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What Vizio was doing behind the TV screen ftc.gov
846 points by Deinos  1 day ago   316 comments top 53
mikeryan 1 day ago 5 replies      
So I have a bit of intimate knowledge of this.

Not sure what I can answer but for years my company worked on an Automatic Content Recognition project using tools from a team called Cognitive Networks who were bought by Vizio and makes up the tech that did this. If I understand correctly the founder of Vizio kept this tech for himself in the sale of Vizio.

When developing this we would work directly with Cognitive checking sync'd apps. We knew for a long time that they could see our content in their office while we tested.

Note LG got caught on this about 2-3 years ago and made ACR apps opt-in which pretty much killed it for LG.

AFAIK Samsung never did the exact same thing a bunch of providers saw the writing on the wall and dumped this sort of technology a few years back. It had some really cool applications for interactive sync to broadcast apps but the privacy concerns killed it for a lot for a lot of manufacturers.

jaimex2 1 day ago 9 replies      
I caught my TV doing this and went to war.

For the last two years I have had a service running that floods garbage data back to the collection point from several addresses throughout the Internet.

You're welcome.

jasonwilk 1 day ago 12 replies      
It's not worth buying any of these 'Smart' TVs. I don't know whether it is a shoddy developer experience provided by the likes of Samsung / Vizeo etc or if it's the developers themselves (Hulu I'm looking at you) who do not maintain their apps which are constantly bug filled.

I much prefer my old dumb TV that has a Roku plugged into it. Oh yeah, and I know it's not WATCHING ME.

passivepinetree 1 day ago 6 replies      
The amount of money they made from that data is probably orders of magnitude more than the paltry $2.2 million penalty.

I hate to get all paranoid, but it seems like every day there's news of a company's data being hacked, and what information isn't being hacked is being actively sold.

What can an average citizen do (short of living Ron Swanson-style in a cabin in the woods) to protect their privacy?

criley2 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Just further confirms that "Smart" TV's are a ripoff at best and a scam at worst.

Never, ever, ever buy a television described as smart. For any reason at all. All of the solutions are miserably pathetic. All of the solutions are riddled with bugs, design omissions and potentially nasty security zero days. All implementations have little to no update support from major third parties.

And, in many cases from many companies, the units spy on you as aggressively as could be to sell data for marketing purposes.

"Smart" tv's are lose lose lose lose. You pay more, you get inferior software, inferior hardware and ultimately have your privacy abused.

EDIT: To be fair, I love my Vizio dumb TV I just got. 40" 1080p dumb TV for $167 inc. taxes this past black friday. Got a HDR/4K Roku for an additional $70 and this TV is beautiful and the Roku is so much impossibly better in both hardware, software and third party support than any "smart" solution ever could be, and costs far less than the "smart" upgrade!

awfgylbcxhrey 1 day ago 3 replies      
Vizio collected a selection of pixels on the screen that it matched to a database of TV, movie, and commercial content.

I would like to know more about that process. I find it ethically abhorrent, but technically very interesting.

Like, is it grabbing, say, three pixels in constant locations across the screen and matching their color change over time? Is it examining a whole block? Is it averaging a block at some proportional location on the screen?

JohnBooty 1 day ago 5 replies      
If nobody's started one yet, I think there would be an audience for a blog/vlog/whatever that reviews non-smart TVs. And/or a place that evaluates which "smart" TVs function acceptably as "dumb" when they are not connected to a network.

Realistically, this would have to include evaluating things beside consumer TVs for use as living room devices, since "smart" features in consumer TVs are nearly unavoidable at this point.

Because I'm going to have to start looking into the world of commercial displays for my next TV, I guess. At least I think those don't have "smart" features. Yet?

pdimitar 1 day ago 2 replies      
"Vizio has agreed to stop unauthorized tracking".

As if there's any human-measurable way of confirming this. Yes they can be forced by a court. And no, the court can't know if they stopped all of the software copies on all TVs and no, the court can't know if they didn't re-activate them in the future back again.

What actual proof do we have that LG actually stopped? What actual proof can we have that Vizio will stop doing this?

neotek 20 hours ago 1 reply      
"Smart" TVs are the worst TVs I've ever used, I really don't understand the appeal whatsoever.

They're almost universally clunky and slow with horrific UI / UX choices and painfully high latency on simple things like browsing a list of files or even just registering button presses, provide fuck all useful benefit over and above the regular TV experience, are usually running some long-deprecated version of Android which is riddled with security holes that will never get patched - why does anyone actually want this?

A Raspberry Pi running OSMC is everything you could ever want out of a home media setup, it'll work with good old regular "dumb" TVs that can't invade your privacy, with an interface so simple your grandparents can use it, and can be put together for well under $50.

ComputerGuru 1 day ago 2 replies      
A 2.2M settlement is absolute peanuts compared to the mountains of cash they likely made.
fencepost 1 day ago 2 replies      
This sounds like an excellent reason to simply never connect the TV to the Internet and to simply connect your own system to the TV whether it be a stick PC or something with a little more oompf.
zeropoint46 9 hours ago 0 replies      
So I actually worked at cognitive networks up until the end of 2014. I've read this thread and thought I would address some things here that didn't seem to get fully concrete answers (in no particular order).

The ACR technology that cognitive used was/is in vizio and LG tvs. during the time I worked there we only had a deal to use it actively on vizio tvs. I guess lg was just testing the waters to see how it'd work. The ACR technology that CG used is based on RGB values from sampled patches on regions of the image. There was no audio finger printing used. There were a number of items that would mess up the "recognition". Some of those included aspect ratio of content, watermarks from different providers, overlays and basically anything that modified either the size of the original image or obstructed it. For the server infrastructure, what we did was we ingested live feeds from the major network providers, these feeds had to be ahead of what tvs were watching by at least 5-10 seconds so we actually had the fingerprint data in our database to be recognized. we would pair the ingested fingerprints to TV scheduling data and voila, we "knew" what you were watching. Now clearly if we didn't have the content in our database we had no idea what was being shown on your screen.

What did we use the ACR data for. Well there were 2 "deals" going on while I was there. One was ratings, something to compete with the likes of neilsons. Different content providers, distributors, marketing agencies, etc. would want ratings info. Additional there were other "data mining" companies that build profiles based off public IP addresses that would want to use our data to enhance and augment their data. The other application that was the one that everybody was after want "interactive advertising". This would allow us to pop up an HTML5 app/page based on the ACR. So for example your selling a car, your ad comes up, you pop up your app and allow the user to schedule a test drive or look at the car in more detail. The use cases were endless though.

The ACR technology ONLY worked on content that was viewed from the HDMI ports. Any built in apps like netflix or hulu that were run, ACR was force disabled. One thing I remember about that was that netflix is huge about NOBODY getting viewing data/ratings information about netflix and it's users. Only netflix has that data apparently. One somewhat reassuring thing about disabling the technology is at one point vizio did notice a bug on one of its TVs where ACR was not being disabled when the user opted out of "interactivity". This was a big deal and we were required to solve it ASAP.

AMA if I missed something.

abandonliberty 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is promising and is a good start towards IOT precedent, and perhaps even operating systems of our devices (Windows 10).

- Explain your data collection practices up front.

- Get consumers consent before you collect and share highly specific information about their entertainment preferences.

- Make it easy for consumers to exercise options.

- Established consumer protection principles apply to new technology.

I wonder how many technical teams are scrambling to undo their spying now - though this is a fairly insubstantial fine. I could see the data being potentially worth more than $2.2m

diamondlovesyou 23 hours ago 6 replies      
What I'm about to say may go against what many of the HN community believes. This isn't an attack on anyone's beliefs; I'm merely expressing my thoughts in an attempt to solicit constructive discourse.

I'mma be honest. I don't understand the repulsion at the possibility of corporation X knowing my personal info, (excluding the usual things like bank account info, SSNs, etc) like my location, search history, etc. To be clear, I'm 10000000% against warrantless (FISA court "warrants" excluded) government access to this information. Here's my reasoning:

* Governments

Have the power to arrest and detain on a whim. Not to mention, use drone strikes.

* Corporations

... Don't. These entities have self-interested incentives to provide tools which are economically productive for users. For example, a smarter smartphone, whatever that may be.

Regarding Vizio, my grip is that Vizio's goal (for this product at least) is to make a profit producing TVs. So, after the TV is sold, the product is individually "finished" (not considering support stuff). So, then, what other product is the data collection for, and what does this product give me in return for my data? The answer to both is no, and not just for Vizio.

Maybe I'm naive.

silveira 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Consumers have bought more than 11 million internet-connected Vizio televisions since 2010.

> The order also includes a $1.5 million payment to the FTC and an additional civil penalty to New Jersey for a total of $2.2 million.

> Vizio then turned that mountain of data into cash by selling consumers viewing histories to advertisers and others.

$2.2 million / 11 million tvs = $0.20 per tv

jeanvaljean2463 1 day ago 3 replies      
Huge schocker /s

Pretty sure that Samsung does very similar things. I've been interested in actually capturing outgoing pcap data for this purpose. Looks like I have a new project to add the pile.

kevin_b_er 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is why you do not use a smart TV: Nefarious data collection on what you watch and Samsungs are known to demand to show ads or else. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13585132https://www.extremetech.com/electronics/241500-samsung-smart...http://www.techtimes.com/articles/190222/20161227/samsung-sm...

I'm also, for political reasons, suspicious of the FTC's willingness to pursue such cases in the future.

myrandomcomment 18 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Press the Menu button or open the HDTV Settings.2. Select System.3. Select Reset & Admin.4. Select Smart Interactivity.5. Right arrow to Off.
troydavis 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's amazing this was settled for a few million dollars. It's easy to imagine an alternative press release where the settlement was 10x or even 100x larger.
a3n 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many of these Vizio TVs are in government offices, recording and selling their IPs, pixels, preferences and schedules.

Remember, it's not just broadcast, it's also from DVD players. Anything displayed.

And I wonder who's buying, and then correlating IPs and devices, besides the obvious advertisers. The potential for espionage and extortion is interesting.

"That's an interesting fetish you got there, Mr third or fourth down on the org chart who does the actual day to day running of the agency. It'd be a shame if it was to be ... exposed."

csours 1 day ago 0 replies      
>On a second-by-second basis, Vizio collected a selection of pixels on the screen that it matched to a database of TV, movie, and commercial content. Whats more, Vizio identified viewing data from cable or broadband service providers, set-top boxes, streaming devices, DVD players, and over-the-air broadcasts. Add it all up and Vizio captured as many as 100 billion data points each day from millions of TVs.

> The order also includes a $1.5 million payment to the FTC and an additional civil penalty to New Jersey for a total of $2.2 million.

busted 8 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a comment on this article basically saying, "I bought a Vizio TV, later my email, bank account, and facebook got hacked, and now I know why." Shows roughly the understanding of these issues for some people.
sitkack 22 hours ago 1 reply      
How is this not an illegal wiretap? Shouldn't executives and employees at all the involved companies go to jail?
segmondy 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is ridiculous, I wish someone with money would create an absolute shitstorm by buying this kind of data, buying data from Facebook, google, twitter, internet cable companies, state departments, combining them, deanonymizing millions of users and dumping them. Until something crazy like this happens nothing will happen, it needs to be brought to the light. Until then, no regulation will ever happen on data collection on users and we will all be sheep and the product. Crazy thing, it won't cost that much money. Folks need to wake up and be scared shit less. Everything spies on you, your pace maker, your fitbit, your car, your TV, your fridge, watch. 1984 ain't got shit on this! :-(
bitmapbrother 1 day ago 0 replies      
Now that we know what they did the class action lawsuits should follow. If your concerned about privacy don't connect your TV to the Internet. Treat it like the dumb screen it's supposed to be and just cast or route content to it.
codedokode 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The law is not strict enough. No single byte should be sent outside without user's consent. No matter whether it contains personal data or not.

And that would make proving company's guilt much easier.

tps5 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Consumers have bought more than 11 million internet-connected Vizio televisions since 2010

11 million televisions. 2.2 million penalty. 20 cents per television.

guscost 1 day ago 0 replies      
I got a supposedly "smart" TV at a ludicrous price the other day, maybe because there are already surplus units that nobody wants? It's a Roku/Sharp combo thing so there are no numbers on the remote either, but the UI is actually pretty darn good.

And no, I would never connect my cheapo TV to the Internet. Come on.

msmith10101 1 day ago 0 replies      
How did Vizio get caught? Was it a whistle blower? https://www.propublica.org/article/own-a-vizio-smart-tv-its-...
gesman 1 day ago 0 replies      
>>The order also includes a $1.5 million payment to the FTC

>>and an additional civil penalty to New Jersey

Read:FTC and New Jersey decided to made money off consumers too by charging Vizio a little tax. "Protected by law" consumers got: $0.

werber 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are they shielded from a class action suit now?
nojvek 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Consumers want the best service at the cheapest price. Producers want to maximize the profit on products and services. Advertisers want the best return on investment for their ad dollars so they also maximise profit.

This are fundamental thruths of the market. It's why Google and Facebook are behemoths.

The only way to win the game is precision tracking, addictive services and building good models of customer behavior for advertising.

hueving 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, those punishments are pathetic for sampling private movies you watched (e.g. porn) on your TV and funneling that information off with IP address to advertisers.
nikanj 1 day ago 0 replies      
agotterer 23 hours ago 1 reply      
How are fines that are as little as this supposed to deter future companies from sketchy collection practices? One can only assume they made more than $3.7M selling illegally collected data.

There's no incentive for companies to do better and not be shady. It pays to roll the dice and see if you get caught. If you do just say sorry and pay a small fine.

whalesalad 1 day ago 0 replies      
On a similar note, can anyone here speak to the hidden audio signal that is broadcast over the air with things like sporting events?

I noticed it once when Google Now knew instantaneously that I was watching a specific NFL football game and began displaying the score. It felt magical but after a little research there are hidden frequencies that reveal this information.

scarface74 23 hours ago 0 replies      
If they were aggregating and selling this information to television networks, as a better way of measuring how many viewers a show had, I would be okay with that. It may help keep some of my favorite shows on air. But to sell my individual viewing habits with my IP address? Not okay.
usgroup 14 hours ago 0 replies      
May be worth noting that AV companies and privacy guards also sometimes operate on this model. E.g Avast and Ghostery.
calvinbhai 1 day ago 1 reply      
With Vizio and other Dolby HDR compatible TVs you'll have to keep it connected if they intend to get firmware updates. I wonder which TV will be ideal for purchase, now that Samsung and Vizio have been caught hoodwinking their customers.
knodi 22 hours ago 0 replies      
3.7mill is not enough of a fine. The fine should have been 50mill plus.
noonespecial 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, looks like old Orwell got the Telescreen just about right. "Facecrime" turned out to be something a little different though...
dewiz 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if Comcast does the same, they can even cache user interests locally waiting for a connection to be available.
mathgeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many meetings were called at other manufacturers when this went public, both to check on what they themselves were doing, and to make plans to stop doing it where relevant.
kelvin0 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Vizio: Clash of the Titans, when capitalism is at odds with individual privacy
skc 16 hours ago 0 replies      
The cynic in me believes that Vizio are probably just a few years too early.
jlebrech 14 hours ago 0 replies      
this sound like a reverse-DRM, they can they figure out if you're watching pirated content then send you a bill.

this cheap unknown brand doesn't look so cheap now does it.

myrandomcomment 1 day ago 1 reply      
So there was a setting to turn their tracking off if you dug into the menus. I turned it off on my set. I hope it covered that feature.
amq 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Want a dumb TV? Disconnect it from internet and have your Roku etc.
rasz_pl 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Do you watch cable? Every single settopbox is designed in a way that makes tracking viewing habits trivial and every cable company does this.
firefoxd 1 day ago 2 replies      
I have a Vizio TV, can i disable tracking?
chinathrow 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how you can work on such a setup as an engineer with morale, colleting 100B data points _daily_ without telling your customers...
hoodoof 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ironic that the government should be so concerned about spying.
daveheq 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Yah but Trump's going to get rid of the FTC and regulations that get in the way of business, such as spying on you and selling your watching habits and personal info to a bunch of other companies.
RethinkDB joins the Linux Foundation: What Happens Next rethinkdb.com
719 points by mglukhovsky  1 day ago   106 comments top 25
mglukhovsky 1 day ago 3 replies      
Bryan Cantrill posted his thoughts on the CNCF's decision to donate RethinkDB to The Linux Foundation here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13579544

We wanted to share RethinkDB's next steps in our new home with The Linux Foundation.

We've also had a lot of folks ask if they can donate to support the project. Stripe has generously offered to match up to $25k in donations (which will help fund server costs and future development.) You can learn how to contribute to the project with OSS contributions or donations here: https://rethinkdb.com/contribute

zyang 1 day ago 1 reply      
I stayed away from Rethink in the past few years due to its uncertain future. Now I'm seriously interested. Looking forward to the next chapter of RethinkDB.
theGimp 1 day ago 1 reply      
The team behind RethinkDB has been a class act. Thank you for creating a fantastic product and doing what's right by your users even as you were winding down.
kellros 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've always been fond of Rethinkdb, but never actually used it. Perhaps if I came across pragmatic examples of how to do x with y, like you typically see with Redis, I could have convinced my team/s otherwise.

One of the aspects of Rethinkdb I admire most is the tooling. I find myself often trying out something new with React, Postgres, ASP.NET Core, Elm, Go, Kotlin or what not and biasing my experience getting started with preference to use.

I recond Rethink as Pied Piper in Silicon Valley; a great product ultimately being misunderstood. I'm relieved to hear Rethinkdb will live on under the Linux Foundation (and applaud them for doing so) and earnestly hope it re-establishes itself in a niche, such as that of Firebase/Parse, with partnerships and a legacy to rival that of Postgres one day.

Nomentatus 1 day ago 1 reply      
The news in the article is that CNCF spent good money to wipe out a copyleft license. They think history has shown a more permissive license without copyleft or a patent grab (just a patent notice) - namely ASLv2 - is a far superior choice and paid to get that in place. Their very recent explanation is well worth reading:https://www.cncf.io/blog/2017/02/01/cncf-recommends-aslv2

I'll explain what I mean by patent notice since those are my words, quick version: If you don't declare that you have patent rights affecting a portion of code you have contributed, you've given those patent rights.

brilliantcode 1 day ago 1 reply      
ironic that this will be the move that actually propels rethinkdb...

it's my feeling that software licensing day's are over for the little guys. If you are Oracle or Microsoft and have that brand recognition great.

Coupled with commoditization of developers, I think it'd be great if we had a kickstarter site where you could request a commercial project to be open-sourced, pitch in some money to support the developer.

For instance if somebody released an open source version of Hootsuite I think that would put a severe dent in Vancouver's tech scene-Hootsuite customers wouldn't even think twice about switching to a zero cost solution, as it's not a pain killer but a vitamin. Free vitamin is always better than an expensive one. Pain killers on the other hand are less flexible because it's an emotional buy.

ausjke 1 day ago 3 replies      
Linux foundation are collecting quite a lot "failed" projects and turn them to gold these days? I sometimes feel it is acting like a software goodwill store partially. Whatever that is, hope RethinkDB will do well in the future.
hd4 1 day ago 4 replies      
Sorry if this should be obvious but what is/are the killer feature/s of RethinkDB, what differentiates it from something like Redis or even CockroachDB?
jwr 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic news. My current project would not have been possible if it wasn't for RethinkDB. Very glad to see it moving forward!
ohstopitu 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wish some company (apart from compose.io) would create a RethinkDB as a service (DBaaS).

I would totally love a dynamodb or firebase kind of payment structure!

I specifically excluded compose not because their service is not great (from what I've heard - it's excellent) but more so because they charge a premium for it.

tdees40 1 day ago 3 replies      
My weird and unrelated question is: if I donate software to an open source group like the Linux Foundation, can I write it off my taxes? And if so, how do I assess the value of it? RethinkDB probably has some legitimate market value...can the founders reflect that on their taxes?
RobertoG 1 day ago 1 reply      
Any news about the future of horizon?

I played with rethinkdb and horizon and it looked like the the way to go to me.

When you see that with a few easy lines of code, any change in state in the browser of your computer it's updated in the browser of your mobile, without practically doing anything in the server, it feels like the future.

nodesocket 1 day ago 1 reply      
I just donated. Thanks to the original RethinkDB team for your amazing efforts... I meetup with Michael Glukhovsky briefly over coffee here in SF and was immensely impressed then, and I am still immensely impressed now.

Fantastic to hear RethinkDB lives on. Long live RethinkDB. ;-)

jkarneges 1 day ago 0 replies      
Incredible news. I was certain this kind of relicensing would be impossible. Congrats to the community.
cdnsteve 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is this one of the first companies that has made the transition from business to fully open-source? If so this could set an interesting president for others to follow suite under similar circumstances.
sbashyal 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just donated! We have an app in production using Rethinkdb. This needs to live on!
dirkg 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is great news! Rethink is NoSql DB done properly, I know many others such as Cassandra often get mentioned as alternatives to Mongo but they aren't really.

I just hope the rigor and correctness that have characterized RethinkDB continue moving forward as a community project. Part of me feels sad it never caught on and will never be a commercial success like Mongo, but that's in the past.

Horizon is another exciting project I hope gets traction.

hueving 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not too familiar with RethinkDB. Can someone explain why it's so popular on HN? The wiki page shows that it's not that popular overall and the comparison to other DBs makes it sound pretty bad.[1]

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RethinkDB

obulpathi 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is awesome news! Good to see Cloud Native Foundation growing to address the needs in Cloud Computing space.
crudbug 1 day ago 2 replies      
What kind of workload RethinkDB is suitable for ?

1. Transactional

2. Analytical

3. Operational

adamnemecek 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is this the best possible outcome given the circumstances?
vegabook 1 day ago 2 replies      
Honestly what needs to happen next is a serious effort to explain why or when rethink is better than mongo, cassandra, arango, aerospike, memsql, mysql, riak, or postgres, ++, not to mention all the TSDBs. On the event pushes I am unconvinced that message queues/computation graphs arent superior and that's another crowded space. When I last looked at it the advantages struck me as mostly incremental on the query language and decremental on performance. There are many excellent competitors in this space, most of which are well funded, and moving targets. Rethink doesn't seem to have a USP, or none that has been effectively communicated at least, IMO.
bogomipz 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I had a question about this passage:

"The company behind RethinkDB shut down last year after struggling to build a sustainable business around the product. Many former RethinkDB employees currently work for Stripe, where they help build infrastructure for developers around the world."

Is Stripe a big RethinkDB shop or is there another connection between the two?

ScottBurson 1 day ago 0 replies      
I see Slava has no comment :-)
omouse 1 day ago 0 replies      
They should have stuck with AGPL.
Hans Rosling has died gapminder.org
745 points by anc84  11 hours ago   111 comments top 46
CapTVK 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Most readers only know him as a statistician, gapminder (which he founded) and the ted talks but he also had a medical background and was prepared to go straight to work during the Ebola outbreak in Monrovia. He called and jumped right in.


"After he arrived in Monrovia, Rosling started by doing simple things, such as proofreading the ministry's epidemiological reports, which he says nobody had time for. He changed an important detail in the updates: Rather than listing "0 cases" for counties that had not reported any numberswhich could be misleadinghe left them blank. Next, he tackled the problem behind the missing data. Some health care workers couldn't afford to call in their reports, because they were paying the phone charges themselves; Rosling set up a small fund to pay for scratch cards that gave them airtime."

Rosling says he's tired of the portrayal of Africa as a continent of incompetence, superstition, and rampant corruption. I am astonished how good people are that I work with here, how dedicated, how serious, he says. When The New York Times reported that governmental infighting was hampering the Ebola response, Rosling tweeted: Don McNeil misrepresents Liberias EBOLA-response to win the MOST INCORRECT ARTICLE ABOUT EBOLA AWARD. His self-assurance and impatience with opinions he disagrees with can grate on others. I find him quite irritating, says one Western colleague. Mostly because he turns out to be right about most things.

That last line is the ultimate compliment.

He will be missed.

xenadu02 10 hours ago 4 replies      
My favorite video of his: A huge chunk of the women in the world spend a depressing amount of their time washing clothes. The washing machine has done more for women than anything else:http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_and_the_magic_washing_...
widforss 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Professor Rosling is just the type of man we would need in todays political landscape. A character with a strong belief in verifiable facts and using those facts to change the world for the better.
radicalbyte 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Sad day. RIP.

For some context: Hans is famous here for his fantastic series of TED talks which cover population growth, poverty and development.

Totally changed (well, confirmed) my world view.

Start here:


Entalpi 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Sad day for all of us who value a fact-based worldview in these dark days of rising nationalism and euroscepticism.

Vila i frid, professor Rosling.

Karlozkiller 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I feel that the last round of attention Rosling got in Sweden gave the impression of a man determined to see ONLY good. But I do think this feeling got elevated by everyone else parroting uncritically everything he said taking it as the utter truth, and proof that anyone not thinking the exact same were crazy idiots. I guess it also connects to my aversion for simplification and fear of how easy some people seem to take anything at face value.

That being said I do not think my thoughts above lessens his work. I have deep respect for his vision and what he strived to achieve.

botswana99 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Very sad. We need more like him to help us understand the true state of the world we live in today. And if you look at the data, like he did, the world is trending upward very well:

A quick article: https://singularityhub.com/2016/06/27/why-the-world-is-bette...

Hans Rosling's Gapminder website: https://www.gapminder.org/videos/dont-panic-end-poverty/

The Website 'Our World In Data': https://ourworldindata.org/

Some books that go into the world facts in detail: https://twitter.com/sapinker/status/814855168793554944.

afoot 10 hours ago 3 replies      
A sad day indeed. One of his TED talks changed my career forever:


lentil_soup 10 hours ago 0 replies      
So sad, this guy was amazing and very enlightening in an era of misinformation.

Check out his presentations: https://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_on_global_population_... (to showcase just one)

johansch 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow. This was so unexpected. This hit me surprisingly hard. I guess I expected him to teach us about important misunderstood things for like 20 more years or so.
dorfsmay 9 hours ago 0 replies      
For me, he both made me discover TED and be disappointed with every other TED video!

Who's going to carry on his amazing work now...

milesf 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Aw man. What a loss! Hans is the guy that gave me eyes to see statistics as something beautiful and exciting. I still remember the first time I saw his TED Talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_y...
awicz 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Hans Rosling truly changed the way I view information, and the world. A great loss indeed.
braymundo 10 hours ago 0 replies      
A sad day, indeed. I will miss his creative and entertaining ways of showing how the world is getting better. Especially in these dark times.
yesbabyyes 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Me and a friend participated in the Node Knockout 2011, we had decided to build a rap lyrics analytics engine and we called it Rapminder. The day before the hackathon started I ran into Hans Rosling right outside of our office and got his blessing. Serendipity.


Rest in Power big homie. May the facts be with us.

btilly 9 hours ago 1 reply      
My favorite video of his is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbkSRLYSojo.
e40 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Pancreatic cancer has taken the majority of people I know that have died from cancer. A horrible way to go.
porker 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Sad news, his visualizations and approach to communication were the first to get me interested in this field.
synicalx 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Now what're the chances of that...

In all seriousness though, sorry to hear he passed. He's done a lot of good work and was still quite 'young'.

wallzz 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember meeting him in Algeria, where he gave a speak on various economic data of every country and the expected changes in the future with some focus on Africa, it was such an inspiring speech, he has a way to make the data come alive.
dsjoerg 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks you, Hans, for your excellent & inspiring work. I salute you!
kayoone 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, I still have this tab open for weeks with an article about him that i wanted to read:http://www.nature.com/news/three-minutes-with-hans-rosling-w...

Now hearing that he passed in the meantime is very sad indeed. What a great man.

sleepychu 9 hours ago 0 replies      
black bar, please?
mildlyclassic 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Goodbye Hans. You will be sorely missed.
dandersh 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Awful news. I just started getting into his work and will be sure to watch some of his TED talks this evening in his honor.
melling 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Very sad. Another victim of pancreatic cancer. A couple of months ago, astronaut Piers Sellers died from it.

Ever since I heard Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture", I take notice when people die from pancreatic cancer, which a decade later, is still basically a death sentence.


robert_foss 9 hours ago 0 replies      

A more inspiring and constructive individual I have never encountered.This is a loss with a larger impact than most.

sixQuarks 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Why do so many good people die from terrible ailments, while the evil ones like Dick Cheney keep having dozens of heart attacks and keep ticking on?
markshuttle 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A man with a wonderful mix of wit, intellect and humanity, he will be missed.
bostand 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is very sad.

He could explain very complex issues in a way everyone could understand. Something that is need more than ever now in the age of fake news and alternative facts...


ekianjo 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, that was a surprise. I remember seeing him on TV not too long ago, no idea he was already ill at that time... A sad day.
headconnect 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Truly a great loss, but his style and enthusiasm will endure! I'll never forget the first time I watched him speed up the world..
manuelbieh 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Had the honor to see a talk of him live at the TEDSalon in Berlin 2014. Very inspiring. Great loss. RIP Hans
diegorbaquero 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I will always remember his advocacy to teach, share and contribute knowledge. Amazing talks too. Sad and shocking day
cicloid 10 hours ago 0 replies      
What a loss! Seeing his TED talks did make an impact on me. He truly was an inspiring person.
dodysw 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This person inspires me, very sad day.
abc_lisper 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Sad sad day! He seemed to have boundless energy in his talks, did not expect this...
jpatel3 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Sad day :(

His story is inspirational.

baxtr 10 hours ago 0 replies      
What a sad day. I will miss his way of making facts really exciting
tigroferoce 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Sad day. I will always remember his talks at TED. RIP.
ianai 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I truly hate cancer.
unixhero 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I am filled with sadness about this.
bobowzki 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Very sad news. He inspired me.
ak39 10 hours ago 0 replies      
What a loss to humanity. This man's lectures and explanations of population growth epitomized hope for me. Empathy in motion!

Heartfelt love and condolences to his family.

tomjen3 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is on of his TED talks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVimVzgtD6w

Also fuck cancer.

Trumps F.C.C. Pick Quickly Targets Net Neutrality Rules nytimes.com
549 points by phaedryx  1 day ago   391 comments top 23
ScottBurson 1 day ago 9 replies      
A contrary view: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrydownes/2017/01/24/why-is-th...

I'm not really sure what to think about a lot of this. What I do believe is:

() We need meaningful competition for broadband. (I live in Silicon Valley and all I can get is Comcast!)

() A given company should not be able to be in both the content and connectivity businesses. If classifying broadband as a utility is the right way to accomplish this, let's keep it; otherwise, let's find a different way. I'm open to argument about the means, but not so much about the goal.

() Laws proscribing localities from setting up their own broadband utilities are unconscionable and need to be gotten rid of. I don't know if the FCC or even Congress can do this -- these are mostly state laws.

I don't know if Ajit Pai is going to bring us any closer to this world or not.

ChicagoDave 1 day ago 7 replies      
They will certainly kill city-run broadband and anything else that the big companies view as encroaching on their monopolies.

In 2008 we should have let the banks fail and all the wealth in the world evaporate like it's supposed to in a Capitalistic society. Instead, we basically made the banks bigger and the rich richer and more powerful.

Analemma_ 1 day ago 4 replies      
Wouldn't it be great if, right after net neutrality was scrapped, some ISP came out and said this:

"Thanks to the innovation-promoting policies at the new FCC, we're pleased to announce that, starting next month, FoxNews.com, Brietbart, 8chan, the Drudge Report and reason.com, will be deprioritized to 1 Kb/sec unless you purchase our premium plan for only an extra $100/month. God bless America and the free market."

What would be even better is if they only did it in markets where there was no competition, and they announced that they would drop the plan as soon as another competitor offered service in the area. Wonder how fast people's ambivalence about net neutrality would shift then.

C'mon, doesn't anyone have the balls? Sonic?

LeoPanthera 1 day ago 7 replies      
I've been thinking about this for a while but I might have to actually do it now. Start a business, and get a server hosted in colo under the business name. Then get a permanent openvpn connection between your home router and the colo'd server.

Now your "ISP" is the colo provider, not your home ISP, who only gets to see an encrypted pipe, and everything you do is under a business name.

Seems like the best way forward to me.

lettergram 1 day ago 8 replies      
Well, it's kind of funny. I was joking about starting a political party. Now, as a business owner, I feel it's my duty.

Seriously, I've decided after reading this. I just want to vote for a party that supports abortion rights, gun rights, a open Internet, and a generally smaller government (focused more on research and education).

FYI Ill be moving to Champaign, IL if anyone is interested.

plandis 1 day ago 7 replies      
What power do I, as a citizen have to affect change in the FCC?

Short of violence is there anything to do other than wait four years and elect a president who will put someone not so blatantly against consumers?

shmerl 1 day ago 5 replies      
> The agency has strayed from its core mission, said Marsha Blackburn, a Republican representative from Tennessee who oversees a telecommunications and tech subcommittee.

Yeah, in her view, the mission of the agency is to serve the monopolists, and to strengthen the market stagnation by preventing any trace of competition. Of course in exchange for generous bribes (aka donations) to the likes of her. Why are such people even being voted for?

coldpie 1 day ago 6 replies      
I hope you like paid priority lanes for big companies, less oversight of telecommunication company fees, data caps on home internet connections, huge telecom mergers, and no regulation of the growing mobile industry, because that's what you're getting with Pai's FCC. You voted for fewer regulations, Americans, so you get fewer regulations. I hope you like the results.

We've got another election this coming November. And another one next November. If you want consumer protection and some amount of oversight on big companies, turn out to vote every single year and kick the Republicans out of office.

beepboopbeep 11 hours ago 0 replies      
For anyone that followed along with the actual meetings, this man was a pissant all through out the proceedings.

Not just against the rulings, but visibly perturbed and aggravated by the outcomes. Thus it was no surprise to see him picked to head the FCC.

His revenge if forthcoming.

kilroy123 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is great news! Now YouTube, Apple, Netflix, Google, etc. products will run way faster. No more wasting internet and bandwidth on any small crappy websites or companies products.

Honestly, if you're not a billion dollar company, you shouldn't even exist and be on the internet. /s

bluetwo 1 day ago 5 replies      
We screwed up by not making this a campaign issue.

Now we are going to pay the price.

This is a freaking disaster.

When I was at the Women's March talking with friends, I said the smart thing to do was not react to every issue, but to pick one and focus. This is the issue I care the most about.

I feel like we are way behind on fighting this. Million Techie March? If only.

Going to have to figure out what the right actions are regarding this issue.

scarface74 1 day ago 3 replies      
I have different views on prioritization and providers not counting some data as part of your data allotment depending on the circumstance.

T-Mobile. If you are a legal video or audio streaming provider and you meet T-mobiles technical requirements, you can get zero rating. Everyone is on a level playing field.

Verizon and AT&Ts zero rating of their own services: there are four national carriers and a few regional carriers with their own networks. There is plenty of competition in the wireless space.

Cable companies zero rating their own content on their own network: Technically, all internet providers have peering arrangements where if they have more outbound traffic than inbound traffic, they make up the difference with payments. Since it is there own traffic, they don't have to pay another network provider. Of course, realistically, the cable companies are doing it to be anticompetitive.

The real answer is make it easier for there to be multiple companies to provide Internet access in a given area. they would start competing on price, speed, data limits, etc.

Luckily, I live in area where I can choose between Comcast's crappy service and AT&Ts gigibat internet service - no data caps and a flat $70 a month.

tabeth 1 day ago 4 replies      
Just curious: in an ideal society, where there are no super large corporations that would abuse their advantage here, would this be a big deal?

Isn't this similar to the advantage that capitalists have when buying huge swathes of land? I imagine that if this passes companies would then start selling their "high priority" traffic to smaller companies.

I'm pretty ignorant to the history of Net Neutrality, but this seemed inevitable to me. Seems to me that every time there's a "constrained" resource (though internet access is arbitrarily constrained) large companies end up dominating it.

It sounds to me that the real problem is the existence of large companies that have the resources to exploit advantages to begin with.

anigbrowl 1 day ago 1 reply      
On the bright side, these are exactly the conditions that promote the flourishing of new protocols, just as internet culture took off among those who found censorship undesirable in a previous era.
caseysoftware 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Trump promoted him to head the FCC but he's served on the Commission itself for almost five years:

> He was initially nominated for a Republican Party position on the commission by President Barack Obama at the recommendation of Mitch McConnell. He was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on May 7, 2012,[1] and was sworn in on May 14, 2012, for a term that concludes on June 30, 2016 (though he may stay on until 2017 even if not reconfirmed).

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajit_Varadaraj_Pai

exabrial 1 day ago 4 replies      
Can we stop making this into a partisan issue please? The Democrats are not scot-free in this matter.
amelius 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I think net neutrality should extend to other means of content delivery. For example, native apps are very similar to web pages in many respects, but app-stores still have control over them more than my ISP has control over the web pages I'm viewing.
maxxxxx 1 day ago 3 replies      
Like it or not, but Trump may become a transformational president. They are wasting no time. Have other presidents been that aggressive with their agenda when coming in?
bogomipz 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I keep coming back to this Ajit Pai quote form December:

"During the Trump Administration, we will shift from playing defense at the FCC to going on offense," he said last month. "We need to fire up the weed whacker and remove those rules that are holding back investment, innovation, and job creation."

This seems like a pretty incongruous statement from someone heading a regulatory agency whose mission is to:

"make available so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, rapid, efficient, Nationwide, and world-wide wire and radio communication services with adequate facilities at reasonable charges."

Weed whackers and offense? That sounds like like an (ex)Verizon lawyer and not someone who is now supposed to be looking out for citizens of the United States.




Shooogur 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is extremely interesting. Wonder what the POTUS has planned...
throw2016 13 hours ago 0 replies      
One way this could get solved is by a tech breakthough that dramatically reduces costs. Or accept the market doesn't always work efficiently and do something about it in the now.

The current way is to 'trust the market' and pray that eventually it will all work out is. Eventually we will all be dead.

In the real world there is regulatory capture, lobbying, collusion and agressive misinformation campaigns by orwellian named 'public interest groups'.

The plain fact is in certain markets heavy capital and regulatory costs make it nearly impossible for new entrants. And even a few brave new entrants who are heavily capitalized face eventual co-option into collusion with the status quo if successful. None of this is in the market or public interest.

This is not free markets but corporatocracy masquerading as free markets. The problem of monopolies, collusion and regulatory capture are conveniently ignored or hand waved away by economists when its the 'natural end state' for capital intensive industries and cannot simply be wished away or ignored. Concentration of economic power can not only undermine markets but create entrenched political and economic power structures.

We have to acknowledge a lot of 'economists' are often paid lobbyists to promote a particular 'view'. Municipal wifi and public interest inititiaves are the only solution for the now until proper measures can be found to manage these kind of markets.

beedogs 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Impeachment sure would be nice.
jjawssd 1 day ago 2 replies      
As long as the FCC stays on track to do its best to encourage competition in the Internet ecosystem I see no problems with what they are doing. I am too uneducated to understand the real downstream effects of "net neutrality"
RethinkDB Relicensed under Apache 2.0 joyent.com
683 points by csmajorfive  1 day ago   163 comments top 25
mglukhovsky 1 day ago 3 replies      
Hey everyone, thanks to the rest of the RethinkDB leadership team and the CNCF for their hard work! This wouldn't have been possible without a lot of effort from our dedicated community.

You can read the announcement on RethinkDB's blog to find out about the project's next steps: https://rethinkdb.com/blog/rethinkdb-joins-linux-foundation/

We've had a lot of folks ask if they can donate to support the project. Stripe has generously offered to match up to $25k in donations (which will help fund server costs and future development.) You can learn how to contribute to the project with OSS contributions or donations here: https://rethinkdb.com/contribute

chrisabrams 1 day ago 2 replies      
RethinkDB leadership member here: happy to answer any questions for the next hour or so.

One thing to note, this was not an easy process; our team has spent months working daily on a solution. This was definitely our Plan A result, but we never expected LF to step up and provide the sponsorship funding as well. Huge thanks to LF/CNCF for helping close things in the end!

If you use RethinkDB please make sure to give a leadership member a hug if you happen to be in SF/NYC/Nashville/Philly/etc.

api 1 day ago 2 replies      
Feeling good about our decision to stick with it for our core infrastructure's next incarnation. Still very sad that they didn't make it as a company. We would have paid. RethinkDB is an unbelievable technology: better under the hood and IMHO easier to use than MongoDB, and combining NoSQL with some SQL-like features that for us are good enough. The rough edges we've found so far are minor.

We used PostgreSQL before and while excellent on a single node it's deeply painful to cluster. You need a full time DBA to make sure you're doing it right, as GitLab discovered, and when it fails it gives error messages that seem more cryptic than C++ template errors. Amazon RDS was insanely pricey compared to bare metal (our load is both CPU-bound and disk-IO-heavy bare metal on OVH is >10X cheaper than Amazon) and Redshift didn't have pgsql syntax yet. Even now that it does I'm not sure I want to be bound to it as I have an instinctive aversion to cloud lock-in.

niftich 1 day ago 2 replies      
The GNU Affero GPLv3 has been a recurring topic during RethinkDB's existence, but I cannot substantiate the same having been an issue for MongoDB. Links appreciated.

Some instances of people asking about GNU Affero GPLv3 and RethinkDB:

(2014-11-16) https://github.com/rethinkdb/rethinkdb/issues/3347

(2015-06-16) https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rethinkdb/g5UEck3sqM...

(2016-10-10) https://sagemath.blogspot.com/2016/10/rethinkdb-must-relicen...

(2017-01-09) https://github.com/rethinkdb/rethinkdb/issues/6221

caniszczyk 1 day ago 0 replies      
FYI also Stripe has generously agreed to match up to $25,000 in donations: https://rethinkdb.com/contribute
eicnix 1 day ago 2 replies      

Although I wanted to use RethinkDB for new stuff I was very hesitant to introduce a probably discontinued product. Using a Linux product with Apache 2 instead makes the decision to introduce RethinkDB much easier.

Is somebody already working on a operator for kubernetes like coreos did for etcd [1]? What is your recommended kubernetes deployment for RethinkDB?

[1] https://github.com/coreos/etcd-operator

divbit 1 day ago 4 replies      
Am I reading this right? Rethinkdb is now under apache 2? That's awesome news - such great software.
tyingq 1 day ago 2 replies      
Curious what they paid for the IP rights to do it. The earlier discussion posted here indicated the IP holder wanted a fairly large figure to sell it.
kepano 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is very exciting. We've been using RethinkDB in production at Lumi for the past two years and it's been nothing short of perfect. The prospect of switching has been a nagging dread, but the continued pace of positive announcements is reassuring. We've been contributing back in small ways here and there, but plan to do so more actively now.
josephg 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is fantastic! I'm working on a little piece of fun realtime streaming database tech, and up until now I thought I'd have to implement my own realtime querying piece. Being able to lean on rethinkdb will make the whole thing way easier to implement, and provide a better experience for my users.

My concern has been that there's a few missing features in rethinkdb - I want to be able to resume query after a client gets disconnected without re-downloading the result set. (If the data hasn't changed) and I want deeper integration with rethinkdb's versioning system. But I've been too nervous about making those changes myself and build on top of rethinkdb because of license taint. Now this has all been solved. Its starting to look like a good time to crack open the code and submit some patches! Thanks everyone who's made this happen!

overcast 1 day ago 0 replies      
So awesome, I didn't want to give up using RethinkDB! By far my favorite database.
gkya 1 day ago 2 replies      
A work on the colours of this page: IDK if it's me only but light-grey font on white background stabs my eyes, I can't even look at it. Why is this a la mode now? Why go lighter than, say, #333 for text that's meant to be read?
z3t4 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think GPL did make sense before, but APL make more sense now. I do not fully understand APL though, but it seems, like with MIT, there can be hostile forks, where a competitor takes not only the code, but also the community and the business.
gbrown_ 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's great to see commercial bodies as well as CNCF not only take interest in these sorts of things but actually push them forward for the benefit of all.
bpicolo 1 day ago 1 reply      
That's really awesome news, and makes the future of RethinkDB a very exciting prospect!
distantsounds 1 day ago 0 replies      
RethinkDB is a fantastic piece of software, I'm glad to see this happen.
tracker1 1 day ago 1 reply      
OT: Man, that font is way too thin and hard to read... really wish the weight were closer to 500 instead of 300 (injected a style into head to make more readable for me).

At least they only specified the one font-family and fallback (without helvetica/arial, like a sane person)

the_mitsuhiko 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is amazing. Thanks so much for everybody who made this possible!
jordigh 1 day ago 11 replies      
This really bugs me. Copyleft has always been feared by lawyers and corporate people alike. Let's not forget how Ballmer called the GPL a cancer that infects everything it touches. Yet, copyleft is our only defense against abusive proprietary software and without copyleft we might not have the fertile collaboration of projects such as Linux, git, or OpenWrt.

The AGPL is just an updated GPL. Back when software mostly came in boxes, the GPL was as feared as the AGPL is now. Now that software mostly comes from the internet, the AGPL is there to address this new distribution method. Now the AGPL is the new cancer.

Overzealous lawyers trying to "protect" copyrights have indoctrinated an entire generation of hackers that sharing code is a danger and the AGPL is the prime threat. I have spoken to too many Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, or Google employees that are convinced that sharing their source code would be tantamount to death. The result is a world where their secret software controls the news we read, the ads we see, the people we talk to, and even the emotions we feel.

"Open source, but licensed under the AGPL.", says the article. There is no "but" here. The AGPL is the very definition of "open source", because it defends openness. If you have nothing to fear from open source, you have nothing to fear from the AGPL.

gigatexal 1 day ago 0 replies      
Glad to see this occur, would hate to have production code running without the DB being supported. Kudos to everyone involved. Another win for OSS.
makkesk8 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is great, I see a bright future for rethinkdb!

I've used rethinkdb quite a bit and I was wondering if anything thinks its suitable for time series data?

netcraft 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great news! Excited to see what the community can do with it!
abraae 1 day ago 2 replies      
Sometimes the beauty of the free market is a joy to behold.
fcanesin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Was horizon included in the deal ?
porker 1 day ago 1 reply      
How much did the CNCF have to pay for the code?
Oxford Deep NLP An advanced course on natural language processing github.com
534 points by melqdusy  18 hours ago   57 comments top 18
jkbschwarz 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Im taking this course at Oxford and they have been working through the practicals 1-3 (further ones will be posted)

For anyone considering working through this outside of Oxford: I think the practicals are the real gems here and should be doable without the practical lab sessions that you get when attending the course. With that being said, they use a dataset a bit closer to a real world assignment. Therefore, it requires some patience when wrangling the data especially for the later practicals.

However, the patience should pay off and it is rewarding once you build your own nonsense spewing TEDbot!

demonshalo 11 hours ago 4 replies      
here is what I don't understand about deep NLP (please keep in mind that I just began exploring this field):

I am currently working on an algorithm that uses elementary text cues in combination with large data-table lookups to determine things like relevant keywords of news articles scraped from various sites. I have given my results to hundreds of people independently to provide me with some feedback regarding the quality. Here is the current breakdown:

80% of the cases I get perfect score.

10% of the cases I get acceptable score.

10% of the cases needs improvement.

My questions here are:

1. if deep nlp can only provide us with the same level of efficiency/accuracy, then why the hell would we use it?

2. if deep nlp can provide us with more efficiency than what is stated above then wouldn't it be safe to assume that is UNREASONABLY efficient?

3. why are most people using deep nlp or ML in general right off the bat. Theoretically, it would be far more interesting to construct a model where the result of a statistical/linguistically parsing is fed to some sot of ML algo in order to tackle that 10% of bad cases.

seycombi 16 hours ago 1 reply      
YOUTUBE-DL will download the lectures https://rg3.github.io/youtube-dl/
hmate9 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I am currently taking this course at Oxford and definitely recommend following this.

We will be using TED talks as our dataset, to create Question Answering, text completion, generating entire TED talks ourselves etc. Definitely very interesting and it is being taught by leading researchers in the field!

roystonvassey 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Began this course earlier today and I think they appear to be pulling off the right combo of first principles foundation and tough problem sets, like cs224n (Karpathys CNN class). Other NLP courses that I've taken so far have gone over my head.
orthoganol 16 hours ago 2 replies      
> The primary assessment for this course will be a take-home assignment issued at the end of the term. This assignment will ask questions drawing on the concepts and models discussed in the course, as well as from selected research publications.

