hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    18 Aug 2012 News
home   ask   best   7 years ago   
NASA Pulls Off 160-Million-Mile Software Patch wired.com
15 points by akent  58 minutes ago   1 comment top
SwaroopH 26 minutes ago 0 replies      
Impressive (even more for the geek me) but done before. Only relevant because of comparison with hellish OTA process for non-Google Android devices.


GNU GDB 7.5 brings Go support, reverse debugging on ARM sourceware.org
11 points by Tsiolkovsky  1 hour ago   2 comments top 2
justincormack 30 minutes ago 0 replies      
For anyone, like me, who had no idea what reverse debugging was, you can step backwards from a breakpoint/segfault or whatever. http://sources.redhat.com/gdb/news/reversible.html
biomechanica 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's good to see Go officially supported.
Garry Kasparov Arrested By Russian Police rian.ru
174 points by neya  9 hours ago   101 comments top 15
mladenkovacevic 7 hours ago  replies      
"Breaking news! Corruption and totalitarianism of the Russian government, KGB and orthodox church exposed by the unimaginable injustice dealt to the members of the Pussy Riot and undisputed chess champion Gary Kasparov"

Anyways, here's what I was motivated to write in an earlier post on this topic:

Why isn't Madonna or these other outraged people protesting over the 32 miners killed in South Africa?
I understand 3 years (or is it 2?) is a tough punishment for what is basically vandalism by western standards (although I'm sure we can find examples or worse injustices in any of the western judicial systems). The organized and overblown reaction to all of this is much more about ruining Russia's reputation as a democratic nation than anything else. I've actually heard the nightly news-anchor here in Canada report on "International condemnation" of the sentencing. Are you fucking kidding me? Miners being gunned down for protesting in South Africa, Omahr Khadr still sitting in Guantanamo for something he might've been involved when he was 16, all the Wikileaks shit from Iraq Afghanistan... and the Pussy Riot going for a 2 year stint for vandalism is causing "international condemnation"?! If anything's made me aware of how alive the cold war is, this is it.

Also this:
I don't want to be misunderstood.. I'm in favour of Kasparov and the Pussy Riot doing what they're doing and fighting for a better government in Russia... as anyone should be doing for their country! But I am just irritated by the "better than thou" indignations echoed in media channels of the equally unjust western world that tends to ignore massive wrongdoings that are too inconvenient to the larger narrative.

sethbannon 8 hours ago 2 replies      
The tactics of the Putin regime are getting more concerning every day. In case anyone is curious, here's the backstory on the protest Kasparov was attending at the time: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/aug/17/pussy-riot-sente...

[EDIT] Here's a link to the BBC for background, for those that don't like the Guardian: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19302986

1gor 2 hours ago 1 reply      
One fragment from a BBC documentary by Adam Curtis explains rather well the mechanics of current Russian pro-democracy campaign in the Western media. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v...

The video deals with PR guru Edward Bernays work for his client, a United Fruit Company (UFCO). When a newly elected Guatemala president Jacobo Árbenz threatened to nationalize UFCO's plantations, Bernays engineered a campaign to turn the popularly elected president doing hugely popular things for his people, into a threat to democratic values and a communist with links to Moscow.

In reality, Arbenz was no communist and no dictator, as the documentary points out. But Bernays has set up a shell American press agency which bombarded US media with reports about alleged freedom violations in Guatemala. Bernays has also apparently organised a few violent anti-US actions in Guatemala to support his thesis.

As a result, president Arbenz was ousted in a coup and replaced with a proper dictator, which was generally viewed as a good thing by the freedom-loving public in the US. Interestingly, the whole time the United Fruit Company has been kept out of the picture, even through it was paying for the campaign.

The whole BBC documentary http://centuryself.blogspot.com/ is quite interesting.

1gor 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Kasparov is a totally manufactured 'Russian opposition' figure.

As late as 2004 he was a member of a US "Security Advisory Council" (NSAC). It was funny to see Kasparov's name on the website under the slogan: "Advisory Council members have dedicated their careers to American security", right next to assistant Secretary of Defence

I respect his anti-Putin views, and his chess achievements, but how exactly can he make a political career in Russia with such a background?

His current role is to get beaten occasionally by the police and to remind Western audience that Russian president is evil.

Steko 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Garry was famously beaten by another machine in 1997.

The most intriguing part of this affair to me has been the revelations of the patriarchy as basically tools of the KGB and now Putin. The airbrushed out $30K watch that bloggers found the reflection of. Wild stuff. Not that we don't have our share of corrupt clergy in the US but that the story we've always been told was of how the Russian church was oppressed and quietly waited out the evil Socialist overlords.


his predecessor:


_delirium 8 hours ago 4 replies      
Kasparov's political role is interesting. He's been a thorn in the regime's side for some years now, but has only been moderately harassed. Not entirely sure why; perhaps the cost/benefit analysis of how much they fear him (probably not greatly) versus how much negative PR they get from going after him.
jakeonthemove 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I know a lot of people believe Putin saved Russia, but I gotta say, having the same people in power for too long is never a good thing: they get comfortable, they lose their focus, things get stagnant and everything goes downhill from there.

There's a reason why the US does not allow the same person to be president more than twice in their life (although that doesn't stop them from putting someone they trust in power).

xentronium 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I am surprised by the fact that there were no news about Pussy Riot getting jail time for dancing in balaclavas in the church, Quinisext Council (692 A.D.) being cited in court in 2012, but instead there is an article about Kasparov arrested by police. Oh wow. Don't worry about the guy, he'll be released in 15 days tops.

Not that I think that any of this should be on HN front page.

lobotryas 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Karsparov has a history of staging or attending protests and getting arrested. After his chess career ended he has been trying to reinvent himself as a "people's champion" and "pro-democracy" leader. So far this has mostly amounted to him getting marginalized and beaten up by police.
rglover 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Humanity is truly lost when a band named Pussy Riot can upset an entire government.
wyclif 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Here in the US, the mainstream media has been showing clips of the protests, including footage of Kasporov being arrested, but not identifying him. I had to do a double-take (I used to play chess a lot). I was 99.9% sure it was him. I hope he is treated humanely by the police.
shardling 5 hours ago 0 replies      
There's an awful lot of throwaway comments claiming that Kasparov is given undue coverage by the western media.

Linking to some sort of actual analysis of this might be interesting; littering the threads with multiple repetitions of this as a fact is not.

anovikov 5 hours ago 1 reply      
This is in fact good news. Things like that keeps Russia repelling talented people. It will ensure divestment of Russia of talent, and generation ahead it will be like big North Korea - country of destitute, drunk peasants - rather than like Iran - well-educated, agressive and strong. At least it will be safe for the outside world.
jaekwon 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Kasparov made a gambit, and finally Russia has bitten. Next move is Kasparov's.
daniel-cussen 4 hours ago 1 reply      
TIL naming your band Pussy Riot can keep you out of jail.
Google Sues Apple, Seeks To Block iPhone, iPad & Mac Imports To U.S. techcrunch.com
181 points by kunle  10 hours ago   163 comments top 25
crazygringo 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Seriously, I hope everyone manages to block everybody's imports.

Then lawmakers will be forced to actually overhaul the patent system.

Because judging from progress so far, it seems like only a meltdown would do it.

ktizo 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I think it is part of a plan to destroy western society by locking up all the courts and government with unanswerable questions such as "Who first thought of the rectangle?".

Soon, there will be nothing left but a wasteland and some lawyers arguing over who gets to own half a dead cat while they warm their hands on oil drums full of burning currency.

joelrunyon 9 hours ago 5 replies      
Does anybody else feel all the tech giants standing around with their patents in hand is like all the characters standing around with guns like at the end of Reservoir Dogs?

"Nobody innovate or we'll shoot!"

It's intriguing at first, but you can only keep it up so long before the plot line gets annoying because no one is doing anything (or innovating), or someone gets shot.

mdwrigh2 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Just to be clear, this Motorola suing Apple, and it's not the first time they've done so. I think The Verge has a much less linkbait-y headline for this: "Motorola files new patent case against Apple with ITC, wants import ban on iPhone and iPad" [1]

[1]: http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/17/3250656/motorola-files-new...

neya 4 hours ago 0 replies      
As far as I can see, this is too bad for consumers AND start-ups.

Consumers lose - For example, I lost a very important feature on my phone due to a ridiculous patent threat by Apple (Universal Search).

Start-ups lose - I know atleast a couple of friends who were working on an innovative Adreno-Android based project that they left off only because of the fear of being sued (also,they were bootstrapping and they didn't have the money to afford a counter-suit, in case of a legal threat).

Now this is exactly the kind of behavior these patent wars are driving us to. Everyone is to blame here, but I personally have a heavy bias against Steve Jobs because he was a man who invented nothing useful except these patent wars. And boy, people keep praising him instead for his innovation...Seriously, we need more articles on how much innovation this man has ruined more he has contributed ever.

comatose_kid 7 hours ago 2 replies      
There are a lot of 'Apple deserves this' type of comments in this thread that I'd like to address.

The patent system is probably flawed (IANAL), but companies do need to have a way to defend their innovations. Apple did re-invent the smart phone in 07, and has been the design leader since then.

Android has followed in their footsteps - witness the design shift from their pre-iphone roadmap which consisted of blackberry-look-alike designs.

Further, there have been no bold re-imaginings of the smartphone in Android-land (sorry, a better notification system doesn't really qualify). They are taking Apple's innovations and applying a different business model to achieve success.

Google and Apple are both amazing companies, but I have a hard time finding fault with Apple's decision to sue Google's partners. If the tables were turned, and Google came out with an Android phone first, I would support Google suing Apple for the same reasons.

S_A_P 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I believe that this may end up being Steve Jobs legacy. He became so focused on destroying android that it consumes everyone. Sure android was an iPhone rip off, google may acted in bad faith by ripping it off. So what? Anyone who makes something enviable should expect the copies to follow them. I am at my saturation point with IP lawsuits. I lack much empathy for any party at this point, consumers are the ones that lose.
indiecore 10 hours ago 3 replies      
We all knew that the second someone started wielding their "defensive" patents the whole system was going to fall apart.

Well...here we go I guess.

naner 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Google (through Motorola) is using Apple's tactics against them. Google/Motorola tried to do the same thing with Microsoft only to have Microsoft cry foul over FRAND (which isn't applicable in the case with Apple).

It is a dirty tactic but this is the system Microsoft and Apple and many other large tech companies lobbied for.

SquareWheel 9 hours ago 4 replies      
I stopped buying Apple products because of this patent nonsense, so I guess that means I can't buy that Nexus 7 I was eyeing either. Why is it that giant companies consistently act so evil?
viraptor 9 hours ago 1 reply      
In a perfect world Apple, Google, Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Blackberry achieve what they wanted - none of them can produce or sell mobile devices anymore in any country. Meanwhile Nokia restarts production of quality hardware and puts WebOS on them with compatibility layer allowing to use legacy iOS and Android applications, taking over the leader position...

(In a Bizarro World, it's Siemens bringing back Symbian)

ajays 7 hours ago 1 reply      
So are we going to hate on Google now, like we hated on Yahoo suing Facebook?
noamsml 9 hours ago 0 replies      
On the one hand, lawsuits are bad and innovation is good. On the other hand, I'm happy to see Google defend its ecosystem against Apple's square-with-rounded-corner lawsuits.
ezesolares 9 hours ago 1 reply      
WTF with people still quoting FOSS Patents Florian Mueller... that guy can be bought easily. He has no integrity
arkitaip 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Did Google acquire Motorola just to prepare its patent arsenal?
grandalf 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Even though I'm generally in favor of moderately strong patent laws, this is starting to get ridiculous. The statute of limitations on these sorts of things should be 1-2 years max.
coryl 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Anyone know what the eventual end game of all these lawsuits will be? Will everyone just end up carrying on and suing for the next few decades?
DigitalSea 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems like everyone is suing everyone these days. Apple sues Samsung, Samsung counter-sues, Google sue Apple and no doubt Apple will counter-sue and then someone else will counter-sue them all. The patent system is a joke, maybe this will be the final blow that will make someone take notice that the patent system needs some reform.
LetBinding 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Lawyers creating jobs for lawyers. Google's lawyers and Apple's lawyers have a vested interest in keeping each other in business. Extend to all lawyers for tech firms.
vng 10 hours ago 1 reply      
It's about time.
eranation 5 hours ago 0 replies      
And I'm still waiting to get my dumb search smart again on Galaxy S3, they fight, we lose.
nell 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Forget about Apple and Google's vendor lock-in strategy. The American Bar Association has something better up its sleeves to get paid regularly.
gagan2020 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I think Google is smarter than what looks at the surface. They are indirectly targeting timing of iPhone 5 and Apple's revenue. Good timing Google.
barista 8 hours ago 0 replies      
It's the articles like these and the discussion thereof that has dragged down the quality of HN these days.. sad.
akurilin 9 hours ago 1 reply      
It's good to be a patent attorney these days.
Custom Sublime Text Build Systems For Popular Tools And Languages addyosmani.com
73 points by jemeshsu  8 hours ago   7 comments top 4
simonsarris 6 hours ago 2 replies      
This article gives a good overview of how to use the build system in Sublime, though I always feel slightly pea-brained when articles like this pop up because they omit the very simple cases and that seems to be all I use.

