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1
1Password Travel Mode: Protect your data when crossing borders agilebits.com
1002 points by nthitz  6 days ago   521 comments top 10
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chx 5 days ago 5 replies      
"May I search your laptop?" "Certainly." "But... this is practically empty." "Yes sir. I FedEx'd my SSD to the destination."

I have a small SSD in the primary disk in my T420s, it has just enough to get me through the flight. I keep the primary in the UltraBay with a simple adapter, takes one reboot and no tools to put it back in place. Done. Happy searching! I can't log into anything even if I wanted to because I physically do not have my password store https://www.passwordstore.org/ with me. (https://github.com/chx/ykgodot I wrote this trivial script to automate yubikey neo with pass)

Alternative: encode the entire primary disk https://github.com/cornelinux/yubikey-luks and FedEx the yubikey. Yanking the disk is better, though.

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alexpw 5 days ago 6 replies      
If you are refusing to enter the password, access to the device, or to disable travel mode, then good luck to you. IANAL, but the border agent doesn't care if the data is technically in the cloud, rather than on the device, because it restores when you unlock it.

In addition to removing the data from the device, cheers, don't you also need to be able to honestly say you can not provide access to it?

Ways to honestly answer, "not possible", and mean it:

- schedule a time period where no password is accepted. - enable whitelist/blacklist zones via geolocation. - set a new password that you give to a trusted friend/coworker/spouse that you must contact to retrieve.

Some combination of the above for ease-of-use, and ploys like emailing yourself the new password after a period of time for redundancy/safety.

3
gruez 6 days ago 17 replies      
Counter: the border agent asks "are you hiding any information from us?". answer yes, and they get you to disable travel mode. answer no, and you just committed a felony.
4
edanm 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm struggling to understand all the comments here, but it feels like I'm living in an alternate universe. All of these questions like "but do the customs agents search for hidden partitions", etc...

Who is it that is running into all these scenarios with border control? I've gone on international flights, including to the us, dozens of times, and have seen around me thousands upon thousands of travelers, and I've never seen anyone asked to open their laptop, no to mention being grilled on hidden partitions.

Not that I'm doubting this ever happens. But from these comments, someone would get the feeling that this is routine, rather than a 1-in-an-X occurence for a probably very high X.

5
mholt 6 days ago 3 replies      
The implementation looks sound, and it's easy to use. Props to Agile Bits for making this feature a priority.

So this is great! -- I think. My only concern is that if the authorities are already suspicious of you, and find no password vaults (or practically nothing in your password vault), they may just detain you until you reveal what you haven't disclosed to them.

There's clearly a technical solution to the problem of protecting data across borders but they do not work so well under duress. Is there any technical way to convince an adversary you are not hiding anything else or did not delete something?

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IcyPickle 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a little sad that this would require me to use the 1Password cloud-service. I would never want my 1Password vault to be on any server outside of my control. While I completely trust agilebit's intentions, I feel that their cloud service adds a very major attack surface. Someone like the NSA would certainly be able to obtain copies of the encrypted vaults, which means that everyone's vaults are just one bug/backdoor in the cryptographic stack (remember Debian RNG bug?) away from being exposed.

Hence, I only use WiFi sync for 1Password. It would be nice if 1Password added a sync option through my own WebDAV server. I'd then be happy to pay for a 1Password cloud account just for the TravelMode feature, as long as the vault data itself wasn't stored anywhere outside of my control. Having my own server would mean the the NSA (or whoever) would have to do a targeted attack on me personally, which is a whole different ballgame from everybody's encrypted vaults sitting on agilebit's servers.

In the meantime, if I had to cross the US border (as a non-citizien!), I would probably delete the whole 1Password app from my phone before crossing, and then restore the entire phone from backup afterwards.

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jzl 6 days ago 3 replies      
This is a nice feature, but ultimately if you are concerned with border agents requiring a phone search then you should just backup and install a fresh OS before traveling, then restore when you get back. Log into the minimal number of apps after you've entered the destination country, and optionally delete/logout of said apps prior to return travel if the return border crossing is also a concern. Admittedly if you use a password manager you might need still want to make use of a feature such as the one in this article, or install the password manager app after entering the country, or just write down the passwords that you will need and hide them somewhere unfindable with your stuff.

On iOS about the only thing you would lose is your message history during the trip. It might be an annoyance if you wanted to play games that had non-cloud-based saved player state, but I can't think of too many other issues with doing this.

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MatthewWilkes 6 days ago 4 replies      
This feature really should ask you to commit to your duration of travel beforehand. It's no use if you can be compelled to readd the data.
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Sophira 5 days ago 1 reply      
I think this is an incredibly worrisome move on 1Password's part. Coming from the right motives, but ultimately it'll end up being used against us.

Look at it from the perspective of the government. By bringing information from elsewhere into the US, you're importing it. It just so happens that the import security is tight in airports. So you use 1Password to delay importing this data until you can reach it through an alternative import method which is much harder to regulate - the Internet.

What's going to happen is that they'll spend much more effort on tightening up the "import security" from the Internet. Things like SSL/TLS MITMing and deep packet inspection will be used to enforce compliance.

Don't get me wrong. The ability to be able to do this is incredibly important. If they had marketed this as anything other than a travel mode specifically, and let users work it out themselves, it'd probably be better. But as it is, they've created something which is basically publicly stating that it exists to break import security, and as a result it's going to get a lot of attention from the wrong people. I worry that the existence of this mode this is going to be used by the government as an excuse to have a "Great Firewall of America".

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misnome 6 days ago 7 replies      
Isn't the counter simple; they ask for your logins to the 1Password vault? I guess this just adds an extra layer of obfuscation.

The most secure way I can think of is to either encrypt your drive (or wipe for travel and online restore once arriving) and physically mail the new password (or hand over to a trusted friend/store location) to the destination. Then there is no way of restoring at the airport.

Of course, then they can just detain you indefinitely for not revealing the password you don't know...

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The largest Git repo microsoft.com
1047 points by ethomson  5 days ago   393 comments top 7
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js2 5 days ago 11 replies      
Windows, because of the size of the team and the nature of the work, often has VERY large merges across branches (10,000s of changes with 1,000s of conflicts).

At a former startup, our product was built on Chromium. As the build/release engineer, one of my daily responsibilities was merging Chromium's changes with ours.

Just performing the merge and conflict resolution was anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour of my time. Ensuring the code compiled was another 5 minutes to an hour. If someone on the Chromium team had significantly refactored a component, which typically occurred every couple weeks, I knew half my day was going to be spent dealing with the refactor.

The Chromium team at the time was many dozens of engineers, landing on the order of a hundred commits per day. Our team was a dozen engineers landing maybe a couple dozen commits daily. A large merge might have on the order of 100 conflicts, but typically it was just a dozen or so conflicts.

Which is to say: I don't understand how it's possible to deal with a merge that has 1k conflicts across 10k changes. How often does this occur? How many people are responsible for handling the merge? Do you have a way to distribute the conflict resolution across multiple engineers, and if so, how? And why don't you aim for more frequent merges so that the conflicts aren't so large?

(And also, your merge tool must be incredible. I assume it displays a three-way diff and provides an easy way to look at the history of both the left and right sides from the merge base up to the merge, along with showing which engineer(s) performed the change(s) on both sides. I found this essential many times for dealing with conflicts, and used a mix of the git CLI and Xcode's opendiff, which was one of the few at the time that would display a proper three-way diff.)

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sp332 5 days ago 3 replies      
Archive Team is making a distributed backup of the Internet Archive. http://archiveteam.org/index.php?title=INTERNETARCHIVE.BAK Currently the method getting the most attention is to put the data into git-annex repos, and then have clients just download as many files as they have storage space for. But because of limitations with git, each repo can only handle about 100,000 files even if they are not "hydrated". http://git-annex.branchable.com/design/iabackup/ If git performance were improved for files that have not been modified, this restriction could be lifted and the manual work of dividing collections up into repos could be a lot lower.

Edit: If you're interested in helping out, e.g. porting the client to Windows, stop by the IRC channel #internetarchive.bak on efnet.

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cryptonector 5 days ago 8 replies      
At Sun Microsystems, Inc., (RIP) we have many "gates" (repos) that made up Solaris. Cross-gate development was somewhat more involved, but still not bad. Basically: you installed the latest build of all of Solaris, then updated the bits from your clones of the gates in question. Still, a single repo is great if it can scale, and GVFS sounds great!

But that's not what I came in to say.

I came in to describe the rebase (not merge!) workflow we used at Sun, which I recommend to anyone running a project the size of Solaris (or larger, in the case of Windows), or, really, even to much smaller projects.

For single-developer projects, you just rebased onto the latest upstream periodically (and finally just before pushing).

For larger projects, the project would run their own upstream that developers would use. The project would periodically rebase onto the latest upstream. Developers would periodically rebase onto their upstream: the project's repo.

The result was clean, linear history in the master repository. By and large one never cared about intra-project history, though project repos were archived anyways so that where one needed to dig through project-internal history ("did they try a different alternative and found it didn't work well?"), one could.

I strongly recommend rebase workflows over merge workflows. In particular, I recommend it to Microsoft.

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quotemstr 5 days ago 2 replies      
I have tremendous respect for Microsoft pulling itself together over the past few years.
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tobyhinloopen 5 days ago 8 replies      
I wonder why Windows is a single repository - Why not split it in separate modules? I can imagine tools like Explorer, Internet Explorer/Edge, Notepad, Wordpad, Paint, etc. all can stay in its own repository. I can imagine you can even further split things up, like a kernel, a group of standard drivers, etc. If that is not already the case (separate repos, that is), are the plans to separate it in the future?
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lloeki 5 days ago 3 replies      
Coming from the days of CVS and SVN, git was a freaking miracle in terms of performance, so I have to just put things into perspective here when the topmost issue of git is performance. It's just a testament how huge are the codebases we're dealing with (Windows over there, but also Android, and surely countless others), the staggering amount of code we're wrangling around these days and the level of collaboration is incredible and I'm quite sure we would not have been able to do that (or at least not that nimbly and with such confidence) were it not for tools like git (and hg). There's a sense of scale regarding that growth across multiple dimensions that just puts me in awe.
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vtbassmatt 5 days ago 13 replies      
A handful of us from the product team are around for a few hours to discuss if you're interested.
3
Why I Quit Being So Accommodating (1922) mikecanex.wordpress.com
848 points by Tomte  4 days ago   309 comments top 28
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manmal 4 days ago 13 replies      
For anybody learning to say "no" currently - learn to say "no" gently and kindly. I'm quite bad at this myself. I let people impose stuff on me, and once I have had enough, I have a very rude way of telling people off. One reason for this rudeness is a fear that I will lose something when declining (e.g. a relationship or money), so I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place - I don't want to help, but I feel I should not decline. Most of the times, my rudeness while finally saying "no" is out of place, e.g. when my fiance needs something from me that actually makes sense, or a customer who needs some small task that they would actually pay for.

Watching other people (esp my fiance) saying "no" ever so gently has me wondering how easy life could be if I were able to do the same. I'm practicing it, and I think I'm getting better at it. Telling the other person the root cause why you say "no" helps a lot to instill empathy for your situation. The root cause always stems from a need or necessity that you currently have, like need for rest/food/time to think/time to finish this or that task properly/... Even if you are lazy and simply don't want to help right now, remember that this laziness also fulfils one of your needs - probably you need to rest or think.

ADDED: Telling people that you just cannot help _right now_ also softens the blow. Also, if it's a customer then delaying might even be more beneficial than just declining - you might need the billable hours in the following week.

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nrjames 4 days ago 6 replies      
It's ok to be accommodating as long as you have learned to be introspective. We all have demands of our own time and money. Introspective accommodating people are able to help others in a generous way while protecting the time and resources they need to help themselves. It's a difficult balance to achieve.

Through experience, I've come to believe that this holds true in long-term personal relationships, too. While many will tell you that compromise is the key to a successful marriage, I think that standing up for yourself and who you need to be usually is more important.

There's a needle on the gauge of life that experiences pressure to move from both directions. When you are too accommodating or compromise unequally, the needle moves towards you and establishes a new norm for expected behavior. Your job should be to push back just enough to keep the needle balanced at a point where you retain a full sense of self and the space within which to exercise it. That requires a strong sense of introspection and can take years of adult life to develop.

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temp246810 4 days ago 3 replies      
I'm going through this change right now.

Some words of hard earned "wisdom": make sure the pendulum doesn't swing too far out in the other direction.

I went from being an accommodating person to an intense asshole - trying to dial it back now but it's hard, especially when you notice that people definitely respect you more for good or bad reasons when you're like that. Take it too far though, and it will of course go all the way around and bite you in the ass.

4
paxtonab 4 days ago 2 replies      
"People never trust an accommodating man with important things. That may sound harsh and cynical, but check it up in your own experience. If you have a severe illness, for example, you turn to the busiest, most exacting doctor in town. The fact that he is busy and cant be bothered by little things gives you confidence in his ability and judgment."
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makecheck 4 days ago 1 reply      
Part of the problem is that good manners only seem to be considered in one direction. It is time to redefine rude to include people that do not know how to communicate their needs very well and/or are just super-entitled.

Why am I the one considered impolite by not dropping everything and helping you immediately, if you havent bothered to do things like:

- Indicate everything you have tried already (or worse, you havent done any basic research yourself)?

- Consider the possibility that I cant respond instantaneously because my Inbox has dozens of other items already? Or that I didnt answer my phone or your text because I was actually busy, or in a bathroom, or due to some other totally reasonable explanation?

- Consider that you are basically asking for free help, when there are people who pay for my time?

- Show even the slightest interest in helping others yourself?

6
exclusiv 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'd consider myself accommodating and people often come to me for all sorts of advice. Or help with their new amazing idea. It's nice having a reputation of being able to do a wide variety of things, including building companies which many people fantasize about. I have a successful SaaS with a partner that brought me an idea/opportunity because I had built a reputation as collaborative/knowledgeable/accommodating. I'll invest my time and expertise to explore opportunities and people know I'm candid.

However, I get ideas brought to me from everywhere, incl. friends of friends of friends. I'm happy to provide detailed thoughts and notes but now I make sure to challenge the person and the idea.

If it's a good idea, I want them to do some work upfront before I put anything else into it. Sad to say that most people start really excited about their idea, then I'll note that there are companies doing the same or nearly the same thing already, that they need to differentiate, what it's going to take to compete, etc and they will get completely deflated. Most of the time there's no follow up. That's why most people can't be entrepreneurs.

I've helped out way too many people in the past only to have them give up so easily. So if you're in this camp - I'd recommend challenging those that want your help - it's a great filter and also a way to say yes and no at the same time. You'll end up wasting less time and you'll still be open to great collaborations and more rewarding experiences from helping others out.

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graphitezepp 4 days ago 4 replies      
As someone who trends towards heavily accommodating, I often seem to find my actions that I judge as selfish or arrogant are the ones that I get respect for. Definitely a phenomena I don't understand, but its real so it should be very valuable to learn where to draw the line.
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wordupmaking 4 days ago 1 reply      
When you're trying that hard to please every trivial whim of anyone, regardless of the cost to yourself: what are you compensating? Who hurt you? Who lied to you? I mean, there's gotta be something that made you rate the approval by others so highly, and your approval of others so unimportant. Something or someone that stole you from you. Would you take 2 weeks of the life of one person to save another person 5 minutes? Unlikely, and it isn't so different when you are one of those persons.

We'd be super weirded out if someone in front of us in the queue in the supermarket committed suicide so we could pay faster. Apart from that probably increasing checkout times for everybody -- just imagine the chaos -- we wouldn't even appreciate "the thought", we'd be like "how DARE you use me for this?". Most of us don't mind being catered to or even pampered, but we don't want others to just throw themselves away for us. There are limits, even though it's kind of invisible most of the time, there is a line where hurting ourselves too much to help others a little bit actually hurts society, and offends others, correctly so.

Last but certainly not least: this over-the-top, dysfunctional selflessness in the sense of having no self (or rather, not respecting one's self) attracts not only knights in shining armour, but mostly baaaad types. You might say abuse breeds abuse in that someone who for some reason is playing doormat is emitting pheromones for people who like to trample on others. I really don't mean this to victim blame at all, but it's sadly true. And the less you let others violate your boundaries, the clearer your sight becomes for what you can freely give for mutual benefit. E.g. don't spend 2 weeks to save someone 5 minutes, but do spend 5 minutes to save someone 2 weeks.

TL;DR: you can't be a good friend to others without being a good friend to yourself first.

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stvnchn 4 days ago 1 reply      
> You are thirty-five years old, I said to myself. More than half of your life has already been spent. Who is living your life, anyway? Is it actually yours? Or is it a kind of public storehouse of odd jobs? A pile of days and hours put on the counter of the world with a sign inviting every Tom, Dick, and Harry to take one?

This was probably the best part for me. We have longer life spans and so we trick ourselves into thinking that we have more time to waste on things we don't really want to do. We can procrastinate all we want but in the end, we still come back to this question without a single clue of how to answer it.

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komali2 4 days ago 3 replies      
His drug store father example struck me - I don't really experience this "service worker" thing anymore, even when I was a service worker.

It seems to me the playing field is being extraordinarily leveled. When I was a bagger at a grocery store, nobody looked down on me. Maybe because of my town, but I was never expected to "serve" someone's whims - I was just expected to do my job, and when I did my job people thanked me.

Now whenever I'm out and about getting a thing done, I don't think of the people "serving" me as "serving me." I'm at the mechanic's, I'm pinging him for his expert advice. I'm at the carwash place, I'm asking them if they wouldn't mind doing the interior windows for a bit extra, etc.

Maybe I just am very lucky that I never underwent the brunt of service work torture because of my town, but is it still a "thing" to be asked to do a bunch of random shit at the convenience of others? Am I just so lucky in all of my jobs that everybody is respectful of eachother an their time?

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relyio 4 days ago 1 reply      
I was explaining this point of view to a good old aunt of mine one afternoon and she exclaimed: But, Joe, it is so selfish for a man to put his work ahead of everything! Its unchristian.

On the contrary, it is Christian in the very finest sense, I replied. What was it that Jesus said when his parents rebuked him for his failure to keep his engagement with them on that first journey down from Jerusalem? Wist ye not that I must be about my Fathers business? He demanded. He had work to do great work and little time in which to do it. Even He was no exception to the eternal rule that achievement comes only through the subordination of every power to a great ideal; and that no man is really obliging who does not first discharge in full his obligations to his work.

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Mz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Something I have concluded: Genuine respect is a two way street. People expecting things they won't equally do in return are not expecting you to respect them. They are expecting you to kowtow to them and be their bitch.

Those people can go to hell. They will never give back. They do not for one minute believe in a social contract where both people invest in the relationship. They are just using you. Doing anything for them just signals that it is okay for them to use you. This is a terrible social contract to make.

You can still do nice things for other people because it serves something you believe in. Just don't agree to be anyone's bitch, ever, for any reason.

13
CapitalistCartr 4 days ago 2 replies      
On a related note is "reasonable". In English this word is routinely abused. I consider it a huge red flag.

"4+4=11"

"No, 4+4=8"

"Oh, c'mon, Joe, don't be difficult."

"4 and 4 is 8, 11 isn't correct.

"Be reasonable here. OK, let's compromise on 9.5, OK?"

14
zekevermillion 4 days ago 1 reply      
This rings a bit hollow to me, kind of reminds of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" -- a moral play, a fictional story passed off as autobiographical. Aimed to enforce our self-doubting instinct that we are somehow being a chump and letting society take advantage of us. Taking this literally is a path to regrets.
15
DubiousPusher 4 days ago 1 reply      
I have had a very similar realization regarding customer service. I used to think manners obliged me to be patient on the phone or at the customer service counter. That I should jump through all the hoops put before me. And finally if the outcome put before me was unsatisfactory that I should accept it and move on. But I've come to see that customer service is just as much something I'm paying for as the root service or good I'm buying.

Furthermore, the notion that an acceptable remedy to the problem that a company cannot have it's shit together enough to adequately service the occasional difficulties surrounding the transactions of its products is to impose upon me has become unacceptable in my mind.

I know this is going to sound entitled but think of it this way, it is also an entitled position to assume people should be obliged to fill out forms, perform extra steps or wait in line because of a mistake a company has made.

I'm not encouraging anyone to treat people like garbage but my threshold for corporate BS has become extremely low and I ask for issue escalation pretty fast if a company isn't fixing a problem.

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ge96 3 days ago 0 replies      
Man, I'm a person that can't seem to say no.

Always eager to please other people before I even think about how it will affect me. Would you like to work two doubles in a row and potentially go insane? Ah sure... sure I'd love to!

Hey man, I'd like to catch this bus so I don't walk 6 miles home "Oh sure but before that, can you do this one thing..." ahhhhh

What happens when you let people walk all over you. It's funny too when I observe other people say no or F-off, people remember that and don't ask them to do things... hahaha. Ah well.

Someday my balls will drop.

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temuze 4 days ago 0 replies      
Old submission with more comments here:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4969041

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erkaes 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was an accommodating person until I realize what people value is not you doing what they want when they ask you. But it is when you doing something with them or for them with a motivation from within yourself, just because you want to or just because you feel like to or just because you think they deserve it or something like that.

To them I am just an all nice fellow who is kind to everybody. I earned their gratitude but not their love and in the process I hurt people that truly care and love about me.

19
codegeek 4 days ago 1 reply      
Being accommodating is not necessarily a black or white thing. For me, it depends. I generally consider myself to be a nice easy going person who tries to be accommodating as long as it doesn't hurt me or others. Notice the "me" in my last sentence. Yes, be selfish and then be accommodating. Now, I can be a real jerk if I come across one. Nothing wrong with that.
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balabaster 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow! This thought thread is a what's what on the list of horrifying and inauthentic bullshit.

When did we lose the ability to have authentic relationships?

If someone needs your help and you have the capacity to help and they haven't burned you in the past, why not actually be human and help them? Perhaps one day you'll need help and they'll return the favour. If they don't without good reason, then next time say "hey, you know what, I was there when you needed help last time and when I needed help you were nowhere to be found, you flaked out on me because you didn't take my needs seriously." or whatever.

If you're hanging out with flaky people who give you bullshit excuses for not helping you out when you genuinely need help and you're not helping out when they genuinely need help then you don't have friendship, you have acquaintances.

Being a friend is being there when your friends need you and your friends being there when you need them. If one side of that relationship isn't being honoured, it's not friendship. One or the other of you is taking advantage of boundaries that aren't being enforced or respected.

Kudos to everyone for wanting more time for themselves to find value in what they do but when you get to the pinnacle of whatever it is you're doing and you realize you've cast aside your friends and relationships for whatever shiny thing it is that currently has your attention, I hope the shiny thing is more valuable to you than your friendships, because you'll have none.

Addendum: I don't want to devalue those that are selfless and just trying to scramble back a bit of time for their own selves, I get it, I'm an introvert, I need time for myself to do my own things too, but don't lose sight of the fact that human connection is where happiness and love lays. If the giving of yourself to make those you love happy isn't making you happy, then you should probably closely examine the quality of those relationships and either fix them or end them so you are.

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steinuil 4 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me a lot of the posts by burnt out open source project maintainers, like the one about turning off github issues that was on the front page just recently, or one from a while ago about ignoring most github notifications and marking old repos as unmaintained.
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YeGoblynQueenne 3 days ago 0 replies      
The blog header is Diogenes, the Cynic (by an unkonwn artist) [1]. Thissuggests a possible misunderstanding of historical personalities. I believeimon, the Misanthrope, is the role model the author was really lookingfor:

According to Lucian, Timon was the wealthy son of Echecratides who lavished his money on flattering friends. When his funds ran out, the friends deserted him and Timon was reduced to working in the fields. One day, he found a pot of gold and soon his fair-weather friends were back. This time, he drove them away with dirt clods. [2]

I'm not being facetious: Diogenes, besides being a sarcastic old codgerfor which he is mostly famous, also displayed a complete lack of interest forhis own person, so not quite the blazing firebrand of, the er, enlightenedself-interest promulgated in the OP.

___________

[1] https://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/new-year-new-head...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timon_of_Athens_(person)

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PatrickAuld 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's important to remember what you are trying to do when you are being accommodating. You want to help others help themselves so that they are more capable in the end.

The author here took 100% of the work and pains from those around him. The people he helped were relieved of that task but are no more prepared for it should it arise again.

Personally I do try and be accommodating to those around me; but I include them in what is being done so they can learn from it. This give them back more than just result of the task and enables them to hopefully accomplish it themselves next time.

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merraksh 4 days ago 2 replies      
At eighteen I went away to college. [...] I had saved enough from a summer's work to pay the fees of the first term,

I guess college wasn't that expensive back then (or summer jobs were paying a lot).

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feralmoan 4 days ago 0 replies      
A lot of the points touched on in the original article and this thread are conducive to deeper, creative and more meaningful work in general. You should say no to meaningless distractions. I just finished reading this book about it, so, good timing... https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Work-Focused-Success-Distracted-...
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martin1975 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great writeup. It hits on age old wisdom - how do we strike a balance between saying 'yes' or 'no'?

The arguments for yes are obvious, probably best summarized by Wallace Stevens' saying: "After the final no there comes a yes and on that yes the future of the world hangs." (had to google for the exact saying :).

Logically and intuitively speaking, the degree to which our lives work is the degree to which we keep our agreements - it is the 'yes' (action) that moves us forward, shapes us as a person, far more than the 'no' (passivity).

In an infinite world of possibilities, what should one say 'yes' or 'no' to? This brings into the picture something we all struggle with finding for the better, if not the most part of our lives - _purpose_ and _meaning_.

I've no idea where your purpose and meaning come from - I know where mine do, however, if you want to be able to quickly sift through the infinite possibilities and readily come up with a 'yes' or a 'no' for what you commit to versus what you don't, then it is imperative that you seek out your purpose in life.

Generally speaking, the purpose has to be larger than what you can accomplish on your own, sometimes it might even span your life, or multiple life spans if your purpose is worth following by others.

Another way to achieve purpose or meaning is to surrender to another person, hopefully someone better than you. No, this doesn't mean becoming a door mat - it just means becoming vulnerable and coachable toward this person, whomever that is for you - could be a spouse, a higher being, whatever....

I'm starting to like HN even more when I see posts like this make it up to the first spot.

27
mcguire 3 days ago 0 replies      
"People never trust an accommodating man with important things."

This is (a) incredibly true (in the original sense of incredible) and (b) a difficult and painful lesson to learn.

Being the one to go to with problems means that all you will see are other's problems---no one will look for you when they succeed. Being the one who makes crap work means that you will always be making crap work.

But saying 'no' isn't the biggest part of the problem. Saying no just means you do nothing. You need to have a positive plan. Something that you want enough to push for.

More importantly, you need to push yourself forward. Brag. Sell yourself. Advertise. Mock other people to their faces, even if you know they're right and you're wrong. The world is not a kind and gentle place. It does not reward humility and the meek are not going to inherit anything.

28
Angostura 3 days ago 0 replies      
As a counterpoint, I am also one of those people who spends a lot of time helping people out, both at work and in the community.

I do it for two reasons: firstly, to be frank - I enjoy it, I enjoy the social stroking it confers. I work with clever, talented people - but they have different skill sets to me. If I can do something in 5 minutes that would take them an hour - and show them how to do it - I get a buzz and they are grateful.

Secondly, getting a reputation for people capable, people come to me with interesting problems, which increase my skill sets.

Yes, sometimes I have just too much on, and sometimes they come to me with dull stuff.

But in general, the combination, of making people happy, recognition and interesting problems makes being accommodating worth it for me.

4
Helping a Million Developers Exit Vim stackoverflow.blog
767 points by var_explained  6 days ago   469 comments top 26
1
drewg123 6 days ago 11 replies      
I met my wife because she was stuck in VI. I was a unix sysadmin in the early 90s, and she was a grad student. She came to me for help (like most of the 1st years did) because she couldn't get out of vi. However, to be fair, this was not her fault per-say. She actually knew how to use vi, but just couldn't find the ESC key.

Does anybody remember the DEC keyboards where there was no traditional ESC key, but it was F11? (http://www.cosam.org/images/vt220/keyboard.jpg). Yeah, we used DECstations in the grad labs, and whenever a new grad student asked me a question in the 1st week, I'd answer "F11", and 90% of the time I was right.

2
bandrami 6 days ago 7 replies      
(Attribution is questionable, but as a geezer I feel the need to make sure the younger generations at least are familiar with this:)

ed is the standard text editor

Let's look at a typical novice's session with the mighty ed:

 golem> ed ? help ? ? ? quit ? exit ? bye ? hello? ? eat flaming death ? ^C ? ^C ? ^D ? --- Note the consistent user interface and error reportage. Ed is generous enough to flag errors, yet prudent enough not to overwhelm the novice with verbosity.
(As a geezer, I also have to say I really am impressed with ed in some ways, and you should never be afraid to try it when you have a specific and known edit you want to do.)

3
blhack 6 days ago 7 replies      
I spent almost 10 years doing IT for a company whose backend was based entirely on as/400. If you've ever used a system like that, I'm sure you know where this is going...

The console's that the front-desk or clerical users used every day had a steep learning curve. It was something that you would definitely not be able to walk up to and just intuit.

However, once you figured it out, there is never going to be a faster UI that you are ever going to experience in your life until we figure out direct BCI stuff.

It was funny watching the new people come on board and insist that we should change the UI to something with a mouse (probably web based). They had no idea that more immediately intuitive was actually a step backwards.

My point is that just because something has a steep learning curve, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's a bad design.

4
burkaman 6 days ago 4 replies      
The most viewed question is even more relatable: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/927358/how-to-undo-last-...

You can get the top viewed questions here: http://data.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/query/53109/ques...

5
ChuckMcM 6 days ago 3 replies      
I saw the bumper sticker ":w saves" and thought, to myself I wonder how many people "get" that.

I suggested a long time ago that vi/vim bind ^C to exit. It currently is equivalent to 'esc' (it puts you into command mode if you aren't there and types the message "type :quit<Enter> to exit Vim". I'd much rather it popped up 'exit vim? y/n?' and the next key would determine if you exited or not.

6
bluedino 6 days ago 1 reply      
Hah. Back in the old days, when I didn't have a second computer to look up help online, I just powered my Linux PC off if I accidentally got trapped in vim. Later on, I'd just close my PuTTy session.

Then I finally took a little bit of time to learn vim.

7
ksenzee 6 days ago 1 reply      
When I told my thesis advisor (in about 2001) that I was looking into backend web development as a career, he gave me a post-it note with the following content:

 chmod 0644 [Esc] :wq
Best advice I've ever gotten.

8
hawski 6 days ago 1 reply      
Reading title I thought that it will be about helping people switch to a different text editor. One that is not an improved version of a text editor from 70s.

I am a vim user, but I want to switch to something different. I mainly use it now, because of inertia. Don't bother with replying how editing model of vim is still relevant today. Or how one should think about vim as a language - a verb and a motion. I know all those arguments and I even agree with them to some extent. However I would argue that vim's interface is quite taxing for the mind - at least for my mind. Editing may be efficient, but I read more code then I edit.

9
doktrin 6 days ago 11 replies      
Obviously my personal bias, but it's emacs I can never remember how to exit from.
10
dwyer 6 days ago 5 replies      
Why would you ever exit vim?
11
nevatiaritika 6 days ago 1 reply      
> It looks like developers in Ukraine, Turkey and Indonesia are getting stuck in Vim quite a bit: it makes up a larger portion of their Vim questions than in any other country. In contrast, in China, Korea and Japan the fraction going to this question is one-tenth as much. That might indicate that when developers in these countries enter Vim, they usually meant to do so, and they know how to get out of it.

I'd say no. I work in Japan and here everybody uses a Japanese equivalent of StackOverflow. This conclusion is so wrong.

12
icc97 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm having a go at using Vim full time after years of dabbling.

I attribute the weirdness of Vim to it being like learning a completely different actual language similar to learning French if you're an English speaker.

With an editor you do almost everything through muscle memory, and so like speaking a language it's subconscious.

Unless you've got a French English dictionary or Google Translate you've got very little hope.

The problem is most GUI editor users assume that it's just an editor like they're used too.

The only way to learn it, is like a language by speaking it all the time and changing the pathways in your brain.

I want to get round to writing a translators guide for Sublime Text users on the basis that's probably the most similar GUI based editor to Vim. Then most people can translate their own editor to what ST does and from there figure out Vim.

13
dageshi 6 days ago 2 replies      
I'm going to be perfectly honest, I got trapped like this in vi, decided that anything so complicated to exit out of wasn't for me and stuck with nano ever since.
14
heeen2 6 days ago 1 reply      
> It looks like developers in Ukraine, Turkey and Indonesia are getting stuck in Vim quite a bit: it makes up a larger portion of their Vim questions than in any other country. In contrast, in China, Korea and Japan the fraction going to this question is a tenth smaller.

From my experience, people at least from Korea are very likely to develop on windows, even when targeting linux or even embedded linux.

You can tell from the msdos line endings and comments in Korean that are in a weird multi byte encoding that I could not make vim display correctly. I think they use some sort of sftp synchronization tool like WinSCP when you edit a file remotely.

I read that Windows is really deeply rooted in their IT culture, so much so that banking sites are required to use a special encryption scheme implemented in ActiveX. I can see why that would discourage people to use a different OS for their daily needs, let alone convince corporate IT to support dual boot.

15
hartator 6 days ago 1 reply      
My favorite method:

 <crtl>+z kill -9 %1

16
kobeya 6 days ago 0 replies      
> It looks like developers in Ukraine, Turkey and Indonesia are getting stuck in Vim quite a bit: it makes up a larger portion of their Vim questions than in any other country. In contrast, in China, Korea and Japan the fraction going to this question is one-tenth as much. That might indicate that when developers in these countries enter Vim, they usually meant to do so, and they know how to get out of it.

More likely it means they are running Windows...

17
jondubois 6 days ago 1 reply      
That's funny because I feel that exiting vim is easy. On the other hand, exiting from nano is a nightmare and makes no sense to me - To make matters worse, it's difficult to find info online because it's hard to explain nano's confusing interface with keywords. I hate how git made nano the default editor on Ubuntu. Every time I install git, I have to remember to change the configs to use vim as the default.
18
joshbaptiste 6 days ago 2 replies      

 E492: Not an editor command: Wq
sigh Story of my life

19
JdeBP 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting to observe that I am the only person to have spoken up about alarm bells going off when it got to the part about Ukraine being the place that visits the Stack Overflow WWW page the most. No-one in this discussion, or in other discussions that I have read, has yet said:

> Hold on a minute! This is a WWW page in English, and yet you have the Ukraine, Turkey, Indonesia, and Pakistan as the top four countries by visitor? And the highest placed majority anglophone country is Canada, in sixteenth place? Hold your horses! Something is not right, here.

I have seen this pattern myself, on one of my WWW servers. Ukraine and the Russian Federation are second and third on the list ... for HTTP. For HTTPS. however, it is a very different story.

On the basis of my own experience, I question the accuracy of the statistics posted, and the accuracy of the conclusions based upon those statistics.

20
mmphosis 6 days ago 0 replies      

 EDITOR=/Applications/TextEdit.app/Contents/MacOS/TextEdit cd /usr/bin rm vim vimtutor ln -s /Applications/TextEdit.app/Contents/MacOS/TextEdit vim

21
DannyB2 6 days ago 0 replies      
What about people who get stuck in Emacs and are unable to exit?

They end up using Emacs lisp to create all other operations that they ever need on the computer. Emacs becomes their only environment.

22
void-star 6 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the only person who clicked on this link hoping it would provide guidance and help on how to switch to a different text editor after being "poisoned" by vi for so long?

Whenever I write code (or anything else) in another editor I still always have to carefully check diffs to confirm I don't have any vi control mode characters interspersed with whatever I was writing.

But I still can't quit using vi for everything else or my productivity goes into the toilet.

vi why can't I quit you?

23
a_lieb 5 days ago 0 replies      
Assuming it takes an average of 1 minute for someone to look up the answer and quit Vim, the readers of this question alone spent a total of 2 years looking up how to quit Vim. Whether or not it was a good design choice, it goes to show how much of people's time and energy is at stake when you make software at enormous scale.
24
Paul-ish 6 days ago 1 reply      
The last graph shows, of people who get stuck in vim what language they use the most. This means this could just be a graph of the most used programming languages. eg if there is a uniform 10% probability that anyone will get stuck in vim. I would find it interesting to see a graph that show what percent of each language's users get stuck in vim.
25
Animats 6 days ago 0 replies      
UX, the early days.

I once typed "EDIT" to Interlisp when in the wrong mode, and Warren Teitelman's "Do What I mean" system printed "=EXIT" and exited the program without saving. DWIM was tuned rather closely to Warren's personal typing errors.

26
ElijahLynn 6 days ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately that answer is wrong. The way they should have been taught is:

ZQ - Quit without saving

ZZ - Quit with saving

5
MediaGoblin Self Hosted, Decentralized Alt to YouTube, Flickr, SoundCloud mediagoblin.org
604 points by huntermeyer  5 days ago   160 comments top 23
1
rglullis 4 days ago 8 replies      
Curious to see this here, given that I've been trying to set up some of these "decentralized services" at my home servers and figuring out if it is really possible to replace the common mainstream services.