Comes as a surprise that it's not a project, as, in my experience, all ML/ DL courses I've seen online from US universities (Cal, Stanford, etc.) require. Different university culture across the pond?

melqdusy 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Stanford's version https://web.stanford.edu/class/cs224n/Note: the videos will be available later.
kalal 15 hours ago 0 replies      
'Advanced' course with 'Sesame Street' introduction: https://ox.cloud.panopto.eu/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=b7d... One of them should go :)
mailshanx 13 hours ago 1 reply      
How does the course content and rigor compare to the Stanford deep learning for NLP course? From a cursory glance at the practicals, it seems like the Stanford version has more variety and depth of problems.
RegW 14 hours ago 1 reply      
"Prerequisites: This not meant to be an introduction to Machine Learning course. Hopefully you've all got some knowledge to machine learning, otherwise you may find this a bit opaque. So at least you should understand/have taken courses in linear algebra, calculus, probability, ... we are not going to do anything particularly challenging in those areas, but ideas from those areas will be useful."

around 7 mins 30secs into the introduction

webmaven 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Link should probably be to the org rather than a specific repo: https://github.com/oxford-cs-deepnlp-2017
Fede_V 12 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want more advanced materials, both Kyunghyun Cho and Yoav Goldberg posted excellent notes: https://arxiv.org/abs/1511.07916 and https://arxiv.org/abs/1510.00726
alfonsodev 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Here [1] is an example of the videos, the player has a handy search feature and links to video parts.

update: It would be great to have a way to take your own notes, any chrome extension that can help with that ?

[1] https://ox.cloud.panopto.eu/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=ff9...

option_greek 14 hours ago 3 replies      
What are the practical uses of language modelling RNNs ? (apart from writing grammar/syntax checkers)
pratap103 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm reading 'Deep Learning' right now so this is going to be really useful. Thanks a lot!
mrcactu5 8 hours ago 0 replies      
coookie monster and the fairy keep exchanging apples <----> bananas

how does this help me solve NLP

mcintyre1994 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This looks amazing, thankyou for sharing!
jray 16 hours ago 0 replies      
React Native at Instagram engineering.instagram.com
574 points by martin_bigio  1 day ago   226 comments top 30
intoverflow2 16 hours ago 7 replies      
This is a bad sign to me, talks about how to optimise start up performance and optimise list views when the processors in our pockets are the fastest they've ever been.

Do we really have to switch to developer centric development where devs have an easier life using JS at the expense of performance?

Think the millions of users would prefer their devices to have better battery life, load faster and have less cruft just to draw a few text boxes of a profile edit screen or a grid of photos (something I would have thought would be effortless to mobile devs in 2017). Rather than the handful of devs having a slightly easier day at the start of the process.

This whole move seems especially strange to me coming from a Facebook company, have we forgotten the move from native > webtech > native already?

a13n 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is huge. 87-99% shared code between iOS and Android. Someday companies as big as Instagram won't need to have entire separate product teams for separate platforms.

> React Native allowed product teams to ship features faster to both our iOS and Android apps. The list below shows the percentage of code shared between the apps for some of the products, which could be used as a proxy to measure how we managed to improve developer velocity:

Post Promote: 99%

SMS Captcha Checkpoint: 97%

Comment Moderation: 85%

Lead Gen Ads: 87%

Push Notification Settings: 92%

40acres 1 day ago 6 replies      
I didn't know what single/multi-dex means so i looked it up.

Android application (APK) files contain executable bytecode files in the form of Dalvik Executable (DEX) files, which contain the compiled code used to run your app. The Dalvik Executable specification limits the total number of methods that can be referenced within a single DEX file to 65,536, including Android framework methods, library methods, and methods in your own code. Getting past this limit requires that you configure your app build process to generate more than one DEX file, known as a multidex configuration.

Do Android apps regularly encompass over 65.3k methods? I assume a majority of these would be framework type functionality, but it really seems that a multi-dex product would be near impossible to maintain.

iamleppert 1 day ago 5 replies      
They probably traded a really nice iOS codebase that had been maintained and improved upon for something that is going to end up with tons of special cases for when the UI is running on iOS/Android etc and make it incredibly difficult to test, reason about.

Instead of improving the code on each respective platform, you end up with an inbred red-headed step child that shares the limitations and thorns of each, all smushed together.

Now, making a change that once was once limited in scope to a single UI on Android now has the potential to affect both apps in new and exciting (read: unpredictable) ways.

I've been down this path before. There's something incredibly satisfying about reusing code, but there's such a thing as too much of a good thing.

I'd like to see a case study done in a few years once the whiskers have had some time to accumulate on this codebase.

Steve Jobs knew about the perils of this development methodology which is why he specifically put his foot down on technologies like Flash -- which (let's admit it, folks), React Native really has more in common than we'd like to admit.

huangc10 1 day ago 3 replies      
As an iOS developer, I had to decide between investing more time in Swift or React-Native. I chose React-Native simply because I thought it will allow me to broaden my mobile development experience and maybe one day stretch to even the Android platform. Furthermore, it improved my javascript skills in general and allowed me to create React web apps as well. I think it is the right choice thus far. Anyone else have similar experiences?
artursapek 1 day ago 1 reply      
I opened Instagram the other day and saw a grey error message show up across the top of the app... it said something about a React error. I didn't get to read it well because it quickly disappeared. I thought I was tripping. Good to know I wasn't.
ryandrake 1 day ago 6 replies      
Call me old-fashioned, but I thought the Android/iOS code sharing nut was cracked: Business logic in C or C++ and UI in Objective-C (iOS) and Java (Android + NDK). As a bonus, you could bolt a desktop UI on top of the C++ as well.
LeoNatan25 1 day ago 1 reply      
Please speak, if you can, on the mental toll the move to web ecosystem has taken on your native developers that have until now developed on respective native ecosystems. In particularly, I refer to having to work in JS, having to install tens if not hundreds if not thousands npm dependencies in order to do the most routine tasks, having to restart packager and clear cache every few runs, etc.
wmblaettler 1 day ago 1 reply      
The careers link posted in the footnote errors when loading: https://our.intern.facebook.com/l.php?d=AQHtPpH_2FKp-3oVD3c5...

"Sorry, something went wrong. We're working on it and we'll get it fixed as soon as we can."

Based on the URL, is this actually some internal FB link tracking redirect? You probably simply want direct URL: https://www.instagram.com/about/jobs

thecopy 1 day ago 5 replies      
I'm getting tired of having to allow scripts to even get to see the images. Why dont they use <img> tags?
antoniuschan99 11 hours ago 0 replies      
My project (the weather sensor) is using React Native for the Mobile end. I would still like to work on a professional project to really see how well or bad RN is in an enterprise type project. Having used Titanium Appcelerator on a personal project, I find RN much better than Titanium. I assume it's much better than Xamarin as well.

I think learning RN is a good bet because, it is coming from Facebook. I'm not sure if people remember, but FB on mobile was originally built using Webviews and had notoriously bad reviews because it was slow and laggy. It's because of this lesson that they are in a good position to create a competent platform.

I also think as web developers, we should try to understand more of the tooling/language in one of the mobile platforms of our choice.

martin_bigio 1 day ago 9 replies      
@martinbigio here in case anyone has questions
beeswax 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing!

I'm currently leading the (soft) transition of a two-platform, not-so-much-shared-code code base (ObjC, Java, Swift, C++) to React Native.

We hit some snags early on (mostly wrt tooling; also prepare to alter your mind set) but as the article states RN yields an astonishing amount of code reuse between platforms as well as heavily reduced turnaround times.

Its way too early for conclusions/doing a post mortem for our project at this time.

Nonetheless Id say were able to iterate faster by an order of magnitude and the added value of discussing features and domain logic/behavior for both platforms at the same time while enabling UX/UI to get results/feedback faster is a huge win.

That said, Im really looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead (i18n, RTL quirks, proper unit/feature/integration testing scenarios, non-trivial native bridging, )

lewisl9029 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Has anyone tried using the React Native plugin for Windows [1] in a non-trivial app yet? I'd love to hear what experiences people have had with it, and if there's anything to watch out for coming from the RN Android/iOS camps. Any open source apps that makes use of React Native for Windows that you can point me to would be super helpful as well.

[1] https://github.com/ReactWindows/react-native-windows

therealmarv 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Great engineering. Instagram always runs snappy and also with low bandwidth (>1Mbit/s). Meanwhile Snapchat does not even know how to download first clicked story video first.
ryancouto 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Did this change occur recently? I've noticed in the past 3-4 months Instagram has become a lot slower. To be fair, it's started to gain some speed in the past month, but I'd be interested to see how this increase in latency coincided with the migration to React Native.
DenisM 1 day ago 2 replies      
So I see they have a lot of code reuse between RN iOS and RN Android.

How much, if any, code reuse can there be between React Native and React (proper)?

DenisM 1 day ago 0 replies      
One thing that draws me to RN is over-the-air code updates on iOS.

Are there any other ways of achieving the same result?

jakebasile 1 day ago 1 reply      
React and React Native are pretty great pieces of tech, hopefully the ClojureScript story for them continues to improve. When I need to make a mobile app again I can't think of a reason I'd write it in Java/Swift.
jz10 17 hours ago 0 replies      
For my fellow vue.js enthusiasts, check out https://github.com/alibaba/weex for compiling "vue-like" syntax to native apps
SilverWhiskey 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Argh, now I see why I can't change anything on the Push Notifications settings page. Nice experiment, Instagram, but could you please fix it and let me disable all notifications within the app, not iphone settings?
greenyouse 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm curious what you guys think of PWAs vs React Native? Is there a clear advantages of one over the other?
kumarm 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't think ReactNative has a reason to exist other than Facebook wanting to own Platform (Which they might abandon just like Parse).

Good Read: https://www.reddit.com/r/androiddev/comments/5qr9xw/avoiding...

dvcrn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love react native but only in combination with clojurescript as javascript replacement.Speaking of high-performance, is anyone here who has some insights how performance would change when swapping JS with cljs?
joe_momma 14 hours ago 1 reply      
React Native is becoming the Wordpress of mobile apps.
redtree 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is great news for Enterprises as well, as most have many internal apps that need to be built for different platforms.
gigatexal 20 hours ago 1 reply      
This is probably stupid but does react native compile down to the running environment? Code in react and then build/compile against iOS SDKs?
Shooogur 1 day ago 0 replies      
Very cool!
thebouv 1 day ago 3 replies      
I really want to look at React Native, but every time I pull up my Facebook app on my iPhone 6, it can take upwards of 30 seconds before the interface is useable.

That's on a very fast connection.

So to me the FB app is so slow, it makes me hesitant to give React Native much more thought as you'd figure the FB app would be THE showcase app for it.

Maybe I'm the only one?

ClayFerguson 1 day ago 2 replies      
The dirty little secret about React is that it tries to 'reinvent' the DOM tree, and Web Components will be out soon making it all obsolete. Why not just move to Web Components NOW, and not have to rewrite your view logic in 3 or 4 years. Polymer wins easily. React got a head start, sure, but the W3C standards and native browser support for WebComponents makes React redundant and unnecessary, in the very near future.
Trump Is Right: Silicon Valley Using H-1B Visas to Pay Low Wages to Immigrants huffingtonpost.com
502 points by gadders  1 day ago   455 comments top 59
t1o5 1 day ago 12 replies      
ex H1B here. Yes Trump is right.(though I do not like him personally, he is right in this matter) Most of the corporate America is exploiting H1B workers. I have worked in one of those firms and I have friends in many other firms. These are not Indian body shops, these are American companies. Everyone's topic of discussion when we hangout is how our H1B visas were being exploited and there is nothing we could do about it. We were bound to the employer with no hopes of promotion and the long wait for GreenCard (10 years). H1B has become a system to pay lower wages than a skilled visa. How can it be a skilled visa, if the visas are allocated based on lottery ?

So we decided to do something about our situation. We started foraying into the immigration systems of other countries and we decided to use the express entry system of Canada. So we all applied for it ourselves, got evaluated for our skills & degrees and now I am happily typing this as a permanent resident from Canada.

Express Entry System -


nostrademons 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's worth putting in a shout-out to Lofgren's H1B bill:


Far from "emasculating" it like the article suggests, the "bucketing" system in Lofgren's bill is designed to put upward pressure on all wages, including those of American citizens. The way that it works is that positions paying in the top 2/3 of the average wage for their geographical area will get priority over those that pay only the average wage, regardless of how much they pay their H1Bs. (And within the bucket, they get priority based on how much more than the prevailing wage they pay the H1B worker.) This prevents companies from bidding up the price of their H1B workers only, and forces them to raise wages for all of their American citizens as well in order to take advantage of the market-based allocation of H1Bs.

frankydp 1 day ago 3 replies      
H-1B and J-1 consulting and labor firms are far more nefarious than people probably think.

Most of my personal experience is with J-1 pimps. These "firms" import seasonal labor and directly collect wages from the hiring company. The catch is as old as markets, as they usually debit housing, food, and fees that are grossly outside of true cost, but allow for just enough origin country adjusted income to still make sense for students to keep signing on. I have dealt with these firms from Eastern Europe and South America, with both operating on the razors edge of indentured servitude. These exact same practices dominate the H-1B program.

The most effective change to any of these programs, outside of just volume, would be the direct to employee payment requirement or minimum percentage. That change would force the either higher salaries in order to maintain the labor firms margins, or the labor firms would have to eat the cost to keep the prices down. Enforcement would have to be extreme. As the nature of the relationship between the firm and the visa holder is already indebted, and there would be lots of opportunity for harassment and coercion of the visa holder to fork over more of their paycheck.

Addition:Another solution may be a visa marketplace that the government would run, to connect employers and visa seekers directly and eliminate the middle man.

program_whiz 1 day ago 5 replies      
Ok what's the suprise here? If you give companies a chance to get cheaper "mostly the same" labor without a downside, or maybe with the upside they can't leave, they're going to take it. That's why I do believe globalization and the availability of huge amounts of cheap unregulated labor does hurt American jobs and industry. Its not xenophobia, its just common sense. I think if you look past any ideas of racism, xenophobia, etc, you'll see that in plain economic terms, Trump is right -- but it applies to every industry, not just SV. Imagine how if this is applicable to something requiring the skills of software development, how much more so it would be true of some low-skill job.
chuckcode 1 day ago 1 reply      
My experience has been that my H1-B coworkers don't get paid as well as US counterparts sand that there is significant friction for them to change companies or even get a big promotion if they are in process of applying for green card. Rather than adding more rules to an already difficult process though I think the best solution would be to allow people with H1-B to easily change jobs after some period of time at the original sponsoring company (e.g. 6-12 months). That way it would be harder to pay below market rates and would be much more dynamic than having the government trying to estimate what the prevailing wage should be.

I get really frustrated though with most articles on the H1-B visas which either seem to be bashing immigrants or imply that somehow more government regulation will help the situation. In my experience growing up in the US we are incredibly lucky to have such talented people coming here to work and they have contributed incredibly to the tech companies in the US which are really one of the few bright spots in the US economy. Some of the smartest and hardest working colleagues I have grew up in other countries and we are lucky that they have come here to build the US economy.

zzleeper 1 day ago 10 replies      
> Their lobbyists claim there is a talent shortage among Americans and thus that the industry needs more of such work visas. This is patently false

There is no way SV would have grown to what it is now without foreign talent. So the shortage has been real for the last 30+ years. Not sure why this point is still controversial.

> most Silicon Valley firms sponsor their H-1B workers, who hold a temporary visa, for U.S. permanent residency (green card) [...] sponsorship renders the workers de facto indentured servants; though they have the right to move to another employer, they do not dare do so, as it would mean starting the lengthy green card process all over again.

Then the problem might be with how long the gov takes to process these things, and not with the H1B visas?

> the H-1B program is an enabler of rampant age discrimination in the tech industry [...] Almost all the H-1Bs are young

Younger people are more willing to move to another country. Also, many students apply for an H1b after their F1 runs out, so of course you get younger people.

And this is just from the first page. I feel like the author is just throwing every possible argument against the H1B, instead of making one good coherent point. =/

tejasd 1 day ago 0 replies      
I do believe H1-Bs were used to pay lower wages (more so because of being tied to the employer for long periods of time in the Green Card Process).

However, in my observations and experiences, the last few years (i.e. the years when H1-Bs were allocated by lottery), due to the scarcity of H1-B visas, employers started paying a premium for employees who already had an H1-B visa and the skills necessary, because they could switch jobs immediately (as opposed to having wait 1+ year to hire someone from abroad and wait/hope for them to get through the lottery).

What made it even better was that thanks to legislation by the Obama administration, your spot in the Green Card line was now portable, i.e. even if you switch employers, as long as the new employer files a green card application, you still retained your position in the line.

As you can see, the theme has been giving more leverage to H1-B employees as opposed to the employers - and that is what the American immigration system desperately needs. In the end it's only going to protect American workers.

mseebach 1 day ago 4 replies      
Every time the topic comes up, I wonder how many of the HN'ers who are cross at H-1B workers because they are depressing wages are intellectually consistent (and honest) enough to accept that this position is part and parcel of the same system of nationalist thought that leads to a wall to Mexico and steeply increased tariffs on chinese import; of "America First"?

If you find yourself reconciling the idea of protecting against wage competition from H-1Bs, but are in favour of continued undocumented immigration from Mexico (or at least opposed to taking any substantial measures against it), in favour of NAFTA remaining in place and in favour of continued trade with China under current conditions, I'd be very interested in understanding how you model that?

(There is also a critique around the specific rules of H-1B being unfair to the worker, mostly around restrictions on changing employers. I agree with most of that and don't think it inherently incompatible with other views on immigration and trade, pro or con.)

ansy 1 day ago 2 replies      
Could H-1B be more effective? Yes. It could definitely be more fair to the visa holder and do a better job of attracting and retaining the most skilled workers.

But I also think it's totally wrong to say we don't have a technology labor shortage. The best evidence of this are the salary numbers for people with math and science degrees. It's not because physics and math suddenly got more valuable. It's because tech is so starved for labor it's hiring people from different disciplines to do the job and it's actually brought the average salaries in line with CS and engineering graduates.

Also, even if we had an adequate national labor supply, the job opportunities are not distributed proportional to population density. The density of technology jobs is highly concentrated in a few parts of the country, but we are producing qualified engineers everywhere. And not everyone is willing or able to move.

Apocryphon 1 day ago 3 replies      
The title is a bit overly-polarizing; Prof. Matloff has been an outspoken critic of H-1Bs for quite some time, and only mentions the president once in the article. The actual EO isn't even out yet.
okreallywtf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Trump may be "right" about this topic but he's massively wrongheaded about the solution. Making America the place the worlds best and brightest used to want to go is not going to solve this problem - regulation to protect visa workers is. I have a number of friends I went to school with now working on H1B Visas who want to make a life here and worked very hard to get here and I hate to see them indentured to their sponsors. I don't know anyone I went to school with that was even remotely competent that couldn't get a job even in my home state, let alone nationwide (and this isn't even from a big or well known program).

Maybe the demand for H1B visas would go down if the playing field was leveled but who knows? This doesn't validate his actual ideas whatsoever, many people see this issue as a problem but I would like to see some actual reform instead of just pouring gasoline on the problem and lighting a match.

t1o5 1 day ago 0 replies      
Whoever argues that H1Bs are paid handsomely, have a look at this data disclosure for 2016 H1B wages (137 MB) from DOL. You can find all the details of companies that exploits the workers with some MS Excel wizardry.


The companies exploit a loop hole called "Pay Ranges" if you see the excel columns - WAGE_RATE_OF_PAY_FROM & WAGE_RATE_OF_PAY_TO, rather than a single absolute WAGE, the companies can legally pay any salary in that range.

That's where Mr Trump needs to "patch" the system, raise the minimum WAGE_RATE_OF_PAY_FROM.

yummyfajitas 1 day ago 7 replies      
I'll just suggest that it's probably a great time for tech companies to open a Bangalore or Gurgaon office. Bangalore in particular is a good choice - the people are smart, the infrastructure is good, and it's a very pleasant place to visit. Perfect weather all year and the best breakfast in India. Also a very strong tech culture; second in the world to SF, in my view, and without many of the social pathologies [1] that seem to be threatening SF.

Rather than fighting with the legal system to replace one or two of your overpaid employees, you can replace entire divisions. It's certainly an investment of effort but it's well worth it.

Plus if you need foreign talent, as long as you pay $25k/year the visa is more or less guaranteed.

If the US wants to be uncompetitive, leave the US.

[1] Meritocracy is still considered a core value and a great thing. There's a lot less xenophobia - while many in US tech harbor negative feelings about immigrants "who took our jorbs", I've literally never seen the same negativity in the Indian tech scene.

thecardcheat 1 day ago 3 replies      
> The industry lobbyists ace-in-the-hole argument is that if they cant hire more H-1Bs, theyll ship the work overseas. But for projects on which H-1Bs are hired in the U.S., face-to-face interaction (between themselves and their American coworkers) is crucial. That is why employers bring H-1Bs to the U.S. in the first place rather than sending the work abroad, where the wages are even cheaper.

Considering the growth of tools that facilitate working remotely, and the flexibile schedule pursued by many software engineers, the willingness to ship jobs overseas is hard to merely cast aside.

Visa workers should absolutely be paid a fair wage, and it seems a realistic side-effect that there may be a shift in the type of roles offered to visa employees vs. overseas when the cost of in-house now represents a premium on the foreign employee.

myf01d 1 day ago 4 replies      
Trump asks the right questions: the danger of globalism, incredibly high global debt, the danger of radical islam, the overestimation of Russia's danger on the US and EU, the questionable usefulness of NATO, the economic manipulation by China, he just has the wrong answers.
rhapsodic 1 day ago 6 replies      
The hubris and self-righteousness of SV billionaire bully-boys has reached the point where I'll favor practically anything that takes them down a peg. I'd love to see the Republican controlled federal government treat them the way the Democrats have treated, for example, the gun and coal industries.

If a gun manufacturer should be held liable for the results of people misusing a gun, then why shouldn't Airbnb be held liable for harm people may suffer as a result of renting or leasing through Airbnb?

diebir 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anecdotally, as a former H1-B worker, I would not say I was underpaid or the employer ever exploited the fact that I was on H1-B. From my standpoint it has always been a fair deal.

Okay, the gist of the article is that H1-B should require higher salaries (in the 75th percentile). This would have the effect of cutting off younger and less experienced workers. The problem here is that more experienced and older people are less likely to want to move. In other words, this would mean that the US tech would lose out on the potential talent. Again anecdotally my current tech org is 60-80% foreign born. It is also one of the most selective places around. Would it be like it is without H1-B program? I doubt it.

So perhaps the system needs tweaking, specifically in the area of making the system work faster and being less arcane. I highly doubt this is what's going to happen. Ten years from now we'll be having the same conversation, as we were ten years ago (I have been watching this since '99).

DVassallo 1 day ago 0 replies      
H1-Bs are not unfair to Americans, even when abused. All this talk about protectionism and fairness is really bizarre to me.

Thought experiment: Imagine if Canada found a cure for cancer but chose to sell it to Canadians only. Would that be fair? Would it be fair to Americans that can't get access to it?

Job protectionism makes some people entitled to jobs based on random circumstances at birth. How can rational people think that _this_ is fair?

ryanmarsh 1 day ago 0 replies      
The thing that kills me about this whole debate is the flyover states are full of smart hard working people who had the misfortune of ... I shouldn't have to explain this.

These people could be trained too. Every enterprise client I've had for the past 5 years has H1B's doing minimal coding tasks on enterprise COTS software like PEGA or Informatica. Those skills don't take 4 years to train people for and they pay a liveable wage.

deepnotderp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Silicon valley companies rarely bring in H-1Bs as a cheap replacement, the consultancies like Accenture, Tata, Disney, IBM, etc. do, but hey f*ck it, blame silicon valley....
TheRealDunkirk 1 day ago 0 replies      
To me, this seems related to the 97 IT companies filing an amicus brief in the travel ban court case...
afastow 1 day ago 1 reply      
> EB sponsorship renders the workers de facto indentured servants; though they have the right to move to another employer, they do not dare do so, as it would mean starting the lengthy green card process all over again.

Increasing H-1B pay would be a step in the right direction but I think the green card policy is the biggest thing that needs to be fixed. H-1B workers should be fast tracked for green cards instead of having road blocks put in front of them. By definition they are skilled workers that the US doesn't have enough of so why would we ever want them to leave?

dleslie 1 day ago 0 replies      
"We have a Talent Shortage" is industry slang for "We are unwilling to train paid apprentices."
dhruvrrp 1 day ago 3 replies      
The discussion about H1Bs is getting dominated by SV. The brunt of the changes are gonna affect other industries, for example, someone i know is currently doing a masters in biotech at a really good research university, and she is really scared about the 130k lower limit for H1B applicants. According to her, even postdocs in her field don't make that much! If the new H1B system passes as is, then its gonna cause a massive brain-drain in most fields that are not SV tech related.
scottlocklin 1 day ago 0 replies      
People seem to have arguments about this based on

1) H1Bs depressing the prevailing wage (true if you believe in classical supply and demand)

2) overall economic utility; aka the economy does better/worse because of more H1Bs (I don't really care, but I guess someone might)

One thing which gets left out: H1Bs are more compliant employees, because their employers have them over a legal barrel. They have a much harder time leaving their employer than a citizen does, and they're a lot less likely to complain if they're abused. Turnover is hugely expensive to a software company; between that and the "costs" of having an employee with civil rights; well, not all employers are bad actors, but the temptation has to be there. I've certainly seen this at work in various places. It's pretty rotten. I mean, obviously many consider it a good trade, but it isn't exactly humane. Social costs like this are often left out of economic considerations. Who cares if your GDP goes up if we end up living in a dystopia as a result?

e40 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think big companies do abuse the system, but I manage a small company and in 30+ years we've used H-1B's 3 times. Each time it was to get someone that we could not find in the US. Yes, we are a small company (~30 people) and in a niche market, but each time, the person we found was 10x better than the nearest candidate. And each time we paid the person as well as we paid US employees.
CodeSheikh 1 day ago 2 replies      
"..the company cant prevent the departure of Americans.." this is part of the problem. I have seen people (especially young ones) jumping ships in less than six months from startup to startup in SV because of the competitive market salary. Even though larger companies can take this hit but for a startup of <10 employees this can prove to be very detrimental. I agree that Indian consultancies have been abusing the H1B program for a while now, and even though American companies pay them same or actually more (consultant hourly rates are always on the higher end), these consultancies keep the lion share to themselves and pay minimum to the consultant. The problem is not just with immigrants (both educated from US colleges and brought in by the Indian consultancies) but also nomadic nature of young American tech labor. Should there be some sort of collateral such as one year contract? Probably not a welcoming idea in a free market of USA.
DesiLurker 1 day ago 0 replies      
former H1B & like any red blooded liberal, a Trump critic. However, on this particular matter I agree with the man. H1B is basically indentured servitude for employer. Its not just that you get paid less salary & bonuses it also reduces the bargaining ability when looking for potential opportunities as there is a lengthy transfer process that requires new employer to spend money.

Another practice that I have seen happen lately is (atleast common in employers like amazon etc) is that the younglings that get hired on H1B get a fairly low level position like engineer-I. they are then told that they are ineligible for green card processing until they get to next level. so in effect they are either working 60+ hours a week eyeing for that promotion or just burning their early years out of scarce 6 years limit. Honestly I dont know how is this legal. then there is matter of green card processing and prio date regression which is a whole another can of worms. IMHO at the salaries most young indians are coming to valley and given the rise of startup ecosystem in india, its almost not worth it especially if you look at cost of living here.

One more thing, often immigrant managers who themselves have hone through the process or are aware of intricacies are the worst exploiters as they know when employees are most vulnerable. Lastly, Dont even get me started on the 'consulting' micro body shops that do shit thats clearly illegal & would land the employee is fair bit of trouble if detected.

I definitely have to applaud trump for doing something about this even if under the guise of xenofobia. that said 130k limit will definitely have effect on the small body shops that are exploitative as hell.

there is one positive thing that happened in last few years which should be preserved, its the ability for dependent spouse (H4) visa to find employment. the wifes that come over here are fairly well educated & have carriers of there own. they often fall into isolation and get depressed due to lack of social circle & opportunities. I wish that still remains viable.

darioush 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another category of immigrants who'd benefit from such a situation is the "grad student visa" students.

The US academic system (in STEM) has for too long relied on "free labor" of hard working, poorly treated grad students from countries like India, China, and Iran (paid minimum wage, often not adjusted for high living costs of cities like LA or Seattle). US students often don't go to grad school because as engineers they'd earn a lot of money and are less susceptible to being poorly treated by their boss. The visa is technically non-immigrant, but students often then get H1B jobs (yay for more abuse).

The whole thing is a travesty. This is pretty much exploiting other countries for natural resources, except instead of resources we exploit them for talent.

sulam 1 day ago 2 replies      
Speaking as someone who has hired H1-B's in the past, there really do seem to be two tiers. There's the companies/organizations that are truly abusing the system and then there are the traditional tech companies who are happy to hire anyone qualified, no matter where they are from, and pay and promote them the same as other employees. They also sponsor green cards. Competition between these employers has gotten to the point where they mostly all do the sponsorship immediately, too, reducing the time the person is "stuck" in the job to around a year (not great, but not horrible -- most people are "stuck" in their job that long so that they will at least vest some of their stock-based compensation).

One example: I hired an engineer who I'm going to anonymously name Bob. Bob was at Yahoo and on an H1-B. Yahoo was his first employer in SV, he had gone to CMU. He interviewed reasonably well, not amazingly, but had experience and interest in a specialty that many people aren't interested in. At the time we were trying to take a team of these people from 2 or 3 engineers to 20, so we were pretty excited. Bob also got an offer from Netflix. Netflix, if you don't know, gives offers that are basically "all-in" -- you can take the entire offer as cash, or you can parse it out and use some of it for health care, stock, etc -- your choice. The end result is that matching Netflix offers is very expensive. We mostly matched the Netflix offer (we felt our stock was going to have more upside -- which ended up being very true). I had to do extra work for this person to get them hired above and beyond what I'd have to do for an American. Then I had to do even more work to get the employer part of the green card process started. I had to help them navigate getting required documentation from Yahoo. Bob got promoted on a similar schedule to other people and as far as I know is still happily employed, now with a green card application that will transfer with them to any other employer they move to.

I would have _happily_ hired locally, and in fact most of the people I hired for that team were US citizens, Bob was one of 3 H1-Bs. He was from India, another was from Singapore, and the third was from France. They were all very talented engineers and any company would hire them in their specialty in a heartbeat.

I find it hard to say the workers in either of the two camps are particularly exploited (at least once they're in the country -- I've read ugly things about how they go into debt to be able to get these positions in the first placed). They are being paid fair market value for the work they are doing. The money they're making is far in excess of what they earn elsewhere -- that's why they go through the lengths they go through to get these jobs in the first place. If they have the ability to get hired at a more traditional tech company, that company will take over sponsorship of their H1-B with very little complication -- demand is effectively infinite for good engineers who are happy to work.

Chris2048 1 day ago 2 replies      
Cheap labor isn't the only issue here.

Wage theft in the form of capping competition is the big issue.

Assume the rate of salary change dS(t)/dt is propotional-to/a-function-of (average_labor_demand - average_labor_supply)

Now, if you keep topping up supply from overseas, salary never increases as much as it might, as such it is limited - as such, salary rate increase is also capped; and it's not employees can have any relief from a lack of demand, other than maybe fewer visas, but I doubt there would be many lobbyists for that... complaints about unemployment or lack of jobs falls on deaf ears - ears stuffed full of money by happy employers...

ChicagoDave 1 day ago 1 reply      
I can't count how many colleagues I've talked to that are in a stuck-employer situation. Some are happy, but some are miserable. I'm also aware that some of the people with H1-B's are family members that actually don't know anything about technology and don't belong in any job anywhere in technology.

I'm also aware (being 53) that my livelihood is directly tied to the number and type of H1-B visas in the U.S. I can't stand Trump, but on this issue he has a valid beef.

It's all a cluster-F and the system should be changed to treat foreign workers well and to make sure U.S. workers have opportunities.

ocschwar 1 day ago 0 replies      
We can discuss the economics of the H-1B visa program at such a time as we have a president who's capable of discussing the economics of the H1B visa program.

Right now, however, we have an administration that's intent on ratcheting up ethnic tensions, and there's 100% probability that they will use the H1B debate as a pretext for casting aspersions at the entire Indian nation, including Indian-descended natural born Americans.

I'd rather keep on earning my H1-B depressed wage rate for my job than risk yet another hit against my country's credibility thanks to president banana's divide and rule strategy.

relics443 1 day ago 3 replies      
I think an issue lost in the discussion is that citizens are losing jobs because of this. I'm all for the plight of the immigrant, but as an American, my concern is first and foremost with my fellow countrymen.
Nano2rad 1 day ago 0 replies      
Indian companies start subsidiaries in US so that they can send invitation to workers in India so they get H-1b visa. The companies requesting H-1b visas have to be American, Indian companies or companies working for contract to US companies should not be allowed to request H1-b visas. THe US IT workers also have to change; they have to accept some work will be outsourced and their job is now more like participating and controlling outsourcing for their employer.
patrickg_zill 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's not only SV, it is also the firms that supply telecom engineers under contract to the big mobile operators and related, such as Nokia, Ericsson, T-Mobile/ATT/Verizon/Sprint etc.
vpl0512 1 day ago 0 replies      
These are witch hunting cases. Why didn't government took action against these companies who are buying services from companies like TCS, HCL? Why demonizing younger and talented foreigners and enforcing hypothesis based on these 5% wrong cases? Where is your study when these people get selected in touch interviews at places like FB, Google, Linkedin? Branding H1B people as "Cheap Labor" is an old fashion and the saga continues at alarming rate.
Johnny555 1 day ago 0 replies      
The author seems to disregard studies that don't back up the claim:

Academics with industry funding claim otherwise, but one can see how it makes basic economic sense...

joeblau 1 day ago 0 replies      
I actually saw this with a few of my colleagues that worked at Amazon. There was one superb engineering one of the best Android developers I've ever worked with. Our project ended and, I had the freedom to leave Amazon and jump to another company (which I did), but he was stuck. He ended up having to move his family from SF to Seattle just to keep his job all in hopes that he didn't screw up his H-1B visa process.
valuearb 1 day ago 0 replies      
When the SuperCollider project shut down I was fortunate enough to be able to use H1B hire a japanese physicist who worked on it. Cost $20K IIRC. One of best hires I ever made, his work ended up creating about 20 high paid permanent jobs in our company.

I would have happily given him citizenship, was just glad he didn't end up working for our over-seas competitors.

MaysonL 1 day ago 1 reply      
Of course, Trump hired quite a few H1-B workers himself: http://money.cnn.com/2016/03/18/news/economy/trump-maralago/...
brendangregg 1 day ago 0 replies      
The article mentions reseting the green card clock as a way to render workers de facto indentured servants, but unfortunately that's not the only way. One immigration lawyer explained this all to me as "cost effective employee retention". Fixing salaries is good, but I wonder about fixing immobility as well.
myrandomcomment 1 day ago 0 replies      
So logically I can agree with this however in practice at my startups this is just not true. Maybe it is because we never got that big before I went to do the next startup. I left at around 500 people in the last big one that IPO'd. (They are now over 3K - I was in the 1st 30). At my current startup we are ~50.

In both startups finding qualified engineers was the issue always. We did not care if where they came from, just that they could pass the interview process. We would interview 250 and maybe find one person. The goal was top 1%. I once asked the VP of Software if we could make it the top 5% and he said "can you tell me how to tell the difference between the top 1% the top 5% vs the rest? 1% is simple, anything below that you make mistakes."

For the 1st ~250ish people the difference between top 1% and the rest was huge and those top people made a world of difference to the success of the company.

I guess if you are a company with 1000s then the H1-B money game makes more sense. For a small startup, it is the talent that counts, not where they are from.

gcb0 1 day ago 0 replies      
trump is rigth and wrong.

the visas are abused. seen it first hand.

but it can also be fixed by removing the artificial wait for some nationalities. doesn't he want to repel tons lof laws. here's an opportunity to solve both at the same time.

creating yet more legislation and rules will make the problem worse.

at-fates-hands 1 day ago 2 replies      
Having worked in a ton of different large corporations that have large H1-B employee populations, I can say this is completely true from my experience.

In the last three places (including my current employer) there were huge swaths of H1-B's from India. After some long lunches and happy hours, I found out that a) they're being paid significantly less than I was and b) two of the three companies wouldn't sponsor them to stay at the company and come on as an FTE.

This meant several trips and back and forth between the states and Bangalore to get a new visa, then turn around and try and find a new gig somewhere. For the developers who were single it wasn't a problem. Those workers with families, it was quite stressful to have their families moving back and forth on a regular basis and not having the stability of knowing they had a gig lined up or not.

Toss in the fact getting these visa's are incredibly competitive and I can only imagine the stress involved.

plandis 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's not all of tech companies. Even if you bump up the minimum without proof to $130,000, the biggest tech companies are already paying over that to H1-B's.
Qub3d 1 day ago 0 replies      
HuffPo says trump is right? People must be having a snowball fight in hell right now...
hfourm 1 day ago 0 replies      
foreign service markets become more attractive, americans again lose jobs to outsourcing, will be interesting to see how this plays out. I certainly think in the short term it will be better for the American worker (in terms of employment, mobility, higher wages), but long term?
pmoriarty 1 day ago 2 replies      
Oh that vicious liberal media. They're really sticking it to him, aren't they?
lgleason 1 day ago 0 replies      
wanna know why tech companies are anti-Trump and against his immigration ban? Because they actually care about immigrants and human rights or because it will affect their bottom line. Hint, follow the money.....
ehosca 1 day ago 0 replies      
just make the H1-B visa transportable (not tied to an employer) and the problem fixes itself.
HillaryBriss 1 day ago 0 replies      
Part of the compensation is the possibility of permanent residency in the US. This is quite valuable. The employer does not actually pay for that benefit.
niceperson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Silicon Valley Using H-1B Visas to ~~ Pay Low Wages to Immigrants ~~ give immigrants jobs
spoiledtechie 1 day ago 0 replies      
The HP is reporting on something positive about Trump?

I just saw a Unicorn! Wow.

master_yoda_1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I totally agree with the article.
tn13 1 day ago 1 reply      
H1B employees being exploited works in Murica's favor. It means American companies are more competitive at the expense of some Rajesh from Chennai. This is something Trump should love.

Even if American companies are paying lower wages I don't see the problem. It helps American companies make more profit and lower prices for American consumers. Something that we all must cheer.

Some people argue that it lowers the wages of neo-native people. It is good too. We all would love a cheaper electrician, cheaper plumber, cheaper burger flipper, cheaper doctor what is so wrong with cheaper coder ? It benefits the entire society.

general_ai 1 day ago 0 replies      
The real news here is that HuffPo agrees with Trump. I thought their editorial policy was to interpret everything Trump says in the most low-IQ and paranoid way possible. Someone needs to call them and ask if everything is OK.
TazeTSchnitzel 1 day ago 3 replies      
> overestimation of Russia's danger on the US and EU

Depends what you mean by EU. Western Europe? Sure, Russia maybe isn't a big deal for them. But the Baltic states, which are EU and NATO member states, understandably consider their next-door neighbour a huge threat.

youdontknowtho 1 day ago 2 replies      
Blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes...
Ask HN: What is the biggest untapped opportunity for startups?
618 points by seahckr  1 day ago   963 comments top 123
mehdym 1 minute ago 0 replies      
Politics. Current technologies allow implementation of direct democracy. people can cast their votes on every matter to their representatives. It can simply start with a voting app for smaller institutions and eventually transform the congress as we know it.
JamesBarney 1 day ago 22 replies      
A marketplace for specialized micro-consulting(30 minutes to an hour).

I've seen plenty of projects that are rife with anti-patterns because a team was unfamiliar with a problem or technology and made a bunch of bad decisions while they were still coming up to speed.

The use-case I envision would fix this. Because it's really a travesty that when we're the least familiar with technologies is when we make some of the most important architectural decisions. And these mistakes could be avoided with questions like "What issues will we run into?" "What patterns should we follow?" "What are good resources to get started?"

For instance I recently joined a project that was built by devs coming up to speed on React. And boy did they abuse Flux, they didn't build a store for every drop-down but it's pretty damn close. However I really think a React Guru could have steered them around this mistake with just 30 minutes of his time.

Obviously the biggest problem is ensuring quality without having to hike rates too much.

jandrewrogers 1 day ago 12 replies      
Here are a few, and I frequently have these conversations with VCs, albeit biased toward areas I work in:

- Spatiotemporal analytics usually in the context of IoT. Most people currently repurpose cartographic tools for this purpose but the impedance match is poor and the tools are seriously lacking elementary functionality. There is no magic technology here, just exceptional UX/UI and an understanding of the problem domain and tooling requirements.

- IoT database platforms, no one offers a credible solution for this currently. Everyone defines this in terms of what they can do, not in terms of what is required in practice. There are many VCs currently hunting for this product but the problem is one of fundamental tech; you can't solve it using open source backends.

- Also for IoT, ad hoc clusters of compute at the edge being able to cooperate for analytical applications. The future of large-scale data analytics is planetary scale federation for many applications. Significant tech gaps here.

- Remote sensing analytics. Drones and satellites are generating spectacular volumes of this data and no one can usefully analyze data of this type at scale. Today, companies wait weeks for a single analytic output on less than a terabyte of data.

- Population-scale behavioral analytics. Many startups claim to do this but none of them can actually work with relevant data at a scale that would deliver on it despite increasing availability of the necessary data.

- AI based on algorithmic induction tech i.e. not the usual DNN and ML tech everyone calls AI. This is way more interesting if you have a novel approach.

ungzd 1 day ago 6 replies      
Creative tools. Everyone is so obsessed with content consumption tools and making TV out of internet, with deprecating desktop in favor of handhelds where you tap ads and take selfies with dog faces.

For graphics, everyone still use Adobe products which are not that bad but still few had changed in Photoshop and Illustrator from 1991.

For music, DAWs are not that bad and there's no single monopolist like Adobe, but VST system is stinky and stuck in times of Windows 95. People are buying hardware synths (which are just computers running software) only because software on these embedded computers runs reliably, but VSTs crash, freeze every time and require hardware license keys plugged into parallel port. Also, everything inside is complete black magic and every supplier of software pretends that there are super secret algorithms everywhere. Every oscillator and filter is super-secret and super-unique and there's no articles in the open how to design "decent" oscillator and filter. Medival times everywhere.

And these tools should be designed for users, not Entertainment Content Production Corporations.

mslot 1 day ago 6 replies      
I always think there are huge opportunities for growth in intra-EU trade. It's a market with over 500M people and a $17 trillion GDP. While the EU has taken away a lot of trade barriers, language and unfamiliar regulations remain a huge barrier, but also a huge potential for growth.

If a company in California has ample opportunities to sell in Florida (>2000 miles away), why then is it significantly more difficult for a company in Greece to sell in Denmark, which is a much shorter distance.

There is a notable lack of an open European marketplace along the lines of Alibaba. There are many challenges in making that model work for the EU, especially ~24 languages and big cultural differences, but the tech industry is in a good position to overcome such boundaries.

ninjakeyboard 1 day ago 3 replies      
An economist and a normal person are walking down the street together. The normal person says Hey, look, theres a $20 bill on the sidewalk! The economist replies by saying Thats impossible- if it were really a $20 bill, it would have been picked up by now.
jdietrich 1 day ago 5 replies      
Older people.

We live in a rapidly ageing society. Retirees are a large and wealthy demographic. Despite that, tech companies are absolutely woeful at designing products for older users. We don't empathise with their needs. We don't understand how poor eyesight, arthritis or cognitive difficulties can affect UX. There's a huge amount of pent-up demand and excellent opportunities for future growth.

whitepoplar 1 day ago 13 replies      
Physical space for lounging, socializing, and working. I live in NYC and there's still a striking lack of space that facilitates people getting out of their apartments and doing "whatever." Starbucks popularized the concept of the "third space" (the first two being housing + workplace) and I think there's so much room to improve upon this.
Gustomaximus 1 day ago 7 replies      
Contract Economy: There is still a significant opportunity for a Freelancer/Upwork group to exist. Something that better vets quality while not pushing for Toptal prices. I suspect you'd need to set up physical presence in the likely countries properly vet and control quality but this could easily be covered by a premium for a know quantity vs going to western rates.

Crytpo Currency: There is room for more disruption here. I suspect a currency that is both trackable and backed by a pool of commodities/currencies could be quite popular. Traceable would make theft risk reduced as money could effectively be returned if it is stolen and being backed/hedged by currencies/commodities would help with confidence.

Cargo: I'm surprised we haven't seen electric cargo ships. Even combine solar with sail as winds are favorable. This combined with auto-navigation (at least between ports) seems more easily achievable than cars yet technology is further behind.

Dockable Phone to PC (physical or even better if wireless dock): Surprised no-one has done this well yet. I can image whoever does this with really take ownership of the OS space. I always felt this could be the best route for Microsoft to re-enter the mobile space with force.

lngnmn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this is a wrong question, or at least oversimplified view. The real recipe is to be highly qualified on whatever you do and ready to catch an opportunity and ride on an emerging trend. Today the buzzwords are about security, a few years ago it was about services for selfies of teens. On a larger scale there is already biotech bubble and emerging AI bubble, etc.

Basically, the strategy should be to follow the money (the demand) and to love what you do (be above average). This, it seems, the most probable way to get noticed, to get funding (for abilities) and to succeed. The markets are stochastic.

For example, if you ask yourself, how come that such piles of Java crap as Hadoop came to be so popular, the answer would be that the biotech industry has almost unlimited hot money that time and huge demand for big data processing tools, so even such poorly designed and implemented by amateurs crap would be a good-enough tool.

Suppose, I would like to make a similar tool, order of magnitude less wasteful, based on ideas from Plan9, Erlang, based on ZFS, etc, in other works, do it the right way, would I get any funding? No, because there is no real demand for quality solution when a crappy one is OK. There are exceptions, of course, how, for example, nginx became a well-crafted improvement over apache, but this is indeed an exception.

So, go to the valley and keep looking. There, it seems, no other way. The principle is that there must be a strong demand backed by big money (Wall Street investors), so even a half-backed result could be easily sold and re-used to return investments and even make some profit.

sytelus 1 day ago 10 replies      
Hackers rarely think of politics as playing field for startups, so in my mind this one of the biggest untapped opportunity right now. People from both sides are going nuts over Trump politics. That means tons of eyeballs and attention that would be available for the right startups for next 4 years. Things like BuzzFeed and DailyXYZ are going to make a massive killing in terms of ad revenue. At this stage still the real disruptive startup are few and far between. Nice thing is that you might actually end up doing something good and impactful. If Zuck runs for president, may be even big exit ;).

I can think of few ideas right away:

- website that gives stories from other side

- activist website that uses better tactic than "getting signatures"

- know how your congressman votes on each of the vote

- automatic ratings generator for congressman

- news article that only comes from international press

- software for politicians: campaign management, voter management, political ad management etc

alexose 1 day ago 3 replies      
Not necessarily a killer app idea, but:

I think there's an opportunity to redefine the idea of an employee-owned company. A company with an employee stock pool of 100%-- not 10%-- with no opportunities for dilution, non-voting shares, takeovers, or other financial tricks. Early employees would get more stock, but it would curve gently according with the growth the of the company, so that later employees would also end up with a meaningful share.

The company's charter could be codified in plain English, in an easily accessible, version-controlled markdown file. The board would be made up of some combination of elected employees and outside advisers.

This company would be at a serious disadvantage to raise money. It would have to be able to survive on slow, steady growth rather than VC cash infusions. On the other hand, I suspect it would have a big hiring advantage. The trick would be to attract employees who highly value equity but don't want to become founders themselves.

I bet there's a business model out there that exploits both these facets.

vegabook 1 day ago 7 replies      
taking on the Bloomberg terminal.

They've got over 300 000 subscribers each paying circa 2000 USD every month. That's 600 million dollars of revenue per month. They're running a labyrinthine functionality on a 1970s System/360-style interface (command line at top of screen). He hires an absolute army of "reps" who's sole job is to try to help subscribers to find functionality, through an interface that is best described as "arcane" and where there is no semblance whatsoever of a user-discoverable taxonomy of functionality. It's all just sort of "you gotta know where you want to go". Most people use 5% of the terminal's functionality (mainly messaging) but Bloomberg refuses to tier pricing. It's all or nothing. And with finance changing rapidly, the clients are axed to cut costs. Not to mention real suspicions of monopoly because bberg is increasingly competing with its own clients in order to maintain share.

