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Disney acquires own streaming facilities, will pull Netflix content thewaltdisneycompany.com
716 points by anigbrowl  2 days ago   755 comments top 2
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geff82 2 days ago 24 replies      
Maybe when I am 60, 70 or 80 the film industry will get their shi* together and finally agree on a solution that has long been found in the music business.

For a truly complete platform, I would FOR SURE pay more than the 10$ a month for Netflix. 20, maybe 30! But then I want it ALL. All films they have in storage.

I mean, it is 2017 and there are a lot of films I can't find on Netflix, Amazon Prime or, when I am in spending mood, on Apple TV. Why? I mean how silly would you want to be as studios? There is no big DVD business anymore, BlueRay never totally took off. People have a net connection and multiple streaming devices at home, thats it. Thats the big asset they could build on! Instead they let their libraries die the death of the unseen film.

Still, many keep shuffeling around harddrives with terabytes of pirated films. And why shouldn't they, as long as there is no substantial offer?

So I decided for me (and the cloud guy I am), that with my 3 services I have, I am ok. If a film is not there, I don't care. I surely won't order a DVD of some old film somewhere and I surely will not subscribe to another service. If Disneys pulls their films from Netflix: thanks Netflix for their growing self produced content that often has a quality not seen before.

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Anatidae 2 days ago 46 replies      
If every studio thinks I'm going to pay them $10+ a month to stream their content, they are going to be very mistaken.

I can't imagine that a lot of people want to spend the collective hundreds of dollars to sign up for all the streaming services. It's almost asking to drive people to torrents.

Now, if Disney does something like $30/year or something really affordable - sure. I might do that on a whim. I guess it's all about volume vs. price.

Netflix, however, I'll keep paying for gladly because of the library size. For the streaming price, it is well worth the value.

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The Internet Archive has digitized 25,000 78rpm Gramophone records archive.org
686 points by yurisagalov  2 days ago   97 comments top 33
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indescions_2017 2 days ago 5 replies      
House of the Rising Sun. As interpreted by Josh White, advisor and confidant to F.D.R. Priceless ;)

https://archive.org/details/78_house-of-the-rising-sun_josh-...

I find myself on Internet Archive a lot during these dog days of summer. Delving into classic texts like Edgar Rice Burroughs A Princess of Mars or Aldous Huxley's The Perennial Philosophy. Discovering a forgotten H. P. Lovecraft story in the Weird Tales archive. Mining old time radio shows like Suspense for story inspiration. And using the Internet Arcade for screen grabs that can be used in retro-style game texture art. It makes me think I should do a better job of preserving my own output. You never know what future generations may find useful!

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komali2 2 days ago 2 replies      
Fun to read some of these reviews, apparentl from random internet folk, like on jungle boogie - https://archive.org/details/78_jungle-boogie_the-bobby-true-...

Some guy just wanted to tell everyone some neat little facts about this thing he apparently knows a lot about. I find it fascinated how much people care to know about things like this.

EDIT: whoever this "arc-alison" character is, they're prolific - I'm finding their informational reviews all over this archive.

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guyfawkes303 2 days ago 10 replies      
The records I clicked on have this notice

Digitized from a shellac record, at 78 revolutions per minute. Four stylii were used to transfer this record. They are 3.8mm truncated conical, 2.3mm truncated conical, 2.8mm truncated conical, 3.3mm truncated conical. These were recorded flat and then also equalized with NAB.

The preferred version suggested by an audio engineer at George Blood, L.P. is the equalized version recorded with the 2.3mm truncated conical stylus, and has been copied to have the more friendly filename.

I'm trying to guess but can't imagine what the reasoning for this is. I've tried A/B/C/D testing a few tracks on some crappy speakers and can't discern any difference.

While it's certainly admirable to try and digitize it as thoroughly as possible, I just can't see how a difference of 0.5mm in the stylus width is worth increasing your work load 4x times over (having to record each record 4 times rather than just once).

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ShirsenduK 2 days ago 1 reply      
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jonah-archive 2 days ago 0 replies      
Lots more info here for the curious: http://great78.archive.org

You can see a picture of one of the four-armed turntables here: http://great78.archive.org/preservation/

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beaugunderson 1 day ago 0 replies      
They had me make a Twitter bot that's tweeting out all of the 78s (with preview audio) as well:

https://twitter.com/old_78s

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sushisource 2 days ago 0 replies      
More sample fodder for the EDM artists and rappers. Always a good thing.
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mortalkastor 1 day ago 1 reply      
The "Bibliothque nationale de France" (national library of France) did the same kind of thing with hundreds of thousands vinyl records from their archive, including international ones published in France: http://www.bnfcollectionsonore.fr/
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jrowley 2 days ago 3 replies      
I have no experience with this stuff, but I wonder if they could use a laser record player to capture the record, and then replay it with different simulated stylus sizes. Not exactly kosher probably, but could be an interesting experiment. Plus scanning time could be greatly reduced I imagine.
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e12e 2 days ago 0 replies      
Certainly a bit of everything on there... :)

https://archive.org/details/78_rambling-wreck-from-georgia-t...

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pier25 2 days ago 1 reply      
Any sound restoration software would greatly improve these recordings.

For example this one from 1902: https://archive.org/details/78_medley-of-emmetts-yodles_yodl...

I'm sure Izotope would give the RX license for free in exchange for a blog post (or any other audio software company).

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daveheq 1 day ago 0 replies      
Imagine after World War 3, the aliens sift through the remnants of humanity, find this archive of digitized 78rpm records, and turn into mustachioed corduroy-wearing hipsters.
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0xcb0 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is just great! Listening to these songs instantly sets me back to a relaxed inner state. Together with that sizzling noise of the gramophone record in the background, so calm and chilled.

I currently listen to "A Duke Ellington Panorama", just nice!

Thanks for that and keep up the awesome work!

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menacingly 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very cool that they offer 24bit flac downloads. I'm sure this sentiment is shared here, but I am always impressed by the efforts of this organization
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Nav_Panel 2 days ago 3 replies      
Some very very good stuff in here. I've gotten pretty into 20s thru 50s music over the past couple of years. I usually buy compilations on LP, though, so it's a treat to find these straight off the 78s. A big portion of the stuff never even makes it to digital.

Just at a glance, I'm seeing The Light Crust Doughboys[1], basically a string band supergroup. Multiple members would go on to found famous western swing bands (Bob Wills, Milton Brown). Very proto-rock-and-roll -- listen to that electric guitar -- Elvis would cover some Western Swing numbers[2] in his early days[3].

Also seeing some older stuff, including a few recordings by the (arguable) best banjo player of all time, Vess L. Ossman[4] (from 1907). Pretty cool to listen to these march numbers and then hear them evolve into jazz/ragtime only a couple years later[5] (this is a recording by Fred Van Eps, the second best banjo player of all time, from 1914).

EDITS: seeing some other personal favorites:

Hank Penny, a favorite western swing singer of mine[6]. He usually does it hot/upbeat/fun.

Blind Blake, a guitarist who could play the fretboard like a ragtime piano[7]!

Oh, and here's the WWII-era Bob Wills I was waiting for[8]. Got that classic Leon McAuliffe pedal steel playing. No Tommy Duncan vocals, unfortunately.

Neat! An old solo Art Tatum[9]! Widely considered the best pianist of all time... And another, a whole album[10]!

Really classic early electric guitar playing on a jump blues number by T-Bone Walker[11]. I actually believe he's one of the first to use the electric guitar in blues.

Great steel guitar playing on this Gene Autry cowboy number[12].

Looks like there's a lot of Django for all you gypsy jazz fans[13]. Never heard this take on Avalon before, I dig it.

Lot more to dig through and lot of obscure stuff I'd like to give a shot, but I'm out of time for now...

1: https://archive.org/details/78_pretty-little-dear_light-crus...

2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wGCTFWhoqQ

3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bSVEA0ZAVw

4: https://archive.org/details/78_policy-king-march_vess-l.-oss...

5: https://archive.org/details/78_notoriety-rag_van-eps-trio-ka...

6: https://archive.org/details/78_get-yourself-a-red-head_hank-...

7: https://archive.org/details/78_tampa-bound_blind-blake_gbia0...

8: https://archive.org/details/78_texas-playboy-rag_wills-bob-w...

9: https://archive.org/details/78_deep-purple_art-tatum-mitchel...

10: https://archive.org/details/78_art-tatum_art-tatum-james-swi...

11: https://archive.org/details/78_t-bone-blues_les-hite-and-his...

12: https://archive.org/details/78_silver-haired-daddy-of-mine_g...

13: https://archive.org/details/78_the-quintet-of-the-hot-club-o...

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Finnucane 2 days ago 1 reply      
Too bad it doesn't seem to be easily searched by label--from a historical perspective, it would be cool to be able to search for say, Paramount or Gennet or Okeh.
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tamersalama 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like there are some recordings by Sergei Rachmaninoff himself [1]

[1] https://archive.org/details/georgeblood?sort=&and[]=subject%...

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hmhrex 2 days ago 2 replies      
Just curious, what's the copyright on this kind of material?
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matt_wulfeck 2 days ago 3 replies      
How would one go about removing the pops and clicks from recorded audio programmatically?

I really like some of the audio here but it needs some post processing. The only thing I can find to do it is audacity and it doesn't look very friendly to scripting.

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sdsk8 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know about everybody here, but i am listening to so much new things to me on this archive that i'll definitely donate to the archive team today, congratulations for this fantastic job!
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fortyfivan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is great! I've been a serious record collector for 20 years, but never got into 78s.

My eventual life goal is to do something similar with my Brazilian record collection... have the skeleton of such catalog at: https://www.novedos.com/collection.

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vinchuco 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there a way to stream these indefinitely on shuffle without having to pick each one manually?
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orbitingpluto 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is the crowning gem from the Internet Archive (from the 78 RPMs and Cylinder Recordings collection).

Cab Calloway, The Man from Harlem

https://archive.org/details/Harlem

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S_A_P 2 days ago 0 replies      
So the obvious win here besides archiving art is that this is out of copyright sample fodder*

*IANAL and this may not be the case for all the material but I'm sure that there is mountains of inspiration to be mined.

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barking 1 day ago 0 replies      
What did they smell of?It was really unusual.Tesco, briefly, had an own brand hand soap liquid in the 1990s with exactly the same smell.
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kmeade 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm curious about something and I can't find the answer on the web site -- Why were these recordings played and digitized in stereo when the records were mono?
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amelius 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is it possible to search based on genre or geographic origin?
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neelkadia 1 day ago 0 replies      
New stuff for Machine Learning. GAN. Magenta.
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cJ0th 2 days ago 0 replies      
thanks for the heads up. this is just amazing!
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anjc 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am become The Avalanches, mixer of old songs

Very cool

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uBlock Origin Maintainer on Chrome vs. Firefox WebExtensions mozilla.org
741 points by nachtigall  1 day ago   310 comments top 13
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bad_user 18 hours ago 7 replies      
After being a Chrome user for several years, I've switched back to Firefox for the past two years or so and I'm really, really happy with it.

Latest version does multi-processing, e10s is finally here (though it might still get disabled by usage of certain add-ons, I remember I had to force it to stay enabled).

On performance, in the past it felt sluggish, but now Firefox is fast and for my usage patterns it uses less memory than Chrome.

And one thing I really love is the Awesome Bar, which is a pain point every single time I open Chrome. I have a lot of websites I need to return to and in Chrome I end up searching on Google far more than I should. I guess that's the biggest difference between Firefox and Chrome, as Mozilla does not feel obligated to shareholders to extract ads clicks from you (although I hope that whatever they do keeps them afloat).

Also, tab management. I installed "Tab Center" from the Test Pilot and it's awesome. The experiment is now over unfortunately and the code itself for Tab Center isn't compatible with WebExtensions, but there's work going on to port it and that highlights that Firefox's WebExtensions will be more flexible than Chrome, if they aren't already.

But in the end I actually care more about trusting my browser and its maker to protect my interests. I actually trust Google more than I trust other companies, but something feels very wrong for a company to have so much leverage on me. Which is why, as long as I have a choice, I'll always prefer Firefox over Chrome, or Safari, or Edge.

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AdmiralAsshat 1 day ago 2 replies      
> It baffles me that some people thinks Firefox is becoming a Chrome clone, its just not the case, its just plain silly to make such statement.

That's probably the single most reassuring statement about Firefox that I've heard in some time, coming from a serious dev who makes a popular cross-platform addon for both Firefox and Chrome.

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yborg 1 day ago 9 replies      
I found this disturbing:

"Chromium-based browsers are being infested by Instart Logic tech which works around blockers and worst, around browser privacy settings (they may start infecting Firefox eventually, but that is not happening now)."

From his linked post:

"Instart Logic will detect when the developer console opens, and cleanup everything then to hide what it does"

Is this implemented via a CDN-delivered script? Why would Chromium-based browsers be more susceptible?

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nachtigall 19 hours ago 1 reply      
To add to the list:

* You can run the uBlock Origin on Firefox for Android: https://addons.mozilla.org/EN-US/android/addon/ublock-origin...

Afaik there's no ad-blocking extension for Chrome for Android which I find pretty telling. I'm using Firefox on Android and the ad-blocking (less traffic, less blink-blink animations and less CPU consumption) make mobile browsing a night-day difference

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penpapersw 1 day ago 2 replies      
Huh. These actually sound like good arguments to switch to Firefox, arguments I've never heard before until now.
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Hasknewbie 1 day ago 2 replies      
Slightly OT: is that what a 'Discourse' page looks like? It's pretty awful: it will automatically update the URL as you scroll past each post in any direction, while breaking the Back button, so good luck getting back to the original post, since neither clicking on Back nor reloading the page will get you there. Basic UX failure.
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wyc 1 day ago 3 replies      
Keep in mind that it's not within Google's incentives to facilitate ad-blocking and prevention of tracking. After all, that's where the lion's share of their revenue comes from. However, Mozilla is free to actively support such efforts.
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albertgoeswoof 1 day ago 5 replies      
Firefox is coming back, finally- I think their market share is at the bottom and we'll see a big uptake over the next couple of years.
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jancsika 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Couldn't the devtools listener shenanigans be solved merely by putting a "pause" button in the browser chrome (possibly through an extension)? Browsers are already throttling CPU usage when the tab isn't visible, so it doesn't seem like it would be too difficult to just throttle to 0 with a toggle.

Even better-- have the pause button in devtools window, "pause" by default when you open devtools, and then unpause once something gets mutated/re-layout'd.

I guess you'd still need to protect the devtools shortcut key so that any DOM shenanigans are guaranteed to get invoked after the devtools listener. But browsers already have all kinds of crazy edge-cases in the name of security (e.g., no manual triggering of <select> menu). Keeping polymorphic worms from corrupting the devtools state seems rather important by comparison.

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kasabali 23 hours ago 1 reply      
uBlock Origin on Firefox would be more powerful than uBlock Origin on Chrome, but does it mean that uBlock Origin webextension on Firefox will be as powerful as uBlock Origin "legacy" Firefox extension ?

This is a post of gorhill from the last months Firefox - Google Analytics fiasco:

> Legacy uBlock Origin can block the network request to GA.

> However webext-hybrid uBO as per Network pane in dev tools does not block it. Same for pure webext Ghostery, the network request to GA was not blocked, again as per Network pane in dev tools.

> What is concerning is that both uBO webext-hybrid and Ghostery report the network request to GA as being blocked, while it is really not as per Network pane in dev tools. It's as if the order to block/redirect the network request was silently ignored by the webRequest API, and this causes webext-based blockers to incorrectly and misleadingly report to users what is really happening internally, GA was not really blocked on about:addons, but there is no way for the webext blockers to know this and report properly to users.

https://github.com/mozilla/addons-frontend/issues/2785#issue...

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mnarayan01 1 day ago 0 replies      
> It baffles me that some people thinks Firefox is becoming a Chrome clone, its just not the case, its just plain silly to make such statement.

If you use a much narrower definition of "clone" than is typically used in this context, then sure. If, however, you use "clone" a bit more flexibly, and note the word "becoming", then it's a different story. That's not to say that Firefox won't be better than Chrome, and it's certainly not to say that it won't have any advantages over Chrome, but it is giving up some of its major current advantages.

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inglor 16 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone who uses WebRTC to deliver real value (I'm an engineer @ Peer5 YC W17) - this abuse of WebRTC is awful.

I think WebRTC related tooling should get a lot better - and extensions should be able to hook into WebRTC calls just as easily as they do to regular functions.

Websites can just grab a fresh copy of RTCPeerConnection from a different realm anyway (an iFrame in this case) - it looks like uBlock is mostly stuck (unless it prevents sites from opening said realms).

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NormenKD 1 day ago 4 replies      
I am considering going back to FF, but it seems FIDO U2F still isn't done completely and the U2F Extension for FF is not working anymore since the WebExtension switch.

Please correct me if missed something, but i think i have to hold off for a little bit longer.

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Salesforce fires red team staffers who gave Defcon talk zdnet.com
674 points by stevekillian  1 day ago   276 comments top 15
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defcontalks 1 day ago 6 replies      
I was one of the people that was there when it happened. My coworkers and I were asking one of them questions after the talk. The goons were kicking us out of the rooms because it was the last talk of the day and they wanted People to leave. We were talking in the hallway and asking him questions when we ran into the other presenter there(And people were asking him questions too). Anyway few mins later I see our old executive walk to them and tell them they have to talk. They started walking and talking but it was right in the open and you could pretty much hear them. They end up stopping and looks like they were trying to defend themselves. Few mins later the executive leaves and the end up walking back to the group that was still waiting to ask them questions (including us). They had been fired effective immediately.

The executive is Jim Alkove. He is a moron and our security org has completed revamped after he "left" to join other companies. All the recent advancements in Microsoft security/Win10 were because we no longer had a leader like him.

Feel sorry for these guys.

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phobeusappola 1 day ago 4 replies      
If you're close to the Silicon Valley tech community you know the Salesforce datacenter organization and recently security organization has been taken over by many ex-Microsoft executives who are fairly clueless when it comes to security.

This has left the security organization mired in internal political turmoil and has triggered the exodus of most intelligent security professionals from the organization.

This situation appears to be a case of the new and confused security executive mentioned in comments on this thread over reacting.

I say "confused" because for the presenters to get this far they obviously has gone through levels of approval for the talk and presented material internally. This talk was indeed presented before at the Chatham House Red Team Summit in SF where many tech company Red teams were present and code released to some collaborating parties. If you don't know what is going on in your own organization with your directors you are confused.

I say "over reacting" because any decent security executive knows you can't ask a team member to pull a Defcon talk on extremely short notice as it would be damaging to their personal reputation in the community. Firing them for not pulling the talk is completely idiotic as it's likely burn the organizational reputation with the security community. It was likely just a snap decision by said confused executive who did not understand the ramifications of his decision. If you fire someone after they get off the stage at Defcon you more than likely have overreacted.

Sadly these are the types of this that happen when you have poor leadership at high levels. I feel bad for the good security folks still left at Salesforce who have to tolerate this garbage. Luckily there is a massive demand for good security professionals so they should have no trouble finding other employment, hopefully with competent leadership.

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kafkaesq 1 day ago 3 replies      
The unnamed Salesforce executive is said to have sent a text message to the duo half an hour before they were expected on stage to not to give the talk, but the message wasn't seen until after the talk had ended.

Which said unnamed executive should have known was patently unreasonable to expect to be received and read in time.

Sounds like a failure in basic communication, somewhere in the organization. And if someone in the C-level feels they need to intervene at the last minute to set things straight -- this very strongly suggests point source of the failure was most likely somewhere in the middle layers (or at the C-level itself) - not with the frontline engineers.

But which at Salesforce is apparently no protection against getting hung out to dry.

Especially when we read the parts about "The talk had been months in the making" and that the executive pulled the plug at the last minute "despite a publicized and widely anticipated release."

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rsj_hn 1 day ago 8 replies      
I was not at the conference and have no first hand knowledge of what happened.

But before everyone gets on their high horse, please pause to reflect:

This was all company work product being presented by company employees who were on a company funded conference trip. Therefore there is an approval process for vetting presentations as well as a legal process for opensourcing code. This is standard practice at all companies.

Now what do you think is more likely: That the PR department would approve of a talk titled "meatpistol" (FIXED) (have you seen the slides?) and the legal dept would approve of open sourcing the code and then at the very last minute both groups would change their mind and try to pull the talk, or that the presenters never got the OK in the first place, the company found out at the last minute, asked them to pull the talk and they refused?

How likely is it that they would get official approval for their talk under a "Chatham's rules" meeting in February to for a presentation <strike>in August</strike>at the end of July? Isn't it more likely that they got some initial approval for a talk in February, but that PR still wanted to vet the actual slides in <strike>August</strike>July? (I'm assuming that the slides were made after February.) Which PR department gives approvals like that? What legal department works this way? In my experience, stuff like this happens at the last minute, because that's when you're finishing your slides (as well as your code), and generally PR is going to ask that you make some changes to your slides and they will want the final copy before signing off. Now maybe I'm wrong and the article is correct, but I think it's unlikely.

Moreover given that Salesforce can't talk about this matter, who do you think is the source for the article and whose side are you hearing?

The last few days have really highlighted how quick people are to pile on with outrage and self-righteous indignation before getting all the facts.

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tptacek 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's probably way too early for us to know what's really happened here. If you're unfamiliar with this stuff, you should know that Salesforce has a large and relatively savvy security team, including people who have presented at offensive security conferences in the past.

There's a lot of weirdness in the reporting here; for instance, the notion that Salesforce management had a meeting with members of their own team under "Chatham House rules".

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djrogers 1 day ago 0 replies      
Much of the talk on this is about wether it not SFDC has a right to do this, or if its legal. Frankly thats all immaterial - this sounds like a perfect way to either lose most of your security staff over the next 6-8 months, or get yourself fired. Not sure the exec in question was planning on either of those outcomes, but they are the most likely.
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Johnny555 1 day ago 2 replies      
Seems like a bad idea for a public SaaS company that relies on trust from customers that their data is secure to piss off their own offensive security team by firing them suddenly without even a warning received.

I expect that lots new Salesforce vulnerabilities will be discovered and disclosed.

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just2n 1 day ago 0 replies      
That seems like a tad bit of an overreaction on Salesforce's part. The only mismatch here was the expectation set around the availability of the tool's source? So yeah, it was clear the tool is owned by Salesforce and ultimately something like that is decided by the company, but saying you're going to "fight to have it open sourced" and advocating to have tooling you build be shared outside of your company doesn't seem like a fireable offense to me. Look at what it's done for companies like Facebook and Google.

What the hell, Salesforce? This looks bad. There's either more to the story or this is just extreme knee jerk.

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whatsmyhandle 1 day ago 1 reply      
EEK. When speaking in front of a large audience, it's generally a good idea to either mute your phone, or ditch it entirely before you get up onstage.

To get canned for not responding to a text message 30 minutes before a talk - which you were already approved for - seems terribly unfair and a decision probably made in the heat of the moment.

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soft_serve 1 day ago 3 replies      
Most people at Defcon use a "burner phone" (a cheap supermarket feature-phone) while there. Nobody who is sane would turn on their work phone anywhere near the Defcon conference. I go there every year with a throwaway phone and laptop.

So nobody will see a text message in a timely manner, unless they knew the burner phone number.

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0xfeeddeadbeef 1 day ago 2 replies      
Oh, the irony! Months before he was fired, in his talk [1] at QCon London 2017 (March 5-7), Josh Schwartz jokingly said: "I am going to tell some stories and hopefully I won't get fired for sharing this stuff but we'll see how it goes".

[1] How to Backdoor Invulnerable Code: https://youtu.be/EGshffkzZsY?t=680

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notreallythough 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I didn't see this myself but the guy who works the drivethru at my local burger king told me that the red team has perfected the flame grilled whopper and they had to be fired because they had gone too far
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ryanbrunner 1 day ago 0 replies      
My impression of the security team at Salesforce is that it's always been a bit of a fiefdom with little input or control from the mothership.

Maybe a plausible explanation of what happened here was that all awareness / approval of the talk was limited to that team, and when an exec outside of the security team heard about it, they freaked out, causing all of this.

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mi100hael 1 day ago 0 replies      
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Lazare 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'd be fascinated to learn more of the backstory here, because the story as reported so far is baffling.
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Four Earth-sized planets detected orbiting the nearest sun-like star ucsc.edu
485 points by mrfusion  10 hours ago   213 comments top 16
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ExactoKnight 6 hours ago 17 replies      
I am flabbergasted that as a society we aren't rushing to build a 100 metre wide telescope mirror large enough for us to directly image the spectra of the potentially habitable exoplanets around us.

A telescope this large could tell us whether any of these potentially habitable planets contain oxygen, and thus, biological processes.

Yet thanks to funding cuts in science the biggest telescope we have in the pipeline right now is one with a 30 metre mirror. This telescope won't be big enough, and as a result, our failure to push now for bigger sizes is almost certainly going to push back for decades humanity's ability to answer one of the most important questions we face:

Why are we here, and are we alone.

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kilroy123 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I really really want project Starshot to become a reality. I think this is our best bet for scoping out these near by star systems. At least within our lifetime.

If we could hit 50% speed of light we could do a fly-by mission in ~25 years. Then another 12 years waiting for the data. Honestly, ~37-40 years isn't bad for an interstellar mission. Remember the Voyager programhas been going on for that long! So we already have experience with long space missions.

https://breakthroughinitiatives.org/Initiative/3https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakthrough_Initiatives#Break...

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semaphoreP 10 hours ago 1 reply      
This title is a bit imprecise. They detected four planets with lower bound on their masses to be down to 1.7 Earth masses. Because these planets don't transit, there are no direct measurements from their radius. They can use mass-radius relations to infer the radius of these planets, but the key finding is their masses (actually lower bounds on their masses).
4
baron816 8 hours ago 16 replies      
Ok, let's assume we find a warm, watery planet like Earth's within ~20 light years, and we figure out a way to travel >= 50% the speed of light, making it somewhat reasonable to get there. If the planet's gravity is greater than 10% different from Earth's, or its Day/Night cycle is much different from Earth's, wouldn't it still be a nightmare to live on.

Anatomically modern humans have lived on Earth for 200,000 years, and the creatures we descended from have lived on Earth for 541 million years. Stuff as dumb as the moon cycles affect us. How are we going to live somewhere that isn't exactly Earth?

5
deanCommie 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Key line to mitigate disappointment:

"The outer two planets around tau Ceti are likely to be candidate habitable worlds, although a massive debris disc around the star probably reduces their habitability due to intensive bombardment by asteroids and comets."

6
chrismealy 9 hours ago 3 replies      
The fastest spacecraft ever built would take 4000 years to travel one light year.
7
RandomedaA 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I feel like something similar to this is announced every year, and nothing ever comes of it.
8
mbfg 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Would there be any value in putting a telescope on the moon? You wouldn't have the atmosphere problem, and i'd expect servicing it would be mildly easier than have it out at L2 or something.?

I suppose the fact that the moon was tidally locked would be something of a problem for full sky observation. Is that the main issue?

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frgtpsswrdlame 9 hours ago 4 replies      
Is there any benefit to the planets being earth-sized? I would think the important part is that they're in the habitable zone.
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sova 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Let's go! Who's with me? How much stronger do my bones need to be to live on the 1.7x gravity NeoEarths?
11
arkainW123 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Hearing distances like 12 light years makes you think if it is ever possible to travel there.However, when you start to think about it, nihilist thoughts start to kick in.
12
SilverPaladin 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if the Mormons will be starting their ship construction now?
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wfunction 3 hours ago 0 replies      
"This required techniques sensitive enough to detect variations in the movement of the star as small as 30 centimeters per second."

This kind of precision sounds insane. It sounds like far more of an achievement than having found Earth-sized planets. Is there any layman explanation of how they do such a thing?

14
nextlevelwizard 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Isn't nearest sun-like star... the Sun?
15
jamisteven 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I feel like something similar to this is announced every year, and nothing ever comes of it.
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h4l0 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Hearing distances like 12 light years makes you think if it is ever possible to travel there.

However, when you start to think about it, nihilist thoughts start to kick in.

6
DeepMind and Blizzard Open StarCraft II as an AI Research Environment deepmind.com
585 points by nijynot  1 day ago   266 comments top 20
1
qub1t 1 day ago 11 replies      
A lot of people here seem to be underestimating the difficulty of this problem. There are several incorrect comments saying that in SC1 AIs have already been able to beat professionals - right now they are nowhere near that level.

Go is a discrete game where the game state is 100% known at all times. Starcraft is a continuous game and the game state is not 100% known at any given time.

