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Microsoft to buy Skype for $7 billion wsj.com
306 points by riordan  8 hours ago   189 comments top 47
jsz0 5 hours ago  replies      
This is Microsoft's ICQ moment. Overpaying for a company at the moment when its core competency is becoming a commodity. Does anyone have the slightest bit of loyalty to Skype? Of course not. They're going to use whichever video chat comes built into their SmartPhone, tablet, computer, etc. They're going to use FaceBook's eventual video chat service or something Google offers. No one is going to actively seek out Skype when so many alternatives exist and are deeply integrated into the products/services they already use. Certainly no one is going to buy a Microsoft product simply because it has Skype integration. Who cares if it's FaceTime, FaceBook Video Chat, Google Video Chat? It's all the same to the user.

With $7B they should have just given away about 15 million Windows Mobile phones in the form of an epic PR stunt. It's not a bad product -- they just need to make people realize it exists. If they want to flush money down the toilet they might as well engage users in the process right?

nikcub 52 minutes ago 0 replies      
As many users as Facebook, many of those users have entered their payment details, a great brand that is just as big as Facebook, and synonymous around the world with communication.

I just happen to be talking to a non-tech computer user on the weekend who told me that he and his entire family and friends overseas do not use Facebook because Skype does everything they need in terms of staying in touch and it has worked for them for years.

They should start over with the software and spin it into a web and mobile service. It is a great platform to take on Facebook with - a much simpler service for basic video or text chat, and add in some photo sharing, email, etc.

Google really missed out on an opportunity here - I bet that whatever they end up producing internally will not be merely as good or as popular as a new Skype run by Microsoft.

In terms of the price, it would almost be a worthwhile purchase with just the users and brand - the near-billion in revenue is just a bonus. Skype has near $1B in revenue, and most of the expenditure is related to writing down and amortizing assets as part of the acquisition (something that most PE groups do when they takeover a company - part of what makes some of these deals profitable and worthwhile). Number of Skype users and revenue is growing remarkably. If you look at the published financials[1], $97M was written off as cost of acquisition, another $250M was amortization of assets that were written down at acquisition. Their 'real' costs are $131M in marketing, $72M in development and $104M in administration - which brings gross profit closer to $500M+ for YE 2011. PE of 17-20 is a bargain, especially considering that Microsoft can significantly reduce expenditures by integrating the company into the web group.

I think this is a great deal, very different to ICQ (the immediate parallel that everybody is drawing) and much closer potential to the eBay PayPal deal. If done right, this could work out as well for Microsoft financially as PayPal did for eBay (remember PayPal wasn't doing so well financially at the time [2] - everybody called that deal crazy at the time as well) - add to that the potential of Microsoft taking on Facebook in the 'online communication for ordinary folk' sector - and it is a great,

[1] http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1498209/0001193125110...

[2] http://www.ygoodman.com/ppipo.html

cfinke 7 hours ago 6 replies      
Maybe I've missed something, but what has changed in the two years since eBay spun off Skype at a valuation of < $3B to make it worth more than $7 billion today?
shrikant 7 hours ago 2 replies      
TFA talks about how this "could play a role in Microsoft's effort to turnaround its fortunes in the mobile phone market".

Personally I feel this could be more about Microsoft strengthening its enterprise communications portfolio. Communicator/Lync is a giant turd, and this could be their play at Cisco's market, rather than Apple/Google's.

(Incidentally, the Skype chief exec Tony Bates is ex-Cisco)

mgkimsal 7 hours ago 4 replies      
A few thoughts:

When we see the mac version stagnate, we won't be able to say MS has sabotaged it - skype did that before on their own.

The linux version has never been on parity with the others - will it be officially killed? Might MS actually put resources in to it to make it work as well as the others?

Overall, good on MS for doing this. I'm assuming this may bring on some more interesting dynamics to the google voice / skype party.

joshzayin 7 hours ago 5 replies      
If this goes through, I wonder what would happen to Skype's Linux and Mac support. I'd hope MS would still support it, but I don't think they have any Linux software currently (I'm not positive about that, so please correct me if I'm wrong) and the Mac version of Office is always delayed compared to the Windows version. I hope Skype doesn't similarly languish.
teyc 7 hours ago 1 reply      
There is always a persistent threat of Apple bringing Facetime to the PC desktop so that people on iPhones could call people with PC.

By purchasing Skype, MS could bring Skype to WP7 and offer it preloaded.

There used to be a time when MS could get traction simply by bundling their product everywhere. A competitor like Skype would be abandoned simply because they couldn't outspend MS. Imagine, $7b is a lot of money. You can give away $1b of free calls to get Live Messenger kick started, or run Lync for free. MS has lost that swagger that used to create their own reality.

ChrisNorstrom 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Goodbye "Skype®", hello "Microsoft Windows Live Connect for Windows Live®"
trout 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Microsoft owns the desktop - that's their cash cow. For large businesses they (basically) have to buy outlook / exchange. They throw powerpoint, visio, word, excel on top of that, plus the operating system, and they own it. From an operating system standpoint, there's not any real threat. From a productivity suites perspective, there's a bit more threat from cloud, but it's still comparatively small. Same can be said for email - gmail is a much larger threat but for corporate security, calendaring, integration, it's still not really there. This will probably be different in 5 years as the proprietary protocols and integrations move towards open standards. I find it ridiculous that I can't find another desktop email client that will natively work with exchange/MAPI, and Microsoft knows it. Skype is just extending it to the desktop, and it's a strong part of the desktop suite. I think they want to play in the enterprise space, because nobody wants to use Lync for anything other than IM (aforementioned turd comment here).
latch 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Weren't we talking about Google or Facebook buying Skype a few days ago at $1-3 billion? What the heck happened? Insecurities?
geoffreyvanwyk 17 minutes ago 1 reply      
Why does Microsoft feel the need to buy other companies? Why do they not just build their own Skype version if they like it so much? How many people are going to lose their jobs now? Why do they employ all the brilliant young programmers if they are just going to buy up companies and not create new products?
justincormack 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
Skype's (technical) HQ is in Talinn just across the water from Nokia, Microsoft's other new "acquisition"... useful for their mobile strategy perhaps?

But Skype's infrastructure is all Linux + Postgres (they are a huge Postgres user), so maybe they will be forced to rewrite it all on SQL server for the next few years.

RuadhanMc 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Wasn't part of the problem for eBay that they did not actually own the core p2p technology that Skype used and instead licensed it from the former owners? Has Microsoft purchased that as well or are they just going to write their own? In which case quality will change...
ashbrahma 7 hours ago 0 replies      
That's a pretty good return for the Horowitz + Original founders team who bought it for $2.75 Billion in November 2010..
Duff 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Huh? I understand that Microsoft is sitting on billions in cash, but couldn't they just pay a dividend?
brisance 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I fail to see how this is a wise business decision. Skype has been losing money for a long time, and with cheap/free competition like Google video chat and FaceTime etc, why would MSFT invest in this?
hessenwolf 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and J.P.Morgan Chase & Co. advised Skype on the deal, according to people familiar with the matter. Microsoft is not using any financial advisers for the deal, the people added."

I see. That makes the 8.5 billion (price + debt) make more sense.

zmmmmm 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Hopefully this forces Google to drop the "play nice" attitude with carriers & Skype and properly integrate video chat into Android across the board (yes, it's in 2.3.4, but it annoys me that Google left it this long and even then made it tied to a release that many phones will not get for ages if ever).
horatiumocian 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think that Microsoft buying Skype makes more sense than Google or Facebook buying Skype.