If you use Sublime Text and just want a build system to save and start HTML pages when writing HTML and JavaScript, you can simply do:

Tools -> Build System -> New build system, write:

// or add the chrome path to the environment
"cmd": ["C:/Users/ThyUsername/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/Application/chrome.exe", "$file"],
"selector": "html"

and save. CTRL+B then saves your html file and opens it in Chrome. I think on a Mac you'd do:

"cmd": ["open", "-a", "Safari", "$file"],
"selector": "html"

vailripper 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Initially, I used the sublime build system for doing grunt builds as well. However, I've migrated towards using 'grunt watch' instead. Running your build on every file modification is pretty great. Combined with the SublimeLinter package, it's about as painless as I've experienced in web dev.
killahpriest 2 hours ago 0 replies      
FYI, instead of creating separate .sh files for builds that need multiple lines, you could just separate them by passing && as a parameter.

E.g., for Cordova iOS projects I use:

   "cmd": ["cordova/debug", "&&", "cordova/emulate"]

amirmansour 4 hours ago 1 reply      
How about some love for Scala?
How We Nearly Lost the Discovery Shuttle waynehale.wordpress.com
252 points by kibwen  16 hours ago   53 comments top 13
InclinedPlane 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Every Shuttle in the fleet has had one or several extremely close scrapes with death. To look at the Shuttle record and see the history of calamity it's easy to think that we just had bad luck, but quite the opposite was the case. We were enormously lucky with the Shuttle, in a fairer world we would have lost more of them, and sooner. The Shuttle was plagued by many fundamental design flaws which combined to make it an inherently unsafe system. Within the last years of the program that knowledge finally started to sink in, which is why the Shuttle was essentially restricted to missions to the ISS.

Some of the achievements of the Shuttle program have been inspiring, and the vehicle itself is pretty to look at, but we should have canned that program long, long ago.

jevinskie 15 hours ago 7 replies      
"We informed the foam technicians at our plant in Michoud Louisiana that they were the cause of the loss of Columbia..."

That to me is pretty disgusting. In an incident like the loss of Columbia, there is no one, true "root cause". To assign blame to those foam technicians was disingenuous and just another instance of "passing the buck" that seems to happen so often in the post-mortem of NASA failures. NASA knew of earlier foam strikes (STS-112) yet chose to continue flying without diagnosing the problem. Even during the tragic STS-107 flight, engineers knew of foam strikes and their concerns were ignored. Even though they would have been almost completely powerless to remedy the situation on STS-107, the higher-ups decided to continue on with the mission instead of addressing the concerns with the heat shields. The article author states later in the article that he apologized to the foam technicians. Commendable, but I am still bothered by the fact that NASA was initially so eager to place the blame on a single contractor instead of owning up to their own culpability. Leadership and responsibility needs to come from the top, especially in such a prestigious organization!

danso 13 hours ago 3 replies      
A great post, especially since it seeks to get at the truth of something that has implications for future missions, at the risk of the OP's reputation.

This part is one of the more disturbing parts though, and a good reminder of why technical persons of all fields, whether rocket scientists or programmers, should not adopt a "Well, we worked hard and we're smart so I'm sure everything's fixed"

> What you probably don't know is that a side note in a final briefing before Discovery's flight pointed out that the large chunk of foam that brought down Columbia could not have been liberated from an internal installation defect. Hmm. After 26 months of work, nobody knew how to address that little statement. Of course we had fixed everything. What else could there be? What else could we do? We were exhausted with study, test, redesign. We decided to fly.

How is it that this mentality exists at NASA? Isn't it a matter of logic that if the foam was shown not to have been an installation defect, that the engineers have to keep looking for the actual cause? The OP just brushes over this but surely there was some kind of debate, like: "Well, the particular test claiming that the foam was NOT an installation defect was poorly conducted, and all our other measurements say that the installation is the likely cause, so moving on..."

I really hope there isn't some kind of "Oh fuck it, just ship it" mentality at NASA.

maayank 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I posted some days ago an appendix by Feynman in the Challenger report, "Appendix F - Personal observations on the reliability of the Shuttle"[1] for those interested. Also, half of "Why do you care what people think?" is about his experience investigating the safety of the shuttle.

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4371024

rdl 10 hours ago 1 reply      
The lesson I take from this is that the Shuttle should have been killed on the drawing board, never flown. It's a hideously complex design with no real advantages over expendable or re-usable rockets. It might have made sense as part of a tens of trillions of dollar integrated infrastructure plan (as originally proposed in the 1970s), but once those elements were killed, zombie/frankenstein shuttle wasn't the right answer.

NASA could have focused more on great science programs (like the Mars rovers, unmanned deep space probes, planetary science -- think of what they could accomplish with even 50% of the current overall NASA budget), military and government launch could have continued with ICBM-derived rockets, and private space could have gotten an earlier start.

K2h 14 hours ago 2 replies      
This is an outstanding post that shows first hand what life as an engineer is like. It is often very hard to truly come to a conclusion that is 100% correct, even given what seems like infinite resources to do testing and analysis.

The big take away from this is what it means to be a good engineer: to be able to bow your head, and admit you were wrong despite all prior evidence.


guelo 13 hours ago 1 reply      
This reminded me of the problem of unit testing vs integration testing. Sometimes, no matter how much code coverage you have, the unit tests don't find that critical bug that takes everything down. Just like testing the 2 square feet of foam didn't find the problem. You also need integration testing.
alanfalcon 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Arresting article and comments section. This snippet from Mr. Hale's response to one of the comments struck me particularly:

"There is a saying that a wise old program manager once passed along to me: “Great engineers, given unlimited resources and time will achieve exactly . . . . nothing”
Think about it."

mkramlich 10 hours ago 0 replies      
> We informed the foam technicians at our plant in Michoud Louisiana that they were the cause of the loss of Columbia and then


(emphasis added by me)

scottshea 13 hours ago 0 replies      
This guy must need antacid like nobody's business. In some ways I envy him a little... I always try to assign more importance to my job than is really warranted; he has no call for that.
DigitalSea 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This was one hell of an inspirational post. What I took from it was: we are all human and no matter how smart you are, how many of you are or how much money you have to throw at a problem it's sometimes a mere simple solution or problem that was overlooked. Kind of reminds me of web development.
georgeecollins 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I loved this story. This is a good example of how you can go down the rabbit hole of solving a particular problem without stepping back to consider if the problem you are solving is key to getting the result you want.

It's amazing to hear someone be so honest about this.

MPSimmons 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Jesus that's scary. Thanks for posting this. Good lessons to keep in mind.
A Tor of the Dark Web slifty.com
259 points by slifty  17 hours ago   165 comments top 16
runn1ng 15 hours ago  replies      
Yes, I know I shouldn't say it out loud, but here I am saying it (take me, Police) - out of curiosity, I went to Hard Candy section of The Hidden Wiki. (Yes, it is exactly what you would think it is.)


There are seriously forums full of pedofiles sharing pictures and - maybe worse? - their stories and wisdoms. Maybe out of utter fascination, I spend about few hours on there and I felt like I want to murder all humanity. On one of these forums, there was this alleged "doctor", who adviced people, from what age you can have sex with your children without their doctor to notice. Tips how to kidnap young children. The worst thing was that I just knew that - if they don't do something stupid - they are basically untracable and uncatchable, while I would simply want to catch them all and kill them one by one. (I am sorry for being so expressive.)

There were also some picture forums but really I couldn't stand that, I just wanted to vomit while I was shaking.

I... am not sure why I am writing this. I am all for Tor. But we have to admit - when everything is allowed and anonymous, EVERYTHING is allowed and anonymous. And the dark parts of humanity flow on top. Drug markets, weapon markets, assasin markets (altough I don't know how sersiously to take those), terrorist websites, child porn websites.

But - as hard it is for me to say it - to see that the seriously f...d up child molesters are freely allowed to say really anything there and noone has a chance to catch them just shows that Tor is really anonymous and safe.

I do not know if The Hidden Wiki is still operating, if the dark places I visited are still operating, it is about one year and I did not feel any urge to revisit it again.

tptacek 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Tor was not "designed by the Navy" to protect dignitaries in cars or ships or whatever it is this article is alluding to. It was an academic research project for the NRL's CHACS group (NRL : CHACS :: MIT : Lincoln Lab).

If you look at the project's publication history, it was almost from the jump (and continues to be today) a project intended to frustrate online censorship. The DOD, via both DARPA and the NRL, continues to sponsor the project.

TazeTSchnitzel 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Ooh, the Tor darknet. I went there recently out of curiosity. You can get used to doing everything over Tor quite quickly, if you use it for everything you don't really notice the latency.

Yes, Tor has CP, but I didn't look for it so I didn't find it. Same with all manner of other illegal content, pretty sure it's there.

I2P and Freenet are more interesting than Tor, though, because they are truly P2P. Freenet is basically a distributed hash table (DHT) for HTML, CSS, image, and other files. It filters scripts and cross-origin requests out of HTML before serving them. I2P is like Tor, but everyone's a relay node (truly P2P, no central origin), and it's faster, but I haven't tried I2P. I have been on Freenet... it's slower than Tor!

klearvue 16 hours ago 4 replies      
A word of advice for those living under truly oppressive governments - do not connect to Tor directly (nor to a Tor bridge, to be on the safe side). Get a cheap VPS/EC2 abroad and use SSH tunnel to connect to that and from then onwards - to a Tor bridge. The reason is that, if connecting to Tor directly, security services will be able to figure out you are using Tor (although not what you are using it for) and may take an interest.
runjake 13 hours ago 2 replies      
> They can't decrypt messages but they are able to track where everything comes from and where it is going. They can't tell what you're saying, but they have all they need.

He's talking about SSL here, right? For the record, this is completely incorrect. If "they" have access to a trusted CA (and circumstantial evidence says they do), they can MITM and snoop on whatever they want.

SSL encryption is not secure against state-sponsored attackers and sophisticated criminal enterprises.

telecuda 15 hours ago 3 replies      
I wish there were a simple way to communicate how large and widespread CP is, and how much law enforcement could use your smarts to go after these guys.

There are more households sharing CP in your community than there are bus stops. (We can roughly map IPs of known CP files advertised over torrent networks.)

There are too few innovators in this space because specifics on CP networks are privy to law enforcement, and investigators are often patrol cops who get promoted into a child crimes unit.

It's fine (and true) to say these technologies are used for many more things than CP, but that's not an excuse to turn a blind eye to it, anymore than Craigslist does to child exploitation.

Revisor 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Tor is meant for dissidents and the oppressed, that's all fine and cool. But for me as a business community admin Tor always, always means trouble. Either the user using it is a scammer, a fraud or in the best case only a troll.
nacker 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Tor is good, but totalitarianism is galloping to control the internet. They HATE the freedom we have come to take for granted, and they are surely encouraged by how easily the sheep are persuaded to acquiesce whenever they point at the familiar boogey men: paedophiles, terrorists, drug dealers, etc.

I am quite optimistic though about the development of mesh networks such as http://project-byzantium.org

Of course it will only take one state to declare it illegal, and there will be plenty of cowardly fools urging each other NEVER to use it, because it's just too DANGEROUS, and anyway, TERRORISTS find it useful for pursuing their nefarious and immoral activities.

I will keep on ignoring them.

columbo 16 hours ago 1 reply      
FYI this is all I get running chromium in linux: http://i.imgur.com/7FUlr.png
co-n-sci-o-us 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Tor is the solution to getting hellbanned at HN.

That is "censorship", no?

Tor is also the solution to your Twitter API woes. Like it or not. I'm sure many SEO people use it to get around Google's restrictions. These are not necessarily uses that infringe anyone's IP. Twitter is UGC. And Google caches the entire web, indiscriminantly.

