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EU Announces That All Scientific Articles Should Be Freely Accessible by 2020 futurism.com
1187 points by emartinelli  5 ago   132 comments top 37
anonymousDan 5 ago 10 replies      
Why on earth do people think this is to the detriment of publishers? This will effectively just lock in their profits by forcing all eu grants to include the cost of payments to publishers to make research papers open access. It just means the taxpayer is now paying for open access instead of individuals having to pay up themselves. Note I'm not saying this is a bad thing, and it is possibly worth publicly subsidising this as an intermediate step, but it is far from being one in the eye for publishers as other comments here seem to think.
thr0waway1239 5 ago 3 replies      
I sometimes wonder if companies like Elsevier are the patent trolls of the research publishing industry - with the same chilling effect on the spread of innovation. [1]

It will be interesting to see how this affects the quality of reviewing. I think the defendants of the current system (who usually say someone has to bear the cost of the review process) are going to be rudely surprised when the academic community embraces this with gusto. The parallel with OSS is interesting - somewhat in the same spirit as the programming community embraced open source, I think the benefit of open access is that the researcher evaluates the tradeoff between 'capturing value' vs 'making a difference', without worrying about the external factor of 'what does this external entity, which provided very little in terms of constructive input when the work was being done, allow me to do (with regards to publishing openly)?'.

But then again, I could be completely wrong, especially in domains like the physical sciences where I don't know how the incentives align. I hope it works out well, and that soon this is the just the norm in all countries.

[1] http://blogoftheisotopes.blogspot.in/2012/01/elsevier-backla...

exceptione 5 ago 1 reply      
Although I did not contribute to anything of this, it makes me a proud European. :)

I wonder if the US will follow suits when/if this happens. Any thoughts?


Edit: maybe it would be better to link to the original source instead [http://futurism.com/eu-announces-that-all-european-scientifi...].

bobthechef 5 ago 0 replies      
Because I don't generally believe altruism is a thing in politics, the majority of the article is just fluff and smoke. Scientific literacy? What a crock. Scientific papers aren't for boosting the kind of basic scientific literacy the links to. They are generally written for an already literate audience (putting aside the poor quality of a great deal of science and scientific papers). The overriding pragmatic motive here is hinted at in the following sentence:

"Ultimately, this decision comes as a result of a meeting by the Competitiveness Council,which includes the ministers of Science, Innovation, Trade, and Industry."

EU science, being what it is, needs to be more competitive. One way to become competitive in the face American or even Japanese competition is to take the open source/free software route and make research freely available. This makes the research more accessible, unburdens relatively poor European universities from having to pay expensive journal memberships, increases the ability of EU institutions to collaborate, and allows the EU to attract collaborators from abroad by removing financial thresholds. And because science in the US has stronger ties to industry, it plays an important role in determining the economic prowess of the US. Poor entrepreneurs can also benefit from the move. The EU is likely aiming in a similar direction (though I personally know members of European academia who dislike the collaboration between academia and industry).

rerx 5 ago 1 reply      
I wonder if this will mean that European scientist will only be allowed to publish in open access journals or if it will be sufficient if copies of the papers are made freely available. The APS, who publishes the Physical Review journals which are some of the most important in physics, for instance already allows authors and their employers to post their papers online free of charge [http://journals.aps.org/rmp/copyrightFAQ.html#post]. In my field everybody already puts every paper onto the arxiv anyway, so open access is almost a lived practice.
pjc50 5 ago 2 replies      
Note that the current publishing arrangements for "open access" can often involve substantial fees paid by the authors to the publishers. Arxiv is definitely an exception.
pietro 5 ago 0 replies      
The EU hasn't "announced" anything. There was a meeting between several influential people connected to the EU, and they reached an informal agreement on something related to freely accessible research. The "announcement" is nothing but the minutes of that meeting.
daveguy 5 ago 1 reply      
Cough sci-hub Cough

Edit: a few of the links on the wiki page still link to it.


They also have a Facebook page and an onion route.

couac 5 ago 0 replies      
This was a big announcement, but there was no action defined at the time of the announcement. I wrote about it several months ago, because I had many questions following this news: https://tailordev.fr/blog/2016/05/31/our-take-on-the-recent-....
d_theorist 5 ago 0 replies      
Here is what was actually agreed: http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-9526-2016-IN... (PDF direct link)

The intention sounds good, but it seems like there is still a lot of detail to be worked out.

tiatia 5 ago 0 replies      
The EU announces? Didn't the EU announce that EU roaming should be free by 2017? Last thing I read that now this has a dozen limitations, including a time limitation of 90days and only if the SIM has been used in the home country for a while. Ok. Now lets see how this turns out.
kahrkunne 5 ago 3 replies      
Doesn't that just have the effect that everyone now has to pay for scientific articles? I mean, as a scientist, this benefits me, but I can see why your average Joe wouldn't be happy to pay taxes so he can read articles he can't understand...
d3ckard 5 ago 1 reply      
Great change! Makes me proud of european institutions.
akerro 5 ago 3 replies      
What if a paper was written by an international team with members from US/Australia?
lrmunoz 5 ago 0 replies      
After the final recommendation the European Commission has proposed about the abolition of roaming charges [1] I'm very skeptical about this type of announcement. Still publishers won't probably be able to lobby as hard as telcos though

[1] https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/06/european-commission-free...

r721 5 ago 0 replies      
stcredzero 5 ago 2 replies      
Some studies have concluded that there is now more social mobility in Europe than in the US. Now I see more and more "bellwether" laws and executive actions coming from Europe first. Does this mean that the US, being at the top of the hierarchy and in charge of the world's largest empire, has now ceded innovation to the up and coming powers, much as Britain did to the United States in the 19th and 20th century?
peter303 5 ago 1 reply      
Shift cost to author and grant agencies then. A couple of studies I have read says it costs about $1500 to review edit and publish an article. In addition several thousand dolars of volunteer time is provided by editors and reviewers. If the subscribers wont be paying, then costs will shifted to the author. Some free online journals already only charge the author.
faragon 5 ago 1 reply      
Why are not already free? Most EU scientific institutions take tons of public money (even private scientific institutions).
danjoc 5 ago 0 replies      
Does this include data sets used for publication? If so, is there a specified format for publishing data sets?
somid3 5 ago 0 replies      
This is such an incredible feat that I just want to trow a note here so I can reference in the future to show off. If the metric of global innovation has an exponential power, this act alone will likely increase that power by 10%
snvzz 5 ago 1 reply      
Why wait until 2020?

This should be effective today, while giving a few month grace period at most.

EGreg 5 ago 0 replies      
Does freely accessible mean copies can be hosted by anyone anywhere?

I would say that fingerprinting is still useful, to knowthat the original information hasn't been tampered with.

Why do we need publishers again?

fithisux 5 ago 0 replies      
The next step would be to make all drivers open source by 2020.
carapace 5 ago 0 replies      
(Thin sans-serif body text means you hate your readers. Making it grey means you really hate them.)
quirkot 5 ago 0 replies      
The demarcation problem just became the most important problem in publishing
MrForken 5 ago 0 replies      
Hmm the word Should is an indicator of where this is going
alekhkhanna 4 ago 0 replies      
Wasn't this news 3 months back ?
MrForken 5 ago 0 replies      
Notice the would Should in this headliner.
yiyus 5 ago 1 reply      
This will be probably be postponed to 2022. Then, in 2021, they will say that papers will be free only for 90 days.
aabbcc1241 5 ago 0 replies      
can we just put every paper on github ?
mordae 5 ago 0 replies      
pacificleo11 5 ago 0 replies      
arron swartz was right
hackaflocka 5 ago 0 replies      
Thank goodness for Europe.
dagurp 5 ago 1 reply      
*European Union
zakk 5 ago 2 replies      
That's incredibly stupid. The publishing of scientific papers has a cost, in terms of editorial service, proofreading, typesetting.

This cost will be paid by scientists, rather than by the readers. In other words, the papers will be free to read, but won't be free to publish.

I know as a fact that smaller research groups struggle to pay current publishing fees, and as a matter of fact the EU decision will increase them, making the situation worse.

denzell 5 ago 2 replies      
Why? whats next? Free newspapers.. free travel.. let's close all businesses.
Philae Found esa.int
1232 points by de_dave  6 ago   125 comments top 21
newscracker 6 ago 3 replies      
I watched this documentary called "To catch a comet" about the Rosette/Philae mission to comet ChuryumovGerasimenko. The achievement of getting to the comet and landing Philae, like many other achievements in space, is really phenomenal. So many things could've gone wrong, but the fact that the worst was Philae bouncing and getting stuck in a dark place (and not being able to perform fully) is a huge success beset by an issue of a smaller magnitude.

The description of the documentary says [1]:

> Unable to carry enough fuel owing to weight restrictions, the Rosetta scientists devised a delicate cat and mouse trajectory to reach their distant destination. In the ten years Rosetta had been in space she flew around the Earth three times, Mars once and the asteroid belt twice, to gain the momentum she needed to reach her destination. In the months before landing, the team navigated Rosetta safely to a world never before observed at such distances or accuracy. Rosetta orbited the comet before releasing Philae onto the surface.

Quoting from the article of this thread:

> We were beginning to think that Philae would remain lost forever. It is incredible we have captured this at the final hour.

This brings a much better ending for the people who worked on the mission for more than 30 years. [1] We tend to anthropomorphize things like spacecrafts, landers, rovers and many other inanimate objects. I think for the team (and many others following this news), this photo would be like being able to see a dear friend one last time, say goodbye in their minds and have some kind of closure.

The Wikipedia article, and especially the section titled "Landing and surface operations" [2], is also quite interesting to read.

[1]: http://www.pbs.org/program/catch-comet/

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philae_(spacecraft)#Landing_an...

lucb1e 6 ago 4 replies      
I didn't get why this was important and the article didn't reveal it upon skimming. Since it seems to get people very enthusiastic I gave it a proper read. After 11 paragraphs, the actual news is revealed:

> This [...] means that we now have the missing ground-truth information needed to put Philaes three days of science into proper context, now that we know where that ground actually is!

infodroid 6 ago 4 replies      
The hi-res image shows how just how unlucky a landing spot this was.


usaphp 6 ago 0 replies      
From Wikipedia about the comet: "One of the most outstanding discoveries of the mission so far is the detection of large amounts of free molecular oxygen (O2) gas surrounding the comet. Current solar system models suggest the molecular oxygen should have disappeared by the time 67P was created, about 4.6 billion years ago in a violent and hot process that would have caused the oxygen to react with hydrogen and form water. Molecular oxygen has never before been detected in cometary comas. In situ measurements indicate that the O2/H2O ratio is isotropic in the coma and does not change systematically with heliocentric distance, suggesting that primordial O2 was incorporated into the nucleus during the comet's formation. Detection of molecular nitrogen (N2) in the comet suggests that its cometary grains formed in low-temperature conditions below 30 K (243.2 C; 405.7 F)." [1]

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/67P/Churyumov%E2%80%93Gerasime...

thr0waway1239 6 ago 5 replies      
"At 2.7 km, the resolution of the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera is about 5 cm/pixel, sufficient to reveal characteristic features of Philaes 1 m-sized body and its legs, as seen in these definitive pictures."

I looked at the pictures and the human eye can barely see the lander. Considering that the chances of losing these landers is not that low, I don't understand why they don't make them visually more distinctive.

Andrew Ng gave a talk recently where he talks about designing the autonomous cars not for aesthetics, but predictability (via visual distinctiveness). [1] In the same spirit, shouldn't there be efforts to make these spacecraft modules more visually distinctive?

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eJhcxfYR4I&t=16m35s

movedx 6 ago 4 replies      
At some point in the future, someone is going to fly to that comet, land, get out of their vessel and walk over to Philae and smile, give it a pat on the head, and then take it home; someone in the future is going to be lucky enough to experience that task and become a part of its history.
proactivesvcs 6 ago 0 replies      
I found ESA's "Rosetta and Philae Cartoons" videos strangely touching: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgx5PMpgonqUD1aO3g0bZ...

I hope they finish the series!

luso_brazilian 6 ago 2 replies      
The XKCD already updated the live comic about this subject [1].

All panels are available at its sister wiki [2]

In my opinion it is a beautiful work of art, pushing the limits of what the media allow the artist to do (the media in this case being comic strips in the webcomic format.

[1] https://xkcd.com/1446/

[2] https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1446:_Landing/All...

cJ0th 6 ago 0 replies      
huhtenberg 6 ago 1 reply      
Is there a map that shows its original landing site and the final resting place?
andreygrehov 6 ago 8 replies      
Off-topic, but why do they usually shoot black and white? Is it something to do with the file size?
netgusto 6 ago 1 reply      
This made me smile. Nice news !
chakalakasp 6 ago 1 reply      
NASA and ESA's recent push to land things on comets and asteroids makes me pause and wonder if they have in the last decade or so calculated the orbit of an object that concerns them.
fuhrysteve 5 ago 0 replies      
Why did it take so many months for the orbiter to get a photo?

Compared to the rest of the achievements of this mission, it seems like this should have been relatively easy: 67P is all of like 2.5 miles wide and the orbit is at like 10 miles. You'd think that a few high res photos in a single orbit would capture nearly every inch of the entire rock.

DrNuke 6 ago 0 replies      
This is even more incredible than the already unbelievable amaze generated by this mission as a whole. Hat off.
b1gtuna 6 ago 0 replies      
Haha itsy bitsy little space craft hiding behind a rock!
bjd2385 6 ago 1 reply      
What's that rather straight `rod`-like protrusion to the lower-left? Looks like some kind of antenna.
zygomega 6 ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know why communication is being shut down? Can they leave it on so we can get telemetry?
gokhan 6 ago 3 replies      
Unless other parts of the comet is more flat, that landing gear design seems clearly wrong. It included bolting itself to the surface, if I remember correctly, but it seems almost impossible to fixate three legs with almost no gravity on that surface.
sqldba 6 ago 0 replies      
Poor little thing. God speed.
dandare 6 ago 4 replies      
Nice, but why is this information so "all-important"? How is it going to advance our knowledge of ... anything?
How Dropbox Hacks Your Mac applehelpwriter.com
1008 points by 8bitben  2 ago   395 comments top 39
newhouseb 2 ago 24 replies      
Hi HN Ben from Dropbox here on the desktop client team. Wanted to clarify a few things

- Clearly we need to do a better job communicating about Dropboxs OS integration. We ask for permissions once but dont describe what were doing or why. Well fix that.

- We only ask for privileges we actively use -- but unfortunately some of the permissions arent as granular as we would like.

- We use accessibility APIs for the Dropbox badge (Office integrations) and other integrations (finding windows & other UI interactions).

- We use elevated access for where the built-in FS APIs come up short. We've been working with Apple to eliminate this dependency and we should have what we need soon.

- We never see or store your admin password. The dialog box you see is a native OS X API (i.e. made by Apple).

- We check and set privileges on startup the intent was to make sure Dropbox is functioning properly, works across OS updates, etc. The intent was never to frustrate people or override their choices.

Were all jumping on this. Well do a better job here and were sorry for any anger, frustration or confusion weve caused.

ejcx 2 ago 11 replies      
Just wanted to give the author a shoutout for being awesome. This article is published with an AMP version[0] too, which is pretty unusual for smaller blogging sites.

AMP articles are so much easier on my eyes (and the author can't include their own javascript on an AMP page, so there is less bloat). I wish all bloggers started to publish AMP pages.

[0] - http://applehelpwriter.com/2016/08/29/discovering-how-dropbo...

gwbas1c 2 ago 1 reply      
I work Syncplicity, a Dropbox competitor and investigated building a feature that is similar to the Dropbox badge. (We call it the App Tab. Basically, it's UI that tacks onto Office that tells you that someone else is editing the same document.)

We've had requests for this feature for years. I can't stress how much customers request this feature; it's put a lot of egg on our face that Dropbox beat us to it.

In order to do this on Mac, we'd need to register ourselves as an accessibility client. I don't remember the details about registering ourselves, but from what I remember, it doesn't require hacking into OSX.

We've had to hack into OSX in the past: Adding menu items and icons to Windows Explorer is supported via well-documented Microsoft APIs. It wasn't until about 2014 that Apple supported this, prior to that, we had to reverse-engineer Finder. We didn't get OSX APIs to do this until we hired a contractor with "connections" to Apple he petitioned his connections to provide an API. I know that Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and an open-source project called Liferay-Nativity all performed the same hack.

Based on my Syncplicity experience is that, what happens in these cases, is that a product manager gets so focused on the pixels that he/she is completely blind to the practical implementations. There's probably a bit of "I told you so" coming from some of Dropbox's engineers now.

ptomato 2 ago 3 replies      
It looks like in 10.12 Apple has added TCC.db to SIP, so this will no longer work Dropbox will, hopefully, actually be forced to request accessibility access like they're supposed to. I'm sure they'll still demand your admin password via a dialog that tries super hard to look like a system one to use for whatever other more or less nefarious purposes. Would be nice if there was an alternative that actually syncs as reliably and performantly, but in my testing that's very much not the case.

I appreciate the trend of Apple forcing Dropbox to stop doing dumb shit, though. (Previously, of course, the SIMBL-style Finder hacking)

tomku 2 ago 7 replies      
Non-clickbait title: "How Dropbox uses the root access that you give it during installation to give itself Accessibility authorization without triggering the usual popup".
antoncohen 2 ago 2 replies      
I have given Dropbox access to my files, admins rights, and ability to run in the kernel. I'm not freaking out about the Accessibility API.

setuid binaries:

 $ tree -p /Library/DropboxHelperTools/ /Library/DropboxHelperTools/ [-r-s--x--x] DropboxHelperInstaller [drwxr-xr-x] Dropbox_u501 [-r-s--x--x] dbaccessperm [-r-s--x--x] dbfseventsd [-r-s--x--x] dbkextd
kernel extension:

 $ kextstat -b com.getdropbox.dropbox.kext Index Refs Address Size Wired Name (Version) UUID <Linked Against> 163 0 0xffffff7f835b5000 0x6000 0x6000 com.getdropbox.dropbox.kext (1.7.5)

Sir_Cmpwn 2 ago 5 replies      
Great article, but poor conclusion. He finds that Dropbox is untrustworthy, a finding that likely surprises no one, and reaches for iCloud as the solution. Why move into another walled garden driven by corporate interests? OwnCloud or a similar self hosted solution would be better. I just use NFS and a dead simple storage server to make ~/shared available on all of my machines.
new299 2 ago 6 replies      
Dropbox circumventing security restrictions (albeit for legit reasons) is particularly worrying because they have board members who support warrentless surveillance.

In my mind Dropbox became a company not worth supporting when Rice joined Dropbox's board (http://www.drop-dropbox.com/). Personally, with a board member who advocates warrentless surveillance it seems unlikely that we share similar views on the security of my data, and I wont be using their service.

ThomPete 2 ago 1 reply      
Dropbox trying to find ways to push the platform is a good thing not a bad thing.

If anything Apple have put so many restrictions on OSX and isn't pushing for much innovation on their side to allow people to build ever more powerful apps.

I understand general security concerns but I don't understand the critique of a company like Dropbox. They are doing the user er service not a disservice by finding a balance between pushing the platform forward while still taking your security concerns into account.

I would personally be more concerned with the fact that Apple haven't done anything fundamental for the osx platform in quite a while which is the exact opposite of what they have done for iOS.

gruez 2 ago 6 replies      
The fact that any application can spoof the os password prompt makes me wonder why they don't have a prominent feature to show the prompt is from the OS. On windows there is the secure desktop with the dimming effect.
f_allwein 2 ago 0 replies      
For what it's worth, I posted on the Dropbox support forum asking them to explain. This seems to be the only way to contact them:https://www.dropboxforum.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/208945...
fifafu 2 ago 1 reply      
One thing to note: For non-sandboxed apps like Dropbox, the Accessibility API permissions don't really decrease security by a lot (in my opinion).

Most bad things can be done without the Accessibility API, e.g. apps can act as key loggers, take screenshots, encrypt all files your user can access, upload arbitrary things (unless you have a firewall enabled), synthesize mouse & keyboard events etc.

The Accessibility API makes some of those things easier, but if someone really wanted to attack you, he wouldn't need the Accessibility API.

For sandboxed apps the situation is quite different, because the Accessibility API would allow those apps to break out of the sandbox.

But of course Dropbox should have asked the user...

bahoom 2 ago 1 reply      
I'm using the same techniques for my apps to enable accessibility access (which is needed for window management), although I'm asking users for confirmation before doing so.

It's kind of hacky, but the standard Apple way (click the tiny lock icon on the bottom left, find the app in the list, click the checkbox) is way to cumbersome for users.

Why not displaying a simple yes/no popup similar to the "allow access to contacts / calendar items" dialog?

SpacemanSpiff 2 ago 0 replies      
I've recently started using Syncthing to synchronize files between different machines. I'm super impressed at the quality of the application, its stability, and the documentation. Syncthing is written in go and open source. https://syncthing.net/
Dylan16807 2 ago 3 replies      
I don't really understand the conclusion here. So the scenario is you trust dropbox with your files, and you trust them with a kernel blob implementing the filesystem, but you don't trust them to silently have accessibility rights?
hollerith 1 ago 0 replies      
My Dropbox story: after I upgraded from Mountain Lion to El Capitan, the sidebar in the Finder went buggy (no way to remove a folder from the sidebar without restarting the Finder). After I started arranging for this next command line to run at the start of every OSX session, the bug went away: `killall -9 garcon`. This garcon identifies itself in Activity Monitor as "Dropbox Finder Integration".

Needless to say, I never asked or gave consent for Dropbox to integrate with the Finder (and sync still seems to continue to work after I disabled it).

devy 2 ago 0 replies      
If Dropbox app can do this, other apps can too!

I wonder if this will get to Apple's attention to "fix" it?

amelius 2 ago 1 reply      
I wonder what will happen when Apple plugs those security holes. Will Dropbox cease to run as it does now, and suddenly for instance lose important features?
pkamb 1 ago 0 replies      
I didn't see it linked, so here's the Stack Overflow thread that documents some of these sqlite3 hacks for enabling access for assistive devices programmatically.


I love the first comment on the question:

> No, there is no way to circumvent the need for visiting this screen. It is one of the operating system's base protections. Any way that is found to circumvent this will almost certainly be patched out. Jul 17 '13

the_mitsuhiko 2 ago 2 replies      
Why does dropbox need to bring up a fake dialog? They could do the same with the system one.
bluetwo 2 ago 0 replies      
I noticed about 6 months ago that Dropbox was on this list and disabled it the normal way. It stayed disabled and also didn't cause any problems using the software.

Now, why how did Evernote get on the list?

finid 2 ago 2 replies      
On the Linux side, has anybody looked at what installing Dropbox does?

I'm guessing it's not going to be different from what it does on a Mac, but it would be nice to know exactly...

breatheoften 1 ago 1 reply      
Anybody know a good OS X app to scan the file system for suid binaries? I guess I could do this with find from the shell, but a little utility app with a nice ui (and possibily some integration with a database to hide or categorize by threat level) seems like a smart thing to have on my system and run every so often.
DonHopkins 2 ago 0 replies      
"but with the deliciously named dbaccessperm file"

I don't get it. What's so delicious about "dbacces"?

alphonsegaston 2 ago 1 reply      
Can anyone suggest a vetted-along-these-lines alternative (preferably open source) to Dropbox?
newman8r 1 ago 0 replies      
I don't use OSX or apple software anymore - but I remember that using dropbox on osx always felt like it went against apple's UX flow. I ended up getting really frustrated with it.
djabatt 2 ago 1 reply      
I wonder if Apple will thwart this hack with an update. Seems like anyone reading this will start using this hack. In the meantime a watchdog app on this hack would be nice to have and share with the world.
sambe 1 ago 0 replies      
This page went spam-redirect crazy on iOS. I flagged the story, but don't see anyone else complaining...
saynsedit 2 ago 0 replies      
"How Dropbox avoids prompting the user with countless confusing permissions dialogs so normal people have a greater chance of using it."
jackgavigan 1 ago 0 replies      
What Dropbox are doing may actually be illegal in the UK under the Computer Misuse Act.
outworlder 2 ago 3 replies      
Ok. Now that Dropbox is shady as well as overpriced, are there any good alternatives?
ommunist 1 ago 0 replies      
Speaking of alternatives, what's wrong with Resilio sync?
0x0 2 ago 3 replies      
What the fuck Dropbox!

How do I get rid of the backdoor in /Library/Application\ Support/com.apple.TCC/TCC.db even after uninstalling Dropbox.app and rm -rf'ing ~/.dropbox and /Library/DropboxHelperTools? Do I just sudo sqlite3 and delete the row? Or is there an official tool (tccutil)?

Edit: Crap, there's a /Library/Extensions/Dropbox.kext too now. :(

puppetmaster3 1 ago 0 replies      
I trust Dropbox way more than Apple.
owlieowl 2 ago 1 reply      
I just removed Dropbox. Web client from here on.
kmfrk 2 ago 1 reply      
yyyuuu 2 ago 2 replies      
Musonius 2 ago 0 replies      
My computer was slow and unusable, and then I uninstalled Dropbox.
0xmohit 2 ago 0 replies      
Moral: Avoid native apps if you can't avoid using them at all.
Im Joining Stripe to Work on Atlas kalzumeus.com
829 points by rmoriz  2 ago   308 comments top 46
stevoski 2 ago 2 replies      
Patrick writes in the article:

> I never thought I could build a Fog Creek, but I saw a bunch of other geeks building Poker Co-pilot and Perfect Table Plan and skeet-shooting scoring software, and I was pretty sure I could at least do something like that.

I'm the geek who built (and continues to run) Poker Copilot. Patrick got the order of events backwards.

What actually happened is that I started Poker Copilot in a large part because Patrick inspired me by managing to launch a software product (Bingo Card Creator) after just one week of development.

All the best working for a boss again, Patrick! I'm sure there will be plenty of interesting twists and turns in the years ahead in this remarkable life of yours .

grellas 2 ago 0 replies      
Back in the bubble days, all but a relatively few would-be founders found themselves crawling out of a hole and into the dark, as it were, in trying to figure out how to get from ground zero to a point of success: it was all super-bewildering and there were virtually no resources to help understand how it all worked: no helpful web-based forums to explain process or to share experiences, no solid resources for helping understand how best to launch, no easy access to funding, etc., etc.

Today, it is all different. We are all hyper-connected and the old barriers are much diminished. This means a founder in Silicon Valley, where the infrastructure is solid, can continue to do incredible things but, now, so too can founders everywhere. Yes, it can help to be geographically at the heart of it all but it is no longer an indispensable part of startup success.

I think Stripe's Atlas takes a huge additional step in helping to remove the accident of a founder's location from the list of barriers to entry in the world's startup club. I have explained my views in more detail here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11166417#11168750

And what a felicitous teaming between Patrick and Stripe to help further that goal. Great people all round, working to achieve great goals! I cannot imagine a better combination. Very exciting and congrats to all.

k-mcgrady 2 ago 10 replies      
First time I've seen Atlas. I'm immediately worried. If someone starts a company using this I presume it's subject to US laws? What does this mean:

1. For taxes? If I live in the UK and start my business with Atlas does the US get the corporation tax revenue or the UK (or a split of the two)?

2. For data security/privacy? Is the data I store now subject to access by the US government through National Security letters and the like? I believe that if I was storing EU citizen data I'm subject to privacy shield but all data would be more susceptible to US government requests. Is this accurate?

Edit: Quite shocked at the number of downvotes a completely legitimate question is getting...

davidw 2 ago 3 replies      
Sorry to hear about starfighter, but it looks like you've more than landed on your feet. Good luck! I think with a big company at your back, you may be able to leverage that to do some great things.

People in the US have no idea how easy they have it with creating a company, something I helped to fix a little tiny bit in Italy: https://blog.therealitaly.com/2015/04/16/fixing-italy-a-litt...

One of the key points:

> All told, the price of creating a company in Italy was several months worth of salary for the average Italian worker, whereas even at minimum wage, someone in Oregon could open that LLC after a few days worth of work.

robin_reala 1 ago 2 replies      
Slightly unfashionable to say this here, but this problem isnt necessarily something the private sector should be routing around but one that the public sector should be fixing from within.

At GDS (GOV.UK etc) were working on a programme called GaaP: Government as a Platform. This aims to provide components to radically simplify the difficulty of building services focused on user needs for the rest of government.

Tom Loosemoore (now ex-GDS but hey) gave this talk at Code For America last year: https://youtube.com/watch?v=VjE_zj-7A7A . Its obviously quite long (and in my opinion worth watching the lot) but the topic relevant part comes at ~28 minutes in. Here Tom demonstrates how pulling together the pieces of GaaP could potentially lead to registering s company in 3.5 minutes.

That a private sector company could do the same thing is great, but sometimes you need to refactor the root inefficiency rather than patch the symptom.

thr0waway1239 1 ago 0 replies      
I really like Patrick's work, and I have learnt a lot from it. I wish him the best for his employment at Stripe.

But I am going to ask all of you to tread carefully when taking advice from well-intentioned experts. Over a period of 9 or so years, Patrick went from expressing opinions about a) why desktop software is still viable b) why web based is a better option than desktop because desktop causes too many pains c) why doing a SaaS model is better than the one time web based software (web version of BCC) d) why it may not be worth the stress of (some stressful event associated with clients in medical industry) for a SaaS which is generating less than $2000 MRR e) why a business like StarFighter is better because you feel like waking up and doing it for 5+ years in a row and f) eventually there will be a good reason for the decision to leave/stop Starfighter. Amongst these opinions, there would be two kinds of takeaway messages - the ones which are true independent of the specific time period (don't piss off your customer) vs the ones which are more subjective and epoch specific - e.g. Patrick's own admission of benefiting from AdSense (via the Content Network or some such thing) for BCC, which was probably not true by the time it was expressed publicly and is almost certainly not true today.

There is almost positively going to be a fair amount of time lag before these ideas germinate in the experts' head and they slowly turn into action in their lives, and by the time they are ready to write about it, sometimes they are close to the winding down phase of said idea. For the people who are keen to "follow suit", as they say, it is very hard to know if it is a good idea to invest the next 3-5 years of your lives trying to adopt the same idea.

This is all fine and obvious, you say. My concern has to do with the "other side" of the picture. When people were lavishing praise on the SaaS model about 3-4 years ago, I suppose I wasn't the only one who wondered "Wait a minute. What about the fact that a SaaS business takes up your mind space 24 x 7 x 365? Isn't that a cost most of us don't wish to pay?" And after a while, Patrick mentions in a MicroConf talk about doing an eBook or WP plugin first before embarking on a SaaS - all great advice. Just wish more people consider the balancing forces and always ask themselves whether they are getting the full picture.

aresant 2 ago 1 reply      
Patrick @ Stripe just shared via Twitter that he sent original idea for stripe to patio11.

To which patio11 perfectly replied that note had gotten stuck in his spam folder :)


ericjang 2 ago 3 replies      
@patio11: may we get a post-mortem on Starfighter, and more details on what you learned about startups?
knite 2 ago 0 replies      
Congratulations! Will you be sharing details on how your salary negotiation went? Reference: http://www.kalzumeus.com/2012/01/23/salary-negotiation/
chatmasta 2 ago 8 replies      
What I like most about the long term vision for Atlas is that, if it's truly "as easy as spinning up an EC2 instance" to form a new corporation, then it will be possible for a single entrepreneur to create complex global corporate structures previously limited only to multinational corporations. How nice would it be, as say, a digital nomad, to be able to have a single "holding company" based in HK, and dynamically create a new corporation for every new project?
chuamo 2 ago 4 replies      
Why would someone making 30k a week as a consultant take a job[1]?


duked 2 ago 0 replies      
I'm happy for Patrick.

I have to say, to me the downfall of starfighter was predictable. I LOVED microcorruption it was something I could get in fairly quickly and enjoy. But starfighter was requiring too much commitment to get the basics of operation and if I'm looking for a job I'd rather invest that time into brushing up my algorithms (since that's the hiring criteria these days...) rather than reading some background to play a "game" to eventually beat challenges and maybe get a job interview :/

edpichler 2 ago 3 replies      
I am enrolling Stripe Atlas and, to me, incorporating in USA will give me access to modern banking services, and platforms, as Stripe, and it seems USA has very lower taxes than Brazil, my country. That's why I am interested.

It all seems fascinating, but I am afraid to continue and do the last step of the enrollment. I don't know how is the process to close the company, what the representative agent can do for me, how much is to have an account on SVB (after the 24 free months), if it's easy to legally hire a person to work remotely anywhere, and if for some reason I will need to eventually travel to USA.

If someone have a answer for one of questions, I will be thankful.

mendelk 2 ago 2 replies      
Is there any official communication re Starfighter?

All I can find is this:

> Starfighter is not only not hiring, but also closing its doors. We are 'pivoting.'


pmyjavec 1 ago 3 replies      
The overwhelming majority of jobs in the technology industry do not go to people who cold apply via jobs pages. This is important for you to know and operationalize.

A little off topic, but why is this? I don't doubt what he is saying but why is it not good enough to apply for a job via standard channels and not have to be in "the boys club" ?

red_blobs 2 ago 0 replies      
I feel like many startup founders, including Patrick, build the technology and hope the business will follow...usually with an unsuccessful outcome.

He's great at marketing. He should have spent a year building a network of employers with lower-tech solutions and then expanded it out with starfighter.

I've been following Patrick since the BoS days and all of his products have been pretty low profit. Enough to support himself only (some, not even this much) (I'm not including consulting, only products or services)

Money is the lifeblood of all companies and you will need it to truly change the world.

idlewords 2 ago 6 replies      
I don't see any advantage in incorporation if you want to run your own private business, but I'm willing to accept that I'm being the weirdo here.
matchagaucho 2 ago 5 replies      
I know from personal experience the sub-title to this article is "How I'm justifying a bad decision".

Entrepreneurs know when they're making a bad decision, whether consciously or not.

[Edited for brevity. No disrespect, but hate to see a Developer give up on their independence]

zbruhnke 2 ago 0 replies      
Congrats Patrick ... This is one of those blog posts that I read and completely think that I could actually go work for a company and be really happy which never happens.

I love what you guys are doing with Atlas and will be rooting for you and for Stripe Japan, sounds like a great opportunity to join that team for the right people!

emilburzo 2 ago 4 replies      
> The overwhelming majority of jobs in the technology industry do not go to people who cold apply via jobs pages.


Animats 2 ago 2 replies      
There are lots of services to help you incorporate. Incorporate.com and LegalZoom are well known. What's new about Atlas, other than bundling other services and charging more?
vanrysss 2 ago 0 replies      
I'm sorry to hear that Starfighter is shuttering, I had a lot of fun with the stock market portion.
cdnsteve 2 ago 0 replies      
Love this part:"When you have just enough crazy, you found a payments company, heedless of the fact that founding a payments company is doomed to failure because it involvesmountains of hard and boring work and the incumbents have billions of dollars."
antoniuschan99 2 ago 1 reply      
Wasn't Paypal taking payments over the internet in 2006?
secabeen 2 ago 2 replies      
>There Is No Future For Scarcity

This section worries me a bit, as it's the sort of thing that doesn't consider the possibility of a major world-wide crisis. There are plenty of conceivable futures where these things could happen. A simple one is a small-scale non-nuclear war between China and US, where they disconnect completely from the larger Internet, but we avoid a global thermonuclear war. The continental European countries saw a 50% drop in GDP through WW2, and it could very well happen again.

insomniacity 2 ago 0 replies      
patio11: I was just about to start making some progress on Starfighter... are you going to be able to leave it up, or does it cost too much?
pbnjay 2 ago 0 replies      
congrats patio11! - I think many of us agree that stability and less stress is a nice draw when you got young kids. Startups don't always play nice with family.
chmike 1 ago 0 replies      
Congratulation Patrick. This is a great news for Stripe, Japan and the world !

You just made me discover Atlas (I must have lived under a rock last year) and I'm really impressed by the idea. It is not great, it is huge !

I quickly looked through the Q&A and the first thing that strikes me is that the effective cost is not clear. Ok 500$ entry cost, but there are many other costs like bank, taxes, IRS, 125$ yearly for the agent, etc. Most of these costs aren't even clearly specified. Thus it's actually like an offer to buy a cat in a bag.

The strength of stripe is its simplicity and clarity. You know upfront what it will cost you. There isn't any hidden cost.

So Patrick, if you can have some influence, please help making Atlas as simple and clear as Stripe.

benjismith 2 ago 0 replies      
Awesome! I've been a big fan of Patrick since the days of the old Joel on Software forums, and I've always admired his plucky optimism.

Atlas is an incredibly cool, potentially game-changing project, and Stripe was already a game-changing company before launching it. I'm excited to see what happens next!

Way to go, Patrick!!

Scarbutt 2 ago 2 replies      
Are there any plans in Atlas to support Ireland?
hypnotortoise 1 ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to see the main building blocks of Atlas and if any of it have relations or takes inspirations from Blockchain Tech (e.g. Ether-based http://otonomos.com/).
cloudjacker 2 ago 0 replies      
> it introduced me to the unthinkable notion that regular old geeks like me could run software companies. I thought it was illegal, ... my background therefore suggested it was either forbidden, risky, or risked being forbidden.

I encounter this so much in the states. Everything self directed is "sketchy", "is that legal?". It is really sad, because those same people would fall for scams that actually are sketchy and illegal.

benmanns 2 ago 2 replies      
I applied to the Stripe Atlas beta but haven't heard any communication after doing so. Does anyone have insight as to how long the beta queue is?
lowglow 2 ago 0 replies      
I just want to point out that everything starts off as targeted marketing/spam.


Don't listen when people hate on you for sharing what you're working on. The only thing that matters in the end is success. :)

strongai 2 ago 2 replies      
For what it's worth, I was never excited by starfighter because of its trading/markets premise - simple as that. It just doesn't float my boat. The entire proposition sounded far too much like real work. Game? Surely not.
Rapzid 2 ago 1 reply      
alexkehayias 2 ago 0 replies      
Looking forward to working with you! I'm joining next week to work on Atlas too.
jtcond13 2 ago 0 replies      
The penultimate paragraph here must have been difficult to write.
hvd 1 ago 0 replies      
Good luck Patrick on this new adventure.
nthState 2 ago 0 replies      
Nice work Patrick!
newintellectual 2 ago 0 replies      
Suggestion: target other - freer - countries as well. i.e. the other 96% of the planet.
1 day ago 1 ago 1 reply      
owathray123 2 ago 6 replies      
angersock 2 ago 4 replies      
btcboss 2 ago 0 replies      
Can you start by making Stripe mobile friendly lol :P my clock reads 2016.
_RPM 2 ago 1 reply      
Is Stripe different than PayPal besides maybe having a better API? Is Stripe a subset of PayPal?
You Suck at Excel with Joel Spolsky (2015) [video] youtube.com
931 points by carlesfe  4 ago   416 comments top 43
Benjammer 3 ago 13 replies      
This video of Martin Shkreli using Excel [1] is what really made me realize I suck at Excel...

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFSf5YhYQbw&feature=youtu.be...

tominous 4 ago 6 replies      
In my line of work I often see tech vendors and consultants trying to plan infrastructure changes using Excel (or worse, tables in Word, but we won't go into that). The results are horrendous.

They start with a manual inventory of the configuration in question, type it ad-hoc into a spreadsheet, then go through making manual changes, notes and additions until it feels good. There's lots of highlighting, different coloured text, etc like layers of sedimentation. Formulas are only used for sums and counts in an ad-hoc way.

The end plan always contains mistakes and omissions that really hurt during deployment time.

The correct way requires discipline: immutable input sheets (from machine-generated config dumps), a parameter sheet, output tables (with consistent usage of formulas with "$" notation to lock rows and columns), and cross checks with conditional highlighting.

Unfortunately this is really hard for people without programming instincts/experience. Good job security I guess. But if you can do it, it's both faster and safer than the manual free-form method.

IANAD 4 ago 13 replies      
First, I learned a lot from this. But, here's some light criticism:

1. Joel saying "I didn't understand that question" and then moving on might have been succinct and practical, but it was just not a good reflection of him.

2. He acts like R1C1 mode is the only way handle relative references for the first 13 minutes. One of the first things I learned in Excel was $ to pin a reference to row or column in what he calls "baby mode". I think it's not babyish to use $ which is more succinct; you can edit the formula and see the calculated value right away. It seemed like he waited a long time to talk about that.

3. "Almost none of which you can do in Google spreadsheets" at 18:15. Sounds so pro-Microsoft, right? Yet, if you look, he's obviously using OS X, which is surprising to me, because MS Office has historically sucked on OS X compared to its Windows counterpart, and it's been incomplete: https://9to5mac.com/2016/01/21/windows-mac-ipad-microsoft-of... even though, yes, it's a lot better than it used to be. Also, Google docs is free.

graham1776 4 ago 8 replies      
Is there a standardized excel knowledge test and or certification? As a senior analyst excel expertise is requisite, but is very hard to interview for...I had to make an excel test just to empirically rate our analyst candidates. I know there are the excel competitions (http://www.modeloff.com/) and great resources (http://www.chandoo.com/wp), but no rating system for knowledge (even basic) of excel. Think the big investment banks would be interested in "testing" their analysts empirically before hiring them?
cm2187 3 ago 3 replies      
There are lots of things he does that are still rookie mistakes! Like index/match without doing a strict match (microsoft: when are you going to add a shorter syntax for that??).

Then he probably does that to make it visual but he should be using his mouse a lot less. F2, CTRL Enter on a range to apply the first formula without applying the formatting.

Also two data tables one above the other. As one expands it will hit into the other. That's where excel lacks a feature that apple introduced in numbers: not using a unique grid but a table being its own grid, placed as a shape on a sheet. That solves lots of problems.

Range names are not a good solution with experience. You get name clashes when merging spreadsheets, ambiguous duplicate names when duplicating tabs. For formula auditing F2 is your friend. And there are some third party add-ins to go to a reference within a formula and come back with keyboard shortcuts.

And no demo of excel is complete without showing the power of array formulas. In particular SUM(Col1 * Col2 * (Filter1=Col3) * (ABS(Col4)<4)) to do a sophisticated conditional sumproduct.

vba 3 ago 4 replies      
Joel played a part in creating VBA for Excel (and likely the other Office clients) when he was a program manager at Microsoft in the early 90s (see http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/06/16.html).

I'm a developer on XL (at Microsoft), only half way through the video and have learnt a thing or two. Out of academic curiosity I sometimes ask old-timers if they ever worked with Joel. So far nobody recognizes his name, though there is next to none left in Excel who were XL in early 90s or before.

oli5679 4 ago 1 reply      
Excel is super useful for the range of tasks where speed and transparency to business execs is more important than flexibility or maintenance.

Its great to rattle something off in a couple of hours that you can email to your boss to tinker with

It's absolute hell flicking through tabs trying to find a bug or trawling through stack overflow looking at grim VBA contortions which have one-liner equivalents in python.

circa 4 ago 2 replies      
You instantly brought me back to the "You suck at photoshop" series.

Enjoy and you're welcome!


rtpg 3 ago 1 reply      
As a person who doesn't get to use Excel much but wants to... is there such thing as "fun" Excel problem sets? Like Eurler Problems but for Excel?

Some kinda meaty stuff rather than just "here's how you sum"

kevin_thibedeau 4 ago 2 replies      
Paste values isn't almost always what I want. When copying formulas around I usually want the actual formulas which have been judiciously constructed with fixed row and column references where needed. The default paste is ideal for people doing actual calculation in Excel.
robterrin 4 ago 2 replies      
Does anybody else feel that the vast majority of these things are either available in Google sheets or worth just doing in R? My last consulting project was on a VaR model built in VBA/SQL with a bunch of Excel sprinkled about and it was horrendous. Not Excel, VBA or SQL's fault, but it felt like a more thoughtful architect would have used better tools.
eriknstr 3 ago 1 reply      
I think the most interesting thing in this video was the explanation of R1C1. I've always thought of the apparent automatic changing of references as almost magic. Now I know.

For me, the most useful things he talked about was, in order; giving names to cells and columns, use of INDEX and MATCH, leaving space around tables, defining and using tables, pivot-tables, copying formatting with the paintbrush, goal-seek, and finally, control-semicolon to insert today's date.

The various forms of paste special, I knew about from before, and I also knew about the dragging to fill in values stuff.

All in all, a very good video with a lot of things I didn't know.

criddell 3 ago 0 replies      
That's a pretty good demonstration of some of the strengths of the ribbon interface.

After watching this, I went to Google Docs to try to reproduce some of this and it felt very clunky. The first thing I realized I didn't have is a styles manager but I was able to install an add-on. For other parts (like creating tables) I was stuck.

I wonder if a similar demo in Libre Office would be as impressive?

Edit: I just tried Excel Online and it worked surprisingly well. Last time I tried it, Google Sheets felt way better but now I'm not so sure.

TallGuyShort 4 ago 8 replies      
I've been using Linux on the desktop for years and have never missed Microsoft Office (except for Project, a little bit). Now seeing R1C1 notation is making me want Excel... Any recommendations for FOSS spreadsheet software that supports R1C1 notation or that is generally better than LibreOffice Calc?
Globz 3 ago 0 replies      
Great video, it actually reminded me of CTRL+D!

One of my many assignments at my job is to work with excel on a weekly basis exporting data dumps from MYSQL to excel ranging from 50k to 100k rows.

At first it was a daunting task but once I learned how to build some solid templates then all I had to do was to dump the data set into a tab and let the formulas do the work, everything was already formatted so I could just start validating the data then email it to the sales team for further analysis.

If you take the time to analyze your data sets and get to know how to handle each type of data then you can build some really solid template in a fairly short amount of time.

I try to avoid using excel as much as possible but this damn thing is so deeply rooted into the "business analyst" world that you can't really escape it so this is why I told myself that I would be better off mastering it and build solid reporting templates instead of trying to change their mind about using alternative software.

On a side note we started using WebFocus... that's another monster to tame...

Erwin 3 ago 1 reply      
I had a chuckle at Joey calling @ "a bagel". I guess that's a New York thing.

Over here we call them "elephant-trunk-A" (interestingly elephant symbols are quite common here in e.g. royal/government coats of arms and the "Order of the Elephant" being the highest chivalric order).

