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I analyzed the chords to 1300 popular songs for patterns. This is what I found. hooktheory.com
225 points by davec  3 hours ago   114 comments top 33
planetguy 2 hours ago 7 replies      
What I'd like to see is a plot of the number of chords used in a song versus time. Possibly even broken down by genre, or correlated to other qualities (sex of singer) et cetera.

If you start at the 1950s, you'll see very simple rock songs; your classic three-chord rock songs. As you hit the 1960s you'll see more complexity; The Beatles, for instance, had more harmonic complexity than what had come before, which continues to be imitated into the 1970s. Then what happens? I don't know, by the 1980s you're looking at a lot of very simple music again, though music is becoming more diverse genre-wise so you're probably getting a larger spread. Then by the present day you have a disturbing trend of one-chord or even no-chord music; apart from rap [which contains no singing but seems to have got simpler even in the backing tracks over the years] we now find that even sung songs are completely lacking in harmony or chord progression. A particularly annoying example I noticed the other day would be that song (dunno who it's by) with the lyrics "We found love in a hopeless place", which seems to have a melody of just four notes.

I could continue this discussion going backwards in time from the 1950s and talking about how the ever-growing harmonic sophistication of art music through Beethoven to Wagner eventually led to a complete breakdown of the idea of harmony in art music which led to music that nobody liked which led to the death of art music and the establishment of rock and roll from square one, but that's another discussion.

snorkel 2 hours ago 9 replies      
Reason: It's easier to play these chords on a 6 string guitar, which has been the dominant instrument of choice for pop song composers.

The first C chord on a guitar is easy to hit with no finger twisting required. It's also easy to switch between the first C, Am, and G chord, you can even do it quickly and repeatedly while drunk as you can imagine many pop songs are written. The first F chord requires a little more careful finger placement but still easy to get too. Sure enough you hear this over and over in pop songs, some simple sequence of C F G A chords over and over.

Not surprising that the complex guitar chords that require six pencil-thin rubber fingers and a degree in music theory to know how to play aren't heard as often.

kroger 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice post, I'm looking forward for the next one. Meanwhile I'll give my 2 cents.

The main problem in analyzing tonal music is that we mainly listen to relations between chords. For instance, in the following progression in C major, A major functions as a dominant of D (D is the dominant of G and G is the dominant of C):

    C A D G C. 

OTOH, in the following progression the same A is the subdominant of E:

    E A B E. 

This means that if a song modulates or there's a tonicization [1] the same chord will have different tonal functions and we'll listen to it differently. Just counting a chord in a song may not be enough if they have different functions.

The number of repetitions also matters. Tonally, the progressions C | C | C | G | G and C | G | C | G are the same as C | G. Is he eliminating repetitions in the analysis?

About using A major in C; you can use it as a dominant of D (see my 1st example) or as a chromatic mediant [2] in C major. Of course, in modern music you can use anything you want, but these two are the most common uses.

And, naturally, the types of chords used will vary according to the music style.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonicization
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromatic_mediant

bishnu 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is a good start, I'd be more interested if these chord patterns were compared against a database of UNpopular songs to see if the what sort of differences in chord distribution correlated with popular songs (although where you'd find that, I do not know). It's difficult to understand what this really quantifies - all the "2nd chord" distribution suggests to me at this point is that there's a large difference between actually playing music vs a random sequence of chords. It's good that you're recapitulating that at least, but not really a striking observation.

Regardless, I will be keeping tabs on this. Hah, totally didn't intend that pun.

horsehead 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What he's really talking about is chord progression (while he doesn't really say that, it's essentially the description of his first few paragraphs). Most university-level music classes discuss common chord progressions. As he notes, the I, IV and V chords are the most common to appear in a song.

It's a great article, but I think he may have done a lot of work to find out something that is fairly common knowledge lol. Still cool though to have the supporting data. (edit: it would be cool to make this an interactive piece of data presentation to help you write songs. Also, the I, IV and V chords are so popular because they naturally make people feel good. It's why they show up so often in 'pop' music. minor chords have a more depressive quality to them)

Also, if you need proof that certain chords show up often in music, just listen to some Nickelback. Here is a fun link (that I THINK works. my speaker only works in the left side ;) )

dude_abides 1 hour ago 0 replies      
nchuhoai 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I like this analysis:


While I do believe the popular songs follow some pattern, I think the chord progression is only a subset. Someone should look into why Call me Maybe is so catchy. Seriously though

te_chris 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The article was down, but I assume this will be relevant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schenkerian_analysis

We spent a lot of time doing this sort of stuff to flesh out harmonic and melodic patterns/meaning of pieces while at music school. To (grossly) simplify, it's essentially a form of reduction analysis, but the final step of the analysis is always I - V - I chord progression (tonic - dominant) with the 3 blind mice melody above (stepwise descending). I never found the final reduction particularly useful as, though he had a point about the prevalence of the tonic dominant relationship, it was over blown. The reduction steps were very useful for stripping away flourishes though, in order to see what was happening at a more base level in a piece (we analyzed a lot of Mahler this way).

Kinda like Map/Reduce in some ways.

glassx 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
The chord choices in Garageband are the chords found within the scale of C, plus Bb (even the Bdim - but, to be pedant, it should actually be a B7b5). Having Bb you can modulate (or "change the key") to F without having to switch scales etc.

Also, the fact that he found D, E and A among the results is probably because of modulations. It's VERY common for pop songs to modulate a whole step during some chorus near the end [1]. As mentioned, G, F and C are V, IV and I. If we modulate a whole step, from C to D, the V, IV and I are A, G and D. It would be nice to consider those modulations into the research.

About the key choice, I believe it's irrelevant. It depends a lot on what's your instrument (Bb, Eb is easier on brass instruments), your style (lots of Metal songs in the key of E because E is the lowest note on guitar), your tuning (lots of rock bands downtune their guitars to Eb or D etc), your proficiency, and, most important, the vocalists range.


[1] Otis Reeding - My Girl, Celine Dion - Because You Loved Me (actually lots of songs by her), Monty Python/Eric Idle - Always Look On The Bride Side of Life, Talking Heads Nothing But Flowers (If you search "whole step key change" you'll get a bunch)

lux 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The reason people fall back to the I IV V and VI chords (C F G and Am in the key of C) is that going between them creates a false sense of forward motion in the listener without actually going anywhere. Moving from the IV to V creates tension that can be built up and released by resolving to the I, or increased by going to the VI and resolved to the IV. Any combination of those pretty much sounds "good". Variations add the II (Dm) in place of the V or in between the IV and V, or add the III on the way to the IV. It's really simple, and made even simpler by power chords because you don't even have to move your hand shape to play entire songs on rhythm. Leads can then switch between major scale phrases and pentatonic (aka blues) phrases of the minor of whatever key is being played in, (so Am blues over C) and almost anything they do sounds good to the average listener. In the end, you only have to keep their attention for ~40 seconds between hooks and just crutch on the catchy chorus and you've got a hit. But if you analyze most popular forms of music, the above is at their core anyway. It's just more bare bones in modern pop and rock music.
terryk88a 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Snnnzx.. wha?

This may best thought of as a lexical analysis of 1300 popular novels. E.G. what is the most popular word following the word "it". The key of a tune 'controls' the chords available, using a typical chord progression. A song in the key of C most typically has the progression C-F-G or I-IV-V in roman numerals signifying 1 for the dominant C, and 4 and 5 for F and G respectively the fourth and fifth notes in the key's scale.

More interesting might be what are the most popular chord progressions. E.G. I-IV-V or II-IV-Im. Which is what I was expecting to click through to.

A million monkeys can write a hit in how many years, now? And BTW "it was a dark and stormy night" don't you know.

zwieback 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
a (vi) over d (ii) comes as a surprise to me. I notice a lot of jam players will substitute II or II7 for ii but I thought this work was based on tabs. I didn't think the relative minor was all that common in pop music.
someone_welsh 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
pents90 2 hours ago 0 replies      
For those interested in a far deeper analysis of music structure, as well as exploring the possibility of computer composition and creativity, see the work of David Cope: http://www.amazon.com/Computer-Models-Musical-Creativity-Dav...
seefoma 2 hours ago 0 replies      
While I think this sort of analysis is really cool and potentially interesting, there really isn't anything non-obvious in this article, assuming one is familiar with basic music theory. Hopefully this is part one and the more interesting material is being saved for later.
Brashman 2 hours ago 5 replies      
How does this compare to what Music Theory says about chords and chord progressions? Any Music Theory experts/aficionados around? I've unfortunately forgotten most of what I learned in my one class on it.
flomincucci 2 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm amused by the fact that this person doesn't seem to know that chords per se - and the analysis of them - is practically useless because they can and actually do vary from version to version of the same song. The thing that matters is how the chords are related (modes and progressions).
taylorbuley 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I'd love to build this data into a neural network and see if I can come up with robosongs. It should be quite good at coming up with "What chord should come next?"
jimmytucson 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Probably more interesting than the actual notes would be the figured chords and their progressions.

In other words, "C G a F" isn't materially that different from "G D e C" or "F C d Bb". All three are instances of the same progression: "I V vi IV" ...which happens to be the most hackneyed (or "effective", depending on your point of view) chord progression in popular music over the last 30 years.

If you transform each chord progression into its figured representation then you can pick up more significant trends such as the above, or blues changes (e.g. "I I I I / VI VI I I / V VI I I") and then you can start to discern when they rose to popularity and which ones are falling out of favor.

For example, in the 50s and 60s, I have no doubt "I vi IV V" was more popular than "I V vi IV" but I have no way to prove it currently and would love to find out if I'm right or wrong on that.

nileshtrivedi 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Very interesting! Although, for most common chords chart, I think that instead of simply counting the number of times a chord appears, you should have also considered the duration of that chord in the song.