So far, I installed my own Matrix server (synapse), my own XMPP (ejabberd), yesterday I got semi-happy with my mastodon setup, and now I was just finishing some tests with ownCloud to see if I could replace Dropbox.

MediaGoblin is on my list of services to setup. I ran a basic deployment and checked some other instances of it before, but I didn't put it higher on my priority list because to me it looks like it focus too much on being a "community-driven website" instead of providing a solid service as a media-hosting/publishing/catalog system.

To me it looks like they are shooting for the wrong level of "decentralization granularity". Each instance of these services are aiming for a "community", and think that the people use the mainstream tools because they don't want to/won't manage the server.

The point they seem to miss is that this only creates another type of top-down organization. It would be MUCH easier for them to focus on a "single-user" system, and start from the point that the communication will work when the applications talk with each other.

To me this is why Diaspora failed, and Wordpress is still such a big part of the internet.

Another thing I noticed: the projects that really focused on separating client from server produced much better results in terms of UI/UX. With Matrix, I just had to setup the server, and then I could have the riot app just point to my instance. If by any chance a better client comes around, my instance would be untouched.

2
Veratyr 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think to be able to say you're a "decentralized alternative to YouTube, Flickr, SoundCloud", you really need some way to search across all the servers in the network or at least interact with them and as far as I can tell, that doesn't exist. In the tour there's not even any mention of decentralization that I can see.

Is there something I'm missing?

Also in terms of self hosting, something I'd really like is the ability to point it at a pile of files and have it ingest them in place. Any idea whether that's possible?

3
anderspitman 4 days ago 6 replies      
I'm still waiting for an open source self-hosted alternative to Google Drive. Even just the basic functionality of a file browser, image thumbnails, photo gallery, and video player would be fantastic. Many such projects exist, and maybe I'm just lazy, but I really don't want to have to set up a PHP server in order to run such a thing. I would love something like Syncthing where you download a compiled Go binary, start up the service, and configure it through your browser.

I started implementing something like this myself but didn't make it very far. The fear of eventually running out of space or having privacy/security issues on Drive hasn't produced enough pain for me to really do anything yet.

4
rchrd2 4 days ago 1 reply      
MediaGoblin is available on Sandstorm (eg one click install): https://apps.sandstorm.io/app/70awyqss6jq2gkz7dwzsnvumzr0725...
5
kemonocode 4 days ago 1 reply      
I always seem to remember this project sort of limping along, only to forget it a while after as even though I'm an artist and I could make some use of it, the setup is far too much of a trouble when a Wordpress blog would do the trick for sharing my works just fine. Maybe it needs something akin to what happened with GNU/Social and Mastodon to be thrown into the limelight.
6
galacticpony2 4 days ago 1 reply      
But where's the alternative Youtube website?

Youtube differentiates itself by being a go-to platform, a website that people actually visit to watch videos. Otherwise, call it an alternative to Vimeo, which is de-facto just a video hosting platform.

7
paradite 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is this project still in active development? The release version has not reached 1.0 but there were only a few commits in the past months:

http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/mediagoblin.git/log/

8
motters 4 days ago 0 replies      
Mediagoblin is also available as an app on Freedombone (https://freedombone.net)
9
TorKlingberg 4 days ago 1 reply      
I found a video on one of the example sites and opened it on mobile, iOS and the Google Search app. The video didn't play. That is why Youtube is so dominant. 12 years later and nobody else has figured out how to make videos that actually play.
10
Espionage724 1 day ago 0 replies      
For anyone interested, I have some notes on how I deploy MediaGoblin here: https://wiki.realmofespionage.xyz/servers:nginx:gnu_mediagob...
11
xiconfjs 4 days ago 0 replies      
opened the first 3x live instances [1] and all videos required flash...

[1] https://wiki.mediagoblin.org/Live_instances

12
cdolan92 4 days ago 2 replies      
This may be off topic, but does anyone think that there is a correlation between pop culture (Silicon Valley's Pied Piper this season) and services like this springing up/getting more attention than normal?
13
wedesoft 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you are looking for a self-hosted video site, I can really recommend CumulusClips. It is quite easy to setup and does the job quite well.
14
con022 4 days ago 2 replies      
I am confusing with decentralized.If there is no central server, how can my node find the first neighbor node? If there is a server maintain a nodes list, it isn't decentralized, right?
15
eco 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not understanding what is decentralized about it. It just looks like a bunch of Gallery 2 installations. Do the servers interact in some way? Is the content hosted in a decentralized fashion? I can't find anything on the website that clarifies it.
16
stefek99 4 days ago 0 replies      
Interview from 2013 - they have been around - http://redecentralize.org/interviews/2013/10/13/06-chris-med...
17
criddell 4 days ago 1 reply      
This seems like the kind of thing that should be packaged to be one-click-installed on a NAS box.
18
symlinkk 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why use this instead of just putting a directory on public FTP or something?
19
leemailll 4 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the dead gallery project and Piwigo. Any comparison with these?
20
thunfisch 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you're looking for a more end-to-end solution, suitable for lecture/event recording, processing and distribution with a more permissive license, you might want to checkout http://www.opencast.org as well.
21
flamedoge 4 days ago 0 replies      
BitChute is another
22
zoner 4 days ago 3 replies      
This is awesome. The amount of censure we are getting on YT and others is ridiculous. We are a group promoting racial awareness, not something the current empire is tolerating, alas it's members are a target of modern age witch hunting.

I'm surprised I haven't found this project before, but I'm sure I'll also contribute to it in the future.

Just a little note if would be easier to find it if the source code was hosted on GitHub.

23
hoodoof 4 days ago 5 replies      
This looks like another way of sharing stuff that big companies don't want you to share. I seem to recall this story not ending well in the past. And AGPL? - such an unappealing license - it's the license for open source extremists.
6
Little Things I Like to Do with Git csswizardry.com
650 points by csswizardry  5 days ago   103 comments top 22
1
TimWolla 5 days ago 1 reply      
Since git 2.9 there is another experimental, opt-in, improvement to git diff that results in more readable diffs: Heuristics that try to capture the logical changes better. By default git tries to delay the start of diffs as long as possible leading to bogus highlighting of e.g. doc comments (slash star star).

See https://github.com/blog/2188-git-2-9-has-been-released (section Beautiful diffs) for an example and http://blog.deveo.com/whats-new-in-git-2-11/#experimentalheu... for another similar option that I did not try yet.

2
qznc 5 days ago 1 reply      
Things in my dot repo [0]:

git-overview: Short report about top committers, files with most commits and most authors. Nice when you checkout a non-trivial repo for the first time.

git-onNotify: Do something (like `make`) whenever a tracked file changes. Usually used to build LaTeX and static websites.

git-randomline: Chooses a random file and a random line number there. The game is explain that single line to some fellow. Do this repeatedly to spread knowledge about a codebase.

git-tarball: Pack the repo into a tar.bz2 file.

[0] https://github.com/qznc/dot/tree/master/bin

3
nicwolff 5 days ago 1 reply      
I have his "git recent" alias, and then in .bashrc

 alias co='select br in $(git recent); do git co $br; break; done'
so when I type "co" at the command prompt I get a numbered menu of branches in the order I last checked them out, and can just type a branch's number and hit return to check it out again.

4
qznc 5 days ago 5 replies      
I also have aliases in my shell instead of git aliases.

 st git status ... gl git log ... gd git diff ... gg gitg gup git pull --rebase gb git branch
The dots mean there are more arguments. The point is, every once in a while I analyse my shell history and add aliases for the most used commands. Looking at it now, it seems I should add aliases for `git push` and `vi Makefile`.

I also have the aliases g for git, m for make, and v for vim.

5
ericfrederich 5 days ago 6 replies      
I like how he creates an alias to blame called praise. He's right, blame is a loaded word. The command I really use to "blame" people is bisect... though sometimes I use that to find something good too
6
theden 5 days ago 2 replies      
I use this alias to quickly cd to the root directory of a repo. Useful if you're way deep in a repo and need to back out.

 alias gitroot='cd $(git rev-parse --show-toplevel) && echo "$_"'

7
ericfrederich 5 days ago 2 replies      
I like to run gource: http://gource.io/
8
Vinnl 5 days ago 1 reply      
> Youre not limited to just tags: you can use commit hashes.

Since tags, branches and `HEAD` are simply pointers to commits, it's good to know that you can interchange them and commits pretty much anywhere where you can use them (other than creating/deleting tags or branches, of course).

9
falcolas 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'll be adding a lot of these; I especially like the "what was I doing..." ones. To continue with the sharing:

 up = !git pull --prune $@ && git submodule update --recursive cm = !git add -A && git commit save = !git add -A && git commit -m 'SAVEPOINT' undo = reset HEAD~1 --mixed amend = commit -a --amend # Removes branches deleted from remote repo bclean = "!f() { git branch --merged ${1-master} | grep -v " ${1-master}$" | xargs git branch -d; }; f" # Leave current branch & do some cleanup bdone = "!f() { git checkout ${1-master} && git up && git bclean ${1-master}; }; f"

10
macrael 5 days ago 2 replies      
Something I love to do with git: make temporary commits at the tip of a branch so I can checkout other branches without losing anything. I much prefer this to stashes, generally. Stashes can still be useful to move changes from one branch to another, but generally I find changes make sense on the branch they were being written for.

> git commit -am "TMP COMMIT"> git checkout ...Once you switch back:> git reset HEAD^

and you'll undo the temporary commit and be back to where you were.

11
gumby 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's annoying that all the git commands start with 'git' unless you write your own aliases. It means you can't just type !sta to get the git status much less 'emacs !add:*' to edit the files you just added(!) ; you have to do a ^R search and edit. !git is almost never what you want unless it's just !! anyway. RCS had just co and ci and the like[+]

Clearly the guy who came up with this cockamamie scheme was unfamiliar with Linux. :-)

+ RCS was pretty bad too; I'm using it just for illustrative purposes

12
atemerev 5 days ago 1 reply      
And the question is... why all these nice features are not enabled by default? Especially word-level and whitespace-aware diffs.
13
roel_v 5 days ago 2 replies      
So how do largish binaries work in git nowadays? When I last looked (several years ago), the answer was essentially 'dont do it' or 'use this other tool to sort of make it work'. Can I store a few gigs of data (alongside my source code) in git?
14
patrick_haply 4 days ago 1 reply      
Out of curiosity, does anyone here use tig[1]? I've been wondering if it's worth learning.

[1] https://jonas.github.io/tig/

15
nitemice 4 days ago 0 replies      
I actually have that leaderboard alias in my gitconfig already.

I work on a codebase that's over 20 yrs old. A while back, I was interested to find out who had done the most commits, and what kind impact moving to git, with it's "commit early, commit often" mentality, had pushed newer players up the ranks. Suffice to say, it hadn't had as much impact as I was expecting yet.

16
linkmotif 5 days ago 1 reply      
I've always thought of git blame as a bit of Linus personality infusion into the git CLI. Aliasing that to "praise" kind of misses that bit of fun.
17
herrvogel- 5 days ago 0 replies      
Git-extras[0] is also quite nice.

[0] https://github.com/tj/git-extras

18
jordigh 5 days ago 0 replies      
19
hyperpallium 4 days ago 0 replies      
Instead of --word-diff, I like --color-words.

Though it can be difficult to notice an addition if it's just one or two chars.

20
soperj 5 days ago 0 replies      
I use meld as my git diff tool. Visual diff is just way easier in my opinion.
21
mmjaa 5 days ago 3 replies      
My personal favourite:

 git for-each-ref --sort=-committerdate
.. shows progress for each branch .. this makes it surprisingly easy to see which of the developers in our group (with their own branches) is pushing the codebase further ..

22
cryptonector 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is why I wish Fossil were less opinionated and supported rebase and exposed branches and tags as the light-weight names that they are underneath the covers (just like git). Fossil uses SQL, which means that all of the things @csswizardry and much more that no git developer has ever thought of.. can be done with a little bit of SQL.

But no, Fossil's UI is like Mercurial's, and it favors merging over cherry-picking and rebasing. Their loss!

Fossil does have a cherry-pick operation, and anyways, one could trivially be constructed. Which means that rebase can also be constructed easily enough. But my impression is that the devs aren't interested in such contributions. And the heavy- vs. light-weight branching model in the UI is a big turn off even if I can deal with it at the SQL level. Fossil's push/pull model ([auto]sync everything) is also not to my liking -- sure, in a corporate environment pushing every branch is a good idea, but in an open source world it's not: I may want to push some branches to one upstream, others to another, and yet others not at all.

This is what I like about git:

- the index

- git exposes the Merkle hash tree concept at the lowest layer

- git branches and tags are just symbolic pointers to commits (see previous point)

- support for many remotes

- git is not opinionated -- if you want to use a merge-based workflow, you can, and if you want to rebase instead, you can, and if you have to use e-mail to exchange commits, you can, and so on.

I'm done with the Mercurial "you do what we say" model. A model they keep half-way reneging on, adding bookmarks (which don't work well), and histedit and rebase (why not both in one command?! "because we don't like git rebase" is the answer I imagine) (they really need to be one command!! what if in the process of rebasing you must drop commits that you know duplicate others in the new base?!).

I wish Fossil's developers saw this. But they're focused on their needs: VCS for SQLite3. Since they seem to have few topic branches, they like merging.

Conversely, since Fossil's devs refuse to be non-opinionated, I wish git's developers saw the power of SQL for VCS. It would save a ton of code C and shell code, and it would make new extensions trivial. It also would make git much more power-failure safe: since it could leave that to something like SQLite3 that does a fantastic job of it (and is very well tested, both in general and as to power failure safety).

Besides this, I wish git has branch history. That is, a single push can push multiple commits by different authors, so it would be nice if one could see who pushed what commits. This would be useful as documentation in and of itself: if you see N>1 commits pushed together and need to revert one of them, you might look at whether you need to revert the rest as well, as they might go together. (Some codebases like to push regression tests first, bug fixes after. This allows one to see that tests detect the bugs they're testing for and that corresponding bug fixes fix those bugs. If one has to revert a bug fix commit, one might have to also revert a corresponding test commit.)

7
NSA secretly conducted illegal searches on Americans for years circa.com
473 points by greenyoda  6 days ago   209 comments top 18
1
endymi0n 5 days ago 16 replies      
I think the most dangerous thing is that what Snowden predicted actually happened by now. After all the revelations, nobody is interested anymore. There's this general fatigue and powerlessness that leads to a feeling of "well, yeah, everbody knows by now... what's the news here?" - even for me as a security expert and privacy proponent.

The real danger is nobody cares anymore, as this enables all further constitution violations and hollowing of citizen protection worldwide.

2
mirimir 5 days ago 1 reply      
Well, this isn't exactly news. What's interesting, however, is how interagency sharing doesn't get mentioned often in this debate. Such as SOD, where DEA, DHS, FBI, IRS, etc can access the data.[0,1,2,3] And use it secretly in criminal investigations, through parallel construction. Which, by the way, involves criminal conspiracy to suborn perjury.

0) http://www.reuters.com/article/us-dea-sod-idUSBRE97409R20130...

1) https://www.deamuseum.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/042215-...

2) https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/08/fbi-changes-...

3) https://www.wired.com/2017/01/just-time-trump-nsa-loosens-pr...

3
freeflight 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty much the very same problem the German BND has right now, I'd guess pretty much any intelligence service which conducts mass surveillance has this problem of "surveil everything, except stuff from your domestic population".

How to find out if your target belongs to the domestic population without looking into any content of that target? German BND supposedly does some of the filtering by country domain extension i.e. users with a "@xyz.de" mail address are supposedly exempted from BND scrutiny.

Which is of course yet another flawed approach because not every German has a .de mail address. Case in point, I have an account with German mail provider GMX that ends on .net. That method would also make it stupidly easy to evade any scrutiny by the BND.

Imho this is a problem that doesn't have a good solution or any solution at all, for this to actually work in reality security services would need to be clairvoyant.

4
mtgx 5 days ago 3 replies      
So who's going to prison over these "illegal searches"? Oh, let me guess - nobody, because intelligence agencies seem to always be above the law?
5
yostrovs 5 days ago 2 replies      
The word "Obama" is mentioned only once within the 81 comments so far posted...
6
exabrial 5 days ago 1 reply      
What ticks me off is no one will assign blame to the commander in chief, who willingly let this go on.
7
imron 5 days ago 1 reply      
> and that the improper searches constituted a very serious Fourth Amendment issue,

I for one hope the people involved get a very stern talking to.

8
reacweb 5 days ago 0 replies      
IMHO, US shall be governed by law. This is fundamental of our values. NSA misbehavior shall be severely sanctioned. If we relinquish these values, what distinguish us from the dictatorships we fight.
9
awqrre 5 days ago 4 replies      
I think that the privacy issue will get worst quicker under Trump, which is why I voted for him. I think that it is required, for it to get better, because people don't care enough yet.
10
GrumpyNl 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thats not the problem, the problem is that no one seems to care anymore. Thats very, very disturbing.
11
bipr0 5 days ago 0 replies      
Privacy is of course important. We should take it seriously. And i think its our duty to encourage other people to do so, and i know there are many people does not care.
12
fischersully 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's not OK that this doesn't shock me!
13
dude01 5 days ago 1 reply      
Putting on my marketing hat -- protecting privacy sure has lousy marketing. Privacy is so abstract and sounds passive.

Why don't people talk about how upcoming politicians can be blackmailed by having this surveillance info lying around? Or our current politicians, who vote and decide on the powers granted the NSA, are easily blackmail-able with this surveillance info?

14
tripzilch 4 days ago 0 replies      
As a non-American, whose rights to any sort of privacy whatsoever have been deemed zero by people on this very forum from the start[0], I really just want to point my finger and say:

"Ha, ha!"

I guess it's my turn to finally say, "is anyone really surprised?".

Okay having gotten that off my chest, I have a question too :) It's about the timing of this release, just in the last few weeks before Trump got elected. I have a little theory that sprung to mind reading the article. Is it maybe because NSA was violating the restrictions left and right, because obviously they believe it's for the Greater Good, or something. But they are probably also aware that the mere existence of all this data is dangerous by itself, you slurp it up, filter, categorize, store, etc. Now it's like nuclear waste sludge, waiting to fuck shit up when it ends up somewhere it shouldn't be. And maybe during the Obama administration, who, you may not have liked the guy but at least he is you know, SANE[1], so the NSA believed that these violations were for the Greater Good/for the better. But now there's Trump. And he's a wild card. Literally no telling what this guy will do or won't do. And then there's these rumours about Russian connections[2]. So now the NSA is suddenly like, wait a minute, all this data is still here, and we're spying on citizens, and we're collecting all this shit, and ... Trump's in power. Maybe better limit ourselves, before he (or his underlings) start using it in very, very badwrong ways. Like, the NSA trusted they could wildly overstep their boundaries in a relatively sane governmental environment, but now they're not so sure any more and kind of worried about what powers they actually gave this administration?

Does that sound about right? It's just some thoughts I had about the matter.

Good luck getting your privacies back, and all though. Honestly.

[0] because violating my privacy is "their job" even though I am a human being with a fundamental right to privacy just like you guys, I've nothing wrong to have that taken away from me! We all live on the same planet, and no, my government's intelligence service is NOT spying on the entire Internet just the same, because they can't, they don't have the unique position and resources of the NSA. And if they would, I would not defend them for it.

[1] Disclaimer: I don't have a background to actually diagnose people. But I do know a thing or two about it. So there's the blatantly obvious narcissistic personality disorder. And then there's the part where he's just simply not qualified, he doesn't know shit about 20th century world history, international relations and diplomacy, etc. Believing you can do this super important job, is also pretty insane. The spokespeople, in their eyes you can see they want to scream we don't know what the guy is saying half the time either.

[2] Trump almost literally admitted he fired the FBI guy because he was investigating him about Russia. I mean he also denied it, but even though that's one of his insane shticks, to say something and claim the opposite a bit later, in this case, saying both does not in fact, add up to saying nothing. It's really crazy that. But the jury's still out, right?

15
indolering 5 days ago 2 replies      
Wikipedia states that circa.com is a recently acquired property of the Sinclair Broadcast Group, who is known for mandating stations to carry canned editorials as news [0]. Google also shows this report as surfacing ~month ago [1].

I agree that what the government did is insane, but this is a pretty poor source.

[0]: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/05/08/527462015/...

[1]: https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=%22I+think+what+this+e...

16
foobarbazetc 5 days ago 2 replies      
Pleass stop posting circa trash.
17
MikeVanBike 5 days ago 0 replies      
Oh my, Is people so naive that they really believe what NSA is telling them?

Some people huh, really ?

18
gcatalfamo 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is an old story.

And, even if it wasn't, I don't want to sound cynic or excessively sarcastic, but it would be the biggest case for "no shit, sherlock".

edit: grammar

8
Facebook's tentacles reach further than people think bbc.co.uk
498 points by CarolineW  3 days ago   276 comments top 16
1
makecheck 3 days ago 8 replies      
In computer security, every time machines become fast enough to breach the limits of an algorithm we invent something new so that hard problems remain hard and therefore encryption is still secure.

There has been no corresponding increase in the difficulty of invading privacy. 30 years ago, even though you probably could observe somebody for a long time and eventually connect some dots about them, it would not really have been worth your while (and you certainly wouldnt have been able to do it for thousands or millions of people). Now, it is ridiculously easy for computers to dredge up information and instantly transmit it, slog through it and basically connect every imaginable dot. There needs to be a new standard for privacy: just like you want a 2048-bit key, you want the equivalent of a make life a pain in the ass for Facebook key on EVERY DETAIL of your life.

2
jacquesm 3 days ago 11 replies      
The bigger problem for me is how facebook tracks and identifies even people who do not have a facebook account. They simply infer such a person exists from photograps, contacts and other one sided activity and can start to track that person, tie all this information together and then target them with ads even though they never signed up for Facebook.

Such shadow profiles are a much larger problem to me than people who are happy to fork over their private lives themselves.

3
tuna-piano 3 days ago 5 replies      
Facebook's dominance is even more pronounced in parts of the developing world. I've met people in Asia (Myanmar and Nepal) who have just accessed the internet for the first time in the past 12-24 months (through their Android smartphones).

But they don't know the true internet - they only know the internet through the Facebook app. They use it like we use Google and web browsers.

To them, Facebook is the internet. They don't have email accounts. They don't use the browser. They don't search. I met someone in a small town who never even used the maps feature. I tried to think of what value the true internet might bring them, but when I suggested that "you can search for news and read other things", the response was that they already did that with the Facebook App.

One guy handed me his phone, so I could add myself as a friend on his Facebook. While I started typing my name, I noticed his search history... and to him, Facebook was even a substitute for what people in the USA might use Incognito mode for!

I would call Facebook their internet portal, but it's not really a portal to anything - Facebook is just the entire internet to them.

Buzzfeed (yes, Buzzfeed) did an excellent writeup of Myanmar, that mirrors what I saw there:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/sheerafrenkel/fake-news-spreads-tru...

Nobody asks, they dont care about the email, he said, explaining that most dont know that creating an email address is free, and easy. No one is using that. They have Facebook.

4
freeflight 3 days ago 5 replies      
Google does some pretty scary stuff too.I made a point of never giving them my mobile number or any "real information" about me.When a friend of mine added me to his contacts, on his Android phone, he also added one of email addresses to the contact, which is the same one I used to register my Google account.

The phone automatically connected the mail address to my Google account and now every time I call him the (anonymous) picture of my Google profile shows up on his phone. Which I guess means that Google now also connected that phone number to the mail address/Google account.

Tbh that's really offputting: You can be as careful as you want and it will still be all for naught because friends&family just end up leaking your details everywhere without even noticing it.

5
rayday 2 days ago 2 replies      
"All of us, when we are uploading something, when we are tagging people, when we are commenting, we are basically working for Facebook,"

Tapping, scrolling and even just having the app with Location Services installed means we are actively working for Facebook, and Facebook is actively working on us.

We are effectively lab rats to this self-perpetuating Orwellian superbeing. Nothing will stop it. It will use any means necessary to increase its yield of attention spend. Increases in HCI bandwidth will only extend its tentacles, eventually digging an orifice into our brains, Matrix/Neuralink-style, to run tests on us about how to better harvest us.

Before that, some of us will already be living on Planet Oculus.

The next Trust has earned that status like 5 years ago, yet here we are, still just gathering data.

The resource it trades in is intrinsically more valuable to Man than Oil. How much do you value your time, considering that is how you measure life? 2B users, people. How many lifetimes are spent a second on Facebook?

I fear we may regret this in the future.

6
codyb 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've posted it before, and I'll post it again. I've never been a big fan of facebook, having deleted it for years after I started dating my first girlfriend, but unfortunately it is the only way to access Tinder now that we are broken up.

Facebook is addicting. I would scroll, like, and get into political arguments. They knew how to play me.

About five months ago I went in and unfollowed literally every single person on my facebook. I deleted every post I'd ever made. I locked down every privacy setting I could.

Since then, besides messenger, I have spent probably a total of an hour or two on facebook (in five months!). I can not heartily enough recommend doing the same to every person who might so read this.

Social media has done some amazing things in terms of coordination of people's who might not otherwise be able to connect. But their addictive algorithms which concentrate and sell information on billions of human beings are presumably a threat to us all.

I am not sure what to do.

7
nstart 3 days ago 0 replies      
8
cconcepts 2 days ago 4 replies      
It annoys me how much I want to leave Facebook (if only to stop them gathering MORE data on me - I can't erase what they have) but don't because of the convenience of getting in touch with or finding out more about whoever I meet in meatspace.

The fact that they try to force me to install their messenger app by making messaging through a mobile browser difficult is particularly infuriating and reveals how much they have their intentions at centre and not the benefit of their users/products/suckers (whatever you want to call us) now that they have the critical mass that people like me don't leave because everyone else is on it.

9
bduerst 3 days ago 2 replies      
This reads like sponsored article for Share Lab, piggy backing off of big data phobia.

>"Facebook has lots of data and we have no idea what they do with it, but here's what the smart people at Share Lab can do with data."

10
gavinpc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Walk the talk, people, walk the talk.

When Facebook has pwned everything that's left to pwn, are we going to look back and say, oh, we were warned, why didn't we heed the warning of all those writers... who had "like" links on their page before the content even started. No.

11
aargh_aargh 3 days ago 3 replies      
TL;DR: There's no meat in this article, just fluff.
12
bipr0 3 days ago 2 replies      
Facebook is the new NSA inside the flesh of a social media site. And that's scary.
13
vkreso 2 days ago 0 replies      
There was an interesting article published on arxiv 10 days ago titled: Social Media-based Substance Use Prediction or as MITTechRev titled it: Your Facebook activity can reveal whether you are a substance abuser..

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/607943/how-data-mining-fa...

https://arxiv.org/abs/1705.05633

14
gub09 3 days ago 1 reply      
I read the Share Lab metadata report, based on an examination of the metadata in the headers of the emails exchanged between Hacking Team members. The level of detail this provides on the network and on the individual members of the team is extraordinary. Now in the case of Facebook, imagine that times 100, then add AI to slice and dice the data better than a team of the world's top 1000 data scientists working on the analysis of some tiny portion of the data for some particular purpose, for a year... Just one consequence: think of what Facebook and Google have on every politician in the United States, in the world.
15
jaza 1 day ago 0 replies      
This rant of mine from ~5 years ago is as relevant as ever:

http://greenash.net.au/thoughts/2011/10/dont-trust-facebook-...

16
c3534l 3 days ago 3 replies      
I signed up for facebook two years ago, didn't put any real information on there, then haven't touched it since. I still get emails about "people you might know" that they have absolutely no business knowing about and aren't in any way connected to my immediate family. It's creepy and I don't want them storing that information about me, but there's nothing I can do. I've been cautious about putting my information on the internet since I got my first computer in 1995. But that information got out there somehow anyway.
9
Malicious Subtitles Threaten Kodi, VLC and Popcorn Time Users checkpoint.com
465 points by seycombi  5 days ago   223 comments top 29
1
ConfucianNardin 5 days ago 6 replies      
Was annoying to find the details.

Looks like PopcornTime was rendering subtitle text as HTML, inside their app (html/js-based), creating an XSS vector (looking at https://github.com/popcorn-official/popcorn-desktop/commit/a..., https://github.com/butterproject/butter-desktop/pull/602). Likely the javascript runtime they're using allows file access and execution of arbitrary executables, enabling the metasploit shell shown in the demo.

For VLC there are a bunch of out of bound reads and heap buffer overflows.

 f2b1f9e subtitle: Fix potential heap buffer overflow 611398f subtitle: Fix potential heap buffer overflow ecd3173 subsdec: Fix potential out of bound read 62be394 subsdec: Fix potential out of bound read 775de71 subtitle: Fix invalid double increment.
The article implies that VLC and the others are affected by the same issue (leading to code execution), but according to available information it seems to be completely different issues.

The Kodi issue was a zip archive path traversal (i.e. no protection against zip files extracting files to parent directories).

2
OneLessThing 5 days ago 4 replies      
I did security research on VLC on Windows a year or two ago. I may be remembering incorrectly, but last I recall every module was protected by ASLR. Which means that remote code execution is not likely because there is no scripting or network comms to dynamically create a valid ROP chain.

I also didn't check for executable heaps at the time but given that all heaps are non executable (which they really shouldn't be executable in VLC) again I don't see how RCE is possible. Maybe there is some way to validate and therefore brute force addresses? I don't know. But there was no VLC POC and I'm sure they would have made one if they could have.

Use VLC it's the most secure media player I've seen.

3
resoluti0n 5 days ago 0 replies      
Kodi 17.2 with the fix for this flaw has now been released:

https://kodi.tv/article/kodi-v172-minor-bug-fix-and-security...

4
kutkloon7 5 days ago 4 replies      
The thing that most amazes my about Popcorn Time is how they find the subtitles. It seems to succeed even when I can't find subtitles myself.

More related to the article, you would think that subtitles are literally the easiest file format in existence to safely handle. It's incredibly well-defined in terms of textual data and times.

5
_jomo 5 days ago 3 replies      
These are the VLC commits adressing the issue:

https://github.com/videolan/vlc/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=subt...

6
mrmondo 5 days ago 3 replies      
Interestingly running VLC 2.2.4 on MacOS 10.12 and checking for updates returns 'VLC 2.2.4 is currently the newest version available.', obviously I downloaded 2.2.5.1 from videolan.org but still odd.
7
greggman 5 days ago 0 replies      
AFAICT every plugin to Kodi has full machine access. Subtitles of course you don't expect to install malware but I wish plugins ran in a sandbox
8
pawadu 5 days ago 2 replies      
Slightly related to this: where can I find data sanitizers for common file formats (PDF, MP3 and so on)?
9
runeks 5 days ago 1 reply      
Can anyone recommend a video player written in a memory-safe language for OSX that handles MKV files? Or is the simple truth that the problem lies in the parsers, which are shipped as a library written in C, because no sane developer wants to rewrite parsers for 25 different subtitle formats when writing a video player?
10
sotojuan 5 days ago 2 replies      
What about mpv? That's my preferred video player.
11
sparaker 5 days ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to see which subtitles are using these vulnerabilities and what they are achieving with them. We could estimate how long this has been around.
12
mplewis 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is another reason you should use a tool like a parser generator when you have to parse untrusted data, rather than writing your own parser by hand.
13
soylentcola 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is interesting to me for reasons outside of anything to do with exploits or malware. A while back I had a bit of a brain fart while playing with my Hue bulbs: would there be a way to use the subtitle track for a video to encode time-controlled data that can be sent to/read by another application that sends these values to a set of Hue bulbs or similar devices for synchronized ambient lighting?

I figured that subtitles were an obvious place to start because you can download them in small files, play them back alongside a video, and they are designed to be "timed out" to synchronize with a video already.

I looked into it for a bit but never really found a way (within my abilities at least) to do anything like this from within a .srt file or similar. I'd be interested in hearing if anyone else has more info on how you might do more with that "framework" than displaying text on screen.

14
Sujan 5 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know if the subtitle hosting services added checks for this as well?
15
Filligree 5 days ago 0 replies      
Speaking of Popcorn Time, last I heard there were a couple of forks and doubts about the safety of each and every one.

Is there any more clarity around the situation now?

16
captainmuon 5 days ago 8 replies      
Wow, that is bad. I'm always amazed by such vectors in supposedly passive formats, like fonts, images, and so on.

There is no excuse that these kind of applications are not completely sandboxed. All you need is some kind of DLL, raw data in, raw pixels out. In case of hardware accelerated codecs, raw pixels in, surface pointer in, nothing out. There is no need to be able to access the filesystem, etc.. To render subtitles on top of the video it's the same.

I wish a fraction of the energy we put into DRM would go into sandboxing instead.

17
adynatos 5 days ago 0 replies      
If Popcorn Time renders all subtitles as HTML, would an exploit work if the subtitles were embedded in video container? Seed latest hit on Pirate Bay, root a lot of boxes. Yikes.
18
lanius 5 days ago 1 reply      
Is Media Player Classic affected?
19
yq 5 days ago 0 replies      
here is how it looks in real time:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYT_EGty_6A

20
Sujan 5 days ago 1 reply      
Does this also work for Android versions of Kodi et al?
21
nto 5 days ago 1 reply      
does this work on Linux and Mac OS? or is it limited to Windows systems?
22
alexvay 5 days ago 1 reply      
It's sad that VLC checks updates over HTTP and HTTPS
23
jwilk 5 days ago 0 replies      
What does the "IPS Signatures" section mean?
24
theGimp 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is the sourced post http://blog.checkpoint.com/2017/05/23/hacked-in-translation/

The ingenuity that goes into RCE exploits never ceases to amaze (and terrify) me. Can't wait for more details to be released.

25
lloydjatkinson 5 days ago 2 replies      
Hollywood is resorting to shitty tactics
26
thresh 5 days ago 5 replies      
Clearly VLC should be rewritten in Rust.
27
ackfoo 5 days ago 6 replies      
Treat data as data. Taking the Subrip format as an example, everything starts out fine so long as there is good bounds checking on the purely textual data.

Then, however, some dipshit decides to extend the format by adding tags for things like bold, italics, underline etc. This is completely unnecessary for subtitles because the emphasis can be inferred from the dialogue. The unnecessary complexity increase the potential for vulnerabilities.

Then some total dickhead decides to add an HTML5 tag, for no reason whatsoever, and it all goes to hell.

This is illustrative of the problem with most software: the absence of a clear-headed benevolent dictator to say, "no; you are an idiot; we're not doing that."

28
grahams 5 days ago 0 replies      
These exploits will go nowhere without a catchy name ala HEARTBLEED...

I vote for SUB-DURAL HEMATOMA

29
pawadu 5 days ago 1 reply      
> The attack vector relies heavily on the poor state of security in the way various media players process subtitle files and the large number of subtitle formats.

Well, last years exploits against iOS, Android and Ubuntu where all related to media metadata processing. It is only natural that the same folks screw up this one too.

10
Chrome Won andreasgal.com
463 points by fabrice_d  4 days ago   556 comments top 2
1
gkoberger 4 days ago 13 replies      
I agree with this blog post. But I don't think Mozilla lost.

I worked for Mozilla for a few years, after seeing John Lily (CEO at the time) speak. It was right after Chrome started getting popular, and a smug person in the crowd asked him about how he felt about Chrome.

John's response was awesome. "This is the web that we wanted. We exist not because we want everyone to use Firefox, but because we wanted people to have a choice" Firefox was a response to a world of "best viewed in IE" badges, and it changed the browser landscape.

Now, we have options. Chrome is great, but so are Safari, Edge, Brave, Opera and Firefox. There's a lot of options out there, and they're all standards compliment. And that's thanks to Mozilla.

So, in my mind, Mozilla won. It's a non-profit, and it forced us into an open web. We got the world they wanted. Maybe the world is a bit Chrome-heavy currently, but at least it's a standards compliment world.

I hope Mozilla sees that. I hope they take credit, and move on to what's next: privacy and net neutrality. Our privacy is under attack, and Mozilla is one of the few companies that can (and would want to) help. I know, I know. Nobody cares about privacy. Nobody cared about web standards, either, but Mozilla bundled it into an attractive package and it worked. It's time for Mozilla to declare victory, high five the Chrome team, and move on to the next big challenge.

We really need someone to fight for our privacy and neutrality. And I really believe that this could be Mozilla's swan song.

-----

EDIT: Hey cbeard - My email is in my profile; I'd love to talk.

2
cies 4 days ago 8 replies      
So Mozilla lost Firefox OS. And their browser share is smaller then Chrome, and then it was, but still top tier and winning from M$.

I'm much less pessimistic.

Besides a cross platform and extensible browser we see also the following coming out of Mozilla:

* Rust, a modern low-level programming language with cutting edge "safety" build in at zero runt time cost, luring many system programmers.

* Servo, tomorrow browser, from scratch, in Rust.

* Thunderbird, x-platform desktop email client (interesting for those not trusting the cloud enough).

* MDN, everything MSDN and w3school wish they could be. :)

A lot with revolve around privacy and safety in the future, a space that Mozilla is very well positioned to florish in.

Chrome is a good product. But I prefer Firefox. And seeing what is becoming of Servo I will soon start using that. Form me Firefox has won, and is not at all losing. I dont need the "most popular" browser, I need the most secure one.