ForFreedom 3 ago 0 replies      
He says,"I am not taking your questions because your questions are stupid and check the internet"
pgt 3 ago 2 replies      
This is great. I just made a little internal slideshow for everyone at our company to get them to watch this. Link:


Thanks, Joel!

partycoder 4 ago 1 reply      
For many uses, I dropped Excel and replaced it with R. Doesn't hang with thousands/millions of rows.
Hydraulix989 3 ago 0 replies      
This guy was an ex PM for Excel at Microsoft.

He even had Bill Gates review his spec:


hkmurakami 4 ago 10 replies      
Things in which people consistently overrate their skills: Super Smash Brothers, Scalable Backend Systems, Microsoft Excel.
branchless 4 ago 0 replies      
Interesting, any recommended resources to take it up a level?
Gustomaximus 4 ago 2 replies      
I can't agree with'always name a cell/range' and dont put numbers. This gets very confusing for a second person working on the workbook. Typically sheets get large and they get all these names building up over time. You end up with no idea with what someone is referring to.

Also for 'paste special' I dint notice him mention Crt+Alt+V which is really shortcut vs using menu dropdown.

Ctr+D was new to me. Thats a great one.

thomasthomas 3 ago 2 replies      
i've worked for many banks. amazing how reliant the whole industry, therefore the world economy, relies on excel.


mooneater 3 ago 1 reply      
The Goal Seek part was painful to watch. Why would rounding completely break that? And why would it end up at 9 billion?
ishtanbul 4 ago 0 replies      
talking about the importance of variable input cells in minute 43 smh. working in finance this is not very impressive. also excel on a mac is inferior.

I think only about 1% of excel users actually build models with it so the need for advanced skills in using the program just aren't necessary, such as for storing data and maybe making pivot tables...

swingbridge 3 ago 0 replies      
Being an Excel jockey was "cool" in the 90s and 00s but all the cool number crunching kids are much more likely to be using something like Jupyter Notebook, R or homebrew command like stuff these days.
erikb 3 ago 0 replies      
He is so entertaining despite only having taught me one or two minor things.
rietta 3 ago 0 replies      
One thing I find interesting is that on the Mac OS X Excel, Cmd+T is the toggle for the relative/absolute cell references, but in Google Sheets it's F4, just like Windows Excel.
avindroth 3 ago 1 reply      
Is there Excel with vim bindings? Or anything with equivalent speed/modal editing?

Or is the default Excel good enough to warrant relearning all the navigation hotkeys?

And how is org-mode as an alternative?

hellofunk 3 ago 0 replies      
I take offense at this. Mr. Spolsky, you do not know me! King Kong ain't got nothing on me! I excel at Excel!
madengr 3 ago 0 replies      
Many years ago there was a harmonic balance (circuit) simulator in Excel. Pretty crazy.
trymas 3 ago 2 replies      
Good content, but could he please stop calling listener a dummy baby!

I understand that he is presenting to his employees or to some company, but it's still disrespectable. If he is not my greatest buddy - don't call me a dummy baby.

unixhero 3 ago 0 replies      
Yeah. He probably has a crowd that sucks at Excel because that goal seek stuff is not exactly a revolutionary Excel trick.
TimesOldRoman 3 ago 0 replies      
Wow I've read stuff by Joel but never watched; he comes across as a total prick.
FabHK 3 ago 0 replies      
Did he cover volatile functions? Did he cover F9 vs Shift-F9 vs Ctrl-Alt-F9?
lgomezma 3 ago 0 replies      
I really suck at Excel
s_chaudhary 3 ago 0 replies      
pandas anyone?
fu9ar 4 ago 1 reply      
idk im pretty good at exporting to CSV.
GrumpyNl 3 ago 0 replies      
wow, i want a i-phone so i can play a 25 year old game on it.
guyzmo 3 ago 0 replies      
well, the main feature Excel really suck, and makes it almost impossible to use: Undo/Redo. Why the hell did they make undo/redo work across spreadsheets (eventually reopening closed spreadsheets)?

And then, why is it impossible once you wrote some content, to copy it, undo writing it and paste it? The copy gets undoed!

To me, that behaviour makes Excel unusable.

And anyway, why would any decent SW engineer want to use Excel, which is like a 2 dimensional view of the world, whereas after a career designing software I can see the multiverse.

orbitingpluto 4 ago 0 replies      
Real men use PowerShell to edit their Excel files. :j

edit: I did do this once, but it didn't scale to larger files. Also, it was the only option on those Windows RT Surface tablets.

jackinmyshoes 4 ago 1 reply      
That was incredibly boring, why is this getting so many up-votes?
iPhone 7 apple.com
750 points by benigeri  4 ago   1724 comments top 114
slg 4 ago  replies      
I still can't get over the headphone jack. Apple does have a good record of abandoning technologies at the right time (floppies, CDs, Flash, etc) but the biggest difference is that those technologies were all on the downward slope of their popularity when Apple made the move and all had solid replacements available at the time. The headphone jack is just as popular today as it has ever been and it is still more convenient and dependable than wireless headphones for most people in most situations. Maybe that changes soon or maybe AirPods solve this for iOS users (they by design can't be a universal solution) but I can't help but feel that Apple is jumping the gun on dropping the jack. Although as an iPhone user, I hope I'm wrong.

Side note, I think it is hilarious that Apple can't get the AirPods to ship at the same time as the iPhone. Anyone who buys the new phone on release is going to be stuck with the crappy lightning headphones for at least a month and a half.

tptacek 4 ago 6 replies      
I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that cameras are nice and so are Retina displays but what we'd really like to see is a big splashy page about whatever's new with the Secure Enclave Processor in the 7.

Not because there's anything wrong with the 6! Ivan Krstic's talk about Apple platform security at Black Hat was probably the best talk of the whole event. Nobody is delivering seamlessly integrated chipset-up-through-application security the way Apple is. Forget about in mobile devices; I mean, in computing, period.

I'm excited to learn what else is coming there!

tebruno99 4 ago 17 replies      
I'm not even upset about the headphone jack. Whatever. I'm really upset because you won't be able to do the following:

1.) Audio+GPS+Charging in non-Bluetooth Car.

2.) Listening to music at desk and still have enough charge for the Audio+GPS for the drive home.

3.) No more listening to music/audiobooks as I fall asleep because in the morning the iPhone won't be charged for my desk usage the next day unless I wake up and plug it back in during my sleep.

They can do whatever they want with the headphone jack, but pretending like we don't need to plug the phone in!! Thats daft.

seizethecheese 4 ago 1 reply      
srikz 4 ago 2 replies      
I somehow expected a ton of conversation around the new A10 Fusion chip. After 340+ comments I couldn't find any mention of it (I just did a page search for A10, A10 Fusion). Apple were already ahead with their per-core performance but seems like they have widened the gap even further this time with their version of the big.LITTLE arrangement. Wonder how Qualcomm's next chips will be. From what I heard, 820 will be the last custom chip they will do and from now on the CPU will be just the reference ARM chips and they will focus on the GPU and better integration of radios on the chip. Someone with more knowledge (about Apple's and Qualcomm's chip) please fill in.
balabaster 4 ago 8 replies      
It's water resistant but water damage isn't covered under warranty? How can you have it both ways like that?

"Water resistance IP67 under IEC standard 60529. Liquid damage not covered under warranty."

How does one make such a big deal of it being water resistant (Product film: 1m 35s; "...to make this the first water resistant iPhone") but not cover liquid damage under warranty?

protomyth 4 ago 3 replies      
They used the word "courage" during the keynote. I would say the actual words are "lock in" and "licensing fees". I would have been ok with USB-C because at least those will be able to move between machines.

The adapter is useless for me since it doesn't allow power to be supplied so my long drives are now problematic. I guess I'll have to take that into account on buying the next car.

Rezo 4 ago 3 replies      
I'm disappointed by how boring the two-camera solution in the 7 Plus is. I was really hoping they were going show something interesting, like fusion of the two sensors through computational photography into one, with better low-light performance and less noise through downsampling. Or take +1 & -1 exposures simultaneously for a greater dynamic range.

Instead we got a button to switch from one lens to the other, for a 2x optical zoom. That's it. 99% of the time that second sensor and lens will do absolutely zilch. The computational bokeh appears to only use the 56mm lens for the actual photo, and the other lens to capture a depth map to compute the fake bokeh. This is hardly any better than the existing fake bokeh solutions shown many times before on Androids, Nokias and in iOS apps over the years that do the same, except it's a bit faster. The whole thing feels like just another checkbox feature, with very little actual value.

sxcurry 4 ago 3 replies      
Well, it's official - Apple has failed again! Doomed I tell you, doomed! Forget the performance enhancements, better battery life, fantastic new cameras, etc, etc - I have to use a new earbud cable. Plus, Jony Ive is going around putting super glue in all the old iPhone audio jacks, so I can't even use my existing earbuds with my existing iPhone. Plus, Apple is charging me $0.00 for the adapter so that I can use my ratty old earbuds with my new phone. Doomed, I tell you.
rad_gruchalski 4 ago 2 replies      
The premiere of the next mbp next year:"And... We listened to you. We've been hearing that you are upset about not being able to use the same headphones for your computer and iphone 7. We fixed that. We've removed the 3.5mm jack from the new mbp. It's magical."
randomsearch 4 ago 5 replies      
I have two thoughts on the headphone jack:

1. Most of the use cases being discussed here are irrelevant for the average iPhone user. Charging and listening at the same time is not a thing for most users. I know there are perfectly reasonable scenarios where it is useful, but most people don't care. Regarding battery life: personally, I use my iPhone quite a lot, often with bluetooth headphones, and I have had to charge it only once or twice during the daytime in the last two years. If you play a lot of games, or use GPS intensively for a few hours, then battery life could be an issue. For the average consumer, I don't think it will be a major concern.

2. OTOH, in the last few years headphones have become a very, very big market. They are a huge status symbol for teenagers and early 20-somethings. If you've saved a lot of money to afford a pair in that stage of life, the headphone jack is a big deal. It's not going to be "cool" to carry around an adapter all the time, and regardless people will hear "no headphone jack" and be annoyed. That demographic seems key to me in maintaining Apple's market lead over the long term, i.e. trend-setting young people.

Overall, I actually think that (2) will be a very big issue. Whilst I am of the opinion that wires are horrible in general, Apple may have misread its market here.

qnk 4 ago 3 replies      

 The high-gloss finish of the Jet Black iPhone 7 is achieved through a precision nine-step anodization and polishing process. Its surface is equally as hard as other anodized Apple products; however, its high shine may show fine micro-abrasions with use. If you are concerned about this, we suggest you use one of the many cases available to protect your iPhone.[1]
I think I'd go for the Black one instead.


Unklejoe 4 ago 4 replies      
Can the 3.5mm to Lightning adapters be legally produced without paying royalties to Apple for using the Lightning connector?

On a related note: I wonder if one reason for eliminating the jack is to close that open interface which some devices like the "Square" were using. I'm not sure how much of an impact this has though; it was just a thought.

jamesmccann 4 ago 5 replies      
Feeling pretty disillusioned by another iPhone andiOS update. The 3.5mm coupled with lightning instead of USB-C just look like obvious traps for lock in with no real gain (5hr of playback time?!)

iOS still continues its march of adding minor features that should be in regular OTA updates and packing them up with some serious marketing hype. There's barely any improvement here and most of the features are already well implemented in Android / Google Apps or Facebook Messenger.


niftich 4 ago 4 replies      
This is a Nice Device. You can read my other comments lamenting the headphone jack, this comment isn't about that.

The screen is beautiful. The two cameras are a clever trick that I hope work as well as advertised -- and their cameras have been historically very good. Splash resistance is overdue, but appreciated.

But A10 is a bit of a disappointment [1][2], only as powerful as the A9X. Do they have any new hardware encode/decode blocks at least?

With A9 they were having yield issues and had to different traces being manufactured by two different fabs to enhance capacity. What do we know on the chip front?

[1] https://www.techtastic.nl/smartphones/apple-a10-soc-van-ipho...

[2] http://www.trustedreviews.com/news/iphone-7-benchmarked-here...

primitivesuave 4 ago 4 replies      
I found the WhatsApp integration the most intriguing part of the announcement. By allowing calls from WhatsApp to also be received, I am assuming they are making the native calling/iMessaging API available to any iOS application.

While messaging with iMessage, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, etc. can be done over WiFi only, calling is traditionally reliant on a cellular provider. The new iPhone only requires a WiFi network, and with the proliferation of WiFi and the first city-wide networks (e.g. Barcelona), it is possible that in the next decade all communication will be done over the Internet.

Also, during a recent trip to Japan I saw an $120 SIM card that gives unlimited Internet access for a year. This works out to $10/month, which is far less than what I pay for Verizon. So in a way this new iPhone may eventually cause cellular networks to primarily become providers of remote Internet access, as telephony shifts to the apps that the local people use to connect with each other.

artmageddon 4 ago 13 replies      
$160 for the AirPods? My goodness those are expensive.
koolba 4 ago 3 replies      
OT / @dang: This thread really makes one appreciate the new collapsible comments!
SurrealSoul 4 ago 16 replies      
Honestly if you had an iPhone 6 why would you upgrade? Better battery life is cool, and it being waterproof is novel. However, its basically the same phone for the end consumer.
bluedino 4 ago 4 replies      
Enough about the headphone jack going away - isn't anyone concerned with how big of a deal they made about Pokemon on the Apple watch?

Apple looked so uncool and out of it when they continued to talk about it. Half the crowd has forgotten Pokemon Go even existed by this point.

arihant 4 ago 1 reply      
I'm seriously not comfortable with getting audio through a digital port that has an authentication chip built in. That's HDCP and DRM for music waiting to burst into life.

"Unauthorized playback."

plg 4 ago 3 replies      
AirPods - so is walking around with a thing in your ear cool now? Around here it certainly still signals "I am a jackass"
mwalkerwells 4 ago 4 replies      
What are they going to do with the 3.5mm audio jacks on Macs? So Apple removes the 3.5mm audio jack from the phone & adds a lightening port to the mac?

It makes me imagine how nice it would have been to ditch both the 3.5mm & lightening port & replace it with a USB-C port across product lines.

Obviously that would have been even more drastic in many ways, but I can't help but think that they have painted themselves into a strange corner.

ChrisBland 4 ago 3 replies      
Cool - more dongles, adaptors + what not to carry around and lose and then pay apple another $40 for each time. I say this writing on my Thunderbolt display that has since been rendered obsolete if I ever want a new macbook
eriknstr 4 ago 0 replies      
I submitted the URL for archival as have a lot of other people done, but what I found strange is that there are archived versions of "page not found" results going all the way back to 2014.


Meanwhile, nobody has attempted to archive links for iPhone 8.

I guess maybe the IA crawlers found links to the page from elsewhere. Links made either by mistake or by someone making a joke about the release of iPhone 7 back in 2014 and betting on people not actually following the link. I dunno.

curiousfiddler 4 ago 3 replies      
I have a design issue with AirPods. When my earphones (with wire) fall off (and it happens when you're running or doing some other similar activity), I know for sure, that me or someone else accidentally won't crush them, because the wires often prevent them from falling on the floor. I don't know how the current design of AirPods would prevent that.
carlisle_ 4 ago 1 reply      
> 2 louder than iPhone 6s

Just the thing BART & MUNI really needed.

songgao 4 ago 1 reply      
2.4Ghz is super congested. 802.11g is. Bluetooth is. Even your microwave is on 2.4GHz. If everybody starts to use Bluetooth headphones all the time, I fear it's gonna make it totally unusable.
pawelwentpawel 4 ago 6 replies      
Can somebody explain why a lens with f1.8 is not able to provide the depth of field effect on itself?
jimjimjim 4 ago 2 replies      
so, what's the next market/eco-system?

mobiles are mature products and the players are strictly in cash-cow or market share mode. nothing of importance is changing.

I've got an iphone se and an iphone 4 and you can't tell me that's the most they can do for 6 years of product development by one of the richest companies in the world. (yes i know that it's faster with more a and more b and more c etc)

Apple needs to drip feed improvements over the next x years to keep sales up so we can't expect anything game changing.

"The Others" are trying this and that but nothing seems to be sticking, probably not able to drive consumer desire enough.

so if nothing is happening, what is the post-phone next-big-thing to get into?

ng-user 4 ago 4 replies      
> "Up to 5hr. of battery life on one charge"

How the fuck is it acceptable to completely remove the jack and replace it with this 'superior' technology?

centizen 4 ago 1 reply      
We knew it was going to happen, but I am still disappointed the 3.5mm jack is gone.
qaq 4 ago 2 replies      
I think Apple needs to add a few younger people to their executive team, because it seams they no longer can even pretend to be exited during the presentation.
xbryanx 4 ago 0 replies      
I know this is a minority use case, but my iPhone is a great tool for testing whether audio equipment is working or not when I'm doing media system installs. Simply plug in the iPhone and play some sounds. Alas...
BuckRogers 4 ago 1 reply      
They just solidified the iPhone SE as the best product they offer. No way to charge the iPhone7 and use wired headphones at the same time. A camera wart so the phone isn't flat like the SE. The loss of extra battery by going with a wart over a thicker, easier to hold phone like the SE.

I'll be sticking with my 5S, and my wife is no longer upgrading her 4S to the 7 as we were planning.

We love our iPhones, but we do need to replace hers and now looking for non-Apple alternatives since while I prefer the SE over everything on the market, she thought she was going to want the 7 Plus.

metafunctor 4 ago 1 reply      
The keynote was trying to boast the gaming capabilities with a demo of 400 monkeys.

Weak. Give me 400 monkeys, then 4000 monkeys, then 400 000 monkeys, and now the monkeys are forming a fractal, but the fractal is just the surface of a sphere, and zooming out there are a million spheres, and the spheres form a monkey.

Now THAT's a demo.

finnh 4 ago 2 replies      
picture two friends in a car: "oh hey this music is the jam, let me play it for you."

5 minutes of dicking with bluetooth pairing later: "FUCKING BLUETOOTH GODDAMN IT. welp, never mind"

(conversational lull follows)

chris_overseas 4 ago 1 reply      
From the website, big and bold: "iPhone. Now in stereo."

Honest question, not having owned an iPhone before - is this really the first iPhone that can produce stereo sound through the speakers? If true, that seems like a crazy thing to advertise given how standard a feature it has been in most phones for so long. On the other hand, if iPhones have had stereo output already, why shout about it now?

mrb 4 ago 2 replies      
Weird. Nowhere is stated the amount of RAM the phone has. Not even http://www.apple.com/iphone-7/specs/

Wikipedia claims 1GB (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone_7). Can't be right?

msie 4 ago 1 reply      
Being able to collapse comments comes in real handy here! Collapsing the headphone-jack threads...
obilgic 4 ago 1 reply      
One thing that hasn't been mentioned is AirPods seem super useful for taking phone calls and all the other apps such as Snapchat, I would wear them off all day.

Airpods might become the virtual reality for your ears.

cozzyd 4 ago 2 replies      
Well, at least the lack of a headphone jack might prevent some people from using a selfie stick.
davidiach 4 ago 1 reply      
I was really impressed with the new camera. It seems to me this was a bigger improvement than what they usually do.
AceJohnny2 4 ago 2 replies      
I was really curious how they'd handle wireless audio. In my experience, Bluetooth is slow to pair, connect, and glitchy in common environments. So I find it very indicative that the new Airpods do not mention Bluetooth, and the Beats Solo3 cryptically mentions "Connections: Bluetooth, Wireless" on its product page [1]. Sadly, I don't expect them to open their tech to 3rd parties soon :(

[1] http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MNEN2LL/A/beats-solo3-wire...

grandalf 4 ago 2 replies      
I've been trying out $49 Android phones lately after using an iPhone 6 Plus for over a year.

Android is getting to the point where most users will not really notice a difference between Android and IOS, even on a very inexpensive device.

nikon 3 ago 0 replies      
Really boring and hard to justify the cash. Wish I had a 6S so I could keep it for a year or so... I have iOS 10 right now and it's quite laggy on my 6.

Regarding the comments about how do I charge and listen, I accidentally found this dock[0]. Not sure if it's a new product.

[0] http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MNN62/iphone-lightning-doc...

overcast 4 ago 5 replies      
I especially enjoyed the last second comment under his breath regarding the matte black iPhone 7 pricing.

32GB standard for all models, except the matte black, which will ONLY come in 128GB, and you'll be paying $100 more at $750.

Nice underhanded move by Apple to maximize profit for what will undoubtedly be the most popular color.

First they force everyone to buy the 32GB upgrade last year on the 6S, now you're forced to do the same to 128GB, unless you want a rose colored phone.

The camera upgrade looks nice, but the headphone jack is a joke. Another wire that will inevitably fall apart like the other Apple lightning connectors.

EDIT: Jet Black, NOT Matte Black. Still dumb.

qaq 4 ago 6 replies      
charging while using headphones?
jakobegger 4 ago 0 replies      
The Airpods look like a genuine improvement. I really hate untangling my earphones every time I use them. The carrying case looks brilliant; much nicer to carry a smooth case than a mess of wires in my pocket.
jug 3 ago 0 replies      
Surprised to see them not move from Lighting to USB-C with this. Now we'll have a new generation of EarPods that won't fit their new generation of MacBooks. It seems disjointed for how coherent a company like Apple tends to be, now that they had the opportunity to unite their product line better with purely digital audio.

Was USB-C supposed to be their future or not...? It sounded like it when they introduced the MacBook. Do their teams communicate well with a lack of strife?

adolfoabegg 4 ago 4 replies      
They didn't mention wireless charging, did they?
ksec 2 ago 0 replies      
Absolutely amazing HN thread, 1711 comment as of now and less then 10 are on A10 SoC?

It is truly a astonishing, how they manage to use the same TSMC 16nm, and get 40% single core performance increase. The rumors is the same SoC core from A9 but 40% higher clock speed from 1.8Ghz to 2.6Ghz, while keeping the same thermal envelop.

Some people were wondering if these Smartphone CPU can easily scale up the clockspeed. Turns out it can. And the performance could now exceed the baseline performance of Macbook.

i.e, Apart from compatibility reason, there is no longer a case for Apple to continue and use Intel CPU. A Quad Core A10 may even outrun the current Macbook Pro given the similar TDP.

lifeformed 4 ago 0 replies      
Is this website a terrible viewing experience for anyone else? The videos don't work, and I can't scroll the slideshows unless I flick super fast. I'm on Chrome desktop.
brian-armstrong 4 ago 3 replies      
I'm curious if this spells the end for the headphone jack in the industry. Now that's gone from the iPhone, should we expect other phones to drop it? What about tablets and laptops?
nickpp 4 ago 1 reply      
Still downscaling the iPhone 7 Plus resolution down to 1080p?! Still no 1-1 pixel mapping?!

I know nobody else cares...

coldtea 3 ago 0 replies      
I think the only people that are annoyed with the camera bulge (a functional bulge if there ever was one) are people with OCD -- it "ruins" the perfectly straight edge. It's not like you'll ever feel it in your pocket or something.

Meanwhile, just a decade or so ago most phones had camera bulges, edge bulges, antennas that stretched out from the body, were 3-4 times the thickness, etc.

MrLeftHand 3 ago 2 replies      
Great, now they have a phone with double camera wart and no jack.

Also what's up with Apple being so obsessed about pictures? I know you want to have the nude selfie in the toilet to be the best as possible, but come on!

And everything revolves around fitness. People wont get up from their bum, just because their watch tells them to. And the other who already do fitness don't need a watch to tell them how fit they are. They already know. Because they can feel it.

And I almost forgot that having now two different types of back casing is a feature apparently.

Last but not least, Apple is still ignoring the cries of millions of users about the battery life. That majority of the people would trade in the slim design for days worth of juice.

Who cares about paper thin phones when you have to put them into a case with extra battery within it to have it powered through the day?

Who cares about the seamless Jet Black casing when you put the phone into an ugly plastic case?

It looks like 'Form Over Function' again for Apple.

Good job apple, this is probably the most uninteresting keynote ever. Except for the people dancing in stockings at the end.

coryfklein 4 ago 1 reply      
I'm having a hard time seeing the value add on the AirPods that justifies paying ~5x the cost of stock Bluetooth earphones.

Siri integration and easier charging is definitely really cool, but not worth paying $120 over regular Bluetooth headphones that will probably be copy cat'ing that functionality in t minus 3, 2, 1...

Pxtl 4 ago 1 reply      
I do hope that this will push Bluetooth technology forwards - on my android devices bluetooth audio sound-quality is poor and skips when you launch resource-intensive applications. Also, the UI for syncing and selecting bluetooth devices is generally mediocre and confusing.
HeavyStorm 4 ago 0 replies      
Question: besides a cool accessory (airpods), and a weird double camera thing, what's really pushing forward here?

Galaxies have been splash proof for some generations, and Bluetooth phones aren't new (only the design of this one seems to beat everything else).

Other than that, only traditional Moores Law advancements, like, more battery, more RAM, more processing power. None of these are enabling techs, in that they don't enable you to do anything that you can't with older devices.

So, I guess, update when the old one gives up the ghost?

OJFord 4 ago 0 replies      
RIP scroll. What a nasty web page.

It also looks really plastic-y in those renderings.

Animats 3 ago 0 replies      

Here's an ad for the 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Aire. (Available "with two four-barrel carburetors!" Two-tone paint! Tailfins!) There's about as much difference between the new IPhone and the N-1 model as there was between the 1956 and 1957 Chevys.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-HelvOG5RE

AndrewKemendo 4 ago 1 reply      
It's hard to know without it in my hands how big of a deal the stereo camera is going to be. The fact that it wasn't designed for depth (at least publicly stated) makes it a little unnerving - for example having to compensate for two separate focal lengths to get good parallax is going to be a pain. However we built our SLAM around taking on dual cameras IF they happened to show up so we should be ok with some parameter changes on each input.

Anyway, AR is about to explode.

chadlavi 4 ago 1 reply      
everyone: "This does not perfectly fit my current unique use case, so damn it to hell"
Yhippa 4 ago 1 reply      
I'll give them credit for going deeper into features in he new phones. I question whether people will think to use them if they go into their phone for a specific task.
k2xl 4 ago 5 replies      
Honest question - Aren't IPhones already pretty water resistant?

Unless getting dunked in water, I haven't heard of anyone having any issues with water damaging their IPhone.

davidf18 4 ago 0 replies      
I'm most concerned about voice quality. Any indication that there are more or better quality microphones.

Also, I'm concerned about the LTE: on the Verizon network it sounds like they're using the same modem as the Galaxy S7.https://www.qualcomm.com/products/snapdragon/modems/x12

Is that correct?

neals 4 ago 1 reply      
How am I not going to loose those two tiny little earbuds?
hmate9 4 ago 1 reply      
I won't be buying the new iPhone but I thinks removing the headphone jack seems like an extremely small problem.

The main issue seems to be that you now can't charge and listen to music at the same time. How often do you actually do that? In the past 5 years I have probably done that once.

For those of you who do think it is an inconvenience, I bet there will be a product on the market in 2 weeks that eliminates this problem.

exodust 3 ago 0 replies      
I wish people would care for the environment more and keep their phones and devices for longer.

Even the packaging mostly ends up in landfill. There is something unhealthy about "shiny new toys" released every year that we must have according to the media's frenzy of Apple advertising.

breatheoften 4 ago 0 replies      
I want a combination wallet+airpod dock+phone battery case. Wallet, airpod dock, retractable lightning connector (to charge iPhone), retractable usb cable (to charge battery). Battery doesn't need to be huge, just enough to get you another 20% or so phone charge -- and I imagine that would be enough battery for a whole lot of airpod recharges.
msoad 4 ago 4 replies      
I buy a new iPhone every year. I think phone utilization is so high that around $1 a day is nothing for it.

Compare it with cars clothes and other things

walterbell 4 ago 0 replies      
The new "collapse subthread" HN feature was very useful for hiding 600+ messages in the headphone jack subthread.
ulfw 4 ago 0 replies      
I can't believe that even the newest Beats 3 Solo Wireless have Micro-USB charging. Talk about Apple not knowing what their product charging/connection strategy is! (Lightning for AirPods, but Micro-USB for Beats, Lightning for everything else, from Apple Pencil charging to Apple Mouse)
72deluxe 3 ago 0 replies      
The TMobile/Google G1 I had used to have no headphone jack and relied on an adapter. It was really annoying.

One point about the stereo speakers is that you'd need to put your face/nose right next to the phone to appreciate the stereo, surely?

evan_ 4 ago 2 replies      
One major thing I haven't seen anyone mention about replacing wired headphones with wireless is that as far as I know, you're not supposed to use wireless headphones on a plane. I don't think you'd actually get hassled by a flight attendant but who knows.
sudeepj 3 ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't the AirPods will be very easy to lose? What if they drop-off while snoozing. I mean with wired headphones, even if they come out of the ear (say while sleeping on a long travel) they are still attached to the phone and hence cannot lose them.
sundvor 4 ago 0 replies      
This comment will probably drown in the deluge, but it'll be interested to see if there market for higher quality Bluetooth DACs just got cracked open a bit. I use a Soundblaster E5 myself; this thing is great.
gchokov 3 ago 0 replies      
Let me say it simply, contrary to many others.. I am buying one.
icinnamon 4 ago 2 replies      
Confused about what earphones come with the iPhone 7. The standard analog ones (since an adapter is included)? Feels very backwards... unless I'm missing something...

Also, no new MBP is very disappointing.

saynsedit 4 ago 3 replies      
I feel like I can't buy this unless Apple pays its EU-enforced Irish tax bill. We give them money but the vast majority of it never goes back into the economy.

[Edited for technical correctness]

gigatexal 4 ago 0 replies      
The lack of the headphone doesn't bother me. I am excited to see what the future holds for digital audio out. I don't care for the airpods though.
alanmeaney 4 ago 0 replies      
Genius move by apple. Nothing said 'I'm cool' like the white headphone cables, same effect with new wireless Airpods
ngrilly 4 ago 0 replies      
The biggest drawback, maybe the only drawback of this new iPhone, is that you can't use the EarPods while charging.

(Edited for clarity)

nathancahill 4 ago 1 reply      
Interesting, the Unlocked option isn't available on the Apple Store right now. Temporary quirk until preorders?
pankaj_k 3 ago 0 replies      
If there's so much courage, they should remove them jacks from their macbooks also ;)
sofaofthedamned 4 ago 1 reply      
Does anybody have any technical details on these headphones?

Are they Bluetooth or not? Or is it the usual proprietary crap?

tempodox 3 ago 0 replies      
And destroying the headphone market with yet another incompatible plug. Count me out.
tetraodonpuffer 4 ago 1 reply      
what would be interesting for the iphone 7 plus would be to use the telephoto camera for a picture, and use the information from the wide-angle camera to improve the noise reduction in low light, I wonder if Apple is going to also do this (besides using it for bokeh)
fnj 4 ago 1 reply      
To all: it's Lightning [R], not lightening. Go ahead. Call me a nitpicker.
alkonaut 4 ago 3 replies      
They claim the plus as "optical zoom" and talk about a 2x factor. Do they mean it can switch between a wide and tele focal length? That isn't "zoom" (at least not in the normal sense) - it's just two focal lengths with a switch. Did I understand the feature correctly?
malloryerik 3 ago 0 replies      
What about the mic for voice calls?
gjolund 4 ago 1 reply      
I suppose the iPhone7 is nice if you like being told what you need by the largest corporation on the planet.
dominotw 4 ago 0 replies      
i don't take pictures or live a gregarious life of the people in the promo.
aledalgrande 4 ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know more about the cameras on the Plus? Are they synchronized via hardware?
asragab 4 ago 0 replies      
I look forward to measuring graphics performance in FMPF (Flying Monkeys Per Frame)
danra 4 ago 1 reply      
So disappointing they just decided to ignore "touch disease". Bad form.
mslot 4 ago 0 replies      
I wonder if the 2 cameras can be used as a stereo camera for augmented reality.
orf 4 ago 1 reply      
No headphone jack, and it still breaks when you drop it. Not worth it.
tintor 4 ago 0 replies      
No 3.5" floppy drive on the iPhone 7? What is Apple thinking?
twostorytower 4 ago 0 replies      
Looks like they silently killed off the 64GB version :(
modzu 4 ago 3 replies      
bet they bring back the jack in iphone 8
Enlovened 3 ago 0 replies      
_superposition_ 4 ago 0 replies      
Those won't get lost...
jcoffland 3 ago 0 replies      
Mehhhh... Who cares?
romanovcode 4 ago 3 replies      
Still no MacBook. What a shame.
alberthartman 3 ago 0 replies      
Steve jobs is dead. It shows.
_bojan 4 ago 1 reply      
Removed audio jack and still not waterproof.
drivingmenuts 4 ago 0 replies      
No audio jack - no iPhone 7 for me.

End of discussion.

sergiotapia 4 ago 1 reply      
You know I was annoyed the audio port being missing but after seeing the new airpods, I'm sold. They look amazing, and will be fantastic to use in the gym. I'm sold. Take my money!
mustaflex 4 ago 5 replies      
the price for heaven's sake... it's me or every year the new model gets almost 100 bucks more expensive the the previous one. We can expect a base price of 1000 in 5 or 6 years.
a_sriram 4 ago 3 replies      
I wonder why they removed the 3d touch?edit: I just saw the video...its still there. Looks like it is a default feature now. My bad.
pearjuice 4 ago 0 replies      
So it's water resistant but not water proof... It has 2 cameras like other Android phones had years ago. Basically same everything but with a Mario app and no headphone jack? Do you think Steve Jobs would have approved of this to hit retail?
bane 4 ago 2 replies      
It's official, Apple is basically resorting to nickle and diming their customers, except instead of nickles and dimes, it's $160 to achieve very basic functionality in order to achieve something that virtually nobody really honestly cares about. All that's been achieved is that Apple has now created/affirmed a new non-optional secondary market that they're now positioned to best sell into (Beats). There's not even the decency to see if people care about a thinner phone by offering both a thin model without a jack and a thicker phone with one (for some strategically important price differential).

But honestly, complaints and analysis don't matter, people will line up to buy this garbage and to make it worse it'll become a stupid trend that will bleed over into Android-land and now instead of the perfectly fine $10 headphones I picked up at Big Lots, I'll have to shell out 10x that so I can listen to a podcast on my way to work.

edit and they don't even have the respect for their customers to ship their stupid buds on time with the product that requires them...so that their customers can look like bluetooth douchebags from both sides.

Some bad Git situations and how I got myself out of them ohshitgit.com
694 points by emilong  2 ago   330 comments top 66
mhw 2 ago 3 replies      
One of the nice workflows that's already built in to the git command line tools is this one. When you're working on a branch and realise that a commit you made a few commits back has a mistake in it:

 # Make correcting change git commit --all --fixup=<ref of commit with mistake> # Continue working on branch, then at some point git rebase --interactive --autosquash
The --fixup option creates commits with subjects formatted like 'fixup! previous commit subject'. --autosquash uses these subjects when building the interactive rebase list.

Handy enough that I set rebase.autoSquash to true in my ~/.gitconfig so 'git rebase -i' always works like this.

eyelidlessness 2 ago 16 replies      
I can't believe no one has responded yet with "use a GUI". After gaining a basic understanding of how branches and merges work, and I do mean basic, I've never been able to screw up a local repo with a GUI client enough that I haven't been able to recover with the same GUI tools.

I understand that people need to know how to use their tools, but for git most people can get away with the very basic usage that GUIs provide. If you've made some unrecoverable mistake with an important set of changes, you can always review the history in the same GUI and reimplement the important changes in a new branch.

dep_b 2 ago 3 replies      
Somebody proposed to use a GUI. That doesn't solve the usability issues of Git. There's this triangle of what the user tries to do, what the commands and options are called and what they actually do. None of them really align, though with some careful use you can actually make Git do what you want - eventually.

I would like to understand what's the yearly damage of such an important tool being so difficult to use. People committing the wrong stuff, unmergeable messes, people not being able to correct their mistakes, there must be thousands of Git rookies fucking up their Git repo or throwing away their work just as I am writing this.

What would be the cost? Millions of Dollars? Perhaps even billions?

It's about as bad as 0 being a legit value for a regular pointer.

mathieuh 2 ago 3 replies      
I absolutely love git now.

I'm still at uni (at a highly ranked but actually crap university where we don't learn git properly) and this year was my 'year in industry' as we call it in the UK, and my first proper experience with git, aside from `git init` at the end of my project and pushing it to a repo.

I've become so much more confident with git. Seriously, with one caveat (i.e., you haven't pushed your changes to a branch which other developers are working on), it is almost impossible to break irrevocably. Even if you do accidentally break master/develop/whatever, it only causes a bit of hassle and grumbling.

Highly recommend that everyone take a bit of time to learn about "undoing" git commands, whether that's through soft resets, hard resets to origin, or the reflog.

Reflog is also useful for figuring out how someone else broke something and explaining what they did wrong, since you can see what branch they were on at what commit and what commands they ran.

I think git's main problem is the somewhat arcane language it uses, and lack of understanding of what's actually happening behind those words like "rebase", "commit", "patch", "reset" etc.

ThrustVectoring 2 ago 1 reply      
A somewhat lesser known git trick that's pretty much a strict improvement - use `--force-with-lease` for force pushing instead of `--force`.

What this does is check what's on the remote branch and compare it with what you think is on the remote branch, and only do the force if they're the same thing. So if someone pushes a commit, the force push errors out instead of silently overwriting it.

Basically every single time you want to force push, you probably should be doing a `--force-with-lease` instead. I can't think of a situation where you'd want to silently lose commits you don't know about rather than get an error.

mabbo 2 ago 1 reply      
One thing not covered very well was what to do if you push to origin. My favourite way to fix this: use git revert to create an exact opposite commit to your bad commit.

 git revert <bad commit> git push
It leaves a history of the mistake, for better or worse, but it does undo the mistake on origin.

wyclif 2 ago 3 replies      
If you're concerned about not knowing how to do certain things with git, and understanding at a deeper level how git works, I highly recommend reading Scott Chacon's "Pro Git" book:


froh42 2 ago 1 reply      
With all these recipies - one thing I do whenever I attempt some stunt in git: I assign temporary tags to every changeset that's important.

 git tag tmp git perform-stunt
This eases undoing the stunt without needing to find the "before" state from reflog. And if you use a graphical log viewer (I like SourceTree on Mac) you'll see the tagged state in the history view - which makes things a lot clearer.

And to be aware what happens, there one single explanation of git that helps a lot: http://eagain.net/articles/git-for-computer-scientists/

As soon as you start viewing git as a graph of nodes with branches/tags just being "marked" nodes a lot of things make sense, and whatever "git perform-stunt" you attempt it's easy to explain within that mental model.

niuzeta 2 ago 2 replies      
The last addendum reminds me of this inexorably relevant xkcd entry: https://xkcd.com/1597/
glandium 2 ago 2 replies      
> Oh shit, I accidentally committed to the wrong branch!

Other ways to do it (that don't require to retype the commit message):- rebase onto the correct branch:

 git branch foo git reset --hard HEAD~ git rebase --onto name-of-the-correct-branch HEAD foo git checkout name-of-the-correct-branch git merge foo git branch -D foo
- cherry-pick

 git reset --hard HEAD~ git checkout name-of-the-correct-branch git cherry-pick name-of-the-branch-you-mistakenly-committed-to@{1} (or git cherry-pick HEAD@{2})
> Oh shit, I tried to run a diff but nothing happened?!

You probably want to know `git diff HEAD` too.

Edit: formatting.

wfunction 2 ago 2 replies      
Surprised there was nothing on messed-up merges or rebases. They're some of the worst to get out of when you're not totally comfortable with git yet.
srigi 2 ago 2 replies      
Doing mumbo-jumbo between branches with `git stash` is way to hell. Don't do it, you lose data. This fucker will unstash changes until first conflict, then it stop and present you with <<<<<<<ID and >>>>>>>ID which nobody understand.Well I understand it, but never know which is which (theirs/ours label don't help here). You try to undo everything, but then you're fucked - all unstashed changes are removed from stash while conflicts are still there. You must be very careful now not to lose changes. You won't succeed!

That is I believe `git stash` should be removed from git as evil data loosing feature, not needed. Instead just make an alias `git save <TEMP_BRANCH_NAME>` which saves your temporary work to the branch:

`save = !sh -c 'export PREV=$(git symbolic-ref HEAD|cut -d/ -f3-) && git checkout -b "$1" && git commit -am "$1" && git checkout "$PREV"' -`

mcbain 2 ago 1 reply      
'sudo rmdir'? I don't think that does what they think it does.
chriswarbo 2 ago 0 replies      
Based on the article, and many of the comments here, I didn't realise how comfortable I have become using git!

For example, the last "bad situation" I had to get myself out of involved unreadable .git contents caused by filesystem corruption. If you can "rm -rf fucking-git-repo-dir" then it's not too bad; when that fails with an IO error is when things get interesting!

edem 2 ago 2 replies      
I really like this article but there is a problem with it: what happens if I use one of your techniques and I screw up? These steps you describe are a black box to someone who is no git savvy yet. While these definitely help but they propagate the "git is scary, cross your fingers" mentality. What I mean by this is that the reader won't be any wiser after reading

> git reset HEAD~ --hard

What is ~ after HEAD? What is --hard? Is there a --deep option as well?

So I think that you could upgrade this with some annotations over the cryptic parts with a little explanation. What do you think?

Illniyar 2 ago 3 replies      
Actually the easiest thing is simply not to care about how your log looks.

If you don't then there are ry only two things you need to know how to do:

If you didn't push to origin do an ammend. If you did, revert soft and commit the previous code to revert it (you can also put a stash or patch to apply it back).

Which frankly is what the article does, basically.

Hello71 2 ago 2 replies      
lots of these are unnecessarily complicated:

> Oh shit, I accidentally committed something to master that should have been on a brand new branch!

 # disappear the last commit and all changes from it git reset --hard HEAD^ # make a new branch using the last commit git checkout -b new-branch HEAD@{1}
> Oh shit, I accidentally committed to the wrong branch!

first, you don't need to git-add before and after stash, stash will save the working directory and the index (as documented in the DESCRIPTION of git-stash(1)). but for a more logical way:

 # disappear the last commit and all changes from it git reset --hard HEAD^ # get onto the new branch git checkout new-branch # grab the stuff from what was on the old branch git cherry-pick old-branch@{1}
> Oh shit, I tried to run a diff but nothing happened?!

 git diff --cached
recommended reading for intermediate git users: the DESCRIPTIONs of all of these commands (git-reset(1), git-checkout(1), git-cherry-pick(1), git-diff(1)), and the entirety of gitrevisions(7).

lambdacomplete 2 ago 3 replies      
Getting to "Fuck this noise, I give up." is a very clear indication that you aren't competent enough and you should take a GOOD course about git as soon as humanly possible.

Shameless plug: http://engineering.hipolabs.com/how-to-work-in-a-team-versio...

vacri 2 ago 0 replies      
Not quite in the spirit of this article, but "I just want this /one/ file without the rest of the changes from branch foo" is something I use all the time

 git checkout otherbranch git checkout firstbranch -- fileIwant maybe1more git commit -m "brought over files"

jmiserez 2 ago 0 replies      
This doesn't even cover half of the bad situations I've gotten myself in over the last few years :D

Long term, it's best to thouroughly read the man pages, e.g. nicely formatted here: https://git-scm.com/docs

mkj 2 ago 2 replies      
Another option is to use Mercurial with hg-git to GitHub for network effects.

I've been doing that for a while for dropbear ssh, it does hit occasional problems but is overall more pleasant than straight git.

atsaloli 2 ago 2 replies      
There is no substitute for understanding what's going on, especially using a power tool like Git.

It's a cute website, and useful, I really like it. This sentence,

 Bizarrely, git won't do a dif of files that have been add-ed to your staging area without this flag. File under \_()_/"
just screams to me (a professional Git trainer), "I don't understand the Git staging area! I don't know my Git fundamentals! Train me!"

csbubbles 1 ago 0 replies      
You know, a few years back I had exactly the same attitude towards Git. I hated it, tried to approach multiple times and still hated it. But after working with Git on multiple projects, and having developed some deeper understanding of how things work there, I honestly think now that Git is one of the best tools that have been invented over last 20 years for improving the development processes and engineering excellence. I don't really want to defend it, the learning curve is apparently pretty steep (at least it was for me), but I would just recommend to not give up and keep trying. There are some good tutorials how to handle it and why it's helpful (Atlassian's Git book, for instance).
Anthony-G 2 ago 0 replies      
From the section on using `git commit --amend`:

> This usually happens to me if I merge to master, then run tests/linters.

If this happens on more than one occasion, Id strongly consider creating a pre-commit hook to run tests and/or lint the changed files, e.g., I run `checkbashisms` and `shellcheck` as a pre-commit hook when working on shell scripts.

noufalibrahim 2 ago 10 replies      
I don't know if this post was intended as humour or a way to vent out some frustration but in my experience, this path of treating git as "spell X solves problem Y" will always break down.

Version control systems are an important part of the programmers toolkit and it's worth investing a little time to get the fundamentals right.

Sure git is not the friendliest of beasts but what it lacks in interface, it more than makes up in internal consistency and trying to learn it "inside out" is a better long term investment than having a list of ways to solve "git problems".

fizzbatter 2 ago 0 replies      
I constantly wonder if there's a "better CLI UI" that can be made for git, even if simply a wrapper around git.

Ie, if the implementation of Git is right, but only the cli commands/etc are wrong.. what would the right UX be? What would a friendly UX look like?

Seems like something a lot of people could love - even if blasphemy to Git purists.

adamkochanowicz 2 ago 1 reply      
Great article. A couple notes

Just git reset <ref> should do. The --soft flag is implicit.

Amending and rebasing is something you should be careful with. If you've already pushed, you'll now need to force push. If another person has put new commits upstream, they will be wiped out irreparably. Not saying don't do it, just that it's very risky.

Instead of deleting and recloning the repo at the end, if you're really at that point, just doing git reset --hard origin/master should be equally as effective with fewer steps and less time.