Didn't Pandora radio did the same analysis for its recommendation engine?

whichdan 2 hours ago 1 reply      
batista 3 hours ago 4 replies      
Hmm, one could also use a Markov chain on those 1300 chord progressions....
wyck 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Interesting but a melody analysis would be way more insightful.

Pop music is all about the simple melody, in terms of impacting a recognizable pattern on the brain. That is why it's popular, and you see the same melodies repeated over and over, and over, and over.

mvkel 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Could you combine this data to algorithmically create the "most common song ever made"?
michaelfeathers 41 minutes ago 2 replies      
I wonder what the RIAA thinks of someone amassing a database of the chord patterns of 1300 popular songs.
6ren 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The app is pretty cool: http://www.hooktheory.com/analysis/view/celine-dion/my-heart... It animates the score for both "instrumental" and "youtube" sound.
stretchwithme 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Eventually, software will write music just for you. And lyrics too.
sirteno 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd be interested to see if they observed patterns or deviations from the norm when comparing between music genres and perhaps even eras / decades.

My sense, as a classical and electric (contemporary rock / blues) guitarist is that you'd observe interesting deviations from the aggregate results described in the study.

Digging a bit I found the following research piece which shares some more thoughts on this topic:


monsterix 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Well it isn't hard to figure out chord progressions, modes and key of any song. If you wish to serve 90% of the crowd, who listen to pop music, simply "catch" C Am F G type of chord progressions. For balance, you can expose and iterate with more patterns and lead yourself up to Joe Satriani/Steve Vai's of the world.
davec 3 hours ago 0 replies      
That's a good recommendation. I have a feeling it wouldn't change the results much for pop songs.

I know Pandora has done some analysis like this for their database, but I thought it was limited to things like major or minor tonality, upbeat tempo, etc. and didn't delve as much into the nitty gritty harmony. One reason for this might be that these patterns are so universal (spanning lots of genres), that it might not be too helpful for determining what types of music people like. I could be wrong about this though.

baddox 2 hours ago 4 replies      
I find it hard to believe that D major wasn't one of the more common chords to follow and E minor.
TYPE_FASTER 2 hours ago 1 reply      
There's a great Youtube video of three guys playing many pop songs with the same three or four chords. I'm behind a firewall now or I would post the link.
hlomas 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not add some more interesting visualizations of your data? Try http://d3js.org. For example http://bost.ocks.org/mike/sankey/ or http://mbostock.github.com/d3/talk/20111116/iris-parallel.ht... might be adapted to communicate which chords follow the others in a more dense fashion.
Why Smart People Are Stupid newyorker.com
108 points by mshafrir  2 hours ago   85 comments top 27
lmkg 1 hour ago 4 replies      
The research is using SAT score as a proxy for general intelligence... I wonder if this sort of heuristic short-cutting actually correlates with test-taking ability more than it correlates with intellgence.

A lot of "test-taking" training basically consists of saving time by training away from full reasoning, in favor of cheap-and-good-enough heuristics. Furthermore, those heuristics are over-fitted to the particular problem types on standardized tests. I wonder how much of this study is actually measuring their ability to trigger test-taking instincts on problem types they're not designed for.

tokenadult 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Link to the study linked in the article (PubMed prepublication abstract):


The psychologist Keith R. Stanovich is quite controversial among other psychologists precisely because he writes about what high-IQ people miss in their thinking, but his studies point to very thought-provoking data and deserve to be grappled with by other psychologists. I have enjoyed his full-length book What Intelligence Tests Miss


which meticulously cites much of the previous literature on human cognitive biases and other gaps in rationality of human thinking.

And here is the submitted article's link to a description of the Need for Cognition Scale:


keiferski 1 hour ago 3 replies      
Intelligence is overrated as a metric, from the get-go. Being smart doesn't mean anything - accomplishing something, whether that be writing a book, founding a company, making a new scientific discovery, sculpting a masterpiece, etc., is a much better metric.

Unfortunately everyone seems to be hung up on the "idea" of being smart, as if having a high IQ somehow constitutes an accomplishment.

cyclic 7 minutes ago 1 reply      
For all of the high and mightiness of this article, this bugged me:

In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?

If a lilypad is 20 square inches (which is probably conservative), and you started with 1 lilypad, after 48 days of doubling it would cover 1.4MILLION square miles. That is 44 times the surface area of Lake Superior.

I get the point of the question, but if you're trying to play "gotcha" on people, at least ask a reasonable question.

Jabbles 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
FYI the tallest tree in the world is ~ 116 m or 379 feet.


DavidWoof 1 hour ago 2 replies      
For the types of testing that he's doing, I suspect he's measuring boredom more than anything else, especially since he's testing largely in a university setting. Intelligent people are accustomed to being bored with endless entry-level evaluation exams, and at first glance this looks like it's just one more of them. And because the stakes here are so low (essentially zero), lots of people will just fly through without really reading and analyzing the question.

What he's seeing isn't something new, it's something so old that it's part of popular culture: the absent-minded professor syndrome. It's the stereotype of the brilliant physicist forgets what he's supposed to buy at the supermarket because he's thinking about their quantum properties. Analytic people are horrible at things that don't interest them.

Pay the students $50 for each correct answer, and there's not a doubt in my mind that the results will be the complete opposite of what he's seeing now.

Jun8 1 hour ago 2 replies      
"Although we assume that intelligence is a buffer against biasâ€"that's why those with higher S.A.T. scores think they are less prone to these universal thinking mistakes..."

This fallacy is at the heart of the matter. Intelligence and resistance against bias are only loosely correlated. Such resistance comes not from intelligence but from careful study and mental exercise, e.g. looking at various important ethical and philosophical arguments and analyzing them.

This is like saying all large people are strong. There is some dependance but a smaller gym-fly can kick a slacker giant's ass. The sad thing, while it is obvious that you have to exercise your body to be healthy and strong, the fact that the same is quite through fro your brain is often overlooked.

moron 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I notice this all the time, all over the place. It drives me nuts, to the point that I am now extremely skeptical of what we call "intelligence". Taleb's "The Black Swan" really opened my eyes to this. He talks a lot about how we reason in ways that do not correspond to reality.

I don't know what right is, but I know the way we currently think about intelligence is wrong.

pjscott 2 hours ago 2 replies      
If you'd rather not just accept your current level of cognitive bias, the web site Less Wrong has a bunch of articles by and for people trying to become less wrong about things. Anecdotally, I've noticed that people I know via the Less Wrong community tend to be decidedly less full of crap than average, so it seems to work. For example, here's a series of articles on the subject of avoiding excessive attachment to false beliefs, which I found to be generally entertaining and insightful:


Any of those articles are a good place to start, so don't be intimidated by the amount of stuff there.

tetha 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
This isn't big news for me. It took me about 7 years to understand two courses of high school while finishing my master of science. If you ask me the right question or try to teach me just the right matter in just the right way, a donkey will get it sooner than I do, and I'm talking about possibly years sooner. I might just not see the problem or I might think the wrong way, I don't know. There are things I just don't get.
crazygringo 35 minutes ago 1 reply      
This explains, when you look in your git repository for who created a bug...

When you find it and it's by someone else, it was obviously a stupid, idiotic error that you would never make.

When you find it and it's your own, it was obviously an understandable mistake that anybody could have made.

Particularly if you consider yourself a great coder.


taylorbuley 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
I studied "Choice & Behavior" at Penn -- the names Kahneman and Tversky were a common refrain. If you're looking to self-teach, my prof Jon Baron has a great course outline online: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~baron/p153.html
jpwagner 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
do we all think about the same thing at the same time or does Jonah Lehrer read HN religiously?

i _just_ watched that talk a couple of days ago because it was posted here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4082308

wissler 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
No, research did't show that "we do this" or "our approach is that" or "humans aren't rational" -- what the research showed is that the typical person does this or that.

A similar experiment where people draw the wrong conclusions is the Milgram experiment. Yes, most people are obedient to authority figures and do what they are told. But not everyone acts that way.

This research likes to sweep the best human beings under the rug, as if being virtuous is not something to try to emulate, but is something to hide. This explains why the majority of people act the way they do. Perhaps if they were taught that their "we're only human" vices are not the ideal to emulate, perhaps if the best that humanity had to offer were put forth as the ideal instead, then these lesser human beings who make up the majority would become what they might be and ought to be.

planetguy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Now that's the kind of headline I'd give to my article if I wanted it to reach the top of the HN front page.
arihant 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Got the lily pad one. I still cannot believe I said 10 cents on the first one with a completely non-sarcastic chuckle.

This article reminds me of pg's reasons to have a co-founder to avoid being delusional. Better be proven wrong on the inside than on the outside.

edit: Although on second thought, I think this bias theory probably extends to organizations as well. Probably that's why big companies sometimes can't see the obvious which a startup does.

sageikosa 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Got the ball and bat one right, and the lily pad one. I must not be as smart as I hoped :-(

I think it comes down to having a value system where you'd rather be wrong and corrected (even if you have to do it yourself), as opposed to always projecting yourself as"perfect". Once you accept you aren't perfect, its easier to work towards perfecting what you've got.

Karunamon 1 hour ago 4 replies      
So because I'm suffering from a deep case of the derp today, how are the first guess answers to those questions wrong?
farinasa 54 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think this is more an issue of the English language. English is not a good way to speak math or logic. In the bat and ball question I mistakenly (and I'm guessing everyone who got it wrong) ignored the word "more". That word represents an operator and is therefore crucial to the question, but is extremely diminutive in terms of English language.
marquis 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Well, the ball one I've heard before and the lilypad is obvious if you've been exposed to biology. Is this not more a matter of education not being applied to real-world cases and relying on theoretical teaching?
jakeonthemove 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Well, at least people are collectively smarter today compared to 100 years ago - the percentage of people who can answer those questions correctly has gone up considerably :-)...