And when I see what programming languages Google came up with... (Seriously? Is Go the best money can buy?) Then I think Rust shows single handedly that Mozilla beats Google in that arena as well.

11
PostmarketOS: Aiming for a 10 year life-cycle for smartphones ollieparanoid.github.io
464 points by ollieparanoid  3 days ago   200 comments top 29
1
kasbah 3 days ago 2 replies      
> Alright, so there is the LineageOS community, which provides weekly updates for an impressive number of smartphones. They provide a practical solution today, and I am very grateful for that. However, such Android based projects will always run behind Google and the phone industry, fixing only symptoms but never the root-cause.

I think it's very ambitious to not base this off of the work being done on Android but of course would love a proper GNU/Linux distro on my phone as well.

Lineage OS (formerly CyanogenMod) will run on a Samsung S II which is 5 years old. It might support some older devices that I am not aware of. I could see it still being supported 5 years down the line.

https://download.lineageos.org/

2
jancsika 3 days ago 4 replies      
Why is "phone interface" buried down at the end of the page under "future goals"?

I mean, if a project wanted to put a "10 year life-cycle" on an IoT blender by porting Gnu/Linux to it, you'd think the first order of business would be writing a Gnu/Linux program to, you know, blend things. Getting 10+ years of running performant Weston demos would be a very distant 2nd to that.

3
jacquesm 3 days ago 9 replies      
There is one small fallacy in the decade old PC versus the decade old smarphone comparison: PCs are not status symbols but smartphones are and fashion is a huge component in why smartphones are replaced.

Another driving force is that a smartphone made a decade ago would simply not be able to use many of todays apps because it is missing certain sensors.

so while I hope this will take off I see some obstacles. Happy owner of a 10 year old Nokia here that serves me well, I've tried quite a few smartphones over the years but I never found anything that I really needed that would make me give up 5 day battery life and being 100% drop proof.

4
drcross 3 days ago 2 replies      
I hope this takes off. I was happily using a note 4 for years, occasionally buying a new battery because it allowed you to change it by removing the back (remember all the phones that used to do that?). The only reason I had to retire it was because I needed security patches but each update made the phone progressively slower. My new phone has exactly the same features and if I factory restored the note 4 it would run as fast as my new one but phone manufacturers don't exactly like that, and it's something that should change.
5
ghostly_s 3 days ago 7 replies      
> postmarketOS is a GNU/Linux distribution, so there's no problem in having multiple phone interfaces (just like KDE/Gnome/XFCE/...) and let the user choose.

IMO, there is a big problem with that. The WHOLE reason the smartphone space finally took off was because Apple came in and rationalized the interaction model and implemented a robust, responsive UI. Android is successful largely to the extent it faithfully aped that model. Treating this as a secondary thing your project doesn't need to be opinionated on is a recipe for failure.

6
evv 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is fabulous! There are millions of old phones out there with decaying versions of iOS and Android. Google and Apple are ignoring them, so these devices are just plummeting in value. This is the perfect market for an actually-open-source mobile OS!

If somebody can get React Native to run on PostmarketOS, then we could start building up an ecosystem of non-walled-garden apps that are compatible with iOS and Android!

7
yeukhon 2 days ago 3 replies      
I don't like Android. I prefer iOS because there is a single vendor for managing the sales and the development of both the hardware snd the software. This pro does come at a premium cost but I don't want my phone to stay on Android 2.X because AT&T does not want to release upgrade, then the only option is only going to be flashing and installing a new version on my own. That wipes my data and I probably will break my warranty worh ATT by flashing (I never checked).

iOS has bugs and performance issues too. But overall it is quite solid. The app store experience as a consumer is nice too.

If this project is aimed to bring freedom software to users on mobile with thr goal of running on phones for 10-years, great. But for mass adoption I am going to be bold: it won't happen. Firefox OS failed because (1) device spec is poor (Mozilla wanted to market it in countries where smartphone was not common), (2) not enough apps, (3) the influence and trending look of Android and iPhone.

8
jekkar 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is awesome and I've been waiting for something like this to come along for a long time. It's crazy how easy it is to get Linux on an ARM based Chromebook, but nearly impossible to get it on a phone.

Android is a security nightmare and most of us are aware of that at this point. On top of that, Android has been moving functionality off the device and into their services for years making their AOSP offering weaker and weaker. Keep up the good work!

Edit: At some point it'd be nice to use a GuixSD or NixOS configuration file as your "one custom package" instead of an Alpine package. Any Linux on bare metal though would be welcome of course.

9
IshKebab 3 days ago 3 replies      
This seems stupid. Android is hard to update because of closed source drivers - especially really proprietary stuff like Bluetooth, the RIL and graphics. That combined with the lack of a stable Linux driver interface means that only the manufacturers can really update the kernel.

I'm guessing this "fixes" that by just disabling everything.

10
znpy 3 days ago 2 replies      
12/10 would install on my aging Nexus 5.

One thing though: it doesn't state if it's possible to make/receive calls/sms using a phone. You know, I'd appreciate my phone to be able to do such things.

11
butz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good idea, I hope it gets developed much further. To cover the lack of apps you should concentrate on providing native internet browser with good PWA (progressive web apps) support. That way only a few native apps will be needed by user, e.g. dialer, SMS messenger.
12
kungito 2 days ago 0 replies      
All the new versions of Android are very much similar to an average user and my gf is always surprised when I'm so happy one of my devices is getting an update because getting "more fine grained permissions" or "customizable quick settings" are things about which an average user doesn't ever think about anyways.

It's mostly for us power users and people who just want to show off how they got something only cool/rich/smart people have. There were big differences between older versions of Android but apart from split screen which I used 3 times so far I don't see a reason to update.

I'm pretty sure the reason they don't port back the features to older androids is either because the old devices are lacking the specs or because they only want to have something to show as "new".

I know my friends avoided updating their iPhones for years because the new OSs only slowed the devices down.

13
wernercd 3 days ago 2 replies      
How does "Project Treble" affect this "issue"? The extra layer of APIs that Android will be built on should solve the "Fork for Every Device and Every Build" problem, yes?

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/05/google-hopes-to-fix-...

14
jdietrich 3 days ago 6 replies      
The original iPhone launched almost exactly 10 years ago. It had a 412MHz single-core processor, 128MB of RAM, a 320x480 screen, 2G data and no GPS.

Will anyone want to use an iPhone 7 or a Galaxy S8 in 2027?

15
ollieparanoid 3 days ago 0 replies      
In reaction to people who are confused, that this is not a finished product, I have added a note saying "(Not usable for most people yet!)" at the beginning. The summary at the beginning did not make that clear before.

https://github.com/ollieparanoid/ollieparanoid.github.io/com...

16
wtracy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would very much like to find a way to use something like this on old devices that have locked bootloaders that prevent third-party kernels from booting. Is anyone looking at a way to bootstrap a system like this underneath the manufacturer's Android kernel?
17
super-io 2 days ago 0 replies      
Like NetBSD but for mobile.

Easy to port.

Is it true the "Android" project rose from the ashes of an earlier company "Danger" who produced a NetBSD based mobile OS for the T-mobile Sidekick?

If true, why did founder of Android use NetBSD for the Sidekick, not Linux?

Microsoft acquired Danger.

"You know if you ever got me, you wouldn't have a clue what to do with me." - Being John Malkovich (1999)

Maybe easier just to collect on Android sales via threatened patent assertion. IDK.

18
acd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks supporting phone devices longest is good for the environment instead of buy and throw.
19
joemccall86 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like the ambition. I've had a tinfoil-hat theory for a while that phone hardware is only built to last roughly 1.5 - 2 years gnerally before they physically begin to degrade. I've flashed new roms to a Galaxy S3 but it tended to reboot (i.e. hard crash) a lot still.
20
salem 3 days ago 0 replies      
It would be great if phone makers commit to something like this as part of their environmental plans
21
anigbrowl 3 days ago 0 replies      
That'd be nice. I bought a MOTO X last year, don't do much on it besides using the camera and FB (hence my choosing a lower end model) and I can't use it for more than a couple of minutes without hiccups and app restarts.
22
deleted_soon 2 days ago 1 reply      
Could anyone explain what a "chroot zap" is (from the 'effective caching' feature)? Googling it just brings me to the same page.
23
nilved 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is a pretty cool idea. I think we really need something like this.
24
505 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea for a wicked problem.

Phone manufacturers will be against it, telcos, retailers, and many consumers. Maybe we could get Green movement groups on board?

25
746F7475 2 days ago 0 replies      
10 years is pretty long time. Like think about still using first generation iPhone
26
bArray 2 days ago 1 reply      
Disclaimer: I'm fully behind this idea, but I think there are some issues to be ironed out.

I don't think the OS is really the bottleneck here. I think getting a mobile device's hardware to run for this long is. There are a few things that make this difficult:

* Batteries - These currently only have so many cycles. A 10 year phone would need to provide a largish battery holding area allowing for two wires of varying voltages to be supplied. It would then in turn need to be able to charge at these various voltages through those two wires. I think voltages ranging from 1V to 24V would be a reasonable guess at where future battery tech would stay. Any person could then feasibly change their battery for some future tech.

* Connectivity - In just a few years, we've gone from only really having 2G to having just 3G/4G. In 10 years time, I think it wouldn't be unreasonable to think that maybe 4G will be switched off. I think it's unlikely that WiFi will remain for the next 10 years too. You need some robust connectivity module that hackers could connect to an arbitrary home-brew hacker's module. Something like UART/Serial/I2C/SPI.

Other things could burn out over time, but replacing those things becomes way too difficult. The processor, GPU, RAM, case, buttons and screen are just things I think that need to be the core phone.

Another place that could be interesting to explore is converting old, arbitrary phones into useful everyday devices. For example, I'm looking at converting my old HTC wild fire phone (the screen is small) into a permanent low-power alarm clock. It'll sit on the WiFi and if it sees my laptop/phone on the WiFi it will schedule the alarm, otherwise not.

I have another slightly newer phone with a larger display, so I was thinking or either making some notification board for my office or some very cheap VR headset for watching YouTube videos in bed without holding my phone up.

That said, there's no reason why all of these new "smart" devices couldn't reuse old technology. I think a small technology company that recycled old mobile devices into new smart devices would be pretty awesome. People pay loads for a recycled pencil for example, why not a recycled electronics device? On the far end of the scale I've seen some awesome coasters made from old motherboards.

I would love to see offices and schools buying more second hand kit too. There's no reason why thin client software can't run on an old mini-intel board, or even a semi-old smart phone. Kids don't need this year's laptops to write a report in Word. I think there's a big space for reuse here.

27
jacob019 2 days ago 0 replies      
Smartphones only seem to last for two years before the hardware starts to fail.
28
aidenn0 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've never had my phone hardware last for 5 years, much less 10.
29
bit-crazy-ivan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is the source a credible github project?
12
Linux Inside How the Linux Kernel Works gitbooks.io
533 points by SebNag_  2 days ago   28 comments top 8
1
classybull 2 days ago 2 replies      
Every time I start to fall into the conceit that I'm an exceptionally good developer, I look at things like kernels or low level hardware programming and eat a big ol' slice of humble pie.
2
WhoBeI 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nice. Way back in the day, maybe 20-25 years ago, I had a first look at the boot process and wish I'd had something similar to the first chapter then. Man, it was hard to find information and ones you did you realized understanding it meant learning an entirely new subject.

Those were the days really. Barely having started my English studies I went looking for a single piece of information and found so much else on the way.. The tinkering and nights of frustration gave insights and a feeling of accomplishment that set me on the path to the profession I have today.

Then I started high school and someone showed me a shaded and textured cube they had rotating on their screen and I found out what math is good for :)

3
dom0 2 days ago 1 reply      
Besides some scattered text files and the Linux man pages, there is this: https://www.kernel.org/doc/html/latest/

It's fairly new - started about a year ago, but there's quite a lot of stuff in there already (bootstrapped from the old XML stuff, I believe).

4
rimher 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've taken a class in college about the Linux kernel, and it's still amazing to see how complicated it actually is.

I've got a fairly good idea of how many pieces work, but the whole thing together still puzzles me at times.

I think that it's one of the biggest achievements of the internet as a tool for progress, and it shows that good intentions and pragmatism (together with some good Linus insults as well) can go a long way

5
chris_wot 2 days ago 1 reply      
I love this work, it inspired me to work on Inside LibreOffice.

https://www.gitbook.com/book/chrissherlock1/inside-libreoffi...

6
i_have_to_speak 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oh my God, the first article has a link to Ralph Brown's Interrupt List. Good ol' days!

[1] http://www.ctyme.com/intr/int.htm

7
Lasokki 1 day ago 0 replies      
Torvald's thesis on portability of Linux is also a quite interesting article

https://www.cs.helsinki.fi/u/kutvonen/index_files/linus.pdf

8
adamzegelin 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there any documentation that talks about x86_64 and the modern UEFI boot process? This guide still talks about BIOSs, MBRs, real mode, 16-bit registers, etc.
13
How to Sleep theatlantic.com
560 points by ALee  1 day ago   237 comments top 36
1
teolandon 22 hours ago 15 replies      
My biggest struggle with sleep is that I'm always excited to do stuff, and always feel like I'm not done with my day. Exceptions are when something happens and I end up feeling very depressed during the day, and simply want to shut down and do nothing.

Usually, I get so infatuated with a script I'm writing, a new program I discovered, a bug that I need to resolve, a book that I'm reading, some concept that I'm thinking of, that my mind just keeps on being active, and wants to keep working. It's the worst when I'm working on my computer, due to the blue light (I've started wearing yellow sunglasses to minimize the effect), while it's a bit better when I'm reading or listening to music or thinking.

In any case, this is a great article. I feel like small amounts of sleep has been the greatest inhibitor of my performance in... anything really. Being dumb and young I felt like I could still function correctly, but I really started noticing that I had better tournament results when actually sleeping 8 hours, while my results on all other days were lackluster. I read up on a lot of things and convinced myself that sleeping enough is essential. I still slip up and don't even go on my bed at the right times, my sleep schedule goes all over the place for a lot of different reasons, but I'm really trying. I feel like I might need to seek some professional help on this, but I'll still take it as far as possible before that.

2
xupybd 23 hours ago 1 reply      
>So either that is the amount of sleep that keeps people well, or thats the amount that makes them least likely to lie about being sick when they want to skip work. Or maybe people who were already sick with some chronic condition were sleeping more than thator lessas a result of their illness. Statistics are tough to interpret.

Love that, no lazy journalism, no ridiculous claims. Just the facts and some possible implications.

3
herbcso 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
Is nobody else concerned with the implications of what losing sleep does to the doctor going through residency? I've always thought that was insane. The author even admits to having observed the detrimental effects first-hand, yet never suggests that this practice should be abandoned - why is that!?

I as a patient have enough of a problem giving myself into the care of a doctor-in-training, why does s/he have to sleep-deprived on top of not being fully trained? Is this some sort of macho thing, or a "well, I went through this hazing, so you gotta do it, too" kind of thing?

Somebody please enlighten me as to what the point of this seemingly counter-productive practice is!

4
wakkaflokka 13 hours ago 4 replies      
I could write an essay about my battle with sleep. I'm in my 30's and I finally think it's solved.

Sleeping meds, sleep studies, CBT-I, you name it - I've done it.

My ultimate solution ended up being:

- Earplugs

- Exercise

- Waking up the same time every single day, no matter how late I stay up. CBT-I had me wake up at 6:30 am every morning, and go to bed at 1 am. After a week of exhaustion, I started falling asleep like a rock. Then my therapist gradually had me go to sleep earlier and earlier until my time-to-sleep was still short and I had few awakenings during the night, but felt refreshed the next day. Turned out to be just around 6.5 hours a night

- No coffee after 3 pm

There are still nights where I have an active mind and have trouble sleeping, but I'll just let it happen without constantly worrying "oh no, I'm not gonna get ___ hours of sleep tonight". Because the minute you try to force yourself to sleep, it's over.

5
ericdykstra 20 hours ago 0 replies      
No small art is it to sleep: it is necessary for that purpose to keep awake all day.

Ten times a day must thou overcome thyself: that causeth wholesome weariness, and is poppy to the soul.

Ten times must thou reconcile again with thyself; for overcoming is bitterness, and badly sleep the unreconciled.

Ten truths must thou find during the day; otherwise wilt thou seek truth during the night, and thy soul will have been hungry.

Ten times must thou laugh during the day, and be cheerful; otherwise thy stomach, the father of affliction, will disturb thee in the night.

When night cometh, then take I good care not to summon sleep. It disliketh to be summonedsleep, the lord of the virtues!

But I think of what I have done and thought during the day. Thus ruminating, patient as a cow, I ask myself: What were thy ten overcomings?

And what were the ten reconciliations, and the ten truths, and the ten laughters with which my heart enjoyed itself?Thus pondering, and cradled by forty thoughts, it overtaketh me all at oncesleep, the unsummoned, the lord of the virtues.

http://4umi.com/nietzsche/zarathustra/2

6
kutkloon7 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Great article. I especially like the interpretation of the statistics by the author, which is, well, hardly any interpretation at all:

"One 2014 study of more than 3,000 people in Finland found that the amount of sleep that correlated with the fewest sick days was 7.63 hours a night for women and 7.76 hours for men. So either that is the amount of sleep that keeps people well, or thats the amount that makes them least likely to lie about being sick when they want to skip work. Or maybe people who were already sick with some chronic condition were sleeping more than thator lessas a result of their illness. Statistics are tough to interpret."

Contrasted with articles that take one example (a 94-year old making a breakthrough in some field) and directly generalize it ("to be a genius, think like a 94-year-old"), this is a much healthier and saner approach to interpreting statistics.

(I didn't make this example up; it was on hacker news)

7
RandomInteger4 1 day ago 7 replies      
I'm not sure what the long term effects of chronic melatonin supplementation are, but I'll find out eventually. I've been taking between 3-6mg of melatonin every night for the past few years (2011?) It's almost required. Without it my sleep cycle seems fine at first, but then gets out of whack as I can't seem to keep a circadian rhythm in line with the rest of society / the earth's rotation.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I can't function mentally without caffeine. I tried going off caffeine a few times, and while the withdrawal effects were horrible, they eventually passed and everything felt great except my ability to concentrate on anything. Sadly I can't afford to see a doctor for my ADHD meds. While caffeine helps, it still leaves much to be desired.

Exercise helps immensely, both in terms of sleep and ability to concentrate, but at some point I injured my upper back (rhomboids and rotator cuff muscles), so I can't get the same level of exercise I had before.

8
lphnull 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm 30 years old now.

I was able to live on 4-6 hrs of sleep a night all the way up to age 25-28. That's when sleep started becoming a problem.

At age 30, I absolutely need 8 hours of sleep minimum average of sleep, but that average has to be accumulated over the course of a week! That means that a single night of sleeping less and doing strenuous tasks on a linux terminal now takes a toll on me in ways that I have never felt before in my youth.

Full disclaimer: I am a blue collar worker at a non-computer job who physically excerts myself and am very fit as a result of my job. This is part of why sleep is mandatory for me.

The older you get, the more sleep you need and the less alcohol your body can handle. This is a universal truth that people <age 25 have a hard time accepting because everybody has to be a superman of course.

9
manibatra 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Personally the change that has helped me the most has been mental. I used to feel "guilty" of going to bed early, not working to exhaustion. Now I view sleep as something to enjoy. Just letting go of that guilt has me sleep a lot better. From being a light sleeper I have gone to be able to sleep through my housemates blaring loud music.
10
0xcde4c3db 1 day ago 1 reply      
I guess it's once again time for my standard PSA response to this genre: various chronic medical conditions can interfere with sleep. If you consistently have trouble sleeping or sleeping well over an extended period of time, it very well could be something more than "poor sleep habits".
11
jedisct1 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't have a computer at home any more.

Granted, the office is at walking distance, and I can go there 24/7, but not having a computer at home recently made a huge difference.

Once I go back home, I don't have the temptation of hacking something really quick, which will eventually last longer that expected, and I'll then keep thinking about it all night long.

Verdict? Better sleep. And I can get up earlier. Overall I feel better and more productive, if only because there is a better separation between work (including on OSS projects) and personal life.

12
KennyCason 18 hours ago 0 replies      
> The original studies seemed to say yes. But when the military put soldiers in a lab to make certain they stayed awake, performance suffered.

One minor piece of anecdotal evidence here. I have done a few 5-6 day sleep deprivation experiments in my life. I've stayed up for 3 days more times than I can count. I also used to regularly sleep every other day for long chunks of time. It's something that I could do much better when I was younger, and I try to avoid this now as I regularly get sick when I don't sleep for extended periods of time nowadays.

Firstly, performance (particularly my short term memory) always suffered. Sometimes if not active, or sitting for long periods of time I'd also get pain in my joints. Typically, when I fall asleep or start feeling tired it's because I enter a small boring, quiet homely environment (i.e. go home, or sit in a quiet room, or watch tv). My secret to staying awake was constant activity like walking around, talking to people, hydrating (water), small snacks, and walking some more, etc.

I feel that the effects of sleep deprivation hit the hardest when I'm not being stimulated physically. As such, I think dragging someone into a lab would have a harsh effect on one's performance. While I think no matter what you will suffer from performance degradation, I would love to see some contrast between performance given different environments/habits.

13
caio1982 1 day ago 0 replies      
It actually does not tell how to sleep, it only discusses common sense strategies like taking melatonine and avoiding (or not) caffeine. Kind of a let down.
14
ashark 23 hours ago 6 replies      
1) no glowing screens at all after the sun goes down.

2) no glowing screens at all after the sun goes down.

3) no glowing screens at all after the sun goes down.

4) very low candle-temperature lighting only after dark. Especially try to keep it out of your direct line of sight.

It'll work, but 1-3 are hard.

15
rrggrr 1 day ago 7 replies      
1. Room temperature should be between 60 - 67 degrees F.

2. No electronics, games, and minimal to no blue light 30min to 1hour before sleep.

3. Do not exercise less than 3 hours before sleep. Exception: sex.

4. Coffee and other stimulants before 12pm, not after.

5. Avoid naps longer than 15 minutes day of.

6. Stretch before going to sleep, particularly if you experience minor restless legs or periodic leg movements.

7. Avoid alcohol, will reduce sleep quality.

8. Avoid stimulating TV, conversations or books before sleep.

9. Controversial: Sleep in late if you can. Adequate sleep is more important than consistent sleep rhythm. My opinion only.

16
aarohmankad 1 day ago 9 replies      
What are your recommendations for dealing with noisy roommates/hallmates?

There have been nights where I had to put on my ANC headphones to get some peace and quiet. (I've heard a good pair of earplugs may work?)

17
bobjordan 13 hours ago 0 replies      
My experience with Melatonin is that about 1.5 mg per night is a game changer. I travel across the Pacific Ocean several times per year and it got to where I was a stick of dynamite temper wise for a week after each trip, just not able to cope with any irritations, due to Jetlag. On top of that, just the general stress of being an entrepreneur resulted in bad sleep. For some reason, I bought the melatonin, and I'm very glad I did it. Now, I sleep like I did when I was in elementary school. Lots of dreams and even wake up with solutions to problems that I went to bed thinking about.
18
chippy 13 hours ago 0 replies      
My "One Simple Trick" to help limit active thinking when in bed, and thus make it easier to sleep is to write the thoughts down, pen on paper.

By thinking I mean things like being excited about an event, going over a conversation, thinking about some code, an idea, things to do tomorrow, errands etc. All things that can be literally dumped onto paper and stored. In my experience I have found that pen and paper work better than typing into a device.

Now, I still seem to wake up multiple times during the night, but it's not because my brain is excited anymore.

19
TheAdamist 2 hours ago 0 replies      
New to sleeping with people, I find the actual sleeping part the tricky bit. Not my expectation at all.
20
bhavyapruthi 9 hours ago 0 replies      
"Dolphins are said to sleep with only half their brain at a time, keeping partially alert for predators. Many of us spend much of our lives in a similar state."This is definitely deep.
21
smartbit 13 hours ago 0 replies      
William Dement gave a Google Tech talk on September 23, 2008. Dement recalls that Randy Gardner who stayed awake for 11 days in 1964, when asked some 40years later "would you do this again?" he replied "No way would I do this again" [0]

Very interesting from Dement's talk is that equilibrium daily average sleep for completely health young adults is 8:15 50min [1]. Most people I meet contest these results and state that they can work optimal with less than 7h25m daily sleep.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hAw1z8GdE8&t=1310

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hAw1z8GdE8&t=28m29s

22
ysavir 23 hours ago 0 replies      
The article mentions William Dement, one of the pioneer researchers on sleep. His book The Promise of Sleep is a great and easy read, and I absolutely recommend it for anyone looking to learn more about the subject and the history behind the study of sleep.
23
OJFord 17 hours ago 1 reply      
> In 2013, a 24-year-old advertising copywriter in Indonesia died after prolonged sleep deprivation, collapsing a few hours after tweeting 30 hours of working and still going strooong. She went into a coma and died the next morning.

Things like this always slightly scare me.

I have been awake consecutively for far longer, and on several occasions. But does that mean I just can - or would I really be risking death each time?

24
esseti 16 hours ago 2 replies      
"Or, sometimes preferable, read something on paper.". Now, to read on paper we need light, so the problem is not solved (altought the ligth is not directly from the device into the eyes). But the real question is, if I use the kindle with its light that lights up the screen, will it be the same as using a phone? or what?
25
ziglef 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I consider myself one of those short-sleepers. Ever since I was a kid I averaged 5-6h of sleep a day.

While the differences perceived (which can always be misleading) from sleeping 6 or 8 hours weren't noticeable, if I slept 4-5 for a week my short term memory would suffer, reflexes and split second decision making (think fast passed multiplayer shooters) would also suffer.

But what I noticed was that although the split second decision process would come back after a good night sleep, short memory would take me a whole 3-4 days to come back at its finest.

Obviously this is all what I observed and not to be taken seriously, because as we know observing and understanding oneself is one of the hardest tasks out there.

Just my 2c

26
notyourloops 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I had trouble with insomnia until I took up the practice of meditation. It was not my intention to solve my insomnia via meditation, but that's what happened incidentally.
27
m-j-fox 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Whatever you do, don't click the video at the bottom of the article unless you have a few hours to kill. Dr. James is an impossibly engaging and fun-to-watch youtuber and there goes my memorial day.
28
drukenemo 14 hours ago 0 replies      
A recent TED I watched linked sleep deprivation with the speed one can develop Alzheimer

https://www.ted.com/talks/lisa_genova_what_you_can_do_to_pre...

29
mansilladev 14 hours ago 1 reply      
How not to sleep:

/this

I read this article 8 hours ago. Now I'm in bed, staring at this screen, typing this comment at 5 AM.

30
bewe42 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I can recommend "The effortless sleep method" by S. Stephens.
31
Izmaki 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Reading this on Monday morning already late for work and wondering when I can have a nap...
32
bojanvidanovic 19 hours ago 0 replies      
One of my cousins is in that 1% of people. He sleeps 4-5 hours a night and stays hyperactive all day. I'm so jealous of him!
33
GoToRO 18 hours ago 0 replies      
If you have problem sleeping do this: there will be some times when you will sleep better. What you have to do is go back 3-7 days and see what you did in those days and do more of that regularly.
34
branchless 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is an interesting article if only for the nugget that only 1% think they function well on 4-5 hours (though they may be mistaken).

The title isn't great - it cautions against common fallacies about aids to sleeping.

35
mythrwy 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I've had great luck with these videos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7OGw1QS9JI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTAwdgf1nZE

I went through a phase a few years ago where I'd fall asleep only to wake up a short time later with mind racing, then be up half the night and tired the next day. This went on for some months and was very annoying.

These videos cured that phase right away. I don't listen to them much anymore but they really worked. It wasn't just staying asleep that was cured, the quality of the sleep seemed much better. Still listen on occasion if having trouble getting in "sleep mode".

36
michaele 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Try 15-20 minutes of meditation right before you go to bed. I find it slows my mind, decreases stress and prepares my body to sleep deeply and well.
14
Ask HN: What are some examples of successful single-person businesses?
575 points by 1ba9115454  18 hours ago   245 comments top 64
1
jasonkester 16 hours ago 14 replies      
Careful with your terminology. "Successful" has different meanings for different people.

By my definition, for example, I run the most successful single-person business that I'm aware of. But it doesn't make millions, so it might not meet your definition at all.

My goal was to replace my day job with a software business that required as close to zero attention as possible, so that I could have time to spend on the things that actually matter to me.

The business brings in the equivalent of a nice Senior Developer salary, which is not what most people think of when they imagine a successful Startup. But it lets me work with a bunch of cool tech when I want to, and, more importantly, is automated to the point where Customer Service involves a quick 30 second - 10 minute email sweep over morning coffee. For me, that's a lot more valuable than a few more million dollars in the bank.

The cool thing about running your own business is that you get to decide on your own definition of success.

EDIT: I wrote a bit about how I got into this position, in case anybody is interested. It's not actually all that hard to do:

http://www.expatsoftware.com/Articles/guy-on-the-beach-with-...

2
dhruvkar 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Builtwith.com (one employee/founder and a part-time blogger) does an estimated $12M a year [1] assuming a 'few thousand' = 2000 paying customers.

"the Basic at $299 per month for customers that want lists of sites mainly for the purpose of lead generation; Pro at $495 per month, suited more for users that work in an industry using a lot of A/B testing and comparison-type data; and Enterprise at $995 per month, which covers all bases and allows sales teams with multiple people to all use the platform at once. Brewer says that in terms of paying users on the platform there is a few thousand and the split is about 40 percent Basic, 40 percent Pro and 20 percent Enterprise."

Similar thread a while ago [2]

1:http://www.startupdaily.net/2015/09/builtwith-is-perhaps-one...

2: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12065355

Edit: specificity and formatting

3
jimminy 18 hours ago 2 replies      
At some point scale will require you to hire, at least a few people, if you're really successful. But two examples that I can think of are Markus Frind (Plenty of Fish) and Markus Persson (Minecraft).

---

Markus Frind is probably the biggest. He spent 5 years (2003-2008) working on Plenty of Fish, and at that point it was bringing in about $5M/yr and had 3 employees.

When the site sold in 2015 for $575 million it was 70 employees, but he still owned 100% of the company.

---

Markus Persson would be another possible option, for the first $10-20M that Minecraft brought in he was the only person (aside from a contracted musician). And then for a while after that, it was him and his friend who was hired to manage the business side so he could focus on the programming work.

4
russellallen 18 hours ago 3 replies      
Your problem will be definitional. The Rock earned ~ $65mm last year. Is he a 'one man company'? I guarantee he's billing through a services entity...

1: https://www.forbes.com/sites/natalierobehmed/2016/08/25/the-...

5
numbsafari 17 hours ago 3 replies      
Isn't Tarsnap[1], by Colin Percival a great example of this? I'm surprised it wasn't the first thing mentioned since he's reasonably active on HN.

1: https://www.tarsnap.com/about.html

6
wriggler 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I built and run StoreSlider[1]. It made ~$700,000 in 2016, mainly in affiliate revenue from eBay. Costs are essentially hosting (between two and five $10 Linodes, depending on load).

Took me some effort to built, but it's on autopilot now.

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

7
xchaotic 17 hours ago 2 replies      
How do you define successful single-person? I've been running a one person consultancy for 12 years now, had to retrain quite a bit over the years, sometimes it was so busy that I outsourced pieces of work. It's been good enough that I have a house and no mortgage attached to it, all while spending almost enough time with my family - much more recently.This is what I wanted and I consider that a success in maintaining a work/life balance, working from home and having a good life in general.It's not quite 'fu' money yet, as I still ahve to work for a living, but I working towards that goal.I know a few good people that agree with this point of view - Basecamp/37 signals folks etc.
8
chrischen 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I built and run Instapainting.com by myself. As of the date of this comment it is still only one employee (me). https://www.indiehackers.com/businesses/instapainting

Things like customer support is outsourced to other startups, and of course the artists on the platform don't work for me, but could be if the company was structured differently (it's structured as a marketplace).

9
joelrunyon 17 hours ago 3 replies      
http://NomadList.com

Bootstrapped social networking site doing multiple 5-figures/month.

10
danieltillett 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Now that I am no longer a single employee business (again) I can admit that I ran Mark II of my company on my own doing everything without outsourcing (sales, customer support, development, sysops, UI/UX, website design, copywriting, manuals, SEO, advertising, accounting, etc) making much more than seven figures in profit for quite a few years.

It probably wasnt the wisest idea to stay solo for so long, but the freedom of not having employees made me very reluctant to hire anyone again. The only reason I chose to hire is that the business' growth forced me make the decision to either turn away customers or hire staff. The people I have are great, but I do miss the days of doing everything myself without having to explain why something is important.

11
sudhirj 18 hours ago 1 reply      
There's pinboard, maciej still runs it solo, I think.
12
LeonidBugaev 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Sidekiq by Mike Perham http://sidekiq.org/

Over 1MM annual revenue https://www.indiehackers.com/businesses/sidekiq

13
siner 17 hours ago 1 reply      
14
speedyapoc 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Not entirely single person, but I run Musi [1] with one partner. We have monthly revenues in the mid six figures with 2-3k a month in expenses.

[1] https://feelthemusi.com

15
Changu 17 hours ago 4 replies      
The Flappy Bird creator said he made $50k per day from in app ads. But he pulled the game after a short while. Said because he felt guilty for making people play all day. Would love to know the whole story behind this.
16
hyperpallium 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Problem is, "big for one person" is not big enough to be news, relative to all the companies. Once they get big enough for many to hear about them, they have to grown, to handle it. e.g. Notch (Minecraft)

Secondly, the best way to make solid, reliable money is to have a niche, without competition. So, you keep your mouth shut.

You'll probably most likely notice them in small, industry-oriented niches. Or... after they grow larter than one-person.

To give an answer: https://balsamiq.com/products/mockups/

17
webstartupper 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised no one has mentioned improvely.com by Dan Grossman.

I think it makes around $40K to $50K per month. Over the last few years, I've seen it grow from around $10K to $50K. That slow steady SaaS growth is pretty inspiring.

18
mylh 7 hours ago 1 reply      
We (two python developers) have started a SaaS SEO checker service [1] in February 2017 (took 4 month to develop from 0) and already have paying customers on our business plan. I completely agree with the definition of successful business when you have ability to do what you want when you want. I already have a couple of other websites generating revenue from advertising and all this allowed me to quit daily job 2 years ago. So definitely there are a lot of examples of successful single- (two-) person businesses out there.

[1] https://seocharger.com

19
dqdo 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The most successful one-man business is not in software. I know of a successful mediator. He charges $18000 to $20000 per day and has always been booked for the last 20 years.

http://www.wqsadr.com/randallwwulfffeescheduleandpolicies.ht...

20
avichalp 17 hours ago 0 replies      
We can find few of them here https://www.indiehackers.com/businesses
21
majani 16 hours ago 2 replies      
According to porn industry insiders, xvideos is run by a married couple. They are very secretive, but they definitely do millions in revenue annually.
22
galfarragem 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Sublime Text was for a long time a single-person business.
23
HeavyStorm 17 minutes ago 1 reply      
Minecraft.
24
flgb 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Daring Fireball by Jon Gruber (https://daringfireball.net).
25
xiaoma 15 hours ago 1 reply      
If Satoshi Nakamoto is still alive and still has access to the coins he mined but never sold, they're already worth billions and the work has changed the world.
26
sharkhacks 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Here are a couple of awesome examples: Affiliate Marketer https://www.smartpassiveincome.com/ Patt is awesome, he actually shares his monthly income and expense statements. Started solo and now he hired a bunch of people.

Nathan Barry (http://nathanbarry.com/) the guy who started convertKit https://convertkit.com/

27
rachekalmir 15 hours ago 0 replies      
https://insomnia.rest/

Guy quit his job a year or two ago to develop this full-time and seems to be doing pretty well for himself. I use the client all the time as a developer.

28
elvirs 10 hours ago 1 reply      
my business:)1.5m annual revenue, 10-15k mobthly profit, built from zero, very proud of it.
29
wessorh 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Domainers: I've known many on person companies that made tons off parking domains. Seems like this model has run its course.

Farming has done well for my wife, she run her business and feeds a bunch of folks. Find her at the Oakland Grandlake on saturday and Marin civic center on Sunday. She sells plants :)

30
eps 18 hours ago 0 replies      
If I recall correctly, IMDB used to be a one-man show for a long time, up to and even after getting acquired by Amazon.
31
anovikov 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I know a guy who does arbitrage of porn traffic and he makes $2M a month, already saved up $20M.
32
neals 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Google > quora > 10 year old article > https://www.inc.com/magazine/20080901/the-other-number-ones....

But they have staff.

Large single-person startups? https://smallbiztrends.com/2014/07/successful-one-person-sta...

33
puranjay 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I know some affiliate marketers who make $2M+ without any employees.

Apparently, ranking well for certain keywords (mostly web hosting and website builders) can be very, very lucrative.

34
pipio21 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Please first define success. You should think about your own values in order to know what is success for you.

I personally know people that made millions from creating software products and companies. But I do know nobody that did(or does it) it alone.