First, the way for Skype to make decent revenues is to go for the enterprise market, which brings them paying customers. It would be really hard to convert end users to paying customers, because of all the competition out there (Google Voice). So, they need to cater to enterprise customers. And Microsoft is huge on the enterprise, they would be able to integrate it into their suites, and make it a multi-billion dollar product in a few years.

I don't see any reason for Facebook buying Skype (different technology, different culture, price too high). Also I don't see any reason for Google to buy it other than to kill it and fold it into Google Voice (possible anti-trust issues?). So, even if the Microsoft-Skype deal isn't a match made in heaven, it still makes much more sense than Facebook-Skype, or Google-Skype.

neworbit 6 hours ago 1 reply      
MS would do a lot better to buy 200 promising startups (especially in the mobile space)
dman 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I hope all the IP is included in this deal.
dstein 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting to note that the market cap of Vonage is only 1.04B. They might have been able to buy up every single other VOIP company on the planet with the remaining $6 Billion.
jaffoneh 6 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems the number might actually be $8.5 billion:


jpwagner 7 hours ago 0 replies      
just remember that skype's product was already starting to suck before microsoft bought them...
ChrisArchitect 6 hours ago 0 replies      
if MS absorbs the Skype technology into their own IM/chat/communications systems - and skype users are left out on a limb - where do they go?.

They stay with the MS product line happily perhaps, or they go to __________?

Jump all the way to Apple FaceTime (seems a far jump).
Or with forthcoming p2p flash video ease-of-dev/ease-of-use, does this all just become super common/easy to access?

drink 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Strange realization: I am relieved that Microsoft bought this, and not Facebook. Can't remember the last time I was relieved that Microsoft bought a company.
gregzav 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
Selling my Microsoft shares... Bought them a year ago thinking they could at least make one step in the right direction.
Rariel 5 hours ago 1 reply      
The only way I can think of for them to really, really make this worth it beyond just owning the service is to integrate it in to Outlook like gmail video/voice chat. Although worker bees would hate it, it would be cool as a supervisor to be able to "call" your employee from a program you already have open all day anyways. Or even co-workers working on a project too lazy to get up or lawyers who need to talk about something but don't really have time to stop what they're doing. They could implement a feature enabling you to "add" friends who use outlook to your chat/buddy list. I don't think it would kill off gmail, but it would make some people much less likely to try it.

On a more personal note, I really hope they don't take away all those cool chat thingys (refuse to call them emoticons). That dancing guy and disappearing pizza get me every time.

nl 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder who leaked this?

Was it someone from Skype (or their VCs) trying to start a bidding war?

Or someone from Microsoft trying to kill the deal (or get Google to overpay)?

drallison 5 hours ago 0 replies      
As I commented in one of the other postings for this event: "There goes the neighborhood....".

Skype is/was one of the most significant products of the last decade or two. one I use and depend upon every day. I doubt that Microsoft will be able to avoid killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

MichaelApproved 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope the IP is actually included this time.
beedogs 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
Say goodbye to the Skype Linux client...
braindead_in 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Will be interesting to see what happens to the Skype API. It's used by a lot of 3rd party plugins and is quite comprehensive. Hopefully they will not kill it.
daimyoyo 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I have a feeling that Microsoft was suckered on this one. Google and Facebook probably had no interest in skype, but bid it up so Microsoft would have to pay more. You'd think after all these years, and having this same thing happen time after time that they'd know that trick and see it coming. Guess not.
jmjerlecki 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Microsoft finally gets back in the game? I'm as big a fan of Google as anyone, but it's nice to see Microsoft win one.
pjy04 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Skype is losing tons of money and needed to get out with whatever users it had. Microsoft can then sync this up with their own communication clients for a joint play.
1880 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I guess the Linux client will stay beta forever... sigh
keyle 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Windows 8's FaceTime brewing!
imrehg 6 hours ago 0 replies      
That goes through: bye-bye Skype. It was ~okay to know you.
joshaidan 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I guess this is good for the Canadian Pension Plan. :)
rglover 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I have no real qualms with a Microsoft buy-out, but I was really hoping for Facebook to get on this one. However, this sort of leads me to believe FB is working on something they may consider "better." Let's just hope the MS crew does something intelligent with this move and we don't have another Delicious-style implosion.
goombastic 5 hours ago 1 reply      
skype on nokias would be nice.
hanszeir 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I hope Microsoft Skype does not require a hotmail account. This is good opportunity for Skype's competitors such as FaceTime to grow.
darwinGod 4 hours ago 0 replies      
So,I will have to create a live id to use skype ?
stevenj 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The headline on the article's page says "nearly $8 billion".
rbot 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Think J Allard's meeting at Skype in January has anything to do with this?
bobx11 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I think a lot of people would try to use other services if this goes through.
Google Code University google.com
66 points by franze  3 hours ago   8 comments top 2
giu 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It's an awesome collection of resources, really! I've worked my way through Google's Python Class (https://code.google.com/intl/de/edu/languages/google-python-...) for a crash course in Python, and it helped me quite a lot so far.
wyclif 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Has this not been submitted to HN many times before?
MySQL TEXT vs. VARCHAR Performance nicj.net
28 points by mrdraper  1 hour ago   3 comments top
MikeTaylor 41 minutes ago 2 replies      
Can anyone offer a TL;DR?
The Co-Founder Mythology bothsidesofthetable.com
71 points by razin  4 hours ago   12 comments top 7
thaumaturgy 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I wouldn't say partnerships can't work out -- they obviously do, often enough -- but I would say that they can fail no matter how much you believe yours won't, so it's a really good idea to have a backup plan just in case, no matter how long you've known your friend for or what you've been through together.

I got my eyes opened on this last year. I was part of a pretty tight-knit group of friends. Some of us decided to get together and apply to YC. It's a good thing that didn't go very far, because a few months later, one of our group got in pretty serious trouble with the law. I took the view that he was a good person that didn't deserve to have a bad decision follow him around the rest of his life; my girlfriend and I attended his court dates and argued for his parole, and when he was released, we moved him to our area and helped him get back on his feet.

Our previously close-knit group of friends, it turns out, were really unhappy about that. They quit talking to us altogether, even though, as climbing partners, we've been responsible for each-others' lives on several occasions, and have generally been there for each-other through good times and bad.

Never saw that coming. Suddenly partnerships looked a lot less wise afterward.

Jd 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I hate to say this here, but msuster is the one VC out there who really knows how things work and talks straight -- and the one I'd really want to go to bat for me. There is no sugar coating or extra idealism, but he's not limited to just software stuff either. In fact, I'd argue that makes him a better investor since he understands other industries -- and many of the dynamics in software are no different than other places.

To the specifics: I think when you are hacking on something large you need external motivation. Since the YCombinator model is to start with little upfront investment until you are "ramen profitable" you basically end up with a couple of people in a room hacking on something until it is presumably worth something (of course, valuations are notoriously difficult in software -- esp. social software). Since people don't get a lot done on their own, the purpose of a co-founder is for the motivational factor. If you were an uber-hacker (e.g. Drew Houston comes to mind) probably you don't need anyone else. You can build a functional prototype, get investment, hire, etc.

There is also the problem of the "idea." Although there are lots of loosy goosy "idea" people, there are also a fair number of talented hackers without any practical ideas -- and you really need to have a practical idea to have a startup. While personally I think you are usually better focusing on a problem domain where you have experience and there is a clear need, there are certainly cases where a hacker needs a co-founder simply to provide that interface layer between code and real life. As an example, anyone who has been in the industry for awhile will note just how terrible at design many otherwise very talented programmers are.

Anyways, I found this extraordinarily inspiring as a single founder YC reject who has been doing reasonably well w/o any YC support.

qq66 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The cofounder myth is a correlation vs. causation trap.