Also, I just hate these kind of questions - they've always been used to prove that I'm stupid by those who knew the answers, and they're not solving anything useful - I need the problem to solve something I care about in order for my brain to fully focus on it and "do the math"...

Jordan_N 1 hour ago 0 replies      
All of this is covered (much better)in Kahneman's 'Thinking, Fast and Slow'.
vain 1 hour ago 2 replies      
A bat and ball cost a dollar and ten cents. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball

  bat + ball = 1.1
bat = ball + 1
2bat + ball = ball +1.1 +1
2bat = 2.1
bat = 1.05
ball =0.05

carsongross 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Because they spend all day on HN?
melvinmt 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
Where can I find more of these questions?
sin7 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I don't see why, when smart people are trained to be lazy, researchers are surprised that smart people are lazy.
antithesis 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Just a couple of weeks ago we had an article about why smart people don't think of others as stupid (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3984894), and now they're stupid themselves? I'm puzzled.
Heroku: a follow up on last week's outage heroku.com
34 points by twampss  1 hour ago   8 comments top 4
kennystone 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
Quite a few Erlang gotchas in those notes. Fault tolerant systems are really hard to design even when you know what you're doing and are using the best language for it (Erlang). Erlang aside, it seems the higher level architecture may need a rethink if one bad record can bring down the whole thing.
Negitivefrags 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
"The first root cause is related to the streaming data API which connects the dyno manifold to the routing mesh. On the dyno management side, an engineer was performing a manual garbage collection process which created an unusual record in the data stream. On the routing side, a bug in the subprocess of the router which processes the incoming stream saw the record as garbage."

This is techno-babble on a scale the world has never seen!

nemesisj 59 minutes ago 2 replies      
I love Heroku, but am I the only one that thinks their choice of words describing their architecture is a bit pretentious?

"...streaming data API which connects the dyno manifold to the routing mesh."

Give me a break!

Trufa 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I tend to feel much less angry about outages and such when the businesses take time to explained what happened, of course this doesn't justify the lack of up-time but I like the gesture!
New York to London in an hour - by train smartplanet.com
47 points by tnhu  1 hour ago   36 comments top 13
jaysonelliot 43 minutes ago 0 replies      
As a longtime gamer, this article really struck a chord with me. Dragon magazine used to print playable adventures, and in August 1981 (I just went and looked it up), there was a Gamma World adventure called "Cavern of the Sub-Train."

The player characters in their post-apocalyptic world come across a abandoned series of tunnels they can't explain, but which are described for the game master in the notes:

The system once spanned the North American continent and was used primarily as a method of high-speed transportation of freight. The sub-train system is something like a 20th-century subway system, in that it consists of a self-propelled train moving through an underground tunnel. Unlike the 20th- century system, however, the “trains” moved through a vacuum while being supported on super-conducting magnetic rails at very high speeds.

_delirium 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
This idea's been proposed on and off for some decades, and is definitely intriguing. The crucial problem, though, doesn't seem to be the technology per se (though there are undoubtedly large risks there, too), but the back-of-an-envelope economics being anywhere near sensible enough for someone to dedicate serious money to it. Before anyone is going to build a London-to-NYC line, my guess is that you'd have to first show some kind of much smaller-scale demonstration, like how there were test maglev lines built.

In a quick Google Scholar search, I turn up a 1974 article on "Surface-guided transport systems of the future" (http://dx.doi.org/10.1049/piee.1974.0277, unfortunately not open access), where evacuated-tube transport gets a mention, but under this less-than-enthusiastic banner:

A brief mention is given of other less likely transport systems, such as travel in an evacuated tube beneath or above the ground.

ChuckMcM 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Good luck holding a vacuum under the ocean. I read stuff like this and I think, "Gee, I don't think these people have actually built anything." because if they had they would realize that if it costs $1M a foot too build subways [1] in cities with moderately skilled labor, its going to cost $10 - 25M/ft to build something like this. That's half a quadrillion dollars (448 trillion dollars). What sort or rate of return do you think you would need to make that feasible?

I'd love someone to actually do a credible cost analysis of an evacuated tunnel train. Unfortunately I don't think Oster did.

[1] http://secondavenuesagas.com/2010/01/14/the-costs-of-second-...

arjunnarayan 5 minutes ago 0 replies      
Much cheaper to go the suborbital flight route. Anywhere on earth to anywhere on earth in 2 hours.
Less infrastructure required. (And today anything requiring massive governmental infrastructure commitments is doomed to fail)


moocow01 51 minutes ago 2 replies      
I never have understood people's fears about getting on an airplane... this though I'd be scared to death of. You have any unfortunate shift in the tectonic plates (which happens daily and unpredictably) and you could be dead in an instant.
ctdonath 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
Another megaproject supporting my theory there's a market for promoting - not building, just promoting - projects so large, expensive and outlandish that a small team can make a decent buck thereon. A miniscule percentage of half a quadrillion dollars nets a few million for research, marketing & salaries.
charliepark 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
A much tastier version: Maciej's "Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel": http://idlewords.com/2007/04/the_alameda-weehawken_burrito_t...
koenigdavidmj 1 hour ago 4 replies      
Link to the BBC article instead of the blogspam: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120601-high-speed-pipedrea...

Also, easy terrorist target.

netrus 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
The Concorde made day-trips US/Europe possible, but had to face the fact that there simply is no satisfying market for such high prices. And submarine vacuum trains would be much more expensive than a plane on steroids.
ableal 21 minutes ago 0 replies      
The book title A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! has stuck to my memory. It's a 1972 SF (alternate history branch) novel by Harry Harrison, featuring a vacuum/maglev system.

More at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transatlantic_tunnel, including reference to Goddard patents on the subject.

Jabbles 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
I feel that the headline would be better if phrased as a question.
theallan 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
> In the BBC story, Oster says the train could be ready in less than 10 years.

Haha! No chance. We might not even see the new link between London and Birmingham (HS2) before 2035, never mind one to New York!

drudru11 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
This is just like Gene Roddenberry's old show Genesis II from 1973.

I saw it when I was a kid and I thought it was awesome!

Civ II game a decade old reddit.com
358 points by jchrisa  9 hours ago   92 comments top 14
jonnathanson 5 hours ago 4 replies      
Fascinating, and wonderful to see others are out there who are weird like me, and who will actually attempt to extend Civilization games over extremely long periods. I have a Civ4 game that I've been playing for about 4 straight years now, and admittedly the file has gotten so big that it periodically taxes my system resources to their limits (Unfortunately, Civ4 suffers from poor memory management and is fairly leaky. Especially w/ mods).

The problem with Civ4 is that the AI is so hyper-aggressive that long-term stability is all but impossible, unless I become a dominant superpower and take on the role of "world police," intervening in every war of aggression on the side of the underdog. But after awhile, there's really no fun in that. So I have tried to cultivate a game in which a few superpowers are at least my equals, if not my superiors. Since I'm always going to war to defend whoever's about to get wiped out, unfortunately, I'm switching sides constantly, and diplomacy is basically out of the question. (None of the AI players will even return my calls, so to speak. We've all nuked each other so many times over that we won't even speak to each other now).

The other problem is that the AI fights total wars by default. It will never engage in a limited conflict. No, when it declares war, it won't cease until either it's beaten or it totally annihilates its enemy. It's like a Terminator. It becomes quickly apparent that the Nash Equilibrium in a game of Civ4 is one nation standing, while all others have ceased to exist. The game drives ineluctably toward this conclusion, unless the human player puts aside his own nation's interests in pursuit of global stability and game longevity. (And, ironically, being the sole force for stability renders him a political pariah among all the other nations). It's sort of like trying to play one sport, when all the other players in the game have been programmed to play another.

Sometimes I wish the AI were more sophisticated, and/or that it could be incentivized to prefer economic growth and interests over nonstop warmaking. Or that one possible victory condition in a game of Civilization would be to maximize a global human development index of some kind (i.e., "Global Victory," instead of just one nation's domination of all others by X or Y measure, or else its complete extirpation of all other peoples on the planet). I realize that's not the game that 99.99% of Civ players want to play, but it's refreshing to hear that I'm not the only one.

CharlieA 8 hours ago  replies      
The 3-way division of the world into "super-continents" and the constant war keeping the populace in a perpetual state of starvation and poverty, with the entire world in disrepair is so incredibly reminiscent of Orwell's 1984 it's scary.

If you haven't read 1984, it's a startlingly bleak view of a potential future (from a historical perspective, but still applicable today, I think) particularly through technology and a loss of privacy. It's the origin of terms like "big brother" and "doublethink" -- worth a read.

One of the most interesting excerpts from this piece IMO: "I wanted to stay a democracy, but the Senate would always over-rule me when I wanted to declare war... ...Anyway, I was forced to do away with democracy roughly a thousand years ago because it was endangering my empire."

Although I don't necessarily think it will be because of war, I can see a potential future where people/persons decide democracy is a less effective system because it's holding back the decision making process -- democratic process being (more or less) committee-based decision making, which proxies votes through individuals based on what is essentially a popularity contest. That's particularly true here in Australia at the moment (amidst a minority government with a lot of political sniping on both sides and seemingly very little real progress) despite the fact that we have a comparatively strong economy, low inflation, low unemployment and generally nothing really significant (again, comparatively) to complain about.

jcurbo 9 hours ago 1 reply      
To be clear, this is a guy that has been playing a single game of Civ II for 10 years. When I first saw this I thought, isn't Civ II older than 10 years? (came out in 1996)

I love Civ and still go back and play Civ II at times. I spent a lot of time with Civ III and IV as well (and a little with V), but it's nice to go back to my first experience with the genre (Civ 1 was before my time, sadly).

doktrin 6 hours ago 2 replies      
This was interesting as a simulation cum case study, but rather miserable as far as gaming goes.

There is no way a game of Civ II isn't eminently beatable - militarily or otherwise.

