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World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That's Cheaper Than Wind bloomberg.com
761 points by Osiris30  3 days ago   300 comments top 24
jfoutz 3 days ago 14 replies      
I have high hopes for ARES [1]. just a heavy train on a hill with a regenerative break. Add lots of tracks, multiple trains per track, solar above the rails. Avoids needing all the water for pumped hydro storage. none of toxic stuff to deal with when batteries have reached their end of life. Zero carbon emission (aside from whatever is required for manufacturing) is just hugely appealing.

If solar prices continue as they have for another 3-5 years, the question is going to be pretty clear, how do we store all of this insanely cheap power. I'm a little mystified we're not taxing carbon emissions and subsidizing storage. But hey, there are clearly powerful forces at play, that don't agree with me.

[1] http://www.aresnorthamerica.com/

josephg 3 days ago 4 replies      
This is a really great mini-documentary about solar from May this year. They talk about the tumbling price and interview investors and manufacturers in China. The eye opening moment for me was the fact that they already have 2M people in China manufacturing panels, and production is still ramping up.

It looks like solar is starting to become an inevitability.


xt00 3 days ago 2 replies      
The good thing about solar is that it leverages off the semiconductor industry, whereas other renewables do not. For example, in the case of smartphones, before they existed accelerometers and GPS IC's were crazy expensive, but now they are cheap. Solar probably has years and years to go before it is as cheap as possible. I would not be surprised if solar hits $0.10/watt in 10 years. Basically because as the demand picks up and money is being made, more companies will be saying, "if we can just increase our efficiency by 20% or so, we can lower the price and win huge contracts.." so they will be trying things like multilayers, changing the structure to improve efficiency as the panel heats up, coatings, lenses, etc that can all be done in low cost ways. Definitely would be interesting to compare how much it costs to run/maintain a solar farm vs. a natural gas power plant. Basically you have to deliver the fuel to the plant, maintain all the stuff, pay for the workers to make sure stuff doesn't blow up, etc. Seems like with a solar farm you basically need a guy with a truck and a leaf blower.
XorNot 2 days ago 1 reply      
The really interesting thing here is what this means for all the coal-warriors making their resurgence (or thinking they will): they're not going to find investors for new plants.

If solar is cheaper, and scales well (i.e. you can just keep deploying it, pretty much anywhere, and have it get cheaper the more you do) then all the smart money is going to go to building as much PV as quickly as possible. There'll be no one willing to invest in coal-plants because they'll be looking at the on-going costs, looking at the up-front costs, placement issues, build-times, risk of actual action on carbon pricing and saying "you know what, let's build out solar instead".

gns24 3 days ago 2 replies      
Solar and wind are so different that comparing them doesn't really make any sense. Generally a combination is optimal. The news in this article though is that solar prices have tumbled in the last few years - whereas wind prices have declined at a more expected rate.

Comparing the photo-voltaic capacity installed in 2016 with wind capacity is a bit misleading, as wind typically has a much higher capacity factor than solar - so the 59GW of wind will almost certainly produce more electricity than the 70GW of solar.

transfire 3 days ago 0 replies      
If perovskite pans out -- and it is starting to look like it will -- then solar is about to get a lot cheaper still.

See https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161020142037.h...

giis 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just couple of days I saw this documentary by national geographic about world's largest solar power plant in India completed in ~8 months.


LeanderK 2 days ago 1 reply      
i am really happy that the "green" energy production is in such a price war. It's Solar vs. Wind not Solar vs. Coal. I don't care what's cheaper as long as it's not Coal!
davidf18 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interestingly, everything organic is already powered by solar energy so by far, solar is probably the greatest energy source on the planet.

The Photosynthesis enzyme in plant leaves captures photons that are converted to electrons with energy stored chemically in carbohydrates. Animals eat the chemical energy created by plants as well as other animals. Animals use oxygen to oxidize the carbohydrates to create energy.

nannePOPI 3 days ago 6 replies      
Do solar panels produce more energy that the amount required to create and operate them? (including mining the materials)
koheripbal 3 days ago 2 replies      
This does not include storage costs to offset the cyclic nature of solar.
orf 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thank god, this can't come soon enough.
barney54 3 days ago 4 replies      
Saying that solar is less expensive than nat gas is misleading. It's and apples to oranges comparison. To make a valid comparison you need to compare solar + batteries to natural gas. There is value to electricity production that has an on/off switch because it helps keep the grid stable.
mentos 3 days ago 8 replies      
"The average monthly cost of living in the United States for a single adult with two children is $4,820. This adds up to an average annual cost of living of $57,851."

What would the cost of living fall to if energy costs were $0?

sdornan 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is such good news. Can't wait until we abandon fossil fuels altogether.
sunrisetofu 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think flow battery technology will be a viable grid storage option, it makes sense in terms of scale, simplicity and durability
_Codemonkeyism 1 day ago 0 replies      
Coal town Trump voters come to mind.
dmccunney 2 days ago 1 reply      
Back in the early 70's, I worked for a government (HUD/ERDA) sponsored project to promote alternative energy use. It was the first flowering of OPEC, gas prices at the pump were rising over (gasp!) $1/gallon, and there was a sudden massive interest in reducing dependence on foreign oil.

What my shop was pushing was using solar collectors to heat hot water. That was about 20% of the average residential energy bill, had a relatively low up front cost, and a relatively short payback period. We were aware of and tracked a variety of alternative energy sources including photovoltaics, but expected them to get niche pickup at best because they were simply too expensive. To a large extent, that's still the case.

Another point to note is that energy usage isn't just electricity. Back then, a national energy budget divided roughly into quarters, with industrial heating and cooling, residential/light commercial heating and cooling, transportation, and electricity making up the demand. The total amount of energy consumed is rather larger, but that breakdown is still pretty much the same. I don't see solar electric power addressing things like heavy duty heating and cooling, nor most transportation.

One thing I got convinced of back then is that the form of energy used will be the cheapest that will do the job. Energy from fossil fuel still predominates because it is still cheapest.

Solar is still essentially a niche market, though growing, and lower costs are the driver. I was grimly amused a while back over the woes of Solyndra, an effort to create large scale photovoltiac production in the US, that got about half a billion in government funding. The underlying notion was creation of US jobs.

Photovoltaics is semi-conductor electronics, the Chinese jumped in with both feet, and started turning out solar cells at prices domestic producers couldn't match. In fact, some Chinese producers came to grief. They dove in based on demand estimates that were unfounded, produced a glut on the market, far lower prices for buyers, and failures among firms that were late to the manufacturing party. Solyndra couldn't compete.

People went on about US jobs, and I thought "Drive on the NJ Turnpike, and every other pole has a solar cell array generating power to help run the Turnpike. Somebody has the contract to design, produce, install and maintain those arrays, and those jobs by nature will be local. Decreasing costs for the raw materials used to produce the arrays made it possible to sell the end products cheaper, and increased the demand. The Chinese can do it cheapest and can have solar cell production. The money is in moving up the value chain and making things people will buy that use those solar cells."

I'm delighted to see solar electricity costs dropping to the reported levels, but anyone who sees it as a solution for overall energy woes isn't looking at a big enough picture.______Dennis

dmccunney 2 days ago 0 replies      
Back in the early 70's, I worked for a government (HUD/ERDA) sponsored project to promote alternative energy use. It was the first flowering of OPEC, gas prices at the pump were rising over (gasp!) $1/gallon, and there was a sudden massive interest in reducing dependence on foreign oil.

What my shop was pushing was using solar collectors to heat hot water. That was about 20% of the average residential energy bill, had a relatively low up front cost, and a relatively short payback period. We were aware of and tracked a variety of alternative energy sources including photovoltaics, but expected them to get niche pickup at best because they were simply too expensive. To a large extent, that's still the case.

Another point to note is that energy usage isn't just electricity. Back then, a national energy budget divided roughly into quarters, with industrial heating and cooling, residential/light commercial heating and cooling, transportation, and electricity making up the demand. The total amount of energy consumed is rather larger, but that breakdown is still pretty much the same. I don't see solar electric power addressing things like heavy duty heating and cooling, nor most transportation.

One thing I got convinced of back then is that the form of energy used will be the cheapest that will do the job. Energy from fossil fuel still predominates because it is still cheapest.

Solar is still essentially a niche market, though growing, and lower costs are the driver. I was grimly amused a while back over the woes of Solyndra, an effort to create large scale photovoltiac production in the US, that got about half a billion in government funding. The underlying notion was creation of US jobs.

Photovoltaics is semi-conductor electronics, the Chinese jumped in with both feet, and started turning out solar cells at prices domestic producers couldn't match. In fact, some Chinese producers came to grief. They dove in based on demand estimates that were unfounded, produced a glut on the market, far lower pricers for buyers, and failures among firms that were late to the manufacturing party.

People went on about US jobs, and I thought "Drive on the NJ Turnpike, and every other pole has a solar cell array generating power to help run the Turnpike. Somebody has the contract to design, produce, install and maintain those arrays, and those jobs by nature will be local. Decreasing costs for the raw materials used to produce the arrays made it possible to sell the end products cheaper, and increased the demand. The Chinese can do it cheapest and can have solar cell production. The money is in moving up the value chain and making things people will buy that use those solar cells."

I'm delighted to see solar electricity costs dropping to the reported levels, but anyone who sees it as a solution for overall energy woes isn't looking at a big enough picture.______Dennis

spiderfarmer 3 days ago 2 replies      
>In early May, speaking before a cheering West Virginia crowd filled with miners wearing hard hats or holding Trump Digs Coal signs, the then-Republican nominee pledged: Get ready because youre going to be working your asses off.

Guess not.

wernercd 3 days ago 1 reply      
chris_va 3 days ago 8 replies      
Renewable energy accounting is shady (no pun intended). This is more accurate (original source EIA):


... and also why natural gas will always win, and why coal is getting shut down.

downandout 3 days ago 2 replies      
Comparing the costs of two renewables is like comparing the cost of a new Mercedes to a new BMW: both are great to have, but neither one is affordable for most of the world. "World energy" has not "hit a turning point," though this kind of misleading headline seems to be the norm at Bloomberg. One expensive thing became a little less expensive than the other expensive thing. It doesn't change the fact that in most of the world, neither solar nor wind is even remotely competitive with conventional sources. Hopefully they are one day, but today is not that day.
German research institutions boycott Elsevier uni-goettingen.de
754 points by millettjon  3 days ago   121 comments top 20
hannob 3 days ago 9 replies      
The thing is, scientists have a much more powerful tool to stop bad publishers: Don't give them your texts.And maybe even more important: Don't demand from your applicants that they have published in high impact journals from the very same publishers that make your life hard.

That might really change things.

Everyone has been complaining about Elsevier for years now. They still have publications and they still seem to have no problem to fill them. That's the problem.

anton_tarasenko 3 days ago 2 replies      
Professors don't care about high prices. Universities pay for subscriptions. The pricing is political in Europe where education is funded by the public. US universities pass high prices over to students. Students pay with debt since good universities have oversupply of applicants anyway.

Elsevier had been buying academic journals for decades. A typical scheme is like Cell's story.

A professor establishes a journal under a big university's publishing arm. Then the professor thinks how to make money. Elsevier makes an offer and the professor accepts it. The journal becomes the property of Elsevier and the editors keep reviewing papers for free because it's good for their CVs.

Looking at older HN posts[1], Elsevier becomes another Comcast. That said, boycotts have not reversed the Group's profit trend.

[1] https://hn.algolia.com/?query=elsevier&sort=byPopularity&pre...

thomasDE 3 days ago 2 replies      
German researcher here.

There are multiple problems with the offer from VG Wort (which is the German association "representing" authors and publishers). One is that they raised the license fee. Another one is that they want to replace the current "flatrate" (where a university pays a fixed sum for the right to copy books or parts of books for education) with a individual billing concept. That means, lecturers have to report to administration for EACH part of a book or paper that they distribute. This model is not feasible as the administrative costs exceed the royalties which have to be payed for the copyright.

For this reasons, multiple virtual learning environments (which are used to distribute books and papers) in Germany might go offline in 2017 because the copyright situation is currently unclear.

More information (in German):https://netzpolitik.org/2016/deutsche-universitaeten-2017-im...

return0 3 days ago 1 reply      
https://sci-hub.ac/ is always there for you [edit: thanks]
Someone 3 days ago 1 reply      
No, they don't boycott; they play hardball in negotiations:

"The DEAL project, headed by HRK (German Rectors' Conference) President Prof Hippler, is negotiating a nationwide license agreement for the entire electronic Elsevier journal portfolio with Elsevier.[...]In order to improve their negotiating power, about 60 major German research institutions including Gttingen University cancelled their contracts with Elsevier as early as October 2016."

jmcdiesel 3 days ago 3 replies      
Forgive my absolute ignorance on the topic - I genuinely don't understand this environment even though I'm interested, so please don't take this as a stupid or inflammatory questions...

Why are these publishers needed? What service do they provide these days? It seems their role is similar to publishers in other media (TV, movie, music, etc) that can and have been replaced due to the distribution ease of the internet. Aside from a distribution platform, what do these publishers provide?

wofo 3 days ago 1 reply      
It is refreshing to see the scientific community stand against Elsevier. Great news!
jimmytidey 3 days ago 0 replies      
Elsevier must be extremely conscious that this can only drive the uptake of SciHub. German academia on the other hand must be aware that SciHub will soften the blow.
cknight 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is really cool. I'm no scientist, but it was Uni Gttingen where I was properly introduced to the world of academia, doing programming for a research group there. This was just 2-3 years ago, and Elsevier was a regular discussion point at the lunch table. I'm glad all the talk has translated in to some real action, and so many have gotten on board.
carbocation 3 days ago 3 replies      
People want to publish in high-impact journals. Aside from name recognition (Nature, Science, New England Journal, etc), impact factor and similar metrics drive where people want to publish.

If you really want to strike at a particular journal or family of journals, you could work to convince academics not to cite articles in those journals. Since all these metrics are some variant of (inward citations)/(publications), usually over a 2-5 year window, this would have a tremendous effect.

captn3m0 3 days ago 0 replies      
While this may be a major hiccup for researchers in Germany, I have to applaud this. Are the terms of the offered deal public?
fmax30 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just three days ago my ML Prof (at TU Munich) told us to boycott Elsevier. Didn't know that this was a nation wide thing.
Vinnl 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if, in a year or two, this will affect the Impact Factor of these journals - i.e. will their articles be cited less often now academics have (theoretically) no access to it? And then a few years later, will this the number of articles submitted drop as well?

(Assuming, of course, that no agreement will be reached at all.)

thecrazyone 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised at this being such a painful problem and no one jumping forward to solve it (pardon my ignorance, if such startups exist but are not well known, I wouldn't know it).

Why wouldn't blockchain db for receiving and requesting p2p reviews not a good solution? This journal can be open access and still make boat loads of money on allied services, ads and so much more. The best part, most of this can/needs to be automated leading to super low costs of operation.

Am I missing something obvious here?

kumarski 3 days ago 0 replies      
I run a facebook group with 100+ scientists/geneticists/biologists/microbiologists/molecular biologists/physicists who are founders....

Many of them were excited about this. Germany's making moves in the right direction.

jgord 3 days ago 0 replies      
They should just keep going, and other countries join them - but don't do it as a bargaining tool, actually kill the company.

Its basically a scam, and its holding back scientific progress.

vivekchandsrc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Who is going to build "TheFacebook" of academic journals. Journal publishers have become SCAM artist. Opening countless new journals and charging hundreds to thousands of dollars to get into open access articles or charging millions from institutes. This market is ripe for disruption plus scientific data is going to be the next "refined OIL" in the data and AI economy...
verytrivial 2 days ago 0 replies      
How long could Elsevier survive a German boycott?How long could German academia survive without these journals?
swehner 3 days ago 1 reply      
I look at titles and abstracts, not at journal names, in my literature searches.
fogetti 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, I have never used Elsevier. I always visit Sci-Hub.
Finland will hand out cash to 2000 jobless people to test universal basic income nytimes.com
590 points by salmonet  1 day ago   381 comments top 51
JackFr 1 day ago 10 replies      
If its only going to jobless people, not UBI.

This is not a meaningless distinction -- one of the features of UBI is that it is universal. If this just goes to unemployed people we cannot see the change in behavior with people who are earning close to their reservation wage. Do they stop working?

This is streamlined rebranded welfare. Not a paradigm shift.

kr7 1 day ago 5 replies      
Another limited duration trial (two years). What's the point? It's not going to measure the real effect. People will know it is going to run out and behave differently than if it was permanent.
austinjp 1 day ago 12 replies      
What's to stop UBI from "cancelling itself out" due to inflationary effects?

Prior to UBI, the lowest possible income is zero. After UBI, the lowest income is X. The poorest people in the nation will have an income of X, so X becomes the new relative zero, the new baseline. Prices of everything (food, housing, whatever) will reset relative to X. So uni will become worthless shortly after it's introduced.... but only if it is truly universal.

Someone feel free to tell me if I'm missing something.

ScottBurson 1 day ago 15 replies      
Jobless people generally cannot earn additional income while collecting unemployment benefits or they risk losing that assistance.

Worst. Idea. Ever.

I know -- it's a common feature of income support systems, including here in the US.

I don't know whether UBI is going to prove workable or not. But even if it doesn't, if we could just redesign the systems we do have so they never give recipients a disincentive to work more, that would be a huge, huge improvement.

noonespecial 1 day ago 3 replies      
>It will give them benefits automatically, absent bureaucratic hassle and minus penalties for amassing extra income.

That last part is huge. A disincentive to work by cancelling benefits is a feature of nearly every current system. It is extremely important that someone test a system without this in it to see how a people react.

This looks like a very important test for the viability of UBI.

mrleinad 1 day ago 5 replies      
Why don't we just cover everyone's basic needs and be done with it?

This is a pointless discussion. Just give everyone enough food, shelter, and free access to medicine. It'll create a society where we don't stress over losing a job because we don't know how we're going to get our food tomorrow.

The reason that some people think this "disincentiveces" people to work is that they'd have to pay higher wages and wouldn't be able to exploit human beings, as all capitalist systems do. That's it. That's their whole argument. The rest is just dressing it up with empty moral questions about "giving away the fish instead of teaching how to fish".

fpp 1 day ago 0 replies      
From a first cross-read, this article is bluntly discrediting UBI.

Starting with numbers: about 204M working age population in the US - hence the USD10K to each of them example would just make somewhere what is spend yearly for military and banks - the 8 times numbers cited in the article of what is spent today does not make any sense.

The linked article does not mention any amounts that Finland wants to provide to the 2k people - instead it is referring to Swiss calculations - last numbers I've heard with Finland were on par with current social security / poverty level pays (~EUR600 p/m) - this of course does not enable most of the key effects intended with an UBI (money into spending, freedom of choice for work etc) - it only continues the current system (with some potential savings within the administration).

To get a better understanding we have to at least repeat the Canadian experiments from the 1920s (proven that it is substantially beneficiary for the economy overall) - more money than poverty level, people must gain freedom by the possibility to live.

Given that soon a large proportion of people will not have a chance to find a job that will allow them to survive, we either go back to lords and serfs or actually look into potentially sustainable solutions.

applecore 1 day ago 2 replies      
How is it "universal" if recipients are required to be jobless?
jganetsk 1 day ago 2 replies      
I agree with basic income, but most analyses of it are backwards.

For most of history, governments addressed unemployment by starting wars. By shipping off to war, the unemployed temporarily get a job. They either come back dead or ready to take a new job in an economy revitalized by the stimulus of government war spending.

John Maynard Keynes noticed this pattern, especially during the Great Depression and WW2, and made a brilliant suggestion: continue with these government interventions, but keep the government spending and drop the war part. We call it "Keynesian economics", but really, what Keynes invented was capitalist peace. And guess what, since then, no two countries that both had McDonald's had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald's. [1]

We need a Keynesian boost today, not because of technological progress, but rather the contrary: the rapid technological progress of the 20th century that brought tremendous economic prosperity to humanity has finally come to a grinding halt. Let's stop denying this. The stream of lifechanging breakthrough inventions of the 20th century, from A (antibiotics) to Z (zippers), have ended. As a result, we now suffer from secular stagnation, something Keynes understood very well back then, and Larry Summers understands in the present. [2]

It's especially absurd to claim that automation is the cause of this. Automation has already upended society: it was called the Industrial Revolution and happened 200 years ago. The upheaval caused then to human lives and employment was far more dramatic than anything happening today.

And basic income is simply the most fair way to apply Keynesian policy. It is more fair to split the money up and distribute it equally to every individual than it is for the government to buy things on their behalf. Highly distributed spending will also avoid creating market distortions and liquidity traps. [3] And the resulting economic boost will lead to increased tax revenues and, who knows, maybe more jobs -- this time not subject to labor market distortions caused by people being desperate for work.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lexus_and_the_Olive_Tree[2] http://larrysummers.com/2016/02/17/the-age-of-secular-stagna...[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquidity_trap

leke 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I could relate to the article. I'm currently living in Oulu, and was also working for a Nokia contractor until 2011. Unable to find work, I went back to polytechnic college for 3.5 years to update my skills and perhaps wait out the recession. Unfortunately, the situation hasn't gotten any better and my new bachelor's degree doesn't give me any advantage.

There are plenty of entrepreneurs requiring people of various backgrounds, but these are generally unpaid positions. I am currently writing a web-app for a charity, and have just launched a customised wordpress site for a new business. These are of course unpaid, and like the article states, it's not worth the risk of starting my own business (being a freelancer for example) as it would mean coming off benefits completely and hoping you'll make enough to pay for everything you need to pay for. UBA would suit me great. I could become that freelancer instantly, and with no fear. That company, who's website I just launched wanted to pay me, but legally it was impossible due to the reason I just mentioned (freelancing).

I'm also currently writing a language learning app, a mashup of my favourite features of DuoLingo and Memrise in my free time. Perhaps monetising that in some way may lead me out of this stagnation.

snicky 1 day ago 0 replies      
What's the evidence that results of such study could be generalized to the entire population? I mean, yeah, 2000 people seem like a big group, but one might have different ideas about what to do with free money if the society around stays exactly the same vs when everybody else is also entitled to UBI. When I'm unemployed and look around and see all my friends work I might feel quite ashamed of myself and willing to change, but if all of them "retire" at 30 instead this might not be exactly the case.
wjossey 1 day ago 2 replies      

Finland is going to selecting 2,000 unemployed individuals, at random, and offering them cash without strings. Current unemployment schemes, they believe, hold back individuals from finding part time work / any work because the benefits outweigh the job opportunities. They hope that this new scheme promotes people to take work and have an adequate safety net to prevent homelessness and hunger.

vivekd 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems like we can learn so little by selecting only for jobless people. The best way to do a BI test seems to me to get a random sample so we can test how it affects people in various circumstances. Selecting a specific demographic like this seems more a political move than a scientific one.
itazula 1 day ago 0 replies      
This reminded me of the Y Combinator Basic Income project. The last I read about that was this: https://blog.ycombinator.com/moving-forward-on-basic-income/I wonder what the status is?
muse900 1 day ago 4 replies      
What is that gonna achieve exactly? Aren't prices gonna just inflate upwards and things become less affordable?

If you just pay everyone X amount of money every month for whatever, it just means that in order to produce something you'll need to pay someone a lot more than that X amount in order to work and produce it and also it means that that item is gonna increase massively in cost in order to pay the items production itself.

I am highly against that idea.

You want to solve issues? Give free food/water and shelter for survival, thats all a human needs. It doesn't need to be a food from a chef or Evian water or a house with even an internet connection. All it needs is just to provide some safety that that person is not going to die of starvation or weather. Other than that if you want to have a better have and lifestyle well you have to work for it.

buryat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Implemented on a big scale it'll lead to higher inflation and ultimately will increase stratification.
romanovcode 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is not UBI (universal basic income), this is re-branded welfare.
nradov 1 day ago 3 replies      
Instead of just giving people money our governments at federal / state / local levels should become employers of last resort for everyone who has exhausted their welfare or unemployment benefits. Guarantee 30 hours / week at minimum wage to anyone who wants to work. Even if it's just trail maintenance or graffiti cleanup they will at least be maintaining basic employment skills, and have enough spare time to retrain for something better.
thomasfl 13 hours ago 0 replies      

 Voters in Switzerland recently rejected a basic-income scheme
I can't understand why the Swiss politicians wanted to ask the general public for a permission to do an experiment. How can the Swiss population be sure universal basic income will not work when no nation has yet implemented it yet across the whole population?

osmala 23 hours ago 0 replies      
The model selected maybe problematic.A) There are additional benefits for helping to pay rent which are income dependent.B) There are special circumstantial increases to benefits replaced by basic income, that state has to pay inorder to fill its constitutional equality requirements. For instance increases in unemployment for dependent children, expenditures for education program participation for unemployed... Now testsubjects get them by applying for them. Whats potential problem is what it takes to LOOSE them, its a risk factor on every action to earn temporarily, or taking a risky move to try to start a business. Latter causes also a high risk at the end of experiment, unless you have folded it long before end of experiment.
Mz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now, the Finnish government is exploring how to change that calculus, initiating an experiment in a form of social welfare: universal basic income. Early next year, the government plans to randomly select roughly 2,000 unemployed people from white-collar coders to blue-collar construction workers. It will give them benefits automatically, absent bureaucratic hassle and minus penalties for amassing extra income.

The government is eager to see what happens next. Will more people pursue jobs or start businesses? How many will stop working and squander their money on vodka? Will those liberated from the time-sucking entanglements of the unemployment system use their freedom to gain education, setting themselves up for promising new careers? These areas of inquiry extend beyond economic policy, into the realm of human nature.

I am not a fan of the idea of universal basic income, but I would love to see the existing social safety net system get tweaked to be less retarded. I hope this experiment goes good places.

return0 1 day ago 0 replies      
A country with very good welfare like Finland is the worst place to test UBI, which is supposed to replace welfare.
ahallock 1 day ago 1 reply      
I feel like we're creating a new government program to counter the failures of an existing one: education. If people had marketable skills, it would be a lot easier to find work. Perhaps tax revenue should go to education and training, instead.

I think we're a long way off from total automation of most industries.

shurcooL 1 day ago 0 replies      
> jobless

> universal

Doesn't sound very universal. One of the big factors that make it a good idea is that receiving the basic income shouldn't make you disincentivized from doing more and getting a job, etc. Otherwise, how is it different from existing welfare programs and such?

mjs7231 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I fully expect someone to claim this is completly different because of detail xyz, but this has been done before. It worked out better than expected.


fnj 1 day ago 0 replies      
As many have noted, this is not UBI; full stop. Also, you can't "test" something that is supposed to be universal by definition, on a micro scale and to a selected subset.
NIL8 23 hours ago 2 replies      
For a good idea of what this type of program can do to a society, take a look at the native Americans. The monthly allotment received by most only perpetuates very serious social problems. I know that most who will push for these types of programs have good intentions, but the outcome will probably prove to do more harm than good, generally speaking.
shinamee 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Personally, I think this a great thing for creatives and researchers, knowing they can spend as much time as they need to create real value for people without having to think of revenue or investors profits.

I heard/read Swiss denied this proposal though, what a shame.

jobsforall 12 hours ago 0 replies      
And like all UBI experiments it will ultimately fail because UBI is essentially a form of theft.

Hiding behind the money illusion doesn't fool anybody for long.


choonway 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not universal basic housing. universal basic internet. universal basic food. universal basic computer. Make it illegal to sell them on the open market.

Anything except universal basic income. You want cigarettes / alcohol? do some work on the internet. Amazon mechanical turk.

SCAQTony 1 day ago 1 reply      
Finland's population is 5.439 million, It may work for 2000 people but will it be workable and scale up to 10-million, 50-million or 100-million people? I believe the "square cube law comes into play.

Square cube law: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square-cube_law

koolba 1 day ago 2 replies      
What's stopping people from taking their universal income and moving to a different country with a lower cost of living. Do you you have to collect it in person? A UBI of $1-2K/month isn't that much in the western world but you could live like a king[1] in the third world.

[1]: Okay maybe not a very rich king but but you'd definitely be doing more than fine.

Ericson2314 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, everyone is complaining about the misleading headline rather than reading the piece.

Oh, and this is the most positive non-opinion piece I've seen on UBI in a major publication, people! How's that?

scoopr 1 day ago 1 reply      
Curious thing, Kela (who handle the benefits, among other things) made their sampling code public[0]. The code doesn't really tell me anything though, except that the random seed is taken from wall time.

[0] http://www.kela.fi/perustulokokeilun-otantakoodi

gravypod 16 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not ubi if it is not universal.
sova 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thrilled that the idea that ones basic needs be met as a basic human right is gaining traction. Granted, in the form of our most common commodity-abstraction apparatus (cash).
witty_username 1 day ago 0 replies      
Somewhat off-topic but wouldn't it be cheaper and better to test the basic income in a country with low PPP (i.e. poor countries).
collyw 1 day ago 0 replies      
If it is given to jobless people then its not really universal basic income. Its just removing bureaucracy from the current system.
throwaway1892 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, from my experience in France, most of them will stay jobless.
murtnowski 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't a better idea be to give it to people with lower middle income which is more indicitive of the average household
kobeya 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm, that's not universal if it is restricted by means test or employment status.
vondur 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd assumed that Finland had a really strong welfare system like Norway and Sweden.
eanzenberg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why not tax accumulated wealth and assets?
nimoore 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is not UBI
randyrand 1 day ago 0 replies      
we have unemployment cash benefits in the usa. its quite similar in most regards.
kahrkunne 1 day ago 3 replies      
I hate being "that guy" but am I the only one who expects this particular brand of communism to not be any better than previous attempts?

Somebody's going to have to pay for this...

serge2k 1 day ago 1 reply      
How is this a test of UBI? It's just a welfare system.
dbg31415 1 day ago 2 replies      
ChrisNorstrom 1 day ago 1 reply      
Will Finland admit publicly when it fails or will they just hide their idea as if it never happened?

Remember Bio-Fuel? How progressive and wonderful it was suppose to be? Until it caused a global food shortage and suddenly none of the media ever talked about it again.

rhapsodic 1 day ago 4 replies      
I want to be on record here. Today, December 17, 2016, I predict that this will fail. And by "fail", I mean that this will not become a universal entitlement in Finland.
steakeater 21 hours ago 1 reply      
UBI is a terrible idea. Anyone who thinks that the government handing out money to everyone is a good idea needs to snap out of the propaganda machine. Those who fund you, control you. There is no way around that. When the people funding everyone is the government, and the people do nothing in return, that places huge amounts of power in the hands of a single entity, and removes all power from the people.

Large companies are getting larger. There are only a couple of choices in any category, and single companies own many different markets. When you combine that with UBI, you have the government handing you a check, and then you have a choice of a couple of companies to spend that money. The difference between this world and communism is almost nothing.

I have never heard of any group of people who were happy on government welfare. Whatever the supposed problem this is supposed to address, it is not a solution. People who are not working at all are not happy.

If I were to guess, I would say the real problems that need to be addressed are:

too many extremely large companies, often supported by laws they lobbied to create.

corrupt government that has no interest in its own country

population increases.

I mean, many of these people proposing UBI are living in countries where they are actively increasing the population. If you have an unemployment problem, why are you increasing the population?

How is NSA breaking so much crypto? (2015) freedom-to-tinker.com
572 points by ColanR  2 days ago   249 comments top 26
clord 1 day ago 15 replies      
This article cuts to the heart something I've wondered for a long time.

The common advice in all the classic texts is that developers should not roll their own crypto because smarter people have thought of more vulnerabilities and addressed them in battle-tested code.

But news like this shows that there is an antithesis: the conventional encryption techniques are also potentially widely exploitable by state-level actors. Furthermore if I was someone holding solutions to cherry-picked primes for well-understood algorithms in wide use, I'd be complaining loudly every time someone wrote a bespoke library too. I'd be paying to publish books that recommend no one write their own crypto because it's just such a darned hard problem, especially with so many high quality alternatives out there tested and ready to go.

Granted, one should certainly have a repulsion to to writing custom crypto for all of the many good reasons, but it makes me think it's worth putting in more than the minimal effort into it, especially when lives are on the line.

McKayDavis 2 days ago 0 replies      
There was a lengthy HN discussion when the article was originally published [1]

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10390822

technofiend 1 day ago 1 reply      
I sat in a two day class this week put on by people who claimed to be former intelligence agency types. They told a lot of entertaining stories about how far they'll go to both protect their own secrets and gain everyone else's.

Some of their advice seemed useful but some of their suggestions absurd and conclusions naive. The most interesting thing was that challenging them on their assertions (anti-virus is only n% effective) didn't result in any facts to back up the assertions. Instead they'd just mock the challenger and say things like "no matter what you do we can crack your systems in n minutes, regardless".