This tyrannosaurus will be hard to take down frontally, but the beast is big enough and unwieldy enough that small nibbles here and there in specialized areas can be very attractive businesses.

Other tidbits:

* Bloomberg is stubbornly Windows only. No web, no Linux, no OSX no anything else except a bit of crippleware on mobile.

* Multiple Fortune 500 companies and banks would salivate at taking him on, which means a ready pool of very cash-rich potential buyers for your growing business if you get any traction, and that includes Bloomberg itself.

* Michael Bloomberg the man has not endeared himself to the current president so may be vulnerable.


* quant-style people who know what they're doing are very expensive. 200k USD plus per year.

* network-effects powerful in favour of bloomberg.

* once you're through the crusty user interface, assuming you found what you want (often with the help of a bloomberg "rep"), the actual functionality is often amazingly good.

cperciva 1 day ago 5 replies      
Figure out a way to reduce the not-in-San-Francisco penalty for startups.

There are some very good reasons why startups flock to the bay area, including "lots of available talent" and "that's where the VCs are", but there are also problems with being in the bay area -- talent is considerably more expensive (due in part to the cost of housing) and visa issues (particularly under the current presidency) being the first two which come to mind.

If you can find some way to give non-San-Francisco startups the same advantages that San Francisco startups have -- better tools for remote workers, for example, so that companies can easily hire from anywhere rather than needing to be where the largest number of potential employees are found; or something to make VCs interested in investing in companies which aren't within a narrow radius of Sand Hill (since I've never dealt with VCs, I have no idea what such a solution would look like) -- then you'll create a huge amount of value for companies around the world and it should be easy to transfer some of that value into your pockets.

cheetos 1 day ago 11 replies      
Fix ads. I think there is a need for a product that allows websites to self-manage their ads, allowing them to handle display, tracking, payment, and client management internally. Imagine being able to get rid of all the third-party ad and tracking scripts on your website in favor of hosting and managing all of it on your own domain, displaying ads that are guaranteed to be relevant and attractive (since you chose them) and setting your own prices.
abetusk 1 day ago 0 replies      
My opinions without any real insight into how practical/viable/useful they are:

- PCB prototyping. Board costs are way down but the 2-week turnound time kills a lot of nimbleness that could be gotten from a cheap in house rapid PCB prototyping machine. This has been tried without too much success (Othermill, LPKF, silver paint methods, etc.) imo. Isolation routing by copper ablation might even be a possibility.

- Oligonucleotide synthesis machine. This should be possible at the "hobbyist" level and would start bridging the gap to more accessible DIY bio.

- Resin 3D printing. Resin curing is one of the only methods where it's clean enough to not be hazardous, rapid and has the hope of consistent quality of 3D printing. There are some companies out there that are doing this already, of course, but I believe is still very ripe for innovation.

- DNA sequencing machines. Illumina still has a monopoly on whole genome sequencing. Even cheap genotyping at the consumer/hobbyist level would be a coup.

- Closed loop precision CNC machines. Right now most low-end hobbyist CNC machines are open loop. There's no reason, aside from NRE, that position feedback and other sensors couldn't be added to a host of CNC applications for low-cost CNC machines.

I haven't touched on some of the other electronics markets like pick and place machines that might be much more accessible with machine vision and other enabling technologies. With the DIY bio focused areas, a little infrastructure might enable other areas. For example, one step to solving the common cold might be tracking it's progress through a population, sequencing it as it crops up, seeing how it evolves and cataloging effective treatments. There's also microfluidics and "lab-on-a-chip" technology which seems like it's much more accessible now but it's not something I have a lot of familiarity with.

My opinion is that without open standards, free/libre software and free/libre hardware, all of these are almost a no-go from the start but I think that that opinion is in the minority.

petra 1 day ago 1 reply      
1. Great Noise cancelling headphones are very expensive, because only a rare few companies has managed to do the r&d to create great noise cancellation

But if there we're affordable headphones that are software programmable and act as an app store for noise cancellation algorithms, that would definetly reduce the price.

2. One of the ideal ways to recieve ecommerce packages is on your car's trunk. It's possible to build a smart lock for your car that enables the delivery guy to drop packages.

The hard part is making it cheap, making installation cheap, and designing a rapidly growing business model that grows rapidly.

3. Many restaurant use a combi-ovens to reheat frozen food with great results. Combi ovens are now starting to become cheap($300), most of them for the home.

But what about the workplace , where for some places, frozen food may be a good alternative to restaurant ordering(it may be cheaper, for example), but that will require an affordable multi-meal oven, which doesn't exist yet ?

4. Apache Isis is a great, rapid , domain driven framework for business app development. But it's quite complex. There may an opportunity in synmplifying it and introdcuing it to new users. Maybe in a service based form.

rl3 1 day ago 1 reply      
Many of the same things as five years ago.

While it's easy to say IoT, cryptocurrency, or whatever the latest buzzwords happen to bethere's ideas that have been floating around for years which are still viable, it's just that they're hard and require exceptional execution. In that sense, they are almost timeless until implemented correctly.

For example, another comment suggested marketplace/content discovery. That's been an unsolved problem for almost a decade now. Ads are another great example: they've been dishing out human misery for about the same length of time. People hate them, so they use ad blockers, and everyone loses. These aren't new problems or opportunities.

simonebrunozzi 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Cities. The way cities are designed, built, operated. I am actually trying to see if I can build a company around this. It's the biggest challenge I can possibly imagine for me, and I don't know why I haven't given up yet :)

Cities help people connect (in a physical way), and help companies provide goods and services to them in a more efficient way.

However, cities today are maintained, operated, and enlarged based on legacy. I think there are huge inefficiencies, and yet it seems that trying to fix existing ones is a nightmare.

What about NEW ones instead?

I find this extremely interesting. We'll see.

tyingq 1 day ago 8 replies      
The old shared hosting market is still pretty large. But it is stuck with ancient stuff like cpanel and mostly dominated by stagnant players like EIG, GoDaddy, and the like.

Seems like there's room for a move something like what DigitalOcean did in the VPS space.

ccvannorman 1 day ago 1 reply      
Early in my startup career an investor told me, "There's money everywhere. Where you go, how you get there, and how fast, is dependent on your skills, drive, network, and luck. But there's money everywhere. Never forget that."

For me, the biggest untapped market potential is educational video games (which is why I work on supermathworld.com). The market literally doesn't exist. There are but a handful of educational products that could rightfully be called "games".

burgalon 1 day ago 3 replies      
Here are my thoughts

1) Free p2p money transfers / gateway to bitcoin or other crypto-currency so that it's more widely adopted

2) Better open bank accounts - allowing open transparent accounting for organizations and companies

3) Solve democracy - better analytical tools for mass discussion, arguments and decision making which will encourage use of facts and science, and discourage politics

4) Human-Machine interfaces - memory augmentation

5) Solve the common cold and influenza

6) Robotics - better batteries, finer motors and sensors - possibly through the usage of biological systems

7) Public access to satellites - realtime security monitoring, crops analytics and forecasting

8) Solve weather or create private air-conditioned jackets ;)

johnlbevan2 1 day ago 6 replies      
Hundreds of restaurants in the same geographic area will be purchasing ingredients from a variety of different suppliers, based on their need.

If they clubbed together with other local businesses to source common ingredients they could benefit from economies of scale; i.e. instead of 100 restaurants each buying 200 onions, there'd be a bulk order for 20,000 onions; meaning 1 lorry to deliver direct from the supplier(s) rather than multiple vans to cover each supplier/buyer combo.

i.e. Create a platform that would allow suppliers to list what they're selling, buyers to list their needs, and match these up with one another.

 - Group similar suppliers or buyers together geographically to help improve the efficiency of individual orders by making them part of a larger collective order. - Add filter options so that when buying people can specify certain criteria (e.g. "I only want potatoes from soil-association approved suppliers"). - Now people don't buy from suppliers, but rather buy from a service/pool. - ...and people don't sell to buyers, but rather sell to the service/pool. - This same model works regardless of supplier or buyer size; i.e. benefits both big and small (though the benefits to smaller companies are more significant as they start to get the benefits of scale that the larger ones have anyway).
Though I'd start with restaurants (i.e. to keep the platform focussed / avoid being too broad too soon), this same platform could over time expand for any purchasing interactions.

kul 1 day ago 5 replies      
Mostly posting this because I want to see it, but drones to automate residential property inspections. I'm actually thinking about miniature drones that can do internal and external residential inspections. My startup is in property management and a lot of the work a human does could be done by a drone + healthy amount of machine learning on the images captured.
giardini 1 day ago 2 replies      
Bring certain folk remedies to market.

For example, there are some medical trials indicating, and many folkloric claims, that eating a small but increasing amount of poison ivy, oak or sumac leaf each day will fairly quickly make your body cease to respond badly to contact with those plants.

A 30-day packet of capsules, with successively increasing dosages of urushiol (the irritant in those plants), would likely build up the body's ability to tolerate urushiol. It would make it much easier and safer for the average person to remedy their condition, since, the suggestion that one gather one's own poison oak and preparing it for ingestion appears fraught with peril and leaves most poison ivy victims aghast. Were such a remedy provided in a safe encapsulated form, their fears would abate.

This would be of enormous benefit to homeowners, campers, farmers, gardeners, tree-trimmers, and in short, nearly everyone who goes out into the woods or gardens in the summer. Believe me, this would fly off the shelves once word got around.

Poison ivy sucks.

lj3 1 day ago 3 replies      
Better marketplace discovery systems. Apple's App Store, the Google Play store and Steam all suffer from the same problem: it's very hard for the people who would enjoy your app to find your app. This probably also applies to streaming video and music.
WA 1 day ago 4 replies      
Contraception. Almost everybody needs it. The current solution of flooding the body with hormones works, but causes side effects.

The pill for men won't make it. My prediction is that we'll have some other non-hormonal contraception within the next 20-30 years, probably invented by a startup that wants to disrupt this billion dollar market.

dtjohnnymonkey 1 day ago 1 reply      
I just read this article today and thought a great idea would be to develop a platform for simplifying the process for starting up community credit unions. Kind of like Stripe Atlas but for credit unions. It could benefit a lot of small communities.


therealmarv 1 day ago 4 replies      
Note taking done right. Android, iOS, Desktop, Markdown & HTML, easy flat file format, Web clipper, offline and do this all without wasting whitespace (no doc editor like Evernote) and good sync and instant search results. <- NO ONE is doing this! Closest is maybe Google Keep (seriously it's good at some points I'm mentioning).
ikeboy 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think retail can be improved, and even small improvements can have large impacts because of the sheer size of the market: US retail sales are in the $5 trillion range yearly, mostly in brick and mortar.

Specific problems:

1. Why is brick and mortar still so popular, and can any pain points with e-commerce be fixed?

2. E-commerce doesn't work well on cheap items where shipping cost is prohibitive. Different companies have tried to solve this in various ways, with Prime (losing money on cheaper sales in hopes they can reduce logistics cost and drive larger sales) or Jet (directly giving shipping savings for ordering multiple items at once). It will be difficult to compete with Prime, but there has to be an angle that works, Jet found one.

3. Simpler price comparison. I tried to build the feature I thought should exist at https://icanpriceit.com/ as a side project, but didn't spend the time to properly launch it. I hope some startup succeeds in that space, I've been watching https://wikibuy.com/ which is quite similar.

I think there's plenty of room to build the next Amazon or eBay. The fees they charge third party sellers have been going up over time, if a marketplace was willing to accept lower fees at first it could help early growth.

cdiamand 1 day ago 2 replies      
If you're looking for oppportunities in different industries, I send out a daily email filled with short interviews.

I ask about industry problems, and the software that could solve those problems.

You can check it out here:


CM30 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think media and content monetisation is a massive opportunity here. Or in other words, finding a way for people to get money from their written content without ads or subscriptions.

This is because the advertising industry is in a bit of a decline at the moment, and it's likely than in a few years things like AdBlock will make many ad funded businesses (like media outlets) completely unsustainable. So if anyone finds a good alternative, it will probably make them rich.

Just... good luck finding said solution, given that we've tried ads, donations, subscriptions and microtransactions and found that all four have major problems as far as getting people to actually use them goes. Still, the opportunity is there for whatever miracle worker figures out a way to make content profitable again.

whitepoplar 1 day ago 2 replies      
"Kickstarter" for cities. Housing is unaffordable in desirable cities, but nobody wants to move to less desirable cities, where housing is affordable. Take a city that is desperate for development, like Detroit, and figure out a way for a couple thousand people to "pledge" moving to a dense-ish urban area at a preferential rate.
lwhalen 1 day ago 2 replies      
Outsourced testing. I can think of a few sites that would pay a pretty penny to have unit, spec, and acceptance-tests written for their pre-existing code.
9erdelta 1 day ago 1 reply      
Collecting boxes and packing materials. Seriously, I am overflowing with pristine boxes and packing material courtesy of Amazon prime. Certainly there has to be a business surrounding the collection of these materials and selling them back to Amazon et. al.
xchaotic 1 day ago 3 replies      
Aaccurate 3-d scanning of 3d environments - houses, mines you name it. I think the tech is there in your pocket and with good software plus very accurate measurement of location, orientation + panorama/spehrical photo shoots, you could have very high quality recreations of real world areas - which in turn could be explored, modified and enjoyed in VR/AR/MR.For example simulating house refurbishment or furniture purchases, remotely inspecting places to buy/rent/go on holiday.

The tech is mostly there, but I'm too lazy to put it altogether as I know that someone with access to more capital will also attack it, sooner or later, not just startup but IKEA, Airbnb, etc...

algirau 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lithium recycling technology. Electrochemical storage may be a renewable technology to store energy but the raw materials are not infinite.
pgroves 1 day ago 2 replies      
Health Insurance / Hospital.

I'm old enough that I now go to the doctor more frequently than I used to and it's a mess. A health insurance company that could reliably allow a user to change their address on a website would be competitive. Having all of your medical procedures and orders accessible through a simple CRUD app would be a threat to a lot of multi-billion dollar companies. It's still all done through phone calls and faxes and there are lots of mistakes and it's hugely inefficient. I went to the ER last year and got 5 different bills from different departments of the same hospital. The online payment portal doesn't work unless you call them to set it up. That's not the hospital network I usually go to - my usual provider is probably worse.

csbartus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Devices as designers

Sooner or later (IoT, AR, VR) we will have to let devices (AI) to assembly the final user interface.

I imagine something like this: we designers / developers / UI architects are creating plenty of interconnectable components describing our idea of a product covering all scenarios and use cases.

Then the device will asemmbly the final UI based on the individual user, and the device capability.

For example a watch will display something different than a large digital billboard on a skyscraper.

And everyone of us will see a different design each time we look at a display, based on our individual digital history (Data mining).

The point is predetermined design must be advanced to on-demand, context based, liquid design. We let the big picture be assembled by third party, we focus only to smaller components.

Something like


koopuluri 1 day ago 2 replies      
Fresh air. It's tough to breathe in many cities across the world, especially in Asia.

I'd pay a lot (probably more than I would for my laptop / car) for a tool that would help me breathe fresh air in the midst of a polluted environment.

Of course, a long term solution would involve actually reducing pollution, but there are enough of us suffering from a lack of fresh air, that a short-term solution would be greatly valuable.

jdironman 1 day ago 1 reply      
Leased CGI sets / models / scenes.

Building full fledged models / generations of popular cities and places and leasing them to film producers. Its cheaper for them to lease than it would be to hire full devs and designers to start from scratch..I know there is some 're-use' in place by these companies such as pixar and disney. Re-use is not what i am talking about though. I am talking about movies like transformers / godzilla / etc which need on point rendering of actual cities and places.

Just a thought I had the other day when reading how film companies were struggling with growing movie budgets and diminishing returns.

kul_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
QM/MM for fighting antibiotic resistant bacteria.


sureshn 1 day ago 4 replies      
I see an opportunity for a continuous delivery platform , if you notice on stackshare people use Jira(trello) , github , gitter(slack) and travis/jenkins for their work , so much of context switching happens navigating(working) the tools. The idea here is to build one platform which will have all of this in Tabs and available to the teams in a hosted manner. So when one delivers code , the next tab he should be able to see a CI build kicked off and the following tab a docker container which is ready to host the built new code commit for QA.
Lxr 1 day ago 2 replies      
A good native LaTeX editor, with quality on par with modern IDEs (deep understanding of syntax and semantics, intellisense, etc).
bikamonki 1 day ago 5 replies      
Here's my wishlist, not sure if there is a market for it:

- Twitter w/out fake accounts.

- a marketplace that uses Facebook as a vehicle for engagement/promotion but which operates independently.

- Secure SMS for 2FA tokens

- Android w/out Play Services

- Schema-based email

- Stripe for the rest of the World

ende 23 hours ago 0 replies      
None of these are all that flashy, but one could probably find a nice niche:

- Most bars/restaurants still use Aloha for point of sale system. Surely someone can update this concept.

- A kitchen inventory system that doesn't rely on manual data entry, but rather barcode readers and electronic weight sensors to maintain an up to date kitchen inventory.

- In biotech, the state of off-the-shelf LIMS (laboratory information management systems) is pitiful. Granted, it's a tough problem to generalize, but every solution out there is clunky.

- A UI builder platform for non-frontend-devs to create interfaces to REST APIs through drag-and-drop form elements.

mrschwabe 1 day ago 2 replies      
The stock market (ready for disruption).

There is a new generation of investors who are not interested in the 'old stock market' but who are instead looking for equity investment that can offer the efficiency, integrity and anonymity that cryptocurrency provides.

cdvonstinkpot 1 day ago 2 replies      
Political Science & Democracy Management

AFAIK there's little to no innovation in this field aside from the occasional electronic voting machine, whose security may or may not be totally un-hackable.

In a day & age where the internet reaches every home, & there's a web browser in nearly everyone's pocket, it shouldn't be that difficult to effectively discern the will of the people. But we're still depending on manual polling, which as the recent US election has shown, is woefully inaccurate. Why are these still done on the phone? Why do people still have to physically go to a neighborhood voting location? Why are elected officials still allowed to make empty promises while campaigning with no follow-through once they're in office?

These are solvable problems which I'd imagine technology can indeed address.

xer 1 day ago 1 reply      
I believe there are three good indicators to look at:

- Infrastructure, these can also be called enablers. E.g. fiber accelerates Internet usage, AWS drastically accelerates SaaS businesses. Over time this acceleration will also happen in e.g. biotech and such introductions are to look for. If the infrastructure is missing, its likely gonna take some more time. Success stories in this category would be Spotify, Netflix and most apps.

- Accumulators is similar to a network effect. Information, money, users and customers are orbiting certain networks and companies. These instances are in their domains black holes and it's mostly a bad idea trying to restrain or compete. The opportunity is to harness the momentum. A success story in this category would be Buzzfeed.

- Automation, we are living in the golden age of automation. Essentially it's just to evaluate all repetitive tasks finding those with the highest value to the lowest investment.

shaunrussell 1 day ago 2 replies      
Replacing real estate agents and brokers.

Most of the value they provide can be replaced by (or already is) technology. The only thing keeping them afloat is regulation.

Animats 1 day ago 1 reply      
Figure out some way to reliably get an IP connection between two any devices without help from a central server or service. Kill Skype, etc.
Tepix 1 day ago 2 replies      
Provide a paid subscription to Android updates for old popular phones.Don't add new features (unless it's easy), just make sure they remain secure.

Phones are lasting longer and longer, the main reason to get a new one is no longer that it's too slow, it's the lack of updates. It's very wasteful.

gwbas1c 1 day ago 2 replies      
A better DVR for cord cutters. The Tivo has a ridiculous monthly fee, and the Tablo is garbage. HDHomerun's DVR software is decent, but in its current form I don't see it as something I'd sell to my grandparents.
gavanwoolery 1 day ago 1 reply      
Biggest: largest, most ambitious, most lucrative, riskiest, highest impact? I have one that meets all of those criteria. Ditch legacy and redefine one language/OS to rule them all. Give app stores the middle finger. Throw the web browser away. Throw away antiquated build systems. Create a universal, minimal, extensible, and sensible layout and rendering engine. Create an imperative language as fast as c yet portable at the code level. Oh, and expect no one to invest in your madness. :) Be Steve Jobs and throw away the floppy disk and CD ROM before anyone else.
johngalt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Legal tech is ripe. E-discovery is what everyone is paying attention to, but no one has got it right so far. Additionally there are many other areas with opportunities that aren't getting as much attention. Basically take on anything LexNex is doing now.
jerianasmith 1 day ago 0 replies      
The biggest untapped opportunity for startups is hiring skilled workers without any consideration to location or a single geography.
bra-ket 1 day ago 5 replies      
Build cheaper houses
kevin2r 1 day ago 1 reply      
Person to person IT support. A service where I could get help with my computer, but not from a company that tries to sell me junk software. I let a person with IT skills connect to my pc while interacting by chat or microphone, I pay them by time spent helping me.
jbhatab 1 day ago 0 replies      
A light field projector so we can get sharp images projected on any surface in any lighting. That would be huge for all types of applications that hinge on projectors. Imagine smart boards but in any area projected from all types of objects.
benologist 1 day ago 0 replies      
Many countries can't participate on iOS, Play, Amazon, Stripe etc. People in many countries jump through hoops just to use e.g. PayPal.

Apple recently removed apps from Iranian developers who were circumventing restrictions by pretending to be from another country.

Millions of other developers can't participate in online markets we take for granted, unless someone facilitates it for them.

eastindex 1 day ago 2 replies      
Mechanical Turk for Programming tasks would be great to see.
chphipps 23 hours ago 0 replies      

Half of the energy used every day, worldwide, is used on transportation (cars, trains etc.). But is this energy well spent? I have seen first-hand, and so have you, that people spend their mornings unhappily commuting to work, school etc.

This needs to be changed, and given how fast technology has been advancing in recent years - change is coming sooner rather than later when it comes to transportation.

Great question by the way, have a look through YC's RFC list. https://www.ycombinator.com/rfs/#vrar

SQL2219 1 day ago 1 reply      
Imagine if you had a nuclear powered aircraft carrier with a desalination plant on it. You could sail from country to country and fill 'em up with fresh water.
sputknick 1 day ago 2 replies      
ML in CRUD apps. Doesn't have to be fancy, doesn't have to be sophisticated. I think you could do a lot to make basic business tasks more efficient with some basic decision trees.
marcosdumay 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not a VC, but I see this huge thing: Popularizing large-scale opportunities.

I mean, there is a huge amount of investments that small and medium business all around the world do not do because they don't have enough scale to get a good ROI from them. And they most often lack that scale because there's a labor cost within that investment that doesn't vary with business size. If you reduced the non-elastic labor cost, you'd normally open up a market that grows exponentially with that cost reduction.

Now, there are all kinds of ways to go after this. In theory, that's the most obvious huge application of an AI, but there are simpler avenues for that, like standardizing things, mass-selling things that currently require personalization, creating high productivity tools, or just pushing some prices down and hoping for the best (what may be the greatest way to spend VC money).

schappim 1 day ago 1 reply      
Function as a service (like AWS Lambda, Google Cloud Functions and Azure Functions) for Ruby. None of these natively support Ruby ^1 ^2. It's mind boggling that this is the case, especially considering how many Rails/Sinatra apps there are!

^1 Sure there is hacks for getting Ruby running on them, but no native support

^2 Yes I know about Ironworker, from iron.io, but they're going a dockerized and up market and don't even display pricing any more. :(

listentojohan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Dispersion of research. I find that research and knowledge derived from it, could be shared much more effectively with industry / the public.
RantyDave 1 day ago 0 replies      
TV's that work. I have the most god awful rats nest of cables in the corner of my living room - someone needs to make the iMac of TV's.
vasilakisfil 1 day ago 3 replies      
A global VOIP service that is based on open standards. Or an open social network, also based on open standards. Both should be extensible.
skynode 1 day ago 0 replies      
While we seek out new areas that are ripe for disruption, I'm particularly excited about what MapD is doing using GPUs in analytics.

Disclaimer: I don't work for MapD.

Grue3 1 day ago 0 replies      
A truly customizable browser for power users. Kind of like Firefox is currently, but not about to render most of its useful add-ons obsolete.
jokoon 1 day ago 1 reply      
A binary, pre-parsed version of HTML with its smartphone browser. Maybe with python scripting?

Anyway something that would make the web on phones great.

deegles 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm hoping it will be voice application development. I think it will take off once the 3rd platform announces. It will be Siri or Cortana.
fgpwd 1 day ago 1 reply      
Anything related to lucid dreams? Think of the ability to utilize the 8 hours of sleep for something productive or recreational. It will take atleast a decade before VR catches up with the level of detail you get in lucid dreams. Something that makes them more accessible for people, so that everyone could get this "me time" every night would be amazing.

If you want to try, just keep on asking yourself if you are awake throughout the day. Try reading something, it's difficult to read something on dreams. Or try using electricity switches, they normally don't work in a dream. Sooner or later you would find while doing this that you are in a dream. From there, sky is literally the limit. Imagine whatever you want, fly across mountains, travel in spaceships, etc. till the time you wake up.

cel1ne 1 day ago 0 replies      
Design refugee-camps. Many of them gonna be needed in 25 years.
nareen4768 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think Agricultural sector in India is largely untapped by startup revolution despite being a major force in IT & Software development. It is very very tough nut to crack and majority of farmers in India are not very educated.
palidanx 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think there are a lot of grants start-ups could take advantage of. In particular there is one about promoting farmer's markets (note you basically have to be a non-profit entity to apply)


And I noticed all of the previous winners were other farmer's markets managers expanded their current market. It would be nice to see some new way of helping the underserved community get food.

So examples I've seen are ideas are mini markets at bus stops.

LouisSayers 1 day ago 1 reply      
This is a bit broad, but essentially there are issues that we have in society that end up costing tax payers, and individuals a lot of money, or are simply really inefficient. Education is one such thing, but you could also branch out into other issues such as theft, health care, environmental issues.

You can see that there are certain companies that are helping to tackle these issues in various roundabout ways, but I believe that there is big opportunity here, and it's kind of easy to quantify these issues, which makes it easy to sell solutions.

Sorry if this sounds very broad and generic, but I promise if you sit on this idea, and take just a single societal issue, once you start to dig a bit deeper you'll see opportunities jump out.

LeanderK 1 day ago 5 replies      
Easy, personal access to cloud computing. I have a macbook and am pretty satisfied with it. But a problem is, that in order to learn data-science/deep learning i need a beefy GPU/CPU and everything else. I could buy a desktop, but i am a student and not much at home, also in the age of cloud computing this seems silly. Also the upfront investment for a student is not negligible.

I want really easy, flexible instances that are super, super simple to activate. Something like click website -> click start GPU with tensorflow preinstalled -> upload & run my python.

Ideally per minute-billing and super, super simple to set-up and ssh into.

imd23 1 day ago 1 reply      
Simplify worldwide taxing, company creation, money routing?
vayarajesh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the field of 'Agriculture' is untapped and can be / should be more advanced
z3t4 1 day ago 1 reply      
Some sort of sonar/x-ray to see what's in the ground before digging. Ever wanted to make a hole and then you hit a big rock ... Or when plowing down fiber, or for calculating the costs for doing so.
zump 1 day ago 3 replies      
Sleep. How can we make better use of that wasted time.
deepnotderp 1 day ago 0 replies      
A method for semiconductor startups, especially in analog to tape out on the leading nodes.

Things that could expedite this:

Better affordable EDA tools (maybe even open source? startups that succeed and become self-sufficient would pay big bucks for customization and support). Especially for analog!

Some sort of business model which pays for masks, such as perhaps taking a percentage of the money in exchange for a MLM mask. This could be something that a mask work company does. Another related but orthogonal startup idea(albeit much harder than an app like snapchat)would be to develop a maskless lithography technique for cutting edge nodes, such as electron beam lithography.

eip 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anti-gravity and permanent batteries.
Huhty 1 day ago 0 replies      
Traditional blogging.

Hence why we're working on improving the blogging experience that hasn't changed and/or improved much in almost 2 decades.

Our "manifesto" explains it in full here: http://blogenhancement.com/?to=manifesto

skynode 1 day ago 2 replies      
We need to simplify the whole lifecycle of data management. It is still considerably complex. We'll see an accelerated revolution in other areas such as machine learning when this simplification is complete.
Roshmos 1 day ago 0 replies      
The utilities industry, industrial IoT, smart grids, and "Industry 4.0"...These will be the next innovation areas in my opinion.
aashishkoirala 22 hours ago 0 replies      
House service/maintenance/repair. Severe lack of professionalism and customer-service-orientedness there. Serious disruption needed.
jkaljundi 1 day ago 2 replies      
Wonder what could change in the areas of online recruitment and candidate sourcing? It's a nice business because the business demand is always there - just provide the candidates. Still after Indeed/Simplyhired and Glassdoor, no major innovation besides some niche engineer scraping/sourcing tech. WHat could be done there?
frankydp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Small and Regional government decision making and administration tools.

-- Geo-spatial-- Tax analysis-- Real property automation (a dozen different workflows)-- Permit automation and analysis(multiple workflows)-- Licensing automation and analysis

contingencies 1 day ago 0 replies      
Food. So much waste in transport, spoilage, excess out of season consumption, etc. Also a very effective means of direct charity. We are trying a new approach at http://8-food.com/
Findeton 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm going to say the obvious: VR. Really, there will be an explosion in VR sells and when it happens it will be too late to be there. I don't think it's going to be a fluff this time, we just need the right killer application and I know what's going to be.
sAbakumoff 1 day ago 2 replies      
I can't resist

"By wearing this standard ear-bud headphone, modified with a small piezoelectric sensor, the user can control their phone solely with their neural impulses.Point, click, drag, even type...all using only brainwaves.Think it...and it happens."

abvdasker 1 day ago 0 replies      
True P2P social networking. No ads since there will be little infra to support. Solves major privacy concerns when data is decentralized and not monetized.
dilemma 1 day ago 2 replies      
Establishing nationwide retail distribution networks and ignoring e-commerce.
ilaksh 1 day ago 2 replies      
Doesn't seem like that many groups have really both studied the existing AGI research _and_ are seriously trying to apply the latest NN developments like GANs to (virtually) embodied AGI.
spacetraveler 1 day ago 1 reply      
Some ideas:

1) Post-quantum encryption.

2) Desalination.

3) Storing kynetic energy.

4) Echo/acoustic mapping (inspired in bats) system for blind people.

5) Quantum computer chips operating at room temperature.


vinitagr 1 day ago 1 reply      
ChatBots: One big opportunity that i can see is the rise of chatbots on popular messaging platforms. It is going to bring the tech advances to a lot more people in a much easier way.
miguelrochefort 1 day ago 2 replies      
1. Capsule-style rooms for <$200/month

2. Ketogenic diet cafeterias

3. Semantic programming + smart contracts + automated UI design

4. Social score (trust, reliability, predictability)

5. Mechanical Turk / AI powered object recognition

rini17 1 day ago 1 reply      
Handheld (spectrometry?) scanner for food - check for most common cases of mold, toxins, contaminants.
bitwize 1 day ago 1 reply      
metaphorm 1 day ago 0 replies      
New web browser that is legacy tech compatible (i.e. HTML, JS, CSS) but also natively supports new options for scripting and styling. I feel like JS/CSS in particular are just not what we should settle for. We've grown accustom to working with them but I think there is a lot of possibility for better front-end technology in the future.
NurAzhar 1 day ago 0 replies      
The maritime industry specifically bunker fuel

Use blockchain

pizza 1 day ago 0 replies      
Multiplying the value of bitcoin.
adventured 1 day ago 1 reply      
This won't be popular on HN: start aggressively patenting anything and everything you can around CRISPR. It's dirt cheap to work with both Cas9 and Cpf1.

Figure out how to use CRISPR to insert or edit genes that we already know help to make some people practically bullet proof when it comes to cholesterol and common cardiovascular problems. Patent everything you can around using CRISPR to fight high cholesterol (the drug market for that is truly massively). Move fast, right now, while most of the pharma giants are asleep at the wheel (most of big pharma is a minimum of five years behind the curve, they always try to buy their way out of it after the fact).

Congratulations, you're now a billionaire.

logicallee 1 day ago 0 replies      
By far (as in, by a mutiple of approximately 10,000) the biggest untapped opportunity is disrupting the geography of worldwide startups, meaning venture capital and so forth. Startups and ideas wither on the vine and shutter (close) due to lack of access to the startup ecosystem on equal terms: these startups often could produce billions in value in their respective markets and then worldwide. Further, this can be bootstrapped as many startups would agree to pay back to the community (through investment at high valuations) in exchange for investment today. You do not need access to billions today to solve this problem tomorrow. This isn't a billion, ten billion, or one hundred billion dollar problem. If you clock back from 2060 to 2017 using a discounted net present value analysis (if you do it correctly) you will find that this is a 10 trillion dollar (today's dollars) segment or in other words the equivalent of not one, ten, or one hundred Airbnb's: but, one thousand of them. (For comparison or as a sanity check on my number, worldwide economic GDP in 2016 was 75 trillion[1] so the number I quote is 14.2% of a single year's GDP - or the total value the world produces in just over 7 weeks. So these 7 weeks of economic output are what I quote as a discounted value from a total market extending over the next 50 years, worldwide, discounted to today. It is a conservative number.)

We live in the dark ages of startup capital investment, and it's as hard to get investment as it was to get an education in the 1400s: you had to be rich, privileged, then go to a center of University learning. Geographically speaking, it is as bad today. Today, you have to go to silicon valley (as in, physically drag your body there) or one of a few other major startup centers (which give much poorer results), then somehow network your way into getting introductions. it is like being a scientist in the fifteenth century. enormous privilege and very difficult to achieve, with no clear path. Disrupting these geographic facts of capital investment and access to the startup and equity culture and markets is massive - when this starts to change, it will completely change the face of the planet in every way, for everyone.

If you want to make the most massive disruption you can make in your lifetime, disrupt the geography of startup ecosystems.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nomi...

uptownhr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Stop paying high rent and move out of the city center. This not only saves the business money but every single employee that also doesn't have to pay high rent.
Torkel 1 day ago 0 replies      
iPhone was released 10 years ago. We have insanely more capable screens, cpu:s, gpu:s, sensors. Find what's next and you will make a dent in the universe.
luzia19 1 day ago 0 replies      
such a great qn. what about health intervention for elderly?
realworldview 1 day ago 1 reply      
Airbnb for clothes.

Uber shoes.

ommunist 1 day ago 0 replies      
Automatic real-time discovery of people spending a lot of time in social networks, and offering them better ways to live on a subscription base for self-couching. Like making toxic waters to detox themselves. (RAW thought, but I'll enjoy refining it.)
xyzzy4 1 day ago 0 replies      
Closed door office spaces that contract out to open office companies.
sparkzilla 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting that no-one here mentions fake news.
aaron695 1 day ago 0 replies      
Find something that works ok in the US and export it to another country where it doesn't exist yet.

> market segment -Non English speaking

jhylau 1 day ago 0 replies      
international markets.
aabajian 1 day ago 34 replies      
The leading cause of death is cardiovascular disease. >90% of these cases can be attributed to an overweight population. It's not an easy problem to solve, but there has to be a way to fix it. Lots of calorie counting apps, activity trackers, motivational reminder apps, etc. Obesity is very complicated, but there are three basic facts:

1. Calories in, calories out is the golden rule.

2. The vast majority of calories come from carbohydrates.

3. Carbohydrates activate addictive dopaminergic pathways (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2235907/pdf/nih...)

People overeat because food is easy to access, and it provides a short-term, immediate chemical reward. External rewards often need to be introduced to break this vicious cycle. Hobbies, relationships, career achievements, etc. can function as alternative rewards. Perhaps there is a way for technology to provide short-term rewards in lieu of eating?

psychometry 1 day ago 3 replies      
caretStick 1 day ago 0 replies      
Getting off of HN? Bahaha. Basically the real world. And startups... There are two classes of problems, ones where intermediate steps to solutions are not viable or marketable, meaning government and big corporate or just socialized progress will eventually open the door. The 2nd class is where every solution with a component along the solution path results in something marketable and you can spend your career doing startup BS instead of corporate, academic, or government BS.

Also study some goddamned math, logic, and science. I say this because I don't want to choke any more superstitious co-founders. Closet is going to burst. They always think they can grease you into believing their stupid plan and that that somehow makes it real, right up to the point that you stab their stupid eye socket and they see the truth, but it's too late.

ommunist 1 day ago 0 replies      
Providing basic income irrespectible to nationality or citizenship in exchange for confirmed real time spent online irrespective of activity.
mayrosedgdotcom 1 day ago 0 replies      

the content is the best in the world. Total game changers. Just have to take the time and read

vatotemking 1 day ago 5 replies      
Decentralized sharing. Person 1 and 2 turns on wifi on their phones. Person 1 sends a file to person 2. Person 2 receives a notification and accepts. File is now on his phone. This works without cel coverage and without internet. Just the wifi of 2 phones turned on.
alexdgg 1 day ago 0 replies      

these guys are amazing

A DIY M&Ms and Skittles sorting machine willemm.nl
578 points by joeguilmette  2 days ago   119 comments top 28
Animats 2 days ago 11 replies      
Here's the commercial version.[1] This machine is sorting peas by color. Peas. Individual peas. Each individual pea is examined by cameras for size, color, and looking like a pea. Rejects are kicked into the reject hopper by an air jet. There are machines like this for most fruit. Typical throughput is a ton per hour. Most fruit and berries go through such machines today. That's why the fruit at the supermarket is so consistent.

The process looks like magic. Color-mixed items go in, and single-color items come out, on a line going so fast that no human can see what's happening. It's amazing to see computer vision systems that fast.

These machines work by putting the items on a conveyor belt, then dropping them on a much faster conveyor to spread them out. The fast conveyor goes past cameras, and at the end, launches the items into free flight for a few inches. While in flight, computer-controlled air jets knock out the rejects.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyGR6A5MWG0

jacquesm 2 days ago 3 replies      
What a nice job this person did.

Coincidentially I'm working on something similar at the moment only with an order of complexity that is several magnitudes larger than the one on display here (39000 different shapes, several 10's of possible colors). But my contraption doesn't nearly look as nice as this one and definitely is not ready for any kind of production.

I've been working on this for the last two years or so, it has just about every bit of my skills exercised (optical, mechanical, software, electronics) and every time there is a minor breakthrough I feel like throwing a party.

Likely this piece of gear will never see the light of day in a commercial setting but it's the most fun I've had in a long long time.

Disillusioned with web programming (security really spoiled the fun I used to have making web stuff) I figured I should do something that will make programming fun again and at least on that count I have succeeded.

And on another note, I've gained a lot of respect for the visual cortex and it's preprocessing capabilities.

crusso 2 days ago 1 reply      
Top marks for:1. Showing a diversity of maker skills2. Making something that actually works3. Industrial design savvy4. Entertaining video

You've given me some motivation to get off of HN and work on one of my side projects for the rest of today.

exabrial 22 minutes ago 0 replies      
Thank goodness this problem is finally solved.
acheron 2 days ago 2 replies      
Now that green skittles have changed from "lime" to "apple" (my lawsuit regarding calling the flavor assortment "original" will be filed any day now), I need a machine like this to sort the green ones into the trash where they belong.
dankohn1 2 days ago 2 replies      
Your video is even more compelling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceGlMV4sHnk
gjkood 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fantastic job! Functional and beautiful at the same time.

This is the kind of stuff that I love to read about in the mornings.

I know this machine will not solve world hunger or bring about world peace but I know this would bring peace to my family.

I apologize in advance but I am going to "borrow" your design and work with my kids to recreate this.

Thank you for giving me something worthwhile and productive to do with my kids today. Atleast give them something inspiring and fun to look forward to.

saghm 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is really cool! I love how it lights up with the color of the candy it's sorting each time.

I'm curious, have you tried putting both Skittles and M&M's in the same batch? I'd be interested to see if it determines that the purple Skittles and the brown M&M's are the same color, for example

asafira 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is still an awesome project, but anyone else notice the machine makes a mistake? @ 1:10, in the background, you can see a purple skittle with green ones.

(Technically it we don't see it make the mistake, but it probably had made a mistake...)

Awesome job! Any stats on its error rate?

elihu 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wish I had a link, but this reminds me of a machine that was at the OMSI Maker Faire in Portland last summer that measured the shininess of pennies and then directed them into a large board with columns (kind of like a giant connect-four board).

The machine sorted the pennies to match a greyscale image given as input, so that the final output is a penny mural ready to be encased in epoxy.

pimlottc 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've often idly thought about such a machine but this is much more beautiful than anything I would come up with, well done! I expect you'll be working on some statistical analysis on M&M color distribution now that you've got this part finished?

Also, what's the difference between processing M&Ms and Skittles? Is it just the expected colors?

DoctorNick 2 days ago 1 reply      
The perfect machine for when you're hosting Van Halen concerts: http://www.snopes.com/music/artists/vanhalen.asp
prashnts 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's brilliant! Well done for such a fantastic job designing the hopper and sort units. Plus the sound it makes while sorting is very pleasing. :)
BillyParadise 2 days ago 2 replies      
You could probably sell one of these into every concert theatre in the world. I'm wracking my brain and exercising my google-fu, but I can't seem to find/remember which famous musician wanted only one color of candy on their rider. Or was it everything except the green ones. Or something like that.
overcast 2 days ago 0 replies      
I remember doing the same thing in my Digital Electronics class in junior high. Except it was marbles, and we used BASIC.
nycmattw 2 days ago 0 replies      
You know what would be even better? Sorting the difference between M&Ms and Skittles :)
Reason077 2 days ago 0 replies      
Mars, Inc. could save us all a lot of trouble by pre-sorting them at the factory!
zaf 1 day ago 0 replies      
For our high school end of year CDT (Craft, Design and Technology) project, my best friend built a snooker ball sorter. It was awesome.
myfonj 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you are into this kind of things, check out the pebble sorting artistic installation, Jller: https://vimeo.com/167126696
matart 2 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't see it anywhere but are you willing to provide the 3D printing files?
femto113 2 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one who read the headline and thought the machine was created to undo this monstrosity?


dugluak 2 days ago 3 replies      
A lego sorting machine by shape and color would be so great
source99 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is very cool. Well done and great write up.

I don't think I could punch that much effort into something i wasn't going to commercialize.

BlytheSchuma 2 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone here found a good pill sorting machine yet? All the ones I've found just seem to be vaporware.
makwarth 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool - thanks for sharing!
dammitcoetzee 2 days ago 0 replies      
This one is so fast! Nice Job!
anjc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool
YC Research: Universal Healthcare ycombinator.com
432 points by craigcannon  8 hours ago   261 comments top 41
TuringNYC 7 hours ago 13 replies      
(Full-time co-founder of a healthcare startup here): W/r/t the US specifically: it seems there is no shortage of inefficiencies and obvious solutions to the inefficiencies in the US healthcare system. To me, the real problem seems to be a system that has almost diabolically evolved to create competing interests that deadlock all sides into a sub-optimal solution. Specifically-- patients, payers, physicians, pharma, facilities and insurers almost all have indirect but competing interests much like the Dining Philosopher's problem we're familiar with in Computer Science.

I'm not sure what the solution is short of a total swamp draining, but our startup went overseas to develop/trial our product in a country with a single payer system. Not perfect, but much more amenable to finding efficiencies.

tyre 7 hours ago 1 reply      
We sell to governments, which is similar to healthcare.

I cannot stress this enough: technology is not the hard part.

Do they have outdated software? Yes.

Can you build better software? Yes.

None of that matters if you can't get it into their hands. Procurement is the hard part. Can you empathize with the needs, fears, desires, quirks, and crazy of ten different stakeholders? Pry proprietary API specs from the cold-dead hands of one-off contractors? Educate users who's technological proficiency peaked at SMS to manage a full-featured SaaS product in 2017?

Don't focus on the software. That isn't the hard part. People are the hard part. People are always the hard part.

Eliezer 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It boots nothing to subsidize that which is in restricted supply. So long as there are only 350 othodontists allowed to graduate per year, there's a corresponding limit on how many patients are allowed to have straight teeth regardless of who pays for what or what software is used. Improve the software, and the price of orthodontia must still equalize demand to the limited supply.

Offer free dollar bills, and a line will form until the cost of staying in line burns more than $1. Medicine isn't costly because it's inefficient, rather it can end up inefficient because the limited supply means it must somehow end up costly.

It is not possible to solve the healthcare crisis without somewhat deregulating the supply of healthcare and allowing it to increase. Until then, every subsidy just raises the price, and every efficiency improvement just creates room for more inefficiency elsewhere.

You can't solve the housing problem in San Francisco by building more efficient software for selling houses. Only interventions that somehow increase the total supply of living space can cause more total people to be able to live there.

yummyfajitas 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Interestingly, we already discovered a mechanism for drastically reducing the cost of healthcare back in 1986. It's a way of crowdsourcing the problem called high copays. Basically, you have to pay out of pocket for 90% of your health care up to a (high) cap.

It turns out that patients are very good at figuring out which health care will improve health and which won't - the high copay group had no statistically significant difference in health from the low copay group, and spent about 30% less money. What a crazy magic bullet, huh?


We ran a directionally similar experiment in 2008, and got much the same result: low copayment causes people to consume a lot more medicine, but with no objectively measurable improvement in health. (Subjectively, people with insurance feel healthier even if they never go to the doctor.)


In both cases we ignored the result because we don't like it.

lumberjack 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Universal healthcare is already much more cost effective than fully or semi-privitised health care.

Sorry, I forgot to pretend that all the other developed countries haven't figured out healthcare already.



Oh and btw, when you have a universal healthcare system payed by taxes (none of that bullshit insurance crap that only ends up being costly regulation/financial bloat) you can have entire and fully private hospitals and health clinics where you can get service for cash, and surprise, surprise, it's ridiculously cheap because it has to compete with the effectively free public healthcare system.

toomuchtodo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic news. Congrats Watsi!

It has always seemed like this was the end goal; to build a proof of concept healthcare delivery platform for the third world. Very exciting!

EDIT: Sidenote: Thanks YC for funding Watsi as your first non-profit and attempting to tackle a hard social problem.

temp-dude-87844 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I applaud this initiative of collecting more data on this, by starting a small trial in an area with fewer confounding factors, and later applying those lessons learned in places with more interconnected systems in place.

One unfortunate fact is that a small proportion of people 'consume' most of the medical care. Operational inefficiencies, the concept of health insurance, a byzantine cost structure, and in the US, after-the-fact billing conceal -- or at least spread out over time -- some of the financial pain of care. This is a sort of societal compromise to avoid confronting the problem: a society either shoulders (i.e. subsidizes) the cost of care for its most unhealthy, or lets them perish outright.

Today, most civilized societies tiptoe around this subject by subsidizing medical care for the elderly for political expediency, where the marginal benefits (even for the particular individual) of life extension until funds finally run out quickly diminish, while leaving folks of prime working age bear a large portion of their own costs in case of misfortune, to say nothing of underserved minorities and the economic poor.

Perhaps the best value of conducting this trial in a developing country isn't solely to get away from the political machinery of a mature healthcare system, but to escape the political baggage of a post-industrial society and see if technological solutions can work if morals and politics aren't in the way.

alexmingoia 6 hours ago 4 replies      
What does this have to do with universal healthcare?

We know how to make healthcare more efficient. We know how to remove the administrative overhead. Other countries already have these systems in place. Look at Taiwan for one example. They have digital medical records and an extremely low administrative overhead because of universal care.

Healthcare will continue to be broken no matter how many YC research programs there are - because the US population lacks the desire and political will for universal healthcare.

esfandia 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Healthcare definitely seems like the land of process inefficiency, even in developed countries like here in Canada, so there's plenty of opportunity for major improvement. There's still plenty of paperwork done on... paper, information that constantly has to be repeated when you go from one provider to another, and plenty of mistakes made.

Some time ago Ontario spent a massive amount of money on computerizing healthcare and it yielded nothing. I figure all the regulations, privacy issues, and overall complexity of the system makes it a tough Goliath to handle. And whatever happened to Google Health?

I feel that the solution has to come from the grassroots: get a bunch of health care providers to sync up for certain simple services, and go from there. Keep adding features little by little, keep expanding the number of participants. Do it using published and open source APIs and software. Don't try to be everything to everyone. Break a few rules, ignore some complicated standards if it can help get you there quicker. Hmmm, maybe for the latter to be possible it makes sense to start in less sue-happy countries.

abalone 5 hours ago 0 replies      
> Watsis goal is to improve the efficiency of funding, making universal healthcare possible.