Tor, like the 'net itself, is controversial. It can be used for bad things. It can also be used for good things. It could be used to break criminal laws, or to enable copyright infringment. It could be used to violate TOS that may or may not be enforceable in civil court. Or it could be used just to evade idiosyncratic censorship by some webmaster that has no legal basis whatsoever. (This comment itself is being posted through Tor.) It is, however, any way you look at it, useful.

There may be an "intended purpose" for Tor. But as with almost all software, that means little. Users decide how they will use it. And that is unpredictable.

Did the folks at MIT, when they developed Tor, say to themselves, "You know, this will be used to commit crime"? Probably. But they also probably envisioned some other uses that were of undisputed benefit to society.

As someone else said, MIT is still behind Tor. Grep the source for the Tor client for IP numbers. You will find that some belong to MIT. My understanding is that Tor is controlled by a small group (maybe only one person) because like anything else that uses a network, there has to be a bootstrap, a "root" that hands out the initial addresses. And anyone that uses the Tor trusts that root. Somewhere there is/are a few people with a great responsibility on their hands: they make Tor possible, for better, or worse.

More people need to use Tor for non-criminal purposes. Using Tor as a workaround for censorship, whether it is on HN, or in some oppressed country is to be expected. If you are the censor, and you don't like it, ban Tor. It is not difficult.
HN does not ban Tor.

One of the great myths on the 'net is that an IP address equates to a machine or a customer account. False. It represents an interface, which is itself an ephemeral concept. Interfaces can be created, cloned or destroyed at the blink of an eye.

This may all be frightening or it may be exciting, it all depends on how you look at it. It shouldn't matter whether you are a good samaritan or a criminal. It is just technology. Abstract tools. A hammer can be used to build something or it can be used to destroy something. It has no moral sensibility on its own.

That's up to you, the user.

As a Tor user (I can't post to HN without it), it bothers me that others are using it for criminal purposes. But when I look at hammer, I see a tool for creation, not destruction. I think like a carpenter. What can we build?

The hammer has no consciousness of its own, any more than Tor does.

jorgem 16 hours ago 7 replies      
The things I always wonder about TOR: Won't I look like someone else's computer? Is it possible for me to get in trouble for because someone else's traffic exits from my home network?
eliben 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Can you point to a good technical description of how Tor works under the hood?
taixzo 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I can't tell from this article whether the author is for or against Tor.
molo 16 hours ago 5 replies      
A couple questions.

1. Are users of .onion services protected from the server just as well as the hidden service is protected?

2. What reassurances are there that tormail is not a honeypot?

slifty 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd like some more good Tor jokes, by the way...
raikia 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Harvard cracks DNA storage, crams 700 terabytes of data into a single gram extremetech.com
279 points by evo_9  18 hours ago   122 comments top 24
ChuckMcM 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I really liked their paper. Its a bit less over the top than the extremetech guys but hey, that is the difference between pop journalism and science.

Clearly with some form of fountain code or LDPC codes you will be able to get the data back, but what struck me is that I always thought of DNA as relatively unstable, in the sense that cells decay/die etc, but the fact that just sitting there, DNA which isn't expressing various proteins under the influence of other cellular mechanisms, well it just sits there. That was new for me.

When I showed it to my wife she pointed out that the sourdough starter she has been using since we were married was from her grandmother, I joked that the next megaupload type raid would have to sequence all the DNA the found in a place to figure out if Shrek3 was encoded in it somewhere. That would be painfully funny I think.

colanderman 16 hours ago 2 replies      
If you store data onto 50 DNA strands, can you always read back all the data from all 50 strands, or does one need to store multiple copies of each in case the sequencer can't "find" a particular strand?

If one does need multiple copies, it would seem that this method suffers from the coupon collector's problem [1] (i.e. to collect all 50 strands requires collecting 225 random strands on average), and that the retrieval rate could be improved by using a fountain code [2], which allows each strand to simultaneously encode data at multiple addresses, which would decrease the number of strands required to be sampled to only slightly more than the number of strands worth of data requested.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coupon_collectors_problem
[2] http://blog.notdot.net/2012/01/Damn-Cool-Algorithms-Fountain...

jwr 16 hours ago 5 replies      
Does anybody know how to escape their horrible "mobile" version that they force onto ipad users? It can't even be zoomed :-(

More and more often I find myself not reading articles because someone thought it would be a great idea to create a non-scrolling, non-obvious, paginated "iPad format" with additional misleading and unintuitive buttons looking like native ones but doing something different.

Sorry for the rant.

EDIT: so you might as well access the original at http://hms.harvard.edu/content/writing-book-dna instead of the ad-ridden regurgitation.

skosuri 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm an author of the paper. The title of this article is misleading; first, we encoded 650kB and made 70 billion copies... second, those 70 billion copies weigh 1 milligram... third, it's really only meant for archival purposes as it's immutable and not random access... fourth, it's expensive right now (at least this might be a solvable problem).
Jun8 14 hours ago 1 reply      
And, of course, this brings us to the question: Do we already have messages in our DNA? Here's a post (from 2007) on this: http://blog.sciencefictionbiology.com/2007/07/messages-in-ou.... Actually, if it's from the aliens who seeded life on Earth, it would probably be in a prokaryotic DNA perhaps?
nemo1618 14 hours ago 0 replies      
First thing that came to mind was Stross' "Memory Diamond" - http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2007/05/shaping_...
wbizzle 16 hours ago 1 reply      
This article is incredibly misleading. First of all there is an inconsistency. The headline says they stored 700 terrabytes (4.4 petabytes). It then later says that they actually stored 700 kilobytes (Their book) and that they did made 70 billion copies (44 petabytes?). The main thing is that storing 700 kilobytes and then making 700 billion copies is considerably less useful than storing 70 billion terabytes outright. Aside from that though, this is awesome, and a huge step forward into promising and uncharted territory.
tripzilch 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I always have to wonder with these ExtremeTech links:

How much is this news true and how much is it the usual ExtremeTech editorialism?

For instance does DNA really last forever?

pronoiac 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow. For scale, the Internet Archive had 5.8 petabytes of data in December 2010 [1] - so, about 9 grams' worth. How much did this cost?

[1] http://archive.org/web/petabox.php

schiffern 9 hours ago 0 replies      
>To store the same kind of data on hard drives " the densest storage medium in use today " you'd need 233 3TB drives, weighing a total of 151 kilos.

But hard drives aren't the densest storage medium in use today. A microSD card can hold up to 64 gigabytes and is 0.5 grams. 700 terabytes would be only 5.6 kilograms.

DanBC 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The paper is exciting, in the calm measured way that scientists are. I look forward to seeing huge data storage on DNA in the future.

I'm gently concerned about what'll happen to information if it's not available to the future people. Is anyone taking the most important documents of our civilisation and encoding them onto clay tablets, or some such?

conanite 17 hours ago 3 replies      
They're using T and G for a 1, and A and C for a 0; why not double the density and get two bits from each letter?

  T = 00
G = 01
A = 10
C = 11

for example.

Evbn 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Article says they made 70billion copies of 500KB, which is quite different. Can they encode 700TB of unique data in this system?
AaronBBrown 14 hours ago 0 replies      
What's the latency/throughput on reading the data back?
gersh 16 hours ago 2 replies      
Can we encode all of human knowledge into the DNA of some organism? How can organisms access data stored in their DNA? Imagine being born with knowledge of every Wikipedia article, or even every website. What would that be like?
dsirijus 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Why binary if DNA naturally has 4 bits?
tarice 16 hours ago 3 replies      
I notice that the article fails to mention how long it would take to extract all 700 terabytes of data...

Assuming 5.5 petabits stored with 1 base pair representing 1 bit, we can extrapolate the time required to extract the data based off the time taken to sequence the human genome (3 billion base pairs).

5.5 petabits / 3 billion bits ~= 2 million, so theoretically it should take 2 million times longer to sequence the original.

3 years ago, there was an Ars Technica article about how it now only takes 1 month to sequence a human genome[1]; the article now claims that microfluidic chips can perform the same task in hours.

Assuming 2 hours (low end) to sequence the human genome:

2 hours * 2 million = 4 million hours = 456 years, give or take a few years.

So, maybe not so great for storing enormous amounts of data. But if you want to store 1 GB, it would only take ~6 hours. Not too bad.


tocomment 17 hours ago 3 replies      
I don't understand how this density could be so much better than something like flash drives. Aren't they also on the same scale of nanometers?
mariusz331 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This. Is. Awesome.
tocomment 16 hours ago 2 replies      
To read the data out are they basically doing de novo assembly on the sequenced reads? How are they handling all of the errors in gene sequencing? How about assembly errors? Long repeats?
subrat_rout 12 hours ago 0 replies      
The next big hurdle is to how to develop a household DNA sequence reader under $50 that will read your storage. I mean if I want to store my data onto a DNA strand, then one day I'd be in need of reading that data at my home with the help of a sequence reader.Right?
kschua 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Why do I get a feeling I am living in a Matrix as a data storage device?
jorgeleo 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Gel Packs! Cool!

(How nobody has reference this?)

revelation 17 hours ago 4 replies      
It is incredibly stable? We better don't tell evolution.
Zero-Determinant Strategies in the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma utexas.edu
14 points by adulau  3 hours ago   6 comments top 2
Strilanc 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
This result doesn't seem all that impressive. In the end it's just an example of the advantage of being able to pre-commit to a strategy. The linear algebra parts are entirely unnecessary.

For example, suppose we're playing the iterated prisoner's dilemma. I pre-commit to a strategy: if you've defected in the last 5 games I will always defect, otherwise I will defect unless I haven't cooperated in the last 4 games. In this situation your optimal strategy is to always cooperate, even though I'm taking advantage of you. Punishing me won't change my strategy, I've pre-committed to it. The rational strategy, and the one evolution would eventually settle on, is to always cooperate with me.

jasonwatkinspdx 2 hours ago 2 replies      
How many links must we endure on this topic? People who care will research it and understand what the result is and isn't.
I Have 50 Dollars ihave50dollars.com
593 points by thehodge  1 day ago   182 comments top 41
mootothemax 22 hours ago  replies      
Commenters seem to be missing the point of this. Go visit the signup page, and right at the bottom you'll see this tagline:

If you can spare $50 for a social network I'm guessing you can spare $50 to help put an end to slavery. Yeah, it's 2012 and it's still a pretty big problem. That shit is unacceptable. Really. </whiteguilt>

Personally, I'm not the fan of the "don't spend money on anything until the world's problems have been cured" style of thinking, but it's certainly a novel idea.

Now all they have to do is fix the title of the signup page. Right now it says Signup For App.net.

EDIT: Interestingly, the domain name of freetheslaves.net belongs to "Superhuman Ventures, LLC." I don't know enough about how people taking donations work, but I find it pretty strange that Free The Slaves have a long list of directors and staff (https://www.freetheslaves.net/SSLPage.aspx?pid=285) but no mention of what their corporate structure is. Is this unusual? Should they explicitly be a charitable organisation?

ctdonath 20 hours ago 1 reply      

Good night that was painful.

ihave50dollars.com is a spoof of join.app.net (duplicate layout of main page, text changed), which is a no-ad paid-membership version of Twitter, which apparently got VC funding to some people's amazement. An attempt to sign up takes you to an "end slavery" charity.

Yeah, sounds stupid to spell it out like this. Not everyone knows what app.net is, nor what its backstory is (I still don't). Ergo the spoof garners a well-deserved WTF.

WHY someone felt compelled to create the spoof is still a mystery to some of us.

ThePherocity 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Actually, this really pisses me off. Heaven forbid that all the hard work we do as developers actually come with a reasonable compensation option... like money. I think more sites need to go pay only, I'm tired of every advertising company on the internet knowing more about my buying preferences than I do. Support developers FFS.
brianwillis 22 hours ago 5 replies      
>First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

It would appear that App.net is now at stage two.

redthrowaway 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Alright, I read the damned post and I still have no idea what it's about. Is it supposed to be satire, or some other wink and nod approach to...something?

Either I'm just not all that bright, or they took a swing and missed on their message.

ballooney 22 hours ago 0 replies      

  Our team has spent the last 9 years building social
synergy, developing paradigms, talking on out mobile
phones and more.

Jesus wept.