This alone makes it a much harder problem than go. Not to mention that the game itself is more complex, in the sense that go, despite being a very hard game for humans to master, is composed of a few very simple and well defined rules. Starcraft is much more open-ended, has many more rules, and as a result its much harder to build a representation of game state that is conducive to effective deep learning.

I do think that eventually we will get an AI that can beat humans, but it will be a non-trivial problem to solve, and it may take some time to get there. I think a big component is not really machine learning but more related to how to represent state at any given time, which will necessarily involve a lot of human-tweaking of distilling down what really are the important things that influence winning.

2
JefeChulo 1 day ago 8 replies      
"so agents must interact with the game within limits of human dexterity in terms of Actions Per Minute."

I am really glad they are limiting APM because otherwise things just get stupid.

3
dpflan 1 day ago 1 reply      
Related: Today I learned that a group of AI researchers has released a paper called: STARDATA: A StarCraft AI Research Dataset. According to one of the authors: "We're releasing a dataset of 65k StarCraft: Brood War games, 1.5b frames, 500m actions, 400GB of data. Check it out!"

> Article: https://arxiv.org/abs/1708.02139

> Github: https://github.com/TorchCraft/StarData

4
siegecraft 1 day ago 3 replies      
The API Blizzard is exposing is really nice. Sadly most of the advantages AI had in SC1 were just due to the fact that an automated process could micro-manage the tasks the game didn't automate for you (a lot of boring, repetitive work). SC2 got rid of a lot of that while still allowing room for innovative and overpowered tactics to be discovered (MarineKing's insane marine micro, SlayerS killing everyone with blue flame hellions, some more recent stuff I'm sure from the newest expansions). Hopefully the API lets AIs converge on optimal resource management and get to exploring new and innovative timings, transitions, army makeups, etc.
5
hitekker 1 day ago 7 replies      
This seems all in good fun but I wonder if it's come too late.

Starcraft 2 is at its twilight.

The biggest leagues of South Korea have disbanded. [1] The prolific progamers who transitioned to Starcraft 2 have gone back to Broodwar. [2]

Blizzard itself has scrubbed all references to Starcraft 2 on the very home page of Starcraft. [3] Except for the twitter embed, it has only only one "2" character... in the copyright statement.

My take is that the future for the Starcraft franchise will be through remastered and potential expansion packs following it.

Starcraft 2 had a good run but, with the entire RTS genre stagnating [4], I don't think Blizzard wants to bet on anything less than the top horse.

[1] https://www.kotaku.com.au/2016/10/the-end-of-an-era-for-star...

[2] http://www.espn.com/esports/story/_/id/18935988/starcraft-br...

[3] http://starcraft.com

[4]http://www.pcgamer.com/the-decline-evolution-and-future-of-t... (Aside from MOBAs)

6
SiempreZeus 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's a bit too bad they're having to move towards supervised learning and imitation learning.

I totally understand why they need to do that given the insane decision trees, but I was really hoping to see what the AI would learn to do without any human example, simply because it would be inhuman and interesting.

I'm really interested in particular if an unsupervised AI would use very strange building placements and permanently moving ungrouped units.

One thing that struck me in the video was the really actively weird mining techniques in one clip and then another clip where it blocked its mineral line with 3 raised depots...

7
arcanus 1 day ago 1 reply      
I also want to see the algorithm win on unorthodox maps. Perhaps a map they have never seen before, or one where the map is the same as before but the resources have moved.

Don't tell the player or the algorithm this, and see how both react, and adapt. This tells us a great deal about the resiliency of abilities.

8
ktRolster 1 day ago 5 replies      
When Watson won at Jeopardy, one of its prime advantages was the faster reaction time at pushing the buzzer. The fairness of that has already been hashed out elsewhere, but.....

We already know that computers can have superior micro and beat humans at Starcraft through that(1). Is DeepMind going to win by giving themselves a micro advantage that is beyond what reasonable humans can do?

(1)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKVFZ28ybQs as one example

9
Lambent 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not like this is going to create fantastic AI.

Keep in mind there's been an amateur AI project for broodwar for almost 7 years now. Even after such a long learning period, the games are very primitive, and the AI's still couldn't pose a threat to even a beginner human player. Sometimes the games take hours. Trying to build strategy and decision making into an AI is incredibly complicated. There have been teams working at the SSCAIT for many years now, and the product is still fairly primitive.

So what CA did was instead write up a simpler AI that mimics strategy and decision making. We all know it's not great, but I'd be really skeptical that 3rd parties would magically create an AI that can think strategically.

10
krasi0 11 hours ago 1 reply      
The StarCraft 1 BroodWar AI scene has been thriving for a few years now: https://sscaitournament.com/ You can watch 24/7 live AI vs AI games on Twitch at: https://www.twitch.tv/sscaitSupport for voting on who to play next and even a betting system are in place, too. For those who wish to get their feet wet with BW AI development, here are the Java / C++ tutorials: https://sscaitournament.com/index.php?action=tutorial
11
convefefe 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought this was already happening. Right after AlphaGo beat Lee, I remember hearing about it. Did they give up on having their AI playing SC2? I wondered if that would work, since it seemed to take turns in Go at the same speed as a normal player, I wondered if it was trying to compute the most likely winning move each turn and the late game implications of those moves. If it tried that in a fast paced game how it would deal with the speed. It obviously would need to develop a pattern of pre-baked strategies that would win it the game. Would it play the same build every round or would it realize that changing things up each match wins it more games?
12
Companion 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a bit too bad they're having to move towards supervised learning and imitation learning.

I totally understand why they need to do that given the insane decision trees, but I was really hoping to see what the AI would learn to do without any human example, simply because it would be inhuman and interesting.

I'm really interested in particular if an unsupervised AI would use very strange building placements and permanently moving ungrouped units.

One thing that struck me in the video was the really actively weird mining techniques in one clip and then another clip where it blocked its mineral line with 3 raised depots...

13
daemonk 1 day ago 2 replies      
Blizzard should put in an AI-assisted play mode where players are limited to X lines of code that can be launched with keyboard commands.
14
arnioxux 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are there any known arbitrary code injection for starcraft? Like how you can use a regular controller to reprogram super mario world to play pong?

https://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/1v5mqg/using_b...

https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Arbitrary_code_execu...

Is this how we are going to accidentally let AGI loose into the world!? /s

On a more realistic note I think this will degenerate into a game of who can fuzz test for the best game breaking glitch. Think of all the programming bugs that turned into game mechanics in BW that we haven't discovered for SC2 yet: http://www.codeofhonor.com/blog/the-starcraft-path-finding-h...

15
Outrageous 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Novice here: I really want to try this Starcraft API but I don't know how to start. I believe this uses more reinforcement learning and agent-based models (which honestly I am not familiar with yet) What are good papers to get started on this?
16
siliconc0w 1 day ago 0 replies      
The SCAI bots I've seen are more hardcoded tactics engines rather than machine learning models. They're still impressive, but their logic isn't quite 'learned' it's hand coded which is a crucial difference.
17
Havoc 1 day ago 1 reply      
That's surprising. I thought Bliz didn't want anyone near sc2 but approved of sc1 being used for this purpose.
18
Ntrails 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd be really interested in how differently tiered data sets (ladder rank) would work as sources for teaching.

Is it possible that training on diamond players is less effective than training on, say, silver? Is that actually even an interesting thing to look at?

19
hacker_9 1 day ago 1 reply      
There's something funny about a company that is actively developing bleeding edge AI technology, but who can't design a webpage that works on mobile without crashing.
20
ipnon 1 day ago 3 replies      
Any predictions for how long it will take for an AI to win against the world's best player?
7
Big Companies and the Military Are Paying Novelists to Write Sci-Fi for Them newyorker.com
431 points by anthotny  2 days ago   168 comments top 38
1
tzs 2 days ago 2 replies      
Companies commissioning stories has gone on for a long time.

For example, the Isaac Asimov story "My Son, The Physicist" was commissioned by an electronics company to run in an ad in "Scientific American".

Another Asimov example. "Think", IBM's in-house magazine, commissioned Asimov to write a story based on this quote from J. B. Priestly:

> Between midnight and dawn, when sleep will not come and all the old wounds begin to ache, I often have a nightmare vision of a future world in which there are billions of people, all numbered and registered, with not a gleam of genius anywhere, not an original mind, a rich personality, on the whole packed globe

Asimov write the story "2430 A.D." about a world where Priestly's nightmare had come true. (The title comes from his estimate of when human population at its current growth rate would reach the point where the Earth had so many people that there were no resources left for non-human animals).

The funny thing about this story is that "Think" rejected it, because they wanted a story that refuted the quotation. So Asimov wrote another story, "The Greatest Asset", that refuted Priestly, and sent that to "Think".

"Think" then decided they liked the first story better and ran "2430 A.D."!

I'm pretty sure that there was at least one other similar case with Asimov.

2
bbctol 2 days ago 2 replies      
Reminds of this story from a while ago: the head writer for Call of Duty switched to working at a think tank, given his experience imagining the future of warfare. http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/09/22/call-of-duty-star-video-...
3
rahulpandita 2 days ago 2 replies      
We proposed something similar for the field of software engineering research.

http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2983986

Pasting abstract here

"Software engineering researchers have a tendency to be optimistic about the future. Though useful, optimism bias bolsters unrealistic expectations towards desirable outcomes. We argue that explicitly framing software engineering research through pessimistic futures, or dystopias, will mitigate optimism bias and engender more diverse and thought-provoking research directions. We demonstrate through three pop culture dystopias, Battlestar Galactica, Fallout 3, and Children of Men, how reflecting on dystopian scenarios provides research opportunities as well as implications, such as making research accessible to non-experts, that are relevant to our present."

4
divbit 2 days ago 3 replies      
I honestly don't care if there is a "sinister" purpose behind the good scifi I've read. Fund the next Iain banks please. In fact - throw me $50k to live for a year and you've got yourself a book - or I can at least guarantee some words on pages mentioning spaceships / robots, etc.
5
jermaustin1 2 days ago 8 replies      
I do something similar. I pay writers to write me sci-fi and fantasy stories based on my prompts! It allows me to read what I want to read!
6
legohead 2 days ago 5 replies      
Interesting they mention and get quotes from the author of the Three Body Problem series. I just finished reading that series, and the whole time I had the feeling that it was written more to convince people of something than to actually entertain the reader.

The ideas in the books were pretty amazing, unique, and imaginative; but the story and writing itself was quite sub-par.

edit: I listened (audio books) to the English versions. I thought the translation was excellent. I don't want to spoil anything, but the author has a very dark vision of mankind and kept having his characters ostracized to the extreme which got old pretty quick. I didn't feel like the books were missing anything descriptive from lack of translation.

7
vinayak 2 days ago 0 replies      
Microsoft had released Future Visions Sci-fi series after inviting several sci-fi authors to their research labs - New Link - https://news.microsoft.com/features/future-visions-anthology...

The book itself can be downloaded at https://news.microsoft.com/futurevisions/

8
samstave 2 days ago 2 replies      
Wasn't there something about Clancy being working with the CIA to massage their image?

Military and intelligence and politics have always manipulated media...

Also, recall "Americans army" was being ostensibly used as a recruiting/psyche-molding tool...

---

Finally: look at cyberpunk, and the top five writers in that category, as well as anime (ghost in the shell, etc) which have in-formed modern reality with all the millions of tech-workers from around the globe have worked since their childhoods to create aspects of those worlds into current reality...

Is the totalitarian police-surveillance state an emergent feature of such a reality?

All crazy military capability comes from able-minded imaginations saying "wouldn't it be cool if..." without the discernment of the far-reaching implications...

9
schlipity 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is actually part of the plot of the movie (Three Days of the Condor) and book (Six days of the Condor). The protagonist works at a CIA site where they read basically everything released and break down the plots to see if it has any strategic value and/or state secrets.

If I had to guess, this still goes on at the state level, but this article is about making this sort of data (minus the state secrets awareness) available to the corporations able to afford it.

I'd also say that I think this might be an amusing reversal of the old mantra: Ideas have no intrinsic value. This business is pretty much about the expression of ideas. Maybe they have value because they are writing them down and marketing them.

10
cpete 2 days ago 1 reply      
I posted something similar on HN nearly a year ago: https://www.fastcompany.com/3063187/scifutures-probes-your-c...

It's a nice complement to this New Yorker article :-)

11
tabtab 2 days ago 1 reply      
"How I used Microsoft Cloud 365 to escape Darth Vader and blow up the Death Star! Uplinking R2D2 was totally seamless."
12
zitterbewegung 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of a quote from Alan Kay: "A change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points."
13
KineticLensman 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to read a concrete example rather than the generic relevant novels mentioned in the article the Directorate of Land Strategic Concepts, National Defence Canada, commissioned Karl Schroeder [1] in 2005 to write an SF novel to help explore them future doctrine and concepts. PDF is available at [2]. He wrote a second (post 2010) but I don't have the reference now (a 'friend' never returned it). I recall that it involved a CAF unit operating in a trans-national mega city (somewhere in Asia) having to subvert the all pervasive city AR so that they could complete their mission. I was impressed!

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

[2] http://www.kschroeder.com/foresight-consulting/crisis-in-zef...

14
fencepost 2 days ago 1 reply      
Visualizing and communicating how things will be used is very powerful and important.

My memory may be faulty, but I think it's Alan Cooper's "About Face" that basically advised not just describing the interface and how it'll be used, but how Bob the 73 year old luddite who hates all computers is going to interact with it (context in flight movie systems). Creating characters and having them interact with technology that doesn't exist yet is what SF writers DO.

15
wodenokoto 2 days ago 0 replies      
Kinda funny to think that maybe, just maybe, the social network was sponsored by Google or Twitter as an attempt to make the competing platform less desirable.
16
fundabulousrIII 2 days ago 1 reply      
Congrats. The .mil & .biz folks have been acknowledged in what has been implicit in every advancement I've seen in the last 40 years. sci-fi pop fiction postulation and conjecture based on the science community brain trust. Most of these guys were consultants or engineers anyway and empowered to write. There are iconoclasts like Ellison and the visionaries but the hard science guys always get paid for their visions.
17
pvaldes 2 days ago 1 reply      
Last days the defcon issue, and this week for some particular reason we have a few similar articles here and there talking about how fabulous and great would be for a 'good nerd' to work for the military, government, etc...

Can we spot a pattern here? PR damage control?

18
charlieo88 1 day ago 0 replies      
From the article:>> Companies that market directly to >> A.I. software, rather than to humans, >> might gain a competitive advantage."

I don't know why, but this is really disturbing.

"Hey Siri, find me a widget"

"I've found three locations with widget in your area. Would you like me t... WHOA! Check out the bytes on that ad!"

19
lolive 1 day ago 0 replies      
Funny (alternate) facts :

- Amiga is behind the novel "Ready Player One" (so they will make a craaaazy comeback)

- Trump paid GRRM for ASOF&I (so the people enjoy the mix of politics and mental illness)

- Hollywood is highly connected with cigarette manufacturers, liquor manufacturers and (of course) the US army.

20
rurban 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Sweet Tooth" Ian McEwan: CIA, MI5 and MI6 are sponsoring many writers, such as some companies sponsor open source devs
21
stcredzero 2 days ago 0 replies      
Back in the late 80's, I ran across a statistic that just the amount amount the military spent supporting its bands was as large as the entire budget for NPR. I think this is also covered in Manufacturing Consent. I remember flipping channels as a grade schooler and running across US military propaganda on the nearest independent TV station. (Which is now Fox, unfortunately. Sad, because this is the station that introduced me to anime.) That stuff gave me nightmares! An 80's era Soviet land assault is basically some nightmare perfection of the Blitzkreig. The whole horizon turns black and rolls at you like a wave, as rank after rank of smoke generating tanks charges you at high speed.
22
Gotperl 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is part of the plot by Armada by Ernest Client (which was also heavily influenced by Ender's Game)
23
viach 2 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting read, somewhat related:

A 19th-Century Vision of the Year 2000

https://publicdomainreview.org/collections/france-in-the-yea...

24
dctoedt 2 days ago 1 reply      
My wife watches police "procedural" stories (Law & Order, CSI, NCIS, etc.). I've long thought that some of their plot lines would make for interesting "what if" training cases for real cops.
25
igorgue 2 days ago 0 replies      
The author of this novel works at Magic Leap: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash
26
exhilaration 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hey, the article mentions HN-favorite Ken Liu, author of the Three-Body Problem.
27
AdmiralAsshat 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not terribly surprising. People forget that Neuromancer was a commission.
28
runevault 2 days ago 2 replies      
Based on the article about Neil Stephenson that was posted here not long ago I'd been thinking along these lines, didn't realize someone already made a business out of it. Interesting.
29
dogruck 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder what the annual revenues are. I'm skeptical.
30
vonnik 2 days ago 1 reply      
The US Army Lab has solicited sci-fi stories and awarded grants to build the tech they describe.
31
remarkEon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anyone read Ghost Fleet? It wasn't commissioned, as far as I'm aware, but it so spooked the Pentagon they hired the authors as consultants.
32
whyzoidberg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Finally some good work for writers! But seriously artists have been kept alive by the state for millennia, no shock here
33
podiki 2 days ago 0 replies      
Did no one else immediately think about the plot to Watchmen (the graphic novel, not movie)?
34
mmaluff 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is the worst story I've read all week. Capitalism is destroying our culture.
35
leoc 2 days ago 0 replies      
There was a rash of initiatives of this kind after 9/11 as well.
36
lowglow 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if Neal Stephenson gets paid to do this. He's predicted parts of where we're headed with Diamond Age and Snow crash.
37
elorant 2 days ago 3 replies      
And destroyed the Greek economy. Which speaks volumes about his competence as an economist.
38
cryoshon 2 days ago 0 replies      
i'd kill for opportunities like this.

but maybe we have to make our own opportunities, so: how about a startup that provides science fiction writing thought leadership as a service?

dibs on founder

8
Linux Load Averages: Solving the Mystery brendangregg.com
611 points by dmit  2 days ago   85 comments top 28
1
ChuckMcM 2 days ago 2 replies      
Awesome analysis, I have added it to my favorites list. Around 1990 or so when I was in the kernel group at Sun and a team had just embarked on the multi-processor kernel work that would later result in the 'interrupts as threads'[1] paper. During that time there was an epic thread on email which was something like "What the F*ck does load average mean on an MP system?" (no doubt I have a copy on an unreadable quarter inch tape somewhere :-(). If it helps, the exact same pivot point was identified, which is this, does 'load average' mean the load on the CPU or the load on the system. While there were supporters in the 'system' camp the traditionalists carried the day with "We can't change the definition on existing customers, all of their shell scripts would break!" or something to that effect. Basically, the response was if we were to change it, we would have to call it something different to maintain a commitment to the principle of least surprise. This has never been an issue for Linux :-).

As a "systems" guy I am always interested in how balanced the system is, which is to say that I am always trying to figure out what the slowest part of my system is and insuring that it is within some small epsilon of the other parts. If you do that, then system load is linear with workload almost regardless of task composition. So disk heavy processes load the "system" as much as "compute heavy" processes and "memory heavy" or "network heavy." In an imaginary world you could decompose a system into 'resource units' and then optimize it for a particular workload.

[1] http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=202217

2
siebenmann 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is great work in general and excellent historical research.

As an additional historical note: in Unix, load averages were introduced in 3BSD, and at that time they included processes in disk IO wait and other theoretically short-term waits that weren't interruptible. This definition was carried through the BSD series and onward into Unixes derived from them, such as the initial versions of SunOS and Ultrix. At some point (perhaps SunOS 3 to SunOS 4, perhaps later), the SunOS/Solaris definition changed to be purely runable processes.

(I'm not sure what System V derived Unixes such as Irix, HP-UX, and so on did, and their kernel source is not readily available online for spelunking.)

As of early 2016 when I last looked at this, the situation on FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD was somewhat tangled. FreeBSD load average only included runable processes, but NetBSD and OpenBSD counted some sleeping or waiting processes as well.

3
Twirrim 1 day ago 1 reply      
Several years back the company I worked for ended up picking up some work for a client. Every quarter we'd download a huge trove of TIFFs from some source, and then do some image conversion work before shipping transferring them to the customer's infrastructure.

There was a java application that powered the logic side of things, calling out to ImageMagick to do the actual processing and conversion. For whatever reason, after careful benchmarking we settled on a java thread count that happened to get us the peak throughput, but also caused system load average to hit around 400 and keep steady at around that level.

The day that happened, and I could show that no application on the server took a performance hit, was the day that I finally persuaded my boss that load average is an interesting stat, but it's not the be-all and end-all, and that a high load average doesn't necessarily correlate to an actual problem.

4
simonjgreen 1 day ago 1 reply      
Under Better Metrics the author discusses ways of drilling down to find the source of a high load average. I feel like this section should mention `atop`, which is imo a really underrated single-pane-of-glass view into everything your system is doing, now and historically.

If you haven't tried `atop`, give it a go.

This historical analysis in this article though is great, because while Load Average has been an oft discussed and we'll understood topic for a long time, the decisions that got us there are not.

5
sreque 2 days ago 1 reply      
One source of high load average spikes that I've seen in my job is when a process crashes and generates a core dump. While the core dump is being written, all threads in the process are in the TASK_UNINTERRUPTIBLE state even though they are doing absolutely nothing, and as such they all count towards the load average as if they were spinning on on a CPU core. If the total virtual memory of the process is large, say in the multi-GB range, coredumping can take on the order of a minute, and Linux will report an unreasonably high load average if that process had a lot of running threads.

Things like the above scenario make me treat the load average metric with a lot of skepticism. I would much rather use other metrics to infer load.

6
saalweachter 2 days ago 1 reply      
If it was bothering anyone else: yes, the parenthesis in the patch in the email are unbalanced, and the code was checked in as:

 if (*p && ((*p)->state == TASK_RUNNING || (*p)->state == TASK_UNINTERRUPTIBLE || (*p)->state == TASK_SWAPPING))

7
mnw21cam 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good article. However, it is missing the reason why load averages include tasks waiting for disc/swap.

One of the things that the load average is sometimes used for is to work out whether it is appropriate to start some more processes running on a system. For example, make has a "-l" option, which prevents more parallel jobs being run while the load is above a supplied number. When a system is thrashing due to insufficient RAM, then the load average will be high, and this option will appropriately prevent more tasks being started which would make the thrashing worse. If the load average was just based on CPU, then it would be low while thrashing, and using that make option could lead to complete system collapse.

8
rotten 13 hours ago 0 replies      
What we need is a systems model that allows us to assess the overall health of a server in a single metric. Indicators of something under strain will reflect itself in the metric and draw our attention for further drilldown and analysis. "Load Average" is the metric we (the systems community) have generally been using for this. Unfortunately it appears that the model it is based on may be rather dated and may have flaws which mean we will miss, or misinterpret system health status by relying on that number. So the million dollar question is - starting from scratch, how can we design a model of our system that yields an reliable system health indicator metric?
10
Florin_Andrei 2 days ago 2 replies      
> As a set of three, you can tell if load is increasing or decreasing

That could be accomplished with a set of two.

A set of three could in theory give you acceleration.

11
hathawsh 2 days ago 0 replies      
This analysis cleared up a mystery for me. I've noticed that when a server app is under heavy load in Linux, the load average goes high if the bottleneck is the CPU or the disk, but the load average goes low if the bottleneck is network resources (like databases or microservice calls). I know why that happens, but it's very unintuitive and it confused me when I was new to Linux. I thought load average would measure the CPU load only. Now I know the historical reasons for measuring system load instead of CPU load.

I kind of like it the way it is since it's handy to be able to distinguish network load from CPU+disk load just by looking at the load average. However, since the load average includes other stuff as well, sometimes I still don't know what the load average really means.

12
vfaronov 1 day ago 0 replies      
Worth remembering that essentially the same issue exists at a lower level: the %Cpu number as shown by top includes not just the share of time spent actually executing your instructions, but also the share of time waiting on memory access.

As explained by the same author: http://www.brendangregg.com/blog/2017-05-09/cpu-utilization-...

13
ty_a 2 days ago 3 replies      
Holy crap, Brendan Gregg's site went down. Proof he is human I guess?
14
solarengineer 1 day ago 1 reply      
When I'd asked Brendan via Twitter for an article on Load Averages in Linux, I hadn't expected such a detailed response. I've worked on a few projects where I've had to show that even though the "load" on the Linux system was low, it was really the steal% and the iowait that were killing performance. I'm sure that from now on, so many system and support engineers will have a good article to reference. Thanks, Brendan!
15
ge96 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why isn't there one for ram in i3? I read something about how it's hard to gauge ram usage despite htop displaying it as well as inxi in general on Windows you look at task manager there is memory usage.
16
faragon 2 days ago 0 replies      
It incredibly detailed, including references and historical investigation. Mind blowing. Kudos, Brendan Gregg.
17
sytringy05 1 day ago 1 reply      
My company took over production support of an ESB from another company for a client a couple of years ago. The worker nodes had about 100 JVMs running on it and its resting Load Avg was around 30. This on a 2 CPU RHEL vm.

Out of morbid curiosity, I restarted one of the test servers and ran top. Load Avg was in the order of 2200 for about 3 hours.

The worst part was that the guys we took it over from didn't even think it was a problem.

18
mnarayan01 2 days ago 0 replies      
Page swapping seems like it makes a lot of sense to include in the load average. Disk I/O seems like something more towards the opposite end of the spectrum, though TASK_KILLABLE (https://lwn.net/Articles/288056/) presumably mitigates this where used.
19
mobilethrow 2 days ago 2 replies      
OT: what could cause a system to have a load of 1 when idle?

I have one (unimportant) Linux system that idles with a load of exactly 1. The issue persists through reboots. It is a KVM virtual machine and qemu confirms nothing is going on in the background.

Any ideas how to find out what's causing it?

20
fanf2 2 days ago 2 replies      
I thought that including disk wait in the load average was a common Unix feature. Sadly I can't go spelunking through the archives right now, but it would be interesting to see what Solaris and BSD do, for comparison with systems a little bit closer to Linux than TENEX :-)
21
gciruelos 2 days ago 0 replies      
there's a very good (and old) article about linux load averages here: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/9001?page=0,0
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js2 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's been years but I really remember that Solaris load avg used to similarly be affected by I/O, particularly NFS.
23
JaggerFoo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great article. Interesting, insightful, and actionable.

Cheers

24
caf 1 day ago 1 reply      
brendan, you could consider adding an option to offcputime that merges all kworker stacks together, since they're really just separate workers in the same thread pool.
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Steeeve 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is an incredible analysis! Well done!
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shimon_e 1 day ago 0 replies      
netdata is a good tool if you are looking for precise data on where the bottlenecks are on your server.
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SoMisanthrope 2 days ago 1 reply      
Brilliant. Time to patch it back to CPU loads.
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Annatar 18 hours ago 0 replies      
"Do we want to measure demand on the system in terms of threads, or just demand for physical resources?"

The intent behind load averages is to measure how (over)loaded the hardware is; if you now try to re-define that intent, it will just be yet another Linux atrocity where Linux will be "special" and behave differently from how every other UNIX-like OS behaves (exempli gratia: ss versus netstat). I argue that this will help the momentum against Linux already fueled by, and well underway with the systemd fiasco. You would break the rule of least surprise. It's bad enough that Linux measures load differently from all other UNIX-like operating systems and this would make the situation even worse.

9
Outraged about the Google diversity memo? backreaction.blogspot.com
532 points by rice_otaku  22 hours ago   745 comments top 4
1
kromem 14 hours ago 4 replies      
An interesting anecdote regarding gender bias and tech.

In the very early stage of my company, we wanted to outsource some UX work. After an exhausting review of applicants on one of the freelance sites out there, we finally settled on a Pakistani woman who had the best balance of portfolio vs cost.

At the initial Skype call, there was no video. And it turned out to be a guy speaking in a very high voice. We didn't really care and just went along with it (after a call or two he dropped his octave significantly, but everything continued with the original female name). But it was curious that this enterprising individual decided that the best way to stand out from the countless other developers with similar demographics he was competing against was to pretend to be a woman.

I do suspect that the presumed bias that women aren't actually as skilled and got where they are because of gender preference, while an uncomfortable bias for women, does make it so that a woman with equal skill to a male candidate is perceived as a greater rarity/find because "oh wow, this one is legit." (Not saying women are actually less likely to be legit, just saying the perception that is true can work to board in the opposite direction). I'd be extremely curious to see the classic "attach picture to resume/work sample" experiment done for tech with actual hiring managers. I'd be very surprised if the work with the female photo has a lower net score than the male photo across the experimental groups.