In fact one of their suggestions was to simply fire anyone who didn't have like-minded world views. People who didn't just nod along with whatever they had to say were the problem and needed to go. If that's how the intelligence community works I can see why they are in an echo chamber that justifies their any means necessary approach to intelligence gathering.

vmarsy 2 days ago 2 replies      
"Prior to our work, Internet Explorer,Chrome, Firefox, and Opera all accepted 512-bit primes,whereas Safari allowed groups as small as 16 bits"

I wonder what the minimum are today! (Article was from 2015)

tgarma1234 1 day ago 1 reply      
I can't remember where I read a longer explanation of this but a quick google search got me to this blog entry http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=2059 where the topic comes up. I think that for the most part what we civilians know as cryptography is often either a red-herring, a trick, or woefully out of date from the point of view of what the professional state actors know how to do. Anyway you get that impression from declassified documents. Crypto works well enough for commercial and civilian purposes but has no impact on militarized hacking I think. Please correct me if I am wrong but I think this is all by design, even going so far as the NSA putting backdoors in CPUs and suchlike. If they send a company a national security letter that insists on compliance, the company not only has to comply but also can't legally disclose to the public that they complied, so we can't really know the truth here.
philip142au 2 days ago 3 replies      
Just a question, what does the NSA to do protect security with so many USA institutions hacked in recent years?
triplesec 1 day ago 1 reply      
It may be worth noting that author J Alex Halderman is the professor who has done the most recent work on publicising the dangers of the probability of Russian hacking of the US election. https://medium.com/@jhalderm/want-to-know-if-the-election-wa...
mark-r 2 days ago 2 replies      
So do the adversaries we worry most about use the same prime numbers as everybody else, or do they come up with their own? It seems the most likely outcome is that the NSA is able to spy on Americans much more easily than they can spy on anybody else.
LAMike 2 days ago 4 replies      
There is a reason Satoshi used an elliptic curve algorithm for Bitcoin...
iamthepieman 2 days ago 1 reply      
If anyone is gonna break a lot of crypto, the NSA is. Who else has spent as much money, equipment and manpower on it? Who else has as many people working on it as they do?
jokoon 1 day ago 3 replies      
I saw somewhere that they were using custom built hardware modules to break AES keys, some kind of FPGA thing. It was cheap to build and extremely fast since it was specialized in doing just that.
disposablezero 1 day ago 2 replies      
Always, always, always generate your own SSH moduli.
j1vms 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Use a one-time pad (and distribute "securely") for anything you want to encrypt as best as possible. Consider everything else in the open already, or at some not too far off time in the future.


sebow 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Correct me if i'm wrong but doesn't NSA have a quantum computer for few years now?

I mean my guess is that they're investing more in how to engineer software used by such things.

mtgx 2 days ago 0 replies      
jheriko 1 day ago 1 reply      
i'm thinking they grossly overestimate the problem of cracking a 1024-bit prime... based on my dabbling in that area its certainly possible for a network of machines to do it, and with modern gpus and good number implementations on them, i don't think that days long, or even overnight, cracking is a stretch if you have a few spare machines lying around....
mirimir 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reputable VPN services use custom DH keys. At least 2048-bit. And they change them periodically.
yuhong 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how long before real world SHA-1 collision ASICs come out. Or 64-bit KASUMI for that matter.
dimino 2 days ago 0 replies      
If they weren't doing it before, they should definitely be doing it "now" (2015)...

IOW, we have to assume they're doing it, and have been for at least as long as this paper has been out.

danbmil99 1 day ago 1 reply      
FWIW, someone well-known and widely respected in the high tech community told me many years ago that he had consulted at the NSA, and they had computers that could crack 1024-bit RSA.

This would have been around 2001-2002.

darawk 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hasn't this been essentially known for a long time? I'm not sure why that paper was even referenced. There's no breakthrough or new info here, people have speculated about this theoretical attack since forever.
edblarney 23 hours ago 0 replies      
The quality of information on this this thread is unbelievable, it makes me feel stupid. Are all these commenters crypto experts or do some devs just have such in-depth knowledge of the subject. Heyzeus.
schoen 2 days ago 0 replies      
TazeTSchnitzel 1 day ago 0 replies      
tribby 2 days ago 0 replies      
>For the nerds in the audience:

this line made me chuckle.

cryptothink 2 days ago 1 reply      
// this comment has been removed by the U.S. Government
Show HN: Hire an Oldster tryoldster.com
466 points by adamqureshi  2 days ago   289 comments top 44
aresant 2 days ago 24 replies      
If you take a survey of hiring managers they will point to three primary reasons that candidates 40 - 60 have a harder time finding jobs:

1) They are typically more expensive than "market" for the same role a younger person can fulfill at acceptable tradeoff of competency - higher salaries, higher related costs like healthcare for a family, expectations around retirement programs, etc.

2) They are less flexible - they are less willing to relocate, they have kids to pick up instead of "beer hour bonding", unwilling to run the same 60 hour gauntlet that a 25 year old can etc.

3) They have less primary & secondary education relevant to today's enterprise issues. In the specific case of "marketers" - like TryOldster is pitching - the best people will learn anything, but anybody over 50 years old spent their professional training + formative 20s thinking about television, radio, and print - not paid search, mobile advertising, and social.

That we're at the top of HN again with another "hire older people" post (recently we saw OldGeekJobs) demonstrates there's a huge unmet need within this cohort.

I don't think a job-board is the right solution to this problem because the pitch on TryOldster does nothing to alleviate the three principal concerns.

My unasked, probably asinine business advice would be to turn this flow of traffic into a training / education platform where you can VALIDATE and address the very real, foundational concerns of hiring managers around this cohort, and suddenly you've got a machine that can get motivated people trained and placed.

tjr 2 days ago 4 replies      
I was recently working with an older developer. I don't know, maybe of 65 or 70 years. He was working on aerospace network intrusion detection systems, and I was helping him set up a simulation system. He was slinging around low-level computer architecture terminology, while I was quickly trying to access what I remembered from a college class 15 years prior, just to keep up with the conversation.

Older programmers are worthless, simply due to their age? Ridiculous. I hope to someday be as skillful as this guy.

JorgeGT 2 days ago 3 replies      
Apart from the particular technical knowledge an older guy may have, the accumulated human experience (this is, how to interact, trust, judge, understand, influence and work with other human beings) is always a very valuable factor that they may possess, for while technology changes very fast, basic human nature remains the same.

In my country we have a saying: the Devil knows more from being old than from being the Devil.

suprgeek 2 days ago 5 replies      
As an oldster - two things that I really wish my younger self would have intimately realized.

1) As a software person your are employed to Solve Business Problems - NOT to write code, NOT to write tests, NOT to hack on platforms, NOT to be Agile. Solve the problem (or add the feature) - never lose sight of this. The value you bring is directly related to this.

2) People outside software development don't give a flying f* about most issues software related - but everyone has a computer, so most are poorly informed about technology and terrible at making right software choices - build products accordingly.

Unbeliever69 2 days ago 0 replies      
From a reverse perspective, I am new to professional development but have been a long-time programmer. At the age of 45 I decided to pursue my life-long dream of being a programmer and went back to school. There was another "oldster" in my Intro to Java class. He really struggled at first because he had spent the last few decades using technology but not really understanding it. Me, on the other hand, I utterly destroyed everyone in the class. My final project was a "Dwarf Fortress" style game that utilized more advanced programming techniques, algorithms, data structures, AI etc. that was far outside the scope of the class. Not only was the class blown away but the teacher appeared threatened. I had never had programmed in Java before though I have programmed as a hobby throughout my life. But the major difference between me and the other oldster as well as me and my much younger classmates is that I have devoted my life to learn. I've never settled. I've never grown complacent. If I forget something I relearn it. If I don't know something I know where to find an answer. I believe that this is the problem with many oldsters...they get comfortable, set in their ways, entitled.

I quit school that semester as it was clear that I would be far more effective learning on my own. What was true in my Java class turned out to be true in my Linux class, my networking class and my generals. I was WAY ahead of the curve. I now work in the industry as a full-stack Javascript developer and continue to learn each day.

oppositelock 2 days ago 1 reply      
So, I'm not an oldster, not a young'un, but somewhere in between in my mid 40's, and I've been in this industry for over 20 years at this point.

I see my friends from the same age group go different ways; quite a number stay in tech as employees, getting more senior and climbing the engineer ladder. They're the ones who are affected by age discrimination, particularly as they get into their 50's and over.

The other group takes what they know in tech, and become a super experienced tech-guy in another industry, doing things like machine automation at car manufacturing plants, or optical quality control at meat packing plants, etc. They use their skills in other industries, but by silicon valley standards, they leave tech, since making pistons or making sure chicken breasts don't contain wing aren't tech problems. This second group of people don't stress anywhere near as much about their jobs as the first group, but their highest attainable pay wherever they work is definitely lower.

The third group retires early and pursues their dreams, but they're not worth talking about in this context. Tech is amazing in that it enables people who are moderately successful to retire earlier.

edoceo 2 days ago 9 replies      
I'm 40, in tech years that's like 1000. I also see value in hiring experience but explicitly factoring by age discriminates against a protected class in the USA. I think a lawsuit is in my future if I use this for placement at my company.

Of course, if you simply rebranded to talk about "experience" rather than "age" then solvelem probbed.

Also, age != experience != skill.

ChicagoDave 2 days ago 0 replies      
53 and I learn all the time. I'm sorry but age has nothing to do with productivity or capability. Talent and hard work are still the primary components of a successful developer.

There is ageism and it's completely unfounded, but some recruiting leans towards younger workers for whatever reason.

I think this is similar to H1-B's getting jobs for lower wages. Companies tend to believe that adding X developers to problem Y will produce a better/quicker product. They believe this of younger workers at times as well.

They are always wrong. I'm pretty sure my 40 hours is significantly more productive than most 25 year old's 60 or even 80 hours.

OliverJones 2 days ago 0 replies      
Some interesting points made here in these comments, worth rebutting.

1. older folks are less flexible, can't relocate, etc. When we have kids in high school, that's valid. But high school doesn't go on forever.

2. older folks cost more. You'd be surprised. Salary doesn't have to be an always-upward ratchet. There are plenty of us who are able and willing -- even delighted -- to work for less than the executive-level pay of the biggest jobs on our resumes.

Unlike many of our juniors, we aren't scrambling to pay off our edu loans any more, nor are we scrambling to cover those costs for our kids, or pay big mortgages.

You know that dream about being motivated by the work, not the money? It's a real thing. Many of us are living that dream.

3. older folks are a protected class (in USA, anyhow). That's true. We are nominally harder to lay off when things get rough. But we've been through a few cycles of things being good, then bad, then good, and we've survived. We are as willing as anybody to stop drawing our pay when things aren't going well. Some of us are willing to agree to that in advance. Ask whether we'll accept contractor status, rather than employee status.

See item 2 about being motivated by the work.

4. older folks drive up health insurance pool costs. true. sucks. But I, for one, am on my spouse's insurance so the startup I'm with doesn't have that problem. Many of us have similar setups. You can't ask in an interview, but we can tell you voluntarily. Plus, when we hit 65 (in USA) we go on this decent national single-payer health plan and out of your pool altogether.

5. older folks can't manage 80-hour work weeks. Of course we can manage crunch time. We've done a lot of it, and we're skilled at getting it done.

Can we manage sustained 80-hour weeks for years at a time? No. Neither can you and keep your quality up.

6. older folks' skills are obsolete. Not true. Maybe that was true once, but many of us put a lot of work into keeping up to date. Safari Books Online, and online tutorials, and community / dev versions of various tools, have made that possible.

7. older folks would rather play golf than work. For many of us, that's just nonsense.

So, don't just screen out that resume showing a MS degree from 1980. Take a look.

magnumkarter 2 days ago 1 reply      
I used to worked for a startup where the CTO and CEO were older in their 40s and didn't hire people over 30 because they weren't a "culture fit". I was constantly asked what my age was (I look a bit older). The team clocked 60+ work weeks for a product that was barely progressing. The CTO was so work obsessed that he got married to his pregnant fiancee in the morning and came back in the afternoon to make up work.

Thankfully for my next job, while the staff is still older, they work smart instead working hard.

cookiecaper 2 days ago 1 reply      
While I think there are issues with the presentation, as edoceo noted, I love anything that stands to dispel the startup bubble myth that experience is a contraindication. I've been privileged to work in companies with programmers in their 50s and 60s and they've been great mentors. Their work continues to be top-notch and the insight and maturity they bring is absolutely invaluable.

In order to keep their labor costs depressed, VCs are incentivized to promote the lie that a very young workforce is an inherent asset, but there is simply no replacement for experience. As the industry continues to mature, that will be self-evident, as it is in all other mature industries.

JoblessWonder 2 days ago 2 replies      
Deja Vu.... Didn't we just have OldGeekJobs posted on here a while ago?
danieltillett 2 days ago 2 replies      
As a slightly older person (I am 46) and employer the issue I have found with older employees is they dont cope well with frequent change. I have always hired the person I thought was most qualified for the position and so have hired quite a few older people over the years.

What I have observed first hand is that if the job requirements are relatively stable then older people are fantastic, but if the requirements change from month to month (or week to week) then they struggle. As I know from personal experience fluid intelligence declines with age and as you get older rapid change gets increasing difficult to deal with. I wish it were otherwise :(

There are of course exceptions, the problem is that it is really hard to know who can adapt to rapid change in an interview or from a CV. A service that could test the fluid intelligence of job candidates would be very valuable, but it would almost certainly be sued out of existence for discriminating against older employees.

mamurphy 2 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting idea. Let me talk about something very tangential, if I may: a minor branding query.

Why go with "A Qureshi Media startup. Contact us at contact@qureshimedia.com" in the site footer?

It made me wonder "hmm, why haven't I heard of Qureshi Media, let me check them out, they are probably some huge media conglomerate." To my surprise, http://qureshimedia.com/ appears to be the website of a consultancy that includes the less than inspiring text "Our new site will be up soon."

If you are managing multiple established brands, having that in the site footer makes sense to me. For what appears to be a company's only brand, I wonder if it might be better relegated an "About" page. Thoughts?

mempko 2 days ago 4 replies      
I'm not old, 32, but this problem worries me. My plan for addressing the "Must keep up with latest tech" problem is to CREATE the latest technology. My hope if I create enough of it that in 15 years I'll be that old guy who created tech X or Y and nobody is going to bother wondering if I can keep up. Will this plan work? Who knows.

Best way to predict the future is create it right?

mathattack 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've benefited quite a bit from Oldster mentors in my career who had Been There, Done That but still wanted to be in the game. Combining hungry smart 20somethings with Wise Oldsters is a potent combo.
walrus1066 2 days ago 0 replies      
So much time is wasted in our field, reinventing the wheel, adopting ill suited architectures and abstractions, not seeing problems in advance, misunderstanding the requirements.

An experienced engineer, who can prevent the above is worth their weight in gold.

Because ultimately, the fundamentals of software engineering haven't changed for decades, like abstraction, modularization etc

agentgt 16 hours ago 0 replies      
My biz partner and I have a recruiting software company that makes career portals for corp HR and staffing firms (SnapHop).

We power many many branded niche staffing firm career portals. There are basically niche job boards but with recruiters backing it. For example I believe there is one just for retired nurses. It is very akin to all the different dating services.

It is absolutely amazing how many of them there are and how well they still do despite Indeed and Linkedin.

I imagine one of the major staffing firms (randstad, manpower, etc) will probably pick up this niche soon. Probably through an acquisition. The major staffing firms have thousands of niche job boards.

tgarma1234 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, as someone over 40 let me suggest a perhaps controversial take on this type of post: by the time you reach a certain age you should have found a place in life that doesn't involve "looking for a job" or "getting hired". The biggest problem with people at that age isn't that they aren't curious, creative, willing to work long hours, etc but rather that life hasn't worked out for them somehow and they need to apply for jobs. It's basically the same problem as trying to find a date to the prom when you are a teenager. Most people do it naturally and easily so if you are the last person in that game of musical chairs looking for a date, you should ponder seriously why nobody asked YOU yet. Likewise with jobs. If you have 20 years of perl programming experience and 10 certifications in various databases and suchlike, then why exactly aren't you an equity stakeholder in some successful business by now? Short answer: you aren't very good at the game we are all playing. Hence, I am passing on this hire.
77yy77yy 2 days ago 1 reply      
You are only as old as you believe you are. I'm 42 and won't trade spot with any 20-something for a job. The knowledge and experience I have today, most 20-something would love to have but.. they have to live some 20 years to now gain.

WTG putting this message together, good luck!

wyldfire 2 days ago 1 reply      
Between "tryoldster.com" and "oldgeekjobs.com" it strikes me as a stunning display of blatant ageism. I'm in the second half of my career and I like the idea of writing articles and making the case for hiring experienced men and women.

Venues which seem to explicitly encourage candidates/jobseekers to focus on age violate the spirit of the law if not the letter (29 U.S.C. 626).

koja86 1 day ago 0 replies      
Been thinking about related topics recently (probably as a result of this wave on HN) and realized that despite I am still a young pup (30) my goals are not that different. Knowing that certain company is actively hiring older, more experienced folks I would take it as a sign of potentially very interesting workplace where experience is actually needed and office environment might be actually sane.
x1798DE 2 days ago 1 reply      
I feel like I would love to use this, but I would be worried about HR freaking out. I had a training before being allowed to interview people and it mostly consisted of teaching how to avoid questions that might inadvertently provide you with information that could be used to discriminate against people that was also irrelevant to the actual job (e.g. don't ask "what do you like to do on the weekends", but you can ask "this job requires you to be on-call on weekends, is that something you are able to do?"). Going on a website specifically advertising that it has people in a specific class seems like the exact opposite of that.
6stringmerc 2 days ago 1 reply      
Um, I know it's not industry specific, but in the United States, since the 2008 Recession, workers age 55 and older have been the ones gaining employment. Zero Hedge routinely posts the BLS numbers that show just how much better the Oldsters are doing than the Under 30 crowd. Projecting a false notion that older workers are being slighted, when the opposite is true, is not good for the long-term health of a Consumer-Based economy like the United States.


davidgerard 2 days ago 0 replies      
Try going sideways to the "ops" side of devops. Lots of work for older sysadmins (I'm 50 in a coupla months), and you can often gently hint to your hotshot young devs the pitfalls of doing it not so well.

Also, as you get older: LEARN TO WEAR A SUIT. Not all the time - suits are going-out clothes, not things you waste on an office - but every now and then show that you can present well and be convincing. Your stock with the non-techies in the office will go through the roof.

edblarney 2 days ago 1 reply      
Obviously, all good intentions ... but the very title of this, and insinuations therein ... are really negative and creepy. I think there may possibly be more harm than good being done here.
terrib1e 2 days ago 3 replies      
Brilliant! I'm only 30 but I know plenty of older folks that have a hard time finding jobs. This is basically an issue across all industries. I'd love to get involved in this and help it grow.
jordanpg 2 days ago 1 reply      
What about appearance?

I'm a 37 year old self-taught backend dev (a fallen physicist) and I seem to be able to talk myself into a job with relative ease, both big and small companies.

I worry sometimes that a significant factor in this is that I still look and dress relatively young. I think this body has about 5 more years before it starts to look unambiguously like a grownup.

blisterpeanuts 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cool idea. There are some creative people out there. Rather than complain about the perceived age discrimination in tech and business generally, someone decided to do something about it. I hope it helps people.

I wonder if there's a broader solution to the problem that might involve more outreach and educational efforts to communicate to the younger folk that us oldsters have something valuable to offer, despite our encroaching senility and decrepitude :)

Perhaps however, the proof's in the pudding. Nudge some of the bigger corps. like Facebook & Google to expand the upper end of the age range a bit, and then people will rub shoulders with people possessing different and possibly broader life experience.

That said, I do find lots of 20-30-something techies to be quite smart and experienced so am not trying to knock them here. Quite often it comes down to the individual's qualities and not merely their numerical age.

jrochkind1 2 days ago 6 replies      
An oldster in HN world is someone over 32, right?
jplahn 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is tangentially related (and wholly anecdotal), but one thing I've noticed is that when dealing with other engineers or managers, it's often very easy to tell who has kids and who doesn't. I find myself drawn towards those who have them because they have a knack for understanding people better and can approach mentorship on another level. Easily the best engineer I've ever worked with had a couple of kids, only worked 30 hours a week, but did more to grow team members than any other engineer has done in 20 hours more per week.

It's not a perfect 1 -> 1 to between kids and age obviously, but working with older engineers (and managers/TPMs) has been invaluable for the growth early in my career and I wish we had more of them.

Mz 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is possibly the wrong framing. It might be better to do something like this with the framing on "a veteran of the industry" or "someone with experience." Being old per se does not necessarily make you one with more relevant work experience.

Just my 2 cents.

Best of luck.

DrNuke 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think hire an oldster is a flawed argument per se. In fact, once escaped the hourly rate trap, forever escaped. Think in terms of providing added monetary value and charge your clients a well deserved 20% instead of asking for a salary. That way, if you are so smart you will work many less hours for a much higher return. This comes natural as we get older because we grow both human and technical benchmarks, but I concede it may not be the best setup for a fast burning startup (headless chickens environment it seems to us). That's why this kind of posts here on HN, recently.
josefresco 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sooo no age requirement to submit a resume? How old is an "oldster"?
unicornporn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Have you been inspired by http://www.hyrenpensionar.net/?

It's a Swedish site that's been around for quite a few years.

Translated it means exactly "hire an oldster", or rather "hire a pensioner".

yitchelle 2 days ago 0 replies      
As I am approaching my 50s, I kinda find this type of jobsites a little discriminating. I know that age should not contribute to whether you are suitable for a job or not, but the reality on the ground is rather different.

Should there be sites that zone in on a particular discriminating aspect of a person? Hmm, like www.hireanoldveteran.com for old veterans that are having trouble looking for jobs.

anjc 2 days ago 0 replies      
This service should be superfluous due to enforcement of discrimination laws. If companies are specifically not hiring older people then there's surely some way to find out.

And the idea that an "oldster" is a thing should not be legitimised by people in the tech industry. Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas.

vacri 2 days ago 0 replies      
If this is just for the advertising industry, wouldn't 'oldsters have broader networks' also be worth noting? I would have thought networking to be particularly important in advertising.
gpm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is this legal? Seems like age discrimination to recruit via this platform.
thekevan 2 days ago 0 replies      
What is the age to qualify as an "oldster"?

I would think in web development it could be as low as say, 35 but in sales, 50 may only be approaching it.

crispytx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why is this on the front page of hacker news? Did everyone just upvote this without actually reading it?
debt 2 days ago 0 replies      
many huge tech companies in SV are predominately marketing companies(fb, google, etc.)

they wanna hire the youths. it sucks but it's reality.

also, you get more bang for you buck by hiring young workers(no family, kids, house, obligations, etc.)

mortdeus 2 days ago 0 replies      
isn't this against age discrimination laws in the us? define "oldster" and "veteran"
jknoepfler 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you're 50 (edit: and have 20+ years of experience) and interviewing for low level tech jobs, I have to think you just haven't given a fuck for the last 10-20 years of your career. Like why aren't you either

1. Retired

2. A principal dev

3. Managing

4. Doing your own thing

5. Raising kids

If you say "I just like to code," fuck off. I'm growing a business, not "Just coding."

If you say "I have super powers," I say you're probably delusional. I'll get someone who has 15 years' experience who isn't delusional.

If you're still writing ifttt code at 50, yeah, I can find someone with literally 15 year's experience to do the same thing who is more than qualified for the job, but who won't either die or fail to grow with the role. I'm sorry if that's a shitty thing to say, but let's embrace reality.

If I can't find anyone else, I'll take a chance on you, but I want to hire people who will grow with the role, not people biding their time doing service-level code work.

If you think that's cruel, try getting a job in law.

Edit: p.s. If you're 50 and just starting out in programming, none of this applies. I'm interested. It's not age that concerns me, it's failure to grow.

GitHub lost $66M in nine months of 2016 bloomberg.com
534 points by mobee  3 days ago   559 comments top 42
mmastrac 3 days ago 10 replies      
The thought of losing Github to the startup graveyard is kind of scary. It was bad enough to lose Google Code and when SourceForge had their "great purge" of inactive projects.
drchiu 3 days ago 12 replies      
I can't find the blog post, but some blog wrote a while ago why VCs invest in companies like Github. TL;DR -- basically it provides infrastructure for other startups.

The business itself may not be a great business due to the amount of cost it takes to run it -- but it's necessary for the running of other ventures.

Sort of like highways and non-toll bridges.

Shorel 3 days ago 4 replies      
Everyone is comparing GitHub with GitLab in the comments, but they are ignoring the other competitor.

I think Atlassian is the company that makes the most out of the git marketplace, even if they have fewer customers. They are simply more efficient, and are ready to take over with Bitbucket if GitHub fails.

Also, many companies pay for Jira+Confluence even if they use GitHub.

joeax 3 days ago 2 replies      
The takeaways from the article:

(1) They went on a hiring spree in 2015-16, dramatically increasing their costs before their revenue was able to keep up. Something to keep an eye on in 2017.

(2) Half the team is remote! Kudos to them for making this work.

ThePhysicist 3 days ago 0 replies      
Considering the piles of venture money they received it sometimes startles me how few new features they have pushed to production in the last two years. Gitlab, on the other hand, seems to push a new major feature every other month. Of course it helps that they don't have to worry about running a SaaS service for several tens of millions of users, but still it seems that Github is too focused on minor improvements and might just lose the game against the open-source approach of Gitlab.
antirez 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's a few years now I can not see Github focused, from the external POV at least, to provide good coder tools. All the new things only marginally improve on what we used to have. I would worry more about that than about the losses themselves, since I feel the losses mostly reflect the fact the company has no clear direction so is spending money on workforce in the hope to have larger effects. Perhaps they don't need more people but more focus.
cyphar 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised that they actually have a recreation of the oval office in their office. How arrogant and self-important do you have to be to honestly believe that such a parody is in any way justified? No, GitHub, you're not in charge of the free software world. You were just the first decent choice for code hosting. GitLab is eating your lunch and you're pretending that it's not happening.
nikcub 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting that 600 employees sounds like a lot, but it works out that revenue/employee p.a is $230k+ - which is above average for enterprise SaaS[0] - and you have the 25%+ annual growth on that

That said, they should be doing better margin-wise since they would have relatively lower customer acquisition costs compared to the market since they have so much developer recognition.

[0] http://tomtunguz.com/revenue-per-employee-trends/

rexreed 3 days ago 2 replies      
It seemed that Github was doing just fine accomplishing their mission and goals when they were bootstrapping, but things got ridiculous with a massive (and possibly unneeded) VC investment. Or at least an investment of that humongous sum of money.

Can someone explain the rationale behind pumping all this money into firms that clearly don't need such vast amounts of it, which only spurs exorbitant and unnecessary spending? Is it some sort of non-obvious game of unicorn musical chairs hoping for a hyper inflated exit before the music stops?

wjossey 3 days ago 1 reply      
I hope this is a temporary blip on the radar for Github, and that they return to profitability very quickly.

Github should be a pillar platform in our community for the next decade, and the only way for them to become that is via profitability.

throwaway2222c 3 days ago 0 replies      
I once met Chris Wanstrath. He is the most arrogant guy I ever met.

I travelled for an hour and he sat there staring at his phone between looking at me like something he had trodden in.

At least pointing tens of companies at Gitlab has made me feel better.

nunez 3 days ago 3 replies      

I don't care how advanced GitHub is; that is an INSANE number of employees for this kind of business!

moritzplassnig 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised that the author doesn't focus more on the other numbers (the burn numbers aren't surprising to me - see here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13190371). According to the author's data, GitHub had $25M in ARR in Sep'14. That's 2 years and 2 months after they announced their $100M round, so probably 28 months after they signed a term sheet.

If you calculate back from there, let's say $12M in ARR in Sep'13, $6M in Sep'12 and $4-5M in May'12 - that's insane (them raising $100M). Not sure if Bloomberg's data is correct but if we look at the other data points (probably same source data), $90M in ARR in Sep'16, it seems to be accurate.

Sep'12: $6M (assumed) -- raised $100M a couple of months earlierSep'13: $12M (assumed)Sep'14: $25M (according to Bloomberg)Sep'15: $50M (assumed)Sep'16: $90M (according to Bloomberg)

sergiotapia 3 days ago 5 replies      
>The new digs gave employees a reason to come into the office. Visitors would enter a lobby modeled after the White Houses Oval Office before making their way to a replica of the Situation Room. The company also erected a statue of its mascot, a cartoon octopus-cat creature known as the Octocat. The 55,000-square-foot space is filled with wooden tables and modern art.

The Sillicon Valley episodes write themselves it seems haha. This is hilarious.

rampage101 2 days ago 1 reply      
I remember reading a few years ago how GitHub and StackOverflow were the new resumes. You needed a good profile on both to have any chance of getting hired.

It just goes to show that having a profile on a website does not define who you are as a developer. Websites go under, and better ones will rise up. I hope GitHub does stay around... I do not care for their "politics" but I like their service.

bootload 3 days ago 3 replies      
"GitHub quickly became essential to the code-writing process at technology companies of all sizes and gave birth to a new generation of programmers by hosting their open-source code for free."

How much would you be willing to pay to store your open-source code at github?

andrewbinstock 3 days ago 1 reply      
GitHub has some significant challenges ahead that are not mentioned in this article. As companies move to the cloud, they will run their own development ecosystems--SCM, CI, defect tracking, etc.--in their own cloud; and hosting services like GitHub and BitBucket will have a hard time competing. Already Oracle (and surely other vendors) are offering developer cloud instances that provide these services all wired together.
josho 3 days ago 12 replies      
This is an example of how VCs distort the market for other businesses.

I had a recent conversation with a prospect and they took issue with the price of our software. Our app is in a specialized industry (ie. a smaller market). We charge a per use fee of $35. This fee enables our customer to immediately earn nearly $200 (a 5x return with no risk to them). Despite the significant benefit and profitability of using the app the prospect took issue with our price and referred to the cost of other apps.

It was that conversation that made me realize how we've become accustomed to the quality and price of software that's been heavily subsidized by massive VC investments.

pep_guardiola 3 days ago 1 reply      
please guys get your shit together. I guess I would be able to figure out an alternative but a big chunk of my life as a programmer is centered around Github. It would be a major let down to see them perish.
alistproducer2 3 days ago 1 reply      
The subtext to this (at least why this made it to the front page) is "github is lighting money on fire, can't last forever, but github is infrastructure-status now what if it disappears?"

I think this anxiety is why there's a lot of work being done in the decentralized space right now. The UX-side of "web 3.0" is sorely lacking but I think it's only a matter of time before people begin to crack it.

I'd love to see some research into what it would take (in terms of network size) to provide robust, decentralized replacements for service-as-infrastructure products like Github.

camus2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Fortunately it is easy to push the same repo to multiple hosts with git. So people, use mirrors instead of putting all your eggs in the same basket. Git is a distributed CVS, relying only on github means you are using it just like SVN.
pavlik_enemy 2 days ago 0 replies      
It feels that GitHub failed to create an ecosystem and did little innovating it just turned a single-tenant application to multi-tenant (which sometimes is no small feat). They could've created other developer-oriented products - issue management, CI, code review etc and they could've innovated more in their primary area that is storing code like providing better tools for code exploration than simple search (see GitQL project).
kristopolous 3 days ago 0 replies      
Staying in an annual budget of $98 million sounds feasible for a place like github. That's an $8.1m/month burn. Just be a little less elaborate, I'm sure this is doable.
dkarapetyan 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is why the mania around unicorns is not sustainable. The best part is that github isn't even burning money that fast compared to some of the other ones.
galfarragem 2 days ago 1 reply      
Github is too good to fail IMHO: if they raise a bit their prices, all their paying costumers will still stay and their money problems will mitigate.

By the other hand, Atom is clearly a long term loser and they should let it go. Their contribution to the text editing world was terrific but now they should focus where they are the best.

kumarski 3 days ago 5 replies      
I always freak about some other country attacking github.

The world would crumble/ it's probably some sort of weird national security scenario.

tscs37 2 days ago 1 reply      
I personally moved away from Github, mostly due to political issues, secondarily because of this funding issue. Can't keep burning money forever.

I put my private stuff on my own Gogs instance or on Bitbucket, tho I like Gogs UI much better, it's closer to github. The community fork of it, Gitea, is also making progress to enable pull request federation.

Would be awesome if I could work together with people using Gitlab, Github or Gitea without them having to sign upto my site. They just fork to their own site, make their patches and submit the pull request to my upstream.

GitHub has little value to me, the social network they built can move elsewhere like it is for many programmers and coders.

vacri 3 days ago 0 replies      
> The company paid to send employees jetting across the globe to Amsterdam, London, New York and elsewhere.

If a company as vitally important to an industry as Github is to software can't do this... it's time to really worry.

partycoder 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you are an investor, you want to invest $1 to get $2 back (aka shareholder value). If your dividends are not growing, you divest and invest somewhere else.

Now, the thing is very competitive, and many companies offer "exponential growth". If your growth slows down, if the perspective is not good, divestment starts and that is a downwards spiral.

To stay competitive and to prevent an investor run, companies are forced to take massive risks. And risks materialize into huge disasters... like this one apparently.

bsder 3 days ago 2 replies      
Apparently "git cash" isn't working very well ...
huntermonk 3 days ago 0 replies      
> "The income statement shows a loss of $66 million in the first three quarters of this year. Thats more than twice as much lost in any nine-month time frame by Twilio Inc., another maker of software tools founded the same year as GitHub."

These sort of statements are a little annoying. I understand that Bloomberg has to write for a less technical audience, but the writer must know this isn't an accurate comparison.

christop 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting to read there (and nowhere else that I could find) that GitHub co-founder Scott Chacon left the company this year.
tim333 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's funny reading Tom Preston-Werner's write up on GitHub in Dec 08:

>You Dont Need Venture Capital

>A lot has been written recently about how the venture capital world is changing. I dont pretend to be an expert on the subject, but Ive learned enough to say that a web startup like ours doesnt need any outside money to succeed. I know this because we havent taken a single dime from investors. We bootstrapped the company on a few thousand dollars and became profitable the day we opened to the public and started charging for subscriptions.