Universal healthcare is already possible.[1] Reducing waste is a noble goal but this is a startling sentence from a health tech startup team. It implies that the primary obstacle to universal care is cost, not political will, which fails to comprehend how universal care was achieved in most of the industrialized world.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_with_unive...

koolba 7 hours ago 0 replies      
> For the initial project, Watsi will fund primary healthcare for a community in the developing world and build a platform to run the system transparently.

Have they decided what country (or countries) in which this will take place?

While I'm sure there are many worthy candidates worldwide, applying the same type of program to under served communities within the USA would be great as well.

judah 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Love the ambition. Bring some transparency, reduce fraud, use technology to reduce cost where possible. Great idea, hope it works.

I'm skeptical it could reduce healthcare costs significantly simply because of the massive effort required to change the healthcare behemoth in even small ways. However, given the exorbitant costs of healthcare (currently paying $1800/month for a family of 4), it's worth certainly trying.

Is there a time frame on this experiment?

buyx 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The article doesn't mention which developing country the trial will be in, but South Africa would make an interesting candidate. It has a public healthcare system that's in shocking condition, and a world-class private healthcare system, funded by health insurance, that's becoming more unaffordable (despite being funded and mandated by employers) each year because of high medical inflation. There are clear parallels to the US healthcare system, and the commodities downturn has stymied the government efforts to introduce universal healthcare, so there would be an ideological willingness to experiment.
rsync 5 hours ago 2 replies      
If you went back in time - say, 20 or 25 years ago - and you picked up a progressive, left leaning magazine - say, adbusters or mother jones - you would very regularly read warnings about the manufactured needs of medicine and healthcare and pharmaceuticals.

Barely an issue of such a periodical could pass without dire warnings of a future in which big pharma and insurance interests would convince us, through advertising, that we were foremost consumers of "healthcare".

What happened ?

The progressive left is now fully, fervently convinced that "healthcare" is a basic priority of human life. It is a rampant consumerism that reaches far beyond - and profoundly deeper - than the fears that good people have always had.

It didn't have to be this way.

intrasight 6 hours ago 4 replies      
>Currently, up to 40% of all healthcare funding is wasted on operational inefficiencies

Your inefficiencies are someone else's revenue.

Or to say another way:

Healthcare is ~20% of US GDP

Reduce spending by 40% would reduce US GDP by almost 10%. That's a tough sell politically you have to admit.

KeepTalking 5 hours ago 1 reply      
How much of the problem is actually the way (big) pharma conducts research? ( I know that I am over simplifying and dozens of startups are focused on improving the way research is done)

From a manf process standpoint, there are cheaper ways to create these compounds. Generic drug manufacturers have proved that ignoring the cost of research, the drug itself costs next to nothing to make, market and sell.

From an economics standpoint, healthcare costs are a significant part of GDP. In an ideal model if all research is funded directly via government grants and the key research is licensed through a free licensing - It should create a very competitive drug cost model.For a healthcare practice standpoint, legislation can really help. Stripping down some of the malpractice laws are a good starting point.

Additionally, the monopoly on medical education should be broken - Making medical education a national priority is a key step. We also need to make sure, that doctors are not the only healthcare providers. Enabling entrepreneurship among non doctor(nurses, mid wives etc) medical practioners can increase the market supply.

These 2 actions in theory should create more doctors and reduce the cost of practicing medicine.

dkonofalski 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder what the long-term on this is going to look like. It would seem to me like an amazing irony if the receiving nation ended up with better and cheaper healthcare than the US considering that YC and Watsi call the US home.
Kluny 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I was thinking about this lately. Can universal health care be solved by the free market, if the free market decides to enforce checks and balances on itself?

That is to say, could someone start a not-for-profit health insurance company that offers excellent coverage for affordable rates, and build it from the ground up with a culture of clarity and transparency? At a bare minimum they should have a searchable database where you can type in "broken arm" and find out what price this company has negotiated for casts, x-rays, and doctor time, and what it will cost you in co-pay.

It seems like insurance companies are so universally bad and corrupt that there would be no trouble signing up a critical mass of users by simply being a little better than the norm, and once it's the biggest insurance provider in the US, start applying muscle to hospital administration.

Yes, I know I'm oversimplifying it. Can anyone think of a way that it might be possible, though?

benologist 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I read the other day that here in Costa Rica the health care 'caja' has 1 employee per 85 people, it's more like working there is the plan. I can't wait to see what Watsi does next.
Animats 5 hours ago 0 replies      
"For the initial project, Watsi will fund primary healthcare for a community in the developing world and build a platform to run the system transparently."

Start with Tuskegee, Alabama, poorest town in the United States.

bawana 7 hours ago 0 replies      
hospitals are BIG business. They will never let their inefficiencies be addressed by an external force. They do not even share their price lists. Can you imagine going going into best buy and not knowing what anything costs? But having to get the price by researching it on the net?
maceo 2 hours ago 0 replies      
US spends over $8,000 per capita on healthcare, compared to about $4,000 in UK and Japan, both of which have universal health care.

This isn't a problem tech can solve. It's a problem only politics can solve.

mikekij 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Founder of healthcare startup here too:

This sounds like a great project. I love the idea of building technology for healthcare in a small, controlled, active care environment, and then scaling those tools to a larger audience.

The bigger issue in healthcare IMHO is that the American healthcare model, while hugely inefficient, seems to be the system that best incentivizes innovation. We pay 10x what Sweden pays for medical devices, but the US market is the only reason those device companies can be profitable. If we move to a single-payer system in the US, the economic incentives for innovation go way down.

If someone can figure out how to lower costs, while still providing a profitable market in which drug and device companies can innovate, we'll all benefit.

dominotw 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Why can't we import more doctors like UK and other countries in EU. Isn't that a low hanging fruit?
20years 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I would love to see more transparency in where the costs for dr visits is going. A recent 1/2 hour visit to my daughters doctor for a basic checkup and a couple of shots resulted in a $1500 bill to the insurance company. We paid a fraction of that but it still blows my mind that the bill was so high. I am assuming most of that was for the shots. If watsi can develop software that makes these costs more transparent maybe then we can address ways to lower them.
a3n 5 hours ago 0 replies      
> Once the platform is in place, Watsi will start to experiment with improving the quality of care and reducing the cost e.g., by streamlining operations, minimizing waste and fraud, and identifying medical errors in real-time.

That sounds like any politician ever, campaigning for office by promising to do the above, for government in general, the Defense or Energy or Education department, etc.

Good luck, and I sincerely hope it works. This time.

egonschiele 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I love this idea, and this seems like the right way to do it. Operational inefficiencies are a huge burden and it would be great to find a solution for it. I really like the idea of starting this in a small community and scaling up.
WalterBright 5 hours ago 0 replies      
> up to 40% of all healthcare funding is wasted on operational inefficiencies, fraud, and ineffective care.

Any system where the consumers, the providers, and the payers are not accountable to each other is never going to operate efficiently.

joshuaheard 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the problem with our health care system is economic and political, not technological; unless you are talking about some new revolutionary technology like this: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170207092724.h...
kumarski 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a patient with an auto-immune disorder. I'm going to share some of my lessons/surprising things I learned in healthcare/drug discovery.

I did YC fellowship with a healthcare startup in the clinical trials space. I am one of Watsi's biggest fans(zero hedge) and excited to see them go after this.

Here's some hard things I learned over 8 months entrenched in industry, meeting everyone from Hospital execs to drug development experts.

* The top of the funnel is screwed by food environments in the USA. Completely preventable metabolic syndrome accounts for a large percentage of clinical trials research.

* One of the unfortunate realities in the USA is that a lot of our advanced drug research is financed by metabolic syndrome related drugs. There's 8K clinical trials a year and a non-trivial percentage are from metabolic syndrome related problems.

* We have a patent system that encourages developing drugs that interact with a small number of enzymes and molecules that we already know and understand how they operate. Low, if not zero risk.

* The rules around patenting pathways, treatment methodologies, research tools, and assays are flawed/seem poorly designed. As an outsider looking in, these things seem like a paralyzing bottleneck for the industry. These need to be looked at much closer.

* GPO Squeezing. The manner in which GPOs squeeze medical device companies to create an artificial monopoly and drive prices up has to be examined in a much closer way.

* Ground game & Synthetic chemistry- The reason startups in the pharma space get acquired based on my dicussions with R&D folks at multiple Fortune 500 pharma companies is two fold. 1/ The drug companies have enough sales reps to push product fast. There's massive room for some sort of disruption here to allow small scale medical device and pharma startups to push product. 2/ This one's tough, but the large pharma companies have enough money to do all the synthetic chemistry to go from lab to scale. That's changing though. What used to be a $400M requirement has shifted to a $100M requirement, but we'll see how this evolves. It's a lot different from software. The know-how is extremely well hidden behind private walls.

* Aggregated healthcare and genomic data has little value. There's 68,000 genetic marker tests on the market and 8-10 new ones come out each day. Knowing what they do and/or how they create proteins that block/assist efforts is a monstrously tough problem that isn't waiting for computation, but is waiting for actual experiments on humans.

* The mathematical complexity of drug discovery is hard. Even if the data is maximized, the throughput of discovery is low. We have 7Bn people, 15K diseases, and 3Bn genetic base pairs. Bonferonni Corrections and Family wise error rate abound. We're not waiting for super computers or for an ease of aggregating data.

* The tricky part of selling to hospitals is that you have to create ROI within 6 months.

If anyone here is building a healthcare venture or drug discovery venture and believes I can help, don't hesitate to reach out.


jclos 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Pardon my cynicism, but I don't like the idea of choosing a patient you're going to "spend your money on" as a replacement for a basic universal healthcare. Healthcare shouldn't be a popularity contest. As an addition to a normal "basic" healthcare it's fine, but please don't replace existing systems with this stuff.
jankotek 7 hours ago 0 replies      
In Central Europe triple bypass hearth surgery costs ~ $6000. Until you fix the cost, there is no help.
mkaziz 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I really wish Congressmen didn't have federal healthcare, and they had to use the same insurance us plebeians use. That would help them fix up the system real fast.
tabeth 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Great news. Once it gets going I'd be interested in seeing the strategy to make it sustainable. I believe donation models are inherently unsustainable so it'll be a challenge.
dpflan 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Cool and interesting. I'm not very familiar with Watsi, but is its innovation mainly in business processes for healthcare non-profits - mainly improving information and resources flows?
Jyefet 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Invest in value-based healthcare - it's the future (in like 15-20 years, that is)
EGreg 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I have argued in favor of Single Payer systems on the basis of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopsony . When buyers don't compete on price, then the price goes down. This is also known as "collective bargaining power".

You can see this borne out in the fact every developed country with a universal healthcare plan gets cheaper prices, often for the same or better outcomes than the USA. Including number of doctors per capita, which disproves the "shortages" myth. Domestically in the USA, Medicare squeezes doctors far more than other insurance companies. A "medicare for all" would do even better.

After the libertarians and anarcho-capitalists try to claim superior economic knowledge eventually they must admit simple supply and demand drives prices down in a single payer system.

But then I get the following objection: what about all the R&D that we do? Perhaps all that expensive health care in the USA results in better procedures and medical equipment, better trained doctors etc. ?

To this I say ... OPEN SOURCE DRUGS! http://magarshak.com/blog/?p=93

If you can introduce a patentleft movement in drugs the same as you have done in software, then innovations can come from anywhere.

And failing that, we can always do this compensation model: https://qbix.com/blog/index.php/2016/11/properly-valuing-con...

pebblexe 6 hours ago 0 replies      
GNU health is a good starting place
X86BSD 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I love this, its like Kiva but for third world healthcare procedures, just fantastic.

They need to make browsing for potential patients easier. After 22 pages of "View more patients" my browser starts to bog down.

A search would be good. As well as a map to select a country to view those in need.


But really great startup!

whb07 7 hours ago 14 replies      
Unless you remove people out of the equation, universal healthcare will never work. There's no incentive for anyone to be efficient, more frugal, work harder, provide a better service in universal healthcare. Humans arent wired for this.
xyzzy4 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Healthcare isn't truly 'universal' until it is also applied to non-humans.
Ask HN: What is the most exciting development in your field right now?
504 points by yellow_viper  2 days ago   413 comments top 80
aabajian 2 days ago 16 replies      
I'm entering radiology residency, and I'm very pro-automation / machine learning. There's a contentious debate in the field about whether radiologists will be replaced: https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/will-ai-replace-rad...

HackerNews is very developer-focused. If you guys saw what a radiologist does on a 9-5 basis you'd be amazed it hasn't already been automated. Sitting behind a computer, looking at images and writing a note takes up 90% of a radiologist's time. There are innumerable tools to help radiologists read more images in less time: Dictation software, pre-filled templates, IDE-like editors with hotkeys for navigating reports, etc. There are even programs that automate the order in which images are presented so a radiologist can read high-complexity cases early, and burn through low-complexity ones later on.

What's even more striking is that the field of radiology is standardized, in stark contrast to the EMR world. All images are stored on PACS which communicate using DICOM and HL7. The challenges to full-automation are gaining access to data, training effective models, and, most importantly, driving user adoption. If case volumes continue to rise, radiologists will be more than happy to automate additional steps of their workflow.

Edit: A lot of push back from radiologist is in regards to the feasibility of automated reads, as these have been preached for years with few coming to fruition. I like to point out that the deep learning renaissance in computer vision started in 2012 with AlexNet; this stuff is very new, more effective, and quite different than previous models.

onion2k 2 days ago 9 replies      
My field is web development, and, to be honest, the most exciting thing going on is that more people are starting to complain about the complexity of development. Hopefully this will lead to people slowing down and learning how to write better web software.

As an example, one survey (https://ashleynolan.co.uk/blog/frontend-tooling-survey-2016-...) put the number of developers who don't use any test tools at almost 50%. In the same survey about 80% of people stated their level of JS knowledge was Intermediate, Advanced or Expert.

gnur 2 days ago 7 replies      
Container orchestrators becoming mainstream is something I'm very excited about. Tools like DC/OS, Nomad, Kubernetes, Docker Swarm Mode, Triton, Rancher make it so much easier to have fast development cycles. Last week I went from idea, to concept, to deployed in production in a single day. And it is automatically kept available, restarted if it fails, traffic is routed correctly, other services can discover it, the underlying infrastructure can be changed without anyone ever noticing it.

This also brings me to Traefik, one of the coolest projects I have come across in the last months.

Traefik + DC/OS + CI/CD is what allows developers to create value for the business in hours and not in days or weeks.

sarthakjain 2 days ago 5 replies      
Deep learning architectures built by machines (so we no longer have to design architecture to solve problems) https://arxiv.org/abs/1611.01578

Transfer Learning (so we need less data to build models) http://ftp.cs.wisc.edu/machine-learning/shavlik-group/torrey...

Generative adversarial networks (so computers can get human like abilities at generating content) https://papers.nips.cc/paper/5423-generative-adversarial-net...

siddboots 2 days ago 6 replies      
It's all subjective, but as a data analyst I'm excited about probabilistic databases. Short version: load your sample data sets, provide a some priors, and then query the population as if you had no missing data.

Most developed implementation is BayesDB[1], but there's a lot of ideas coming out of a number of places right now.

[1] http://probcomp.csail.mit.edu/bayesdb/

mafribe 2 days ago 4 replies      

- Meta-tracing, e.g. PyPy.

- End-to-end verification of compilers, e.g. CompCert and CakeML.

Programming languages:

- Mainstreamisation of the ideas of ML-like languages, e.g. Scala, Rust, Haskell, and the effect these ideas have on legacy languages, e.g. C++, Java 9, C#.

- Beginning of use of resource types outside pure research, e.g. affine types in Rust and experimental use of session types.

Foundation of mathematics:

- Homotopy type theory.

- Increasing mainstreamisation of interactive theorem provers, e.g. Isabelle/HOL, Coq, Agda.

Program verification:

- Increasing ability to have program logics for most programming language constructs.

- Increasingly usable automatic theorem provers (SAT and SMT solvers) that just about everything in automated program verification 'compiles' down to.

bitshaker 2 days ago 4 replies      
My field is hypnosis, or more generally, "changework" which is jargon, but essentially hacking the psychology of clients to get desired outcomes.

There's been a renaissance of study in placebo effects, meditation, and general frameworks for how people change belief for therapeutic purposes or otherwise, but to me, that's been going on for a long time and is more about acceptance than being a new development.

One of the most exciting developments that's been coming out recently is playing with language to do what's called context-free conversational change.

Essentially, you can help someone solve an issue without actually knowing the details or even generally what they need help with. It's like homomorphic encryption for therapy. A therapist can do work, a client can report results, but the problem itself can be a black box along with a bit of the solution as well since much of the change is unconscious.

It works better with feedback (a conversation) of course, but often can be utilized in a more canned manner if you know the type of problem well enough.

I'm working on putting together an automated solution that's based on some loose grammar rules, NLP, Markov chains, and anything else I can use to help a machine be creative in language to help people solve their own problems, but as a first step as a useful tool for beginner therapists to help them get used to the ideas and frameworks with language to use.

So essentially, I'm getting a good chunk of the way toward hacking on a machine that can reliably work on people's problems without having to train a full AI or anything remotely resembling real intelligence, just mimicking it.

Before you go thinking, "Didn't they do that with Eliza?" Well yes, in a way, but my implementation is using an entirely different approach.

kejaed 2 days ago 1 reply      
Aerospace Engineer - Enhanced Flight Vision Systems

TLDR: Fancy fused infrared (LWIR/SWIR) and visible spectrum camera systems may 'soon' be on a passenger airliner near you.

Using infrared cameras to see through fog/haze to land aircraft has been happening for a while now, but only on biz jets or on FedEx aircraft with a waiver. The FAA has gained enough confidence in the systems that they have just opened up the rules to allow these camera systems to be used to land on passenger aircraft.

Combine that with the fact that airports are transitioning away from incandescent lights to LEDs (meaning a purely IR sensor system is not longer enough), and you get multi-sensor image fusion work to do and a whole new market to sell them to.

Here is a blog post (from a competitor of ours) talking about the new rules.


ThePhysicist 2 days ago 6 replies      
Not really my main field, but in web technology it seems that severless architectures such as Amazon Lambda will be a pretty big game changer in the near future:

Lambdas are lightweight function calls that can be spawned on demand in sub-millisecond time and don't need a server that's constantly running. They can replace most server code in many settings, e.g. when building REST APIs that are backed by cloud services such as Amazon DynamoDB.

I've heard many impressive things about this way of designing your architecture, and it seems to be able to dramatically reduce cost in some cases, sometimes by more than 10 times.

The drawback is that currently there is a lot of vendor lock-in, as Amazon is (to my knowledge) the only cloud service that offers lambda functions with a really tight and well-working integration with their other services (this is important because on their own lambdas are not very useful).

csbartus 2 days ago 3 replies      
New aesthetics in web design.

With the brutalist movement something new started. People went back to code editors to create websites by hand skipping third-party, non-web-native user interface design tools prefilled with common knowledge making websites looking uniform.

The idea of design silos and brand-specific design thinking is dropped: no more bootstrap, flat design, material design, etc.

It's like back to the nineties and reinventing web design. You start from scratch, on your own, and build bottom up without external influence and or help.

It's about creativity vs. the bandwagon, about crafting your own instead of putting together from popular pieces.


nadaviv 2 days ago 1 reply      
In the Bitcoin space, I'm most excited about the Lightning Network [0][1] and MimbleWimble [2][3], which are in my view the two most groundbreaking technologies that really push the limits of what blockchains are capable of.

[0] https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Lightning_Network

[1] https://lightning.network/

[2] https://download.wpsoftware.net/bitcoin/wizardry/mimblewimbl...

[3] https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/mimblewimble-how-a-stri...

wolfram74 2 days ago 0 replies      
The era of gravity wave astronomy is starting to begin in earnest with LIGO's new run on data collection. It'd be offline getting upgraded from 2016/02 to 2016/11 and is now even more sensitive[http://www.ligo.org/news/]
espeed 2 days ago 1 reply      
The convergence of 3 big ideas in graph computing:

1. D4M: Dynamic Distributed Dimensional Data Model

http://www.mit.edu/~kepner/D4M/ GraphBLAS: http://graphblas.org

Achieving 100M database inserts per second using Apache Accumulo and D4M https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13465141

MIT D4M: Signal Processing on Databases [video] https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUl4u3cNGP62DPmPLrVyY...

2. Topological / Metric Space Model

Fast and Scalable Analysis of Massive Social Graphshttp://www.cs.ucsb.edu/~ravenben/temp/rigel.pdf

Quantum Processes in Graph Computing - Marko Rodriguez [video] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRoAInXxgtc

3. Propagator Model

Revised Report on the Propagator Model https://groups.csail.mit.edu/mac/users/gjs/propagators/

Constraints and Hallucinations: Filling in the Details - Gerry Sussman [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwxknB4SgvM

We Really Don't Know How to Compute - Gerry Sussman [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3tVctB_VSU

Propagators - Edward Kmett - Boston Haskell [video] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyPzPeOPgUE

RileyKyeden 2 days ago 2 replies      
I do electronic music. The rise of platforms like Bandcamp and Patreon, and the abundance of high quality free/inexpensive tools and guides is raising the bar for quality in independent music, and making it easier for more people to get paid in whatever niches they prefer (vs. going for a mass audience).
Curious42 2 days ago 1 reply      
As an Android developer, I'm most excited about instant apps. If it works as marketed, you won't have to hold on to the apps which you use maybe once or twice a week. Instead, you'll be able to download the required feature/activity/view or whatever else on the fly.

I'm not sure I did justice to instant apps, because there's a language barrier playing in. But here's an example: I use the Amazon app maybe once every 2 weeks, and yet it's one of the apps consuming most amount of memory on my phone due to background services. After Amazon integrates instant apps, I'll be able to delete the app, and just google search for the product through my phone. The Google search will then download the required page as an app, giving me the experience of an app, whilst not even having it on the phone.

bigger_cheese 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm a materials engineer these are two interesting developments in my field at the moment

Metamaterials: Essentially a material engineered to have a unique property. By precisely controlling a materials structure you can influence how it interacts with electromagnetic waves, sound etc. You can create materials with unique properties such as a negative refractive index over certain wavelengths. It's kind of a novelty but people are building "cloaking devices" using metamaterials i.e. bending electromagnetic waves around a material in certain ways to make it appear invisible to certain frequencies.

Graphene (and other 2D materials): These materials are a relatively recent discovery, graphene was confirmed in 2004 and it has a number of interesting properties. In particular its electrical and thermal properties make it promising for a number of applications. I think it could possibly find applications in batteries, transistors and capacitors. At the moment it is a very expensive material to manufacture which makes it (currently) unsuited for commercial applications. There is a heap of active research involving graphene at the moment.

tyingq 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think web assembly is the piece most likely to change front end development in a meaningful way. A little hard to see now, as the WASM component has no direct access to the DOM, no GC, and no polymorphic inline cache. So, dynamic languages are hard to do with WASM. Once those gaps are closed, however, it should be interesting to see if javascript remains the lingua franca or not.
dbattaglia 2 days ago 1 reply      
For a C# developer into microservices, there's a lot to be excited about.

.Net Core: Finally, cross platform .Net. Deploying .Net services to Linux is a dream come true. Can't wait for the platform to stabilize.

Windows Server 2016: For "legacy" applications forced to stay on Windows, containers and Docker on Windows is a game changer. One step closer to hopefully making Windows servers somewhat manageable.

Seanny123 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm honestly just super-pumped about any artificial intelligence system that's starting to get an intuition of physics.

Google's Deep Mind put out some kind of cool stuff recentely [1], but I'm mostly just excited for anything that Ilker Yildirim [2] is doing with Joshua Tanenbaum, because it seems to triangulate more with how humans think about physics. When I was at CogSci 2016, Joshua mentioned combining this with analogical reasoning and that also sounded super cool, even though I'm not sure how to the two fit together.

[1] https://arxiv.org/abs/1612.00222[2] http://www.mit.edu/~ilkery/

asafira 2 days ago 0 replies      
In my field of quantum information processing, the current hype is all about "Quantum Supremacy". The field currently has its sights set on the goal of producing an experiment where a quantum system performs a computation faster than any known computer can --- perhaps computes something that no current computer can compute in a reasonable amount of time. Unlike much of the work in the field up to this time, this requires a cray amount of engineering, more than a typical lab can undertake if they hope to be publishing interesting results in the meantime. My hypothesis is that this will likely happen from either a company (IBM, Google) or a government lab (if they will be allowed to publish).
iagooar 2 days ago 0 replies      
On the web development part of my job, I'm excited about Elixir / Phoenix getting more and more mindshare. People I talk to are actively trying Elixir out and evaluating it as the tool of choice for their next projects.

On the networking side of things, I'm excited about network virtualization and the potential that tools like Docker and Kubernetes give to virtualizing large and complex network topologies.

And as an employee of an IT-heavy enterprise, seeing DevOps becoming a thing makes me happy, even if adoption is slow and expectations are high. It's still better than waiting 6 months to get a couple of VMs to deploy my projects to...

reasonattlm 2 days ago 2 replies      
Safe selective destruction of cells via their internal chemistry, not surface markers, via uptake of lipid-encapsulated programmable suicide gene arrangements.

With the right program and a distinctive chemistry to target in the unwanted cell population, this flexible technology has next to no side-effects, and enables rapid development of therapies such as:

1) senescent cell clearance with resorting to chemotherapeutics, something shown to extend life in mice, reduce age-related inflammation, reverse measures of aging in various tissues, and slow the progression of vascular disease.

2) killing cancer cells without chemotherapeutics or immunotherapies.

3) destroying all mature immune cells without chemotherapeutics, an approach that should cure all common forms of autoimmunity (or it would be surprising to find one where it doesn't), and also could be used to reverse a sizable fraction of age-related immune decline, that part of it caused by malfunctioning and incorrectly specialized immune cells.

And so forth. It turns out that low-impact selective cell destruction has a great many profoundly important uses in medicine.

pipio21 2 days ago 1 reply      
In my company we work using computers for real world applications, in the physical world:

Regenerative medicine: understanding DNA code and restoring cells and organs, making eternal youth possible. It will take decades of hard work.

Ending cancer: We are studding virus mutations, so we could attack them without invasive techniques.

Nuclear fusion: We are simulating plasma physics. This is going to be enormous in ten years or so imho.

phkahler 2 days ago 3 replies      
Field: embedded software. To me RISC-V is the most exciting thing for the next few years. The performance appears to be awesome, and free CPU IP will allow more varieties of specialized low-cost chips for specific use cases. It should also have a positive effect on development environments by encouraging wider use of free toolchains.
jackgolding 2 days ago 1 reply      
Web Analytics I feel is years behind data science - but tools like http://snowplowanalytics.com/ are becoming much more widespread and are taking market share away from Google and Adobe which is good for everyone. Free GA is still the best tool for small sites.
patrics123 2 days ago 1 reply      
That would be an interesting question to ask within other specialized communities and collect the answers in One big Post. Aint nobody got time for that?

In UX an interesting trend is a flood of Software Tools which help during Design, evaluation, Research, etc.

Also adaptive UI which is changed due to user attributes and past behaviour seems to be trendy now (supported by the online marketing field with auto-optimizing Interfaces which optimize for conversion autonomously, etc.)

FLGMwt 2 days ago 2 replies      
As a .NET dev, .NET Core is pretty exciting.

We're porting a sizable application to .Net Core so we can be on Linux and save cost and time on instance launch.

I'm writing an in-depth blog post series about the process because I haven't found any significant migration stories. I'm hoping it will help a lot of people through the process.

sktrdie 1 day ago 1 reply      
My field of interest is censorship resistant systems. Systems like ZeroNet[1] are quite fascinating and are quickly becoming popular and used. Essentially they're decentralized via the bittorrent network. One cool thing that it brings to the table is the idea of having users modify a website (similar to how your comment modifies this page) - which is a hard problem in a decentralized system. They have come up with an interesting way for users to do this using trusted third-party certifying systems which are still totally decentralized (because users can switch to others when they see fit).

1. https://zeronet.io/

hemezh 2 days ago 4 replies      
The way we educate our kids hasn't changed a lot in centuries. MOOCs are great but completion rate is a real and yet unsolved problem.

I believe the biggest advancement in the field of education is going to come with VR. With VR, we can dramatically reduce the cost of "learning while doing", which should be the only way of learning. With AI, we can provide highly personalised paths for learners.

VR and AI technologies are finally coming to a point where together they can provide a breakthrough in industries which are mostly untouched since decades.

moron4hire 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've noticed that the quality of conversation on VR has gotten a lot better. Used to be you'd go to a meetup and all you could get out of anyone was either parroting some urban myths about the porn industry driving technological change or looking for tech support on getting Unity set up. People are now asking themselves some really hard questions, like how do we design applications that adapt to both VR and non-VR use (there is an argument to be made that you can't meaningfully do so, but there is another argument to be made that you shouldn't stop your users from trying, as they tend to surprise you), or maybe the game development industry isn't the best model to emulate.
samlewis 2 days ago 1 reply      
In the embedded/IoT world, I'm fairly excited about two upcoming RTOS's: mynewt (http://mynewt.apache.org/) and Zephyr (https://www.zephyrproject.org/).
babayega2 2 days ago 1 reply      
Unicef open sourcing RapidPro ( https://community.rapidpro.io/about-rapidpro/ )
jMyles 1 day ago 2 replies      
I live full-time on a school bus with a family.

Flexible solar panels, LED lighting with open source drivers, and the new generation of DC refrigerators are all incredibly exciting and are allowing us to experiment with living without grid electricity.

aniijbod 2 days ago 2 replies      
The progress towards indistinguishable-from-reality realism in graphics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo5ztSsA_zk
chris_mahan 2 days ago 1 reply      
I don't have just one field.

In programming in companies: realization that internal customers not having choice of internal IT providers hurts IT because it reduces IT's need to deliver valuable solutions effectively.

In leadership: management structure is a framework to enforce standardization and generally doesn't adapt well to change, even with the latest management silver bullets (lean, Agile, flat-orgs, etc)

Also in leadership: profound changes are occuring in society and geographies no longer define cultures.

In commercial writing: it's still early, and this takes time, but the concept of the "book" and how it's created is changing. Technologies that allow writers, editors, and beta readers to work on the manuscript simultaneously are increasing the velocity of change.

In art in general: someone else here mentioned music creation and payment is enabling entrants to sustain themselves in niche markets. This is happening in nearly all art forms, not just music. As electronic transfer fidelity increases, more art can be digitized, monetized. Look for more politicized, more global-reach art.

All these things stem from a greater understanding of the world and of human beings, starting with ourselves. It's important to realize each human being is a highly complex system and that generalizations about groups of humans are increasingly being challenged as scientifically unsound.

thenomad 2 days ago 0 replies      
My field's VR, so... all of it.

In particular, wireless transmitters for roomscale are really exciting - seriously, I cannot wait to get rid of the wire-to-head era - as is roomscale for mobile devices.

The Vive getting additional trackers is also super-cool, as that will enable some much better forms of locomotion through foot-tracking. It'll take a little while to take off but I expect the Lighthouse tracking ecosystem to produce all kinds of cool things.

(Not all in VR, either. Drones plus Lighthouse, for example...)

DanBC 2 days ago 0 replies      
1) Infused ketamine as a treatment for major depression and suicidal thinking

2) More understanding of the "bio psycho social" model of mental illness, with better coordination across different agencies to prevent suicide.

lngnmn 2 days ago 5 replies      
That in the past people used to deceive (delude) themselves and other fools around them with theology, speculations and metaphysics, today they do the same with statistics, probability and abstract models.
zeptomu 1 day ago 1 reply      
I work in remote sensing and we do e.g. segmentation of satellite imagery. There are two exciting developments: First, lots of vector data (think building footprints, road networks, etc.) and (satellite) raster data (e.g. Sentinel-2) is now available for free, secondly image segmentation using CNNs works just extremely well. Therefore there are many opportunities to build all kinds of software, in particular CNN based classifiers and distributed systems to handle the immense load of new data.

So I can highly recommend the field of remote sensing as there are many interesting problems to solve.

Kevin_S 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm an accountant working on financial reporting, and I am very excited about ways to implement automation into financial reporting processes. Only just now are people using excel proficiently, I can't wait to see what the next big step is.

Long story short, so many processes I work with are done completely manually, which is a colossal waste of time. When I started, the person who previously did my job had about 7 main processes they completed monthly, which took about 60 hours to complete. Those 7 processes take my about 10 hours to do after I built automated workbooks

The sad thing is that these excel capabilities have been around forever, but no one understands them.

planteen 2 days ago 0 replies      
CubeSats and small satellites are changing the game for spacecraft. Now scientists can get experiments launched for a few million dollars instead of campaigning much of their career for a mission costing hundreds of millions.
gigatexal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sqlserver coming to Linux via docker containers. It's insane and exciting. We are a sole MS shop and this is exciting because I'm pushing to move us away from Windows and onto Linux if possible the kicker being we are dedicated to SQlServer so exciting times ahead. Hopefully Ms doesn't gimp SQLserver on Linux.
rayalez 2 days ago 1 reply      
SideFX Houdini 16 is coming out [1], the new version of the most awesome software for 3D VFX and animation. Super excited about this, it's gonna be awesome!

Also, I'm really looking forward to the ActivityPub [2] implementation, that'll do a lot of interesting things for decentralized web.

[1] https://www.sidefx.com/community/houdini-16-launch-streaming...

[2] https://www.w3.org/TR/activitypub/

gtycomb 2 days ago 2 replies      
Enterprise Architecture. What is often an unmanageable bundle of "models", pictures, documentation (UML etc, or tools or repositories) giving way to concise and precise schema for architecture decision making a pleasant outcome of the informal global teamwork surrounding meta-models in DoDAF, simplifying EA activity to a level that has not been anticipated ...
andrey_utkin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hardware manufacturers caring about their drivers in mainline Linux.
tluyben2 2 days ago 0 replies      
The size of embedded electronics we have now. Makes me very excited about the near future. As a hobby I am excited by the advances in programming language development; most seemingly tiny and incremental but a lot of long term research is getting working implementations and that is brilliant. Another hobby is the robust push for timer perfect emulators of more and more older systems. But more than anything VR excites me; it is not 'my field' per se (I plod around clumsily with little demos) but it will be in the future. And it will never end.

Edit: there is a lot to be excited about these days

DanielBMarkham 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm really pumped about this open source tool project I've started which promises to join Lean Startup/Hypothesis-Driven Development and DevOps. Enter everything only once, have it available wherever it's needed.

Analysis has always been an area that the tech community has lacked, ever since it was overdone back in the days of structured programming. It's really cool to bring back a bit of structured analysis as just another tool in the DevOps pipeline and join up the information with all the folks that need it.

dotancohen 2 days ago 1 reply      
In general, this is a question that I would ask interviewees (for any position). And answer other than shock shows that they are keeping abreast in their field.
dorait 2 days ago 0 replies      
Chatbots with Intelligence. A variety of skill bots that can teach people at all levels. Made possible by AI engines like api.ai, luis.ai and others.
samuelbrin 2 days ago 0 replies      
"field" would be a strong word as it's more of a diy hobby thing, but in the world of FPV drones I'm excited for flight controllers with integrated 4-in-1 ESCs (electronic speed controllers). Wouldn't say it changed the game but makes it so much easier to build these quadcopter and opens up new possibilities.
profalseidol 2 days ago 0 replies      
The growing class consciousness is the most exciting, as well as scariest. We can build a non-profit driven world (socialism) - or - hate driven world (fascism). Reading various texts starting with Karl Marx's Das Kapital is probably the most important learning a person can have at present.
zump 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why hasn't there been any innovation in the area of sleep?
SAI_Peregrinus 2 days ago 0 replies      
NewHope and NewHope-Simple Ring-LWE key exchange systems. Post-quantum secure key exchange with performance (speed/key size) that's actually practical! There's not much point to having a secure cryptosystem if it's so expensive you can't use it.
simooooo 2 days ago 0 replies      
.net core

cross platform, open source, very fast

VestingAxis 2 days ago 1 reply      
As someone who works in the semiconductor industry, one of the most exciting things happening right now is the development and emergence of persistent/storage class memory (PCM/RRAM/3DXP/NVDIMMs). The implications of a persistent alternative to DRAM is immense and besides fundamentally changing compute/memory/networking/storage architectures it will also change programming models and SW stacks as we know them today. This is a topic I feel doesn't get enough visibility here, especially given that support for such technologies has already started getting baked in to Linux and Windows.
qiv 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am a physicist in biology (so take these with a grain of salt) and CRISPR is arguably the most exciting development there. This technique allows to edit DNA based on guiding RNAs which can be readily synthesized in contrast to DNA binding proteins required for targeted editing before. What's more the same technology can be used to adjust gene regulation too. These techniques are not only giving basic research a big boost, but also making many new treatments possible.

Another hot topic are organoid bodies and organs-on-a-chip. These are experimental systems where stem cells are turned to grow into structures similar to embryos or organs that allow the study of development and facilitate drug testing etc.

Thirdly, advances in sequencing made it possible to study what kind of bacteria live symbiotically within and on us. The composition of this so called microbiome seems to widely affect body and mind.

Finally, in my personal field, the simulation of how "simple" cells build complex structures and solve difficult tasks, the most exciting development is GPGPU :-)

joelthelion 2 days ago 1 reply      
Deep learning is a game changer for image processing (that should be fairly obvious to anyone reading HN). It still requires a lot of expertise to use, but it's enabling people to do things that were previously extremely difficult or even impossible to achieve.
ivanceras 2 days ago 0 replies      
Rust, webassembly and the ability to compile rust code to wasm.
suhith 2 days ago 0 replies      
Docker, containers are crazy powerful and cool too!

Lots of cool stuff in the space like Kubernetes, Swarm, CoreOS, rkt!!

Existenceblinks 2 days ago 2 replies      
Embedded systems - Wireless Sensors Networks, I know it has been there for long time but IoT would encourage it more. It could enable development of different kinds of devices as well. Look at camera industry for example. There should be more types of sensor to be more popular than just the image sensor. Quadcopter/Drone/AI etc.

In my view, there are still a huge room of applications where wireless and sensor combined, and we already have web/native platforms. This is so exciting development!

genieyclo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Amazon Polly wrt text-to-speech (much cheaper than Ivona and maybe better over the long-term)
neltnerb 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't speak for everyone in my field (chemical manufacture and catalyst development), but I wrote about some of what I think are the current coolest new developments in chemistry and materials science as it relates to machine learning. [1]

In summary, the use of machine learning can help us develop better representations of chemical reactions, catalyst behavior, and we can now use adaptive learning to create closed-loop systems to identify, carry out, and optimize chemical processes to reduce environmental impact, reduce energy usage, and decrease costs.

The state of the art isn't quite there, but I see no major conceptual barriers left -- just a matter of implementing it.

[1] http://www.brianneltner.com/machine-learning/

rodolphoarruda 1 day ago 0 replies      
Predictive analysis done via Learning Management Systems (LMS) to identify students at risk of dropping courses at Universities. Student retention is a big topic now because it really impacts directly on school's revenue stream and financial health. The big hope is with AI to be able to track how students interact with peers, with teachers and with instructional content, and then cluster students by their evasion risk.
AshleysBrain 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think consumer software has so much to gain by moving to front-end web tech, we bet our next product on it: https://www.scirra.com/blog/184/a-first-look-at-construct-3
pyvpx 2 days ago 1 reply      
P4 language. Truly defining networks via software is currently and will continue to be amazing.
themihai 2 days ago 0 replies      
WASM looks like the most exciting development for the web.
chrisguitarguy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Advertising. Definitely first party data for targeting. An advertiser takes some data from its CRM, sends it to the big social sites and google, and then uses the list to target those folks specifically or create look-a-likes. Actual cross device targeting (because people are logged in), extremely personalized and relevant.

This is coupled with a move away from cookies[0].

0. https://adwords.googleblog.com/2017/01/making-youtube-better...

jchassoul 2 days ago 0 replies      
finally been able to play starcraft brood war again! now as trainers of predictive models and coach of machines.
icco 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google publishing the SRE book.
deepnotderp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Generative adversarial networks in Deep learning.

Basically, it pits two networks in a "duel" and one of them is a generator network that learns to make images.

dorianm 2 days ago 1 reply      

A fast compiled ruby-like programming language.

pnut 2 days ago 1 reply      
iLoch 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a web developer. We've picked up Microsoft Orleans for a large scale data analysis platform we're building. Realizing the power of an actor model on a mature platform like .NET has been a real treat. So many nasty problems go away: threading, messaging queues, job queues, caching, general scaling.
hacksOfSumit 2 days ago 1 reply      
autonomous cars & swarm control
michakirschbaum 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a web developer, I'm probably most excited about Phoenix.
ainiriand 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another javascript framework. No, seriously, my field is starting to unravel the secrets of artificial intelligence. A lot of ethic conundrums are going to be started by those advancements.
signa11 2 days ago 0 replies      
for networking, imho, it would be a combination of sdn+dpdk making it feasible to use vanilla x86 boxes for a wide variety of tasks, where you would have earlier required 'purpose built' silicon etc.
insulanian 1 day ago 0 replies      
Rise of Elixir and Rust.
uranian 2 days ago 4 replies      
Most annoying is the need to write in ES6/Babel today, and all these js hipsters that really believe this is the future of web development. I totally hate Babel with it's dozens of Webpack patches/plugins to make it work. Oh, and don't forget your (Airbnb style) linter if you want to be politically correct.

No one needs Babel to write stellar code IMHO. Unfortunately it is not about the quality of the code you write, it is about being politically correct. This whole ES6/ES7 thing is much based on what Coffeescript, Livescript, etc.. already did much better more than 5 years ago. And I dare to guess that most of the Babel proponents don't even realise it's just a transpiler that they will need till the end of the projects live.

note: I expect serious down votes as opposing Babel is almost a serious crime nowadays and proves my unlimited stupidity.

No, web development is not really exiting nowadays, it is more terrifying, where the hype goes tomorrow? Maybe soon I will be forced to write in MS Typescript if I want to be taken seriously. Same counts for Redux because Flux is so 2014.. you must be very brave not using Redux! I can go on and on, way too many examples..

Finding a web developer job now is particularly about complying to made up standards that become more complex every day. And I've seen quit some horrible code bases that perfectly comply! It's a very sad reality.

coinidons 2 days ago 2 replies      
In Bioinformatics/DNA sequencing I'm probably most excited by Illumina's push toward a 100USD genome.

Their current scale-up of instruments I think means that they're looking to aggressively push into diagnostic applications.

The lack of competition is unfortunate however.

The State of Go golang.org
464 points by dotmanish  2 days ago   382 comments top 37
joaodlf 2 days ago 12 replies      
I don't share some of the opinions I see in the comments here.

I've recently started programming in Go and I am having a blast. Plus, I am making my systems faster and simpler with Go. I love concurrency in Go. I love the concept of Goroutines, the simple and intuitive use of Select. Channels still present a few mysteries here and there... But I'll get it at some point.

But the n#1 thing for me in Go is: It's written in Go. It's refreshing to drill into the language details, I feel like I have learned so much from seeing the Go source code (and having it readily available with a Ctrl+click in VS Code).

Maybe it's because I don't have the "depth" of some of the HN users, but Go feels great to me.

DrBazza 2 days ago 2 replies      
Given some of the comments, I'll make the same comment I've made before: Stroustrup is right, there are languages that people complain about, and languages that no-one uses. Go is now firmly in the former camp.

I'm a C++ dev, and I really enjoy using Go. If you don't like what it does or how it does it, it's not for you. Either way, people are out there using it, making systems from it, and generally getting on with it.

didibus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Go's success is attributable to the fact that it is the first compiled language in a long time which is backed by a major company and has managed to deliver a simple and enriched experience compared to the old company backed compiled languages.

1. Fast compilation is a killer feature.

2. Ease of deployment, as a self contained executable (static linked), is a joy.

3. Channels are a revolutionary concept to every programmer who had only touched mainstay languages.

4. Type inference is a revolutionary concept to every programmer who had only touched mainstay languages.

5. Go's syntax is less verbose than all other earlier mainstay languages. Such as how public/private is handled through casing, and not having to type public or private.

6. Go's structural typing is a revolutionary concept to every programmer who had only touched mainstay languages.

7. Everything that's new in Go to a programmer who had only touched mainstay languages before it is not there in Go as an extra set of features, but the only thing for them to use. This greatly focuses them on learning those new features. Also, non of the features are too radical to throw them off completely.

8. All the tools for Go, are built by the team behind Go.

9. Go's battery included, and has a great selection of modern standard libs.

When compared to Java, Go lacks very little, and brings a lot to the table. Generics are probably the biggest omission, but that's probably going to make it in the language eventually.

grabcocque 2 days ago 6 replies      
The best summary I read recently is that go isn't a bad language, nor is it a particularly good one. What fascinates me is the way the Golang community have concretised that essential middle-of-the-roadness as the language's prime virtue. That, of course, has long been Java's prime virtue as well. (see Blub Paradox)

By putting "we're okay with being okay" as your Big Thing you're clearly pitching for that vast bulk of mid-quality developers that make up the huge middle chunk of corporate devs, the space where Java reigns supreme.

ptero 2 days ago 2 replies      
IMO the Go goal is to be an enhancement of C. It is not as expressive as some existing languages (i.e., Go programs may be longer), but it is very good for translating clearly thought through logic into efficient machine code.

It supports some of the features that original C lacks (networking, parallelism, channels, etc.), which to me is a very good thing. With minimal forethought this allows writing programs that can be massively scaled later without impeding initial checkouts at small data sets.

Eventually the success or failure may be determined by the libraries developed by the user community. For example, fortran survived so long not because it was a good language, but because it had freely available, easy to use world class libraries for numerical computation. Many grad students kept using Fortran given the choice of an existing, working, ugly-ish code that they could use for their PhD projects vs redeveloping and retesting the same functionality from scratch.

j2kun 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm concurrently learning Go and Node, which might not be a fair comparison but I'm going to make the comparison anyway.

Node feels like a flesh wound with delicately layered bandaids. The ecosystem is a mess, you have to jerry rig basic packages to work together, the syntax and semantics of closures and context is ridiculous, and despite that callback mania is like this cool-aid that's supposed to feel great once you drink it (but hasn't yet for me).

Go just...works.

greg7mdp 2 days ago 13 replies      
My impression is that Go is a language that was cobbled together to simplify the coding of some specific applications, such as simple servers. It lacks any kind of purity, is not the best choice for any specific task, but is just good enough for some (many?) tasks. And poor type safety!

Frankly, I can't help being disappointed by how bland this language is, and I have zero interest in using it. Maybe because I like coding, and the IMHO using Go or Java would totally kill the fun of it.

inblueredgreen 2 days ago 1 reply      

ouch compile time type safety... even Go maintainers have abandoned it. Go pundits can't expect developers not to do the same thing in their own codebase at that point.

Can't wait for aliases though.

JacksonGariety 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm in a pretty weird place with Go.

On the one hand, I really cannot stop using it. I can build an small web applications in a day or two, I can write them in just slightly more lines than Rails, and the applications I can build are much speedier than Rails applications.

On the other hand, I really, really hate using Go. It's tremendously boring and I never feel the code is that elegant.

I've tried Haskell, but I end up messing around monads too much because there's so much IO.

Rails is fantastic, but I'd prefer to experiment. I never grow as a developer when I use Rails.

Node.js is great. But if I don't need to write a lot of JavaScript on the frontend I end up asking myself: why am I writing JavaScript on the backend?

Racket or Chicken Scheme look like good directions for me. Erlang looks interesting. Maybe I should give Clojure another shot?

naaaaak 2 days ago 5 replies      
Awful to try to read on mobile. Regular page anywhere?
throwaway91111 2 days ago 1 reply      
Man I really wish they would stop using whatever crappy presentation software this is; it NEVER works well on mobile.
spraak 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm yearning for the Golang of functional programming. That is, excellent std lib, clear documentation, awesome tooling, active community.. and after typing this, maybe that's Elixir? Though I do love static typing.
gw 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm at FOSDEM where this talk was just given. Francesc was hilarious.
zirtec 2 days ago 0 replies      
Definitely the talk I enjoyed the most at FOSDEM today. Both instructive, relevant and pleasant to listen to. Glad to see things like sort.Slice or JSON rendering. When you're spoiled with python or groovy, you miss them them badly.
amelius 2 days ago 0 replies      
How is Go as a compiler-target? I'm asking because I've heard that Go has a very good concurrent garbage collector.
zalmoxes 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's a worldwide Go 1.8 Release Party on Feb 16th. If you're interested in Go, or want to discuss changes in 1.8, find a meetup near you.


rusbus 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was glad to find they made it much easier to define custom sorts for slices. But! Why on earth does what should really be syntactic sugar make sorting nontrivially slower?