2
jernfrost 13 hours ago 6 replies      
Great perspective. As a Northern European having dealt with American company ownership I don't think the main problem in Google's case was political correctness but rather a general American problem with how free speech is defined in the US. Freedom in America is always about government NOT doing something, while in Europe government is defined as a protector of these freedoms. This shows up clearly with respect to stating an opinion at a US company. There is no protection of free speech on private property in the US. I first encountered this when out company got bought by an American one and they i sisted that religion and politics should not be discussed at work. It surprised them that such a demand was illegal in Norway. Private property does not trumph everything else as it often seems to do in the US.

While americans are free to utter quite inflamatory speech in the public, I find that American culture seems to discourage any sort of controversial topic in polite company.

That applies to conservatives and liberals alike in the US. Discussing religion among conservatives in the US seems taboo. While liberals are not very open to having PC opinions challenged.

3
losteverything 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Let me present a walmart associate opinion on the person that was fired.

Tldr - sometimes really smart people do the dumbest things. Where was his common sense?

For the average associate i know the overarching Question would be did he not know he could be fired?

"I would have loved to go to college. I couldn't afford it. Id love to have a job at Google. He probably makes over one hundred thousand dollars. All those years spent in college to get a good job and to then lose it. Didn't he think saying something bad about your employer can get you fired? I cant go on Facebook and write sh#! about walmart and not expect to get fired or at least reprimanded. I just dont understand how people who are supposed to be so smart can be so dumb."

--I am fortunate to have straddled upper and lower classes in my life. I learn new things working with adults who have never known a family member who attended college. Managers who never flew in a plane. The ground level view of living where you work to get by. The joy of life (imo, more joy with less wealth)

I have no outrage personally.

4
Const-me 19 hours ago 24 replies      
IMO the best comment from there:

Giulio Prisco said...The results of this incident are easy to predict.

Now everyone at Google (and everyone in large tech companies, and everyone in academy) knows that they can be fired for expressing opinions that dissent from the party line.

Of course they'll shut up for fear of losing their job and the means to support their family.

But they won't change their position. If anything, their position will be radicalized. For example, from classical liberal to alt-right.

Yes, they'll stop expressing their opinion in public. But they'll express their opinion, with a vengeance, in the only place where one can do so in secrecy without fear of witch-hunting mobs: the voting booth.

Yes, that explains Trump.

10
The Kolmogorov option scottaaronson.com
509 points by apsec112  1 day ago   451 comments top 4
1
habitue 1 day ago 13 replies      
Let's say this is about the Google memo. And let's say, for the sake of argument, you're a person who thinks Damore had some good points and some bad points but you think the hysterically censorious response to him was way over the line. But you don't want to become a pariah yourself, so you stay quiet about it. The argument Damore was making was fiddly, kind of subtle and takes a long time to explain, it's not worth the trouble you're going to get into. You take the Kolmogorov option and decide to wait out this insane time period.

Only it turns out, when you don't decide to argue for that subtle and qualified defense of Damore, a bunch of alt-right internet trolls make some terrible fallacious defenses of things he didn't say. Suddenly, the original censorious instincts seem much more righteous and justified. After all, "Now there are only full-throated red-pillers arguing in Damore's defense! We were right all along!"

Now there are two sides to this issue, and they're both identity politics and brain-dead shouting. Because no one stopped and offered a third option: actually discussing his argument, acknowledging where he was right, and discussing what he got wrong.

2
my_first_acct 1 day ago 0 replies      
Certain topics, that otherwise might be interesting to discuss, are surrounded by minefields. One such topic is the distribution of intellectual ability within subgroups of the population. In contrast to the minefields that Kolmogorov deliberately avoided, this minefield was not put in place by a repressive government. Nor was it secretly put in place overnight by a fanatic band of social-justice zealots.

My observation, which I will offer without citation, is that this particular minefield was put in place, mine by mine, over a period of decades, through a process of fairly broad societal consensus.

To those who suggest clearing the minefield, thus permitting this topic to be discussed freely in public, I will invoke the principle of Chesterton's fence [1]: Before you talk of removing the mines, you need to show that you understand why the minefield was created in the first place, and you need to explain why now is the time to remove it.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Chesterton%27s_fence

3
tpeo 1 day ago 6 replies      
Besides ideological self-righteousness, Aaronson left out one important component of oppressive regimes, which I think is actually far more important: it takes a relatively large amount of people to topple a regime, while small groups as well as individuals do nothing but expose themselves by rebelling. So no individual with any regard for his own personal safety has any incentive to rebel, and will instead go along with the flow for as long as it's tolerable to him.

But this, on the other hand, would create an odd situation where actually the vast majority of people might actually wish for rebellion, but none of them actually acts out on that wish. Which I also think is actually much more likelier than what he's putting forward. True crusaders are rare, most of people are "just following orders".

4
softbuilder 1 day ago 1 reply      
What I find myself wanting to fight is not the prevailing views on a topic, it's the willingness to lie and mislead to promote those views. I saw that this past week with the Google memo situation. I also saw a shocking amount of it last year with the US election. Sloppy journalism feeds the people who seem to want to believe the worst in everything, who in turn feed entire social networks. Eventually sufficient people have heard a thing that the network as a whole believes it. Individuals have little influence. I suppose public consciousness (and social media in particular) could be thought of as a big NN.
11
Benchmark Capital Sues Travis Kalanick for Fraud axios.com
361 points by bobsky  6 hours ago   138 comments top 20
1
throwawy11111 5 hours ago 5 replies      
Benchmarks in a bind and at war with travis; they need to liquidate their stake in next year or two. Softbank deal to buy out their shares fell apart in part b/c no CEO. Benchmark wants safe-hands leader who will cost-cut firesale their way to quick IPO. travis + allies being more long term; blocking benchmarks CEO picks (meg). so board civil war continues with benchmarks dirty tricks like this sour grapes lawsuit and selective leaks to undercut and force mgmt's hand in cost cuts (the lease car data earlier this week)
2
aresant 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Among the complaints of bad behavior:

"Kalanick [aquired] a self-driving startup that, according to a confidential report not disclosed to Benchmark (the "Stroz report") allegedly harbored trade secrets from a competitor . . . "

The Stroz Report was created when "Otto and Uber jointly hired an outside forensic expert Stroz Friedman. Friedman interviewed employees, including Levandowski and Lior Ron, reviewed their digital devices like mobile phones and cloud storage, and prepared a report recording the results of the investigation. . . Uber dangled a huge carrot for Levandowski to be truthful . . and agreed to indemnify him for any prior bad acts he confessed to committing. In other words, if Levandowski told Stroz what he stole, then the high priests at Uber have absolved him of his civil sins and Uber will pay for any resulting lawsuits or penalties"(1)

Maybe I'm reading between the lines, but it seems like they're saying in black & white that the Stroz report contains incriminating evidence that Levandowski DID "harbor trade secrets" from Google which will materially impact the outcome of Ubers broader legal woes . . .

EDIT - Reading further in the actual complaint ""if the contents of Stroz's interim findings had been disclosed to Benchmark at the time, they would have had a material impact on Benchmark's decision to authorize the board seats . . ." (2)

Sounds quite a bit like a smoking gun, that Benchmark probably realizes now is going to come to light.

(1) https://medium.com/@nikhilgabraham/why-anthony-levandowski-h...

(2) https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3922911-67730336-DE-...

3
gavanwoolery 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
I do not know Travis well enough to say if he is a "good" or "bad" person but playing devil's advocate for a second: is it really a crime to organize a board in your favor? I imagine this is done all the time.
4
rmason 6 hours ago 6 replies      
If actual fraud is not found what sort of message does this send to entrepreneurs that Benchmark is founder friendly?

Looks like a grudge match to me. Apparently unhappy with merely removing Travis from the CEO's chair they want to make certain he's never allowed to ever enter the building.

5
WisNorCan 36 minutes ago 2 replies      
It's interesting to see how all the chaos at the board and executive level has affected employees. Data from LinkedIn paints a troubling picture both in terms of hiring and retention.

* Uber has 31,537 employees as of August 2017.

* New hiring is down from 1000 per month in 2016 to 500 a month in 2017.

* July was the lowest month in terms of # with 440 hires. (since the start of LinkedIn data which is August 2015)

* There are currently 8,000 job openings. Operations and Engineering are the two largest categories.

* With every 100 people that are hired. ~80 people are departing the company.

Hiring managers I have talked to say that it is close to impossible to attract candidates to Uber right now and it is demoralizing because their best people are leaving.

6
whack 6 hours ago 2 replies      
The key point of conflict appears to be the following:

The suit revolves around the June 2016 decision to expand the size of Uber's board of voting directors from eight to 11, with Kalanick having the sole right to designate those seats. Kalanick would later name himself to one of those seats following his resignation, since his prior board seat was reserved for the company's CEO. The other two seats remain unfilled. Benchmark argues that it never would have granted Kalanick those three extra seats had it known about his "gross mismanagement and other misconduct at Uber"

I never understood this practice of investors/founders having such wide discretion when it comes to controlling board seats. It always seemed to me that board representation should be roughly proportional to equity ownership. If a founder/VC controls 30% of the equity, he should be given control over ~30% of the board seats. Such an arrangement seems like the best way to ensure that incentives are aligned, and to prevent drama/shenanigans like whatever led to this suit.

7
sillysaurus3 6 hours ago 5 replies      
Stakes: Per the complaint, Kalanick currently holds around a 10% equity stake in Uber, which most recently was valued at around $70 billion. Benchmark holds approximately 13 percent.

This is interesting. I thought HNers were saying Kalanick had the biggest stake, which is why the board couldn't fire him.

How does this work? If someone only has 10% equity, why was it so difficult to remove them? This is a useful tool for founders, so it's worth understanding.

9
nthcolumn 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Before Travis got booted some Techcrunch article or other was submitted here on an almost daily basis about him and other issues Uber were having, some days two! I thought to myself: 'Boy! Techcrunch really have it in for Uber and Travis' (mit einen kleine schadenfreude, me being no fan of either). Once he left though, the posts seemed to me to end rather abruptly even though there were still newsworthy shenanigans at Uber. Has anyone else noticed this? Why? Cui bono?
10
tareqak 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Techmeme summary: Benchmark Capital sues Travis Kalanick for fraud, wants invalidation of the June 2016 stockholder vote to expand board, which would also remove him from board
11
imsofuture 5 hours ago 1 reply      
So the board agreed to create 3 new board seats over which Kalanick would explicitly have full control to appoint people. And now they're suing him because they regret that?
12
sjg007 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Uber should IPO unless they are waiting until they decimate traditional taxis but I don't see that happening in key markets. They could buy up medallions on the sly though. Economically, Amazon loses money in expansion and they have no real competitors online so I don't see why uber can't do the same.
13
tmh79 6 hours ago 2 replies      
wonder what this means for the CEO search, softbank funding etc. My assumption is that both parties will settle quickly but I could be wrong. Also not noted in the article is that while travis owns 10% of the equity stake, he has super-voting shares, such that him, Ryan Graves, and Garret Camp as a trifecta hold controlling interest IIRC.
14
desireco42 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't know about this infighting, but don't you think that someone like Meg Whitman would suck badly at being Uber CEO, not that she did wonders at HP. If anyone has opinion, I would be interested to hear.
15
zxcvvcxz 3 hours ago 1 reply      
> Benchmark argues that it never would have granted Kalanick those three extra seats had it known about his "gross mismanagement and other misconduct at Uber"

Buyer's remorse! Investors think they deserve so much power because they put capital upfront and understand how to play the legal system to their benefit, while more industrious actors are busy actually building the value of the company.

Yeah and I can tell the folks at Benchmark about a bunch of guys I knew who wish they never would've gotten married. Oh well, when you take your vows... Till death do you part ;)

16
pfarnsworth 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Who in their right mind, except for the utterly desperate, would accept money from Benchmark? Talk about letting the fox into the henhouse, you can't trust those guys whatsoever.
17
thebmax 6 hours ago 5 replies      
Agreed. Fuck Benchmark. Travis makes each partner $1 billion personally and this is how they treat him? They should be blackballed by every great founder out there. I had respect for benchmark but not anymore. They are greedy assholes.
18
PhantomGremlin 6 hours ago 4 replies      
In my best Nelson Muntz voice: "Ha-ha".

The VCs have done this to themselves. They put up all the money, they should have never allowed themselves to be put into this situation.

Decades ago, when I was at startups, this was 100% clear, cut and dried. The Golden Rule. People who have the gold make the rules.

I'm sure this won't be a popular opinion, since more HN readers are founders and employees than are VCs. But don't simply downvote. Explain. Articulate why, after taking billions of dollars in VC money, you feel like you're still owed control.

19
revelation 6 hours ago 1 reply      
There is nothing new here other than Benchmark Capital thinking they can choose and pick a shareholder decision to revert based on the recent Uber gates.

Seems very thin on the ground given there is no ruling in a court of law against Kalanick in any of those.

20
baccheion 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Uber, AirBnb, Snapchat, Dropbox, etc will all crumble. They may continue to exist, but they'll be more like Twitter than Facebook. None of them are anything special.

Maybe Dropbox will get acquired after their failed IPO. Snapchat could also get filed away in a similar fashion, but it may be too late.

I wonder why they invested so much in a taxi company. It only makes sense if all cars are replaced with Uber autonomous vehicles, but what are the odds that will happen? Uber only makes sense in larger cities.

The "brain" trust may as well get started on teleportation or something else deserving of billions in blind/naive/"stupid" faith.

Is this the mobile bubble forming and collapsing live? As suggested by historical timings (8 <= year_ipod - year_founded <= 12), IPOs for all "big bets" should technically happen within the next year. I strongly doubt it's going to be pretty.

12
Benefits of a Lifestyle Business bugfender.com
396 points by adchsm  1 day ago   248 comments top 35
1
weeksie 1 day ago 9 replies      
Sure! Lifestyle businesses are great, and so is the whole digital nomad thing (I spent all of 2016 and a good chunk of 2015 traveling around the world).

There are a ton of upsides but I wouldn't go back to it full time. For one, it's surprising how few of the digital nomad types are really that interesting, and while integrating with local populations is fun, you'll still find yourself missing the familiarity of people from your own culture (or similar, Western cultures, assuming you're a Euro or American)

Once you get used to life on the road it's grand. Still, nomad nests like Chiang Mai are insipid and full of scores of people hustling their drop ship schemes. More power to them, but it's just not my vibe.

I dunno. Go nuts, travel, see a bunch of shit, just don't assume the beach is going to be as stimulating as the (very likely) metro urban environment you're living in now.

2
sevensor 1 day ago 4 replies      
Your chosen lifestyle doesn't have to involve sea voyages in Southeast Asia or weeklong ski excursions. It could also be living in a medium-sized town in Flyover Country, U.S.A., working 40 hour weeks on interesting problems and spending lots of time with your spouse and children. If you've ever looked around at your Logan's Run coworkers and wondered what happens when you turn 30, here's one of your answers.
3
AndrewKemendo 1 day ago 8 replies      
Is there some reason that people keep making the case for creating a standard business that supports one or two people? These types of posts have been pretty consistent over the years: "Take control of your life with a small business" "You don't need to make a massive company to be happy" etc...

I never see articles that encourage: "Here's why you should dedicate your life to starting a company and try to dominate an industry." It's like these posts are fighting against a boogeyman that isn't there.

I think 99% of all small businesses are "lifestyle businesses" where the founders aren't trying to build a market dominating billion dollar company. So who are these articles target to?

Is it simply the amount of press that surrounds VC and hyperscale companies that these folks are rejecting? I don't think any VC or founder has ever claimed that the only way to be happy/make money/do good is by trying to create a massive market dominating company.

4
wanderings 1 day ago 3 replies      
Lifestyle business beats a startup, until it doesn't. I'm the example. Ran a category leading website for years until I was demolished by a fully focused bad ass team and thrown out of my leadership position. Ultimately, I was forced to sell out at a much lower valuation than I'd have if I were totally focused. It could vary on niche and industry. But one can't generalize it one way or the other. If you have a great position in a big sector and you don't go for the kill, someone else will and your lifestyle business would be likely chewed up by competition. If it's a business with an intrinsic moat(think a retail store in small tourist town), it's likely to sustain. Take frequent breaks while running a bad ass startup, but don't for a while think that you can let the ball drop.
5
k__ 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can we please stop calling regular businesses "lifestyle business", like it's some hobby for people who don't want to work in a " real" startup?!
6
ArmandGrillet 1 day ago 2 replies      
"A good lifestyle business could even be turned into a multi-million dollar company, if thats what you want.": I've stopped reading there, I don't understand how articles that empty can arrive on top of HN. These questions (where to work? On what? How much?) get way better answers in "Ask HN" threads, articles coming from nowhere with a topbar selling me something are really not making me dream anymore.
7
boyce 1 day ago 2 replies      
This digital nomad thing just looks hellish to me. Maybe I'm getting old.

Can't imagine being somewhere nice but glued to a laptop, or getting anything useful done without reliable wifi etc, or being part of a team where the boss has gone on holiday but still showing up in slack etc.

I'd hate to feel like I wasn't part of the team for not getting our kids together or not wanting to holiday or spend a day off with colleagues. I'm not impressed by instagram or medium posts from perfect looking beaches giving business advice.

Not sure when a lifestyle business went from being a business that fits around your lifestyle to making the appearance of living an idealised lifestyle everybody else's business.

8
miheermunjal 1 day ago 3 replies      
I... I feel I can't believe the company has 1) top salary, 2) top benefits 3) unlimited travel 4) work remote 5) top enterprise clients 6) small teams 7) work as much as you want?

either someone is ridiculous at managing at all of this (kudos!) or something is slipping somewhere. Even in custom-dev it can be cutthroat, especially with large-scale projects and demanding clients.

9
jasonrhaas 1 day ago 0 replies      
Meh, kind of a generic article about how you should prioritize lifestyle over building a startup. I guess this is nothing new to me, I did the digital nomad thing with Remote Year for a year and change, and now I'm still working remotely in Austin, TX.

I do miss the constant travel, there is always something coming up to look forward to. When you are in one place, not constantly traveling, you have to make your own fun. Which is why I've taken up other things like riding motorcycles, brewing beer, and speaking at my local Python meetup.

All that year I was working full time as a Python Developer while traveling constantly. Every weekend was an epic adventure. It's an amazing lifestyle if you can pull it off, but its not for everyone can definitely will wear on you after a while.

10
buf 1 day ago 0 replies      
I own a lifestyle business and I work at a startup as the founding engineer, but I work remotely.

When you work remotely, you can treat both your lifestyle business and your gig the same, insofar as you have the freedom to take an hour off your gig to do some calls for your lifestyle business in the middle of the day, or you can test particular technologies on your lifestyle business before you commit to it in your startup.

I find them both to be healthily married.

I still have the freedom to hang out with my kid at lunch, or work from a far away place, while at the same time achieving my career goals and attaining financial independence.

11
Mz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Give me a break. He is playing fast and loose with terminology and it is disingenuous because he is twisting lifestyle business to be whatever he wants it to mean while dissing startups and not giving that term the same flexibility to be "anything that grows fast, even if it doesn't eat the CEO's life."

I hate the term lifestyle business and articles like this one are part of why. I have given my POV previously here:

http://micheleincalifornia.blogspot.com/2014/03/i-love-lucy-...

My recollection is that Plenty of Fish was started by one guy who never took VC money, so he got to keep all the money when he sold for millions. Articles like this don't mention examples like that when justifying their biased opinion that "lifestyle business" = good and "startup" = bad. (In part because of the lack of VC money, I assume that Plenty of Fish was not a pressure cooker. Upon rereading my comment, that assumption does not seem clear.)

12
chatmasta 1 day ago 1 reply      
A lifestyle business seems fundamentally incompatible with a team oriented business. Let's assume the goal of a "lifestyle" business by a single founder is to automate all operations such that little to no work is required on the part of that founder.

Ok, that's all well and good. But some of that "automation" will inevitably be delegation to the founder's employees. So the employees have to work. The founder doesn't have to work. How can the founder possibly show good leadership and build a strong team if his goal is to work as little as possible?

As a founder, you are responsible for the well being of your employees. That's why they're employees, not independent contractors. If you're working four hours a week with a team of employees, there is a high chance you're shirking some responsibility toward them.

And if you decide to be a full time boss, then you're still building more than a business. You're building a team that you are responsible for. That is, you "answer" to other people - your employees. At this point, the advantages of a lifestyle business over VC funded business ("low hours," "not beholden to anyone") start to lose their luster.

If you're interested in building a team, and a lasting enterprise, then it becomes more logical to just take some seed funding so you can safely pay your employees and ensure an early growth trajectory. Whereas if you're only interested in a totally automated business to provide you and your family a stable income, then you should avoid hiring employees because you'll just end up beholden to them.

Thus the ideas of a "fully automated lifestyle business" and a "lifestyle business with a strong team" seem at odds with each other.

13
alissasobo 1 day ago 1 reply      
At a certain point, this blog post seemed mostly about the great traveling opportunities that this company offers its employees. That's' neat, for employees who are kid-free. But as a developer married to developer... with 2 kids under the age of three... I can tell you that those work retreats abroad actually become pretty challenging for families. At a certain point.. people want to have kids. I would find a company who made their employee perks more about realistically supporting families far more appealing.
14
mcone 1 day ago 1 reply      
Site seems to be down. Here's the cached article: http://archive.is/p5ZLR
15
swlkr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lifestyle businesses eventually give you more of what you really want, freedom.

VC backed startups seem to just give you a new set of bosses.

16
tixocloud 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think what's important here is that we each have to know what our lifestyle aspirations are.

For some folks, a lifestyle business is better suited for them as they are looking to get more time out of their lives to do other things.

For others, a startup might be better because they have more control over whatever product/service they are providing.

17
znq 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just in case people are more interested in the details of the business we run, Indie Hackers recently ran an interview with us https://www.indiehackers.com/businesses/bugfender
18
thefuzz 1 day ago 6 replies      
I'm someone who is thinking of changing carriers at 30 to become a developer. I love the idea of cutting out bureaucracy and office politics and be paid decently. I'd love any thoughts and advice from more experienced people about what I should do in the next 12-24 months.
19
lafay 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm all for lifestyle businesses and side hustles. But some ideas really do require a lot of up-front capital. It's hard to imagine Tesla, SpaceX, Boom, or Nest succeeding as lifestyle businesses.
20
chet177 15 hours ago 0 replies      
You could pretty much have the lifestyle you want wherever you are. You don't need to go anywhere really, unless you want to be snorkelling or scuba diving everyday

Most days you just want to eat well, exercise, meditate, do a good job, try'n make some money, spend time with family, and sleep well. The odd day you do feel adventurous just take off on your motorcycle or hop on a plane.

No great scenic view will make your life automatically better. The scenic view in itself is only benefit there is. That I have to agree!

21
josh_carterPDX 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have grown both a lifestyle business and a startup and I still don't know which I prefer. I mean, it's nice to have some flexibility, but it's also nice to find the capital that helps propel your business faster. It really depends on the business, the person, and what you'd like to get out of the venture. At the end of the day it's a preference. I don't think one beats the other.
22
fiatjaf 1 day ago 1 reply      
Has "lifestyle" changed its meaning? It seems to mean now that if you're "focusing on lifestyle" you are kayaking on the Pacific Ocean.
23
rb808 1 day ago 1 reply      
The people who I've seen who have the best lifestyle have big chunks of work followed by big chunks of time off.

They tended to work 6-12 month contracts followed by 3-6 months off. This works great in a good economy, when it turns sour its more difficult.

The other happy group worked in mines or oil rigs on a month on month off schedule. They got paid tax free and had 6 month long vacations a year to travel.

I think I prefer those options to working while travelling.

24
lquist 1 day ago 0 replies      
Also this doesn't have to be an either/or decision that you have to make on Day 1. We started our business as a lifestyle business and as it got traction have decided to pursue a startup approach. On track to do $10M+ revenue this year :)
25
kornakiewicz 1 day ago 8 replies      
What does 'a lifestyle business' mean, anyway?
26
goodroot 1 day ago 0 replies      
Many comments in here make the dialogue feel like a roiling cauldron of over-work and burn-out. Whether you're nomadic, working in a start-up, working at a mega-corp, working at the the grocery store, balance in life is crucial.

In knowledge work, how can one really spend more than 40 hours producing quality output? It becomes an unhealthy compulsion to sate a hyper-stimulated existence instead of a strategy for creation. Whichever way you choose to work, focus on health and ample rest. The rest will take care of itself.

27
orthoganol 1 day ago 0 replies      
From someone who's done both, they are not comparable, directly, but they have a complementary relation: The DN (digital nomad) life is absolutely an engine for the kind of creative and free thinking that engenders killer startup ideas. Startups are "the thing" you want to commit your life to, the world-changing vision that you're ready to sacrifice for; the DN/ lifestyle business/ remote gigs mode is the fertile ground, for when you lack strength of vision, you don't know what you want right now, so you slow down, gain experience, and grow your thinking.

Only ever doing one in your life without the other is unenviable, and makes it hard to fully enjoy and appreciate, or even excel at, whichever one you've chosen.

28
astrowilliam 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been working in tech for the last 10 years. I've come to the point that I need to enjoy my life and not sit in an office 10 hours a day, coding for someone else's vision.

So I started a brand ( https://lasttrystuff.com ) of my own so I can enjoy an active lifestyle while adventuring. It doesn't quite pay as much, but the trade offs are immensely satisfying.

29
lazyjones 1 day ago 1 reply      
How does the business case of such a "lifestyle business" look, i.e. the numbers? I'm not sure whether operating out of a sailing boat is affordable for small companies and the $6500 MRR of bugfender can't be covering it...
30
matchagaucho 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not sure I'd agree with the OP's definition of Lifestyle Business, given he's operating a service company with employees, payroll, clients, and sales quotas.

That's no less hectic than a start-up.

31
jjmorrison 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sounds great if you want to optimize for your personal happiness. But not a feasible way to really make an impact on the world. The world needs more of the latter IMHO.
32
sgwealti 1 day ago 0 replies      
What is a Lifestyle business? I read through the first 50% of the article and didn't see that term defined anywhere.
33
quadcore 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why does the author think one has to be happy the way he does? Lifestyle business beats a startup for some and the opposite is true for others.
34
SirLJ 1 day ago 0 replies      
The holy grail is to automate, once done you'll be really free to enjoy life and give back to humanity
35
SKYRHO_ 1 day ago 3 replies      
Whoops... Did HN Crash their site?
13
Apple staffers reportedly rebelling against open office plan bizjournals.com
397 points by V99  2 days ago   390 comments top 24
1
seorphates 2 days ago 8 replies      
Working in open office plans is simply awful.

Personally I believe remote work, for any tech-enabled employer, makes the most sense. The impact on infrastructure by removing commuting alone could maybe help save the planet. And our collective sanity.

Wouldn't it be nice to have ISPs that can provide an infrastructure that could actually support that? I think so.

The hideous effects of cluster-fucking hundreds of thousands of people daily just needs to stop. Tech companies are guilty. They're huge and, humbly opined, are idiots for making it worse and not really needing to. Top that off with an open floor destination and.. damn, work is beat.

2
inetknght 2 days ago 10 replies      
My company only has offices for upper management. Everyone else is at a table. Tables are arranged in groups of four.

Now, I get it, some people like open office environments. Good for them.

Me? Well, I've told many coworkers that I can't work from home because I wouldn't work from home. There are too many distractions at home, so I need to be at the office to be productive.

But this open office?

There are days where I am convinced I would do more work, be more productive, and feel more satisfied if I worked from home.

I went and bought some noise cancelling headphones. They help, but definitely not enough. My table is by the main door. With a room of 40+ engineers, there's constant distracting traffic. Some people make snide comments about my choice of operating system, keyboard, language, editor, typing noise, attire, whatever. Or to chat about the games that I missed last night, something happened at the not-company-sponsored-happy-hour that I didn't get the invite to, or something about lunch that, you know, you should have been there and if only you wouldn't leave the office for lunch. Or about how your racing car is in for the shop because, well, actually I don't even care why. It's just in the shop (I know! you told me!) and you expect me to care about car parts too, and shame on me for not knowing the difference between a maserati and a miata.

On the other hand, any time I mention to my boss that I'd like at least a cubicle the response is "it's not going to happen". Thanks, boss! I'm glad you've got my productivity concerns on your plate. I'm glad they can just, you know, be heard. Not addressed, just heard. It's really helpful to be heard. All day. It's real helpful to hear everyone's discussions while I'm trying to do work.