I guess VCing up and losing money is a choice. They probably figure the odd $100m cash loss will end up as $1bn+ on the market cap. He looks quite cheerful in his rich list write up http://www.forbes.com/profile/tom-preston-werner/

DeBraid 3 days ago 0 replies      
Short-selling companies that make very popular and effective developer tools is low expected value play.
Animats 3 days ago 2 replies      
Uh oh. So much is dependent on Github. Is there a full mirror?
stefek99 3 days ago 0 replies      
How come such a fantastic product is not massively profitable?
234dd57d2c8db 3 days ago 0 replies      
You know, I can't say I'm surprised. When github first started, it was just about code. Nothing else. Then they started with all the identity politics crap.

As soon as a company starts parroting political messages like "white middle managers have no empathy" instead of, you know, building good tools, I know it's time to find another solution. I was a paying customer, and when github got into the political game, I dropped them like a bad habit.

I'm not screwing around here, I'm trying to build a business and your political aspirations do _nothing_ for me as a customer, so why don't you take them and shove em. Happy customer at bitbucket ever since.

dijit 3 days ago 8 replies      
Longhanks 3 days ago 3 replies      
k0mplex 3 days ago 1 reply      
pinkrooftop 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe they'll be the next Verizon aquisition
therealjohn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one the tone in this article bothers? The author keeps criticizing and belittling the CEO, who is obviously significantly smarter than him. There might be correlation there.
The Idea of Lisp dev.to
481 points by rbanffy  2 days ago   331 comments top 17
rntz 2 days ago 9 replies      
This article has many misstatements in its first half.

> John McCarthy wrote 6 easy things in machine code, then combined them to make a programming language.

John McCarthy didn't implement Lisp in machine code. Steve Russell did. Implementing Lisp properly in machine code is not easy; you have to write a garbage collector. To do that in the early 60s, you had to first invent garbage collection. Lisp was and is brilliant, but not as easily bootstrappable as this makes it out to be.

> It's not obvious that these six things are computationally complete (AKA Turing Complete).

`lambda` and function application alone are Turing-complete, as McCarthy would have known. The credit here belongs with Turing and Church, not McCarthy. `atom`, `cons`, `car` and all the rest are just icing on the cake of the lambda calculus when it comes to computability.

> All other meaning can be defined in terms of them.

Yes, and you can build everything on top of the SK combinator calculus if you like, but that doesn't make it a good idea. Lisp is surprisingly practical given how few core constructs it has, but real Lisp implementations have always added more primitives (eg. numbers and addition) for reasons of practicality.

> The language was defined in terms of itself as an interpreter. This is a proof by construction that the language is computationally complete.

No, it isn't. To prove Turing-completeness you need to show that you are as powerful as Turing machines. To do this it suffices to show that you can interpret a language already known to be Turing-complete. Showing you can interpret yourself does not suffice. It's easy to define a language which can do nothing useful except interpret itself, for example. (See also wyager's comment.)

> Well, Lisp is defined as an interpreter in terms of itself from the get-go, just like a Universal Turing Machine.

No. Defining a language only in itself is nonsense, for exactly the reason given above: it means nothing yet! It's like writing in a dictionary:

 qyzzyghlm, v. intr. To qyzzyghlm.
It explains nothing unless you already understand it!

> Lisp is a universal language because it can interpret its own code. While you can certainly write a JavaScript interpreter in JavaScript, none of the work is done for you.

Almost none of the work is done for you in Lisp either. The core of Lisp is just a relatively easy language to implement, while Javascript is a difficult one. Lisp is easy to implement because it has simple syntax (s-expressions) and few core constructs. The only thing that is special about implementing Lisp in Lisp is that Lisp uses s-expressions as its core data structure, so you don't have to invent an AST representation. The article, to its credit, explores this idea later.

agentgt 2 days ago 7 replies      
The conditional expression or more specifically everything being an expression is my favorite thing about Lisp. I did not know that McCarthy pushed to add it to Algol which apparently today is the ternary operator for most languages.

It is annoying that so many languages (C, Java, C#, etc) have both a conditional statement (if-else) and conditional expression (ternary ?:). Really the if-else should be an expression (I think the ternary operator is hideous).

QuadrupleA 2 days ago 5 replies      
It's interesting, I'm reading Black Swan at the moment by Nassim Taleb, and one of his big rants is about how we get blinded by idealized, platonic forms and ideas when the real world is messy and inherently unpredictable. E.g. trying to explain the forms of nature with platonic archetypal shapes like circles, rectangles and triangles. Lisp and the community around it kinda has that flavor - getting lost in a world of "pure forms" and grand ideas, but downplaying the important but messy practical reality of hardware, useful libraries, and getting cool stuff done with a minimum of fuss. I'm periodically fascinated by Lisp (I wrote an interpreter or two in C) but I wonder if its "Platonicity" is part of its downfall.
wyager 2 days ago 1 reply      
> This is a proof by construction that the language is computationally complete.

The definition of Turing completeness in the article is not correct. A language being able to execute programs written in itself is not a sufficient condition of Turing completenes. Trivial example: define a language with one pre-defined term, x, which is a routine that takes as input a string, checks if it's "x", and executes it if it is. The empty language is a counter-example as well, but that's cheating.

I'm also not sure if the use of the phrase "fixed point" is a misunderstanding of the definition of a fixed point or just an unfortunate use of a term that already has great significance in LISP.

mroll 2 days ago 1 reply      
Nice article. Check out Paul graham's The Roots of Lisp for a similar exploration in which he shows how to build the metacircular interpreter.

> John McCarthy wrote 6 easy things in machine code

It was actually Steve Russel, McCarthy's grad student, who had the idea of writing McCarthy's eval function in machine code.

lisper 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm working on a Lisp-based introductory programming book:


Still very much a work in progress. Feedback appreciated.

vram22 2 days ago 0 replies      
For anyone interested, John McCarthy's original paper on Lisp is here:



From the page:

"This paper appeared in Communications of the ACM in April 1960. It is the original paper on Lisp."

I had mentioned it in this blog post in which I gave a few examples of doing simple computations recursively in Python (for beginners).

Recursive computation of simple functions:


kluck 2 days ago 4 replies      
Lisp was developed because McCarthy needed a tool for experimenting with AI. Found a video of McCarthy talking about AI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ozipf13jRr4

And if anyone cares, here is nice Shirt with McCarthy on it ;)https://www.teepublic.com/t-shirt/666689-john-mccarthy-lisp-...

I think it should be mandatory for CS students to implement their own little Lisp using the building blocks McCarthy described! Instead they are learning Java and ist crappy OO...

georgeecollins 2 days ago 1 reply      
When I was a kid they made us learn C and Lisp as part of Cognitive Science degree. I don't really use either language, unless you count C++. But I do feel that between those two languages you can understand two ideals really well. One is the idea of a clean symbolic expression, the other is the idea of a portable language that lets you get to the core of what the machine is really doing. Both are useful ways to think about programming.
erik14th 2 days ago 9 replies      
I wonder why lisp isn't as popular as say python for AI, ML, and stuff. I see these fields as having a strong academic tone, and it feels like racket or clojure could be bigger when it comes to that.
cr0sh 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can't comment too much on this article, as I have a very, very limited view on LISP - basically just a couple of minor tutorials and one of the open-source interpreters. For me, it's always been one of those "I need to learn this" kind of languages, but I've never had a use case for it, and so it remains a curiosity to me more than anything.

I do know, though, that LISP allows the creation (or at least I have heard) for DSLs - so I am curious what people here think about this.

I'm also curious if anyone has an opinion on JetBrains MSL:


...and whether that would be a better thing to learn before or after learning LISP, as well as how it compares to LISP?

It's yet another "thing" that has caught my eye over the years, but again - no use case, and so it remains on the back burner for now...

bpicolo 2 days ago 6 replies      
Does anybody have a few examples of DSLs people make in a lisp (ideally clojure because I have worked with it a tad)? I've seen plenty of cases where people make a pseudo-dsl via optional arguments, but not seen this so-oft mentioned "yeah we just wrote a dsl for it because lisp" sort of deal.
stcredzero 2 days ago 0 replies      
The thing about the way ideas about programming are "sold" to other programmers, is that it has as much to do with the actual profession of programming as a typical tween's conception of being a "rockstar" has to do with the actual profession of being a touring musician. A lot of the really vital hard work is glossed over, and huge amounts of attention are paid to certain abstracted "sexy" ideas.

When people watch someone soldering, their attention is drawn to the iron, and to the shiny melted flowing metal. However, it's really cleaning the tip of the iron and having an iron that can provide enough power at the right temperature that matters.

amelius 2 days ago 5 replies      
Question: what would a LISP dialect with static typing look like?

EDIT: Found an answer: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3323549/is-a-statically-t...

qwertyuiop924 2 days ago 0 replies      
Since this takes so much from things Alan has said, I'd be interested in seeing what he thinks.

Alan, if you're there, would you care to comment?

WhitneyLand 2 days ago 1 reply      
I know their is an active community around Lisp and it's still used for development, but I apparently have not dug deep enough to appreciate when it's the best choice for a new project.

Can someone mantion a few features or scenarios that make it the best choice for starting a new project?

clarkd99 2 days ago 7 replies      
This great idea of Lisp (the simple syntax of function calls in round brackets) isn't much different than a good macro assembler even back in the 1960's. The only major difference was that more than 1 function could be defined in 1 source code line. (I think that machine code is nothing but a sequence of function calls where the function is the logic encoded in the CPU itself for each opcode.) Is it fair to compare the complexity of expression evaluation etc (Fortran) with a macro assembler? Obviously any program can be coded in a macro assembler and therefore that would also be true from a syntax like Lisp.

When I was in my 20's, I programmed at least 100,000 lines of Z80 assembler for the first micro computers. One project was at least 40,000 lines and so I know how difficult it is to program larger assembler programs. The biggest problem is that it is hard to see the structure of the loops and conditionals that we normally indent in higher level languages. (You can indent a Lisp program in any way but the language doesn't require any at all.) It is also difficult to recognize expressions. Both of these problems are also there in Lisp (unlike most other high level languages).

One last point about the linked list structure at the heart of Lisp. Linked lists are poorly executed in modern computers that rely heavily on locality of data, to optimize the L1 cache. Lisp was very easy on the compiler/interpreter writer but wasn't very good at optimizing the readability of the code for the programmer. (I don't want a religious war but I will point out that most programmers have never programmed in Lisp even though it was one of the first computer languages created.) Before I get a lot of dissing comments, I think with practice, some programmers developed an eye for the lack of structural clues and made some reasonable size code. You could say the same about some programmers making quite good large scale programs in assembler but that doesn't mean that writing in assembler or Lisp should be encouraged.

Galileo navigation satellite system goes live dw.com
397 points by vezycash  1 day ago   148 comments top 12
rzimmerman 1 day ago 9 replies      
Galileo's actual value has always been murky. It's use case has changed a lot over the years. Originally it was meant to be a navigation system free of GPS's Selective Availability "feature" that diluted precision for civilian use. The Clinton administration effectively killed SA (http://www.gps.gov/systems/gps/modernization/sa/) in 2000. Galileo was sold as a higher precision civilian alternative that was going to be commercially viable and make money. A few years later the US made improvements to the GPS ephemerides and effectively increased precision of GPS, making the benefits less obvious. The new block of GPS satellites offers even better precision and a lot of the Galileo features (like multiple civilian frequencies). It's honestly quite hard to compete with a free alternative that the US government throws billions of dollars at. Still, GPS can't hit sub-meter accuracy any time soon, so there's a real potential use case emerging for autonomous cars and aircraft.

If you're excited and interested in Galileo it's really worth reading up on how GPS works and was built. The first satellite was launched almost forty years ago and it was operational in the 1980s. It's truly one of the coolest and most amazing things made by humans.

neals 1 day ago 4 replies      
I like living in Europe most of the time. And I'm sure if we could get over a lot of petty, cultural, differences, we could build more amazing things and innovate at a much faster speed then we have been so far.
olig15 1 day ago 11 replies      
The high precision offered by Galileo was one of the reasons why the Pentagon rejected the system in the first place. There were fears that adversaries of NATO or of other allies could use it for military purposes. However, engineers have found a solution to that problem: should a serious crisis arise, the military can jam a certain part of the broadcasting spectrum. This would cut off civilian use, but still retain the functions that are reserved for allied military purposes.

This seems like quite a big issue; If any of the EU states go to war, then planes and other civilian things relying on Galileo would stop working? Would they fall back to GPS?

jonknee 1 day ago 5 replies      
> Using GPS, private users can navigate with a precision of up to 15 meters (m). Galileo offers a precision of up to 4m for its fully open service.


> Real-world data from the FAA show their high-quality GPS SPS receivers attaining better than 2.168 meter horizontal accuracy, 95% of the time.

0xcoffee 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are GPS systems just plug and play, or does the software also have to be compatible. e.g. Could I just replace the GPS receiver in my car to one that supports Galileo (even though I don't think any are on the market yet)?
nayuki 1 day ago 0 replies      
The article contained a strange word "eparated". It took me a few seconds to realize it meant "separated". I tried Googling the word to check how good its spelling correction was - but instead it came back with no correction and real results about automobiles. It seems to have parsed the word as "EPA rated", alluding to fuel efficiency.
bradhe 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Now that there's a second player in this world, maybe we can standardize the hardware? Great the satellites are online...but how many devices have been manufactured with the requisite hardware?

Also wonder how many devices this network can support. I'm sure there is sufficient capacity but I'm just curious how the capacity is calculated!

nazca 1 day ago 1 reply      
Any guess when devices will start using Galileo?I'm thinking about dropping some coin in a Garmin Fish Finder & chartplotter for my boat. Currently sell models that use GPS & GLONASS.
cm2187 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Do we know when Galileo-compatible chips are expected to be deployed widely?
guelo 1 day ago 1 reply      
With the new Trump/Putin alliance NATO will be threatened. It makes sense for Europe to develop independent military infrastructure and to ramp up military spending.
nullnilvoid 1 day ago 2 replies      
Europe is really late to the party. GPS has been here for a long time. China's Bei Dou has been operational for a few years and is entering the 3rd generation.
phkahler 1 day ago 1 reply      
Where do they get off claiming Ariane 5 has a perfect record? It's explosion is one of the classic stories of software failure.
Google Web Designer (2013) google.com
431 points by chenster  3 days ago   149 comments top 33
themodelplumber 3 days ago 4 replies      
I just checked out the included templates. At least the first 20-30 are all ad templates, one of which is a full-screen mobile interstitial! That's the same element that just got an SEO finger wag from the Google Webmaster Central Blog[0].

_Just_ as the list of templates started getting interesting with some Youtube slider-thing integration, it came to an end. So yeah, this seems to be aimed at folks who need to build ads quickly and don't want to have to be HTML5 pros.

With that said, there's a "my templates" feature so maybe you can use it to maintain your Star Trek fan website, or business portfolio website, too. I'd just hesitate to recommend that in general, as my experience with GUI HTML5 builders has been that they aren't the best IDEs or text editors and I really quickly start to need one in order to be efficient.

[0] https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/08/helping-users-easi...

vcool07 3 days ago 22 replies      
Could any expert shed any information on why we lack a professional front-end WYSIWYG kind of editor for the web ? I remember tools like dreamweaver/frontpage existed a long time ago, but don't hear about them anymore. Is it something that's too hard to make or is it just that the market doesn't exist ?
politician 3 days ago 1 reply      
It looks like they are positioning this as an efficient way to create ad units, not entire websites. Maybe it should be called Google Ad Designer?
johnhenry 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just wanted to point out that this has been out for quite some time with little updates. If you click "Download Web Designer Beta", in the top-right corner, you'll see a note saying that the page hasn't been modified since April, 2014. Nonetheless, it could be a cool product -- if only Google decides to move forward with it.
waterflame 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've been using this tool since a year now to quickly build HTML5 banners for DoubleClick.1- the software was way too buggy than it is now, yet, it still is, and updates aren't that frequent.2- all objects are positioned absolute, even though you can choose to create a responsive banner.3- for me, it's perfect for ads, and handles animations pretty well (it uses CSS animations)4- you can always access the generated code and modify it once you understand how it works.5- I would never use it to create anything other than ads.6- the UI sucks, especially when the biggest part of the process is adding assets, modifying their properties or settings their CSS, and you constantly have to resize the accordion drawers.
hkdobrev 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was wondering if this is the same software which was announced years ago and it was still in beta or it's a new software that's in beta. I've found I've personally added the record to Homebrew Cask in 2013 - https://github.com/caskroom/homebrew-cask/commit/429e430a622...
tonyhb 2 days ago 0 replies      
This has been out for around 5 years. I remember installing this at an ad agency I worked at when HTML5 ads were barely a thing.

At this point they probably have a small team working on it for sake of their ad division but people here shouldn't into this too much.

ourcat 2 days ago 1 reply      
Having lived through the birth (and death) of HotDog / Dreamweaver / Frontpage etc. my biggest concern here is "HTML soup".

My next biggest concern is that these tools don't really teach people much about how the web works and also that marketer-types tend to over-use these tools with their new-found 'skills' and build over-bloated sites.

HTML is easy.

sandGorgon 3 days ago 0 replies      
+1000Cross platform including Linux. I hope this tool gets traction and goes beyond html5 to mobile design as well.
keyle 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting product. There is a huge demand for it and I'm not sure what Adobe ended up doing and if it works well. Interesting these products that come so late to the party, to fix the gap left by Flash (it had timeline animations etc. like so) for html5.
t3ra 2 days ago 0 replies      
So its not targeted towards making "pages" more towards just making HTML5 banners. I guess just trying to replace flash banners with HTML5 ones

The templates are all for banners and the tools for making say a "div" are not there.

mochidusk 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm currently building a browser-based WYSIWYG to make book covers. I've tried SVG and Canvas but it's terrible for implementing multi-line text. Trying to add kerning, tracking was almost impossible.

Not sure if anyone's heard of Readymag[0], but I'm really impressed with their editor - and it has excellent typography tools and UI.

Anyway, what I've noticed is that now many people are abandoning their own websites & blogs in favor of a centralized service such as Medium, Instagram, etc.. I remember a few years ago there were alot of fashion bloggers and now they're all on Instagram, updating daily. People have lost interest in designing, building, maintaining their own sites because it's too much work for the average person. Not to mention traffic going to the individual sites are neglible compared to social media. When posting a photo on your own site gets 10 visitors, but that same photo garners hundreds of likes on somebody else's platform, then you're going to be spending time on that platform.

[0] http://readymag.com

SnowingXIV 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wish things like this existed but not for front end, but for handling databases. I want to be able to send values from my static sites into a database and then from there be able to perform hooks and actions from said database. This all being done securely. I need form handling and tracking.
nnd 2 days ago 0 replies      
On a related note: anyone knows a good guide to catch up with the recent frontend design/development trends?
stevebmark 3 days ago 2 replies      
Adobe Edge has already tried the HTML5 tooling route http://www.adobe.com/products/edge-animate.html. I don't think they got much traction and essentially abandoned it. Curious if this offers anything different.
namaemuta 2 days ago 0 replies      
For a moment I thought that google had designed a software for app designs like Sketch or Adobe XD. None of them works for Linux so I was pretty excited until I realised what it was really :(
avecfromage 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looks interesting! From the website, it is difficult to say how this software is different to existing solutions like for example rocketcake. I guess it is more useful for creating HTML ads?

Also, what if google decides to shut this down suddenly someday? Will it be easy to switch a project to a different software then?

hmoghnie 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder when will they shut it down.
vivekd 2 days ago 2 replies      
Where is the need for this product? People who know about computers will probably just use the very easy to learn HTML and CSS code and people who don't know computers will likely use wix or wordpress or some similar alternative. I wonder where this product will fit?
bertjk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hmm looks kind of like Celtra's AdCreator[0]. I wonder which came first? Has anyone used both who can compare the two?

[0] https://www.celtra.com/adcreator

aluhut 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know if it installs that Google Updater Service also on Win?
frik 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any news? Is it a new version. I have it installed for at least a year.
Yhippa 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm on mobile so I can't use the app but I'm hoping for a spiritual successor to HyperCard. Looks like there's a lot of hand holding being done however.
symlinkk 3 days ago 1 reply      
what GUI toolkit is this made in?
wbillingsley 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is this any relation to Pixate (which they sadly closed)?
Raphmedia 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ha, Google Web [Ads] Designer! I tried it. Works really well but who works on ads on a daily basis?
sansubr 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is really cool. Landing pages could be built faster with this now..
baboun 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google Dreamweaver
gigatexal 2 days ago 0 replies      
What's old is new again: hello dreamweaver just this time from google.
fbreduc 3 days ago 1 reply      
the day google became microsoft for real this time... webdesigner aka frontpage
aeharding 3 days ago 0 replies      
jdub 2 days ago 0 replies      
"The 90s are back, baby!"
TekMol 2 days ago 0 replies      
I thought, "ok let's try this..." hovered over the green button and then WOAH! "Download Web Designer Beta" wtf.. DOWNLOAD? Are we back in the 90s?
Scientists engineer mice genomes to lengthen their lifespans by 30 percent nytimes.com
312 points by mrfusion  3 days ago   194 comments top 24
daemonk 3 days ago 5 replies      
tldr for biologists out there. They made a transgenic mouse line of doxycycline inducible Yamanaka factors in progeria (LAKI) background. Too high induction lead to mortality and teratomas, which is known. They cyclicly induced the Yamanaka factors and found it reversed signs of aging (prolong lifespan by ~30%)
jgord 3 days ago 3 replies      
Its very noisy to read these 'blip' articles, rather like following the stock ticker blow by blow ...

Its wonderful that we see these interesting reports every week, but as a non-specialist you never how it will impact human longevity, and when.

What I'd like to read is a well considered "state-of-longevity-science" report - by someone not Aubrey DeGray (give the man a medal) but equally cognizant, perhaps more conservative - that actually explains and weighs the torrent of advancements as they happen and gives them some context.

What is the likely impact of crispr, of rosveratrol, of telomere-foo, of gene-therapy, of blood cleansing, of stem-cells on logevity in 10 / 20 years ? Where and why should we rationally allocate research money ? What is likely to benefit Alzheimers patients in the 5 year term ?

Its the kind of state of play you need updated on a monthly basis, due to the pace of progress.

Does such a report already exist ?

HaveCourage 3 days ago 8 replies      
Summary of pro death arguments re: longevity progress

 Fairness Only rich people will get it. (no tech has ever done this.) Better to give money to the poor than science. (family,city,state,nation, has proven local investment beats foreign.) Bad for society Dead people make more room for new, other people. (consider going first.) Run out of resources (live people discover/extract/renew better than dead or nonexistant) Overpopulation (colonize the seas, solar system, or have a war.) Stop having kids Worse wars (nukes are more dangerous than having your first 220 year old person in 2136) Dictators never die (they die all the time and rarely of age) Bad for individual You'll get bored. (your memory isn't that good, or your boredom isn't age related) You'll have to watch your loved ones die. (so you prefer they watch you?) You'll live forever in a terrible state. (longevity requires robustness.) Against gods will (not if he disallows suicide, then it is required.)
More people make more progress faster. I'm glad my parents didn't decide the world would be prettier or work better without me in it. Einstein, Bell, Tesla, Da Vinci etc, still alive and productive would be nice. You're literally asking for others to die out of your fear. The burden should be higher. Have courage. If living longer sucks, we'll know 100 years from now, and decide then. First 220 year old in 2136 unless you know how to make one faster than 1 year per year? And that's if you added 120 years to a 100 year old person starting TODAY.

Man up, save your family, save yourself.

Disclaimer: I'm half way done with a book on this topic. Mail me if you're interested. Scivive on the most popular email service.

P.S. Curing aging isn't immortality. You die at 600 on average by accident, and if the parade of imaginary horribles comes true, even earlier.

dandare 2 days ago 8 replies      
The consequences of longer lifespan to social order are unimaginable. Even increase by dozen of years may result in wars and chaos, especially if the treatment will not be available to everyone. From where I stand it seems that relatively little resources are spent on the research of consequences of longer lifespan compared with the discussions we have about friendly/enemy AI, machines replacing jobs, universal income and other social order changing themes. While I am not saying scientists will stumble upon immortality tomorrow, a serious increase in lifespan may happen relatively soon.
nopinsight 3 days ago 0 replies      
A Scientific American article on the same research with a useful comment here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13187302

Interesting bits:

"In living mice they activated the four genes (known as Yamanaka factors, for researcher Shinya Yamanaka, the Nobelist who discovered their combined potential in 2006). This approach rejuvenated damaged muscles and the pancreas in a middle-aged mouse, ... "

"... These (other) approaches can reverse some aspects of aging, such as muscle degenerationbut aging returns when the treatment stops, he adds. With an approach like the one Belmonte lays out in the new study, theoretically you could have one treatment and go back 10 or 20 years, he says. If aging starts to catch up to you again, you simply get another treatment."

reasonattlm 3 days ago 0 replies      



1) Doing anything to the aging of cells in culture has next to nothing to do with what goes on inside aging tissues, or where it does that is heavily dependent on the details. The article doesn't tell you enough to decide, so you should look at the paper.

2) Doing anything that attenuates the effects of an accelerated aging phenotype, actually usually a DNA repair disorder, almost always has nothing to do with aging as it happens in normal individuals. You can hit mice with hammers, and then evaluate the effects of a hammer-blocking cage, but that doesn't tell you anything about aging - and for exactly the same reasons. This is generally true except when it is isn't, and that depends on the fine details. Again, go look at the paper.

3) The interesting experiment is the one in which pluripotency-inducing factors are upregulated in a normal mouse, but temporarily. This is the thing that people have looked at in the past and said, well, turning on widespread transformation of somatic cells into pluripotent stem cells sounds like a really bad idea. Cancer seems the likely outcome, and that has in fact been demonstrated in a couple of studies in mice, but there is also the point that your central nervous system rather relies upon maintaining the fine structure it has established in many cases, such as data stored in the brain. Running in and randomly reprogramming any CNS cells that take up the vector or the pluripotency signals seems like a bad idea on the face of it.

So on the whole it is fascinating that a good outcome was produced in the normal mice, analogous to the sort of thing that has been produced via stem cell transplants and telomerase gene therapies. But I'd still want to see what happens to the mice over the long term after that, and would expect cancer.

pat2man 3 days ago 2 replies      
> The technique, which requires genetic engineering, cannot be applied directly to people, but the achievement points toward better understanding of human aging and the possibility of rejuvenating human tissues by other means.

Still a ways off for human use but definitely interesting research.

zizzles 2 days ago 1 reply      
Every life extension discussion derails into debates about foreverness; and therein lies the problem: humans of all backgrounds (even today) are dropping dead of health problems at 60 years of age. Thus, foreverness is science-fiction with our current understanding. Baby-steps first perhaps? Regardless, many agree foreverness is not possible - and if it was - I would not want it.
smcguinness 2 days ago 0 replies      
There shouldn't even be a debate between people who approve of reversing aging and those who do not. Whoever doesn't approve... when the treatment will finally be available... just don't use it! I'll use my freedom of decision and my money to extend my life, thank you! If you want to die, go ahead.
feelix 3 days ago 1 reply      
What I don't understand, is that with ageing billionaires everywhere, why isn't anti-aging the most funded thing in the world? Or is it?
feelix 3 days ago 0 replies      
SilverPaladin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Next thing you know, we will be getting email spam to buy Yamanaka Factor.. look 30 years younger just take this pill!
sdfjkl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Related reading: Misspent Youth and the Commonwealth Saga by Peter F. Hamilton. A series of sci-fi books where "rejuvenation" technology plays a significant role, its impact on society and human risk taking.
photoJ 3 days ago 1 reply      
Lets hope so!
Pica_soO 1 day ago 0 replies      
What actually happened to the lady who did this telomere prolonging experiment on her self?
kickpush1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Clicks on interesting hackernews post > prepares self for opposing negative comment > aaand first comment.
jmount 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is what the rich want to hear, so there is money in saying it.
amalrik_maia 2 days ago 0 replies      
what amazing time to be alive :)
dominotw 3 days ago 1 reply      
been hearing this since dawn of humanity. next.
grabcocque 3 days ago 1 reply      
Mightier and bloody wars will not be caused than when we finally figure out how to cure ageing.
biuffwbiubi 3 days ago 0 replies      
What we need right now is more babies and young people and less old people.

Babies make everyone around them happy.

Old people are racist and suffocatingly repetitive. They never have any new ideas and spend all their time in the past. They're the brakes on progress.

Life is all about novelty. Let's have new people in this world.

EdSharkey 3 days ago 0 replies      
Between the theory that cybernetically augmented humans will become the "hard AI" of science fiction and signs that a cure for aging is nearly here, I would feel a lot more comfortable if we all started having a public debate about the limits we will set on metahumans.

A cybernetically augmented human might gain an intelligence completely alien (and hostile) to us non-augments. And an immortal-except-for-catestrophic-accidents could amass an unseemly amount of wealth and control over non-immortals over their long lives - moreso than the elites of today could dream of.

My concern about those that metahumans will hold such disproportionate power and they'll quickly get bored. Idle hands are the devil's playthings after all, and they could really make life difficult for the rest of us.

I want to see what a many-hundreds of years healthy life will be like and live many lives, but I do not want to have implants or devices that warp my mind/memory. I want to stay human, just minus the frailties. I'm hoping that these evolving new technologies sort neatly into two buckets: those that enhance but still retain the essential (limited) human experience, and those that seek to obliterate and replace the human experience (so that I know which ones to avoid.)

Amazon Restaurants amazon.com
331 points by chrisan  3 days ago   208 comments top 44
guelo 3 days ago 5 replies      
This is obviously part of Amazon's effort to build out their own delivery network in order to muscle out fedex, ups, usps, etc. If their drivers aren't delivering packages they can be delivering food. That makes their whole delivery network stronger because it allows them to have more drivers employed driving around town all the time. It's the same reason Uber got into food delivery.
gthtjtkt 3 days ago 13 replies      
This is kind of terrifying after hearing so many life-ruining stories about the rash decisions Amazon makes when dealing with 3rd party sellers ([1] from last week, for example).

Everyone always says "Don't stake your livelihood on platforms you don't control" (e.g. Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), but what happens when one of those platforms suddenly forces its way into your business? How can a restaurant owner turn them down when all the short-sighted owners nearby are happily signing up?

I'm imagining a day in the future where a restaurant goes broke because Amazon had become a significant portion of their orders, but they suddenly got kicked off the service after X number of complaints (happens to FBA sellers all the time). By the time other restaurant owners realize how easily Amazon can destroy their livelihood, they might be too dependent to voluntarily leave. And then all the smug commenters from the last thread will be grateful for another opportunity to say "Well the restaurants should've known better than to sign up in the first place!"

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/amazon/comments/5gvgdl/using_a_amaz...

ryaneager 3 days ago 3 replies      
I received a free $20 to Amazon Restaurants for buying something on cyber Wednesday, didn't know that was a thing until I received the email. I used it to order pizza from a local joint, because who doesn't like free pizza.

Ordering was interesting, they didn't have the pizza I wanted listed under the pre-made options, so I had to make my own, but there was no option to do half and half and adding additional topping had a confusing interface. The menus do not seem to be optimized for each restaurant the way Doordash is, and you must click on an item to see the price.

Also the food wasn't kept in a thermal bag, like pizza delivery does, so it wasn't piping hot when I received it and the delivery members don't have distinct shirts. I probably won't use it ever again since I prefer Doordash, and one of my friends brother in laws is a cofounder/CTO so I feel a false tie to it.

kt9 3 days ago 1 reply      
When I first saw amazon restaurants (almost a year ago) I thought... meh! Why would I use this... order via phone and then wait an hour. I could order by phone call and go pick it up faster.

Turns out now we use it so much and I've found that the value is that I can order by phone when I leave work and by the time I get home the food will be arriving at my door.

The real value to me is that I can order dinner! They've had a few hiccups in the early days but now its pretty solid!

lux 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting that I'm seeing this for the first time on the same day that local food delivery company SkipTheDishes was sold to Just Eat for $110M (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/skip-the-dishes-sold...).

Skip is very popular here in Winnipeg since this is where they're headquartered, but always seemed like the underdog in the overall market. Wondering what will become of Skip, and how Just Eat and the others will keep duking it out from here now that Amazon is in the ring too.

SallySwanSmith 3 days ago 1 reply      
Amazon restaurants is hardly new. My first order was over a year ago. Is there something else new that I'm missing?
Animats 3 days ago 2 replies      
So far, Amazon is just delivering for others. But perhaps they'll get into preparing food as well. Unlike Google, Facebook, GrubHub, Postmates, and Doordash, Amazon is willing to build physical infrastructure and hire people. Amazon could set up a large scale centralized catering operation like LSG Sky Chefs, which makes airline meals. For high-density metro areas, this could work quite well.

Amazon could probably beat out the low-end guys simply by using vehicles and containers capable of keeping the hot stuff hot and the cold stuff cold.

untog 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting - it appears that Amazon handles the delivery part, theoretically freeing restaurants up from having to worry about that side of the business. Makes sense, though I wonder what % of costs delivery drivers really are (and, of course, what % Amazon is charging)

Either way, Seamless/Grubhub have turned to utter garbage since their merger. I'm happily using Delivery, but much like Uber/Lyft, these are commodity businesses that I can switch between at zero cost to myself. So I'll give Amazon a try too.