For one thing, there's no excuse to not operate as a Fundamentalism (0 population unrest) late game. Virtually all other forms of government, particularly Democracy, are an annoying cavalcade of civil unrest late game.

I enjoyed the read. It really brought me back in time to playing this game with fervent addiction in middle school.

Tichy 9 hours ago 5 replies      
Is it possible to run a completely automated Civ game (all players computer players)? Should be a quicker way to simulate the future. Perhaps the AI could learn "War Games" style that nuclear war is not the way to go...

Or maybe it would be a depressing result if the AIs would not nuke around without a human in the mix?

orbitingpluto 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This post illustrates why turn based games rule for richness and complexity. There is nothing so satisfying as finding stable points in gameplay.

This one Reddit post will probably waste thousands of what could be productive hours... I am sorely tempted to play Civ3 or GalCivII:TotA today.

Tycho 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I can remember my Civ II campaigns in more detail than I can recall about actual historic events.
Andytizer 6 hours ago 0 replies      
For those who are revisiting Civilization II after so many years (or playing it for the very first time), remember to visit this page of bugs, fixes and workarounds for getting it working on modern operating systems: http://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/Civilization_II - if you discover a new fix, please add it in (no account required).
radical_cut 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Well that gave me goosebumps. Bleak future indeed, I immediately thought of the Doomsday Clock.

I like the idea of a new subreddit spawned by this: http://www.reddit.com/r/theeternalwar.
It could be interresting to see if anybody finds a way to save the world from hell.

Maybe it's time to relive good old memories of times spend with old Civ games. :)

Paul_S 8 hours ago 1 reply      
If you disable the space race as a winning condition the chance of a nuclear holocaust over time approaches 1.

I'm not saying there are any lessons to be had from it. It's only a game.

danso 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I love Civ 2, but how is it that the OP can't win against two AIs? They weren't geniuses, AFAIK. And though the AI was vicious early on, it never seemed competent at the end. And even if it were, it's hard to imagine that the AI could adapt to a focused, determined attack by a human player (taking one city at a time).
Toenex 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not suggesting that civ is anyway up to the task but in all seriousness does any government systematically simulate policy decisions? I can't even remember a UK policy decision that even acknowledge the possibility it might not be a complete success let alone suggested criteria by which it should be ultimately evaluated.
renegadedev 4 hours ago 2 replies      
We look ahead at 3991 AD and find it to be depressing. I've always wondered how past civilizations (Greeks, Egyptians, etc) would find our modern day civilization.
sid05 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not familiar with Civilization resources so how would it be possible to perpetually build Nukes ? Wouldn't there be an energy cap or is there some sort of tech to cotinually generate the needed resources.
What is good customer service? helpjuice.com
58 points by hajrice  4 hours ago   25 comments top 9
edw519 3 hours ago 1 reply      
What makes the best customer service today is the same thing that made the best customer service 100 years ago.

From the script of "Gosford Park":

"What gift do you think a good servant has that separates them from the others? It's the gift of anticipation. And I'm a good servant. I'm better than good. I'm the best. I'm the perfect servant. I know when they'll be hungry and the food is ready. I know when they'll be tired and the bed is turned down. I know it before they know it themselves."

larrys 3 hours ago 1 reply      
"Do you remember the last time you sent an email and got a response back, within a minute saying, “FIXED. Really sorry that you had to experience that…” ?"

This is a perfect example of how you can turn a negative into a positive. From my own experience in the past I always noticed that if you make a mistake with a customer job but correct the mistake really quickly you actually form a bond with the customer that is much stronger than if you never made the mistake in the first place. You actually gain because of the error as long as the customer isn't in really bad shape as a result of it. (Of course you would get diminishing returns if you had to correct more than a small number of mistakes in any given time period obviously.)

lotharbot 3 hours ago 1 reply      
[crossposted from FaceBook]

The best customer service I ever got was when I was buying an engagement ring (about 12 years ago, from Blue Nile's website). It took weeks to resolve, but every step of the way the rep (Sean P -- made a big enough impression that I remember his name) communicated clearly what the problem was on their end, what solution he was looking into, and how long it would take before he had an answer for me. He was also laser-focused on making sure the solution would work for me -- right style of ring, equal or better quality to what I'd ordered, in time for me to propose.

Excellent customer service consists of being dedicated to fixing the problem, making sure that your fix will work for the customer, and being so responsive and persistent in communication that they know those things.

iamdave 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Answer promptly and effectively. A client can contact you at any time throughout the day; if you hear that phone ringing you better get on top of it. Good luck finding additional business streams if you get a reputation for keeping your clients waiting.

I agree 100% with the first, disagree slightly with the second. You can be prompt and efficient at resolving your customer's problems and providing them with a quality gateway to the organization, but you can't do this if your support staff is innundated by the constant pressure of answring phones. Things will come to a head where hearing the phone ring starts to become a genuine fear of support reps and CSR's will start avoiding calls just to catch up.

This comes from experience, having worked for an established software company that sold a great product, but had very unrealistic and unsustainable philosophies about support, not to mention a severely undersized team (four support reps and about 600 clients in four time-zones and one in the south Pacific)

Don't take this the wrong way, I am not saying you should be shirking your customers, or trying to find ways to build barriers to accessing that first line of defense. However I am saying you also shouldn't just assume that because you have support personnel, any opportunity for self-help and self-education should be on the back-burner. What I mean is, if your organization already has tools to help customers find the answer they need, that should be on the forefront, in the customer's face and easily accessible.

Then, and only then if your learning resources have failed, are too vague, or perhaps just doesn't answer the question in a way the customer can digest, that's when door number two opens up and it's time to contact the organization. And from there, I'm with you; be a shining beacon, be a smiling face and a welcoming gate keeper. You can learn a lot about your customer base as well as the quality of your documentation by following this strategy.

If you want a qualitative and effective team, don't toss them into the middle of a category 5 hurricane, trying to answer phones and create tickets at the same time. This will erode quality AND effectiveness.

Great post, otherwise!

the_bear 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd add one more item to this list: If you can't give your customer what they're asking for, explain why.

I regularly take calls from people asking for features that we don't offer (and probably never will). They normally start out annoyed that we don't have what they want, but after I explain why we can't offer the feature, they normally understand completely and it doesn't seem to bother them at all.

Most customers don't have much perspective about your business. They know what they want, and they're not really thinking about how it might effect the overall experience. If you just say, "no, we don't have an iPhone app" they'll think you're brushing them off. Instead say, "I totally understand why you want an iPhone app, but if we made an iPhone app we'd also have to make apps for Android and Blackberry which would mean we couldn't spend nearly as much time focusing on making the core product better, which is why we have a mobile website which will work on all platforms". The customer wasn't thinking about that when they requested/demanded the feature. By explaining your reasoning, you're telling them that you really are listening to them and considering their ideas, but there are good reasons why you can't give them exactly what they want.

spking 3 hours ago 1 reply      
"Being #1 is heavily underrated. People want the best; they don't want to settle for anything less."

And the other type of people--those who want the cheapest--are generally not worth having as customers.

javery 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Nice article - btw, if you haven't checked out HelpJuice we use it for our KB at Adzerk and it is pretty awesome. (http://help.adzerk.com).

All the search data is used to create article stubs and reports that help us create better articles and documentation.

(this is totally unsolicited - I just genuinely like the startup and Emil has been awesome to us)

gjkood 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Good customer service is doing everything that you can for your customer that doesn't make them want to dump you and jump to your nearest competitor.

An often quoted statistic in marketing and sales is that it is 10 times more costly to acquire a new customer than to do the things necessary to retain an existing one.

joshuahedlund 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Nothing wrong with these tips, but I don't feel like they added value to all the things I've read about customer service a dozen times already.
Mysterious electrical bursts warn of material collapse newscientist.com
14 points by iProject  1 hour ago   4 comments top 3
varelse 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
Why does this remind me of crunching wintergreen lifesavers?


gms7777 15 minutes ago 1 reply      
While I do think the phenomena is really cool, the article states how it may be used to forewarn of earthquakes and bridge collapses. I'm curious how much benefit could be gained from knowing of an earthquake a few seconds in advance?
artaxerxes 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
Worm sign!
Spend a weekend in Bogota, Colombia. BogotConf 2012 Call For Proposals Open bogotaconf.co
8 points by buritica  28 minutes ago   discuss
Announcing Hipmunk's $15M Series B Funding hipmunk.com
83 points by jacqattack  5 hours ago   35 comments top 9
stickfigure 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one that thinks "Ugh, not making money yet"?

Yes yes, I know about burning cash (err, growing) as fast as possible to lock down winner-take-all markets, but travel booking doesn't seem like one of those. There doesn't seem to be any switching cost other than typing a different url in the browser. I don't see any network effects. Am I missing something?

This is a business with revenue streams and cash flow. They've been around for two years. They've already raised more than $5mm. When I hear "we raised another venture round" my gut reaction is concern, not congratulations.

As far as the product goes: The UX is nice. But every time I tried hipmonk, the prices were higher than what I found elsewhere, so I stopped using it.

kn0thing 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Feels like just yesterday I published this first blog post:


I can't believe how much the site & company has grown since - it's a testament to the fabulous product and team. Onward & upward!

AndrewWarner 3 hours ago 8 replies      
Any suggestions for what I should ask Adam? We're recording his Mixergy interview tomorrow about Hipmunk.
spoiledtechie 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I always feel hipmunk has the most expensive prices out of any other airline search engine. They might do it differently, which I like, but their prices seem higher than any other site.

I also love what priceline offers, their price negotiator!!! It always hits well below what the prices of airlines currently offer. Any plans to put this in the future of hipmunk?

rokhayakebe 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
While we are on the subject, does anyone have a good website to find when is the cheapest time to fly to a particular city?
c0mpute 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Can someone explain how do these free flight search engines make money?