Honestly, guys, if you like an open office environment, that's good for you. Not everyone wants one and not everyone works well in one.

3
Joeri 1 day ago 2 replies      
Apple has insisted in presentations to the city of Cupertino that the open floor plan designs are conducive to collaboration between teams, per Bloomberg. But the high-level executives, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, are exempt from this collaborative environment and have offices on the fourth floor of the new building.

See, this is exactly what's wrong with open plan offices in most places. If a CEO honestly believes open plan is better for collaboration, then they need to eat their own dog food. That CEO needs to be sitting right in the middle of things. If they find they can't get anything done as a consequence of the collaboration they are in the right place to take action to fix that. And if they are able to achieve productive outcomes, they are also in the right place to argue against people who say it's not possible. Letting upper management avoid all the downsides of the open plan layout causes problems with it to fester and will bring overall worker satisfaction and productivity down. In short, it is bad management to treat management in a special way.

4
loco5niner 2 days ago 2 replies      
Hopefully, more and more companies experience backlash from this. It is a horrific mistake to add distracting elements to most programmers environments. Even worse, in my open office plan, they put our very loud finance group right next to us. Absolutely no thought of noise management was considered, except for putting in horrible "white noise" generators that set off my tinnitus Thankfully, my direct manager is understanding and let me turn off the one directly over my head. And by directly over my head, I mean about 4 feet.
5
nemo44x 2 days ago 4 replies      
It all seems so backwards. Instead of having collaborative working spaces with private rooms for meetings, doesn't it make more sense to have private rooms for working and collaborative meeting spaces?
6
hkmurakami 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's really kind of amazing to me how in 20 years we've gone from laughing at the cacophonous, claustrophobic, diseases-transmission-inducing, open office plans of other economic regions (ex: the traditional Japanese office http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-CadIFZ3h638/T7yGtzdxVDI/AAAAAAAABe..., or the Wall Street trading floor), to precisely emulating their layouts (with better superficial aesthetic design), inheriting both their economic efficiency and productivity inefficiencies.

I'll take a cube farm with 5 feet walls any day over an open office.

7
chmaynard 2 days ago 3 replies      
I worked at Apple during the years when the company designed and built its first campus at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino. As I recall, Apple R&D employees were considered stakeholders and participated in the design of the interior spaces. Apple wisely decided to give each engineer a private office. There were open areas near the offices with comfortable furniture and whiteboards for engineers to meet and collaborate. I worked in one of these buildings from 2001-2007, and I can confirm that the work areas were beautifully designed and ideal for fostering productive work. It's sad to hear that Apple apparently abandoned this approach in its new campus.
8
aetherson 2 days ago 1 reply      
I am fairly close to someone who works at Apple. His team is avoiding the new spaceship building. He mentioned wanting to keep his office, but that was just one part of several different complaints, including just "it turns out that the building isn't big enough for most of the people who work at the HQ in Cupertino," and "My team would probably have to split up in awkward ways because not everyone would be able to work in the spaceship (due to space constraints)."
9
nashashmi 2 days ago 8 replies      
Man, I remember in college when we would be working long hours in the library on a computer lined up in a row of computers. Every one would be intensely working on what they needed to. Sometimes two would work together. This was especially true before presentations when we were trying to put our stuff together. It was neat. It was collaborative. It was fun. And we were happy.

Open floor plan is reminiscent of those days, but it isn't working. And I cannot figure out why. What's missing? Intensity? Work? Stress? Team building therapy? Or just trust? Whatever it is I hope we figure it out.

10
sidlls 2 days ago 2 replies      
Open offices diminish workers to cattle status. Most work, even the kind many developers would not think of as being so, in tech companies requires thoughtfulness often and collaboration less often. I consider open office plans to be disrespectful and an indicator of second-class status.
11
minwcnt5 2 days ago 0 replies      
Headphones are a poor solution to the noise problem in open offices. I find it uncomfortable to wear them for 8 hours at a time, and it means I can't overhear the conversations I do want to overhear. Sitting elsewhere only works if I have a task I can do on a laptop; for serious development work I need a lot of screen real estate. That solution also has the same problem as headphones where I might miss important conversations because I'm too busy hiding from noise created by people doing work completely unrelated to mine.

There's a pretty happy medium, 2-10 person offices (with 4-5 being the most common size) with glass walls. Google used to have a lot of these before completely open plans became en vogue, and it was very rare to hear complaints. They allow frequent interaction with your most common collaborators while blocking out conversations from distant teams. They reduce visual distraction while still allowing in lots of natural light and inviting conversation. Doors were usually left open, so it was pretty comfortable to walk into another office and start up a conversation.

With the giant, open, chicken-farm style floorplans, people feel too self-conscious about dozens of people overhearing to have small 2-3 person conversations near their desks, which means more formal meetings with all the associated overhead, and fewer impromptu questions like "hey does anyone know of a tool to do X?" And then you're still more distracted anyway due to all the typing, people walking by, large groups being loud when gathering to eat lunch or go to a meeting together or whatever.

I only see two advantages of completely open floors: slightly cheaper (glass offices can be made almost as dense, but not quite, and I guess the glass partitions aren't free), and better circulation to dissipate bad odors more quickly.

12
kevinburke 2 days ago 1 reply      
One solution to this problem would be for Apple employees to form a union and collectively bargain for better working conditions. Probably just threatening to do this would lead to significant concessions.

Any Apple employees interested in this should contact Maciej Ceglowski on Signal at +1415-610-0231.

13
knorker 2 days ago 1 reply      
I recently watched the movie Office Space.

Oh, such a wonderful working environment. To have the privacy and isolation from distractions and interruptions that a cubicle gives. What I wouldn't give to work in such a great office space.

14
chank 2 days ago 1 reply      
My company recently switched to an open floor plan. It's done nothing but increase distractions and office gossip. Everyone I know tries to get away from their desk as often as possible. Ducking into side rooms, attempting to work from home, and just plain using any excuse to escape the zoo.

Management loves open plans because it's the cheapest seating arrangement. They claim that it will increase collaboration while exempting themselves from having to deal with the environment. The truth is that just being able to see someone without walking over to their desk isn't going to magically make you communicate with them more or make your output higher. Some people like open floor plans but it's been my experience most people don't and just grin and bear it while slowly dying inside.

15
borplk 2 days ago 0 replies      
> open floor plan designs are conducive to collaboration between teams

This is just an overused cover-up story to avoid stating the real reasons which is cutting costs and monitoring employees.

They use "collaboration" so that you can't voice your opposition to it easily.

If you do that they will beat you with the "not a team player" and "not a culture fit" sticks.

Then in reality unhappy employees sit next to each other with noise cancelling headphones whose job has been unnecessarily harder than it already is because now a part of their mental focus and capacity is actively going towards ignoring distractions.

16
pimmen 1 day ago 0 replies      
"But the high-level executives, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, are exempt from this collaborative environment and have offices on the fourth floor of the new building."

Because private offices offers control over your working environment; if you need to collaborate, use a conference room, if you need a quick discussion, call them up on Slack.

I'm not going to touch wether or not the CEO has earned the best working environment, but let's bring attention to the fact that the CEO is promoting less control over your working environment for his employees and claim open-office plans offers all kinds of benefits, while the C-level management chooses to opt out. Either that's very noble of them to sacrifice all the benefits of open-office, or they're being a bit disingenuous about why almost everyone else gets an open-office plan.

17
a3n 2 days ago 1 reply      
In (almost) all open office environments, people above a certain level have private offices.

Why?

Why don't they want to be as productive and collaborative as their reports? Conference rooms and phone rooms are just as available to them as they are to the rest. They can probably even afford much better head phones than the rest.

I just don't see enough of a difference to justify it.

18
pasbesoin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Apple has the money to afford whatever it wants. If it's like any other place I've seen, I expect there's longstanding communication of one or another sort from high performers that they want distraction-free environments.

From what I've observed of such high performers, they are not anti-social nor anti-collaborative, nor are they "crippled" in either respect. Rather, many of them are the most capable in these areas, because they actually pay attention and focus on getting things done -- and done as well as time and resources allow.

The fact that Apple, like many workplaces I've observed, chooses to ignore this and push a paradigm that increases their stress and decreases their effectiveness and efficiency?

Well, as I learned in my own experience, over the years: This is just a fundamental level of dis-respect.

I don't know anything about Apple work internals, specifically; the last time I intersected with those peripherally was in the early '90's.

But when you blatantly disregard what employees tell you -- and in this case, "professional" employees who have a high degree of training and awareness about the tooling they need, including their work environments, to be most effective. Well, that's just disrespect.

And employers who persistently engage in such, deserve what they get. I hope -- because at some point, this counter-productive... "ideology" needs to die.

P.S. Those employees that want cubicles or open-space? Fine, give it to them. I don't want to dictate environment, either way.

Trust your employees to select what works best for them.

And measure the results. Objectively, not in the typical performance review ex post facto rationalization and justification.

In my own experience, top performers cautiously (politics) leapt at the chance to work from home and otherwise gain undistracted blocks of time to adequately focus on complex problems and program management.

Those who embraced the cycle of endless meetings, interruptions -- including environmental -- and superficially-addressed delegation? They faced the same problems, month after month, cycle after cycle.

19
nupertino 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if anyone will make a claim about necessary workplace accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act for ADD/ADHD. I already take medication which makes it almost OK for me to share an office - a recent change for me after 20 years. But I'm still freaked out by someone literally 3 feet away from me. My social anxiety and borderline asperger's really make me seize up until I can be alone in the late afternoon / evening.

When I had my own office, I was able to do things like coordinate health care, talk to my wife, and eventually the divorce lawyers, but with the knowledge that I could close my door and have privacy - now I have to escape to a staircase to have a private conversation.

Plus, I'm terribly annoying to be around. From my mechanical clicky keyboard to a desk overflowing with artifacts and fidgets of various ilk, sharing a workspace means subjecting everyone else to my idiosyncrasies, mumblings and offensive body oder.

20
norea-armozel 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'll never understand the fascination with firms repeatedly going for the open office plan. I remember seeing pictures from the early 20th century where such offices existed full of people typing away. I don't know how they handled the noise or the fact they couldn't isolate themselves to do their work whether it was repetitive or novel in nature. It just seems like firms think of labor as a singular mechanical process and not as something that's done in an irregular and discoordinated fashion (as I've seen in my personal experience from working in factories and currently working in software development). I really think managerial practices need to update with the facts instead of forcing the facts to fit with their expectations.
21
brudgers 2 days ago 1 reply      
Good architecture does not come from curved glass and 1mm joints between materials. It comes from human habitability. Why build a building that makes people unhappy? It seems to miss the point.
22
skc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Every article I've read about this building in the past has gone to great pains to point out the artistry, elegance and taste that was applied in building it.

I now find it highly amusing that at Apple, form over function won out yet again.

23
1_2__4 2 days ago 0 replies      
Every single company does this now and it's a fucking nightmare. They'll give you a million useless and stupid perks, but they won't give you a fucking place to actually do work. It's infuriating beyond words.
24
maxxxxx 2 days ago 4 replies      
It seems a lot of managers live in that phantasy world where people do nothing but collaborate. Do they really think that code gets written that way?
14
JavaScript for People Who Hate JavaScript zachholman.com
414 points by ingve  1 day ago   316 comments top 30
1
cel1ne 1 day ago 14 replies      
Background: I learned Javascript 1997 and kept up.

I have extensive experience in ES6/React for the browser and Java/Kotlin for Server-, Desktop- and Mobile-Apps.

A week ago I switched a fairly new project from the usual setup (react/babel/webpack) to Kotlin-code only. My IDE compiles the Kotlin to JS now and webpack serves it as usual.

Writing the react-bindings took me an hour, after that my productivity went up by about 10.000%.It's finally on par with my productivity on server and desktop. No type errors, fast refactoring, no "undefined" errors and all the goodies (extensions) of Kotlin.

Removing the complex eslint settings and babel-setup from webpack and package.json felt triumphant.

My JSX looks like this now and is completely typesafe:

 val LieferungenList: (props: ListProps) -> ReactElement = { Datagrid { div { className = "..." ... } TextField { source = "date" } TextField { source = "produktname" } EditButton { } } }
I even get compiler-errors when I nest HTML-tags the wrong way (h1 inside h1) or so.

I couldn't be happier. I'll never touch plain ES6 again.

2
sametmax 1 day ago 7 replies      
TL;DR: JS with a ton of make up and tooling to not write JS is not as horrible as it used to be.

Well. That doesn't make it awesome either.

You just traded some problems for others.

Like the damn source map never working correctly, the build time being longer and longer, and the never ending list of plugins you expend every day after stumbling on yet another small-minuscule-not-that-important-I-swear detail.

The tool chain you spend more and more time on, despite all the "5-minutes" bundles provided by facebook or on githubs.

Explaining things to new comers has never been as difficult as it is now. Teaching is a pain.

Choosing your stack is a dangerous bet, and the odds and steaks are changing all the time.

If you opt-in for a flux architecture, you will soon write Java-as-in-the-90 on the frontend instead of Javascript, with so many adapters and design patterns as layers you will become angry.

If you don't (you-totally-don't-need-redux-to-use-react-guys) then most documentations and tutorials will not answer your questions, and you are own your own solving every single problems. Even the simplest ones, like redirecting on a route after data changes and closing a panel at the same time.

"Libs, not framework" means you need to relearn everything, rewrite a lot of code, tests and doc and renew maintenance for each new project. Meanwhile nobody agree on what a the proper stack is.

JS, despite all the paint on the rust, still has the old gotchas. This is still weird. ";" is still auto inserted. "==" still compares like nothing else. Errors come in different so many different forms it's not funny. Basic maths assumptions like commutativity are out of scope. Still no namespaces, but instead we use monstrosity like webpack and incompatible import systems to encapsulate things. Stdlib still doesn't have essential things like hashing, string/date formatting or encoding. Even basic operation like removing an element from an array using an index is a pain.

No, I'm sorry, JS has not become awesome. We just arrived to a point were we accepted we have everything to built with it and agree to pay the huge price for it. That's all.

Projects like vue.js makes me think there is still hope we end up with elegant tools from people who care. But right now I just embrace the madness and make money with it: all those poor customers don't realize the trap the current mindset lead them to, and I have so many solutions to the problem they should never have had to sell them.

3
pmlnr 1 day ago 4 replies      
Don't compare JS (or any language) to any other language - or any language to another language. People wrote a lot about it (Your language sucks because... - type things). JS is just another language.

The JS ecosystem is wild and moving way too fast, but even that is not really the trouble with it: it's that it's being overused.

He mentions DHTML at the beginning, which was the perfect example of using too much of something: mouse trailing bouncy balls with falling snow, my, I don't really miss those days.

Yet we're here in 2017 and React & Co. is crippling the web. Plain simple news or a blog site rendering with JS? AMP, loading megabytes of Javascript, claiming to speed up the web? When your product is text, how about you serve text and maybe only boost it or do analytics with JS? I know it's not fancy, but for a lot of sites out there, JS based rendering is completely unneeded.

In case of web apps... A little while ago I listened to a talk of front end colleagues, claiming that we'll speed up the site by async calling some blocks, so the initial content will get down fast and the less important ones will follow. When I asked if we're measuring the very end render time - the one that heats the CPUs, because you offload the rendering to the client, which can get quite stressful - the answer was 'no', mostly because nobody knows how to do it. I also asked about how screenreaders will work with this, and they thought I'm talking about mobile, which is extremely sad, and no, I'm unaware of any screenreader-friendly JS based app. (Screenreaders are the programs literally reading out the text for visually impaired.)

Google and FB offers fallback, HTML-only solutions to their services, because the realised their things don't work on slow connections and/or slow devices. Maybe this should be taken as a sign.

4
twii 1 day ago 8 replies      
Omg, so this guy thinks he knows why I'm hating Javascript? Well, it's definitely not because of the lack of types, or because without Prettier my code looks shit, neither would it be the lack of E6/ES7 features since I'm using Coffeescript 2. No, I hate Javascript especially for it's conitnuously changing ecosystem being forced upon you. You named Dan Abramov? Ah, the guy who deprecated almost all flux in favor of his own idea (Redux), or by deprecating React Mixins, because he thinks Mixins are bad, Higher Order Components is the new holy grail?

If I am looking for a job as a Javasript developer at the moment it is not about my coding skills, it is about my willingness to adopt all those hyped technologies, and the author of this article is just making it worse.

I also hate Javascript for all those people reading this that think I don't understand it yet, and are going to explain me how great ES6/ES7, Promises, and/or Typescript are. Please don't.

5
pbowyer 1 day ago 6 replies      
I've gone through the same experience this year, having picked up modern JavaScript, Angular2, TypeScript and RxJS for a project.

For me it was TypeScript that did it. I came to appreciate strong typing. And ES6, fixing the 'this' scope problems and with a conventional class syntax (I understand prototype inheritance is clever, but it's not the way I've been trained to think). I didn't get to use async/await for various reasons, but that looks to remove my third pain point (callback hell/promises/observables).

RxJS remains a mystery (I swear the API wasn't designed for humans) I use and hope it works, and combining code that use Observables with those that use Promises still wakes me up in a cold sweat.

But now going back to old territory (PHP, Symfony) I miss it. Yesterday's miss was union types. TypeScript has spoiled me.

6
agentultra 1 day ago 1 reply      
I was a Python developer for about 10 years before joining a startup that works almost exclusively in Javascript. I had to swallow my pride and make the best of it. I had a huge, smug chip in my shoulder.

ES6 has made the language tolerable. Enjoyable even. It has even been a decent medium for mentoring more junior developers who haven't had any exposure to functional programming in school. I can show them combinators, functors, applicatives without all of the usual ceremony in a more pure language. For that JS has been quite nice.

However for my own projects I just use GHCJS or Bucklescript and compile down to JS. Google Closure and Webpack are fine tools for shaking out the unused code and bundling everything up.

7
TazeTSchnitzel 1 day ago 3 replies      
I disliked JavaScript, but then I read JavaScript: The Good Parts, and I saw that with a bit of discipline* there's something quite pleasant underneath. It's a book that, rather than being focussed on telling you what not to use, instead shows you various approaches to programming with what you should use. If nothing else it'll give you food for thought and unlearn you of your worst beginner habits. Mind you, it's a dated book and ES6 added a lot to the language.

*don't listen to every suggestion of Crockford though; e.g. having to hoist your variable declarations is as obnoxious an idea in JavaScript as it is in C

8
mhd 1 day ago 0 replies      
My problem with the current Javascript culture (which definitely includes the React infospace) is basically the inverse how I felt about C++ back in the day. Then, in the early years of the second age, I felt that the libraries and frameworks I was using should use more of the then-current standard, like the STL, RTTI or whatever was hip and promosing back then.

These days, it seems that every feature that is semi-supported in at least one transpiler isn't just used (in various ways) but in fact begets a whole slew of libraries. Especially when we're talking about ways to circumvent the async-hole.

Other transpiled languages will either have the equivalent features, use lots of inline JS or ditch large parts of the ecosystem. While the latter would be possible if NewLangs standard library is big and good enough, I'm not feeling particularly optimistic about that.

Quite likely that C++ history will repeat itself: Just use the core language and a minimal library and do everything yourself (back then that was e.g. C++/Win32/ATL, not sure what it'll be for my future browser-based projects. Modula-3, I miss thee.).

9
eecc 1 day ago 2 replies      
Meh, all I got from this article is that this guy is writing a calendar app.

Perhaps that's the whole point of this post. ;)

10
GeneralMaximus 1 day ago 1 reply      
I primarily built frontend applications, so JavaScript is pretty much the only programming language I use on a daily basis. I'm not in love with it (although post-ES6 JS is quite pleasant to write), but I don't mind it as much anymore.

The reason? I feel like JavaScript is heading in the same direction as Java. The core language is highly flawed, which has resulted in the community developing build-time tooling and editor niceties to keep things sane.

In the future I expect to see more tools like Flow and Prettier, and existing tools and editors becoming smarter. I'm excited for improvements to JS as a language, but these days I'm more excited for new tooling.

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manx 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I also started learning JS in the DHTML era and wrote small games and toys for IE4. I did PHP stuff for almost 10 years and it was my main programming language. But at some point I stopped doing webdev, since the whole thing was a big mess and didn't seem to get better. I hated it. After a long break I decided to do another web project again and worked with Scala in the backend and Angular and ES6 in the frontend (about 2.5yrs ago). At first it seemed to be a lot better, but we ended up with another working but unmaintainable SPA. Adding new features required a lot of knowledge and was a pain. In this project I tried and failed to implement a solid Graph Library in JS. This motivated me to look at ScalaJS and write this library part of the app in Scala. It worked very well and I was amazed by the JS interop. From this point on I develop new web-apps with Scala in the full stack and am very happy with it. I suggest to try it yourself for the frontend, since it has a very similar syntax to JS.The type safety avoids most runtime errors and therefore painful debugging time. Compile times became a lot better recently.

http://www.scala-js.org

The real power comes when you share your data structures and algorithms with the backend, get a type safe REST API and macro-based high performance json/binary serialization.

12
kreetx 1 day ago 4 replies      
This probably comes off as said from an ivory tower, but I don't think it's the people from other untyped languages who hate JavaScript nowdays. ES6+ looks pretty good compared to Python/Ruby/PHP perspective, and it works in the browser!
13
skocznymroczny 1 day ago 2 replies      
I switched to Dart few months ago, it actually makes JavaScript bearable. I never get to see the actual generated JS code.
14
sAbakumoff 1 day ago 1 reply      
I really enjoyed the writing style of the article - "hottest shit on the street", "Its just a yarn install away", "DHTML was totally rad, like how the Budweiser frogs were rad."...just brilliant! Also gave me a good nostalgic feeling about DHTML..
15
simonlc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lots of people relate ES2015 to giving us a better javascript, but the core language remains the same; the changes are just additions.

Building a tool chain can be an extreme pain in the ass because everyone is still experimenting, and trying to make the web better. Things like web workers, hot module reloading, and code splitting are relatively new, and don't have mature tools or patterns. Yes it's hard to learn, and yes it takes a lot of time, but once you learn a few tools you can keep using them over and over. I've been using gulp and browserify since 2011, and recently switched to gulp+webpack for code splitting, and HMR, and the switch couldn't have been easier.

16
finchisko 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'am huge fan of JavaScript and personally don't like both Ruby and Python, but would never write an article titled: "Ruby/Python for People Who Hate Ruby/Python". I just don't use them. Writing such a article is IMO arrogant and bad for your karma. I understand some programmers are forced to use JS against their will (because there is not other person for the job), but if you hate JS and you're not forced to use it, please just don't use it and then you don't have to write such a negative and opinionated articles.
17
DonHopkins 1 day ago 0 replies      
The best way to truly hate something is to know it very well.
18
mr_ali3n 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sorry, not trying to be a d*ck here but I don't get the point.

You said you don't like the NodeJS eco system as you need to install thousands of packages to get your work done whereas on the other hand, your find CRA which uses tons of NodeJS packages to get the work done.

Secondly, code splitting, Babel, bundling has nothing to do with CRA, they are just standalone packages which works well together.

Third, "Whats more, updates are great. Its just a yarn install away.", Isn't this something which NPM does as well?

Syntax - Again, nothing to do with ReactJS, it's babel which comes with polyfills.

So am just curious here to understand that how exactly CRA changed your mind where 90% of what you are doing is pure JS and has nothing to do with ReactJS?

19
rcarmo 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been using Node 8 again after a few years of staunchly avoiding it, and the pain of selecting the right kind of libraries to use async/await sanely without having to massage promises (and .then()) is still there - in that sense, I feel very much like that cat with the strawberry beret on the article heading...
20
tchaffee 1 day ago 0 replies      
One thing I like about the more quirky languages like JavaScript and PHP, or even the far less quirky but still dangerous C language, is that they force you to write good tests. You don't get the false sense of confidence some other languages give you. I'm still not positive if static types are a poor man's test suite, or if a test suite is a poor man's static types, but I find tests are far more flexible and great at describing intent.
21
vmware513 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interesting, because Create React App is fairly new tool, however Ember CLI gives you the same thing for years now... so JavaScript World was always cool, at least for Ember.js developers. ;)
22
golergka 1 day ago 1 reply      
It looks like the author didn't mention the main reason many of us hate Javascript: weak typing.

Weak typing is great for small-scoped project without a lot of business logic. But when there's a lot of data, a lot of assumptions about it, and, most importantly, these assumptions change A LOT during development - which happens all the time in game development, for example - strong typing is a godsend.

When I make a change in a strong-typed language, I deliberately make it in such a way that the code won't compile unless I complete it. If I can make something a compile-time instead of a run-time error, I do it (and that's why I dream of switching to Rust one day - on some game engine two generations from now, unfortunately). When I refactor something, I know that compiler will let me know if I forget to change it somewhere.

Compiler is my dearest friend. Compilation errors are his gentle hints that make my code better and prepare it from failing in user's hands. Without it, I feel lost and always on my toes. I have to write tests instead. I have to launch the project (which, when it uses a lot of resources, always has overhead) and test everything by hand. When I write a big project in Javascript, I feel like a minefield, unsure of what's broken and what's not.

I can't understand how people write serious, big projects in weak-typed languages.

23
peterbe 1 day ago 0 replies      
24
swlkr 1 day ago 0 replies      
The latest js tooling is certainly light years ahead of where it was last decade, but it's a double edged sword, because now it takes a lot more effort to get something going.

Indie hackers like myself are still better served by vanilla rails + turbolinks, it gets you something that feels fast wtih a lot less effort.

25
tambourine_man 1 day ago 1 reply      
This guy's got a great sense of humor. I pissed my pents with the linked[1] 1x1.gif article.

Or maybe I'm just as old as he is.

[0] https://zachholman.com/posts/only-90s-developers/

26
lopatin 1 day ago 0 replies      
> [Prettier] Its basically like gofmt for JavaScript.

Gotta mention jsfmt, which is actual gofmt for JavaScript. Awesome tool, hasn't been updated in a while though. RIP Rdio.

https://github.com/rdio/jsfmt

27
vitomd 1 day ago 0 replies      
If React or Vue.js dont click for you try Riot.js https://github.com/riot/riot Its a minimalistic js library with a lot to offer.I made a tutorial some time ago, I think it could give you a glimpse about what you can do http://vitomd.com/blog/coding/hello-riot-js-quick-tutorial-a...
28
inopinatus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've gone through a similar experience with Rails 5.1 which has, having ditched jquery, gained support for webpack, babel, yarn, and vue.js (& react) instead; and thereby made writing JavaScript an order-of-magnitude less painful for me.

I feel that ES6 is a palace built on the ruins of a garbage dump and an odd stink still leaks through from time to time, but like the author, I can work with it now without loathing what I'm doing.

29
davidreiss 1 day ago 0 replies      
People either hate javascript with a passion or they love it with religious zeal.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that it's used mostly for web programming? But geez, there seems to be no middle ground when it comes to javascript.

But it doesn't come close the division over Perl. Yikes.

30
dmitriid 1 day ago 4 replies      
Javascript is only going to get worse. Much worse. TC39 proposal "process" is driven by a never-ending self-congratulatory circle-jerk. Any concerns are dismissed with "people on TC39 discussed it, they know better, how dare you question their wisdom".

While there's still time, escape to TypeScript (though it will be flooded by crap from TC39 soon enough), ClojureScript, Kotlin, Scala.js, Elm, Purescript

15
The Google memo isnt sexist or anti-diversity, its science theglobeandmail.com
568 points by 20100thibault  1 day ago   609 comments top 2
1
Ajedi32 1 day ago 11 replies      
Not much new here. This article is essentially just re-affirming all the scientific statements that were already made in the original memo, backed by links to scientific studies.

Only difference being that the author of this article has a PhD in sexual neuroscience (so people might have a harder time accusing her of not knowing what she's talking about) and is female (so some people might have a harder time of accusing her of sexism).

2
snowwrestler 1 day ago 14 replies      
The article hides a common but incorrect assumption. Look at this paragraph:

> As mentioned in the memo, gendered interests are predicted by exposure to prenatal testosterone higher levels are associated with a preference for mechanically interesting things and occupations in adulthood. Lower levels are associated with a preference for people-oriented activities and occupations. This is why STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields tend to be dominated by men.

The assumption here is that employment in STEM industries fundamentally and solely involves "mechanically interesting things".

The reality is that tech companies are composed of people and make products for people. Google themselves have found through their own research that the best managers are defined by their people skills, not their technical skills. So why aren't the management layers of tech companies composed of mostly women?

Strong technology is important for success, but so is leadership, market fit, team dynamics, understanding the customer, etc. The hardest question in tech companies is not "how" to build, but "what" to build. This is essentially a people-oriented problem, since customers are people.