Androider 3 days ago 1 reply      
Amazon Prime Now has a $10 minimum, free delivery, and no markup allowed on the restaurant menus in New York. For me, that makes it the best service available hands down, and actually starts to change my behavior as a customer.

If it doesn't cost any more than what I'd pay in person schlepping to the restaurant, the psychological barrier to ordering on a whim is virtually eliminated. It also has that Uber-esque impersonality to it: the delivery guy doesn't wait around after dropping of your food in your typical managed NY apartment building (literally racing down when I get the call, I've never been able to spot them), since they're tipped up front. In fact, the last service I can remember that was such a no-brainer improvement when introduced, was Uber X.

That's not sustainable you might say. But members do pay $99/year for Prime, which isn't a whole lot since it does so much, but is increasingly a larger part where Amazon makes their margin from.

cavisne 3 days ago 3 replies      
One differentiation with amazon restaurants is at least in my market they don't mark up food prices (like door dash and kindof postmates) and they don't charge for delivery.

Uber eats is the best of these I've found, but it's a pain meeting at the curb.

Amazon restaurants has by far the worst drivers though, I think compounded by tipping before they deliver, and no ratings system

rm_-rf_slash 3 days ago 3 replies      
A few years ago when I began to use Grubhub more exclusively to order food, I realized that I was effectively being shut out from other establishments that weren't on Grubhub, simply because I hadn't checked to look at what was nearby, and because the options on Grubhub were usually good enough on their own. It was "post-Google," in a way.

I imagine this effect would be even more pronounced with "the everything store" encompassing an ever-larger portion of total commerce.

oldbuzzard 3 days ago 0 replies      
Meh. I have prime and keep getting $10 off coupons but here in Minneapolis I don't see anywhere I want to order from. Bitesquad has places that I order from every now and then. If Amazon had a decent network they might entice me in to becoming a restaurants customer... but as it is, it is like the crappy prime video selection.
harigov 3 days ago 2 replies      
This is a great opportunity for some restaurants to outsource cooking. Just provide a place for people to sit, eat and chat with some alcohol options. One can order food an hour before arriving and eat at the restaurant. The advantage is that folks can order from any number of cuisines. This can still be cost effective in the long run when kitchens can be bigger and in the outskirts and the premium place in the city is reserved only to sit customers.
koolba 3 days ago 1 reply      
So how much longer till they combine this with drone delivery?

The thrill of having a pizza arrive by drone could justify a hefty premium for a kids birthday party.

kin 3 days ago 0 replies      
While my first order was close to a year ago, what I have to say about this and all the other food delivery services (Postmates, UberEats, Grubhub) is that I typically have a hard time meeting delivery minimums or straight up find the delivery fee too expensive to justify an order.

So far, I've only ever used Amazon when I have a coupon. It would be cool if I could accumulate Amazon restaurant credit as an option when I choose No Rush Shipping or have some form of loyalty/rewards system. Else, I'm just going to choose whatever is cheapest, even if slightly less convenient. And that's just me. Other users' loyalty could be even more elusive I'm sure.

kldavenport 3 days ago 1 reply      
So far it looks to have a better web and mobile interface than postmates and grubhub.
Balgair 3 days ago 1 reply      
So, Amazon is having some issues with retailers trying to sell you some gadget that really isn't what you thought you were going to get. Like a USB stick that says it's 256GB, but is actual 2 Mb. The 'reviews' of these shadier products are shilled out or just 'bots and amazon is trying to get these types of things off their market.

So, what happens when this happens to these restaurants? Like, say I 'open' up a restaurant inside of my apartment. Maybe I list the address as some other place, or I just risk the local health inspector showing up unannounced. But I only sell via Amazon, and I get some friends and family to write reviews of my kitchen, or maybe I just pay some 'bots to do it too. Amazon has problems already with that fly-by-night operation, how are they going to combat it?

For reference, this was an issue with GrubHub last year:



sytelus 3 days ago 2 replies      
Assume that on average,

* delivery time = 30 minutes

* minimum wage + minor benefits = $10/hr

* cost of vehicle, gas and other logistics = $5/hr

...then they must charge $10 per delivery. If you squeeze and wiggle may be you can bring this down to $7 or so likely not considering downtimes in between peak hours. I thought this was the reason why most door-to-door delivery services eventually failed or switched to catering. What is the new business innovation here?

CodeSheikh 3 days ago 2 replies      
Amazon is moving forward with a GREAT momentum to dominate consumer market and extends its monopoly. It is not Amazon vs small businesses anymore. Amazon is in a ferocious battle right now with big players in various domains (Google, Walmart, Apple etc). So far it is turning out to be beneficial for an average middle-class consumer who conveniently gets to purchase cheap products and services. The way Amazon has extended its tentacles deep into TV content (Netflix vs Prime Video), produce (FreshDirect vs Amazon Fresh), Amazon Basics and Amazon elements, Alexa in home automation, e-readers, Spotify vs Amazon Prime Music, Rackspace vs AWS cloud, (failed) cellphones venture, and now Seamless vs Amazon Restaurants. Is it becoming more possible for Amazon to either acquire FedEx/UPS or create its own shipping company? I mean why not? This seems like a missing piece of puzzle.
mfonda 3 days ago 1 reply      
Amazon Restaurants is a great service which has been around for some time now, at least here in Seattle. I use it pretty much exclusively now instead of other similar services I've used in the past. The minimum order is much lower ($20 instead of $30 or $40 a lot of other services add), there's no delivery fees, and your driver is tracked via GPS with guaranteed delivery windows, so you have a much better idea of when you're order will actually arrive. There's also a better selection of restaurants than other services.

That said, the UI isn't quite as user friendly. It feels bolted on top of Prime Now, so you don't really have a typical menu, a regular shopping cart is used and shared with Prime Now which just feels a bit off. I think it would feel much nicer if they built a website specific to food ordering instead of trying to shoehorn it into Prime Now.

dajohnson89 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why does Northern Virginia get coverage, but not D.C.? I don't really understand the logic there.
kozikow 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wanted to order food just for myself. I didn't due to minimal 20.00 USD price.

If I am with a group of people we can go to restaurant anyway. On the other hand, eating out alone is awkward, so ordering online becomes more attractive.

rajathagasthya 3 days ago 3 replies      
They advertise Bay Area as one of the regions they deliver, yet it's not available in the South Bay. I wonder what's the logistics overhead to make it available elsewhere in the Bay Area where you already have a Prime Now delivery network.
wwalser 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like DoorDash and I hoped that they would end up winning in this space but it seems unlikely when their two competitors have other things that the supply side (delivery people) can do if food deliveries aren't needed. Amazon is likely re-using prime instant delivery and Uber is transparently using their drivers to deliver food.

It's kind of like competing with Amazon or Google for cloud infrastructure. Very few companies need all of those machines or that tech, they have no use for it other than renting to people. Amazon and Google on the other hand already needed that tech. They are essentially renting their own excess.

chinathrow 3 days ago 0 replies      
Once you realize that you can't buy shit anymore without some simple platforms get a huge cut/fee in the middle: rental cars, hotel bookings, flights, meals, everything else... oh I forgot: taxi rides!
kriro 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm curious...are there restaurants (or I guess kitchens) that are delivery only? If the infrastructure works well you could have strongly automated kitchen in a warehouse type of setups and deliver via Amazon. Guess the branding/word of mouth could be a problem but that might be solvable with money (free stuff, hope people like and recommend it)
tigershark 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am really missing something here.If I click the link it brings me to my Amazon application and I don't see anything new.My first order with Amazon restaurant was at the beginning of September.So I guess that I am missing something?Amazon restaurant is three months old and the useless link that just brings me to their app doesn't really help me to shed any light.
kriro 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting. This probably makes a couple of food delivery companies rather nervous.

Are they delivering 24/7 or at least in the evening? A killer feature for normal amazon would be delivery at a time where people are home from work instead of during working hours...not sure why this isn't a thing yet.

pk0020 3 days ago 0 replies      
As much as I love Uber...I don't feel bullish that they will beat out amazon and their network of vendors/merchants. Uber might go the way of replicating the last mile as a service model that amazon is exploring with their prime now networks, but I'm not sure how Uber will scale this late game since it's not a real core competency.
celticninja 3 days ago 1 reply      
This must be worrying for JustEat who just purchased HungryHouse. Amazon getting in on your business is never great.
giacomolaw 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome! Interesting to see Amazon is really branching out with drones and all that.
mournit 3 days ago 5 replies      
So Amazon now has 5 services to order food from: Prime Now, Prime Pantry, Amazon Fresh, Amazon Restaurants, and regular Amazon. Did I miss anything?

I can't say I'm having an easy time keeping track of which service to use for what.

mundo 3 days ago 1 reply      
So, how does this make money? Other than the Prime membership, I don't see any reference to fees on either the customer or restaurant side. Is this a freebie land grab?
rglover 3 days ago 0 replies      
bg0 3 days ago 1 reply      
So this link is just sending me to the amazon restaurants page which has been around for about a year where I live.

Can someone explain the point of this post?

nodamage 3 days ago 0 replies      
They seem to be pushing this hard here in Seattle. This past week they've sent me two coupons for $20 off my entire order.
partycoder 3 days ago 0 replies      
This has been around for a while. I wish there was a better integration with the Amazon Echo.

The benefit is that the delivery fee is included into your Amazon Prime plan.

Now, in my opinion, Sprig is a much more affordable everyday meal option when you get the membership. There's also Doordash, GrubHub, EAT24, UberEATS, Postmates... etc. You'll find some restaurants are not available in some apps.

wineisfine 3 days ago 2 replies      
As a consumer I couldn't be more then delighted by the Amazon (customer) service.

However, when I read how they threat their employees: it sounds horrible.

Let's hope they never get to the tipping point that they can threat Restaurants, like their employees.

That said: I like it that they try out new things and don't care about failing.

ramon 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can imagine the day I will need an Amazon account in order to enter my house :)
heisnotanalien 2 days ago 0 replies      
Will there just be one company in the future called Amazon?
airesQ 3 days ago 0 replies      
So Deliveroo for the US?
nerfhammer 3 days ago 0 replies      
"Amazon is eating the world" gets a new meaning today
BHSPitMonkey 3 days ago 4 replies      
Question for the HN mods (and community): At what point is a post like this not simply an advertisement? This isn't a link to a press release, an article, a blog post, etc. that discusses the project, and this isn't even new (I've been getting snail mail ads for this for a month or two).

Should big companies just start linking directly to things they want us to buy on HN, with no context? Is that encouraged here?

tomc1985 3 days ago 1 reply      
Oh look, Amazon chases another venture like a dog that smells food. So stupid how everyone's always trying to take over the world...
Tom Wheeler Resigns from the FCC wired.com
286 points by espeed  3 days ago   204 comments top 10
quasse 3 days ago 2 replies      
I was recently at a conference in DC called "Transforming Communities: Broadband Goals for 2017 and Beyond" which was largely focused on public policy related to the lack of real broadband in America. Gigi Sohn, who is the counselor to the chairman of the FCC, spoke.

She was very candid about the position of the FCC and the fact that she was finally able to speak her mind because this was going to be one of her last public appearances as a government official. One thing that stuck me was what she said about Tom[1]: "He actually believes that the consumer, the american people, are his clients. He's said that from the first day and he'll say that the day he leaves. Trust me, he doesn't like any of the companies [laughter]". The loss of the current administration of the FCC (including but not limited to Tom) will be a great loss for the American people in my opinion.

The conference was interesting and somewhat sad, because it was planned before the election and probably with the assumption that the new administration would not be totally hostile. Instead of the original direction of "here's what we've done and how we plan to carry these goals forward" it ended up being more of a retrospective on progress that had been made at the federal level that was about to be erased.

From the people I saw, there did not seem to be anyone there representing the new administration.

[1] https://youtu.be/O5drVTSpH5g?list=LLDlLvM2YAVFtSXvebIrlE0A&t...

schmatz 2 days ago 1 reply      
I had a chance to meet Tom Wheeler to discuss net neutrality in the summer of 2014. It was coming off of a bad press cycle for him (John Oliver calling him a dingo), so I didn't know what to expect.

He was extremely reasonable and very receptive to the needs of the tech community and small businesses. I came away from the meeting pleasantly surprised and have been happy with his actions during his tenure. Sad to see him go.

bluetwo 3 days ago 26 replies      
One of the problems with Net Neutrality is that techies (us) and the media have both had a hard time explaining it clearly.

Meanwhile those opposed have been able to come up with analogies that while false and misleading, are easily understood.

What is the best way to explain the concept that can be quickly understood by those that are non-technical?

ComputerGuru 3 days ago 1 reply      
This isn't really news, more of a mere formality. The federal government department heads are all expected to resign or be fired when there's a regime shift in the Oval Office (party change).
shawnfratis2 2 days ago 1 reply      
What I'm curious to know, is how will any of this truly affect users who aren't necessarily streaming/torrenting/big bandwidth users, like those who focus on education, research, computer sciences, among others. Not meaning to sound too vague, but speaking for myself, most of the Internet-related things I depend on don't necessarily involve constant high-bandwidth usage (like online gaming, for example). If the internet gets completely throttled I want to know what I have to look forward to.
qwertyuiop924 3 days ago 1 reply      
Dammit. We were so close. So close.

Hang in there, guys..

ryandrake 3 days ago 4 replies      
Got an error when clicking on that link:

"Wired.com is not included in your Comcast Internet Basic package. Click here to upgrade to Comcast Internet Extreme for $9.99 more a month, for access to Wired.com and twenty other premium web sites!"

droopybuns 3 days ago 1 reply      
tedunangst 3 days ago 6 replies      
Wait, he's the cable industry shill, right? So this is the best news ever?
peterkelly 3 days ago 0 replies      
... and announces return to Outback Australia
Harassment at Apple: A personal perspective medium.com
401 points by smsowmya  2 days ago   581 comments top 61
Humdeee 2 days ago 5 replies      
If I was back at the start of my career, I would of dismissed this article and told the author to "toughen up". After all, what's a bit of ribbing among co-workers? Surely she's just being overly-sensitive.

Until I had the (mis)pleasure of working with a truly toxic co-worker did my mindset completely change on the issue of bullying, intimidation, and hostility in the workplace. He was a senior guy, decent at his job. But how he was able to change the dynamic of multiple teams was very offsetting. Communication declined, as people didn't want to go near the team that had the guy that was insulting them everytime on a whim. Workplace politics were on the rise. The common denominator was this guy was involved with every issue. Management stayed quiet and attempted to push it under the rug for a bit, but eventually they had to take notice. It was so relieving to walk in one day to him cleaning out his desk. I remember locking eyes with him one last time and giving him a final unspoken send off with a stern glare. He turned the corner and I never saw him again. My co-workers and myself went out for lunch as a celebration. The amount of relief was incredible. It was like starting fresh again.

Back to the article, I still can't say I fully understand what this woman went through. But just having a taste of how off-putting 1 toxic employee can be really opened my eyes. I can't fathom having multiple employees or even a manager with that type of behavior. I won't comment on gender or racial issues.

Being stressed from work is okay. Some jobs have more stress than others, and at higher frequencies. But being stressed from the people at work is needless stress that compounds on top of the regular work stress that we all accept to some degree when entering a job or role.

tps5 2 days ago 9 replies      
I think commenters who are reacting negatively to this story are reacting to the vocabulary rather than the story.

Obviously I'm not a witness, but I tend to believe that these events took place more or less as the author describes them.

At the same time, words like "sexism" and phrases like "as a minority..." are a big turn-off to some readers, myself included. This isn't because I don't believe in racism/sexism/xenophobia, it's because we're never going to be able to agree on definitions for those terms and so they end up being almost useless as descriptors.

I would put this in almost literary terms: I don't want events to be described, I want them to be recounted. This is also how I feel about movies and literature: I want novels/screenplays that "show rather than tell." I don't want to be told how to think about an event, I just want it to be presented to me.

I also believe that categorizing your personal experiences in terms of broader social phenomena is a mistake. In my opinion, this kind of thinking leads to generalization and tends to obscure the actual events that took place and the actors involved.

All that aside, absolute sympathy to the author here. It's incomprehensible to me that people can behave like this, but sadly they do.

donatj 2 days ago 4 replies      
There is a mental trap I have personally fallen into I will dub the "Friendliness Trap" where you start to incorrectly think of someone you work closely with as your close friend due to the forced proximity and "friendly" interaction. This can foster inappropriate workplace behavior your brain justifies as OK.

For instance friendly teasing, sometimes even started by the person themselves (e.g. "Oh, you know us [blanks], good at [blank]") can be taken way too far. People wrongly get the sense that something is OK because the person doesn't complain or laughs along and it can escalate to the point of full on harassment and your brain still thinks "[person] is my buddy, it's OK". I think it's partially human nature and wanting to fit in. The person being teased doesn't want to come off adversarial, the person teasing thinks it's "their joke".

I realized long ago simply don't tease people at work. They are not around you by choice. Don't assume people at work are friends in the way your drinking buddies are friends. You honestly have no idea how they really feel about it until it's too late, save it for your friends who are around you by choice.

sqldba 2 days ago 4 replies      
> I was getting preferential treatment because of my cuteness factor

> Indian women being subservient

I agree that these comments don't belong in the workplace. I have seen similar ones lead to people fired on the day and escorted to the door. Thankfully it's relatively rare but some places do take it very seriously.

Apple was wrong. In Australia the law is clear and they've breached it. Take them to court and get your payout. It's annoying that the victim has to do that but it's possible.

For other parts of the article I put myself in her shoes and didn't find management's treatment of her particularly different from how I (a male) would be treated after complaining about the actions of anyone else (male or female) in the workplace - which is why I don't. HR is ineffectual and the company is against you regardless of whomever is at fault. It just wants one or the other party gone so things can go back to normal, so if it's you versus five other people it's easier to fire and rehire one than five.

> employers also have an obligation to handle the situation with empathy and integrity

And this line stood out at me as being divorced from reality especially at a big company.

I get it that we mostly want companies to be like this but I think it's also obvious that they're not. They are primarily profit motivated and we're lucky if they don't pollute the environment or commit atrocities in the process.

You can look for smaller companies that do it, you can put it in your own company, but if you really felt Apple would be like that then it's being a little naive.

I worked at one mid-size company that was acquired by a competitor who wanted to drive in the boot heel by firing the previous management in as embarrassing a way as possible. My boss was on the chopping block and had false charges levelled at him over email and summarily fired. He took it through the Australian workplace relations system to try to get some closure, until the government advised there's no law to prevent a company making anything up and firing you for it. He could have pursued defamation but that's also extremely difficult, long, and expensive, and he didn't have the money.

It was at that point I grew up in my career and decided you really can't trust any company to look out for you. That's not how it works.

warcher 2 days ago 2 replies      
I tell a lot of younger developers this, because it's an important truth that will never, ever be spoken aloud.

The sole role of Human Resources is to protect the company from liability, either through lawsuits or labor law compliance. Occasionally managers will abdicate their duty and delegate parts of hiring authority to a section of the company with no understanding of what they do and no accountability for getting it wrong, but that's not as common as you think. Most hiring just gets rubber stamped by HR, not driven by them.

That's all. They're a cost center with no authority beyond saying "this kid is gonna cost us a lot of money if we don't get rid of them"-- either by being a harasser or by being the litigious type (to HR, they're actually the same thing).

If you're expecting them to intercede on your behalf with your manager without something being obviously out of control, ie lawsuit-worthy, you're gonna have a hard time.

analyst74 2 days ago 3 replies      
For anyone new to office politics, or have not experienced hostile politics before, keep those in mind:

- Make sure to have some real friends at work. No, someone you work with everyday is not necessarily a real friend, you have to make real connections with them, so they are willing to defend and support you when things get tough.

- Be observant and empathetic, so you can notice problems when they first arise, and resolve them before they escalate. This is hard for engineers, as we focus on computers most of the time and don't get to practice the skills of empathy a lot.

- Be strong. Sometimes escalations do happen, and now you have one or more people dislike you and try to make your life hard. You need to be emotionally strong to withstand their attacks, and keep a clear mind to figure out a way to defeat them or at least reach a ceasefire.

Sadly, politics happen all the time when inter-personal interactions happen, not necessarily the result of one shady colleague with agendas. This could happen to anyone, although sadly more often to minorities, because it's harder to hide the fact that we are outsiders.

agentgt 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a serious problem.

My concern is people seem to think it only happens in previously (and still) male dominated fields. It happens everywhere.

I think the woman that voice their concerns and challenges are more abundant in the tech industry probably because the industry is more progressive and generally more educated.

Where I have seen ultra sexism has been in sales and finance. Extremely disturbing in your face sexism. Anecdotally the sexism in tech is sort of passive aggressive but the sexism in other industries is disturbingly direct (one could argue the subtle one being worse). My point is it is everywhere.

I hope the tech industry fixes it and becomes the leader.

chmike 2 days ago 4 replies      
My brother, as a manager of a big team in Belgium, had once to face a complain to the HR about he harassing a secretary. The reaction of the company was immediate, and in my opinion the right one.

They contracted a specialize company to investigate, collect the facts and present their conclusions. The conclusions would be sent at the same time to the alleged victim, the HR and the manager.

In this case the conclusion was that there was no harassment according to legal definition. These argumented conclusions would have been presented to a trial as reference if any party would want to contest them.

The company performing the audit is specialized in it. So they can recognize a real harassment from an abusive claim. They also have no interest in the company. It is in the interest of the company to call them to get a leverage to apply whatever measure they would find appropriate. If the victim is an employee, and he/she would consider the reaction inappropriate and abusive, he/she could complain to a tribunal.

Today, a company that is not reacting like that (diligent an investigation by an independent party) to a harassment complain would be considered a priori suspect or would be consider to have failed complying to its duty because it is their responsibility to do so.

heisenbit 2 days ago 0 replies      
There are many articles describing bullying and harassment. This is one worth reading as it

- does not put blame for handling it on any single person or function.

- illustrates systemic dysfunction. Normal incentives work against handling the abuse claim - HR tries to protect company, managers caught in conflict of interest

- points out the result of management not acting clearly. The person bullied feels taking on more responsibility of navigating the mess. As the person has no effective control this add more distress.

- shows the manager dilemma when supporting minority (in whatever sense) in a naive way. The person standing out stands out even more. Dammed if you do and probably dammed if you don't.

- even in an environment where the bullied person is receiving widespread support from others at times (scene at the table where other were speaking up) long running and extreme stress does damage.

- few understand that the problems often only show up months later as it is typical for PTSD

It is very difficult to say what can be done to prevent this. It is obvious that management is making the wrong decisions but why? I believe the author is on something with the conflict of interest. I would add avoidance of conflict - they are empowered to handle it but shy away. Then there is inability to handle bullies by a lot of them - trying to be even handed since this is the normal mode when one side is obviously overstepping (similar to press-Trump relationship).

What could be done by companies? Specialized people/services dealing with that sort of behavior may be one. Making sure management is well grounded in values and knows how to decide in these conflict of interest cases may help a little too.

What can one do to be prepared? Not being weak is probably the best preparation. Ability to fight and win or to pack and run is key to be able to force a resolution.

What to do when caught in it? These days I think getting external help early. Covering two sides: The psychological one (therapist with first hand experience of psychopathic people and stress management, possibly PTSD) and legal advice.

Full disclosure: Could tell a similar sad tale.

PerilousD 2 days ago 4 replies      
HR works for the company. When you consider your moves keep in mind HR works for the company. You are not paying HR salaries. Get outside legal help and advice.
gumby 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am sorry to hear that the author went through this. Though I really like Apple and have friends both male and female who've worked there for many years, I also have heard it is a harder place towards women even than a place like Google. And some of its structural elements make that harder to fix (if there even is an effort to fix it, which I have no idea about either way).

It's also quite hard to be public about this (I know someone who recently left Apple for similar reasons but won't discuss it publicly).

jaipilot747 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow! To imagine that the culture at one of the best engineering teams in the world is this poisonous is shocking.

I wonder if things would have played out differently if she had immediately addressed her supervisor's unnecessary defense. While this seems like the starting point for the harassment, my guess is that it was ingrained in the team all along and would have come out at one point or another. Not that that makes it any better.

Truly horrible experience for anyone to go through and I hope she finds a better place to work in and can perhaps put this bitter experience to help others.

kriro 2 days ago 2 replies      
While not the perfect solution it seems like a lot of the mentioned issues (standardized communication channels, no conflict of interest) could be solved by installing work councils (I take it they are not wide spread in the US? They are standard in Germany): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work_council
jeffbush 2 days ago 1 reply      
This seems negligent on the part of HR (as well as genuinely awful).

In California, all managers are required by law to take three hours of sexual harassment training every other year. One thing that stood out to me is that there is no need to make a formal harassment claim: when anyone mentions they have experienced harassment to a manager, even in a private conversation, the manager is required to report it and investigate. If the employee says they want to keep the conversation in confidence, the manager is supposed to say they can't do that. If a manager doesn't follow up, they can be personally liable.

Several companies I've been at also have a mandatory "managers and the law" training class. I didn't talk to anyone for several days after taking it. :)

IANAL, but my understanding is that one job of HR is to protect the company. One reason they investigate is to produce evidence that could be used in the event of a lawsuit to prove they took the allegation seriously. Trying to argue with the employee that it didn't happen would put them in a really bad position if they were sued, because it could be used to demonstrate a hostile work environment.

I've seen complaints happen a few times in my career (not involving me directly), and, in those cases, HR took it gravely seriously. They talked to everyone involved and documented the crap out of it. Most of the people I've met in HR seem to genuinely care. I disagree with advice that HR should not be trusted, but my advice for someone who is in a situation where they are uncomfortable is to document everything. Keep emails of all interactions with your manager and HR and send follow up email to summarize conversations you had in person.

highCs 2 days ago 1 reply      
Whenever I'm dealing with something that is serious to me, I always clearly first state to myself 1) what I want and 2) what do I do if I don't get what I want. For example in this case, it could be: 1) Jack told me this and that and I consider this is inappropriate. I never want to be told that again in this company 2) I leave.

What I do next is that I make sure I communicate clearly those two points to whoever I think should get me what I want. For example, in that case, I would go see my manager and say: "Jack told me this and that and I consider this is inappropriate. I never want to be told that again in this company. If it happens again, I quit. Have you understood? (wait for his answer) What will you do to make sure it doesn't happen anymore?" (it is important to ask if he has understood, it forces him to go right in the middle of the circle you just draw on the floor, that put him in your territory, right under your guns).

Sometimes, you will have to apply 2). For example in this case, your manager would have to tell you something substantial about what he gonna do to stop that. If what he tells you is not substantial, tell him you are not satisfied and ask him again the same question: "what can you do to make sure it will stop?". Don't quit on that. Keep asking. Only apply 2) if he don't answer anymore. It's typically a situation where "you don't leave the shop until...". If your manager tells you to go see the HR department, tell him clearly again 2): "if I don't get what I want I will leave. Do you still want me to go see the HR department? Are you sure?". Apply pressure, at every step.

Do not have a discussion. Don't discuss the problem with your manager. Don't talk. Ask your question and wait for an answer. If he want to discuss, make him understand you won't.

It's crucial to apply 2) right away when you don't get what you want. I've found it's rarely the occasion to make a deal and make a compromise not so much because the deal is bad but because by doing so, they will start kidding you again.

I'm super happy so far with the result of this method. I get fantastic results from my family, employers, friends, from everybody. At first, you will feel like a freak. Then you will notice the others won't think so much that you are a freak but will think you are a strong person they should not kid with. You end up being respected.

smsowmya 2 days ago 4 replies      
These things happen at most companies .. people get jealous and have different ways of dealing with it .. it's up to management to handle it well, but since no one talks about it, there is no management for it ..
FilterSweep 2 days ago 2 replies      
> I had never before encountered this kind of visceral hatred

This comment rang some bells for me. Have a friend from the Netherlands who was in undergrad with me, and one day in confidence he told me one of the things he didn't understand most in America is how someone can harbor, and actively maintain, such a passionate hatred for someone they aren't intimately involved with.

While this hatred is most definitely present in other first world nations, I can't avoid the fact that he is correct and far more pervasive in America. It doesn't make much sense to me.

Nomentatus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can't be certain whether this affected this particular case at all, but note that Northern Indian English isn't American or British English. The vocabulary is similar (not in fact identical), but emphasis of all kinds is handled entirely differently. In fact, oppositely. In Hindi and Northern Indian English PAUSES show emphasis, whereas increases in volume (for a given word) are syntactically determined and have absolutely no semantic meaning or significance whatsoever.

In American English, pauses are almost always mechanically/syntactically determined and carry no meaning, but increasing the volume for a given word shows emphasis. This EASILY leads to extreme and sudden misunderstandings in both directions, as each side sees very obvious sarcasm and emphasis where none was intended. They're both sure they're right and that they are speaking the same language, but outside of print, these are two separate languages.

Since it's more recent, the Northern Indian English vocabulary has a cleaner logic, so personally if I had to chose just one, I'd go with that, but that's neither here nor there.

Long years ago, I attended a lecture by, I believe, the first scholar to experimentally demonstrate this and publish it; and the recorded examples of ordinary real-life interactions (not staged) taking place in British businesses that he used to illustrate the lecture were extremely striking; in fact very explosive.

In case this seems like something anyone would notice - in fact it's beneath notice. Similarly, the semantic use of tones in Chinese was denied by scholars there for something like hundreds of years, before finally being acknowledged. Language is handled unconsciously for the most part.

orsenthil 2 days ago 0 replies      
I appreciate her command over the language, and also feel sorry for problems she encountered.

Will I judge that Apple has a culture of Harassment and Tech Industry has a culture of harassment from this medium article? Definitely No. I would be foolish to judge so from hearing the arguments from a single party.

rm_dash_rf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for sharing your story. Sounds like a very toxic environment.
yarou 2 days ago 0 replies      
The H1B visa system needs to be overhauled or done away with entirely. It's truly sickening to see how we as a society tolerate indentured servitude in the 21st century.

Companies use the system to purposefully depress wages. It needs to end.

zepto 2 days ago 0 replies      
What a terrible experience.

I like that she points out the conflicts of interest, wherein the legal structures in which companies are embedded so clearly work against a good solution to the problem.

However I think when she says:

"corrective actions for any violations have to be significant enough to be a deterrent to such behaviors in the future. There also needs to be some accountability for these actions"

She is taking on the same position as these legal structures - I.e. that retribution or punishment is an important part of the equation, and I think this is counter to the rest of her argument.

Men raised in a sexist society can't be individually held responsible for acting in the way they have seen people acting around them as though these are intentional crimes against women.

Massive career damage needs to be taken off the table as the first consequence for all sides of this.

That doesn't mean there shouldn't be a great deal of accountability - but it needs to be something closer to restorative justice - where those involved can understand each other rather than remain embattled.

euphoria83 2 days ago 0 replies      
The response of the company to create a case where they want to discredit the complainant is fairly standard. They want to protect themselves.

Unless there is someone at the top that takes these matter seriously on a personal level and has communicated it to his subordinates, senior management in general only pays lip service to taking such matters seriously. These are complex matters and every one wants to get on with their work, rather than deal with the problem.

Tim Cook, I would expect, would have sent the message about taking such matters seriously. It seems like someone between him and the victim decided to add his "personal expertise" to this case and mishandled it completely.

vander_elst 2 days ago 0 replies      
HR has the function of protecting the company from the employees, workers council or similar structures have the function of protecting the employees from the company. All the companies should have one.
p94ka 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why has this article completely disappeared from the site? I've paged through hundreds of articles starting at the front page, and it simply does not appear.
yuhong 1 day ago 0 replies      
Harassment laws are probably not as bad as anti-discrimination laws, but I do question whether they are really needed. I remember this: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11666857
tyingq 2 days ago 2 replies      
There's a curious lack of detail in this story. No direct quotes, or even reasonable level of detail to the accusations.

For example:

"One day, one of my supervisors jumped to my defense at a team event, in an awkward display of sexism."

I'm sure there's a way that a supervisor jumping to your defense could be sexist, but this isn't showing that, at all.

"At a lunch with several other coworkers, one of these men ordered me to summon the waiter and pay the bill, in the tone of a command to someone inferior and subservient."

Certainly odd behavior, but I'm not sure I would call it sexist. Arrogant for sure, but surely there's more context?

To be clear, I'm not saying she's wrong, just that this story isn't helping me understand what she went through, or that it was particularly sexist, versus just hostile.

pineapplesauce 1 day ago 0 replies      
this is an interesting perspective on tech and women in tech.
mathattack 2 days ago 1 reply      
I approached my management when the situation escalated, who directed me to HR. Instead of helping me, HR embarked on a defensive and confrontational script.

For better or worse, HR is there to protect the company, not the employee. This is why many times they report in through legal. It's not fair, but it's the way companies work.

shoefly 2 days ago 1 reply      
I read the entire article and this is my take: this writer worked with an extreme bulley. The bulley was a ringleader. And potentially psycho.

This isn't about sexism, racism, etc. This is about a ringleader selecting a victim to prey upon for the sole purpose of causing pain.

vezycash 2 days ago 4 replies      
I wonder why she didn't record everything - especially since both managers and HR were trying to gaslight her - making her doubt her sanity.