The reason so many successful companies have multiple founders is that in the early days, when it was just ideas bouncing around, the cofounder dynamic made two people sit down together, feed off each other's energy, refine each other's ideas, and get the company going in the earliest stages.

If you've already gotten that far as a single founder, you don't need to find a cofounder. If you haven't gotten that far as a single founder, maybe a partner will help you get that far.

alain94040 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Post is completely right. Especially saying that 50/50 split is a bad idea. I don't have to repeat all the arguments here (as organizer of the co-founders meetup, I get to discuss these at length). If I put my investor hat for a second, saying you split 50/50 is a signal that the leader of the company doesn't have the guts to make painful decisions. So failure is very likely.
zbowling 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Was in a 50/50 partnership in the past. Things got tough because we didn't have a single CEO that had a final say. I wanted to compromise and work through it but my partner wanted to avoid that and wanted me to just claim him CEO because he felt I was diluting "his vision" but I refused (not until then did I realize I couldn't trust him as the CEO because I felt it was my baby too and wasn't going to hear me out if he was CEO). Not saying that can't work but it's tough and leaves it to chance you got the right personalities (like a marriage) and may put the business at risk.
michaelbuckbee 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Others here seem to be taking a different lesson from this than I got out of listening to the video: it isn't so much having a cofounder is good or bad as it is that founder vesting is incredibly important if life and or other craziness happens.
Biggest BitTorrent Downloading Case in U.S. History Targets 23,000 Defendants wired.com
13 points by ygreek  1 hour ago   3 comments top
hessenwolf 25 minutes ago 1 reply      

Erm, what should I be using instead?

Google Chrome OS almost stable and ready techcrunch.com
15 points by johnwestawski  1 hour ago   discuss
The European Startup Map thestartuparena.com
13 points by Geea  1 hour ago   6 comments top 3
edo 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
Your signup form doesn't work; asks for the Recaptcha API key.
vixen99 22 minutes ago 2 replies      
Is there a law against them in France?
adaml_623 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
Cool map. But please remember we don't use Euros in Sweden the UK, the Ukraine.
What happens to all the Asian-American overachievers when the test-taking ends? nymag.com
203 points by gamble  10 hours ago   148 comments top 19
aphexairlines 9 hours ago  replies      
> “If you're East Asian, you need to attend a top-tier university to land a good high-paying gig. Even if you land that good high-paying gig, the white guy with the pedigree from a mediocre state university will somehow move ahead of you in the ranks simply because he's white.”

That's false. The mediocre guy moves ahead of white geeks too. The problem, as with white geeks, is that Asian-Americans disproportionately aren't learning how to bs, how to promote themselves and their products, how to become salesmen. See Jobs vs Wozniak, etc.

wallflower 7 hours ago 2 replies      
A friend from high school - he got top grades, got into a great school, got a MD and a PhD, married a beautiful, smart wife, became a surgeon, and had a healthy son.

After all of this, he went back to his grandfather overseas (who was very old) and told him, "I did everything you told me to do".

Jun8 6 hours ago 2 replies      
This is one of the best descriptions of minority life in the US (or anywhere else) that I've read in quite a while.

I wish similar pieces would be written by and embraced by African-Americans. Sadly whenever such thoughts are expressed, they are met with negativity.

bluekite2000 3 hours ago 1 reply      
How I did it:

1. quit my corporate software engineering job (it was slowly killing my soul)

2. went surfing in maui for 2 weeks then bali for a month. when there was no waves, there were parties on Kuta beach

3. opened an English bookstore in Southeast Asia(highly risky considering I knew nothing about the local market or government censorship) Everyone I knew thought I was crazy. But I DIDNT care! For the first time in my life I was doing something meaningful, to me and to society.

4. met tons of babes (locals, other asian babes, europeans, americans) by going out every single night for 1 year straight (averaging 4 5 clubs per nite). Plus did tons of traveling around asia, south america and north america. Trust me you are forced to socialize when EVERYONE at the hostel was happy go lucky young backpackers. And the bookstore also attracted lots of girls (which was NOT the reason why I opened the store :)

5. Now I m back in Silicon Valley and guess what it is still the same (nice guys toiling away in front of their laptops while life, and hot babes, are passing them by) And I smile to myself. It is me who has changed!

jinushaun 8 hours ago 1 reply      
The fundamental fallacy of this article is that being the founder of the next Facebook or CEO of a large Fortune 100 company equals success. These Asian parents simply want their children to do better than they did when they came to the US, which pretty much means a comfortable white collar job over a back-breaking blue collar job.
davidwparker 5 hours ago 0 replies      
ajkessler 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I found the last two sentences to be the most telling part of the whole piece:

>>There is something salutary in that proud defiance. And though the debate she sparked about Asian-American life has been of questionable value, we will need more people with the same kind of defiance, willing to push themselves into the spotlight and to make some noise, to beat people up, to seduce women, to make mistakes, to become entrepreneurs, to stop doggedly pursuing official paper emblems attesting to their worthiness, to stop thinking those scraps of paper will secure anyone's happiness, and to dare to be interesting.<<

Degrees and certifications certainly don't make you interesting. But neither does wallowing in your own self-pity while yelling "fuck the system".

Passion makes people interesting. It doesn't matter if you're passionate about making pork buns or writing code. Huang (pork bun guy) sure sounds a hell of a lot more interesting than the author does. The best way to find your passion is to get out there and do things. Set goals. Accomplish them. If you focus on being miserable and espousing things like "fuck humility and hard work", how the hell are you ever going to be passionate about anything. And, so, how the hell are you ever going to be interesting?

Yang makes some decent points about Asian culture, but his idea that he's somehow the squeaky wheel or the loudest duck is laughable. He's the miserable whiny guy who everyone ignores, who decidedly isn't interesting. Guys like Tony Hsieh, the guys who don't shut up until they accomplish their goals, they're the only ones who ever get any grease.

JasonMoyMN79 9 hours ago 7 replies      
This is what I never understood about Asian over-achieving kids. My high school in Minnesota was full of them. They were trying so hard to be perfect, forced by their parents to take violin and piano lessons, score perfect SAT scores, get into Harvard and MIT. But what happened to them? I've been to my high school reunions, and the truth is, none of them turned out to be anything remarkable. None of them are particularly wealthy or famous. They all got regular jobs and are slaving away in corporate America. Not that that's a bad thing. It's just not that different from anyone else.
mavelikara 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Off-topic, but when mainstream American press uses the word "Asian", why does it typically mean the yellow half of Asia?
kin 8 hours ago 2 replies      
This was a very interesting and long read as an Asian American Tiger child myself. There are things that I agree with and things that I disagree with. There are a lot of numbers tossed around in the article but definitely not enough numbers. I can say with confidence that the reason behind Asian Americans not saturating the CEO population in fortune 500 companies is not related to how we were raised. Off the top of my head, gather the age and experience of current fortune 500 CEO's, gather the age of the current generation of Tiger children, and then you can see where I'm going from there. One thing is for sure, the author doesn't know what it's like to be a Tiger child and his interviews feel very one-sided. There's a lot more to this story.
bane 6 hours ago 0 replies      
They party a bit, then go back to being normal average everyday people -- except some slightly higher percentage lands slightly higher paying jobs at the start with a decreasing pay differential over time with their peers.
bo_Olean 1 hour ago 0 replies      
“Listen,” he told Hong, “I'm going to be honest with you. My generation came to this country because we wanted better for you kids. We did the best we could, leaving our homes and going to graduate school not speaking much English. If you take this job, you are just going to hit the same ceiling we did. They just see me as an Asian Ph.D., never management potential. You are going to get a job offer, but don't take it. Your generation has to go farther than we did, otherwise we did everything for nothing.”
hartror 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I am always slightly astounded by people who are completely cut off from their cultural roots. Likely because I am a white Australian guy with English parents and am envious of those around me with (to me) more interesting and varied cultures.
spiritomb 7 hours ago 1 reply      
It sounds like they are only meta-gaming. They aren't doing anything because they are genuinely inclined to do so. It is hard to show heart and passion when your only ambition is to attain a level in society for the sake of levelling. It's called -> you're trying too hard!