EDIT: this tweet puts it succinctly:

> WEIRD how none of these guys ever argue that because our ladybrains are better at communication and teamwork we should be paid more

https://twitter.com/kelliotttt/status/894770623611682818

16
Why GitHub Can't Host the Linux Kernel Community ffwll.ch
371 points by okket  1 day ago   227 comments top 22
1
clarkevans 1 day ago 3 replies      
As I understand, Daniel Vetter is proposing a "monotree" as a source code control pattern where a monorepo (and its branches) is not the primary place where development is done, but is rather where works are integrated from subordinate repositories. In particular, he's asking for GitHub to support coordination (issues and pull requests) spanning upstream repositories that are indicated by a particular change request.

I was hoping to see discussion of the merits of this proposal here on HN... not a regurgitation of Torvalds' positions and personal demeanor. What other projects use a monotree? does it work well? How do those projects coordinate changes across subordinate repositories?

2
jacquesm 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm fine with that. Github is 'too large to fail' already, adding the Linux kernel to the pile and forcing the kernel team into Github's workflow are two big negatives. It would be great for Github but bad for everybody else.
3
snakeanus 1 day ago 6 replies      
I can't really see the obsession that everyone has with centralised and closed services like github. We need to start moving away from them, not move more projects to them. Mailing lists and NNTP make decentralisation quite easy while being open standards and without having the need to have any account in any centralised service, why drop all these features away?
4
mi100hael 1 day ago 4 replies      
There's also Linus's personal aversion to how GitHub implements many opinionated workflows.

 > I don't do github pull requests. > > github throws away all the relevant information, like having even a > valid email address for the person asking me to pull. The diffstat is > also deficient and useless. > > Git comes with a nice pull-request generation module, but github > instead decided to replace it with their own totally inferior version. > As a result, I consider github useless for these kinds of things. It's > fine for hosting, but the pull requests and the online commit > editing, are just pure garbage. > > I've told github people about my concerns, they didn't think they > mattered, so I gave up. Feel free to make a bugreport to github.
https://github.com/torvalds/linux/pull/17#issuecomment-56546...

5
mmagin 1 day ago 3 replies      
I imagine after the Bitkeeper fiasco, Linus and others are disinclined to become dependent on a proprietary service.
6
mpd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Frankly, I think the Linux kernel is too important to even consider subjecting itself to the Github T&C, community guidelines, etc.
7
liaukovv 1 day ago 5 replies      
This font gave me a headacheWhy not write with white on white? It would be so stylish
8
monorepoman 1 day ago 2 replies      
Lost me at "And lots of people learned that monorepos are really painful, because past a certain size they just stop scaling." Plenty of counterexamples of monorepo projects much larger than Linux kernel.
9
ericfrederich 1 day ago 2 replies      
Someone desperately needs to come up with an open source replacement for GitHub that is completely decentralized. Sure GitLab exists and the repo is decentralized since it's Git, but issues, merge requests, comments, etc aren't Git based (though they could be)
10
TheChosen 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I love using GitHub, but there is an established process and home for the kernel that works and I see no reason to change it.
11
hyperion2010 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here is another overview of how the kernel uses git and why no emails is simply not possible (or sensible). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyenmLqJQjs
12
tomschlick 1 day ago 1 reply      
The kernel seems better suited to something like Phabricator instead of Github. Keep Github simple and clean for our "normal" projects.
13
taeric 1 day ago 1 reply      
I actually really like the MAINTAINERS file. Keeps the metadata literally in the repository and doesn't rely on an external system.
14
shmerl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there some similar reason why Debian doesn't use more convenient bug tracking system that would allow a Web frontend?

I don't mind periodically using reportbug, but using something like Bugzilla is way more convenient.

15
vbernat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not mentioned in the article, but work is also coordinated by maintainers with the use of patchwork. For example, for the network subsystem: http://patchwork.ozlabs.org/project/netdev/list/. This enables tracking the status of a patch and not loose them.
16
IceDane 1 day ago 0 replies      
This website is completely fucking unreadable on mobile. But hey, at least it's stylish or something.
17
web007 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Please support pull requests and issue tracking spanning different repos of a monotree.

Issue tracking you can already file against one or more repos and link them together. It's not ideal, but it'll do the job.

Is "pr against different repos of a monotree" not what submodules let you do? Update whatever things you want in whatever repos, and pull the submodule pointer update(s) as a single change in your monotree repo.

18
mcs_ 21 hours ago 0 replies      
> Like pull requests, issues can be relevant for multiple repos, and might need to be moved around

Not sure about the Linux kernel (no enough experience) but same issue across multiple projects looks something necessary...

19
feelin_googley 1 day ago 1 reply      
Off-topic:

Why does this blog need to be whitelisted with Adblock Plus? See data-adblockkey in HTML source. Are there any ads in this page? (Maybe owner wants revenue from domain parking?)

Why is this blog not working with simple user agents that do not process javascript (e.g., curl, etc.)?

20
Boothroid 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ugh that font is unreadable on my phone.
21
linkmotif 1 day ago 1 reply      
Oh wow, the MAINTAINERS file is a work of art: https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/torvalds/lin...
22
hgdsraj 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can we get a trade on this font, gosh it's bad. Color and weight both need to be increased. Seriously #00000 on #FFFFF makes life easy with a font weight of at least 400
17
Americans Are Dying Younger, Saving Corporations Billions bloomberg.com
310 points by mcone  1 day ago   304 comments top 17
1
buserror 1 day ago 14 replies      
I've been saying that for years. Here in europe, the reason the life expectancy is high is that it's based on people who die today at ripe old age, many of them having been retired 30 years, sometimes more... They are 85+, and they drag the mean age of death thru the roof.

When THAT lucky generation is gone, I think statisticians will realise that their children are /nowhere/ near as lucky, and I'm pretty sure the life expectancy number will fall off a cliff.

I don't have anything to back it up mind you, but raising the age of retirement, more stress related to job stability, whatever, you name it; it's just empirical but I've seen a lot of people in my environment die in their 60's -- many of them who had a perfectly 'sane' way of life.I know what you are thinking, many more people will die at 60 then will die at 90, but I'm still pretty sure there's some underlying pattern here.

Also, I do have a vague impression that making access to the NHS more difficult PLUS raising age of retirement EQUAL MOAR PROFITS for someone, somewhere.

2
Mahn 1 day ago 6 replies      
I have this theory that in a couple decades or three most of the developed world will enter a health crisis, as everyone will suddenly realize that we've been eating and drinking like shit for a long time. Almost 3/4 of what you can find in your average grocery store today has unnecessary amounts of sugar, salt and/or chemicals added and no one seems to care. Someday we'll look at the food we eat now like the way we see tobacco today.
3
sddfd 1 day ago 2 replies      
The absurdity is that life insurance/pension companies assume live expectancy is actually rising.

The company providing my pension fund estimates my life expectancy to 114 years - a fantasy number, albeit one that /increases/ my monthly payment and /decreases/ my expected pension.

4
bmc7505 1 day ago 1 reply      
But wait, there's good news: If you don't die quickly enough, they'll help!

Taking too long to die: Some 'terminal' patients can lose hospice benefits: http://www.news-press.com/story/news/2017/07/28/too-long-die...

5
twoquestions 1 day ago 9 replies      
Now I'm imagining our economy like some cruel volcano god, demanding blood in exchange for temporary safety. "People's lives are getting worse, look how much money that's making us!"

It's as if people exist only to make money, actually making people's lives better be damned. I doubt people will tolerate such a vampiric system for much longer, especially if it doesn't feel the need to conceal it's fangs anymore, and what comes afterward keeps me up at night.

6
joosters 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't get it. The article does not say that life expectancies are decreasing. It says that they are still increasing, just not as fast as they were a few years ago. But the article (and most of the comments) seem to think it means that people are dying younger. That's not what the data is saying.
7
albertgoeswoof 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's difficult to predict mortality rates. Advanced healthcare techniques (e.g. CRISPR) could completely eradicate entire classes of diseases (kind of like how anti-biotics and vaccinations changed healthcare completely), or they could lead to nothing.

So we might find that the average age of death jumps up by 20+ years in the next 50-60 years (just like it did after WW2).

Nuclear war aside we almost certainly won't see a drop in the average age.

8
SamBoogieNYC 1 day ago 1 reply      
This headline is mindbogglingly dystopic and crass
9
emodendroket 1 day ago 2 replies      
Good news, everyone.
10
maaaats 1 day ago 4 replies      
How does the pension system in USA work? Do the companies pay you a small salary after you retire? It reads like that. In that case, what about the place you worked until you were 40, are they still on the hook? What if the company closes down?
11
swah 1 day ago 6 replies      
I never understood why everyone is against smoking if it saves those corps money in the long run.
12
Chardok 1 day ago 2 replies      
Its not hard to see why exactly Americans are dying younger. Hell, just look at the headline here.

When you have increased wealth concentration flowing upwards and more involvement of profit machines in people's lives (healthcare, correctional facilities, food, environment), people on average are working harder for less pay with increased cost of living. This means less recreational time to blow stress off, less time for doctor visits (not to mention the fun games our federal government is playing with healthcare), and less time/money/emphasis to treat yourself spiritually/psychologically. I am hardly surprised this equates to higher mortality rates.

America has a huge problem spending money on the betterment of its citizens, and it is starting to show.

13
mathattack 1 day ago 0 replies      
Looking at the chart, it seems like they're reading an awful lot into 1 or 2 data points. It's very noisy data.
14
gthtjtkt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of this article from The Atlantic last year:

> For the last several months, social scientists have been debating the striking findings of a study by the economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton. Between 1998 and 2013, Case and Deaton argue, white Americans across multiple age groups experienced large spikes in suicide and fatalities related to alcohol and drug abusespikes that were so large that, for whites aged 45 to 54, they overwhelmed the dependable modern trend of steadily improving life expectancy. While critics have challenged the magnitude and timing of the rise in middle-age deaths (particularly for men), they and the studys authors alike seem to agree on some basic points: Problems of mental health and addiction have taken a terrible toll on whites in Americathough seemingly not in other wealthy nationsand the least educated among them have fared the worst.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/01/white-w...

15
jorblumesea 1 day ago 0 replies      
Personal opinion: Life expectancy gains will actually reverse over the new 20 years, given how little is being done to combat extremely poor health choices many Americans make.

Then it will skyrocket due to medical innovations like CRISPR.

16
trentnix 1 day ago 0 replies      
The list of municipal and state governments that are trending towards bankruptcy due to underfunded pensions is longer than a rich kid's Christmas list. A shortening life expectancy benefits them most.

That's the news here, if there is any.

17
sharemywin 1 day ago 1 reply      
But our healthcare is the best in the world...at least I pay like it is...
18
VPN Report Reviews of the top VPNs vpnreport.org
301 points by mobitar  1 day ago   213 comments top 68
1
kelnos 21 hours ago 4 replies      
What's the intended audience for this? As a tech-savvy person, reading his commentary on TunnelBear completely discredited his site in my eyes. He talks about things that are completely irrelevant and are incredibly silly to even remotely care about from a VPN provider.

Despite his listed criteria at the top, the star ratings and rank order seem to be based on how the provider made him feel, and has nothing to do with actually how secure and privacy-protecting the provider is. (To be fair, though, without inside knowledge, it's hard to evaluate how up-and-up they are.) Based on his own metrics, PIA should be listed as #1, not #8; it's the only one that hits all nine of his "Important" list.

I'm completely baffled as to why this list was constructed as it is.

On a side note:

"First, I'm upset at Private Internet Access because I had to modify this site's CSS just for their needlessly long name."

Are you kidding me? Really?

2
abstractbeliefs 1 day ago 5 replies      
Regardless of how you feel about _why_ PIA sponsor the organisations they do, it is surprising to see someone claiming they "perhaps put [their money] to better use" given their record of supporting foss and digital/online rights [1].

Additionally, the characterization as being extremely focused on the tech illiterate I feel isn't really the case either, they have lots of docs about how to use OpenVPN [2].

Thirdly, while there's no online free trial, at DEFCON and other events they do liberally hand out free trial cards.

The above points, as well as reading the commentary, leads me to believe that the author hasn't spent much time at all using or understanding the various product offerings, and the written review and star-score seem to clash with the high feature based score listed above. I can't speak at all for the other providers, but I don't feel like PIA at least has been well researched.

[1] https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/pages/companies-we-spo...

[2] https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/pages/client-support/

As full disclosure, I'm a unpaid volunteer for a non-profit PIA has contributed to.I have used in the past, but do not currently use, PIA VPN.

3
sp00ls 12 hours ago 5 replies      
Lol this site is a joke, how much is TunnelBear paying him for the top spot? They're the only VPN provider I see consistently spending money on marketing and sponsoring YouTube videos. 'Fun to use'..what? I don't care if my VPN is 'fun', I want it to protect my privacy.

He mentions that 2 of the VPNs are 'uninspired'. Sorry, I didn't realize that tunneling traffic to protect privacy was an art project and not a technical one.

FWIW I've used PIA for 2 years now with no issues. A TON of torrenting has gone through them and they don't care in the least. In addition when their Russian servers were seized I received an email immediately letting me know their current situation and about their key changes due to the event. Plus they no longer do business in that location due to it. Pretty top notch company in my eyes even if their site does look 15 years old.

4
joshstrange 1 day ago 3 replies      
Private Internet Access

> A pretty boring company. Extremely transactional. You get in and get out. It delivers its experience the way a utility company would. Sometimes, that may be a good thing. But in this case, since I have choice, I'd rather give my money to a company who would appreciate it a little more perhaps put it to better use.

PIA might be very "transactional" but I like them and I've never had any issues with their service. I'm surprised it didn't get a better rating. I don't need a flashy VPN, a utility is exactly what I'm looking for.

5
tptacek 1 day ago 8 replies      
To steal (and paraphrase) what is basically the perfect summary of this from @SwiftOnSecurity:

Commercial VPNs: for when you want all the security of Ukrainian coffee-house wifi from the comfort of your own home.

Taylor Swift isn't wrong about this. Use something like Algo to run your own VPN if you have to. If you must use a commercial VPN to get to Netflix or whatever, do it from inside a virtual machine that you use for nothing but that.

6
revanx_ 20 hours ago 1 reply      
"The following VPNs were not reviewed due to their website experience being poorly designed. This can mean heavy use of stock photos, utter disregard for detail, difficult navigation, excessive and hard to follow text, non-defaulting to HTTPS, and overall poor usability. "

And apparently that applies to AirVPN? Lol, this guy lost all credibility, this is just another "honest and totally not payed for online review", thats why tunnelbear is righ there at the top (you see their commercials everywhere) and he even says it's his favorite VPN.

0/10

7
LeoPanthera 1 day ago 2 replies      
This guy has been reviewing VPN services for a while and has put together an incredibly comprehensive table as well as a selection of more detailed reviews, selected from the list at random so as to remain impartial. Recommended.

https://thatoneprivacysite.net/vpn-section/

For example, TunnelBear scores highly on security, but poorly on ethics.

8
mathgenius 1 day ago 1 reply      
> PIA, Somewhat boring company.

I fail to see how being a boring company has anything to do with the service they offer. If anything, being boring is a very good thing.

9
wepple 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Extremely bland, stock-photo website. I felt uncomfortable giving them my email address, let alone my payment info.

That's not valuable information.

> A heavily marketed product lacking inspiration which I ultimately couldn't get to work properly.

At this point you've given up even trying. It's not a useful comparison any longer.

10
kevinr 1 day ago 3 replies      
lololol. Half of these VPN vendors show up on Kenn White's VPN Hall of Shame for offering unsafe configurations:

https://gist.github.com/kennwhite/1f3bc4d889b02b35d8aa

For anything actually sensitive, you're better off not using a VPN than using a VPN which provides an unsafe configuration.

If you'd rather not do your own pager duty for something like Algo, here's a recommendation I put together a while ago:

https://free-dissociation.com/blog/posts/2017/03/quick-and-d...

11
chairmanwow 1 day ago 1 reply      
As someone living in China, a VPN provider that doesn't provide direct download links to their Android client is completely useless. The only way for me to install an app from Google Play store is to flash a custom ROM and install the Google Play Store, install another VPN (?!!) to access the Play Store, and then download the app in question.

Furthermore, the fact that Apple has just pulled VPN apps from its App Store and the unfortunate fact that you can't sideload apps makes iOS an untenable OS choice.

12
bitskits 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Sad to see AirVPN excluded. While their website isn't the most elegant I've seen, it's not user hostile enough to abandon altogether, IMO.

It also seems a bit odd to rate VPNs on their specific technical merits and features, and then disqualify for their homepage UI or sign up flow. I'd venture most VPN customers would tolerate a lot of ugliness for a truly private, secure, and reliable service. I would.

13
mcrocop 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Reading his reviews I felt the author was looking for that warm feeling a toddler feels when being coddled by his mother. Take a look at his comments on PIA, "Extremely transactional. You get in and get out. It delivers its experience the way a utility company would. Sometimes, that may be a good thing. But in this case, I'd rather give my money to a company who might put it to better use."

What? Extremely transactional? You're in and out? When using my VPN I want to click 'connect' to connect, choose US if I want my connection for the US, and 'disconnect' to disconnect... No fancy website or pretty colors needed.

14
Raphmedia 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I strongly recommend using That One Privacy Site's detailed VPN comparison charts. There is a lot more information in there.

https://thatoneprivacysite.net/vpn-comparison-chart/

Edit: Link to his charts as a Google Document https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1L72gHJ5bTq0Djljz0P-N... for a much better usability than the widget on the website itself.

15
anglebracket 1 day ago 1 reply      
> The screenshot of their app on the iOS App Store shows a bunch of credible logos of their mentions, but then quotes "VyperVPN is the best service on the market" as coming from a reddit comment by a random user. Questionable tactic.

That's referring to reddit the company, and it was quoting one of reddit's sysadmins: https://www.goldenfrog.com/blog/reddit-gives-every-employee-...

16
jk2323 17 hours ago 0 replies      
"The only thing harder than finding a VPN provider is finding an honest VPN review website."

100% true since the "best VPN" likely has the highest affiliate commission.

In fact, websites that claim honesty and transparency like BestVPN and VPNMentor actually display pop-up alerts advertising their highest rated VPN.

"I built this website because I wanted to finally get to the bottom of the question: which VPN providers are trying to build an honest long-term brand while also delivering an exceptional product experience?"

This is a fair metric. Unfortunately useless for most VPN users but this is another question. And to give him credit: He does not use affiliate links.

I suspect that he knows little about VPNs and why many users have to use them. By the way, I suspect most of these VPNs to fail in China!

Astrill.com is good for China.

vcp.ovpn.to has a good reputation regarding privacy.

17
cgtyoder 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Pretty surprised F-Secure Freedome wasn't mentioned - they're a major player and well-respected.
18
deadlyllama 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm disappointed that Mo flat out disregards options "due to their website experience being poorly designed." A slick website means that money was spent on the website.

I've been using EarthVPN[1], one of his unreviewed options, for several years, and am very happy. It's cheap and cheerful, but yes, the website isn't great. The company is registered in Cyprus, and at USD40/year with three concurrent connections (from the same IP) and servers in many, many countries, it's a great way to bypass geoblocked websites.

[1] https://www.earthvpn.com/billing/aff.php?aff=1378

19
lalos 1 day ago 0 replies      
PIA has a kill switch on its client. That makes it for me. Lose the VPN connection and you lose the internet connection.
20
abalone 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting this showed up on HN the same day as the expos on Facebook's Onavo VPN logging its users activity.[1] I'm guessing Onavo should be put on that list and given zero stars.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14972125

21
kevindong 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you really prioritizing "fun" over an objectively better (by your own metrics) service (picking TunnelBear rather than OVPN)?

---

You also seem to be prioritizing aesthetic appeal over function. Is there a reason for that?

> TunnelBear has somehow figured out how to make VPNs fun.

> Extremely transactional. You get in and get out.

> Heavy use of stock photos, fake customer service agent profiles, and sensational marketing copy.

> Extremely bland, stock-photo website. I felt uncomfortable giving them my email address, let alone my payment info.

> But I sort of like it when companies show more humility.

> First, I'm upset at Private Internet Access because I had to modify this site's CSS just for their needlessly long name.

22
gmac 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been considering setting up a slightly different VPN service one that provides each user their own dedicated VPN server (based on my IKEv2 config script, https://github.com/jawj/IKEv2-setup).

100% vapourware web presence here: http://digitalsnorkel.net/

Feedback?

23
mstaoru 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm still looking for a reliable provider that would support openconnect and / or wireguard. Alas, here in China OpenVPN-based VPNs are getting more and more flaky, with talks of shutting down completely soon (not talking about the fake Bloomberg article). IPSec and Socks5 never really worked. Streisand only really works on AWS and having an AWS public IP means no Google most of the time (they block whole IP ranges), annoying Cloudflare captchas and other quirks.
24
evancaine 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This site seems to me an imitation of sitebuilderreport which was featured on indiehackers recently [1]. The design and copywriting are similar. OP, was your site inspired by sitebuilderreport or are you connected with that site?

[1] https://www.indiehackers.com/businesses/site-builder-report

25
toomanybeersies 1 day ago 2 replies      
Obviously not ideal for non-technical users, but I found it really easy to spin up a VPN on Digital Ocean.

I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to make it almost a turnkey operation, just run the script and you're good to go, and then it would be a viable option for non-technical people.

Of course, not ideal for anonymity, but a perfectly fine solution for if you want the security benefits of a VPN, or to get around geoblocking (I originally spun up my VPN to watch something that was geoblocked, now I keep it for when using open wifi connections).

26
reflexing 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll just leave it here: https://torrentfreak.com/vpn-services-anonymous-review-2017-...

The scene guys know their stuff.

27
captaindoe 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Founder of OVPN.com here. Im happy to answer any questions regarding our infrastructure, policies or tech stack.
28
mtmail 1 day ago 1 reply      
Too be honest despite your reassurance I still expected that there would be affiliate links, purchase cookies or other tracking somewhere (I checked, all good). Thanks for sharing your reviews!
29
jiggunjer 21 hours ago 0 replies      
How do you not get IP vanish to work? it's literally just a windows installer & reboot. You can manually add a server on Android too using their guides (they have step-by-step pictures!). O.m.g. I chose IPVanish over NordVPN because the later required me to upload a photo of my passport (to a third party) when paying! Who does that?!
30
jk2323 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Questions, any advise/help appreciated:

1. oVPN.to Does it work in China? (Support not helpful but I still like them)

2. Does Softether https://www.softether.org/ work in China?

31
abavatar 21 hours ago 0 replies      
"Facebook uses an internal database to track rivals, including young startups performing unusually well, people familiar with the system say. The database stems from Facebooks 2013 acquisition of a Tel Aviv-based startup, Onavo, which had built an app that secures users privacy by routing their traffic through private servers. The app gives Facebook an unusually detailed look at what users collectively do on their phones, these people say.

The tool shaped Facebooks decision to buy WhatsApp and informed its live-video strategy, they say. Facebook used Onavo to build its early-bird tool that tips it off to promising services and that helped Facebook home in on Houseparty."

via https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-new-copycats-how-facebook-s...

32
fishywang 1 day ago 0 replies      
From the one line summaries, OP seems to prefer native apps vs. open protocols (e.g. OpenVPN/L2TP/etc.), why is that?

I looked at the Chrome extension of TunnelBear and it requires some ridiculous permissions [1], much more than just "change your proxy settings". This doesn't seem right.

[1] http://imgur.com/3PuH0tE

33
gerdesj 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm (British) getting the impression that VPNs are becoming rather important to Americans (int al). Please bear in mind that us foreigners don't always get the memo about the current flavour of the day in all countries. I'm well aware that citizens of CN and many others really need privacy but it seems that there is a reasonably recent strange US fetish with VPNs.

Could someone please explain?

34
bitexploder 1 day ago 1 reply      
TunnelBear claims to be secure but all they offer is an opaque app. Uhh, no thanks. I prefer to run my own VPN client that doesn't have potential spyware in it. I am surprised this was so highly rated by someone reviewing VPNs.

edit: I know you can't make everyone happy, but there are a LOT of VPN options out there and only the very best should be making it through.

35
thinkMOAR 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I kind of expected network based tests as reviews.

E.g. throughput, latency, connection setup, encryption strengths, fixed ip address etc etc. This is just a feature compare, where one trusts the vpn provider on their blue eyes, e.g. "No logging or tracking"

I cannot imagine a sane service provider that doesn't have some kind of logging, not of your (in vpn case,) browsing activity itself, but when you connected, what accounts are getting brute forced, etc etc. This is logging too.

36
mcrocop 12 hours ago 0 replies      
How did this make the front page? People voting this story up must not have read his actual analysis. Pathetic.
37
mcrocop 12 hours ago 0 replies      
He doesn't like PIA, a company that sponsors dozens of security companies/projects/etc because he would rather the company he chooses put their money to better use.... Like make bear graphics so his VPN is 'fun' to use.

Again - how did this make the front page... Embarrassing for HN.

38
blubb-fish 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Any opinions on ProtonVPN? I use it now more or less everywhere. No problems with it - it's fast enough (though definitely slows down my connection from about 12 to 16Mb/s to about 5 to 10 Mb/s.

I chose it b/c the organization behind it seems trustworthy. I don't know what the author has in mind when he labels the billing practice "shady".

39
parito 21 hours ago 1 reply      
What this review really lacks is the additional features VPN's can provide, such as malware and fishing protection, location diversity, scale, jurisdiction, protocols supported, etc etc.

I am a happy user of NordVPN with all of the above points adressed by them really well. BTW the latest feature, CyberSEC also blocks ads which is a major plus for me, making the VPN that much faster.

[1] https://nordvpn.com/blog/security-feature-cybersec/

40
linkmotif 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Honest" is such peacock language. Unsettling seeing it like this.
41
rocky1138 1 day ago 1 reply      
I use KeepSolid. I've been really impressed. I think his review has done them a disservice. They have a really helpful app on all platforms and their staff are friendly, too.

Disclaimer: none. I have no affiliation other than I am a customer.

42
Proof 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Horrible article. If he tried the services he didn't like the websites for (fucking childish excuse btw), he would realise that airvpn offers all the services he was treating as a pro. This is a dissapointing read, and even more disgusting it made its way up to the top of this great website.
43
belorn 12 hours ago 0 replies      
A Nice-to-have would be static IP address so that you can run a private home server. Pity that the site don't include this since only a few vpn providers have an option for that.
44
MBCook 1 day ago 2 replies      
Both iOS and macOS (I don't know about windows, I havent used it recently) have built-in VPN clients so what would be the advantage to using a client from the VPN provider?
45
mirimir 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not impressed with this review. The author doesn't even mention the need to prevent leaks with firewall rules.

Edit: As others note, he doesn't include AirVPN, which is one of the best activist-focused services around. And his comments about IVPN are bizarre. It is expensive. But it has no affiliate program, and its apps are among the best. In particular, for being leak free.

46
welder 1 day ago 1 reply      
Could use a breakdown of which criteria each provider supported, because just a colored circle doesn't show which of those criteria are supported or not.
47
mk89 17 hours ago 0 replies      
All this article is missing is the referral links - then I don't see any difference with other websites, which the author wants to distinguish from. Actually, there are some good websites around - it just takes a lot of patience to search...
48
GTP 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I think that https://thatoneprivacysite.net/ has a much better VPN comparison.
49
darkblackcorner 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I think you're better off with this for a proper technical feature-set... https://thatoneprivacysite.net/vpn-section/
50
bamboozled 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for this! It's pretty cool and it's nice to have something to pass on to friends who are interested in subscribing to a VPN service.
51
mobilio 1 day ago 0 replies      
52
Izmaki 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Has the world forgotten about iPredator? The VPN service spawning from the legal issues with The Pirate Bay. One would assume that a VPN "by crime riders, for crime riders" would fulfil all the requirements and many more.
53
sly010 13 hours ago 0 replies      
What's up with all these VPN review websites? Are the affilite fees that good?
54
vacri 1 day ago 0 replies      
> The speeds were good and the apps work but are kind of boring

... isn't the point of a VPN do just do its job and stay out of sight? Why is 'boring' even remotely relevant to the VPN equation?