In fact, I "made millions" myself whatever that means starting with software(a million dollars is way less than 10 years ago because of inflation so it is not that much, specially if you life in a expensive place), but I made a hell lot of work and found colleagues along the way.

IMHO you should never focus on money. Money is just a tool for exchanging value. You should focus on creating value, even if at first it gives you little money. Because of innovation dilemma most things that create real value give you very little money first( Do you know how much money the Apple Store did the first year?)

In my opinion your priority should be finding a social circle that will help and understand you. If you have a business that means entrepreneurs. They will understand and support you like no one else. HN is virtual, you need real people around.

For me success is the ability to be free in my life, made my own decisions in my business, I could write on HN, or go climb a mountain when people is working, or travel a new country, or the ability to only invest on business that are ethical for me.

If earning more money means not being free, I will decline the offer, in fact I decline offers every single day. Why should I do it? To become a 80 years old billionaire? To have everybody know me so I have to live isolated against paparazzis or criminals wanting to kidnap my children because they know I am rich?

But your values could be different. Your priorities could be to show off, exert power over other people, of go meet interesting people, or have extreme experiences or send your children to elite schools, whatever is success for you.

35
BanzaiTokyo 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I suppose there is very little public information about such companies because they have no obligations of sharing it.
36
coderholic 12 hours ago 2 replies      
https://ipinfo.io - single person business that does over 250 million API requests a day, and generates good revenue.
37
lgas 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Why discount outsourcing? The book "The E-Myth" argues that you absolutely should outsource everything but your core competency. (And "The 4-hour work week" would argue you should outsource that too)

Does outsourcing somehow diminish success?

38
starikovs 15 hours ago 0 replies      
As for me, I develop https://thestartupway.website/ only by myself but I really cannot tell you if it's a successful business. I have a job of a software engineer and when my friends ask me to make a landing page for them I just use my tool and take a small money from them. It's just for fun for me and it's great that it helps somebody with their needs. So, for me, it's a little success )
39
planetmaker 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Working by example may work. And analysing many successful examples may also yield some insight. But make sure to get the full picture: look also at those who fail. They might have tried the very same methods to most degrees. Don't fall for the survivorship bias :) It might be other factors which are truely important than those which seem the obvious ones.
40
DaiPlusPlus 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't think there are any that ever remain a one-person company in practice - even for my own projects I've always needed to outsource or farm-out tasks that aren't a valuable use of my time - e.g. website design or handling customer support. I'm sure there are plenty of de-jure sole-proprietor ships - but I doubt any of them of truly work alone.
41
magsafe 11 hours ago 0 replies      
https://www.bottomlinehq.comSingle founder/employee, 6-digit revenue, no outside funding.
42
tjpnz 18 hours ago 1 reply      
This guy uses an AI to write books for Amazon. Note that article is from 2012.

https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/143382-programmer-create...

43
cbar_tx 4 hours ago 0 replies      
please don't. we have enough people monetizing junk on the internet. you're trying to skip the most important step.
44
sleeplesss 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I sell twitter and Instagram followers for 5 years. I made 15000 usd in average ( before tax).
45
cyrusmg 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Nomadlist.com from levels.io
46
plantain 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Plenty of Fish? Exited for billions while still a solo operator
47
wordpressdev 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I made millions from Adsense, not in USD though :)
48
mingabunga 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Top affiliate marketers in the health, wealth, personal development and dating niche make $m per year, some in the 10's of $m.
49
sudhirj 18 hours ago 1 reply      
CDBaby?
50
SirLJ 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Stock Trading: no customers, no employees and no investors, check my profile for details on how to start. Good luck!
51
gfiorav 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Distrokid
52
epynonymous 12 hours ago 0 replies      
plenty of fish comes to mind, not sure if it's around anymore, but this was a free dating platform
53
avemuri 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Bitcoin? That is, if Satoshi is a single person
54
haidrali 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Salvatore Sanfilippo: Sole creator and maintainer of Redis

Mike Perham: Sole Developer of SideKiq ( Background tasks processing with Redis) and Inspector (Application infrastructure monitoring, reimagined)

55
gumby 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Craigslist is pretty close to a single person operation and it's been pretty successful.

I know it's an outlier.

56
symbiosis 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Ugmonk
57
badkangaroo 17 hours ago 0 replies      
PewDiePie
58
sunstone 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Dentistry.
59
zackrompin 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Slot
60
wellboy 17 hours ago 0 replies      
4chan
61
kough 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, they all have the same number of employees.
62
GrumpyNl 17 hours ago 1 reply      
63
fiatjaf 16 hours ago 1 reply      
64
wand3r 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Tinder is a highly successful single person business vs. the Ashley Madison strategy of focusing on couples.
15
Too many prisons make people worse economist.com
358 points by sohkamyung  2 days ago   235 comments top 23
1
cubano 2 days ago 14 replies      
Prisons not only make the convicts inside them worse, but from my experience and POV, it makes the people observing and interacting with them worse as well.

I say this because while I seem to observe this prison-is-terrible-the-convicts-need-compassion, not one person here has offered to help me in any meaningful way, even though I have documented my trials and tribulations over and over [0][1][2].

I have a 30 year history of software development, with 14 or so with the LAMP-stack. No one reading this is willing to even talk about some side project or prove-yourself 2 week gig? Ok right I get it...this isn't a help wanted or job board fine that's cool.

But still, I'm not getting it anymore...is everyone just into some sort of bullshit social signalling exercise or, perhaps worse, are willing to try to help ex-cons as long as they are funneled into low paying exploitative back-breaking jobs with no future that almost surely will lead 95% back into crime?

If so, can we start being honest about that's what all this discussion is about..."boy someone should sure do something about how screwed these people are but hell no it won't be me."

Yeah, so I'm frustrated and scared and broke and all that, so try to forgive my rant...I'm sure I'll come to regret it as I do so much else in my life.

[0] https://postmoderncoder.svbtle.com/fear-and-jaywalking-in-la...[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14394324[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14302656

2
hackermailman 2 days ago 4 replies      
Unsurprisingly people who have done long stretches of time in Norway's prison system disagree with this article. Only a few prisoners enjoy the freedom of this island, which is equivalent to a trustee camp in a US min security prison. The rest who were given 10+ year sentences are in complete isolation in what the media loves to refer to as hotel prisons. In these cells everything is provided for you including your own shower, therefore there's no reasons for the guards to ever let you out and you stay in there 23hrs per day. Because the media calls them hotels, it prevents any prisoner from being able to complain and be taken seriously, so often these guys will either light their cells on fire and hopefully get transferred to one of the older style jails so they can talk to other inmates, or they just kill themselves.
3
renegadesensei 2 days ago 7 replies      
Is it possible to punish and rehabilitate at the same time? I ask partly because I have small kids. When they do bad things, I try to focus on educating them and not punishing. Then again, most of the bad things they do (making a mess, being too loud, etc.) are relatively benign. If they were to do something really horrible and victimize some other kid, I would probably punish them, but at the same time I would hope I could teach them never to do such a thing again.

I think that's the moral dilemma with prison systems. It's easy in abstract to say that we should just focus on rehabilitation and take this utilitarian argument about what's best for society. But I know that if, for example, someone were to harm my children, I would have trouble being convinced that that person needs free college and housing (partly paid for by me). Even if that statistically led to a better outcome for society, it would not seem like justice; rather it would seem that person is being rewarded for harming my family. This I think is a general problem with utilitarianism - that when we just focus on group outcomes, we sometimes lose sight of things like individual rights and justice, messy moral concepts that don't always create optimal group results.

Maybe there is some way to do both things or differentiate between types of criminals. I don't really have a solution. Just posing the conundrum.

4
gtirloni 2 days ago 8 replies      
A few weeks ago, running the subway in a major North American city, I kept admiring how people were polite and waited for other people to leave the trains before entering, how many times I saw someone give up their seats for the elderly (not that they really needed, there were a lot of empty seats elsewhere). That got me thinking if those same people would be as polite if they were in the same train but with 20x more people around. I think extreme situations are a great equalizer in crowded situations and it's my feeling they would behave the same: not wait for anyone, not give up seats, etc.

My point is, what works for Norway (population: 5.2m, prison population: 3874 or 0.0745% [0]) is never going to work for Brazil (population: 207m, prison population: 659020 or 0.31% [1]).

I like the idea of these idyllic prisons but inmates that will fit those are the exception here. Nevertheless, the system should offer them and help good inmates to be removed from the terrible traditional prisons so they don't become worse. It's often said that prisons are like college for criminals.

I don't know if this system could handle things like this: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/60-killed-beheaded-gri...

In summary, I love the idea but let's not pretend that by just having those prisons that things will change drastically. It's a complex situation and there are problems everywhere (bad laws, slow courts, poverty, etc).

0 - http://www.prisonstudies.org/country/norway

1 - http://www.prisonstudies.org/country/brazil

5
crucini 2 days ago 2 replies      
This article is a fine example of IYI - "intellectual yet idiot" as Taleb terms it. Verbal cleverness + plausible statistics + apples/oranges comparison = what? Equals: "We have the answer to everything, but sadly the rulers and electorate aren't as wise/clever/compassionate as us." Others in this thread have pointed out specific fallacies in this article - for example there are prisoners in the US using chainsaws and axes; there are prisoners in Norway in solitary confinement who would be in general population in a US prison.

But let's zoom up to the bigger syndrome. Notice the author quotes at least one offender, but doesn't bother talking to any corrections officers. Did it occur to him that someone who worked in a prison for 20 years might know a little bit more about corrections than someone who read a bunch of studies and statistics?

Symptomatic of a broader problem - the chattering classes, who consume and generate information, are increasingly cut off from the real world, and increasingly influential. Of course it's easy to have opinions about how something "should" work when you have no experience and no skin in the game.

6
OliverJones 2 days ago 1 reply      
The author wrote: "In America some prisoners are released after long sentences with little more than clothes and a bus fare."

Rubbish. In the county where I live, Essex in MA, inmates are given the clothes they were wearing when arrested and a ride to the courthouse where they were convicted, and turned loose. Pity the guy arrested in May who gets out in January. They shoplift at the local Marshalls on their way home. I wonder why?

7
tuna-piano 2 days ago 3 replies      
Why are we looking at Norway? Because it is doing something right, or because it fits the authors preplanned narrative?

Singapore has much lower crime stats than Norway and the USA [1,2]. Let's take a look at how Singapore treats its prisoners.

The punishment for even minor crimes (like graffiti) includes caning[3]. They stick you in a prison cell for months, and on some random morning, they will wake you up and give you the sentenced number of hard beatings to your backside. The beating is done by someone with specialized training to inflict maximum pain (while remaining safe). So for months, every day you are scared, never sleeping soundly, as you don't know if this will be the night of your beating.

-Would the graffiti rate in the USA go up or down if the USA imposed the same penalties as Singapore?

-Would reducing recidivism rates by 20-50%, as the article claims possible, really be enough to lower crime in the USA to a OECD average level [4]?

-Norway and Singapore each have ~5M people. Singapore has 130 rapes a year, Norway has 1,000. How do you justify leaving the Norway justice system in place to the additional 800 rape victims in Norway, when a better system for reducing crime has been invented?[5]

Maybe the US is stuck in middle-no-mans land that leads to bad outcomes. To address this, they could either make prisons into hotels/universities (Norway) or impose stricter penalties (Singapore). But if someone did something terrible to one of my family members, I know which system I'd prefer.

[1] http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/Norway/Sing...

[2] http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/Singapore/U...

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caning_in_Singapore

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intention...

[5] Of course, it's never fully accurate to measure systems by comparing numbers across different cultures/measurement systems. The main point remains though.

8
hl5 2 days ago 0 replies      
The better way is to reduce poverty. You can build whatever "rehibilitation" program you want, but if the future holds no promise, why follow the rules?
9
Shivetya 2 days ago 1 reply      
prisons are just the beginning. when you get out you can find yourself prevented from obtaining a job, a residence, and even assistance, because of local, state, and federal laws.

The Renew Act of 2017 is trying to expand the age limits for expungement of records of first time offenders.[1] its a start but there are more opportunities to fix the system post prison too. you don't even have to go to prison to have a record that prevents you from being productive in society.

one of favorite examples are the volunteers for smoke jumping, putting out forest fires. there are states where its illegal for a person who did this job in prison to obtain the same outside. if we keep up the barriers where do we truly expect people to go?

[1] http://dailysignal.com/2017/05/24/heres-smart-modest-increas...

10
MarkMc 2 days ago 0 replies      
From a related Economist article [0]:

"Oregon, which insists that programmes to reform felons are measured for effectiveness, has a recidivism rate less than half as high as Californias."

Assuming it's not a statistical blip, I wonder why Oregon is so different to California. Seems to me that a politician who promises to reduce the recidivism rate and thereby save taxpayer dollars would get more votes.

[0] http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21722642-lot-known-abo...

11
dmh2000 2 days ago 1 reply      
The US has minimum security prisons also and just like this one, you have to qualify one way or the other.

https://www.forbes.com/2009/07/13/best-prisons-cushiest-mado...

12
lerie 2 days ago 1 reply      
The USA has "boys homes" that do this. As a child, I attended one such place where we all had to grow our own vegetables, to this day I can grow vegetables.

Privatized prisons (in the USA) are money makers, holding mostly low to medium risk offenders, you can even buy shares on the stock market.

With more police on patrol there will be less crime. Spend less money on prisons and more money on local police force.

13
Overtonwindow 2 days ago 6 replies      
The American system of justice is not to rehabilitate, but to humiliate, punish, and torture. Worse, we outsource this to the private prison system which has an incentive to keep people in prison. You go to prison in America you will be brutally tortured, humiliated, and will emerge far worse than when you went in. That is the fault of every American citizen - not the politicians - but the people. Because it is the citizenry who punishes the politician that appears even remotely soft on prisoners, or supports prison reform. America is a vengeful society, overflowing with righteous indignation.
14
tormeh 2 days ago 3 replies      
Would a prison dichotomy be a good idea? That is, the reformable criminals go to rehabilitation, and the ones for which there is no hope go in for life (or at least until old age)?
15
rectang 2 days ago 1 reply      
This doesn't apply in the USA, since for our citizens the purpose of our prison system is not to rehabilitate, but to inflict savage vengeance.
16
m3kw9 2 days ago 0 replies      
American prison is actuall not a system but a culture. Think of how hard it is to change a culture, you probably need new leadership with enough power like a CEO at Microsoft to do something drastic in a reasonable amount of time, say 10 year frame.
17
jlebrech 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe some convicts need exile not incarceration.

And petty criminals need to be reeducated.

18
darpa_escapee 2 days ago 0 replies      
It should be well known that the public, and often the judicial system, see prison as punishment and not rehabilitation.

Another portion sees at as constitutionally-granted slave labor or an opportunity for profit.

19
adrianlmm 2 days ago 2 replies      
Who wrote that article? I can't find the source anywhere.
20
jorgec 1 day ago 0 replies      
A bullet is cheaper.
21
chrshawkes 2 days ago 1 reply      
So what is the solution keep criminals in society?
22
hnaparst 2 days ago 0 replies      
A discussion about disenfranchisement conducted by the least disenfranchised people on earth. Pretty funny.
23
carsongross 2 days ago 3 replies      
One advantage the Norwegian prison system has is that it is filled with Norwegians, I would be careful generalizing conclusions from it.

That being said, one concept I rarely see discussed is the use of basic income as an incentive against crime, particularly violent crime: if you lost your citizens dividend after conviction and slowly earned it back every year upon release that would act as a powerful and immediate incentive to avoid violence.

16
View Counting at Reddit redditblog.com
478 points by strzalek  2 days ago   111 comments top 16
1
haburka 2 days ago 3 replies      
I love the article on hyperloglog! It is really quite good to read even if you're not interested in algorithms. I always liked number theory and I think that it's very interesting that you can guess how many uniques there are by counting how long your longest run of zeroes in a hash is.

I suppose this could be broken by injecting in a unique visitor id that would hash to something with an absurd amount of zeroes? That's assuming that the user has control over their user id and that I'm understanding the algorithm correctly.

2
nyar 2 days ago 3 replies      
"We want to better communicate the scale of Reddit to our users."

If that's true why did they hide vote numbers on comments and posts? It used to say "xxx upvotes xxx downvotes" now it just gives a number and hides that.

3
mxmxm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Counting views/impressions in combination with Apache Kafka sounds like the ideal use case for a stream processor like Apache Flink. It supports very large state which can be managed off-hand. This should enable you to count the exact number of unique views in real time with exactly once semantics. Here is a blog post on large scale counting with more details. It also includes a comparison with other streaming technologies like Sanza and Spark: https://data-artisans.com/blog/counting-in-streams-a-hierarc...

Also check out this blog post by a Twitter engineer on counting ad impressions: https://data-artisans.com/blog/extending-the-yahoo-streaming...

4
noamhacker 2 days ago 3 replies      
How do you test a system like this for accuracy? Is this done by simulating millions of unique requests?
5
alzaeem 2 days ago 3 replies      
So how do they determine whether a user has viewed a post already? I would think that unique counting is accomplished using the hyperloglog counter, but the article says that this decision is made by the Nazar system, which doesn't use the hyperloglog counter in Redis.
6
stoicking 2 days ago 4 replies      
Given how much simpler it is to count total views than unique user views, why is it more valuable to count unique user views?
7
tudorconstantin 2 days ago 5 replies      
Wouldn't it had been easier to simply increment a counter for each visit and then set a short lived cookie in the browser for that post?And put the spam detection system before the counter increment
8
tsukaisute 2 days ago 3 replies      
Weird thing I have been seeing on Reddit is comment upvotes being off-by-one periodically on page refreshes. Reload, you get 3. Reload again, you get 4. Again, you get 3. Seems like a replication issue?
9
theomega 1 day ago 1 reply      
Very interesting article, thanks for publishing.

I have two related questions:1. I assume the process which reads from Cassandra and puts it back to Redis is parallized if not even distributed. How do you ensure correctness? Implementing 2PC seems extreme overhead. Or do you lock in Redis?2. What database is used to actually store the view counts? Cassandras Counters are afaik not very reliable...

10
ronalbarbaren 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks Reddit guys. I hope engineer of Youtube will post similar article. Still curious how Youtube count.
11
hellbanner 2 days ago 3 replies      
Slightly OT; but I wish reddit would use traditional forum style replies to push threads up, instead of the positive feedback loop of votes with opinions that agree with majority getting upvotes giving views which give proportionally more upvotes
12
federicoponzi 1 day ago 1 reply      
Probably noob question, but:

>> Nazar will then alter the event, adding a Boolean flag indicating whether or not it should be counted, before sending the event back to Kafka.

Why don't they just discard it instead of reputting the event back to Kafka?

13
fiatjaf 2 days ago 0 replies      
At https://trackingco.de/ we store events on Redis and compile them daily into a reduced string format, storing these on CouchDB.
14
ugh123 2 days ago 4 replies      
Forgive my ignorance, but isn't this what Google Analytics is for?
15
golergka 1 day ago 0 replies      
A beautiful example of how a feature that seems so easy to an end user can be complex at scale.
16
qrbLPHiKpiux 2 days ago 2 replies      
Not applied to /r/the_donald however.
17
Dead People Are Posting Anti-Net Neutrality Comments to FCC Website vice.com
288 points by phr4ts  4 days ago   74 comments top 15
1
awalton 4 days ago 10 replies      
It honestly doesn't matter. Nobody at the FCC is going to read these things - it's there because it has to be there, not because they intend on listening.

They've set their agenda, now they're executing it. They have absolutely no plans on listening to anyone along the way. Nobody in this entire administration does.

2
daxfohl 4 days ago 1 reply      
I hope that when I die I can stay as far away from politics as possible.
3
upofadown 4 days ago 1 reply      
Comments the say the same thing just count for a single comment ... and they don't count up. This isn't a vote. The FCC is a regulator. The government calls the shots. Misusing the comment process as a sort of virtual petition could in theory influence the government but there has to be a better way to do this sort of thing.
4
coldcode 4 days ago 0 replies      
It doesn't matter, they will do whatever they want anyway. Perhaps if the dead start rising form their graves... maybe not even then.
5
westbywest 4 days ago 1 reply      
The URL syntax to search comments for the docket in question is straightforward, in case you felt the desire to check on the quickness of the dead:https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/search/filings?proceedings_name=17-...
6
Grue3 3 days ago 2 replies      
I never understood Americans' obsession of having the government control ISPs. Like, I'm sure most of people here are liberals who hate Trump. Do you seriously want the Trump administration having the means to control the way ISPs deliver content? Take it from somebody living in Russia, you really don't want that.
7
sbov 4 days ago 3 replies      
Why use dead people? Property tax records are public information. There's more than one website that lets you go through them.
8
Rapzid 4 days ago 0 replies      
So, my ashamedly limited historical understanding of this, brought to me by John Oliver, is that the FCC was assumed to have the powers of the whole Title II thing prior to losing a court case.. Is this the case?

If that's the case, Pai's rationalization is very hand-wavy.

9
jondubois 4 days ago 6 replies      
The fact that big tech companies like Facebook support net neutrality actually makes me consider not supporting it. I just don't trust Facebook's motives - What I do trust is their ability and willingness to screw over society in order to maximise profits.
10
ams6110 4 days ago 1 reply      
A public comment forum is full of fraudulent posts? No!
11
Chris2048 3 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe the real solution is open alternatives to the current internet infrastructure?

Is it possible to release technology under the GPL?

12
ouid 4 days ago 1 reply      
13
KiDD 4 days ago 2 replies      
Old people always complaining about stuff they don't understand!
14
flatroze 4 days ago 0 replies      
zombie apocalypse, finally
15
notadoc 4 days ago 0 replies      
Wow incredible.

Who would have thought the first time humanity would see large scale resurrections of the dead would be so that the corpses could post internet comments about how much they hate the idea of net neutrality and show their support and love for monopolies?

Simply amazing, I knew people would be passionate about net neutrality but I wouldn't have guessed it was powerful enough to resurrect the lifeless.

Do you think they will start using this technique in medicine soon? In the ER or hospitals? Imagine the amazing sequence of events:

"We're losing him, we're losing him... he just has no more will to live"

'No wait, give me that laptop.'

"He's dead, flatlined"

'SIR, SIR, HOW MUCH DO YOU HATE NET NEUTRALITY'

... grumble grumble.... beep beep beep beep

"Incredible! We have a pulse again!"

'SIR, DO YOU LOVE MONOPOLIES, YOU MUST COMMENT ON THE INTERNET ABOUT THIS, HERE TAKE THIS LAPTOP'

... beep beep beep beep beep beep beep .....

"I... am ... I do.... I do love... I.... I DO LOVE MONOPOLIES, I.... I DO HATE NET NEUTRALITY.... FINALLY... A REASON TO LIVE!! GIVE ME THAT LAPTOP NOW!!!!"

'It's a medical miracle!!!!!!'

18
Google and IBM announce Istio easily secure and manage microservices ibm.com
442 points by ajessup  5 days ago   116 comments top 26
1
tyingq 5 days ago 3 replies      
Interesting, but there's currently a lot of overlap between competing things that want to inject themselves between service consumers and service producers.

There's API gateway products (Apigee, Kong, etc). Load balancers and proxies of various types. Caching and CDN products. More niche stuff like bot blocking, and this attempt to bundle control and statistics.

It would be nice if some sort of standard pattern emerged, where something was the main orchestrator. At the moment, you can end up with suboptimal stuff. Like a CDN that routes to a cloud API gateway that then routes to a (not geographically close) load balancer, that then hits the actual service.

I'm surprised that Cloudflare, Akamai, and the like haven't offered all of these things at the edge. Some things are service to service, but a fair amount is client to service...putting this stuff closer would help.

2
syvanen 5 days ago 2 replies      
3
spullara 5 days ago 2 replies      
This may be the most important project in distributed computing in a long time. It solves some fundamental problems that layer 3 networking has been unable to tackle. Its initial integration with Kubernetes is great but long term it could be the basis of all application level communication whether it is deployed in a container orchestration system, VMs, bare metal or as an enabler for Lambda (function) frameworks.
4
alpb 5 days ago 1 reply      
6
Beldur 5 days ago 1 reply      
7
einrealist 5 days ago 4 replies      
What happened to dumb pipes, smart endpoints? We do the same things again that we did before with SOA, having hard-to-replace middleware / bus systems.
8
moondev 5 days ago 1 reply      
Great documentation and some really great tools included. I was able to get the platform running in minikube really quickly. Interested to compare this to linkerd.
9
misterbowfinger 5 days ago 4 replies      
Is this going to be a linkerd vs. istio thing? Like a Docker Swarm vs. Kubernetes?
10
theprop 5 days ago 2 replies      
Why does Lyft need 10,000 microservices? They probably have less than 100,000 active cabs at any point in time?
11
rexreed 5 days ago 5 replies      
Why aren't more people using MQ for inter-service messaging (something like RabbitMQ) instead of HTTP?
12
alnitak 5 days ago 1 reply      
Can someone ELI5 how is this relating to, and complementing, Kubernetes? What does it do that Kube doesn't, and what does Kube do that Istio doesnt?
13
rshriram 5 days ago 0 replies      
14
garindra 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is the sidecar-container-within-a-pod the only deployment option on Kubernetes currently? Is a daemonset deployment (like what Linkerd does) option currently in the works?
15
graphememes 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious what the benefit of side-loading proxies and load balancing versus centralization provides?
16
misterbowfinger 5 days ago 1 reply      
https://istio.io/docs/concepts/network-and-auth/auth.html

No option for OAuth2 or JWT? Maybe I'm not understanding the problem Istio solves vs. Envoy

17
fierro 5 days ago 0 replies      
Regarding API management in the context of Istio:

https://apigee.com/about/blog/digital-business/simplifying-m...

18
Yhippa 5 days ago 1 reply      
> Lyft developed the Envoy proxy to aid their microservices journey, which brought them from a monolithic app to a production system spanning 10,000+ VMs handling 100+ microservices.

Are those numbers right? Wouldn't it be the other way around realistically?

19
jrv 5 days ago 0 replies      
Nice to see that this comes with Prometheus and OpenTracing instrumentation!
20
gshulegaard 5 days ago 0 replies      
There is a lot to like about this move. Microservices and service mesh's are certainly an interesting area right now...and this represents a big push from some big players.
21
verst 4 days ago 0 replies      
In case anyone is interesting in using Azure Container Service with the builtin Kubernetes orchestrator, I wrote an easy tutorial [1] for deploying Istio.

[1]: https://readon.ly/post/2017-05-25-deploy-istio-to-azure-cont...

22
wwulfric 4 days ago 0 replies      
I know it's a higher architecture. But could anyone tell me the difference between istio and springcloud/dubbo?
23
sheetal7 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great product! Kudos!
24
kevinSuttle 5 days ago 1 reply      
25
graycat 5 days ago 1 reply      
> Really interested to hear user feedback from today's #istio announcement and where it will have the biggest impact.

Okay: I immediately deeply, profoundly, bitterly hate and despise your announcement and for just one, really simple, dirt simple, but totally unforgivable reason: What the heck is a "microservice"? You never said.

That word, microservice, is not in a standard English dictionary, so you are writing undefined jargon, gibberish, junk and not English. You are insulting me and even worse yourself.

Instead, write English. Get rid of the undefined jargon.

Got it?

This was a difficult lesson?

> the biggest impact

Until you learn to communicate at, say, the late elementary grade school level, e.g., learn to write English, the impact promises to be minimal.

26
fnbr 5 days ago 3 replies      
[Deleted]
19
How to Report a Bug to Microsoft schveiguy.com
400 points by Sujan  3 days ago   114 comments top 29
1
Namrog84 3 days ago 6 replies      
Hi schveiguy,

I am just a completely random MS employee, acting on my own behalf, who is browsing HN on my day off from work. I work in Xbox and don't work anywhere related to Excel or tech support. I just repro'd your issue in under 30 seconds in Excel 2016, and also submitted an issue internally on this. I hope it helps :)

http://i.imgur.com/N6X2Lj4.png

Also, I'd highly recommend using the builtin feedback menu, e.g. "send a frown" highlighting the issue. As well as making a post on https://excel.uservoice.com/. I know on my current and former teams, both of these(feedback & uservoice) get looked at quite often, even if there is only a few number of votes on them.

edit: +1 to https://answers.microsoft.com as mentioned by mherdeg

2
alkonaut 3 days ago 2 replies      
First, I think it's good that Microsoft and others separate tech support from bug reporting. Obviously some support requests will be due to bugs - but I'd never ever try to enter a bug via tech support (and this article shows why).

That said, the Microsoft way of bug reporting is utterly infuriating. If a bug like this is reported you want a human response from a developer familiar with the code in question, within at most a few days. This isn't support - I'm not buying a service from Microsoft I'm providing a service. For free.

Uservoice isn't working. It's a site where you vote on silly feature requests, not a proper bug reporting system where you can actually follow the issue being resolved. The bug report menu item in some products seem to take me to different places each time and differnt products do it differently. (and don't get me started on the people that respond on answers.ms... what is their correctness rate? 5%?)

I'm very happy to see that for a lot of the dev related projects you can now usually get a response on a github issue very quickly.

3
mherdeg 3 days ago 3 replies      
Ouch, sounds like this author used a long phone tree and talked to about ten front-line phone support technicians, none of whom were able to file a bug report. Bummer.

Also sounds like one or more of those people advised him to report his issue in the web support forums at https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/msoffice_... , which in my experience often get really good feedback from employees and expert community contributors ("MVPs"). It sounds like the phone technicians did a bad job of explaining this resource which this author might have mistaken for static help documents (it's not).

Things may have changed in the past few years, but back when I worked in the PM organization that owned updates to this Web Query feature in Office 15 (the prior version), I remember that MVPs and PMs would absolutely trawl those forums looking for user-reported bugs and trying to help get them workarounds & fix the root-cause bug. YMMV of course, but many members of the team spent time every week looking for primary-source user feedback.

I definitely can't blame the author for taking the angle "OK, I tried CS, I'm going to give up and write a blog post" -- certainly very popular these days and works great for getting in touch with a tech company -- but it's too bad that the author didn't manage to get in touch with the community at answers.microsoft.com. The MVPs, employees, and other contributors there are often phenomenally helpful in doing bug triage and devising workarounds or real fixes. Seems like a case where first-line support might have been able to say "we can't fix this, but we know who can" quicker.

4
rootsudo 2 days ago 0 replies      
As someone that use to work in Enterprise and prior in SMB for o365, you are caught in a trap because Home users aren't treated the same way.

If you want this to be escalated quickly and get the devs involved, create an o365 trial account, make sure it has a null.onmicrosoft.com domain - that's commercial.

For commercial, you're connected to a tech, which is outsource through the typical firms, e.g. Teleperformance, Experis, Unisys, etc -- they don't care but they have an SLA to follow and if you give them negative feedback, the case will be escalated as the team lead will question why they got negative.

For example, a typical agent would have 100-120 cases a month. CSAT can not fall under 92%. Yes, 92%.

Escalations on a negative feedback ticket removes that ticket from that techs queue, so by rating it negative and not letting it be closed will get you the quickest service in terms of escalation because the agent and that agents Team Lead will escalate it to the NEXT team that has meetings with QA and the Dev's in India w/ Wipro and is the quickest way to get it resolved.

Or, just prove that there's a way it can be a security vulnerability and get a 10k check. I would but, I think I'm disqualified.

5
foobarbazetc 3 days ago 2 replies      
Still waiting for Microsoft to fix this huge bug in Edge for over a year:

https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/platfor...

I wouldn't hold my breath. Microsoft is koolaid city.

6
cptskippy 3 days ago 2 replies      
I had a similar experience recently. My kid was trying to play Minecraft on her iPhone with her friends and it required her to login with her Xbox Account (which is another name for her Microsoft Account) but she didn't have permissions to play online because her account was a child member of a family and I hadn't granted her permission to play with friends.

The Bug was that she wasn't showing up as my child on the Xbox website, only on the Microsoft Account website. So I had no way of granting her permissions.

Unfortunately I tried the Chat support feature first. I was bounced around between Microsoft Support, Microsoft Account Support, Xbox Account Support, and Xbox Support numerous times. Eventually I was told to go fill out a form with a provided support number and that someone would email me.

When I finally received an email it contained links to the knowledge base article I'd found myself and had walked through with support numerous times already. I was even told a different points that I needed to Contact Apple and Mojang about the issue.

After an evening of this I decided to call. I was on the phone for about 2 hours with a guy while we went through all the same gyrations I had done before with Chat support. Thankfully he didn't try to pawn me off on anyone or transfer me to another department.

After eventually conceding that it wasn't user error and in fact a bug, he said he would submit it as a bug and sent me a link to a page where I could view the status of my support case.

The linked page is mostly useless as it is just a log of the emails I exchanged with Microsoft Support however it does have an obscure Status field. I never followed back up on the issue until a week ago when my kid asked about Minecraft again. I checked the Xbox Account website and miraculously I could change her permissions!

For shits and giggles I just opened up the support link I was emailed and the Status is now showing as "New -> TroubleShoot -> Closed". So yay!

I still haven't gotten a response from Microsoft Support about who I should contact at Apple about my issue though...

* I almost forgot! At one point the Xbox team wanted me to log into an Xbox One to try and adjust the privacy settings there. Only problem was that I don't own an Xbox One so they suggested that I some how come upon one on my own because they were confident it would solve my issue.

7
jbob2000 3 days ago 3 replies      
>My bug that I found has to do with Excel 2016. At my company, we have many spreadsheets that use a feature in Excel called Web Queries. These allow one to download a web page, or a table that is on the web page, into cells in your excel document.

Ok, sounds janky, but go on...

>In my particular case, I am using this feature to connect our internal job tracking system that I developed to spreadsheets that are used for calculating pricing and energy savings (our company makes energy savings updates to refrigeration systems), and upload that result back to the tracking system.

Oh god why?? Why!?? What is this Frankenstein system you have created??

8
mpw222 3 days ago 0 replies      
My 2 cents having gotten about 10 bugs in Microsoft products (mostly Windows and Office, some server, some client, some kernel mode, some user mode):

You basically have to pay for Premier Support or find a way to get in touch with a developer out-of-band to get anything fixed. Even going through Premier is a brutal process, as a consumer, try to find a human at Microsoft or just give up. Even if you do pay the ransom for fancy support, you're still way better off trying to find an alternate way to contact someone on the team. Write a blog post, tweet at someone, post on HN or Reddit, whatever.

If you do go through Premier, hope that your bug repros every time with a procedure that takes no more than 5 numbered steps. Anything beyond that, give up. Never ask for advice or assume common sense or anything with any room for interpretation.

Hope that your bug is in something that is about 1 year old. Any newer and support has never touched it and is surprised anyone in the real world uses it. Much older and they won't risk a change.

This has gotten better recently, but be prepared to fill out a lot of questionnaires about why some data corruption bug or memory leak is a problem for your business. These will be insane in context. At one point I had to write 8 pages about why Task Scheduler (their cron, more or less) should run tasks on the defined schedule, as opposed to not running them.

Hope that your issue is in a core-ish server product. The support teams for AD, Exchange and SQL are significantly better than anything client side. Just as long as it's one of these older established products and not something new, if it's new, support won't know what it is.

There are incredibly competent and helpful people in Microsoft's support org. Like fix your bug in a 15 minute phone call after a hundred hour case, cut you a private build and ask you to confirm the fix - competent. I'd estimate there are about 4 of these people in that entire support org, and you don't get to talk to them until you've invested a month or two in escalations and repros.

Oh and answers.microsoft.com is an anti-service. It's like experts exchange in the dark times, only worse. There is no useful information there and it serves only to add noise to your search results.

9
DamonHD 3 days ago 1 reply      
Ah! Many many moons ago when MS refused to even answer the phone I ended up in frustration telexing (yep!) a guy in MS HQ who turned out to be called Bill Gates, and dramatic things happened quite quickly. That's what we used to do before blog posts...

(It also resulted in my first start-up getting funded.)

10
oblosys 3 days ago 2 replies      
There are also Microsoft teams that don't put you through such nightmare scenarios though. Last night I submitted a TypeScript bug report, and within 15 minutes it was labeled, added to the next-release milestone, and had someone assigned to it.
11
Spooky23 3 days ago 1 reply      
I get the same nonsense and runaround as a Premier customer.

10 years ago they were wonky about engineer assignment but excellent. 20 years ago a guy would be on an airplane for a crit sit.

Now, forget it. It seems like the KPI they care about isn't resolution, but getting issues dumped to the next queue.

12
dandare 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have reported a bizarre Outlook bug 18 months ago and I am still getting updates from desperate people slamming their heads into the same wall. Microsoft could not physically give less fuck (Plank-fuck?).

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/msoffice_...

> Secondly, what an ignorant unhelpful error message is this? What is the error? In which rule it is? How do I fix it? The message could have equally read "F... YOU!", it would be equally unhelpful and rude!

13
sonyakop 3 days ago 2 replies      
I would agree with Namrog84 (yes, I'm an MS employee). Also, the Excel UserVoice should allow you to report bugs and I would say should be your first stop for any issues that you encounter (https://excel.uservoice.com/).

Also, I worked as a Product Manager (Marketing) in the Office division for about 3 years, and honestly if you find folks who you know in Marketing, we're all about community and are willing to help get you the right resources and to the right people, regardless if it's our product that you're having trouble with.