Weird that Asians behave like this given the wealth of zen philosophy in the east :
‘A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.' ~Lao Tzu

brendano 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This is why Asians are underrepresented in tech startups --- wrong set of cultural values and inclinations. (I am Asian)
BornInTheUSSR 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a feeling that this article resonates with the majority of Americans who, for whatever reason, feel themselves among the minority
Aloisius 6 hours ago 3 replies      
So make social and leadership skills part of the entrance exam to elite high schools/colleges and watch every one of these cram schools add soft skills to their lesson plans.

I'd also suggest adding ethics, but that's another conversation...

stretchwithme 6 hours ago 1 reply      
what happened to all those racist underachievers?
antidaily 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The last 45 minutes of 'Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle'?
Hands-on Node.js book nodetuts.com
39 points by rodh257  4 hours ago   5 comments top 5
forensic 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
Would benefit from a professional editor/proofreader -- there are quite a few typos as well as english mistakes.

Still, he is smart for moving fast, and it looks like there is good value here.

BasDirks 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Pedro Teixeira's nodetuts[1] have been very helpful, things are explained in a very natural way. If the book is as good, this might get my moneys.

[1] - http://nodetuts.com/

keyle 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I spotted a few typos in there. Also some lining up issues and spacing issues. Glad more content is being produced about Node though, can't get enough.
david_a_r_kemp 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
Why do they save unit-testing until (nearly) last? It should be in the free sample, and it should be reinforced throughout the book.
nodesocket 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome, great work.
Robots.txt is a suicide note archiveteam.org
74 points by panza  6 hours ago   57 comments top 14
forgotusername 4 hours ago 2 replies      
This is composed from equals parts of insight and daftness, though not entirely for the right reason.

The daftness: maybe the claim is true that robots.txt was only a stop-gap measure back when web servers sucked, however the de facto modern use for it goes far beyond that, and ignoring that standard is likely to piss off lots of people.

The insight: for crawlers, relying on robots.txt to prevent getting stuck indexing infinite hierarchies of data is a bad idea. It should be able to figure that much out for itself, so it doesn't explode when faced with sites that don't exclude such hierarchies using robots.txt.

For servers, relying on a client hint to ensure reliability is daft. It should have some form of rate limiting built in, as that's the only sensible design. This seems the only marginally sensible use of robots.txt from a server standpoint. Using it for any form of security (e.g. preventing DB scraping) is daft, and a more robust mechanism should be employed there too.

gojomo 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The great things about 'robots.txt' are (1) it's the simplest thing that could possibly work; and (2) the default assumption in the absence of webmaster effort is 'allow'.

(2) is immensely valuable. Without it, search engines and the largest archive of web content, the Internet Archive (where I work on web archiving), could not exist at their current scales, as a practical matter.

There's a place for ArchiveTeam's style of in-your-face, adversarial archiving... but if it were the dominant approach, the backlash from publishers and the law could result in prevailing conventions that are much worse than robots.txt, such as a default-deny/always-ask-permission-first regime. Search and archiving activities would have to be surreptitious, or limited to those with much deeper pockets for obscuring their actions, requesting/buying permission, or legal defenses.

So, Jason, be careful what you wish for.

j_baker 4 hours ago 3 replies      
This may be a dumb move from a legal perspective. Court cases have alluded that robots.txt files may count as technological measures in DMCA cases[1]. Granted, that's far from guaranteed. But I certainly wouldn't want to be the one to go to court over it.

[1] http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070819090725314&#...

yaix 2 hours ago 1 reply      
robots.txt is simple and effective.

I do not want certain bots, especially so-called "archives" to automatically download all my content. And that's what robots.txt is for and works well.

The article is just stupid, sorry. There is not one real knowledgable argument.

smosher 5 hours ago 3 replies      
The rationale is weak. Some data is simply not worth indexing, and not worth serving up to bots. The flipside is: your crawler doesn't need to fetch everything on my site, and I'd be happy to ban all non-conforming bots site-wide.

It's not just about the functionality, but also a show of good faith and basic respect. If you're a bot author who knowingly violates my site policy I'd rather you didn't communicate with my web server at all.

robots.txt isn't perfect. Ideally a web server would be configured to deny bots access to restricted content via some sort of dnsbl mechanism (or CPAN/whatever module.) Or do both and ban the non-conforming site-wide.

The above notwithstanding, I'm voting for this article. It doesn't betray the usual cowardice by hiding the assertion behind the presumptuous Why.

hammock 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I love the tone of this article, I was smiling the whole time. Especially here-

the onslaught of some social media hoo-hah

edit: just clicked through a few pages- whoever does the writing at Archiveteam is fantastic!

mmaunder 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if honeypots that auto-block rogue crawlers have occurred to these yoyos.
jbk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, sure, robots.txt is not the best solution, but it works and helps a lot when you got msnbot or yandexbot that takes more than half of the requests of your mediawiki (differences between revisions), your gitweb (commitdiffs) or your phpBB installation and kills the performance...

Bored of having our machine killed by those bots, we use some robots.txt.

Sure, there are other solutions (proper blocking), but this one works perfectly fine and avoids having to modify 3rd party applications that we are running for an open-source development team.

zbowling 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I feel like creating a honey pot for bad bots now. Put an exclude line in ROBOTS.TXT and then include that URL in my pages and when a bot hits it anyways, ban the IP.
adaml_623 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The Archiveteam.org favicon is a hand making a rude gesture. I think that sums up many peoples opinion to this story.

It certainly is an indicator of how seriously you should take this organisation.

yuhong 4 hours ago 0 replies      
BTW, robots.txt disables access to versions of pages already archived on the Wayback Machine. I encountered this when looking for old technotes on developer.apple.com.
tszming 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Some parameter are useful, but they are not part of the standard.

e.g. Crawl-Delay, prevent DDOS from YAHOO! Slurp

tomjen3 3 hours ago 0 replies      
No, it is about not being willing to waste bandwidth and server capacity on unworthy projects (no person will ever search for my site through baidu but it still being indexed).

Google and archive.org is one thing, I will be happy to support them.

djmdjm 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Dear "archiveteam", I pay by the MB. How do I opt out of your shit? KTHXBYE
What percentage of people are alive today? 1000memories.com
197 points by jonathanbgood  14 hours ago   82 comments top 17
petercooper 12 hours ago 4 replies      
Not to detract from the insight but:

Until very recently life expectancy at birth hovered between 20 and 35 years, but in the past century it has risen to 67 years

Most of this increase has been due to a precipitous crash in infant mortality, rather than a soaring increase in the median life expectancy. For example, even in the 1500s it seems a well-to-do Englishman (who lived a somewhat more hazardous life medically than even today's poor) had an average life expectancy of 71 if he made it as far as 21: http://apps.business.ualberta.ca/rfield/lifeexpectancy.htm

georgieporgie 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I thought that 'humans', as in, you would see one and say, "yeah, that weird looking guy over there," went back about 2.2 - 2.3 million years.


Populations would have been small, but an extra 2.1 million years is a long time.

tel 13 hours ago  replies      
Am I the only one absolutely terrified by that number?