It speaks to the lack of expressiveness in golang that you can't make sorting less egregiously verbose without adding a performance penalty.

camperman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I shall be moving my codebase to Go this year. I'm very impressed at how readable it is, how much thought has gone in to the tooling and support environment and how fast the GC is now. I also must be one of the few people who likes the assembler :)
YZF 2 days ago 0 replies      
Most of my work is C++ but I've also used Go a fair bit since Go 1.5. I like Go a lot. The C++ crowd (including myself) keeps trying to make things that are trivial in Go easier in C++ but the best efforts still look like a mess. I think the lightweight/green threads model of concurrency wins over others (threads, processes) and is incredibly difficult to get right in C++. Channels are also very useful and difficult to get right in C++. While C++ with some aid from Boost can be a very safe language it ends up being a lot harder to write and read with all sorts of [](){} -> hacked up conventions that are a result of backwards compatibility. I find the test infrastructure in Go to also be very pleasant and easy to use. Stuff you need to go to extremes of C++ to test are just trivial to do in Go.

Things I would like to see improved:

- Package management. I think "go get" was an interesting idea that is basically a fail for anything except the most trivial of situations. Vendoring is not a great solution either IMO. Perhaps some idea that manages package versions through local git repositories can work better since a git repository is a better representation of the version history of packages.

- I didn't like the compile speed loss we took when the compiler code base moved to Go. I'm not quite sure where it stand right now but one of the things that I liked about Go from the beginning is lightning quick builds.

- In my usage there seem to a few quirks in the language including the various scoping weirdness and the declare and assign operator := ... I frequently end up with code that re-uses the same variable such that the first instance is := and the next are = which makes refactoring a pain. The compound if statement also suffers from this.

The uppercase/lowercase public/private convention is also odd. You get used to it but it seems like a hacky afterthought.

bokertov 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm on my iPhone and the slides are terrible to navigate on a mobile browser.
coldcode 2 days ago 3 replies      
I for one will be more interested in using Go when Jetbrains finishes their IDE. Clearly not everyone cares to develop in an IDE but after 33 years of doing it, I prefer the idea. Give Swift (my current work) as many years as Go has had (10 years), and maybe I won't find Go that interesting any more.
niftich 2 days ago 1 reply      
Conversion rules seem like an awfully specific language feature to introduce just to scratch a very particular itch.

The rest of the slides are pretty standard-fare, and that's a good thing. Would've liked a reference to the lack of monotonic time, though; either an acknowledgment that it's a problem (because it's now fairly widely known), or a mention that a new proposal to fix it [1] is in the works.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13566110

wtbob 2 days ago 0 replies      
This slideshow doesn't work on narrow browsers: a narrow browser window clips the text, despite there being more than enough window space to display all the information on the slide.

Remember when the Web was automatically adaptive? Remember when we preferred HTML to PDF because it adapted?

cft 2 days ago 1 reply      
Go is better for applied tasks. Currently there is no faster way to write or simpler language than Go to write a highly scalable internet server that can handle 100-1000k concurrent clients on the commodity hardware. I suspect this applies to some big data analysis tasks in bioinformatics, that can be parallelized.
knodi 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think Go is an amazing lang, its simple yet powerful. I have been using it in production for over 3 years.
widdma 1 day ago 1 reply      
Video here: http://video.fosdem.org/2017/H.1302/ (go_state.*)
neonkiwi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like the video is here, but YouTube is having trouble with it at the moment:


riprock 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've never used Go, but would you write your customer facing REST service using Go? Or would it only be used for back-end microservices? What's a recommended library for writing a customer facing REST API?
bokertov 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm on my iPhone and the slides don't work well.
Hydraulix989 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why are we getting rid of OSX 10.8 and some of ARM6? Are they _really_ that much extra work to support? I have a hard time believing so.
tehwalrus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Impossible to read on an iPhone SE. Landscape or portrait, slides cut in half and jumping around when you try to scroll.
mrcactu5 2 days ago 1 reply      
i love languages and i am enjoying seeing Go mature as a language. At the moment I do have my hands tied with Elm and Haskell.

Originally I am a Python programmer. Any advice for people transitioning for Python? What are some of the advantages of Go?

Bino 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is there a youtube view available?
Keyframe 2 days ago 2 replies      
One thing I never understood with Go was what's the deal with multiple return values in functions? Why would you do this? What was the reasoning?
kmicklas 2 days ago 1 reply      
And yet no generics still. What a joke.
notforgot 2 days ago 3 replies      
Question: who is going to remember all these conversion rules? By the second bullet you lost me.

Simply run the command below:

 go tool fix -diff -force=context state-of-go/tools/gofix.go
How is typing 59 characters simple?

fnl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Golang really seems to have come a long way. But what holds me back from using it are the dangers of deadlocks and segfaults (due to forgotten error handling) that might be introduced even inadvertedly if applied to industrial-scale projects (say, 1M+ LOC, 10+ developers). That is, I see many small (server/microservice) projects flourish with Golang, and it seems an excellent replacement for certain types of C projects, but I wonder how Go enthusiasts believe it could scale to compete with Java or C++, due to the way it does error handling, and deadlocking issues with channels.
We have decided to disable IMDb's message boards imdb.com
421 points by ivank  2 days ago   317 comments top 64
exodust 2 days ago 8 replies      
Thumbs down to whoever decided to close the boards.

I'll miss being able to argue about why a movie is rubbish with someone who thinks it's fantastic, or vice-versa.

There's some great discussions on some of the movie boards where people talk about the stories and motivations of characters etc. Sure it gets heated sometimes, but that's life. You just navigate around that stuff and find things worth responding to.

Sending people to "Facebook" is not an alternative as there is no facility to divide discussion per thousands of movies over there, and... it's Facebook, the fast food of online discussion. It's designed more for small packets of latest buzz more than dedicated threaded topics. What a joke IMDB, they should fix their boards with post-limits, voting up/down posts, and community moderation.

ransom1538 2 days ago 6 replies      
Developed/ran a message board software for 4 years.

Running a large message board network is one of the worst experiences I have ever had. You are constantly wasting time moderating people, blocking people, recalculating algorithms, dealing with attacks and explaining to the police you don't have the IP address in question. Every large message board I have developed or managed revolted or sued us ([1][2] random example revolts). One of the largest being niketalk.com. THIS, while making NO MONEY. Users that use generic message boards are extremely hostile towards ads and refuse to pay for anything. EVERYTHING done by the moderators is overblown and people working there are publicly quartered.

Yeah no thanks. I would have removed the boards too - then got a coffee.

[1] http://mashable.com/2010/08/30/users-revolt-against-new-digg...

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/07/reddit-re...

chippy 2 days ago 5 replies      
This is pretty bad move and here's why: IMDb relies on users using the site, editing entries, facts, quotes and correcting things.

These are the community, and they are movie fans, hardcore fans, the reason why IMDb continues. The "db" in IMDb has been created, by hand, by volunteers - the users who use the message board.

IMDb has totally overlooked the value of the Message Boards - they are for the community. Remove this and IMDb as a whole will suffer.

Consider this comparison: Imagine if Wikipedia said that it was only going to have Facebook logins for editors. All user pages were being deleted, no user meetups were allowed and no meta discussion about pages was allowed, but only that normal articles, the main thing non editors read were to be kept. Thats a stretched comparison - the idea is the the message boards are how the community works, not just some little addon that non community members don't use.

therealdrag0 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
Off topic: I've found that IMDB has the best advanced search of any media website I've seen: http://www.imdb.com/search/title

Amazon, Audible, Goodreads, etc are all crap / offer nothing compared to this. I love it, but it makes me sad that other systems don't support such well featured sorting. I wonder if it's because other ones are using document stores instead of relational or something that makes it architecturally difficult.

Strom 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is incredibly sad news. I have been a regular reader of IMDb message boards for over 15 years now. It's the last actual forum that I still visit.

There's so much valuable information stored on those boards, it's a tragedy to see it get deleted. Sure the most popular movie threads might be filled with toxic flamewars, but the long tail of more obscure movies has reasonable discussion and human recommendations of other similar movies. It's precisely this why I'm extra sad about this whole situation. It's not difficult to find a community to talk about the next Star Wars, but there aren't really any places where discussion (in English) about 20 years old Dutch movies happens.

Anthony-G 2 days ago 2 replies      
Another nail in the coffin for the open web!

As I mentioned in another comment [1], I read the discussion threads but have never actually contributed to them. I can easily click a link to view all past discussion related to the film I'm interested in without having to sign up and become a member. This would be impossible in Facebook or Twitter where discussion is ephemeral, not conducive to thoughtful expression and not intended for archival or organisation.

It's a real shame that IMDB are just going to remove the boards. Even if they didn't want to allocate resource for maintaining a community, IMDB could have opted to make the forums read-only and keep them as an archive for posterity.

On a tangential note, IMDB is one of the few sites where I see ads because they're not using third-party trackers (as far as Privacy Badger can tell).

1: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13571893#13572081

dsr_ 2 days ago 4 replies      

"We thought we would get a community of fans for free. We didn't realize that maintaining a community requires active engagement, setting rules for behavior and enforcing them. We really didn't think anyone would bother being a troll. This is all too expensive to do properly."

trengrj 2 days ago 3 replies      
It is incredulous they are calling two weeks notice "ample time" for people to organise alternative contacts with friends they may only know via a handle and manually archive their years of messages. I expected better from IMDb.
5_minutes 2 days ago 2 replies      
Perhaps I'm oldfashioned but all the discussions that happen on the "social web" are very scattered, volatile and basically instantly forgotten. So I don't really find that a good argument to delete these archives. That they're overal low-quality discussions, that's true, though.

I guess it has more to do with "Focus", and that comes before "Nostalgia".

song 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's a pity, the boards of not popular movies sometimes had very interesting discussions. I got in the habit always check the message boards after watching a movie.

I've never really posted though, just been a lurker. I hope the Internet Archive archives this in some form.

type0 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've found some of my favorite movies on iMDB in recommended movies threads. It's sad that they don't think it's worth it to keep. I get that their forums are infested with trolls, but they could just relaunch it on new a platform. Hell take discourse, pick some good posters as moderators, move the good threads and archive the rest. Amazon is already doing the forum thing on DPreview, why can't they just copy the concept to iMDB?!
myf01d 2 days ago 2 replies      
I can't understand, is storing pure text too expensive for IMDB which is owned by Amazon which runs half the servers of the planet? Why don't they keep the threads while disabling new discussions?
numerlo 2 days ago 1 reply      
The younger generation or even people newer at the internet never learned how valuable those boards where. IMDb failed with the newer generation and that's why they are shuting them down (the fact that they have to spend resources to keep them up doesn't help either). The comments here (up until now at least) are a representation of their failure as everyone states that nothing of value was lost and most didn't bother with IMDb's boards ever (Hacker News' biggest audience IS that younger generation).
Yhippa 2 days ago 2 replies      
If bulletin board software was made today and was free of the archetypes and styles of the 90's and 2000's would they be more popular today? Spent a lot of time on them during those years and I still find valuable information there whether it's how to fix a car or what strategy should I use to play a certain game.

I think these communities were more tight-knit. They had some modicum of moderation as you typically had to sign up and typically you had to be a good citizen for a while before posting threads. This is in comparison to many social media where you can begin trolling with little to no effort.

Reddit favors gamification or conforming to popular opinion. Many of the forums I frequented didn't have any sort of rep other than post count and maybe join date to see seniority.

I see a lot of sites I used to visit go this way including the forums for Magic: the Gathering. Based on user numbers and the rise of social media platforms they are very likely going to substitute for the old tight-knit forums of yesteryear.

sparkzilla 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon, the owner of IMDB, does not understand the value of community, apparently seeing it as a cost instead of as an opportunity. So instead of taking advantage of the knowledge and interest of 250 million users, they have given that community to Facebook. Instead, they should have given better tools to their users by making IMDB into a social network for movies. What a waste.
lordnacho 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if the current revolution in AI will accidentally kill online message boards.

Here's the line of reasoning. Some of these steps are probably already occurring.

- It will be easy write a bot that understands what's being said.

- A bot can follow many threads at once, multiplying the reading workload for humans.

- A bot can pull large amounts of information together into a cogent argument, or at least one that cannot be dismissed by a human without a fair few minutes of reading. For instance, if I want to troll people by coming with reasons why women should not be allowed to vote, my bot could spin a yarn about how Switzerland is an advanced industrial country that only in 1991 allowed its remaining women to vote. I could pull data about women being left-leaning, more emotional, and so on. And the data needn't actually be true, I can quote sources with wrong numbers, create new sources, and so on. You, the interested debater, would have to follow this pile of crap and debunk each item, eating up your whole evening.

- In order to defeat such a bot, someone will invent a fact-checking bot (Like a GAN, it could decide whether you were botting your argumentation). Sounds good, but wait. A fact-checking bot would have to present its side of the story. And how would it do that? Just like a human, here's your points, here's why they're wrong, here's the actual facts, and so on.

- So now every message board is bots talking to bots.

- Humans will have to fall back to heuristics, like "read the first line and decide if there's a point". But of course a bot can figure out what the weaknesses in your heuristics are.

- People will get sick of writing on boards, because well, they're not for people.

bogomipz 2 days ago 0 replies      
They seem to be adopting the same public comment that NPR did when they shutdown comments - "we aren't shutting it down but rather we are simply 'migrating' community engagement to Twitter(and perhaps other social media outlets.)"

I find relegating community engagement to Twitter creates an uneven experience in that I have to go "out of band" to participate when I am already on the IMDB site. Also discussing movies(or any art form for that matter) via 140 characters is hard for me personally to take seriously.

I wish they had provided numbers for the volume that uses the comments section vs Twitter as it would have been interesting.

Maybe this change will create an opportunity for an alternate movie site?

ptrptr 2 days ago 3 replies      
This just shows how Amazon is only interested in selling movies, not building communities.Can someone recommend any other movie forum with similiar scale?
pcarolan 2 days ago 1 reply      
This would be a good opportunity for someone to build an independent message board layer similar to gitter or genius. Its been tried before unsuccessfully but sooner or later someone will get it right. As the web becomes more closed, this could be a platform for more open discussion.
lpolovets 2 days ago 1 reply      
IMDb's message boards have terrible UX and are mostly devoid of good content. That said, I wonder how loyal posters on the boards will take this. I can't imagine how frustrated I'd be with a site if they suddenly decided to delete 10 or 20 years of my commenting history. E.g. what if HN or Reddit decided to delete comments and just kept story links?
Markoff 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Movie database (TMDb) added yesterday (February 6th) Discussions functionality for each title (movie/TV show).


You will find it in top left of the page next to poster under Discussions button with Bubble icon, so feel free leave IMDb which abandoned users and plan to delete their content.

You can return back to movie page by clicking on name of movie. Discussions have two categories - General, for general topics regarding movie, Content issues is self explanatory regarding content on main page.

Link from mobile view is currently NOT available, should be rolled out today accoding admin (Travis Bell) words. As temporary solution you can add "discuss" in the end of mobile URL.

I am not in any way affiliated with TMDb and registered there like 2 days ago when finding sad news that IMDb is going to delete my comments I wrote for 14 years and what's worse won't let me discuss movies with other movie fans.

After doing research of alternatives (Rotten Tomatoes, MetaCritic, Letterboxd, Trakt.tv and other) I consider TMDb the best alternative to move on with your ratings, watchlists and discussions, none of other sites mentioned earlier have proper discussions, only other alternativ are threaded comments at Trakt.tv.

MaudTheNovice 2 days ago 0 replies      

I mean, stop being sad as in feeling defeated. It's not an end, it's a problem in the continuation. You are hackers, and the announcement gives a very clear clue as to what you can do to solve this problem; archive the content, mirror it, and launch your own decentralized movie discussion platform!

Think about how The Pirate Bay is backed up these days; dozens of TPB mirrors exist to guarantee the continued existence of the service. Decentralization is good. This is good as in it's good to be reminded not to put your eggs in a centralized (and commercially motivated) basket!

wildpeaks 2 days ago 0 replies      
Another piece of Internet History gets deleted, that's a pity. Personally it literally was the very first url I memorized back in IE3 times, and eventually first online user account as well (June 1999, wow, time flies).
OliverJones 2 days ago 0 replies      
Strategic mistake. The so-called "open web", even with crude user interfaces, is a more credible source of information than easily manipulated and falsified "news" feeds on closed platforms like FB.
jug 1 day ago 1 reply      
I understand the gigantic task of moderating boards on the scale that IMDB's probably were, but social network accounts are definitely no substitute as history on these is not tuned for searching. They're flat streams of haphazard comments to whatever is posted on these accounts.

I just now chose to search IMDB's Facebook page for "Star Wars The Force Awakens" for a recent huge movie, using IMDB's supposed "replacement" to these forums. It ought to get no better than this. Top three results:

1. Which film do you think will be the next $2 billion dollar movie?

2. John Boyega to star in Pacific Rim 2

3. Daisy Ridley to star in novel adaption Chaos Walking

None of these are even about the movie I searched, much less a focused discussion! It's completely useless. But that's not because Facebook's search engine is bad. It's searching what has been posted. No, it's because Facebook is not a search engine for catalogued knowledge to begin with. Why? Because Facebook doesn't even contain organized information. It's the wrong tool for this job. It's like going to a pub to extract information rather than going to a library.

This is in extent a problem I've felt has grown worse lately. The big social networks are eating up the web which is not only a loss due to consolidation and reliance on what the giants decide to do (a ton of eggs in very few baskets), but because social networks are tuned to be live or at best "the fresh of today". That works when chatting daily with friends, but not to look up thoughts and opinions on a movie from 1995, or anything else for that matter.

There is also a conceptual difference here, even if social networks did catalogue information to be browsable. They usually work as advertisement platforms and people write reactionary comments, while on a message board people go there in order to indulge themselves in a discussion or get questions answered = much higher discussion quality. Even if the IMDB boards weren't exactly always top quality, they were often much better than the swamps of Facebook.

frik 1 day ago 1 reply      
IMDb seems to be in low maintenance mode for years. I don't understand why Amazon doesn't invest more in it's valuable sister company.

Every slight renovation of the old IMDb website design makes it worse. They should just modify they CSS if they don't understand their job.

IMDb is the Wikipedia of movies, started as community mailing list (or usenet?) and became one of the first websites.

The forum softwares never got improved, it worked the same for 15+ years.

So sad, as really a lot of insightful comments can be found related to movies. Yes, there are the usual troll threads "Person X looks like Person Y", etc but those could be shadow banned really easily. Even if the comments ate archived by Archive.org/etc there will be no method to ask questions or use the forum in future - and all upcoming movies will have no comments. Very sad.

burger_moon 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems crazy that in this time of wanting to hoard and mine user data Amazon (who owns imbd) would close down a direct channel for collecting user information.

If trolls really were the issue then why not use that as an opportunity to devise a new bot to watch and moderate that. amazon is always exploring new ways to use machine learning and this could have been a great use case.

It all seems to go against their core principles.

jimmydouglas 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hi all! I am a co-founder of Trakt and I thought you would all like to know our thoughts on this.

We are planning on significantly revamping our community engagement experience. In fact, it is our most significant project for 2017 and we sketched out the plan over a weekend last month.

Trakt has a form of threaded discussion on our web app today. But of course, it has a long way to go before it can fill the shoes of IMDB. The feedback we are seeing here about what people appreciated about IMDB is extremely helpful, so please do keep it coming, or feel free to reach out to us directly. That said, our approach will be different from traditional forum-style discussions because we see an opportunity to vastly improve the experience by following the lead of today's well-executed communities.

Of course, our intention is to facilitate discussions within Trakt that are categorized within specific media like a TV episode, a movie, and likely more options such as directors and actors. While doing so, we have two major priorities that I hope will set us apart from what you previously had available to you:

1) A community built on respect and reputation. A great example is Product Hunt, where I can always count on having a productive discussion should I decide to provide feedback to a maker or hunter.

2) A composition experience that helps you make beauty out of words. Of course, Medium has done a wonderful job with this and I hope to apply some of the lessons learned from their platform as it has evolved.

In the meantime, if you're interested in seeing your IMDB data imported to your Trakt account, there are multiple members of our community who have built wonderful tools to enable you to do this. Here's one: https://github.com/damienhaynes/TraktRater

Thank you!

cdelsolar 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is such a terrible idea. By far the main reason I go to IMDb is to see and participate in the discussions on the movie I just watched.
JoeAltmaier 1 day ago 0 replies      
Its tragic when every niche web facility gets axed because it isn't mainstream enough. This is what gives us watered-down media and bland food. Aim for the middle is ok, you gotta survive in the market - but to actively axe the ends of the bell-curve is irresponsible. Even though only a percent of the visitors used the boards, isn't that still hundreds of thousands of people? Aren't they a special demographic? How do they know its nobody they want to support?
colinstrickland 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm one of the original developers and the primary author of the IMDb boards system, started way back in 2001. I wrote up my thoughts here - https://www.beatworm.co.uk/blog/internet/imdb-boards-no-more
brownbat 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have no idea why we decided that everyone who makes content or provides a service must also be great at moderating commenting systems.

Disaggregating comment from content is a great move for the web. It's part of the process of offloading commenting systems to people who are good at running them.

There's no reason we couldn't eventually have a browser plugin that appends a forum to a side-panel on every page online. In fact, Google had one of those, called Sidewiki. It was one of the most visionary ideas for the web that no one ever used.

intopieces 2 days ago 1 reply      
Eh. They were mostly people starting threads with the title "This movie sucks." Not much valuable discussion there.
electrichead 2 days ago 1 reply      
I know that a lot of people don't frequent the boards so they might not see value in them, but I have a few experiences over the years that endeared this community to me. One was right after watching the second movie in the Matrix trilogy: the cliffhanger left so many open questions that the conversations around it were immensely interesting. I think actually that a few of the theories then (Zion in a zion and others) ended up being way more interesting than what actually happened in the third movie. In fact I think the Watchowskis were reading and following these theories themselves too or maybe I'm not remembering that correctly (it's been a while).

Another interesting one was right after watching Primer. A movie like that is meant to be talked about. I remember reading these boards and watching the movie again because there were so many interesting theories about what happened.

These are only two instances but over the years there were so many others where I'd watch a movie and then go to read about theories about the plot. The movie has to have a plot worth discussing for this to have value though, so in as non-condescending way as possible I wonder if perhaps people don't value that type of movie any more at all. Or maybe the number of boards where nothing interesting is being said dwarfs the ones that do. I don't know is, but I do feel like this is a huge loss because there are so many theories that will be lost forever.

oliwarner 2 days ago 0 replies      
Mixed feelings about this.

I'll miss inane arguments about movies, but I'll be glad to see the back of the "Oh she's growing up fine" comments on under age actresses' profiles. Creepers are creepy.

simias 2 days ago 4 replies      
And not much of value was lost. Those boards had terrible usability. IIRC not long ago you could only see one comment per page and had to click on every single comment to read the thread.

That changed a little while ago but you still have multi-pages for comments and it's hard to keep track of who replies to whom. They also have these weird signatures which are completely impossible to distinguish from the body of the comment unless the poster used a different color or something.

Not that the discussions were generally very insightful, mostly celebrity gossip and flamewars.

hkon 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sad. Usually when I have some question after having watched a movie, I can find the answer on the forum. But it seems all good movies have been made anyway. Maybe the era of movies are over.
dirkg 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is the worst news I've read. IMDB boards are where I always go to learn about a movie/tv show, there is decades worth of interesting threads and contributions from people who'd never use a 'social network', even with their stupid policy of deleting threads.

Its an insult the way they're going about this. Pretending that the majority of their users would prefer to use the cancer that is FB/Twitter, which even if you wanted to, is in no way even close to being a substitute to having a board for every single movie/tv/actor/cast ever.

The cost to run these boards is less than a rounding error to Amazon, they waste more money on their many projects that never go anywhere.

The real reason is that the people who actually use the boards are dedicated, you can't sell these people's profiles and 'monetize' them, you can't exploit them, and you can't sell them other junk.

I don't even care about moderation - any big forum will have trolls, let people self moderate.

gurkendoktor 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sigh. I actually had hope that IMDb would eventually fix its social functionality. That's obviously never going to happen.

There is (was?) a way to add friends on IMDb, but I found it ridiculously hard to find, and even now I can't see their movie ratings or watchlists. The message boards were stuck in the 90s, but at least they got the job done.

Maybe I should write a script to migrate all my ratings to Letterboxd...

dorianm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like the irony that it started in a message board. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMDb#History_before_website
anw 2 days ago 2 replies      
Unfortunate, but not too surprising.

I recall occasionally finding some interesting trivia on movies or actors/actresses that I would not have searched out on my own. Some very interesting stories on meeting a star in real life, or having grown up with them when they were a child provided a bit of depth that more cut and dry places like Wikipedia don't include, and places like the tabloids wouldn't find interesting enough to print.

Unfortunately these interesting comments are also hidden in the midst of users asking "who else think X actor looks like Y actor?" and the plethora of happy birthday threads.

I do wonder how many actors actually visit their IMDB comments section.

As far as there only being one post per comment, that can easily be changed by clicking on the "flat" view instead of the "thread" view. I agree that it may not be the best default, but it's at least available.

stevewillows 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's a shame to see the boards go, but I can understand their reasoning.

Letterboxd and the others are handy for tracking movies, but I found that using Google Sheets with the OMDB API is much better. I can pull the information that I want and easily input titles from lists on Letterboxd and other sites. Add 'Cloud Ignite' instead of pulling from the XML though. Going straight to the XML isn't reliable.

For those looking for good conversations, /r/flicks is the best bet. /r/truefilm is fantastic, but is geared toward long-form discussion.

Its unfortunate for the community. The IMDB boards have been handy over the years. I'm surprised they didn't move to something like Disqus.

r721 2 days ago 2 replies      
Interesting comment on reddit (by Manhattan_Writer):

"This is no surprise whatsoever. I've worked at IMDb (the worst and most discouraging experience of my professional life ) and believe me, the company is a soulless, empty corporate shell that has one goal: to sell advertising. It's not about movies, TV, or being 'guardians of data' - everything is about making money. The entire site is setup to sell advertising, and movie data is simply a means to achieve that. End of story.

The reason IMDb is getting rid of the message boards is simple: they can't be monetised. If IMDb could make money out of the boards, they'd be staying, but there's no cash in it for them, so they're getting axed. The sell-outs who run IMDb will have looked at the 'metrics' (a risible corporate buzzword the Data Team loves so much) and decided that traffic is not high enough for them to make any real money.

It really is that simple. I've experienced first-hand the obsession with metrics, and making money (at the expense of customer satisfaction), and it really is pathetic to behold. No decision is made at IMDb without greed being factored into the equation, and believe me, they will also shut down certain data sections at some point if they get in the way of making money. Forget the fact that the site has compiled 20+ years worth of important data - if one of the sections can no longer be monetised effectively (Literature, for example), they'll just get rid of it, and dump the hard work of thousands of contributors without batting an eye.

In financial terms, keeping the message boards live costs IMDb basically nothing, bar the human cost of maintenance, which - when considered in the context of the site's huge annual profit margin - is less than miniscule. Still, community cannot get in the way of making money, and trying to increase the site's earning by 5-10% every.single.year.

There's no point complaining about it, making suggestions, or suggesting alternate, viable solutions - the hacks at IMDb don't give a toss. There's no money in it for them, so they're not interested. They'll fob you off with the usual hollow platitudes, but make no mistake, the IMDb that people love died years ago. Now, the site is just a shiny, corporate plaything, pimped out by Amazon for the purposes of making money, with greed - not customer focus - being its primary driving force.

One final note: it probably burns IMDb that the majority (over one third) of their users come from China, the audience for which is far less valuable to advertisers than, say, the USA and the UK. Only about 5% of IMDb's users come from the UK, which is ironic considering the site originated in England. But, I digress - IMDb stopped having relevance years ago; Letterboxd is far superior."


hkmurakami 2 days ago 0 replies      
Call me cynical but all I can picture is one passionate longtime PM on IMDB losing a protracted political battle inside Amazon. If you're out there, thanks for fighting to keep it alive all this time.
robbrown451 2 days ago 1 reply      
It amazes me that no one has yet been able to build a self moderating message board that uses a combination of crowd sourcing and machine learning to lower the volumes of the microphones of bad actors. (while balancing it against the general concept of freedom of expression)

Hacker News is one of the better ones out there, but I think it comes more from having a smallish community and active moderation from above. Quora does a pretty good job of suppressing the content of trolls and spammers and those who are unable to provide positive content. But all of them could be improved.

wslh 2 days ago 0 replies      
I found these message boards useful in the past. For example when searching for movies based on parts of a movie script, more if these were obscure mpvies. I don't care about closing the message boards but the data should be archived.
v0v 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is exactly why we never had any forum/prv-msg/comments on our project at TVnfo.com :-) With previous projects, we learned that using those... especially open to public and not require any login to view posts is a very bad idea. Because people tend to post spam/scam and advertise there own products, and not provide any useful information about the actual content on website. In recent years, we've seen a lot of this abuse happening on iMDb as well.
diimdeep 2 days ago 0 replies      
I constantly check for meaning or interpretation of films there, so sad.
krisgenre 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, we anyway have http://movies.stackexchange.com/. Would have been nice if they had moved to some other platform.
hugh4life 2 days ago 0 replies      
I completely disagree with this... when I get on nostalgia kicks I often find useful bits of information about the current lives actors and actresses from my childhood who haven't had much work recently in the imbd comments.
Pxtl 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's good for companies to stick to what they're good at. If social isn't a core part of your offerings, don't half ass it and let the poo flinging monkeys take over.
utopcell 2 days ago 0 replies      
Weird move. Why not make the boards read-only (or at least, delete-only) ?
wnevets 2 days ago 0 replies      
I used to enjoy their message boards years ago but then it seemed like every single one was filled with trolls claiming the movie/show was terrible.
sgustard 2 days ago 3 replies      
Just picked a movie at random (Rogue One) and the top featured message board posts are:

 Krennic or Hux? I want a Chirrut Imwe & Baze Prequel What other genres could be transplanted to the Star Wars Universe? Just saw the film tonight - It was OK.
To me, that's a pretty random collection of fringe topics or opinions. Are these really the top things up for discussion about the movie? How about an AMA with the moviemakers? Seems like a lot of potential here not being used.

wooptoo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Couldn't they replace it with something like Disqus? It's a great way to have social comments without the fuss of maintaining the whole system.
pasbesoin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Calling back to times of yore (both Internet and real world, I guess): "Don't be a sharecropper."
vermooten 2 days ago 1 reply      
I didn't know they had a message board.
scottmcdot 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can someone scrape all the boards material and make it available?
dbg31415 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seems foolish to not at least replace them with Disqus.
awqrre 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pressured by the movie industry?
JCDenton2052 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great news. Quality of conversation is abysmal on those boards.
RileyKyeden 2 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't even know IMDB had a message board.
roryisok 2 days ago 3 replies      
Makes sense. I don't see what the big deal is, surprised to see this at the top of the front page? I had to double check I wasn't looking at /new
Our long term plan to make GitLab as fast as possible with Vue and Webpack gitlab.com
363 points by miqkt  22 hours ago   269 comments top 28
iamleppert 7 hours ago 3 replies      
You want to make your site fast?

Generate the markup on the server and send it down to the client! It's post-modern web development. Back to black.

You don't need 100 KB of code to spit down a table of data or show someone a directory listing of their github project. You don't even need an SPA, bunny.

And for goodness sake, when you do need to do anything in javascript, you can use document.createElement and document.createDocumentFragment. These are perfect 1:1 browser APIs that allow you to do everything you've ever wanted, there's no magic, they call directly into the browser engine to give you what you need.

If you want to increase performance, start first by measuring everything. Time to first byte. Time to DOMContentLoaded. The page onload event. window.performance timings; do real user monitoring, not TODO app benchmarks on the latest framework flavor of the week.

The entire web community needs a healthy dose of pragmatism. But it's okay, it gives me extra work. I really enjoy doing freelance performance work and telling everyone which code/library/framework is to blame for performance issues and rewriting everything so simply. Show people what works and you'll find they shut up real quick.

fleshweasel 18 hours ago 10 replies      
One of the biggest reasons I favor React is that it's much easier to add a templating language to a programming language (i.e. JSX) than the other way around. Every construct for making decisions based on your data, traversing your data, etc. is more cumbersome and harder to validate in handlebars or whatever identical looking templating language the community came up with this week.

I also am strongly against string references to model properties in your template. Again, it's much better to use tools that provide some static validation of what you're doing.

Give me React with TypeScript to help me make sure I'm passing around what I said I'm expecting to receive at each point as features are changed and added, and I'll be in business.

Honestly, I use React in spite of my opinion of Facebook.

OJFord 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I'd only heard of Vue as a name before this, but I followed the link to the documentation, which looks fantastic:

 <div id="app"> {{ message }} </div> var app = new Vue({ el: '#app', data: { message: 'Hello Vue!' } })
> Hello Vue!

> This looks pretty similar to just rendering a string template, but Vue has done a lot of work under the hood. The data and the DOM are now linked, and everything is now reactive. How do we know? Just open your browsers JavaScript console (right now, on this page) and set app.message to a different value.

I guess that didn't take any extra work to setup, since it's a fair assumption the Vue docs are rendered with Vue (!) - but a really easy yet nicely motivating introduction.

Obviously this isn't too tricky with 'vanilla' JS, but there's certainly more ceremony involved, and I'm sure the templates can be more complex such that the JS/Vue contrast would be much greater.

jorblumesea 21 hours ago 5 replies      
I really think for most cases you only need a view library instead of a heavy application framework. There are only a few cases there something as heavy as Angular or Ember is justified and in many scenarios a thinner view layer like Vue, React, Inferno etc is much better suited. Most of the web is simple enough to not need fancy http features or complex routing support. Everyone rushed to Angular without considering if they needed such a heavy library. How Angular even runs on mobile is anyone's guess.
merb 18 hours ago 6 replies      
Sadly I think the problem of GitLab's sloweness is not the UI framework :(We are 3-5 users on gitlab ce and use 3GB of memory + 4 CPU cores (vCPUs from XEN) and it still feels slow. Even big Java Applikations use less memory, for that amount of users.
jetter 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Vue.js is just a better option for every-day development in smaller and mid-sized teams, it gives more freedom working with arbitrary html, which is huge, it also gives easy start - you don't need compiler to use Vue across your legacy codebase. React is a good thing if you are a hard-core fulltime frontend dev in a big team, I guess. That's why potential of Vue.js popularity is ~25-30% of jQuery worldwide usage while React will probably might get 5-10% at most - that's just my impression after using both React and Vue. http://pixeljets.com/blog/why-we-chose-vuejs-over-react
rkwasny 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Something went terribly wrong in our field ....

"On GitLab, our pages would load an average of 20kb on each page load versus the full JavaScript file size of 800kb+."

What exatly takes 800kb? I don't see a 3d animation/game on every gitlab page...

IMHO the solution to all this craziness is just generate small mostly-static page quickly and do not have 200 onLoad() functions.

jcoffland 19 hours ago 4 replies      
It's good to see vue.js getting some love. I believe it would be the preferred Web framework these days if it had backing from FB like React does. Too many people fall into the trap of believing a tech is the best just because some big Corp sponsors it. I fell for Angular once for the same reason.
dntrkv 22 hours ago 10 replies      
Can someone explain why someone would choose Vue over React (or one of the clones)? When I looked at the docs for Vue it reminded me of my Backbone days.
chiliap2 22 hours ago 5 replies      
> For example, the profile page could be potentially very light, and there would be no reason for that if someone is linked directly to the profile page; it should load every single piece of Javascript in our project.

There are plenty of ways to do that with single Page apps; it's not a great argument against all single page apps, just poorly designed ones.

calcsam 21 hours ago 3 replies      
There's an entire cottage industry of 3 to 5-year old series Bish startups porting Backbone // jQuery apps over to more modern frameworks. We are moving ours over to React at Plangrid (mostly done), Gusto is mostly done with their migration as well. Would be interesting to figure out how many startups are in this category.
craigcabrey 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Misleading title, from the article:

> We are not rewriting GitLab's frontend entirely in Vue.

educar 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Sorry to be negative but GitLab's performance is embarassing :/ It is so slow and it's not clear why. Is this because of rails? Just seems very poorly engineered.
rubber_duck 18 hours ago 1 reply      
No mention of TypeScript - I wonder why ? It's such a powerful tool when your code base scales.
Tade0 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm happy to see Vue in a project that I recognize.

To all the people arguing about JSX: Vue 2 supports it.http://vuejs.org/v2/guide/syntax.html#ad

megawatthours 13 hours ago 1 reply      
In webpack.config.js

> if (IS_PRODUCTION) {> config.devtool = 'source-map';

Ouch! This will make for a huge bundle. See https://webpack.github.io/docs/configuration.html#devtool

Merge request here: https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/merge_requests/9028

creo 12 hours ago 1 reply      
GitLab rushing good news about frontend when backend crashes is good short term PR support plan.
jaequery 8 hours ago 0 replies      
sounds like he never gave vue a try because thats also how i felt before trying vuejs.

but once you go vue, you will be very happy you did. i see a lot of ex-react devs who tell similar stories, myself.

with the sudden rise of vue and just how fast vue is gaining traction, given the trends and lifecycle of frameworks, i wouldnt be surprised if vue over takes react as de facto of frontend frameworks soon. it really makes development much pleasant and faster.

benologist 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't ignoring the code have the same outcome if you upgrade servers next year? Client devices will become faster too in that timeframe too.
wikyd 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Are you using Webpack directly with Rails? I'm curious how your development environment works.
kingosticks 17 hours ago 0 replies      
> as our current development takes loads of time to refresh the page while developing GitLab

Really? What's 'loads of time' here?

ZenoArrow 19 hours ago 4 replies      
I'm not aware of the performance bottlenecks with GitLab, but are there any plans to speed up the backend as well, such as moving to a faster Ruby implementation?
andrew_wc_brown 9 hours ago 0 replies      
VueJS is a lightweight version of Angular but has the same pitfalls when its comes to being isomorphic.

React is an engineers overkill solution. JSX is bluck.

I use mithril.

omouse 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Webpack is a mistake imo. Accidental complexity everywhere.
camdenlock 21 hours ago 5 replies      
The escalating abuse of the word "awesome" is like the overuse of dynamic compression in music. When every expression is fever-pitched, there's little room for interesting expression.

I also notice that the most shameless abuse of "awesome" seems to come from public-facing software developers, e.g. community managers and the like. It's become some kind of advertisement for a bland, safe, comfortable community where nothing is risked, and competition is frowned upon.

All right, I may have gone a little too wide with that, but AUGH, we need to try way harder to increase our expressive range if we're going to be writing articles that aren't exhausting to read.

richardwhiuk 22 hours ago 4 replies      
rkunnamp 20 hours ago 2 replies      
We at http://www.reportdash.com uses Backbone + Backbone Layout Manager + Jade

Every time I see a post like this , I feel sad for being less cool. I try to learn a bit of the mentioned cool framework. Then I realise, how awesome my current set up is.

40_pending 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Vue really has the best of both worlds. You can use it like old-style angular or take the component approach. You can just include the 71kb minified script and take off or you can use a build system with components - Take a look at Vue-cli: https://github.com/vuejs/vue-cli
CIA Declassified Coldwar Russian Jokes [pdf] cia.gov
432 points by bifrost  1 day ago   239 comments top 48
dragandj 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Wlodek, a rural farmer, has decided that might be safer not keeping his money under the mattress. So he takes his horse and cart and goes off to the nearest town to talk to the bank.

"Right," says Wlodek, "I want to make sure my 50 zlotys are safe. Like, what happens if someone robs you and takes everything in your vault?"

"Oh, don't worry about that!" says the smooth bank manager. "The main branch in the city would cover you!"

"Okay," says Wlodek. "But suppose the whole bank went bust? I know these things happen."

"Well," says the bank manager. "People have a right to be worried, of course. So that you can feel completely secure, the Polish Central Bank still guarantees your savings."

"But suppose the Polish Central Bank ran out of money?" asks Wlodek. "What would happen then?"

"This is very hypothetical," says the bank manager. "But if it ever happened, we have a treaty with the Soviet Union. They would still make sure you weren't out of pocket."

"But what if the Soviet Union went bust?" asks Wlodek stubbornly.

The bank manager sighs. "Look," he says. "Wouldn't that be worth 50 zlotys?"

guscost 20 hours ago 3 replies      
A bit different but here's my favorite European joke:

An Italian politician invites his Greek politician friend over for a visit. The Greek pulls up in front of an elegant manor house and is welcomed by the staff. He walks in through a foyer with marble floors and a huge marble staircase with ornamental banisters and a crystal chandelier. They walk through to a lovely veranda overlooking the river, and sit down to eat.

The Greek is very impressed with everything and asks "How did you manage to get this place?"

The Italian points to a shoddy concrete bridge over the river and says "See that bridge over there? It was supposed to be a steel suspension bridge, but we found a lower bidder to build that one instead, and with all the extra money I was able to buy this!" The Greek compliments his friend on the house, they finish a delicious meal while talking about various politics, and the next day they part ways.

Several months later the Greek invites the Italian over. The Italian arrives at an enormous estate with a marble facade. He walks in to see an even bigger staircase, and a banister and chandelier that are trimmed in 24 karat gold! They sit down for a meal on a huge terrace with a staggering view of the harbor.

The Italian is completely blown away, so he asks his friend "How on earth did you afford this place? It's fantastic!"

The Greek says "Well, see that bridge over there?"

The Italian says "What bridge?"

lb1lf 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Three men meet in a GULag camp, and conversation turns to why they are there.

"I got twelve years hard labour for speaking out against Gennady Karasov", says the first.

"That's funny, I got twelve years hard labour for supporting Gennady Karasov!" says the second. Attention turns to the last man.

"I am Gennady Karasov".


Three men have to share a hotel room in Chelyabinsk during a congress. Naturally, in the evening, they start drinking. One thing leads to another, and they find themselves telling political jokes. Concerns that any of the others may be KGB informants or that the room may be bugged are readily dissolved in alcohol. Everybody is having a great time.

One is tired and really feels like sleeping; he decides to pull a joke on the others. He excuses himself, runs to the lobby and gives the receptionist a few bills. "Please send someone to my room with a bottle of vodka, some rye bread and salt in ten minutes." He then returns to the room.

After a few minutes, he notes to the others that stocks of refreshments are running low. "Not to worry, comrades! I have good contacts."

He leans over towards the potted plant in the corner, grabs it and loudly says, as if speaking into a microphone:

"Comrades at the listening post, this is lieutenant Dyatlov! We urgently require a bottle of vodka, some rye bread and salt to our room! Make haste!"

The others laugh their asses off - until a minute later, there's a knock on the door and vodka, salt and rye bread is served.

You could hear a pin drop. Our man goes to sleep, enjoying the quiet.

When he wakes up in the morning, the others are gone. A note is left on the table. "Comrade! A couple of your jokes yesterday would easily get you to Siberia! (The one about Stalin's maid, while hysterical, could get you in front of a firing squad!!!) However, we liked that room service joke so much, we'll let you off the hook this time. Sincerely, KGB."

zokat 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I like this one:

Russian engineer got fed up of having all responsibility and low salary, so he moves to another city and pretends to be an ordinary worker, same salary and peace of mind. However, not long after communist party sends him to evening classes. On his first day there at maths class he was asked about circle circumference formula, but for some reason he could not remember it off hand, so he goes on blackboard and tries to work it out with linear integral. After exhausting whole blackboard he finally gets the result:


Then all of the sudden he hears all of the class whispering to him: "Change the direction of integration!"

kamyarg 19 hours ago 5 replies      
Here is my favorite one:

The KGB, the FBI and the CIA are all trying to prove that they are the best at catching criminals.

The Secretary General of the UN decides to give them a test. He releases a rabbit into a forest and each of them has to catch it.

The CIA goes in. They place animal informants throughout the forest. They question all plant and mineral witnesses. After three months of extensive investigations they conclude that the rabbit does not exist.

The FBI goes in. After two weeks with no leads they burn the forest, killing everything in it, including the rabbit, and make no apologies: the rabbit had it coming.The KGB goes in. They come out two hours later with a badly beaten bear. The bear is yelling: Okay! Okay! Im a rabbit! Im a rabbit!

ksrm 17 hours ago 1 reply      
There's a great one at the start of Slavoj Zizek's Welcome to the Desert of the Real:

In an old joke from the defunct German Democratic Republic, a German worker gets a job in Siberia; aware of how all mail will be read by censors, he tells his friends: Lets establish a code: if a letter you will get from me is written in ordinary blue ink, it is true; if it is written in red ink, it is false. After a month, his friends get the first letter, written in blue ink: Everything is wonderful here: stores are full, food is abundant, apartments are large and properly heated, movie theaters show films from the West, there are many beautiful girls ready for an affairthe only thing you can't get is red ink.

mlillie 1 day ago 7 replies      
OK, I need to add my favorite Russian joke here:

A German and a Russian die. Neither has been the best person in their life, so they get sent down there. When they arrive in hell, the devil says, "Well, especially bad people have been dying lately, and we're all full up. I can only accept one of you, the other will go to purgatory and get a chance at redemption."

He proposes a simple test of their human decency: Each man is given a dog, a huge crate of sausages and one month to teach the dog a trick.

One month later, the devil returns to the German, who has clearly bonded with his now-plump dog. "Alright, let's see what you've got!" the devil says. The German plucks out a sausage and proceeds to wiggle it in the air. The dog, perfectly balanced on its hind legs, does an acrobatic pirouette. "Wow!" says satan. "Impressive!"

He walks over to the Russian his dog, whose relationship seems strained. The dog looks like a wild animal, but the Russian seems satisfied enough. "OK, show us your trick," the devil says. The Russian plucks out a sausage and proceeds to wiggle it in the air. The dog, wide-eyed, says "Please, Vanya, just one sausage!"

nicolas314 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Three guys just arrived in the Gulag. They ask each other what they did to end up there. First one says:

- I came to work 5 minutes late, I was sentenced to 10 years for sabotage

Second one says:

- I came to work 5 minutes early, I was sentenced to 10 years for espionage.

Third one says:

- I came to work precisely on time, I was sentenced to 15 years for contraband of foreign clocks.

ChuckMcM 1 day ago 3 replies      
I like this one:

An American tells a Russian that the United States is so free he can stand in front of the White House and yell, "To hell with Ronald Regan." The Russian replies, "That's nothing. I can stand in front of the Kremlin and yell, 'To hell with Ronald Regan,' too."

chx 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Oh my, old socialist jokes? Here's one from Hungary: The lion calls the congress of forest animals and declares: thanks to the tireless work of our scientists, we now know two times two is six. Everyone claps loudly. Only the old rabbit sighs to himself, the way I learned in school, two times two is four. Two giant timber wolves appear, haul the rabbit away and noone sees the rabbit for years.

A few years later, the lion calls the congress of forest animals and declares: thanks to the tireless work of our scientists, we now know two times two is five. Everyone claps loudly. Only the old rabbit, quite haggard now, sighs to himself, the way I learned in school, two times two is four. Two giant timber wolves appear and invite the rabbit to the pub across the street and tell him: - Look comrade, you can think whatever you want but do not be so loud about it. Or do you want it to be six again?

RalphJr45 19 hours ago 0 replies      
If anyone is interested, a book titled Hammer And Tickle: A History Of Communism Told Through Communist Jokes by Ben Lewis has a few gems in:

An inspector is at a factory conducting an inspection. He addresses one worker:

'What are you doing here?'


'And what do you do here?' he asks another.


He writes in his report: 'The second worker may be released for unnecessary duplication.'

popeshoe 12 hours ago 0 replies      
A Prague citizen came to local police station in fall 1968. At the desk he claimed "Officer, a Swiss soldier stole my Russian watch". Officer looked puzzled and responded "I guess you mean that a Russian soldier stole your Swiss watch." The man replied "It might be so, but remember that you said that. Not me."
simonh 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The Mayor of Moscow is getting ready to take his wife to the Ballet.

Why have you not put on your dress?

But darling, I dont have any dresses good enough for the ballet. replies his wife.

Nonsense the Mayor declares, opening the cupboard.

Theres this blue dress, this green dress, hello comrade Dzerzhinsky, and this lovely white dress.