Finally, I know for a fact that the marketing and engineering teams are actively engaged on StackOverflow, so if you were able to post something there, they will find it and respond.

14
agrona 3 days ago 2 replies      
The real trick is to know somebody who works on the product. Seems to be the only way I've ever seen any bug get reported and fixed.
15
duncan_bayne 2 days ago 0 replies      
It bears repeating: this is how Microsoft saw the open source movement back in the day:

http://www.catb.org/esr/halloween/

I don't think they've changed their fundamental attitude to their customers in the following years.

16
mattnewport 2 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't follow the part where you couldn't give them a Microsoft id for a commercial office 365 license. Presumably you were giving them your personal Microsoft id used with office 365 home at home for your own personal non commercial use? Why did you not just give them the id for the commercial office license your company must have to use office for commercial purposes?

It's understandable that one of the differences with the greatly discounted non commercial use office home license is lesser support than the more expensive commercial license is entitled to. Support is expensive.

17
ElijahLynn 3 days ago 3 replies      
That was fantastic!!! And to think, all they have to do is have a "report bug" item in the help menu.
18
laktak 3 days ago 3 replies      
For an example on how it should work look at Bash On Windows. They are really doing a great job there.

https://github.com/Microsoft/BashOnWindows/issues

19
bubblethink 3 days ago 1 reply      
That's one great thing I like about RedHat. You don't even need to be their customer to report a bug. And you'll usually get some sort of a response in days.
20
doggydogs94 2 days ago 0 replies      
At level 7 you lost. They got you off the phone. I usually allocate a half a day to these types of efforts. Hopefully I am not overly critical, but it appears you have spent much more time complaining about the MS support process than just biting the bullet and spending the whole day on the phone.
21
505 3 days ago 0 replies      
I report bugs sometimes. I develop and test software for a living, and so my paying clients come first. This includes both software they are using and relevant tools that I am using in order to help the clients.

After or alongside those come the support and development teams of free (speech) software that I use. After that, certain developers of non-free software. As an exercise for the student, guess where Microsoft comes in that list.

22
partycoder 3 days ago 3 replies      
In contrast, Steve Jobs was known for randomly answering customer support calls to better understand the customer.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/22/tech/innovation/jobs-excerpt-c...

23
redm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've had the same experience, with Comcast... What these companies don't understand is that good CS can make a customer for life, or the opposite.
25
jpswade 3 days ago 1 reply      
26
labster 3 days ago 0 replies      
One of the best shaggy dog stories I've read in a long time. As a work of creative writing, well done.
27
megamindbrian 2 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like the entire world is ignoring me.
28
kyberias 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ok, so this was just a silly rant.
29
partycoder 3 days ago 2 replies      
"DOS ain't done 'til Lotus won't run".

- Microsoft

The reason you are all using MS Excel today.

20
Enough with the microservices aadrake.com
401 points by mpweiher  4 days ago   216 comments top 32
1
23david 4 days ago 11 replies      
Remember, if you have a DevOps Team, then you are absolutely not doing DevOps. Developers should be involved in managing everything about their applications, including infrastructure.

Any sufficiently complicated infrastructure that has uptime requirements and significant revenue associated with it is going to have a DevOps Team (or the equivalent) ultimately responsible for ensuring that things are working. I guess it's possible to turn your entire dev team into part-time DevOps engineers, while still calling them Software Engineers, but I've usually found that doesn't work long-term and causes employee retention issues. It's like saying your company does 'No-Support' because you don't hire Support Engineers, while in fact you've enlisted your Software Engineering team to handle all support requests.

Also, if you're working in a regulated field like Healthcare or Finance, or anything that touches PII, your developers often can't have access to deploy code directly to production. Again, you could maybe work around this in the short-term by turning all developers into developers+devops, but they're different skillsets.

2
mirekrusin 4 days ago 4 replies      
Microservices are just one option of refactoring that can be considered at later stage of life of the system.

Even big guys who are using microservices started with monolith. Many people can't seem to catch this important detail - they started as monolith that was later refactored/modularised/split/microserviced. It doesn't mean, the moment they did it, that humanity found a better way of writing software called "microservices". It just means that, at that stage of life of the project, it made sense. Starting with monolith is still, in most cases, the best way to write projects, even if later they evolve into microservices.

Starting projects with maximum split into microservices is, in most cases, just a plain, stupid idea.

The most important part when starting project is avoiding friction at all levels - from dev setup, contribution, deployments, database evolution (migrations), interaction between different parts of the system (it's easier to just call a function from a module than to do rpc - which involves implementing rpc on the other side, managing it's deployment, keeping interfaces in sync etc)...

Microservices are for mature services with crystallized interfaces. They emerge naturally and the split is obvious at later stage - this information is not available at the beginning.

3
afpx 4 days ago 3 replies      
There are good points in there, but I disliked some of the scare quotes.

Microservices were not just concocted by a team at Netflix, and everyone then followed. Instead, microservices emerged across many different companies and teams concurrently. The architectural style was a natural reaction to many simultaneous forces that were being applied across the broader development ecosystem.

Of course, I'm biased because I built two similar architectures at the same time that micro service was becoming a buzz word, and I only knew that the type of architecture had a name much later. But, me and my team just did it that way because we were trying to find the architecture that worked best for us, our tools, and our environment. That is, the form followed the function. And, this was the type of design that naturally turned out.

4
hinkley 4 days ago 5 replies      
I keep forgetting the old axiom: don't use technology to solve a social problem.

The biggest problem I have with microservice is that they lock you into a particular data flow up front. And the only times I've worked on a project where the data flow didn't change substantially from first implementation to having a rich set of features and many customers? Those were the projects that never got anywhere.

No battle plan survives contact with the enemy, and microservices are making decisions early on that are difficult to change later. Because you've picked one decomposition and then erected fences around the parts.

5
Animats 4 days ago 4 replies      
This is partly a limitation of the mediocre inter-process communication system in the Linux/Unix world. Calling another service is a Big Deal.

I've done a complex robotic system which had about ten processes running on QNX.Most of them were running some microservice - GPS, INS, LIDAR, mapping, logging, short-term vehicle control, etc. This worked fine. That's because QNX does interprocess communication well. MsgSend/MsgReceive is like making a subroutine call on the send side. The receive side is more like an event loop.

This sort of thing is common in robotics. ROS does something similar, although the interprocess communication is slower. Usually you have dummy services for simulation purposes, so you can run the operational code in a simulated environment. We could run the system for real, or run it entirely with simulated inputs and outputs, or could put the robot vehicle up on blocks and run the system with fake inputs while operating the real vehicle, engine running and wheels spinning but going nowhere.Everything could be run on one desktop, or on the vehicle's own computers, or partially split. There were shell files to launch the various configurations. We could plug in shims between services and watch the data go by.

I don't see the fear of multiple intercommunicating processes. Even on Linux, there are decent ways to distribute. They're not as good at hard real time as QNX, but they work.

6
contingencies 4 days ago 4 replies      
Lots of problems can benefit from well defined interfaces: security, complexity, maintenance, HR/project matching, need for parallelized or decoupled development (eg. multi-team/timezone), use of existing codebases, etc. As always the devil is in the details.

It is an old maxim in programming that correctly modeling the data is a huge percentage of the design. For example:

Pike's 5th Rule: Data dominates. If you've chosen the right data structures and organized things well, the algorithms will almost always be self-evident. Data structures, not algorithms, are central to programming. - Rob Pike, Notes on C Programming (1989)

In that sense, in nontrivial problem spaces, if forced to generalize, then I am generally more for spending time carefully developing interfaces (ie. a paradigm potentially more closely aligned (in a network services context) with the microservices model = older coders with maintenance chops) than immediately writing actual code (ie. approach of the keyboard-happy iterative tweaker = young coder with fire-and-forget habit).

Any real world project lies somewhere between these extremes.

7
rektide 4 days ago 1 reply      
Found three rather boring very technical concerns to harp upon for what Microservices are supposed to deliver and why they're not the bee's knees.

What microservices actually work towards is a viable strategy towards the Two Pizza rule, where teams can be kings and queens of their kingdoms & drive their own agenda forward without needing to consult with everyone else working on the monolith. Containerizing your software allows containerizing your culture, keeps there from being ancient legacy top-down hierarchical culture and praxis set forth long ago and which will dwell ever on in the monolith your whole company must collectively lurchingly keep trying to push forward. Free yourself from the more brutal pieces of Conway's Law. Create an organization that can continue to try new ideas, that allows team's freedom to work without always bumping elbows with others.

At the end of a somewhat different thread amid these comments, gloverkcn happened upon a wonderful synopsis:

The problem is that it's easier to grab the people sitting next to design something than scheduling a meeting with groups you rarely see. This is a key driver of Conway's law.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14416752

Microservices & their platform infrastructure are the answer to make this not a problem, to free you from tight organizational grips of Conway's Law.

For small and new companies, technical and organizational structuring has not accrued. These are not major problems in early stages, because everything is small enough to be changed easily anyways. But as time goes on, as software or head count grows, maintaining the liberty to ongoingly innovate and pick up new ideas and new technologies is a liberty that has to be fought for. Making your way from a 1->many service organization comes with a lot of complexity and cost, but it is a key step to allowing diversity and innovation and technical growth, particularly for multi-department organizations.

8
pulse7 4 days ago 2 replies      
Microservices have their place, but - as often happens - they were overhyped to be a solution to everything and for everybody... Now the cooldown period begins...
9
timothycrosley 4 days ago 1 reply      
It depends how you do micro services. There are middle grounds. One big gain of micro-services is that it guarantees things are separate and can be handled by separate teams if the need arises. That doesn't mean you need to start out that way. For instance in Python I use hug to create my microservices https://github.com/timothycrosley/hug, then I can just install them to create a "monolithic" services that consumes all the microservices, the great thing is that hug allows you to expose both as a webservices, and as a Python library so I can consume as a Python library with no overhead, until the need to split is evident, and then can split up the services with very little work. Of course the need may never arrive, but the modularity that is forced when using micro-services pays dividends quickly regardless
10
jpalomaki 4 days ago 0 replies      
I would love if each micro service article would start by defining what they mean with "micro service". Wikipedia says "In a microservices architecture, services should be fine-grained and the protocols should be lightweight."[1], but that leaves lot of things open, especially what does the micro mean size wise.

When these kind of things are not defined, people may take good advice and apply it wrong way. You read articles how large companies are embracing micro services. However a "micro" for them might mean very much different thing than what is means for smaller company. Just like with "big data".

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

11
kpmah 4 days ago 1 reply      
It always bothers me that developers who are working with a team they can't trust to build a disciplined, modular application advocate moving to a more technically challenging architecture as a solution.
12
manigandham 4 days ago 1 reply      
This whole thing is about polyglot development and deployment.

"Micro" is a meaningless prefix. This is all SOA - service oriented architecture. A "service" can be anything, it's a vague definition of whatever is a natural encapsulation of a bit of logic in your application (or company). This encapsulation can be easily done with separate classes, namespaces, or even packages, while still running together in the same process.

In the end, you're putting some binaries on a server. The machine doesn't care how often you do that or how many different binaries you choose to use, so the only real reasons are multiple languages that aren't compatible in the same process or massive apps/organizations that need to have completely separate projects to make forward progress.

For everything else, microservices are a silly solution to no actual problem.

13
js8 4 days ago 1 reply      
It seems to me that the answer really depends on application.

There are two kinds of scalability requirements. Some applications scale almost linearly with number of users, for example, Google Maps. That happens if users need interact with each other in limited ways. For such, horizontal scalability of a monolith is almost always a better answer than microservices, and splitting the data before processing is almost always better solution than Spark or Hadoop.

The second kind of scalability requirement is where the users interact, and so the processing required scales more than linearly (quadratically) with number of users. The examples are social networks, the more users you have, then you need to deliver quadratically more messages to all of them. In this case, microservices (and Spark and Hadoop) are probably better, since you can't solve the problem just by scaling the monolith horizontally.

14
alpeb 4 days ago 1 reply      
The separation of concerns inherent to microservices is such a great advantage, that in my opinion it's critical even for small teams. You can bring an extra hand into the team without them having to have to understand other parts of the code to do their job. A monolith with clearly delimited packages will give you this too, but it won't allow you for example to place each service under its own repo which would also provide you with the ability to limit code access. That requires a lot more up-front investment, but it's worth over the long run, unless your project has a very limited life-span, which is rare and sometimes really unknown.
15
the_cat_kittles 4 days ago 3 replies      
sometimes the idea of microservices seems like an attempt at taking the unix philosophy of doing one thing and doing it well, and adding on the additional requirement of doing it over the net. i dont think its a bad idea, but surely its not worth the effort in lots of cases.
16
HeroOfAges 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen monoliths running on 10 year old technology using runtimes and development kits that have been deprecated or are no longer supported by their maintainers. These applications are being used in production today by billion dollar companies. With microservices this never has to be the case. I think it's madness for a company to be running old software with security vulnerabilities and performance liabilities because no one wants to touch what's basically a digital Jenga tower. Then you have people writing articles like this one. I think we're beyond fads and buzzwords here. There are real world advantages for building software this way. If you're afraid to embrace the future, please step aside. You're making my job far more difficult than it should be. These are my observations as a 40 year old developer.
17
mafro 4 days ago 0 replies      
The free Microservices vs SOA book gives an excellent run down of the difference between microservices and SOA. It's really useful to have this in mind when having any conversation about microservices.

http://www.oreilly.com/programming/free/microservices-vs-ser...

"One of the fundamental concepts to remember is that microservices architecture is a share-as-little-as-possible architecture pattern that places a heavy emphasis on the concept of a bounded context, whereas SOA is a share-as-much-as-possible architecture pattern that places heavy emphasis on abstraction and business functionality reuse."

18
gagan2020 4 days ago 2 replies      
I agree overuse of almost everything is bad. Currently, I am working with one another seasoned architect, who is very proponent of Microservices and AWS lambda on same lines as mentioned in the article. My discussion with whom has always articulated that let's do traditional portion(user management, permissions, payments, etc) in a traditional way (we are using Django so in that) and whatever tasks we have, lets do them in a microservices way.

In a traditional sense, we are implementing a system in Django that will be deployed to AWS lambda via Zappa or SAM. All, the traditional task-queue tasks will be separate microservices (lambda). So, We are implementing fusion and I personally see future in that.

19
fallous 4 days ago 2 replies      
Two things jump out at me initially. First, the assertion that cargo-culting is bad is hardly revelatory, regardless of the paradigm. Secondly, the five point list at the end of the diatribe is exactly what any transition from legacy monolithic system would follow in order to pursue a microservice infrastructure.

I can't decide if the author actually has a problem with an appropriately deployed microservice architecture (and no, you do not need 100 engineers to support such a thing... I replaced a legacy back-end system for a $100M/yr revenue company with such an architecture using 4 devs) or if this is just a misapplied generic rant about cargo culting that has been applied to $THINGIREADABOUTTODAY.

20
adamconroy 4 days ago 0 replies      
As always, it depends. Personally I have been working for a corporation where we use a microservice approach and it has been great for productivity, turn around times on projects, and the systems/services are quite easy to understand. We are full CI. Our microservices maybe aren't as micro as others, we have a pattern of having monolith 'data services' and micro business/functional/api services. The monolith 'data service', effectively a layer that exposes CRUD over data, in some cases has 10 microservices that interface. I could go on and on, but it works very well for us.
21
lprd 4 days ago 2 replies      
Could anyone explain what microservices are? I'm still learning as a junior dev and haven't quite understood what this word means. How would you break down an existing monolith into smaller 'micro-services'?
22
matt_s 4 days ago 0 replies      
As with any trendy technology or architecture approach, you should first be asking "What problem are we trying to solve?"

That's where the discussion should start. Better yet if that is a business problem, then dive into technical solutions. Many times technologists take a new (but not really) silver bullet and try to fit it in somewhere without understanding if it solves a problem or not.

It also seems like we like to reskin solutions with new names and the industry picks up on this, starts their marketing engines and the guys in suits come around trying to sell the new silver bullet.

23
ris 4 days ago 0 replies      
As of late I've come to a new belief as to the real reason for microservices' current popularity. DevOps, deployment, and whatever-hyperopaque-cloudy-service-amazon-have-launched-this-week are the cool & fun things happening at the moment. Having loads of microservices to manage simply gives you plenty of toys to play with.

Personally, the microservice-y project I'm currently working on makes me want to burn my face off every day.

24
Yhippa 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just like Agile and vendor-based software solutions of the past it seems like microservices are following the same path. I've seen projects starting off with microservices because someone several pay grades above deemed it so. Lots of resume-driven-development done here.
25
quadcore 4 days ago 1 reply      
It seems to me the overhead of microservices in terms of productivy is O(1) - but I can be wrong. If the overhead is O(1) then the question becomes whether or not you already have the framework to do microservices. If you dont, so yeah maybe you should do a monolith.

edit: that even sounds like business opportunity.

26
tlrobinson 4 days ago 2 replies      
This makes me wonder, are there any systems that make it easy to build a modular monolith that can relatively easily be split into microservices in the future?

Erlang (OTP?) comes to mind (though I have very little experience with it so I could be off)

27
shusson 4 days ago 1 reply      
I wish the author discussed microservices in the context of domains and models. If you model your application and find a distinct isolated domains, then consider creating separate services for them.
28
dorian-graph 4 days ago 0 replies      
Refreshing to hear (again).

Does anyone know of some good (modern) examples of monoliths that adhere to these, and other, principles?

30
faragon 4 days ago 0 replies      
TL;DR: microservices is yet another religion.
31
partycoder 4 days ago 5 replies      
The projects I've seen getting to technical bankruptcy have been with no exception monoliths.

With microservices you have the ability to take one service and fix it, reimplement it or replace it if necessary. Also use whatever technology makes more sense for that project, as long as it speaks the same protocols and sticks to the same interfaces.

With monoliths, there's always the analysis paralysis related to the possible ramifications of a change, which slows down everything.

32
threeseed 4 days ago 4 replies      
This frankly adds nothing new to the conversation.

And if you find scaling microservices harder than a giant stateful monolith well then clearly you've done something wrong.

Likewise local development should be far easier if you define your APIs and contract boundaries properly.

21
Google starts tracking what people buy in physical stores latimes.com
367 points by Jerry2  6 days ago   243 comments top 35
1
gub09 5 days ago 4 replies      
This is probably an unusual opinion, but for me privacy is similar to freedom. Freedom is usually defined as a negative: people are free of oppression, have freedom of speech (freedom from speech being constrained), freedom of movement (not forced to stay in one place), religious freedom (freedom to believe what one will and not be limited in practice or assembly), etc.

Privacy is the freedom from being watched, from having one's movements and actions and consumption and words observed, tabulated and stored. I hope that one day whether by laws or technological solutions, privacy will again be the norm in our lives.

2
russell_h 5 days ago 1 reply      
A Googler gave a talk at Real World Crypto in January describing a system that might back this. The relevant part of the talk starts around the 10 minute mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ee7oRsDnNNc&t=10m1s

In short, they're able to compute the intersection of the set of users who have viewed an ad with the set of people who purchased a product in a store, without either party disclosing their side of the set.

3
vmarsy 5 days ago 2 replies      
The European Union is often made fun of with "the Americans innovate, the EU regulates", but in the meantime GDPR[1] is coming into force in 2018

> The primary objectives of the GDPR are to give citizens and residents back control of their personal data

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

4
thinkling 5 days ago 9 replies      
FTA: "Google says it has access to roughly 70% of U.S. credit and debit card transactions through partnerships with companies that track that data."

Wow.

5
thephyber 5 days ago 3 replies      
I was under the impression that Google already did this.

A Googler already described this to me years ago as "closing the loop", where Google's ad network already exposed a customer to a brand/product, but Google only gets credit for the conversion if it happens in the same browser session online. By tying together stats between impression and conversion (purchase, even in-store), the ad network becomes more valuable -- or less, if there was already an assumption of this effect with previously overestimated results.

6
syphilis2 5 days ago 2 replies      
I'm interested to read about where people believe this progression of technology will take us in the near and far future. Are there thought out considerations of what type of world we are heading towards? Has Google revealed their vision of advertising for 2032? I don't mean this rhetorically, I genuinely want to know what vision there is for advertising in the future because I believe it's something we really ought to be thinking about and judging so we can make informed decision about what's best for us.
7
tdeck 6 days ago 0 replies      
My former employer Square (generally a great company) has been doing a similar thing for a while, in partnership with Facebook [1].

[1]: https://techcrunch.com/2016/06/14/facebook-knows/

8
paradite 5 days ago 1 reply      
Now I will have to seriously consider getting off the Google ecosystem now. Deactivating facebook was okay, but Google might be tricky considering many of website accounts use Google authentication.
9
hackuser 5 days ago 2 replies      
There are anonymized credit card services, including pre-paid and other solutions. The following is based on notes at least a year old, and I haven't tried them:

* Abine

* Finalhttps://getfinal.com/

* Privacy Inc.https://privacy.com/

Also, many pre-paid cards require the user to identify themselves before the card is activated

10
evolve2k 5 days ago 5 replies      
> The new tracking system was created in consultation with incredibly smart people to ensure it's not invasive. He described the program as secure and privacy safe.

It's not "incredibly smart people" you need; it's "highly ethical people".

11
AdamN 5 days ago 1 reply      
Are there concrete recommendations for being able to use a credit card (i.e. for an airline purchase where cash is tough) and maintain maximum privacy? I know Apple Pay helps vis-a-vis the merchant since the CC number is hidden. Are Visa, AMEX, MC different at all? Are there banks that have better privacy policies or does it not matter since the bank is just handling the final money transfer?
12
azinman2 5 days ago 0 replies      
"The kinds of data that Google is collecting also could become an inviting target for hackers, said Miro Copic, a marketing professor at San Diego State University"

As if Google wasn't already a target already?!

13
kyrra 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's worth seeing the information from the source. The talk[0] and the blog post[1]. Plus, as Engadget called out[2] in an update, you can opt-out by contacting your credit card company, and there are more details at the FTC[3].

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmkRJqnQ2T8&19m05s

[1] https://adwords.googleblog.com/2017/05/powering-ads-and-anal...

[2] https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/23/google-track-shopping-tr...

[3] https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0222-privacy-choices-y...

14
JosephLark 5 days ago 0 replies      
Not Google specific, but some good reading on this topic came out in January - The Aisles Have Eyes: How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy, and Define Your Power [0]

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Aisles-Have-Eyes-Retailers-Shopping/d...

15
talamown 5 days ago 1 reply      
Amazon already has been doing this as well.

They started to recommend some items related with books I have never bought online, just after I got them at local bookstore by credit card.

16
awinter-py 5 days ago 3 replies      
I think everyone remembers the first ad to follow them around multiple websites. For me it was an ASPCA campaign.

The next version of that experience will be researching a purchase and where to get it, then seeing ads on the way that are customized to (a) the product you're buying and (b) your preferences.

If you're 55 you'll get michael jordan advising you to buy nikes. If you're 35 it will be Noel Gallagher (air noels?), and if you're 10 it will be the ninja turtles.

The good news is at a certain point the competition for eyeballs will become so fierce that the ads become honest & informative.

17
birracerveza 5 days ago 1 reply      
Where I live we have laws in place that criminalize stalking. Why isn't this considered stalking?
18
dredmorbius 5 days ago 0 replies      
Earlier, on HN:

Report warns computers may threaten constitutional rights (1982)

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14329877

19
yuhong 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thinking about it, the entire US economy has been about increasing consumption and credit since the 1970s.
20
synaesthesisx 5 days ago 0 replies      
There are certain products that people are more likely to buy in-store than online (clothing etc) but may be exposed to/advertised to online. I've always wondered how retailers track offline conversions effectively...
21
justinbaker84 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is not just starting - Google has been testing this since at least 2014.

I worked at a big online advertising agency from 2013-2014 and we had a lot of fortune 500 companies as clients. Google began offering this tracking functionality as a beta in 2014 to a small number of very large companies.

Here's the thing - Google is basically telling advertisers "just trust us to report on our own performance." They are saying buy traffic from us and we will use our secret algorithms to tell you how much revenue we drove and you will have no way to verify the totals.

As you can imagine this is not an attractive proposition.

22
romanovcode 5 days ago 1 reply      
> Google says it has access to roughly 70% of U.S. credit and debit card transactions.

I don't get it, does VISA, MASTERCARD or AMEX just gives google the transactions? That got to be illegal, right?

23
throwaway111112 5 days ago 0 replies      
Yesterday, I received [1] from a friend. I laughed it off as the usual exaggeration when someone talks about Google and privacy. Today, I read that Google moved one step closer to that story.

[1] https://www.devrant.io/rants/605665/hello-gordons-pizza-no-s...

24
hopfog 5 days ago 0 replies      
Another way companies are connecting your online profile with offline activities is by using one of the many call tracking services. Basically when you visit a site using these you will be shown a unique phone number. When you ring it the service will tie your web session to the call. The company will see the caller's whole web user journey and any subsequent visits.
25
sleepless 5 days ago 0 replies      
Cash is a great invention.
26
jsonne 5 days ago 2 replies      
This is likely unpopular, but this makes my job exponentially easier. The number of "What is that click worth" questions to us data driven marketing folks by small businesses effectively closes off a lot of us that focus primarily on the data from that market. With this, there is very real money to be made with small businesses that were too skittish to advertise before. We've been playing with Facebook's online to offline and frankly the brick and mortar folks we work with that we're utilizing it are incredibly delighted.
27
inesta 5 days ago 3 replies      
Hmm I was wondering how some stores show up on Google maps even though I did not use Google maps to get to those places. God damm Google.
28
hacksonx 5 days ago 0 replies      
Many ways are being suggested as workarounds for maintaining annonimity about where one spends their money. Fact if the matter is, if the money leaves your account in batches these guys will know. So Google, and others, in the age of bitcoin will just partner with banks.
29
sterban 5 days ago 0 replies      
Are there any credit card companies or banks offering cards that will not participate?
30
chatman 5 days ago 0 replies      
Dr. Stallman and FSF always promoted used of free software to counter surveillance.
31
staticelf 5 days ago 0 replies      
Next phone will be an iPhone even if I think Android is so much better.
32
justforFranz 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not concerned. By the time they've figured out what everyone is buying, people won't have any money anymore to buy anything. So... whatever.
33
kator 5 days ago 0 replies      
Best part about this article, it's talking about Google advertising and meanwhile the page loads with 147 trackers, page entry interstitials, auto-play videos, and pop-up interstitials while I'm trying to read. Many of the ads on that page are all google driven including the massive annoying pushdown at the top of the page.

As to the topic, let's be clear credit card data mining has been going on since before the web was born. I've explained this to people for decades, that and "customer loyalty" programs are amazing sources of data while being very scary at the same time.

What google is doing here is not any different than 100's of other vendors and companies in advertising technology. Their advantage is the retention of all your search data, clicks when it's a google ad etc. Facebook has comparable data as do many companies. Both these companies enjoy a duopoly that is massive and in some markets, they capture more than 70% of all advertising spend. Those resources combined with offline techniques creates a white-hot spot light that ignites a dialog that most likely should have happened before the web was born.

Advertisers want to know the money they spend is effective and works. We can all debate for eons about the effectiveness of advertising, but let me tell you de facto that it works. These types of systems are designed to help them optimize the spend.

Sadly, meanwhile you have perfectly good outlets like this newspaper where that optimization has led to downward pressure combined with user habit changes. They are desperate to stay in business and allow their digital offerings to be turned into graffiti pages in hopes to make up for lost revenues in the physical business. This leads to turning users off (157 trackers now as I write this) and they stop coming to the site. The leads to a vicious cycle where the users stop coming, the advertisers notice and stop spending or start discounting the money they're willing to pay. Digital death is horrific, rapid and all automated.

I don't know the answer to all these things, what I do know is people do want to have intelligent dialogs with other people who are offering something of interest. But advertising has always in the past been about injecting itself into people's lives in unwanted ways, from the kid screaming on the street corner "Come and get it, hot off the press" to a page on latimes.com with now 158 trackers and more ad space than content.

I dream of a world where I can have intelligent dialogs with people offering things that could enhance my life in some way. I spend every day of my life thinking about how to do this, and I'm building technology and products to address this idea. I would love nothing better than a single ad on a site like this, the right one, the one you wouldn't mind hearing from and one that pays the site owner 20x what they get now with their graffiti strategy. I can tell you advertisers also want this, they dont want to be on a page with 158 trackers, and a graffiti layout where their message is diluted by all the noise.

Its a real problem, it will get much worse before it gets better, but those who say advertising is evil are missing the point. Effective advertising is about communication, and should be person to person. The most powerful advertisement is a friend telling another friend about something new and exciting they discovered. However, to have that dialog you must have the first experience, the discovery, the friend of a friend had to learn about this amazing new product and advertising sets out to do that.

34
z3t4 5 days ago 0 replies      
Does who advertise for products sold offline doesn't care about clicks though, only views.
35
MikeVanBike 5 days ago 0 replies      
Tracking more please google. Im really happy that you violate my privacy with fancy new terms and ideas.
22
A Year of Google and Apple Maps justinobeirne.com
432 points by almostdigital  2 days ago   117 comments top 25
1
gumby 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is the most significant fact:

> Over the course of a year, Google quietly turned its map inside-out transforming it from a road map into a place map.

I've long been amazed how we somehow transitioned during the early 20th century from a mental model of roads and paths running through locations to places (house lots, etc) being the spaces between the roads. It's a natural thing to happen, but one of those invisible flips that happens on a timescale longer than a human lifetime.

But this anticipates the opposite: if you can stop worrying about how to get somewhere (because you don't have to drive or plan much -- self-driving or Lyft-style services can take care of the route planning) you can focus on the destination.

We see this phenomenon in subway maps which are famously schematic and not geographical.

(BTW the transformation is visible in literature, which is how I noticed it. The sense of geography in, say, Jane Austin is completely alien to today).

2
serhei 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's also interesting to see how maps evolve (or fail to evolve) for places that are not San Francisco.

At the moment, Apple Maps seems to have a more thought-through design for public transit than Google Maps. Which is to say, transit view in Apple Maps is either visually clean and uncluttered, or completely nonexistent, depending on whether they got around to adding your city. Clearly a lot of by-hand design work goes into it, which isn't a very scalable approach.

On the other hand, transit data in Google sometimes appears to have been munged with no human intervention and never received even a cursory check by a graphic designer. For example, turning on Transit view in downtown Toronto will show a mess of ungodly rainbow spaghetti which is meant to represent the streetcar system. There are lines on non-revenue tracks where no streetcars actually run, lines on streets that don't have streetcar tracks, random artefact lines that appear and then vanish two blocks later, and lines drawn diagonally through the middle of High Park where there is no street at all. Somehow, the data behind this spaghetti is diligently updated year-after-year (e.g. the new Cherry streetcar was added in 2016) without anyone involved in the process noticing that the results are hideously garbled.

It also took them about a decade to realize that the SkyTrain in Vancouver is a rapid transit system.

3
BatFastard 2 days ago 3 replies      
One thing I think Google has going for is it "Guides" program. Where user get "points" for correcting mistakes, adding new places, and publishing pictures. I have been in it for a few months and it feels good to contribute.
4
maheart 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was curious to see how well OpenStreetMap (OSM) had these locations mapped: http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=19/37.77620/-122.42455
5
JumpCrisscross 2 days ago 5 replies      
> This all seems to suggest that Googles location data is more precise than Apples. (Or that Apples geocoder is buggy.) And perhaps here were seeing the fruits of Googles decade-long Street View project.

How can Apple catch up? Is there an obvious acquisition?

6
sixothree 2 days ago 1 reply      
My biggest problem with google maps is that it doesn't respect the font size settings of my device. A four point font is not ideal for my eyes in the best of conditions, much less when travelling and navigating.
7
puzzle 2 days ago 1 reply      
Additional data point about the missing "coastline dropshadows", on top of the general "bleaching" trend: that kind of effect is also not free to implement in WebGL or in mobile apps. Plus the folks that were involved in designing it have since left.
8
johnsmith21006 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Google maps has the lane to use and Apple maps does not and i have a terrible sense of direction so Google maps is really my only viable choice.
9
nicoboo 2 days ago 2 replies      
Justin O'Beirne's articles are extremely detailed as always. It's definitely a must-see for mappers whatever the company or products you're working with.
10
bitmapbrother 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was surprised by how out of date Apple maps were. I guess TomTom doesn't update their data that much.
11
mcphage 2 days ago 5 replies      
The thing I still don't get is, why don't any of these map services indicate traffic lights? When navigating to an unfamiliar place, counting the lights, or looking for the next traffic light, is much easier than using distance or street names.
12
Steko 2 days ago 2 replies      
The At a Distance blog has extensively covered Apple Maps' deficiencies (and progress) in Japan where Yahoo maps is the best option.

https://atadistance.net

13
peterburkimsher 1 day ago 1 reply      
How can I configure OpenStreetMap to use the old Google Maps colours with an emphasis on roads?

I'm currently using some offline cached maps tiles downloaded with MOBAC, and waiting for Google to change their colours back again. Now I realise that it's a place map, and places generate advertising revenue, I think that Google is unlikely to fix that.

Another problem that happened recently in Taiwan was when Google removed pinyin (latin letters) from the street names, leaving only Chinese characters. Foreigners living here couldn't find their way around. I threw together a quick alternative to GMaps, and told people about it - until Google put the pinyin back about a week later.

14
twhb 2 days ago 0 replies      
It can't be coincidence that Google's increased focus on areas and places brings it closer to Apple Maps. It's easy to miss because of Apple's poorer data, but I think their app legitimately bested Google in some areas (heh), and this is Google absorbing those characteristics.
15
Gustomaximus 2 days ago 1 reply      
Id love to see them compare Here maps. I use Here for all my driving. Its much better interface, directions timing and has some unique features.Also I like the idea of supporting an independent player. While Google Maps is better when looking for businesses like a restaurant etc.
16
GabeN 2 days ago 3 replies      
It seems that with the increasing attention given to 'places' and less emphasis on the actual roads we are looking at Google getting Maps ready for the roll-out of self driving cars where the focus is on the destination rather than the journey.
17
nelsonfv 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well, here in Venezuela Apple Maps is practically useless. Traffic data just arrived about a year ago to Google Maps and it's been a fantastic tool to get on time to most places. Apple Maps doesn't even give directions.
18
krzyk 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's a pitty he doesn't compare it to OpenStreetMap also.
19
627467 1 day ago 0 replies      
My main complaint is the decrease is display priority of personal labels except for the stars.

Back in the day before labels I would star places I needed to "bookmark" regardless of importance in time and how ephemeral that mark was. Then when labels appeared I thought that was ideal to mark places which are always important (because I can personalize the label) as opposed to a generic star which most likely meant a temporary bookmark.

It seems that with this new Google maps, the stars always get display priority (it's shown even at smallest zoom level) whereas labels only appear at a algorithmically defined location (which seems arbitrary).

All this time wasted in personalizing my map.

20
Doctor_Fegg 2 days ago 1 reply      
> And as of 2014, Google had already driven 99% of U.S. public roads

Nope. Try dragging Pegman over anywhere in the rural Midwest and see what you get. 99% of US _paved_ roads, perhaps.

21
lucb1e 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a little disappointed that the "Cartography Comparison" only looks at two commercial maps. Not even all commercial maps, let alone including OpenStreetMap. A big post detailing the minute differences between two of the big ones are not that interesting...
22
microcolonel 1 day ago 1 reply      
I can't for the life of me understand why Apple pays TomTom for maps of places where OpenStreetMap is unequivocally more accurate. OpenStreetMap also has the correct layout of the footpaths at the north and south of the park, points of interest for every bench and a marked area in the location and correct shape of the playground, making the data (at least assuming Google renders their best data) considerably higher quality. I think this says a lot, especially considering the default leg-up that Google has here. They have images of the contours of every one of those paths, they have GPS traces, they have photogrammetry-quality photography and location, they have lots of people writing photogrammetry software; and yet for some reason they still don't appear to fuse the streetview, aerial, and satellite imagery, or seem to do feature detection for points of interest.

The big problem which seems to make it not worth expanding your dataset for graphical maps, is that it is quite difficult to display a lot of data, and still be easier to read than an aerial photograph.

23
curyous 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great in-depth analysis that goes beyond what's obvious on the surface.
24
swrobel 2 days ago 0 replies      
This guy is a Real American Hero
25
51Cards 2 days ago 1 reply      
In response to the very last lines of the article:

"Three different looks? Whats going on with Google Maps design?"

A/B testing perhaps?

23
Ask HN: I don't want to be a founder anymore
553 points by throwaway10595  4 days ago   466 comments top 97
1
throwanem 3 days ago 3 replies      
I don't know directly from any of this, because I am an unlettered redneck with air-cooled teeth and a net worth in the middle four figures. But if I had a serious prospect of ending up with genuine fuck-you money, and all I had to do to get it was keep doing what I was already doing and gut it out for a few more years, then that is precisely what I would do, to the best of my ability.

I get that you're suffering, and I am not without compassion. But the kinds of jobs you're fantasizing about are kinds of jobs I've had. They are not without stress, as you imagine them to be. They are physically wearing and not at all secure, but most of all, the kind of stress that comes with those jobs - more to the point, that comes with those jobs being the best prospect you have - is not a kind of stress that ends, save to give way to something worse.