Malthus wasn't wrong in principle, just in timescale. It's clear that technologies have improved Earth's human carrying capacity, but I don't know any method to claim that an S-shaped curve isn't inevitable.

It's sounds science fiction-ey, but I don't understand how you can see data like this and then defund NASA.

astrodust 13 hours ago 1 reply      
This back-of-the-envelope calculation appears to be off by a factor of two, which isn't bad.


baddox 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I've always wondered something about evolution (or rather, speciation): how many generations removed could an ancestor and descendant be and still be theoretically able to mate?

I'm sure the ability to mate isn't exactly the definition of a "species," but it seems like a decent way to get a grip on the extremely gradual genetic changes predicted/described by evolution. This article made me ask the question: How would you be able to recognize the "first human"?

wbhart 9 hours ago 1 reply      
This is an important computation. It's even scarier if you suppose that you are not in any way special. It is likely that you are not one of the first 5% of humans to ever live. Thus, given that such a great proportions of all humans who have every lived are alive now, the implication is that the human race hasn't got long to go even if the population remains constant! Or you could just assume you are special.
riprock 13 hours ago 0 replies      
i'm sure there is a more accurate prediction out there (explained in papers) by researchers who have spent way more time and effort into this subject. for us common folks, there's even a wikipedia answer:
iskander 13 hours ago 1 reply      
They never say how they estimate births_t.
Confusion 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I fail to understand why this is of interest. The number doesn't tell you anything. If only 600M people were alive to today, the number would be a factor of 10 smaller. So what? You can't distill any meaning from the number. It doesn't predict anything, doesn't spell out opportunities, doesn't explain anything. It's a synthetic numerical fact, as constructed and unrelated to anything Real as the fact that the length of my thumb is exactly 1.5% of the height of the Eiffel tower.
ck2 8 hours ago 0 replies      
It's an ugly thought but I think more people than ever are trying to create a biological retirement plan - having multiple children to take care of them later on.

Trying not to make a moral judgment call on that and hoping I am just being too cynical. But think about how many people you know with children and then count the number that have conscientiously chosen to have only one.

lwat 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Wikipedia lists the total number of people to ever live at about 115 billion, which means 6% of all people are still alive today. 12% is too much.
seanahrens 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Super fascinating. Definitely would never have guessed it was anywhere even close to 12%. Wow.
melling 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Now if we could get every person educated and productive, we could solve tens of billions of problems. Unfortunately, most people are just trying to survive.
Detect 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great info if there ever is a zombie apocalypse. Eight heads each people.
jleyank 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm pretty sure I'm alive today, although some may have their doubts on Moday morning...
aquarin 13 hours ago 1 reply      
What 200,00 BC mean, 200,000 BC?
nivertech 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Funny, that they have a cloud in their logo.
PHP Fog upgraded 4500+ sites for free after AWS outage phpfog.com
23 points by jvoorhis  4 hours ago   3 comments top 2
jvoorhis 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Hi. I work for PHP Fog, a PHP-focused platform as a service. We were one of the many companies to experience some turbulence during the recent AWS outage, and we wanted to share how we are working to make things better.
liuliu 2 hours ago 0 replies      
From what I understand, the last AWS outage consisted of several Available Zone failures simultaneously. Thus, implementing multi-AZ fail-over won't help during the outage last time. But still, it is a step forward. Congrats!
Radio to match your mood (anything to avoid Spotify) musicovery.com
3 points by Jaderberg  17 minutes ago   1 comment top
wouterinho 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Why avoid Spotify?
PhoneGap implements Capture API to write camera mobile apps in HTML/JS w3.org
18 points by patrickaljord  3 hours ago   1 comment top
arethuza 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Another way of uploading pictures from web apps on iOS devices is using the Picup app:


[I've played with this, but haven't used it for anything serious so far].

The Sophie Choice stevenlevy.com
33 points by taykh  5 hours ago   9 comments top 5
Mz 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
I cannot fathom why this article was titled this way. I skimmed it solely to find out what diabolical damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't, torment-your-soul "choice" could be involved. That's what the movie "Sophie's Choice" was about: A mother was offered the choice that she could escape a trip to the German concentration camps and save her own life and the life of one of her two children. Pick which child lives and which child dies. (The other "choice" in the movie being between a nice but very young man and the abusive drug addict she was already with. Having lost both her children and being a very tormented soul, she chooses the drug addict and, iirc, they commit suicide together.)

As a literary reference, this title is a completely sucky choice in words. Though perhaps the author is, say, half my age, has never seen the movie and has no idea anyone would interpret it as a literary reference. (If so: "Get off my lawn!")

hboon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I thought it's more for Chrome as a brand, and as a vision. It relates to both Chrome as a browser and ChromeOS as a system. Generally users don't understand and don't need to understand the difference.

I played with the Cr-48 recently and thought it wouldn't succeed, being at an inconvenient position between my Macbook Pro and iPad. If I sat down at a desk, I'd prefer my MBP either to code, browse the web on my external monitor, or perform other tasks like sorting my photos or music collection. If I wanted to browse the web while in bed or on the couch, I'd use my iPad. Similarly if I wanted to bring something out. The Cr-48 didn't fit in for me. I thought that Google would do better if they focused on making Android for the tablet form factor even better since it seems like that form factor is the winner in the near future.

But perhaps I'm wrong. Watching the video, I realised that maybe putting things on the cloud is how Google envisions Chrome. For casual users, you don't need hardware that has a user-writeable disk for storage or powerful machines. Perhaps there is still a (major) group of users that can do with a laptop form factor, with built-in camera, wifi and/or 3G connectivity that focuses on web applications and websites. The video clearly shows what's possible. It doesn't have to be Gmail. It could well be Facebook. It isn't a toned down netbook, it is a machine that has good connectivity to the cloud with a laptop form factor.

The Cr-48 looks similar to the black Macbook which Apple used to sell. It already looks good. But imagine a version with a Macbook Air design?

Pieces of these are obvious, but put together and you have a story.

hammock 3 hours ago 2 replies      
The Sophie ad is something different, less an interesting experiment in breaking an internal rule than a simple push for a product (the Chrome browser) that Google wants more users to sample.

Except I don't understand how the ad has anything to do with Chrome. It seems more like an ad for Gmail, or maybe just email itself. You don't need chrome to do all that crap.

shin_lao 3 hours ago 0 replies      
In other words: Google is getting older.
latch 5 hours ago 1 reply      
It's a beautiful ad.
Confirmed: Microsoft Will Announce Acquisition of Skype Tomorrow Morning allthingsd.com
40 points by nreece  6 hours ago   8 comments top 6
maayank 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
I wonder how MSFT stock will react... premarket shows apathy/slightly down (-0.01 (-0.04%) as I'm writing this)
JacobAldridge 3 hours ago 1 reply      
"the concept is bigger than just money, including getting access to Skype's 663 million registered users."

This would indicate that Skype has more registered users than Facebook. Colour me surprised. Although I wonder how large the overlap already is between Skype users and MS Windows users, especially with the recent Skype Mac Client stuff.

duncan_bayne 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Well there goes any chance of an update to their Linux port :-)
kbd 5 hours ago 0 replies      
kn7 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Skype never properly worked in Linux, now we also lost the hope -- if there is any -- that it will in the future.
drallison 5 hours ago 0 replies      
There goes the neighborhood....
FBI Tracking Device Teardown ifixit.com
292 points by mikecarlton  19 hours ago   77 comments top 11
18pfsmt 18 hours ago 2 replies      
What I found interesting by component:

-Battery pack
--The device is powered by four lithium-thionyl chloride (Li-SOCl2) D cell batteries
--Each cell is good for 13,000 mAh and are suited for extremely low-draw applications where longevity is needed, making them ideal for powering an always-on transmitter/receiver
--Minimal service life is 10 years.