In my case I search using Kayak, but never really book the ticket from Kayak (don't follow their link to the airline). I go directly to the airline site and book it there. Many people I know do the same. I despise using Orbitz/Priceline other than just a cursory glance to see if there are cheaper tickets.
I know that sometimes an itinerary involves multiple airlines and that is when there might be an advantage booking through, say Orbitz, but even in those cases I just book separate tickets.

Why is this free search/booking industry still unsaturated and is there really a demand for such capital infusion?

Update: My question is specific to flight search, because I think hotel search can be profitable model as sometimes these sites provide better rates than the hotel's site.

its_so_on 5 hours ago 2 replies      
What, and not a down-round? Congratulations! You must have had a heart-attack a few days ago with PG's email...

update: would be nice to know when you guys closed this...someone says it was a while ago?

calbear81 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats to Adam and the whole team at Hipmunk. It's always great to see investments into travel startups, it's a big space in need of lots of innovation.
mrgordon 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Congrats to Adam and the team!
Indie Game: The Movie released on Steam steampowered.com
61 points by joshuacc  3 hours ago   23 comments top 8
matthew-wegner 3 hours ago 2 replies      
IG:TM is worth watching. It's great.

But I think the real story here is that Steam just launched a movie on their platform...

oldpatricka 2 hours ago 1 reply      
This movie is incredible. It's amazing how everyone making a game in this movie explicitly states that they feel like they are going to die or kill themselves.

  Interviewer (paraphrased): What if you don't finish your game?
Phil Fish: I will kill myself, That's my incentive to finish it.

GuiA 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Even if you're not that much into videogames, I recommend you give it a watch, especially if you're striving to build something by yourself at the moment (eg. a startup).

The movie goes through the process of starting something from scratch, with its (high) ups and (extremely low) downs, and most people on HN will likely relate in one form or another.

alanfalcon 3 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want to rent rather than buy, you can rent on iTunes for $4-$5 (depending on whether you want HD): http://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/indie-game-the-movie/id5224...

I'm sure it's on other platforms as well.

schmrz 2 hours ago 1 reply      
If you are from Europe (or Australia) you probably want to buy it from their website directly since it's $9.99 there.

I'm from Europe and the price on steam is 9.99€. Never really understood why they never lower the price when it's in euros.

okamiueru 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What does he say in the end?
ds206 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I saw this in Seattle around the end of March. Definitely worth watching and then playing the games.
bionicbrian 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Have been waiting for the release today.

Loved it. Highly recommended.

Newegg refuses to repair defective laptop because user installed Linux consumerist.com
220 points by sequoia  5 hours ago   127 comments top 25
singlow 4 hours ago 10 replies      
I am a Linux user, and I have wrecked laptops with it before. It is easy to overheat or otherwise abuse a laptop by having improper configs.

For example, I had a battery become unusable because Linux often failed to sleep when the lid was closed because some dialog box was blocking. It would run in the bag with no ventilation when I didn't realize it until the battery drained and it would fail to shutdown until the hardware fail-safes took over and I realized my backpack was too hot to hold. Did this a few times and the last time, the battery wouldn't charge anymore. After getting a new battery I became very conscientious about whether it actually was asleep before I put it in the bag.

I have had this happen in Windows before as well, in one case it would wake up if I forgot to turn off my Bluetooth mouse when I put it away. Since it was already closed, there was no trigger to go back to sleep so it would run itself dead in the bag and eventually the plastic near a hot component melted. Turns out there is an option in the Windows device manager to tell it not to wake on Bluetooth that prevents this.

However a defect in the factory-installed operating system that causes failure is something you have to warranty. A defect in the user-installed operating system is not. However, I have no idea how they could trace the problem to the operating system. Not sure how they would ever know that Linux is installed. Any good Linux user would wipe the hard disk before returning a computer to the manufacturer for repair :)

jtchang 5 hours ago 1 reply      
For what it is worth I actually contacted newegg at http://help.newegg.com/app/ask/site/US/category/74 and asked them what they thought.

I'm a big fan of newegg and hope they continue to bring competition to amazon. I am hoping this is just a small oversight and it will be corrected shortly.

excuse-me 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I bought 10 identical Shuttle PCs from newegg.

One was DoA and I returned it with an RMA - they sent it straight back to me because I had returned it in the wrong box. The serial # on the machine didn't match the barcode on the box!

They seriously expect you to keep the individual box for every unit? Or are they just a scam that try and stop you every returning anything?

Anyway - haven't bought anything from them since.

jemfinch 4 hours ago 1 reply      
File a chargeback. Show your credit card company the return policy and how you didn't violate it, and you will get your money back.

This is precisely why you should always pay with a credit card online.

georgemcbay 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Tangential to this story but anecdotally I've been hearing of lots of situations recently where newish laptops have had screen problems soon after purchase and the brands involved have varied (ASUS, Lenovo, Acer, etc). And by "screen problems", I mean electrical ones either with the panel itself or with the controller, resulting most often in parts of the screen or the entire screen dancing towards full white.

I wonder if there is some shared panel manufacturer who has been dropping the ball lately?

rrrazdan 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have had HP India refuse servicing my laptop (its speakers went kaput) because I had VLC installed. According to them, greater than 100% sound amplification in VLC was to blame.
dllthomas 4 hours ago 1 reply      
What gets me is "system cannot be resold as received" - I mean, sure, a customer should wipe their data off the disk... but would NewEgg really ship a system to a new customer without doing a fresh install of the OS if it was running Windows?
dbingham 5 hours ago 2 replies      
And so the day has come in which Newegg has become just another internet retailer.
johnchristopher 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I always wonder wether an incorrectly configured ubuntu kernel or drivers could actually damage modern computers. I remember viruses from the 80's that supposedly could kill the machine by asking the bios to increase and decrease voltages or hdd spin in such a way it would deal physical damages to the machine. Might have been a computer legend though.

Note: When returning laptop, desktop, smartphone or anything I always tend to be anal retentive and put everything back in place, including software and OS so there are no arguing wether the problem is software or hardware (obviously I only need to send back hardware defective devices).

tibbon 4 hours ago 3 replies      
I had a really bad experience in the past with Newegg and their lower levels of customer service. At one point I documented and blogged it, but that blog is no longer up unfortunately.

Anyway, the good news is that once I got in touch with someone higher up the chain they were like, "That never should have happened" and worked to make it right. It just took a ton of kicking and screaming to get there, which really wasn't worth it on my part, but in the end, they did the right thing.

One thing I'm seeing more and more is that companies are holding back their lower tier support employees from actually being helpful. For example, have you ever had one of those "Instant Online Chat Support" things help you out? No, they are always so unempowered its not even funny.

JumpCrisscross 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Is it at all possible that Linux Mint in some way collided with a driver or some other critical infrastructure?
kenrikm 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I have had bad customer service from NewEgg in the past I'm not surprised by this. Now I buy almost everything off Amazon and only go to Newegg for stuff that can't be DOA (cables and such)
motoford 4 hours ago 0 replies      
NewEgg has really lost their way over the past 2 or 3 years. I have gone from don't even check anywhere else to checking NewEgg last. Amazon almost always beats them on price now.
uslic001 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
I now try to buy all my electronics at Amazon instead of NewEgg or TigerDirect due to the poor return policies at Newegg and TigerDirect with DOA items. NewEgg used to be better than it is now but they have gone downhill in the past two years. TigerDirect has always had poor return policies.
orbitingpluto 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is NewEgg's chance to either gain or lose 1% of its customer base. Since margins are so tight on computers, and NewEgg costs for software support will decline, isn't this a no-brainer from a business perspective?
lysol 5 hours ago 1 reply      
It doesn't matter who the vendor is, extended warranties from the retailer are braindead.
systematical 4 hours ago 2 replies      
This is not the community they want to alienate.
sigmaxipi 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Note that the NewEgg's refusal is based on the original OS being missing rather than a new OS being installed according to that email. My guess is that the user formatted the HD before installing Linux. Most OEM PCs now come with a recovery partition which is used to perform a factory reset. If the user erased this partition, then NewEgg would be unable to reset the device to its initial state for testing. It would be similar to the user returning the device by not returning important CDs.
AGrinsPaul 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If you would like to petition Dell to start to include Ubuntu/Fedora/RHEL on all of their machines and stop the whole "Dell Recommends Windows 7" monopoly cartel join this idea on ideastorm and let's try to get our voices heard...

Dell Ideastorm Multiboot Linux: http://www.ideastorm.com/idea2ReadIdea?id=0877000000006ixAAA...

Dell Linux & Windows on all Laptops/Desktops:

Dell Sputnik Ubuntu Laptop:

bhudman 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Newegg used to be awesome - I have spent thousands in the last 6 years with them, but their customer service is terrible. Their customer service pretty much reads a script and keep repeating the same thing.

I think all companies have a life cycle:
1. New company, so customer is treated well/
2. Company grows and becomes successful
3. Company needs to show ever increasing profits. Starts taking shortcuts to save money, and starts to ignore what made them great in the first place.

zyce 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The policy quoted states you can't return it even if it is opened.

"The following conditions are not acceptable for return, and will result in the merchandise being returned to you: Any desktop PC, notebook or tablet PC that has been opened"

shmerl 2 hours ago 0 replies      
They need to put presser on Newegg managers. It's simply ridiculous.
invisiblecow 4 hours ago 3 replies      
I don't buy at newegg or have any other incentive to side with them but... in my past experiences, Linux didn't really have the most compatible hardware drivers. Am I the only one to think that?
mrwud 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Couldn't she just reinstall windows and send it back?
evilbit 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Newegg: party like it's 1999...
Flame is Lame f-secure.com
204 points by wglb  10 hours ago   88 comments top 10
nikcub 8 hours ago 4 replies      
> 7. The stolen info is sent out by infecting USB sticks that are used in an infected machine and copying an encrypted SQLLite database to the sticks, to be sent when they are used outside of the closed environment. This way data can be exfiltrated even from a high-security environment with no network connectivity.