If she'd gone to HR with recordings and they brushed aside her concerns then she'd have a much stronger case.

Well as she said, a distressed mind doesn't think properly.

pmlnr 2 days ago 8 replies      
Preamble: I'm not questioning or talking against the article at all, just making some notes. The problem seems to be real all around the world, which is yet another indicator that most societies are not ready for global market.

The only thing I miss from the article: did she try to talk to her harassers directly before going to a manager? Maybe I misread something but it seems like this did not happen, yet this should always be the first step.

My additional notes:

 > Instead of helping me, HR embarked on a defensive and confrontational script.
HR is not your friend; it's one of the stakeholders' defense lines. They will only look at what's best for the company and for it's business. There are no labor unions any more; those are the ones that would actually care about your wellbeing.

 > It is not reasonable to expect the victim to have the presence of mind to know how to tackle this problem.
In certain situations it's very hard to make decisions, that is true, but this is not a seconds/minutes scenario, when you need to make immediate calls. When you have weeks, months, in some cases, I think it is all right to expect decisions from anyone.

 > Until the investigation was completed, even my honesty was at stake.
This is embarrassing - but there are people out there who lie. Especially these days, with the problems of fake news, it's easy to get suspicious.

 > harassment is one of the most brutal experiences women encounter in the workplace [...] Companies need to do far more than what they are doing right now to prevent women from eventually quitting. [...] The company needs to support and empower women to take a stand in these situations. [...] This includes considering women in these situations as people, rather than as pawns in the greater agenda of protecting the companys legal liabilities.

Harassment get target _anyone_, it comes in all flavours. Please don't make harassment part of the gender wars. You can get harassed for having a foreign accent in the UK. ( In a country where English pronunciation differs from village to village. )

e40 2 days ago 2 replies      
However, a group of other male coworkers who resented the attention I received started directing inappropriate and misogynistic remarks towards me.

That statement totally reminds me of accounts I've read of conservatives and how they feel about minorities get special treatment.

I just find it really interesting that groups in power react this way while they are still in power. It's a very, very foreign thing to me and I don't understand the source of it, but there is very clearly a common thread of this running through our world right now.

kalleboo 2 days ago 5 replies      
> No one at the company took responsibility for anything other than protecting the companys liability in case of a lawsuit

The tech industry absolutely doesn't need unions /s

mistermann 2 days ago 3 replies      
Wowza, maybe they do have a problem. I'm not sure I agree with all of the complaints there but it does seem they have at least some genuine issues that should be addressed.

Just being completely honest, this reinforces my general opinion to be very cautious around females, avoiding it where possible is probably a wise idea.

hasbroslasher 2 days ago 2 replies      
> I don't believe you can prove anything

Go do some math proofs and report back

fred_is_fred 2 days ago 1 reply      
nilved 2 days ago 4 replies      
Calling Apple one of the best engineering teams is little much, don't you think?
pconner 2 days ago 1 reply      
> I don't mean to discount your experience, but honestly I don't feel like this is the whole story.

Found the most HN comment I'll see all day.

RodericDay 2 days ago 3 replies      
madengr 2 days ago 1 reply      
kutkloon7 2 days ago 4 replies      
dep_b 2 days ago 3 replies      
Lots of down votes because of uncomfortable truth? I've seen this happen a few times and the only thing you need to do is honestly apply feminist values to all people without discriminating to start condemning it.

It's like asking for respect for getting addicted to pills by pharmaceutical industries because that's a part of American culture. Maybe some criticism would be in place despite the "it's our culture" thing?

But do not harass every Indian person you can find about it!

I've had many fine coworkers from India working in the US or from India in the past and I can't imagine harassing them about this.

enragedliberal 2 days ago 5 replies      
error3 2 days ago 1 reply      
ghurtado 2 days ago 1 reply      
jsmith0295 2 days ago 1 reply      
therein 2 days ago 1 reply      
nabaffyuc 2 days ago 3 replies      
module0000 2 days ago 7 replies      
fatdog 2 days ago 4 replies      
hrxn 2 days ago 2 replies      
tnones 2 days ago 5 replies      
thr55993 2 days ago 2 replies      
scoreponok 2 days ago 1 reply      
c0nfused 2 days ago 2 replies      
edblarney 2 days ago 10 replies      
lostboys67 2 days ago 3 replies      
The "No Meaningful Process" is shocking in a company of Apples size - in the UK they would get the book thrown at them at a tribunal for that.

Sounds like Her boss and Hr failed I wonder if things Like brexit and Trump have made closet racists fell they can be more open

CIPHERSTONE 2 days ago 2 replies      
How typical, HR that doesn't give a shit about the employees. And if you are in HR and reading this, and crying tears right now over this comment, tough shit. I don't care.
necessity 2 days ago 2 replies      
When the word "harassment" appears, there's an 80% chance it's bs. Thanks, sjws.
dominotw 2 days ago 2 replies      
>woman and minority in tech

its a bit of stretch to call Indians a minority in tech, if anything we are vastly over-represented by any standard.

I thought I was designing for SpaceX, it may have been for the Silk Road motel.is
343 points by JunkDNA  2 days ago   119 comments top 18
stiva 2 days ago 5 replies      
This really is an interesting story, but I wish he'd taken it to a journalist instead of writing it himself. The narrative is choppy and has a lot of holes in it. I would have loved to see this done as a feature from someone with a lot of experience writing about technology. That might also have given some extra credibility and context to things.
gthtjtkt 2 days ago 2 replies      
Edit: Turns out the headline is completely made up. This was in the comment section:

> So was Sciview actually some sort of analytics app for Silk Road, with the sensors representing some other Silk Road metrics? Or was BB truly freelancing for SpaceX while administering Silk Road?

> AUTHOR: Excellent question, I dont know.

So he has no idea if he was just a subcontractor or if he was doing work for Silk Road. If I had to bet on this, I'd guess the friend subcontracted a project to him for easy cash (or because he was in over his head) and the Silk Road stuff was completely unrelated.

What would Silk Road do with such an application anyway?

ufmace 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not doubting the story, but it doesn't seem to fit together much the way that it's told here. Exactly who was he really working for, and what was his "friend"s relationship to them?

All I can really say is maybe you should be extra skeptical when somebody talks about working for a "big name" company, like SpaceX, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc. If you're never reading or writing emails from a company.com email address, going to company's actual public website, going for interviews or meetings at an actual company office, then maybe you should look really closely at who you're really working for.

minus7 2 days ago 3 replies      
If you take a look at the code on Github you quickly realize it's complete bullshit, a bit of hardcoded data [1] and one file of backend code that looks like it was copied from somewhere [2].

[1] https://github.com/tdrach/Sciview/blob/master/public/javascr...

[2] https://github.com/tdrach/Sciview/blob/master/routes/api/v1/...

sandworm101 2 days ago 5 replies      
The lawyer was correct. If you have reason to suspect the FBI is watching you, they already have what they need. The men-in-black routine is meant to alter your behavior, to cause you to do something rare like empty an account or contact a distant friend. This was federal investigation 101.

Walk past the car and photograph the driver. They really love that.

sbierwagen 2 days ago 4 replies      
Why did the silk road want a data visualization app?

The "live demo" in the linked github doesn't seem to be very "live", in that it seems to be totally static. The post talks about "drawing correlations" but all it does it make a graph. http://sciview.herokuapp.com/#/data-sets/0

cocktailpeanuts 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is a great story to tell buddies when grabbing a drink, but not really good for posting online which will last forever.

Maybe if the project was actually functional and high quality, but it's just a half baked project that doesn't even work.

Furthermore, there's no proof that what he worked on was actually silk road. Even looking at the screenshots it says nothing about silkroad, looks actually like a spacex project.

Like others said, I think his main motivation is to post it for the record, so if one day he disappears, people know where to track him down.

pfarnsworth 2 days ago 3 replies      
This story is completely unintelligible. I have no idea what this story is about, where does it say he was designing for Silk Road? Did he say he was talking with DPR or something?
hrayr 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a nice ShowHN with a cover story. I'm not questioning the validity, just finding this amusing.
joshstrange 2 days ago 1 reply      
I honestly have no clue how this is voted so high on HN right now, I assume it's just the title people are voting on. It makes no sense, jumps around and no flow. I had to re-read parts multiple times and I still have no clue what is going on.
welder 2 days ago 1 reply      
He hints at the end that 30 FBI agents kicked down his door, then says nothing more. Way to leave us hanging!
ukyrgf 2 days ago 1 reply      
> This makes for an awkward cupcake ceremony where youre not sure whether to smile or to laugh.

"I don't know whether to smile or laugh" isn't a very powerful expression.

jordache 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wtf? Why would spacex utilize a freelancer front end Dev / designer to develop a one off crappy custom soln for data analysis? When much more robust, performant, established solutions exist?

Also space x is not a green start up, why would they still lack the ability to visualize and analyze data?

The author obviously failed to ask himself this obvious questions.

pzh 2 days ago 0 replies      
On the plus side, the OP had plausible deniability. I wonder whether he could've been considered an accomplice or liable in any way, or not knowing who he was working for completely exonerated him.
themodelplumber 2 days ago 1 reply      
The Silk Road reference--is he saying he was working for Chinese interests? Where was the sensor data coming from?

I understand it's probably a painful story to tell, but a lot of little details are missing here, and they'd probably help both the author's friends and new readers like me understand what happened.

jpeg_hero 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do a FOIA request and get your FBI file. Could be interesting confirmation
jnpatel 2 days ago 0 replies      
The author's title seems misleading, since in the post's comments Thomas acknowledges how he's not sure if his design was being actually used for Silk Road or if his leaseholder really was freelancing for SpaceX.
shitgoose 2 days ago 1 reply      
so, who do you have on your resume, SpaceX or Silk Road?
Microsoft, Rebooted, Emerges as a Tech Leader wsj.com
268 points by prostoalex  2 days ago   277 comments top 30
marricks 2 days ago 5 replies      
I was going to rag on this article for touting the the same non-specific garbage we've seen the past couple days like, "more mac users switching to surface than ever!" without any hard numbers, did is go from 20 to 25? But this article is actually pretty interesting.

It focuses on how Satya Nadella has respected the leaders of Companies he's bought out and invited them to key meetings. Using their insight not only for product and company direction, but importantly creating culture as well. Very key to Microsoft and any tech company's success.

I recall hearing many stories about how Microsoft had like 3 managers per programmer, probably exaggeration, but the point remains, who would want to work there if you skilled/lucky enough to choose? Looks like they may be changing in some good ways.

yummyfajitas 2 days ago 8 replies      
I recently bought a Lenovo sporting Windows 10 and decided to give it a fair try. I've been using Windows exclusively on my personal laptop for about 2 months and so far it's a good experience. This is after 16 years of running linux (or briefly a mac) on the desktop.

The window manager is tolerable (not as good as Xmonad, but equivalent to Unity). Windows subsystem for linux is letting me get my work done with no problems. Anaconda lets me do scientific python work natively from within windows. Emacs seems to work just fine. Cortana is actually pretty cool.

Overall, I haven't felt the need to race back to Linux. I'm surprised to say this, but Windows might be an acceptable linux.

(A while back I wrote about my failed attempt to use OS X: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1787411 )

riazrizvi 2 days ago 2 replies      
To me, there is no doubt that Windows laptops are seeing a resurgence around Silicon Valley compared to MacbookPro's. Personally I think it is due to their overall superior compatibility with new technologies/hardware (graphics cards for VR and CUDA developers, FPGAs, Arduino, Intel RealSense3D) and better workflows for virtualization/cloud-computing vs MacOS which has become harder to virtualize because of closer binding to the AppStore and withdrawal of access to old OS versions.

As an outsider, I also think Apple seems to have spread their best technical minds thin, by adding the platforms watchOS and tvOS. While I understand the rationale behind watchOS, without the ability for developers to create the watch faces, it's not that exciting a platform, it's too controlled. Anyhow, the result of this talent dispersion, is that they have failed to maintain the MacbookPro's status as the most exciting development platform, which it had been IMO throughout the 21st century.

anon987 2 days ago 7 replies      
Microsoft continues to try to convince us that they are great with press releases and non-organic stories such as this.

I, my peers, and my co-workers just don't see it. With billions in reserve it's no surprise they are trying to buy popularity.

suprgeek 2 days ago 3 replies      
The young'uns here probably have not lived thru the Microsoft era in the 90s when "Embrace Extend Extinguish" was the operating motto and any Market where MS entered would send competitors quaking in fear.

They were late to the internet party and then under the disastrous leadership of Ballamer (mindshare wise, not revenue) they completely lost the plot.

Now they are indeed enjoying a resurgence, less evil, more relevant and surprisingly accepting of Open source software. How the world turns....

rubyfan 2 days ago 5 replies      
This article loses credibility with the opening line...

FTA: After years of missteps, the software giant is among the few titans of the 1990s to figure out the new world of mobile technology and cloud computing.

Saying MSFT have figured out mobile is a little too much of a stretch. They have tried many things in the space, they have figured out more of what doesn't work than what does. Unfortunately the market doesn't reward learnings alone.

bargl 2 days ago 2 replies      
Microsoft has done some very good things and some very bad things. I'll let everyone else point out the bad things because there seems to be plenty of that.

I personally like the:

 Surface products, Typescript, C#/F#, .NET Core, Visual Studio Code, and the Hololens.
These are all recently new developments for Microsoft that are really awesome. The fact that a lot of this has become open source is even better. You have to give Microsoft credit for one thing, they've shifted the company so much and that is impressive for a large company.

I enjoy Azure but I understand some people's frustration with it so I exclude it from the list above, I get that it's contentious so I'm leaving it off.

ebbv 2 days ago 2 replies      
I just can't agree with this conclusion.

Microsoft has taken some great steps since Nadella took over. Doing more projects aimed at regular developers and taking baby steps towards open source, but that is not enough to be a leader.

In fact, I think in 2016, we are in a much worse place when it comes to tech leadership than we were in the late 90s and early 00s. The tech world has been poisoned by money and everything is focused on maximizing profit. Almost nothing is being created because it's innovative or really life changing. The new products that are coming out like Google Home or Microsoft Office 365 which claim to be innovative, really aren't. They are repackaging an existing product in a new context. That's called marketing. That's not tech leadership.

In the 90s we had the launch of Linux, the web and home internet access.

In the 2000s all we've really had is smart phones. Everything else has just been building on what was done in the 90s because the people in charge are all marketers and profit seekers.

Do something truly innovative with all your billions Microsoft, and then I will buy that you are a tech leader. No amount of press releases or fluff articles will convince me.

mmmeff 2 days ago 2 replies      
How do these paywall articles keep finding their way to the top? I call BS.
cannonpr 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not to say that Microsoft hasn't done some good work in say Linux lately because of Azure, but I just don't see Microsoft as an innovator, it's very hard to see a company that makes 2 billion a year off android patent's as innovative...I wonder how much of Microsoft in the future will be a tech leader, versus a patents company.
henshao 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is it just me, or is the usual "copy title, paste into google search" not working this time? I can't manage to find the google search result for this article, even after trying many combinations of google filters/date filters.

They've caught on?

setq 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't buy it. As a formerly epic consumer of Microsoft products, I can't say I've actually seen ANY change other than a new fluffy marketing facade and a figurehead who appears to be able to walk on water unquestioned simply because he's not Gates or Ballmer. My rationale is as follows:

There is a massive decline in privacy with Windows 10 and retrofitted code to Windows 8.1. There is no option to disable these unless you eviscerate it with a 3rd party tool and/or get a licensing agreement that allows you to use Enterprise Edition and push out GPOs. There is no discussion from Microsoft on this other than some weasel words which say nothing of value. You have to resort to whack-a-mole techniques to secure yourself or business and use their products. The only responses are similar to "we have privacy policy. privacy good!" (read in Lars Ulrich Napster Bad voice).

The migration to a subscription model for everything is bad. Everyone ends up paying more over time and for it we're getting online software delivery that at some points doesn't even work properly or leaves you in the dust. What you end up buying is golden handcuffs.

There is so much fragmentation, it's unreal. As someone who deals with .Net a lot, there is no conclusive plan that lasts more than a few weeks. Tools are volatile, frameworks are fragmented, tooling is pushing more features instead of quality. The rate of churn is also so high, no one knows what the hell is going on. Add to that, reckless abandonment of the last few years is still a major policy. Even looking at Microsoft Office extensions, the bread and butter of many industries, no one has any idea what they hell they are playing at with VSTO and Office 365 at the moment. They plugged a half baked script API in it and consigned everyone to the side bar. No one talks about fight club, or VSTO either apparently.

There are still really bad quality issues. Not a single day goes by where anything isn't poking you in the eye to the point you want to throw your computer or handset out of the window. There is no way to report this or get it fixed conclusively. Even enterprise reps have no idea how to get products fixed at the moment. It has become worse than the days of Microsoft Connect which was a "write this down so we can close it and say fuck you". A lot of things simply just don't even work properly as well. Shit is shiny but it's still shit.

Customers are getting a pricing shafting across the board. Average Joe Consumer doesn't see this but enterprise pricing is paying for all of this. It's horrific some of the prices I've seen floating around recently.

On top of this there is also a new policy of telling the customer what they're getting and being permanently correct. Occasionally to appease the masses, one or two things a year in one of their uservoice type systems close to the business vision (which appears to be totalitarian cross platform domination) get chucked out half baked with a grand announcement. This is celebrated as a major success while a thousand new and old paper cuts, well actually proportionately speaking, eviscerations with a knife, go unnoticed.

I'm not saying they are worse than any of the other larger "tech leaders" but they are not worthy of the mindless praise that is slathered all over them by some members of the tech community and the media recently.

roymurdock 2 days ago 0 replies      
Look Whos Back! Microsoft...

That could be the title of a horror movie...

Great comment from Mark stamp in the comments section.

blowski 2 days ago 2 replies      
> Under Mr. Nadella, Microsoft is shaping up to be the only pre-internet tech giant to escape the decline of its legacy productthe Windows PC operating systemand emerge as a leader in the new era of cloud computing.

Other than Apple, Oracle and IBM?

Diederich 2 days ago 1 reply      
Tens of billions of dollars of cash laying around, used well, enables a lot of pivoting.
dbg31415 2 days ago 1 reply      
At what point can we safely assume that Balmer was simply incompetent?
scotty79 2 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft feels now, from software developer perspective, as if they finally leashed their lawyers and peddlers, that were running the show for previous decade or more, and let the engineers have a saying in what should be produced.

Express/Community versions, VS Code, typescript, open source, github, browser standards, Windows 10. So many good signs. I can't name the other company that have shown so many good signs in recent past.

stcredzero 2 days ago 1 reply      
So the pendulum has swung yet again!


jrdmcgr 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just curious. How do you read wsj.com articles? WSJ requires me to subscribe or sign in.>To Read the Full Story, Subscribe or Sign In
brilliantcode 2 days ago 0 replies      
I look forward to seeing what's in store for Build 2017. It's going to be tough to outdo Reinvent.

Basically early in 2016 I gravitated towards MS mainly due to the tight integration with VS + Streamlined Azure Portal UI....but the overwhelming amount of new C# ASP.NET stuff I was now encouraged to use...was a tough sell.

tl;dr: Build 2016 convinced me to switch to Azure but now I'm back on AWS post Reinvent 2016

wslh 2 days ago 0 replies      
There are, at least, two Microsofts, and one of them is disastrous and nobody is talking about it. Skype is one example.
rb808 2 days ago 5 replies      
I dont understand the new Microsoft business model. I've stopped using office, Windows is now free(?), but most stuff is in the browser anyway. We used to pay a lot of money for SQL server but now there are lots of free open source alternatives.

Sure Azure might make some money but its a commodity business, I can't see how it will replace the old cash cows.

cutler 2 days ago 0 replies      
Whatever may have changed on the surface MS will always be MS, ie. dictating what you can and cannot do with your machine. Hell, you even need their permission to dual boot now. How is that progress? I lived through the years of the MS monopoly and watched them intentionally leave IE festering with standards incompatibilities. They set back progress a good 10 years before Mozilla and Google took matters into their own hands. I learnt my lesson - never trust anything that comes out of Redmond. MS "embraced" open source silently kicking and screaming as Google and Facebook set about building the future. Their biggest frustration these days is that it's not so easy to extend what they embrace but it won't stop them trying.
DoodleBuggy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Windows 10 is steadily improving too.
camus2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft rebooted ! Windows home license ? $100 . Sure , rebooted...
jhgjklj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice Joke.
TruthSHIFT 2 days ago 3 replies      
Here's a Google link in case you wanted to read the article: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&c...
NLips 2 days ago 0 replies      
This title has had the exclamation mark after 'back' removed, making it hard to parse.

Are exclamation marks automatically removed? If so, can someone replace with a full stop?

baybal2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft is so uncool
floopidydoopidy 2 days ago 1 reply      
How much does it cost to buy an article in WSJ?
Moody's: U.S. Telecoms are underinvesting in broadband fiercetelecom.com
230 points by PaulHoule  3 days ago   79 comments top 15
dforrestwilson1 3 days ago 4 replies      
We're talking about 3 different technologies here:

1. Fiber optics - this is growing, and companies which have a lot of it are continuing to lay it out (albeit slowly). Also see, Altice's recent announcement. My hope is that post-election Google Fiber will ramp back up, simply for the legal defense of saying that they too are a cable company and the same laws should apply. In any case, consumers want it. High-end consumers will pay a premium, and the cost for urban footprint fill-out is not exorbitant.

2. Cable coaxial wire - this is a big thick wire that continues to upgrade nicely. DOCSIS 3.0 is basically the same old 1980s/1990s cable with better comms protocols. It's getting to the point to where they can compete on a reasonable basis with single strand fiber, at a lower speed and price point. So cable companies build out the back-end with fiber, but don't have to replant single homes.

3. Crappy copper telephone wire - this stuff is thin, it's painful to maintain and upgrade and always lags copper. Companies with a lot of this (Windstream, Verizon, AT&T, Frontier) are trying to run it for cash flow rather than spend a lot on upgrades. The telcos push fiber to the node, but it's a slow grind and involves very careful cost benefit analysis.

3 different technologies. 3 very different strategies. The election has further complicated things. Should VZ save up it's ammo and make a play for Sprint, Charter, Dish, or T-Mobile or invest in more broadband plants? I'd save the ammo given that Tom Wheeler is out on January 20th..

neom 3 days ago 1 reply      
Well, if you'd like to know why IRL, go to TIA 2016 [1] and sit in some of the small room "break out" sessions. It's absolutely unbelievable to see very small groups of very senior people in the US teclo industry deciding how the US teclo industry will run. I've done this for a few years and I'm not kidding when I say it's mind blowing how blatant the conversation is. [1]: http://www.tia2016.org/
pep_guardiola 3 days ago 1 reply      
We need some more Telecom competition here in the US to improve their services. I live in San Francisco and I've been waiting for a good while now for webpass to become an option in my building. Comcast service is really subpar. Meanwhile all my friends in northern europe have crazy gigabit connections.
StillBored 3 days ago 5 replies      
Lets see at my house: AT&T, $60 a month for 45Mbit down, 3Mbit up with a 1TB cap. TW/Spectrum $39 a month, 100Mbit down, 10Mbit up, no cap. (and they have faster speeds I actually pay something like $60 for 200/20).

So 1/3 less, for twice as fast internet, or ~5x faster internet for the same price.

So, I don't really see why anyone with a choice would choose AT&T in my neighborhood.

jmspring 3 days ago 1 reply      
It is interesting how in some rural areas, the update to infrastructure is happening via co-ops or small local firms. Volcano, CA and surrounding has it's own small telecom. Plumas County has a coop that is both installing fiber as well as buying up old cable resources to deliver broadband that way. Rock Island Internet in the San Juan Islands (WA state) is installing Fiber on Lopez Island. Cruzio in Santa Cruz, CA is doing both point to point wifi and working with the city on installing Fiber. This is just a few examples that I happen to personally know about.
Analemma_ 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why invest when you have a monopoly and can rent-extract?
niels_olson 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well that's a surp ... no, no it's not. I think the precedent got set when the government offered $3B to subsidize roll-out and they realized they could just pocket it without any real oversight.
thenewwazoo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Of course they are. They're incentivized to do so.

Bandwidth is a scarce resource, and they're often the only seller for a given market. The more demand, the more the market will bear for that resource. The more contentious and oversubscribed their infrastructure, the more likely they are to make seemingly-convincing arguments for rent-seeking (Internet "fast-lanes"), deregulation (because competition lowers prices), and consolidation (more efficiency drives down prices), all of which they can leverage to increase profit while holding prices steady -- or raising them -- due to further-increasing demand.

Building and maintaining increased capacity increases their expenses and lowers the value of their product.

Why in the world would they invest? It would be the stupidest possible thing for a telco to do.

edit: it's worth my noting that my basis for asserting ever-increasing demand is that of induced demand for network services

sz4kerto 3 days ago 1 reply      
Small CEE country: I have 1 Gb download and 300 Mbps upload (900/270 effectively). 15 USD per month.
tptacek 3 days ago 2 replies      
At the risk of being dismissive: didn't Moody's also strongly suggest that banks and pension funds were underinvesting in junk-grade mortgage backed securities? Has anyone read the actual research note? Are there reasons to believe that Moody's is more credible here than they were in 2007?
intrasight 3 days ago 0 replies      
Once you have great FTTH internet you don't want to give it up. It's like a drug. But it creates a kind of scarcity in that I could never live somewhere without it and there are yet too few places with it.

I really like the approach that places like Longmont, CO are taking [http://www.longmontcolorado.gov/departments/departments-e-m/...] or Greenlight in Rochester, NY. Love their pricing page:https://greenlightnetworks.com/pricing

I'm in Pittsburgh and have FIOS and that's set the price-performance bar at which I am not willing to drop below.

woliveirajr 2 days ago 0 replies      
In Brazil: some 15-20 years ago one power company (Copel [1]) began to spread fiber optics with the power cables. They began in the backbone, then inside cities, and so on, as they were expanding or maintaining their business.

Time passes and few months ago there was a spin-off using that infrastructure for telecom (Copel Telecom [2]).

[1] http://www.copel.com/hpcopel/root/index.jsp

[2] http://www.copeltelecom.com/site/

Great speed and reliability with a average price.

pascalxus 3 days ago 1 reply      
Instead, they're spending what seems like a lot of money on advertisement and marketing. For over a week, I couldn't seem to get rid of those At&t Uverse ads on my mobile browser, no matter how much I dislike their service. Without competition, I fear, this sort of mindless incompetence will only continue.
tn13 2 days ago 1 reply      
The real problem is the high entry barrier for competition. Tell me why Google fiber is not yet available in the meccah of technology bay area ?
beders 3 days ago 1 reply      
No shit, sherlock.Germany: 200MBit for 24 euros/month
How Unix made it to the top tuhs.org
297 points by jsnell  1 day ago   114 comments top 7
flomo 20 hours ago 5 replies      
Wow. I have to say that it is funny how you hear the legendary tales of computing history over and over again and then some little crucial minor details like "we sold the CEO's office on it" eventually slip out.

Ok, that was important at AT&T, but not really why Unix currently rules the universe. Due to anti-trust settlements and cheap licensing, and copyright foibles, Unix was the cheap midrange choice for students and non-enterprise users. After a lot of pain, Unix eventually evolved into an "open standard". And that eventually evolved into an "open source" standard with Linux (and BSD, MacOS, etc.) To quote DEC's Ken Olsen[1]:

> [UNIX is] great for students, great for somewhat casual users, and its great for interchanging programs between different machines. ... It is our belief, however, that serious professional users will run out of things they can do with UNIX. Theyll want a real system and will end up doing VMS when they get to be serious about programming.

And that is why your cell phone runs Unix and not VMS.

[1] http://sinix.org/blog/?p=16

old-gregg 1 day ago 3 replies      

 > It didn't seem like a very good idea for us to be keeping records from > the inner sanctum of the corporation on a computer where most everybody > had super-user privileges. A call to the PR guy convinced him of the > wisdom of keeping such things on their own premises. And so the CEO's > office bought a Unix system.
... and this is exactly how it works today with SaaS subscriptions, except root-privileged people don't even work at the same company and (frequently) aren't as capable as the folks at Bell Labs.

dispose13432 1 day ago 1 reply      
I expected this to be about how Unix became so popular (_top_ of popularity charts), not to the top (_CEO_).
dhosek 1 day ago 3 replies      
I learned TeX back in 1984 because I wanted a word processor which would put footnotes at the bottom of the page.
idm 11 hours ago 1 reply      
> Just as one hears of cars chosen for their cupholders, so were these users converted to Unix for trivial reasons: line numbers and vanity.

This is why Jobs was the visionary. "[L]ine numbers and vanity" are real-world problems with technical solutions. When you bridge technology into the real world, to create solutions in real lives, then you create value.

It's painful to consider that something like UNIX could be worthless, but it was worthless ... until it improved somebody's life. This is something I have not fully learned yet.

plq 11 hours ago 0 replies      
> Other documents began to accumulate in their directory. By the time we became aware of it, the hoard came to include minutes of AT&T board meetings. It didn't seem like a very good idea for us to be keeping records from the inner sanctum of the corporation on a computer where most everybody had super-user privileges.

I wonder how many meeting minutes, price lists, product specs, supplier agreements, etc. etc. are currently sitting on Google's, Amazon's, Dropbox's servers now...

qwertyuiop924 13 hours ago 0 replies      
"line numbers and vanity" would be a great name for a rock band.

Just sayin'.

Maya Python Datetimes for Humans kennethreitz.org
327 points by kenneth_reitz  21 hours ago   160 comments top 34
BoppreH 18 hours ago 5 replies      
Awesome! Timekeeping is hard and I'm glad we now have one more tool do deal with it.

One thing that is bothering me is that when you ask for `maya.when('tomorrow')`, or give only a date, you get back a timestamp with millisecond precision, representing 00:00 of that day. I understand this simplifies the implementation, but shouldn't `tomorrow` be a range, from 00:00 to 23:59?

Treating imprecise dates as ranges would allow for stuff like

 # Did this event happen "yesterday" according to the US/Eastern time zone? timestamp in maya.when('yesterday', to_timezone='US/Eastern') # Get me all events that happened last Friday (UTC) [event for event in events if event.time in maya.when('2016-12-16')]
Maybe I'm being naive, and there's a reason why this won't work, but this seems the way most humans deal with time.

PS: it failed to install on Windows, so I opened an issue at https://github.com/kennethreitz/maya/issues/10

sametmax 19 hours ago 5 replies      
I wish Kenneth would have contributed to an existed project for once.

Arrow and pendulum (my current favorite) have a very decent API. The later one is especially well tested for the numerous corner cases of date handling, which I doubt Kenneth got right on first try.

For request, a full rewrite made sense because urllib sucked so much and we had no good alternatives. But for date time, alternative exists and they are good. Do not split the open source effort, join forces!

ianamartin 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I think its fascinating that the community has no consensus about a datetime library.

A lot of Python is really solved. We don't argue about using requests (a not-coincidental example). If you're using Python, and you need to deal with http, you use requests. Everyone knows this.

There are basically 3 platforms for web frameworks. Flask, Pyramid, and Django. Maybe we're a little more dissolute than C# or Ruby folks, but that's pretty impressive considering how much we Python people like to roll our own.

The fact that there is real disagreement about this among ourselves about this particular issue says to me that this is more about the difficulty of the problem than it is anything else.

Walkman 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a joke. The whole "library" is 200 lines, has 9 tests, Kenneth probably wrote it in a couple of hours. It is totally not necessary, because, there are a gazillion datetime libraries and still, this is on the front page?


 >>> dt = maya.now() >>> dt.datetime() datetime.datetime(2016, 12, 18, 19, 24, 50, 212663, tzinfo=<UTC>) >>> dt.datetime('Europe/Budapest') datetime.datetime(2016, 12, 18, 20, 24, 50, 212663, tzinfo=<UTC>)
I would not use it...

jMyles 15 hours ago 1 reply      
What's up buddy?

My only real question:

> rand_day = maya.when('2011-02-07', timezone='US/Eastern')

This returning an object representing a DateTime on the 6th (in UTC time) strikes me as perhaps "not for humans."

If I just see that line casually, I think I expect to get a Date and for it to be the 7th.

It looks like, in order to get this (arguably expected) object, I need to take the resulting MayaDT epoch and run its `datetime` method, passing naive=True?

And I also see that _tz can only ever be pytz.timezone('UTC') - is this the result of some belief that timezones are illusions or something? :-)

For a while, I have kinda thought that timezones foment a confused mental model of time and teamwork. I prefer to think in terms of the astronomy - it's not actually a different time anywhere else, it's just that the sun is at a different position relative to the rest of the earth (and thus, ones faraway teammates and loved ones).

Anyway, thanks for yet another set of interesting ideas. Hope you are well.