Your current travail, conversely, certainly will end, and based on what admittedly little I know about how startups work, you have a very real prospect of a great big payoff at the end of it. It would, I think, be the regret of a lifetime to squander that enrichment of all your years in search of a more comfortable day after tomorrow.

2
webwright 3 days ago 6 replies      
(source: I've twice left my own companies- both companies continued to grow and prosper after I left).

Personally, I'd suck it up and get the sale done, working hard to make the price as front-loaded as possible. Depending on the buyers appetite for you to keep working there you could:

A) Suggest that you're excited to stay with the business, but if they feel there'd be too many chefs in the kitchen and that you should phase out, you'd like to know about that now... i.e. open the door for them to express how critical you are to the deal.

B) If they DO really want you, push hard for a front-loaded deal (i.e. initial payout versus earn out) and then give notice 6 months after the deal closes. You'll leave some (maybe lots) of $ on the table, but who cares. Selling a company isn't indentured servitude. Someone else owning the company might relieve some stress. If it doesn't, punt.

Broadly-- I'm a believer that happiness is generally internal. If you can't find a way to be happy with this job, I suspect you'll have a hard time with a different one. Starting ASAP, I'd make some changes to see if it makes a difference. Get therapy. Try anti-depressants. Shut off your phone at 6pm and don't open your computer. The sky won't fall. Exercise. Meditate. Try psychedelic mushrooms (only half kidding-- there are some studies that one dose positively impacts depression and anxiety). Eat better. Go into work late AM twice a week so you can take a long walk with your wife. Schedule vacations. Go into the woods a lot (exposure to green space helps depression too). I just read that doing tai chi helps with depression. Schedule weekly lunches with friends.

3
ridgeguy 4 days ago 2 replies      
First, talk this over with your wife. She deserves to know what's going on with you and you need her counsel and strength.

Second, recognize that an acquisition is a change of life - that can certainly make one feel anxious and depressed, no matter how much you may have looked forward to this milestone.

Third, nobody is indispensable. If you died in a car crash today, the company would find a way to continue.

In your place, I'd go through with the acquisition (and do my duty to my investors & employees). When the dust settles (3-6 months), I'd go to my Board of Directors and tell them I need to change roles at the company. That would include dropping all my day-to-day responsibilities and dropping back from full-time. Be explicit that you're on a transition out of the company, and you want it to be orderly (for the company's benefit) and time-limited (for your benefit). When the time expires, leave with thanks and go live your life. Good luck and congratulations!

4
mabbo 4 days ago 1 reply      
> Each morning for the past couple months, my first thought has been "What could today be like if I didn't work here?". I drift off into exploring what it would be like to work at Wal Mart, or the construction site outside, or as a bagger at a grocery store. It seems so stress free.

Here's the thing- it probably isn't stress free, just different kinds of stress. And you also need to ask yourself whether the feelings are caused by your job and stress, or if they're just coinciding with them.

As many others have said, look into talking to a therapist.

Also, talk to you wife about this! If she was crying the same way, you'd want to know, and you'd want her to trust you enough to tell you. If there's any person you need to be able to open up to, it's your spouse.

5
chatmasta 4 days ago 8 replies      
Take a vacation, preferably to a beach. Use it to learn what processes at your company are dependent on you. Then when you get back, start documenting and delegating every process until you are no longer a critical dependency. Then take another, longer vacation. Sounds like you need one.
6
ori_b 4 days ago 3 replies      
Groom someone to take over your role. Be honest with your cofounders, tell them you're feeling burned out and you need to take a step back to keep your sanity.

> The product is just too complicated (tons of domain knowledge required) for someone to come in and take over.

I doubt that this is actually true. It may take them time to ramp up, but you're there to guide them and mentor them.

> Additionally, the product just isn't that interesting (glorified CRUD app) and it's been hard to retain developers.

The fact that you're deeply involved and don't feel that other developers can step in, and at the same time feel like it's a glorified CRUD app hints that you may not be giving other developers enough autonomy or context on the problem.

If they are just working on simple CRUD stuff and have no context, the job is going to suck. But simple CRUD with context could be much more interesting.

And if all else fails, pay more.

7
dfuhriman 4 days ago 6 replies      
The problem you are experiencing is a result of the lack of systems and processes in your business.

You need to make an important hire- you are missing a systematic. See, creatives like you are awesome at solving problems but hate to have structure and order because it doesn't allow you 100% freedom. But, as a result, you just have 100% creativity/problem solving- which is draining. The worst thing is, you can't even create the order you need to manage these things.

Systematics create structure and order in dynamic environments.

I wrote a book about this and other problems with innovation and how to solve them. It will be published later this year, but happy to provide an advanced copy to help work through seeing the problems you are facing.

The systematics in your business are meant to free you from the ongoing crap that you are experiencing.

8
bsvalley 4 days ago 6 replies      
There is a huge misunderstanding from people in tech regarding blue collar jobs. You guys are way too naive about what it entails to work at a grocery store or on a construction site.

I've done it a few times during summer while studying CS to pay for my bills. They do shifts from 4am-12pm, or 12pm-8pm, or even night shift... They treat you like a bad kid, you get humiliated 24h/7 by who ever is higher in the "hierarchy". On top of that your body takes a hit since most of these jobs are very physical. You get back home sore, exhausted, sometimes it turns into real health issues like tendonitis, chronic lower back pain, etc. Trust me after 2 months working at a factory you'd hate your life. You'd hate yourself. Some people get stuck in this nasty world for decades...

You-I-we, the tech people, love to think there's a better world out there by lowering the level to its bare minimum. It's actually the opposite effect but you have to experience it to understand what I'm talking about. So go back to work and keep cashing out, or, go fishing on an island.

9
scottbartell 3 days ago 5 replies      
Are you familiar with the concept of the False dilemma[0]? It seems as if you've limited yourself to an "either/or" situation when in fact there are countless other possible solutions to this problem.

Here are some possible alternatives:

- find a leadership coach and/or mentor

- delegate the parts of your job that you like the least

- find a way to reduce stress in your life (exercise, hobby, etc)

- try professional therapy

- share how you feel with your friends and/or family (maybe even leadership team)

- take a vacation

- work less

- define and respect clear work/life boundaries for yourself

- read about/learn how to manage stress more effectively

- create a project plan for yourself (what do _you_ want to accomplish for _yourself_ in the next 3,6,12 months)

I could go on and on.

Another thing I think that you should ask yourself is: would you really be happier working at WalMart? Is it really this specific job and role that's causing your unhappiness? Is there really nothing you can change to make you job more enjoyable? Is it possible that you're creating your own unhappiness?

From personal experience I highly recommend finding a great leadership coach. I had a leadership coach who really helped me tackle some potentially similar challenges I was having.

If you want to talk more feel free to ping me. Good luck!

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

10
apohn 4 days ago 0 replies      
The last company I worked for acquired 2-3 companies per year, And it became obvious that in some cases the people who part of the acquisition were burned out and wanted to be free of their responsibilities. But they didn't have the financial wherewithal to just quit and move on.

A lot of them shifted into roles with different but less critical responsibilities. One person basically just turned into an evangelist, meeting customers and painting visions. It wasn't easy for them to keep going, but it's easier to keep going in that type of position because they weren't responsible for keeping the lights on.

I realize this isn't an answer, but maybe this is a way to keep going if you decide to stay with whomever acquires your company.

>The product is just too complicated (tons of domain knowledge required) for someone to come in and take over.

This is a very heavy burden. I was here once as an individual contributor and I ended up in the same state you are in now. It was absolutely awful. Even if somebody can't take over 100%, can they take over 25%?

Also, as others have said, find somebody to talk to. Assuming you have a decent marriage, cry in front of your wife so she knows what's going on. It's hard to move when you feel the whole world is resting on your shoulders.

11
coreyp_1 4 days ago 4 replies      
You're right: 1 person can't replace you. Can 3? Can 5? You must reorganize, if merely to save your sanity. Hire 1 person and start training them, then hire the next.

For 1 week, write down everything that you do for your company, and then group the like tasks in order to figure out how many/what type of person(people) to hire/train. Start looking for that person, while writing down everything that you do the 2nd week. Rinse and repeat as you go through the month/quarter, and you should develop a better idea of what it will take to replace you.

The LOI writers know that you are doing the job of multiple people, and that you are indispensable, and that's why they want to require you to stay. Make yourself replaceable, and then there would be no need for you to stay. Work from a beach if you want, but take action now to permanently lessen your stress.

Feel free to reach out if you want to talk (or just vent) privately. You can find me through info in my HN profile.

12
reckoner2 4 days ago 3 replies      
There are professionals out there whose job it is to help out people in situations like yours. Before you make any life changing decisions I would talk to one.

CEO's, Hedgefund Managers, Sport Stars, they all talk to psychologists. Give it a try.

13
jly 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is minor depression, related to your work. I would emphasize that your thoughts are not irrational or misplaced, no matter how much money is on the table or how the situation might look to an outsider. The fact that you are currently hiding it is also not abnormal. Your mind is unconsciously focusing energy on analysis of your problems and how you might solve them, and you may be on the edge of signaling for help, implied by the crying.

Youre tightly ensnared in an overly restrictive set of obligations. Perhaps its classic burnout from just plain working too much in a demanding role, or perhaps you have new ideas about how to make a living that would require new employment which is restricted by your LOI terms. Perhaps it's something else altogether or a combination of things. In any case, the symptoms are a direct response to these socially-imposed constraints hindering your pursuit of something more appealing, that in your view are beyond conventional means of renegotiation.

It would help immensely to talk with someone - therapist, your wife, etc - and help work through why you are feeling this way and what changes can be made to alleviate the mismatch. There are many good pieces of advice already in the comments here. Just remember that things cannot continue the way they are now without some kind of situational change (not drugs) or your symptoms will only get worse and more debilitating. Good luck.

14
Lordarminius 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have a few thoughts.

First of all it sounds a lot to me like you are suffering from burnout. You need to see someone about this (not necessarily a health professional, perhaps a mentor or confidant, someone accessible, whose opinions you respect)

You have come a long way and achieved something that is not trivial. You are entitled to cash out. I am however wary of the terms you hint at. I would NEVER do a deal where a significant portion of my compensation is dependent on future income from the business I am selling. NEVER.Once the acquirer takes over, decisions are out of your hands and it is his/her prerogative to grow the business or run it down. Why should you tie yourself to such an uncertain future ?My reading of your situation is that you should try to get a deal where you stay on only long enough to transfer your knowledge to your replacement. 1 year is sufficient for that; 4 years essentially makes you a bonded servant.Have you retained the services of a professional to help with the acquisition? If 'No', do so asap.

I mention these points because although your intention is not to stir up a debate about terms of purchase, I think they stand out as potentially significant stressors.

Every field looks green when you are in burn-out-land but resist the temptation to think that dish-washing, bar tending or whatever menial task you presently romanticize, represents a step up from your present condition.I agree with @bsvalley. His answer is on point.

I would talk to the missus. That's what she's there for - moral support; but its difficult to give support to a person who hasn't asked for it.

Finally. I will say congratulations! You are on the last lap of a very difficult race. Not many people get to this point. Don't falter here. The reward for all your effort and sacrifice will be financial freedom, time for leisure and a sense of accomplishment - and maybe opportunity (on much better terms) to become a bartender after all :)

15
arkades 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't do internet diagnoses, but before you make any career- or life-altering decisions:

You need to meet with a psychiatrist (MD) and be screened for depression.

Being Depressed doesn't feel the way you think it does, and you're throwing up several flags.

Please consider that your emotions right now might not be what you think they are, and that for mild depression (which one often sees in people in stressful life situations), very mild medications can be greatly efficacious.

Please, please take this advice seriously.

- an anonymous health care professional, who's been where you are.

16
ParameterOne 4 days ago 0 replies      
After astronauts came back from space a lot of them became alcoholics or developed other problems. NASA found that the reason for this is because most of them had only one goal in life, one target, to travel in to space. (what tops that!) With out any other goals they became lost, confused, and depressed. I say stay and take the buyout, and while you are bored in your boring day job chair, start thinking of awesome new goals, big and small, great new things to change your life, make a huge list of them that will keep you going till you are well over a hundred years old.
17
8f2ab37a-ed6c 4 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like a complex issue, but at least as far as your mental health goes: reach out to your doc, get connected with a therapist.

I've been in a very similar situation as a first time founder for over half a decade, and getting professional help to deal with anxiety, burnout and depression was super helpful. I was spending days staring at the screen phasing out, couldn't get out of bed, crying, deriving no pleasure from anything, and all that jazz. This lasted over a year before it got bad enough I had to reach out for help. I was going to either quit and/or accidentally take the company down with me.

No pills involved to fix it in my case, just a lot of techniques and practices prescribed by the therapist that help you keep your sanity over the long term. You can get over it within a couple of months if you are diligent about staying on top of the process.

I suspect that almost every high performer who pushes hard in their career will eventually get to this point, it's normal, you need to learn how to deal with the level of anxiety that these positions can induce. Just like most super successful people have coaches, I think most super successful people have therapists keeping them afloat.

18
lastofus 4 days ago 0 replies      
I think part of the problem is that being a founder of a profitable tech company is painted as the promise land, filled with riches and being the master of your own destiny.

The reality is that it's a job like any other, but with way more stress, hours, responsibility, and people's livelihood depending on you not fucking up.

A big part of the problem is that it is rather difficult to talk about burnout, depression, etc with others as people think you are living the dream. Not to mention, it's expected you keep up appearances as the person steering the ship.

The only way to survive this and keep going is to find people you open up to, to talk things out and work through the shit. It kind of sounds like you are keeping this from your wife, at least in part, which is a big red flag. If you don't feel comfortable sharing everything with your partner in life, who can you talk to for support?

Don't keep on trying to fix this on your own.

19
masukomi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Once upon a time i was pretty similarly stressed about my situation. I had a good job, and worked with good people, but was just completely burnt out. Based on my personal experience i believe that you will end up destroying yourself, the people you love, and possibly harming your company, with this all consuming depression.

Get out.

For me i spent a month riding my motorcycle across the country. Came back, worked for a little while met a fantastic woman, then quit and spent four months riding our motorcycles from Boston to the bottom of South America. Came back, and started working again. Of course, 6 years later i'm daydreaming about doing it all over again. ;)

When i was young I was the child of an artist. We were pretty effing poor. But, we had food. We had a roof over our heads, and every day my mother worked doing something she loved. We were happy. Money isn't everything.

Now, you've got the compounding aspect of the acquisition and not wanting to screw over your friends/coworkers just because you're depressed as all get-out. You are absolutely wrong that you can't offload your work to someone else (as you noted in the comments). You probably can't hand it over today, but you can start training someone else, and if you're like most people who think that then you're probably overestimating your capabilities and underestimating those of the people around you.

I think you need to get out. Even if you decide to stay, you absolutely need to start offloading your stuff.

Also. talk to your wife more about this, and maybe talk to a psychiatrist. Many of us have aversions to them but they have tools they can offer you to help you work through the more difficult moments until you can get yourself out of this situation in a way that works for you.

20
sarah180 4 days ago 0 replies      
"Sucking it up" isn't actually an option. You're describing a mental health crisis. Unless other people might literally die (e.g., you're a soldier, police officer, etc) then your job is not worth sacrificing your own life.

Consider another perspective: if you get to the breaking point, which you're near, you're going to leaveeither because you quit or because you wind up in a hospital. You think you're importantbut you are not helping the company if your only options are to quit or die of overwork. Both of those situations end up with 0% of your energy going to the business.

Many people mentioned therapy, which I think is a good idea for everybody. My recommendation is to draw a boundary. Say "here's how much energy I feel comfortable putting in." Then really reflect on how to use that energy in the way that will help the company the most. That might mean hiring or training people. It might mean continuing to do what you do now, but letting more things fall to othersor just letting some things not happen.

You are more valuable to your company if you are healthy and present than if you are unhealthy and quit. When you start to feel "my only option is to quit because I'm too important" you're just indulging in a fantasy of running away.

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cathaeichert 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It is always the things we do not have that we crave the most, don't let yourself be fouled by the romantic "when finally this and that will have happened, when finally I work at McDonald's" ideas.

As a psychologist it sounds to me like you're in a serious crisis, a mixture of burn out, depression and lack of meaning. There is no "trick" to magically just "snap out of it". You might find counseling, coaching or therapy useful (especially logotherapy which focuses on finding meaning in life). Please do not just see a GP to get some drugs, antidepressants treat a symptom (namely brain chemistry) but it doesn't solve the underlying Probleme.Just "sucking it up" will not work, please do not mistake mental problems as "oh it's ONLY mental, it's not like I'm REALLY ill" - psychological problems are DEADLY!! Depression on deadly!

From my point of view it would be best not to give up all that you worked for for so long but to find someone you can train in your job and who can help you out. It might look like only you can do this job because it's so complex but it will not all collapse when you find someone to help you out for now, who you can train to learn how you manage stuff. They will learn and they will be able to manage it even though that might seem unrealistic to you at the moment. You NEED to take care of yourself before doing anything else at the moment. Don't go "but I have to be strong now and push through this" ... You will only become more miserable...Many people find it helpful to talk to a counselor to get a clearer picture about what they need now and how they can overcome their current struggle. Feel free to message me on Catharina.eichert@gmx.net if you have any questions, I'm happy to help out if anything I said resonated with you. Kind regards, Catharina

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gdubs 3 days ago 1 reply      
Have you ever meditated before? Sometimes in these situations our minds just swirl non-stop and we spend all of our time aganozing over everything that might happened, or has happened.

Meditation can help quiet your mind, and for a lot of people it can lead to being able to appreciate what's happening right now, in this moment.

Nike founder Phil Knight said, "if all you see are problems, you're not thinking straight."

You're probably not getting enough sleep. Perhaps consider taking a day or two to really just rest. No matter how important everything seems, you can almost always take a day or two. In fact, it sounds like you pretty much can't afford not to take a day or two and rest. Really sleep.

I'm a believer in the idea that when we're rested, when our thoughts our quiet, we're able to see the right way forward. When things feel hopeless we're often just burnt, and need to rest.

Phil Jackson, the champion NBA coach wrote a lot about his mediation practice. He had plenty of times in his life were he felt the way you're describing. He said knowing how to breath and quiet his mind saved him from many sleepless nights.

Good luck and remember everything feels better after a solid 8 hours of sleep.

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o2l 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have not been a founder of any company so I can't comment on that part. But I can strongly related to this part - "what it would be like to work at Wal Mart, or the construction site outside, or as a bagger at a grocery store"

I am a passionate web developer but a few months ago, I had these exact same thoughts mainly about switching to a low stress job. Later I realised that I needed a break badly and the monotonousness of work ( building some kind of CRUD all day ) for me personally was making my life severely discomforting. So I left the job against everyone's advice and for the next few months I had terrible arguments with my family about this decision. But I was at peace the moment after I left the job and I think it was the right decision, even though my family wants me to regret it.

It's not that you hate what you do, but you definitely need a break and not just like a vacation, but actual handing over of responsibilities to someone else. After a few months, I felt like being back into the business and the optimism for work was back.

So this is probably against what everyone else is advising here but if you don't like it, leave it. Your wife should understand this too, if this is so important to you that it makes you cry. And definitely take up a stress free job for a change. It should help.

As far as leaving the company goes, you might find someone in ranks just below you who could be able enough to take over most aspects of your position.

Let me know, if you think this is a completely wrong advice.

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nhod 4 days ago 0 replies      
I would recommend investing in a CEO or Executive Coach. It is lonely at the top even with mentors and spouses. Hiring my CEO Coach years ago was among the best decisions I have ever made on any level. It paid for itself immediately certainly from a financial perspective, but also (and more importantly) from an emotional and mental health perspective. This, in turn, allowed me to see things through new eyes and push through barriers I otherwise was stuck behind. I became a better leader, a better husband, and a better person as a result, and I transformed my life and my company in the process. Not sure if it's kosher or not to push someone's services here but I don't really care; this particular coach changed my life for the better, and I know he could change yours too. Dale Larson at Startup Happiness: https://startuphappiness.com/
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wpietri 4 days ago 0 replies      
Regarding hiring somebody for the day-to-day, maybe you'll find this story from another founder useful:

https://sivers.org/delegate

I suggest that you have two kinds of problem: a daily happiness deficit and a long-term happiness debt. Your day-to-day life has been grinding you down for a while.

You'll have to make two kinds of changes. One is to pay down the giant debt. E.g., once you get acquired, take a serious vacation. But the other, the more important one, is to make sure that most days are at least modestly positive for you.

I'd also suggest you find a therapist. You may have to try a few before you find one that's a good match. They can help you figure out whether it's depression or just a reasonable reaction to a bad situation. Either way, they can also help you figure out ways of coping

Think of it like hiring a lawyer: Sure, you could figure all the contracts out yourself, but the lawyer has more training and much more experience. It's the same deal with therapy. A good therapist will be able to see patterns you are missing because they have seen it many times before.

Feel free to email me (contact info in my profile). I'm glad to correspond or talk on the phone if you'd like to discuss this further.

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mindcrime 4 days ago 1 reply      
I mean, it's hard to truly know what somebody else is experiencing and to give advice in a situation like that. But if you're that close to an acquisition and if the acquistion stands to make a material difference in your life going forward (like, does it get you to "fu money"), then I'd lean towards "suck it up and stay long enough to cash out". OTOH, if the acquisition gets you, say, enough money for a new car, but not enough to retire, (just to use made up parameters), then maybe it makes sense to just walk away. But even then, I wonder if you'll feel a lot of regret over spending so much time building something, and then walking away right before a big milestone.

Maybe a nice, long vacation would be a good step before making any drastic decisions. Could you arrange to take 3-4 weeks off and go somewhere quiet and relax for a bit before deciding?

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endlessvoid94 4 days ago 1 reply      
How big is the company?

You're right to identify this as a hard problem. I've been in your exact shoes before. 100+ person company, the weight is heavy.

The good news is that it's totally possible to get out without wrecking the company's outlook. But it does take a minor amount of time investment. Perhaps it's possible to view it as a new challenge: how to quickly hire or find someone within your org who is capable of taking over your day-to-day responsibilities? Who do people ask for decisions / advice when you're out sick?

Frame it as a promotion for them. Give them a (small) comp bump and a new set of responsibilities that include most (or all) of your existing responsibilities.

Coach them for a quarter, give them enough rope to hang themselves with, give them radically candid feedback, and then you can step away. (Or even go do something else interesting at the company!)

I can go into a lot more detail if you'd like -- please email me. The username in my profile (not my HN handle) at gmail.

Good luck, positive vibes!

P.S. Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqmdLcyES_Q as a jumpstart to getting your org ready for life without you

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rbobby 3 days ago 0 replies      
You could be suffering from major depression, aka clinical depression (maybe not... but some of what you said rings that warning bell for me). The crying in the shower is probably the biggest bell ringer for me.

I've known a couple of tech types (one dev, one a pm) that both found out that they were clinically depressed. They've both bounced back from it and are their old selves again.

Major depression is a serious medical issue and can happen to anyone... there's nothing to be ashamed of (and anyone who thinks otherwise is ignorant). Treatment is usually talk therapy and antidepressants (and usually some time away from work... expecting a sick person to be at work while they're undergoing treatment is plain wrong).

Googling "major depression" will show you lots of resources... but talking to your doctor about this is your first step (this can be tough... but you can do it). Don't put that off. Especially don't put that off due to worry about step 2 though N.

So... your 2 options are really 3: See a doctor!

Best of luck (and feel free to reach out and I'll offer what advice/help I can).

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molyss 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you don't already have professional help (therapy), seek some.

I've experience the hour long crying showers first hand, and I don't wish it to anyone. Don't minimize how you feel, and don't blame/shame yourself. Therapy can be scary and still cary a stigma, but it's basically allowed me to be myself.

I am no founder myself, so I don't pretend to know what you're going through, but I know the symptoms. Let me know if you want to discuss this further

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agitator 4 days ago 1 reply      
Dude, talk to your wife about it. I feel like I wouldn't get through 50% of the stress in life without having someone who cares about me more than I do to bounce ideas and thoughts off of.
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yanilkr 4 days ago 0 replies      
I can relate to the pain. The mind seems to never stop and it seems to be in a perpetual state of anxiety.

I dealt with burnout several times. The only thing that helped me deal with it was turn off electronic devices after certain time of the day and before certain time of the day. No tv, no phone, no laptop, not even your favorite meditation app. Do anything which does not involve electronics or information heavy.

Much other advice about how to deal with such issues over long term are easier said than done. Some of my favorite ideas are

Build sustainability into your engineering, product and sales process. It's like running a marathon. If you run too fast in the beginning, you get tired so easily.

Be less outcome dependent and more discipline driven. If you plan to make incremental progress, you will eventually have something stable and it gets easy to continue. If you need a constant rush of positive outcomes to get you to do something, it does not build resilience to last longer.

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threesixandnine 4 days ago 2 replies      
Go work on a contruction site for a few days. You'll be running back to your old 'miserable life', believe you me.

What is it with this romantic view of supposedly stress free jobs of filling shelves with food or digging a hole for a garden tree ( the easiest thing in construction ).

I feel your pain since I get similar feelings as you sometimes but then I remember 20 something me doing roofing and breaking ice on a path with a big ass hammer for tourists to enjoy a walk around the lake. It sucks.

I can only offer you one solution that I would personally do if I were at your place right now... Sell asap and move on.

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gumby 3 days ago 1 reply      
I've been there. I was unhappy, I left, I felt better. Later I started other businesses.

In my case the threshold is ~200 people; after that I don't really recognize everyone. In once case I was having fun but my wife was miserable.

In all these cases I was glad I left.

Now: if an acquisition truly is imminent, and you can hang on a bit longer, go for it. The buyer will be able to find someone to run the business, perhaps internal, perhaps not. It likely won't happen overnight (unless they have someone in mind already) but some pressure will come off you immediately.

If the acquisition isn't truly imminent you can indeed start looking for someone to run the business. Believe me there are people with domain experience and executional experience you can find. Use an executive headhunter. Have your board members help.

Sounds like burnout. Take it seriously, but it doesn't mean all is lost! Those LOIs are light at the end of the tunnel.

Oh, and consider therapy. You may or may not need drugs, but they probably aren't the first line of therapy. The talk therapy is good, and as a CEO you probably have nobody else to talk to about certain things -- especially if you think you can't talk to your spouse about stuff. Talk therapy is not a sign of weakness -- in fact you sound like the kind of person who has their act together (probably you don't feel like it, but your note says you understand something's not right), and so you probably will benefit a lot from it. Many people in the valley, especially top execs, are in therapy and it helps them a lot.

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lunaru 4 days ago 0 replies      
Being a founder is tough and the grind several years in can feel like a heavy burden. However, it sounds like with the LOI, you might be looking at an opportunity that comes with a welcome change of pace.

Directly answering your original question, I would take a serious look at option #2 ("Suck it up and work on the same thing for 2-5 more years").

In my personal experience, I sold my previous company to a much larger company some years back and it was a great change. Even though it was "working on the same thing" for 3 more years, there were new people to meet and new challenges to tackle. After all, humans are a social species and just having a different set of people to interact with can be a much needed change.

You might be thinking you'll be working on the same problems, but really it will be nothing alike. Your work might get better or it might get worse, but I guarantee that you and your company post-acquisition will be experiencing something very different. And I'm not just talking about the money part. That might be very helpful to get you out of this unhappy burnout.

If you need someone to chat with over email about what might be upcoming if you decide to take the deal, feel free to hit me up. Contact info in profile.

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brightball 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a little late on this one but I'd echo what many others here have said, find a way to push through to the sale and then talk with the board to first, distribute your workload and/or define an exit strategy.

You're essentially sitting on a lottery ticket and when it hits, you'll have a heck of a lot more free time.

Just looking at this from another perspective, I tried running a contract programming business for a few years that sucked up my life and eventually put me in the hospital at age 30. That business never consistently made money. Contract programming is very much a peaks-and-valleys experience and once you experience that for long enough you end up working like that. You kill yourself on the peaks in hopes to not experience the valleys. When it was over I was so happy to have a 40 hour a week job...it's a vacation by comparison.

Consistency is the key. If you've got something that is generating a steady income, enough that it's profitable enough to be acquired...then it's on you to scale yourself down.

It's also within your ability to do so. I see that you've cited domain specific knowledge. All knowledge can be learned and taught. You might not be able to hire somebody off the street like that, but you can most likely hire a few people and delegate. If the work isn't interesting, then you need to find a way to enhance the experience for people working there. Make the hours creative or the opportunity unique. See if you can find ways to let people experiment or add their own flavor to it. If it's wood-chopping dull, then maybe those creative efforts are better focused on automating the day to day?

Wrote about my experience here if it helps:

http://www.brightball.com/articles/what-exactly-happened-to-...

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throwaway122394 3 days ago 1 reply      
As a founder I can definitely relate.

Everyday driving to/from the office my chest is so tight it feels hard to breath. I constantly think about my old friends that have real weekends, have time for hobbies, and get to leave their work at work.

The main reason I keep going is that I actually enjoy the work. When I take a break I get excited about going back and continuing to build the company.

Having worked landscaping/construction before starting a company, I can say I often think fondly of the simplicity of those jobs. Though when I was there I all I could think about was starting my own company.

You really need to find a way to be happy regardless of what you're doing. That may be by just cutting back on how much you are working, delegating more, and finding meaning outside of work.

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jacquesm 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well, you're about to be acquired. Tough it out, insist on being paid in cash and live long and happily ever after. Simple!

The idea that you are essential to allow the company to be acquired is most likely nonsense, I've yet to meet someone that could not be replaced with some goodwill and hard work to transfer responsibilities. Better that than to have someone that does not really want to work!

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twobyfour 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why don't you want your wife to know?

Your personal support network is exactly what you need to be able to lean on to get through stressful times.

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mindfulgeek 4 days ago 0 replies      
In my experience, if I am wondering if I am depressed it is because I am, it just happened slowly over time, like a frog boiling in water. I didn't realize it happened until the water was bubling all around me and I was doing things like crying in the bathroom, alone and scared. Please get professional support. Things are much better than they seem. You are on the brink of many founders dreams, but you are stuck in a nightmare. It will go away and you will find joy again. You've already taken your first step in finding it. Good luck. This too shall pass.
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thepaulstella 22 hours ago 0 replies      
FWIW, as someone who's worked those jobs (hard labor and customer service) for roughly 7 years prior to becoming a full-time programmer, I can assure that those jobs aren't stress free. Quite the opposite, actually. I try my hardest to never take my opportunities for granted and I can't imagine pining for the days of being treated like a low-level grunt of a company. I now have unyielding respect for those working those jobs by not idealizing their "simple" profession.
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thiagooffm 3 days ago 0 replies      
You are overvaluating the wallmart job and thinking it "seems" stress free. The truth is that if you want to do anything at a very competitive level, even packaging goods at the counter, it WILL be stressful.

You could also stop stressing: don't answer the calls, let your business slide and go bankrupt.

Running a business is no easy feat. As you've got that far, you probably know that. You are likely tired because of it, which is normal, everybody gets tired and there's nothing wrong with you or your business.

I think what you need is to perhaps promote someone or get a friend to help you. I don't see how a domain can be so insanely complex and out of reality for everyone. You probably just need someone and that someone to spend enough time with you.

My point with stress is that I don't necessarily own a business anymore and never had as much success as you doing that, I'm not about to cash in some big money which would allow me to follow other passions I have. After some failed startups, I work for a big business and the only thing that changed was the job "security". Instead of having to look for a new job every year or so, now I don't anymore, but it's stressful: I want to do my best.

The same happens when I try to play the guitar, I get also tired, stressed out. Then I give it a pause. As with a business or work, you can't pause, but you can always ask for help.

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sharp_heat 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is what happens when you do a startup that you're not truly passionate about. Thank you for this, for making me realize the very real risk of being trapped a few years in.
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carlsborg 4 days ago 0 replies      
Book into a high end beach resort for a week and work from one of those terrace lounges overlooking the water with wifi. Strictly limit the scope of things you will work on. This worked really well to soothe that decision fatigue/burnout feeling for me at least.
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mst 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you can find a psych/counselor that works for you, that's almost certainly a good idea - but when I hit a point of stress/burnout where I probably should have done that, I was also at the point where I was completely unable to actually make the call to set it up.

After six months of waffling back and forth stressing myself out even worse over the fact that I wasn't doing the obvious thing about it, I concluded that if I was going to manage to do it I'd've done it by now, looked for other options, and suddenly realised that Tianeptine is (a) entirely unscheduled and hence not actively illegal to posess in both the UK and US (b) easily mail orderable from Hong Kong.

Also Tianeptine is acute so if it works for you, you'll be able to tell by a few days in (three in my case). I've been deeply fond of it and far more productive since.

Note to anybody about to reply telling me that's a terrible idea for any of the obvious reasons it could be a terrible idea: Yes, I know, but I was incapable of doing any of the things I should have done to fix it and I had a company and team I was letting down and this worked for me. I am now slowly getting back to a point where I don't feel like I'm letting everybody down, and that's more important to me than pretty much anything else.

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sebastianconcpt 4 days ago 0 replies      
A crisis of meaning. Need to understand better the sources of unhappiness. Is just being tired or bored? is being close to burnout? is because you are alone too much on job tasks? All those areas are "workable". I wouldn't hesitate to have a session with a psyche professional to help to dig on those things in an manageable way. Maybe the best outcome is to be acquired, maybe you are close to reach something important and this is your inner resistance.
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rbistolfi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hi founder,

I think you are idealizing other jobs because you are suffering in your current position.I am from a development country where many would give it all in exchange of being in your shoes. I don't mean that your problem is not real or important. What I want to say is that you may be missing a lot of positive value because your perspective is narrowed by how you feel. Talk with your wife, you will feel way better, I am sure she will understand and support you. Find professional help, like a therapist. Compensate your day at work with activities that you enjoy, this can do wonders!. Hire someone, maybe not for replacing you because that is too hard, but for helping you with your tasks and having more time for doing things you enjoy.I am sure you will be able to build the strength you need for going through the acquisition an collecting the goodies of the hard work you have done over the years.

I wish you all the best

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owens99 3 days ago 0 replies      
There's a lot of great advice here on what to do. The one thing I want to add is see a doctor for your depression. It sounds like everything in your business is going well and you should be proud of yourself, yet personally you feel at the lowest point. Burn out is real and happens to most entrepreneurs who go the distance. When you get depressed, your mind focuses on negative memories and situations and you get trapped in a train of negative thought. Even though, almost every negative memory can be thought of in a positive way. There was one time where I felt like you do, and after working on my depression I was able to recognize the negative thoughts in my mind and start to look at them in a different way. Once this happened I felt like a completely new person and was able to look at the same data in a different way that made me feel empowered and hopeful. Depression will destroy you if you don't get it treated. Happiness is a conscious decision and you can recover from your burn out if you shift your perspective.
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damm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't really see a problem here; your mind is drifting wandering. Pretty clear that you are restless but it's likely mostly in you.

1. Meditation and taking time out of the day to enjoy your life

2. Take time out of your day to enjoy what you have

3. Remember to take time out of your day to enjoy life for what it is. Not what it can be.

4. Take time out of your day to appreciate your peers and your loved ones. Take them out to dinner or just show how much you appreciate them.

5. Lastly if you really want to quit; you need to setup an exit plan. It's clear you have a few excuses; hell don't we all. Can't find someone to replace you? well if the domain knowledge is high; it's likely needing to be documented and distilled down. Maybe it's too much for 1 person maybe 2 or 3 people could replace you.

Lastly stop assuming life has to be a certain way; it's hard enough with all these assumptions and expectations lumped on us. By beating yourself up you are just doing yourself a disservice.

Don't forget to tell yourself how amazing you are; I mean you are a founder at a company that is not in debt. You could be acquired; you don't have to be a founder forever it sounds like.

Time to take time and celebrate.

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nerdy 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd encourage you to be transparent with your wife.

Tell her your situation. Ask what she thinks. Discuss options. Execute upon your mutual decision. Do it when you two have time to dig into the details.

Don't rush it but if you're unhappy that's no way to live. I'm leaving my company this summer, my business partner has known for some time. My wife knew first.

Look, I really don't know your situation but you might want to ask yourself why you felt it necessary to hide it from your wife. Can you not be honest with her? Are you trying to protect her? And if so, does it really protect her from anything or just give her a warped perception of the circumstances? Her opinion of this makes way more of a difference than anyone on HN.

Love your wife and be open and honest with her. She's far more important than any business.

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WarrenBaker 2 days ago 0 replies      
If at all possible, I'd hire someone and gradually teach them the real pain points for you. Don't forget, something you hate may be something that someone else finds to be the coolest challenge! By giving them some things they might like as well as a few of the worst things in your work life, they could thrive and it cuts you some slack. Yes, it may be difficult domain material but people can learn and you may be surprised at how fast and how much of it someone who has a real interest in it can absorb.

One of the reasons you feel completely trapped is that, effectively you are. You need to get one or two people who can start giving you a break. Then you will get perspective and can make reasonable career decisions. When you're trapped, it gets worse and worse and you may just toss all that work to now and walk.

Hire someone, or delegate bits to others (or do both) to get some space from the things that are driving this ideation. You will be much happier and it will buy time to determine what you need to do for you to thrive.