Pulling down the repo a second time, however, can be more useful for just having a snapshot of the code in a second location that is totally independent of git traffic (don't pull to it very often). Say someone force pushes something that removes code. Your snapshot or someone else's non-pulled repo is your only hope of getting it back.

hobarrera 2 ago 0 replies      

 git add .
Ugh, no, never do this, never recommend to users to BLINDLY ADD ALL THE CHANGES FROM THE WORKING COPY. I honestly can't think of any worse git usage than this.

Add the single change you missed, or even better, `git add -p`, to add chunks manually.

fizzbatter 2 ago 1 reply      
I've been debating starting a section of my personal site for stuff like this. Unfortunately it's a bit embarrassing, but i figure anything i have to google to learn, it would be beneficial to help others learn it as well. Everything from programming languages (lots of Rust errors are foreign to me, for example), to git issues.

I've often had the thought that if everyone did this it could have potential to be quite the open-sourced collection of material - a distributed self-answered Stack Overflow perhaps.

Is there any sanity in this? Or would posting everything as self-answers to Stackoverflow be more welcome to the average Googler? (higher ranking, better meta, more likely for the user to see it and community features such as commenting/voting/editing)

pmoriarty 2 ago 3 replies      
I've heard advice from #git on freenode not to use "git commit --amend", especially on shared repos.

I wish I still had a log of the conversation or remembered the exact problem that led up to it, but it involved a simple amend totally screwing up my repo, and I've avoided it since.

chriscool 2 ago 0 replies      
I just uploaded a presentation I gave last February called "Git back on your feet":


m_mueller 2 ago 0 replies      
One of my SO questions could almost fit in there, somewhere before "Fuck this noise...":


dahart 2 ago 1 reply      
Great idea! We need more basic git workflows described in plain English.

I was expecting some actual "bad" situations based on the title, and to be fair these were bad to me once and are bad for people new to git, but I'd love to see the level 2,3,etc. version of this article.

MattyRad 2 ago 0 replies      
> Bizarrely, git won't do a dif of files that have been add-ed to your staging area without this flag

Not sure what's bizarre about that. Doing so helps keep your commits clean and helps git tools (diff, git-gutter, etc) by ignoring things you've already stated are complete.

For example, I quickly fix a bug. The code is ugly and I don't want to commit it yet. So I add the bugfix files. Then I clean up the code (before commiting). Now I can do another diff between the staged and unstaged files, checking that it looks better than before, and still works. This way there is 1 clean commit "bugix" and not 2 commits "bugfix" and "bugfix code cleanup"

oskob 2 ago 1 reply      
Oh shit, I commited a binary file larger than 100 mb and now i can't push to github.com. Solution: https://rtyley.github.io/bfg-repo-cleaner/
random567 2 ago 3 replies      
The screwed up and committed to master should end with:

 git reset --hard origin/master
(assuming that the remote is called "origin") With the example in the text, you have to know the number of commits you've made to master.

felixschl 2 ago 1 reply      
I managed to "rm -rf .git" at one point. Took me about a minute to realize and -surprisingly after <c-c>-ing i lost nothing (as far as i was aware). Git is freaking hard to break. Also always remember git-reflog, it safes lives.
psyklic 2 ago 0 replies      
Also great for getting out of Git messes: http://justinhileman.info/article/git-pretty/
uhtred 2 ago 1 reply      
I prefer stackoverflow for things like this as I can see from comments and up votes whether the command does what the poster claims, or whether it is going to make things worse for me.
oneloop 2 ago 1 reply      
Git is complex and nuanced, and short term purple think it's faster to memorize some commands instead of understanding the fundamentals.

I kept having problems with git, so I read a fucking book on it https://git-scm.com/book/en/v2

I'm not saying I never get into situations I can't get myself out of, but the examples in the oh shit website now look like obviously trivialities.

0xmohit 2 ago 0 replies      
Nobody likes to read manuals or books, due to which one can see FAQs being posted on Q&A sites.

http://gitready.com/ contains a number of small articles categorized by beginner, intermediate and advanced that might be helpful.

Another resource for commonly used git tips and tricks: https://github.com/git-tips/tips

Zelmor 2 ago 1 reply      
Is the documentation really that bad? Would it benefit from a technical writer going over it? Is the project open for discussion on changes to the documentation?
hacksonx 2 ago 0 replies      
I moved to git at the begining of this year and I must say that I miss SVN. But everyone keeps telling me that git is better so I'm sticking to it.
partycoder 2 ago 1 reply      
Well, there are many more situations you can get into.

Like cherry picking, force pushing, merge --no-commit, rebasing... almost any operation can end up going wrong.

Just pay attention.

OJFord 2 ago 0 replies      

 # create a new branch from the current state of master git checkout -b some-new-branch-name # remove the commit from the master branch git checkout master
Or just `git branch some-new-branch-name`...

 cd .. sudo rmdir nsfw-git-repo-dir
That will only remove it if it's empty? Which it never will be, because there's at least `.git/*`...

Still, amusing :)

bwghughes 2 ago 0 replies      
Fucking love it.

alias gitshit="open http://ohshitgit.com/"

abarrak 2 ago 1 reply      
It's probably a good time to check if you have some safety against `rm -fr `.

Two days ago, I wanted to delete .git only, but accidentally as my fingers were accustomed with -fr , the command was `rm -fr * .git`. Rails server was running and some hope arose at the moment to just `lsof | grep` .. unfortunately that didn't work with me !

Ironically, all dot files have stuck as obvious :)

throw2016 2 ago 0 replies      
git to me is a work of art. There is a lot of complexity underneath but the end user sees something that is simple, fast and easy to use. It scales depending on user needs and It's easy to reason about.

This is a feat of engineering, to take something complex and make it easy for anyone to undestand and use. It shows real expertise and deep understanding of the area.

In many ways it's a shining example against the 'culture of complexity' that we increasingly find ourselves in. Here rather than simplying the objective is to be to make thing as complex as possible, usually in pursuit of extremely niche use cases or because either the expertise or the interest to simplify is not there. If git was designed in this culture it would be fragile, full of buzz words, poorly documented and prone to failure, and something only a few self appointed experts could reason about and use properly.

sytelus 1 ago 0 replies      
It would be nice to add these two:

Oh shit, someone checked-in huge file that shouldn't be in repo.

Oh shit, this folder I had been working on should have been in its own repo.

pc86 2 ago 1 reply      
> This usually happens to me if I merge to master, then run tests/linters... and FML, I didn't put a space after the equals sign.

Am I the only one that runs my tests before committing, let alone merging to master?

jakelazaroff 2 ago 0 replies      
> Oh shit, I committed and immediately realized I need to make one small change!

If you don't want to change the commit message, in addition to --amend:

 git commit --amend --no-edit

iatanasov 2 ago 0 replies      
The post is missing the most important command : git --help
init0 2 ago 0 replies      
for the rest of it there is http://git.io/git-tips
Gonzih 2 ago 1 reply      
why do you run git add . before git stash?
swah 2 ago 0 replies      
I fear Git so much that I make zip packages of the repo before potentially destroying operations.
cyphar 2 ago 1 reply      
The last rmdir example should be rm -rf.
alistproducer2 2 ago 0 replies      
One of my favorite teachers in school was a dude-bro programmer who pretty sure as younger than me. He'd spent a summer at Google and made us use git and gerrit. I'm honestly a much better programmer thanks to him. I'm still using the git cli to this day.

I also still say "new up" an object thanks to him. I'm not so proud of that one.

kuahyeow 2 ago 0 replies      
Most of the time, stay calm. Do not `git push` hastily, and check `git status` if you can :)
lordnacho 2 ago 1 reply      
Surprised he finds git to be complicated. It probably is deep down, but for day-to-day use, compare it to SVN.

Until I switched, there was always a panic when branching or merging. With git, I can branch like a nutter and things seem to still work out in the end.

Not sure why, perhaps someone else has a perspective on it.

EdiX 2 ago 0 replies      
All of those things and more are way easier to do with gitk and git gui.
jimktrains2 2 ago 1 reply      
If the owner is here: with javascript disabled the code is unreadable.
samoa4 2 ago 0 replies      
nicky0 2 ago 0 replies      
The last one is my usual tactic.
shklnrj 2 ago 0 replies      
It is not the fault of Git if to use it you have to know it!

However would appreciate a quick and dirty handbook.

cyberferret 2 ago 0 replies      
LOL. Bookmarking along with my other Git reference sites...
Annatar 2 ago 1 reply      
Yep, git sucks but it's all the rage now. Mercurial is 100x nicer to use and logical, but since it's written in Python it's slow as molasses, especially with large binary files.

Next on the list: Larry McVoy's Bitkeeper promises to be everything git and Mercurial aren't. (git is "inspired" (read: copycat) by Bitkeeper).

It's funny how Sun Microsystems influenced the industry in so many ways, isn't it?

Costa Rica has gone 76 days using 100% renewable electricity vox.com
562 points by denzil_correa  2 ago   346 comments top 15
jfaucett 2 ago 24 replies      
Notice this is because 80% of the energy obtained was from Hydroelectric power, which is a great energy source because it is reliable - unlike wind and solar which in this case provided 7% and 0.01% respectively and are not reliable. It frustrates me that so many environmentalists are still against hydro because it alters ecosystems when nature itself is inherently violent, dangerous and in a constant state of flux. I sometimes think they reject the idea that the whole point of existence is human flourishing and happiness. The biggest real problem with Hydro in the context of human flourishing is ensuring that the dams are well-constructed and nature proof i.e. hold up against natural disasters because if they don't downstream settlements and human lives can be at risk.
JoeAltmaier 2 ago 5 replies      
" its per capita electricity consumption is about one-quarter of, say, France or Belgium."

Its in the bottom quartile worldwide I believe.

Also the recommendations for the USA are way off. The "only way" to reach this goal is apparently to build lots of wind and solar. No mention whatsoever of nuclear, which is by far the more practical solution. And far less ecologically damaging.

pnw_hazor 2 ago 2 replies      
Would never work in the US because hydropower is not considered renewable.

"But in general, hydropower is not even considered a renewable energy in most states or, for the most part, by the federal government. "


jbrun 2 ago 4 replies      
Quebec has gone about 50 years.
eggy 2 ago 1 reply      
Costa Rica also sits on the Ring of Fire like I do here in East Java, so geothermal is accessible there.

Costa Rica did not have to maintain a standing army to protect its borders thanks in large part to relying on treaties and understandings with the US. This frees up some of their GDP for R&D into sustainable energy.

I wonder what the demand for electricity is in Costa Rica today compared to when I was last there in 1993. I was going to buy land then, but I was a bit wary of new laws on foreign-owned properties. It would have cost me a lot to bribe/pay my way to getting power distributed to my land. I was going to use a generator and solar panels anyway. Many people kept guns to defend their property from bandits in my travels there back then. I'm sure it has changed a lot. Selva Verde was my first 'eco-tourist' experience, and I remember talking to some of the worker's there, and the owner's daughter. I am glad to see the business model took off. It's a beautiful country.

edpichler 2 ago 1 reply      
Very good, this is a great step, but just a thing to be remembered: hydroelectric energy is renewable, better than coal, oil, etc, but it still kills a lots of animals and flood great areas, disappearing with waterfalls and changing landscapes.
ChuckMcM 2 ago 0 replies      
Interesting to see people pick apart what constitutes renewable and base loads etc. It is an interesting milestone that some part of the planet can be lived in with electricity that is only from renewable sources. That's pretty neat, you can live there after civilization collapses (assuming you can displace whomever is already living there :-)

Its a huge boon for a nation state to reach the crossover point of 100% renewables. Then they can start to grow it from there. It is much harder for a nation-state to simply lose access to imported energy sources, then there is the whole rioting and anarchy until enough population dies off that the remaining start seeing the others as necessary for survival not a threat to it.

sickbeard 2 ago 1 reply      
Same story every month. Can't wait for the 100 day update
m_mueller 2 ago 0 replies      
If anyone is wondering about the worldwide big picture of where electricity is coming from: I made this map / spreadsheet:


fuddle 2 ago 0 replies      
In some places in Costa Rica the electricity can be sporadic, when it goes out people use petrol powered generators.
mbloom1915 2 ago 0 replies      
As great as this is and large step for other countries very soon, decarb can only be achieved through transport efforts. transport makes up over 1/3s of emissions so why residential/commercial consumption energy efficiency is great, it is a tiny fraction of achieving overarching goal
jefurii 2 ago 2 replies      
Feels like the article was written by a pro-renewable reporter and edited by an oil-company exec. "Yeah they did it but you should be discouraged instead of hopeful."
gjolund 2 ago 0 replies      
Every fucking day I see this posted. Can we just update when they aren't using 100% renewable energy again.
taneq 2 ago 3 replies      
Objection: Geothermal technically isn't renewable.
pritianka 2 ago 0 replies      
Nothing important to say here, except, I just LOVE Costa Rica!
ITT Technical Institutes Shuts Down bloomberg.com
486 points by jlas  5 ago   297 comments top 45
donatj 5 ago 6 replies      
I went to a similar for-profit school in Minnesota who also similarly shut down last year.

I still feel like they get a bad rap. Was it overpriced? Probably. Did I learn a ton and have small class sizes. Absolutely. The instructors had all previously worked in the industry, and knew their topics very well.

On top of all that, after graduation their persistent pestering of "how many places did you apply to this week?" (surely to help their numbers) had a lot to do with me actually getting a job. I didn't want to let the lady that called me weekly down. It took a lot of persistence and interviewing but I finally got my foot firmly in the door about 6 months after graduation.

I've been gainfully employed in the industry for ten years, I'm debt free, and I'm happy. I'm thankful for my time there.

aaronchall 5 ago 8 replies      
The dream: take students who are mostly unprepared to succeed at college and educate & prepare them for success in the real world.

The reality: most of these students will not realize a return on the investment of their time and acquisition of a ton of debt that they cannot discharge in bankruptcy. Many will fail to attend class, fail to take notes, fail to do homework, fail to learn, and will not complete - but because they have already sunk huge costs into the endeavor, will continue incurring more costs in spite of the writing on the wall.

The economics means that these schools are unsustainable. However, some people find success through these schools. How can we continue to serve these people?

Perhaps we could avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater by creating more community colleges, allowing more people to enroll in affordable community colleges, complete milestones at their own pace, while providing more direct subsidies of tuition for the truly needy. I agree that we would benefit from more German-style apprenticeship programs as well. For all of their worker protections, they still have incredibly low youth unemployment.

joedissmeyer 5 ago 6 replies      
I am personaly happy to see the hammer come down on these for-profit universities. I too feel for the students as I was one of the Corinthian Colleges students a few years ago at Everest University through one of the Florida campuses. My degree program was the A.S. in Computer Information Sciences -- such a waste. Look up the job placement rates for that program in 2010, just insane.

Thankfully I too have been able to take advantage of the Department of Education relief. But I have to go through the process of the borrower defense to repayment. It continues to be a tough process but at least it some form of relief for me.

I hope former ITT students are able to find a quick resoluton. This type of school shutdown is not easy on anyone.

On another note, I wonder if this is the start of the 'higher-ed debt bubble' that has been predicted for quite some time now...

mikestew 5 ago 3 replies      
I'll preface this with my lack of any love for ITT, but there's a piece of the story that bothers me:"Last month, the feds demanded the company produce an additional $153 million in collateralnearly double its $78 million in cash on handto cover possible losses that the government might incur if the company were to suddenly fail."

Here's how that sounds to me: "Well, ITT technically hasn't done anything illegal. But we don't like them. How much cash do they have? Double that amount and tell them we need this much for 'collateral' or we shut them down."

Can anyone fill in the blanks that Bloomberg didn't? What basis does the government have to make such demands (as it appears to me) out of the blue? Why make such demands knowing going into it that it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy? (That last question is kind of rhetorical.)

aerhakr 5 ago 0 replies      
My wife had worked as a temporary at ITT here in Calfornia. It was the most degrading work I have ever seen. She was teaching English courses, and 98% of the kids plagiarized, not even trying to cover it up. When she gave failing grades to the papers, the students fought back and the director at her location told her she can't do that. She quit that week.
kayla210 5 ago 2 replies      
I really feel for all the students who are so close to graduating and not knowing if they'll have anything to show for it.. And their credits will most likely not transfer to another school because of the different accreditations.
tzs 5 ago 0 replies      
For IT degrees (bachelor and master) for those who cannot go to a "normal" college for four years, an option to consider is the online non-profit Western Governor's University [1]. It is especially interesting if you already know much of the material through work or self-study.

It was founded by several state governors about 20 years ago, and is accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

It's pricing is interesting: $2890 per six-month term, regardless of how many classes you take or credits you earn during that term. If you want to take a heavy load to earn the degree faster and save money, you can.

Each degree program has a particular list of skills that you have to demonstrate competency in to earn the degree. They offer, of course, all the necessary classes to learn those skills, but you are not required to take those classes--you are just required to demonstrate the skills. If you have already acquired some of these skills elsewhere, you can take the test or do the project that demonstrates it and that will count toward the degree.

For most of the IT degrees you also earn several widely recognized third-party IT certifications, at no extra cost. For example the IT bachelor's program in network administration includes these certifications: MSCA Windows Server, CompTIA Linux+, CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, and CompTIA Project+.

(The offer more than IT, BTW. The also have bachelor and master programs in teaching, business, and health).

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

paulddraper 4 ago 1 reply      
This is an instructive lesson.

"Free education" they say. "It will solve problems" they say. "Education will be better" they say.

No, it won't. Free education -- or subsidized loans -- puts a disconnect between education and its cost.

If the person paying is not the person deciding, a poor decision will be made. It's just like how HSAs prompt people to think about what they're spending their money on.

ITT would not exist but for government spending. Sure, some will beat the dead horse of more regulation. But the real answer is STOP SUBSIDIZING. Stop subsidizing education, stop subsidizing mortgages, stop subsidizing GM, stop blowing decisions sideways by removing the universal language of cost from the discussion.

clarkmoody 5 ago 5 replies      
It looks like the main problem in this whole scheme is the government-funded student loan program. ITT was wrangling to get access that that loan money as a key to its operations. Failing to comply with the Dept of Ed's requirements caused them to go out of business, since they would no longer have a place at the public trough.

How many state schools and private colleges could survive without government largess? We've seen a massive increase in tuition costs, far beyond inflation in recent years. Such is the result of artificially boosting demand for college on the backs of the taxpayer.

As for forgiving ITT student loans, I say no. Students are responsible for their own loans and (bad) decisions. By that reasoning, shouldn't we just forgive all student debt for anyone who didn't get their dream job straight out of undergrad? What about those who don't finish school but still have loans? For everyone but the far left, these ideas are ludicrous. Let's not make the taxpayer suffer twice for the poor decisions of others.

peterhadlaw 5 ago 2 replies      
As an alum of IIT (Chicago)... This is extra, great news.
brightsize 5 ago 0 replies      
Related: "The Law School Scam. For-profit law schools are a capitalist dream of privatized profits and socialized losses. But for their debt-saddled, no-job-prospect graduates, they can be a nightmare." http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/09/the-law-...
tickthokk 5 ago 3 replies      
As a 2005 graduate of ITT, I'm glad. This was a long time coming. Now if only I could get my loans refunded :p
jrs235 5 ago 2 replies      
What enabled this greed scheme to work? Government guaranteed loans. The schools and institutions need to have some of their own skin in the game.
at-fates-hands 5 ago 0 replies      
I live in Minneapolis and the City Pages did quite an expos on them back in 2015. It was pretty eye opening and gives a really good glimpse into their tactics:


dbg31415 5 ago 1 reply      
What disgusts me most about the for-profit schools -- not to come off as too much of a snob -- is that the money we the taxpayers put into their pockets would be better spent improving community colleges and state schools.

I get not everyone needs to go to an Ivy League school, but for vocational basics -- what people are going to these for-profit schools hoping to gain -- community college should be "good enough."

I'd look at Bellevue Community College as a great example of a strong vocational tech school. That should be a model others could strive for. When I was younger I learned a great deal in BCC classes -- knowledge that was immediately beneficial to my day job as a software developer.

In contrast, the classes at BCC were far more hands-on training than what I got at the school I eventually graduated from. Educationally, community college I feel was better... but certainly for connections and networking the "name-brand" schools pay off.

ramblenode 5 ago 1 reply      
> Students now enrolled at the company's technical schools will be able to cancel any federal student debt they incurred for their education if they decide against transferring their credits elsewhere... Taxpayers will record a loss on those debt cancellations.

This seems very unfair to taxpayers, who are essentially forced creditors. If the college reneges on its contract with students, then the students should seek to reclaim their losses through a class action lawsuit against ITT. The government shouldn't be covering losses on what were, arguably, bad investments.

spudlyo 5 ago 0 replies      
Have you ever worked with anything ... High tech?


I asked that once during an interview, and was met with blank stares. Haven't asked it since, but I feel like it could have been hilarious.

koolba 5 ago 1 reply      
Question for lawyers in the audience: If ITT is shut down because the "education" it was providing was complete shit and not recognized anywhere else, does that mean that the usual rules about education related personal debt surviving bankruptcy wouldn't apply?
Unbeliever69 5 ago 2 replies      
Unfortunately, ITT is just the visible tip of the iceberg. There are MANY more for-profit schools of the same ilk as ITT that will fleece the same archetype of education-seeker. This isn't over by a long-shot. These schools are everywhere and they are probably chomping-at-the-bit to get their mits on displaced ITT students and all others that are susceptible to the type of manipulative and deceptive marketing practices that ITT, and many other for-profit schools, use.
JoeAltmaier 5 ago 4 replies      
Next, go after the public colleges? Other than brand, do they do a better job? Spend more than 30% of income on actual educational expenses (like IIT does)? I doubt it.

{edit}Seems like US Universities are about 1:1 faculty vs staff. Up from 2:1 40 years ago.

WheelsAtLarge 2 ago 0 replies      
Yes ITT was a money grabbing parasite and I'm glad they are gone. But the glamorous 4 years schools aren't as great as they set themselves to be.

Many students come out of the great schools owing thousands and having a very hard time getting a job.

This is not new. The fact is that universities weren't created for job training. Their job was to expand your knowledge. That's why you can get a degree in Greek mythology or Latin or whatever.

It was really a way for rich people to spend their time in something constructive. Somewhere the idea of a university and job training came together but universities aren't very good at job training so that's the big problem. We as a society don't have a great way to train the massed for society's jobs.

Community college focus on getting you to a four year college but they need to do a better job at job training.

For profit schools have tried but they focus on profits and lose sight of the students.

We blame the institutions but students also need to take responsibility. If you can't take the time learn don't expect to get a job where someone needs to have a productive employee to keep the business going.

Also the K-12 schools need to do something to fix the problem. How is it that a student goes through 13 years of school and not learn to be a productive employee? That the real shame.Yet we put the blame elsewhere.

Politicians love to argue the effects of same sex bathrooms but they aren't willing to take on why schools are failing society.

We need to fix that.

arikrak 5 ago 0 replies      
Instead of the government trying to protect their loans and end up doing the opposite, maybe the government shouldn't be in the business of lending money to individuals? Government + lending + a supposed social benefit = disaster. First it was with helping people own homes, and now it's with helping people go to college. It sounds nice, but by lending money the government can just hide the true cost of what their doing. (Meanwhile government loans for housing have gotten worse: http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21705317-americas-hous...)
dccoolgai 5 ago 0 replies      
"It will now likely rest on other parties to understand these reprehensible actions and to take action to attempt to prevent this from happening again."


chris_wot 5 ago 3 replies      
So to mitigate the possible effects of the colleges all suddenly shutting down they were told to put up a huge amount of collateral, which caused them to all suddenly shut down?

That's quite a mitigation strategy the government has going on there.

JulianMorrison 5 ago 1 reply      
Every student's loans to these slimy operators should be simply struck off with no penalty.
KevinEldon 5 ago 0 replies      
Stop federally funding education. In the US we have 50 different opportunities to learn about how to create the best education system: all of these systems could learn from each other. When we allow federal funding of education we get much less diversity and innovation; we promote a mono-culture.
walrus01 5 ago 0 replies      
The entire concept of a corporate death penalty (in this case enforced by ITT no longer being eligible for federal student loans) is something that is not implemented nearly as frequently as it should be.
xenadu02 5 ago 2 replies      
Federal student loans shouldn't be available to any non-accredited institution. If your credit hours won't transfer then it isn't a real College or University.
Geekette 5 ago 0 replies      
Too little, too late; ITT and a whole legion of similar schools should have been erased long ago, given glaring evidence of their mismanagment, often misleading/fraudulent advertising, almost no value delivered (e.g. dismal grad job stats), waste of public money, etc. The pressing question is how long before ITT re-opens under a new name; I highly doubt it'll just go away.
peter303 4 ago 0 replies      
Will coding academies go down the same route as for profit colleges? Right now they are the darling of politicians who think they could solve the country's unemployment and tech shortage problems. But once your put Wall Street in charge and scale them up handle large numbers of students, I wonder if they will become the next ITT.
sytelus 5 ago 1 reply      
There is a startup opportunity here. It actually shouldn't take a lot of resources for this kind of technical education. Get a community hall, few experienced volunteers and have them teach skills for free to anyone who is interested. Students just promise to pay portion of their income if and when they get job. A startup gets little cut for coordinating whole thing.
emeraldd 5 ago 0 replies      
That's less than two weeks from when the Title IV "death penalty" (Assuming I have my titles right, it's been a while) was assessed. (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12361737 )
Eric_WVGG 5 ago 0 replies      
bad news for late night cable ad revenue
coredog64 5 ago 0 replies      
Fingers crossed that UoP is next...
zomg 5 ago 0 replies      
people are so quick to make this a "for-profit" college issue, when it's not.

they shut down because the u.s. department of education banned them from enrolling new students who use federal financial aid.

what do you think would happen to "not for-profit" colleges if the u.s. department of education did the same to them? i'd argue it's the "not for-profit" schools who are driving tuition prices up because the government won't stop loaning money to anyone with a pulse.

dry up that loan money and watch prices fall from the sky.

__pid_t 5 ago 0 replies      
How's Devry? I worked with a person that got a degree from there. It's for-profit too. I can't imagine it's any better than ITT with it's vendor lock in.
tomohawk 5 ago 0 replies      
They should have spent the $18 million.


EDIT: Not sure what the downvotes are for. ITT gets shutdown, but Laureate does the same thing, but even more so and gets a pass. The only difference appears to be these kinds of payoffs to politicos.

gigatexal 5 ago 0 replies      
Yes! What a shameful institution.
ryanlm 5 ago 0 replies      
Not being able to transfer credits seems to be a good example of Vendor Lock-In.
colindean 5 ago 0 replies      
I was an IT instructor at one for two quarters in the late 2000s. AMAA.
matchagaucho 5 ago 0 replies      
It's one thing for a school to recruit students that aren't prepared for the curriculum, and subsequent debt.

But it's quite another problem if the school loses their accreditation and is unable to deliver a quality education.

whorleater 5 ago 0 replies      
Thank god. Next on the menu: University of Phoenix please.
rufius 5 ago 0 replies      
jhylau 5 ago 0 replies      
thank god
loco5niner 5 ago 0 replies      
Multi-process Firefox brings 400-700% improvement in responsiveness techcrunch.com
563 points by bpierre  5 ago   336 comments top 29
rsp1984 5 ago 8 replies      
We can learn from the competition, said Dotzler. The way they implemented multi-process is RAM-intensive, it can get out of hand. We are learning from them and building an architecture that doesnt eat all your RAM.

That's the money quote here. I've been waiting for this for a long time actually. Every browser I've tried except Firefox just basically eats all my RAM and other app performance (e.g. compiling stuff) goes down the toilet.

Then on the other hand FF has not been so snappy and responsive traditionally. So responsive + soft on RAM is the combination I've really been waiting for. Let's hope they can deliver.

nl 5 ago 18 replies      
I switched to Firefox from Chrome about 12 months ago. It isn't as good as Chrome, but I was trying to reduce my Google dependencies.

It has been mostly fine (except for an annoying OS-X multi-screen bug where it screws up the sizing).

I was really looking forward to this feature to help close the gap on Chrome performance.

Until August (I think Firefox 48.x), when it became unusable on any site with... something. I'm not entirely sure what triggers it- I don't think it is just video alone. Something make the entire browser lock up entirely for minutes, and sometimes it even runs out of memory and I have to kill it via the OS.

No add-ins (except for Firebug).

Frustratingly, I can't replicate it well enough to be a useful bug report.

I'm this close to switching back. Muscle memory and shortcuts to Firefox is the only thing stopping me.

So.. this will be great, but please make it a workable browser.

uuoc 5 ago 3 replies      
This should come as no surprise. It has always been an epic architectural mistake to use the same single non-reentrant Javascript engine to both render the UI and run JS for webpages in Firefox. This change will finally undo that huge mistake made so very long ago.
gnicholas 5 ago 2 replies      
Instructions for enabling this feature (via about:config) are provided in the author's prior article on the topic: https://techcrunch.com/2016/06/10/mozillas-multi-process-arc...
sambe 4 ago 0 replies      
Every odd browser performance topic is dominated by people claiming Firefox has been faster and more scalable than Chrome for years. Every even one is dominated by people claiming the opposite.

This thread seems to be the latter, my experience is the former. If you see bad performance/memory usage with a small number of tabs, are you sure that it's not due to bad plugins?

I think about:memory and about:performance could be helpful. I seem to recall they used to have some reporting on known problem plugins (perhaps as part of https://www.mozilla.org/en-GB/plugincheck/).

danblick 5 ago 4 replies      
Does anybody know more about how Mozilla manages experiments? I'd always assumed that all users downloaded an identical binary and got the same behavior. How do they assign 10% of their users to an experimental group?

Is it possible that two users will see different functionality when they are both using the same OS and release, say Firefox from the latest version of Ubuntu?

drzaiusapelord 5 ago 5 replies      
Its incredible multi-process took this long. Just goes to show you that your architecture decisions last a long time and are often difficult to change. Chrome had this from day one and never had a big and old codebase to worry about. Yet it took Firefox many years to get multi-process going and my understanding is that its much more limited and simpler than what Chrome or Edge do.

I'm also a little surprised there hasn't been an attempt to launch a completely new Firefox from the ground up. Regardless of what they're doing right now, its still a legacy code monster and much more laggy than the competition. Maybe this is Servo's ultimate purpose, but every Firefox advance is welcomed but always feels like another layer of lipstick on this pig.

Disclaimer: I use Firefox as my main 'non-work' browser several hours a day. Its good, but its very obvious when I'm not in Chrome from a performance/stability perspective.

Animats 5 ago 0 replies      
At last, you'll be able to view other pages while Facebook's Javascript is in an infinite loop.

With thousands of MIPS and a gigabyte of memory on the job, it had better be responsive. It's pathetic how much compute power it takes to run a browser. Even when the pages aren't doing anything interesting. It's not like they're running a 3D game or something.

corford 5 ago 2 replies      
I've got 732 tabs open at the moment and performance is still fine. The upper limit for my machine seems to be about 745 ish - much beyond that and FF runs out of video memory or something (new tabs render sites half black).
faragon 5 ago 4 replies      
Why? Except because of memory allocation serialization impact, there is no reason for a multithreaded process being slower than multiprocess. And if that's the cause, it could be solved using multiple heaps.
Lagged2Death 5 ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised by the responsiveness claims because my ancient Windows PC runs FF superbly. I think Win10+FF is already more responsive now than it has ever been.

I am also using Ghostery, however, with virtually everything blocked. It wasn't my intent to block ads, but that's mostly how it works out.

Zekio 5 ago 2 replies      
The speed is great as long as youtube doesn't autoplay a new video which freezes the whole browser for me until it is done loading.
rl3 5 ago 0 replies      
This will probably have significant implications for web worker behavior.

If memory serves, workers are unable to directly communicate with each other in Firefox when the UI thread is blocked, because message handling runs on the same process as the UI thread. Chrome doesn't have that limitation since it's already a multi-process architecture.

nchelluri 5 ago 1 reply      
Ah, so because I use addons I might not be seeing these benefits for some time? Good to know.

Chrome is right now way faster for me, but I prefer using FF so I am in the Mozilla camp right now. Eager to see this rolled out. Early versions of e10s were very fragile and not so usable for me, so I switched it off.

wcummings 5 ago 0 replies      
I've been running Firefox Developer Edition (which has multiprocess) for a few weeks now, it's noticeably faster for most sites.
Double_Cast 4 ago 0 replies      
I use both FF and Chrome. Chrome is more heavy-duty, so I use it for Dedicated Browsing. I've set it such that when something calls me away and I close Chrome, the tabs will reopen so I can continue where I left off. But sometimes I'll be doing something in another program and need to look up something quickly. In such cases, I don't wanna wait while Chrome reopens 11 tabs so I'll use FF instead. My FF-tabs aren't saved between sessions, so I only see a single fresh tab when I open it.
eberkund 5 ago 0 replies      
You can install v51 nightlies from here: https://nightly.mozilla.org/
matt_wulfeck 5 ago 2 replies      
I don't know. "Eating up all my ram" seems perfectly acceptable to me at first glance. I purchase ram and use it in my computer for expressly this purpose: to improve the responsiveness and snappiness of programs.

Where do you draw the line at what's acceptable use of ram and what's not? I have 32G on my desktop, is it unacceptable that chrome is using 8G?

zobzu 5 ago 0 replies      
Ive been testing Firefox e10s as in multiprocess Firefox for months now (in Nightly, and even before that).

At some point it became very usable and it still is today.HOWEVER while the interface is, yes, much more responsive, it is also NOTICEABLY slower.

I ended up reverting recently and I'm using single process Firefox right now. Its fast even thus from time to time the UI may block if there's heavy stuff going on.

Whatever makes e10s slow they gotta fix it... I suspect there's a lot of synchronization code.

malnourish 5 ago 1 reply      
Is there a list of commonly used extensions that are (in)compatible?
Zpalmtree 5 ago 0 replies      
I hope this works out well, I often see my firefox freeze due to heavy extensions, and would much prefer if it just froze one tab. For me, higher ram usage wouldn't bother me if it meant no freezing, but I imagine it does matter to most of the audience, and it's too much effort to develop two feature sets.
Hydraulix989 4 ago 0 replies      
Is this different than multithreaded? What are the benefits? Is it really just about isolation/sandboxing?

Why so much RAM? I thought the OS could share pages across processes...

AstralStorm 5 ago 1 reply      
How much extra memory is now used by it? All this improvement is meaningless if it hits swap on a typical machine.
zyngaro 5 ago 0 replies      
On which OS? On OSX I almost gave up on ff because it frequently freezes for no apparent reason.
spynxic 5 ago 0 replies      
Wonder if Graal.JS could offer any improvements to the browser
dschiptsov 4 ago 0 replies      
So, finally, some emerging consensus among packers that pthreads is a brain-dead concept, and thousands of its advocates are just narcissistic idiots, loving to hear their voices?
shmerl 5 ago 1 reply      
A pity it's now practically useless, since many add-ons need modification to keep electrolysis enabled. In a year or so things will be better I hope.
Kenji 5 ago 0 replies      
Does that mean my website will now fit on a 700% narrower screen?
midnitewarrior 5 ago 1 reply      
Why is there still a browser capable of having its performance improve by 400-700%? This browser is a decade old. It is clearly the CPU and RAM hog everyone has said its been.
I am a fast webpage varvy.com
604 points by capocannoniere  4 ago   277 comments top 72
jlmorton 4 ago 14 replies      
I hate to be negative, but what really is the point of this? That a simple webpage without any content can be fast? Of course it can.

Is it desirable to inline your CSS, "like a boss?" Maybe if you have one single web page. What if you have dynamic content and your users intend to browse more than one page? With externalized CSS, that is all cached.

Same with images. If I'm building a web application, I certainly do not want inlined images. I want those on a CDN, cached, and I want the page to load before the images.

Not only is this not particularly useful advice, it's bad advice.

zackbloom 4 ago 7 replies      
Just to point out, there's no particular reason to host a page like this on a VPS at all. You could just throw it on S3. Even better, you could put it behind a CDN like Cloudfront and the total cost would be a dollar or two a month, not $25+ and it would be significantly faster.
neoCrimeLabs 4 ago 4 replies      
> "I am not on a shared host, I am hosted on a VPS"

Hate to break it to you, but your virtual private server (VPS) is likely sharing a bare-metal server with other VPS. ;-)

Also, you can look into content delivery networks (aka CDN), which will most likely deliver this page faster to clients than your VPS especially when you consider your VPS is in Dallas and CDN's have nodes located around the world.

bobfunk 4 ago 5 replies      
Not that wickedly fast unless you're really near Dallas where the server is:


Hosting on a single VPS is never gonna be very fast globally no matter what you pay your hosting. In fact our free plan on netlify would make this a whole lot faster...

begriffs 4 ago 3 replies      
OP has certainly nailed Hacker News psychology. My old coworker called the technique "inferiority porn." Titles like "the secretly terrible developer" or the closing statement of this particular article: "Go away from me, I am too far beyond your ability to comprehend."

As many people have pointed out there are faster methods of static hosting through a CDN, and many of the techniques of this site are inapplicable for larger sites. But A+ on the marketing.

nine_k 3 ago 0 replies      
I make my personal pages fast this way since last century. Probably a huge amount of people did the same. It's pretty obvious.

When you need fancy graphics (a static photo album), things become less easy: you e.g. may want to preload prev / next images in your album to make navigation feel fast.

Things become really tricky when you want interactivity, and in many cases users just expect interactivity from a certain page. But client-side JS is a whole another kettle of fish.

When things become ugly is when you want to extract some money from page's popularity. You need to add trackers for statistics, ad networks' code to display the ads, and complicate the layout to make room for the ads, placing them somehow inobtrusively but prominently. This is going to be slow at worst, resource-hungry at best.

(Corollary from the above: subscription is more battery-friendly than an ad-infested freebie.)

userbinator 4 ago 5 replies      
A good sequel to http://motherfuckingwebsite.com/ , which is probably too understyled for most people.
ksubedi 4 ago 4 replies      
Took me almost 30 seconds to load, maybe because the server is being hammered by HN traffic right now? Also like others here were saying, using a CDN would definitely help with the initial latency.
paulpauper 4 ago 2 replies      
looks like this whole thing is a scheme to promote his webhsting affiliate link: http://www.knownhost.com/affiliate/idevaffiliate.php?id=1136...

The fastest and most reliable hosting is, by far, based on my own experience is amazon's e2 cloud and S3 bucket services.

quinndupont 4 ago 14 replies      
Is this image inlining thing something new? Am I reading it correctly that the images are encoded in base64 and delivered as html? Surely this is a bad idea... no?
leesalminen 4 ago 4 replies      
Ehh, I just got 10.91s load time in Chrome 53 from Colorado, USA.

Image of Chrome Dev Tools: https://reportcards.scdn3.secure.raxcdn.com/assets/uploads/f...

As an aside, does HTTP/2 provide any benefit for a single HTML file with no external assets?

pilif 3 ago 0 replies      
> my hard drives are SSD

Of course that's entirely irrelevant as the page completely fits into the ram of the server (or even the CPUs cache for that matter)

INTPenis 3 ago 0 replies      
A VPS is shared hosting to me, it's just an instance on a shared system. Shared hosting used to mean a folder on a shared web server but I consider sharing resources in a hypervisor equally shared. ;)

If they truly wanted speed through control of resources they would have used bare metal.

But yeah, the website is easy to optimize when it's simple, the hard part, often outside of your control, is DNS and actual connection handling. Many have already mentioned CDN so there's that.

But you also don't know what kind of firewalls are being used, or switches, or whatever else may impact your site. Why not just do what others have suggested and put it all in the cloud so that Amazon can worry about balancing your load.

usaphp 4 ago 3 replies      
> "My images are inlined into the HTML using the base64 image tool, so there is no need for the browser to go looking for some image linked to as an external file."

This does not work in most cases when you use big images.From StackOverflow answer [1]: "It's only useful for very tiny images. Base64 encoded files are larger than the original. The advantage lies in not having to open another connection and make a HTTP request to the server for the image. This benefit is lost very quickly so there's only an advantage for large numbers of very tiny individual images. "

[1] - http://stackoverflow.com/questions/11736159/advantages-and-d...

vonseel 4 ago 0 replies      
Cool... Unfortunately in practice it's easy to find a list of best practices, much harder to implement in a scalable and durable manner on any project of sufficient size, especially if working with a legacy codebase.
zodvik 3 ago 2 replies      
Dlang forum (with dynamic content) is insanely fast!https://forum.dlang.org/group/general
pacnw 3 ago 1 reply      
Ok I'll bite as this is near and dear to my heart. Instead of showing me a fast webpage with a minimal content, tell me how to make my tons of css and js load fast! That's a real problem.I deliver web apps, and interactivity is a must.

IMO, the real problem with the web is the horrendous design choices and delivery of very popular news and daily reading sites (ahem cnn) where subsequent loads of ads and videos start shifting the page up and down even when you have started reading something. Let's address that problem first!

josephjrobison 4 ago 1 reply      
Pretty good at 97/100 on Google's PageSpeed Insights - https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/?url=...
cyberferret 4 ago 0 replies      
Interesting exercise, in an age where web pages are now bigger than most business applications I used to use in the early days of DOS/Windows.

Note: Just checked, and even a simple Medium blog post page won't fit on one those old 3.5" floppy disks..

EDIT: To stay on topic - the OP's page loaded instantly for me here in outback Australia...

smoyer 4 ago 1 reply      
"Look amazing on any device" ... The right edge of your text is coiled on my phone (not so amazing).
ivanhoe 4 ago 0 replies      
For speed optimization it's really important to always fine-tune for you particular use case and apply some common sense. For instance, inlining everything as suggested here is faster only if you expect visitors to open just that one page and bounce away, so browser caching is not helpful. Consequently, it's a very good tip for e.g. landing pages, but it makes no sense at all to serve pages that way to your logged-in users.
silverwind 4 ago 1 reply      
Few more possible optimizations:

- Brotli instead of Gzip. Likely saves around 10% size.

- Minify everything, including HTML. Could save around 3% size on that page.

nathancahill 4 ago 0 replies      
Submit to 10k Apart: https://a-k-apart.com/
HugoDaniel 3 ago 1 reply      
Inline all your CSS and you are forcing all your users a full reload whenever you need to change/add something.

This can be tricky if your page grows in complexity/size and you need to change something.

Please, when is more appropriate don't inline your CSS and prefer to take advantage of cache.

clessg 4 ago 1 reply      
How much does HTTP/2 mitigate the need for such techniques, if at all?
brainless 3 ago 0 replies      
Honestly? I am surprised to see this page with such high vote on the first page. If you really wanted a fast "static" page, you would put it on a CDN. All you wanted to do is put a marketing link in your last paragraph.
matt_wulfeck 4 ago 2 replies      
I think it feels fast because it loads at once, but I'm actually not getting very impressive results programmatically if you measure how long the entire TCP transaction takes (which is what I consider page loading):

 # Both DNS records are cached before request >>> print requests.get('https://varvy.com/pagespeed/wicked-fast.html').elapsed.microseconds 226515 >>> print requests.get('http://www.google.com').elapsed.microseconds 92027
Even google.com (92 ms) is about 250% faster than OP (226 ms) to establish connection, read all of the data, and close.

halayli 4 ago 0 replies      
Your page can be very fast and uses minimal resources and is hosted in a good place. But you always gotta watch out for proximity to user, time to first byte and dns resolution time. Perceived speed is highly affected by those.

It took 2 seconds to load the page on a fresh ec2 box:

 time_namelookup: 0.061 time_connect: 0.100 time_appconnect: 0.223 time_pretransfer: 0.223 time_redirect: 0.000 time_starttransfer: 1.935 ---------- time_total: 2.066

mashedcode 3 ago 0 replies      
You can do much better!What's about html-muncher for css class minification?

Those png are not fully optimized and an SVG would probably even be smaller too and even if it isn't in the case of the orange one it would have could be compressed much better.

Making use of data: urls might look good on first visit but honestly with HTTP/2 just push in the resources and externalize them.

Because seriously cache for 300 seconds? How about offline support anyways? It's 2016.

Furthermore where's my beloved Brotli support?

By the what's about WebP support? Ok TBH if the PNG would be properly optimized WebP would actually not beat the file size but hey: "It isn't"

So even though it's only this tiny static page there's still so much wrong with it. Please improve!By the way what's about QUIC?

bennettfeely 4 ago 0 replies      
Probably wouldn't make much of a difference, but there is still room for performance improvement by minifying the HTML page.
jschwartzi 4 ago 0 replies      
Yes you are. You're so fast I don't even see you refresh.
exabrial 4 ago 1 reply      
"No Javascript"


sigi45 3 ago 0 replies      
Simple text, few links to 'tipps', a little bit of base64 images without any deeper knowledge. For example there was a website which showed the impact of base64 images just a few weeks ago (when i remember correctly)

But it has a referral link.

Thats probably the point of this page.

DigitalSea 3 ago 1 reply      
Easy to make a website fast when it has nothing on it. In the real world a site isn't this light. It has images, analytic scripts, stylesheets, fonts, Javascript (jQuery at the least). Using a combination of a CDN and realistic caching, I can make a fast website as well.
honkhonkpants 4 ago 3 replies      
The bit about being hosted on SSDs is silly. I could host that site in unused registers of my CPU.
heavymark 4 ago 0 replies      
This is odd. Clearly anyone can make a lighting fast page by making a single page since then you can have css inlined versus needing to link to css style sheets with multiple pages, and of course not having javascript would make it faster, but thats a requirement for most all typical sites these days, and loading images that way is nice for hackers but not for real people using cms's by common people and clients. Also paying $25-35 for hosting is not very bright since you can get a $5 digital ocean server ssd, not shared, that would load this particular page just as fast if not faster.
spion 3 ago 0 replies      
I can't wait for half of this advice to become obsolete with HTTP2
jayess 4 ago 1 reply      
His affiliate link for VPS service has its cheapest option priced at $25 a month. You can get a nice little VPS for static hosting on SSD from digital ocean for $5 a month. $6 a month with backup.
fsiefken 4 ago 1 reply      
What an arrogance, the page is done with me? I done with the page yet. I can get the same page much faster by putting the png in an inline svg, strip the source of unnecessary whitespace and returns, serve brotli (or sdhc compressed pages) with firefox, chrome and opera dynamically... or even just do the decompression inline with javascript. Might save another 20% https://github.com/cscott/compressjs
baristaGeek 4 ago 1 reply      
I can see in the source code that you're expressing all dimensions in terms of ems and %s. A technology such as Bootstrap will always be the way to go; however, could you tell us a little bit more about how you did this? How did you ensure that it looks good not only on your screen but on any screen?