Edit 30s later: Oh it's a spoof. My faith in humanity restored.

gexla 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm going to be the first developer to build an app on the ihave50dollars API. It's going to be a dating app, because what chick wants to hook up with a guy who doesn't even have $50?
neebz 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I am not really interested in all the twitter/app.net hoo-haa but I find it intriguing that we are at a stage that one guy develops a product and charges $50 for it. And the rest of the world mocks him for not making it free.
gexla 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I spent my last $50 to join ihave50dollars.com. I no longer have $50. I hope nobody finds out, it will ruin my reputation within the network.
tudorizer 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Did anybody notice the background behind this? https://heello.com/live, from the founder of Twitpic, which actually has a very close goal as App.net.
georgespencer 22 hours ago 3 replies      
"There are people [VERB] in [COUNTRY]" has never been a satisfactory argument to me, and this seems to just be the digital version of that.
debacle 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I couldn't initially determine the level of seriousness of this page.

I spend too much time on HN.

OzzyB 17 hours ago 1 reply      
This is for a Charity? Well they botched that then IMO.

After clicking the top "alpha.ihave50dollars.com" link (and others) you end up at heello.com. So I then understandably thought the site was a "snark-attack" by the Heello/Twitpic guys.

After all, Heello was started by Twitpic when Twitter was just starting to clamp down on their API usage and was about to start their own photo service -- so Heello was started pretty much in the same spirit as App.net was -- at least in the sense of "Hey! I'm pissed at Twitter, so now I'm gonna make a competitor clone".

So I wonder, why doesn't anyone mention this Heello? Does the App.net guy have more Hacker Mojo than the Twitpic guy? Is this Heello guy pissed that App.net got paid $700k+ for doing what they wanted to do 1-2 years ago?


notlisted 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Where Dalton is going I don't know (and I feel he's generally a pompous ass when he speaks/writes) but... I think app.net is a matter of OWNERSHIP. Ownership of your data and ownership of the company.

Companies are beholden to those who pay. If it's the users who pay, the power is with them. I like that idea. If it's the advertisers, they don't need to care as much about the user, see FB and Twitter.

Stuff DOESN'T have to be free. I pay for many things, and in general the things I pay for are better than things which are free.

I have no problems with the $50 or the request for it. Those who do should buy GIMP, while I use Photoshop.

seagreen 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Voluntary charity can of course be a noble and merciful thing.

That said, strike at the fucking root people.[1] The problem isn't slavery. Slavery is a symptom of the problem. The problem is bad economies, which come from bad government. If you're not working on trying to find ways to encourage good government you're a hobbyists, not professionals, and you should take claims like "Our goal: to end slavery in our lifetime."[2] off your website.

If you are interested in improving bad governments then for God's sake don't listen to intellectuals. Read the people who've actually done it.[3] It's not as good as a controlled experiment, but it's way better than pure talk.

[1] I'm actually not sure about 1st world countries like the U.K. There might not actually be a root to strike at there.

[2] https://www.freetheslaves.net/SSLPage.aspx?pid=285

[3] http://www.amazon.com/Singapore-development-policies-and-tre...

facorreia 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm kind of disappointed. None of the comments so far have pointed out the fundamental logic flaw in this.

Buying the membership doesn't prove you HAVE 50 dollars, it proves you HAD it.

rickdale 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I am offering a 6month same as cash interest free loan for those lacking the $50. Check my profile for more details...
4ngle 22 hours ago 1 reply      
If that's the cost of friendship, consider it paid.

All joking aside, I agree with the message. I almost signed up for app.net today, but didn't (after finally noticing the charge aspect (not gonna lie, didn't really look into it)) because it is NOT going to overthrow anything, let alone Twitter.

The warm sentiments of no ads is nice, but end-users don't give a shit. $50 is MONEY, free--adversely--isn't.

I'll be happy if people can prosper from app.net, but I don't see much happening there that didn't happen at google+.

amalag 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Am I not hip enough, I don't understand the point to this.
hnruss 19 hours ago 0 replies      
If you can't tell that a site called iHave50dollars.com is a joke... there is a good chance you are confused about a lot of things. It might be time to questions your assumptions about life.
rnernento 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice start, clean design but it looks like signup is broken. It redirects to some random TED talk :p
tzaman 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Where can I sign up if I don't have 50 dollars?
kmfrk 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is like falling into a worm hole that takes you back to when Twitter was competing with Pownce and Jaiku for marketshare.

What a bizarre situation.

Rulero 21 hours ago 2 replies      
This is quite funny, it made me chuckle.

Now, putting the joke aside, let's be real. Whilst the majority of you aren't willing to spend $50 (Including myself), the fact is, some people already have and they have managed to raise a lot of money.

I suppose it doesn't matter what product you have as long as you know how to market it and most importantly, solve a problem.

Whilst App.net may be ideal for developers because it considers their requirements, I highly doubt whether main stream users care the problems that App.net is trying to solve. None of my friends would pay for a social network, and neither would I. Why? Because I can use my phone and there's plenty of other free alternatives.

Either way, I wish App.net all the best but I rather keep my $50.

pandeiro 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is fucking excellent satire. Hilarious.
niels_olson 13 hours ago 0 replies      
From ebay:

> The seller will only ship to confirmed addresses. To complete this transaction, you will need to enter your information again.

by my address is confirmed. What gives?

akldfgj 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The punchline is to show you a video about ending slavery along with a comment about how spending money on that is more worthwhile than a social network.

The video was created at TEDx in Maui. TED is one of the most expensive social networks in the world, charging thousands of dollars to attend the main conference, which is the foundation of the TEDx programs.

Accidental endorsement of Dalton?

state 21 hours ago 0 replies      
With all the handwaving and yelling around this issue I find this really refreshing.
ilaksh 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I think I'll go for a higher-end market, so I'm launching ihad5000dollars.com tomorrow.
akurilin 22 hours ago 1 reply      
More free publicity for Dalton, he's not going to mind.
paduc 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I think this parody is right on.
The app.net pitch is all about the fact there is a fee.
Why not build a cool app, ask for a fee and _then_ explain the reason for the fee?
maxer 22 hours ago 0 replies      
is this the new reddit?
ebabchick 18 hours ago 0 replies      
finally, some truth shed on this developer-centric bubble of a "company"
ruggeri 17 hours ago 0 replies      
So, so good. You earned your $50.
guscost 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I would pledge to support this fine and fantastic platform!!!
D9u 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't have $50.
I don't use twitter.
I won't even login to Facebook anymore.

Thus I lol'd at this.

namidark 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The video on the main page is just a link to the sign up...
zachinglis 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is beautiful.
lololz 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I only have 49.99 :(
scottilee 18 hours ago 0 replies      

Yes, you're supposed to laugh.

madmikey 21 hours ago 1 reply      
why not 50dollarsbacon.com
Vim and Vi Tips: Essential Vim and Vi Editor Skills, free on Amazon today only amazon.com
311 points by whalesalad  21 hours ago   127 comments top 26
tomku 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Thanks, downloaded and read through it and I picked up a couple new tricks, even as a pretty experienced Vim user.

Some comments:

1) The order feels a little artificial. I like that inserting text isn't mentioned until a couple chapters in, but I think that the focus on saving/writing files at the start is misplaced. If I'm a newbie and I don't know how to change or insert text, I don't have the ability to meaningfully practice saving as I read.

2) There are some weird inconsistencies, like teaching :next (:n) for next file, but Ctrl+^ for previous file. :Next (:N) is easier to remember, works in vi and is shorter to type than the less-compatible :prev that I would otherwise suggest. :! is mentioned several times in different contexts, without a hint that it's the same command in each but with a different prefix or argument.

3) There's a focus on memorization of compound commands rather than understanding how motions and operators work. If you know how the cursor works and that "y" means "yank from cursor", you don't have to remember that "yl" means "yank a single character" because you can compose it from "yank from cursor" and "one character to the right". This composition of movement and operators is one of vi's greatest strengths, and I think that exposing new vi users to it as early as practically possible is a great way to get them to appreciate what they're learning.

All in all, it's a worthy read for someone who doesn't know any vi and needs a quick lesson in the basics, somewhat like the foreign language learning products that focus on teaching you enough conversational vocabulary for a vacation or business trip. If you want to immigrate to vi-land permanently, I'd suggest supplementing this with something like Drew Neil's "Practical Vim"[1] to learn the "bigger picture" stuff as well.

[1]: http://pragprog.com/book/dnvim/practical-vim

sudonim 20 hours ago  replies      
Awesome. Thanks for sharing. I've been using vim for 6 months, but I still feel like a n00b. Looking forward to checking this out.

I started my vim experience using Janus

But I didn't understand how anything worked or why any of the plugins were there.

That led me to starting from scratch (I forked my cofounder's dotfiles) and now I feel like I know my vim config waaaay better. If you've been using janus, I'd highly recommend giving the ground up strategy a shot.


pseudonym 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Every once in awhile the state of DRM really hammers itself home, to me.

Case in point, when someone is literally giving a potentially interesting book away and I can't be arsed to take it because getting it onto my reader of choice is just too much hassle.

amouat 20 hours ago 4 replies      
dspillett 20 hours ago 6 replies      
For those without a Kindle, remember that Kindle editions like this can be read using the PC or iDevice clients.
atsaloli 15 hours ago 1 reply      
If you'd like to make sure you know all your vi basics, I recommend my presentation "Vi Basics" at http://www.verticalsysadmin.com/vi/class/ -- it is based on Bill Joy's original paper introducting vi and covers the basics of vi according to its author and in the same order that the author covered them.
daviddaviddavid 19 hours ago 5 replies      
Once every six months something inspires me to put a book on the Kindle that I received as a Christmas present two years ago. Then the frustrations begin. In this case, after finding the table of contents I try to use the up-down-joystick-button to navigate the TOC. It's just painfully slow and it's displaying definitions for every word I happen to be on (it starts off showing me the definition for "Table" in Table of Contents). The lag between pressing the button and the cursor actually moving is too frustrating for me to even use the damn device.

Perhaps the "two years old" is my problem and I just need a newer device but, boy, I just can't get myself to use this thing with any consistency.

grannyg00se 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Not free exactly. It's still locked in the kindle cage. You can't just download it as a PDF.
jamesbritt 18 hours ago 1 reply      
On a related note, is there an easy way to find other free or dirt-cheap (US $0.99) E-books on Amazon?

The Amazon site likes to group things into "As low as <price>" sections, which means there's a least one item at that price, with most things costing more.

chris_wot 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Try the interactive vim tutorial - http://www.openvim.com/tutorial.html
mappu 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I understand you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover - but a Vim book that has Visual Basic on the cover (legacy VB6 no less) seems like a big, big warning sign.
ck2 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel like a wimp for liking nano (pico)

Vi reminds me of the crazy-old wordstar days.

chris_wot 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I once tried (and succeeded!) at purchasing the Dragon Book for Kindle, but had to change to a US address. I bought the book, bu then Amazon wanted me to verify I had moved to the U.S.

I never bought another book from Amazon ever again.

austinlyons 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Vim is one of those tools that I shied away from because of the steep learning curve. A co-worker convinced me to give it a try, and now I use Vim everyday. I'm constantly discovering useful commands and tricks. Looking forward to learning more from this free book - thanks Amazon.
sigkill 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I just bought it using the button "Buy it with 1-Click" and I found it a bit scary. I mean, no confirmation and all. It's like just click and, BOOM, a confirmation email saying that you've already bought it. It's quite jarring as compared to buying stuff from other websites.
jojomnky 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Not to look a gift horse in the mouth but my TL;DR assessment of the first few pages makes me think this book is pretty poorly edited. None the less I'm looking forward to reading it and honing my vim skillset.
bertzzie 20 hours ago 5 replies      
It's not available for me in Indonesia with this message:

This title is not available for customers from your location in:
Asia & Pacific

What will it cost when it's released later?

1007 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Any way to download and read this on linux ?
shreeshga 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Good book.. but for those new to VIM :-/
From the title, i thought it would have some pro tips and tricks.
artursapek 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Well, this just got me to download Amazon's Kindle apps.
stefek99 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Just saying: need to use VPN to have it.

<wish I was in the US>

codegeek 20 hours ago 0 replies      
perfect. Just ordered on my Kindle for PC. I hae always been a fan of vi but more recently started using vim. Lot of expectations from this book!!
darkstalker 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Kindle edition has DRM, right?
yitchelle 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome! Thanks for sharing
swagatata 20 hours ago 0 replies      
UberNerdGirl 14 hours ago 0 replies      
OMGwtfBBQ gnarly!!!!!!!!! awesome, Thanks!
OnLive assets acquired by newly formed company techcrunch.com
111 points by il  12 hours ago   71 comments top 13
hncommenter13 8 hours ago 1 reply      
There appears to be quite a bit of confusion as to what happened here. The TechCrunch article doesn't really provide enough detail, saying only that the staff was fired in order to "reduce the company's liability" which doesn't really make sense.