My heart goes out to you!

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leandot 3 days ago 0 replies      
My sincere 2 cents:1) talk to your wife2) get the best deal out of your pending acquisition - highest cash component upfront3) find and train someone to take your place4) at that point check if you are still so unhappy - leave or stay5) do what makes you happy
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daniel_levine 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ping me. I know some folks who would probably consider buying the product without forcing you to keep working on it. It's more common than you might think.
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JabavuAdams 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I am amazed by the number of responses that aren't "find a mental health professional to talk to".

Talk to your wife, then talk to your doctor. Don't wind up dead or making a rash decision that would seem silly when you're in a healthier frame of mind.

I have had the experience of wanting to kill myself on a Friday, and then thinking "boy that was stupid" by Monday.

Please seek help, before it gets worse. There is no shame in this.

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Mikho 3 days ago 0 replies      
What you describe is usually result of being reactive, not proactive in life. When you don't proactively control your life and rather react to other people's agendas, need to always face problems when they already happened, and extinguish fires, you end up exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally. Instead plan well ahead and make the world around you stick to your schedule and life rhythm. Being more proactive let you enjoy life much more while predicting fires and troubles well before they happen and, hence, being able to solve them on your own terms.

Definitely it's only one of the reasons and maybe not even the biggest one. This is symptom of bigger disbalance in life that requires more free "me time" time for you, more calming and wondering to decide what's important for you in life, what you want from life.

As an actionable solution I'd recommend 1/ to start meditating. It helps a lot to calm down and enjoy life. Also, 2/ start lead you life by saying more NOs to what's not on your own agenda.

I like a lot Derek Sivers on saying NO: If youre not saying HELL YEAH! about something, say no.https://sivers.org/hellyeah

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soneca 4 days ago 0 replies      
Holly shit a lot of weird things being said about the role of the wife. I agree with most of downvotes and wholeheartly agree with sharing with your wife.

Just commenting in a new thread to give a suggestion: have you considered promoting someone to your executive position? A founder stepping down to a "more suited" executive might not hurt the acquisition.

And I would give another thought about hiring someone for the role.

I think "sucking up" is the worst option and leaving without a plan the second worst.

Anyway, I wish you good luck. I am not a founder, but fortunately you can find advice from the right people.

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gadders 3 days ago 0 replies      
Never been a CEO or a founder, but I always thought this was a good read:

"Given this stress, CEOs often make the one of the following two mistakes:

1. They take things too personally

2. They do not take things personally enough

In the first scenario, the CEO takes every issue incredibly seriously and personally and urgently moves to fix it. Given the volume of the issues, this motion usually results in one of two scenarios. If the CEO is outwardly focused, she ends up terrorizing the team to the point where nobody wants to work at the company any more. If the CEO is inwardly focused, she ends up feeling so sick from all of the problems that she can barely make it to work in the morning.

In the second scenario, in order to dampen the pain of the rolling disaster that is the company, the CEO takes a Pollyannaish attitude: its not so bad. In this view, none of the problems are actually that bad and they neednt be dealt with urgently. By rationalizing away the issues, the CEO feels better about herself. The problem is that she doesnt actually fix any of the problems and the employees eventually become quite frustrated that the Chief Executive keeps ignoring the most basic problems and conflicts. Ultimately, the company turns to crap."

https://techcrunch.com/2011/03/31/what%E2%80%99s-the-most-di...

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DamonHD 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was in a start-up (as an expensive hire) some years ago where each day was horrible, and I thought I was suffering terrible 'flu. The day the board flew in to fire me* and I stepped out into the sunshine the 'flu lifted instantly. Stress not 'flu in other words, which is I suspect is where you are. The crying was probably good, and supports my suggestion!

And when you're that deep in stress it's even more difficult than usual to see a way out, to be rational, to separate the short-term from the long-term.

I wasn't even a founder, and I have been founder of a handful of start-ups now, all with their bad moments.

Can you ease off a bit, get someone else to help out, and get through acquisition? That is, a less binary view than you suggest. I don't think the buyer is likely to want either a dead company or a walking-dead company with a burnt-out founder.

Even the big boys get overwhelmed and stressed out from time to time and have to take a break:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-lloyds-idUKTRE7A10Y62011110...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfina...

And all these years later he's steered Lloyds back into profit and the UK government just disposed of its final shares, also at a nominal profit.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. It is probably not an oncoming train.

But you need to give yourself a chance to get some perspective.

*I did point out as a contractor that all they had to do was pay me up to the end of the day and say goodbye and I'd be happy. And I got to leave at noon. Bonus half day. The company did less well, but that's another story...

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burner_qwert 3 days ago 0 replies      
Had something similar, but alone ...

Weekdays: appear strong, I'm responsible for 30 people, nobody can see that I'm vulnerable.

Weekends: massive bingie, parties, alcohol, coke, hookers...

Last year in april after a 4 day weekend I almost died, had to call the ambulance on myself. My legs and arms started to feel numb, couldn't move them, was scary. Called the ambulance, they said that go to the street wait for them, and under no circumstances close my eyes. It was really hard to keep them open, but when I heard the sirens just snaped. Had this thought closing my eyes that I may never open them again. Turns out that I didn't drink enough water, and my blood got so dense that my heart couldn't circulate it. Wake up in the ambulance car still in my street feeling pretty well, bribed them so they say they haven't found me, because I had a big contract signing in 5 hours.

Then I reached out for help, on therapy since. Before that I was thinking about it for long, but how should I choose, etc. Doesn't matter, just went with the first one I found sympathetic online.

The second one is sport, get your self time to move 2-3 times a week, does wonders.

I wish I could say I haven't touched any substances since, but currently I feel much better.

So get therapy and start to move, that worked for me.

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daxfohl 3 days ago 0 replies      
Take a trip to the doctor, get some antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication prescribed. They'll level you out so you can focus rationally on getting stuff done without the anxiety. I never had much luck with therapy, but meds worked phenomenally. (And I was very very reluctant to start, fearing long-term effects, but after a few months I was able to come off of them with no problems).

This project sounds like not a big life goal for you, so once you're stable, plan a nice end game. Plan for it to happen sooner rather than later. Think about other life goals you have, and how you can pursue them afterwards. Try to make time for these things. Anti-anxiety meds will help you do this. You regain a lot of time that unconsciously allocated to fretting.

Let good enough be good enough. Try to get the company into a reasonable position but don't feel like it has to be perfect. Downsize a bit if need be. Learn to say No. People's lives are not dependent on your ability to do stuff for them. Focus on those things that create the most value with the least time/stress.

Once you get to this point, you may even decide you like the company enough to stick with it.

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zeta0134 4 days ago 0 replies      
Throwaway, this sounds like a classic case of burnout, and I don't know how to say this in a way that isn't going to sound rough, so here it is: You're doing your company a disservice by staying in your current state.

If you're unhappy with your work, you won't be passionate about leading a company. Especially through an acquisition, your colleagues are looking at you, a founder, as a leader, and drawing on you for strength. If you can find it within yourself to be that leader, then that's great! In that case, you probably shouldn't also be the lead developer, and given your extensive domain specific knowledge, it sounds like you might be doing too much all at once. I can't know; I'm not in your shoes, so this is all an outsider looking in.

It sounds like for the moment, what you really need is to pull back and relax, take some time for yourself, and recover. Your body only has so much willpower to go around, and if you get in the habit of exhausting that regularly, you'll burn out every time. Figure out if reducing your role at the company will let you continue, and do that if you want. Or, if you need to craft an exit plan, do that as well, and find someone just as passionate as you to fill your shoes. But take care of yourself first!

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mrwnmonm 4 days ago 0 replies      
> I drift off into exploring what it would be like to work at Wal Mart, or the construction site outside, or as a bagger at a grocery store. It seems so stress free.

I feel this too, when it comes to programming, there are small number of positions that would makes me happy, but if i would have to deal with CRUD apps, i would prefer a job like you have mentioned.

Now i want a job that i don't care about, that leave my mind in peace, so i would dive in theoretical computer science with a free mind.

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inuhj 4 days ago 0 replies      
If it's any consolation I feel the same way. Company is doing 1.6MM/mo in revenue but I haven't been excited about it in over a year. I've put good people in place but I'm tired of getting up everyday and facing the exact same problems we faced 4 years ago. I'm at least 2 years out from acquisition so I'm spending my time trying to develop some satisfying hobbies. I restarted therapy a month ago and that's helping.
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my_throw_away 3 days ago 0 replies      
A) Make time to de-stress. Force yourself if necessary.

B) Exercise is a good way to de-stress.

C) Start planning how to implement your third option. You need to do this anyway so that you are not a single point of failure. This is good risk mitigation practise. However I don't know enough about pitching/diplomacy/PR to tell you the best way to spin this to acquirers.D) You many need to delegate to multiple other staff, not just one.

E) Once you are de-stressed, you will be better able to judge whether you are able to suck it up as necessary.

F) Personally, I think that if it's only 2 more years, it may be worth sticking out, provided you first implement points A-E above. There is a big difference between 2 years and 5 years. You could give yourself a hard deadline to be out within 2 years, and take steps to make sure that you are not a single point of failure by that time.

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ryandrake 4 days ago 0 replies      
> "The product is just too complicated (tons of domain knowledge required) for someone to come in and take over."

This statement is almost certainly not true. Anything can be learned by someone sufficiently motivated. You, yourself, were not born with the knowledge needed to run your company, were you?

> "Additionally, the product just isn't that interesting (glorified CRUD app) and it's been hard to retain developers."

People's motivations are different. Some people want to work on some super-interesting cutting edge product. Fine, you can't offer that, so forget them. Some people will do any job so long as they're rewarded with enough money. If you're about to get acquired, you may find you suddenly have the ability to hire these people. There are also tons of underemployed tech folks out there suffering away as "engineer number 7 from the left" who would love that rare chance to lead a project, move into product management, and/or finally have some ownership stake in what they're working on. They're probably super easy to find too. Just wait in the parking lot of any major tech employer at around 6:30-7:00PM and look for the people walking out the door with sad, exhausted faces :)

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lazyjones 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was in a similar situation a few years ago - not as badly burned out and wanting to quit, but having a strong desire to do something else after 17 years(!) on the same project, with me as sole founder and still major developer/"architect". We were also in acquisition talks back then and minor health issues (that turned out to be rather major ones later) didn't help.

What happened next:

* the acquisition - I discussed the possibility of leaving and insisted that the new owners obtain much more than just a slim majority, so I didn't have to worry as much about the future of the company if I left (it would have been annoying to have a major stake and no control, particularly as an opinionated ex-founder). It wasn't easy and my plans certainly didn't affect the price positively, but we found a good solution.

* I left rather quickly (a few months after closing the deal) and nominated a most suitable candidate for CEO who had been in the company for ~12 years. He's not a developer, but he's doing great and the company is thriving. They hardly ever need to ask me things about old code now. In hindsight, everyone is happy that a larger stake changed hands.

So, that's my recommendation based on personal experience. Stick around till the acquisition and make sure you can leave without causing major problems. Good luck! Remember that as a founder, you might misjudge/overrate how much the company actually depends on you.

PS. as for "other plans", life makes its own - I have been mostly dealing with my health issues lately, so it's safe to say I was better off beforehand. C'est la vie...

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manigandham 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why do you think you only have 2 options?

Suck it up, get the sale done (especially when you're so close to improving the lives of your other founders) then take a vacation and recharge.

If you need to quit at that point then do so, but at least you're not taking the rest of the team with you. Would you feel ok if they did the same to you? You signed up for a team sport, hold the line and finish the job.

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rcazangi 4 days ago 0 replies      
First congrats on taking the first step and sharing your pain.

As others have said, this is not uncommon and you're not alone. It has everything to do with your mental health and well being. I've been through something very similar and it basically revolves around burnout, stress, depression, anxiety and some times panic attacks (e.g. crying uncontrollably). While you don't treat those and their root causes, you won't be solving the problem.

Treating means reaching out to experts (psychologist/psychiatrist) and sharing your burden and feelings with others. It's fundamental that you share it with your wife and once you feel more comfortable, with friends. You will notice how that will make you feel lighter and better.

Remember, people care about you and you're not alone. If your current situation is destroying your health, it's not worth it whatever $$$ is involved. Thus, take care of your health first and foremost. In parallel, learn (via therapy, meditation, physical activities, hobbies, etc.) how to deal with tough situations like this - life is full of them. That will not only prepare you for future difficulties but also bring joy and excitement back to your day-to-day work.

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deepGem 3 days ago 0 replies      
I feel your pain. I honestly think you should talk to your wife or your close friends about this. You'll be surprised how people help out when they know you are in distress.

Also, taking on a different activity that involves leadership might greatly help in boosting your morale. What you have done with your company is quite commendable that you should be proud of. If I were you, I would focus all my energies on the company's future post acquisition. To think of ways of growing the company beyond what it is today and see the acquisition as a possible out in that direction, not the end goal in itself might be helpful.You might also want to try to accomplish something in a field that you have no clue about but is not super hard on your brain. For instance, you could learn ballroom or Tango. You could also join a basic mountaineering course. You'll be out in the nature and accomplishing an endurance task. All your energies will be focused away from your day to day mind numbing activities and towards accomplishing a very different goal.

Good luck !

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maxander 3 days ago 0 replies      
This thread has become piled high with self-help advice already, and none of us know whether our advice will help any with your own situation, but here's another take; make the best of one advantage you have, which is an endpoint.

Pick a date and say to yourself (and probably also your wife), "on that day, I'm out of this shit job." Maybe with the uncertainty of selling you can't pick an actual day now, but do so as soon as you can, or say "at most X days after the sale." You know you probably aren't going to just quit outright, since the stakes are too high, but if each day is part of a process towards eventual quitting, that'll give it a bit more meaning.

But also, for goodness' sake, take a vacation. The office is going to have to get used to your not being around eventually, why not practice now?

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pmarreck 3 days ago 0 replies      
couple thoughts. note: 45 and have seen much drama in my life:

1) At some point you SHOULD try one of those other jobs. Bartending, etc. See how the other side lives. Exercise your freedom and don't feel constrained to do this sort of work (even though the ship currently depends on you right now to keep acting in this role in order not to sink).

2) You should really have a better relationship with your wife. Open up to her in ALL ways, and she might surprise you.

3) I don't understand how the product could not be that interesting AND YET it is just too complicated. People generally find complexity interesting. What am I missing, here?

4) Perhaps you're burnt-out? When's the last time you took a 2 week vacation? You NEED to figure out how to make it possible to disappear for a while. Because your sanity depends on it.

That all said... here is a bro-hug. People obviously find your work valuable. Take solace in that for the time being, at least.

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smt88 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have a friend who buys boring SaaS and doesn't require any existing employees to stay on. Send me an email via my HN profile if you want me to put you in touch.
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koolba 4 days ago 0 replies      
Take the money and run (figuratively).

Do the acquisition. Presumably there will be some mandatory retention period. Once their check clears, mentally check out and see what happens. Take a vacay, start coming in around 11am, don't answer emails off hours...

One of two things will happen, either the rest of the company will pick up the slack or the whole place will fall apart. Either way your money will be in the bank so who cares right?

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philip1209 4 days ago 0 replies      
I agree with others that you should take some time off, talk to a professional, and try to fix things if possible. That being said . . .

I was in a similar position: last remaining founder having to pick between an acquihire where I'd be locked in to a job I didn't want, or pivot. I had cash in the bank, so I felt obligated to not stop. I talked to my investors, and they said "it's ok to shut down."

The thing to keep in mind is that early-stage investors don't care about 1x or 2x returns - they hope that one or two out of dozens of investments make enough money to return the portfolio.

For me: I chose to shut down [1] and travel for a bit. We open-sourced the code, which made clients happy. I kept my phone in "do not disturb" mode for a solid month after shutting down - it took awhile to decompress. (The shutdown process is still ongoing after 4 months, unfortunately). Feel free to email me if you want to chat.

[1] https://blog.staffjoy.com/staffjoy-is-shutting-down-39f7b5d6...

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enknamel 4 days ago 0 replies      
I see many founders manage themselves out of their position. You hire a VP or Director to replace yourself in the day to day and then you transition out to the point where you can just go do whatever you want inside the company. Want to go back to being an individual contributor? Go for it! Want to just do skunkworks projects? Go for it!

There are many routes to happiness while maintaining your company.

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themantalope 3 days ago 0 replies      
OP, sounds like youre experiencing some real burnout. It's OK, it happens to a lot of people. Couple things to think about.

1) Are there ways you can keep going but change something to help? Going to see a therapist? Taking a short break? Talking about what's going on with your family? When you're stressed it's hard to remember all the support structures out there.

2) You need to ask yourself what is it worth to stay where you are (from a financial point of view). Is it worth a big payout in a few months to a year? Getting acquired is a good way to earn a big pile of FU money quick - and that will buy you all the time to relax and recoup that you need.

Do what you need to do to get better, and dont trash what youve worked hard to build! You can do it! Hope to see you post your success story a few months/years from now!

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yeukhon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hi I agree with a lot of the positive comments here. Take the money ASAP and go on a nice vacation. Do what you afterward. If I were ever a founder and sold off a company with a big check, I would go back to shool, get my master degree, and become an adjunct teaching. I enjoy that more than coding all day. So bite it, talk to your wife, see a therapist (I am depressed myself) and begin to offload your work to someone else. Remember many founders would leave after aqusitions probably felt the same as you ("they come in and want to take over a product I built")

It sounded like you are attached to your work and if so I understand because you were a co-founder. I am also very attached to my work but I am beginning to build up resistance. I just keep reminding myself if at some point I stop finding my job fun and enjoyful, then I need to find an exit, just like I would go home if I haven't slept for teo days.

Find and do the thing(s) you enjoy doing now. You wil be happier.

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0x4f3759df 3 days ago 0 replies      
You feel like you have no good options. There are always more options. Take a book-vacation. Get a bunch of biographies and go somewhere by yourself for a weekend and read other people's stories and you will get some perspective that might lead you to discover your options.
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SFJulie 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have made a hook in my coder life as a mover.

PRO: It was indeed a breeze and stress free.CON: without social help or illegal secondary activities you don't earn enough to sustain your life (pay rents, food, clothing and that's all).

But, it has been the moment of my life I was the happiest to work everyday.

Maybe that's how you could make a vacation. It helps you forget everything about the business brain washing that is strong in the IT, it clears your head of the noise, and you might come back more efficient, and retaining more employees by sharing their day to day concern of working to make a living and not living to work.

My take is simple, life is too short to not try to live some of your fantasies, some may actually prove to be fruitful.

Simply remember that there is no success in trying if you don't accept you also may fail and be disappointed.

I was lucky, may you be lucky.

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smoyer 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been in jobs that I've hated and have a fail-safe trick - hire people to do the parts of the job that you hate. There was obviously something that enamored by when you decided to found the start-up. Are you still in love with that technology/solution? Are you sure you don't just hate the increasing management and paperwork duties?

As a founder, you're always going to have to deal with strategic situations (like the sale of the company) but you'd be surprised how much of the day-to-day work you can pawn off on a recent MBA graduate. I'm also wondering if you've come to hate the job because of the work involved with finding a buyer and working towards the sale. It's grueling! But it's also over when the sale is complete.

Good luck!

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Jare 4 days ago 0 replies      
Let me add my voice to those already suggesting a therapist. There are a number of options you can take for each of the many things that are piling up in your head and heart, but I believe the only one that is non-negotiable is this one. Let me describe one possible way this may work for you:

- It will feel weird to open up to a stranger, and in the very beginning it may ADD to your stress; you will find reasons to cancel the session. Don't.

- It will level up quickly and after a few sessions, you will likely start to see improvements. The sessions may still feel a burden, but by now you know you do not cancel or skip them.

- Don't expect your entire outlook and days to be wholesome better, you may still have crisis like you described - the important thing is that you will also have more moments of energy and positive thinking. Use those highs to prepare your mind and agenda for the lows.

Other thoughts that may help:

- Making yourself less necessary may not be tactically wise right before the acquisition, but rest assured, afterwards it WILL be. Under stress time may pass too slowly, but it does pass, and you will get there.

- One or two trusted and loving family members may offer excellent emotional support, without the day-to-day baggage that may have made you feel you needed to hide from your wife. They will love you no matter your mistakes and weaknesses.

- A good friend you can talk to that has no ties to anything else that worries you - no direct link to your work or family. They can offer an objective point of view and help you plan, strategize and clarify the situations you face. And their mere presence will remind you that you are not alone, that you are worthy by who you are and how you are.

- I can't tell you how to involve your wife in your current plight. Ideally she could be one or more of the above, but life is not perfect. If you don't feel you can fully do it, do what you can and figure it out (possibly with marriage counsel) after you are feeling better and with less weight on your shoulders.

- Find some activity, even if it is infrequent or short, that is yours and yours only, and absolutely enjoyable for you. A TV show, a hobby, gym, swimming, a game, writing. Keep your support group 100% in the loop so they can help you keep it at a healthy level (they ensure that you do it, but they don't let you escape into it and neglect your "real" life).

All the best.

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congerous 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been there. A ton of good advice is on this thread. You need to try to influence your internal state chemically if you want to stay on track. Exercise, medication, meditation, eating and sleeping healthy are all helpful. It's also good to reconnect with people that matter to you: family, friends, etc. If you're closing the deal, and the money is significant, just think what you could do for them, or for other people who need help. And find ways to spend more time with them, because our lives are defined by our relationships. You could say your self exists to the extent that your in conversation with people who understand you. So go find with and be with them. It'll help you refuel.
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Mz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Several comments here say, essentially, "talk to someone to help you deal with your feelings." All well fine and good, but I will suggest you try to find a sounding board. Feelings come from somewhere. While there can be value in venting to get that part out of the way, if all you do is vent and get emotional support but you don't do any problem solving, it is sort of like drinking or taking drugs to deal with your problems. It is just sort of this feel good experience that bleeds off the big feelings and that's about it. And then you still have to face all this crap anyway.

But a good sounding board can help you hammer out why things aren't working and what might be done about them. They won't make your decisions for you nor tell you what to do. A good sounding board listens a lot and comments a little and makes thought provoking comments. They do a bit of reframing. They give you some perspective.

It can be a huge sanity saver to have a good sounding board to run things past. This is much, much, much more valuable than a psychologist or crying on the shoulder of a friend or loved one. Sometimes friends or loved ones can play the role of sounding board, but that isn't guaranteed.

I don't know how you can find a good sounding board. But I think this would do more for you than talking just to vent about the stress. I agree that you need very much to talk with someone, but not just to blow off steam. You need to be able to go "AAAARGH!!!! The Whatsit is NOT fucking working AGAIN for the third fucking time this fucking week" and have someone say "So, with that much downtime, would it make sense to buy a second Whatsit? Would having two of them eliminate one of the major sources of stress in your life?" or even "So, explain to me what a Whatsit does. Why is this such an enormous source of stress for you?" and then in the course of explaining its role in the business, you have some epiphany about how things work and why you keep tripping over X, Y and Z issues.

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timwaagh 4 days ago 0 replies      
two - five years isn't much if you're going to be rich. unhappiness is part of life. and when you get rich enough, just quit. because you will be able to.

if you're not going to be rich in any case then the answer is simple: you should quit. let it die. i know there is emotional investment, but there is no reason to continue to be unhappy. get another job you like better. assuming you need to get another job:

construction is not stress free. its not normal work, its labour. its risky. people develop physical problems. but yes i understand the appeal. diy'ing is fun. construction could be fun as well if you have the talent for it.

retail pays enough for kids, not adults with a house. so although it could be chill that is not really an option.

finally i recommend having some people around you to distract you from your worries. roommates. a loving wife. whatever you can get.

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ravimalik20 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hi.

Have you considered the possibility that what you are facing is probably because of depression? I know, you would say that the work is the cause of depression.

Either way, you should seek medical help for it. I have seen people waste away because of depression, my grandmother for one.

It would be much better once your depression is under control and you'd be able to make a better decision. There is one thing thatI learned growing up, "Never make a decision when your head isn't straight". You'd be able to make a better decision once you are free of the burden of depression. Trust me, and see a doctor for depression. There's nothing bad about it.

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ge96 3 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't that funny the grass is greener thing... washing plates might seem stress free, but you're the dog of the kitchen... have to deal with people's shit. Everybody throws the word "sorry" around.

I'm just speaking my experience as a guy on the shit-end of the stick haha by my own doing. If you're at this level/credibility why do some shit job. I realize you said stress free but being a drone/laborer sucks I'd like to lobotomize myself to escape from reality sometimes.

Going on someone's thought of "died in a car crash... continue..." maybe once you're acquired someone can take over your role after you train them/and be a consultant. I wouldn't know I only dream to be where you are at this point in my life cycle.

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omarish 4 days ago 0 replies      
> The product is just too complicated (tons of domain knowledge required) for someone to come in and take over.

Are you sure about this, beyond a reasonable doubt? Reading your post, this sounded to me like the kind of story I sometimes tell myself to boost my self-esteem when I feel like I'm in a bind.

If you are in fact irreplaceable, that means you're unique and one-of-a-kind. Feels good, doesn't it? Everything is hard, but at least you're valuable and unique.

At the same time, if you're actually replicable, that means you might not be as unique as you think you are in this situation, but fortunately by admitting that, you're on the way to solving the problem.

It sounds like you're in a generally good situation, and maybe there's someone smart and ambitious out there who would be willing to step up and help you make yourself redundant?

Good luck!

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nish1500 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was in the same position sometime back.

I was convinced that chasing startup money and fame was some objective form of happiness. The chase never made me happy.

Luckily, I woke up before I made any hires. My startup is still profitable, but it's more of a lifestyle business now. I work enough to make sure the profits don't fall.

I use my time to travel the world, live out of a backpack, make friends, do shit that scares me. Still struggling with the last part.

Last month I volunteered at a not-for-profit pay-as-you-go restaurant taking orders and cleaning tables and it made me the happiest I have been in almost a year.

I am also exploring my other passions - fitness, food, nutrition.

You know best what you need to do. I thought I'd share what I did.

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fipar 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm sorry you're going through a bad time. Some things I can say:

- I think your wife needs to know. I have never taken a big decision like a job change without consulting my wife. We're in this together, and if I wanted to not have to share this decisions with someone else, I would have stayed single. Please don't take this as an attack, I am not judging you. I'm pretty sure you don't want her to know so you don't stress her, but you too are in this together, and there's no need for you to go through this problem alone.

- I think you may have a partial view of those jobs you mention. It's quite likely that a bagger at a grocery store does not suffer the stress you have at his or her job, but the pay is also much less, and the stress may come at other parts of life (for example, if that job forces him or her to live in a bad, dangerous neighborhood). Construction? working outside must be very hard in the middle of the winter or the summer, for example. I think it's good that you consider other options if being a founder is burning you out, but you don't need to go to the other extreme.

- You and your family are the ones to decide if quitting is a good option. Don't worry about the company in that case. You are entitled to pursue your own happiness, and people who work for startups (I know, I have) are or should be aware that failure is one of the options, usually the most likely one. So please don't feel like you need to put up with something that makes you supremely unhappy so that the company stays afloat.

So my summary is: Find what is best for you and your family, don't worry about the company if you really feel that unhappy, and if you do quit, if finances allow, take a short break and then don't go for the first thing that comes your way. You are smart enough to have started a company and getting it close to an acquisition. That's something I was never able to do, so I say 1) hats off to you, and 2) you won't have trouble finding a good job once you're ready to do that.

Good luck.

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rubicon33 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really quite curious - At such a pivotal stage in the entrepreneurship life, one where you're having more success than most, you're still unhappy?

If I were in your situation, feeling the way you feel at this moment, it would be an indicator that something is VERY wrong with my life. But if that were the case, it would have been wrong for a long time, and I would have just been ignoring it.

I can't help but wonder if that's what's going on here with you. At the Nth hour, on the precipice of outstanding success, you're peaking in unhappiness. The correlation is likely not a coincidence. It's an unhappiness in you that has been there for a long time, and the more you continue to ignore it, the more it will rob you of your life.

Find peace, my friend. It may mean enormous life changes.

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whistlerbrk 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can you negotiate as part of the acquisition a sabbatical, frame it as you've been at it for so long that stepping away for a minute would help clear your mind and focus you on the road ahead with new better ideas.

Take like 6 weeks, hard travel and exercise, eat well, relax. Don't use email.

91
contingencies 4 days ago 0 replies      
Execute on the LOIs pronto and get paid external help, preferably from the acquirers. If you say its urgent they should jump. It's in their interest.

Remember:

1. Even if in the very worst case the result is a slightly lower price, that's way less important than your health.

2. Life balance is a real thing, burnout is a real thing, they cannot be ignored indefinitely.

3. You work hard and they obviously value you and your team's achievements, which means they also can relate to the situation.

4. Don't feel shameful in admitting your limits, we all have them.

5. Acquirers will work with you to hand over responsibilities in a way that works for your situation. Remember from their perspective that, since every acquisition is different, complexity of handover is actually normal and expected.

92
Grustaf 4 days ago 0 replies      
Since your company seems quite mature, it's got to be possible for you to find someone you can help run day to day. Even if you have to be there 80% in the start it's a win, and you can slowly ramp it down to say 20%.

The aqcuirint company probably don't expect you to be super passionate after their takeover, so they shouldn't object. Even if they do, the worst that could happen is probably that they knock off a chunk of your earnout package, you'll probably make much more than if you simply leave now.

If money is not the issue at all then you should definitely leave as soon as you can. There is absolutely no point in being miserable if it doesn't pay off big time. You already did something awesome, be proud of that and move on with good conscience!

93
_notme 4 days ago 0 replies      
I feel your pain, I'm not a founder, but I also work in tech as a developer and sometimes wonder what it would be like to be a bartender or waiter. I have a friend who works as a waiter and always seems to be on vacation in some exotic part of the world. Makes me wonder how he can afford to do that and I can't?

I realised I needed to do 2 things:1/ Figure out what you REALLY want to do.2/ Figure out how your work life can support it. Is your work life not supporting it? Figure out what you need to change to make it get there.

For me, that meant switching jobs to something that allows remote work and unlimited vacation and organising my work day so that I can just put in 8-5 and leave work at the door.

Also, try taking an open-ended vacation. Don't make any plans, just get the time off and do what feels right.

94
Baobei 4 days ago 0 replies      
Consider to take a break for 2 weeks, rather than resigning, replacing yourself or talking to your wife. After 2 weeks you may feel less burnt out and see things more clearly. You can get medication (and I for one can confirm it does work) but ideally that's to get you out of the rut not a permanent solution. It's possible that your lack of passion for this idea, combined with how much time and dedication it takes is making you feel this way. Your mind/body doesn't understand the inherent contradiction. I'm married to my cofounder and it's hard to be honest when one is feeling weak, but hiding stuff damages your intimacy and closeness. Protect that, it's worth more than your company.
95
TallGuyShort 3 days ago 0 replies      
If the third option of hiring someone to do your day to day really was impossible, this would never end. I would strongly recommend getting someone to come on board and start trying to take off some of the load / get up to speed. It might take a long time but either you're going to quit and ruin it anyway, it's going to kill you and that'll ruin it anyway, or that has to happen eventually. Start now. I get why it's hard: attracting someone who's committed, getting the incentives right for them to not feel the same way in 2 years, etc. But it's really worth focusing on attacking those specific issues as soon as you feel up to it. Even if the person just takes over some QA work / automation / simpler features and fixes, etc. Doesn't necessarily require an unreasonable amount of domain knowledge but if it frees up a couple of hours a day for you, you could take a hike in the mornings and stop feeling like crying about what you're not experiencing every day (or whatever it is you'd love to do instead of work).

More immediately - it sounds like you need a vacation. I've been there with the whole fantasizing-about-walmart-construction-sites-and-grocery-stores but it's a dead-end in the long-run. Every job will wear on you and come with it's own set of hardship. Mentally less stressful? Possibly. But think of the very different set of people you'll interact with - possibly a huge culture shock. Think of what a bad day at work might look like at a construction site. In the rain and cold, a little physically injured, maybe having to deal with a client that's trying to screw your crew over on the contract? Probably making less money? And dealing with all the comes with? It's not much of a greener pasture once you get into it. I would bet what you're really in need of is a break and a change of scenery for a little while. If you can make that happen (and again - you need to or this is all destined for failure at some point), try that and see how you feel when you come back.

By all means keep talking to people who have been there to get input - probably a lot of us on HN. Don't take all of it as gospel, but you're definitely not the only person to go through this, and you won't be the only person to figure out a way through it.

96
vcool07 3 days ago 0 replies      
Option 2 : Suck it up and work on improving the situation. Instead of throwing in the towel and going on a quest for self discovery, find ways to avoid stress. Take up yoga/gym classes or play some video games in between. Take your wife shopping, have quick power naps just google and see what works for you. You are not the first person to be in this situation, discuss with your peers on how they handle it and try to see if you can incorporate some of their good habits.

You're having a company which you started and which you say is profitable, don't throw away all that due to some temporary situation. Instead of running away, face it and see how you can improve on it !

97
robg 4 days ago 0 replies      
The problem with stress is the physiology is fundamentally fight or flight. No surprise you are seeing flight, esp after several years of fight. You're also likely suffering from burnout (extensive, prolonged stress). The most important consideration is taking rest and recovery seriously, not on weekends, every day and throughout the day. Find moments to cherish, take walks outside, exercise more, get good sleep, quit using alcohol and start eating better. The brain is an organic computer, connected to every organ in the body and yours is running low on juice. You can't make good decisions right now, your brain is compromised by a health condition. Finding calm should be your priority toward inner peace.
24
Uber Plans Millions in Back Pay After Shortchanging NYC Drivers bloomberg.com
339 points by rayuela  6 days ago   225 comments top 19
1
chipgap98 6 days ago 5 replies      
That's a huge "bug" not to notice for presumably a long time. I recently had a Lyft driver in NYC talk to me about how he quit uber after doing the math on what his fare should have been when a passenger told him how much they were being charged. He brought it up to uber and then quit when they didn't fix it. Anecdotal story but seems extremely relevant now
2
robbyking 6 days ago 1 reply      
This is the same company whose founder "took the tax dollars from employee paychecks which are supposed to be withheld and sent to the Internal Revenue Service and reinvested the money into the start-up, even as friends and advisers warned him the action was potentially illegal." [1]

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/23/technology/travis-kalanic...

3
danso 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is not a hard error to identify (seems like one that's harder to make, if Uber employs qualified accountants), and given the number of Uber drivers who carefully and calculatingly join Uber as a way to become financially independent, it's hard to believe that no one discovered the problem and then complained. But maybe someone inside Uber felt more confident in prioritizing this issue after the public shitshow that Uber has been eating this past few months.
4
anigbrowl 6 days ago 0 replies      
Relevant self-link on corporate wage theft: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14380908

This is another example of why I think developers need to professionalize the industry and set ethical standards.

Why do people willingly write code to automate the process off ripping off their own co-workers to enrich shareholders? Because if they don't, someone else will.

Maybe it's time to stop being developers and start being engineers. Ask yourself who benefits from software development being an ethics-free zone? Most likely, it's not you.

5
rajathagasthya 6 days ago 1 reply      
> While drivers pay is determined according to the time and distance they travel, Uber has begun to experiment with how it calculates the price for riders.

I don't get this. How can you "experiment" with price calculations?

6
salesguy222 6 days ago 1 reply      
Haha wow, meanwhile at Oracle, having our commissions miscalculated by a team of experts is a feature, not a bug.

And somehow those miscalculations are NEVER in our favor, and always result in delayed payment.

It's like working for Crytek, but even worse.

7
wehadfun 6 days ago 2 replies      
Uber drivers could go on strike from Uber and still earn by driving for LYFT. They could demand what ever they want.
8
robbiemitchell 6 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of how Seamless (now merged with GrubHub) took its percentage cut (~10-15%) of every meal delivery order after including taxes AND tip! That was as of a few years ago dating all the way back -- not sure whether it's still going on.
9
jsemrau 6 days ago 0 replies      
It was painfully obvious already a long time ago that Uber uses the investor money to purchase the market[1]. For any Asian and European city I have ever lived in the calculation never worked. And I still believe it would have been better to just give the Billions to the several taxi companies and have them build a better app. Maybe even work with the car companies and have them build this functionality in their cars from scratch.

[1] https://medium.com/@thisTenqyuLife/nobody-will-talk-about-ub...

10
Bakary 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if it's confirmation bias but I'm starting to think that the model of an army of disenfranchised workers jumping through hoops to serve a small professional elite will soon become the norm.
11
rbobby 6 days ago 2 replies      
Uber's management team seems to stumble from one mistake/mess/self-inflicted-injury to another. I can't help but wonder why Uber VCs have kept them in place.
12
51Cards 6 days ago 0 replies      
What I find interesting is how is this localized to one area? Is it an error in NYC tax law calculations or something? Seems that they are talking about the base fare calculations and you would think those would be somewhat general across several areas. Even if they run multiple algorithms some other city must be running something similar with the same error?
13
surds 6 days ago 4 replies      
The valuation argument always leads to 'driverless' cars.

Makes me wonder - if all cars can be 'driverless', why would you prefer to call for an Uber and not use your own?