DCoder 16 hours ago 1 reply      
A man is walking down the street carrying a 12-roll pack of toilet paper. People surround him, all excited: "Where'd you get that?" The man answers, "I just got it back from the dry cleaner's!"

(source: Viktor Suvorov's fascinating Kuzkina Mat [1])

[1]: http://andrewnurnberg.com/book/kuzkina-mat/

edw519 11 hours ago 0 replies      
A soviet village with only a bull purchased a cow from Irkutsk. But the cow would not let the bull mount her. No matter what the bull did, the cow moved the other way so that mating was impossible.

The villagers brought in an expert government official who inspected the bull and cow's behavior.

He asked the villagers, "Did you get this cow from Irkutsk?"

They responded, "Wow. That's amazing. How did you know?"

"My wife is from Irkutsk."

paganel 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Over here in Romania the Radio Yerevan jokes were some of the most famous (http://www.armeniapedia.org/index.php?title=Radio_Yerevan_Jo...). My favorite one:


Q: Is it true that Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov from Moscow won a car in a lottery?

A: In principle yes, but:

1. it wasn't Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov but Aleksander Aleksandrovich Aleksandrov;

2. he is not from Moscow but from Odessa;

3. it was not a car but a bicycle;

4. he didn't win it, but it was stolen from him.


ptaipale 6 hours ago 0 replies      
It is 1985. Vladimir wants a car. A Lada. He submits the application to purchase one, and when it is processed, he collects the documents at the office. The clerk says: "You are now in the queue. Your Lada will be delivered on February 7, 2017."

Vladimir says: "I'm sorry, I can't pick the car up on that day. Do you have any other days on that week?"

The clerk asks: "How come? The time is over 30 years away, how do you know you're not available?"

Vladimir: "The plumber comes that day."

andrei_says_ 23 hours ago 5 replies      
Makes me wonder, what jokes is the CIA not declassifying?

Yes, this is a call for more Russian jokes.

hprotagonist 1 day ago 3 replies      
Regan was actually not bad at telling soviet jokes.


atemerev 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Back in USSR, everyone thought that it is KGB who tracks these jokes and those who spread them.

Who knew it was CIA all the time? :)

nborwankar 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Long line outside the general store in Moscow. Manager comes out and addresses the crowd "Comrades I have good news and bad news.Bad news we have no more toilet paper.Good news we have no food either"
DenisM 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Russians have a user-generated site that contains every single Russian joke that there was: http://anekdot.ru The site has been up since mid-nineties, iirc.
krzrak 11 hours ago 2 replies      
The real question is: why CIA had classified Russian jokes on their file?
pgtan 18 hours ago 0 replies      
here is a bulgarian one: electricity and water meet in a typical socialist apartment building. Sorry, I'm here only up to the second floor, says the water. No need to excuse, says the electricity, I'm here only for two hours.
GigabyteCoin 20 hours ago 5 replies      
I understood every single joke on that list except this one:

>A man goes into a shop and asks "You don't have any meat?". "No," replies the sales lady. "We don't have any fish. It's the store across the street that doesn't have any meat."

I just don't get it at all... is it just a bad joke?

I understand that stores ran out of products in that situation, but if you just had to walk across to street to get what you were after, that doesn't really seem like a joke at the expense of the communist government.

leephillips 1 day ago 7 replies      
These jokes aren't bad. What is the story? Are these genuine Russian jokes, or jokes inserted there by the CIA?
CamMacFarlane 1 day ago 1 reply      
Best cold war "joke":


Found from searching for more like OPs

cm2187 18 hours ago 0 replies      
A lottery at the French communist party's fair (fete de l'humanite). The first prize is a week of holidays in Moscow. The second prize is two weeks in Moscow, the third three weeks...


A European tourist discuses with a Cuban local.

- How is life under Fidel Castro?

- I can't complain

- Interesting, so not that bad

- Well, I really cannot complain


Alexander the Great, Caesar and Napoleon are watching a Soviet military parade:

- If only I had soviet tanks, said Alexander, I would have been invincible

- If only I had soviet planes I would have conquered the whole world says Caesar

- If only I had the Pravda, no one would ever have heard about Waterloo says Napoleon


A young officer waits in front of Stalin's office for his audience. The door slams open and Marechal Joukov, furious, leaves the office grumbling "cockroach with a moustache". Introduced to Stalin, the young officer says it is his duty to report what he heard. Stalin calls back Joukov and asks him "what did you mean by cockroach with a moustache?". Joukov: "I was refering to Hitler of course". Stalin then turns to the officer: "who did you think he was referring to?"


A discussion at the goulag:

- what are you here for?

- for being lazy

- how is that?

- we had a few drinks with some friends then we started telling each others political jokes. I went home and before going to sleep, I thought I should report what happened to the KGB first thing in the morning. Well, my friends went to the KGB that same evening.


Why are there always 3 miliciens? One who can read, one who can write, and another to watch these dangerous intellectuals.


East German joke: why does toilet paper always have a double sheet? Because one copy always must be sent to Moscow.


Do you prefer socialist or capitalist hell? Socialist of course, either they run out of matches, or there is a fuel shortage, or the devils are away at a party meeting.


Tito asks his chauffeur to stop the car to discuss with a peasant on the side of the road.

- where are you going, asks Tito

- just shopping, I will buy a few suits, several pairs of shoes and a new car. And my wife asked me to bring a few other things back: a fridge, a washing machine and a new TV

- you must be very wealthy

- I am, this is the socialist miracle

- that's right, and you know who I am? You owe all that to me!

- oh, you are comrade Tito? I am sorry I didn't recognize you. With this big car I thought you were an american journalist

rbanffy 18 hours ago 0 replies      
My mom leaked many of these secret jokes to me when I was a kid.
jumasheff 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Why on Earth these jokes had been classified?
jbuzbee 1 day ago 0 replies      
If collecting jokes tells you what the "common man" is thinking, the Russian intelligence agencies must be having a field-day with the current situation in the US...
gozur88 1 day ago 4 replies      
Some of these seem more like jokes the CIA would have liked to have Russians tell each other more than jokes they actually told each other.
phs318u 1 day ago 1 reply      
Say what you will about the current political situation in the US, Donald Trump has been an absolute gift to comedians.


And in the interests of "balance":


kchoudhu 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Cold War humor was an odd beast. I came across this book in my father's collection a while back:


It's a hoot.

guard-of-terra 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Most of those aren't particularily funny.

Compare with the good selection from Wikipedia:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_jokes

nabla9 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the best Russian joke/story I have heard, it's not political:

During the conversation among the newly found friends one of the teachers (lets call him Dmitriy Petrovich) mentiones that it is a medical fact, that it is impossible to take a light bulb out of ones mouth once it was inserted there. This meets active disbelief of his two opponents who start questioning him as to what kind of light bulb he means and how come you cannot take it out, if you can put it in. Dmitriy Petrovich replies, that he is talking about a standard 100 Watt light balbs such as the one lighting their room, but lacking medical education he doesn't know the reason for not being able to remove it. Discussion heats up, and at some point one of his opponents desides that an experiment is necessary.

Mind you, that all of the teachers in the room are PhDs in various fields of exact science. Obviously not one of them is a medic. The light bulb is then removed and the most loud opponent (lets call him Vladimir) puts it into his mouth. In a few seconds it becomes clear that Dmitriy Petrovich was right, and it is quite impossible for Vladimir to remove the light balb due to peculiar clenching of jaw muscles.

After a short discussion the three friends decide to get Vladmir to a doctor. They get out of the hotel, and stop a cab. They drive to the hospital where they have to relate the story of the accident to the night nurse, who, after almost choking herself with giggles, calls the ER doctor. The doctor carefully examines Vladimir, and unexpectedly hits him with his fist in the back of the jaw. Vladimirs jaw falls open and the doctor returns the light bulb to Dmitriy Petrovich, explaining that Vladimir is not going to be able to use his mouth for a couple of hours due to the over stressed jaw muscles.

The three teachers get back into a cab and start driving home, when the third teacher starts complaining that the other two are playing him for a fool, that this is medicaly impossible for such phenomenon to exist and that he is about to prove it. He puts the light bulb into his mouth, the cab makes a U-turn and speeds back to the hospital. At the hospital, the nurse starts giggling when the three men enter the emergency room, and after hearing their new story falls of her chair laughing. After a little while she calls the surgeon, who chuckles, hits the 3rd teacher in the back of the jaw and removes the light balb.

The cab has left, so the three friends catch another one. Dmitriy Petrovich gets noto the front seat and puts his mute friends with their jaws hanging open in the back. Cab driver is mildly surprised by the unusual company of an obviously drunk giggling man and two others looking ilke village idiots, and asks about it. Dmitriy Petrovich asures teh driver that the other two are not idiots, but most educated people and the problem is their small argument about a light balb. After carefully listening to the whole story the driver asks what kind of light bulb is he talking about, and Dmitriy shows the hotel light bulb saying "this one". "Impossible" says the cab driver and in a few seconds the cab turns around and goes to the hospital.

When the nurse sees these guys the 3rd time inside 2 hours, she starts having rather serious breathing difficulties trying to laugh much harder then mother nature designed. After getting her in shape Dmitriy Petrovich makes her call the surgeon who, promptly hitting the cab driver in the jaw takes the light bulb and smashes it on the table saying that this should put an end to the story. The four men get back into the cab and drive to the hotel.

On the way they are stopped by the road patrol police unit. The policeman (militianer) is very surprized to find that the only person able to speak in a car full of people is a rather drunk man who tells him a wierd story about light balbs. "I will be right back" replies the policeman, goes back to the road side station, Dmitriy and companions whatch the ligh go off inside the station, and in a few seconds the policeman appears again. Using gestures he asks people on the back seat to move over. A metal end of a light bulb is sticking out of his mouth.

The cab goes back to the hospital. The nurse becomes hysterical with joy. After a few minutes of recuperation she goes to the cabinet of the surgeon to call him. She opens the door and falls to the floor unconscious. In the doorway appears the surgeon with his jaw hanging wide open.

see also:



ssebastianj 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This somewhat reminds me to the "The Funniest Joke in the World" by Monty Python: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Funniest_Joke_in_the_World
sAbakumoff 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow, the joke that ends up with "I can stand in front of Kremlin and yell To Hell With Ronald Reigan too" is the famous one. One can even find the references to it nowadays in Russian blogs. CIA is good!
_joel 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Obligatory, the funniest joke in the world (weaponized) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ienp4J3pW7U
JonRB 1 day ago 1 reply      
My understanding is that DDCI stands for 'Deputy Director of Central Intelligence' - What would this document have been for?
ommunist 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Three men in a platzkart train are telling political jokes on their way to Moscow. The fourth is coming in and he hisses "Oh my, do not tell those, you'll be taken". "Oh, come on, man, says one of the three". The alerting guy than goes to the stewardess and asks for four cups of tea delivered to that platzkart seats in exactly 4 minutes. Four minutes later he continues to hiss on his travel companions "Guys, if you won't stop to tell political jokes, they will take you!", getting the same "Come on, man" in response. "All right he says, look here". He stands up near the small lamp in the corner and says "Comrade mayor, four teas to platzkart seats 14, 15, 16 and 17, please". The stewardess brings the tea. Everyone shuts up, and soon goes asleep. In the morning, our hero discovers that his three travel companions' seats are empty. He asks stewardess whether they took off in Tver? "No", the stewardess says, "they were taken". "And why they did not took me too?". "Because comrade mayor liked your joke about the tea very much".
JensRantil 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I guess those jokes got old..
Shivetya 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Do a search of youtube for Ronald Reagan doing russian jokes, some were pretty good
ommunist 16 hours ago 0 replies      
"What is the difference between the socialism and capitalism? Under capitalism one man exploits the others. And under socialism its the other way around".
cjbenedikt 13 hours ago 2 replies      
No jokes about state of US infrastructure? No laughing matter, I guess
ommunist 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Yes, the USSR was so secret, that it took decades for CIA to declassify its mortally dangerous jokes.

However, the "war of jokes" was integral part of the Cold War and do not underestimate one. There is terrific Russian novel about this battle, it took off in the late 60-ies.

Very important to know that a class of jokes about Russian Civil War heroes, Petyka and Vassily Ivanovich Chapaev was a viral campaign set off by the KGB to combat US/British jokes designed for Russians.

I like this one. "Can you drink a glass of vodka, Vassily Ivanovich?", asks Petyka. "Sure thing", boss answers. "How about two?" "No problem!" "And how about a full bucket of vodka?" "You know, it is only Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, who is capable to drink the full bucket of vodka!"

johnhenry 1 day ago 1 reply      
known 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The open-office trend is destroying the workplace (2014) washingtonpost.com
345 points by makwarth  2 days ago   225 comments top 49
davidmr 2 days ago 9 replies      
I think we've lost the war. I was even asked to meet with my company's architects and designers about a new space we were building out. I basically spent an hour telling them in every different form I could that what I wanted was a place I could go where people could find me, but they would have to knock on a door and open it to talk to me, and these people looked at me like I was from fucking Mars. They'd never heard anything so absurd in their whole life. I even pleaded for cubicles. I can't even remember what it was like to have dignity.

"What about a health clinic? Or a coffee bar instead?"

I found as many studies as I could about how awful these open office plans are, and printed them all out, and left them there. At the end of the day, on a whim I checked the recycle bin in the conference room they were in. Anyone want to guess what I found?

When I die and get to hell, there will be a Hermann Miller chair in an open office waiting for me. With free snacks and drinks in the kitchen.

rm999 2 days ago 10 replies      
The best work setup I've ever had by far was not private offices or cubicles (and definitely not an open office); it was a hybrid where our team of 3-5 people sat in a large private office. This increased collaboration while enforcing respect. It allowed our team to create a work culture democratically (how do we arrange seating? what noise levels are ok?) that simply isn't possible in an open seating arrangement.

I know this won't be popular here, but I find private offices problematic for a few reasons. First, they hurt collaboration and social interaction quite a bit. This is ok from a single developer's perspective (heavily skewed audience on HN), but it shows on cross-functional teams. I know this can be hacked into a private office setup ("my door is always open"), but in my experience there is a clear difference in collaboration when there is no physical separation between people who are working on a project together. Also, private offices create a hierarchy where some people get big corner window offices while others are in shitty interior offices or cubicles. My favorite thing about the trend towards open offices has been an egalitarianism where the CEO and founders sits at a similar desk as the interns.

nayuki 2 days ago 5 replies      
On a related note, I noticed that cubicle offices are hardly better than open offices. The cubicle walls are tall enough to completely obscure the faces and bodies of your neighbors, but do nothing to block the sound. With no eye contact or awareness of your neighbors, it's easy to mistakenly believe that no one else can hear your sounds.

As a result, on a typical day at the office I would hear one coworker yap on personal calls (wife & home renovation) for half an hour (per day!), another coworker talk about company work for an hour on the phone with a distant teammate (with many words related to my work that trigger my attention), and the sound of phones ringing about 10 times (which is never my own phone).

Hearing all the office noise day after day, I thought about a notion called reverse privacy: If your conversation/notification doesn't concern me, then I don't want to hear it. I don't want it to grab my attention, be aware of it, or have to filter it out.

tps5 2 days ago 14 replies      
My office is switching to an open design. And none of the people who work there are happy about it. It was decided by the folks who own the company, several thousand miles away.

I think the real allure of open offices is how they look. Open offices look modern. They look like the kind of working area a hip, young, collaborative, industry-disrupting company would favor. But that's all bullshit. It's just a fairy tale that fools outsiders. Open offices look great to someone coming in for an interview or an executive visiting from company headquarters 3 states away. But at this point I think we can be reasonably sure that that's where the benefits end.

I don't think this change will damage my productivity much. I'll have headphones on all day, instead of 10-20% of the day. Seems like a lot of trouble for that kind of outcome. I'll probably enjoy shopping for some new headphones though.

ttkeil 2 days ago 1 reply      
While the open-office debate has been a recurring meme on HN for some time, it seems that offering a variety of options as well as unfettered personal choice is key.

For example, my current employer has wide-open office space with pods of desks, but they also offer numerous privacy rooms for escape. As a mild to mid introvert myself, this allows for the best of both worlds the majority of the time: I can benefit from those casual, spontaneous conversations that pop up in the open space, but I can also grab my own room for an entire afternoon to crank out some heads-down work.

I think what's most important is for companies to acknowledge and respect the variety of working styles of their employees, along with the trust that--regardless of how chatting in a pod or hiding away from others might appear--more often than not they're getting shit done.

edit: words

jankotek 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think open-office is great.

It makes it much easier for independent developers to compete with large corporations.

rb2k_ 2 days ago 3 replies      
I seem to be the odd one out in that I actually enjoy an open office setup.

I've had both and I feel there's so much more collaboration happening in an open office. I almost see it weekly that there's a LOT of learning through osmosis, listening in to conversations, ...

I guess I have a pretty easy time keeping up concentration/flow. So in this case, it "works on my machine" :)

ThinkBeat 2 days ago 2 replies      
I was re-reading Snowcrash (a novel by Neal Stephenson).In this book there is a tangent about how aweful it isin the future to work for the government.

He goes over how horrible the work conditions were, with open offices, bosses always watching you, no fixed assigned spacing, first come first serveeverything being tracked by computers. If you are lateeveryone knows it because your sit in the boonies.

When I read it for the first time I remember feeling a revulsion at it. Now when I read it, I was like "Um.. that is my job now"

At my company they have, /on purpose/ too few spaces for the number of employees. So early birds get all the spaces with powerplugs, monitors, network etc. The rest must fight it out on bench seats with no power etc.

I guess for the big bosses who spend all days in meetings its ok, but for grunts it sucks.

protomyth 2 days ago 2 replies      
Nothing says we don't value you like being lined up in rows with no walls. They might as well elevate the manager offices like guard towers to complete the look in that photo.

Do these companies get payoffs from head phone manufactures?

quotemstr 2 days ago 0 replies      
My preference order is:

 private offices > open office > team rooms
This ranking might sound odd, but bear with me: of course I like having a space to myself. It's not just the noise: having my own space affords me a degree of privacy. I don't like to feel watched. In environments where I don't have a private office, I end up doing most of my heavy-duty coding from home.

Now, let's look at completely open offices and team rooms. In both environments, I have to deal with add conversations, people chewing with their mouths open, doors opening and closing, and so on. In both environments, I pay a cognitive price. But, in a completely open office, I might overhear interesting conversations from other teams and become aware of interesting developments. In a team room, I'm isolated from everything except my team, so I don't learn much.

I'm very skeptical of the idea that team rooms facilitate collaboration. I've never been much for low-level high-frequency collaboration --- pair programming is punishment in the afterlife. Collaborating at a high level is fine, but that kind of collaboration is best done asynchronously over some kind of durable medium like email, not synchronously by shouting across a room.

If I can't have a private office, I'd prefer a completely open warehouse-like environment that at least maximizes the benefits of an open office. A team room has most of the same costs and few of the benefits.

lordnacho 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder whether commentators are conflating "open" offices with "loud" offices.

I've never working in anything other than an open office, but the level of noise has varied a lot. Some offices have a culture where it's common for people to make a scene, ie when something happens people gather round a TV and start talking.

One place I worked at had a guy who would stand up and start a discussion about politics every day, and it wouldn't end until he was right. It's somewhat fun to have the old oxford union style banter, but it's a time sink and generally doesn't move anyone's opinion.

By contrast where I am now is as quiet as sitting alone at home, even though it's still in the financial industry and there's actually more people than the place I mentioned earlier.

One place was a macho atmosphere (all traders), and the other is intellectual (all coders), they both perform the same function in the market (market making). They both looked the same though; at least three screens per person, a wall of screens some places. You're close enough to touch your neighbour on either side if you stretch out your leg.

shams93 2 days ago 1 reply      
Founders want to see what you're doing at all times, they know that you have to out in remote double time to actual get anything done. I can't solve incredible engineering problems with 5 people talking at the same time for 6 hours, I wind up having to work 18 hour days with 8 hours of face time sitting and chatting to make the crew of kids happy. As a senior dev my workload is triple the juniors so it's not unusual for me to have to do 80-120 hours a week for 40 hours pay to not lose my gig.
intrasight 2 days ago 1 reply      
Once accustomed to working in home office in your PJs, it's very hard to contemplate going back to commuting to, parking at, and working in a noisy, stinky office.
mnm1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Some people need different accommodations than others and companies need to accommodate these requests, in many cases, by law. These include desks and chairs in addition to electronics. Many companies are still too cheap to buy proper desks and chairs for their engineers, let alone monitors and other peripherals. Almost none of the dozens or hundreds of open office plans I've ever seen promote healthy computing, often foregoing proper desks, chairs, and monitors for some kitchen table with a crappy chair and everyone working on laptops. That isn't healthy nor acceptable, and I hope that people realize that they don't have to accept such conditions (at least in the US). If employers are too cheap to listen, perhaps a continuing rise in worker's comp claims and ergonomic workstation prescriptions will get them to start listening. While this problem isn't exclusive to open offices, I see much more of this in open offices, especially at startups. If companies can't even get these basics right, it's unlikely they'll get anything else about the office right either, especially since they're not trying.
hoodwink 2 days ago 1 reply      
The open versus closed office debate feels new, but it's a pendulum that has swung for decades from one extreme to the other. The reality is that most modern workers need access to a multitude of workspaces: open, social areas for collaboration and closed, private areas for concentration. A progressive company recognizes this and sets its people free to choose the workspace they need for the work at hand.
adamnemecek 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's good that people are finally talking about this. Like 7 years ago, people were commonly pretending that they liked it (or maybe they just didn't watch their productivity).
mattnewton 2 days ago 1 reply      
I suspect that google knows this, had made a calculation that the downsides are worth the real estate cost, and is spinning it in a more positive light.
dandare 2 days ago 0 replies      
I sincerely feel with those who can not concentrate in an open environment but all is not black and white. As a mild introvert I hate the whole social dance associated with entering someone's private office while I can go into a deep concentration wearing just over the ear headphones even if I forget to start the music.

(Ideal is the combination of open space with numerous meeting rooms and smaller pods for phone calls and occasional privacy.)

Productivity is not that important if you are producing the wrong thing in the first place.

sfilargi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Open or not, doesn't matter that much, IMHO. What is very important for me is a distraction free environment, no noise, no visual distractions.
yeukhon 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think open office is great for certain roles and not so much for certain occupations. For writer in this article having a private room is better because it takes a lot of focus and comfort to write. But in all fairness, I agree open office can become a diaster. Where I work now we have an open office settings but we are small and we don't have a long table sharing with a dozen coworkers. I think density is important - our desnity is not so high. Furthermore where I actually sit I only gave two coworkers in the area ao for me I don't get that much of noise. The most distracting part is just people stopping by or passing by my desk because it is one of the paths to the pathroom and conference rooms. But some of my other coworkers are stationed in worser part literally sitting across the kitchen so.... everyone considered my area to br the golden seat. I think, again, density is important. The upside of open office is the sense of you know people can be reached out and people aren't hiding inside a room with the curtain down.
jodrellblank 2 days ago 2 replies      
Even though I dislike the feeling of an open office workplace, I'm now feeling that there's some big push by someone to make this topic keep coming back on HN like the proverbial 'suit is back'. OK a WAPO marketing person doesn't like her middle-school style coworkers ... so what?

I'll push back with a quote from Richard Hamming's famous talk "You and your research" (as I'm sure I have before): http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~robins/YouAndYourResearch.pdf

"Another trait, it took me a while to notice. I noticed the following facts about people who work with the door open or the door closed. I notice that if you have the door to your office closed, you get more work done today and tomorrow, and you are more productive than most. But 10 years later somehow you don't know quite know what problems are worth working on; all the hard work you do is sort of tangential in importance.

He who works with the door open gets all kinds of interruptions, but he also occasionally gets clues as to what the world is and what might be important. Now I cannot prove the cause and effect sequence because you might say, ``The closed door is symbolic of a closed mind.'' I don't know. But I can say there is a pretty good correlation between those who work with the doors open and those who ultimately do important things, although people who work with doors closed often work harder. Somehow they seem to work on slightly the wrong thing - not much, but enough that they miss fame"

Are there any of these anti-open-office pieces which explicitly mention "I might not like it and might be less productive short term ... but that still could be a net win long term" ?

danm07 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've been in a couple of co-working spaces uses the open-office concept. It's generally pretty good when everyone is a developer, but then there's the occasional sales/customer service person, which is what this article seems to allude to.

I think open-office is a great concept that just needs to be refined a little: i.e. stricter enforcement of phone/loudness etiquette.

dsfyu404ed 2 days ago 1 reply      
>Now, about 70 percent of U.S. offices have no or low partitions, according to the International Facility Management Association.

I'd really like to see how they define "office"

Crito 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love open offices because in an open office it's easier for me to socialize while pretending to work. I greatly prefer socializing over working, so I prefer any office environment that facilitates this.

Some of my coworkers are a lot less social so they get annoyed with everybody around them chatting. They probably get more work done than me, but thankfully being less social means they get worse peer reviews than the rest of us.

snissn 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Google got it wrong." What exactly did google say about open-offices?
trhway 2 days ago 0 replies      
Until it is replaced by another, even more increasing density, trend. 3d desk arrangement will give new meaning for "open space", and we'll be lamenting about the good times of today's plain 2d open space office when buttocks/feet of your office mates will be dangling in front of your face.
giancarlostoro 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is all subjective to where you work, and who you work with I think? At my job I came after the open office setup was in place, before that people who've worked here for 7 years or more have told me it was awful, they actually attribute getting more work done in the current setup than previously. It may work for some, it may not. I was at one point trying to get a job at a place that allowed you to either work in an open office format, or in your own cubicle secluded from everyone else.

I personally find high value in that anyone I work with I can walk up to without going through a maze, or if they're next to me I can just talk to them as well and figure out what we need to do.


Of course my office doesn't look like the one in the article, we have our own desks still, just no heavy walls between us. There's also plenty of room between employees, personal space should not be overlooked.

arjie 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hmm, interesting. For many people, it looks like their open office has people taking phone calls at their desk. We take phone calls in rooms (which you book on Google Calendar). If there are no rooms available when you book you reschedule or take the call in the Team Room (which has no expectation of noise-level).

If people are loud, you talk to them about it. It almost never happens since your coworkers are respectful and since you've obviously kept the more noisy jobs in a different part of the office from the engineers.

It seems to me that single person offices will suffer heavily from Conway's law.

But we'll see. It looks to me like where I've just moved to has no call rooms and no separation between engineering and the rest, so I'll see if those factors alone will change me from pro-open-office to anti-open-office.

soyiuz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Theoretically (if the thesis of the article is correct and widely accepted), a company willing to invest in closed offices should have a major competitive advantage in hiring engineers (who would be attracted to the quality of work life in the space).
kabdib 2 days ago 0 replies      
I work in a place that has an open plan, but our desks are on wheels and we can move them as we see fit. So people working on related projects can find a spare room and move a project there. And if you really need an office, or just a quiet corner, those are available.

It's not always super great, but it's way better than having an open plan where you're told where to sit, or an open plan where you don't have any continuity, just a bin of stuff, like you had in grade school.

Someone 2 days ago 0 replies      
If the thing on the photo accompanying that article is an open office, that doesn't surprise me. In my eyes, it's a factory somebody threw some desks and chairs in.

The open office I work in has 30-ish desks in a room; the room has windows on two sides, uses lots of sound-dampening materials, doesn't do double-duty as a corridor, has good lighting, and has six adjoining rooms to go to to have phone calls or meetings or to work individually. That, to my surprise, works fine.

(It shouldn't surprise anybody, but it isn't in the USA)

nunez 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am a fan of completely open floor plan with quiet rooms. It's so much easier to collaborate with people this way, and it offers a mechanism for temporary privacy for those that need to focus on something.

I think offices are too isolating. They emanate a "fuck you; I'm busy and important; don't talk to me" vibe, in my opinion. If I wanted 100% isolation from people, I would rather work remote. If I form a company large enough to require a decision like this, that is what I'll offer.

65827 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think archaeologists studying us in a few thousand years are going to be so fucking confused by this discussion. Offices? Why?

It will seem more bizarre and alien to them than the Salem witch trials seem to us.

jjawssd 2 days ago 0 replies      
But they told us if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear
vacri 2 days ago 1 reply      
I can't help but think of the amusement of a factory worker, listening to HN have its ongoing conniptions about being able to see your colleagues.
perseusprime11 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just read the entire article. It feels like an opinion column but no real data to back it up. Open office or not, cubes do not facilitate collaboration. I am curious if anybody really cracked the ultimate workspace, and maybe the real answer is hire employees you can trust and let them work from anywhere.
lazyjones 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have never read as many "open offices are bad" and "why I like working in trains/restaurants/coffee shops" as in the past 2 years, it baffles me a bit. It also suggests that there is some correlation between bad employers and open office spaces, but the latter isn't the real issue.
aphextron 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is the number one thing that has made me lose all desire for working in the SF startup scene. I simply cannot be productive at 9:00 a.m. sitting in a chair, whispering distance to 4 other people, under fluorescent lighting.
booleandilemma 2 days ago 0 replies      
In all the companies I've worked at so far it's been management and sales/marketing that get the offices. Right now I'm at a company where developers get a desk with 1 wall, and we sit next to each other. Do developers get offices anywhere?
pdkl95 2 days ago 0 replies      
The popularity of open-offices is obvious: unless you condition away their sense of privacy, the engineers might complain about writing spyw^H^H^H^Hanalytics.

// ok, that's not the only - or even primary - reason, but it is probably a larger factor than we realize

m1sta_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
I see the value in an old-school workplace where everyone has an office. Cubical variations, no matter how pretty, just always feel a bit wrong unless everyone is working on the same project.
rhizome 2 days ago 0 replies      
drakonka 2 days ago 1 reply      
I understand that in practical terms giving every employee their own private office might be unrealistic. I would love to just sit in a smaller room with my immediate team/subteam.
Theodores 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am automating my noisy colleagues out of existence. I automate the bits of their jobs they need to talk about with better customer service delivered in the process. The meetings they need to have nowadays have far fewer bullet points on the list as so much has been automated out of existence.

Some managers who manage no people have to do reports for other managers, they badger people for data and then their final work - the report only goes up the chain. All of this activity can be removed if the report is fully automated and cc'd to everyone in the team. That day a month (or days) doing reporting now gone. Then make all those things that needed to be reported on not need to be reported on by automating even more. Reduce human tasks to simple yes/no approval buttons.

User experience matters too, reduce the need for anyone to call by making sure the website has the information they need, sure in the knowledge they will look there first.

A good ticketing system also helps, try and get other teams using the same tools with simple forms for the wider company to submit problems that need fixing in such a way that all useful information is given, e.g. dates, codes...

In my experience it has not been a problem automating large chunks of work or backward processes, once the changeover had been made it then seems a ludicrous idea to go back to the old way, plus the staff resources have gone.

Admin jobs can be automated in such a way that the computer does all the required filtering before sending an email on to whomever needs the information.

Depending on your product, whole sales teams can be eradicated with a really good B2B site.

Managers with staff can also be made surplus if they no longer have teams of people to manage. Whole mini-empires can also be bypassed by the computer doing the reporting and sending it out democratically, without manager input.

So, if you want a less bothersome office and are prepared to put in the required work to get things automated then you can eradicate whole swathes of surplus people. This is never really as miserable as it seems, automation is necessary to scale that aspect of the business and those 'surplus' people can move up the value chain if they want. Also, if the business grows (because it can) then the remainder of their work that cannot be automated will grow to become full time skilled, pro-active work, not reactive or mundane dogsbody work.

In this way I think you can transform an office of lousy noisy timewasters into something more like a university library... (I often whether the noisy people in the office are the ones that never sat in university lectures).

perseusprime11 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why are we posting articles from 2014?
facepalm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess in the future workers will wear VR headgear all the time, so the surroundings will matter less?
adrienne 2 days ago 3 replies      
Women who put up with this aren't "saints", they're just being exploited by their partners.
paulcole 2 days ago 3 replies      
Despite what every open office critic says, it's very possible to be productive at work in an environment that is not designed to meet their very exacting needs.

You're not painting the Mona Lisa, you're working on some app or spreadsheet. It's called work for a reason. Learn to make do.

Rust's 2017 Roadmap rust-lang.org
409 points by steveklabnik  1 day ago   257 comments top 21
sgentle 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm very excited about improvements to the maturity of the Rust library ecosystem. I'm happy with Rust's syntax, the borrow checker doesn't bother me that much, and the build tooling works well (though more speed would definitely help).

What it comes down to again and again with projects I think about using Rust for is "how much extra effort is it going to be compared to a language with good libraries for this?" Often I don't use Rust just because the cost/benefit of having to (re)write code that would otherwise be in a library doesn't make sense.

I'm still bullish on Rust. I know it takes time and it's an unfair competition against the likes of Node and Python (with a zillion library authors), or Go (with a huge company dedicated to a kickass standard library). But nonetheless that's the playing field, and I think a stronger library ecosystem is probably the most important thing for Rust adoption right now.

Well, that and not having to use nightly rust for serde, but you already fixed that.

adamnemecek 1 day ago 4 replies      
> Plans include a new book,

You should consider publishing an official, printed book. I would totally pay $30-40 for something like this. And once it's already written, the actual publishing shouldn't be too time consuming (but idk lol). I think that there's a lot of people who'd buy it just to support the project.

On one hand, I do have environmental concerns, but on the other hand, I feel like my retention rate with print is like 70% as opposed to like 40% with digital.

jimrandomh 1 day ago 1 reply      
Non-Rust-user here. I tried Rust about a year ago and gave up on it as not ready. Unfortunately, I don't think this roadmap addresses the problems that made me reject it the first time around.

The main problem I have with Rust is that it's not up to the task of dealing with C APIs, particularly POSIX. The issue I got stuck on was https://www.reddit.com/r/rust/comments/47a0s3/dealing_with_v... . There are two possible things Rust could do that would make me give it a second chance: either commit to maintaining bindings for all of POSIX and libc as part of Rust core, or fold rust-bindgen into core and get it into shape.

Creating higher-level libraries like Tokio is nice for some use cases, but right now Rust doesn't have a working safety valve for things C can do that Rust can't. This greatly magnifies problems like lack of bindings for select() (see http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=7294&cpage=1 ; I too ran into that problem, and lost a few days to it.)

tormeh 1 day ago 3 replies      
I once said that Rust would never become really, Java-level, popular. Mostly because I thought it focused too much on performance to the detriment of elegance and productivity. I'm not so sure anymore. This is a step in the right direction. That said, what makes me most nervous about Rust is pointers and mutability being mandatory for certain things, rather than the absence of books. Maybe that's just me, though. Anyway, in my opinion, pointers and mutability should be something I think about once I'm optimizing the program, not something I do while figuring out the logic. As long as copying everything every time fits in my compute budget I don't get why I should be forced by the stdlib to do otherwise.

Anyway, huge fan of what the Rust devs are doing. It's truly awesome.

ainar-g 1 day ago 2 replies      
Does the "lower learning curve" goal include the lowering of learning curve for people who already know how to program? Because right now, the Book sometimes seems like it's aimed for people who either didn't program a lot, or didn't program in a language with types.

What I actually would like is a few "Books" like "Rust for C++ people", "Rust for Go people", etc. Those would describe in many examples how things that are achieved in language X using A, B, and C can be done with D in Rust.

Personally, I would like a "Rust for Gophers" book that would describe things like how does Rust do composing (that is, how to do what Go calls embedding), interfaces in Rust (with dynamic vs static dispatch), HTTP in Rust (this may be waiting for Tokio?), how to model your application's types and not get into who-owns-what traps.

Also, what I really want is some kind of a list of Rust "warts" and their explanation. Like the fact that sometimes you can't do a.b().c(), but have to write tmp = a.b(); tmp.c().

moosingin3space 1 day ago 2 replies      
> fast, reliable, productive--pick three

I love it. Short and simple, describes what Rust is. Between that and "an anti-sloppy programming language", pretty sure the marketing is there. Well done community leads, this is exciting.

doesnotexist 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm impressed with the direction they've laid out. It is great to see a deliberate effort is being made to make the language easier to learn and to strengthen the community's ability to leverage shared code.
olivier1664 18 hours ago 3 replies      
I would love to see some improvement in the desktop GUI libs.

- GTK is a painfull to install.

- Conrod: I was unable to do an hello world application with it. It just miss some tutorial.

- KISS-UI: some dll to install

- Qt: not totally free

- Neon to plug on Electron: I'm not sure if I can do some callback from Rust to the GUI with this method.

I finnally give up to play with Electron in javascript.

mamcx 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wish it have a good history for mobile development (iOS, mainly). I think a modern language without a good foot inside the mobile is non-ideal.

Also, a nice history for UI native widgets will be a plus. This is ask a lot, I know.

Right now I have some projects where the less-worse option is .NET, swift if only iOS+Linux, Delphi is because cost (and free pascal is unfocused). Then obviously C++, but that is where I draw a line (ie: For a C-like language Rust is the only that look nice to me. I wish pascal instead or similar)

tux3 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm happy to see the focus on productivity.

I saw the long awaited Non-Lexical Lifetimes tentatively mentioned in there, and I can only hope this will help move things forward, since it's pretty frustrating spending time fighting the borrow checker and refactoring correct code that really ought to run as-is.

Cheers and happy 2017 to the Rust project!

onmobiletemp 1 day ago 0 replies      
This plan addresses everyones biggest complaints, especially the 1.0 crate issue. Its so nice to finally quiet all the people that try rust for a couple hours and then declare it useless.
progman 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The Rust 2017 Roadmap sounds really nice. Congrats for the development so far.

However, what I still miss is bootstrapping from source. It would make porting to other platforms much easier. It confuses me that Rust is proclaimed as a safe language while anyone is forced to install a binary with wget | sh.

JoelMcCracken 1 day ago 2 replies      
This was ultimately my problem with Rust, and I am really glad this is being addressed directly.

At the end of the day, the primary thing I want from my PL is to boost my productivity. In the kinds of software that I write, I can tolerate bugs and GC. Does Rust actually make me more productive?

crncosta 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish a GCC Rust compiler, but it's not planed for 2017. Hope this can change in 2018 :)
Siecje 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm surprised cross-compilation is not on the roadmap. I've heard that it is ready and that it's not quite ready.

Can I create a Windows executable for Windows on Linux?

loeg 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's good to see incremental builds and async socket support (select/kevent/epoll) on the map. Those are essential to the kind of software I work on in C.
lukaszjb 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Ambitious goals but if they pull this out it will be amazing.Very happy that they want to focus on beginners and dev experience.
shmerl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good to see plans for further improvement of code reusability.
EugeneOZ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Please start from point 2
Animats 1 day ago 3 replies      
That's a good list. Get the basics right.

Rust has been putting much effort into "l33t features" in template land. I fear Rust may be going down the C++/Boost template metaprogramming rathole.

DeepYogurt 1 day ago 4 replies      
Don't change the language to make it easier (unless that can be a free lunch), but get someone doing a "Today in rust" or "Doing X in rust" blog/vlog. Also please get some sort of RNG into the main language (not as a crate).
Russians Engineer a Slot Machine Cheat that Casinos Can't Fix wired.com
377 points by arielm  1 day ago   294 comments top 44
kartan 1 day ago 5 replies      
I see a lot of complains why this is illegal. It is illegal, as anything that it is illegal, because the law says so.

As, for example, in Nevada:

"NRS 465.075 Use of device for calculating probabilities.

It is unlawful for any person at a licensed gaming establishment to use, or possess with the intent to use, any device to assist:

 1. In projecting the outcome of the game; 2. In keeping track of the cards played; 3. In analyzing the probability of the occurrence of an event relating to the game; or 4. In analyzing the strategy for playing or betting to be used in the game,
except as permitted by the commission."


ainiriand 1 day ago 14 replies      
I would like to know what is morally wrong in defeating a system designed to beat you. Designed to (almost) always win. The Casino is the one that cheats because the odds are not completely random, as they should.
CapacitorSet 1 day ago 7 replies      
Saved you a click: the internal state of some slot machines' PRNG can be predicted after observing a few of its outputs.
moftz 1 day ago 5 replies      
At what point does a scheme like this go from just being a way to outsmart the slot machine to felony fraud? I know you are allowed to use those blackjack cheat cards at the tables in Las Vegas but what if I started using a calculator and my own crazy algorithm? Is that fraud? What if I had an ear piece and hidden camera glasses to stream video to some blackjack guru outside in a van? I'm guessing that would be fraud. Is it the fact that he's using an outside source to determine his actions?
linohh 1 day ago 0 replies      
For the german speaking; here's a documentary about a guy who did this in the late 70ies in Germany - without an iPhone, just by developing a feeling for the (back then) mechanical machines.


Fun fact: 263a StGB (German penal code) was in part created to combat this kind of externally assisted prediction for slot machines. It is now punishable with up to five years in prison, if you just create or distribute the software up to three years.

technofiend 1 day ago 0 replies      
A quick search of the inestimable comp.risks archives revealed this:


Montreal -- Daniel Corriveau said he hopes that his 'victory over thesystem will give hope to others.' The computer analyst and his family received more than $620,000 [1C$ =U$0.75], including interest, from the Montreal casino yesterday, weeks after they overcame odds of one in six billion and beat an electronic keno game three times in a row."

The author explains the following key points:

o Corriveau used an "antique 286" computer to analyse 7,000 combinations from the keno game, [which uses an electronic pseudo-random number generator].

o Corriveau noticed that the electronic game was repeating numbers in a predictable pattern.

o Corriveau and several family members bet on what they predicted would be due to come up; they won three times in succession.

I had originally seen an article speculating someone power cycled a keno machine after recording the winning numbers, with the assumption or knowledge that the random number generator reseeded with a 0 on cold boot. I'm not sure if that's just me mis-remembering the details of this case, or another one altogether. If anyone has a link to the second case please let me know.

ptero 1 day ago 1 reply      
Funny (and sad) how something that could be praised as an ingenious trick a hundred years ago is now considered a crime that state spends serious effort to pursue.

Cannot resist to reference an older perspective (from Smoke Bellew):


andrewem 1 day ago 0 replies      
Figuring out the pattern of a pseudorandom device used for gambling reminds me of Michael Larson, who learned the patterns used on a TV game show in order to win a lot of money. See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Larson
splonk 1 day ago 0 replies      
> Allison notes that those operatives try to keep their winnings on each machine to less than $1,000, to avoid arousing suspicion.

This is likely to be because they're trying to avoid the automatic W-2G that's generated for slot winnings over $1200. Basically if you're playing anonymously on a slot machine, any payout of $1200 or over on a single spin will generate a human interaction. Unless you're playing at fairly high stakes (say, over $100/spin), this is normally rare enough that hitting several $1200+ results in a short time span would be very suspicious. Keeping every win under $1200 allows a person to play as anonymously as you reasonably can in a casino.

mnarayan01 1 day ago 4 replies      
The "And Casinos Have No Fix" part of the title seems exaggerated; if nothing else, it appears that only a small subset of 5+ year old machines are affected.
FabHK 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't know what PRNG they use, but for the Mersenne Twister (MT19937, which was considered state of the art the beginning of this millennium) for example you can deduce the state after 600 or so observations (of 32 bit words), and then predict what it'll deliver after that. See [1] for details and some good background on PRNG, if possibly a bit biased (she's promoting her PCG family).

For gambling purposes, probably makes sense to use cryptographically secure PRNG :-)

[1] http://www.pcg-random.org/predictability.html

droithomme 1 day ago 0 replies      
That is a very interesting article.

I disagree with the characterization of the crews as "cheaters". They didn't cheat. They turned a game of chance into a game of skill, then excelled at that skill. Of course this has happened to other games as well, such as with card counting in blackjack, which is also inaccurately described as cheating when it's actually mastery of the game.

brilliantcode 1 day ago 0 replies      
Somebody play a tune on the world's smallest violin. People kill themselves because of casino normalizes self destructive behavior. So a bunch of impoverished engineers figure out a way to beat an outfit that profit's off from ripping people off. More power to them. I hope they take out all the fucking casino's ripping people off. Not that I condone hacking but casino really doesn't even register on my empathy list. Fuck them.

It should be legal to burn money also because people love doing it at a swanky place like casinos. At least you won't see people get addicted to dousing your cash with gasoline and throwing a cigarette at it.

I just thought of it and it seems quite exhilarating at the prospect....but it is safer and less addictive than gambling in casinos.

peapicker 1 day ago 1 reply      
Change to roulette, chaos theory, and physicists -- using 8bit hardware in shoes -- and you get the fascinating book "The Eudaemonic Pie" by Thomas Bass. Highly recommended.
justinpombrio 1 day ago 1 reply      
By "Can't fix", they mean "could fix by putting in new slot machines whose PRNGs aren't crackable, but choose not to because it wouldn't be cost effective".

Why don't slot machines use true random numbers? They could still skew the results however they like.

jcoffland 1 day ago 2 replies      
> As Hoke notes, Aristocrat, Novomatic, and any other manufacturers whose PRNGs have been cracked would have to pull all the machines out of service and put something else in, and theyre not going to do that.

This just goes to show that despite the money the casinos are losing to this Russian group, they are still making so much money off the people they are cheating that it's not worth fixing the problem.

Why our governments protect the jerks who steal money from the less intelligent members of our society is beyond me. That there are laws that support casinos is no justification. Casinos are themselves a scam and should not be protected against scammers at the expense of tax payers.

jjuel 1 day ago 1 reply      
The true fix is just to replace the machines. As they said the newer machines have encryption to hide the PRNG. Obviously some places can't do that, and the company is not doing it for free. So technically the casinos cannot fix the compromised machines themselves, but they could just replace them.
usgroup 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Casino is entertainment for which you pay a probabilistic fee proportionate to your spend". Ok, a bit of a stretch, I personally think. I honestly think that people gamble on things like slots because they don't have an educated sense of probability. I'm not sure the transaction is quite as clean as buying a cinema ticket and trading cash for entertainment.

"These guys were right to do it". I think the edge exists because it's ultimately illegal. I think it's tantamount to an illegal distribution of cash from a casino to a mob. Would it be any different if they hacked their bank account?

danbmil99 1 day ago 0 replies      
Kevin Mitnick wrote about a similar hack over a decade ago: https://www.ethicalhacker.net/features/book-reviews/mitnick-...

I knew some of the people involved and actually saw some of the code if anyone's interested.

gwbas1c 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wonder if there's enough variation in how people pull the handles and push the buttons that they could be used to partially re-seed the PRNG frequently enough that it the seed can't be determined by a video?
Aardwolf 1 day ago 3 replies      
Since the title says "Can't Fix": Isn't it fixable by injecting some entropy into the PRNG for every roll like button press durations in nanoseconds, temperature, hardware quantum based, ...?
thomyorkie 1 day ago 0 replies      
> A finger that lingers too long above a spin button may be a guards only clue that hackers in St. Petersburg are about to make another score.

Seems like this is easy for the scammers to work around. They could calculate the average time it takes for the scammer to lift his hand from his lap and press the button, and then use that time instead of .25 seconds. Would be less successful, but would seem to be almost impossible to detect.

LeonM 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the first chapter of Kevin Mitnick's 'The Art of Intrusion' [0]. The first chapter tells the story of (I believe) American programmers who reverse engineer the PRNG on a poker machine, so they could predict when the machine would deal the next royal flush.

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Art-Intrusion-Exploits-Intruders-Dece...

bitexploder 1 day ago 3 replies      
There is a fix and it is not crazy. The gist is they were able to brute force the PRNG of the machines and predict their future state. Hardware RNG is thr answer. In crypto it is obviously bad if someone can predict anything about your random values (keys / IVs). A hardware RNG, "cryptographically strong" RNG algorithms, and resetting the RNG very often make this problem go away.
mark-r 1 day ago 0 replies      
The title is a bit misleading (clickbait?) - the problem can certainly be fixed, and the article even goes into some of the ways. It just isn't cost-effective. Retiring the problematic machines would do it.

I wonder if they can change the amount of money you play for in those machines, so that it's no longer worth it to try to cheat them?

problems 1 day ago 1 reply      
Curious how they screwed this one up - did they just have no proper random source? Nothing like modern operating systems use, like disk latency? If you're in the business of doing random numbers, you'd think you'd embed a cheap hardware based random number generator, even if it was extremely limited, just to seed a CSPRNG.
matt_wulfeck 1 day ago 1 reply      
It looks to me like a PRNG is fed once and never reseeded. That's the only way that simply observing the spin would tell about the outcome. In fact I'm surprised it doesn't just "produce" the outcome every time the button is hit simply from a few bytes of the prng.
Illniyar 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Since code isnt prone to sudden fits of madness..."