I know people are saying it has some errors on certain mobile devices, but that's still some pretty good job manipulating CSS properties.

calebgilbert 4 ago 0 replies      
The whole hosting issue seems to open a can of worm, at least if this comment stream is any indication. I think it probably would have been better if they stated something more along the lines of, 'Choose (and likely expect to pay) for some sort of superior hosting solution which will prioritize allocating resources to your site(s)'.

The general point could be made without leaving so much room for everyone to argue over specifics.

natmaster 4 ago 0 replies      
A lot of this stuff is outdated now: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12448539

For instance, delivery one giant JS/CSS file is now bad because it is harder to cache, since HTTP/2 removes the overhead of multiple requests there is no downside for many files.

traviswingo 4 ago 1 reply      
This took almost 10 seconds to load for me...
kazinator 4 ago 0 replies      
The best "Shift+Reload" refresh I've managed to get out of this page from where I'm sitting, in Firefox 48.0.x, according to its Network Console, is around 360 ms. It doesn't beat this HN discussion page by a whole lot, and this has actual content, which is dynamic.
jrmacmillan 2 ago 0 replies      
How dare HN spread this kind of speed-shaming hate slander! ;)

We need to see the bloaty-positive alternative, not all websites have to be Google models.

disruptalot 4 ago 0 replies      
Interestingly, Google has been going after this with AMP (accelerated mobile pages):https://www.ampproject.org/

It enforces a set of rules to accelerate web pages. These rules can be used to validate your pages.

outworlder 4 ago 0 replies      
Well, many of these points make sense.

If I'm doing a single page application, surely I'll have infrastructure in place already to compile, minify and do whatever I need to. So I could just serve the monolithic page and be done with it. Much like desktop applications used to do.

bobabobabob 4 ago 0 replies      
A couple of problems rendering on iPhone 6s



cm3 4 ago 0 replies      
If it's really all static, you can bundle it into a static Mirage unikernel image with https://github.com/mirage/mirage-seal
gravypod 4 ago 2 replies      
I've always wanted to play with putting /var/www into a ramdisk for PHP/html stuff. Would be much faster loading since it's all just text in the end of the day. Completely cut out the bottleneck of SSd/HDD
adrianpike 4 ago 0 replies      
2.43s TTFB for me - nice and fast once that happened, but that TTFB is a killer.
codygman 4 ago 0 replies      
Maybe a lot of people are hitting it, but this webpage loaded slowly for me.
philip1209 3 ago 1 reply      
I'm curious - would this page see any speed improvement with HTTP2? I ask because the new protocol seems optimized for the exact opposite of this - many asynchronous fetches.
pikzel 3 ago 0 replies      
Loaded in about 15-20 seconds for me. Even if you think medium.com is slow, they can handle the sudden extra load that your site couldn't.
xiaoma 3 ago 0 replies      
It took me several seconds to load (compared to about 1-1.5 for HN)... this page needs better hosting for Asian users.
idlewords 4 ago 1 reply      
I was a fast webpage.
padmabushan 3 ago 0 replies      
By the site's own admission, this page's visible content not prioritized.I would have knelt before it if not for that flaw!!
mxuribe 3 ago 0 replies      
Ego aside, this kind of site (and associated commentary on the suggested tactics) i feel is helpful.
smegel 4 ago 1 reply      
> I make no external calls, everything needed to load this page is contained in the HTML.

Wont that make your webpage load slower?

edpichler 4 ago 0 replies      
All being on the html, and doing less external css improve speed? How much? Is it worthwhile?
jordache 4 ago 0 replies      
This simple webpage was barely faster than hacker news' list view...
boubiyeah 3 ago 0 replies      
Well, not including any javascript was one massive shortcut :)
debacle 4 ago 0 replies      
In an ad-free Internet, many more pages would be this fast.


patmcguire 4 ago 0 replies      
Took about 15 seconds to load for me...
caub 3 ago 0 replies      
what is that `.unit{display:inline-block;display:inline;zoom:1` (the stars..)
kovrik 4 ago 0 replies      
Really cool!

Almost instant even here in New Zealand!

jlebrech 3 ago 0 replies      
now we need a framework that targets that standard. as very fast dumb client.
stretchwithme 3 ago 0 replies      
Some pages have big egos.
Cozumel 3 ago 0 replies      
Inline CSS shudder
GrumpyNl 3 ago 0 replies      
Its back to 1985
Facebook deletes Norway PM's post as 'napalm girl' row escalates theguardian.com
481 points by mmariani  2 ago   420 comments top 44
norea-armozel 2 ago 6 replies      
This is what you get out from centralizing your communications medium. Sure, we all can easily talk to each other but now you have to assume the host will find something you do or say a liability thus remove it as quickly as you post it. To say that Facebook shouldn't do this comes into conflict in protecting share holder value (which means also avoiding illegal content per local laws). So, you can't have it both ways. Either you have a corporate defend it's share holder value or you have it all nationalized and get NPR. I just wish people would realize that corporations aren't our friends, they're here to make a profit. And profit isn't always what's ethical. I think the better solution to the problem as it stands is to force people to start hosting their own content (which is why I support net neutrality and anti-metering laws). That way, you're in charge of your content and responsible for getting people to view it. We shouldn't have to return to the days of AOL (which we have largely done) to get eye balls. People still go to websites, so why depend on Facebook to distribute your content?
mabbo 2 ago 17 replies      
I'm torn.

Freedom of speech and freedom of expression mean that the government can't put you in prison or punish you for saying or believing what you do. Facebook aren't the government, they're a private entity and don't have to host anything they don't like- including hosting photos that they don't like. It's a walled garden, and it's their walled garden, and if you don't like it you're welcome to leave.

And on the other hand: it's the only garden. If your friends are in that garden, they can't share with you, interact with you, etc, without you also being inside. Facebook's created a 'with us or not with us' distinction that has a very sharp boundary. And it's worked- they've won the social network wars. A billion people are on it.

The question is, as the social network champions does Facebook have to have to public's interests in mind or just their own bottom line profit margin? As a public company, the shareholders will fire their leadership if they don't choose the bottom line. As the major social network of the world, the public will denounce them for actions like this.

RodgerTheGreat 2 ago 13 replies      
If you're a Facebook user and you are unhappy with the way the company strongarms, censors and manipulates its audience, the most effective way for you to express this dissatisfaction is to close your account, block social media bugs and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Facebook doesn't care how you feel when you use their service; their bottom line simply depends on your contribution to the statistics they use to sell ads. Apathy, or even outrage, are perfectly acceptable provided you express it through channels they control and profit from.

As far as I'm concerned, as long as this conversation is couched in trying to appeal to Mark Zuckerberg's imagined sense of ethical responsibility it will lead nowhere.

jokoon 2 ago 2 replies      
Any centralized social network is subject to moderation because if it's centralized, it can be attacked, fined or shut down by a court. So facebook can't escape that rule and must decide what is acceptable or not and have to anticipate any flak they can get.

In the end, moderation is a gruesome job and nobody really wants to do it, and it will be subject to how moderators anticipate public perception, so it's a PR race.

So of course you will have those situations where facebook will make bad choices, but it doesn't only depends on their moderation team, it also depends on political correctness. That's why decentralized networks are better, because nobody is really responsible, and it can hardly be attacked.

You can decide to either have a politically correct website and get investments, or disagree with political correctness and be like 4chan.

It's not great, I'm sure people realize that, and that the internet will go back to decentralized systems.

planetjones 2 ago 1 reply      
Was the Norwegian Prime Minister's post removed because she posted the image again in that post ? This is a crucial question and not clear from the article. If Facebook censored only words then this is a much larger issue. If they censored the whole post (including photo) then while debatable this is Facebook's policy i.e. a blanket ban on such imagery, irrespective of history.

Edit: I don't find it clear journalism, but the fact is there:

Solberg was one of a string of Norwegian politicians who shared the iconic image after Facebook deleted a post from Tom Egeland

So the post was removed because it had the image, not because she had dared to criticize FB.

the_af 2 ago 0 replies      
This iconic picture was not only a Pulitzer Prize winner, but was also on the cover of the New York Times. Surely this will help the anonymous "Facebook spokeswoman" determine on which side it lies of the thin red line of "censor" / "do not censor"?
dazhbog 2 ago 0 replies      
Why doesn't fb just blur the content that users find disturbing like "Viewer discretion.., flagged by our users". Then you can click to view or adjust the sensitivity in your account settings.
kajecounterhack 2 ago 0 replies      
At Google certain images are considered EDSA (Educational, Documentary, Scientific or Artistic). I wonder if this would have been considered EDSA vs Facebook's decision to say it's against ToS.

That said, it totally makes sense that they have a consistent policy. Whether you find their overall abuse ToS objectionable should be the main consideration here. It's OK to me that they seem to have decided that imagery containing nude children should be hard-banned. It's a decision couched in the desire to protect children, not some heavy-handed censorship.

jondubois 2 ago 0 replies      
I think censoring the PM's complaint is a bad move by Facebook. Regarding censorship of the photo, I think it should be left to Norwegians to decide whether it's appropriate or not - I think different people might have different views on this.
wonks 2 ago 2 replies      
I feel like this is a good argument for taking another look at projects like Diaspora and Friendica Red
angelofm 2 ago 0 replies      
The article makes a reference about an open letter from the editor-in-chief - Espen Egil Hansen, the link return an internal error, you can read the open letter in the web.archive website https://web.archive.org/web/20160909061907/http://www.aftenp...
cannonpr 2 ago 0 replies      
I suspect a large part of this isn't so much an attempt by facebook to impose US cultural norms to the rest of the world, as much as an attempt to avoid financial burden by simply applying the ban stick as bluntly as possible.After all, being multicultural, providing good editing suitable for several countries acceptable norms, while trying to advance/modify them...Well that might be viewed as admirable work or cultural imperialism. The point is it's not work that they want to do, nor do I think is it work that they feel they can get paid for.
Raphmedia 2 ago 1 reply      
It is kind of scary to see how countries are powerless when it comes to Facebook. I know that this article and the whole discussion here is not about that but I get a eery feeling reading about it.
thr0waway1239 2 ago 0 replies      
If you want something from FB: its reach, you need to play by its rules, however arbitrary they may be. If you wish to change the laws of physics, go and get yourself your own planet. It is much easier in this case: just choose a different forum.

Having said that, this incident should teach Norwegians (and the countrymen of any country) a thing or two about where they stand on the totem pole of power.

Facebook > Every other country on the planet

Facebook is a country because it is acts as an independent sovereign state which is not answerable to anyone at this point. Apparently, it already makes up its own taxation laws[1]. I expect them to release their own flag, maybe a national anthem?

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2016/07/29/face...

But of the many truly troubling things I see with FB's policies - their alarming intrusiveness and ruthless exploitation of our need for being social, choosing its own censorship policy is not one of them, especially if it is consistent. I would rather see them made answerable to privacy violations.

samfisher83 2 ago 2 replies      
Maybe the censorship team was too young know the significance of the picture. I am guessing average Facebook employee is under 30. Probably younger than that. Vietnam war is over 40 years old, most American students learned about it and knew that picture, but I don't know how much Vietnam war is taught in other countries. It might have been a combination of age and where the person grew up that contributed to deleting the picture?
maxxxxx 2 ago 11 replies      
I always find it interesting that no level of violence is deemed inappropriate in the US but nudity has to be avoided at any cost.
thomasfl 2 ago 0 replies      
Let's create a walled garden that embraces facebook's walled garden. A new social network that displays your facebook timeline and other items.

BTW. I'm Norwegian.

tromp 2 ago 1 reply      
Facebook has reversed its stance and is reinstating posts featuring 1972's "The Terror of War" picture, according to


"Because of its status as an iconic image of historical importance, the value of permitting sharing outweighs the value of protecting the community by removal, so we have decided to reinstate the image on Facebook where we are aware it has been removed"

oneloop 2 ago 0 replies      
That moment when government officials start realising their biggest publishers are American companies.
cmdrfred 2 ago 0 replies      
This is a place where I do not agree with Facebook's decision but I agree they have a right to decide who and what can be on their platform. Freedom of speech does not give me the right to come into your home and say whatever I like without being asked to leave. I'm free to do so in the public park across the street though. Your property rights trump my free speech.
TrevorJ 2 ago 0 replies      
It's particularly troubling because facebook is primarily about communicating with your own friends and acquaintances. Censoring public content is troubling, but removing content that is private and only available to people who took the step to friend you on Facebook is really really crappy.
newscracker 2 ago 0 replies      
Facebook is very arbitrary in its censoring and account deactivation decisions. Many cases I have read about are instances where Facebook is in the wrong and does not provide users a way to get things resolved (perhaps these instances surface online more often or more prominently).

Every time I read about Facebook's decisions, I feel extremely frustrated and downright angry. Humans need an alternative to Facebook that's not as evil and can get better traction (no, this does not mean everyone closing their FB accounts and switching to email or text messaging). I'm waiting for that to happen.

dmckeon 2 ago 0 replies      
Posters may find it informative to review Tom Egeland'sresponse (in Norwegian, so a translation site may be helpful).


Is the collection of the other 6 or 7 photos still available? - my google-fu has not found them.

EdSharkey 2 ago 1 reply      
It would be neat to have a decentralized social network simply to avoid the editorial demands of the walled garden. I think we'd have a lot more unsavory content making its way to people's eyes though. There'd need to be more sophisticated ways of filtering information than just "unfriend", I suppose. And people would need to have tougher skins for it to work.
codingmyway 2 ago 0 replies      
I can accept why they need to draw a line on naked child images and be done with it. Like most silicon valley companies they want everything automating with as little human customer service as possible.

However if they aren't going to do that job of editorial then they need to stop trying to be a news source while abdicating any responsibility that entails by saying they are a tech company.

cx1000 2 ago 0 replies      
Ironically, Facebook is not censoring the news articles covering this story. The unedited photo is now shown all over Facebook.
niccaluim 2 ago 0 replies      
On the subject of whether speech protections apply to the government only: it's all well and good to apply a legal analysis to free speech issues, but if you're looking to the law to tell you what's right and wrong, you're trying to buy milk at a hardware store.
golemotron 2 ago 1 reply      
Facebook needs to be broken up like Ma Bell was. It's too big to manage well and network effects are preventing alternatives from gaining ground. The world needs more diversity in policy than it has with this mediated communications juggernaut.
return0 2 ago 0 replies      
The bigger problem is that the new media is US controlled,and youre going to have some culture conflicts. Maybe legislative action could force facebook to federate the users content
pi-rat 2 ago 1 reply      
The prime minister's original post:http://snpy.in/5Nv92c
aikah 2 ago 0 replies      
This outrage is ridiculous. Of course, the Guardian is pimping it, they are outrage professionals.
zouhair 1 ago 0 replies      
We really need a real public safe space on the Internet.
roadman 2 ago 1 reply      
I'm not on fb. I read in the comment from the spokeswoman that the distinction cannot be made by their robotic rules. So I believe this illustrates a limitation of their AI. And they don't care so much about the people than their algorithms. Just an opinion.
ycombinatorMan 2 ago 0 replies      
facebook is really an infrastructural service.
794CD01 2 ago 2 replies      
dajohnson89 2 ago 1 reply      
What was the PM's motivation to make the post in the first place?
fil_a_del_fee_a 2 ago 2 replies      
I honestly think it was an algorithm that flagged it.
Demoneeri 2 ago 1 reply      
A picture of a naked child was removed from FB because of the law. No story there.

Are we going to allow child porn on FB because it is artistic ?

JabavuAdams 2 ago 1 reply      
Why are we thinking of FB as some monolithic entity? Isn't the most likely explanation that some low-wage contractor in the Philippines saw a picture of a naked girl and flagged it? That contractor may not even know the historical significance of the picture.

You're in a low-wage job and have to look at horrifying shit all day, every day. Are you going to let the one image through that maybe will cost you the job that you really need?

tamana 2 ago 2 replies      
Guardian is pretty trashy for tossing that picture up twice in one article. The article isn't even about napalm or the war, the picture is being used as snuff shock. Show some respect for human dignity.
exodust 2 ago 1 reply      
She should simply publish it somewhere else, such as her own blog or some other website. When she signed up to Facebook.com she ticked a box agreeing to their terms.

I never signed up so couldn't care less, but aren't most people on Facebook talking about what they had for breakfast and how awesome stuff is? I'm not sure where Napalm girl fits in with that culture except maybe "awesome war photography - thumbs up!!".

andrewclunn 2 ago 0 replies      
Dear Norway,

The US governments make us legally complicit in child pornography if we don't have automated processes to take this stuff down. People keep blaming corporations for censorship of porn-like (but not porn) content, song lyrics that get mistaken for terrorist threats, and overly zealous take downs of anything that might infringe on IP. Do you think we want our users to get angry at us over this shit? Look at the US child porn laws, the numerous governments spying under the banner of the war on terror, and laws like the DMCA. Our hands are tied and you are blaming the wrong people.

- Facebook

upofadown 2 ago 2 replies      
Wait, Facebook censors pictures of naked children because they are afraid that some pedophile might get off on then?

That's kind of twisted, isn't it?

kybernetyk 2 ago 1 reply      
Why should the PM be treated differently than anyone else? Just because she's the PM?

FB has any right to remove whatever they want from their private property.

WaveNet: A Generative Model for Raw Audio deepmind.com
611 points by benanne  3 ago   142 comments top 29
augustl 3 ago 5 replies      
The music examples are utterly fascinating. It sounds insanely natural.

The only thing I can hear that sounds unnatural, is the way that the reverberation in the room (the "echo") immediately gets lower when the raw piano sound itself gets lower. In a real room, if you produce a loud sound and immediately after a soft sound, the reverberation of the loud sound remains. But since this network only models "the sound right now", the volume of the reverberation follows the volume of the piano sound.

To my ears, this is most prevalent in the last example, which starts out loud and gradually becomes softer. It sounds a bit like they are cross-fading between multiple recordings.

Regardless, the piano sounds completely natural to me, I don't hear any artifacts or sounds that a real piano wouldn't make. Amazing!

There are also fragments that sounds inspiring and very musical to my ears, such as the melody and chord progression after 00:08 in the first example.

erichocean 3 ago 8 replies      
This can be used to implement seamless voice performance transfer from one speaker to another:

1. Train a WaveNet with the source speaker.

2. Train a second WaveNet with the target speaker. Or for something totally new, train a WaveNet with a bunch of different speakers until you get one you like. This becomes the target WaveNet.

3. Record raw audio from the source speaker.

Fun fact: any algorithmic process that "renders" something given a set of inputs can be "run in reverse" to recover those inputs given the rendered output. In this case, we now have raw audio from the source speaker thatin principle could have been rendered by the source speaker's WaveNet, and we want to recover the inputs that would have rendered it, had we done so.

To do that, usually you convert all numbers in the forward renderer into Dual numbers and use automatic differentiation to recover the inputs (in this case, phonemes and what not).

4. Recover the inputs. (This is computationally expensive, but not difficult in practice, especially if WaveNet's generation algorithm is implemented in C++ and you've got a nice black-box optimizer to apply to the inputs, of which there are many freely available options.)

5. Take the recovered WaveNet inputs, feed them into the target speaker's WaveNet, and record the resulting audio.

Result: The resulting raw audio will have the same overall performance and speech as the source speaker, but rendered completely naturally in the target speaker's voice.

rdtsc 3 ago 1 reply      
Wonder if there are any implications here for breaking (MitM) ZRTP protocol.


At some point to authenticate both parties verify a short message by reading it to each other.

However, NSA has already tried to MitM that about 10 years ago by using voice synthesis. It was deemed inadequate at the time. Wonder if TTS improvements like these, change that game and make it more plausable scenario.

dharma1 3 ago 1 reply      
The samples sound amazing. These causal convolutions look like a great idea, will have to re-read a few times. All the previous generative audio from raw audio samples I've heard (using LSTM) has been super noisy. These are crystal clear.

Dilated convolutions are already implemented in TF, look forward to someone implementing this paper and publishing the code.

novalis78 3 ago 1 reply      
What's really intriguing is the part in their article where they explain the "babbling" of wavenet, when they train the network without the text input.

That sounds just like a small kid imitating a foreign (or their own) language. My kids grow up bilingual and I hear them attempt something similar when they are really small. I guess it's like listening in to their neural network modelling the sound of the new language.

noonespecial 3 ago 4 replies      
So when I get the AI from one place, train it with the voices of hundreds of people from dozens of other sources, and then have it read a book from Project Gutenberg to an mp3... who owns the mechanical rights to that recording?
jay-anderson 2 ago 1 reply      
Any suggestions on where to start learning how to implement this? I understand some of the high level concepts (and took an intro AI class years ago - probably not terribly useful), but some of them are very much over my head (e.g. 2.2 Softmax Distributions and 2.3 Gated Activation Units) and some parts of the paper feel somewhat hand-wavy (2.6 Context Stacks). Any pointers would be useful as I attempt to understand it. (EDIT: section numbers refer to their paper)
chestervonwinch 3 ago 2 replies      
Is it possible to use the "deep dream" methods with a network trained for audio such as this? I wonder what that would sound like, e.g., beginning with a speech signal and enhancing with a network trained for music or vice versa.
fastoptimizer 3 ago 4 replies      
Do they say how much time is the generation taking?

Is this insanely slow to train but extremely fast to do generation?

ronreiter 3 ago 3 replies      
Please please please someone please share an IPython notebook with something working already :)
grandalf 3 ago 4 replies      
This is incredible. I'd be worried if I were a professional audiobook reader :)
JoshTriplett 3 ago 1 reply      
How much data does a model take up? I wonder if this would work for compression? Train a model on a corpus of audio, then store the audio as text that turns back into a close approximation of that audio. (Optionally store deltas for egregious differences.)
bbctol 3 ago 0 replies      
Wow! I'd been playing around with machine learning and audio, and this blows even my hilariously far-future fantasies of speech generation out of the water. I guess when you're DeepMind, you have both the brainpower and resources to tackle sound right at the waveform level, and rely on how increasingly-magical your NNs seem to rebuild everything else you need. Really amazing stuff.
fpgaminer 2 ago 1 reply      
I'm guessing DeepMind has already done this (or is already doing), but conditioning on a video is the obvious next step. It would be incredibly interesting to see how accurate it can get generating the audio for a movie. Though I imagine for really great results they'll need to mix in an adversarial network.
JonnieCache 3 ago 1 reply      
Wow. I badly want to try this out with music, but I've taken little more than baby steps with neural networks in the past: am I stuck waiting for someone else to reimplement the stuff in the paper?

IIRC someone published an OSS implementation of the deep dreaming image synthesis paper fairly quickly...

visarga 2 ago 1 reply      
And when you think of all those Hollywood SF movies where the robot could reason and act quite well but in a tin-voice. How wrong they got it. We can simulate high quality voices but we can't have our reasoning, walking robots.
kragen 2 ago 0 replies      
This is amazing. And it's not even a GAN. Presumably a GAN version of this would be even more naturalor maybe they tried that and it didn't work so they didn't put it in the paper?

Definitely the death knell for biometric word lists.

ericjang 2 ago 0 replies      
"At Vanguard, my voice is my password..."
imaginenore 3 ago 1 reply      
Please make it sound like Morgan Freeman.
banach 3 ago 0 replies      
I hope this shows up as a TTS option for VoiceDream (http://www.voicedream.com/) soon! With the best voices they have to offer (currently, the ones from Ivona), I can suffer through a book if the subject is really interesting, but the way the samples sounded here, the WaveNet TTS could be quite pleasant to listen to.
nitrogen 2 ago 0 replies      
I wonder how a hybrid model would sound, where the net generates parameters for a parametric synthesis algorithm (or a common speech codec) instead of samples, to reduce CPU costs.
rounce 3 ago 1 reply      
So when does the album drop?
imurray 3 ago 1 reply      
Would delete this post if I could. Was a request to fix a broken link. Now fixed.
partycoder 3 ago 0 replies      
The first to do semantic style transfer on audio gets a cookie!
mtgx 2 ago 0 replies      
When can we expect this to be used in Google's TTS engine?
AstralStorm 2 ago 0 replies      
Finally a convincing Simlish generator!
tunnuz 3 ago 0 replies      
Love the music part! Mmmh ... infinite jazz.
billconan 3 ago 0 replies      
hope they can release some source code.

wonder how many gpus are required to hold this model.

baccheion 3 ago 0 replies      
I suppose it's impressive in a way, but when I looked into "smoothing out" text to speech audio a few years ago, it seemed fairly straightforward. I was left wondering why it hadn't been done already, but alas, most Engineers at these companies are either politicking know-nothing idiots, or are constantly being road blocked, preventing them from making any real advancements.
The End of Headphone Jacks, the Rise of DRM eff.org
450 points by dwaxe  3 ago   334 comments top 41
AceJohnny2 3 ago 5 replies      
> When you plug an audio cable into a smartphone, it just works.

No, hardware-wise you're still going through a DAC, and the complex audio subsystem of the OS is still deciding, upon receiving the connection signal, to re-route the application audio through that headphone DAC. Or not. Jack or Lightning doesn't change this.

> Apple can choose which manufacturers get to create Lightning-compatible audio devices.

Sure. Or you can use the included lightning-jack adapter and just use normal, un-DRM'd headphones.

>Once Apple gets the ability to add DRM, the record industry gets the ability to insist that Apple use it

See my first point: the audio jack wasn't your last guardian of freedom.

>In other words, if its impossible to connect a speaker or other audio device to an iPhone without Apple software governing it

Use the adapter. And see the first point.

> the only way to connect an iPhone 7 to a recording or mixing device will be over the suboptimal Bluetooth connection or a dongle provided by Apple.

Aha! They finally acknowledge the adapter! But do they acknowledge that it's functionally identical to a built-in DAC?

> It's possible that iOS or specific apps will be able to disable the dongle.

It's also possible the phone will halt and catch fire if you run an unapproved app. But disabling the dongle would be moronic. For one thing, they'd be incurring the wrath of ADA-defender groups.

>the converter you rely on to hear your phone on your hearing aidsjust became less useful.

See previous point.

>But you shouldnt have to depend on a manufacturers permission to use its hardware however you like.

Then don't even buy Apple. They've been locked down in so many other ways for a long time.


The simple explanation (see Occam's Razor) is that the designers noticed that they were using valuable internal space for a redundant connector (considering the hardware has been able to route audio over Lightning for a long time), and figured they could reclaim that space for something else. Clearly, people disagree with this change. The market will tell.

agentgt 3 ago 5 replies      
> Besides, with only Apple earbuds currently supporting the Lightning audio connection, the only way to connect an iPhone 7 to a recording or mixing device will be over the suboptimal Bluetooth connection or a dongle provided by Apple.

If you are recording stuff from your iPhone using the 3.5mm jack you are already suboptimal perhaps even to the bluetooth.

For one you are going through the iPhone DAC (luckily the iphone DACs are pretty descent) then through a generally crappy mini amplifier. If you are doing this you are expecting suboptimal or really don't care about the music quality. I'm not audiophile and hardly care about extreme music quality but If you are mixing/recording you shouldn't be adding artifacts.

If you do care about quality recording you either tranfer content off the iphone, bypass the phone jack (aka amplifier), or bypass even the DAC (and get a stream directly). There are several products that already do this on the market for the existing iPhone.

(It would be nice if some one would comment instead of downvoting. I don't know if my comment is inappropriate or factually wrong... or just in the way... seriously who records stuff off their iPhone? I'm not disagreeing with the intent of the article just that I doubt audio/music experts are going to be affected by this change)

mead5432 3 ago 6 replies      
I understand the argument that forcing content through a proprietary jack opens the door for controlling said content and has huge implications for hardware manufacturers and the way people use their stuff.

What I am having a hard time understanding is why is that any different than the OS influencing what gets sent to the 3.5mm jack? It isn't like apps running in iOS had to interact with APIs to do all the other things (e.g. camera) but not the jack. Is it?

michrassena 3 ago 4 replies      
The discussion seems to be easily diverted into one about audio, but I think something that I've not seen in discussion about this issue is the way some app makers have used the analog audio port as a data jack. I've long had the impression this was a workaround that was begrudgingly tolerated by Apple. Though we've all heard about how heavy-handed their app store policies are, so maybe I'm imagining things. But anyway, how does this new port affect the use of those devices and how does it affect future devices? Are there Lightning-only devices in the works, does Lightning allow the same sort of communication that the analog port did?

Plugging the audio jack seems to be Apple closing a loophole. It's not at all different from soldering RAM on motherboards to close the after-market RAM upgrade loophole and force customers to decide at purchase time how they'll use the computer in the future. Either they'll by too-low spec'd machine and have to upgrade sooner, or buy high spec'd and pay more upfront. Either way Apple wins. Their phones don't have card slots but my $50 LG phone does, so it's not a question of capability. When you can add 32GB of storage for $15, that money doesn't go to Apple.

The truly bothersome thing is how in denial people are about Apple's true intentions, or maybe it's simply that they own Apple stock. Apple's a public company, this is profit motivated pure and simple. Whether this move will also coincide with the interests of the customer remains to be seen.

(edit for typos and clarification)

audunw 3 ago 4 replies      
I'm not convinced. The record industry has already given up on DRM except for streaming. A lot has to happen before DRM is applied to headphones.

Audio is not like video, where it's hard to get a decent copy from the screen. With audio you can always just hook up to the analog output to the speakers themselves and get a copy indistinguishable from the original

Fighting for DRM on headphones would be an uphill battle in so many ways, and I'm not sure the record industry is stupid enough to waste the effort. They've already seemed to learn what everyone know: piracy is solved by making the content easily, universally available at a reasonable price. Piracy is tedious. Just make a better service and the customers will come to you.

Yetanfou 3 ago 3 replies      
That Apple wants their users to only use 'approved' peripherals with their stuff (i.e. only those from which they get a share of the profits) under the guise of 'user experience' and 'convenience' does not mean the rest of the world will suddenly give up on their analogue headphones. Apple users will be able to buy dongles (which have to be Apple-approved, so Apple will still get their share of the profits leading to higher prices which Apple-users are willing to bear to be part of that exclusive community) to connect their analogue headphones, the rest of the world will happily keep plugging those 3.5mm jacks into their phones and tablets and radios and other devices.

As an aside, what a strange creature is man that he wants to replace a device which is analogue by nature - ears not being digital after all - with a digital counterpart which is clearly sub-optimal, overly complex and fraught with potential restrictions. Meanwhile that same man will brag to his friends about the analogue turn table he purchased on which he plays his analogue records for that true analogue experience, claiming a much warmer sound that is clearly superior to that produced by digital players which 'chop the sound into bits which takes away from the experience'.

Bizarre, but profitable.

aroman 3 ago 3 replies      
> Besides, with only Apple earbuds currently supporting the Lightning audio connection

This is just factually incorrect.

Even before today's announcement lightning headphones have been available from multiple independent headphone makers, including Bose and Phillips[0].


csense 3 ago 4 replies      
The lack of a headphone jack is simply yet another excellent reason not to buy an iPhone. What confuses me is why so many people continue to buy Apple products when they're overpriced, locked-down and treat developers like crap.
exabrial 3 ago 6 replies      
Other people getting screwed: Custom IEM wearers. I had a $300 set of Alclair Audio IEMs made so I can use an in-ear audio system on stage while making live music. These use impressions that an audiologist takes of your ear canals for an _exact_ fit that completely seals your ear.

There's not a snow-balls chance in hell I would have these be wireless, or a proprietary standard:

1) Latency. Anything over 2ms is not acceptable for live music. That's the difference between a band sounding "in-time" to "needs practice"

2) We use various tablets, phones to control the mix to our ears, and sometimes in between sets, listen and review music.

3) Removing the 3.5mm pretty much means Apple is exiting professional audio because it's now incompatible with 100% of everything.

4) There is no way in hell my $300 pair of custom-molded IEMs bound to a standard that Apple is going to change in 3 years. Not only would I have to replace my IEMs, but any equipment that's not Apple would have to be updated to match. Not going to happen.

the_other 3 ago 1 reply      
This reads slightly hyperbolic. I suspect Apple will fight against DRM on music for quite some time having made the decision to remove it.

In the past the Apple's designs needed to respect a vast pre-existing ecosystem of headphones, amps and assorted other audio gear. Dropping the socket largely takes them out of that ecosystem, but today the success and reach of their devices exerts pressure on that ecosystem to move in Apple's direction too. That pressure does the rest of the ecosystem a significant disservice: the interoperability of the devices, cables and practices in that ecosystem provides so much utility!

hackuser 3 ago 0 replies      
If you are interested in open hardware, one company working diligently on solutions Purism:


You can order laptops now and they are talking about a phone. They even negotiate with OEMs, such as Intel,[0] to provide more open versions of their products, diligently trying to create widespread change. They aren't all the way there,[1] but seem committed to the long run.

(I'm not affiliated, and all I know about them is what I read.)


[0] https://puri.sm/posts/petition-for-intel-to-release-an-me-le...

[1] https://puri.sm/road-to-fsf-ryf-endorsement-and-beyond/ - Note that's from Aug 2015

rayiner 3 ago 1 reply      
HeadphoneJackGate is really a damning indictment of the tech industry. The usability of Apple products for ordinary people has been sliding downhill for years due to trendy-but-idiotic features like hidden UI, flat UI, and gestures (and various abominations combining the three). But the lack of a headphone jack (a total non-issue thanks to the included adapter) is what the tech press gets worked up over...
PaulHoule 3 ago 2 replies      
This is the first time I've heard that argument. It's a good one.
otterley 3 ago 1 reply      
What about the fact that Apple ships a Lighting-to-3.5mm-stereo-analog adapter in the box? As far as I can tell, there is no practical difference from the previous scenario, other than that you need to plug in the dongle to make analog recordings.

I agree with a lot of what EFF does, but in light of the adapter provided, they're blowing this issue way out of proportion.

electic 3 ago 4 replies      
The real issue here is this might be anti-competitive, and go as far as being an anti-trust issue. Apple can now limit who makes headphones for the iPhone and the ones that are "allowed" could end up seeing their headphones far more expensive than the Apple and Beats brands. This is all because 3rd party brands will have to pay licensing fees to Apple to use the port. So we could end up seeing headphones that are 20%+ more expensive compared to Apple or Beats headphone units.

Sounds anti-competitive to me....

Kenji 3 ago 0 replies      
> It advertises that the move helps make the phone more water-resistant.

Absolute, utter nonsense. I have a 3 year old Samsung Galaxy S4 Active that sports an open headphone jack and can be SUBMERGED in water without any problems.

I don't want to have any heavy batteries sitting over, on or in my ears. Let alone the trash DAC and amplifier that these bluetooth devices have.

noonespecial 3 ago 1 reply      
I think removing the headphone jack is stupid. But it has zero to do with DRM. Moving the DAC to the other side of a connector changes nothing at all about Apple's ability to implement DRM.

There was an Apple controlled DAC in your phone before, now its in a dongle 2cm away. Its annoying but not a diabolical plot.

zonovar 3 ago 0 replies      
I am paranoid I know, however the first thing I thought is that, as headphone can be used in a reverse way as microphones, that Apple made a secret deal with the NSA (or else...) so they will be able in a Bluetooth range to connect (as Bluetooth is far away from being secure) and listen to people. Those plugs all around are just free and easy tool for spies. Of course they could also listen to non encrypted conversations during phone calls between people using encrypted channels/tools.Am I the only one thinking about that?
slicktux 3 ago 1 reply      
So, apple gets rid of the headphone jack and the fear of the END of headphone jacks propagates. . .This is somewhat depressing and frustrating; depressing because one companies' decision has the potential to influence other companies implementations that therefore will affect us all? Frustrating because homogenization is apparently that simple to implement?I guess this quote by who knows who is ever so true. . . "there is no profit in the current paradigm. . .you have to create problems to create profits", unfortunately.
k-mcgrady 3 ago 1 reply      
1. Apple has already publicly stated this is not about DRM and, at least when it comes to music, they have been very anti-DRM for a long time.

2. Apple earbuds aren't the only one's you can use. There are lots of lightning compatible headphones and they've been around a while.

3. This is not 'The End of Headphones Jacks'. It's one phone manufacturer. Globally iPhone market share is less than 20% so if you want a headphone jack you have a lot of great options.

kazinator 3 ago 0 replies      
So what? Early consumer computers (including ones from Apple) didn't have audio jacks either; you had to add audio adapter interfaces to have audio at all. It's just going full circle.

DRM has nothing to do with whether a device has an analog audio jack. Nobody in their right mind copies audio through the headphone jack output.

If an audio output device enforces DRM, that can be done just as well by a built-in analog out as by some bluetooth add-on or whatever. Analog out starts out digital. The audio data flows to some audio chips. Those chips have drivers, and the drivers can be signed, part of a signed OS image, etc. You can make a device that will only play digital-rights-managed content, even if it has analog outputs.

draw_down 3 ago 0 replies      
I don't like this change but I think the argument that it's about DRM is pretty silly.
peterkelly 3 ago 0 replies      
> "Other developers must ask Apple for permission to create and sell Lightning-compatible devices"

I wonder how well that's going to work in China (and for that matter most of the rest of Asia)

cdnsteve 3 ago 0 replies      
The also just made it so their phone no longer works with millions of car audio systems that have an auxiliary input jack. Not all of us have 2016's with fancy Car Play or Android Auto.
api 3 ago 0 replies      
This is interesting but personally I think this move is more about Apple being able to take more profit from its Beats brand and from any third party speaker maker that now has to license to work with iOS.

Of course I guess they can also sell "premium DRM" snake oil to recording companies now, because nobody can tap audio from hardware. That's totally impossible right?

Apple just loves to tax their ecosystem. They also have a huge fetish for eliminating connectors, plugs, etc. even when they are well past the point of diminishing returns there.

astral303 3 ago 0 replies      
If there is a 3.5mm dongle available, how is this truly the end of the headphone jacks?

The headphone jack is still there, it just has to be accessed via the dongle. It's gone from being physically on the device, but the capability is not gone.

I think a post like this undermines EFF's credibility. Steve Jobs has railed against DRM for music and finally was able to get it. iTunes music has been DRM-free for years now. Why would Apple back out on DRM-free music?

aluhut 3 ago 1 reply      
I don't get it.

The customer base of Apple has no problems spending huge amounts of money. Why should they need to be controlled in such a way?

hackuser 3 ago 0 replies      
It's frustrating that there's not a (significant) phone vendor committed to both user confidentiality and end-user control (libre/free/open).

Apple seems to provide confidentiality, if you buy their marketing, and Google is much more open/free. These should be, IMO, fundamentals of IT, but it's not even a realistic option.

javajosh 3 ago 1 reply      
Isn't this tacitly assuming that Apple will be able to single-handedly eliminate the headphone jack? I think it is quite likely that post-Jobs Apple has finally overstepped it's bounds, and despite it's good qualities the iPhone 7 will be a relative dud. In which case the iPhone 8 will (reluctantly) put the jack back.
jasonlingx 3 ago 1 reply      
You can still get a headphone jack via a lightning adapter which comes with every iPhone 7...
ybrah 3 ago 0 replies      
if a certain artist's musics is not easily accessible because of DRM or whatever reason, Ill just find something different to listen to.

There is no shortage of good local bands anywhere in the world so I'm not worried

EGreg 3 ago 0 replies      
I like how the last paragraph started with "one more thing". :)
jccalhoun 3 ago 0 replies      
It is just so weird to me that apple hates buttons but loves dongles.
Sidgup1 1 ago 0 replies      
L, R and GND will still exist abd it will be analog signal. Speakers are analog.
protomyth 3 ago 1 reply      
I guess Android phones will probably go for something based off USB-C. I wonder if Apple will approve an adapter from lightning to some other digital connector?
AndrewKemendo 3 ago 1 reply      
Is it possible Apple wants to kill Square because they want everyone to use pay anywhere and are going to release a new card reader dongle soon?
shmerl 3 ago 0 replies      
Yeah, how Apple of them.
zelias 3 ago 3 replies      
There's a lot of potential for anti-competitive practice here -- for example, Apple could theoretically prevent the Spotify app from transmitting audio over Bluetooth or Lightning, forcing users into the Apple Music ecosystem.
X86BSD 3 ago 2 replies      
matthewhall 3 ago 0 replies      
Just saying drm sucks. Apple calls in digital resources management not rights
The Correct Way to Validate Email Addresses hackernoon.com
549 points by amk_  4 ago   383 comments top 55
Benjamin_Dobell 4 ago 11 replies      
The number of websites that try reject my email address with a + in it, ugh!

Surprisingly, the validation is often done 100% client-side anyway, and simply modifying the incorrect regex lets my email address through... If I wrecked havoc on your back-end, then it's your fault for sucking ;)

nicolas_t 3 ago 3 replies      
The one thing I systematically do in term of email validation is catch the common typos of the main providers. So things like gmail.con, hotmai.com, gmall.com and so on.

In 99% of those cases, it prevents someone from entering a wrong email.

We do not do email activation by forcing people to click a link in their email to validate that they received it since that causes a drop in the funnel and reduces the amount of revenues (non technical users tend to not come back when you ask them to go to their emails to verify it). So, in this case, correcting the typical typoes is very important. In our case though the information is not extremely private so it's less of a problem to do this.

Having people type the email twice doesn't really prevent typoes, people copy and paste. And if you disable paste, then it becomes annoying to users and you don't want to annoy users during the signup process (plus I hate websites that mess up with paste so I won't be hypocritical and do it).

Lastly, I know that having an email with a local domain name with no TLD is valid but it'll never be valid in the context we are sending so supporting them just doesn't make sense.

amk_ 4 ago 3 replies      
TL;DR the odds that the user entered an incorrect-but-valid address are way higher than that they entered one which will not actually be able to receive mail. Send a validation email.
jwecker 4 ago 3 replies      
I always assumed it was more a sanitization issue for security's sake. By allowing only a simple subset ("common") email address type, you can be ambivalent about what email server is running and how it reacts to the wide variety of specially crafted email addresses.

With no validation other than sending the email, you have to know, for example, what the server would do with an email address that claims to be @localhost. Now it becomes a problem- or at least a question and concern- for the backend system. Whether the backend interprets root@localhost as valid and does exactly what it's told or rejects it due to some configuration- it has become a backend complication and a DOS attack vector.

A simple policy of only handling a subset- the common class of email addresses- is one of the things that allows us to have a simple mental model of what the MTA is supposed to do. The fact that it sometimes caught a type-o, or not, is incidental. "Invalid email" wasn't meant to imply the email address doesn't fit the spec- it was meant to imply that a particular site or service has chosen not to accept email addresses like that.

Or at least that's what I assumed :-)

tedmiston 4 ago 6 replies      
Hmm, sorry but I don't buy that the "correct way to validate" is not to validate the input.

Email addresses aren't a special enough case to be handled differently than any other user input, which we always validate to both sanitize and show client-side errors, if nothing else.

Sure, the complete regex is complex, but it is defined and is hardly unconquerable. Look at Django's `EmailValidator` implementation for example [0] that is mature and well tested [1].

The author has not convinced me that ignoring validation is the right choice when options with a scope so thorough exist.

[0]: https://github.com/django/django/blob/master/django/core/val...

[1]: https://github.com/django/django/blob/a9215b7c36bff232bcc941...

JacobJans 4 ago 4 replies      
I do a lot of optin email. Here are some examples of bounced emails that people use to sign up:

* somename@gmail.co

* anothername@yhoo.com

* myemail@hotmial.com

These are very common errors that occur nearly every day. A regex isn't going to help here. What does help, is a notification that asks people to verify what they typed if the email contains an obvious, common error, such as one listed above.

SamReidHughes 4 ago 0 replies      
There are other situations where you do have to guess whether a string of data is a "real" email address or if it's some garbage data that turns up in information systems. "Validating" email addresses (without emailing somebody) is a real problem. By the way, maximizing the accuracy of such a guess can require going against the standards.
r1ch 4 ago 0 replies      
One thing I've found that helps a lot is instant delivery notifications. When you try to register a new account, our "We've sent a confirmation email" screen will report within a few seconds if there was a mail delivery error and allow the user to correct their address. Common typo detection for popular email domains is also beneficial (https://github.com/mailcheck/mailcheck)
cyberferret 4 ago 1 reply      
As an aside, I received an email from a government department recently that had an '&' character as part of the email address. I didn't think that was valid, but lo and behold, when I checked the specs, it IS indeed a valid character in an email address.

Just goes to show that assumptions are often wrong, and you have to crack open the spec document from time to time... [1]

[1] - https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2822

Ameo 4 ago 2 replies      
I have a .link domain for my personal email and a lot of sites refuse to let me register because they don't recognize it as a valid TLD.

Then there's the textbook company that lets me register but refuses to let me reset my password claiming that I'm trying to enter an "invalid email address."

KennyCason 4 ago 0 replies      
Fully knowing where this was going to conclude, I still found myself reading through the "lets build a stats model" part. I just had to check my calendar to confirm it's not April 1st. :)
Xorlev 3 ago 4 replies      
At this point, our email validity criteria:


That is, at least one character for the inbox, at least one character for the domain, at least two for the TLD (we assume that TLD-less domains are undeliverable by us). This ensures we don't allow 'a@a' or 'a@a.a', but do allow 'a@a.io'.

dugluak 4 ago 0 replies      
How about the common mistake of entering xyz@abc,com instead of .com. A lot of times I unintentionally make this mistake. If the system doesn't prompt me in this case then I would never know why I didn't receive any further communication from it. That's FAIL in my opinion.
sly010 4 ago 2 replies      
If someone's valid email address


they are up to no good and I don't want them as my customer.