55
newbear 1 day ago 1 reply      
If I just don't like the feeling of being logged on some ISP , is paying for a VPN something for me? Any free options for privacy ? Or is it more for torrents and stuff?
56
theprop 22 hours ago 0 replies      
We don't know if IPSec or L2TP is compromised...could be either or both. So why is using Ikev2 with IPSec secure??
57
scottmcdot 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is the TunnelBear "Vigilant" feature like a kill switch? So if the VPN drops out, it doesn't revert to downloading via non-VPN?
58
jianshi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can you try https://cypherpunk.com/ and add it to the list?
59
Mefis 22 hours ago 1 reply      
This seems like a good thread to ask this.

I'm about to move to China. What vpn set up is best?

I use and android phone and Mac laptop.

Thanks..

60
MachinShinn- 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Surprised few people picked up on this... this site is 100% Bullshit. The "ratings" are purely driven by which server is offering the author a commission per sign up.

How do I know this? I do the same thing with my sites.

61
WhiteSource1 14 hours ago 0 replies      
You know the VPN providers paid for the ranking.
62
gambiting 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Why is private Internet access so low? It ticks almost all boxes, has a native client for windows/Linux/Mac/android/iOS and I have used it on a 300Mbps connection with no degradation of speed. Yet here it gets 2/5 stars? Why??
63
Cozumel 22 hours ago 0 replies      
>'It's just so much fun to use'

Given that one of the criteria the VPNs were measured on was 'fun' makes me inclined to dismiss the whole thing.

VPNs are to stop the secret police from coming and killing your family and taking you away, 'fun' is coding, not playing with your life.

64
wyclif 18 hours ago 1 reply      
He didn't review OpenVPN, or even mention it.
65
rubatuga 1 day ago 1 reply      
I hate to sound like I'm advertising, but I've found blackvpn quite good. It's based in Hong Kong.
66
k734730 15 hours ago 0 replies      
If they don't test cryptostorm this review is pretty worthless. They are one of the best options out there.
67
nerdynerd 20 hours ago 0 replies      
shill detected how does this tripe get so high on HN? is this reddit?
68
dbg31415 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I use PIA, and it's great. I don't know why they listed it as low stars.
19
Monsanto Was Its Own Ghostwriter for Some Safety Reviews bloomberg.com
291 points by Red_Tarsius  1 day ago   41 comments top 10
1
rubatuga 1 day ago 8 replies      
You should realize how important money is in research today. The main job nowadays of principal investigators (PI) for research labs is to write applications for grants and fundings. These labs are usually underfunded and will accept any private funding if necessary. For example, the PI for my nutrition lab received funding from a Canadian agricultural company for a study on Canola oil. When the test results of the study were investigated (which I don't exactly recall), they were not in favour of Canola oil. The PI therefore "voluntarily" decided not to publish the results. I asked her why, and she said that if she published the results she would not be likely to ever receive funding from the company again.

My point is that a lot of research conducted today is funded by ulterior motives, be it political, private interest, or a company like Monsanto. I fully expected a company like Monsanto to be engaged in this behaviour. The days of pure/basic research are dead, especially with funding from the public sector drying up.

edit: oops i meant to write principal investigator (PI)

2
pella 1 day ago 0 replies      
1 week ago:

"Monsanto leaks suggest it tried to kill cancer research about weed killer (baumhedlundlaw.com"

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14923009

3
jaclaz 1 day ago 0 replies      
The actual "news" are IMHO only that this can proven as they have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

I often dream of some news like "Independent research actually found to be independent".

4
shapiromatron 1 day ago 1 reply      
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10408444.2016.12...

> The Expert Panel Members recruitment and evaluation of the data was organized and conducted by Intertek Scientific & Regulatory Consultancy (Intertek). The Expert Panelists were engaged by, and acted as consultants to, Intertek, and were not directly contacted by the Monsanto Company. Funding for this evaluation was provided to Intertek by the Monsanto Company which is a primary producer of glyphosate and products containing this active ingredient. Neither any Monsanto company employees nor any attorneys reviewed any of the Expert Panel's manuscripts prior to submission to the journal.

Seems misleading.

5
exabrial 1 day ago 0 replies      
"every company" was accidently misspelt as "Monsanto" in the title.

I'm not trying to jump to their defense, but can you think of a situation where the opposite would happen? Think about it, any company that funds research is going to be a subject area in their market.

Unless there was a specific ethical issue here, this isn't "news", this is a thorn in the side of the [otherwise wonderful] free market.

6
unclebucknasty 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting timing for me. I just yesterday read an Atlantic article titled "How America Lost Its Mind" [0].

The tldr; of that article is that Americans have had an increasing tendency to create our own realities and to believe anything we choose. This includes conspiracy theories like the government is purposely allowing cancer treatments to be withheld, as well as the idea that vaccines cause autism, etc. The article then goes on to suggest that choosing what to believe is part of being American. I don't necessarily agree, as I think the article was woefully inadequate in assessing the damage that financial interests play in willfully misleading people and creating a post-truth world.

Here on HN, I've had "debates" with people who nearly suggested that glyphosate is the greatest thing that ever happened to mankind. When I cautioned about safety concerns due to overuse, I got the standard pointer to the studies, etc. If you question the studies, then you find yourself being painted as some sort of anti-science conspiracy-theorist. This, when we essentially all know how research is done and the degree of rampant regulatory capture that exists.

I guess my point is that when many of the institutions we're supposed to trust are largely captured and firms that have direct financial incentive to mislead are allowed to decide what's real, then it is an assault on truth and reason. When we ignore this fact and encourage blind-belief in these institutions (worse, allowing them to act as proxies for "the ultimate truth of science"), then we are aiding in the creation of the very post-fact world we claim to abhor.

[0] https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/how-ame...

7
Cryptogocrazy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know the legality of what they did, but it's pretty clearly a reason to favor government involvement in fringe cases like this. Sounds like what they did was fraud.
8
cryoshon 1 day ago 1 reply      
so, where are the HN commentators who were defending monsanto left right and center during the recent safety debates?
9
throwawaymanbot 1 day ago 1 reply      
Yet again, American style Capitalism giving regular ole Capitalism a bad rep.
10
londons_explore 1 day ago 5 replies      
I don't really see anything wrong with using a ghostwriter, as long as the person/organisation whose name is on any document fully read and agreed with the contents, and would stand by them as their own.
20
Deeplearning.ai: Announcing New Deep Learning Courses on Coursera medium.com
322 points by npalli  2 days ago   92 comments top 21
1
seycombi 2 days ago 4 replies      
For those who are unfamiliar with coursera or interested in just the videos (and NO certificate) you can enroll in "AUDIT" mode:

AUDIT MODE: http://image.ibb.co/iwm0xF/ng.png

The deep-learning course consist of 5 subcourses:

https://www.coursera.org/learn/neural-networks-deep-learning

https://www.coursera.org/learn/deep-neural-network

https://www.coursera.org/learn/machine-learning-projects

https://www.coursera.org/learn/convolutional-neural-networks

https://www.coursera.org/learn/nlp-sequence-models

The deep-learning course is a different course than the prerequisite machine-learning course:

https://www.coursera.org/learn/machine-learning

2
sumitgt 2 days ago 3 replies      
I like this pricing model compared to udacity's new nanodegrees. This works better for people who want to rush through the course as quickly as possible. It essentially encourages faster completion.

You pay $49 per month and finish at your own pace. On Udacity you pay a fixed price of approximately $800 per semester with a trial period of 7 days. Since you are paying for the entire course upfront, you might realize after a few weeks that you don't like it. On Coursera, you can stop anytime and you've only paid $49 x number of months you tried.

4
m00x 2 days ago 3 replies      
If you take a Coursera course, be prepared for it being exactly like a university class. About 45 minute of monologue per section, the odd quiz, then 2-3 exams.

From the 4 Coursera courses I've taken, I've gotten some good info, but I learned nothing practical. Udacity on the other hand, has ~5-10 min videos, frequent quizzes and practical projects.

5
altonzheng 2 days ago 2 replies      
Any idea on how this compares to the deep learning course here: http://course.fast.ai/?

Very interested in taking a course, but there are so many offerings available. I have high level ML understanding from classes I took in college, but wanted to dive deeper into it.

6
bradleyjg 2 days ago 7 replies      
I'm glad these courses use python. I had a lot of trouble with Ng's machine learning course because I was trying to learn MATLAB language, remember long disused linear algebra, and trying understand the substance of the lessons all at the same time.
7
binarymax 2 days ago 0 replies      
So awesome. I just completed Andrew's excellent 2011 Machine Learning coursera course, and was looking where to go next. I am trying to go through the courses on fast.ai, but I don't enjoy them nearly as much compared to Andrew's teaching style and structure. Will be signing up for this!
8
dhawalhs 2 days ago 2 replies      
The courses are not yet live. Meanwhile, here is a list of 23 Deep Learning online courses aggregated (aggregated by my company):https://www.class-central.com/report/deep-learning-online-co...

Also, link to Andrew Ng's original ML class: https://www.coursera.org/learn/machine-learning

9
js09 2 days ago 0 replies      
After having taken Udacity's ND, the only way I would consider taking this course is if they go in-depth with the theory so that I can clear interviews and work on projects from scratch. There's just too many resources for DL now. It's getting ridiculous. Had Udacity gone in better details with their ND I would glady have paid double for them.

Coursera does not having proper support systems like good quality forums/any mentorship/project reviews. Although, been a while since I took a Coursera specialization, would rate Udacity higher on that front even though their ND was too basic (I can't even talk about what I did in a project clearly because of so much lack of stuff).

Let's see how this specialization holds up.

10
bitL 2 days ago 3 replies      
Wonderful! Thank you Andrew!

Now alongside Udacity, another set of classes with certificates - does anyone know if they hold any value to prospective employers? Last I've heard was that a recent PhD in ML was a must.

11
Dowwie 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hope that AI scientists will one day solve the problems with message forums. Message forums aren't designed to engage this many people. A popular MOOC gets tens of thousands of daily posts from students.

Maybe Andrew will make a practical class project out of trying to improve mass-collaboration using his MOOC as the test subject?

12
BrianMingus 2 days ago 3 replies      
Latently (SUS17) also provides a more self-directed path to learning deep learning focused exclusively on implementing research papers and conducting original research: https://github.com/Latently/DeepLearningCertificate
13
mleonard 2 days ago 1 reply      
Will the content for the courses be released all at once? I'd like to complete the 5 courses in approx 1 month.
14
nnd 2 days ago 1 reply      
So it appears, that you can still take this course for free, and you only get a "digital certificate" of dubious value if you purchase the course. Am I missing something here?
15
stablemap 2 days ago 0 replies      
Many weeks end with an interview that might be interesting independent of the course -- the first is a long one with Hinton.

https://www.coursera.org/learn/neural-networks-deep-learning...

16
tmaly 2 days ago 3 replies      
What would be a good prerequisite for these courses?
17
jonbarker 2 days ago 0 replies      
Transition to python is a great improvement! Took his previous course but the MATLAB part of it was no fun and virtually guaranteed that my work would be hard to implement in any real job setting. His advocacy of Octave probably predated quite a few of the python libraries that have since arrived.
18
wodenokoto 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is Andrew Ng still with Baidu? Thought it was curious that it uses tensorflow.
19
nyxtom 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is really exciting to hear. Andrew is absolutely a fantastic teacher!
20
alistproducer2 2 days ago 0 replies      
I took his course up until the back propagation lesson and then lost interest. Credit to him as a teacher though because the basic of ML are still with me. I just didn't have any interest in going very deep with it.
21
SoMisanthrope 2 days ago 2 replies      
Feels like marketing, not really a news story. Anyone else feel the same?
21
A rising sentiment that IBMs Watson cant deliver on its promises gizmodo.com
276 points by artsandsci  12 hours ago   173 comments top 34
1
ChuckMcM 10 hours ago 2 replies      
When I worked at IBM I expressed concern that the television commercials depicting a HAL9000 level interactive dialog system were dangerously overselling what Watson could do.

The challenge, as I saw it, was that no matter how good the tools and products that were used to help companies with data analysis to improve their operations were, when they realize they can't talk to a cube and joke with it about misusing colloquial phrases their disappointment overshadows all the 'good' stuff it was doing for them.

No relationship works well if it starts with a lie and as this article shows, people do take those ads at face value and assume there really is a talking AI inside of IBM. Then they are hugely disappointed when they find out it doesn't exist.

2
tangue 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Crdit Mutuel (a french bank) has adopted Watson [0] and it's not encouraging : it was supposed to help answering emails, : they had to describe manually the concepts in emails and create topics in which looks a lot like decision-trees (and reminds me of this 1985 ad for Texas Instrument's Lisp AI https://www.scientificamerican.com/media/inline/blog/File/De... scroll to see the ad)

Indeed the whole thing looks like a database with basic AI as a sales argument...

[0 - in french] http://www.silicon.fr/credit-mutuel-non-ia-watson-magique-17...

3
slackingoff2017 10 hours ago 3 replies      
IBM is a dying giant, I've seen it languishing for years. Their massive screw up was a decade ago when they decided shareholder value was more important than having good engineers. They've since gutted their R&D departments and all that's left are duds and underpaid undereducated consultants rented from places like Accenture.

The only good thing to come out of IBM in years is their Hyperscan regex library and unsurprisingly they don't market it at all or build practical applications with it

4
notfromhere 11 hours ago 1 reply      
The dirty secret is that IBM Watson is just a brand for their army of data consultants, and their consultants aren't very good. In my experience working for a competitor in this space, IBM Watson was widely agreed to be smoke and mirrors without much going on
5
peteretep 11 hours ago 4 replies      
A couple of years ago I was given a project that was essentially "Evaluate Watson APIs to see if there's anything there we could make use of", and came away with the distinct impression that it was largely smoke and mirrors, and there was very little that was either effective or interesting there.
6
ams6110 11 hours ago 0 replies      
What? A brand name which is just a word meaning "IBM Enterprise Products and Services" doesn't really live up to the marketing hype? I can't imagine such a thing.
7
blueyes 10 hours ago 2 replies      
IBM has almost zero credibility in deep learning and AI. They haven't hired anyone of note. They haven't produced any novel or influential research in the field in years. And yet they air these cheesy Dylan ads and the rubes fall for it. Watson is a Theranos-scale fraud, and it's finally coming out.
8
ghostly_s 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I overheard a good-'ol-boy businessman at a hotel bar a few months back. He bore an eerie likeness to Bosworth from Halt and Catch Fire, and was telling a younger gentleman about a project he worked on. "...so Watson comes in and they Algorithm the whole thing..."

I'm pretty sure he thought Watson was a person.

9
strict9 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Many years ago when I worked for a company that decided our existing ecommerce app was too terrible to fix and would be too much effort to rebuild, we talked to a number of vendors, including IBM. The marketing materials and salespeople made a compelling case, but deeper dives into the app itself and the support engineers behind it convinced even the most enthusiastic internal cheerleaders to look elsewhere.

In recent years as news articles heralding the future of Watson for various industries (including healthcare and supply chain), I predicted a similar path. An amazing product in a very narrow environment designed specifically for marketing and selling purposes, and not very adaptable.

FTA: And everybodys very happy to claim to work with Watson, Perlich said. So I think right now Watson is monetizing primarily on the brand perception.

This is painfully obvious, as this has been IBM for a very long time.

10
throwaway_ibm 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I know someone who is intimately involved with IBM Watson, they are highly educated and constantly diss the system. Calling it, 'Just a large database'. If Watson was a true breakthrough, it should be gaining marketshare throughout it's specialities but it's not. Google is leading the industry with DeepMind; Facebook and Microsoft aren't far behind. I'd encourage others to be very skeptical of the PR that IBM is pushing about their Watson problem.

disclosure: I haven't read the article but wanted to share a related story.

11
scottlocklin 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Yeah, well, "duh."What boggles my mind is people will read this, nod sadly, and continue not to notice that a whole bunch of what they think they know about machine learning, autonomous vehicles and so on is also marketing department hype.
12
simonh 10 hours ago 2 replies      
This just goes to show just how tragically far away we are from even beginning to build the rudiments of a strong general purpose AI. For all the fantastic achievements of systems like Watson and Alphago, and they are amazing achievements, they are radically optimised special purpose systems fine tuned to solving one extremely specific and narrow problem, and that problem only.

Watson is a case study in this, but I know Google has big plans for applying the tech behind Alphago in medicine. I wish them every success, but I'm concerned they will hit similar specialisation issues.

13
dpflan 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I like how IBM does very elaborate marketing ploys to hype their wares: like Deep Blue competing against Kasparov and Watson competing against Jennings to showcase IBM's engineering prowess. But it does sell the idea pretty well I think, but perhaps the idea is too grand/far ahead of the present.
14
speeder 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I actually love the idea of Watson being used for healthcare...

Sadly I think it is being used wrong...

IBM is focusing on using Watson to cure very specific diseases, like certain types of cancer.

I think a far better use for Watson would be to do initial diagnosis, for example my life got massively delayed because I got hypothyroidism as teenager, but only using internet data I could self-diagnose and self-treat (because doctors are still unwilling to help, not trusting data, and before someone come berate me for self-treatment, it is working...) as adult I could finally get my life 'started' (hypothyroidism affect physical and mental development, and slows down metabolism and the brain)

During my quest I met many, many, many people on internet, that had self-diagnosed with something using the internet as a tool. All of us would have been diagnosed properly if Watson was being used on the doctors office, using its data crunching capabilities and symptoms as input to find out what problem we had. (in my case: I have Hashimoto's disease)

15
ExactoKnight 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
Watson's Natural Language Classifier, in particular its categorization API, is actually pretty impressive...
16
Probooks 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Problem is deeper (and simpler). IBM does not look for clients, but rather victims. We clients end up being caught in an internal upsales fight. Nobody cares which is the best solution IBM as a whole can offer to you (their own people do not even know all their available tools!), but rather how much suboptimal stuff each salesman can load onto you. I'm on my way out of IBM...
17
crsv 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Replace IBM's Watson with anything branded with "AI" right now and themes in the article still hold up.
18
tCfD 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Obvious fix is for IBM to put Watson on a blockchain /s
19
dislikes_IBM 8 hours ago 1 reply      
IBM has a toxic culture. They are the vendor lock-in Gods. Every company I've ever worked for has cringed at the mention of IBM, never suggested them as a new solution, and always regretted whatever if anything they locked themselves into.

They are the only company that charges you to sample their API's. They are the absolute worst, an infection that needs to be cured.

20
batmansmk 11 hours ago 4 replies      
You can try by yourself. https://alchemy-language-demo.mybluemix.net/

Imagine analyzing product reviews to determine if it was positive or negative.Type "I like it", and see the inaccurate targeted sentiment (neutral sentiment instead of positive).

21
etiam 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It's tempting to start whispering winter is coming, but I think one may reasonably hope that the current fashions at large have enough nuance to differentiate between this particular marketing gimmick and the broader developments in ML.

Personally I'd be happy to see the paragraphs/minutes at the beginning of far too many interviews about "intelligent" machines exchanged, from straightening out the misconception that Watson is an example of this new hot "Deep Learning" thing and one of the pinnacles of achievement in the field, for some type of more valuable type of commentary from leading researchers.

22
outside1234 11 hours ago 0 replies      
You don't say! This is IBM consulting ware? Who would have guessed!
23
dboreham 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Bundle up for the second AI Winter...
24
et2o 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I saw a very humorous twitter exchange between a bioinformatician and IBM Watson's twitter account. The scientist asked them to provide any peer-reviewed ML publications and the best they could do was an abstract at a regional conference no-one has heard of. And it was a terrible abstract.

It's completely marketing. IBM still has a good name among people who don't know much about technology. They're trading on this and the current saturation of 'machine learning' in the popular press.

25
currymj 11 hours ago 0 replies      
it's just a brand name at this point, which they attach to any machine learning they develop or acquire, and they should stop trying to sell it as a distinct technology.
26
ceedan 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Does IBM itself even "use" Watson?
27
PaulHoule 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This was my opinion when they started running these ads. My opinion has actually softened a little.

Some of the cognitive services they are offering today are not half bad; also I can say their salespeople are doing a gangbusters job in places.

28
diego_moita 10 hours ago 1 reply      
> "In the data-science community the sense is that whatever Watson can do, you can probably get as freeware somewhere, or possibly build yourself with your own knowledge"

Any suggestions about the freeware?

29
d--b 9 hours ago 0 replies      
watson's mistake is to have gone the chat bot route. promising a natural language input for all underlying problems simply discredits everything else...
30
moomin 11 hours ago 3 replies      
Completely off topic, but didn't IBM have a system called Watson in the 1990s that was used by the police? Try as I might I can't find a reference for it anywhere.
31
riku_iki 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Any first firings for choosing IBM?..
32
iamleppert 11 hours ago 2 replies      
The real crime is in using cancer kids to sell your product. I mean, who even does that? Even if you could cure cancer for kids, I find it incredibly tacky to go around making commercials about how you can cure cancer for kids, which aren't targeted at those who actually are in the position to use the technology, and its used to market to other tangential industries where the real money is. It's just despicable and you can tell right there its smoke and mirrors.

There's a special place in hell for anyone working at IBM or involved in the Watson project who is supporting this thing. It's damaging legitimate deep learning/machine learning industry and generally making a fool out of IBM, AND giving children with cancer false hope....just so IBM can try and stay relevant and make money?

33
oculusthrift 11 hours ago 0 replies      
the articles content is more just background about watson than having to do with the the title.

as a side note: it just sounds wrong to have the words "hating on" in an article title.

34
potatoman2 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Did they really need to stick an insult at Trump in there?
22
Principles of Sharding for Relational Databases citusdata.com
278 points by tikhon  1 day ago   44 comments top 5
1
AznHisoka 1 day ago 9 replies      
I find the "you don't want to shard" camp quite annoying. Of course, I don't want to shard! Who does?! It adds complexity, both implementation-wise and operational.

But if you got 5 TB of data, that needs to be in a SSD drive, then please tell me how I can get that into 1 single physical database.

2
ozgune 1 day ago 3 replies      
Hey everyone, it's Ozgun. When I first wrote this blog post, it was much longer. Based on initial feedback, I edited out parts of it to keep the post focused.

If you have any questions that aren't covered in the post, happy to answer them here!

3
dcosson 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting that sharding by customer for a sass business is the example of the best use of sharding. That can also go very wrong - what if you get a huge customer that's as big as everyone else combined? You're effectively maxed out at 2 shards.

Definitely depends on the workload, but often the "micro service" approach (whether or not it's a true micro service in its own runtime) of sharding just one type of data/small set of related tables that you can shard by a primary key or user id or something seems like the only reasonable option for sharding. If your data is becoming unwieldy there's often a bottleneck data set that's bigger than everything else so you don't necessarily have to share everything all at once.

4
megamindbrian 1 day ago 1 reply      
I laugh every time I read that word.
5
0xc001 1 day ago 0 replies      
She shard on a turtle!
23
To Protect Voting, Use Open-Source Software nytimes.com
226 points by bleakgadfly  1 day ago   224 comments top 36
1
r721 1 day ago 0 replies      
2
blackkettle 1 day ago 5 replies      
No. To protect voting, don't use software. Everyone needs to be able to _understand_ as well as be able to verify that they successfully voted.

Besides the issues with what software the machine is actually running, most people cannot comprehend or understand that software - even if it is open source. That is not acceptable for an open democratic society, or to sustaining it.

In this particular situation it should not be necessary to rely on an expert to explain whether the vote counting mechanism is reliable. This only adds to the problem of unreliable or scheming officials - it doesn't improve anything in terms of transparency.

3
danirod 1 day ago 14 replies      
Electronic voting is a bad idea and I'd be suspicious on anyone trying to promote it.

How can you know that even if the source code for the voting machine is open, the voting machine is running the exact same source code? How can you know nobody has tampered the code the instance is running?

I'm glad my country is still running on paper ballots and glad we require voter ID.

4
danhardman 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'd like to reference Tom Scott's video[0] here. There is no need for an electronic voting system, paper ballots work perfectly.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3_0x6oaDmI

5
beat 1 day ago 0 replies      
First and foremost, use paper ballots. Before anything else. The paper ballots are the System of Record. If ever in doubt about downstream results, paper ballots can be hand-counted. (Additionally, use paper voter rolls. Mark registered voters when they vote, and track any same-day registrations on paper. The exact number of ballots cast can be extracted from the voter rolls.)

Second, never allow paper ballots to be handled by just one person, or by only members of one party - whether blank or used. Require that members of at least two political parties be present any time the ballots are physically touched.

Third, if using machines to read the ballots (ScanTron, etc), conduct spot counts of random machines, to make sure the machine results match the paper ballots. Conduct spot counts of entire polling stations randomly to make sure result totals match voter roll totals. Although this isn't 100% certain, it doesn't take a lot of spot checks to detect any sort of large-scale fraud effort.

Do these things, and it's exceedingly difficult to do statistically meaningful vote fraud, because we have a high degree of trust in the paper ballots and their surrounding process. From there, you can use automatic ballot reading and tallying to get fast results - the vote counting/tallying automation is derived data, not the System of Record.

6
ai_ja_nai 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is plain bullshit. Opensource gives no guarantee that the vote won't be altered by whoever runs the machine.

What we need is a zero-knowledge proof: we need the entire voting dataset to be publicly downloadable and some kind of checksumming so that, while maintaining anonimity, I can 1)check that my vote is the same 2)run whole the counting in a blink on my PC.

This gives much better guarantees of no tampering

7
noja 1 day ago 1 reply      
A child can understand paper ballots and why they work.

There are probably less than a hundred people in the world who can understand an electronic voting system at every level down to and including the silicon.

8
cletus 1 day ago 1 reply      
To protect voting don't use electronic voting.

Paper ballots (the kind with marks read optically, not the ridiculous punch cards at the center of the Florida 2000 debacle) are easy to use and understand with a very low error rate and keep a paper trail, being the actual ballots.

I don't understand why anyone other than the companies who sell e-voting machines actually want electronic voting.

9
fredley 1 day ago 2 replies      
To protect voting, use paper ballots.
10
boomboomsubban 1 day ago 0 replies      
As someone who is a firm supporter in free software as the best option in every area, this feels like a subversive attack.

Voting software is bound to fail, no bug bounty is big enough to offset the billions that could be made off of hacking an election. It is bound to fail spectacularly, and then for the rest of time people can point at the election and say "the ability to see the source code let this happen."

11
marcelsalathe 1 day ago 0 replies      
Geneva has made its e-voting software public: https://republique-et-canton-de-geneve.github.io/chvote-1-0/...

I'd much prefer electronic to paper. Last year I voted on 24 initiatives, and that is just the federal level. It also does not include elections.

12
CapsUnLock 1 day ago 2 replies      
Well, IMHO a good way to digitize voting would be to give out a USB-drive-like (NFC) device with an option to set a value and lock it in the read-only mode using voter ID.

How it will work:A person gets this device in the voting center enters/gets his voter ID, does the voting (anonymously), presses the read-only lock and throws it into the bin. After all the voting these device are scanned and voting data is retrieved. A voting database is populated in each center in a transparent way, to prevent tampering (several parties can be allowed to read this data separately and then all data variants can be compared against each other, just in case). After consensus on the voting data, each voting center sends the results for counting. And the voting is completed.

In the end, these devices are reset and the cycle continues.

Well, I'm sure that there must be some problems when voting the aforementioned way. But I guess it could work out, with some modifications.

EDIT: Grammar.

13
vowelless 1 day ago 0 replies      
Someone needs to start a campaign: "Say No To Electronic Voting"
14
ivanbakel 1 day ago 0 replies      
Previous discussion (5 days ago): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14920513
15
kome 1 day ago 0 replies      
My first job was an ethnography of electronic voting in a wealthy region in northern Italy.

By our observations electronic voting added several layers of complexity that are difficult to justify.

16
ApolloFortyNine 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why can't you have everything set up so that when you vote, you get what amounts to a JSON Web Token to be able to later verify that you did in fact vote? You could use the governments publicly available key to verify that your vote reached the central service, and part of the JWT could contain your vote as well as your identifying information (SSN in USA).

Obviously everything could have fancy UIs created for end users so they don't see that really all have is a JWT (maybe a QR code printed out when they vote? And all the info easily human readable?). Verification could be handled by a .gov address and also through manual use of the public key (so other services could be set up to verify votes as well). And internet connectivity wouldn't be a problem as they could just require T1 lines at polling locations (I assume if phones went out across the country the election would be delayed regardless). You could likely tell if someone had stolen the private key (the only way I can think of breaking this system), if you have a service to verify someone's vote, and it doesn't show up there, even though you have a signed JWT containing your vote. That would prove someone had stolen the private key, allowing for a makeup election.

Am I missing something basic of how this would be hackable? I'm one of those who finds it odd that many elections around the world are susceptible to simple human mistakes/purposeful malicious actions when it comes to counting ballots.