-GPS antenna
--A quick peek at the antenna board indicates it was manufactured by SIgem, a company that partnered with Tyco in the early 2000s to make GPS components.
--The FBI really did not want anyone tampering with the innards of their tracking devices. The screws were coated with so much threadlocker that we had to break out the power drill and eliminate the screw heads.
--The module providing the GPS signal processing on this device is a µ-blox GPS-MS1 that's sort of ancient in the realm of modern electronics.
--This module was 1st released June 29, 1999 and it features 0.125 MB of SRAM and 1 MB of flash memory.

-Transmitter/receiver ICs
--XEMICS XE1201 Ultra low power single chip transceiver
---The XE1201 allows for data transmission and data reception in half duplex mode.
--RFM RF1172 SAW (surface-acoustic-wave) filter
---The RF1172 provides front-end selectivity (the capability to separate signals in one frequency from all other frequencies) in 433.92 MHz receivers.

[Edit: Please note, much of the text above is c/p'd from the ifixit post.]

jrockway 17 hours ago 4 replies      
Those batteries are impressive. I did some Googling and found:


61 Watt-hours. That little battery could power a 60W light bulb for an hour!

(I'm currently working on a bluetooth -> IR bridge. I was worred about battery life from a coin cell, but now I'm not anymore. I will get one of these in half-AA size and keep the thing powered for the next decade :)

kwiens 17 hours ago 7 replies      
I did the teardown, and I'm a regular hacker news reader. I'll answer any questions for the next hour or so.
SlowOnTheUptake 17 hours ago 3 replies      
If the trackee removed this from his own car and attached it to some other car, would he be violating some law?
SpacemanSpiff 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow, the components on the GPS board look like they are hand soldered, which to me means very low volume/specialized production.
sebastianavina 18 hours ago 1 reply      
So, can we study the frequency and if the out signal uses any encryption?

Maybe we can use a homemade receiver to find the people the FBI is tracking...

adolph 17 hours ago 3 replies      
I wonder where they got the device? In Wired's account, the FBI demanded back from a fellow who found one on his car:


daimyoyo 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't want to trivialize how scary it is that the FBI does this, but what I found interesting about this story was the insane capacity of the batteries. Why aren't more consumer electronics(especially iStuff where they aren't user serviceable) using this technology?
rglover 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Checking under my car with a mirror after work.
pyrhho 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I want a kit! Would be good fun to play with.
alecco 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd love to see how much those devices cost. And the TCO.
Google Launching Its Cloud Service Tomorrow, Without Big Music's Approval allthingsd.com
55 points by andre3k1  8 hours ago   29 comments top 8
shrikant 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
I really hope it's not going to be US-only :(
blinkingled 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I patiently await the day when artists are able to cut better deals with AAPL, GOOG and AMZN to market and sell their content directly - probably at a 70/30 split like the apps and the books.
dotBen 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't doubt they are launching this but I'm surprised Google is launching such a consumer-facing product at a developer conference. Perhaps there is a developer/API angle but I doubt it.

It would be like Steve Jobs launching a new version of iWork at WWDC. Sure, it's great, but it doesn't have any impact on developers.

alexqgb 6 hours ago 4 replies      
It's worth remembering that Page & Brin could probably buy the major labels outright, and personally dismiss any lawsuits against Google.
dotBen 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder whether a service like this is actually better off without 'big music's approval'?

It all comes down to whether you see a cloud music service to be a purchase orientated service or a playback/consumption service.

If the latter, then at a conceptual level what does it have to do with the record labels. I don't need to get Warner's permission to play Dr Dre back on WinAmp.

andrewstuart 8 hours ago 3 replies      
No one seems to be respecting/fearing the music companies any more, not even big companies.
joejohnson 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Big Music is fucked. There have been so many times when they could have taken a graceful way out, and switched to a new realistic and reasonable business plan.
obtino 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I certainly hope that it's not a rushed product that's aimed at beating Apple to the market.
An autocompletion daemon for the Go programming language github.com
29 points by icey  6 hours ago   7 comments top 4
lemming 44 minutes ago 0 replies      
Interesting idea - any feedback on how well it works? How well does it work with a broken AST (which is the normal state for an editor)? Does it re-index automatically if files are touched outside the editor? Does it work with cross-file symbols?
russell_h 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Not sure if something has changed, but this has actually been around for some time.

Original announcement: https://groups.google.com/d/topic/golang-nuts/j5e4bNXF8ws/di...

xtacy 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish such an interface were available for every language out there. They are spread out in many packages, but a client/server model is awesome; it will work irrespective of the editor. Also it's easily maintainable as the dependencies are not tied to the editor.
drivebyacct2 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm looking into doing some sort of autocompletion related functionality for a project soon... so, why a separate daemon rather than ctags?
Every day I learn something new… and stupid. jwz.org
40 points by helwr  8 hours ago   18 comments top 5
haberman 3 hours ago 4 replies      
I find it interesting that a lot of prominent and respected programmers (jwz, Linus, Dan Bernstein, Theo De Raadt) write in this negative and caustic way, and not only is it considered socially acceptable but these rants get linked to and give the writer even wider street cred.

I think this is a detriment to our community, and I say this as a reformed (or at least reforming) flamer who used to take after that style. Actually I think one of the most positive things about participating in the HN community is that toxic commenting is not rewarded nearly to the extent that it is on other forums. It's taught me to be more civil.

I've interacted with enough top programmers who are always nice to know that flaming isn't a prerequisite to getting your point across. Besides many excellent HN commenters, I think of John Resig, Shawn Hargreaves, Sanjay Ghemawat. I strive to be more like them, and less like the people who are known for their flames.

tszming 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Very cool: http://www.jwz.org/blog/2010/10/every-day-i-learn-something-...

>> "Ten days to implement the lexer, parser, bytecode emitter (which I folded into the parser; required some code buffering to reorder things like the for(;;) loop head parts and body), interpreter, built-in classes, and decompiler. I had help only for jsdate.c, from Ken Smith of Netscape (who, per our over-optimistic agreement, cloned java.util.Date " Y2K bugs and all! Gosling…).

>> Sorry, not enough time for me to analyze tail position (using an attribute grammar approach: http://wiki.ecmascript.org/doku.php?id=strawman:proper_tail_...). Ten days without much sleep to build JS from scratch, "make it look like Java" (I made it look like C), and smuggle in its saving graces: first class functions (closures came later but were part of the plan), Self-ish prototypes (one per instance, not many as in Self).

>> I'll do better in the next life."

pavel_lishin 5 hours ago 1 reply      
> I'm still bummed that I failed to talk you in to making #!/usr/bin/javascript work back then, because I think that we were still in the window where we had a shot at smothering Perl in the crib…

It's like catching a beautiful glimpse of a future that never was.

(I might update the last three words of that sentence if I take the time to fiddle around with Node.)

bigiain 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Wasn't this one of the things that broke a whole bunch of twitter apps a while ago? And the reason the twitter API returns post ids as both integers _and strings_ in it's json?

(at least in Fortran you knew the variable "i" was a properly specified integer, dammit!)

iwwr 5 hours ago 0 replies      
How is this Java's fault again?
The hackers hacked: main Anonymous IRC servers seized arstechnica.com
54 points by thornjm  9 hours ago   23 comments top 7
joshes 8 hours ago 1 reply      
The tl;dr of it all is that, according to at least one Anon, this "Ryan" fellow was a former moderator of the IRC and was the legal owner of the AnonOps.ru and AnonOps.net domains. Apparently, two others, "Nerdo" and "Owen" (whom you may remember from the HBGary fiasco), revoked his IRC credentials. Ryan somewhat predictably responded by DDOS'ing (with help from 808chan) and essentially taking his domains and going home. Some Anons responded by getting "Ryan"'s docs and now it's all just a bunch of circle jerking.
jrockway 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Lesson learned today: if you're going to commit crimes, you'd better trust your co-conspirators.