Also, according to the standard email addresses supposed to be case sensitive,since the username part refers to a unix user and unix is case sensitive.I work with a lot of email address lists originally collected on paper and of course noone knows that. So as bad as it sounds, part of my sanitation process is to lowercase everything. Noone ever complained. What the standard says and what people actually do is very different.

buro9 3 ago 2 replies      
The best way to validate an email address:

Send an email that they need to click on (or an email with a code they need to enter), OR ask the OAuth provider with authority for it to validate it (i.e. Google Oauth for Google addresses, Windows Live for Microsoft Accounts, etc).

The best way to identify someone with an email address:

Store a canonical version of their email address alongside the users email. Use the canonical version when signing-in/identifying and the raw version originally supplied to send email.

This is the only way to not have duplicate accounts for firstlast@googlemail.com vs first.last@googlemail.com vs first.last@gmail.com .

The canonical email is always lowercase, no dots, no + part, no prefix or suffix columns, known domain aliases are normalised to the most common alias (googlemail.com > gmail.com).

I wrote a SQL canonical email func recently (in preparation for Persona shut-down) if anyone is interested: https://github.com/microcosm-cc/microcosm/blob/master/db/mig...

maxerickson 4 ago 1 reply      
Yes, please do send activation emails (or perhaps a personal confirmation email if you are establishing contact with someone that wrote down an address for you).

Those of us with firstnamelastname@commonhost will appreciate not getting bills and job offers and such.

omarforgotpwd 4 ago 0 replies      
I first encountered the idea of email validation in Agile Web Development with Ruby on Rails, which I read in middle school. In the book they give an example of validating email addresses to show how you could use regex to validate. I wonder if that contributed to the frustrating problem of developers trying to validate emails and not accepting valid inputs.
gpvos 3 ago 0 replies      
One more thing that irks me is that some websites capitalize or lowercase the part before the @. Email servers are allowed to treat that part case-sensitively, although most don't. (The part after the @ is indeed case-insensitive.)
smallnamespace 4 ago 0 replies      
Why not go the other way and compute the edit distance to commonly used domain names, and then prompt the user and ask if it's correct?

E.g. if I type foo@googl.com, it should be pretty likely that I meant google.com.

bballer 3 ago 1 reply      
In all my projects I use the same methods for validating an email address: 1) Does it contain a `@` 2) Split the string on the `@` and make sure that at least one character exists on both sides of the `@` 3) Send verification email.

This check is done server side, while on the client I just use an html5 input[type='email'] with a required attribute.

SZJX 2 ago 0 replies      
Of course the only way to be 100% sure would be to actually test it out by sending an actual email isn't it. This is just so obvious. I think the point of email regexes out there is not to make up for the user's silly typing mistake. It's just more to reject nonsensical/malicious/blatantly false inputs etc. as the first layer of protection really, and nobody would really spend tons of time on crafting a "perfect" regex anyways I'm pretty sure, so that's never been a problem at all.
bigger_cheese 3 ago 0 replies      
There is someone at my work with a hyphen and an apostrophe in their email address. Their inbox often gets used for testing things.
justinator 4 ago 0 replies      
In Dada Mail [0], there's quite a few steps to figuring out if the email address submitted for a mailing list subscription is valid, but most of it can really be organized under sanitizing the data you receive, which you should be doing anyways. Yes, we do validation for form of an address client side (which helps with hitting the server side so much), but we'll do it again server side. We also look at stats on how many times an address was submitted before, as well as per ip address over time across all fuctions of the app (as well as specifically for subscribing). Oh, and even if it's valid, and "real", sometimes we don't want to work with it either, ie: it shows up on something like StopFormSpam. It's actually a ton of work and much to orchestrate.

[0] http://dadamailproject.com

puddintane 3 ago 0 replies      
I always search out that a validation library hasn't already been done in my current language first before attempting validation with custom code - this leads to more easily maintainable code for future eyes.

For example in PHP I use filter_var function with the FILTER_VALIDATE_EMAIL [1] - while it's great to know why and how to do a particular thing programming, it's better to use a time tested library that is maintained by multiple eyes versus just your own.

[1] http://php.net/manual/en/filter.examples.validation.php

zimbatm 3 ago 0 replies      
TLDR; (with my own interpetation)

1. Email validation regexp should be: /.+@.+/ => Tell the user to enter a valid email if that doesn't match.

2. Send a validation email to actually exercise the system

chavesn 4 ago 0 replies      
All of that statistical analysis was actually a bit silly, because I've never heard the "typo" argument as a reason for email grammar validation[1]. Sounds like a straw man. It didn't need to be disproven.

The conclusion is sound (although leaves out a discussion of the whether an email confirmation field is at least better than nothing).

[1]: (As a side note, I think the most common explanations for grammar validation are programmer perfectionism and proactively stopping user garbage, such as copy-paste errors or intentionally fluffed fields that will result in a bounced email anyway.)

nbevans 3 ago 0 replies      
Validating e-mails is pointless - short of sending them a confirmation URL and waiting.

Sanity checking them however is often useful for checking form input or data cleansing.

mangeletti 3 ago 1 reply      
Firstly, great article.

Secondly, this guy is so hilarious.

I clicked to his podcast (where he reads Wikipedia pages) at the bottom and listened to this hilarious episode https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/david-reads-wikipedia/id.... His specific style of sarcastic humor (just like the article - is there a name for this style of humor btw?) is rare and hilarious.

contingencies 3 ago 1 reply      
1. International domain names... you cannot filter characters much because of this. If you want to filter characters, be damn sure it's careful and precise filtering.

2. For immediate feedback, you can reasonably check it's not at at a non-routable IP range, ie. address@127.x.x.x or address@192.168.x.x or similar. However, this check is best done on your email server (MTA policy). It's unlikely anyone would enter this without malicious intent so there's no need to optimize for their use case.

amluto 3 ago 0 replies      
I can think of one reason to do RFC2822 validation: security. It reduces the chance that someone can give a bogus email address that makes some SMTP server on the route misbehave.
nxzero 3 ago 2 replies      
Correct way is run a regex for [wildcard @ wildcard . Wildcard] then send an opt-in email real-time as the user is typing additional info. If it bounces before the user finished the onboard form - alert them to the issue. If it gets validate, autologin the user. If bounces or there's zero response by the time the user completes the form, alert them, ask to type their email again without access to the reprior entry - then give them the optin option via text message.
ChuckMcM 3 ago 1 reply      
I think the 'valid but wrong' email is a more common failure. Having just spent a few weeks with my wife trying to convince some poor person that they had mistyped their email address when they created their Amazon account. Reminded me of this xkcd (https://xkcd.com/1279/).

It does seem effective to have someone type the address twice as that can catch a typo fairly easily.

tedmiston 4 ago 1 reply      
From the perspective of a user typing their own email address correctly, I use text substitution on OS X and iOS to never type my full email address. ex fg --> foo@gmail.com
suhith 3 ago 0 replies      
This keeps coming up on HN, in the end the best thing to do is exactly as the article says. ACTUALLY SEND the email and see if they get it.
smaili 4 ago 0 replies      
For those looking for the conclusion:

Send your users an activation email.

vkjv 3 ago 0 replies      
I like the approach of accepting anything that is a reasonable length with an`@`, but suggestinging corrections for possibly misspelled common domains.


If you really need to validate, the only way I know how is to send them an email and click a link to confirm.

OOPMan 2 ago 0 replies      
My approach to this is reasonably simple:

1: Does it have an @2: Is it at least 5 chars long (E.g. a@b.c)

kazinator 3 ago 2 replies      
Sorry, I disagree.

There is absolutely is a correct way to lexically validate an e-mail address: namely, implement a parser for the syntax specified in whatever RFC is the up-to-date successor of RFC 822.

There is such a thing as incorrect e-mail address syntax: namely, non-RFC-conforming syntax, whatever that is.

You may reject that, and that's about it.

Please don't reject RFC-conforming e-mail addresses.

fafournier 3 ago 0 replies      
There seem to be a problem with the analysis. It seems to assume that everybody uses qwerty keyboards! What about qwertz, azerty, dvorak or even colemak... We need to recalculate with data aggregated and weighted by world-wide populations! :-D
htor 3 ago 0 replies      
What is weird is that input[type="email"] rejects some valid emails. Try out this codepen:


teekert 3 ago 0 replies      
Small anecdote: We recently had a visitor from the US (a physician) who didn't understand why we didn't need a .com at the end of an email address, she was exchanging email addresses with a french person who's address ended in .fr :)
Timucin 3 ago 0 replies      
I wish the author put the single sentence at the end to the up with a TL;DR; note: send verification emails, which I don't agree 100% while the article/author claims that's the 100% right way.
chriscampbell 3 ago 0 replies      
I respect the thought behind this article but if you don't want to build it yourself, we use the company .BriteVerify and it works pretty dam well for identifying invalid emails.
sigi45 3 ago 0 replies      
His number is probably wrong. I personally wrote/typed my email address wrong (when you have those two fields).

There are also common pitfalls people are doing like empty spaces at the beginning and at the end which should be cleaned up before trying to send the email to " whoever@gmail.com".

There is also an Email standard and when a normal library is able to validate it (and there are free good libs out there) than the effort to do so is similiar minimal but provides an additional support.

What you should do is also to make sure that you are not sending unlimited emails out there. Otherwise you might be missused as a mail relay / spammer.

burnbabyburn 3 ago 1 reply      
tl;dr send a confirmation email.

it's 20 years that people suggest a cool new way to deal with email addresses, I don't even mind listening anymore! :)

mpetrovich 3 ago 0 replies      
Some people, when confronted with a problem, think "I know, I'll use regular expressions."Now they have two problems.

Jamie Zawinski

jordanielewski 3 ago 0 replies      
Personally, I just check '@' presence
josh_carterPDX 3 ago 0 replies      
I'm now going to put non-standard email characters in every form I fill out just to see how the site handles it.
brightball 4 ago 2 replies      
This is the best comprehensive way that I've found:


It breaks down into 3 parts that can be used either independently or as a whole: format, MX and SMTP.

gcb0 4 ago 0 replies      
even Google fails this.

register a Gmail address and type in the wrong alternative email.

done. no confirmation required. someone with the mistyped email now have how to reset your password and take your account.

ehnto 3 ago 0 replies      
I have trouble with my simple .co address.
ikeboy 4 ago 0 replies      
>I know hacking LinkedIn just to make a point about email validation is a bit extreme, but it is important to back up ones opinions with data


chenster 3 ago 1 reply      
Even from http://emailregex.com, a popular regular expression summary for email, states it can only catch 99.99% of validate emails. However, I still like to include some basic form of email validation both on the client and server side, plus the activation email.
chiefalchemist 4 ago 1 reply      
Great article. Wrong. Question.

The better question: In it's current form, is an email addresses really the best way to do what it is that's trying to be accomplished? (Hint: It's a fax machine.)

I mean, if I have have a phone number, why can't I have an email number? Okay, perhaps not the greatest example. But then again, if a phone number can be switched from one carrier to another, in the second decade of the 21st century shouldn't "email" get the same consideration?

Instead we're talking about regex or some other wonky validation? In 2016? That's just silly.

tgarma1234 3 ago 4 replies      
No. Absolutely beginner level blog post. You would use a third party tool like http://www.datavalidation.com/ or mailgun's email validation service or BriteVerify etc etc. There are a ton of validation services now. We are living in a time when trillions of email addresses have been tried, entered and deployed to. So why reinvent the wheel on your website? 3rd party services are based not only on parsing the string but also on literally billions of emails actually deployed through various ESP's to tell you up front whether the email address entered by a user is correct. I could use a trashmail email address and it would validate by the OP's standards. First validate using a third party service and then send the double opt-in email to get a user click.
How to Tell a Mother Her Child Is Dead nytimes.com
688 points by niyazpk  8 ago   198 comments top 28
alasdair_ 8 ago 22 replies      
My twenty one year old daughter died two months ago. A young policeman came to my door. It was the first time he had to do the job mentioned in the article and he did it very well.

I have very little memory of those first few hours. I now know what it is to be insane. I was so disconnected from reality that people have told me that I had long conversations with them that I have zero recollection of. The only thing I clearly remember was telling the officer that I had a gun upstairs and that if he didn't take it, I was going to murder the man responsible for her death within the hour. It was the most matter of fact confession of planning a murder imaginable.

After a couple of hours, I saw a Facebook post of hers and lost it, the insane calm left me and I bawled my eyes out.

It's her birthday tomorrow. I miss her so, so much.

Anyway, the point of this post: my daughter died of an overdose. She was at a party, a man gave her powdered pure fentanyl claiming it was cocaine. I have no idea why. She snorted some and overdosed soon after.

All I want to happen is that someone somewhere reads about what happened to my daughter and reminds their kids that without proper testing kits, they have no idea what the fuck they are taking. Drugs may not be bad, but some people certainly are.

jrapdx3 8 ago 2 replies      
A subject I understand more than I can put into words. It's a duty I have had. A 17 year girl died of an overdose. It was my responsibility to tell the mother, father, pastor, brothers, sister. They were there all night in the tiny, chilly waiting room, after notified their comatose child was brought in.

Some kind of party had been going on when mom and dad were out for the evening. The young woman and assorted friends doing drugs. She passed out, it was hours before anyone thought to check out how she was.

I called in all the docs there were to call. We tried every trick there was known to try. Then heart rate fell to zero. All the effort came to nothing. Everyone was quiet, mumbled their sorrow, and slipped out the private staff access door. That is everyone but me.

That morning was about the hardest I ever faced, even in the decades since. Sure others have died on my watch, one cause or another. But that time was different. I knew I had to say it, give the worst possible news, the unnecessary death of a child, to grieving parents. I truly did not know how such a thing can be said, what phrasing is best, what stings the least?

I don't know how, but summoning the courage I walked out to where they were sitting. I was nearly in a trance, not only from lack of sleep, but stunned by the magnitude of what I had to speak. And I said what happened, the child passed away, never awakened despite the heroic efforts of so many healers sweating all at once.

I sat there for a moment, no more to say, listened to the mournful sobs. Though I felt a failure, more than anything I had no comfort to provide. They didn't find fault, they were not angry that we could not do more.

Seriously, a moment too stark, too profound to ever forget nor would I want to relinquish it. No repeat is necessary, the lesson deeply embedded, the value of life, the meaning of words, the merit of a healer's human voice, these are all worth keeping.

Jamesbeam 8 ago 2 replies      
I've been a private military contractor for more than thirty years. Some of the companies I was working for had very impersonal procedures to handle deaths.I offered a few times to personally inform the family / next of kin for the guys that were working with me directly but that request was always denied because it was not "cost efficient".

So I always did the trip on my own.

The loss hit them like a truck every time, I have a few memories that make me wake up in the middle of the night three days a week but the look on a mother's face when you tell her that her son is dead is something you will never forget as long as you live.

Still, I am glad I went to see every family of everyone I lost in all those years. There was crying and screaming and tears and a lot of blaming, I even got slapped a few times but I always told them I'll be in a hotel nearby for the next days and if they want to talk they can call me any time of the day.

Some never called but after a day or two most invited me back to their home or came by and we had a few long talks over the next days until I had to go.

I've been in touch with most of those families over the years and I heard a lot of times that it gave them peace to know that I was there when their son / brother / husband / grandson died and that I came by personally to try to comfort them before they got "the letter".

I wish everyone that you will never come into this situation because it's almost as hard and unfair to be the messenger as it is to be the recipient of that message.

bennettfeely 8 ago 1 reply      
I just want to say the style of the article and it's direct, terse language really captures the gravity of the situation and seriousness of the subject.

Very sad, but very well written.

helloworld 8 ago 1 reply      
Security is already outside the room and when they hear the first loud noise they will know to come in. No, you will not have to tell them. They know about the family room in the emergency department in summer in North Philadelphia.

What a heartbreaking essay. And how tragic that death by gun violence is apparently routine in North Philadelphia.

hopfog 7 ago 0 replies      
One of my best friends died of an overdose a few years ago. His mother was informed in a horrible way.

The police called her and told her that her son had overdosed and was on the way to the hospital. In the middle of the call they all of a sudden say "actually, he's dead!" like it was nothing special. His mother of course screamed out loud, which made the police upset (they said "hey, it's not my fault" or something like that, I don't remember exactly).

I normally have great respect for the police but I think this was handled catastrophically. They showed very little sympathy.

mindfulgeek 7 ago 0 replies      
When I was a year out of cancer treatment, I ran into a fellow patient. She and I had a rare cancer and were treated with a handful of others.

Of the three of us who remained, only two of us remained cancer free and she wasn't one of them.

A week earlier, there had been five of us.

I knew this. I didn't know if she did.

I didn't know what I would say if she mentioned them. It was possible she had the same problem in her head.

After we caught up, she asked if I had seen one of them.

Telling her the truth wasn't nearly as hard as answering her next question -- what about the other girl?

toopersonal 7 ago 2 replies      
My father died younger than 50 years old when I was a child. My mother was left behind with several small children and financial struggles. On the day of his funeral there was a funeral of an 18 year old boy afterwards. She has told me she consoled his girlfriend and when she saw the young girl standing there crying, she thought that even though her own situation was as bad as it could possibly get, this was even worse. Must have been a strange moment for her. Maybe even a bit uplifting, as perverse as this sounds.
emptybits 8 ago 1 reply      
When I occasionally start to think my work in technology is overly important or that the woes of my startup projects are unbearably heavy, I'm glad I can be humbled by something like this. This doctor has responsibilities and gravity I will never know. Great article and great doctor. Wow.
OliverJones 7 ago 0 replies      
I've worked as a hospital chaplain in a big and well-respected urban teaching hospital.

From a teaching point of view, I'm really glad this article by Dr. Rosenberg is available. For two reasons...

1. I wish I had seen it during training. It's spot on in every respect. Dr. Rosenberg's advice to stay with the bereaved, and enter with them into their grief, is good advice. There's no way to do it without simply doing it.

2. It's good that Dr. Rosenberg is teaching doctors to do this work. Often enough in the past, the Saturday night emergency department staff just said "page the chaplain" when they needed to deliver bad news. We chaplains don't mind doing our jobs, but that leaves the frightened family hanging while we scramble to get to the ED and figure out who / what before sitting with the family. And, there's always some practical decision-making that takes time. For example, a Roman Catholic patient needs a Roman Catholic clergy person. So, "page the chaplain" keeps people waiting.

If you ever have to do this, do everything you can to avoid physically looking down at the bereaved people. Don't stand over them. Sit on the floor if you must. Some waiting rooms have low coffee tables or side tables. That's a good place to sit.

In teaching hospitals, the new residents (fresh-out-of-school doctors) start July 1st every year. And, they staff the ED on weekend nights. So they are getting their first sustained taste of violence, right at the top of the summer heat. They went into medicine to heal people, not to pronounce them. So this is a big shock for them. The ED unit clerk should still page the chaplain, even if the doctor delivers the bad news.

This epidemic of violence is awful. For my part, I count strong narcotics with guns, knives, and cars as instruments of that violence. It's horrible that doctors and other hospital folks have to learn how to do this. But they do. It's horrible that families have to hear this bad news. But they do.

This article should be posted on the wall of every toilet stall in every high school in the country. Why there? Simply because everybody will see it and have a chance to read it in private.

CapitalistCartr 8 ago 0 replies      
I had to tell that to my own mother. It was 5 years ago this week. There are no good ways. There are no good outcomes. This is a good article about how bad it is.
drauh 8 ago 0 replies      
For some context, here is a map of poverty in Philly:


The hospital is in census tract 016300 with poverty level 58.5%

sndean 8 ago 0 replies      
Somewhat related - One of the reasons my significant other decided to not go into emergency medicine was the high rates of PTSD in ER physicians and nurses: "We don't have good numbers, but the incidence of PTSD in emergency physicians is probably around 17%" [1].

So while I can respect the stoicism and clear focus on the emotions of the mothers of victims, I hope the author and other ER doctors also take some time for themselves to deal with the trauma they experience.

[1] http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/840980

ghufran_syed 8 ago 0 replies      
"The depth of the stupidity of the things you will say sometimes is unimaginable." -I'm pretty sure everyone who has ever had to do this has felt the same way.
hoodoof 8 ago 1 reply      
I had to tell friends that one of our closest friends had passed away. The only thing I would add to this article is to invite the recipients of the news to sit down first because there's a good chance they'll fall down.
FT_intern 8 ago 3 replies      
Why is this "how to tell a mother her child is dead" instead of "how to tell parents that their child is dead"?
cmmn_nighthawk 8 ago 0 replies      
this makes all debates about software seem trivial. i agree--it's very well written.
rhyselsmore 7 ago 0 replies      
As an ex-paramedic this really hits home.
fnj 7 ago 0 replies      
It doesn't have to be a child in the sense of being young. No parent should have to outlive their offspring, especially when they are very close daily. I witnessed the effect on a 90+ year old mother of the sudden unexpected death during sleep (natural causes) of her daughter who was almost 60 but very vibrant.

It was crushing. The mother never recovered any of her joy in her own life and only lived another 2 years.

andrewvijay 7 ago 1 reply      
Absolutely terrifying!"If he left his socks on the floor again today, it is all right." - the only sentence I could relate to. I hate my life.
known 7 ago 0 replies      
Really painful.
milesf 7 ago 1 reply      
I know this will sound cold, but why is this story here? Does it really fit the guideline of "anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity"?

I've shoehorned it into my rationalization for being here as advice on how to have an extremely difficult conversation, but it still feel a bit macabre to have this here.

epicureanideal 8 ago 0 replies      
The article is basically saying not to flip out, but "When you get home, do not yell at your husband. If he left his socks on the floor again today, it is all right." We all know that this doesn't just happen after someone dies on the operating room table.

Seriously people, if your spouse is not cheating on you, beating you, or throwing the family money to the casino, lighten up about the little stuff.

End of public service announcement.

pipio21 7 ago 3 replies      
jkot 8 ago 3 replies      
gjolund 8 ago 4 replies      
mastre_ 8 ago 3 replies      
> I just want to say the style of the article and it's direct, terse language really captures the gravity of the situation and seriousness of the subject.

Quick comment about how your it's instead of its caused an English parsing error in my brain:

I read until the comma and because I saw it's, I assumed I missed a word in the first part of the sentence - I though it may have been something like "I just want to say I evaluated the style of the article and it's direct, it's frank, it's spot on!", but re-reading it didn't reveal anything I missed. I then considered some less common writing styles/expressions. None of that worked out, so I read past the comma and figured out what happened. All this happened in the span of a second or so. Not sure what it was about this particular sentence that caused me to stop at the comma, I don't think it happens often.

Kenji 8 ago 0 replies      
Wow, that was surprisingly moving. For some reason, I expected one of those dry hacker essays.
What typing ^D does on Unix (2009) utoronto.ca
534 points by luu  5 ago   156 comments top 16
telotortium 5 ago 3 replies      
As a corollary, typing ^D twice on a non-empty line will also send EOF on the input, allowing you to provide a program with input not ending with \n from the command line. I knew about this behavior, but not why it worked, but this article's explanation clarifies this behavior as well. The first ^D terminates the read() call, passing the line so far, without terminating \n, to the program. The second causes read() to return with 0 read bytes, which is EOF, as explained in the article.
userbinator 5 ago 0 replies      
No TTY-related discussion is complete without a reference to Linus Akesson's extremely lucid article on the whole thing, including what all the other interesting Ctrl+ characters do:


...and the extensive previous HN discussion on it:







gtrubetskoy 5 ago 6 replies      
^U will clear the buffer - super convenient for retrying botched passwords.
peterwwillis 5 ago 0 replies      
The author actually clouds what and why is really happening a bit. Ctrl+D sends the EOF character to the terminal driver. The terminal driver then determines, based on its settings, what to do next.

In the 'icanon' mode, the terminal driver implements a rustic line editor, so you can do things like Backspace to delete previous characters and so on. Pressing Enter during this mode returns the edited buffer line to the program.

Where Ctrl+D, or EOF, comes in is when you want to return a line to the program _without_ pressing Enter. This is where the terminal driver returns the buffer to the read() function for the program immediately. Doing it again with no additional input shows that you were done line-editing, so it simply returns nothing, signaling the program that you're done editing or providing input - the intended purpose of End Of File, the character sent by Ctrl+D. (If you were reading a file and you received nothing on a read... you would be at the end of a file, because why else would the file have nothing else to read?)

But this 'icanon' mode won't be active in your actual terminal shell, because shells have their own line editing implementation, so they turn 'icanon' off by default. You can, of course, turn on or off in the terminal with "stty". Use "stty -a" to see all the other current settings. The terminal application, by the way, sets the EOF to the same value as the terminal driver's by default, in order to prevent confusion.

felixgallo 5 ago 2 replies      
Typing +++ will bring you back out to your modem's firmware, at which point you can issue further AT commands
coretx 5 ago 1 reply      
Directly after reading the title the question "what does ^D do" was fired at a Old Unix Beard friend of Mine who happens to be here for coffee.

Instant reply Without any latency: "It originally was meant to terminate the Tape drive"

SteveNuts 5 ago 4 replies      
Pressing enter then ~. will gracefully shutdown hung ssh sessions
happyslobro 4 ago 0 replies      
6 KB HTML. 4 KB CSS with comments preserved. No JS.

It's so beautiful. I think I'm going to cry :)

wruza 5 ago 0 replies      
In general, CTRL-anything send corresponding control character by shifting keys to control set of ASCII table [1] (shift-key shifts keys to upper set). Many of them retained original meaning, e.g. ^I ^M ^J ^H ^D ^[.

[1] http://ascii-table.com/

TorKlingberg 5 ago 4 replies      
I wish articles like this would say what ^D means. I remember when I was new to Unix it took me a while to realize that I wasn't supposed to type a literal caret (^) followed by a D.

For reference it means Ctrl+D, unless you you have a strange keyboard from Sun or something.

voidz 5 ago 3 replies      
Expanding on this, ^\ (Ctrl+\) means sigkill, and I don't think many people know about this one.
yread 5 ago 0 replies      
So many useful (and utterly undiscoverable) tidbits of knowledge in this thread! Thanks!
Nilzor 5 ago 0 replies      
This comment thread is worth much more than the actual article
VintageCool 5 ago 3 replies      
Neat. So when my terminal is spewing output because I ran "cat massivefile" instead of "cat massivefile | head", I can hit ctrl-D to stop it instead of repeatedly hitting ctrl-C and despairing.
pantulis 4 ago 0 replies      
If memory serves well, there was also the amazing Ctrl-O, which allowed you to send control sequences over a busy terminal --for example when scrolling a lot of text, seems to be mapped to the arcane VDISCARD and unsupported by Posix & Linux.
djsumdog 5 ago 2 replies      
huh. That's really interesting. I assume ^L is handled in the tty driver as well?
Lessons from a 45-year Study of Super-Smart Children scientificamerican.com
484 points by kungfudoi  4 ago   450 comments top 59
squigs25 4 ago 9 replies      
Interesting read, but I have one major qualm about this.

There seems to be a confirmatory bias among the academic community that a measure of intellectual success can be found in the percentage of individuals who earn a PhD. Sure, it's true that you need to be reasonably smart to earn a PhD, but I think that someone can have a lot of intellectual success (potentially just as much or maybe more) if they don't earn a PhD.

I think you could even argue that, depending on the field of study, a PhD is the "easy" route for someone who is intellectually gifted - it's a simply a continuation of what you have been doing. I would be more impressed by the intellectual who not only realizes that they can conduct their own independent research, but also has the creativity to come up with a use case that can improve and contribute to the world (and presumably, make a living doing so).

My point here is that, given two gifted cohorts, one which has a 45% PhD graduation rate and one which has a 50% PhD graduation rate, I don't know that you can conclusively say that one is more gifted than the other without looking at other metrics associated with intellectual accomplishment.

Isamu 4 ago 22 replies      
> Such results contradict long-established ideas suggesting that expert performance is built mainly through practicethat anyone can get to the top with enough focused effort of the right kind.

Actually the claim is the other way around - that the people at the top got there through focused effort of the right kind.

Finding "gifted" children does not contradict this. Nobody pops out of the womb a math genius.

Gifted children are "gifted" with a laser focus on the unusual things that they find fun - math, music, what-have-you. They spend countless hours playing with numbers or with music, while little Johnny is playing with a ball.

I was one of these kids, I played with geometric objects, with music, etc. Sure I was weird sometimes. I didn't have anybody to share my interests with.

Anyway, point is, when people point to "gifted" talent, this is just another cop-out. They don't have an explanation. They are appealing to everybody's shared sense of magical outcomes.

But it boils down to the hours that kids put into their interests.

spdionis 4 ago 11 replies      
> Pioneering mathematicians Terence Tao and Lenhard Ng were one-percenters, as were Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and musician Stefani Germanotta (Lady Gaga), who all passed through the Hopkins centre.

Didn't expect Lady Gaga to be listed although it confirms one of my pet theories. It has long been my opinion that success in STEM fields correlates with general high intelligence which will affect strongly with a person's success in her field, be it maths or sculpture.

It's only anecdotal but I've noticed that people that have a good grasp of maths when young also excel in their other favorite activities, even if it's physical activities.

EDIT: more thoughts on the article

> In Europe, support for research and educational programmes for gifted children has ebbed, as the focus has moved more towards inclusion.

This is truly a pity, and it's not only about educational programmes, but the general mentality in Europe is against competitiveness, and sometimes people will even frown at you if you suggest that there truly are different intelligence levels among the population.

Meanwhile in East Europe (namely Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, probably other countries too but I don't know anything about them) competitiveness between children is crazy high in some circles and that's why a lot of the best engineers come from that area.

There was a comment here the other day on a post about interviewing saying that russian candidates were much more likely to excel at technical interviews than european candidates, and in my experience many more engineers in this area are really dedicated to their work.

trendia 4 ago 4 replies      
> A high test score tells you only that a person has high ability and is a good match for that particular test at that point in time, says Matthews.

If Matthews is correct that scores are transient, then we'd expect test scores to have little to no predictive ability. In other words, we'd expect the rate of career achievement among high test takers to be approximately equal to the rate of achievement among low test takers.

But this claim is directly contradicted by actual evidence:

> Follow-up surveysat ages 18, 23, 33 and 48backed up his hunch. A 2013 analysis found a correlation between the number of patents and peer-refereed publications that people had produced and their earlier scores on SATs and spatial-ability tests. The SAT tests jointly accounted for about 11% of the variance; spatial ability accounted for an additional 7.6%.

acscott 4 ago 1 reply      
Didn't see any answer on how to "raise a genius". The presumption is that we want more geniuses and that Ph.D.s are precious resources to society. Is there also a tacit belief here in the Great Man theory of history?

The message here is, well if you don't get a Ph.D., make a lot of money. If you don't make a lot of money, get a patent. If you don't get a patent, at least get published. There are other things that we also want to be able to cultivate other than those I bet.

When a group of geniuses could build a nuclear weapon to take out a whole country, I believe the interest in genius started to spark. Before then, what was the icon of a a genius (I'm thinking before Einstein became iconic)?

The article is interesting, what were the lessons though?

There are other measures of value to society other than STEM publications, income, patents, and Ph.D.s It's often the outliers that don't even fit the Gaussian that are more interesting to me. (Feynman said he scored 120 something on an IQ test.)

dhd415 4 ago 0 replies      
The article is short on actual lessons learned from the study. Two representative paragraphs:

 SMPY researchers say that even modest interventionsfor example, access to challenging material such as college-level Advanced Placement courseshave a demonstrable effect. Among students with high ability, those who were given a richer density of advanced precollegiate educational opportunities in STEM went on to publish more academic papers, earn more patents and pursue higher-level careers than their equally smart peers who didn't have these opportunities. Despite SMPY's many insights, researchers still have an incomplete picture of giftedness and achievement. We don't know why, even at the high end, some people will do well and others won't, says Douglas Detterman, a psychologist who studies cognitive ability at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Intelligence won't account for all the differences between people; motivation, personality factors, how hard you work and other things are important.

Practicality 4 ago 2 replies      
This article is a bit of a mess regarding who it is talking about. It hops around and changes it's target constantly.

Sometimes it is talking about people in the .01%, AKA, 1 in 10000, so actual geniuses. Sometimes discussing people in the above average range, IQ of 120+, which is about 10% of the population (depending on your test), as well as people in gifted programs, which again, depending on your test is the top 1 or 2%.

These are three different cohorts with different needs. The top 10% need to be continually challenged so they can find satisfying careers. These are your class president types, people who really excel within the program, I think society serves these types well.

The top 1% are your gifted people (again, I know definitions vary), and they usually need something extra. Depends on the person, but it might be extra math or extra latin studies, or the ability to do side projects, but they generally flourish with something special.

The top .01% though? I have no idea. Most here on HN are in one of the other two groups (sorry, me too). The article seems to say that they just need to skip grades. But it's hard to tell if they are right since they are talking about a moving target.

(Edit: Adjusted the % for IQ of 120 based on this chart: http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/iqtable.aspx)

Jimmy 4 ago 6 replies      
I get quite depressed when I read articles like this. I'm resentful of the fact that my early academic performance was merely above average, rather than exceptional. Some days I feel confident in my abilities and my plans for the future; other days, I fear that it's already too late for me to accomplish anything of note.
CurtMonash 4 ago 1 reply      
I probably count as some kind of example.

-- I was born in 1960.

-- I got my first algebra book when I was 4, and aced the subject immediately.

-- I had one IQ test score higher than the one that got Marilyn vos Savant into the Guinness Book of World Records.

-- The National Merit folks thought that I was the youngest winner of their scholarships until that day.

-- I got a math PhD from Harvard when I was 19.

-- At least up to a point, I check a lot of the usual boxes, like music and chess.

That said, I was not some kind of math genius. Ofer Gabber and Ran Donagi were at Harvard when I was, having started in grad school at 16 and 17 respectively (I started at 16), and both were clearly better at math than I was, even adjusted for age.

More particularly:

-- When I was young, I was really, really good at keeping a problem in my mind and worrying at it until I made progress. I could fall asleep doing that and keep going when I woke up. I understand that's quite unusual, and as I aged I lost the ability myself.

-- I'm not particularly good at spatial reasoning. I can power my way through some of it by raw inferencing, at which I am indeed very good, but that's about it.

-- I can learn a bit about any subject and appreciate key issues in it very, very quickly. That's reflected in my actual career, and also in the large number of subjects I dabbled in in school.

-- I probably COULD have been world-class somewhere in the vicinity of economics/public policy (as academic areas). But I was burned out on academia at age 21, after 9 years at universities, left for the business world, and never went back.

-- I don't know how good I'd have been as a computer scientist. I never tried.

sverige 3 ago 0 replies      
I'm one of those gifted children (at least by the measure of standardized tests) who were missed by the people looking for them, I reckon. I was always in the .999 percentile on those (SAT, ACT, GRE, LSAT), was very good at math and loved it at a young age.

Somewhere in my teens I lost the desire to achieve all this stuff discussed in the article. Intellectually it would not have been difficult, but emotionally I didn't give a shit. I didn't really mature until I was in my 30s or 40s (and some would say, not yet!).

Sometimes I think, well, I wasted my life. Then again, although I haven't done anything noteworthy, I have no regrets for the life I have lived so far, even though many would say I "squandered" a lot of talent. The core values instilled in me by my parents are intact and actually stronger, and those values don't place much emphasis on reaching the pinnacle of success as described in the article. Frankly, the responsibility for shaping the world into what it has become would be almost too much to bear.

My advice would be that if you are one of those high achieving geniuses, it is worth thinking about yet again whether what you value is the best it can be. If you have a very gifted child, be extraordinarily careful about who you allow to influence them for as long as you can. Teach them your values, and make sure they're worthwhile.

I still recall a story about Thomas Aquinas in his old age. He realized that his magnum opus, the Summa Theologica, was worthless vanity and tried to destroy it. The professor or author who told the story said, "Fortunately, he was prevented from doing so." But was it fortunate? Who better to judge than its author what its true value was? How many of these people will find small comfort in their accomplishments when they reach a ripe old age?

But talking this way is very unpopular, I realize.

gbog 4 ago 5 replies      
It seems weird to me that nobody seems to see the evidence: as a parent you just want your kids to be happy. Happy in the correct way, which means long-term happiness, built with good cultural background, reasonable social skills, constructive hobbies, ability to have some of those good friends, etc.

Most of these are not achieved if you're kid is "super smart". Being the father of Einstein is probably very good for the ego, but "being Einstein" is a curse. (Same with pop or movie stars: people that get a lot of attention are less happy.)

ebbv 4 ago 0 replies      
I feel like we put too much weight on the idea of detecting intelligence in children. I always did really well on all tests as a kid, getting 100% on assessment tests and crap. But I'm a total dumbass. Just look at my comment history.

Just raise your kid the best you can, if you are trying to purposely craft a genius you'll probably just instead make someone with serious performance anxiety and neurosis.

corysama 4 ago 2 replies      
I skimmed the article pretty quickly because I was looking for the answer posed by the title and rightly expecting 90% background and filler stories. I didn't find much in the way of answers... Let me know if I missed anything.

Why some kids excel greatly beyond most others is still pretty mysterious. Don't call them gifted. High school is not a great social environment for introverts to learn in. Just give them access to more advanced material. Spacial ability may play an important role and we aren't focusing on it much.

Anything else?

bsder 4 ago 0 replies      
The problem with studies like these is that, in almost all fields, we find that the average is much better than the average of 50-100 years ago while the top is only slightly better.

This holds across things that even have physical components like athletics or music. The virtuosos of yesteryear may be as good as the virtuosos of today (and I dispute that) but the average orchestra player is WAY better today than even some of the best players of 100 years ago. Similarly, the average athlete today is WAY better than the average athlete of 50 years ago.

Training and education matter.

HillaryBriss 4 ago 1 reply      
> ... these people really do control our society, says Jonathan Wai, a psychologist at the Duke University Talent Identification Program ... "The kids who test in the top 1% tend to become our eminent scientists and academics, our Fortune 500 CEOs and federal judges, senators and billionaires

The article assumes that promoting these super-bright people and geniuses is the way to solve the difficult problems the rest of us face. There's a faith in the generosity and altruism of these high-performers.

But, I see plenty of selfishness in their behavior too.

It seems plausible that the top layer of brilliant geniuses is creating as many problems for the rest of us as it is solving. Maybe the top layer of brilliant geniuses mostly focuses on work that is personally enriching (e.g. financial engineering, patent lawsuits, investing in 140-character-type startups, pharmaceuticals that don't actually cure diseases, etc)

Maybe what society needs is not "more geniuses" but a better system of regulations and incentives for existing geniuses.

yomly 4 ago 1 reply      
As someone interested in education (of self and of others) and generally interested in the notion of talent itself, I have been trying to form my own personal understanding of what it means to be talented.

My fundamental belief is that almost anything can be learned under the right instruction. Talent determines two things:

1 - your upper ceiling of "achievement" in a particular dimension, and

2 - how far you can progress within a given dimension without instruction.

That is, a naturally gifted person is likely to get very good at something they were "destined to do" regardless of if they had any decent instruction. With the right instruction, they may well reach some stratospheric heights.

1 is important because at some point a talented individual reaches a place where there is no longer any one person who can teach them anything new in their dimension and so they have to rely on their instinct to progress further.

Schopenhauer had the quote:

 Talent is like the marksman who hits a target which others cannot reach; genius is like the marksman who hits a target which others cannot even see.
There seems to be some conflict in how Schopenhauer interpret talent and genius, but that final sentiment is important to my point regarding a talented/gifted/genius individual not requiring instruction. No one can really teach you how to push a field to new unreached heights.

My personal favourite anecdote of genius is when Chopin's first musical teacher Zywny refrained from teaching him (aged 8 years old) any keyboard technique lest he interfere with his natural instinct. In his later teenage years and early twenties went on to write music quite unlike anything written for the piano at the time - thanks to his unorthodox technique.

20years 4 ago 0 replies      
"They're just developing different talents," says Lubinski, a former high-school and college wrestler. "But our society has been much more encouraging of athletic talents than we are of intellectual talents."

Bingo! Along with our society has been much more encouraging with the extrovert personalities vs the introverts.

I encourage everyone to read the book Quiet by Susan Cain.

aquiles 4 ago 2 replies      
I'm so glad I'm over my "being super-smart" phase and into my "being a well-rounded, functional human being" phase.

People who fetishize things are the source of all things bad in the world.

inputcoffee 4 ago 1 reply      
Consider this:

Their gift is the ability to work hard.

They are able to work hard because they find it fun.

Q: We have all felt the "fun" of learning math (for instance), so how do we share that with others?

ausjke 4 ago 2 replies      
I probably had a gifted kid but never had enough bandwidth to lead him, comparing to his siblings he just memorizes so well(e.g, mechanically memorized PI to 600+ digits in two days until I asked him to stop), doing high-school-level math at 4th grade, learn many things by himself and so on. Meanwhile he is bored, hard to make peer friends due to lack of shared interests, etc.

Everyday I have to work and care for other kids, I tried to home-school him but then you get the financial pressure quickly.

I wish there are some programs that can help kids like him, i.e. group them somewhere to study and learn from each other. We have quite some program taking care of the disadvantaged kids, what about the gifted ones? After all, they can potentially contribute to the society in some way that helps many others. We probably need a state-level or federal-level or even college-sponsored program for those really gifted kids.

No I'm not talking about the gifted class in the school district, those helps, but far from enough for those really gifted, you probably only have about 5 who are really gifted in each school district.

sitkack 4 ago 0 replies      
The gift is being interested in something and feeding ones own curiosity. It is the difference between an organism that grows only when fed vs one that feeds itself. I was "gifted", the biggest factor was an environment of experimentation and exploration. Questions with answers beget more questions. Feed that cycle.
vonnik 4 ago 0 replies      
The popularity of comments about hard work on this thread make me think that it's difficult for people to accept studies like this. And for two reasons: 1) We are born with very different innate abilities, which leads to great inequalities in our lives together, and 2) That innate difference is not to the credit of the gifted. They had nothing to do with it. It's like being born rich or white or male or American or all of them at once. So it's an undeserved privilege. An yet people born with such talents should be treated differently. We should cultivate them, because they can do so much to advance society. To those who have much, much is given...
maus42 4 ago 0 replies      
Interesting read. However, I wonder if for education purposes it would better if every student who is bored with their current schoolwork could just move into more advanced materials until they are not bored, instead of trying to spot the "super geniuses" early on and leaving the rest, the "not talented enough", to continue with the normal course material.

Because if you have some kind of test for identifying the geniuses who can enter your "special gifted genius program", the test is going to have a some cut-off line or threshold, and that's going to be unfair. For example, assume you're using an IQ test, and the kids who score above some arbitrary threshold would be ushered into the special awesome program, but the kid who scores only one point below the threshold does not get in. Even if the difference is just one point ... That would be a quite silly (and deeply unfair) policy, because there's always going to be some random noise in the test taking.

jupiter90000 4 ago 0 replies      
Interesting piece from one of the studies referred to by article: "...many individuals who completed their degrees in non-math-science areas ultimately chose math-science occupations, and vice versa. Among mathematically talented populations,the leaking pipeline is not an appropriate metaphor. Upon reflection, this fluidity is not surprising for mathematically precocious females. In samples of males and females selected for mathematical talent, females display higher levels of verbal ability than males, and also more uniform levels of mathematical and verbal ability. Thus, mathematically precocious females more often than mathematically talented males are endowed with talents that enable them to excel with distinction in domains that require highly developed verbal-linguistic skills (these skills and the flexibility they lend could perhaps propel these individuals in varied directions, in part because verbal-linguistic skills tend to co-occur with social, or organic, interests and values)."
intrasight 4 ago 0 replies      
Whether we like it or not, these people really do control our society,

Personally, I like it. Clearly SMPY recruits have changed the world for the better.

k2xl 4 ago 1 reply      
So... the higher a students test score the more likely they are to be a scientist - isn't that a truism? In order to become a scientist you have to get accepted into universities ... that will look at your test scores as judgement of whether you should be admitted.

Can anyone think of a notable scientist that didn't do well in school? We don't really encourage people who perform poorly on tests to become scientists - so none of these results are surprising.

How many students that score in the high .01% on tests end up becoming professional athletes? Or a rapper? Probably just as unlikely as a student who scores in the low .01% becoming a doctor.

Is it because smart people aren't interested in sports or don't like rap music? Doubt it.

For better or worse, our society pushes archetypes. If you do well on biology tests you are "supposed" to become a biologist. Good with computer? Become a programmer.

brooklyndude 4 ago 2 replies      
Hung out with a brilliant heart surgeon, genius. I asked him about what cartoons he watched growing up.

He said "what's a cartoon?" He was dead serious. Parents would never let him not study. Never.

100+ hour weeks. Zero time for anything else. He was happy, rich, had it all. But wondering if he every found time to watch a cartoon.

ckcortright 4 ago 0 replies      
Naturally, when the result of a scientific study is entangled emotionally with something so personal like intelligence, it is hard to look at the results without bias. Lots of people are going to have a problem with this study, because it literally makes 99.999% of the population feel inadequate.
bluetwo 4 ago 1 reply      
I agree with the article that spacial ability is an untapped resource, key to understanding and problem solving.

I think there is a pretty easy way of testing this, simply by finding out what they find funny.

Different kinds of humor tap this skill, and those drawn to certain types of humor, IMHO, likely have better spacial skills.

betenoire 4 ago 5 replies      
But are they happy?
sharemywin 4 ago 0 replies      
My question is how many doors did this program open up which led to the success they were trying to measure.
ck425 4 ago 0 replies      
I've not went and read any of the actual studies, only the article, but it seems that they start measuring kids around the age of 10 onwards, is this not too late?

One of the themes seems to be that certain measurements of ability at this age were accurate indicators of future success if the kids were not discouraged (ie allowed to push themselves and learn more advanced stuff). But by age 10 surely most kids have already been discouraged? I was reading another article earlier today that I can't find talking about pre-school being more important for life chances than high school. Could it be far more kids than we think are capable of being 'geniuses' and that the majority are discouraged at an early age? I'm not read up on this so if anyone is please share!

joesmo 4 ago 0 replies      
"Many educators and parents continue to believe that acceleration is bad for childrenthat it will hurt them socially, push them out of childhood or create knowledge gaps."