17
Arkanosis 1 day ago 0 replies      
R. James Woolsey [] former director of [CIA]. Brian J. Fox, [] develop open-source voting systems even if I had no opinion on the matter, it'd seem to me that there's a clear conflict of interest there.

To protect voting, do NOT use software. At all. Open-Source software is no more trustable than paper, and is orders of magnitudes more complex to set up and audit. If you can't explain a 5 years old how it works, your voting approach is not trustable.

18
wu-ikkyu 1 day ago 3 replies      
Why is it that electronic voting is so vehemently opposed here on HN and by many technologists in general when virtually every other existentially vital system they rely on is run electronically?
19
pjmorris 1 day ago 0 replies      
To protect voting, use paper ballots and count them in public (OK, and voter ids if you insist).
20
xealgo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Security may not ever be 100% with e-voting systems, but it can be secured enough to where the probability of any hack attempt would have minimal impact on the overall outcome. I can think of several ways to a secure, verified registration could work just off the top of my head. I think the issue is more, where's the incentive for the government to make this happen?
21
clarkevans 1 day ago 0 replies      
This past election has shown that it's not just the voting software, but the software/systems that control who is permitted to vote.
22
tiku 1 day ago 2 replies      
why not blockchain voting. everyone receives 1 voteCoin, and transfers it to the correct wallet address of the person he or she votes for?
23
ruffrey 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's got to be some way to put votes on a blockchain. More important than voting electronically is being able to verify your own vote was not tampered with, and that all the votes add up as reported.
24
tzs 1 day ago 0 replies      
To protect voting, use this or something similar:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scantegrity

25
return0 1 day ago 0 replies      
To what extent is voting fraud an issue in the developed world and why is Nytimes upset about it?
26
thescriptkiddie 1 day ago 1 reply      
The amount of anti-free-software FUD in this thread is staggering. Did Microsoft buy off all of you?
27
jk563 1 day ago 3 replies      
A lot of talk about securing voting machines/verifying that they run the correct software. Why do we have to have physical machines? If it's electronic, surely a website would do if you have the correct means of ID?

NB: this is not an indication of which side I fall on the debate, it is an observation.

[EDIT] Also, I'm aware similar issues exist with a website, but it seems a lot of focus goes on the actual machine.

28
wnevets 1 day ago 0 replies      
Use open source software that prints a paper ballot then count the paper ballot.
29
a_imho 1 day ago 0 replies      
Retire voting in favor of sortition.
30
peterwwillis 1 day ago 0 replies      
This story has been posted four times now. Click the 'past' link at the top.
31
davidgerard 1 day ago 0 replies      
To protect voting use paper.

Why did anyone ever think computerising voting was a good or useful idea?

32
Zigurd 1 day ago 0 replies      
First, you have to understand the problem:

1. You don't need to commit widespread election fraud to throw an election if you can predict where a small fraud will matter.

2. Not all election fraud is a miscount of ballots. Throwing out minorities' registrations is also election fraud, and you can't fight that with more-reliable ballots.

3. The best solution might not be a technology solution. Paper ballots make it hard to scale fraud. But that's not enough, since fraud doesn't always need to scale.

4. Early voting and absentee voting need to be taken into considerations and are a growing part of voting in the US.

5. If software systems are used in voting, tallying, or anything connected to election results, the systems should be open to inspection and to pen testing.

33
jjawssd 1 day ago 0 replies      
Related comment to a related thread

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14921935

34
nkohari 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not a crypto fanboy or anything, but I feel like voting is a great application of blockchain technology. It seems like the system could be made to be both anonymous and publicly verifiable, and the vote count would return more or less immediately.
35
alkoumpa 1 day ago 2 replies      
to protect voting, audit your software/system extensively. Openssh is open-source and we all know the story..
36
joseppe 1 day ago 0 replies      
One word: blockchain
24
Swift 5: start your engines swift.org
270 points by mpweiher  1 day ago   174 comments top 16
1
protomyth 1 day ago 5 replies      
One of the problems I find with Swift is that Apple doesn't go back and properly update their sample code at developer.apple.com. They have examples that will not build. If you search you can find folks that have patch sets, but they really need to fix the examples.
2
ssijak 1 day ago 11 replies      
And just today I was contemplating writing my first native iOS and macOS app... I was looking at the options and decided to go native with Swift. I have never written Objective-C app and never used x-code for dev. But I have ~10 years of dev experience, mostly Java and Python on the backend and front end dev exp mostly with Angular. Some Android, and a little from <input_random_tech_here> because I like to experiment.

So, my question is. How hard and enjoyable is for someone like me to write not very complex native iOS/macOS app in Swift starting from scratch? Best resource to start with?

3
ainar-g 1 day ago 7 replies      
Maybe someone will explain this to me. Does Swift use this confusing "rapid release" versioning? Does Swift 4 break backwards compatibility with Swift 3?

In my company people are looking for a language to rewrite some legacy Objective-C to. Swift is often discarded as "unstable" because of these major version bumps. Compare this to Go, which, seven or so years after the initial release is still 1.x and still doesn't break code.

I just don't get breaking the language so often. Do people enjoy rewriting code?

4
__sr__ 1 day ago 6 replies      
I wish more effort were being made to make it a first class citizen on non-Apple platforms. With the popularity it has enjoyed, it could easily challenge the likes of Go, Python or even Java for server side programming.
5
jswny 1 day ago 8 replies      
Can someone with Swift experience comment on the status of Swift on non-Apple platforms? Is it being used outside of the Apple ecosystem? How is the tooling, deployment, availability/support, etc.
6
tambourine_man 1 day ago 1 reply      
Since things at Tesla haven't worked out, I hope Lattner eventually returns to Apple.

Not that the Swift team is in a bad shape without him, it's just that it's nice to have an amazingly smart guy behind an open source language that many of us use (and that number that will probably only grow).

7
jorgemf 1 day ago 2 replies      
Swift developers, how is the evolution of the programming language now? does it still have backwards compatibility issues or things are more stable now (and will be with this new proposals)?
8
geodel 13 hours ago 0 replies      
> the Core Team felt that we could strike a balance with not diluting attention from ABI stability while still enabling a broader range of proposals compared to Swift 4 by requiring that all proposals have an implementation before they are officially reviewed by the Core Team.

Good. They are effectively saying 'Talk is cheap, show me the code'

9
real-hacker 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The only complaint about swift programming is: they keep changing the programming interfaces, so if I import a third-party code file written with earlier versions of Swift, I have to go through the errors of 'obsolete APIs', updating the function signatures. The changes are automated by Xcode, but it is still a hassle.

I am totally OK with introducing new features of Swift language. But changing the API function signatures (even multiple times) seems totally unnecessary, and reflects the API designers' obsession of naming conventions.

10
bsaul 1 day ago 5 replies      
About concurrency : does anyone know of a language that would let you tag portions of a codebase in some way, and declare something like "all those methods should execute in the same thread". Those declarations would then be checked by the compiler.

That would be a first step toward agent like concurrency, but it would be general enough to apply to other types of concurrency models.

11
martijn_himself 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Tangential question- I'm in the UK and I am keen to become a iOS developer (I'm currently a senior .NET developer in a large firm). Are there enough opportunities remaining in iOS development as a contractor / creator of ('enterprise') apps to make a living? I would be very grateful if anyone could share any advice / personal experience.
12
the_common_man 1 day ago 0 replies      
13
legulere 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Fixing the ABI might be interesting for interoperation with other programming languages
14
seekler 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone else doing what swift will do: Inlines the standard library, but distributes it separately. Does not makes sense to me at all.
15
Jack4E4B 1 day ago 1 reply      
Concurrency finally, it has taken forever. Is there any built-in support now? Server side Swift is lacking this big time.
16
RocketSyntax 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd rather build hybrid apps. Fix your IDE.
25
Americans dont need fast home Internet service, FCC suggests arstechnica.com
271 points by JacksonGariety  1 day ago   173 comments top 31
1
matt_wulfeck 1 day ago 5 replies      
I was recently fortunate enough to upgrade to 1Gb symmetrical fiber. I can say that it is absolutely fantastic. You really can do things you never did before:

1. I can host time-machine backups for my entire family on my home server, allow them to have off-site backups.

2. I can provide openVPN service for my entire family when they're outside of the home. I can also browse full-time on my own openVPN client at full-speed.

3. I can seed legitimate torrents for far, far longer than I normally would. For example, new Ubuntu releases.

4. I "donate" some of my bandwidth to other people and projects, allowing them to host files from my home.

5. I can test and host my own websites/services from my house. If it gets a little traction it won't destroy my entire internet.

These are all things that simply were not possible when I was with Comcast, with only 10 Mb/s upload and bandwidth caps. If we completely deregulate internet I'm afraid they will be impossible for most everyone.

2
noonespecial 1 day ago 4 replies      
We didn't need anything faster than dial-up for the web of 1999.

It's all the things yet unimagined that ubiquitous high speed internet would enable that's the real tragedy here.

The complete failure of imagination of today's "leaders" is very disheartening.

3
drawkbox 1 day ago 0 replies      
The internet innovation spirit in the US is high but the companies in charge, and oversight, are on the milk it train.

Cable and broadband companies were massively innovating in the 90s and early 2000s, now they are focusing on their 'innovation' on pricing and milking it by: slowing things down, data capping it, lobbying for more monopoly control, trying to get access to your private info and constant pricing games. All of these actions are due to lack of product innovation and to make up for lost revenues of not just increasing capacity and speeds thus offering a better product people will pay more for.

All we can hope for is another disruptive network innovation that puts them in the rear-view or adds some competition like Google Fiber did or others. Google Fiber had an amazing impact to pricing and speeds in any market they entered. For the most part broadband has been lagging on real innovation and expansion, in favor of MBA metric pricing games and value extraction for some time.

4
chank 1 day ago 3 replies      
Great so we can let ISPs off the hook for all the money we've already given them for faster service they haven't provided. This is how our government works folks.
5
geff82 1 day ago 5 replies      
One more little sign America is more and more retiring its leadership in the world, opening doors for other nations to be more developed?

In a time where many European countries aim at providing 100Mbit as a minimum in the next years and thus also open rural areas for economic development, decision/opinions as the one described in the article seem ludicrous. Of course, providing net infrastructure in the US with its huge size is a challenge. Yet, in a country like Sweden with similar population density, 100Mbit is already kind of the basic minimum even in remote areas.

Here in my town in Germany we had super slow internet until 3 years ago. Now I can choose up to 400Mbit from different providers (100Mbit DSL or up to 400Mbit cable). Connectivity skyrocketed and it does in many other European areas. Now the US decides to lower standards? Is it the same kind of thinking as "we don't need high speed trains, we will have Hyperloop in 50 years", just adapted to "everything will be mobile one day"?

6
hiisukun 1 day ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately, a similar position is held by the NBN here in Australia (National broadband network), and indeed appears to be held by some members of the government.

This has been a long standing position even prior to the NBN existing, resulting in almost two decades of delays and debates in replacing half century old copper phone lines that provide much of the people's internet.

I wouldn't wish such lengthy technological delays on another country, so I hope this gets sorted out rather quicker than our issues have been.

7
rndmize 1 day ago 1 reply      
> But during the Obama administration, the FCC determined repeatedly that broadband isn't reaching Americans fast enough, pointing in particular to lagging deployment in rural areas.

No skin off my back. I already have internet service significantly better than the FCC broadband definition, and my core concern in this space is net neutrality. Rural areas are the ones that will be negatively affected by this kind of policy change in the coming years. You get what you vote for in this case.

8
iokevins 1 day ago 0 replies      
California Assembly Bill 1665 attempted to something similar:

"Both Frontier and AT&T maintain antiquated DSL systems that serve millions of Californians who live in communities that dont have sufficient revenue potential. Low income and low density communities in other words."

http://www.tellusventure.com/blog/california-bill-magically-...

AB 1665 seems on hold until legislators return on August 21:

http://www.tellusventure.com/blog/hostile-takeover-of-califo...

9
mnm1 1 day ago 1 reply      
Fuck Pai. More and more Americans are working from home. That alone is reason enough that we need fast broadband. I know he doesn't care about people and their needs but scum like him are at least usually persuaded by business arguments so I'm making one here. He's not a representative of anyone. He was not elected. It's not his job to decide what Americans want. The only way to fix this FCC travesty is to get rid of the pro business, anti citizen scum who appointed him.
10
bdickason 1 day ago 0 replies      
As someone who lives in a very expensive area, I would happily live in a more rural or less populated area if there was decent infrastructure to do so. I don't think that internet alone is the solution, but faster internet across the country is one of the hurdles for remote work and (theoretically) better distribution of the population.

I know that a lot of other pieces have to fall into place to make this happen, but the entire country wired with strong backbones and last mile service will definitely help.

11
drallison 1 day ago 0 replies      
The FCC is wrong. The Internet is intertwingled with everything we do these days. I live in non-urban Montana at the end of a DSL line suffering "bandwidth exhaust", a term my ISP (CenturyLink) coined to describe what happens when they sell "high speed" Internet to many customers but do not adequately provision their DSL network to support them. This shortfall is being fixed, but progress is glacial. How to bring everyone on-board the Internet is still a work in progress.
12
iokevins 1 day ago 1 reply      
Fix link so it points to article top, instead of comments (?)

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/08/maybe...

13
heisenbit 14 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of people did not read this article: It is about mobile.

It is actually about mobile home access. Generally:

- mobile coverage in the home is different from outside of the home. The primary focus of radio planning was outdoor coverage and the networks reflect this. I suspect this is about having a mobile access point at a fixed location which helps a little via antenna and positioning vs. a cell phone.

- mobile networks have been planned with totally different traffic assumptions and those are literally cemented into base-station locations.

- mobile is a shared medium with low constraints. It will be hard to guarantee minimum rates. Much harder than for fixed networks. There is a reason for the data caps - if there were not then competition would have long eliminated them.

- disincentives for scale: Providing data rates for one home may be easy. But if all the neighbors hop on that bandwagon then things get more difficult.

It is possible in principle but the cost for universal mobile access service and these bandwidth guarantees with the current technology may be quite high at this time. Anecdotal evidence of localized solutions also in other countries exist but can anyone point to a place where such a service has been deployed in a large country?

14
rabboRubble 5 hours ago 0 replies      
American's don't need modern fancy cars either. We have surreys, wagons, and horseless carriages too.

(The sarcasm is real. Claiming that home internet access is unneeded implies a fundamental misunderstanding, a regressive misunderstanding, of how society has transformed in the past 20 years.)

15
mpolichette 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah and the telecoms are going to charge for each device... with my home connection. I can serve all my devices locally from one trunk... With mobile I have to have a data plan for each device...
16
malchow 1 day ago 1 reply      
Clickbait headline.

FCC expresses possibility that in the near-future wireless connectivity may be more important to consumer internet users.

Admitting "we don't know which way this industry is going to go" is probably a healthy thing for government to do.

17
smsm42 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Also, could somebody explain to me what is the function of FCC in setting those "standard" speeds?

> This would also be the first time that the FCC has set a broadband speed standard for mobile; at 10Mbps/1Mbps, it would be less than half as fast as the FCC's home broadband speed standard of 25Mbps/3Mbps.

I mean, what that "standard" does? Is it prohibited to sell connection slower than this? Clearly not, since there tons of home internet offers slower than 25/3. So what is the meaning of this standard, what consequences does it have? Of course the press, who is supposed to inform me, is too busy trying to propagandize me and forgets to explain what that all actually means. Could fellow HNians fill the gap?

18
dboreham 1 day ago 0 replies      
The need for high throughput residential connections is almost entirely driven by use of video streaming services (Netflix etc). So if you assume people don't need those (e.g. if you are a satellite tv company) then this makes sense.
19
stevefeinstein 1 day ago 1 reply      
The sentiment, that Americans don't NEED fast home internet is probably more accurate than not. It's not relevant though. Need has never been the driving force in the market. It's want, and if people want it, there's no reason they shouldn't have it. Why would the head of the FCC care if people need high speed? Only if he were in the pocket of the ISP's. Then he'd need a way to NOT create rules that mandates high speed internet. And if it's not a requirement, then it's up to the business to charge whatever they want without regulation. It's insidious, and quite clever albeit evil.
20
just2n 1 day ago 3 replies      
The title seems a little clickbaity. It seems all that's being said is the FCC is recommending a reasonable minimum, not a maximum. I don't think it makes sense to run gig fiber connections to rural homes unless someone is footing the bill, but they definitely should have some internet capability, and 10/1 mobile and 25/3 direct seems at least minimally viable.

This title makes it sound like the FCC is advocating that speeds above those are unnecessary for anyone, as if they're coming for your network speed. I don't get the sensationalism here, this hardly even seems newsworthy.

21
lnx01 15 hours ago 0 replies      
And this is why Kenya has faster average mobile internet than the USA.
22
danjoc 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's too bad internet speeds went nowhere under President Obama's administration. According to Wikipedia, internet speeds are currently faster in Mongolia and Romania than in the US. I hope the change in leadership and changing regulations will help the US regain its competitive edge.
23
zeep 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Symmetrical 2Gbps, which is offered by Comcast in some regions, is probably too fast for 99.99% of consumers... but it is nice if you have the option
24
norea-armozel 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder how long until Pai adds extra regulatory requirements for utility cooperatives that will spring up to kick the telcos out of the rural areas? I'm not joking about that notion since the telcos really hate cooperatives that spring up and replace or compete with them.
25
imron 22 hours ago 0 replies      
sigh they're taking a leaf out of the Australian government's book.
26
ams6110 1 day ago 0 replies      
10Mbps is more than I've had at home up until very recently.

It's fine for me; I work mostly in plain text and prefer it whenver there's an option. But undertand many people want more. Don't understand the FCC weighing in one way or the other. Should be up to private enterprise to provide what customers want to pay for. Get rid of the local monopolies, get out of the way, and watch what happens.

27
rsj_hn 1 day ago 0 replies      
We are seriously becoming a third world country.

- 5300 water systems in violation of lead rules:http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/28/us/epa-lead-in-u-s-water-syste...

- rank 16 in road qualityhttp://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-sad-state-of-americas-roads/

-expensive, slow mobile phone service compared to rest of the worldhttp://time.com/money/3633758/wireless-cost-us-world-ofcom/

- Piss Poor electrical grid, with an increasing number of outageshttp://insideenergy.org/2014/08/18/power-outages-on-the-rise...

- 1 out of 9 bridges are structurally deficienthttps://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/06/19/transp...

- rising death rates for prime age whites due to massive drug epidemic, obesity, and lonelinesshttp://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/03/23/52108333...

- highest incarceration rate in the worldhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_incarceration_ra...

- highest first day infant mortality in the industrialized worldhttp://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-has-highest-first-day-infant-...

- U.S. adults rank below average in basic educational skillshttps://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/10/08/us-adults-ran...

- Expensive, broken healthcare system that bankrupts families. We spend twice OECD average on a percent GDP basis with below average resultshttps://www.oecd.org/unitedstates/Health-at-a-Glance-2015-Ke...

- Expensive, broken tertiary education system that bankrupts students. We spend twice OECD average on tertiary education and get poor results.https://data.oecd.org/eduresource/spending-on-tertiary-educa...

- Awful, expensive secondary education system compared to rest of industrialized worldhttps://data.oecd.org/pisa/mathematics-performance-pisa.htm

- Slow, expensive broadband compared to rest of the worldhttp://www.businessinsider.com/the-us-falls-behind-rest-of-t...

-all of the above probably contributes to us ending up poorer (in terms of median wealth) than other industrialized nations even though per capita GDP is high and taxes are low

http://www.middleclasspoliticaleconomist.com/2012/07/us-trai...

28
basicplus2 1 day ago 0 replies      
More likely the FCC is doing the bidding of those who wish to squash competition.
29
shmerl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yeah, corruption runs amok. May be Americans don't need corrupted FCC more?
30
tempodox 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm just flabbergasted by this preposterous proposition.
31
smsm42 21 hours ago 2 replies      
> the 25/3 Mbps standard we propose would not even allow for a single stream of 1080p video conferencing, much less 4K video conferencing.

Could somebody explain to me why one needs 4K for video conferencing? No, I mean it'd be nice to have tons of bandwidth, but why 4K video conference is an absolute necessity? The article kinda makes it sound like not having 4K video conferencing is the state of absolute depravity and without it it can't be even called proper internet service. Can anybody explain it to me?

26
Despite S.E.C. Warning, Wave of Initial Coin Offerings Grows nytimes.com
230 points by JumpCrisscross  2 days ago   201 comments top 15
1
alistproducer2 2 days ago 5 replies      
I was involved with one of the bigger ICO right at the beginning of the ICO craze. I had pretty regular conversations with the project founder and was in talks to become the dev evangelist. The project had raised ~$5 million in ETH (this is when ETH was trading around $80). Despite the fact that this project had raised a crazy amount of money the whole project was being conceptualized and coded by a single 23 old guy who was promising features that much larger projects with teams of the best people in the field were yet to solve. Not to mention the project was blatantly lying about it's PoW algorithm.

When I tried to point out that the project should use some of that money to organize the software engineering aspect the founder got pissed off with me accusing me of trying to run the project. They had a second round and raised even more money (in addition to the insane capgains on their first round).

I check the github from time to time and it appears they've got at least 2 other devs involved and may actually bring a blockchain to market but this doesn't hide that fact that the project needed nowhere near the amount of money they raised. Hell they could've used a couple hundred grand from the first round and literally just paid a team of people to build the blockchain for them. did I get off of a gravy train? Yes. But there are more things to life than money.

2
nipponese 2 days ago 1 reply      
The problem is projects like these: http://bitqyck.me/ A classic hard-sell 80s pump and dump scam reborn in the ETH era.Bitqyck came to my attention through a family friend with very limited understanding of cryptocurrency, but just enough financial literacy to be in an investment group being fed these scams by people they trust as technical leadership. I imagine, ultimately, these people will demand protection from having to vet ICOs themselves, and twenty years later there will be an awesome movie about this time starring Leo DiCaprio.
3
utnick 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you want to really see what the environment is like now, read the bitcointalk ico announcement threads. It's absolutely insane. Very little of that stuff makes its way to hn.

People are raising money with 10 page vague 'white papers' with ideas that make no sense or are completely unworkable on the blockchain.

There is very little skepticism or research with these icos . Most of the commenters are trying to help the project and receive tokens in return, do tasks to qualify for free tokens ( bounties ) , or promote the ico so their token value increases

If there was a good way to short individual ico tokens it might bring some sanity

4
the_stc 2 days ago 1 reply      
The SEC guidance galvanized us on not offering tokens. Instead, we are going to offer shares directly in the company, even if they are mostly issued via an ERC20 contract. If we are going to get heat from the SEC, might as well go all out and issue proper shares.

Plus tokens don't even make sense most of the time. You can't buy a Tesla car with TSLA and you do not get dividends/trading with a car. And no one outside kids at Chuck E Cheese want to use venue-specific currency.

5
ringaroundthetx 2 days ago 3 replies      
Even the SEC realizes that not all token sales are securities. Some people in the industry simply aren't getting it, they are creating a straw man which the agency isn't even arguing for.

> The agency said that it would focus on coins that should be categorized as securities.

So there are all these people on the periphery just HOPING for their prophecy of a heavy handed government breaking the cryptocurrency rush.

They read the headlines.

They create the headlines.

They purposefully don't read the SEC report or consider any information to the contrary of what they are expecting.

Despite S.E.C. WARNING? This is an article about everyone getting smarter and restructuring their offering where necessary, and continuing to move forward.

Even the WARNING in the SEC's DAO report two weeks ago acknowledged that not all token offerings were securities. But detractors and regulated entities with a legitimate reason to be skittish, used it as the WELP SHOW'S OVER GUYS argument which is completely unfounded.

> Nick Morgan, formerly a lawyer in the S.E.C.s enforcement division, said that the security label was likely to apply to any coin that an investor buys with the expectation that it will increase in value as a result of the efforts of the entrepreneurs who created it.

The SEC still answers to the courts, and this consolidation of capital will allow these new organizations to take it to the courts efficiently. The Howey test from the 1940s did not consider this kind of asset to ever exist. It isn't an end all be all, it is a test.

The SEC is not mandated by Congress to undermine interstate commerce, it is created to provide confidence. So far, they've been playing it smart.

6
blhack 2 days ago 1 reply      
To put it into perspective, the tezos ICO recently raised a little more than $200,000,000 worth of BTC and ETH.

Here's their twitter: https://twitter.com/tez0s?lang=en

Here's their subreddit: https://reddit.com/r/tezos

Here's their website: https://tezos.com

It doesn't look like they have really updated anybody on what they're doing with $200,000,000 since their ICO closed.

7
anovikov 2 days ago 2 replies      
Most ICOs usually exclude Americans. Because these scamsters know it's a bad idea to get Uncle Sam angry.
8
vanattab 2 days ago 17 replies      
I am thinking a short position in bitcoin is in my near future. I am not saying bitcoin is doomed to fail but I am pretty confident this shit coin crazy is going to hit the fan sooner or later and it's going to drag the "legitimate" crypto currencies down.
9
SeanDav 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is a great bit of anecdotal advice for situations like this:

"When your hairdresser starts discussing it, it is time to get out..."

https://blogs.cfainstitute.org/investor/2014/02/10/top-anecd...

10
api 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is there an honest non-scummy way to raise capital through this mechanism for something without an inherent scarcity built into the system and that doesn't carry nasty future litigation risks (or at least doesn't carry them more than a SAFE or a convertible note)?

My impression so far is no but I could be wrong.

11
gaetanrickter 2 days ago 1 reply      
Add to this "Beyond Bitcoin: Overstock Lets Customers Pay With More Than 40 Alt Coins" http://fortune.com/2017/08/08/overstock-digital-currency/
12
dustingetz 2 days ago 2 replies      
Aren't all these people just going to be arrested?

It's not illegal today, but it will be soon enough, and when you piss off powerful people they find a way to shut you down, one way or another.

13
whytaka 2 days ago 2 replies      
How exactly are ICOs performed?

1) Set up mining software.

2) Start running it on your own machines and mine enough tokens for ICO.

3) Sell tokens. Profit. ??

Are investors at some point invited to run the mining chain on their own machines? Surely they don't just trust that the company raising money will do manage the accounting on their own.

14
mindfulplay 1 day ago 0 replies      
I started with quarters years ago before it was cool.
15
d3vnet 2 days ago 3 replies      
So how about making investors explicitly state that they are not US persons?
27
Learn Regex the Easy Way github.com
284 points by shubhamjain  20 hours ago   65 comments top 19
1
maddyboo 17 hours ago 9 replies      
My biggest issue with regular expressions is remembering the exact syntax of each of the different common regex engines. Javascript, Perl, `grep`, `grep -E`, vim, `awk`, `sed`, etc...

Each one seems to have slightly different syntax, require different characters to be escaped, has different defaults (is global search enabled by default? Multiline? What about case sensitivity?), some don't support certain lookarounds, how does grouping work, and so on.

2
clement75009 16 hours ago 7 replies      
For me, the best Regex ressource is still http://regexr.com

It explains what each character does just by hovering over a regex. Best tool to learn or to fine tune your regular expression (with testing included).

3
reuven 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been teaching regular expressions for years, and offer a free online e-mail course on the subject (http://RegexpCrashCourse.com/).

This site is a very nice summary of regexp syntax and is written well -- but it's missing two crucial pieces that help people learn: Examples and exercises. Without practice, there's no way that people can remember the syntax.

4
dayvid 10 hours ago 0 replies      
https://regexone.com/ helped me finally learn Regex in 2-3 hours.

It's a step-by-step interactive site. One of the best educational programming sites I've been to.

Testing Regex is a lot easier when you have the fundamentals down and there's a million resources to test Regex.

5
modalduality 18 hours ago 4 replies      
Good article (didn't realize there were other kinds of lookaround), but maybe the bottom should link to well-tested standards-based regexes instead.

 URL: ^(((http|https|ftp):\/\/)?([[a-zA-Z0-9]\-\.])+(\.)([[a-zA-Z0-9]]){2,4}([[a-zA-Z0-9]\/+=%&_\.~?\-]*))*$
I recently encountered a case where a URL had an underscore at the end of a subdomain name. It seems underscores are okay anywhere else, but while my friend on Windows was able to load the website, I wasn't (on Linux) using Firefox, curl, remote screenshot service which presumably ran Linux etc. According to various RFCs, they should be okay anywhere within the subdomain name.

Has anyone encountered this behavior? Couldn't find anything on the internet; maybe it's just my computer?