14
funkyy 6 days ago 1 reply      
Uber, with its history of fraud, will get huge bills in near future. While the company was acting as not caring about anyone, will get bitten by governments and unions soon for it. You cannot disturb the whole world like that. You need to obey laws and try to change/lobby them, rather than break them.
15
true_tuna 5 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting to note that this came about due to a lawsuit. Meaning, somebody noticed, brought it to Uber's attention, got brushed and was forced to resort to hiring lawyers.
16
BoiledCabbage 6 days ago 8 replies      
This company is absolutely astounding.

The objects you hold up as ideals says a lot about the culture of your environment and its values.It is extremely disappointing that Uber is considered a crown jewel of Silicon Valley.

17
NelsonMinar 6 days ago 1 reply      
It never stops with this charming company, does it? This cavalcade of illegal and unethical behavior at Uber is what happens when the founder and untouchable CEO of a company is a bad person.
18
easilyBored 6 days ago 2 replies      
Move fast and break things. Break laws, steal, cheat and stuff. It's OK if you're big enough and are a "startup."
19
tomkit 6 days ago 15 replies      
I'm breaking a 4 yr HN commenting-hiatus to post this: it's a bit disappointing to see how the quality of HN comments has deteriorated over the years. Virtually all the comments I'm seeing here are sensationalist sentiments/anecdotes, backed with no facts, reverberated in an echo chamber. This is a plead to the HN moderators to continue to iterate on your product to improve the quality of the comments.
25
Show HN: ORY Editor A rich editor for the browser, built with React and Redux github.com
367 points by jswizzard  4 days ago   97 comments top 22
1
arekkas 4 days ago 2 replies      
The high CPU and memory usage was due to a large gif which was included two times. This gif accidentally was 1280p with 20fps and was about 40mb large. For some reason, the resizer did not properly work.

Anyways, the gif is now removed. I hope the performance gets much better now. The CPU fans on macbooks going up where probably due to a lack of a dedicated graphics card. This happened to me with my macbook and large gifs too.

If the problems don't go away, please create an issue in the repo so we can work on improving this! It would be important to include your steps so we are able to reproduce these issues.

edit://

Since this comment is on the top, I'll address a few more questions here too. If you missed the demo, it's here: http://editor.ory.am/

First, this is a layout editor first- and foremost. Behind the scenes, React, Redux and slate.js ( http://slatejs.org/ ) is being used. Each cell is a React component that you can implement yourself. In fact, the text component itself is a plugin that wraps slate.js.

Second, we're integrating this editor in Germany's largest e-learning platform (wiki-esque) with ~1 million MAUs: https://de.serlo.org

And lastly we're working on a business model behind it, with our ory sites product (early access): http://ory.am/sites/

If you want to check out our other open source products, feel free to do so: https://github.com/ory

2
hitekker 4 days ago 2 replies      
I think this looks great for CMS websites: where a user wishes to build an entire page in a web GUI.

For composing text in blocks on existing pages, like comments or posts, you would need a lighter-weight solution.

SlateJS (https://github.com/ianstormtaylor/slate) fits that purpose for me exceedingly well, more than DraftJS, Quill and others, since it doesn't treat XML/HTML as a second-class citizen.

The levels of complexity with text representation are:

Document -> Post -> Text

which corresponds roughly to the data sources:

JSON/Data Structure -> XML/HTML -> Plaintext / Markdown

Markdown can "upscale" to documents, but JSON data structures, by virtue of their complexity, do not "downscale" well at all to Markdown.

HTML is the simple middle for me: it shouldn't be used for documents, but it is totally intuitive for posts where a users simply wants to adjust the color of one's text. The blocks wrapping this text should own the data structure, e.g. a flag for "NSFW Content" shouldn't be in the text editor but an option on the post itself.

3
qrohlf 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm curious, what does this offer over something like https://draftjs.org/, https://github.com/ianstormtaylor/slate, or http://prosemirror.net/ which also use normalized JSON (or ImmutableJS) objects for editor state and are backed by much larger and more established companies/communities.

We just launched https://ridewithgps.com/ride_reports which is built with draft, and I found it to be very flexible. I'd love to see the industry start to focus on using two or three best-in-class editors and contributing bugfixes to those rather than slugging it out with contentEditable again and again in smaller one-off projects.

4
TAForObvReasons 4 days ago 3 replies      
> Promising libraries potentially solving the above where abandoned by their maintainers, because it started as a special use case, or a free-time project.

> It is built by a company, reducing the likelihood of abandonment.

Even projects "built by a company" suffer the same fate. The only way to reduce the likelihood of abandonment is to tie a revenue stream directly to it, like customers paying for support or a pro version with additional features

5
Shank 4 days ago 1 reply      
The Chrome worker for the demo site accumulated about 600mb of ram. Is the editor really that heavy or is the demo page abnormally heavy?
6
ojosilva 4 days ago 1 reply      
Looks and works great, but there are 2 limitations I think would prevent it from using it in our stack:

1) It cannot be easily embedded, ie. as a field in a form. Apparently it's meant (UI-wise at least) as a full-screen editor and has lots of dependencies of its own, including React.

2) AGPLv3 license is a killer. Means that any work that links to the library should be opensourced. Despite some people interpreting it differently, it would be risky for a consumer product to ship making use of this library.

7
kowdermeister 4 days ago 0 replies      
I get the cutting edge part, but what has happened to the good old distributed, built, minified version?

What if I just want to play with it, install it in a second and I don't want to download 50% of NPM?

8
palakchokshi 4 days ago 1 reply      
Looks pretty good and I didn't see performance issues. From a usability perspective it's simple to use. I would suggest a couple of usability improvements.

1. The right side buttons for edit, layout, etc. have tooltips (that's great) but they should be like on/off buttons e.g. clicking layout once puts the editor in layout mode, clicking it again should bring editor out of layout mode back into preview.

2. In Edit mode the buttons on the bottom work like on/off buttons (that's great) those buttons should have tooltips.

3. Editing an image I can't put an alt value or title? How accessible is the content created by the editor?

Keep up the good work. I would use this for quick website/blog setup.

9
iplaw 4 days ago 0 replies      
I enjoyed messing around with it but, like others have noted, it seems to be resource intensive - both CPU and memory. My CPU fans kicked into turbo-jet mode after playing around with the editor for a while. Maybe it's less resource intensive on the user (non-editor) side?

Optimizations will go a long way to swaying adoption. Clients like easy-to-use editing capabilities, and it doesn't get much easier than this.

10
hla19 4 days ago 2 replies      
Almost broken on mobile, and my iphone gets really hot...
11
zaroth 3 days ago 0 replies      
I went here: http://www.ory.am/sites/

They have a signup page. The premium option is $9/mo. I tried to signup, it brought me to a Google form. I completed the form.

OP: I will pay you $8/mo for this. It is beautiful and interesting, and is worth looking in to. I want to try to create some sites with this, I am happy to pay for it and self-host it. Hopefully it's easy to deploy.

Or better yet, I can let you host it for me. With the option of self-hosting anytime in the future. The key to adoption is making it as easy to install as Wordpress.

This could be big! Good luck.

12
rkuykendall-com 4 days ago 1 reply      
I'd love to switch to a modern, React editor, but sadly they're all for 'rich text', but not full HTML, so I'm stuck with TinyMCE.

I realize my use case is uncommon, which is users tweaking HTML emails before they are sent.

13
ergo14 4 days ago 1 reply      
But this is built with React so its not really reusable outside of its ecosystem.Is there a version that would run on preact instead?Maybe QuillJS would be a better option for general purpose editor.
14
cocktailpeanuts 4 days ago 1 reply      
Isn't a lot of the "Others don't do this" addressed by Prosemirror? http://prosemirror.net/
15
kminehart 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ory makes some really cool stuff for OAuth / Authorization that we are considering using in our stack.

https://github.com/ory/hydra

https://github.com/ory/ladon

https://github.com/ory/fosite

16
timdorr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Demo here: http://editor.ory.am/

Looks similar to Draft (https://draftjs.org) at least in how they think about maintaining editable content outside of the DOM. Glad to see some editors finally put this theory to practice.

17
ge96 3 days ago 0 replies      
Man... everytime I think about building something... on this Chromebook I'm just like "Why did I buy this?" And it's ARM! ahhhhhhhh

I did like Cloud9, but still not used to it versus a local dev environment... hypderdev yo! Heard about that

18
nudpiedo 4 days ago 0 replies      
I like it because it looks complete and clean, however in safari for iPad the readme page in github already breaks and says the typical:

"A problem has ocurred, so the page has been reloaded"

I hope they fix it because it looks perfect for fast mockups

Edit: it seems to sadly happen with all ORY pages including the documentation

19
Filligree 4 days ago 0 replies      
How performant is this?

I don't have it on me right now, but if I were to dump a 400-kW document into the editor, would it still be snappy? That's one of the major weaknesses of Google Docs right now, and I'd consider switching if I found anything that lacks it.

20
aniskywalker 4 days ago 1 reply      
Built studiously.co website with this. Highly recommend the sites editor!

Also using Hydra by the same author for OAuth2. Truly amazing work.

21
graysonk 3 days ago 0 replies      
> You are a web agency and are lookin for tailerd solutions?

From the pricing page. Is this a typo or a joke I am missing?

22
surfsvammel 4 days ago 0 replies      
I like it! If there was an online journaling web-app using this, I would definitely use it. hinthint
26
Apple Is Working on a Dedicated Chip to Power AI on Devices bloomberg.com
294 points by coloneltcb  3 days ago   116 comments top 18
1
highd 3 days ago 6 replies      
This is probably going to be a hyper parallel fixed point / integer engine like TPU gen1. Doing fast matrix multiply over really small fields is very subpar on CPUs and GPUs. That was the initial reasoning behind TPU gen1 - improving runtime performance.

One question is if it will architecturally be closer to a GPU or an FPGA. The field moves so fast that it might make sense to "future-proof" a bit with a live-reconfigurable FPGA.

2
JumpCrisscross 3 days ago 3 replies      
Could this mean on-device ANI? My deal breaker with Amazon, Google, Microsoft and even Siri is their role in normalising the hoovering up of sensitive data.
3
jchw 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why is Bloomberg not mentioning that Google announced it was working on the same thing? They mentioned vaguely that Amazon and Google both were working on AI, but nothing about the seemingly similar TPU and how Google announced they were going to bring it to phones at I/O just a bit ago. Am I wrong to be thinking that's pretty relevant here?
4
shauder 3 days ago 1 reply      
Knowing them this will be pretty good. The A10 is a beast.
5
hackuser 3 days ago 1 reply      
My assumption has been that Google, Amazon, and Microsoft run the heavy-duty AI in the cloud when possible, benefiting from huge scale and easier updates. Maybe that assumption is wrong?

If it's right, is Apple adopting a more decentralized model, with AI (or more AI) running locally? Could that compete with cloud-based AI's advantages? Obviously it would be better for offline usage, for responsiveness when transmission to the cloud is a significant part the latency, and for confidentiality.

6
deepnotderp 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well....

This is interesting indeed, although I suppose it was somewhat inevitable.

I'm definitely interested in the architectural details of the chip, but I doubt Apple will open up. Apple has control of the software stack and by extension, what models will run on this chip, so I expect that it will be a little bit more special purpose than general purpose.

7
cft 3 days ago 5 replies      
I have been worried about this trend: if they don't open it up, things like this introduce a disparity between startups that can only have access to GPUs and big companies that make their own proprietary ASICs for their proprietary software, such that startups cannot complete.
8
wyldfire 3 days ago 2 replies      
> . The chip, known internally as the Apple Neural Engine,

Is this a real IC/processor for arbitrary software or an abstraction of an underlying GPU/DSP?

9
strin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Neural Engine = General Matrix Multiplier?
10
philplckthun 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's nice that the article is trying to deliver an intro that explains that Apple clearly has some catching up to do.

Except that now I'm pretty baffled, since I've seen an article a few months earlier, that says Apple is massively investing in AI, and already using it in several places in their products.

So what am I supposed to believe now? :/

11
ojosilva 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think the general availability of TPUs is an important inflection point in the path to AI popularization, abd, who knows, some type of singularity event. Definitely a milestone in 21st century history.

But I can't resist making a parallel between evolving TPUs and how the CPU found in the arm of the T800 changed history (negatively) forever in the Terminator universe.

12
ge96 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's what we need! A bunch of GPU's and computers carrying a car battery haha. Man that would be crazy. Pre trained before it leaves the factory. (don't know what I'm saying) but I do imagine a man-sized humanoid robot with a bunch of GPU's, hard drives.
13
bonoetmalo 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not too familiar with the concept of ML specific chip designs, but isn't most AI done on servers and the results returned to the device? What kind of applications involve local ML code execution?
14
faragon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Apple partially offloading Siri from the cloud to client devices in order to reduce datacenter costs?
15
Geee 3 days ago 0 replies      
Are these kind of chips used to accelerate the NN training process only?
16
samfisher83 3 days ago 3 replies      
Why not use a gpu. A lot of AI stuff is linear algebra: Multiply accumulate etc.
17
gigatexal 3 days ago 1 reply      
Good. But Google beat them to it already.
18
ClammyMantis488 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very interesting...
27
The Blockstack Browser: A Gateway to a New, Decentralized Internet blockstack.org
375 points by adunk  6 days ago   159 comments top 36
1
andrewstuart2 6 days ago 11 replies      
Unless I can unplug the WAN connection on my router and connect to your product instead, keep in mind that you haven't invented the next internet. You might be able to decentralize the worldwide web of HTML pages and hyperlinks, or invent another protocol that can be encapsulated in TCP/IP packets and ethernet frames, but the internet (the graph of inter-connected networks that speak common protocols) is still a fundamental requirement for your product, and the metadata associated with those stacks is still very real and trackable.

To that point as well, the internet already "works how real life works." Sick of Company X and the way their business treats employees? Shop elsewhere, remembering that it won't be as convenient with fewer choices. Sick of Google tracking the websites you visit? Use a search engine that doesn't track you, remembering that they probably can't pay as much for great engineers.

It's Conway's Law. We are largely constrained to create systems (including the internet) that mirror the organizational structure we're a part of. Yes, we can evolve and revolutionize occasionally, but it will always mirror "real life" because they will always influence each other.

2
10165 6 days ago 4 replies      
"Javascript Required.""Oh snap! Your browser doesn't support Javascript."

I have seen so many of these Javascript-only "websites" posted on HN I am wondering is this coming from some web development template? How difficult is it to have a page with text for those not using Javascript? Something like

 <html class=nojs> <p>This website was designed for browsers that run Javascript. Are you using one? Here are some examples of browsers that work well with our website: browser1, browser2, etc. Alternatively, a no-JS version of the website is available <a href=https://blockstack-site-api.herokuapp.com/v1/blog-rss>here</a>.</p> </html>
There are of course other ways to do this. The point is that it can be done and is not difficult.

For those not using or with Javascript disabled:

https://github.com/blockstack/blockstack-core

And a blog

 curl -o 1.htm https://blockstack-site-api.herokuapp.com/v1/blog-rss tr -cd '\12\40-\176' < 1.htm > 2.htm xyz 2.htm
where xyz is some program that displays html or rss.

3
ReligiousFlames 6 days ago 1 reply      
I hope this dies in its current form because:

0. It's self-promoting a panacea "fix" as a product at the wrong level of abstraction.

1. Protocols and standards exist for interoperability.

2. Tries to rebuild everything (supply- and demand-sides) while fixing very little.

Fix what's here and now for the benefit of everyone with a migration path, not for the benefit of a few in a temporary, constrained, arbitrary way divides people similarly to the way Facebook tried to foist another internet onto the third-world.

4
anfedorov 6 days ago 3 replies      
Bob Kahn, not TBL, is the other "father of the internet".

> Today we are proud to announce the Blockstack browser, which allows developers everywhere to access a whole new internet.

reminded me of then-Senator Ted Stevens' take on net neutrality

> Ten movies streaming across that, that Internet, and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got... an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday. I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially.

In other words, what a load of hot air! Looking forward to their $50M seed round.

5
komali2 6 days ago 1 reply      
Oh, bummer, I thought this was some sort of like, "turn your wifi router into a mesh network connector" thing.

I don't really know much about blockchain, but I know to access whatever this is, I still have to pay Comcast 50 bucks a month for the right to use their "tubes."

6
shmerl 6 days ago 5 replies      
> Developers can build apps on this new internet by downloading the Blockstack Mac or Linux app (Windows coming soon) and by using nothing more than your existing Chrome or Safari browsers.

Why Chrome and not Firefox? In their context, the later makes way more sense.

7
jandrese 6 days ago 4 replies      
Wait, so does this mean anybody who wants to run this project needs a copy of the whole internet on their machine? Or connect to someone who has a whole copy of the internet?

Regular bitcoin only deals with tiny transactions and already it takes days to download its blockchain on an older DSL link.

Also, how is this better than just, you know, running your own website? Is that too Web 1.0 for today's hip youth? How much aggregate computer power is necessary to deliver one page in this system? How about 10 years from now when it has petabytes of data to deliver?

8
627467 6 days ago 3 replies      
There are great many explorations on a decentralized protocols (this, Zeronet, IPFS, urbit) but I don't see many infrastructure related projects that we can play with today. Anyone can knows of hardware stack that enables fault-tolerant meshnets?
9
aaroninsf 6 days ago 0 replies      
Once again, a manifesto on the landing page that explains nothing about what is actually being proposed.

Please link to summaries of what has been done, why, and where it's going.

(On the face of it, a "blockchain" seems like a god-awful fundament for a distributed net, compared to e.g. IPFS.)

10
theprop 6 days ago 0 replies      
I stopped skimming this at "If you are not an engineer at Google or Facebook, it's hard for you to innovate."
11
WhiteOwlLion 5 days ago 0 replies      
I don't get it. I browsed the web site and didn't find an About Us page. Is this a browser? Is this a platform to build applications on top of? I initially thought IPFS and BitCoin but not sure what to make of the product. What is being presented is not summarized in a clear manner to me.
12
tudorconstantin 6 days ago 1 reply      
This works using the bitcoin blockchain and is a great example regarding the usefulness of blockchains.

I mention this because in the previous threads regarding crypto currencies, people were asking for some value-creation technologies based on blockchains (other than speculation and money laundering)

13
michaelbuckbee 6 days ago 3 replies      
Still struggling to wrap my head around this, mostly trying to make sense of:

https://blockstack.org/docs/how-blockstack-works

This is DNS on top of the blockchain right?

Though where it deviates some is:

"Even though only data record hashes are stored in blockchain transactions, we can use them to verify the authenticity and integrity of the data itself once we get it. For example, you can host your data in S3, and other peers can verify your data by first obtaining the hash from Blockstack DNS and then checking it against your data's hash."

So functionally what this is solving is (I'm asking here):

- Nobody can take your domain away b/c they don't have the keys, so stuff like domain sniping, ISP interference, Government seizure, etc. are less likely (notwithstanding https://xkcd.com/538/)

- Every piece of data is checksummed so you can (and maybe this is what the Blockstack browsers are doing) verify that it hasn't been tampered with ala MITM.

But even with that, I'm still unclear on just what's the right way to think about this. Like if I setup a new web site on a domain, would I also enter in every file on the page as a separate 'data record hash'?

14
brenfrow 6 days ago 0 replies      
How is this different than using Mist? (https://github.com/ethereum/mist)
15
golergka 6 days ago 0 replies      
Is it another Silicon Valley promo just like that machine learning compression a couple of days ago?
16
betoharres 6 days ago 2 replies      
Is this like ZeroNet? Does anyone knows the difference?
17
Asooka 5 days ago 0 replies      
> Imagine a world where people don't have property rights. In this world, you cannot own a house, and all your belongings are kept in a storage facility owned by a few corporations. And in this world, walking into any store or theater implies that you disclose all your personal information, places you've been, other things you've bought to the business owners. You are tracked 24/7, your belongings are stolen from storage facilities, and you can't do anything about it.

Since it's done to curb terrorism and protect children from predators, isn't this what most people want? I mean, I personally would rather shoot myself than live like that, but I'm not most people. I seem to recall that the UK's internet censorship bill (or whatever exactly it was, someone correct me please) has majority voter support.

18
daxfohl 6 days ago 0 replies      
Can you provide some more precise examples of the things this tech would prevent, and how it would prevent them? From an outsider's perspective, it seems like google or whomever could always add an extra layer of junk to any underlying technology to bring it back exactly to where we are now, but just less efficiently.
19
tutufan 6 days ago 0 replies      
Skimmed that whole page, and now feel that I understand even less what it is than when I started.

So, it's like a Smoodie?

20
duckqlz 6 days ago 2 replies      
it costs an average of 0.025 btc (~$60 US) to register a name which seems suspiciously expensive for something this new. Has anyone gone through the process of registering an Id and building an app yet? I would love to hear some unbiased feed back
21
desireco42 6 days ago 0 replies      
This is really good proof of concept project. Blockchain is super exciting and I share your enthusiasm. Problems it solves are real.

I kind of feel it will not take off, no windows support etc, but you never know, if anything is hot these days, it is blockchain solutions.

22
dustingetz 6 days ago 1 reply      
I am an app developer. Why do I choose to do my app on BlockStack? I get that as a user i want to control my data, but who are these people who want to make apps on it?
23
thebigkahunaza 6 days ago 0 replies      
has anybody here actually tried to get it to work by following the installation instructions? I've been unsuccessful so far. I tried to install it using the given shell script but it fails. I tried to install it using the manual installation steps but this also fails. It cant find the necessary installation files.
24
sharemywin 6 days ago 1 reply      
What's getting stored in a blockchain?
25
SrslyJosh 6 days ago 0 replies      
....and then $NATION_STATE puts enough nodes on the network to execute a 51% attack, and we're back where we started.

Basing anything on proof-of-work puts you in a perpetual race to control more compute than your adversaries.

26
woodandsteel 6 days ago 1 reply      
I am wondering how this compares with TBL's Solid. Also IPFS, like is this a rival, or something that could run on IPFS, or what. Also, could you access this with tor?
27
mrkgnao 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's not a particularly good sign that the gateway to this "gateway", as it were, doesn't like you not having JS enabled.
28
pplonski86 6 days ago 1 reply      
I like the idea of storing data and apps locally!
29
jagermo 6 days ago 0 replies      
Ok, can I just run the server to support the project? I have some Azure credits and would like to put them to good use.
30
kayoone 6 days ago 1 reply      
I don't know too much about Blockchains, but wouldn't Ethereum be a better choice for something like this?
31
aqsheehy 5 days ago 0 replies      
Perpetual motion is finally here!
32
ReedJessen 6 days ago 0 replies      
Any ideas about whether this is ready for someone to start a company on?
33
Svekax 6 days ago 0 replies      
I believe the current internet is a living creature and the sarcasm and snark it produces are natural defenses against any new internet someone tries to create.
34
mayreck 6 days ago 1 reply      
Ethereum is going to dominate this.
35
owens99 6 days ago 2 replies      
> Imagine a world where people don't have property rights. In this world, you cannot own a house, and all your belongings are kept in a storage facility owned by a few corporations. And in this world, walking into any store or theater implies that you disclose all your personal information, places you've been, other things you've bought to the business owners. You are tracked 24/7, your belongings are stolen from storage facilities, and you can't do anything about it.

Most of us would not stand for this in our real, everyday lives. But on the internet, we tolerate and even expect it. We become dependent on nameless, faceless, remote parties just by connecting. On the internet, we are powerless. Our existence on the internet is defined by others, whether that other be a mega-corporation or a government.

Now, we can change that.

Beautiful mission statement.

36
tuna 6 days ago 1 reply      
Is it from Silicon Valley (tv show) ?
28
Coroutines are now in Clang trunk, libc++ twitter.com
279 points by davedx  3 days ago   170 comments top 12
1
Cieplak 3 days ago 6 replies      
Modern C++ can be very pythonic. Still not as easy as writing Java in IntelliJ but CLion is becoming quite good (if you succumb to CMake). People write shit code in every language; C++ has my favorite abstraction to performance ratio.

http://preshing.com/20141202/cpp-has-become-more-pythonic

2
nickbauman 3 days ago 13 replies      
This is how I understand the two approaches to concurrency:

1) Use preemptive system threads that can execute in parallel. A task requiring simultaneous waiting is given an operating system thread of its own so it can block without stopping the entire program. But threads require significant memory and other resources per thread. Also, the operating system can arbitrarily interleave the execution of system threads, requiring the programmer to carefully protect shared resources with locks and condition variables, which is exceedingly error-prone.

2) Have a single-threaded program, where that single thread runs an event loop whose job is to react to external events by invoking a callback function that has been registered. While it doesn't require the same kind of complex synchronization that preemptive threads do, the inverted control structure of this approach requires your own control flow to thread awkwardly through the system's event loop, leading to a maze of event callbacks.

Coroutines work with the latter style in an attempt to tame its complexity. They are themselves complex, however, and, in my opinion, that complexity doesn't pull its weight when you consider in the end you only have one thread.

Can anyone tell me what I'm missing or how these problems with these approaches have been solved in places?

3
throwaway-1209 3 days ago 3 replies      
I wish Google would open source / standardize their implementation of green threads ("fibers" as they're called internally). You basically write linear programs with those (with proper stack traces etc) and they're cooperatively concurrent in user space, possibly over a fixed size preemptively concurrent kernel thread pool. Very nifty and simplifies things a lot. Never seen anything like it on the outside.
4
pedrow 3 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know, if coroutines are implemented by the compiler, will they also be available for C? Specifically, I'm thinking about the brilliant Io language which uses its own cross-platform C coroutine library. If this could be done 'natively' I wonder if it would simplify the code?
5
iheartmemcache 3 days ago 3 replies      
Some resources for those who aren't too active in keeping up with C++, these slides are a good quick summary[0]. The talks linked on this page[1] are particularly good, especially the CppCon16 Gor Nishanov talk[2]. Paulo[3] has some interesting things to say (though I think some semantics may have changed since, so grain of salt and all).

[0] https://www.slideshare.net/SergeyPlatonov/gor-nishanov-c-cor... Interesting to note, slide #11 uses a tokenizer to demonstrate the usefulness of coroutines. IIRC, Rob Pike used a very similar (maybe his was a lexer/parser?) example in '14 re: Go.

[1] http://luncliff.postach.io/post/exploring-msvc-coroutine

[2] https://channel9.msdn.com/events/CPP/CppCon-2016/CppCon-2016...

[3]https://paoloseverini.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/stackless-cor...

--

Side-note : Love it or hate it, the C++ community is certainly moving at a vibrant pace. I don't write production C++ code anymore (and haven't for a long time) but I still go out of my way to watch the CppCon talks. IMO, they consistently produce best quality talks just because you have so many excellent programmers from various industries using select subsets of C++ in all sorts of different ways. The people writing games are focused on making sure they're portable 'enough' to hit all the major platforms, without getting too tied to platform-specific low-level calls, while retaining the necessary performance to get satisfactory models/meshes/lighting/collision detection/raytracing/dozens-of-other-things completed within that tiny 16.33 millisecond gap to complete the framebuffer and swap in the next frame. The academics who are doing vast numerical computations will be talking about their new MPI utilizations (and undoubtedly, next years talk will be re: a boatload of RDMA/NUMA optimizations). People complain that C++ is a mishmash of too many concepts (pun not intended). I.e., you can write it in the "C with Objects" style, or the "I use TMP so much my code is basically Haskell", and anywhere in between - but it's that heterogeneity that ends up yielding such high caliber talks.

6
crudbug 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think with all the async / await noise, the simplicity of co-routines is usually forgotten.

IMHO, they are the right abstraction on top of event-loops. Every major server platform, especially - JVM, CLR, should support them.

I would be very much interested in context-switch data of server applications for Threads vs. Coroutines loads.

7
softwarelimits 3 days ago 4 replies      
What would be the best learning path to take for young people wanting to learn C++ today, especially with a focus on free software? Thanks for your attention!
8
nosefouratyou 3 days ago 0 replies      
I found this to be a good article about the importance of coroutines compared to continuation-passing style:http://orthecreedence.github.io/cl-async/2012/11/07/missing-...
9
dis-sys 3 days ago 2 replies      
Can't wait to see the libc++ coroutines to be declared as production ready. Now I am wondering whether they will be providing some channel implementation similar to the one in Golang in the future.

Interesting time for all we C++ fans.

10
colejohnson66 3 days ago 1 reply      
At the moment, they are still listed as a WIP[0], but the commit history shows a lot of effort done recently[1] (Ctrl-F "coroutine")

[0]: https://clang.llvm.org/cxx_status.html#ts [1]: http://lists.llvm.org/pipermail/cfe-commits/Week-of-Mon-2017...

11
Findeton 3 days ago 0 replies      
Where can I see some examples or documentation on using coroutines in C++?
12
kitd 3 days ago 0 replies      
Simon Tatham can finally breathe easily.
29
Principal Component Analysis Explained Visually (2015) setosa.io
310 points by espiii  6 days ago   25 comments top 10
1
aqsalose 6 days ago 3 replies      
Nice visualization! This provides me an opportunity to go on a random tangent on PCA:

The post considers PCA from visualization perspective, but the exactly same thing can also be viewed as a method for reducing number of dimensions in the original dataset. [1] Now, one of the interesting questions in a dimensionality reduction task is, how to pick the number of dimensions (principal components)? A good number? In a principled way, instead of just computing the next component and the next and the one after that, until you get bored? (It works for visualizations where you often want only the first two or three components anyway, but suppose we want more information than plots.)

I recently learned that there's a fascinating way to do this, presented in Bishop's paper [2] from 1999. In short: this can answered by recasting the PCA as Bayesian latent variable model with a hierarchical prior. (Yes, it is a bit of mouthful to say. Yes, it is fairly mathematical, unlike the visualization.)

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

[2] https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/publication/bayesia...

2
vicapow 6 days ago 2 replies      
Hello, HN. Co-author, here. Surprised to see this pop up again!

You can find the source code here: https://github.com/vicapow/explained-visually

Wish I had the free time to work on these more.

3
lewis500 5 days ago 2 replies      
Hey HN. Co author here. Crazy to see this up here again. Anyway, just letting y'all know I finished my phd and teaching for now so there will be a lot more visualizations like this coming out this summer. Will get Vicapow back in the game for one last score, too. 1. PDE's2. Lorenz attractor with a waterwheel in threejs3. Macroscopic fundamental diagram theory of traffic flow in cities4.???5. Profit
4
gabrielgoh 6 days ago 0 replies      
I love this visualization - but I think there's a very different intuition you get from PCA in high dimensions.

I prefer to think of the singular vectors in PCA as an ordering of "prototype signals" for which some linear combination best reconstructs the data. That explains, for example, why the largest singular vectors on natural time series data gives fourier like coefficients, and why the largest singular vectors on aligned faces gives variations in lighting.

5
holografix 6 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice simple post. One of the topics that always makes me scratch my head as it wasn't directly applicable to training a mode in Andrew Ng's Machine Learning course
6
omginternets 5 days ago 0 replies      
I remember PCA really "clicked" when I saw this intuitive explanation: https://youtu.be/BfTMmoDFXyE
7
dang 6 days ago 0 replies      
8
pen2l 5 days ago 3 replies      
As someone who knows nothing about machine learning and nothing about PCA (well, until now :)), can someone please explain how the two relate to each other? Is one of them a subset to the other, or what?
9
KhalilK 5 days ago 0 replies      
PCA can also help you study the relationships between variables.

I recently used it for a class project to explore the distribution of certain French cities in regards to socio-economic variables.

http://khalil.kacem.xyz:3838/#section-variables

You can see that Security and Economic Activity are opposite for example.

10
Quasimoto3000 5 days ago 0 replies      
This is great, thanks for sharing.
30
NTFS bug lets anyone hang or crash Windows 7 or 8.1 arstechnica.com
286 points by ivank  3 days ago   98 comments top 18
1
monocasa 3 days ago 2 replies      
Well, NTFS has been described anonymously as

> a purple opium-fueled Victorian horror novel that uses global recursive locks and SEH [Structured Exception Handling] for flow control.

All though after his post blew up the developer recanted their statements a little, saying

> First, I want to clarify that much of what I wrote is tongue-in-cheek and over the top --- NTFS does use SEH internally, but the filesystem is very solid and well tested. The people who maintain it are some of the most talented and experienced I know. (Granted, I think they maintain ugly code, but ugly code can back good, reliable components, and ugliness is inherently subjective.)

http://blog.zorinaq.com/i-contribute-to-the-windows-kernel-w...

2
Nexxxeh 3 days ago 4 replies      
Does that mean you could send someone a link, or take them to a webpage with a link, to file://killing string and if they click it, their system grinds to a halt? Can you DoS a Windows box by trigging an antivirus to try and look for that string? Does it impact Server?
3
eponeponepon 3 days ago 7 replies      
I often wonder why these special filenames aren't more widely known. I've been using Windows for 25 years now, but first learned about them a couple of years back when I committed a perfectly sensible (or so I thought) directory of auxiliary files from a Debian box and named it "aux/".

Cue arriving back at work on Monday with the rest of my team kicking back waiting for IT to "fix Subversion"...

(yes I did fess up :-) )

4
phkahler 3 days ago 2 replies      
I find it odd to think a web browser displaying a page from $some_remote_url would happily try to load an image from the local machine. Never mind the NTFS bug, this is one of those cases where the browser is out of bounds IMHO. The only time it should have access to the local file system is if the user is explicitly doing something like selecting a file to upload somewhere, or saving a downloaded file. I suppose if you're reading a locally stored .html file it should be able to grab other things like images. The ability to exploit this seems like lazyness on the part of browsers. They needed local file access for legitimate reasons and just opened it up.
5
bjpbakker 3 days ago 5 replies      
The /only/ way (still) for MS to get rid of the blue-screen-of-death seems to change the color :)
6
winteriscoming 3 days ago 2 replies      
>> Microsoft has been informed, but at the time of publication has not told us when or if the problem will be patched.

Doesn't a bug like this one deserve a responsible disclosure and wait for a patch to be available? The report doesn't state when Microsoft was informed about this, but given the severity of this issue and the fact that they haven't heard back, I would suspect it wasn't too long back.

7
_nalply 3 days ago 3 replies      
Can confirm it for my Win7 installation. Open cmd then cd c:\$MFT and your system freezes up. Ctrl-Alt-Del doesn't help, but you can still open one (but completely useless) Explorer window. I didn't get a bluescreen. It's weird.

Update: A hard reset helped and everything is fine again.

8
desktopninja 3 days ago 1 reply      
On Windows 7 (v6.1.7601), enabling UAC thwarts this. In addition IE does not allow file:///c:/$MFT or C:\$MFT
9
saltyshake 3 days ago 0 replies      
Original Source (posted on May 22nd) with actual technical details.

https://habrahabr.ru/company/aladdinrd/blog/329166/

10
ChiliDogSwirl 3 days ago 1 reply      
I won't lie... I'm going to have a bit of fun with the guys in desktop support today...
11
pbhjpbhj 3 days ago 0 replies      
So if I set someone's desktop background, or $path, to the relevant path ...?

Or share a soft link on Dropbox, or include the file in a zip for someone to unzip?

Also people are saying "this big doesn't work on Chrome browser", surely more interesting is if it works in Outlook Express given the install base. Like can we perma-crash OE by sending an email with a file:///$MFT\crashme.jpg image link??

12
chemodax 2 days ago 0 replies      
Exploit code from original bug report [1]:

 CreateFileW(Lc:\\$mft\\<anything>, FILE_READ_ATTRIBUTES, 0, NULL, OPEN_EXISTING, 0, NULL);
[1] https://habrahabr.ru/company/aladdinrd/blog/329166/

13
drinchev 3 days ago 1 reply      
14
nsaslideface 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why... why would no-one at Microsoft fuzz their operating system's file browser with at least every possible four-length(?) string?
15
super-io 3 days ago 0 replies      
For many years BSD has allowed mounting NTFS partitions read-only.

One project even allows isolating the kernel driver in userspace.

And then there is third party software, e.g., ntfs-3g.

I sometimes see these '$'-prefixed files when I mount NTFS partitions. They never crashed BSD. But maybe it is possible.

Wondering if Windows 10 partitions still mount in BSD without any problems?

16
bitmapbrother 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is going to be the new rickroll.
17
saltyshake 3 days ago 0 replies      
Works on Server 2012 R2 as well...
18
delegate 3 days ago 1 reply      
Aliens: We come in peace !

Humans: Welcome to Earth !

Aliens: So we notice you've invented the Computer ? What is the name of the dominant and most widely used operating system on this Planet ?

Humans: Windows !

Aliens: Windows ? Melted Silicon dioxide ? Really ? (chuckles :) .. (cough, cough) How stable is it ?

(you know were this is going, right ? )

Humans: Hmm... Well, it's getting stable(r) with every passing decade..

Aliens: Every decade ? Interesting... What if I type "c:\$MFT\123" ?

Humans: Oh that ... it will hang, it's a bug in NTFS.

Aliens: Bug? Infested??? Infesters were here ! Quick, let's run!

Humans: Wait , please, don't go, it's not that bad ! It has Internet Explorer !

Aliens: (waving from the spaceship) Build a new set of pyramids, we'll come back after another 10,000 spins around your star.

Humans: ...

       cached 30 May 2017 02:11:01 GMT