> "Agent.BTZ did something like this already in 2008. Flame is lame."

Flame's approach is different and more impressive. Agent.BTZ copied itself and used an easy-to-discover autorun.inf file in the root directory of attached disks or network shares. Flame exports its database by encrypting it and then writing it to the USB disk as a file called '.' (just a period, meaning 'current directory')

When you run a directory listing you can't see it. You can't open it. The windows API doesn't allow you to create a file with that name and Flame accomplishes this by opening the disk as a raw device and directly writing to the FAT partition. Impressive, right.

While a lot of these individual features alone are not impressive the sum of the parts, combined with the collision attack on the certificate signature are very impressive.

As for the main point of Mikko's post, I have never understood why so many folks in the netsec industry are arrogantly pessimistic about the innovation of others. I found Flame jaw-droppingly amazing.

Nobody knew about it for years, yet it was derided when discovered and documented.

patio11 9 hours ago  replies      
I think tptacek has hummed a few bars in this direction before, but it has become received wisdom on some parts of the Internet that geeks vs. government is an asymmetric fight and that since governments are stupid geeks will win. You often see this in, let me cherry pick out of charitability, threads suggesting that the OSS community develop surveillance countermeasures for use by dissidents subject to certifiably evil regimes.

It doesn't really matter whether the nation state in question is Iran or the United States. Do not pick fights with people who can respond to a hacking incident by writing a check for $5 million dollars to a defense contractor and consider that low-intensity conflict resolution. It will not end well.

Niten 8 hours ago 1 reply      
The thing I find most interesting about Flame: whoever developed it surely understood that by being released into the wild like this, their new cryptographic attack was guaranteed to eventually be discovered and analyzed. And yet they spent that attack's secrecy on a (very sophisticated, but still) fishing expedition.

So what cryptanalytical capabilities do they have which are considered too sensitive to expose via malware?

weavejester 9 hours ago 2 replies      
It's a fairly nice summary of Flame, but it could do without the link-bait title, since the conclusion of the article is exactly the opposite.
mtgx 9 hours ago 5 replies      
If this was indeed developed by NSA, wouldn't this sort of attack be easier for them since NSA gets access to Microsoft's source code for Windows?
bjornsing 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Completely agree. That novel cryptographic hash collision thing is mind boggling, all the rest is just run-of-the-mill.
at-fates-hands 5 hours ago 0 replies      
>> Nobody knew about it for years, yet it was derided when discovered and documented.

I had the same reaction, then I thought they did this on purpose to downplay how really impressive Flame is. I imagine the people writing these blogs are actually thinking "Holy S%$&!" behind closed doors or within other security circles.

sparknlaunch 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I thought the big thing was that flame found itself into a network locked out from the outside world. So the intrigue lies in how it made it into this network ?
brunnsbe 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Who said that Flame was Lame? I haven't stumbled on that much critique about Flame.
ticks 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm probably alone on this, but 'lame' is such a lazy word to use. Saying it repeatedly just made me stop reading.
I know someone whose 2-factor phone authentication was hacked... williamedwardscoder.tumblr.com
132 points by willvarfar  8 hours ago   67 comments top 14
pearkes 7 hours ago 6 replies      
I use the Google Authenticator app, which makes the token only available to that specific device, rather than through SMS. This gets around the problem of cloning a phone number.

iOS: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-authenticator/id388497...

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.and...

kmfrk 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
django-twostepauth (https://bitbucket.org/cogni/django-twostepauth/src/79bbf0ce3...) is a Django app that works really well and has an exampleapp that makes it as easy as can be to try out. Setting up TFA with Google's authenticator is a breeze.

Unfortunately, the release of Django 1.4/django-registration 0.8 (https://bitbucket.org/ubernostrum/django-registration/src/27...) complicates matters a bit, and I'm torn between figuring out a way to keep my TFA or just roll it back altogether and implement d-r, and see if it has support for TFA.

If you're using Django 1.3 with something else than the default password-hashing, you should check out django-TSA.

adrianhoward 4 hours ago 2 replies      
It annoys me that a trick is missed with the secure fob. Imagine that: the challenge screen includes the amount you are authorising and you type that amount into your secure fob along with the challenge code

That's basically how the auth works on with my online bank. I get a small calculator sized device that reads my debit card. I have to enter the card pin, a challenge code from the online transaction, and the amount - which then gives me a code to authorise the online transaction.

(The downside is that the devices are all identical - so anybody with one + a cloned card + my stolen login info can auth transactions - hey ho...)

freshfunk 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Bcrypt is no longer recommended.

NIST recommends PBKDF2.

In short, it appears that advances in hardware have made it possible such that bcrypt hashes can be efficiently computed.


cantankerous 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm a pretty big fan of the rolling token 2-factor authentication model, with the app on your phone presenting you the rolling token. The Blizzard login app is the biggest single example that comes to mind. SMS really isn't secure, I think something like this could be a good next step to phase in.
gagabity 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Something like the Google Authenticator App instead of an SMS would remove the phone company from the equation, also my bank gives me an actual device on which I have to punch my code in to log into my bank account.
These remove allot of the social engineering options that thieves have.
eli 7 hours ago 1 reply      
If RSA 2-factor tokens can be hacked (or "stolen" I guess, but the effect is the same), there's not much hope for the rest of us. Still a whole lot better than not doing 2 factor.
shadesandcolour 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Two factor authentication is still, in my opinion, the strongest way to go. This case is really the phone company's fault, maybe they'll learn from this and start teaching the customer support reps what the difference is between a correct password and an incorrect password.
drucken 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Wish he had stated which UK bank since most of the ones I am aware of use 2-factor authentication using a card reader device. They even seem to use an identical card reader!
romaniv 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The way it's commonly implemented, two-factor authentication is definitely not "a step in the right direction".

Two-factor authentication using phone numbers is a huge privacy breach, especially when you're dealing with websites that have no business knowing your phone.

And rolling code tokens aren't feasible for anything except some really high-security applications. Even there, I doubt they are really much more secure than a USB stick with your paraphrase-protected private key. Sure, you can't copy the token, but that doesn't just add to security, it detracts from usability.

mayneack 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how much publicity this type of breach is getting outside of the HN bubble? I'd guess not a lot because I still have many friends that act like I'm paranoid just for using 2-factor at all.

At some point though, shouldn't phone companies notice and beef up their end a little bit. Maybe we need another large phone hacking scandal to really lock down answering machine security. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_International_phone_hackin...

nowen 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I hate to use the cliché, but: weakest link. SMS and dial-back systems rely on the security of the telco, who are dis-incented to secure their users' accounts. These systems do not use encryption! Of course they are going to get owned.
benburleson 7 hours ago 1 reply      
The point is: Nothing is ever truly secure. Do what you can to avoid being the low-hanging fruit and you'll probably be OK.
r00fus 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This also underscores why the whole "banking through SMS" is not trustworthy - the telecoms are not banks, and are essentially weak points in the security chain.

The only way to do this properly is certificate-based 2-factor like with Google's Authenticator app.

Kytephone (YC W12) Turns Android Phones Into Kid-Safe Devices techcrunch.com
32 points by martythemaniak  3 hours ago   11 comments top 5
roguecoder 3 hours ago 1 reply      
We wonder why kids aren't interested in computers, and then we spend tons of time and energy keeping them from doing anything interesting with them. If they see technology as something designed to let adults eavesdrop into every corner of their lives of course it becomes something to be avoided, rather than experimented with.

I hope some kid installs this on their parent's phone.

gawker 3 hours ago 1 reply      
If I had a kid, I'd definitely get it. Just knowing that my kid reached school safely and no weird creeps are calling my kid is priceless.

Edit: This just proves why parents should know what's going on: http://www.channel4.com/news/should-you-let-your-child-play-...

richf 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I think this app coupled together with a rugged kid-proof case would be a knockout combo.

Does anyone know what the future business model is? Pro version? OEM pre-load?

gcb 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Would be more interested in senior/visually impaired solutions.

Last time i checked 3yrl olds didn't have any problem playing games on any they could grasp.

Yet, a cataract eye can't even answer a call on modern phones

kumarm 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Disney Launched an MVNO on sprint network 5/6 years back which has all of the features mentioned in the article and more (Parents can set allowances for kids to more content) and failed simply because there was no market for it (at the time).
Sweden Twitter Experiment Goes Painfully Awry mashable.com
80 points by Jagat  5 hours ago   51 comments top 13
S_A_P 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Seems to me that she has been given a platform to stir the pot and has taken the opportunity to do so. This seems like trolling to me, plain and simple. Use strong words/imagery that incite emotion and blind the reader from noticing that she isn't really saying anything that bad. That said, I'm sure the Swedish tourist board wasn't quite expecting this...
mef 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Wouldn't this mean the experiment has been a success? The experiment is "... based around the idea that no single voice can represent the country, so a slew of guest Swedish curators will do the best job to portray the national character."

Take a cross section of any society and you're going to get people of all kinds, including people like Sonja.

niho 3 hours ago 4 replies      
I'm swedish and this is really not that strange. She's just an ordinary Stockholm hipster with an odd sense of humor. We got a bunch of those here. We've sort of had a tradition of that kind of very politically incorrect and absurdist humor here at least since the mid 90s. I would even go as far as to say that it is considered a bit chick in some circles to behave like that.

But I can see how an american/international audience wouldn't get the joke.

huma 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't see what's the big fuss here. Maybe a few edgy comments, but nothing "painfully awry". I would say kudos to the organizers for their trust in their fellow citizens to speak out freely without censorship.

Btw, her profile [1] on the project's page is up and straight about her agenda (and her character, as well): "I'm gonna tweet about my thoughts and being me, about having children and living my life and what not."