6
Groxx 4 hours ago 0 replies      
And when you think you've learned regex, learn that you haven't: http://fent.github.io/randexp.js (a regex "reverser" of sorts) [1]

Seriously. Test every non-trivial regex with something like this, you'll probably be surprised at how permissive most regexes are.

Regexes are great. They're super-concise and perform amazingly well. But they're one of the biggest footguns I know of. Treat them as such and you'll probably do fine.

---

[1] for instance, the URL regex they use is incorrect, and it's super obvious when you plug it into that site:

 ^(((http|https|ftp):\/\/)?([[a-zA-Z0-9]\-\.])+(\.)([[a-zA-Z0-9]]){2,4}([[a-zA-Z0-9]\/+=%&_\.~?\-]*))*$
`[[a-zA-Z0-9]\-\.]` you can't nest character sets like that. So this matches the letters "[]-." as well as all a-z,A-Z,0-9 ranges.

7
frou_dh 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I learned regex the "Ambient" way.

i.e. Encountering them here, there and everywhere. Then one day realising you have a good knowledge of the subject without ever having set out to learn it.

8
retox 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Waiting for the additional "Read someone else's Regex the easy way". I'm not holding my breath :)

Agree with others in that RegexBuddy is indispensable for a windows dev learning this magic stuff.

Some useful and interesting regex developments coming in the next version of JavaScript. Support for international text and (bleh) emoji incoming.

9
reificator 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I spent some time reading some resource or another on how regexes work, but the vast majority of my learning has been trying things in https://regex101.com/ and seeing if they do what I want. The breakdown on the side of the page is especially helpful.
10
Willamin 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The lack of readability of regex makes me wonder if there isn't a better way. I've seen Elm's parser which introduces a few neat concepts like parser pipelines. https://github.com/elm-tools/parser
11
gregmac 11 hours ago 0 replies      
For some people Regex Golf [1] might be an interesting way to learn. You are actually building increasingly complex regex as you go, and can just look up bits of syntax you don't know as needed.

[1] https://alf.nu/RegexGolf

12
jules 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I didn't truly understand regular expressions until I saw how they are executed. There are simple algorithms for executing them, so that might not be such a bad way to teach.
13
crncosta 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I really enjoy this type of tutorial format, concise and easy to follow. Thanks for take time to produce it.
14
chenster 17 hours ago 0 replies      
A picture is worth a thousand words. How about a visual regex tester - http://emailregex.com/regex-visual-tester/#a%5Cbc%5Cd*
15
VeejayRampay 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Very good post. It has all the important information, provides clear examples, doesn't try to get too fancy or showboat. Well done.
16
j05huaNathaniel 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Could use some work explaining capture groups
17
jwilk 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Previously:https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14846506

I'm afraid not much has been improved since then.

This is not a good learning source.

18
gmac 17 hours ago 0 replies      
For an even-more-beginner's guide, see the slides to a session I teach to Econ postgrads once a year[1].

These introduces the metacharacters gradually, using a task-based approach. We start by finding street addresses, per https://xkcd.com/208/.

[1] http://mackerron.com/text/text-slides.pdf (page 19 onwards) with supporting resources at http://mackerron.com/text/

19
chenster 17 hours ago 0 replies      
For email, regular expression, there's http://emailregex.com
28
The 1980 Citron Karin citroenet.org.uk
275 points by dayve  18 hours ago   178 comments top 25
1
Aardwolf 15 hours ago 5 replies      
It is difficult to look more late 70s/early 80s than this car :)

But interestingly, the blue car behind it in this picture looks almost like the design of a modern city car from today to me. So that's where the real vision was?

http://www.citroenet.org.uk/prototypes/karin/images/005.jpg

EDIT: I might be wrong, I assumed the photo was from the 1980 Paris Salon show due to the article text above it, but it's probably from later. Oops.

2
stijnsanders 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The last image on that page has text in Dutch, I took a few moment to have a quick translate. (P.S.: I have no idea what they meant with that last sentence)...

In the last 20 years, every stylist has met the forcing limits of designing a car, set by the cost, production methods and the ever growing regulation.

But this situation has had little consequences for the standardisation of cars, it's more due to market probes that there's a danger of all cars looking the same.

There's that many investments involved that the stakeholders don't dare create a car that deviates too much from the normal.

Currently in Europe cars increasingly look very similar and the public is taking notice.

This is an opportunity Citron should take: its image has always been about creating cars that are different than the rest and that's undoubtedly what's the buyer is seeking these days.

At the Automobile Salon in Paris 1980, Citron presented 'a dream car', designed by it's 'Design Bureau': the Karin.

This prototype is the first stage of research into the mid-range: 2 'wing'-doors coup with 3 separate seats with the driver's seat in the center. The car is 3.70 meter long (145.7 inch), 1.075 meter high (42.3 inch) and 1.90 meter wide (74.8 inch). It has front wheel drive.The interior is also avant-gardistic. An electronic screen continually provides information about the condition and performance of several elements of the car.Though the esthetic design of massively produced cars has improved all these years, their style risks turning somewhat monotonous, since the designers get less playing room due to inceasing external demands.

With this in mind the 'Bureau de Style Citron' has undertaken this 'design exercise' to reasearch the impact of a body with really clear lines on the car buying public. With designing this car an attempt is made to describe an offer for the future.

3
awjr 17 hours ago 8 replies      
What's interesting about these concept cars, is that they sometimes get built if they generate enough interest. I believe this is how the new VW Beetle came about, and I suspect what nudged BMW to bring out the new mini.

One that is in the process of making that leap right now: http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/volkswagen/98136/volkswagen-bos...

I do wonder if the reason concept 'updated' models are more likely to be made is there is a huge amount of nostalgia at play in the market.

As an aside, having owned a new Mini convertible, I can confirm it was probably the most fun I've had in a car. Felt like driving a go-kart. The suspension is ridiculously hard. Completely horrible car to be a passenger in but so so so much fun to drive. Apparently very close to the original.

4
maxxxxx 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Citroen always has built different and innovative cars. And they brought them to market.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citro%C3%ABn_DS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citro%C3%ABn_2CV

A lot of their cars had pneumatic suspension and other interesting tech.

5
mastazi 17 hours ago 3 replies      
The designer, Trevor Fiore, also created another great concept car, the Citron Xenia, info and pictures here: http://www.citroenet.org.uk/prototypes/xenia/xenia.html
6
camillomiller 17 hours ago 5 replies      
Can someone explain to me why these incredible concept cars never really get built, even in small batches as a limited edition?
7
mwexler 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Like Gibson's story "The Gernsback Continuum", I see cars like this and, I see that, for a moment, the future we dreamed of is finally coming true... then it fades back to reality, where instead we have... http://www.caranddriver.com/bentley/bentayga
8
ivm 12 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a nice Tumblr blog about cars like this:

https://wehickles.tumblr.com/

9
agumonkey 17 hours ago 2 replies      
It's so amazing how design trends evolve. What drew people to think about car shapes this way, why did they thing it would be "better".

A little bit later, this time by Peugeot http://www.carstyling.ru/en/car/1988_peugeot_oxia/images/634...

10
sjonniesjon 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Reminds me of the good old Matra Murena! http://petrolblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Matra-Muren...A french three seater although mid-engined and regular lefthand drive instead of center the look quite alike. They were built in the early 80ies as well, looks like sharing of concepts :)
11
jmkni 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I would be surprised if this wasn't inspiration for the car Homer Simpson built in the episode Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
12
userbinator 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Somewhat reminiscent of the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DeLorean_DMC-12 which actually made it into (limited) production.
13
gusmd 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Being from Brazil where Citroen has decent market presence, it saddens me that I can't buy them here in the US. They have such nice-looking, modern vehicles, and I would love to be able to buy them in the US. Same goes for other french manufacturers like Peugeot. I used to drive a 207 during grad school. Loved that little car.
14
rwmj 17 hours ago 4 replies      
The central steering wheel is ... different. It's the worst of both worlds. I saw another 80s concept car which had a steering wheel that could be moved from left to right hand side, presumably for people who very frequently cross the Channel.
15
mcv 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Surprised to find Dutch text at the bottom of an English site about a French car.
17
kikimaru 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Meanwhile, I'm STILL waiting for someone to build Gordon Murray's T.25 / T.27 3-seater cars. Last I checked, Shell bought the idea & rebranded it to "Project M" http://shell.com/projectm
18
scrumper 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Good find. Looks like a good amount of the interior ergonomics did make it to production cars: it reminds me a lot of the early 90s Citroen BX. Very similar steering wheel, wrap around buttons on the driver's binnacle. And the hydropneumatoc suspension of course - a Citroen signature and a brilliant piece of engineering.
19
overcast 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The exterior makes no sense, it's like a kid building a lego car. The interior is pretty rad though.
20
LoSboccacc 16 hours ago 1 reply      
"alfa can I copy your work?"

"yes but don't make it obvious"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfa_Romeo_Carabo

21
rajeshp1986 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Straight from a sci-fi movie.
22
rsp1984 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Engine before the front axis, making the engine weight work against the rear-axis, ouch! That's a recipe for poor driving dynamics.

This could have legs as an EV though.

23
oatsandsugar 13 hours ago 0 replies      
That instrument cluster!
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honestoHeminway 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Why cant i buy this? You can buy a i8 today- but you cant, why?
25
stuartmalcolm 17 hours ago 0 replies      
When people talk about electric cars.. this is what I picture....Where's my hover-board dude?
29
Lazarus A Delphi-compatible cross-platform IDE lazarus-ide.org
228 points by Jack4E4B  1 day ago   160 comments top 19
1
rcarmo 18 hours ago 5 replies      
I mentioned Lazarus in other threads a few days ago (since my kids are playing around with it) and it's great to see it as a top-level post. Some random thoughts:

- It's somewhat amusing to realize that in 2017 this is pretty much the easiest way to do a desktop app (besides RealBasic/Xojo which I've yet to try - was put off by their mandatory registration)

- I wish we had RAD environments like this for more languages (Racket, Python, etc. - even JS).

- On the Mac, installation is a bit fiddly. It needs a little polish and support (a standalone, integrated bundle would be better, or at the very least a unified installer).

- We've been retrofitting web UIs to desktops to such an extent (I'm looking at you, Electron) that the tiny, supremely efficient apps Lazarus spits out put the last couple of years into stark perspective (2GB RAM used by Slack, etc.)

I love Lazarus, and hope it helps resurrect the RAD approach for other languages - if anyone knows of any similar environments (besides QtCreator, etc.), could you share the links?

2
oregontechninja 1 day ago 1 reply      
I recently tried out Lazarus, and besides looking a bit dated, it works REALLY well. I had no Pascal experience so it was also overwhelming for a hello world app. But after the basic Pascal "Hello World" command line app, a GUI app didn't even require a tutorial to get working. Really impressed and am considering Pascal for a project.
3
samuell 1 day ago 7 replies      
Lazarus/FPC checks so many nice boxes:

[x] Statically compiled

[x] Native UI on Linux/Mac/Win

[x] Typically compiled without code changes on Linux/Mac/Win

[x] Small binaries

[x] No GC

[x] Readable, somewhat python-like syntax

[x] Still, doesn't rely on indentation for nested blocks

[ ] (Fill in)

4
WildParser 17 hours ago 5 replies      
I've made the mistake to write a complex project in Free Pascal. As far as I can tell pretty much every release of Lazarus is breaking something.And surprisingly often those breaks are major (like e.g. broken multi-threading, broken-strings, ...).

For me the whole thing looks more like a playground for hobbyists and is not really useful for anything productive.There's not much continuity in the language. And for the devs something like 95% compatibility seems to be good enough.

For small projects it might be ok to use, but you better keep your snapshot of the compiler locked in a safe place.

On the other hand: If you're young and want to make history as the guy who replaced all those begin/end in pascal with smileys: This project might be your chance...

5
samuell 1 day ago 1 reply      
Btw, OmniPascal for VSCode is also worth a mention as an alternative for quick edits, or for coding those CLI apps in pure FPC. A really nice project, which also helps showing that Pascal is Alive and Kicking :)

http://www.omnipascal.com

(Only issue is Linux support is not (yet) on par with Windows and Mac ... but then, it is open source, so that could change!)

6
int_19h 17 hours ago 1 reply      
While we're at it, for those times when you're hacking on console apps, FreePascal also has a very nice text-mode (TUI) IDE that is basically a Turbo/Borland Pascal 7.0 IDE clone - but cross-platform.

To do that, they had to port Turbo Vision (or rather its open source fork Free Vision). It's still a great TUI library... it's a shame it's Pascal-specific. Would be interesting to have an implementation of it for, say, Python, for system tools and the like.

7
whitea 1 day ago 1 reply      
mORMot framework is also a nice example for modern Pascal...https://synopse.info/fossil/wiki?name=SQLite3+Framework

It has DDD, SOA, MVC, ORM (even for NoSql), REST, caching, logging and security features and works with Lazarus.

8
bigtunacan 1 day ago 0 replies      
A bit funny seeing this on here tonight. My teenage daughter was looking to create a native desktop app and I pointed her to Lazarus just today. Then I login and check Hacker News...
9
samuell 15 hours ago 1 reply      
One of the things I'm excited about, is using FPC/Lazarus as GUI for computationally heavy Go code (Now with the recent efforts to use Go for datascience ... see http://gopherdata.io), now since Go supports shared object (.so/.dll) files.

I collected my (very early) research on it in this thread:

https://forum.lazarus.freepascal.org/index.php?topic=24948.0

... where some users report they tried it already. Seems to work, if not super smooth. Hope it can be improved in the future.

10
samuell 15 hours ago 1 reply      
For the FPC/Lazarus project as a whole, it is also good news that there is some work going on to build up a foundation (it exists already), with funding and stuff, to support further development:

https://foundation.freepascal.org/

Among founders being Delphi luminaire Boian Mitov (author of Visuino / OpenWire / OpenWireStudio etc).

Hoping the foundation can take off with some good funding.

11
cturner 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I use Free Pascal at times. In case there are any FP developers here: your build arrangements hamper my use. I tried installing earlier this week from source and could not get it going.

My ideal would be a single configure/Makefile combination in the root directory. Consider if the user does not have root, how are they to set a prefix?

The idea of the 'build' download is good, but not if it needs to link to recent shared-objects. Particularly recent shared objects like libc. Maybe you could put statically-linked tools in the 'build' version.

12
tomc1985 1 day ago 3 replies      
I miss the glory days of RAD
13
fithisux 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Do not forget also the tremendous effort in the Free Pascal other big IDE

https://sourceforge.net/projects/mseide-msegui/

It is a pitty dev pascal didn't catch up or ported to FPC.

14
0xbear 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Now someone just needs to clone C++ Builder and we'll be all set. Power of C++ with the simplicity of Delphi.
15
throwaway7645 1 day ago 2 replies      
I see Lazarus pop up on HN occasionally. It's an IDE for FreePascal right? I guess I'll have to open the article again. How are the database drivers? I've been told they're ageing. Is there 64 bit support for Windows or only 32?
16
scardine 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wish porting projects from Delphi was easier. I was trying to make Python bindings for the AcBR library[1] and failed miserably.

Shameless plug: if you think you are up to the task and is not too expensive contact paulo at xtend.com.br

[1] http://acbr.sourceforge.net/drupal/

17
systems 23 hours ago 5 replies      
How do you avoid spaghetti code, in an environment like lazarus?
18
Jack4E4B 1 day ago 2 replies      
Lazarus is awesome because of the speed of the compiler, the fact that it has a GUI that works, and is OPEN SOURCE.

So one wonders WTH is going on with all the other compiled languages that have nothing like this? And no QT is not the answer, we need a built-in good enough GUI! =)

19
sctb 1 day ago 1 reply      
We've updated the description from Proving That Pascal Is Alive and Kicking Ass. Submitters: the guidelines ask that you please don't editorialize titles.
30
The Most Common Error in Media Coverage of the Google Memo theatlantic.com
444 points by mimbs  2 days ago   148 comments top 26
1
Chardok 2 days ago 7 replies      
Regardless on your opinions of the memo, this article nails it right on the head; Gizmodo and other major news outlets handled this very irresponsibly, posting their version that had no citations, and leading the reader, even at the very beginning, into forming the opinion that this was simply a guy being "anti-diversity".

Whatever your thoughts on the subject are, it needs to be pointed out that this type of journalism is absolutely not neutral (even though they will swear up and down that they are) and should be, at the very least, condemned for doing so. This is and will be an increasingly difficult problem, especially when people just read a headline and a summary.

2
agentgt 2 days ago 2 replies      
What pains me is before reading this article I was slightly biased because of previous articles.

Actually it doesn't pain me... it really pisses me off that so many journalist are fooling people... particularly me.

When I read the bloomberg article (which I submitted to HN and now I want to just bang my head on the table for doing it) I was actually slightly siding with Google. Even though I was constantly telling myself "lets see the memo before judging" I could feel myself making a biased assumption.

I'm so annoyed with myself.

3
alexandercrohde 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is an incredibly well-written article. I wish I had the emotional distance and mastery of english express myself with such grace.

Unfortunately for me (and everyone) it takes me a lot longer to find the exact words for my frustrations in a situation like this. So I end up wanting to say inflammatory accusations like "PC-group-think witch-hunt," which captures my anger but doesn't really convince anybody on the other side (but rather escalates the tension).

The author cleverly brings both sides together by picking a starting point we all agree "Accuracy in journalism matters" and dissecting how that value was compromised [in this particular case] in order to promote another value: "Diversity matters."

Paul Graham describes such a technique in his seminal essay.

[http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html

One way to do this is to ratchet the debate up one level of abstraction. If you argue against censorship in general, you can avoid being accused of whatever heresy is contained in the book or film that someone is trying to censor. You can attack labels with meta-labels: labels that refer to the use of labels to prevent discussion. The spread of the term "political correctness" meant the beginning of the end of political correctness, because it enabled one to attack the phenomenon as a whole without being accused of any of the specific heresies it sought to suppress.

]

4
meri_dian 2 days ago 1 reply      
>"Donald Trump campaigned on the promise of more jobs for working-class Americans. In service of that end, he has proposed canceling free-trade agreements, building a wall to keep out immigrants, and eliminating lots of environmental regulations. Critics who avow that they favor more jobs for the working class, but oppose achieving more jobs through those specific means, are not described as anti-job, especially when they suggest specific alternatives for job-creation. Even if their alternatives would result in fewer jobs than the Trump administrations plans, that still wouldnt make a writeup of their proposal an anti-job memo."

Great point. While reporting on this memo isn't 'fake news', it is an example of reactionary, knee jerk, click bait journalism, which is a pernicious problem that stifles nuanced debate, and is probably doing more damage to our society than literal 'fake news'.

5
dvfjsdhgfv 2 days ago 3 replies      
Seriously, it sounds like the author of this article is the first journalist who actually read the article in full and reflected on its contents.Unfortunately, it's a few days too late - the rest already spread wrong summaries, the misinformation has been spread, and the author of the memo fired.
6
matchu 2 days ago 3 replies      
It's important to distinguish between what the memo's author says, and what effect his words actually have. It is an anti-diversity memo, even if it isn't intended as one.

The author makes shaky statements about gender, reinforcing sexist stereotypes. The author applies rationalist disclaimers, which enables already-sexist readers to feel that their sexism is rational. And, most distressingly, the author asserts that Google made a mistake hiring many of the women who work there. Actively making your minority coworkers feel unwelcome is an anti-diversity behavior, and it was an obvious and predictable consequence of how he chose to communicate.

I don't claim to know the author's intent, or how he truly feels about the women he works with. But, regardless of whether he's actually opposed to diversity, we judge words by their consequences. These words are thoroughly anti-diversity in consequence, and judging them in a vacuum is dangerously naive.

7
thowaway26539 2 days ago 1 reply      
It would have been much more fair to call it an "anti affirmative-action memo". Framing it as an "anti-diversity screed" is a pretty biased move, not to mention how they removed his supporting content as well. Certainly there are many who hold the opinion that "anti affirmative-action === anti diversity", which is a point worth debating separately, but I still find the framing used by most of the news articles very misleading.
8
sandstrom 2 days ago 0 replies      
The author of the memo is basically saying the same thing that got Larry Summers axed as president of Harvard.

 Harvard University President Lawrence Summers [was fired] for mentioning at a January 14 academic conference the entirely reasonable theory that innate male-female differences might possibly help explain why so many mathematics, engineering, and hard-science faculties remain so heavily male.
Isn't the idea with free speech that you allow people to say things that you disagree with?

Or as someone else has already phrased it nicely:

 "After all, if freedom of speech means anything, it means a willingness to stand and let people say things with which we disagree, and which do weary us considerably."
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/02/why-fem...

9
clairity 2 days ago 2 replies      
i appreciate the article for pointing out a nuance often lost in this kind of situation: that teasing out positions and perspectives requires a careful reading, and summaries are often (intentionally) misleading.

but let's be clear: the memo was a political document (in the common sense of the word, rather than about government machinations). sure, james damore may have been trying to have an honest conversation (and honest discussion should totally be encouraged), but the guy's biases and position were clear right from the title onward. he was attempting to assert what he thought was a superior position and got shot down. now others who (secretly or otherwise) share some portion of that position feel vulnerable and defensive, and we get heated discussions driven by primal emotions using otherwise rational-sounding words. it's politics.

that's what the media is zooming in on, because that's where the charged emotions are. cynically, yes, that sells papers (or whatever), but less cynically, that's also where we collectively seem to want more discussion because the social norm is (potentially) shifting and not at all well-defined or collectively understood. the media didn't make a mistake so much as it instinctively cut right to the chase.

10
alistproducer2 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm going to join in on the chorus of people here who are voicing their displeasure with the way the modern media works. I'm a left winger but I feel much the same way about the media and the chattering class as the most noxious parts f the right wing. It's not so much that the media is biased in one direction or the other; it's that MSM has mostly abrogated it's responsibility to inform the public. the media, and the class of people that create its content, see themselves as influencers more than reporters.

As an example, take the performance (and I do mean that literally) of Jim Acosta when he made a speech disguised as a question to Stephen Miller about the poem on the Statue of Liberty. Who told Mr. Acosta that what the public wants from its journalists are speeches instead of substantive questions?

It's often said that politicians want to be movies stars. these days it seems that the journalists want to be politicians and it's become a problem that Americans all over the political spectrum are beginning to see.

11
dgudkov 2 days ago 0 replies      
All major Canadian media called the memo anti-diversity. So unprofessional and biased.

[1] https://www.google.ca/search?q=anti-diversity+canada+google

12
jasode 2 days ago 0 replies      
> to help him avoid alienating his audience,

The gender-diversity topic is too charged to accomplish that. Seriously, I would challenge essayists from either side of the debate to write any significant words on the subject that does not "alienate the audience".

13
mhalle 2 days ago 0 replies      
Completely agree that the reporting on this memo would have benefited greatly by more careful reporting by the journalism community.

While that may be the case, however, it isn't like the uproar and misinterpretation couldn't have been predicted. Whatever the academic merit of the memo author's claims, the memo was thrown into a social context that was clearly primed for snap judgement.

Particularly regarding social issues, how we write is just as important as what we write. An effective argument connects and convinces, anticipating possible reactions and (mis-)interpretations of the reader.

The irony is that the memo is missing the necessary empathy and social awareness for the audience, qualities that the author attributes to women.

14
eli 2 days ago 3 replies      
It's ironic that many of the comments here assume Gizmodo and others were acting out of malice to intentionally mislead their audience.
15
erikpukinskis 2 days ago 2 replies      
I generally liked the memo, and I'm pretty aggressively pro-affirmative action. Some of the memo is factually wrong, but I think he tried to be measured, and I'm proud of him.

The sentence that popped out at me is this one:

"I dont think we should do arbitrary social engineering of tech just to make it appealing to equal portions of both men and women. For each of these changes, we need principled reasons for why it helps Google."

I think it's hard for women to understand this, because they are much more likely to have an intrinsic understanding of why pro-diversity social engineering makes sense. As a man, it has often not been obvious to me. I learned a long time ago to assume that women are right about gender stuff, and that assumption has done me extremely well. I've learned an incredible amount, and those acts of goodwill made women much more inclined to be gentle with me and explain things.

But I don't think institutionalizing that kind of trust is tactically feasible, and I'm not sure it would even be a good thing if it happened. Because I think pro-diversity policies will be strengthened, not weakened, if staff can form a rigorous story about how they help the company.

I believe affirmative action helps Google, so I don't think it will be impossible to tell that story, but it won't be easy. It will take work. Mostly because liberal circles don't really talk about it. Diversity is seen as a benefit to diverse people, and therefore good, 'nuf said, as the the Google VP quipped.

I think affirmative action is valuable for the reason the anonymous memo writer thinks it's problematic: because different people are different. I don't think if 50% of Google coders were women that Google would stay the same. I think it would become a very different because women have some differences from men in aggregate.

And so changing admission requirements to help more women get the jobs shouldn't necessarily be seen as lowering the admissions standards, it should be seen as changing the set of things that coders are allowed to focus on. And we should assume that we'll see a whole new influx of a different kind of men too, men who are more similar to the women in the middle of their bell curve, than the men at the middle of theirs.

But ideally the way that should happen is not by saying "let's take 50% women", but by saying "if we were to accept 50% more women, what new kinds of Googler would we be adding? How will those folks make Google stronger? How can we change our hiring criteria to find the best of that kind of Googler?" and yes, those criteria would bring in a lot more women, but they'd also bring in a smaller number of new men! And everybody involved would have an understanding of how Google was getting better. Those women would have more respect. Those men would be better appreciated, even as they were operating outside of old Google norms.

I will say, just ramming 50% more women into the culture is probably fine though. While I mostly agree with the memo's general thrust, that it would be better to do this a different way, I think the alarmism is a little out of place. It's certainly a problem that conservatives are afraid to speak up about gender issues, but I doubt that's Google's biggest culture problem right now.

16
rabboRubble 1 day ago 0 replies      
Apparently, I do not have strong standing from which to comment on this. I'm prone to neuroticism. My bad. I would have never independently discovered this about myself without a Google guy to point it out.

Thanks Google dude!

17
arca_vorago 2 days ago 0 replies      
What this is all really about, when it get's boiled down, is the testing of the freedom of speech by using offense to rally the mob for censorship of a minority. If the oligarchy gets this style of democratic self-censorship past us, it's one more nail in the coffin of freepeoples everyone.
18
bandrami 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure why anybody thinks his "intention" or "motivation" are important. Can somebody who thinks that say more?
19
quxbar 2 days ago 1 reply      
> To me, the Google memo is an outlierI cannot remember the last time so many outlets and observers mischaracterized so many aspects of a text everyone possessed.

How about every article or video about cryptocurrency, PRISM, AI, 'Data Science' and a litany of other topics in tech? I have seen almost no 'tech' journalism of any merit, so I'm not surprised to see sloppy coverage of another complex issue. But that shouldn't stop meaningful HN comment threads :)

The fact is, the memo does not simply put forth a question for debate, it treats a massive legacy of misogyny in our culture as a feature, not a bug. He really genuinely sees no problem with a world that pushes people into gender roles. In fact, he thinks we should optimize for it. It's a selfish tantrum thrown by someone feeling a lack of affirmation - disguised as vague argument that he really understands people, tech, and companies much better than his bosses.

If you helps for you to remove anything about identity in here: it's as if someone posted a cruel, snide rant in defense of GOTO statements, attacking OO programmers. Not only is he wrong, he made an extended case for the wrong argument and did it in a way that inflict maximum company damage.

So yeah it would be a big ol' red flag.

20
joelrunyon 2 days ago 2 replies      
Why is this on the second page with 246 points in 1-2 hours? Seems strange...
21
gdulli 2 days ago 3 replies      
22
Dowwie 2 days ago 1 reply      
What are the chances anyone at Google read the Memo as carefully as this author did before persecuting James Damore?
23
turc1656 2 days ago 0 replies      
Stop the presses. You mean to tell me the major media organizations used a misleading headline and description for something highly politicized?! I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell ya.
24
peterwwillis 2 days ago 1 reply      
Language and gender nit-pick: having men and women at 100% parity is not gender diversity, it is gender-binary. You would have to hire a lot more non-binary-gendered people for it to be diverse.
25
Marazan 2 days ago 0 replies      
True fact: saying "I'm not a racist but..." makes anything you say afterwards definitely not racist.
26
vkou 2 days ago 0 replies      
Prefacing an argument with "But before you guys mistakenly think that I'm racist - remember - I have black friends" is not the most important point in an argument.

It is, arguably, the least important one. So much so, that it is a non-sequitur.

       cached 11 August 2017 02:11:02 GMT