I am not a lawyer, but as an investor I have seen this happen before. My guess (no connection to the company, wasn't aware of them prior to today) is that in lieu of filing for bankruptcy, they did an Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors.

But what may have happened is:
1. OnLive recognizes that they're essentially bankrupt. Directors and managers now have a fiduciary duty to maximize the recovery for creditors, not for shareholders.

2. Instead of going through a formal bankruptcy process, the company does an Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors (see a good explanation here [1]). Any price paid for the assets by a buyer above what is owed to the creditors goes to satisfy the liquidation preferences, though it's unlikely there will be much if any recovery of value above the debts owed to the creditors. The value of the common equity is totally wiped out (both common stock and employee options) as the total value of the assets is well below the amount due creditors + the liquidation preferences.

3. A buyer for the assets (the source of money with which to pay off the creditors who now own the assets of the defunct company) forms a new company, call it OnLive Asset Acquisition Corp.

4. OnLive Asset Acquisition Corp purchases the assets (not the stock) of the defunct corporation now owned by creditors. The new acquirer buys the assets so as to avoid any existing/potential liabilities of the defunct corporation from whom it purchases the assets. Imagine there's a company whose only asset is a rack of servers that you wish to purchase. To gain ownership of the servers, you could buy all the shares of the company or you could just buy the servers as an asset with no encumbrances. You would likely do the latter, as buying the stock comes with potential liabilities for past/future money owed or lawsuits. That's likely what happened here, but for IP, etc.

5. The original employer OnLive is no longer operating. The employees are all terminated, as their employer is gone and its operating assets are owned by a new company. The new company may or may not seek to hire some or all of the employees of the defunct company.

6. Even if employees had been able to exercise their options, they were virtually certain to be worthless. There is no way the price paid by the new owner for the assets of the dead company would exceed the debts + liquidation preferences (otherwise the directors wouldn't have liquidated it). Had the employees exercised their options, any cash they paid to do so would have gone to the creditors to satisfy the company's debts and they would have received zero in proceeds.

It's a sad story for the employees, but there are rarely any happy outcomes for a company in bankruptcy.

Again, I'm purely speculating on what happened. But based on the facts disclosed so far, it's not clear that one can conclude that the employees received a specific and unusual screwing by management vs. a typical screwing associated with the liquidation of a bankrupt employer.

[1] http://bankruptcy.cooley.com/2008/03/articles/the-financiall...

MediaSquirrel 10 hours ago 7 replies      
This article is bullshit. The CEO of a company cannot "take back" or "wipe out" your right to purchase stock, aka stock options.

More likely what happened is that the company sold for equal or less than the outstanding preferred stock overhang. Another way of saying this: OnLive's investors got all the money (they raised $56MM) and the founders and employees got ZERO for their common stock.

A stock option is a binding CONTRACT to purchase stock (typically common stock when you're dealing w/ employee stock options) at a set price. If a company is acquired and the price of common stock is below the "strike price" of the employee stock options then the employee has a valueless option to buy stock for more than it's worth.

Oftentimes in an "exit" that's just shy of bankruptcy, common stock holders will get nothing and investors will get all the proceeds, often at pennies or nickels on the dollar.

So... Did OnLive screw its employees? Highly unlikely.

justin_vanw 9 hours ago 6 replies      
Luckily this sort of thing rarely happens. The reason is that you need great engineers to trust you if you want to succeed. By founding a startup you are taking great personal risk, but your employees are also taking some of that risk with you. Most startups pay (very very) below market salaries, and bring employees up to parity with a much less terrible place to work (very few very bright people would prefer to work in at a big company), and by giving out options.

I suspect that the CEO and other high level managers at this company will have serious trouble recruiting the next time they want to start something new, because they now have nothing to offer. Nobody is going to trust their promises, stock options they issue will be seen as basically worthless (since everyone will think they are likely to be screwed out of them), so they will have to pay market rates (which is probably 2x-6x what startups generally pay in total compensation).

If I were a founder of a company, and I were faced with this choice, I would probably rather let the company fold than cash out (or in this case probably just not go under) while leaving employees behind. Failure is rarely punished in the valley, but nowhere is dishonesty or double dealing more likely to be recognized and rejected.

DigitalSea 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I think the most heartbreaking thing about all of this is the lady in the comments who said her husband just lost his job and she's pregnant with health complications. This is ridiculous, if someone bought OnLive, they just bought a publicly tainted company and apparently it's EA (a company that is no stranger to being dicks).
tibbon 8 hours ago 2 replies      
So their PR firm has put out this statement: http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/17/onlive-confirms/

It feels a bit (actually a lot) strange that they'd dissolve the entire company and lay off everyone to attempt to get out of an agreement for servers or something. It just doesn't add up. Also, why the employee reports aren't saying this... just strange. PR spin at its best?

pyoung 11 hours ago 0 replies      
In another thread, the rumor is that they were going out of business, not getting acquired.


rootedbox 10 hours ago 1 reply      
If something that you have equity in has no value or little value.. then it's all really a mute point. Remember kids start ups are high risk ventures; your equity can be diluted, and taken away... all legally.
sandGorgon 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Loiks like TheVerge was covering this live and had a reporter stationed outside. www.theverge.com/2012/8/17/3250507/onlive-employees-fired-all-hands-meeting-acquisition-imminent

Onlive declared a "variation of bankruptcy" to get out of employee liabilities.

drone 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Anything to substantiate the rumor?
y4m4 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Quite splendidly some one has edited - http://www.crunchbase.com/person/steve-perlman his middle name as (The DICK)

Revision history here
http://www.crunchbase.com/person/steve-perlman/diff/8/9 at 4:59pm by

tomjen3 11 hours ago 3 replies      
The se kinds of things seem to be more and more common. I hope employees take note and protect themselves when they sign up in new places (read no more cliff agreements).
danbmil99 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds a bit like what happened to GM
EdgarVerona 7 hours ago 0 replies      
OnLive CEO Considered Harmful.
Blessings: a pythonic answer to curses python.org
90 points by whit537  11 hours ago   14 comments top 9
lorenzfx 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
I just experimented a bit with Blessings and I love it! I have used some urwid for terminal projects, but for the next one I'll consider Blessings as well.

Also I can't believe how few lines of code it is...

peter_l_downs 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Not only does this seem like an excellent replacement for curses, this overview/readme is a really great example of exactly how to detail a library/component's capabilities and how to use them. I've bookmarked this to use as a reference when writing my own documentation.
erikrose 8 hours ago 1 reply      
So glad you're enjoying Blessings! I've had fun writing it.

I'd love to hear what kind of projects other folks are doing with it. Any neat hacks? One of my fun little demos is this terminal-dwelling Game of Life: http://pypi.python.org/pypi/conway/. I was thinking of adding an interactive mode so you can draw your own patterns and set them free; it would be an excuse to add key trapping to Blessings.

evincarofautumn 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I recently had the terrible idea of writing a new screen editor. This project is very much not helping me avoid working on that idea.
sirclueless 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Callable strings? Only in Python (oh how I love thee).
famousactress 10 hours ago 0 replies      
At a glance, this looks so very awesome. I've definitely wanted something like this a number of time now!
RegEx 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I work with curses a LOT for fun server utilities on our big-screen monitor at work. Super excited to give this a go.
fcoury 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd love to have something like this for Ruby. Does anyone know a decent ruby [n]curses wrapper?
anandpdoshi 5 hours ago 0 replies      
We have been using termcolor for getting formatted output. This seems much more powerful and intuitive.
Virtual 3-D ‘knitting' adds new stitch for graphic artists cornell.edu
41 points by sirteno  9 hours ago   4 comments top 2
blahedo 5 hours ago 0 replies      
They've made a tea cosy for the Standard Teapot! Fantastic.
Corvinex 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Doesn't this have a potential use in "printed clothing"?
The Measured Man theatlantic.com
38 points by harscoat  8 hours ago   6 comments top 4
patdennis 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I'll accept that there's a lot to be learned from stool, but I don't think this explanation has much to do with it:

“Have you ever figured how information-rich your stool is?,” Larry asks me with a wide smile, his gray-green eyes intent behind rimless glasses. “There are about 100 billion bacteria per gram. Each bacterium has DNA whose length is typically one to 10 megabases"call it 1 million bytes of information. This means human stool has a data capacity of 100,000 terabytes of information stored per gram. That's many orders of magnitude more information density than, say, in a chip in your smartphone or your personal computer. So your stool is far more interesting than a computer.”

SoftwareMaven 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Small, implanted labs-on-a-chip will eventually solve the data gathering problem. Software and lots of data (both your own and others suitably like you, where suitably is a thousands of times more specific than it is today) will identify the difference that are "normal" versus those that are "unhealthy".

This will upend the medical industry, which is one of the most inertial industries in existence. Worse, all the regulations that protect us will ultimately be used to protect it, in far worse ways than the whole RIAA/MPAA thing.

I hope technology can beat it.

kiba 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey! I have crohn's disease too. The way I discovered I had the disease, too late, was when my digestive tract starts to bleed blood. Ulcer was on a blood vessel.

I knew nothing about my body(and still don't) other than I am obese, need exercise, and my guts is in terrible shape. I hope this article, and others like it, will help jumpstart effort to measure my own body for science.

wangarific 7 hours ago 0 replies      
While this is to the extreme, this level of detail on an annual or 5-year basis could be useful to identify the delta.
Prisoner's Dilemma Solved technologyreview.com
28 points by sakai  5 hours ago   4 comments top 3
binarysolo 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Typically PD as an exercise is a one-time case. PD in continuous cases has been pretty widely discussed over the past few decades: it's been awhile since I've done game theory so I'd love to hear some thoughts on someone who's a domain expert.

If I understand correctly, the "big deal" is about reframing the question in an evolutionary game theoretic perspective, though I don't think the revelations themselves are that groundbreaking.

arde 3 hours ago 0 replies      
New wave of "Beat the stock market" strategy books in 3, 2, 1...
Confirmed: OnLive's assets sold to another company venturebeat.com
50 points by jconley  10 hours ago   6 comments top 3
mindstab 10 hours ago 1 reply      
So does this confirm that it was mostly done to get back potential equity? If so how many of the employees are likely to go back?

Or was this done because they ran out of money and it's the only thing to do so most probably will? Except why fire them and do all that song and dance?

Also I like how the staff is all fired and some rehired but the service remains operating....

SoftwareMaven 9 hours ago 0 replies      
If the company was sold for less than the investments (or not a lot more) and the employees really were fired, it likely represented no loss for the employees and perhaps a way to sweeten the deal for the acquirers. The employees don't see a loss, because their stock wouldn't pay out until after the investors got theirs (which may be at a minimum multiple). The acquirer has less risk because they can weed out anybody they don't want to bring along and the firing risk went to a defunct company.
ChuckMcM 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Sad really. This reads like a legal maneuver to escape prior financial obligations. Fire everyone, sell the assets to a new company, have that company re-hire the staff (if they are stupid enough to work there) and then negotiate new contracts with various vendors until you are up and running. Meanwhile creditors, investors, and disgruntled employees are left to sue an empty husk of a corporation with no assets.

It will be interesting to see the ramifications on Perlman's career. In a valley that embraces shooting high and missing, this doesn't feel very 'gentlemanly' if you will.

Basics of Memory Addresses in C denniskubes.com
47 points by denniskubes  10 hours ago   14 comments top 8
tjoff 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
I appreciate the distinction between arrays and pointers, but the article fails to mention a similar pitfall: A struct is the sizeof its members., which isn't necessarily true.

It's like how everyone learns that (INT_MAX + 1) == INT_MIN (even non-developers seems to know this) yet that it actually is undefined (in C/C++), I feel that just noting that it isn't the whole truth (such as noting that the OS handles the memory behind your back) is quite valuable, even when learning the basics.

Otherwise you might end up feeling, as I do, that your foundation is shaky and built up on lies - not really knowing what "facts" you can trust.

p4bl0 47 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Arrays are not pointers". Right. And wrong, actually.

The article says that arrays are different from pointers, but it does not prove it. It is quite simple to prove, see the program below.

Also, it's not interesting to limit the definition of arrays to just the locally and statically declared ones. If you do that then something like 90% of C programs (if not more, I think I never wrote such a C program except for exercises in class) don't use arrays at all. In all the other case (arrays passed as argument to a function, dynamically allocated arrays…), the are the same as pointers. Again, see the program below.