And we still wonder why in the US our children are so stupid? Clearly, they're getting a lot of help in being the dumbest they can be. To hold a child back from their full potential so they can be bullied and made fun of for another year or few is an atrocity that should be criminalized. I can think of few things worse than ruining a child's life in this way. Instead, these people are our children's' teachers, teaching them to be mediocre, stupid, mindless, lazy, underachieving idiots.

walterbell 4 ago 0 replies      
Mailing lists, blogs and social media resources for gifted education: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/on-line_support.htm
hackaflocka 4 ago 1 reply      
Survivorship Bias (what Taleb calls Silent Evidence).

What's missing: all the children whose parents raised them the same way, and who ended up committing suicide, or are in mental institutions, or fill the ranks of the homeless today.

timwaagh 4 ago 2 replies      
why is it bad to label somebody ungifted? if i had known before i did not have what it takes to become a good mathematician, i would perhaps not have pursued that. maybe i would have saved myself a lot of trouble.
lutorm 4 ago 0 replies      
I don't doubt that there's a wide range in people's aptitudes for various subjects. However, when it comes to the study cited, it seems there's no control sample so you can't tell what part of the outcome is really because these people are special and what is because some study identified them as special when they were children and they've gotten special opportunities ever since.
pmoriarty 4 ago 0 replies      
Anyone interested in the nature-nurture debate, and prodigies should take a look at Stephen Wiltshire (the "human camera"):



andrewvijay 4 ago 0 replies      
Hope indian parents don't read this article!I'm pretty sure that they will start looking for signs immediately. :D pray for the kids!
RonanTheGrey 4 ago 0 replies      
For those of you getting 500 or "Article not found", SA has blocked the ycombinator.com referer url. Just open the link in a new tab.
jonathanedwards 4 ago 0 replies      
I was "student one". AMA. I dislike that the title of this article conflates intelligence and genius. Genius is impact, not talent. The one thing I've learned is that intelligence is highly overrated. Especially in the thing I know the most about: programming.
kazinator 4 ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: I'm quite interested in this, but it's a long read; can someone who has taken the plunge summarize these lessons? Though there are many comments already, searching for terms like "TL" and "summary" yields nothing.
0xdeadbeefbabe 4 ago 0 replies      
Instead of super-smart they ought to say good at something, because concepts like super-smart got us into this mess.

I know of a kid who was responsible for a sheep herd at the age of 12. He'd live in the mountains and take care of sheep for weeks. Have some imagination.

perseusprime11 4 ago 1 reply      
This reminds me of a Bruce Lee quote. My opponent practiced 1000 kicks and I practiced a kick 1000 times. I am paraphrasing that quote But he mentioned this in the context of focus and priority to become great at something.
truth_sentinell 4 ago 0 replies      
What do people actually mean when they say "genetics"?

Is it some physical aspect of the brain (like more neurons, more connections among them, etc) or is it that somehow the ability to do Math or any other thing is coded into their DNA?

I'm confused.

colordrops 4 ago 0 replies      
My martial arts teacher told me a relevant proverb: people are like vessels, some larger than others, and the vessel with less capacity can still hold more water.
Kazamai 4 ago 0 replies      
There is a characteristic not mentioned that can determine if someone will reach a high level or not. Self gratification or the ability to delay self gratification. The "marshmallow kid", even a gifted kid that cannot fight their own human condition to seek a dopamine reward from eating, entertainment, etc can't reach their potential. If you got a reward from problem solving and knowledge acquisition then it wouldn't take much to focus.

Why can we focus for hours gaming, but when it comes to solving a math problem, most of us will never start or stop shortly after.

ChuckMcM 4 ago 0 replies      
I think the integration with the existing education system is, and will continue to be, problematic. One thing that really brought that home for me was how kids who were developmentally behind were given extra care and attention and kids who were developmentally ahead were not. At the extreme ends (very behind, very ahead) the contrast is startling both in programs that are available and in how the school "celebrates" the achievements of the students in those categories.
jasode 4 ago 0 replies      
Despite the article's title which gives the impression of unlocking the training secrets to "produce genius scientists", it is actually a "Nature vs Nurture" report. This particular article is biased more towards "nature."

The opposing sides are mentioned in the middle of the article:

>Such results contradict long-established ideas suggesting that expert performance is built mainly through practicethat anyone can get to the top with enough focused effort of the right kind. SMPY, by contrast, suggests that early cognitive ability has more effect on achievement than either deliberate practice or environmental factors such as socio-economic status.

The sentences favoring either "nature" or "nurture" are interwoven and alternate throughout the piece but the 2 sides can be seen more clearly by grouping them together...

Excerpts about "nature":

>, what has become clear is how much the precociously gifted outweigh the rest of society in their influence.

>Wai combined data from 11 prospective and retrospective longitudinal studies, including SMPY, to demonstrate the correlation between early cognitive ability and adult achievement. The kids who test in the top 1% tend to become our eminent scientists and academics,

>But data from SMPY and the Duke talent programme dispute that hypothesis [about practice time]. A study published this year compared the outcomes of students in the top 1% of childhood intellectual ability with those in the top 0.01%. Whereas the first group gain advanced degrees at about 25 times the rate of the general population, the more elite students earn PhDs at about 50 times the base rate.

Excerpts about "nurture":

>For those children who are tested, it does them no favours to call them 'gifted' or 'ungifted'. Either way, it can really undermine a child's motivation to learn.

>In Europe, support for research and educational programmes for gifted children has ebbed, as the focus has moved more towards inclusion.

>Matthews contends that when children who are near the high and low extremes of early achievement feel assessed in terms of future success, it can damage their motivation to learn and can contribute to what Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck calls a fixed mindset. It's far better, Dweck says, toencourage a growth mindset, in which children believe that brains and talent are merely a starting point, and that abilities can be developed through hard work and continued intellectual risk-taking.

>There's a general belief that kids who have advantages, cognitive or otherwise, shouldn't be given extra encouragement; that we should focus more on lower-performing kids.

basicplus2 4 ago 0 replies      
Whether we like it or not, these people really do control our society,

I'd be pretty disappointed if this is actually true..

ianai 4 ago 0 replies      
I think there is so much more going on that our systems don't account for and thus fall short.
spamcoat 4 ago 0 replies      
I will not deign To now refrainFrom laying bear the nudity of scholarsWho think their robesBefitting clothesAnd prove it to themselves in words and dollarsThe fittest mindsIn all mankindRegret now all they ever took for grantedRemove your blindsAnd see the signs;There's more to all than said will be recanted.
zizzles 4 ago 0 replies      
In to make a post before a bunch of narcissist HN'ers (subtly) brag about their childhood accomplishments of being math wizards and programming assembly at age 6 and a half.

Edit: Too late.

lordnacho 4 ago 0 replies      
My 2 cents:

- How do we control for self-fulfilling prophecy? I would imagine that having "Member of gifted kids study" will be quite impressive to the gatekeepers at elite universities. Did they add a few dummies to control?

- How do we even measure ability? You'd think the smart kids are smart because they try to learn the things that are tested. It's like testing people for strength. People who've trained are stronger. And they want to be.

- It makes sense that spatial ability is somehow predictive. Nobody ever teaches it, so you're left with whatever nature gave you. Probably like testing someone's toe strength as an indicator of overalll muscle quality (not that I know anything about physiology, it's just that I've never seen anyone at the gym training their toes).

- From what I can tell, it helps an awful lot to have someone nearby who has the skills you're after. Look at the people mentioned. Terence Tao's parents were both highly educated in STEM. Lenhard Ng's dad is a Physics prof. That kind of resource takes you an awfully long way along your path. I mean imagine being able to ask the guy you eat dinner with every night anything from "what is a prime number" to "what's the quantum hall effect". If you don't happen to have a parent, it probably helps to go to a school that is well resourced. There will be teachers around who find time for the kids who show aptitude. I remember being put up a year in math and sent to math contests. I don't think I'd have studied it as much if I hadn't been noticed by the teachers at a young age.

- There's an inherent conflict between society's goals and the gifted. It's a lot more economical to pour money into the mediocre for society. You want to teach everyone to read, write, and a little math. It's cheaper to produce that resource, and it's at the margin you get the most bang for your buck. PhDs cost a fair bit to fund, and like that famouns xkcd, you are only slightly enlarging the world's knowledge. Putting a kid in front of a world authority is expensive.

- It may not be so bad that society doesn't spend money on the gifted (I'd rather call them the more motivated, but...) than the marginals. It's possible that the mass of money needs to be spent making sure everyone can be a little educated, while a rather different effort is made to help the gifted. For instance, what I really, really needed as a kid was other kids who cared. These days that should be easy enough to arrange over the internet.

- There will be a natural experiment occurring soon, right now, about whether it's innate ability or exposure. The proliferation of materials on the internet will create a bunch of kids who are able to learn huge amounts about whatever they're interested in, before they even finish school. When I was a kid, you had to lug your ass to a library to find out what a quaternion was. And it wasn't a specialist library, and there'd be a chapter or something like that. These days there's a flood of information, you just have to type into google. There's so much that if one guy doesn't explain it well, another guy will.

blowski 4 ago 0 replies      
I'm getting a 500 error on this page... anyone else getting the same problem?
karma_vaccum123 4 ago 6 replies      
I just knew these comments would fill up with humblebrags from HNers who wish to casually and inoffensively proclaim their genius.
shinta42 4 ago 1 reply      
fragola 4 ago 3 replies      
>Stanley convinced a dean at Johns Hopkins to let Bates, then 13, enrol[sic] as an undergraduate.

>I was shy and the social pressures of high school wouldn't have made it a good fit for me, says Bates, now 60. But at college, with the other science and math nerds, I fit right in, even though I was much younger. I could grow up on the social side at my own rate and also on the intellectual side, because the faster pace kept me interested in the content.

OK, I might take a lot of heat for this, but I don't think it's a good idea to put a 13-year-old with college students. In this case, he was a boy, but imagine if he were a girl? One of the main causes of failure to achieve educationally for bright girls is getting pregnant. 40% of the fathers who impregnate girls under 15 are 20-29 years old [0]. So in the case of girls, this is a super visible obvious problem, but what happens with a teenage boy? I could see him getting in an abusive relationship or otherwise preyed upon in a zillion ways.

This article takes a blas attitude toward the social concerns and cites no sources about the actual social outcomes for these kids. Let your kid study by themselves, send them to a gifted child summer camp, etc.


Dear Mark. I am writing this to inform you that I shall not comply aftenposten.no
654 points by Sainth  3 ago   199 comments top 26
typeiierror 3 ago 11 replies      
Sometimes I wonder that when we shower criticism on Facebook about privacy concerns, we're missing the forest for the trees. The bigger issue I see is the sheer amount of eyeballs trained exclusively to Facebook's content.

What does it mean for society when Facebook can demote a challenging but important article (say, of war reporting) in your newsfeed so it can promote your friend's Wedding photos, because an algorithm says that challenging articles cause people to leave FB, reducing page views and ad revenue?

jshevek 3 ago 0 replies      
Excerpt from http://www.dagsavisen.no/verden/the-girl-in-the-picture-sadd...

Kim is saddened by those who would focus on the nudity in the historic picture rather than the powerful message it conveys, writes spokesperson Anne Bayin to Dagsavisen.

Kim Phuc says that it has been painful to see the picture, but that it represents an important moment in history.

She fully supports the documentary image taken by Nick Ut as a moment of truth that captures the horror of war and its effects on innocent victims, writes the Kim Phuc Foundation in a statement.

hiddenkrypt 3 ago 4 replies      
> "Facebook is for the pleasure and benefit of the whole world, myself included, on a number of levels."

Wrong. Facebook is for making money. If providing users with pleasure or benefits makes them money, then that's lucky for the users.

> "Facebook has become a world-leading platform for spreading information, for debate and for social contact between persons. You have gained this position because you deserve it."

Also wrong. The second sentence, I mean.

I agree with the intent here. I agree with the outrage at Facebook. The author of this piece, too, seems to understand the futility of this open letter, and I do think it's a good thing that he's making the statement regardless. I just think that maybe he's being too generous to Mark and Facebook.

endswapper 3 ago 1 reply      
I'm posting mostly just to make the chorus louder. This was a well-thought out, articulate criticism of Facebook's policy.

It's relevant to free-speech, art, censorship, the means of production, etc., and the fact that Facebook plays a role underscores their power, and why this matters.

It a slippery slope when policy fails to achieve an appropriate, nuanced perspective.

viraptor 3 ago 1 reply      
I wonder what the solution to this is. From what I know about reviewing reports about content, it's basically a case of someone reporting the post, then the report being farmed to reviewers, then the reviewers can check the post and I optionally the context to either kill the post or leave it alone.

That means your post is one of hundreds this person sees that day and their guidance is likely "no genitalia, no nipples, and definitely never any naked children". So they act accordingly.

So what's the ideal path from here? Do you educate them about art? What's the line after that? Is this photo ok? What about the famous album cover? What about private party pictures? Etc. Can we even describe a reasonable line? Do we expect them to reverse image search every single photo for context? (Not many people could recognise that photo on its own) How many more people would be needed for clarification? What's the incentive to get them?

fsloth 3 ago 2 replies      
Facebook - context oblivious censorship on the other hand - reality-bubble forming curator algorithms on the other. Somehow the term "negative feedback loop" comes to mind every time Facebooks mechanisms to filter and market content is brought forth.

I don't think internet search engines should try to be helpful. Guessing what the recipient would like to see removes chance for serendipity and creates and information bubble with a radius given by the algorithms parameters... and then, for what is brought out, they remove the too-saucy bits. This is worse than censorship.

k_sze 3 ago 1 reply      
Relevant: http://www.theonion.com/article/horrible-facebook-algorithm-...

For those who don't understand why this is relevant: the important point is that Facebook was never, is not, and will never be meant for dispersing information and fostering meaningful discourse. Its only raison d'tre is entertainment and generating revenue for its shareholders, so it's rather pointless to try to fight their arbitrary rules.

If you are trying to bring up meaningful discourse on Facebook, you're not getting the right audience, because Facebook is all about reinforcement of the user's existing believes and world views.

I have friends and ex-colleagues who hold different political views than me. I virtually never see their posts on Facebook, because algorithm and machine learning. And I'm aware of that fact when I use Facebook.

Afterposten is in the media business, they understand the unwritten rules. Call me a cynic, but I feel that the only point of their open letter is to sound righteous and generate publicity.

Torgo 3 ago 1 reply      
You're a serf on the content farm, begging your lord for a favor.
Vertrauen 3 ago 1 reply      
I wonder how monopolized publishing is these days. If you want to get the message out about something, how much are you at the mercy of a few distribution channels and how much do we have an open ecosystem that gives everybody equal rights? I am honestly not sure.

How important is it to be on Facebook? On Twitter? On Reddit? On HN? Indexed by Google? Have connections to the Huffington Post?

If you have something interesting to say, can those forces stop you? Or will it spread because it is interesting?

If you make great art, will it become popular just because it is great? Or does it depend on your marketing skills?

Could we have technology that makes interesting, helpful content spread no matter what?

Do we have to invent some kind of "internet voting" system to accomplish this? Can blockchain technology help with this?

finid 3 ago 3 replies      
A VIP reason to have popular alternatives to services like those provided by the likes of Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter that are not controlled by monster corporations.
bambax 3 ago 1 reply      
> Facebook is for the pleasure and benefit of the whole world

Wait, what? Facebook is more like tobacco: addictive, very bad for you, and very profitable.

greggman 2 ago 0 replies      
While I get this is not the main point this part stuck out for me

> Furthermore, Facebook should distinguish between editors and other Facebook-users

Sigh ... so he's asking to be marked as one of the "elite" by FB while us plebs should be treated lessor?

joesmo 3 ago 0 replies      
Soon, people will start to realize that for actual information, news, and debate, you have to venture outside of Facebook, just like you have to venture outside of TV for those things currently in the US (not a single actual news program available on broadcast or cable but plenty of "News" entertainment programs). Otherwise you're just processing mindless drivel that you already agree with and that you already know. Which is exactly the state of being Zuckerberg and other people trying to push garbage products onto people prefer. Until then, our society will probably just keep pretending that Facebook is something other than brain junk food because most people don't want to admit to themselves that they are being controlled and manipulated, and most people simply just don't give a fuck about news, history, historical photos, or anything beyond petty celebrity gossip or other such nonsense (that's why those things are pulled from timelines).
mixedCase 3 ago 4 replies      
Well that's funny. I cannot find the picture anywhere. I even tried disabling uBlock and then was promptly reminded of why I use it.
carapace 3 ago 0 replies      
I think of FB users as a kind of peasant. It is an unpleasant thought, but I cannot escape it.

Digital serfs.

joncp 3 ago 0 replies      
> Facebook is for the pleasure and benefit of the whole world

I wish that were true, but Facebook is actually for selling the world's eyeballs to advertisers.

rocky1138 3 ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one getting a 404 for the image in question?
dismantlethesun 3 ago 0 replies      
> But, dear Mark, you are the worlds most powerful editor.

If we want to treat Mark as the editor to Facebook, then he wants to tailor its content to the type of audience he wants to attract and business he is in.

Would Teen People or Vogue print a picture of napalmed children on its cover?

PavlovsCat 2 ago 0 replies      
Between this and stuff like youtube's ideas of "advertiser-friendliness" [0][1] the major websites are shaping up (down?) to be so. freaking. spineless.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bn3-Q1lY7fU[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDwdBc0-uq8

eCa 3 ago 2 replies      
> If you take the liberty to challenge Facebooks rules, you will be met as we have seen with censorship.

You are in Marks living room. He has asked you not to bring certain kinds of photos to his place. You did anyway so he took the photo from you. You brought another copy the next time. Now he is getting angry with you.

Maybe you should meet at your place in the future? Or maybe you shouldn't be friends with Mark at all.

ImTalking 3 ago 2 replies      
Does not Facebook get to decide it's own morality, just like anyone else?
wehadfun 3 ago 0 replies      
I suggest they do a bait and switch make the headline be about a lipstick or a boy band then hit the reader with the horrors of bombing 12 year old little girls with Napalm.
eleitl 2 ago 0 replies      
He would have had a point, had he not a Facebook presence. Yes, it is very easy to avoid having a Facebook page: just don't make one.
beedogs 3 ago 0 replies      
Facebook is terrible. I wish people would cease using it.
dmitrygr 3 ago 0 replies      
A very valid point, which will sadly be entirely ignored.
howeyc 3 ago 4 replies      
How to Test Drive Your Business Idea Before Quitting Your Job ladder.io
439 points by stefanmancevski  3 ago   86 comments top 15
akanet 3 ago 7 replies      
I gave a talk at Dropbox called "How to start a business without quitting your day job" that I think delivers a lot of the punch on this page without the weird culty vibe. Give it a watch (for free, obviously) if you like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8UwcyYT3z0
highd 2 ago 8 replies      
I highly recommend considering consulting/freelancing when looking at starting a company. Hourly rates generally price in an expectation of not having work full-time, so you work less than 40 hours/week to begin with. Drop an hour or two of commute every day on top of that and it's a big win in terms of time that can be spent on a startup or side-project.

Of course consulting requires more in terms of people skills - you're basically "interviewing" every time you find a new client. But I think in some sense that's a hump to get over either way - there aren't many startups that don't benefit from founders having soft skills.

Sort of an orthogonal point to the article, of course.

whamlastxmas 3 ago 2 replies      
Nothing really new here that isn't covered in Lean Startup materials.

>We've spent millions of dollars ... so you don't have to.

This two person company that's had, from what I can tell, a hand full of clients, has spent millions of dollars testing their marketing? I find that a little hard to believe.

That said, their Playbook page is pretty cool and informative, even if seemingly most of it is behind a paywall. It'd be nice to have more information about how these ROIs were calculated. If it's a sample size of three it doesn't mean much. Or whether it was done in combination with other things, and how long those results were measured for also matters a lot. As it stands right now it just sort of comes across as marketing bullshit because it's impossible to tell how meaningful the ROIs are.

The case studies are also pretty weak. Your solution is two sentences? Really?

k__ 3 ago 1 reply      
The biggest issue for me is to identify meaningful problems in the first place.

I mean, when I work for other companies I can crack down on problems they identified and have customers for and often I have good solutions for them. But finding these problems is hard.

gricardo99 3 ago 1 reply      
Great writeup. Very informative, speaking as someone new to the realm.

It seems it's only applicable to business models that rely on getting revenue directly from customers (i.e. buying subscriptions or widgets). Do you have any thoughts about how you might test an idea where your service is free, but you get revenue through advertising to your users? It would still be very valuable to get some sense of how useful users would find your site, how often they'd visit, etc..., but you don't really have a strong test (i.e. will they pay?)

pragmatic 3 ago 5 replies      
I'd love to know where to find these people to interview. Where do I go, the supermarket, the park?

Also I don't think my network is big enough to hit up a significant number for a new software idea aimed at a specific niche (ex used cars sales).

Those are the pieces I've never been able to put together in all my time with the Lean Startup methodology.

free2rhyme214 2 ago 1 reply      
Great post Michael. Despite what people say about vanity metrics, I think proving people want what you're going to build before you build it is incredibly important.

I heard Flexport did this by getting 300 companies to sign up before Ryan (the founder) wrote any code.

Eliminating risk isn't entirely possible. You could create a website for DoorDash/Ladder or Flexport, get traction, build Version 1 and then get told NO but I bet statistically you're more likely to have success with this method than building V1 first.

As an example, Optimizely got something like a $2-$4k commitment to pay without writing any code.

Again not everything works out this way. Snapchat, for example, would be a terrible example for this methodology but it works for some ideas.

inputcoffee 3 ago 1 reply      
Two quick points:

1. I like the blog post. It may sound similar to the methodology in Lean startup, Y Combinator, and a bunch of other stuff but so what. It is clearly written and specific.

2. I have no idea what ladder.io does! I looked at the web page, and it is very slick, but I still can't figure out what you do.

Quite a difference.

You have a "real time tactic database". Is that the same as a listicle on the top 5 areas to spend marketing $?

You offer continuous testing. Is that Google Analytics?

nikatwork 3 ago 0 replies      
> Yelp for people?

What a truly heinous product. I've known a number of people who have been stalked, I can't begin to imagine the harm a stalker could cause with this kind of app.

lilcarlyung 3 ago 2 replies      
Is quitting your job for your own startup idea, when working in tech, really that big of a deal? Especially if you are a software engineer? You'll probably end up doing the same thing as on a corporate job but for yourself while learning a lot of new things about building software (marketing, sales, design, etc.) and about yourself (grit, character, etc.). You are still gaining experience. If shit hits the fan, with all digitalization going on everywhere, finding a new job won't really be that big of an issue.
pawanpe 3 ago 1 reply      
Good write up! Learnt some new points.
boyter 3 ago 1 reply      
Not really sure if I want to give this one away as I want to use it more myself but https://nugget.one/ seems to be applicable here. They claim to do most of the filtering for ideas for you showing market size, how to reach them etc...
a_c 2 ago 0 replies      
well, I wish I had read this article before quitting. Now my freelancing is experiencing delayed payment/possible default and had little progress on my idea. Would love to hear some advice
andrewfromx 3 ago 1 reply      
you could re-title "How to make sure you talk yourself out of taking a risk and keeping your job" isn't the limitus test from zuckerberg you should have this burning desire to change the world in this particular way, and the burn should be so intense that you wouldn't even consider for 1 second keeping your job.
stuntgoat 2 ago 2 replies      
I hear this is what the creators of Pokemon Go used before they launched their product.
Capn Proto capnproto.org
495 points by bleakgadfly  1 ago   151 comments top 20
kentonv 1 ago 14 replies      
Hi all, Cap'n Proto author here. Thanks for the post.

Just wanted to note that although Cap'n Proto hasn't had a blog post or official release in a while, development is active as part of the Sandstorm project (https://sandstorm.io). Cap'n Proto -- including the RPC system -- is used extensively in Sandstorm. Sandboxed Sandstorm apps in fact do all their communications with the outside world through a single Cap'n Proto socket (but compatibility layers on top of this allow apps to expose an HTTP server).

Unfortunately I've fallen behind on doing official releases, in part because an official release means I need to test against Windows, Mac, and other "supported platforms", whereas Sandstorm only cares about Linux. Windows is especially problematic since MSVC's C++11 support is spotty (or was last I tried), so there's usually a lot of work to do to get it working.

As a result Sandstorm has been building against Cap'n Proto's master branch so that we can make changes as needed for Sandstorm.

I'm hoping to get some time in the next few months to go back and do a new release.

Cyph0n 1 ago 3 replies      
For some reason, the banner (infinitely faster?), name, and introductory FAQ-style responses made me think the whole thing is a joke - similar to Vanilla JS [1].

Anyways, it seems like a cool project, so I'll be sure to follow its development closely.

[1]: http://vanilla-js.com/

niftich 1 ago 2 replies      
I've always liked Cap'n Proto because it was (quite literally) the ideas behind Protobuf taken to an extreme, or, depending on your point-of-view, reduced to its most basic components: data structures already have to sit in memory looking a certain way, why can't we just squirt that on the wire instead of some fancy bespoke type-length-value struct?

Of course, the hardest part is convincing everyone that it's not your bespoke type-length-value struct, but that you have good reasons for what you're doing. I think the humorous, not-so-self-serious presentation has worked in its favor (but that's just a subjective opinion and I can't back it up with data).

throwaway13337 1 ago 4 replies      
To get an overview of the area of binary interchange formats that are language agnostic, the author of Cap'n Proto does a good job in this:


"Protocol Buffers" has been the go-to for a long time but there are more options now.

For uses where serialization/deserialization CPU time is a concern, it seems to really a question of Cap'n Proto versus flatbuffers ( https://google.github.io/flatbuffers/ ).

Perceptes 21 ago 1 reply      
Big fan of what Sandstorm is doing, both with Sandstorm itself and this component. I really want to use this instead of gRPC, as it seems technically superior, but language bindings and adoption across language ecosystems are likely to be a big downside given that (as Kenton mentions in a comment elsewhere here) Sandstorm isn't really interested in Cap'n Proto being widely adopted. All my new stuff is built in Rust, so the Sandstorm team's interest in and use of Rust are a good fit for me. But when it comes to interoperability with other languages, this may end up being a concern compared to gRPC. In any case, I hope to see the Rust implementation eventually replace the C++ one as the official reference implementation.
venning 1 ago 0 replies      
Correct me if I'm wrong, but some of this sounds like blitting, except optimized for the in-memory structure and not the on-disk structure.

In 2008, Joel Spolsky wrote about 1990s-era Excel file formats and how they used this technique to deal with how slow computers were then [1]. Same technique, new problem set.

[1] http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2008/02/19.html

megak1d 15 ago 0 replies      
I've always liked the look of this, saw it a while back but we are still using protobuf in our .NET environment simply due to the "free" schema generation using AOP/attributes [ProtoContract]/[ProtoMember] in Marc Gravell's excellent protobuf-net (https://github.com/mgravell/protobuf-net) project - I assume this would also be possible for cap'n proto.
setori88 1 ago 0 replies      
Fractalide (http://githib.com/fractalide/fractalide) is an implementation of dataflow programming (specifically flow based programming). Component build hierarchies are coordinated via the Nix package manager. Capnproto contracts are weaved into each component just before build time. These contracts are the only way compenents talk to each other. Thanks Sandstorm.io for this great software.
mrfusion 13 ago 2 replies      
I hate to ask but can anyone explain this like I'm from 2000?

I guess it's a way to send data to your front end java script but not use json and this compresses it so it's faster? How much better than using json is it?

zaptheimpaler 1 ago 0 replies      
Could this be used as an alternative to Apache Arrow[1]?

[1] https://arrow.apache.org/

sandGorgon 22 ago 3 replies      
How do you pronounce the name? If libreoffice is bad.. This name is absolutely impossible.

Is it captain? Is it cap+n+proto?

A lot of collaboration is verbal - people sit around and talk about stuff. I don't know if it is a fun take on an American word... But it is impossible to use in the rest of the world.

I really wish you would call it something else... Unless it is personal for you :(

wtbob 1 ago 3 replies      
> The Capn Proto encoding is appropriate both as a data interchange format and an in-memory representation, so once your structure is built, you can simply write the bytes straight out to disk!

Eh, I'd rather pay the cost of serialisation once and deserialisation once, and then access my data for as close to free as possible, rather than relying on a compiler to actually inline calls properly.

> Integers use little-endian byte order because most CPUs are little-endian, and even big-endian CPUs usually have instructions for reading little-endian data.

sob There are a lot of things Intel has to account for, and frankly little-endian byte order isn't the worst of them, but it's pretty rotten. Writing 'EFCDAB8967452301' for 0x0123456789ABCDEF is perverse in the extreme. Why? Why?

As pragmatic design choices go, Cap'n Proto's is a good one (although it violates the standard network byte order). Intel effectively won the CPU war, and we'll never be free of the little-endian plague.

It's all so depressing.

joshuawarner32 1 ago 0 replies      
Here's the discussion from a while ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5482081
flatline 1 ago 1 reply      
Interfaces! Inheritance! Looks promising. Protocol buffers are nice for their compact encoding and multi-language generator support but as a schema language they are really cumbersome. Composition is pretty much all you get, there are no longer required fields, you can't even use enums as a key type in a map. I'm sure their use cases are not necessarily the same as mine but sometimes I miss just using plain old XML.
morecoffee 1 ago 1 reply      
> capability-based RPC system.

This sounds like a cool idea, but so far I haven't seen any good explanation of how it works, and why it will save me from rolling my own ACL system. For bragging about it in the very first sentence, there is surprisingly little detail about how it works.

mixmastamyk 22 ago 1 reply      
Apache thrift doesn't seem to be mentioned, how does it compare?
Paul_S 14 ago 1 reply      
Would probably be a good idea to have a no-exceptions version.
imaginenore 1 ago 2 replies      
Is it faster than MsgPack?
matmann2001 21 ago 0 replies      
TazeTSchnitzel 1 ago 0 replies      
Blender's file format does something similar, it essentially saves a core dump to disk.
Sophisticated OS X Backdoor Discovered securelist.com
381 points by cyphersanctus  3 ago   144 comments top 23
bink 3 ago 1 reply      
What is it that makes this malware sophisticated? I didn't see anything about rootkits or process hiding / obfuscation. Is it not just a simple daemon that can be configured to monitor audio/video/keyboard and send the results back via an encrypted connection?
vemv 3 ago 6 replies      
Is 'backdoor' the correct term if the vulnerability does not originate from Apple?
drinchev 3 ago 1 reply      
Can someone explain how the vicim gets infected?

As far as I can read from the article they discuss what happens if you are infected.

Also, isn't running binary files on OS X from let's say "Finder" automatically triggers Security alert ( like App-vendor lock )?

commentzz 3 ago 4 replies      
I feel the use of 'backdoor' here is misleading.

The software described would usually be classified as an Advanced Persistent Threat [1] or Rootkit [2]Backdoor [3] usually refers to methods to sidestep authentication added by the vendor.

 1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_persistent_threat 2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rootkit 3: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backdoor_(computing)

epistasis 3 ago 2 replies      
Really interesting to see a cross-platform malware with audio and video support; a lot of non-malware has difficulty with that.
manarth 3 ago 2 replies      
Not sure whether to be amused, vindicated, or concerned that the most prominent conversation here on HN is terminology: "Is 'backdoor' the correct term?"

Malware, trojan, virus, rootkit, backdoor, squirglebunny (OK, I may have made that last one up).

There's not a lot of talk about the threat vector though - does anyone know how this infects systems?

baby 3 ago 1 reply      
I came here to see a sophisticated backdoor. I left disappointed.
snxss 3 ago 0 replies      
What about ways to verify if you are infected or ways to remove?
chadlavi 3 ago 3 replies      
Okay, but no information on what to do about it, or how to protect against it.
gre 3 ago 1 reply      
Please clarify the title. It sounds like Apple put a backdoor into OSX.
tuxone 3 ago 0 replies      
Kaspersky, the most paid and legalized backdoor ever commercialized, ruining web experience of the average user. Although I'm glad they discover interesting things, I would love they stop messing with third parties http connection and html pages.
givinguflac 3 ago 0 replies      
I think it's pretty funny that they go through all the trouble of making this for MacOS, yet it searches for only MS Office file extensions and not Apple's iWork extensions. It also seems to me that this all hinges on having gatekeeper disabled.
saosebastiao 3 ago 4 replies      
Is there any diagnostic tool out there to determine if you've been infected?
_Codemonkeyism 2 ago 0 replies      
Looks like it's not only OS X - the OS X variant is newly discovered.

Title should be 'OS X Variant of Backdoor Discovered', shouldn't it?

"OS X variant of a cross-platform backdoor which is able to operate on all major operating systems (Windows,Linux,OS X). Please see also our analysis on the Windows and Linux variants."

toyg 3 ago 1 reply      
That list of directories is really weird. On my machine, none of them exists, neither in ~/Library nor /Library. And I do run most of that software (Dropbox, Skype, Firefox, Chrome in the past...).

Either the malware targeted very old versions of such software and/or OSX, or somebody between the malware author and the blog writer f###ed up.

mrmondo 2 ago 0 replies      
1. This is not a backdoor, it's malware or an exploit.

2. This is not specific to OS X, it affects many operating systems, so this sounds like an attempt at slandering software that someone doesn't like, or has a reason not to like.

marmot777 3 ago 0 replies      
I'm curious why my Malware app wouldn't be on top of this? I did a search for it here: https://blog.malwarebytes.com/threats/

Is it too new a threat? Outside the scope of my Malware app?

Mizza 3 ago 7 replies      
Are video captures actually possible? I could imagine video capture as part of a RAT, but what scares me is the idea of video capture that doesn't turn on the camera activity light. Are there any examples of that?
coldcode 3 ago 0 replies      
Useless article makes no mention of how this gets into the system at all. Plus its not all that sophisticated or a backdoor. Nor do they point out that Apple was notified before posting this.
throwanem 3 ago 1 reply      
I like how the images all jump a centimeter to the left on mouseover! Makes the page feel exciting.
bronz 3 ago 0 replies      
so has this been patched for windows?
jesalg 3 ago 2 replies      
This sounds a lot like the zero-day exploit used in the show Mr.Robot. Life imitating art.
yuja_wang 3 ago 4 replies      
I thought MacOS was "Secure By Design". This is what Apple states in their official product descriptions.

In fact, it says it on this current page:


"Because OS X is secure by design, theres no need for IT to install additional tools or lock down functionality for employees. And with an automated zero-touch deployment process, they dont even have to open the box."

How to Learn Advanced Mathematics Without Heading to University Part 3 quantstart.com
477 points by shogunmike  6 ago   178 comments top 24
lumberjack 6 ago 8 replies      
This is stupid. The hard part about a Math degree is the number of hours you have to put in. If you cannot go to university full time, go part time. If you cannot go part time, you don't have enough time to actually learn any of these topics on your own.

I've done these classes. It's typically 150 hours per class and it's not something you do after coming exhausted home from work either. After those 150 hours you'll get a basic understanding of the topic. You won't be an expert by any means. That will require more exposure, more time.

The lectures themselves are not that useful, I find. The lecturers are mostly useful in guiding you along, telling you which aspects of the theory to focus on and weeding through the study material to deliver you the best bits. The problem sets are indispensable. Exams make sure you actually know the basics in depth instead of just knowing about them.

My advice: enrol part-time, take one class at a time, catch up on the lectures and do the problem sets and the homework over the weekend.

yodsanklai 6 ago 9 replies      
> How to Learn Advanced Mathematics Without Heading to University

I wonder if it's even possible. Learning maths requires much work, time and dedication. Doing so alone must be very difficult.

There are several things universities provide that are hard to replicate alone: a degree, which gives you access to a job, motivation, learning environment, and "peace of mind".

What I mean by peace of mind is that, when you're a student, your job is to study, that's what you're expected to do and normally your degree will give you access to a job (esp. if your university is reputable).

Now suppose someone learns advanced maths on their own. There's a huge opportunity cost. Not only it takes a lot of time, and the few lucrative jobs that make use of maths are in finance. I suspect financial institutions are very conservative and rarely recruit someone without a proper academic background.

An other thing when learning things alone, is that your job is twofold. You must be teacher and student at the same time. You need to find the material, impose yourself some pacing, decide when it's ok to move on etc... It may be ok when you want to learn a new technique in a field you already know, but something as broad as "learning advanced mathematics" seems impossible.

fantispug 5 ago 1 reply      
Learning advanced mathematics without going to university would take an extreme amount of dedication, focus, and effort, but it's certainly possible. It's much easier with the resources available on the internet, and being able to connect with people through forums and stack exchange.

John Baez's recommendations: http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/books.html

For theoretical physics 't Hooft's recommendations: http://www.staff.science.uu.nl/~gadda001/goodtheorist/

bitchy 6 ago 0 replies      
These books will kick your teeth in if you're not prepared. You either get a teacher who'll hold your hand or you need to gear up for fight(develop math maturity and learn all the tricks and tips). To the latter end, you can check out the Book of Proof by Richard Hammack[0] and Discrete Math by Susanna Epp[1].

[0] http://www.people.vcu.edu/~rhammack/BookOfProof/

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Discrete-Mathematics-Applications-Sus...

saretired 6 ago 0 replies      
What bothers me about this article is the hook: if you can learn this stuff you can get a quant job on Wall St. Realistically, very very few people can (truly) learn this amount of material on their own, and even so, you will be competing with top people with advanced math degrees, so if you're not the second coming of Gelfand, the goal of getting this kind of job is completely unrealistic.

On the other hand, if you have the time (and ability) to learn some of this material on your own, for a purpose other than competing for a highly paid job as a mathematician, great.

biofox 6 ago 2 replies      
I have found the Chicago undergraduate mathematics bibliography useful for directing self-study:


Previously discussed on HN:


mathgenius 6 ago 3 replies      
This stuff is brutally difficult to learn from books. Sigh. Maybe in the years since I studied this as an undergraduate things have changed with youtube and so-on. But there is nothing quite like talking to a real mathematician. One minute you are asking a question about some little thing you are stuck on, and the next minute the master is levitating and bending spoons! That's when you start to feel the real depth behind the concepts. It doesn't come from books.
ziedaniel1 6 ago 1 reply      
To get the key ideas behind many of these topics, you could try reading Evan Chen's Infinitely Large Napkin: http://www.mit.edu/~evanchen/napkin.html
lordnacho 6 ago 1 reply      
Seems pretty comprehensive to me. As a career quant trader I'd say it's a matter of doing the advanced stuff so that you understand the simple stuff. Especially in statistics, there are a number of simple principles, but they need to be learned by incorporating them into some complicated lessons.

There's also programming. That's a whole can of worms in itself. There's both theory and practice, where I'd say the practice is far more important than it seems. You really have to have bashed your head against a wall (of your own making) to appreciate how to code in a sensible, maintainable way.

ronald_raygun 5 ago 0 replies      
My two cents - I got a BS in math and an MS in stats. A ton of this stuff is really hard and takes a lot of time to understand, and it really does help to have a bunch of time to dedicate to it, a professor to guide you, and friends to try problems with. It also really helps to be exposed to a good order to learn stuff (for example I'd suggest tons of functional analysis, then prob, then stats, then finally ML)

But once this stuff clicks it becomes very easy to teach yourself. I've been learning stuff like quantum algorithm, network analysis, etc.

kikishortler 6 ago 0 replies      
On the face of it this looks more like studying than learning. The distinction is not meaningless. I studied French for six years and passed an exam at the end. However despite all this activity I have never been able to converse in French. By a variant of Gell-Mann Amnesia effect, I conclude that I cannot do mathematics either.
Tycho 6 ago 1 reply      
What do people think of this idea. Let's say you want to casually improve your maths knowledge in your spare time. Let's say you find it frustrating how you generally can't just google concepts as you come across them, because the material is usually presented so obtusely and you need to be able to ask questions and have things explained in different ways. Let's say you live in a university town. Let's say you pay a graduate student to just spend a couple hours per week answering your questions, on whatever concepts you're having difficulty with.

Do you think this would work well? Obviously it costs money but I'm guessing the rate wouldn't need to be too high to make it worth their time. They wouldn't need to do any preparation, just have a good grounding in the language of maths.

ekm2 6 ago 0 replies      
karma_vaccum123 6 ago 0 replies      
People don't go to university to learn, they go to university to get degrees...or to be more blunt...to buy degrees.
hal9000xp 6 ago 2 replies      
As I a software developer with no degree (working since 2009 in 3 countries), I can share my experience of attempts to learn advanced math.

In 2010, I was very interested in foundations of mathematics, an extremely abstract math branches:


In particular I spent huge amount of time on:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolas_Bourbaki (Set theory)




What attracted me is that these books doesn't require any specific knowledge of classical math. I.e. they are self-contained.

It was fun and ... the experience to delve into highly abstract view on entire math.

The big problem is that while I read that for more than a year, I had no experience in problem solving and just ignored exercises (thinking that concept is everything). As a result of that, my entire knowledge is completely evaporated and I literally can't solve any of exercises.

After that year, I dropped math till recently.

Now, I have completely different approach. I learning elementary olympiad style math and most importantly solving problems all the time. Currently, I'm into series of books:


These books made for math olympiad preparation. While I solving exercises, I feel how solid my knowledge is.

So if you want to learn advanced mathematics, learn elementary olympiad-style math first. It will give you solid background to start learning advanced math (not just knowledge background but most importantly problem solving skills).

echelon 5 ago 0 replies      
Would it be possible to do this for quantum mechanics, chromodynamics, etc. (to the point where I can follow the primary literature)? I have an undergraduate understanding of physical chemistry, but that was the closest exposure I got to the subject. My mathematics background is petty weak, too (only a modest background in PDE, no ODE, and a faint memory of linear algebra).

I'd pay handsomely for a personal tutor / teacher.

partycoder 6 ago 1 reply      
Unless you work on graphics, physics, signal analysis, sound, trading, data science, computer vision, machine learning, etc... it's hard as a software engineer to be exposed to math past the basics, meaning that you can survive without having to go beyond arithmetic.

You might still get some exposure to discrete mathematics once in a while. Statistics is always there to help you, some people avoid it, some others embrace it.

naveen99 5 ago 0 replies      
Sympy can help get over the fear of following scary looking equations or just speed you up.


IvanK_net 6 ago 0 replies      
The hard part of learning anything without heading to university is not learning that subject, but persuading yourself, that you realy do need to learn each specific area of the subject thoroughly, even if you have never heard of it in your previous "career".
jimhefferon 6 ago 0 replies      
> it is essential that we study topics such as Measure Theory and Linear Functional Analysis

I love this sentence. I'm not sure it is true, but it is nonetheless a great sentence.

graycat 5 ago 0 replies      
Somewhere in the OP or its links is a statement that in 1997 or so the world of finance was really hot for quants.

Net: What I found was not "hot" but ice cold.

In contrast, early in my career around DC, for applied math for US national security and NASA, in one two week period I went on seven interviews and got five offers. In four years, my annual salary increased by a factor of 4 to six times what a new, high end Camaro cost. That was "hot".

When I went for my Ph.D. in applied math, I'd read E. O. Thorpe who had, basically an early but basically correct version of the Black-Scholes option pricing model. In the back of his book, he mentioned measure theory. So, I dug into Royden's Real Analysis, and in grad school I got a really good background in measure theory, probability, and stochastic processes from a star student of E. Cinlar, long in just those topics and the mathematics of operations research and mathematical finance at Princeton.

In more detail, about 1992 to 2000, after my Ph.D., I tried to get into finance in NYC as a quant. My Ph.D. dissertation research was in stochastic optimal control, with careful attention to measure theory and the relatively obscure topic of measurable selection and with a lot of attention to real world modeling, algorithms, and software. I had a good background in multivariate statistics and time series techniques, an especially good background in advanced linear algebra and numerical linear algebra (e.g., numerically exact matrix inversion using only double precision machine arithmetic and based on number theory and the Chinese remainder theorem), double precision inner product accumulation and iterative improvement, etc.

So, I sent nicely formatted resume copies, in total 1000+.

I have held US Federal Government security clearances at least as high as Secret; never arrested; never sued; never charged with worse than minor traffic violations; never bankrupt; good credit; physically normal; healthy; never used illegal drugs or used legal drugs illegally; married only once and never divorced; etc.


(1) I got an interview at Morgan Stanley, but all they wanted was software development on IBM mainframes (where I had a good background at the time) with no interest in anything mathematical.

(2) I got a lunch with some guy who claimed to be recruiting for Goldman Sachs, but, except for the free lunch and what I had to pay for parking in Manhattan, that went nowhere.

(3) I had a good background in optimization, published a nice paper in JOTA that solved a problem stated but not solved in the famous paper in mathematical economics by Arrow, Hurwicz, and Uzawa.

So, for mathematical finance, I got a reference to

Darrell Duffie,Dynamic Asset Pricing Theory,ISBN 0-691-04302-7,Princeton University Press,Princeton, New Jersey,1992.

and dug in: The first chapters were heavily about the Kuhn-Tucker conditions, that is, the topic of my JOTA paper. By the end of the chapter, I'd found counterexamples for every significant statement in the first one or two (IIRC) chapters. I had to conclude that Duffie was not a good reference for anything good!

(4) Headhunters: I tried them, especially the ones claiming to be interested in technical work, computing, etc. They were from unresponsive down to insulting. It wasn't clear they had any recruiting requests.

(5) In those days, getting names and mailing addresses of hedge funds was not so easy. But I did get some lists and mailed to them. Got next to nothing back. I didn't hear about James Simons until well after year 2000.

(6) Right, there was Black-Scholes. Well, of course, that was Fisher Black at Goldman Sachs. So I wrote him and enclosed a copy of my resume. I got a nice letter back from him saying that he saw no roles for applied mathematics or optimization on Wall Street.

So, I gave up on trying to be a quant on Wall Street!

So that was 1992-2000, 8 years, 1000+ resume copies, and zip, zilch, and zero results.

Curious that the OP thinks that 1997 was a "hot" year for applied math on Wall Street.

Now I'm an entrepreneur, doing a startup based on some applied math I derived, computing, and the Internet! To heck with Wall Street: If my startup is at all successful, I will make much more money than I could have on Wall Street. And I don't have to live in or near the southern tip of Manhattan and, instead, live 70 miles north of there in the much nicer suburbs!

Lesson: Take the OP with several pounds of salt!

