances of poverty; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Untouchability and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs
fish55 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Relative surplus value is produced through the reduction of the value of labor power (variable capital) by means of improvements in the production of goods (effectively the appropriation of productivity gains by the capitalist class)." -Marxist definition

In other words, they will no longer need a wage that also represents the value of eggs, so:-the wage will ultimately be reduced-the portion of their unwaged labor (raising chickens) will increase

People who raise their own chickens can work for less than those who don't.

tldr: A service they could once afford will become unaffordable.

25-year-old lived for more than a year without a heart sciencealert.com
293 points by rocketpastsix  3 days ago   85 comments top 19
kerryfalk 3 days ago 8 replies      
Admittedly I didn't read the whole story, the click-bait title got me.

I had a girlfriend with a similar device attached to her (an LVAD). At first it was a little unnerving seeing her unplug the batteries that were keeping her alive and charge them every night. It quickly became normal for me. Life with it seemed relatively normal except she had to have a purse with her at all times (it carried the batteries).

The interesting part was when she received a transplant and went cordless. After being attached to it for two years and not having a heartbeat the sound of her heat beating kept her up at night for a couple of weeks. I hadn't even considered the beating of a heart to be relevant to our daily lives until she had mentioned it once she heard hers beating again (an LVAD is just a constant velocity pump. The blood is always flowing).

Not sure how much it really adds to the conversation other than an interesting anecdote.

clentaminator 3 days ago 0 replies      
Fun fact: The book Infinite Jest includes a character who keeps their artificial heart in their handbag. In one scene, the handbag is snatched by a passing thief which leads to the character shouting "She stole my heart, stop her!". As expected, this is tragically misconstrued by passersby who believe that the woman was in the middle of a sad yet not unexpected lovers quarrel, whereas in actual fact her heart had been stolen. Tragicomedy in the same scene.
Sinaf 3 days ago 3 replies      
Please think about becoming an organ donor. It is completely ok to decide against it. At least you have contemplated the idea.


mentos 3 days ago 5 replies      
Separate thought, if you were to replace your lungs with a machine that oxygenated your blood, could you calmly sit without breathing? Is the anxiety/impulse to breathe do to a lack of oxygen?
chillacy 3 days ago 1 reply      
The pump is shown in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9WUHSJrhm4

It's surprisingly loud

sitic 3 days ago 1 reply      
There is a great NYT documentary on artificial hearts and the history behind it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Xn5u-LzsW8

It starts with the Jarvik-7 artifical heart from the 1980s (first seen as a success, then as a failure) and then moves on to today's temporary and permanent artifical hearts.

bd 3 days ago 0 replies      
See also this reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread from another patient with such device from 2 years ago (2014):


andrewclunn 3 days ago 4 replies      
I wonder if it affected his mood at all. I mean is the heart pumping of anxiety or anger a symptom or part of a feedback loop?
jamesblonde 3 days ago 2 replies      
Carmat have a competing device that's been implanted in 5 patients so far. It is much more technically advanced, with Alan Carpentier designing, I think, to prevent blood clots. However, it's. A pump based device Nd the jury is still out on how long pump based devices can last. They expect the xarmat heart to last 5 years.
known 3 days ago 0 replies      
Artificial KIDNEY will be a boon for human beings
6stringmerc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Love seeing these stories about the will to live and fighting through hardship and making the most of every opportunity. These sorts of folks - who just want to be normal - really strike a chord with me. Fascinating specific instance and type of treatment.
kilroy123 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if it is just better to have the artificial heart for the rest of your life? With all the complications with having a heart transplant, it seems like it could be equally dangerous.

Note, I'm a lay person, and have no clue. Just pondering.

gazarullz 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know why for a second I've read that he lived more than a year without internet.
googletazer 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Its good to hear people are working on things like these, artificial hearts prolonging life. Gives some perspective and your own problems pale in comparison.
grimmdude 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, would hate for one of those supply lines to fail :|
slowm5 2 days ago 0 replies      
whoa, one step closer to becoming cyborgs.
Ma8ee 3 days ago 2 replies      
That surprises me. I thought that we had ample proof that Cheney lacked a heart.
cia48621793 3 days ago 0 replies      
How could you be so heartless!Oh, how could you be so heartless!
darawk 3 days ago 4 replies      
This is not new or particularly interesting. Dick Cheney had one of these for a long time. I knew someone who had one too. I'm not sure why this is being written about as if it's new.
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