Goopplesoft 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Kenneth Reitz is a testament to how important good interfaces are in the developer community. There are literally 0 interesting things in the code (all dependency driven, https://git.io/v15i3). It does have a nice interface and because of this it will probably become one of the more popular python datetime libs.
krautsourced 19 hours ago 4 replies      
I wonder if the naming isn't a bit unfortunate, seeing that Maya is one of the major 3d packages out there and googling for Maya and Python will almost always lead there (also, not sure whether Autodesk might object...)
etanol 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Not to undermine its merit, but most of the dirty work and heavy lifting is done by its dependencies:


And i18n support in humanize is a bit lacking, as it only translates to French, Korean and Russian. Given that most of the translations needed to render human dates can be found in the CLDR database, maintaining their own looks like a bit of a wasted effort.



bndr 19 hours ago 3 replies      
How does it differ from Arrow which was made several years ago? [1]

[1] http://crsmithdev.com/arrow/

Drdrdrq 17 hours ago 3 replies      
I have found that no matter what language/platform I use, the one thing that is always supported is UNIX timestamp. That makes date+time operations much easier:

 1) Whenever dealing with users, use local tz. 2) Always save and manipulate in utc.

ak217 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I like Kenneth's work, but "I wrote a new datetime library" is a cliche now. We have datetime, dateutil, pytz, babel, arrow, pendulum, delorean, a bunch of lesser known stuff, and now this. I have yet to see the need for anything but the first four.
dom0 18 hours ago 1 reply      
> Datetimes are a headache to deal with in Python, especially when dealing with timezones, especially when dealing with different machines with different locales.

Anything with date/time calculations is always a pain, probably doesn't really have much to do with the library/language itself, but that the abstraction level that's used (and typically used in other libraries) means that the complexities of calendar and time systems are sprinkled all over application code.

I do have to notice here that always using UTC is not always the right thing to do. For example, evaluating rrules in UTC is rather error-prone (DST).

foxhop 9 hours ago 0 replies      
My first commit to ago.py was 'Fri Jun 29 19:25:55 2012'.

 >>> import ago >>> import dateutil >>> ago.human(dateutil.parser.parse('Fri Jun 29 19:25:55 2012')) '4 years, 172 days ago' The current implementation is 66 lines of code including docstrings:
* https://bitbucket.org/russellballestrini/ago/src/tip/ago.py

* https://pypi.python.org/pypi/ago

japhyr 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm competent with strptime(), but this looks really nice:

 # Automatically parse datetime strings and generate naive datetimes. >>> scraped = '2016-12-16 18:23:45.423992+00:00' >>> maya.parse(scraped).datetime(to_timezone='US/Eastern', naive=True) datetime.datetime(2016, 12, 16, 13, 23, 45, 423992)
I'm happy not to have to write formatting arguments to strptime() anymore. Do the other datetime libraries have similar parsing functions?

charlex815 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I suppose this beats breaking out time delta, but I think it'll be hard for me to see an actual use in my projects that I couldn't accomplish with maybe just a couple extra lines
Animats 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Bikeshedding. The Python "datetime" module does almost all of this. (Although I did try to get ISO8660 parsing put in, after finding eight libraries for it, all of which were broken in some way.)
diyseguy 12 hours ago 2 replies      
But does it get DST correct. I haven't found any python time libraries that do.
meltingwax 19 hours ago 3 replies      
This is designed for programmers of user facing applications. For science and engineering, it does not address the problems, eg lack of leap seconds.
krick 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Uh, Arrow? I'm not a big fan of it, really, as I've seen it to break silently on some edge cases API is not totally awesome, but this one doesn't seem to be any better. Still not sure if I should use this or that or write one of my own.
ben_jones 18 hours ago 0 replies      
People are asking why this is needed compared to Arrow and a few other libraries. Personally I was never happy using the python time libraries, it always felt like my use cases were slightly different then the library, and I always found myself getting frustrated over little things here and there. I think there are a LOT of use cases for time in python applications and there is plenty of room for small libraries to satisfy these conditions, versus one monolithic time library that attempts to solve all.
smilekzs 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Slightly off topic:

> Maya never panics, and always carrys a towel.

Nice reference!

RubyPinch 19 hours ago 1 reply      

 <MayaDT epoch=1481850660.9>
not the most human readable is it?

I guess it would help with like, "X happened before Y" situations, but I don't think I'd trust my eyes for that!

I think I would of preferred the "this happened in X month" case instead, I find it easier to trust my eyes for that, instead of trying to look for differing digits!

- - -

UTC default is a godsend though

niftich 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The link to its github was posted on HN when it was brand new, and I left a comment [6], which I'm reproducing here -- since most of my points still apply.

(...) take my very early comments with a grain of salt -- they refer to the progress as of this commit [1].

I love Requests -- its API design is fantastic, and manages to distill down most of a complex problem domain to a clean, dare-I-say, elegant API.So I can eagerly anticipate this design applied to datetimes. But the progress being shown so far is definitely not it.

>>> tomorrow = maya.when('tomorrow')

<MayaDT epoch=1481919067.23>

Why is "tomorrow" a precise-to-centisecond, infinitesimally small point on a giant cosmic timeline? I'm reasonably sure it's an abstract concept that describes the calendar day that starts after the current calendar day ends.

At least, Pendulum normalizes tomorrow() and its ilk to represent midnight on the given day [2], while Delorean's natural language methods [3] like next_day() advance the day while leaving the time-of-day unchanged, but the method name makes this fairly clear.

Even Arrow, which is heavily inspired by Moment.js to the point of conflating every single datetime idea into the same class, opts for mutators that are still more clear [4].

> Timezones fit in here somewhere...

Yeah, this needs more work.

Java 8 / Threeten, and its predecessor Joda-Time took the approach of clearly modeling each and every concept that humans actually use to describe time; even if you take issue with their API, the designers have clearly done their homework, and their data model is solid.

Formats like TOML wrestled with datetimes and realized [5] that datetimes aren't just woefully underspecified in most other specs and APIs, but that they're frequently mis-modeled, so they adopted large portions of Threeten's data model. Cases like this should merit strong consideration from anyone trying to propose new datetime APIs today.

[1] https://github.com/kennethreitz/maya/commit/ecd0166ba215c1a5.... [2] https://pendulum.eustace.io/docs/#instantiation [3] http://delorean.readthedocs.io/en/latest/quickstart.html#nat.... [4] http://crsmithdev.com/arrow/#replace-shift [5] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12364805 [6] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13190314#13190657

aivosha 13 hours ago 0 replies      
i dont trust any piece of software that has all these made-up, unrelated, non-reflecting names. I mean come on, arrow, maya ?the main challenge about software engineering is correct naming. If you fail there you pretty much fail in the rest.Same goes for actually builtin name, "datetime". There is no such thing in real life as datetime. There is date and there is time. They are very separate notions and the root of the problem IMO is in trying to pile them together.
sebastibe 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Hopefully we will have a "API for Humans" for each of the standard library modules.
d0m 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah.. datetime is one of the rare part of the Python API that I really hate using. It's just badly designed, e.g. simple things are hard and confusing.
jchassoul 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't understand the author's effort on solving this "problem"... I wonder if he considered at some point make a contribution to stable open-source existing libraries like arrow that even claim inspiration on one of his projects for the API. What's not for humans on the arrow API? what are the arguments for basically start yet another time library from scratch?, why is making a contribution not an option? probably the author of arrow will love your contributions and will love to hear the arguments on the changes you propose.
djoser 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I understand the link with the maya believes but for a "digital" feature, this sound a lot like an Autodesk product...That said, nice API!
batbomb 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Kenneth: It would be really cool if you could put in support for TAI and MJD.
partycoder 15 hours ago 1 reply      
[offtopic] I do not like the "for humans" thing. What could it be for instead? for kangaroos or giraffes?
aibottle 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Great job, Mr. Reitz. I think I will use this in every project from now on. Thanks!
SFJulie 19 hours ago 2 replies      
joaoqalves 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Yet another library to handle dates in Python. Oh, boy... https://xkcd.com/927/
fnord123 18 hours ago 4 replies      
Python datetimes used with timezones, even UTC, are ridiculously slow and bloated. It's puzzling why this doesn't wrap np.datetime64 instead. Or wrap boost.datetime. There are many good options to claw some performance back so it's really head-scratch inducing that someone would recognize that stdlib datetime is a dog and then wrap it instead of scrapping it.
Psychiatrists Must Face Possibility That Medications Hurt More Than They Help scientificamerican.com
240 points by aburan28  3 days ago   177 comments top 27
youdontknowtho 3 days ago 14 replies      
Their over-prescription is no doubt a problem. That being said, I have family members that are verteran's from the Vietnam era. Anti-depressants made their existence possible. They all had so much trouble adjusting and maintaining relationships. The change was night and day different.

Anecdotal evidence isn't really evidence, I know that. And the pharma companies are really just the worst. I have seen these things really work though.

EDIT: It's funny, but people never seem to question if modern American life actually, you know, is good for mental health. Maybe people are mentally ill because the world is super effing weird and hard to adjust to?

sharkweek 3 days ago 3 replies      
Here's my take, as someone diagnosed with OCD/Anxiety.

Life can get to a point where it's miserable with OCD. It is exactly like a frog in water that's slowly boiling, that you don't recognize things are getting as bad as they are until one day you just kind of feel REALLY shitty and recognize something is wrong.

Medication can really help get over that hump in treatment, and honestly has made it possible for me to accept the problems for what they are. This allows me to move into a "better" place in my own head and be more open and ready for therapy, which I believe gives the far more valuable tools to overcome problems.

I have seen a few different doctors in my life, and NEVER has one of them only recommended medication. In fact most have said exactly the above, that medicine should be an enabler to make other therapy more helpful. Maybe I've just gotten lucky with good doctors, but I kind of think this is a common suggestion.

A lot of people on here are complaining about big pharma, but my generics cost like 2-3 bucks a month. I don't think GSK and Pfzier are exactly making bank off my mental conditions...

0x4d464d48 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've worked in the mental health field for years and remember believing that a sense of purpose and good social support was more important than the medication and that the medication was not necessary and harmful. Knowing what I know now, there are some diseases, mostly those involving psychosis e.g. schizophrenia, where med adherence is vital to a person learning how to cope with their disease otherwise they can't function and it is certainly not a character failing.

I haven't read the book in this piece and not to knock on journalists but there are things about mental illness you just won't learn without exposure to it and actually working to help people recover. There is a massive problem with over prescription and this idea that mental illness can be 'cured' with medications and medications alone which is absolute flummery (but if you look at what medications bring in the most revenue, the fact this persists shouldn't surprise you).

Biggest take away is that you shouldn't view drugs as necessarily bad as this piece implies. They aren't. When you have a patient who is so depressed they can't get out of bed or another whose auditory hallucinations intensify to the point of violence the drugs are necessary but they aren't a cure. Getting over mental illness requires social support but it does at times also require psychotropic meds.

And don't get me started on the bullshit pushed by pharma a few years ago that people in pain can't get addicted to opiates. I loose it almost every time.

broahmed 3 days ago 4 replies      
"You're depressed? Here: instead of fixing the problem that's causing your sadness, take this pill and it'll all be fine!"

I find this attitude perplexing. Instead of facing the problem(s), drug your mind so you're less aware of the sadness it's causing you. Reminds me of the soma in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.

And yes, I recognize that there are certain people who suffer from major clinical depression. By all means, prescribe then anti-depressants. I just think that our brains experience sadness for a reason: it's a signal that something is wrong in our life and that we need to change it.

Overtonwindow 3 days ago 2 replies      
Many years ago I was given citalopram to help with severe anxiety. The big difference between this, and the other times I'd been given paxil, stratera, wellbutrin, Lexapro, and others, was that I had a therapist who was adamant that drugs alone will not help. You must combine drug therapy with closely monitored, regular one-on-one therapy. That year of therapy and the meds changed my life. Now I'm off the meds and doing very well. Just two cents but maybe others have similar experience?
pc2g4d 3 days ago 3 replies      
Blame the environment.

It's difficult for me to believe that traits prevalent in 10% or more of the population are actually "disorders". They must have been advantageous in some past situations in order to be passed on so much, or at least not selected against. Right?

So what is it about our environment that makes these traits disadvantageous? Or is that even true? Maybe "mental illness" is an appropriate response to the injustices and impossibilities of modern life. How could we _not_ be having an epidemic of "mental illness" right now given the profound disruptions our society has endured in the last fifty years?

Psych drugs seem to me like a case of "you can't get enough of what you don't really need". An alternate view is that they're like a shoehorn---they're there to help normal people conform to the impossible expectations of society. But maybe we don't really need shoehorns for 10% of the population---maybe instead we need to learn to wear sandals or go barefoot.

Sorry, I know it's a stretched metaphor. And now I'm done.

khalilravanna 3 days ago 1 reply      
> ...Americans mental health has, according to some measures, deteriorated.

I wonder if these "measures" tried to account for the fact that the idea of "mental health" is something that we as a society have only recently tried to destigmatize and normalize. Seems to me that even just a decade or two ago many mental health issues were something you brushed under the rug or something that "other people" had to deal with but "never me". Could it just be the case that many more people are finally coming forward with issues that they had all along?

cjlars 3 days ago 1 reply      
Suicide rates are up, which is perhaps the best measure of the quality of mental health care people are receiving. However, there are at least few plausible explanations not mentioned in the article:

1. We have an older population -- suicide rates increase with age. [1]

2. We have a less religious population -- Christians, Buddhists and Muslims all have lower suicide rates than Atheists. [1]

3. We have a lower worker participation rate -- Unemployment is associated with higher suicide rates. Although most of the decrease in work in the US is voluntary, there is still a plausible link. [2]

[1] https://www.journals.uio.no/index.php/suicidologi/article/do...[2] https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/psychological-medici...

themgt 3 days ago 2 replies      
Fascinating to watch a brief video from Robert Whitaker [1]

The core of his argument appears to be that because the brain tends to compensate for disequilibrium, psych drugs in the long-term paradoxically have the opposite effect that they do short-term - anti-depressants are depressogenic, anti-psychotics increase long-term psychosis, etc

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VBXWdhabuQ

evo_9 3 days ago 1 reply      
My ex has PTSD and was prescribed Adderal; it wrecked our lives for years before I figured out what a horrible substance it is. After much trial and error I switched her to a specific type of Fish-Oil that has the DHA and EPA inverted (aka usually you have a very high DHA versus lower EPA). For whatever reason this stuff was the only thing that really seemed to help.

She also in recent years added medical mj bars (thankfully we live in Denver) and she would carefully cut up bars into smaller dosages (around 10mg each I believe) and take one of those every 3 hours roughly.

Ultimately this was the combo, along with a good multi-vitiman that really helped her regain a normal life.

DubiousPusher 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was writing something that got way too ranty so I'll confine myself to this.

While over prescribing may be a real problem, I think they mischaracterize how psych meds are prescribed. I've had several people in my life who suffer from severe mental illness and finding the right meds for these people has been a long and difficult process. I've sat in on many an appointment and never have I seen the flippant attitudes towards prescribing these meds that this article implies are widespread.

Sanddancer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Or it could be that medication keeps people from hiding from their problems. I know people who have stopped going to therapy and thus, according to stats, are "cured", however, they still have all the problems they had before. Conversely, because you need to see a doctor regularly while on psychiatric medications, it makes it a lot harder for one to hide from their situation. Over prescribed meds are definitely an issue, but there is more at play than just that.


One of the data points describes the amount of people taking antipsychotics. The article fails to tell how a lot of psych meds, like antipsychotics, have off-label used. For example, seroquel is a sleep medication in low doses. That would count as taking an antipsychotic even though the dosage is a tenth of that needed for an antipsychotic effect. This article fails to describe how psychiatric medications really are complicated.

aj0strow 3 days ago 0 replies      
For any parents out there: Please think long and hard before getting your kid prescribed. Get 2nd opinions, try nature or counselling, reflect if it's actually you who is the instigator. If you do go that route, know that your kid might not make it to 18, and if they do, might resent you deeply.

When experts in the same field looking at the same case can't agree even a little bit on best course of action, maybe it's not really science.

StanislavPetrov 3 days ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately the problem here is a serious one, and it isn't limited to psychiatrists - hubris. Those in positions of power, whether psychiatrists or presidents, virtually always prefer to err on the side of "doing something" rather then "doing nothing" regardless of the risk/benefit ratio. Intrinsic in the psyche of powerful people is the feeling of control. To these people, inaction is a sign of powerlessness, an admission of defeat, of their lack of control, and control is what they value above all else (whether consciously or subconsciously).
gwbas1c 3 days ago 3 replies      
Ritalin and Adderal are good examples of how incorrectly prescribing medication will have devastating effects.

Adderal is indistinguishable from methamphetamine, and Ritalin has similar effects. Prescribing too high of a dose will result in effects that are very similar to abusing illegal methamphetamine.

anigbrowl 3 days ago 1 reply      
Drugs can help, but really I've had greater and more lasting benefit from proscribed ones than prescribed. Also, psychiatrists really need to grow out of being licensed pill pushers and make more of an effort to be therapists. Every psychiatrist I've worked with sees themselves primarily as a diagnostician and invests only rudimentary effort in the caregiving or investigatory aspects of treating mental illness. I think the compartmentalization of health delivery functions is bad for patients.
cannonpr 3 days ago 1 reply      
The brain isn't 'badly' designed as much as people often claim and it also shows a remarkable amount of neuroplasticity and ability to alter it's cognative abilities based the demands and situations that it is placed in.I have reservations on the focus that our society places on magic pills versus training your mind...At some point I would love to be able to modify and edit my mind and cognition, but honestly the chemicals we peddle now are akin to fixing a CPU with a butane torch.
projektfu 3 days ago 0 replies      
The author of the article basically states that they are suffering from the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. They recently read, or read about the book, and all of a sudden lots of studies come out of the woodwork that he thinks agree. This is why systematic reviews are done instead of relying on opinion pieces.
disposablezero 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nuance/evidence-free claims. There are pluses and minuses to every situation which must be weighed with common-sense. Also, psychiatrists spend very little time on patient, use little or no evidence-based medicine and rarely act as social workers.
warfangle 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, the old 'more people are being prescribed medication over time, which is clearly causing more people to be prescribed medication.'

It's not at all tenable for other externalities to bring underlying mental illnesses to the forefront, nope, not at all.

What lazy thinking.

anngrant 2 days ago 0 replies      
As far as I know, numerous studies have shown that some medications work only due to their placebo effect. Though I actually doubt it refers to all groups of drugs. I do buy some pain killers via http://www.rx-discountcoupons.com/pharmacies/xlpharmacy/ service. I believe that my pills work and it has nothing to do with placebo effect. But who knows...
tomquin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Prescription drugs may be necessary but only after all other therapies have been exhausted. There are many ways to treat mental issues that do not require nuking the brain with powerful pharmaceuticals. Yes they are needed, sometimes.
lyle_nel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Could someone explain to me how this is not a correlation implies causation fallacy?

I don't where a causal relation is demonstrated.

stevewillows 3 days ago 0 replies      
this is long winded.. tldr; was on a drug that didn't work, got into group therapy that was far more effective.


I've tried a several anti-depressants over the past twenty-two years with no long-term success.

My GP's approach to severe depression was to 'change my outlook.' A few years ago when I saw a psychiatrist, they were quick with the drugs, and, at the time, I was thankful.

This was mirtazapine / remeron.

The first two or three months were fine -- a slight improvement that was enough to give me hope. It wasn't until about two years of constant suicidal thoughts (to an obsessive / fantasy level) that I realized that this wasn't the drug for me.

With the mirtazapine and the thoughts, the suggestion was that I add another drug to fight the suicidal / obsessive side. Seeing as these thoughts were the reason I was taking the drug to begin with, I turned down that idea. I was also aware of how easy it is to get into the balancing act of multiple medications, and I didn't want to swing that again. That's when I decided (against the wishes of everyone) to go drug-free.

It was suggested that I take close to a year to ween myself off of the little pills -- but I figured I could do it in two months. While I was able to do it, I had an extra two months of cold sweats, extremely believable nightmares, and general withdrawal. It was much worse than anything I've ever experienced.

When I first expressed the feeling that the medication had stopped working, the response was to up the dosage. This wouldn't be a bad thing if I weren't exhibiting a good portion of the side effects.

The best solution for me was a ten-week group therapy CBT 'course' provided by the local hospital's outpatient care. We watched clips from 'What About Bob?', focused on 4-7-8 breathing techniques (also fantastic for those with anxiety), and discussed the aspects of the illness that we felt were most shameful.

In externalizing the depression and suicidal thoughts, there was an amazing transformation that came through the validation from the others that I wasn't alone in the struggle. For me, this has been far more effective than any drug I've tried over the past twenty-two years, and I'd suggest it to anyone -- either standalone or in combination with medication.

I'm not completely free of these thoughts or desires, but when they do come up, I now have rational, logical tools to address them and move on. For anyone in the struggle, look into what your local hospital has to offer.

tptacek 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure I understand how substance abuse --- which appears to be correlated with suicide --- would be caused by psychiatry, rather than on socio-economic circumstances. How many rural Ohio opiate addicts do we think first worked their way through antidepressants?
matheusmoreira 3 days ago 0 replies      
The evidence in favor of psychotropic medications is vast. Any medical treatment may very well "cause more harm than good" -- the physician must weigh the risks and benefits and inform the patient.

They are not the only approach to treatment. There are many others we know may provide a benefit such as cognitive behavioral therapy and many others. It depends on the patient.

I think it's useful to review the medical practice guidelines; they collect the relevant evidence in one place and recommend treatments based on them. American Psychiatric Association guidelines can be found here:


For example, lets take the Major Depressive Disorder 2010 Guidelines since it covers the most prevalent mental health issue. It is divided in three sections:

>Treatment Recommendations

>Background Information and Review of Available Evidence

>Future Research Needs

Many treatment modalities for the acute phase are suggested: pharmacotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, psychotherapy and association of pharmaco- and psychotherapies.

The discussion of the efficacy of antidepressants starts on page 33. Here's a few important lines:

>A large body of literature supports the superiority of SSRIs compared with placebo in the treatment of major depressive disorder

>Each of these medications [SNRIs] is efficacious (i.e., superior to placebo in controlled studies and meta-analyses)

>Mirtazapine has comparable efficacy to SSRIs

>Although trazodone is an effective antidepressant, relative to placebo, in contemporary practice it is much more likely to be used in lower doses as a sedative-hypnotic than as an antidepressant

>Despite widespread use of trazodone as a hypnotic, few data support its use for this indication

>In comparative trials versus SSRIs, nefazodone showed comparable efficacy and overall tolerability

>Tricyclic antidepressants are effective treatments for major depressive disorder and have comparable efficacy to other classes of antidepressants, including SSRIs, SNRIs, and MAOIs

>MAOIs have comparable efficacy to other antidepressants for outpatients with major depressive disorder and may be appropriate for patients with major depressive disorder who have not responded to safer and more easily used treatments

It's well-established that modern psychotropic medications are effective treatments. Choosing among them and offering the patient the most appropriate medication is a complex process. In particular, the appearance of side effects and how well they are tolerated must be monitored.

Of course, general health advice applies. Regular exercise is likely to improve mental condition. However, I've never had the experience where a severely depressed person suddenly got motivated, started exercising regularly and got better. In fact, reduced energy and decreased activity is one of many signs of depression.



VLFBERHT 3 days ago 0 replies      
I came here to make a Scientology joke but I can't think of anything funny.
Wolfenstein 3D Gameboy cartridge with co-processor happydaze.se
393 points by phoboslab  14 hours ago   41 comments top 8
aresant 11 hours ago 3 replies      
This guy's combo of hardware and software engineering is stunning.

That he then has the aesthetic capability to knock out a beautiful fucking box for the cartridge is just humbling.

intopieces 10 hours ago 1 reply      
An interesting reminder of what we lose when we extend copyrights ad infinitum.
agumonkey 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Just my kind of things. That sort of retrofuturism, patching the old with just enough new to make it sexy.

Serious kudos.

n-gauge 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Amazing - I still don't fully understand how you manage to do rays on a tile based system, with so many textures to account for...
artursapek 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Starfox had a 3D co-processor too! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_FX

Nintendo really pulled off some impressive feats back in those days.

mortenjorck 10 hours ago 4 replies      
It's crazy to remember that the GBC lacked even Mode 7, of which something comparable wouldn't come to Nintendo handhelds until the Game Boy Advance. A full raycaster running on the Color, at a high frame rate no less, is a very strange sight.

I wonder just how wildly impractical it would have been to build such outboard hardware acceleration into a cartridge in 1998.

Rolpa 9 hours ago 1 reply      
He should seriously consider replacing the Wolfenstein content with his own stuff and release it as an independent title! I know I would love to see a new release for my GBC...
doubleorseven 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is huge!!!I just pulled my super mario cartridge yesterday out of storage to test that it still works.I would love to get a copy when you are done.
Super Mario Run supermariorun.com
266 points by yellow_postit  3 days ago   241 comments top 53
dcw303 3 days ago 9 replies      
I played through the first couple of levels and was instantly hit by how much better the level design, gameplay and characters were than the usual mobile game. I happily plonked down my ten bucks.

I cleared the game in a single lunch hour, but I'm not disappointed. The game design easily surpasses anything I've ever played on my phone, and there's a bucket of replayability. Pink/purple/black coins to get, speed runs on rally to try, etc.

Giving the first 3 levels for free was a good move - the install is essentially a demo that is enough to let a customer decide if they want to front for the whole game.

I didn't have a problem paying, but I've read a lot of whining on twitter and other places. Younger gamers have an expectation that everything on mobile should be free, but kudos to Nintendo on having the balls to stay away from cheap pay2win tricks and stick to an old school pricing model.

I don't know if it's going to turn a profit, but I really hope so. This race to the bottom amongst mobile game devs is madness and has to stop.

dperfect 2 days ago 6 replies      
The graphics are nice (similar to New Super Mario Bros.), gameplay is smooth, and I really wanted to like this, but I just can't get into it. I think it comes down to this:

My favorite games are the ones that embody some sense of freedom, and I just don't get that here (at least not from the first 3 levels). I completely understand Nintendo's decision to go with the single-finger jump-only game mechanic for a touchscreen device (I've never been a fan of virtual D-pads). But unfortunately, that decision has transformed Mario from a game about discovery and freedom into a game where you're - quite literally - not allowed to stop and take a second look at something.

As a natural consequence of this change in game mechanics, we seem to be forced into a constant state of hyper-focused speeding through what might otherwise be an attractive setting with subtleties to be explored. If I pass something that looks interesting in Super Mario Run, I'll likely never see it again (no, I'm not really motivated to repeat levels for coins - but I would be inclined to explore new paths through the game if I weren't always forced to be on the run).

Making matters worse, the few times I did attempt to explore a little (by jumping back off the walls), the clock ran out in what felt like an unreasonably short time compared to other Mario games.

In the back of my mind, it feels as though this change reflects something more profound about how society has evolved in the past decade. Maybe our competitive and demanding nature has overshadowed the desire for individual discovery and creativity. We don't need a landscape-oriented view of the horizon anymore; we only care about what's immediately at hand in our myopic view of the world because, let's face it, this is 2016 and we're too lazy to flip our phones around to landscape mode, let alone to confront the harrowing idea of plotting our own course through life. Just put us on the conveyor belt and tell us when to jump - and how high.

OK, that may be taking it a bit too far, but I'm still not buying the full game - and it has nothing to do with the price.

kbenson 2 days ago 2 replies      
While watching the promo video, which gives zero information on what it is, I was actually under the impression it was a tie-in with a fitbit like device that you might use with headphones, and the audio would trigger you to jump at specific moments, and it would use that movement for jumps in some simulated run in a game it could show you later, and it would score you based on speed and jump accuracy.

Now I really want that.

pentae 2 days ago 4 replies      
I only tend to play games when i'm bored on a plane flying somewhere - the necessity for it to be connected to the internet for copyright protection after I pay $10 is devastating. I'm sure they will still make a lot of money and I make up a very small fraction of their market, but it's still quite frustrating being punished as a paying user.
saurik 2 days ago 3 replies      
I am surprised at how many comments are here but with only a single one mentioning "build". If you are playing the game, exit Tour, spend some Rally Tickets you earned collecting Colored Coins to compete against other players in Style competitions to get Toads to cheer for you and come to your side, which will level up your Kingdom and (based on the numbers of each of five colors of Toad you have) unlock the ability to Spend the normal Coins you find to Build not only Decorations, but also Buildings such as a Bonus Game Area where you can win Prizes. Then exit all of that and go to the Missions section of the My Nintendo menu to claim your Points to redeem for Rewards... and don't forget to come back every eight hours to the bonus game and every day to the rally and other random time intervals to complete various missions. Oh yeah: you also have a global count of how many of each kind of enemy you have killed, and when you meet objectives you increase your Enemy Level so you get more coins when killing that kind of enemy while competing in the rally. You can also unlock different characters to play as; I believe that Toad is a Reward you can unlock for 0 points just for having bought the game, so go do that now. OMFG this is complex and reminds me more of what I hear from people talking about scary games like FarmVille and Candy Crush than Mario :/.
bobbles 3 days ago 3 replies      
I like the game but unfortunately Nintendo really does suck when it comes to online accounts.

I had signed in on my iPhone then also set it up on my ipad. After finishing a few levels on the iPad i went back to my phone.

The phone let me finish a level, THEN came up and said 'cant progress as you're signed in on another device' and the app crashed.

what the fuck is the point of signing up for an account if it doesnt even sync across devices

minimaxir 3 days ago 2 replies      
Many of the other comments in this thread are low-effort "mobile games aren't real games, lol."

After playing just one level, you can tell that Super Mario Run the real deal and not a cash-in (and it gets hard, especially if you want to get Black Coins). If you have an aversion to mobile gaming, give this a try.

You can play 3 levels without having to pay anything and it doesn't nag you until then, which means that Nintendo only gets your money if they can convince you if it's worth it. And they do.

throwaway420 3 days ago 0 replies      
I believe that this game's always online DRM is incredibly disrespectful and will not buy it. I don't want to pirate anything. I actually want to pay real money once for a polished mobile game rather than getting mostly junk for free. Nintendo got that part of the equation right, I'll give them that. But because of the always online DRM, it's unusable on the subway or on an airplane. If I can't use it when I want it the most, what's the point of spending real money?

PS: This website is ridiculous. It takes forever to load up, and the marketing video is just a stupid video of a bunch of people doing parkour in slow motion or some junk like that. They probably spent 6 figures on that dumb video that nobody really gives a crap about. Then there's another loading screen after the video, and once that's done there's a really crappy UI for a slideshow that's not even responsive. IMO, idiotic executives fingerprints are all over this shitshow with bad decisions left and right. Nintendo is a fantastic company who is capable of amazing things, but they don't really get the web or mobile technology. Sad!

calebbrown 3 days ago 1 reply      
That website was frustrating.

- splash page that has to load the background video before you can do anything.

- you have to start watching the video on the splash page to skip it.

- horizontal navigation in the about page.

- clicking the obscure "here we go!" back link in the about page has to reload the video before you can do anything.

It looks really nice, but the interaction is incredibly slow and cumbersome.

politician 3 days ago 2 replies      
The announcement video had me thinking this was some sort of Pokemon GO / Fitbit cross-over. Thankfully, it's just a game.
mysterydip 2 days ago 3 replies      
I wonder how successful this game would have been if it was the exact same but with non-mario graphics and without the nintendo hype. I would imagine most people would see "$10 for yet another runner game" and dismiss it out of hand.

I have yet to find a good solution for finding the gems and avoiding the cruft of the various stores.

jackvalentine 3 days ago 1 reply      
That took way too long to get to the actual playing... choosing my country(?!), linking to a nintendo account etc.
MarketingJason 2 days ago 1 reply      
Based on the videos on the landing page, I was getting the impression this was a VR/fitness game. Everybody running around had me thinking you needed to run in order to your avatar to do the same. I was actually disappointed how little you actually have to do to play the game when I navigated a couple screens in to get the full-picture.
CrazedGeek 3 days ago 0 replies      
Played a bit. Seems like a solid runner -- feels a bit more like the Rayman Run games than Canabalt or Jetpack Joyride to me. Curiously, it's more technical than any of those. Not sure I'm going to play more soon, but that's mostly because I'm playing on a 12.9" iPad Pro and the game feels like it's designed for screens half that size.
crazygringo 2 days ago 4 replies      
From the video, I really thought this was going to be some kind of miraculous game that would marry fitness (via real-life running) with gamification -- the kind of magic that only a truly visionary company could pull off. Like Fitbit only with real entertainment and joy attached.

Not going to lie, no matter how great the game is, I'm pretty disappointed.

bdcravens 2 days ago 2 replies      
Am I the only one who feels in places the UI was rushed? Like the generic sans font in the splash screen, and buttons that look like Aqua from 10 years ago?
wattt 2 days ago 0 replies      
That first video is so inappropriate I can't get my head around it. I thought it was going to be an augmented reality game like Pokemon Go. Turns out it is just a regular game. I can't get back to the website to try it though, the promotional page sucks!
Rapzid 3 days ago 1 reply      
They really nailed this from an advertising and marketing perspective. From what I can see the gameplay is spot on too. Looks like Nintendo took a crowded genre, the runner, and completely pwnd it. Looking forward to the android release though as I own 0 iDevices.
ronnier 3 days ago 7 replies      
I tried it and didn't enjoy it. It largely comes down to tapping the screen when you want to jump... nothing else. Not having a real controller cripples this type of game.
wturner 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was hoping this would be like pokemon Go and push the trend of getting people out of the house. That's what the ad had me infer. Pokemon Go ---> Super Mario Run
ya 3 days ago 0 replies      
the website redirect to /ch/index.html , and show nothing but `File not found."`

found this in javascript:

 case 'zh':location.href = _WARP_ + 'ch/index.html';break;
Chinese index page missing?

wattt 2 days ago 1 reply      
What year do they think this is that there is no Android version?
unicornporn 2 days ago 0 replies      
How's that for a misleading commercial. I was 100% sure this was a Pokemon Go styled running game until I checked some Youtube videos.
qwtel 2 days ago 0 replies      
The about page is more informative (https://supermariorun.com/en/about.html):

A new kind of Mario game you can play with one hand. Mario constantly runs forward, while you time your taps to pull off stylish jumps and moves to gather coins and reach the goal!