Lol, I just can't stop laughing at that one.

neals 1 day ago 2 replies      
After reading a bit about it, it seems very difficult (impossible?) to get a true random set of numbers. Anyboyd here on HN that has some insight? Are there interesting hardware or random-number-as-a-service things going on?
mirekrusin 1 day ago 2 replies      
Why is it so difficult to create randomness? Input from microphone or even variations in electricity input should be more than enough, no? Why is it such a huge struggle, I don't understand, especially in machines that depend on the randomness.
broahmed 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like how the guys were described as "scammers" and "cheaters"; the same adjectives could be used to describe the casinos.
Cyph0n 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's still unclear how the organization broke the PRNG in the first place. Were they somehow able to get their hands on a machine for hardware analysis? Or did they just have their "operatives" play slots and capture video which they then manually analysed for patterns?

Offloading the computation to a remote server is a smart idea though. There is a lot of cool stuff happening in the game cheating space.

MR4D 1 day ago 1 reply      
I would think that having 2 PRNGs and then switching between them would ruin this strategy.

Obviously this would cost money for retrofitting, but all new slots could employ a new design, getting rid of this problem over a few years.

Not a perfect solution, but at least it's a medium to long-term fix.

shermozle 1 day ago 0 replies      
I get that creating a genuine random number generator isn't easy, but surely this points out that it's something the slot machines should have rather than a PRNG?
thedailymail 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone interested in how the gambling industry makes their billions mainly from slot machines, and how they engineer them to hijack people's dopamine systems should read Addiction by Design (MIT Press, 2012).
aaossa 1 day ago 1 reply      
How does that encryption work? Is like those sha-256 circuits used in Bitcoin mining? Is it possible to modify the affected machines to allow encryption?
eykanal 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not knowing much about video jamming, is it possible to block this hack by attacking the cameras?
grandalf 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is the sort of use case that initially got me excited about Google glass.
ommunist 1 day ago 0 replies      
Really funny piece. It really feels like one of those Order vs Chaos battles, with Russians on the Order side. Guys found the order in randomness, I'd like to see the math behind their operational methodology. Also, why iPhone?
JCzynski 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't see why this is illegal, any more than counting cards in blackjack.
Glyptodon 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't understand why this is wrong/illegal.
forgottenpass 1 day ago 4 replies      
Slot machine outcomes are controlled by programs called pseudorandom number generators that produce baffling results by design.

goddamnit wired. You're as bad as IT World. I don't know why I keep reading your trash.

RichardHeart 1 day ago 0 replies      
Abusing humans desire to pattern find and take risks for profit is bad. Casinos are bad. If you could weaponize gambling and spread it in an enemy nation, you'd do much to hurt it's GDP. I made a video about why gambling sucks.
The end of the level playing field avc.com
334 points by mooreds  2 days ago   152 comments top 16
intended 1 day ago 3 replies      
There isn't a new level playing field coming along anytime soon.

The internet was the pinnacle of a series of benign regulatory choices, clear and present dangers of older models being avoided, and lack of incumbent awareness, and adaptation.

This era has ended, we are in the end game, and how America fights and sets an example here, <despite> all odds, will influence how this resource gets used for generations.

This is not a fight you can give up.

danjoc 2 days ago 3 replies      
Fred's a smart guy. I hope the end of the neutral internet hastens the rise of mesh networking.

If I want to order a pizza online, it really shouldn't have to go through the ISP gatekeepers, travel along a Level 3 trunk, be inspected by the NSA, and then be routed back down to the pizza joint 3 blocks from my house.

sytelus 1 day ago 5 replies      
I don't get it. So is FCC just silently sneaking in anti net neutrality again? I thought they pulled that out after huge outcry. Were they just waiting for public to forget and move on?
paulsutter 1 day ago 1 reply      
SpaceX's low latency internet access won't come a moment too soon. Competition hasn't been possible but it could be.

Maybe Google can reconsider their decision to deproritize Google Fiber.

peteretep 1 day ago 7 replies      
I still can't get excited about net neutrality, but maybe that's because I'm from a country (UK) where telco competition is strong enough - and number porting etc easy enough - that anything that's anticonsumer will get punished by the market.
mrdrozdov 2 days ago 2 replies      
Would this only effect up and coming telecom firms and high bandwidth services (video streaming, audio streaming, gaming, etc.), or also your every day SaaS startup?

Edit: how exactly would this have a negative impact on SnapChat?

Double edit: I think net neutrality is a good thing, and worth finding clear arguments to fight for.

Triple edit: Reasons I believe the net should be neutral...

1. Consumers should be able to use any internet service they choose.

2. Consumers should pay the same for data usage regardless of what the service is.

3. Businesses should be able to provide their service for the same data usage cost as any other business.

panic 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why are we giving up? Tech workers, startups, and VCs collectively control huge amounts of money and skilled labor. Organizing it all would obviously be a challenge, but fighting this is a solvable problem!
jeffdavis 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are there technical solutions here?

The client-server model of the WWW seems to tilt in favor of consolidation. What about something more akin to database replication for sharing information? Data moving around asynchronously, viewed at the users leisure, and synchronous actions are only needed sometimes (e.g. for buying things). Right now, a lot of synchronous things happen, requiring users' action and attention for little reason (but encouraged by the client/server model because you need to make a request).

It would certainly change things. "Engagement" might be harder to measure and monetize, so it might force us toward something more like micropayments. But micropayments might be more possible in such an environment as well. With little money on the line, it's easy to update a database record and move the real money around later (if that's even required -- you could imagine digital IOU records acting like currency).

And more importantly, I think it would reduce the need of companies like facebook and other consolidating forces (though perhaps not google search).

fuzzfactor 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Fundamentally, net neutrality is when everyone's upload speed matches their download speed, there is no throttling, and it is enforced.

Otherwise individual creators or those who can not pay for preferential treatment are at a disadvantage to those who can, with the spoils going to the most predatory actors.

PublicFace 1 day ago 1 reply      
There never was a level playing field? Narrative fallacy.

Occasionally technology produces moments where dynamic conditions allow for people to leverage large amounts of energy if they get lucky. But all those people participating on a "level playing field?" they are "cheating" as hard as they can at every step.

The perception that things were ever even is just that. A perception. Our ecosystem is not "even". Nature doesn't "know" what "fair" is.

qwrusz 1 day ago 1 reply      
Big fan of Fred. But I am struggling to connect all the dots on the FCC statement and what the various companies responses will likely be and how long that will take?...

Basically, there's new people at FCC, where will we see the effect of new policy first and when?

Is my Verizon bill going to double? Is my phone going to give me mild but painful electric shocks if I don't click on any fucking Google AMP links? Fred, what is going to happen?

strken 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder how difficult it would be to stream data over Facebook video or messenger? With messenger I assume they'd rate-limit you, but video might be harder to stop.
nojvek 1 day ago 2 replies      
May be Elon's satellite cluster will come and deliver the deathblow. Fast, cheap, anywhere, wireless.
grandalf 1 day ago 4 replies      
"Neutral" just means using some QoS setting that someone thought was "fair".

It's heavily biased toward current protocols and their current uses, and is just as unfriendly to potentially groundbreaking tech as an "unfair" QoS.

While the alarmists predict that all google.com requests would be redirected to bing, I think the reality is likely to be far more like T-Mobile's recent controversial approach.

Some factual points to keep in mind:

- There is a big difference between peak and average bandwidth, and it's very specific to the protocol what defines acceptable performance. This applies to every upstream provider, not just ISPs.

- Bandwidth providers (ISPs, ISP's ISPs, etc.) are often in the business of speculating on demand. Simply put, this means that they preorder bandwidth that they expect to be adequate for the peak and average bandwidth demanded by their downstream nodes.

- The characteristics of bandwidth demand are a function of the protocols in use and random variation. QoS is used to create a graceful fallback when there is not quite enough bandwidth to route all traffic instantly. Optimal QoS settings are a function of the protocols being used by downstream nodes. It is not guaranteed that every network congestion situation can be mitigated by QoS without a desegregation in service to someone downstream. This applies to ISPs as well as upstream providers.

- So aside from the google => bing scenario everyone pretends is worrisome, in reality what would happen is that removing net neutrality would allow for bandwidth speculators (ISPs and everyone upstream) to make smarter longer-term deals which required less extra bandwidth. This is analogous to an improved financial instrument to make longer-term thinking (and longer-term deals) possible, with less uncertainty about demand, etc. For example, a startup could offer a 4K streaming service by negotiating a deal with ISPs to ensure high quality. See the next point for an example of why this matters.

- Services with heavy demand such as youtube are not vulnerable to QoS (except for the google=>bing dystopia). Why7? Because there is extremely predictable demand. If you are an ISP and your upstream provider offers you discounted bandwidth for youtube only traffic, you can safely make that decision for the medium/long term because you know youtube is infrastructure and your customers are going to use it. This predictability creates the incentive for firms to add fiber links and capacity between youtube and ISPs so that customers get high quality video without slowdowns at peak times. Note that Youtube encouraged this competition between ISPs by having an ISP ratings page a few years back.

- For services like Tor or BitTorrent, there may be increased fees for residential circuits that require those services, because they will opportunistically use up any available bandwidth. This doesn't really fit the residential pricing model that is arbitraged by ISPs, and is more akin to a business level circuit. If the protocols become more widespread then that will change, and it will be included in the profile of residential data.

In conclusion, net neutrality limits the ability of firms to offer long term deals. It's why we don't see things like $4.99/month youtube only data plans or $1.99/month email only plans. Sure you may think that all users should subsidize those running tor or bt nodes, but that's really more of an extreme position.

Also, it would probably be better for privacy if protocols like Tor and BT started to be more indistinguishable from regular residential traffic.

Shivetya 1 day ago 0 replies      
Honestly I am not worried, I am pretty sure one or more carriers will attempt to capitalize on the restricted or limited offerings from other carriers to move the market in the right direction.

by offering bound services the carriers are only going to increase users appetite for more and they will have to open the gates as the carriers will not have access to exclusive content that requires a data connection. those that offer unfettered access will win subscribers to their cell service and those that do not will adapt or just take what they can get.

would I like to see a bit of pressure from the FCC, sure but I would like to see the market work. the carriers for the most part cannot deliver bandwidth reliably but this will push them to get better

jimmywanger 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is fearmongering at its greatest.

He goes from "Companies can pay for competitive advantage" and cites a S1 which is not backed by evidence, and jumps to the conclusion that the free net is over.

Somebody had some column inches left to fill or a click quota left unfulfilled.

Violating Terms of Use Isnt a Crime, EFF Tells Court eff.org
282 points by DiabloD3  18 hours ago   96 comments top 14
turc1656 9 hours ago 3 replies      
"But last year, a federal district court in Nevada found a defendant guilty under both the California and Nevada state computer crime statutes for nothing more than thatviolating Oracles websites terms of use."

That's insane. The terms of service is essentially a contract that you are agreeing to to use the website/software/service. Failure to adhere to it is a breach of contract, not a violation of law.

If you break an NDA, for example, you don't wind up in jail or have a criminal history. The other party takes you to court to enforce the penalty listed out in the contract for the breach.

holtalanm 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Just my opinion, but I think ToS were originally in place to define how a user _should_ use the site, and how the site operators could act in response to violation.

I don't think they should be held as even a contract, much less criminal law.

Truthfully, they are really only there to protect the company by outlining to the user what might get them banned from the site and so on. Oracle is overstepping its authority here imo. It is their own fault they didn't revoke access to the site from that company.

rayiner 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The EFF is right, but the relevance of the TOS violation is more subtle than the EFF's explanation makes it out to be. Using someone's property without their consent is, of course, a crime. When that property is ordinarily available for public use, consent is presumed, but can be revoked. It's can be criminal trespass to remain in a store after you're kicked out (although usually it's just civil trespass).

Here, "Oracle sent Rimini a cease and desist letter demanding that it stop using automated scripts. It did not, however, rescind Riminis authorization to access the files outright." So the question is, was the implied consent to use Oracle's servers effectively revoked?

Arguably not. A public mall can get you kicked off the property for any reason, and can press charges for criminal trespass if you don't leave. But it can't press charges for criminal trespass for violating the sign on the door that says "no hats." And it probably can't press charges for criminal trespass if it sees you wearing a hat and tells you to take it off, but doesn't kick you off the property.

rplst8 11 hours ago 1 reply      
The fact that this has to even be argued is appalling. The erosion of the difference between a tort and crime over the last few decades is very concerning.

I think a lot of it started with the changing of copyright law into criminal law.

vog 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Here in Germany the law states that ToS are only applicable if they contain "no surprising terms". Which is really nice! Although this doesn't give you permission for everything, it protects you from any "cleverness" of a site's operator. It ensures that indeed almost nobody needs to read ToS. Even lawyers tell you this.
codedokode 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Isn't it nice if ToS is legally binding?

1. Make a website and write somewhere in the middle of ToS that visitor must pay $1000 (for example) for every page viewed or for every second spent on a site

2. Persuade him to press "I have read and agree to the ToS" and to stay as long as possible

3. Send a bill

pflats 8 hours ago 2 replies      
"Oracle sent Rimini a cease and desist letter demanding that it stop using automated scripts. It did not, however, rescind Riminis authorization to access the files outright. Rimini continued to use automated scripts, and Oracle sued. The jury found Rimini guilty under both the California and Nevada computer crime statues, and the judge upheld that verdictconcluding that, under both statutes, violating a websites terms of service counts as using a computer without authorization or permission."

I'm a little confused here. I'm with the EFF that violating the TOS shouldn't be criminal. But if you're given a C&D that says "stop using automated scripts" and you continue using automated scripts, why is the TOS relevant at all? Isn't Rimini clearly exceeding their authorized access (left available for manual downloads) based on the C&D?

DarkKomunalec 15 hours ago 1 reply      
It's about time corporations took out the government middle man and started making laws themselves.
snarfy 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Popular websites should add an Oracle employee clause to their ToS so that employees of Oracle corporation are not allowed to use it.
josho 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Going forward we should all have our minor children create accounts for us and be the ones to accept the TOS.

Once you realize that is a reasonable workflow you've realized how unenforceable TOS are for everything but corporate contracts where documents are being signed and witnessed.

peeters 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I think in a democracy there should be some group of state attorneys who are not just allowed, but mandated to prosecute the law to the fullest extent possible.

For example, if Congress has a law making ToU violations crimes, then there should be a select few DAs who are required to go out and prosecute people who enable AdBlock and visit a certain site. And it should always start with legislators if possible. See how fast stupid laws go away.

peterclary 17 hours ago 5 replies      
IANAL, but surely violating Terms of Use is essentially a breach of contract? Making breach of contract a crime would be very foolish indeed.
fpgadude 16 hours ago 2 replies      
What would happen to foreigners entering the US with a "fake" facebook profile as their social media ID? Straight to jail or straight back home?
stubish 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know the details of what was being automatically downloaded? I'm aware of several Open Source projects doing this with things like Java, but not if any of them have received cease and desist orders.
Learn C Programming with Open-Source Books ossblog.org
336 points by vinny12  1 day ago   46 comments top 8
akarambir 1 day ago 4 replies      
One thing I always not see people recommending is what small open source projects I can study or do while or after reading these books. Like for web development, people try to implement a small todo, blogging software. For someone coming from higher level languages like Python, Ruby, studying low level library is very tough to grasp. Having small but a proper project in itself will be helpful. I have heard praises about Redis and SQLite, but for beginners, they are quite big.

So any suggestions?

agentultra 1 day ago 5 replies      
One of the greatest non-free books, IMO, is 21st Century C and I cannot recommend it enough.


bluetomcat 1 day ago 7 replies      
Great applauses for not recommending the "indisputable classic" from K&R. The latter is really an introductory text that presents the features of the language in a chaotic manner and introduces some very nasty 1970s styles of coding.
kensai 1 day ago 0 replies      
All gems!
Scarbutt 1 day ago 0 replies      
The http://c-faq.com/ is a very good resource too.
andrewclunn 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not a story that interests me, but this is a wonderful blog! I'm definitely following this.
pwnna 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are there some recommended book on
Apple proposes new web 3D graphics API webkit.org
265 points by mozumder  5 hours ago   276 comments top 33
NickGerleman 4 hours ago 9 replies      
"The major platform technologies in this space are Direct3D 12 from Microsoft, Metal from Apple, and Vulkan from the Khronos Group. While these technologies have similar design concepts, unfortunately none are available across all platforms."

So Apple, the only company not supporting Vulkan on their platforms, is complaining that there isn't a cross-platform solution?

shmerl 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Will it be patent encumbered, like Apple's "proposal" for touch events API?

> Meanwhile, GPU technology has improved and new software APIs have been created to better reflect the designs of modern GPUs. These new APIs exist at a lower level of abstraction and, due to their reduced overhead, generally offer better performance than OpenGL. The major platform technologies in this space are Direct3D 12 from Microsoft, Metal from Apple, and Vulkan from the Khronos Group. While these technologies have similar design concepts, unfortunately none are available across all platforms.

Oh, really? And who is to blame, that Vulkan is not available on Apple platforms?

Benjamin_Dobell 4 hours ago 3 replies      
I feel like Apple are just trying to get in early with a proposal so they don't get forced into supporting Vulkan (and wasting all that effort on Metal).

Mind you, it does at least look like they're trying not to be jerks about it (even if the motivation is somewhat selfish). They specifically mention the competition to Metal and how "webgpu" is ideally an abstraction that'll sit on-top of Vulkan, Metal and Direct3D 12.

It'll be interesting to see how this pans out. Vulkan, Metal and Direct3D 12 are all intentionally very low level, adding a wrapper of any kind may be seen as non-ideal by all parties.

ytugiuyghvk 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Related reading re. Vulkan

"What a WebGL2 successor could look like and why it cant be WebVulkan" - https://floooh.github.io/2016/08/13/webgl-next.html

See also the the author's sketch of a next-gen web graphics API on top of WebGL (https://floooh.github.io/2016/10/24/altai.html) which is (perhaps unsurprisingl) broadly similar to the sketch given the article (minus command queues, shader libraries, ...).

vilya 1 hour ago 0 replies      
All of you complaining about this proposal not being based on Vulkan seem to be overlooking the fact that Vulkan is actually quite cumbersome to use. Metal, on the other hand, is a really well designed API and in my opinion strikes just the right balance between performance and usability. If it was available for non-Mac platforms too, it would be my first choice of graphics API every time. So for me, a cross platform web graphics API based on Metal is really quite an exciting prospect - much more so than one based on Vulkan - and I applaud Apple for proposing it.
vvanders 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Anything that's not based on the Vulkan spec is just a land-grab by Apple to push their own technologies.

As someone who spends a lot of time in that space I don't really see what this is solving, WebGL is good enough and anyone serious about performance/compute are going to drop down to native anyway.

nkkollaw 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Apple proposing standards is ridiculous.

They only care about standards when they're basically forced to adopt/support them, or they're their own.

These are the same guys that:

- use lightning instead of mini USB

- removed the headphone jack

- are creating yet another proprietary connector for accessories

- don't allow their OS on third-party hardware

- only allow developing for iOS from macOS

- only allow apps on iOS if you install from the App Store

- only allow their own browser engine on iOS

- etc.

Everyone wants their own standard to be the standard, if they really cared about it they would contribute to Vulkan and create WebVulkan.

sova 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Go for it! I would love to see more focus on browser-based what-the-future-of-code-may-look-like. That said, I don't think that 3D interfaces are the only kinds that need good language / representation. Not that the rules should be really rigid, but I think that if we pursue the notion of reversely symmetric UI-languages we can make a lot of progress. Imagine that you have a 3D scene, what is the minimal language you need to describe it? How can we make it so that language/code is not only minimised but extensible? We must strike a balance.

I would like to have such simplicity in a potential language that when I see a scene in my minds' eye, it's really easy to transfer to the digital realm. I think the simplicity of representation is key.

Being a web dev on my own hours for the past several years now has given me a pretty solid grip of all the needs of an interactive application, and I can say that there has to be some way for users to easily interact and offer all the possible inlets for the information. Starting a 3D-internet movement might require rethinking the inputs. Won't we just use holo-wands to navigate vast swathes of data rapidly? Run through this field of data sheets...

So yeah, rethinking the medium will naturally come up as a question in conversations around this, and I think that it's simply a matter of keeping "user input" as straightforward and easy as possible, in the local _and_ distributed sense. With that as a foundational block, the rest of the 3D scene can start to make sense.

SquareWheel 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm glad to see Apple getting interested in web standardization again, but I'm not a big fan of this one. Wouldn't a WebGL 3.0 based on Vulkan make more sense? I'd much rather see Apple warming up to Vulkan rather than have so much Metal influence on a common web API.

From a dev perspective my thinking is this. If I were to learn a 3D graphics API for the web I'd like that knowledge to be transferable to native development as well. An API built on Vulcan - even if abstracted - would be more pertinent and more compatible with existing tools than one built on Metal.

I'll be curious to see comments from other committee members as they'd have more insight on the subject.

DigitalSea 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Another anti-competitive initiative disguised as "Apple-led innovation" - maybe Apple should get on board with Vulkan, everyone else has, instead of complaining about there being no cross-platform solutions.
msie 3 hours ago 4 replies      
MS doesn't support Vulkan! Why are many people bashing Apple as the sole company not supporting it??? MS has abandoned OpenGL in support of D3D. Why have people forgotten this???
surfmike 3 hours ago 1 reply      
How is this on security? Vulkan API is built on being able to modify command buffers and pass parameters by directly writing to memory, rather than the client/server model of OpenGL. I could see that being an issue with the sandboxed model of the browser.

Disclaimer: haven't read the new Apple web 3D spec, just curious about others' opinions.

AndrewKemendo 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Biggest questions I have are:

1. What is the (proposed) backward compatibility across devices?

2.Given that it is structured for Metal shaders, what are the plans for other, non-apple devices? I see the hat tip to D3D and Vulkan, but I assume they need to get on board first - any early takers? After all common standard means cross-platform hardware support, something Apple has never really embraced.

suyash 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a great move by Apple. Webkit team is thinking ahead about power of GPU's and opening it up for more than just 3D graphics. GPU are already being utilized for AI and ML. Web developers need better access to low level computation and simple api's.
binarymax 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
Lots of negativity in this thread related to non-adoption of Vulcan. But we've been waiting too long for generic compute and the sooner Apple leads something to the browser for GPGPU then maybe it will get everyone else to finally act - competing standard or not.
TazeTSchnitzel 4 hours ago 2 replies      
That API looks potentially more pleasant to use than WebGL, which is a nice surprise given it's purportedly more low-level.
wnevets 4 hours ago 2 replies      
As someone whos knows almost nothing about 3d graphics and its APIs, how does Vulkan play into all of this? Why should this new API be used instead of adding Vulkan's API to the browser?
thedjinn 4 hours ago 2 replies      
The API looks like a direct port of Metal to JavaScript.
jgord 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Now that Apple has all power and wealth, they arrogantly push an api nobody wants, resulting in man-centuries of wasted effort and frustration .. instead of listening to their users [ in this case developers ]

We have seen this before - fortunately no matter how much money they put behind this bad idea, the internet is larger than apple, and open standard apis and choice will eventually win.

I don't want an apple api, I don't want yet-another-kool-language-fad they will drop in the next marketing cycle, I want old style javascript to run fast and be standards compliant on mobile, including on iOS devices.

ClassyJacket 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"The major platform technologies in this space are Direct3D 12 from Microsoft, Metal from Apple, and Vulkan from the Khronos Group. While these technologies have similar design concepts, unfortunately none are available across all platforms."

Vulkan isn't available on the Mac huh? Yeah Apple, and just who's fault is that??

greggman 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This probably doesn't matter but one of the advantages of WebGL is it's just OpenGL ES so porting to it is relatively simple.

On the other hand all the big engines already support multiple backends so adding another for yet another API is probably not a problem

bobajeff 4 hours ago 1 reply      
So is this supposed to be like a WebVulkan?
walterbell 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Could this be adapted for graphics virtualization, e.g. allowing several VMs to securely and performantly render 3D workloads on a single physical GPU?
ctdonath 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Any word from Carmack on this?
mbrookes 4 hours ago 3 replies      
Hey Apple, how about developing your browsers to support modern web technologies first?
dzhiurgis 1 hour ago 0 replies      
So much more value would be created if iOS supported Android-style progressive web applications...
botverse 3 hours ago 0 replies      
101 mentions of Vulkan so far
natvert 2 hours ago 0 replies      
How about just implementing serviceworker first?
whyileft 4 hours ago 3 replies      
That is a very deceptive way to put it.


Safari is intentionally crippled in several areas. Its very specific and obvious. It is dishonest for you to at this point pretend Apple is going full force for web standards while they are explicitly not implementing features that are available everywhere else. And how those specific features line up directly as features which allow web apps to compete with its native application market.

Edit: To anyone seeing this down-voted. Apple employees typically down-vote stuff like this so please do not take this being greyed as anything but manufactured opinion.

neom 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Kicking and dragging on WebRTC, WebCL, Vulkan. Business interests much?
hacktually 4 hours ago 1 reply      
We don't need more new standards.

We need concise, clear and coherent code.

varenc 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd rather Apple implement getUserMedia in Safari first.

Currently, it's not possible to access a user's microphone or webcam in Safari (desktop and iOS). They're the major outlier when compared to other browser vendors: http://caniuse.com/#search=getusermedia

phkahler 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't agree with this. The web does not need a 3D rendering API. If you think "web apps" are an appropriate thing, then perhaps it makes sense. Ignoring that, the web to me is still a way to view content and as such I can see a use for having navigable 3D scenes, environments, or content, but the rendering would be left to the browser much the way rendering HTML is left to the browser. I really don't like the amount of code running in my browser and see no need to add more.
Federal Court Says Public Safety Laws Can Be Locked Behind Paywalls eff.org
283 points by DiabloD3  1 day ago   65 comments top 17
jawns 1 day ago 14 replies      
I can see troubling consequences that arise from both sides' arguments.

If private companies can hold copyrights on portions of the law, that inhibits access to those laws, and I think any reasonable person would agree that citizens have a basic right to access the text of laws and legally binding regulations, and paywalls or other restrictions conflict with that right.

But if the government can essentially revoke a private individual or company's copyright merely by incorporating otherwise protected text into legislation, that can have adverse effects on copyright holders.

And it would be interesting to see just how far you could stretch a claim on both sides.

For instance, let's say that a law specifies that vehicles used by some governmental department must be maintained according to the specifications in their respective owners' manuals. Could that be argued to be a type of "incorporation by reference" of the specifications, thus voiding the copyright of the owners' manuals?

Or what if a private company tried to impose absurd restrictions on accessing copyrighted material that has been incorporated by reference, such that even the governmental agencies charged with enforcing the law were unable to access it? Could that be a way of subverting the law?

Or what if a lawmaker has it out for a particular publisher or writer, and purposefully quotes their copyrighted texts (beyond what would typically be considered fair use) in legislation as a way of damaging their copyright?

And if it is the case that nonprofit groups that devise standards for public safety and device interoperability are deprived of their copyrights because those standards are incorporated into legislation, I would imagine it would disincentivize the work they do, perhaps leading to less well thought out public safety and device interoperability standards.

leereeves 1 day ago 3 replies      
"Ignorance of the law is no excuse".

"Oh, you want to see the law? That'll cost you."

paulajohnson 1 day ago 1 reply      
The lowest level of the US court system tries hard to stick to what law and precedent say, and to avoid engaging with constitutional issues. If you want to drive change you have to appeal it up a level or two, where the senior judges consider it to be within their pay scale. That is what is going to happen here.
dandare 1 day ago 1 reply      
Kafka and Orwell missed an opportunity when they did not incorporate the idea of secret/paywalled laws into their works.
Old_Thrashbarg 1 day ago 0 replies      
The fight is not over yet. Please consider donating to Public Resources, which runs on a shoestring budget, employing just one person, Carl Malamud, at a modest salary.
huffmsa 1 day ago 0 replies      
>ruling that private organizations can use copyright to control access to huge portions of our state and federal laws.

Then if I decide not to use their copyright, the onus is on the copyholder to file suit against me for violation.

If in fact a firm owns it, the government cannot pursue a case, and the firm (with no criminal jurisdiction) cannot impose any penalty.

If in fact the government owns the text, it must necessarily be made freely available, unless it pertains to national security (which is shaky justification at best).

mnm1 1 day ago 1 reply      
How can one possibly respect a law one cannot read or any lawmakers/political bodies who make/encourage such laws or institutions claiming to enforce/defend them?

What exactly is the difference for the accused between this situation and having legal cases randomly decided by random rules?

tehwalrus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Perhaps part of qualifying as a lawyer should involve writing code against someone else's annoying API, just to give them a taste of how the law is for the rest of us.
vivekd 1 day ago 1 reply      
>Were disappointed by this misguided ruling, but the case is far from over.

Sounds like its going to be appealed.

I think the government needs to stop passing regulations that just copy the rules of private standards organizations unless they are also allowed to publish the regulations. Private organizations will do what they will, the public can't control private actors or force them to give up their right to collect money for their standards (at least not without a fight).

I juts don't understand why the government would just make laws without ensuring the right to publish them or make them widely available to the people, is just irresponsible and goes to show how little thought goes into all these regulations that govern our lives.

exabrial 1 day ago 1 reply      
Seems like an oversimplification of the issue, but the consequences are certainly disturbing.
gnicholas 1 day ago 0 replies      
interesting facts, from the decision:

Importantly, there is no evidence that the ... standards are unavailable to the public. In fact, the undisputed record evidence shows that the standards are required to be available in physical form from OFR; are available for purchase from the [first] Plaintiffs in hard copy and from the [second] Plaintiffs in hard copy and PDFs; and are accessible in read-only format for free in [second] Plaintiffs online reading rooms

If this information is freely available in electronic format which seems to be the case for the second plaintiff then in my mind the concern is greatly mitigated. The defendant could simply link out to the relevant page.

I'm surprised the decision doesn't mention the cost that the first plaintiff charges for the hard-copy of their standards (which are apparently not electronically available), since the cost/delay seems relevant. If the cost is hundreds or thousands of dollars, there definitely be cause for concern. On the other hand, if the cost is negligible, I'm somewhat less concerned.

To be clear, I still think that whatever agencies incorporate third-party content by reference should always require that the documents be freely available online. I just think these facts about current availability are interesting (and are not mentioned in the EFF post).

Old_Thrashbarg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some of these laws are so complex and interdependent that we need tools to help simplify them. If the publishers are allowed to paywall the law, then it'll be harder for startups like UpCodes to operate.

UpCodes provides a search engine into the codes, pinning (bookmarking) codes, a collaboration tool and finally weaves in local laws and amendments right into the code.

cooper12 1 day ago 1 reply      
Copyright law needs some serious reform. It's unconscionable that you can't even share the laws that govern you. We really need an exception for things that are considered "public" knowledge, including freedom of panorama. (I can't even take a picture of my own city if it contains an artwork in it) We also need to do something about orphaned works. Sadly, it's in the interest of Disney and other corporations that the status quo of a restrictive commons continues indefinitely.
icebraining 1 day ago 4 replies      
I don't get the criticism against the judge or the ruling. Frankly, the arguments presented by Resource.org seem to be unpersuasive (the claim that these standards are "discovered facts" is just insulting to the engineers that worked on them) and completely unsupported by the law. It's not the judge's fault that your Congress and other governments have sold you out. Go sue them for enforcing laws you can't read.
charonn0 1 day ago 1 reply      
On the one hand the law should be freely available in full text to everyone.

On the other hand, how many legislators are qualified to write a fire code?

skywhopper 1 day ago 0 replies      
Even if the companies that wrote these laws get to retain copyright, surely the substantial public interest in making them freely available makes this Fair Use. But current Copyright law is a cancer on our economy. Why not the government, too?
IanDrake 1 day ago 0 replies      
The ACA already forces every US citizen to buy a product from a private company. This isn't much different.

The Supreme Court has already upheld this as a "tax", so expect the same result.

FBI will no longer accept FOIA requests by email techcrunch.com
227 points by rmason  22 hours ago   93 comments top 11
shawnee_ 9 hours ago 4 replies      
Previously-accumulated USDA data (that has already been paid for and is technically a public good) has been blacked out also. Source: https://sunlightfoundation.com/tracking-u-s-government-data-...

The USDA announced that public access to that information would now be mediated through Freedom of Information Act requests.

There was a dog food poisoning reported [earlier this week](http://patch.com/illinois/hydepark/s/g0ven/illinois-company-...) The "supplier" of the poison dog food is probably pretty happy the public can't figure out which other pet food manufacturers (Besides Evanger's) they vendor.

This move was likely designed to hide facts from the public and to make investigative journalism a lot more difficult. Public health and safety data needs to be public and squelching it is akin to public endangerment.

[edit: thx for grammar correction.]

morisy 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Someone pointed out that there's technically a web portal that requesters can use. That web portal, however, goes beyond the law to add a bunch of restrictions including:

 * Limiting you to one request per day. * Not allowing you to request internal memos and a variety of other classes of documents. * The website doesn't work on weekends.
More detailed look how bad the website they launched to replace email is:


jonknee 11 hours ago 1 reply      
It would be interesting to fax in a FOIA request to find out the reasoning behind the decision to not allow email FOIA requests. And how the restrictions for the web portal came to be since they are not required by law.
coldcode 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Well they don't respond with information either, so they may as well only accept carrier pigeons.
digitalneal 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Who is going to be the hero that converts FBI FOIA emails into automated faxes and offers it as a service?
un-devmox 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is another troubling action meant to chip away at what government transparency we have left. I'm sure that the argument could be made that government agencies are "inundated" with requests that they can't keep up with and all this is too "costly."

This is worrisome! Will the feds start charging fees to view electronic docs like the State of Wyoming?http://www.wyomingnews.com/news/wyoming-court-ok-to-charge-f...

yAnonymous 13 hours ago 1 reply      
weberc2 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Someone could set up an email->fax interface for FOIA requests.
zaidf 7 hours ago 1 reply      
There should be a SaaS API that let's you file, track and access data from your FOIA requests.
fjdlwlv 9 hours ago 0 replies      
If I don't see a privately operated website providing a workaround within a week, I'll be embarrassed. The Internet views censorship as damage and routes around it.

Corporations have been profiting from your contact information for years, now you can donate your contact information for the public good.

See also https://www.muckrock.com/

c0nfused 12 hours ago 3 replies      
This is essentially FUD.

There is a web portal https://efoia.fbi.gov

The terms are a bit restrictive but not incredibly so.

FBI eFOIPA: Terms of Service:Please read before continuing...

Not all requests can be fulfilled using the eFOIPA system. You will be notified if your request cannot be serviced through the eFOIPA system.

A valid e-mail address will be required for authentication.Requests for fee waivers will require additional documentation.

Submissions are limited to events, organizations, first party requests (Privacy Act requests), and deceased individuals. You will be required to upload proof of death for requests for records responsive to deceased individuals who are younger than 100 years of age. Acceptable formats include .pdf or .doc. Other formats will not be accepted.

If you are making a request on an event, organization, or deceased individual, the primary form of correspondence that you will receive from the FBI will be e-mail. If you are making a request on a first party (Privacy Act request), the primary form of correspondence that you will receive from the FBI will be through standard mail.

If you are making a request on a living third party, your request cannot currently be serviced using the eFOIPA system.The combined file size of all attachments may not exceed 30 megabytes.

You are limited to making one request per day and one request per submission.

It is recommended that you visit http://www.justice.gov/oip/doj-foia-regulations if you have any additional questions or concerns prior to submitting your Freedom of Information Act or Privacy Act (FOIPA) request to the FBI.

An FBI Criminal History Summary Checkoften referred to as a criminal background check, criminal history record, police background clearance, police/good conduct certificate, or rap sheetis a listing of certain information taken from fingerprint submissions retained by the FBI in connection with arrests and, in some instances, federal employment, naturalization, or military service. It can also be used to satisfy a requirement to live, work, or travel in a foreign country; for employment or licensing; or for adopting a child. To obtain a copy of your FBI Criminal History Summary Check, please contact the FBIs Criminal Justice Services Division (CJIS) in Clarksburg, West Virginia by writing to Federal Bureau of Investigation, CJIS Division, Attention: Record Request, 1000 Custer Hollow Road, Clarksburg, WV 26306.

Not Everyone in Tech Cheers the H-1B Visa Program nytimes.com
262 points by Cbasedlifeform  1 day ago   330 comments top 23
ericseppanen 1 day ago 5 replies      
It's unfortunate that most of the people writing about the problems with H-1B visas can't distinguish between companies that hire the best they can get (and paying competitive salaries), and outsourcing companies that file a ton of applications (and pay their employees much less).

This approach seems deliberately lazy, as though it's some kind of head-scratcher that the displaced IT support guy hates his outsourced replacement; while the Googles and Microsofts of the world support a program that allows them to hire top engineers from all over the globe.

I find it especially galling that this NYT writer can't make the distinction, given their paper did a great article about H-1B abuse by outsourcing firms:http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/11/06/us/outsourcing...

intrasight 1 day ago 3 replies      
The visa system is prone to abuse as long as it is the sponsoring company that controls the visa. The visa should be issued to the individual and be valid for a fixed length of time.
klunger 1 day ago 1 reply      
In Norway, if you are on a knowledge worker visa, your salary needs to be competitive. This amount increases each year with inflation.

As an American working in Norway, I have to say that this is how it should be done in the US . My Norwegian coworkers do not resent me because I was not hired because I am any cheaper than they are. And, I get a salary that allows me to meet the high cost of living here. If companies were allowed to pay foreigners significantly below industry standard, it would be a disaster. I don't understand why this is still standard practice in the US.

Oh wait, I do understand: it allows companies to pay less for labor and pad their profit margins. But it is bogus, and this is one Trump initiative I can get behind.

Alex3917 1 day ago 7 replies      
I have a certain level of sympathy for unemployed Americans who the government could be retraining as technology workers. There are some H-1B workers who legitimately have skills that are highly valuable and uncommon within the U.S., but the majority seem to employed by large contracting firms who specialize in bringing in folks to perform relatively simple labor.

I have much less sympathy for folks already in the tech industry who are complaining about this. Tech is basically the most overpaid career there is. And not because it's especially hard or valuable, but because as soon as some CEO starts getting the idea that they could be the next Mark Zuckerberg then all rational thought goes out the window.

Hiring developers is basically rich people's version of blowing all their money on lottery tickets. The entire industry is completely unregulated despite putting the nation's critical infrastructure and economy in grave danger, which artificially drives up wages by externalizing the risk onto everyone else. And H-1B workers are placing basically zero downward pressure on wages as far as I can tell.

Dowwie 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have vivid memories of what 2003 was like for me, a computer science grad who entered the workforce just as management's solution to control a new, major cost center (IT) was taking hold. Many of the DevOps functions that you celebrate today were considered commoditized and consequently eligible for offshore tech consultancy. I watched middle-aged, highly skilled professionals train their low-cost, unskilled replacements after being explicitly told by HR/management that their severance packages required their complete cooperation during their "employment transition".

This was at Merrill Lynch during its heyday.

addicted 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think it's funny that people complain that the H1B visa program are "shipping jobs abroad" when by being a visa program, the whole point is to allow people to work in the US. No one is going through all the trouble to enter a 10% lottery to "ship jobs abroad" when actually shipping jobs abroad requorws no visa, and requires no minimum 60k payment.

Now, this doesn't mean there aren't problems with the H1B program. By making workers so dependent on their employers (for example, if an H1B visa holder gets laid off or fired they have to leave the country immediately without legally having the opportunity to find a new job) it most likely drives down wages slightly, but the "sending jobs abroad" rhetoric is little more than xenophobic sloganeering which only serves to distract people from the actual problems related to the H1B (the power differential between the employers and the employees, and the ridiculousness of a lottery system which benefits those who can flood the system with applications as opposed to actual companies that need good workers).

planetjones 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is wage dumping. The article explains the problem perfectly i.e. a 130K job is replaced by a 60K job. Call this globalisation and efficient markets if you like. However, on a personal note, if Trump manages to put in place policies to make it more of a level playing field and stops some of the greed which CEOs apply when replacing jobs with outsourcing contracts then I think he may have found a policy which will carry a lot of favour with middle class workers.
arikrak 1 day ago 5 replies      
If they reduce H-1B visas, can't large companies just hire more people overseas? How would you make companies hire more Americans?
nul_byte 1 day ago 0 replies      
I looked into H-1B after being offered a senior technical role in the CTO office of a big networking vendor (based in the valley).

I turned down the role. I would have to enter a lottery to get a visa and then have my visa tied to my role at that company. For me as someone with two young children and an already good life in the UK, it was far to uncertain for me.

Fazilka 1 day ago 4 replies      
The Trump administration should consider voiding all existing H1-B visas, without exception, and enforcing that all holders return to their home countries, before being eligible to re-obtain a H1-B under new, fairer rules. I know more than a handful of very qualified 40+ folk who were laid off over the last couple of years, and told quite frankly, and with no words being minced, that they were too expensive for the company, so their jobs were being "out-sourced" to cheaper/younger workers.

Most H1-B holders are from pretty desperate circumstances and put up with just about anything, at least until they obtain their GCs.

zobzu 1 day ago 1 reply      
im a hb1 worker paid 150000/y. this is slightly less than some colleagues, slightly more than others (though slightly less qualified arguably)

it ist is hard to find qualified employees for that job. the last person we found works remote from canada, because that's all we could find that had the right minimum skillset and was available at all.

for the past 2y we no longer hire via h1b. why? because we cant. the chance than an applicant gets a visa is now ridiculously low.this is because of the flooding and first come first serve system this article is mentioning: we can submit for 2 or 3 100-150k jobs a year. others submit thousands at 60k no chance. (this is because we do not fire lower skill jobs to replace em by h1b)

MR4D 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Crazy idea...

How about a one line regulation: You pay whatever you want to your H1B employee. For every dollar under some limit (say, $130K) you pay that dollar to Uncle Sam.

At least it would keep them honest, since any cheating would be a tax violation.

subhrm 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was a part of the Infosys offshore team (India) that took the transition from Eversource energy's IT department (mentioned in the article).

I clearly remember now, how disappointed, sad and gloomy were the members of the departing team.

KAdot 1 day ago 1 reply      
Keep in mind that H-1B visa is almost the only legal way for skilled workers to immigrate to the United States. Unlike other visa types, H-1B requires the applicant to have at least bachelors degree. At the same time USCIS issues about 650,000 family-based immigration visas and 120,000 visas for refugees every year.
DVassallo 1 day ago 2 replies      
> "We are at a disadvantage as Americans," Ms. Hatten-Milholin said.

This is so ridiculous. A disadvantage against who? By any rational measure, it's the H1-B holders that are at a huge disadvantage against Americans.

Friedduck 1 day ago 0 replies      

I agree, that there seem to be two distinct practices. I experienced the latter, where a company performed wholesale off-shoring of several thousand jobs.

I don't understand how the stewards of that program approve such visas when they're clearly being used to replace existing workers (i.e., the argument that you can't find qualified locals is demonstrably false.)

My other hard-won conclusion: the companies that do this don't recognize the long-term impacts. They're less capable, less competitive, and their outsourcing partners can become their overlords. The outsourcers gain considerable negotiating leverage, and any attempt to unseat them becomes economically impossible.

What can we do about it? Look at the policies that make American employment unappetizing. The cost of benefits (principally health care.) Regulations that make it difficult to fire poor performers.

Finally, there's a feedback mechanism here. I saw many leave technology because they perceived that the opportunities were all moving off-shore.

jeffdavis 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am confused by the article. The examples given are examples of outsourcing, which doesn't require visas at all, right?
auvi 1 day ago 0 replies      
can anybody tell me the legal implications to start a US based company as a foreigner? Is it possible to start one in F-1 OPT and later file for H1-B?
known 1 day ago 0 replies      
Try hiring Politicians on H1B
perseusprime11 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would love to see a New York Times or Washington Post article on H1-B that is based on interviews from those who are abused either by these consulting companies that pay low wages or the impact it has on driving down overall wages of American worker while the tech companies reap reward profits.
chetanahuja 1 day ago 0 replies      
Irony of only focusing on tech jobs when talking about H1-B is two-fold:

1) Tech jobs (especially in software fields) are some of the easiest to do remotely. Creating higher barriers to H1-B visas will only create higher incentives to let those same workers work from their home countries instead of bringing them all the way to the US. The unintended side-effect of course is that this is actually cheaper for the employers, siphons spending outside the US economy and to the extent this is believed to be zero-sum market (it's not), you have to believe that this will depress the job market here.

2) Software is not the only field H1-B jobs are used in. There are whole categories of jobs where $130K salary is absurdly high even for top candidates (without any visa restrictions). Case in point, academic researchers and scientists.

andrewclunn 1 day ago 0 replies      
The outsourcing is another issue, as any tech job that can be telecomuted will be moved overseas (with the exception of security risk aversion factors, like with HIPA compliant organizations and such). What this allows is for foreign workers to come to the U.S. too work for less at jobs that require that a person be on-site. Then they have no power to negotiate, as they're here at their employer's whim. If there are going to be worker's protection laws, that I as a citizen am guaranteed, and which raise my cost, then allowing for a loop hole like this is pricing me out of decent work. Come on President Trump, raise that price cap and end this loophole!
DickingAround 1 day ago 13 replies      
Am I the only one here who thinks that a person has a basic right to work with whoever and wherever they want regardless of their birthplace? Is discriminating against someone based on where they were born somehow less of a fallacy than discriminating based on skin color, etc. ?
Why Don't We Have a General-Purpose Tree Editor? (2014) pcmonk.me
300 points by networked  1 day ago   208 comments top 71
m1el 1 day ago 4 replies      
Emacs has ParEdit minor mode which is a general-purpose tree editor.


edit:paredit demos:

Productive Emacs: Paredit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1WBsI3gdDE

Emacs Rocks! Episode 14: Paredit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6h5dFyyUX0

stcredzero 1 day ago 1 reply      
The key insight of this post for me is this: Code editing is tree editing! The reason why code is edited in text editors, is that tree editing interfaces are fundamentally difficult to do well, and often have to be carefully tuned to the properties of the particular trees and editing tasks. (Simple examples: Huge fanout vs. at most 2 children. Very large information-rich nodes vs. tiny nodes.)

In the early days of programming text editors, we dealt with this difficulty by exploiting the human brain's mechanisms for dealing with serialized trees -- which is to say the human brain's facilities for processing language and reading and writing text. By doing this, we could represent all kinds of hierarchically structured code, and let the human brain process it. But even in these early days, we started bringing in visual aids for reading structure: indentation and braces.

Now, if you look at modern IDEs, you'll find even more geometric/visual representation of the tree structure of code, in the form of collapsible tree controls operating on the code. This isn't to naively say that graphical programming is the way to go, since the potential for interrelation and complexity of structure in code is far too high to comfortably represent in 2 or even 3 dimensions. The way forward is to be able to dynamically visualize very specific contexts. (One example I can think of of the top of my head, would be to quickly visualize all "subscribers" of an Observer, then be able to visualize the 2nd order "users" of those subscribers. Another would be to visualize patterns in code supporting dataflows as an explicit flow graph.)

audunw 1 day ago 6 replies      
I've been thinking about this constantly for the last 2-3 years. I'm working on something which might lead to this.

What I've concluded, is that we don't have a good representation for a general purpose tree editor to work on. Roughly speaking, S-expressions are just a bit too simple, and XML is way too complicated.

General purpose plain text editors work so well because we've agreed on a common representation (more or less), which is easy for text. But as soon as you want to move to useful, common tree-structures, you have to agree on both representation and semantics, which makes it much harder.

One challenge we need to solve is - what level do you want to work on? Let's say you're working on some code. You may want to treat functions and blocks as a tree structure, but you want to treat simple mathematical expressions as text. Where this threshold is, is entirely context-dependent. The editor needs to understand the language and be able to expand text into its tree structure, or collapse the tree into its text representation, at any node in the tree.

This implies that we need to agree on a common format for defining the conversion (parsing and generating) between text and trees. We'd probably also need a package system which contains common definitions for all major languages.

jcoffland 1 day ago 3 replies      
Trees are graphs with out cycles but you always end up adding cycles. Code is no exception. There have been endless attempts to create coding systems based on graphs. These systems promise extraordinary modularity and reusability and an ease of programming which will allow anyone to construct complex software with a few clicks and drags. So far everyone of these systems that I have seen in the last 25 years has fallen short of its promises.