In reality, it is a bit pedantic to insist on this distinction, except for the rare case where it is a performance issue (the arrays of the article require one less memory access, the one to get the address of the memory at which the array starts).

    #include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

f (char a[], char *b, char *c)
printf("Once passed to a function as arguments:\n\n");

printf("What the article limits the definition of array to:\n");
printf("&a = %p\n", &a);
printf("a = %p\n", a);
printf("&(a[0]) = %p\n", &(a[0]));
printf("a + 1 = %p\n", a + 1);
printf("&(a[1]) = %p\n", &(a[1]));

printf("Pointer to an array:\n");
printf("&b = %p\n", &b);
printf("b = %p\n", b);
printf("&(b[0]) = %p\n", &(b[0]));
printf("b + 1 = %p\n", b + 1);
printf("&(b[1]) = %p\n", &(b[1]));

printf("Pointer to dynamically allocated memory:\n");
printf("&c = %p\n", &c);
printf("c = %p\n", c);
printf("&(c[0]) = %p\n", &(c[0]));
printf("c + 1 = %p\n", c + 1);
printf("&(c[1]) = %p\n", &(c[1]));

main (int argc, char *argv[])
char a[4];
char *b = a;
char *c = malloc(sizeof(*c) * 4);

printf("What the article limits the definition of array to:\n");
printf("&a = %p\n", &a); /* behavior differs only here, this is the
difference with pointers */
printf("a = %p\n", a);
printf("&(a[0]) = %p\n", &(a[0]));
printf("a + 1 = %p\n", a + 1);
printf("&(a[1]) = %p\n", &(a[1]));

printf("Pointer to an array:\n");
printf("&b = %p\n", &b);
printf("b = %p\n", b);
printf("&(b[0]) = %p\n", &(b[0]));
printf("b + 1 = %p\n", b + 1);
printf("&(b[1]) = %p\n", &(b[1]));

printf("Pointer to dynamically allocated memory:\n");
printf("&c = %p\n", &c);
printf("c = %p\n", c);
printf("&(c[0]) = %p\n", &(c[0]));
printf("c + 1 = %p\n", c + 1);
printf("&(c[1]) = %p\n", &(c[1]));

f(a, b, c);

return 0;

Here is a possible output of this program:

    What the article limits the definition of array to:
&a = 0x7fff5590ff00
a = 0x7fff5590ff00
&(a[0]) = 0x7fff5590ff00
a + 1 = 0x7fff5590ff01
&(a[1]) = 0x7fff5590ff01

Pointer to an array:
&b = 0x7fff5590fef8
b = 0x7fff5590ff00
&(b[0]) = 0x7fff5590ff00
b + 1 = 0x7fff5590ff01
&(b[1]) = 0x7fff5590ff01

Pointer to dynamically allocated memory:
&c = 0x7fff5590fef0
c = 0x202f010
&(c[0]) = 0x202f010
c + 1 = 0x202f011
&(c[1]) = 0x202f011

Once passed to a function as arguments:

What the article limits the definition of array to:
&a = 0x7fff5590fec8
a = 0x7fff5590ff00
&(a[0]) = 0x7fff5590ff00
a + 1 = 0x7fff5590ff01
&(a[1]) = 0x7fff5590ff01

Pointer to an array:
&b = 0x7fff5590fec0
b = 0x7fff5590ff00
&(b[0]) = 0x7fff5590ff00
b + 1 = 0x7fff5590ff01
&(b[1]) = 0x7fff5590ff01

Pointer to dynamically allocated memory:
&c = 0x7fff5590feb8
c = 0x202f010
&(c[0]) = 0x202f010
c + 1 = 0x202f011
&(c[1]) = 0x202f011

As we can see, for their practical use arrays and pointers can really be seen as the same thing. So again, except if you are optimizing a program where you can statically declare your arrays and access them a lot (i.e., you are doing matrix multiplication), the difference between arrays and pointers does not really matter.

glimcat 7 hours ago 3 replies      
The fastest way to grok memory issues is to do some work in Assembly. Few programmers will use Assembly for regular work, but the intuition it fosters will serve you everywhere.
sswezey 7 hours ago 0 replies      
One thing to note:

Maybe you should explain the first element of an array having the same memory address as the actual array a little bit more, and relate it to why array indexing is 0-based too - the index is that many offsets from the beginning from the array.

dschatz 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice introduction. I think it is worth pointing out that much of what you discuss is implementation dependent, the c standard doesn't require an implementation to lay out data in memory in any particular way. Instead it requires that access semantics behave in a particular way. These semantics, in turn, align with easy, low level implementations.
_kst_ 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you for making it clear that arrays are not pointers!

I posted a few comments on the site.

nemetroid 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I like the style, but it was basics indeed. I look forward to following parts. Something that initially confused me about sizeof on arrays is the somewhat deceiving parameter form `char s[]`.
iopuy 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Easy to follow, well written, cant wait for the follow ups. Thanks!
Twitter to Client Developers: Drop Dead daringfireball.net
453 points by joshus  1 day ago   172 comments top 44
cletus 1 day ago  replies      
This doesn't surprise me at all. When you develop on someone else's platform, you have to walk a fine line between not being successful at all and being too successful such that the platform provider co-opts your business (maybe you get lucky and get bought out). This is nothing new. Such moves as this were (IMHO) inevitable. They'll slowly chip away at anything they see as taking revenue from them.

The part I disagree with is that this will doom Twitter. It will not. They've already achieved a certain level of success. Most people use and will continue to use the Website or the official client and be happy with that.

I do believe that Twitter is doomed to be acquired however. Apple seems the likely frontrunner for this but I think Twitter needs Apple more than Apple needs Twitter at this point.

Twitter is ultimately infrastructure and infrastructure seems doomed to commoditization. Twitter has eyeballs too but social platforms seem fickle at best. There is nothing preventing Twitter from becoming the next Myspace.

There are many reasons I'm glad about Facebook's floundering market debut. This is one of them: it's taking the wind out of the sails of the social hype (IMHO).

thought_alarm 1 day ago 1 reply      
Of all the social media and web services that have cropped up in the last 5 years, Twitter was the one that really filled me with joy. It's so simple! It's just plain text in bite sized pieces at a time. And it's universal! It works just as well on state of the art hardware as it does on a crappy SMS dumbphone or green-screen serial terminal. And it's as compelling in Egypt or Pakistan as it is in New York or London.

Whenever I get fed up with the complextiy of Facebook or Google+ I'll load up Twitter on an old Apple II, via TTYtter and a serial connection; I'll watch the green text scroll along at 1200 baud and think about how this one simple, geeky text service, pure as a 1980s BBS, somehow made it, worldwide, in 2012.

And now they're hellbent on ruining all of that. Fuck Twitter.

joering2 1 day ago 2 replies      
Sometimes I tend to see the dark side of human in everything they do. Sorry, its just the way I am.

I say when twitter was still this little chick, their approach was "we love all users, we welcome engineers; build amazing tools and surprise us!". I think the reason for that was to speed up the process of spreading the word - a simple fact that geek working on twitter 3rd party is still a human with plenty of friends to spread the word about twitter - so he can be helpful: let him spend his time doing what he likes doing the best - programming and he will become our cheap (free) PR tube.

But now I bet most of a new age civilization knows or uses twitter. So it is time for a reality check: "fuck off of our platform; we don't need you anymore! You got all your friends to know twitter, some even addict to it; now stay away from trying to run your pathetic queries, using our own data stream".

Just my version/2c.

edit: my understanding is that Dorsey still has the most to say in the twitter world. With all its nastiness going on between twitter curtain, I say stay the hell far away from any startup he will do in the future. Sorry, but if he signs up half of the world on his square, what on Earth is stopping him from switching 2.5% to 10% fee?? nothing!! At least the past (present) shows he has the balls to execute moves that average tweeting Joe is not a fan of: shutting down 3rd parties, kicking out linkedin, shutting down instagram access, etc. Bottom line: stay away!

mirkules 1 day ago 1 reply      
If Twitter's business is threatened by third-party apps, why not charge for an API license? I also can't quite understand why developers expect a free API from services like Twitter and then complain when something changes?

What is the business advantage of Twitter (or Facebook, or what-have-you) releasing a free, public API to anyone who asks, and how did they plan to monetize it when it got popular? You can't build your business model around "here, use my service for free" and not have a plan how to convert either the users of the 3rd party developers' software or the 3rd party developers themselves into paying customers (or monetize on that somehow, i.e. mining data, selling ads, etc). Maybe I'm just being naive -- I honestly don't have much experience dealing with these sorts of things, so I would love it if someone could break it down.

mmaunder 1 day ago 1 reply      
Unless platforms like Facbeook or Twitter make a significant amount of money from their devs, the way Microsoft or Apple does, telling their devs to go pound sand at some point is inevitable.
lancewiggs 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wouldn't have as much immediate issue with this if Twitter's own clients were acceptable - they are not. And this is an asinine move either way.
uptown 1 day ago 1 reply      
I find it ironic that the company that's created Bootstrap - an entire toolkit encouraging developers to adopt their site's visual style - is so opposed to any other aspect of following their lead.
rjsamson 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't see this ending well for them. Alienating the very developer base that helped them grow as a platform early on is a huge mistake.

As an aside, I feel even better about backing App.net after seeing this news.

ziadbc 1 day ago 3 replies      
Twitter wants to give you access to the data. Their client is their main product. Thus, every 3rd party client is competing with their main product, that seems to be a fact.

Theres no way to stop you from building one anyway, twitter knows that. If you go against their rules, you're a revolutionary, and if you win that revolution, they'll have to deal with you.

You can't expect however, that the incumbent is going to go around encouraging revolutions against themselves.

The only alternative is to encourage everyone to make clients, at which point, they're just a big cloud xmpp server to the world.

sequoia 1 day ago 0 replies      
What client devs have actually stopped development and abandoned/shut down their applications in response to Twitter's client TOS changes? I hear lots of griping and moaning it seems like lots of the major client players are developing nonetheless, which says to twitter "keep doing what you're doing."
ricardobeat 1 day ago 1 reply      
> To prevent malicious use of the Twitter API and gain an understanding bla bla bla...

Translation: so that we can charge even light API users.

This will surely backfire - some services will switch from API usage to screen-scraping, resulting in an even higher load on twitter's servers.

maxpow4h 1 day ago 3 replies      
From here, I think we should move to a distributed model, like email and xmpp.

It needs to be Open Source so anyone can run it and everyone owns their data.

It needs to be compatible with current Twitter apps so all it requires is setting the API root.

It needs to be distributed so anyone can follow anyone anywhere. There is no owner or root, there is no place to shut down.

Proof of concept: https://nstatus.herokuapp.com

Source: https://github.com/maxpow4h/nekomimi

I wrote about the requirements of it here: http://maxpow4h.com/blog/twitter/

edit: you can use any username with any password to sign in to nstatus. It then uses that password for your username. You can even do this from the official iOS Twitter app, just sign in.

dinkumthinkum 1 day ago 1 reply      
Twitter's developer problem is probably at about level 9 right now. My question is what's really the big deal. Twitter can do what they want and really more to the point, I don't think Twitter should be the primary focus of innovation from our community. It's a stream of mostly nonsensical 140 char messages. I get it it, it's amazing ... but come on, we can get past Twitter.
ThePherocity 1 day ago 0 replies      
The writing is on the wall though; Kinda has been for a while. I think this is why App.Net might actually get some traction. People will move when that's where all the cool features are, and none of the crappy ads. Maybe.
ianstormtaylor 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wonder how they got the bright idea to advocate limiting the quadrant named "Consumer Engagement".

Surprised they didn't try to make it a bit less obvious.

andrewfelix 1 day ago 1 reply      
Utter hypocrisy that they're discouraging third party clients, after having acquired one.

app.net suddenly looks more attractive.

kintamanimatt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why wouldn't they just just charge heavy non-client API users and offer (cheap?) paid plans to users who want to use third party clients, leaving the rest to use an ad-supported web interface? This is the best solution long term which wouldn't really piss off anybody or nuke the ecosystem, while embracing the realities of running a business.
throwa 1 day ago 0 replies      
Developers seem to flock to platforms like Apple, Facebook and Twitter based on the fact that they have a large and growing user base without giving thought to this issue of commoditization of complements and how the ultimately destroy the business or livelihood of these developers.