There may be a day when we become so politically-correct about everything that we can't speak out minds anymore.

[1] http://curatorsofsweden.com/

peterwwillis 42 minutes ago 1 reply      
I think this is the funniest thing i've ever seen. Troll or not, this is hilarious
TomGullen 4 hours ago 1 reply      
My troll-dar isn't as sharp as it used to be as I get older, but it seems quite likely that they've just got a troll on their hands here from reading the Tweets.

Either way, anything like this was a time bomb waiting to go off if there wasn't any vetting process at all.

smoyer 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I have known a few Swedes and have owned 4 Saabs and none have them have ever behaved like this. There's always 5% of a population that can make the other 95% hide in embarrassment.
apdinin 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems Sonja did a good job. We're talking about Sweden, right? How often does that topic come up in daily conversation for non-Swedish people?
unkoman 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I see nothing wrong with this.
Zirro 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm from Sweden, and I have never heard of this before.
silverlake 4 hours ago 1 reply      
There's a fine line between master troll and dimwitted psycho. Which is she?
mycodebreaks 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The guy is definitely getting questioned by authorities at an airport if he comes to the USA.
mc32 4 hours ago 0 replies      
That's just bizarre --off the rails. It's not as if she has the excuse of being an actor and could blame this whole episode on being high or coming down hard off of something.

Pity the kids. What a mom.

Zynga shares plummet as Facebook game craze wanes reuters.com
68 points by acak  5 hours ago   36 comments top 9
Aethaeryn 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Please do not be a contrarian who buys ZNGA. You will probably lose money.

They have 3,000 employees,[1] even though their business model revolves largely around cloning[a] games that are simple enough for very small teams to create.[2] They're losing money; their EPS is -1.30.[3][4] Just because they have cash from investors doesn't mean that the business model will make significant money in the long run and it's made more complicated by the fact that they have a very heavy dependence on Facebook.[5]

They're also dependent on casual gamers (who don't have much loyalty or will to pay) and current trends.[b] Apparently, only 2% of their customers pay for their games.[5] Their stock market valuation seems largely mapped to their active user count[6] (and also Facebook's share prices[5]) rather than their financials.[c] In fact, I can't even say that they're overvalued because that involves looking at the P/E and with a negative EPS, I can't really do an apples-to-apples P/E comparison of Zynga against companies that are actually listed as profitable. Is a -3.8 P/E overvalued?[4] It certainly is risky!


[a] They also buy some companies behind popular games too, like OMGPOP. This isn't necessarily a good idea.[7]

[b] The use of the term "game craze" in the title of the parent article implies that part of the reason ZNGA has a valuation in the billions is because of the current trendiness of Facebook games. The problem with relying on trendiness for investments is that when there's something even trendier (i.e. mobile apps), all the investor money that chases trendy stuff could simply go there instead.

[c] It was a popular dot-com bubble plan to focus on market share with a free product at a sustained financial loss.[8] Of course, it's too early to tell if ZNGA will sustain its losses in the long run because its stock is too young. Still, it's very risky.


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

[2] https://s3.amazonaws.com/nbpromo/dearzynga.jpg

[3] http://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:ZNGA

[4] http://data.cnbc.com/quotes/ZNGA

[5] http://beta.fool.com/buffettbeater/2012/06/11/dont-get-zynge...

[6] http://www.marketwatch.com/story/zynga-falls-on-ugly-faceboo...

[7] http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2012/05/04/draw-somet...

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot-com_bubble#Bubble_growth

steve8918 4 hours ago 5 replies      
I stepped in and bought some shares at $5.00.

ZNGA's current market cap is $3.5B. But it has about $1.2B in cash, and little debt. Regardless of how you feel the games, they do have a real business, so if Instagram is worth $1B to Facebook, ZNGA must be worth somewhere north of $2.5B, its current enterprise value.

ahelwer 5 hours ago 7 replies      
One thing I've always wondered with these headlines: how do they establish causality? Do they ask some pundit why shares dropped 10% in a day and run with that?
smoyer 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Zynga is said to be moving games into the mobile market, but you also have to figure that being a gaming company is hard. You're top-rated game will be supplanted by something else in short order and you have to constantly be updating.

I think that the way Zynga acquired its customers/users is exacerbating the situation. If your friends are all there you feel compelled to join too, but if some leave it's socially acceptable to follow them elsewhere.

Since we're talking about "social" gaming, I also have to wonder whether part of the drop isn't seasonal ... at least where I live, it's now nice enough to spend a lot of time outside socializing (picnics, frisbee, t-ball, etc) so perhaps there's just not the boredom to drive as much traffic?

rhizome 3 hours ago 0 replies      
In other news, it's summertime in the US and school just let out. People are using their casual time differently at this time of year.
mxttr0 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Rumor has it that the insider lock-up is tomorrow, which doesn't help as it's being discounted.


bond 1 hour ago 0 replies      
podperson 3 hours ago 0 replies      
My reaction to this:


zerostar07 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The lack of inspiration, willingness or innovation on Zynga's part is still baffling.
Getting started with with Ember.js andymatthews.net
61 points by chmike  6 hours ago   14 comments top 4
meta8609 4 hours ago 0 replies      
A much better article by the same author! http://www.adobe.com/devnet/html5/articles/flame-on-a-beginn...
pie 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This is about the author trying to get started with Ember, and doesn't offer anything in the way of helpful guidance for new users.

Check out http://emberjs.com/ or http://emberjs.tumblr.com/ for more info.

thegingman 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This article is outdated with the new router system. Basic application structure has changed a lot as you can see in the latest guide here: http://emberjs.com/guides/outlets/
user49598 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Thats a rather wordy getting started. No code samples? No pictures?
Experiments with WebSocket Performance (for HTML5 games) artillerygames.com
44 points by statico  5 hours ago   20 comments top 3
ajross 4 hours ago 2 replies      
The description of the retransmission timeout is kinda wrong. All modern TCP stacks (at least Linux and Windows, not sure about OS X) implement the selective acknowledgement ("SACK", see RFC 2018) option by default[1]. The receiver will notice the out of order sequence numbers and immediately push a SACK package back to let the sender know about the drop.

And if you look at the charts, that seems to be exactly what happens. At low-but-nonzero packet loss rates, the maximum delay is never more than one or two RTTs. With high packet loss rates, you start to see a long tail of longer times due to double-loss events, I suspect.

[1] "By default" becuase it can be turned off. SACK can be used as a DoS vector by forcing the sender of a large transmission to buffer and reprocess essentially all of it repeatedly by pretending it "lost" a packet.

paulgb 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Will WebRTC alleviate this at all? Looking over the spec[1] it seems that there is a "reliable" flag on the DataChannel, although the implementation of the underlying transport is not specified.

[1] http://dev.w3.org/2011/webrtc/editor/webrtc.html

joering2 4 hours ago 5 replies      
No later than yesterday I spent couple hours researching Websocket servers to no avail. I want to run it on Apache/Windows with PHP (there is some python implementation, but I wish it would be as simple as mod_websocked and opening concurrent port). Unfortunately solutions like Heroku are tremendously expensive in my opinion, if you want to build something that will have 1,000 websocket connections at the same time. Could not find anything reliable. This and fact IE/Opera do not have websocket implemented, makes me come back to good old Flash technology - building a simple socket module that will trigger Javascript functions inside a webpage.
Apple Maps apple.com
59 points by seanponeil  2 hours ago   18 comments top 7
llambda 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting that this seems to redirect to Google Maps for me although we can infer with some degree of certainty that Apple has some future plans for this subdomain.

Apropos to Apple's shift to Open Street Map I feel both excited and apprehensive: for instance someone pointed out to me that the new maps won't display transit information (or don't currently, we'll have to see what happens after iOS 6 is launched) but at the same time I'm happy to see OSM gaining traction.

Edit, here's what dig tells us:

    ; <<>> DiG 9.7.3-P3 <<>> maps.apple.com
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 742
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 3, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0

;maps.apple.com. IN A

maps.apple.com. 2918 IN CNAME gsps28.ls.apple.com.
gsps28.ls.apple.com. 219 IN CNAME gsps28.isg-apple.com.akadns.net.
gsps28.isg-apple.com.akadns.net. 272 IN A

nodesocket 1 hour ago 2 replies      
Bit worried if honestly Apple maps can ever stack up to Google. We use directions with public transportation all the time, and if that's missing from Apple maps, it will be a significant decrease in experience.
georgespencer 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This isn't news. The redirect has been in place for a while. I posted a link to exactly this a few hours ago before digging around and finding that it's been up there for a while.
twog 2 hours ago 2 replies      
This is redirecting to google maps for me
skibrah 1 hour ago 0 replies      
over under on the time that it takes for this to be changed?
seanponeil 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Full link: maps.apple.com
cfcosta 2 hours ago 0 replies      
What the actual hell?
T-Mobile Galaxy S2 with Android 4.0 is the first with IPv6 support extremetech.com
37 points by mrsebastian  5 hours ago   12 comments top 4
skystorm 4 hours ago 1 reply      
First branded phone on T-Mobile with IPv6.

Also, the HTC One S has been available on T-Mo for a few days now; it's running ICS and should thus support IPv6. Wouldn't that make it the first branded IPv6-capable phone?