Hnrobert42 6 ago 3 replies      
Am I missing something? This just appears to be a link to buy some guy's ebooks.
paulpauper 6 ago 2 replies      
On question is: why? The examples in differential geometry can be difficult and time-consuming , unlike simple calculus, and are best done with computer, not by hand. A single tensor, as found in general relativity, may have dozens of components...writing them out would be taxing. My question is, what do want to do with this knowledge. There is value in learning complicated, abstract math to signal intellect and thus become more popular online, and maybe get consulting work. But in terms to practical applications, a lot of it is done by software programmed by large teams (not just one person), although learning the rules is always helpful. If you want to be a professional researcher who makes original findings in pure mathematics, it will presumably require full dedication, and one can't be both a quant trader and pure researcher at the same time (even someone as smart as James Simmons, founder of Renaissance Capital, was forced to choose between one or the other; he chose the former).

It seems as of late ,especially since 2013, there is huge demand for learning complicated mathematics, coding, and trading algorithms. It's like the AP-math class of high school, but as of 2013 expanded to include almost everyone, not just a dozen students lol. This recent obsession with math and finance is described in more detail in . People observe, read headlines about high-IQ founders, venture capitalists, and coders making tons of money in Web 2.0 (Uber, Pinterest, Snaphat, Dropbox, etc.); STEM people getting tons of prestige, status, and global notoriety for their finding (Arxiv physics and math papers frequently go viral); and how the economy, especially as of 2008, rewards intellectualism and STEM in terms of higher wages and surging asset prices (like stocks (the S&P 500 has nearly tripled since the 2009 bottom), web 2.0 valuations (Snapchat is worth $15 billion, on its way to $50 billion), and real estate (Palo Also home prices have doubled since 2011)), and, understandably, many people want a piece of the wealth pie. They see that intellect - which includes STEM, finance, and also quantitative finance - is the path to both riches and social status (as embodied by wealthy geniuses like Musk, Thiel, Zuckerberg, Shkreli), which is why there is so much interest in these technical, difficult subjects, unlike decades ago when only a handful of people were interested.

But another question is: Does algorithmic trading work? I don't know for sure, but I think a lot money is made in market making (Citadel Capital comes to mind), which tends to full under the umbrella of algorithmic trading - the two are closely related. And the math in involved has much less to do with differential geometry and number theory and more to to do with statistics and linear algebra (such as analyzing correlations between data). This involves a lot of trading and paying constant attention to order books - it's a full time job. I don't think it's as glamorous as many think it is, and I'm not sure if the returns are worth the effort. There are simpler methods, based on mathematics such as the ETF decay, that an also generate very good returns and don't require full-time trading. Here is one http://greyenlightenment.com/post-2008-wealth-creation-guide...

DavidWanjiru 6 ago 0 replies      
"Why are you wanting to learn mathematics?"

The author is called Michael Halls-Moore. Why would a person called Michael Halls-Moore write a sentence like this? I'm genuinely curious, coz I'd assume this is a native English speaker.

How Doom 2016 Renders a Frame adriancourreges.com
475 points by milen  2 ago   106 comments top 14
overcast 2 ago 6 replies      
Seriously, I LOVED this new Doom. Best FPS I've played since Half-Life 2. So polished, and straight up FUN. Incredible level design, rewarding secrets for the min/max people, plenty of player upgrades for the role playing people, and copious amounts of straight insane combat for the action crowd. As far as I'm concerned, this game is perfect. Multiplayer is a different discussion.
shmerl 2 ago 4 replies      
It's a shame it's DRMed with Denuvo trash, and doesn't work in Wine because of that (of course they could release it for Linux and DRM-free to begin with, but it's probably too much to expect from today's Bethesda / id).

I'd rather wait for Shadow Warrior 2 (upcoming native DRM-free Linux release).

Gravityloss 2 ago 0 replies      
The source list includes this nice presentation:


It's cool how it's presented so openly, like a scientific project.

jerf 2 ago 1 reply      
"And then it does that up to 120 times per second."

I still get floored by our computing power sometimes.

mungoid 2 ago 1 reply      
If you use Nvidia Nsight you can see this exact same stuff happening every frame. Pretty nice tool to use if you ever wonder whats going on in your gpu every frame. We use it frequently for our simulation work.
enimodas 2 ago 2 replies      
I wonder if he was able to do this analysis with the original binary, or that he used the very recent (2 days ago) crack that removes the denuvo "anti-tamper" system.
JoelBennett 2 ago 2 replies      
Neat write-up. I had no idea screen space reflections were a thing.
iammyIP 2 ago 2 replies      
The id tech5 engine for rage was already very impressive and ran extremely well on my mediocre machine, while still looking beautiful. Felt like my computer suddenly was twice as capable.

I wonder why the article mentions this: "Unlike most Windows games released these days, DOOM doesnt use Direct3D.".

Implementing Direct3d today seems a waste of development time to me and a useless self-restriction to a platform. Why would anyone do that? Is there a source that compares release titles of direct3d games vs opengl/vulkan on windows?

Razengan 1 ago 1 reply      
I'm a noob regarding 3D engines/hardware and have a question: Why haven't we moved engines to the 3D hardware?

Like, why can't we have a high-level engine running on the GPU itself, updated through drivers, and just feed it a monolithic file containing the game level's entire geometry, for example?

So that developers can say, here's the world, here's the textures, here is the models for monster A, monster B..and then just update each model's location and the camera position every frame?

Amanjeev 2 ago 0 replies      
Is it worth playing online? I play solo (couch) but was wondering if it is any good to get PS online subscription for this.
tbrock 2 ago 0 replies      
Oh wow, I had no idea id had another hit on their hands. I just finished reading "Masters of Doom" and was craving some of the classic doom gaming experience that I had growing up.
AJRF 2 ago 2 replies      
Doesn't this kind of breakdown make the explanation more complicated? Maybe it's my idiotic brain but I think of everything in terms of that one scene and can't extrapolate the Information to various scenarios.
resist_futility 1 ago 0 replies      
Anyone know of good examples of source code applying these sort of techniques together?
edgartaor 2 ago 1 reply      
And still some people says video games are not art.
I lost my OpenBSD full-disk encryption password filippo.io
494 points by oskarth  6 ago   96 comments top 13
0xmohit 6 ago 4 replies      
Enlightenment always takes a while :)

 I later found a nice article documenting the entire system. It also includes references to JohnTheRipper having a module for this. Well, this was more fun.

Wonder how many times are the same items posted: https://news.ycombinator.com/from?site=filippo.io

camtarn 6 ago 1 reply      
The previous article, about a lost password for a NAS, is hilarious and well worth a read as well:


moyix 6 ago 4 replies      
Quick question for the more cryptographically inclined: apparently after decryption the code does an HMAC validation:

 /* Check that the key decrypted properly. */ sr_crypto_calculate_check_hmac_sha1(sd->mds.mdd_crypto.scr_maskkey,
Does this mean it's using Mac-Then-Encrypt? And if so, is it likely doomed [1]?

[1] https://moxie.org/blog/the-cryptographic-doom-principle/

Drdrdrq 6 ago 1 reply      
If he wanted to know the value of the salt for his disk, wouldn't it be easier if he just modified the sources so it would be printed it out?
cperciva 6 ago 3 replies      
the rounds number 0x2000

Does anyone know if this is the default? If I'm understanding this correctly, it's around 10 ms of key derivation time; on FreeBSD we default to 2 s, which should make cracking disk encryption 200x more expensive.

zakk 6 ago 2 replies      
While reading I had the feeling that the author was reverse-engineering open source software...
z3t4 6 ago 2 replies      
When deciding to encrypt, lets say a backup, you need to ask yourself, is the data better lost then in the hands of the wrong people.
AWildDHHAppears 6 ago 1 reply      
That's why I keep them written down in my safe!
SwellJoe 6 ago 2 replies      
I briefly went all-in on security, cryptocurrency, tor, etc., and had a locked down desktop machine encrypted with LUKS. Then, I moved, and it took me a few weeks to get the computer set back up. In that time, I'd forgotten my passphrase. So, I have a desktop machine containing (at least) a couple hundred bucks worth of cryptocurrencies that I can't open. I still think I remember the passphrase I used, but it doesn't work, so I'm obviously missing a word or a punctuation addition (I used the CorrectHorseBatteryStaple method of making a memorable passphrase in this case).

I've been known to do dumb things, and going down the rabbit hole of cryptocurrencies and how to securely use said currencies was one of them. These days I put everything of importance into Google drive, Dropbox, and/or git (not github...a privately hosted git that I access via ssh and runs on a VM on hardware I own in a data center I trust). If it is sensitive, it is encrypted with a passphrase I've been using for a couple decades, and so it unlikely to be forgotten. A high capability attacker could thwart my protections, I'm sure, but I don't have any reason to believe a high capability attacker has any interest in me.

And, I don't hold much cryptocurrency, and what I do hold is at Coinbase, just sitting there on the off chance Bitcoin really does take over the world and a small amount turns into a big value.

_ph_ 6 ago 3 replies      
So, for the layman, does this mean, the encryption can be practically cracked or not?
ams6110 6 ago 0 replies      
Hm, if it were me and I had just set up the new system and then promptly forgot the password, I'd just reinstall.
EGreg 6 ago 1 reply      
Why not have your passwords be hashes of passphrases?
imaginenore 6 ago 4 replies      
That's why you always

1) store passwords in the password manager, even the ones you think aren't important.

2) backup your data

In defence of Douglas Crockford atom-morgan.github.io
677 points by ramblerman  7 ago   419 comments top 78
BinaryIdiot 7 ago 5 replies      
The Nodevember folk(s) posted a statement regarding this whole kerfuffle [1]. It's pretty hollow IMO.

> While we have a tremendous respect for Mr. Crockford's abilities as a speaker and his contributions to our craft, we became aware that based on private feedback - not simply the dialogue on Twitter - that his presence would make some speakers uncomfortable to the point where they refused to attend or speak.

Okay so you are calling out his behavior making people uncomfortable, publicly, but you won't say why only that it was private feedback? Wasn't he one of the early speakers who accepted anyway? You apologized for lacking nuance on Twitter with your "announcement" and yet continue to do so.

Publicly claiming someone makes others uncomfortable and that someone is an older, white male, you know exactly what you are insinuating. Statements like this, especially against white males today, can be career ending even without proof as long as it simply goes viral.

I think the only responsible thing to do is to release exactly why someone would be uncomfortable. If you can't or won't do that then you shouldn't have made the initial insinuation and, instead, simply state he's no longer coming.

Stating he was "uninvited" due to making others uncomfortable without providing anything further is just irresponsible to the point where it appears you're trying to manufacture drama. Considering your event is $350 to hear some speakers who are yet to be defined this just speaks scam to me like many other talking events.

[1] http://nodevember.org/statement.html

rdtsc 7 ago 5 replies      
> We will also be removing Douglas Crockford from our keynote speakers list to help make the conference a comfortable environment for all.

If they are going to insinuate things about what he said, they should mention exactly what he said or did.

The fact that they don't somehow tells me there is not much there to go on.

To put it another way, if they have the guts to remove Crockford that should have enough guts to clearly explain why.

I've been saying this before, and maybe it is just me, but it seems Node.js community somehow attracts a disproportionate number of immature people but with big egos. Because, let's call this for what it is -- childish immature behavior. That's at best, at worst it is getting attention and hurting someone's reputation just for a power trip. "Look how important I am, I kicked Crockford out of a conference with a single tweet".

Well the lesson is when you pick some open source technology, the community comes with it. Maybe even if technology has good merits, it makes sense not to pick it because the community behind it is not compatible with what you think a community should be.

bsder 7 ago 2 replies      
This is becoming increasingly concerning to me. The problem is that there is no way for the person affected to receive "justice", "fairness", or "a day in court".

You want to not invite somebody? Fine. You want to disinvite somebody? Okay, but be prepared to be called a jerk.

But assassinating someone's professional character publicly? You'd better be standing on REALLY solid ground for a REALLY good reason.

Crockford might just ignore this--it's probably the best course of action given his station. He's probably sufficiently more important than these people that he's good.

However, one day these people are going to get someone with financial means all fired up and they're going to be dragged through court for a LONG time--and probably lose because they won't be able to put up the money to mount an effective defense.

Until one of these accusers loses THEIR ability to work in the field, nobody will pay attention to the repercussions.

Tehnix 7 ago 4 replies      
I generally feel like there's a kneejerk reaction from people (especially in the tech community) to be "PC compliant", at the level where you almost can't have any discourse because it's such a minefield (can't imagine a rational person whoms first intepretation of the tweets is "that's sexist" to be pleasant having a conversation with).

I almost feel in the minority (or just a silent one?), but I honestly don't care what kind of political views, personal preferences, outrageous statements or whatever problems a speaker at a conference might have, as long as he gives a good talk/presentation.

whorleater 7 ago 8 replies      
Ignoring the fact this discussion about this, and this culture as a whole, is a minefield to navigate, it's important to note that Douglas Crockford can definitely be abrasive [1]. The issue at hand is that whether this abrasiveness is a bad thing, when compared to the contributions he's made and whether it leads to constructive discussions.

The javascript developer who took offense (Kas?) definitely seems to have taken it too far, automatically associating Douglas's personality with being a jerk.

The other issue at hand is how this influences tech conferences, because I've always attended conferences with the implicit assumption that I was there to learn first and foremost. Discourse and disagreement with speakers is natural and should be encouraged, as it oftentimes leads to enlightening discussions for bystanders and conference attendees, which was the entire point of the conference in the first place. By allowing certain viewpoints to dominate and silence a subset of speakers, we're ultimately limiting our views and building an echo chamber, which is not what conferences are meant to be. If we're going to dismiss speakers, it should be on merit of their talk and previous talks, not their speaking style.

[1]: https://github.com/douglascrockford/JSLint/issues/17

BadassFractal 7 ago 3 replies      
As the other poster mentioned, I'm very sympathetic to the cause of egalitarianism and pre-third-wave feminism. However, hopefully we will see more and more pushback against this kind of senseless crying wolf. If you're in favor of social justice, THIS is the thing you're fighting against?

If this even shows up on your radar and is a priority, then I'd say the mission you're fighting for has been accomplished a long time ago. Time to go home.

I don't know who really benefits from policing every word that public tech figures say. There's no monetary value to this unless this is a PR stunt to make the conference get social justice brownie points in some kind of a twisted form of social posturing. Who's to gain from this? Sociopaths wanting to exert control over others? I'm not quite ready to believe that.

aikah 7 ago 1 reply      
TLDR; personal vendetta against Crockford led to accusations of "sexism", and him getting uninvited from Nodevember conference. There is absolutely no proof of sexism anywhere ,only a bunch of people who want to take him out professionally because he might have pissed them off for whatever reason in the past. Only now these people can use dubious political arguments to justify their vendetta. This can happen to anybody in any community.
EdSharkey 7 ago 0 replies      
The whole bit about Kas saying "mmm" to Crockford's face when he said an insensitive thing and then publicly shaming him once he was safely back on the internet galls me, if true.

Culturally, our tendency to troll needs to decrease on the web and increase in in-person encounters. I'm convinced we'd all be better off if we showed some spine and got more vocal whenever we disagree.

I also don't like these (I assume) inter-generational squabbles in our industry. It is clear that moral views can differ between generations, so a little understanding and empathy is needed on all sides.

Please respect your elders. If you disagree with them or feel they are being disrespectful or sexist, how about kindly discussing it with them and maybe getting a feel for their perspective first before launching into public reputation annihilation?

brakmic 7 ago 3 replies      
Such things could have a very negative effect on people whose native language isn't English. I mean, if even native speakers get into troubles so easily what should I, as a non-native speaker, expect?

I maintain a tiny blog and because of possible language barriers I decided to write all of my texts in English. It could've been much easier for me to write in German, of course, but this would exclude so many people. And this was simply unacceptable from my point of view.

My command of English isn't very strong but I'd like to paraphrase german philosopher Karl Homann: "The opposite of Moral isn't Immoral but to moralize".

I know nothing about the events there but when I read things like "public shaming" or "slut shaming" or "trigger warnings" or "social justice warriors" then I can only follow the "pragmatic solutions" to solve problems of that kind: avoid conferences, avoid any kind of non-technical discussion in English, avoid the community as a whole. Stay on GitHub.

Sure, it makes you a bit of a loner but at least you sleep more easily and don't get shocked in the morning when you open your twitter feed.

Kind regards,

throwway1111 7 ago 4 replies      
This is happening in all parts of society. So-called "social justice warriors" and parts of the liberal left have sprung up that are very hostile to free speech and seek to destroy and silence anyone whom they oppose. Unfortunately, they have the full support of not only college administrations, but increasingly HR departments as they ascend into the workforce, and PR departments as they air their grievances over social media.

I am posting from a throw away account because voicing an opinion such as this is reason enough to be targeted.

robert_tweed 7 ago 3 replies      
I have to wonder if this was a real complaint or if it was done to highlight the obvious problem here, a bit like the guy who patented a "Method of exercising a cat".

I mean, if you're going to ban Douglas Crockford from your conference it should at least be for his stated prejudice against comments in data-interchange formats. Not vague allegations that may damage his personal and professional reputation, to which he not only has no right of reply, but any response could be damaging by generating more attention. This is the classic trolling strategy, but stepped up a level.

If he actually did something wrong, take him to court and let the facts be decided in law. Otherwise, he's innocent and should be treated as such.

I also wonder, given that the allegations haven't been published, just implied, if he would have a libel case against the conference organisers?

tptacek 7 ago 5 replies      
Unlike the controversies about Strangeloop (which uninvited Curtis Yarvin) and Lambdaconf (which lost the overwhelming majority of its sponsors due to accepting Yarvin), this --- based on the evidence at hand --- seems entirely stupid.

Unfortunately, there's no rulebook conference organizers (or their Greek choruses on message boards) can consult to say when rejecting a speaker is a good idea or not. It's a judgement call.

So when you've got a speaker with a reputation as a overt, 1950s-style racist in person, and a miles-long online track record of obscurantist racism, the kind of person who when accepted to talk at a technical conference about programming languages will write many paragraphs suggesting that science has established white people are smarter than black people (but maybe that shouldn't matter to us so much!) in his post announcing his talk, then yes, maybe you should avoid inviting that person.

On the other hand, you've got a speaker who used the word "promiscuous" as a pejorative in describing technology, and who spoke disrespectfully about someone else's favorite conference.

If you accept the irrepressibly racist speaker to your conference, you're going to lose most of your sponsors. But if you reject the person who implied promiscuity might be problematic in a metaphor, you're going to fail too, because anyone will be able to get any talk punted from that conference.

Maybe there's something else going on that we're not entitled to hear about. Those kinds of things also exist.

By the way: the implication that flexing and talking about "strength" is sexist is itself sexist, and not in the bullshit "it penalizes men and they have rights too" way, but in the "it reinforces stereotypes about women" way. There are women out there who can kick your ass.

tootie 7 ago 3 replies      
I'm pretty sympathetic to the cause of feminism especially in technology and I cringe hard at a lot of the casual sexism that gets thrown around, but this is truly baffling. Assuming this is all they actually have on him this is nothing more than very clever word play with zero gender inferences to be made.
labrador 7 ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many people complaining about Crockford have posted or support the statement "If you can't handle me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best." Nodevember doesn't deserve Douglas Crockford. And Lipscomb, where the event is being held, is a religiously oppressive institution where "All full-time, undergraduate students are required to take Bible classes and attend chapel twice a week. [1]" Sounds like Nodevember is a lose-lose situation for all involved.

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

shruubi 7 ago 3 replies      
I'm of two minds here.

1) I personally don't like Douglas Crockford at all, I find him all together arrogant and overly concerned with presenting himself as an infallible single source of truth. I respect the work the man has done, but I personally think the conference is better off without him.

2) It seems that the conference organisers are all too concerned with coming out and proudly parading there actions without bothering to see if Crockford would be amenable to other courses of action like an apology or retraction of those comments.

To me, these kind of incidents feel more like the conference using the drama to boost their attendance numbers than acting in any kind of best interest of the attendee's. That's not to say that there haven't been serious incidents that need to be dealt with at conferences, but, an outright banning without any kind of negotiation where the speaker is offered to retract/apologise for their comments where the banning is done on a public forum seems designed more towards gaining attention rather than justice.

thomasfoster96 7 ago 4 replies      
Id really like to know how a decision like that is made. In Nodevember's statement on the matter[0] (which the parent link doesnt mention, a rather glaring omission), they quite openly admit that they ...aren't professional organizers or PR people. We are still learning, and will make mistakes. So why not admit a mistake?

I certainly dont want to see sexist speakers at conferences, but this decision seems to have been made with almost no evidence and almost purely based on unsubstantiated rumours.

[0] http://nodevember.org/statement.html

aidenn0 7 ago 2 replies      
My thoughts:

Maybe someone can tell me what's offensive about the first comment. It seems to be poking fun at programmer machismo.

The second quote is more problematic. I'm firmly of the opinion that it is not slut-shaming because it presented both promiscuity and commitment in a positive light. On the other hand, it is perfectly reasonable for a conference to not want sexual metaphors in presentations. The whole "he used the word correctly" in TFA is a non-sequitur when the first definition is clearly sexual, and promiscuity is contrasted with commitment. Still, I would hope that less extreme measures than banning would be used to address this.

Now to one thing not in TFA, but in the linked medium post:

> Ive never dealt with Crockford in a way that I felt pleasant afterward. He is rude, unrepentant, and completely (one could argue willingly) oblivious to the meaning of his statements. Ive never seen a person use the word stupid so liberally in replacement of constructive criticism.

A conference is more than a bunch of people giving talks, it's a social gathering. If there were a lot of people who agree with Kas on this, then it's a much more reasonable reason to keep him out.

On a much smaller scale, I often run pencil-and-paper RPG groups. Being a jerk is much more likely to find yourself out of my group compared to game-mechanics related issues.

Naracion 7 ago 0 replies      
A Pastebin of a Nodevember Slack channel, should provide more context:http://pastebin.com/3mQc7DfG

There is some discussion about the reason, and whether Nodevember should disclose a reason or make a public statement. For instance:

"Josh Crews [9:57 AM] Maybe Nodevember could make a public statement along these lines, "After announcing Crockford as a keynote speaker, we learned from others of things he's done and said at previous conferences that are against our Code of Conduct"

HermitPy [9:57 AM] why do we need to do that

[9:57] what does that do other than add more fuel to a fire?

Andrew Albright [9:57 AM] It would save people time for trying to find the answer themselves

[9:58] 'cause I burned at least ten minutes this morning to satiate my curiosity

HermitPy [9:58 AM] I personally hope people will do some research and form their own opinion

Andrew Albright [9:58 AM] ^ good point

Josh Crews [9:58 AM] you are reputation tarnishing somebody if you are not clear about the disinvitation

Andrew Albright [9:58 AM] opinion and reason for the decision are two different things though

HermitPy [9:58 AM] no doubt

Russ Anderson [9:58 AM] I will say that its difficult to do the research. I dont think the twitter trail is very edifying. This chat has been much more helpful.

HermitPy [9:59 AM] We're dismissing a keynoter without context other than they didn't fit our view of the community (edited)

Russ Anderson [9:59 AM] however, I agree that you dont owe anyone anything

HermitPy [10:00 AM] All this whole thing has done is ensure that I won't do one more fucking thing for the community, so next year other people can run their own conference and pick their own shit and deal with it (edited)"

aaron695 7 ago 1 reply      
I find the fact people continue to support these conferences quite disturbing.

Things are not going to change until people, including speakers pull out of conferences that display this sort of behaviour.

qwertyuiop924 7 ago 0 replies      
This is utter nonsense. Unless there's some evidence of wrongdoing, pushing people out of your conference isn't acceptable. Especially if it's somebody with Crockford's reputation, who has influence, and both technical and social credit. This isn't an incident where people have come forward saying that somebody sexually or physically assulted them, and then they were banned (that's happened in some communities), it's somebody getting kicked from a conference for unknown reasons, when all the complaints about him boil down to, "some of the things he says can be rude or politically incorrect." That shouldn't be good enough. Especially if, like Crockford, the speaker has a reputation for providing valuable and relevant technical material.

Besides, if being rude was a reason to get banned from a conference, Linus, RMS, and countless others would have gotten lifetime bans from every conference out there years ago.

cel1ne 7 ago 0 replies      
There is one thing I don't understand about the whole safe-space debate:

People demand the environments they reside in to be friendly and comfortable according to their definition. In a way they are demanding that all "hostiles" stop being "hostile" towards them.

The more sustainable way to not get hurt is to learn how to emotionally defend yourself and stand your ground. You just have to learn it once and are not dependent on others telling every attacker to stop attacking you for the rest of your life.

tomohawk 7 ago 1 reply      
Who's doing more damage to the community - Crockford or Kas?

The intolerance that Kas is selling is not something that we should value.

vvdcect 7 ago 2 replies      
This is a pastebin of a nodevember slack channel http://pastebin.com/3mQc7DfG .
voidr 6 ago 1 reply      
The same way we have 'mercury free', it would be great to have a 'social justice warrior free' label.

A conference has the right to hand pick the speakers, however I also have the right to vote with my wallet and boycott them. Conferences should be required to disclose if they actively support a political alignment(which is what SJW movements are), so that I as a consumer know to avoid them.

A vocal minority of women are offended because white males used some phrases that can be interpreted as sexist in their view. Let's ban white males, problem solved.

Now a religious group is offended that most of the women are not wearing a hijab. Well, we can't have that, so let's ban women who are not dressed "properly".

Bottom line is: whatever you do, you can always find a vocal minority who are offended by that.

When I go to a tech event, I want it to be about tech, what I don't want it to be about is: politics.

empressplay 7 ago 0 replies      
I'm pretty vigilant about calling out sexism and trans/homophobia in the tech community but I'm having a hard time seeing Crockford's comments as offensive enough to un-invite him to speak. I expected TFA to be typical apologist fare but it's really more puzzlement over a perplexing situation, a puzzlement I share.
DanielBMarkham 7 ago 0 replies      
I don't want to comment on specifics. First off, there's not a lot here. Secondly, the general issue is more important.

As part of being in a secular society, you have an obligation to put up with public speakers that you might find offensive or irritating. You don't have to attend their events, and you're free to climb on the rooftops and call them an asshole -- but you have an obligation to put up with them.

If you run a conference with lots of people attending, and your speakers have any kind of interesting personality at all, you should be prepared for 1-3% of the attendees to be put-off by their history. That's good: it shows that you're doing a good job of bringing in interesting people to speak. Likewise, if you're a participant in a large conference, it shouldn't be surprising to you if the past history of somebody speaking is unpleasant to you in parts. You are, presumably, a grown-up. Get over it.

In my mind, the only thing that should matter, assuming the speaker isn't a terrorist or criminal on the run from authorities, is whether or not the information they present is worth it to you as an attendee. That's what the conference is about. It's not about making every member feel safe and secure. Screw that. Even looking past the fact that it's an impossible goal, nobody wants to go to a conference that's dumbed down to only cool kids who think correctly. Nobody in their right mind would want to live in a world like that. "Don't hang around jerks" is a fine goal for your family, your team, or your personal social circle. It's a clusterfuck to try to implement at any scale beyond that.

This bothers me because I could see at the extremes, there might be a case for excluding speakers, assuming there was something terrible in their past. Adolph Hitler, had he survived WWII, would have made a bad keynote speaker. People could never look beyond his history. But without a detailed argument over what the situation is here, both conference attendees and future speakers are getting screwed over, operating in the blind.

And that's the final result: everybody affected here doesn't really know what's going on, how to prevent this from happening again in the future, or what they might have missed. This is not about Crockford. This is about nibbling away at the value of a group of people gathering together trying to learn by promoting impenetrable and unclear illiberal values. I'll never go to a Node conference. But I'll remember how this thing played out.

cel1ne 7 ago 0 replies      
We live in the post-descartes era. The principle now seems to be "I feel, therefore I am."
danso 7 ago 2 replies      
I've only seen Crockford once in person, years ago [0], and though I never heard of him and his curmudgeonly-approach to JavaScript, I came away with a very favorable impression of him (and JS in general).

So I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, out of sentimentality. At the same time, I know that one speech and/or book is not enough (if anything ever is) to judge whether someone has or hasn't been harmful to people who are not me.

But after reading the original critique on Medium, and the OP's transcription of when Crockford allegedly "slut-shames the audience", I don't feel convinced to have a negative impression of Crockford. I'm not saying that the original complainant isn't justified in their critique or that there isn't more to the story, because I know that things are different in person. But I could also be sympathetic towards the OP's defense of Crockford.

In terms of Nodevember's decision, well, they have different prerogatives when running a conference. And having a speaker who allegedly so openly derides other speakers is definitely something they have to think about in ways that I as an individual do not.

[0] http://original.livestream.com/etsy/video?clipId=pla_1463e54...

edit: One thing I personally find disingenuous about the OP's writeup is their appeal to the dictionary definition of "promiscuous" to defend Crockford. I guess it's just up to people's opinion, but I felt that Crockford was clearly using "promiscuous" in the first sense -- "indiscriminate mingling or association". I've never even heard of the second sense, and very little in Crockford's transcribed statement seems to suggest why "promiscuous" would be the right word to use instead of something like "heterogeneous".

That said, I also don't feel that Crockford's statement was slut-shaming. Saying, "Back in the day, you could browse the web like a whore, not caring what your computer connected to. But with the new web..."

But that's not what he says at all. You could read a sexual connotation to what he says, but the words he use is very much about being indiscriminate about security and identity. He even states that there is a benefit to promiscuity -- "because you could go from one thing to another and discover stuff and start forming relationships" and directly implies there's a tradeoff with the security of commitment.

justaaron 7 ago 0 replies      
having wasted 20 minutes of my morning on this, I figure I'll waste 4 more... I read the pastebin of the slack feed, and was nauseated by the SMARM and privilege.

They imagine that folks will feel COMFORTABLE with such side-of-the-mouth backstabbing nasty smarmy behavior emanating from such a conference?

Such sanctimony. Such self-righteousness. This isn't about Crockford anymore, but about highly privileged people (like this Katye Russell deeming to speak for all womyn-kind or "minorities" and such, all the while blissfully unaware of her privileged Murcan boot capriciously placed upon the neck of any peasant her handlers wish her to besmirch the name of)

I'm 100% in favor of social justice, fairness, decency, and the end of abusing the 99%, the end of gender pay gaps, the end of racism, sexism, etc, but THIS agenda we see here is NOT in service to anything decent and good:this is "throw xyz under a bus because some influential people told us to"and the real powerbroker here appears to be this William Golden...

Nodevember is just another groupthinktank and their actions have only brought dishonor and shame upon themselves!

(even assuming one wishes to distance oneself from a horrible speaker, claiming that one is speaking for all and creating a safe-space for all just mocks any concepts of safe spaces. what a load of sanctimonious drivel!)

AzzieElbab 7 ago 0 replies      
Douglas Crockford is an adult and has no business attending gatherings run by bickering children
zimbatm 7 ago 0 replies      
As an occasional speaker I am a bit worried. It seems very likely that I would say something that could offend someone, given enough time (even if it wasn't my intent). What is the best way to react when faced with that kind of event?
jondubois 7 ago 0 replies      
I think this is stupid. Crockford would be a centerpiece of any JavaScript conference.

There is no sexism in his remarks at all.

By attacking Crockford, that specific activist group is advocating discrimination against older generations. The kind of humour which Crockford used is totally normal for people of his generation.

He comes from an era where the software industry was run almost entirely by men - You have to forgive him for these harmless comments.

I would feel uncomfortable going to Nodevember knowing that members of this hypocritical intolerant group are among us.

I think even if Crockford was sexist (which he is clearly not), he should still be invited to talk - What happened to freedom of speech?

The real world is tough, sometimes people are mean. People should just grow up and toughen up.

Garbage 7 ago 0 replies      
Official statement from Nodevember - http://nodevember.org/statement.html
desireco42 7 ago 1 reply      
I would prefer to work with someone with a solid stance and clear idea like Crockford, even if that is completely opposite to my own because this is something I will always respect.

I think he is not conventional with his netbook if he still uses that and that pisses people off.

justinlardinois 7 ago 0 replies      
A couple thoughts here:

I'm not familiar with this particular conference, but excluding someone from a conference for a history of making bigoted comments seems totally reasonable in principle.

The particular comments this post offers don't seem at all sexist to me though, so I don't think this situation makes a whole lot of sense. Granted, it would be better if the conference organizers cited the comments themselves; all we have here is what Morgan thinks are the offensive comments, so we're unfortunately not getting the whole picture.

I will say that, having read a lot of Crockford, the guy is a dick. And hey, if you rub a lot of people the wrong way by being a jerk, maybe a conference might think that outweighs the value you could add with your skill and knowledge. But if that's the real reason in this case, I wish they would say it.

georgemcbay 7 ago 0 replies      
I know nothing of this situation other than what I just read in the linked blog, but speaking as someone who is very sympathetic to the cause of the continued problems of sexism in the tech industry, I'm very confused about what the problem is, if it is in fact related to either of those two quoted statements.

Nodevember's tweet seems borderline libelous to me, unless they are willing to explain exactly what the event/statement/whatever is that got him pulled from the lineup is.

sigmaml 7 ago 0 replies      
This subject of "inclusiveness" is getting out of hand, evidently. We should probably look into using "no exclusiveness" as a principle, than this hairy construct of "inclusiveness".
prance 7 ago 2 replies      
This article is based on the assumption that those two statements from Rockford were the actual reason for his disinvitation - because that's "everything [the author's] been able to find". Which is not the case according to nodevember's statement[1].

Besides, the fact that the author is criticising people for calling for a disinvite of a white supremacist speaker from LamdaConf[2] doesn't quite increase my trust in his opinions.

[1] http://nodevember.org/statement.html[2] https://modelviewculture.com/news/lambda-conf-fuckery-white-...

squall7 7 ago 0 replies      

The pendulum ever swings, don't let it hit you on its way back.

fahrradflucht 7 ago 1 reply      
I don't have a clear opinion on the Crockford discussion but this post would be more convincing if it didn't put the lambda conf issue into the mix. I hope for Douglas Crockford that he doesn't want to get compared with Curtis Yarvin...
jstewartmobile 7 ago 0 replies      
What a cowardly, hateful thing to do! They have even gone so far as to make a static page to address the tweet, yet a concrete accusation is nowhere to be found on it: http://nodevember.org/statement.html

A community that accepts a covert hit-job like that Tweet is a garbage community. Don't be a garbage community Nodevember.

shripadk 7 ago 1 reply      
This is ridiculous. How in the world can those statements amount to sexism/slut-shaming?
cheez 7 ago 0 replies      
Why is it always developer evangelists and never developers?
csanch4 7 ago 2 replies      
I thought this wouldn't be an issue in CS; thankfully it only seems to be the Js community -- or at least I hope so. Medium is now becoming less informative on technologies and software into a platform for finger pointing and complaining, which is really depressing imo.
joeevans1000 5 ago 0 replies      
This whole incident really highlights the likely challenges facing luminaries like Crockford. On the one hand, they probably want to support unestablished up and coming conferences. On the other, they expose themselves to total amateurs, with potentially dire outcomes professionally.

His presence at such an apparently backwoods event (as evidenced by the transcript of their inane slack discussion) was a great honor for them, but, as the saying goes, 'no good deed goes unpunished'.

nopit 7 ago 8 replies      
Why is crybullying so rampant in the tech community?
rhapsodic 6 ago 0 replies      
Organizations will not stop caving to these vicious, hateful cry-bullies until caving becomes more costly than not caving. It wouldn't take very many complaints and boycott threats against their corporate sponsors to make Nodevember radioactive. Next year, there would be no sponsors. And if everyone who has had a bellyful of this cry-bullying would boycott the Nodevember conference, there would be no more Nodevember conference.

That would serve as an example for other organizations, when they choose how to respond to the demands of future cry-bullies.

mgkimsal 7 ago 1 reply      
From nodevember CoC:

"Be careful in the words that you choose. Remember that sexist, racist, and other exclusionary jokes can be offensive to those around you. Excessive swearing and offensive jokes are not appropriate for Nodevember."

Now... I'm no expert in humor, but aren't nearly all jokes partly "exclusionary" by definition? Maybe not - maybe I'm thinking of just a certain type of 'joke', but almost every sort of humorous observation I can think of could be "exclusionary" at some level, because there's some sort of external 'thing' which is the object of the joke.

But I may be way off base here.

borplk 7 ago 0 replies      
I bet someone will also complain that he "mansplained" one of his talks. Give me a break. Go solve a real problem. First-world morons who are so fed up with the comfort of their lives they have to actively go chase drama.
fsaneq2 6 ago 0 replies      
Is HN being censored? Why is this not on the front page, with 611 votes as of right now?
galfarragem 7 ago 0 replies      
This is a schizofrenic community. Probably the same people that push for a free web, police the words used by others.
ramblenode 7 ago 0 replies      
Wow, an important talk was pulled because of this? There is a continuum of disagreeable statements and a corresponding continuum of appropriate responses. The response from the conference organizers was grossly disproportionate to Crockford's behavior which was clearly not malicious and probably not even deliberate. A reasonable alternative would have been to privately contact him and express concern about his past choice of words. Removing him outright is unfair to both Crockford and attendees who were looking forward to his talk.
hasteur 4 ago 0 replies      
It's overreactions to marginally risque content that strip humor from talks.

I'd hate to think what the "PC police" would say to the very tenured college abstract calculas professor who accidentally asked us to derive the tangent to secant z. He paused after writing sec(z) and made the comment in front of the entire lecture hall "I'm sure we all would like to be sexy."

throwawayspon 7 ago 0 replies      
I'd be willing to place a small wager that the people who were uncomfortable were also connected to one of the conference sponsors. And that the sponsor threatened to pull out if this person wasn't removed. I'd place an smaller wager that the sponsor is Auth0.
douche 7 ago 0 replies      
Flying Spaghetti Monster, this is Douglas Crockford. I dunno what it is about Javascript, but the community seems to have a habit of trying to grind up their founders and luminaries. Brendan Eich was crucified and driven out of a job by the mob for a small political contribution more than a half decade before that went against the grain of political correctness.

Meanwhile, Linus has been a dick from square one, and the Linux kernel keeps chugging along.

discordianfish 7 ago 0 replies      
I don't know about the reasons either, but if there are multiple, yet hard-to-proof claims (like harassment or just being a jerk), it's something they need to take serious while not being able to talk about the specifics without really doing Crockford wrong.
jgalt212 7 ago 0 replies      
Their code of conduct is sort of stupid in its consistency. i.e. vendor booths have largely the same restrictions as attendees and speakers. For the most part, you really can't avoid a both, while it's pretty easy to avoid a person or talk.
jhummel 7 ago 3 replies      
So, I have no idea what's going on, but just because this guy could only find these two examples, doesn't mean those are the actual reasons for him being dismissed. In fact, I'd be very surprised if that was the case.

For the record, I've seen Crockford talk... It wasn't offensive, it just wasn't very good. He seemed more interested in calling out business decisions which companies have made that he felt were stupid, than actually talking about anything related to JavaScript. Maybe that's just how his talks go and I didn't realize, but it wasn't what I was expecting.

finishingmove 7 ago 0 replies      
2016, ladies and gents.

 Everyone is hypersensitive. Nobody thinks or researches anything past a Google search. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone is on the internet. Everyone yells everything they think on social media.

colordrops 7 ago 0 replies      
This whole story seems like a joke or a social experiment.
ebbv 7 ago 0 replies      
This kind of petty, childish nonsense is why I find the whole talk/conference community awful. Which is a shame because there are good talks that are given all the time. But those can be watched online without having to deal with people who get outraged over the kinds of harmless comments quoted in this post.
fstopzero 7 ago 0 replies      
Is it possible that there have been harassment allegations against Crockford that have not come to light? I think it is completely acceptable for people who have been harassed by prominent individuals to not want to come forward publicly with their stories for a host of obvious reasons.
xwvvvvwx 7 ago 1 reply      
This whole article seems pretty disingenuous.

It would clearly be a huge overreaction for someone to lose a speakers role at a conference for the two comments highlighted in the article.

The sourcing for this claim is incredibly weak, two tweets from people unaffiliated with Nodevember.

Nodevember have stated that they took this decision based on private feedback.

It could be that having Crockford on the speaker list meant that booking multiple other speakers became significantly harder, in which case uninviting him is an (arguably) justifiable logistical tradeoff, but without knowing the specifics its impossible to make any kind of real judgment of the merits of this decision.

setheron 7 ago 0 replies      
People are so overly sensitive. It is the events loss.
ben_jones 5 ago 0 replies      
Of note is that one of Crockford's accusers is a "developer evangelist" at Salesforce.
forgottenacc56 7 ago 0 replies      
We smash people for this and don't blink an eyelid to the violence and privacy violations of our government.
nnq 7 ago 0 replies      
also, this indirectly reminded me of what I thought to be one of DC's greatest talks: Monads and Gonads (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0EF0VTs9Dc)
caseymarquis 7 ago 1 reply      
I'm gathering:

1. Based on the article, Crockford makes fun of the less technical speakers for their subjects being trivial and unrelated to real programming.

2. Logically, he's probably been uninvited for this?

3. HN comments go on unrelated tangents that make me not want to live on this planet.

meddlepal 7 ago 0 replies      
This is fucking rediculous. Slut shaming? How about opinion shaming?
Fifer82 7 ago 0 replies      
Who gives a fuck about Nodevember??
GirlsCanCode 7 ago 2 replies      
I'm a woman with an EE degree. I hate non-tech "women" who go to conferences that have no real interest in (like Pycon, Ms. Richards) just to push some wacky agenda.

These "women" aren't making it easier for real girls in real engineering programs.

radus 7 ago 0 replies      
Missed title opportunity: Crockford: The Good Parts
forgottenacc56 7 ago 1 reply      
Defamation. That's the word I've been looking for.
DonHopkins 7 ago 0 replies      
Maybe this is long game karma revenge for his notorious role in spreading communicable diseases in Habitat. [1]


One of the more successful "games" we invented for Habitat was the disease. There are three strains currently defined:


Happy Face

Mutant (AKA The Fly)

We only were able to test Cooties with live players, but it was a hit. It works like this: Several initial Avatars are infected with a "Cootie" head. This head replaces the current one, and cannot be removed except by touching another non-infected Avatar. Once infected, you can not be infected again that day. In effect, this game is "tag" and "keep away" at the same time. Often people would allow themselves be infected just so he could infect "that special person that they know would just hate it!" Every time the disease was spread, there was an announcement at least a week before, and for at least a week afterward it was the subject of major discussions. One day that the plague was spread, a female Avatar that was getting married got infected 1 hour before her wedding! Needless to say, she was very excited, and in a panic until a friend offered to take it off her hands.

Some interesting variations to try on this are: Touch 2 people to cure; this would cause quite a preponderance of infected people late in the day. The "Happy Face" plague: This simple head has the side effect of changing any talk message (word balloons) to come out as "HAVE A NICE DAY!"... can you imagine infecting some unsuspecting soul, and him saying back to you HAVE A NICE DAY! ??? ESP and mail still work normally, so the user is not without communications channels. The Mutant Plague: The head looks like the head of a giant housefly and it has the effect of changing talk text to "Bzzz zzzz zzzz". We think these all will be great fun.

[1] http://www.crockford.com/ec/anecdotes.html

hackaflocka 7 ago 1 reply      
maglavaitss 7 ago 1 reply      
inopinatus 7 ago 3 replies      
"as long as he gives a good talk/presentation"

Given the content of your first remark, I'm strongly inclined to suspect this use of the explicitly masculine pronoun is first-degree trolling.

This serves as a counterexample to your point, because as statements go, it would be simply be factually (rather than politically) correct to have said "they" rather than "he", unless you really do hold an expectation that all conference speakers are male. In other words, neutral language is more rational, not less.

laser 7 ago 1 reply      
Given information publicly available this seems infuriatingly ridiculous, but Nodevember's official statement in response seems quite reasonable: http://nodevember.org/statement.html

The theories here about sociopaths attempting to exert control are quite exotic and interesting, though :P

How to Write Articles and Essays Quickly and Expertly (2006) downes.ca
449 points by bemmu  1 ago   70 comments top 18
tunesmith 1 ago 7 replies      
I think about presenting arguments a lot. Arguments are best represented in DAG form; mostly a tree structure, although some premises might support multiple conclusions so it's inherently graph-based (graphical data structure). Because some conclusions are often lemmas supporting further conclusions, arguments can go several levels deep.

I like envisioning them with the conclusion on the top and the premises on the bottom, although people often visualize them flipped in another direction.

But the trick comes in presenting the argument to someone else, verbally, in a presentation, or through writing. What is the best way to do it?

Because your goal isn't just to impart information; it's also to be convincing and to hope that your counterparts get invested in the conclusion.

I find that if the conclusion is counterintuitive, then starting with the conclusion can create resistance. People love to interrupt and argue against something they disagree with even if they haven't thought it through.

On the other hand, starting with a bunch of premises devoid of context can just feel unrooted.

I guess I generally try to analyze the argument to find the highest (closest to conclusion) points that are not controversial, start with those, and then try to talk about the surprising conclusion that they imply. It can be a real workout, though, trying to anticipate responses, being open to feedback while still working towards your conclusion.

I wonder if this sort of thing is related to any algorithmic concepts, like most efficient ways to walk a DAG.

idlewords 1 ago 2 replies      
The best guide I've ever read to writing nonfiction is William Zinsser's "On Writing Well". If you do any writing for work or pleasure, his advice is indispensable:


tikhonj 1 ago 2 replies      
The article provides four categories of essays: argument, explanation, definition, description.

Personally, I've found it useful to think of almost everything I write as a variation on "argument". Perhaps I'm also describing, defining or explaining something, but there's always a core substrate of persuading. A integral part of defining something well, for example, is to simultaneously argue for why the defined idea is interesting and useful; without that, it's all too easy to descend into abstract nonsense.