Follow-up lesson: turns out that random people on IRC are not automatically trustworthy.

Follow-up follow-up lesson: use Tor.

GoodIntentions 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Reading that article brought to mind a sarcastic question I heard addressed from a skin to a young punk decades back:

"So who is in charge of this whole anarchy thing anyway?"

getsat 8 hours ago 1 reply      

  SmilingDevil -> owen: :P we need a hidden irc server for the admins.

Why not run their network inside I2P or something similar?

hm2k 1 hour ago 0 replies      
reading this is like "when news isn't news"
sc68cal 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I guess someone decided to ride the split?


BasDirks 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one thinking this is all just smoke and mirrors?
The Pirate Bay: “The Battle of Internets is About to Begin” torrentfreak.com
214 points by Uncle_Sam  19 hours ago   93 comments top 13
schrototo 18 hours ago 2 replies      
ChuckMcM 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Its interesting that they don't mention Usenet.

For those of you to young to remember, what you now call "The Internet" was originally "ARPAnet" (and then DARPAnet) which was funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) but they had lots of rules about what you could and could not do on their network (as was their perrogative).

Some folks who wanted to be on the network didn't "qualify" because they were either too small, or not germane to the research goals. Other folks chafed at the restrictions.

My first encounter with the ARPAnet was in 1978 when I started at USC which had a node on the net (USC-ECLC) which was a DEC KI-20 running Tenex. When I graduated and went to work at Intel they weren't connected to the ARPAnet but they were running a 'usenet' node via modems and software called 'netnews'. The node, intelca, and the guy running it (Ken Shoemaker) were in my building at Intel. Since Ken was open to having the 'new guy' help out so I took on some fairly simple tasks of keeping it running.

Usenet was a simple store and forward network where nodes would call each other periodically on the phone and exchange data which was destined for other sites. Addressing was in the form of 'host!host!host!host!user' where each 'host' was a hop and if you could move something along you did.

Anyway, today, it is entirely possible (see the TOR network) to build a network which runs across the existing communications structure but uses a set of protocols that are 'invisible' (in the sense of firewalling and monitoring etc) to the host network. It makes building something which does what Usenet did (create a network with less authoritive oversight) much easier than it was in the past. I would not be surprised if such networks already existed although I am not aware of any at this time.

citricsquid 18 hours ago  replies      
meh. I think this proposal is bad, but why can't a site that is not screwing others over come forward and be the public face of "championing" it?

Thepiratebay being a large voice against it will just harm the cause, "oh thepiratebay is breaking the law and losing musicians money and they are anti-censorship so censorship must be good to stop that illegal stuff".

BonoboBoner 18 hours ago 5 replies      
"In February, a secret meeting of the European Union's Law Enforcement Work Party (LEWP) resulted in a worrying proposal."

How can some small EU working group even dare to discuss my human rights in a secret meeting without any democratic legitimacy?

FrojoS 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Already, to some extend, Europe is not a part of the Internet anymore. At least here in Germany, I personally consider it fraud when Internet Service Provider offer "Internet access". Wrong label!

After returning from the US I got extremely frustrated that I wasn't able to listen to Pandora anymore (I'm even paying) or watch many of the best Youtube videos that happen to use popular music as background.

When I recently got access again, over my US friends University VPN, I felt a bit like a former east German, who managed to tweak his radio so he can listen to "west stations".

ErrantX 13 hours ago 0 replies      
They will sell this with "think of the children" thing again, I am sure. Pisses me right off.

We fought this in the UK in the disguise of deep-packet filtering at the ISP's, that one floundered from the off but dragged out its demise for a good while before being sheleved.

Then France gave it a go with Loopsi, and unfortunately they seem to have managed to set a precedent for filtering/monitoring/blocking. It was only a matter of time before the EU got involved.

rmc 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Clarification: The Pirate Bay is not totally blocked in Ireland. The largest broadband supplier (Eircom with about 80% residential market) block it. No other ISP in Ireland block it. Several others (eg UPC) are actively opposed to blocking it.
mahrain 2 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the issues is that "we" as internet community tend to protest online, for instance by blocking a site (DDOS) or sending tweets to politicians.

Europe doesn't realise this and might mistake the lack of angry people in the streets for "not caring" or "no problem", while complaining about "hackers" taking down web sites.

I'm afraid that there are only two options, either this gets blocked by the European Human Rights Court (article 10, freedom of speech) or we are going to get into a situation where we're China: internet filter plus many many tools to circumvent it.

I guess it's our first response to develop the latter and claim "we'll just use Tor / Freenet / VPN" but IMHO preventing the instatement of a filter in the first place would be a more noble struggle.

aphexairlines 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The "copyright lobby"? Where is the technology lobby? I'm disappointed in our industry, especially given the enormous market caps of tech giants.
eitland 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems like focusing on pirates now would be like running a campaign against burglary in 1939 /instead/ of mobilizing against nazi Germany?
Sandman 15 hours ago 2 replies      
So what if they do erect this "virtual wall"? People will just access those sites through some non-EU based proxy. Unless they block access to each and every non-EU based proxy, of course.
robbles 10 hours ago 0 replies      
this just might be the most elaborate example of Godwin's Law I've ever seen.
boscomutunga 17 hours ago 1 reply      
The religious war between pirates and copyright will always continue.
Airbnb Cozies Up To Facebook To Help You Feel More At Home When Away From Home techcrunch.com
9 points by sahillavingia  3 hours ago   discuss
Adobe Launches CSS Regions Prototype adobe.com
3 points by rasebo  52 minutes ago   discuss
First 100% Crowdsourced Book (80 authors) amazon.com
46 points by il  8 hours ago   9 comments top 5
sbisker 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Not to take away from this work, but the title is wrong, or at least needs more specification. There's at least one book that was 100% crowdsourced before this:

"Amazing But True Cat Stories"...

All of the stories were written by users on Mechanical Turk, around 2008. The project got a lot of press and attention at the time, on O'Reilly, Boing Boing, and the like. The "author" also wrote a how-to on Instructables: http://www.instructables.com/id/Dont-Do-It-Yourself-Start-a-...

neoveller 8 hours ago 1 reply      
How does this relate to HN or tech startups, you may wonder? This past Valentines Day, you might remember a post called "Neovella: Instantly co-author stories with your friends (or strangers)!" Neovella.com enables streamlined collaboration in writing short stories, through a turn-based "exquisite cadaver" method.

The monetization scheme was to publish the best works from that mode of literary production, and take a 10% cut while redistributing the rest out to all the co-authors involved. This anthology is the result of that first experiment. Every story (17 included) was written turn-by-turn, ranging from 2 to 10 authors. Compared to a paperback novel, this would total somewhere near 120 pages.

As for the content--well, it's definitely a reflection of Internet culture. :)

bitsm 5 hours ago 0 replies      
First, I love this kinda stuff, but this is not exactly the first. SMITH magazine published Six-Word Memoirs in Feb. 2008 and made the NYTimes Bestseller list. The book had almost 800 authors, each of whom received a copy.


CountHackulus 5 hours ago 1 reply      
For those that are interested, this book was the work of many people on the SomethingAwful forums. There's a thread about it here: http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=341...