Edit: As noted below, the software on the One S does indeed not support IPv6 as of now.

c0un7d0wn 3 hours ago 0 replies      
confirmed working with galaxy nexus too
gonzo 4 hours ago 1 reply      
because iOS hasn't had this for years.
revelation 4 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't see how IPv6 on mobile data helps anyone but law enforcement and your mobile provider. Keeping smartphones behind a NAT (that can still speak IPv6 to the outside world if it were inclined to do so) and avoiding the baseband turmoil seems like a winning strategy.
MacBook Pro Retina Display Analysis anandtech.com
137 points by spathak  11 hours ago   76 comments top 10
Gring 7 hours ago 1 reply      
What happens if you span the desktop across the internal retina display and an external non-retina display and then move a window so that parts of it are on both displays? Is it just double size on the non-retina (which would be bad)? Or does it get drawn twice, in both resolutions, and each display gets their appropriate resolution (which would be preferable, but might be overly complex and taxing on the hardware)?
mortenjorck 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This is an advantage of hiDPI screens that hadn't quite clicked for me before - a throwback to one of the advantages of CRTs, allowing multiple resolutions to look good on a single display.
seanalltogether 9 hours ago 5 replies      
"I really wish the $2199 SKU had the 512GB SSD, or at least offered it as an option - otherwise the spec is near perfect in my mind."

Many of my colleagues agree. Slower cpu with 512GB at ~$2500 would be just about perfect.

rbanffy 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I really don't like the approach of hiding the display's real pixel size. By now, we should have solved the problem of displaying GUIs with correctly sized elements at various resolutions. This approach only makes it more complicated to do it right in the future.
dbecker 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm trying to determine whether the "75% less glare" claim means this is usable outside. Anyone seen feedback on this?
PopaL 8 hours ago 2 replies      
The smart move now will be to wait 2-3 months before buying the Retina Display machine. I'm convinced that by the launch of Mountain Lion the OS will let you use the full resolution of the machine for UI, also it will give some time to other apps to upgrade their UI in order to support the new resolution.

While the upgrade to Mountain Lion will be free, I have a funny feeling that Adobe will charge (or at least will try) you some extra money for an updated version of Photoshop for Retina Display MacBook Pro :).

Any self respecting company or individual developer will probably provide a free upgrade for the UI of their applications soon in order to support the new resolution.

ktizo 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Why are they faking the resolution? Is it that the graphics card has problems, or is it to make their own apps look nicer than competitors, or what? I hope they are not rescaling stuff like photoshop to something other than actual screen res, otherwise they will severely piss off graphics professionals even more than they managed with the Mac Pro workstation non-upgrade.

[edit] reading through the article, it seems that they've either gone and broken the word 'resolution', or Anand is very confused.

At 1440 x 900 you don't get any increase in desktop resolution compared to a standard 15-inch MacBook Pro, but everything is ridiculously crisp.

I have read this sentence three times and it still makes no sense unless the word 'resolution' has been completely mauled by marketing idiots.

fredsted 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I was worried the Retinabook was only going to double the pixels. The ability to select a 1920x1200 "mode" is awesome.
chaz 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I buy a new MacBook Pro every year, and the dilemma here is similar to Anand's. I bought the high-resolution display on my current 15.4" MBP at 1680x1050. The resolution can be scaled to 1680x1050 or 1920x1200, but I'd like to know how blurry that is as opposed to native resolution. I've flipped my current MBP to 1440x852 to get a feel for the same effective real estate as the Retina Display's native resolution. Will try it out for a few days before pulling the trigger on upgrading.
nchlswu 7 hours ago 1 reply      
For creators, one of the reasons to own these devices is to create content for retina devices.

I'm curious of Apple and Adobe have worked together to allow image documents to display at true resolution, within a scaled output?

Does that make sense? I suppose what I'm saying is, working at a 100% canvas at 100% zoom level (instead of say, a 50% scale level) while all system elements are scaled.

EDIT: This might not even matter, from a practical perspective.

HTTP Status Code for Legally-restricted Resources ietf.org
129 points by tete  11 hours ago   43 comments top 9
marquis 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Fahrenheit 451, drafted in the last couple of days in honour of Mr. Bradbury? I do find it fitting that if this passes, we have a cultural reference to remind of its significance. I look forward to seeing some interesting error pages in the future.
cagenut 8 hours ago 2 replies      
This can't be a coincidence right? Its a way of saying that DMCA/lawsuit takedowns are digital book burning.
unwind 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting to see Tim Bray (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Bray) still being active at this level of the web's development.

Not sure I see the applications of this, but I guess more high-level error messaging is something that is in general a good thing so I guess that should hold for the web, too.

sanxiyn 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I love the example.

FYI, 755 AUC is 2 AD, so the example is referring to the time of Jesus.

mfer 8 hours ago 1 reply      
It seems some inspiration behind this is in the blog post at http://shkspr.mobi/blog/index.php/2012/06/there-is-no-http-c...
solox3 9 hours ago 3 replies      
> The use of the 451 status code implies neither the existence nor non-existence of the resource named in the request.

If something didn't exist at all, why would I send a 451?

> The 451 status code is optional; clients cannot rely upon its use

So... everybody can ignore 451?

drivingmenuts 8 hours ago 6 replies      
The 400 series implies that there was an error on the client side, when there clearly isn't one. The client has made a valid request that a middleman refuses to honor.

This better fits into the 300 series as a permanent addition.

bashzor 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Is this a troll or something?
junto 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Can we rename this to the "MPAA/RIAA HTTP Status Code"
LWN debates whether using GPL software on missiles counts as distribution lwn.net
111 points by aqrashik  10 hours ago   43 comments top 13
unimpressive 8 hours ago 2 replies      
First of all: This is a stupid question.


The solution is simple, copy a tarball of the source to CD and throw it inside the casing of the missile. Add rocket fuel to compensate for the added weight.



That was an intentionally stupid answer.

ben1040 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Including a copy of the source with a missile reminds me of the "McDonnell-Douglas Warranty Card" joke that is probably nearly as old as the Internet itself:


pilom 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The drones the original article talks about aren't missles, they aren't even predators or global hawks. They are the target practice drones the navy shoots with their own missiles for air to air combat exercises.
dspillett 9 hours ago 1 reply      
The GPL only states you have to release the source to people you distribute the code to, not directly make it publicly available. If the missiles work well enough when "delivered", there will be no one left eligible to demand access to the source!

Assuming that they are not selling them to someone rather than firing them at someone, of course.

dattaway 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm sure they would be happy to quickly distribute the source code on replacement missile along with a bugfix.
tzs 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Even if it is, the first sale doctrine would likely apply and so it would not require the permission of the copyright owner.

Whether this is the case or not depends on whether or not the Navy is making copies, or just passing along copies they received from a contractor.

cliffbean 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Yes, the internet is good at selecting pedantic people for extended discussions of absurdities. However, this doesn't have much significance for whether GPL-style licensing provisions are preferable in the regular world.
sigzero 7 hours ago 1 reply      
RMS should think about this form of delivery in GPLv4. j/k
sneak 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Ha! Everybody knows that laws for mortals don't apply to the defense industry.
amoore 8 hours ago 1 reply      
It certainly sounds at least like export to me. Are they therefore illegally exporting munitions and crypto?
ChristianMarks 6 hours ago 0 replies      
It's time to begin distributing copyrighted content on missiles.
Spooky23 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The government has the power of eminent domain, so they can just appropriate the property for it's market value. ($0)
BrainInAJar 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Open source is great; can't create something? Bitch about licensing!
An Introduction to Lock-Free Programming preshing.com
97 points by preshing  10 hours ago   19 comments top 6
haberman 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Nice article, though I think that any intro-level material on lock-free programming should always include a "don't try this at home for anything important" warning. Until you have some experience with this stuff you will almost certainly make mistakes, but these mistakes might only manifest themselves as crashes in extremely rare circumstances.

I wrote my first lock-free code in 2004 based on reading some papers by Maged Michael from IBM. I wrote a lock-free FIFO in PowerPC assembly, and was convinced it was safe and robust. When I emailed Maged about it, he pointed out that if a thread was suspended on one specific instruction and some specific memory was unmapped before it could run again, the program could crash. I was amazed; I had thought hard about this algorithm, but had completely missed that possibility.

Some other specific notes about the article:

> Basically, if some part of your program satisfies the following conditions, then that part can rightfully be considered lock-free.

The are actually several levels of lock-freedom defined in the literature: lock-freedom, wait-freedom, and obstruction-freedom. For more info see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-blocking_algorithm

> Processors such as PowerPC and ARM expose load-link/store-conditional instructions, which effectively allow you to implement your own RMW primitive at a low level, though this is not often done.

One benefit of load-linked/store-conditional (often abbreviated LL/SC) is that it avoids the ABA problem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABA_problem). In practice this doesn't matter that much since x86 doesn't support LL/SC, but I just think it's an interesting factoid to know.

> For instance, PowerPC and ARM processors can change the order of memory stores relative to the instructions themselves, but the x86/64 family of processors from Intel and AMD cannot.

(I've edited my reply here since my original assertion was incorrect). It's true that x86/64 won't reorder stores (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_ordering for details) but it will reorder loads, so memory barriers are still required in some situations. However I believe that the atomic instructions ("lock cmpxchg", and "lock xadd") imply full barriers on x86.

tptacek 8 hours ago 1 reply      
The idea that made this click for me 10 years or so ago was that distributed systems express concurrent processes but can't reasonably use locks; model your threads/processes/whatever as if they were nodes in a distributed system, and use distributed system techniques to ensure things converge.
rdtsc 8 hours ago 1 reply      
There is also a niche research area of lock-free data structures and algorithms.

On a more practical side, check out http://www.liblfds.org/ -- it is a library of lock free data structures in C. (I am not the author). I have successfully used this library in some realtime projects.

sbahra 4 hours ago 0 replies      
A while back I linked to the following: http://concurrencykit.org/presentations/lockfree_introductio...

Please make sure to navigate all the way down, before navigating to the right. Press the space bar to see the full layout of the presentation.

cheatercheater 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Make sure to check out pi calculus for a different model of concurrency without locks:
rossjudson 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Very good overview. I've built lock-free hash maps, and this article covers the areas you need to be aware of. I'd also suggest looking up false sharing, and also making sure that you really understand exactly how the memory barriers are operating.
       cached 12 June 2012 22:02:01 GMT