My approach isn't universally applicableit leads to a particular writing stylebut it certainly helped me in organizing my writing and organizing my thoughts. Whenever I write I'm always making a point even if I wouldn't classically think of it as a "persuasive" essay.

philelly 1 ago 4 replies      
this essay's style seems endemic in tech writing: logorrheic and trafficking in technical details/protocols in place of the underlying principles (cogency, brevity, a single unifying argument that can be simply stated).

i appreciate any tips to aid my writing, but i think very few match the tried and true approach of reading masters of the craft and revising one's writing, again and again, for brevity. i suspect that the blog format discourages the latter.

osteele 1 ago 3 replies      
Cf. Paul Graham's The Age of the Essay (2004) http://www.paulgraham.com/essay.html

Graham's essay is and describes a fifth category of essay. Graham calls this approach meandering; it might also be called exploratory.

WhitneyLand 1 ago 2 replies      
What is Stephen Downes primary job? He describes himself as a senior researcher and makes bold claims of pioneering and important work in the field of e-learning.

Maybe I'm missing his peer reviewed research, I don't see any. I read one unreviewed paper on "Learning Objects" and it had so much fluff it bordered on crankery.

Best I can tell he writes blog posts and articles for web sites.

joshmn 1 ago 0 replies      
I really like stuff like this. You know, where it's laid out in a straightforward, no-noise formula for doing something. Does anyone have any more of these types of things? Social interactions, design patterns, anything. I love them.
Spooky23 1 ago 0 replies      
If you focus on the basics, writing descriptive text is really easy.

Structure is important. First, be direct and make whatever assertion of statement that you are going to make. Next provide arguments, facts or other narrative that support the assertion. Finally close the narrative.

Avoid trying to be too clever. An essay isn't a conversation, and introducing conversational tone is confusing to the reader. Don't be funny. Edit mercilessly.

Finally, before you start writing, have a plan about what you are going to say, either in your head or in an outline. Don't let the mechanics of writing get in your way -- if you know what you are going to say, it will be easier to say it.

bikamonki 1 ago 0 replies      
You cannot fake expert. You cannot rush expert.
jcoffland 1 ago 1 reply      
Was anyone else bothered by the numerous type-os? I counted at least 10.
dredmorbius 1 ago 1 reply      
This essay is a counterexample to its own argument.

It's poorly written, verbose, poorly organised, self-serving, and offers little in the way of solid advice.

An expert essay should have a point and purpose, and execute it with competence. This means a few things, but among others, it means having a grasp of your subject, an understanding of others' understanding or lack of it, a firm grasp of the boundaries of your subject, if those are salient, and the capacity to communicate clearly and with interest. Recognising that all writing is a favour to the reader and not the author is also key.

I'm contrasting this essay and its glib advice to Neal Stephenson's "Why I am a Poor Correspondent", in which Stephenson excuses his infrequent presence in email, online discussions and social media, and on interviews and conference panels: he requires long blocks of time, and days of them on end, to be able to produce his primary product, long and complex novels.

I've occasionally spilled out long essays in a single continuous pour with little further major revision necessary (though numerous fixes, corrections, and tweaks are virtually always needed). The experience is an exception, and almost always happens only on material I've been thinking over for a long time -- weeks, months, years.

I'm sitting on at least a half-dozen essays and reviews right now that I've been kicking around for most of the year, so nine months, simply because I've not had the time and space to organise my thoughts and secure uninterrupted keyboard time in front of a system at which I can call up and incorporate references, and do the topics in mind proper justice. It's frustrating, but as with David Byrne, when I've nothing to say, my lips are sealed. Or at least that's my goal.

There's a difference between firehosing words onto a page or into an edit-buffer, and actually writing a coherent, cogent, intelligent piece.

This piece fails at that, and fails (other than by contradiction) to show how.

mgalka 18 ago 0 replies      
What a great post! Very clear and practically helpful. Thanks for posting.
lutusp 1 ago 2 replies      
Why am I not surprised at the poor quality of this writer's prose? An uncontroversial observation that's made worse by its intent -- to teach others how to write. Even the title --

"How to Write Articles and Essays Quickly and Expertly"

-- contains a contradiction: by definition, an expert doesn't require tutorial instruction (expertise is not a transferable consumer product). The essay goes quickly downhill from there.

One more example:

"But part of it is a simple strategy for writing your essays and articles quickly and expertly, a strategy that allows you to plan your entire essay as you write it, and thus to allow you to make your first draft your final draft."

The observation this sentence makes is self-falsifying. The sentence is too long and meandering and cries out for the compassionate intervention of an editor.

nwatson 1 ago 0 replies      
Pragmatics ... en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pragmatics
nxzero 1 ago 1 reply      
Citing authoritative sources is easily the easiest way to be seen as an expert. Next is having them cite you as an expert source, which is not as hard as it might seem.
partycoder 1 ago 1 reply      
For some basic tips, I have found the site "foxtype.com" to be very good. It analyses your text for politeness and conciseness it asks you to rephrase text.

-- (now, this is the foxtype suggested text)

For some basic tips, the site "foxtype.com" to be good. It analyses text for politeness and conciseness and it suggests alternatives to phrases.

curried_haskell 1 ago 1 reply      
bencollier49 1 ago 0 replies      
Running a Tor Exit Node for Fun and E-mails daknob.net
419 points by esnard  7 ago   159 comments top 18
DominoTree 7 ago 6 replies      
It's much more fun to run an exit node and inspect the traffic using tools like the dsniff suite and Suricata.

Back in the day, 90% of the traffic I would see was just people trying to brute force Hotmail accounts via POP3, but occasionally I'd sniff the credentials for an IRC-based C2 for a botnet, and I'd log in and wreck the thing.

hrunt 7 ago 5 replies      
The article keeps making reference to the types of users on the Tor network:

> The majority of Tor traffic is legitimate users accessing the web anonymously, through insecure networks like Public WiFi, etc.

> Finally, just like with everything else, we have malicious users. [...] That last, tiny portion of users is the primary reason people don't run more Exit Nodes.

> Despite malicious users being the minority of Tor users, as an absolute number, there are many of them.

Where are the facts that form the basis of these statements? I've seen studies about geographic and network demographics, and there was the disputed study about how much Tor traffic was related to child-porn, but has someone done a study on how many users are engaging in abusive behavior through Tor exit nodes?

Regardless of the number of users, a better question may what percentage of the traffic is abusive? It doesn't matter if a minority of the users are abusive if the majority of the traffic is abusive.

Tor administrator's tendency to dismiss abusive conducted through their exit nodes as "that's just the way it is to protect anonymity" reminds me of Twitter's early lack of action against abusive verbal attacks on its service. Tor's anonymity is analogous to Twitter's free speech, but in both cases, abuse of those freedoms defines the need for some practical protections in order to maintain them.

techsupporter 7 ago 2 replies      
I really want to like running a Tor exit node but I'm tired of my IP address being blacklisted to hell and back "just because Tor exit node." (To say nothing of affecting my neighbors since many of those lists take out the /24 because they can't see that I only have a /27.) I don't mind dealing with e-mailed complaints but I do mind having my e-mail and other outbound connections arbitrarily blown to smithereens.

His take on it is interesting since I hadn't considered putting my money proverbially where my mouth is and signing up for an inexpensive but standalone service elsewhere. I'll probably give this a whirl.

mcherm 7 ago 3 replies      
I don't wish to deal with the headaches involved in running a Tor exit node (despite this article's claim that the headaches are less than one might expect). I wonder if there is a way to contribute money to help those who ARE willing to invest the effort to run these nodes?
kiallmacinnes 6 ago 0 replies      
Since no one else seems to have mentioned it, am I the only one who noticed this?

> ... as well as tcp/179, which is used by BGP, and I wanted to avoid the exploitation of a particular vulnerability in KeyWeb ;-)

That sounds... Dangerous. Did KeyWeb allow all customers to inject BGP routes? View full BGP tables? Something else?

datenwolf 6 ago 0 replies      
Regarding the saturation of free socket ports. I see that KeyWeb gives you 2 IP addresses per vServer (and IPv6 enabled, which I assume means a whole /64). Wouldn't it have been easier to configure Tor to bind to only a single IPv4 address and use the other one for administrative login? As far as I understand the Linux network stack, port exhaustion happens on a per-address base. So even if Tor (or anything else) exhausts all the connection ports for one address you should still be able to get back in via the other address.
tehlike 7 ago 1 reply      
I wonder if there is some nonprofit where donations would go to increasing exit nodes in Tor. Sounds like a fun thing to do.

i'd certainly put some, and get matching probably.

tmikaeld 6 ago 0 replies      
We where a keyweb customer for years, using it for email and crm for many clients. When we asked to add corporate VPN to make it more secure and reduce abuse, they didn't allow it in their dFlat bandwidth terms.

So now they accept Tor exit nodes but not corporate VPN?

Just... Wow.. Talk about priorities.

jordigh 6 ago 3 replies      
Hasn't Tor failed to meet its goal so far? With only 900 exit nodes, it's totally feasible to block them all, which is exactly what China has done. If Tor isn't usable for hopping over the GFW, it hasn't yet fulfilled its true potential, has it?
pilif 6 ago 3 replies      
>I was never contacted by any law enforcement agency

Not yet. Good luck trying to prove to law enforcement that it wasn't you downloading child porn. And even if they believe you, the can still arrest you as accessory. See https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140701/18013327753/tor-n...

No. Until judges start seeing Tor node operators as ISPs, this is way too much hassle.

jayess 6 ago 1 reply      
You can run an exit node that only allows port 80 and 443 traffic. A lot safer and a lot less bandwidth usage. I ran a server for a couple of years and not once got a complaint.
fatman13gg 7 ago 0 replies      
I remembered an article on motherboard about a guy's house raided by FBI for running an exit node. Now that article rendered a 404. Not sure if publicly claiming to run an exit node is safe.
setheron 7 ago 5 replies      
If its that cheap and the bandwidth is limited by the exit nodes, why don't we just spin up 1000 exit nodes ?I'd like to use Tor more if it was a bit speedier.
doozler 6 ago 1 reply      
I would be really interested in setting up an exit node and doing my part to help people with privacy and other issues get access to an open internet. Where would be the best place to start? I'm afraid that I'm not quite as technically advanced as the Author of the article so setting up the auto email responders and such would be difficult - can you just ignore the emails?
micro_softy 6 ago 3 replies      
Apologies for being stupid but this does not make sense to me:

 while [ true ];do ssh user@; sleep 0.1; done
Is this the same as writing:

 while test true; do ...; done
Then this would also work:

 while [ false ]; do ...; done
But if the plan is to use the keyboard e.g. INT to stop this loop, why test anything? One could just write:

 while :; do ...; done

mirimir 6 ago 0 replies      
> The next, and probably last, thing is the CPU. It is not very important, but it's good to have more cores, especially for higher speed relays.

As far as I know, tor daemon is still single-threaded.

With multiple cores, you can run multiple tor daemons. But then there's a maximum of two instances per IP.

Grollicus 7 ago 1 reply      
5 / Month for 50MB/s? No way thats fair to the other customers..
Scarbutt 7 ago 2 replies      
Why does torproject.org make it so hard to find tor standalone?
When you change the world and no one notices collaborativefund.com
488 points by waqasaday  5 ago   173 comments top 62
jondubois 5 ago 4 replies      
If you want to make money, you should never invent new things - Just copy existing things and improve upon them.

That's why our society has such a short-term focus.

The brightest software engineers these days are writing essentially the same software over and over again (with very slight modifications).

I think the same can be said of almost any industry - All our intelligence and energy is spent on competing with each other and then using marketing/advertising to leverage tiny advantages in a product/service in order to win over disproportionate amounts of customers.

I think the reason why it takes years for disruptive innovations to get noticed is because marketing (and by extension, the media) is paid for by 'today money'.

Marketers don't take bets based on future prospects - They don't need to because there is so much financial incentive for them to stay in the present.

Lerc 5 ago 6 replies      
It's also worth keeping in mind the Saganism

 But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.
We can see what is currently being laughed at. Bitcoin stands out as a good example. History will decide if they were geniuses or clowns. All we have at the moment are opinions.

On the other hand there is a particular form of sneering dismissiveness that I see from a few people that I use as a guide. In the Bitcoin case all the right people were panning it so I grabbed a few for $11 each, that worked out well.

Fricken 5 ago 2 replies      
The irony is that, while the Wright Brothers are the only household names from the pioneering days of flight, essential contributions were made long before Kitty Hawk, and many came after them to make their planes useful.

The Work of the Wright brothers was just one link in a causal chain with beginnings preceding them by over 250 years.


mahyarm 5 ago 1 reply      
A lot of the adoption curve comes from the economics too. The same thing 10 times cheaper is a revolution itself.

We had 3D printers in the 80s, but 3D printers starting becoming a lot cheaper only in the past ~5 years.

1870 PV cells were a pretty piss poor energy source, the real revolution happened in the last 10 years when they started to become an economic competitor.

dkarapetyan 5 ago 1 reply      
This is one reason I dislike the silicon valley and sf culture of "innovation". A lot of it is a variation on a well-known theme and the model is predicated on unsustainable hypergrowth followed by surviving until acquisition. Basically chasing fads and trends instead of doing anything truly innovative because the venture model can't follow through something that requires a decade of incubation.
mgamache 5 ago 3 replies      
If I remember correctly the Wright Brothers were secretive. They were trying to perfect the Flyer to get a military contract and didn't want to publicize the advances they were making. They didn't invite anyone to see the initial test flights. At the time, the French were getting much more/better press for doing less. Without the press reports no one believed they were actually flying.

Wilbur and Orville Wright made their historic first powered flight on December 17, 1903, from Kill Devil Hill in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The longest of four flights that day lasted 59 seconds and covered a distance of 852 feet. There were few witnesses to the flights and no reporters


noobermin 5 ago 3 replies      
One minor note. The warning about horseless carriages is fake[0].

[0] http://www.snopes.com/history/document/horseless.asp

Animats 5 ago 1 reply      
That's because the 1903 Wright Flyer was barely able to fly a few hundred feet. It was just a proof of concept for stability. The 1904 Flyer II was able to circle and fly for about five minutes. The 1905 Flyer III crashed a few times, and then they reworked the controls and were able to fly 24 miles.

At last, they had a minimum viable product. In 1907 they came out with the Wright Model A, which was the production version of the improved Flyer III. This had a range of 125 miles, and was the first production aircraft.

swampthinker 5 ago 0 replies      
Drones had a very similar adoption curve, and really only got past the "toy" perception when DJI's Phantom came out.

RC Planes and helicopter POV footage was great to enjoy on YouTube, but the learning curve was so immense that it kept the mainstream market away.

moron4hire 5 ago 0 replies      
>> no mention of the men who concurred (sic) the sky for the first time in human history.

Maybe that was the problem. They weren't the first to conquer the sky. People had been flying in hot air balloons for 120 years by that point. By 1903, getting people up into the sky was old-hat. Sure, they did it in a different way, but what they demonstrated was--strictly speaking--inferior to the technology that was already available. If you wanted to get up into the clouds in 1903, you weren't going to use a Wright Brothers machine that would only let you skip along the ground for a few minutes at a time, you'd use a hot air balloon and stick around for a while. Can people really be blamed for missing the fact that heavier-than-air flight would be able to travel much faster and farther than balloons?

paulrouget 5 ago 1 reply      
It's true that innovation process used to take a long time. See the story of the telegraph for example, which was clearly a breakthrough, but took half a century to be adopted (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Victorian_Internet).

Nowadays, the process might take a lot lot less time than before though (http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificial-intelligence-revolu...)

And also - let's remember that it's not because something goes through the first steps of this seven-step path that it will become a breakthrough.

nhebb 5 ago 1 reply      
> It happened with the index fund easily the most important financial innovation of the last half-century. John Bogle launched the first index fund in 1975. No one paid much attention to for next two decades.

That's in part because everyone was googly-eyed over managed funds thanks to Peter Lynch's 29% average annual return for the Magellan Fund from '77 to '90. Index funds didn't beat that dude.

hsdkfsdkfjh 5 ago 2 replies      
The other thing is that these kinds of "misunderstood heroic ignored genius" tales are complete bollocks. In reality there was always an existing idea out there before these "revolutionary innovations".

For example, people had been imagining flying for millennia before the Wright brothers. Leonard da Vinci had drawn hang-gliders and helicopters hundreds of years before and there was the myth of Icarus thousands of years before that. Our distant ancestors even "flew" through the trees. People also have flying dreams, before they've even flown in reality and they probably had flying dreams thousands of years ago too. It's not a new idea so no wonder people weren't that amazed when the Wright brothers flew. There are never any truly new ideas, only remixes and hybrids of existing ones, e.g. Relativity was Einstein's synthesis of ideas from (among others) Poincar and Lorentz and you can trace their ideas back too.

creadee 5 ago 0 replies      
I got curious as to how true it was that the Wright's first flight was hardly reported, so searched New Zealand's Papers Past. Maybe not front page news, but not ignored, either...


soufron 5 ago 1 reply      
Also, the author is wrong on the first flight which was not the wrights but clement ader... in 1890. Nice fail. He should be more modest and avoid giving les sons to journalists and industrialists when he does not now his own history, even 140 years later and with the Hell of the internet and Wikipedia. He should be more self-aware that being right about innovation is indeed difficult.

For those interested in clement ader :https://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89ole_(avion)

soufron 5 ago 0 replies      
The author has a good intuition but he forgets patents and secrets. 3D printing was a success in the industrial world through the 90s. It became a public success when its patents ended around 2004. Why would people talk about something they can't use anyway?
cmarschner 5 ago 0 replies      
The mechanics of innovation adoption have been extensively studied (e.g. [1]). It takes the innovators (which are often shrewd introverts) to create new things and early adopters (well-connected extroverts) to spread the word to the next group. As adoption continues, maturity increases and prices go down. At the same time, more and more people are using the product, which convinces more rosk-averse people to have a look. At best the result is a chain reaction, but it always follows a sigmoid curve. And due to more efficient means of communication, the adoption curves are still accelerating. It took decades until telephones or TVs were established. Today we got smartphones, HackerNews and the Twitter firehose.Suffice it to say that, yes, innovators are always a fringe part of a group, and they better don't care too much what others are saying. I would say this property is to some extent scale free, as one finds the same patterns within research communities which, as one would expect, should _all_ consist of innovators.

[1] Geoffrey Moore, Crossing the Chasm

Reason077 5 ago 1 reply      
Horseless carriages propelled by gasoline might attain speeds of 14 or even 20 miles per hour. The menace to our people of vehicles of this type hurtling through our streets and along our roads and poisoning the atmosphere would call for prompt legislative action.

Congress were actually rather insightful in these predictions. Millions now die every year from motor vehicle accidents and air pollution.

david927 5 ago 2 replies      
Things that are instantly adored are usually just slight variations over existing products.

For true innovation to happen, what we need are brave investors.

IANAD 5 ago 1 reply      
> Zen-like patience isnt a typical trait associated with entrepreneurs.

Or investors.

JohnStrange 5 ago 0 replies      
I think that inventions are similar to bars; nobody can really tell you which ones become popular and which won't. Neither the barkeeper nor the inventor can really control their fate.

I'm still waiting for the ridiculously cheap, extremely high density write-once laser storage on adhesive transparent Tesa film. There was a working prototype already more than a decade ago, they funded a spin-off company, and since then nothing seems to have happened.

Extremely bendable e-ink-like displays at throwaway-pricing were also promised to me more than ten years ago.

My personal explanation is that many good inventions are bought by the competition and then quickly hidden in the drawers, because not every technology that is better than before allows the company who owns it to also make more money than before. Or many of these inventions are just bogus marketing speech to attract investors and they really don't work.

sytelus 5 ago 5 replies      
The author have got many facts downright wrong: Wrights were actually very secretive and they were reluctant to publish anything before they got the patent. They were so adamant about the patent that they didn't do any public demonstration of flight for years until they were literally forced by competing claims. In those times people making claims for "heavier than air" flights were numerous and it was hard to take anyone seriously unless they do demonstration. They not only chose not to do so until they got patent but also did almost nothing to enhance their technology meanwhile. Their contribution except for first flight is very marginal and their rest of the lives are dominated by nothing but patent worries, bringing massive lawsuits on others and getting royalties. They also made a very generic patent claim essentially asserting that any system that produces lift is covered by it. This produced a lot of friction in bringing new innovations to market leaving USA significantly behind of Europe.

I admire Wrights thoroughly for their vision, hard work and making miracle happen through their miger resources but saying that no one would have noticed if they saw first airplane in air is bogus.

Reference: https://www.amazon.com/Wilbur-Orville-Biography-Brothers-Tra...

sunstone 5 ago 0 replies      
'concurred the sky'? Sure, typos happen to everyone but this is definitely of the highest order.
d--b 5 ago 0 replies      
"It happened with index funds"

Wait, what? index funds invention on par with flying?

Oh, "collaborativefund.com" ...

ky738 5 ago 0 replies      
Nobody noticed cause Santos Dumont did it first :D
rwallace 5 ago 3 replies      
Okay, suppose we grant this at least for the sake of argument.

What's your 'watch this space'? What technologies currently in prototype stage do you think have a bright future?

pseudointellect 5 ago 1 reply      
The article's subtle implication that we are all changing the world but it'll take time for that change to be realized is truly arrogant and delusional.
conqrr 5 ago 2 replies      
A quote by Gandhi comes to mind when reading those seven steps. "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.
dgudkov 5 ago 0 replies      
What I read from this story is that it's crucial for an invention to reach the stage when it really starts delivering practical advantage. No one noticed early success of the Wright because what they had achieved so far didn't have any practical application. So no reason to blame people for shortsightedness -- it's rational behavior.
raverbashing 5 ago 0 replies      
The Wright brothers kept their experiment a secret purposefully, so it's not surprising that they didn't show up on the news
tmcbride23 5 ago 1 reply      
I'm an inventor, I have experienced this exact thing I have a sever cabinet that powers it self and a anti gavity machine but no one cares!! I've aplied to the YC 16 winter for acritic nails that change colors with your phone or you can load a gif I hope they go for it so I can make cars fly.
gonvaled 5 ago 1 reply      
> The menace to our people of vehicles of this type hurtling through our streets and along our roads and poisoning the atmosphere would call for prompt legislative action.

That was quite prescient! Unfortunately we didn't do that, and cars took over the streets, caused millions of deaths and injuries, and indeed poisoned our atmosphere.

digi_owl 5 ago 0 replies      
And until a world war made the military sit up and spend massively into their development, they were a rich man's novelty.

Never mind that so many had made claims about flight before the Wrights, that having the press be less than interested was to be expected.

dsjoerg 5 ago 0 replies      
Great inventions may be ignored. However, many ignored inventions are just sucky pieces of garbage.
apsec112 5 ago 1 reply      
"Horseless carriages propelled by gasoline might attain speeds of 14 or even 20 miles per hour. (...)"

This quote is a well-known hoax: http://www.snopes.com/history/document/horseless.asp

aaron695 5 ago 1 reply      
This article is just plain wrong.

Every point is incorrect / misleading and the 'point' is the direct opposite of reality.

People latch onto new amazing we'll change the world ideas to easily.

Real change happens from hard work and gradual change is the real reality.

peter422 5 ago 2 replies      
The vast majority of products that people don't understand and believe to be useless are in fact useless.

The first time I used Google I knew it was amazing and never used altavista again. When Facebook came to my campus it spread like wildfire.

These stories are quite interesting but at the same time what are they suggesting? An investor wants you to spend your whole life chasing a dream because they don't care if it fails and get paid if it succeeds. If you love doing something, do it regardless of what people think. But don't let an investor convince you to waste years working on something that nobody wants because that is what all successful entrepreneurs do. In a few cases it works out but the vast majority of the time it doesn't.

roel_v 5 ago 1 reply      
To compare the 3D printing of the 1980's with that of today is a stretch, at best, both in quality and price. And people who care have been '3D printing' (high quality, like with laser sintering, not Makerbot crap) for years.

It's disingenuous to suggest that the very first moment something has been shown in a proof of concept should be the moment that everyone starts rejoicing and flocking to it en masse. Many technologies need years or decades to get mature enough for wide spread use (which the author seems to equate with 'getting recognition').

minikites 5 ago 0 replies      
I don't disagree with the thesis of the article for inventions that were destined to be successful but I think it exhibits a strong sense of surviorship bias in predicting anything contemporary to be in the same league. I think transformative inventions like airplanes or index funds can by definition only be defined in retrospect and the odds that anything contemporary can be predicted to turn out the same way are slim. I wonder what a good order of magnitude would be for failed inventions vs successful ones, maybe 10000:1?
megablast 5 ago 1 reply      
> Wilbur and Orville Wright conquered flight on December 17th, 1903. Few inventions were as transformational over the next century. It took four days to travel from New York to Los Angeles in 1900, by train. By the 1930s it could be done in 17 hours, by air. By 1950, six hours.

And by 2016, 6 hours still.


grabcocque 5 ago 0 replies      
The Alexander Graham Bell/Western Union story is a fabrication.


NKCSS 5 ago 0 replies      
Not always true; the iPhone went through all those stages very quick and created a new reality. The iPad did the same, in a smaller way. While one may argue these are mere improvements, they were major enough to change the entire social dimension in only a few short years.
LeonB 5 ago 0 replies      
logged in to say, "this process can take decades."

...try millennia!

The aeolipile, regarded as a curious novelty (a 'temple wonder'), created by Heron of Alexander in 1st century AD was the first steam turbine... the eventual mastery of which led to the industrial revolution.

jedmeyers 5 ago 0 replies      
To me this piece feels like an ad for index funds, riddled with false facts and generalizations.
FuNe 5 ago 0 replies      
I understand the votes - that piece is like being written especially for HN BUT it's only just that. It tries to extrapolate a moral story from a few convenient incidents and ignores all the rest. I.e. its method is really unscientific but it poses like such.

Some inventions seem to take long to gain traction - yes. Others though (how many compared to the first set?) gain traction immediately (e.g. lots of inventions in medicine or lots of inventions in -ehm- IT). Others still don't get on ever.

There is no easy moral here. We could derive some statistics if we had all data or some teachings per story. How your invention will be treated by the near or far future is not just a matter of newspapers and general public interest.

PS: Also -as I read in commends here- the main point seems bogus too as Wrights themselves were extra secretive about their experiments.

y04nn 5 ago 0 replies      
Not a word about Gustave Whitehead, who may have been the first to successfully flight?
marceloboeira 5 ago 1 reply      
Such an American mistake to think that the Wrights invented the airplane...
chx 5 ago 1 reply      
> It takes 30 years for a new idea to seep into the culture.

From Altair to IBM PC, 7 years, Mac, only 10. From IBM Simon to the iPhone fueled boom in 2008 only 14 years passed.

ilaksh 5 ago 0 replies      
A more general related concept is the difference between merit and popularity. Some people actually forget that they are not the same thing.
lx0741 5 ago 0 replies      
Don't forget the existing and we'll established businesses who will fight for their lives any threatening 'idea'
asimjalis 5 ago 0 replies      
The problem is that while great innovations frequently go unnoticed, going unnoticed does not automatically imply greatness.
Bakary 5 ago 1 reply      
The article is certainly interesting but it has the same trait as too many pop science books: it relies on selective anecdotal evidence to support their specific point.
z3t4 5 ago 0 replies      
First they will ignore you. Then they will laugh at you. Then they will work against you. Then you win.
kragen 5 ago 0 replies      
The article's timeline of flight goes like this:

1903. First flight, ignored.

1904. Nameless hot-air-balloon-flying count dismisses possibility of flying machines.

1905. People see Wrights flying around Dayton.

1906. Passing mention of Wrights in NYT.

1908. Reporters sent to observe Wrights, credence given.

1930s. NYC LAX: 17 hours.

1950. NYC LAX: 6 hours.

This story is a lie. I don't mean that it contains anything actually false (as far as I know, it doesn't) but it is actively and intentionally misleading by its selective omission of facts. Although the rumors were eagerly repeated, people generally didn't believe the Wrights had built a flying machine because the Wrights refused to demonstrate it. Then, when other people started building airplanes, they started suing them. Consequently, the US lost its leadership in aviation to France (and Brazil!) for over a decade, which would have been a longer period of time if France hadn't been devastated by the Great War.

Here are some of the omitted events from the timeline.

1896. People fly in Octave Chanute's biplane hang glider.

1900. Wrights begin glider experiments at Kitty Hawk at Chanute's suggestion.

1901. Wrights lecture in Chicago on their glider experiments, and in particular wing-warping control, at the invitation of Chanute, who lives there.

1902. Wrights continue glider experiments, visited by Chanute.

1903. Wrights apply for wing-warping patent.

1903. Wrights' first four flights, of 12 to 59 seconds. Airplane irreparably damaged immediately post-flight. Several newspapers report the event, inaccurately, from a leak by a telegraph operator. Dayton Daily News disbelieves tall tale, doesn't report.

1904. Wrights issue public statement, build new airplane, invite reporters to first flight attempt on the condition that no photos be taken. Attempt fails. Further dozens of test flights are undertaken in strict secrecy, except for eyewitness accounts published in a beekeeping magazine. Longest flight exceeds five minutes. Airplane destroyed.

1905. Wrights continue tests witnessed by a small circle of friends. Longest flight is 38 minutes. Scientific American doubts the alleged experiments happened. Dayton Daily News reports "The Flight of a Flying Machine." Wrights end experiments, refuse to fly any more without some buyer signing a contract to buy an airplane. Governments of US, Britain, France, and Germany (!) refuse to sign contracts without a demonstration.

1905. Aro-Club de France and other organizations federate in the Fdration Aronautique Internationale.

1906. Paris edition of New York Herald asks of Wrights, "FLYERS OR LIARS?"

1906. Santos-Dumont makes a powered heavier-than-air flight in Bagatelle Field in Paris, certified by Aro-Club de France and the Fdration Aronautique Internationale.

1906. Wrights make 0 flights.

1906. Wrights receive patent on wing-warping control techniques they derived from Chanute's work.

1907. Wrights make 0 flights.

1908. The Clement-Bayard company in Paris starts a production run of airplanes of Santos-Dumont's design; 100 planned, 50 built, 15 sold.

1908. Wrights finally sign a contract. Make first public demonstration in Le Mans, France. Make first passenger flight. Airplane destroyed in crash. Wilbur emerges from wreckage with cut on nose.

1908. Glenn Curtiss starts making airplanes with ailerons to avoid the Wrights' wing-warping patent.

1909. Curtiss sells an aileron plane; Wrights begin suing him and basically everything that moves, including foreign aviators who visit the US.

1909. Clement-Bayard planes are sold with a choice of Clement or Wright engines.

1909. Wrights form the Wright Company.

1910. German court rules Wrights' patent invalid due to their disclosure of wing-warping in 1901.

1910. Wrights stop working on airplane design and switch to working full-time on suing other airplane designers.

1910. Octave Chanute publicly deplores Wrights' secrecy and litigiousness. Dies.

1912. Wilbur Wright dies of typhoid.

1913. Wrights win lawsuit against Curtiss.

1915. Orville Wright quits the company.

1917. US enters World War I, has no domestically produced airplanes of acceptable quality due to Wright-initiated patent battles; US forces fly French airplanes. US government forces aircraft companies to enter a cross-licensing cartel.

Kids, don't be like the Wright Brothers. Be like Chanute. Be like Santos-Dumont. Change the world, don't try to own it.

NamTaf 5 ago 0 replies      
I don't like his Vanguard example. He's pointing to exponential growth and saying that for two hand-picked points, it appears as if nothing had changed.

That's sort of how exponential growth works. The growth in the most recent period makes all the other growth before it look trivial. I bet if he could zoom in on the '75 to '95 period he could plot the arrows in the same place and draw the same conclusion.

cperciva 5 ago 2 replies      
The Wrights' first flight didn't change the world. Nor did photovoltaic cells in 1876; nor did 3D printing in 1989. And none of these inventions could change the world at the time, because they were little more than proofs of principle: They showed that something was possible, but they were not in fact usable.

Photovoltaic cells aren't becoming popular now because people are suddenly realizing that they exist; they're becoming popular because the technology has reached the point where the cells are cheap enough and efficient enough to be practical. The same goes for 3D printing, and the same went for the Wrights' aircraft: They received plenty of attention once they moved from the realm of curiosities to being useful inventions.

The title of this article should be "when you don't change the world and no one notices".

blazespin 5 ago 0 replies      
The time between invention and practical application is shortening (Internet plays a huge part) which is why the pace of innovation is accelerating.
cyberferret 5 ago 1 reply      
An interesting article, but I would say this is one that is better showcased to, say, a primary school audience rather than the HN crowd perhaps? The writing style and concepts were a little too simplistic and lacked the depth I would expect from the publications I normally see linked on here.

Note: But even for a younger audience, I would do some serious editing of the text (e.g. misuse of "concurred" instead of "conquered" etc.) before publication.

tbarbugli 5 ago 0 replies      
It's funny and saddening at the same time to see how often the first entry on HN is a worthless/incorrect/inaccurate/ article .
supercoder 5 ago 0 replies      
Finally validates that my ideas that everyone has been saying are terrible, confusing and useless are infact world changing just as I have thought they are.
simbalion 5 ago 1 reply      
The 7 step process shows us how the majority of people are "dumb". And by dumb, I mean they lack the creative ability to look forward and imagine how a technology can change the world.

Those of us who are not suffering that disability should not feel guilty for our capabilities, but we should recognize that we are intellectually superior, because we should be ruling the world from every corner, not them. Sadly, many of them are the ones running governments and giant corporations.

All men may be created equal, but through different educational and parental environments, all men do not arrive at adulthood as equals.

A scammer stole $500 from me and in the end begged me not to tell his parents blog.haschek.at
423 points by geek_at  3 ago   160 comments top 42
hoodoof 3 ago 5 replies      
Tell his parents is precisely what you should do. That's what would lead to possible behavior change. Letting him get away with it validates the behavior and teaches that it's OK and he will be able to talk his way out of such things again.

It does everyone a disservice to not tell his parents.

The author got manipulated twice. First convinced to hand over his money and then convinced not to tell the parents.

The scammer player the author like a guitar. Right there is the psychopath's first big lesson - "people listen when I cry".

The genius of the scammer/budding psychopath being that the blogger thinks he "won".

ufmace 2 ago 3 replies      
Yeah, I'm not buying that apology for a second. Probably the first thing any con artist learns is how to fake being really sorry as well as they faked being legitimate anytime somebody manages to turn the tables on them. I bet you can get your money back and then report him to the police too. He's way beyond being corrected by his parents, and he probably threw that in just to make you think there's an option besides the police, assuming that you're too nice to put him in jail, where he belongs. Maybe some jail time will lead him to reevaluate his choices. Or at least keep him from stealing from anybody else for a little while.
fataliss 3 ago 0 replies      
I find like 22 is already fairly old to do something stupid like that and call it a day with a "sorry". You are fully responsible legally and you should know better. I agree that going all out to make sure that person gets the worst punishment possible for it would be over the top. But I'd definitely at least tell the parents.
overcast 2 ago 4 replies      
Sounds a lot like a kid who attempted to scam me out of a GPU.

He sent me a bogus Bitcoin transfer email from a well known escrow service.

I stupidly did not check header information, as I was in a rush at the time, and shipped without confirming it.

All was well, until he sends me a picture of the card, with essentially a HAHAHAHA, various derogatory remarks, name calling, you name it. I was calm, and collective, tried various bargaining options to recover it. His arrogance was overwhelming.

He posts all over forums, showing how clever he was. This is where he made his fatal mistake.

Investigation begins. I sift through tons, and tons of forum posts, all over the internet. Come up with a handful of names, and various aliases he uses. Was able to confirm that his current location, was around the area where the package was sent(to a home).

Got in contact with the feds regarding online scams, no response.

Got in contact with local police, they tell me nothing can be done, contact feds.

Got in contact with the local news of where the package was shipped, who gets me in contact with the local police that they are friends with.

Police contacts me, and I send over all my logs and information. Police make some visits to the destination address, and it turns out they are actually the friend of the kid.

The kid finally breaks, and furiously emails me scared that the cops are coming for him, and he demands that I send him my return address so he can give me back the card. Apparently he threw out the box. He wants to know how I could do this to him, and that it was all just a big joke. I refuse, and ignore future pleas.

I speak with the cops, who now have tracked down the kid, and they speak with him and his parents. They said I can press charges, which I did.

His father emails me, and starts tearing into ME, questioning how I could possibly sell to a minor, without parents authorization. Over, and over, and over. I tell him this isn't my problem anymore, either the card is paid for, or I'll see them in court.

A couple days go by, his mother emails me, apologizing profusely, we set up a Paypal transaction for far more than the card is worth(I initially listed it at an inflated value). Done.

Speak with the cop, give the OK, case closed.

Feds email me a month or two later, saying nothing they can do, contact local police. :)

maxxxxx 2 ago 1 reply      
I have dealt with chronic liars before and I believe his apology is a scam too. He just wants you to go away so he can get back to business.

He should be reported to police.

noonespecial 2 ago 1 reply      
I'm a cynic, I know, but the I'm sorry sounds like a prepared cut and paste for when it goes bad. He had other Apple giftcards in large amounts laying around that he could use to appease the author??? This is a well worn machine.
mtriano 3 ago 2 replies      
So he had no money, but he had an apple card for $477 and your $250 card with the balance? Sounds like evidence that he's scammed other people with this scam. Sounds like there are already other victims out there, sans justice.
megablast 3 ago 0 replies      
> I think he won't be scamming anyone for a while

Yeah, maybe. You can never really tell. He got away with this one really, by just returning the cards. It might convince him he was the skills to keep going.

I would have told his mum.

ryandrake 2 ago 0 replies      
Agree with the others: You were scammed twice. That "apology" was 100% fake and in no time he'll be back to scamming others who aren't that skilled at doxing. Seriously. What 22 year old grown adult is afraid about what mommy thinks? Totally unbelievable.
gertef 3 ago 1 reply      
Essentially, author believes it's more important to help the scammer recover than to help the other victims get their stolen money back.
greenshackle 3 ago 2 replies      
I don't do these sort of trades but if I did I'd try:

Buyer sends 1/4 of the BTC

Sellers sends 1st card

Buyer sends 1/2 of the BTC

Seller sends 2nd card

Buyer sends 1/4 of BTC

That way the risk is shared, and both parties stand to lose at most 1/4 of the value (if seller defects after receiving the first payment, or buyer defects and fails to make the last payment).

apatters 2 ago 1 reply      
What the scammer did is wrong, and the plight of the victim is easy to relate to here. It's easy to have a sense of personal outrage after reading this story. But let's keep a sense of proportion in mind: it is $500 worth of gift cards that the victim couldn't use and had been trying to get rid of for 4 years. I suspect that anyone trying to get free gift cards off of Reddit is pretty small-time.

I think telling the parents and leaving it at that is probably the right thing to do. We should reserve our energy, outrage, and enforcement for the scammers who do the greatest damage. Scammers that have made millions, hired armies of lawyers, even made friends in power who have rewritten the law to favor them. The petty criminal deserves a petty punishment.

disillusioned 2 ago 1 reply      
We had someone scam us on eBay for a laptop YEARS ago (like, 15 years ago) before they had the full buyer protections they have now. There wasn't really any recourse, but he had used his real phone number on his account. Or, I should say, his mother's real phone number, since he lived at home. We ended up calling, and reaching her, and when we told her what had happened she lost her shit, forced him to refund the order and, I presume, ensured that never happened again.
driverdan 3 ago 1 reply      
As a seller never ever send something first before payment. Never send samples and never accept partial payment. Scammers know all the tricks and have the upper hand.
barking 2 ago 0 replies      
The guy is 22, telling mum and dad shouldn't come into it, he got off very lightly, it's the police he needs to talk to.

I've met one or two he reminds me off and they have no shame. Doing a cry-baby act like he did at the end took nothing out of him. His true nature was revealed in his previous actions.

Came across as a parasitical, POS to me.

chillacy 3 ago 1 reply      
The buyer assumed ebay feedback was good enough, but even veteran ebay buyers with good feedback will try to scam sellers by transacting outside of the site to save the transaction fees... and of course that's how you get scammed. The transaction fees are partially insurance for these things: if you buy and get scammed, ebay will eat the cost of it, much like credit card companies do in cases of fraud.
ohstopitu 2 ago 2 replies      
A while back I was trying to buy a macbook online and while searching for cheap macbooks, I went down the rabbit hole that is Alibaba (here's an example of what I was talking about[1]).

The seller claimed to be based in USA, had warehouses in Brazil and demanded that I pay via Western Union. After confirming all the details (via email). I decided to give it a shot. After sending him about $250 CAD (of the $500) he sent me a shipping code which had a description of a GTX 970. After complaining to him about it, he claimed that there was some mistake and his wearhouse in London would have it fixed and sent me another tracking number.

After a day of shipping, he emailed me claiming that he had a talk with the shipping company and they had decided to keep the laptop in escrow till I paid the entire amount (and sent him the confirmation numbers). At this point, I realized I was getting duped (if it's too good to be true, it's generally false), and canceled my payment.

A year later, both those shipping numbers still work and claim that the items are on the way.

I did try to follow up on his "company" and the shipping company, but there had been some serious work put into it (they had good SEO, support accounts, forums etc - all of which were fake btw).

I wanted to contact the local authorities, but in all honesty, no action would be taken - the scammer was located in a different country and I had nothing but an email and a name to go ahead on.

The reason I felt bad after this was not because I got scammed, but because "I" got scammed. (I was always proud that I could not get duped or fall into such scams but I had)

[1] - https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Price-For-Aple-Macboo...

wott 3 ago 0 replies      
I don't believe his 'sorry' message for a second. Way too dramatical.

Or I could be wrong and the brother is the city thug #1 :-)

MichaelBurge 2 ago 0 replies      
I can tell you haven't been scammed before. I've been fobbed off with that same "I'm sorry" message before. They do it just to buy time, since you eventually lose interest in them.

He's not sorry, and is just manipulating you into going away.

ebbv 2 ago 0 replies      
You are really naive if you buy his claims that he's never gonna do it again. You weren't his first victim and probably weren't even the first refund he gave.
EasyTiger_ 2 ago 0 replies      
100% sure he will do this again. He's not some sort of teenage delinquent going through a phase, he's an adult and this is a police matter. The apologies and excuses are all well rehearsed.
tempestn 3 ago 0 replies      
Regarding the final point, if you're using BTC already, there are some alternatives to a classical escrow service: http://bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/13841/how-do-i-us...
nickodell 2 ago 0 replies      
What was the point of using Bitcoin to avoid chargebacks if you sent the giftcard first?
diegorbaquero 3 ago 0 replies      
Doxing at its finest. I've had to do this too. For this type of cards, you can use sythe.org and an official middle man (escrow), most likely free :) (Hit me up if you need one, I have over 1200 feedbacks -> Nick: The Black Tux)
caub 3 ago 0 replies      
I think he will do it again soon
lisper 3 ago 1 reply      
> As I prepared the cards to ship them to him I sent him photos I uploaded via my open source image hosting service: PictShare. This fact is very important later on.

I think I must have missed something. I read the whole story and I still don't see why the photos of the cards mattered.

ajeet_dhaliwal 3 ago 0 replies      
Great detective work, well done! Like some others say I would have told the parents too. I've met scammers and some of these people will say anything to get away but then be scamming someone else the next day with a new account.
Jemmeh 2 ago 0 replies      
> Your privacy settings on facebook are only as good as your friends'

This. I can reverse search anyone in seconds just by typing in any scrap of information I have about them into the Facebook search bar. 90% of the time there's a result. They might think they're careful with their own page, but most of them have a friend who isn't.

bbcbasic 2 ago 1 reply      
Wow! Why not just spend the gift card at Apple?

I only sell stuff face to face for the reasons mentioned here.

eBay/PayPal is flakey as they side with the buyer and lost a couple of times there. I then lost as a buyer buying services using Paypal as they only help the buyer if it is a physical product. Fortunately in aggregate lost a lot less than this dude. Let alone sending stuff to some random address on the promise of some bitcoin.

m4tthumphrey 2 ago 0 replies      
I don't think you need 100% unique usernames across the web, just use a unique one on reddit!
jscardella 3 ago 0 replies      
Very good explanation of good opsec by you and bad opsec by the target!
xupybd 3 ago 0 replies      
Reading this was as satisfying as watching taken.
35bge57dtjku 2 ago 0 replies      
And the idiot gets scammed again. :|
dessant 2 ago 1 reply      
So much for blurring and redaction, the identity of the scammer is given away in the blog post.
thedanzing 2 ago 0 replies      
This was an enjoyable read. I love when scammers get their comeuppance.
poidog44 2 ago 0 replies      
That was well worth the read
ommunist 2 ago 0 replies      
Like you said - use escrow.
poidog44 2 ago 0 replies      
lol, that was well worth the read.
balabaster 2 ago 0 replies      
That. Was. Poetic.

You sir, are legend.

kahrkunne 2 ago 1 reply      
"someone scammed me, so I doxed and threatened him, then made him sell my cards for me" Impressive, tough guy.
mhluongo 3 ago 2 replies      
It's the fact that the author paid in bitcoin that made this work. Most other online payment methods can be easily reversed with evidence of fraud.

We deal with this sort of stuff all the time running cardforcoin.com. Social evidence is a great fraud deterrent.

Edit: My mistake, I reversed the payment direction. All the author needed to do was call Apple to have the cards cleared and replaced.

downandout 2 ago 2 replies      
Obviously what the kid did was illegal and morally wrong, and contacting his family was certainly effective. But I believe that contacting his family probably violated most state and federal debt collection laws. After all, essentially what happened is that he was late on a $380 debt payment.

Imagine if you were a few days late on a credit card payment, and they started calling your relatives telling them that if they weren't paid, they would be going to the cops. That is very illegal, and in that scenario the credit card company could be sued for damages. These two scenarios have some legal equivalence - someone that is owed a debt contacts family and uses embarrassment as leverage to collect. There have been many cases where criminals have successfully sued their victims and this may be a good candidate. This blog post, which this kid's lawyer would paint as a public celebration of the damage done to his client's life, doesn't help matters.

So what he did in this case was logical, and probably even cut the kid a break, but it probably exposed him to legal liability. He should have just gone to the cops and let it play out if that was his actual intention after not being paid.

       cached 12 September 2016 02:11:01 GMT