Note that these are pay forums. Interesting to know the story behind it though.

illumen 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Realism in UI Design uxmag.com
154 points by thmzlt  18 hours ago   34 comments top 12
extension 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The perfect example of this is an old version of the BlackBerry UI that looked like this:


Fortunately, they wised up and the next version looked like this:


sambeau 16 hours ago 2 replies      
This article was badly missing the word:



zbowling 13 hours ago 2 replies      
This article is pretty decent, but have you seen the homepage for UXMag? http://uxmag.com

It has some serious problems. My eyes glared over the entire thing and I didn't really catch much. The boxes don't work and I didn't consume anything. They need some usability testing bad.

bostonpete 16 hours ago 4 replies      
I'm no designer (though I have put together a handful of icons in my day), but the part about too much realism in an icon seems fairly obvious. Are overly-realistic icons actually a problem? If so, a few real-world examples might have been more useful than the fully rendered house icon, which seems far-fetched.

Also, I don't really agree with the comment that the icon shouldn't include any details other than the bare minimum needed to convey function. Things like shading/shadows can give icons a more polished look. For example, I wonder if the author would argue that the red/yellow/green indicators in his home button example shouldn't have shading or specular highlights because that's just adding unnecessary detail.

rglover 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Invaluable information for a UI designer. As I'm a bit of a novice in the field, I can say it is a struggle at times to pick out the right iconography and dictate what you want the user to accomplish. This article definitely helps to clarify that process. It also mentions a book worth reading which seems quite interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Understanding_Comics
aw3c2 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I find it remarkable that the "Apple toggle button" is shown the wrong way: http://www.uxmag.com/uploads/realisminuidesign/toggles.png

The real one is set to the left while the others are on the right, or am I once again misinterpreting this button? I never ever understood their design and they utterly confuse me wherever I encounter them. Is it "On" if it shows "On" or does it mean I can click "On" when it is shown. Aaaargh.

earnubs 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Everyone loves the Apple UI, therefore everything the Apple UI does is an axiomatic truth of UI design.

Except... maybe not. The trash can icon on OS X is photo realistic. The HDD icon is photo realistic. Transmits icon is a pretty detailed truck from where I am sitting. I waaay prefer Chrome's shiny & detailed icon to the flat simpler one... et cetera, et cetera.

UI design articles have a tendency to be a little lazy on the science IMO, but I think that's a reflection on the fact that UI design sits between art and engineering and it's hard to be a master of both.

jazzychad 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Previous discussion from original article: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1067333
kadavy 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I was just writing a bit about realism for my book the other day. Interfaces, such as Mac OS X's Aqua, actually represent a sort of "hyperrealism," with buttons that are impossibly juicy, reflective, and glowing.

It's funny, because interfaces have always represented reality in a metaphorical sense (desktop, window, document, trash), but now we take it up a notch to represent things that couldn't actually exist.

dylanrw 17 hours ago 0 replies      
The say so at the end of the article, but it's a repost (original: http://ignco.de/240). Still all valid points though.
weixiyen 6 hours ago 0 replies      
tldr; uncanny valley
duiker101 16 hours ago 0 replies      
i learned some great stuff, manny thanks i would love to seemore artcles like this
Schneier: The Dishonest Minority: Security and its Role in Modern Society schneier.com
163 points by FilterJoe  20 hours ago   56 comments top 10
ChuckMcM 16 hours ago 3 replies      
"But none of these systems, with the possible exception of some fanciful science-fiction technologies, can ever bring that dishonest minority down to zero."

This is a concept that is very useful to internalize. In systems its the 'no subsystem will operate 100% correctly all of the time' in social justice scenarios its 'there will always be people who are poor'.

While the first part of that "things break" or "shit happens" to be colloquial, is accepted easily the latter 'there will always be poor people' is less easily so. But as Schneir has eloquently pointed out in his thesis statement humans are just another system composed of independent actors who are nominally out for the collective good.

Understanding this core systems concept can really help you understand where you will need to focus systemic processes or tools which will maintain the systems primary function.

tzs 13 hours ago 1 reply      

    All complex systems contain parasites. In any system of cooperative
behavior, an uncooperative strategy will be effective -- and the system
will tolerate the uncooperatives -- as long as they're not too numerous
or too effective. Thus, as a species evolves cooperative behavior, it
also evolves a dishonest minority that takes advantage of the honest
majority. If individuals within a species have the ability to switch
strategies, the dishonest minority will never be reduced to zero. As a
result, the species simultaneously evolves two things: 1) security
systems to protect itself from this dishonest minority, and 2) deception
systems to successfully be parasitic.

That would be a pretty good description of IP. IP is in economic terms non-rival and non-excludable. It turns out that a free market does not work for goods that are non-rival and non-excludable (by "work" I mean reach a theoretical optimal allocation of resources to production). We developed a cooperative behavior in order to make it so a free market would work for such goods--basically by PRETENDING that IP is rival and excludable.

Some chose not to cooperate, and ignore that. As long as they are not too numerous, the system as a whole does not break down. The majority pretends that IP is rival and excludable, so pay creators for their creations, and creators get paid roughly in proportion to the demand for their works, and thus creators tend to create the works that the consumers want.

DRM has been developed to attempt to limit the effects of the uncooperative, and the uncooperative have developed systems to try to make it harder to detect piracy.

joelangeway 18 hours ago 2 replies      
It's interesting that so many commenters take issue with the term "dishonest minority." I agree that honesty is usually the best policy, but I would lie to the Nazis about the Jews in the addic. This is the value in the dishonest minority and the conflict that the term implies to people who equate dishonesty with evil is central to the point.
seanalltogether 17 hours ago 1 reply      
While not related specifically to security, I've always been fascinated with the fact that Japan recognizes their 'dishonesty minority' the yakuza as legitimate organizations. While most countries run around declaring war on their black market parasites, Japan has allowed them to slice of their piece of the pie and avoid the nastiness.
zipdog 14 hours ago 1 reply      
It's interesting to jump between his opening comment on society 'tolerating' the uncooperatives (as long as they're not too numerous or too effective) to his end-point that the dishonest minority serves as a catalyst for social change.

His statement of toleration of uncooperatives doesn`t seem to capture that society is better off with some of them (the dissenters) and that its actually in the interests of the governors to tolerate a certain amount of uncooperatives - not just because it overly onerous not to, but because otherwise stagnation will make the whole society vulnerable to an outside competitor.

unwind 19 hours ago 2 replies      
All I know about publishing is from reading Charles Stross' blog (especially http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/04/common-m...), but doesn't manuscript-submit in November 2011 and publishing in February 2012 seem awfully fast?
mkramlich 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Based on the quality of the author's writing and the clarity of his thinking, I'm looking forward to reading that book. His book Applied Cryptography was one of the best written CS books I've ever seen.
stretchwithme 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately, the dishonest minority has learned to disguise itself and move into enforcing things that benefit the state at the expense of the populations it feeds upon. With democracy and a lot of influence by government over the media, it can often even dupe those populations into thinking that the population is in control and are the beneficiaries.
bh42222 16 hours ago 3 replies      
Bruce seems to be associating dissent with sabotage here:
Vibrant societies need a dishonest minority; if society makes its dishonest minority too small, it stifles dissent as well as common crime.

I disagree with this vehemently. Dissent is not crime.

And his argument that society needs a bit of dishonesty is also a bit odd. I see it as something any large cooperative system is doomed to end up with. This is also what his first paragraphs explains. And I think there have been software simulations which show how both "criminals" and "cops" naturally arise in a complex cooperative system.

I think his attempt to link dissent with crime and dishonesty is a terrible way to defend the need for dissent.

       cached 10 May 2011 10:02:01 GMT