Most people building products or sharecropping on other people's platform never make meaningful income and yet those platform keep will prefer to announce large sums paid out to developers to encourage you to keep building complements. Apple will claim they paid out $5 billion but spread the numerous app developers it becomes peanut and not enough to pay their bills. They won't tell you that to pay out $5bn they made atleast $2billion based on their 30% cut.

They don't tell you that iOS app success is a "lottery": 60% (or more) of developers don't break even



I really hope people will think hard before building their business on the back of Apple, Facebook, Twitter or any such platform. You can use them as as distribution without being dependent on them and that is the way to go.

Be your own bitch and not a Twitter, Apple or Facebook bitch:


countessa 23 hours ago 0 replies      
can't say I blame them really. They have a product, they have the infrastructure to support it....why shouldn't they have right of first refusal on how to monetize the thing?

Seems to me that developers are getting all pissy because they can't have free reign to a platform that isn't even theirs. Perhaps, at the end of the day, Twitter doesn't care - they don't need the developers as early adopters anymore and it must be a fair old strain to keep the api infrastructure supporting them when the resources could be more profitably used building something else inside the company.

masklinn 23 hours ago 1 reply      
So from the "fantastic" quadrant scheme, basically they don't want users (which they re-labelled as consumers) to actually use (engage with) the service, instead they want:

1. "consumers" to be analyzed

2. Companies to use the service

Well at least it's rather clear what the new and future values of Twitter are.

radarsat1 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well it's not like alternatives don't exist. Of all the popular social media services, twitter has got to be one of the easiest to reimplement, it's only social inertia that keeps Twitter going. (Which says a lot about the power of social inertia.)

As usual what is needed is a decentralized approach, but that always takes time to catch on even if it can be made to work.

efsavage 1 day ago 2 replies      
Twitter isn't very big in my circles, but of those that use it, none of them use the website.
shuzchen 1 day ago 1 reply      
I wonder if this is coming because they can't keep up with the write load. The writes that come from these third party apps (that enable messaging multiple people, or queuing/delaying tweets) might throw a wrench in their system if it doesn't follow the natural usage they've designed it for.

The only other reason I can fathom why they would doing this is they eventually intend to heavily push ads over their network, something that third party apps could interfere with.

nicholassmith 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know if this is the worst thing that Twitter could have done, but it's probably fairly high up there. I wonder what people like Tapbot and thinking right now, they're grandfathered in for some very, very specific agreements but they know that one misstep and they'll end up out in the cold or paying a fortune.

But then what does that mean for a Tweetbot user like myself? Less incremental updates? One day the application breaks? Who knows, too early to tell.

I'm mostly surprised Twitter isn't just leveraging the fact they are pumping out that many requests and slipping ads or promoted tweets or promoted tweeters into the API stream and making cash off that. Seems like it'd make sense.

stephenlovell 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The large swath of discussion seems to be focusing on App Development, which is probably the hardest hit.

However, there's another area that has gotten me wondering, non-app, non-client based websites using the API, in reference to the Display Guidelines..er Rules.

This is the bit specifically.

"Users must have a consistent experience wherever they interact with Tweets, whether on Twitter.com, a mobile client, website, or in an application developed with the Twitter API"

So lets say that I go to GitHub and grab a little jQuery plugin to pull in my tweets on my personal portfolio. Does that also mean I have to make sure I include my own avatar, my username, Tweet actions, and twitter branding, among other things? What if those elements are unnecessary to the design or intention of what I'm doing on the site?

And then there's the fact that all of these jQuery plugins are going to have to start implementing authenticated access (if they weren't already, which many seem to not be.) I don't have access to data on the matter, but I would surmise that there's a significant number of personal and portfolio sites out there pulling in tweets that are either not authenticated, or are modifying the tweet display in some way. All the ones I've interacted with have settings for turning avatar display on or off, or unlinking hash tags or links, etc.


dchuk 1 day ago 3 replies      
"In the “good” quadrants are bullshit terms like “Social CRM”, “Social analytics”, and “Social influence ranking”."

Not bullshit, these are demonstrably useful products for people who want to utilize new traffic sources in the interest of making money or growing their business.

"But services like Storify and Favstar, which are actually useful and/or fun, those are no good."

ummm...ok? Utility is in the eye of the beholder...Twitter is a B2C product, so they're going to try and limit the number of competing services that are stealing B2C market share from them (why would you expect them to be ok with people using alternative Twitter apps instead of the official one?)

Now, Twitter is not a B2B company, so it makes sense that they would allow those types of services to continue. It's quite possible they're allowing B2B services that are utilizing the twitter platform to continue operating because they plan to acquire a few of them in the future to try and actually make a profit one day.

jcromartie 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Are people missing the fact that existing Twitter clients can keep their token allocation and double it? And new ones are limited to 100K only by default (they can ask for more)?

Since when did people consider unlimited access to Twitter's API an unalienable right? It is their platform, and their API. It's also completely free.

Twitter is absolutely free to limit usage of their own API however they wish. If it means they want to change the rate limiting on their servers, I see no problem with that.

goronbjorn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this more evidence that they haven't completely figured out their own business model yet?
Tichy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why couldn't Microblogging work like email (or Macroblogging)? Some people email through some provider or host their blogs at wordpress.com, others host their own. Big bloggers pay a lot for their infrastructure, amateuer bloggers get free blogs supported by ads.

Still not sure if Twitter isn't just blogs that include a friends list and a reader (kind of like Tumblr, which seems to be taking off, too...). And the short messages.

Sniffnoy 1 day ago 0 replies      
People keep talking about Facebook and Myspace, but they lack(ed) full-on third-party clients, so what I'm wondering about is the LiveJournal comparison.

LiveJournal too had and has third-party clients. And though hardly popular in the English-speaking world these days, it's still going. But I don't think it has similar guidelines. So what's the comparison?

littlejim84 1 day ago 0 replies      
Couldn't Twitter just arrange a price for "business" usage of their API? The main people getting affected by this are other clients or other intensive uses of their API, but those very people are most probably trying to make a profit themselves (HootSuite for example) so why not just charge for the API and so leave the restricted API for free use. Or am I missing the point?
dchest 1 day ago 0 replies      
Did anyone manage to extract API key from the official Twitter client?
thirdsun 1 day ago 0 replies      
I always had the impression that bands and musicians made myspace what it was. Seriously, they seemed to have every single band you could think of. That in combination with the Google Search results deal (which still seems to be running) was a winner.
mmahemoff 1 day ago 3 replies      
In the “good” quadrants are bullshit terms like “Social CRM”, “Social analytics”, and “Social influence ranking”

Would he rather they put one-paragraph labels on each quadrant? Sometimes phrases that sound like MBA buzzwords (and might be MBA buzzwords) are actually useful too.

paulhauggis 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This is why I don't base my entire business on someone else's platform. They could make one little change and destroy your entire business overnight.
seanp2k2 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The reason: they found out that it's hard to make money when users can trivially strip out your ads.
debacle 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Twitter are being shits, but as a developer on the Twitter platform, what could you really expect?
codegeek 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Now I am convinced that I will never depend 100% on a third party platform/API for a serious business.
j45 1 day ago 1 reply      
If I can't use Hootsuite, I can't use twitter.
gcmartinelli 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder how Twitter's developers are feeling about these changes... Devs tend to be pro-openess, I imagine this to have a bitter taste for most of them.
smegel 1 day ago 0 replies      
If app.net gets the userbase, i.e. the people I want to follow, i will be over there in a flash.
taybin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Has anyone considered that twitter is actually pretty stupid?
macarthy12 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if twitter have a $50 app.net account?
sailfrog 1 day ago 0 replies      
Grunter owns Twitter
Backlift beta now open, featuring auth, validation and auto refresh backlift.com
51 points by colevscode  11 hours ago   7 comments top 4
tkahn6 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm not sure how deep down the rabbit hole you want to go in terms of explaining to your users how to get a dev environment set up, but:

on OS X you need to run `brew install libyaml` before you install backlift via easy_install

Also the correct flag for easy_install is --upgrade, not --update.

tominated 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I got a beta invite about a week ago, but after reading how they only want you to use JST templates and such I avoided it. Is this actually the case or is that just the standard template (and documentation) recommendation?
cfontes 9 hours ago 0 replies      
nice stuff I will try it, but how is it going to work in The future? there is no information about this anywhere... maybe it's free for first adopters :) ?
filipmares 10 hours ago 1 reply      
awesome stuff. will try it out over the weekend. would be nice to have some sort of backend storage a la StackMob.
Dear sw007 raganwald.posterous.com
88 points by raganwald  14 hours ago   10 comments top 5
3pt14159 8 hours ago 1 reply      
The fundamental problem is that people like reading things that are written by people that have a slightly higher IQ than them (at least for people this side of 100).

The reason that this is a problem is that the average person has more friends closer to the median IQ than they do further away. So when people share new sites with one another they are generally sharing it more often with lower IQ people than they are with higher IQ people. These people come, love the content, stay, and repeat the cycle.

Countermeasures are just fighting this effect. It happened to Reddit, Fark, etc. One countermeasure is smart-flight evidenced by people fleeing to other subreddits like "TrueReddit" or making nearly identical subreddits "CanadianPolitics" vs "Canada". Or "LibertarianDebates" vs "Libertarian". It's like "white flight" only the division isn't racial, it's cognitive.

In my opinion HN suffers far less than it reasonably should, given its popularity and influence. Probably due to good attention, moderation, and direct involvement by pg. It's likely that when I joined HN I knew far less about the world and tech; upvoting the 500 mile email posting or a basic article on split testing. But I've grown and the community probably became a bit more mainstream and less intelligent.

The only community I haven't really seen it happen to so far is Less Wrong, but over there they are absolutely fanatical about keeping out poor discussion. I don't know if that is worth the effort.

To me, the best thing to do is to just leave once it gets bad enough and a better alternative pops up. Something else will come along. Maybe a secretive invite only HN, or something that customizes which articles you see based on what you upvote. The problem with the former is that secret societies are generally self-important and word always gets out (remember fight club anyone?). The problem with the latter is that it absolutely ruins a feeling of community. So those probably won't happen, it will probably just be a new community, much like this one, but with a clean slate.

jfaucett 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
this was a great post. its hard to deal with negativity when you're so close to the things you share on HN. But I agree just getting one positive and constructive comment is worth filtering through a lot of negativity. Its where another guy shows you something you've never thought about and it makes the code beautiful, or a critiques that helps make your app a better experience for people who have gotten a genuine interest in it.
tkahn6 1 hour ago 0 replies      
So the general sense is that HN used to be great and a more open place. I agree. Here's an idea to prevent and reverse the decline of HN:

Set a large karma threshold for upvoting rights.

If you give a bunch of new users the right to upvote they'll just upvote each other based on their ideas on what makes a good community. There's no way to maintain or enforce the culture of the community when the new members can just bootstrap their own culture base with little to no input from the existing community.

If pg was inclined he could set this threshold, normalize/zero-out the karma scores for all accounts created after date X, and effectively go back in time to that date in terms of who has the power to set the tone and culture of HN.

alexshye 10 hours ago 0 replies      
"And this is not a passive experiment"

This seems to be the most important thing here. In any community, you have the chance to play an active role. If you stay and do good, you help it in your own way. If you jump ship, you leave the community with one less person that cares.

rdudekul 10 hours ago 2 replies      
The author asks to ignore all the negative advice and pick out the positive crumbs. Not everyone can take negative comments effectively. I for one agree with sw007 that it is demotivating to receive a bunch of negative feedback. Also genuine entrepreneurs posts seem to struggle to come up on page 1 of HN, when mostly controversial or sensational topics seem to take the prime space.

Kudos to pg for observing and listening to us. It would be awesome to have guidelines and incentive structures to keep HN as entrepreneur friendly as possible.

The (Odd) State of Node.JS and its Frameworks andrewmunsell.com
38 points by andrewmunsell  8 hours ago   19 comments top 11
fpp 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
A short note on the express pro/cons:

It does come with a MVC example, but you can of course also use one of the well known frameworks like Backbone, Spine, Knockout etc.

Idea here is lightweight and a solid foundation that allows broad usage.

latchkey 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Odd state? It certainly is... but it is only what... a year or two old now?

It seems to me that what is missing is a clear winner. Sure, competition from a number of different fronts is really great, but I think what made Java tick for a long time was JBoss and Spring. For Ruby, it is Rails. I'm sure Python has Django and others.