Larrikin 3 days ago 1 reply      
The video had me worried and excited it was some kind of AR based game
cgvgffyv 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The App Store reviews are appalling though. How can people be so incredibly entitled I couldn't possibly understand.
djrtwo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I thought this was going to be an augmented reality running app/game especially because of the recent Pokemon Go. Kind of disappointed when I watched the gameplay video.
eps 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nostalgia aside, SMR looks pretty underwhelming compared to other high-end runners like Rayman Adventures. Yes, it's remarkable that Nintendo caved to Apple's advances and they are likely to make a lot of money on this, but the game itself is just... meh, basically.

[1] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rayman-adventures/id10435896...

module0000 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you want to cash in on the success of this game, Nintendo's US-traded stock equivalent is NTDOY - it represents 1/8th share of the Japanese company stock, but traded in USD.

That said, it's not looking very good at the moment, and has fallen consistently from days before release, and still falling this morning.

mgv11 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really would want to play this.I don't mind the concept especially the game is on par with those Rayman runner games. At least couple of the early ones were really great.The price is perhaps steep for what it is, not that it would stop me from buying this. Well the hype and interested might have mellowed down once the Android version comes out..
nulagrithom 3 days ago 7 replies      
I watched the intro video and still have no idea what this app is or does.
Coincoin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Someone needs to do an edit of that video where the mass of people at the end bang their face on a door with a note saying: "Sorry, we only had 5... come back after Christmas".
mads 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a fun game. I cant even remember the last time I actually wanted to fire up a game because it was actually fun. Rarely play and when I do, it is just to kill time.

And also.. It brings back childhood memories to play Mario.

r0m4n0 2 days ago 0 replies      
A little ironic that the video shows people actually being extremely physically active and then concludes with those same people heads down on a phone game at the end
increment_i 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was a little confused to see an iOS release only - wasn't the thing built in Unity?
icco 1 day ago 0 replies      
Has anyone done any reverse engineering to figure out what infrastructure this is running on?
josefresco 2 days ago 1 reply      
Another 'Run" game - just what mobile gaming needed!

This will fit right along my daughters' other 96 run games.


gohrt 2 days ago 0 replies      
The homepage ad is amazing. It makes me want to put my phone away and play outside.
kawsper 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does it still have the always-online requirement?
pacomerh 2 days ago 0 replies      
I appreciate the level of detail the game has compared to the average single finger jump game. But!, I think Nintendo is late to the game on this one. Had this game been launched a few years back a different story would've been. I'm not saying this is the wrong move, it's just a little late. The ad didn't help either, I honestly thought it was something similar to the pokemon game, where you had to run to get points or something, idk.
Arkaad 1 day ago 0 replies      
The video makes it look like it's similar to Pokmon GO.
zitterbewegung 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have an iPhone 6 and immediately I started the game with no sound and apparently it is an issue with others. Uninstalled. http://wojdylosocialmedia.com/no-sound-audio-super-mario-run...
ikeboy 2 days ago 1 reply      
On iOS 10.2 it just craches as soon as it's opened. Not too impressed.
kellet 2 days ago 0 replies      
A Yip, Yap, Ya-HOOO!
simooooo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm inclined to ignore this as another game hitch hiking on the Mario name.

Have we reached 200 yet?

sabujp 2 days ago 0 replies      
boo, no AR
BusySkillFool 2 days ago 0 replies      
Horrible game, extremely low quality, thoroughly disappointed from the first screen to the end of the first level where I was disconnected due to no internet connection (which I did have). Uninstalled.
xxbc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Really a pity this wasn't released internationally!
_eht 3 days ago 1 reply      
My Pixel is ready... :/
k0mplex 3 days ago 0 replies      
2/5 stars.
farzadb82 3 days ago 0 replies      
A Mario-themed Flappy bird clone?
ungzd 2 days ago 1 reply      
How it stands out of thousands of similar "runner" games in app store? Only by having the sprite of Mario in it. Nintendo is nothing more but trademark-selling company nowadays.

And lots of people buys it not because of nostalgia but because you must respect classics to claim you have good taste.

The world of mobile games is infinite bullshit.

Caerus 3 days ago 1 reply      
I got really turned off when it was listed as "Free (with in-app purchases)". Turns out it's basically a 10 minute demo, after which you have to pay $9.99.

Maybe it's good, but deceptive enough I uninstalled it.

SQL Server on Linux public preview microsoft.com
243 points by olalonde  1 day ago   150 comments top 19
digi_owl 1 day ago 2 replies      
Heh, Torvalds must be popping a cold one as clearly his victory condition has been fulfilled.

> If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won.


jsmeaton 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm excited about this release because it means that developers of frameworks and libraries that target SQL Server will no longer need to have Windows available to test their software. As a specific example, the SQL server backend for Django could now (soon) be bundled with Django directly and enjoy the same level of support that other backends do. It'll also mean that users will be free to run Django on Linux, and use the drivers to communicate with a windows or Linux based SQL server.

I should note that Django isn't planning to add more backends to the core project, and has actually discussed moving some into separate packages. But that doesn't mean a backend couldn't be developed by the Organisation.

nateguchi 1 day ago 2 replies      
> We have seen strong reception for the private preview to date with more than 50% of Fortune 500 companies applying for the private preview


Corrado 23 hours ago 3 replies      
My default RDBMS of choice has always been PostgreSQL and I'm not sure why I should choose SQL Server, even now that it's available on a non-Windows platform. I understand that there are some fancy DB things that it can do and it's optimizer can be better in some circumstances, however I like to use ORMs and don't generally interact directly with the DB. Besides, those things pale in comparison (in my mind) to the hassle in dealing with Microsoft and licensing. Using PostgreSQL is simple and doesn't involve breaking out a spreadsheet to determine how much we need to pay for it. I've seen Microsoft licensing and the companies I've been at have had to have entire departments to figure it out. No thanks.

Now, the one thing I've heard from everyone is that the SQL Server tooling is beyond belief, and I believe it. If there is one weakness in the open source RDBMS world it's tooling. With such as large and obvious gap how is it that no one has filled it yet? Will no one pay for tooling? Are there tools available but the quality is not there? Seems like a good candidate for someone to fill a niche and possible make a successful business.

heisenbit 1 day ago 2 replies      
SQL Server, Sharepoint, Active Directory and Office are all platforms in their own right. It does not make sense to constrain them by requiring the windows platform to run.

Balmer was jumping across the stage yelling Developers, Developers, Developers! Now someone in Redmond is executing and pushing the applications and tools platforms. It will be interesting to see where this leaves Windows in the medium term.

sandebert 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm curious what results we will see when people start benchmarking it running on the same hardware but Windows in one case and Linux in the other.

Also, what would happen (if anything) if the Linux results crushed the Windows ones? Would that be embarrassing to Microsoft? And to take the thought to the next level of paranoia, let's say Microsoft already ran those benchmarks in-house and found the Linux version vastly faster. To avoid embarrassment, would they slow it down to be more in line with the Windows version?

gaurav-gupta 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Microsoft is adapting at a good pace, going beyond the windows ecosystem. Last time I used SQL server, it didn't support sharding across machines, so only supported vertical scaling (unless you buy the appliance or add sharding logic at the application layer). I think that's something they need to fix, to start using SQL server for large scale applications.

Now if they can just fix windows, I might start using that too. Maybe WindowsX? I do enjoy using VSCode on Mac!

Qantourisc 1 day ago 1 reply      
> We have made it easier than ever to get started with SQL Server. Youll find native Linux installations with familiar RPM and APT packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu Linux, and packages for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server will be coming soon as well.

So easy for some ;) Not to not applaud their efforts though.

walterbell 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sybase SQL Server 4.2 and Microsoft SQL Server (circa 1993) were identical. The products have since diverged, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sybase#History

Sybase for Linux was made free for production use somewhere around 2002. It is still useful for some applications, if you can find the binaries, http://froebe.net/blog/2013/03/10/howto-installing-and-runni...

myf01d 1 day ago 16 replies      
I wonder who would choose Microsoft or MySQL over PostgreSQL these days.
jchannon 1 day ago 1 reply      
Would you ship your production system database in a container?
ageofwant 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been expecting MSLinux for 5 years > now.

I've always thought that Microsoft's operating systems were the Albatross around their neck. Their apps and systems are OK. Having those available on a superior OS, like Linux would be good for the world, and MS.

Buying canonical would probably be the quickest way.

mmgutz 1 day ago 0 replies      
They say they have top scores on performance benchmarks but weren't those run on Windows servers? Would like to see Linux benchmarks.
mcs_ 23 hours ago 0 replies      
It is time to port those legacy .net 2.0. to node. At least for me.

Thank Microsoft... good one

roryisok 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anyone know if there's going to be a version of sql express for Linux? I couldn't find any info on it last time I looked
kriro 1 day ago 2 replies      
Will be very interesting to see how this affects SAP installations. AFAIK the only database options were SQL Server and Oracle. Granted it's been >5 years since I had to deal with this mess but this could be amazing news for some people on SAP who were pretty much forced to run Windows just for the database.
mattkrea 1 day ago 3 replies      
I assume it shares the same insane licensing model. I genuinely do not understand how people put up with that (outside of enterprises that normally overpay for everything).
voltagex_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
The 16.10 packages seem to be missing and I can't find where to report it.
known 1 day ago 0 replies      
Satya may have pushed it hard
Single-file C/C++ public-domain/open source libraries with minimal dependencies github.com
285 points by brakmic  1 day ago   61 comments top 12
SwellJoe 1 day ago 11 replies      
I've lately found myself wondering why there isn't a C/C++ tool comparable to npm, cargo, cpanm, etc. There's more C/C++ code in the wild than most languages, but it's not easy to find, not easy to install, not easy to update (though that's a problem in the npm ecosystem, too), and not easy to integrate. A good package manager would go a long way toward modernizing the C ecosystem, I think.
kevinoid 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a great list, it looks useful!

In addition to clib[1] mentioned in this list, there's also CCAN[2]. It's another collection of small C libraries, but unlike clib and this list, the libraries are maintained as a single project (for better or worse).

I'd love to see some more convergence on library search and package management for C. I was glad to see clib and CCAN consider coordinating.[3] Hopefully that effort will eventually bear fruit.

1. https://github.com/clibs/clib2. https://ccodearchive.net/3. https://github.com/clibs/clib/issues/69

greyman 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I am glad that developers are willing to create truly free software under public-domain license, so one can just use it at will (for example copy just one method from the code) without worrying about licenses or needing to hire a lawyer.
duneroadrunner 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well, since they seem to be including collections of elements, each with dependency on one or two files, SaferCPlusPlus[1] could be added to the "data structures" category. It's a collection of safe compatible substitutes for C/C++'s unsafe elements that's generally intended to be used as a whole, but certainly supports cherry picking of individual elements. For example, you could choose to use its safe substitutes for std::vector (and std::array) while foregoing its safe pointer substitutes.

The implementation design was a trade-off between minimizing redundancy and minimizing dependencies (and inter-dependencies). Ultimately I decided minimal dependencies would be more appealing to the user.

[1] shameless plug: https://github.com/duneroadrunner/SaferCPlusPlus

Animats 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Good idea, but submissions require forking the project, editing their directory file, and submitting a pull request. All this does is maintain a list. I just submitted "algebra3.h", vector functions for 2, 3, and 4 element vectors, all as inline C++. I've had that on a web site of mine since the 1990s.
quinthar 1 day ago 4 replies      
In the FAQ it just says "Come on" for SQLite included in the list. Can you provide a bit more detail? This feels like a pretty great option to include here.
Xeoncross 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've been wondering where I can find guys to write a few dozen lines of C/C++ for my Go and/or bash scripts.

I often need some simple thing that can take input from Stdin while I'm piping stuff around in a bash script. Like telling me the db audio level of a mp3 file while reading through all the files in a directory.

cobalt 1 day ago 1 reply      
There's another set of similar libraries called the STB Libraries, primarily aimed at gamedev/graphicsdev: https://github.com/nothings/stb
logicallee 1 day ago 1 reply      
For anyone wondering why the FAQ says:

>Q. Why isn't SQLite's amalgamated build on this list?

>A. Come on.

For the answer, look at the SQLite Amalgamation page[1]

>1. Executive Summary

>Over 100 separate source files are concatenated into a single large files of C-code named "sqlite3.c" and called "the amalgamation". The amalgamation contains everything an application needs to embed SQLite. The amalgamation file is more than 180,000 lines long and over 6 megabytes in size.

So although it's technically a single file, at 180 000 lines and 6 Megabytes, it's not really in the spirit of the page.

[1] https://www.sqlite.org/amalgamation.html

NotThe1Pct 1 day ago 0 replies      
I couldnt really find anything useful in there...
stevemk14ebr 1 day ago 3 replies      
IMHO it's dumb to limit the libraries to just two files. Whether or not a library is included in the list should be determined on a per-library basis. Some header-only libraries simply require more than one header file or the source code becomes an absolute mess.
israrkhan 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is a great list, primarily for learning and experimenting. However I would not use these for production purpose. Typically production apps require Security, Performance, handling of edge cases, Memory leaks, and reliability in addition to functionality. It is easier to implement functionality in a single file library, however the scope increases significantly when you start adding things like os/hw/api abstraction layers, and aspects other than functionality.
Management theory is becoming a compendium of dead ideas economist.com
245 points by fraqed  1 day ago   146 comments top 28
anotherhacker 1 day ago 8 replies      
The problem lies in business schools and degrees like the MBA.

Check out the faculty list at Harvard Business school [link below]. I randomly looked at profiles of 14 of them and not a single one had real world business experience. If there are any who do have real world experience, it's often superficial.

To carry on this article's analogy, business schools are the Catholic church of 1500: incestuous, detached, and self-serving.

Harvard Busisness school faculty: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/browse.aspx

Animats 1 day ago 2 replies      
The dead ideas:

* Business is more competitive than ever. But in reality, we have more monopolies and duopolies than ever. Peter Thiel's "Zero to One" is all about how to achieve monopoly. Businesses in the US hate competing on price. Without strong antitrust enforcement, which the US hasn't had in decades, the number of players decreases until there's no price competition. How many Internet providers can you choose from in the US? How many in the UK or Germany?

* We live in an age of entrepreneurialism. But the big companies are making all the money. The Economist writes: "A large number of businesspeople who were drawn in by the cult of entrepreneurship encountered only failure and now eke out marginal existences with little provision for their old age." All YC applicants should read that.

* Business is getting faster. They compare the fast rise of the automobile. Electricity and aircraft were also deployed faster than the Internet. Progress in the first 50 years of aviation zoomed like the semiconductor industry. Then in the late 1960s, it was all done - the Concorde, the Boeing 747, the SR-71, and the Saturn V had all flown. Everything since then has been a minor improvement.

* Globalisation is both inevitable and irreversible. The Economist comments "In 1880-1914 the world was in many ways just as globalised as it is today; it still fell victim to war and autarky." The causes of World War One are worth studying. Nobody really wanted it, and it happened anyway. Before WWI, Germany's biggest trading partner was France.

milesf 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'd say "advanced management theory" may be dying, but I don't even see basic 101 management theory being acknowledged in many organization. Things like "don't have one person report to two or more people" are violated all the time and result in predictable chaos and problems.

I'm reminded of the story of garbagemen strike that brought New York City to their knees, while the Irish Banking Crisis caused only a blip because people turned to alternative forms of currency. Real managers provide real value solving real problems, and are well liked by their employees. Unfortunately most management nowadays is awful, and needs to be pruned.

jtcond13 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Business books are basically romance novels for men. Silly fantasies, terrible writing, large type, cheap paper and one good idea per book" - Benedict Evans


calpaterson 1 day ago 2 replies      
These four theories don't seem to be the four most popular in management theory...in my opinion a rough list of those would be something like: Porter-style competitive advantage, Toyota-style operations (agile/just-in-time), everything in modern finance and disruptive vs incremental technology (in the strict Christensen sense).

The professionalisation of management surely has problems but it's important to at least characterise the prevailing orthodoxy accurately...and this article does not.

lkrubner 22 hours ago 0 replies      
The conclusion is exactly correct:

"The backlash against globalisation points to a glaring underlying weakness of management theory: its naivety about politics. Modern management orthodoxies were forged in the era from 1980 to 2008, when liberalism was in the ascendant and middle-of-the-road politicians were willing to sign up to global rules. But todays world is very different. Productivity growth is dismal in the West, companies are fusing at a furious rate, entrepreneurialism is stuttering, populism is on the rise and the old rules of business are being torn up. "

It is worrisome how much people pay for books that teach things that are plainly wrong. They mention Thomas Friedmans The World is Flat but there are a lot of others they could have listed. For the last 40 years there has been almost constant rhetoric from business writers about the way that business was becoming more and more competitive, and yet the numbers show that exactly the opposite was happening: new business creation has been in decline since the 1970s, and consolidation means that business has become less and less competitive for the last 40 years. Monopolies have become more common. Patent laws and copyrights have been extended to make monopoly easier. It is true that if you are trying to start a new business, the situation has become increasingly bleak since the 1970s, so from the point of view of someone just starting out, things have become harder, and perhaps some people mean that when they say "things are more competitive". But that isn't the competition of one business against another, that's the competition of one worker against another. We should be clear about our terminology.

mindcrime 1 day ago 0 replies      
So a select group of industries, including airlines, have seen a lot of consolidation - you're going to use that as an argument that we aren't in an era of hypercompetition. Sorry, not buying it.

And that's even more true because the airline example is actually flawed. Not all consolidation reduces competition. Look at the past few years, where Delta bought Continental and American and US Airways merged. You'd say that the number of "major" carriers dropped by two. Fine... now look at the Alaska Airlines / Virgin America merger... arguably Alaska is now on the cusp of becoming a "major" carrier, which can compete with the likes of American, Delta, United and Southwest.

So it was consolidation, but did it make things more or less oligarchical? The answer isn't as straight-forward as you might think. Likewise, the acquisition of Airtran by Southwest may actually have created my competition by giving Southwest more planes, gates, and routes - including their first few international routes.

None of this is to say that "management theory" is complete, perfect, or even useful. But this article fails to convince me that it's all just "dead ideas" either.

jkraker 1 day ago 2 replies      
The four dead ideas according to the article:1) Business is more competitive that ever.2) We live in an age of entrepreneurialism.3) Business is getting faster.4) Globalization is inevitable and irreversible.
sudshekhar 13 hours ago 0 replies      
As auganov pointed out, a lot of the BA curriculum is inter-disciplinary and the content is largely generic (barring specializations such as finance/ops etc). Nowadays, anybody can access this knowledge for free for little/no cost. Hence, IMO its not really the content or even the lectures that make MBA schools sell (something which I think even they admit openly).

Most people go for the 'network' and the validation that the school gives you. So no matter how outdated their curriculum gets, as long as

a) their current alums promote and guide future ones (shouldn't be any problem)

b) They are able to continuously source smart people

c) Nobody comes up with a better alternative system to identifying future leaders

These schools should have no problem.


IMO, (a) will never be a problem for these schools. The supply of smart undergrads/students is also assured given our innate inertia, FOMO and the perceived lack of growth in non-mba fields as we grow older.

Thus, (c) i.e. somebody coming up with a better metric/validation mechanism to source top leaders should be the biggest concern for these schools.

The lack of formalism and accountability in the curriculum (specially in the softer subjects) means that it's unlikely any one finding/study/trend can deal a major blow to these institutions. For every Enron, they can cite a Jack Welch.

tl;dr: Slow gradual change/reflection is unlikely to change these schools much. Disruption is what's needed.

jaypaulynice 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I think business school is already disrupted with startup accelerators like YC. It's a matter of time before they realize it. Some accelerator programs even want a tuition. I've pondered this a lot thinking what I would learn to go to business school, but problem is that you can't get funding to start a company, but you can get funding to attend business school. Hence why business schools exist now. But 10-15 years from now this will change.
c3534l 1 day ago 0 replies      
This article is a strawman. These are more characteristic of pop business books and motivational speakers than it is of anything I've encountered in my actual business degree. I'm learning about concepts like liquidity versus profitability and the difference between cellular and functional manufacturing layouts. This is looking at a couple of popular books on business and claiming it in some way represents serious business research and education.
projectileboy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Business schools (and MBA programs) were an interesting experiment: can you abstract away the most important parts of a business away from what that business actually produces? Empirically, the answer appears to be no. It's understandable that such an experiment would take place. But now that we have an answer, we should stop pretending that the value produced by business schools is sufficient to justify their existence.
Balgair 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Holy cow! Did anyone else see the comments section on the actual article? Dumpster Fire is a term that gets banted about a lot, but that part of the site is surely flaming raw sewage. My god, is that what my uncles see as 'informed' readers? Jesus, the Economist could really use some more heavy handed mods.
andyidsinga 10 hours ago 0 replies      

"The theorists third ruling idea is that business is getting faster. There is some truth in this. Internet firms can acquire hundreds of millions of customers in a few years. But in some ways this is less impressive than earlier roll-outs: well over half of American households had motor cars just two decades after Henry Ford introduced the first moving assembly line in 1913. And in many respects business is slowing down. Firms often waste months or years checking decisions with various departments (audit, legal, compliance, privacy and so on) or dealing with governments ever-expanding bureaucracies. The internet takes away with one hand what it gives with the other. Now that it is so easy to acquire information and consult with everybody (including suppliers and customers), organisations frequently dither endlessly."

nunez 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think MBAs are the MCSEs of the business world; you can't get into certain (high paying) jobs without them despite their value being questionable...
vonnik 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder why they thought this article was newsworthy. It's news to no one that most business books are empty of thought. The same goes for many MBA programs. So yes, we should ignore management theory, but for the reasons given in this article, we should ignore the Economist.

It's not even clear that the four ideas cited in the magazine are actually prevalent in management theory. The piece itself did almost nothing to substantiate that.

One of the best books on management theory is War and Peace. The central idea in war is simply that good lieutenants are more useful and more rare than the sycophants and adjutants who circle the chiefs of staff.

One of the second best ideas about management is this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servant_leadership

The main job of managers is to make the lives and tasks of competent individual contributors go more smoothly.

daxfohl 1 day ago 0 replies      
So is physics. Perhaps this is already the next middle ages without realizing it.
jimnotgym 1 day ago 0 replies      
I pose the question as a middle manager who feels those above are doing a worse job than I could, what would I do to show I am senior management material. One of those things feels like it should be 'get an MBA'. But as others have said, maybe this is just paying the price for entry to the club. On the other hand, I see plenty of senior managers who have got their positions from 1) being in the job below when the senior left or 2) social connections and have few of the soft skills or technical skills that would make them a decent manager. At least MBA's give the appearance of a meritocracy!
cjf4 1 day ago 2 replies      
>Management theories are organised around four basic ideas, repeated ad nauseam in every business book you read or business conference you attend, that bear almost no relation to reality.

This a weak premise whose scant evidence is primarily composed of pop business airport books. And the idea that the vast, diverse, and nebulous world of management can be distilled to four ideas is a joke.

maverick_iceman 1 day ago 1 reply      
If management theory have no value then why MBA grads from top schools are so high in demand? This is not a rhetorical question, I'm genuinely curious as I've wondered about this for a long time.
no_wizard 1 day ago 0 replies      
As someone who is a respected manager, according to anonymous surveys my managed peers take every year (and they are truly anonymous) as well as what I learned from the manager I came to most respect in my life and still go to to this day even though he isn't any more, I think what makes good management particularly effective is a few things. Before I list them out and explain though, I just want to add one caveat: This isn't applicable for everyone, and certainly not every industry, and everyone's situation is different and it can be hard to relay some idea's perfectly in text so I'm going to do my best.

With all that said, here's a little background as well. I manage a team of folks who are in charge of IT infrastructure and deployment. Mobile devices, servers, VPNs, virtualization setups, as well as database administration and some non-customer facing coding to keep everything going, all the way down to the desktop setups for employees. I work with maybe 30 people underneath me and there can't be more than 100 of us all together. Each of my 30 team members are tasked with different tings in accordance to the rough outline i speak to above.

Now, to the good bits

1) If i learned anything, from being the manager to before that, its a really really simple thing. Don't ever forget where you came from. Ever. I often will think about making a decision - some big, some small - and I remind myself 'What would my reaction be if i wasn't a manager, but underneath me? How would I react to this? Positive? Negative? Why?' I find that my best manager did this all the time, and it really showed because he was one of us before he was a manager (for my company this is typical, we don't get a lot of outside management for our group that hasn't at least had some experience on the basics of what we do). The reason for this is to me obvious, in that you will better understand the actual core of your decisions affects this way. Its easy to forget all this in the day to day, but its a huge one.

Specifically, it has benefited in that some changes that came down from those who manage me, were immediately rejected because I was able to articulate, in a way they could understand, why the new change would be bad. For instance, they wanted to take away our hands-on Lab for testing new technologies (this is a good part of what we do, to keep up on things) and go to a more virtual one. In theory this seems okay, there's a lot of companies that do this (Cisco, itpro.tv, VMware, all have these kinda things) but I made the case that no, have it hands on, with good training attached to the hands on labs, was a more effective on the whole, and it cost less, because we could dedicate a rotation of people to learn something, teach it to the team, and then the team gets to test it, and they rotate into to teaching back, until we feel the technology is well covered to at least a 'intermediate' level for all members on our team. With the virtualization, this was lost, and they had to pay more for the licenses. It ended up being better for us because we could just get labs setup, get documentation/official manuals/training material, learn it, and teach it over the course of x weeks to everyone else, and they could then come in to the lab when there was allotted time, break stuff, fix stuff etc. and round it went.

2) One of the best things I ever learned as well, is that if someone or someone's is designated as a point of contact, they should be treated as such for a project. For instance, if I designated Steve the networking guy as my point of contact for network related projects that I need someone to oversee, I essentially report to him, with some exceptions, instead of him reporting to me about the project. This gives them freedom, and gets them into a position where they can also learn good managing skills or at least, focus on big picture things for awhile. I don't micro manage, I philosophically meet my team half way. If things that we have as objectives are being met, and are exceeding expectations, then i give more leeway. I will always stick up for them if they in turn do good work, and the more good work that is produced, the more freedom I'm willing to allow. This has created a huge win for the company as well, as our team is small, but incredibly productive.

3) Don't try to sanitize feedback. This isn't a 'be a jerk' card, but team members who want to improve honestly like feedback, and give it to them honestly. Good and bad. One thing old managers i know used to do is never talk about the things I did well - to reinforce those things, is the purpose - but only talk about how we could improve. My best manager, and a skill i keep as well, is whenever I do check in with my team in a 1 on 1 way, we talk about what they're doing that is amazing and great, and then we talk about area's of imrovement, and relate it back to 'so these are your core strengths, how can you apply what makes these your core strengths to these problems?" that really gives people a lot of motivation in my experience

4) If you make a commitment to someone, meet it, obviously huge unexpected things aside that you can't plan for, this generally is huge. Not forgetting say, asking upper management for x thing on their behalf (our company works this way a lot, though we're trying to change that). or even just follow up when you say you will. If you do miss it, explain why, honestly, and then go from there

5) Training is important. invest in your team, your team invests in you, and that makes for a great company to work for, have as a client, and essentially helps you grow. It took our company some time to realize this, but now they're full on.

6) Rotate their roles, but don't push overly hard for people to do what they don't like unless there really is a specific reason. and I'm not talking about ' I don't like putting notes together detailing these implementations'. There are musts in every job, and enforce those across the board. I'm talking more 'okay, so, you been doing the networking for like a year, year and half, are you okay, burned out, want to try something new?' this lets people pick up new skills, maintain those skills, and apply their previous work experience on your team in different ways. We're team 'swiss army' internally for this reason :) and my headcount is smaller than the next guys, but we're always rated one of the top teams. I think this has a lot to do with it. (out of 4 teams, granted)

7) you can be of great value as a manager if you learn to filter what is actually nessacary and what isn't from upper management before talking to your team about their goals/expectations. See my example on the virtual labs. My team didn't know that was even a consideration until another manager in the same meeting mentioned it to their team. by that time, it was dead, and my team was grateful they didn't have to waste time thinking about it.

8) If someone is bad hire, and your team isn't working because of this, don't be afraid to do something about it. you're a manager, sometimes doing hard things like firing someone or moving them into a different position they're more skilled for is something you need to recongize early. this goes along with my next point....

9) if your team members come to you saying somehting about how they are being treated by others, take it at face value, look into it, and have their back. Always. Always. Always. Never dismiss this. I had an incident where someone was being discriminated against based on their sex by an older team mate who i think just had it in their head from a different time what the role of that person was and wasn't, and I had recently assigned them as a project lead. I didn't tell them to deal with it, I looked into it, asked a trusted colleague to talk to some folks about it (not revealing the nature, just said 'Hey man, could you do me a favor? coud you ask around and get a feel for what people are getting a vibe about person x? I want some imparitialness to this' Idk if that violates policy in HR or not, but for me it worked well, i squashed it quickly and made it VERY clear what isn't tolerated on my team in a short amount of time, but it also came down to the person who was saying things that were considred sexist didn't realize what they had going on was just a reflection of insecurities. Sometimes you're being the psychologist therapist and working them through those feelings so they can understand what happened. I didn't end up having to separate them or fire anyone in this case, because that person came to an understanding and the person in charge separately was okay working from a clean slate as long as it didn't continue, once they understand what triggered what. Now they both work together extremely well and are both happy.

Anyways, that's my experience. I'm no lawyer, no MBA, and your mileage may vary, esp. on that last bit, but these are some representations and guidelines i follow often.

swimorsinka 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would have liked to see a discussion of "maximizing shareholder value".
throw2016 1 day ago 0 replies      
A CEO is supposed to be a leader, someone who can inspire. What we instead are management ranks filled with opportunists and short termists who have spend the last 20 years in management with a single idea - outsourcing.

This is a management class who skate along looking for the next opportunity to rinse repeat the same playbook. There is no leadership or imagination here.

There is a crisis of leadership, a crisis of accountability, an elitist club who look out for each other and extreme compensation with parachutes even for failure.

The whole field of management has not delivered a single good idea, its taken individuals who go against the wind to show a glimpse of the possibilites leaving in their wake the tedious industry of management courses and case studies as magic formulas for success that outside of their original context have no chance of replication.

known 1 day ago 0 replies      

Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), Narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), Psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), Sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others);

blueprint 1 day ago 1 reply      
All ideas are dead. Only true facts are alive.
KirinDave 1 day ago 0 replies      
The irony of this article in claiming that management theory is outdated is that it selects ideas that were ascendent 10 years ago pre-financial crash.

The author should consider reading a book published after 2005.

Not that I'm a huge fan of the genre, to be honest. Way too often I basically see management books arguing that domain skill in the subject managed is immaterial and I could not disagree more with that.

Also, I'm curious what metrics he's assessing for "productivity growth is dismal in the west." It's precisely because of productivity growth that we can envision an economy where centralization and globalization are not inevitable forces.

CapitalistCartr 1 day ago 3 replies      
The best business advice I've ever read was put out by the Scientologists. Not that they do a good job of following their own advice; but its good. They know how to be effective.
Tor blocked in Turkey as government cracks down on VPN use turkeyblocks.org
214 points by gokhan  13 hours ago   86 comments top 17
eloy 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Events like this is the reason I operate a few Tor Bridges. It gives uncensored internet to vulnerable people in countries that are (semi-)dictatorships.

The Streisand VPN includes a Tor Bridge by default, so if you ever have problems with an advanced firewall that blocks most VPN protocols, Streisand with Tor is your friend.

Tor Bridges are also a nice playground for modern cryptography, they are working on PQ Crypto: https://gitweb.torproject.org/user/isis/torspec.git/plain/pr...

willvarfar 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone else remember the time the TurkTrust cert was used to mitm Google? https://www.google.se/amp/s/nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2013/01...

Does Turkey still have a key the gov can use to mitm connections terminating there?

And if so, can someone make instructions in Turkish on how to blacklist the Turkish TLS certs in mainstream browsers so that the gov can't mitm their own citizens?

For that matter, I don't want a Turkish root of trust in my own browser either, but the list of roots in our browsers is so long it's kinda meaningless to start zapping them - I mean, who trusts Verisign anyway?

Tepix 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Decentralization is key to bypass these type of firewalls. All commercial VPN vendors will be on blacklists sooner or later.

Hang around lowendtalk / lowendbox and rent a tiny dir cheap VPS. Just SSH there and use the SOCKS5 proxy built into SSH. I hope they will not block SSH any time soon.