If you pay attention to these characteristics you will begin to notice the regularity with which such systems crop up and die. In my experience there's no use trying to talk enthusiasts out of this idea. I even attempted such a system myself many years ago. It's almost a rite of passage.

The reason tree editors (aka graph editors with out cycles, yet) don't work is similar to why we use relational DBs, instead of more the natural interpretation of data as graphs, boils down to, graph algorithms are slow and complex. In practice the added complexity outweighs the perceived benefits. The way people currently edit code, although not perfect, actually works really well. You have to weigh the costs of moving away from a simple system that works against the benefits and complexity of the new system.

chriswarbo 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think it's important to distinguish between "tree-structured data" and "tree-structured UI"; many of the suggestions here and in the article's comments mention s-expressions (or alternatives e.g. using indentation or similar); many others mention diagramming/mindmapping tools. I think the real issue is how disconnected such approaches are from each other: why can't I press a key and have my parenthesised expression be expanded into a tree, or press another button to collapse a sub-tree down into a parenthesised expression?

I imagine a decent tree editor would let me:

- Navigate and edit the structure and its contents in a linear representation, like using paredit on an s-expression.

- Navigate and edit the structure and its contents in a more "tree-like" representation, e.g. as boxes+arrows, or nested boxes.

- Toggle between display modes on a per-term basis, e.g. using boxes+arrows for the top-level (say, function definitions in a Lisp file) and s-expressions for the contents.

- Fold/unfold terms/trees (code folding, but for expressions rather than lines)

- Allow plugins/preferences tailored for particular trees, e.g. syntax colouring for programming language parse trees.

As a more elaborate idea, we could allow plugins to extend the tree/graph structure with "virtual" nodes, e.g. linking names to their definitions, documentation, tests, etc. as if they were code-folded parts of the source code.

dahart 1 day ago 1 reply      
One huge question to ask is why you need an editor specifically for a tree. Do you want a gui, or a format? If you need a gui, you are automatically in domain-specific territory. If you only need a format, maybe you don't need a tree editor at all.

Excel is a great tool for making trees; just add a column that names your parent. I used Excel to create a prototype of an event driven animation sequencing engine for a Disney game. It was more of a state machine / directed graph than a tree, but the only constraint there is data, not the editor. The prototype was later replaced (after the game using Excel shipped) with a gui based tree editor, but not something that could be called "general purpose".

I've long thought that hierarchical file formats come with some pretty bad downsides, from both sides, usage and implementation. You don't need a hierarchical format as long as you are willing to name all nodes and not allow anonymous nodes. Once you do that, you can have a flat file structure with fields that reference other nodes. Once you do that, XML feels crazy. Easier to implement parsers that don't have to do overblown amounts of dynamic memory allocation, easier for humans to read & follow, easier to share references or allow non-tree structures, etc. etc.

enord 1 day ago 0 replies      
We do, it's called "the file system". Folders and directories galore. If you dont like folder icons and rectangular windows, navigate with MC.

The problem is not trees, they are readily available in many formats. The problem is schemas. If there are no rules on the branches everything becomes "Old_stuff" or "important_work" or whatever people do to their document folders as the tide turns.

You need trees layered over trees to provide some structure and get that sweet workflow QC. Graph-homomorphisms between trees that is, or slice categories over whatever structure you need to maintain. Trees (or graphs) in semantic/syntactic relationships stacked as high as you can muster. Usually this is presented as a two-layered structure-tree+data-tree system in end user applications, with a fixed semantic tree depending on the domain in application. The trick is finding the balance between end-user configurability of layers n+1 and the required knowledge to design useful structures. People who edit layer 2 should probably be domain experts, and layers 3 and above are best left to programmers and computer scientists. If this was a solved problem, nobody would buy CRUD-software, and a good half of us would be looking for work.

throwanem 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think we don't have a general-purpose tree editor for two reasons:

1. Nobody knows what it should look like.

2. Nobody knows how it should work.

I fear this article has left me as much in the dark on these points as I was before I read it. Perhaps someone else here will find something in it I missed.

abhishivsaxena 1 day ago 4 replies      
Check gingko, which is more focussed on docs, but is a tree editor at its core.


Used it at university for notes, and is great for quick revisions before the exams too!

GedByrne 1 day ago 1 reply      
For the programming use case there is also Leo.


Leo is of particular interest because it automatically syncs between the tree and code files: http://leoeditor.com/tutorial-programming.html

The approach is documented here: http://leoeditor.com/appendices.html#the-mulder-ream-update-...

al2o3cr 1 day ago 2 replies      
FWIW, comparing my experiences with several different "graphical equation editors" (fundamentally a flavor of tree-editor) versus editing LaTeX code directly, the tree editor loses every time. Yes, the tree editor is capable of providing an amazingly efficient interface for modifying parts of an existing expression - but when you start restructuring the whole expression things get messy fast. The plain code method is a bit rougher to read / enter in simple cases, but since it's just text in a text editor it doesn't have the same complexity escalation when doing unusual reorganizations.
nathell 1 day ago 0 replies      
This reminded me of Leslie Lamport's (of LaTeX fame) paper "How to write a 21st century proof" [0], where he argues that we should explicitly structure proofs as trees.

[0]: http://lamport.azurewebsites.net/pubs/proof.pdf

neonnoodle 1 day ago 2 replies      
See to me the problem is the notion of tree structure itself. Forgive me because I don't know the correct mathematical way to talk about this: a tree is a particular type of network in which nodes can have only one direct parent and thus only share siblings with the descendants of that single parent. What we are really lacking is a good network editor, which would encompass not only trees but also more complex rhizomatic network structures.

I think Ted Nelson's ZigZag structure is the closest anyone has come as yet, but manipulating those is NOT user friendly (to say the least). Visualization of multidimensional networks is difficult on many levels, particularly UI. At a certain point you probably come up against hard cognitive limits of human thought.

jacquesm 1 day ago 2 replies      
This has been here before:


It's an unresolved problem as far as I know. Lots of partial solutions. I ran into this again recently because I use tree editors extensively (mostly leo) for my daily routine and was searching for a better (more structured) replacement but I haven't found anything yet that beats leo.

Emacs org mode is reportedly extremely powerful as well but I have yet to invest significant time into it (there is only so much time...).

deckar01 1 day ago 1 reply      

> Gephi is an award-winning open-source platform for visualizing and manipulating large graphs.

tunesmith 1 day ago 0 replies      
A lot of tree editors aren't sufficient because he's asking about DAGs. Most tree-editing software only lets you have multiple children per parent, but you also need to allow multiple parents per child.

http://flyinglogic.com/ is on the right track. JVM cross platform and commercial.

Curious how jetbrains MPS could improve on something like that.

haldean 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interestingly, visual programming and tree-editing has actually gained a lot of traction with non-programmers. Tons of the big video and audio production suites (off the top of my head: Houdini, Max MSP, Grasshopper, Nuke, Blender's node editor) are DAG-based authoring tools, and are a joy to use.

As a person interested in programming language design, that makes me wonder if visual programming might be the sort of thing that we as programmers don't use because it is, in some sense, "beneath us". You can argue that the complexity of a standard Max patch is much lower than your production system, but many production systems are "render database to JSON", which seems far less complex than, say, a feature film, many of which are made almost entirely in Houdini.

jokoon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Isn't XML already a tree?

Joke aside, graphs are far from being trivial to represent as a data structure, and their use are so various that you can hardly edit a graph using text alone. Even a visual editor would require to be tailored to different work you do with graphs.

d0lph 1 day ago 5 replies      
Workflowy is pretty nice, it exports to plain text and xml.


rexpop 1 day ago 0 replies      
And then there is Gingko[1], a beautiful, keyboard-shortcutted, markdown-enabled tree editor that exports to html, markdown, LaTeX, docx, impress.js, and json.

Gingko provide templates for Timelines, Screenplays, GTD and Academic papers, but I can imagine using it for complex formal proofs I mostly use it for Microscope[2] and worldbuilding[3].

Right now it doesn't have any programmatic/computing capacity, but Gingko is eminently user friendly, so if Adriano[4] ever implemented a plugin system (or if someone wrote a Gingko-node-crunching chrome extension) I would imagine it to be a very enjoyable interface for editing trees.

1. https://gingkoapp.com/?ref=f32636d1

2. http://www.lamemage.com/microscope/

3. https://www.reddit.com/r/worldbuilding

4. https://twitter.com/adrianoferrari

Disclosure: I don't have any affiliation with Gingko, but that is my referral link. ;)

wdfx 1 day ago 2 replies      
Animats 1 day ago 2 replies      
There have been pure S-expression editors in LISP. INTERLISP worked that way. Yet EMACS, which is a text editor which knows a little about S-expressions, won out. INTERLISP's LISP editor had features never seen since, such as "Make this code subexpression a standalone function". This would pull the subexpression out and make it a named function, inserting the correct calls with the correct arguments in the original code. The inverse operation, "expand this function here", was also available. This eased refactoring.

There don't seem to be tree-oriented editors for XML. Or HTML. Or even JSON. That would be useful. At least the tree structure would always be correct. More effort is going into figuring out how to parse "bad JSON" than into writing editors for it.

ClayFerguson 1 day ago 0 replies      
To me it's shocking that there's nothing for editing XML that equates to an editable tree GUI interface where nodes and properties can be rendered onto something resembling a document but yet browsable (by expanding and collapsing node) with the same paradigm of a file-system browser gui. I'm working on this myself actually, in meta64.com (see it on github, because the site is not always live, and is experimental). I am using JCR as the back end data storage but seriously considering adding a feature so support direct XML editing. XML and also REST are highly structural, and yet everyone seems to just use syntax-highlighting text editors to edit them rather than something more akin to a tree-based browser, that would render something more friendly looking (with expand/collapse capability). Think of it like this, you have seen RSS XML before right? You have also seen web sites that RENDER the RSS feed into a document-looking thing. That's what i'm getting at. Going from editing this stuff as a text file, to something much more advanced, like a tree-browser. Maybe there are some things i'm not aware of, like perhaps even an Atom Editor plugin or whatever, but I don't think there's anything in wide use or i'd know about it, having been a web developer for 25yrs now.
fiatpandas 1 day ago 0 replies      
Architects and the like already work with a really great tree editor called Grasshopper. Easy to see cross sections through your tree as you are arranging components and relationships L->R or T->B, so there is potential to have very clear hierarchies depending on the style of the user.

Also, I've been impressed with a lot of the invention that has happened around Grasshopper's UX + UI. I've been really surprised to see the design community emerge with the best graph programming editor, as opposed to something much more developer focused.

It is of course not general purpose because you have to have Rhino to use it, but it can be used for general purpose programming since you can create custom components with .NET, ignoring most of the pre-built ones that are focused on parameterized geometry.

robochat42 1 day ago 0 replies      
I found myself thinking of something like Treeline when he describes what he wants.http://treeline.bellz.org/
charlieflowers 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have wondered this exact same thing! I assumed tree editors did exist, and I was excited that all I needed to do was go find them. But Google did not come through for me.

Even a basic tree editor would be very powerful. Especially if you could run code from a repl that would change the tree (I know, that's no longer basic ... but it would let the graphical portion be basic, which might help it be bootstrapped into existence).

imode 1 day ago 0 replies      
honestly, let's go a step further and make it a general purpose graph editor!

practical purposes abound, sure, but I'd just like to see the intermediate notation that pops out if someone were to attempt to design one. I don't think it'd be like graphviz..

YeGoblynQueenne 1 day ago 3 replies      
>> We need a solid, simple program that can simply edit trees.

I might be misunderstanding this but a "tree" is a graph, so formally a tuple G = {V,E} where V a set of vertices {a,b,c,....} and E a set of tuples: {{a,b}, {b,c},...} so that each a,b,c,... are vertices in V.

So for instance, the graph:

 a | / \ b c | | d e
Would be written as {{V,E}: V = {a,b,c,d,e}, E = {{a,b},{a,c},{b,d},{c,e}}} possibly accompanied by a statement as to whether edges are directed or not.

That's a simple, intuitive, light-weight notation that is very easy to manipulate in a text editor, so that's probably why nobody has bothered to write a special-purpose program for it.

And if you want a graphical representation there's always tools like graphviz, so our graph can be written in dot-language as:

 digraph{ a->b a->c b->d c->e }
Also, I don't understand why a tool to manipulate graphs, rather than just represent them, would be any different than a proof assistant or a theorem prover.

chriswarbo 1 day ago 2 replies      
Surprised nobody's mentioned Boxer, or some other boxes-in-boxes representation http://web.media.mit.edu/~mres/papers/boxer.pdf

Blockly ( https://developers.google.com/blockly ) is also similar, but I think it's a bit too specific:

- Only one type of block is needed, to represent a generic "node" in the tree. Distinctions can be added by plugins, if desired for some particular language.

- The idea of "interlocking" can be discarded, since a general tree editor should allow arbitrary edits to arbitrary trees (in the same way that a general text editor should allow any text to be inserted anywhere in a file/buffer). Plugins can add it back for particular languages.

- Nesting should be the only relationship; it subsumes "sitting beside" (like Blockly assignments) or "wrapping around" (blockly loops).

- No need to distinguish between editable/immutable values; everything is editable.

As a baby step towards the author's goal, how about an s-expression editor which displays boxes-in-boxes instead of parentheses? The editing commands could be exactly the same as e.g. Emacs+paredit, the only difference would be that indentation begins at the left edge of the current box, rather than at the left edge of the screen. For example, we would have to discard the indentation of an expression like:

 (foo (bar baz) (quux foobar))
Instead we would align "foobar" to be in the same box as "quux", e.g.

 +-------------------------+ | +-------+ +---------+| |foo |bar baz| |quux || | +-------+ | foobar|| | +---------+| +-------------------------+
Note that I don't recommend using ASCII to draw the boxes (except maybe as a proof-of-concept). Once we have such an editor, we could start to extend it with features like coloured boxes for syntax colouring, structure-checkers (e.g. "if" should have 3 children, etc.).

More radical extensions can then support pulling the boxes out into a more traditional tree structure.

lebski88 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a part of what we're working on at atomist - https://www.atomist.com/

We're imagining the idea that your whole development flow is expressible in terms of trees and expressions that we can use to navigate those trees. Say for example a webhook pushes a commit event. We can navigate from that commit, into the chat channel associated with it. Find the repo that contains it. Associate it with the build and link the two together in chat or, most relevant to this article, navigate into the code itself and perform an action such as changing the code or opening a PR with a suggested edit and comment.

The interesting thing is that it's trees the whole way down. We can use the same expression to reach across all all kinds of events or to pick out individual tokens or structures inside the code.

There's lots of information on our blog: https://the-composition.com/

We've open sourced a lot of our core work at: https://github.com/atomist and are also interested in talking to teams about joining out alpha (see atomist.com)

It's a really interesting problem to be working on.

amelius 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't we have various LISP editors that are basically just that?
dustingetz 14 hours ago 0 replies      
imagine you had about ten excel tables linked in a graph, any interesting visualization or analysis involves querying it like a database, and many databases are very rigid in terms what they can store, not flexible like excel. Semantic web stores (triple stores) are mostly schemaless and solve the rigidity but they had their own problems [1], datomic's 5-store model maybe fixes them? So maybe we will see an excel-for-graphs based on datomic someday soon. I'm working on this problem so if anyone has any interest in discussing this you should email me! It's a really interesting problem because excel-for-graphs would be an amazing starting point for building CRUD apps.

[1] can anyone help me with clarity here as to why triple stores failed? Is it because no :db/retract and no time axis so cache consistency problems? or a deeper reason?

staz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is it me or is this article reposted every four months? Does it show that there is a fundamental need that is still unmet?
gcatlin 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't want a general purpose tree editor. I want a general purpose text editor that understands the semantics of the text I'm editing. One that understands all the various not-necessarily-sexp-based code I'm editing is a tree and supports (ParEdit style) operations on that tree. Especially with languages in the Algol/C family. I think this can be accomplished (eventually) via language servers and editors that speak the Language Server Protocol (LSP) [0].

But I don't need a UI oriented around visually displaying tree-like things. Expanding / collapsing nodes is very meh. Moving / splitting / joining nodes is much more interesting and useful.

As a simple concrete example: changing the order of the parameters (and their type) in a function definition. Wouldn't it be great to 'swap-with-prev-node' or 'swap-with-next-node' rather than copy/paste and dealing with commas? The same operations could swap the order of two fields in a struct or two functions or two classes or any pair of adjacent nodes in a tree.

Or how about moving an 'if' block inside the 'for' block that follows it? Just execute the 'move-node-inside-next-node' (or whatever) command.

This only requires editors that (indirectly) understand the semantics of the text you're editing. Thus far the biggest barrier is all wheel re-invention needed for the cartesian product of all editors and all languages. But that's the wrong approach. We need each language to provide a tool that each editor can use via a common protocol.

This is precisely the point of the LSP. The functionality only needs to be written once per language and per editor. This is totally tractable. I don't know if LSP currently supports the specific tree-manipulation functionality I mentioned, but I'm confident it could.

Does anyone knowledgeable about LSP know if this is already possible, feasible, and/or generally desirable? Are there deal breakers that make this hard / not worthwhile?

[0] http://langserver.org/

bluetwo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Honestly, if I'm trying to organize some concepts into a tree, I'll go into Word, open a blank document, and switch to Outline mode.

Not the most complex solution but also super easy to use. Tab to indent, shift-tab to unindent. Select-drag-and-drop... etc.

peterhil 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is the Dot language:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOT_(graph_description_languag... The files can be viewed with Graphviz.
janci 1 day ago 4 replies      
Somewhat related: I was overwhelmed by complexity of web CMS solutions. I needed something very very simple, that gets the task done (user-editable webpage content).

I represent the web by a tree, every node has metadata (id, type, title) and data. Nodes can be persisted (ie. as json text files, or in database table) and browsed (parent to children and back). Admin UI is very simple: in the left pane there is the tree browser, works like filesystem browser - you can open "folders" (nodes with subnodes) and "files" (leaf nodes). Each node shows specific editor for it's type, that usually consist of few form fields.

chriswarbo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Something slightly more hardcode: http://hazelgrove.org - structured editing via a formal calculus of actions which provably maintains correctness.

Whilst a cool idea, and a nice foundation for actions, it certainly suffers from being clunky UI-wise, so doesn't solve the author's problem directly.

solomatov 1 day ago 0 replies      
We have it. It's called JetBrains MPS: https://www.jetbrains.com/mps/
RushPL 1 day ago 0 replies      
Author of code2flow here (https://code2flow.com) - I think you could use my tool to easily create many types of trees. It's not generic, as in, it is focused on charting programs/algorithms and workflows but I've seen people (ab)use it for many different use cases, like so: https://code2flow.com/fRRlCK
tonetheman 1 day ago 2 replies      
Little Outliner 2 is pretty good. http://littleoutliner.com/ Made by Dave @ scripting.com
ChicagoDave 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have a startup called Wizely, which is a social wisdom network. The iOS (phone) app (in development) will have a tree editor. I'm also developing a tablet version that would be bigger and more "touch-friendly". A full browser/desktop version isn't in the works, but if things roll out according to plan, it would be an important addition to our process.
arxpoetica 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've brought up this issue before in the context of GraphQL's declarative data: https://github.com/facebook/graphql/issues/237#issuecomment-...
lowmagnet 1 day ago 0 replies      
The author's use of "sufficient cause" brought to mind Sciral's Flying logic[0] which does some basic logic and sufficient cause in terms of Goldratt's Theory of Constraints. It's also useful for a number of other logical structures, like trees.

[0] http://flyinglogic.com

panic 1 day ago 2 replies      
Because we don't have a general-purpose tree file format.
Philipp__ 1 day ago 0 replies      
This certainly is good question. But, the fact that we don't have one yet maybe tells us that we haven't defined what it should be and what kind of problem it should solve.

I mean, I like the idea a lot! Used MindNode, but I found it very bound to specific type of problems. It is visualization tool. And Emacs is just too much. I use it from time to time, but I would like nice native general purpose text editor with Tree capability and Markdown support.

mdemare 1 day ago 0 replies      
A tree is a pair of a value and a list of trees.

The "list of trees" part is what's constant about trees; the value is what makes it hard. What's a value? A name? A string? A text? Either a text, or a name and a map of strings to strings (simplified HTML)? A General Purpose Tree Editor would have to handle all those cases, and a whole lot more.

elcapitan 1 day ago 0 replies      
This may sound cruel, but you can use OmniOutliner as a tree editor and transform the XML to your target with your favorite xml transformation method.
holy_jeebus 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you can do queries AND have a GUI option that seems logical to me.

Looking back at my history this topic hits me right in the feels...


zubat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Trees are not all alike and I think this stops most such plans. Some trees have types and tags, quoting of other trees, container patterns that are representable as a tree but unpleasant to edit.

And we get stuck on that and say "Let's have a syntax." And then we're back to text again.

rijoja 1 day ago 0 replies      
Did anybody get the source code to run? I've been trying to test it out for a long time but never really gotten anywhere. Is there anybody that is good at functional programming that could help me out?

It's surely funny if there can be so many comments and nobody even ran the program.

l0ner 1 day ago 1 reply      
What comes to my mind is the Eclipse Modeling Framework. It's not exactly light-weight, but it always worked pretty well for my use cases. Throw a model at it (XML schema, annotated Java, ...) and it generates a Java implementation including a tree-based editor; certainly good enough for prototyping purposes.
samirillian 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this problem is closely related to the perennial "optimal to-do list" problem. A to-do list is a tree. If you have a good tree editor, you have a good to-do list app.
bigmanwalter 1 day ago 0 replies      

It's only for JSON but you can write a small script to convert it to whatever format you want.

loevborg 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd even be happy to have just a simple general-purpose text-ui tree viewer. There's tree(1) and ncdu(2) but they doesn't really work for anything except directory trees.
digi_owl 1 day ago 0 replies      
I must admit i have no clue what the author is actually asking for.

If he is asking for away to organize various bits of text etc, is that not basically a directory tree stuffed with files?

freeduck 1 day ago 1 reply      
Pretty much any code editor with a jump to source, is a user friendly graph editor. And with refactoring tools, a good debugger and compiler I can't see what is missing
goerz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Isn't this just what's known as an Outliner (e.g. OmniOutliner, but various other programs exist)?
slezyr 1 day ago 0 replies      
orgzly (open outliner saves in org mode for Android)


thwee789 1 day ago 0 replies      
Check out Freemind. It's been collecting dust on the shelves.
jerf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Because the use case of "edit all graphs" is too divergent to be solved by one program.

For simplicity, let me start with just trees. What kind of trees have we got?

Well, we've got programming language ASTs. In these trees, nodes tend to have only two or three children, each of which is probably a short word or a number, but they can easily extend hundreds of levels deep, or even thousands. (Before you disagree with this, go take a look at the dump of the AST of a modestly complicated Python function or something. Many programming language grammars are not optimized for this representation and end up with way more intermediate grammar nodes than you'd expect, which all seem like they'd be really easy to "just" collapse, but that causes its own problems.) The naive and obvious representations of all of this are difficult to navigate and consume the vast majority of the screen with whitespace. It rapidly becomes clear you need a specialized mechanism for dealing with this... then after a few iterations, if you do it right, you discover that you've reinvented... the original textual representation.

(This is not proof that textual representation is optimal in general. You can correctly argue that you end up there because the entire language was designed with that in mind in the first place, and that a language designed to be graph-based in the first place may work better. However, your tree viewer doesn't have any of the latter that doesn't already have a special-purpose viewer built for it, which your putatively generic code isn't going to compete with.)

Database rows are just a graph, right? Well, that's one top-level node for the result that contains the rows, and then, oh, let's say 25,000 identically-structured children. How are you going to navigate that? Are you going to introduce a "paging" concept? If so, you're going to complicate the other uses of this generic editor that don't need it.

How about rich text? Rich text is just a tree. But is your generic tree editor going to require sub nodes for "bold"? For that matter, how does your generic editor handle either of "text <b>bold</b> more text" or "text <span class='arbitrary_class'>span</span> more text"? There's a lot of different rules that people may want to apply to tree nodes; do those look like one, two, or three nodes in your editor? I can make a case for all three, for instance, for the first one (imagine the word bold is bold in the first one, it's a rich text display):

 * text bold more text * text (bold) bold more text * text (bold) bold * more text
(Note the new asterisk on the third line of the last one; it's a new node. In the first one, we have "special" nodes that can be embedded, whereas others probably can't be; that's a heck of a concept to write into your generic editor and will have huge ramifications in all sorts of other places, not least of which is the graph data representation and API. In the second one we somehow have "embedded" nodes, which has the same problems, except it has different massive effects on the graph data structure and API. The third is conceptually simplest in a lot of ways, but maps neither to HTML nor to the human's internal representation very well.) Now, how do your choices that you made for this rich text application map back to the other types of graphs you may want to support? Because each of those three choices will have different implications if you then try to support RDF graphs in the same visual layout.

Speaking of RDF... have you considered the visual differences between ordered trees and unordered trees? Box & line graphs naturally represent unordered children, outline views impose a view of order even if one doesn't exist, other layouts may have other consequences. You can't just let the decision about outline vs. box & line be determined by the orderedness of the nodes either, because there may be other properties of the graph that may be unsuitable for.

And then, of course, there's the graphs that you want to view as box & line diagrams, the ones you want to have fully manual layout for vs. the ones you want some degree of automation. And you've to deal with the boxes that are way too big for the display because they contain several dozen kilobytes of plain text. Can your boxes contain subgraphs within them? And under any display methodology (graphs, outlines, whatever), what does it look like when you have a node with 25,000 incoming links? Does that work well with graphs that have only a few nodes like that? What about graphs like friend networks on Facebook that consist almost entirely of nodes that have hundreds of links? Note that when you've seen graphs of Facebook, they never much resemble, say, LabView diagrams, they're always these very zoomed-out representations with only entire regions colored and being discussed. How is your generic graph editor suitable for use on programming languages doing with this graph?

The theme here is not "unsolvable problem". The theme here is "unresolvable conflicts between different use cases". In an individual context, these issues are solvable, and have been reasonably solved. But trying to create a generic "graph" editor is, well, given the genericness of the term "graph" basically trying to create a generic "editor".

kibrad 1 day ago 0 replies      
seems like the next trello can be trello with graphs, diagrams and trees
eschaton 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lisp Machines had general tree editing facilities.
osxman 1 day ago 1 reply      
Joe Celko's Trees and Hierarchies in SQL for Smarties (book) is a good start for better understanding/defining trees. http://a.co/9eVzvji
viach 1 day ago 0 replies      
Isn't that called Outliner?
thwee789 1 day ago 0 replies      
Check out Freemind
scythe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Think of this in terms of ordinal numbers.

When you have text, you can interpret the string as a number and you can count the possible files: "0x01", "0x02", ... "0x0101", "0x0102", ... "0x010101", ... -- all of the possible files are enumerated by a single increasing sequence. This corresponds to the ordinal "omega-0".

When you have a table, you can interpret each row as a number and now you have an arbitrary number of infinite increasing sequences, but you can imagine a transfinite "sequence of sequences" that counts the tables with 1 row, then the tables with 2 rows, and so forth. This is a single infinite increasing sequence of infinite increasing sequences, which corresponds to the ordinal "omega-0 squared".

But when you have a tree, there's an infinite increasing sequence corresponding to... every single finite tree! In fact, there are multiple increasing sequences corresponding to every finite tree, and infinite sequences associated to those sequences, and... anyway, tree-counting functions are very hard to define at all, but with a little bit of work in combinatorics you'll find something called a "Veblen function" which is defined so that the parameter of the function is the number of levels of recursion of infinitary functions applied to themselves, and then the fixpoint of the Veblen function itself is the Feferman-Schutte ordinal, which cannot even be defined in first-order logic! One example of the horror that results from counting trees is Kruskal's theorem:


In other words, trees, which can encode arbitrary structure, are much more difficult to do math on than tables and flat files, which can only encode simple structures.

philip4534 1 day ago 0 replies      
arc_of_descent 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks to this post I found out about TreeSheets. Looks interesting.
singularity2001 1 day ago 0 replies      
Blasphemy: All xml editors are General Purpose Tree Editors
What programming languages are used most on weekends? stackoverflow.blog
277 points by minaandrawos  4 hours ago   102 comments top 26
slg 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I surprised there was no mention in the blog post or the comments so far about the homework factor. It isn't just personal side projects that people are working on over the weekend. I am betting the relative percentage of CS students on the site is also much higher on the weekend. Tags like assembly, pointers, algorithm, recursion, class, and math are all rather vague. Those topics are all discussed at length in CS classes, but if you are working on a real world project in those fields, odds are you will tag it with a more specific technology you are using rather than the abstract theory behind it.

EDIT: On second look, Python, C, and C++ are also the go to languages for CS classes (along with Java but that is also a big enterprise language unlike the other three.) Almost this whole list seems to be schoolwork related.

wcbeard10 32 minutes ago 3 replies      
The funnel shape of the scatter plot immediately reminded me of an article on the insensitivity to sample size pitfall [0], which points out that you'll expect entities with smaller sample sizes to show up more often in the extremes because of the higher variance.

Looks like the tags with the biggest differences exemplify this pretty well.

[0]- http://dataremixed.com/2015/01/avoiding-data-pitfalls-part-2...

wimagguc 3 hours ago 1 reply      
One way I use Stackoverflows dev stats is to make educated guesses about the easiness of finding developers in 2-3 years time to maintain now-greenfield projects. Does Ruby seem to go down while Python is in steady growth? Let's move away from Rails. Swift is picking up steam? It's safe to switch from Objective-C. This dataset seems to be just fantastic for that.
netinstructions 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Somewhat related, if you're looking to compare tags from StackOverflow, I made this site[1] a couple years ago to quickly visualize how many questions and answers are out there for given tags.

I use StackOverflow tag count as well as Google Trends and GitHub star count to get a rough feel for how much people are using certain things, such as version control software[2], databases, or view engines in Express[3].

[1] - http://www.arepeopletalkingaboutit.com/[2] - http://www.arepeopletalkingaboutit.com/tags/cvs,svn,git,perf...[3] - http://www.arepeopletalkingaboutit.com/tags/ejs,pug

monokrome 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
Seriously, though, if you are going to post the following thing in your article then just reconsider:

"Warning: the following section involves googling usernames and reading the first page of results for the people involved. This may be unethical. I apologize in advance."

Obviously your apology means nothing if you are doing it anyway.

Impossible 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The answer might be as simple as "people tend to work on games on the weekend", either as hobby projects or that professional game developers work weekends more often, skewing the weekend results away from serious enterprise apps. This would explain both the rise in low level languages but also things like OpenGL, Unity3D and Actionscript 3. It doesn't explain Haskell, of course, but I think the Haskell explanation in the article is accurate.
Xeoncross 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
I can see room for lots of false assumptions when reading this data.

What if Haskell never changes the rate at which it is discussed - but all the entry programers doing the 9-5 job go away on the weekends helping Haskell to be "louder"? What if the people with homework ask more on the weekend than during the week?

What if certain developers don't post questions tagging a language - but rather tagging an algorithm knowing they can implement it in whatever language they need?

What if Haskell only works on the weekend?

ThePhysicist 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Not many Sharepoint enthusiasts out there, it seems.
tempestn 3 hours ago 0 replies      
One thing that caught my eye is that at least of the tags included in their scatter plot, there appear to be more weekend searches than weekday searches on average overall, especially for the most popular tags. (And note that the X axis is logarithmic, so those will have a much larger effect on total searches.) I wouldn't have expected that. Perhaps weekdays are more geared toward 'getting things done', so weekends are when people have time to learn.
brink 3 hours ago 3 replies      
I don't think the number of questions asked correlate with which languages are used the most. My weekends are mainly Java, but I don't need to post on stack overflow because all of my questions have been already addressed.
espeed 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Exploring StackOverflow Data - Evelina Gabasova (2016) [video] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlKZKN7il7c
jlas 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Also interesting to see the weekend dips in google trends, e.g. Java: https://www.google.com/trends/explore?date=today%201-m&q=jav...
nirv 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Happy to see Python-3.x taking over old Python.
tedmiston 3 hours ago 1 reply      
It might also be interesting to see which tags are used more in the early mornings or evenings vs during the workday.

Edit: I hadn't seen Kaggle before today, but it looks very easy to hack on the SO data set [1] with a Jupyter notebook.

[1]: https://www.kaggle.com/stackoverflow/stacklite

dvnguyen 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Coincidently I've just read several chapters from the Learn you a Haskell book. I couldn't write any serious Haskell project in near future, but learning it has been so much fun. No surprised when many other programmers are touching it on weekends.
anotheryou 3 hours ago 5 replies      
"actionscript 3" what? o_O

I thought this is over

dmozzy 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Also somewhat related. I made this site to show you the popularity of programming languages on Stack Overflow by countries and US states: http://soversus.com
wtvanhest 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It may be better to group like languages/frameworks and compare them over time:

Django vs rails for example.

Comparing languages heavily used by acedemics may skew things since they often work on the weekends. Or game development languages vs webapp languages.

deepnotderp 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
BinaryIdiot 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow I'm surprised to see ExtJS on a list of "most used" anything. I mean don't get me wrong it's great if you want to prototype something quick that uses data but for a great UX / real application it's dreadful to use IMO.
hellofunk 3 hours ago 0 replies      
My weekends are usually pretty rough and unstable, so I went with this one several months ago and it fits well into my life style: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainfuck
ziikutv 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Assembly is too vague of a tag
AnimalMuppet 3 hours ago 5 replies      
No big surprise that nobody works on sharepoint or XSLT as a weekend hobby.
minaandrawos 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I was kinda surprised that Go (golang) wasn't up in the list
meerita 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I do a lot of HTML/CSS(Sass) using Middleman. Sometimes, I do Ruby.
legostormtroopr 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Given the current user revolt over there regarding recent political shenanigans by the mods (and CEO), I'd be keen to see how their trends track over the next few years.


Google fixes a problem with AMP, lets you view and share publishers own links techcrunch.com
261 points by gdeglin  1 day ago   195 comments top 28
awinder 1 day ago 4 replies      
"It also has under development a Web Share API that would allow AMP viewers to pull the original URL into the native sharing flow on the platform, instead of the AMP Viewer URL."

Holy Moly, this is a huge amount of rigamarole just to support a degraded experience that helps ONE company do ONE thing in order to make further lock-in and profits in ONE way. It's hard to believe that any company would ever invest this amount of technical effort on a flawed product offering -- unless of course, it was one company with enough damned vertical integration to make it possibly worth their while.

akras14 1 day ago 6 replies      
>However, there has been some misunderstanding about how AMP works. One widely circulated blog post written back in October claimed Google was stealing traffic from publishers via its AMP pages.

I am really happy to see this change, as the author of said blog post :)

> But that wasnt true. Google does display the AMP URL in the search results, which serves up the page content from Googles cache, but the traffic remains the publishers, and the content is served from the publishers site.

So which one is it? Does it server content from Google cache or from publisher's site ;)

Link to the original blog post: https://www.alexkras.com/google-may-be-stealing-your-mobile-...

macandcheese 1 day ago 1 reply      
So, I still need to take an extra step to view the original link and then click again to visit it. Why not just make the entire top banner a clickable link to the source article? My browser already shows the title of the page separately.

The whole AMP / SERP interaction is such a headache. They already insist on us having structured page content to source previews from, the last thing I want to do is write more quasi-semantic markup that just repeats what my original source code already states. Get out of my way Google.

tyingq 1 day ago 0 replies      
"One widely circulated blog post written back in October claimed Google was stealing traffic from publishers via its AMP pages. But that wasnt true."

I suspect the writer didn't really look into what the publishers were saying. AMP shoved a UI element at the top of your content that, when you interact with it, goes back to Google.

End users already know how to use a back button. So, adding another one, without being clear about what it was, would certainly create more traffic to google, and fewer "second pageviews" of your content/site. Google knows that the top portion of the page is the most valuable.

Yokohiii 1 day ago 2 replies      
AMP is really ridiculous. I tried a top article from mobile.nytimes.com via AMP (google link) and direct link. The AMP version takes more than 3 times longer to render above the fold with a 3g regular throttling and cold caches, while the direct link was done in <2s. Chrome doesn't even record enough frames to show when the above the fold content is visible. With warm caches the render performance difference is roughly the same. Wasn't AMP ment to help with that? Superior client side rendering and top notch caching?
maaaats 1 day ago 1 reply      
So basically they just add a button on the already obnoxious banner on top of the page?

This article also claims that the speedup is partly due to loading the content in a hidden iframe on the search results page. So it's potentially using more data in order to be perceived faster?

amelius 1 day ago 0 replies      
Let me introduce CASUVP -- Cooperatively Ad-stripped universally viewable pages. It's a concept, there's no implementation yet.

Basically, it's a version of the web where users cooperatively clean up web pages from ads and other unwanted material (e.g. scrollbar-hijacking, user-tracking), so that only the plain text with minimal markup of the article, and images remain.

The cleaned-up pages are distributed by torrent or by IPFS, and there is a consensus algorithm to make sure that pages are not tampered with (e.g. by content distributors).

Browser plugins help users view and seed the material.

Now if only people pick up this idea and implement it...

the_mitsuhiko 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nothing really changes. The URL in the bar is still from the cache.
jannyfer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like the TechCrunch title better ("Google fixes a big problem with AMP"). "Google fixes problem with AMP" makes it sound like there's only one problem with AMP.
fluxem 1 day ago 0 replies      
AMP was so annoying, I had to switch to Bind on my smartphone, despite inferior results.

AMP header takes 10% of screen and it doesn't disappear when you scroll down

No comments section on AMP versions or on Reddit comments are not expendable

Hard to get real URL to bookmark or share

Request desktop option is completely broken on news.google.com

kyrra 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seems like it may be better to link to the Google blog post on this?


qwrusz 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would love to know what is really going on here.

I'm admittedly not very technical, but like a prisoner scratching tally marks on the wall each day, I try to keep up on the latest "how tech companies are fucking us over" news of the moment, even though I can't do anything about it.

Google is pushing AMP on pages in their search results today. Fine, implemented it like idiots. Happens.

But I would not be surprised if in the near future Google comes out with "AMS" "Accelerated Mobile Sites", and forces entire websites into this madness.

I get it, "fast, efficient" is always the story. Monopolistic nerves, quasi-TLA control fetishes, and an old-fashioned internet land-grab is the rumor. But that is too simple for this much trouble and expense. A few years ago Google was dealing with SPDY, QUIC, HTTP2, and talking about "fast, efficient" but you know something felt fishy there too and there was a back-room-dealy vibe with more to the story.

Anywho, while I would love to know what's going on and I have some guesses, I don't really care anymore. Google is wasting everyone's time with these games. So...

Why doesn;t Google just get on with it and host the entire internet? [1]

For free.

Please correct me but Google is already cacheing the internet.

Offering to just host the world will allow them to implement whatever bullshit protocols they were going to do anyway. It would kill off most competitor risk from AWS and whatever Microsoft came out with 9 years late. They can afford it. And they have the space (yottabtye my ass).

That's it Google. Just bend us over and host the internet.

[1] ok not the entire internet, 99% of it. Doubt they would host the porn for free.

saycheese 1 day ago 0 replies      
All AMP needs to do is add an "X" to the top right corner and if it's clicked ask the user if they want to opt-out of AMP.

Either way, the user get sent to the "native" version of the URL they requested when they click the URL.

technion 1 day ago 0 replies      
AMP's v0 is 188K of JavaScript.

Google's standard analytics.js is currently 28K. If you're running AMP, the AMP compliant version of the same thing, is 64K. Neither of these block rendering and both of these run largely in the background, yet making it AMP compliant more than doubles whatever code it requires.

AMP will make progress when I can use it without actually introducing bloat.

aruggirello 1 day ago 0 replies      
tl;dr: it took a little more than two decades to give us the incredible power of HTML5, CSS3 and modern JavaScript; it took countless hours for the W3C to define the standards, and years of browser wars to get this far with compliance. But Google wants us to abandon them in favor of its thing (because, you know, some websites actually suck). Now, fixed...
mrcactu5 1 day ago 0 replies      
as an end-user, I was suspicious of AMP because it changed the websites slightly and didn't let me share the URL.

now I see there are legal (intellectual property) reasons why that is wrong as well.

tdkl 1 day ago 0 replies      
In other news, mobile Chrome 57 Beta on Android brought ability to change search engines as you visit appropriate sites (same as on desktop).

Switched to Duckduckgo.

jzl 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Ha! I complained about this exact problem here a month ago. I'm taking full credit. :)


ComodoHacker 1 day ago 0 replies      
URLs and origins represent, to some extent, trust and ownership of content. When youre reading a New York Times article, a quick glimpse at the URL gives you a level of trust that what youre reading represents the voice of the New York Times. Attribution, brand, and ownership are clear.

Oh, Google suddenly acknowledges the value of real URL for the user...

rewrew 1 day ago 1 reply      
Publishers just need to not opt-in to AMP. There's really no benefit for them anyhow.
malikNF 21 hours ago 0 replies      
best way to fix amp is to........ get rid of it. Stupid annoying feature, couldn't figure out an easy way to disable it, now I am using duckduckgo.
liveoneggs 1 day ago 1 reply      
ios scrolling seems a little better now, but maybe I'm just getting used to it?
frik 21 hours ago 0 replies      
How hard is to build a simple HTML5 website with little CSS3 and little to no (vanilla) Javascript. You know a website can be very tiny and fast. Yet people who don't know need Google to market them AMP "technology" to do the same but lock them in, and get full access to analytics data.
acqq 1 day ago 1 reply      
Even the famous Podesta e-mail hack was made possible thanks to the... Google AMP page server policies!

See the picture(1) here:


Unless you knew that google.com made their main domain redirect to anything(!) to provide amp, you'd really believe that the click was going to end up on the google.com servers, the place where your login data for Google services really is. Instead, google.com was used as the least expected redirector of them all.

It was known among the security people:


But google at that time kept it being a fully invisible redirector. Their explanation then: they "do not consider open redirects to be a security issue." They also wrote: "we generally hold that a small number of properly monitored redirectors offers fairly clear benefits and poses very little practical risk." Benefits for whom but Google? And what was proper then in this Podesta redirect?

It seems they now finally changed the handling of the redirection, adding "The previous page is sending you to ..." instead of doing it invisibly. It took the Podesta e-mail hack, possibly changing who's gotten to be a US president, and some time to go by for them to add that change.

That's the untold story of who, how, and for which goals influenced the election (Google, Amp, as the unexpected effect of the profit goals of spreading amp as much as possible).

Apparently the aide of Podesta later claimed to have made a typo: "When the phishing email first arrived, Podesta referred it to a number of aides. An aide named Charles Delavan replied, This is a legitimate email"" "Delavan says he had meant to write illegitimate email, and simply mistyped." Or maybe it really looked legitimate to him at that moment: the server behind the link was obviously google.com. Who didn't carefully follow what Google did with amp couldn't possibly guess that the main google.com domain just became an invisible redirector thanks to amp.


1) The picture is from the following article:


kuschku 1 day ago 2 replies      
This entire AMP project is already workaround after workaround, but this gets even worse.

All that would have been required to solve these problems would have been a simple standard for lightweight pages that anyone could implement, and a better ranking for any complying page.

Google could offer the cache optionally, or sites could do their own stuff.

Then, the entire rendering and preload problems could have been improved with a simple JS api to allow for exactly that.

Then none of the rest would have had to be solved, wed get none of Googles increased dominance over the web, and we wouldnt have to put up with thousands of AMP pages loading slower than normal pages (because they bundle fucktons of useless JS) for the sake of improving the loadtimes of a handful of sites.

LeicaLatte 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't see AMP making it. The invasiveness is classic Google. Up there with Google Plus.
homero 1 day ago 0 replies      
AMP needs to die
wyager 1 day ago 0 replies      
AMP is literally the most user-unfriendly thing I have seen on the internet in years. It's like an exaggerated example of an aggressively awful UX antipattern.

It's what finally caused me to switch to DuckDuckGo on my phone. Sucks that the results aren't nearly as topical as Google's for most searches.

What Rust Can Do That Other Languages Can't ocallahan.org
271 points by tatterdemalion  1 day ago   245 comments top 15
ed_blackburn 1 day ago 10 replies      
I spent an afternoon messing about with Rust and found it infuriating. The compiler kept (quite rightly) telling me how crap my code was and wouldn't compile it for me. I found it frustrating but thoroughly educational.

For systems programmers, Rust looks a fantastic option. For line of business apps, it is inaccessible and the safety dial is turned up too far. But then I guess that is because Rust isn't intended to be a general purpose language for writing line of business apps?

I can see it being useful for writing platform neutral, gnarly code and offer easy hooks for popular, managed languages such as JavaSript, C#, Java et al to hook into.

Outside of systems programming, I wonder if Rust will be part of a silent revolution?

WalterBright 1 day ago 4 replies      
In D, the example looks like (if I understood it correctly):

 struct X { Y y; ref Y getY() return { return y; } }
This tells the compiler that getY() returns a referenced based on the implicit 'this' reference. It's available now (DIP25 was the proposal for it).

We're now implementing DIP1000, which adds similar support for pointer values (DIP25 only dealt with references).

To see it in action:

 alias Y = int; struct X { Y y; ref Y getY() return { return y; } } ref Y foo() { X x; return x.getY(); }
Compiling it yields:

 test.d(11): Error: escaping reference to local variable x

qznc 1 day ago 1 reply      
D is working on it, if I understand DIP1000 [0] correctly. The example would look like:

 struct X { Y y; scope ref Y getY() { return y; } }
[0] https://github.com/dlang/DIPs/blob/master/DIPs/DIP1000.md

ngrilly 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Most other languages simply prevent you from giving away an interior reference, or require y to refer to a distinct heap object from the X.

Go lets you return an interior reference. But Go uses a garbage collector instead of lifetime checks at compile time (which is an advantage or a drawback, depending on your requirements).

akie 1 day ago 5 replies      
I have no idea what this means, and I have a masters in Computer Science and 20 years of industry experience. Enlighten me?
Yan_Coutinho 1 day ago 0 replies      
Rust seems to be a good language for game development.I watched this guy (https://www.liveedu.tv/gexon/videos/evAbX-dotakiller-gamedev...) and it made me want to try it.
zrm 1 day ago 3 replies      
Can anyone explain the reason why C or C++ compilers can't do this? Obviously the language specs allow you to do the unsafe thing, but suppose we add some "-Wreference-lifetime" flag to gcc that warns if it can't statically verify that a reference or pointer doesn't outlive the referenced object, and then compile everything with "-Wreference-lifetime -Werror" from now on.

What aspect of the language in particular makes that impossible? Or is it?

amelius 1 day ago 5 replies      
There's one area where Rust's typesystem will probably be counterproductive, and that's flexible and efficient graph algorithms. (Someone please prove me wrong).
digi_owl 1 day ago 2 replies      
Seeing the comments here i fear that Rust will end up binned alongside the likes of Ada. Because people want to write code that runs and thats it, correctness and safety be damned...
sampo 1 day ago 1 reply      
> pointer addition

Isn't it a bit confusing to talk about pointer addition when the example struct is just

 struct X { y: Y }
and thus the addresses &x and &y are (probably) the same. Maybe the author thinks that &y is obtained as &x+0, but.

augustk 1 day ago 1 reply      
In what situation would you want to do this?
shadowmint 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't think this is a particularly useful example of what rust can do.

Other languages can return inner pointers; its not an interesting feature.

The only interesting thing is that it is both safe and has no gc... but really, this is just another example of safety in rust, via a relatively obscure code snippet.

If you want to pitch rusts safety features, we can do something a bit more interesting, surely?

dorianm 1 day ago 3 replies      
Other languages can definitely do it:


 class X attr_accessor :y end
Crystal (full working example):

 class Y end class X def initialize(y : Y) @y = y end def y @y end end y = Y.new x = X.new(y: y) puts x.y

mnw21cam 1 day ago 3 replies      
> What Rust Can Do That Other Languages Can't

But other languages are Turing-complete too...

kutkloon7 1 day ago 0 replies      
C can do exactly the same, it just won't perform the lifetime checks for you. I haven't written much Rust, but if I understand correctly you can write code that is valid, but won't compile because you're not 'following the rules' of the constraints/type checker.

I find Dafny to be a more elegant and nice solution, since this language allows you to actually prove your code is valid when it's not obvious from the static analysis. But this might be because I'm somewhat more mathematically inclined (and i admit that Dafny is still by no means easy to use)

       cached 8 February 2017 03:11:01 GMT