Clearly lots of people are working on it, but a powerhouse framework for NodeJS just hasn't surfaced quite yet. The OP's mention of security being bolted on as an afterthought really is something that makes me shudder. I can't imagine building a large scale public facing system without method level access control. I fear a whole new generation of injection type attacks against NodeJS frameworks.

While it is fun to play with all the shiny new NodeJS toys, I don't see why sticking with tried and true on the backend (take your pick of Python / Ruby / Java) is such a big deal. A lot of the cool features that are being touted in the NodeJS frameworks have been already done elsewhere for much longer.

For me, I've really successfully used NodeJS in one area where it really shines... scraping web pages... but that is simply because working with a jquery-like interface to the DOM, on the server side, is amazing.

In the end, it seems like if you're bootstrapping a company / product (like many of us here are) and trying to pick what to use for your base platform, the obvious choice is building features instead of building frameworks. This means you stick with the tried and true and hope that in the future, the shiny new toys mature a bit more before you go down that path.

jmspring 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Node.JS is a decent platform for developing on, if you know the caveats. You have to be very careful with the modules and frameworks you use -- as mentioned in the article, maturity of modules varies.

I know people that have had issues with socket.io and skipped it (and node.js) for their production needs. That said, my aha, gotta be careful, moment was when I was setting up a quick test, picked one of the http-digest auth modules, and had a bug -- actually a completely incorrect digest auth implementation (basic auth was fine). This was the second node.js module implementing digest auth that I used that had a bug that relatively simple testing would have found. (The other bug was around the caching/lifecycle of nonces.)

I plan on going back and submitting patches for both of these modules, but the lack of basic testing in two cases of a well known (and documented) feature reminded me that the platform is still in transition. (This is just one example of some issues I've run into)

Why I say you have to be careful? For the downsides, there are definite upsides. I needed a simple test https server w/ a rest API and serving a static file -- total lines of code, about 25. A great boon to prototyping.

Like any new framework, evaluate it in consideration with your needs.

bialecki 7 hours ago 1 reply      
To draw an analogy, whether server-side/client-side JavaScript frameworks will become the next RoR is like guessing whether Facebook will ever be able to monetize the way people think it might. It seems like it should be possible, but it doesn't seem like there's an obvious way forward. </bad-analogy>

I love JavaScript (in the weird way everyone who "loves" JS, loves JS), but I'm skeptical the next big web framework will be written in it. I want to believe, but it just doesn't feel right yet. I hope it will and I can't wait for the "ah ha" that makes it feel right. But it doesn't yet.

bergie 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
Here's my take on the Node.js framework question: http://bergie.iki.fi/nodext/

Not so much of a framework than a way of keeping code organized and disabling/enabling different parts of an app as needed.

ricardobeat 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't see much oddity. Express + socket.io is the current canonical setup, both are production-ready, deployed at hundreds of businesses. Derby, socketstream and such are just experiments right now.
mcantelon 5 hours ago 1 reply      
>They're on version 3.0 and the framework is quite mature. But unlike Derby or Meteor, it isn't real time.

Express + Socket.io gives you realtime.

Example of the two of them working together: https://github.com/mcantelon/chatrooms/blob/master/app.js

jimmytucson 2 hours ago 0 replies      
You could potentially narrow it down a little bit by taking Express out of the equation. As far as I know, Express doesn't play on the browser. You could use Express to serve static content or a blog or an API but you would need to supplement it with something like Backbone or Ember on the client to build something like gmail or trello.

And while you could use Meteor (or, I'm sure, Derby) for a static website, that's obviously not what it's designed for. I've never tried it, though. I'm sure it would be a real beautiful experience.

arunoda 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Odd State? No way?

It just 2-3 years old and it does amazing work. I don't wanna talk about frameworks(noders hate frameworks) and modules.

Node's API is changing but everyone is happy with that.

Why I love Node is because, It's JavaScript and the evented model.

Some times back I do not agree with the moves done by Ryan (Node Creator).
But Now Node Core team is lead by isaacs who is a cool guy and listen to the community.

Node Frameworks may be in Odd state. But not the Node itself.

drunken_thor 7 hours ago 1 reply      
once again no mention of a framework I love for node and that is http://railwayjs.com/ it is pretty railsy, built on top of express, and has the ability to leverage the socket abilities all with an orm and fully structured framework
cacois 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Geddy (http://geddyjs.org/) also looks promising. MVC, generators, etc - RoR-ish. Haven't done more than play around with it, but it seems fairly comfortable. That said, also young and light on docs right now (though they have a decent intro tutorial).
Reports: OnLive fires all staff, service's future unclear arstechnica.com
79 points by shawndumas  14 hours ago   34 comments top 10
ars 10 hours ago 0 replies      
> A new company will be formed and the management of the company will be in contact with you about the current initiatives in place, including the titles that will remain on the service

I hate that companies are allowed to do that. Sunrocket did that to me and basically stole around $150 worth of unused service. The new company apparently had no legal obligation to me.

It should be illegal to sell assets without also selling the debts/obligations together with them.

sp332 13 hours ago 0 replies      
They're filing for ABC protection in California. Source: http://kotaku.com/5935767/onlive-filing-for-bankruptcy-new-c... Here's an explanation of what ABC is http://allmandlaw.com/bankruptcy/abc-vs-bankruptcy Looks like they're re-arranging OnLive into a new company http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2012/08/17/onlive...
mirsadm 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I liked the idea of OnLive. In fact since I've been travelling a lot over the past year I wanted to play some games that I couldn't (because my laptop sucks). The problem I found is that it is just too expensive to play the games I wanted. They cost the same amount as purchasing a physical copy. I couldn't justify that as it provides a degraded experience and I know when I come home I have a great computer I can play them on.

It's too bad they couldn't make it work since I the concept was pretty cool.

mjfern 11 hours ago 2 replies      
One of the major reasons why OnLive struggled (and now failed) is because they launched their platform (20010) well after the launch of the XBox 360 (2005) and PS3 (2006).

Serious gamers, the early adopter market for OnLive, already had purchased an XBox 360 and/or PS3. Since OnLive, as far as I can tell, didn't have any compelling, exclusive titles, and provided a gaming experience that was inferior to alternatives, there was no reason for a serious gamer with a console to try (or switch to) this new platform.

OnLive needed to launch around the same time as the other consoles and deliver a superior experience, or an equivalent experience but at a lower price point (upfront and over time).

chaostheory 13 hours ago 2 replies      
> Some of those employees may reportedly be hired back as the company transitions into a new iteration, which might be more focused on exercising its portfolio of streaming patents.

This doesn't sound good.

_lex 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how this is going to affect Ouya, who just raised over 8M on kickstarter, and who was relying on Onlive to provide access to AAA titles from day 1.
stevencorona 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Ah man- I played with OnLive a little bit and it seemed like a product that had so much potential to revolutionize the industry. Maybe it was ahead of its time?
delinka 11 hours ago 1 reply      
This is why tech people should really begin negotiating severance into their compensation. Yeah, yeah - how do you get rid of people who aren't a good fit? I dunno. Maybe, make the formula for calculating severance account for employment duration. What happens when you got hired a week ago and the whole company is now being fired? I dunno. Perhaps a mass firing clause.

I don't have the answers, but severance pay sounds like a great way to protect against these kinds of assholes.

mvzink 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Well there goes the one draw I had to the Ouya.
rdl 11 hours ago 0 replies      
They have (had?) a lot of great employees, so hiring feeding frenzy commence in 3, 2, 1...
Why isn't Twitter charging for their API? dustyreagan.com
48 points by dustyreagan  11 hours ago   25 comments top 11
daveying99 9 hours ago 0 replies      
They do, and the price is $0.0001 per tweet.

Search rate limits through the normal API can be prohibitive for many use cases like news/brand monitoring. Or even citizen monitoring programs for local police. So they resort to datasift and gnip and are charged volume-based amounts on behalf of Twitter. And presumably, at the end of every month, a wire transfer goes out to Twitter.

Now that doesn't mean that twitter makes $1 per 10,000 tweets. A license to the tweet is required separately for each end user of those two platforms. So with 1000 datasift users accessing a particular tweet, Twitter is making $0.10 on it. The more people request that tweet the more money Twitter makes. Marginal cost = 0.

For more info, check out the Datasift FAQ's:

ctide 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Or, why don't they just interleave ads into the streams and require developers to either display those ads or pay a CPM equivalent to hide them? It seems clear their main concern is around the home_timeline feed anyways, so weaving in their 'sponsored tweets' and requiring developers display them seems straight forward enough.
guelo 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Unless it's a per/something charge the numbers wouldn't be significant. I would guess there's less than a thousand serious API developers.
memnips 10 hours ago 2 replies      
It's because they want to build an advertising business and they don't want to compete with their developers. Twitter as a service is not the business they're in. They want direct access to their audience to increase their chances at monetization.

It makes perfect business sense, it just sucks.

kmfrk 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Serious question: do people still have any remote desire to give the people behind Twitter money, after all they have pulled and shown themselves to be?
bborud 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Imagine developing a twitter app for iOS. Talk about a shitty job having to deal with shit from both Twitter and Apple.
nc17 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Because they ran the numbers. It wouldn't justify the valuation their investors demand, and it would be a distraction. Ads are their only hope. Draw your own conclusions.
jwooden 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I would assume that its in the works, but they already slapped developers in the face yesterday with new restrictions, if they added pricing plans on top of that, that would be inhumane and too much for developers to handle in on gulp.

Additionally with the pricing, its hard to get right. They won't be able to modify prices as they see fit after they announce them. So it seems like a logical progression: 1 restrict amount of data. 2 next, determine pricing

nukethefridge 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't think charging for API access will make them as much money as they want/need compared to being a media/ad company, that's probably the main reason. But, you're question did prompt me to ask my own:

Why doesn't Twitter rev-share their ads with 3rd party devs? http://gist.io/3383601

njyx 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Not quite the same point - but similar thoughts: http://bit.ly/N9HnAD. What's really missing is a proper service contract. Not giving guarantees - or at best implicit ones will kill ecosystems.
cicloid 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Why? Who is in charge at Twitter?
NaNs Just Don't Get No Respect drdobbs.com
31 points by stianan  9 hours ago   22 comments top 9
tikhonj 5 hours ago 3 replies      
NaNs are annoying because, thanks to them, equality on floating point numbers is not an equivalence relation. In particular, NaN /= NaN.

This means that in Haskell, for example, you cannot really rely on the Eq class representing an equivalence relation. Code relying on the fact that x == x should be true for all x could not work as expected for floating point numbers.

I don't know if this has any practical ramifications in real code, but it certainly makes things less elegant and more complex than they have to be.

malkia 4 hours ago 0 replies      
There are much worse thing than NaN's.

They are called denormals. These appear when dealing at the same time with lots of big numbers (very far away from 0) in operations with lots small numbers (close to 0).

In such cases the FPU (or whatever deals with fp numbers), switches to a format that could be very inefficient producing an order of magnitude slower operations.

For example when dealing with IIR filters in audio, your audio buffer might contain them. One of the solution is to have a white noise buffer somewhere (or couple of numbers) that are not denormalized and add with them - it would magically normalize again.

I'm not a guy dealing with "numerical stability" (usually these are physics, audio or any simualation engine programmers), but know this from simple experience.

saurik 2 hours ago 1 reply      
The things this author likes about NaN are also properties of NULL in many environments (that NULL cannot be compared to NULL, that operating on NULL returns NULL, etc.); so while you might not see many languages default initializing things to NaN, you do see them default initializing things to NULL with similar effect.
klodolph 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I've gotten a bit pissed at the Microsoft C compiler for (1) having no standard way to generate NaN or Infinity and (2) having a good enough static analyzer that if you generate one by casting, it emits a warning saying that your arithmetic overflows.

Gee, thanks MSC. I didn't expect "x = INFINITY;" to overflow.

roryokane 4 hours ago 0 replies      
An alternative workaround to writing `float f = 0` in languages without NaN:

    float f;
bool thingIsFoo = condition1; // store the result…
if (thingIsFoo)
f = 7;
// ... code ...
if (thingIsFoo && condition2) // and explicitly depend on it later

But this causes an extra `&&` to be computed at runtime, so it seems NaNs are still better for this case.

tzs 7 hours ago 0 replies      
voyou 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Stop trying to make D happen. It's not going to happen.
mieubrisse 4 hours ago 0 replies      
You've written quite the interesting and informative article, and your logic as for why you initialize to NaN was perfectly clear.
malkia 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Be afraid of QNaN the Barbarian!
       cached 18 August 2012 10:02:01 GMT