If they do you can set up a HTTPS website on your VPS with a secret proxy.

coldcode 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Could happen in any country, including the US, unless you have options to connect to the internet which is not heavily controlled. Sadly in the US we have only a few remaining ISPs with monopolies who in the near future will likely gain even more power to restrict the internet for profit; after that what is to stop the government from adding a few more "additions", like making illegal connections to TOR or unapproved VPNs. Sadly the most vulnerable part of the internet is the point where you connect. No matter what you do after that, if you can't connect you are generally stuck.
kilroy123 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if they can do the same thing they're doing in Iran? Beaming down packets of internet content from satellite TV.


danjoc 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how much this has to do with tor rebranding from privacy service to human rights service.


walrus01 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Remember a short time ago when there was a failed coup in turkey, and the NEXT DAY, the regime fired 4000 judicial officials and civil servants? It's almost as if they had the list of people ready to go before the false flag coup... Nah,an autocratic regime would never do that!
sandstrom 12 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want to donate to Tor bridges/nodes, these are two alternatives:

- http://tor.noisebridge.net/

- https://www.torservers.net/

rhlala 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many people using tor/vpn will still using it if it was strongly punished by government(s) with jail for exemple..
louithethrid 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If only internet could be smuggled on the cellphones of citizens, one huge encrypted package at a time, hidden away, and the infrastructure of this spread like a virus- TOR could be everywhere.
bogomipz 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This is the same President that turned to the internet - via Twitter and Facetime when there was a coup attempt against him, asking for them to help.


kutkloon7 12 hours ago 8 replies      
The arrest and torture of an exorbitant number of 'enemies of the state', including judges, police officers, and teachers, indicates more important problems in Turkey.

For some reason, a lot of Turks still seem to support Erdogan. The West doesn't really care what he does, as long as Turkey takes care of most of the refugees.

A disgusting European policy.

towb 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Nothing unexpected for the 2016 Turkey. With everything that goes on in there now, it won't be too long until something really horrible happens.

Boycott everything turkish is the only thing we can do as normal persons I guess. That is at least what I've done for a long while now.

retox 12 hours ago 5 replies      
edblarney 13 hours ago 4 replies      
In my experience, these countries do not have the sophistication to do such things on their own, they usually hire (often Western) outside firms to do this.

I think it would be helpful if the press would 'name names' in terms of the companies that are enabling this.

Roritharr 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this a political post or a technical one?
gaius 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Tor was funded by the US State Department specifically so that anti-government elements in foreign countries could plot against their equivalent of "the establishment". Given the recent furore about "hackers" stealing the election, how is it surprising that foreign governments don't want US interference in their internal politics?
Prenda Law copyright trolls Steele and Hansmeier arrested arstechnica.com
222 points by pktgen  2 days ago   79 comments top 9
simcop2387 2 days ago 1 reply      
Related popehat article about the arrests. He's been following the whole case for years. https://popehat.com/2016/12/16/the-prenda-saga-goes-criminal...
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 2 replies      
Popehat comment: "Based on my observations throughout this case, it couldn't happen to more deserving criminals."

Which I totally agree with. When this situation started unrolling it really offended my sense of justice. Here were criminals using the judicial system as the tool for their crimes. It really showed how the US judicial systems costs and processes have created a mechanism for abuse. I wish sometimes there were some criminal law around abuse of a public institution which would capture this sort of thing more quickly and effectively.

wyldfire 2 days ago 2 replies      
Gems from the judicial order to pay damages [1]:

>The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

> Spock, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982).


> they exploit this anomaly by accusing individuals of illegally downloading a single pornographic video. Then they offer to settlefor a sum ... just below the cost of a bare-bones defense. For these individuals, resistance is futile; most reluctantly pay rather than have their names associated with illegally downloading porn. So now, copyright laws originally designed to compensate starving artists allow, starving attorneys in this electronic-media era to plunder the citizenry.

[1] https://popehat.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/PendaSanction...

faster 2 days ago 2 replies      
Popehat has had the best commentary on the Prenda debacle. They don't have this part yet, but stay tuned, they will and it will be hilarious. Well, as hilarious as a law blog can be.


joering2 2 days ago 1 reply      
By reading the PDF I was able to find said piratebay videos (no I didn't download). It looks like all been uploaded by user sharkmp4


Update: Camcast confirms account is owned by Steele.


cmdrfred 2 days ago 1 reply      
My friend got hit by these guys a few years back. Paid out a few grand I think.
monochromatic 2 days ago 2 replies      
user837387 2 days ago 8 replies      
>>[1]John Steele gleefully threatened opponents and Paul Hansmeier famously sneered at the defamation defendants "welcome to the big leagues." It was those actions that drew much more attention to their cases. Character is destiny. Not only are Steele and Hansmeier wanton crooks, they're spiteful, entitled, arrogant douches. That led to their downfall.<<

But the part that I really find interesting is this:

>>Character is destiny. ....they're spiteful, entitled, arrogant douches. That led to their downfall

I say bullshit. Just look at Trump. The guy has fucked over so many people and sexually assaulted many woman by his own words and we still elected him.

It let to their downfall because they were not powerful enough.


joering2 2 days ago 7 replies      
Great case to play devil's advocate no?

If they were creating "art" in form of porn they had copyright to said work. No law broken here.

No law broken if you upload your own work to the cloud. You have right to do it.

Finally, no law broken if you try to pursue those who illegally download your copyrighted work.

I guess if you combine all of those together then you doing something wrong. But isn't it ironic that the GOV is allowed to run illegal sting operations even if they lose big time like in Fast and Furious and that's fine, but if few lawyers figure out the way to make extra money, then we need to indict them.

If anything -- were they actually a fish who happen to clean the ocean? I mean it comes to be as simple as this: do not download illegal porn. Period. I can bet after being charged by those lawyers many settled and never downloaded porn again.

There - finished playing devils advocate.

MacOS FileVault2 Password Retrieval frizk.net
271 points by mkesper  2 days ago   81 comments top 14
dashesyan 2 days ago 3 replies      
I've had this in my .profile for years:

 alias sleepsafe='sudo pmset -a destroyfvkeyonstandby 1 hibernatemode 25' alias sleepfast='sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0' alias sleepdefault='sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 3'
Whenever I travel or need to leave my laptop, I always run `sleepsafe`, which will delete the key from memory and hibernate the computer when I close the lid. It has the added benefit of saving battery life.

Day-to-day, I use `sleepfast`, which is faster than the default hybrid sleep, because it doesn't spend time copying the contents of memory to disk.

I very rarely switch to `sleepdefault` which is the insecure and slower hybrid sleep.

This has been a known issue for yearshttp://osxdaily.com/2013/07/06/maximize-filevault-security-d...https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2012/02/02/filevault-encryp...

tptacek 2 days ago 2 replies      
Things like this are a reason I unhesitatingly recommend that people stick with their OS's built in FDE:

1. FDE is extremely limited. This particular attack is a clever abuse of sleep/reboot cycles, but of course people intimately familiar with FDE know that if a laptop is sleeping but not shut down it's already perilously close to the boundary at which FDE breaks down. And, of course, once it's woken up and unlocked --- which every attacker who actually challenges FDE can arrange for, all bets are off.

2. When flaws like this are found, the OS vendors have much more recourse than third parties do, which is why this post concludes by saying that Macs are now the most secure laptop platform with respect to DMA attacks against FDE.

Use FDE! Enable it on all your machines! But try not to rely on it, and don't waste too much time optimizing it.

emptybits 2 days ago 1 reply      
Good on Apple for "completely" fixing this, according to the authors. But am I wrong to wish for more plain-English acknowledgement of the problem and reassurance in Apple's 10.12.2 release notes?

i.e. https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT207423

Anyways, at this point in time it's nice to read (from the authors of the exploit): "The mac is now one of the most secure platforms with regards to this specific attack vector."

KirinDave 2 days ago 2 replies      
Good hack, good on Apple for getting fixes out.

But what worries me somewhat is that the tools for mitigation for these families of attacks include a lot of technologies that are traditionally opposed by the community here on the grounds that it "takes away control from the user.

I'm not sure how we balance out those tensions, but attacks like this sure as heck concern me about my homebuilt machine. I do my best not to keep any important keys there.

ysleepy 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm interested in how this was fixed.

Is the update an EFI update which disables DMA or does it with IOMMU? Or is the memory just overwritten on boot?

I'm also quite surprised they leave the password in memory in multiple locations. - Assuming the password is only used to derive the KEK for the actual key.

mkj 2 days ago 1 reply      
Did a firmware password prevent it? The same problem with FireWire was prevented by that (a decade ago)
nicolas_t 2 days ago 6 replies      
Has Apple released patches for El Capitan?

I'm still using it instead of Sierra because of Karabiner but this could force me to upgrade.

That vulnerability seems to be a pretty obvious oversight. I remember hearing about DMA (in the context of Firewire) as an attack vector since people first started talking of Truecrypt and Filevault and scrubbing the memory seems obvious... It's worrying that this could have been overlooked by Apple's engineers.

hf 2 days ago 0 replies      
FDE: Full Disk Encryption.
eeeeeeeeeeeee 2 days ago 2 replies      
Although this is an exploit and should be fixed, FDE rarely works if your computer is on / sleeping.

Same thing with the iPhone. Even though it has solid FDE, there have been exploits if the phone is on (even with a passcode, etc).

Turning off your device is the best protection, even if you have FDE.

kevinburke 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is a 10.11 machine encrypted with FileVault vulnerable to this attack?
kdeldycke 2 days ago 0 replies      
I compiled all security enhancing configuration I found for macOS at: https://github.com/mathiasbynens/dotfiles/pull/686

Not sure these are mitigating the OP issue though. Still, can't be bad to harden macOS a little bit.

kalleboo 2 days ago 1 reply      
While I'm not excusing this bug (didn't they already go through this round of DMA bugs with FireWire?), this reinforces my belief that once you have physical access to a personal computer - all bets are off. If you lost your laptop, rotate all keys. Change all passwords. Assume everything is compromised.
therealmarv 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is this the main reason why the Kernel Version number increased with macOS 10.12.2 ?
Shopify has paid over $300k in security exploit bounties hackerone.com
245 points by mrusschen  1 day ago   78 comments top 17
xal 1 day ago 3 replies      
This wasn't unexpected outside of the extend of the bounties.

What you have to realize is how important Security is to Shopify. We are a trust based business to an extreme extend. We host the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of other businesses. If we are down or compromised all of them can't make money ( as some of you saw during Black Friday, to the tune of $300k+ a minute at times ).

One of the best ways for us to augment our internal security team is to work with the white hat community. This was a pain before Hacker One but now is significantly easier.

One challenge is that Shopify (still) hasn't really got the profile in the tech industry that a lot of Silicon Valley local companies have. This is totally fine by me, but it's means that if a top white hat sits down and decide what to work on, we are not automatically top of mind.

So we decided to overspent as a kind of "marketing" investment. Hacker one is a classical two sided market place. There is plenty of supply of skilled researchers but also a lot of demand for their services. We want to be known for being one of the most responsive companies and also pay top dollars for top findings.

So the basic idea is that when we launch something new, we 10x the payouts to bootstrap the process of familiarization. We also provide a very convenient local environment for doing the work in. It should be more fun and more lucrative to make Shopify related discoveries then other companies. After this initial period we then reduce the payouts somewhere slightly above community standards. Its all just business 101.

Internally we are actually thrilled how the shopify-scripts/mruby program went. Most (all?) of what was found would have been caught by our sandboxing but we don't want to rely on this. As everyone who does security knows - lots of exploits, even if superficially contained, can sometimes combine into "the big one".

rando444 1 day ago 3 replies      
we expect most vulnerabilities will no longer be exploitable without additional bugs in the kernel or seccomp itself, and so we are lowering the payout amounts for our program to 10% of previous levels.

I don't quite follow this logic. If bugs are now going to be more difficult to find, one would think they would be more valuable, not less.. and that by lowering the bounties they are lowering the incentive for people to search for them.

rvdm 10 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone who has built a company around working closely with the Shopify platform, I'm very happy Shopify is taking these initiatives.

I like that Shopify isn't your typical Silicon Valley tech company. But coming from a background as a tech and security consultant for Fortune 500 companies, Shopify does feel like I'm back in the tech little leagues sometimes.

And this is an unfair image association problem Shopify has. Their tech is quite amazing and a lot of very brilliant people work there.

Its great to see Xal, the CEO of a publicly traded company with a close to $4bn market cap, this active on HN. Ive always considered him one of the most brilliant engineers of our generation ever since the Active Merchant days. To me these programs and the way they are being shared on HN really help bringing his company the credit it deserves.

dorianm 1 day ago 0 replies      
The found vulnerabilities are mostly on mruby itself so it's pretty interesting.

A lot of PoC are very simple:

 a = Decimal.new a.initialize a

 A ||= break while break

 a = Symbol.new a.inspect


jedberg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Still cheaper than one good security engineer. :)
antoinefink 1 day ago 3 replies      
I don't know if it's the right place, but does anyone has feedbacks regarding the Hacker One platform? Especially for small SaaS (between 1-2M ARR)?
breuvertje 1 day ago 1 reply      
This bug bounty program was limited to MRuby and paid by Shopify. Does anyone know where they use MRuby in their stack?
JoachimSchipper 1 day ago 1 reply      
Shopify seems to basically have given up on application-level sandboxing, and now relies on process-level sandboxing (e.g. seccomp).

This is probably wise; the track record of in-language sandboxing is pretty bad (see also: Java applets.)

bagacrap 1 day ago 1 reply      
about a year's salary for a security-focused engineer. Did they get more or less bang for their buck? I guess we need to ask haquaman how many hours he spent in collecting that $49k (by my count)
FBSecuritySux 1 day ago 1 reply      
What's funny is Facebook -> has a publically faced image server that has NO authentication required to see even private messages. When FB Security was contacted ... they say it was not a "guessable" URL, ergo security through obscurity was their "security method" of choice. This was two days ago.

If anyone wants to test this theory - setup 2 FB accounts, message an image one FB account to the other. Click on the image with the second account (to bring up the lightbox custom thingy they have). Drag that image into notepad (to get the URL)... then try and logout of both accounts, clear your cache, and you'll see the image is COMPLETELY public -> meaning no authentication is required.

They refused to acknowledge this as a "security risk". I laughed, then was really pissed that a PRIVATE image shared between two parties can be viewed w/o authentication above it.


knodi 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Honestly the highest bounty is $2000 only, seem low for remote code execution.
codecamper 20 hours ago 0 replies      
pft, the salary of one engineer & you get pure results from him. Who wouldn't do that?
DavidWanjiru 1 day ago 0 replies      
The page won't load for me, it said, because my browser, Opera Mini 4.x, is not supported. "But I'm browsing on a Nokia feature phone," I vehemently object. "No exploits will run. Even ads don't."
WheelsAtLarge 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised it's so little. 300k is very little compared to the financial burden that a security breach would bring. Talk to Target and Yahoo about cost. If anything they might start looking into way of increasing it.
laurentb 1 day ago 0 replies      
and about $150k is made of only 3 people being rewarded interestingly enough.
jwilk 1 day ago 3 replies      
"It looks like your JavaScript is disabled. To use Hacker One, enable JavaScript in your browser and refresh this page."

Kinda ironic that a site that is supposedly for hackers wants you to expose yourself to zillion browser vulnerabilities before you can see its content.

vemv 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess that all the money Shopify makes allows them to afford weak reasoning/engineering.

Giving your users a ruby interpreter inside your infrastructure is a terrible idea. They're just one unreported bug away from disaster!

One could think of a few alternatives, all of them involving decoupling Shopify's servers from users' scripts.

It could be anything from Docker/k8s to AWS lambda to a custom DSL. I'm not saying any option is easy - proper solutions tend to require effort.

Uber's predatory pricing is undermining public transit and density humantransit.org
215 points by erispoe  2 days ago   223 comments top 29
wmil 2 days ago 15 replies      
The bigger issue is that city planners building public transit systems don't have the same interests as commuters. Inevitably they want to use public transit as an instrument for various social policies.

Commuters just want to get to work reliably and they'd like a seat. And they'd like to have a minimum of screening so that they don't have to deal with people with severe mental issues on the way to work.

In Toronto they've gone as far as launching a crowdfunded bus route, which the city had an icy response too. It had to shut down because of legal uncertainties.


So I think the big problem with transit is that people in city gov refuse to recognise that commuters desires are perfectly reasonable. If the city won't provide them options then they should at least make sure there aren't legal issues with private providers.

Fricken 2 days ago 0 replies      
This comment was posted yesterday in /r/urbanplanning:

As a transportation / transit planner, there are an awful lot of suburban transit routes that are simply there due to politics instead of actual use. An example is one route I had done a bunch of work on that essentially showed the existing 5 riders a day would be better served at a cheaper rate by municipally subsidized taxis than by a gas guzzling, inflexible, union driven, public transit bus. The financials made sense, the data made sense to support a change. It was about to get changed until a politician came in and essentially canned everything because he didn't want his ward to not have a transit route because he would look bad.

I firmly believe these gaps can and should be filled by alternative modes of transport, and I wouldn't necessarily look at this as a bad thing. Transport is a wildly flexible area that is constantly evolving .

As for the costs going up for Uber, I don't really think those concerns are founded in anything other than speculation. His same logic about economies of scale would surely translate into it filling in that cost gap between providing the service and being revenue profitable. The truth is that every dollar invested in transit in the suburbs is nowhere near the same as every dollar invested in transit in urban areas. This article, I don't believe, made a real case for showing that the cost of providing transit would be cheaper, even in a future scenario, than having Ride hailing services filling in the gaps. The advantage of allowing Uber / taxis to fill first / last mile trips is that operating the line scales relatively well for scenarios where this type of service makes sense. There's a breakpoint where this cost of operation justifies switching over to providing a transit solution. But this allows agencies to build up demand before investing the capital and assuming some of the other maintenance costs such as bus stops, scheduling time, etc


cperciva 2 days ago 5 replies      
This article makes some interesting assertions, but does very little to back them up with facts. Yes, in sparsely populated areas the availability of Uber often justifies cutting back on bus services -- but Uber is far superior to a once-an-hour bus service anyway. In some cases even allows for an increase in public transit usage, by handling the "last mile" (where individual vehicles are a good solution) and delivering people conveniently to and from train stations (whereupon they can switch to what public transit does efficiently -- moving a large number of people at once).
mdasen 2 days ago 0 replies      
In my city, rents have skyrocketed near transit stops since it's so essential. When you're a 20-25min walk from a transit stop, prices are a lot cheaper, but you become hard to get to and hard to get to work. New transit isn't really an option because of density and cost (the cost to build per rider is astronomical). But the city is also dead set against increasing the density near transit stops to decrease rent/buy prices (and increase transit ridership due to it being convenient).

Public transit in many cities creates hot-spots in the real estate market that isn't good public policy either.

Of course, the article is right that people shifting into less dense transit will have bad environmental and congestion problems.

But I don't think that traditional public transit will be the way of the future. Rather, I think that self-driving, reasonably high-density vehicles will be the future. Imagine a nice bus that seats 15-20 picking people up along an ad-hoc route in the morning determined as riders hail the bus and are instructed to an ad-hoc stop within a block and dropping them off within a block of their destination. That's a lot more convenient than most public transit systems where you have to travel to stops, maybe change lines, not getting exactly where you want to go, etc. It could also cut down on vehicle miles travelled by creating optimized routes.

If Uber Pool can do what bus service can do for barely more money, a self-driving bus will be way better than a standard public transit experience and as efficient or more efficient environmentally.

In fact, I think the self-driving future in cities will be determined by good incentives. During peak periods, charge for congestion. Not broad-based attacks on vehicles, but an incentive for people to commute in higher-density vehicles where the charge can be spread among more people. It would be easy for a city to incentive Uber, Lyft, and others to offer higher-density options for commuters via congestion charging. Likewise, environmental incentives could be offered to push customers and companies toward more economical vehicles and routes. I think it's reasonable to assume that in a self-driving future, companies like Lyft and Uber would want a lot of economical vehicles like Priuses getting 50MPG in the city. For higher-density vehicles, 10% fuel savings could push margins up a couple points - especially if environmental fuel taxes are put on top of the price of fuel. Similarly, better routing can lead to fewer miles travelled leading to savings.

For those that want the privacy of single-person travel, they can be charged an appropriate amount to compensate society.

Uber can't do a lot of high-density vehicles currently because it relies on vehicles owned by random people. But when self-driving vehicles truly become mainstream, there's no reason Uber wouldn't want to expand into company-owned, higher-density vehicles. They could run these at a fraction of the cost that most public transit systems are running at. In lower density areas, maybe medium-density vehicles and in even lower density areas, single-person rides in small vehicles may remain common. When Uber can control its vehicle stock with self-driving vehicles, there's a lot of options for them to optimize in ways that will boost their profits while also helping the environment and congestion.

Maybe you think Uber isn't interested in a low-rent, non-premium service. That may be, but so many are interested in transit and it would be reasonably easy for a competitor to put together such a service and undercut Uber on price for so many riders. Uber would want to respond.

Ultimately, the article talks about bus routes doing 10 boardings per hour and how that's more than an Uber will do. That's probably true, but an Uber-bus would likely do more boardings due to better ad-hoc routes and more convenience. In my city, fares only cover a quarter of bus operating costs (never mind capital costs) and two-thirds of subway costs. Part of the problem is that a lot of transit systems work off the principle that they need to serve off-peak and lower utility uses in order to hit that critical mass that would make them a good choice for users. Ad-hoc, self-driving routes could relieve transit systems of their bigger loss-leaders using vehicles optimized for those areas. Similarly, off-peak service that often sees low ridership and loses money could be off-loaded. This is also an environmental win - subways are environmentally friendly when there's a lot of riders, not when they're mostly empty. A bus route that's losing over $10 per rider is bad for a public transit system and also bad for the environment since the bus probably doesn't have enough people on it to make it fuel efficient on a per-passenger basis.

I think there's a genuine opportunity to do a lot better than current public transit with self-driving vehicles. Something that's a lot more environmentally friendly and a lot more convenient.

gkop 2 days ago 6 replies      
My buddy lives in SoMa and works 1.7 miles away at Lyft HQ in China Basin. He takes Muni to work because it's faster (despite being significantly less direct). San Francisco is not even a dense city. It's frightening to me that none of the comments here on this thread show any love for mass transit.
smokeyj 2 days ago 3 replies      
Sometimes I wonder where everyone's driving to. They're driving physical cars, into a physical office, to work on digital information? Surely middle management has a better way of keeping tabs on their minions.

Cities should give companies tax incentives to keep employees at home. Just stay off the road. Live in a part of town where you can walk to get your groceries and snacks. Incentivize mixed use developments instead of suburbia hell.

Having worked from home the past year I can't understand how people put up with cubicles. While I make more now, I'd be willing to take a big pay cut to keep my sanity.

megiddo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Three capitalist pigs were in a jail cell in the USSR. They were chatting, when the subject of their incarceration came up.

The first said, "I charged less than the market, and found guilty of dumping."

The second says, "I charged more than the market and was accused of gouging."

The last responded, "I charged the same as everyone else, and was accused of price fixing!"

bubblesocks 2 days ago 1 reply      
Good for Uber. The public transit system where I live is a joke, and I'd love to see them undermined into non-existence. When I can pay an Uber driver $12 to get me somewhere in 15 minutes, or pay $8 for the transit authority to get me there in an hour, with only three transfers, each of which have a 5 to 15 minute wait out in the elements, that extra $4 starts looking like a pretty good deal.
jdminhbg 2 days ago 1 reply      
Boy, if you think Uber is artificially subsidizing rides to a predatory degree, just wait until you see the numbers on light rail.
sjwright 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can't speak for other people or other cities, but I'm in Sydney, Australia and everyone I know who uses UberX doesn't use it because it's cheaper (though it is) but rather because the quality of service is consistently much higher than the traditional taxi.

The idea that Uber might be competing with bus or rail seems very surprising and indicates that something must be seriously, seriously screwed with the mass transit infrastructure in that city.

ohwello 2 days ago 0 replies      
Uber is roughly breaking even in the US: https://www.google.com/amp/www.breitbart.com/california/2016...

Anyone hoping Uber is going to run out of VC money and lose favor after being forced to raise prices in cities where it is already popular is going to be sorely disappointed. Uber is profitable in those cities. The more plausible failure scenario is that it doesn't succeed in new markets and therefore ends up being worth less than its current valuation.

dnautics 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe public transit officials are undermining public transit? In singapore, one can get across the island for ~75c in a vehicle that is fast, clean, efficient, and almost never delayed.

Maybe its time to quit discussing public transit officials and bureaucracies as though they were improving the world in a permanent way, and as though they will necessarily make cities better for everyone. We already know thats hasn't been true.

robotcookies 2 days ago 2 replies      
Writer claims "I am constantly told that Uber will make transit obsolete."

Who exactly are the people telling this writer that Uber will make transit obsolete? I live in a city where public transportation is very popular and have not once, ever heard this.

The reality is public transit use is surging in popularity. Public ridership is up 39% since 1995 (you know, when most people did not have internet or smartphones). Young people flock to cities with good public transit. And while I've never once heard someone say "Uber will make public transit obsolete", I have heard many people say they chose a city because it had good public transit.

dpflan 2 days ago 3 replies      
Begin rambling brainstorm:I am curious about transport efficiency comparisons of trains/rail versus automobiles versus buses. Public sectors can miss out on interest in investment in infrastructure as Uber/ride-sharing is seen as an acceptable substitute good for public transit. But once a private entity has autonomous vehicles and even more efficient system, cities could tax the private entities for use of their transit infrastructure, e.g. roads. Could that mean then once private companies dominate the transportation market and raises prices, that cities then have the final card to play to either allow a company to be used in their city or not? Then they can create more efficient public systems or subsidized ride-sharing? Sure, citizens may be upset if they don't have Uber/riding sharing because of public sector decisions, but Uber would be upset about not getting revenue.

I am just curious about others' thoughts about the big picture. Are cities doomed to privatized transportation and further inequality creation?

Alex3917 2 days ago 0 replies      
> Even pro-transit politicians and officials have begun to see ride-hailing services as an acceptable substitute for public transit. As a result, cities across the country are making important decisions about transportation that treat 10-year-old companies as fixed variables for the decades to come.

The 2nd avenue subway is going to take tens of billions of dollars and several decades to complete. Why shouldn't the possibility of self-driving cars be taken into account when making these sorts of billion-dollar multi-decade planning decisions?

smsm42 1 day ago 0 replies      
I call bullshit on the premise that Uber is undermining public transit. A lot of places have had crappy public transit and crappy taxi service long before Uber showed up. A lot of places will continue to have it. Blaming it on Uber because it's there is lazy and unfair.

> But much of the confusion arises because people sincerely dont understand how narrow the range of opportunities is for ride-sourcing to improve on fixed route transits efficiency.

As if I cared about improving abstract "efficiency". I care about being able to get a ride within 5 minutes at any point in the city. Whether or not that improves some abstract metric invented for completely other reasons carries no importance to me.

> We know Uber is unprofitable, which means its prices are unsustainable.

No it actually doesn't mean that. Profitability has other dimensions than consumer prices, such as investments, capital costs, etc.

> Ubers behavior often looks like an intentional effort to undermine competitors and thus reduce customer choice

I haven't seen any behavior aimed to reduce customer choice. The only people trying to reduce the customer choice are those inventing reasons to ban Uber (and similar service), often at explicit prompting and for direct benefit of incumbent stakeholders.

> no doubting the value of these companies in the lives of fortunate people who can afford to use their services routinely

Oh, those fatcats that can afford to shell out whole $9 for a ride! Who cares about those, they probably each own a park of helicopters anyway.

> and many welcome regulation precisely to plug that gap.

Which regulation, to do what? No mention of it. Why bother? Of course regulation is good and no regulation is bad. Terrible article, full of FUD and calls to "do something", without bothering to outline what and for what purpose.

ChuckMcM 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting thesis (that city planners will reallocate tax dollars assuming Uber and other ride sharing services will pick up the slack) but I don't know if I buy it.

I'm fascinated by the various company buses in the Bay Area. If you look at the passengers they carry they take a significant number of cars off the road. And even though they are economically inefficient (every company has their own set of fixed costs) there is no effort to create a public/private partnership that would meet the needs of companies and urban planners with less cost.

iterrogo 2 days ago 2 replies      
For those comparing the cost of public transit to Uber don't forget to keep in mind that Uber is also subsidized by the government. They are not paying 100% of the cost of the roads and other infrastructure they use.
nameisu 2 days ago 2 replies      
ube is undercutting everyone now and when traditional transport systems become bankrupt they will keep increase prices
jackvalentine 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was talking about this with a friend last night. We (Australia) get annoyed when the Italians dump a bunch of below-cost tomatoes on to the market and slap them with penalties but don't seem to give a damn when Silicon Valley dumps a bunch of below-cost taxis on to that market.
pbreit 1 day ago 0 replies      
Actual headline: "Sounding the Alarm about Ubers Impacts on Transit, and on Cities"

Current HN headline: "Uber's predatory pricing is undermining public transit and density"

The article barely mentions predatory pricing.

It also pins much on whether or not Uber is profitable, citing conflicting reports. But at 30% take rates it's pretty easy to see that it would be quite profitable on a gross margin basis.

cmurf 2 days ago 0 replies      
What happens if a city decides to buy, or even build, their own autonomous vehicular fleet as a replacement for aging public transit? And isn't this inevitable anyway?
briandear 2 days ago 1 reply      
Public transit isn't profitable either. It's heavily subsidized by the taxpayer, so the author's logic isn't intellectually honest. Look at Amtrak as a good example. Or the MTA in New York.

Uber is subsidized by private investors, public transport is subsidized by everyone -- whether they want, need or use it or not.

mgalka 1 day ago 1 reply      
Seems weird to question Uber's sustainabiliy based on it's costs being too high. If it stopped investing in growth, I'm not rven sure it would have any costs. It's just a routing app that earns a cut from the drivers.
ryan_j_naughton 2 days ago 2 replies      
The unsustainable pricing point overlooks how driverless vehicles will drive the cost of door to door transit to almost 0 (especially as cars go electric and solar brings extremely cheap power).

While it will bring many ills (e.g. increased obesity due to cheap door to door transit, more spread out cities), let's not delude ourselves with this article's misguided rhetoric -- mass transit will be more affordable and accessible than ever in history to the masses.

This article aims to treat the car sharing as ceteris paribus (all else equal) when in the current state of exponential change, it is anything but.

devereaux 2 days ago 4 replies      
If you like to be so generous and open hearted, and genuinely believe that most people are just like you, why exactly would you oppose crowfunded services?

Because I think it put in plain sight that no, most people do not want that. I for one do not want to ride next to people who can physically harm me. I would love a "club" model for public transportation where members who don't play nice could be excluded from this club, and which would only use members money instead of subsidies.

TLDR: do what you want with your money, I'll do what I want with mine. We will belong to different clubs providing different public transportation. Just don't force me to join your club by forbidding mine.

(edit: downvote is not for indicating disapproval in case I hurt your feelz. If you believe I am wrong, please explain how and why)

wheelerwj 2 days ago 3 replies      
> have potentially unsafe run ins with the mentally ill.

while i understand your point, it's not really fair. you can have potentially unsafe run-ins with the mentally sane just as easily. you can also have potentially unsafe run-ins with the mentally ill while in a Lyft or Uber.

You are trying to say thay you want a quiet, peaceful, possibly even restful commute because you want to be focused at work. But that's not what you are actually typing.

gigatexal 2 days ago 5 replies      
Lol @ predatory pricing. Surge pricing works in the same way that efficient markets do. When the road conditions are crazy and there's an imbalance in the number of drivers and the number of riders seeking drivers the price shoots up. The higher prices incentivize drivers to take the risk for the reward (compensation). This is simple economics.
stale2002 2 days ago 1 reply      
It is no surprise to me that big government hates competition.
Rust required to build Gecko groups.google.com
245 points by steveklabnik  3 days ago   137 comments top 6
sandyarmstrong 2 days ago 1 reply      
> Rust language in Gecko is an important part of Project Quantum.

For anybody who missed this, Project Quantum is a Mozilla project to dramatically improve Gecko. Part of this project is to bring in Servo components like CSS and WebRender, hence the Rust dependency.

More awesome info:




userbinator 2 days ago 10 replies      
Gecko is already dependent on a lot of things so adding Rust might not be that big of a change, but IMHO a long and large list of dependencies and complex build processes are what can really put off those wanting to contribute to browsers (among other software) by fixing bugs or whatever else. I have personally experienced a few times where it was easier and faster to just patch the binary than figure out how to compile everything from source and go through the whole configure/install/etc process again.

Especially with browsers, which not everyone agrees on how they should be and desires to customise, only to find that the option to do so has been removed or a source change must be performed, is subsequently delighted to know that it's open-source so they should be able to do it easily, but then get overwhelmed and give up after they realise the effort needed just to build an unmodified version of the software themselves. They then fall back to merely complaining on the Internet, and reluctantly accepting their "fate"... somehow, I feel like some of the visions of open-source didn't quite turn out as well as hoped.

echelon 2 days ago 1 reply      
Congrats Mozilla! It's fantastic to see Rust becoming a cornerstone of Firefox. Rust has such a bright future ahead, and it's going to lead to great productivity and safety gains.
shmerl 2 days ago 2 replies      
Does Mozilla plan a new Firefox based on Servo, or simply to replace parts of Gecko with Servo parts? And if the later, why not to make a new browser from Servo as a parallel project that will eventually match Firefox in functionality?
Animats 2 days ago 2 replies      
Looking forward to the day when builds no longer require a C/C++ compiler.
sayrer 2 days ago 3 replies      
Great! Now use a build system that downloads the compiler too. For example, Bazel will download a copy of the Go compiler if you are using it to build Go programs.
       cached 19 December 2016 05:11:02 GMT